Monthly Archives: September 2016

Career – life . differs from life purpose

II Corinthians 5:4-5, in a powerful context, declares that God made us to find eternal life.  He even gave the Holy Spirit as the down payment on that life.  He of course guaranteed that life through Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Therefore…whatever our career goal is, our life purpose is singular.  A curator of the San Diego Natural History Museum searches for rare plant species in the desolate wastes of the Baja Peninsula.  U-T, 9/19/16.  A woman died at 93 years after a long career creating and writing television soap operas.  She began with scripts in the 1950’s and re-invented the genre in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Her “One Life to Live” ran for 43 years.  It reflected the nation’s racial change.  U-T, 9/29/16.  A man had a passion for providing safe environments for people with Dementia.  A real estate developer by trade, he saw the inadequacies of patient care in the 1970’s.  That led him to develop Health Care Group which specialized in caring for those with memory loss.  U-T, 9/29/16

All of these people, and billions more like them, have careers of their choice.  Many made good livelihoods while pursuing their career choice.  But none of them, not a one of them, found their life purpose in their career.  Even being a Minister of the Gospel is only a career-choice, not a life-purpose.  Get this straight and don’t forget it:  every person on earth has only one life purpose, and that is to find eternal life in Jesus Christ the Lord.

If we fail in our career choice, but succeed in our life purpose, all is GAIN.  If we succeed in our career choice, but fail in our life purpose, all is LOST.  Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.  Commit your life to his will.  Then, when life is over, and your career choice vanishes, your life purpose guarantees your entrance into the Father’s Mansions.

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Role – each has a . to play

A Family Circus cartoon has the mother carrying the baby in one arm and maybe a load of towels in the other.  One of the kids sits at the table and volunteers that Mommy was so good with kids she would have made a good babysitter.  San Diego U-T, 9/26/16

Motherhood today may not be considered the best a woman could be—but that’s the fault of our degraded culture, not the loss of motherhood’s importance.  Some women should never have kids.  Then some, like my wife Judy, should have had more than three.  Once when a friend brought a TV to our house, his two little ones came into the house.  I greeted them, but they rushed past me into the kitchen.  I looked there and Judy had already swept them into her arms.  Neither one of us had seen the kids before!

Everyone has a role to fill.  Of the 12 apostles of Jesus, only three got any significant notice.  The rest served anonymously or with little notice.  Before the Philippines fell to the Japanese in Spring, 1942, men sat in foxholes ready to contest the invaders.  A sergeant would come by and order them to hold their positions.  When asked “for how long,” he said, “never mind.”  That meant the men were expendable.  They would stay in line until overrun, captured or killed.  When the time came to evacuate key personnel in the PT boat squadrons to Australia, only 4 or 5 men were considered so essential they got to go.  The rest were expendable.  They Were Expendable, 200-203.

Where the 9 apostles had every qualification to serve in high places, the men left behind in the P.I. lacked experience in the technology demanded in the new PT squadrons to be developed.

What then are we going to say if God calls us to labor unknown and unrewarded?  The same thing we’ll say if called to be an essential servant:  we’ll do our best.  The importance of discipleship is the attention given a task, not the immensity of the task.  Even that cup of cold water Jesus mentioned has value to him if offered as our best.  Consider whatever role we have as the one we can best discharge and discharge it with our best effort.

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Self-denial – alone makes us a friend of God

Oswald Chambers offered particularly insightful interpretations of scripture.  His Complete Works in one volume is worth reading.  Except for a few occasions, he’s right on.  Perhaps to make a point, one of those rare occasions occurred.  He said that God didn’t punish the “human race for one man’s sin.”

God obviously DID, as cemeteries world-wide prove.  Indeed, Genesis 3:14-24 leaves no doubt that Adam’s sin inflicted universal, history-long death and tragedies on all mortals.  Paul summarized that in Romans 5:12.  To say less minimizes the impact of one’s sin in another’s life.  David’s sin, for example, had long-lasting, nationwide results.  Also, while we are born with Adam’s self-will, we are not born in sin.  That Calvinist-Augustinian error results in the baptism of innocent babies.  Works, 830

Chambers did correctly conclude that the SELF Adam advanced in Eden became the personal will in each life at birth that begets sin at the age of accountability.  The disposition to assert self against God remains the unresolved issue between us.

We should never get into the ring with God to resolve it with blows.  We have neither the pounds nor the reach to succeed.  We should, as Jesus preached in an-in-your-face warning, practice self-denial vis á vis God.  The Master’s concept of a cross in self-denial emphasizes a visible and dramatic impact on disciples.  In that day, carrying a cross was a full-time effort at someone else’s direction.  The person imposing it determined where it was carried, for how long and to what purpose.  Anyone under a cross, then, has lost control of his life.  His decisions are made by others and he can only comply or collapse under the burden.

