Monday, November 10, 2014

do the dorito

Make sure to go to this link and vote:

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Narcissistic much? Moi? Let me fix my hair before I answer.

Narcissism. Let's talk about it. But, first, let's define it.
inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.
Synonyms: self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism.
Psychoanalysis. erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.
You know, many today seem concerned about people's self-esteem. I'm becoming increasingly convinced we need to examine ourselves and see whether we are in the faith, but do less thinking about self. I'm becoming more convinced that it's fruitful to judge ourselves, that we might be fruitful in self-correction, but not to dwell on self too much, or to consider ourselves too deeply, and definitely not to think on self so often.
I'm positive putting God first and others second are direct biblical commands to the believer.
However, there's too much these days that lends toward self. We don't need more self-esteem; we need more esteem for God. No matter what good thoughts we could wrangle up about ourselves, God's thoughts towards us are better than ours are towards us.
Go back and read that last paragraph again. You need to do that; trust me.
In Book III of Ovid's "Metamorphoses", there is a telling reading of when Narcissus sees himself and falls in love: 

            As Narcissus had scorned her, so he had scorned the other nymphs of the rivers and mountains, so he had scorned the companies of young men. Then one of those who had been mocked, lifting hands to the skies, said ‘So may he himself love, and so may he fail to command what he loves!’ Rhamnusia, who is the goddess Nemesis, heard this just request.
            There was an unclouded fountain, with silver-bright water, which neither shepherds nor goats grazing the hills, nor other flocks, touched, that no animal or bird disturbed not even a branch falling from a tree. Grass was around it, fed by the moisture nearby, and a grove of trees that prevented the sun from warming the place. Here, the boy, tired by the heat and his enthusiasm for the chase, lies down, drawn to it by its look and by the fountain. While he desires to quench his thirst, a different thirst is created. While he drinks he is seized by the vision of his reflected form. He loves a bodiless dream. He thinks that a body, that is only a shadow. He is astonished by himself, and hangs there motionless, with a fixed expression, like a statue carved from Parian marble.
            Flat on the ground, he contemplates two stars, his eyes, and his hair, fit for Bacchus, fit for Apollo, his youthful cheeks and ivory neck, the beauty of his face, the rose-flush mingled in the whiteness of snow, admiring everything for which he is himself admired. Unknowingly he desires himself, and the one who praises is himself praised, and, while he courts, is courted, so that, equally, he inflames and burns. How often he gave his lips in vain to the deceptive pool, how often, trying to embrace the neck he could see, he plunged his arms into the water, but could not catch himself within them! What he has seen he does not understand, but what he sees he is on fire for, and the same error both seduces and deceives his eyes.
            Fool, why try to catch a fleeting image, in vain? What you search for is nowhere: turning away, what you love is lost! What you perceive is the shadow of reflected form: nothing of you is in it. It comes and stays with you, and leaves with you, if you can leave!

I heard someone credit C.S Lewis with the following: "Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less." That's good. To be humble, we don't have to be mean to ourselves, or self-deprecating; we just have to spend more time thinking on others!
I digress.
Or, do I?
Are we talking about humility or narcissism?
Well, yes. One will always force the other out. 
The Apostle Paul would say, "Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don't think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us." (Romans 12:3 NLT)
The Lord Jesus said some fairly rattling words to the overly-self-esteemed and narcissistic types: "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 14:22 ESV)
On and on we go. "Mirror, mirror, on the wall..." Yeah. We get it. 
Do we?
It's healthy to think up towards God, and worship. It's healthy to think out towards others, and serve. It is healthy to be honest in our evaluation of ourselves, but it's not healthy to think about ourselves all the time.

It's not more of me I need; it's more of the Lord.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Outlasting the Dust

Working on works that work beyond my working days...

Over 2,000 years ago, Cicero said, "There is no work of human hands which time does not wear away and reduce to dust."

Cicero was sort of right, and his sentiment rings home in hearts and minds restrained to this mud glob of a world, and to the droning clock which clicks away the heartbeats of the worried and nervous.

But, my heart stretches upward, to the beyond; beyond the space I occupy and the time measuring my moments. My heart stretches up to what matters in matters of great matter. Tick, tock may mete out the moments which my rocker rocks, but it is to Him eternal, to Him beyond this globe and her celestial heavenlies who numbers my days.

Yes, surely, our works will be tested. Time will test some, and they will be dust by the time time has tried them fully. In the final sum of things, however, our works will be tested by fire. The apostle said, "...each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done." (1 Corinthians 3:13 ESV)

Even the dustiest of dusted dusts will be tried in this fire.

We measure and weigh in days and digits, in dollars and dreams had and done, but the prophet challenges us to consider more: "But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap." (Malachi 3:2 ESV).

Who can stand when He appears? Who? Indeed.

Let us inspect our works...
Let us reflect upon our position...
Let us examine see...if we are in the faith...
Let us weigh our working, and see who it is we really serve...

Time, trudging like a rocket, drones on with the future ever rushing up into our faces. It's coming, and upon us and gone. And, again.

What are you working on? For whom? Toward what end?

Are the thread of your day's labor sewn with eternal thread, or are you simply nailing ashes and dust together to the wind?

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV)

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Courier-Times article for Saturday, November 1, 2014: "Kings without Consultation"

Kings without Consultation

They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but I knew it not. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction. (Hosea 8:4 ESV)

Do you know how it feels to want something in a particular person’s hands when it matters most? Sure, we all do. Perhaps the most vivid way to picture this is through sports analogies.

Who do you want with the ball in their hand at the end of a basketball game? You know the answer; you want Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan. Do your homework; those two have hit more game winning shots than anyone.

Who do you want leading your football team down the field with the game on the line? Good research would lead you to say Peyton Manning or Dan Marino. Those guys are clutch.

Who do you want up to bat when need a late game RBI? You might be surprised to learn who it is, but Keith Hernandez has the most game winning RBIs.

For a believer, it’s not who we want up to bat, or making the winning drive or shooting the hoop that really matters. It’s not who has the ball in their hands that really matters; what really matters is whose hands we are in!

Much of life has to do with stewardship. Whether it’s the money in the bank or the breath in our lungs, what we do with what God has placed in our care is serious business.

Consider these words of Jesus: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1-5 ESV)

Those words should grip our hearts: “…apart from me you can do nothing.”

If we’re going to be clutch, we’d better make sure we’re abiding in Jesus!

If we hope to exercise any good judgment; if we hope to be wise in our use of anything whatsoever; if our desire is to produce anything pleasing to God, we must be abiding in Jesus.

Point blank; period.

Let’s take the upcoming elections, for example. As an American citizen, if you are of age, you’ve been given the stewardship of your vote. You can vote without abiding in the Lord, but your vote will not bear spiritual fruit if you are not abiding in Him. In other words, your vote will be meaningless to Him. Sure, it might get someone elected, but it will not bear fruit of the Spirit.

The vote is in your hands, but you make sure you’re in God’s hands!

Today’s verse from the Prophet Hosea is a prime example. The people of Israel set up leaders without consulting the Lord. Israel simply followed their flesh, acted in their own wisdom, and moved forward in establishing leaders not of God’s choosing.

In very foreboding language, God tells Israel they have acted foolishly, and it will cost them: “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7a ESV)

Don’t be misled, dear friend; I am by no means telling you who to vote for or who not to vote for. Sure, do your homework. It doesn’t make sense to say you’re a Christian with biblical values if those values don’t translate into wise stewardship of your vote. Still, that’s an issue for you to wrestle with, not for me to command.

Consult with God. Be led of Him. Make sure it is He who leads you into the voting booth and make sure it is He who picks the candidates. Let us pick no kings – or princes, or county commissioners or legislators – without God’s consultation.