Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The 10 minute ride is primarily down some side streets. That way I avoid the traffic (and potholes) on the main roads. Usually there are a few joggers and occasional dog-walkers, but for the most part it is a quiet ride. This gives me time for some good conversation with God.
I like riding the bike, but a hindrance for me is that I don't want to walk around work all day sweaty. Being overweight, even on cool days I arrive with my collar, back and underarms fairly damp.
Now I am one of those fortunate people who usually has minimal body odor. If needed, I can go a few days without a shower and no one knows the difference (so long as I wash my hair). About the only time I really smell is when I get really odoriferous is from activities like from mowing the lawn. playing softball or walking for exercise (or chasing the kids around an amusement park).
So, a concern for me is not the wetness, but the smell. That I will be at work all day, sitting in meetings, interacting with co-workers, and being smelly. Having worked with people with disabilities for most my life, I know that body odor can be disruptive and an unpleasant addition to the day.
See, part of the situation is that most people cannot smell themselves. We get used to smells pretty quickly. I worked in a steel mill for a few years and the air of sulfur awful walking in but within a few minutes, it was not even noticeable.
For me, I have to stink pretty bad for me to smell myself.
This is probably true for most people, though I have never taken a pole.
That is how our own sins are as well. We have to really get deep into sin sometimes before we can really see our sinfulness.
Most people see themselves, in balance, as pretty good. Sure, we do the occasion lying or minor stealing (how many pens from work are sitting in a drawer at home?) and lusting (in our heart). Yes, we worship some idols like money or our girlfriend or our sexuality. True, we covet the job we didn't get (and was given to someone so much less able to do it than our self) or the neighbors BMW. . . and when was the last time we called our mom or dad?
Well, doing the above broke a whole number of commandments, but we see them as minor and unimportant. We didn't kill anyone (accept in our hearts) or hurt others on purpose.
No, we have trouble smelling ourselves because we have become used to the stench. We say, "well, don't smell too bad" or we slap on some more perfume or deodorant to cover up our smell, just like we try to cover up our sins. This usually makes the smell more nauseous and makes our sins worse.
The best thing to do is to realize you need to realize that it is easy to get used to the smell, like it is easy to get used to the sins.
Christians should be looking for sins in themselves. We need to take a moment and smell the air. Is that wafting odor ourselves?
Just like we need to shower regularly to deal with the odor from our body, we need to take some hard looks and go to God to deal with the regular sins in our lives.
No one likes to sit next to a stinky body, including God.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I am an awful sinner. I just did not realize it before this time. I thought of myself as a "good" person who did wrong things, made "bad" choices, opted for some "mistakes".
It would be great if I said that on August 4, 1991 that I ceased sinning.
What happened though, is that my eyes were opened to be able to see past my own desires. Prior to that August day, I could see the sin in others, but ignored my own sins - unless they worked against me. Then I would often lament more at being caught in the sin than about doing the sin in the first place.
This, I believe, is how most people see their own sinfulness and react when their sins are pointed out. This was Adam's first reaction - to blame Eve, to blame God Himself, so it should not be surprising when our own first reaction is to "blame" someone else. Given our culture, where even the guilty are viewed more as victims than perpetrators, it should not be surprising that Christians be seen as hypocritical.
Most Christians (but not all) tend to view sin from the eyes of a co-conspirator rather than a judge, but it is almost impossible to convey that clearly. In our society, increasingly, the mere act of calling something a "sin" is worse than the sin itself.
We Christians also often fail to heed the command of Galatians 6:1 - "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted".
Our response to the sins of others need to be in a way that does not bring about sin to ourselves. That is why we are admonished in Matthew to "take the log out of our own eye" first.
That is the warning in the last line of Gal 6:1 - "lest you be tempted" - tempted to see yourself as superior, tempted to force the other persons obedience, tempted to use blunt force instead of a gently tap.
The bottom line is that we need to be dealing with sin in our lives while we help a brother (or sister) to deal with their sin - all through Christ, and we need to be doing that in the spirit of love - which is doing that which is in their best interest.
God may treat our sin as forgotten, but we should never forget them, and we should always strive to react to the sins of others in a way we would want others to react to in our sins - to lovingly rebuke and restore us.
For His Glory,
Saturday, July 19, 2008
It was about a counselor working for a secular counseling center who was fired for referring a lesbian client to another therapist for relationship advice. The counselor referred the client on religious grounds and because she thought the other counselor could best help the client.
(Read the article here )
I also like reading through the comments section for the opinions expressed by readers of the article. One comment on this article struck me - it said "What would her employers have done if she counseled according to the Bible? She knew they would fire her so she did the right thing and opted out."
While the small article only gives us a brief synopsis, there is an interesting contrast here.
While I admire her one stand, it is interesting to note that she was willing to be fired over her religious beliefs in viewing homosexual behavior as a sin, but not over the sufficiency of the Bible, upon which her faith is centered.
The secular world kneels at the altar of psychological theory, and so many Christians have embraced any word by a "psychologist" as a revelation from God.
Most psychological theorists have either atheists, agnostics or pantheists. Most have been vehemently anti-Christian. Many psychological conclusions, particularly in terms of providing therapy, have not come from a scientific analysis of human behavior but from the theorists own mind or observations - many of which are antithetical to what the Bible indicates.
For example: it is almost universally held by therapists (and the psychological community) that the main reason why most normal (that is people without a chemical imbalance - mental illness, or people without a developmental disability) do harmful things is because of poor self-esteem. Victimization runs rampant through the therapeutic community as well. The Bible says our problems stem from too much pride and not enough humbleness or self-sacrifice. (I have even heard "Christian" counselors say that in order to love others must first love one's self!)
Having been a social worker for neigh onto 30 years now, I have seen personally seen how little success "psychotherapy" brings about. Studies have indicated that going to a "professional" counselor is no more effective than not (or talking with close, loving friends).
So, along comes a lesbian who wants relationship advice and a stand is taken to not provide counsel but one wonders if she referred away other "sinners" - an adulterer, a person struggling with truth telling (a liar) or a person who is going through a divorce.
While I applaud her stand, one must wonder if she is being consistent in the application of her religious beliefs by even working for this agency in the first place...by even being a "professional" counselor in a setting where she is allowed to use any method she desires - except the one she should (self) require - the Scripture.
I am watching this all the time, because I know that I must be prepared to the possibility that I could be asked to do something that violates my faith. Fortunately, those concerns did not come up during my tenure as a "social worker" (I am in administration now).
I hope God strengthens me to do stand firm - in all things, because my Savior is more important than my job.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
For example, my step-son recently got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt. $65.
Now, he could have whined about how unfair that was. He was only not wearing his seat belt. It wasn't hurting anyone else, etc. But he didn't - because his dad paid the fine for him. His dad took on the punishment for his child. His dad was out the money so his son was free from the burden of the ticket.
This is what Christ (God) did on the cross. He paid our $65. The punishment for our sin was "paid" by someone else.
Now, my step-son had been told by driver's ed, told by us, most likely told by his dad, that he should always wear a seat belt. It was a good idea for him to do. It was safer. It was the law, and there was a fine if you did not wear it and got caught. He knew all this in advance, but still refused to wear his belt. In fact, we (his parents) all knew that we was not wearing his belt.
You're right, though, in that it does not make sense.
My step-son's dad should not have paid the ticket. It would have been a better lesson for him to have paid the fine himself.
The problem was that he did not have the money. Ignoring the ticket could result in a license suspension, larger fines, bench warrant, an arrest, even jail. His dad loves his son, so it was not "easier" but it was out of that love that he paid the fine for his son.
Now, as a result, my step-son should have with a greater appreciation for his dad, who sacrificed his own money for the benefit of his son. This should also help him to remember to buckle up, because of what his dad did for him.
It is out of love for us - even though we have broken His laws, we have spurned Him, we have opposed Him, we have been His enemy - that He sacrificed Himself on the cross.
It is interesting that so many focus on the punishment or consequences, trying to make them seem extreme or unfair - and they are - from our point of view since we are the ones who could be the recipients of the punishment. Unfairness is always unfair in the eyes of the person on the short end of the stick, even if they chose that stick themselves. The guilty either proclaim their innocence or the injustice of their punishment.
Now, when we, meaning people, make laws, we don't usually make the consequences based on how we would feel if we had to serve that punishment. No, we based the punishment on how severely we view the crime, so, obviously, God views these "crimes" - adultery, homosexual actions, etc as very severe.
Why? because they pervert His image (we are made in His image) thus smearing His Name.
This may not seem like a big deal to you, but to God, it is very important.
This may seem tyrannical. This may seem petty. This may seem like overkill on God's part, but we cannot possibly see something totally from God's perspective.
We close our eyes, though, to the evidence. The pain and suffering that is brought about by our sins, not only to others but to ourselves.
In love, God says do not do these actions. In justice, He says these are the consequences and they must be exacted (or it would not be justice). In mercy, He "became sin for us" and took the consequences Himself. In charity, He offers the choice to each of us - repent of our sins and receive Christ - or - take the punishment on yourself.
Friday, July 11, 2008
My dad was a lifetime member of the VFW, and he instilled in us kids a deep sense of patriotism.
That sense was diffused by my 'liberal' education at college and I actually, for a time, was more ashamed of my country than proud.
Then I repented of my sins and received Christ as Lord and Savior.
Now scripture talks about the "church" as the "body of believers" and this body transcends the boundary lines of any country. In fact, we are told that we are really citizens of another place, being alien visitors (not the kind found in flying saucers, but the kind that have immigrated to a new place). We are warned not to get too attached to this world, but to live in it, obey laws, be kind to others, live at peace, and basically be good neighbors and citizens.
The "line in the sand" comes when we are required by our country (government) to violate the doctrines and tenets of our faith. We are to obey God over man.
So where does Patriotism fit in with all this? Should the flag of the country be flown in the place where God is being worshiped? Do songs that mix God in with country truly glorify and honor Him?
My sense is that we need to be discerning about this, that we need to make sure we have not become syncretic - trying to reconcile or blend those sometimes opposite emotions of a strong love of country with the deep love of God. God should always be first.
We should participate, vote, pay taxes (yes, pay taxes), support candidates, discuss issues (from a Biblical perspective when possible), but not be fretting over loss or salivating in any win.
We need to remember that it really all is about God. He is sovereign. He is in control. Today is just one more step closer to the completion of His plan which will restore His Glory and man's relationship with Him and no win or loss at the polls will thwart or impede His will.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
This is a big question.
One of the blessed curses of the internet is instant access to information and news, and so often that news is not good for Christians. It seems that the world is spiraling downward rapidly, especially on the moral front (just look through your junk mail file and see what most of the spam is about). It seems that humans are not becoming "better" but actually worse. The depth of how people are denigrating and harming their fellow human being almost makes Hitler's perversions seem mild.
It can seem overwhelming and faith busting. Read Psalms 10.
It starts our faith-busted: "Where are you God?", it asks, as the wicked prevail. One can almost hear the sound of gnashing teeth and the ripping of clothing. People doing evil and mean and rotten things are getting away with it. They are shaking their fist in Your Face and spitting on Your Sacred Ground!
Not only are they opposing You, God, they are getting away with it and prospering!
The psalm asks "Why don't You do something about this Lord?" and "How can You let this happen?" One can almost hear an unspoken whine of "That is not fair!"
Then, the psalmist comes to right mind. The psalmist sees, for the moment, Who God really is and who the psalmist is before Him. "You do see".
It is interesting how comforting that is: "You do see". It means that He is watching. It means that He is working. It means that He is waiting. His ways are not our ways. He is doing as He wills for His purposes. He is not unsympathetic nor unloving. He is in control and we need to understand that He works all things out for good.
These terrible times we think we are living in, worse than ever before, are really not the worst of times. They are just times, and God is patiently playing out His plan and we need to stop, take a breath, and realize that.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
>Clostridiophile said...”Peck, are you for putting homosexuals to death? It is Biblical, afterall.”
Response: No, I am not for putting “homosexuals” to death unless they commit a crime that is against the law of the country they live in whose consequence is death.
Leviticus 15:33 & 20:3 says that if a person engages in the homosexual act, this is an abomination and that person should be put to death. There are also a number of other actions that are abominations and require that the person who engages in those behaviors be “put to death”. These include adultery, cursing their parents (maybe not a bad idea…) or engaging in sorcery.
Generally speaking, when a law-maker (King, legislature, city council, and parent) makes a law, they require a consequence for breaking the law – in the hope that this consequence is sufficient enough to make one think twice about breaking the law. It is also a statement about how terrible the behavior is viewed by the law-maker. The more an action is wrong, the more severe the consequence or punishment.
For example, it used to be that a drunk driver was usually escorted home by the police. Today, because we view drunk driving as a terrible crime, the consequences are large fines, loss of license to drive, jail time. The idea is to make it not worth the cost to drive drunk and to make a statement about how terrible a think it is to drive while intoxicated.
The reverse occurred with the crime of adultery. It used to be that if a man committed adultery, he could be imprisoned. Now it is not even viewed as a crime and seems rampant in our culture.
So, God is the ultimate Law maker. He obviously views homosexual behavior, along with a lot of other behaviors, as a terrible offense to Him, and the consequences are that if you engage in this behavior you should be put to death…if you were in the nation of Israel while it was a theocracy (interestingly, the Israelites later on asked God for a king to rule them for they did not trust God, but that is another blog at another time). Perhaps it is because God’s Law was perfect and man, being imperfect, cannot keep the law or it is too great a burden.
Now, why am I not running out stoning or executing men who have sex with other men or adulterers or my children who curse me? Because in Matthew 5:17 Christ tells us He is the fulfillment of the Law. That means that when He died on the cross, He took our punishment for breaking God’s Law, even homosexual actions, and we are no longer required to exact the consequences, since it has already been exacted on Christ.
As Christians, we are no longer required to enforce God’s Law on others (though we should strive to keep it ourselves). The exception to this is when it is for the good of the church (the body of believers) – Matthew 18:15-20 – and then it is only to remove that person from fellowship until the person repents of the action that caused the division.
Homosexual actions are no different than lying or stealing or adultery or fornication outside of marriage (or cursing parents) and it really bothers me how some of my brothers and sisters in Christ have conveyed it as more of sin than any other.
The reality is that we have all failed to meet God’s standard (even Bill Graham, even Mother Theresa, even the Dahlia Lama). We are doomed by our own actions, but are saved by Christ when we repent of our sins and receive Him as Lord and Savior.Then, we no longer define ourselves by the color of our skin, the heritage of our genes, or our sexual desires. We define ourselves in Christ and seek to deny ourselves and glorify Him. Not always good at that last part, but it is our goal.
>Captain Howdy wrote: Most evangelicals believe a huge chunk of people will end up in the
By aborting the unborn, you're ensuring all those little souls go right on up to heaven.
Those babies are giving up a speck of time here on earth in exchange for eternity in heaven by aborting them.
Why aren't you an enthusiastic supporter of abortion? You should be doing it even if it's a sin, because you're ensuring paradise for dozens; hundreds of their unborn little souls even at your own soul's expense.
[Note: Don't actually even consider really doing anything like this. I'm just showing how weird your religion is.]
Christians are not in the position to decide who goes to hell or who goes to Heaven. Only God knows the heart. (Psalms 44:1). We have been commissioned to tell the Gospel (Mark 16:15), not to build Heaven or Hell. We are messengers, not provocateurs.
As to the comment in the bracket: “I'm just showing how weird your religion is”. I would agree to some extent – it is weird in that Christianity rejects many of the ways of the world but many Christians either don’t or fail in that rejection.
I would disagree about the religion part. Christianity is not about “becoming” a Christian; it is about repenting of our sins and receiving Christ as Lord and Savior. Unfortunately, we sometimes ignore the Lord part and rest too easy on the Savior part.
>Captain Howdy asked: “Why is the pro-life position the most logical? (see comments under the entry entitled:
Response: The “pro-life” position is most logical because it does not place a value on one stage of human development over another. To do less is tantamount to racism or sexism or xenophobia: it is saying that a person who has not achieved a certain developmental stage is not afforded a basic right of all people – the right to live.
We make laws to protect children (birth to 18) from abuse or neglect, but if those same people are at the fetus stage, then they lose those legal protections, merely because they are fetuses.
The “right” of the mother to not have a babe supersedes the right of the fetus to live, yet, magically, when that fetus leaves the birth canal, suddenly those rights get reversed.
So, if a mother was to drink excessively during pregnancy and the child is born with fetal alcohol syndrome and dies, she could be arrested. If a mother drowns her 4-year old child, same thing. If she fails to protect the child or neglects to assure food or shelter, same thing.
Yet, if that same mother had aborted that child at fetus stage, then there are no legal consequences. Where is the logic in that?
There isn’t. The most logical position, then, is that all human life – be it zygote or fetus or baby or toddler or teen or adult or senior – should be valued enough to be protected from arbitrary death at the hands of another.