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Ideology Again

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Ideology Again

The world runs on ideology. For better or worse, that is how it is. Ideology is not necessarily something bad. Any set of ideas is an ideology. However, when we think of ideology we think of a system of thinking and acting that controls people in negative ways.

The important thing to think about in ideology is to realize that it is a controlling experience. The set of ideas adopted will control people and their behaviors. It is controlling because it eliminates all other thought, no matter how truthful or important. It also refuses to hear the need to eliminate internal inconsistencies no matter how wrong. Ideology blinds people and groups of people to truth.

We are experiencing this in the world right now. It has always been present but it is becoming extreme. We are experiencing this in America right now. We are experiencing this in the church right now. It is wrong. It is destructive. It eliminates truth from entering the picture. It refuses to allow wrongs to be eliminated.

When truth is expressed, it is rejected if it does not fit the current ideology of the controlling thought systems. Those thought systems will do anything needed to eliminate the truth if it does not fit their thinking. Eventually this can produce a system where thought is so inverted that right is wrong and wrong is right.

There are truthful voices. They are the prophets in the land. Sadly, they are typically rejected. Entertainment, education, and media are so powerful and so controlling that truth is marginalized or even eliminated. The powerful voices of ideology are controlling, even when the results are destructive. Truth is not the most important factor in ideology.

What can be done? Who can do what? God always sends prophets. God’s prophets speak and live truth in the face of error and sin and wrong. Jesus was the most important of those prophets. He was/is God and is the Prophet of His Father. Jesus has called a group of disciples around Him and His Word to speak and be the truth as He was and is the Truth. We are those people in this age.

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” That is the answer. That is His answer. He is the answer. He is the Truth. That is the answer to ideology. Any ideology must be evaluated by His Truth. His Truth must trump any ideology; international, national, or religious.

Ideologies replace God. Ideologies replace God’s order. Ideologies replace God’s Word. This is idolatry. Ideologies do not care who they hurt. They do not care what they harm. So powerful is the force of ideology.

Christianity is an ideology based on the teachings of God in His Word, the Bible. It is based on the gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit of God. It is based on the truth. It is based on the Holy Spirit of Truth that produces: love and joy and peace.

IS and OUGHT

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IS and OUGHT

What IS, is not always what OUGHT to be. The shingles on our roof were getting old and were not effective at keeping all of the rain out. Drips would happen during a hard rain. That is what IS. A new shingle roof was what OUGHT to be. We now have a new roof. That moved us from the IS to the OUGHT.

That is easy to see and determine on a roof. It is also easy to correct. It is not always so evident in lives of people. It is not always easy to correct. Especially when the people prefer what IS to what OUGHT to be. It takes energy to replace a roof. It takes energy to change a life.

Philosophers have struggled with this matter. They seem to not be able to determine how to understand and decide the matter. Who gets to decide? That is not a difficult question. At least, for Jesus it was not a difficult question.

God saw the human condition and He saw the IS of the situation. He knew what OUGHT to be and He did something about it. He sent His Son, Jesus to earth to be a man to show us how to live and how to move from the IS to the OUGHT. We can accept Him or reject Him. That is our choice. We get to decide that matter. When we accept Him and His Word, we move to who and what God wants us to be and how He wants us to live.

“That is just how we are.” “That is just how things are.” “That is how life is.” These statements disregard the possibility of becoming more who God wants us to be.
Jesus came here to show us how life could be.
Jesus came here to show us how life should be.
We do not have to be content to say, “That is just how I am.”
We can rise to newness of life.
We can rise to how life should be.
We can rise to how life could be.

That takes energy just like it takes energy to replace a leaky roof.
The results will save the house.
The results will save you life.
The results will save the lives of other people also.

Are you willing to invest the energy into replacing the roof of your life?
Do not be content with accepting life that could be different.
Make the difference and change your ways.
Correct the mistakes and errors.
Make new paths that are strait paths for your feet and for the feet of others who are following. Invest the energy. You will be blessed and many others will be blessed also.

What They Need or What They Want?

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What they need or what they want?

Did Jesus give people what they wanted or what they needed? It would be nice to believe that people want what they need. That, however is not always the case. It is not typically the case. Can we give people what they need and help them see the value in that?

Along with giving people what they need instead of just what they want, we need to use wisdom and dignity. If they are willingly defiant it is one thing. If their defiance is sourced in fear and pain of family of origin and things over which they had/have no control, that is a different story. If they are hurtful, we need to bring correction and healing to them. That is best done in the family of origin. When it has to be done later – life gets very difficult. Generations perpetuate this if nothing is done.

That said, we can still deal with people with gentleness and long for their healing. Speaking to the heart instead of only to the mind is a place to begin. The prodigal’s father was ready to accept His son home with open arms. His son remembered the safety and security of his father’s house. That means the father had given his son what he needed. They when his son demanded his wants – in time he returned to his needs.

