Sunday, June 30, 2019

Meet your words

"The sweetness of the lips increaseth learning" (Prov. xvi. 21).

Life is very largely made up of words. They are not so emphatic, perhaps, as deeds. Deeds are more deliberate expressions of thought.

One of the most remarkable authors of the New Testament has said, "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man."

It is very often a test of victory in Christian life. Our triumph in this often depends on what we say, or what we do not say.

Friday, June 28, 2019

President Trump, a Good Samaritan

President Trump addressed the Faith and Freedom Coalition this week. During his speech, he had Natalie Harp get up and tell the story of her fight with bone cancer including perspective on her use of the Right to Try law President Trump signed.
MS. HARP: Thank you, Mr. President. You know, we all know the story about the Good Samaritan. But what you don’t know is I was that forgotten person on the side of the road — the victim of medical error, the number-three cause of death under the previous administration — and left to die of cancer.

First, the medical establishment — they came by and they saw me there, so they wrote prescriptions for opioids, and they walked on. Next, the political establishment, they saw me there. And they stopped just long enough to come over and tell me how to die, how to speed up my death so I could somehow die with dignity.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

When gold becomes useless

When investors like Warren Buffet make the point that gold is useless, this is why:

The golden asteroid that could make everyone on Earth a billionaire

If everyone had that much gold, no one would think gold was worth anything. Gold itself doesn't put food on the table, put a roof over anyone's head, or produce anything of value.

This kind of economic dynamic has happened before.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Disturbing developments from Twitter

I've been a long-time Twitter user, and have appreciated the service and being able to use it.

This year, there have been two disturbing developments that have me seriously questioning if I'm going to continue using this service.

First, Twitter has specifically decided not to allow Live Action to sponsor any ads until Live Action removes all information about abortion from its Twitter account and it's own Web site.

That's what Live Action does. It tells the truth about abortion.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The birth of John

After Mary conceived Jesus, she went to visit a relative who was 6 months pregnant with a boy to be named John. Therefore, John is considered to be six months older than Jesus. Since Jesus' birth is remembered on Christmas, 6 months back from then puts us on today. This is why on the liturgical calendar June 25 is considered the day John the Baptist was born.

The events surrounding John's birth were quite noteworthy.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Making a unique contribution

Sometimes we end up with things on our To Do list that really should be on a To Don't list, especially for handling requests from other people.

Adam Grant has come up with a way to identify which items belong on which list. He simply decides if something is a way in which he can make a “unique contribution” or not. If it is, great. If not, “Sorry, but this is not in my wheelhouse.” For him, he feels he can make a unique contribution in directing researchers to relevant work and psychology studies.

I find this helpful. I also have some work to do in this department. I've done a variety of things over the years, and there are parts of them I can do well and enjoy, but are they really in my wheelhouse?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Determined to Rejoice

"My heart is fixed, O God" (Ps. lvii. 7).

We do not always feel joyful, but we are always to count it joy.

This word reckon is one of the keywords of Scripture. It is the same word used about our being dead. We are painfully conscious of something which would gladly return to life.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Summer Constellations

In the spring of this year, I started noting which constellations are visible in a particular hemisphere for a particular season.

Northern hemisphere constellations visible during the summer include: Aquila, Cygnus, Hercules, Lyra, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, and Scorpius.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Begin Teaching Doctrine Early

I know that some people will say that such doctrine is too deep for boys and girls. Paul Rader had an educator visit the Tabernacle, offering her the opportunity to survey our boys' work and give her opinion of the way we worked with the boys.

Her report was something like this, “Well, you certainly do a lot of things wrong. I observed a boy sixteen years old teaching some twelve-year-old boys. He was actually teaching them doctrine. At their age, they should be told stories. And yet,” she mused, “the boys were giving perfect attention and seemed interested. That I couldn’t understand.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Security vs. Curiosity

Our paranoid world does not reward curiosity. There's a saying commonly promoted: “If you see something, say something.” In practice, the rest of that line can end up as, “…so we can think it's you.” Don't get too curious about how security systems work. Too many questions are unusual and make you a target.

