My good friend Bryan Anderson is a Biology professor at Bethel University. He is a smart guy from my home town of Cable Wisconsin population 280ish. Bryan lives the good life with his family now in the Twin Cities faithful to God, family, and friends.
I repost this blog about once a year around his birthday on July 28 or 29.. I think.... and this year he is like 441 years old in DOG years. And he certainly is an old dog.
Bryan was the best man in my wedding, and I have known him since I was 6 or 7 years old. It is a good thing to have such a good friend, but note while we are good friends, and I love him like a brother BUT we never HUG. That would be creepy weird.
Anyways, like I said Bryan is my very good friend, and we meet for lunch often, and when we meet he has shared with me his secrets for a happy life. I have summed up his secrets in what I would call..
THE FOUR PRINCIPLES OF BRYAN.
After all Bryan is a Biology professor, a man of science,.. he knows.. STUFF
For myself, I cheerfully own a cell phone, read email, and wear a seat belt.. but I believe Bryan is on to something regarding this 'sign happy world'. Also, I do social media.. and Bryan is right, I should just say NO.
Also Bryan reinforces his sign concerns by quoting Jesus in Matthew 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a SIGN, but none will be given it.
AMEN & AMEN
So there you have The Four Principles of Bryan (aka 4PB) for a world looking ironically for a sign? Not sure the 4PB will have the same impact as let's say.. The Four Spiritual Laws by Bill Bright, but there are four of em'.
May God bless your life with a fully charged smartphone, a manageable email inbox, seat belts in your cars, a life uncluttered by excessive 'signage'... and good friends to be used as blog fodder.
Jeff (SIGNing off for now) Larson
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'. Genesis 6:5
This was in the comment section of mankind's first report card. Just before God commanded Noah to build an ark he mailed out the letter grade for having your every inclinations of mankind's heart being evil all the time. It was big ol' fat F!
Think of it, just a few chapters after God created all things in six days declaring it good.. Mankind botched it up by rarely showing up for class or opening a book (figuratively speaking).
Another way of looking at it.. If this was mankind's Genesis 6:5 job review.. They were getting the boot.
Mankind did much worse than taking a highlighter and a notepad home for personal use. They were too often no shows in attitude, and effort... and maybe mixed in a little embezzling. aka Evil all the Time!
There were no extenuating circumstances to consider. They were outside of God's favor, and Noah's big boat. AND..in desperate need of a good flood insurance policy.
Evil all the time.. what does that even look like.?
I would guess there would be your garden variety envy, greed, racism, and hatred fueled by a self indulgent 'hell bent' looking for the next high' attitude in drink, sex, and/or any other means imaginable. Evil all the time.. folk are gluttons for all forms of pleasure with no boundaries. Their motto was .. 'What happens in Genesis 6:5, stays in Genesis 6:5.' Hmm, that slogan sounds familiar.
Now fast forward to our modern lives. I cannot imagine a society where evil all the time is there every inclination. <insert reflective pause> Unless.. I turn on the evening news. Then I might declare .. 'whoomp there it is.'
Is 'evil all the time' is an unfair assessment life today? I know there is good in this world and good people.. but there is a powerful Godless 24/7 stimulus smorgasbord for the senses ready to be indulged that does not play well with any true worship of God.
But what about the church? I could not say evil all the time is not a good description of the church and God's people, but compromise all the time maybe is. Too often 'The Church' the church is in a comfortable compromise with the world. They think they are in a Jacuzzi of peace with the world, but are unaware they are more like the 'frog in the boiling pot' willing to compromise God's timeless truths under the guise of being inclusive.
Insert REVIVAL here!
Is there an answer?
BUT.. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
I know 2 Chronicles 7:14 was written a long time ago to the nation of Israel, but the promise to restore and heal our lands of the repentant heart I believer are true today. True for any rebellious nation, compromised church, or the individual who has lost his way.
God's Grace is that big.
May God bless each of you today in your pursuit of God and for a revival that changes the world.
I wrote a while back about GETTING WHAT I DESERVE from God. I shared in this somewhat controversial blurb I deserve God's Grace, I deserve His Love because I am a child of God and God the Father is the perfect parent, and even as an imperfect parent myself I would always forgive and forget and strive to be patient and graceful towards my kids no matter their mistakes.
This GETTING WHAT I DESERVE writing was met with mixed reviews as some shared Grace is a gift we do not deserve, and our goodness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in comparison to our Creator. TRUTH!
Here in lies for me the PARADOX as both seemingly contradictory statements are true. We are all God's children, and He desires each one of us choose Him, BUT I know first hand my weaknesses my failures, my selfish desires are sometimes far from the heart of God... aka filthy rags.
I could ramble on about this topic and may do so another day, but today I will use the PRODIGAL SON as a great story of this paradox. This rebellious son chose his own way with his own free will and was allowed by the father to separate his life and choices totally from the father. During this time he was still the son and was loved, but far removed from doing anything remotely obedient or loving.
Once the prodigal son hit bottom, he grieved his poor decisions and with his same free will CHOSE to return to the father who welcomed him NOT with scolding words of disappointment BUT with open arms and love and a celebration exclaiming "My son was lost but now is found."
This prodigal son was both selfish, sinful, rebellious, and also loved beyond description by his Father. Both aspects of the son were true.. he was a walking talking (smelling like a pig pen) paradox... and so are we.
Our very best is NOTHING compared to our Heavenly Father. He deserves and desires our love and appreciation but we have the choice to reject Him. Isn't it great to be loved like this. Unconditional love that welcomes us back when we blow it.
Of course you may be like the other son who has NOT wandered far from home and was good, BUT please take on the heart of the father when those who have suffered prodigal moments have returned. We should celebrate the return of a brother or sister, and not EVER shake our heads comparing our relative goodness.
Note Again: The very best of any of us is still truly filthy rags compared to our Father. Not shaming anyone, but the very best virtuous, moral, giving, talented, gifted orators are clanging cymbals without God's love. So be thankful, stay humble, and rejoice with others and with the Father always.
This PARADOX is the heart of the gospel. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 Two seemingly contradictory statements that are both beautifully true.
May God bless and use you today no matter if you are the good rule following child of God OR.. the prodigal who has wandered away YET AGAIN. Both of you are His children and you are loved, and you DESERVE HIS GRACE if you choose it.. because that is what perfect love does. Accept this paradox from God.
Jeff (A living Breathing Back Pew Paradox) Larson
I have this prayer prep that I use when my mind is busy and unfocused. I slow my mind to take a glimpse of my place in this Universe.
Specifically, I am a speck on a blue ball (Earth) that spins at 1000 mph orbiting around our sun in our Solar System of 8 (or 9) planets, which is one of countess galaxies in our infinite Universe. ..
AND this existence.. my existence is just a microscopic blip on the timeline of .. eternity!
So while I admit I should lose like 25 (or so) pounds I also am feeling very small. Then to think of the intricacies of the human body, the human condition, that I have a free will, and I believe His spirit makes me a very special speck on this blue dot.
While I attempt to grasp this perspective of significance.. I pray Psalms 8:4 Who am I that you are mindful of me? .. and I am in awe of creation and more importantly our creator and His inexplicable love for each of us. Better yet, y'all best read all of Psalms 8
Now .. I am ready to pray as the world slows down.. I am an awe of God, and thankful for this day (even the bad ones), and pray that my life, my family, my friends, church, community, state, nation, and world come to realize the significance, purpose, and place as their own speck like roles on this blue dot.
Love God, love others and all glory to God on this day! Cuz ya know, the rest is speck on a blue ball trivia by comparison.
Jeff (Big Speck) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson