Practicing Patience

Psalm 33:18   Look, the Lord takes notice of his loyal followers, those who wait for him to demonstrate his faithfulness

Patience–waiting for the Lord to demonstrate His faithfulness.

What a forgotten concept in our modern insta-quick McDonalds society, where it seems everyone is in a hurry to be first, or at least to get in front of me.

Patience means that I might not be able to have it now.

Patience means that I may have to wait in line.

Patience means that the person in front of me might not be in as a big a hurry as I am, and no amount of blowing the horn will quicken his pace.

Patience means the trial I face today may be simply God’s way of getting me to notice that He still rules the universe–and that includes my universe, of which I falsely believe I am the center.

Hebrews 10:36 ESV – For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

The provision of the promise only comes after the proving of patience.

Question: How long must I wait for the Lord to demonstrate His patience?
Answer: As long as it takes.

James 1:4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Practice patience today. Wait. Go slowly. Park in the first available spot rather than looking for a ‘better’ one. Walk more slowly and consciously. Let someone in ahead of you,  even if they have more in their cart. Smile at the person who has more than 20 items in the express lane. Don’t use the express lane, and smile at the cashier whom you call by name because you’ve taken the time to notice his/her name tag.

Tell us about your learning experiences with having patience worked into your life.

The New Morality of Food

This article was sent to me by a friend who receives the Daily Commentary from Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship.

Mindful Eating, Mindless Sex 
Our Inner Sense of Right and Wrong

March 24, 2009

Imagine inviting some new neighbors to a dinner party.  The first couple tells you they’d love to come. But, they warn, they think it’s immoral to eat animals, so please—vegetarian options only.

The second couple also wants to come, but—they’re almost embarrassed to mention it—they only eat locally grown food. No strawberries from Chili, or shrimp from Asia. Importing food from faraway countries damages the environment, they explain.

Couple number three also wants to attend—but, they ask, you aren’t serving genetically enhanced vegetables, are you, or meat produced by industrialized breeding practices?

At this point, you might be tempted to cancel the party and go out for a cheeseburger, followed up by a banana split—made with bananas from Ecuador. But you might wonder, as you bite into that greasy hunk of beef, just why it is that people have become so moralistic about food. Especially when so many are immoral in other areas—like their sex lives.

One person who has wondered about this is Mary Eberstadt, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. In her article “Is Food the New Sex?,” Eberstadt notes that food is cheap and plentiful in the West. The same can be said for sex. Technology has tamed many of the dangers associated with sex, like pregnancy and disease. Moreover, social and religious strictures have all but disappeared.

Which leads to an interesting question: What would happen, Eberstadt wondered, when, “for the first time in history . . . [people] are more or less free to have all the sex and food they want?”  Would they pursue both food and sex with equal ardor?

Oddly enough, they don’t. Instead, many engage in a sexual free-for-all—but put stringent moral strictures on anything to do with food. A modern young woman might think nothing of living with several different men, and having abortions when she gets pregnant. But she would not dream of eating anything from a factory farm. That would be immoral.

In effect, some people have reversed the “moral poles” of sex and eating, Eberstadt writes. They are engaging in “mindful eating and mindless sex.”

Why is this happening? As Eberstadt writes, “It is hard to avoid the conclusion that rules being drawn around food receive some force from the fact that people are uncomfortable with how far the sexual revolution has gone.”

“Not knowing what to do about it,” she says, “they turn for increasing consolation to mining morality out of what they eat.”

Or, as my former colleague Jim Tonkowich notes, “For all our relativistic talk” about encouraging people to make their own moral choices, “we cannot get away from an inner sense of right and wrong and the desire to codify [it].”

Jim is right. As the apostle Paul put it, God’s law is written on our hearts. We can deceive ourselves into believing it doesn’t exist, but when we do, we find our God-given sense of morality breaking out in other forms.  In this case, in food—though it would be better the other way around.

This is what we ought to lovingly share with our unsaved friends—maybe over dinner—people who may think nothing wrong with living together out of wedlock, but who wouldn’t dream of eating mandarin oranges from Spain. 

Happy Feet Meets Lazy Bones

WARNING!!! Do not watch if your stomach hurts!! The laughter will kill you!!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Thanks to Darla.

Friday vs. Monday:

Posted in videos. 3 Comments »

Difficulty With NOTHING

Jeremiah 32:17  ‘Oh, Lord God, you did indeed make heaven and earth by your mighty power and great strength. Nothing is too hard for you!

How often do I stumble over this concept that is repeated numerous times and ways in the Bible!!

And in our hymnology–

Nothing! Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Nothing is too difficult for Thee!

What part of ‘nothing’ don’t I understand? Why does my ‘something’ always seem outside the realm of His ‘nothing?’ Why do I constantly end up with the Lord saying to me, “O you of little faith?”

Will there ever come a time when I will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant?”

Monkeys & a Horse Explain the Bailout

Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each. The villagers, knowing there were many monkeys, went to the forest and started catching them.  The man bought thousands at $10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.

He then announced that he would buy monkeys at $20 each. This renewed the villagers efforts and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50 each! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would buy on his behalf.

The assistant told the villagers, “Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that my boss has already collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when my boss returns, you can sell them to him for $50.”

The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for 700 billion dollars.  They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys!

Now you may have a better understanding of how the WALL STREET BAILOUT PLAN WORKS! 

But, it doesn’t get much clearer than …
The Dead Horse

Young Chuck in Montana bought a horse from a farmer for $100.     The
farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day..

The next day the farmer drove up and said, “Sorry son, but I have some
bad news… the horse died.”

Chuck replied, “Well,
 then just give me my money back.”

The farmer said, “Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”

Chuck said, “Ok, then, just bring me the dead horse.”

The farmer asked, “What ya gonna do with him?”

Chuck said, “I’m going to raffle him off.”

The farmer said, “You can’t raffle off a dead horse!”

Chuck said, “Sure I can, Watch me. I just won’t tell anybody he’s
dead.”

A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, “What happened
with that dead horse?”

Chuck said, “I raffled him off.

I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898.”

The farmer said, “Didn’t anyone complain?”

Chuck said, “Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back..”

Chuck grew up and now works for the government.

He’s the one who figured out how this “bail-out” is going to work.

Modifying the HomePage of the BLB

Annie asked if there is a way to modify your personal homepage in the Blue Letter Bible. Her study of Hebrew makes her want to be able to search for words using Strong’s numbers as soon as she opens her BLB.

Sadly, modifications other than choosing which version you want to use are not possible.

However, there is a way to access the search tool more rapidly than through the numereous steps of a verse search, which we studied in previous lessons. (If you are new here, you can access these short and simple lessons by clicking on the category “Bible Study Methods” to the left of this post.)

  1. Bring up your homepage of the BLB in a new window. (so you can click back and forth between these instructions and the BLB)
  2. Enter a search criteria in the upper right-hand search box. (doesn’t matter at this point what you enter, as long as it is in the Bible.)
  3. Click on the blue arrow for the search.
  4. Click on the highlight address of any verse that comes up.
  5. Click on the “C” button next to the verse.
  6. Click on any highlighted Strong’s number in the middle column.
  7. At the extreme left of your browser address bar, click and hold the BLB emblem.
  8. Drag it to your links bar.

You now have quick access from your internet browser page directly to the search box which appears at the bottom of that information page.

If you do not know how to set up a links bar on your browser, simply add the search page to your ‘Favorites.’ This will require one extra step in accessing the search page, but is still faster than going from the homepage through all the search boxes.

To learn how to set up a links bar on your browser, go to http://www.webjunction.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=433332&name=DLFE-10525.doc by opening a new tab and then copy/paste this address into your web browser and click the ‘go’ arrow. This will request that you open an MSWord application. It is perfectly safe to do so.

