Seven Parts of OTR-ADR – Introduction

Keep in touch!
Receive through RSS feed
Receive by Email
Facebook
LinkedIn

P.E.A.R.s  Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

SEVEN PARTS of OTR-ADR© – Introduction –

by Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

The absence of OTR-ADR (see footnote 1) awareness, knowledge and teaching within the body of Christ is the primary reason believers have been drawn into the world’s system for conflict and dispute resolutions – instead of engaging the mandates of Scripture to do so God’s way.

It is my prayer that the seven, separate articles in the coming weeks to follow this introduction might provide an overview of biblical ADR for local churches and their congregations sufficient to initiate an expansion of their understanding of God’s Word on this issue and implementation of an increased trust, obedience and faithfulness to the biblical guidelines for resolving conflicts and disputes of every nature and degree.

PART 1: CORRECT APPREHENSION (i.e. to understand, arrest and take-in) what it is and how it differs from secular approaches.

PART 2: CHIEF AIM as to the why and purpose that underlines OTR-ADR at all times.

PART 3: CLEAR ADMONISHMENT by the Apostle Paul of the sinfulness of not embracing the sanctified biblical process (established and set apart by the counsel of God’s will)

PART 4: CHOOSE AGENDA explaining the importance of an upfront commitment to procedural guidelines from Scripture.

PART 5: CONSTRUCTION APPROACH as an analogy of the substantive stages.

PART 6: CONCILIATION ACCOMPLISHED the end objective for both material AND relational issues – including those on the vertical plane as well as horizontal plane.

PART 7: CIVIL APPLICATION for conflicts and disputes involving unbelievers.

* * * * *

As with all P.E.A.R.s, the goal in this series is to pursue God’s Truth and to encourage discussion as well as independent study of the topic for increased understanding and ultimately putting into practice God’s wisdom and grace in our lives.

Have a great week, 

Bob (and to my family, love, Dad)

Footnote 1: On the Rock – Alternative Dispute Resolutions (Matt 7:24-28)

Whose compass and principles do you live by?

Keep in touch!
Receive through RSS feed
Receive by Email
Facebook
LinkedIn

Quick Thoughts

WHOSE COMPASS AND PRINCIPLES DO YOU LIVE BY?

Benjamin Franklin created a 12-point “Ladder of Success” to follow during his life – then before he died, he looked back at how he had lived with this conclusion:

“On the whole, though I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell well short of it, yet I was, by the endeavor, a better and happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it.”

“What counts is what we learn after we know everything.” – John Wooden

Bottom line is this:

Identifying and understanding the values and principles you consider important in your life will serve as a road map or compass in all your activities and journeys.  Without that foundation and solidity, you will be at the mercy of the winds and currents of this world which are as insecure and non-directional as a person lost in an Antarctic blizzard.

The best source for that compass and those principles is this:

If any of you lacks wisdom (the only true compass for life) let him ask God, Who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But, he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5-6 NASB)

Have a great week! (and to my family, Love, Dad)

Bob Alderman

With Christmas – Some Assembly is Required

Keep in touch!
Receive through RSS feed
Receive by Email
Facebook

LinkedIn

P.E.A.R.s™ Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

“With Christmas, ‘Some Assembly is Required’”©

by Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Sometimes, as we all know, the true meaning and purpose of Christmas gets lost in all the hustle and bustle that has become part of the Season.  Whether it’s a hectic travel schedule, last minute gift shopping, family gatherings and big meals, extra work in season related businesses or other functions, our minds and hearts seem to forget the ultimate substance of this one-and-only-event in history.

It is not my goal in this article, however, to revisit that oversight.  Rather, I want to share a few thoughts on a perspective of Christmas we may not have previously considered – even when we remember its significance.

The reminder is simply this, “With Christmas, ‘Some Assembly is Required’”.

I am not talking about “assembly” in the mechanical sense as with wagons, dollhouses, surround sound systems, computer components or anything else that comes from a store.  Nevertheless, there are subsequent steps following the birth of Christ cumulating with the mystical union and indwelling of Jesus Christ that must be “assembled” before the fullness of the Christmas gift from God can be experienced in our lives.

A good illustration of this is how the complete context (past, present and future) of the phrase “peace on earth and good will toward men” is generally missing when the Christmas Story is shared today.  

The result has been the development of a popular misconception that with the birth of Christ peace on earth and good will for all mankind somehow immediately blanketed the world and became available through an osmosis-like process.  Such, however, is neither an accurate reading of what the verse says nor is it in line with the rest of the Bible.

A quick review of Luke 2:14 in several reliable Bible translations (i.e. the NIV, NAS, NLT and ESV) as well as commentary studies clearly establish that the angel’s proclamation of peace and good will did not infer instant application or a promise that the birth of Christ would be universal or standalone in nature.  Instead, the identity of the would-be recipients was limited to those persons with whom God is pleased or upon whom His favor rests.  Its application is also conditional on other propositions that must first occur.

Romans 5:1 is a verse in which this is made explicitly clear: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. [NAS].  In other words, we don’t receive peace or any other fruits of the Spirit through osmosis with the birth of Christ, but only if and when we have been justified (reckoned as righteous) by acknowledging and receiving Jesus as our Savior and Lord – following His death and resurrection on our behalf.

If we read the entire historical account of Christmas and the birth of Jesus in Luke 2:1-16 and Matt 2:1-9 and follow the events that occurred thereafter, we emphatically find that the arrival of Christ into the world did not make life easy or did it generate peace and good will.  In fact, what unfolded was just the opposite.  The three magi or shepherds had to travel a long distance and search to find the new born king (see also Deut 4:29 and Matt 7:7) and in the process had to deal with the murderous schemes of Herod – who definitely wasn’t filled with peace and good will.

The underlying basis for Herod’s actions and all subsequent attacks on those who receive Christ as their Savior and Lord (which did not exist before Jesus was born, lived, was crucified and rose again) is found in Revelation 12:

1A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

3Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon…who stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

5And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. 6Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished…7And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon….

 9And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him….

 13And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child… 17So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus [NAS]

Even Jesus declared in Matt 10:34: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” [NAS]

* * * * *

Certainly, Christmas and what we celebrate in the birth of Christ is a great and glorious gift.  However, the true substance of that event is the hope it provided for what was to follow when the gift was fully assembled

In one sense, Christmas is similar to the American and Allied troops landing on the beaches of Europe to begin an attack that would eventually lead to the end of World War II.  The hope created by those landings still had to be followed or brought to fruition with many subsequent battles through fear and trembling.  On-going enlistments, training and deployment of additional soldiers, paratroopers being dropped behind enemy lines; USOs, food and ammunition supply lines for rejuvenation and nourishment of body and spirit, and of course, air support all had to be assembled, put in place and made to function efficiently for the victory march to succeed.  Staying on the beach was not an option.

Just as the military commanders in WWII did not invade Europe without first having a complete plan in place, the Gift of Christmas from God came with all the parts, pieces and instructions needed for His ultimate victory to be fulfilled.  The life and ministry of Jesus, His death and resurrection, the ministry of the twelve disciples, the Bible, the follow-up/follow-through of the Holy Spirit, our individual Spiritual Gifts, our free will, and our engagement in the battle were all included in God’s Christmas Gift right from the beginning.

As His instruction Manual clearly states: 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, SO we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. [Eph. 2:8-10 NAS]

Thus, always remember “With Christmas, ‘Some assembly is required’” and never shirk from the assignments that were given to you along with that Gift.    END 

Have a great week!

Bob Alderman (and to my family, Love Dad)

PERMISSION is given to reproduce this article in any format – provided it is not altered in any way including retention of the author “by” line and © in the title; no cost is charged to the recipients beyond the cost of reproduction, if any; not more than fifty hard copies are reproduced without my further written permission; AND “Reproduced with the express permission of Robert E. Alderman, Jr. of www.TheGreatestLaw.com – all rights reserved” is provided at the end.

12/22/10-ezra/mydocs/PEARS/blogs/AssemblyRequired01- modified 12/24/19

It’s Like the Game of Jeopardy©

Keep in touch!
Receive through RSS feed
Receive by Email
Facebook

LinkedIn

P.E.A.R.s  Periodic Encouragement And Reminders
It’s Like the Game of Jeopardy ©
by:
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Over the years, I’ve learned that the process for having a winning relationship with God and a correct perspective of who’s who in that relationship is somewhat like the TV game show Jeopardy – where the answer comes first and then the question.

My habit and preference in life, however, is just the reverse (and perhaps yours is also) in that I for determining what how deep do I want to get into a relationship and whether I’m going to give a “yes” or ‘no” or make a full commitment to anything is to first have the question to consider whether or not is suits my fancy.  E.g. I would like to give me a questions with all the details behind it as to what He has planned at any particular moment in my life so I can decide I like it or not.

However, true trust, faith and an abiding relationship with God will not be successful in that format. God’s way is for us to play the game of “Jeopardy” with Him. He wants our answer first and then He will tell us the question.
The following is a glimpse of what Eddie Rasnake in his book “Living the Will of God” says about this process:

“One of the reasons why people are not able to find God’s will is because they have an attitude that suggests, ‘Lord, show me what you want me to do so I can decide if I want to do it.’ This attitude subtly communicates a perspective of our wanting the final say in the decision instead of leaving it to the Lord, and it suggests our mistrust of God’s intent for us.”

[However], “God is not going to show us His will until we first settle in our hearts that we are willing to do whatever He says. God’s will is not a choice to be made, but a command to be followed. Unless we are submitted to Him, He isn’t going to waste His breath giving us orders.”

We often see the lordship of Christ over our lives as being similar to the role of the king or queen in a ‘constitutional monarchy’. The most familiar example is the nation of Great Britain, which is presided over by a reigning monarch; yet Parliament, not the king or queen, makes the rules and decisions.

Today, out of deference to the monarch, a solid line for the queen’s signature appears in the lower right hand corner at the end of every bill Parliament passes. Upon passage, the bill is sent to Buckingham Palace for the queen’s consideration, and by signing in the provided space, she gives her approval of the newly-enacted law. Nevertheless, the interesting thing about this process is that even if she refuses to sign the bill, it still becomes law. Her lordship or sovereignty over the country is merely symbolic – the Prime Minister and Parliament actually ‘run the country’.”

“All too often, we try to set up our lives as constitutional monarchies. We have a position and a place for an absolute monarch (Jesus Christ), yet we make all the decisions and then ask the Lord to approve our plans. The convicting reality I see, as I seek to follow the Lord, is that Christianity is not a constitutional monarchy. God does not want to approve my plans; He wants my acceptance of His plans and He wants me to submit to them. That is what is meant for Christ to be Lord. Anything less is not true biblical Christianity.”

“Whether or not we surrender to God affects our ability to hear Him.”

Eddie Rasnake then closes with the following statement – which I have simplistically analogized with the “Jeopardy” TV game:

“God wants us to answer “yes” [in complete trust of Him for whatever He might want us to do] and then He will tell us what the question is.”

Have a great week!
Bob Alderman  (and to my family, Love, Dad.)

How To Be Happier Than A Cow ©

Keep in touch!
Receive through RSS feed
Receive by Email
Facebook

LinkedIn

P.E.A.R.s  Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

How To Be Happier Than A Cow ©

by Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

If you were to describe your ideal of a “happy” life, what would your description contain – and what would it exclude?

Would it be all leisure and no work?  Would it be endless days of sunshine swinging in a hammock under a big oak tree?

Is your concept of happiness related more to “great cheese comes from California cows” TV commercials or with the concept of “busy beavers” in the forest?

Finally, do you think Jesus was happy when He was on this earth?

Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” is how Christ described His life in Matthew 8:20.  In doing so, He inferred that people who follow Him will find themselves in a similar situation as to worldly comforts.  Yet, in John 10:10, He says: I came that they (people who follow Me) may have life and have it abundantly.

How can the paradox of having nowhere to lay your head be reconciled with a life of abundance?

And how does Christ’s statement in Matthew 19:21 “If you wish to be complete, go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come follow Me”  relate to happiness?

In the comic strip “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown once said, “I don’t expect to be happy; I just don’t want to be unhappy.”

Will you settle for what Charlie Brown hopes for OR you want the life of abundance Christ came to provide and offers?

John W. Gardner in his book “Excellence” says:

We fall into the error of thinking that happiness necessarily involves ease, diversion and tranquility – a state in which all of one’s wishes are satisfied.  [However] for most people, happiness is not to be found in this vegetative state, but in striving toward meaningful goals.  The dedicated person has not achieved all his goals.  His life is an endless pursuit of goals, some of them unattainable.  He may never have time to surround himself with luxuries.  He may often be tense, worried, fatigued.  He has little of the leisure one associates with the storybook conception of happiness.  But…he has found a more meaningful happiness.

“One of the great mysteries of the Christian life is that we can be very content and at the same time press forward toward more goals that the Lord has laid upon our hearts to achieve and accomplish.  Our relationship with Christ allows us to be content in all situations and at the same time desire to change our situation” says Charles Stanley in “Success God’s Way”.

Comfort, peace, tranquility, or someplace to lay your head may sound like happiness when viewed from the human perspective and teachings of this world.  But they often become distractions and misguided direction away from a more meaningful happiness and the true abundant life offered by Christ.

When the young man [with whom Jesus was speaking in Matt 9:21] heard what Christ said [that to become complete he would have to release all that he owned], he went away grieving for he was one who owned much property.

Thus, he failed to find the fullness of life he knew in his soul he needed, because his perspective and values as to where and how happiness is found were wrong.

Bruce Wilkinson in “The Dream Giver” explains it this way:

One day I realized that my desire for comfort was the enemy of my Dream, and that ultimately my desire for comfort was rooted in my selfishness.  Unfortunately, many people in all walks of life end up making personal comfort their Dream.  But, it is a false dream, because comfort turns into a prison.  A true Dreamer is a person whose life is in motion.  If they’re not encountering a comfort zone issue regularly, something is wrong.

* * * * *
Returning to John W. Gardner and the statement on happiness from his book “Excellence”, he concludes with this statement:

The truth is that happiness in the sense of total gratification is not a state to which man can aspire [on this earth].  Maybe for cows and possibly for the birds it might exist, but not for us.”

Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much and will inherit eternal life.  [Matt 19:29]

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love.  These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be iyou and that your joy may be made full. [John 15:10 -11]

The happy cows from California may look like they have “the life of Riley” and are rolling in clover, but for me personally (and I hope for you as well), the green pastures, quiet waters, restoration of my soul and the goodness that will follow all the days of my life from dwelling in the house of God (Psalm 23) is the true definition of happiness and abundance.

Have a great week!  (And to my family, love Dad)

Bob Alderman

Orig publication: 5/3/05 – modified and posted TruthPursuit101: 3/24/17

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., thegreatestlaw@gmail.com

Quit Pushing the Car! – Post Script©

Keep in touch!
Receive through RSS feed
Receive by Email
Facebook

LinkedIn

P.E.A.R.sPeriodic Encouragement And Reminders
Quit Pushing the Car! – Post Script©
by Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

There is so much encouragement to be found in the testimonies and lives of others who have gone before us that I think the best post script to “Quit Pushing the Car!”© and Major Thomas’s personal learning experience of that truth is to share the stories of two other authors I have enjoyed over the years of how they struggled but eventually reached that same point of blessed living:

Charles Stanley from – “Living the Extraordinary Life:”

Before the concept of abiding in Christ became a reality for me, I already had been a pastor for eight years.  I’d been to college and seminary, and I thought that the full Christian life meant preaching, studying the Bible, witnessing to people, serving people, and so forth.  After eight years, however, I knew there had to be more.

I was spiritually stuck at a dead-end road.  At that time, I was preaching from the book of Galatians, and when I came to the fifth chapter, I became genuinely concerned.  I thought to myself, “In two more Sundays, I’m going to preach on the fruit of the Spirit, and God will show me there isn’t a lot of peace, love, joy, and goodness in my life.”

I remember thinking that I felt a lot more spiritual on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday was a different story.  I knew something was missing and my heart was troubled.

In near despair, I prayed, “God, either there is more to the Christian life than I have ever known, or I have to stop telling people who You are.  How can I keep preaching if the Christian life is just a set of standards to believe in if there is no real victory?  I can’t keep going on like this.”

I had fallen victim to the trap of fretting, rushing, and striving.  I was working overtime trying to please God and finally came to a point of burnout.

God used the testimony of Hudson Taylor to minister to me.  He was a missionary to China who had also came to a point of spiritual weariness until God changed his life with Galatians 2:20 – which says: “I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (NIV)

From that, John 15 became a reality to Hudson Taylor and through my reading of his story, it became a reality to me also: “Abide in Me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine and you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing”.

Charles Swindoll in – “The Mystery of God’s Will”

In the summer of 1961, my life changed.  I was already a Christian.  In fact, I was between my second and third year in seminary, deeply entrenched in theological studies.

One of my major battles in trying to come to terms with certain truths was the sovereignty of God. When you reach that point, you can no longer leave issues like that in the “unsettled” realm. [However], candidly, the doctrine of sovereignty frightened me.

On a practical level, I was grappling [at the same time] with several issues in my own life that seemed to relate.  My wife and I were uncertain about our future.  We had been married for six years, and while our marriage was not weak, it wasn’t as strong as it needed to be.  And she was carrying our first child, causing both of us to feel somewhat anxious about being parents.

All of this as well as other issues were troubling me.  So that summer I decided I really wanted to dig into a book of the Bible, ideally one with a dozen chapters or so to coincide with the twelve weeks we had away from school.  I chose the book of Daniel.

I was in the fourth chapter of Daniel when I came upon the truth that transformed my thinking, in fact, changed my life. Daniel 4:24-28:  [the revelation by Daniel of the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as to the sovereignty of all things lying with God and not the King – and because Nebuchadnezzar did not acknowledge and accept that, he was literally put out to pasture to graze like a cow until God’s sovereignty was acknowledged and accepted by him.]

[In those verses, God said to Nebuchadnezzar]: “you will be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven…until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes…[yet] your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules.

A chill still runs up my spine when I read those words and reflect back on that summer morning.  I remember, as if it were yesterday, taking a pencil from my desk and underscoring two lines that were almost identical.  In verse 25, “until you recognize” and verse 26: “after you recognize”.

I sat and stared at that passage of Scripture for who knows how long.  My heart beat faster, and I broke out in a sweat as I struggled with what I had read.  Finally, I told the Lord that I would give up the fight and acquiesce to His plan [for my life rather than trying to make it on my own.]  I invited Him to take sovereign charge of my life.  I gave Him my marriage.  I gave Him my wife.  I gave Him the birth of our firstborn.  In fact, I surrendered my entire future to Him. And I finished the time on my knees weeping in wonder and with a sense of relief.  From then on it would be “God and God alone.”

* * * * *
This message, this truth, this reality is the very foundation needed by every Christian to live the life of fullness and purpose intended by God for them after they receive Christ as their Savior and Lord.  The former has to do with life after death and the latter has to do with life now!

As fortunate as we are to have encouragements and reminders like this from Major Thomas, Charles Stanley, Charles Swindoll and many other authors, we need to remember that the message they share is from the ultimate Author and Perfecter of our lives.  Even the reason for others before us (or contemporaneously with us) to share in written form their experiences is found in the Bible itself:

“These things happened to them (referring to the nation of Israel) as examples and were written down as warnings to us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand under it.”  (1 Cor 10:11-13) NIV

In Hebrews chapter 11 alone (sometimes referred to as the Halls of Faith), we are given example after example of people who through their acknowledgement, faith and acceptance of God as the sovereign force in their lives were used in mighty ways by God.

Charles Stanley and Charles Swindoll summarize their awesome discovery of letting God be sovereign in their lives (essentially, to “Quit Pushing the Car!”) with these words:

I discovered that it was not my responsibility to strive for anything.  My part was to submit my life to God and allow Him to live His life through me. – Charles Stanley

I believe that not until we embrace God’s sovereignty will we have the ability to reason our way through life theologically.  Until then, we will be too important in the plan.  Man’s opinion will be too significant to us.  And we will churn and wrestle and struggle our way through our Christian lives trying too hard to please people rather than living it relieved and relaxed in God’s plan. – Charles Swindoll

Have a great week!  (and to my family, love Dad)

Bob Alderman

Orig writing 12/20/06 – blog posting 03/16/17

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

Quit Pushing the Car!©

Keep in touch!
Receive through RSS feed
Receive by Email
Facebook

LinkedIn

P.E.A.R.s™ Periodic Encouragement And Reminder©

Quit Pushing the Car!©

by
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Most likely, everyone who reads this article is familiar with the story of Israel’s escape from Egypt; its wanderings in the wilderness for forty years and eventually its entry into Canaan as the land of milk and honey promised to that nation by God.  It’s a great story, isn’t it?

There’s more to it, however, than just a story.

It’s one of God’s teaching metaphors about every Christian’s journey from captivity in sin (living under the devil’s control); the rescue by Christ’s death on the cross; and the sanctification process of moving our carnal nature of self-reliance into the promised land of paradise allowing Christ to live through us in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

If you’ve been of the opinion that your acceptance of Christ as your Savior gives you an entry ticket to God’s Kingdom when you die, but gives no immediate empowerment here on earth, this P.E.A.R.™ is going to be both an “I-can’t-wait-to-implement-this” discovery as well as a “why-did-I-waste-so-many-years-in-the-wilderness?” experience.  At least it has been for me.

What opened my eyes on this was a book I actually read for the first time nearly twenty years ago.  However, at that first reading, I didn’t grasp the substance of what the author was saying even though some of what he said was helpful to me.

Its life changing message from the Bible didn’t reach my heart until I “happened” to come across the book again during my move to Arizona in October 2006 when I decided to read it for a second time.  It was from that second reading that the meaning of dwelling in Christ and having Christ dwell in me (as reflected in this P.E.A.R.™ title “Quit Pushing the Car!”) was both clarified and simplified for me.

Although I have had a peripheral understanding of that transformation blessing offered by God and have even experienced short periods of living in that mode, I hadn’t truly grasped the extent of that blessing or the importance of letting Christ work through me in every aspect of life.

My hope is that through this P.E.A.R.™, you will be encouraged to change from striving to live for Christ to instead allowing Him to live through you – if you have not yet attained the wonders and fulfillment of doing so – or perhaps to at least seek out the book and read it for yourself.

The book is by W. Ian Thomas titled “The Saving Life of Christ”.

Unfortunately, until the book is read, the title actually draws our attention away from the message it teaches rather than providing initial insight to what it contains.  At least it did for me as my tendency was to equate the saving nature of Christ’s life to the thirty-three years He spent on earth in human form and then to the death of that life on the cross and subsequent resurrection to open the way for yours and my eternal salvation.  However…the life of Christ that Major Thomas addresses is not of salvation alone but of the immediate fullness and strength of life we are capable of living on earth after our acceptance of Christ if only we would learn to let Christ’s life in the Person of the Holy Spirit live through us!

Here is how he describes his own discovery of this reality:

At the age of twelve I received Christ as my Savior and by fifteen I decided I was meant to devote my life to His service.  I began to preach in the public; was engaged actively in Sunday school work and was aiming to become a missionary to Africa. And in my early years of university studies, I became a leader in an intervarsity group and I even started a club on the east end of London with the focused purpose of saving souls.

However, by the age of nineteen, I had reached a point of complete exhaustion spiritually and felt there was no point of going on.  Thus, one night in November that year, right around midnight, I got down on my knees before God and wept in sheer despair.  I said, “Oh, God, I know that I am saved.  I love Jesus Christ.  I am convinced that I have been adopted as a child of Yours.  And with all my heart I have wanted to serve You.  I have tried my utter most to do so, but am a hopeless failure!”

In response, God focused me upon the Bible message of “the Christ Who is our Life” and made it as clear to me as if He was actually speaking these words:  “Ian, for seven  years, with utmost sincerity, you have been trying to live for Me, on My behalf, the life that I have been waiting for seven years to live through you.”

What Major Thomas discovered, and thereafter began to live – resulting in true glory for God as well as true joy for his own life – (and what finally got through my own stubborn nature as well) is that we are not intended to live for God and His glory on our own power, but to instead ignite and allow His power to work through us for that purpose.  That’s why we are instilled with the Holy Spirit at the moment of our salvation and acceptance of Christ as our Savior and Lord.

The problem is that many Christians, as have I, (and as did Major Thomas for seven exhausting years) insist on trying to use our own strength to serve and glorify God rather than letting the Holy Spirit do that work through us.

There are two great analogies given in the book to illustrate this:

The engine in a car: How stupid would it be to buy a car with a powerful engine under the hood, and then to spend the rest of your days pushing it around town!?  Thwarted and exhausted, you would wish to discard it as a useless thing.  Yet to some of you who are Christians, this may be God’s word in your heart.  When He redeemed you through the precious blood of His Son, he placed, in the language of this illustration, a powerful engine under your hood – nothing less than the resurrected life of God the Son, made over to you in the person of God the Holy Spirit.  So, stop pushing!  Open the door, step in, turn on the ignition and step on the gas pedal to that divine energy that is available to us to overcome every hill of circumstance, every opportunity, every temptation and every perplexity of life.

A glove without a hand inside: I may say to a glove, “Glove, pick up this Bible,” and yet somehow, the glove cannot do it.  It has a thumb and fingers, the shape and form of a hand, and yet it is unable to do the thing I command it to do.  You may say, “Well, of course not.  You never told the glove how!”  But I may preach to and instruct that glove until my patience is exhausted, but the glove, try as it might, still cannot pick up the Bible.  Yet I have a glove at home that has picked up my Bible dozens of times! – but never once before I put my hand into it!  As soon, however, as my hand goes into that glove, the glove becomes as strong as my hand.  Everything possible to my hand becomes possible to that glove – but only in measure to which the glove is prepared simply to clothe the activity of my hand.

That is what it is to have Christ, by His Spirit, dwelling within our redeemed humanity.  We are the glove and Christ is the hand.  Everything that is possible to Him becomes possible to us.

* * * * *
“Quit pushing the car!” is the message every Christian has to hear and learn to live before we can experience the joy and power of Christ dwelling within us or to truly live a life that glorifies God.

Oh, sure, we can escape eternal captivity to the devil by accepting Christ as our Savior – much like Israel escaped captivity in Egypt.  But, we will never enter the promised land of fulfillment in this world and will not have lives that glorify God if after our salvation we continue to rely on our perceived individual wisdom and strength rather than permitting Christ to be Lord of our lives and to completely live through us in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Such is the mistake Israel made thereby finding itself exhausted and wandering in the wilderness for forty years.  Even Moses failed to physically experience the promised life of Canaan in this world, because he choose to rely on his own efforts rather than following God’s instructions – meant to glorify God and not Moses.

In other words, getting out of captivity is great, but…it’s also God’s intention and offer for us to have a life in Canaan on earth with Christ as Lord rather than a life of wandering lost and exhausted in the wilderness when we accept Christ as Savior only!

Get out AND get in is the message of Major Thomas in “The Saving Life of Christ”.

Both progressions require complete reliance on God.  The first is provided in the death of Christ on the cross and the second is provided in the life of Christ through the Holy Spirit.  This is reflected, respectively, in God’s parting of the Red Sea bringing death to the Egyptian army as Israel’s captors, and then in God’s parting of the River Jordan for entry into the promised as representation of Israel’s return to reliance on God’s strength rather than it’s own.

I will come back to this important subject again, as I have found the same exhortation over and over again in many of my readings.  It is probably the most important reality for every person who wants to live a blessed and joyful life in the bosom of God to not only observe and understand, but to also apply.  As one author has said, “Observation and interpretation without application is abortion.” (Howard Hendricks in “Living by the Book”)

Major Thomas sums it up this way:

There is nothing quite so pathetic as a Christian who has been vested with all the fullness of God through Christ, and to whom has been made available all the illimitable resources of Heaven, yet who in ignorance, or in defiance of this fact, scratches out a mere existence using the meager resources which he brings with him out of the Egypt of his unbelief, with no sense of direction or finality of purpose – for he will not take what God has given.  He as gotten out, but he has not yet gotten in.

He has received the Holy Spirit and all the fullness of Christ, yet ignores Christ’s indwelling within him and struggles to live the Christian life as though Christ was not there.  He begs and pleads for all that God has already given him, but which he will not take.

The truth of this is applicable to you and me in our lives, just as it was to Israel.

A car provides very little value or benefit if it has no engine – which, metaphorically, is what we are if we are living without Christ as our Savior.  Thus, the first step to a fulfilled and abundant life is to admit our sinful, empty nature and receive Christ as the only power that can save us.

Once we do that (or, if you already have), don’t settle any longer for a life of pulling and pushing your car aimlessly in the wilderness.  Don’t just get out of the restricted, empty life of captivity as a car with no engine, but also get in to living the kind of life that Christ as your engine gives you the power to live.

In other words, “Quit pushing the car!”

Your life is not going to cover much ground operating under your own power and will never truly provide any glory for God in that mode of operation.  The Holy Spirit is dwelling under your hood; turn on the ignition; step on the gas and go!  Let God’s power work through you to live a life in Canaan as God intended you to live!

Have a great week!  (and to my family, love Dad)

Bob Alderman

Orig writing 12/05/06 – modified 8/31/08 – blog posting 03/01/17

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., thegreatestlaw@gmail.com

More Than Claritin Clear – a vision reality check©

Keep in touch!
Receive through RSS feed
Receive by Email
Facebook

LinkedIn

P.E.A.R.sPeriodic Encouragement And Reminders

 More than Claritin Clear – a vision reality check©

by

Robert E. Alderman,Jr.

I know you’ve probably seen the commercials on TV – where a clouded and out of focus covering is pulled back to reveal an improved picture of life with high contrast and bright objects.

“There’s clear and then there’s Claritin clear” – is the verbal message that accompanies the visual presentation.

The idea conveyed is that irritants and allergies can affect our senses causing us to feel miserable and not to see or live clearly.  But we’re told with the right product we can enjoy life the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

Every time you see this commercial in the future or others like it such as Visine’s “It gets the red out” and those promoting contact lens cleaning solutions, I encourage you to relate them in your mind to a similar but greater truth regarding clarity of our senses found in the Bible at Matthew 6:22-23:

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (NAS)

What Christ was teaching to those around Him when He made that statement (and is teaching you and me today through the Bible) is that our spiritual vision and senses are more important than physical sight.

The commentary to these verses in my applications study Bible expresses it this way:

“Spiritual vision is our capacity to see clearly what God wants us to do and to see the world from His point of view.  But this spiritual insight can be easily clouded.  Self-serving desires, interests and goals block that vision.  Serving God is the best way to restore it.  A ‘clear’ eye is one that is fixed on God.

The difference between the two (having our “eye” fixed on this world rather than on God) is the difference between darkness and light; it’s the difference between deception and reality.

Additional teaching on this truth is found in “The Divine Conspiracy – rediscovering our hidden life in God” by Dallas Willard:

“The person who treasures what lies within the Kingdom sees everything in its true worth and relationship.  The person who treasures what is ‘on earth’, by contrast, sees everything from a perspective that distorts it and systematically misleads in practice.  The relative importance of things is, in particular, misperceived.

Thus, if your eyes are bad, your body as a whole is in the dark.  If the eye of your soul, ‘the light within you, is not functioning, then you are in the dark about everything.  You are simply lost.  You don’t know where you are or where you are going.  This is what it means to be a ‘lost soul’, a dead soul.

So, how do we find this light – in order that we can lift the veil of darkness and begin to see clearly to fill our hearts with reality?

The answer is the same as it would be for learning and gaining knowledge of any topic of importance or of growing closer to someone such as a teacher who has the ability to tutor and lead us – we study the manual and we spend time with the teacher.  In this instance, it means reading the Bible (perhaps with support from others) and spending prayer time with God.

In other words it takes some effort on our part as it’s not going to happen by osmosis!

People who are best able to recognize God’s Will and direction in life (to see His Light and walk in it) are those who know His Word best.  As God said Himself, “You will find me [and the light of reality I provide] when you seek me with all of your heart.”  (Jer. 29:13)

* * * * *
The allergy commercial by Claritin can tell us, “There’s clear and then there’s Claritin clear” regarding the physical condition of our senses.  However, absolute clarity – clarity that means the difference between light and darkness in our soul – is found only through Jesus Christ and God’s Word.

Such provide a great deal more than Claritin clear!

Have a great week!  (and to my family, Love Dad)

Bob Alderman

P.S.  There are many wonderful ways to develop individual Bible studies and prayer time with God.  It’s also important to have the support and encouragement of a small group or of an individual study partner.

If there’s anything I can do to help you move forward on these activities (perhaps recommend a Bible translation to use, or even establish individual time together – by phone or email if we are geographically separated), please let me know as it would be my privilege to help if I can.

2/23/17 reprint from orig publication of 2/14/05

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., thegreatestlaw@gmail.com

Content, But Never Satisfied©

Keep in touch!
Receive through RSS feed
Receive by Email
Facebook

LinkedIn

P.E.A.R.s™ Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

Content, But Never Satisfied ©

by

Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Many readers I’m sure have some familiarity with the Apostle Paul’s declaration of contentment in Philippians 4:11 as well as his similar teachings for peace that surpasses understanding.  What is frequently overlooked, however, and seldom expressed as serious exhortations or admonishments in Bible studies and/or from the pulpit is the underlying foundation or side companion by which the contentment and peace of Jesus Christ is “learned” (as Paul says in 4:11) and then continually expanded.

The foundation and constant companion for such is: dissatisfaction – i.e. a state of never being satisfied or becoming passive in one’s desire to gain more and more and more of God once we have tasted and experienced the wonders of His presence in our lives!

The Apostle Paul, of course, repeatedly exhorts us to that kind of mindset and passion in virtually every one of his letters.  (Philippians 3:8 is one example immediately at hand if you already opened a Bible when you began to read this P.E.A.R.)

John 17:3 is the “cherry on the icing” statement for knowing God…eternal life through an intimate, abundant, joyful, fulfilling and wondrous, indwelling, all consuming relationship with the three Persons of Almighty God that is beyond description in any human language.

Here are a few excerpts from several authors pertinent to the plight and privilege given to Christians of being “content, but never satisfied” during their life on earth after receiving Christ as their Savior and Lord:

“Disciples are made not born” by Walter Henrichsen

The disciple himself is not one who has arrived.  On the contrary, he is a learner, a pilgrim, one who is on a quest to make his life all that God would have it be.

We fall into the error of thinking that happiness necessarily involves ease, diversion, tranquility – a state in which one’s wishes are satisfied.  For most people, happiness is not found in this vegetative state, but in striving toward meaningful goals…He may often be tense, worried or fatigued…But he has found a more meaningful happiness.  (Quoting John W. Gardner from “Excellence”)

“The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson

I tell motivated Dreamers [those who are pursuing God’s plan and purpose for them] that if they are not encountering a Comfort Zone issue regularly, something is wrong…Maybe they need to check their pulse!

“Changed into His Image” by Jim Berg

“Of late God has been pleased to keep my soul hungry almost continually, so that I have been filled with a kind of pleasing pain.  When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of Him are more insatiable and my thirstings after holiness are more unquenchable.”  [Quoting David Brainerd)

“How people change” by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp

God calls you to be dissatisfied.  You should be discontent, restless, and hungry!  The Christian life is a state of thankful discontent or joyful dissatisfaction.  Why? …Because when I look at myself honestly, I have to admit that I am not all I can be in Christ.  I am thankful for the many things in my life that would not be there without His grace, but I will not settle for a partial inheritance!

In this sense, it is right for me to be discontent.  It is right for me to want nothing less than all that is mine in Christ.  He does not want us to enjoy only a small portion of the riches He has given us.  He calls us to wrestle, meditate, watch, examine, fight, run, persevere, confess, resist, submit, follow, and pray until we have been transformed into His likeness.

Have a great week! (and to my family, Love Dad)

Bob Alderman

Orig. Publication 11/18/10 – 1st blog posting 2/15/17

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., thegreatestlaw@gmail.com.

“The Truth War” – Book Review

Keep in touch!
Receive through RSS feed
Receive by Email
Facebook

LinkedIn

P.E.A.R.s™ Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

“The Truth War” – Book Review ©
by
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

The Truth War addresses the constant battle in our minds between true or false, right or wrong, good or evil, our way or God’s way, and God or Satan.  It’s a war that has been raging openly and subtly since the Garden of Eden in churches and every realm of secular life.

A concise statement of the substance of this war is found in the book’s subtitle: FIGHTING for CERTAINTY in an AGE of DECEPTION.

The author is John MacArthur – host of Grace to You radio, senior pastor/teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, a frequent guest on both secular and Christian talk shows, a speaker at national and international conferences and summits (including the annual Shepherds’ Conference he oversees at Grace Community Church for thousands of pastors who attend from all over the world) and author of more than fifty books – including a Study Bible and Commentary.  This particular book was published in 2007.

What I personally like about John MacArthur’s books and other teaching is he never engages in euphemisms; is clear on what he is trying to share and always provides substantive support for his position.  In The Truth War, he does not deviate from that approach.

In the introduction and first chapter, he lays a brief, historical back-drop to this war and summary descriptions of the three primary, present day combatants against the Christian faith – which are:

Modernity: primarily the belief that truth is a phenomenon defined by science and human reason as the final arbiter without supernatural basis.  Such is the secular religion/faith upon which Darwinism, Humanism, Marxism, etc. and theological liberalism are based.

Postmodernism: somewhat of a one-eighty turn away from modernity in the sense that its basic position is that absolute truth in any form is an impossibility – meaning it does not exist at all or at least cannot be known by the human mind.  Thus, its faith system claims nothing is true, false, good, bad, right, wrong or subject to certainty in and of itself, but rather everyone is entitled to his or her own determination of truth according to their individual feelings.

The Emerging Church movement: is the “religious” application of postmodernism in that it asserts truth, at best, is a hazy and uncertain concept, with the additional caveat that the inability to know truth in any form is equally applicable against knowing even somethings absolutely as it is to knowing everything completely.

All three, the author points out, are simply the most recent atheist, agnostic, false prophet and apostate attempts to discredit the existence of an eternal, completely sovereign, divine Being as the creator and overseer of all that exists and occurs.

Although not in The Truth War itself, the following statement by C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity is a quick peek at what is ultimately the central issue in this war:

God designed the human machine [and all of creation] to run on Himself.  He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. [John 6:53-58] There is no other.  That is why it is just no good [seeking] to make ourselves happy in our own way.  [There is no] happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there.  There is no such thing.

The need for advocates who understand that application is the bottom line discussion in The Truth War.  In other words, ambassadors to carry forward the reality of God as the ultimate source of all Truth and soldiers to defend against those who attack that Truth are urgently needed. Too many Christians have already been deceived and taken captive to the point of being apathetic toward and/or unprepared to engage in this battle.

The springboard exhortation of the book (or re-exhortation) is Jude 3-4 with an emphasis on this statement:

I felt I had to write [a sense of compulsion] and urge you to contend for the faith that was once and for all-entrusted to the saints.

This, John explains, was and is a battle cry – an unequivocal Paul Revere the-British-are coming-the-British-are-coming kind of warning and call to action as a life and death issue.

If I had more space than is available in a blog, I would share similar warnings expressed by  many other godly authors – including the consequences if we jointly or individually ignore it.  However, this one from John Piper in Don’t Waste Your Life will need to suffice for now:

The phase [wartime mentality] tells me there is a war going on in the world between Christ and Satan, truth and falsehood, belief and unbelief…that the stakes of this conflict are higher than any other war in history; they are eternal and infinite; heaven or hell; eternal joy or eternal torment.  I need to hear this message again and again [else] I drift into a false, peace-time mindset

John MacArthur’s admonishments in The Truth War with respect to our churches, politics, social culture, business and family are similar as illustrated in these excerpts:

The Bible sets forth two, and only two ways: God’s way, and all others…people are said to be saved or lost…belong to God’s people or the world…there is the narrow way and the wide way…truth and falsehood, good and bad; light and darkness. [Quoting Jay Adams on what he terms the principle of antithesis]

There is no third option between true and false – [with that fantasy option being described in the field of logic as the “excluded middle”].

[This war] has happened in every major era of church history…we cannot afford to be apathetic about the truth…[and] the reality of the battle raging all around us.

...reality is created and truth is defined by God...[and]...what is true is true for everyone regardless of anyone’s personal perspective and individual preference…it’s the way things really are...[and]…is what is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory and being of God.

There is nothing passive, peaceful or easy about it.  Jude’s exhortation [is] to wage a mighty battle.

Unfortunately, the visible church today is filled with people who have decided that biblical discernment and divinely reveled truth…are warn-out relics…They are weary of the battle for truth, and in effect have already unilaterally ceased resistance...[and] often seem more distressed about believers who think the Truth War is still worth fighting about.

Lest we think this book and its message have only abstract or academic application in our lives,  the following words written in it ten years ago are directly pertinent to the current rioting related to Donald Trump’s election as President; the overall decay of our country in recent decades, and the increased violence throughout the world against Christianity.

I see a close analogy [says MacArthur referring to his discussion of the postmodern spiritual war] in the political situation that dominates the secular Western world today.  The West loves openness, tolerance, freedom, and acceptance.  That is understandable on a certain level, of course.

But, abandon moral values, throw a few lawless terrorists in the mix, and the situation changes.  Terrorists don’t yield to any law.  They hide by simply mixing into a free society, pretending to be other than they really are, taking advantage of society’s openness in order to gain access to places where they can attack the very foundations of society that grants them such freedom.

Western society, by and large, [however] does not have the will or the inclination to construct boundaries for its own self-defense.  Years after the terror war supposedly got serious, America’s borders are still basically open to all comers.

Much of European society still opposes the idea of any military response to the terrorist threat.  Postmodern values and political correctness rule out profiling, monitoring the conversations of suspicious people, targeting illegal residents, and other means that would help identify who the terrorists are.

Analysts in the media perform all sorts of intellectual gymnastics to avoid saying that the roots of terrorism have anything to do with a particular culture or religion.

[Remember, this was written ten years ago with the situation being even worse today because the writing that has long been on the walls of history, reality and in God’s Word have been ignored by the titled leaders of America and elsewhere around the world .]

* * * *

In closing this book review, I say simply this:

Of all the books I’ve read, studied and considered on the subject of Truth (of which many will be reviewed in this blog, time and God willing), The Truth War by John MacArthur is the best, single overview of this battle and its eventual consequences – if the warnings and call to action are not heeded.

Thus, if you are looking for just one book that addresses the ultimate issue in this war and gives a sufficient overview of its history and the basic substance of the attacks against all-encompassing, divine Truth – this is the book I recommend you read.

Have a great week!
Bob Alderman (and to my family: Love Dad!)

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., thegreatestlaw@gmail.com.