Protection, Temptation, and Farming?

People make me…think. Particularly a guy at work when we get into theological discussions. This leads to either confusion, a thinking on paper post, or a surprising light bulb moment. This time it is the latter. He said people could push God’s hedge of protection off them, and then he tied it to Job, and Jesus’s temptation in the desert. Then he challenged me to look it up.

So I looked at the verse he referenced in Job 1:10, and Matthew 4:6 which quotes part of the 91st Psalm. He fixated on the stone in the verse as a way of pushing protection away. The only way I could think of the stone is like the ‘rock in your shoe’ that is on your mind every time you step on it.

On a larger scale, Satan tempted Jesus in three areas – you do not need God because you can do it yourself, nothing is going to happen (here I think is what Eric meant about pushing the protection), and personal power. The replies were depending on God- do not foolishly test him, and the greatest commandment. That is the only way I could tie that into each other; however, in thinking about the ‘stone in the shoe,’ I could apply that to the parable of the four soils.

In the parable, the seed was the Word of God, the good news of Jesus, and it finds itself in one of four areas. On rock where it doesn’t take root, rocky, thin soil where it sprouts before dying soon after, in the weeds where its stunted, and in good soil where it prospers. If you can get someone to consider something, the rock is like the seed; whatever it is you want them to think of, they will receive in one of four ways. I did not expect it to go from a hedge of protection to parable on fruitfulness, but my brain does go to weird places occasionally.

I’m Shrinking! Six Week Assessment

We’re two weeks away from the competition day on June 1 and I’ll predict that I have added a rep to my military press record. The snatches I’m not so sure of.  The six-week assessment creeped up so I had to evaluate what the diet’s been doing. I know I’m getting stronger with the ease my 53lb kettlebell press during training as compared to before. I did have to adjust with the program though.

The four-day a week training I dropped to three days, and added practicing the progressions to a handstand push up from Convict Conditioning. I think if I can do that, my military press will get stronger. I kept my Clean&Press rep scheme the same, though I added rest according to the 1:4-6 work/rest ratio after reading a StrongFirst article, which helped me complete the sessions. I changed the swings from the one-arm variant with the 53lb kettlebell for 10 sets of 10 to 2 sets of 25 with the 71.4lb kettlebell. I’m curious how the Snatch test will go now.

The diet has been slowly chopping fat off without sacrificing too much muscle. I lost 2.2lbs of fat with 1.6lbs of muscle lost, not too worried. After this next cycle is over I’ll start a hypertrophy program, with a slight dietary adjustment, mostly extending my eating window from 9 hours to 12. It’s been a easy diet to stick with.

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.5                14.25              -.25

Shoulders                      45                  43.5               -1.5

Chest                              37.5                   37                      -0.5

Waist                             33.5                     32.75         -0.25

Biceps                           12.8              12.5                        -0.30

Forearms                      11.1            11.0                        -0.1

Thighs                         22                 21.25                    -0.75

Calves                          13.5                   13.5                      0

Weight                  156.4lbs          153.6        -2.9lbs

Body Fat %                17.1%                16.1%         -1.0%

Lean Body Mass    129.7lbs            128.9         -0.8lbs

I may have shrunk a bit as the fat went away, that’s my guess at least. After the program I’ll do a program of Max Shank’s I saw on the DragonDoor page until the cycle is done. I’ll continue eating in the 9 hour window, going off what Dan John said about going from a caloric deficit to surplus triggers growth since the body isn’t used to the amount of food.

Represent

Most of the time I have three things on my mind as I go through life, love God, love others as I love myself, and don’t be a stumbling block. I saw a meme once that said ‘you’re the only bible someone will read’, so I have to be sure I am not causing any cognitive dissonance. It is not about me deciding to wear a cross around my neck, or post pretty pictures with scripture on my Facebook. No, it is about seeing the then and now and asking themselves what is different. It should be evident in one’s life itself.

It has happened, too. One person remarking at the difference between the years before I was married, after the accident, and now. I met with some old friends that I had not seen in a year or more, where before I was comfortable, now I felt a bit out of place. Not because they snubbed me; it is that I have a different nature inside me now. We had a new guy start working at the plant, one of many that I have trained lately, and he asked what I did while I was not at work. I listed my weekend schedule, whereas before it was JKD and church with the rest of the time at home, now it is helping others in various ministries. Now he keeps mentioning wanting to visit, so I gave him a card with the church’s schedule on it.

