Top 5 Posts from 2015 + All the Rest

Happy, Happy, HappyAs 2016 begins I wanted thank all who have stopped by and read, commented, and shared any of the words I have posted here on this blog in 2015 so here it is…

Thank You!

I do appreciate your time and input and hope to be able to post something that might interest you again in 2016. Looking back it is always good to see what interested most readers last year, what worked and what didn’t. Based on total number of views here are the top five most popular Peculiar Perspective posts of 2015. Continue reading Top 5 Posts from 2015 + All the Rest

7 Words

Is John 11:35 really the shortest verse in the Bible?350px-holy_bible-300x216

If you are familiar with the Bible I’m sure you’ve heard the shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept” in John 11:35.

I had always thought that was the only verse in the Bible with only two words but recently learned that was not true. There is another verse with only two words.

You have to count characters to determine which is shortest. John 11:35 has two words and 10 characters. I Thessalonians 5:16 has two words and 14 characters.

So there you have it, John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible but you have to go to a character count tie-breaker for confirmation.

Contrasts are interesting

In addition to just the number of words I find the contrast in these two verses interesting.

In John 11:35 Jesus shows us He loved and felt grief just like we do. Lazarus, a close friend of His, had just died and a wave of grief just passed over Him like it does us when we grieve, so Jesus wept.

In I Thessalonians 5:16 we are told to “Rejoice always.” That seems to be in direct conflict or contrast with John 11:35, but is it really?

This does not mean to pray continuously but to pray persistently and consistently. Don’t just use prayer as a crutch or your “help line” when you have exhausted all of your own great, or not so great, ideas. Try it as a first resort. His ideas are greater than ours and prayer helps us learn what those are.

You Can Memorize Scripture

Three very short verses, seven words, and you thought you couldn’t memorize scripture. I am confident if you will just read these three verses a few more times you will have memorized three verses today.

7 Words Verses

 

God Does Not Do Coincidences

God does not do coincidences. He knew what He was doing when he inspired these verses as He did with all the other verses in the Bible. I am not an expositor of scripture and did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I can draw a couple of thoughts from these three short verses of scripture that make sense to me.

As Christians, if we would practice praying without ceasing that would increase our chances of rejoicing always. If we rejoice always we will even be able to rejoice when a brother or sister in Christ leaves this world and takes up residence in their final home with Jesus. We know they are rejoicing and that helps us to rejoice. However we will also shed a few tears because we are sad they are no longer here with us and we do grieve.

In the end, as Christians, we do have the hope and promise we will see them again one day when we get home.

Do you share this hope?

If you don’t share this hope and would like to learn how you can visit Peace With God and satisfy your curiosity. What you learn there can allow you to begin rejoicing always. You just may be weeping for joy and praying without ceasing will become a real possibility.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 5/2/2015

Right Thinking

Thoughts Banner 2From the title of this post you might think this was a political book expounding on the virtues of how right thinking, in the political realm of thought, is powerful. Let me put that thought to rest for you. It’s not.

What the author does provide in “You & Your Thoughts: The Power of Right Thinking” is much more powerful than any political thought ever…and there have been some powerful political ideas or thoughts.

Enough about, or not about, politics. Continue reading Right Thinking

What Do YOU Expect from the Holy Spirit?

Well, what DID you expect? When you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour what did you expect? Did you expect an upper room experience like the first Christians as described in the book of Acts?

For all of us who have come to accept Christ after his ascension we don’t have to wait. The moment we make that decision the Holy Spirit is there, immediately.

So, since we have this Helper or Holy Spirit inside us, what should we expect? Continue reading What Do YOU Expect from the Holy Spirit?

Unforgivable? Not so fast…

Have you ever entertained the thought that you might have committed the unforgivable sin?

Why You Have Not Committed the Unforgivable-Sin - Jeremy MyersIn Jeremy Myers latest book, Why You Have Not Committed The Unforgivable Sin, he discusses this very subject. I know, the title gave that away, right? If you have ever struggled with or just wondered about this question or know someone who has it would be well worth the investment to get your own copy and spend a little time with it.

He makes a very logical case for just what the unforgivable sin is not, what it is, and how you can tell for sure if you have committed it or not. Continue reading Unforgivable? Not so fast…

Prayer and Politics

I have always heard and believed the old saying if you don’t vote then you have no right to complain when those elected don’t act in accordance with your beliefs. I still believe that but have come to a new understanding that goes a little deeper. I do vote whenever that privilege avails itself so I do maintain that “right” to complain.

My new understanding has come about over the past few weeks as I have tried to practice what Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. There are many verses in the Bible that are hard for me to live by. In this sermon where Jesus says, “Love your enemies” and “pray for those who persecute you” those are some of the hardest.

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Love Your Enemies

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers,i what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This goes even deeper than the fact this will drive some of them crazy once they become aware you are doing so. Jesus sets a very high standard for us as Christians to aspire to. I fall short every day.

Prayer changes…

One thing I have learned about prayer over the years is it changes the person praying more than the one you are praying to. It is a little bit…ok…enormously presumptuous to think that I am going to change God’s mind about anything anyway. Prayer, if practiced regularly, will, however put my heart and mind more in sync with what God has in mind for me.

Meanwhile…back to my original topic

It has always been difficult to pray for those in leadership when I do not agree with their methods, decisions, or intentions as I understand them. I have prayed they would be removed or replaced but that is not what I am charged to do from God’s Word.

Recently, I have found a way to do this that has worked for me. Maybe I am a little slow to arrive at this truth but I am there now.

Here is how my prayer goes regarding those who God has placed in leadership roles over me.

Leaders Prayer

That’s it. It is pretty simple and yet it is sincere in that it is what I want our leaders to do. This is true regardless of whether it is a leader I happen to have voted for or agree with ideologically. I want all of those who represent us and are supposed to be leading us to make decisions based on the best interests of us. The fact I may disagree with their decisions and direction they are leading is irrelevant. It really is. That may be hard for some of you to believe but it is true.

It is possible my prayers could help change their hearts but it is far more likely mine will be changed.

Not Silent

However, this does not mean I will be a silent observer when I believe decisions being made by those same leaders are ill-advised or are motivated by their own self interests. I am praying for them to make wise decisions and hope they do but I will speak out and share my thoughts and opinions when I don’t believe they did. I will work within our political process to get them removed and replaced by those who will make wise decisions. That is just part of my responsibility to be a good citizen.

Prayer in the Public Square

Contrary to what many want us to believe prayer does have a place in the public square. It is the only way this government, which was designed to serve and protect the people, will work. Anything else will result in chaos or something worse.

English: I took photo with Canon camera.
English: I took photo with Canon camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

As stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

 

 

 

Will you join me in prayer?

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe or select one of the other options to follow this blog and you will be notified whenever a new post is published.

Why I Don’t Have A Fish On My Car

en: Ichthus (fish, Christian symbol) in dark y...
en: Ichthus (fish, Christian symbol) in dark yellow; de: Ichthys (Fisch, christliches Symbol) in dunkelgelb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t have a fish emblem on my car and probably never will. I have nothing against fish or what the Christian fish emblem represents nor am I judging or condemning anyone who does have one on their car. I am a Christian. I just don’t feel comfortable in representing my beliefs with a fish on my car. I don’t trust myself.

Just for reference, here is a brief summary of what the fish emblem represents. This symbol is called Ichthys or Ichthus from the Koine Greek word for fish.

According to tradition, ancient Christians, during their persecution by the Roman Empire in the first few centuries after Christ, used the fish symbol to mark meeting places and tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes.

According to one ancient story, when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good company. Current bumper-stickers and business-card uses of the fish hearken back to this practice. —Christianity Today, Elesha Coffman, “Ask the Expert”

There is also a counter-fish emblem created to represent Darwinism.

Darwin fish
Darwin fish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I don’t believe in Darwinism as it relates to Creation I will not have one of these emblems on my car either.

Maybe I am being too critical of myself or being too concerned about something that really doesn’t matter. Maybe not.

Paul says in I Corinthians 8:9, But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.”

He is talking here about not eating meat if it causes a brother or young Christian to stumble. At the time Jews thought the meat from many animals was unclean and forbidden. Even though there is nothing wrong with eating meat for Christians – our right – if doing so causes someone else to stumble on their own journey of faith because they believe this is wrong then we should have the maturity and respect to not eat meat in their presence.

If I cut someone off in traffic, don’t let them merge into traffic, or take “their” parking place and they see that fish on my car that is my witness to that person. All they likely know about me is I have a “Christian fish” emblem on my car so I must be one of “those Christians” then that supports some stereotype of what they believe Christians are, just ordinary hypocrites. I don’t want that to happen if I can avoid it. This can be applied to many different situations for Christians. Others that come to mind are drinking alcohol, attending R rated movies, and the words I choose to speak or write.

This is probably one of the few times I really do care what people think of me because as a Christian I am representing Christ to those whose path I cross. I do the best I can but am far from perfect. However those looking for a Christian to make a mistake, for some reason, want to hold others to a standard by which they are unwilling to measure themselves.

I know I am not responsible for anyone else’s thoughts or actions, only mine, but I don’t want to be the reason or excuse someone else uses for their thoughts or actions either if that can be avoided.

This principle can be applied to most any other group you could substitute here. When I worked for UPS one Christmas season they had a policy that employees could not wear a complete uniform home. We had to change our shirts before we left so we, as representatives of UPS, would not do something in that uniform that would disparage UPS.

It holds true for employees as well as employers and those in leadership positions, maybe even more so.

Knowing I am doing my best, with God’s help, to live as a Christian, helps me have peace of mind. That peace of mind helps me sleep well at night. However I do know I have and will continue to make mistakes in this journey called life. As long as my motives are pure I can forgive myself when I do make mistakes. I know God has already forgiven me.

If you don’t have that assurance and peace of mind yourself that is a choice you have made but one that can be changed today. Take a look here for 4 Steps to Peace With God. I promise you will not regret it and can be sleeping better tonight.

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

Size 13 Footprint

I received a Father’s Day gift this year from my son, created with “encouragement” from my wife. I have received many Father’s Day gifts over the years and I am sure many fathers have received a gift similar to the one I am writing about today.

However, I suspect few have received one in the same size as the one I received. You see, my son is 18 and has a size 13 foot.

Fathers Day Card_20140615

This gift marks a milestone for us. You see, this is our youngest child who is now away in college leaving us at home without children in the house for the first time in 27 years. We are quasi-empty-nesters. I say quasi because we do still have two children in college so they will be back pretty regularly until they finish college but they are gone now more than they are here and that will likely be a permanent condition.

We are now living in the second half of Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will stay on it.” TLB

For the most part, we are done with the first half of this verse. He is now older and free to make most day-to-day decisions on his own. We will now have to sit back and observe to see if we really did teach him to choose the right path.

I am as confident as one can be when looking into the future he will make wise decisions. Does that mean he will make wise decisions every time the first time? Of course not. That is how we learn the most and gain wisdom – from our mistakes and unwise decisions. As long as he keeps learning and not repeating the same mistakes then those experiences will just become learning opportunities. I do hope he can learn from our mistakes too so he doesn’t have to make the same ones we did.

Will we worry? Of course we will. If I answered that question any other way I would lose all credibility.

Will we pray? Absolutely! We will Pray without ceasing as we are exhorted to do in I Thessalonians 5:17. I think many parents really heed this exhortation when their children leave for college or move away. It is nothing new for us to pray for our children. The focus of the prayers just changes over time. I hope our praying will outweigh our worrying but I am sure the balance of those scales will move back and forth as we grow. We are still learning too.

Our prayer for all our children includes but also follows the more familiar Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. 

Proverbs 3:7 says, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”

This prayer will work in all situations for all of us.

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

“…I will listen to you.” God

I was reminded of a scripture verse recently upon our son’s graduation from high school. I used it in my graduation letter to him as well as his sister two years prior but this reminder made me think it was worth sharing here too. You, the reader, will be the judge of that so let me know what you think.

My blog is named Peculiar Perspective because I often see life sort of sideways and I think this is another example of that perspective. I think there will be others to come in the future where the more well-known scripture reference is followed by a truth or promise that does not get as much exposure.

If you have any knowledge of the Bible or grew up in church as I did I am sure you have heard the verse often used at graduation time, Jeremiah 29:11 which says,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

But how often have you paid attention to the next verse which I see as being just as profound? Jeremiah 29:12 says,

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” 

Not only does God know the plans He has for us, and those are very good by the way, but He reminds and promises us in the next verse when we get confused or begin to doubt His plan for our lives if we will only talk to Him, He will listen.

How awesome is that? The creator of the universe will listen to me? Yes He will…If you know Him.

If you have children don’t you want them to talk to you and won’t you listen if they do? God longs for us to talk to Him in the same way.

Do YOU know HIM? If so this is just a reminder He is waiting to listen if you will just come to Him and talk to Him in prayer. The most often way you will hear from Him is reading His love letter to you, the Bible. 350px-holy_bible

If you don’t know Him yet, take a look here at Peace With God and learn how you can know Him today and then you can claim this promise too.

Until next time…

 

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I Am A Thief

I am a thief, I am a murderer.

Are you a thief too? A murderer too? I am.

Cross & Sky Christian Wallpaper Background a G...
Cross & Sky Christian Wallpaper Background a GIMP edit of my original (Photo credit: † David Gunter)

My blog is called Peculiar Perspective and this might just be one of those but maybe it shouldn’t be. I have been a Third Day fan for years. I love their music, their ministry, and Mac Powell, the lead singer, just happens to be an Alabama fan so that works for me too.

There are many of their songs I like and could and probably will at some point write about here. However there are none that affect me more at this time of year than one call Thief. They have two versions of this song. The original came out as a live version on their album named Third Day in 1996 and is my favorite version. Third Day_Third Day

They did a studio version for their Chronology Volume 1 Album in 2007 as well. The words are the same. The sound is just a little different.


Third Day_Chronology Volume One

I suggest you click on one of the links below and watch it and listen to the words. It will move you if you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian I think it can move you too if you watch and listen with an open mind, something that is rare these days but it can still be done.

A New Perspective

I liked this song before I ever really understood it. Let me try to explain. I like Third Day and their music and their “sound” so just for those reasons alone I liked the song. When I first heard it I liked it because it was different. I had never heard a song from perspective of the thief on the cross beside Jesus. I thought that is interesting and something I have never thought of that way, a new perspective.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I really began to understand the gravity of what this song was saying, at least to me. That is when I realized I am that thief on the cross, as well as part of the mob yelling, “Crucify him”, as well as Judas, as well as Peter, when he denied knowing Jesus. If you listen to this or think of this story as the thief got what he deserved that is OK. You are right. However if you don’t also realize that we would all get what we deserve if it wasn’t for what Jesus did by staying on the cross then you are missing the point completely.

Here are the lyrics for Thief by Third Day.

Thief

I am a thief, I am a murderer,
Walking up this lonely hill.
What have I done? I don’t remember.
No one knows just how I feel;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

It’s been so long, oh, such a long time,
Since I’ve lived with peace and rest.
Now I am here, in my destination,
I guess things work for the best;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

Who is this man? This man beside me,
That they call the King of the Jews.
No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

They laugh at Him in mockery,
They beat Him till he bleeds,
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
And they raise Him, yeah, they raise Him up next to me.

My time has come, and I’m slowly fading,
But I deserve what I receive.
Jesus, when You are in Your kingdom,
Could You please, please remember me.
Well He looks at me still holding on,
And the tears fall from His eyes,
And He says I tell the truth,
Today, yeah, you will live with Me in paradise, woah yeah.

And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah.
And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah, yeah
And I know that paradise, paradise is coming soon.

Writer: POWELL, JOHNNY MAC / ANDERSON, SAMUEL TAI / AVERY, BRADLEY B. C. / CARR, DAVID / LEE, MARK D.

Here is a link to a GodTube video of the song with lyrics.

Thief by Third Day (Lyrics) – Live version

Here is a link to a YouTube video of the song with images from The Passsion of the Christ so some of the images are graphic.

Thief by Third Day – Passion of the Christ images – Studio Version

I believe the song speaks for itself but do have a couple of observations.

I am a thief, I am a murderer

We are all sinners. You may not think your sin rises to the level of a thief or murderer, that people who commit those sins are somehow worse sinners than you are. That is not true. God sees all sin, even a “little white lie” as sin. 

And I know that my time is coming soon

All of our times are coming soon so if you are waiting for the “right time” that time is right now. We are not promised tomorrow so take care of this today.

No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

I believe that somehow you know it is true too but might not want to admit it for fear of what others might think of you. That reminds me of a quote I heard from Zig Ziglar that says, “You wouldn’t be so concerned about what others think of you if you realized how little they did.”

You will spend it somewhere. Where you spend it is your choice. My prayer for you is you will choose wisely.

If you have questions about how you can accept God’s gift of salvation for you, please visit Peace With God or ask questions in the comments. I will answer with what I know and would love to hear from you.

Until next time…

If you like what you read here enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe or select one of the other options to follow this blog and you will be notified whenever a new post is published. 

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