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Wisdom for the Day

There are far far better things ahead than anything you leave behind.  C.S. Lewis

One major problem we have with making priorities is that what is seen around us is temporary and what is not seen is eternal; we often get the two confused.

Saying you go to church is like saying you park your car in your car.

You can’t make a fool out of God, but He can sure make one out of you.

The committed Christian lives a life of self denial.  Care to take the test?

What we in the church today need is a good dose of what Luther called, “the horror of the infinitude”.

Jesus isn’t Mr. Rogers asking us, “Will you be my neighbor?”  He is God Almighty giving a command, “Follow me.”  It’s up to us whether we will obey Him on His terms, deny ourselves, die to ourselves, and follow Him.  Or we can be disobedient.

In all of our Christian “sharing” on social media, when does God get to share His opinion and does He get the final word?

Bucket Lists

Awhile back, I was sitting with some Christian friends and we started talking about what was on our bucket list.  Some shared about places they would like to go and others about things they would like to see or events they would like to watch.  I spoke about wanting to go to Hawaii to see a volcano spewing out lava, and then go to Alaska and watch a glacier calve.

Later, as I thought about this exchange, I was troubled.  I was reading two books on revival and these authors were showing me how much I am not sold out to God for furthering His Kingdom, how I am not crying out to the King for the lost around me to be saved and then how I am not going and doing something about it.  Only one of us mentioned anything about wanting to save the lost; this person has wanted to be a missionary for years.

But, really, we should be ashamed of what we shared.  It was all about us and what we wanted to get out of this fleeting life, a little excitement we could absorb in order to gain some sort of satisfaction.   There was no thought given to the “deny, die, and follow” challenge Jesus gave to us who say we follow Him.  No thought that this world is not our home nor its contents our inheritance.  No thought as to what a servant of the King should be doing to further His Kingdom.  I don’t want to paint the picture that these things were wrong in themselves.  It’s just that while we were wanting to do one thing, we have been asked to do something else.  We call that disobedience when our children do this.  What would Jesus call it?

When you are 95, laying in your hospital bed waiting to die, with a hospice worker quietly moving around the room, what will you be thinking about?  Will you be thinking of all the things you didn’t get done on your bucket list?  Will you have regrets that you didn’t do this or go there or experience something else?  Or will you look over your life and wonder at how much time was wasted and lost forever because of the pursuit of lesser things?

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His Glory and Grace.

This is where we should be living.  It’s not about lava or glaciers, as amazing as they are.  If we are following Jesus, like Him (at age 12), we should be able to say to our friends, ” Did you not know that it is my duty to be engaged about my Father’s business?”

If we were truly following close to the Master, then our bucket list would contain things that were on His list: sharing the Gospel with the lost, loving outcasts, serving the poor and sick, essentially spending ourselves on/for eternal purposes, not temporal sights and sounds that have no value but only gratify our passing wants and desires.  There should be no thought as to what we would want to do, only what He would want us to do, which He has clearly spelled out in His Word.

 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  Ephesians 5:15-17  NASB

So what is in your bucket?

Does it have anything to do with unsaved people?

Is it full of eternal values and purposes or only temporary thrills?

In looking at the life of Jesus, are these things He would have pursued?

If you were to take your list to Him to sign off on, would there be any shame as He reaches for it with His nail scared hands?

Would He ask, “I died for this?”

Wisdom for the Day

Either we die from sin or die to sin.  There is no other option.

You don’t have enough wisdom or power in your life to successfully manage your mess.

Others have not offended you more than you have offended God.  If He has forgiven you, then you need to forgive them.

God’s love for sinners is way stronger and far reaching than his wrath towards them.

Heave and hell aren’t equal places.  What we gain in heaven is infinitely more than we could ever lose in hell.

Every person you meet is an eternal being.  Where they will spend that eternity may well be changed by their contact with you.

If you coddle a poisonous snake, you can’t complain when it bites you, because you knew that’s what poisonous snakes do.

No amount of facts will give you peace.

Woodworking Tips and Tricks – More on the Safety Squint

Last time I addressed the Safety Squint in regards to your eyes and how it does not work (duh). But there is another area where the Safety Squint is used and that is with the loud noise our power tools create.

When I was an apprentice and many years afterwards, I used this technique to help deal with screaming saw blades and screaming routers and screaming belt sanders.  The idea is if you squint your eyes real small, somehow it blocks harsh ear-splitting sound.  I know it sounds really stupid and you would never do such a thing.  But for some reason, it wasn’t cool to wear hearing protection, so I squinted   And went home with devastating headaches almost every day.   So obviously the Safety Squint wasn’t working.

So I started using ear protection, and behold!, my headaches went away!  Amazing what such simple technology can do!  Now you don’t need to go out and buy a $300 pair like they use on aircraft carriers for the guys on the flight deck.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think they would be safe.  You block out all sound and you eliminate one of the most important safety cues:  sound.  You need to hear your tools.  The longer you use them, the more you will come to know what a normal cut sounds like.  You will discern when you are pushing too hard or the tool is dull.  No sound?  Then you won’t know these important things. (I actually had a boss who told me I couldn’t use hearing protection at all for this reason, but that was in the olden days…)

One place it helps is when routing and jointing on a joiner.  You can hear tear-out and know when to stop and try smaller cuts or change to a sharp bit or do a climb cut.  You can hear when the table saw starts to labor and you either need to change the blade or stop pushing so hard.

I buy the cheap earmuff hearing protectors at Harbor Freight.  They are red, VERY cheap and can be found easily in the cluttered shop.   Buy 3 to have them where they are handy(and don’t forget your coupon for the free flashlight).  These block enough of the sound that it no longer requires the squint and yet I can still hear the tool cutting.  The plastic head band may feel a little tight.  I heat the bend and straighten it out a bit to release some of the pressure.    I have a different pair I use at home that is are super sound cutters and I use them to mow the lawn.  I really don’t like them because of the silence they create but for mowing the lawn, I guess they are fine.  If you don’t feel comfortable with cheap, then buy fancier ones.  But do SOMETHING!

Now if you are using a face shield, then the muff hearing protectors won’t work.  You can then use the foam stuff-it-in-your-ear type.  (I hate those things; just don’t like the feel of them.  Every time I have to answer the phone so I can hang up on a telemarketer, I would have to yank them out and then put them back in.  Or drop them in the sawdust…)  Or you can buy a shield/hearing protector combo.

So if you are using the Safety Squint to protect your hearing, you aren’t.  Don’t be stupid.  Continue using this built-in safety  technique and you will end up at the end of life with the embarrassment of lots of “Huh?” “Pardon me?”  “Please speak louder; I was careless when I was younger and ruined my hearing so I can’t hear you very well.”  Buy some hearing protection and it just may save you literally thousands of dollars in hearing aids…those puppies are expensive.

Extra hint, no charge: If your saw blade is screaming, take some packing tape (the clear type.  I use 3 mil) and tape over the expansion slots, which is what is causing the noise.  Take a large piece, put it on the blade and take a knife and cut around the slots, leaving about 1/2″ around it.  The tape is thin enough that it will hide behind the tooth clearance and won’t get rubbed off from friction.  I have done this many many times.  The only problem is my blade sharpener;  well, he complains about trying to get it off.


Further info on hearing loss:

“Sound is measured in units called decibels. Sounds at or below 70 A-weighted decibels (dBA), even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss. However, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dBA can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to happen.”


Almost all power tools exceed this level.

Wisdom for the Day

We are obsessed and consumed with trying to be happy, thinking it will make us whole, when only God can mend the brokenness.

“Priorities” is an oxymoron:  you can’t have multiples of a priority.

The most dangerous assumption we believe about the American Dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability, and we have sadly brought this mentality into the Church.  The truth is, we have no power or wisdom in ourselves and must depend solely on Jesus to carry out His purpose for His people.

If your beliefs do not result in a corresponding action, they were not beliefs but preferences.

If you don’t have control of your life, you are in no position to train your kids to control theirs.

Knowledge divides, love edifies.

Quotes from Books … Choosing Civility by P. M. Forni

More quotes from the book Choosing Civility by P. M. Forni.

