Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Quitter (a poem by Robert Service)

When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

“You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.
You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
“You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:
It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.

It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
Why, that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each grueling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

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Love’s Flag

I have been a Christian for over 30 years yet I have just begun to discover God’s plan for loving seemingly unlovable people. Hint: It has something to do with whose image I bear. Why should we as Christians strive to love the seemingly unlovable? Because Christ said so; he said “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt 5:44 KJV) Being a military man, I remember something the great prophet Forest Gump once uttered. If you have seen the movie Forest Gump you probably remember Forest Gump’s boot camp adventure. It is hard not to admire Forest Gump’s obedience and simple response to a given command. If you recall the movie then you probably remember observing Forest and Bubba talking as they are cleaning and assembling their rifles. Remember when all of a sudden Forest shouts “done drill sergeant.” The drill sergeant comes rushing over hardly believing that Gump could be done assembling his weapon in such as short amount of time. When asked by the drill sergeant; “Gump, why did you put that weapon together so fast?” Gump’s simple and obedient reply was “Because you told me too; drill sergeant!” Gump’s simplicity seems to allow him to believe that what the drill sergeant had told him to do was for Gump’s own benefit. Likewise, when Christ commands us to love, bless, do good for, and pray for our enemies His Christian command is all we should need to love the seemingly unlovable. However, knowing truth and practicing truth are two very different things. I have discovered that Christians, myself included, have a knack for knowing a truth; yet seem to lack the ability to receive and then put this particular truth into action. I think we all know what a monumental undertaking it can be to love seemingly unlovable people. It can seem downright impossible. And it is if we try to love our enemies without a Helper.

So then, how can Christ give us such an impossible task as loving our enemies? He can do this because he left with, and deposited in us, through salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit the One who can help us see through the vulgar infectious worldly masquerade known as the “deeds of the flesh.” The Holy Spirit within us helps us see and show love towards “the Image” of which all humanity was forged. What image you ask? Why, God’s Image of course. No matter how tirelessly the world’s system works to obstruct, obscure, and tarnish the beautiful view of God’s image within us or our enemies; it is indisputable that we or they bear the unchanged Image of God. The Image of God is and still remains the true basis of all human identification ergo Christian Identity. The book of Genesis gives account of the Potter’s crafting of man. When the Potter sat down with all three persons of the Godhead he decided there is only one pattern for molding man. And since the communicable attributes of God, the Potter, include: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The only logical mold for man to be cast in is in the fruitfulness of said attributes. In full light of God’s Spiritual fruit, God made man in His very own image. To confirm that this forged and unchangeable casting was fully the intent of God upon firing and thus opening the unchangeable mold, God reflected on what he has just personally and perfectly crafted: “God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely.” (Genesis 1:31 AMP) Let it be known that because “God is Love” love is objective and unwavering and it is in the power of this truth that we can love our enemies. Bear in mind as well that you were made in Love’s image. When we walk in, out, and apply this truth we walk in Love’s fullness. When we, bearers of God’s Image come under insults, slander, and persecution we stand strong in Love’s Image for Love’s sake. We, as Christian’s are wise to apprehend this truth so that when we stand in the face of our enemies we will not falter, and so that we have the power to raise Love’s flag over our enemy. Love’s flag is raised by and secured through our commitment to kind speech and faithful deeds towards seemingly unlovable people. What if we borrowed Daddy’s glasses for a while, and really got a chance to see who our enemy really is? I get the feeling Daddy’s glasses have a different prescription than ours do. Looking though our Daddy’s glasses we may just come to understand, that like us our enemy really is or can be “the righteousness of God In-Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Choosing Grace over retaliation can expose God’s Image in us and in our enemies.

In the beginning God did not paint any human portrait with a dirty brush! Again, at rebirth and reconciliation with God through Christ, God uses that very same brush? Nothing has changed but the paint. His Son’s sacrifice provided a beautiful crimson color that washes us as and our enemies white as snow. Thank you Jesus for loving us while we were yet sinners: Now may we by the power of your Spirit, obey you, by loving our enemies in the same manner you loved us!

