Series 35


Lazy—One, Two, Three

I kept running into lazy. Three people in a two days, mentioned “lazy.”

“You’re lazy.”

“I guess I’m lazy.”

“I’m just lazy.”

First lazy: Del talked to Burt after Bible study: “You’re lazy.” Ouch! Seems a little poke-in-the-eyeish. Not exactly. While Del knows Burt’s packed with potential; Burt just isn’t digging in to get to the next level with God. 

The Bible says, “He (God) is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Burt is on the edge of opening up some great opportunities, rewards from God.  But “lazy” could easily knock him off course. This happens to way too many people.

Second lazy: I had seen John at church only once. He lives down the street in my new neighborhood. Next time I saw him I said, “It was nice seeing you in church.” As we talked briefly, he volunteered a reason for erratic attendance.  “I guess I’m lazy.”  

The Bible says, “I was glad when they said to me: Let us go to the House of the LORD.”  That’s how John seemed at church. “Glad.” He was greeting people and engaged in the service. “Glad.”

A proven pathway to worthy life-experiences is to press through: “I don’t feel like it.” And arrive at: “Let us go…”

Third lazy: Richie, a middle school student, initiated the conversation. His: “I’m just lazy,” was a way of explaining his lack of success at school.

Richie head-on recognized the detrimental effects of his laziness. And he was rightfully shaking the lazys from his life with a thrust into new and positive school activities. This will head Richie toward success.

Bottom line: as Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of the lazy man desires and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”

Be rich!


Splash Mouth

“We need to learn to keep our mouths closed,” my wife said.

I didn’t, “Amen,” out loud but I did in my brain. Just like the Bible says: “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise.”

Now my wife wasn’t actually referring to keeping silent. She was talking about a powerful little spray apparatus we have in our bathroom used to clean our teeth. We’ve discovered if the mouth isn’t closed; water sprays on the mirror, in our eye, and even up our nose.

In a parallel, the words we speak about ourselves askew the view we have of ourselves. Like a splashed mirror, we have a distorted image of how God sees us.  Words like: “I can’t, I won’t, I’ll never,” pervert: “Created in God’s image…the righteousness of Christ…more than conquers.”

And we will strain to see God’s all-things-possible-through-Christ banner over our lives.

Words errantly sprayed from our mouth also distort our eyes. One of the most damaging is the way we perceive the people we are in contact with.

When we let words form on our lips and in our minds, solely because of what our eyes perceive, danger lurks. Instead we must more fully desire “the eyes of Christ.”

Water up the nose? Eeeew, that’s just not right.

Noses are far better at receiving sweet smells. God’s nose is no different. David in Psalm 141 addressed God: “Let my prayer be set forth as incense before You.” Fragrant, enticing, emotionally stimulating words of prayer—from our mouths to God’s nose. Are we doing this? 

God allows us to speak powerful words. Words of Godly life change. So let us pray; God help my speech reflect this Bible passage: “...words can be a source of wisdom, deep as the ocean, fresh as a flowing stream.”


The Good Revival

I still have vague memories of the time Forrest took me to a revival meeting twenty years ago. Even though I had left “un-revived.” And unsaved.

We drifted apart. Then one day I spotted him at the local park while jogging.

I set in my mind: “I’m going to have a God-talk with Forrest,” as I approached him. Our conversation eventually turned to that long-ago revival. Forrest didn’t remember, adding: “I was going to a different church every week.”

He started describing the churches he had attended, mainly focusing on why he left. They all had problems. So Forrest quit attending church altogether. Saying: “I just watch it on T.V.” But dissatisfaction was obvious when he started emphasizing the pitfalls of the T.V. preachers.

Now he made some valid observations. Yet he agreed, all the churches and the T.V. preachers who he was targeting were undoubtedly Christians.

So I suggested a different tack to Forrest.

The Bible says: “Finally brothers; whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Every church, every Christian, every T.V. preacher, me, and Forrest fall short of fully honoring God.  We just plain fail at doing what is right.

I told Forrest to quit focusing on all the junk. Focus on the good stuff, the God stuff.

Soon our conversation took a distinct shift. We talked about God’s mercy, faith, our eternal hope. Forrest quoted some Bible verses. I added a couple. We talked about Jesus. And our moods spiked upward.  By simply refocusing and emphasizing the: “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy,” we felt revived.

Forrest said, “I’m glad I ran into you.” My feelings were absolutely mutual. It was a good revival.


The Atheist Who Despised Me

His words caught me off guard: “...I have no stake in this argument, because I’m atheist.” The “argument” referenced his disagreement with an article I wrote. A spiritual conversation with my friend Nancy was the central theme.

Eternal destinies were discussed; Heaven, Hell, who’s going where was looked at in the light of the Bible.

The atheist concluded that I had judged my friend as unfit for Heaven. He clearly knew Scripture’s warning: “Judge not.”  All religions with a “do unto others as you would have them do unto you theme” were praised. The book of Job was referenced as he concluded his disagreements with me.

I carefully scrutinized my words regarding Nancy. Concluding I believe her to be hell-bound would be difficult. Bottom line: this is between her and God.

For me spiritual conversations with Nancy or anyone else are a great way to get to know a person—to deepen friendships as life-beliefs are shared.

Yes, I am a follower of Jesus. I believe the Bible. And yes this offends some people. Jesus himself was referred to as, “A Rock of Offence.” Jesus and His Gospel.

An atheist by definition is someone who denies the existence of God. Concepts of Heaven, Hell and eternal judgment are not life-truths. Followers of Jesus can seem offensive.

I know, because eleven years ago all this judging and hell-condemning talk was confusing and offensive to me. Until these Scriptures became real: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already…This is the verdict—the Light (Jesus) has come into the world.”

We all follow some light. Choose Jesus, the True Light.


The Good Temptation?

“I’m tempted,” George thought while staring at the internet-connected computer screen. Then he repeated quietly to himself, “I’m tempted.” 

He wasn’t being lured by pornography, gambling, etc. George is a commodity trader. From his home office, he’s jockeying for position in the world futures market. He was tempted to ride the market a couple more upticks to achieve a higher profit for the day.

Now George is an oddity among traders, because he believes God has given him a very detailed cocoa-futures trading system.

His temptation? To tweak God’s system that day. The money seemed to be right there. And his family sure could use it to bridge their present financial challenges. But George knew what to do. He wrapped up for the day, shut-off the computer, and did his daily Bible study.

Here’s what George has learned:

Temptation is not from God.  Immediately recognize the source of: “I’m being tempted.”  Matthew 4:1 says: “Then Jesus was…tempted by the devil.” Then three verses later the devil is simply called, “The tempter.” And he made his first Biblical appearance as Eve’s tempter.

The Bible tells us: “No temptation has seized us except what is common to man.” There is nothing new coming from “the tempter.”  Essentially all temptations are an enticement to be disobedient to God. Same for Eve. Or George. Or Jesus. Or you.

As the Bible says, “God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” Temptation will always be part of the human experience. But God has promised us freedom from its grips.

Scriptures tells us: “He (God) will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it,” Then the next words offer God’s best anti-temptation plan: “Therefore, my dear friend flee…” Flee from temptation!