The Conclusion of the Matter

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My Musings – Fear God? “The ‘fear of the Lord‘ is that attitude of reverence and awe that His people show to Him because they love Him and respect His power and His greatness.” (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Satisfied (p. 135). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books).

Keep His commandments?  Not out of the fear, as we understand fear.  But, as explained above, out of reverence, awe, and respect.  Why wouldn’t we?  Think of it this way.  When we were little children, we obeyed our parents out of the fear we understand.  Fear of the consequences if we did not.  As we grew older and became adults we continued to do the things we were told when we were young, because we revere and respect them, and want to please them. We want to show our gratitude.

The duty of man?  Not because it is compulsory, but because we are obliged (do as someone asks or desires in order to help or please them).

My Advice – Do your “duty.”

What Are You Pursuing?

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My Musings – We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

God gave us life and liberty (freedom to make our own choices).  The pursuit of happiness is a bit more problematic.  Man has a tendency to find (or think he can find) happiness in all the wrong places and with all the wrong things.  More often than not, these rob us of the very thing we are pursuing.  We would be better off pursuing joy (which is not dependent upon things or circumstances) rather than happiness (which usually is dependent upon things or circumstances).

Better yet, as the above verse states, we should pursue righteousness and love, which results in life, prosperity and honor.  We need to remember, however, that an abundant life is more about quality than quantity, lasting prosperity has little to do with an abundance of “things” (which moths and rust can destroy) and honor has more to do with our character than it does with how much fame an adulation we can achieve.  And how ironic it is, that when we get it backwards (we pursue long life, prosperity in things and honor absent humility), righteousness and love (and happiness) often eludes us.

My Advice – Let’s make sure what we pursue is not only worth the chase, but is also worth catching.

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming the World

1 John 5:1-5Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.(NIV 1984)

My Musings – In life situations, sometimes having made the trip is more rewarding and satisfying than arriving at the destination.  But when you make the trip with Christ, arriving at the destination will be the ultimate in reward and satisfaction.

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles one has overcome while trying to succeed. (Booker T. Washington)

My Advice – Don’t let obstacles stop you. They may slow you down as you learn how to overcome them, but do not let them overcome you.  Overcome them.  But do not just overcome the obstacles, overcome the world.   “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Education Is Not Wisdom

Education – To provide schooling by formal instruction or supervised practice.

Hebrews 5:11-6:1We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.  Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.  (NIV 1984)

My Musings – The world is full of educated fools, who have been taught but failed to learn.  Who took in the teaching, but could not use (apply) it.

My Advice – You have one of the finest educations that money could buy. But money did not buy it all. You earned it with a lot of hard work and dedication – and we are proud of you for that. Now dedicate yourself to not only make a living, but to make a life for Christ.

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.

When We Think We’ve Arrived

2 Peter 1:5Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, Godliness; and to Godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you have these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being unproductive. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – When we move from one quality on the list to another, we are not done with the previous quality. We must work to improve each one.

My Advice – Never think that you have arrived in your Christian life. There are always new Christ-like qualities to pursue and already “attained” Christ-like qualities to improve.