Thoughts from an Ordinary Guy

This journey through life is never boring......

Month: January 2017 (page 1 of 2)

Real Help?

In a time in this world where there are so many people saying, “Trust me!  I can solve this!”

“Vote for me, the other guy is a jerk!”

“We’re going to solve this.”

God speaks, through David, in Psalm 3:8, when he says, “Real help comes from God.”

There you have it.  

Whether you are battling your own personal struggles that no one else can see

or

You are fighting issues and executive orders that run contrary to what you hear God calling his people to, you can have confidence.

Real Help – band aids are not real help, they are cover ups, and temporary aid.   Real Help, lasting help comes from God.

Does it come straight down from Heaven (think Elijah and the altar that God burned up)?  Rarely.

Most of the time, real help that comes from God comes through His people.

Through lowly shepherds like David.

Through people like Moses with a speech impediment.

Through prostitutes.

Through IRS agents.

Through fathers who immigrated to another country to change the future of their entire family.

Through Mother Teresa and her work with the poor and the sick.

Through the people who take the time to listen and really listen when someone answers the question, “How are you?” with something less than an honest, heartfelt positive answer.

Real help comes from God – through His people.

Who can you help who needs it today?

Dear God,   There is a lot going on in this world and most of it seems to be evil, hard, disapointing.  Help us to realize that we, as your people, need to be your hands and feet and help those who are hurting.  Amen

TJV

Psalm 1:1

Psalm 1:1 – What’s the name of that college?

Psalm 1:1 (The Message). “How well God must like you — you don’t hangout at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart Mouth College.”

When I read verse 1 of Chapter 1, I have a couple of reactions to it…….

Is the writer saying, “Congratulations, you are doing what God wants, way to go!”

Or is he saying, “Well, let’s throw a little snark your way because you are doing all of these things, aren’t you special? Or would that require the writer to have attended “smart mouthed college?”  

I tend to think that it’s the first one. God wants us to avoid those things. He wants us to live a life of gratitude. Gratitude for what He has done for us. Not because we have to in order to be saved but because we want to as a way to show thanks for all He has done for us.  

So, ask yourself. In the life you live and the place you live and where you work, how hard is it to stay away from Sin Saloon, Dead End Road and Smart Mouth College?

Now put yourself in Washington DC and working for the government – either as a high ranking elected official or as a lower level staffer or as someone with aspirations to move from staffer to staff. How hard would it be to stay away from Sin Saloon and Smart Mouth College there?

“Dear Heavenly Father, It’s hard, we know it’s hard, but help us to have the strength to avoid Sin Saloon and Smart Mouth College. Be with the people in Washington who are so tempted by those things and the power that comes from living there. Help them to live the way You want them to and to give you glory rather than hanging out in bad places and doing bad things. In your Son’s name, Amen”

 

I Heard it from a Friend Who……..

One of the many benefits of the connected society we live in is that I have the opportunity to be connected with people literally all over the world. Many of them, I would not know if it weren’t for the Internet.

One of those has the distinct privilege (or maybe I do) of sharing the same name. Tom Vander Well lives in Pella Iowa and he and I have gotten to know each other over the web – mainly because Google searches kept getting our names mixed up. As best as we can tell, his relatives about 500 years ago lived within a couple of miles of where my relatives lived in The Netherlands – but we haven’t traced them back that far. So we figure we are cousins of some sort and are good with that for now. 

Tom started a practice a number of years ago where he writes on his blog what he calls “The Chapter of the Day.” It’s a series of thoughts, musings, reactions to what he is reading in his personal devotions. I haven’t read them all but I’ve been blessed by them.

I also read from somewhere, and I apologize for not remembering where, but some writer this week was being open about her ( believe it was a her) struggles with the election and the inauguration. In her struggles, she brought up the practice of using the book of Psalms as a prayer book. Read through it, pray through it, use it to pray when you don’t know what to pray.

When you combine those two ideas and then add them to a couple of events that are going on, I thought that was a really good idea. What events? There are two main ones as I see it right now…..- As many of you know, my Dad was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We are waiting for the final tests to come in but my Dad and our entire family have a tough journey ahead. 

– The political and inaugural events of this past week are not the way that I would have chosen them to go. Disillusionment with the people who are in government and disillusionment with the way that religious and church leaders have not stood up against what the consensus feels that the church should be against.

In light of those, I’m going to start doing a series of blog posts about the book of Psalms. I’m not going to commit to a chapter a day or anything of that sort. I’m going to read through from Psalm 1 to Psalm 150 and go as fast or as slow as I feel called to. And I’m going to write about what I read, about what speaks to me, especially in light of my Dad’s battle with cancer and the turmoil in the world of politics and leadership (or a lack thereof).

I hope you’ll join me – if you want to be notified, sign up on the box in the right column.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll benefit from this prayer walk through the Psalms.

Tom

P.S. If you have read the article about praying the Psalms and know who it is who wrote it, let me know and I will adjust this to give credit and point towards the article

Seven Years – Apparent Project

By Shelley Jean

I feel like I have told the story so many times. The day that started like any other day. How we went to the store and bought flour and bananas and spent the day making tortillas. H…

Source: Seven Years – Apparent Project

Isn’t the Hague Enough? – Apparent Project

It should be.

If it was properly administered, I believe it would.

But it’s not.

It’s not properly administered – at least not in the same way everywhere.

Source: Isn’t the Hague Enough? – Apparent Project

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