First off for all years like 2020-2021 where Covid-19 madness reigns I claim Psalms 91:2,5-6
2 I will say of the Lord,
He is my refuge & my
fortress, .. 5 YOU WILL NOT
FEAR the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the
darkness, nor the plague that
destroys at midday.
and while I am at it.. I claim it for 2022 too.
Like a curbside garbage collection, Bring out your Dead was the title of a skit from Monty Python’s movie ..The Search of the Holy Grail. The setting was ‘Medieval Times’ where the Black Plague is running through the land like like.. black plagues do. Those of you who have not seen this bit are rightfully cringing.. as it is dark humor done as only Python can do.
Well in my cartoon brain I segue to.. 'Bring Out Your Dead' as the message of the Gospels. Again, I am NOT making fun of sickness or death, but SIN is the Spiritual Black Plague on mankind since Adam .. separating sinful man from our sinless God.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Mt 11:28-30
As luck (bad luck) would have it I just recently returning home after a one week stay in a local hospital with a post back surgery infection. After opening me up again, and cleaning out this infection I was sent home with a 90 day supply of IV-antibiotics meant for especially nasty bacteria. After my 7 day hospital 'spa' I am now on the mend at home with time to ponder with my Medicare state of mind (I turn 65 this summer) reminding me I am closer to the end of life than my prime. Thankfully, God's Word is the perfect prescription for any 'Not Dead Yet' existence.
Like Lazarus physically rising from the grave we are made spiritually alive in Christ.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor 10:5,
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7
By taking every thought captive, we will find the peace of God for our spiritual lives in need of resurrection.
Now I do not claim I was near death during my recent 7 day hospital stay, and the only bright light I moved towards was the night nurse as she delivered my 2 a.m. meds. There was no DEATH VIGIL called but I was plenty sick and miserable like only a 65 year old man can moan.
My stitches down my spine are still red and tender, and to sit or lay comfortably is not easy, but as the fella from the above Monty Python skit so profoundly exclaimed.. "I am not DEAD yet."
Note: Each day I feel a little better, and though my patience is tested I am thankful for doctors, family, and friends that bless me with their care and prayers.
Oh Death where is your victory?
Oh Death where is your sting?
I Corinthians 15:55
May God bless each of you with LIFE TO THE FULL.. no matter your state of health or place on this life's timeline. May your days be motivated by a love for God and caring of others.
"The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
Jeff (not dead yet) Larson
For the sake of today's blog let me share a story back when I assigned sports officials for local sporting events. Dateline, 9/18/2013
I have a confession to make. Yesterday I did NOT brush my teeth. Gross? .. yes kinda gross, I agree with you.
You see I work from home assigning sports officials for area sporting events. In the month of September I cover sports for everything from football, soccer, volleyball, baseball, and basketball.
So yesterday was especially busy and I was on the phone and/or my computer from 7am (like an assignor telemarketer) assigning open games, and updating the ongoing changes to our schedules. This continued until 4pm when I left home to officiate two soccer games.
End result was another VERY busy day where I did not stop EXCEPT to eat a quick lunch AND so.. I forgot to brush my teeth.
It was not a great feeling.. as my teeth reminded me when I was reffing soccer at about 5pm that they did not get any TLC today.
Good news my teeth will not rot away in a day.. and besides them not feeling clean, and breathe that was less than fresh... I will be fine. Now if I continue to neglect my teeth I will suffer with cavities, gum problems, infections, all resulting in losing my teeth and then on to my future eating a truly pureed diet featuring oatmeal and pudding.
Hmmm, now let me do an AWKWARD segue to the land of the spiritual?
Just like neglecting my teeth.. if I miss spending time with God my life begins to get messy. My perspective is less than fresh and if perspective could smell like 2 hour old onion infused bad breath.
So I can go a day or two without slowing down for time with God with life being for the most part busy as usual, BUT the longer away the more I notice a difference. Maybe others notice, maybe not.. but definitely I notice.
THE MORAL OF TODAY'S BLOG?
May God bless each of you with good dental health supported with dentists, orthodontists, and insurance as needed.. AND.. don't forget to FLOSS!
