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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Back to the Structure...

The question on the table, from a couple of days ago, is what do we make of the observations in Psalm 103:2 – 18?
What did you see in Psalm 103?  Thoughts at DTTB.
David says we are like the grass (verse 15).  That metaphor is used throughout scripture to underscore brevity.  What David is describing here is our brief life that is covered over and packed with sin.  In contrast with that he paints a picture of the Lord as one who is graciously patient with these beings who essentially are raging, impotent vapor.  For those who fear Him, for those, He removes their sin.

It is an overwhelming picture of God’s grace toward His people in the midst of Psalms.  We expect to see grace in the New Testament.  It is throughout the Book.

It is a joy to see it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Little Victories

I know that I said yesterday that I would share my thoughts on Psalm 103, but one of the men in the workshop tonight shared a breakthrough that illustrates really well everything this blog and Entrusting Truth is about.
We need to celebrate the little breakthroughs with our kids.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Just before he left home for the workshop he went into his seven year old son’s room to say goodnight.  His son was reading his children’s Bible that our church gives to them.  He started asking questions about the last supper.  My friend, rather than answering the questions, suggested that they read the account in Matthew.  They did.

His son asked more questions about the event.  My friend suggested that they read what Mark said about it, in the process my friend explained to his son how the gospels were different and gave different perspectives on the same event.  Mark added some detail for his son which precipitated more questions.  So Luke, then John.

30 minutes later they were done.  His son was excited about what he saw in the text.  They did not look at the notes in the Bible, they read the text and my friend asked questions to help his son observe the text more completely.  That caused his son to form questions of his own.  He learned that the Bible can explain itself, and more importantly he learned that his dad can help him through the process.

I’m good with that result.

Back to Psalm 103 tomorrow...

Monday, April 28, 2014

More Structure in Psalms

Yesterday I shared about how literary relationships can help you observe through an example in Psalm 103:2 – 5.  I mentioned at the end of the post that there were more examples.
How can the structure of Psalms help you see more in your devotional time?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Repetition is one of the things that consistently is used in Scripture for emphasis.  I have written before about the density of “abide” and “fruit” in John 15.  There is additional repetition in Psalm 103:2 – 18.

Notice in the second half of verse 4 that we are crowned with lovingkindness and compassion.  Now notice how many times those words appear in 6 – 18 (by the way I am using the NASB.  If you hover over the verses with your mouse you will see what I see.  If you are using a phone or tablet you should get the same effect by touching the verse.)
  • Lovingkindness – verses 8, 11, 17
  • Compassion – verses 8, 13
Look at verse 3.  One of the benefits is that our iniquities are pardoned.  Notice how many times the idea of iniquities or transgressions is repeated in 6 – 18
  • Iniquities – verses 10 (twice counting “sins”), 12 (transgressions).
Lastly there is a contrast that is worth noting.  In verse 9, David states that God will not always strive with us or keep His anger forever.  Contrast that with verse 17, His lovingkindness is from everlasting to everlasting.

So what do we do with all these observations?  What do they say to you?  Do you see other things that are interesting?  I will share some of my conclusions tomorrow…

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Structure in Psalms

In the Dads Teach the Bible Workshops one of the things we cover is structural markers.  We also cover literary relations in the Bible.  The purpose of this is to help us make more and better observations.
What do you do with structure when you see it in the Bible?  Thoughts at DTTB.
 Example of particularization moving from general to specific...
One of the literary relationships we discuss is particularization.  In particularization the writer makes a general statement and then expands it by detailing the elements of the general statement.  I found one of those this afternoon in Psalm 103:2 – 5.  Note that in the last half of verse 2, David tells us not to forget God’s benefits, a general statement.  Then in verses 3 – 5, David particularizes those benefits:
  • He parsons all our iniquities
  • He heals our diseases
  • He redeems our soul
  • He crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion
  • He satisfies our years with good things
David moves from the general statement that God has benefits, to the particular benefits about which he was thinking.

So what do you do with this?  Well there are a series of questions one can ask about this relationship, you may not be able to answer them all, but I find that the questions tend to lead to more observations:
  • What is the meaning of the general statement and of the particular statement(s)?
  • How does the general statement illuminate the particular statement(s)?
  • How does the particular statement(s) illuminate the general statement?
  • Why use such particularization/generalization?
  • What does it imply?
I saw a lot more in Psalm 103.  I may share some of that in the next day or so.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Perfectly Pre-Planned Wonders

Have you ever had a project that went just perfectly?  You know, everything worked out just like you planned it.  No surprises, no on the spot additions or changes.  Thought not.  Me neither.
You ever made and executed a perfect plan?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Most of the projects I begin, expand.  That is called scope creep in consulting.  It is called life at home.

That is why Isaiah 25:1 just stopped me in my tracks.  Look at the second half of the verse, “For thou has worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.”  I have never seen a perfect plan.  There is no plan set that is issued without errors.  No matter how carefully they are checked and cross checked, there are going to be errors.  Why?  People created them.  Don’t care how many initials they have after their name, they are going to make errors at some point in the process.

Say the plans were error free, then the implementation would be in error.  We just cannot get it right, ever.  There will always be details that are missed or misapplied.

Not with God’s plans.  There are no change orders.  No claims.  His plans are perfect and perfectly executed.  If you have ever planned anything, that should cause you to worship.

Friday, April 25, 2014

How the Law Helps Us to Know God

Ten days ago I asked how the juxtaposition of the Law being written on the hearts of the people and their knowing God were related in Jeremiah 31:33 – 34.  Here’s how.
How does knowing the Law help me know God?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Read 2 Peter 1:3 – 4.  Note that the purpose of the promises is so that we can become partakers of the divine nature.  How does that work.  Both the promise of God and the Law of God are based on His nature and character.  In a sense they flow from whom He is.  When we accept God’s promise we are trusting His Word.  His Word is a reflection of His character.  We all know people who when they promise something they deliver.  We all know those whose promise is empty.  By their word, and the way in which they honor or dishonor their word we have come to know what they are like, their nature.

God’s Law was given to demonstrate that we are different from Him.  He does not murder, He does not bear false witness, He does not covet.  We do.  The Law leads us to understand that we are not like Him and if we want to be in His presence we have to have to be changed.  Galatians 3:24 tells us the Law leads us to faith in Christ.

So think of it.  If the Law were written on the hearts of the people.  The nature and character of God would be written on their hearts.  They would not need someone to tell them about God.  His nature is in their hearts.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Exploding Isolation

Yesterday I shared my expanding appreciation for Jeremiah 15:16 -17.  But here, as Paul Harvey used to say, is the rest of the story.
When resistance increases how should we respond?  Thoughts at DTTB.
If I were Jeremiah I would have considered punting the prophet gig.  He was not on anybody's A list.  Resistance is a massive trivialization of what he was experiencing from those to whom he spoke God's Word.  So yeah, in the face of that much abuse, pack the bags, head to the beach, chill.

Not Jeremiah.

Look at Jeremiah 20:8 - 9.  Couple of observations.  First, Jeremiah says that the Word has resulted in reproach and derision.  Think of that.  He was so identified with God's Word that the people in the course of rejecting that Word, lumped Jeremiah into their rejection.  Rejecting the Word and rejecting Jeremiah was the same thing.

How did Jeremiah respond to that?  It was impossible for him to stop.  The Word was such a part of his life and thinking that it burst forth from him even in the face of intentional, sustained, cruelty.  Oh My.

The Word of God was not an interesting study.  It was not something with which he engaged in his off hours.  It was his life.  It defined him.  It overflowed, informed, and permeated all that he did and said.

He could not help himself.  He spoke it regardless of the consequences.

I wonder is it the case that our Lord expects that type of devotion from us, or is Jeremiah unique?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Alone against the World

Jeremiah 15:16 is one of my favorite passages, I know, I say that a lot.  I pray this passage for the men who are going through my workshops, I pray this for my kids.
Do you ever feel like you are fighting a loosing battle?  Thoughts at DTTB.
This morning we were in chapters 14 and 15.  The context of 15:16 makes the verse so much more powerful.  Jeremiah is at odds with the rulers, the priests, the prophets, and the people who have turned their backs on the Word of God and by extension, God himself.  It is in that milieu that Jeremiah makes this statement.  In face of the resistance that he was encountering, that statement is astounding.  But verse 17 makes it even more astounding.

