I mention often we live in a society where crass is considered clever, profane is provocative, and Christian Values are considered hate speech. One obvious example of this is this world believes the all purpose F-bomb or mother F-bomb is a trendy adjective.
While the F-bomb may be today's most popular profanity there are so many other profanities that do not need to be listed now. The point is these are NOT just words and profanity is of ‘dumbing down’ our communication skills. Hip hop lyrics, comedians, and emphatic politicians feel the need to use profanity to make their point.
note: Studies have proven an individual's IQ is lowered by 15 points every time they use the F-Bomb
-follow the science-
Note: Even Assyrian Captains from the Old Testament struggle -->
Confession: While my vocabulary is not a clever plethora of profanities, or compares with above mentioned Assyrian Captain neither would I describe it as a pristine mountain stream.
And.. I am surprised how we Christians blend into this profane world.
We are called to be salt and light, but we curse, rage, drink like the world. We laugh at jokes, watch movies, and use language that does not honor God.
This world is like the BORG (from Star Trek) and the church is being assimilated.
This is not a guilt trip it is a gut check!
So join me today on a ‘PROFANITY DIET’. You know.. at least cut back on blue cloud of words emissions.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things... Phil 4:8 .
We don’t need to using an okely dokely vocabulary like Ned Flanders on the Simpsons, or sound like Pa Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie, BUT neither should we be confused with the sailor on shore leave.. unless you are Popeye. Popeye is cool, just sayin'.
To be certain no one is going to Hell or even made to stand in the corner by God for blurting out words only 4 LETTERS LONG.. but the next time you are cut off on the road let your words be few and your actions honor God.
May God would find us Salt and Light as He commands instead of assimilating into our big ol' Crass Culture BORG... and for those who do not struggle with '4 letter words' I commend you.
Jeff (sometimes 'blurting' in the Back Pew) Larson
Final Note: I love movies that are edited by network TV where profanity is edited to say words like 'friggin' or 'bull shoot' These less than creative edits can reduce Joe Pesci in a mob movie to sound like my sweet wife Mary.
Most everyone agrees after a quick cursory glance and a collective cringe the year 2020 was not good. Then 2021 was another dumpster fire year with record inflation, COVID is still being COVID, along with a society that cannot even agree that there are two genders or if gender is a fluid state of being. ARGH!
So I am praying for a 2022 and not even shooting for a good year. I would settle for the dumpster fire to be put out.
But for today let me bring you back to simpler times IN THE 'very' BEGINNING when God created .. it was good! Let's review.
Genesis 1 - In the beginning, God spoke the universe into existence. Some witnesses claimed they heard a loud crackling sound like thunder. Kind of a BANG, a really really BIG BANG!
Note: 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. He did not even watch football. 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.
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.
Important Note: I believe most Cosmologists 'do drugs'. Just my opinion.. with a smirk.
I choose instead to believe there must be an intelligent design behind creation. 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, telescope, or on a petri dish
Understanding our Creator is to go boldly beyond any Star Trek five year journey exploring his creation.
So no matter if you are in the 6,000 year old Young Earth Camp, or you believe in a 4.5 billion year Old Earth let's agree God created and IT WAS GOOD, maybe even GREAT.
.. and certainly better than 2020, or 2021. Just sayin'
Jeff (Big Bang when he falls down) Larson
If we took a poll on our favorite books of the Bible, you may hear the Gospel of John, Psalms, Proverbs, James, Philippians, but I am quite sure Leviticus is NOT in the top 10, or 50, or maybe 65 books of the Bible. But I have discovered Leviticus Rocks!
No I am not talking about an archeological dig uncovering 'rocks' dated back to the time of Leviticus.. I am talking about recent important lessons God's Spirit has taught me while reading the book of Leviticus.
Leviticus.. All those seemingly archaic lists of dos and don'ts regarding the bugs, rats, owls, or lizards you cannot eat do NOT make Leviticus a page turner unless you are in a through the Bible reading plan and by turning pages to get on to the next book of the Bible. Unfortunately the next book is the book of Numbers which starts out with a Census taken on the twelve tribes of Israel. "ROLL CALL, everybody get in line and count off by one. Zzzzzzz...."
For a number of years now I have made the good habit of reading through my Bible each year. For me, reading through my Bible provides me context that I otherwise may miss. I do also enjoy other studies, books by popular Christian authors past and present, BUT I find God speaks to me best when it is just me and His word.
And this year I am loving Leviticus. Livin' la-vida-Leviticus!
Leviticus deals with the significant for the nation of Israel in the years right after being miraculously freed (including the parting of the Red Sea) from slavery in Egypt. These Levitical laws included the details of animal sacrifices to the Lord, strict requirements for priests, punishments by stoning, and much more. All these and more are difficult to fathom while living in our modern world of 'cheap grace' that follows celebrity preachers with a what happens in 'America' stays in 'America' attitude.
But this year reading Leviticus God spoke to me regarding his Holiness, and the importance of these animal sacrifices done in great detail was a true reverence to God. Ok, today in our land of PETA, animal sacrifices are not easy to grasp, but Levitical sacrifices were written for a world much different than ours, BUT..
the same reverence for God and doing what is pleasing in the Eyes of the Lord is still relevant. But for today, Jesus took the place of these sin offerings.
Even the scriptures on stoning in certain situations I understand now making sense. In one case a man blasphemed God, and was to be put to death by stoning. Today, that line for stoning those who blaspheme God would be very long and run waaay around the corner. And I agree on face value STONING seems very harsh.
But think of it.. In a time shortly after this man was miraculously delivered from slavery in Egypt by the very hand of God now decides to blaspheme Him. I don't pretend to know the mind of God, but this man would be in my eyes the poster child for mocking God, and...
GOD IS NOT MOCKED. Leviticus 24:10-23, Galatians 6:7
I think without the stoning part our society angers our loving God with our cavalier smug attitude judgments of God himself. We don't just have questions about God, we judge Him. We lower in our eyes the creator of this world who exists outside time in space to our blip in time existence. Think of it, the very creator of this universe being deemed wrong by our 'pea brained' insights on justice. We judge God as not loving even though mankind's free will is the root cause of all pain and death. WHAT ARROGANCE.
Then laws about qualifications for being a High Priest. .. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. Leviticus 21:18-20
Ok, as a cartoonist I of course find humor in this, BUT.. in truth the importance of the High Priest being set apart and special speaks to today's cavalier by comparison selection of preachers (men of God).
This world of is a glut of celebrity preachers, hot preachers, easy grace preachers, new age / progressive preachers making these Levitical laws on High Priests wise by comparison to our low standards for today's 'supposed' men of God.
Ok, I am not sure how well this blog is received today. I don't believe I have convinced many to make Leviticus their favorite book of the Bible, but I pray what I have shared gives some much needed context for this often cringe-worthy book of Old Testament law.
There is a song by Mercy Me, Word of God Speak.. let me share the lyrics of this song below, and I pray these words give us perspective on the Power of God's Word and His Spirit in using these words to speak life into us.
"Word Of God Speak"
I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say
Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak
I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice
[REPEAT CHORUS 2x]
I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
Link to Play song-> Word of God Speak
My prayer today is for each of us this year to put in our most high regard, God's Word. I pray we are quiet enough to hear God speak to us by His Spirit these words of Life.. even in Leviticus
Word of God Speak!
Jeff (Levitical low priest) Larson
A compelling story shared can give us hope, and/or inspire us. But over time doubts may creep in and we ponder is this story truth or a fable? This will require some investigative work to bolster our faith. And the most compelling story we can ever investigate is to know God and trust in His love.
Every year my wife and I like to assemble a 500 or maybe 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. We start by turning all the pieces face up, then locating and assembling the edge pieces. Next we group pieces by colors, patterns, and shapes.
This is not an exact jigsaw puzzle science but it is how we roll.
After many hours/days and snacks we have the satisfaction of the fully assembled picture that looks just like the one on the puzzle box.
(hopefully with no missing pieces)
So back to the 'God puzzle' of Biblical proportions. We cannot comprehend God fully with a compelling Sunday sermon all by itself. This puzzle of God will take a lifetime of prayer and study, but is so worth it.
This puzzle for mankind starts in Genesis 1:1 .. In the beginning God created,, and ends in the prophetic book of Revelation.
In between we find the story of God's love and providence including..
ALL THIS is and more are a part of God's Plan and the most worthy puzzle to assemble.
But Puzzler beware: Just like with a jigsaw puzzle while learning about God we will find pieces that seem out of place, and even swear there must be missing pieces. But in time we better understand His mysteries and find everything is where it should be.
Also note, God designed this puzzle we did not. Isaiah 55:8-9 designing this puzzle is above our pay grade.
So if you like jigsaw puzzles or not, I would encourage everyone to take serious this puzzle of knowing better our amazing God, the creator of this world who loves each of us. Do not be distracted by the other puzzles and distractions of this world.
What greater pursuit is there? And know.. you will not be bored.
Jeff (often a puzzled look on his face) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson