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Prayer, Reason and Relationship

Month: June 2018

Observing Personal Control Issues

Observing Personal Control Issues

When observing people having personal control issues, I have seen some with an inordinate need to control other’s actions.  These individuals hold others hostage to doing what they want to avoid emotional conflicts.  It appears to me to be just the opposite of what one might think.  I believe their problem is not superiority, but feelings of inadequacy.  Their insecurity in personal relationships causes them to be uncomfortable, to say the least.  It appears that the only way for them to be comfortable is if they control every situation.  It is not the same thing as having the confidence of having craftsmanship in a particular creative endeavor.  This problem is when there are unrealistic expectations, often thinking another will have the power to destroy any good. 

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Applying What I Have Learned

Applying What I Have Learned

“A soft word turns away wrath” is a scripture I try to remember whenever the discussions turn ugly. I do not always remember it at the best moment, but I can apply it even if I have just blown it. It works every time it is attempted. Applying what I have learned is the why God provides His Word to us and makes it come alive.  “Let the word of God live in you richly.” This is from Colossians 3, and it is a directive, not necessarily a command. The implied reading is (YOU) let the word of God live richly in you. It is the intentional to receive the Word and make it work itself out. I also pray this for others who a having a bad time. Sometimes it is obvious that they know better. God’s Words appear to be laying dormant, just waiting to be “quickened’ as the old King James Bible puts it. I am told that we never forget what we hear. It is all stored in our memories, even if we are not conscious of it. The Words of God we hear over and over may lay dormant until we purpose to remember them, or if we make a conscious choice to re-read them as reinforcement. If we believe that the Word of God is worth living, we can choose to “let the Word live in us richly”.

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What is Lovecraft?

What is Lovecraft?

Lovecraft is the purposeful effort, motivated by love, to improve the ways we respond to others.  It is repeated often that the definition of insanity is to act the same and expect different results.  In all relationships there are repetitive actions that cause others to respond.  And there are actions that cause the same response, unless we choose to react with love and grace. Some of this is just “being ourselves” or being open in the expression of our feelings.  Some responses are rude because we say “I am just being honest”.  Being true to one’s feelings does not have to be rude.  One might “feel” like responding rudely, and choose to respond differently, moved by wanting to show love instead of self.  This is Lovecraft at its best.

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Change is Inevitable

Change is Inevitable

We are taught we can control changes in our lives and circumstances. This is mostly true because change is inevitable. If we are people who live intentionally, and have a plan, we contribute to the possibility of our plans becoming real. We have all heard and seen people’s lives changed by the unexpected. We should not live our lives trying to prevent the accidental. Some accidents are catastrophic, but most are just temporary distractions or irritations. One change that we often ignore is growing up. Prudence is that old virtue that tries to imagine an outcome from each choice we have to make. In the last Avengers movie, one of the characters had visions of millions of potential outcomes from the inevitable challenges ahead. In the last vampire movie “Twilight”, one of the characters had the gift of seeing the future, and the ability to show her enemy. The vision changed the mind of the enemy, and the attack did not take place.

We should have a plan for the next few months, at least. It is better to have a plan for the next five years if you are young and have so many choices ahead for yourself. It helps to reduce the possibilities to create a better focus on the near term. If you want to become a doctor, you know that class requirements will dictate most of the choices of the next 8 years. If you are not sure of how you will earn your keep (freedom), then at least choose now to pursue the information you need to come to a decision. Some used to refer to that as “finding yourself”. One cannot sit around waiting for another to make life’s decisions. Decision making is like a muscle that grows better with practice. Avoiding decisions causes an atrophy of the spirit that leads to an unhappy existence. Humans are the only animal that can desire to desire. One can change the lack of desire by choosing to find a desire. God offers help in that space.

I have a personal theory that the way we perceive and think changes every seven years. The original thought came from learning that our physical bodies have a completely new set of cells every seven years. Imagine what it was like when you were seven and compare it to yourself at fourteen. Then compare that to the way you thought about things at twenty-one, if you have arrived there yet. I imagine that each seven year period has a high point and a low point. At the low point, we are more introspective, assimilating the new thoughts into what we already know and believe. At the high points, we itch to act on our new ideas and thoughts to determine how realistic they are. Couples who are the same age, and couples whose ages are seven years apart, seem to be more comfortable with each other. Couples whose ages are three and a half years apart appear to have the most difficulty adapting to the changes in each other. It is just a theory, but it might be helpful to understand the source of a problem, if two hearts choose to be understanding and to grow together intimately.

Being born-again in the Spirit of God offers changes with a very positive result for the inner person. Previously, we made decisions based on what we know of ourselves and perceive of the world around us. In the Spirit, we are introduced to the changes God wants to make in us. As we learn to trust God in the changes, our physical lives may be changed completely, or not. My younger son used to say “just because we grow older does not guarantee we mature.” If we introduce any mind-altering habits, we stunt our mental growth. When we choose to know God better, we mature toward a “family resemblance” in Christ. A person, born-again in the Spirit, learns to live life in a new way, with God at the helm. Decisions become easier, because desires are more mature. Our perceptions still change every seven years, but we have more hope in a good future Many Christians have admitted reading a verse or passage of the Bible for years before seeing it for the first time. Enlightenment of the heart is one of the joys of being in Christ through the Spirit. We have fewer fears as we mature in trusting God, which leads to freedom and peace. “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will straighten out your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Remain Unpolluted by the World

Remain Unpolluted by the World

You may not belong to an organized group serving orphans and widows, but you can still remain unpolluted by the world.  Few believers ever choose to be hypocritical in their walk with God.  James would have been appreciated today because he was direct and wise in his approach to living in the Word, not the world. In his epistle, James wrote “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  There is a link with James statement and the first parable Jesus is recorded as teaching.  In Matthew 13:3-9, Mark 4:3-9, and Luke 8:5-8 Jesus taught that the Word of God is like a seed falling on different types of earth.  He later explains that our souls are the earth in the parable, and the seed is the Word of God.  The Father is constantly planting the Word, but it is our responsibility to keep our “earth” in readiness to receive it.  To remain unpolluted by the world, we have to avoid the different influences that pester us.

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Self-Discipline Is Missing in Action

 are Self-Discipline Is Missing in Action

Society suffers when self-discipline is missing in action.  The Millennials might find it surprising to find they are the butt of many jokes.  Millennials probably do not know how predictable they are in their behavior.  When I was growing up, we wanted so much to be individuals, yet we behaved according to peer-pressure.  We all dressed alike and cut our hair, or didn’t, depending on “what was in” at the moment.  Cultures are like that.  In this way, the Millennials follow the trends of the past for young people.  The predictability is the one big difference.  They grew up in politicized public schools, pampered with politically correct words, and never having to learn self-discipline.  Our version of personal responsibility never touched them.  Those of us who watched from the sidelines successfully predicted their behavior because we knew what wrong values and pampering would create in young people.

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