Archive for the ‘ Relationship ’ Category

Re-17 but not 17 Again

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Today is my amazing mother-in-law’s birthday.

Also, it is what I call my Re-birthday.

17 years ago today, in a small Nazarene church in Bloomington, IL, I realized that I believed the Gospel message. Jesus got a firm hold of me, and that is when everything began to change for me. It took about six more months for it to really mean something to me, but the change was evident even then. (Ask my parents, who, at the time, were annoyed with my sudden music choices and leaving radios on around the house.)

The point of all of this, then, is that Jesus is Lord. And the picture above shows that I celebrate by baking a cake, and I serve it to others.

Why?

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Luke 15:7, 10, 24

Just like the song says, this wretch was lost and dead, but now I am found and alive. This calls for celebration!

Therefore, I finish with the full reason for this post by quoting Jude (3):

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Let us celebrate our common salvation and share this faith with our fallen world!

 

The Joy of the Lord (and Rend Collective)

I spent the past two years working on a Master of Education in Secondary Education. It took quite a bit of my energy, especially over the past five months when I had to prepare for then fulfill my student teaching experience (in a 7th Grade Math – Pre-Algebra) classroom.

Needless to say, I was busy. I still worked. I had classes and observations to do. That is why this blog took a hit in terms of my attention. This past five months, though, were some of the most tiring and full periods of my life. Only a few things kept me going:

  1. Working at the coffee shop gave me opportunities for ministry. I was involved with bolstering faith in others, practicing my apologetics skills with many non-Christians, and played a role in a couple of people becoming Christians!
  2. My wife and friends encouraged me A LOT!
  3. At my weakest moments, God reminded me of His immanence (which was a common theme in messages I heard this past weekend).

My most common reminder was through a song.

Whether on the radio or during interactions with others in which the song would play, Joy of the Lord by Rend Collective would be exactly what I needed to feel a little stronger for my task.

Joy Of The Lord

Rend Collective

Though tears may fall
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
Though my heart may fail
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
While there’s breath in my lungs
I will praise You, Lord

In the dead of night
I’ll lift my eyes, I’ll lift my eyes to You
When the waters rise
I’ll lift my eyes, I’ll lift my eyes to You
While there’s hope in my heart
I will praise You, Lord

The joy of the Lord is my strength
The joy of the Lord is my strength
In the darkness I’ll dance
In the shadows I’ll sing
The joy of the Lord is my strength

When I cannot see You with my eyes
Let faith arise to You
When I cannot feel Your hand in mine
Let faith arise to You
God of mercy and love
I will praise You, Lord

Oh You shine with glory Lord of light
I feel alive with You
In Your presence now I come alive
I am alive with You
There is strength when I say
I will praise You, Lord

When sorrow comes my way
You are the shield around me
Always You remain
Like courage in the fight
I hear You call my name
Jesus, I am coming
Walking on the waves
Reaching for Your light

And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
~Nehemiah 8:10b, ESV

There is something to be said to be able to “taste and see that the Lord is God!” And it is a blessing to “[take] refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8) That we can trust Jesus when He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
~Exodus 15:2, ESV

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/12/2015

Find that woman Wisdom (for example, Proverbs 8) through the thoughts at Proverbial Thought!

There are two ways of looking at things (for my purposes today, at least): literally and allegorically. This is done with the Bible regularly ( in both good and correct ways and bad and incorrect ways). The Bible itself does this, as many verses in the New Testament make the allegorical connection to Jesus with Old Testament verses.

Likewise, the poem today has a double viewing in mind.

The literal view is based on the relationship I have with my wife. The message I would point to for others to take is that your significant other, specifically your spouse, should constantly point you back to God in the name of Jesus and through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The allegorical view is based on how God relates to us through His Church.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:22-27, ESV

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Revelation 21:1-3

Love your husband or wife. Love the Bride of Christ. In so doing, you will see and share the love of Christ.

The woman in my life …

… makes me happy and brings me joy.

She leads me to the Father and pushes me to praise my Lord.

The woman in my life is my gift from Jesus Christ.

She mixes me up inside and also makes me smile.

The woman in my life …

… brings the love of God and shows me there is still good.

She brings me to a place of love and guides me to my God above.

This woman is a woman meant for a godly man.

 

If I am considered godly …

… then I must do more to honor our sovereign Lord.

I must seek His Heart and keep doing so in my heart.

If I am considered godly, it is because He made me.

I will keep my God first and give Him all He deserves.

If I am considered godly …

… then I must try the hardest to remember Jesus,

because I cannot forfeit what my Lord has sent.

 

The woman in my life …

   … helps me be godly.

     If I am considered godly …

   … it is because of a godly woman in my life.

An #OldFashionedMovie Review

It may be old fashioned, but God’s wisdom is always the best. Get some at Proverbial Thought!

This past weekend was St. Valentines’ Day. A couple movies were released just in time: 50 Shades of Grey, and what I call the Anti-50-Shades-of-Grey, Old Fashioned. I saw one of these. I saw it twice, actually: once as a triple date and once with our youth group.

Obviously I am talking about 50 Shades … no … wait …

Old Fashioned poster

Just Old Fashioned, I guess …

In the movie, Clay Walsh (played by writer/director/producer Rik Swartzwelder) owns the antique shop “Old Fashioned Antiques” that has an apartment upstairs. Clay used to be the epitome of the college partying frat boy, including having a successful “Girls Gone Wild” type of business. Then his life changed, and he became known more as a legalistic Christian who has rules and theories about life and love, including not being in a room alone with a woman who is not his wife (within reason, of course).

Enter Amber Hewson (played by Elizabeth Roberts), a bit of a free spirit who stays in a town until she fills her jar with enough money to fill her car with enough gas to get away. She then drives until she runs out of gas, and where that happens she stays. You probably guessed, she runs out in Clay’s town and rents his apartment. To pay for it, she gets a job at the local florist.

She makes friends with her coworkers, one a disillusioned three-times divorcee, the other a young fun-living woman. His best friends are two of his old frat brothers who stuck with him, one who lives with his longtime girlfriend and their daughter, and the other a womanizing, chauvinistic DJ. In other words, their friends do not share Clay’s views on traditional marriage and love.

Needless to say, she helps him to loosen up a little (while respecting his beliefs and values) while he shows her that chivalry is not dead. And they fall in love.

The Anti-50-Shades-of-Grey

My wife and me doing what we do ...

My wife and me doing what we do …

One reason I love this film: It is as if the makers looked at how my wife and I started out and made a “based on a true story” adaptation. (Remember, you only need 7% of the story to be “based on” a story.)

Now for the actual review:

Many people tend to think, “Oh. A Christian film. That means cheesy acting and an in-your-face “believe this right now!” gospel presentation.” In the first 15 minutes, there are a few (maybe three or four) “that could have been acted better” moments, but not cheesy. If I had to complain, it would be that the gospel could have been clearer.

I do not see that as a real problem, though. It simply leaves the door open for Christians to do their job as Christ followers. This movie can just make that job easier.

Some dangerous things:

I have no issue with dangerous. Christ warned us of dangers (John 16:33), and He, Peter, and Paul (as well as several others) demonstrated how conversations and standing up for what is right and godly can be dangerous. (I mean, come on, The Parable of the Good Samaritan? So many Jews would have killed Him for that alone!)

  • Amber is not necessarily a Christian
  • Clay has not attended church for a while (due to the “hypocrisy show”)
  • There are several scenes of alcoholic drinking
  • It deals with issues of “frat boy carousing,” one night stands, divorce, and non-believing friends

For the record: I would not change a thing! (It is PG-13, and I agree with that!)

Some of the goodness (even though I have seen it twice, I might miss a bit):

  • Out of dirty backstory comes something many can relate to: real life. As I said above, I like the movie because of how closely it hits home (both with my past and how my wife and I met and began our relationship).
  • It has many natural conversations (as in, they do not feel scripted). As the gospel is presented, it is done in bits and pieces over the course of the film, much like happens so often in real life.
  • As the story progresses, we see how choices affect others, both in good and bad ways. There are times that both of their pasts come back to haunt them. There are times when . . . morals and chivalry  the minds of others.
  • The need for a savior is made evident.
  • The Christians are not perfect! In fact, the Christian lead overcomes some of his own shortcomings.
  • God’s “mysterious ways” are shown through many characters (especially his great aunt Zella!)

Old Fashioned puts grace, mercy, and biblical love on full display. Two of my (many) favorite quotes are:

  1. “There is no goodness … without mercy.”
  2. “When did treating women with respect become the joke?” (or as my wife re-phrased it, “When did treating [anyone, men or women] with respect become the joke?”)
This is a great movie, and everyone should see this. My suggestion: only mature junior highers and older should watch this movie. It is rated PG-13, after all.

Groundhog Day, again …

While there may be nothing new under the sun, one constant we can trust is God’s wisdom. Get a taste at Proverbial Thought!

As I type this, the world has been reminded time and again about what groundhogs across the United States have said about the coming of Spring (or the extension of Winter). While the first official day of spring is March 20 (which happens to be six weeks from February 2nd), a lot of people are really wondering if there is going to be six weeks more of snow and cold or if it will come to an end soon.

What has been the primary mode for people reminding each other on social media of this grand revealing by a groundhog of the start of Spring?

Groundhog Day (1993) Poster

Groundhog Day (1993) poster, from IMDb.com

Talking about Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day.

The basic premise of this film is that a bitter man (played by Bill Murray) keeps waking up on February 2nd, the same day, over and over again. It is not until he learns to appreciate life that he can break the cycle.

The Bible touches on this, as well:

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9, ESV

The Bible gives similar, albeit more focused, advice for breaking the cycle of repeating the same things over and over:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

But this life is not the end. As Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” so we need the full story.

This little story out of Acts 16 (vv. 24-34) demonstrates where the fear of the Lord should lead us:

Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 01/11/2015

Let wisdom care for you, and get a taste of the Father’s wisdom at Proverbial Thought!

When Jesus was preparing for the cross the night before, while in the garden of Gethsemane, he prayed, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36, ESV)

So many preachers and teachers have told us that in His anguish at the thought of suffering through a crucifixion and the separation from the Father He cried out to His Abba, His Daddy. It was the plea of a child to a loving parent, “Daddy, please do not make me! But I will do it because you asked.”

Thanks to His obedience and sacrifice, we, too, can rely on God as our Abba.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 4:4-7

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:14-17

Daddy

we are told to pray to our Father

we are told to give Him all the praise

in my attempts to get closer

and to learn more about all His ways

i get closer to knowing my God

and He is more than just Deity

in His very intimate love

i only want to call Him Daddy

and inside of my Daddy s care

seeing just how much He cares for me

knowing He will always be there

i see He really is my Daddy

He is always watching over me

and He wants to watch over you

He wants to cover all of our needs

as Daddy over our lives and souls

My Soul’s Quinceañera? (My 15th Re-Birthday)

For starters, I know that a Quinceañera is a celebration for young Latinas becoming women at the age of 15!

In reply, I refer you Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

That being said …

Fifteen years ago today, at 6:47 pm (CST), the Holy Spirit got a hold of me, and to the glory of the Father I knelt down for the first time to make that blessed confession (see Matthew 16:15-16):

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” [Daniel M. Klem] replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Has your soul been wrapped in the arms of the Savior?

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 3:3-21, ESV