Look at the second phrase in verse 17, "because of your hand upon me I sat alone."  Whoa.  Not only was he committed and delighting in the Word in the face of a culture that was adamantly opposed to that Word, but that commitment completely isolated him.  He was literally alone against his world.

If Jeremiah were to gauge the effectiveness of his ministry by the number of people who responded to his message he would have quit in despair.  But his effectiveness was not a function of measurable response.  Rather, Jeremiah's effectiveness was measured by whether he was doing what God wanted him to do.  That was all that mattered.

There have been many times that I have been tempted and have measured how I was doing in efforts to reach my kids or other men by how they respond.  Wrong measure.  Like for Jeremiah, the right one is am I or did I do what God wanted me to do.

The tacit assumption is that I have asked in the first place.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rebuke

So I was in a four and a half hour meeting this afternoon that turned into a four and a half hour rebuke of my prayer life.  We were talking about how to use our DESIGN (click here for more info on DESIGN).  Dave Jewitt said one of the best ways to use one’s DESIGN is to pray daily over it…  Ok, not doing that.
Ever feel like you are getting clear correction from the Lord?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Then when operating in one’s DESIGN and troubles come, rather than dealing with them directly, ask the Lord what we should do about the problem, if anything.  My MO is to go fix it.  So again…

Then we talked about how when we become angry, anxious, or fearful, that is a sign that we are not trusting God.  Yeah, I know that… so the answer is we need to ask God for what are we not trusting Him.  Prayer again…  Rats, I just try to figure it out without asking…

Then David came to mind.  Seven times it is recorded in 1 and 2 Samuel that the Philistines came up against David.  He was a warrior.  He did not respond by taking up arms or coming up with a battle plan.  He prayed.  He asked the Lord what he should do.  Should I fight them?  Then the Lord would tell him what to do.

If I had been David I would have been in the battle before I even thought about the Lord…

I have some growing to do in prayer.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Futility

In the last few days in the Psalms I have seen in Psalm 14 and Psalm 2 things about God that underscores the abject futility of resisting Him.  I will leave Psalm 14 for another day but look now at Psalm 2:3 – 4.
Denying that God is, is at best futile...  Thoughts at DTTB.
It is humorous.  The kings are plotting to shake off the “fetters” of God.  God’s response?  He laughs at them.

In Exodus 3:13 – 14, as you know, Moses asks God for His name.  God’s response, “I AM WHO I AM.”  Since that declaration men have expended enormous energy to deny the one whose name is I AM THAT I AM, is.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Structure Again

If you have read much of this blog, heck if you have read two posts, you will know that one of the purposes is to encourage you as a dad to be in the Word for yourself.  Why?  Well, we are commanded to teach our children God’s Word.  It is hard to teach something with which we are not familiar.
The Bible is fresh every time I open it...  Thoughts at DTTB.
I have mentioned several times that in digging through the Word, in passages with which we are familiar, we will see things we have not seen before.  That is one of the reasons we have to continually stay in the Word.  It happened today in my time in Hebrews 4:11- 12.

This is another passage I memorized, probably 35 years ago.  I have studied Hebrews, don’t know how many times, translated it from Greek to English, taught it in Sunday school classes, and spoken from it – but I did not see this until today.  Point is no matter how familiar you are with a book, or a verse, the Holy Spirit can show you more.

The key to what I saw today was the structural markers.  I equip men with these in the workshops; I have written about them in this blog; I had overlooked them in this passage.

The first thing that caught my eye was the word "diligent" in verse 11, it is not a marker, but I spend a lot of time in 2 Peter and that word is repeated several times in that book.  One of the reasons diligence caught my eye is that the passage was dealing with "the rest," which is one of the more important concepts in Hebrews.  The writer here is exhorting us to be diligent to enter that rest.  Ok.

Verse 12 then starts with "for."  That is a structural marker for substantiation, or the why, or support of what the writer just said.  Here the writer tells us that we need to be diligent to enter into the rest for the Word of God is living… you know the rest.

The writer is connecting strongly entering into the rest of God with the Word of God.  Equipping people to do that is my passion and yet I have missed that in all my travels through Hebrews.

That is one of the main things I love about the Bible.  It is fresh every time I open it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Helpless

We were climbing at Enchanted Rock in Texas.  It was a staff training exercise for those of us who were leading backpacking and climbing trips for an outdoor ministry.  One of the guys was a football player.  Strong dude.  Great athlete.  But he was wearing the wrong type of shoes.  They would not grip the rock.  He kept slipping.  We shouted encouragement, we made suggestions, but his equipment just was not right for the challenge.  I wanted to help him.  But I could not climb for him.  I could not help.
There are times in my journey with Christ that I feel completely helpless.  Thoughts at DTTB.
We were shooting an ILS approach.  My student was all over the sky off airspeed and off his heading and glide path.  He was not cross checking his instruments well enough.  He was not responding to the picture the instruments were giving him quickly or effectively enough.  I was giving constant instruction on what to do.  I was getting frustrated.  It was not helping.  I could not control his flying with my words.  I was helpless to make him fly well.

I just left the hospital.  My 10 month old grandson is in there with probable osteomyelitis, an infection in one of his bones.  He has been poked, stuck, MRIed, confined to his room, had wires attached to his toe, he does not understand.  We can't really explain it to him.  We cannot make the infection disappear.  We are helpless to fix it or explain to him what is happening.  

There have been many such situations in my life.  Too many to mention.  What is my response?  I think I go through several phases - not sure that I have identified them all.  But the last phase is something like trust.  I have to trust God with my helplessness.  I have to trust God with my inability to fix the situation.  I have to trust God that He can and that He will do what is best in that situation.  I have to trust that when His best does not align with what I think should happen, that He is right, and I am not.

I have to trust Him with my helplessness.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Law and Knowing God

Take a look at Jeremiah 31:33 – 34.  Ask yourself the question what is the relationship between the Law and knowing God?
Is God's Law important for us as believers?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Note that in verse 33 the Lord says He is going to write His Law on the hearts of His people.

Note that in verse 34 the Lord says that there will be no need for people to be taught about Him because they will know Him.

So knowing the Law results in knowing God.

How do you think that works?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lay it to Heart

This morning we were in Jeremiah 12.  Verse 11 is one of those verses I memorized a long time ago that keeps cropping up in my journey.  The context makes the verse more powerful.
Two reasons why leaders fail.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Look at verse 10.  The leaders, the shepherds have caused the vineyard, Judah to be a desolation.  We know from the rest of the book, especially Jeremiah 23 that one of the primary reasons for this desolation is the failure of the shepherds, the leaders to elevate the Word of God and the person of God before the people.  Here we find out that there is another reason.  The shepherds not only did not share the Word they "did not lay" the nation to heart.  They did not pray.  They did not care.

It fits.  If a leader who is supposed to be representing God to the people thinks that his ideas are more important than God’s, it would be astounding if that leader would think it important to ask God to engage.

Flying solo in an airplane is a goal.  Not so much in ministry, leadership.  It does not work out well.  If you want to read a little more about what God thinks about this check out Jeremiah 5:1; Ezekiel 22:30; Isaiah 41:28; 59:16; 63:5; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Zephaniah 1:12.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Cessation of Godliness

Look at Psalm 12:1 – 2.  The David’s despair is deep.  Why?  His perception is that godliness, godly men have ceased in his domain.  Then he describes what godless men look like:
What does it mean to be godless?  Thoughts at DTTB.
  • They speak falsehood to one another – the word “falsehood” could and is translated emptiness, vanity, and deceit, in other places.  Think of that.  I have a picture of a person on a stage speaking to a crowd, his lips are moving, but there is no sound coming out of his mouth, emptiness.  Frankly, there have been speakers I have heard, well, that would have been an improvement.
  • They speak with flattering lips – they speak to manipulate, to get what they want, to make people like them, or to get a result that they think is important.  Another, example of emptiness.
  • They speak with a double heart – they speak with a lack of integrity.  What they are saying does not align with what they believe.  They speak to look better than they are.  They speak to deceive.
I read through this and I tremble.  I do not want to be like this in any shape or form.  I do not want to talk to my wife in this manner, my kids, my friends.  It reinforces the thoughts I had about needing a mouth guard a couple of days ago.

Lord deliver me from this.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Power of the Word

The Word of God is powerful, regardless of whether one accepts it.  Thoughts at DTTB.
A year and a half ago I wrote five posts on Psalm 138:1 – 3.  Today I want to look at Psalm 138:4.

The passage struck me because of the result that is described.  All kings give thanks.  The cause is hearing the Words of God.  I found that incredible.  So I looked to see if there was some nuance in the Hebrew that explained the effect of the Words of God on all the rulers of the earth.  I expected to see some nuance like understand or comprehend.  But no.  It just means “hear.”

How can that be?  How can the Words of God’s mouth cause all of the kings of the earth to give thanks?  As I thought through that Hebrews 4:12 – 13 came to mind.  Then Philippians 2:9 – 11.  Then Revelation 19:11 – 16.  From Psalm 138:4 through Revelation 19:11 – 16 we have a picture of the Word of God in both verbal, written, and incarnated forms powerfully impacting not just the lives of believers, but the governments of the world.

They may not believe it.  They may not respect it.  That does not diminish its power.  It will cause them to respond as God intends.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mouth Guard

You ever run across a passage in the Bible where your response is, “Boy, do I need that!”  That was my response to Psalm 141:3 a couple of days ago.
There are some things in the Bible I need, and right now!  Thoughts at DTTB.
I have been around men who have as they have gotten older lost their filters.  What comes out of their mouths does not necessarily align well with Ephesians 4:29.  It makes me wonder why the filters have come off.  I wonder because I do not want to be that way.

It has me praying more specifically for what I say.  Proverbs has a lot to say about the tongue, as does James 3.  Further Christ has a lot to say about what comes out of our mouth in the gospels.  The emphasis, seems to indicate that aspect of our lives is important.

I wonder if it is not really a matter of filters rather a function of the depth of our relationship with Christ?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Resistance

I noticed an interesting juxtaposition in 1 Corinthians 16:9 yesterday:
  • A wide door for service has opened
  • There are many adversaries
It seems when there is opportunity there is resistance.  Thoughts at DTTB.
It is interesting and validates both the Word and my experience.  I find that when there are many opportunities to serve God, there is a corresponding attack from the enemy.  Several times when I have been on trips overseas, things at home have broken, or issues have arisen with which my wife typically does not deal.

Like Paul when we engage with helping people, even our kids, in their relationship with God, we will be resisted.

It is a part of the journey.

Friday, April 11, 2014

To Know Him

Isaiah 55:9 tells us that God is the most intelligent being in the universe.  Psalm 139 tells us that this intelligent being intentionally created us with a purpose.  Not only that, He was intimately involved in the process.  It was not left to proxies to put us together.  He was the one that "wrought" us.
The Westminster Confession got it right on this one.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Psalm 95:8 - 11 outlines for us how we can hear from this intelligent, intentional, intimate creator.  It seems to me that this would be a good thing to know.  To hear what this intelligent, intentional, and intimate creator might advise us to do with ourselves.

We get instruction in this from the negative.  Israel did not hear.  The psalmist outlines for us what it is we could do that Israel did not.  The Israelites did not hear God because they...
  • Hardened their hearts – they complained to The Lord about His provision after they had witnessed miraculous deliverance.  They were not thankful but demanding of more.
  • Tried God – they had seen God’s work but forgot quickly His power.  They questioned His heart toward them accusing Him of bringing them out of Egypt to die of starvation and thirst.  They did not believe that God cared for them.
Hebrews 11:6 takes up this thought for us does it not?  We have to believe God and believe that He rewards us.  The Israelites did not.

