Human Behavior, Love, Poetry, Uncategorized

Essence of Beauty

beauty

 

Beauty is such a profound mystery…

How does one delineate so many facets of that which illumines our hearts with inexpressible delights?

The soul is the wellspring of beauty, exuded to the world through myriad renditions of sight, of sound, or poignant thoughts richly expressed.

What of incense wafting tendrils of sweet essence, igniting olfactory senses to perceive beauty in yet another form? But deeper still, the beauty in a single act of love, though it be covertly given.

Glorious beauty in the powerful realization of monolithic love, when the two things suddenly appear as one: LOVE & BEAUTY… Perhaps they are the same.

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Dogs, Human Behavior, Pets, Uncategorized

Wimpy Dogs & Egos

wimpy dogs

It took a few times to work it out, but eventually the realization struck that I was gaining discernment into some people’s psychological and emotional states by how they reacted to various types of dogs. There have been nearly a dozen instances, such as when one man showed absolute disdain for a very small dog that was quivering. He so despised the poor little thing for its weakness, that it became evident something more was in play than simply a preference for a more stalwart pet.  People possessing a character opposed to his, usually act in a caring manner—more inclined to protect the helpless little creature, even comfort it.

I supposed correctly that this man has a character flaw, and yet the root from which it thrives is where his psyche’ breaks down. He considers weak areas in himself. Anytime he sees someone, even an animal that resembles what he believes to be inside himself—he wants to turn away, and if he cannot do so, he lashes out. He has a deep sense of inadequacy. Unable to love himself, he cannot love something that reminds him of his own weakness, ugliness or flaw. But this is usually on a subconscious level. Many times the person has no idea that their dislike of things appearing weak stems from their own low self-esteem.

There are millions of us out here who tend to automatically dislike such a man, and dismiss him from any future contact. But knowledge always changes our actions. Love changes our responses. God changes the way we interact with the world around us through the wisdom He teaches us. Compassion is not only for the weak, but for all, even for those we think do not deserve it. Ah, I believe we’re now talking about mercy, which is grown from love.

Submitting to Jesus Christ’s Lordship changes the way we interact with the world around us.

Please don’t take this as some sort of formula to psychoanalyze a person! There are several reasons why someone may respond in a similar manner to a tiny dog that trembles at shadows. We have healthy young men who are still trying to convince themselves they are real man. Walking down the sidewalk with a cute, but wimpy little dog is just not masculine. At this stage of their development they avoid anything that might be construed as feminine. Toy dogs are for sissies, is the mindset. For such a young fellow, under the right circumstances, his thinking will be outgrown unless there comes a fracture in his identity, and then he may become like the first man.

When we begin to understand the difficulties people face on the inside of themselves we can better perceive how to help facilitate their healing.

My own response to the same dog was the opposite of that man I spoke of. The furry little ball of cuteness which he hated so much, drew me right to it. I picked up the puppy and spoke softly to him, stroking its downy soft fur. Mine was similar to a paternal reaction to the dog, because it was afraid, and yes, I began to not like that man at all. But then, the Lord began to show me this stuff, and everything turned around. Instead of disliking the man I began to pity him more than I did the dog. The unfortunate guy was miserable. Some past trauma had robbed him of a deep need of the heart: the ability to like and love himself.

Every good counselor, psychologist or social worker can tell you, “You cannot love others until you can love yourself.” Yes, there’s a lesser type of love we can have if we do not like who we are (by the way, that’s our cue to change). But it’s far from the kind of love God wants to make us capable of employing. When we don’t like ourselves, in every single one of our relationships we will eventually come to a barrier standing in the path of loving as we should.

Consider for a moment Jesus’ words “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” We cannot love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves. We’re not talking about egotism, or being prideful and arrogant. On the contrary, every soul was created by God, in His own image, and has tremendous value. We were created to love God and to love one another. When we don’t like who we are, we should go to God and ask Him to help us change. As we communicate with God we begin to understand how much He loves us, and that’s a huge boost to our sense of self-worth.

The world is filled with deluded people, not knowing their own worth or value, and the world perpetuates their fallacious thinking by putting them down ever further. Let’s not be a part of that cycle, creating injured souls. We are to be a part of God’s construction crew building people up, rather than on the devil’s demolition squad tearing them down. Be nice. Be loving and kind. Be the light of truth in this dark world where there’s already far too much hatred. It’s not easy sometimes, but that’s why we must also encourage one another as we work towards the time when hate shall be no more.

With Eternity in View…

 

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Growing in Grace, Persecution, Uncategorized, Video

Life is Not Fair

Dealing with the injustices of life

What are we to do when things in life just aren’t going right? What about when others do us wrong? We all know that life is not fair on this third rock from the sun, planet earth. One day God will balance out the scales of justice. But until then… Here’s a tool God has given us to use in coping with it all, and to deal with it all.

