"I am off to pick a fight." is one of my favorite lines from one the movie.. ‘BraveHeart’.. not to be confused with Brave-Bird. see picture -->
BraveHeart is the story of William Wallace of Scotland fighting for the FRREEEDOMM against the oppressive rule of England. At one dramatic scene from the movie BraveHeart the Scots who were greatly outnumbered by the English are about to do battle. The well armed, well trained English did not take this rag-tag Scottish army seriously. But then after declaring.. “I am off to PICK A FIGHT.” .. in rides William Wallace (Mel Gibson) on his horse to mess with the peace negotiations between the Scots and England.
I won’t get into the details, but Wallace taunts and mocks the English until.. yes THERE WAS A FIGHT… and the Scots win!
The significant message of this movie is a call to do what is right no matter the cost, even the cost of maybe their lives.
Of course as modern day Christians we are not called to look for a fight, but we should NEVER be afraid to FIGHT for God's Truth. We answer to God, not to man. Some may cry out.. No, no, not the Crusades again…I go to church, I am a good person.. Please no Crusades 2019 unless they are like the Billy Graham Crusades. Billy Graham is good and I don't remember him in a fight.
Others recall.. "Jesus was about love. That's the Jesus we like.. the one about love. we don't associate with Christians who speak out against abortion, Planned Parenthood, gay marriage, or the LGBTQ like claims that there are more genders than Baskin Robbins has flavors of ice cream (31). Then the media beats their drum of secular outrage with stories about the dangerous bigoted 'religious right'. They guilt many for wanting to build a wall, owning a gun, or for even being white. Why should I feel guilty that my parents were white? Then every election year like lemmings we are pressured to run full speed off either a republican or democrat/socialist cliff following our political allegiances before considering God's Truth.
We are afraid of the fight if we are political, pro-Israel, or against Sharia Law lest we be labeled a Islamophobe. Please I am not one of THOSE Christians. I am a good person, who never makes waves.. I am like Jesus who is about love.. remember? All this pressure to conform and fear of a fight with our society railing against traditional Christian values melts many into doing their best Piglet of Winnie the Pooh fame (a devout pacifist).. as we fret and worry stammering “Oh d-dear, oh d-dear!!.
But let's slow down and consider a couple examples from our Bibles.
David, leveled the giant Goliath, and cut off his head for daring to mock God. There was no peace negotiations with the enemy of God, and there was victory for David standing up against this Pagan.
and the best example..
Jesus the Son of God...
To summarize the example of Jesus, and how this should set with his church.
If the world hates you, know that it has hated Jesus before it hated you. If you are of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but Jesus chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-19
Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Most likely we are not called to a literal bloody nose like fight, or to be the church version of Antifa.. but never EVER back down from living and teaching God's truth.
Important Note: Picking a Fight is also the fight for THOSE IN NEED, and the LOST? What good is our faith if it is only about our own well being?
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
May God bless each of us today as we pursue and defend God’s truth. May God smile at, and bless our sincere efforts to serve Him and others, and lovingly correct us when we fall… and may God bless us and use us in ways that are BEYOND OUR DREAMS.
Jeff (bruise like a peach) Larson
note: With us all in the fight for God's Truth, let's calm down the internal fights in the church. We should stand for God's word to be honored in the church and while there are differences in the body.. The cry of "heretic" is overused by those we differ with.
Cliff notes on Cliffs - Umm, cliffs are dangerous?
In Psalms 118:13, the Psalmist writes.. I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall, when God grabbed and held me. In Luke 4:29 we read of the unruly mob wanting to kill Jesus by throwing him off a cliff.
Dangerous Roads are.. umm dangerous too!
Then Matthew 7:13 shares.. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
So far, you are thinking.. Thank you Captain Obvious.
Next let's, combine 1. those dangerous roads, add.. 2. a steep cliff, next add.. 3. a sea far below our cliff crashing into the rocky coastline, and finally add many many.. 4. lost souls on this path running off a cliff to their deaths.. this is where you find the infamous LEMMING.
Being a literal lemming is nothing to brag about. They are part of the rodent family and their claim to fame (or infamy) is for their suicidal cliff diving method of population control. So it goes without saying, being called a lemming is not considered a compliment.
Being a Lemming implies you just follow the crowd, and do not think and/or act out on your own. Speaking in defense of lemmings in some ways it is nice to fit into the crowd and not make waves (no cliff diving pun here), and so most of us have a little lemming in us.
Then there are those who believe they are the Anti-Lemming. They boast in their 'self-proclaimed' independence. They are leaders, builders, buyers, quarterbacks, CEOs, and politicians. side point: politicians are a breed of lemming all to themselves. While it is good to have leaders and innovators, and also good to have those who work behind the scenes, and those who are true servant leaders... BUT, no matter your status in societies pecking order, when it comes to ETERNITY. Don't follow the crowd, don't be a Lemming.
In our Lemming society it is easy to observe too many follow the crowd. From fashion, fads, political views, sports teams, peer pressure are all factors as we get in line for our cliff run. Even in the church where we are called to be different..
(Romans 12:1-2) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Instead we 'Christians' too often apologize, go quiet, or act embarrassed to stand out for Jesus. So often we are entertained by our crass society, we spend money on ourselves, match vacations with our neighbors, keep up with the Jones's as much as humanly possible leaving little time or money for others and for God.. and wham bam before we know it we are knowingly or unwittingly a LEMMING. This is not always true of course, but.. remember.. If it looks like a lemming, runs like a lemming, and smells like a lemming.. it is probably a .. LEMMING.
May God bless and lead each of you today. Be still and listen for his leading. Read his Word, know his will and obey God only. Love God, care for others and beware the trail to the cliff riddled with lemming droppings (not to be confused with lemon drops).
Jeff (Back Pew Guy) Larson
I don't know what it is like where you live, but The rain that fell over the course of the last 24 hours officially bumped 2019 up to the second-wettest year on record in Minneapolis Mn, with 29.64” of rain, behind 1892 with 31.75”. Ok, not ARK building weather, but still the 2nd wettest year on record.
Of course back in Noah's day they didn't think they needed an Ark either. There wasn't even a Marina in town, but God grew tired of the true wickedness of man and decided to wipe out all mankind by a flood except for Noah and his family who would sail safely on an Ark.
Genesis 6:5-6 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieve
So we all know the story, the people mocked him Noah's Ark project, until that day that rang out in infamy where the floods covered the Earth killing all living creatures except Noah, his family, and a literal boat load of animals.
This is one of those stories learned in Sunday School where God saved Noah and all the animals of every kind. Cute story for kids, but a powerful story for the rest of us.
While some Christians feud over the flood being local versus universal, or where the Ark is now.. the greater message is to a wicked world that was not SAVED on-board this giant Ark sized petting zoo. Death versus Life was the choice of mankind back in Noah's day, and death versus life is our choice today.
No I don't have to RSVP any Ark invitations from God, but.. same as in Noah's day either I am with (obedient to) God or against Him. Today, either I have accepted Jesus into your heart or have not. The choice is mine, the choice is yours. And just like in Noah's day,
IT MATTERS ETERNALLY what we believe. God will not be mocked. If we do not choose God's salvation plan we will be as lost as Noah's neighbors when the great flood consumed them.
Not such a cute story now. It's a nice story if you are on the boat, but if not.. then a snorkel and flippers will not save you. But it is a beautiful story, because just like the Ark in Noah's day, God has provided salvation. This salvation is found in the name of Jesus. God does not desire for any of us to miss out, but we all have free will so the choice is ours. CHOOSE WISELY, and salvation is a reality CHOOSE POORLY and please know you not safe.
Note: Flood Insurance would not have saved you in Noah's Day, and neither will Fire Insurance save you today.
May God bless each of you with the realization of salvation through Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful gift from our loving God. For those of you outside of His plan, know John 3:16, believe John 3:16, and then.. WELCOME ABOARD.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Jeff (Soggy bottom boy in Minnesota) Larson
School Days, School Days.. Dear old Golden Rule days
' Reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hick'ry stick'
So NOT politically correct! but.. I like it!
Back to school begins traditionally the day after Labor day in America. Parents, students, and teachers transition from vacations, picnics, and the beach to a world of chalk dust, text books, report cards, and a possible trip to the principle's office.
CHALK DUST bites the DUST
Of course chalk dust is becoming a part of old school urban legend. I-Pads and smart phones are the tools (and distractions) of today's student. They say.. You are only as smart as your smartphone?
Then the timeless excuse 'My dog ate my homework" has been upgraded for our high speed high tech society with.. "my wi-fi was down", or "a computer virus ate my homework". Also, Notes passed between students has been replaced by texting, browsing the web, and/or social media posts.
My wife Mary is a school teacher who taught for 10+ in the public schools before moving to a small Christian school these last 3 years. A teacher is truly how God wired by wife as you can tell by the hours she spends prepping or talking teacher talk with her other teacher peeps. Now this year I have started a new job as a school bus driver. What a treasure trove of new cartoon ideas I have wandered into. I hope to share some of these very soon, but in the mean time..
God bless all of you gifted educators in the public school systems (you are so important), but for my wife she could not be happier where she is now still teaching the 3 Rs, but blending this with a Christian world view, prayer, and worship of the God of our Bibles. Truth be told it has become as much of a ministry as an occupation as evidenced by her pay cut moving from the public school system.
My Prayer of Blessing for all you dedicated educators (public & private, primary & secondary) that Jesus be first and foremost in your lives. May your faith and God's truth guide your words and deeds. Kindness, compassion, and loving discipline are the marks of a Godly educator.
My Prayer of Concern for public schools is for the language and tone not minimize or apologize for our nation's Christian heritage. Public Schools in their determined quest to remain NEUTRAL in matters of faith have instead become NEUTERED in respect to our Christian heritage. While there is no question we are all to respect the differing faiths of others but it's a MISTAKE to become so SECULARIZED that we are void of God.
The Pledge and Patriotism
And while we are at it, I pledge allegiance to the flag and the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it stands, one nation UNDER GOD..This pledge needs to be in schools. Patriotism and honoring our country (flaws and all) needs to be an integral part of education. AND Christians should not be alarmed the pledge puts God and Country on the same plane. The pledge clearly states one nation UNDER GOD.
I am seriously miffed at a movement in the 'progressive' Christian community that has a problem with God and Nation. Again, read the pledge.. one nation UNDER God.
OBTW, please don't kneel during the Star Spangled Banner. Save your kneeling for your prayer time.
IN SUMMARY .. Happy/blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord Psalms 33:12,.. and so it goes without saying happy/blessed is the SCHOOL whose God is the Lord. When our nation and/or schools compromise Psalms 33:12 there in lies the erosion of all God intends for His people.
May God bless all of you educators this coming year. Be faithful and sensitive to God in your lives as He leads you. Good Teachers are a true blessing to the foundation of our country!
Jeff (semi-educated/bus drivin') Larson
note: For a complete look at all things school from a Back Pew perspective, click here-> SCHOOL
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson