April 30, 2009

Pascal's Wager

I am not a betting man, but this is an interesting approach to take with someone who prides themselves with being logical and finds your faith in the God of the Bible to be less so.

Pascal's Wager, is a suggestion posed by French philosopher Blaise Pascal as a way of dealing with the question of the existence of God. I will leave aside all the ramifications of probability theory that the waget entails, it is beyond me to lay it out in a comprehensible manner.

To my mind, here is how the wager works:

  • Either God exists or he does not
  • Either you believe in God or you do not
This leads to four possible conditions:

1-God exists and you believe; you go to heaven (assuming you have placed faith in Jesus as your only way to salvation).

2-God does not exist and you believe in Him. You are no worse off, having lived an edifying life and winding up in the same place as everyone else.

3-God does not exist and you do not believe in Him. You enjoy some of the momentary pleasures of this world, you are probably not all that happy with it, and you wind up in the same place as those who have had a more edified life.

4-God exists and you do not believe in Him. Oops. I guess you have a problem now, wear something cool, loose and flowing.

As you can see, the last condition is the situation that has the most dire, irrevocable consequences.

As a logical person, leaving aside questions of faith for a second, which is the logical path of follow?

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
Jim Elliott - October 28, 1949 Journal entry

April 29, 2009

To Diet Or To Fast Is Not To Starve

I'm starving.

We have all said it at one time or another. Maybe we were delayed in having a meal on our normal time schedule. Maybe because of time pressures we skipped a meal or ate a light one. Maybe we were dieting, trying to lose a few pounds. Maybe we were fasting, and were at a moment of focusing on our physical needs as opposed to our spiritual enrichment and enlightenment.

I have dieted, I have fasted. But I have never starved. Most likely, neither have you. Whatever you were doing or not doing, be honest, food was probably no more than a step or two away.

None of us know the hopelessness of living in conditions where food is a faraway country, a life to be imagined but not experienced on a day to day basis.

It is not something I have done much about, preferring to focus on my own needs, to my shame as I think about what this day represents. I need to look inside myself so that i do more outside myself going forward.

Are you doing enough about it?

Are you doing anything about it?

April 28, 2009


I have been thinking of three different groups of people lately and how to interact with them:

  • Baby Christians - People who are new in their faith and trust in Jesus. Am I coming alongside to help encourage and teach, to help answer their questions and help embolden them in their faith? It was not that long ago that I was one and I think of the people who took the time to pour into me. I would not be where I am in my walk if not for them. You and I should be doing the same for those who have started their walk and are behind us in the path; just as those ahead of us should be calling back to us from time to time.
  • Maybe Christians - We all know some, and maybe we exhibit these tendencies ourselves in our moments of weakness. We say we trust in Jesus, but are often tepid in our behavior, less than bold in our witness. Maybe we want to be PC, maybe we want to avoid ridicule or worse. But somehow our actions do not align with our words the way they should. I need to encourage these people as well, as I need encouragement when I feel my will to the lord wavering a bit. No condemnation, but love and exhortation. We may all be in this space once in a while.
  • Rabid Christians - You have seen these people. So on fire for the Lord that even other Christians are afraid to get too close for fear of getting scorched. People you want to say to "Dude, I love your zeal, but you are scaring the pets and the children off". People who are bold to the point of being on the fringe, people you want to lasso and bring back into the fold so they can channel their energy into less frightening patterns of behavior. But remember their zeal is from the Lord, and maybe the problem isn't them, but you.
The thing is, I believe we are all in each of these categories at some point of time. All need encouragement, all need caring and community.

28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NASB)

All can work towards God's glory.

April 27, 2009

Bloggers Unite

Please remember to check ou this event in a few days, read the participants and consider blogging yourself!

April 26, 2009

God is Always in Season

We are the ones that either fall out of season or have not ripened enough into the fruit of the Lord.

Many of us suffer from the unbalanced tendency to "be ready" only "out of season." The season does not refer to time; it refers to us. This verse says, "Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season." In other words, we should "be ready" whether we feel like it or not...One of the worst traps a Christian worker can fall into is to become obsessed with his own exceptional moments of inspiration...If you make a god out of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life, never to return until you are obedient in the work He has placed closest to you, and until you have learned not to be obsessed with those exceptional moments He has given you.

Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: April 25 Devotional

God is always in season and as such we need to be ready to sample what he is offering us every day, whether we feel in the season or not.

Service to the Lord is unending (it is for our lifetime), it is uncompromising (it is paramount in our lives), but it is incomparable (there is nothing else in our lives like it).

You can serve for a season in a specific role or purpose and then move on, but be sure that serving the Lord is an eternal state once you place your trust and faith in Jesus.

But just because it is for eternity, do not think you should sit around thinking about it for a long time. Do it now.

How long should you think? I'll give you as long as it takes to share the Gospel:

Jesus died for our sins and arose from the dead.

There, I'm done. What are you waiting for?

Get busy.

April 25, 2009

Become A Friend of "My Christian Blogs"

This great idea is the Brain Child of Tony Kummer. He has created My Christian Blogs as a place, a crossroads of Christian blogging for all of us to stop by and see what is out in the blogosphere being done by our brothers and sisters in Christ, aggregated in one place for us to view.

Stop by to sample the goods and participate.

Why is it all the good ideas are taken by someone else by the time I see them and think them up for myself?

Thanks Tony, for serving the Lord with a true servant's heart.


Yesterday evening we hosted a surprise party for a friend who turned 40. (I remember 40 like it was 13 years ago...because it was). We figured he was expecting it so the plan was to invite him for dinner and have him think this was the party. He showed up and we had a cozy little dinner laid on.

Once he was in the house, we had all the attendees show up in a staging area over at a neighbor's home. When they had assembled over they came and we made him get the door for us. Sort of a reverse surprise.

I think it worked. I like being devious on occasion.

April 24, 2009

Burn Out

I have often wondered about people working in ministry who appear to be suffering from burnout or have actually burned out and have stepped away; often with lives broken, family hurt, the glory of God seeming to fade a little bit intot the background. Have heard some chapel services at DTS preaching on something similar.

I say to myself, how can that be? Why would God allow it? The answer is, as usual, with us and not God. I like the way my dear friend Mr Chambers addresses it in these excerpts:

Beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him. A great number of Christian workers worship their work. The only concern of Christian workers should be their concentration on God... A worker who lacks this serious controlling emphasis of concentration on God is apt to become overly burdened by his work. He is a slave to his own limits, having no freedom of his body, mind, or spirit. Consequently, he becomes burned out and defeated. There is no freedom and no delight in life at all. His nerves, mind, and heart are so overwhelmed that God’s blessing cannot rest on him. But the opposite case is equally true--once our concentration is on God, all the limits of our life are free and under the control and mastery of God alone. There is no longer any responsibility on you for the work. The only responsibility you have is to stay in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with Him.

Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: April 23 Devotional

I need to remind myself that when I feel the burn (or more appropriately, the burn out) building, I need to step back and over to the center, back onto God's path. He will not let me burn out if I am in His will and His way. He will not let anyone else either.

If it is happening, you or I are doing something very wrong. We should be able to do God's work and fulfill our responsibilities to spouses, family, and those around us. Because that is God's work too.

And God does not give us more that we can handle.

April 23, 2009

Coming and Going

Jesus came down to us on earth that we may go to Him for our salvation.

Jesus has gone up to heaven to be restored to the Father that we may come to Him and share in that presence.

Jesus will come again to restore His Kingdom.

Will you then kneel and bow before Him in joy or in terror?

April 22, 2009

This Saddens Me

In a country where we revel in our freedoms, where we like to say all have them, it is sad to see someone called names just because she spoke her opinion. I admire the courage to defend your convictions, even in the face of what is viewed by many as politically incorrect.

Bravo Carrie Prejean, Miss California!

April 21, 2009

The Calling In

Here is a passage from Calvin I find myself disagreeing with as I work through " The Institutes of the Christian Religion this year:

"The calling of the Gentiles, therefore, is a notable mark of the excellence of the New Testament over the Old. Indeed, this had been attested before by many very clear utterances of the prophets, but in such a way that its fulfillment was postponed until the Kingdom of the
Messiah. Even Christ at the beginning of his preaching made no immediate progress toward it...For it seemed completely unreasonable that the Lord, who for so many ages had singled out Israel from all other nations, should suddenly change his plan and abandon that choice. Prophecies had indeed foretold this. But men could not heed these prophecies without being startled by the newness of the thing that met their eyes...
John Calvin - The Institutes of the Christian Religion: 2.11.12

If I were to find the NT superior to the OT, it would be because Jesus is clearly talked about here: His life, His ministry, His teachings. But the Bible is the Bible and it is all superior to any other book, because it is inspired, written by God through the agency of His personally selected human authors.

God's plan is fulfilled perfectly through Jesus. The nation of Israel was not the light to the world, the nation of priests that God called them to be. They fell short because we are human. The Gentiles, called in by the ministry of Christ, fall short because we are human. Jesus succeeded because He is God, who came to earth as God incarnate. The agency of people will always be inadequate to fulfill the agency of the divine unless the divine steps in and brings it there. God designed it the way he did because it was the way to get us where we are.

To me, there is no superiority of one part of the Bible over another, just as there is no superiority of one type of people over another. The Bible is superior because it is the Word of God.

Any superiority I have is in Christ, for He has lifted me up where I could not go to on my own.

April 20, 2009

The Calamity After the Storm

More excerpts from Mr Chambers:

You may have just victoriously gone through a great crisis, but now be alert about the things that may appear to be the least likely to tempt you. Beware of thinking that the areas of your life where you have experienced victory in the past are now the least likely to cause you to stumble and fall...We are apt to say, "It is not at all likely that having been through the greatest crisis of my life I would now turn back to the things of the world." Do not try to predict where the temptation will come; it is the least likely thing that is the real danger...The Bible characters stumbled over their strong points, never their weak ones.
Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: April 19 Devotional

We stumble over our strong points. Maybe we stumble over what we think are our strong points when in fact we are weak in our sin. We stumble over our pride, which has us place reliance on the things the Lord has made us strong in rather than placing that reliance in the Lord. Our strengths, which the Lord would have us put to use in bringing Him glory become the prideful gaps in the armor they were designed to strengthen.

We can somehow turn the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20 into the hole in our defenses big enough to drive any sin through.

To be victorious through Christ only to fall on our own.

A self-calamity after the storm He has seen us through.

April 19, 2009


A highly excerpted passage from Mr. Chambers:

When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer... Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes...Readiness for God means that we are prepared to do the smallest thing or the largest thing— it makes no difference. It means we have no choice in what we want to do, but that whatever God’s plans may be, we are there and ready...Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to get ready— he is ready. Think of the time we waste trying to get ready once God has called!

Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: April 18 Devotional

I have to admit, this guy convicts me, but usually only once a day when I read the daily Utmost. I also think he was not easy to be around, such uncompromising focus on Jesus, in my sin I often would not have liked him much even as I loved him always.

But being ready for the Lord, ready for the call, ready to fire off in the direction he points you. It is not something I can say I am ready for 24/7, but I should be. Why else do what I am doing if not waiting to serve Him?

I do not know where anyone else is in terms of personal readiness for the Lord, I only know I need to keep focused. I would just encourage everyone to be ready, for He is coming.

If you are aimed at Christ, you will never miss whatever target God wants you to shoot at.

April 18, 2009

A Cracked Vessel

That's me, a cracked vessel, unable to keep all the water of life He pours into me from leaking out.

I am constantly amazed at how loving God is that He would fill me up continuously, constantly yet with patience and grace.

As I think of my school work, He seems to bring me through when I thought I had hit a dry patch.

As I think of writing this blog, I am amazed that He takes the time to put thoughts into my head each day as to what I should write about. As I think of my school project blog, A Trinity of 3 (which I hope you visit and comment on -- shameless plug and fishing for traffic), I am amazed at how He guides me to write about the Trinity as I progress through the course. When my mind is dry and i turn to Him, I get filled up every time.

It is good that He has an infinite supply of the living water, because I keep on leaking, each and every day.

April 17, 2009

The Narrow Road Guest Blogs Today

I am a guest blogger at World Prayer today. Some of my thoughts that I have shared with you on the topic of prayer are there today. Please check them out daily, even if you do not go by today. They have some good people associated with their purpose and their blog.

Never Stop Seeking

Look up the word seek in a New American Standard Bible and you will see, in it various forms, over 300 instances of the word. So there is a lot of seeking going on in the Bible.

Sometimes it is good:

All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart.
1 Kings 10:24

Sometimes it is bad:

So Jonathan told David saying, "Saul my father is seeking to put you to death. Now therefore, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself.
1 Samuel 19:2

Sometimes it is a command to do right:

Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.
1 Chronicles 16:11

Sometimes it is a command not to do wrong:

Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:31

Sometimes it is a relief:

Now the LORD said to Moses in Midian, "Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead."
Exodus 4:19

Sometimes it is a pain:

A rebellious man seeks only evil, So a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
Proverbs 17:11

There are over 300 seeks in the Bible, but one passage bears repeating, in life as it is in the Bible:

Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.
Psalm 105:4

Seeking can lead to good or bad, it is a matter of what and how your heart seeks.

Seek Him and you will find Him, waiting with strength and salvation.

April 16, 2009

Future Blessedness

Finally, it is clearly established that in all their efforts in this
life they set before themselves the blessedness of the future life. If
Jacob was not intent upon a higher blessing, why did he desire so much
and seek at such great risk the right of the first-born, which was to
procure him exile and almost disinheritance, but bring no good at all?
John Calvin - Institutes of the Christian Religion: 2.10.14

The passage here is dealing the faith of Isaac and Jacob, two of the Old Testament patriarchs. The point is that they looked to the future for their blessings, indeed, possibly they looked beyond life on this earth.

As we struggle through the world today, the issues our country is facing, economic or political, or even our very physical safety, take comfort from these three facts:

  • Our Lord is sovereign.
  • He has promised us blessings.
  • He is faithful to His Word.

We will get our blessings, so do not obsess on the problems of the world, but focus on He who is our King.

April 15, 2009

I Am All Over the Place

I look back over my blogging activity going back to last June when I started and I marvel at one thing. Not that I am still blogging (wait, I do marvel at that, but only daily); not that anyone reads my blog or comments on it (wait, I do marvel at that, but only every hour on the half-hour); but at the unbelievable lack of organization of it all:

Those are the tags I have put on over 400 blog posts. And they tell me one thing:

I have been all over the place with little rhyme or reason.

Me, a retired business executive, former CFO, a CPA. And I revel in the disorganized chaos of a daily blog post. After all, it is April 15th. You would think a CPA would say something about taxes. (OK, I just did, satisfied?)

It is strangely liberating.

Maybe you should try it.