Go here for the introduction.


The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.
Marcus Aurelius

[Almost all religious texts support the notion] our happiness doesn’t spring from the events of our lives but rather from how we choose to respond to those events [over most of which we have very little control.]

[This] prevents us from blaming our misery on our circumstances.

He who has such little knowledge of human value as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove.
Samuel Johnson

There is no joy except in human relationships.  Antoine

My comment:  Just how much of the victim mentality in our culture would be removed if we took this to heart?  How much misery have we caused others and been uncivil towards them because we blame our circumstances and/or our misery on them instead of taking responsibility for own thinking and actions, how we responded badly instead of wisely?

The author maintains that when we can finally master our thoughts, we will go a long ways towards sustaining good relationships, for only in these relationships do we find true joy in life.

 

 

Wisdom for the Day

The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men.  Ben Franklin

If we think we are making a progress in holiness, it just shows how deluded we are in our depravity.

If all men knew what each other said of the other, there would not be four friends in the whole world. Pascal.

Children were not meant to fulfill their parents expectations and plans for their lives.

The only reason we can’t see what God is doing in plain sight is that He does things in ways we are not acquainted with.

Success in ministry can be the demise of ministry.

God can be trusted to always give you what you need.  Don’t have it?  Don’t need it.

Bible: History or Myth

The Bible:  History or Myth?

There are many different types of books.  There are books on history, poetry, law, anthologies, science, etc. Those who write these books do not set out to prove that their subject exists.  They assume you will believe that somewhere in time, this person or place or event occurred.  They then go on to describe various facts and figures of interest pertaining to their topic.

Shouldn’t they first attempt to prove that this place or that person exists, before proceeding with the content of the book?  After all, you have never been to Siberia or met Abraham Lincoln, so why would you believe what someone else has written about it?  Because others have actually gone there and you trust they are telling you the truth.  Others were alive when those events happened or that person lived, and so they wrote about it. Someone has read their writings and either quotes them or compiles what they said in language you can understand.  You can read their books and gain insight and knowledge into a place or person you have never seen.  But you first have to take the leap of faith that the author knows, either directly, or indirectly through others accounts, what they are talking about, and are truthful and trustworthy in their narrative. It is a rather large leap indeed that you make every time you read anything in print, but it is something you rarely thing about.

Many say that science has proven that the Bible is not true because, in the hundreds of years of the scientific method, science has not discovered God.  First of all, there is no such thing as “science has proven”.  Science is a method, a tool, like an archeologist’s hammer or a chemist’s test tube, not an outcome.  It’s those who are using those tools who make such claims.  And those using the tools have a personal stake in the outcome of their experiments, either financially or philosophically. Stray from the party line and you lose your job or funding.  God exists?  Then life all of the sudden takes on a moral slant that requires personal accountability.  The courage, character and worldview of the scientist will many times determine what will be the final published “proof” of their investigation. But they are no more trustworthy than any other person on this planet who has a personal stake in the outcome of their work.

The Bible is a collection of smaller books that does not set out to prove the existence of the subject, God.   It just makes the assumption He exists and then the narrative begins.  And yet it is required of the Bible something that is not required of any other book, proof that its subject exists or that the events happened.  Requirements are placed on it which were never meant to be fulfilled.  It’s a story of the Creator God and His dealings with His creation, written by those who were there as witnesses or who knew people who had been there or read their writings.  Nowhere is there an apologetic to prove His existence.  It would seem that since man is naturally a doubter, this vital part of the text would be front and center.  But it is not.  Nor is it in any other book about a person or place.

Now many have tried to go to this place called God and never gotten to their destination.  So they come back and say God does not exist, or if He does, He cannot be found.  But others have taken that same trip and come back with glowing reports of their success.  The probable difference is, those who fail do so because they have not followed the map provided for them.  Suppose someone sets out on a trip to explore a certain place and comes back without reaching their destination.  If that person then reports such and such a place does not exist, we should ask why, because so many others have made the same journey and succeeded.

Why have so many failed?  Some make the trip with no intention of reaching the goal.  They just want to say they tried and it didn’t work, and can then go about the business of grabbing all this sad world has to offer.  Others have sincerely set out on the journey and turned back because it became too dangerous, too personally expensive and the cost was more than they were willing to pay. So they come back, still searching, looking for that elusive something to fill their restlessness.

And those who have succeeded?  They came to the Book, believing its witness is true, the writers were trustworthy, that God exists and that what He said about Himself is true.  Then and only then will the traveler be successful to reach the destination, God.  If one comes to the Bible with expectations of it being a science book, they will be sorely disappointed and possibly amused by the supernatural happenings described in it.  It is a journey to God, one that can only be taken with the faith that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.

 

Wisdom for the Day

One thing we must never be careless about is truth.

There is no such thing as a “small dishonesty”.

The highest from of love is doing acts of kindness when you don’t feel loving or are being loved in return.

It is easy to tell a lie but very hard to tell only one.

Not doing something the first time is a solid defense against doing it a second time.

Few things are more important than a good reputation.

If the fear of God means anything, it means taking God seriously.

Without a Scriptural basis, opinions have no authority.

If Christianity is a crutch, it’s the crutch this nation leans on in time of crisis.  What happens when the crutch gets too small and weak so it’s no longer effective?

 

Woodworking Tips and Tricks … Safety

I have been at this woodworking thing for a long time, over 45 years professionally.  And I have had my share of “accidents”.  But there really aren’t any such things, just stupid carelessness and not paying attention, which are one in the same.  I still have all my fingers, not because I am clever but because I was “lucky” more than once, and they all aren’t undamaged.

I heard a phrase the other day and it comes to mind now.  I hope it ingrains itself into your brain:

It’s call the “safety squint”.

I saw this in the comment section of a video where a guy was cutting something and was squinting to avoid debris getting in his eyes…except what he was cutting would go right through his eyelids, eye and enter his brain.  An eyelid is less than 1mm thick or .039″.  It is the thinnest skin of your body, made of extremely fragile cells.  It has NO impact resistance to sharp objects.  And behind it?  Another very fragile very important organ.  So exactly how much safety do you get out of a safety squint?

You have gotten away with it for years, squinting when you want to protect your eyes.  But it only takes once, and you may lose an eye.  Now I realize you have 2 and so it may not be a big deal to you.  But it’s not like a severe laceration to your arm, you get it stitched up and you are good to go 2 weeks later.  This loss of eye is for life, regardless of what science fiction has to offer.  If you only had one, would you still be so careless?

I have thought a lot about the safety squint lately.  Since I wear glasses now at work (one the most frustrating and useful things to happen from getting old), I have avoided most of the splinters I used to dig out of my eyes on a weekly basis.  But I am turning a lot of wood bowls on my wood lathe and there are times when I don’t put the face shield on and do some turning, and then realize that I could not only lose an eye but end up with some serious facial reconstructive surgery, which some turners have actually experienced.  So I stop and put it on…takes about 9.3 seconds.  I have had some rather large pieces come flying off the wood, hitting that shield.  Every time it happens I am thankful I have the shield on.  Last week, I had a 3/4″ dia. x 10″ long steel drill bit get lodged in a piece turning at 1000 rpms and before I could turn off the lathe, it started to wobble out on it’s own and went flying across the shop.  I had my face shield on.  I wasn’t hit, but what if I had been in alignment of that 10″ long flying piece of steel without a shield?  Definitely gave me pause for thought.

What if a piece comes flying out of the table saw from a kickback or a sliver of cracked wood that comes loose and you don’t have the guard on nor a face shield?  Will the safety squint help that projectile from going right through your face?

God gave us eyelids to protect the eye and to wash it clean of debris.  But they were never meant to survive the attack of flying objects.  So the next time you are doing something in the shop and you are squinting, ask yourself if that 1mm thick eyelid will do the job of protection you are expecting it to do?

Get yourself a good unbreakable poly-carbonate (not plastic) face shield ( which works with glasses) or at the bare minimum goggles (which don’t work so good with glasses), and then use them.  You may never know what you were protected from but for sure, if you don’t wear them, you will eventually find out.