Not So With You

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My Musings – No one wakes up in the morning with the hope that someone will manage us.  We wake up in the morning with the hope that someone will lead us.  The problem is, for us to be led, there must be leaders we want to follow.  (From Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek).

There is no shortage of people who wish to exercise authority.  Just look at the number of candidates in recent (and upcoming) elections who want to be President.  As you listen to many of them, you get the idea that as much as they would like to lead, there are not many that we would like to follow.  This concept is not restricted to politics.  It is rampant in many businesses and organizations, and yes, even in some churches.  To make matters worse, many who wish to lead, find little fault in their leadership skills, preferring to blame those they wish to lead with the inability or unwillingness to follow.

Perhaps that is one reason why Christ turned the leadership model on its head.  Do you want to a leader?  Then learn how to follow.  You want to be seen as great? Then learn to be humble.  You want to be first? Then be willing to wait in line.  You want to be master?  Then be willing to become a servant. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:45, NIV 1984).

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.‘” (John 13:12–17, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Go and do likewise.  Has a familiar ring to it.

Stay With The 99

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2 Chronicles 15:2The Lord is with you when you are with Him.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is hard to walk against the wind, row against the current, ride a bike uphill or “kick against the goad.”  But these are nothing compared to going against or forsaking God’s Word.  There will still be difficult times in this world because our relationship with Christ earned us a new enemy.  Satan wants us to think that the winds, current and terrain are against us, but again these are nothing because they are from his hand not God’s.  God allows them to strengthen and temper us.  But we need not despair. In fact we can take heart, because Christ has overcome the word.

My Advice – Not all who wander are lost, but they still are wandering.  So, keep in step with Jesus. He will never leave nor forsake you, so do not leave or forsake Him.  Then we can take heart because “He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.

Mirror Images

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2 Timothy 1:2-6, 13To Joel, my dear son. I thank God as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandparents and in your mother and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.  (NIV 1978, A personalized paraphrase)

My Musings – Most of my musings over the past couple of years have come from a book of daily devotions that I wrote for my son when he graduated from college.  He had spent the better part of his life getting “educated,” and I guess I wanted one last shot at offering my advice before he launched off on his own, putting his education to work.  The above “personalized” verses from 2 Timothy was my last entry in the book, and my last musing from that book.

Originally entitled “A Father’s Devotions,” I have for some time now been referring to them as “A Dad’s Devotions.”  I also added a subtitle, “Reflections from God’s Word.”  Why the “subtle” change?  I think the following sums up my thoughts.

Dad & Father – “The main difference between a father and a dad is that father is biological; however, a dad’s relationship is emotional. Fathering is an act of nature, while, being a dad is all about nurture. It is much easier to become a father, many even do it unintentionally; however, it is much harder to commit to becoming a dad.(http://www.differencebetween.info)

I am Joel’s father. I grew at being Joel’s dad, or at least I like to think so.  Nature and nurture.

Devotions – 1) Love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person [as in a dad for his son], activity, or cause.  2) An act of prayer or private worship.

I loved the dual-meaning of the word and how it played into my writings to him.

Reflections – 1) A thought, idea, opinion formed, or a remark made as a result of meditation. 2) An effect produced by an influence [as in a dad on his son]. 3) The production of an image by or as if by a mirror.

I wanted to provide Joel with some thoughts, ideas and opinions to meditate upon, while in the process doing my best to be a positive influence.  Not to make him a mirror-image of me, but to allow him to grow in likeness to his Savior.

Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. Listen to your father, who gave you life [your dad who gave you nurturing]. (Proverbs 23:19, 22, NIV 1978)

My AdviceJoel believed my musings were worth sharing on my blog.  I hope you have liked and been inspired by a few.  Inspired to grow closer in relationship with our Abba (an Aramaic term for father suggesting familial intimacy – dad?) Father, by becoming more like His Son Jesus Christ, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV 1978).

How are you doing?  Are reflections in mirror as close as they appear?

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Compassion Becomes A Verb

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Judges 2:18For the Lord had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Webster says that compassion is a noun and defines it as the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, however, asserts that “compassion is a verb.”  As such, it is not merely a desire to alleviate another’s distress (“those who are oppressed and afflicted“), but actually taking action to do what we can to alleviate it.

But God demonstrates his own love [compassion] for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NIV 1984)  This was the ultimate expression of compassion.

My Advice – Let’s do what we can to “pay it forward.”  While it is a rare event when someone is called upon to give their life for another, each one of us encounter numerous opportunities everyday to lighten the burden of someone else.  When we ignore these opportunities, compassion remains a mere noun.  We need to make it a verb by taking action. “As long as you are standing, give a hand [verb] to those who have fallen.” ― Persian Proverb

 

 

No Greater Joy

3 John 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – This should be the case with all children of God. Unfortunately, we all wander away from the truth from time to time, bringing grief to those who love us, especially God.

My Advice – You have given your mother and I great joy by walking in the truth of Christ. Continue to do so, avoiding the “detour signs” that Satan may put in your path.

It’s For Your Own Good

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Deuteronomy 10:12, 13And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? (NIV 1978)

My Musings – “This is for your own good.”  Ever have someone say that to you?  Maybe your parent when you were growing up?  Ever wonder why?  Did you believe them at the time?

  • Ever Wonder Why? – Perhaps it was because we were too young and immature to know what was best for ourselves.  But if you were like me, you probably felt that you did know what was best, when in reality it was what we wanted, which wasn’t always what was best.
  • Did You Believe Them? – Probably not.  Because we have a tendency to think that we know what is best.  But we should have believed them, because if your parents were like mine, they always did want what was best for me.  And they were wise enough to know that often what I wanted was not what was best.  In the end, it was for my own good.

Back to the verse.  It might seem strange to be told to both fear God and love Him in the same sentence.  Yet, getting back to when we were young, those were two of the basic emotions we had for our parents.  We loved them, yet we feared them.  But this was a healthy fear, for we knew we had nothing to fear from them if we did right.

And how do we do right? Not simply by observing what we are told (doing what is right).  We’ve all done that too haven’t we?  “I’ll do it, but I won’t like it.”  What kind of obedience is that?  True obedience is going “all in.”

  • Walking – Not just walking in His ways, but “in all His ways.” We don’t pick and choose the ways that are convenient or that require little effort or sacrifice.
  • Serving – Not just serving God, but “with all your heart and with all your soul.”  For even if we were to walk “in all His ways” it means little if our heart and soul are not in it, or if they are only in it half-heartedly.

Now these admonitions were given specifically to Israel (His chosen people).  How do they apply to us today (His Church)?  Certainly not as a means of achieving salvation.  For we know that we could never live up to it.  But as a means of growing in Christ once having achieved salvation (“by grace through faith).”

As children, we did not grow up over night.  It took time.  And as we grew, something strange happened.  We found ourselves no longer having to do what our parents said, because we were all grown up.  But still doing the things that once upon a time they told us we should do (or not do).  Because we had grown, and now knew that is was for our own good after all.  And we did it.  Not out of fear, because our fear had grown into respect.

My Advice – Fear (respect), walk (all in), love (because He first loved us), serve (heart and soul, not reluctantly or under compulsion), and observe (because it is the right thing to do and it demonstrates all the other things).  Because it is, after all, “for your own good.

Walk This Way

1 John 2:6Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Those who claim to know Jesus as Savior, but who continue to live a rebellious life are likely not saved at all.

My Advice – Continue to follow in His steps, giving evidence that your life is in Him.