Monthly Archives: September 2016

Monday Motivator – September 26

Nobody likes to think about dying, but the reality is we will all die someday. We even die a little bit each day.

I saw an old western recently where an old prospector came into town after a gold find and bought drinks for everyone in the bar. Someone asked him if he was afraid of dying with so many men out looking for gold and willing to do just about anything to get their hands on some.

He replied that he was not worried about the time he would die because he had made peace with his Maker. He joked when he said that if he ever found out where he would die, he would avoid that place at all costs. He added that he generally stayed away from “young fellers who were out for no good” as well as rattlesnakes and dangerous mines where gold was once found.

My doctor recently asked me during a checkup about my diet and exercise habits, vices (if any, like drinking too much, smoking, etc.) as well as checking my cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. Not too bad overall, but he added that my breathing was a concern. How so, I asked? He said my breathing was gradually killing me, but there was nothing he or I could do about it. With every breath we take, we are shortening our lives a bit.

I said I never heard of such a thing. He said most of us recognize that we need oxygen to survive. But most of us do not realize that in the process of our bodies converting food to energy that the oxygen we breathe produces a byproduct that contributes to our aging. So the more you breathe, the more you age, and the closer you come to death. Obviously the alternative is worse! Stop breathing (like you could stop the aging process) and you stop living.

Read Acts 17:28.

In many ways, God is like oxygen. We cannot live without Him. We try very hard to, but ultimately come back to the reality of our dependence on His presence and place in our day to day existence. We could not wake up, get out of bed, feed ourselves, lift our mobile device to check our status, schedule, and apps, or even walk to class if God did not keep our hearts beating and moving the blood throughout our body’s systems.

I saw another reality of life when my mom and aunt died last fall of cancer. Physical death is a certainty we all will face, regardless of our family heritage, personal accomplishments, bank balance, etc. God has declared that physical death is a consequence of the sin of all humans. No one has ever avoided, beaten, or emerged valiant over death, except for King Jesus…and those who have put their faith, hope, and trust in Him. Scripture says we will all die and face God.

Trying to get away from Him is as futile as trying to stop breathing to slow down your aging. You and I have to face up to the fact that unless Jesus returns before we actually die, we will die nonetheless. For those of you in college it may be 50 years away or it could be sooner. The time to get ready is now.

Walk wisely. The one certainty about life is death. After you die, will you go to heaven? Get on good terms with God by putting your faith, hope, and trust into Jesus as your Savior. You’ll breathe easier knowing your future is secure by virtue of your relationship with God Himself.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – September 19

When was the last time you were called to account by someone?

I remember my parents’ correcting me for wrongdoing. They would say they were doing it for my benefit, so I would not repeat that sort of behavior. What I had done was unacceptable and I needed to grow to maturity in the boundaries of my family’s values and norms.

I remember being disciplined in sixth grade for my behavior. A female student came to Mr. Byers classroom for some kick balls for recess. Since I sat in the rear of the class, he asked me to give her the balls. Instead of handing them to her politely, I threw them at her rather hard, and she was knocked over. Some of the boys in the class laughed, I smiled a bit, and it was off to the principal’s office for me. I later apologized to the girl and did feel bad about the incident. My friend Steve was the only one who said it was a mean thing to do and rebuked me for my action.

I remember a story about a moose in Maine when we lived in Boston. The owner of a ski resort called for help when a moose wandered up onto a deck, then continued up to the building roof. She was large and too heavy for the roof, which gave way and she crashed partway downward. Her body was on the roof, but her four legs had punched through and were hanging six feet off the ground of the lower floor until the Fish and Game warden and animal rescue team arrived. If animals could talk, the moose might have said it was sorry for walking out on the rook, and subsequently falling through. But since animals cannot speak, I’m guessing the moose was not ashamed or feeling guilty about the damage it had done.

That is one way we are different from animals. We do feel guilty when we do wrong. Well, we should anyway. We get embarrassed. We might blush and our faces turn red. We feel the need to own up to our misbehavior and apologize. If it’s really bad, we might even want to disappear for awhile…or try to. Like when I broke a window in a neighbor’s house during a snowball fight and we all ran for cover. Too late. Mrs. P saw what happened, called my mom, and I was in trouble.

Sometimes though, we just don’t care. We think the stupid thing we did was kind of funny and we laugh about it. We laugh until we get caught. Then the question is how bad do we feel when we do something wrong and own up to it? You know it’s something your parent’s would disagree with, and it is even something God says is wrong. Do you blush then? Or feel ashamed? What difference does it make if one of your friends calls you to account?

Read Jeremiah 8:4-12.

The Lord spoke to ancient Israel through the prophet Jeremiah because they had disobeyed God and wandered away from Him. They became hard-hearted and forgot how to blush, admit their mistake, and change, when confronted with their sin (v 12). Instead of being a wild, out of control horse, Jeremiah said they could learn from animals like birds who know when and where they are supposed to go in the changing seasons (verse 6-7).

God sees our lives in real time. How sensitive are we to our sinful tendencies? How many friends do you have who will challenge your words and actions? Live communally. Wise people listen when God uses a friend to point out behavior that needs to improve. You can’t hide from God. So don’t be a fool. Do not run from the rebuke of a good friend He sends to you.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – September 12

Do you enjoy entertainment or attempts to entertain yourself (or your friends) that involves depictions or dramatizations of violence? Why?

I can appreciate the real-life events that led to movies like Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and even The Lord of the Rings (LOTR). It’s gripping to witness the visual violence that movie-makers show on screen regarding historical events, even fiction brought to life from a book. It’s agonizing to see, hear, and even feel what is was like for the soldiers who landed on the beaches of Normandy, or gaze upon the evil of the Germans toward the Jewish people in World War Two. Anger wells up inside me as I contemplate what I am seeing. I recall not being able to talk for over an hour after I watched the story of Oskar Schindler and his life-saving efforts of Jews under the savage treatment of the Nazis.

Yet, I also tend to avoid movies that include graphic violence, language, and images that I do not need to see. I realized over time that it is not good for my eyes, heart, and soul to see such violence. I have seen how consistent exposure to violence, real or imagined, has deadened my ability to appreciate God’s more perfect way, which is peace. I also recognize that violence is not God’s perfect way.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians in the first century and said, “It is shameful to even mention what the disobedient do in secret.” Violence is to be generally avoided.

Yet in our sinful world, it is also necessary to confront and deal with evil and violence, sometimes with violence in return. The Allies invaded France to take on the Germans and the Pacific theater to take on the Japanese, with both nations intent on world domination. There are intended and unintended consequences to any action, and in war that often results in tremendous loss of life, destruction of property and national mourning. One result of necessary violence is that it does affect our relationship with God.

King David was a man of valor, strength of character, great accomplishment, and was said to be “a man after God’s heart.” But God denied his wish to build a temple to honor the Lord because he was a man of violence. The Lord said to him in 1 Chronicles 22:8 that since he (David) shed so much blood on the earth, that he was not to take on building a house for the Lord.

It is ironic and true that David went into battle at the Lord’s command, and violence made him a man with blood on his hands. It seems God wanted to separate the violence he ordained from His greater and ultimate plan of peace. So the task of building and completing the temple of God fell to David’s son, Solomon. His name actually means “peaceful.” Further, the location of the temple was to be in Jerusalem, which means, “city or refuge of peace.”

Read Isaiah 9:6.

Jesus is described by the prophet Isaiah as the “Prince of Peace.” He will come one day to set up His kingdom of eternal peace, where violence will no longer exist. In the meantime, I think followers of Jesus should be uncomfortable with violence of any sort, except in self-defense, and should generally avoid dramatizations of violence in social media and popular culture.

Think theologically. God’s justice will lead to final and lasting peace.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – September 5

How desperately people need wisdom today. Our world needs men and women who are willing to honor God with their words, lives, and service. Problems and challenges have always existed, yet our generation faces issues that defy easy solutions. God’s way has been to raise up men and women who will point people back to God. That means we need Christ-honoring people of influence whose vison is clear and whose words and example are steadfast and trustworthy.

Scripture suggests that we who follow Jesus should aspire to be men and women who walk in wisdom as we offer an imitatable example and counsel to our family, friends, and colleagues on campus and in the marketplace.

I have learned that daily life is full of moments of small choices, habits if you will, and no habit is more important than daily devotion. It’s a chance to meet with the Creator of all, who makes Himself available to us through nature, holy Scripture, and prayer.

Read Proverbs 3:5-6.

The book of Proverbs, part of the Wisdom Literature of the Hebrews’ older testament, is a compilation of short statements with a very practical point of action. Though written by multiple authors who are named in the various sections, King Solomon actually wrote the majority of Proverbs captured in thirty-one chapters in the Bible.

Solomon was the third King of Israel (after Saul and David), and he reigned on the throne approximately 970-930 B.C. During his kingly rule, he wrote thousands of songs and proverbs (1 Kings 4:32). What is interesting to me about Solomon is how he became wise. Once he succeeded his father David to the kingship of Israel, God appeared to him in a dream and offered him the desire of his heart (1 Kings 3:1-28). To his credit (and partly due to the influence of his father, I believe), Solomon asked God for wisdom to lead the people of Israel.

The Book of Proverbs collects the God-given wisdom Solomon developed in poetical figures of speech, figurative language, and wise sayings that has a verbal and visual impact on its readers. The general idea is to provide moral wisdom and common (or uncommon) sense for living well.

Proverbs addresses topics like the purpose for wisdom, why wisdom is supreme, warnings against folly, the power and consequences of words and life choices, healthy relationships, advice worth listening to, and the attractiveness of virtuous women.

I have often told my children to read a chapter of Proverbs a day and practice it. My suggestion to others is the same. Read the Book of Proverbs as a regular part of your spiritual diet. Its thirty- one chapters fit nicely into many months of the annual calendar. I have seen how the “proverbs challenge or diet” is accessible to many who do not read that much, due to its content being short statements and ideas that are easy to learn and hard to forget.

Grow devotionally. Start a simple discipline of reading and practicing the wisdom of Proverbs that can change the course of your life, affect your choices and character, inspire your friends to follow your example of living life well, and know why they are doing so. Let’s be people who are growing in wisdom.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized