Posts made in March, 2017

Psalm 62: Undivided

Posted by on Mar 27, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Contingencies gnaw at the soul. Unknowns wreak havoc where peace is to prevail.

Have you worked up a “Plan B?” Are you keeping your options open? Who or what is on standby in the supposedly unlikely event of the unexpected?

The world urges us to hedge our bets, cover all our bases, diversify and reduce exposure with sophisticated strategies for risk mitigation. And yes, spreading your financial assets around limits liability, but the soul doesn’t spread so easily.

Divided hearts divvy up loyalties among the best alternatives of lesser gods and call themselves wise for doing so. It is the fool who lays up “treasure” for himself and isn’t rich toward God (Luke 12:13-21).

God is our only hope who is unwilling to be anything less than our only hope.

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Psalm 61: Bended Knee

Posted by on Mar 20, 2017 in Blog | 4 comments

Genuine prayer is an earnest act of humility.

It is a sincere expression of need and desire intertwined and directed to the only One who can lift a broken yet hopeful believer from the fallout of a fallen world. It is an admission that we are wholeheartedly deficient, desperate for our Creator to do in us, for us, and through us what we could never do ourselves.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. – Jesus (John 15:5)

Our pride despises this posture, preferring self-sufficiency over submission. But blessing comes only to those on bended knee.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

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Destructive Dialogue

Posted by on Mar 18, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

I’ve noticed in our combative culture that issues are often framed as either/or, all/nothing, or for/against propositions. The reader is required to simply agree or disagree. In other words, holding a blended, thoughtful position of some kind on the issue of the day is considered disingenuous and therefore unacceptable. It’s so tempting to resort to ultimatums in order to make a point or win an argument, rather than engage in a productive dialogue.

For example, one can’t oppose abortion and still have sincere concern for women’s health. On another front, one can’t strive to preserve the original definition of marriage and still care about the rights of those who pursue same-sex relationships. Apparently, one can’t resist legislation mandating a professing transgender’s right to enter the bathroom of their choice and still hold to constitutional freedom. Additionally, one can’t support restrictions related to the entrance of refugees to our country and still feel deep compassion for the plight of the refugee.

On the last one, I recently read a well-meaning post related to the refugee discussion which posed the following question … “Are we the kind of people who open our hearts to others in their suffering or the kind who get afraid and turn our hearts away?” So the question is framed with simply two options; either we have an open heart, or a fearful, calloused heart. That’s it. For/Against … Open/Calloused. And the opened heart obviously must invite every refugee in without any thought for what that person might do once they are in.

Scenarios like these are informal fallacies known as “false dilemmas” designed to force parties to choose a side rather than engage an issue thoughtfully and comprehensively. And they’re destructive. One side or the other gives the impression that there is only one right conclusion, and it just so happens to be theirs. These arguments are typically accompanied by significant emotional appeals, once again designed to vilify the opposing position.

By contrast, sleeping with your neighbor’s spouse is a true dichotomy. It is either right or wrong. There is no grey. If you favor such behavior, you favor infidelity, which is a violation of the most serious commitment, and therefore wrong.

If you favor reserving bathroom usage to biological gender, regardless of what someone might imagine their gender to be, you are well within a reasonable point of view which should warrant respect and consideration. It does not mean that you are mean-spirited, but rather that you have reasonable concern not only for the preferences of the professing transgender, but also for the welfare of others who will be affected by the actions of the professing transgender.

I’m in favor of shifting our conversations away from the winning or losing construct, and toward a solution-oriented construct which produces a far greater amount of genuine consideration shown toward parties with differing ideas.

What do you think? Have you seen other examples of false dilemmas as you surf the net? What other fallacies have you found in posts you’ve read?

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Psalm 60: The Agony of Defeat

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

I don’t like to lose and I haven’t come across many people who do. Yes, some of us are more competitive than others; and the “game” we’re playing should probably dictate the seriousness involved. But generally speaking, if every time we faced off with an opponent we were given the choice, I’m guessing most would take victory over defeat.

But losing is a fact of life. No one wins all the time. Everyone has had or will have an “L” on their stat sheet. So what do we do when faced with loss?

Without glossing over the pain of defeat, it can actually be a great gift. Seriously! There are lessons learned in loss that truly cannot be understood any other way. If we can set our gaze beyond the empty spot in our trophy case, there is meaningful potential for long-term gain. That gain, however, is contingent upon our posture.

To a tender, teachable heart, defeat offers humility, correction, endurance, wisdom, repentance, understanding, and growth of all kinds. To a hard heart, loss produces bitterness and resentment … not only toward victors, but especially toward God.

In the crisis of losing, the greatest of gains is a deeper dependence upon God; a hunger and appreciation for the refining work He longs to do which winning alone would never accomplish.

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Psalm 59: Windbag

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in Blog | 2 comments

You can find them just about anywhere. Organizations, states, movements, even nations have been ruled by them. They show up in churches where power is up for grabs. They feed on control and indignantly bail out when none is to be had.

They seem bigger than life, loud and full of swagger that steals the spotlight wherever they go. But truth be known … they’re small, shallow posers preserving their fragile lives with a furious, yet feeble bark and bite.

No need to fear them.

They have far more reason to be afraid. Arrogance is laughable in the heavens where there is but one God, holy and utterly supreme. It is a costly gaffe to mistake the love of God for a willingness on His part to yield His throne to any whom He created. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)

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