 

 

I pray that you will position yourself to receive every gift and blessing God has planned for you. Satan wants to steal it all away from us. But we don’t have to allow it. Trust God, and respond with grace. The Lord will work it out in His perfect timing. “Let go and let God…”

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Growing in Grace, Jesus Role Model, Uncategorized

Me Time

me time

Early in the morning before my time alone with the Lord and my usual coffee and breakfast, it is difficult to respond graciously. Yet each morning from the moment my feet hit the carpeting, demands are placed upon me.

My wife needs her pain patch put in place at the small of her back, and then needs help with this and that. But then, unnecessarily, she rehearses all of her schedule for the day. Can’t this wait until after my coffee? I silently think. Then she feels the need to remind me of all I had shared with her the day before—all that I need to accomplish today. My flesh wants to scream, Yes, I’m well aware of what I need to do. Please leave me alone so I can do it! Meanwhile, I’m tripping over the cat as she blocks each step, rubbing against my legs, insisting that she is ready to die of starvation any second. The dog trails close behind. The telephone rings incessantly. Everyone is demanding something of me, and I haven’t even taken care of me yet. Once everyone is fed and medically pampered, and promises are made to perform various extra duties, a slight grumble escapes my lips. That’s when I reach for my bible—Jesus will help to adjust my attitude. Matthew chapter fourteen…

Again, our Savior’s example is filled with grace as His love is disseminated to all. The news came to the Blessed Nazarene: “Your cousin, John the Baptizer has been beheaded in prison.”

(verse13) “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” Obviously He wanted to be alone, just as I do every morning, for just a few moments. The details of John’s death must have made the news all the worse. As most anyone would do, Jesus sought out solitude that He might mourn, or at least process the loss. But the crowds were rather insensitive to Jesus’ plight. As soon as the boat Jesus occupied landed, there was a large crowd waiting for Him. This effectively robbed Him of the “Me-time” that, personally, I surely would have demanded, having just lost a loved one. But Jesus’ response was different. “He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (Verse 14).

“Oh Lord Jesus, please teach me to respond the way you do! I can’t even respond graciously to my own family’s needs until mine have been met.” As a minister of the gospel and bible teacher for the past ten years, one would think I have all this stuff down pat. But every good theologian knows that ‘self’ is an ogre which needs to be crucified on a daily basis. I am thankful and encouraged that the Apostle Paul recorded in Romans chapter seven: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Yes, even Paul had to submit again and again, putting himself under Christ’s Lordship anew every day. It is a daily walk, and God’s mercy is brand spanking new every day. No wonder we sing Amazing Grace how sweet the sound!

I am pleased to announce that I have now had my coffee and my time alone with the Creator of the Cosmos. I’m feeling the love again and acting graciously, ready to serve others until bedtime rolls around again. I hope to handle tomorrow morning a little bit better than I did today. Of course, I’ll have to rise a bit earlier than I did today. After all, it is a growing process.

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Poetry, Uncategorized

Greet the Morning

morn

Hello world. It’s me. I’m awake and wondering what today will bring. I recall my purpose for living, and somehow know that it is fulfilled by loving. Then God reminds me that what I do, and what I say will influence what tomorrow produces. It’s that thing about sowing and reaping. I have many friends in the Appalachian Mountains, and I love their down home wit and wisdom. One such friend said, “Ya can’t plant maters and expect to get taters” (tomatoes & potatoes). Yes, it’s the same principle Jesus taught.

I’m nothing great when it comes to poetry, but my prose sometimes will shine. I wrote down the following lines this morning.

Greet the Morning

When fresh waves of joyous light are born, all auspicious dawns

Tender thoughts awake the morn, upon God’s love as floating swans

When the glory-clad sun summits, truth and mercy lace fingers,

United they enter humble hearts, grace infused in spirit singers,

And all creation dances in beams of loving truth,

As wisdom then advances, and renews each mind with youth.

 

I do enjoy poetry, and as I bask in the genius of past greats and also contemporary thinkers, I grow. Today I reread this wildly popular poem by David Bates. Enjoy.

Speak Gently

Speak gently! — It is better far

To rule by love, than fear —

Speak gently — let not harsh words mar

The good we might do here!

Speak gently! — Love doth whisper low
The vows that true hearts bind;
And gently Friendship’s accents flow;
Affection’s voice is kind.

Speak gently to the little child!
Its love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild: —
It may not long remain.

Speak gently to the young, for they
Will have enough to bear —
Pass through this life as best they may,
‘T is full of anxious care!

Speak gently to the aged one,
Grieve not the care-worn heart;
The sands of life are nearly run,
Let such in peace depart!

Speak gently, kindly, to the poor;
Let no harsh tone be heard;
They have enough they must endure,
Without an unkind word!

Speak gently to the erring — know,
They may have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
Oh, win them back again!

Speak gently! — He who gave his life
To bend man’s stubborn will,
When elements were in fierce strife,
Said to them, ‘Peace, be still.’

Speak gently! — ‘t is a little thing
Dropped in the heart’s deep well;
The good, the joy, which it may bring,
Eternity shall tell.

Have a Supremely Blessed Day! 

