Monday, August 5, 2013

To Err is Human

I suppose that’s one of the ironies of life doing the wrong thing at the right moment. Charlie Chaplin

We all make mistakes. When we make small mistakes it’s easy to get past them. If we spill our drink on the dinner table, it may be aggravating, but we simply get something to clean it up with and move on. The big mistakes we make usually are obvious to others and may require a lot more than a paper towel to clean up.

A couple, in Fort Worth, Texas, bought a house from the husband’s aunt, earlier this year. The land the house sat on had been in their family for decades and the house was near the shore of Lake Worth. Once they moved into their new retreat, the couple put their old house in Fort Worth on the market.

Since the property had not sold yet, they stopped by this past Saturday to mow the grass. When they got there, the grass did need mowing, but there was no house! All that was left of their house was a slab for the foundation. Needless to say, the couple was shocked.

When they investigated, they found out that the building next door had been condemned by city of Fort Worth. The city had hired a demolition company to tear down the useless building, which is still standing. The demolition company billed the city $6,000 and tore down the wrong structure.

Obviously, this was not a small mistake. It has affected the demolition company, the city of Fort Worth and a couple, who simply wanted to sell their house. It may take some time to sort out who to
What's left of the house!
blame and who has to pay for the damages. The demolition company might have gotten the wrong address from the city or they may have made the mistake themselves. One thing we do know is that all involved will be pointing the finger at the others and accusing them of being wrong.

Most of the time, when Jesus dealt with people who were in the wrong, He gave them information and let them draw their own conclusions. This was His way of making them think for themselves or shielding them from the embarrassment of being called out in public for their errant thinking. There was only one recorded instance of Jesus plainly telling someone they were wrong.

Matthew and Mark both record the account of the Saducees questioning Jesus. The Saducees were a Jewish sect that did not believe in life after death. They tried to trick Jesus by asking a question about whose wife a woman would be in Heaven, since she had been married many times on earth. The question was nonsense for them, because they didn’t even believe in the resurrection and Jesus called them on it. Jesus replied, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?” He then went on to answer the question.

However, it is what Jesus said next that was so profound. Mark 12: 26-27 reads, But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?  He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.

Did you catch that? God told Moses that He is the God of three men who had died many years before. So if God is not a God of the dead, then they must be alive. Then Jesus lowers the boom that He doesn’t do with anyone else in scripture. He basically says, “You’re wrong!”

As we all know, we all make mistakes. The key is to not make the same ones over and over. When you know it’s wrong, don’t continue to do it. I’m sure that the demolition crew in Texas will double check the address before they ever tear down another building. Shouldn’t we learn from our mistakes even more, if the Creator of the Universe tells us, in no uncertain terms, that we’re wrong?

The Saducees didn’t listen to Jesus and continued in their errant beliefs. They heard the Word straight from the mouth of Jesus, but still could not admit that they were wrong. They learned nothing. Within 40 years of this encounter with Jesus, the entire sect became extinct.

God has given us His Word in the Bible. In it, He gives us the way to live a wonderful life. Yes, we will still make mistakes, but if we follow Him, He will forgive us and put us back on the right path. Don’t make the greatest mistake a person can ever make, by not asking Christ to come into your life. Give everything to the Him, mistakes and all.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Capital One, Alec Baldwin, and the problem with This country

It is disturbing that GLAAD is using threats and boycotts against Captial One because they interpreted Alec Baldwin's tweets as "homophobic." 
An even worse commentary on the state of our society is the fact that nobody seems to care that he also physically threatened another person and used the worst profanity possible to do so. 
Isn't this the same nation that was appalled when Rhett Butler uttered that famous four-letter word in 1939? Isn't this the same nation that has many laws against threatening others? 
Yet, it's the homosexual community that is getting all the press. It seems they have taken lessons from Al Sharpton in using the media to both intimidate and threaten those who do not play according to their rules. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Lady and the Tiger

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” 
(Eleanor Roosevelt)

What are you afraid of? Some of the most common fears are the fear of heights, closed in places, certain animals and death. However, the most common phobia, and the one that tops the list each year, is the fear of speaking in public. Year after year, in surveys, the fear of public speaking ranks higher than the fear of death! 

What do you do when you’re afraid? Most of us try to avoid any circumstance where we come into contact with our fears, but what do you do when you are faced with something unexpectedly that scares you? Do you freeze up? Maybe your first response is to run. For some people, an unexpected scare puts them into fight mode. 

When we are faced with something that rattles us, our brain usually takes a second to evaluate the danger. Many times we are able to function rationally, see that the fear does not put us in imminent danger and walk away. However, what if the thing that we face is much bigger and stronger than we are? 

A lady in Salina, Kansas had an experience last week that most of us would prefer not to have in our lifetime. She was with her family, enjoying the circus that was in town that day. She needed to use the bathroom, so she left her seat and went down the hall. As she was walking toward the bathroom, a lady and her daughter passed her and informed her that a tiger had gotten loose. 

She didn’t think much about it until she opened the door to the restroom, which automatically closed behind her. When she looked up, she found herself face to face with a huge tiger. She said, "It was the closest I have ever been to a tiger not in a cage. You don't expect to go in a bathroom door, have it shut behind you and see a tiger walking toward you."

She said that her experience as a social worker helped her keep calm. She stated, "I'm always on alert, and it was easy to walk out; that's how I am trained. Looking back, it was a scary ordeal. At the time, I was thinking I just needed to get out."

What would you have done? Would there be anything in your past experience that would have helped you stay calm and alive in that circumstance? The woman slowly backed away, calmly opened the door and walked out. Could you have done the same? 

The Bible has a lot to say about fear. Sometimes, we fear the unknown. Other times we fear the situations right in front of us. Whatever the things are that cause you to fear, God knows and sees everything. If we put our trust in Him, knowing that He loves us more than anything in the world, then we can face those things that shake us out of our comfortable existence. 

Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 1:7, that fear is not of God. It is something that the enemy has used since the beginning to bind us and keep us from experiencing the fullness of life, that God intended for us to have. Think about how many times the scripture reminds us not to be afraid. God knew, as the Bible was being written, that this would be one of the toughest things for us to overcome, so He made sure that we would have many promises in His Word to help us resist fear. 

Most of us will never walk into a bathroom and find a tiger. However, there are many things that we face each day that make us fall short of the blessings God has for us, because of fear. The woman used her experience to escape the encounter with the tiger. We can use our foundation in God’s Word to ward off the enemy and “fear not!” 

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Wicked Flee

Looking back is a bad habit. (Rooster Cogburn. True Grit. 1969)


I have never seen the 2010 version of True Grit. I much prefer the John Wayne version. Not that I have anything against Jeff Bridges, I just happen to like the way John Wayne portrayed Rooster Cogburn in the 1969 version of the movie.

However, I have seen the first few seconds of the newer version and I noticed that it opens up with a bit of scripture. Before you see any action from the film, the words, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth,” appear in white against a black screen. The quote is followed by the scripture reference, Proverbs 28:1.

The trouble with this is that it doesn’t finish the quote. The second part of the scripture is, “But the righteous are bold as a lion.” What exactly does this all mean? It means that those who are in the Truth have nothing to fear. However, those who are wicked and bear the guilt of sin, are always looking back to see if someone is on to them. That is not the life Christ intended for us to have.

Last week, a young man, named Jeremiah, had apparently hitched a ride with a trucker. When the driver pulled the semi into the weigh station and got out, Jeremiah stole the truck and drove away in a big hurry. Jeremiah was driving very recklessly with his trailer load of strawberries. However, it was not the strawberries he was interested in. He was running for his life!

Jeremiah eventually crashed the large truck into a Toyota Tacoma, which then struck an SUV and a Mercedes. After that, the young man finally lost control of the semi after crashing into two other vehicles. The truck came to rest on its side and blocked a whole lane of the interstate. Panicked, but still uninjured, Jeremiah jumped into a nearby van and demanded a ride, but the van owner pulled him out of the van. With the help of other bystanders, the van owner held him until the police arrived.

Why was Jeremiah in such a rush? He wasn’t trying to steal the truck or the strawberries. He was fleeing! When the police questioned him, he told them that he stole the truck because zombies were chasing him and he needed to get out of town. Police were in the process of determining if Jeremiah was under the influence of drugs.

I think it’s pretty clear that zombies were not chasing the man. To most of us, that sounds crazy to think that zombies were after him, but, for whatever reason, they seemed real to Jeremiah. However, the reality is that there was no one chasing him. He only thought there was.

Many times our guilty conscious makes us do strange things. We get edgy. We seem nervous. We don’t want people asking too much about our business. Sometimes, we may even try to run away from our problems.

God never designed us to carry a load of guilt. The fact is, that God already knows what you have done, even if you have been successful in hiding it. King David committed a number of sinful acts during the whole issue with Bathsheba. Lust, covetousness, adultery, lying and murder were all involved.

On the outside, David seemed to continue living as if nothing had happened. However, on the inside, he knew that what he had done was wrong. David may have thought that God had not seen his sin, had forgotten or was ignoring it. However, God sent Nathan, the prophet, to David to inform him that God did see and know. Not only did God know about the sin, but Nathan informed David that God was going to hold David accountable for it.

God sees and knows all. The good news is that He loves you anyway! Stop running from Him and run to Him. He is there waiting to lift the burden of your guilt and give you a life of blessing.

Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. (1 John 3:19-21)

Friday, March 29, 2013


Do not  when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them. (Proverbs 24:17-18)
In the last lap of the NASCAR Auto Club 400, this past Sunday, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were battling for first place. The two cars were very close to each other and it seemed as though it would be a photo finish. However, they eventually made contact, which caused them both to crash and Kyle Busch blew by them to take the checkered flag.

Whether you were happy with the outcome of a race, football game or other sports event depends on what team or athlete you like. However, there is a more sinister part to events like this. There are also those teams or athletes you don't like. When you don't like them, you want to see them perform badly, lose or crash.

We are the same way in our everyday lives. We secretly like to see others fail. We inwardly shout for joy when someone we dislike, disapprove of or envy messes up. There is actually a term for this, it's called, schadenfreude.

Schadenfreude, is defined as, "Enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others." When we see others fail, we feel good about ourselves. As humans, we like to play the comparison game. We want a house or car that impresses others. We want a prestigious job or like to drop names of famous or powerful people we know. We even compare our children in their growth, schoolwork or athletic abilities.

However, when someone else seems to be doing better than us, we secretly wish failure on them or gloat when they do. This is not the way God intended us to be toward each other. Jealousy, envy, covetousness, and pride are all sins that are addressed in the scripture.

We're told in the Bible that Jesus had amassed quite a following by the time He entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before Passover. The people waved palm branches and shouted praises. This made the Jewish religious leaders nervous because they were afraid of what the Romans would do if there was a revolt. However, there was also a lot of envy. The people flocked to Jesus, but they came to the priests out of duty. They wanted to see Jesus fail.

The Jewish leadership saw Jesus as a threat to their way of life, so, in their minds, there was no way they could co-exist. Therefore, they decided to kill Him. They set the plot in motion and even convinced the Roman governor to go along with them. Then, after three years of ministry, Jesus was crucified.

However, what they didn't plan on was the greatest comeback in all of history! On the third day, Jesus emerged from the grave, alive and victorious over death and sin. Those who plotted for His demise, were now the ones to be laughed at.

We are called to love each other. We are not only to love those who love us, but to also love our enemies. Jesus said to pray for those who hate you. That also means to pray for those who you dislike. That's not easy, but it's what we are called to do. Jesus said that if we only love those who love us, how are we any different from the rest of the world?

As we celebrate this Easter, take the time to pray for those around you, even those who you dislike. Give the same mercy to them that Christ showed you. It was love that held Jesus to the cross. It was love that raised Him from the dead. Love is the mark that shows the world that we are His children. Go and love!

"If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." (1 John 4:20-21)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What Do You See?

Nearness to God brings likeness to God. The more you see God the more of God will be seen in you. Charles Spurgeon

As an old story goes, there were two taxidermists who stopped at the window of a home to observe an owl that was displayed there. They immediately began to criticize the way the owl had been mounted. They also didn’t like the way it’s eyes didn’t look natural and how its head was not in proportion to its body. They continued to observe how its feathers were not neatly arranged and how its feet could be improved. At that point in the discussion, the owl turned its head and blinked at them

While the two taxidermists may have been accurate about their initial observations, they overlooked one huge detail. The owl was not “stuffed.” He was very much alive!

In the mid-1800’s, at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, there was a professor of medicine named Dr. Joseph Bell. Dr. Bell’s students were always amazed at his talent for observation. Simply by noticing small details, he was usually able to determine what his patients did for a living or what illness they might have. Most times, it only took a glance in their direction for him to discern the information.

Once he concluded that a patient had walked across a golf course on the way to the doctor by looking at his shoes. Another time, he knew that a patient had served in the army and even knew which regiment he had served in, just by observing him for a moment.

One of Dr. Bell’s students was extremely impressed with this uncanny ability to notice small details that usually went unnoticed by most people. In fact, he was so impressed that he began to keep a notebook handy, in which he wrote down examples of what he called Dr. Bell’s “eerie trick of spotting details.”

Later this young student became a doctor himself. When business was slow in his office, he spent his spare time writing fictional stories. Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle created a character and gave him Dr. Bell’s powers of perception. Dr. Bell, who impressed many with his ability to determine a great deal about people from simple observation, became the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.

If someone based a fictional character, solely on their observations of you, what would that character’s traits be? Would the character be one of integrity or compromising values? Perhaps the character’s daily life would be too busy to spend time with his or her family. Would the character be confusing, in that their actions would not match with their words?

As a Christian, Christ should be the thing people see in us. Even if they are not a believer, others should at least be able to notice a Christ-likeness in us. Through spending time with our Creator in prayer and study of His Word, we will not simply know more about Him, but begin to think and act as He does. As we go about our daily lives we should always strive to be more like Jesus every day.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)