Archive for July, 2023

The World in Which We Live

Take a look around. What you see doesn’t give you a good perspective of what it is really like. The media dramatically influences what you think it is like. The media tends to mold our mind. It significantly influences our opinion of our culture. Take the following test to gauge your opinion in light of what really is.


Before you see the following survey results, answer the questions, and then see how you score against the Nation & against the Facts. Don’t cheat, take the test, then look at the answers.

* What percentage of the country is black?

* What percentage of marriages are mixed race?

* What percentage is “Latino”?

* How many families make over $500,000 a year?

* What percent of Americans are vegetarians?

* What percent of Americans live in New York City?

* What percentage of Americans are transgender?

* What percentage of your fellow citizens are gay?

The Poll Results

A recent poll was conducted by “YouGov”.  The results to these questions were reputedly asked of average people on the street. Reported are these poll results versus the actual statistics.

* What percentage of the country is black? Answers 41%. Actual 12%.

* What percentage of marriages are mixed race? Answer 50%. Actual 1%.

* What percentage is Latino?  Answers 39%. The actual numbers are 17%.

* How many families make over $500,000 a year?  Answers 26%. The actual figure is 1%.  People tend to think a quarter of the country is rich.

* What percent of Americans are vegetarians? Response? 30%. Actual 5%.

* What percent of Americans live in New York City? Answers? 30%. Actual 3%. 

* What percentage of Americans are transgender? 22%. Actual number 1%.

* What percentage of your fellow citizens are gay? Result? 30%. Actual 3%.

So why do people have such inaccurate thoughts on these counts?  It is because of what they watch and listen to!  The media runs race, gender, and wealth stories constantly.   

Be a vigilant guard at the gate of your vision. Be the sentinel at the door of your hearing. Most of all, fortress your mind.

Our national media is brainwashing many.  Regardless of what you think, less than 20% of Americans use “Twitter” yet Twitter reputedly controls 80% of public opinion.

Following is wise council: “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;” (and might I add, or my ears). Psalm 101: 3

The Fear Factor in Faith

Thank the Lord for fear.

On a mountain side in Montana I was gathering large rocks to bring back and frame a flowerbed at the ranch house. I was about to reach for a large well shaped rock when I saw right beside it a large coiled mountain rattlesnake. Quickly I stepped back and my blood pressure shot up. 

Once we went to a rattlesnake roundup in south Georgia. I had been told there would be snakes as large as my forearm. Wrong! Out of the hundreds of snakes I saw dozens larger than that. Each year numerous enthusiasts spread out across the local countryside looking for snakes. When they would find what appeared to be a good location for them to den they would run a flexible pipe in the hole, pour a bit of gasoline in, and the snake would come out. The hunter quickly caught it, put it in a sack, brought it in to be measured, and then put it in a large plexiglass pen with other snakes. 

They and I faced the same danger, but our responses were different based on a knowledge of the snakes capacity and our awareness of our resources. Fear or the lack of it was based on those factors.

The same is true of all fear. It is based on that formula. Knowing what we face and an awareness of our resources helps us to instantly know what to fear and what not to fear. I admire the snake hunter’s calm and courage. I thank the Lord for my instinctive fear.

What time I face a potential appearing to be threatening an awareness of its potential and knowledge of how to deal with it abates impairing fear; affording calm.

That is true of fear factors ranging from a dramatic bad medical diagnosis, a financial setback, a clash of personalities, the loss of a sporting event, or any other threat. All of these can motivate excellence. It affects the decisions we make, the actions we take, and the outcomes we achieve. 

When faced with fear, fear is a stimulus to faith. There are two questions to ask. One is what is my inherent capacity to deal with it?The second is in what way I should rely on the resource of God’s capacity and His all sufficient grace. Then say,

“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust; I will not fear.” (Psalm 56: 3, 4)

There is a calming factor just in saying it. There is a great spiritual sedative effect when appropriated. It stimulates calm and emboldens the fearful heart.

Being brave is not the absence of fear, it requires fear that stimulates action: positively or negatively. Positive response is motivated by those two factors. That is, what the fear poses, and what your resources are with God’s help to deal with it. Frame this and post it in the halls of your heart.

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” (Ps. 46:1)

Living Large

It is expedient to do a little personal check-up on how you are living, that is, what is your daily conduct in the good times and the bad. A standard of excellence is needed to serve as a basis for conduct. The Bible book of I Peter was addressed initially to believers living in a hostile environment. Sound familiar?

They were certain to encounter hostility. Like them, so are we. Our conduct when the two worlds clash can be an admirable witness. It is a witness by conduct.

Much hostility is designed to invoke a hostile response. It is a game of “Gotcha.” If believers respond in kind with hostility they instantly forfeit any example of living grace.

Peter’s council to Christians of his era is no less expedient today, and  it should be noted, no less difficult. The council is:

“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world…. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.” (I Peter 2: 12 & 15)

The text goes further:
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. For the Scriptures say,

‘If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.’

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.  Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” (I Peter 2: 9 – 17)

Hope Abounds

Do you ever feel hopeless? Most of us do at times, at least for short time before we regain our spiritual equilibrium. Almost everything we do involves at some point a hopeless ending or an endless hope. We determine which.

When you give your life to Christ as Savior and Lord, you are no longer chained to the chariot wheels of this world. HOPE lives.

He turns people unable to cope into people of hope.

Many people are like the young woman who happened upon a terrible accident. The scene was horrible; bodies were broken, and blood was all over the place.  She said, “I have never been more thankful for my first aid training.  When I saw the conditions of those people I remembered my training.  Immediately I sat down and put my head between my knees so I wouldn’t faint.”

She missed the point. Our Bible training is designed to help us know what to do and how to do it.

Many people today are just hanging on, trying to avoid fainting because of the mess of life that surrounds them. Jesus can change all that. Note the word change. You are not locked in the cellar of despair.

Some college students stole the mascot of a neighboring school, a goat.  They made elaborate plans to sneak it into their dorm room.  Someone said, “What about the smell?” Came the reply, “The goat will just have to get used to it.”  Jesus doesn’t come into your life to help you “get used to it,” but to get you used to what He offers to enable you to live the abundant life.

He is able to give you peace, HOPE, and strength to live.  That is true regardless of your condition.  Some have a sense of despair.  He offers hope.

Richard Sibbes, one of the great old Puritan preachers of Cambridge who died in 1635, wrote a whole book on Psalm 42:5. He was called “the sweet dropper” because of how much confidence and joy his sermons caused. He called his book “The Soul’s Conflict with Itself,” because in Psalm 42:5 that is exactly what you have, the soul arguing with itself, preaching to itself. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God!”

The best sermon you can preach to yourself may be only three words long: “Hope in God!”

Situations often seem hopeless, but He isn’t.

Our English word resulted from the meaning of two Ole English words: desire plus expectation. Expanded that means you desire a certain end and you have belief it will happen. 

Develop and frequently replenish your pantry of hope by feasting on God’s word and develop your knowledge of and confidence in God’s ability, not your own.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10: 22)

Failure? Not me.

Failure is not final …. unless you accept it as such.

Do you ever feel like a failure?

There is a difference between a noun and a verb.

I failed (verb) is very different from I am a failure (noun). Sure we all fail, but that does not mean we are a failure.

Failure often entraps us in the snare of loneliness, leaving us feeling like we alone are a failure. A failure complex just gets deeper if this misconception is allowed.

Loneliness often accompanies fear. A failure complex results in a morose feeling, a deep feeling of loneliness. It prompts a feeling of being such a “bummer” we don’t deserve friends.  You are not alone. First, the most successful people often fail. Primarily, you are not alone, God knows you and is right there with you in your highs and lows.

An outstanding basketball player went into a failure funk and though being an exceptionally good shooter he slacked off shooting. He was reminded that he had always been a shooter who had previously hit a high percent of his shots.

Therefore, every time he shot and missed he should run down the court rejoicing in that the missed shot increased the likelihood the next one would go in, so keep shooting. He went on to become an All American.

Remember, “…for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again….” (Proverbs 24: 16)

William Tyndale aspired to translate the Bible into English. The idea was such an affront the established church put a bounty on his head. He persevered and taught himself Hebrew in order to make the translation. Fervently he worked from dawn to dusk until he completed his desire. For him failure was not final.

Sparky aspired to be an artist, but a teacher dashed his hopes. As an awkward kid with a bad complex he barely graduated from high school. He submitted cartoons for inclusion in the high school annual, all of which were rejected. However he, Charles Schultz, and his little friend Charlie Brown went on to become world famous.

When you are down and out lift up your head and shout…

                            “I’m down and out, BUT

         I’m a child of the loving God who lifts me up and helps me out.”

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:9-10)