Fear is interesting – in the right amounts & toward the right things, it can be really beneficial. On the other hand, fear with the wrong amounts & directed toward the wrong things can be thoroughly toxic & destructive.
Consider this: fear can immunize us from disrespect & irreverence. Fear can keep us from doing dumb things & the Bible speaks of a boat load of benefits from having a fear, respect & reverence for God.
On the negative scale, fear can hinder us from some amazing experiences, adventures & accomplishments. It can also keep us from learning some important lessons. Fear can keep us trapped in the past & cripple us from moving forward. Fear can suffocate healthy relationships & even debilitate constructive growth.
So here’s my conclusion: I don’t want to be afraid of life but I do want to have a healthy reverence for the Creator of life – love life & honor it’s Creator.
This nation has a really rich & deep history. In the 20th century, there was alot of conflict w the Greeks & several other nations who wanted to have significant influence & control over this nation. The British also had a sizable amount a influence as well. Clearly, there has also been a massive muslim influence here for many centuries.
Prior to the 8th & 9th centuries, Turkey had a large amount of Christian presence. Some places from the Bible times that are in modern day Turkey include: Antioch, Paul’s 1st missionary journey & half of his 2nd journey, Colossae (Colossians), Ephesus & other places as well. Our guide was telling us that the modern day Turkish people have their roots from Central Asia & they migrated due to a drought & famine. The word “Turk” means nomad.
Geographically, the western part of Turkey tends to be more wealthy than in the eastern part (where the recent earthquake was last week). In the west, the land is extremely fertile & you can see farms & agricultural efforts year round. The eastern part of Turkey is where many Kurds live, who were also really ostracized by Sadaam Hussein.
Turkey is a fascinating blend of many different influences including Judaism, Christian, Central Asia, Muslim & others.
It s most certainly a tremendous privilege to get to visit this nation & I’m going to try & attach some pix to give some perspective & insights on this cool country 🙂
The attached pictures are from Laodicea from: the oldest known cathedral or basilica from 320ad in Laodicea. This city was a center of banking & gov’t for the region, trading soft black wool & a healing eye salve. Laodicea was a wealthy city. With these things in mind, pls consider reading Revelation 3:14ff 🙂
I’ve popped over to Turkey for a few days so I thought I’d write a quick hello 🙂
Here’s some things that I really love about this country:
*the people are totally cool – theyre friendly, respectful, intelligent & fun!
*the history – on this brief trip I get to visit Philadelphia, Sardis, Smyrna & Laodicea, some of the churches John addressed in Revelation 2-3; furthermore, Paul’s 1st missionary trip was all over modern Turkey. Suffice it to say that his nation has a rich & magnificent history
*scenery – very beautiful: rolling hills, agrarian, some mountains & some beautiful ancient ruins.
*food – this one isn’t fair because I basically enjoy the food wherever I go, generally ,)
So be prepared for some pix tomorrow from some ofthe cool places we get to visit & please be sure to pray for the Turks on the eastern part of Turkey who are endeavoring to recover from a nasty earthquake earlier this week!
I don’t think of sharpening my main kitchen knife until I’m using it & in the middle of trying to get a quick meal together. So the other day, I asked my daughter to make the salad for dinner & she used a different knife. When I picked up the knife that she’d used to quickly cut up a tomato, I was pleasantly surprised at how sharp that knife was! This got me to thinking about how often I’m in just straight “go mode”. Get it done quickly & move on to the next thing.
Here’s my thinking now, if I take some time or moments here & there to pause (sharpen the knife), I just might find that I don’t have to work as hard & I just might even be more effective as opposed to just staying in total “go mode”. Just something to think about on a beautiful Fall Friday 🙂
Several years ago, there was a really popular book called, “The Tipping Point”. It was basically about how small things can make massive impacts – I really like this concept for lots of different reasons, but most of all for how it connects with James 3:1-6. In these verses, the author talks about how a big ship is turned by a small rudder, the bit in a horse’s mouth can make a horse change direction & how a small spark can create a massive fire. The point for each of these illustrations is to drive home the importance of how we use our words. Small words & conversations that can seem very innocuous can have very significant results, positive or negative. So here are some choices for your consideration with the words that we use:
- compliment or criticize
- support or sarcasm
- gratitude or entitlement
- encourage or discourage
Let’s make wise choices 🙂
This morning, my kids & I were reading in James about how faith without action is worthless & it was an interesting conversation. We can tell alot about what we believe by looking at our actions. In actual fact, our actions have greater volume & visibility in our lives than our intentions. In addition to faith, we also talked about how faith works by love & that love is a decision & not merely a warm, huggy feeling. Maybe some of our faith is dysfunctional because our love is inert or tainted with self-deception. Whatever the case, I was challenged from my conversation with my kids to let God’s love flow through me so that my faith will have effective & productive feet 🙂
Here’s something fun to watch: call to action ,)
Ok, I just saw the movie, The Help & I read the book a few weeks ago & I’m a convert – loved it!!! There are so many great take-aways from both the book & the movie with such great life lessons 🙂
One thing that keeps getting repeated in my brain is the quote to a little two year old girl in the movie, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important.” These are such powerful words & have such positive imagery, not only for a 2 year old but for all of us. With this in mind, I think it’s super important to consider what we say to each other. Words that affirm, encourage, support, compliment, refresh, strengthen & even give affection are so necessary in our lives. I genuinely believe that the people who are in our lives in all of the many different contexts need such encouragement. And who knows, words like, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important” just might change the world, one person at a time 🙂
Someone told me about a new tax plan – something about proportional taxation. Seems like an interesting idea & I can see that our economy has some challenges & we need to make some changes. From these 2 sentences, please don’t project that I’m advocating any political position, party or platform. Rather, my point is that we need to always be learning, growing & adapting – this is my 999 plan: to continue growing.
I want to always be growing, learning & maturing. Along this line, I want to always be growing in my relationship with God and truthfully, I never want to say “no” to God. I don’t want my intellect to be a limit to God. I don’t want my desires or will to be a hindrance to God moving in my life. I don’t want my past failures or successes to impede God’s presence in my current daily living. I don’t want my pride to cause a separation from God. I just don’t want to say “no” to God in any way or context. I don’t want to say no to God in my marriage, finances, relationships, with Saving Moses, my values, perspective, thinking, or in any area. Simply put, my 999 plan is this: Yes, God 🙂
In America, we are very intense about our right to the freedom of speech. We have no appreciation for anyone who would try to censure our opinion or limit our expression. And in some ways, I really appreciate this right & I wholly appreciate the sacrifices that have been made to retain this privilege.
On the other hand, just because we have the right to freedom of speech doesn’t mean that we should say anything & everything we want. Proverbs says that even a fool appears smart when they keep their mouth closed. There is tremendous wisdom in knowing when to say something, what to say & to whom something should be said. These choices can be very productive if we make the decision to be constructive with our opinions & freedom of speech & not merely selfish. In the end, the right to freedom of speech with a selfish intent is often more destructive than constructive. Here’s a simple idea that I’m trying to work into my daily living: I want to compliment & encourage more than I criticize & judge. Want to join me? 🙂
I think it’s pretty important to eat healthy food – Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine & medicine be your food.” That’s some good timeless wisdom, in lots of different contexts & not just for our bodies.
I think that we also need to pay attention what we feed our minds & hearts. Here’s an interesting example: one of my favorite movies in my 20s was Aliens. I loved this movie & almost had the lines memorized. But this became a problem for me because there’s a fair amount of violence in this movie & I began to start having very violent dreams & thoughts. My mom suggested that I take a breather from Aliens for a bit & viola, the dreams & thoughts became less & less violent. So my line of thinking is that whatever we feed our hearts & minds is going to be what starts to grow & bear fruit in our lives.
With this in mind, I had a really good conversation with God this morning about several items that have been stressing me of late – He was kind enough to point me to Ps 55 & from this conversation, I’ve been thinking about this Psalm & reading through it several times. Rather than my mind continually running through the various stresses & challenges, I’m letting Ps 55 be my whole food today 🙂