Monthly Archives: October 2020

I Voted

I put my ballot in the ballot box by the Fire Station in Jefferson today, I voted. It is interesting talking to some people about that experience of voting. They often express an attitude of futility because they are only one person among millions. One fellow I talked to said that he and his wife didn’t vote, and the reason was because he couldn’t talk her into voting for Trump and she couldn’t talk him into voting for Biden so they decided rather than just cancelling each other out they would just not vote.

A mindset that I have tried hard to develop in myself is to do everything that I do for the Lord. To think about what His will would be according to the Bible and then make choices that I believe will please Him. I can make choices based on what I think is best for my kids or me or others, but I have the most confidence figuring out the right choice using God as the reason for all that I do.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

One of the blessings of making choices and acting on the basis of what I believe will please the Lord is that I know that what I do does not get lost in the crowd. Though there are many people and there has been many people God is more than capable of keeping close track of me and what I do. He promises that everything I do matters to Him and someday when I stand before Him He will reward me.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

I am Such a Bad Person

The bad person that I am is called my “flesh” in the Bible.

Galatians 5:19–21 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these,

My goal is to conquor this wicked tendency in me, and to live a life that pleases God and blesses others.

1 Corinthians 9:27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave,

2 Timothy 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

A very powerful tool that I have in my pursuit of righteousness is goal setting. I write goals about what I don’t want to do and I write goals of things I do want to do. I write goals of bad habits I want to quit and I write goals of good habits I want to start.

The problem is that I forget what my goals are, so it does no good to write them down. I forget what I aspired to and keep doing what I have always done.

But I have solved that problem, I read my goals every day, and I don’t forget, in fact by reading them every day they get stronger and stronger in my mind and heart, and I can’t hardly not do them.

Writing out my goals every year and reading them every day isn’t really that hard, and it doesn’t really take that much time, but the rewards are life-changing. I can’t imagine at this point in my life not doing this basic discipline. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why so few people practice this basic key to success in life.

Birthday Goals

I write yearly goals for my life, and I write one for every year old that I am, so this year I have 72 goals. I start reading my goals every day on my birthday, so I just finished with my second reading of my new goals. As I read each one I think about it for a minute in regards to how I am going to accomplish it. Some of them are ongoing, so I never really accomplish them until the end of the year. An example is reading my Bible every day, or praying with Patty 3 times a week, or reading 80 pages a week in a good book. Some are fun and won’t take much work to accomplish other than making the time for them, like fishing in the Colombia for Salmon 3 times. Several are BHAG’s, Big Hairy Audacious Goals, and they will take a huge amount of planning, preparation, and work.

One of my BHAG’s is to start a satellite church. A satellite church uses a video presentation for the preaching and possibly for worship as well. This saves from having to find someone to be the Pastor and worship leader. I just need to find someone to do the administration and to lead the services. We have video recorded a bunch of my sermons so I have a good source of sermons to use for this new church. I need to find a place to start it, recruit some core people, advertise a bunch, and then find the time. Once I successfully start one I should be able to do a bunch more. The goal would include finding a Pastor and staff after the church grows to the point that offering income would support them.

Another BHAG of another sort is climbing Mt Adams. I have attempted and failed to summit the last five times I have tried to climb it, so I am determined to make it this year. I plan to camp on the Mountain for two nights and take three days to climb it and make the descent. I will do a bunch of running this year to get in shape for the climb. I am pretty sure I can do it.

Goals add a great deal of focus to my life. I know what my goals are, and I don’t fool around with anything else. I can’t imagine trying to live my lifec successfully without the power of goals.

My Birthday is Today

I am getting older physically every day. From birth to about 30 I got progressively stronger, more coordinated, and smarter. From 30 to about 60 I pretty much held my own in regards to what I could do and how I felt. From 60 to 72 it has been a fairly steady decline in what I am able to do and how I feel. I imagine the next 15 years will be pretty much the same as the last 12 years. I became a member of God’s family when I was 13 and I began to grow on the inside in the way of character and I think I have had pretty steady growth since then. There were a couple of time blocks that I plateaued, a couple when I back slid a little, and then some periods in my life that I grew at a higher than normal pace, but for the most part it has been a steady rate of growth similar to what I experienced physically in my first 20 years.

The goal that I have is that before I die or before Jesus returns, whichever comes first, that I will be perfect. The word perfect in the Bible doesn’t mean sinless; it means grown-up in character, fully mature. It is God’s will for each of us who claim to know Him and love Him.

Philippians was one of the last books that the Apostle Paul wrote, probably when he was about 64 years old, and Nero martyred him when he was about 65 years of age. In the letter, Paul says that he was not yet perfect; he is pressing on toward being perfect. Paul, by this time, has written most of his letters that are part of the Bible, he started many churches and has lived a great life for God, but he felt he still had some more growing to do.

Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

So, I can say with confidence that ”I have not already obtained it or have already become perfect, ” in fact I would say that I have a long way to go, but I would say along with Paul, ”I press on toward the goal of being perfect, of being what God planned for me when I was born again.”

”I press on, ” twice Paul says that in this passage. It means to put out extreme effort, and that is what I want to do, that is what I intend to do.

Eschatology, Hermeneutics, and other big words

I am teaching a class on prophecy Sunday mornings at 10:15 am, and it is being “live-streamed” and you can watch it on YouTube live or any time after that. I enjoy teaching and even more I enjoy the study that I need to do in order to do a good job teaching. Prophecy, what God has planned for the future is a fascinating subject. A third of the Bible is prophecy so evidently it is an important topic to God. He has planned out the future and as God is perfectly able to carry out His plans. There are lots of opinions on the information recorded in the Bible based on varying hermeneutical methods and presuppositions, but there is only one true and accurate interpretation and I want to be able to discover that and teach it clearly and understandably in my class so that each person is motivated to live their life with a sense of urgency. A major reason to study this topic is that recognizing that the events that are happening rapidly around us daily are not just out of control craziness by people but the very plans of God. The study of hermeneutics gives a person a strong sense of security knowing that it has all been planned out by God in advance and I am in His family and He will take care of me and take me to heaven.

Isaiah 46:9-11 Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.

My Life is Planned Out

I love taking my IPad calendar and filling up every hour of every day with something. Some of the things I write down in some of the time slots are pretty general, such as, “yard work”, or “study”, but it is something. I read all of my 73 goals and then I do some calendar work, then I read my goals again and then fill in some more blanks in the calendar. I try to keep 10 months generally filled up, the next 6 months more so, and the closest 3 months totally planned. When I get 3 months completed I pray, “ Dear Lord Jesus, this is what I believe is your will for my life, and I am committed to pursuing it with all my might. If you want to direct me in a different way on anything that I have planned I am open and willing and I am listening and paying attention to any changes you want to make in my plans.”

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord
And your plans will be established.

Psalms 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

The rewards of planning as much of my future as possible is that I gain momentum and motivation reading what my plans are for the next day, the next week, and the next month. My use of time gets much more organized and precise having planned out my entire day ahead of time. I can anticipate problems, road blocks, and needs much more accurately and plan accordingly thus preventing them or at least be prepared to solve them as quickly as possible.

I know that there are some things that I do that very few people will ever start doing no matter how much I encourage them to pick up the discipline. Writing goals that cover most of your life and that will use up all of your time and energy, and then filling up the calendar with activities that are part of the strategy to accomplishing your goals seems like such a basic way to pursue a successful life, but very few do it and very few can be talked into doing it. I wonder why? I will keep trying.

I died last night

John 11:11-14 Jesus said to His disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,”

Every night when I put my head on my pillow I say, “Lord Jesus, I know one of these days I am going to die just like I am going to sleep now, and instead of waking up and seeing Patty, I will wake up and see You. I am ready and anxious for that to happen. Please give me more to do for You tomorrow or take me home tonight, I only want to stay if it means fruitful labor for You.”

Praying that prayer every night does a couple of things for me. The first thing is that it takes away all fear of dying and therefore all fear, because the fear of dying is the soil all other fears grow out of. I am not afraid of COVID, I am not afraid of cancer, I am not afraid of Parkinson’s, and I am not afraid of failure. Declaring my faith in God every night, declaring my faith in His care for me and that He has my life planned out every night, declaring my faith in eternal life in heaven with Him every night, and declaring my desire to bear more fruit for Him every night results in my faith growing, my passion and fire to do more growing, and my joy growing.

Repeating basic truths often and regularly causes those truths to become dominate in our thinking and then to fill our heart, soul, or inner person making us strong, confident, and happy people. Proverbs 23:7 says, “what a person thinks about most of the time determines who they are.”

We can choose what we think about, the command to “set our qmind on the things above,” is given numerous times in the Bible. We can by default let the world and the people around us dictate what we think about. We can, by simple passivity, allow the devil and his demons to influence to a high degree what we think about. Or we can allow God to control our thinking by reading His Word the Bible faithfully, daily is best, and to systematically memorize it, the Bible is the very mind of Christ.

So I am choosing to think about death as a graduation into a wonderful life with Jesus, and the postponement of death to be many opportunities to do more for Him that matters for all eternity. I am choosing to do that every night when I go to sleep.

Bad Days Coming

2 Timothy 3:1-4 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

I wonder how much worse things will get? This is a very intimidating list, “treacherous, brutal, haters of good, and reckless.” I wonder how many people will actually be like that, and how close they will live to me? Now it is on the News and the worst is in Portland and other major cities. The people I know and fellowship with are good, loving, and nice. The people I see in Jefferson, Lebanon, Scio, Albany in Home Depoe and Sportsman’s Warehouse seem pretty decent and easy to get along with.

