Author Archives: deefduke

About deefduke

Pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church, ride a bicycle, fish, hunt, and have 25 grandchildren.

Riots, Anarchy, Killing, Fires, Looting! Why?

Black Lives Matter, Antifa, protests, riots are a major part of our country right now, and the reason is because of injustice, both real and perceived. People’s rights are violated, they are treated unfairly, they are mistreated, often cruelly, people in positions of power and influence do wrong and others experience the consequences of that wrong.

The desire for and the pursuit of justice for ourselves and others is a major part of who we are as people created in the image of God. All of our eight kids, at an early age, angrily declared, ”that’s not fair!” Sometimes they made an appeal to us as their parents to make things right and fair, and other times they simply ”threw a fit”; children do that.

We all want to be part of the solution of injustice in the world, the question is how can we do that successfully. Many think that ”protests, riots, and even war” will solve the problems, but they seldom have or will, because they are usually just ”throwing a fit”. The responsibility of government is to preserve ”justice for all”, but because people in government are often selfish, unwise, and wicked, the government often fails.

As a believer in the Sovereignty of God and the truth found in the ”Word of God”, the Bible, I believe that the solution is found there, and only there. There are principles of justice found in the Bible, God’s rule book for successful living.

Principal #1 – Only a few people have significant influence and impact on their environment to move it towards the light instead of darkness, goodness instead of evil, and justice instead of injustice; most have little to no influence, and some negative impact.Principal #2 – Only those who are free of personal bitterness towards others because of real and perceived wrongs done to them and others will be able to influence, impact, and change things for the better by their leadership. This is a law of God set in stone. Those who are filled with bitterness and see themselves as victims, and blame others for their problems and plight in life will simply and always make things worse in their attempts to change things. Principal #3 – The only way to be free from bitterness and a victim mentality is to choose to forgive others for the wrongs that they have done to us, that is the only way, not merely the best way. That is why there are only a few people changing things, because most will not forgive, and revenge will be the underlying motive for their actions not justice. Principal #4 – Only those who have been forgiven will be able to forgive. I am empowered to forgive others by my own awareness of being forgiven. The stronger my sense of being forgiven, the greater my sense of self-worth, and my power will spring from my love for others and the desire for their well being.

The forgiveness that God gives through faith in Jesus Christ is supernaturally powerful in many different ways. Talk more about this tomorrow.

Barriers to Accomplishing my Goals

I have ministry goals, health goals, financial goals, fishing goals, hunting goals, house goals, car and pick up goals, personal growth goals, marriage goals, kid goals, grandkid goals, bicycle goals, mountain climbing goals, sky diving goals, exercise goals, and travel goals, to mention a few. My goals help me balance my life, they help me budget my time, they help me budget our money, they help me prioritize my life, they motivate me to do more, to work harder, they stimulate me to plan ahead, they are a key to saying ”no” to things outside my goal package, the writing process as I plan my new goals stimulates my creative thinking, the writing, dreaming process also motivates me to do things I have never done before. Reading past years goals that I have accomplished gives me a great sense of accomplishment, and they are a great tool for helping me discern God’s will for my life.

Very few goals go as planned in my head and on paper, there are almost always a host of barriers that pop up that have to be overcome, conquered, solved, and often major adjustments have to be made. Goal barriers can cause a lot of discouragment to the point that we quit setting goals and having dreams. There isn’t much that is as painful as the ”death of a vision.”

This COVID thing has been a major ”mess up” for a bunch of my goals. I have had to make major adjustments, and changes to a number of my most prized goals, even abandoning a few. But that is life, you figure it out, make mid-flight adjustments, and put the gas peddle back down on the floor.

When the first two of our eight kids we’re still little Patty and I went to a ”Child Raising Seminar”. In the seminar one of the speakers taught this principle, ”The best parenting tool available for parents who want to raise champions who love to win is camping, because when you go camping, everything that can go wrong does, and then you can teach your kids how to overcome problems, barriers, and emergencies. You can not only teach them how to conquer the barriers, make adjustments, sometimes even changing their goals because of them, you can also teach them to enjoy the process and the challenge. Kids that grow up knowing how to overcome the unexpected and not get uptight and frustrated in the process are very rare, and do very well in every area of life.”

All eight of our kids are ”overcomers” in attitude and character. They deal with life, solve problems, make adjustments, maintain their joy and positive attitude, and grow closer to God in the process.

One example is Sherri. She graduated from Multnomah Bible College and went to Liberia, West Africa as a missionary. While there she met Thomas, a Liberian, fell in love, and got married, doubly married, they got married in Jefferson and again in Africa. Their goal was to be life long missionaries to Liberia, a very noble goal, but while they were in the States so Thomas could get his U.S. Citizenship, he had a farming accident and broke his neck, paralyzing him, and putting him in a wheelchair. Liberia is not a handicap friendly country, and it would be very difficult for a wheelchair bound person to function. So they have made some major adjustments and refocusing of their dreams and ambitions for their lives. It has been a joy for me to watch as they deal with the unexpected, make adjustments, and maintain their joy and trust in the Lord. They have their down times, but they are like a volley ball being held under the water, it isn’t long before they pop back-up.

A major principle of life is, ”The more difficulties that God can bring into our life without us derailing, the more usable we become for Him.”

One last benefit of goal setting, ”those who set noble goals and pursue them, dealing with the barriers as they come up, become very tough people, sort of like camping.

Happy Hunter, Again

I say ”again” because I have written a blog by this title on many occasions, most often right after hunting season is over and I didn’t kill anything. Basically the theme of this blog and others with the same title is how do you manage the disappointment of unrealized goals. I know so many people who don’t set goals because they can’t manage the disappointment and pain of feeling like a failure when they come up short on their goals. Most who have stopped setting goals or have never even gotten started setting them justify it with statements like, ”I am just going to trust the Lord and see what He decides to do”, or ”that’s just not my temperament, ” or ”I don’t like the pressure that goal setting adds to my life, ” and many accurately acknowledge the fact that ”the failure to accomplish their goals makes them feel like a loser.”

Goal setting certainly isn’t a requirement in life, most people don’t set specific, measurable, written down goals for their life, so if you don’t, you are in the majority. It is much easier to just ”go with the flow, ” rather then take the time to think through what you really want to do and accomplish with your life, write them out, read them regularly, and focus most of your mental and physical energy, and resources on accomplishing them.

Goal setting is much more of a skill than it is a gift or a temperament type, and a skill is learned from those who have developed it and by practice. Though it is an option in life, it is a basic fact that those who have developed the skill of goal setting and practice it faithfully will almost always accomplish much more with their life that is meaningful and significant for them than those who don’t. Goal setters are focused, they prioritize their time, energy, and resources.

Back to the problem of failing to accomplish our goals. There are five attitudes that are important to understand and to develop if you want to keep goals from beating you up.

1. A goal is an expression of a desire of my heart, a dream, something I aspire to, not a command, or an obligation. Our flesh rebels against law, and making our goals requirements demotivates us rather than motivating us to greater accomplishments.

2. Our goals, in the way we write them, need to be relatively free of uncontrollable ingredients, that is things that I have little to no control over. My goal is to go archery hunting for a week, and to prepare well so that the chances of killing a deer and an elk is increased. If I don’t kill anything I will evaluate why, and make adjustments in my preparations next year. I will learn to get my enjoyment from the experience and the challenge, which are well within my ability to control.

3. Learn to identify the ”wins” in the pursuit of any goal, the positive elements that brought joy, peace, personal growth, enhanced relationships, excitement, renewed energy, increased skill, and a new experience, which almost always increases our wisdom.

4. Rewrite the goal for next year or the next time it is to be pursued with the adjustments that we have observed will increase the probability of accomplishing it. Nothing reinforces the spirit of goal setting like rewriting them with adjustments made with wisdom learned. It makes goal setting a journey rather than an event.

5. If the joy and enthusiasm of pursuing a specific goal is gone, drop it. There are to many noble goals to pursue to use up our time, energy, and resources on a goal that is no longer a strong desire of our heart.

Archery season isn’t over until September 27th.

Hunting

I am archery hunting for elk and deer over by La Grande, Oregon with several friends for the next week. Hunting is an activity that I have been involved with since I was 12 years old. I have hunted for deer, black tail, mule, and white tail deer the most, then elk, and I have hunted antelope, black bear, grissly bear, moose, caribou, mountain lion, sage rat, rattle snake, goose, turkey, duck, dove, grouse, pheasant, and this next year I am going pig hunting. I haven’t killed a moose or a grizzly bear yet, but everything else and we ate everything except the sage rats. Even though, over the years, we have eaten a lot of game that I have killed, the value of the meat hasn’t even been close to the amount of money that I have spent over the years on this activity. Guns, bullets, bows, arrows, broad heads, knives, clothes, and a bunch of other ”essentials” to numerous to remember. I have spent many hours in actual hunting and even more in practice and preparation time to help assure that a hunt will be successful. I have made several attempts in the last couple of years to quit hunting because it is getting to be a struggle physically to participate in it, but I keep finding a way to keep up the addiction. It could be the thing I am doing when I fall over with a heart attack. I quit trying to figure out the psychology of it all year’s ago go, and simple acknowledge the fact that I enjoy hunting very much, and that it is one of the activities in my life that helps keep me sane, balanced, happy, energized, and passionate. I am not addicted to alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling, video games, television, just hunting and fishing. I suppose I could start a support group, but it wouldn’t be to try and quiet, just an excuse to get together with other hunting and fishing addicts and tell stories and show off pictures. I am a happy, fulfilled 72 year old man who has lived a full and good life, and hunting has been a key reason why.

