Sunday, April 29, 2007

what do you do when the lord is wrong?

All to Jesus, I surrender. All I want is you Lord.

Ever said, or sang, those sorts of things? If so, be prepared. I have noticed something over the years. It is not a certainty but a very strong tendency that eventually happens in the life of Christians. You may find yourself in a situation where what God asks is absolutely wrong for you. That is, to follow God is something you absolutely do not want to do. It could be something that you view as making you miserable for the rest of your life or denying you something you view essential; something without which you will be miserable.

Let me give some examples. A person wants a divorce and can see only a life of misery if the marriage continues. Maybe someone has an opportunity for a job, money, love, or whatever, but the Lord says no. In fact, there is absolutely no doubt that the Lord says no. It is a time when you know you have to make a choice between following the Lord and having any hope for some sort of satisfying life. You'd rather be dead than do what the Lord asks.

I am not talking about an addiction or compulsion. I am not referring to sin fueled by sudden passion. I am not talking about something you don’t want to do but end up doing anyway. I am talking about something you really want more than anything. Something you do not intend to regret. It is not a decision you will slide into unknowingly, but a conscious, purposeful decision.

You start with the “yeah buts.” You read or hear the Word of the Lord and comeback with “Yeah but....” “Yeah, but what about him or her? He did that. She did this. Yeah but they didn’t have to do…. It is not my fault. It is not fair. Yeah, but I do not deserve this. I’m tired of this....” Your reasons are solid but the Lord does not seem to be receptive. You may be right in all you say, but God seems extremely closed-minded on the subject.

He just isn’t listening.

People may say you must have faith and things will eventually be good. However, what you hear from the Lord is not the statement “I will deliver you if you trust me,” but more as if he is asking, “What if I don’t? Will you trust me?”

You know this is a major crossroads in your life. God is very real to you. Yet, God wants you to do or not do something and he does not seem to care about how hurt you are or how hurt you will be. This is tough, double tough. Sure, you won’t lose your salvation but you know that you would be purposely turning your back on God. You are seriously considering walking away from him and you know that if you do, then you can’t sing those songs on Sunday morning without being a total hypocrite. What makes it worse, you are right: you really will be a hypocrite. You may fake it for others but you will know. The result is emotional estrangement: you will distance yourself and not have a close relationship with God.

The Lord may make the conditions so bad that no matter how strong you are, you find yourself pushed to that special place designed just for you where your strength is not enough to bear what the Lord asks. There is no desire left in you to want to follow God, at least not under these conditions. Those songs you sang about loving and following Jesus seem pretty hollow, pretty hypocritical. (They probably were anyway, but you didn’t know it.)

What are you going to do? Now you don’t have even the strength to follow God. You can walk away from God in your own strength or choose a path where you are helpless and have zero strength. However, if you cry out to him to enable you to follow him, then there is good news. You will end up in a very special place in God. He will deliver you to place you never wanted to be. You will no longer be able to rely on your own strength because you have found out it really isn’t worth much. This is good. You also end up resting in God’s strength because you know you can’t trust in your own. This is very good.

If you haven’t experienced it, then it is hard to understand. You know without a doubt how weak you are and how virtually faithless you are. You also get to know what it means to really rest in the Lord’s strength, how what faith you have is not of yourself but a gift from God. There is no room for boasting. You understand it is not your righteousness but the righteousness of God in you. You finally understand how God’s strength is made perfect in your weakness. You thought you understood those things before but now you really begin to understand the upside down world of being in Christ.

Is it worth it? Is the humiliation, the stripping away of anything you thought was good in you, and the realization that God needs nothing in you, a good thing? No, it is an awful experience. The journey stinks and even the destination doesn’t appear so good until after you get there. Trusting God is not always enjoyable, but the destination is something you have to experience to appreciate.

Job said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." Will you trust him even if he has you live through it?

Yeah it’s worth it, but you won’t know that until later.

Who is your Lord?

Yeah, it is worth it.


Be blessed.
RB

nyt on christian financial counseling

On the front page of this morning's Watertown Daily Times was a syndicated article from the New York Times about Christian financial counseling. The article featured Crown Financial Ministries and Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.

You can also read the article by clicking here.

Be blessed!
RB

P.S. Today's New York Times also published the article but sometimes it is available online for free only on the day of publication.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

decrease junk mail even more

You can stop most direct marketing mailings for 5 years by going to this site:

https://www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailing

It costs all of one dollar for this service.

I just signed up. A lot more than a dollar will be saved by society just from reducing the paper in the waste stream. I also expect to personally save a lot more than a dollar from reduced expenditures. Junk mail is intended to entice me into wanting something I did not want. I really don't need more stuff. The problem is I want more stuff even though I don't need it. I also do not want my life to be focused on buying the newest, the best, the most improved stuff. Another problem is that if I'm not careful, it can be.

Direct marketers spend tens of thousands of dollars on each mailing with the expectation that enough consumers will buy stuff they would not have bought without the mailing. These expectations are almost always met. Direct marketers are not stupid nor are the companies that hire them. Junk mail works for them.

Be blessed!
RB

Thursday, April 26, 2007

decrease junk mail

Did you know any credit card or insurance company can pre-screen (i.e., view) your credit report without your permission? That is why you get those "pre-approved" offers in the mail. You can go to OptOutPrescreen.com to stop this unauthorized checking of your credit report. You can opt out for 5 years or permanently. You can also add your name back if you have already opted out.

Be blessed!
RB

Saturday, April 21, 2007

a new look

I changed the look of this site. I guess that happens when you want to do something but have nothing to write.

I knew that I liked blue. Our house has blue trim and our vehicles are blue. My websites have themes that feature blue. Even most of the Steelcase furniture in my office is blue. However, a few moments ago I realized that both this blog and my long-time personal website have blue/gray themes.

Those are Georgetown colors! How did that happen?

I must be missing my little Hoya.

Be blessed.
RB

P.S. Hoya Saxa

Sunday, April 15, 2007

what's the difference between christians and canoes?

Canoes tip.

Our LT downloads podcasts of Dave Ramsey's radio show and listens to them in IQ. One day he said there was an entire show on how Christians are lousy tippers in restaurants. I did a google search (tipping Christians) and found many sites that each came to similar conclusions. Christians have a reputation as lousy tippers. Waiters and waitresses hate working Sunday afternoons because that is when Christians come to eat.

This is embarrassing. This is shameful! I was absolutely shocked.

Tips are not gifts but payments for service. Tips are how some some in the service industry earn a living. Why do Christians often take advantage of wait staff? Yes, Jesus paid for our sins. No, he did not shed his blood to so we could stiff people and get out of paying for services.

Yes, you can cheat people and still go to heaven. Yes, you can be a reproach to God.

If you do not want to tip, then stay out of restaurants and taxi cabs. Sorry, but tipping is part of the deal. If you decide to breach the implicit contract, do not let people know you are a Christian.

Actually, they know you are a Christian. You probably can't hide it. You pray, you discuss church, sermons, Biblical principles, etc. Sometimes you may leave a tract. The wait staff can spot a Christian. They know the amount that should be tipped. They can put two and two together. That is, they can spot a hypocrite.

We are to be God's ambassadors. We are to be good stewards of the finances he entrusts to us. I don't get it. I really cannot fathom the lack of tipping by Christians. I can understand a few individuals doing this out of ignorance or just plain stinginess. But why is this more prevalent among believers than nonbelievers?

If you have any answers, any insights, I would appreciate helping me better understand. I am really stumped.

Be blessed and be a blessing!
RB

Saturday, April 14, 2007

blowing agent 99's cover


Agent 99 is back working undercover inside the Beltway as a fashion model - student - paid assassin. Here we see her as the cover girl for The Hoya (Georgetown University's student newspaper) media guide.

ya gotta love marines

Marines are noted for being blunt, no nonsense types. This seems to apply even to marine generals, as reported on Wednesday by The Washington Post:

The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation.

At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position....

"The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going," said retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job.... "So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,' " he said.


If you want to know how and why the administration made the present debacle in Iraq inevitable, here are two excellent books:

The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq by George Packer. The author, a journalist and a pro-war liberal, writes a gossipy, anti-Bush history without citations. It is more fun to read if you can overcome his biased, liberal dislike of the administration.

Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq
by Michael R. Gordon and Gen. Bernard E. Trainor (USMC Ret.). This is by the very respected authors of the definitive history of the Gulf War (The Generals' War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf). This is more of a military history where the authors had access to classified materials and access to insiders who would never be so open with journalists. Although not as fun to read, it is still very readable and gives a much better, very unbiased, understanding of events.

In a nutshell, the administration had no planning, or even interest in planning, phase four of military operations: occupation and stabilization after defeating enemy forces. For military success, three out of four doesn't cut it. As the late Larry Burkett used to say, "If you don't plan where you want to be, you'll end up somewhere else." That is, you'll end up where you don't want to be. I guess it applies to more than finances.

Semper Fidelis.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

track star: 6m dash in under 19 seconds

Miss Lois was taking just a few steps before arriving at our Northern New York training site. After a few days of workouts, she has her 6m times under 19 seconds.

all here



Maundy Thursday saw the arrival of Agent 99 from her post deep inside the Beltway. Early a.m. Friday, Agents TJ* Ignatius, Princess Stephanie, and Sweet Pea from the PRM** showed up. Finally, as the picture above shows, the cavalry arrived with publicity assistant Kelly. Undercover Agent Henry provided security on the flight from Atlanta. Below, Agents Henry and Sweet Pea discuss future mission plans.



It was a very Good Friday.

Be blessed!
RB

NOTES:
* Triple Jumper
**People's Republic of Massachusetts.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

band name

In church this morning a great name for a rock band came to me. I'm thinking of forming a band and naming it:

Bobby 4F and the Section 8's.

Auditions TBD.

Be blessed!
RB

P.S. The significance of the name may be lost on those under 40. BTW, I was 1A with a high lottery number.