Saturday, July 30, 2011

Be A Kid

Adults are inclined to think like adults. The adult thought pattern, with its complexities and biases, tends to produce practices not productive to God's plans.

  • are skeptical.
  • shake their heads, watching 'heroes' fall into disgraceful living.
  • see gray instead of black and white.
  • sit and watch others.
  • ignore differences for tolerance and political correctness.
  • are cruel to people (of road rage?) and animals (ASPCA?).
  • refuse to improve through learning new ideas, or declining to adopt good learning practices .
  • want to be pleased.
  • allow friendships to fade into oblivion.
  • are ambivalent or apathetic.
  • are greedy and selfish.
  • tell personal tales and become isolated from current opportunities.
  • want others to take over their jobs.
  • are prideful of who their person and accomplishments. 
  • lack affection 
  • are rude and hateful.

Does Jesus desire these traits in his family? I think not.

Once the adult disciples were thing like adults, They tried to control the crowd like an adult. Parents and grandparents wanted their children to see Jesus, maybe to touch Him or shake His hand. They were being rebuked by adult-thinking disciples.

Jesus rarely got upset, but the adult behavior of His disciples, preventing children from approaching Him, was not good. He became indignant. Jesus was very displeased with His adult acting students.

He claimed a moment for teaching them the characteristics He wants in His church. It was not what they expected. He said God's kingdom is made up "of such AS these." He added, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God LIKE A CHILD will not enter it at all."

To be a part of Is kingdom, I must struggle to exhibit child-like qualities. I must:
  • believe what I read about Jesus.
  • appreciate love, kindness, and affection.
  • return love, kindness, and affection.
  • try to please Jesus through obedience.
  • be humble like a child.
  • be efficient learners of Jesus, God, the Bible, etc.
  • accept responsibilities as they are offered.
  • be understanding and responsive to the hurts and needs of others.
  • talk about what I am doing (such as TheStruggle and preaching), and share my experiences.
  • be aware of the differences in people.
  • willing to give more to others.
  • be active in His Kingdom.
  • be enthusiastic about my relationship with Jesus, and sharing the hope.
  • discern between good and bad, eliminating gray areas.
  • strenthen the ties with my friends.
  • emulate my hero, Jesus.

Will you be my friend and join me in reverting back to a better life?

Do you have a subject you would like to read about? Please let me know. Email me your requests.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Celebrating 1 Year

On July 14, 2010, late in the evening or early morning, I set up TheStruggle and wrote a description of what was being attempted. On July 15, 2010, the first two posts were made (More Than Learners and Grandpa Joe), thus beginning the effort.

This year-long trek through various emotional highs and lows has been a struggle all its own. Much of my personal heartaches from a year and a half ago have not been addressed, nor will they be in this forum. But I have addressed many of the spiritual issues which I encountered as a result of the heartaches. I know some readers are facing (or have faced) similar issues.

By sending out emails to many of my contacts, responding to questions, posting opposing views to other blogs with sinful perspectives, getting websites to host a link to TheStruggle (Prescott Church of Christ and Radically Christian), and YOUR FORWARDING EMAILS and “LIKING” TheStruggle ON FACEBOOK success has been better than I could ever have imagined.

This post celebrates OUR efforts

In one year, you and your friends have read TheStruggle 3506 times. That is an average of 9.6 times per day. Some days had no readers, but others had crazy spikes. Each of these lead to months of "mountains".

The Top Ten countries where the blog was read include:
  1. USA 3208
  2. Canada 38
  3. Russia 36
  4. Czech 28
  5. Iran 24
  6. Germany 23
  7. Denmark 17
  8. China 15
  9. France 13
  10. Poland 12
All these are just the top 10, there were many more with fewer than 12. See how well you spread the word.

It takes much writing and many “hits” before you start being high enough on Goggle to bring readers. We have been able to reach some readers simply because they goggled a phrase. Unknown readers have goggled "compare israel's struggle with sin with ours today " and “miracle jesus demons pigs” or “the last member of.”. They found a post and read. For fun put in a Google search box TheStruggle (One Word) and some Biblical subject, and see what happens. I just did TheStruggle and Marriage. Google returned two posts, #2 and #3 in the world. But, if you don't find TheStruggle in the top listing, it may be a subject needing attention. So, Email Me your idea.

