Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Writing Words on Paper

In my writer’s journal yesterday, I wrote about the process of writing.  Here it is for your reading pleasure.

Writing is an interesting skill.  I don’t think about the specific strokes of my pen anymore.  I think about the words and my hand and fingers move the right muscles to make the words.  I don’t even think about the individual letters.  I think the word and it appears on the page.  When I don’t know how to spell a word, I think about the parts of the word and I write the chunks of the word.  Or, I write the word in the air to test the look of the word.  Is this simply because I have built the muscle memory of spelling words many times, or is my mind really thinking in chunks instead of single letters?  Our minds are so advanced that it stands to reason that my mind simply stamps each word on the page, but because the limitations of the writing utensil, I have to work through each word from left to right, from ink blot to ink blot.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Still Living With Mom?

I have been re-reading the story of Joseph in Genesis 37f lately, and some things that never really hit me before have struck me.  I have read the story, heard it preached, listened to it through audiobook, discussed it, referenced it in my own teachings, etc., but the Holy Scripture is God breathed, living, and active.  The spirit illuminates my mind differently based upon my needs and the context of my reading.

In Genesis 37, Moses calls Joseph a young man and he was his father’s favorite because he had him in old age.  There are two issues here.

First, Joseph is a young man at seventeen.  He is a middle manager for his father, checking up on his older brothers.  We call people young men today, but the phrase does not hold much meaning.  In his book The Myth of Adolescence, David Black writes that a boy becomes a man at puberty (when he is able to reproduce by siring a child).  Boys naturally become men at age 12-14.  Why do we allow our society to let men be boys until they are in their thirties?  It is like we are extending childhood past puberty into one’s twenties.  This limbo age is called adolescence and it is castrating our society of men.  Men feel enabled to play video games, use women, and eek out an existence when they could be adding value to society.

Second, why did Jacob choose a favorite son?  The reasoning does not seem good enough.  We know from scripture that Joseph is Jacob’s eldest son from Rachel (his favorite wife), but Jacob’s final son was Benjamin.  Why did he not get the honor?  He was actually the child born to Jacob in his oldest age.  We invite calamity when we choose favorites—especially in family matters.  Jacob was the eldest son to the favorite wife.  He was given supervisory duties and a special coat.  No wonder his brothers resented him.

I am not sure what my main point is, thanks for reading some of my thoughts.
Photo Atribution

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"and hope does not disappoint."

Lately, I have been thinking about my future and my human nature to constantly strive for more.  My wife and I have been discussing this as we contemplate what the future holds for our family.

It is exhausting to try and always look forward to the next big move in life or for the next thing that will satisfy my desire to become something. I forget too easily that I am an heir to the King: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14, ESV). The purpose of my life is not to encourage and seek my own satisfaction and glory but to seek to glorify Jesus Christ and invite others to join with me.  By God’s grace, I will be delighted in Him through honoring him.

Paul writes “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (15:13). I am encouraged that God will fill me with joy, peace, and thanksgiving and he will give me hope.  He writes earlier in Romans that Hope is the culmination of suffering, endurance, and character (5:1-5).  I have been encouraged by the words in verse 5: “and hope does not disappoint” (NASB).  One day I will stand in the presence of Jesus, and I will have complete satisfaction.

John Piper illuminated the idea of hope and satisfaction in a sermon that I listened to the other day.  If I chose the most satisfying place in the world (a Caribbean beach, a majestic mountain top, etc.) that place would not hold a candle to the peace and satisfaction that I will have in Jesus’ presence one day.

Earthly satisfaction is temporary and does not deliver all that it promises, but Jesus’ hope will not disappoint.  I look forward to the day when I am completely satisfied in Him.  Therefore, why should I care about earthly glory and satisfaction?

There is no reason to strive for earthly honor, other than to lift high the name of Jesus so that others can have the same hope that I have and others may glorify Jesus.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will lead me back to this understanding and clarity when I choose to ignore God’s promises and words for my own selfish pride.

Friday, November 20, 2015

When I Hold the Door for You...

I opened the door and habitually held the door open for the woman coming from the gas pumps.  She said, “I’m sorry,” and hurried through the door. 

My parents taught me to hold doors for people: young, old, middle-aged, male, and female.  This was taught to me and quickly became an expectation any time I walked through the door.  My eyes scan the area in front of me and behind me to ensure that I do not drop a door on anyone.  I have begun passing the duty and privilege onto my son as the opportunity arises.

In 30 years of holding doors, there are multiple categories of responses from people.  The woman at the gas station is an apologizer.

The Apologizer: This person feels compelled to apologize for not moving fast enough through the door or for inconveniencing me for having to wait for them.  I am doing you a favor.  I want to help you in a small way.  There is no need to apologize to me.  A simple nod or word of thanks would be a better response.

The Door Grabber: This person does not trust me.  He (usually it’s a he) grabs the door and gives me a glare as if I am baiting him to walk through the door and then I will drop it on him.  I am trying to help you in a small way.  You insult me by thinking I would be so rude as to drop the door on you as you walk over the threshold.  I am sorry that you were burned at the threshold in a previous experience.

The Takeover:  This person wants the credit for being a “nice guy.”  While I have the door open he (again, usually it is a guy) dismisses me from my duty by pushing the door farther back or gentling prodding me with stares or the invasion of personal space.  You are welcome to hold the door.  It is not my desire to take humble glory (I use this phrase advisedly) from you.  Just don’t treat me like an enemy.  We both want to help people.

The Runner:  This person sees me with the door opens and tries to go faster so that I do not have to wait for him/her.  I am giving up a moment of my day to help you.  There is no need to rush.  I want to help.  Just stay at your pace and keep walking.
The Refuser:  This person does not want help.  They take over the door and ask me to continue on my way.  I am not sure if it is pride, but that is what is seems.  I was just trying to help. Heaven forbid someone should help you do anything.

The DIY: This person does not want to walk through your open door, so they open another door and walk through it.  Okay, thanks for not walking over my imaginary friend.  Have a great day.

Quid Pro Quo: This person opens the next door to pay me back for the first open door.  Thank you!

The Grateful: This person says “thank you” or “thanks” or “’preciate it” or gives a nod of thanks.  You’re Welcome!

Next time someone opens the door for you, just say thanks.  There is no need to apologize, not trust, take over, do it yourself, or hurry along.  The door holder is helping you.  Just accept it and say or motion a thank you.