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Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Deliberate Deception

When my wife and I were expecting our second child, I was looking for a Jacob/Jake or Jaclyn knowing full well what those names meant – but we liked them and went ahead with Jaclyn!

She is now 21 one years old and still has not figured out what we get out of naming her deceiver, or deception.

There is a fine line, you might call it a spin, on being one for God or being one for evil. 

I have been reading lately some amazing “out of the box” scripture passages that show how God used people to mess up the counsel of people and then “suggest” another form of counsel that would arrange the outcome He wanted to take place – sounds a bit like chess.

Now, I am a firm believer in the power of free will – and believe that we operate under free will.  However, these scriptures really show how God can become involved in our lives, uninvited, to ensure His plan, favour, will, blessing and safety are provided for us when we need it most.

It’s like he has the vetoing vote on a Board – He stands as the last vote required when there is a need to break the tie – but its more than that.  I believe He has an overruling hand in all votes and laughs at those who think their plans of harm towards His people will be sustained.

This is where deliberate deception came in – just like in the time of Jacob and Esau – God shows up at the right time – blinding minds and influencing hearts.  What was right before has become wrong, what was wrong has become right and the confusion and chaos starts.

Who can contend with God?  Who can arm themselves in order not to destroy themselves by their own mistakes and passions?

Whatever wisdom or help any person employs or affords, the success is from God alone, who will not let His people perish.

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Total Surrender

I think it is easier to totally surrender to God, not in a moment of passion or energy, but when I am in depression.

I have quit.

It still is a decision I make, but it is made with a penitent heart and submission.

Anger for wrong against me does not matter because when I look at myself and place myself before a righteous God, I cannot justify myself.  So I yield to His judgements – the consequences of my actions, the punishment of my sin.

I think when we lead and find ourselves in a position where we are exposed to suffering at the hand of others, we are anxious that others should not be led to suffer with us.

We are prepared to go alone, compelling no one to follow.

Yet, my Saviour Jesus Christ enlists those who will come alongside of me during my time of trial and surrender.

It might be a stranger, a foreigner, a new follower of Christ – someone who needed encouragement themselves.  They see in us what we do not see – wisdom and goodness.  They become our friend, a friend like Jesus who loves at all times and will stick with us in times of adversity.

Jesus, may my heart be full of purpose so that in either life or death I will always know that nothing will separate me from Your love.

 

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The Act

Sometimes it matters how well you act!

It is part of the communication process and is absolute necessary in getting your story across without any incorrect assumptions on the part of the listener.

That might include a monologue of sorts that bring in a third party or a third person.  Seen objectively, a rather subjective point of view can obtain a different perspective.

Of course, when there is a drama act, the truth is not necessarily communicated, but rather the principal of the truth.  From that point, if the act is displayed properly, and the lights come on in the eyes of the person you hope to have persuaded, a real truth can be shared.

My guess is that the moment of the drama to the point of the truth should not be a long time.

Unless of course, the drama is meant to be a part in saving your life or the life of another.

Like the Egyptian women who dramatized the birth of the Hebrew baby boys as being too quick in delivery for them to kill or the lady that was coached by Joab to play a drama scene in front of King David to bring Absalom back home.  Best one was David acting like he went mentally deranged to save his life from a Philistine King.

I love storytelling – its a lost art – but one that is getting a quick start in many circles as the most effective way of sharing the gospel – by the way, a method supported by Jesus.

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When is love not love

I have to be careful here because I am not, in any way, shape or form, a counselor.  However, it scares me these days to hear what people are doing in the name of love.  Whether love is the alternate word for obsession, lust, power, abuse, control, manipulation – and I am sure the list can grow past this if we engage with a narcissist.

This is where we see the worse side of the church.  I am not sure how many times we can read 1 Corinthians 13 – the love chapter – we fail to see that it has nothing to do with what we do, how we speak, how we act – for there is a power of the will that can be engaged in people.  We fail to realize that we may fool some people some times or a lot of people all the time, but God, who knows our heart is the only one who will call us out.

Yes, I am fully aware of John 15 and Galatians 2 and even a bit of James for good measure.  Those are great tools to help us in our discernment.  Probably 1 and 2 John need to be added there as well.

However, I still say, lets look at their character.  Are they able to tell God’s story with love?  If they sound like an Old Testament prophet, I am wary.  If they put anyone down, I am wary.  If they exclude anyone, or put themselves above anyone, I am wary.  If they reverse profile by suggesting that you cannot take criticism, I am wary, if they raise their voice and become demonstrative and say that it is because they are passionate, I am wary.

I am wary is my way of saying that I withhold judgement.  I prefer to love, I want to love, I seek to love, I make the decision to love – how else can I approach my enemy with love unless it is sincere and real.

 

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Presenting the Message

Have you ever had to confront someone, even someone in authority?

It takes great courage, skill, and tact to speak to someone in a way that would make them aware of their wrong actions.

When I have to confront someone with unpleasant news, I usually pray for courage, skill and tact.  Especially if I want that person to respond constructively.  How I present my message may be as important as what I say.

