Putting An End To The Blame Game & Saying Goodbye To Entitlement Mentality!

Last week I listened to nationally syndicated radio host and columnist Michael Brown’s handbook “Saving A Sick America,” (SASA) a biblically-based moral and cultural renaissance, revealing that the key for the inspiration and guidance necessary for a moral and cultural revolution for recapturing America’s greatness consists in returning to our spiritual and moral roots.

And yes indeed, at first blush, this book too appears to be just one more of the thousands continually appearing for decades now. But from my perhaps yet immature perspective as a blogger, I’ve already realized effective sustainable life change do not occur easily without significant reorientation of our perspectives and desires. And I particularly found Chapter Twelve in SASA titled “Putting An End To The Blame Game & Saying Goodbye To The Entitlement Mentality,” as a key document for exploration. But may I remind us as readers, since we are all to encourage and mentor others in various capacities every day, perhaps this has a wider application than I originally considered, therefore I am sharing it with you. Even though I spent considerable time attempting to condense this eleven page chapter, this document is still nearly 3000 words long. Make no mistake! This document remains a chapter. Pace your reading accordingly!

Ecclesiastes 1: 9–10 Tells us there is nothing new under the sun. The problems and challenges we face today, although packaged differently than in past centuries, are the same problems and challenges experienced by previous generations. We have the same fears, desires, lusts, loves, hopes, and dreams, whether we live in the 21st -century A.D. or the 21st – century BC. This is another reason God‘s word is so amazingly relevant: Our Maker knows us better than we know ourselves, and the sins and the shortcomings and the weaknesses of our forefathers, going all the way back to the garden of Eden – are our sins and shortcomings and weaknesses today. In many ways, we are just like Adam and Eve.

Let’s go back then, to the beginning, to an earthly paradise called the garden of Eden. We know the story all too well. Eve was deceived by the serpent, and she ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, giving the fruit to her husband Adam, who also ate of it. This is what is known as the fall of man.

Immediately, Adam and Eve were conscious of their nakedness. Before that they had the innocence of little children and were one unaware they were unclothed. Now they had to cover up. For the first time they also experienced guilt and fear. They hid from the presence of the Lord, whose commandments they had violated. They also learned to make excuses and pass the buck. The narrative in Genesis 3 is remarkable:

Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.“

“Who told you that you were naked? “asked the Lord God. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?“

The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.“

Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?“

“The serpent deceived me, “she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” (v. 9–13 NLT)

This sounds just like you and me: “Lord, it’s not my fault! Someone else is to blame!“

When God confronted Adam, the man in essence replied, “It is not my fault! It was that woman that you gave me. She is guilty. And for the record, I never asked you for a companion. That was all your idea. You are the one who put her in the garden with me, so in reality, you’re the one responsible for what I did.”

When God confronted Eve she replied, “It is not my fault! The snake tricked me! And just for the record, although I’m not actually saying it out loud, you were the one who put that deceiver in the garden with me. Otherwise, I would never thought of disobeying you. Not in a million years. So, if there’s anyone to blame here, it’s you for putting that arch deceiver right in my own backyard.”

How did God respond? First, he pronounced a curse on the snake, then on the woman, then on the man (Genesis 3:14-19). Everyone is responsible before the Lord, and excuses evaporate in his presence. The blame game doesn’t work before an all-seeing God. To paraphrase the old joke, you can’t kill your parents and then plead for leniency from the court because you’re an orphan. Not in God’s court!

The Lord calls us to take responsibility for our actions, refusing to entertain her fragile excuses. This is something you find throughout the Gospels, where Jesus, who was so full of compassion and long-suffering and kindness and tenderness, showed no tolerance for excuses. He cut through them like a knife cuts through butter. He exposes them for what they were: empty words used to cover up the lack of willingness. That’s why, when Jesus was on the earth, he didn’t trust himself to people, “because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (John  2:24–25). He also knew that there was nothing new under the sun when it came to the human race.

When, in response to Jesus command to “follow me, “the man said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father,“ Jesus replied, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as  for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God“ (Luke 9:59-60).

The fact is that Jesus was sensitive, and he was committed to honoring one’s parents (see especially Mark 7:1-13). But he saw through this man’s excuse, recognizing that the man was procrastinating. Today Jesus might seem harsh and uncaring. He is hardly like the Jesus we hear preached from our pulpits these days. The contemporary Jesus would never hurt any one’s feelings like this. But that, of course, is one of the big differences between the real Jesus – the Jesus of the Scriptures who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, (Heb 13:8) – and the modern, fairy tale version of Jesus.

It is absolutely true that we are saved by grace, not by works, and that eternal life is a gift. But Paul also made clear that with grace came responsibility, writing, “I therefore a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesian 4:1). And “Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God – which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).

Paul also had no places for empty excuses, telling the believers in Rome that “each of us will give an account of himself to God” and explaining to the believers in Corinth that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” Rom. 14:12; II Corinthians 5:10).

These are sobering words. As children of God, we will give account to our Father one day, not to determine if we are saved or lost but to determine our future rewards.

It is true that he is for us, not against us; that he desires to bless, not curse; that there is no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Jesus; that Christ himself is our advocate, which means he is pleading our cause. Therefore we submit to the Lord out of love rather than cower before him in servile fear. This means we will take responsibility for our sins, which is something else we don’t hear about too often these days. As a Christian apologist Jeremiah Johnson observed, instead of repentance we hear “a lot of talk about brokenness and negativity, as if Christ humbled Himself to the point of death to cure depression and fix bad attitudes. The modern church has largely done away with the biblical language of sin and salvation, replacing it with gooey postmodern verbiage that appeals to a generation raised on psychobabble and self-help seminars.“

Johnson then quoted Pastor John MacArthur:

That kind of thinking has all but driven words like sin, repentance, contrition, atonement, restitution, and redemption out of public discourse. If no one is supposed to feel guilty, how could anyone be a sinner? Modern culture has the answer: people are victims. Victims are not responsible for what they do; they are casualties of what happens to them. So every human failing must be described in terms of how the perpetrator has been victimized. We are all supposed to be “sensitive“ and “compassionate“ enough to see that the very behaviors we used to label “sin“ are  actually evidence of victimization.

Victimization has gained so much influence that as far as society is concerned, there is practically no such thing as sin anymore. Anyone can escape responsibility for his or her wrongdoing simply by claiming the status of a victim. It has radically changed the way our society looks at human behavior.

