Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category

Authority, Not of this Realm – Part 3

October 11, 2014

My wife and I regularly make a practice of praying through the Lord’s Prayer together every morning.  We use a technique that she learned, years ago, of recognizing many of the “names of God” that reveal some of His mighty characteristics.  When we started doing this together, I worried that it would become rote and shallow after a while.  I need not have concerned myself.  One cannot touch on the limitless nature of God and have it come back as anything other than “deep calling to deep”.  We pray through the process of putting on the full armor of God to face the challenges of the day ahead too.  I have come to feel like I don’t have my shirt on, if we miss.

One life-changing transformation that has ensued from this spiritual practice manifests in the rest of my prayer life.  I have had a growing sense of volunteering to give my voice to the Word of God as He intends it to be transforming brokenness and oppression in our fallen world.  This does not stop with my private prayers, but proceeds to make its mark on most conversations with others.  Today, I read an article posted on Facebook by Pastor Francis Frangipane that speaks mightily of the Authority vested in the followers of Christ.  It does not shy away from our directive to call for the Power of Heaven to be manifested in our world.  I’m taking the liberty of pasting it here, along with a link to Pastor Frangipane’s Facebook page.  From there, you could sign up to get more good insights.

We recite it in private and pray it in unison; we have even sung it in reverence on select Sunday mornings. It’s been a familiar prayer at somber cultural events. Yet I wonder if we really grasp what was in Jesus’ heart when He taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer.
The disciples asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). In response, the Lord gave them a prayer, not just to help them cope but something that was militant in nature. This was more than a prayer — it was a proclamation.
For centuries the holy realities of the Lord’s Prayer have been obscured by traditions of religious unbelief, as though ritualistic repetition of this prayer would exact a special blessing in the afterlife. It was as though this prayer was disbarred from affecting conditions on earth now. In recent years, however, truth is again filling the words of this heavenly anthem with meaning.
The thoughts in this prayer are best understood as emphatic statements. They ought to be punctuated with exclamation marks. This is Heaven’s “Pledge of Allegiance.” At its core, the Lord’s Prayer is a faith-decree that God’s will, through our living union with Christ, should be accomplished today on earth. Where is the room for compromise in those words? Jesus is saying that, with miraculous power, abounding joy and unwavering mercy, God’s will can be fulfilled on earth with the same degree it is fulfilled in Heaven!”
We have been too polite with God. I do not mean we should be disrespectful or irreverent; I am saying the Lord’s Prayer is not a weak, pleading prayer. Yes, there is a time for pleading with God, but this is a prophetic prayer. There is not a please anywhere in it. Indeed, we know it is the “Father’s good pleasure” to give us His kingdom (Luke 12:32 NKJV). Jesus is not instructing us to beg for a blessing or two; He is commanding us to call for God’s kingdom to rule on earth: in war zones, in places of poverty or plagues or famine, and especially in our very lives and circumstances.
This is a prayer of authority. The Son of God wants us to pray like we were created to bring Heaven to earth. Our prayer simply aligns us with what is already God’s great pleasure to give us.
Of course, it is vital we embrace repentance for our sins and the sins of our forefathers. But this is the prayer of those fully committed to the vision of God! It embodies the expanse of what Jesus came to establish. These are fighting words.
Remember, this form of prayer is not my idea; it’s Christ’s. He told faltering, fumbling disciples to pray like they were mature, victorious warriors. He didn’t say this prayer should be prayed only when they had become perfect. No. This is how we should pray right now, even while we are imperfect. Yes, we humble ourselves; yet we must learn to pray with unsheathed spiritual authority, with heroic faith, and with the fire of divine possibilities burning in our souls.
Even now, the armies of God in Heaven are beginning to unite with the armies of God on earth. Lightening-like power is beginning to fill the backbone of the redeemed. Can you feel it? From every nation, a holy remnant is beginning to stand before the Most High. In their mouths will be the words taught them by the Son of God Himself: “Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!”

Francis Frangipane



Outside of Time

July 13, 2014

I heard a message last night at The Base , in which Greg Crawford talked about having an eternal vs. temporal perspective.  His “jumping off” point was in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

He made a point of differentiating between eternal and temporal things by the characteristic of their visibility. Not that I think for a moment that either Paul the Apostle or Greg is saying that all things invisible are eternal.  I have a friend named Becky who has a prophecy that, if I understand her, we will come to see clearly into the spiritual realm. I don’t think she means that will be physical sight, but there is precedent for the sort of sight about which Becky prophesied.  See 2 Kings 6:17. So, I would take this assertion in 2 Corinthians 4 about the eternal being unseen as meaning “as a general rule up until now”.)

During Greg’s teaching, I also didn’t really grapple adequately with a critical message contained in this verse; that temporal afflictions can be a tool in the hand of God, acting in the process of our transformation into the likeness of Christ.  Since the spirit is eternal, our transformation into becoming one with God’s spirit is a weighty, glorious, eternal result. Don’t think there is much chance of becoming transformed in this way? I’ll say more on that, shortly.

As I age, I see more clearly the value of the admonition not to lose heart about the decay of my body.  This decline is apparently practically inevitable, and happens to everyone who lives long enough to see it.  The recognition does not have to produce despair, as long as I keep an eternal perspective.  That which is visible on the outside (temporal), is no indicator of the renewal that is taking place on the inside (eternal).  In fact, recognizing the decay on the outside actually makes it seem easier to stop putting confidence in the aging flesh and focus more on the eternal nature of the spirit.  The question I should be asking is whether the renewal is, in fact, taking place on the inside.

It’s funny how God finds ways to reinforce His message from different sources. I recently read a devotional passage that talked about acceptance and self-examination as necessary to finding serenity about difficult situations. The devotion was drawing from the “Serenity Prayer” which I’ll quote here:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

The last part, the wisdom to know the difference, really only belongs to God.  I must draw near to You, Father, if I am ever to know Your wisdom in my spirit as to whether things that seem to beset me are actually tools in Your Sovereign hand that should be allowed to do their glorious eternal and weighty work or whether they are an attack of the enemy intended to hinder me from accomplishing that which You have called me to do.

At least, I have this promise in Romans 8:28 ff

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I know I promised to say more about the possibility of transformation. Here it is. Look back into the passage above. You will find there evidence that this transformation is actually a purpose of God, that those who love him should become like Jesus. Try not to get too wrapped around the axle at the mention of predestination. The writer is trying to get across something about the purposes of God, who knows the end from the beginning because He is totally unconstrained by the temporal (Hey! Isn’t that where we started?). Since we are completely constrained to the temporal in the physical realm, learning to see things from an eternal perspective in the spiritual realm takes some help from Him.

Pricey the Cat

June 22, 2013

Pricey the Cat

Pricey the Cat

I named this little rescue project after her first day at my house and a trip to the Vet. My daughter found it lost/abandoned in a park. She is endued with compassion from on high. Though she couldn’t keep the kitten because of her living situation, she was still constrained with all that is within her to rescue it.

My lot, apparently, is to pay the Vet. Oh well, I’m sure it will come back to me some how. Need a cute cat?

The Next Generation

November 23, 2012

Today, I am giving thanks for generous help.  We recently moved to a 1929 vintage farmhouse because I needed to relocate for a job change.  We are preparing for a complete remodel of the kitchen.  I needed to get a washer and dryer out of the area where the kitchen is going and down into the basement.  I also needed to get a new refrigerator out the crate in the garage and into the house where we could at least use it while it awaits placement in the new kitchen.

The basement stairs are steep and narrow.  The appliances wouldn’t go through any of the doors with the doors still on (including the doors on the ‘fridge).  For that matter, the fridge wouldn’t fit through the door next to the garage, and had to go across the yard on the grass to the front door.  I have an appliance dolly, but this just wasn’t a one-person job.

I asked the college-age son of my neighbor a half-mile to the north to give me a hand.  He is only home for the thanksgiving weekend to spend time with his family.  But he didn’t hesitate to say yes.  He worked with a will for the two hours it took to get the appliances moved, even helping me to put the doors back on the refrigerator.

At the end of the labor, he wouldn’t accept any payment.  His reason?  “This is just what neighbors do”, he said.  So if you wonder about the hands the country is going into for the next generation, I would say at least in rural Iowa, the future looks bright.

Thanks Will!

Consider Your Own Situation

October 16, 2012

I have been listening to the presidential debate tonight. Normally, I don’t divulge personal information. But, I want to relate my own experience over the past four years, because I think it has an important message. As an electrical hardware engineer, I have often stated that I love the fact that hardware naturally enforces a unequivocable truth. I works or it doesn’t. The hardware I design doesn’t lie.

At the beginning of Obama’s term, I was the Director of Engineering of a rising telecom startup. My salary easily enabled me to pay the mortgage on my 2800 square foot house. By the end of Obama’s first term, all that opportunity has evaporated.

I’m employed now. But my salary is only about 2/3 what is was when Obama took office. The company that employed me before, spent about two years of not being able to make payroll on a regular basis. Eventually, irregular became not at all. It was not just me. Four other engineers lost their income before I lost mine.

I found another job. I am, after all, a highly skilled electrical engineer. My new job is a good one, but I am back to the status of individual contributor, at the 2/3 salary my previous company cut me back to at the end.

My new house is about half the size of the previous one. It needs a complete remodel, down to the studs. I’m cooking on my camp stove.

I am optimistic for the future. But the results of the past four years don’t lie, just like that hardware I am so familiar with. I’m working at 2/3 the income of four years ago. How about you?

Obama’s rhetoric is based on an unrealistic model.  But, like my own designs, Obama’s designs don’t lie.  Don’t be an Obama zombie. Take a realistic look at your current situation.  Are you better off?  Leave a comment.  Tell me your story.

Awesome New Blog Roll Entry

June 4, 2012

Let me encourage you to take a trip down the right side of my page to the blog roll section  under “Love in Action” and visit my awesome friends.  Be amazed at the continual stream of miracles that Jesus is performing.  I warn you up front; you won’t find complacency on the other end of that link.

– writewild

Confluence of Flavors

November 2, 2011

20111102Nutmeg from Indonesia, cinnamon from India, “Empire” apples from Norway. IA. energy for cooking  from the Palo, IA nuclear plant, making a delight to the palate. Isn’t this an amazing world we enjoy?  It never ceases to amaze me how we depend on each other for the things we do.  It’s like Red Green says, “We’re all in this together.  I’m pulling for you!”.  Makes that “Occupy” movement seem kind of shallow, doesn’t it?

– writewild

Occupy Cedar Rapids

October 29, 2011

Of late, I have been reading Excuses Begone! by Dr. Wayne Dyer. The central premise, if I may paraphrase, is that the individual is made in the image of God, and if he/she aligns him/herself with this destiny – putting aside the typical excuse-making of human nature/ego – then God’s nature can be realized in us and we can find happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction in life as our Creator intended for us. That is, we can become individuals who are hands-down above the mundane norm of our society – practically without limits in our purpose, plans, and achievements. Fundamental Christians rail against the sort of things that Dr. Dyer writes, decrying his premises; railing that the things he says are “new age” because he dares to reference sources other than the Bible. I find, however, that most of what he writes can be easily validated through scripture, if one is willing to look. The scripture says in Romans 1:20 that God make himself known.  It is not far-fetched to think that aware individuals, such as Dr. Dyer, should actually get in step with the voice of God.   It is not my place to judge the ultimate spiritual state of Dr. Dyer. But suffice it to say that I find a great deal of practical truth in Dr. Dyer’s books. I actually find a lot of benefit in looking at things from a non-traditional viewpoint. Perhaps I might worry more about the references to eastern religions, etc, except that I have been seeking the truth for long enough now, that I don’t expect to get too far off in the weeds from examining another point of view.

Today, I spotted a few people on the corner of first avenue and Collins road in Cedar Rapids, holding signs and showing their support to the “Occupy Wall Street” protests. What I find most striking about these protesters is the basic premise of their rhetoric — espoused by their signs — is that someone else is to blame for their unhappiness. This is the very antithesis of the message that Dr. Dyer conveys in his writings. And for that matter, that the Bible conveys, to those who will look honestly at it’s message. ie: 1.The problem is due to some greedy “rich” person, rather than my own failure to take responsibility for my own destiny. 2.The solution is to get the government to give some of the “rich” person’s assets to me. There is, apparently, no recognition of the possibility of finding the value of the fulfillment in living the full life the Creator of the Universe set within our hearts. My opinion is this: The “occupy” people are wasting their time, following their egotistical assertions their problems are the “fault” of the rich. If only they would begin to seek their own place in the universe, the “rich” would become irrelevant. Who, knows? Being rich might be their own destiny, if only they could open their eyes to what they should be doing, beyond blaming and complaining. So, instead of holding signs to indicate the “rich” are evil, they could have been spending this beautiful afternoon pursuing their own intended purposes. Which do you think would have been more effective?

World Views in Conflict

October 9, 2011

We have, in the United States, basically two world views vying for dominance. In one, man is seen as greedy and self serving. The solution is seen to be control of these selfish desires in corrupt individuals by powerful government. Under this system of belief, the mechanism of control is obvious: regulations that spell out the limits to which an individual can go and a system to enforce the regulations. In effect, this system is control of selfish desires by force. In the second world view, man is also seen as greedy and self serving. While the basic problem is not one that produces disagreement, the solution under the second world view takes a dramatically different turn. The second world view gives assent to the problem of corruption of the individual, but asserts that the solution is given by the supernatural redeeming work of Christ, working to change the heart of the corrupt individual from self serving to Christ serving. (In practice, this amounts to serving others, rather than self).

Now, the redemption approach requires complete freedom. God appears to place great value on the freedom of man to choose. Why? Because He wants the relationship to be one of love, rather than one of coercion. Any honest philosopher can recognize that freedom is essential to love.

Failure to recognize this fact lies at the root of the motivation for the world view that requires a powerful government to set things right. Maybe it is cynicism; doubt that the individual can be trusted to do the right thing.

The trouble with the powerful government model is this: government ends up being comprised of the same corrupt individuals as the rest of the population. Only, once they are in power, they have the power of the government behind them. They are not just corrupt individuals, they are corrupt individuals in charge of the government power structure.

This is one place where the philosophy of the Occupy Wall Street (or Occupy Wherever) crowd is gone awry. The protesters recognize the corruption (the part that is not in dispute), and have been goaded into action by their organizers. They haven’t thought about the problem with the solution that they are seeking. They naively think that if “their” guys are in charge, everything will get better.

Our founding fathers were not unclear on this issue. Their solution was to propose a limited government, to set some loose constraints to deal with those who would use their freedom inappropriately, and leave room for the individual to make their own way under the guidance of God, the only being who is above corruption.

In a nutshell, we are in the fix we are in because we have gotten too far away from Him.

Just something for you occupiers to think about while you are sitting around on Wall Street.

Scene from Benton County Fair, Vinton IA

July 20, 2011

Showmanship 2
“Showmanship” Assessment, Saturday 7/16/2011

I watched these young men and women from rural Iowa participate in this “showmanship” event at the county fair.  As they were putting the animals they had raised through their paces, the judge had them switch to handle someone else’s animal.  This change produced no discernible change in behavior.  These young people demonstrated a level of personal integrity that gives me great hope for the future of our nation.  I hope their parents were proud!

News about more venues for The Undefeated: here