I watched guests come back after visiting during a bridge event at the church; if I recognize them, I try to welcome them back. The ‘don’t talk to me bubble’ that was up after the accident seems to have popped, with a guy walking up to me to talk about comics in reference to my Captain America shirt. One of the Celebrate Recovery people helped our cleaning team one Sunday to give us a little bit of a break. It is not a solo effort; he was also representing Jesus that day.

After working at the Canvas Community one Saturday, on the ride back to church, M.H was fielding questions about the lives of a few of the homeless and poor we serve. Hearing about their struggles, lives, and so forth, I thought to myself “I didn’t know that”, because I’m not as involved in that area of their lives. For the part a few of us played was a poor expression of feeding the 5,000, meeting a necessary physical need. She, among others, were meeting spiritual and relational needs, showing Jesus in their way. It can be as a team effort, or making a small difference in a single life, like giving a guy on the side of the road $5. He did not earn or deserve it; it was an act of grace, like the unmerited favor others have shown me countless times.

I like the letter written by James in the New Testament. I reference it a lot, and this speaks to it well from the first chapter:

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1: 19-27

Then I saw a meme that said you do not need a religion if you are a good person. It is right; we have that placed inside us as the conscience reflecting a small part of the transcendental morality of what we should do. I could have argued, however it is not about religion; it is about a relationship with God through Jesus. After salvation, he works through us, making it easier to do good. We do have a tug-of-war inside between what we want to do and what we should do. I questioned myself about giving the guy the 5$ bill; Paul recognized it in his letter to the Romans.

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7: 21-25

It is a process, a spiritual growth to be more Christ-like. We as Christians are to be ambassadors for His kingdom, and we muck it up sometimes. We also have to account for the fact that we are imperfect and human, and in that is freedom. To know where your cracks are, acknowledge the flaws, and preserver without pretense. It is not me alone in the trenches, I do not have to shine my dull light, but let His light shine through me.

ConCom Christianity?

I was reading a book titled The Me I Want to Be, and in one chapter, he expanded on ‘turning the other cheek’. He wrote that first century Jewish society was about honor and shame. Then he mentions a hidden meaning that I had been told about before by one of my readers, Sean, and investigated it myself about it. To shame someone with a backhand slap, not able to use the impure left hand, the backhand was not a blow to injure, but to insult, humiliate, degrade. It was not administered to an equal, but to an inferior. I have only found evidence of it here. I wrote about it before in the Turn My Cheek post. Ortberg also wrote that it forces them to have to deal with you as an equal.

Later in the week, while referencing ConCom by Rory Miller for Chapter 10 in the book I have been writing, it fell into place. Someone verbally or physically shames you, that’s an attack on your ‘status’/ego, so you think you have two choices:

1: Retaliation (which is when your ego, pride, emotional monkey brain is driving the bus)

Or…

2: Cower and be controlled, except you cannot serve two masters.

Here is the third option: choose to address them as equals by not resisting an evil person. You can love them as you love yourself and/or walk away. No one said you have to stick around to be abused even more. As for the previous post about it, the central lesson remains the same; it just has another nuance to it.

The Fine Line Between Love and Hate

Unforgiveness. Deciding what is and is not right. Condemnation. It is time to think on paper again after a conversation on Facebook. During it, I typed, “If you harm me, I have to forgive you as the wounded party. Forgiving as I’ve been forgiven.”

Who has the right to forgive? The one who was hurt and whoever made the law that was broken. To me, that is God. We have a sense of right and wrong placed inside us, but we cannot condemn or forgive, unless it is directed at us. If there is not a moral law inside us, then no one can condemn or forgive, since there is not a standard to go by.

Then I was thinking through how someone can point out something that is harmful or not right without condemning another. Then it clicked-a parent with a child, a friend with a friend, pointing out a fact while looking out for the other. Not doing it in anger or hatred, but with love, trying to bring them back on a course where they will not hurt themselves. Every action can have a myriad of consequences in various contexts, the seemingly innocent leading to pain afterwards. Helping someone avoid it before it is too late is love, not hate. An improper judgment is done in hypocritical arrogance, usually based on an opinion that has no foundation other than how we feel it should be. Persuading someone to avoid behavior that will hurt him or her or others is not. Do it with hands open, not with a fist holding a rock.

John 8:1-11 (NIV)

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.

As Pastor Rod said Sunday, throwing verbal rocks doesn’t show people God’s Grace and make them want to turn their lives around. It does the opposite, it pushes them away.