Monday, January 2, 2017

How To Give Counsel

Symbol: How to Give Counsel

Lesson: Always find something good to say

Illustration: Always sandwich your meat of counsel between two thick bread slices of commendation.

Notes: I heard this illustration at a Toastmasters meeting years ago. I’ve tried to remember in all my relationships. If you have several points of counsel to give, instead of dumping them all at once, if at all possible try to give just one point of counsel per conversation, thus giving the person time to adapt and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Friend Request

Symbol: Stranger approaches you while headed to school

Lesson: Be careful with all strangers, even virtual ones.

Illustration: What would you do if, when walking to school or walking home, someone you'd never met before pulled up alongside you wearing a mask, and asked to be your friend? Most likely you would run, screaming. But now, when someone you don't know sends you a "friend request" through Facebook or some other social media, while you might not immediately feel physically threatened, the dangers can very much be the same. Sometimes the pictures (mask) they put on their profile are not at all what they look like. They may even be older people impersonating a youth. In short, if you don't know the person, be just as cautious in accepting friend requests.

Notes: n/a

Friday, August 12, 2016

Becoming Disabled

Symbol: Becoming Disabled in Long-Term Situation

Lesson: Having a calm and confident heart is much better than the alternative.

Illustration: If you became disabled on a job, which would you be comforted in and want to believe?
  • You won't have a job to come back to, or
  • You know that this setback is only temporary and your employer is holding your position for you?
Obviously the 2nd. Especially if your employer gave you his word that you have nothing to worry about, you would be comforted and have one less worry. The same goes for we who believe that the "setback" of death is only temporary. Our "employer" (God) has given his word of promise and the evidence of having performed resurrections in the past, to the extent that we can have full confidence without worry that death is just a temporary "sleep" from which we can be woke by God.

But what if a skeptic at work told you that you were naive to think that your boss would actually hold your job for you? Perhaps that person cited the workload that someone would have to take on during your absence as proof that someone else would absolutely need to take over the position? Even if the skeptic were correct, that does not mean that your boss couldn't hire a temporary worker to fill your shoes. The same goes with believing God's promise of the resurrection. Skeptics may offer a number of ideas that sound reasonable why there is no resurrection. The one thing those skeptics lack is faith in God, knowledge of consistent and dependable promises, evidence that he has already done this for others. Yes, skeptics may boastfully act as if they "know something," but there is no knowledge apart from what God says is true.

So it is not credulity to believe in God's promises. But let's say that we didn't have all the evidences we have. Think again about that disabled employee. What is going to help him cope and recover? Will the worry and stress that he may be unemployed help him to recover and have a sound mind? Or, regardless of what the boss does, will his conviction that his boss is truthful help him to rest peacefully and recover more quickly? Even if he does return to work only to find that he was replaced, at least he didn't worry himself to death over something he could not change anyway. The same goes for us. Living a life in confidence of our Creator's promises is a much better life than feeling that our lives were meaningless, that there is nothing to look forward to. But unlike a potentially lying boss, our God is not a liar.

Notes: n/a

Monday, December 7, 2015

Accurate and Dependable Standard of Measure

Symbol: Atomic Clock

Lesson: Standards for accurate measures are recognized as essential by humans.

Illustration: An atomic clock is such a reliable standard that it is recognized the world over as the most accurate truth when it comes to timekeeping. Human judgement is like all the home clocks and wristwatches in the world, each of which may be anything from “just slightly off” to “way off.” Is there a reliable standard for correct judgement? It would have to be someone that is perfect, not affected by the imperfections that exist in humanity. That person can be only one – Jehovah God. He is perfect and dependable in every sense of the word. If we “set” our moral clocks (decision making) by him, we will have the most accurate guidance anyone can have.

Notes: Why does this point need to be emphasized? Because men have setup all sorts of measurements by which they state mankind can guide themselves. There are also false clocks in the way of demons who now hide themselves in the form of space aliens, angels of light, or deceased relatives. By such means they try to convince the unwary that they are here to help. But using any of these alternate “clocks” (measures) will only lead to disappointment.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Butterflies verses Caterpillars

Symbol: Butterflies verses Caterpillars

Lesson: Do you promote love of life or hatred?

Illustration: Butterflies pollinate. Caterpillars defoliate. Butterflies spread the element (pollen) that encourages growth for the betterment of the environment. Caterpillars do little more than consume the environment and leave destruction in their wake.

Christ spoke of his followers as being the light of the world. With the “pollen” of our Kingdom message of hope, we encourage appreciation for life both now and into eternity. However, Satan’s world of humans alienated from God demonstrate their hate-filled destruction of not only this beautiful planet, but of all moral restraint. Satan’s entertainment promotes love of death and the “living dead.” Satan’s war machine promotes death and hatred. The news media knows that sensationalism sells. None of Satan’s ways promote life. They are the voracious caterpillars.

Notes: n/a

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Double Sin

Symbol: Sneaking a Taste

Lesson: If we know some conduct is wrong and do it anyway, our guilt is compounded.

Illustration: A person walks in and immediately smells something delicious cooking. The cook smiles and says it is for dessert after dinner. The observer tries to sneak a taste and gets his hand slapped. "Don't touch that. You'll ruin it," says the cook. Then the cook leaves the room for a moment and the observer takes a second taste. The first taste may have been innocent enough, but now with the second taste, that person is guilty not only of taking something they weren't invited to try but also having completely disregarded the cook.

At Romans 7, we read the following:
8. But sin, finding the opportunity afforded by the commandment, worked out in me covetousness of every sort, for apart from law sin was dead.... 13. Did what is good result in my death? Certainly not! But sin did, that it might be shown to be sin working out death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment sin might become far more sinful.

Having the illustration of the person who snuck a taste in our minds, we can now appreciate at least one reason that the sins we commit are "far more sinful." Not only do we commit the sin, but having been informed that it IS a sin and committing it anyway, we add disobedience and pain God's heart with flagrant disregard for his feelings.

Notes: n/a

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Life Discoveries

Symbol: Discovery & self-experience

Lesson: Being told the answer verses having “the light turn on” in our brain. The latter is more rewarding.

Illustration: Being at Yosemite and seeing Half Dome for yourself is leaps and bounds more awesome and impressive than seeing a picture of it. Experiencing the grandeur of our beautiful earth cannot be replaced with mere pictures or even videos. 3D / virtual reality devices try to bridge the gap but nothing beats actually being there. The same is true in learning lessons in life – whether it be the elementary learning we have in our school years, professional skills and appreciation of life, or the interpersonal skills we develop throughout our lifetime.

One skill a truly adept teacher has is knowing how to teach a subject (any subject) so that the student gets the thrill of understanding the subject as if they made a personal discovery. However, patience, skill, experience, and time make this form of teaching a rare commodity. Most people would rather just tell the student the answer, without trying to reason with them. Parents can start early by not being so quick to answer their child’s questions but instead helping them discover the answer. Telling the child will make them lazy. Helping the child discover will encourage their curiosity and invigorate their desire to learn. Making the process something the parent and child can do together, strengthens the bond between them. Children that early on learn to love learning will not need so much prodding as they progress through the school system.

But learning doesn’t stop there. Well into our adult life learning can be a rewarding and invigorating experience. Finding peers and/or mentors of the same mind will give a feeling of living a fulfilled life. Enjoy the discovery!

Notes: N/A