No Christian carrying the Master’s cross of self-denial need faint under it.  The Holy Spirit will never weigh us down to collapse.  However, self-denial is, and can never be nothing but:  the acknowledgement that God in Christ makes and enforces all the rules of faith and behavior; that Genesis to Revelation reveals God’s revealed word, with the New Testament superior and final; that seeking Christ’s-likeness is the purpose of discipleship; that in our daily role as Christ-like followers we witness to others.  While self-denial is nothing BUT these things, et al equally-important, it is nothing LESS than the above.  Are we carrying Christ’s cross of self-denial?

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Christ – Second Coming definitive and universal

After coursing, sometimes violently, through the heartland of America, the mighty Mississippi enters the Gulf of Mexico quietly through passes in the wetlands.  Almost as if the mighty Flood has worn itself out on its long sojourn.  Interestingly, before white men began building dams on the river and its tributaries, the Mississippi so furiously charged into the Gulf its current carried fresh water far enough offshore that explorers could dip up fresh water from the Gulf.

The Indian Wars in America ended with a clash between Army troopers and a small band of largely unarmed Indians at Wounded Knee, As Alexander Adams wrote in Sunlight and Storm, fighting on the Great Plains between Indians and Caucasians whimpered to an end, not in a colossal face-to-face clash between massive armies.  Sunlight and Storm, 447.

No great clash of arms sundered Israel from Saul’s to David’s family.  Rather a gradual attrition reduced Abner’s forces and a corresponding increase of David’s strength.

Christ’s Return to earth will be different.  Recognized now as its Creator only by believers, then all will see him as its Sovereign.  Coming before to be rejected, he comes again to accept only those obedient to him.

Coming so quietly in Bethlehem, only lowly shepherds heard his angelic choir; at his Return trumpet blasts and the Lord’s own SHOUT will be ear-splitting roars and planet-shattering convulsions.  If we’re Christians, and alive at the time, we’ll be dancing and leaping and shouting Hallelujah!  If we’re not, and alive at the time, we’ll be terrified and vainly seeking some hole in th rocks or caves to hide from the Face of The One who sits on the Throne and from the Lamb.

However comfortable we are in the present system, how comfortable we shall be in the CHANGE depends on our present response to Jesus Christ.  Accept him.  Follow him.  Live for him.  Stand with him.  Then in that DAY you’ll be GLAD forever.  Otherwise you’ll never be GLAD again.

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Headlines – not always what they seem

September 18, 2016.  The San Diego U-T had many headlines and sub-headlines.  One in the Sports section caught my attention for its apparent inconsistency.  It read, “Heavy Hearts After Padres Pummeled.”


Why would the latest loss be particularly burdensome to a last place team?  Losing is as natural to the Padres as frustration to the Chargers.  The Padres are always trading producing players for prospects.  The worst year a Padre player can have is to hit .300 or win 15 games.  He’s sure to be on the trading block.  You get the idea of inconsistency?  It wasn’t the first time I read a headline expecting one idea only to read another.

Then I read the story behind the U-T headline, and saw the reason for those bold, black letters.  It wasn’t a baseball loss that burdened Padres’ hearts.  It was a personal loss of a Padres’ player, whose beloved 31 year-old wife died from cancer complications.

Reality suddenly supervened.  Whatever we lose in games, or profits, or friendships, no loss approaches the sorrow of losing to death someone whose very being defines us.  Whose life enriches us.  Whose relationship with us deepens our appreciation of them.  That loss diminishes all others by impacting us with grief beyond all expression.

When we read the headline at the head of a scripture passage—such as John 16:17-33, “The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn To Joy” we can be sure the content of the passage will reveal JOY.  God’s Word reveals God’s Mind, Will, Love, Judgment, Forgiveness, Wrath.  Whatever it has to say won’t ever advertise one message but deliver another.  Read the Bible.  Accept its message.  Base your life on its truth.  For the Bible will never have a headline saying it’s TRUE, but a story proving it FALSE.

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Heaven – only those qualified enter

The San Diego KAABOO offers a 3 day festival of food, music, comedy and alcohol—oh yes, don’t forget the booze; Americans have convinced themselves they function better after drinking spirits.  What they too often get is negative behavior that is blatantly spirituous, not spiritual.

That happened in September, 2016.  Naturally, it occurred around 11 PM, after the crowd had become soused with suds.  Naturally, it occurred when patrons wanted to enter a venue that had already reached capacity.  Naturally, they insisted on entering, whatever the rules were about overcrowding.  Naturally, behavior turned ugly and riotous.  And, naturally, sheriff deputies arrived, shot pepper spray, arrested ringleaders and, from a helicopter, ordered the crowd to disperse.  San Diego U-T, 9/19/16

It all resulted in arrests of a few, fear in a number of people, criticism of the security arrangements and the usual political promise to never let it happen again.

Which brings us to Heaven and what will happen when people want to enter but CAN’T and WON’T.  Not because Heaven is overflowing with people, though Jesus said God’s House will be full, but because they don’t QUALIFY to enter.  They haven’t paid the price of admission—which is nothing more or less than submission to Jesus Christ’s Saviorhood and Lordship.

A word of warning to those not qualified:  no pushing and shoving, demanding entrance or declaring you’ll get in OR ELSE, will matter.

When, on Christ’s order, angels welcome us, we enter.  When, at his direction they reject us, we vanish.  We don’t hang around in the shadows awaiting a chance to skip by a harried angel.  At the end of the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis differentiated it as the SMILE Jesus gives welcoming and FROWN he expresses rejecting in wrath.  However it happens, no one storms the gates to enter the Holy City.  Count on it.  Prepare to be welcomed by confessing Jesus Christ and being baptized.  Prepare to be cast into outer darkness without it.

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Minds – healthy and other kinds

Herbert Philbrick served as undercover agent of the F.B.I. in post-WWII America.  Wanting to protect his mind from the constant barrage of Communist dogma—its negativism, mistrust, hatred—he regularly attended church services.  His communist supervisors gladly backed his habit.  They needed the appearance of Philbrick being a regular American while serving Stalin.  He needed the substance healthy Christian minds provided him while he seemed to be a dedicated Communist.

Which reminds me that Edward Albee died this past week.  He’s the playwright who penned the immoral sewage known as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”  Tennessee Williams, dyed in the same immorality characterizing Albee, wrote such gutter-level plays as “Street Car Named Desire.”

Both wrote to exorcize personal demons.  Both wrote to justify their rejection of God.  Both wrote dark tales of the unconverted’s struggles with life.  Williams revealed his refusal to accept Christ and his inability to free himself from Christ’s Presence.  Albee considered God and Christ of so little value they could only be used in profanity. San Diego U-T, 9/17/16

Anyone reading and believing the two playwrights never felt spiritually uplifted; never loved people more; never felt compassion for unfortunate people.  And, while expert in describing life without God in glaring terms, never had the ability or desire to make life better.

How drastically upgrading the life of Jesus Christ proved while he lived among us; and how continually upgraded those are who read his word.  Albee had no use for marriage and religious faith, shown in his barbed wit and vulgarity.  Williams scorned traditional mores in favor of his tormented lifestyle.  Jesus Christ came as God in the Flesh to love humanity and gave his life to forgive sinners.  His uplifting life, teachings, miracles, sacrifice and resurrection gave HOPE to billions.  What did Albee or Williams leave anyone but cynicism, despair, godlessness, fear and rancor?

The works of the playwrights appeal only to those bereft of Jesus Christ’s grace—and to scribblers only as examples of what NO ONE sets out to be when he’s born.  But…to be like Jesus Christ!  Everyone’s hope, whether we accept or reject him.  To have his healthy mind and ideas.  To care for others as he did.  To be as personable and social as he was, at peace with God as God and welcoming all mortals who came for help.

The impact of the person on himself is enough evidence to ignore the Albee’s and Williams’s.  The impact they had on others is double the reason they should be ignored by anyone seeking Positive examples and Deep hope.

But to see the impact Jesus had within himself:  the praying rabbi; the Loving-God rabbi; the compassionate teacher of mortals-rabbi; the self-sacrificing rabbi-Savior.  All distinguish him as the one teacher in history whose lessons are worth learning and living by, whose example is worth emulating, whose very resurrected presence is now so delightful, whose glorified presence is so enchanting for life beyond the grave after history is finalized.  Yours for a life enriched now by Jesus and glorified in the world to come.

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Authority – a way to increase respect for

Pardon my intrusion in this blog.  It has become a popular pastime among pro athletes, particularly black ones, to sit or kneel while the National Anthem is played or sung.  This is their way to express the black mantra “Black Lives Count/Matter.”  As if all human lives don’t.  As if black suspects share no responsibility in the confrontations that occur between them and the police.

Those protests put the athletes in the spotlight, keep their names in the sports pages, give them a sense of importance they don’t have—and cost them nothing!  They could do much more for the blacks if:  instead of criticizing the police, who have to work in the ghettoes the welfare system has begotten, those multi-million dollar athletes left their multi-million dollar hilltop homes and moved to the ghettoes in an endeavor to upgrade them.  More than a few previously degraded areas have become desirable by well-adjusted, income-producing married couples moving into them.

And if…instead of impregnating girlfriends, and cohabiting, those athletes married them so their progeny can have the benefit of a father and mother in a family circle.  That would provide a sense of responsibility in young black males the welfare system has destroyed.  It would demand they accept the responsibility of one wife instead of continuing their practice of impregnating a girl, then moving to their next sexual conquest, leaving to welfare the care of the unborn.  How much better that they would accept the responsibility of providing for the child.

It would also provide a male authority figure in black homes now yielded to mothers and grandmothers.  While rare females wield the clout to keep male children in line, paternal authority does it naturally.  Indeed, a man has to lose his authority while a woman has to struggle to gain it.

That lack of respect of authority in black homes without male leadership accounts for much of anti-authority resistance so common in blacks suspected of criminal activity.  Any child maturing in an atmosphere of self-directed pleasure finds resisting authority easy.  Proper discipline in early years by male authority makes resisting other authority figures much harder.

One factor has been overlooked in the resistance to authority.  When policemen, white or black, say stop, the suspect instead runs.  When cops say surrender, the suspect fights.  That’s where early training tells.  If parents, especially fathers, establish authority that means what it says, punishment following if not obeyed, most of the confrontations between police and suspects will vanish.  While it’s human nature to flee when caught wrongdoing, Adam and Eve establishing the model, and all races react according to their example, the point remains.

If black athletes want to do more for their communities than publicize themselves, then; let them become models of behavior for their communities.  In addition to the ways suggested above, consider also that black athletes need to develop their brains instead of their brawn; their ability to think, not leap and run; the ability to speak clear English, not ghetto patter.  In other words, let them make themselves targets of accountability, not cops of authority.

While they’re at it, let black preachers abhor the welfare system on which they have become dependent and ask black athletes to pool some of their millions to begin businesses that train and hire blacks in their own communities.  And let their preaching employ the motto one of their own favorites spoke in his inaugural:  “Don’t ask what your country can do for you; ask instead what you can do for your country.”

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Lie – when a lie isn’t really a .

It’s when A.J. Preller, San Diego Padres General Manager, engineers a trade that deals an injured player as a healthy one.  When news broke that Major League Baseball had suspended Preller without pay for 30 days—30 whole days!—the G.M and Padres management went into damage control.  While Preller was admittedly guilty of “inexcusable” falsehood, the Organzation said, he didn’t mean to “mislead” other clubs.

 Tell that to G.M.’s of other clubs!

 Preller’s response was equally unbelievable.  He said the experience had been “a learning process” for him.  Wait a minute.  If basic honesty requires a learning curve in a 30-something man, especially in a position of trust, he shouldn’t be in that position!  San Diego U-T, 9/16/16

 But go deeper into this wicked situation.  It’s more of the same, “I’m not to blame,” “You’re not to blame,” “No one’s to blame,” non-ethics saturating American culture.  The rule of thumb today in personal relationships, work-place responsibility and spiritual accountability is:  get away with as much as you can as long as you can.  If you’re accused, indicted or suspended for wrongdoing, plead that “you didn’t mean to harm anyone” and “it’s a learning experience” for you.

 Both statements are inexcusably self-serving justifications, however much its the mood of the moment.  But remember this:  when bad behavior isn’t really wrong, has no intention to harm others, or brings no accountablity to the wrong doer, we are baby steps from “every behavior is equally acceptable; and no one can criticize anyone!”  Since culture is already in that stage, the next step is Judgment.

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Christ – why don’t people come to him?

A chiropractic doctor periodically runs a full-page ad in the San Diego Union-Tribune.  The ad is always the same, and asks why people keep coming to this doctor when he admits he doesn’t cure anyone?  A chiropractor by education, interest and experience, he adjusts spines as a means to better health. U-T, 9/12/16

Every human faces questions relating to Jesus Christ.  Like, why don’t we come to him for help he never fails to give?  Or, for release from sin he never fails to offer?  Or, for oversight of historic events he never fails to exercise?  Or, for confidence in everyday life he never fails to provide?  Why would we consult anyone else when Jesus does it ALL?  Why look for another way through life when he IS the way?  Why seek another way to God when he IS the WAY?

If patients keep lining up for a chiropractor who offers only spine-adjustments, why wouldn’t every mortal consult Jesus Christ, God’s Eternal son, for daily spiritual health and everlasting hope and joy?

Just wondering….

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