July 2010 Archives

While reading through my Bible, I see places - many places - where God speaks to people: Adam, Moses, Abraham, Samuel, David, Paul and many more. In some cases, he was downright chatty, and there were some fascinating conversations between men and God.

And as I read, I think, "What's so special about these guys, that God talked to them? Were they better than I am?" I just can't see a fundamental difference between us. What sets them apart was that God in most cases called them to some exceptional task for him. They were not in some way intrinsically superior.

I can't count the times in my life I have cried out to God for forgiveness. A depressingly high number. I have lived with an awareness of the depth of my propensity toward sin, and I have sought to be set free from it.

Yet, I have never felt a sense of complete release. It's like God was saying to me, "Okay, I'll forgive you this time, but...." Perhaps you know what I'm talking about. I think it's because that's my tendency toward myself: Conditional forgiveness.

There used to be a saying, in some of the more "folksy" parts of the church, that was used as a common greeting: "You got the victory, Brother?" It was a sort of baptized version of, "How's it going?"

A pastor in one of these churches decided the question assumed too much, and modified it: "You got the victory, Brother, or are things just going your way?"

A different matter entirely.

Thoughts on hard places

Do you know the song, "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries"? Well, it's not true. In fact, it's a flat-out lie.

I suspect many of you would look at life and the world around you and agree. For most of the people I know and see in my world, life is difficult, and it involves more pain than we want to think about. It's a long ways from just sitting around enjoying good, sweet fruit.

In hard times, especially the ones that seem to have no end, I sometimes wonder what part God plays in this mess. Is he even in it? Can these things really come from a loving, sovereign God, a part of his will?

...the desires of my heart

Have you ever been puzzled by a scripture verse, wondering what it means, and if God is really true to his word? I mean, there seem to be cases where the Bible makes a promise or a statement of cause and effect, but it doesn't seem to work very well in life.

I have made a career of wondering and asking God what's up with this. One of my favorite hang-ups used to be from Psalm 37:4: "Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart." You, too?

On the value of seminary

Anyone who knows me would laugh if someone asked if I place a high value on education. Of course, they would say. Larry breathes education, they would say. And while that's a little over the top, it's not far off. I love learning and I love teaching, and I believe both have great value.

I have graduated from college, then graduate school, and finally, seminary. I was once asked, in this process, what benefit I expected to receive from seminary, and what difference my time there would make in my life.

In my library, I have several books from the business world, mostly best-sellers. Generally, they are about how to achieve excellence in business. How to be the best.

I am not in the business world and have little interest in being there, but I believe there are principles that apply anywhere: business, life, and church. And that's my interest: How do we live and act with excellence, especially as followers of Jesus?

Success or...

Last night I was listening to someone pray, and was surprised at what I heard. The guy was praying about me, and he spoke of the blessing I have been, the lives that have been touched and the people who have grown through me.

Well. What do I do with that? Surely he can't be talking about the same person I see in the mirror every morning. I was taken aback, and I have no idea what he's talking about, or who or where these people are.

It just sneaks up on me

This morning, I read the short New Testament book of Jude, about disruptive and destructive people coming "unawares" into the church. In other words, they sort of sneak in, not revealing their true nature. And as I read, I was struck by some thoughts.

Recently, I have spoken with more than one friend, and heard the same thing: My prayer life is lifeless, and has become a matter of routine, and I am not enjoying the intimacy with God that I want and need.

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  • Larry Baden said:
      Hello Johanes, I'm not certain I understand your comment, but it seem...
  • yohanes wonde said:
      hi LARRY BADEN i am fond in a big problem I belief am not in choice o...
  • Larry Baden said:
      George, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As for your 'humor,' well......
  • Larry Baden said:
      Truth, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I especially like the last se...
  • Truth Told said:
      Looking into the account of the adulterous woman it is easy to see tha...
  • George Fowler said:
       Jesus said: “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”. A rock ca...
  • Martin Rudd said:
      Remember what our Lord and Saviour said. "Its not my will that any sho...
  • Thomas Hatfield said:
       I realize that a humain being has to make difficult decisions in ther...
  • Elder John McCall said:
      Good article and complicated subject, but knowing that he is all knowi...
  • Larry Baden said:
      Dee, Thanks for your thoughts. A couple problems as I see it: First, ...

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