Category Archives: P.E.A.R.s

Is the trade make for articles by Bob that provide Periodic Encouragement And Reminders pertaining to the pursuit and practice of Truth.

How To Be Happier Than A Cow ©

P.E.A.R.s  Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

How To Be Happier Than A Cow ©

by Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

If you were to describe your ideal of a “happy” life, what would your description contain – and what would it exclude?

Would it be all leisure and no work?  Would it be endless days of sunshine swinging in a hammock under a big oak tree?

Is your concept of happiness related more to “great cheese comes from California cows” TV commercials or with the concept of “busy beavers” in the forest?

Finally, do you think Jesus was happy when He was on this earth?

Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” is how Christ described His life in Matthew 8:20.  In doing so, He inferred that people who follow Him will find themselves in a similar situation as to worldly comforts.  Yet, in John 10:10, He says: I came that they (people who follow Me) may have life and have it abundantly.

How can the paradox of having nowhere to lay your head be reconciled with a life of abundance?

And how does Christ’s statement in Matthew 19:21 “If you wish to be complete, go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come follow Me”  relate to happiness?

In the comic strip “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown once said, “I don’t expect to be happy; I just don’t want to be unhappy.”

Will you settle for what Charlie Brown hopes for OR you want the life of abundance Christ came to provide and offers?

John W. Gardner in his book “Excellence” says:

We fall into the error of thinking that happiness necessarily involves ease, diversion and tranquility – a state in which all of one’s wishes are satisfied.  [However] for most people, happiness is not to be found in this vegetative state, but in striving toward meaningful goals.  The dedicated person has not achieved all his goals.  His life is an endless pursuit of goals, some of them unattainable.  He may never have time to surround himself with luxuries.  He may often be tense, worried, fatigued.  He has little of the leisure one associates with the storybook conception of happiness.  But…he has found a more meaningful happiness.

“One of the great mysteries of the Christian life is that we can be very content and at the same time press forward toward more goals that the Lord has laid upon our hearts to achieve and accomplish.  Our relationship with Christ allows us to be content in all situations and at the same time desire to change our situation” says Charles Stanley in “Success God’s Way”.

Comfort, peace, tranquility, or someplace to lay your head may sound like happiness when viewed from the human perspective and teachings of this world.  But they often become distractions and misguided direction away from a more meaningful happiness and the true abundant life offered by Christ.

When the young man [with whom Jesus was speaking in Matt 9:21] heard what Christ said [that to become complete he would have to release all that he owned], he went away grieving for he was one who owned much property.

Thus, he failed to find the fullness of life he knew in his soul he needed, because his perspective and values as to where and how happiness is found were wrong.

Bruce Wilkinson in “The Dream Giver” explains it this way:

One day I realized that my desire for comfort was the enemy of my Dream, and that ultimately my desire for comfort was rooted in my selfishness.  Unfortunately, many people in all walks of life end up making personal comfort their Dream.  But, it is a false dream, because comfort turns into a prison.  A true Dreamer is a person whose life is in motion.  If they’re not encountering a comfort zone issue regularly, something is wrong.

* * * * *
Returning to John W. Gardner and the statement on happiness from his book “Excellence”, he concludes with this statement:

The truth is that happiness in the sense of total gratification is not a state to which man can aspire [on this earth].  Maybe for cows and possibly for the birds it might exist, but not for us.”

Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much and will inherit eternal life.  [Matt 19:29]

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love.  These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be iyou and that your joy may be made full. [John 15:10 -11]

The happy cows from California may look like they have “the life of Riley” and are rolling in clover, but for me personally (and I hope for you as well), the green pastures, quiet waters, restoration of my soul and the goodness that will follow all the days of my life from dwelling in the house of God (Psalm 23) is the true definition of happiness and abundance.

Have a great week!  (And to my family, love Dad)

Bob Alderman

Orig publication: 5/3/05 – modified and posted TruthPursuit101: 3/24/17

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com, www.TruthPursuit101.com

Quit Pushing the Car! – Post Script©

P.E.A.R.sPeriodic Encouragement And Reminders
Quit Pushing the Car! – Post Script©
by Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

There is so much encouragement to be found in the testimonies and lives of others who have gone before us that I think the best post script to “Quit Pushing the Car!”© and Major Thomas’s personal learning experience of that truth is to share the stories of two other authors I have enjoyed over the years of how they struggled but eventually reached that same point of blessed living:

Charles Stanley from – “Living the Extraordinary Life:”

Before the concept of abiding in Christ became a reality for me, I already had been a pastor for eight years.  I’d been to college and seminary, and I thought that the full Christian life meant preaching, studying the Bible, witnessing to people, serving people, and so forth.  After eight years, however, I knew there had to be more.

I was spiritually stuck at a dead-end road.  At that time, I was preaching from the book of Galatians, and when I came to the fifth chapter, I became genuinely concerned.  I thought to myself, “In two more Sundays, I’m going to preach on the fruit of the Spirit, and God will show me there isn’t a lot of peace, love, joy, and goodness in my life.”

I remember thinking that I felt a lot more spiritual on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday was a different story.  I knew something was missing and my heart was troubled.

In near despair, I prayed, “God, either there is more to the Christian life than I have ever known, or I have to stop telling people who You are.  How can I keep preaching if the Christian life is just a set of standards to believe in if there is no real victory?  I can’t keep going on like this.”

I had fallen victim to the trap of fretting, rushing, and striving.  I was working overtime trying to please God and finally came to a point of burnout.

God used the testimony of Hudson Taylor to minister to me.  He was a missionary to China who had also came to a point of spiritual weariness until God changed his life with Galatians 2:20 – which says: “I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (NIV)

From that, John 15 became a reality to Hudson Taylor and through my reading of his story, it became a reality to me also: “Abide in Me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine and you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing”.

Charles Swindoll in – “The Mystery of God’s Will”

In the summer of 1961, my life changed.  I was already a Christian.  In fact, I was between my second and third year in seminary, deeply entrenched in theological studies.

One of my major battles in trying to come to terms with certain truths was the sovereignty of God. When you reach that point, you can no longer leave issues like that in the “unsettled” realm. [However], candidly, the doctrine of sovereignty frightened me.

On a practical level, I was grappling [at the same time] with several issues in my own life that seemed to relate.  My wife and I were uncertain about our future.  We had been married for six years, and while our marriage was not weak, it wasn’t as strong as it needed to be.  And she was carrying our first child, causing both of us to feel somewhat anxious about being parents.

All of this as well as other issues were troubling me.  So that summer I decided I really wanted to dig into a book of the Bible, ideally one with a dozen chapters or so to coincide with the twelve weeks we had away from school.  I chose the book of Daniel.

I was in the fourth chapter of Daniel when I came upon the truth that transformed my thinking, in fact, changed my life. Daniel 4:24-28:  [the revelation by Daniel of the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as to the sovereignty of all things lying with God and not the King – and because Nebuchadnezzar did not acknowledge and accept that, he was literally put out to pasture to graze like a cow until God’s sovereignty was acknowledged and accepted by him.]

[In those verses, God said to Nebuchadnezzar]: “you will be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven…until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes…[yet] your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules.

A chill still runs up my spine when I read those words and reflect back on that summer morning.  I remember, as if it were yesterday, taking a pencil from my desk and underscoring two lines that were almost identical.  In verse 25, “until you recognize” and verse 26: “after you recognize”.

I sat and stared at that passage of Scripture for who knows how long.  My heart beat faster, and I broke out in a sweat as I struggled with what I had read.  Finally, I told the Lord that I would give up the fight and acquiesce to His plan [for my life rather than trying to make it on my own.]  I invited Him to take sovereign charge of my life.  I gave Him my marriage.  I gave Him my wife.  I gave Him the birth of our firstborn.  In fact, I surrendered my entire future to Him. And I finished the time on my knees weeping in wonder and with a sense of relief.  From then on it would be “God and God alone.”

* * * * *
This message, this truth, this reality is the very foundation needed by every Christian to live the life of fullness and purpose intended by God for them after they receive Christ as their Savior and Lord.  The former has to do with life after death and the latter has to do with life now!

As fortunate as we are to have encouragements and reminders like this from Major Thomas, Charles Stanley, Charles Swindoll and many other authors, we need to remember that the message they share is from the ultimate Author and Perfecter of our lives.  Even the reason for others before us (or contemporaneously with us) to share in written form their experiences is found in the Bible itself:

“These things happened to them (referring to the nation of Israel) as examples and were written down as warnings to us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand under it.”  (1 Cor 10:11-13) NIV

In Hebrews chapter 11 alone (sometimes referred to as the Halls of Faith), we are given example after example of people who through their acknowledgement, faith and acceptance of God as the sovereign force in their lives were used in mighty ways by God.

Charles Stanley and Charles Swindoll summarize their awesome discovery of letting God be sovereign in their lives (essentially, to “Quit Pushing the Car!”) with these words:

I discovered that it was not my responsibility to strive for anything.  My part was to submit my life to God and allow Him to live His life through me. – Charles Stanley

I believe that not until we embrace God’s sovereignty will we have the ability to reason our way through life theologically.  Until then, we will be too important in the plan.  Man’s opinion will be too significant to us.  And we will churn and wrestle and struggle our way through our Christian lives trying too hard to please people rather than living it relieved and relaxed in God’s plan. – Charles Swindoll

Have a great week!  (and to my family, love Dad)

Bob Alderman

Orig writing 12/20/06 – blog posting 03/16/17

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

More Than Claritin Clear – a vision reality check©

P.E.A.R.sPeriodic Encouragement And Reminders

 More than Claritin Clear – a vision reality check©

by

Robert E. Alderman,Jr.

I know you’ve probably seen the commercials on TV – where a clouded and out of focus covering is pulled back to reveal an improved picture of life with high contrast and bright objects.

“There’s clear and then there’s Claritin clear” – is the verbal message that accompanies the visual presentation.

The idea conveyed is that irritants and allergies can affect our senses causing us to feel miserable and not to see or live clearly.  But we’re told with the right product we can enjoy life the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

Every time you see this commercial in the future or others like it such as Visine’s “It gets the red out” and those promoting contact lens cleaning solutions, I encourage you to relate them in your mind to a similar but greater truth regarding clarity of our senses found in the Bible at Matthew 6:22-23:

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (NAS)

What Christ was teaching to those around Him when He made that statement (and is teaching you and me today through the Bible) is that our spiritual vision and senses are more important than physical sight.

The commentary to these verses in my applications study Bible expresses it this way:

“Spiritual vision is our capacity to see clearly what God wants us to do and to see the world from His point of view.  But this spiritual insight can be easily clouded.  Self-serving desires, interests and goals block that vision.  Serving God is the best way to restore it.  A ‘clear’ eye is one that is fixed on God.

The difference between the two (having our “eye” fixed on this world rather than on God) is the difference between darkness and light; it’s the difference between deception and reality.

Additional teaching on this truth is found in “The Divine Conspiracy – rediscovering our hidden life in God” by Dallas Willard:

“The person who treasures what lies within the Kingdom sees everything in its true worth and relationship.  The person who treasures what is ‘on earth’, by contrast, sees everything from a perspective that distorts it and systematically misleads in practice.  The relative importance of things is, in particular, misperceived.

Thus, if your eyes are bad, your body as a whole is in the dark.  If the eye of your soul, ‘the light within you, is not functioning, then you are in the dark about everything.  You are simply lost.  You don’t know where you are or where you are going.  This is what it means to be a ‘lost soul’, a dead soul.

So, how do we find this light – in order that we can lift the veil of darkness and begin to see clearly to fill our hearts with reality?

The answer is the same as it would be for learning and gaining knowledge of any topic of importance or of growing closer to someone such as a teacher who has the ability to tutor and lead us – we study the manual and we spend time with the teacher.  In this instance, it means reading the Bible (perhaps with support from others) and spending prayer time with God.

In other words it takes some effort on our part as it’s not going to happen by osmosis!

People who are best able to recognize God’s Will and direction in life (to see His Light and walk in it) are those who know His Word best.  As God said Himself, “You will find me [and the light of reality I provide] when you seek me with all of your heart.”  (Jer. 29:13)

* * * * *
The allergy commercial by Claritin can tell us, “There’s clear and then there’s Claritin clear” regarding the physical condition of our senses.  However, absolute clarity – clarity that means the difference between light and darkness in our soul – is found only through Jesus Christ and God’s Word.

Such provide a great deal more than Claritin clear!

Have a great week!  (and to my family, Love Dad)

Bob Alderman

P.S.  There are many wonderful ways to develop individual Bible studies and prayer time with God.  It’s also important to have the support and encouragement of a small group or of an individual study partner.

If there’s anything I can do to help you move forward on these activities (perhaps recommend a Bible translation to use, or even establish individual time together – by phone or email if we are geographically separated), please let me know as it would be my privilege to help if I can.

2/23/17 reprint from orig publication of 2/14/05

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

Content, But Never Satisfied©

P.E.A.R.s™ Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

Content, But Never Satisfied ©

by

Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Many readers I’m sure have some familiarity with the Apostle Paul’s declaration of contentment in Philippians 4:11 as well as his similar teachings for peace that surpasses understanding.  What is frequently overlooked, however, and seldom expressed as serious exhortations or admonishments in Bible studies and/or from the pulpit is the underlying foundation or side companion by which the contentment and peace of Jesus Christ is “learned” (as Paul says in 4:11) and then continually expanded.

The foundation and constant companion for such is: dissatisfaction – i.e. a state of never being satisfied or becoming passive in one’s desire to gain more and more and more of God once we have tasted and experienced the wonders of His presence in our lives!

The Apostle Paul, of course, repeatedly exhorts us to that kind of mindset and passion in virtually every one of his letters.  (Philippians 3:8 is one example immediately at hand if you already opened a Bible when you began to read this P.E.A.R.)

John 17:3 is the “cherry on the icing” statement for knowing God…eternal life through an intimate, abundant, joyful, fulfilling and wondrous, indwelling, all consuming relationship with the three Persons of Almighty God that is beyond description in any human language.

Here are a few excerpts from several authors pertinent to the plight and privilege given to Christians of being “content, but never satisfied” during their life on earth after receiving Christ as their Savior and Lord:

“Disciples are made not born” by Walter Henrichsen

The disciple himself is not one who has arrived.  On the contrary, he is a learner, a pilgrim, one who is on a quest to make his life all that God would have it be.

We fall into the error of thinking that happiness necessarily involves ease, diversion, tranquility – a state in which one’s wishes are satisfied.  For most people, happiness is not found in this vegetative state, but in striving toward meaningful goals…He may often be tense, worried or fatigued…But he has found a more meaningful happiness.  (Quoting John W. Gardner from “Excellence”)

“The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson

I tell motivated Dreamers [those who are pursuing God’s plan and purpose for them] that if they are not encountering a Comfort Zone issue regularly, something is wrong…Maybe they need to check their pulse!

“Changed into His Image” by Jim Berg

“Of late God has been pleased to keep my soul hungry almost continually, so that I have been filled with a kind of pleasing pain.  When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of Him are more insatiable and my thirstings after holiness are more unquenchable.”  [Quoting David Brainerd)

“How people change” by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp

God calls you to be dissatisfied.  You should be discontent, restless, and hungry!  The Christian life is a state of thankful discontent or joyful dissatisfaction.  Why? …Because when I look at myself honestly, I have to admit that I am not all I can be in Christ.  I am thankful for the many things in my life that would not be there without His grace, but I will not settle for a partial inheritance!

In this sense, it is right for me to be discontent.  It is right for me to want nothing less than all that is mine in Christ.  He does not want us to enjoy only a small portion of the riches He has given us.  He calls us to wrestle, meditate, watch, examine, fight, run, persevere, confess, resist, submit, follow, and pray until we have been transformed into His likeness.

Have a great week! (and to my family, Love Dad)

Bob Alderman

Orig. Publication 11/18/10 – 1st blog posting 2/15/17

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

We are to be Actively-Passive©

To go with God, we have to leave our hammocks.

P.E.A.R.sPeriodic Encouragement And Reminders
We are to be Actively-Passive©
by
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

(After reading this post, please take the sequence challenge in the P.S.)

The subject I want to address this week is not exactly heavy on my heart, but it does involve an issue with which I seem to have a constant struggle.  Basically, it comes down to this: how much of my growth and walk with God depends on me and how much depends on Him?

Perhaps you’re facing the same quandary.  If so, I hope the thinking-out-loud I am about to engage in will give you some thoughts to consider as you try to find God’s purpose and fulfillment in your own life.

It’s quite clear from the Bible that our salvation and adoption into God’s family, through which we will inherit the glorious riches of His eternal kingdom, are gifts of grace from Him and not something we can earn on our own.  Nevertheless, we are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  [Philippians 2:12]  The next verse reads: “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:13]

We also find: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things which you do not know.”  [Jeremiah 33:3]  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” [Jeremiah 29:13]  “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  [Hebrews 11:6]

When Charles Swindoll in his book “The Mystery of God’s Will” briefly mentions Philippians 2:12, he says, “…, be discerning, think it through, use your head, pay attention, get serious about your Christian walk.”  What he means is that even after we believe in Christ and are saved by His grace, there’s still more for us to understand; more growth for us to achieve, and more service and purpose for us to fulfill in God’s plan here on earth.

Are we left to struggle with this on our own?  Absolutely not!  For we will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon us. [Acts 1:8]  “I will ask the Father”, said Jesus, “and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world [those who reject Christ] can not receive because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” [John 14:18]

Still, there is initiative for us to take.  If we want to learn great and mighty things, we must “call” on God.  To find Him [to learn from Him and grow in Him], we have to “seek” Him diligently and seriously “with all of our hearts”.  And…we have to have faith that He is the great I AM, Almighty God with the desire, ability and irrevocable commitment to provide the rewards He has promised.

Dallas Willard in “The Divine Conspiracy – rediscovering our hidden life in God” puts it this way:

When we receive God’s gift of life by relying on Christ, we find that God comes to act with us.  However unlikely it may seem from our current viewpoint, God equipped us for the task by framing our nature to function in a conscious, personal relationship of interactive responsibility with him.  If we are faithful to him, we learn his cooperative faithfulness to us in turn.  When we submit what we are to God and where we are to God, our rule or dominion then increases.  He constantly invites us into an ever larger share in what he is doing.

Where the problem with this paradox often exists is that we sit like a lump of coal waiting for God to provide the flame and also stoke the fire.  He will provide everything we need to fulfill our part of the partnership (there is no doubt about that), but He does not force it on us.

Does this mean we are to step out on our own and then wait for Him to catch-up and provide us with what we want?  No, it doesn’t mean that either.  Confusing, isn’t it?

Doing the will of God is rarely easy and uncomplicated.  Instead, it is often difficult and convoluted.  Or, back to my preferred term, it is mysterious.  Yet, God’s will is not passive, it isn’t a matter of just lying back and waiting for him to move us from Plan A to Plan B. (Charles Swindoll, ibid.)

Many of the authors I’ve read speak to this dilemma.  “God is not going to help you set goals and then be uncommitted to and uninvolved in their attainment.  The Holy Spirit has been imported to you to give you a built-in divine ability to help you succeed.” (“Success God’s Way” by Charles Stanley)

Also, J.I. Packer in “Knowing God”:

Even with right ideas and guidance in general, however, it is still easy to go wrong.  The Spirit can be quenched, and we can all too easily behave in a way which stops this guidance from getting through.  Moreover, it does not follow that right guidance will be vindicated as such by a trouble-free course thereafter.

Here is another cause of deep perplexity for Christian people.  They have sought guidance and believe it has been given.  They have set off along the road which God seemed to indicate.  And now, as a direct result, they have run into a crop of new problems which otherwise would not have arisen – isolation, criticism, abandonment by their friends, practical frustrations of all sorts.

Trouble, however, is not necessarily a sign of being off-track at all.  [Twice, Jesus’ disciples were caught by night in bad weather on the Sea of Galilee and both times, the reason they were there was the command of Jesus himself.]

* * * * *
The thing to remember about all of this is that we are never going to be privy to the entire travel itinerary.  God will definitely light our way, but it generally will be only enough light to take the next step or two – not to map out the entire trip and all the detours to be encountered during the journey.

Where the phrase “actively-passive” fits into the process can, to a certain extent, be simply stated as this: God is not generally inclined to do for us that which we can do for ourselves.

The process will certainly require effort, faith, diligence, perseverance, and sometimes struggle on our part but, in a “actively-passive” form – meaning the results and benefits remain under God’s control. When good works are begun in us, God will be faithful to complete them.  [Philippians 1:6]

My final thoughts come from Charles Stanley, “Success God’s Way” and one of my favorite Bible verses on this subject:

God never asks any of us to sit down and wait idly for Him to vault us into success.  He asks us to trust and obey Him day by day, day in and day out, by doing the things He entrusted us to do.  He asks us to learn the lessons that He set before us – some of which may be painful, some of which may be difficult, and many of which may seem unimportant.  Often we cannot see that God is building a strong pattern of experience, skill, trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, and character into us, so that when the time comes for us to be in a position of authority or influence, we will be ready.

2 Chronicles 16:9: “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” – Hmmmm, sounds to me like partnering in an actively-passive way with God!

Have a great week!  (and to my family, love Dad)

Bob Alderman

P.S. Sequence challenge: Every time I review or share this subject, I wonder which of the two  elements (activity or passivity) should be stated first in the title. E.g.: Actively-Passive or  Passively-Active.  Although the distinction doesn’t make any real difference since in either order the prompter and the doer is the Holy Spirit, I am still curious to know in what order each reader would express those elements. Thus, please share with me in the comment box at the end of this page how you approach them – and why.  Thank you.

Original Publication 101205 – revised 2017.01.31

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr.  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

Testing Auto Fb Posting

 

Good morning, everyone!

I have been trying to get the kinks worked out of a plugin for my  Bob’s P.E.A.R.s blog-site that is supposed to automatically place each new article I write to my Facebook page as soon as the article is published.

However, because of my ignorance with the workings of social media and much of the jargon within that world, my efforts with this plugin have so far been unsuccessful.

God willing, perhaps it will work with this “test posting”.  If it does, please excuse the intrusion of this somewhat nonsensical message into your day.

Of course, if you don’t receive it, you can disregard the preceding explanation entirely – as well as this line.

How’s that for legal reasoning?

Bob Alderman (and to my family, Love, Dad)

The Wisdom of the Old Woodchopper © – Prov. 3:5-6

P.E.A.R.s  Periodic Encouragement And Reminders
The Wisdom of the Old Woodchopper ©
– Proverbs 3:5-6 –
by:
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Having the patience to wait for God’s timing and the benefits He intends for my life is not one of my strong points – even though I can remember situation after situation in which positive results rose from what I initially thought were disasters.

Thus, I constantly have to remind myself: Be cool, Bob. God’s in charge and He knows what He’s doing.

My favorite Bible verses in which proper perspective, correct practice and final providence are laid out in simple to understand one-two-three-four order are Proverbs 3:5-6.  The best teaching of this truth, however, is shared by Max Lucado in a story about an old woodchopper and a wild stallion I found in one of his books many years ago.

This is that story:

*** Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village.  Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse.  Even the king coveted his treasure.  A horse like this had never been seen before – such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused.  “This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them.  “It is a person.  How could you sell a person?  He is a friend, not a possession.  How could you sell a friend?”  The man was poor and the temptation was great.  But he never sold the horse.

One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable.  All the village came to see him.  “You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your horse.  We warned you that you would be robbed.  You are so poor.  How could you ever hope to protect such a valuable animal?  It would have been better to have sold him.  You could have gotten whatever price you wanted.  No amount would have been too high.  Now the horse is gone, and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.”

The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly.  Say only that the horse is not in the stable.  That is all we know; the rest is judgment.  If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know?  How can you judge?

The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools!  We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed.  The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse.

The old man spoke again.  “All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone.  The rest I don’t know.  Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say.  All we can see is a fragment.  Who can say what will come next?

The people of the village laughed.  They thought that the man was crazy.  They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money.  But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it.  He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty.  No, he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.

After fifteen days, the horse returned.  He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest.  Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him.  Once again the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke.  “Old man, you were right and we were wrong.  What we thought was a curse was a blessing.  Please forgive us.”

The man responded, “Once again, you go too far.  Say only that the horse is back.  State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don’t judge.  How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment.  Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge?  You read only one page of a book.  Can you judge the whole book?  You read only one word of a phrase.  Can you understand the entire phrase?”

Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word.  All you have is a fragment!  Don’t say that this is a blessing.  No one knows.  I am content with what I know.  I am not perturbed by what I don’t.”

“Maybe the old man is right,” they said to one another.  So they said little.  But down deep, they knew he was wrong.  They knew it was a blessing.  Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse.  With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son.  The young man began to break the wild horses.  After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs.  Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.

You were right,” they said.  “You proved you were right.  The dozen horses were not a blessing.  They were a curse.  Your only son has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you.  Now you are poorer than ever.”

The old man spoke again.  “You people are obsessed with judging.  Don’t go so far.  Say only that my son broke his legs.  Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse?  No one knows.  We only have a fragment.  Life comes in fragments.

It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country.  All the young men of the village were required to join the army.  Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured.  Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken.  There was little chance that they would return.  The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle.  They would never see their sons again.

You were right, old man,” they wept.  “God knows you were right.  This proves it.  Your son’s accident was a blessing.  His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you.  Our sons are gone forever.

The old man spoke again.  “It is impossible to talk with you.  You always draw conclusions.  No one knows.  Say only this:  Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not.  No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse.  No one is wise enough to know.  Only God knows.

* * * * *
The old man was right.  We only have a fragment.  Life’s mishaps and challenges are only a page out of a grand book.  We must be slow about drawing conclusions.  We must reserve judgment on life’s storms until we know the whole story.

I don’t know where the woodcutter learned his patience.  Perhaps from another woodcutter in Galilee.  For it was the Carpenter who said it best:

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (See all of Matt 6:25-34)

He should know.  He is the Author of our story.  He has already written the final chapter. And, therein lies our hope and the reason we can and should live the way of the Old Chopper’s wisdom of Proverbs 3:5-6.

Have a great week!

Bob Alderman – (and to my family, Love Dad)

Original publication 4/19/2004 – modified 1/17/2017

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr..  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

Get Off the Treadmill ©

P.E.A.R.sPeriodic Encouragement And Reminders
Get Off the Treadmill ©
by
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Last night, I was re-reading a book by Larry Julian (“God is My CEO”) on business planning and development. (Larry is a consultant who specializes in leadership development and has worked with both small and large companies, including: 3M, AT&T, and General Mills.)

In the introduction, Larry shared the following story:

I was recently asked to conduct a leadership program for a group of San Francisco sales executives.  As part of my preparation, the leader asked me to weave in a module on stress management.  During the program, I discovered that the entire group was on the brink of a collective nervous breakdown.  They were under relentless pressure to produce results.  All felt as if they were strapped to a treadmill whose speed kept increasing.

I wanted to help them find the root cause of their situation.  The group however, wanted me only to equip them with skills so I could help them run their treadmill faster and better.  In essence they wanted me to teach them how to go down the wrong path more efficiently.

The bottom-line had become their god.  It was insatiable.  No matter how hard they worked, it was never enough, nor could it ever be enough.  These executives were talented, intelligent, capable people who somewhere along the way, lost focus on what is truly meaningful and important.  They had become slaves to bottom-line pressure and, as a result, become professionally ineffective and personally burnt out.

* * * * *

I, for one, know it’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace and demands of life and feel the tug to seek out a quick-fix or some magic process that’s promised to produce more clients and more money.

There are, in fact, many organizations in the business and professional world that offer seminars and coaching programs each of which promise to teach systems and methods aimed at creating financial success.  Some are based on marketing techniques; some emphasize internal restructuring of the business or professional practice; some suggest personal testing for employees, and some recommend special customer or client interview processes.

Though each of them can serve as useful tools, they often become just another parallel target point (or as Larry Julian says, another god) used as a stepping stone toward what still remains their ultimate god – of bottom-line financial success.

These “solutions” don’t solve the underlying problem, however.  They may help us continue down the wrong path more efficiently, but…, it’s still with the wrong bottom-line focus on a treadmill that keeps right on turning.

The Bible, (as usual) sums it up best with these words: “A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”  2 Peter 2:19b

Thus, whether it’s financial “success” and/or the systems and processes to pursue more of “it” at greater speed and “efficiency”, it will not remove our anxiety or stress if we stay enslaved to them as our gods.

Another good reminder is Psalms 46:10 – “Cease striving (be still) and know that I am God.”

Charles Stanley says in his book, “Success God’s Way”.

Friend, I wouldn’t swap places with anybody in the world who has money, notoriety, or power but doesn’t have God.  What he has won’t matter in the least five hundred years from now.

For I have never met a financially wealthy person who wasn’t a little fearful at the prospect of losing his wealth, or who didn’t desire to amass even more wealth [or to keep running on whatever treadmill he had placed himself] ‘just in case’.

[On the other hand] the God focused and spiritually mature person is freed from striving.  He lives in a state of steady confidence [off the treadmill] born of a relationship with God – while at the same time living in the hope of greater and greater things that God will unfold, reveal and bestow.”

Have a great week!

Bob Alderman

(and to my family, Love Dad)

original writing 4/13/04 – republished 2017/01/11

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr..  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

The Magic of Stories ©

P.E.A.R.s™ – Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

The Magic of Stories ©
By
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Do you remember when you were a kid how great it was to hear the words: Once upon a time…?

If you were like me, every experience that began with those words (or their equivalent)  immediately increased your adrenaline flow and brought your attention to a focus ten levels higher than it had been before you heard or read that wondrous, shorthand  pronouncement of “get-ready-something-great-is-going-to-be-shared”.

Why is it that for adults and children alike stories have such magic?

Some of the answer lies in the entertainment “packaging” which almost by definition is part of every story that’s ever been told.  (It’s somewhat like a present; meaning, the story form provides the same excitement created by bows and colorful wrapping paper covering a box with a gift inside.)

However, the real magic of the story process (like a beautifully wrapped present) comes from the value found inside.

Whatever the scientific explanation might be (and I’m sure there is one if we were interested in knowing it), just about every man, woman and child enjoys, learns more from and responds better to stories than they do to propositional instruction.

People will remember the model of your life in how you lived it, much longer than they will the glitter of your financial “successes” and accomplishments. Or, returning momentarily to the gift analogy, it’s the thought that matters.

I personally, however, like the way John Eldredge explains the reason for the effectiveness of the story process in his book, “Waking the Dead”: Propositions [straight statements of fact] speak to the mind, but when you tell a story, you speak to the heart.

A proposition is helpful for certain things.  Sacramento is the capitol of California; water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, your shoes are in the front room, under the sofa. But propositions fail when it comes to the weightier things in life.

While it is a fact that the Civil War was fought between the years 1861 and 1865 and that hundreds of thousands of men died, you don’t even begin to grasp the reality of the Civil War until you hear the stories.

This is even much more so the case when it comes to the truth of the Bible.  God loves you; you matter to Him.  That is a fact, stated as a proposition.  Why then, aren’t Christians the happiest people on earth?  It hasn’t reached all their hearts.  Facts stay lodged in the mind only – they don’t speak at the level we need to hear, which is the heart.

When you hear or read the greatest story ever told, the Bible, the message is shared in some instances as propositions.  However, in far greater frequency, its truths are presented as stories and parables.  I don’t think anyone would ever doubt that God knew what He was doing when He presented His instructions for living an abundant life in story book form more so than as a text book.

True stories, of course, as used by God in the Bible are always of greater impact and value in the long run than are fictional tales.  Also, the greatest stories of all time in the sense of how they capture our attention and move our hearts, share virtually the same plot.

Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, boy fights for girl, boy wins girl back – is perhaps the most moving story line of all.  The second most compelling to us (founded not really on a different plot, but only a variation of the first), involves covert battles in which an inconspicuous hero begins a rebellion and then fights a war to overcome injustice, transform a wrongful condition and restore his people to their rightful glory.  Sometimes the story line is about an individual person and his or her struggles, yet the elements and steps are the same.

Think for a moment about some of your favorite stories.  For children they might include Beauty and Beast, Cinderella or The Chronicles of Narnia.  Teens and young adults may gravitate to Star Wars, The Matrix, or The Lord of the Rings.  Perhaps for the older generation it would be Titanic, Braveheart, Gladiator, Cutting Edge, Hoosiers, etc.

Using the titles you might put on your own list of favorite stories, see if you can identify the theme, the message, the moral, the hope and the triumph running through them that grabs your heart and moves your inner most feelings of rightness.

You know why that is and where it comes from?  God.

In our very being, spirit, soul and heart, God has planted in us the inherent knowledge that we once enjoyed a closeness with Him; have fallen away from that rightful position; are in a war to recover our glory as children of His family and image, and that a covert battle occurring on our behalf and to which we are invited to join, is being lead by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Transformation, rescue and restoration with hard fought victories when the focus is consistent with God and His holiness are found in the theme of virtually every story in the Bible – and more importantly, in the overall message and offer of the Bible from beginning to end.

* * * * *
Why are we enchanted by tales of transformation?, asks John Eldredge in his book.  Why is it the essential part of any great story?  Because it is the secret of Christianity, and Christianity is the secret to the universe.

He then shares several lines from Cinderella where the prince, after searching all through the kingdom for the maiden whose foot would fit the glass slipper, finds her and  overcomes the resistance of the evil stepsisters (representing the devil) who had tried to keep them apart:

And Cinderella had to be called and then went and bowed before the King’s son, who gave her the glass slipper.  Then she seated on a stool, drew her foot out of the heavy wooden shoe, and put it into the slipper, which fit like a glove.  And when she looked up and the King’s son looked at her face, he recognized the beautiful maiden who had danced with him and he cried, “This is my true bride!” He then took Cinderella on his horse and rode away with her.

As in Titanic – when all the glory of that wondrous ship was gradually restored at the end of the movie in the majestic ballroom within its steel hull at the bottom of the ocean and the young maiden all in white walks down the stairway to resume the joy of life in spirit that had been lost with the iceberg sinking – God’s story and offer in the Bible is even greater.

May you read His Book with all its chapters, adventures, propositions and teachings – not just for the magic of its stories, but as the Greatest Story Ever Told and receive into your heart His offer to restore your glory in Christ forever.

Have a great week!  (And to my family, love Dad)

Bob Alderman

Orig. publication 5/13/05 – Updated 1/3/17

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr..  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com

THANK YOU!

The Reason for P.E.A.R.s ©

P.E.A.R.s™ Periodic Encouragement And Reminders

The Reason for P.E.A.R.S ©
by
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.

Every week as I put together a P.E.A.R., it is my hope that someone, somewhere, somehow will be motivated, encouraged or reminded by its words of the special place and service intended for them in God’s plan for this world and eternity.

I never know how that might happen or what the exact results or cause and effect might be. I leave that up to God and just try to share as best I can the extraordinary, amazing, often unbelievable and incomprehensible reality of the purpose and fulfillment God offers to each of us – if we become willing to seek and grow closer to Him.

If you’ve never (or perhaps at least not for a long time) paused to consider your relationship with God and why you’re here, the comments from several authors may provide a wonderful insight for you. But before sharing their thoughts, there are three questions I would like you to consider:

1. Do you know how truly unique and important you are to God?

2. Have you ever wondered what He intended for your life?

3. Would you like to become more fulfilled in whatever days or years you have left?

As you reflect on those questions (not just now, but repeatedly in the coming days), the following words may become especially meaningful to you:

“The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren:

We don’t realize how truly unique each of us is. DNA molecules can unite in an infinite number of ways. The number is 10 to the 2,400,000,000th power. That number is the likelihood that you’d ever find anyone just like you. If you were to write that number with each zero being one inch wide, you’d need a sheet of paper 37,000 miles long.

“The On Purpose Business” by Kevin W. McCarthy:

Our “spiritual DNA” [if you will] provides the “purpose…from which our vision and missions sprout. From a divine perspective, purpose is God’s will for your life. Purpose is infinite and eternal.

“The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson:

Like the generic code that describes your unique passions and abilities, your Big Dream has been woven into your being from birth.

“Half Time – from success to significance” by Bob Buford:

I believe God created us the way we are and enabled us to live the way we do for a purpose.

“Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge

God set the heart within every man and in doing so offers him an invitation: come and live out what I meant you to be.

There is no one who can replace you in your life, in the arena you’ve been called to. If you leave your place in the line, it will remain empty. No one else can be who you were meant to be.

Don’t ask how. How is never the right question. How is a faithless question. How is God’s department. He is asking you what. What is written on your heart? What makes you come alive?

“Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper

What Christ offers: doubly belonging to God, and being able to do what you were made for.

Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Don’t coast through life without a passion.

Whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts.

“Success God’s Way” by Charles Stanley

You were no less chosen for the plans and purposes He has for your life than Moses and Joseph were chosen by God. God did not create you and then scratch His head and say, now I wonder what I can do with this person. No, He created you to be and to do very specific things in your life.

“Disciples are made not born” by Walter A. Henrichsen

Are you laboring to build the Kingdom of God or are you building your own little kingdom?

At your death will you be able to say to God that you did the work he had for you to do?

* * * *

The last two authors (Stanley and Henrichsen) provide, I believe, a good summary of these excerpts when they say:

Encourage others to find and pursue their specific calling” – “…for you’ve not done anything until you’ve changed the lives of men.

I want to close with one of my favorite verses from the Bible as I believe it summarizes God’s perspective and desire as expressed by the above authors:

For the eyes of the Lord search back and forth throughout the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward Him, so that He can show His great power in helping them.”      2 Chron. 16:9 – Living Bible

May that become a realization to you personally and a goal to which you will dedicate your life.

Have a great week!

Bob Alderman – (and to my family, Love Dad)

PERMISSIONS:  You are permitted to reproduce and distribute electronic or hardcopies of this article in its entirety provided you do not alter it in any way, do not charge a fee to others to receive it beyond your cost of reproduction, and do not make more than fifty physical copies without prior written permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr..  All republications of the article in full or in part, whether in a hardcopy or electronic format, must include this statement:  Reproduced with permission from Robert E. Alderman, Jr., 661.904.7751, thegreatestlaw@gmail.com,  www.BobsPEARS.com