Saturday, December 29, 2007


In November 2006, I resolved to change my eating habits and was able to lose 5 lbs by January 2007…not bad considering that I began during the holiday season! I still enjoy my 'chips and dip' and other occasional indulgences, but overall, I have done pretty good. However, since I know that eating better is only half of it, I also resolved to become more consistent with exercise—especially cardio.

The most productive cardio exercise is a walking or jogging or running program. When I say productive, I mean all around—physically, psychologically, emotionally—everything.

Physically--I guess it's pretty obvious—healthier heart, burning calories, weight loss, better immune system, toning muscles, strengthening joints, etc. By the way, the most common excuse I hear for not walking or jogging or running is 'bad knees'. I understand if one has had major knee surgery or other very legitimate knee problem. But, for the average person, walking/jogging/running actually helps to strengthen joints! Not walking/jogging/running because of weak knees is like saying I can't lift weights because of weak muscles. Weak muscles are exactly why I need weight training! The key to overcoming weak knees (and other weak joints) is to avoid overuse in the beginning. But, over time, the joints will strengthen.

Emotionally--as some psychologists put it, "It resets your nervous system". For me, it gives me time to get away and think about everything. I am in my own little world and it's amazing how the brain works during these times. I sometimes run with my "Lil Monsta" (MP3 player), but usually, I don't...especially if there is a lot going on in my life. Some people, however, say using their MP3 player makes it even better. They can completely disconnect from their problems and totally get into the exercise and their music. (I prefer a sermon or teaching that I have downloaded from the web…most of the time...but sometimes, it's some good ole classic rock!) Afterwards, everything is 'reset' and one is better able to confront life.

Psychologically—It's everything. Knowing that you are doing something good for yourself. Feeling better overall. The sense of accomplishment…and so much more. I even noticed that my desire to eat right is greater the more that I exercise.

In December 2006, I resolved to be more consistent with cardio exercise. In the beginning, it was tough. Being overweight [and older], I quickly realized that I could not jog as far as I used to; and, it was really rough on my knees. So, I started a walking/jogging system. First, I set a total time of 30 minutes. Then, I would alternate walking/jogging according to how I felt. It did not matter how far I went, as long as it was as least 30 minutes. Sometimes, I walked the whole time. But as time went on, I began to jog more and more. And, no matter how sluggish or tired I felt before exercise, I always felt better afterwards…always.

The treadmill and elliptical machines at the gym were also helpful when I was able to go…but the main thing was to be consistent and disciplined. It was mindset change for me. My walking/jogging routine was changed from "when I get a chance" to "top priority"…right up there with brushing my teeth and putting on deodorant!

I had run a 5k (3.2 mi) race before; so, I made it my goal to be able to run 5k without stopping in under 30 minutes. It took six months, but I finally did it! Two months later, I entered the Macon Labor Day Road Race and ran 5k in less than 25 minutes! This, for me, was like breaking through a wall. At this point, I was closer to my ideal weight, so I was able to 'pick up the pace' some and go a little harder.

I used to think that I would never be able to jog 10k (6.2 mi) without stopping…it seemed like something that I could not even think about ever doing. However, recently, on Friday, December 21, 2007, I ran the 3.1 mi 'outdoor loop' on base...twice. I did two laps without stopping (6.2 mi) in 56 minutes flat! A major victory for me. (My hips were sore and I had to ice them later, but I did it…and the next day, I felt fine!)

A walking/jogging/running program is something I think everyone should commit to if they are physically able. The best thing about it is that everyone's program is going to be unique. The very experienced will be aiming to run 5k in under 20 minutes. Another might be aiming for a personal best 5k in 40 minutes. Others simply make it their goal to walk for 30 minutes at least 5 days/week. Some will always be trying to go farther and faster; and, others will just be glad they found the time squeeze a good walk into their hectic schedule! But, no matter what the goal is, when the goal is reached, all are winners!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Weight a Minute!

I have never really had trouble with diet or weight. Growing up, I played outside most of the time, all of our meals were home cooked, and I was always involved in a sport of some kind. After marriage, I continued to be careful about what I ate; and I remained active by jogging (off and on) and playing with the kids. Plus, my job has always been somewhat physical...never a desk job.

Before 2002, the only time that I had gained weight was when I hired on with Northrop (1992) and they sent me to California for on-the-job training. I was out there almost three months and ate authentic Mexican food almost every day…sometimes for every meal! I was about 15 lbs heavier by the time I got home. But, once I got back and got into my routine, the weight came off with no trouble.

Then, sometime around the year 2002, I noticed that I had gained about 5 lbs. (and, I was going to a gym somewhat regularly). No big deal, I thought. By the end of 2003, another 5 lbs. So, I tried to watch my diet and started jogging more…but this time the weight did not come off. 2004, 2005, 2006—five lbs each year.So, by the Fall season of 2006, I was about 25 lbs overweight. Looking at the obesity problem in the general public, gaining only 25 lbs is not too bad, I guess…except, I could not lose any of it, no matter how much I exercised. And, it was definitely affecting the way that I felt—physically and emotionally.

So, in October 2006, I went to the doctor for a routine checkup. Everything was fine; and, when he asked me if I had any questions, I told him about the weight gain and my frustration with not being able to lose it. So, after a little question and answer period, he told me that my blood sugar could be part of the problem.He assured me that I was not diabetic and in good health overall; but, he wanted to put me on a ‘diabetic diet’. (Which basically is the diet that we were taught in school—the pyramid thing.)

And, if I understand him right, he said that as I age, my insulin does not work like it used to. When I eat a lot at one sitting, or food high in sugars, starches, and/or carbs; my body simply cannot break it all down like it used to be able to…it is glycemic overload. What does not get broken down of course, gets stored as fat. (He spoke often about the‘glycemic index’ ( He said the key would be to keep my blood sugar from ‘spiking’. Reduce the fluctuations in my blood sugar, and I should see a difference. He gave me a handout explaining it all, and sent me on my way.

So, last November, I began by educating myself. I looked up as much as I could about all of this, and began reading food labels like never before. Plus (and this was key for me) cut my portions (often in half). If I wanted seconds, I had to wait at least two hours. (Like we have all be hearing for a while, eat less at one sitting, but more times throughout the day. Six small meals are better than 3 big meals; and it keeps the blood sugar from spiking too much.) By the end of January (three months), I had lost 5 lbs., mainly by just changing my overall eating habits. I tried hard to keep my calories between 1000-1500/day--giving myself a ‘free day’ on the weekends…sometimes both days! By January 07, I had already lost 5 lbs., and that was before I started exercising…

One bright spot for me is that I work at RAFB, and they encourage us to go to the gym on base. They also give us 3 hours each week to go if our schedule (supervisor) allows. I like to put one hour with my lunch break 2-3 times/week. That is just enough time to get to the gym, work out, shower, and get back. Because of our tight schedule at work, I don’t get to go during work as often as I would like; but, it has got me back into the habit of exercise. If I can’t go during lunch, I sometimes go right after work. But most often, a jog/walk around my neighborhood after I get home.

The main thing is that I have tried to keep up at least 30 minutes of cardio, a minimum of 3-4 times/week.By September 07, it had been 10 full months since starting all of this…and I had lost a solid 20 lbs. (that’s about 2 lbs per month, or almost ½ lb. per week.) I would like to lose another 5 or so if possible; however, I am very pleased to be where I am. I feel better than I have in a while physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It’s amazing what a difference it makes in life by taking control in this area.

It has now been one full year since my resolve to lead a better lifestyle concerning food and exercise; and, my body seems to have naturally ‘leveled out’ with a total weight loss of just over 20 lbs. But to me, the really cool part is the unexpected joy I get out of running.

Now, if I can resolve to keep my resolve, I should be all right…

Monday, December 17, 2007

Loss of Horror; pt 2

Take a moment to read Romans 1:21-28.

They knew God, but…
They did not glorify Him as God.
They were not thankful.
They became futile in their thoughts.

The result? “Their foolish hearts were darkened”. From there, it is a downward spiral. The worst part being that they thought they were wise, but in reality were horribly wrong.

