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When Your Morality Squeezes All The Joy Out Of Life

Image via Tumblr

By Marshall Hoffman

Sometimes when I find myself wading in a river with nary a bite I think: ‘If I can’t even figure out where the wily trout is lurking, how can I solve the mysteries of life?’

Every respectable fly fisherman is supposed to be proficient in tying all the right knots. When I try to use my finger to tie the ‘nail knot’ it gets caught every time. The old reliable ‘clinch knot’ somehow becomes a slip knot. Even the so-called improved clinch knot fails me at times. Now what kind of knot do I use to tie the fly onto the tippet? Is it the overhand? No, that’s not secure enough. How about the Palomar? That should hold without weakening the line. Then there’s the surgeon’s knot. It’s all so confusing.

Pardon me, if I see a close parallel between fishing and moral dilemmas. Do you ever feel tied up in knots, by the thunderous negatives of your moral code? ‘THOU SHALT NOT….’ When I was a kid growing up in Sunday school, I often felt that God was a Big Bully who wanted to take all the fun out of life. Everything I wanted to do seemed like a no-no according to my moral code.   As we used to joke: ‘I can’t dance and I can’t chew and I can’t go with girls that do.’  So, I exhausted myself trying to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s. After awhile I gave up in discouragement.

Now that I have had more time to read the Fishing Manual, I have discovered that for every negative prohibition in the Bible there are several positive affirmations. For every ‘thou shalt not steal’ there is a ‘thou shalt honor your father and your mother.’

I have found the fishing better, when I have accentuated the positive. The bird nests and back lashes of life seem more manageable when I lubricate my line with a positive attitude. I know I can’t eliminate the negative, nor would I want to. There are times when a decisive ‘no’ is needed to shut the door on temptation; ‘I will not!’ But those uncompromising negatives need not tie us up in knots and squeeze all the joy out of life. The next time you tie your shoes remember they can be snug without binding. I like that figure eight knot, symbol of eternity which holds tight but leaves some breathing room.

The Master Fisherman showed us the way when he summarized the 10 Commandments into two; ‘thou shalt love God with all your heart’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ If we concentrate on those two things, all the rest will fall into place and take care of itself.

Is that good fish philosophy?

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/when-your-morality-squeezes-all-the-joy-out-of-life-6810174.html

About the Author

Marshall Hoffman Is a retired pastor whose mission is to motivate and inspire believers to love God more and serve him better.  His bible based insights come from a half century of pastoral service.

Since this article’s initial publication articlesbase.com has undergone some changes. We have left the original links intact. 

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For the insulting science bots at davidbowie.com

Just before David Bowie’s death I was active at davidbowie.com. At first, I thought I had found some interesting people. And some of the participants were. But others seemed like science bots, parroting trends without really thinking about them.

Being me, I mentioned the possibility outlined in the above tweet way before it hit the headlines (I tend to be like that). My suggestion was met with insults, ridicule, attempted shaming and scorn. For some, just thinking freely is a major sin.

It seems these lost followers of Bowie have become the Diamond Dogs, themselves. Easy living hypocrites saying all the right PC things while living the life that capitalism affords.

Embed from Getty Images


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Why some mamas and papas don’t like pop music

Last night I was listening to Stingray Music, a Montreal based company which is one of the highlights of Canadian industry. Listeners can switch among several good streams in any given genre, without ads or talk. And the programmers dig deep to find not just the hits but a whole bunch of stuff you’ve almost forgotten or never heard before.

Tuning in to the 70s, I came to appreciate how it’s all variations on a few themes. The hit songs put everything together in the most effective, original way. But there are oodles of copycat, cover and “not quite” tunes. So are things really simpler today? I don’t think so.

As I say in the above tweet, we just have to learn the new medium and its message.

Krewella via Wikipedia


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Is the Devil God’s Agent?

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, ...

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, folio 270 recto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Family Foundation

If God is in Control, Then Why…?
By Craig Hill; 295 pages
Regular Price: $15.00

Excerpt from Craig Hill’s Blog ‘Is the Devil God’s Agent?’ published on September 17, 2013.

When you listen to some Christians speak about the tragedies of life, you might conclude that God uses the devil for our own good.  And even if they don’t believe God authors tragedy, they believe He is complacent and allows the devil to do what he will so God can teach us something.

After all, doesn’t Romans 8:28 say this? ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’

Most Christians want to comfort people who are suffering in the midst of tragedy and devastation.  Optimistically, they look for the good things that God has worked in the midst of the tragedy.  And when they find one, they use it to explain why God allowed or caused the destruction in the first place.

Therefore, it may seem like Romans 8:28 is an appropriate scripture to use when bringing comfort to those who are suffering, and it is.  But not for the purpose of explaining why God ‘allowed’ the tragedy. If you subscribe to that line of thinking, your heart will ultimately blame God for devastation and destruction on the earth.  Why, because this type of thinking takes Romans 8:28 out of context and then contradicts other key principles in the Bible.

Saint Michael and the fall of angels – painting by Johann Georg Unruhe ( 1793 ) – detail: Fallen angel via Wikipedia

For example, 1 John 3:8 says, ‘For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.’  Destroy is a very different concept from use or teach.  If God were using the devil to teach us something, then He would be in conflict with His own purpose for the life of Jesus.

Craig Hill calls this kind of thinking, backwards theology.  Just because you see firemen on the scene of every fire, does not mean that firemen cause fires. Likewise, God is never the author of the works of the devil, and He never uses the devil to teach us anything.  He sent Jesus to destroy the works of the devil and the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and teacher.

To further gain a true biblical understanding of the interaction of God, Satan, circumstances, and their impact on your life, Craig Hill encourages you to read his book on just this topic entitled, If God Is In Control, Then Why? It will change the way you view God and tragedy on the earth.

About the Book

IF GOD IS IN CONTROL THEN WHY..? deals with that difficult question about the nature of God that plagues the minds of most people. Whether you are a lifetime believer in Christ or you have just begun looking for answers, the question, ‘If God is in control, then why…?’ has probably been one you have heard or asked many times in your life. Craig Hill has gifted insight into God’s Word and an ability to teach through riveting real-life stories. This book brings understanding to the issue of God’s sovereignty and will set your heart at peace, allowing you to trust a just God in an unjust world.

E-book versions for Kindle and Nook for this book are now available. Audio Book is also available.

About the Author

Having a specific interest in ministering to marriages and families, Craig Hill pursued an internship and later a volunteer staff position at the New Life Counseling Center in Denver. He subsequently taught counseling and missions on the faculty of the Marilyn Hickey Bible College. In 1987, the Lord raised up Craig as Senior Pastor of a local church where he and Jan served for seven and a half years, until he was called by God to devote his full-time energy to the ministry of Family Foundations International.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/is-the-devil-gods-agent-6848818.html

  • Since this article’s initial publication articlesbase.com has undergone some changes. We have left the original links intact. 
  • Earthpages.org has no affiliation with this author or publishing company. In our view, the article contains enough useful information to “stand alone.” Readers need not click on any links to gain information. Therefore this use is non-commercial. For more about our non-commercial blog, see FAQ

 Church defends decision to refer to Jesus with gender-neutral pronouns (pinknews.co.uk)

 Unshakeable (connywithay.wordpress.com)

 Man Accuses Father-in-Law of Using ‘Tasmanian Devil Hair’ to Scare Him (thecut.com)

 Emily from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ is getting her own novel (mashable.com)

 Drakeo The Ruler rules, and here’s the proof (thefader.com)

 Highlighted Letter: Faithful shall lead (bostonherald.com)

 ‘The Illuminati is not a frivolous subject’: singer of ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia’ slams Taco Bell commercial on Twitter (businessinsider.com)

 Devil May Cry HD Collection coming to Xbox One, PC (windowscentral.com)


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AI – Should we fear, embrace or accept that the battle will go on forever?

I have a sci-fi novel sitting on my HD (external hard drive, so don’t bother trying to hack me, all you sad souls with nothing better to do than to live vicariously thru other people’s private lives) that deals with the issue of AI gone wrong.

Actually, it’s not so much about AI… more about the interface of biological and machine life. Clearly, this is the direction we’re moving toward as a species. But my novel is set thousands of years in the future. I won’t detail any more because, time permitting, I might publish installments at my personal blog.

One of the central themes of my book is that good and evil continue to battle it out through all time. The notion that we are morally progressing over the centuries is flawed because, as so many well-intentioned materialists don’t get, evil imo is real and never going away. Not in the creation of our matter/energy universe, at any rate. Maybe in heaven.

So for me the above tweet is a good, germinal warning of things to come. Or things that may come. Nobody can really know for sure.– MC


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Psychological WiFi – Fact or flaky?

I tend to think this is fact but most of us are not sensitized to appreciate how we are potentially connected on some level. If society – that is human beings – ever evolves so the majority recognizes this kind of subtle connectivity, then claims like this will not be listed under parapsychology but, rather, psychology.

Vincent Brown quoting Steve Jobs via Flickr

What is normal depends on the status quo. We are social animals. And if most human beings believe they are islands unto themselves, then those who see and feel subtle connections probably will be marginalized. Simple as that.

Vincent Brown quoting Albert Einstein via Flickr

I wrote about this for my PhD but had to hint at it through a study of synchronicity. My initial thesis proposal (pdf) was all about this kind of thing. The university accepted me (and my prestigious funding), and then narrowed me down to something more conventional. —MC


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This is probably going to be pretty unpopular with liberals…

but I like to think freely, as freely as possible. And I have considered that maybe Trump has insights or even guidance that gives him an edge over most others. Sometimes I think he’s nuts. Other times that he might be on another level.

Why do I say that?

Well, he’s honest. At least, he appears to be.

How many smooth, well-oiled politicians say all the right things until their dirty laundry is publicly aired? Richard Nixon. Bill Clinton. Hmm. They were both pretty popular in their day. Until their lying dark sides came out in the open.

Just something to think about. I don’t have the answers. And the truth is probably far more complicated than most of us can know.