Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Don't Have Time. (Really?)



"When I get home from work I don't have enough time to do the things that have to get done, " You say. 
 "I just don't have time to read books, " You lament.
"I'd love to read more books, but..."
But, but, but.

Excuses, that's what I hear Paul, excuses. Reasons why you can't, or wont, do the things that you say are important to you.

But my dear Paul, don't you have two (government mandated) 15 minute breaks at work? 
"Well yes..."
And what do you do on said breaks?
"Oh I do lots of things, I check my G+, FaceBook, The Blaze, get distracted, go on rabbit trails, etc."
So you have time to do all that, and yet you don't have time to read books?
"..."
This was my conscience convicting me this morning as I was trying to figure out how I could get more book reading into my daily life. None of us have as much time as we would like. But that's why we have to be purposeful in how we spend the time that we have been given. Google+ is great, as is FaceBook and the rest, but on my work breaks I'm going to prioritize reading good literature (and occasionally posting about it).


How about you? How will you capitalize on the spare moments between tasks? Will you fritter them away, or will you "redeem the time" (Eph 5:16) for the furtherance of Christ's Kingdom?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Are We Here for the Long Haul?

"Any theology that does not live with the sense of the immediate return of Christ is a theology that takes the edge off the urgency of faith. But any theology that does not cause us to live as though the world will be here for thousands of years is a theology that leads us into social irresponsibility."
        ~Tony Campolo in Four Views on the Book of Revelation

Wow wow wow! This is really accurate! I remember the feeling when I became unconvinced of dispensational premillennialism that I had time here to plan for the long term. The feeling that I don't have to rush for fear of being raptured or called away any minute was profoundly impactful. Mr. Campolo's last statement I think is especially true, "... any theology that does not cause us to live as though the world will be here for thousands of years is a theology that leads us into social irresponsibility." How many Christians have given up on this world because of the faulty notion that we're not going to be here very long, and therefore don't have to worry about the world at large, socially, politically, or morally? 

Here's the book on Goodreads, highly recommended:

And if you want to pick up a hard copy, here's the Amazon link:

~Paul

Friday, September 12, 2014

Easier Does Not Equal Better

There are times when I wish things were as they used to be. Life as a child is significantly easier than as an adult, especially in one particular area.

Decisions.

As children, most decisions are made for us, what we eat for dinner, when to go to bed, how much sugar is enough, and the list goes on. But as we grow up, more and more of the decisional responsibility should be placed upon our shoulders.

I'm at one of those momentous points in my life. I have to make the decision as to where I'll work for the foreseeable future. I have two options on my plate, both have their pros and cons, both would be enjoyable, and both would pay the bills (though one would pay them with more left over). What factors do I consider? How do I decide which is a better use of the limited time that the Lord has entrusted to me?

In years gone by I would probably have run to dad and mom and asked them what I should do, and they, while likely leaving the final decision up to me, would have told me what they thought was the best option. Now that I'm a young adult though, I'm so very thankful that my parents have sought to help me stand on my own two feet, rather than let me rely on them to choose my path.

My parents have given me mountains of advice, suggested things to consider, and people to talk with, and encouraged me to pray and see the Lord as I make this weighty decision. But they have resisted the urge that I'm sure they feel to tell me what they think is the right decision, for which I am extremely grateful.

And it's hard sometimes. Having the answer handed to me on a silver platter would be easy, but it wouldn't be better. While I wouldn't be responsible if the decision were a bad one, but I also wouldn't grow and mature, nor experience the blessing of a wise decision. We have to make decisions every day of our lives, and my parents recognize that the only way we can learn to make decisions, is to make decisions.

Thanks Mom and Dad!

~Paul

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Shiny Sink

Sinks - We all have them.


Shiny, clean, spotless sinks - Most of us don't have them.

I just got home from work, and was greeted by a very clean kitchen. So when I was finished making my afternoon snack (carefully seasoned mashed potatoes), I almost threw the spatula into the sink. But then thought about all the work that someone in my family had done to get the sink to it's current sparkling condition. I felt ashamed that I, in my laziness, was about to toss a soiled utensil into it, marring it's pristine condition.

So I didn't. I grabbed the scrub brush, took literally less than 15 seconds to clean the spatula, and add it to the drying rack.

It's so much easier to keep a space clean once it's completely clean, because leaving the first item out is always the hardest. By not leaving my spent spatula in the sink, I helped keep the kitchen clean for that much longer. 

Hmmm, now perhaps I should clean my room, because it literally looks like a tornado went through it...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Value of writing

A moment of terror flooded over me. I couldn't find them. I checked drawers, bags, all over my desktop, but they were nowhere to be found. But then I remembered that I had filed them all, safely next to my birthday cards from last year.

Phew.

That was a sigh of relief, I had found all of my birthday cards, and could commence writing my thank you notes, thanking each family who had taken an evening of their week to come celebrate with me the passage of yet another year that the Lord had granted to me. But being the distractible fellow that I often am, I sat at my desk and pondered the emotions of the last few minutes: concern, then panic, followed by hurried searching, and finally sweet relief as I found my treasures. All for some pieces of paper with only a few sentences penned on their smooth surfaces. But all were well spent emotions.

Long after the party is done, the money is spent, and the gifts are either lost, out grown (that one doesn't happen to me anymore) or worn out, I will still have the cards that people have given to me. Whether they were hastily written in the car on the way to the party - thoughts off the top of the author's head, or carefully formulated words of encouragement and wisdom written days in advance, I cherish them all. They show that those who penned them value their recipient enough to show their love and appreciation in old fashioned hand writing, long or short, in depth, profound, or a simple I love you.

Though they may not say we love you in so many words isn't that what birthday cards say? Words of Encouragement may not be my primary Love Language for showing love (and an area in which I need to grow), but it certainly is one that makes my heart rejoice. To know that others love me in ways that I know I don't deserve, it's almost too much joy to contain.

To all of you who have written to me, thank you. It means more to me than I can express.

Paul

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why I Don't (and Never Did) Believe Money Grows on Trees



We've all heard the saying, "Money doesn't grow on trees." This evening I was contemplating that phrase, and why someone, particularly a young someone, might believe that it does.

I know that no one (well, hopefully no one, but someone probably does) believes that money really does grow like shiny green leaves on a tree, it's the root of the matter that is the issue. Rephrased, the saying could say, "Money does not sprout from nothing."

But why might a child grow up with the idea that money comes from nothing? I would wager that it likely could be that he was given money for doing nothing.

Like a government handout, but from parents instead of Big Brother.

Because little Johnny didn't have to work for the money he received, wouldn't it would be counter intuitive for him to think that income is (normally) proceeded by work, and is therefore the product thereof? I tend to think so.

My brothers and I never received "government handouts" from our parents (which are often masked as allowances) growing up. Very early on my parents would find ways for us to earn money to finances our extraneous spending, like mowing, special cleaning, selling things, and yard work, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Don't raise your kids to expect money that they didn't earn. It won't stop just because they grow up. There's a reason 47,000,000[source] (that's million) Americans or on food stamps (i.e. government allowance).

Thanks Dad and Mom!!
~Paul

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In the Multitude of Counselors There is Safety.


"The more you know, the more you know you don't know."
~Aristotle

An accusation that's often levied at people my age is that we think we know everything. And while that assertion is often well founded, the Lord has been gracious enough to give me a recognition of the fact that I know very, very little.


I know I don't know very much (in fact, I probably don't even know how much I know I don't know!), that's why I'm so thankful for verses like this:

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety
~Proverbs 11:14

There will always be those who are wiser than you are, seek them out, and never, ever stop asking them questions.
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding
Proverbs 3:13 
The Lord has graciously placed a few people in my life who are just mountains of wisdom, depths of knowledge and experience gleaned from years of living. But most of them won't offer their council unless I first ask them (or if they see a blind spot of mine, and then I'm most thankful that they will lovingly come alongside me to point me back in the way I should go).

Be that young man or woman that's known for their hunger for wisdom. Seek out those who are wiser than you, like your parents, and older couples in your church. You will never regret it.

Paul

Monday, April 14, 2014

God Will I Fear

In my morning reading today I was struck by three verses from Psalm 46. They perfectly express what I imperfectly attempted to express in What Do You Fear. Fear of the dark seems petty in light of not fearing "though the earth gives way." What a mighty Lord and Savior we serve!
     1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
     2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be move into the heart of the sea,
     3 though its waters roar and foam,
through the mountains tremble at it's swelling.
   Selah. 

In Christ,
Paul

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What Do You Fear

Last night I accompanied my youngest sister out to do the animals because it was well after sun down. She hasn't quite gotten over her fear of the dark, but she's doing way better than I was at her age! But as I helped her shoo the last of the chickens into their barn, I started thinking about fear.

Fear of the dark is something that it seems most people suffer from at some point in their life. But why? What's so scary about the dark? I would wager that it's not actually the dark that scares people, it's what could be in the dark that has some people (my former self included) jumping at every rustle or snap. Sophocles once said
"To him who is in fear, everything rustles."
It's really fear of the unknown. When we don't know what's out there, our minds can be uncannily  good at scaring the dickens out of us with the ridiculous, and more often than not, unreasonable scenarios that it can come up with.

But as a man whom I respect much more than him of the above quote has said,
"My religious belief teaches me that I’m just as safe on the battlefield as I am in my bed.  The Lord has already appointed the day of my death so I need not worry about that." ~Stonewall Jackson
Fear of anything shows a lack of trust in God. If I'm afraid of what could be out there just because I can't see it, that is evidence that I lack trust in my Savior. If I truly love Him, and trust His plans
and timing, then I should be one of the most fearless people alive!

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love" ~1 John 4:18"

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Abrogation of Personal Privacy, and How to Fly Safely

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” 
These timeless words spoken by Ben Franklin went through my mind as I stared into the distance in front of me at the Nashville International Airport. This wasn't the first time that I've opted out of the backscatter scanners, nor was it the first time I'd received an "enhanced" pat down.

But unlike the many atrocious reports you've probably read or heard about of aggressive, rude, obnoxious patter downers, I've always had fairly uneventful and painless (or as painless as having a gloved hand running around my waist band can be) experience with the TSA. So I really can't really personally relate to some of the outrageous stories that have been told (like this one).

But that's no excuse to accept these kinds of invasions into our personal privacy just "to obtain a little temporary safety." This kind of violation wouldn't have been tolerated even a decade ago, but today, people will go through nearly anything so long as it's 'for your safety.'

What's even more sobering is the knowledge that the airports are only the first step. The distrust of Americans will eventually move to more general public places like stadiums and schools (oh wait, we already have that), and will only become more and more invasive. But are we actually safer in the air and on the ground today then we were in a pre 9/11 world? I would wager that we're not.

But I know the solution to this whole problem: weapons, maybe even assault rifles.

Yes, I just said that, allow the thing that liberals have nightmares about, and constantly rail against, onto planes. Actually though, they're already on a lot of planes. Many pilots are allowed to have a gun in the cockpit, and more than 10% are armed in the sky (per this not-so happy-about-it article).

Just as arming American citizens can and has protected innocent life on the ground in schools and in public, allowing the people to protect themselves and those around them while in the air will not only make us safer, but it will preserve our liberty and freedom.


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