Last we chatted (I blogged), Abraham was healing from.. a ‘MINOR procedure’. YOWTCHIE!
Next in chapter 19, Abraham is met by three men and welcomes these visitors into his tent to allow them to rest out of the heat of the day. Abraham then tells Sarah to bake some homemade bread while he fires up the grill to cook up some burgers and brats for his guests.
After dinner, the visitors informed Abraham that Sarah will have a son one year from now. Well Sarah was listening at the entrance and LAUGHED to herself since she was so old. The guests heard her laughing and reminded Abraham and Sarah that this is not too difficult for the God who created the world.
After this the three men left, and headed towards Sodom (aka Sin City).
Sodom and Gomorrah
Now I live in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Known for cold weather and for what we brag the people are Minnesota Nice. In contrast, Sodom and Gomorrah were the Twin Cities of Evil, and God had enough with their behavior, and tells Abraham He is going to destroy them.
But Abraham humbly pleas with God to spare these cities if there could even be found 10 good people. This is an interesting negotiation, and a great example of God patience in hearing our prayers, and that He truly does care. The prayers of a righteous man is heard by God with Abraham, and this is still true today.
Next the two angels arrive in Sodom and Lot pleads with them to come into his home and off the streets because it was not safe there. They wanted to spend the night in the City Square, but did agree to come to Lot’s home.
After dinner, the men of this wicked city came asking Lot to send out these men so that they could have sex with them. Lot being the good host.. good host??? says “no.. don’t do this evil thing, BUT.. you can have my two virgin daughters.” This is another one of those jaw dropping moments that transcends culture, and to compound the level of wickedness, the men yelled back.. “get out of our way Lot.. we want the men!”
Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed
So these angels, blind these evil men, and then told Lot to warn his family that the Lord is about to destroy these Old Testament sin cities. In the morning, Lot, his wife, and two daughters flee the city while his future son-in-laws thought Lot was joking and stayed behind.
So the two men/angels took Lot and his family and led them from the city, and once they were safe, and they were all instructed.. “don’t look back.”
Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur from the sky and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah completely while an emergency weather alert was issued a 'hell fire' heat warning for the entire region.
Finally as Lot and his family ran for their lives, Lot’s wife looked back and is turned into a pillar of salt. Her last words hung in the air.. "I think I left the oven on".
After this display of God’s wrath and the there was an investigation by the local CSI TEAM finding an empty Improve Our City suggestion box at the city limits. Many years later an archaeological dig found a road sign verifying the existence/location of the ancient city of Gomorrah. The sign stated simply.. 'What happens in Gomorrah, stays in Gomorrah'.
Of course Lot’s life was a mess, and there are more stories following this judgment regarding Lot and his daughters that are further examples of a depraved society.
Moral of the story? God's Grace is amazing and free, but not.. cheap. You cannot put a price on God's Grace.. but know we must turn from our sins and never look back. GOD WILL NEVER BE MOCKED.
Jeff (Less Salt) Larson
I shared recently the Bible story where a mysterious voice saying "If you build it, they will come." happened way before the movie 'Field of Dreams'. This was when God spoke to Noah instructing him to build it (an Ark) and they (the Animals) will come two by two.
Next big event IMO in the book of Genesis paralleling pop culture was when the phrase 'Home of the Whopper'. Let me share how this pop culture phrase was coined way before a single Burger King fast food joint existed, and certainly before America's presidential election process. Let me explain.. but first..
ON THE ROAD AGAIN!
In Genesis 12 Abram enters the Old Testament story. Abram is maybe a spry 85 years young, his bride Sarai is maybe 70. The Lord tells Abram .. “Road Trip.!!.. pack up the Winnebago”.
So Abraham loads a destination of Canaan into his GPS and says goodbye to Sweet Home Haran with Lynard Skynard playing in the background.
HOME OF THE WHOPPER!
The next thing you know Abram was in Egypt with his wife Sarai while there was a famine in the land. While in Egypt, Pharaoh spies Abram's wife Sarai who rumor has it was a 'fetching' 70 year old hottie. So Abe tells a little fib that Sarai is his sister as he is afraid they will kill him to take Sarai as their wife. Ok, that is not a white lie this is a WHOPPER of a lie.
So Pharaoh takes Sarai into his palace, and treats Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels out of the exchange.
side note: I am not sure my wife in Sarai's place would have been such a good sport.
But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.
side note 2: While Abraham would become known as a great man of faith, Honest Abe was our 16th president and never confused with this Abram guy pawning his wife off in Egypt.
After Egypt, Abe travels to southern Canaan as a very wealthy man with cattle, silver, and gold. But tension arose between Abram and his nephew Lot because there were simply too many animals for the land to support. So Abe says to Lot, “Let’s not bicker over land. If you choose the land to the left, I will go to the right, and if you choose the land to the right, I will go to the left.” And Lot chooses the land in the direction of Sodom which could have been named LOT VEGAS!
In chapter 14, there were battles, but I gather that military tactics were a bit primitive. One particular lesson learned is still taught in the Soldier’s Field Manual at WestPoint stating a soldier should always avoid the short cut across the TARPITS.
During all this time, the Lord often reminds Abraham that he will be blessed by God so that to try to number his descendants will like trying to count the grains of sand on the shore, or the stars in the skies. There was of course the minor problem that AARP collectors Abram and Sarai had no kids.
So now the plot thickens as Sarai (the good wife) says to Abram, “Why don’t you sleep with my slave girl Hagar?” I have a couple of Back Pew comments with this part of the story.
1. When I think of Hagar, I think of that Viking cartoon character Hagar the Horrible.
2. My wife has never offered me a slave girl to sleep with! Of course if she did I would say very politely, “Why Mary, thank you very much for this most generous offer, BUT (with the vision of Hagar the Horrible in my head) I’m good.” I may not be a great man of faith like Abram, but my momma didn’t raise NO DUMMY!!
But Abram ignores the tell tale warning signs that this idea is DUMBER-ER than a bag of hammers, and wanders out onto THIN ICE IN THE HOT DESERT and says more than howdy-do to the lovely miss Hagar.
Hagar now becomes pregnant by Abram and Sarai lets Abram have it by probably saying something like, “I told you to sleep with her, but not SLEEP with her!” To which Abram so eloquently in his defense says, “Huh? What? But you said!!! I thought I could.... Huh?”
As you can read in chapter 16, this arrangement is nothing you ever see discussed on Focus on the Family, Oprah, or even The Jerry Springer show. These chapters are NOT in the Bible as an example how to model the perfect marriage, but to instead show us God is faithful and caring for Abram and Sarai even when they do really dumb things. Fortunately for all of us, our foolish choices are covered by God’s grace and goodness.
In chapter 17, God says to Abram to change his name from Abram, to Abraham. I wonder if this was so that he could start fresh and people would not know he was the guy who lied that Sarai was his sister, and slept with his wife’s slave girl. Sarai also has her named changed to Sarah. Then near the end of the chapter 99 year old Abraham is circumcised. This profound scripture emphatically reminds me not to complain about my own aches and pains. And all men collectively shout AMEN!!.. and .. YOWTCHEE!!
So there you have another story of a very flawed man used by God in great ways. I thank God for His love and grace not dependent on my perfection.
I pray God finds us all faithful in words and deeds and willing to hear God's voice when He calls us.
Jeff (my wife is not my sister) Larson
If you have ever seen the movie Field of DREAMS you will know it’s about an Iowa farmer who hears voices telling him to plow under his corn crop and build a baseball field where the ghosts of old pro players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, would play. Now of course, the neighbors and the town folk think he is nuts, and that he is risking his farm for the sake of old baseball players that no one can see but himself.
The decision for this Iowa farmer to listen to whispering voices saying, “If you build it, they will come”, and then to build a ballpark without having a real explanation of what this is all about takes some faith. So what about Noah?
The Bible tells us that Noah was a righteous man, and faithful to God in a world of sin.
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. Genesis 6:5-6
and so God tells Noah, If you build it, they will come. Genesis 6:13-21 in this case THEY are a literal ‘boat-load’ of animals.
If you think an Iowa farmer got funny looks plowing under his crop/ livelihood, so that he could build a ballpark, I am sure that's nothing compared to Noah building a humungous boat in the middle of a desert. It became Noah’s “Field of Streams”.
Of course this Desert Ark Building attracted some serious ridicule, or at the very least a few chuckles and smirks from the town folk.
Noah builds this ark out of cypress wood. It is 450 feet, 75 feet wide, and 40 feet tall.
Next, please note the Ark Project was constructed by 600 yr. old Noah with the assistance of his 100 year old sons.
Think about it, Noah was approximately 10 times older than me, and his three 'boys' were 3 times older than my two sons.
Anyways, the ark is built, and then the collection and storing of the animal pairs begins.
Let me add a little perspective here..
and Regarding dogs & cats folklore has it if not for Noah’s keen 600 year old eyes and senses, the demise of the common house cat would have been a certainty.
Also illustrated below are a few more boarding the Ark highlights.. including the demise of the Unicorn.
GRAB YOUR UMBRELLA
Once the animals were all boarded, God seals the Ark and the skies opened up which not one local Weather channel predicted, and those left behind did perish. These flood waters go higher and higher until on I believe the 40th day the highest mountains are covered.
I know the question sometimes arises as to whether or not this was a local or world widen flood. What I do know is it was a WHOLE LOT OF WATER.
LIFE AT SEA..
So now there is a time where God floats the boat. Loaded with animals of every kind I cannot imagine how this all worked out. I am challenged to get my one rescue dog out several times a day to ensure he does not do his 'bizness' on the carpet so 'say-no-more' bout' waste management on this sea sick petting zoo. But on the bright side the excursions and amenities not found on any other Cruise line, and since they would be in the Ark for I believe 371 days, they might as well make the best of what Noah's Luxury Cruise had to offer..
ALL ASHORE THAT'S GOING ASHORE!
Finally the the waters subsided and the ark settled on one of the mountains of Ararat .
Once it became safe to leave the Ark, the animals were let go, must have been as interesting as the boarding), and shortly there after the first pooper scooper was invented.
In all seriousness now, this was the new beginning for manking, and God signed with a RAINBOW His promise that he would never destroy the Earth by flood again.
Noah was a righteous man, and lived to be an incredible 950 years, just 19 years less than longevity king Methuselah.
THIS WAS ONE CRAZY BOAT RIDE..
I have to be honest the story of Noah, the Ark, the boarding of every animal two by two, all culminating with a Flood killing all life leaves me scratching my head. BUT just like the flood was an act of God, so was this animal control process. So I must distinguish between hard to understand and don’t believe. I believe, but can I tell you how it happened.. NOPE. It's as they say.. 'above my pay grade'.
I believe God hears our honest questions, and our lack of understanding, and in reply he may simply say, “Of course you don’t”.
One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 55:8,9 where God declares, “My ways are not your ways. Neither are my thoughts your thoughts. For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways than your ways and my thoughts than yours.”
So again.. when I don’t understand – but still I believe!
CUTE STORY? SOBERING TRUTH? or both?
In summary, the story of Noah has today often is told as a children’s story. Christian Gift Shops have cute figurines of Noah, and his Ark all filled with smiling animals. Also, in my cartoon world the story of Noah's Ark is loaded with silly fodder. BUT the story of Noah has a sobering message balancing perfectly God’s providence for the faithful and obedient with harsh judgment of a wicked world.
The story of Noah and the ark is our story
This is a world of great sin where the hearts of man (just like in Ge 6:5-6) appears to be on evil all the time. The Great News is those who love God receive His Amazing Love & Grace… but again realize.. HOW WE CONDUCT OUR LIVES MATTERS ETERNALLY. if we choose self over God than our eternity is the same as those outside the Ark. We may not get all wet by a supernatural Great Flood, but we will be just as lost, just as judged, and just as damned.
May God bless each of you to be faithful and obedient to God while living in this self indulgent world.
Jeff (wearing my waterwings today) Larson
I found a web site which lists the oldest people living today. When I checked it I read of a lady who was 115, and another that was 125, and then some lady I think from Peru that was supposedly 140! There was a picture of this lady and, yes, she looked every bit of 140. Of course I am not sure how we can really know she is that old (count her wrinkles like the rings on a tree?), but there is no doubt she is very, very old.
