Author Archive: daytontn

Finding Shelter in the Alpha Male

Our growing puppies were not impressed with a neighbor’s July 4th fireworks display.  After hearing two “BOOMS!” they wanted inside the house AND FAST.

Mocha, our timid and lanky mutt, recovered quiet nicely.  His older brother, however, not so much.  In fact, he was shaking like a leaf.  We did all we could to console him, but it wasn’t enough.  He specifically wanted to find shelter in the alpha male.  That’s me, by the way.  Here’s Lawrence:

As his funk continued, he gently laid down at my bedroom door (since I was in my bedroom taking a shower).  If he couldn’t be safe with me, he wanted to be as close as possible.  When I was finished, I opened the door and determined to let him know that all was well.

Eventually, he calmed down.  The world did not come to an end.  We are not actually being attacked by a pirate ship (or aliens or whatever a dog would envision…cats driving a tank?).  Life returned to normal.

As I reflected upon what transpired, I couldn’t help but wonder how I respond to the unexpected “BOOMS!” that come my way.  I know some of the foolish ways in which I have responded in the past.  I trust you can think of some of your less-than-godly reactions as well.

How should we respond?

Consider these words from Psalm 91:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

How should we respond?  Run to God!  And, if we can’t get to Him, we need to get as close as possible!  Yes, I hear your objection!  Running isn’t required.  God is inside of us!  Indeed, He is.  Our triune God resides within His people through the Person of the Holy Spirit.  As a result, any movement on our part comes in the form of prayer and trust.  Don’t you see both of those activities mentioned in Psalm 91?  “I will say to the Lord…” is a direct address to God.  Trust is communicated in our “abiding in His shadow” and seeking refuge “under His wings.”  So, we’re talking with the Lord and we’re trusting that He is BIG enough to protect us and/or assist us in our time of need.

“BOOM!”

What will you do now?

In or out determines our celebration. Which is true for you?

In 1 Corinthians 15:17, Paul wrote,

“…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”

Dare I ask:  How important is the resurrection of Christ?

I declare:  How important is the resurrection of Christ!

Consider this words at the beginning of Ephesians, chapter two.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Due to the imputation of Adam’s sin, every human being is born sinful. Our choice to sin at a very young age, only confirms the constitution of our nature.  And that is why we all need resurrection.  And that is why Jesus rose from the dead.

If you are in your sins today, you are either not celebrating or you are not celebrating correctly.

If you are no longer in your sins, today is a great day celebrating the historical realities described in the Bible and the profound implications in our lives each and every day!

PS–If you have a second check this out:

Success! Jesus stayed on mission.

Earlier this week, I posted the following on Facebook:

Really comforted, encouraged, strengthened, etc. by our study in church on Sunday of the seven sayings of Christ on the cross. I was struck yet again of how Jesus, though in genuinely unspeakable pain, remained in complete control of the situation. No one was taking His life from Him. He was willingly laying it down for His sheep (disciples present as well as those to come). He had consciously lived an unblemished life of obedience to the will and word of His heavenly Father and that obedience was taken to and through the cross, resulting in the glory of God and the temporal and eternal good for His people representing every tribe, tongue and nation! In other words, Jesus was successful as the Savior. “It is finished” was the declaration of victory! I am grateful to be able to meditate this week on the facts and implications of the sufferings, death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

In a similar vein, I found the following on the web:

Was Jesus successful in what He did on the cross? Did He actually pay for sins? Did He actually redeem from death and hell those for whom He died? Isaiah is telling us here in these verses that He did, that He was successful.

And that is why particular redemption is so important. To say that Jesus died for all men, but that most of those people for whom He died will still go to hell, is to deny the success of the work of Jesus. What kind of sacrifice is it if God is not satisfied with it and people for whom Jesus died are still sent to hell by Him? No, there is victory in the death of Jesus on the cross. He paid there for sins. He cried out, “It is finished.” That was His success. He did pay for sins in His death.

Now let us go back and look at the reward that God gives Him. If you still have your Bibles open, you see that that starts again in verse 10. I said that this section is about the success and the reward of the mission of Jesus. And you see that in each verse here.

In verse 10, “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” Here you have the success and the reward of Christ. The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. Under Christ’s charge, the Lord’s plan will prosper, it will succeed. “He shall see his seed.”

Who are His seed? Jesus was never married. He never had children. Who are they? The reference here is to the spiritual family that comes as a result of His death on the cross. His seed are those who believe on Him. John 1:12 reads, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” The seed of Christ are all those who are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit, who are born not of the flesh but by the word of God. This is the success of the cross. The family of God is gathered by the message of the gospel. And Christ’s reward is that He gets to see His seed.

Do you not think that this would have been a marvelously encouraging promise for Christ as He went to the cross? When it seemed in His suffering that He was all alone? When even His closest friends and disciples had forsaken Him? He could look at this passage and this promise and think about the many thousands and millions who would hear the gospel through history and believe on Him. He could think of the coming Holy Spirit, who would regenerate men and women and bring them into the family of God. He could think of the multitude without number who would stand someday before His throne in heaven. This was the joy and the glory that was set before Him as He went to the cross.

For the whole transcript, see:  http://www.prca.org/resources/sermons/reading/item/3978-the-success-of-his-christ-s-mission

With another Easter rapidly approaching, I praise God that Jesus actually did what He said He would do.  From Bethlehem to Golgotha, Jesus never wavered from the Father’s plan. He stayed on mission.  Even on the cross He was fulfilling prophesy.  “It is finished!” meant “Mission Accomplished!”  He had glorified the Father, remained qualified through genuine temptation and great suffering and laid down His life for His sheep.

Isn’t He amazing?!

Truth in an unlikely place

After I taught Sunday School this past Lord’s Day, I visited the men’s room.  As I washed my hands, I decided to read a small piece of art that was hanging on the wall.  I’d probably seen it many times before, but I paused for the first time to actually read the words.  It looks like this:

Just in case you can’t read it, here are the words:

  1. Keep skid chains on your tongue. Say less than you think. Cultivate a smoothing voice. How you say it often means more than what you say.
  2. Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully, no matter what the cost.
  3. Never lose an opportunity to say a kind word to or about somebody. Praise work well done, regardless of
    who did it.
  4. Be interested in others, their pursuits, their homes and their families. Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel your regard him as important.
  5. Be cheerful. Keep the corners of your mouth turned up. Hide your worries and disappointments under a smile.
  6. Keep an open mind on all debatable questions. Discuss, but don’t argue. It is a mark of a superior mind to disagree and remain friendly.
  7. Let your virtues speak for themselves and refuse to discuss the shortcomings of others. Discourage gossip by changing the subject.
  8. Have respect for the feelings of others. Wit and humor at the expense of a friend is never worth it.
  9. Pay no attention to destructive remarks and personal attacks on you. Live so that no one will believe them. Remember, a common cause of backbiting is a dissatisfaction with oneself.
  10. Don’t be concerned about your “just due.” Do a good turn for the sake of being helpful.

The placard is entitled Getting Along With People (Springbrook Publications, Inc., 1993).

What do you think?  Will following the counsel above lead to healthy relationships?  I think so.  I wouldn’t say that I am convinced that smiling while suffering is laudable (#5), but the other points are well-made.  I can’t help but think about how much more of a blessing I could have been had I followed the advice above!

Which of the above points hits you between the eyes today?

For me, it is the #8.  Too many times in my life I have hurt others with my humor.  It’s only been in recent years that I can honestly say I am learning how to apply #1 (“Say less than you think”).  Believe me when I say that I was not reared in such a home where words were weighed before they were spoken!  Friends in my past also often did not help, laughing at some comments or jokes when a gentle reprimand would have proven more beneficial. But maturity is a beautiful thing! One of my hopes is that my children will mature much faster than I did!

And that’s why I write this blog!

But thanks for stopping by!  May this day and this week find us “getting along with people”!

Depp in Deep

The following are excerpts from an official court document submitted to the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, Central District on January 31, 2017.  John C. Depp, II (you know him as the gifted actor Johnny Depp) 

is named as one of the plaintiffs.  The defendants include a company that Depp had employed to assist in managing his finances.

You may or may not be shocked by the following:

Depp lived an ultra-extravagant lifestyle that often knowingly cost Depp in excess of $2 million per month to maintain, which he simply could not afford. The following examples are just some of the ways that Depp chose to spend his money (p.3).

  • Depp spent in excess of $75 million to acquire improve and furnish 14 residences, including a 45-acre chateau in the South of France, a chain of islands in the Bahamas, multiple houses in Hollywood, several penthouse lofts in downtown Los Angeles, and a fully-functioning horse farm in Kentucky (p.3).
  • During this same time, Depp spent lavishly on various luxury items, including spending over $18 million to acquire and renovate a 150 foot luxury yacht (p.3).
  • Depp spent millions more acquiring and/or maintaining at least 45 luxury vehicles (p.3).
  • He spent $30,000 per month on expensive wines that he had flown to him around the world for his personal consumption (p.3).
  • 200 collectible pieces of art and works by world famous artists such as Warhol…(p.3).
  • 70 collectible guitars (p.3).
  • Depp also spent many millions more over the years on extremely rare and expensive Hollywood collectibles. Depp’s collection of Hollywood memorabilia involving such icons as Marilyn Monroe, John Dillinger and Marlon Brando is so extensive that it fills approximately 12 storage facilities…(p.3).

Try to take that in for a minute.  The management firm estimated that Depp required in excess of $2 million per month to live at his desired standard of living.  $2 million a month!  $24 million annually!  And it still wasn’t enough!

The document (linked below) also included the following remarks:

Depp’s voracious spending consistently outpaced his earnings (p.10).

Depp, and Depp alone, is fully responsible for any financial turmoil he finds himself in today. He has refused to live within his means (p.4).

*https://www.scribd.com/document/338054406/TMG-v-Depp-Cross-Complaint#download&from_embed

Have you any response to this?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What advice might you offer Mr. Depp?

 

 

 

Burying Mom

Later today I will participate in the funeral of my friend’s mother.  Today is also my own Mom’s birthday.  She died four years ago.  She would be 85 today–her birthday (though she would object due to the fact that she was actually a leap year baby, born on the 29th of February).

Sadly, as far as I can assess, my Mom died outside of the Lord.  It was also saddening that we did not have a funeral or memorial service.  My Dad had passed several years earlier.  In reality, none of us children knew exactly what to do.  Three of Mom’s siblings had passed and she had not communicated to any of us any particulars regarding a type of ceremony or service.  Consequently, we did nothing.  Perhaps something could have been planned but we’re spread out now, living in North Carolina, Nevada, Wisconsin, Texas and Tennessee.  And since Mom wasn’t religious, no pastor or church was involved.  She was quietly cremated and we all went on with life.

It was odd.

Today, my friend celebrates the blessed death of his mom.  That concept is found in Revelation 14:13.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

The reason for which the are blessed is provided.  They may rest from their labors.  Why?  Their deeds follow with them.  In other words, if we know Christ and strive to live for His glory, blessing others around us even though we remain remarkably imperfect in this life, a glorious rest awaits us throughout eternity.

Have  you ever considered what that rest is like?  Contemplate these thoughts from James Durham’s (1622-1658) collection of sermons on the verse quoted above (The Blessed Death of Those Who Die in the Lord, Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2003, Don Kistler, ed.).

“Then we confidently and comfortably conclude that death–whenever, wherever, and however it should overtake us–would be gain to us, by putting a final and eternal period to all the remainders of indwelling sin, to all temptations to sin, to all desertion, and to all complaints and fears of desertion and hidings of God’s face; to all doubtings about our gracious estate and about our interest in God; to all fears of backsliding, and of offending or of giving offence; to all trouble, sorrow, sadness, and sighing on whatsoever account; to all indisposition to serve, worship, and glorify God; to all interruptions of fellowship with Him, and to all fellowship that is but mediate and in part; to all sinful ignorance and imperfect knowledge, or that which is but in part. In heaven, great theologians read all their divinity without books, and without the least difficulty in the beatifical immediate vision of God’s face. Death ushers us in to that blessed state wherein we call be satisfied with His likeness, and that both objectively and subjectively, being then admitted to see Him in Himself as he is, face to face, even to full, immediate, and never-to-be-interrupted fellowship with Him” (p.xi).

Said as only a Puritan preacher can!

Our glimpses of heaven provided to us by the Scriptures enables us to grasp Paul’s declaration that dying is gain (Philippians 1:21)!

Charles Spurgeon wrote,

“They rest from their labors in the sense that they are no longer subject to the toil of labor. Whatever they do in heaven will yield, then, refreshment and never cause them weariness. As some birds are said to rest upon the wing, so do the saints find, in holy activity, their serenest repose. They serve Him day and night in His temple and therein they rest. Even as on earth, by wearing our Lord’s yoke, we find rest unto our souls, so in the perfect obedience of heaven, complete repose is found” (A Voice From Heaven, Sermon 1219, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, http://www.spurgeongems.org).

My friend’s Mom did not live an easy life.  She suffered greatly from Rheumatoid Arthritis. Today, however, she finds herself not simply in the Lord, but with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8)!  Her laboring to live with an awful disease has ceased.  She now rests in perfect health.

How thankful we all are that she was “in the Lord.”  She trusted in Christ and in Him alone for her salvation.  She was depending upon His grace and trusting in His promises.  She was blessed.  She is blessed.  She will always be blessed.

I pray the same will be said of us!

James Durham concluded his treatise with these words:

“Now may the Lord Himself, who alone can do it, powerfully persuade and prevail with you so to live that you may have the well-grounded hope of dying in Christ, since blessed and only blessed are they who die in the Lord, who rest from their labors and whose works follow them” (p.129).

Although the application is self-evident, I am impressed to draw it to your attention.  Where are you with Christ?  Are you outside of Him or are you inside of Him?  Believe me when I state that no more important question will be asked of you today, this month or this year. Death is only blessed if you are “in the Lord.”  If we have received Christ, believing upon Him (John 1:12), how are we living today?  Are we laboring? Are we striving to say on mission?  Every Christian has the same purpose, even if we word it a bit differently.  My mission statement reads as follows:  Glorify God, Bless People & Prepare for Eternity.  Does that resonate with you?  If so, it will determine what you do today and this month and this year.  It is what motivates you to serve others and find ways in which to utilize your gifts and talents in the body of Christ–a local congregation.  The bottom line is this:  What we believe today and how live today matters.

Thank you for stopping by the blog and for considering these important issues!

Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

Jonathan Edwards
Resolutions

 

Be alert, Tim! You have enemies!

bardiya_0825

bardianationalpark

The pictures above were taken in Bardia National Park located in western Nepal.  The area made the news in late December of last year when a herd of elephants that live in the park attacked a small nearby village, killing one person and injuring two.  The story peaked my interest (I love geography) and quick glance at Google images helped me to see that Bardia is teeming with wildlife, some quite dangerous.

The second photo illustrates what can happen when a deer allows herself to become too comfortable with her surroundings.  The shot above shows three other deer very much on the alert.

The concept of alertness is on my mind.  I need to be alert.  There is an enemy seeking my defeat from within (my flesh, the sin which remains)and from without (the evil one and his minions). One particular verse caught my attention several years ago.  1 Corinthians 16:14-15 reads,

13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

Eugene Peterson renders these verses as follows:

13-14 Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.

When I served in the Army, I was trained on how to perform guard duty.  I vividly remember guarding a building (with an empty M-16).  Thinking a drill instructor might try to sneak up on me, you know I kept my eyes open!  I wasn’t just on guard duty.  I was on my guard! Like the deer in the top picture above, I was ready for anything!  If that was how seriously I took that responsibility when I wasn’t in any real danger, how much more seriously should I be now that I find myself in the crosshairs?!

A good word for me today!  I hope you were encouraged as well!

A hope, a prayer, for my sons

what-makes-a-man-a-man

“What makes a man a man? A friend of mine once asked. It’s the choices he makes. Not how he starts things, but how he finishes them.”

That’s the last line from the movie Hellboy.  Lest you become too concerned, please know that I did not actually watch the movie.  I happened to turn on a particular channel the other day as the movie was concluding. As a father of two boys, you can see why the quote grabbed my attention.

Decision-making.  Faithfulness.

I would love for my sons to become men who are known for making wise decisions and for finishing what they start.  I suppose that is the hope of every father.

This afternoon I hit the Dayton (TN) walk track for lunch.  As I often do, I pray as I exercise.  One of the things I prayed for today were my children.  I prayed for their salvation and for their maturation.  I prayed for me as their Dad.  I prayed for their Mom. I also prayed that I would finish well at my particular callings (Christian, Husband, Father, Friend, Worker).  I very much do not want to fizzle out as more and more of my hairs turn grey.  That concept has been on my mind as I will be mentioning the latter years of both David and Solomon tomorrow night when I teach a class on the Old Testament.  Both kings started well, but did not finish strong. David (Solomon, too) proved to be a poor
father (a bit hard to excel at fatherhood when you have over 20 children).  Solomon worshiped idols. Without a doubt, they did not finish
well. May that never be said of me.  May it never be said of my sons.  May we do the right things–even when they are hard.

what-makes-a-man

May God help us to these noble ends!

My rationale for getting out of bed this morning

today_matters-1

I recently watched an interview of Neil deGrasse Tyson by Larry King (see link below).

I personally find Dr. Tyson to be delightful and interesting.  His personality is winsome.  His answers to Larry’s questions were fascinating, but I particularly took interest at what took place at the end of the interview.  King brought of the concept of fearing non-existence (both men are atheists).  Tyson replied:

“It is the knowledge that I am going to die that creates the focus that I bring to being alive. The urgency of accomplishment, the need to express love now, not later. If we live forever, why ever even get out of bed in the morning? Because you always have tomorrow. That’s not the kind of life I want to lead.”

After Larry King asked him if he feared “not being around,” Tyson answered:

“I fear living a life where I could have accomplished something and didn’t. That’s what I fear.  I don’t fear death.”

Don’t you appreciate his vulnerability?!  I sure do!  I also find his comments insightful. As a Christian, however, my perspective on both living and dying is in conflict with that described by Dr. Tyson.  The facts that I will indeed live forever and that I will face God upon my death serve as important impetuses for my accomplishments as well as my expression of love to those around me.

My mission statement is short, but has profound implications for my present.

Glorify God
Bless People
Prepare for Eternity

Tomorrow is important.  The future awaits.  But that unrealized and certain hope does not negate my calling today.  Why did I get out of bed this morning?  Because I have a mission to complete over the next twenty-four hours!  The primary purpose for my existence is to glorify God.  To a point, that happens without any effort on my part.  Yet, it is also something I consciously do (and I wish I did more consistently).  Jesus told me to let my light so shine before men that they might see my good works and glorify my Father who is in heaven (Mt. 5:16). He was also very specific (as were the authors of the entire New Testament) that I seek to bless others (Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:14). Whatever the context in which I find myself, I am to prove to be a good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  Finally, I need to live each day with the knowledge that I will “be around” forever.  What I do today matters.  And that makes this day as important as tomorrow.

 

Ancient Wisdom for Modern Business

briner

I recently completed reading a small book entitled The Management Methods of Jesus (Bob Briner, Nelson Business, 1996).  The subtitle appears above.  In several places, the book stretched the application of Jesus’ actions and example a bit too far, but I particularly appreciated the following lines:

“Inadequate preparation produces inadequate results” (p.3).

“Whether you’re laying the foundation for a career, launching a product, or making a presentation, there is no substitute for preparation” (p.4).

“A lack of absolutes can lead to all kinds of corporate problems, from petty thievery to major crime. It leads to shoddy products and shoddy practices in the marketplace. ‘I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong’ is a common defense of everything from manipulating stock to adding extra nicotine to already lethal cigarettes to building cars with dangerous fuel tanks. As a company and as a manager, teach the right way, insist on the right way, be an example of the right way to do business. Follow Jesus’ example” (p.18).

“Don’t fall into the trap of arrogance. Not only is it unseemly, it is bad business. One way to combat it is to keep a picture in your mind of Jesus Christ, God’s perfect son, kneeling before ordinary men, his own disciples, and washing their feet. With this picture in mind, it is pretty hard to be arrogant” (p.36).

“To succeed, use the Jesus model. Take good care of your employees and your customers. When Jesus said in Matthew 23:11, ‘He who is greatest among you shall be your servant,’ He made a statement by which any business can live and thrive” (p.58).

“Both through His actions and His teachings, Jesus demonstrated that He expected His followers to be fruitful and productive. He was equivocating on this” (p.83)