Gentleness

Gentleness is a character trait that is valued and highlighted in the Bible in many different places and many different ways, the most impactful probably being in Matthew 11:28-30 when Jesus invites us to serve with Him, ”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

During the time of Jesus, farmers would train a young ox to pull a plow or wagon by yoking them up with an older experienced ox. The older one would do most of the work, but the younger one soon learned how to pull and work by walking with and working with the older and more experienced ox.

”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Wow, that is such an attractive invitation. Almost everyone is ”weary and heavy-laden,” and the promise is that Jesus will give rest to those who come to Him. The invitation to ”come to Jesus” is an invitation to be yoked up with Him, to walk with Him, to work with Him, and to learn from Him, then we will find rest for our souls. What do we learn when we spend time with Jesus? We learn to be gentle. Not many people make ”learning to be more gentle” a personal goal in life, especially not many men, but it appears to me that it is the acquisition of gentleness that results in a weary free life of rest that Jesus promises.

There are many very counter-intuitive principles in the Bible which God declares to be the normal when He said, ”My ways are not your ways, nor is your wisdom My wisdom.”

The more we grow in the character trait of gentleness the more restful our souls will be. ”Rest for our souls,” what exactly does that mean? I like to take ”rests” periodically during the day, and the harder I am working the more frequent the rests. The purpose of a rest is to get re-energized. Jesus said, ”I will give you rest”, or another way of saying it, ” I will give you energy, strength, passion, vision, drive.” When?

Gentleness is a relational character trait, that is, you do gentleness with people. Gentleness is being quick to forgive, not answering rudeness with rudeness, not paying back hurt for hurt, working at making people feel special, appreciated, and valued.

So, the simple, counter-intuitive principle is this; ”When we choose to be gentle with another person, God who sees and hears everything rewards us with strength, but if we act grumpy, irritable, return rudeness for rudeness, and are insensitive to those around us we become weary.”

Police

Romans 13:3-4 ”For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”

In this passage in the book of Romans in the New Testament in the Bible rulers or police are called ”ministers of God” twice. The next time you are pulled over for speeding tell the officer that the Bible calls him a ”minister of God”. Their job given to them by God is to ”bring wrath on the one who does evil”. Their job given to them by God is to protect those who are good from the one’s who are evil.

Isaiah 5:20-23 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight! Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away the rights of the ones who are in the right!

There is a bunch of wicked behavior going on in our country right now under the guise of social justice. There is non-stop rhetoric being spouted by rebels who really don’t have a cause, they are just bad people who are always looking for an opportunity to be bad and appear just, and then their nonsensical words and stupid behavior is hyped by the media to create a frenzy of more stupid behavior.The worst thing about the foolishness going on now in the name of justice is the number of relatively good people who are getting caught up in it thinking they are fixing things.

It is so important to stay close to God in these days, to read the Bible and spend time with God in prayer every day so that we can be wise and see accurately what is going on, and to be able to appraise right from wrong.

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things,

I Drove off with the Gas Nozzle still in the Tank!

I have heard of people doing that, but I always thought that a person was close to brain dead who would do such a thing. After I asked for my tank to be filled with regular, handed off my credit card, and as my tank was filling, I took two propane bottles over to be filled and then packed them back to the car once filled and put them in the trunk, I then went in and paid for them and got $.73 cents taken off for a pastor’s discount. I then got in the car and drove away with the gas nozzle still in my car’s gas tank. I heard a loud popping noise, looked in my side view mirror and saw the kid who pumped my gas chasing me and the gas nozzle and hose trailing after me. whooooeeeee was I humiliated, embarrassed to death, wishing that Jesus would come back right now. I apologized repeatedly, and they said no big deal, they had a quick disconnect on the hose that pulled apart when this happened, and they would just plug it back in, it happens all the time.

I have been in group discussions at lunch or other times with pastors when we got to sharing the most embarrassing moments in our lives, where you just wanted to simply die. Some of the stories that I have heard others tell I thought we’re the craziest, funniest stories, and laughed till I was sick. One of the funniest was when a friend of mine was talking to an Elder in our church on his cell phone and while talking drove off with the nozzle still in his tank, heard the commotion, looked in his mirror and then started cussing and then realized that he was still on the phone with the church Elder. Whoooooeeeeeee, I howled when I heard that story. Well, at least I didn’t cuss.

Shame is our greatest fear. It is said that most men’s greatest fear is speaking in public, it isn’t that as much as the fear of doing poorly and looking bad and being embarrassed, feeling shame.

A prayer of King David in Psalms 31:17, ”Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon You;” I pray that prayer often.

Here is a prayer of Jesus as He hung on the cross for our sins in Psalms 69:19-21, ”You know my reproach and my shame and my dishonor; Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick. And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none. They also gave me gall for my food and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

Jesus understands us because He experienced everything to the fullest that we have experienced and felt. He knows and understands what we are going through in life and what we need to get through it successfully.

Thank You, Lord Jesus for understanding me, being patient with me, forgiving me of everything and anything, giving me strength to grow, and confidence in my shame that You will never be ashamed of me.

A Dog’s Life

Our new dog, Roscoe, is living a dog’s life. He gets held whenever he whines. He gets more food to eat than he needs. He sleeps any time he want’s any where he wants. He isn’t expected to do anything responsible to merit all that he gets for free. I took most of two days flying round trip to Philadelphia to pick him up, and paid good money to boot. It is kind of a mystery as to why I did that and why a dumb dog who can’t talk or seem to make sense of a simple command not to poop in the house has become so special. It makes no sense to me even though I am right in the middle of the whole thing. The payback is his affection in a very simple kind of way. He whines to be picked up, he wags his tail like crazy when you look at him, and he practically wiggles himself into a frenzy when you scratch his belly. A simple dog like devotion seems to attract many people to put up with these hairy, noisy, peeing and pooping nuisances.

Romans 5:6-9 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

I am a born again child of God, forgiven, adopted into His family. Why did He do that for me?

John 14:1-3 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

Jesus is building a house for us and He will come and take us to be with Him, live with Him forever. Why? What makes me or you worth that kind of attention?

I am not sure why He loves me so much, but He does, and my main responsibility, if I can call it that is to adore Him, to worship Him, to thank Him, to praise Him, not as an occasional ritual, but without ceasing. To acknowledge His presence in my life continually, to talk to Him, to walk humbly with my God, to bring Him great joy by my joy in Him.

Most Important Discipline of them All

I have written on this topic numerous times, but it is so important and so easily forgotten and dropped that I have a goal of bringing it up at least every 6 months.

The most important discipline is the first thing in the morning prayer of commitment. If I faithfully do this one, then all the others fall into line. The prayer needs to be relatively short, memorized, and prayed each and every morning. My prayer looks like this;

Dear Lord,

Today I present myself to You as Your servant, You are Lord and King of my life, today I will obey You and do Your will no matter how difficult or hard it might be. Today I will read Your Word, and I will memorize and meditate on your Word, that is the key to my growth, my power, and my accomplishments. Today I will be devoted to prayer, I will pray systematically, according to my my commitments, and continuously. Today I will love Patty the way You love the Church. Today I will take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Today I will only speak words that give grace to those who hear.Today I will love any person You sovereignly bring into my life no matter how difficult they might be to love. Today I will not get angry, not even a little bit irritated at anybody no matter what they do, I will forgive them quickly. Today I will do my part to build Your church at JBC and around the world. Today I will look for open windows, divine appointments, provided by the Lord to be a witness. Lord Jesus, I can’t keep these commitments in my strength, please fill me with Your Spirit today and grant me the power to keep these commitments and to glorify Your name.

Amen

51 years Married to the Same Woman

Today was Patty and Dee’s 51st Wedding Anniversary. That is a lot of years of events, accomplishments, and criseses. Through all the up’s and down’s over the years we have always been one. That is a claim that not many can make, we have always been one. The essence of love is unity; there is no love without unity. Unity requires sacrifice for the other person, it requires giving in and compromise. Oneness requires patient conversation and listening. Unity and oneness requires humility in letting the other person be right this time. Unity, for sure requires a lot of forgiveness, not ordinary forgiveness that takes a while to work up to, but extraordinary forgiveness that chooses to forgive immediately, every time there is a cross word or a rude comment, it is immediately forgotten and overlooked. That isn’t easy to do, but we have for 51 years. Patty and I are very different in every way. Often differences create division and strife, but our differences have created an interplay of mutual care and cooperation of strengths being amplified and weaknesses being compensated for so that together we are so much more effective and efficient in living life, doing ministry, and raising our family. Unity and oneness requires a mutual submission and authority that works seamlessly without votes or fights to arrive at decisions that are good and wise. True unity and oneness like that of God the Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is supernatural, it just is. From my perspective, Patty is 99% the reason our marriage is so good, and many of you agree with me, but Patty believes that I am 99% the reason our marriage is so good, wow, now that makes me feel appreciated and honored. A unified marriage creates an environment of security, peace, joy, self-worth, acceptance, and honor that both partners thrive and grow in. As good as it has been next year is going to be so much better.