A strange title indeed. There was an AT&T commercial a while back where this guy in the suit is sitting at a table asking a bunch of little kids what is better FASTER or SLOWER? They all agree faster is better. One little girl explains faster is better or else you might be bitten by a werewolf and then you will say.. wawawawawawa.. which means I wish I was human again! The man in the suit stammers.. "what?"
note: If you don't remember this commercial, it is a must watch. click here-> wawawawawawa
Well I think I have similar state of mind when I can become so overwhelmed by the challenges of the year 2020 to where I lose all perspective. Frustration, discouragement, and yes anger with this world gone bonkers clouds my thinking. Some days I become a brooding, and sputtering little black rain cloud with the fruit of God's Spirit windblown from my countenance finding myself much like the girl in the AT&T commercial saying.. "wawawawawawa.. I wish I was CHRISTIAN again."
Moments like these leave me stinging.. and feeling badly about myself. I know I did not lose my place in Heaven because of my discouragement but I don't exactly feel like a victorious Christian either.
Good news ALWAYS is God's Grace is there for me AGAIN. I can pick up and start again to become intentional in my pursuit of God where I see God, and I see HIS purpose (Matthew 6:10) before I see mine. I desire to truly love God and keep him always center in my life and realize when I am weak (and I am often) HE makes me strong (Philippians 4:13).
What if my faith was NOT ABOUT ME but instead ALL ABOUT JESUS? What a difference this would make in me realizing and taking in the truth.. 'I AM A CHRISTIAN saved by His Grace and loved by Him.' What if His Church (all believers) loved God, the church, and the world.. with God as primary focus? Wow, that is a beautiful and big WHAT IF. But is my prayer.
Personally I know this prayerfully would reduce those feelings where I tongue in cheek 'wish I was Christian again'.
May God bless your lives with knowing the promise of salvation, and peace that passes all understanding even in this 2020 world where peace is the last word to describe it.
Jeff ( Thankful today ) 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
What happened? Was I out for 5 minutes when everything changed? Didn't up used to be up and down .. down.. not the other way around? And I am pretty sure too that WRONG is now the new RIGHT.
Let's start with a few easy Wrongs declared Right from where I sit observing our society.
So you see.. Wrong is the new Right.
We are numbed and dumbed down to vulgar language and violence in movies, TV, and pop/hip hop/rap music. Sex before marriage, and teen sexuality is assumed not discouraged.. in fact sex without boundaries is encouraged. Everyone claims to be a victim, or bullied which muddies truth of those who truly are victims and/or bullied. AND anyone who voices a contrary view is expressing HATE SPEECH.
The #MeToo movement, terms like toxic masculinity, white privilege, systemic racism, and systemic police brutality often dilute if not poison truth and justice. Note: There is only God's Truth & God's Justice and it is for all. Then we throw the old KKK in with the new rage (literally) Antifa (anti-fascists? not!). They are nothing more than masked domestic terrorists. And BLM black lives matter is a statement that is true just as all lives matter, but the organization BLM is a Marxist hate group.
We are a culture who on one hand munch on popcorn while being entertained by horror, violence, the occult, or the sorted story of a serial killer, BUT.. think that our 2nd amendment rights are the root of all evil. Wrong is new Right.
Now in 2020 the Wrong is the new Right has been amped up with the reality of Covid-19. I will not go into my opinion about what should or should not be done, but I will say it has divided us.. and divided the church. We too quickly condemn each other over this virus. We can't just disagree on the solution we decide to label each other naive or selfish.. and these feelings become something maybe just short of hate. This is Wrong, but this Wrong is also the new Right.
Even in the church simple choices of right and wrong are more carefully handled than a suicide vest by a bomb squad whose only training was using the old 'Operation board game'. We are so deathly afraid to call sin.. a sin in fear others will judge us as judgmental.
My concern/observation is The church (as a whole) is 1/2 afraid to speak truth in love afraid of the mess it may cause, and the other 1/2 appears to be like the frog in the boiling pan of water slowly cooking in our new boiling Baptismal Jacuzzi unaware the temp is rising. We are no longer salt and light as commanded in Mt 5:13-16, but excuse this compromise with the broad brushed statement.. We are about love, Jesus is love.
I agree Jesus is love, but his love included speaking directly about sin. He may have called the religious leaders a brood of vipers, but he also lovingly spoke truth to the woman at the well. How would Jesus have been loving if he did not speak the whole truth? In fact I believe Jesus referenced Hell 46 times. Hell is the scary truth regarding sin.
Same with Paul, he was loving but so direct about sin not because it was on his legalistic DO NOT DO list but because sin is harmful to the body and soul.
Let's even be more basic about TRUTH. We as Christians believe there is one way to Heaven and that is Jesus. To share this truth should be the most important truth we can share. BUT agnostics, atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, etc would disagree. So do we quit sharing this truth because it might offend.. but let them go to Hell?
Do we just gently say, well we all believe generally in the same thing 'higher power' so.. peace be still.. Or remain silent because I respect your feelings so much that I would rather let you go to Hell for eternity than offend you today on Earth. This is so very Wrong, and.. the new Right
I also believe there is a growing population in the church that doubt the Inerrancy of the Scriptures. It's understandable to have questions on Bible issues we do not understand, but it is alarming to doubt that it is truly God's word. -Insert Head Slap here-
MY OWN MESS - Let me be very clear, I am such a sinner.. aka made 'lotsa' mistakes. I have trouble with my temper, watched movies and laughed at jokes I should not have. I have made compromises, told altered truths (aka lies) and all the other goodies that many of us do.
I am also a man who compromised too many years with alcohol (aka alcoholic), and it was ruining my life. I share the cartoon on the left that is typically received understandably with collective cringes as it is NOT FUNNY, but it is was becoming my story.
So in response to my drinking my wife expressed to me in love and sometimes the appropriate amount of anger "YOU NEED TO QUIT DRINKING. This is not good for you, it is not good for your family." So my question is.. was my wife intolerant and judgmental of me as a person, or was she directly and loving me tell me my alcohol use was hurting me and my family?
Well, I believe I would be dead now if I continued drinking. And.. to be honest I did not always welcome her words and would soften them by saying I would do better next time, but bottom-line my wife's loving admonishment CHANGED MY LIFE. I thank God for my wife and my three adult kids who lovingly told me truth. Changing a Wrong in my life to make me return to doing Right.
So in this world where WRONG is the new RIGHT how shall we participate? In our society compromised by ignorance, arrogance, and self we need to stand firm, in love and always stand for God's Truth.. because as they say.. Two Wrongs don't make a Right.
May God bless each of you to boldly go each day into a world that may hate you for saying RIGHT is still right, and WRONG is still wrong.
Thank you for indulging me sharing this topic of societal angst that is on my heart.
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 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
My wife and I have a rescue dog named Cooper and I have written a 'beautiful' poem that captures my life with him.
Ode to Cooper
Cooper is our little rescue dog;
there's no doubt he LOVES my wife Mary,.
BUT despite the fact I 'm the one who rescued him;
.. for me.. Cooper remains wary.
I so want Cooper to love me too..
but he's a work in progress..
You see Cooper does not trust me ..
leaving me judged without due process.
Thank you, thank you
But then I stop and realize.. I am SORTA a rescue dog too.
For example, in this big old bad world I might turn on the evening news and .. I get uneasy as I can sense the tension EVERYWHERE, so I start to growl at partisan politics as I pace the room.
My demeanor only gets worse as these 'News SHOWS' spew this world's hatred, racism, and violence all wrapped in their biased narrative void of truth leaving me ..
out of control barking my panic and distrust of this world.
This state of panic and unease over just the evening news can leave me in reality wary of my God. He is my perfect loving Heavenly Father, Jesus my Savior, and the Holy Spirit my comforter. My God is my RESCUER from both the evening news and anything else found in this broken world.
So just like Cooper I need to chill. Chill and realize this broken world is the result of man's own free will, and compromised desires. This brokenness was never a part of God's plan.
So chill Jeff, and realize in God I have hope, a future, and a plan for happiness. So Jeff.. No more barking.
May each of us find our hope (our rescue) in the loving Heavenly Father who sent his son Jesus as our savior, and his Holy Spirit as our comfort.
note: God is still our rescuer even when we bark.
Now if Cooper would only understand that about me.
Jeff (Rescued) Larson
I was reading recently about Martin Luther nailing his 95 thesis on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg Germany. Luther's 95 theses brought attention to corruption in the Catholic Church. Luther appealed the Pope in 1517 to stop the practice of squeezing ‘indulgences’ from parishioners as ‘down payments’ on heaven, and/or petition God to limit the time their dead loved ones spent in purgatory.
I know the Catholic Church still encourages indulgences but I believe they describe these gifts as part of turning our attention from our sins and to God's church. I can't say I completely understand this, but that may be just my protestant upbringing speaking up.
Anyways Catholics and Protestants should all agree our salvation is found only in Jesus Christ as our savior, then loving God and serving others with our lives. The giving of money or other form of indulgence will not affect our status in the next life.
Anyways, back to indulgences. We protestants sometimes are flippant about the Catholic Church and their history with indulgences. But how does that 'speck' scripture go? Be careful about pointing out the speck in someone else's eye when you have a beam in your own.
So I take a glance inward at the Protestant Church, and observe some possible big buck 'indulgent' items I am not just talking about the Prosperity Gospel Churches and the lavish lifestyles of their Leaders (ie Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn), but even many of the church programs (Mega & not Mega) in our cities? Are they a ministry serving God or a monument to the Church itself.
Of course it goes without saying God's house is special. We are to be reverent and generous in the space and resources we use for church, but the Gospel Message should never focus on a building or be concerned with numbers. But some churches appear to believe in buildings and cry they need xy & z to grow the church, and put up a good and proper Sunday morning SHOW. Q. Do we really need three huge video screens, and stream to other locations all over the city to share God's Good News? Maybe.. but maybe not.
It is obvious by the collective gasp of those reading this blog I now have stepped on many toes of those attending church in America. Still I am concerned too many church growth programs are the product of 'Church Consultants' focusing on numbers but lite on discipleship. They say "To grow the church you must promote the church,, and to promote the church you need a building program. Then to promote the program the pastor should write a book, and/or your need your own buzz words to 'market/brand' your ministry. And to function properly you will need xy & z to share the Gospel giving that old book (aka Bible) a modern kick." True? Maybe, or maybe not
Note: funny Jesus did not need xy & z, he just lived and taught God's Truth to a hurting world, and He did it without 3 big screens, A worship band, or a building of His own.
I observe many well intended building programs are built around a series of services focused on exciting church growth news followed by a series of sermons on giving. These services focus on what we do is special, dare I say anointed. No one does quite like we do! True? Maybe, maybe not.
The focus during this time is on giving above and beyond normal in 'faith' for this cause of God through testimonials of ordinary folk blessed by the church WHEN they gave more. The congregation is 'gently coherced' over the next several weeks leading to a special 'Sunday of Giving' with a special service where the whole congregation is invited to come forward and drop their pledges (indulgences?) into special baskets at the front of the church.. where it is visibly clear who participated in giving and who did not. All while the Worship Band plays. True? Maybe, maybe not
So my question is.. Did I just participate in a Protestant Indulgence? No, we are not like in Luther's day giving an indulgence to the church to get a loved one out of purgatory (or worse).. but are we giving to God or a monument to man? Do we desire to be a seeker friendly church that is a mile wide and 6" deep where people can comfortably attend, never convicted, never challenged to go deeper but again comfortably 'entertained' as they ease through life attending the weekly Sunday Worship Show eventually to Hell... or is my church something more?
Now let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with a Mega-Church with multiple sites where the service is streamed. I confess I stream sermons from the convenience of my home, and have attended churches with great preaching where the message was streamed from another site. But something with all this does not sit well with me. It may be just my preference, but maybe something more. Feels too often to be the Cathedrals of Man. Indulgence much? Maybe, maybe not.
For those who read this and are indignant that I am implying you are participating in protestant indulgences. Please don't be. If what your church does is all about God. Having 3 big screens at the front of your church is not the issue, and if the programs and efforts meet the community in very real ways bringing them closer to God, and if you are growing disciples.. then keep doing what you are doing.
But if your church is focusing on being cool & trendy then maybe you need a reset. Is this what God really wants, or is this what I convinced myself God wants?
Final confession. It's easy to throw stones at Glass churches.. BUT I am a bit of a hypocrite as I have and still do justify purchases that I want, are good, and convinced I need.. but.. I don't really need and should not afford. Kind of a personal indulgence where I may not be taking directly out of what I should give/tithe to the church, but indirectly that is exactly what I do. I even may pray to God about a purchase, but since God did not speak to me with a clap of thunder I may go ahead with my 'self-indulgent' purchase. My choice may not be bad, but is it the right choice. I like to think I am getting better about this, but I know I am a work in progress.
So no condemnation here of self or the church here. Just honest questions about priorities. Each of our personal priorities and the priorities of the collective church.
So I pray today for our churches are not just comfortable social quasi spiritual gatherings where on judgment day we cry "Lord, Lord".. but God replies.. "I never knew you". Mt 7:21-23 I pray our churches to be houses of worship, outreach, and discipleship that are not about being the cool church, but being the House of God. And I pray for myself and those of you who struggle with self-indulgence. May the Church and our lives listen to God's voice and to all things To God be the Glory.
Jeff (a tad self-indulgent) Larson
In this world of Essentials we have ..'Essential Oils' (5 quarts of motor oil?).. the 'Essential Van Morrison' album compilation, and now ..our government in Pandemic lockdown mode determines which businesses are 'essential'.
The disturbing twist of secular PANICdemic irony is this list of essential businesses include liquor stores, and Planned Parenthood while church gatherings are too 'risky' aka non-essential. In some states you can buy 'weed' (dude) but you can't buy weed killer (garden store).
It is a good thing Mother Theresa is not serving today in my home state of Minnesota where her 'willy nilly non-essential' orphanage and leprosy mission works would not be tolerated.. unless these lepers and orphans also tested Covid-19 positive.
It is obvious by my sarcasm I bristle over our Government's mandated (but ever changing) good, bad, &ugly list of essentials,non-essentials, and social distancing guidelines. But though I bristle I have remained law abiding through my clenched teeth and grumbled tones.
Then I heard a little sermon snippet of 'sunlight' from a Pastor in South Bend Indiana (Pastor YPJ). The just of it his message was to be prayerful & smart in our response to Coronavirus but remember our focus is on Revival not Survival.
With this bit of sunlight in mind, I may listen to Dr Fucci, and weed through the ever changing CDC labyrinth of scenarios, but in none of them do I find hope. Societies message is temporal and 'non-essential' by the Gospel message is life, hope for today and tomorrow, and essentially essential.
I will be smart, I will be safe, but I will not live in fear.
May God bless and use each of you this week in ways that are beyond your dreams. May you feel His protection and love that transcends the fears of men... May we find life in His Words, and a Revival of our hope.
To paraphrase an old Superman slogan.. "This is a job for Supernatural Man" filled by God's Spirit.
Jeff (The Essential Back Pew) Larson
As a guy.. I am a TV Commercial aficionado. While I respect my wife.. when it comes to TV Commercials hands-down I have a deeper appreciation for their .. art.
Case and point is a TV commercial by AT&T where a tattoo artist tells his client he is just an ok tattoo artist but not good one. Then the concerned client questions the tattoo artist not drawing the image before inking the real tattoo.. and this 'just ok' tattoo artist tells him "Stay in your lane bro."
Funny stuff, and it makes me smile every time it pops up on TV.
Message of the cartoon? Don't settle for just ok.
But hidden in this commercial I have gleaned a spiritual correlation. OK, you have to look very very closely but I swear there is one.
When I talk to (aka pray) God, I am not talking with a just an OK deity.. I am talking with the Creator of this World. Omniscient, Omnipresent, and our perfect loving Heavenly Father.
So when I vent (aka pray) to God my busy mind stirring pandemics, the economy, the 2020 elections, my family, my friends, and mix it all up in a big bowl of worry with more than a splash of media hype.. I tell God "I don't know how this is going to all work out." And this is when God whispers to me.. "Stay in your lane bro."
But unlike a 'just ok' deity our God is sovereign. He has this bowl of worries of mine along with everyone else's favorite rage or anxiety recipe and though mankind has again made such a mess of things.. He was not caught off guard. He is not surprised, and NEWS FLASH none of this is a ripple in God's great plan.
Note: I do want to be clear there are consequences for anyone and/or nation's actions and/or rejections of God, but still there is peace in knowing God is sovereign.
Another NEWS FLASH.. this life, our moment in time is not about us.. it is about each of us being faithful in word and deed as we hear God say "stay in our lane bro, I got this".
I will confess, I struggle in understanding this. It's not that I doubt God is sovereign but that He allows the free will of mankind to make a mess and where is He in this mess.
So with this in mind, I will pray we all know God is good. I pray we then love Him with our words and deeds.
And finally, I pray..
Heavenly Father bless and use each of us for your glory in ways that only can be described as beyond our dreams.
Jeff (changing lanes often) 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'
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson