Broken Shivers

Monday, March 12, 2007

About that conscience...

One of Carolyn's former school friends, a delightful young woman, visited us this week for dinner. One of the things we discussed was letting our 'conscience' be our guide. She maintains she does not need to pray, go to church, etc., that she knows right from wrong and follows her conscience.

I admit to follow one's conscience is usually a pretty good rule of thumb, not the best rule, not not a bad one except.... some people don't have any or some peoples' consciences are so dulled from misuse and abuse, they bareful register a conscience. I imagine Ted Bundy (the infamous serial killer) had a conscience at one time or Scott Peterson. Even psychopaths are probably born with one. After people start doing wrong and ignore repenting or 'fixing' the wrongs, repeatedly ignoring the call of their consciences, their conscience gets less and less strong. Some people lose it all together.

To be on the 'safe' side,' it is always best to check with God or the Bible in questions of morality especially. There is no shame or weakness in needing or wanting a 'guide.' Someone stronger than ourselves is usually a better guide than our conscience.

Some peoples' consciences are even over developed; they see 'sin' or wrong or guilt in everything they do. Not such a good guide that way, either.

Rather than letting your conscience be your guide, why not let His word be your guide. It's never wrong.

I. Cor. 8:7 "Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thanksgivings to God

I visited one of my favorite sites today, 'Thanksgivings to God,'
I wrote for the day:
I'm ashamed I don't get here more often for I get a blessing or more every day of my life. Here it is, not quite 5 a.m. Everyone is asleep except me and Juleane. She is one year old. Is there anything any sweeter than a year old baby girl? She doesn't care that I haven't shaved yet, that the coffee's still brewing, that its windy outside. She just looks up at me and smiles that big few-toothed smile with her red hair wild as as a wart hog's and knows she's the greatest thing since buttered bread. I am 43 now and will be pretty old when I get her educated, yet I know this is the blessing God has sent for our old age. Every little wiggle tells me so. :)
Thanks for you, too, Tammy, for having a place to say good morning and thank you Lord!

If you get an opportunity, visit the site. You won't be sorry.

This 'handy little chart' was posted there, and I like it as a quick reference

HANDY LITTLE CHART - God has a positive answer:

You say: "It's impossible" God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)
You say: "I'm too tired" God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: "Nobody really loves me" God says: I love you (John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 ) You say: "I can't go on" God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say: "I can't figure things out" God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5- 6)
You say: "I can't do it" God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)
You say: "I'm not able" God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)
You say: "It's not worth it" God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )
You say: "I can't forgive myself" God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1) You say: "I can't manage" God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)
You say: "I'm afraid" God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)
You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated" God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7) You say: "I'm not smart enough" God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: "I feel all alone" God says: I will never leave you or forsake you.

If we want, we can find plenty to complain about. We can moan and grumble and ask 'why me, Lord?' On the other hand, we can say 'thank you, God' for we are still here to enjoy the blessings of life and still here to pass them on to others.
YOU are needed, and God has a plan for you if you will join with him. I'm convinced of that. It's not money that makes the world go round although having enough is very important. It is communication. We can either communicate, as my dad used to say, 'gladly or badly.' I prefer 'gladly.' :)

I have nothing of great importance to say, never do, but I do have love and blessings to pass around. Did you just receive yours?

Friday, March 02, 2007

What a day of loss....

My day began with early news, and the news kept getting worse, it seemed. An Ohio ball team loses several members in a terrible bus crash. At least 20 people are dead from tornados. Anna Nicole is buried while her mother is heckled in the Bahamas. If one ever thought there was some permanency in life, this day should make them take another look.

Every moment spent living is precious, especially if it is spent with the true love of Life, our Lord. For the poetry lovers among us, from 'The Love-Life of our Lord,'

A Persian fable says: One day
A wanderer found a lump of clay
So savory of sweet perfume
Its odors scented all the room.
"What are you?' was his quick demand
'Are you some gem from Samarkand,
Or pure nard in this plain disguise,
Or other costly merchandise?'
'No, I am but a lump of clay.'

'Then whence this wonderous perfume -- say!'
'Friend, if the secret I disclose,
I have been dwelling with the rose.'
Sweet parable! and will not those
Who love to dwell with Sharon's rose,
Distill sweet odors all around,
Though low and poor themselves are found?
Dear Lord, abide with us that we
May draw our perfume fresh from Thee.

May you appreciate your life, the small parts of it as well as the large, and not forget who loves you as you are.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's still too cold here...

I'm sorry I'm a little behind on my blogging. I just returned from a short trip to Brazil. It was between 65 and 70 degrees warm. :) Part of the reason I was there was a conference about abortion. There were representatives of all viewpoints. While I have sympathy for women and ultimately think it should be her decision, I also think life begins at conception. While the Bible does not discuss abortion per se, it is not entirely silent on the subject. The scriptures say that God knew Esau in the womb. They say that John the Baptist stirred in his mother's womb when he heard about the impending birth of Jesus. Life is precious, whenever it starts. Ending a life at any time should be a very serious decision. I take a lot of flak for my position, and it's not an easy one for me. Some things cause deep emotional feelings in me. Abortion is one of them, so is the death penalty to which I'm opposed and homosexuality because I feel they have little or no choice about their preferences.

Having faith in God does not mean I have all the answers, and I do not wish to speak for or on behalf of others on any of these subjects. I take a stand when I can take a stand, when I am sure about something.

John McCain, Republican running for President, has changed his stance. He's gone from pro-choice to pro-life and now says Roe vs. Wade should be overturned. Mitt Romney, Mormon candidate, seems to have gone the opposite route. Because no one can know for certain, 100%, in many of these areas, I don't think the Presidency should be chosen based on their beliefs in those areas. Those are personal areas of life and faith. I will be very surprised if Roe vs. Wade is ever overturned. If it it, women will abort each other. There are many websites giving directions on the procedure.

Jg 13:7 "But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Happy birthday, precious...

Our Juleane is one year old today. The picture was taken the first month of her little life. The joy this child has brought into our lives cannot be measured.
We take pleasure in our children, as we should. Except for salvation, they are our most precious gifts, in my opinion. I cannot imagine life without them but, frankly, could lose them in a heartbeat. We live in very perilous times.

I have been reading Stephen Flynn's 'Edge of Disaster.' The possible scenarios of terrorism, storms like Katrina, flu epidemics and all kinds of dangers exist. We can prepare for some, lesson the effects of some, but we cannot avoid all. We can, however, have faith in God.

"Wherever God's finer points, His hand will clear a way."

God, through ways we cannot know, leads his own. I am convinced of this. When the way is not clear, there is no need yet of action. When the time comes, God will reveal what you need to know and/or do. People say to me, "John, that is naive thinking." I answer, "this is how I live." Where should I put my trust? .. in the hands of men, scientists, psychics, even ministers? No, I should put my trust in God and trust him to do what is best for us.

But for today, let us eat cake and make merry. Juleane is a year old today!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Call me skeptical...

From recent news: "after Ted Haggard, the evangelical leader who resigned as the result of a three-year-affair with a male prostitute, emerged from just three weeks of intensive counseling to declare himself now 'completely heterosexual."

I am a Christian, a minister and a therapist, and I don't believe a word of it. Not that I don't believe in 'miracles.' My God is a God of miracles. But mircales are usually observable by others, are not 'self serving' blurbs for the evening news. In addition, I believe although I cannot prove that homosexuality is a 'genetic' condition or, at the least, the predisposition to be so is born in one. My reasons for believing this are many but the major reason is the consistent, solid number of homosexuals in the population as long as such things have been recorded. Even if I'm wrong, and it is a 'sinful choice,' one either seems to go one way or the other and doesn't suddenly change direction because he got caught in the media eye. We'll be watching Brother Haggard, and if I'm wrong, I'll apologize. Don't hold your breath. He and his kind of Christianity makes it so difficult on the solid believer who obeys God every day, not just when he's on the hot seat.

Discouraging news: "A survey of 1,000 American women found that they most valued their clothing, more than sex, and would gladly abstain from sex for 15 months (gladly....) in exchange for a new wardrobe. " Nothing to rejoice about here, husbands. Get out the VISA card. Goodbye more privacy.... If there's any space in labs left after testing for the daddy of Anna Nicole's baby, make room for new laws. The Jusice Dept. is preparing for a large-scale expansion of DNAesting of people detained by federal authorities (New York Times). Under current rules, only convicted felons are required to give a DNA sample.

My advice? Keep on keeping on. "When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble." Proverbs 4:12

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

How cold is it?

Me and my little Valentine...

It is too cold, but supposedly going to warm up later this week. I am ready for some sunshine without the wind. But, it has been a lovely week, all in all. I enjoyed Valentine's day with my lovely wife. We got a sitter and went out 'on the town,' not something we've done much since the baby was born. I had to do my 'Puttin` On the Ritz` routine for her, a long story. She rubbed my back. ;) The simple pleasures of life are the best.

Many years ago, there was a monk who needed olive oil, so he planted an olive tree sapling. After he finished planting it, he prayed "Lord, my tree needs rain." Later, his tree needed sun, and you can guess how it went. The tree did not thrive, and it soon died. He told a brother monk about his experience. This monk said, "I also planted a little tree. I entrust my tree to God. He who made it knows better than me what it needs. I just prayed, "Lord, send what it needs."
Sometimes, we need to relax and let God take care of things ... like the lilies of the field, which need little attention yet they thrive.

"Matthew 6:28: ... See how the lilies of the field grow..."

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