Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category

I think I will start a weekly post that links to several insightful articles. After all I read quite a few each day, and would like to share them with you. Not just because they are good articles, but because this blog is in many ways about personal disclosure- so I certainly won’t go out of my way to hide my political interests. [BTW: As of now I am considered an unaffiliated voter since the state of N.C. no longer recognizes the Libertarian party].

Criminal Charges for Flushing the Koran

This would be ridiculous if it weren’t true. In a nation where it isn’t illegal to burn the flag, where one can submerge a cross in urine (and get a federal grant), apparently you can’t put a Koran in the toilet. Making matters worse, noted statist Bill O’Reilly approved of the criminal charges.

I presume Bill is supporting these charges in an effort to appear even handed, since at heart he would probably like to be able to prosecute people who submerge crosses in urine or paint the Virgin Mary using dung. But I ask, what about the freedom to offend? This kind of thing gets my blood boiling. I would take my bar (if I had a spare $3,000 and three months to study non-stop) just to take this case to court.

Stanislav Shmulevich, you have my complete support. While your actions may have been at the least tacky, at the worst they were offensive. And causing offense is NEVER illegal, it is at the core of protected speech.

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Pakistani Christians Warned to Convert, Munir Ahmad

“Christians in a Pakistani town beset by pro-Taliban militants sought government protection Wednesday, the eve of a deadline for them to convert to Islam or face violence.

About 500 Pakistani Christians in Charsadda, a town in the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, received letters earlier this month telling them to close their churches and convert by Thursday or be the target of “bomb explosions.”

Joel Rosenberg Blog

There are new reports this week that Iran may join a Central Asian military alliance with Russia. Syria has just moved up its schedule for a major military exercise. It was planned for the late summer and early fall. Now the Syrian war games will begin this month and run through July. This has intensified speculation among intelligence analysts that Syria could be preparing for a summer war.”

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“God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6: 7-9.

How often do we (to use a Covey phrase) begin with the end in mind? How much would our lives improve if we thought about the possible outcomes of our actions? Not just the big ones, but our daily attitude, perspective, and actions.

Too often we sow all kinds of harmful seeds without even realizing our actions. It might be harmful habits like smoking, unhealthy eating, and excessive drinking. These actions build up and snowball over time. But what will you sow?

A life of hard drinking can lead to small things at first, things like simple regret over saying the wrong thing. In the end, after a longer season, the results can be much worse- losing your family, home, and even your life. A life of over eating can at the least lead to sluggishness and poor self-image. But given long enough over eating can bring you to the horrors of clogged arteries, heart disease, etc.

You can change this though!

Start sowing new seeds today. Live a deliberate life, think out your choices, fully contemplate your actions. This is your choice; this is your life. Take control.

“…in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Life changes take one day to begin, and a lifetime to complete. But if you persevere you will reap a reward. If you change your unhealthy eating habits today, down the road you will reap a bountiful harvest.

Take my transformation challenge as an example. After only a week not only had my weight declined, but my resting heart rate and my blood pressure improved. In two weeks the drop in my resting heart rate and my blood pressure was significant. After a month I weighed was almost sixteen pounds less, and my waist was almost two inches smaller.

And now, here I am three months and two days later. When you see these numbers, don’t think of how far I’ve come, think of how much YOU COULD DO in just three months.

Weight then 206.3 lbs

Weight now 175.6 lbs

Waist then 41 1/2 inches

Waist now 36 inches

Body-fat Percentage then 27.8%

Body-far percentage now 19.7%

BMI then 29.7

BMI now 26.

I am not special in this regard. You can do this too. Just follow three simple steps.

  1. Visualize and write down your goals honestly and specifically.
  2. Start taking the necessary steps to achieve your goals.
  3. Persevere! Persevere! Persevere!

What motivates growth? Not too long ago I posted about how change forces us to grow. Today, I have another factor that contributes to personal growth in mind. That factor is pain. Who hasn’t heard the saying, “No pain, no gain.” Whether on a T.V. show, and old training video, or from the lug-nut at the gym who is bench pressing a weight so heavy that it appears his eyes will pop out of their sockets and his arms are shaking so hard they just might fall off- at some point someone has said that phrase within ear shot. But is it correct?

Pain is a large motivation for change. It pushes us to adapt or give in- there is no middle ground. It might be your workouts; it might be your commitment to church; it might be your marriage.  Whatever the circumstances, can you give even when it hurts.  Can you do that last rep in a bench press set?  Can you work for your church on more than just Sunday morning?  Can you let your wife choose the T.V. show for the night?

Can you move beyond your comfort level, can you move beyond convenience.  When you do, you will discover a new life- one much more fulfilling than the older version.

The following is a letter from our brothers and sisters abroad who are persecuted for their faith. When I say persecuted I don’t mean that they are shunned at fancy liberal dinner parties, belittled by atheists for their views on evolution, or that they are teased about their faith by coworkers and friends. I mean these people are risking death for our (and their) Lord and savior. We owe them- at the very least- our attention and our respect. Please read what they have to say.

“A letter to the Global Church from The Protestant Church of Smyrna

Dear friends,

This past week has been filled with much sorrow. Many of you have heard by now of our devastating loss here in an event that took place in Malatya, a Turkish province 300 miles northeast of Antioch, the city where believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26).

On Wednesday morning, April 18, 2007, 46 year old German and father of three Tilmann Geske prepared to go to his office, kissing his wife goodbye taking a moment to hug his son and give him the priceless memory, “Goodbye, son. I love you.”

Tilman rented an office space from Zirve Publishing where he was preparing notes for the new Turkish Study Bible. Zirve was also the location of the Malatya Evangelist Church office. A ministry of the church, Zirve prints and distributes Christian literature to Malatya and nearby cities in Eastern Turkey. In another area of town, 35 year old Pastor Necati Aydin, father of two, said goodbye to his wife, leaving for the office as well. They had a morning Bible Study and prayer meeting that some other believers in town would also be attending. Ugur Yuksel likewise made his way to the Bible study.

None of these three men knew that what awaited them at the Bible study was the ultimate testing and application of their faith, which would conclude with their entrance into glory to receive their crown of righteousness from Christ and honor from all the saints awaiting them in the Lord’s presence.

On the other side of town, a group of young men all under 20 years old put into place final arrangements for their ultimate act of faith, living out their love for Allah and hatred of infidels who they felt undermined Islam…” Read the rest here.

I love the beginning of a new week. Each new week carries with it the promise of a fresh change, a new start, a chance to get over the day you ate two donuts- the chocolate kind that are covered in chocolate frosting. But ideally, my view (our view) of each day should be the same. Heck, why not each minute?

All of us would transform and grow at a more rapid pace if we could put our shame behind us quicker. Too many of us wallow in our mistakes and end up repeating them over and over. We bear shame that is far too heavy for our shoulders and as a result we keep our faces in the same dirt that brought us shame in the first place.

For some it is that day they went overboard and had a whole pizza, with BBQ wings, regular (not diet) Coca-Cola, and half an apple pie with ice cream on the side. After that day they (possibly you) say, “Why bother? ”  That voice of shame says, “You’re not going to be able to control your appetite.”

For some it might be the lies they told or the sheer weight of their own sin, that bears down on their back. That same voice of shame whispers in our ears, “You’ll never be good enough. You don’t deserve (insert here whatever your goal might be).”

Luckily, that voice of shame is wrong. You don’t blow a whole diet by eating poorly one day- heck you don’t even blow it by eating poorly one day a week. Step back and look at the totality of your choices. You might blow it one day a week, but what about the other six? None of us is perfect. So if your life is marked (for the most part) by positive movement toward your goals you haven’t blown it.

Because it isn’t that one day, that one mistake that ruins our diet, that ruins our walk with God, or our career. Most often it is the inordinate amount of time we spend dwelling on that mistake, refusing to learn from it, and consequently repeating it over and over.

Leave your mistake(s) behind you. Don’t forget them, but learn from them, and move on with your life or your diet. There is something at the other end that is well worth the pain and self-denial. I can tell you from where I stand, right about half-way, I am so happy about all I have achieved. I am also so excited about all the mountains left to climb.

Birthday’s are usually a good time to reflect on your life- especially when you enter the second quarter of your earthly existence.   What have I learned?  How have I grown?  Heck, I don’t have enough space here to answer those questions.

But one thing stands out- I have a lot of learning left to do.  While my fitness situation is rapidly improving, my finances and my spiritual walk are both lagging behind.  I have taken steps in the last few days to address both deficiencies and I will continue to try to compensate for past neglect.

Beyond that, as I watched the news this morning, I heard a quote that was quite poignant.  I believe it was Mohammad Ali’s wife who said that the most important thing to remember (at least according to her husband) was that “He whom receives much from God, of him/her much is expected.”  Living in the United States, with a home of my own, with a wonderful family and good health- I consider myself rich beyond comparison.  Yeah we drive 17 year old cars that make me scared every time I turn the key; yes we are behind on some of our bills; and yes we don’t have enough to put the new roof on our house that it needs.  None of that is incredibly important though.  Why not?  Because I have faith that if the cars broke down, if the more bills piled, or the roof collapsed- whatever happens God will provide relief.  I don’t know how He will do it, I don’t know when, but I know His aid will come when the time is right.  For all this I am so grateful, but also so guilty, as I know I haven’t given back enough.

So looking forward from this day, it would be appropriate to say that I look toward a more abundant and charitable life.  Whether it means running our ranch/farm for the benefit of our community or whatever the Lord asks, I look forward to the opportunity.  I will admit I have my fingers crossed that God goes with the whole farm idea- but I am open to whatever He asks.