Archive for the 'wisdom' Category

(Posts Archive)

A Time to Wonder

Others had said something similar. But it was during a dark time in my life that, through the novels and Unspoken Sermons of Scottish author and poet, George MacDonald (1824-1905), I began to take to heart— what I now believe to be some of the most helpful counsel and caution I’ve ever heard: If, while reading […]

Unimaginable— Part 1

Childlikeness renews wonder that childishness reasons away. But if that’s the case, it may not be readily apparent in the the Apostle Paul’s often quoted, “When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” What is clear is that, whatever Paul meant […]

Spirituality

Spirituality may be more widely regarded than sectarianism, denominationalism, churchism, or organized religion of any kind. Definitions and articles on the subject describe it as a sense of connection to something beyond our material selves from which we draw our source of meaning and purpose in this world. For many of us who grew up […]

Pr…ying Mantis

Look who showed up in my yard the other day. But is it a preying or praying mantis? Found out that, even though it is a natural predator it is a—praying mantis. Also learned that “mantis” comes from the Greek word for “prophet” or “fortune teller” and that Mantises were considered to have supernatural powers by early […]

Why Some Veterans Miss War

In a provocative 13 minute TED Talk war correspondent Sebastian Junger tries to answer a disturbing question. Why do so many veterans, especially those who served in active duty, miss war? After 20 years of covering the horrors and inhumanity of the battlefield, Junger found a painful irony—what veterans miss is the opposite of what […]

Looking for a Way Forward

As some of you have noticed, I have not been posting or commenting as often on this blog which is no longer connected to Our Daily Bread Ministries (formerly RBC Ministries). Part of the reason for the change is that, on reaching the age of 65 (three years ago), I decided it was time for […]

Tired in Trying

After a wind storm took down big limbs and snapped trees in our neighborhood last week, my neighbors and I wore ourselves out trying to get down a heavy wild cherry branch that was hanging dangerously just beyond the reach of our ladder and ropes. Yet, as I think back on it now, our physical […]

Has God Said?

The question has a history. Before it was first asked, human experience was limited to a paradise of undisguised trust and innocence (Gen 2:25). Then… from behind the mask of one of God’s own creatures, the hellishly subtle question was asked, “Has God said….?” In the next few words, Genesis gives us a hint of […]

The Consuming Fire

Does God want us to be afraid of him… or to be afraid of not knowing and remembering how much he loves us? The 12th Chapter of Hebrews ends with a sobering thought: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence […]

High Ground

It’s hard to leave the high ground of 1Corinthians 13. Maybe we are not supposed to… except to linger… and then walk… for the rest of our lives in the thought of Who such love comes from… and where He is leading us. Most of us know the story of this song’s author. He had […]

Who Am I?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is widely remembered as a German author and pastor who was arrested in 1943 for his role in resisting the policies of the Nazi government. While in prison he continued to write and was assisted by sympathetic guards who smuggled his letters to the outside. He was executed on 9 April 1945 as […]

Why is the Bible Called the Word of God?

This is an important question because there are many voices in the Bible. In its pages we hear our Creator quoted as saying, “Let there be light”, and Satan’s subtle challenge, “Did God really say…?” Between the first words of Genesis and the last words of Revelation we find prophets and poets speaking in their […]

Mindsight and Violence

In an unpredictably violent world it’s hard to think straight. This isn’t all bad. In dangerous moments our survival often depends on reactions that enable us to act quickly either in our own behalf or for the sake of others—when we don’t have time to think. Way too often, however, we all end up doing […]

Living Letters

In past conversations we have talked about whether quotes of an inspired Bible remain the Word of God no matter how ungracefully or thoughtlessly they are expressed. We may also have observed together that when the written Scriptures themselves speak of the Word of God they may be referring to, (1)  A direct quote of […]

A Time to Ask

In a book titled Humble Inquiry a social psychologist and retired MIT professor writes about three kinds of humility: 1) “humility that we feel around elders and dignitaries; 2) the humility that we feel in the presence of those who awe us with their achievements; and 3) Here-and-now Humility, which results from our being dependent […]

Hope in Regret

According to his mother, ML was a wonderful son who, at 14, turned to alcohol and drugs. In the years that followed, he made a series of troubled choices. Caught in a downward spiral, he eventually was arrested and convicted of armed robbery. To his parents’ relief, he got a suspended sentence and seemed to […]

Jacob’s Ladder

In 19th-century America, a generation of oppressed slaves sang a spiritual about “Jacob’s Ladder.” The repetitive, rhythmic lyrics about climbing higher and higher helped them envision themselves on a hard journey to a better place. The original story is about a great ladder reaching up to heaven, and it’s as down-to-earth as the man who […]