 

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Uncategorized

Riches in Christ

On March 11th 1898 a teenager  by the name of Peter Dynacus sailed away from his homeland in Russia. He was bound for Nova Scotia. It was literally, for him, on the other side of the world. Peter would become an evangelist, whom God was to use in a mighty way. On this voyage the Lord would teach him an unforgettable lesson. Peter’s folks had saved for many months to send him on this journey. To save on the cost, the boy’s mother put together a huge box of food to carry him throughout his trip. But being poor, most of it was just rough bread and garlic.

Each day aboard ship, Peter would longingly peer through the window at the wealthy passengers in the dining hall, feasting. How he envied them as he would return to his little room and eat one more piece of his black bread with garlic. About halfway through his voyage some of the sailors noticed his plight, and they struck a deal with him. They promised him that if he would do their work for them in the kitchen that they would give him some food to eat. Peter was happy with this arrangement, and so he began to work very hard doing their chores. The sailors kept their promise and gave him food that he would eat in the back of the kitchen.

It wasn’t until the very last day of the voyage that Peter discovered the truth. The three meals a day in the dining room were included in the price of the ticket. He belonged in there with everybody else. He had been tricked into doing all of this work to get food that already belonged to him. And he never forgot that lesson, as it related to Salvation.

If I were to ask you if you understood that your ticket to heaven was completely free, you’d probably say, “Yes”. You might also say, “But we don’t understand all that is involved in this comprehensive ticket.” And that’s our problem today. Like Peter Dynacus, we don’t quite grasp all that is ours in Christ. Do we comprehend our standing as the redeemed? We may know about the benefits, we’ve heard them talked about: the peace and joy, the love and direction. The provision and protection. Strength in our weakness. The promised presence of Christ with us 24/7 forever. There are many benefits that come from being a part of the royal family in Christ. We are children of the King, and heirs with Him.

The very moment you placed your faith in Jesus, as your Christ, and were obediently baptized into Him, you were given every single promise in the bible. To often though, we don’t know how to go about gaining access to everything that already belongs to us. How do we put our faith into action in a way that engages the fruit of the Spirit? How do we use our faith in Jesus to pay our bills? To love an enemy? Or to face a horrible disease?

Apostle Paul used his citizenship of Rome wisely when he was wrongfully arrested. He knew what he had. He also knew that his standing in Christ was his greatest asset. Paul used his faith to sustain him throughout the many hardships he faced as a servant of Christ; beatings, shipwreck, stoning, persecution and imprisonment. And eventually death.

As for myself, I lived as a Christian for many years without putting  the benefits into action in my own life. I didn’t know how to use them. I didn’t realize it is the same faith that saved me which is needed to activate all of God’s promises for me. Every spiritual blessing is accessed through faith. But what does living within God’s promises look like in action? Ahh. That’s what God has called me to accomplish: make it easy for every believer to understand how to utilize all the benefits they have in Christ, and put God’s promises to work in their own lives.

God knew I would be passionate about this, because of how long I muddled through, without allowing God’s promises to take over, not knowing how.

That’s why I wrote a devotional book that is aptly titled: Meet Him on the Mountain

It’s like a starter kit: a short chapter a day guide. Lots of people read it through in the first sitting without applying the principles espoused therein. It is not possible to do all that the book leads you to do in one day. It takes 40 days.

Yet, many people have followed the book through for the 40 days, and had fellowship with God and supercharged their relationships with Him. It is a tremendous encouragement to me when people write and share the wonders they are discovering in Christ. Not in the book, in Christ. The book itself isn’t anything all that great. It is the Spirit who helped me write the book that is powerful. I pray you will make the commitment today to become obsessed with living a godly life. You don’t have to buy the book to do so, but I pray you will commit to drawing closer to God. Although, I do hope you will consider purchasing a copy of my first book. Because I need to put together the funds for another book, which is much more in-depth. This one is for Christians who are already mature in their faith.

Let’s really begin to make our relationship with Christ the most important thing in our lives. I can guarantee, He satisfies completely.

ship

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Uncategorized

Song of Thanks

 

Thank You Jesus—A Song ©Sheldon Bass

 

Thank you Jesus, Thank you Lord,

You give me life, fully restored.

Thank You Father, for your Son,

Now I’m forgiven, the victory’s won

 

Well God just keeps on giving,

It’s a debt I’ll always owe,

The gift of His Spirit,

Showing me the way to go.

Now I’m so happy,

 His peace and joy are mine,

Love is the lesson,

And our text is in the Vine.

 

Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord,

You give me life, fully restored.

Thank you Father, for your Son,

Now I’m forgiven, the victory is won.

 

I’m a free man again, purchased and pardoned,

My Father paid for me, He told me in the garden.

I met Him there this morning,

Where we walked heart in hand,

He knows my every secret,

And He loves me just the same

 

Thank You Jesus, Thank you Lord,

You give me life, fully restored.

Thank you Father, for your Son,

Now I’m forgiven, the victory’s won!

 

 

 

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