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About johnj

  • Birthday 11/03/1949

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    Memphis, TN area
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    Everything outdoors, God, family

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  1. IF we have faith and IF we know God is in charge and IF we know He will take care of our needs and IF we are to spend eternity with Him in a future perfect world, THEN how can we be worried? Well, the answer is we are all human with our selfish needs and wants and doubts and sins and .....worries. Jesus knows these failures and our frailty. This is His reminder (and maybe a little bit of an admonishment). At the ripe old age of 23 I had a job interview with a small private company. After an employment offer was made, I was wondering aloud about the company. "The salary is ok, but they have no retirement and just a little medical benefit......." A professor overheard me and screeched " Retirement?!! What are you worried about that for?!" We sit in the presence of the Creator of the universe who holds our lives in his hands. He made us and put us here for His pleasure. He has has promised to take care of us. Yet we worry about tomorrow, as if we could do anything to change it. Hey! It's His plan! If we stand back and look at this picture (and can laugh at ourselves) our worries are laughable. Not mocking. Not unkind. Not mean-spirited. But, rather, somewaht sadly laughable. (Today, I don't even intend to retire.)
  2. I frequently enjoy the responses of others. But more than a few of the ones to this question trouble me. What might the 'rewards' in heaven be? A bigger 'mansion'? Maybe a wider 'street of gold'? Or better yet a cul de sac? Maybe lunch with Jesus? Or a seat closer to God during praise time? Better food would be nice? Or a little extra attention now and then? But all these are things of this world. What are the rewards - the things valued - in heaven? A pure heart? If I could see the world as I did as a child, that might be a reward. Simple, straight forward and honest. Selflessness? If I could rejoice when others recieved everything and I nothing, that would free so much happiness. Unchallenged love and attention for the will of my God and Creator? That might be an eternity of reward. Maybe if we could store up treasures like these on earth, they would be worth sending ahead to our next life. Personally I don't want the others. The heaven I long for has no other treasures than the things God values and He has made them clear for us to strive for in this life. To think we should do without things here - only to be rewarded with them in heaven - seems to miss the point.
  3. If we understand that all we have is from God, then how do we treat 'our posessions' and 'our surplus'? I recently heard someone say God gives to us for our lives. Then He takes everything away only to give to others. Things and wealth move through God's creation at His will, never to be 'ours' only to be loaned or borrowed. Maybe the subject of this story was focused on 'his stuff' not 'His stuff'. When we take God out of the picture our plans typically are sinful. The sermon on the mount points to the values God upholds, in contrast to values frequently upheld in our world. Covetousness, self centeredness, greed etc are all demonstrated here, but the greater failure may be generally dismissing God. The Lord met this man's needs and also gave his abundance. But all was God's. How many of us today would give away our one and only cloak? Or open our homes to one in need? Share our food? Loan our savings without interest or forgive a non payment? Why did I just use the word 'our' four times?
  4. I wonder if forgiveness is a 'act' or a way of being. To suggest we should continually ask for forgiveness implys we should become people who are forgiving not simply people who can forgive. I know I will sin today. Likely many times before the day is over. How might I respond? Defensive? Self justifying? Sad? Sorrowful? Questioning? I seems God does not want us to respond to our failures in any of these ways. The life He has planned for us is to understand our shortfalls - to care about the things He cares about. When we fail our failure should be heart felt - we are outside the will of God at these times. But He does not intend for us to live in the past with these failures. These are times when we should be learning about His will. We live in today. He forgives our transgressions, knowing that as His children we want to live closer to His will. He forgives and we grow closer. If I recognize a fault, in myself or another, - and then have the presence of mind to stop and say 'I forgive...' or 'God forgive me...' or ask someone else to forgive me - then that says one thing but just like a snapshot. It's gone in a instant. But if my way of life is forgiving, then maybe I don't have to stop to recognize a fault at all. Maybe I can accept my sins and the faults in others as life the way God created it. It's like the reason God gave us rules to live by in the first place. They are not given to limit us but rather to show us His will and so we can know when we are outside of it. He is in control. He is the judge. I must forgive others because it's God's way. If I can't ask for forgiveness or render it to others then I am outside of His will. Hey! That would be a sin and I'd have to ask for forgiveness. HA!
