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October 19, 2017, 11:19 AM

Activist or Antagonist

Activist- a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change

Antagonist -A person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something                                       (Source - Oxford dictionary online)

I know this is a very sensitive subject, and so I tread lightly with my thoughts.  Please know that my words are from a personal conviction and not intended to demean anyone or make light of social injustices.  It is not intended to promote political thought, but spiritual. The recent protest of the National Anthem has struck a chord with many and has become a point of division in our nation.  I have had to resist the urge to gently explain to those around me who choose to sit while the anthem is played, that someone died for them to have the right to display such blatant disregard for a symbol of hope and freedom.  An activist, which those who sit claim to be, uses a particular platform seeking to draw attention to a cause or personal conviction.  According to the definition, they campaign for an issue.  As we all know from politics, what is said in a campaign hardly ever materializes in actions, so simply campaigning is not enough.  In order to see a real, substantial change take place, there needs to be an implementing of resources at the community level bringing about change in lives from personal interaction and mentoring.  There need to be positive antagonists who actively seek to bring about a change rather than simply campaign about it.  In light of this, during my quiet time this week, the Lord put on my heart the question of my walk personally and the role of the church.  Am I being a Christian activist by joining together each Sunday with others who are like minded to draw attention to a cause or conviction? Am I doing what is necessary to exact a change by pouring into others on a personal level through discipleship?  Is the church actively seeking to bring about a change in a lost and dying world or has it become content with merely campaigning for it?  While the complaint of disrespect for the flag and the honor of those who died for our freedom is legitimate, what about the disrespect shown toward the cross of Christ when those who claim to be followers of Jesus and receivers of eternal hope and freedom from sin and death simply go through the motions and don’t actively live out His commands?  To campaign without actively seeking to bring about a positive change is not what James describes.  He says that faith without deeds to support it is a dead faith.  A faith built on bringing an awareness but refusing to be a part of the change. 

Robert 




October 10, 2017, 11:38 AM

Physically Fit

For the last nine months or so I have been trying to get in better shape, eat healthier, and become healthier overall.  I have made much progress toward that goal but still have so far to go.  I felt as if I had reached a significant milestone in my physical exercise recently and decided to attempt a new challenge.  Push-ups are a large part of my exercise routine and I try to do several daily.  Feeling confident, and in hindsight, a little arrogant, I tried a variation of the push-up I call the handstand push-up. It’s where you stand on your hands with your feet against the wall and lower and raise yourself with your arms.  Well, I got down on my back and scooted over to the wall.  Slowly walking my feet up the wall until I could get them no higher.  As I attempted to turn over in order to perform the push-ups, I realized Humpty Dumpty wasn’t the only one who was going to have a great fall.  Somehow, I crashed to the floor without having broken anything except my pride.  At least my kids got a good laugh out of it.  I will continue to work at the handstand push-up, but not today.  I was reminded of my weakness and inability to do certain things.  My greatest amount of strength was insufficient to accomplish this task.  Two things to take from my humiliation:

  1. It is in my weakness that I realize I can’t do everything and must trust in God to accomplish His purposes in my life.  I have a certain burden of responsibility, but He is omnipotent and I am not.  It is good to be reminded that dependence upon God is paramount to living the abundant life.  My righteousness alone is as filthy rags compared to the righteousness of God, but in Christ, I stand righteous before the throne. 
  2. Paul tells Timothy physical training is of some value but spiritual training is more important.  If I desire to become healthier physically, there are things that I must do.  I must make time to exercise.  I must choose the banana for breakfast instead of the donut.  I must be dedicated and disciplined to get closer to my goal.  If I don’t reach my goal, I have no one to blame but myself.  If the spiritual fitness goal is to be more like Christ, am I as dedicated to it as I am to my physical fitness.

Good luck in reaching your physical and spiritual goals.  Be committed and make wise choices.  Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges knowing that soreness can be a good indicator of getting stronger.

Robert




September 19, 2017, 10:30 AM

Tourist on a Journey

It is Homecoming week at our school district and many of the faculty and students were dressed up for “Tourist Tuesday.”  Some of the outfits were pretty wacky and definitely touristy.  As I thought back on the times when we had gone different places, I wondered if we looked as goofy as some of the “tourists” at school did.  Chuckling to myself because of the preconceived image the word “tourist” brings to mind, I began to ponder, “What are the defining characteristics of a tourist?”  Here are a few I came up with:

  • A tourist is someone who is only passing through.  They understand the time they are spending in whatever location is limited, and that soon they will go home.  They may be in a certain location, but they are not of that location. 
  • Tourists usually travel in groups.  Not only is there safety in numbers, but a group also provides someone to share the load and enjoy those precious moments with.  Often, this group is comprised of close friends or family. 
  • Tourists understand it’s not just about the destination, but the journey as well.  They tend to make time to stop and enjoy the beauty of their surroundings and realize that their children will only be little for a while.  Importance is placed on making memories with loved ones rather than keeping a schedule.
  • Tourists reflect the culture of their “home.”  Because they are just passing through as tourists, they look different, talk different, act different, dress differently.  This is why they stand out. 

As a follower of Christ, this world is not my home.  Therefore, I should look, talk, and act differently.  I also need to remember that this life is quickly passing.  The loved ones in my life are precious to me and they need to know daily how much I love them and that they take priority over a schedule.  God has placed special people in my life to help carry my burdens and share in the joy and I am so grateful for them.  What time we have left in this life is limited so be encouraged to live in a way that affords you God’s greatest blessings now and assures you of hearing, “well done” when we get home. 

Robert




September 11, 2017, 12:05 PM

Shortcut at the Duck

A few years ago our family headed out on an impromptu day trip.  It was around Independence Day so we all had some time off and decided to make the most of it.  After much deliberation and figuring of time and finances, we loaded up the car and headed east to visit the home of a certain dynasty located in West Monroe, Louisiana.  After arriving, we quickly realized that something special was going on that day because there were so many people, and because we overheard someone talking about it.  Due to the crowds we had to park a fair distance away and ride a shuttle over to the warehouse where the festivities would be taking place.  This didn’t pose a problem for the trip over because we didn’t have to wait long for the next shuttle and there was plenty of room for our family.  However, later that day as stomachs began to growl and symptoms of being hangry started showing, the shuttle line back to the car and subsequently the restaurant was nowhere near as short.  To ride back would require an extended wait time, so being hot, tired, and hungry we decided to make the trip back on foot.  There were others doing it so we followed along.  About halfway through the journey, I decided I would take what appeared to be a shortcut and go get the car and bring it around to pick up everyone else.  (Key word in that sentence: appeared.)  As the crow flies it was much shorter, but as Robert walks it was MUCH longer.  I ventured through an empty lot and was quickly overcome by weeds that grew taller than me and so thick that I could barely make my way through them.  As if this wasn’t enough, I walked into what seemed to be the mother-load of briars that cut my arms and legs without mercy.  I thought I might could turn around and go back from where I came but by this time I had lost all sense of direction and couldn’t see over the top of the weeds to know which way to go.  Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I tripped on something that scurried away and fell face first into an almost dry creek bed that wasn’t visible before.  I quickly tried to get up and saw a snake slither just a few inches from my hand.  I was ready to give up and fear of seriously hurting myself began to creep into my mind.  I couldn’t help but think how stupid I was for trying to take this “shortcut.”  I eventually came out of the abyss of weeds and, with a look of bewilderment and bleeding wounds from the briars, endured the laughs from my wife and kids as I told them the story.  When it comes to following Christ there are no shortcuts.  We are called to take up our cross daily, die to self, and follow Him.  There is no shortcut to eternal life or to being a follower of Christ no matter how many people seem to have found one or how easy it might appear.  There is one way, one truth, and one life and following in that one way is hard and promises a life of persecution.  However the eternal rewards far outweigh the temporary struggles.  Taking the “shortcut” will only lead to being lost in an eternal abyss where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  What path will you take today?

Robert




August 29, 2017, 11:49 AM

Prayer of a Broken Heart

Oh God, I am broken before you.  I have so much hurt in my heart and brokenness over the extent of my depravity.  Hurt from a source so near to my heart makes me angry that they are able to cause such pain and only compounds the anger that swells inside of me.  I promised myself that I wouldn’t let anyone cause me such pain ever again, yet here I am.  I want so desperately to be “strong” but it’s in my own strength I can see how truly weak I am.  The anger in my heart leads to bitterness and sin which thus opens the Pandora’s Box of my wickedness that I find myself unable to control.  It is now after I have lashed out in anger and succumb to the wretchedness of self that I am brought low and humiliated before you oh God.  I am so disgusted over my repulsive behavior and putrid heart and the tremendous offense my ways are to you.  I cry to you, “Oh God! Hear the cry of my heart!” Please, Lord, take me in my weak and broken condition and heal me.  Restore to me the joy of Salvation.  Strengthen my bones, cleanse my heart, and forgive my sins.  Words cannot express how I feel but you oh Lord know my heart.  Lord, I confess I have sinned. Please forgive me, heal me, and restore me to a right relationship with you for I am unable and unworthy to do so.  You alone can make a man righteous through redemption and repentance.  I plead this cause before you under the blood of Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen


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