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My inability to rightly receive cost me a possible friendship

I consider myself a great giver. But am I really, I have come to reconsider this belief. I’ve reconsidered because recently I discovered what a terrible receiver I am. The rest of the story: Here I sit, with an acquaintance that has invited me to lunch at an expensive restaurant. After looking this acquaintance over I immediately judge his status. This thought comes to mind “I know he can’t afford to buy me lunch.” At this point I have made a decision to receive nothing from this person: But only because I am a good giver. We attempt to converse throughout the meal, however I don’t listen to half of what he is saying. I can’t listen, I can only think about getting the meal check before he does. I think like this because – I am a good giver. I miss out on getting to know this person. Why? Because I become obsessed with paying for the meal instead of accepting his gift – I am a good giver – but am I giving freely? We shall see. The check comes and this is when I am exposed as a poor receiver. The waitress sets the check on the table. I quickly grab for it, and say “I’ve got this.” Immediately my lunch partner’s countenance changes and I’m exposed as a bad receiver. He says, “Have you judged me? Have you assumed I am financially inferior to you?” “Why couldn’t you just accept my gift?” Immediately the pain in my heart becomes overwhelming. I realize, I have become such a great giver, my inability to receive has just robbed this man from being the very thing I thought I was – a good giver. I was going to apologize; however, I knew that would only temporarily assuage my guilt. Therefore, due to my inability to properly receive, this person chose not to be further acquainted.
Would you say you are a good receiver? When someone gives you something you weren’t expecting do you often say “Thank you so much, I truly appreciate this?” After saying this do you freely believe the fullness of what you just said? Or do you say thank you and you appreciated the gift while concurrently your mind says, “I can’t wait to reciprocate.” Up until recently I thought being a good and free receiver was being an ungrateful freeloader. Today, however, I believe a good receiver is someone who is mature enough not to feel the need for immediate reciprocation when given a gift or service of any value or monetary amount. To me a good receiver is someone who freely receives for the sake of bringing pleasure to the person giving.
Like most people I have always thought or been told: “It’s better to give than to receive.” However, I have come to question whether this statement is true or false. I believe it can be true. However, for it to be true I believe we must learn to give from the position of being a right receiver. If not, we may give from a self-serving emotional appeal, making it all about us, and not about the one we are giving to. In other words, giving from the position that giving is better than receiving is easiest because this position of giving is better gives self-serving pleasure and culturally validates our overall self-worth. Whereas receiving freely can be uncomfortable and requires self-humility, self-vulnerability, self-potential for pain, and potential for self-rejection. Let me explain why I believe this. I believe there are two types of receiving; natural and spiritual. Let’s start with the process of natural receiving, first. To me it seems that we can trace the need to rightly receive back to the beginning of our human being. Is it fair to say that culturally the basic premise of human life begins first with natural receiving? Think about the natural human fertilization process. We can believe in the natural fertilization process can’t we? After all we are living evidence of this process. Simply put, the egg receives and life begins. What would happen if the human egg was only good at giving and not receiving?
In my efforts to simplify I do not want to infer that receiving is easy. Whether receiving naturally or spiritually the act of right receiving comes only through intentionality. I believe, if we can learn to give from a good receiver’s position we can truly see the life giving effects; both to our self and others.

What do you think?

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It’s Not About Bells, Whistles, and Bows; It’s About Humble Acknowledgement.

Sure, a ticker tape parade in Times Square or some yellow ribbons around a tree look nice and are greatly appreciated. However, there is so much more compassion and caring in a humble unrehearsed handshake. Look into the eyes of this veteran as young people humbly acknowledge his sacrifice.

http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/good-sports/201403/408k-race-san-jose-world-war-ii-veteran-salute-pat-tillman

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A Ben Franklin Classic Poem

Mr. Meant-to has a comrade And his name is Didn’t-do. Have you ever chanced to meet them? Did they ever call on you? These two fellows live together In the house of Never-Win And I am told that it is haunted By the ghost of Might-Have-Been. (Benjamin Franklin)

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