A Time to Cry

One of the riddles of the kingdom of God is found in Jesus’ words, “Cry now, laugh later”; Laugh now, cry later” (Luke 6:21; Luke 6:25). It was not a new thought. For centuries his people had been singing songs and hearing prophets talk about being deeply troubled by the silence of God before seeing […]

3 Questions and a Dream

Imagine falling asleep, and having God come to us in a dream the way he did to Solomon (1Kings 3:5). But instead of saying, “What do you want? Ask me.” He says, “Ask 3 questions you’d like me to answer”.  Then he adds: “1 question about this life, 1 question about the next one, and […]

Jalapenos and 2013 Nobel Honors

While doing some reading on this year’s prestigious Nobel awards, I bumped into the video of a little boy who insists that jalapeno peppers are not hot. Then I continued reading about the recognition given to 3 researchers who have been honored in the category of physiology and medicine. Together and individually they have discovered […]

Google Listens

The University of Chicago’s Wisdom Research website is presently featuring a news report about an 87 year old Zen Master who has been asked by Google execs to help  bring a sense of humanity back into their corporate work culture. According to an article in The Guardian, doors are opening for this elderly Buddhist monk […]

Degrees of Sin

Is all sin alike in God’s eyes? Our last conversation about God’s words to Moses—that, to our ear, can sound so self-contradictory (Exodus 34:5-7)— have raised a question about degrees of sin. Seems to me that this lingering thought might help us  reflect on the second half of an ancient quote that seems so unfair […]

An Unrealized Dream

Over the years, I’ve dreamed of being part of a “safe place” where hurting people could feel welcome and feel free to be themselves while trying to make sense out of their lives. In the process I’ve imagined finding a group of like-minded people who could hang out a shingle and an honest invitation that […]

Solomon and Jesus

Long ago, a young king of Israel wrote, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, . . . she is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13-15 NIV). The Wisdom of Solomon: To this day, we still tell the story of how God appeared to him in a dream and […]

The Value of a Riddle

It’s been around for awhile. You may have heard it and know the answer. But I hadn’t, and instead of mulling it over for a day or even ten minutes, I cheated and went to the answer page to get the solution… to: What is greater than God, more evil than the devil? The poor […]

Mixing it Up

Syncretism is an interesting subject. We see an example not only in Dr Livingstone’s Sechele, but also in the life of Solomon. 1Kings 3 indicates that Solomon, the young king of Israel, took a peace bride by marrying Pharaoh’s daughter. Born in the home of a warrior king, Solomon probably had his fill of killing […]

What Dr Livingstone Presumed

Many of our generation probably know little more about a legendary African missionary, doctor, and explorer than the smile of “Dr Livingstone I presume?” While some question the historicity of those actual words, they apparently were reported by the New York Herald Newspaper in 1869. The Herald had sent Henry Morton Stanley to Africa to […]

Notes on a Diplomat

Last night I had a chance to hear a lecture hosted by our regional World Affairs Council. The speaker was an articulate member of the international diplomatic core who walked us through the complex issues of: Rhetoric and reality—the difference between what is said and done. Interests vs values—the tendency to act in the interpretation […]

Samson and Jesus

Samson is one of the most interesting people of the Bible. Like the Philistine Goliath, he’s remembered for his legendary physical strength. After killing a lion with his bare hands, he took on a whole army with the jawbone of a donkey and, in his last act, pushed down the pillars of a huge temple […]

Seeds of Hope

When a troubled Solomon tried to make sense of the times and seasons of life, he observed that “there’s a time to plant, and a time to harvest (Ecc 3:2). Got to thinking about how much of following Christ involves personally planting seeds of faith, hope, and love in the God whose story includes large […]

What is This Proverb Saying?

Proverbs are short memorable sayings designed to help us think about what it means to live wisely. In that light, we’ve probably heard it said that a proverb is not a promise but rather a general rule about how life usually works. When we say that “a stitch in time saves nine” we are not […]

2013 With Bagels and Rocks

In these health-minded times, we may have lost a proverb. It’s been a while since I’ve heard, “Whatever you do, keep your eye on the donut… and not on the hole.” Maybe switching to bagels could help us recover one of life’s most important lessons. From the beginning of time it’s been an issue.  We […]

Abandonment

In a biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson explores the question of whether the corporate genius ever got over the fact that he was given up at birth by his biological parents. Isaacson quotes co-workers and friends who believe Steve Jobs struggled with a lifelong fear of abandonment. They recall not only his […]

The Bible and Cut Flowers

The words of the Bible can be like cut flowers. The words of Jesus, like the laws of Moses, can be selectively chosen and arranged for anyone’s temporary purposes and enjoyment. But once the words are sheared from the stem and root of the story they are telling, they begin to fade in significance like […]

Our Fathers

On StoryCorps, a project of National Public Radio, I heard 73-year-old Walter Dean Myers tell a story that he says has forever changed the way he remembers his father. Myers, an author with almost 100 books to his name, recalls that at 14 he already had a love for writing. Since his parents didn’t have […]

Love Hate Point Counterpoint

Many of you may have seen the following video that went viral a couple of weeks ago. Titled “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus” it expresses a deeply felt faith that has resonated with millions. But just yesterday, I was sent the following link to a response to the first from the other side […]

Wonderful Misused Words

The 91st Psalm is one of the most quoted, claimed, wonderful, mysterious, and misused portions of the Bible.  “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I […]

What Do We Know About Ourselves?

Hurt people tend to hurt people. We’ve talked about it here before. Abused people abuse people. Abandoned people abandon people. We’ve all seen examples. But who hasn’t also seen that loved people hate. Indulged people deprive. The accepted reject. One of the recurring themes of the Bible is not only that hurt people hurt people, […]

What Else is God Hiding?

In our last post we saw how a proverb can help us reflect on the wisdom and ways of our God. By giving us a saying that functions like a riddle, our minds are stretched to consider more than one possibility. Yesterday we thought together about the proverb “It is the glory of God to […]

What Matters in the End!?

As the sun was setting, I got a shot of this milkweed. Am thinking it might illustrate a way to move forward with our conversation about living in anticipation of end times. There’s a bit of irony here. Many of us believe that being ready for Christ’s promised return prepares us for eternity. Yet, in […]

The Bible and Truth

In all of our lives there are defining moments that come with the realization that our world will never be the same again. Some of these events changed the course of history. We may have been around long enough to remember where we were when we heard that John F. Kennedy had been shot. Others […]

What Is Biblical?

What makes something biblical? The easiest answer may be that, “If something is found in the Bible, it’s biblical.” But that means polygamy, slavery, and genocide all qualify. Another approach is to say that an idea or practice is biblical if it is consistent with the values and nature of the Bible. That’s probably a […]

Famous Pairs

Am guessing that when you see the following short list of famous pairs, you will think of other duos that have a way of doing together what neither could do on their own. In addition to bacon and eggs, there are, Sherlock and Watson Tom and Huck Abbot and Costello Batman and Robin Lewis and […]

Would This Make us Happy?

When are we really happy? What do we thoroughly enjoy doing? Under what conditions are we tempted  to say, “this is heaven”. I ask because I’ve been thinking about what David said about “Delighting in the LORD.” In the 37th Psalm he said, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires […]

Endless Knowledge

Never before have so many people had access to so much information. With human knowledge doubling every few years and search engines like Google and Yahoo! at our fingertips, the potential for learning seems endless. The horizons of knowledge—According to Reuters News Service, the Hubble Space Telescope has found 10,000 galaxies in a window of […]

God on Trial

After surviving the horrors of Nazi concentration camps, Elie Wiesel wrote a novel titled The Trial of God. Reflecting Wiesel’s own crisis of faith, he created a character who accuses God of “hostility, cruelty, and indifference” for silently turning His back on His people in their time of need. In this plot, the only one […]

In Honor and Remembrance

The grave of a soldier who died in the service of his country is marked today with renewed expressions of family and friends whose hearts remain broken by their loss. In the silence, I’m reminded of the value of a person. The cumulative assets of the whole world could not equal the life of that […]

Finding Our Way Ahead

I woke up this morning thinking that I need to move the conversation along to something else, as promised, because of the frustration that erupted over our last discussion. Then I read the comments posted overnight, and heard the heart and reasonableness of friends who expressed that they felt I was just making the Bible […]

Whose Reality Grips Us?

Has something changed in the way we read the Bible that is affecting our view of reality? Is it possible that we are no longer engrossed in its own story, but instead are flipping through its pages looking for interesting thoughts or anecdotes? Several recent experiences have me wondering. On one hand I recently heard […]

The Power of “Group Think”

Yesterday, I read an article in USA Today about a Christian leader who removed his name from a group that supports the rights of Muslims to build mosques in their communities. The article went on to explain that the person was responding to those who felt that the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques crossed the line […]

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