Also may you also be blessed with a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. May you realize the comfort of His perspective and provision in your lives that is fresh and never stale.
Jeff (brushing in the back pew) Larson
More 'minty fresh' scriptures below
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 a.m. I uncovered the 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) . This was 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 since I confess.. 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
note: If you have great Health, Dental, and Vision insurance now.. GREAT.. but if you don't have the assurance of Heaven in your future (John 3:16).. then you are under-insured. There is only one way to Heaven (John 14:6). In this case there is no better time than NOW to give your life to God.
May God bless you with health and good insurance on Earth... and the promise of someday Heaven with our Jesus.
Jeff ( Insured by Grace ) Larson
Back in my working days.. I would sometimes say with a smile.. "I never met a sick day I didn't like." And let's be real, no one wants to waste a sick day with strep throat, or a 102 fever. It makes more sense to be 'a little under the weather' and call in sick when the sun is shining.
Looking back I realize so many followed MY LEAD that Human Resources departments across the country coined a more user friendly term.. PTO (personal time off) days.
So I personally believe I was the catalyst in the creation of PTO. No more calling in and fake coughing.. no more intentional weak voices. Now with PTO you can simply call in to work with a strong voice and say .. "I'm not gonna come in to work, there is Netflix binge watching that needs my attention.
So for all of you that have benefited from PTO ..
YOU ARE ALL WELCOME.
Don't look at me that way.. Are you saying you never feigned a sick day? Hmm.. how about did you ever take such a day off and called it a 'mental health day'? Ok then, at least I was not claiming to be 'sick in the head' .. LIKE YOU!
But more far reaching than any random sick or PTO days you may have there is a much more concerning is the today's headline where Coronavirus (aka COVID-19) has been declared a global pandemic by the Center of Disease Control, and the World Health Organization. This sobering bit of news has put our lives on hold until further notice.
In response to COVID-19 were are closing of schools, stores, restaurants, sporting events, churches, and about everything else you can think of. The practical affects of this troubling news are the shortages of canned goods, cereal, and.. toilet paper. TOILET PAPER?
side note: I heard someone say if you are hoarding TP you most likely have a greater 'problem' (rogue IBS?) than catching COVID-19.
But very seriously.. the real health risks of Coronavirus are not to be ignored. My understanding is those especially at risk are over 65 years old, or with compromised immune systems.
BUT.. honestly I am even more concerned with the over-zealous domino overreach of governments, schools, churches, etc etc.
This will fuel far reaching economic and societal problems that may be more serious than the very real health risks. The longer this continues the greater damage is done.
So I pray.. for God's protection, and His wisdom to be displayed in ALL our leaders at all levels, and that it is not reduced to a partisan issue instead of it being an American issue.
So I pray ALSO.. for a return to God as this is a time where we can be quiet (we are like on a government timeout). This is a time to pray, read God's word, and then.. pray some more. A time to un-clutter our lives, our minds, and unplug from many of the subtle entrapments of our modern life. Maybe.. LESS is MORE.
Share and talk with friends about important issues, and about life. Pray for God to speak to you and to others without the 24/7 din of life. Spend more intentional time with family regaining perspective on what is important.
Let go of things.. minimize the madness, rethink your financial priorities, and just say no to the evening news SHOWS/PROPOGANDA.
AND of course be careful to stay safe and healthy without letting Corona run your lives.
Also, I have heard it said more than a few times..
I am concerned that our society and even the church is more focused on a possible pandemic than a pending panDAMNit. (Maybe a poor choice of puns, but you get my point.)
May God bless and protect all of you during this time. May the peace of God be realized in your lives through this pandemic and anything that comes our way.
Jeff (not even a sniffle.. yet) Larson
With this all being said I would not be a true Christian cartoonist if I did not also share what I will call...
' All Things ILL in The Back Pew'
Low-Batt Signal sounds like a problem in Gothom City where the Joker, Riddler, and the Penguin are on a Crime Spree and Commissioner Gordon needs Batman and Robin NOW but the Bat Signal needs to replace a couple AAA Batteries. Hence the Lo-Bat signal
Ok, today I am not concerned about that low Batman Signal, but I can experience trouble with a Lo-Batt Signal in my 'spirit'.
Let me explain..
Most every Sunday I attend a church which has the slogan no perfect people allowed. They may not be perfect but they are pretty good. They are welcoming to all, and have a great little coffee shop in the fellowship area, and... I like coffee! The church service has great worship, and the pastor always shares a relevant, scripture based, grace filled message.
Also on every other Sunday evening my wife and I attend a small group bible study with about 8 others from the church to study God's word, share, and pray together.
So a quick check of my spiritual battery on most Sunday evenings I appear in good shape for another week.
Then Monday comes, followed by it's evil sidekicks Tuesday - Friday. The Good News shared on Sunday is replaced by 24/7 Bad News channels. Oh good does happen but that does not sell ads for CNN, FOX, CBS, NBC, or ABC.
So my Sunday 'No Perfect People Allowed' is hijacked with a slogan that resembles a 'What happens in Vegas , stays in Vegas'. attitude. and.. there is rush hour traffic!
Monday through Friday replaces the generosity found when the offering plate is passed on Sunday with a land of greed. Greed in the work place, and greed in a society where wants are more important than needs.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot almost every Monday-Friday after working 8 hours I am TIRED. It's November now and within an hour after getting home from work it is getting dark, and I live in Minnesota so it goes without saying it is getting cold. All this is draining on my spirit and creating in me a LO-BATT condition.
Ok, as 'per usual' I do embellish a bit, but I do not think I am the only one who feels drained by the week and wondering where that Sunday Spirit has gone. So what's a lo-batt fella like me supposed to do?
Here are a few tips I try to follow...
1. Be sure to get enough sleep. Don't underestimate the power of sleep unless you are doing it at work. :(
2. Go on a TV Diet. Don't bloat your brain on 24/7 bad news, or UNREAL reality TV, etc etc
3. Quit looking at your phone, and instead enjoy friends and family while enjoying the peace & quiet uncluttered by #2 (your TV diet).
4. Read a good book, even better yet The Good Book. and stay in an attitude of prayer.
5. Be prayerful, thankful, and trust God. Most complaining, and worry create a big battery drain.
These are just a few of my basics to avoid a Lo-Batt condition of my spirit, and your just say NO to Lo-Batt list may vary.
May you find the love of God and the pursuit of Him in all things energizes you in this busy life. Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and others as yourself. The rest is by comparison.. trivial pursuit.
May your Sunday's always charge your batteries, and your Mon-Fri be no match for your life in tune with Jesus.
Jeff (Battery Challenged) Larson
My Painful Introspection.. by Jeff Larson
But truly, many of the important lessons I have experienced in life have involved pain. It may be dealing with physical pain, being a bear of very little brain (like Winnie the Pooh), or lessons found the other side of (painful) blunders, stumbles, and/or bad choices. Even deeper yet are the lessons may be found in the death of a close friend or family member.
I believe the problem of PAIN IS also the source of the age old question.. If there is a God why does he allow bad things to happen to good people. This is a good question, but for me I see a 'dangerous beauty' in this broken world. In this land of dangerous beauty God the Creator allows his creation (you & me) the opportunity to persevere and succeed despite brokenness. And.. we are allowed to choose right from wrong in big & small ways, and even good from evil. There is great danger in choosing poorly, and if we do not persevere.. BUT there is great beauty when we prayerfully choosing well, support each other, persevere, and trust God when bad things happen to good people.
To believe this is not 'A Crutch for Weak Minded People' as former Pro Wrestler / former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura liked to blurt, but instead Rock Solid Truth for Godly men and women.
May God bless each of you this day with love and support when you are hurting, and may we as believers (His Church) be the love and support for others in this broken world.
Jeff (ibuprofen infused) Larson
Ok there were no 'documented' insurance claims in our Bibles but I would like to share a few moments where it would have come in handy. I will call the following.. The Aflack Apocrapha .
Let me share a few bumps and bruises that Aflack could have helped with.
Other probable insurance claims I noticed a need for are..
So there you have it.. The Aflack Apocrapha . I am pretty sure this illustrated blog/writing will NOT become an addendum accepted part of the canon of scripture, but I am ok with that.
May God bless you with health and good insurance.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson