No human society has ever been able to maintain both order and freedom, both cohesiveness and liberty, apart from the moral precepts of the Christian religion. … Should our Republic ever forget this fundamental precept of government… this great experiment will then surely be doomed.
– John Jay, America’s First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
As I have read about our history as a country, we have come a long way the last 400 years since the Mayflower and about 230 years since John Jay. We are drifting away from our foundations of the Christian religion. We are now going the wrong way in regard to our morals, respecting others and everyone yelling — “It is all about me, me, me”!! We began as a unique country with our roots in God and religious freedom. As suggested by John Jay, our society may be losing our religious origins as a country and heading to our end. We are certainly moving away from the teachings of Jesus in the Bible.
What can we do as believers? Where do we start? How are our relationships?
Hebrews 10:24-25: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We need to work on ourselves first, being our relationship with God and spur others to be grounded in Him. Verses 22-25 talk of our relationship with God and our relationship with others. The four focus verses are actually divided into two topics. First topic is our relationship to God and the second is our relationship with others. This is actually similar with the 10 commandments. With my relationship with God, I work at prayer, reading and studying His Word. I also watch for idols in my life that may reduce or take away time with the Lord. For my other relationships, I enjoy reaching out and encouraging other men. This does take time to call, follow up and keep in touch. I talk to a friend in central Illinois a few times each month. We call each other for prayer support or just to check in with each other. I also have four or five other friends that I check in with on a not so regular basis, either by phone or text. Is there a relationship in your life where you can encourage someone or someone can encourage you on a regular basis? Pray through the following verses to see where you need to make adjustments in your walk with God and your friendships with others:
- draw near to God – verse 22
- hold to His hope – verse 23
- spur others on – verse 24
- encourage community – verse 25
AND remember to pray for our country and our leaders.
Hey, pray for both parties. Dale Hansen 05/11/21
MOUNTAIN Matthew 17:20
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Our faith is often tested to ensure our complete trust in God. He does not always answer our prayers the way we want. Part of our relationship with Him is knowing this and following Him more each day. Our prayers seeking our desires should then begin to match closer to what He desires for our lives. He may answer in ways we do not expect, and He may not always move the mountain we may perceive in our lives. We must see this as an opportunity to grow our trust and faith in God. Patti and I experienced some anxiety, and I did some reading about Parkinson’s. Based on our prayers, the reading and what we believed God’s plan was for us, we decided not to start with any medicines at that time. After my diagnosis was changed to Parkinson’s in 2005, I tried not to show my shaking in public. Eventually, I realized God wanted me to share my condition. I found everyone already noticed something was up with me. If you are in a similar challenge or struggle, I encourage you to share with others to get valuable encouragement and prayer support, as those around you already see something is going on. Through my sharing I was able to get in touch with others who have the disease to learn more about it. One patient had the Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery which could be one potential possibility for my shaking. You could not even tell that he had Parkinson’s. I will explain later DBS in chapter six. My wife and I were wondering what our future would look like. As this was hard to admit we believed God had a unique plan for us.
For the first 5 years, with God’s help, I managed without medicines. However, my motor symptoms continued to worsen until I could not keep my hands very steady and my left leg shook a lot. My energy level continued to drop due to my shaking as did my weight. All this was very frustrating and discouraging. At this point, it became clear God wanted us to begin to start trying medicines. Some worked, some stopped working and some did not help at all. Some of them actually gave me symptoms of the disease. I continued as God moved me through the doctor visits and the medicine monitoring. As mentioned earlier, doctors still do not understand Parkinson’s disease. My mountain (Parkinson’s) may remain, but He gave me the wisdom, strength and support from others to deal with the mountain. I was motivated to spend more time to know God better as this disease progressed.
Sometimes God will move the mountain and heal you. The God today is the same God performing miracles for His people Israel and showing His power in the Old Testament. We came to realize God’s plan for us was to deal with the mountain. We may not understand why some are cured of Parkinson’s or any health issues and some are not cured. We must always remember, HOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD.
2 Timothy 1:1-18
Paul was thankful for Timothy’s sincere faith. We are saved by Christ’s grace, through His death and for His purpose. We should not be ashamed of Christ and His gospel. He challenges Timothy to continue with sound teaching and to stay in tune with the Holy Spirit who is in us. We receive His Spirit in us when we accept Christ into our lives.
In verse 7, Timothy was young and may have lacked confidence to step forward into action. Discipline is action – doing and allow God to work in us and through us. He does not want us to be timid. God wants us to be bold through power, love and self-discipline.
Our actions to move forward may involve stepping out to contact a friend. I do enjoy talking and encouraging other men. Most women almost naturally make friends. Men need to work at developing friendships. Men do not even like to ask for directions, including me. One time I told Patti we needed to stop and see where we were. She almost went into shock since I usually drive around for a while first. Men must be discipled to take action. Sometimes I sense the Lord directing me to call someone, and I may hesitate. When I do call the person, many times they are in need of prayer for something very recent. God’s timing and prompting is always awesome. Remember to pray for opportunities to encourage others. Who can you encourage this week? For this week is to try one of the following:
- schedule your spouse or a friend for a date, snack or a walk
- reach out to someone via a call
- eliminate some daily distraction
- commit to pray five minutes a day
Little different this week on my blog. I have two items. One is my favorite Bible verse and my ten books I have read.
Bible verse is Galatians 6:9: ”Let us not lose heart in doing good for in due time you will reach a harvest of blessings if you do not be discouraged and give up”.
My favorite books in no particular order:
- One year Chronological Bible (at my current pace this will take me about 15 months).
- When Life gets Shaky: Parkinson’s and other Trials by Dale Hansen
- Lovin God by JI Packer.
- The 3 C’s That Made America Great by Mike Huckabee
- Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Good
- Water Walking by John Ortberg
- Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley
- Seven Seasons of the Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley
Dale Hansen 4/22/2021
2 Chronicles 7:11-22
Solomon finishes the temple and challenges Israel to turn from their wicked ways and return to God. A couple weeks ago, Isaiah was saying almost the same thing. Through their obedience to God, Solomon shares God will consecrate the temple and listen to their prayers. If they seek their own ways and other gods, God would uproot Israel from the land He had given them. He would bring disaster on Israel and make them a ridicule among other nations.
Verse 14 tells us to turn toward Him with humility, and prayer and to seek Him. Humility means admitting He is sovereign, and we need to be selfless in our own lives. Prayer is talking to God on a regular basis to help us in our turn to Him. Seeking Him is making a defined return to Him and shows Him we are able to come before Him in humility. As kids grow up, they finally figure out the world does not revolve around them. When they are young, they want it all. One day, my seven-year old grandson, Brayden, left his stuffed dog, Chase, from Paw Patrol in the car. When I picked him up after school, he hopped in the car, and said,” Chase, I missed you today?” I said, “What about me?” He replied, “BooPa, you have to learn it is not always about you.” My grandsons call me BooPa. Have to love it. At an early age he could not say GrandPa, so he started with BooPa and the name stuck.
Seeking Him is spending time in His Word to better know him. Spend some time in reflection this week to help slow your mind down from the daily grind, rut, routine and rat race – and begin to turn to Him today and every day. See Psalm 46:10 and spend a couple minutes listening and in silence instead of starting with your prayer requests.
Dale Hansen 04/07/2021