This passage starts out with “realize this,” which would mean, “stop being naive,” “stop living with your head in the sand”. A person always hopes that things will get better, at least go back to normal, the way they once were, “but realize this”, Paul tells Timothy, “difficult times are coming!” Those who love Jesus, live for Him, serve Him, and attempt to influence others to follow Him will be most hated by the world. I am reading a book written by a man who was a pastor in Romania during the Soviet years, who was severally tortured for his faith, and was incredibly strong and influenced many in spite of the times.

So what is it going to look like in the way of my lifestyle. Will I have a bunch of alarms and motion detectors on my place, big mean dogs, loaded guns. Will these evil people that are becoming more numerous around me be ones that I can influence, share Jesus with, teach the Bible to, or will they be pretty much beyond reaching.

So the admonition to me is, “be courageous, be strong, don’t fret or be anxious, and be ready, be prepared to make a difference with and in the lives of many. I can do that. It is easy for me, I am 72 in 4 days, it won’t be very many more years before I will be out of here. So I am determined to finish well, shift my life into high gear, live every day as if it is my last before I stand before Jesus and hear him say, “enter into the joy of your Master”! Probably going to be some exciting days ahead.

Changed in the twinkling of an eye

The Bible says that one of these days those who are alive and love Jesus will hear a trumpet sound and then they will be changed in a twinkling of an eye, then we will lift off from the ground and meet Jesus in the air and go to heaven with Him. It says that we are to encourage each other with these words. I think that the day is coming soon when this series of events will take place.

There are several very positive things about this event. The first is that we will get a new body. The body of our humble state will be changed into conformity with the body of Jesus by the exertion of the power that He has to conform everything to His will. I wonder almost continually what my new body will look like and what it will feel like and what I will be able to do, how strong I will be, how we move and travel and how smart will I be, how clear and powerful will be my thinking. If I am going to be just like the body of Jesus it is going to be amazing, for sure. My present body aches and hurts most of the time, but I just remind myself of my new body whenever the pain gets bad. Can’t come to soon for me.

The second cool thing is that we will be gone from this earth with all that is going on. I get so weary of all the conflict, with all the weirdness, with all the evil and it will be so refreshing to be in a perfect place with none of what we are experiencing now. A place of perfect beauty, amazing joy, and abounding love among all. The light at the end of the tunnel for sure. I truly believe it is any day now, so live like it.

I Forgot Her Birthday

One of the very important things in my life right now is that I remember to take my Parkinson’s medicine. I have forgotten, both that I hadn’t taken it and that I already had, and took it again, resulting in an ambulance ride to the hospital. The fact that I forgot doesn’t make taking my medicine at the right time unimportant in reality or in my mind, it is very important and I know that it is very important! So why do I forget? Because there are so many things going on in my life, with so much information coming into my head that I am supposed to remember that I just forget some things, and often what I forget is the most important things. I forgot Patty’s birthday once. That didn’t mean that it wasn’t important to me, it didn’t mean that she wasn’t important to me, and it certainly didn’t mean that I didn’t love her, it just meant that there was so much urgent stuff going on that I forgot, I do that. It wasn’t a big deal to Patty, she didn’t take it as me not caring for her, she just reminded me, I apologized, made it up to her, and back to life we went.

I regularly hear of couples having a conflict because one of them forgot a birthday, anniversary, an appointment, or some other significant thing resulting in hurt feelings, resulting in irritation, or anger, or sulking, or the silent treatment. It seems so much more mature and wise and peaceful just to graciously remind the forgetful one of whatever they forgot and to get on with life.

The problems come when the personal standards that we have set for our spouse that we use to determine our own worth and value in their eyes is not their standards. It helps immensely if couples communicate to each other what makes them feel loved and valued, rather than expecting that their mate know what it is intuitively.

On one of our dates Patty said to me, “Do you know what makes me feel very loved more than anything else you do?” I took a couple of guesses that were wrong, and she said, “when you listen to me attentively when I talk even when it isn’t about something you are particularly interested in.” Because I am always in a hurry to get something else checked off of my “to do” list I am not a very attentive listener, especially if the conversation goes very long or is about something I could care less about. As Patty shared this with me I recognized how important this was to her, and I also recognized what a bad job I had been doing at making my wife feel loved. Because I forget things, even important things, I wrote out a commitment statement that is part of my every morning prayer of commitment to the Lord. “Today Lord, I will love Patty the way You loved the church and gave Your life up for her, I will do this by listening attentively to her when she talks with me, and I will not become impatient when she talks for a long time or about something I am not interested in. Please help me to keep this commitment.”

The cool thing was that when I shared my personal commitment with her she asked what was the most important thing she could do to communicate her love to me, and I shared it with her.😘