********** A Christian Journal **********

Growing in the Spirit of Jesus Christ

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

God's gifts and your sin...

God's gifts and your sin

We all have God given gifts and talents.
Those gifts are a large part of who we are
and they lead to how we think
and how we respond to the world around us.
They can be both a blessing and a bane.
They affect the pattern of sins
that are most appealing to us
as well as the pattern
of how we serve God.

This is part of the power of temptation,
because the pattern of your sin is related
to the pattern of your gifts.”
- John Ortberg

In John Ortberg's book,
the me I want to be,
He gives several examples of this
by sharing nine of these “patterns”.
Let us look at the
“artist pattern” and divide this “gift”
into its strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths: Loves beauty and goodness.
Brings imagination to life, love, and faith

Weaknesses: Finds that the need to be different
can become an end in itself. Can be tempted
to give in to impulses and live an undisciplined life

Biblical Example: King David, who had strong gifts
as a poet, dancer, and composer of many psalms

According to Ortberg,
“It is critical to learn the patterns
at the core of the me you want to be
and the corresponding sin patterns,
for no one is more vulnerable
than the person who lacks self-awareness.
Jesus warned about people
who go around taking spects
out of others' eyes while
failing to notice the
two-by-four in their own.
My signature sin is my own two-by-four -
so appealing to me that it is
my biggest danger,
so close to me
I am apt not to see it.”

In reading Ortberg's book
I was made aware of this
gift/sin relationship.
A good book to have in your
“Spiritual Growth” library.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

a spiritual journal...

" A [spiritual] journal... is a tool for self-discovery, an aid to concentration, a mirror for the soul, a place to [reflect], generate and capture ideas, a safety valve for the emotions, a training ground for the writer, and a good friend and confidant." - Ron Klug (How to keep a Spiritual Journal)

"Journaling as a spiritual practice is a way of keeping your soul in shape, exercising your values, expanding your visions, and processing the work of Holy Spirit in your life and the lives of those around you." - Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat (coauthors of Spiritual Literacy and Spiritual Rx)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

the new ipad...

the new ipad

My wife, son, and daughter
(along with some money I managed to save)
went together to get me a new ipad...
generation three... for Father's Day.

During the time I was recuperating
from my emergency appendicitis
(last summer)
my son's ipad2 (that I borrowed)
was, for me, a lifesaver...
a new device with new apps
to learn and explore.

I vowed then to eventually get one.

Thankfully, over the years,
my wish list has shrunken considerably.
Still, I find at least one...
usually somewhat expensive item...
that starts me saving my pennies.

Of course, it is imperative
to budget time accordingly...
the temptation, with anything new,
is to let it become an obsession.
Priorities must be set...
first and foremost... time with
the Lord in worship and service to Him...
and, of course, quality time
with family and friends.

Electronic gadgetry or other toys/tools
are rarely necessary (in my case) but
they can be useful and they help
keep me mentally alert and creative.

Discovering new and useful apps
is half the fun.
Some of my favorite apps
are Pandora, Blog Docs, FaceTime,
the several Fotopedia apps, Ticket to Ride,
TubePad, a couple of 'news' apps,
the Weather Channel, photo editing apps,
and of course, the Bible apps.
But there are so many... and
I keep finding new ones... many free.

It is a great way to store
electronic books, music,
photography, and videos.

The mobility of a hand-held device
that does so much is very nice to have.

Monday, July 9, 2012

As you continue your spiritual journey...

As you continue your spiritual journey... when you question, when you fall, when you allow yourself to become disheartened... remember these words...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

on a boat long ago...

July 05, 2012

My Sailor Outfit

Our family was visiting with relatives
one summer many years ago.
I was probably eight years of age,
or thereabouts.

Several of us took a motorboat far out on a lake.
The boat was a medium sized craft
with twin outboard motors.

For some reason, the boat stalled
and both motors died.
Try as we might...
we could not get them started again.

Dark, ominous storm clouds
were approaching.

As the clouds got closer,
the wind picked up...
 I for one, became scared...
and began to silently pray.
My prayer was for the motors to start...
but they just wouldn't turn over.

We had no method of communicating
with anyone and appeared to be alone on the lake
except for one small outboard motorboat.

As the small boat got closer to us,
we noticed that it was manned 
by one lone, young boy.
He seemed to notice our predicament
and as he came alongside, he asked if he
could be of any assistance.

Throwing us a rope,
he slowly towed us to shore
just ahead of the storm.

Prayers answered but not
the way I imagined.

I wonder how many unknown
blessings were received
from the way God
answered that prayer...
including the young boy
who towed us to shore.
I know that it
impacted how I
thought about the Lord.

Sometimes our prayers are not
answered in the way we want...
and sometimes it appears
that our prayers are not
answered at all.
But God always hears
and always has our
best interests at heart.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

bullfrogs and butterflies...

Here is a cute little song by Barry McGuire.   We can learn so much from the world created by God.  Everyone has the choice to change... and with the help of the Holy Spirit... can make the change that means a spiritual life freed from the shackles of bondage and sin.

Monday, July 2, 2012

prayer time

July 02, 2012

praying together

My brother (Tod) and I were brought up
in a Christian home.

We were taught to pray
before going to bed
and to say grace before meals.
Tod and I went to church
with our parents,
attended Sunday school,
and went to VBS
(vacation bible school).
We were encouraged to participate
in different church activities.

I never realized the tremendously positive effect
this had on my life until much later.

I thank the Lord for my parents love, guidance,
support and encouragement.

"...bring them (children) up
in the training and instruction
of the Lord."
- Ephesians 6:4 NIV