?

Log in

About this Journal
Current Month
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31
May. 17th, 2015 @ 09:39 pm Thank You
Listening to Senior Testimonies at Kentucky Mountain Bible College​ and reflecting back to my graduation 6 years ago. So many people have invested in my life, before college, during, and after. More than anyone else is my family, and your impact is more than I can describe. But if I could name 3 people other than my family that have had the biggest impact on me during college and the years after, these are they:
Mr. Randy Huff, you invested so much in me during college to help shape and mold me into the leader that I am today. You spent hours upon hours helping me to study the Bible in General Epistles, to think in Philosophy, and teaching me how to work with people as Student Body President. I couldn't count the hours you put aside everything else in your busy schedule to work with me one on one. Your investment shaped and continues to shape my life and ministry in a huge way.
Dr. John Neihof, other than my family, I think you have made the biggest impact on my life. You and my father were my favorite teachers, and I learned so much under your instruction. You made me into a communicator and taught me the professional skills I have today. When I started at Mountain Gospel Radio​, your wisdom, insight, and encouragement kept me going. You were my advisor and model, and I continue to shape my own classes and teaching after yours. I don't think I'll ever reach your level of exceptionalism, but it's a goal I strive for.
Dr. Philip Speas, You took a great risk and put your confidence in me when it was dangerous. I started at the radio station with little experience, but you believed in me, invested in me, counseled and directed me, and stood behind me to make me successful. You gave me the freedom to fail, the resources to succeed, and the challenge to go farther than I thought was possible. You've taught me a lot and encouraged me every step of the way. Both myself and the radio station are where we are today because of your faith and investment in me.
I praise the Lord for the many people that have invested in my life to make me who I am, and continue to help me grow and develop. Thank you so much for giving of yourself and making a difference in others. There is no way I can ever repay you, but I strive to make the same investment in those God places in my sphere of influence. By God's grace, your investment will continue to reap dividends in the lives of others.
About this Entry
Complicated
Apr. 23rd, 2013 @ 10:15 pm Twenty-Five
Tags:

Twenty-Five: It's quite a common place number.

We see it often – enough that it's significance is brushed aside.

There's twenty-five days in every month.

Every hour has twenty-five minutes.

Twenty-five is in time, money, and so much more.

But there's one place we don't find twenty-five.

There's not twenty-five hours in every day.

We lead busy lives. Hours pass by quickly.

Sometimes I wish that God would give me a 25th hour in the day.

An hour just for me, something no one else gets.

An extra hour of work, and extra hour of sleep.

An extra hour of prayer – even though I probably don't mean that.

But nothing is changed.

Every day has only twenty-four hours.

What do I expect? Should I get special treatment?

God's told us he's no respecter of persons.

He's the same God who gives rain to all,

And allows storms and tragedy with no exemptions.

But when He does give more, He expects more in return.

But I'm looking at it all wrong.

It's not what I lack, but what I've already received.

Every hour is a blessing from God,

And He gives twenty-four every day!

Is twenty-four somehow now enough?

Just because He gives to everyone the same,

Must I venture to ask for another?

But again I miss the point!

Because He's already given me twenty-five!

If I've been praying for a twenty-fifth hour,

I'm praying for what I've already received.

For in His goodness, I've lived to twenty-five!

Millions have died before even seeing the world.

Twenty-five thousand times four just today.

So do I deserve twenty-five? Not at all!

Do I deserve twenty-four? Not that either!

Am I worried about what more I'll receive?

Or am I grateful for what I've been given?

Do I somehow deserve these gifts from above?

If I get twenty-five or if I get one-hundred,

Every hour is a gift nonetheless.

The truth is, I'm already living in that 25th hour . . .

An extra blessing from God not deserved.

But back to the years, hours, and time.

Is it really the quantity that matters?

Should I judge based on how much I receive?

Observe Christ, he had only thirty-three here on earth.

But look at what He accomplished!

So my focus is wrong when I ask for more,

Because I think that more means better.

It's not about how many hours you have,

But how you spend the hours you're given.

It's not about how many years you get,

But what you do with the years you live in.

It's not how long you live – but how you live.

Things make sense when I fix my thinking.

So what am I doing with what God's already given?

It's now about whether Bob got more, the same, or less.

It's about what I've been given and how I respond?

I stop my begging for that twenty-fifth hour.

Why should He give me twenty-five hours in every day?

He's already given me twenty-four!

And yet, He still gives twenty-five all the time!

May I honor Him with every gift He's given.

© Daniel Lorimer

April 20, 2013

For my 25th Birthday.

About this Entry
Complicated
Sep. 11th, 2012 @ 07:38 pm After the Battle
After the battle has broken,
The strong men are down.
All that's left are the pieces
Strewn on the ground.

So many years of hatred,
Decades of war.
All that's left are the pieces
Floating back to the shore.

The fighting has ended,
The smoke lifting to see.
All that's left is the rubble,
Nothing tidy and neat.

Here we stand in the ashes,
Those left from the fray.
It's our job to rebuild
Without any delay.

We stand not alone,
Though battered and flawed.
For after the battle,
God is still God.

© Daniel Lorimer
October 2, 2009
About this Entry
Complicated
Jul. 4th, 2012 @ 11:30 pm Freedom Pt 2 - Freedom and Selfishness

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Star Spangled Banner

Please Note: This is a longer blog. If you don't have time for the full journey, please read the Introduction and the Summary at the end.

Introduction:

The United States of America: the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” This month, we remember once again our Day of Independence, when the United States began her quest as an independent proponent of freedom. This freedom is at the core of who we are. Without freedom, we would not be the United States of America. This freedom has suffered many challenges because as the old adage goes, “freedom is not free.” We have lived for it, fought for it, died for it. But yet, freedom stands. But freedom is such a fragile thing, so difficultly gained, so easily lost. As a nation, we are once again at a crossroads. How can we ensure that freedom is maintained and passed on to our posterity?

In my last post (part one) I talked about freedom and suffering. If you missed it, catch it here: http://dplorimer.blogspot.com/2012/07/freedom-pt-1-freedom-and-suffering.html

Now I want to share part two, and look at yet a different perspective of freedom – in the realm of the personal. What does selfishness have to do with freedom?

The Journey: (The Journey is best, but if you don't have time, please skip to the “Summary” in bold at the end.)

The dictionary defines freedom as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” If we have freedom, then we can do whatever we want, right? Isn't that the purpose of freedom, so that we can do as we please? This is the philosophy of many. But what impact does this have on freedom? The truth is that this view of freedom is rooted in selfishness and attacks the very foundation of freedom. Selfishness is the very antagonist of freedom and nothing will destroy freedom more quickly. How can I say that?

The Biblical concept of freedom/liberty is not license to do whatever we please. In fact, Paul addresses this very issue in Galatians: “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” - Gal 5:13

Rather than self-pleasing, the Biblical concept of freedom/liberty is the liberty to serve others. It is a selfless pouring out of ourselves to do what is best for someone else.

So we have two competing principles: selfishness and selflessness. Selflessness is the preserver of freedom and selfishness is the destroyer of freedom. So what do we do about it? How do we preserve freedom?

Let me start by saying that all freedom is personal and internal. If someone is free internally, you can't take that freedom away with external bonds. If someone is bound internally, you can't set them free with external means. So to address the core issues of freedom, we must address the core issues of the person. To really deal with selfishness and freedom, it takes us right to the heart of man.

The real issue behind selfishness is carnality. At the root of the carnal nature is selfishness. The result of selfishness is bondage – you cannot be free and selfish because the selfishness will put you in bondage. Selfishness will control you. It will dictate your life. You are bound, and unable to act as you should. Selfishness puts you in chains to money, greed, government, sex, hate, something. There is no question, selfishness will make you its slave. It will control you.

The solution? “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” - Gal 13:16-18. The Spirit of God brings freedom. He is the source of selflessness, and it is only selflessness that brings true freedom.

But there it said it again – if we are led by the Spirit, we are not under the law, so that means we can do what we want, right? No. Because this freedom is freedom to serve others (Gal 5:13). And you find that by serving others you are preserving freedom – both your own freedom and theirs. A society of internally free (selfless) people is the only society that will remain free.

