Friday, November 25, 2022

Reading the Word of God with Purpose

Just a few quick thoughts on what I have learned over the years about reading the Bible. This also applies to any platform that I'm using to learn more about God. 

I believe that there are three stages to learning about the character and truth about God. (This is by no means an original way to study and apply God's Word, but I honestly can't remember who or even when I learned this truth)

Ready to jump in? 

Friday, November 18, 2022

"In the Last Days . . . "

"But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these. For some of these insinuate themselves into households and captivate weak women who are overwhelmed with sins and led along by various passions. Such women are always seeking instruction, yet never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people—who have warped minds and are disqualified in the faith—also oppose the truth. But they will not go much further, for their foolishness will be obvious to everyone." (2 Timothy 3:1-9 NET)

Some quick thoughts about this instruction from Paul to his follower, Timothy. In this letter, Paul is describing the ramifications of the end time of history - and what is sobering is that the list of sins that follow the proclamation that "difficult times will come" don't even seem to be that out-of-the-norm in today's culture. Just take for instance the description that in the end days that children will be disobedient to their parents, for anyone that has worked in any childcare environment (including church) the exception is the child that is obedient to his/her parents. And before we point our fingers toward the world in judgement a gentle reminder that this instruction to Timothy is about the people in the church! Of course those who don't love Christ are going to embrace self-love and serve their own interests, but Paul is telling Timothy that members of the church are going to embrace the sins listed above

Friday, November 11, 2022

Eight Things I've Learned Playing Chess

Recently I’ve been thinking about chess as a microcosm to life. While our time on earth isn’t a board game, there are legitimate and essential connections between being a good chess player and being successful at anything you do. 

So without further ado, here are seven things I've learned playing chess.

1. Have a plan

No matter your ambitions in life, you’ll fail without a plan.

Yes, people get lucky “shooting from the hip” from time to time, but everyone knows that successful people make plans and follow through. It doesn’t matter if you’re an architect, surgeon, artist, teacher, programmer, or athlete; regardless of your profession or passion, if you don’t have a plan, you’ll fail.

2. Reflect

In chess, calculated risks are essential to victory. Computers calculate that after the first four moves of a chess game, there are 4,865,609 possible games that could be played out. Process that for a minute.

One of the greatest axioms of life is that people who reflect are people who improve. If you’re improving, you’re heading in the right direction.The point is that without an active process to learn from each of your games, it is impossible to improve as a player. I've found this translates into most areas of my life as well. 

3. See The Big Picture

I can't tell you how many times I've stared at the chess board, my position, and then fixated on what I perceived to be the best strategy of play. The problem with this approach is that I will almost always fail to notice superior moves that would have better advanced my position. Two quick takes: The obvious is not always the best choice and Keep evaluating your environment and try to avoid taking the easy path to your decisions. 

Friday, November 04, 2022

The Newest Deal

As we, the citizens of the United States of America prepare to vote next week, I found an interesting quote from President Grover Cleveland regarding the role of government in the lives of individuals. 

It's hard to believe in this day and age, but “Big Government” and constant handouts were not always an accepted norm. Check out this quote from none other than Grover Cleveland, a Democrat (!) when vetoing a drought aid bill to Texas farmers in 1887:

“I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the Government the Government should not support the people.

“The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."