Standing Sure In a Crumbling World

imageOriginally written in 2014, I’m re-posting this in memory of the innocent lives lost in France on Thursday.

World Events

Let’s get real for a moment, shall we? The world seems to be coming apart at the seams right now. Russia and Ukraine are fighting; Israel and Hamas are fighting; ISIS is trying to take over the world; airplanes are crashing or being blown out of the sky; new diseases are popping up everywhere; and more former Disney child stars are choosing to cry out, “I don’t want to be a role model!” while exposing their bare behinds.

Face it, the world is going to hell in a hand basket and Toto has already jumped.

But seriously, as bad as the world is, it’s not like we have Nero for a president. Oh, but wait! America isn’t the only country in the world, you know, and Christians are being killed as often today as they were in the first and second centuries (along with anyone who refuses to yell “Allah Akbar!” as he beheads his sister).

Life Goes On

But even as we look around at a world in turmoil, does that mean we must forget about living? Sure, the temptation might be to down a bottle of Prozac and curl up in a ball, all the while waiting for the first warhead to hit your town.

However, kingdoms rise and fall and nations come and go, yet children still need moms and dads, strangers still need a kind word, and the way we live is still important.

As a matter of fact, right before another group of people’s world was about to be turned upside down, Jesus Christ gave some timeless instruction on living from a hillside (The full text can be found in Matthew, chapters 5-7). His words still apply today. Below are a few excerpts:

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” 

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 

Jesus then concluded his sermon with the following encouragement…

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” – Matthew 7:24-25

Though the world might be falling apart, we don’t have to. 

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Filed under America, Christian Living, current events, the future

2000 Cents Worth

1000

A $20 Value!

Thank you for visiting my 1000th post on The Recovering Legalist! This is such a special occasion for me!

It’s been so much fun sharing my two cents on the world-wide web. When I did the math (I wasn’t bad with elementary numbers), one thousand posts equal 2,000 cents worth of wisdom. If my calculations are correct, the total monetary value of the wisdom and insight contained in this blog is worth a total of $20.

Twenty Dollars!

But you’ve gotten a lot over the last six (6) years, wouldn’t you say? 2 cents here, 2 cents there…it all adds up to a virtual treasure of personal opinion.

A Few Stats

You might not be interested in this, but it might interest my grandkids one day. I just thought it would be interesting to look back over the last seven (7) years to see what was most popular.

First of all, I started blogging in 2009, but that year I only published two posts. It was literally a year later in 2010 that I started blogging on a fairly regular basis. Since then I have received a little over 107,000 recorded views and acquired over 2,600 followers. That may sound like a lot to a newbie, but it’s nothing compared to other blogs – so I don’t have a big head.

stats for all time as of july 2016

2016 is on pace to beat 2015:-)

Now, I don’t know what it is about Dr. John R. Rice, but my post about him continues to be the most viewed post every year, including this one. Including that one, the following are the Top 10 Most Viewed Posts I’ve published.

All-Time Top 10 Most Viewed Posts

  1. “Was John R. Rice a Heretic?”
  2. “What to Wear to Church?”
  3. “The Brief Departure of a Friend”
  4. “Dinosaur Bones Found On Moon!”
  5. “Just the Sound of BB’s”
  6. “Does Divorce Disqualify”
  7. “Appetite for Comfort” (this one was featured on Freshly Pressed)
  8. “Recovering Legalist Meets Building 429”
  9. “Why Be a Legalist?”
  10. “Work, Work, Work”

Another interesting statistic is the most common search items. Here are the all-time Top 5 Search Terms that have led people to my blog.

All-Time Top 5 Search Terms

  1. What to wear to church
  2. Recovering legalist
  3. Bones on the moon*
  4. John r rice
  5. Prostitots

*It should be noted that people do wonder what to wear to church, and what the heck a Prostitot is. However, the above search terms tell another interesting truth:

I have single-handedly maintained an urban legend! There are dinosaur bones on the moon!

My Favorite Statistic

But of all the posts I’ve ever written, the most important one is what is contained under the above tab, Eternal Life. The statistics for that page say more for this blog than anything else. At least that’s what I think.

Since the Eternal Life page went active back in February of 2012, it has been viewed nearly 800 times (according to WordPress). And since we know that actual views can be more than recorded, who knows how many people have actually gone to that page and read how to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

Regardless the number or the reason, if nothing else, just because I’ve been blogging and sharing my two cents worth, hundreds of people have taken the time to read a biblical Gospel presentation! That’s an awesome thought!

Your Faves?

Folks, there is no question this blog has resulted in many life-long friendships. Some of you I have met in person, and that makes it even more special. Bloggers are real people, you know. I thank God for all of you!

But now that I’ve come to the 1,000 mark, what posts have been YOUR favorite? Is there one that stands out in your memory? More importantly, was there one in a thousand that made a difference in your life?

That’s what I’d really love to hear!


And then there's this.

P.S. A special thanks should go out to all those who wrote guest posts – you had a part in that 1,000, too.

P.P.S. Monday Monkey videos were an added value, so if you subtract the guest posts from my $20 worth of opinion, then add Mr. Monkey’s, the total value of this blog’s wisdom shoots up past $39.95.

P.P.P.S. (if there is such a thing) I’m looking forward to the next 1,000!

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Social Media Done Right

What Happened

Good Monday morning, everyone! I’m glad to be alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic! How about you?

Friday morning was a bummer, that’s for sure; I was alive, but not enthusiastic. Friday morning I was suffering from some unnerving chest pain. Let me tell you what happened.

Friday morning I was going over some stuff at my computer. Actually, it was some papers outlining what was needed for me to start back to school, this time for an M.Div. at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. To be honest, they stressed me out. As I sat there, the left side of my chest began to hurt worse and worse. The pain continued for nearly half an hour.

Finally, I went to my wife and told her what was going on. I had my doubts what I was experiencing was heart-related, but there was no way for me to be sure, therefore my wife insisted I go to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital here in Chattanooga.

The pain started around 11 a.m., but we didn’t get to the E.R. until around 1:30. Thanks to a lot of people there before me, I was triaged and sent back to the lobby to wait…and wait…and wait. Finally, at 4:40 I was taken back to a bed in the E.R., then admitted to the CDU (Clinical Decision Unit) at 8:08 p.m. For the first time in my adult life I was made to stay in a hospital overnight.

On Saturday morning, after having my blood drawn twice the night before, I was ready for some food. What I was not ready for was the heart-healthy crap they feed you in a hospital. For crying out loud, you’d think a multi-thousand dollar hospital bed would sleep better than it did, but then to feed me bland oatmeal and decaffeinated coffee? Torture, I tell you!

After breakfast I was taken for a nuclear stress test. Between injections, waiting, and treading on the mill till I thought I’d die, that was another 2 1/2 hours. But come around 11 a.m. I was being released – NO heart problems! Hallelujah!

Right before I was released on Saturday morning. Encouraged by prayer notifications.

Right before I was released on Saturday morning. Encouraged by prayer notifications and “OK.”

But now my knee hurts from the tread mill. Oh well.

Done Right

Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and all our blogs, can be used for a lot of selfish and cynical reasons. But this past weekend, as my inbox will attest, there are times when the internet proves its usefulness.

From the time I first got to the hospital till the time I was checking out, my wife was responsible for sending and checking all the messages. Because of what she wrote others picked up the ball and began to run. Before too long there were people all over the world praying for me, many of which I didn’t even know.

Then, this morning, a fellow blogger showed up right after our morning church service, just to come pray with me. Do you have any idea how much that means?

Folks, I have been tremendously blessed to have friends and family, both in person and over the web, who care enough to intercede for me. It reminds me of the story in the book of Nehemiah, the story where the people were spread out working on the wall, linked together by only a trumpet’s call. But when the enemy struck the trumpet would sound, and that’s where all the people would gather to fight (sorta like what the R.A.F. did during the Battle of Britain).

In the right hands social media became the rallying trumpet, calling those spread far and wide to the aid of one lone wall builder.

The wall still stands; the defenses held.

Thank you for caring and coming to my aid!

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Filed under blogging, Christian Unity, Relationships and Family

Irrelevant Numbers

Long before the current string of shootings, mass or otherwise, America was known to have a gun “behind every blade of grass.” Nothing much has changed, except the heart of our people and the culture that is producing them.

Raking the lawn isn’t the answer. 

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All Lives Matter. Period. Including Police.

A Re-Post

The following is a re-post of something I wrote not long ago. The reason for re-posting it should be obvious – multiple Dallas, Texas police officers shot and killed tonight (July 7th, 2016) at a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

From NBCnews.com. Dallas Police swarm city looking for snipers.

More deaths of blacks have happened at the hands of police in the last day or two, and that is horrible. It’s horrible on several levels, not just that cops killed blacks, but that people, whatever the color, were killed. It’s horrible because even if the police did something wrong, activist groups are rising up and calling for civil chaos and blaming ALL police for atrocities. It’s horrible because we don’t know the whole story behind any of these deaths, because even when information is available, the hate in the black community has already assumed to be judge, jury, and now…from roof tops in Dallas…some have become executioner.

Folks, hate the police all you want, but try to go a week without any on the streets and see what happens. Go to the places where cops fear to tread and look at the quality of life. BLUE LIVES MATTER, too!

Because ALL LIVES MATTER!

So, here’s my previous post, and it’s never been more timely. You might also like to go to the sermon archives page and listen to a message I preached back in September of 2015. The idea there was that all lives matter, and the proof is John 3:16.


A Prayer

Lord, please help me. Help me, dear God, to say, or rather write, something profitable, something worth reading on this most difficult topic of race.

