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Author: Milt Aunan

Our Father

Our Father

“Our Father who is in heaven…”

Matthew 6:9

Have you ever taken the time to read carefully this first line of “The Lord’s Prayer”? Reflect on the verb tense……”who is…”! This is the present tense!! For the Christian, how glorious and marvelous is this? My Father is involved presently in my life and cares presently about all that is touching me, whether spiritually, emotionally, mentally or physically.

But what individual, in reality, can refer to God as “our Father” or “my Father”? We can only call God “our Father” when we have allowed Him to change our innermost nature through faith in Christ. Adam’s nature, sinful in totality, is replaced by God’s nature, completely holy and righteous, again through faith in Christ. Then, and only then, does God truly become “our Father”. That step of faith in Christ results in God welcoming us into His house because, as the owner of the house, He has adopted us into His family!

But how does this truth play out in my every day life? How does “our Father who is in heaven….” impact my life moment by moment? I have much to say on this issue or topic and will be sharing more “thoughts of a business man” through the coming days in articles titled “Committed or Complacent?”

In the meantime, grasp and meditate on the truth of our Father who is…………!!

Reflections On Psalm 1

Reflections On Psalm 1

Just some “thoughts of a business man”…………

1: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

You know, from God’s point of view, it does matter with whom you “hang out”. Your friends and those who matter to you are an indication of how you look at life. They are an indication of your eternal values and your personal “world view”. If you are truly desirous of God’s manifold blessing, you cannot stay “on the fence”, i.e. claiming to love the Lord yet participating with the worst this world has to offer. God’s blessing requires a commitment as expressed in I Corinthians 6:16 – 7:1, “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God”.

As a matter of desire, practice or habit, to walk in the counsel of the wicked; to stand in the way of sinners; to sit in the seat of mockers is to contaminate your life. The blessing of God requires a separation from the world even as you live in the world.

2: But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.

If others watched you live out your life, what would they say was your “delight”?

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A Birdie Told Me

A Birdie Told Me

“Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, 

or curse the rich in your bedroom,

because a bird of the air may carry your words, 

and a bird on the wing may report what you say.”

Ecclesiastes 10:20

In raising our four daughters, I often reminded the girls of this Bible verse. As the girls reached junior high and high school age, Corene and I many times emphasized the importance of honesty and integrity as character traits by which to live. We also stressed the importance of obedience to our parental decisions, even when those decisions seemed unfair from their standpoint. We encouraged the girls to realize that the matter of trust was something every individual earned; if the girls wanted us, as parents, to trust them, then the girls needed to demonstrate they were trustworthy. We did not trust them just because they were our daughters; we trusted them because they earned it! Telling the truth at all times resulted in an outcome where serious, undesirable consequences were avoided by the girls.

What is the point to this little story? It was pointed out to the girls that we, as parents, did not just expect truth, honesty, and obedience to our face and in our presence when various decisions were made about dating, acceptable movies, various activities, and parties. It was important to maintain these character traits at all times, even in the most private spot a teenage has, their own bedroom. It was important to maintain these character traits when they were out with their friends  without Mom and Dad close at hand to check out what they were doing.

We told the girls that we would not be checking out their activities on the weekends as they were out with their friends! Why? Because , based upon the Bible, “a little birdie” would land on my shoulder, whisper in my ear and make the matter known! As their father, I did not need to sneak around trying to find out what my daughters were actually doing after the Friday and Saturday night high school games. I did not need to find out whether they were obeying the decisions and directions that Corene and I had given. But we reminded the girls often that if you lose the trust we have in you, it is very, very difficult to earn that trust back……..very difficult. So responsibility and accountability for the development of these character traits, including self-discipline and self-control, was firmly placed upon their shoulders. Tell the truth; obey and accept decisions; good consequences. Tell lies; disobey decisions; bad consequences. The choice belonged to the girls.

It actually took a couple of instances before the girls realized the truth of Ecclesiastes 10:20! A couple different occasions occurred in which a daughter did not obey a decision and then lied about it. This daughter had failed to realize that the Bible means what it says and that “a birdie” had, in fact, landed on my shoulder and shared with me exactly the activity my daughter had been involved in; an activity in disobedience to a decision that had been made. When the consequences of this bad choice were dealt with, it goes without saying the impact this had on our other three daughters! They came to understand the truth of the Word of God and the fact that He can make matters known through any little birdie He chooses to use!

The best thing about this story is that now my daughters are teaching the truth of Ecclesiastes 10:20 to their children! What a great legacy!! To God be the glory!!

SANCTUARY

SANCTUARY

“Suddenly, just as the executioner’s assistants were about to carry out their orders, [Quasimodo] climbed the balustrade of the gallery and clutched the rope with his hands, knees and feet. The crowd saw him slide down the façade like a raindrop on a windowpane, run over to the executioner’s assistants with the swiftness of a cat, fell them both with his enormous fists, take the gypsy girl in one arm as easily as a child picking up a doll and rush into the church, holding her above his head and shouting in a formidable voice, “Sanctuary!”

Within the walls of Notre Dame the prisoner was inviolable. The cathedral was a recognized place of refuge.”

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Victor Hugo – 1831

Victor Hugo way back in 1831 understood what a church sanctuary was as he wrote his famous, classical novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. In fact, back in 1831 all of society recognized with reverence what a sanctuary within a church represented. Even in my earliest memories of attending church, the place of worship within the church was always referred to as “the sanctuary”. When entering the sanctuary, I remember there was a quietness and reverence seen and felt. It was inviolable from the rest of the world and all the troubles of the world. There were people sitting in silent prayer, preparing their own hearts and minds for worshiping Almighty God as well as praying for the pastor and participants in the worship service. There was an attitude of worship, of reverence, for there was a realization of being in the presence of God; holy, majestic, and righteous God. It was a solemn place of meeting; man with God and God, through the Holy Spirit, with man.

So what is a sanctuary within a church and why is it important to know?A “sanctuary” is a sacred place regarded as holy. It is a place consecrated or set apart to God. It is a place worthy of or regarded with reverence. It is a place of refuge, free from harm. Matthew 18:20 captures this clearly (Jesus speaking), “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” Don’t miss the fact that Christ is there! Why has the church sanctuary down through the ages been looked upon with such great reverence? A survey of Scripture, God’s Holy Word, is helpful.

In ;Exodus 15: 17-18, after Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea, Moses declares, “You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance – the place, O Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established. The Lord will reign for ever and ever.” Moses and the Israelites recognized the sovereignty and power of God as Pharaoh’s army was defeated. And they recognized the Lord’s desire for a dwelling place among the people, that being the sanctuary.

The Lord’s desire for a sanctuary and dwelling place is further seen in ;Exodus 25: 8 where the Lord says, “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” It is important to see that the Lord had a desire for a special meeting place, a holy place, a place of refuge, and a place of reverence.

It is also important to see that the passage cited in Exodus 15 preceded the giving of the Law while the passage in Exodus 25 was given after the Ten Commandments and was expressed as a part of the Laws and regulations that were to be followed. What is the point? The matter of the sanctuary, the desire of God for a meeting place with His people and the attitude of reverence for the sanctuary is not a matter of following the Law or a matter of legalism. The Lord wants our fellowship and desires for us to meet with him.

Three passages from the Psalms are also helpful. In Psalm 63: 1-2, David writes, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.” I appreciate the way that David, who became a king yet was often referred to as just a shepherd boy, so eloquently and simply captures in a few words what we all feel and experience in life.

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God Forbid…….

God Forbid…….

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

I truly believe that God’s Word has answers for even the things we consider trivial. I believe His Word is inspired by the Holy Spirit and is the very Word of God. On that basis, the following paragraphs provide some thoughts on Galatians 6:14.

To begin, lets review ;Romans 3:23, a very familiar passage. That verse says, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. I have been considering the word “short” in this passage. In the flesh, man considers “short” to mean that, in spite of all he has done in this life, whether for good or for evil, he is never really very far from God. After all, God is love! Right? I find that statement or position by some to be the epitome of fleshly pride and arrogance. As I carefully considered what Paul was saying in Romans 3:23, it would appear that the “short” to which he refers is the great distance that lies between heaven and hell. This is biblically supported by the account of the beggar Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. In this passage, both Lazarus and a rich man die, with Lazarus joyfully residing in heaven and the rich man condemned to hell. In his torment, the rich man begs that Lazarus be allowed to dip his finger in water and cool the tongue of the rich man. But the answer given is clear

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So What About “The World”?

So What About “The World”?

Not long ago a friend of mine participated in a short term mission trip to Guatemala. He shared with me the key verses for the trip which were the focus and purpose for going. The verses are found at I John 2:15-17….”Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever”.

In my Bible at home, I have written next to these verses “Precious Promise!!” and so they are. I have thought much about these verses as I have examined my own motivations in personal, family, business and recreational activities. The more I read these verses, the more I see a “call” to evangelism. I am finding as I get older that the burden for those who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior is being felt by the grip of my heavenly Father’s hand way beyond just my heart. His grip has descended to the depth of my soul.

Oswald Chambers, in “My Utmost for His Highest”, provides a challenge of equal importance. In this devotional titled “His Commission to Us”, Oswald Chambers starts with the verse John 21:17, “Feed my sheep”. The passage refers to the very private moment that Christ had with Peter after His resurrection, a moment of restoration for Peter after his denials. Oswald Chambers continues “The love of God is not created – it is His nature. The goal of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not just to unite us with God, but to do it in such a way that we will be one with the Father in exactly the same way Jesus was. And what kind of oneness did Jesus Christ have with the Father? He had such a oneness with the Father that He was obedient when His Father sent Him down here to be poured out for us”. After reading this, I wondered if we, as Christians, grasp this truth. Do we seek that same “oneness with the Father” that Jesus Christ had? Do we really seek with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength, and with all our minds this oneness with the Father?

Does the desire for that oneness with the Father turn our hearts from a love for the things of the world? Does that oneness take us to Guatemala like my friend? How about the mission field of my own family? How about the mission field found at the office? Where else does this “call” take us; this desire for oneness with the Father?

But Oswald Chambers wasn’t finished

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Do You Know Jesus?

Do You Know Jesus?

“Who do you say I am?
;;Matthew 16: 15

 

The key to living and experiencing an abundant life (John 10:10) is to “fix your thoughts on Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1).  Our Heavenly Father tells us through His Word, the Bible, that we “….can do everything through him (Jesus) who gives you strength” (Philippians 4:13) (explanation mine). Now the key issue is to think through critically what the word “everything” means and not just from the context of work, career, vocation, or family. Does “everything” mean “some things” or the “majority of things” or “almost all things”???? Does God’s Word provide a modifier at all to the word “everything”? I think not, which makes this Bible verse one of those simple treasures to be found and claimed in the Word of God.

So what implications are there to this word “everything”? First and foremost is the question, “Do you know Jesus”? Do you truly know

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My Two Friends Named Bob

My Two Friends Named Bob

Recently I have been through one of those weeks that taxes the emotions to the “max”. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death and have experienced the mountaintop of a transformed life. Where do I begin?

My first friend Bob is about 6’2’’ tall, 240 lbs. with a sprinkling of gray throughout his hair. Bob is the CEO of a major corporation inArkansas that operates nation-wide. Most travelers have seen the corporate logo on vehicles many times while traveling the roads of this country. He is highly respected and one of those people you meet and immediately feel as though you have known him all your life.

Not long ago Bob laid to rest his 28 year old son who died unexpectedly. His son was an outdoorsman in great health and the “heir apparent” to the corporation. He passed away and no one knows why. The autopsy indicated

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One Day Closer……..

One Day Closer……..

“All the days ordained for me
were written in your book before
one of them came to be.”
Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

Many people as they start a New Year take time to make new year’s resolutions. It is amusing that many such resolutions are couched with the phrase “I’ll try…..!!!”. That phrase is a recipe for failure. As soon as the pain or discomfort of the resolution sets in, many individuals simply give up. It is surprising how seldom you hear any resolution put in the terms of “I commit to do……”.

When you come to that point in life where reality sets in and you realize that your days are, in fact, numbered,

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That Little Stone

That Little Stone

Early one morning as I started a run, a small, tiny, inconsequential stone became lodged in the sole of my running shoe. I knew the stone was there because I could feel it. I shuffled my feet along the asphalt street in an attempt to dislodge it but that little stone would not budge!! Like all committed runners, I was determined that nothing, including that little stone, would stop my run. Nothing!! Many would say a runner’s aversion to stopping once a run has begun borders on foolishness however, from a runner’s perspective, the unwillingness to stop no matter what speaks of “focus” and “commitment” and the old adage “no pain, no gain”!! Runners are disciplined individuals who let nothing bother these excursions into the blissful world of running!! Besides, I was positive and confident that as I simply continued to run, that little stone would surely just go away. After a few miles, that little stone was still lodged in the sole of my shoe and it was beginning to change my stride. My foot and leg were beginning to hurt and I was beginning to become very aggravated at that little stone. Instead of a relaxing run, stress and aggravation were setting in. After another mile or so, I finally stopped, lifted my foot and with a flick of my finger, sent that little stone flying from the sole of my shoe. I returned to my run only to find I was now more relaxed, that my normal stride returned, and the pain in my foot and leg

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