Life Lessons – Learning is the Key

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One of the truly great gifts we are given in life is the ability to learn. I wish I had realized this earlier. I don’t have many regrets in my life but this is definitely one of them. It has only been in the last 20 years or so, that I have developed a passion for learning. Oh, if only I could return to my youth, how very different my pursuit of learning would be. And while I can’t go back, going forward, I can make sure that I learn something new every day.

“Learning is the only thing that the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets”. – Leonardo Da Vinci

During our lifetime, we naturally grow in our knowledge by simply living our life but how much greater could that be if we truly pursued learning as a life long pursuit. In the last 10 years, with the internet explosion, there is literally no end of resources available for anyone who is willing to learn more. I’m old enough to remember the Dewey Decimal System and how frustrating it was when the local library didn’t have that one book I needed to finish a report.

While it’s true that learning simple facts or researching specific topics is as easy as a Google search or asking Siri if she knows the answer, there’s more to learning than just knowing stuff. I submit to you, that while the informational highway has become an Autobahn for quick learning, we are becoming a society that is forgetting how to live and learn life with and from each other. Anyway, I guess the point I’m trying to make is this – learning math, languages, science, history, geography, etc. etc are vital in anyone’s development of knowledge but I hope that we never forget the art of learning from each other.

I’m an avid reader, always have been. I will read just about anything and appreciate anyone who has the discipline to start and finish writing a book. I love blogs and can spend hours on the internet reading various posts from people all over the world. I admit one of my favorite sites is Pinterest. Say what you want but it’s one of the greatest resources available to us today. You can learn how to do just about anything or at least gather new ideas to pursue further.

I love autobiography’s, to be able to delve into the minds of people as they were in the process of living their lives is just so cool to me. I also enjoy personal blogs where people share their thought processes. I love those moments while reading when it’s like – wow, I never thought of looking at that like this. I guess for me, reading represents my second favorite way to learn. It seems to challenge my imagination, my concepts of what I think I know more easily than anything else.

So my favorite way to learn, you ask? From others! I love being able to sit across from someone has they begin to unravel the truths they have learned while living their lives. To be able to see their facial expressions, see into their eyes as they talk, provides a connection that you simply can not gain any other way. As I said earlier, I hope we don’t become a society that forgets the art of learning through personal interaction.

Learning from each other is one of the ways we can “Share the Journey” with others. And I am so thankful for those men and women who have graciously given of their time to pour their knowledge into me!! My hope is that I may also  be found to be as gracious and giving of my time, that others may learn from me.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

A Study of Joseph – Life Repeats Itself

In the last post I mentioned two gentlemen that would play a significant role in Joseph’s life. Both men served in Pharaoh’s court, as one served as his cupbearer and the other his baker. These two men probably had no idea how they would help impact the world for years and years to come but God used both of them to help shape the events that would lead to Joseph becoming the 2nd most powerful man in ALL of Egypt! But first….

Joseph had been put into the same prison where the King’s prisoners were kept by Potiphar. And once again God let’s Joseph know that He is with him by granting Joseph favor in the eyes of the Prison Warden. So much so, that the warden is compelled to not only put all of the prisoners under Joseph’s direction but for everything that was done there! Obviously, this all sounds familiar as once again Joseph finds success in all that he does, for the Lord is with him.

Sometime after Joseph has built up his reputation with the warden we read that Pharaoh was offended by the cupbearer and baker and puts them into the custody of the warden where Joseph was. And Joseph is assigned to be their personal attendant. We are also told at the end  Genesis 40:4 that they were in custody for some time. And then beginning in Genesis 40:5 we see how dreams, once again, begin to play a significant role in Joseph’s life. I would encourage you at this point to read Genesis 40:5-23

Would it have surprised you if Joseph had told these guys to forget about their dreams, that in his experience, nothing good ever came from dreams. At this point, we can deduct that Joseph is around the age of 28 and has been enslaved for 9 years or so. And since the time of his dreams at age 17, he has had to endure a pretty hard life. Yes, God has been with him the whole time but according to worldly standards, prison is surely not the place you want to be making your way in this world.

Deliverance for Joseph is another 2 years away as we will see later and I would imagine at this point, Joseph is not praying for patience but patience IS what he is learning. Obviously he knows that God has blessed him and continues to do so by granting him favor in men’s eyes and making it possible for him to find continual success in all that he does. Even so, I think it’s incredible we don’t see any evidence that Joseph is bitter or angry with his position in life.

If we are honest with ourselves, we probably feel like we can relate to Joseph, I admit I do. Am I slave to someone or a prisoner…no but at times I do feel enslaved to this life and that sometimes, just as I feel like things are going great and I am feeling really great about life, circumstances change and I find myself asking “why me, Lord”? And like Joseph, when I take time to lose the bitterness or anger and look for the blessings in my life, I am overwhelmed by the Grace, Mercy and Love that God showers me with! And the blessings so greatly outnumber any hardships, trials and tribulations I may have experienced.

In this life, it sometimes seems that life repeats itself time and time again as I experience some of the same ups and downs over and over again. As I look at it now though, I see that in each instance, there were different lessons or experiences that have helped shaped me to who I am today. And maybe not for you, but for me, the toughest lesson for me to learn is patience. To know that in all circumstances of my life, God is with me, and through all things, God is wanting to not only reveal Himself to me, but grow me through it that I will be in a better position to serve Him and His purpose!!

Peace and thanks for reading!

Knowing God – we begin

Chapter 1 – The Study of God

Why bother with the study of God? As C.H. Spurgeon outlined in his opening remarks of a particular sermon, there is no subject of contemplation that will humble the mind, more than thoughts of God. And while that is true, I also agree with his assessment that nothing will expand the mind more than thoughts of God. Spurgeon also said “I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.” He was 20 when he presented this to his congregation.

Who needs theology you ask? Surely lay people don’t need to enter into this exercise. This should be more for those in ministry. For the sake of argument, I will agree with you…..but, aren’t we all called to the ministry? A more practical answer possibly is this – why would you not want to study about the God whose world it is and from whom you were created? We are being cruel to ourselves if we attempt to live this life without knowing about God.

How do we start this endeavor? We start from where we are of course. Chances are pretty good, by doing so, we begin this journey in some type of storm going on in our lives. Just the mention of God today in our society will cause strife for believers, so we are apprehensive in even beginning the process. Do not be discouraged. Begin the journey. We can do it together.  Let’s start by plotting a course.

Packer outlines 5 basic truths, foundational principles of the knowledge of God which Christians have. These will direct our course. They are:

  1. God has spoken to man, and the Bible is his Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation.
  2. God is Lord and King over his world; he rules all things for his own glory, displaying his perfections in all that he does, in order that men and angels may worship and adore him.
  3. God is Savior, active in sovereign love through the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue believers from the guilt and power of sin, to adopt them as his children and to bless them accordingly.
  4. God is triune; there are within the Godhead three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and the work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it and the Spirit applying it.
  5. Godliness means responding to God;s revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God’s Word. This, and nothing else, is true religion.
With these general and basic truths we will examine in detail what the Bible shows us of the nature and character of the God of whom we are speaking. Next, Packer wants us to consider the themes in which we will explore during our study.
First we have to deal with the Godhead of God. The qualities of deity which set God apart from humans. Some of these qualities are: his self-existence, his infinity, his eternity, his unchangeableness. 2nd, we need to look at the powers of God: his almightiness, his omniscience, his omnipresence. Next is the perfections of God which include his moral character which are manifested in his words and deeds, his holiness, his love and mercy, his truthfulness, his faithfulness, his goodness, his patience, his justice. And finally we will need to look at what pleases him, what offends him, what awakens his wrath, what affords him satisfaction and joy.
There was time when these basic principles and themes were common place within the church but not so true today. How would you answer the following question – What is God? honestly, it took me a couple of minutes before I was able to start answering this question. The answer given in the book is this: “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”
My thought is that this a pretty good start for our journey through Knowing God. I hesitate to tell you that this doesn’t even get us through the first chapter. Take some time as I did and reread through the 5 basic truths along with the themes outlined. I was overwhelmed at the amount of time, content and truths that were unveiled to me just going through these 2 things. I am several chapters ahead now and taking time with this really helped me prepare for the chapters ahead.
I would love to hear any feedback you may have. Suggestions for presenting the material. Or questions you may have, please feel free to let  me know.
Peace and thanks for reading!!

Knowing God – Do I?

I was recently given a book called Knowing God by J. I. Packer. Never heard of him? Neither had I. This book was published in 1973 – I was seven at the time it went to press. When I was first introduced to it – I thought; looks cool, interesting title, who wouldn’t want to know God more? But as I begin to look at it in detail – chapter titles, preface, etc., I realized this book was not presenting itself as a way to know God more. No, this book was asking the simple question of Do you know God? Do I Know God?

Well sure I know God, I mean I have accepted Christ as my Savior, I read my Bible, Study God’s word, I pray almost every day and I know every Chris Tomlin song there is. As I am having this conversation with myself, I keep hearing this voice saying yes, you know me but you don’t know me the way I want you to know me. Well now…. this book doesn’t look so cool, it’s almost 300 pages, I’ve never heard of this Packer dude, this book is as old as I am. Yea, I’ll read it as soon as I get some time.

I have had this book for I think 3 weeks now and only in the last couple of days have I started to read it. Hard to admit it but I simply did not want to answer the question of Did I Know God? I do know God but I knew this book was going to challenge me to move. To look at my walk with Christ with new eyes and I wasn’t ready for that. Not sure that I am now but the journey as started. I am just a handful of chapters into it and already know that I will be different as a result of this book.

I love to write. Always have but for years I got away from it until about 3 years ago when I took up “blogging”. I truly do write for myself and am always amazed and humbled that folks take time out to read anything I may write. So why am I bringing this up now? I believe that one of things we are called to do for each other is to share our journey’s/stories/life experiences, etc. Not for self promotion but that others may learn from us – both the good and the bad.

I am inviting you to journey with me as I read this book. My style of learning, studying, especially in regards to my walk with Christ has always been to read a couple of chapters straight through and then go back and read them for a second time. As I read the 2nd time, I mark, highlight key words, sentences, etc. I then type those notes into a folder. In this case I feel compelled to blog about whatever God reveals to me during this journey. My fear in doing this is that I may reveal more of myself than I care for you to know. But I honestly feel that God is calling me to do this.

Stay tuned. Peace and thanks for reading!