The author of the book of Hebrews does not mince words when he wrote
.. it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of NOT LISTENING! ... You ought to be teachers by now, yet here you are needing someone to go over the basics on God.. AGAIN! You need MILK, and Milk is for BABIES! Hebrews 5:11-14 (MSG).
BUT then again.. there are plenty of meaningful scriptures exhorting us to have the the faith of a child.
Mt 9:14 (LIV) Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me! Never send them away! For the Kingdom of God belongs to men who have hearts as trusting as these little children’s.
and how about...
Mt 18:2-4 (lIV) Jesus said, “Unless you turn to God from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. and then Jesus continues.. Therefore anyone who humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
even Max Lucado chimes in when he wrote in one of his books.. "Play hard, laugh loud and leave the worries to the Father."
Ok God so which is it? Be like a child or grow up? Drink Milk and eat my Wonder Bread, or grill me a T-Bone Steak?
Before God answers that burning question let me take time for some Introspection..
They say When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Then by my reasoning.. if I have a glass of milk.. make a Milkshake?
There you have it.. I am neither profound nor insightful all in one simple 'Jeffism'.
Seriously, I know God wants me to trust and love Him like as a child I did my own mom & dad.
Also God wants me to grow up, and not end up a spiritual baby or even a lazy spiritual teen living in my Heavenly Father's basement playing video games while this hurting world is in need of spiritual grown ups (men & women of God).
Love God with all their heart soul and mind and others as themselves. Spending time in God's word daily and in a constant attitude of prayer/conversation with God is the two step formula in becoming a spiritual grown up.
May God bless each of you in your faith journeys. Trust in God with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Jeff (Vanilla Milk Shake Drinking in the Back Pew) Larson
Contestant1: "I'll take COLD for $500"
Alex Trebec: “It is winter, and has been for ever so long…. always winter, but never Christmas.”
- beep, beep!
Contestant1: "What is Narnia?"
Alex Trebec: "I'm sorry, that is not the answer we were looking for."
Contestant2: "What is April 2018 in Minnesota."
Alex Trebec: "That is CORRECT!"
My wife and I recently bought a townhome on March 29, 2018. That first evening the deck was clear of snow, and the ground was finally looking like after a long cold bitter Winter.. Spring may be around the corner.
Well that joke was on us as two days later (March 31) while we were busy with painting, removing wallpaper and tearing out old carpet. We were hit with first a freezing rain, then a heavy wet snow.
As a winter encore the following weekend April 6th when we started loading our moving truck it was 8 degrees! Not 58, 48, 38, or even 28.. just 8. EIGHT!
Thankfully friends and family with warm hearts and strong backs made the move a success
Over the next week as we were unloading boxes and arranging rooms, the snow was melting and again Spring seemed right around the corner.
Well actually around that corner we found Mother Nature spewing out more winter rage starting on April/Friday the 13th where we transitioned from freezing rain to a full blown blizzard resulting in 18 inches of snow and the winds were I believe 25-30mph. Yeah Spring?
So again, what is always winter, but never Christmas. April in Minnesota!
Ok I do realize Spring will come eventually. In fact my wife Mary told me last night the forcast is for the temperature to be in the 60s all next week. That would be nice, and I trust my wife, but.. Mother Nature? Not so much.
I know sometimes in everyones lives it feels like 'always winter but never Christmas'. Not the go sledding, or skiing kind, but a cold, dark existence where literal and figurative storms rage threatening to destroy everything.
The loss of a job, marriage tensions, divorce, sickness, death, depression, anxiety, and a host of other factors in our lives that are more threatening than an April blizzard. The answer to all these storms and more is the Jesus who calms the seas.
My wife and I have both learned that the pursuit of God through quiet times reading our bibles, a good Christian book, and/or time spent in prayer is where Jesus calms these storm in our lives.
We call it doing our magic.. I know, I know magic may be a bad Christian analogy, but being close to God, and focusing my eyes on Him instead of any raging storm gives us peace all while the waves may remain high and the winds whistling. It is not magic, but instead the Spirit of God opening our eyes and giving us hope.
One last thing about always winter, but never Christmas. This world appears to be always winter and never Christmas.. even in the deserts of the Middle East.
Chaos reigns in this world of natural disasters, and even more so in the hearts of men who do not know God. For this too, I pray to Jesus for revival in the heart of men in women in America and throughout the world.
Only with Jesus will this world experience hope in the storms that threaten to consume us.
May God bless each of your lives today. You may live in sunny Florida where it feels like always winter and never Christmas in your heart and/or circumstance, but our God can give you the peace that passes all understanding and/or storm.
Know that God is so good and with you even in the storms and trials of this broken world.
Jeff (Ready4Spring) Larson
It is not good for man to be alone. God decided this before the second chapter of Genesis was over. Genesis 2:18
Adam's socks were all over the Garden. Dirty dishes were everywhere, and all man did was sit around watching ball games on TV telling knock knock jokes.. to himself. Besides, Adam was not even using that rib.
So it was clear then and is now it was not good for man to be alone UNLESS his only choice is a NAG Proverbs 21:19.. then God advises..
get a room on the second floor of a one story home. The view is spectacular and the quiet is so welcome. :)
Of course there is much more to be said about God's Gender Odd Couple (man & wife). Both common sense and God's word make this abundantly clear.
One of my favorite verses to take out of context is Ephesians 5:22 Wives SUBMIT to your husbands.
This is an annoying verse to my wife Mary when I take too long to pause and ponder this 'great' scripture without continuing to read the next 11 verses. I even try to convince her that there are only 22 verses in Ephesians 5. She is not amused.
But when I get serious and take time to read Ephesians 5:21-33 in a modern translation like The Message (MSG) my smirky bell-ringing stereotype of 5:22 goes silent.
21 Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The Husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.
There you have it, just like when Jesus taught us how to pray in 5 short verses (Mt 6:9-13), now Paul shares how to have a happy marriage in 13 short verses (Eph 5:21-33).
This scripture of a good marriage does inspire me to love, cherish and appreciate my wife, BUT I also do see in verse 32 Paul admits.. This is a huge mystery and I don't pretend to understand. Well Paul, welcome to my Marriage Mystery Club with a membership of about a BA-ZILLION!
Marriage truly is a beautiful mystery though our different emotional and processing 'wiring' often do create a few sparks. Just know even in the best of marriages you can count on your share of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, disagreements, a few tears, and if looks could kill..
I WOULD BE DEAD 1000 times over!
In the end most days most of us both love our spouse to death, and are scratching our heads wondering what planet your spouse is from.
May God bless each of you that are married with spouses that are described in Eph 5:21-33, and not Proverbs 21:19.
We once took a shortcut across a mountain in Colorado.. This was back before the days of GPS, and while vacationing in Colorado along with my wife and kids. My wife Mary pulled out the good ol' paper (folded 50 times) map and found a 'shortcut' that would cut off miles on our quest to reach the Royal Gorge.
Well, we ended up Royal Lost driving where a minivan passed Sherpas .. mountain goats.. and the body of George Mallory until we back tracked to civilization.
In the end our 'shortcut' added an extra 1 1/2 half hours to reach the 'Royal Hole in the Ground'. My lesson learned was beware of shortcuts when driving to the Royal Gorge, and as my mind wanders.. also.. there are no CliffsNotes for Intimacy with God.
I am from time to time prone to FITTING GOD IN rather than making time with God a priority. This scheduled time does not discount the importance of communing with him through out the day but by making time for prayer and devotions in the morning as a discipline demonstrates respect and a time that God honors.
God did not honor Cain's shortcut sacrifice back in Genesis when he showed up with a lovely garden salad and neither does He want us to take shortcuts in honoring God with our time, and our worship.
My point is by making time with God a priority I am investing in the most important relationship any of usan pursue, and this time is God honoring and pleasing to Him.
I don't have the magic formula for intimacy with God, but my prayer is that we all take time to make time with God in prayers and devotions. It does not have to be in the morning or any specific length of time. It does not have to be a bible study but it needs to be in my mind a time of reading, reflection and prayer. How else could we dream of tapping into any glimpse of the Almighty God without quiet moments alone pursuing him.
I believe God will honor and grow these efforts and make our relationship with the creator of this world more personal and pleasing.
Truth be told I continue to be a work in progress regarding this important discipline in my life. BUT.. I KNOW the difference it makes in my day when I take the time to be with God EVEN WHEN life is crazy busy.
Jeff (Back Pew) Larson
note: Think and Live out the Lord's Prayer Mt 6:9-13 “Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson