Category Archives: Values

A New Look at Our Prayers

“What we usually pray to God is not that His will be done, but that He approve ours.”

— Helga Bergold Gross
Can we look at this carefully? Is that how we pray? Unfortunately, I’ve been too often guilty of asking God to approve my plans before I sat down and asked Him about His.
We share prayer requests. We ask for specific causes – healing, finances, relationships, employment. But did we ask God if that healing is our temporal idea of healing or His complete healing of our loved one in heaven?
We ask for finances, but are we in this financial place because here we have people to encourage and edify? Are we in this difficult relationship to be a means of bringing someone to God? Do we work where we work because our testimony is needed by our coworkers or our clients?
Let us resolve to find a quiet place, a holy space of time and silence in which to read His love letters to us and listen for His voice.

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Filed under Ambition, Faith, Prayer, Values

A Simple Suggestion

This political season has shown our country and our politics in the worst possible light. The debates have not been helpful on many levels.  So I have this modest proposal for the third debate.

No one including the moderator is allowed to talk about personalities or personal behavior.

Questions will relate strictly to national defense, immigration, homeland security, welfare, the economy, social security, health care, and similar issues.

Answers from the candidates will NOT contain the word “I”, “he”, “she”, or individual names. They must, instead, be framed as “our policy will be…” or “the plan is to…”, etc.

Interruptions will not be allowed and time limits will be strictly observed. This can be enforced by turning off the offending microphone.

I have attempted to send this suggestion to the Presidential Debate Commission and both major party candidates. However, finding contact information proved problematic.

Perhaps if the general populace rose up and demanded better accountability from the commission and the candidates, we could get on with the business of selecting a president and dispense with the useless noise.

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The Potency of Words

“The words ‘I am…’ are potent words.
Be careful what you hitch them to.
The thing you’re claiming has a way
Of reaching back and claiming you.”

— A. L. Kitselman

We forget the power of the spoken word. But the spoken word has a history. For the Christian, that history begins in Genesis .
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. ~ Genesis 1:3
He waved no magic wand. He didn’t pick up lightening in His hands. He opened His mouth and spoke the creative words.
On the other hand, we seem to have an epidemic of bullying in our society these days. And most of that bullying is done with the spoken word. Those words hurt the hearts and self esteem of the person being bullied. They can be hurt to the point of wanting to die. Or they can carry those words like a festering wound, crippling them for the remainder of their natural lives.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. ~ Ephesians  6:12
There is more to this world than the physical that we can see and touch. There is a spiritual dimension as well. We have a sworn enemy in that spiritual dimension. This enemy has great power only because we let him. We give him permission with our words.
We don’t intend to give him permission, but we speak aloud something we fear. And lo and behold, that fear comes upon us.
For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me,
And what I dreaded has happened to me.  ~ Job 3:25
That is because the enemy can hear what we say and use it against us. Read the entire book of Job. We frequently reference the patience of Job, but we seldom look at the root of his problems. He had done nothing to have all these negative things happen to him. He was in the middle of God’s will, doing all the right things. The enemy made Job the object of a bet. He bet God that he could get Job to deny God in the middle of adversity.
Then the enemy found the weak spot in Job’s life and hit him there.  Pay special attention to “For Job said”.
And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly. ~ Job 1:4-5
The spoken word has power.  Sometimes what we say becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you say “I’m clumsy” often enough, you will begin to believe it and excuse any clumsy incident as just inevitable. Like wise, if you say “I’m just too dumb” you will not try to learn.
Many of us remember the story of The Little Engine That Could. “I think I can; I think I can; I think I can…
Scour the scriptures for the truth God says of you, and repeat those truths aloud. The enemy cannot hear your thoughts, but he does hear what you say. Don’t give him a stronghold to make your life miserable.  If A. L. Kitselman’s quote is true, use it to your advantage. Speak only those things that are profitable.

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Quotes and Cryptograms

As a night owl, I find it difficult to get my mental gears moving smoothly in the morning.  So I exercise my brain with various puzzles and such to get those gears oiled and moving.  One of the sites I use is http://www.cryptograms.org .

When this quote from Aristotle cropped up, it made me think bout the best friend we have in this world or any other.

“The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend.”  — Aristotle

Think about it. Who is your best friend – your very best friend?

Qualifications for the job of Best Friend are quite stringent.

  • Best Friend must have your best interest at heart at all times, regardless of the cost to the friend.
  • BF must be on call at all hours of the night and day, ready to help in any crises, major or minor.
  • BF must enjoy what you enjoy, laugh when you laugh, weep when you weep.
  • BF must be able to advise you correctly when you ask for advice.
  • BF must have all wisdom – and all discretion to keep your needs private.

There is only one person I know of that fits this description. And that is the person Jesus sent to be with us in His physical absence, the Holy Spirit.

Paraclete:

You who draw near,
You who walk beside,
Come to comfort,
Come to strengthen,
Come to shine the Light of the
Word on the Darkness of my heart.
Help me to align with you, Oh, Holy Spirit.
Help me to bring my thoughts
Captive to the will of Christ,
Captive to the Word of God,
Captive to obedience,
Instantaneous and unquestioning,
To Your promptings.
Help me to study to show my self approved,
Unashamed to sit in the Council of your saints.
Help me to see the will of the Father in everyday situations.
Help me to respond in love to the Lord.
Help me to respond with Love to all His hurting creation.
Keep me dead-on, sighted with tunnel vision,
Single-minded on the goal of
Total obedience as a channel of His love.
Amen.

©1979 – Judith Robl

 

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Political Season

Because political discussion tends to generate passionate emotions, I try to stay away from those topics on social media. Sometimes, however, something needs to be said. The following is not directed at any person or party in particular, but toward the process in general.

Is anyone else weary of the political season now in progress?  The name calling, the insults, the crude language, the jockeying for position regardless of the consequences all remind me of a school yard brawl. None of which makes me optimistic for the future of our nation.

The media hasn’t helped the situation. Reporters strive to ask “pertinent” questions which are actually impertinent and designed to generate more heat than light.

The public laps up the sound bites, thinking with their emotions and reflexes, not considering the ramifications of all the promises. At this point, it’s difficult to ascertain the truth.

Without a large dose of discernment, the public will go to the polls, salivating like Pavlov’s dogs, hoping that their choice will be able to deliver on the impossible promises that have been offered.

And the situation in this nation will continue to spiral downward.

We need an individual of real character, with an accurate moral compass, who has the heart of a servant rather than the arrogance of privilege to fill the oval office. I’m still waiting for that person to appear.

God help us.

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Together?

My friend, Shirley Corder, posted this on Facebook.

“Words of wisdom for a new year. Let’s work together this year to make it a success. Where do we start?”

Where to start is an interesting question.  How do we manage to work together with diverse people, some of whom we may not like at all?

After all, there is the co-worker who continually drums his/her fingers on the desk while talking with you. You can’t hear what he/she is saying for the throbbing. And when you’re finished with the conversation, you have developed a screaming headache.

Then there is the naysayer, the person who always throws cold water on any suggestion you might make.

And we have the whiner, the person who knows someone who tried this and had terrible results.

Moreover there is the constant talker, the one who never hears anything anyone else says.

Enough already!

There is a way to overcome these obstacles, but we have to go back to the beginning.  “In the beginning, God…”  God is our answer, not in some distant esoteric way, but in a very tangible way. The trick is to see what God sees in that person.

God designed each of us with a purpose in mind. He has a plan for your life and mine. His plans for my life have not yet been fulfilled, and I’m willing to bet that your life is in a similar state of incompleteness. But God sees us through the lens of His Son and His plans for us. He doesn’t consider our faults and shortcomings as part of His finished product.

Now, all we need do is ask Him to let us see others as He sees them. He sees them, as well as us, through the eyes of a loving father. Despite our infidelities to His purpose, He loves us still. He loves them as well.

God doesn’t shine a floodlight on our faults and foibles. He illuminates them one by one so that we can amend them.  There is an old saying “Life is hard by the yard. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch.” So He lets us take one step at a time toward becoming who He intended us to be. We need to extend that same patience and grace to others.

If we can learn to see others as God sees them, I believe we will be able to work together successfully. At least it’s a start.

Do you agree? or not?

 

 

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Filed under Excellence, Society, Values, Work

Change and Dilemma

I keep wondering who is in charge of the changes in our culture. So many things that used to denote one thing are now used to define something entirely different.

For example, my business card for Reflected Light Ministries features a rainbow.  As a child I was taught that the rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise to Noah never to destroy the entire world with flood again. (You will see the irony when you learn that I grew up in a rural Kansas community that billed itself as The Flood Capital.)

God’s light reflecting on suspended raindrops creates the rainbow.  I would hope people would see only that in the rainbow on my card.

However, the rainbow of diversity and the LGBT community has usurped that common understanding of the rainbow.  Some of my friends have overlaid their Facebook profile pictures with the six color bands of red, orange, yellow, blue, green and violet.  They did so in joyous response to the supreme court ruling that same-sex marriage must be recognized in all states. That is their prerogative.

That decision grieved my spirit. I fear that God really meant what he said in some of the scriptures which prohibit homosexuality. Take for example First Corinthians Chapter 6, Verses 9 and 10:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Please also notice that it does not stop with homosexuality. It includes promiscuity and adultery, as well as those who put other things ahead of God, those who steal, those who are envious, those who drink to excess, those who speak harshly of others, and those who extort money. A whole bunch of us can fall into those categories.  I am extremely grateful that God is forgiving and merciful.

But you will notice that none of those other activities have  been approved by the laws of the land. Therein lies the difference and the source of my dismay.

That does not mean, however, that I cannot like and respect individuals who have made that choice. I can name several people for whom I have both respect and affection who live that way.  I’m not here to judge.

So what do I do? I do not want my rainbow confused with theirs. Mine does not carry a connotation of approval of these alternate lifestyles.  My belief system will not allow me to approve them.

But back to the card. Do I change my design because of the double meaning of the rainbow?

Let me know in the comments, please.

Thanks for listening to my dilemma.

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