Check out the list of sins that they were engaged in as a result of “not retaining God in their knowledge”: (Rom 1:29-32)

A few of them are:
sexual immorality, covetousness, envy, murder, strife, deceit, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;

What a list! (And there are more lists, one of which is found in 1 Cor 6:9-10 [and from there some cross-references can be viewed])

Back to Romans, where verse 32 is the worst: “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

I am not sure what the perfect answer is, but I am praying that I, and the rest of the Body of Christ, will begin to see the horror of sin as God sees it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Loss of Horror; pt 1

I have spent a lot of time thinking on and journaling about Psalm 1:1-2. I think the reason that it’s taking so long is that I am realizing how far off that I am. I need to have a lifestyle of saying “no” to ungodly communication of any kind (especially in my thoughts), walk away from sin, the appearance of sin, and those who are willfully and regularly choosing to sin. Part of the problem here; however, seems to be a lack of knowledge.
What is sin? And how can I stay away from it if I don’t know what it is? The general feeling today is, "It does not really long as it does not hurt anybody else. Besides, I am under Grace."
It seems to me that we have drifted really far away from the Biblical concept of sin.

A lack of knowledge of what constitutes sin is only part of the problem. It seems that we have also lost the understanding of how bad sin really is. I have been browsing through some of John Piper’s stuff online. He notes that we have “lost the horror at offending the majesty of God's holiness through sin.
[Start Piper:]
“Nathan said to David, "You are the man. Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, I anointed you king over Israel, and delivered you out of the hand of Saul; and I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? . . . Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and taken the wife of Uriah." (2 Samuel 12:7–10)

Leaders are under so much pressure to make people happy (lest they lose their crowds) that they forsake the message of God's holiness and sin's horror, with the result that they gradually turn the gospel of grace into leniency and then license and then believe it themselves and act on it—"Grace will abound, so this one sin will not matter that much."

Perfectly innocent and good things may need to be sacrificed for the sake of vigilance against sin. But this will not happen where we have lost his horror at offending the holiness of God through sin. [end Piper]
I think this is huge problem with many Christians today, including me. We have lost the horror at offending God when we sin. We usually know it’s wrong, (or at least sense it) but it’s like going 5mph over the speed limit. It’s no big deal because, as a general rule, the patrolman will give us up to 10mph over.

A few years ago, I heard a pastor begin to use profanity occasionally. When asked about it, he said it’s not the words we say, but what’s in our heart that matters. Yes, it is very true that our heart is the main thing, but why look for an excuse to use words that the world uses every day for very profane, ungodly things?

But, I make similar excuses when I want to watch a TV show that I should not watch, or partake of a conversation that I shouldn’t, or…well, the list goes on.

Maybe this is the beginning of a renewed sensitivity to sin and the horror of offending God…

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Radical Stuff; pt 2

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

Radical Appropriation
Appropriation: to take to, or for, oneself; take possession of

The Necessity: Take in God’s Word by every available means so that we might treasure it in our hearts and live it out in our lives. This means the purposeful and continual receiving of the nourishment of God’s Word and assimilating it into our lives so that it becomes a part of who we are. God’s Word, and Jesus himself, is often compared to food. Even the concept of meditation is best compared to certain animals eating their food and ‘chewing the cud’.

So, I wonder what would happen if we actually took this seriously? What if God’s Word was as important to us as our daily meals?

Around our house, one of the most frequent questions is, “What’s for supper tonight?” But, I rarely hear, “What are we reading from the Bible tonight?” Or, “Listen to what I read in the Bible today.”

We all know and say God’s Word is important, but our actions seem to prove otherwise.

Have you noticed that we will even plan our daily schedules around meal times? But, if we plan our lives around reading the Bible, we might be called ‘legalistic’? What if, throughout the day, we refused to eat our food until we read or meditated on something from the Bible? It may seem a little extreme, but God is calling for this type of ‘radical appropriation.’ (Well, we call it radical, but to God, it should be the norm for our lives.)

Psalm 1:2 is a clear description of radical appropriation. In this verse, appropriation is stated as "delighting in God’s law" (taking in God’s Word) and "meditating on it" (thinking on it, discussing it with others, studying its depths, etc). And the radical part is shown as the one who delights in and meditates on God’s Word "day and night," in other words, continually.

Again, I’ve got a long way to go…

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Radical Stuff, pt 1

In the Psalm 1 study, it led me to some ‘radical’ concepts:
1. Radical Amputation (Psalm 1:1)
2. Radical Appropriation (Psalm 1:2)

Radical Amputation keeps us from sin. Radical Appropriation moves us toward God.

