Friendships Are Deepened
Friend is a happy word. It makes us feel safe. It evokes a sense of support, love, security, connection and more.
If you have a good friend you’re better for it. It’s a comfortable place to be, or so the thinking goes, and the Bible makes statements that support these flowery ideas:
- A friend loves through all kinds of weather – Proverbs 17:17 (MSG).
- This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends – John 15:13 (MSG).
- Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor – Ecclesiastes 4:9 (KJV).
- Better is a neighbor (friend) that is near than a brother far off – Proverbs 27:10 (KJV).
- A sweet friendship refreshes the soul – Proverbs 27:9 (MSG).
But these verses represent the ideal. They describe friendship at its best. Can we really expect that? Is any friendship 100% no fault? Or does reality send another message? Read more
Clarify The Question
Before You Answer
I’ve had many discussions about eternal security and the conversations often migrate to “what-if” questions, the philosophical nuggets that get thrown in after all the verses have been dissected without reaching a resolution.
Eternal Security is, again, the topic here and I mention it because the “what-ifs” unwittingly open the door to some very interesting questions:
Here’s how it works. Read more
The following is guest posted by Tim Pepper – single father to one, brother to one, friend to many, master of biotechnology, writer of over 100 songs and singer of many more.
Fear Causes Inaction
It Doesn’t Excuse It
Fear. “Fear will establish the limits of your life.” That statement really resonates with me. I think it’s because I have experienced the limitations that fear can place on a person. Not all fears are bad but I don’t think our lives are meant to be characterized by fear. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s healthy to live in fear and I don’t think a persons actions ought to always be determined by fear.
The counterbalance to fear is apparently Faith. But faith in what? Faith in God? That’s all very well but what is it about God that I’m supposed to have faith in? Am I to have faith that I will inherit a million bucks? Am I to have faith that I will experience no loss or disappointment or difficulty? The things I grew up believing are these: God is good. God is kind. God is loving. God is my father and friend and master. God has a plan. God has a partner for me. God has a purpose for me.
It is hard for me to understand or know exactly what all of that means. I don’t know if I believe anymore that God has a partner for me. I want to believe it but I find it hard to do. As for God’s plan; I don’t know what to believe about that either.
I think about all the problems in the world. Difficult things like idiot countries with idiot laws that oppress their people. Difficult things like people who rape and murder other people. In a world where these things exist it’s difficult to understand how God’s plan is taking shape.
I think about God’s purpose for me and I wonder if I’m right in the middle of that purpose right now? I don’t want to believe that mostly because I don’t really like where I’m at right now. It’s not what I want. But I pray and pray and pray for things to change and nothing changes. So I wonder if I’m supposed to actively try and change things or if I’m supposed to just try and accept what is happening in my life.
I don’t know the answer to that but I think about things like slavery and medicine and wonder what would have happened if the abolitionists had only prayed? What would have happened if a few people hadn’t stowed away some Jews under the Nazi regime? Where would we be if doctors and nurses hadn’t studied and hadn’t administered treatment and had instead only prayed? Would we be here at all?
If you have certain heart conditions you can reduce your chance of having a heart attack by taking half an Aspirin every day. If you simply make the choice to eat right and exercise you can possibly prevent yourself from getting those heart conditions.
There are actions that people take that change the course of their daily lives and even sometimes change the course of history. Sometimes those actions are as easy as taking an Aspirin but I imagine it wasn’t that easy to abolish slavery and I imagine it was fairly fearful to have Jews hiding in your attic when the Nazis came knocking on your door.
People do these difficult (and sometimes easy) things because something in their being tells them that they have to do them. Something tells them that what they are doing is the right thing to do. So they do them despite the difficulty and despite the fear. They do them because they believe in that thing that is talking to their conscience. They have faith. Read more
On Vibrant Perspectives
Must Be Tempered
Unfortunately, discovering one truth or fact – here to fore unknown – is not the end of the journey.
Truth never stands alone. One piece of truth, like digits on a hand, form only a part of the picture. A finger does not a person make, so it is difficult to draw conclusions based only on one truth or even two or three separate truths.
For example, if you found an unclaimed finger on the sidewalk and reported it to the authorities their first response would be to answer several questions, the most important one being, “who does it belong to?” You couldn’t know for sure without further investigation. It’s not an easy question to answer. More detail is needed.
Getting a finger print would help but only if the person’s print is in the system and in the case of mutilations the print might not be so clear.
If the person’s print isn’t in the system the DNA is probably missing also, so there may be no help there.
Even with a witness there is no guarantee. The value of the witness is determined by how well they knew the victim, if they knew them at all, and/or how accurately they remember what they saw. Assuming, of course, they are willing to come forward.
I think you get the point.
One truth is not an answer or a conclusion. It is nothing more than one truth. You can make up a “missing finger” story and use that to guide your search for other truths but until you have more detail you can’t draw conclusions. Your hypothesis remains unproven.
But that’s not all. Read more
Not All Inches Are Equal
Variety More Important
Basically there are three kinds of people: routinely organized, obsessively organized and sufficiently organized. The differences are:
The Routinely Organized person can give you a list of things they will do on any given day.
They start each day with the list in hand. During the course of the day they will accomplish all or most of the things on their list. At the end of each day they will make another list for the next day. This person is comfortable with habit.
My grandmother was this kind of person. She made many hamburgers during the course of her life using her special recipe and every one tasted exactly the same. They were amazingly delicious like everything else she cooked.
The Obsessively Organized person can give you a list and a timetable for every item on the list.
They can tell you when each item will or should begin and they can give you an end time as well. They also have a contingency plan should things not go as expected. This person loves reaching short term goals.
The Sufficiently Organized person may or may not have a list each day.
This person takes the long view not the list view so the day to day grind bores them. Living in the moment – the opposite of routine – characterizes their life. They easily over schedule and over commit but contrary to popular opinion this persons knows there is an ultimate reason for everything and can eventually achieve significance.
All three approaches are important because each one represents a different kind of inch: routine, project and ultimate purpose. None alone is sufficient. It is true that routine is the bedrock of success but you need more than a bedrock to succeed.
What you do in any one day doesn’t represent a life purpose and you can’t always “goal” your way into that purpose. The many common things we routinely do are good examples: eat, sleep, brush teeth, bath, tend the garden, go to work, pay the bills, etc.
Those things give us a sense of personal control and continuity but none of them are all important.
What about cultures where people don’t brush their teeth. Would they gauge individual significance on how many teeth you have left or how many false ones you can afford at the end of life? To them a full set of teeth would seem weird. Fortunately, meaningful living is possible even for people who gum their food. That’s good because brushing your teeth regularly is no guarantee you won’t lose your teeth anyway.
All of that is to say that ultimate success isn’t determined by numbing routine or an endless list of goals achieved and there are many proofs of this in the Bible. Biblical characters with the most impact aren’t easy to emulate. There was nothing routine or repeatable in their path to significance as the following examples will show. Read more