Post State of the Union Musings

Tonight the President of the United States gave his State of the Union address. This yearly speech is the one that the President set the legislative goals for the year ahead or uses to set or declare the vision, direction, and agenda for the country in the year  ahead.  Now, the things the President spoke about will please some, anger others.  Certainly those that hold to Judeo-Christian morality will be unhappy with some elements of what the President spoke about.  Personally, it ultimately is irrelevant.

The irrelevancy is not because it will not impact me personally. Certainly it will as this country is where I live and am subject to the laws.  The irrelevancy comes because what matters for me is the state of a different union.  What matters to me is what God is establishing and working in my own life.  What directions is he leading me, am I following his will.  Am I walking fully under His authority.  Do I exercise and walk in adequately the authority of being an ambassador of the Kingdom of God?  What steps do I need to take in the areas God is working in my life? Am I following God’s agenda and in his time or am I off doing my own thing.  Am I sitting passive when I should be active?    For me these matters are far more weighty than the machinations of government and  elements of the power of sword that will be coming ahead. 

Now the questions and reflections are admittedly self-focused.  God does ask us to think and move beyond self.  So there are other questions related to the state of the church as a whole.  The church as a whole, much like this country, is in trouble.  The church is in trouble because of lost focus.  Rather than focus on simply making disciples there get to be other distractions including self-focused Christianity, political enmeshment,  Gospel vacated acts of outreach, and institutional stagnation.  The state of the church is one in need of waking up and remember all that God has revealed and focus on spiritual and eternal matters.  

Now unlike change in this country, changes in the state of relationship with God and in the state of the Church can happen. It involves surrendering to God’s will, walking in faith, and actively pursuing the directions God’s lead in His time.  If you are uncertain of what God is leading, simply pray for wisdom and God will supply, but the answers always involve faith and acting regardless of what is seen.  All in all we need to grow in being aligned and aware with what God is doing with a focus not on the things of this world, but on the eternal matters of God’s Kingdom.

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News Commentary: The 100 Club- MN Vikings players caught speeding

This week news broke that Adrian Peterson and Bernard Berrian both have been pulled over for driving over 100 miles per hour.  Now clearly this will become the source of derision and plenty of jokes will be made.  I have to think though that athletes driving the cars really fast is nothing new.

One thing I know from experience is that getting caught speeding is an intermittent thing.  You can go years and years driving fast, or in this case extremely fast and never get caught. It just takes one moment to get caught.

There are a few factors that probably play a role in athletes making such a decision. One being is generally there is some level of a need and desire for adrenaline boosts.  They operate in performance sports where they frequently have adrenaline boosts. Driving really fast boosts the adrenaline.

Another factor coming into play for some in a sense of entitlement.  The mindset is that there are two sets of rules, one for them, and one for everyone else.  Being athletes there may also be some thinking along the lines of “I have better skills than the average person, I can handle driving really fast.” So at some level they think they are better and do not need the same rules as everyone else.

There also is a general sense of invulnerability. The sense that given their strengths nothing can go  wrong and they can maintain complete control.  Also just plain thoughts that even if something did go wrong, nothing could seriously do any damage. It is the same kind of thinking that goes on with adolescent drivers.

So athletes are likely to have those factors playing a role in their decision-making. Yet, their choices are not any different from those made every day by each of us.  We evaluate the risk and potential cost of our choices and make decisions as to what is acceptable.  In fact, in our culture today there is even an emphasis on self-driven determination of right and wrong. There is even a view of morality that considers anything that refrains desire to be immoral. 

Now maybe Adrian, Bernard and all the uncaught athletes driving over 100 miles per hour can handle it. Yet, we live in a world that is assessed to be unsafe for the community at large.  Personally, there have been stretches where attentiveness to speed is lacking and have received my share of moving violations that were fair and just.  Even if the consequences were unjust or even wrong, it is still the system of authority and rules we live under, and they are applied at the discretion of the those with that authority.

As a Christian, there are is Biblical directive to submit to the authority that is place.  The rules of law are there for reasons and are not personally defined.  So Adrian and Berrian drove really fast and will receive the appropriate consequences.  They also face additional consequences related to fame of the incident being brought to attention of the public.  

Thinking of this incident and actions, it gives a reminder that each of us need to attend to our behaviors and choices.  We may think we can handle certain things, but can lose control at a moments notice. We may think it is harmless until something goes wrong. We may think all sort of things for all sorts of reasons.  We may get away with doing wrong things with a season, but consequences will eventually come. If not in this life, than the next.  So when thinking about the poor choices made of these young men, think of your self and your own poor choices, think about what you may need to choose to do differently.

The Hooked Goose: A picture with spiritual signifigance

Take a moment and prayerfully consider this picture.  Ask God to reveal to you the spiritual significance of this picture, then come back and read my thoughts.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and what God speaks to you in the comment section. 
Notice the lure

Notice the lure

 

 

 

 

Okay, hopefully you have taken time to prayerfully consider the picture.  My first reaction to the picture was first it being a symbol of being yoked. Yet, with the lure being stuck in the goose it didn’t seem to quite fully fit.   Then my attention shifted to the nature of sin being a trap and that the Enemy has many for of bait sitting there to trap and entangle people.  There is no shortage of ways a person can get ensnared including the range of sexuality, drugs, entertainment, food, money, power, and so on.  Once we get drawn and hooked by a particular lure, there is always temptation to return.  The variety of sins are much like this lure.  We get used to them, not even notice, but every once and while feel the pull and get led off course.  This picture to me represents a typical Christian.  We are infilled with the Holy Spirit (goose is a symbol of Holy Spirit in Celtic Christianity) yet we have various sins that we have been hooked by that pull on us to lead us astray. We can have those hooks removed.  We can be delivered from the snares but there are specific steps, just as there would be steps to remove the lure in this picture.   Biblically the steps involve repentance, submission, forgiveness, reconciliation, and faith and probably others. At some point on this blog further examination on the steps to freedom over the snares of sin while occur.  Take some time to think for yourself about the snares you have that may pull at you, what keeps you from moving in the direction God has for you.