We are not sinners anymore; we are morally challenged. We don’t break God‘s commandments; we have a disease. We are not wicked; we are weak. And above all, we’re not guilty, since guilt implies responsibility and God knows we are not responsible. Someone else is to blame!

The bottom line is this: if you want to grow spiritually, if you want to become mature, if you want to fulfill your God-given destiny, then adopt a no-excuses policy for your life.

You alone are responsible for your success or failure, and the quicker you learn to embrace this way of thinking, the quicker you will make progress – real, discernible progress. No one will be able to stop you from living a productive, meaningful life, and every stumbling block will become a steppingstone. His grace will empower you as you give yourself to him.

It is true that people often hurt us and that circumstances are often against us, and many times we do suffer because of other people‘s sins and negligence and misdeeds. But making excuses will make things worse, not better, while shifting the blame will not provide you with the single constructive solution.

But there is one more step to take if you really want to swim against the tide in today’s society, and so I encourage you to embrace this attitude as well: nobody owes me anything, and I’m not “entitled“ to a wonderful life. Unfortunately, many Americans hold the exact opposite of this belief, and this crippling entitlement mentality dominates much of our nation today. It is the mindset that says, “Society owes me a better life.“

Conservapedia.com defines entitlement mentality as a “a state of mind in which an individual comes to believe that privileges are instead rights, and they are to be expected as a matter of course.“ In the words of Alethea Luna, “a sense of entitlement is established upheld by the belief that we are the center of the universe, and if the universe doesn’t meet our needs and desires, all hell will break loose.“

According to Conservapedia.com, entitlement mentality is characterized by:

1.) A lack of appreciation for the sacrifices of others

2.)Lack of personal responsibility 

3.)An inability to accept that actions carry consequences

4.) Increased dependency on the Nanny state big government intervention, and expectation that the government will intervene to solve personal problems. Upon losing a job, for instance, someone with an entitlement mentality is likely to turn to the government for unemployment handouts rather than immediately seeking another job.

5.) Ignorance of the Bill of Rights. Those within entitlement mentality frequently imagine so-called rights that are in no way guaranteed – for instance, the “right to employment,“ or the “right to not be offended” or “the “right to healthcare.” Moreover, they misinterpret the Declaration of Independence’s affirmation of their right to pursue happiness as a Constitutional guarantee of happiness.

6.) Support for wholesale expansion of Welfare state social programs as a cure all for perceived “injustice.”

Now, if we go back to the garden, back to Adam and Eve, we can see that the entitlement mentality is the flip side of the blame shifting mentality. Blame-shifting says I’m not responsible for my failure; someone else is,“ while entitlement says, “I’m not responsible for improving my situation; someone else is.” Either way, someone else is to blame for my current situation, and if I don’t find myself where I want to be today, it’s someone else’s fault.

This dangerous attitude is crippling a whole generation, but once again, this attitude is nothing new. It is just greatly on the rise in our day. As expressed by Kate S Rourke, “Children in the most recent generation of adults born between 1982 and 1995, known as ‘Generation Y,’ were raised to believe that it is their right to have everything given to them more than any other previous generation.” This mind-set has been here before; it has just become much worse.

Once again, God‘s word has a major word of correction and redirection for us today. Entitlement mentality is destroying our culture and hurting a whole generation. The Bible’s directive to take full responsibility for our lives and quit making excuses is just what we need.

Notice the admonition in the Ephesians 4:28, “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” And now since the former thief is also a follower of Jesus, he is working not only to make a living, but he is working to have extra money to help those in need. This is the complete crucifixion of the entitlement mentality. Others are not responsible for me; I am responsible for others.

I believe the entitlement mentality is one of the greatest strongholds in our society today. It undercuts initiative, encourages apathy, and discourages visionary sacrifice. Worst of all, it is so deeply in bedded that we’re not even conscious of it, making it harder to resist and overcome. But resist it and overcome it we must. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck on a merry-go-round of blame shifting and victim hood, getting angry, pointing our fingers, making accusations, and going nowhere.

Jesus gives us three practical principles in Luke 16:

1.) “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much“ (v.10). You will not be trusted with much until you prove yourself trustworthy with very little. In my early days of radio broadcasting when I was on the few smaller stations, I said to the Lord, “If you will give me a million listeners a day, I’ll make this the best radio show possible.” No sooner did I say the words that I knew what his answer would be: “Make this the best show possible, and I will give you a million listeners.”. 

2.) If you’re not faithful with money (what Jesus calls “the unrighteous wealth“), you won’t be faithful with true riches. (v.11). Many of us want to be spiritual heroes, but our earthly lives are a wreck due to our own irresponsibility, particularly when it comes to handling money. Of course, God doesn’t expect all of us to be financial wizards, but he does require us to be good financial stewards, and that means paying our bills on time, being generous, and being wise.

3.) “And if you’ve not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?“ The principal again is simple: If you are irresponsible with the things that don’t belong to you, caring for them as if they were your own, then you’ll never be entrusted with things that are your own. If you don’t care take care of your parent’s car when they loan it to you, you’re not ready for a car of your own.

In summary, the bigger the stakes, the more our good habits (and bad habits) will be magnified. So, faithful with a little, faithful with much; faithful with earthy riches, faithful with spiritual riches; faithful with that which belongs to someone else, faithful with that which belongs to you.

None of this is rocket science but once again, that’s what is so wonderful about God‘s Word. It is as practical as it is profound and as pragmatic as it is penetrating. The Word of God is wise, and we do well to live by the wisdom of the Word. And the word of God destroys the entitlement mentality, giving us something far better in its place.

Dr. John Townsend wrote,

“There is a solution to entitlement, which I called the Hard Way. The Hard Way is the entitlement cure. It is a path of behaviors and attitudes that undo the negative effects of entitlement whether in ourselves or others.” This was his definition of the Hard Way: “The habit of doing what is best, rather than what is comfortable, to achieve a worthwhile outcome.“

It is the hard way that pays long-term dividends, the hard way that produces long-term fruit, the hard way that yields long-term gratification. So quit passing the buck and shirking responsibility; don’t blame others for where you find yourself today; and determine, with God’s help, to be a giver not a taker, a producer and not a drainer, one who lifts others up rather than drags them down. To quote Paul once again, “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people” (Phil. 2:14-15 NLT).

