It’s A Onederful Life

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1 Timothy 2:5-7For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles. (NIV 1984)

My Musings – In a 2016 Gallup survey of Americans, when asked whether or not they believe in God, 89% answered yes, 10% answered no, and 1% had no opinion.  In a separate Gallup survey that same year, when given a third option to yes or no (unsure), 79% answered yes, 10% were unsure and 11% answered no.

In a 2008 Pew Research survey, 52% of all American Christians believe that some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life, while only 49% of evangelical Christians believe theirs is the one true faith.

Of course surveys only reveal what people believe to be true, they do not determine what is in fact true.  The same is true with respect to various religions – they define people’s beliefs, which may or may not be truth.  I can only speak for myself and why I believe that Christianity is the truth.

One God For Christians and Jews (perhaps Muslims?), this is the God of the Old Testament.  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4, NIV 1984).  Logic tells us that there can only be one “supreme” (superior to all others) being.

One Mediator between God and men – The Christian faith, and as far as I know none other,  believes that the “one” (exclusive) mediator is Jesus Christ.  Why must Christians (despite what the polls might say) believe this.  Because Jesus said it Himself.  “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.‘” (John 14:6, NIV 1984).  He was either telling the truth, lying or deranged.  If He was not telling the truth, He cannot be a path to God.  But His resurrection testifies that He was telling the truth.

One true faith – Is the Christian faith the one true (exclusive) religion?  If you believe the Gospels, then yes it is.  “[Jesus] fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.‘” (Matthew 26:39, NIV 1984).  If Jesus was indeed the “only begotten Son of God,” then you would have to believe that if there was another way (another path – one or many), God would not have allowed His only Son to be crucified.  But Jesus was crucified.  There was, and is, no other way or path.

My Advice – Only we can choose what to believe.  But what we choose to believe cannot change the truth.  The stakes are high, so we must consider carefully what the truth is.  One cannot blame Christians for asserting that Jesus is the only path to God. because Jesus claimed it Himself. And God ratified it by allowing His death and raising Him from the dead.  In this sense, yes, Christianity is exclusive – it is the only path to God.   But in another sense, Christianity is all-inclusive. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12, NIV 1984).  It is a path that is open to all.  The choice is ours.  Only we can make sure we “earn” our wings by believing and receiving.

 

 

 

 

In Memory Of Dad

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In Memory Of Dad

This is a re-post from September 15, 2017, the one year anniversary of my dad’s death.  Today, he would have celebrated his 87th birthday.

Proverbs 23:22Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. (NIV 1984)

My Musing – Each weekday, I’ve been focusing on some devotions and advice that I gave my son Joel upon his college graduation.  Today I am going to switch it up a bit, as today is the first anniversary of my Dad’s death.  Today, my devotional musing goes out in memory of my Dad.

Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, the greatest impact on my spiritual development has been my Dad and Mom.  To these I owe whatever spiritual legacy I have.

Over the past year, I often found myself thinking, “What would Dad have thought about it?”  Today, one year after his passing, I find myself thinking, “I wish I could talk it over with Dad one more time.”

Dad and Me

Below is a video that my brothers and I collaborated on and that my son Joel produced.  It is a tribute to my Dad’s life.  If you watch until the very end you’ll hear a recording of my Dad saying, “I love you guys very, very much.”  Well Dad, we all miss you very, very much!

 My Advice – Joel, as you read from “A Father’s Devotions,” remember the example of your Grandfather.

A Celebration Of The Seasons

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1,2 (NIV)

Not exactly numbered among the traditional texts that have become so familiar to us in our celebrations of Christmas over the years. Yet over the years Christmas traditions have slowly eroded, the victims of commercialism, cynicism and political correctness. Not that the Christmas story has lost its relevance or is no longer significant. Or that its meaning is no longer needed or has gone out of style. On the contrary, the need has never been greater or more urgent.

But unless Continue reading “A Celebration Of The Seasons”

Never Forget

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

My Musing – Today marks the second anniversary of my dad’s passing, a constant in my life for 61 years, and who (along with my mother) was largely responsible for molding my beliefs and character, at least the positive ones.  Today, I simply refer you to my September 15, 2017 and February 7, 2018 musings.

My Advice – Never forget.

Happy Father’s Day

Proverbs 4:1 -5:1 – Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.”

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot sleep till they do evil; they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.  My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. (NIV 1984)

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My Musings – Like Steve Young, my dad taught my brothers and me responsibility, accountability and the importance of hard work, among many other things.  I’ve tried to do the same for my son Joel.  I think it took, as I am proud of the man he’s become.  I never really had the opportunity to do this with Joshua, although He knew he was loved (just look at his happy face!).  While I say “I,” it is really we, for dads usually do not do it on their own.

I don’t know if Joel ever thought I was ignorant or found it hard to be around his old man, I don’t think so.  I know I never felt this way about my dad, and I’d love to still have him and Josh around.

I think the lesson here is to always appreciate them, cherish the time that you do have with them, and make memories.  It is over way too soon. While it is important to have a strong work ethic,  don’t spend all your time working and rushing around.  When it is over, memories will not be all that you have.  If you are or were lucky blessed enough to have a dad like mine, He will live on not only in your memories, but in your character.  And if you are or were lucky blessed enough to have sons like mine, do your best to pass along the character that you received, if not from your earthly father, then from your Heavenly Father.

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Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest (Proverbs 6:6-8, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Be a good father, be a good son or daughter.  Learn from each other.  Cherish your time together.  Do not let your job or profession define who you are to such an extent that you spend your life working and rushing around.  Consider your ways and be wise.  Your job  is there for you to make a living (and hopefully a difference), not to make it your life.

Someone Else’s Musings

At 4 years old: My Daddy can do anything.
At 7 years old: My Dad knows a lot, a whole lot.
At 8 years old: My Father doesn’t quite know everything.
At 12 years old: Oh well, naturally Father doesn’t know it all.
At 14 years old: Father? Hopelessly old fashioned.
At 21 years old: Whoa, is that man out of date. What did you expect?
At 25 years old: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
At 30 years old: It’s amazing how wise he got in the last few years.
At 35 years old: We need to find out what Dad thinks about it.
At 50 years old: What would Dad have thought about it?
At 60 years old: My Dad knew everything.
At 65 years old: I wish I could talk it over with Dad one more time.

-Author Unknown

 

 

Once Upon A Valentine

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Genesis 2:24For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  (NIV 1978)

My Musing – It’s hard to believe that this picture was taken 44 years ago as we were preparing to go to our church’s Valentines day sweetheart banquet.  We had only been dating a few months, but were on our way to falling in love.  Nearly two years later we were married and began quite a journey together that included two wonderful boys.  Today, she remains my sweetheart and is just as beautiful to me as she was in this picture.  God has blessed in so many ways.

An Ordinary Unschooled Man?

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Acts 4:13When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (NIV 1984)

My Musing – As you might recall, I wrote “A Dad’s Devotions” for my son Joel when he graduated from college.  In the forward I wrote: “My fear: that you will find that I am better at giving advice than I have been at following it. Forgive me. Perfect love drives out fear.”   I might have added as well, “or of living it.”  Today, in this “special edition” of “A Dad’s Devotions” I turn my attention to my dad (who would have turned  86 today), who did live it.

Like Peter and John in the verse above, my dad could be described as an ordinary unschooled man.  But while he may have seemed ordinary Continue reading “An Ordinary Unschooled Man?”