  5. This is one of my favorite questions! I have three daughters. All have been raised in a loving household but also raised to be responsible. There are many times when I know they have a need. But they don't ask for help. I love to help but don't ask them to ask. I do give to them even when they don't ask, and they are always quite grateful. But how much more of a relationship might we have if they were to come with their problems. Not to beg or manipulate but to share a need. I know their hearts. None would ever take something not given or ask with out a real need. (Why wait for despiration?) So we are of a simgle mind. But their 'I want to do it myself' attitude is a barrier to the relationship. I think the Lord wants us to come to Him so we will share our deapest desires with him. Not so He can be 'in charge' of our lives, but so He can share our lives. He wants that kind of a relationship, and (though we may often not know it) we need that kind of a relationship with Him.
  6. In my case, giving more is limited becasue I really don't know who to or how to, and yet remain a 'good steward'. I frequently see people at street corners with signs: 'homeless please help'. Same people, same corner week after week. Is this really a needy person? I wonder every time. Through church, I see so much waste and glitter that I can't believe they have or serve needs. There are a few shelters where I both help and serve. But even here there are many resources for these places. And the people who control the resources are not beyond abusing them. When there are ways I can touch someone really in need, I help. My heart goes out to others. However, even in thie endevor, I have loaned money to people I thought I knew, when they expressed need, only to find I was cheated. If I have such little discernment, how should I manage the Lord's resources? He has seen fit to take much of the material wealth for which I worked most of my life. Sometimes I wonder if it's due to my lack of discernment. Or more likely to get my attention. These days my giving is limited to family who I know first hand to be in need, and also giving of my talents to help non-financial needs where ever the opportunity arises. It seems to me this is a place to which the Lord has led me.
  7. The problem seems to be pride. Could this be taken one step fruther? Is it pride before men, or pride before God? If I consider the question from that perspective it clarifies things for me. We could never be prideful before God. He eclipes all things so anything we might do would pale. So any pride we exhibit would have to be before men. In that context we put men's praise before God's. Isn't that the issue? Can we value the opinions of sinful, fallible men over the the perfect judgement of God? Seems just another slight to His Lordship. Organizations built by men seem to often be built on self-importance and self-praise. The values are too often the things men want rather than what God wants. Can prideful men judge themselves, their actions and their values as God judges them? I think this is a blindness God deals with when He 'ruins' some people's lives. Out of the blessed ashes He may create His better workmanship.
  8. J V Mcgee once gave a perspective on perfection. He said in California (where he had a long ministry) they had a contest called 'jump to Catalina Island'. The island was several miles off the coast. His picture was of people running down the dock and jumping toward the island. J Vernon said, that's about how close we get to perfection. Some might get 20 feet, others fell right off the end. As I recall he pointed out that individual 'jumpers' would scoff at each others' performance. To carry J Vernon's story one step further: For years I fell off the dock. Now, my objective is to be able to understand where the island is located, and clearly appreciate how far short of the goal my performance is. I have prayed that the Lord will give me that perspective of Him. To me maturity is seeing Him more clearly, always gaining a better understanding of the gulf between us, but never attaining much more than a 20 foot jump.
  9. I don't think it's in God's nature to call any of us to be perfect. He knows we have been born in sin and can not be perfect. Seems to me the verse is highlighting that God loves us all and is willing to forgive all. When we sin we wrong Him. If God did not love those who sin (and behave as His enemy) then we all might suffer His wrath. 48 may be telling us about God and showing how He treats us when our behavior is an afront to Him. This is a challenge to us: to consider His perfect love for all His creations. He choose to make both us and those we might consider our enemies.
  10. Although I haven't time to read them all, there are a lot of great replys by others. My thought is that our great commission is to win others for Christ. With that as an objective, how do we react when wronged by another? There seem to be three possibilities: 1. resist, 2. take the 'wrong' and walk away, or 3. give more. Resistance may only result in greater resistance and likely little 'glory' no matter the result. Certainly God is likely not to be honored. Greater force might be used on the next victim with greater damage done. Giving what is taken and walking away only feeds the wrong but solicits no attention. The other person gets what they intended to take and will likely be encouraged not discouraged from future wrongs. But to give more than is taken may at least evoke some attention and give God the opportunity to touch the other person's heart. This is a different reaction than the common one expected by 'the world'. In another context, it also occurs to me that this seems to be God's way of dealing with us. We seem to view things as 'fair' and 'right & wrong'. He does not simply deal in ways that we humans value as 'fairness'. He has gone many extra miles with me and I pray He will continue as I stumble through life.
  11. The Word seems clear about the unforgivable sin. It's not divorce. With that said, living in sin is not a condition we would expect God to endorce whether it's a marriage relationship or as a thief or as a murderer or, ...or .... or .... The more important issue might be the condition of one's heart and the relationship an individual has with God. Rebellion, self-righteousness, or unrepentance would be the bricks building a wall between a person and God. A similar question might be; Can a person live in a way he or she knows is unpleasing to God and still remain in a growing, fruitful relationship with Him? We may be able to judge the actions of others to some extent, but I wonder if it's for us to answer yes or no concerning another's heart.
  12. Who decides what makes a 'good' marriage or a 'bad' one? Are we to decide for ourselves if the things God causes to happen are 'good' or 'bad'? What He causes let no man undo. It seems to me that what we are being told is that God is in control of all things and should he cause a marriage, then it's His will. Maybe it's when we decide for ourselves (rather than for Him) that things go sour. If I truely believed a marriage was intended by God, Blessed by Him and was part of His plan - whose ways are unfathonable to me - then how could I decide differently? What 'right' would I have? Does my 'happiness' or 'acceptance' trump His will? People may too often believe whatever they want is God's will. A marriage has become an easy thing to dispose. But considering this question has caused me to compare a marriage situation to others that people find themselves facing. Could someone with cancer say "This isn't God's will for me. It was a mistake. I am going to walk away from this." Or someone who lost a child. " This isn't God's will for me. I'm going to take charge of the situation and fix things." Our lives are filled with disappointments and problems. Maybe one is marital. But we endure because we trust and have faith in our Lord to know what is best. It is His plan and His will to which we all surrender.
  13. It might be a sign of our times that in this age we associate **** with sex. I looked up the original Greek which I usually do not do because I'm not learned that way. The intended word seems to be more generally 'covet'. Yearn, desire, and thirst are all common similar words. The broader context means more to me. Anything of this world that consumes our thoughts and desires, diminishes our view of God and takes His place for a time. Interesting how this study has attuned my listening lately. Last night on the Christian radio station someone used the term 'transformation of affections'. Seems this is a familiar concept but it just had new meaning for me. A prayer: 'Lord transform my affections from things of this world to You.' I envy those who have come to the point in their lives where they **** after the Lord and His ways.
  14. There's an old quip - Don't think about a pink elephant! Well, so much for controling my mind. But back to the question. A first thought is knowledge. We may need to first understand that God's desire for us is elsewhere. There is no place for sexual desire outside of marriage in His plan for us. It's wrong in His eyes. Also, to know that He sees our most private thoughts might be sobering. The Lord is there when our eyes and minds wander. We should be as concerned about being caught in an unholy thought as we are about being caught in an unholy act. I would suggest both are the same to God. And, our only hope might be in prayer, repentance and forgiveness. If our hearts are right with the Lord and we ask for forgiveness with true repentance, He will surely give us strength. It's achieving the point of true repentance that may be the stumbling block.
  15. Others have said it. **** is the mental act, adultery the physical one. Should you ****, what prevents the adultery? Fear of getting caught? Fear of illness? Fear of God? Living with the mental act and not the physical one seems only a degree of a sin. Rising above either is the pureness of thought and deed our Lord intends for us.
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