I hope this helps all those who are beginning to use the BLB more and more as their electronic Bible.

What’s He doing up there?

…the Rev. Kendall Harmon, theologian for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, blames social mobility.

“Mobility means your ideas are more challenged and your family and childhood traditions have less influence, particularly if you are not strongly rooted in them. I see kids today who have no vocabulary of faith, and neither do many of their parents.”

Harmon recalls, “A couple came into my office once with a yellow pad of their teenage son’s questions. One of them was: ‘What is that guy doing hanging up there on the plus sign?’ “

This quote was taken from a disturbing article.

Before anyone is inclined to criticize the language as blasphemous, let’s consider how such a question could be asked. We too often come from our own little window on the world, and have little idea what is going on outside our purview.

I was with a group of local pastors last week, and one said he had read an article that claimed that evangelicalism as we know it will soon be gone. He gave the link to the article to which he referred, and I have followed it to the link given above.

“Mobility” is the sociologist’s catch-all factor for most of the ills of modern society. While it is certainly a factor contributing to the decline of traditional faith in our country, it is by no means the prime factor.

The middle paragraph from the quote above is most telling. Yes, our ideas get challenged as we become more mobile, more global; but that does not mean that our ideas or the basis of our ideas must change.

Christians have been slow to confront the reality of what is happening in the world around them. Just 30 years ago older adults were still saying that we should not send our children off to college, because “They will lose their faith.” They blamed the liberal influence of the agnostic or atheistic instructors. However, those instructors were not, and are not to blame.

I’ll say it again: liberal instructors and colleges are not at fault for the loss of faith of those who attend their institutions.

That is about like blaming the Chinese when someone loses a finger playing with a firecracker.

Consider and apply these verses of Scripture to the situation:

{Proverbs 24:10 ESV} – If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
{Jeremiah 12:5 ESV} – “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?

Notice in the opening quote above that the parents came to see the pastor with their son’s question. Apparently, they were not able to answer the question themselves. That says they had not been taught, and it is therefore obvious that their teenage son has not been taught.

This is not an isolated instance. Jay Leno takes pleasure in going onto the street and asking simple Bible questions to which most do not know the answer: What is the first book of the Bible? Who is the main character in the New Testament?

So, what is the problem? Where do we fix the blame?

I am probably myopic or biased or both, but I always end up placing the blame for such things squarely in the pulpit.

The blame is not with the family, for the family was at one time coming to our churches.

The blame is not with the schools, for the schools were at one time influenced by the families that sent their children to them.

The blame is not with society, for society was at one time comprised of the individuals who attended our churches.

No. The blame is in the pulpit, because we tried to be relevant. We watered down the gospel in an attempt to attract those who were not coming. We watered down the requirements of discipleship in an attempt to keep those whom we were losing.

I too often attend services where a Bible text is given and something is talked about that may or may not illustrate something in the verse.

Seldom do I hear preaching that expounds the Bible as the Word of God that is “alive and powerful and sharper than a sword…” I have to go online or to the radio to find that kind of preaching.

 I will pick on a modern mega-church leader as a prime example. Joel Osteen preaches to tens of thousands every time he stands on the platform. I’ve listened to parts of his speeches at various times. I have yet to catch him quoting a Bible verse any sooner than 12 minutes into his talk. The verse quoted is always a feel-good text to support his feel-good message to a group of people who need their collective ego massaged.

And I’ve heard the same drivel from preachers who regularly preach to less than a hundred souls.

Someone will say, “That’s what we have Sunday School for–to teach the Bible.” Again, we are not paying attention to what is going on. Historically, Sunday School has been attended by 50% of those who make up the church rosters.

Our look-good, feel-good-about-ourselves method of only proclaiming how many were baptized, or how many were saved, or how many were added to the church membership without addressing how many we have lost has come back to haunt us.

The world sees the situation. When will we also wake up?

For an article from a confessing Christian who believes we won’t wake up, click here. The writer has some very interesting observations.