Blog Post #10: Hide and Seek

Blog Post #10: Hide and Seek

I have always been quite good at the game hide-and-seek. Honestly, if it was an Olympic sport, I am sure that I would have represented the U.S.A. for several Games by now. Hiding in dark cramped places was a thrill. I could quiet my breathing and wait it out for what seemed to be hours if I had too. I enjoyed displaying my hiding prowess at family functions and church youth group activities. Some of my all-time favorite secret spots were in a rolled up carpet, crouched in a high atrium window behind a curtain, and when playing in our barn, I climbed onto a beam up over a feed storage bin and blended into the cobwebs. I knew if I could outlast the seekers, I would be crowned champion once again. Yes, I was committed to my craft.

So it isn’t very hard to imagine heaven to be a place where I believe we will all have some great recreational pursuits along with working side by side with fellow believers – all to the glory of our Savior, Jesus. Of course, at the top of my list will be hide-and-seek. It makes me giddy to think about matching wits with some of the most famous faithful in history. Now if you think that is a unique take on the game of hide-and-seek, please continue reading…

Let me be real open. People can be annoying. You and I have good days and bad days. Some people practice more patience and grace toward others. Before you run and go live off the grid somewhere to avoid people, Jesus reminds us that we are to be SALT and LIGHT in the world. He wants us to live out the gospel right where we are or where He takes us.

The goal for me is to be as Christ-like as I can be with each and every response and encounter I have with others. But that doesn’t change the fact that people can still be very annoying. Question: Is it possible that this annoying person is a brother or sister in Christ – A Believer? yes, Yes, YES!

If they believe with their whole heart that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God and He died for their sins, then yes, they are a saved child of God. But, that doesn’t change the fact that they can still be annoying.

Jesus lived a perfect (no sin) life on this earth and left us with His examples in the Scriptures. There were times that Jesus would be annoyed with his disciples and tell them things such as, “You of little faith” or even to Peter he said, “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me…” Whoa, Jesus was very annoyed or irritated. What did He sometimes then do? Well, there were times when He hid! He disappeared; I think to connect with His Father through prayer. He was all about doing the Father’s will. He knew when to hide: John 8:59 and John 12:36 –Look them up!

Some people thrive on solving the cause of the irritant right away; others like me will just step back and make a mental note to see if the individual has a reoccurring theme to their personal communication style and it just rubs me wrong.

So getting back to my example of a Heavenly game of hide-and-seek…

If I die before you and then you pass into glory but can’t find me….Well, let’s just say I’m a champion hider!!!!! ☺. Now, if you go first and I can’t find you then…..oh…..wait a minute, that means….. ☺.

Ok, if you must know where I’ll be “hiding”, you should look for me at the middle-east gate. I will be one of many on my knees in awe of Jesus my Lord.

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Tim has much more to say about his blog topics. You may send him an email to discuss speaking opportunities or go to the Speaking sub-tab under Press and fill out form.

Blog Post #9 (Part 2) Finding Your Family

Blog #9 (Part 2)   Finding Your Family

Finding your family in the past could include some very reprehensible tree limbs.  Folks, it’s the new year with new beginnings, right?  So let me just say that  along with eating healthier and doing more exercising, let’s get serious about what you want in “finding your family” in the present and the future.  Researching the past was or is the easy part.  That is Monday morning quarterbacking!  It is time to make meaningful changes and create new habits that will find out who you were meant to be.  You are the only one responsible for your branch.  Do not try to blame someone else or reason away something you need to be personally responsible for.  God may have created this world but evil was brought in by a representative choice (Adam and Eve’s disobedience).  Should we be shocked that wrongdoing is a willful choice by man?  No!  Like most of my blogs I tell you it is a FIGHT. 

I said a lot about slavery in Part 1.  Please take time to read over it for context because it applies very much here.

I believe that the Lord God is a holy and righteous God who will judge the heart and actions of His creation (that’s us).  The reason He can do this is He has spoken to each and every one of us in various ways through history.  His Word has been given and will last forever.  We (as part of a fallen creation) are the only ones who can look up from being trapped by the slavery of sin and cry out to God for His mercy and grace.  You see, we are going to be a SLAVE.  The question is to WHOM.  The reality of good versus evil on a spiritual battlefield is happening.  We often enjoy suspending reality to indulge such things as superheroes and sci-fi movies, but please understand that there are spiritual life and death choices that are in play as long as you have a breath.

God’s word (the Bible) is the one true authority.  All the other old books that survive have historic significance, but no other has the authority in historic reliability and prophesy.  There are numerous archaeological discoveries that confirm the Bible’s truth about itself historically.  There are well over one thousand prophesies that confirm its authority, and the story of the survival of the Jewish people including God’s son, the risen Savior – Jesus – is God’s final authority.  He is the Word made flesh (John 1:14).

In the Bible, there are some of God’s chosen that don’t end up looking so glowing.

Hummmm?  Not a good look if you are trying to impress the masses.  Oh, people fail?!?!?!  Well then, who do they turn to? 

  1. Themselves – To keep their power. (selfish)
  2. Others – To curry favor from the powerful. (selfish)
  3. God for forgiveness and make it right. (selfless)

Ohhhhhhhhhh, OK.  Sounds like God wants His creation to make another choice after human failing….  All God the Father wanted from the beginning was to be close to His “very good” creation and have a close relationship that they could depend on Him.  When we don’t choose the things of God, we are choosing another master to serve.

The chapter of Romans 6 is full of this truth.  Here are two:

            6:16: “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

            6:22: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”

God’s Word is His Truth.  It speaks to a lot of ways you can conduct yourself and please the Lord.  But, you will not be able to do it 100% of the time. “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” Rom 3:23.  What is our result? “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” Rom 6:23.

He sent his Son, Jesus, which lived a perfect life to be the sacrifice in our place that a holy God demands.  Please know there is more than what your physical eyes can see.  You better look down into “your tree” past the roots to your very soul where each one of us daily, moment by moment, must decide who we will serve.  It’s your choice; no one else’s.  I hope when you are in a quiet place, you will hear the Lord’s voice again that continues to ask; “Who will you serve? Who will you follow?  Who is your Master?”

For me, with God’s grace and strength, I can say for myself and the legacy of my family the words of Joshua at the end of Joshua 24:15.  “… As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

 Sounds like an anthem of the will.  A purposeful obedience to show who the Master is!

 

 

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Tim has much more to say about his blog topics. You may send him an email to discuss speaking opportunities or go to the Speaking sub-tab under Press and fill out form.

Blog Post #8 (Part 1): Finding Your Family

Blog #8 (Part 1): Finding Your Family

Do you have a famous Revolutionary War hero or perhaps a matriarch from the old country who led the fight for better hospital conditions in your family history?

 

Genealogy and family history are as popular as they have ever been. With the popularity of DNA and ancestry match services, one can explore areas from the past and get clues where to continue the historical hunt. It is a thrill to find these family connections to a shining past. It makes you sit up straighter, walk a little taller; but let’s not forget about the discovery of those in the family that did not choose a path of virtue. It is hard to learn about an unfaithful father seven generations ago who left ten kids and later the records show he became a common criminal and died penniless alone in prison. A situation like that makes me wince and feel pity and anger at the same time.

 

There is also another category that EACH and EVERY one of us has in our family histories. Some more recent than others and even some families are facing it worldwide currently… SLAVERY.

 

Let me please make a point that I believe God placed on my heart and this is in no way to be political. When I mention slavery as an American, we automatically think about slavery in this country. It is natural but please let me explore the issue deeper. I hope when you read this blog you will agree that this has been handled “apolitical” which means “without political attitudes, content, or bias.” Ultimately those that read this piece will be the judge at which time I hope to receive some comments and/or shares.

Slavery has been on the world stage from early history as soon as nations and groups began to exert their power over those who could not defend themselves, were defeated in war, or were negotiated against. There is NO ethnic group, territorial tribe group, or religious people that have been immune from the grip of slavery at some point in human history. I have enjoyed the study of history and archaeology but I did not consider how common and widespread slavery was for thousands and thousands of years. I definitely now see the shortcomings of my thought process in the evaluation of these societies during their rise and fall of power. In reading the Bible and other historic documents you can discover the massive numbers of slaves that were controlled by the Babylonian, Egyptian, Assyrians, and Persian Empires during the ancient world days. They would win battles and take over great areas of land and their people. The Israelites also participated in slavery. Let us not forget about the places in other parts of the world during the life of Christ and during the next millennium that were conquered and the people enslaved throughout the Roman, Greek, and Ottoman Empires along with every region of Europe in the Dark and Middle Ages. In continuing our global travel, we can mention that the hand of the powerful among the Asian continent and the subcontinent of India have had a prolific history with slavery. To finish the sweep we go over to South America where slavery was active in all early cultures.

There is no doubt in the Colonial Era that Africa was a common target for the West and Near East for slave labor. The days of conquering a people through military force for the purpose of slave labor was diminishing but the “new age slavery” (my quote) had only just begun. This new age is built on the premise of an exchange of something of “value” for a commodity – a human.  As warped and evil as that sounds, it is what history shows.

If 1900 can be considered the start of the Modern Era, then we can point to all the forced labor (SLAVERY) that continued to exist during the reign of sanctioned and official governments worldwide. I cannot even stop there with the cold war, iron curtain and mysterious third world Asian continent. How about TODAY? The evil of slavery is still with us today. It is estimated to be over 30 million people worldwide in forced labor and prostitution. That is a lot of family history that is disgusting and shattered. Sadly, there are many places in this whole wide world where genealogy is not an activity of wonderment. There are long-term scars with short-term life spans. Who wants to discover that? We all should. SHINE THE LIGHT! I pray for fathers and mothers everywhere to have a righteous anger of protection for their families.


To finish this blog “part 1”, I want to say that you and I do not have control of what our family history looks like, but we sure have control of what our individual history looks like and trust me someone several generations down the road will be studying us and making judgments on our character. I pray every day that mine is Christ-like and pleasing to Him.
TO BE CONTINUED….In January, after the holidays.

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Tim has much more to say about his blog topics. You may send him an email to discuss speaking opportunities or go to the Speaking sub-tab under Press and fill out form.

Blog Post #7: Male Pattern Calmness (also for the ladies...)

The glory decade for professional wrestling would have to be the 1980s.  It could be argued that Hulk Hogan was as big of name as Ronald Regan and Michael Jackson world-wide.  The target demographic for “rass-ling” were preteen and teenage boys along with their fathers.  So why didn’t I succumb like my friends around me to getting into all the colorful costumes, characters, and dramatic rage?  Well in a word – RESPECT.

For anyone who yells his head off without a life or death reason (and there are very few of them but certainly the military qualifies, in my opinion), I do not respect you or your approach.  Whether it is a neighbor, teacher, coach, athlete, or even a steroid filled actor playing an athletic role in a leotard, you have lost me.

So having “set the scene” for this post, let me continue with my narrative of why calmness for everyone is a great Christ-like trait.  I believe flying into a rage is a very natural human response when wronged, but I also believe it is ultimately a very immature one both socially and spiritually.

Life happens; the good, bad, and ugly.  When our first response is to crank up the blood pressure and let out a tirade to get even or ahead, then a teaching moment is lost.  A theme in my blog posts are about doing the easy/natural versus the Christ-like response.  Jesus continues to be so very patient with us and our flaws, but he wants to see us lean on Him and the attributes of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22).

How does God see those who allow themselves to explode into a manic-rage?

Not too well.  He sees them as FOOLS (Proverbs 29:11).  “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”  We are warned to get “rid of all forms of anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” (Col 3:8).

Using Jesus as our perfect example, here are a few techniques that He used when dealing with people, even the Pharisees/religious leaders who Jesus called out as “brood of vipers and hypocrites” for their sanctimonious ego and self-appointed positions of power.

  • Jesus asked a lot of questions. Questions are a good way to flesh out any misunderstandings.  Be the calm one throughout so you can strip the emotion out and begin the problem solving.
  • Jesus dealt with people in a calm but confident voice and demeanor. He always knew how to “read the room.”   When the religious phonies needed to be called out, He did so.  Then early in His ministry when the temple (“my Father’s house”) needed cleared out due to the filthy practices of a market, He did so with very few words.  Some situations call for direct action and that was one in no uncertain terms.  Reading this text in John 2, I get the impression, He had no trouble with the Jewish leaders trying to stop Him, because His authority was (and is) righteous and they ULTIMATELY KNEW IT.  That set the battle ground for them.

How about us?  I think in our heart of hearts we know His authority also.  Do we bow or do we scheme to keep our “power.”  I’ll save more about that for another post.

  • Jesus made every situation a teaching moment. He truly connected with people.  He allowed them to make the conclusions, to own their decisions.  Still happens today!

The goal has to be our purposeful examination of self and how we can glorify God in the difficult circumstances that we face.  Will we keep our cool? – It’s a fight!  Satan would love for anger and rage to be on constant display in our lives.  When we are angry and raging, we are not letting God speak to us for His wisdom.  We again are just being foolish in His eyes.

The passage in Colossians, again chapter three, goes on to say in verses 9 and 10 this;

“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Let us strive to keep away from our old self and put on that new self that is in the image of God!  So with your new self you can get into the ring with any “rassler” because your Creator always wins and that I will always RESPECT.

And by the way… I knew better than to ask my Dad about going to any professional wrestling match.  The wrestling match would have been with hay bales. I would have found myself up in the haymow with the bales coming at me DOUBLE TIME!  Not fun….

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Tim has much more to say about his blog topics. You may send him an email to discuss speaking opportunities or go to the Speaking sub-tab under Press and fill out form.

Blog Post #6: How Much Should I Tip Jesus?

Have you ever had the misfortune of having a poor waiter/waitress/server?  I mean the kind of person who makes you feel like you are interrupting their day by showing up for a relaxing sit-down meal with family or friends.

Poor service in this post has everything to do with the server not the kitchen staff.  Calling it poor service might be generous because it would be easy to characterize it as no service.  Your party is escorted to the table and the host/hostess hands you the menus to study.  After deciding between what form of protein and carbs you are in the mood for, you begin to chat with your party to alleviate the silence so no one can hear your stomach trying to add to the conversation.  Many times a raised hand or menu can summon someone with a restaurant badge or apron but other times you are sitting in what seems like a vortex of employees being repelled from where you sit.  You may or may not even have your complimentary glass of water as you continue to wait, unfortunately forgetting the name of the dish that sounded delicious 15-20 minutes earlier.

Another example of this no service can take the form of not keeping the drinks full or not checking back to see how the server can enhance your dining experience.  If you ever have had an unfortunate server experience, my suggestion is to wait until the final bill comes to settle up with a small or no tip.  Please don’t try and make a pithy point or settle a score before the food comes out.  The server is the last one to handle the plate with your food.  Just use your imagination what could happen…  most very very revolting.

There are of course a lot of other customer service areas that we encounter in our society such as haircuts, telephone customer service rep, and retail store clerks.  The basic thing any customer wants or should demand is “reasonable service.”  This by all accounts is a fair exchange.

Well in the book of Romans, Chapter 12, Verse 1 (KJV), Paul writes:

            “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,

             that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable

            unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Paul urges the believer to be different from the society around us.  It is so easy to let your body (eyes, ears, mouth, and hands) participate in so many ungodly or worldly activities.  This is a very natural response.  But remember the Lord wants us to be “living sacrifices – holy and acceptable to Him.  The message of the New Testament is to be more and more Christ-like and less and less like the world.  Be His disciple and go and follow Him.  Remember if Jesus is your living holy Lord, then strive to make choices that demonstrate your heart toward Him.

 

Now my final thought, which is one that I haven’t heard explored with this passage.  Paul puts the crosshairs of the gospel message directly at the heart of every believer – “which is your reasonable service.”

The Lord Jesus did something so magnificently selfless for us – The God of all Creation and Heaven allowed Himself to be formed in flesh (accepting human limitations), then after He lived a perfect life, He redeemed us from our sin with His death, burial, and resurrection.  He provided His Everlasting Word/The Bible, for our instruction as well as leaving the Holy Spirit for our counsel.  With this wonderful plan that a holy God poured out, there are still people time and time again who deny Him and please themselves.

I’m guilty – It’s a fight…

Let’s stop.  Be still.  Remember God’s mercies – and do things that please Him.  Be Christ-like!

Why? 

We should all expect reasonable service

Question:  Do you think you can go to church or a Bible study once a week?  Do you think you can check on an elderly neighbor regularly? Do you think…? 

Do you think those and other things are REASONABLE?   

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Tim has much more to say about his blog topics. You may send him an email to discuss speaking opportunities or go to the Speaking sub-tab under Press and fill out form.