On the flip side, it's nice to be thought of as a responsible one, but don't expect someone to be responsible if you're going to be hostile to their efforts to ensure security if those efforts may exceed yours.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Gold-miner's compliment

Mark Twain once told the story of a 42-year-old gold-miner who was designated to introduce him for a lecture in a log school-house. The miner objected, saying:

“I don't know anything about this man. Anyhow, I only know two things about him. One is, he has never been in jail, and the other is, I don't know why.”

Monday, June 17, 2019

Energy Drinks vs National Security

The US military has even warned against troops consuming too many energy drinks since doing so has been associated with sleep disruption, leading to periods of fatigue during briefings or on guard duty.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

3 times in 84 years

A little nine-year-old boy approached me at Camp Awana one day. He was the he was only the third person in my 84 years, and 63 years as a Christian, to ask me if I was saved. I assured him that I was.

He then ventured, “Doc, I was saved a week ago last Monday. My, it’s wonderful to be saved. And to think that I’m going to walk the street golden streets. And I’m going to see Jesus face to face. I can hardly wait to see him.”

He had the right idea.
Source: Breese, DaveLance, A Testament of Grace, 1978. pp. 212.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Speaking Openly

Jesus said, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing” (John 18:20).

Sometimes I wonder how far this goes. Does this mean we should never speak in secret? Is this limited to teaching?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Following Jesus

In keeping with the evangelism messaging theme this week, today I want to look at another way we describe being a Christian: being a “follower of Jesus.”

I have nothing against following Jesus and becoming more like Him. That, however, is not what makes someone a Christian. Followers of Islam say they follow Jesus, too.

The question is not, Who do you follow?

The question is, Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Cold War Memories

June 12 is a date with a few layers of significance for me.

On this date, in
1918, my grandfather, Ralph E. Hansen was born.
1924, President George H.W. Bush was born.
1987, President Ronald W. Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” speaking of the Berlin Wall.

For some of us these people are history; for others they are memories. I recently heard the claim that those born after 1980 have no personal memories of the Cold War. I was born in 1977, and I remember things about the Cold War from the 1980s.

In my family, a couple of us kids were born before 1980 and a couple after, so I had a ready sample to test this hypothesis. I asked my brother born in 1984 if he has any memories of the Cold War, and he does not. Just as I did last 9/11, it seems appropriate to share, and record for posterity, my memories of the Cold War.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Separation from God

This week I'm taking a closer look at some of the things we say when presenting the Gospel to others. Yesterday it was “changed lives,” and today it's “separation from God.” Yesterday was about what happens if you trust Jesus; today is about what happens if you don't.

“Fire and brimstone” have fallen out of favor as ways of presenting the consequences of not being a Christian, of rejecting God's loving gift of His Son. (The most recent popular use of the word “brimstone” I remember is from Shrek, and it was in a much-diminished sense of the term.) Despite being in older translations of the Bible and having been a significant part of spiritual renewal in the past, few church leaders today mention, much less dwell on, the the severity of God. We prefer His goodness instead. The Bible speaks of both “the goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22).

As heard from Bible-teaching, Gospel-preaching churches and pastors, the consequences of not trusting in Jesus are usually described as a person being “separated from God.” This is true: “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you” (Isaiah 59:2). This is also not a complete or vivid description of the full eternal consequences of not trusting in Jesus as your Savior.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Changed Lives

This week I want to take a closer look at a couple evangelistic invitations that have become popular in the evangelical Church today. The first is “changed lives.” It may go something like, “Come to Jesus, and He'll change your life.”

For some people, a changed life would be a good and welcome thing. They have lots of problems, may feel the weight of their sin, and so putting their trust in Christ and having the Lord fix their mess would bring much relief. I have no complaints about appealing to needs people feel in this way.

For other people, they may see no need for change in their life at all. They may be quite well-to-do, have learned self-reliance, have been successful, have means, and have much this world has to offer. For them, they may see a “changed life” as a lateral move at best. Where's the upside for them?

Sunday, June 9, 2019

10 times Jesus asked about desires

“Why did you seek Me?” (Luke 2:49context) — Jesus first recorded question

“What do you seek?” (John 1:38context) — Jesus first ministry question

“Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6context)

“What did you go out to see?” (Luke 7:24-26; Mathew 11:7-9; context)

“Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67; context)

“Why do you seek to kill Me?” (John 7:19; context)

“What do you want Me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:21; Mark 10:36context)

“What do you want Me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:51; Luke 18:41context)

“Whom are you seeking?” (John 18:4,7; context) — to Judas' detachment

“Whom are you seeking?” (John 20:15; context) — to Mary

Friday, June 7, 2019

Simple and Tender

I love Lew Wallace's description of the shepherds that were keeping watch over their flocks by night:
Such were the shepherds of Judea! In appearance, rough and savage as the gaunt dogs sitting with them around the blaze; in fact, simple-minded, tender-hearted; effects due, in part, to the primitive life they led, but chiefly to their constant care of things lovable and helpless.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Flow

I had a chance to talk to a young man today, and he admitted he had made some unwise choices in recent years. He said while he can't go back and undo those choices, he wanted to get back on track and “go with the flow.”

I told him, “Don't go with the flow. That's the way of destruction.”

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A Challenging Question

Dave Breese asked a question for the ages: “Are we presenting to our young people, in the name of Jesus Christ, a clear purpose worth living for?” The question implies a need for a clear purpose, and I wholeheartedly agree there is a need.

Young people have unique additional needs beyond the same needs as everyone else. They must learn how to manage their needs and desires. We provide a lot for young people, as they cannot provide for themselves, yet we also require them to learn how to provide for themselves and others, too. How they do that, that is, learning who they are, who they will become, what they will do for a living, and what they will do for eternity is their great challenge to explore. Uncle Dave called this discovering your destiny.

To the extent that we can help them on that journey, let's help meet that need and present a clear purpose for them in Jesus Christ. Next step: How do we present to our young people a clear purpose in Jesus Christ? There are several things to know:

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Billionaires vs. Death

Tech billionaires apparently want to live forever. They're trying to do so in several ways.

1) Cure for ageing
2) Computer chip in your brain
3) Apocalypse insurance
4) 'Young blood' transfusions
5) Digital consciousness

The question is: Why would you want to, at least in this world? I know the climate folks talk about how this planet is the only livable one we have, and I'm sure folks could easily say, this life is the only one we have to live.

Except it's not.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Party!

Everyone likes to have a good time. Add food and/or music to an informal gathering of people, maybe some friendly competition, and you've set the stage for a memorable event.

When I was in college I got to know a guy who had been known in high school as someone who could easily gather people together for a good time. He told us his friends back home used to say, “If you want to throw a party, just buy Pepsi, order pizza, and invite Micah.” It helped to have a large apartment off campus to accommodate those gatherings.

There are lots of parties in the Bible, too. When God originally created man, he placed him in the Garden of Pleasure. Much of the Old Testament Law was for the purpose of describing how to celebrate the accomplishments of God among his people. The New Testament describes these celebrations as shadows of things still to come. God is a good God, and He gives us much to celebrate and ways in which to celebrate His love for us.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

A Servant Delighted

Christ took upon Him the form of a servant, gave up His independence, His right to please Himself, His liberty of choice, and after having from eternal ages known only to command, gave Himself up only to obey.

I have seen occasionally the man who was once a wealthy employer a clerk in the same store. It was not an easy or graceful position, I assure you.

But Jesus was such a perfect servant that His Father said: “Behold, My Servant in whom My soul delighteth.” All His life His watchword was, “The Son of Man came to minister.” “I am among you as He that doth serve.” “I can do nothing of Myself.” “Not My will, but Thine, be done.”

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