Sort of seasoning my words with wisdom.

Don’t worry – I have messed up a few times – and there were more times that I did not confront because I was too afraid.  Hence the reason I believe in prayer!

 

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Quiet moments in the day

Recollecting is usually what happens to me during my quiet times.  I remember promises made that were not fulfilled, encouraging words to say that were never said, desires that were put on the shelf for another day and most times, the vows I made to love my family until death do we part.

There are events too that trigger quiet moments in the midst of noise – weddings, funerals, baptisms – all of them draw me into the deeper meaning of life.

Funny how there are quiet times, like flying, where I get absolutely nothing.  Not sure what that is about – maybe because I usually do not have a piece of paper handy to jot down the things I need to remember to do.

Amidst numerous affairs we are apt to forget the gratitude we owe, and the engagements we are under, not only to our family and friends, but to God Himself.  Usually my thoughts require some research, some questioning, some sort of probing to understand where to go next.

God is faithful to us; let us not be unfaithful to one another. If God has raised us up, has blessed us in any manner and we find others in a time where they need to be remembered, let us take the smallest and slightest lead from God to bless them and be kind to them.  We do not know why God called us to remember, but we do know that He called and we are part of sharing with another that God was thinking about them today.

 

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My love and kindness will never leave you

Have you ever had good intentions about something and when you approached God about moving forward with it, God said no?

No is rarely a rejection, it more of a guiding path – part of being efficient and effective with our resources on the journey.  God usually has something greater in mind, but He loves the intent of the heart and I have found Him willing to extend incredible blessings to me regardless – just for thinking about glorifying His name.

Have you ever prayed only to have God say no?  This is not a rejection, but God’s way of fulfilling a greater purpose in your life.

One thing you can count on – God’s unfailing, lasting mercies: mercies which are like streams of water that never dry up are yours – always.

 

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The Lord saves me

I am amazed, still to this day, on the number of people who promise me that they will look after me.  Love the sentiment, but usually when someone looks after you – it is at their terms and not God‘s.

At some point, one has to get pretty rude to get the point across and sometimes it means walking away from a relationship that continues not to get it.

It is hard enough to keep our perspective, a proper view of the goodness and watchful providence of God towards us.

I think of the Vicar of Baghdad who has 35 people assigned as his bodyguard by the government as he serves the Anglican church in Iraq.  But he knows more than anyone else that these men do not matter.  His life is frequently in danger; murderers had often laid wait for it: but God, the living God, had always redeemed his life from all adversity.

It is something to know that God has a complete design for us, and we do not need “salvation” from the hands of those who do not know how to follow the truth.

It’s nice to know that there are rescuers out there, but when they step over their bounds and implement a job that belongs only to God, then they need to be corrected and taught otherwise.  An abuse in this area means that it needs to be called out and told that we put our trust in God.

This is really hard – when can we tell that someone has stepped over the line versus someone who God has brought into our lives to help us?  When we look at these people to “save” us, or our money to “save” us, or our families to “save” us – then we no longer need the Lord to save us – think the line has been crossed from “helping” to “saving.”

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Cycle of Insanity

There are so many – which one to talk about today?

How about the one where we are not thoughtful, we are not concerned, we encourage fighting, we encourage battle, we call it play when really there are wounds — then it turns on us, and we complain.  If it continues, we complain that it has been going on for eternity.

Let’s face it – when we are in this cycle, we know bitterness.  What should scare us is that bitterness will probably kill one of us, but more likely both of us.  What we do not see, is that it will draw everyone around us to take sides and they will continue the cycle of insanity on our behalf.

So what do we need?  First of all an understanding that we are family.  Then we need to not worry about who was the aggressor to begin with.  That usually requires that the person who is most mature in the cycle of insanity, needs to step out of the cycle to begin the healing process.  I might suggest that the aggressor is rarely the person who ends up being the mature one.

 

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Self-condemned

The words that come out of our mouth can cause a lot of problems.

What makes it difficult is that in some cases, those destructive words just do not come out of our mouths, they come out of our hearts from which they originate.

Our heart is the place where God can rule or we rule.  When God rules, even our enemies can be loved and spoken to with civility.

We might even be able to attend the funeral of such an individual and compose a poem that reflects how God sees them.

I believe that we probably are given one hundred reasons to hate, yet we can choose not to.  We can choose instead to look at the good that was done and ignore the attacks that we have received at the hand of someone else.

It takes courage to lay aside hatred and hurt in order to show respect for another person – especially an enemy.

For those of us who are married – somewhere along the way I think we fall into this.

Husbands are told to love their wives – period.  Wives are told to respect their husbands – period.  Yet we all have difficulty with this.  Sometimes it feels like there are a million reasons not to do this.  Throw in the cycle of insanity that suggests “when he loves me then I will respect or if she respects me then I will love her” and we have the perfect recipe for separation and probably divorce.

We condemn ourselves with our own words and in condemning ourselves we destroy those around us.

May we take the high road, the mature responsibility, the calling of being followers of Christ and move to trusting, loving, respecting and giving and avoid the path that leads to stealing, killing and destroying.

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