Climbing Mt Adams

There are about a dozen people from JBC climbing Mt Adams tomorrow and Saturday. Four of us are going to start at noon tomorrow and climb to the 10,000 foot level and then camp on the mountain at what is called the Lunch Counter, a flat spot on the mountain. Then we will finish the climb on Saturday. I bought a new -20 degree sleeping bag because it gets very cold on Mt Adams at 10,000 feet at 3:00 am. I have climbed Mt Adams every year since 1965, but the last four years I have not made it to the top, which is very hard for me to take, having successfully climbed it for so many years. I have never attempted a climb of Adams doing it in two days instead of one, so I am hoping this will be the trick so I can make it successfully to the top. If I do summit I am going to declare myself a retired mountain Climber. It will be nice to end my mountain climbing career as a winner, which is what I want to do. I remember back in the early days of my pastoring when I was making so many mistakes and things were not going well in the church. I wanted to quit in the worst way but my Dad told me not to quit as a loser, but to wait until things were going good and then I could do something else rather than pastor if I wanted to. But when things turned around and started going better I didn’t want to quit! So here I am, still pastoring. It wouldn’t surprise me that if I make it to the top this year that I decide to do it again next year! Endurance is a character trait in the Christian life that God likes and also rewards.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

So Much False News and Information

I wrote in my blog yesterday that if you had enough wisdom you would have a powerful sense of discernment and you would know when something you hear or read is off base. It is becoming increasingly important that those who follow Jesus have great wisdom. Her is a short excerpt form a book I am reading ”The Manipulators: Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Big Tech’s War on Conservatives” by Peter Hasson.

Facebook wields enormous power over its users and has no qualms about exercising it. The tech giant collaborated with academics from Cornell and the University of California San Francisco to conduct experiments on the effects that tweaks to its News Feed algorithm had on users’ emotional states. The kicker: Facebook used its customers as guinea pigs in the experiment without their knowledge. In the experiment, which involved a jaw-dropping 689,000 users, Facebook manipulated individuals’ newsfeeds by increasing the share of positive material presented to some users and increasing the share of negative material to other users. In other words, Facebook tested its societal influence by tampering with the emotional states of private citizens without their consent. Facebook’s willingness to manipulate its users’ emotions—and its willingness to study the best way to do so—is important to keep in mind as the company pledges to manipulate America out of political polarization. Facebook has a history of quietly exerting its power to influence political opinions in America without its users’ knowledge. When the Black Lives Matter movement was still in its infantstage the Facebook employees who oversaw the company’s “trending topics” section received an order: push Black Lives Matter, and they did, and the rest is history.

The Wisest Man who ever lived

Every morning, without fail, I pray a prayer of commitment. It is a prayer that I wrote and then memorized. It has changed over the last 30 years since I first wrote it, a little bit, but not much. Towards the end of the prayer I ask God to give me His wisdom, quoting James 1:4 to God as a faith statement, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who will give to him generously and without reproach.” I then make the commitment to God that I will seek for wisdom like silver, or gold, or precious treasure, with all my heart. Again, I have made this commitment and prayed that prayer every morning without fail for 30 years plus. Why? Because I know that I need wisdom desperately, and I am so far from being a “wise man”.

God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him what one thing he would like God to do for him, and he asked for wisdom. God was very pleased with his request and made him the wisest man on the earth.

1 Kings 4:29-31 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men.

Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs, a book full of wisdom principles, anointed by God as a major source of wisdom for each one of us. I read one chapter every day from Proverbs.

But if you read the book of Ecclesiastes, also written by Solomon, you will read the words of a man who had become a fool. You might say, the greatest fool of them all. Solomon did not end his life well, especially for a man who had begun so well with so many advantages over most. Why? I am sure there are many reasons, but I believe a major one is he only asked for wisdom once. Because he had it he assumed he would keep it so he violated his own words, “don’t be wise in your own eyes, lest you become a fool”. Because he had wisdom he did not continue to seek for wisdom or to ask God for wisdom and he became a fool.

We desperately need wisdom to navigate through our times. Those who don’t seek it diligently or ask God for it desperately will be left with natural wisdom, earthly wisdom, and demonic wisdom, rather than that wisdom which comes down from above.

Are You Lying to Me?

Hebrews 5:13-14 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

A person can grow in wisdom, but they have to work at it diligently, seek it diligently, and be a learner. There are at least seven different ways to grow in wisdom, and the most important is to read, study, and memorize the Bible. The Bible is the mind of Christ, the words of God, and divine principles for success. The more of God’s Word that has filled our mind and heart the more wisdom we will have.

The passage above says, ”accustomed to the word of righteousness.” ”Accustomed to” obviously means that we read it a lot, it isn’t a periodic, random activity in our life, but an essential discipline. It also says that the person who ”practices, ” will be able to discern whether something they hear is good or bad, true or false. ”Practice” again is routine, regular, discipline for the purpose of getting better.

When we have great wisdom, we will be able to quickly discern when we hear something whether it is accurate or false. We may not know exactly what is not true, but we will have a sense that something is wrong. “Our senses are trained” to discern the difference between what is true and what is crapp.

Very few people are willing to take the daily time required to be become a mature and wise person. The rewards and benefits that come into the life of a person who has diligently sought after wisdom like gold, silver, precious treasure and has become like another Solomon are amazing, and one of the really cool benefits is that no one will be able to fool or deceive them.

In our day and age where “false news”, and “fake news” is so prevalent it would be a great gift to be able to know what is true.

The Joy of Grandchildren

This afternoon I worked on finishing a project of putting an electric motor on a bicycle for one of my grandsons. He had done much of the work on it with me this last week and I drove into Home Depoe to get some machine screws to finish the project this afternoon and then Patty and I delivered it to him this evening. As he barreled down the road at over 20 mph with this very triumphant look on his face I felt very happy. In the midst of all the craziness that is going on that irritates me, and depresses me it is so nice to have a very positive experience and a very warm feeling that comes from family.

Wisdom

God is ”all wise”, He created the world with His wisdom, He created us with His wisdom, and He planned out the history of the world with His wisdom. He loves to give His wisdom to us if we seek for it diligently by faithfully reading the Bible, the mind of Christ, and by seeking it humbly by asking those people around us for counsel whom we observe have more wisdom than we do. Getting wisdom is God’s will for us, and we will bring that level of wisdom with us as we enter into eternity. God wants to be with us, fellowship with us, and communicate with us for all eternity, how fun will that be for Him if we all are a bunch of idiots when we get there. The almighty God of the universe who created everything in perfect symmetry and beauty and holds it all together with His wisdom and might talking to those who can’t even plan their own life, but set their minds on earthly things and are content with money and stuff. God gives His infinite wisdom to those who ask, but only if they are already seeking for it with more passion than gold, silver, and precious treasure. Let me say it again in case you missed it, we will enter heaven with the level of wisdom that we have grown to, at the point of our death.

Giving to the Poor

Patty and I have for most of our almost 51 years of married life given money to people who are in need on a regular basis. Very rarely does anybody come back for a second round, because they appreciated the help the first time so much. When people give to people it builds relationship, and it doesn’t foster dependency. It is God’s system or plan in helping the poor, but the problem is that there are to many stingy, selfish people to make it work. God had severe words for those who ignored the poor amount them

Ezekiel 16:49 Behold, this was the guilt of Israel, she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.

Deuteronomy 15:7-8 “If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.

Isaiah 58:7-9 Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him; Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, here am I.

Probably very few things that we did as parents was as impactful to our kids as when we brought in a homeless old lady to live with us for 6 months. She was a major pain in the butt, but God used it in all of our lives.

Division

This will be the shortest blog I have ever written because I have already written two today, and I don’t want to bore you.

People are saying that our country is divided, and it is. People say we are divided by race, color, gender, sexual preference, and political party. According to the Bible not only our country is divided but the whole world is. We are divided between those who are fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ and those who are not. The book of Proverbs would suggest that we are divided by those who are wise and those who are fools. The division occurs because those who do not love Jesus as their Savior and God don’t like those who do. The division occurs because those who are fools act like fools.

I got to ride in an ambulance

We were having a barbecue yesterday in our back yard with 3 different of our kids and their familes. Sam was barbecuing sockeye salmon that I just brought home from Alaska from a fishing trip. I got to feeling dizzy and asked Patty to help me walk to the bedroom so I could lay down for a minute, and shortly after standing up I fainted. I guess I was kind of a spooky sight lying there with my eyes wide open, my mouth open, my face white as a sheet, and out like a light. I came to just as the EMT’s showed up and then the ambulance. I really didn’t want to go to the hospital, but I was so groggy I couldn’t put up much of a fight. I fainted because of a drop in blood pressure, my blood pressure was 80/50. By the time we got to the Albany hospital it was back up to my normal 120/80. I think that the reason it dropped was that I inadvertently took two doses of my Parkinson’s medicine within 2 hours when it is supposed to be every 8 hours. I have an alarm on my phone that reminds me every 8 hours and then I mark that I took it, but sometimes I get to busy to mark it down, and then I forget that I took it. I probably will be more careful now, at least for awhile. Man it is a bummer getting old. First-time for me to ride in an ambulance. I think I will make it my last. Being physically out of it, and unable to get my body to do what I want is a very rotten feeling. I got home from the hospital and rode my stationary bicycle for two hours and again this morning, disciplining my body for being so wimpy. I am planning on climbing Mt Adams in one week so I better be getting in shape. The command to be strong is given almost 50 times in the Bible and it obviously isn’t talking about physical strength when it says that. The command to be strong in the strength which God supplies means to manage pressure well, to endure under trials, to not be anxious, or fearful of the COVID virus, and to not get uptight when you get Parkinson’s, cancer, heart problems, or a broken toe. Paul said, ”my physical body is getting weaker but my spiritual body is getting stronger”. That is what I want and will work hard to make happen.

Intersectionality

I have been studying ”Marxism” a bit lately because the term is being thrown about a lot. The main word in the philosophy of Marxism is equality. Justice is achieved through equality. Freedom is experienced through equality. Happiness is the environment created by equality. The philosophy of Marxism isn’t as big of a problem as the methods espoused in accomplishing equality in the masses. Marxism which is the philosophy that drives Communism and Socialism says that the role of government is to establish and maintain equality between people. In order for government to succeed at this task they need to exert a lot of control over the lives of people. In order for perfect equality to be achieved the one’s in power must be perfectly just, wise, and fair, with no corruption. The problem observed in the history of governments is that when power in leadership increases so does the level of corruption resulting in inequality.

A second problem is that the definition of equality is expanded way beyond the Biblical definition of equality which says that we are all created in the image of God, that Jesus died for every person and that He desires every person to be saved and adopted into His family. That every person has equal opportunity to grow into the character of Christ and to develop their gifts and serve Him and others. Marxism says that true equality means we are equal in what we possess, how much money we have, and how much power or influence over others that we have. Every government that attempts to achieve equality in a society in the area of possessions, income, and influence will become a welfare state resulting in the loss of motivation on the part of people to work, achieve, be responsible, and faithful because others will take care of that for them.

The Bible teaches that God is the great equalizer, and that He doesn’t cause equality to exist outside of our behavior, attitude, and dependence on Him.

Matthew 23:11-12 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Christians often see the term ”self-help” as a prideful term, but understood rightly it simply means that I am responsible before God to live my life to please Him, and as I do He blesses me. The blessings of God are not money and possessions, but joy, peace, honor, hope, inner strength, and a sense of worth and value.

Lately I have been learning a lot of new words or old words with new definitions. One of those new words is intersectionality, which comes out of Marxism.

At the ideological heart of the left today is the theory of intersectionality, which holds that interlocking systems of oppression determine most of the world’s outcomes.

Intersectionality is a theoretical framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social and political identities such as gender, sex, race, class, sexuality, religion, ability, physical appearance, height, weight, education level, intelligence etc. might combine to create unique levels of discrimination and privilege. Intersectionality identifies advantages and disadvantages that are felt by people due to a combination of factors.

If your goal was to create the opposite of a self-help philosophy, you’d land on intersectionality. The way to change your life for the better isn’t to work hard, practice good habits and make good decisions—the way to change your life is to overthrow the systems of oppression that are keeping you down, and the way to gain authority among your peers is to achieve a higher level of victimhood.

Marxism, Socialism, and Intersectionality is the heart of Liberalism, the left, the Democratic party, BLM, and most of the news media and social media today.

But the good news is that Jesus is coming to establish His Kingdom on the earth and He will be the perfect, righteous, just, holy ruler and judge that will establish true equality on the earth. Until then it will be a struggle.