Blog

Forgiveness

I was challenged by a friend the other day to voice my understanding of forgiveness. Forgiveness has become fairly simple for me, but I also understand that it may not be easy.

Let’ start at the beginning.

We think of forgiveness as something we should do when another person has wronged us in some way.  They may have lied to us, broken our trust, betrayed us, or harmed us in some other way. We often get angry and want that person to suffer in the same way we have.  We want vengeance and justice.

The Bible says to forgive and we will be forgiven.  Matthew 6:14-15. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  The Bible also says that we should forgive as we have been forgiven.  Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses.

According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness brings with it plenty of health benefits, including improved relationships, decreased anxiety and stress, lower blood pressure, a lowered risk of depression, and stronger immune and heart health. Letting go of negative emotions can often have a remarkable impact on the body.

Johns Hopkins states that chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.

So whether you are a believer in God, an agnostic, or an atheist, forgiveness is important to our health and well-being.

Forgiving a person who has wronged you in some way is not a feeling, it is a choice.  We make innumerable choices each day on what we think and how we respond to situations.  Choosing to forgive someone is not for the other person’s benefit but for your own.  When you hold on to a grudge or have a desire to see the other person suffer, it is actually the person harboring the grudge that suffers.  It is like a stranglehold on your life, your thoughts, and your actions. You have put yourself in a noose when you harbor unforgiveness and it strangles life from you.

Because we forgive does not mean we need to maintain a relationship with someone or trust them. When a person violates the marriage covenant and has an affair, trust has been broken.  The adulterer may be remorseful and repentant, and the partner may forgive and accept the violator back.  But trust has to be rebuilt and that takes time and work.

In other situations where a friend has betrayed you, you can choose to forgive, but that does not mean you need to have the same type of relationship you had before, or any relationship.  Boundaries are a good part of every relationship.  Sometimes we have to break relationship for our own health and well-being.

You may have been rejected by someone close to you, a parent, a dear friend, or a business partner. Sometimes we have to choose to forgive over and over and over.  But each time we do we gain a little more freedom.

Forgiveness is not necessarily easy, but it is fairly simple.  Choose to forgive!  And make that choice as often as you need to do so.   And remember, when you forgive others, you are freeing yourself from bondage.

 

 

Main Stream Media

I have been off on vacation and enjoying my family and nature but have not lost my passion for truth.

Main stream media is lost and cannot seem to find their way.  I recommend not paying any attention to them.  They obviously have an agenda and have for a long time.  Good journalism is foreign to them.

The new normal to get news is social media in all forms (Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, You Tube, Reddit, other message boards).  But that does not mean everyone who has a platform on social media espouses truth or refrains from passing along mis-information.

Let’s look at this from a bigger perspective, one that includes my core values and beliefs.  What is God doing in our world today?  What is he doing in the media?

God loves people.  After all, he created us as part of His family.  He is Kingdom minded; that’s who He is, a King with a Kingdom.  And we are part of it when we accept His invitation.  So, wouldn’t He rule His kingdom on earth the same way he rules in Heaven?  There is joy in heaven.  There is peace.  There is no sickness, no disease, and no corruption.  Freedom is one of God’s highest priorities.  That is why He gave Adam and Eve and every person since them, a choice!

As believers, we are called to rule and reign with Christ on the earth, bringing heaven to earth.  So, what does this mean for the media and what is God doing?    God is certainly shaking things up, exposing lies corruption, and things hidden in the dark.  Righteousness and justice will sweep across this nation and beyond.  The main stream media has no intention of exposing lies and corruption.  God is shifting where we receive our information and teaching us how to discern and think critically.  This is a journey for each one of us.  Who can you trust?  The only one who is truly trustworthy is God!  Ask him to lead you, give you wisdom and discernment.  In James 1:5 it says, if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 

Use wisdom in what you allow your mind and heart to receive and use discernment in how to disseminate information you receive.

Enjoy the journey of discovery!

 

Discerning truth

It has been really tough lately to sort truth from lies and deception.  So many stories, so much sounds like the truth.  Pictures posted, are they real or photoshopped? News articles, they may seem sincere, but are they telling the whole truth?

How do we discern what is real, what is truth?  If I had all the answers I would be a millionaire because everyone would want to know my secrets. But it is not a matter of secrets. Rather than just accepting what we hear and read let us look behind the scenes and ask what is really going on.  And always remember to ask God to lead you.  He loves to speak to us and help us in this life.

I saw an interview with a KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov, which you can view here:

Interview with KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov

He has no reason to lie and I can see clearly how the people in this country have been led like lambs to slaughter.  We have been brainwashed.  We have become a nation of haters of one another and this country.  But that is not what will get us back to who we are as a people and a nation.

The politicians and political pundits of the last few decades have done everything they could to fill their pockets and manipulate systems and people for their own gain.

It is time to stand strong, be vocal when needed, but be respectful and honor all men, just as 1 Peter 2:17 tells us to do.   There is a saying that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  We need to love one another and respect one another.  We can disagree on political issues but let us value relationship with one another over politics.

I trust God to lead us out of this mess we are in and become a people of integrity and righteousness.

Continue to seek out truth and in all matters and do not be swayed by smooth talkers and those who are pushing an agenda.

 

Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter a fair amount recently, not posting much of anything or even commenting, just observing. There is no lack of strong opinions on almost any subject you can imagine.

I have been particularly following posts concerning the government, political issues, the G7 summit, the North Korea meeting, and the latest IG report.

How to find truth in all of the opinions and rhetoric, especially when there are very strong opinions on every side, is not an easy task.

So where do you start? Start with someone you trust. Does that mean that everything that person says is accurate?  Not necessarily, but if you can trust them to search for truth and they are willing to make corrections as new information is discovered, it is a good place to start. As you observe, do you own research, and things will begin to make sense.  Don’t stick with just one source but seek out other people that are trustworthy.   Read reports, read news articles, read whatever you can, and then discern.  But be careful who you follow, not everyone has your best interests at heart.

So, what do I think about all of these issues?  What I think is of no importance at the moment.  You may not care about any of the issues in this nation or you may have strong opinions.  My challenge to you today is to discover why you do or do not have strong opinions about the things happening not only in this nation, but around the world.  Then dig a little deeper to discover what has shaped those opinions.   Is your opinion based on truth or hearsay?   What research have you done to form opinions?  Who and what are your sources of information? How does your world view help shape your opinions?

 

 

An Example of What Not to do when Searching for Truth

I came across an article recently, supposedly written by Charles Krauthammer, a respected political commentator, and this is the beginning of the article:

“Charles is back, (partially), after many months of battling post-surgery complications and enduring lengthy rehabilitation. Please read his message about Trump, about whom he has not been kind at times with his observations. This article is interesting for all who may want to see what Dr. K has analyzed during his lengthy absence…
This is from Charles Krauthammer who did not go for Trump, read what he thinks of him now!”

This is a perfect example of what not to do with information you are gathering or taking in. I thought it was a very interesting article and posted it on my Facebook page without checking any facts or sources.  it turns out that the article about President Trump being pragmatic is legitimate. However, that article was written by Mycal Massie and published to his website in January 2016.  You can find the original article here: Trump, A pragmatist, not a conservative

Would I have read the article by someone unknown to me?  Most likely I would have, because I like to gather information of all kinds from all different sources.  But many people will read it because of the author to whom it is attributed and possibly form an opinion based on the author and his presentation, rather than the article itself.

I happen to believe this gentleman has really hit the nail on the head.  And as much as I do not want to make this about politics, it is inevitable.

I pray for President Trump because God instructs me to do so. See 1 Timothy 2:2-3  I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 

I prayed for President Obama as well.  And I pray for all of our leaders in government, in the community, and in the church.

It is good to look at a variety of articles and opinions on any subject.  That is how we gather information. But beware, not everyone is wanting to give you truth.  Many will lean a certain direction or try to lead you down a certain path.  Research, listen, evaluate, and consider the information you are gathering.   Try to look at it from all angles.

And when you make a mistake or form an opinion that you later find invalid, humble yourself and admit your mistake.  We are all growing and learning, so there is no shame, just maybe a little embarrassment. Remain hungry for truth and keep searching.

The Human Race

Perhaps it is time to dive in a little deeper. What do we think about politics, transgender, homosexuals, immigration, hypocrites, pedophiles, racism, and so on and so on?

We are certainly not going to cover all these topics at one time, but today we are going to pick one – racism. Racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

I never knew people were different. I always thought people were people, regardless of their skin color or where they grew up.

There is no question that some of us are born into better situations than others. But many times, it is not our environment that shapes us as much as it is our belief system. Are we like the little engine that says, I think I can? Or does our belief system tell us we will never be successful and be able to rise above our circumstances?

I am not denying that poverty and hardship exist. There are homeless people, many of whom are there through no fault of their own. There are single moms and single dads, all of whom face challenges that a whole family does not. There are alcoholics, drug dealers, and thieves.

But notice that I am talking about people. People are all part of the human race. We all face challenges, trials, lows, successes, breakthroughs, and highs. No one is better than anyone else. We may have different accomplishments, but each one of us is a human being, with value.

We will never all agree on everything because we are all unique, but when we honor one another and do not think of ourselves as better than anyone else, it will help us see people as human beings, just like us, with dreams and hopes for their future.

There is only one human race and we are all part of it.

World view and why it isn’t always logic and reason

In my last post I talked about our world view and how we arrive at our world view. Since we all have one, it is interesting to know how we perceive the world and how many different views we can have. A world view is the way each of us sees and understands the world, especially regarding issues such as politics, philosophy, and religion. A simple definition can be: how a person perceives the world. Another definition says: a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity’s relation to it.

My world view believes we are in the very best of times, not times without trials, but times where our very existence gets better and better every day. There are less people in poverty all around the world than ever before. In general, people are living longer and living vibrant, healthy lives. Technology has advanced to such a level that the things we only scarcely dreamed about in our youth, are now readily available to the average person. Communication around the world is available at our finger tips. Now you may ask, why I would say the world is getting better? It doesn’t take a genius to look at history and see the changes we have made in the last 100 years.

Not everything in life works out the way we had hoped or wanted. But life goes on and we can become bitter or better. That was not always an easy lesson for me and I had a lot of wrong perceptions about myself, life and the world around me.

But God invaded my life one day when I was not expecting it. I wish I could say everything got better from that point forward, but life has a funny way of taking twists and turns. It was not until I changed the way I thought that things began to change for me.

I love truth and sometimes it takes some digging to find it. I don’t always like what I find, but I am committed to the truth on every level.

Philosophy is something I studied in college and it was not my favorite class. The lack of standards, logic, reasoning and hard facts kept me skeptical of philosophy.

Reasoning and logic are good tools to search things out. If the logic makes no sense it is time to dig further. But where do my core values and world view fit in all this searching?

My core values shape my world view. My core values include things like:
• God exists, and He is good
• All life is valuable
• Family is important
• Integrity
• Perseverance and overcoming obstacles
• Loyalty and commitment
• The world is getting better

With these core values and the voice of God guiding me in my life I can use the tools of logic and reasoning, look at what I discover, and ask God to guide me into all truth. He is the way, the truth, and the life. When we have a relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit He will speak to us and help us when we ask. I trust the voice of the Lord to guide me when I cannot totally trust logic and reason. He is beyond logic and reason and is supernatural. I trust His voice in my life and love that He will guide me into all truth.

And here for something to think about for the future: “What a wonderful world”

World View and Philosophy

We all have a world view. A world view is the way each of us sees and understands the world, especially regarding issues such as politics, philosophy, and religion. A simple definition can be: how a person perceives the world. Another definition says: a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity’s relation to it.
But on what do we base this world view?

Most of us have been taught that life has value and there is right and wrong, good and evil in the world. Many of us have grown up in the church. Others have never set foot inside one. But how does our life experience help shape our world view?
As we journey through this life we all experience good things and bad things. Sometimes our own wrong choices lead to bad consequences. Sometimes the choices of others affect our life negatively or positively. We learn along the way that not everything we heard is true, but many things were true, at least for us.
My world view has a few foundations upon which I develop a set of core values and principles for my own life and how I see the world.
Philosophies are continually debated with no concrete answers. In western philosophy there is an emphasis on the pillars of philosophy to develop our world view. That approach has some merit, but there are always certain assumptions that are made that can bring each of us to a different philosophical perspective.

Western philosophy has at its core several basic premises:
We must establish reason and logic as our means of thinking and understand that life itself is the value that defines all other values.
Philosophy in world views seeks to answer three questions:

1. Metaphysics – what kind of world is it?
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of existence, being and the world. Arguably, metaphysics is the foundation of philosophy: Aristotle calls it “first philosophy” (or sometimes just “wisdom”), and says it is the subject that deals with “first causes and the principles of things”.
It asks questions like: “What is the nature of reality?”, “How does the world exist, and what is its origin or source of creation?”, “Does the world exist outside the mind?”, “How can the incorporeal mind affect the physical body?”, “If things exist, what is their objective nature?”, “Is there a God (or many gods, or no god at all)?”

Are we making decisions based on reality or what we want reality to be? What is our view of the world? Is it getting better or worse? What assumptions are we making? We need to virtually analyze why we believe what we believe.
When we allow ourselves to be blinded by our own senses we are open to believing anything as long as the person saying it sounds authoritative. Because we believe we can’t trust our own judgment we need to trust someone else’s.
(Thinking critically for ourselves and seeking truth can be an arduous process. However, I would rather search out truth and do research than allow someone else to think for me).

2. Epistemology – how do I know?
Epistemology is the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion. IN other words – “how to I know what I know?” Epistemology can tell you specifics on how to do things. It can tell you if your conclusions are logical and the way you came about the knowledge is accurate. It helps us to understand how we arrive at conclusions.

From Wikipedia: The word epistemology is derived from the ancient Greek epistēmē meaning “knowledge” and the suffix -logy, meaning “logical discourse” (derived from the Greek word logos meaning “discourse”). J.F. Ferrier coined epistemology on the model of ‘ontology’, to designate that branch of philosophy which aims to discover the meaning of knowledge, and called it the ‘true beginning’ of philosophy
Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning. Knowledge can refer to a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
The key is to acquire small chunks of knowledge and then apply them in different ways. Input, process, output. Teach, solve problems, or build something. Retrieving information from memory is the process of learning. When you use information in a new setting, that’s when you start understanding it.

3. Ethics – what should I do?
Ethics are the generalities of right and wrong, good and evil.
o They are moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity
synonyms: moral code, morals, morality, values, rights and wrongs, principles, ideals, standards (of behavior), value system, virtues, dictates of conscience
o the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.

Ethics is really the application of metaphysics and epistemology. What is good for man’s soul? What causes life and what causes death? Ethics also assumes action. What must man to live, survive, and flourish? Every living things acts to survive. What we believe is good for our soul is revealed in our actions. Values motivate us to act. Values are the meaning of life, the purpose of everything we do, the thing that motivates us and moves us forward. We must think and learn how to do things that give us the results to match our values. What are those values?

Can you see that on the surface philosophy appears to be reasonable and logical? But there are basic assumptions that each of us make even as we search out the answers to all the philosophical questions.

As I stated in the beginning of this post, core values and beliefs system are really the basis for all other questions and views. In the next post I will talk more about how I see the world and how logic and reason are not always the answer to our questions.

Does God exist?

In a previous post I said we would begin to answer some questions. The fact is I am not going to answer a lot of questions for you, but I will provide information to get you started on a journey of thinking why you think the way you do and whether those thoughts are grounded in hearsay or a study of the facts, resources of information, and validity of those resources. Many times when we try to search out a subject we find a lot of opinions. But what substantiates those opinions? Some digging into the depts of a topic, rather than just a surface acceptance, is now required to find truth!

There are many scientific studies trying to prove God does not exist. There are also many scientific studies that prove He does exist. So, let’s look at a few studies on both sides. Many of what we call scientific studies are simply theories based on personal beliefs. Please take that into consideration when reading these articles.

Forbes Article

Uplift Connect

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

My goal is not to convince you one way of the other. I just want you to search out information and come to your own conclusion based on all the information you can gather. In the case of the existence of God there is one perspective I want to share with you, not to steer you in a certain direction, but to bring an element you will necessarily not find in any research.

My own personal journey into Christianity has been one of believing in God, walking away, not caring and then finding hope when I had none. But that did not end the journey. There were still years of much disconnect and wandering. That all changed one day when I heard His voice and felt His love. My searching continued, and I found that His love for me was unfailing and His thoughts toward me were good! That was just the beginning of a life long journey into a relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit!

How Did we Get Here

Starting where I left off last week, we were looking at who God is. Does He even exist? And if He does exist, what does that mean for our world and me personally? If He doesn’t exist how does that change things?

These are important questions that each of us need to ask. Where do we find evidence for or against the existence of God? What about the big bang theory that says that there was just a big explosion and everything was created out of nothing? In simple terms The Big Bang is a scientific theory about how the universe started, and then made the stars and galaxies we see today. The universe began as a very hot, small, and dense superforce (the mix of the four fundamental forces), with no stars, atoms, form, or structure (called a “singularity”).
Or how about evolution that says we evolved from apes? Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce.

And then there is the Bible, which tells us God created the heavens and the earth.

So how do we determine which view is correct? Can we think critically about this issue? Is there scientific evidence for any or all of these views?

I know. I know. I keep asking questions, but rarely answer any of them. That is about to change. See you next week.