Author: Larry

Protect Your Freedom of Conscience from Bad Advice & Gossip

In making our own decisions – or in sticking with them –  It can be hard  to exercise our own good conscience without being too strongly influenced by the opinions of others.  How do we do that? A.  OPINIONS GIVEN IN GOOD FAITH: Sometimes, of course, someone may be giving us negative input and may in fact be right.  It does happen.  Or they may be mostly right, but still wrong about the final decision we must make. IF you feel they really try to UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE, AND YOU, and treat the issue and you with some respect,...

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Forgive Yourself – Welcome Yourself – Improve Your Relationship

I’ve often heard “I just can’t forgive myself” or “How do you forgive yourself?” Good question. It can be tough. Does it go without saying that forgiveness requires honesty? – that is, confession. It does. It requires openness to reality, without obsessing about whether we got it all defined exactly right.  We know there’s a problem, we look at it without trying to fudge, and we name or describe it. That can be hard – but we seldom get effective treatment without at least a fairly accurate description of the problem. Then we go to the following insights: A)...

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It’s YOUR New Year! Some Simple Suggestions for 2018

It’s YOUR New Year. Maybe you can’t change a whole lot in your life or your self. Maybe you don’t WANT to change a whole lot. Maybe you don’t even want to change ANYTHING. How nice 😊. But – maybe in an area or two. After all, within certain very real limits, it is your life – to do with as you please.     Certain Very REAL LIMITS Some of us may be in a place where “certain very real limits” are quite stringent, very interfering, very unpleasant. I have a distant relative, half my age, with 3...

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Let Nothing Upset You; Let Nothing Frighten You; Even Now. (Teresa of Avila)

  An Exercise in Calm   This image - a sledge, hammering against "FEAR" - seems the opposite of the calm Teresa promotes in this little poem-saying. But you know, as Gandhi and Martin King argued and proved in practice, sometimes you can bring great energy appropriately and effectively to bear by learning to practice the deep roots of calm, of faith, of hope, of love.   So I think Teresa is worth thinking about a bit here.     Let nothing upset you; Let nothing frighten you.   Everything is changing; God alone is changeless.   Patience attains the...

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Are You One of Those Whom Jesus Favors? Who IS He Willing to Teach and Help? (Matthew 11)

Jesus is Different. The Christ is NOT an arbitrary, or unaccountable, or irrational chooser – which is made obvious in Matthew ch 11. Stories in Matthew 11 Jesus and John the Baptist Jesus Began to Speak to the Crowd Woe on Unrepentant Towns The Father Revealed in the Son Come to Me, All You Who are Weary and Burdened You can go read Matthew 11 – or just read these outline points and go read the whole chapter later. 🙂 The Son is NOT an arbitrary, or unaccountable, or irrational chooser! Rather, the whole chapter features unexpected, but very...

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Are YOU On This List Yet? We are All In Increasing Danger.

TARGETED! One way or another, THESE people, mostly fellow American citizens – all fellow humans and all loved by God – THESE people are living in increased fear now compared to a year ago. “Making America Afraid Again” This is not a careful list; it’s just off the top of the head. I’m adding “LLMB” to many of these, for “looks like or might be” – because there are those who suffer just because they LLMB. MOST of us are on the list or soon could be - including a whole lot of us white males. Seriously. These people...

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It’s Not Foreigners, Atheists and Gays Who Must Turn! 2 Chronicles 7:14

In this Scripture it’s NOT the foreigners and unbelievers who have to “turn”! WHO ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE? First, notice that in this scripture, it’s not us being spoken to directly. Not the USA, not Nebraska, not First Baptist. It’s important to remember: Bible passages were not written to us personally. We are looking over the shoulders of people long gone – trying to learn important things about spiritual life from their experience or their teaching. BUT often there are pretty obvious, pretty strong, very applicable lessons. That is true here. So we should not think it was...

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NO RELIGIOUS BULLIES. We Must “Lift Our VOICES” – While We Lay Down Our SWORDS.

“Declare to my people … their sins.” Jesus, Isaiah, the prophets, the apostles – in all of them there’s a STRONG Bible pattern of spiritual people speaking up about evil in society. Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. (from Isaiah 58) However The Biblical promises are that a lovingly nonviolent but outspoken approach actually releases the power of the Holy Spirit for good. Complaining about sin and hypocrisy is not the same as enforcing one’s own priorities on...

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7 Signs of a Healthy, Christ-Following Christian Faith

  Unhealthy, dangerous forms of “Christianity” seem epidemic today. Are there healthy forms? Here, I believe, is a good example, from the church I attend. A summary of priority concerns of a Christ-following, healthy faith. 1. We strongly emphasize the Lordship of Christ and encourage individuals to come to know Him directly and give their faith and lives to Him. So we do talk about Jesus, and Jesus’ teachings. We try to take them seriously. We believe the Living Christ is somehow, but truly, available to welcome and forgive us, and for communication with us and guidance for us....

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Forgiveness Requires … (A Quick Personal Check-Up)

“Forgiveness requires acceptance of the fact that the past is not going to change.” – unknown   After all, if we could change the past no forgiveness would be needed. Because the offense would have totally disappeared – from experience and from memory. Poof! Gone! What a relief that could be! But as it turns out, the only healthy way to find some of that relief would be forgiveness. No one can change the past. Therefore we have to find ways to deal with its repercussions, which might include major damage in such diverse areas as:finances,relationships,trust,physical health issues,literally life-and-death...

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6 Lessons from New Testament Church Life: Diversity! & Jesus – Justice, Mercy, etc. – ACTS

This short list is a result of a number of hours I spent in the New Testament’s “Acts of the Apostles” recently. I believe there is some valuable teaching here. Headline 1 below gives two preliminary safety measures for Bible study. Headline 2 brings six values / guidelines for practical affairs. 1. Keep Your Bible Study Safe a. DON’T MAKE STUFF UP. It is much better to set a Bible passage aside for the time being if you are not sure what means. If you “make stuff up” about what Bible passages mean, you build a false house for...

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Advent: Christ Has Come. So, What Do We Have TO DO?

  CHRIST HAS COME. SO WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO? 1. STAND ALONE “Peter … asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘… what is that to you? You must follow me.’” John 21:21,22 If Christ is really present to us in this world, we have to personally respond to him. What someone else does, or says, or wants, is not the point. We must be responding personally, day after day, year after year, on our own responsibility, to the Living Christ. 2. HONOR JESUS CHRIST PERSONALLY “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of...

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The Faith is Despised Because of You, Roy Moore (GOP Senate Candidate, AL)

Here are short excerpts from articles from mainstream press sources shaming evangelicals for their blatant power lust and hypocrisy over Roy Moore’s run for the US Senate. Wowee kapowee!     The New Republic Not even pedophilia is out of bounds for a political movement that is less animated by religiosity than resentment. Moore’s most extreme positions are precisely what makes him a beloved figure to so many white evangelicals. This hasn’t always translated to popularity within his home state of Alabama—winning the GOP primary is the closest he’s gotten to higher office—but it has established his reputation as...

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4 Short Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Here are links to 4 short articles related to Thanksgiving, with very brief summaries. 3 Short Lists for Making Thanksgiving Work 1. Why we don’t want to hear about it. 2. What it does NOT mean. 3. What it DOES mean. Think Thanks on Thanksgiving The English word “thank” developed itself out of the older word “think.” So as we think about thanks this week, let’s be sure we really do think. Thanksgiving in Daniel’s Prayer Life Daniel gave thanks. Daniel asked for help. Give Thanks Freely – But Not For Everything In everything give thanks is different from...

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We Must Speak Up. “Lift your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their sins.”

God requires it of the prophet. He MUST speak out about what he sees going on. Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. (Isaiah 58:1,2. The chapter is quoted...

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Stand With Israel? Not When Israel Stands Against God.

  We are often told we must love Israel – which is true – we are to love all peoples. We are often told we should “stand with Israel”. Now that’s not so easy. It seems to mean always take Israel’s side in any conflict or disagreement Israel has – or God will be angry and we will suffer for it. “Stand WITH them” – whatever they are doing. Don’t complain about any evil Israel does – it will make God angry with us. That is dangerously false, and obviously so! We dare not assume God feels happy and...

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The “Sin Problem” in Gun Violence – Us Not Working Together to Reduce It!

“It’s not a gun problem; it’s a sin problem.” Certain Christians respond to any new white male massacre of Americans with some cliche like “It’s a sin problem.” Of course, there’s clearly a sin problem. That’s the root of multitudes of problems. So? So they apparently mean: “If only lots and lots of people would become more religious, or start going to church a lot more, or claim that they believe in Jesus – that’s the solution!” Sadly, the explanations they offer, or any implied solutions, tend to be very vague. But the idea is obviously something like: “If...

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Veteran’s Day – “Those Who Serve” Longest and Hardest are Not All Military

“Thank you for your service” – I have heard that often, and I appreciate it. I thank those who say nice things to me, a US Army veteran – or to, or about, so many, many other veterans.  It is valuable to be thankful, and to be explicit. And the free meals, and reserved parking spaces are nice! Still, I always want to say:God and a soldier all people adore In time of war, but not before; And when war is over and all things are righted, God is neglected and an old soldier slighted. Please give AT LEAST...

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A Quick Diagnostic Guide: Do Not Think You Know What You Do Not Know

“I do not think that I know what I do not know.” – Socrates   Three observations: This is profoundly liberating – freeing! No more pretending! No more worrying about what people think of my intelligence! That would be a wonderful stress-reducer. But how does he “know” WHICH things he does “not know” – things like commonly accepted facts, sayings, traditions, ideas, prejudices? It likely means he’s been paying some attention. He’s not just parroting the common ideas and sayings. He’s thinking a bit – making his convictions his own. That might take a little work. Unfortunately, this is...

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We Actually Fought A War About This! – ISIS, NAZIS, Rebels, and Traitors …

[This is quoted with permission from a short post by a friend a few weeks ago.] Let’s say we live in a world where ISIS has been defeated. Let’s say a war was fought, and ISIS lost. Then, let’s say a neighbor decides to build a monument to ISIS, fly a flag in honor of ISIS, organize a rally in defense and support of ISIS. I imagine we’d be outraged. I’m guessing we would not want their “legacy” to be memorialized in any way. “Nip it in the bud,” I guess we’d say. “They lost!” I imagine we’d shout....

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3 Short Lists for Making Thanksgiving Work

A. Reasons We DON’T LIKE to Hear About It. We’re having a rough day. We’re having a rough five years. We aren’t really awake yet. We’re physically sick. Some people are being stupid – or even mean or dangerous. We’ve just got too much going on. We’re mad at God. We’re mad at somebody else. We’re obsessed with what we don’t have, maybe to the point of being unwilling to consider what blessings we do have. More? … B. What is NOT Giving Thanks Like? Sitting down and soaking in the feelings under “A” above. Saying it without meaning...

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Six 1-Liners: Diagnostic Guides for the Spiritual Life

These are the 1-liners featured in recent “Personal Quick-Check” Articles. They are worth a few minutes of attention. Click the sentence to see the original short article. The first act of love is always the giving of attention. – Dallas Willard Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t. – Jerry Rice God is the friend of silence … We need silence to be able to touch souls. – Mother Teresa There is absolutely nothing in what Jesus himself or his early followers taught that suggests you can decide just to enjoy...

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Why the Phrase “All Lives Matter” is Offensive – a White Mother’s Story

Here’s a true story. I don’t remember where i found it. 🙁 But I know it’s true because I know people who experience these kinds of things. You probably do too. But if you don’t, that’s no indication that they do not happen. [I suppose some of us just need to get out more. 🙂 ] I’ve added headings.   A WHITE MOTHER OF TWO BLACK CHILDREN “The reason why the phrase All Lives Matter is offensive to black people is because it isn’t true.”As a white mother of two black children, three white children, who all have a...

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Top 10 Posts on This Site (October)

Short Quotes – Martin Luther King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” Kids’ Version of the Declaration of Independence Turn the Other Cheek Means Resist Them Non-Violently If You Do Not Love Your Neighbor Whom You CAN See – Can You Love God? Jesus and Racism – Samaritan Lives Matter – Black Lives Matter Nurse-Philsopher Makes Case for Compassion and Caring as a Primary Nursing Value PublicChristian.com Homepage The Moral Priorities of Jesus – What Did Jesus Teach? President Harry Truman’s Integrity Prayer Abraham Lincoln on...

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White Racism in Charlottesville – the old Nazi Thug Way

The Nazi-precipitated demonstrations and violence in Charlottesville a few weeks ago were disturbing for at least a couple of reasons. RACISM: the public gathering of arrogant whites proudly displaying contempt for all people unlike them. THE OLD NAZI STRATEGY OF FREE STREET VIOLENCE: We see violence in the streets a lot. But we haven’t seen much of this large-group, organized, explicitly Nazi, anti-American kind. That is disturbing because the idea of it is to sow a broad fear throughout the American public. They want us to know they can be violent, can do it in groups, and intend to...

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Jesus Pushes Us to Judge Our OWN Lives – Not Other People’s

Jesus was a highly respected teacher of morality and of the spiritual life. So, logically enough, a man asked him to take a stand on a moral issue between the man and his brother (Luke 12:13-15) – Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Strangely, Jesus disappointed the man by refusing to do so, and questioned why the man thought he (Jesus) had any such authority. Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Ok. So Jesus said he is not a judge. However,...

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A Quick Personal Check-Up: A Spirit of MELANCHOLY and CONSTRAINT

I fear the spirit of melancholy and constraint. -unknown   Let’s not be one of those – not too common, but still we see them around – negative, controlling, crabby, critical, always pessimistic Christians … We needn’t pattern our lives and thoughts after the great sourpusses of history, nor even the experts of fear and manipulation who live in our towns. Jesus claims to bring Hope, Joy, Freedom, Peace, Thankfulness; and there are millions who say it’s true today. And the Apostle Paul lists those as chief blessings. These great blessings are carried to us by the Spirit. Even...

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