For that reason, freedom apart from Christianity cannot exist. Because God is the giver of real freedom, and any freedom without Christ is a mere fantasy. But we speak in the personal level. Does this really have an impact on whole societies? Yes.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” - John Adams (The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams, Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851, 4:31)

“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments." - Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence

“Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants.” - Benjamin Franklin

“It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.” - Patrick Henry

Take for example Islam. We hear a lot about Islam being a religion of peace and freedom. It is not a religion of either. Islam is a religion of fear and bondage. In Islamic countries that have been given freedom, does it last? Some have overthrown their government. Who comes into power but more tyrants? Some have been given freedom externally, and they struggle to maintain it, because the people are not internally free. They are bound, because they have forsaken the true God.

But it's not just Islam. Every godless country in history has fallen because freedom cannot be maintained. Without God, America is headed toward the same end. The only thing that can save her is a return to Christ, who gives true freedom.

Summary:

Freedom and Selfishness – Here's how it works.

Carnal Nature → Selfishness → Person does what self wants; disregards others; disregards laws → Laws are required to contain this person → the more selfish, the more external rules are imposed → the more external rules imposed, the less freedom → the cycle continues until freedom is lost.

The end result is the loss of freedom altogether. The root cause is selfishness.

The only way to reverse this trend is to reverse the beginning. The root of selfishness must be replaced with selflessness, the very essence of Christianity. We start over:

Spiritual Nature → Selflessness ---> Person does what is best for others; follows rules; obeys laws → Rules/laws are not necessary to contain this person because the person is self-governed → the more selfless, the less external rules are imposed → the cycle continues toward greater and greater freedom.

The end result is absolute freedom. The root cause is selflessness.

This equation applies in personal life, the church, school, work, government, everywhere. If you want to have freedom, you must be self-governed. You cannot be selfish and self-governed.

All freedom is personal; All bondage is personal. If you are in bondage internally, you will be in bondage externally. If you are free internally, you will be free externally.

“Bad men cannot make good citizens. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience are incompatible with freedom.” - Patrick Henry

The Bible teaches it. The founders believed it. People must be free internally in order to maintain freedom externally. If the United States is to stay free, it will only be because the citizens are truly free, free with the liberty in Christ to do what is best for others, and not just serve themselves.

To preserve freedom we don't need better laws, we need better people. For the sake of freedom, will you be one?

About this Entry
Complicated
Jul. 4th, 2012 @ 01:13 am Freedom Pt 1 - Freedom and Suffering

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Star Spangled Banner

Please Note: This is a longer blog. If you don't have time for the full journey, please read the Introduction and the Summary at the end.

Introduction:

The United States of America: the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” This month, we remember once again our Day of Independence, when the United States began her quest as an independent proponent of freedom. This freedom is at the core of who we are. Without freedom, we would not be the United States of America. This freedom has suffered many challenges because as the old adage goes, “freedom is not free.” We have lived for it, fought for it, died for it. But yet, freedom stands. But freedom is such a fragile thing, so difficultly gained, so easily lost. As a nation, we are once again at a crossroads. How can we ensure that freedom is maintained and passed on to our posterity?

In part one of this 4th of July blog, I want to look at freedom from a little different perspective. What does suffering have to do with freedom?

This journey takes me back several years to a book written by Peter Kreeft titled Making Sense out of Suffering. If you haven't read it, it's a good read. He makes an interesting case: “Freedom is both the source and the solution to suffering. Freedom both makes suffering possible and makes suffering meaningful.” (p.99) That's quite a pill to swallow right off the bat and doesn't seem to make sense. He's basically making a double-sided statement, so let's look at each side.

The Journey: (If you don't want to read all this, please skip to the "Summary" in bold at the end.)

First, how is freedom the source of suffering? This may not seem logical, so let's look at it. Freedom necessitates choice – you can't have freedom without the ability to choose. To have the ability to choose, there must be more than one option (or it's not really a choice). Every option logically must have a negative counter-option. For example, I may choose to eat, or choose to not eat. Freedom also necessitates consequences – you can't have freedom unless your choices actually have some impact. If all choices have the same outcome, then it it not really freedom, because you didn't actually choose anything – the end was already dictated before-hand. If choices have consequences, there must be a possibility of suffering, because suffering is the negative counter-option to wellness. Thus is how freedom is the source of suffering, because without freedom suffering would not have to be an option. But with freedom, suffering must be a possibility, or it is not really freedom. Before you go to far, let me point out that non-freedom does in no way guarantee that there is not suffering. Whoever dictates when there is no freedom could dictate suffering. But if the dictator were all powerful, etc., they could dictate no suffering, because there would be no choice. So, in summary, non-freedom does NOT guarantee non-suffering, but freedom requires or creates the possibility of suffering.

Second, how is freedom the solution to suffering? The answer to this question is very practical, because this is where it hits home. If freedom is the source of suffering, how could it be the solution? Here's how. Non-freedom does not guarantee non-suffering, and if suffering is mandated without choice, then we can do nothing about it and there is no hope. If there is suffering because of freedom then there is a possibility of a different outcome and we can make a difference in that outcome, and therefore there is hope. Suffering without freedom is not tolerable. It is pointless. Would you willingly suffer if it would not change the outcome? Would you take a bullet for someone if it wouldn't make any difference? Would you endure hardship if it couldn't change anything? No. See, freedom gives meaning to suffering. We face suffering because we can make a difference. We endure suffering because we hope for a better future (a future that we have a choice in). Freedom infuses suffering with meaning and purpose because we can look past the suffering to what we are suffering for. Suffering only has any purpose if we have freedom. Freedom is the solution to suffering because it gives purpose to suffering.

What is the purpose to suffering? Some suffering is the necessary consequence of choice (either one's own or someone else's). But there's another kind of suffering, and that is the suffering that we willingly accept. It seems logical to think that the purpose of this suffering is to end suffering. See, if you can make a difference in the outcome, then suffering is tolerable if you can lesson suffering in the future. But this contains the seeds of its own destruction, because freedom necessitates the possibility of suffering. Therefore, suffering to destroy suffering is in reality suffering to destroy freedom. Instead of suffering to destroy suffering, let me venture to say that the purpose of this kind of suffering is someone else's freedom. Look at Christ as an example. He willingly suffered, because He could make a difference. Did He suffer to destroy suffering? Not primarily. He suffered to give us freedom, and “by His wounds we are healed” (Is. 53:5). Freedom is only possible through suffering. Someone must suffer for another to have freedom. See how this all fits together? Freedom gives purpose to suffering in part because suffering is what makes freedom possible.

Having this background, let's look at the world. There is suffering in the world. That either means that there is freedom or that suffering has been mandated without choice. If it has been mandated, then there is nothing we can do and there is no hope. If there is freedom, then there is hope because we can make a difference. If there's hope, we can endure or tolerate suffering because we have something better to look forward to. In fact, we will accept suffering for the sake of granting freedom to another. We will suffer so someone else doesn't have to.

So, if we have freedom, what should be our primary goal? To end suffering? Or to grant freedom? One might think it best to pursue the end of suffering, but be careful. Remember that freedom necessitates the possibility of suffering? Therefore, pursuing the goal of ending suffering is actually pursuing the goal of ending freedom and thus destroys freedom (and does not end suffering). We should pursue the goal of granting freedom primarily, because it is freedom that makes suffering tolerable. And we find that pursuing freedom lessons suffering because one person willingly suffers so another doesn't have to.

Can I give you one major example of this controversy in our world today? It's called “Capitalism” and “Socialism.”

Capitalism is a system of private ownership. Capitalism pursues freedom to ensure the continuation of the private ownership. Capitalism works because of freedom. People are willing to suffer because they are free. They own things and they make the choices. They are willing to suffer because they can make a difference in the outcome.

Socialism is a system of state/government ownership. Socialism pursues non-freedom to ensure the continuation of government ownership. Most people don't like that idea, however, because there is suffering in the world and suffering is not tolerable without freedom. So socialism often takes on a “happy face” with the primary purpose to end suffering. People are drawn toward socialism because they desire both freedom and the absence of suffering. Socialism seems to offer that. But it's a lie. Remember that freedom necessitates the possibility of suffering? To destroy suffering on earth there must by necessity be the destruction of freedom. Therefore socialism seeks to take away freedom under the guise of ending suffering. But you remember that non-freedom does not guarantee non-suffering, and socialism can't eliminate all suffering. But it does eliminate freedom and thus takes away people's acceptance of suffering. But suffering still exists. No one wants to suffer because they are no longer free, and suffering has lost any sense of acceptability. If no one will suffer for the good of all, then all end up suffering. Thus, the downfall of socialism.

Summary: For all you “to the point” people.

Premises:

One is either free or not free.

Freedom necessitates the possibility of suffering.

Non-freedom is the only possible way for suffering not to exist.

Non-freedom does not guarantee non-suffering.

Suffering exists.

Suffering is either the necessary result of freedom or the imposed result of non-freedom.

Suffering is not tolerable if the sufferer cannot make a difference.

Non-freedom makes suffering non-tolerable because the sufferer can't make a difference.

Freedom makes suffering tolerable because the sufferer can make a difference.

Socialism:

To end suffering, freedom must be destroyed.

When freedom is destroyed, suffering is no longer meaningful.

When suffering is no longer meaningful, no one will willingly suffer.

If no one will willingly suffer, all must of necessity suffer.

Socialism fails to eliminate suffering and destroys freedom in the process.

Capitalism:

To ensure freedom, suffering is a possibility.

With freedom, suffering has purpose and is tolerable.

Because suffering has purpose, some will willingly suffer.

When some willingly suffer, others do not suffer as much.

Capitalism maintains freedom and makes suffering tolerable in the process.

So what of Freedom and Suffering? For freedom to endure, we need people who will step up and say: “I am willing to suffer for the sake of someone else. I will accept suffering for myself with the redemptive purpose of granting another freedom and reducing their suffering.” They've had many names: founder, patriot, marine, preacher, missionary, . . . . For the sake of freedom, will you be one?

P.S.  How does all this work in Heaven?  I'm afraid I can't speak to that here.  This blog is "earthly" in nature, dealing only with the issues of freedom and suffering as they relate to us here on earth.

About this Entry
Complicated
Oct. 21st, 2011 @ 11:21 pm If
Tags: ,
If I only had more money . . .

If I were only smarter . . .

If I could do that . . .

If I looked like her . . .

If they loved me like . . .

If I were faster . . .

If I had better parents . . .

If I had grown up in a better area . . .

If I could be like . . .

If I could sing like . . .

If I could speak like . . .

If I were more talented . . .

If I had been given . . .

If they only knew . . .

If only . . .

If . . .

Fill it in:

If (your greatest if thought) . . .

Some ifs matter. Some don't. Most we can't do anything about. But they hold us back, they keep us down, they stop of from being who and what God wants us to be.

But the more important ifs have already been answered for us:

"If Christ is not risen . . . your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! But now Christ is risen from the dead!" (1 Cor 15:17, 20)

"If God is for us, . . . who can be against us? In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!" (Rom 8:31,37)

Let's stop living in our own (if) excuses and fear, and start living in Christ's victory!
About this Entry
Complicated
Aug. 28th, 2011 @ 10:16 pm How Not to Build
Tags: ,
Verse 1:

“I love you! - What's your name?”

Somehow those words always sound the same.

“You're the prettiest one that my eyes have seen.

I've said that before but this I really mean.”



The very first kiss after the very first date –

How long can you stand falling at that rate?

You're saying things now that shouldn't be said.

You're feeding a fire that shouldn't be fed.



Chorus:

That's how not to build a relationship.

You're pushing too fast and you're gonna slip.

You're building up a fire that cannot be tamed -

Destroying a plan that God ordained.



Verse 2:

“I love you! Baby, you're mine –

Handsome and attractive and you're just fine!”

A touch on the hand, just a little hug,

Leads to a kiss to express your love.



As time goes on, you're moving too fast.

Saying things, touching things – can this last?

You're real good at making this sport.

But look to your house – there's no support!



Chorus:

That's how not to build a relationship.

You're pushing too fast and you're gonna slip.

You're building up a fire that cannot be tamed -

Destroying a plan that God ordained.



Verse 3:

“Look into my eyes as together we stay –

Baby, we might get married some day."

You're digging your grave as the clock goes tick.

But you don't see you're making God sick!



“I want you – don't want anyone else.

Why don't you come over to my house?

Everything's all right 'cause our love's the same.”

But you don't realize what you're gonna defame!



Chorus:

That's how not to build a relationship.

You're pushing too fast and you're gonna slip.

You're building up a fire that cannot be tamed -

Destroying a plan that God ordained.



Verse 4:

Time has passed – now you're falling apart,

'Cause you built wrong from the very start.

Said things when they shouldn't be said.

Did things that could have left you dead.



Storms of life came – you're facing divorce.

Don't you wish now you would have changed course?

When you build on the sand this much is true:

Your house will fall in on you!



Chorus:

That's how not to build a relationship.

You're pushing too fast and you're gonna slip.

You're building up a fire that cannot be tamed -

Destroying a plan that God ordained.







© Daniel Lorimer

February 26, 2011
About this Entry
Complicated
Jul. 29th, 2011 @ 08:52 pm Does Purity Matter?
Tags: ,
-----------------------------------------------

I'm going to speak from from the perspective of what I see in Scripture as right and good. I realize that we live in a fallen world and sin has corrupted. Things aren't always as they should be, and praise the Lord, He can redeem! But I still believe that we should look at the should as what should be. I also realize we live in a world where someone can be a victim of another person's sin. If you have been abused, you are not responsible for that. God does not hold you guilty, no matter what the Devil tells you, and God has special healing grace just for you.

-----------------------------------------------



Does Purity Matter?



I value purity because God values purity. God created sexuality and placed it within marriage. The Bible is very clear that sex outside of marriage is sexual immorality and sin. It's wrong. Ex 20:14 - "You shall not commit adultery." Jesus took that farther by saying that lusting was the same as committing adultery (Matt 5:27-28 ) - WHOA! He went on to say that it'd be better to cut out your eye than to go to hell because of it (Matt 5:29-30) - WHOA! That's a pretty high value on purity. Jesus thought it was important.



God's relationship with Israel was pictured as marriage (Is 54:5, others). Idolatry was pictured as infidelity. We see this throughout the Old Testament. In Hosea we see God's example of His redemptive plan, but God states "the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord" (Hos 1:2). Jeremiah talks about the many lovers that Israel has had. They had forsaken God through idolatry and become impure. God's desire was that they would keep themselves only for Him, that they would be pure.



Marriage is an image of Christ's relationship with the church (Eph 5:22-33) - a relationship that should be undefiled, holy, blameless, not polluted with the world. Christ is pure, and because we are in a relationship with a pure Christ, we seek to be pure, like Him (1 John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:13-15; 2 Pet 3:11, 14).



We see elsewhere in Scripture the sinfulness of sexual immorality and the value placed on purity. Acts 15:20; Rom 13:13. 1 Cor 6:12-20 – (actually go ahead and read all of chapters 5 and 6, and then go ahead and read the rest of the book :). this is an interesting concept that is also found elsewhere, that the body is not made for sexual immorality, but for the Lord; so if we participate in sexual immorality we are actually robbing God of what was made for Him; also the concept that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and so sexual immorality in the Christian is a defamation of God's temple. He also remembers that there were those in the Corinthian church that were fornicators before they knew Christ, and Christ had redeemed them from it.) 1 Cor 10:8 (it's in a list, not just by itself); 1 Cor 12:21 (also not alone); Gal 5:19-21 (contrasted with vv. 22-26); 1 Pet 4:1-6 (here he's talking about how they used to live.); Col 3:5; Heb 13:4; 1 Thess 4:3-8. There's a lot more. I've only scratched the surface. And I don't list the verses just to list them, I'd encourage you to read them, as I have done, and read the context of them, as I have done, even as I was gathering them to put in this post. They show us a lot about the heart of God (as does the whole Bible) :)



I believe in grace because God believes in grace. But I believe that grace is given because we fell short of what God wanted or required. Situations that require grace are not the ideal – that's why it's grace. Grace is a good thing. We wouldn't be here without it. In Rom 6, Paul asks, well if grace is so good, should we sin more so we can get more grace? Absolutely not! It breaks my heart to think of God's grace cheaply. You know how much God paid in order to extend grace? You know what it cost?



Grace is important. I need to extend grace just as I have been extended grace. I deserve nothing but God's wrath, and yet He showed grace. Therefore I can't prop myself up and look down at people. I'm nothing. But I dare not presume upon God's grace if I really love Him. I dare not say, "sin is a trifle because God forgives." Sin is tragic! Sin separates us from God! Sin breaks the heart of God!



God wants me to be pure. God wants you to be pure. God wants purity in His church. Purity is valuable.



Is there value in sexual purity? Yes! Does being sexually pure give us the right to be prideful and look down on those who are not? No! If someone has lost their sexual purity, does that mean they are less valuable? No! But I would say that it does mean they have lost the value that there is in being pure. They're not less of a person, and God still redeems, but there is something that is lost when purity is lost.



Physical and sexual purity is important and valuable because God has made it valuable. It is also an image of spiritual purity, which is crucially valuable.



Is there value in someone who has grown up and kept themselves for God and not rebelled or wandered off into a lot of gross sin? Yes! Does that mean they can be prideful and look down on those who have gone into gross sin? No! (Remember, we've all sinned, Rom 3:23.) If someone has been involved in deep sin, does that mean they are less valuable? No! However, I have often seen those who were saved at an early age feel inferior to those with great stories of sinfulness and wickedness out of which God redeemed them. But that's not the ideal. The ideal is that we would not become engrossed in deep sin, but accept Him early, and innocently, and purely. I'm often afraid the same thing can happen to those who keep themselves sexually pure, because the world says there's something wrong with you if you're pure. But God says, there's value in purity.



In summary, here's what I see as God's heart on the issue: He values purity. That's why I value purity. If I've lost it, it was sin, and that's tragic, and condemned me to hell. Christ died to give grace and redeem me from that. But every sin that I commit still has lasting effects on my life. Sin has real consequences. Once you lose your sexual purity, you can never get it back. Yes, God will forgive. Yes, God can miraculously heal the effects of sin, but He doesn't always do so. If I have baggage, God will give grace - that can be healed. Though most of the time the scars will never go completely away. Now, He doesn't stand over me and say you "you miserable little person you!" No, He weeps over my brokenness and is broken over my sin - we should have the same attitude. But even through it all, God still *wants* purity. That's His desire. And if you have kept yourself pure and continue to keep yourself pure, that is of huge value. If you find someone who has also kept themselves pure, that is of huge value. Never doubt the value of what God values.
About this Entry
Complicated
Jun. 24th, 2011 @ 12:05 am Contentment
We have a tendency to be discontented. Maybe it's because we're Americans. Maybe it's because we're modern. Maybe it's because we're fallen human beings. Why is it that we so often think that life isn't fair, that our lot should be better than it is?

Comparing ourselves to others – But we most often compare ourselves to those who have it 'better off,' and never is it holistic: We don't say, “Oh, they have it better here, but in this area they really have it rough.” We just look at what they have going for them and say, “why not me?”

Thinking we deserve better. We are bombarded with this thinking, in commercials, advertising. We need this. We deserve that. We should not face problems. Tough times are so 50 years ago – it's silver platter time now!

Perfectionism. Ok, go ahead and say it, perfectionism rocks! Perfectionism creates a state of discontentment in order to make things better, right? Sometimes. But perhaps more often it creates a goal unreachable which results in . . . discontentment.

Too high of expectations. Ok, so this is sort of the same. But it's easy to get too high of expectations for ourselves, for others, for God. We think we know what God's blessings should look like, or when we should get them. We can make them something much nicer than God ever promised.

Not trusting God. Discontentment stems from a lack of trust in God. Does He know what He's doing? Does He really love me? Does He really care?



I'm sure there are other sources or leads of discontentment, but I don't want to talk all night about discontentment, since that's not what this blog is about. I really want to talk about contentment.



I was reading Philippians 4 recently. It struck me in a different way, because I happened to read a verse out of order. Context is important, and the Scripture below is rearranged for emphasis, so I'm trusting that if you're not familiar with the full context of Philippians and especially chapter 4, that you go back and read it – but NOT until after you finish reading this blog :)









(4) Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!



(11) For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:



(6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.



(12) I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.



(9) The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.



(7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.



(13) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.



(8) Brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.



(19) And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.





A couple things stood out to me in a different way than ever before. First, Paul is talking about God supplying needs when he himself was so often 'needy' (and yet he was content). Second, meditating on the true, pure, lovely, and good applies to more than simply good vs. evil. It also applies to positive vs. negative. Given the choice between focusing on how bad our lives are, or how well off we are, which is easier to think about? For me, the negative, which leads to complaining. Is that really true? Is that at all lovely? Is that praiseworthy? I don't think so. It becomes an exhortation not just to shun evil, but also to focus on the positive.



Here's the basic framework I see happening here: (Again, go back to Philippians for the full story and correct context.)



Rejoicing -->

Contentment -->

Dispelling Anxiety -->

Humility -->

Peace -->

Guarding/Security -->

Christ -->

Positive focus -->

Supply --> (Which brings us back to:)

Rejoicing and Contentment -->



OR



We can Rejoice always

Because we've learned to be content

Instead of anxiety, we go to God in prayer

In humility – having learned how to suffer and abound (we don't assume that we should always have the best life)

Practicing this principle of humility, peace comes

Peace guards our heart and mind

through Christ (who enables us to do everything)

meditate on the positive

He will supply all our needs

Brings us back to the beginning, we can rejoice and be content



Our responsibility is to rejoice; to humble ourselves, realizing that we can both abound and suffer need; and to meditate on (focus on/think about) the positive.



And God will give His peace, which dispels anxiety and guards are heart and mind; give us the power of Christ, which is the enabling power in our lives; supply our needs.







God's supply may not fit our perception of what He should do, or what we think we deserve. But He still supplies our needs. We need to learn to be content with His supply, as Paul learned to be content no matter the circumstances. Now that releases anxiety. Now that brings peace. Now that is trusting God!





Here's some ways to help learn contentment (taken from a devotional book):

Consider how much harder others have it.
Ask God how He wants you to use your challenges for the growth of you and others.
Realize that just because something looks good doesn't mean it is. Erma Bombeck put it this way: “The grass usually looks greener over someone else's septic system.”
Pray for:

the courage to change what you can;
the grace to accept what you cannot change;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
About this Entry
Complicated
Jun. 16th, 2011 @ 12:33 am Facebook LifeStreaming
Tags: ,
Have you ever thought, "I wish it were easier to tell my friends what I'm up to" or "I wish everybody could just see the real me"?



Well, your dreams have just come true. Facebook is introducing a new feature that will revolutionize social networking and change the way you interact with your friends, both online and offline. Scheduled for release on July 18, 2011, "Facebook LifeStreaming" brings the ultimate social experience to play and also boasts the easiest connection tools ever.



Facebook LifeStreaming works by simply inserting the wireless FLS chip near your brain, interfacing your thoughts with your cell phone app, computer, or any mobile device. The FLS chip then automatically streams directly to your Facebook LifeStream. With no need for any interaction from you, the FLS chip instantly posts all your actions, thoughts, and feelings on your LifeStream for all your friends to see, like, and comment. What's better, because LifeStreaming is instant and automatic, as soon as you make a move, or think a thought, it is instantly posted online for your friends to view, with no burdensome typing, posting, or thinking about what you'll say. No longer will your online representation be a static and partial picture of yourself. With Facebook LifeStreaming, friends will see the Real You like never before!



This never-before-seen experience allows you to communicate with your friends simply by thinking about them or mentioning their name, as LifeStreaming will also automatically tag them in your LifeStream post. All of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and more, all stored in one convenient place with absolutely no effort on your part - it couldn't get better! Except that the best part about LifeStreaming is that because it's connected directly to your brain, it will even share your subconscious thoughts and desires.



Some examples of posts you might see on the LifeStream include:

Jan is in love with Mark
Mark is lusting
Phyllis is gossiping about Jan - just told a secret that she promised not to tell
Jim is angry with Mark, wants to kill him right now
John just told a lie
Pat is crying because nobody cares
Jim really wants a new ipad, doesn't have the money, thinking about stealing one from the store
Josie just cut in front of an elderly lady and almost made her wreck



Of course, there's nothing stopping posts like this from showing up either:

Harold is doing the dishes, nobody knows
Janet is getting groceries for a neighbor who is bedfast
Frank is telling Jim how awesome his coworker Phil is
Margaret is praying for her mother's salvation
Paul is giving a lollypop to a little autistic boy
Charles just gave up his opportunity for a promotion so that he can spend more time with his wife and kids



All the good. All the bad. Everything that nobody knows. It's all out there - for everybody to see.



"For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops." (Luke 12:2-3, NKJV)



"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, NKJV)



Facebook LifeStreaming. What is your life streaming?
About this Entry
Complicated