The Memory Book of Life

If you use Facebook, you have probably seen the offer to tell your life story through photos you’ve posted during 2014.  The social media giant has bruised shins due to people kicking-back because the program has caused them to relive unwanted memories.

Facebook’s memory-making-methods pale in comparison to the life-in-review process that God has designed for each of us.  Let me shatter any feel-good, party-time thoughts with three words: the judgment seat.

The thoughts of the most stalwart among the faithful turn sober when they think of standing before the Righteous Judge, and He reviews each moment of our lives.  Think I’m kidding?  Here’s the proof:

  • Hebrews 9:27: It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10: We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
  • Romans 14:10: We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

The good news is that God is not just a God of judgment, but He also a God of mercy and grace:  “. . .all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest…But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you are saved!

Since you know what the future holds, why not get a grip on the present.  Live 2015 with the resolve of the Apostle Paul:  “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.”

A Memo from “The Real Thing”

According to a memo from Ed Steinike, Coke’s chief information officer, the company has decided to simplify the way we work and increase productivity.”  Coke proposes to do this by eliminating voice mail.  When this service is terminated, it is estimated that Coke will save about $100,000 a year.

Isn’t there something odd about this?  Isn’t it Coke that wanted folk to “sing in perfect harmony,” and now they won’t take a voice message?

If you want to contact an employee at Coke, I guess you will have to send a text message instead; and, I just can’t hear Solomon saying:   “A word fitly texted is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

What is the Cost of Satisfaction?

images (2)A recent article by Bourree Lam was posted to the Atlantic Journal.  Lam’s article focused on the economics of buffets and asked the question:  “If it costs more, does it taste better?”

To find the answer to the question, three researchers studied 139 diners at an all you can eat (AYCE) buffet:

  • Location of the experiment: Italian AYCE buffet in New York
  • Time Period: Two weeks
  • Criteria: Some of the139 participants were given a flier for an $8 buffet or a $4 buffet with both buffets serving the same food.
  • Results: People who ate from the $8 buffet rated the pizza 11% tastier than those who ate from the $4 buffet.

One of the authors of the study, David Just, said:  “People set their expectation of taste partially based on the price—and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I didn’t pay much it can’t be that good. Moreover, each slice is worse than the last. People really ended up regretting choosing the buffet when it was cheap.”

After reading this article, I wondered about the value of “cheap” faith compared to costly faith:

  • Are Christians more satisfied, fulfilled, and happy, when their faith costs them something?
  • Is this one reason Solomon wrote, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.”
  • Is this the secret to the saints of Hebrews 11 who lived vigorous faith-filled lives?

As you prepare to say good-bye to 2014, and enter 2015, let me suggest a New Year’s Resolution:  “I resolve to invest more in my life as a Christian, and I will do this by spending more time in prayer, reading my bible, and sharing my faith.”

Communication: Do You WiFi or Wee-Fee?

3-golden-rules-for-team-communicationDo you pay a Wee-Fee for your WiFi, or do you hee-hee when some people say Wee-Fee?  Most people reading this blog know that WiFi  is the wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed connection to the internet.

What you may not know is that about 7% of the people living in Arkansas pronounce WiFi as Wee-Fee; however, they are not alone.  In fact, there are several countries that have a significant number of people who opt for the Wee-Fee pronunciation of the word:

  • Spain 49.3%
  • France 46.1%
  • Hungary 41%
  • Belgium 34.4%
  • Netherlands 33.7%

The meaning of WiFi does not change if it is pronounced Wee-Fee, but in some situations a mispronounced word can lead to heated circumstances.

I clearly remember an unclearly spoken word that created a state of confusion.  I was 18, and was asleep on the top floor of an old Air Force barracks when a backwoods sergeant ran down the hall shouting, “Far! Far!”  I thought:  “Far?  How far am I supposed to go and in which direction?”

“Far” took on new meaning and significance when the smell of burning wood began to find its way into my room.  I realized the sergeant with the hick-accent had not been shouting “far,” but was yelling “FIRE!”

One of the basic rules of communication is found in the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).  The Apostle Paul could be profoundly simple in the way he stated truth, and he kept it simple and clear in Romans 6:23:  “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The wages of your sin cost God more than just a wee-fee, it cost Him the death of His son on the cross of Calvary.

Your WiFi might be what directs you to the internet, but it’s Jesus who connects you to Heaven.  Jesus said:  “I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father except through me.”



The Iconic Brain or Do Smartphones Make You Smarter?


In the world of information technology the term icon is about as outdated as a dial phone.  In the not so distant past, the images on the screen of your computer were called “ICONS.”  From a religious perceptive, the word means “a window to heaven.”  From the viewpoint of technology “ICON” was used in reference to a window to an application.

The ICON has been buried in the bone yard of outdated computer technology and replaced by the APP.  The birth of the APP has walked in step with the proliferation of smartphones.

A story in US News & World Report has examined a study on the correlation between finger and thumb dexterity and the development of the sensory processing component of your brain while using a smartphone.  Each part of your body, from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, “has a corresponding ‘processing area’ in the emotional center of the brain, a region known as the somatosensory cortex.”

This function of the brain is often referred to as “sensory processing,” and it is the ability of the brain to interpret the information it has received, so it can prioritize and emphasize the components of the data; decide how to understand what is going on; and, decide what you will do based on the information received and processed.

Researchers used an EEG to study the brain activity of 37 people while they were using their cell phones:

  • 26 were using touch-screen smartphones
  • 11 were sing traditional cellphones with keypads

The study was able to distinguish between the length of time the subject had owned a smartphone and the frequency with it had been used.  The change in the brain was associated more with how frequently the smartphone was used over a 10 day period than just owning the phone and using it periodically.

Here’s a thought or two to keep you thinking:

  • How can these findings be applied to your life?
  • Is it more important to pray for a long time every now and then or to have short frequent prayers every day?
  • How does your prayer life mold and reshape the sensory processing region of your brain?

Perhaps this is one of the reasons Paul instructed the Christian to “pray without ceasing.”


DDT: Harmful or Healthy?

DDT is an abbreviation for the pesticide known as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane that was banned in 1972 due to its harmful effects on the environment and its connection as a cancer-causing agent.  It was effective, but also deadly.

In recent years there has been a renaissance of interest and a growing fan-base in DDT.  This form of DDT (Dirt Detection Technology) is not considered deadly, but very effective and healthy.

DDT is now associated with the IBOT Roomba series of vacuum cleaners. It uses Dirt Detection Technology (DDT) to distinguish between the cleaner and dirtier areas of a room, so it can use its patented 3 stage cleaning system to deep clean where needed.

As I read about the properties of this property cleaning device, I thought of God’s 3 stage cleaning system:

  • The Holy Spirit: “He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8).”
  • The Word: “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for re-setting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).”
  • Prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).”

Casual cleaning is not always enough to get the job done.  Instead of sweeping the dust under the carpet, we need to employ God’s 3 stage system of cleaning–DDT will get the job done.

The Testing of Character

While listening to a discussion, I heard a comment made about a particular person:  “He comes from a family that has never suffered from a shortage of self-esteem, and he oozes narcissism.”  That comment reminded me that a trainload of healthy habits can be derailed by a single character flaw.

A good example of someone whose character was tested and remained unblemished is Daniel.  In the book that bears his name, we are told that, “Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank.”

As a captive in a foreign land, Daniel found himself in a difficult position.  He had to find a way to comply but not deny.  How could he obey a king and stay faithful to the King of kings?

Daniel followed the edicts of King Nebuchadnezzar until it came to eating the food from the his table.  Because the food had been offered to Babylonian idols and most likely violated dietary restrictions, Daniel tactfully refused to eat it.

The tension for Daniel was a decision between compromised compliance and righteous reliance.  Would his character be solid or soiled?

In Psalm 105, there is a historical account of the mysterious workings of God and the way he used Joseph.  It is apparent that God took the time to develop the character of Joseph:

When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread, he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him. The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free; he made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions.

Like Joseph, Paul was stalwart and steadfast in his service to God.  His faith was unshakable, and his character was resolute.  These qualities give credence to his words in Romans 5:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Take a few moments to think about the role of faith, hope, and endurance and the manner in which they influence your character.

Holiness and the Grace of God

isa6-holiness-e1361342892229The subject that seems to be the focal point of many Christian authors is grace.  Walk down the aisles of Barnes and Noble and look at the titles on the book shelves, and what do you see?  They are lined with rows of books that outline and discuss the subject of grace.

Evidently, grace sells.  But at what expense?  Does this emphasis on grace debase our perception of the Holiness of God?  If we give too much attention to the grace of God, do we lessen our comprehension of His holiness?

Notice the admonition of the Psalmist, and his focus on the holiness of God:

  • Psalm 29:2: Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
  • Psalm 96:9: Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Read the sixth chapter of Isaiah, and you will have a better understanding of the power of God’s holiness.  When Isaiah witnessed the glory of God, he saw the sinfulness of man—and he repented.

You diminish the beauty of His holiness and you cheapen His grace when you fail to give appropriate attention to your sin.  Grace is God’s righteous response to the unrighteousness of man.  To fully appreciate His grace, you cannot depreciate the magnitude of your sin.

When Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy, he gave a balanced assessment of grace and sin:

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

When you get to the place to where you can recognize the prevalence and power of sin, you are at at the point where you will begin to recognize this this truth:  “. . . the grace of our Lord is exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”



Forward with Forgiveness in Ferguson

Let there be no more resentment, no more anger or temper, no more violent self-assertiveness, no more slander and no more malicious remarks, Be kind to each other, be understanding. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you  ~Ephesians 4:32

Forgiving is Forward Living

The Great Loyal Love of God

Dust-articleInlineOne of the sections of the Psalms that I enjoy is Psalm 103.  The Psalmist describes the Lord as being compassionate, merciful, patient, and demonstrative with His “great loyal love.”

As you read the verses below, notice the ebb and flow as the author builds on the foundation he’s laid:

The Lord is compassionate and merciful; He is patient and demonstrates great loyal love. He does not always accuse, and does not stay angry. He does not deal with us as our sins deserve; He does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve. For as the skies are high above the earth, so his loyal love towers over his faithful followers. As far as the eastern horizon is from the west, so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers. For he knows what we are made of; He realizes we are made of dust.

Because the Lord is compassionate, merciful, patient, and He has a “great loyal love:

  • He does not always accuse.
  • He doesn’t stay angry.
  • He doesn’t deal with us as our sins deserve.
  • He doesn’t repay us as our misdeeds deserve.
  • He removes the guilt of our sin.

Why does God do this?  It’s because it’s His character to do so, but there is another reason:  He knows who you are—a fragile pile of dust.   When you fail, God could sweep you up and toss you aside, but He is compassionate, merciful, patient, and He has a “great loyal love” for you.

On your own; in your frail strength; and in your confused wisdom, the best you can do is to make a mud pie out of your life.  Then, when the storms of life come, you’re just a muddy mess.  You’re like the prodigal son who wallowed in the pig pen of life and ate the swill and hog slop with the rest of the pigs.

But, like the prodigal,  something wonderful can happen that will change your life.  You can remember that the Father is compassionate, merciful, patient, and He has a “great loyal love” for you, and you can go home to the Father’s house:  “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers. For he knows what we are made of; He realizes we are made of dust.”