Sometimes people fight because we give them something to fight against. If we take that away, sometimes they will stop fighting. Perhaps there are times when it cannot work if internal sins are not overcome. Wife in charge in the home will not work. Husband not willing to hold the children accountable will not work either. Being raised in a home like that seems to perpetuate the problems and makes it almost impossible for children to rise above it. They can if they will accept God’s righteousness. If they do not, they live in fear, even though they do nor realize it.

It is very difficult for someone raised in difficult situations to overcome their fears and so their fears can so easily control them. They run and hide from real love and often create false realities so they can function. Fear is a liar and will lie to them until they accept the righteousness of God.

People are so complex and hearts are so worth fighting for – that is why Jesus came and died…….and lives in us so we can be ‘Jesus’ to people God places into our lives.

People turn to control when fearful or are threatened because they are so fragile. Their only resource is to control. Vulnerability is what they need but cannot display because they are too fearful and fragile to allow someone to enter into their life unless they can control the situation.

Abandonment and feelings of rejection are so painful. Can we make people’s problems our problems without destroying their dignity? We can if we are willing to help them carry their burdens. The father of the prodigal in Jesus’ story did not insult his son’s dignity. His son willingly returned. And he restored his son to fellowship in the family – Galatians 6:1.

Genesis 18:17-33 “since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him. The family of God is here to bless the nations of the earth.

A community of Justice and righteousness defends the vulnerable and cares for the innocent. People are created in the image of God – that makes everyone special to God and to us. This is sourced in God creating humans in His image – therefore we protect them.

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. God thus gives us the ability to restore the souls of those around us by giving them what they need instead of just what they want.

Can something be done?

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Can something be done?

Back to the Garden – God asked, “Adam, where are you?” What have you done? God is asking the same question today. “Men, where are you?”

Men tend to extremes. We either go to the hammer-down and fist-on-the-table – you are going to listen and obey me. Or we go to the passive uninvolved do-nothing approach. Both are easy. Both are wrong. What can be done?

Being a man is hard work. We are called to be God’s representatives here on His earth. We are God’s heart and hands here on God’s earth. Some of us were raised in dysfunctional homes. That is not our fault but it is our responsibility to bring correction to that influence without blaming our parents or the church. Here are some important personal characteristics to adopt in your life:

Purity
Purpose
Passion
Power

Family is the answer and men, you are the key to this answer. We as men are strong but we are also fragile. Our fragility is in God’s hands. As we surrender our fragility to God we become strong. We develop real Godly strength.

The fragile nature of the male ego is legendary because it is so true. God made us men fragile so we would always be reminded of our mortality. All flesh is as grass. It is here for a short time and then vanishes away. It has its time of strength (youth and adulthood) in between its times of weakness (infancy and old age).

Our fragile nature is designed by God to make us sensitive. As we contemplate our time on earth we must use our strength with gentleness and sensitivity. In that way our fragility is a positive factor in our lives.

On the other hand, our fragile nature can take us in wrong directions. It can make us over-sensitive where we live as hurting little boys all our lives. Or, it can make us defensive where we deny the fragility and cover it with masks of macho talk and behaviors. It is important that we do not fall into either of these traps.

Over sensitivity creates insecurity and can turn us into bullies. Defensiveness isolates us and does not allow healthy people to enter our lives.

The challenge is to use the fragile nature God has given us to keep us humble and available. It is an important part of our manly strength. Only strong men can be gentle. Jesus was the strongest and meekest man who ever lived. Pattern your life after His.

Here are some of Jesus’ characteristics in which he blends strength and gentleness –

Accepted the sinner but did not tolerate sin
Caring but not controlling
Forgiving but not permissive
Accepting but not controlling
Common but not condescending
Truthful but not invasive
Honest but not flattering
Wise but not clever
Holy but not isolating
Righteous but not self-righteous
Firm but not harsh
Loving but not inappropriate
Took risks but was not risqué
Insightful but not depreciating
Sensitive but not sentimental
Persistent but not pushy
Confident but not arrogant
Humble but not hesitant
Compassionate but not compromising

Pattern your life after Jesus. You will be a real man. You will not go wrong and you and your family will be blessed.

Family

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Family

The perfect family – there is nothing quite like that but, we can live in God’s blessing by following His Word and His will. Once again, life is not complicated – difficult at times but not complicated. Godly men marrying Godly women and raising Godly children who become Godly men and Godly women who get married and raising Godly children and Godly men and ……………………

Then why the problems?
Here is the fundamental problem that surfaces so often:

Father passive –
Mother aggressive –
Children confused-
     Anger
    Immorality
    Depression
    Giving up

This is an all too common and typical situation. Mom runs the family and dad has little to say. He is passive. He would like to be the leader but typically does not know how. So few role models for men to follow. When he tries, mom puts him down for not knowing what he is doing.

