yesterday I preached about bitterness and the consequences of it in our own life. It was one point out of 7 so it was only about 5 minutes that I talked about it, but I received so much response. I said I believed after almost 40 years of pastoring That bitterness was the worst sin possible to commit, not because of what it does to others but what it does to ourselves. It is like eating a spoone of poison every day. Forgiving anybody of anything, no matter how awefull what they did is or how often they have done it is absolutely essential for our own soul health. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean we condone what they have done or that we ignore behavior. It doesn’t mean that we don’t work at helping others to change and grow and to be part of the solution to conflict and injustice. What I do when someone does something or says something that hurts me or violates my rights or someone’s that is close to me is to pray, ” Lord, I choose to forgive this person for what they have done because You have forgiven me of everything I have ever done or will do, please help me Lord, to not be bitter and to forget this offense quickly”. When it pops back into my head and it always does I pray the same prayer again and again and again until it is gone, and if I am faithful to keep praying the prayer when ever the bitterness returns it always goes away. It is hard to put into words the feeling of being free from all resentment and bitterness in my heart. Some would say it is not possible but it is very possible for the person who has experienced forgiveness from Jesus and thanks Him daily for that amazing grace.
day and night, summer time and winter time, sunny weather and rainy weather, good times and bad times. Life. I Sure like the sunny weather and the good times. Makes me smile😄 interesting to think about why God in His infinite wisdom made life like that. There are lots of reasons I am sure, but I wonder if one of them isn’t the principle of contrast. When the kids were little we would put a piece of black construction paper in the freezer if snow was in the forcast, and if it did snow we would take the black construction paper out of the freezer and let some snow flakes land on it. Because it was cold the snow flakes wouldn’t melt right away so we could look at them in detail. Against the black they were beautiful and incredibly intricate and of course all different. A major reason that we will appreciate heaven with God for eternity, something we didn’t earn nor deserve is because of the winter, and the rain, and the night, and the hard days of this life. Our memories will be perfect so we will always remember this life and rejoice for all eternity for the great gift of eternal life with God because of what Jesus did for us.
i used to want some kind of “Experience” that would really help me have greater faith in God, Jesus, and the Bible. My number one choice would be a trip to heaven and back. The Apostle John got to, so did the Apostle Paul, why not me. Now, I have come to the conclusion that my experience with God in my soul is as real and strong as any that I could have with eyes, ears, or physical touch, and that my faith at this point in my life is very strong and influences every aspect of my life and the decisions that I make.
Tonight in church as we participated in Communion together was for me a very real experience with God. The sense of His presence in my life was as real as if I could see and hear and touch Him. I don’t use the words “real, profound, and supernatural” lightly in an attempt to impress anybody, . but that is what tonight was for me. I truly hope and pray that my time with God tonight was duplicated by others there tonight and that tomorrow morning is even better. Looking forward to it.
tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and tonight I took Patty out to a scrumptious steak dinner with an unbelievably good band that played 40’s , 50”s, and 60’s music. She had a wonderful time and I earned lots of wonderful husband points. I have been preaching for 38 years but I truly believe that I can learn and grow and became literally twice as effective at preaching the Bible as I presently am. I know that the better I get at this skill the more impact I will have on people. I also know that even though we have been married 46 years I can easily become twice as effective and smart as a husband that loves his wife the way Christ loves the Church. I believe that the key to getting better at preaching the Bible and getting better at making my wife the happiest woman on the planet earth is to be obsessed with growth and improvement. I fear complacency and contentment as a servant of God. I want, really want, want more an more. Want until it hurts. Please help me Lord.
I have dropped my phone so many times. When I bend over it just slides out of my pocket. But it has just kept on working, until a couple of days ago, and it started acting weird. So I was eligible for an upgrade so I got a new phone, an Iphone 6 plus. I fiddled with it for hours last night getting everything switched over, and getting it to do everything I wanted out of a good smart phone, my second brain. This morning I had a Men’s Accountability mee. ting in Salem at 6 am and then a 7 am appointment both at Shari’s Resturant. I set the alarm on my new phone for 5 am, and woke up this morning at 7:15 am. Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggghhhh I felt so irresponsible and stupid when I woke up and looked at the time. How did this happen???? I guess there a few more bells and whistles on this new phone that I hadn’t discovered, and one was shutting off all phone noises while it’s owner was sleeping so he wouldn’t get disturbed. It was set to go off at 8 am. I texted and phoned all who had been expecting me but didn’t see me with my pathetic excuse for irresponsible living. My oh my, God uses even cell phones, even nice new ones to keep us humble.
I lift weights almost every night for 30 minutes. I do 5 reps and then work on my memory verses for 5 minutes than I do 5 reps again until my 30 minutes are up. Each night I do a different lift, I have 6 different ones I do each week with one day off. I ride my bicycle every night for 40 minutes and have my iPad on a music stand and read my Bible during the riding. I get 16 chapters read each evening while I pedal my brains out. I also run on my treadmill each evening and listen to a sermon by Bill Hybels, or Andy Stanley, or John Ortberg, or john Piper while I run. A sermon a night from a super good preacher and 45 minutes of hard exercise. Whooooooeeeeeeee makes me tired reading over what I just wrote. Boy it sure would be nice if Jesus would come back tonight.
A lot of my pastor friends who are my age are retiring. One said, “I am so tired all the time that I have no vision for the future of our church other than the status quo, and they deserve better than that.” I was especially tired and weary today, and I started thinking how nice it would be to not be running and pushing and dreaming all the time for more fruit, more people to love Jesus, more sermons, more outreach events. I could sleep in every day, leisurely read and pray then take a nap. I don’t like to be in a state of indecision for very long so I tend to decide and then drive a stake in the ground figuratively speaking, that is I make the decision resolute enough that I don’t go back and revisit it over and over again. So I decided that I have a lot of juice left in me, I know more about the Bible than I ever have, that I can rest when I get to heaven. So I decided that health permitting I will go as hard as I can for at least another 12 years. I will be 78 years old and 50’years in ministry at JBC. If I am still alive by then I might retire then or maybe decide that I will go until I am 82, that is the age Caleb was in the book of Joshua when he said, ” give me that mountain to conquor, I am as strong today as I was when I was 40″. I am praying that Jesus comes back tonight!!
I bought an airow gun today online. It is a contraption that fastens on my bow and the bow string pushes a plunger instead of an arrow. The plunger goes into a cylinder which creates great air pressure and shoots a 22 caliber pellet. It is great for shooting indoors in the winter to keep the muscles in shape and the old shooting eye sharp. I have wanted one for awhile now and going up to the Sportsman’s Show in Portland followed by a couple of hours walking around in Cabella’s got the hunting juices going pretty good. In a fit of lustful desire I bought it. It will come in a couple of days. So was that a bad thing to do? I haven’t told Patty yet. Probably not a bad thing, but if I did something like that every night it certainly would be in regards to financial wisdom.
When my Dad was dying from liver cancer one of the problems we had while taking care of him was in the last weeks of his life he wouldn’t eat, because he had no appetite. Yesterday I wrote that I was deciding what my cravings would be. I want to thirst for God, hunger and thirst for righteousness, I want to desire very much to bear much fruit and more fruit, I want my wife to be the happiest woman on the face of the earth because I love her so much, and I want to be a super Dad and grandfather to my kids and grandkids.
Cancer destroyed my Dad’s desire for food. I believe that my desire for God, holiness, significant accomplishments, and a great family is destroyed by the world and the stuff in it. When I desire the wrong things my desire for the right things will grow weak. John in the New Testament says that we can’t love the world and God at the same time. As our love for the world goes up our love for God goes down. The tricky part of managing this is that the stuff in the world is not bad or sinful, it is just stuff that I begin to think I can’t live without. We all have some stuff.
Lust is craving the wrong things. Lust left unchecked will grow stronger and stronger. We were created to desire and want and to dream. It is a sad thing to see when my desire for God and the dreams I have to do something great with my life morph into lusting after material possessions that are cool, but empty.
I can’t wait for my airow gun to come!!
I am reaing a book now called “Habits”. The basic premise of the book is that we can change our performance by changing our habits. The key to establishing a good habit is to identify a craving that we have and connect the habit to the craving in our mind and then anticipate the reward of the craving being satisfied when we do what we are trying to establish as a habit. Interesting question to reflect on, “what are my cravings”? I decided that I would declare what my cravings are because that is what I want them to be not what my flesh craves.
The ultimate craving of my life is God. I want to know Him more. I want to sense His presence around me more. I want to sense His pleasure in me more. Psalms 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God”. So I will verbally reward myself when I read the Bible that I have grown closer to God. I will declare when I worship well at church gatherings that I have indeed grown closer to God. I have a list of spiritual disciplines that I want to establish as strong habits in my life that I know would result in a growing intimacy with God.
Other cravings; I crave to be more and more righteous and holy in my heart, my character. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they shall be satisfied”. I crave to do more and more with my life that matters for all eternity. To do more with my life that influences people to move closer and closer to God. I want to bear much fruit for God. I want to accomplish more in the next ten years of my life than I have in the previous 38 years of ministry. I want to love my wife the way Jesus loves the church. I want to be the kind of father to my children and grandfather to my grandchildren that God is to me.
Those sound like good cravings to me. I think I will pursue them diligently.
I lost 45 lbs on my bicycle trip to Portland, Maine, 230 lbs to 185 lbs. I have been determined not to gain any back. It was to painful to lose. Tonight I weighed in at 200 lbs, I have gained 15 lbs back!!! I am so disgusted with myself, I can’t believe I have let this happen!!! I am committing to ramp up the exercise and really take control of my eating. I can’t lose this contest with my own flesh! Help me Lord!