Saturday, July 9, 2016

Weekend Wit 15

Of Marriage
Marriage is like opening a present with many layers.  Each layer hold a different nuance.  The problem in our culture is that we open the first few layers and think marriage is insufficient.  The insufficiency lies in our unwillingness to persevere.

Of Haste
Hasty people often come to ruin.  We often react before knowing all of the facts.  We react before grasping the consequences of our actions. We react out of our emotions instead from our center of reasoning.

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Of Eternity
A long life on the earth is still just a puff of vapor.  Eternity is where we should set our hopes and affections.

We long for something more because God has placed eternity in our hearts.

Of Enjoyment

We should enjoy every single bite of food, every cool breeze, and every butterfly that flits by.  All good gifts are from God and  should be fully embraced.  There is much good to be had but often we are too busy complaining about what we don't have.

Of Wisdom
Gaining a little wisdom carries most of us farther than we thought possible.  We are in the process of destroying ourselves as a culture because we take pleasure in our own opinions instead of gaining a heart of wisdom.

Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Who Gets To Rule

One Sunday recently we sang, Song of Moses at the end of our morning time of  worship. The bridge part of the song is a declaration that God reigns over us.

 As we sang I thought about how  God would reign forever over us. There are moments that things click for me.  This morning was one of those moments.  When we declare that God is our true sovereign, we are declaring that He is the rightful ruler and that we are his willing subjects.

Adam and Eve, in the garden, made a choice to do it their own way.  There were many delicious and nutritious fruit trees in the garden.  It was not a matter of need or even of desire.  By their actions they said  that God was not their true king.

From that  first moment of the disobedience, all of creation became subjected to futility.  No longer did things work in perfect order and beauty.  There in the garden  God made a promise to a broken Adam and Eve who now lived in a newly dysfunctional world. God promised that the "seed of the woman would crush the serpents head".  Strange promise until you see it worked out through time and space.  Jesus, born of a woman, by the power of the Holy Spirit, not through the work of an earthly father, came and broke the power of sin over us by taking the death that we legally should have died.  He paid our debt and gave  power to have true life restored to all those who by faith and repentance individually turn from their personal rebellion to the true Sovereign over us.

It was never a matter of keeping rules, it was always a matter of who is the true Ruler.   If you are a parent or a boss or even if you have a pet, this concept should be crystal clear to you.  There has to be order.  Someone has to be in charge.  Usually we want the best suited for the position. We want the one who has the most knowledge and ability and the one who will be wisely benign to those in their charge. Weakness and ignorance that are combined with low character never produce great leaders or domestic tranquility for those under them.  God by definition is love.  God is all powerful  and He has all knowledge.  He is the Creator and the One who sustains us.  He is the most suited to rule over us by His nature, character and His ability.

We still have a choice!!  When Jesus was on earth he told a story about a nobleman who had been called away to be crowned the king.

But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We do not want him to be our king.’

In the story, when the true king returned, he dealt with those that rejected his authority.

And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.’

The true King has yet to return.  The invitation to bow the knee and exhibit true faith by turning from our own self will is open to all who will come. Jesus through His own death on the cross made a way for us not to be judged.  Bow the knee and live...truly set free from the weight of your rebellion...embrace the Good King Jesus who rules benevolently over you in wisdom and in grace.... 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Changing Places

Bloody, bruised and broken
Salty sweat running down my stinking flesh
All of my outer garments tattered and torn
Tired, so extremely tired from the fight
Dying in agony and pain
Taunted by those also so constrained
Jeered by my enemies as they gained victory o'er me

That was my fight

Instead I stood sheltered by the shadow of the Cross

Whole, well, and welcomed.

Blue Chevelle Malibu, Angels, and No Mere Mortals

The closest little town to us has three stoplights in the town limits, but we live a little farther out where you can hear the cicadas and the crickets sing lullabies and the internet is as slow as molasses.  We have lived here for close to twenty years now. It is such a small population area that even those who are strangers can almost seem like you know them because you have crossed paths so many times in your daily affairs.  For years I have crossed paths with a little lady with short white hair driving a 1960's silver blue and white Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu.  In the past I used to see her  and another little old lady out with a Meals on Wheels magnetized sign on her car riding the country roads near our house.  I think she was out a lot of mornings running the same route. She looked pretty old when I first saw her fifteen or more years ago.

I saw her again  this morning a couple of cars in front of me.  I turned right and she kept going straight.  I made my way over to the Bargain Food Store where there is all manner of discount interesting foods, animal feed and garden supplies.  This morning I snagged eikhorn crackers at 50 cents a box (eikhorn is an ancient wheat with less gluten) and unsweetened coconut chips for 99 cents.

I finished my shopping and headed to my car.  Guess who was parked right beside me?  It was that same Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu.  I was late for an appointment, but it did not stop me from grabbing a few shots.  The car appears to have the original paint job with no dings, dents or rust. The car is adorned with only one Clemson sticker across the back window.

I had a strong urge to go back in the store and introduce myself to the little old lady.  I don't know her, but I am pretty sure I could pick her out of the crowd of shoppers with her distinctively sensible looking snow white straight hair that hangs at the nape of her neck.  I am fascinated by an older person who can keep an old car road worthy and in such good shape. She seems to be just chugging along living an independent life.

There are lots of blue Malibu type people quietly living out their lives.
We cross people's paths every day really unaware of who and what they are about.  Sometimes we are so caught up in our own little world that we don't even notice those that are around us.  The book of Hebrews says, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."  It would be pretty awesome if the white haired lady in the Malibu was really an angel.   Angels, by the way,  are not feminine creatures with shining wings,  they are powerful warrior beings who have been sent to give aid to those who will one day inherit salvation.  We all would love to think that we had seen an actual angel but most of us see lots of people on a regular basis.

 Hebrews says that for a little while we (talking about people)  have been made a little lower than the angels and the scripture teaches that one day we (people) will be in a higher position than angels. God has given humanity an exalted position.  People are  the only beings who have been made in the image of the true God.  We abused that position when we disobeyed God in the garden. Make no mistake about what the scriptures teach though.  Nature, as in animals and plants, is beautiful and wonderful, but mankind was the pinnacle of the created beings.  All of the other things were originally created for mankind's use and pleasure.  We have an upside down world where we no longer seem to understand the value and uniqueness of people.

C.S. Lewis said,
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.