He can respond in anger and demand control. Some men do that. That is not God’s way either. It is easier to just let mom take over and dad becomes passive in raising the children and passive in the Spiritual leadership in the home. This places the home out of kilter and while it may look good on the outside, internally everything of value falls apart.

The children are the casualties. They have no Biblical pattern to follow in the home. They grow up thinking that this is normal. Their emotional pain and behavioral problems indicate the level of dysfunction. Their symptoms begin to control their behaviors. Anger, immorality, depression, and a host of other matters begin to control their lives.

They feel empty and disconnected and fill the void with this world’s sin.
They can easily fall into addictions.
They can fall into self-harmful lifestyles.
They live in fear.
They hide or run from real love and prefer unhealthy relationships.
They may learn to bury their lives in work or study or ……
They have not learned resilience or healthy coping strategies.
They feel stuck in inability to function in a normal way.
They can become physically and emotionally ill.
They will likely produce a home like the one in which they were raised.

What can be done?

Contest or Contentment

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Contentment or Contest
In every woman/man relationship a conflict occurs. Who is in charge? Who is responsible? Who is a real person? There is a contest. Are you a healthy person or not? Are your hurts healed or are they not? It does not have to be a contest. It can be mutual submission to Jesus Christ. It can be acceptance of the roles God has planned for each. That mutual acceptance can produce contentment. It does not need to be a contest.

It is about being known and being loved. It is about being safe and feeling safe. It is about vulnerability – it is about being able to accept yourself and the other person without being controlling or being controlled. If you can be yourself and allow and encourage the other person to be him/her self also – Fears flee and have to go. Trust triumphs and develops.

Sanctification is a key part of this life. Persons who are set apart to God have so much to offer and so much to gain. Worship is a key to their thinking and living. Serving others is also a key to their life. Community is key to the relationships in a broad application.

Mutual healing and blessing. Both giving and both receiving. Both having space and both giving space. How amazing. This is Gods plan – this was God’s plan in the garden. It is still His plan today.

God said
Eve saw
Adam sinned
We are still paying the price

Every succeeding generation pays the price over and over again.
Pain in labor
In childbirth
In making a living
Pain in farming
Pain in relationships
Those are the price of not doing life God’s way.
Adam and Eve and all relationships since are fraught with difficulty.

Tensions
There will always be a bit of tension in relationships and that is not bad. That is good. Tension is needed in life. Your vehicle is held on the road by the tension between the tires and the road. If the tension is totally lost, there is no control. Ice on the road surface removes the tension. Brakes are also tension devices. That tension is needed for stopping.

Faithfulness and character are so needed. They build trust.
When character is lost, trust is also lost.
There can be too much deference –
-All decisions are surrendered and given to the other person.
There can be too much control –
-All decisions are in the hands of one of the persons in the relationship.
In healthy friendships –
-There is no seduction, no harm and there are only good intentions.

Roles
There are roles that God has designed for His creation. Men have a role. Women have a role. Those roles are spelled out in Scripture. Men are to protect and lead. Women are to submit. This is not about value. It is about roles. This does not give men the right to dominate. This does not mean that women are not heard. Men are to lead with kind and gentle direction. Women are to follow with their care and gifts.

Strength is powerful
Only the strong can be gentle.
Only the gentle can be strong.
This is true of men and women.
It is true of how they relate together.

Eternal Life

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Eternal Life

Truly, truly, I say to you,
Whoever hears My word
And believes Him who sent Me
Has eternal life.

He does not come into judgment,
But has passed from death to life.

Jesus in John 5:24

Sanctification

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Sanctification 2

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us…sanctification… —1 Corinthians 1:30
The Life Side. The mystery of sanctification is that the perfect qualities of Jesus Christ are imparted as a gift to me, not gradually, but instantly once I enter by faith into the realization that He “became for [me]…sanctification….” Sanctification means nothing less than the holiness of Jesus becoming mine and being exhibited in my life.

The most wonderful secret of living a holy life does not lie in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfect qualities of Jesus exhibit themselves in my human flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you…” (Colossians 1:27). It is His wonderful life that is imparted to me in sanctification— imparted by faith as a sovereign gift of God’s grace. Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real in me as it is in His Word?

Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ to me. It is the gift of His patience, love, holiness, faith, purity, and godliness that is exhibited in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy— it is drawing from Jesus the very holiness that was exhibited in Him, and that He now exhibits in me.

Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is something altogether different. The perfection of everything is in Jesus Christ, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfect qualities of Jesus are at my disposal. Consequently, I slowly but surely begin to live a life of inexpressible order, soundness, and holiness— “…kept by the power of God…” (1 Peter 1:5).

Oswald Chambers

Men and Worship – To the Ladies II

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To the Ladies II

It is together that we are the image of God. The gifts of God to the masculine and the gifts of God to the feminine are His way of showing His image to us here on earth. He trusted us with His image in the Garden. By disobedience we rejected His image and produced our own image. It did not work. It does not work. It will not work. It is not working.

We need each other. We need to love each other. We need to honor and respect each other. We need to accept and protect each other. If we accept His image, life will be wonderful. We will ‘return to the Garden.’ We will bring His Garden to our life. His Garden will be our life. It can be Heaven on earth. It will be Heaven on earth. It is Heaven of earth for those who will receive and live His ways. We need to live the way He made us to live – together in His care.

In marriage, we need to accept each other totally, unconditionally. Every moment of every day we accept each other. We talk so we can communicate and discuss and get to know each other.

It is not the responsibility of the women to keep men pure. That is men’s responsibility in every and all cases and situations. Make no mistake about it. Ladies, it is not your responsibility to keep men pure. That is in their area of life no matter the circumstances. Do not allow men to make you responsible for their integrity and purity and holiness of life!

Hopefully you are a Spiritual and emotional support to their life but their integrity is not your responsibility. That is your opportunity but it is not your responsibility. Take the opportunities to bless the men in your life. They will be blessed and so will you. Get to known the men in your life. Give them time and respect and acceptance. Some of us are slow learners.

Does the devil sometimes put thoughts in men’s minds that should not be there? Of course. When that happens to me as a man, my heart is horrified to imagine that I could lose the fellowship with my Lord. My mind quickly obeys God’s presence in my heart, and honors the beauty and rejects the shame. That is mine to deal with. All men need to deal with those kinds of issues in life.

Men are to be guided by their redeemed heart. Their minds can be impacted by circumstances. Their heart must be in tune with Father God and be the controlling factor in their lives. Men need to live truth, love, obedience, and integrity by the guidance of the Holy Spirit living in their lives and hearts. If they do and will; life will be a blessing to them and all people they contact.

Hopefully this brief discussion will help us to understand that men and women are different – different but wonderful. God is in the differences. Do not try to make the men in your life to be and think like you do. Men think with the mind God gave them. Men live with the redeemed heart God gave them. Women think with their mind and live with their God-given heart. That is God’s plan. Live it today.

Men and Worship – To the Ladies-

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To the ladies-
There have been so many wonderful and amazing girls and women in my life. My mother first and my wife now. God has gifted women with parts of His heart that He did not share with men. That said, He has gifted men with parts of His heart that He has not given to women. When we understand that, we will begin to live the way God planned for us to live. I honor the girls and women in my life and experience. I would never have made it without them. A few times, I was not responsible when I allowed them to assume roles that were not theirs to carry. For that I am sorry – very truly sorry. ……………..

Girls and women, you are the gate-keepers. You do not have to put up with unacceptable behavior from men. You have every right to be selective with whom you fellowship. It is ok to speak up and call men to account. It should not be that way but it is and if they do not correct, do not give them time.

I am so terribly sorry if you have received wrong behaviors, words, attitudes, etc. from men and boys. It is so sad when those impacts come from grand fathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, teachers, neighbors or from any man or boy anywhere. That is not necessary. I am sorry. There are good men in the world and they are worth waiting for. Some men need your counsel so they can understand things that parents did not show them. It is ok for you to speak into their lives. If they respond in positive ways, you have gained a brother. In marriage, Peter addresses this question. ‘Unbelieving husbands can be won by the chaste conversation of their wives.’

I am also terribly sorry that many of you carry a load of responsibility for men who are supposed to be mature, adult men. You were designed by God to be a helper and companion to Adam. You were not designed to be his long-term-mother. You are the mother of all infant boys. You are not the mother of adult men. That is not your load to carry.

There are good men in this world. Honor them please. They have a difficult road to travel. They stand alone in this world. They stand with Jesus in this world. It is a difficult but a blessed road for them to walk.

They would die for you before they would harm you in any way. On the darkest night on the remotest island, they would respect and protect you. They recognize that you are a gift from God and they honor that gift and they honor your valuable presence in their lives.

They receive your love and affection as a gift from God and they are so blessed to be the recipient of that grace. They hold you in high esteem and will always be there to bless and care. They want to know what you think and what counsel you have for them. They will consider your ideas carefully and will willingly discuss them with you. There are so few of them. Please, honor them as the gifts they are from God to you. Please do not lump them in with all the other men of the world who are exploiters or who are passive persons waiting for you to lead them. If you have Godly good men in your life- you are so very blessed.