That’s our calling, that’s who we are, and that’s who our nation needs us to be. So, let’s wake up from our slumber. It’s a literally time to rise and shine.

Next Up Sun 4/17: Snippets from Saturday Nights Live Bill Maher’s comments via Brad Jersak’s book “A More Christlike God, A More Beautiful Gospel.”

As promised, this post is heavy stuff! “The devil is the satanic adversary of God in the rule of man and Satan is his representative. One of the most cunning travesties is to represent Satan as the instigator of external sins. The satanically-managed man is often moral, upright, and proud …; he is absolutely self-governed and has no need for God.”Paragraph Two.

Given here for your contemplation from Oswald Chambers first book, “Our Ultimate Refuge: Job and the Problem of Suffering,” presented God as not only the ultimate refuge, but our only refuge, adding that “we know nothing about redemption or forgiveness until we actually crave for it.”

Last Ten Paragraphs from Ch. One: The Unseen Universe

Man is not God but hath God’s end to serve,

A master to obey, a course to take,

Somewhat to cast off, somewhat to become,

Grant this, then man must pass from old to new,

From vain to real, from mistake to fact,

From what seemed good, to what now proves best.

Robert Browning

“There is a difference between Satan and the devil which the Bible student should note. According to the Bible, man is responsible for the introduction of Satan: Satan is the result of a communication set up between man and the devil. (see Genesis 3:1-5). When Jesus Christ came face to face with Satan, He dealt with him as representing the attitude man takes up in organizing his life apart from any consideration of God. In the wilderness temptation the devil is seen in his undisguised character; only once did our Lord address the devil as “Satan” – “Then said Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan…” (Matthew 4:10). On another occasion Jesus said that self-pity was satanic – “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan…” (Matthew 16:23).

The devil is the satanic adversary of God in the rule of man and Satan is his representative. Because a thing is satanic does not necessarily mean that it is abdominal and immoral; our Lord said that “that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” Luke 16:15). Satan rules the world under the inspiration of the devil and men are peaceful, “when a strong man armed keeps his palace, his goods are in peace” (Luke 11:21), there is no breaking out into sin and wrong doing. One of the most cunning travesties is to represent Satan as the instigator of external sins. The satanically- managed man is often moral, upright, proud, and individual; he is absolutely self-governed and has no need of God.

Satan counterfeits the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit represents the working of God in a human life when it is at one with God through redemption; in other words, “Holy Spirit” is the heredity brought into human nature at regeneration. When a man is born from above, he has granted to him the disposition of Jesus, Holy Spirit, and if he obeys that disposition he will develop into the new manhood in Christ Jesus. If by deliberate refusal a man is not born again, he is liable to find himself developing more and more into the satanic, which will ultimately head up int the devil.

“Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?” (Job 1:9). Verses 9-12 might be paraphrased in this way: Satan is represented as saying to God, “You are infatuated with the idea that man loves You for Your own sake; he never has and never will. Job for instance, simply loves you because You bless and prosper him, but touch any one of his blessings and he will curse You to Your face and prove that no man on Earth loves You to Your face and prove that no man on earth loves You for Your own sake.”

It must be remembered what Job’s creed was. Job believed that God prospered and blessed the upright man who trusted in Him, and that the man who was not upright was not prospered. Then came calamity after calamity, everything Job believed about God was contradicted and his creed went to the winds. Satan’s sneer is the counterpart of the devil’s sneer in Genesis 3; there, the devil’s object is to sneer about man to God, here, Satan’s object is to sneer about man to God, he is the “accuser of our brethren” (Revelation12:10).

Today there is in our midst a crop of juvenile skeptics, (Merlin adding that “today both men and women are being deceived and kidnapped by these cultural wars, both in the church and the world, by unknowingly surrendering their identities in Christ to the wiles of Satan destroying both their witness & peace, their transformation & empowerment …”) men who up to the time of war had no tension in their lives, and as soon as turmoil embroiled them, they flung over their faith and became cheap and easy skeptics. The man who knows that there are problems and difficulties in life are not so easily discouraged. Most of us get touchy with God and desert Him when He does not back up our creed (see John 6:60, 66). Many a man through this war (WWI), has lost his form of belief in God and imagines that he has thereby lost God, when in reality, he is in the throes of a conflict which ought to give birth to a realization of God more fundamental than any statement of belief.

There are things in our heavenly Father’s dealings with us which have no immediate explanation. There are inexplicable providences which test us to the limit, and prove that rationalism is a mere mental pose. The Bible and our common sense agree that the basis of human life is tragic, not rational, and the whole problem is focused for us in this book of Job. Job 13:15 is the utterance of a man who has lost his explicit (fully and clearly expressed, leaving nothing implied) hold on God, but not his implicit (entangled, should be understood, though not directly expressed) hold, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” That is the last reach of the faith of a man. Job’s creed is gone; all he believed about God has been disproved by his own experiences, and his friends when they come, say in effect, “You are a hypocrite, Job, we can prove it from your own creed.” But Job sticks to it, “I am not a hypocrite, I do not know what accounts for all that has happened, but I will hold to it that God is just and that I shall see Him vindicated in it all.”

God never makes His way clear to Job. Job struggles with problem after problem, and providence brings more problems all the time, and in the end Job says, “… now mine eye sees thee” (Job 42:5): all he had hung on to in the darkness was true, and that God was all he had believed Him to be, loving and just, and honorable. The explanation of the whole thing lies in the fact that God and Satan had made a battleground of Job’s soul without Job’s permission. Without any warning, Job’s life is suddenly turned in desperate havoc and God keeps out of sight and never gives any sign whatever to Job that He is. The odds are desperately against God and it looks as if the sneer of Satan will prove to be true; but God wins in the end, and Job comes out triumphant in his faith in God, and Satan is completely vanquished.

 Bottom Line: Will I trust the revelation of God by Jesus Christ when everything in my personal experience today flatly contradicts it? (merlin now: Perhaps, rather than once considered as possibilities, now these probable future losses will devastate Christ Followers far beyond those experienced by Job with his friends & family, wealth and health, encroaching now upon the benchmarks and foundations of our nation’s prior stability, of Constitutional Rights and inherent privilege afforded by a once functioning system of jurisprudence, etc., all couched in the cushy American all-inclusive phrase I first heard of during the sixties, that being “entitlements,” literally sweeping into and degrading all aspects of our culture, and perhaps being the most damming evidence of our descent from God’s intricate design, to rather, the best plans that man with his fact checking science can corral in his leaky cisterns being no better than sieves (Jeremiah 2:13), as we witness the biblical revelation end time texts unfold before our eyes. Such was confirmed again during the recent eclipse, by our misdirected worship of Creation, rather than of the Creator. As Ozzie stated in paragraph seven, “these are the times which ought to give birth to a realization of God more fundamental than any statement of belief.”

Next Up: Summary of Ch 11 in Michael Brown’s book, “Saving a Sick America: Saying Good-bye to Entitlement Mentality” I listened to this book 2 years ago and and just re-discovered the doc… A timely find & more relevant than ever. A packed quick easy read.

“While trust often begins with a feeling, it can’t only be based on a feeling, an emotion, or some kind of sense. It has to be rooted in more solid, observable, essential qualities.” Henry Cloud. Chapter One “The morning was tense. I was accustomed to tense situations in my line of work, but I was not prepared for what happened next…

I had been called in to facilitate a crisis meeting. The board of directors for a global entity had convened in a last-ditch effort to save the company. A yearlong battle between the CEO and the board chair had reached a breaking point, and they had called an emergency board retreat to try to prevent what seemed inevitable – that one of the two executives would leave the company. The departure of either one would make global headlines. Hundreds of thousands would be affected, and a great deal of money would be put at risk.

We began our day by putting all the issues on the table, ensuring we were all starting with the same set of facts. The hope was to resolve the conflict between the two leaders so that the company could continue to thrive. As best I could tell, based on my pre-meeting interviews, half of the board sided with the chair, and the other half with the CEO. And it was crystal clear that the two of them did not side with each other.

As each person shared their perspective, the tension was palpable, yet somewhat cordial. But soon, in a moment, it all turned dark. The CEO interrupted the chair to make a comment, and not in a polite or measured way. Then, it happened.

The board chair, with all eyes on him, gently closed his portfolio. After looking down for a few seconds, he looked around the table and said to the group, “I am done. You all can take it from here, but I am done. Good luck.”

With that, he got up and began walking toward the door. The room went silent with shock. I don’t think anyone knew what to do, but they all knew this was bad. The chairman was obviously resigning. He was walking out in the middle of the retreat intended to save the company.

I didn’t know what to do, but I quickly ran across the room and placed myself between the chairman and the door. Then, I sat down on the floor and blocked his exit.

“Okay, wait,” I said. “You can leave here, but if you walk out this door, you will set in motion a chain of events that cannot be undone. It will effect hundreds of thousands of lives. Before you do that, I ask you this one thing, Please, sit down for a moment. Right here, with me.”

There are times when people might think you are so crazy that they simply do what you ask them to do, and I think this was one of them. The chairman sat down on the floor, and I asked him, “What does it feel like when he does what he just did to you?”

He stared at me for a long moment and then began to speak. “I … I… just don’t know…” And his lower jaw began to quiver as he tried to speak. This powerful man, an acclaimed attorney and industry leader, could not get the words out. “He … he makes me feel like… There is no way … I can …”

Pain and emotion so saturated this man’s words that he could no longer speak.

Within minutes, movement across the room caught my attention. The CEO was walking toward us. He sat down besides us, looked at the chairman, and said, “I never knew I made you feel that way. I am so, so sorry.”

The chairman looked up and stared at the CEO for a moment. Then he turned to me, appearing as though he did not know what to say or think next.

I looked at the group and said, “Give me the room. I’ll call you back when we’re ready.”  

Over the next 90 minutes, the three of us simply talked. And listened, and talked some more. Finally, I invited the board to return and said, “Time to go to work.”

For the remainder of the retreat, the board listened to the two executives talk about their disconnection and, more importantly, about how they would move forward. To say the least, things ended much better than they had been just a couple of hours earlier. Disaster averted.

The problem we have is this: we often don’t how trust like theirs went awry, nor do we know the mechanism involved to back to a good place in the way they did. The goal of this book is to understand both: how it gets broken, and how to repair it when it does.

TRUST: Knowing When to Give It, When to Withhold It, How to Earn It,

& How to Fix It When It Gets Broken by Dr Henry Cloud,

Author, psychologist, and leadership expert to equip us to understand and manage trust, the fuel for all life and business. We are wired biologically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically to trust. Trust is the currency that drives every relationship, beginning with the foundational bond between infants and their mothers, extending to the trust networks that under-gird every human endeavor – art, science, business-binding together ever relationship we have ever had or ever will have. Nothing in our world works without trust.

But we all have our stories about misplaced trust. We either missed clear or subtle warning signs, or there just were not any warning signs to see. And sometimes we struggle to earn and keep the trust of those around us when trust bonds fail to form or are broken. When trust breaks down, so does our ability to move forward. Repairing trust is difficult.

Today while experiencing our current cultural deficiency of trust, Dr. Cloud, author of the multi-million copy bestseller Boundaries, explores the imperative five foundational aspects of trust that must be present in any relationship and helps us understand how to implement them. He also guides us through the difficult process of repairing trust when it has been violated and broken.

Rich with wisdom drawn from decades of experience in clinical practice, business consulting and research, TRUST is the ultimate resource for managing this most complex and fundamental of human bonds, allowing us to experience more fruitful and rewarding relationships in every area of our lives.

NEXT UP: will be ten paragraphs from Oswald Chambers first book, on Job, nonetheless, now titled “Our Ultimate Refuge.” in which he states “there is a difference between Satan and the devil which the Bible student should note.” After numerous references recently of Wiersbe’s book “The Strategy of Satan,” I thought perhaps Ozzie would provide additional valid fodder for you truth seekers in these unique days.

Experience has and is yet still, convincing me, that the more we allow ourselves to “physically & spiritually anticipate” in the wonder & the goodness of life; the richer and fuller will become our life experiences!

Psychologists tell us anticipation, which is the opposite of surprise, is an emotion with marvelous healing powers. Can you imagine a world without anticipation? That’s an innocent question but, just now as I re-read it, it hit me hard in the gut that I surely must realize the majority of the worlds 9 billion population today never did, or no longer do, have the opportunity to engage in joyful anticipation. Just how would you & I ever cope with nothing to look forward to?

Do I dare here even suggest a three generation comparison of satisfaction markers be it personal, family, vocational and especially health benchmarks, to get a damage assessment of the culture’s current confusion and chaos to society and the stability for future generations? I tend to think the time for such academic considerations are long past, and that the “endowed & empowered persons capable of anticipation” must unite in focus as detailed below here, and hopefully from past and future blogs.

So, if there is no, or only limited anticipation, then welcome to world of non-Christianity. And fact is, such may also be true for the “not yet” transformed cultural Christians struggling for their identity in the shadows of the Almighty, for without Christ, there can be no ultimate anticipation. There may be momentary prospects of anticipation and even incremental excitement sporadically, but a lasting assured fruitful anticipation is just not happening. Whether you’re among the procrastinating “not yet transformed” cultural Christians, or even an avowed atheist, your future has no promise; it holds no hope. Everything is, or will, soon perish. Death will be the termination of our lives, our families, our fortunes, our civilization, and even the universe itself.

God created both the good and the evil, so that we would have a choice of whom we will serve; be it the Dark, or the Light. Are you beginning to understand the rampant struggle we’re witnessing right now in our culture for personal identities on so many fronts, with so much chaos and confusion? We should not be surprised “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

You know, these days I am often reminded (though I never bothered to look up the words until just now) of the title to Peggy Lee’s song “Is That All There Is” as written by Mike Stoller and Jerry Lieber in the early 70’s inspired by, and understandably so, by one of Thomas Martin’s short stories, titled “Disillusionment.”  Even I, then being only a 23 year-old rootless cultural Christian not yet transformed, recognized the potential undermining depravity of such “worldly” thinking as echoed in the song’s chorus:

“Is that all there is? Is that all there is?

If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing

Let’s break out the booze and have a ball if that’s all there is…

Mike and Jerry used a house fire, a circus, and a “lost cause puppy love heartbreak” for their visual stage of dis-illusioned despondency. Here is the last verse:

I know what you must be saying to yourselves

“If that’s the way she feels about it, why doesn’t she just end it all?”

Oh no, not me

I’m not ready for that final disappointment, Cause I know just as I’m standing here talking to you

And when that final moment comes and I’m breathing my last breath, I’ll be saying to myself

Is that all there is……Chorus

Wow! Is that a sermon in a song or what? Understand, I’ve deliberately chosen not to listen to the song because time has totally erased my memory of even a smidgen of its melody, and that is good! I am quite vulnerable to being emotionally triggered by such negative sights & sounds of darker days & times, so we’ll just let that sleeping dog lie…. You get the picture?

Bottom Line: Thank God we have a Message and Mission of Hope and Light to Dispense and Disperse while we yet tarry here, Living & Building His Kingdom Today while relishing our Joy anticipating the future return of our Lord and transitioning to the mansions He has prepared for us. May we choose to live in His vastness of anticipation today and encourage others either on the fence or in the wilderness to physically & spiritually join us anticipating the wonder & goodness of life in its richest and fullest dimensions.

On every page of the Bible there are words of God that give reason to hope… In the promises of God I find inspiration and new hope. Charles A Allen

The above was inspired by the April 8 reading “Anticipation” in David Jeremiah’s “Discovery: Experiencing God’s Word Day By Day” and revamped and expanded by merlin.

LIFE Perspectives Offered Now from Hindsight…

Possibly for your Foresight, BUT,

Only by His Continual Grace & Mercy…

Say there, don’t take this personal, but judging from your face, you’ve lost your joy; or for sure, your best friend!

“Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” John 20:20 Adapted from April 8 reading from David Jeremiah’s Destinations.

Sherwood Wirt (1911-2008), the last man to interview CS Lewis before Lewis died and the founding editor of Billy Graham’s “Decision Magazine,” plus 28 well known books wrote, “Joy is the enjoyment of God and the good things that come from God, for if the Bible gives us the wonderful words of life, joy supplies the music.”

So, what are we to do if we’ve lost our Joy? Perhaps these are a few suggestions.

  1. Simple, first admit the loss to God.  Since the Bible commands us to be joyful, then loosing our joy is a sin, and known sins are to be confessed.
  2. Jamie Winship’s book titled Living Fearless: Exchanging the Lies of the World for the Liberating Truth of God offers the advice of asking yourself whenever in turmoil or at a loss of direction, whether for yourself or others, to approach God in prayer by 1.) asking Him what do you want me to know about this situation, and when that has been reconciled, 2.) to then ask God, what do you want me to do with this information. How can I be of help?
  3. Check your mind for lies, your body for unresolved suffering, your will for un-tethered pride, and your heart and conscience for self-imposed accusations (See April 7 2024 MM blog) praying for discernment, the necessary revelations, and then, the obedience to take corrective action.
  4. Focus on the Lord Himself. Rededicate yourself to Him. Our joy in life flows from our fellowship with Him.
  5. Make up your mind to be joyful. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as having said a person is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be. I’ve also heard we are a reflection and a summary of the five persons we spend the most of our time with. Accurate for you? You can generally choose your friends, perhaps not co-workers, but you can always stack the deck with a vibrant 30-60-90 morning devotional and prayer time, or by available intervals throughout your day.
  6. Fourth, search out and memorize some of the Bible’s great verses about joy.
  7. And finally, live as though everyday were Easter. When we start and end each day knowing the risen Christ is near us, it’s difficult to lose our Joy for long.

Any Similarities of Crowd Manipulation during Holy Week to Our Events Today? Are We Being Victimized by Satan’s Four Weapons: Lies, Suffering, Pride & Self-Accusations?

So, a week has already passed since Easter! Are we still focused on its supreme triumph, shaking the very foundations of hell? And do we so consider there is nothing in time or eternity more absolutely certain and irrefutable than what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross, making it possible for the entire human race to be brought back into a right-standing relationship with God? And furthermore, hasn’t He made redemption the very foundation of human life, and the only way for every person to enjoy permanent fellowship with God?

Oswald Chambers continues the accolades that the Cross of God can never be comprehended thru merely human experience. Nor is it a gate we can pass right thru; No, for it is there at the Cross where we may abide in the life that is found there. And do realize, the reason salvation is so easy to obtain is that the Cross cost God everything, for it was that intersection where God and sinful man merged with a tremendous collision that opened man’s Way to Life forever, and all the cost and pain of that collision was absorbed by the heart of God. Oswald does have a way with words.

Quite honestly, the busyness of the past six days since Easter has literally “eclipsed” the focus of our worship and adoration last Sunday, perhaps just as in Jesus’ day, when we noticed the sway of public opinion from the Palm Sunday’s Hosannas until the Pharisee prompted Good Friday’s rants of “Crucify Him.” Consider the manipulations today that we’re not fully comprehending. For example, how many of you knew President Biden again issued a proclamation on Good Friday recognizing March 31 as Transgender Day of Visibility, as was begun 15 years ago, and as he has so commemorated on March 31 every year since taking office. It’s embarrassing to admit but I was not aware of either the 15th year, or Biden’s annual observance.

And this week, may we just consider the likely purposeful hype about the eclipse, thereby diverting the attention of the Church from Easter to the next “shiny” thing, or for the worlds masses, away from the myriad of significant news events, such as NATO and Russia heightening their posturing in Europe. Never is the Church exempt from being distracted from its Christ given message and mission by Satan’s four weapons of Lies, Suffering, Pride, and Self-Accusations.

I strongly encourage every Christ Follower to memorize Warren Wiersbe’s main points below summarized from his book The Strategy of Satan: How to Detect & Defeat Him; involving four Old Testament Pillars, and Satan’s Four Personalities of Deception, their Targets, their Weapons, their Purposes, and lastly, our Defenses against such actions of Satan.

1.) Eve was approached by Satan The Deceiver. Satan’s Target – Your Mind, Satan’s Weapons – Lies, Satan’s Purpose – To Make You Ignorant of God’s Will, Your Defense – The Inspired Word of God.

2.) Job was approached by Satan The Destroyer. Satan’s Target – Your Body, Satan’s Weapon – Suffering, Satan’s Purpose – To Make You Impatient with God’s Will, Your Defense – The Imparted Grace of God.

3.) King David was approached by Satan The Ruler. Satan’s Target – Your Will, Satan’s Weapon – Pride, Satan’s Purpose – To Make You Independent of God’s Will, Your Defense – The Indwelling Spirit of God.

4.) Joshua was approached by Satan The Accuser. Satan’s Target – Your Heart and Conscience, Satan’s Weapon – Accusation, Satan’s Purpose – To Bring an Indictment by God’s Will, Your Defense – The Interceding Son of God.

I believe memorizing the above 125 words and being able to speak them forth with conviction and understanding in these last days, perhaps even last hours of His lingering grace and mercy, for certain at least, of our mortal existence as an aging population, is top priority for all Christ Followers.

Now onto a lighter note, when I opened our church email bulletin this morning, I saw additional insults added to the past week’s injuries. I can just imagine that three or four decades ago, some of the movers and shakers amongst the Church Council members may have been contacted during the week by one of our former church council chairs were they still walking amongst us, asking them if they’d seen last week’s services figures yet? In a nutshell, as a skilled scholarly statistician, this council chair would have admonished them that the congregation’s attendance was good at 299, but it was Easter and it should have been 399; and that the SS attendance had dipped to a perilous 99 (no further comment there), and worse of all, the offering on Easter was pitiful, though conceding that the prior weeks were largely exemplary. No further comments were forthcoming.

This post was prompted by inputs from:

1.) the April 6 reading from My Utmost for His Highest, titled the Collision of God and Sin …“who himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree…” I Peter2:24;

2.) that our lack of implementing Scriptural teaching and encouraging each other as we are reminded in Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging on another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hence, the Strategies of Satan book summarized for practical referral and usage, and

3.) just enough history from the “by gum by gone” years to be “interesting, and hopefully, not too, dangerous.”

YOU READY FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO NDE’s? Yesterday, during my morning devotions I suddenly realized the Spirit was taking me on a very explicit tour of my life’s selfish sinful actions since I was a wee lad back in MN….

right up to the present moment of His continuing renewal and restoration in my life. It took hours to complete with all my diverse and intense bunny trails. I was graciously humbled by the journey thru time, concluded by propelling me to the unspeakable heights outlined in Ephesians 3:17-19, “… you being rooted and established in love, may have the power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Truly proof of God’s awesome protection and His deliverance, sparing me from even one Near Death Experience during my 75 yeas! Perhaps when I retire I’ll write about my numerous personal Angel Rescued Encounters.

Before I go any further, I want you to be aware NDE’s can be very controversial for many persons. The Handbook of NDE’s reports that 12 different different studies involving 1369 subjects found 23 percent “reported NDE’s ranging from disturbing to terrifying or disturbing.” I have only read two NDE books so far. John Burke, author of Imagine Heaven, trained and worked as an engineer before God called him to ministry. He wrote three outstanding books chronicling his ministry before Imagine Heaven; No Perfect People Allowed, Soul Revolution, and Unshockable Love. I read all three enjoying their perspective, two we used in a SS class. And now his sixth book is titled “Imagine God.” John has skillfully presented his research of interviewing nearly 1000 NDE persons in light of scriptural truths, not to convince us of anything specifically, but rather to present his findings and let us discern greater understandings. Perhaps the greater truth is observed in the life changes we observe in the persons he introduces us to through out this book.

During the last 18 months of Loretta’s mothers life, Loretta was gone well over two months on mission trips and assisting family. At meal time, mother and I, she 96, would listen to this Imagine Heaven on audible books. In fact, spring a year ago, we were halfway thru it the second time. She loved listening to the diverse encounters and the snippets describing heaven, prompting many interesting discussions, all of which I believe were helpful preparing her to transition to her forever home this past September. Now, back to what transpired with me this past Tuesday that set this post in motion.

First, you must know it was the inspiration from Romans 11: 32-37 (MSG) that began this unique journey down my memory lane beginning with my own paraphrase of verse 32:

“In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be so very lost and shackled in the filth of our past sins so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in,”

33.) Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.
34.) Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
35.) Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?
36.) Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes.”

Now, more about one unique NDE. In the last March post, I spoke of Howard Storm in John Burke’s book “Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences. God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You.” Even though I’ve never experienced an NDE as described here by Howard, I do remember twice having an unusually vivid replay of my negative life’s events yet stored in my memory.

You may recall Howard was the ardent atheist former university PhD art professor who is now a pastor in Covington OH. What follows here are some key paragraphs from the book describing Howard’s NDE as chronicled in Chapter 16 “What about Hell” that occurred while taking students on a tour of Paris’s museums when a stomach ulcer perforated his duodenum. Little did he know, but from the time of perforation, life expectancy typically is five hours. The hospital only had one surgeon on duty that weekend, so he and wife, Beverly had to wait. Ten hours later, a nurse informed them the doctor had gone home, and they would have to wait until morning. Howard fought to stay alive, but now he had nothing left. “I knew I was dying…. we said our good-byes. I knew for certain there was no such thing as life after death. Only simpleminded people believed in that sort of thing. I didn’t believe in God, or heaven, or hell, or any other such fairy tales.” Howard closed his eyes and passed. He expected oblivion, but instead, he found himself standing up beside the bed. He opened his eyes.

“Could this be a dream?” I kept thinking. “This has got to be a dream.” But I knew it wasn’t. I was aware that I felt more alert, more aware, and more alive than I had ever felt in my entire life. As I bent over to look at the face of the body in the bed, I was horrified to see the resemblance that it had to my own face. It was impossible that that person could be me because I was standing over it and looking at it… I had never felt more alert and conscious. I wanted desperately to communicate with Beverly, and I yelled at her for her to say something, but she just ignored me… and the next 6 pages describes his terrors traveling toward hell in custody of his demonic tormentors, eventually he became too badly torn up and too broken to resist, and his tormentors gave up because he was no longer amusing.

“As I lay on the ground, my tormentors swarming about me, a voice emerged from my chest. It sounded like my voice, but it wasn’t a thought of mine … “Pray to God.” I remember thinking “Why? What a stupid idea. That doesn’t work. What a cop-out. Lying here in this darkness, surrounded by hideous creatures, I don’t believe in God. This is utterly helpless, and I am beyond any possible help whether I believe in God or not. I don’t pray, period.”

A second time, the voice spoke to me, “Pray to God.” It was recognizably my voice, but I had not spoken. Pray how? Pray what? I hadn’t prayed at any time in my entire adult life. I didn’t know how to pray… That voice said it again, “Pray to God.” And Howard struggled to remember any prayers from childhood, anything with God’s name in it, so he just pieced together all he could recall into a rag-tag prayer of desperation. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. For purple mountain majesty, my eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. Deliver us from evil. One nation under God. God bless America.”

To my amazement, the cruel, merciless beings tearing the life out of me were incited to rage by my ragged prayer. It was as if I was throwing boiling oil on them. They screamed at me, “There is no God! Who do you you think you’re talking to?” They spoke in the most obscene language, worse than any blasphemy said on earth. But at the same time, they were backing away from me. I could still here their voices in the utter darkness, but they were getting more distant. I realized saying things about God was driving them away. I became more forceful with what I was saying….

I knew they were far away, but could return. I was alone, destroyed, and yet painfully alive in this revolting horrible place. I had no idea where i was… I was alone in darkness without measure. I thought about what I had done. All my life I had thought yhat hard work was what counted. My life was devoted to building a monument to my ego. My family, my sculptures, my painting, my house, my gardens, my little fame, my illusions of power, were all an extension of my ego, All of those things were gone now, and what did they matter?

All of my life, I’d fought a constant undertone of anxiety, fear, dread and angst. I didn’t like myself and I didn’t like other people either. How ironic it was to end up in the sewer of the universe with people who fed off the pain of others? I had had little genuine compassion for others. It dawned on me that I was not unlike these miserable creatures that had tormented me…. Little strength was left to resist becoming a creature gnashing his teeth in the outer darkness. I wasn’t far from becoming like one of my tormentors for all eternity.

As Howard lay alone in the dark, feeling himself slip away into darkness, a song he hadn’t heard since childhood came into his head: “Jesus loves me, da, da, da.” He couldn’t remember but three words, yet it tapped deep into a longing and ignited a tiny spark of hope.

“I wanted it to be true that Jesus loved me. I didn’t know how to express what I wanted and needed, but with every bit of my last ounce of strength, I yelled out into the darkness, “Jesus, save me.”… I have never meant anything more strongly in my life,”

And thus began Howard’s journey out of the outskirts of hell. In Chapter 17 titled Life Review, on page 239, we read “Howard Storm had been rescued from the horrors of the outer darkness, and now he found himself with Jesus, paused in space looking toward what he knew to be God’s City. Jesus called in a melodic tone, and seven lights shot across the vast distance from the city of Light to join them. Howard recognized them as angels or saints, more brilliant and beautiful than Howard could imagine, trumped only by Jesus himself. Storm’s words follow italicized.

They asked me if I would like to see my life. Unsure of what to expect, I agreed. The record of my life was their record, not my memory of my life. We watched and experienced episodes that were from a third-party point of view. The scenes they showed me were often of incidents I had forgotten. They showed their effects on people’s lives, of which I had no previous knowledge. They reported the thoughts and feelings of people I had interacted with, which I had been unaware of at the time. They showed me scenes from my life that I would not have chosen, and they eliminated scenes from my life that I wanted them to see. It was a complete surprise to see how my life history was being presented.

As Howard watched his early years being relived in 3-D, he saw how his father’s anger slowly became his own anger, directing his life.

Seven angels and myself were arranged in a circle in the presence of Jesus while the scenes were projected in the midst of the circle… I saw how I was being trained to repress emotions and was obedient so as to win the approval of my parents. I was also learning that my father completely dominated all of us by the threat of his anger. Although we not allowed to show anger, I was learning what a powerful means of controlling people anger could be…

The angels showed me how my father’s compulsion to be successful was driving him toward increasing impatience and rage with his family. I saw my mother, sisters, and I each developed different means of coping with his unpredictable mood swings… I grew withdrawn and lived in a private world of anger and violence… The angels and Jesus shared their feelings of joy with me when love was expressed, and they shared their disappointment and sadness when we hurt one another. God had put my mother, father, sisters, and me together to love and support one another in our life’s journey to grow in love and spirit. We were adapting our desire to love in unhealthy ways…

I didn’t understand – nor did my generation – that love and sexual relations are not the same thing. We viewed members of the opposite sex as objects to be exploited for sexual gratification… This period of my life was shameful to watch in divine company because I had misdirected my desire to love and be loved… The sexual revolution that I grew up in was opposed to love by promoting counterfeit sexual love as true love. This cultural wave of hedonism was bathed in alcohol and drugs, which are an even further departure from love and the will of God… God brought my wife and I together to learn love. I saw it in my life review. God gives us each other to learn how to love. This is our opportunity…

In my life review, I had to turn away numerous times when I saw myself treating my children in unloving ways. The most unloving thing I did was to be at times so obsessed with my concerns (agenda) that I was indifferent to their needs. The most disturbing behaviors I witnessed in my life were the times when I cared more about my career as an artist and college professor than about their need to be loved. The emotional abandonment of my children was devastating to review.

 It was horrifying to see how I had become so much like my father… I begged them to stop it because I was so ashamed of my failure to live lovingly and because of the grief I had caused God, Jesus, and the heavenly beings. The only reason I could bear to proceed with the life review was because of their love for me. No matter what we watched me do in life, they communicated their love for me, even as they expressed their disapproval of things I did… To use vulgar words is beyond poor taste. To use the name of God in crude or empty ways is an insult to our Creator. I was horrified at how it hurt my heavenly company when we witnessed me blaspheming God and Christ Jesus… As my adult life unfolded before us, my self-centered nature predominated, and this greatly displeased my divine company. I did very little that was not in my own self-interest. Other people’s needs were less important than my own desires. This is opposed to the will of God and is the opposite of love…

The angels showed me that we do not earn our love of God by the things we do. God’s love is given without cost or strings attached. We live lovingly because God loves so much. Thank God there is a way to change our lives and be forgiven our mistakes… Only a person who loves God can accept that God would suffer and die so that we may be raised up to life with God. God defeated the power of death through God’s great love for us. Jesus is God’s redemptive act for a fallen world… If a person is not ruled by the love of God, he or she is ruled by hatred for God. Perhaps our greatest hatred for God, or at least, the most damaging to us, is our indifference to God!

It is said the life review in the presence of God often has the most dramatic impact on the life of a person according to NDE researchers. It clarifies what really matters to God as He shows them that every little action has relational reverberation, person to person, and down through the generations. Some people experience their life flashing before them as they are dying. Most experience the life review in God’s presence as he gently guides them to see what matters. The majority of life reviews start with a question from this Being of Light. They may phrase it in different ways but they all hear basically the same thing: “What have you done with the life I gave you?” It’s not said in judgement, but in love, to prompt reflection and learning.

Imagine when your earthly life ends and you relive your whole life – every moment! Imagine the day God shows you how your faithful, loving acts of service produced a ripple effect of good in God’s economy. God records every thought, every act, and every motive. He promises to reward those who love him and have been faithful to him. Jesus reminds us what to live for: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their own soul. Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” (Matt 16:26-27). The life review NDErs experience seems to be a preview. It’s not the judgement, but it is an opportunity to live for what truly lasts. Don’t wait for your life review to live for what matters!

Merlin speaking now. So now in summary, to the question “what have you done with the life I gave you,” Jesus told us, “The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Luke 12:2 (NLT).

The message is clear: Live now for what really matters. God wants to set us free from proving ourselves, judging ourselves, or comparing ourselves to each other so we can be free to accomplish the wonderful things he created us to do. At the end of time there are two judgements, and we’ll discover in the next chapter the OT prophets and Jesus tell us about these two separate judgements. The great white throne is a judgement of faith and determines who belongs to God, whereas the bema seat judgement, will be the greatest cosmic awards ceremony ever imagined for all who belong to God. As scripture makes clear, neither judgement takes place until the end of human history as we know it:

The last four sentences of the April 3 Utmost reading are a positive invigorating encouragement to those of us such as myself, never having been close enough to death to experience an NDE, but have experienced deeply reflective times as I did recently, traveling through all the garbage of my life’s great transgressions. May I encourage you with these four sentences from Utmost.

“Never be afraid when God brings back your past. Let your memory have its way with you. It is a minister of God bringing its rebuke and sorrow to you. God will turn the “what mighta/shoulda have been” into a wonderful lesson of growth just for you in your near future.” Do you recall what I said in the first paragraphs, about propelling you upwards to unspeakable heights of joy for your deliverance from evil as we now bathe in the verses of Ephesians 3:17-19? Read them again. Powerful words.

FYI, ThriftBooks now has one used Imagine Heaven for $6.89 and 50 new hardcover copies for $38.38. Perhaps someone in the supply chain is being greedy? They also have several copies of Howard Storm’s book “My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life,” that I’ve not read yet. I’ll post this Saturday early so you have all weekend to read and digest it, as I’m hoping this post may be more memorable than the coming eclipse, unless you include the possibility of incited media drama generated the days following the 8th. Join me in praying that we’re spared any such trauma…

Blessings as you continue discerning His Truth for your life here forth >>>>> merlin

What’s the Deal with Us Too Often NAGGING?

A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman (or a man) are alike. Proverbs 27:15

First off, this verse does apply equally to men and women, to husbands and wives, Little if any good, ever comes from carping at each other, for a person doesn’t often get nagged into any award winning righteousness. The evangelist from yesteryear, Dr J Wilbur Chapman, wrote, “Nagging has sent many a man to destruction and driven some (today I’m sure he’d say MOST) women to despair. You can nag in any language that human lips have spoken. You can even nag when your lips are tight shut by merely lifting your eyebrows, tossing your head, or sneering a sneer. It definitely is not confined to sex. Its secondary root cause is due to disposition which makes the focus of one’s heart, or servant-hood, the principal player in such disruptive skirmishes without powder or lead, or at least so, initially.

Chapman went on to advise, “If you have a complaint, make it but don’t nag. If you’ve been injured, say so but don’t nag… Nagging is a sin against yourself, your household, your husband, your wife, your friends. Serious stuff! So, why not list it with other sins, as that is certainly where the flagrant destroyer of tolerable relationships quickly going sour belongs.”

Seriously, if you’re unhappy with another person’s flippant nagging behavior, pray about it first. Next, carefully examine your own routine behaviors and possible idiosyncrasies that tend to set off whoever bears the brunt of such, and then, you must be lovingly honest and open in dealing with it. Understand though, such solutions are seldom “once & done! Above all, button up any resemblance of nagging! Sincere compliments work wonders as followups to refocusing ones heart’s intentions!

Adapted and revised from David Jeremiah’s Destinations April 3