Friday, April 24, 2009



We’ve heard it said, we’ve said it thus,
That “busy is as busy does.”
But is this busy best for us?
Pray let us think and not to rush.
Who says that we must busy stay?
Who says that we must fill the day
With rushing here and there this way
Until our lives are worn, and fray?
Who made the rule to busy go?
Who said that all must this way know?
Will we have lives that better grow
When we have made the busy show?
We’ve heard it, yes, and said it thus,
But it’s not true that we all must,
For greater than the busy rush
Is steady, growing, patient trust.
~JB, 12-30-1984

I can’t believe I wrote this twenty-five years ago. My determination as a result of this realization was that I would not “so busy be.” Now, there’s another line. Who has not heard, “busy as a bee?” In truth, the bee’s busy results in more “fruit” of its labor than man’s. Man’s whole philosophy seems bound up in busy as its own end. Perhaps “let’s get busy, the boss is coming” is a part of that, too.

Anyway, I thought I would improve my own approach, and yet here I am in “retirement” and though my work is differently arranged, a busy schedule of “things” to do seems to fill my mind and day. I am learning bit by bit to downsize that philosophy. I only wish I had applied it more when I should have, that the whole area of stress might have been averted, and perhaps my physical ability to really “do the busy” when it was needed would not have been as limited as it seems to be at times.

Now, take the bee, for instance. As we consider this tiny little “bugger” there is something we notice at the outset. He is very much into what is good for his community, the hive. He is not selfish, but his whole being is given to filling his gifted role, doing what he was created to do with all of his heart. He also takes instruction very well from the “top dog” er, “queen bee.” After all, his life is what it is by her action and that of her attendants. So he recognizes who is in charge and why. He also works well with others. There is a unity of responsibility that ties him to his partners, and together, they’ve really got a “sweet” deal going. Pardon the pun.

Now, he does have the ability to put the sting on anyone or anything that threatens him, but he avoids this if he can, for once he resorts to violence, he will permanently affect his ability to continue to be the busy bee that he was. He will die very soon, for his stinger, equipped with barbs that stay in his target, will damage his body on removal.

Another interesting tidbit is the system of communications that goes on in the colony. When a “bee scout” comes back with news of a new food source, he does this special “buzz dance” to tell the hive exactly where. A slow dance means its further away, and a fast dance means its nearby. The angle of dance and its height or depth in the hive pinpoints the place precisely. And get this, it’s all done in reference to the sun’s light and angle. Get your pencil out, surveyor, these guys know their stuff!

Now, where was I? Oh, yes, “busy’s not as busy does.” Actually, I have a point to all the “bee” stuff. First, it occurs to me that they give us some vital directions for the busy life. Live for others, not self. Be busy about what you are made for and you will fulfil your purpose. Give yourself to the One who made you. Work well with others to produce the sweetest deal for all. Take your commission seriously, and taking “direction from the Son” lead others to the real Source of life. Oh, and avoid the kinds of behavior, that having “stung” someone, will result in your own effectiveness being forever changed.

‘nuff said? Well, let me leave you with a few more “drops of honey” from the Wise man of Ecclesiastes, chapter 7, verses 1-10. Call it wisdom for the busy.

1. “A good name is better than a good ointment.” (vs. 1)
2. “The day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.” (vs. 1)
3. “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting.” (vs. 2) (Read more to think on this.)
4. “Sorrow is better than laughter.” (vs. 3) (Read on.)
5. “It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man than for one to listen to the song of fools.” (vs. 5)
6. “The end of a matter is better than its beginning.” (vs. 8)
7. “Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.” (vs. 8)

Dear friends, Solomon, for all his later faults, was given a special gift of wisdom by God. Some daily attention to his words in this book and in Proverbs would make our busy better done.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


The child's delight, a package bright.

Anticipating, I stand waiting

To glimpse his joy at the unwrapped toy.

But then I see in his natural glee,

A paradox; the child is playing with the box.

Why so surprised with this un'guised?

For naturally he follows me.

His is my son. He's seen me have fun.

That I oft' love has not been above.

Not the treasure within, but the box that it's in.

Oh, to delight with clearer sight.

To see and show my values grow,

That they may teach the child to reach,

Not for earth's gain, and not for world's fame.

Not the box that it's in, but God's treasure within.

~Jim Bryant 3-7-1991

I wrote this poem several years ago, as a result of seeing a child opening a present, then after only a brief time, returning to the box in which it came. The imagination of the child to make the box be whatever he wanted it to be in his play was fascinating, but I was soon struck with the greater significance of the moment. No particular thought was given to the greater value of the gift in the giver's opinion. Value for the child was not measured in those terms.

I began to realize how much like children we continue to be in our "grown-up" world. We may find it an amusing paradox that the child's choice is the container over the gift within, but it truly does mirror our lives in the day to day "grown up play" in which we engage.

We are a society that more often places value upon the containers, whether it be the latest fashions to wrap ourselves, the houses where we live, or the cars in which we sit as we move from place to place. I recall a song written by one Malvina Reynolds in 1962 that gave her impression of the development of surburbia: "Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky, little boxes, little boxes, little boxes, all the same. There's a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one and they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same. " Her point is taking a somewhat different approach, but somehow I believe it describes the undeniable pursuit we have of the "box" mentality over the more significant contents.

"What's wrong with letting the child enjoy his game of imagination?" You may ask. I'm for helping the child develop his imagination, but teach in all of his life experience the importance of the values that go beyond the tangibles and our possession of them. Today our children are learning from us that what really counts is how much we can possess of this world's "containers" and the values and morals that come to play in his feelings and actions are given no guidance. He is learning an age-old adage that some less than good model parent has propagated: "Do what I say, and not what I do!" Most realize that this is applied directly opposite in the child's life.

The Scriptures give us a challenge that needs our application and passage to our children: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also...But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:19-21, 33

The meaning is clear. The "boxes" or "treasures on earth" won't last. You can't take them with you. But if you seek first the true gift of God, His kingdom, His righteousness, all found within relationship with Him and growth in His will and purpose, then those "boxes" we require in our journey will be given for their proper use and priority.

Dear brothers and sisters, may we be encouraged to seek the gifts within, FIRST!

Friday, April 17, 2009


I confess I've been one of the millions that have "logged-on" to see and hear this amazing lady give rise to her dreams by singing "I Dreamed a Dream". Moved to tears, yes, and I've repeated the playbacks several times, each with equal and even greater appreciation of what Susan Boyle has managed to do in a brief few days. And what has she done? Only captured for millions their dreams and hopes, and if only through her success, they will, too, find the dreams they've dreamed.

As I stepped back to reflect upon the phenomena that has enveloped us, I have found some threads of special significance weaving through this life called Susan Boyle. One quite obvious thread is her 47 years as a part of the common stock upon which the world truly stands. For all of the limelight and hype of the rich and famous, the models and heroes that are displayed and sought after, the truth is that these depend upon the masses who daily work and live in obscurity. These are the true heroes, though unnamed and unfamed. This thread in the Boyle tapestry provides the necessary background through which the others are woven.

She is gifted and has a talent that has been recognized, if only in a very local region. Her ability has been encouraged by family and friends, and through this she's made some steps toward the dream. Here I am particularly won over, for her dream's pursuit has her Christian faith and gift woven together as defining threads. Characterizations as "tiger" and "cheeky" did not hide the quiet Boyle spirit of humility she displayed. When asked in interviews, "what next?" her replies repeated "taking baby steps" in the process before her. My prayer is that the suddenness of her rise will not change her patient weaving that has thus far been her winning grace.

Her sacrificial care of her aging mother, which had put a hold on her further pursuit of singing professionally, did not stop her tapestry's weaving. It merely added another very important strain of color, one I fear that many of society have rejected as unnessary in the building of a life of success. "What's in it for me?" is the cry that all too often ends-up on the floor to be swept-up and thrown-out as worthless thread. Her sacrifice has added a thread of beautiful color which has enhanced the value of the finished product, yet to be revealed.

And her pursuit of the stage and opportunity to share her talent was shared as a tribute to her mother's memory. This honor expressed served to enhance the threads of love and care which prioritized her patient weaving of her life's tapestry.

I am reminded by Susan's tapestry of Another's, which is, in truth, the standard by which all others are measured. Born in obscurity, of common stock, He was gifted and early in His life pursued that "gift" with the encouragement of His parents, though their understanding of the extent of His "rise" was limited.

His was and is the Tapestry that was woven throughout with love and humility. His life and words placed high value upon, not seeking worldly fame though multitudes would have pushed Him to claim it, but upon giving hope to all, the targets of His love, ambition and desire.

He mounted a stage, the cross, and sang His song of sacrifice. And when He declared "it finished" He walked off the stage to the complete surprise of those who watched His performance. Only a few hours later, He made a significant appearance and was interviewed by many who would begin to spread His story to the world. Now, the countless centuries still echo "the hits" that His Tapestry has recorded. His name, JESUS!

Susan Boyle, your humble weaving has been another affirmation of the HOPE that is found alone in Christ Jesus, our Lord. I thank you for the reminder. Keep it so!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Our world very often teaches a philosophy that causes men to place more priority and emphasis upon “what’s in it for me” than considering the other fellow’s need. Our search for personal pleasure and the place of honor leaves many suffering souls in its wake. As I meditated on the Lord’s teaching and example of being a servant, I was led to a time of prayer regarding my own development of servant heart qualities and life attitudes.

Jesus, of course, in His example of washing the disciple’s feet, gives a lesson in true service. John records the event following the observance of that last supper with His disciples. “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” (13:4-5) He followed this by instruction with these words. “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (13:15-17) If we would follow His example, life would be filled with service to mirror His example in touching lives.

A related truth states, “The true character of the loveliness that speaks for God is always unnoticed by the one possessing that quality.” Such was a statement I jotted down from some source I cannot remember, but it gets to the crux of the matter of attitude in service, as well.

I wrote these lines to describe my meditations.
The wise servant of a Master noble
Serves humbly with a grateful heart.
He knows that which the Master’s given
To cause his stewardship to start.
And as this servant does Master’s bidding,
Though in his hand what Master claims,
He’ll not for self exalt possession,
But use it for what Master names.
This servant’s joy is found in serving
The noble Master through steward’s task,
And he thus promotes the Master’s glory,
And in its glow he’ll humbly bask.

Lord, guide me in my growth relationship with You, that such an unconsciousness of me will develop, that You will be able to touch with more purity the lives of others. May, Father, Your true riches be visible through my commitment and spirit poverty. Indeed, Father, I lay down every claim to gifts, abilities, and experiences that might be accounted to my life’s ledger, and pray that You alone would possess their use. And, Father, when they are placed in my hand for use, may I be more conscious of Whose they truly are, than the perception that it is I that cause their results. And Lord, forgive me of such past pride that I have claimed. Amen.

I pray that you, my brothers and sisters, may be encouraged today by these words from my own pilgrimage.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Virginia Kirby Nickels

This week, in fact, the last month or so has been a truly good memory “maker” for yours truly. Today I had the privilege of serving as a pallbearer for one of my teachers in high school, Virginia Kirby Nickels. Doesn’t sound like a “memory maker” to you? Well, allow me to share an encouraging page from my book of experience with you.

When I was a teenager in high school I was a shy young man who had difficulty speaking in public. The trouble I had had with grammar as a child did not help me at this point either. I, therefore, took Mrs. Nickels’ classes in English and Spanish with some trepidation, but soon found her combination of genuine care and infectious spirit bringing me out of the “shell” of protection I’d built around me. Her assignments requiring us to stand before the class and give oral reports were my initiation into public speaking. My past 45 years of ministry as a speaker before large groups, though faced with some inner residue of that shy teen, has been blessed by her encouraging influence. Even my later entrance into drama and historical portrayals had their young roots drawing life from her inspiration.

Her Spanish class, too, was to be an exercise in learning that I would find very helpful as I later pursued a missionary’s career in two different countries. There my task required learning completely different foreign tongues, in order to survive and be effective in my work. Early in my language classes I saw my early grammar difficulties resurface, but I believe my time in her classes gave me the basics to carry me through to successful communications with those with whom I worked.

Over the years since high school, I have often been reminded of the encouragement and special place this lady has had in my life, as in the lives of many others of her students. Her love of teaching, for her students, and the important place the classroom held for each life was always evident. I recall the time that, after 26 years, as I returned home for a year’s furlough from my work in Asia, Mrs. Nickels contacted me to invite me to share a mission’s program with a group she was leading at her church. This was not unusual in churches of my own denomination, but her church was not one of these. It was her contact with me as a former student that prompted her. It said to me, that in spite of the many students she had taught over the years, each one of them was so special that when the occasion gave her opportunity, she was there to affirm their life. I have treasured the memory.

I returned to the U. S. in 1991, to take up the task of a missionary “stateside”, though still away from my home town in Arkansas for another 18 ½ years. During this time my opportunities for local contact with others outside my immediate family have been limited. Among other special people in my heart and mind, my former teacher, Virginia Nickels, retained a special place, and my wife can attest to the fact that I would periodically comment that I needed to make touch with her. I tried to contact a couple of times without success, perhaps due to her own schedule or travel at the time.

In December of 2008 I finally retired and with my wife, moved back to my hometown. About a month ago, early in March of 2009, while in town for a few errands, again Mrs. Nickels came to mind. Perhaps it was stimulated by the sight of the old high school building I passed on my way into town. I’m not sure of the tangible stimulus, but I am convinced about the spiritual providence of the moment. I had to pursue a contact with her. I had called and discovered that her phone number had been disconnected. Where would I continue my search? I knew she had been quite involved in the community, so I went to the local historical society’s museum in my former junior high building to inquire. There, the volunteer not only knew her but gave me some disturbing news of her present state. Her husband, Wallace, and her were residing in one of the local nursing homes. She, now in her 80s, for some time had been diagnosed with a progressing Alzheimer condition.
My first thoughts were, “I’ve waited too long!” Still, however, I felt that perhaps I could make contact and share with her husband my appreciation and support during these, certainly difficult days of their life. I proceeded to the home, and knowing I might not recognize her after so many years, inquired where I could find them. I was directed to their room, which was empty, as it was nearing the close of lunch time. Asking again at the nurses’ station, they pointed out a lady seated in a wheel chair, just visible down the hall and in the dining room.

I confess, as I made my way the few yards to the place where she sat talking with another resident and her husband, I had the same sense of, “what did I say – trepidation?” that I felt when I was called up to the front to give a report in her class.
As I drew near her chair, the movement caught her eye, and she looked inquisitively at me. I immediately excused myself for interrupting their conversation, then introduced myself as one of her former students. Her face brightened with remembrance of her teaching years, but no recognition of me personally, which I understood might be the case. My own father had the same affliction prior to his death two years before. Undeterred from my purpose to share, in spite of her memory’s failure, I took several minutes to tell her and her husband how much she had meant to me over the years. Talk of Spanish class revived some hidden memories for her and they spoke very animatedly about their experiences in Mexico, Wallace dropping in amusing anecdotes of the time. She spoke of her teaching by saying that she taught about any course they asked her to teach.

When I specifically shared with her about how she had affected my life work and how meaningful she had been as an inspiration to me, her face took on a look of honest disbelief, and she replied, “How did I do that?” I saw in those words, not so much her memory’s loss, but her true characteristic humility shining through. Such affliction may cause one to react quite differently at times, but I am convinced that a life well lived will still retain the foundational elements that will burst through the clouds that surround it from time to time. It is my hope that the contact in those moments might not only have provided a therapy for her memories and an affirmation of her worth as a life well lived, but another testimony to her husband and family about her life’s gift to others. I know it has renewed my own determination to try to be such a blessing to others I encounter in my pilgrimage.

The next time I visited the nursing home and went to their room, I found Wallace, their son, Tom, and his wife, in attendance. As I entered, I introduced myself and was told that Mrs. Nickels, whom I saw fitfully sleeping, had had a bad day and was medicated to help her rest. As I visited with the three, I recounted my earlier visit and talk with them, and this prompted Wallace to recall for them some of our conversation. After visiting with the family and getting a little more update on where they lived, my wife joining us from a visit with her aunt in another room, I asked if I could have prayer with them before we left. This we did, with a continued promise of prayer and offering of any way I could be of service. Tom assured me that he’d be in touch.

When I returned to the home next, I learned that Mrs. Nickels had been taken to the hospital with pneumonia. Seeing her son in the hall, I learned from him that the doctors were giving her very little time, and that she was being “made as comfortable” as possible, and as I understood, only slightly conscious, though unresponsive. It was two days later, on Sunday morning, that I received the call from Tom that she went peacefully to sleep for the final time on Saturday, April 4th. On Monday, with the completion of funeral arrangements, he called me again to ask if I would serve as a pallbearer. I was, in a moment, grieving over what I considered lost time I might have had, but with deep appreciation that I was invited to participate in such a memorial recognition of her life. Maybe, in a small way, I could give some “payback” to those family members who follow her modeled life.

Now, as I bring this narrative of memorial and experience to a conclusion, I desire to share a valuable lesson I continue to learn. Indeed, “MEMORIES ARE TO BE MADE, NOT MISSED.” My point. Our lives are made up of contacts with persons who have so impacted us for good, that our paths are forever changed, and we are the better for it. But how often do we stop to consider that person that made the difference for us? How often do they face periods of time when they question whether or not their lives have made a difference? Are they not deserving of an affirmation to encourage them to continue their path?

I recall years ago when I was in seminary, that I was impressed to call a former pastor of mine from years before, when I was in the Navy in California. In my beginning understanding of what God wanted me to do in ministry, this pastor was my mentor. Remembering him on that occasion and what he had meant to me, I called him on the telephone. At that time, he was serving as the Executive Director of the California Baptist Convention of churches. When I reached him in his office and shared with him my appreciation, I told him that much of what I had accomplished I could lay at his door of influence. He told me later, in a time we had together, that he had been so touched by my call that he immediately picked up the phone and called his “mentor”, then an aging minister in a nursing home, to express his own appreciation. He told me that the man wept over the phone as a result of his “state leader” laying such personal accolades at his feet.

Indeed, we are challenged and encouraged to strive toward the example of God’s Son, Who loved perfectly the “agape” kind of love, which is that which is given regardless of whether it is returned or not. We are to be mentors that focus on building others up to be “the best they can be” and do it without thought of payback. This, in the best modeling of such, was the unselfish striving of Virginia Nickels, for as I later learned, her inspiration had its roots in her faith and practice of that love. So should it be in my life, which can be realized as the real “payback” to her. Oh, to consider that there might be myriads of folks who have been aided on their best way by contact with you or me.

But standing in my shoes today, having been blessed by a life, I am still challenged by the missed opportunities to give back a portion of the accolades that I may have received, to the ones who helped place my feet on the stage where I received them. Thank you, my teacher.

I Thessalonians 5:12-13 “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake…”

Dear friends, be encouraged today with these words of memorial and challenge.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


…two English “wienie” dogs!

…two country “quackers”! …two piers where boats are tied!

…one pier that’s not really attached to anything!

Now the first two involve accents, all involve spelling error, but the last speaks of both inconsistency, as well as, absurdity, both of which are synonyms, among which nonsense, foolishness, and stupidity also appear. OK, you say, but what is your point and where are you going with this word study? Well, first of all, I got your attention, didn’t I?

Well, I do have a point, and if you will follow my “train” of thought, we’ll pull into the “station” of reason together when I’m finished.

I was listening to a debate on “talk radio” the other day while traveling home from another state. It kept me awake, so I followed the line of reasoning attempted by one guest who represented what was termed a “secularist” organization. (National Secular Society in Britain, by name.) In his attempt to explain his position regarding the separation between what he termed “religious” and “secular” life, he made the statement that his organization’s purpose was to help society to adopt a definite separation between the two in order that those who have a religious belief would not try to impose their belief upon those who did not. To him it was reasonable to assume that such was the answer to societal harmony.

When the talk show host, who is unapologetically a conservative Christian, asked him to explain why his organization was involved in attacking Christians for their faith, the obvious “bottom line” for the campaign which they were launching, he denied that as the goal, saying some might become too fanatic in the process. Given, however, their campaign was to encourage people to publicly “leave their faith” by signing a certificate of “debaptism” which the organization sends by email to those who respond. Now, as one Christian blogsite agreed, the campaign is fueled by what seems to be a growing disillusion among Catholics regarding their political clout in the world, particularly countries which are heavily Catholic, and so, the anti-faith push.

This particular campaign aside, though it is characteristic of the attempts to silence the witness of Christians by an atheistic world, the focus I want to address is the “paradox” of the mindset which often cries “INTOLERANCE” when describing the Christian faith and its witness regarding the growing immorality in our world. One paradox that blatantly stands out is the ‘INTOLERANCE” they have for what they identify as the Christian’s approach. I’m convinced that they believe in everyone’s freedom of speech and belief, AS LONG AS IT CONFORMS TO WHAT THEY SAY AND BELIEVE, or as in this case, DON’T BELIEVE! A true PARADOX!

Further, I agree with those who express “amusement” at the continuing battle waged by those who claim NO BELIEF IN GOD or DON’T KNOW WHAT GOD TO BELIEVE IN, against those who have a very active belief in THE GOD. Why? Because down deep in their hearts they’re not sure that they are correct about the whole matter. Their attempts to “put away” the faith of others is to use the tactics that are common to man, to put away that which disturbs the perceived “status quo” of their existence, which is shaky in its purpose if there is no hope beyond it. To admit to the existence of God is to have to respond to what the righteous demand of God is! The logical next step is, admitting that SIN is real and perhaps, too, that which has been adopted as legitimate to practice. NO GOD, NO SUCH MORAL CODE TO FOLLOW! Thus, no wonder their campaign to debunk and eradicate the Christian faith.

Now, let me come to the ultimate point of my opening line, “A PARADOX IS NOT… …a pier that’s not really attached to anything.” Tongue in cheek I use the term as one of my puns with meaning. If we say that something is “para” we refer to something that is related but only in the sense that it is “alongside” or “beside”, as in “parallel lines” which run alongside but are not connected to each other, separate.

When the head of the Secularist Society stated that society needed a separation between “secular” and “religious” life he was voicing their desire to have a definite break between the two, with perhaps the latter as far removed from sight as would be possible. Their feeling is that the religious should have no influence over or with the other. The only problem with their campaign for separation, under the guise of the freedom of all of speech and exercise… it does not take into account the fundamental basics of the Christian faith. The Christian faith is a belief and practice that sees the whole of a person’s life as dedicated and influenced by GOD so that the compartmentalizing of an individual is not a real option. By the same description, those who do not believe are governed by that conviction which influences their “secular” life, as well. Whether practicing faith or its lack of faith, one’s life is affected accordingly. A “para” life cannot exist. Man is a spiritual, physical living being that cannot be divided, except in death, in which case the spirit lives or dies ON, dependent on one’s preparation for it.

Herein is the lack of understanding on the part of those who express NO FAITH. Having no faith they interpret the human life as only a here-and-now existence. What is PARADOXICAL is their belief and practice of “spiritual” principles found in such intangibles as LOVE and HATE, COMPASSION and PASSIVITY, PEACE and DISCONTENT, HOPE AND DESPAIR. These are not grown but in gardens of the spirit, and their maturing is found in the kind of spiritual food, water and Sonlight that is given them. Like the evolutionist who decries a BIG BANG theory of CREATION, they have no answer to the questions, “WHAT EXPLODED?” or “WHO LIT THE FUSE?”

I must come to the point as a Christian witness of my faith, that I cannot hope to instill in the mind and heart of such a person an understanding of the “spirit’s” existence, mine or his, and its inseparable connection to all of life’s pursuits. Who I am, body, soul and spirit must be expressed in all I say and do. When the Scriptures record “we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength” (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37), it did not say PART, it said ALL! My Christian character and morality must govern me in all of life’s circumstances.

To say that I can leave my Christian faith at home and live a secular existence from 8 to 5 is, to use the synonyms, “foolish” and “stupid”. On a related note, to tell Christians they can worship and practice their faith freely, and yet call them INTOLERANT when their very faith’s exercise recognizes the Biblical mandate to consider some worldly practice as morally wrong, is truly the height of nonsense, also paradoxical. It is like a boss giving two options for an employee’s consideration, “work for me for no wages” or “you’re fired”. No choice, really.

Now, let me wrap this up with a word of compassion for those who do not understand what I have attempted to say. When all is said and done, we are given this information about the basic reason for the lack of understanding on the part of those who do not believe in God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit of God. Indeed, they who do not believe do not yet have the Spirit’s teaching lodged in their hearts, to reflect the true nature of God and man. Paul says it this way, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (I Corinthians 2:11-16)

…i.e., A PARADOX IS NOT…one pier, but a person who’s not really attached to anything!

Dear Christian friends, be encouraged for our Father is not a PARADOX to those who trust in Him.