Friday, March 29, 2019

The Deception We All Face

Some of us might recognize this verse from the Bible, "So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13) In that verse Paul is summing up his chapter on the importance and virtues of love. We are reminded that God himself is love. (1 John 4:8) In fact, Jesus included the action verb "love" when He was summing up all the components of the law into just two commandments. (Matthew 22:37-40)

I set the table with these verses because I wanted to point out the difference between these verses and their counterparts, the words that drive the sins and bad choices that are most likely to destroy our physical, mental and spiritual lives. God gives us words of life and hope but the enemy goal is to steal, kill and destroy. 

The Bible says that Satan is the great deceiver. We see this from the very beginning in the Garden where Satan twisted the words of God to Adam and Eve in hope that they would choose sin over obedience. This pattern of behavior continued, all the way to the book of The Revelation, where we see that in the future, Satan will try to replicate God's Trinity. Satan's end game has never changed. History records the destruction that evil has brought about in this world. The entire Bible speaks to the deception and lies that Satan uses to deceive the people of earth. So, having been thoroughly warned, why do so many of us fall for his traps?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Putt Putt versus Mini Golf

I've played some pretty cool mini-golf courses in my life, Hillbilly Golf in Gatlinburg for example, where you have to take a tram to the top of the mountain and then play the course to the bottom, and Mulligans in Salt Lake City, which has lots of waterfalls. But my favorite golf experiences are Putt Putt Courses. If you don't know the difference between these two types of golf  then you've come to the right place.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Importance of Context

When God finally got my attention in my late twenties, one of the first gifts He gave me was an intense hunger for His Word. I remember leaving my Bible at the bottom of my stairs each morning so that when I returned home that evening it would be the first thing I would see. Day after day, I couldn't wait to dive into God's Word and be refreshed by His presence. The healing power of His Word started working on the deepest parts of my heart. Then I started writing down and applying the promises of His Word to me.

After months of immersing myself in the Bible, one day I heard a sermon about the importance of claiming your very own life verse. That sounded logical to me so I started searching through all of my favorite scripture verses in the quest to discover my "life verse". (Now let me explain that I'm not against the concept of having a life verse but at the time it seemed like a box I needed to check on my way to becoming a mature follower of Christ.) After not a lot of searching (sic) I landed on Jeremiah 29:11. Because let's face it, what Christian doesn't long for the comfort and promise of this verse? "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Did you know that Jeremiah 29:11 is the second most searched Bible verse on the Internet?). And let me save you the trouble, John 3:16 is the most searched Bible verse on the web.

Friday, March 08, 2019

A Great Teammate

In most team sports there are several ways to evaluate the impact of your teammates. More than just the skill they bring to the sport, the most valuable teammates think the best of their fellow players, motivate through personal example, and put the interest of the team before their own personal gain.

Mickey Mantle (left), pictured in the photo above with his teammates Bobby Richardson (center) and Whitey Ford (right), was by most accounts, a difficult man to be around in social situations, but his baseball teammates revered him. His talent, his humility, and the way he played the game for fun had a huge impact on the Yankee teams of the 1950's and 1960's. They won seven world championships with Mickey in the lineup. And it wasn't just his fellow teammates who appreciated his awesome talent. The great Detroit Tiger, Al Kaline was once taunted by a young fan, "You're not half as good as Mickey Mantle," to which Al replied, "Son, nobody is half as good as Mickey Mantle."

Friday, March 01, 2019

Which Comes First - Love or Obedience?

Jesus said some of the most radical things that the world had ever heard. In the book of John, Jesus was talking to His disciples and check out some of that statements that flowed out of that conversation. Truths such as, "I am the way and the truth and the life." No man comes to the Father except through me." and "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."

Yet His words, "If you love me, you will obey me." are sometimes overlooked in that chapter of John (Chapter 14).  Tucked between the promise for the present, "Ask for anything in my name and I will do it" and then followed with a promise for the future, "I will ask the Father for an advocate, and He will send the gift of the Spirit of truth who will abide with you forever." it can be granted a position of lesser prominence.