The results?
  • They erred in their hearts – they harbored thoughts that were wrong about God.  In this case that the Lord would not take care of them.  They did not trust the Lord.
  • They did not know His ways – this to me is critical.  The thrust of the Bible seems to be that we need to strive to know God, and know Him well.  Not to do so is to follow a god that we have created in our own minds and hearts.  This seems to be what the Israelites did.
One of my mentors has said that our Christian life is a continual journey from idolatry to the worship of the true God.  That seems to be the underlying message here.  We need to work at continually checking that our understanding of God, our true knowledge of Him is increasing.  2 Peter 1:3 – 11 tell us that one sure way to continually move in this direction is through the promises of God, i.e. the Word of God.  Through the Word, His promise, we become partakers, have true knowledge, of His nature and character.

It is a continual pursuit.  It is worth the chase.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

First Importance

We are closing fast on the celebration of Easter this year.  It makes sense to think about what is really important here.  Paul helps; he tells us.
As we bear down on Easter what is important?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Look at 1 Corinthians 15:3 – 4.  Paul wrote most of our New Testament.  Here He tells us the most important thing that he has or is going to share with us.

As we work through the next week leading up to our celebration of Easter next Sunday, it would be a great thing for us to spend some time thinking through this passage.  How does it impact our lives?  How does this truth impact our relationships?  How does this impact our choices at work?

If your kids are still at home, even if they are not, it would be good to think this through with them as well.

It is important that we keep the first things, the important things first.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Stupid is as Stupid Does...

I work hard not to repeat posts here but there are some passages that are so good, most of them actually, that it is hard to resist.  I wrote about Jeremiah 10:19-22 earlier this year.  This morning in one of the groups with which I am studying Jeremiah we hit this passage again.  It is rich.
God does not mince words.  He calls stupid, stupid.  Thoughts at DTTB.
We think of God sometimes as this benevolent grandfather figure who just loves us no matter what we do, say, or believe.  He is such a milquetoast teddy bear that whether we are homosexual or straight, Muslim or Buddhist, Druid or Hindu, it won’t really matter He will love us into His presence.  I live in a town where a pastor of a large mega church began to teach that.

The thing about God is that politically correct is not really His thing.  He calls stupid, stupid.  He does that here in Jeremiah 10:21.  He says not seeking Him is stupid.  Not misguided, stupid.  Not alternative lifestyle or faith, stupid.  Not free thinking, stupid.  He is not in the habit of mincing words.

The Bible is pretty clear, no check that, really clear, about homosexuality, murder, what it takes to be delivered from eternal punishment, most of the issues that are debated endlessly by the “elite” informed intellectuals in the press.  If you want a taste of their wisdom, read comments on someone’s website where they have taken a Biblical stand on a homosexual lifestyle.

The point of Jeremiah is that God has created us, He has offered to redeem us as a people, and we have turned our back on Him and chosen to create our own much better, wise, and more enlightened means of getting that redemption accomplished.

Stupid.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pure

About 40 years ago I memorized Psalm 119:9, 11.  Purity, holiness, is not valued much in this culture anymore.  We have since the 60’s entered into a cultural death spiral that is at best alarming.  Jim Dobson documents the details in his blog today.
In the midst of a culture that does not value purity, how do we stay pure?  Thoughts at DTTB.
I know of at least two unmarried young people who are professing Christians who are living with their significant other’s.  One of them is active in one of the programs in a large church in our area.  These are “good” kids.  But as professing believers they are not following what their Lord has commanded.

At least part of the reason is that they are not in the Word and allowing the Word to inform their behavior.  They have embraced the world’s definition of what is right and good.  They have allowed the world to squeeze them into its mold, Romans 12:2, Phillips.

Psalm 119:9, 11, is still true.  40 years after I memorized it and several thousand years after it was penned by David, the Word is the only way that we will be able to live a pure, holy, life.

You can try other things.  They won’t work.

Monday, April 7, 2014

What is Truth?

That was the question that Pilate asked Christ, John 8:38.  There are those that say it does not exist, that what is true is situational.  That has never been true on any of the tests I have taken from the first grade at Charles E Gill elementary through the master’s program at Dallas Seminary.  All of the teachers and professors in those venues seemed to think there was a right or wrong answer to the questions they posed.  So I have never really understood this relative idea of truth.  It may because most of my life I have been bound by math.
In the midst of competing opposite claims, what is truth?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Flying a T-37 or a T-38 there was truth.  If I chose to try to fly the plane off of the runway at a speed lower than required, neither plane would.  If I chose to land at a speed other than indicated by the plane’s configuration, I would have made a large smoking hole somewhere near the end of the runway.  Seems like there was truth in that domain.

So in our search for truth where do we look?  We daily have people telling us that what they are saying is true.  Many of them are making completely incompatible statements, yet both parties are claiming to be telling the truth.  We have politicians on either side of an issue saying they are telling the truth essentially calling the other side liars.  We have clerics of various religious systems claiming that they are the exclusive stewards of the truth.  They cannot all be right.

There is one who is behind all lies.  Christ calls him the father of lies, John 8:44.  His passion is to confuse and convolute the language and data so that the truth is at best difficult to find.  So what do we do?

Psalm 117:2 gives us some direction here I think, “…the truth of the Lord is everlasting.”  The search for truth is impossible apart from God.  Any inquiry into truth that does not acknowledge or incorporate seeking God’s mind, will fail.  That is, the result of the inquiry will be false.  People who are not seeking truth in this manner may find some truth.  However, understanding and application will be skewed apart from a God centered and directed inquiry.

Truth is only found in the Lord.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Care

Since February 2013 our family has been dealing with the reality of cancer.  I know that there are many that are dealing with that reality.  One trip to MD Anderson drives that point home in no uncertain terms.
Doing what needs to be done is really not worthy of thanks...  Thoughts at DTTB.
We have been there, I think this is the sixth time, I may be off one.  Each time we take my dad to get his PET scan and my brother and I and twice my wife, wait with him to see the Doctor to find out what is next in this journey.  It is not a fun day.  The last three times the result is that the cancer is still present, growing, but not at the point where dad needs to start the chemo again.  As a result he is getting stronger by the day.

To that point we played nine holes of golf Friday.  It was his first time on the golf course for over a year.  It was good.  It is hard to drive the seven hours down there and back, to reschedule the week, to do conference calls from dad’s office rather than mine, to work off his computer with only one monitor when I am used to three.  He always thanks me for coming.  It is a bit embarrassing for two reasons.

First, Luke 17:9 – 10, I am only doing what I should be doing.  None of the things I have to reschedule or work around are really worth mentioning.  Whatever my dad needs I need to provide.  Bottom line, it is my responsibility.

Second, in reality it is my brother who has borne most of this load.  He lives only an hour away from dad.  He has spent most of each week with dad since last February.  I have not been able to get down there as much as I wanted to give him a break.

The point of all this is that there are seasons in our lives that we set aside what we are “supposed” to be doing.  It is part of life.  It is part of being a father or a son or a grandfather.  It is part of the job we have been given as members of a family.  It may not be our strength, it is certainly not mine, but we do it, do it gladly, and do it to the best of our ability.

We do it as Colossians 3:17, 23, says and Philippians 2:4, tells us to, as to the Lord and putting others ahead of ourselves.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What is Fear?

Psalm 112:1 is instructive.  One of the things about Hebrew poetry is parallelism.  The poet will say the same thing twice.  In some cases, like this one, the poet will change what he says with both the elements being repeated being essentially equal.
Do you ever wonder what it means to fear God?  Thoughts at DTTB.
The author of Psalm 112 equates through parallelism:
  • Fearing the Lord
  • Delighting in His commandments
Why is this instructive?  I have been in many conversations about what it means to fear the Lord.  Here the psalmist tells us that it is relatively simple.  We need to love, delight, cherish His Word.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Silent God?

There are times when I do not think that God is paying attention.  It is like the prayers are not getting to the ceiling, much less, it seems, to the Lord.  So what to do?  Asaph gives me some help here.
How do we respond when God does not seem to be listening?  Thoughts at DTTB.
In Psalm 74 not only does it seem to Asaph that the Lord was not listening but also he had abandoned and turned His back on the nation.  He shares his perspective on this situation in verses 1 – 11.

His response is in 12 – 17.  Essentially, Asaph focused on what he knew about God.  He recounts God’s control of the world.  In complete control.

That reminds me that when I feel like God is not responding, I remember that He is still in control.  I need to remember that He can and will do what He wants, when He wants.  It is about Him; not about me.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Power of a Kind Word

This will be a bit different.  While it is not specifically about some portion of Scripture, it is probably the application of a vast amount of that that is between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21.
Have you noticed what a "Thank you," can do?  Thoughts at DTTB.
My brother and I accompanied my dad on his 6th trip to MD Anderson this morning.  To say that is an amazing place would be and epic understatement…  I hope you never have to find out just how amazing it is.  Dad’s oncologist is reputed to be the best in the country for the particular type of cancer with which dad is dealing.  He is from the Middle East, soft voice, not an extrovert.  Until he got his hearing aids a few months ago dad had trouble hearing him.

We got a good report from the PET scan.  The doc explained that though there were some new areas of cancerous growth the rate was slow and none of the major systems of the body were involved.  He told us that to start the chemo again would be hard on dad, make him feel worse, and after the treatment even if the disease was diminished dad would not feel well due to the after affects of the treatment.  So we are to come back in three months for a re-check.

As I mentioned the doctor is not and extrovert.  After he had shared his recommendation and we had shaken hands all around as he was leaving the room, dad said, “Thank you, you have done a great job.”  The doctor stopped, abruptly, turned back toward dad, and with a rare smile on his face, no it was more than that, he lit up and said, “Thank you.”  He then turned back to the door and made his way out.

It was striking because it was the first real emotion that we have seen from him in a year.  Those few words seemed to transform his demeanor.

It struck me that most of the people with whom he deals on a daily basis are in dire straits.  It may be that many do not take the time to thank him.  In our case dad will not be cured of this.  The doctor at MDA and the oncologist here in dad’s hometown are attempting to extend his life and maintain the quality of that life.  They are doing and exceptional job.

They need to be thanked.  It occurs to me that there are many in our spheres of influence that are in need of thanks.

It draws them to us and through us to the Savior.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Give Heed

Jeremiah 13:15 is one of those verses that humbles and exhorts.  It is short and to the point.  Two points, a warning, and the reason for both the points and the warning:
  • Listen
  • Give heed – that is obey or apply what you hear
The warning – do not be haughty, that is do not think that you can ignore, or do not need to listen.
When God speaks...  Thoughts at DTTB.
The reason – The Lord has spoken.

The creator of the universe has chosen to speak to us through His Word.  Makes pretty good sense to pay attention and do what He says.

Not to do so does not raise to the level of stupid.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

From the Lord

Prof said over and over again that interpretation without application was abortion.  It is a poignant paraphrase of James 1:23 – 25.  It is not enough to read the Bible.  The Bible has to impact the way we live.  So the last question we ask in Bible study, “What does it say that I need to do?” is one of the more important.  For, if we do not apply what we have studied to our lives, we have wasted our time.
What do we do with the challenges we face?  How do we learn from them?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Jeremiah has been the focus of my study for the past several months.  This morning the Lord led me through a thought process that summed up, at least at this point in my study, what it is I need to be doing with what I have seen in the book.

It is clear from Jeremiah that the Lord is behind what is happening to Judah.  He ordained the Babylonians as His instrument to discipline the rebellion of Judah.  He also brought Babylon to bear on the surrounding nations for their disobedience.

As I was working through the prophecies concerning the nations this morning it dawned on me that all the adversity I experience is from God.  He has either ordained or allowed it which practically amounts to the same thing.  A few days ago I suggested that the Lord is intelligent, intentional, and intimately engaged in all aspects of our lives.  That being the case, the adversity that He brings into my life has purpose.  Based on what I read in Hebrews 12:4 – 12, His primary purpose is to shape my righteousness.

There have been many things in my life that would qualify as adversarial.  This morning I realized that I needed to spend some extended time working through some of those to see if I can understand what it is that the Lord wants to accomplish through them.  I have worked through some, but it was clear this morning.

So my application is to carve out some extended time in the next few weeks to get apart with my journal and Bible and seek the Lord on what it is He wants me to learn.

If I can, I will let you know what I learn.