November 16, 2019
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If a man is not a Socialist at 20 be has no heart, but if he remains one at 30 he has no head.
-Anselme Barbie, 1828-1887; mistakenly attributed to countless others.
In my youth I stressed freedom, and in my old age I stress order. I have made the great discovery that liberty is a product of order.
The latter part of a man’s life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices and false opinions he had contracted in the former.
Research has found that teens process information with the amygdala, the emotional part of the brain. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that responds to situations with an awareness of long-term consequences. The rational part of the brain isn’t fully developed until age 25 or so.
-adapted from the website of the University of Rochester Medical Center
© Bob Goodnough, November 16, 2019
March 9, 2019
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Freedom of choice means that I am at liberty to do as I please. Nevertheless, I learn every day in small ways that the choices I make have consequences; and the choices that other people make often have consequences that affect me. Why then should I not expect that consequences might not only be immediate, but long-term, even eternal?
God is not to blame when bad things happen, He has given us the liberty to choose freely. Often those choices have unanticipated consequences. The unpleasant consequences of our bad choices should lead us to pause a moment to consider whether God might not have a better way for us.
God does not protect us from the negative consequences of the choices we and other people make. Neither does he force us to choose His way.
Yet God does speak to us, quietly and often, asking us to reconsider the direction we are travelling in life. Some time in our life He will tell us that the bad things happening to us are the result of our bad choices which make us sinners.
It doesn’t work to decide that we will live the way God wants us to live by our own will and strength. But we do have the ability to accept God’s judgment on our sin and ask Him to help us. That is called repentance and when God sees that our repentance is genuine, He forgives us because of the sacrifice Jesus has made for our sin, He adopts us as His child and gives us His Holy Spirit to enable us to make right choices.
That is called the new birth, conversion, regeneration. Those words all mean a change in the way we think and a u-turn in the direction of our life. When we live to please God and to love and help the people around us, we will be far happier than when we were only trying to please ourselves.
This is the beginning of Christian life. Some people stop as soon as they reach this point, thinking this is all there is to Christian life. God wants us to keep on going, learning a little more each day about our own weakness and about God’s will and the blessings that He has for those who really consecrate their lives to Him.