Radical Amputation:
Matthew 5:28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.:29 “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Mark 9: 43 “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched––44 "where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’

45 “And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched––46 "where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’

47 “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire––48 "where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’

Pluck my eye out?
Cut my hand off?
Cut my foot off?
Are you serious?

Sin must be a pretty serious matter with Jesus if He is suggesting that we lop off body parts to keep from sinning. I don’t hear many conversations among us Christians today about the seriousness of sin…not that serious anyway. And I know that my thoughts are not on the same level as Jesus in this matter…not even close.

More often, we are talking in ways too excuse our sin…or at least hold on to those ‘gray areas’ in our life. Then, we talk about God’s Grace and Unconditional Love, but forget about verses like the ones above; and, these found in Romans 6:

1 ¶ What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

We talk so much about God’s Grace forgiving our sin (and it does) but verses 14-16 are very clear—Once we become a born again Christian, Grace is more about having the ability not to sin in the first place!

I need to view sin with the same seriousness that Jesus does. I need to view Grace as empowering me to live a pure life and avoid sin; not as an excuse for sin.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Observing the Cow

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

In my opinion, every verse in the Bible applies to everyone, everywhere.

Therefore, when we read verses like 2 Timothy 2:15, Matthew 22:29, Luke 24:45, Acts 17:11, Psalm 119:11-16, and more..., that applies to all of us…not just our parents, pastors, Bible teachers, and the various other ministers throughout the world. While it is true that some have been gifted in communicating and teaching God’s Word, we are all supposed to be studying, memorizing, meditating, and discussing God’s word daily. (Deut 6:4-9)

And when Psalm 1 states that the path to be blessed by God begins with meditating on God’s word day and night, that is true for everyone. That comes easily for some people; for others, it requires a little more effort. But for all of us, discipline is the key.

I used to meditate on a fairly regular basis. However, while writing this, I suddenly realize that personal meditation is almost non-existent in my life right now. I am not sure how or when it happened, but I’ve got to step it up.

As I understand it, meditation can be better understood by observing the cow…yes, the cow--and other animals who chew the cud. The cow has four stomach compartments. After eating, the cow will regurgitate the partially digested food and chew it again to break it down even more. There is a lot of scientific stuff to be studied there, but the main point is how this relates to meditation.

"Dairy cows spend almost 8 hrs a day chewing their cuds for a total of almost 30,000 chews daily. It can be said that a content cow is one who is seen chewing her cud.
Cud chewing often can be used as an indicator of the health of a dairy herd.
Cows who do not chew their cuds enough may have lowered milk fat tests, may become lame, or have other digestive upsets…"

Spiritually, it is just as necessary, health wise, for us to chew on God’s word as it is for the cow to chew her cud. It’s not a magic formula and one person might approach it differently than another. I think the main thing is that we must break out of the mindset that this discipline is only for the ‘professional’ Christian and/or ministers and/or those who seem to be 'gifted'. This discipline is for all Christians everywhere at all times.

We must daily ingest God’s Word, regurgitate it throughout the day, and chew on it some more. It could be a memorized verse or passage, or a familiar story…but it helps if it’s ‘fresh’. It’s not difficult to do, but it can be difficult to discipline ourselves. However, we must in order to stay on the path to Blessing.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Meditate Day and Night? (Psalms 1)

It has been my experience that when ungodly counsel is received, ingested, and digested, it becomes a part of me. I begin to think less about how wrong it is, and accept it simply as part of who I am. I have slowed any movement towards God, and have no problem justifying and excusing my sin in every way. Eventually, the result is blindness to the sin and its' negative effects.

Definitely a state of being 'unblessed'.

So, how can I avoid this? It seems that there is only one way: taking delight in communication from God and mediating on God's Word day and night. This moves me in the right direction.

Reading, gaining knowledge of, and meditating on God's Word is the only way to ensure that we are on the right path of being blessed.
In my online study of Psalms 1, the question is asked, "Assessing your current level of delight in God's Word, where are you, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a very low delight in God's Word and 10 being an intense desire for and delight in it?"

This was a tough question. It's not a '1', but it's certainly not a '10' either.

So, how can I change this? For me, it is simply a matter of discipline. It's a choice to pick up my Bible, read something, and purpose to think about it throughout the day. One of my favorite things to do is read a verse or story from the Bible then go for a jog. While jogging, I will think about what I read from every angle that I can think of. It is amazing some of the insight that has come from that time of meditation.

But, there are many other ways to discipline ourselves to think about God's Word. Here's what works for me:
--Journal my thoughts about what I read.
--Discuss it with someone. (not an argument!)
--And probably the most powerful: Ask myself questions about the text.

For instance, as I meditated on Psalms 1, I spent a long time asking questions about the first verse: What is blessed? What is counsel of the ungodly? What does it look like? What does it sound like? What is the seat of the scornful? What is the main thrust of the verse? What are the verbs that stand out and why are they used? Why use 'walk', 'stand', and 'sit'??

The more questions that are asked of the text, the more you will get into God's Word. (The best commentary on the Bible, is the Bible itself. There is always another verse somewhere that will help in understanding what you are currently reading. Simply asking myself that 'blessed' meant, led me to look up everywhere in the Bible where that word was used…well, most everywhere.)

By the way, I would be interested to know what works for others....

If we hope to be blessed by God and grow in Christ, it is absolutely essential that we hunger and thirst after God's Word, and learn to delight in it. Too many believers have an appetite for the Word only sporadically. Growth will come only as we choose to discipline ourselves to live in the Word day by day. If we will continue to do this, eventually we will find ourselves delighting, and finding pleasure in it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Recognizing Ungodly Counsel (Psalms1)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..etc; and, he created man and put him in the garden. And "God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'

Out of man, he created woman and all was well--until one day, apparently in the middle of the garden…

1 ¶ Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"

2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;

3 "but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.

5 "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 ¶ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

Ungodly counsel is rarely bold, in your face, extreme stuff…not at first anyway. In order to slip in under the radar of our spiritual conscience, it must be cunning and crafty. It must appeal to us in some way in the natural realm so that to us, it is a natural, harmless choice.

The very first communication that we know of from the Ungodly One was a question: "Has God really said…?" At first, Eve was quick with a response…a pretty good one, I think. She repeated God's command about the tree in the middle of the Garden. However, this type of question can instill doubt if not immediately rejected. Anytime we find ourselves asking a question like this, it should be a red flag. It would be much better to ask, "What does God really say about ______?" Then dig in and find out…

The next words from the Ungodly One were a direct statement against what God said: 'You will not surely die'. Had he stopped here, it might have been ok, I don't know. But he went on: "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

I am not sure what it is, but there is something in that statement that touched a desire in Eve and moved her away from Godly counsel (blessed) and towards ungodly counsel. (unblessed) Was it the desire to have her eyes opened? To be like God? To know good and evil? Was it simply the idea that God was not telling her everything? Or a little of everything?

I don't know. But I think it is in all of us. As I look back over my life, the main times that I paid more attention to ungodly counsel began with a question; such as—Is it really like that? Is this really so bad? Did God really say ________?

Once the questions begin, the disguised inward sinful desires kick in and our flesh takes over. What amazes me the most--is something that we all do: God had given them every tree in the garden except one. What is it that they went after the one thing that they were not supposed to do? Didn't they have plenty? Why chase the one thing that we are not supposed to do???

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world––the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life––is not of the Father but is of the world.

Eve saw that the tree was:

Good for food…Lust of the flesh
Pleasant to the eyes…Lust of the eyes
Desirable to make one wise…Pride of Life
All ungodly counsel seems to fit in one of these categories. Satan even tried these tactics in tempting Jesus - Mt 4:1-11

1. "Command that these stones become bread" (lust of the flesh)
2. "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down..." (pride of life)
3. "All these things I will give you if..." (lust of the eyes)

Today, Satan still uses these tactics tempting people most commonly through...
1. Immorality (lust of the flesh) "If it makes me feel good, it's ok"
2. Materialism (lust of the eyes) "I want it, and I will get it"
3. Arrogance (pride of life) "It's my life, and I will do what I want, when I want"

In order to recognize ungodly counsel and stay away from it, we must understand that it appeals to our natural desires and can sometimes be very difficult to separate. There is nothing wrong with good food, unless God says don't eat it. There's nothing wrong with looking at pleasant things, unless it goes against something God as said. There is nothing wrong with gaining wisdom and knowledge, unless it goes against the wisdom and knowledge of God…

"And she took of its fruit and ate."

