One of the best ways to show a genuine concern and love for others is to ask people questions about their family relationships. This past week, I asked a co-worker what she was doing to celebrate Mother’s Day. The question immediately evoked a visceral reaction. As happens all too often, this lady and her mother did not see eye to eye and she definitely was not going to see her or celebrate Mother’s Day with her own mother.
After apologizing and lamenting the current state of her relationship to her mother, I mentioned something to the effect that I always try to help people reconcile. She made it clear to me that she had attempted many times to reconcile in the past with her mother and it was clear her mother had no intention to reconcile with her. Thereby, no Mother’s Day celebration was going to occur for this lady on Mother’s Day!
While the above scenario is a quite dismal one, it is far from uncommon. Reconciliation is a difficult road to traverse and for too many, a road that is untraveled.
I love the first definition that Noah Webster lists for reconciliation:
RECONCI’LE, v.t. [L. reconcilio; re and concilio; con and calo, to call, Gr. The literal sense is to call back into union.]
1. To conciliate anew; to call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated; to restore to friendship or favor after estrangement; as, to reconcile men or parties that have been at variance.
Community. A word that you hear discussed at length in different circles. You hear about your community on the local TV news broadcast. Often, there is an entire section in the local newspaper entitled, “Community.” And then there are churches and Christians who speak about “reaching their community for Christ.”
Lately, I have thought about this idea of community. As usual, I decided to look up the meaning of community as defined in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Here is what I found:
1. Properly, common possession or enjoyment; as a community of goods.
2. A society of people, having common rights and privileges, or common interests, civil, political or ecclesiastical; or living under the same laws and regulations. This word may signify a commonwealth or state, a body politic, or a particular society or order of men within a state, as a community of monks; and it is often used for the public or people in general, without very definite limits.
3. Commonness; frequency.
On the whole, I personally believe that Bible-believing Christians have been largely ineffective at reaching our communities for Christ. I wonder if it is because we “dart” in and out of the communities we are trying to reach. We are so careful in not becoming like them, that we spend very little time in “common interests, civil, political or ecclesiastical” or “commonness” as Mr. Webster defines it.
During this calendar year of 2012, I have been reading the Psalms unlike I ever have before. My plan since the start of the year has been to read the same Psalm two days in a row and meditate on that Psalm. In addition, I have been reading the Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon concerning each Psalm. Not only did Spurgeon comment on each verse in this literary treasure, he culled commentaries as far back as the 1500’s and included thoughts and comments from authors unheard of today. Talk about phenomenal insight!
Recently, I have noticed how dependent David was upon God. I find this fascinating because here you have a very successful man (even from a young age), who did not rely on his own strength, money, status, or fame. He truly poured out his heart to God on a regular basis and made known his dependence on God. It was as if David truly did believe that God was the only one who could see him through.
Charles Colson recently died and went to heaven. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Colson, he was famous (or infamous) for being a Watergate operative under Richard Nixon, served time in prison for his part in Watergate, and then founded Prison Fellowship shortly after his stint in prison (see recent story published by World Magazine here).
What a great tale of a life that was headed one direction and then turned about-face and headed completely the other direction! It reminds me of a person who is unsaved. He is heading one direction (hell) and then meets Jesus and is born again. He is now saved and heading the other direction (heaven).
The Word of God plainly states that if a person is truly a Christian, their life will change:
Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
When does one know when you should fight against someone or for someone? Well, too often, we fight against those whom we should not – our spouses, our children, our parents, our co-workers, fellow church members, and so on.
Under the Old Testament law, God had established what we call the “eye for an eye” law. In other words, if someone has wronged you, then they deserve the same thing back. And then Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) came and upped the ante. He taught something contrary to what our old nature wants to do. Read below:
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
I recently read that great verse in Proverbs 24 which states, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:…” One of the thoughts that my wife and I strive to ingrain in our children is that of not giving up.
Our two youngest boys have been playing baseball this summer. Due to the generosity of some people at our church, they are able to play in a summer league for most of the summer. Although our boys have never played baseball in a team setting and are learning many fundamentals of the game, one thing they have been learning all of their life is to not give up. Whether it be in a wrestling match, a baseball game, or that of the most challenging class they are taking at school, I want them to learn to give it their all right through to the end. So many young people today will not run as hard as they can to first base when they hit the ball to the pitcher – they give up. Too many young people when falling behind in a certain class or in a certain grade – they give up.
We were challenged to run a 5K by Automattic (owner of WordPress.com) several weeks ago. Since February, my wife and I have been running 2-3 times a week as we prepare for a 10k in early June. Although we are both athletic and play sports here & there, we have never consistently tried “running” as a sport.
Running has become a real joy to the both of us. We enjoy being together, getting in shape together, and the sense of accomplishment when done running. We have been running anywhere from 1 to 5 miles when we go out and usually run Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
This past Tuesday, we officially ran the 5k that would count for Automattic’s challenge. We ran it at Stephens Park in Schererville, Indiana and ran it in a time of 28 minutes. That is an average of 9 minutes, 20 seconds a mile – not bad for our first official 5K!
Nobody that I know of likes trials. And when I speak of trials, I am not particularly referring to that which happens in a court of law (although it could be). I am speaking of any type of situation that “tries” you. Yes – you are put on trial and examined to see if you pass the test. As I pondered trials in my own life, I decided to look up the definition of the word ‘trial’ in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language. The definition helps us to learn exactly what a trial is…
TRI’AL [from try.] Any effort or exertion of strength for the purpose of ascertaining its effect, or what can be done.
1. Examination by a test; experiment; as in chemistry and metallurgy.
In Spirit, Soul, & Body – part 1, we looked at the idea of balance and order. Balanced lives are what many of us strive for. And although that is the goal many of us have, we don’t even know (or realize) that we are triune beings. That is, we are comprised of spirit, soul, and body (see part 1 in this series). Without that knowledge, we lead imbalanced and far too often, frustrated lives.
Let’s again look at the key verse in the Bible that lays out the triune makeup of mankind:
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 5:23
Now, remember how I stated at the start of the series how important order is? It is just as important in this verse. God states everything with a purpose and HOW He states it is with a purpose. Spirit…soul…body – this order shows me an order of importance.
Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “Does that mean my body is not important?” No, that is not what I am saying at all; what I am saying though is that as we strive to be blameless in these areas, we ought to be balanced in the order God has placed emphasis on.
One thing that we humans struggle to attain is a balance in life. All too often, we tilt way too much in one direction. And because of this, it throws us off – we are not able to move along in our life the way God intended for us to move along. We move along like a bicycle that has a bent tire…it circles fine until that part of the tire has to come around and go through the bike forks. There is a constant “thump, thump, thump” as the bent part hits the forks. Why is that? Because the tire is out of balance…it is bent in an area. And when we are out of balance, our entire life, yea, our spirituality continues to go thump, thump, thump!
May I submit to you an image? It is probably an image you are quite familiar with. It is part of the world-renowned drawing by Leonardo da Vinci called the Vitruvian Man.
It was reportedly drawn in the year 1487. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man.