Friday, December 9, 2016

December 9, Luke 12:35-56 Are you ready?

Sort of an open question, ready for what? But that's the point, be ready for anything. If you look at all of Jesus' teachings you'll see that he wanted His followers to be ready for any situation. Sometimes it may require physical labor, sometimes being a friend or just being. Sometimes being a peacemaker and sometimes a fighter. Being ready to answer the call to do whatever needs to be done is what should set Christians apart. This section is typically interpreted to be ready for Jesus' return, but that amounts to the same thing. If I'm ready to help my neighbor, if I employ the basic principles the bible teaches then I'm ready for Him to come. Jesus speaks of discerning the times, interesting that throughout the history of the church you'll find that each generation thought it was The time. I believe that's by design, there should always be an expectation of Jesus' eminent return. Keeps us on our toes.

Today's workout, full body intervals
squat, row, hamstring curl, push-up, lunge, biceps curl, T, triceps extension.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

December 8, Luke 12:4-34 What are you afraid of?

I'm lumping fear and anxiety together. I know some people that claim they have no fears, that they totally trust God for everything. I also know they're liars. We all have fears, one of the best descriptions of the fears of regular people comes from a fantasy novel I read. The character speaking is a blacksmith addressing a knight who for the first time has been truly afraid. Here's the quote; "I'm an ordinary man, ordinary men live in fear all the time. We're afraid of the weather, we're afraid of powerful men, we're afraid of things in the night, we're afraid of growing old and of dying. Sometimes even afraid of living. Ordinary men are pretty much afraid all the time."  That's so real, we are afraid all of the time and I think that's O.K. We could probably add to the list we're afraid of losing our job, of financial markets crashing, international terrorism, there's a lot to be afraid of. I teach the instructors at the ropes course that if they can stand in the window and not be afraid they need to come down. Fear can be healthy and fear can be bad, being afraid of heights, of storms, and powerful people isn't so bad unless you allow the fear to dictate your life. That's more of what I see here. If a hurricane comes I prepare for it from a certain amount of fear. The same is true in other aspects of life. I attach a tether when I'm working in the tower from a fear of falling. But to not do things, to be immobilized by fear, that's what I think the point is. Don't be so afraid that you do nothing and say nothing.

Today's workout, cardio intervals
High knees, squats, windmills, jump rope, climbers.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I'm sorry, I did something stupid.

As most of us do by now I am involved with different groups of people and post on different forums. Something happened in the past few days and I realized that, along with several others, I did something stupid. I tried to fix someone's problem.  You see there's a member of one group who's having some difficulty and shared that.  And several of us felt the need to try to help.  The poster never asked for help, just  the frustration and sadness. One person even went so far as to say this was God's will. That's one of the really dumb things that religious people do, assume to speak for God.  I think the actual text was that God has another plan. There are two things I want to do when that happens. First I want to know if they've been to Sinai and spoken directly to God, second I want to hit them in the mouth. Statements like that are far more hurtful than the actual problem. As a bible scholar and teacher I have learned two truths that while true, logically can't be but are. God is sovereign over everything. Man has the freedom to do stupid things. Along the same lines of stupid things religious people say is that everything happens for a reason, yes it does and more often than not the reason is that you're a twit. In this person's case it's a combination of things. It's stuff they've done in the past along with a world system that's controlled by selfish greedy people. (That's all of us, yes, were all greedy).  To you specifically who made the post I am so sorry.  You never asked me or anyone to fix the problem, the fact is that we can't and we've probably made things worse. What I should have said, and what any caring friend would say is this. I can't fix this for you and I wish I could. What I can do is sit and share a coke and maybe help you cry a little.  That offer stands, suffering through troubles sucks and suffering through them alone sucks worse.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December 6, Luke 12:1-3 Secrets

We're just looking at three verses today but something very significant. What constitutes a secret? As soon as a second person knows then it's not a secret. I served in military intelligence, yes I know people joke that's an oxy-moron, but learned first hand what secrets are, or at least should be. Sometimes when you want certain people to know something you make it to be a secret when it really isn't. There are two distinct aspects to secrets, those that we really want to tell someone and those that we never want anyone to know about. And yes we all have them, something you just thought about that makes you blush. But God knows all secrets and some day they'll all be revealed. Is that a bit scary? Sometimes a secret can be used to hold power over someone and counter to that secrets can have power over us. Funny thing though that when it's no longer a secret there is no power. So many people are prisoners for no real reason but to reveal that secret would be embarrassing. And many times it's already known anyway. Is there some secret in your life that has power over you?  God already knows about it, share it with someone you can trust and break that power, or better yet if it concerns a specific person, go to God then go to them.

Today's workout, cardio intervals
Step, squat, windmill, climber, jump rope.

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5, Luke 11:14-54 No matter what happens, some will just not believe

The rest of this chapter deals essentially with people who simply will not believe. They existed then and they still exist now. Those then asked for miracles and signs to prove who Jesus was. There were signs certainly but still they wouldn't believe, even attributing the things of God to the devil. Jesus tells them their end, it's the same through the ages for people who demand signs and still won't believe. 

It actually takes more faith to believe that life spawned from fungus in a swamp than it does to accept a creator. But to accept a creator means that I am not in charge and that's the main problem. God calls humanity stiff necked people, we certainly are, and when you consider the way to salvation, it's not the sin that keeps us from God, it's the stiffness to not confess and repent.

Today's workout, Back-biceps
Step, pull-up, burpee, row, windmill, T

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 4, Luke 11:1-13 The most powerful prayer

The text says that John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. I'd be curious exactly what he taught them. Jesus' disciples ask Him too for instruction in prayer, I think it's something in us that looks for a magic formula. There are a lot of prayer books, specifically I think of the old church liturgy and some of Sturgeon and Wesley's prayers are in books that people still pray. But there's really nothing special about the words used. The most powerful prayer recorded was prayed by Peter, he was sinking and he looked to Jesus and simply said "Lord, save me!" Yet here Jesus gives His disciples a model to follow. Begin by acknowledging God is sovereign, that all things are subject to His will. Ask for the things you need for today, for forgiveness for your sins and forgive others, and for guidance away from evil. I taught a class several years ago using the Cotton Patch Gospel, it's a colloquial translation for cotton farmers done in the 50's and later published in the 60's. Here is how he translated this model prayer; "When you pray, say, 'Father, may your name be taken seriously. May your Movement spread. Sustaining bread grant us each day. And free us from our sins, even as we release everyone indebted to us. And don't let us get all tangled up!" I always liked that simple translation. Prayer isn't about special words, it's not ritual, if that's so then it becomes about us and not God. Prayer is simply speaking to God how you feel, He already knows but wants us to tell Him. If we follow the simple pattern, remembering first that God is holy and sovereign then you really can't screw up prayer.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

December 3, Luke 10:21-42 A bologna sandwich guest

The story of the good Samaritan is fairly common, the principles in it can be seen nearly daily. It seems to me that I have an opportunity every day to do something nice for someone, perhaps not to that level but some act to show love to my neighbor. As a footnote here about the Samaritans, they too were children of Israel and of course Abraham. The divisions and prejudices come from events back in the books of Kings. One of the main claims the the Jewish people had at that day were that they were children of Abraham, God's chosen people. Jesus chastised them by saying that God could raise up from the rocks children of Abraham. I don't know if the term rocks was literal for rocks or a slang for other peoples, either way that distinction of being Abraham's children is not enough for salvation. In this last section Mary and Martha are entertaining Jesus and His disciples, traditionally they would make sure there was food and entertainment for the guests. With a large crowd that could be a lot of work. I picture Martha as the type that wants to be sure the food is just right and the places are set perfectly. Jesus is the type guest that really doesn't care where the salad fork sits, he's quite content with a bologna sandwich. We can never get our lives in a state of perfection to present to God, just come humbly as you are, you'll be just fine.