Then, as most of us do, she offered her sin to another (Adam), and he accepted.

"She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate"

And in a moment, the authority that God had given Adam and Eve on the earth, was stolen by Satan; and, it all started by questioning God's Word--the beginning of ungodly counsel.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ungodly Counsel (Psalms 1)

My latest thoughts on being blessed...

Being Blessed has less to do with a moment in time and even less to do with material things. While it can, and does, occasionally mean those things, from what I see in Psalms 1, 'blessed' is a movement in the Right(eous) direction. It is moving towards God instead of away from God. It is a path or journey that one chooses. The 'unblessed' have stopped moving towards God and begun moving away from God. Their path or journey is taking them in the wrong direction.

This Psalm opens up by explaining what a blessed person does not do:
1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

I think that it is fair to restate that verse for the purpose of meditation and learning:
The unblessed man walks in the counsel of the ungodly, stands in the path of sinners, and sits in the seat of the scornful.

The most obvious thing about an 'unblessed' person, is the natural downward spiral. First, there is walking in (listening to) ungodly counsel. Then, one stops walking, and stands. Finally, one sits.

When I think of counsel, I think of words, or communication. In fact, words/communication of any sort move us in a particular direction. I started running again this year and recently picked a book by Bill Rodgers-A Lifetime Running Plan. The more I read the words (counsel) of that book, the more I am moved in that direction. It encourages me through knowledge to become more committed to a running plan. However, if I read stuff that is negative or ungodly, I will be moved in that direction.

Ungodly counsel is communication from the enemy. Here is a short list of primary ways that we can receive counsel of the ungodly:

TV, Books, Music, Magazines, Internet, etc…These avenues are most often used to introduce us to ungodly counsel. We will more readily receive wrong thoughts and ideas through these mediums than any other way.

Friends, Parents, Spouses, Church Leaders…or other people that we trust and/or respect. The words of people impact our lives (postivley or negatively) in very powerful ways. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue…"

Direct Satanic Messages…It seems to me that Satan and his messengers can affect our thinking. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul speaks of a 'thorn in the flesh'. Most people assume this to be a physical problem of some sort and some Bible translations even use those words. But to me, Paul explains what the thorn is…"a messenger of Satan". A satanic communication…definitely ungodly counsel.

And then the worst ungodly counsel of all---'Self-talk'…Eventually, if we take in too much ungodly counsel from different avenues, we will begin to believe it ourselves and begin to speak it within our heart. It soon becomes a part of who we are; all because we chose to listen to ungodly counsel along the way.

It might include the obvious--like hatred towards someone. But it is most
often not so obvious--like:
"I don't ____________ very often; so, it's not really hurting me."
"I don't get anything out of the Bible when I read it, so I don't read it much."
"I know it might be wrong, but at least I am not as bad as 'so-and-so'."

"It doesn't really matter what I do, as long as it does not hurt someone else. As long as I know that I am saved."

"This is a good it MUST be God!"

And the list goes on and on...

Allowing ungodly counsel into our mind, soul, and spirit is the beginning of being 'unblessed' and the downward movement away from God.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blessed...Pt 2 (Psalms 1)

Still working through a study at Psalm 1: The Fruitful Tree. I just finished the second lesson, which took me about one week! (Normally, a lesson takes me 20-30 minutes). The lesson was not really that long; just challenging. I would read part of the lesson, then answer a question; but, my response (or lack of one) would make me think a lot about where I currently am--and where I need to be.

Also, I would open up my computer Bible ( ; which to me is one of the best Bible programs out there for the money) and look up the different passages that the lesson referred to…then there was more reflection. Along with this, I decided that I would not do certain things (like look at myspace) until I completed each lesson and journal about it…

As short as this Psalm is, it is packed with power…but only if we accept and apply the Truths found here. But for most of us, the Godly counsel of this Psalm is simply too radical for our comfortable, complacent lives. If one really and truly tried to live out this Psalm, they would probably be looked at as "too heavenly minded for earthly good". And the majority of criticism would probably be 'friendly fire' from fellow Christians!

I am still contemplating the word 'blessed'. I am convinced that most of the time I hear that word, it is not as God intended. The Bible dictionary says that the word 'blessed' found here, simply means, "happy". However, it comes from a root word which means, "to go straight, walk, go on, advance, make progress".

For now, I want to simply remember that happiness, walking straight, advancing, and making progress in God, is a completely different thing than when those same terms are applied to our everyday earthly lives…
With all of that in mind…

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Blessed? (Psalms 1)

I finally enrolled in another online Bible Study at I chose Psalm 1; The Fruitful Tree.

Psalm 1 is one of my favorite passages of the Bible. It's short, straight to the point, and easy to understand. And, whenever I feel like I'm kinda floundering (like I currently feel), it's good instruction that I can immediately apply to get back on track.

However, like most of the Bible, it's deep too. Over the years I have read it many, many times, even committing to memory and going over it often in my mind…

So, when I went to do my first lesson a couple of days ago, I expected sort of a 'refresher'…but it was much more than that. Many thoughts came from that first lesson--one of them being a question: What does 'blessed' really mean from God's viewpoint? Psalm 1 begins: "Blessed is the man…"

The majority of the time when I hear (or use) the word 'blessed', it is in conjunction with material things or personal comfort. This is espeically true when I watch most any tv preacher. "Send your money, and you will receive a blessing." Or, "Give, and God will bless you with your heart's desire." Or, "Attend this church, and you will be blessed."

Or something along those lines…

Often I hear, (or say) "God has blessed me with _______." The blank is usually filled in with a house, a car, a job, a child, a good marriage, good health, and the list goes on.

If one does not have children, a car, a job, a good marriage, good health, etc., does that mean that they are not blessed??

If blessed means having material things or personal comfort, then Bill Gates is very blessed by God, and Mother Theresa was not?

In 2004, I received a raise out of the blue to buy a good, dependable vechicle. I said, "God has blessed me…"

Two months later, we were 'let go' from our jobs. Our income being cut in half, we ended up in backruptcy 6 months later, losing everything.

Was I 'unblessed'? I sure thought I was. Why would God 'bless' me with something, then take it away? Or, maybe I misunderstood what it really means to be blessed by God…

So, what does it mean to be blessed by God?

Is there anywhere in the Bible that directly links God's blessing with material things or personal comfort? I am not sure…I think that there may be a few of those occasions, but far more often, being blessed means something way beyond that…

For instance, in Matthew 5—

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Blessed are those who mourn
Blessed are the meek
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
Blessed are the merciful
Blessed are the pure in heart
Blessed are the peacemakers
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

I guess the bottom line is that I think the concept of being blessed by God is generally misunderstood and misused. And, I think that if I really understood it, it would change my life. While I am continuing to check this out, let me know if you have any thoughts to offer on the matter…

Sunday, July 29, 2007

SuperSize Me?

Something that I have contemplated a lot over the years has to do with our apparent natural inclination to continuously desire (and do) what is not best for us...then we say something like, "I was born that way." Or, "That's just the way I am".

I am not talking about natural God-Given personality traits and abilities (or lack of them); we are born with those sorts of things. I am talking about doing things that are bad for us and then claiming somehow that we can't change, because that's just who we are.

And, when someone tries to help us, we get defensive and sometimes mad…and call that person 'judgmental', 'intolerant', or 'holier-than-thou'. (I tend to simply ignore those trying to help me)…and they are trying to help us stop hurting ourselves!!

We have all done it.

I know I have, and still do somewhat from time to time. None of us want anyone telling us what to do or 'how to run our lives'. But that's another blog for another day.

What I keep wondering about is how we get this way. I know that we are all born in sin. We don't have to be taught to do wrong. We are naturally drawn to certain ways of living that God has stated are clearly wrong; or, to things that we know in our heart are not best for us. Profanity, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, over drinking, over eating, pornography, stealing, lying, manipulation, gossip…and the list goes on and on…………and on. We are all guilty in many areas.

So, how do we get to the point that we actually defend our sin and demand that others 'accept us for who we are'? How do we get to the place where we justify the very things that are destroying us?
In the meantime, back at the Jordan house…Kaley and Elijah rented the documentary, Supersize Me…it was quite interesting. As an experiment to explore the effects on one's physical and psychological well-being, Morgan Spurlock chose to eat nothing but fast food (McDonalds) for one month. His rules were simple:

-He must fully eat three McDonald's meals per day
-He must sample every item on the McDonald's menu at least once over the course of the 30 days
-He must only ingest items on the menu. Including bottled water.
-Any and all outside consumption of food is prohibited.
-He must eat a McDonald's salad every tenth meal
-He must "Super Size"" his meal whenever, and only when, the option is offered to him.
-He must only walk 5,000 steps per day.

Before the experiment, Spurlock, age 32 at the time the movie was filmed in 2003, ate a varied diet but always ate vegan evening meals…since his girlfriend is a vegan chef. Overall, he was healthy. At 6 feet 2 inches tall, he weighed 185.5 lbs.

After thirty days, he gained 24.5 lbs. He also experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and liver problems. It took Spurlock fourteen months to lose the weight he gained.

But what really got me was this: In the beginning, his body reacted negativly to this change…to the point that he threw up (on the third day, I think). But, after a while, he actually began to crave it! This unhealthy lifestyle even became his comfort at times, both physically and psychologically. And even though his own body tried to tell him along the way that this was a bad thing, he chose to coninue on through the warnings…to the point of seemingly needing it.

As I was contemplating this, I realized that is similar to what we do regarding sin. At some point, we make a choice to continue in our sin or unhealthy lifestyle. We choose to push through all the warnings signs and eventually become the thing that we have chosen! And then say, "Well, that's just who I am."

It was at this point, I heard something. I will say that it was from God, but I don't know for sure what that voice sounds like anymore. But, I think I can at least say it was based on Godly concepts…

Tim, what or who do you want to be? It is your choice. You become your choices. Choose sin and ungoldy paths, you will become an ungodly person. Be apathetic, and choose to live in the gray areas of life, you will become a lukewarm person. Choose to follow Jesus and the Godly path, and you will become a Godly person. It is all your own personal choice, and you are soley responsible for this.

So Tim, don't blame others, the world, circumstances, and life events for what you have become. Don't claim that you can't change…the fact is, you choose not to. Make Godly choices throughout each day, and you will begin to change to a more Godly person. It's not always easy, but it's simple.

Monday, July 02, 2007


I believe a good Bible teacher not only teaches Truth, but opens doors for others to find Truth on their own. The teaching concerning Faith on Sunday mornings at the church we are attending…good stuff.
I have been working from 2:15 p.m.-12:45 a.m.; and, I worked Saturday night. When Krista woke me up Sunday, I was very slow moving and thought about sleeping in…but I am glad I went to church…even with the cobwebs in my brain.

The one thought that keeps coming to mind as I meditate on Hebrews 11, is that Faith is not something we ‘work up’ to receive stuff for ourselves. I have often heard people say something like, “If have I have enough faith, I will receive ____________” It’s mostly self-serving.

However, Faith is given so that we can do for others…it is actually given to us for works-“faith without works is dead”. While our Faith may allow us to receive from God, the focus of Faith should not be serving self, but serving others. There is so much more and I am glad that I have been taking notes…but for now…

I have been reading the first part of Hebrews 11, and I find it interesting that each one listed, acted on their faith…(you should definitely read the whole chapter, as the Faith of several of these heroes is explained.)

It leaves me doing an evaluation concerning my faith…does it propel me into proper action?

The following is an excerpt from Hebrews 11…notice the connection--By Faith, someone did something towards (or for) another, and at times the results are mentioned. Then, check out what Faith-filled people received at the end of the chapter…not exactly a life of prosperity.

2 For by it [faith] the elders obtained a good testimony.
3 By faith we understand…
4 ¶ By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice...
5 By faith Enoch was taken away….he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him,….
7 By faith Noah,…moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household,…
8 By faith Abraham obeyed…And he went out…not knowing where he was going.
9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents….
10 for he waited…

11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age…

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac,…
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped….
22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

32 ¶ And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:
33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.
37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented––
38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Power of Profanity

It diminishes the creative power of mind and tongue.

It substitutes brassy speech for genuine boldness.

It sacrifices character on the altar of acceptance.

It produces abnormal responses and stifles healthy interaction.

It begets an atmosphere of hostility or adversity.

It depends on shock or crudity to establish authority or create humor.

It cheapens or desecrates life’s most precious relationships.

It acclimates the mind to the world-spirit.

It instills a reticence to speak righteously.

It erodes sensitivity toward ultimate eternal issues.

Jack Hayford-
© 1983 Living Way Ministries