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
The Bible Focuses On Eternal Truth
It was many years ago but I remember the statement like it was yesterday. I was in Bible college and sitting in the class of one of my favorite teachers.
I loved his nature. He was a straight shooter, never mincing words. If he believed something was true there was no flinching. Everything was absolutely right or wrong and I identified with that mindset. I wanted a clear line demarcating all the good from the bad. But don’t get the wrong idea. Though adamant, he was gracious. And in his usual quiet but straight forward way he made the following remark, which made a lasting impression on me.
All the Bible is true and all truth is in the Bible
I love words especially when used to make a point rhythmically so his remark stuck. But that wasn’t the only reason it resonated. I was emotionally in tune with this statement. It was a very bold line drawn between everything in the Bible and everything else. It was a buy-in for me.
All of that happened a very long time ago – I won’t say how long. Since then I’ve grown, matured, learned a few things and done a lot of thinking so I’m no so sure about the accuracy of that statement anymore.
Don’t get me wrong. I still believe everything in the Bible is true but realize now that not every truth can fit in the Bible. All the most important truths are there, that ones that influence eternity, but there just isn’t enough room in any one book to include every possible truth.
Not All Types Of Truth Are Equally Important
Just a quick glance at the many kinds of truth and you realize they aren’t all equal. Each types is important, yes, but they aren’t all equal. For example:
- Individual truth (I have blue eyes)
- Temporary truth (It’s a sunny day)
- Moral truth (Its wrong to gossip, lie or steal)
- Psychological truth (people prefer short reading lines but read longer
- Medical truth (diet effects your health)
- Mathematical truth (2 plus 2 is 4)
- Physical truth (law of gravity)
- Historical truth (Israel inhabited Canaan after the Exodus)
- Eternal truth (God is love, heaven is real)
The Bible does make statements that broadly relate to each type of truth and what it says about each issue is true but that is very different to saying it records every truth.
- It talks about the remarkable way each person is created – we are individually distinct – but it says nothing about my blue eyes.
- The Bible records variations in weather patterns (Noah’s flood) but says nothing about today’s forecast.
- The Old Testament is filled with laws that imply an understanding of medical issues but it says nothing about open heart surgery or different blood types.
- The Bible includes a lot of ancient history and influenced the way in which modern history unfolded but provides no historical details following the first century AD.
If you’re curious and would like to read further, Dr. S. I. McMillen has written a great book, None of These Diseases, which shows how Old Testament law reflected a very advanced understanding of many medical issues without actually stating every individual truth associated with each condition. The book can be purchased very inexpensively at Amazon.
God has paid humanity a great compliment by not giving us every piece of truth and every answer to every question. Realizing that leads us to another truth implied in the Bible but not clearly stated. The truth that God created us with an insatiable desire to understand more truth and the tools to pursue it.
It may feel disloyal to say “not every truth is in the Bible” but once you realize that every truth is God’s truth wherever you find it and that God has gifted us with the art of discovery it begins to make a lot of sense. And remember. Finding a truth is much more rewarding that having it handed to you on a platter.
Life Can Be Unpredictable
But Preparing To Win
Requires A Schedule
In the mid 1960’s The Rolling Stones recorded a song titled “Time Is On My Side.” It was one their first recordings and it was a big hit.
In the song Mick is philosophizing about a wayward girlfriend. She’s running around instead of staying faithfully by his side but instead of expressing hurt feelings Mick patiently waits claiming that “time is on my side.” And he confidently asserts that “She’ll come running back to me.”
Now, you might be wondering what a song about wayward girls sung by one of Rock N Roll’s most prominent bad boys has to do with winning. Well, the context of the song isn’t important but the refrain is.
The main issue in the song is “Time” and Mick repeatedly says it is on his side. In fact, at the end of the song he builds to a crescendo with: Time, Time, Time is on my side.
But there is good reason to think Mick may not be correct. Time can be on your side but there is no guarantee.
And that brings us to Tom Coughlin and the book he wrote. The title of Tom’s book is:
Earn The Right To Win
And it’s worth reading because it makes some universally valid points about winning. Read more
Preparation Is Winning
I just read Tom Coughlin’s book, Earn the Right to Win, and gleaned some valuable insights. Insights anyone can appreciate. This isn’t just another book written by a popular icon to entertain the masses and make a few bucks.
Although the book includes plenty of anecdotal material it isn’t a bio of the NY Giants or of Tom. This is Tom telling us how he won the most coveted prize in football, the Super Bowl, and he assures us, even in the title, that the principles he used can be applied to any field of work. Tom is very intentional in his coaching, his book tells us how he does it and it illustrates the point that a lot of thinking went into his approach to football.
If that’s true for one of the most physical sports around then it is probably true for anything else one might do.
Tom does have impressive credentials. He began his coaching career at Rochester Institute of Technology, starting the schools football program from scratch. He also served in several assistant coaching positions before taking the head coaching job at Boston College and was eventually hired as the head coach for the new NFL franchise in Jacksonville. At every level and in every position he established himself as a no nonsense leader who won games. How he accomplished this winning tradition is what his book is about.
I was impressed enough with the book to think it deserved more than just one short review. Since Tom is the kind of man who can start with nothing and eventually reach some lofty goals, He’s also a man to whom we should listen. If you’re looking for inspiration and how-to advice, Tom’s your man.
This post is just the beginning and will be followed by more.
It becomes very clear in the book that Tom is very deliberate. I was actually surprised at how much of a thinker he is and the overall theme of the book, preparation, illustrates the point. Everything Tom led his teams to do was his way of preparing them to win. Every detail of the preparation was well thought out. Winning was the goal and detailed preparation was his way of getting there. He introduces the “preparation” theme in the subtitle:
How Success in Any Field Starts with Superior Preparation
He elaborates on preparation in his introduction and then expands on it in every chapter that follows. He uses sports to illustrate his points but his illustrations can easily transfer to any other sphere of endeavor. He argues his points well. Read more