Monday, September 29, 2014

Doing Anything Freaky

When you start to analyze the Bible in the Freakanomics way there are some things to keep in mind according to Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubner such as:
  1. It is important to understand incentives in a problem.  What is someone getting out of something that could cause this problem or situation to happen?
  2. Real measurements don't lie - numbers don't lie.  If you know what to measure, leave off the drama, you could actually get to the answer.
  3. Don't hang on to life to truths that you have heard, for they could be very wrong.
  4. You don't have to assume two items moving in the same direction have correlation.  One thing often has nothing to do with another, or both of them might be moving in the same direction for two totally different reasons.
  5. Feedback is important - if you have an idea it is good to let another hear it and give you true and honest feed back to help you clarify your thoughts - clear and honest being the operable words.
  6. Don't gravitate to the obvious but don't be afraid of it either.
  7. Don't be afraid to throw all conventional wisdom and ideas out the window and come at the problem from a totally different way to looking at things.
  8. Look at things from a child's point of view - raw, honest, uninhibited by years of "learning," with little to no preconceptions.
  9. Don't take yourself too seriously - have fun with it. 
  10. Don't be closed to flaws in your ideas.
  11. Don't be constantly worrying about everyone agreeing with you.
  12. Be willing to listen to the ides of others and give them merit.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Herod Can Never Say It

I am not sure we will ever really know why the wise men stopped at Jerusalem – courtesy call? thought Herod would want the info?  lost the star? 
In my heart of hearts I just think it was so  - God.  He is always, always giving men opportunities to repent, to know Him, to see Him, to love Him.

No man will stand before God and say – I had no opportunities to be saved.  No man.
I had an atheist foreign exchange student who spent an entire afternoon one day sharing with me the many ways God had been drawning her to himself her entire life.  She even had a hidden Bible in her dresser that she had felt as a child to go purchase.  She remained an atheist, but she will not stand before God and say – You never called me to your heart.  Never.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

You Will Find Him

I do not know if the wise men were Jewish, but certainly they were studied men.  Men who had sought God and as we know now, found him.  It is a funny thing when people discuss religion.  We can be so fearful that we might offend someone if we insist that they are born again through the one Savior Jesus Christ while knowing if we don’t, that same offended person could spend eternity separated from their loving Creator.  I am tired of people apologizing for basic Christian truths.  I believe we must give grace to others to believe as they choose, but never shy away from what we believe to be truth.  If they are truly, seeking, wise people, they will find the manger.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fighting Prophecy

I don't know if the Wise Men knew the exact prophecy or were just following the star, but sadly the one who knew the prophecy - Herod, thought he could stop it.
I think it so common that we all seem it strange that Herod was so dense about prophecy when we all live as dense.  It is so easy to “believe” prophecy in retrospect – hindsight is 20/20 type of thing, but to study and believe prophecy now is not average Christian living. 
We surely believe we are in the latter days and time is running out.  Whether we are pre, post, or midtribulation, we know some day our Savior will return.  Will we be more ready than Herod or will we fight against it as he did? 

I love the contrast of the Wise Men who are in a childlike way pressing on to worship the Savior and the king who is trying to figure out how to stop the King from becoming King.  All the prophecy is yes and amen, so we need to be wise and embrace it.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Herod! Come See!

   I think truly God seeking people have a naivety about them that is God breathed.  They are gentle and wise.  People who love God kind of believe all people do or at least want to.  It is beyond their grasp to live a life devoid of God and love and truth.  True God lovers know people at times reject God’s ways, but believe that in the heart of heart those same  people desire a relationship with their Creator.  I believe the wise men thought everyone was excited and rejoicing at  this wonderful event. 
 And here it is right in your back yard, Heord!  Come see!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Part Without Fear


 I think people like Herod always believe people will bow down to them.   Although the Bible tells us to pray and obey our authorities, Paul said he would always obey God over man.  The obedience to man never supersedes that to God’s direction.  We say that Jesus is our Lord, but at times live like men are. 
Sometimes we don’t try to hear the voice of God because we know what it will say.  I believe the Wise men had to overcome fear to walk away from Herod’s directives.  They could have been captured and imprisoned for not doing what Herod told them to do. 

It is crazy to think the Wise Men might have been so afraid of Herod that they would sell Jesus out to Herod, but people sell people out all the time in this world to save themselves.  These men were not just mystical men cruising the world on their camels head in the sky, but they were great men of faith who brought Jesus and his family gifts that sustained them as they were in hiding.  Jesus’ family's very existence depended on these men’s faith and obedience. 
May we be as the Wise Men, focused on our part of the Kingdom fearing no man, 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Herods in our Lives

Had they heard of Herod?  Why didn't Herod just go along with them or send some of his people with them? 
I am not sure how far from the East they came, but it is possible that they just entered into the city and sought out the governmental buildings and people.   Wise men and God seekers have civil leaders in perspective unlike most of us.  They grasp that God is supreme and is always working on their behalf even if the whole world is going to pot.  No weapon formed against them can prosper.   I think we sometimes see things as weapons though that are more consequences of our behavior and poor choices.  Sometimes leaders are that – poor choices of the people or consequences of “wanting a king.” 

I am sure it didn’t take long for them to be around Herod to know what kind of man he really was – mean, self serving, not interested in worshiping anyone but himself.  I think they gave him no mind. 
A lesson to be learned from these men is to stay focused, don’t put too much stock on those who are “kicking against the pricks,” and press on to your destiny.  Sounds easy, but we all know it is very hard.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
I pray you learn to not allow the Herods in your life to control your destiny. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Herod a Freaky Fool

   I find people who are really focused on the “one important thing” usually are not easily fooled by people and are also not worried about people who might try to fool them.  They have compassion for them, pray for them, but generally do not let them interfere with their Kingdom life.  People who have little to no regard to the will of God, cannot be a factor in Kingdom lives.  I am sure that is how the Wise Men felt about Herod.  They thought there was just something off with him, and they could not get entangled with his web of lies.  They were focused on their mission and were not to be distracted.  I think also they had real fellowship one with another that kept them on track.  The glitz and glamor of the Great Herod had no pull on them.  May we also live lives that are focused and free from those who would distract us.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Freakanomics Matthew 2 7 - 10

   Were the wise men fooled by Herod's insistence that he wanted to worship the child?  Had they heard of Herod?  Why didn't Herod just go along with them or send some of his people with them?  Did Herod think the Wise men would sell Jesus out?  If they had been led by the star, why did they stop and ask Herod anyway?  Did Herod's wise men tell them about the prophecy of Bethlehem or did the wise men already know they were going there?  Were the wise men Jews?  Were they rejoicing because they saw the star again?  Had they lost the star?  Was the star temporarily hidden so the men would stop at Jerusalem?  Was this an attempt of God to bring Herod unto Him?  Was this an opportunity for Herod to see the truth? 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Governor Jesus

   The Bible is a living book.  It breathes out truths past and present.  Jesus being the governor is one of those breathing truths.  It is also one of those “whether you know it or not” things.  Israel is of course an interesting land and interesting people.  I think sometimes they wonder how they got in the situation they are in.  As a nation they have fought the governing of Jesus, but one day every knee shall bow.
   Today, Jesus is governing it all, but he only governors lives by permission.  He is constantly orchestrating things in each life, but that doesn’t mean those things are being allowed to come to pass in those lives.  For Jesus’ orchestration and governing always must be received by faith.  If you are not rooted and grounded in the Word, His ways seem too hard and strange.  But if you will let Him be your governor,He is the most kind and loving ruler ever.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

King Jerusalem and Prince Bethlehem

I love words.  They are rich to me.  I love it when something is said but in more poetic terms.  Bethlehem was an important city.  But yet it was still just a prince compared to the king – Jerusalem.  There were all these princes around the king playing their part in bringing the kingdom to hand, but it will be King Jerusalem that rules in the end.  I love that.  As all the world decides if they will  love King Jerusalem or not, she must rule as King in our prayers.  We must never cease to pray for the peace of our King Jerusalem.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Original Freakanomic Men

  I do love the independence of the Wise Men – they told Herod  exactly what they believed without a twitch.  I think they had no fear but their eyes were single – focused on the prize of the Messiah.   Single focus is really a key to ultimate success in our faith.  Jesus said it when he said to Martha that only one thing was important.  Many people would have been in awe of Herod, would have wanted to please him, would have changed their story once they saw his reaction, and would have feared not returning his way.  Not these guys – they had a mission, stayed on it, and accomplished it.  Heord, to their life, was just a blimp on the screen.
May we today, Father, keep our focus on you and your requests on our life giving no one else’s pull on us away from your desire a thought.  May we be wise people who seek you in a way that costs us.