Hindered by a Headache?

Have you ever been floored either by a headache or maybe being sick? Its the pits. What is worse is that while we may not feel like doing anything, we are often still required to do things or we are still thinking a million miles an hour about things we should be doing. You gotta work? Take care of the kids? School? The malady is indiscriminate as to what facet it will subdue to its will. I think though, for the Christian walk, the attack of these restraints can have additional intricate struggles. I don’t know about you, but the most I want to mutter when I have a headache is a prayer of, “Help me, God!” I’m not trying to debunk the value of at least crying out to The Great Physician when we don’t feel well, but I do think it is interesting to note what we feel at these low moments where we can barely think straight. I think we find out who we are at these low moments. I think we find out where we go when we are broken. For me, I have to say that my initial reaction is to try and push through the malady to accomplish what must be accomplished so that I don’t have too many detrimental consequences I have to fix later. Oh, how it reflects my controlling, lazy self. Why lazy? Because I have to admit, I spend a lot of time in my day trying to rush to do things so that I can collapse at the oasis of “nothing is required of me.” What a life though (sarcasm). Wouldn’t it be better to live in the moment, thankful for where I am and what I am doing, so that the couch oasis and the labor of work were met with the same attitude? This relates to the headache or sickness because I think it is the tell for what we are really after. I want to be a man who gets sick or gets a headache, assesses my capabilities (with thanksgiving), and then performs my best in light of that assessment. Life is choppy and confusing when we are performing either less than what we are capable of or beyond what abilities we are allotted. How can we expect to flow continuously in our sanctification, if we are caught up in this muck of performance? We all have heard, “A man needs to know his limits.” As a choleric, my issue is controlling. For the phlegmatic, there is a tendency to not take action when they should. Whichever end of the spectrum we are on, I think it is important that we make engaging efforts to pause when we are affected by physical or emotional maladies and really assess what we can and can’t do with what performance we have to offer. The rest has to be left to the Lord. If we go beyond this, as the choleric, then we are living a works-based life seeking security in ourselves. For the phlegmatic, we would be putting our security in maxims and other people and not the Lord. So if you suffer from an ailment, I encourage you to pause and ask yourself how this affects your security in Jesus Christ.

If you are interested in learning more about the personality types that I described (Choleric, Phlegmatic, etc..) I recommend Florence Littauer’s book “Personality Plus”


The Arduous Effort of Gratefulness

It is remarkable how difficult it can be to maintain gratefulness. I’m not talking about courtesy. I’m not talking about the due lip service we give for things. I’m specifically referring to show-stopping gratefulness. The kind that makes you feel like you could live the rest of your days knowing that God took a specific interest in you and showed his specific love. One must know this gratefulness to be saved. And yet the ability to maintain this gratefulness is challenging. I am so easily distracted by the vain effort to secure myself and my family by my own power. And I’m not just talking about salvation. I’m talking about the fact that God just blessed us with a financial gift that ended up being what we would need for doctor visits and grocery needs, and yet rising within me is the anxious about tomorrow. It’s just ridiculous. Paul’s battle comes to mind Romans 7:15-25. It would seem to me that Jesus’s charge to us in Matthew 6:25-34 clearly reflects that when My planning for tomorrow starts getting me anxious, I have gone too far. But it’s so quick, isn’t it? It’s not like a slow growing thing. It’s like a flash fire. BOOM! I’m anxious, worrying about not what is happening but what could happen. I think that is why hope is so important. Our ability to dwell on what is to come, eternally, grounds us and drops the drama of our daily fears. We really have to guard our hearts and watch what’s moving into our eyes and ears. Make no mistake, I can act grateful. I can even fool myself into thinking I am. But the tell is the anxiousness. Gratefulness and anxiousness can’t be in the same room together. That is why it is imperative that I keep pouring into my heart the examples of gratefulness found in the Bible and then to add to that value, as I encounter brothers and sisters in Christ who exude that genuine gratefulness, I latch onto them and simply listen. Because I truly believe that genuine gratefulness is contagious, while “put-on” gratefulness or humility for that matter is nauseating. Boy it feels good to get that off my chest.

Proslogium – Anselm

How to properly read Anselm…

…building upon the idea that this proof of God’s existence was part of sanctification for the Christian and possibly allure for the on looking unregenerate seeker, Anselm’s first chapter sets the stage for the reader to qualify their assessment. If read coldly without reverence then one cannot remain on point with him. An example of such a qualification  from the introduction:

Be it mine to look up to thy light, even from afar, even from the depths. Teach me to seek thee, and reveal thyself to me, when I seek thee, for I cannot seek thee, except thou teach me, nor find thee, except thou reveal thyself.4 Let me seek thee in longing, let me long for thee in seeking; let me find thee in love, and love thee in finding. Lord, I acknowledge and I thank thee that thou hast created me in this thine image, in order that I may be mindful of thee, may conceive of thee, and love thee; but that image has been so consumed and wasted away by vices, and obscured by the smoke of wrong-doing, that it cannot achieve that for which it was made, except thou renew it, and create it anew. I do not endeavor, O Lord, to penetrate thy sublimity, for in no wise do I compare my understanding with that; but I long to understand in some degree thy truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe—that unless I believed, I should not understand.[1]

This prayer may be skimmed over to the academic who simply is looking for the argument the atheist would respond to. However, to the Christian who sees Anselm’s personal qualification it will become evident that there are considerations in humility to be observed before embarking on the argument deductively. It is the skimming of such a passage that causes the value of this work to be missed by the empiricist.

[1]               Anselm Proslogium 3

The Prince – Machiavelli

This is an excerpt of something I did for school about The Prince. Share if you have any thoughts.

It is hard to believe that today’s social culture would be so inspired by this work in its fullness. We may often hear references to people operating in a very “Machiavellian” way, but after reading The Prince, I am not convinced that it is possible. Like Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, this work can be seen as a great reference to the efficiency of acquiring and maintaining power, and yet with the moral emphasis placed on ultimately every decision people make, the application is lost today. The fact is that in Western culture, at least, it is not a question of whether morality will be applied but rather how it will be applied. It is the Sophist versus the Rationalist today. It is the inductive mind affected by their swayed moral emphasis against the deductive mind that assumes based upon their beliefs. Therefore the utilization of Machiavelli’s work would only be to further the agenda based on the belief structure of either camp. Therefore, there is no relevant application for his work as a tactic for influence. From another point of view, however,  the work can be valuable as an assessment of what man could be like in the absence of morality and simply reliant upon the acquisition and maintenance of power. This would be valuable to study if anything for the recognition that natural law is very real and does have an influence. We have a distinct human nature and it is a self-seeking villainous thing. Emotionless? No. Much like reading George Orwell’s 1984, the reader cannot help but know that such a closed environment cannot last and it will be usurped for better or for worse by the emotions that use and abuse the morals that are written on all human hearts.

Introductory Shout Out

I am so thankful to have started a blog. I have been hesitant to attempt the endeavor mainly because I didn’t know if I could trust myself to be consistent with it and actually post regularly. But from stage left my Greek professor, Dr. Dave Black,  swooped in with some great advice about the personal/spiritual benefits. Dr. Black has a excellent blog with extremely helpful insights on the running thoughts of a man after God’s heart. His example is a gift from the Lord. His site is daveblackonline.com. If you read this Dr. Black, thank you sir.

Pursuing Wisdom (Poem)

It is clear to me upon my thought,

An element which I have sought,

I can only relate it with poetry,

The language of dreamers, eloquently.

For those of you who, as I, have sought,

The peace of mind with purpose-filled thought,

And for those of you who have been entangled,

In contradiction with action/emotion strangled,

With determination set to accomplish,

But action fruitless and hope undistinguished,

I ask: Do you run the race just as I,

With a wish and a mission reaching up to the sky?

Do you sense your potential could power the earth,

But the fruit of your efforts diminish your worth?

Then let me relate this lesson to you,

So we both may be strengthened with purpose renewed.

In pursuit of wisdom you must, with constants, stay strong

And seek out igniters that will help you belong,

To the fellowship of dreamers, the council of discovery.

And your Lord, your love, your life will be,

That which you hope for, that which you pursue.

Let all others, unhealthy, with conviction be through.

Do you see it is simple? Ignite perspective.

With principles in place you’ll become reflective,

On direction, guidance, peace, and purpose,

Because a life without these is utterly worthless.

Lighthouse of my Heart

My Father from above,

Right now I call on You,

To share Your endless love,

So I may be renewed.

Lord, You’ve taught me the love,

Through fellowship, the Word, and prayer.

When I took You into my heart,

I found that love everywhere.

You are a lighthouse in my heart,

To guide the way,

And You always do Your part,

To bless my day.

Praise God! Now I can see,

That Your love resides in me.

I will keep the faith,

And You will keep on shining.

An Object of Virtue

Around my neck,

And close to my heart,

Is an object of virtue,

The tangible part.

For this cross is a token,

A symbol of faith,

A reminder for comfort,

While running this race.

When burdens come to rest,

On my shoulders heavily,

I feel upon me the cross,

It’s then that I’m free.

With my object of virtue,

All is made clear.

Christ takes up my troubles,

And I abandon my fears.

Ship on the Sea

A wandering vessel,

Made artistically,

Set off on a voyage,

A ship on the sea.

Set adrift by currents,

Crashing waves all in view,

Such pressing disaster,

For humanity’s crew.

But deep in the heart,

Of these people in need,

Is a Captain who conquers,

Even calms the sea.

For though waves of burden,

Look never to cease,

With Christ as the Captain,

There’s a voyage of peace.

Hands of Providence

I clasp them together,

And hold them real tight,

These hands of providence,

These tools of my might.

For all my accomplishments,

That any can see,

Were formed by these hands,

That I hold up to Thee.

For nothing I’ve made,

Or venture to do,

Could ever compare,

To what You make anew.

So I offer them up,

To use as You please,

These tools that You’ve given,

To bring this world ease.