Spiritual “Do-Nuts”

The title is not suggestive of some sort of “religious” circular dough that has been deep-fried and sprinkled or glazed with sugar, though there are probably points to be made along those lines also.  Instead, the “do-nut” under consideration is the type done with a motorized vehicle- the kind where the front wheels barely move in a tight circle and the back wheels are spinning and squealing in a larger smoking or dirt-slinging circle around the outside.  These “do-nuts” have definite comparisons to some “spiritual” pursuits today…

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Hyphenated People

In writing, hyphens are often used to combine (compound) or divide words.  Interestingly enough, they work pretty much the same way in people.  Though we use them in an effort to combine two names or descriptions into one, they often wind up being more divisive than anything else.  For instance…

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Walking Together

The Old Testament prophet Amos was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs (not like our figs, but a fig-like fruit that had to be pinched or bruised to ripen), Amos 7:14.  He stepped out of the obscurity of his agrarian way of life to preach a much-needed message of reform to God’s people about 755 years before Christ.  Obviously, speaking for God to an apostate people was not something for which his sheep and sycamore trees had prepared him, or was it?  Amos was the perfect “man for the job” to deliver a no-nonsense message of repentance or destruction that Israel sorely needed.  Their so-called prophets had become ear-ticklers who spoke only the soothing words they wanted to hear.  So, God calls Amos to leave his sheep and trees to become what some have called “the first great reformer.”  His message from God was largely one of coming destruction because Israel (used of both the northern 10 tribes of Judah and the 2 southern tribes of Israel combined) no longer walked with God. 

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Hospital Reflective Observations

(As a preacher for about thirty years, I’ve spent considerable time in hospitals- as a patient, and with friends, family, and brethren. While writing this particular article, I am “the night shift” in an Austin, TX, ICU with a friend who had five bypasses of vessels around his heart earlier today.  But, it’s about midnight; he’s had a full dose of pain meds, and is doing well according to all of his monitors, his nurse, and his snoring.)  Some experiences are purely for entertainment purposes, and “fun” is the only real object.  But most of the rest of our encounters hold at least the possibility for lessons to be learned, through reflective observation, that can enrich and benefit future occasions.  Even hospitals contain significant opportunities to learn things about life and the human experience of it.

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Distorting the Scriptures

“Handling accurately the word of truth” (2Timothy 2:15) is about more than just being able to “rightly divide” (the KJV translation) between the Old and New Testaments.  It also has to do with using a verse in the right way, rather than taking it out of context and forcing an application from it that is not under consideration in the framework of the passage where it is found.  Let’s examine some common examples….

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Spiritual Laziness

The book of Proverbs has much to say about complacency (cf. 6:6-11; 24:30-34; 26:13-16; e.g.); and there are likewise N.T. passages dealing with the subjectboth indirectly and directly, Ephesians 4:28; 6:5-9; 2Thessalonians 3:6-12.  Laziness, or slothfulness, is typically easy to spot and generally disdained- though probably not nearly so much so in the last several years when “entitlement” has become more the mindset of many.  However, the aversion to good, hard, honest work usually has other manifestations besides just wanting to get paid and supported for doing little or nothing.  This mentality also affects our spiritual willingness to work. Consider carefully these examples:

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Finding a Stopping Place

“Finding a stopping place” can be difficult- like when you sit down to a meal of your absolute favorite food.  The “stopping place” is usually the bottom of an empty serving dish.  Once you begin, there’s just not a good “stopping place!”  Arbitrarily saying, “I’ll go this far, but stop here” is just not an option.  The journey is only completed at the finish(ed) line!  In much the same way, it ought to be so with our hunger for and application of bible authority.  Once we begin to eat this “meat” (Hebrews 5:12-14), we have to continue on to completion because there is just no “stopping point” short of it.

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What Will You Give in Exchange for Your Soul?

“For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”  Matthew 16:26   The Lord’s point, if I understand it correctly, is that there is no physical thing with which a man may buy back his forfeited soul.  However, the context also makes it clear that the spiritual personal purchase price (in addition to the obvious sacrifice of Jesus, v.21) of one’s soul is self-denial, self-sacrifice, and true discipleship, v.24.  However, let’s consider the Lord’s words from a slightly different perspective to see if it will help us come to a better understanding of these things.

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Why Churches Don’t Grow

God created living things to pretty much follow the same process of conception, gestation, birth, growth, maturity and reproduction, Genesis 1:24. This pattern exists in the physical (particularly animal) world, but unfortunately, rarely follows in the spiritual world of those claiming to be Christ’s church.  Why is this?  Could it be that they are not nearly as spiritually “alive” as they presume themselves to be?  Perhaps so, but there are also other key reasons…

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Medal, Metal, and Mettle

Medals are awards that typically, and somewhat ironically, are made of soft metals- perhaps even cheap metals that are then plated over with a shiny metal or coating substance.  This is ironic because the mettle (courage, bravery, determination, spirit, grit, resolve, guts) that is required to achieve a medal worth having is often not made of a truly representative metal.

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Daily Verse

““You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

- Matthew 5:14,16

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