Drawing a line.. is a topic I can so easily relate to. Drawing lines, and coloring inside those lines.. and viola' I have a cartoon. Everybody loves cartoons.. ok, some of us more than others, but hey.. it's what I do.
Now the beauty and curse of a cartoon it allows me the liberty of exaggeration. Exaggeration in a world with big noses, bellies, expressions, and points of view. The lines drawn in cartoons are just outside the lines where reality exists and in this world, I am among friends.
So while I like cartoons and the work of great cartoonists they are obviously not likely found in an Art Gallery.
True art draw lines along with colors and shadows that are amazingly true to the subject of their creation.
This world of true art exists in sharp contrast to my world of cartoons with the above mentioned exaggeration of lines, shadows, and colors to distort truth for the purpose the humor or illustrate a particular point of view.
So then we come to God's Word, His never changing Truth. There are clear lines drawn within it's pages of right and wrong, good and evil, love and hate. The pages of our Bible's are TRUE ART. These lines are perfect with a message that is both honest and loving.
Of course using my finite mind I struggle at times to grasp the depths of these truths and honestly at times DO NOT UNDERSTAND what I am reading.. BUT.. never the less these NEVER CHANGING truths are constant, flawless, and does not need the collective so-called enlightenment of any man from Adam through this very minute including a certain cartoonist from Minnesota.
Here in lies the dilemma.. I observe a trend in today's church to believe the perfect lines of God's unchanging truths need to be redrawn. Too many believe the Bible is outdated and in order to fit God's word into their 'evolved cultured' sensibilities they in effect redact passages they do not agree with and/or use scripture out of context to fit their narrative. These man 'inspired' efforts draw new progressive lines and proceed to color outside the perfect lines of God's inspired word. These efforts make a cartoon out of God's perfect loving Bible truths.
Let me share examples of these sharp contrasting lines
SIMPLE RIGHT & WRONG
GENDER & MARRIAGE
LUST & ADULTERY
CARING V SELFISH
Of course, no one wants to be labeled the uncaring bigoted judgmental Christian stereotype. So while we need to be sensitive regarding all issues of the day including today's hot-button topics (racism, abortion, homosexuality, and gender identity, etc etc ) we need to blend this with God's firm loving Truths . Remember always speak God's truth with love, but 'flip it' to realize love is found only in God's Truth.
And.. the next time someone tells you "I like Jesus but not Christians because Jesus was about love.. but Christians are are judgmental, hateful, bigoted, sexist, patriarchal homophobes.. . Read them Luke 12:49-53
Not Peace, but Division Luke 12:49-53 49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Finally, if we are not careful even those of us who are not progressives allow God's lines to be changed into a caricature at best, or even worse into a big ol' ugly cartoon instead of the beautiful piece of art God's Word is. STAY INSIDE THE LINES, LIVE INSIDE THESE LINES.
Note: I am not casting stones here as I am convicted and reflective on my own past & present spiritual compromises, and prayerful God will guide me with his truth and find me obedient.
May God bless each of you with discernment regarding God's Truths while being salt and light in dark empty society. Be strong for the Lord as we answer to God.. not man.
Jeff (Drawing lots of lines) Larson
I guess by strict definitions I am a protestant, but technically more of a protestant MUTT.
Actually I would like to be simply defined as a CHRISTIAN thank you very much. I am not being a rebel, but I don't fit nicely into any denominational box. I respect the views of others, but have to come to my own conclusions on all the nooks and cranny faith issues.
And let me be clear I am not judging your choice of 'box' unless.. you have a SNAKE in it.
So with this in mind I place all I have learned from God and his church and it all fits nicely in 'My Faith Box'.
The next challenge is fitting My Faith Box into the ever changing Post Modern Society box aka the PM Society box. This is a big box with lights and sounds. Inside their is a society of blended cultures with ever changing faster than a speeding bullet technology, and much much more. All the bells & whistles of the PM Society box are distracting and often attractive BUT I need to be careful when fitting My Faith Box in the PM Society Box. This can be messy.
I believe a classic Billy Graham message shared.. We are called to be in the world, but not of it.
And certainly not a frog simmering in a pot of secular values.
So In this PM Society box I find things like.. The internet. Which is both an incredible resource for 1. LIGHT (faith, family, friends, news, etc) and 2. DARKNESS (anger, hatred, self-indulgence, porn, etc ).
The internet also offers the ever evolving social media kit at no extra charge where I can text, tweet, post on facebook, instagram, or you can blog.. Blog? sounds like a cheap horror movie from the 1950s.. 'The Attack of the 50 Page Blog'. Maybe that should be the name of my blog?
In our PM Society box I can also stream music, videos or even sermons (if I am feeling particularly spiritual ) of any big name preacher or subscribe to Cyber Clyde's Bed Hair Pod Cast.
This can all be done from the convenience of my office chair while donning the same gym shorts, tank top, and bed hair just like Cyber Clyde.
When PM Society is not on the computer it is on your smartphone, or surfing HD TV with a bazillion (I actually counted there are a bazillion) sports, news, and movie channels.
In PM Society Box people buy meals, high buck coffees and lattes through a drive through window... or have them even delivered to their door. They will soon even have their groceries delivered by little retail drones. I can't wait til they do appliance deliveries via drones. When that happens I am canceling Cable TV and just following the Home Delivery Channel.
My Faith Box is now feeling a little agitated and stimulated at the same time. So far I am having trouble keeping all this PM Society box stuff out of My Faith Box. I see a TV remote is in my Faith Box, and an Amazon Prime Card. In fact I think grease from a leaky fast food bag from the PM Society box is soaking into the corner of My Faith Box and sadly I like the smell. I kind of like some of this PM Society stuff, and it is easy to justify there place in my Faith Box. I THINK I NEED HELP.
OK, I may not be so desperate that I need a Faith Box Exorcism, or an Exterminator, but I could do some spring cleaning... here in November.
My serious prayer is to have an honest Faith Box, with the word of God in it that never changes and a prayer list that is ever changing. I want to be in this world but not of it. This world (aka PM Society Box) is a mess! It is filled with noise, smells, and sights that are often far from God. It is a box that NEEDS GOD, not religion of man, but needs GOD THE CREATOR and GOD THE SAVIOR. PM Society box is in need of a revival.
Regarding Revival: I listened to a sermon a while ago by Louie Gigglio and he said "Where there is pain, where there is a mess this is where a revival can happen". No one has a personal revival when life is going perfect. So by this definition this world is ready for a revival.
OK, probably I took the box analogy a bit too far about a half a blog ago, but if you are still with me I pray God inspires in us a love for Him and His ways that make us truly salt and light in a PM Society box that is in contrast bland and existing in the dark like a mole eating rice cakes.
Jeff (All Boxed in) 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
It is common knowledge in the church that all those who accept Jesus Christ as their savior automatically receive an eternal life insurance (ELI)plan protecting them from Hell Fire . This ELI plan is a must for all those who value eternity.., I highly recommend it. No monthly premiums to remember, so why not sign up today.
But, besides the ELI policy featured in the Gospels I was concerned regarding the life and health insurance needs for an extremely violent Old Testament. What happens what tragedy strikes?Then after researching Google and after about 7 red bulls at 3 as.m. I uncovered a little known but powerful insurance plan known as the Aflack Apocrypha Comprehensive Insurance Plan (AACI). AACI covered the following significant Bible moments and more..
Other probable insurance claims I noticed were..
So there you have it.. The Aflack Apocrypha (AACI) . We were the original 'We know a thing or two cuz we've seen a thing or two' insurance company.
Note: I am pretty sure this illustrated blog/writing/policy outline will NOT become an accepted part of the canon of scripture, but I am ok with that.
May God bless you with health and good insurance... and a future in Heaven with our Jesus.
note: Confession, I never googled the Alfack Apocrypha.. I made it up.. (insert shock & awe here). I don't drink red bulls, and I certainly at my age am not up at 3 a.m. unless I have to pee. TMI TMI
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
The classic Bible story of David and Goliath found In 1 Samuel 17 seems to be the perfect illustration of what the Apostle Paul wrote many years later in Romans 8:31. The mano a mano battle between the Philistine Behemoth War machine Goliath and the little Shepherd boy David son of Jesse had Las Vegas bookmakers of course laying heavy odds on a first round knock out.
In one corner (actually on a hillside) stood Goliath. He is a 9' tall lean mean killing machine whose mere presence has the armies of Israel shaking in their boots.. while others piddled in theirs.
And a very Monty Python like battle cry.. "RUN AWAY RUN AWAY" was heard through out the land.
In the other corner (actually the other hillside) King Saul who was the big man on campus (head and shoulders above the rest) was NOT 9' tall. So he promised one of his daughters as the literal 'trophy wife' for the man who would come forward and challenge Big Bad Goliath.
But.. the idea of being known as the soon to be 'DEAD' at the hands of a GIANT son in law of the king was met with resounding silence.. except the sound of the knocking of the knees of Israel's First 'chicken' Brigade. I guess none of these soldiers had read Romans 8:31.
Enter stage left.. David who shows up to deliver brown paper bag lunches (PB&J sandwiches, apple, bag of chips, and gatorade) to his brothers. Ok, not sure about the menu, but he was sent by his dad Jesse BUT when David overheard the 9' tall heathen windbag taunting the one and only true God he was all in to taking down Mr. Fee Fi Fo Fum! Up until now David's battle resume was as a defender of .. 'sheep'. But as noted by personal reference Sal the Sheep, 'David had killed lions, (maybe tigers) and bears OH MY and he was one baaaa-d dude."
I guess Saul thought to better you than me and loaded up David with all his armor from the big & tall King section.
David looked more like the tin man from Wizard of Oz than a mighty warrior and so David shed all this oversized armor and instead traveled light with 5 smooth stones, a sling, and most importantly his Faith in the One True God.
Goliath even taunts David calling him a dog. Then as the LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE announcement is made over the hillside, the bell rings and both men leave their respective corners (er a hillsides) to do battle in the valley.
The Thrilla in Pallestinia
From all published accounts (1 Samuel 17) the battle was over before it really began. But in the very first 'David defeats Goliath' story-line it was a FIRST ROUND KNOCKOUT for the ages. Not until years later when Rocky Balboa defeated Apollo Creed have the Las Vegas odds-makers been so wrong.
David drops Goliath with one smooth stone square in his thick skull dropping him like a 9' tall sack of philistine potatoes. David then pulls Goliath's own sword from his sheath kills Golaith and cuts off his head and returns it to Saul.
Further investigations of the Crime Scene confirmed the details of the battle. Crime Scene smelled like sheep, Stone shaped indentation in vic's head matched stone near crime scene. Vic's own sword was used to sever head of the big man... BUT it appears it was not suicide. DUH.. how does someone cut off their own head?
Moral of the Story.. of every story is again found in the words of the Apostle Paul
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
No matter the GIANT in your life.. remember the rest of Romans 8
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? .. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
May God bless and use all you Davids in ways that are beyond your dreams and all that God intended for His glory. Amen.
Jeff (Giant Killer) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson