Archive for arrogance

I can never get ahead…I’m just saying.

Posted in Bible Study, faith, Minutia, Observations, Prayer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2010/10/26 by NY4JB

How many times have we said something like this?  “Every time I get ahead something breaks and I end up behind again.”  As if we are being kept down rather than being provided for.  The Lord tells us that he will provide for us daily yet how many of us trust him?  I’m already thinking of my excuses…

Exodus 16:4-5 (English Standard Version)
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.  On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”

Just like when Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream (see Genesis 41) and determines that the Lord is going to provide an exceptional harvest for seven years before seven years of famine.  The Lord provided for the hard time to come so they would be ready.  So maybe if we find we have more than we need there is a reason and when we find we are short it is our own fault and not God’s.  And maybe we should give thanks more and complain less…I’m just saying.

That Guy…

Posted in Bible Study, faith, Minutia, Observations, Prayer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2010/06/01 by NY4JB

We often let our surroundings dictate our state of mind but that is not what the Bible tells us to do.

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Genesis 39:20-23 (English Standard Version)
20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.

Here we see that Joseph, who was wrongfully imprisoned, does not lament this injustice.  Instead he becomes the model prisoner, a trustee of the warden.  This does not change the fact that he is physically in prison but it shows that spiritually he is free despite the injustice of his situation.

Titus 2:9-10 (English Standard Version)
9 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Once again in the New Testament we are ordered to “be well-pleasing, not argumentative,” but you may say you are not a slave, in which case it should be even easier to maintain a good state of mind.

Lord, we ask to be made aware of your steadfast love in our lives, so that we may be at peace in all situations and that you help each of us reflect your love to those around us that they may see and believe as well, for Jesus sake we pray.
Amen

Why Not to Drink

Posted in Bible Study, Minutia, Observations, Prayer with tags , , , , , , , , , on 2010/05/27 by NY4JB

The Bible does not say specifically that we should not drink alcohol but it does address the subject in other ways as well as explicitly saying not to be drunk. I don’t believe it is necessarily a bad thing to have a drink with friends when relaxing together but care must be taken. One of the reasons people enjoy the effect of alcohol is it allows us to relax and take our guard down for a while. During a study of Colossians one verse that spoke to me about this subject is, Colossians 4:2 (English Standard Version) “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Now here’s where the problem is; how can we be steadfast and watchful when our guard is down? When looking back on his life, Ozzy Osbourne once said, that every time he did something stupid he had been drinking.

How much easier it is to slip into sin after drinking alcohol, so while having a drink is not a sin in itself, one must be very careful and guarded before we take our guard down.

Lord, please guide us and protect us in our every endeavor. May our desires be in line with your will and may our actions glorify your name, for Jesus sake we pray.
Amen

My Grace is Sufficient

Posted in Bible Study, faith, Observations, Prayer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2010/03/22 by NY4JB

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (English Standard Version)
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I am troubled by those who think that prayer heals anything and everything. While it’s true that prayer is extremely powerful, when we ask for something that is not in God’s will, the answer will be no. It is clear from the above scripture that even the Apostle Paul struggled with matters of the flesh and was denied. God clearly does not view our physical pains in the same way that we do and will at times allow us to suffer, just as a parent must allow a child to experience disappointment, in order that we might grow in the spirit.

In fact, from God’s perspective even physical death is just a calling home of one of his children (assuming the child is ‘saved’) yet from a human point of view it is a sad loss even when the person has lived a long, full life. I believe the following scripture is often misinterpreted as meaning that Jesus was mourning the death of his friend Lazarus but I believe “Jesus wept “ and was “greatly troubled” because of the lack of faith of his friends and followers. Jesus would not be troubled in the human sense because a saved man had died, knowing that they would soon be together again in Heaven.

John 11:32-35 (English Standard Version)
32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.

Caution must be exercised here not to confuse human mourning with the spiritual truth, for as humans we will grieve the loss of a friend or family member from our earthly life.  It is a very real loss and as long as we live in this world we will feel grief for those who go on ahead of us. We will even feel sorrow at the loss of friends or times that are no longer at hand as a parent is both excited to see a child grow up and head out on their own, while missing the child’s presence in their own home.

So, we should pray for those who have needs but we should understand that we have no knowledge of God’s plan and he may answer a prayer with “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Did the enemy get him?

Posted in Bible Study with tags , , , , , , , on 2009/03/24 by NY4JB

I used to think highly of Gordon McDonald until I read this, http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/currenttrendscolumns/leadershipweekly/theshackbykingdavid.html

How he can talk about God the Father in this way “I found myself wanting to sit at her kitchen table and to enjoy her cooking, her conversation, and her maternal affection.”

I find no reference in the Bible to God’s “maternal affection” but I have heard that “…faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”  Romans 10:17 (ESV)

That is where we need to start, with the Bible; any book that takes liberties and rewrites what the Bible says is dangerous.

Revelation 22:17-19 (ESV)

 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Heavenly Father,
You are great and merciful and we are weak and needy.  Thank you for giving us your word; please protect us from those who would twist and distort it for intentions other than your will.  We know that all will be shaken so we ask for great strength from you that we may be good witnesses to your glory, for Jesus’ sake we pray.
Amen

Become Like Children

Posted in Bible Study with tags , , , , , , , on 2009/02/03 by NY4JB

Matthew 18:3 (ESV) and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I don’t believe it would be wise for me to attempt to address woman with regards to this verse as I am unfamiliar with the workings of relationships among the female gender.  Therefore, I will address it based on three stages males go through.  When Jesus refers to children I believe we should look at how an eight year old boy looks up to men and particularly his father.  To a child at that age his father is the ultimate man; he can do no wrong; the child’s greatest desire is to spend time with him; whatever he is doing the child is interested and wants to be involved.  I have been a witness to this from many angles, starting with being an eight year old and looking up to my own father.  Although, I never had kids of my own I had friends who did and I saw that gleam in the child’s eye, even doing things that would bore an adult the child is happy to tag along just to be part of the event.  It is a shame for a boy to go through this age without a father in the house.

By the age of twelve something begins to happen, what good old dad is doing just doesn’t seem important anymore; at fifteen, sixteen and seventeen, somehow dad becomes an idiot.  My step-son was fifteen when I met my wife; I was cool when I was giving him money to go to the game room but other than that we both knew the deal.  Of course, I knew that someday he would grow out of thinking that I’m an idiot, he didn’t know that yet.  These teenage years are time spent wandering in the wilderness, thinking we know everything and not looking up to anyone, except maybe peers who are in the same phase of life.  We would never bring our problems to our father during this phase; we would rather ask our friends because our father just doesn’t know what it’s like to go through whatever it is that’s going on.

Once again a change is coming, at least for most men, right after they move out on their own, running up into their thirties.  They start to notice that they don’t know everything and dad was right about a few things; maybe he wasn’t an idiot after all.  Once they have kids of their own they will really start to see the pattern and may even ask their father how to handle different situations.

So what is Jesus saying to us?  It seems that so many of us are stuck in the teenage phase when it comes to God; we know everything and think in terms of earthly wisdom.  God’s word is nice but not practical in the real world.  Our hearts are hard, we won’t listen to anybody other than our peers and we wouldn’t even think to bring our problems to God.  It is only by the work of the Holy Spirit softening our hearts that we can even consider listening to our Heavenly Father.  And this is the stage that Jesus is addressing, can we go back to when we were eight only this time look up to God as our Heavenly Father, for He is truly the ultimate father.  Can we admit that we don’t really know much at all and that earthly wisdom has done little for our souls.

If we are to see the kingdom of heaven we must start as a child, knowing that God is our father and holds all the cards.  Avoiding the teenage years, which would be filled with spiritual pride, can we make the jump from child to mature Christian; humble, yet able to help others on their pilgrimage.  Even if we stay as children forever and just adore God we will certainly be in better shape than those who refuse to yield their will.

Heavenly Father,
Your wisdom, patience and mercy are beyond human measure and yet we are a proud, impatient people.  Please, help us to be humble and to adore you as a child adores his human father.  Let the lesson be gentle while you teach us that our pride is misplaced and as a boy grows to be a man, let us grow in spirit to glorify you as our Lord.  As Jesus died on the cross we must die to ourselves that our foolish pride can no longer block us from receiving your wisdom.  And just as Jesus was raised from the dead, let us live again for your glory, for it is in His great name that we pray.
Amen

Rant…phone-land

Posted in Minutia with tags , , , , on 2009/01/29 by NY4JB

Sometimes you just have to whine…

How many times have you answered somebody when they were actually talking to somebody else on their blue-tooth?  Surely I’m not the only one… And at what point did it become more important to answer your phone than to talk to the person in the room or car with you?  If you comment they act like you are being rude but it is rude to prioritize a phone call over a person who is in your presence.  There are times when I get a call that is important and I will apologize to the person that is with me and either leave the room or ask them to leave so I can take the call but that is rare and we have voice mail for all the trivial calls.

By far the rudest thing is when somebody actually makes a call (or answers one that only rang in their Bluetooth) without even mentioning it.  You could be in the middle of a sentence when you realize they have mentally checked out of your presence and gone to phone-land where they think they are alone and nobody can hear them.  I know its best never to say anything bad about anyone but I have been caught wondering, where I’m not sure if the person I was just talking about is the one now on the other end of the phone and just heard me talking about them.

OK here’s what got me going on this in the first place…

I just saw a then-verses-now style ad showing a boombox verses an iPod and it brought back memories of hanging out with friends while listening to music play on a boombox.  Sure the iPod is great in that it’s not disturbing to others but that fact makes it an antisocial phenomenon and while certain aspects of technology are social, facebook comes to mind, as a culture we are spending less time together.