Thursday, June 30, 2016

Timeless Truths: Freedom!

#27. Timeless Truths: Freedom!
June 30, 2016

The 4th of July is next week. America celebrates it's 240th birthday. Let's give thanks for what America, and let us pray for our country in this time of turmoil and hatred.

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
 John 8:31-36
All Scripture quotations are from the NIV.

As we reflect back on the 4th of July, this blog takes a look at an interpretation of freedom that is too often overlooked.

It is easier to describe the cost of freedom than it is to define freedom itself. Religious freedom is far more than not being bound by physical chains

  • In John 8, Jesus reveals that freedom is the truth. Therefore, Jesus is where we find real freedom—from sin and death. See also Romans chapter 8.
  • Paul also makes it clear that we do not have to live in the bondage of sin*.

*Definitions of sin:
  • Missing the mark.
  • Choosing to reject God and go our own way.

Not being bound by sin is good news!

What is/are the benefit(s) of freedom?

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery… 13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. [Galatians 5:1, 13]
  • Freedom is not just for us.
  • We are set free so we can serve others and live in right relationships with God and those in our lives.
  • Freedom does not mean we can do whatever we want to do.
  • Freedom through and with God is the attractive freedom that the world is looking for.
  • This is real freedom.

Real freedom does not allow us to do whatever we want to do.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is [real] freedom! [2 Cor 3:17]

Thanks to Rev. Scott Peterson for the central teachings used in this blog.

Next Thursday's Timeless Truths Series: Crooked Walls Hate Plumb Lines

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Why sidewalk cracks can seem like the Grand Canyon.

A Science Guy’s Almanac #27. Year 2. June 27, 2016
Why sidewalk cracks can seem like the Grand Canyon.

We’ve all walked on sidewalks.

Normally, there’s no problem with walking on a sidewalk. The name sidewalk describes the function of the strip of concrete.

Every now and then, there is a problem. You’re walking along, minding your own business, when
You trip and have to fight gravity to avoid face-planting right then. Embarrassed and upset with the situation, you begin to search for the offending area in the sidewalk. You expect

When you find nothing as obvious as the photo above, you alter your search parameters.

Finding nothing even remotely as obvious as even that photo, you continue your search. If you’re lucky you might find a minor variation in the sidewalk's topography.

“I don’t understand,” you mutter. “I thought for sure that there would be a hole the size of the Grand Canyon that tripped me. How can I trip on maybe a half an inch difference in height?”

The answer to that question is this.
Brains hate to waste energy. 

Your brain is very efficient. It does all it can to reduce the amount of energy you use in any task you undertake.

Watch a child learning to walk. Go ahead, click the link. It's my granddaughter. Each step is a journey into unexplored territory. Knees, when they bend, rise high as the brain ensures the foot clears the confines of the ground beneath it.

After walking for a few months, the height of the child’s knee-lifts lesson. The brain learns that most surfaces upon which we walk are not littered with tall obstacles. Expending energy to clear a non-existent object in the pathway is a waste of energy. Brains hate to waste energy.

After many years of walking, mostly on smooth surfaces, your brain has your stride down to a science. Without you requesting it, your brain determined the absolute minimum amount of clearance your toes need as they move forward in a stride. You use that stride all the time. Everything’s fine with that stride—until some slight imperfection lies in your pathway.

In general, toes have less than one-half inch clearance from the ground on each stride.

Most of you knew this without knowing you knew about this. If you’ve purchased a pair of shoes with soles thicker than your last pair, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced the above.

If you want to see the truth in that clearance height value, find a sidewalk where people are walking. This works best if there’s a curb. Lay down in the gutter with your eyes even with the sidewalk. Watch people’s feet as they walk past you. The people you observe will think you’re a derelict or feeble-minded, but you’ll see that what I’ve written here is true.

Question: How much ground clearance do most toes have?
Answer: Less than one-half an inch!
Why? Brains hate to waste energy.

The next time you trip on the sidewalk, try not to look back and see what chasm attacked you. If you find such a crater, put up a historic marker since chances are good that you’ll never have that happen again.

Next Almanac post: It’s summer. Here’s an Almanac re-run!

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Expressions of Faith: Live

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
(1 Peter 2:12 NIV)


Peter admonishes us to live good lives.

We live in a pagan world.

When we live for Christ, our lives should be such an example of God's mercy that even pagans know that they know to glorify God.

If we are faithful in this, some/many will come to glorify Him before He returns.

Heavenly Father may I live my life that all will see your good deeds through my actions.

Next Friday's Expression of Faith Series: Free Slaves?

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I'd appreciate your feedback!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Timeless Truths: What God Wants – Part 2

#24. Timeless Truths: What God Wants – Part 2
June 9, 2016
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8
All Scripture quotations are from the NIV.

From Last Week:
  • Micah’s name means “who is like God?”
  • He preached to a very religious group who were not at all godly.
  • Religious people are usually known for what they are against and not what they are for.
  • Jesus most angry reaction was to religious people who lacked good relations with others.
  • Relational people emphasize ideals seen in Christ.
  • It is possible to have the religious thing down pat but have no relationship with God. In fact, it’s far too common.

So, what does God want?

1. Act justly. This is what God would do in your situation. It’s our action.

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream. [Amos 5:24]
  • God wants you to play fair. People are affected by how we play—live our lives. Do you play fairly or unfairly with others?

2. Love mercy. This is what God would feel in your situation. It’s our attitude.

Jesus said, Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. [Matthew 5:7]

21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy… [Jude 21-23]
  • God is consistent.
  • Christianity is not about us. It’s about them—non-Christians.
  • We are called to love mercy even if we don’t have that gift.

3. Walk humbly with God. Willingly go wherever God leads. This is Action + Attitude.

The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. [Isaiah 2:11]

Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that ou may live and prosper and prolong your days… [Deuteronomy 5:33]

… His command is that you walk in love… [2 John 6]
  • We are involved in a process. We must keep moving.

What God wants is for us to have all three of the above. 
  • If one is lacking in our lives, we are like a three-legged stool with one leg missing.

God always has the last word!

And those who walk in pride, He is able to humble. [Daniel 4:37]

How is your walk?

Thanks to Dr. Keith Newman for the central teachings used in this blog.

Next Thursday's Timeless Truths Series: Freedom!

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