Perspective

I began wearing glasses in elementary school.  I had no clue all that I had been missing.  Apparently, I had two conditions working to blur my vision.  My lens focused the image in front of the retina causing me to be nearsighted.  I could see things which were close, but at a distance, it was all a blur. To further complicate things, I had astigmatism.  My cornea causes further distortion of my vision.  So near or far, I had bad eyes and they have only gotten worse.  I  remember putting on my first pair of glasses and suddenly seeing the world with much more clarity.

Spiritually we can also need to have our vision adjusted. In Proverb 14:12 God says,  “There is a way that seems right to a man  but its end is the way to death” ESV

Human vision is faulty in spiritual matters. Sin distorts our perception of right and wrong.  Seeing circumstances through the lens of God’s word gives us a clear vision of the world.  When our perception aligns with His, we see the world as it really is.  It is easy to allow the world’s influence to skew our perception.  We grow more comfortable with the world’s point of view and less comfortable with God’s.  That is one of the reasons it is crucial for us to stay in God’s word.  Scripture regularly realigns our focus and keeps us on the right path.

What’s going on?

Patriot Day

I remember it like it was yesterday.  I had been a bivocational pastor for just a couple of weeks and was new to being a classroom teacher.  The rumor came that a plane had hit the world trade center.  How tragic I thought.  We turned on the news in our classroom and like most of America were stunned to see a second plane hit the other tower.   I knew we were at war.  Many thoughts ran through my mind.  Which country was to blame?  Why commercial airlines and not their own planes. As more details came out pictures of the pentagon and news of a 4th missing plane surfaced.  Terrorists was the word we started getting.  I recall kids asking, “Why?”.  Why would anyone hijack a plane and kill themselves and innocent civilians by intentionally crashing it into a building.  I was more pastor than teacher that day.  It is difficult for us to understand a culture so devoted to hate that they would attack others due to disagreeing with our freedoms.  That it was done to make us feel less secure and force us to convert to their murderous brand of religion or die.  Now word has come of 11 airplanes “missing” in Lybia.  The news and social media are filled with the atrocities being done by followers of radical Islam.   They have an army that is sweeping Iraq and Syria.  They are persecuting Christians and anyone else who dares to refuse to follow their murderous and hateful teachings.  They have publically stated, like most nations in the Middle East, that they want to destroy Israel and drive them into the ocean.  Their friends in Hamas rain down rockets upon Israel and the world has the audacity to criticize Israel for defending themselves by destroying the sites from which the attacks were launched.

 

What is happening in the world?  Why does life seem to mean so little to so many today?  I personally feel we are seeing the prophesy of Paul play out before our eyes.  He said in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 NKJV “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of goodtraitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

 

We need to pray like never before.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  Pray for God to preserve us. Pray that His love will overcome their hatred and they will give up their brutality and know the peace of God.

Liberty

libertyI’m an American and the principle of having liberty is deep within my heart, I want to be left alone to succeed or fail without an army of bureaucrats coming in and interfering. I have an awesome mother and do not need the government to act as a helicopter mom for me. From the things I eat, the cars I drive, to the light bulbs I use, I want freedom! Leave me alone and I’ll leave everyone else alone

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However, in discussing liberty in 1 Corinthians 10, Paul informs believers that we sometimes must voluntarily give up our freedom for the sake of the people we are with. In Corinth, most meat markets were selling meat from pagan temples. After blood or portions of animals were used in sacrifices, the rest would be sold at the market. Paul discussed the fact that the Corinthians were free to eat whatever they wanted with thanksgiving, He also advised that if their host mentioned the food had first been offered to idols, then for the conscience of their host, they should abstain. By mentioning it, the host obviously assumed it would be sinful to eat. The dilemma for the believer was to eat because it wasn’t sinful and be viewed to be an idol worshiper, or to abstain and fulfill the expectations of the host. A believer’s testimony would be hurt if he ate after being warned. Paul concluded the discussion this way, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (‭I Corinthians‬ ‭10‬:‭31-33‬ NKJV)

In our efforts to influence people for Christ, we sometimes will have to limit our freedoms. Instead of blatantly flaunting our freedom from ritualistic laws and customs, we need to consider the effect of our actions on the audience. Ultimately, we are advised to do all for the glory of God. Instead if seeking our own profit, we should seek the profit of all, “that they might be saved.”

Although I love my liberty, I will sacrifice it temporarily in order to win someone to Christ, After that, I will work on helping them embrace liberty as well.

Focus

eyes-33216_150We’ve all heard it. It is one of those legendary lines Moms use on wayward kids. When the unsuspecting child discovers that amazing entertainment of crossing their eyes, their ever diligent Mom says, “if you keep doing that your eyes will get stuck that way!” Little did I know they were right. Last week, my wife and I took our kids to see a movie. Since we are behind on our movie going, we went to the bargain movie theater to catch the film we wanted. Normally, that works fine, but this movie was in 3D. I’m not sure if it was in the equipment or the operator, but the movie never totally worked. I wore my stylish 3D glasses but things stayed out of focus. After squinting and straining I was able to get the center clear enough to watch. After 2 hours of this the movie ended with the hero winning, when we got in the truck to drive home, I was puzzled by the blurred road. My eyes were stuck! It has taken a couple of days to get over that forced wrong focus.

Maybe that is why God inspired Paul to write “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things.” (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭8‬ HCSB). The things upon which we focus stick with us. They make an impression and set a pattern for us. For example, by focusing on a lie long enough and performing mental acrobatics to twist our brain, we begin to think the lie is true and the truth is a lie.

Let’s stop pushing and straining to make ourselves fit this world. Instead, we need to have our minds fixed on the things above. High and noble thoughts which conform to the word of The Lord.