Wisdom for my Sons

Month: June, 2012

Idols and their cost. 6.10.12

From Evernote:

Idols and their cost. 6.10.12

Instead, they mingled among the pagans
and adopted their evil customs.
They worshiped their idols,
which led to their downfall.
They even sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to the demons.
They defiled themselves by their evil deeds,
and their love of idols was adultery in the Lord ‘s sight. (Psalm 106:35-37, 39 NLT)

Mingling with pagans, worshipping idols, sacrificing sons and spiritual adultery…seem like harsh terms of a former world that doesn’t exist today. I mean who sacrifices their sons and daughters because of idol worship. Although we may not physically sacrifice family and relationships, we functionally do the same thing today that Gods people did thousands of years ago. The idols of our culture mingle with our affection for God as we adopt their evil customs, we sacrifice family and relationships on the alter of our selfish pursuits…functionally committing the same spiritual adultery that we read about in the past. Action. My sons, idols always exist in our hearts many times being completely unrecognizable to us. Whether we acknowledge them or not, we are sacrificing much and the high cost is being paid out in our daily actions. Know always, this is a life-long fight with the idols our heart…one which is never perfected and always changing. The success is in being faithfully engaged in the process…identifying, acknowledging, turning from and pursuing God. Simply be aware daily of…what upsets you, what invokes pride, what stirs up envy, what erodes contentment, etc…whatever derails the fruits of the spirit in our lives are exposing the various idols of our heart. Seek to do this and you will be a blessed man.

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Dad’s prayers were different. 6.9.12

From Evernote:

Dad’s prayers were different. 6.9.12

"As a child I watched with fascination as my dad prayed in church. His prayers were different from so many others. They were real. He seemed to believe he was really talking to someone. That made an enduring impression on me. I didn’t want to settle for shallow pleasure when contact with God was possible. I could imagine reality because I tasted it in Dad’s relationship with God." -Dr. Larry Crabb, Inside Out

Its amazing the little things kids pick up. They are so good at spotting what is real. How sobering as a parent desiring to raise God fearing kids…thinking in the back of my head, over 18 some years they are going to see firsthand whether my relationship with God is real or not. They’ll see whether Christianity is just a moral subculture with its own unspoken codes of behavior functionally playing itself out like any other religion. A true relationship with Jesus really is tasted in the small real-time details of daily living. Action. My sons, God is real…giving his only Son so that you could have a true…living relationship with Him. He is not magic formula…spoken with only at meals, before trips, or at church. He is everywhere always…fully present whether we mentally acknowledge Him or not. So don’t be driven by the standard Chrisitan rituals and time windows on prayer; when and where and how. Just be real and authentic always in your communication with Him…that’s what prayer is…true communion with the living God. He is a real living relationship, so talk and share life with Him throughout the day like that is true.

Greed takes the very thing it promises. 8.26.11

From Evernote:

Greed takes the very thing it promises. 8.26.11

Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life. (Proverbs 1:19 NLT)

When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens: the more you get, the less you are. Lady Wisdom (Proverbs 1:19 MSG)

Greed, the lust for more, resides in us all. The challenge is that greed tends to be evaluated, assessed and judged externally in outward appearance rather than as a disease of the heart. The desire for more, is fueled by the lie that with more comes more life, when in reality it is greeds presence in the heart that robs one of the very thing it promises more of…life. Whether it is the wealthy guy greedily coveting a new car or the poor inner city kid coveting his buddies new Air Jordan’s…both externally judged very differently but internally suffer from the same condition…greed. For both are been robbed of contentment and gratitude in life for what they have been given. Action. My sons, don’t be deceived, you are greedy, I am greedy…all humans are greedy by nature…so knowing that, work daily to remove its presence from your heart; for its simple existence in the heart curses a man’s life. Counteract greed by giving…giving not only in money, but in speech, time and action…being others focused always with everything.

Facade of togetherness. 6.7.12

From Evernote:

Facade of togetherness. 6.7.12

"The person who manages to deny his pain behind a facade of togetherness is dangerously vulnerable to developing compulsively sinful habits because he’s not dealing a deathblow to the wrong strategies that block his enjoyment of the Lord. The unrecognized and largely unfelt ache in his soul still demands relief. He’s ripe for being hooked when he stumbles onto something that provides a flash of excitement and a sense of fulfillment. The momentary relief of that core ache more loosely resembles the experience of joyful living than anything he’s known. It brings him closer than all his efforts to be obedient ever have." -Inside Out by Dr. Larry Crabb

The habit continues to be the master. The pursuit of the abundant, blessed life can be dangerous when viewed as fully attainable this side of heaven, for it is in and of itself an unrealistic expectation. Crucial longings and disappointments in life are not surprising and ok for the mature, aware Christian. Our power to change and deal with sinful habits that enslave us, begin with the understanding of our deep longings. Disappointment and longings being good; designed by God to lift our eyes to our heavenly home and Creator. Action. My sons, beware of our human "Christian" tendency to portray a facade of togetherness. Accept the realities of life, that like nature, our heart groans and yearns for perfect communion with God in heaven. Sinful habits try to unsuccessfully hide and numb this pain…while the mature, Godly man rests and accepts as true…the imperfections of life. He has the power to change and do battle with sin, because he knows the source of his sinful tendencies and misdirected longings. The blessed man is not perfectly put together; he hurts, struggles, deals with disappointment continually…yet he is not surprised by his groaning and instead sees it as the strategic point of entry into a deep, authentic relationship with God.

Brevity of Life. 6.1.12

From Evernote:

Brevity of Life. 6.1.12

O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah. Psalm 39:4,5

Perspective is everything. Perspective on trials, perspective on achievements, perspective on life and death as a whole determines much of the spirit by which we come before our God. We always identify and spot perspective dislocation in others for we are not caught in the middle of the storm, yet we find it very hard to spot in ourselves. Busy details of life, both good and bad, have a way of taking positions of far greater importance than God ever intended them to. A blessed man seeks prayerfully to remember his end-daily being reminded of the brevity of his life, for that’s the only way he can live life with proper perspective, experiencing the joy and gratitude each day that God intended for him. Action. My sons, ask God to instill in you a heart that is daily reminded of how fleeting and fragile life is. It seems rather morbid to think about our death, but it is the only way we can truly maintain wise perspective while we are living. It maintains in us a healthy fear of our Creator (& Sustainer); cultivates consistent, authentic humility through the high and low achievements of life…as well as blesses us with a simple joy and gratitude in the present day and current gifts we have been given. Blessed is the man that lives each day with his end in mind.