Self-deception

Carrying Weight 2

Chances are, you have no idea.

A couple of weeks ago we were packing for a week at Disney.

No, professional movers or U-Haul were not involved.

Anyway, when Robin got everything loaded into three suitcases that a near-grown human could fit into, she asked me to weigh the luggage to make sure she had thought of everything.

Um, I mean, to make sure it fit within airline regulations.

We have this handy little scale that picks up the suitcase by the handle and lets you know what you’re asking those baggage handlers to tote ‘n’ hurl. I picked up the first.

“Forty pounds,” says I.

“See what that feels like?” says my ever-wise wife. “That’s what you’re no longer carrying around.”

I should point out here that in the last five months I’ve lost about that much weight. And that little luggage exercise was enlightening.

I picked it up again, holding the scale and entire weight of the suitcase in one hand. That was what I had been carrying around, day-in, day-out, but had now shed. Needless to say, it made an impression.

I was impressed how ordinary and normal my extra “baggage” was. How easy it was to justify myself, despite the fact that 20 years ago I weighed about 60 pounds less. And how much I was presuming upon my created-by-God body to do in overtime.

I just didn’t realize how much weight I was carrying. [click to continue…]

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Shadows

“What I’m about to tell you is true. You need to change and become like little children. If you don’t, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who takes the humble position of this child is the most important in the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who welcomes a little child like this one in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:3-5, NIRV).

What started as an argument over greatness ended in one brief demonstration.

The greatest, Jesus said, was the one who humbled himself as a little child.

What’s the difference between that and typical adulthood? [click to continue…]

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Couple looking serious

(A Conversation)

Stuck.

Stuck?

Yeah, that’s probably the best word for it.

As in, you’ve hit the ditch and can’t get out?

Maybe.  Or more like I get so far and every time I hit this wall I can’t ever seem to break through.

Maybe you don’t really want to break through.

What’s that supposed to mean?

Maybe you’d rather lose a thousand pounds than 20.

I don’t follow.

Isn’t it easier to lose one pound and gain it back, then repeat the process a thousand times, than losing 20 and keeping it off?

Okay now you’ve gone to meddling!  And yeah, maybe that’s true, but humor me.  Let’s assume I really want to lose the 20 pounds.  Or I really want to pray consistently.  Or I really want to stop feeling so insecure.

But you feel stuck?

I feel stuck.

Powerless to break free?

Yeah, that.

Tired of 1 John 1:9 being your life verse?

Yeah… Hey!  Wait a minute! Are we talking about me or you?

Well, let’s just say, to quote two former presidents, “Ah feel yur pain” because I’ve been “knee-deep in doo-doo” myself.

And what did you learn?

That I was a bad liar. [click to continue…]

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Proud Leader

All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar (Psalm 138:4-6, NKJ).

  • If you’re feeling far from God, pride may be the issue.

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What Would You Do If You Wuz the Devil?

by Andy Wood on August 12, 2010

in Uncategorized

“What would you do if you wuz the devil?” Aunt Ruth asked. 

“I’d retire and sue the movie industry for back pay,” I said.

Aunt Ruth was neither my aunt, nor was she named “Ruth.”  Through a series of circumstances I don’t have space to tell, that’s what I wound up calling her.  Crusty, funny, frank, and yes – godly – Aunt Ruth had eyes that danced long after her feet no longer could.  Today her eyes were dancing.

“I’m serious,” she said.  “What would you do?”

“Oh, the usual, I guess.  Lust, greed, bitterness.  Why are you asking?”  (We’d been talking about how blessed we were as a church, and how excited I was about the future.)

“Come on, boy, he’s got more sense than that!  Too bad you don’t.” [click to continue…]

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Tense Truth:  Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.  But we are virtually helpless to reinterpret history for ourselves.  We need a Source of truth that isn’t subject to the distortions we bring to hindsight.

+++++++++++++++++++

Ms. Past, she’s such a wicked lady,

Ms. Past, she’s always there a waiting,

She’s the Devil’s favorite tool,

She’ll play you like a fool,

She’ll try until she rules.

-Michael and Stormie Omartian

Whoever said hindsight is 20/20 needs new glasses.

Hindsight is blind as a bat. 

It’s a house of mirrors.

You can get more accuracy from a weekend weatherman about a 10-day forecast than you can from looking at life in the mirror.

If hindsight is 20/20, why do historians always argue?

If hindsight is 20/20, why do two people in conflict always tell two completely different stories?  (And tell two more a week later?)

If hindsight is 20/20, why does the same event speak to you completely differently from the perspective of a day, a week, a month, a year, or a generation?

If hindsight is 20/20, why does God repeatedly have to remind the children of Israel about their rescue from Egypt and the whole Red Sea episode?  I’ll tell you why.  [click to continue…]

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I had a head-on collision with the facts this week.  Must not have been wearing a seat belt.  Brain belt, either.  The sad truth is, I took in the sights and the sounds, the data and the details, and accepted them at fake value.  (Hmmm.  If I keep this up, maybe I should get a job in journalism.  But I digress….)

Make no mistake about it – facts are important.  If your baby has a 102-degree fever, you’re $68.32 in the hole at the bank, or Congress is about to mortgage your great-grandchildren, that is meaningful information.  The problem isn’t a shortage of information, and the solution isn’t to bury our heads in the sand.  What matters is what we do with the information we have.

Still in something akin to panic mode, I got a gentle news flash from the Lord:  [click to continue…]

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ball-and-chainThe Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (Isaiah 61:1, ESV)

There’s something you should know, though I’m not very proud to say it.

I’m an ex-con.

Ex-convict?  No.

Ex-condemned?  You betcha.

Ex-consequences?  Uh huh.

Ex-con man?  ‘Fraid so.

I lived on the wrong side of a legal system for a long time, and wound up in prison.  But don’t go looking for my name in some Federal or state criminal records.  I haven’t messed with Texas that much. [click to continue…]

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runner-painI went to the Fred Flintstone School of Golf.  Simple philosophy:  when in doubt, hit the ball really hard.  When not in doubt, hit the ball really hard.

Maybe you’ve heard that old saying about golf – “You drive for show, and putt for dough.”  Suffice it to say, I’ve never made any money hitting a ball in a hole with a stick.  I have, however, put on a show or two by hitting a ball off a stick.

All of that is fine and fun, so long as you’re dealing with woods and wedges.  Life, however, is a different story.  A mere proverb in the Gentleman’s Game is brutal reality in the real world:

It’s not how you drive, but how you arrive.

Not how you start, but how you finish.  Magilla Gorilla and Fred Flintstone need not apply.

Life is filled with real and proverbial stories of people who started well, but finished poorly.  Rather than leaving a heritage, with inspiring and ennobling footsteps to follow, their names and stories are relegated to footnotes and questions that begin with, “Whatever happened to…”?

It’s up to you.  Will you be a driver, or an arriver?  I must warn you, if you decide to go the distance, the deck is stacked against you.  This is a marathon, not a dash, and you’re surrounded by gloriously mediocre runners and a grandstand full of fat critics.  But you do have a Coach – the Lord Jesus, Author and Finisher of your faith. Under His direction, you’ll learn to identify these six fool makers and finish breakers: [click to continue…]

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mirrorI have a confession to make.  I can’t pass a mirror without looking at it.  Call me weird, call me vain, just don’t call me when a mirror is close by.  I probably won’t hear you.

Sometimes I primp.  Sometimes I frown.  Sometimes I actually impress myself and sometimes I just sigh.  But whatever the reaction, it won’t cure me of wanting to take another look next time.

I have a hunch that I’m not alone.  A lot of people spend a lot of time looking at themselves in the looking glass.  Mirrors are an important part of our culture.  Some people cover their walls at home with them.  Michael Jackson once recorded a song about it.  And where would we be without that fairy-tale question, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall…?”

Did you know that mirrors can lie?  [click to continue…]

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