The ants go marching one by one hooray! hooray! The marching of the little people is what makes this world work. You see there are presidents, kings, superstar athletes, CEOs of major corporations, and then there is me. There are men of great strength, Hollywood celebrities, super models, great authors, and there is me.
So where do you fit into this world? Are you a superstar or a worker bee? Do you run a major corporation or are you just part of life's ant farm? Truth is I like it here on the farm. Just another face in the sea of faces.. and you know what they say.. all ants look alike.
I have not polled any ants or bees, but I think the message they have is being about the business that needs to be done, and not being jealous of the queen bees or the bossy foreman of your ant farm staff.
So how does that fit in with the body of Christ? Selfless service and simply doing what needs to be done no matter if you are the next Billy Graham, the next church janitor, or even.. a cartoonist!
Whether you are the head of a corporation, work in the mail room, or a server at the local pie shop. What if you are a mom buried with the responsibilities of caring for your preschool children, or a teacher of 4th graders, or a senior widow woman slowed by old age? All one body of many parts, and all parts important. 1 Corinthians 12
The list of possibilities go on and on.. , BUT..
What a life this could be if we were all happy living in God's ant farms or being His little worker bees. A life not burdened with the status of man but instead living for the Kingdom of God.
God's Bugs? what a high calling! Maybe the bar should set a bit higher, lest the classic Hymns for us 'bugs' be The Ants Go Marching One By One, Hooray! and the Flight of the Bumblebee.
note: This is not a call to a life of underachievement where you settle for less than what God has called you, but simply a call to be useful and to serve as God leads in the moments that make up each day.
My prayer for each of today is to be true to who God made us. This makes God smile, and leads us to a place of contentment and success.
Jeff ( a bit buggy ) Larson
I am reading through my Bible again this year and learning so much. One of the interesting facts I have been reminded of is the number of different kings of Israel or Judea that there were.
Some bad, some just plain evil (see Ahab in toon on the right), others good.. but even good kings were often reported to being good EXCEPT for leaving up a few Temple Idols here or there.
Now when Josiah became king he was 8 years old! That's a year younger than my grandson Everett, and while he is a great kid.. he is not ready to be king. Anyways, Josiah was a good king and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord 2 Kings 22:2.
One of the great undertakings of Josiah was to clean out the Temple of the Lord of all the idols to Baal, etc. please read below..
2 Kings 23: 4-8 4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven . He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5 And he deposed the priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and the moon and the constellations and all the host of the heavens. 6 And he brought out the Asherah (pagan goddess idols) from the house of the Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron and beat it to dust and cast the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. 7 And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes who were in the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah. 8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from Geba to Beersheba. And he broke down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one's left at the gate of the city.
Wow!.. Now if I was king of Israel I would like to think I would NOT tolerate temple idols. Get your cow statues, pagan idols, and yes no more prostitutes in the temple. That should be a given.. and don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. GET OUT!
But in our modern world of so many idols.. who am I kidding?.. and where should I start? We may not keep our idols in the temple (aka church).. then again maybe there too. Some churches seem much more a moment to a denomination (sparing no expense) or to a minister (man or woman) who has clearly taken center stage and prospered while God is somewhere in the back.. maybe.
But how about idols in my own life. In my home, and/or in my heart. This society offers so much to worship that is not in any stretch of the imagination.. God related.
Where is my worship? Where is my focus? Am I in a constant attitude of prayer 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 or in a constant attitude of self indulgence absorbed reading box scores from last night's sports?
I do love my sports and can spend hours following my favorite teams (Packers, Brewers, Bucks, Badgers, etc).. and I do like movies. Neither sports or movies are bad, BUT.. I can spend too much time and emotion watching sports, and/or maybe watching a movie out of curiosity that ends up having zero redeeming value.
So.. what is your idol? Career, fitness, status, and/or leisure? Maybe it is even a vice like DRINK (that was one of mine for about 15 years).
No matter, it is time to clean out those pesky temple idols in our lives. Time always to reexamine our hearts for compromise who or what we choose to worship. You may say "just checked, and no temple prostitutes in my life." but maybe lust and/or the dark power of porn has a hold on you. In all these things and more let's give them up. Throw these idols out of our lives.
If you think the Bible is dry and difficult to read, church is honestly boring, and you find no real interest in spiritual things, I would challenge you to go deeper. If you are in awe of this amazing world from the wonder of nature, to the infinite cosmos.. know there is a creator.
So my question is 'What is more fascinating and breathtaking.. to study more about the CREATION (our world, the cosmos), or the CREATOR of of our world and the cosmos.
May God bless each of you in your lives. May He be real to you and the focus of your worship.
Jeff (cleaning out my idol junk closet) Larson
Sometimes Christians are just so smiley and so ‘Ned Flanders-like’ happy I could just slug-em. I know the joy of the Lord is my strength, but what’s with the ‘goofy-grins’?
I heard a good sermon a while back about the Fruit of God’s Spirit. You know.. love, joy, peace.. blah, blah, blah… and included in this list is JOY which I happen to misplace from time to time in my life..
Real Joy is not a serene surreal spiritual experience, but instead every day rubber meets the road with a pot-hole or two along the way experience.
Real joy is independent of circumstance. Most of us may not have your state of joy challenged by jail time, but joyful despite bumper to bumper traffic is instead our modern day challenge. Joy is even independent of having Covid-19.
How about joyful when doing the dishes? How about joyful and QUIET while doing the dishes?
How about.. Can I be joyful when
.. it appears God procrastinates, or
.. when my financial status and credit rating are less than (MAYBE WAAAY LESS) than perfect?
.. how about joyful when like today.. I have back spasms.
Yes.. joy is found in the difficult, tedious, stressful, and despite pain.
Can I be joyful when my relative prosperity can only be measured by God? … or can I be joyful when I have been married for what seems like one bazillion years! After a bazillion years of marriage your newlywed young love and passion is slowly replaced with something that includes a few disagreements (aka fights), money & health issues, raising kids without a road map, and living your til death do us part marriage with too often more questions than answers.
BUT.. we can learn so much from Jesus about joy. I don’t believe Jesus was the subdued passive image of joy and God that we often stereotype.
I believe Jesus was both passionate, and expressive. Jesus knew when it was time to be serious, worshipful, diligent all while being the friend of the common folk all while never compromising God’s values or God’s truths. I believe His joy was found in being faithful and unwavering to the Father in all circumstances.
Children loved Jesus, and sinners were attracted to Him because of his teaching was the perfect blend of truth with hope. The Pharisees hated Jesus for this very same teaching of perfect truth with hope.
The Gospels are full of Jesus telling great stories with purpose that resonated with man, but maybe Jesus laughed out loud and told great jokes. Maybe ‘milk comin out yer nose jokes.’
<pause> Ok, scratch that last one, that goes beyond even the goofy grin category of joy.
My point is that Jesus was real. He did not need to be vulgar or crass to be noticed, but he certainly would not be confused with Ned Flanders. It was not a somber sober demeanor that attracted people to Jesus, it was a man who loved life and lived his life with a joyful passionate purpose that honored God the father and cared for His fellow man.
I won’t even digress ‘long’ on my next point, BUT Jesus turned water into wine AFTER all the wine was gone. He did not make Welch’s Grape Juice, it was wine. Point is .. maybe Jesus liked to laugh and have fun with friends.. and we should to. PLEASE NOTE.. THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF DRINK (I personally don't drink anymore as I was not very good at it.. or too good at it..BUT I DIGRESS) .. I am just thinking out loud.
So where do we find Joy today?
Now with all of the bad news in our world right now.. my joy is challenged. I think of the Covid-19 related issues, racial tensions, hatred, greed, the media who lie as easy as they tell the truth, and all this stirred by the 2020 elections.
All of this and what I see as the Church (Christians) who are not salt and light. A church that compromises God's loving firm truth with the compromised views of our secular society. A church that lives in fear and too often is more concerned with offending the world, than offending God. A church that lives in Fear instead of Hope.
note: I am not pointing a finger at others here.. as I am a part of the Church. This is a sober reminder to love one another while we love and obey God.
Now back to the answer of the question.. Where do we find joy today? Know that joy is not found in who wins the upcoming elections. There are consequences to our actions, our votes, and in the direction our country chooses.
Our joy is found in the Lord through difficult times. It does matter that we love and obey God, but even if the whole world chooses NOT to obey God.. we must stand strong with Him always. Through good times and bad.. Joy is ultimately and eternally found in obedience and love of our God.
So there you have it. Maybe there is a world of Christian existence that is somewhere between a Ned Flanders goofy grin, and those Christians who look like they are in pain in church.
How will those people survive in Heaven when they learn they will have to be happy. So ‘Smile Mon!’
Joyful Christians without goofy grins? I know it will be a challenge, but we are just the people to do it.
May God bless and use each of you in ways that are beyond your dreams. I pray you find joy in the Lord in every circumstance.
Jeff (silly smirking) Larson
Most of us remember the story of Jesus telling Peter to walk on water, but as 'Pete' noticed the VERY REAL waves about him and as the seeming nonsense of walking on water began to sink in.. so did Peter.
When I was younger I thought “Oh Pete of little faith, I would have done cartwheels on the sea with my perfect faith of Jesus intact”. But now after wading around in the seas of life’s experience.. I see the waves in my life are just as real as those literal waves Peter faced 2000 years or so ago, and at best I look like Gilligan hollering for SKIPPER!..
but of course this analogy falls flat as I am not comparing the Skipper with Jesus... and I am too 'husky' to be Gilligan... BUT I DIGRESS!
So with my assessment that my faith is often at best an undersized mustard seed as I choose to get out of the boat and trust God. I may sink at times like Peter but.. the same Jesus who calmed the seas, healed the sick, fed the multitudes,walked on water, and rose from the grave is my answer to life’s figurative (but VERY REAL) waves of health, finance, family, or fear.
I could expound on this fact, as like many of you I experience seasons of waves, and tests that put my trust in God to the test.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart soul and mind and lean not unto your own understanding .. in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Pr 3:5-6
EASY WORDS to say.. DIFFICULT WORDS to comprehend just like walking on water MAKES NO SENSE.. but I choose to believe both to be true.
May God bless each of you this day in your journey. May we all learn to trust God when life is great, when life is difficult, or when all seems lost.
Trust in the Lord as your providence, Trust in the Lord as your source for answers, Trust in the Lord for blessings, and Trust in the Lord for perspective that is beyond the limits of any circumstance.. so even when the waves swell and the storms rage.. we can give the triumphant shout..
SURFS UP Blessings!
Jeff (flappable) Larson
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:5-7
I live in America where moderation is not the modus operandi. We like big, more, and we supersize whenever possible. Too much for us often is not enough.
While I am not saying having nice home, car, etc are bad things at all, but modesty and moderation does not come easy to Americans. IMO
But what if we temper our lives with those 3 verses in Philippians. What if we were known for our moderation, prayerful, and thankful to our God? Then the peace of God that does pass all understanding is there for each of us no matter if we are living check to check or encumbered with the trappings of wealth.
Let me leave you with a couple more scriptures of perspective in a world and even some in the church where moderation does NOT come easy.
May God will bless, lead, and use us all for His glory (not ours) in ways that are beyond your dreams. I pray we keep in mind Phil 4:5-7, Mt 5:3, and Mi 6:8 as a guide for our lives.
Jeff (slightly supersized) Larson
When I am weak.. you make me strong. When I am blind, you shine your light on me.. and I will never get by standing on my own abilities. – This is the lyric of one of Casting Crown’s songs and it makes me smile.
The KINGS of this world delegate to those like me who are COGS, and I am OK with that arrangement. The Kings we all know about but us Cogs are the every day folk who are vital to the world functioning.. and when the world struggles to function the optics shine on the bad king/leaders of countries, states, cities, companies and the church. But know while the world sees the kings.. the importance of us cogs goes unrealized.
