Something For Nothing – A Love Gift

Again, another Ballista74 post…

I encountered one of those tables out and about with a woman selling something to raise money for charity. I got to talking to her and found out the charity. Eventually, I heard that prompting: “Give her something.” I kind of stalled a bit and got my wallet out. I finally pulled a bill out and handed it to her. “What do you want?” she responded. I said I just wanted to donate the money. After a fair amount of resistance, she finally took it with a smile on her face.

But how are most of us? Something I see in all the charity appeals I see is that something is always connected to it. Give $50 and receive a tote bag! $100 nets you that and some concert tickets! And $500 will get you backstage! And most 501c3 organizations (like most churches) have the enticement dangling out there that you can deduct it on your taxes.

This woman literally expected to have to give *something* in return. Something I found interesting in hearing (and I would love to find an article talking about this), is that most of these organizations have found that they have to do this in order to get anyone to consider giving to them. Not surprisingly, this is how the world works. The reciprocity of works. I wrote about it here, but the concept seems to go into everything we are in the flesh.

It even goes into the gift of Jesus. This is the major contrast between real Christianity and other religions. The other religions require a work or payment or measuring up in order to attain salvation, but with Christ, the debt has already been paid!

Such a different thing than what we are used to! Unfortunately, so many have trouble with that. It takes faith to believe that. Unfortunately, many have lined up their checklists and turned salvation into a list of works. Got to pay Jesus back for what He did for you, right?

But He expects much different – simply a recognition of the gift He has given – in other words, that His grace have effect. He tells us things like this:

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)

Then in an ever poignant way, He gives this parable:

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:23-35)

The issue of the Christian walk always seems to be to show appreciation of this gift that He has given. Which leads back to this woman selling things for charity. It was a total God thing and a blessing for me to be able to do it, and see the look on her face and how she reacted. I don’t know if there was a seed to plant, but I was blessed and had a joy about doing it. I didn’t feel like I had to give her the money. In other words, I wasn’t obligated to, I wanted to…

There’s a lot of damaging teachings out there about giving, but the one we are given in the New Testament as Christians is this:

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

It is the same principle as farming: You get back what you put out. We can’t outgive God, and even giving takes a faith that He will be there in grace to provide our needs. Giving is a way we show God’s love. Freely receiving grace is another, for we can easily stop the blessings God has in store for others in this way.

I don’t know whether this was a moment for this woman to praise God or it was a seed that was planted and watered, since this peculiar man came along and didn’t want anything in return for his money, but to God definitely be the glory!
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If you need an outlet of consideration for giving, by all means see this. Be the blessing…

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Your Elders Are People, Too.

To explain the password protected posts, I used content from one of Donal Graeme’s protected posts, so I wanted to be sure to respect his reasons behind making his password protected. I have my own reasons, too, given some of the things I needed to say, that I didn’t want those out in the wider public (yet). So, I announced the password in his protected post, as I trust the crowd that was participating there. If you aren’t participating over there, please don’t feel slighted, as I will likely post the non-personal content publicly soon.

Meanwhile another Ballista74 post…

One thing that struck me as I attended my great uncle’s funeral is how they were talking about him. Such admiration! All these things he did. Clock making and repair, traveling and collecting bricks. So many other things. Such an interesting person!

Yet here I am as a family member who saw him at gatherings all the time, talked to him all the time, yet I never knew any of this! Same goes for my mother, as I finally went through all her pictures, and saw glimpses of the person she was. Of course, I grew up with her, and saw her do a number of things. She had her own problems and closed herself off, but I saw this different person staring back at me. And all the people I knew that she went to school with!

I don’t know if anyone else’s family is like this, or if am just a product of what my whole family is, but people just didn’t talk much. I don’t think my parents made much of an effort, because…they’re parents. Maybe the function of those roles clouded out their personal identities in dealing with me? I’m sure that extends to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and every one else who would have known you as a child.

Granted, there’s a perception of persons going the other way when it comes to kids, and I know that probably works that way with most. Now I know the movement is out there where the parents are wanting to be their kids’ friends and I know the damage that has caused with so many being feral, but if I had to judge the thoughts of my parent’s generation, it seems people have swung to polar opposites on the scale.

Moderation is spoken of in Scripture much in different terms.

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. (Titus 2:2)
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:6)
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (1 Corinthians 9:25)
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:18)

As many would take it beyond limits, lack of moderation in things either puts you into sin if you take too much, or takes you out of the blessings of God’s good things if you cut yourself off from them entirely. That has been done with the fruit of the vine, and with sex and marriage within the church, but it’s been done with many other things like this matter.

One of the things I wanted to be sure to do from that point on when I was at this funeral of a family member, who might as well have been a stranger, was get to know my great aunt (his wife) and who she is as a person. I speak of bouncing off the walls and praising God, and that was another good moment in a great day, the same one as the truck. She’s a pretty cool lady that’s had an interesting life. She’s talked much about family members that’s been long passed from this earth, and things they’ve done. Stories of things she did during the war, when she was closer to my age than hers. Meeting her adopted kids and their families. Hey, I lived in the first house she ever lived in with her husband, imagine that! And her given name was her aunt’s name and my given name was her uncle’s…wow… All things I never would have known, if I haven’t had the chance to get to know her as a person.

And that leads me to the day of the truck. That afternoon, I got to spend a couple of hours talking with her, and a few of her friends that had dropped by. Total blessing, happy to do it. Next day, got to help her out by taking her somewhere and spend more time with her. Think I was even singing in the car. Smiling most of the time, mind on Him and His blessings. When my mother would help out with her or before calling her, always grumbling, always complaining. Again, it is how we choose to see things.

One of the things I pontificate on the most about the nature of the Church as defined in Scripture is how much it is tied to PEOPLE and PEOPLE GETTING TOGETHER. In a lot of ways, the biggest blessings the Lord leaves for us on this earth is each other. It seems that is His plan and always has been His plan – it does seem to be no coincidence that familial terms are abound in Scripture to describe the Church.

If you are looking for the Lord to bless you, be the blessing to others, and allow others to bless you. Then see the riches pour in.

I Locked My Keys In My Truck…And It Was A Blessed Day!

I hesitate to share too much about me, because I wanted to keep this blog about God and not about me. But I guess things are evolving…

I locked my keys in my truck somewhere…got out shut the door and took three steps, and realized what I did when I returned, the door wouldn’t open and the keys where there staring at me. Now the big question in life is never what happens to us, it’s how we respond to it in our actions that counts. It’s never anyone else that is to blame for what we do about something, it always falls on us. We can choose to wallow in despair, react in fear, anger or self-loathing, or we can choose to realize we have power within us and act affirmatively.

So, I evaluated my options and started walking for home. It’s a good day, a little cold, but nothing wrong with that. Put aside your fears, put aside your attitude, and just do it. I walked for exercise a lot previously, so the idea was there that I could do it.

In walking/jogging and later bicycling, I’ve always found it a great thing to do both physically and spiritually. A test of faith, a time for the Lord to have me to Himself, a feeling of accomplishment, especially the times I’ve spent all day riding for distance. It’s carried me through a lot of the trials I’ve gone through in my life the last few years. Always goals to meet, but never about the miles or time. “Lord, get me here, get me back.” Some days, it’s hard to do that physically for where my health is. Other days, it’s “I want to go some more!” Some pains, some trials, but it’s always the mindset and what you choose to look at:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

I can think on the fact I have my keys in my car, all the inconvenience, all the trouble that will cause. Worry about what it will take to get it. Or I can look to the positive and find a way to deal with it.

It’s a great day to walk, even if it’s cold, so I started out. I prayed to the Lord for protection, and to carry me through and back as I started out. It’s a great day, so I started singing. I don’t know very many songs by heart and even just fewer phrases, especially since so much of the songs now are “Jesus Are My Boyfriend” type songs. “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4) So, just some random phrases in my mind. “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” “Hallelujah” over and over. I’m sure something else in there too. Saying a few phrases, “how wonderful you are.” The whole way.

Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant. (Psalm 135:3)

About half way through, the thought of Paul and Silas singing praises after being beat and put into prison came to mind. How much less this thing I was going through than that, and yet they found it in their hearts to not be downcast, but to sing praises? How much less most of us go through, yet can’t find positivity and joy in anything?

I got back to my place, smiling and bouncing off the walls and praising the Lord in my heart. 1.5 miles, doesn’t sound much to those that are more fit than I, but the Lord carried me through it. I asked the neighbor to borrow the key to my place and got my spare truck key and the bike. We’ll see how fit I am after not doing it regularly for winter. Up the first hill, feel good, not winded. Hallelujah! Covered the distance pretty quickly, thinking how wonderful it is to be able to do such a thing. Got back to my truck, unlocked it, put the bike in back of it. Still feel pretty good, not tired, not winded. Did my business and returned. Still smiling, praising the Lord.

What was that problem I just had, I just had a wonderful blessed time! So much of what we do and choose to not do is directed by our minds. The mind directs the body, it’s not what happens to us, it’s where we go with it. Do we complain? Do we grumble? Do we blame others, or compare ourselves to others? Do we look to others to solve our problems?

I often think of the day when I’m faced with the Lord and He looks over my life. He points over to this pile of blessings and says “I wanted to give all of this to you out of my love…but your heart wasn’t right in faith to take them from My hand.” The Lord wants to give us so much out of His love…but only if we’re willing to take it. There’s no time for anything else if we learn to value each of our days.

I stepped out in faith…and You, O Lord gave me this victory. You are so wonderful and gracious to me.

Traditional Marriage and Sex Roles in 1954 Look Like Feminist Marriage and Sex Roles Today

Note, this was made in 1954. As with anything, if it resonates, it has truth in it.

For those that don’t know, standards and practices in 1954 were such that they couldn’t come right out and say a number of things. The sailor outfits on her previous suitors say they pump-and-dumped her, and her “brothers” really were her bastard kids.

Daisy was a slutty single mother!

The Dun & Bradstreet book was the mother looking up Donald’s net worth. Provider Tool Uber Alles!

The delusion that the 1950’s were this nirvana of perfect Biblical marriage keeps a lot of tradcon feminists from seeing the truth: Marriage 2.0 has existed for a very long time, the idea of “Biblical God-given marriage” has been non-existent for a very long time, and feminist marriage existed long before the name Betty Friedan was ever known.

Isn’t it amazing how similar the narrative is in the manosphere today regarding marriage, as it is in this piece made back in 1954?

The Nature of Genuine Manhood: Every Christian’s Battle

The latest posts (1, 2, 3) have been dealing with the base definition of manhood. In picking up on the two main points, I observed that lapses of these things have been a perennial problem to the point we find it again and again in Scripture.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

This admonition is given for a very good reason: A person that stands and knows who they are and whose they are will win out against the devil’s schemes, always. The victory is already assured in Christ, so the only way the devil can pull defeat out of the jaws of victory is to draw people away by the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Again, these are very simple things, but always a battle to uphold. Unfortunately, the church has lost sight of this – we’ve gone from “Onward Christian Soldiers” to “Jesus, I’m So In Love With You”. No wonder the church is in such a mess, when its soldiers lay down the battle implements in battle!

A visual representation of 1 Corinthians 11:3
A visual representation of 1 Corinthians 11:3

Know Whose You Are
The first sin we’re presented with in Scripture committed by a man is a matter of him not recognizing “whose” he is. As Adam was told:

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; (Genesis 3:17)

Countless problems have occurred throughout Scripture due to men leaving God and following after other men, and after women. The sin of Adam is this: He served his wife, instead of serving God.

We’re given 1 Corinthians 11:3 as a hierarchy. Once a man starts taking another man as head, or a woman instead of Christ, he sins. He forgets “whose” he is. The admonition is given again and again (Ephesians 6:10), like to Joshua before entering the Promised Land (Joshua 1:9). The battle is won with the Lord at the head. The battle is lost with a man at the head or a woman. No wonder the battle is going poorly! Standing without the Lord is just like charging into the guns. Lots of flash, lots of thunder, all for not. This is the church today.

Know Who You Are
Not being strong in the Lord leads to weakness and defeat. Knowing who you are involves holding onto faith, strength, and courage in the Lord. We see this time and time again with the Israelites as they came up out of Egypt. The story repeats itself all ten times they were an affront to the Lord: In their minds, they were back in Egypt in their chains, instead of free indeed with the Lord. To look at the last incident, there were twelve selected to go out and spy the land (Numbers 13). There were two very different reports, the one from Caleb:

And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. (Numbers 13:30)

Notice the strength there. Let’s not wait, let’s do it now, we are well able to do it! Contrast that with the other report;

But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. (Numbers 13:31-33)

“They’re stronger than we are.” Read “we’re weak” there. “The land eats up its inhabitants.” Read “if the people won’t get us the land will”. “All the men there are big.” We’re puny. We’re “grasshoppers”. Bugs they’re just going to squash.

Notice the difference in tone? Negativity before the Lord isn’t good. Unfortunately, you really have to watch company you keep in the face of these things, and really put on the full armor of God in guarding your heart. As we see, the negativity sweeps throughout the camp:

And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. (Numbers 14:1-4)

They’re swayed away from the Lord by their weakness, and are ready to return to slavery in Egypt! Joshua and Caleb couldn’t even sway them, no matter that the Lord plainly gave it to them! This is indeed the quality of a perpetually weak person: Bitterness. Better in their minds to wallow in their weakness and they won’t hear of anything different and will even defend their weakness! These are not men.

This repeats itself again and again in Scripture as well. Looking to the battle of David and Goliath, this was said of the armies of Israel:

When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid. (1 Samuel 17:11)
And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. (1 Samuel 17:24)

Imagine that, the entire army of Israel dismayed, afraid, and fleeing from one man! Also, note all the discouragement fed David by the others, including the Philistine. But what is it that makes David different from Goliath, and once more what makes Goliath different from the rest of the army of Israel?

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands. (1 Samuel 17:45-47)

Suffice it to say, when you don’t have the confidence in yourself to go out and fight, the battle is already lost. Note you can pray and pray for something all day, and the Lord will give it to you. But one thing lost in this modern church is this: The Lord never out and out gives you anything. You have to have the faith to take it. Goliath didn’t fall over for David, the Israelites didn’t just march in and claim the land. They had to take it.

Again, these things aren’t something that can be taught like carpentry or auto repair. These things aren’t things that you do, they are things that you be. You can’t teach these things, you just have to get it.