I need wisdom. I need guidance. May my words contribute to healing, not hate.

My Thoughts

I have not been writing as much as I would like, but I felt it necessary to take a few moments to address the whole idea around the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter.”

Folks, being that I am not black, brown, or transgender (somehow gender has been added to the mix – just check out the website), I admit there are things I don’t understand. But there is one thing I do understand, and my race has nothing to do with this truth: ALL lives matter, not just ones with a particular color or sexual preference.

Let me reiterate. ALL LIVES MATTER.

Yes, I said it, and I will not back down. Why? Because to do so would be un-biblical and un-Christlike. Regardless how one might want to politicize the issue, as a follower of Jesus, as one who believes God made all mankind in His image, I must stand firmly on Truth, not catchphrases.

Racism is wrong. Bigotry is wrong. And taking a statement that excludes the inherent value of all human life as your mantra is also wrong.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and I would not have agreed on several things, particularly in areas of theology and what is called the “social gospel.” Nevertheless, I believe Dr. King and I would have seen eye-to-eye regarding the “Black Lives Matter” thing. He would have said, “NO! NO! NO!” to all the violence and hatred. I believe he would be heartbroken at all the calls for unrest. He would certainly be ashamed of those who have used race as a tool for their own gain. Was it not Dr. King who envisioned a “color-blind” society?

If a person can’t say that “all lives matter” in public without being condemned, without being forced to apologize, then what does that say about the lives of others? What about my family? What about the Asian family down the road? Or the Indian woman that walks down the street with her husband and son? What about the Native American?

I guess one could argue the phrase is only meant to bring attention to the plight of the black community in America. One could also argue that by saying “all lives matter” one is, in a way, saying racism in America doesn’t exist. Possibly. But that’s a matter of opinion.

The truth is that black lives do matter, but so do white lives, brown lives, yellow lives, and red lives; “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” The proof was when Jesus offered Himself as a ransom so that every tribe and nation could be reconciled with God.

All lives matter. Period.

 

 

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations, Life/Death

Brethren, Pray for Us!

This Morning

image

C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

This morning (July 7) I picked up my cell phone and made use of a little app, the digital version of Charles Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening devotional.

The entry for this morning was based on the words from 1 Thessalonians 5:25, “Brethren, pray for us.”

The impact of this short morning devotional was twofold. First, it comforted me with the knowledge that someone else gets it, and that someone out there is encouraging people to pray. But secondly, and even more importantly, the items for which Spurgeon encourages prayer stood out as areas in which this preacher struggles – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Please take moment and read this, if it’s not already part of your daily devotional material. I added spaces for readability, but note the parts I made bold.

“THIS one morning in the year we reserved to refresh the reader’s memory upon the subject of prayer for ministers, and we do most earnestly implore every Christian household to grant the fervent request of the text first uttered by an apostle and now repeated by us. Brethren, our work is Solemnly momentous, involving weal or woe to thousands; we treat with souls for God on eternal business, and our word is either a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and it will be no small mercy if at the last we be found clear of the blood of all men.

As officers in Christ’s army, we are the especial mark of the enmity of men and devils; they watch for our halting, and labour to take us by the heels. Our sacred calling involves us in temptations from which you are exempt, above all it too often draws us away from our personal enjoyment of truth into a ministerial and official consideration of it. We meet with many knotty cases, and our wits are at a non plus; we observe very sad backslidings, and our hearts are wounded; we see millions perishing, and our spirits sink. We wish to profit you by our preaching; we desire to be blest to your children; we long to be useful both to saints and sinners; therefore, dear friends, intercede for us with our God.

Miserable men are we if we miss the aid of your prayers, but happy are we if we live in your supplications. You do not look to us but to our Master for spiritual blessings, and yet how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers; ask then, again and again, that we may be the earthen vessels into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. We, the whole company of missionaries, ministers, city missionaries, and students, do in the name of Jesus beseech you, ‘BRETHREN, PRAY FOR US!'”  – C. H. Spurgeon

Pray for Me

If you have a pastor – and I hope you do – please pray from him. Pray for your teachers, your ministers, and your missionaries; they all need it.

As much as ministers like to portray themselves as “just one of the people,” or “just like you,” there is a difference. The difference is not in quality, but in responsibility. Ministers are no “better” than the people they serve in the name of the Lord, but they are certainly more in danger of spiritual (even physical) attack. We have a real Enemy, and we ARE at war.

So, please, pray for your spiritual leaders.

But if, for some reason, you have no one else to pray for, PLEASE pray for me! 

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Filed under Christian Living, community, ministry, politics

Favorite/Recomended Sites

Take a look at the top of the page. What do you see?

A new page! There you will find links to my favorite websites, along with others worth recommending. Some will be nothing more than blogs that deserve a little more recognition.

It’s a work in progress, and one sure to change over time, but I hope you will find it helpful.

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