And speaking of resources, there is now a total of 106 posts to read. Here is a screen-shot with the Top Ten Posts.

  1. Wrestling Passively                                                       106
  2. How did he get away with it?                                          57
  3. Eavesdropping at the Church Building                              55
  4. Mark's Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage                       53
  5. Abortion                                                                        37
  6. Unexpected Issues                                                          34
  7. Fingernails on the Wood.                                                 25
  8. Standing for ...                                                               24
  9. Mom And Dad Are Going To Kill Me…                           23
  10. (by the time I posted this, Matt's Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage had moved up to 7th place with 27 reads. 

The Top Ten posts indicate to me:

Thank you for reading!
Thank you for commenting!
Thank you for promoting!
And Thank You God for helping me and TheStruggle so many times.

Now, help me as we grow this effort for God over year two. Please.
What are your thoughts?
What would you like to read?
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

One More Thing

Getting a license for my first car was an experience.

I knew to go to the Revenue Office for the license. I got my checkbook, got in my new-to-me car, and went to the Revenue office. I expected to walk in, pay a fee of some kind, and get the license plate.

The 30-minute wait was long. The polite woman behind the counter asked for my Collector's Office. "What papers," I asked. She explained I needed a paper from the County Tax Collector's Office as proof my taxes were paid. "That is the only thing we need from there," she added as I headed out the door on the new phase of the adventure.

"It is not too bad to lack only one thing," I thought.

At the Collectors Office, I was told I lacked one thing. I needed a document from the County Assessors Office declaring my property was assessed.

At the Assessors office I lacked only one thing, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) found on either the title or pink-colored registration papers. I had neither with me. I go back to the house for the car title.

"I lacked only one thing, but at three places. This is not so good," I thought. I had spent an hour longer than planned.

It was back to the Assessors office with Title in hand. I got the elusive piece of paper, and relayed it to the Tax Collector's office. After a hurried peek at their books, they stamped it, sending me back to the Revenue Office.

After an hour and a half, I had learned the need for proper government paperwork to obtain tags. And yes, it took me 30 more minutes before I saw "The Lady" again. Almost done, right?

"Where is your proof of insurance card," she asked gently. "My what," I replied. "What are you talking about," I asked. Was this another thing I lacked?

Out the door I went, headed to the only insurance company I knew: dad's. After buying my first policy an hour later, with a proof of insurance card, I started back to the not-as-nice-as-she-once-was lady at the Revenue office.

Frustration began as I was delayed another 37 minutes and 42 seconds to view her now-dreaded face. With a scowl, I shoved the insurance card toward her AND the tax receipt. Snatching my checkbook, I started writing the check just as her hand flew up. "Wait! I have everything except your car inspection receipt," she said apologetically. "You've got to be kidding," I said, struggling to retain my composure.

Out the door, AGAIN! I drove through town till I saw a state inspection sign dangling on the side of a DX gas station (whoops, dated the story). He said he would do the inspection just as soon as he finished mounting, spin balancing, and putting on all four new tires on the Chevy in the repair bay. "Just great," I thought. "I have plenty of time on my only day off," I growled sarcastically to myself.

"You say my turn signal is burned out," I replied to the station owner/mechanic/inspector.

"You will be back WHEN with the part?"

"You want me to watch your station while you are gone?"

It was 12:45 before I got the little slip of paper indicating my car had passed inspection.

The Revenue office was closed for lunch.

"Lady, I am tired and irritated. This better be everything," I told the now-embarrassed woman.

"There is one thing you lack," She facetiously said. "Your check."
Years ago a successful man approached Jesus asking what he lacked to gain eternal life. Jesus, living under the Law of Moses (Old Testament), reminded him of the 'Dos and Don'ts'. His response: "I have always done these."

Jesus knew his wealth was blocking him from being a successful spiritually. He was told, "One thing you lack."

I identify with him. Do you?

I lacked more than one thing to get my license plate, but I completed them one at a time. Spiritually, I lack more than one quality, so I aim at one area of improvement at a time. With God's help, have been reasonably successful.

The struggle to improve is hard, but I keep hearing Jesus. "ONE thing you lack."
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Matt's Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage: Matt 5 & 19

Marriage was God's plan from the beginning. He designed us to marry one person for life. Mark presents God's model. His point: What God has put together man should not separate. Matt 19:3-12 is the parallel account of Mark 10.

Matthew, like Mark, begins with the Old Testament picture of divorce (Matthew 5.31). He continues with Jesus' statement, "But I say to you...", which became mandatory on mankind the historical Friday He died. You and I need to pay attention to verse 32.

Matthew, in both references, sets forth God's condemnation of man disjoining what He has joined. Divorce will lead someone into the sin of adultery. The man who sends the woman away sets her up to commit adultery (5:32).

Both Matthew accounts have the exception clause. The exception rests on one companion being sexually disloyal. The pivotal word in the exception clause is unchastity, according to the New American Standard Bible (NASB). The King James Version (KJV) uses fornication, and the New King James Verson (NKJV) uses sexual immorality. The original Greek Word means "1. illicit sexual intercourse a. adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc. b. sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18 c. sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,..." (

What is the point of this textual word study?

If one party of the marriage, "A", has any sexual intercourse outside of the marriage, then "B", the innocent party, struggles to make painful choices. "B" may choose:
  • to forgive "A", getting a promise from "A" to join "B" in beginning the task of bolstering the battered relationship, or EDITED TO HERE
  • to separate from "A" (or allow "A" to leave), never to consider another mate, or
  • to divorce "A" (or allow "A" to initiate the proceedings), never to consider another mate, or
  • to divorce "A" (or allow "A" to initiate the proceedings), leaving the option of another mate open for consideration at a latter time.

Because God, in the New Testament age, has chosen to include an exception clause for the sake of innocent parties, some innocent individuals may now remarry without any fear of God's wrath.

Yet even with the exception clause, there is no possible way to describe the continual sharp pain caused by a separation or divorce. Both parties will never be quite the same ever again.

And none of this discussion has looked at the monumental harm done to the children of a shattered family.

GOD KNOWS WHAT IS BEST and divorce is not an option.

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Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mark's Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

You and I might look surprised. “What will I do with this question,” we ask ourselves. “If not answered well, people will think we are hard-liners, or spineless, or playing both sides of the fence,” we think.

Jesus didn't hesitate. What question was the test question this time?

Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? It was a Pharisee question. Again, they were testing him.

Jesus followed his common practice. He turned it back to them. “What did Moses say,” He asked them.

They gave the standard answer any Jew of the first century would give. It said, “To write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” (Mark 10:4).

Jesus' response was one of explanation. “Yeah, because you are so hardhearted he gave you this command. But you remember, it was not the way God planned it. God 'made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall be one flesh.'” (my version, Mark 10:6-8).
He added, “So, if God has put them together and made them one, man should not separate them.” (my version, Mark 10:9).

When the disciples were alone with Him, they ask more questions. He told them if he/she divorces a mate to marry someone else, someone commit adultery. (Mark10:10-12)

Is this the complete teaching on marriage, divorce, and remarriage? No.

But what is written should make everyone sit up and pay attention. Notice:
  • Jesus was not a hard-liner, spineless or playing both sides. He said what God wanted, not his opinion.
  • Jesus was not afraid of the question because He knew what God would say.
  • He did not change the teachings of God's covenant with the Jews. He actually reinforced it.
  • He pointed out a major problem: the hardheartedness of men. Man tends to do what he wants to do, regardless of God's wishes.
  • God made the two into one.
  • GOD PLANNED, from the beginning, FOR MARRIAGE TO BE PERMANENT. It was man who created divorce and remarriage, not God.
What should this cause us to do?
  • We should take lots of time selecting our life-long mate. There is no hurry. If it is good, then you will have the rest of your lives together. It one of you is not a 'good fit' for the other, better to find it out now, before rather than after marriage.
  • He does not authorize the 'trial arrangements'. He calls 'trial arrangements' by another name: fornication. Fornication will put both partners in hell (Gal 5:19-21).
  • We must plan, and teach all children, marriage is meant for life with no 'do-overs'.
Read more on the subject. Read Matt's Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage: Matt 5 & 19.

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