After There’s Nothing Left: an intermission – Caring

It was a simple act. On a bitter cold, windy day a store employee was helping me load some groceries into the trunk of my car. As I thanked him, I offered him one of those wrapped little Life Saver mint. But his response poured out with gratitude. He wondered if anyone noticed the kind of work he did in this bitter weather. There was hardly anything I could do that would be smaller than this stupid Life Saver.

      It’s curious sometimes when such small acts of caring put such a smile of thankfulness on peoples’ faces. Now, whenever he sees me, he gets a big grin on his face…, and holds out his hand for the expected mint.

      Caring for people is so easy. Just think outside yourself. What do they need? What would they appreciate? What would make a big difference? A small difference. One of my friends left a $100 tip on a $65 meal. He was celebrating having just earned $1 million for the year, so far. It was the beginning of March.

      The difficult part is thinking-outside-our-little-self-absorbed-boxes. Putting other peoples’ needs before our own is critical in laying a foundation of caring. After a while, we don’t even notice that we are sacrificing; because it no longer becomes a sacrifice. It’s just the right thing to do.

   Allow me to propose some simple, yet significant, unexpected acts of caring.

  • Pay for someone’s gas at the pump.
  • Cover the meal for the table next to yours, without telling them.
  • Pay somebody’s rent.
  • Instead of trading in a car for a new one, give it away (unless it’s a clunker).
  • Pay for the groceries of the woman in front of you at the grocery check-out. The one with the screaming kids in tow.
  • Give more away. 10% is a minimum. Try 15%, 0r 20%. Off your gross.
  • Think Random-Acts-of-Caring.
  • LOVE…, expecting nothing in return.

      There! That should get you started.

      Oh…, and do I have to mention?!  Merry Christmas!

Honor God, honor people, show you care,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— INTERMISSION— caregiving

After There’s Nothing Left: An Intermission – Thankful

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Thus began Charles Dickens novel about the French Revolution in March, 1859. A Tale of Two Cities. Those were tragic times to be sure; but minus the guillotine, we live in just as perilous times today. Heads aren’t rolling, but this COVID19 virus is ending the lives of too many people and disrupting the lives of millions more.

      If its’s hard to find something to be thankful for these days let me offer you some things to be thankful for.

  • Your life. Ask, why am I still alive when so many are dying? Good question, isn’t it?
  • Your family. Kids can drive you crazy, true. But they are a gift from God. Honor them. So are parents and in-laws, cousins and grandparents. Honor them too.
  • Friends, especially the kind you can say anything to. They too are a gift from God.
  • Food on the table. Though many will go hungry this Thanksgiving, you will be blessed. Give.
  • A roof over our head. So remember those in your community who are homeless. And do something.
  • Those who paved the way before you. You owe them mucho thanks.
  • If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, be thankful for his salvation. You know you don’t deserve it.

Starr and I want you to know that we are very thankful for you, who actually take the time to read my scribblings. And we are thankful for those of you who don’t have a clue of what I’m talking about. Thank you for being there, for being you. We are so thankful for you.

      23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for[f] you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[g] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. ~1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (ESV)

      If Jesus could take the time to give thanks to the Father for this last supper he would have with his disciples, his friends, knowing the cross that lay before him the next day, couldn’t we also, in our “worst of days” give God the thanks he deserves.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

Honor God, honor people, and thank you…, so much,
Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— INTERMISSION— caregiving

After There’s Nothing Left: an intermission- kindness

  Still in the grips of this pandemic. Coming out of one of the truly malicious federal elections in memory, facing any further facets of depression seems like hardening icing on the top of a stale, sagging cake. With melting candles.

   No! I don’t think so. Let’s shift gears.

   Between now and New Years, I hope to challenge your perspective. The one thing genuine Christians can do for the rest of humanity right now is to come alongside them and help lighten their load.

   We cannot lift the weight of their sin, we cannot solve the entirety of the Human Dilemma, but after these past 11 months we can be kind to our neighbors, sensitive in our businesses, gentle in our relationships with people, and offer a helping hand (food, tire change, snow shovel flowers, whatever…, to those around us.

     There has been so much pain, extensive loss (250,000 deaths USA), and anger over this past Presidential election that we need, collectively, to commit ourselves to being kind to one another.

      If there were ever a time for true Christians to step forward and take action, actionable kindness, it is now. No discussion, no siding with political parties, no dredged-up histories. KINDNESS. NOW.

      The leader of our Community Group prays every day that he will be kind to people.

      Why? Because kindness is not a natural human trait. Our natural bent is to retaliate against people who disagree with us or come against us. Kindness must be cultivated.

      And if you cannot think of any ways to be kind to your neighbors, and especially your political opposites…, “Houston, we have a problem.” Has our human nature supplanted our sense of forgiveness?!? Shouldn’t kindness be grounded in Christ’s love for us, instead of a reaction?!?

Remember how Christ’s apostle Paul admonished us, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:32 ESV.

So my trust through all this is in Jesus Christ, and will remain so.

     Where’s your trust?

Honor God, honor people, show a little kindness,
Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— INTERMISSION— thankful

After There’s Nothing Left: An Intermission

popcorn

If you have grappled with any of the issues in these posts (book) so far you might want to take a break at this point. This might be especially true if you are in a critical place in your life, a tipping point, but without hope. I have found through my own emptiness that you cannot, should not, continue with self-analysis and pondering 24/7. To do so depletes your strength and creates fearful concerns where none may be warranted.

     Most of us have a tendency to over-analyze. Then we over-analyze again, rolling around the data, the experiences, and interpersonal relationships in our heads to a fault. Too often, resulting in depression and loss of stability.

     So take a break. Process what you’ve read so far.

     I need a break. You probably do too. Dealing with depression and recovering your soul are not easy topics to dwell on for too long. Unless, of course, you are a counselor or psychologist, and it is your job.

      So for the next two months These posts will address the issues of this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season. There are other things we need to consider and set aside time and energy to ponder. Some of the ideas I want to look at are—

  • Kindness
  • Caregiving
  • Being loving
  • Thanksgiving
  • Transitions in Life
  • Dealing with Your Past
  • Letting go
  • Crazy Celebration

      Many of the people we know will find Thanksgiving and Christmas quite difficult times to live through. So let’s get down to the business of loving them in ways that reflect Christ, make a difference, and make sense.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— INTERMISSION— kindness

After There’s Nothing Left: Forgiveness from God

[note— in the United States, this is the day we chose our elected officials at the Federal level. I’m sure most of us need to seek forgiveness for many things we have said and done during these past weeks and months. We may need to seek forgiveness from others, and from God.]

Finally, I want to address the issue of accepting forgiveness from God. I struggle on many levels with this idea. Philosophically, if there is a God, and I indeed have wronged Him, it makes complete sense to repent, cease and desist in my rebellious actions, and seek forgiveness. But why would He even offer forgiveness? He certainly is in no way obligated to do so. All actions have consequences. So why am I offered forgiveness? I certainly have not fulfilled even the slightest requirements of obedience to His Laws; yet I do desperately try to live within the perimeters of His protection.

     As a Christian I know I already have forgiveness, through Christ’s life-sacrifice to pay the penalties for my sin, as well as for the sins of a host of others. As I grow in faith (and forgiveness) I become more aware of the effects my sin has on God and upon myself. “Loathing” seems to be a word that aptly describes my state. I loathe what I sense inside me and I loathe what I know it is doing to the God I say I love. I am ashamed. I am embarrassed to call Him my friend. How can I accept His forgiveness with any degree of integrity!?!  The answer is, I can’t.

      Most people do not phrase the question of forgiveness in this manner. Most people assume God forgives them. I find this a most dangerous assumption, unfounded in just about every religion on the planet. Furthermore, I find that most people assume that the God of the Universe is there to do their bidding, rather than the other way around: that we exist to serve the God who made us. How did we turn things upside down and become so topsy-turvy?

      The question we’ve always asked has been, “How can God NOT forgive everybody?” Rather, the more authentic question should be, “Why should God bother to forgive any one of us!?!”

      These are some of my philosophical questions around the issue of receiving forgiveness from God. But I have some personal issues with accepting His forgiveness as well. At one time, earlier in my life, these questions arose from constantly being reminded that I was a sinner, not good enough, that I could never please God. Thank you, American fundamentalism of the 1950s & ‘60s. Later in life my issues were more tied to, what my wife describes as, my morbid introspection about life; that constant sense of not being good enough, never quite measuring up in God’s eyes, or in the eyes of others. It was a feeling of constantly being judged. I deserve judgment, not forgiveness. Blame it on an unforgiving father, I was told. I couldn’t forgive myself: and I couldn’t trust in God’s forgiveness.

      It is true that for much of my life I have wrestled with chronic depression; not a depression that would institutionalize me, but rather a deep-seated nagging that I will never measure up. Looking back, I need to admit that I have been quite successful in pioneering many endeavors in life that turned out to be ground-breaking enterprises; one venture even pioneered a new field of study— [How Historical Paradigm Shifts Affect Cross Cultural Communication.] Accepting God’s forgiveness has been a long process for me. In the end, when I realized that Christ had actually forgiven me, it was like a brilliant explosion of light erupting in my heart and head. A true “Ah-Ha!” moment.

      Now I could forgive myself, God, and others. More significantly, I could now also accept his forgiveness.

      There is an odd sense of freedom that overpowers every aspect of your being when you realize that you stand free, forgiven, and have a new life in God. It took a long time, but I no longer live as a guilty Christian, but rather, a forgiven sinner.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— the road ahead

After There’s Nothing Left: Forgiving Myself, Forgiving God, and Accepting His Forgiveness

Forgiveness for Myself

      As we move into these last three considerations in What Forges Forgiveness, forgiving others, and/or accepting their forgiveness is often representative of an inner need to forgive yourself. When I was a young boy, 8-16, I was told repeatedly that I could do nothing right; I was always wrong. As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t even cut the grass right! (According to my dad.) Of course, I did blow up our basement with my Chemcraft Chemistry Set one Thursday afternoon.

      My dad was none too amused. He never forgave me: neither did I. I missed my experimentation with things about which I knew very little.

      So many of us go through our lives never forgiving ourselves for past failures, real or imagined. We live in a continual state of fear, or of being discovered, or of being ignored because we believe we are not worth that much—not even worth our own self-forgiveness.

      I was wrong to not forgive myself. So are you. I needed to forgive myself for the things I had done that were truly rebellious, illegal, and wrong. And I needed to ask forgiveness from others, especially my dad. Had I never forgiven myself, I doubt I would have ever believed that God could truly forgive me. But He did…, so I had better forgive myself as well!

      This next section, as well as next week’s, were not easy to write.

Forgiveness for God

      For a lot of us, there is a very deep seated need to forgive God. Not that God has intentionally done anything to us; but we often take it that way. Why did my dad die so young? Why God. I asked You to help me get into Princeton, but I didn’t. I, we, wanted to have children of our own, but we didn’t, or couldn’t. Even today, it gnaws away at my soul. I mean, what’s the point?!? I pray and nothing changes. God, You won’t do what I want You to! Really!?!  ‘nuf said.

      BUT, arising from the issue of NOT forgiving God, for whatever reason, is the matter of a life-long anger, a grudge, if you will, against God. I’ve seen this resentment grow in intensity within me. “Irrational” does not begin to describe the potency of some people’s hatred of anything religious, or spiritual, or especially, God. “If God exists, I don’t want anything to do with him!” people have told me. Maybe there was, at one time, a reason, an event, a tragedy where “God didn’t come through for me!” but that has long since been removed from our present situation. Now, we are left with only a pure, resolute resentment and absolute anger against Him.

      At the very least, this anger will eat away at your soul and spirit until you set yourself to resolve it. It will also eat away at other relationships in your life. Count on it.

      But do keep in mind that any of us can chose to forgive God for whatever we believe He has done to us, either by accident, intention, omission, or imagination, at any time. God is not sitting on His Throne in heaven thinking of new ways to hurt you, screw you over, or wreck your life. That makes no sense. Why?

      Why would the Lord God Creator of the Universe, and of us, want anything for us other than his best. He is much more the Lover than the Tyrant.

      In the next EMPulse, I want us to consider why it is so hard for some of us, OK, me, to receive Forgiveness from God.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— forgiveness from God

After There’s Nothing Left: What Forges Forgiveness?

forging, forgivenessThe title of this subsection is not merely titled for the sake of alliteration. Rather, it is a serious question around a quite somber difficulty for many, many people. Forgiveness. In general, people find it difficult to forgive; conversely, unless in a court of law, to receive forgiveness.

      Forgiveness is something that is forged, like a steel blade tempered in the fire, heated to the point of meltdown, then hammered to utility on an anvil. Finally, it is sharpened to perfection at the hand of a master sword-maker. So also is forgiveness. It does not simply show up. It goes through testing, hammering, reheating, reworking, and sharpening. Then, when its work is accomplished, it becomes one of the most powerful spiritual weapons anyone might possess. The admission that you are forgiven, truly, by the Lord God Creator of the Universe, is to realize that you can risk your life more than you ever deemed possible. To be forgiven is to be empowered by God to make a difference. (It is also quite a countermeasure against depression and defeat.)

      There are a myriad of aspects to forgiveness that could be considered here. But I will limit our discussion to only five. Here are the first two.

Forgiveness for Others

      Though we are admonished to forgive those who have wronged us it is not quite as simple as that. Some of those wrongs have wreaked havoc with our lives, our livelihood, our families, and our financial security. Forgiveness often takes quite an extended period of time. Here then, again, is the matter of trust. Can we ever trust the other person(s) again? That is a much larger issue. Mix in a reality that some people who have wronged us believe they have done NO wrong: they believe they were righteous and right in their pronouncement of judgment upon us. They were justified in what they did or said. Can/should we forgive those who have not come to repentance before us, let alone before the God of the Universe?

      It is extremely hard to forgive others…, especially if you believe they are in the wrong. Conundrum.

      I believe forgiveness of others can only be fête accompli thru true humility and contrition; a willingness to take the lower place, even if the other party or person is clearly in the wrong. This is not to say that your forgiveness is ignorant of the facts. Rather, it chooses to take the subservient position for the sake of resolution, of restitution.

      At times, it may be the case, that you are unable to extend forgiveness to another. This is usually reflective of a long-standing, deep-seated pattern of being betrayed or hurt by others who did not seek your forgiveness. Or, it could also mean you are just so mad at present, that you are still out for vengeance and/or revenge. Seriously, not quite healthy all the way around. Nonetheless, you need to deal with your anger/grief and come to a point of genuine, heartfelt forgiveness…, no matter how long it takes. It rests on you to take the higher ground. If you cannot, or will not, forgive, how will you ever receive it from others? How will you receive it from God?

Forgiveness from Others

      There isn’t one of us who hasn’t hurt another person. Accidentally, thoughtlessly, casually, or intentionally, we all have inflicted wounds on one another. Some wounds we inflict are intentional. Retaliation. Revenge. Reprisal. And we know we are doing it. If there ever were an instance of moving over to the dark-side, this would describe it; the deliberate act of hurting another.

      But our confusion arises when the one we have wronged comes to forgive us. What will we do?

      It comes down to an issue of individual arrogance. If someone offers you forgiveness the implication is that you have done something wrong. Of course, if this is true…, you don’t want to be reminded of it. If you DO receive their forgiveness, then you find yourself in an awkward spot. You’ve received forgiveness, admitting your evil intention, and now… what? Feels squeamish, doesn’t it.

      May I suggest that you admit your wrongness and simply say “thank you.” Or, “Thank you. I hope you can forgive me. How do we move beyond this?”

      Inversely, if you cannot receive forgiveness, how will you ever extend it to other people?

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

[note: you may never come to a place of forgiving another person without the assistance of the God who made you. It sounds trite, but I have found that the bond I have with Jesus Christ has done more to enable me to forgive another person than I imagined possible.]

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— forgiveness for myself, for God, and from God

After There’s Nothing Left: This Gets Personal

There is a line from Shakespeare that reads “How do I love thee…, let me count the ways.” In an oddly related way, this is how I often think when I ponder my own sin(s). Here is a list of some of the areas where I have struggled.

  1. A Need for Significance. For me, this has not been as much a need to control, to be in charge, as a need to make a difference. To be sure, nothing is wrong with this. Nonetheless, when it becomes a compulsion it ceases to be a gift to enjoy and is degraded to a self-promotional lust for influence.
  2. A Desire to have the Best. Have I mentioned I like Volvos? A well equipped XC60 with heated-massaging seats and all the goodies to bathe you in luxury. Then there are well made watches— Patek Philippe, Breitling. True representations of God’s handiwork in creation. Or, so I tell myself.
  3. A Sense of Self-Worth. Too often has the value of myself come from what I’ve done and the things I possess. But accomplishments and possessions weigh in very lightly in the grand scheme of the universe. My self-worth is turning out to be what I pass on to others.
  4. Aloneness. Throughout my life I have been in leadership positions. I have become self-sufficient in many ways. Although, in recent years, I find myself surrounded by a host of people to whom I can delegate much of the responsibilities of leadership. Nonetheless, I find myself feeling terribly alone far too often. It is not the case; I know that. My aloneness is an irrational feeling of isolation which leaves me in a state of despondency and depression. It is a struggle.
  5. Sexual fantasy. In a sense, I’ve told you nothing. What man does not struggle with this!?! For many this can be the same as drug addiction, or alcoholism. That was what it was like for me for many years. Now, not so much. But remember, I am a man just past 75 (stop laughing). If you are reading this in your 20s or 30s, it is still, probably, a very strong siren yowling in your heart and head. Do not let it take over your very being. Its cost…, could be your future.

      These things drain my soul. There will be similar things in your life that will drain your soul. So when you find yourself drowning in self-pity and depression, you should probably do a lot of soul searching. But you may also throw guilt on yourself as a way of understanding your failure. In reality you may or may not be guilty.

      Remember, our Lord is overflowing with compassion and forgiveness. He only calls to us to turn to him… and ask.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— what forges forgiveness?

SOUL CONFESSION-muddy waters

A way out of Depression

I’ve often identified with the Apostle Paul’s changing descriptors of himself as he advanced in years. “I am the least of the apostles…, the least of all the saints…, the chief of sinners. The older I grow in faith the more conscious I’ve become of my own rebellions against the Lord who loves me and seeks my best. Why do I do it? Simple. Because I want to. Sin pleases me. It does not please God; it wounds Him deeply. Too often do I put my life in danger by stepping outside of His perimeters of protection for me. I am a foolish man who needs to admit my capricious revolt in confession, as real guilt before a Holy God, and seek Christ’s forgiveness. Thus— soul confession becomes a way out of depression.

More likely than not, my soul’s confession should be a daily thing; providentially. I tend to dwell on being genuinely forgiven through Christ’s grace in salvation, rather than constantly groveling in the dirt before God. Nonetheless, some significant time of soul-searching is always in order. Oddly, I believe Christ would have me come openly and humbly before him in the process, still holding onto his gift of forgiveness and new life, possibly to soften the blow, more likely to deepen the honesty and sincerity.

What Do I Need to Confess?

Before we get into the nature of our confession, it would be wise to refine an understanding of Sin. To be sure, it IS definitively breaking God’s Law, delineated within the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible. But that definition, at best, is rudimentary and simplistic. Sin is such an anachronistic, ambiguous word that it necessitates further amplification for a world which sees Sin, if it considers it at all, as merely getting caught.

Let’s start with an examination of the “logic,” the “why,” of the law. For God’s law was not given to us arbitrarily; it was conferred upon us in a context with a purpose that most of us have forgotten.

The Context for the Law

The simple question here is, “Why was the Law given?” Most people will respond that it was given to point out sin, or to keep us from sinning. But go further back in time, to the Garden. Whether you treat this Biblical passage as historical or metaphorical, the Truths it presents remain unchanged—the order of Creation, our ancestors first steps (and missteps) with God, their assignment to designate animal characteristics (“naming” them), God’s command to expand the human race through “knowing” one another intimately. And one, ONE, constraint, only one command— “Do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil; for in that day you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) Among all the pleasures and responsibilities granted our first ancestors was inserted just one prohibition, ONE— DO NOT. Was it, on the one hand, a simple experiment our Creator Father had put in place to test our devotion and thankfulness to Him: or, on the other hand, was it a stated warning for our own protection?

We failed. Our lives were now truly at risk.

Subsequent laws given through Moses, also given for our protection, were constructed to address a now disparate, unruly and rebellious “people of God.” Thus, did our ancient ancestors develop further amplification on the Law in the form of the Mishna (commentary on the Law), and the Gemara (commentary on the Mishna). Ancient Jews understood quite well what it meant to break the Laws of a holy God. They were painstaking meticulous in their strict compliance to adhere to even the remotest hint of law breaking. But they had forgotten its original purpose— to teach us to trust in the Father, and to protect His Creation.

The context for all laws, those found in natural creation, human history, and the Judeo-Christian tradition are the same— to keep us safe, under the protection of our Creator, so that we might flourish in this world. To forget this is to lose the context for confession.

What we call “sin,” represents our choice to step outside the perimeters of God’s protection, to challenge His sovereignty. Confession is the realization that we have stepped outside of the protection of our God & Father. Confession opens a space for us to seek resolution and restitution in a relationship with our Creator through forgiveness and to nestle once again within His safety.

I’ve never enjoyed swimming in muddy waters. You?

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— this gets personal.

Things that keep me from fulfilling God’s design pt 2

  Finally, just two more causes that contribute to my ongoing depression and keep me from fulfilling my life of faith in Christ.

5.       Personal Failures. Personal failure can be devastating. Moral failure, professional failure, being an absentee mom or dad, or just constantly making dumb decisions or mistakes can weigh you down and, over time, break your spirit. Build up a track record of them and you start to crumble as a person. I’ve been there. I must admit that I have a propensity to make numerous and stupid mistakes. When I teach principles of management to business execs, I always include this maxim—

Always make the same mistake at least twice:

that way you will be able to make it perfectly the next time.

      I’ve learned this from personal experience. And I wish I were kidding. But I am not.

      I have also lost the confidence and trust of people in at least two professional organizations. Even though the President of one reinstated me in a different capacity, the devastation of judgment on my performance rating and failure on my part led to a two-year depression that was very painful to crawl out of. Years later, I found some closure and resolution. The second professional failure still leaves me with a gaping “Why?” in the center of my soul. I was dropped, with sparse explanation, from a group of people I loved dearly. Someday, I hope to learn what everything was really about with this dismissal. It seemed so unjust.

      For a considerable period in life, as I’ve said earlier, I felt as if I had raised failure to an art-form. I just could not get things right. To this day I am never quite sure I am doing some things right. But that doesn’t stop me from trying, from pressing on. Personal Failure has come to mean that I haven’t quite figured out exactly where I fit into a situation. Maybe my gifting and skill set are not quite a match: maybe they are the prophetic voice that must speak into the confusion. Maybe not: but I still try.

      I do not fail as much as I used to. My failures are not as BIG as they once were. Then again, I have a great deal more confidence in God today than I once did.

6.       My Own Desire to Chase after Evil. Every decade of my life has had its own dictum, its own maxim that defined it. In 1945 the Jews held onto the slogan, Next year, Jerusalem! It spurred them on to fight for what they believed in— a national Jewish state, Israel. I too have some dictums. They run like this— make a difference, Imagine, Embody Truth, No More Games, My only safety is in the arms of God. In this past decade, my mantra has been Honor God, honor people—make a difference. My individual and corporate belief in a God Creator, who is Jesus Christ, has convinced me that all of us are placed on this earth to make a difference. No exceptions. It is not about me. It about others, everybody…, everywhere.

      With this precursor, I must reconfirm that I enjoy my sin. I love running from God and chasing after evil. I do not like myself when I do it, but I do it anyway. “My bad,” just does not do justice to my natural propensity to step out of the perimeters of God’s protection for me and assert my insignificant independence against His glorious might, strength, and wise principles for living.

      If anything prevents me, personally, from fulfilling God’s design on my life, it is this. I want to fulfill my own design! Is this wrong? Yes. Is this rebellion against the God who made me? Yes. What is he thinking?!? You are asking! Well, I want what I want! That’s all. It’s self-glorification in all its grandeur. I am informing God that His design for me is all well-and-good, it’s just not what I want. This, in turn, fosters a bitter depression that I cannot get what I want.

      My soul will never achieve a place of proper reflection it so desperately needs until I tackle this myriad of issues that press me to the floor and bind my spirit in Gordian complicated knots. I cannot think critically, see clearly, or gain an unclouded perspective on life until I get a grip on my life the way it is. Not the way I think it is, but the way it actually is. I have found other people are a constant source in insight for me to reflect upon myself. I thank God for them. You will need the same kinds of people in your life too, if you are ever to find soul reflection a rich, troubling, and rewarding practice.

      Next we will consider the issues that muddy the waters of the soul, which blind us from seeing things clearly. When people say that confession is good for the soul, well, they’re right.

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— After There’s Nothing Left— muddy waters