Tag Archives: scripture

Horseshoes, Hand Grenades, and Atomic Bombs

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Close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.”

How many times have you heard that? I’ve heard it all my life to refer to many occasions where I have said, “Well, I was close.” I’ve also heard that saying evolve a bit to include atomic bombs.

This Memorial Day weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to go to my parents’ house in Northeast Louisiana. We had a grand time playing and swimming and laughing and reminiscing. We celebrated my son’s birthday and his graduation from kindergarten. We also played horseshoes.

Horseshoes is a great game of some skill and a whole lot of luck. I don’t generally believe in luck, but when a person with no skill accidentally gets a ringer or leaner what else should I call it?

We all played: my mom and dad, my wife and son and daughter, and even my 83 year old grandfather.

In fact, I played my grandfather, and it is with much shame and a bit of a smirk that I must admit that even with a knee that shot pain through his body with every throw and joints with no cushioning, he beat me royally. I think the score was fifteen to seven. I could get the horseshoe close, but not close enough.

We live in a culture that celebrates “close enough”. Look at our political system. The candidates we have running for the various offices do not match up with our moral or political views, so we have to find the one we think represents our ideals “closely enough”. Then we wonder why our country is going downhill so quickly.

I see girls all the time who want deep down to find the man of their dreams, but after years of finding no such man, they settle for “close enough”. That usually leads them to misery in the end.

I see Christians all the time who match their lives up to the scriptures, and they say “eh, close enough”.

Even in horseshoes there is a definition for “close”. There is a measurable boundary where you can determine if you are “close enough”. In our lives, however, we want to place those boundaries wherever we please. This doesn’t work when it comes to the righteousness that God requires. We can’t read how we are supposed to be living according to the scriptures and then dismiss our shortcomings as being close enough.

Let me get something straight: you cannot get to heaven or get saved by anything that you’ve done. It is by the grace of God through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus that you are saved. However, we have changed our attitude towards that gift over the years to become apathetic concerning our response to that gift.

You don’t receive a million dollars then spit in the face of the one who gave it to you. When we disregard the desires of God for righteousness in our lives we are trampling the cross underfoot.

As I study various religions I am overjoyed to see so many going in the right direction – for a bit. Then I mourn as I see them time after time stray away. They were so close, but they had to ignore something or add something that wasn’t necessary. Eh, at least they’re close. No. I don’t want to stand before God and try to explain to Him how I was “close enough”. I don’t think that argument will set well with Him – the Almighty, wholly pure, righteous, justified Lord of the universe.

No, we must get back to seeing how the scriptures show us how to live. Love must reign in our lives coupled with peace as we seek unity. No longer should we rely on “close enough”. So many people say “I believe in God”, yet their actions prove otherwise. Besides, the bible says that “even the demons believe…”

I want to live my life for Christ in every area. I want to continue to grow in that life that honors Him as I grow to know Him. I never want to be stagnant, and I don’t want to rely on the hope that I was “close enough”. I want assurance that my salvation is secure, and I have that assurance according to the Bible.

I’m not saying that to try to sound arrogant. You can have that assurance as well, but you have to be willing to set aside the “close enough” mindset. You have to be willing to really, truly devote yourself to Christ. I do understand that it is not easy, nor is it convenient, but it is right, and it is what you are called to do and to be.

Join with me in that life of assurance in Christ. If you haven’t truly dedicated your life to Christ as commended to you by Jesus himself, then seek that connection today. If you’ve been living a life of “close enough” you can make the decision to change, and Christ stands waiting to help you in that journey.

I would love to talk with you more about this. If I can help you in any way, please call me at 245-1611 or write me at jddobbs@verizon.net. You can also join the conversation at http://www.mrdobbs.org. Have a great day, play some horseshoes, and be dedicated to God. Bless God; He has already blessed you.

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Living in a Cardboard Box

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Imagine for a moment, if you will, that you and your family were moved to a hostile place. It could be the remote jungles of South America, or maybe you are thinking of a hotspot like Iran or Iraq. It is a place where you are constantly fearful for your own life and the lives of your loved ones around you.

In the jungle there are predators you haven’t even heard of that lie in wait for your young or wounded to be vulnerable. In Iran or Iraq or places like it there is constant fighting, and you would probably stick out like a sore thumb in a place like that – I know I would.

Now imagine what kind of living conditions you might provide for your clan. Perhaps you would have no house at all. Maybe you would just live on the jungle floor or in the streets of Baghdad. That would definitely not be ideal conditions. I don’t know any person that loved themselves or their family that would not strive to improve on their conditions in such a case.

Maybe your ideal isn’t living out in the open. You want to find some kind of shelter. What do you find? Cardboard! You construct an elaborate cardboard house with multiple rooms and all the amenities. Surely your family will be well taken care of now. You paint the exterior, and no one can tell the difference between your house and one made of brick and mortar.

Will this house provide adequate protection? When the rains come they will soak through and disintegrate your home. When gunfire rips through your area bullets will penetrate your home, and lives will most likely be lost. No, this will not do.

You wouldn’t be satisfied until you were able to provide some kind of real shelter for your family. You want them to be protected from the elements as well as enemies all around. Your house would be as secure as you could make it so that no one would need to live in fear.

Our lives are much like this wherever we live. Some of us are living out in the open. Some of us are living in cardboard box houses, and some of us have actually constructed secure living conditions.

You see, we are all living in a dangerous place. The scripture says that “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion waiting for whom he may devour.” He’s out to get your family and mine, yet many of us are still providing cardboard protection.

What do I mean by this? We have weak defenses against the evil one. Some of us have no defense – we have never given our lives to Christ, and we are already prisoners of war; we are already infected with sin. Some of us have made a dedication to Christ in name, but we use that name to construct a cardboard box of our lives. We think that once we confessed the name that was enough. Yes, that was a major step, yet we are still defenseless against Satan if we do not wield certain tools.

Jesus, the Son of God, had a not-so-cozy visit from the evil one after He had been in the desert and fasting for forty days. Jesus was hungry, tired, and weak. Satan attacked him at his weakest point. But what did Jesus do? He didn’t succumb to the fiery arrows of evil. No! Jesus shot back with the weapons He had in His arsenal – weapons of the scripture.

Many of us go through life without this ability. When temptations arise we have no foundation for being able to resist them. We are called to be like Jesus, and He knew His scriptures.

David was a man after God’s own heart, and in the psalms we see that he was continuously meditating on the word of God. In fact, the Psalmist says that he “has hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” The psalmist sees that the memorization of scripture is key to building a house around us that will provide continual protection.

Yes, Jesus provides grace to those of us who have dedicated our lives to Him – have been born of water and the spirit, but according to Romans 1 it is not a license for us to sin all the more. We are called to leave the life of sin far behind. If we do not know what God’s word says, however, we will easily be picked off like the seeds Jesus talked about in the parable of the sower.

My younger children are 4 and 6 years old, and we are working with them daily on memorizing scripture. We want them to have the arsenal necessary to withstand the devil’s attacks. I’m proud to say that so far they have Genesis 1:1 and the Ten Commandments memorized, and they are able to tell me what each of the commandments mean. We are starting young to hopefully instill in them a pattern of memorization and learning for their life.

Parents, teach your children the scriptures. Help them to memorize certain passages. Some of my favorites for remembering in hard times are Jeremiah 29:12 and Romans 8:28. When you teach them to your children you will find that you learn them too!

If you don’t have children or your children are already grown, it’s never too late to start hiding the Word of God in your heart. You will find that it quickly changes your life.

Its time for us to stop lying to ourselves thinking this religious mansion we’ve created is anything more than an elaborate cardboard box. It’s time for new construction that begins with a foundation of the word of God. May you know the scriptures, may they set you free, and may they protect you from all the advances of the evil one.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to contact me at 245-1611 or at jddobbs@verizon.net. If you haven’t given your life to Christ, I would especially like to visit with you. Becoming a follower of Christ isn’t a decision made out of ignorance. Educated and uneducated alike are all invited into the kingdom of God. God bless you all!


Shoe Tying Gone Wrong

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Are you familiar with TED? It is a nonprofit organization whose motto is “Ideas Worth Spreading”. You can find information from them at http://www.TED.com.

What TED does is bring some of the brightest minds around the planet to talk about a wide variety of topics. People speak on such things as solving water crisis problems and helping world hunger. They talk about why our universe is fit for our type of life and how to fix a broken economy.

Many of the speakers do an excellent job and are fascinating. I’ll admit that most are a bit out of my league or just don’t pique my interest. However, I ran across one of their videos that surprised me. You can go to TED.com or YouTube and search for “Terry Moore: How to tie your shoes”.

In this 3 minute video Terry Moore discusses how to tie shoes the correct way. I’ve been tying my shoes for most of my life and hadn’t realized that there was actually a right and wrong way to tie shoes. It turns out that there is a best way to do this, and most people are close to getting it right but one wrong move has them tying a knot that is weak at best. This is a major cause of shoes randomly becoming untied throughout the day.

How do you tie your shoes? The right way or the wrong way? Did you even know there was such a distinction?

We tie our shoes day after day, and we teach our kids to tie their shoes the way we tie them so that generation after generation grows up tying their shoes the way it has always been done. Just because it’s always been done that way by your family, however, doesn’t mean it’s the best or right way to do it.

The apostle Paul understood this later in life. He had spent his entire life extremely dedicated to the Pharisaical sect of Judaism. He knew the letter of the law and was a “Hebrew of Hebrews”. He did everything right (or so he thought). Not only did he do everything right, but he was evangelistic in trying to get others to change their ways and condemning those who taught the way of Christ.

It was on his way to Damascus to righteously persecute more of these heretics in the name of Jehovah when Jesus appeared to Paul (then known as Saul). During that encounter, Paul realized that though he had been convinced that was he was doing was right, and even though he had great zeal for his way of life, he was dead wrong and needed to change.

Fortunately for everyone who reads the bible he wasn’t resistant to the vision, and he changed his way of thinking with the help of the Spirit. He went on to write most of the New Testament as we know it and became one of the greatest evangelists for Christ of all time.

We wrestle with this same kind of thinking today. So many things are done day and week and year after year because we have always done them that way. We accept things as being scriptural because someone said it is scriptural. We, like sheep, blindly follow the sheep that went before us.

Fortunately, for us, there is forgiveness from God. We surely do not have everything right.

Look at the way we do things in our churches. Why do we do them that way? Why do our churches today look so unlike the churches in the first century when the apostles were spreading the message for the first time?

Don’t get me wrong; I am not against tradition. I do, however, think that traditions need to be continually questioned. Is this tradition useful today? What was the purpose for this tradition when it was implemented? Is it right or wrong to participate in this tradition?

Then think about what you have been taught. Do I believe that because it is the logical argument passed down through generations, or do I believe it because the scripture actually makes this argument? Is this belief what was handed to me, or is this truth from the word of God?

Some things we believe to be scriptural truths aren’t even in the scriptures.

According to Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 20:18-19 (symbolic bookends of the scriptures) we are not to hold anyone hostage over anything we have tried to add to the scriptures. We cannot add some tradition then claim it to be heresy if someone doesn’t follow that tradition. We also cannot take the scriptures and cut away the things we don’t believe in. There are at least six different places throughout the scriptures where this warning is given.

I encourage you to question things. You were given a mind that has great capacity for logic and reasoning – use it. You fulfill your purpose as you use the talents God has given you, and you were given the ability to think. Don’t simply let someone else do the thinking for you.

Just a warning: if you do this, you may come up with conclusions that are different than what your other church members or leadership believes. Be patient. Love and peace and unity are much grander philosophies in the scripture than getting everything right. Romans 15:1 warns us to bear with the failings of the weak. Therefore, it is good to question things and work toward change, but we must be patient with others. God doesn’t just give grace to those whom have all the doctrine right…he gives it to those who haven’t gotten things figured out the way you do too.

So, may you learn to tie your shoes properly. May you seek the truth in your beliefs and traditions, but above all, may you seek love and peace and unity among the brotherhood as you work to bring light into error.

God bless you, and if there is anything I can help you with in your walk with Christ, please feel free to call me at 245-1611 or email me at jddobbs@verizon.net. If you’d like to see the video I spoke of earlier, you can find the link on my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you, and have a great week!

Here’s the link:

Terry Moore: How to tie your shoes


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