Politicians, superstar athletes, movie and rock stars are the kings of our pop culture. We all know who they are. We are a society of hero worship, BUT.. the cogs? Not so much. No posters on walls to recognize a teacher, custodian, factory worker, computer geek, etc etc.
Everyone from these factory workers, stay at home moms, custodians, teachers, and the rest of us little people (including cartoonists.. maybe) are the ones that make the world work. We all fly under the radar with very little fanfare.
While this world’s measure of a man’s worth is.. his bank account balance, his home on a lake, fame, a trophy wife or two, and a really hot ride for someone my age.. Unfortunately it IS NOT traditionally based on how many colors he has in his coloring box, but if it was my answer would be 64 bright and shining Crayolas.
It is amazing the complexity of society, and how each of us are wired differently but together with our own set of gifts are called to serve God and others to make society function. We are all the hands and feet of Christ in our jobs, families, churches, and society.
Some are gifted to be kings and God bless those kings they are gifted to be leaders as God uniquely wired them.. BUT in the same way God has wired so many COGS too. The body of Christ is made up of many parts as called by God to serve Him and care for others.
The good message of this ramble is how we each have our own unique calling by God to serve Him, and all our unique abilities are important.. even if you are armed only with 64 crayolas and a vocabulary that includes the under appreciated word… UM.
One body many parts, all are important, and DO NOT measure your worth by the world's yard stick because man’s measurement of success is as confused as America converting to the metric system!
Be a KING or be a COG, but do it for God's glory and obedient to who God made you.
Love God with all your heart, and others as yourself.. the rest is trivial pursuit!
MEGA 'UM' BLESSINGS!
Jeffrey 'Cog' Larson
I watched a show a while back on the often overlooked fuel of sleep. When I short myself on a proper amount of sleep I compromise my mood ( i get pouty), capabilities, productivity, clarity of thought, and in general my outlook on life becomes negative. Without good sleep any circumstance I face may be tainted with depression, anger, impatience, with maybe more than a smidgen of hopelessness. Admittedly I am kind of a baby.
It is often easier said then done when sleep deprived is to get more sleep, but.. when I do get enough sleep those clouds of confusion and irritation part, and what once felt hopeless is now met with a more rationale and healthy vantage point leaving me scratching my head why I ever thought my situation was hopeless.
Last night was a good example of this. In the summer of 2020 we are in an election year, dealing with Covid-19, and racial tensions are higher than any point in my lifetime. Anarchy is in the streets, and all this while the 24/7 news gleefully gaslights all this into a roaring fire where traditional values are mocked, and in God we trust is questioned if not sneered at.
So this all makes me irritated. I prayed a little, but I mumble more as I find all this reporting is to sell a story, and not offer solutions or positive comments. Well my mumbling and maybe a little bit of a tired brain started me rolling down hill feeling hopeless about society, and very such feeling that way about church in America.
Then comes this morning where I wake up and none of this bad world was overwhelming me. I still believe the evening news is (forgive me) a sewer, but my happiness is not defined by this sewage. Joy is not found either in the very real circumstances of this world but it starts with my relationship with God, and to see the blessings I have and so the sun is shining a bit more in my spirit.
Moral the story so far? SLEEP it does a body good.
Then just as bad, no actually worse is when afflicted by spiritual deprivation where I do not take time for God declaring myself too busy. To miss out on a daily devotional time, and compromise my prayer times with God compromises .. my spirit and perspective on life just like operating on 4 hours of sleep while eating junk food all night. YECH! Yes, spiritually speaking I feel YECH!
I may even confuse my life further by excluding the good life disciplines of exercise, work, and play. AND IF.. I do take time for my relationship with God I find my perspective, attitude, and joy fall short of what God intends and desires for me. In contrast, IF I honor God with prayer and devotional times the clouds of doubt and loneliness part for me as God is now included included in my day as he should be.
Summary: Be sure to get a proper amount of the overlooked fuel for my body of sleep, AND be sure to include the discipline and joy of a personal relationship with God.
May God bless each of you in this journey to honor Him with all your resources.
Jeff (looking forward to a nap) Larson
side note 1: I have a confession to make.. At this point in my life.. I lOVE NAPS. What was the big deal when we were kids and we never wanted to go down for a nap. Now, in the afternoon, I get a little groggy, and then will take a 20 minute (or longer) nap. It simply feels so good.
side note 2: Sleeping in church is still frowned on.. though it cannot be eradicated completely even with the use of SHOCK COLLARS that are tuned into your REM cycle.
I wrote a while back about GETTING WHAT I DESERVE from God. I shared in this 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 in comparison to our creator. This is also true.
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.
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 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 of a son who was lost but is now found. 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 'GO PRODIGAL' on 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: 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
The Back Pew believes it is ok to have a sense of humor and still be allowed in Heaven.
I know I am getting older when many have no idea who the SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN was.
HE IS NOT.. a 'moderately paid pro athlete'. I am speaking of the TV Show from 1974-1978 about Steve Austin who was in some terrible accident where all the FDA 'doctors', and all the CIA men couldn't put Steve back together again.. so the OSI was called in to install him with ‘bionic’ parts.
Kind of a combination of Humpty Dumpty and Inspector Gadget.
And back at the day of this show the going price for bionic reconstructive surgery was $6,000,000.00! I think it costs about $4000 for Lasic Eye surgery so this to me seems like a SWEET DEAL.
This 6Mil-Man could run 60 miles per hour (though it appeared in slow motion), he had superman like strength, vision better than Lasic combined with 'carrot' steroids, and whenever the bionics kicked into gear, it would make this techy-spring like noise. Not unlike a cartoon BOING.. but a sound that made it clear his 'bionics' were in use.
His bionics were only in one eye, one arm, and both legs. It seems like this would be a serious health risk when one arm can lift a normal weight while the other can lift a … BUICK. Now that I think of it... maybe INSPECTOR GADGET is a more realistic depiction of a bionic overhaul than is the 6 million dollar man.
So how about SPIRITUAL BIONICS? ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’. With a truth like this.. who needs bionics?? For those of you unsure if bionics are for you or being a new creature in Christ is a better choice I have put together a side by side 'scientific' comparison of the Bionic Man v the New Man in Christ..
BIONIC MAN versus NEW MAN
(1) The Procedure...
Bionic Man – Major surgery requires replacing broken down human parts with bionic parts. IT’S GONNA HURT.. LOTS!! Stock up on ibuprofen. Worse than a knee replacement X 10!
New Man – REFINING one's spirit in my opinion would be more painful than Lasic, less painful than bionics.
(2) The Brain...
Bionic Man – Bionic Brain IS NOT available at the time that I wrote this email
New Man – RENEWAL of your mind is one of the major benefits of New Man v Bionics. Some Eastern Religions claim that their meditation techniques are a renewal of the mind but then again.. when I look at Buddah I don’t have an impression of a man/deity who had enough self control to leave the buffet table alone let alone offer me peace of mind... unless he was eating comfort foods.
(3) Strength & Speed...
Bionic Man – Superhuman strength & speed limited to laws of physics and nature but are without a doubt beyond the abilities of any powerlifter or sprinter ever.
New Man – STRENGTHENED by God, New Man is not limited by laws of physics and nature. It is rumored mountains can be moved simply by faith. It sounds New Age, but it's not!. New man can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
Bionic Man – Lasic is wimpy compared with bionics. Bionics provide a rev’d up digital camera cranium implant providing better than 20/20 vision.
New Man – GOD’S VISION.. New man has no real improved physical vision, but also the ability of discernment from God allows new man to be sensitive to the needs and hearts of others.
- Bionic Man – There are serious concerns if bionics are exposed to moisture and especially sea water. Also bionics are heavy.. putting you at risk of .. sinking like a 6 MILLION DOLLAR BOAT ANCHOR..
New Man – New man capabilities are very sea worthy. Power to PART SEAS, and WALK ON WATER are all documented attributes of new man. New Man's physical attributes of man (weight & density) remain unchanged, but the power of God allows New Man to defy laws of physics and nature.. without water wings. IN FACT many Baptists take to water like Michael Phelps.
- Bionic Man – I do not recall any brochures on bionics touting linguistics as a marketing strength.
New Man – The pro bionics crowd points to The Tower of Babel as being a linguistic drawback to being New Man, but after further investigation it became clear that the language barriers at the TOB ( Tower of Babel ) had to do with Old Man, and not New Man. Later in the 2nd Chapter of Acts, the linguistic capabilities of New Man were put on display like a linguistic-matrix affect on all involved. Communication in words meant only for God confounded Old Man.. even if he was bionic. This provides a coded language to Almighty God that is only understood by the decoding of the Holy Spirit.
(7) Warranty Related Issues...
Bionic Man – Life time warranty on bionics, but still limited by the typical aging process and life expectancy of the physical portion of the bionic man and/or woman... Also this warranty is limited to our physical realm here on Earth.
New Man – Simply put.. New Man has ETERNAL LIFE . So while New Man is empowered in super natural ways during his life on earth, the best is yet to come. Better than a lifetime warranty, New Man will have a second life of no pain, no fear, and no limits. There is no ENTRANCE EXAM , and you will not be rudely BOUNCED at the gate as long as he/she believes in the God who was their source for life while on Earth.
Bionic Man – Back in 1974 the cost was $6,000,000 for an eye, an arm, and 2 legs. With inflation I do not want to guess what this procedure will set you back.
New Man – As strange as this sounds.. this transition from Old Man to New Man is FREE.
Closing Comments comments come in the endorsements of SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN… and the original WHEATIES BOY Samson.
Have a great day, not limited by this world, but empowered by the one true God who is the source of this life, and the life that is to come. RAISE THE BAR on what is possible with the Spirit of God in your life.
I am one of those folks who likes my food ever so slightly overcooked. I like the cheese on my pizza to be golden.. a 'dark' golden, and toast my bagel dark so to contrast with a spread of cream cheese. I want my bagel to CRUNCH when I bite into it. And I like DUSK.. where the sun has just dropped peacefully below the western horizon but before the black of night,
Of course choosing dark over light in the tasty matters of food or sunsets is fine, but in matters of the SPIRIT.. always choose the LIGHT.
This Present Darkness is a Christian novel by Frank Paretti published in 1986 showing the reader a view on angels, demons, prayer, and spiritual warfare while demons and angels interact and struggle for control in our lives and communities. And though this book was fiction, I believe this battle is real.
Of course there is obvious DARKNESS in this world, but I am surprised by many Churches maintain a Frog in the Boiling Pot perspective on life where God is fit into societal norms rather than the other way around as God intends. The temp is going up, but we the church are too often oblivious... and actually enjoying this Jacuzzi of the soul.
"In God We Trust" may be the official motto (for now) of the United States of America, but in this world's shadows we move closer to a Godless reality found in Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
How else can explain our society where
All this madness happens and honestly I am not sure the church knows how to handle it. I observe many if not most churches are afraid of secular man and public opinion rather than afraid of disobeying God.
If anyone espouses traditional Christian values we are deemed judgmental, hateful bigots or worse. But what of that? They hated Jesus first for telling loving truth, so why are we afraid to be hated for the Gospel?
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:19-21
So these very words of Jesus make it clear.. It matters what we believe, our choices matter. JESUS WAS NOT TALKIN' TOAST. We are commanded in loving firm truths to stay in the light by Jesus. He does did mince word and the world hated Him for it.
So I prayer God finds us IN THE LIGHT, living in obedience to His word, loving and truthful in our words and deeds with others, and never lingering in this world's shadows.
Enjoy this life in the LIGHT.
Jeff (dark toast please) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson