Monday, February 27, 2006

God and the Oklahama Smoking Ban

“If people are going to come to your place of business to kill liver cells, we’ll let them destroy their lungs there, too.” That’s what crossed my mind as I was reminded Monday morning of the Oklahoma ban on smoking in restaurants except in establishments where sixty percent of income is from the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Did you know that God cares about your body? I remember the emails that circulate occasionally that say that the elements that make up your body and your skin are worth four dollars and fifty cents. I don’t doubt that, but God has never determined the value of something buy the dollars it generates. My guess is that a dead sparrow and the wild flowers in a field are worth less than $4.50, but God is still aware of the sparrow and dresses the wild flowers.

You are body, mind, and spirit; and God cares about you as a complete person. He wants your spirit to be healthy, your mind to be healthy, and your body to be healthy. He created you with body, mind, and spirit. He has prepared heaven so that you can live there with glorified body, mind, and spirit. He isn’t going to divide you up for eternity. He wants you complete; and completely. If God cares so much about all of you, shouldn’t you care that much about all of you? That’s Life at Work!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cuddling Up With Sin

Gary Richmond is a zoo keeper and author of A View From the Zoo. He told a story in the book about his friend name Julia who had a pet baby raccoon. Gary knew animals, so he explained to Julia that raccoons go through a glandular change at about 24 months that causes them to be vicious when they had not been vicious before. It was important that Julia know that because a thirty pound raccoon is like a hundred pound dog in a scrap. The animal could cause he physical harm. Gary said he would never forget Julia’s answer. "It will be different with me," she said. "Bandit would not hurt me." Three months later, Julia was having facial reconstructive surgery to cover the laceration made by Bandit when he attacked her for no apparent reason.

There are times when we are appalled at the ugliness of sin. I guess that one of the most graphic ugly pictures of sin, in my eyes, and the eyes of many others, is the gay pride marches or Mardi Gras celebrations that are shown on the news. If sin were always so ugly, we might not sin nearly as much. But sin does not always come in ugly packages. Sometimes, in fact most times, temptation comes in very pretty packages.

That was even true of the temptations that Satan brought to Jesus in the desert. Remember, Jesus had not eaten for forty days and Satan said turn this rock into bread. Jesus was going to suffer and die to establish his Kingdom, the church. Satan offered him the kingdoms if he would only bow down. Jesus was just beginning his ministry, what a wonderful presentation it would be to cast himself offthe temple to let the angels catch him. Temptation was not ugly. John wrote in 1 John 2:16 of "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life."

What happens so often is that people say the same thing about these pretty temptations that Julia said about Bandit. That won’t happen to me. But it does happen.

Now, I’ve got to be honest with you. Cuddling up to sin, treating it as if it is a pet that would never hurt you, does not always end in tragedy in this life. Sometimes people sin willingly, continually, and never seem to face any earthly consequences for their actions. I would guess that Satan works hard to see that they don’t face consequences. He wants to keep them involved in their sinful activity. But, many do have to endure in this lifetime, the consequences of sin. And those consequences are often horrible. Death, disease, broken relationships, unbearable emotional strain, just to name a few.
I can tell you, however, that willingly continuing to sin will, without a doubt bring horrible eternal consequences to you. You cannot escape God’s judgment and all of us will have to give an account for the things that we have done (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

So, what should we do? Remember these verses the lessons from 2 Corinthians 11:14 and 1 Thessaloians 5:22: Satan can be transformed into an angel of light if it means fooling you and we should avoid every kind of evil That inlculdes the pretty kinds. They, too will hurt you. That’s Life at Work!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Doing the Things You Do

“Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1)

For some who heard the Jesus Perspective on giving, praying, and fasting that day on the mountainside, these words were a warning about ongoing hypocrisy. Their practice was to make themselves seen when they did righteous acts. You might say they were acting righteous. It was a role they played, and they were excellent actors. The Greek word for that kind of acting is the root of the English word “hypocrite.”

For others these words, were a warning to guard their motives. That takes some serious introspection. I can guard my tongue in an instant. When I realize I’m about to say something that that I shouldn’t, I can pull back on the reigns of my tongue and keep my mouth shut. We call it “biting our tongues.” But to guard my heart in regard to motives for doing righteous acts; that may take a little time, some prayer, and some real exploratory heart surgery.

Ask yourself today, and be perfectly honest, “Why do you do the good things you do?” Are you doing them to be seen by others for admiration’s sake? Or are you doing them to be seen by God for the reward he has prepared?

That’s Life at Work!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Marriage Week Communication

A man was watching the news with his wife when a story was reported about a politician who was discovered in scandal. The story included a picture of the politician standing next to his wife who was especially pretty.

The man watching the news said out loud, “It’s not fair. The biggest jerks have the best looking wives!

His wife calmly replied: “Thank you, dear.”

The story above ought to remind us of a few things about communication in marriage, and in other relationships for that matter: First, sometimes, like the man who made the foot-in-my-mouth comment about jerks and beautiful women, we say things without thinking that hurt. Some of us speak unencumbered by the thought process. Be careful about what you say.

Second, sometimes when we’ve been hurt by words we forget the Proverb, “A soft answer turns away wrath.” When your spouse says something that hurts your feelings, don’t respond with the “eye for an eye” response that comes so naturally. You can express hurt with hurting back.

Finally, see the humor in things, and when your spouse jokes in the midst of tension, laugh at it. Laughter breaks the tension, lightens the moment, signals a desire for reconciliation, and heals. Receive the signal and laugh.

Maybe you are aware that February 7-14 is Marriage Week. It shouldn’t be surprising that Valentine’s Day occurs in Marriage Week! Don’t forget to express your love in a special way to your spouse on February 14.

That’s Life at Work!