So segue back to Genesis after Cain kills his brother Abel we move on to a ‘a whole-lotta-begetting’ going on. God’s command to “go forth and multiply” was one command mankind took to heart well beyond just knowing their times tables!
But old in Genesis is a relative thing. People in Genesis times lived to be sometimes 800 or 900 years old.
Adam lived to be 930 years old after God created him on the 6th day Genesis 5:5. His son Seth was 912 Genesis 5:8, Noah later on in Genesis we learn lived to be 950 years, and the long in the tooth award winner is .. Methuselah... the oldest man in the history of .. HISTORY. Methuselah was cut down in the prime of life at the age of 969 Genesis 5:25-27
I figure if I eat my veggies, drink milk, get 8 hours of sleep a night along with daily exercise and in only 907 more birthdays I will have Methuselah beat. That will be in the year.. 2928 when I am neighbors with George Jetson.
They say you are only as old as you feel and I find this to be very little encouragement some days when feeling 'Genesis5esque' old. Maybe not Methuselah old, but at least somewhere in the mid 500s. and to think they did not have Ibuprophen.
The other interesting pattern of this was how old people were still.. um.. still.. ‘begetting’. While one of today’s serious society concerns is teen pregnancies, this was not the problem with society recorded in Genesis.
In Genesis 5 it was not unusual for a couple to wait 70 to 500 years old before starting a family. I guess those 500 years were spent playing golf, world travel using up trips to Hawaii, paying off the mortgage(s), credit card debt, or marking hot yoga off their bucket list.
Maybe women in Genesis 5 wanted a career as a shepherdess, garden mogul, or working as a Mary Kay Cosmetics specialist before settling down and having kids.
Note: This parenting trend even held true even after Noah came onto the scene.
At age 500 Noah had three sons, and when he was about 600 years old when the Lord told him to start his Desert Ark Marina, and from what I read his sons helped with this process.
Ok, so picture this - 600 year old Noah, and his three 100 year old sons building a very big (BBIIIGGG) boat. Five hundred years old!? That would be like Columbus still being around, and working with those old people I found on that web site to build an ark. Of course Columbus may understand boats, BUT.. HE’S VERY OLD AND VERY DEAD, and those people from the website are VERY OLD and will be dead soon enough.
I do believe these stories we read about in Genesis, but in our modern world I have trouble picturing this Old Testament culture. But then again, I suppose IF Noah reappeared in the desert near the city of Las Vegas (aka Sin City), he would most likely sigh and say, “I better get busy building another ark in the desert again because society is certainly going to Hell.” (insert pun here).
Let me close these early chapters of Genesis with a few more images sharing a Back Pew perspective.
So while it is hard for me to grasp the fact that I am 63.. a Methuselah like age (969) boggles the mind. But like so many things in the Bible, just because I don’t understand does not make it not true.
From Genesis through Revelation I find the evidence and promise of God’s love and grace.
From the Garden to the Flood to the Cross all the way through life today sitting in my Back Pew there is this promise and evidence of a loving God.
May God bless each of you today in ways that are beyond your dreams. I pray you place your faith and hopes in the one true God of our Bibles.
Jeff (Methuselah like aches & pains) Larson
So Adam and Eve leave Eden, and start a family with their two fine boys Cain & Abel. The Bible does not tell us too much about the boys lives, but that Cain liked veggies, whilst Abel tended animals. These both seemed like wonderful career choices as Silicon Valley technology opportunities were limited at this time.
All is fine and good livin' La-vi-la-Genesis until Cain and Able were to bring their gifts to the Lord. God accepted Abel’s gift, but rejected Cain’s. For this Back Pew cartoonist, this provided an interesting moment between these boys debating the health risks of too much red meat.
Admittedly Cain did overreact when his ‘garden salad gift’ was rejected by God by killing his brother. No more Red Bull energy drinks for Cain.
When God asks Cain what happened to his brother he gives the time honored answer. “Am I my brothers keeper?” and perhaps then deflected from his guilt mumbling about his PETA membership being disrespected.
So there you have it. Adam, Eve, a Garden neglected, and two boys that fight. God's creation is certainly off to a fine start.
Sin and the fall of man was inevitable, and was the result of man's free will choice just as our sins are.. but moving from apple eating to murder was a big jump on the sin meter.
The consequences of sin for Adam & Eve was they were evicted from The Garden of Eden, and now for Cain became a homeless wanderer.
THE GREAT NEWS is that neither Adam's eating apples, Cain killing his brother, or any other creative sin of man is NOT beyond the redemption found in GOD'S GRACE.
My prayer is we all learn from these Genesis lessons of free will rebellion gone horribly bad. Most of us I like to think will never commit murder, but our sins great and small are all selfish rebellions of emotions and ignorance that fly in the face of God's will.
When this happens, and it will.. return to God (repentance is good for the heart) just like the prodigal children we all are.
Repent and accept God's free gift of grace. If we don't repent we will be like Cain.. a homeless wanderer of this Earth and missing the greater purpose intended for each of us.
Jeff (not a murderer) Larson
After creating the world God placed Adam and Eve in the beautiful Garden of Eden (aka paradise), and in the center of this garden was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil Ge 2:17 which Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of its fruit. A Great setting for a Garden Party, until.. it was ruined.
So how do you ruin a Garden Party?
Rain, snow, gloom of night (mailman stuff), or maybe forget to send out the invites to your party? Of course snow & ice might happen here in Minnesota (paradICE), but not in paradise (Eden), so how Adam & Eve ruin this Garden Party?
Genesis 2:19-20 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.
So as Senior Garden Engineer Adam did his best Dr. Doolittle imitation and talked to the animals naming them one by one. What a daunting task, but 'in the beginning' the streaming library on Netflix was limited, there was no Sunday football, and this task was assigned before Eve arrived with her 'Honey Do List(s)' so he had plenty of time to name a 'couple animals'.
Ok, admittedly all the animals are not pets, but I know my one little rescue dog could get into the right amount of mischief to ruin a garden party. Either chewing up something that is not his, sneaking food that is not his, or.. leaving little doggie-doo 'presents' that are his and I have stepped in.
But we do not read any animals (even a mischievous rescue dog ruined the Garden Party.
So if it wasn't the animals, then who was to blame?
Genesis 3:1-7 So next enters ‘ The Snake’ aka Satan, and the snake tempts Eve that eating fruit is a good thing and she does, and offers it Adam and he eats too.
In defense of Adam, though he did disobey God (being a married man myself) I remember early in our marriage my wife made a special dinner and she asked if I liked it and I foolishly answered "it was ok, but not my favorite".. This landed me on thin ice, and the waters below were icy cold!
But I digress.. So they both eat the apple, and all of a sudden they feel a draft, as they realize they are naked.
Naked and Uncomfortable (sounds like a Discovery Channel reality show) and more uncomfortable in a draft than a 1960's hippy was getting a draft notice from Uncle Sam!
In case of the hippy, he burned his draft card and headed to Oh Can-a-daaa Eh!, In contrast, Adam & Eve realized they were drafted while being naked.
There was no Old ‘Testament’ Navy, GAP (except between the leaves!), or levi's stores in the Garden so Adam & Eve being naked went for the ‘obvious’ line of clothing.. FIG LEAVES?
Ge 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
But.. this 'Fig Leaf' line of fashion had at least a couple serious drawbacks.
1. Leaf blight, and squirrels, and
2. Fig Leaves were simply not all that flattering. No woman when asking how she looks, wants to hear the words.. "You look like a SHRUB".
And now seeing the bigger picture outside of the world of fashion, Adam & Eve realized life would never be the same. Sin caused a host of irrational emotions.
Ge 3:8-9 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
The Invention of the Blame Game..
Naked and afraid Adam & Eve were playing 'Hide & Seek' with God. This is where the time honored (or dishonored) 'Blame Game' was first used. First Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the snake, and the snake did not have a leg (literally & figuratively) to stand on!
This my friends is how you ruin a Garden Party!
About a week later a CSI investigation corroborated the entire Genesis 3 account.
So the fall out from this original sin was the snake, woman, and man were cursed and Adam & Eve were then EVICTED from the Garden while Willie Nelson played 'On the Road Again' in the background.
Since Genesis 3, our sinful flawed nature has compromised what God has intended for our lives.
The Sin Parallel
Adam & Eve chose to disobey God, eat the forbidden apple and then try to hide from God. While we may not live anything close to Paradise, the 'sin parallel' is the same. .. our sins are our willful choice that separate us from God, and then we hide! It matters what we do, say, and/or think, and our disobedience in big or small ways lands compromises the good God intends for us.
GOOD NEWS IS.. God's Grace is as they say AMAZING. He will accept us back after any big or small prodigal moments when we truly repent. BUT please note.. God will not be mocked.. an insincere whoopsie attitude towards our sin move us further away from the safety and blessings God intends for us.
My prayer today all of us to pursue a greater love for our God. To be in a place where obedience to our loving Heavenly Father is a natural expression of this love. May God impress on our hearts His love for us, He desires the very best for us, and realize His Word is a light to guide us in this dark world.
Jeff (weedy garden) Larson
Final Notes.. It was a strange new world in the Beginning ripe with a few more Genesis Garden cartoon musings.
Most everyone agrees after a quick cursory glance and a collective cringe the year 2020 was not good.
In fact, 2020 was the 'dumpster fire' of years. And so.. I am praying for a much better 2021 and am not even shooting for good. I would settle for just ok.
but.. no matter what 2021 brings IN THE 'very' BEGINNING when God created .. it was good.
Genesis 1 - In the beginning, God spoke the universe into existence. Some witnesses of this moment claimed they heard a loud crackling sound like thunder, but most simply described it as a.. BANG.. actually a BIG BANG!
At this point let me be clear, I am not here to discuss Old Earth v New Earth theories. This would be above the pay grade of this cartoonist, but what I will say again is ..
God created and it was GOOD!
Genesis 1:1-31 To summarize, this daunting project was completed in 6 days where Day 1: DAY , NIGHT , the SKY were spoke into existence by our Almighty Creator.
Those first 6 days His creation included the sun, stars, land, waters, and all the creatures in the sea and on land were created.
Genesis 2:1-3 Then fast forward to 7th day and God rested. In contrast I installed a bathroom floor in our town-home recently and I rested on the 5th, 6th, and 7th days and while it turned out nice it was not Hubble Telescope spectacular like God's Universe.
To rule over the lands and seas God created MAN Genesis 2:7 in His own image from the dust of the Earth followed by creating WOMAN from man's 'spare rib' declaring it is not good for man to be alone. Genesis 2:18
To which Adam declared.. "Hey beautiful, where have you been all my life?"
Then God commanded Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply".. to which Adam quickly started working on his times tables.
This creation story is all recorded into the Bible book of Genesis. While many Cosmologists believe the Big Bang was the creation of EVERYTHING from NOTHING followed by billions of years of random collisions and explosions resulted in our ever expanding universe, all the planets including Earth including life with all it's complexities.
Ok, I believe you can collide a chocolate bar with a jar of peanut butter and end up with a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.. but this Universe has too moving parts + complexities that are bound together with rules and order for me to believe EVERYTHING came from NOTHING.
So I choose to believe there must be an intelligent design behind creation. For me, I believe in a divine creator that exists outside the confines of time and space. I believe this Intelligent Design is described in the Bible Book of Genesis.
May God bless each of you greatly in your pursuit of truth.
This is important stuff, and a foundation for life. If there is a God then the pursuit of Him is a greater science than can be found looking through any microscope or telescope. Bigger than Star Trek's five year journey exploring the stars.
Jeff (little bang) Larson
God's Spirit moving in me is more than my conscience making me feel guilty about late night snacking.. and of this I AM GUILITY.
The Spirit of God leads, the Spirit intercedes. Yea, though I walk through the Valley of Death I will fear no evil, for your Spirit is with me. Psalms 23
I believe the Spirit is that tug on my heart, the gentle unspoken word convicting me of my sins that is truly a gentle touch on my soul.
The Spirit of God indwells in my being when and where I make room for Him.
The Spirit of God will not share my heart with unclean thoughts, and sinful ways like Felix and Oscar from Neil Simon's The Odd Couple. So make room for God's Spirit and to be led by Him.
Savor time spent quiet and alone with the very Holy Spirit of God.
Pray for clarity of mind and spirit, and strength in times of pain and discouragement.
Seek God's Spirit in your life daily, and without exception.
And.. do not grieve God's Spirit with sinful compromise in thoughts, desires, and/or actions.
Pray to hear His words impressed on your very soul, and Lord find us obedient to the promptings of your Spirit, and
Empower us when we are weak for your Glory.
And then truly.. I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.
Jeff (quiet in spirit for a change) Larson
Render.. to provide or give (a service, help, etc.).
In the days of Jesus, the Roman Empire was the most ruthless political, social, and military power in the land. Their motto.. DON'T MESS WITH ROME, it won't end well.
The religious power at this time was in the clutches of those disapproving rigid rule keepers extra ordinaires.. The Pharisees enjoyed heaping frustrating layers of tedious legalism on top of God's simple, beautiful loving truths. Matthew 23:24
Then along comes Jesus sharing the perfect Gospel message of love and hope. John 10:10
On one day the religious leaders ask Jesus a trick question to trap Jesus with his answer. "Teacher, should we pay taxes to Caesar?".. Jesus replied "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." Matthew 22:20-22 This was the original drop the mic moment before there were mics.
Meanwhile today in America our government is becoming a 'big brother' political & social power propped up by the main stream & social media. Their motto.. DON'T MESS WITH BIG BROTHER.. just like Rome, it won't end well.
Today's religious powers are a blend of world religions and the progressive 'Church' movement. They promote a collective faith (a higher power). They do not consider Christian Bible is not considered inerrant, and the beautiful truths on life it's pages are revised or redacted to fit their 'tolerant and evolved versions' of truth.
Then along comes the True Church sharing the perfect Gospel message of love and hope. Mark 16:15
So if we are asked a loaded question like.. "Who do you obey?.. Reply.. "Render unto America what is due, but give to God what is God's. Then.. drop the mic.
This blog message was born out of conversations with my wonderful wife Mary. Our country now has a new president and while some are excited America is headed in a new direction, others are very concerned.
Make no mistake there will be big changes, BUT.. no matter which side you are on remember the true message of Hope is in the Gospel message and not in American politics. No need to confuse love for country with love for God, and no need to become confused where our hope lies. It is in Jesus.
It is eternally more important to get the Gospel message right, than to get the tax code right.
May God bless each of you to stay true to the course of the Gospel message and place your hope and purpose in the Gospel message.
Jeff (Secretary of Crayons in the new Biden Administration) Larson
Narcissist - a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves.
Today, a narcissist is a term thrown about to describe politicians, Hollywood celebrities, and pro athletes who appear to live a self-adoration existence believing they MUST share their 'enlightenments' to us 'common folk'. How else could we carry on?
Unfortunately, I believe narcissism is alive and well (actually a sickness) in the Church where 'celebrity' preachers' tweak God's Word for the itching ears of the masses seeking entertainment not God. These preachers are more concerned with offending society than God. note: never tweak God's Word, and never come to church for entertainment. Luke 18:10-14
Narcissism in the church exists when...
Also, a subtle church narcissism can be fueled by insecurities. We skew our thoughts often fueled by anxious busy minds, and/or hurt feelings to where we lose sight of God. These self preservation fears will drive us inward, and away from God's will as much as any of the above ego-motivated narcissism. Sadly none of us are exempt from the pull of 'Christian Narcissism'.
note: Of course Christian Narcissism is a oxymoron of Biblical proportions. The behavior of Narcissism is anything but Christian, but makes for a catchy title.
Recently my wife and I started a small group Bible study with friends from our church. We are reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer .. and in this short book Tozer prescribes the cure for Narcissism.
This is my prayer for God's Church. To pursue His Truth, and to serve in the church and in the world in ways that make us the Body of Christ. We (the Church) are one body with many parts (denominations, giftedness, talents) and designed for the Glory of God.
Jeff (one body, many aches) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson