In the beginning .. God said.. “Go ahead, make my day!” 6 times he said this.. and the world was created one day at a time (including the underrated task of distinguishing between NIGHT and DAY.).
Then on the 7th day there shall be football? Ok, man created football and snuck it in on the first day of the week. Come to think about it now we now have FOOTBALL pretty much EVERY day of the week.
In creating the world I don’t think God did the Clint Eastwood squinty eye thingy, nor was GO AHEAD MAKE MY DAY originally a Clint Eastwood aka Dirty Harry line. Bottom line is no one was shot when the world was created, and that it.. WAS GOOD.
Besides the creation of the world in six days, there are other parallels between Clint Eastwood and God.
- David the ‘dirty hairy’ shepherd boy.. challenged Goliath in a manner that was undeniably Clint Eastwood-ish. He may not have been armed with a .44 Magnum handgun the most powerful handgun in the world, BUT he did have a sling, a few stones, and most importantly had the one true God on his side. So Goliath, do you feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?
- In Heaven Guardian Angel Joe has taken on a real 'Dirty Harry persona' ever since Heaven has been getting Cable TV. see pic on right -->
- We find SHEEP boldly take on a Clint Eastwood-like unflinching boldness in the face of any lion like enemy. This is GREAT news for us sheep.
- Even Coffee Drinkers take the joyful message of Psalms 118:24 “this is the DAY the Lord has made (so GO AHEAD MAKE MY DAY), and let us rejoice and be glad in it!.. (but first… coffee) rings of Clint Eastwood.
Coincidence? I think not! Here in the Back Pew we are not blind to the parallels in words and actions of Mr. Clint Eastwood, and.. Almighty God!
So.. Is Clint a prophet? Are the words of Mr. Eastwood a divine providence for this fallen world offering hope and strength?. Is the Clint Eastwood’s movie the UNFORGIVEN a prophetic warning to the demise of unrepentant evil men?
Ok, odds are Mr. Eastwood is just a famous actor/director and not the return of Elijah. But if Clint leaves this Earth someday in a Flaming Gran Torino I will then readdress this topic.
We can still learn a lesson today if we simply.. raise our hands to Heaven and pray believing God’s blessings and to be used as His servant in ways that are beyond my dreams.. by paraphrase AGAIN the words of Mr. Eastwood “Go ahead (God).. make my day!” Anything less is settling for less than what God intends.
And if I am questioned by Clint Eastwood's other words.. "Do I feel lucky? Well, do you PUNK?"
My answer is "lucky?.. no I am BLESSED."
Jeff (Back Pew Punk) Larson
"I am off to pick a fight." is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies.. ‘BraveHeart’.. not to be confused with Brave-Bird.
BraveHeart is the story of William Wallace of Scotland fighting for the FRREEEDOMM against the oppressive rule of England.
At one dramatic scene from the movie BraveHeart the Scots who were greatly outnumbered by the English are about to do battle. The well armed, well trained English did not take this rag-tag Scottish army seriously. But then after declaring.. “I am off to PICK A FIGHT.” .. in rides William Wallace (Mel Gibson) on his horse to mess with the peace negotiations between the Scots and England.
I won’t get into the details, but Wallace taunts and mocks the English until.. yes THERE WAS A FIGHT… and the Scots win!
The significant message of this movie is a call to do what is right no matter the cost, even the cost of maybe their lives.
Of course as modern day Christians we are not called to look for a fight, but we should NEVER be afraid to FIGHT for God's Truth. We answer to God, not to man. Some may cry out.. No, no, not the Crusades again…I go to church, I am a good person..
Please no Crusades 2020 unless they are like the Billy Graham Crusades. Billy Graham is good and I don't remember him with a bloody nose.
Others will say.."Jesus was about love." That's the Jesus we like.. the one about love. we don't associate with Christians who speak out against abortion, Planned Parenthood, gay marriage, or the LGBTQ like claims that there are more genders than Baskin Robbins has flavors of ice cream (31).
Then the media beats their drum of secular outrage with stories about the dangerous bigoted 'religious right'. They guilt many for wanting to build a wall, owning a gun, or for even being white. Why should I feel guilty that my parents were white?
Then every election year like lemmings we are pressured to run full speed off either a republican or democrat/socialist cliff following our political allegiances before considering God's Truth.
We are afraid of the fight (or ill prepared for a fight).. afraid to stand for our FAITH. if we are political, pro-Israel, or against Sharia Law lest we be labeled a Islamophobe. Please I am not one of THOSE Christians. I am a good person, who never makes waves.. I am like Jesus who is about love.. remember?
All this pressure to conform and fear of a fight with our society railing against traditional Christian values melts many into doing their best Piglet 'the pacifist' of Winnie the Pooh fame.. as we fret and worry stammering “Oh d-dear, oh d-dear!!."
But let's slow down and consider a couple examples from our Bibles.
David, leveled the giant Goliath, and cut off his head for daring to mock God. There was no peace negotiations with the enemy of God, and there was victory for David standing up against this Pagan.
and the best example..
Jesus the Son of God...
To summarize the example of Jesus, and how this should set with his church.
If the world hates you, know that it has hated Jesus before it hated you. If you are of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but Jesus chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-19
Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Most likely we are not called to a literal bloody nose like fight, or to be the church version of ANTIFA.. but never EVER back down from living and teaching God's truth.
Important 2020 Note: This is NOT an endorsement of the so-called peaceful protests of 2020. All this misguided SJW angst turned rage mob is not of God. So put down that brick... AND instead be ready and willing to Pick a Fight for and/or Serve THOSE IN NEED, and the LOST? What good is our faith if it is only about our own well being?
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
May God bless each of us today as we pursue and defend God’s truth. May God smile at, and bless our sincere efforts to serve Him and others, and lovingly correct us when we fall… and may God bless us and use us in ways that are BEYOND OUR DREAMS.
Jeff (bruise like a peach) Larson
note: With us all in the fight for God's Truth, let's calm down the internal fights in the church. We should stand for God's word to be honored in the church and while there are differences in the body.. The cry of "heretic" is overused by those we differ with.
I have a continued concern for the American Church that is caught between THE ROCK and a HARD WORLD.
This WORLD mocks Christians as
In response, THE CHURCH claims our ROCK is Jesus... and sing 'A Mighty Fortress is our God', but our knees shake as we become hyper-introspective based more on the world's judging lens instead of God's loving truth.
We apologize and/or hide our views when God's unchanging truths do not fit nicely with our secular society. We go mostly silent as not to stir the anti-Christian hornet's nest world view. We don't like people to call us names.. who would. So we become like a deer caught in society's pious headlights and honking horns.
This HARD WORLD demonstrates a compromised view of a life equally cynical of Christians and mocking of our God.
"The Church is more afraid of offending the world than offending God". - A W Tozer
So the choice is ours. Serve God or appease man. Stand up for God's Truth or attend a Sunday Social club we call church and live our muted lives as Christians in name only.
Only one life 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last. - Charles Studd
Truth is GOD'S TRUTH is not lost... not in the Church, not in the world. God cares deeply both for his church and for a world that does not know him.
This is our opportunity to make a difference not just attending church but being the church.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17
Oh we will stumble but get back up again where Jesus is our Rock while living in this Hard World. Don't be caught in between THE ROCK and this HARD WORLD. Instead stand on THE ROCK. Psalms 18:2
I pray as always His church (we the people) turn daily to God, seek Him first,.. love HIm with our lives, serve Him in all that we do, and love and care others like Jesus did. May God find us faithful, bless us, and use us in ways that are beyond our dreams and for His Glory only.
side note: See below a good barometer for life.
“Rules for Self Discovery:
1. What we want most;
2. What we think about most;
3. How we use our money;
4. What we do with our leisure time;
5. The company we enjoy;
6. Who and what we admire;
7. What we laugh at.”
― A. W. Tozer
Ever console yourself regarding your behavior, words, judgments, and/or circumstances that makes you look bad by qualifying a these moments by saying something like ..
“Well at least I am not like ‘so-in-so’. Or the infamous backwards apology that goes like…
“I’m sorry BUT” and the but is followed by a litany of excuses that makes your apology anything but apologetic.
"I'm sorry BUT your face got in the way of my fist?"
and just like that.. man grades his life on a curve.
So today I am going to console those of us with bad budgets, bad marriages, bad kids (actually they are not bad kids, only 'good' kids making bad choices), bad job, bad health, bad attitudes, or bad hair with.. men, women, and circumstances from the Bible and our world today.. that are intended to make us feel better.
Are you ready? Well let’s get started.
The Old Testament
- Yes my wife and I argue sometimes, but at least I never gave her away
- Nor had reason to tell my wife I was saved by a prostitute
- I have worked some bad jobs, but never as bad as guard duty on the Walls of Jericho.
- Yes I get migraines, but at least I never had a LITERAL splitting headache
- No I have not always liked my neighbors, but at least it never became.. violent.
- I will confess now and then I have occasional adult acne (argh) but at least it never went rogue!
- OK on occasion I skip my daily shower, but at least I never smelled like FISH BARF
The New Testament
- Not everyone agrees with my strong opinions, but at least no one wants me dead (that I know of)
- My Credit Rating may not be perfect, but at least my finances are not public knowledge.
- I have not always listened to God, but at least He has not used a Blinding Light to get my attention.
- I confess I have fallen in sleep in church, but at least I have never fallen out of a church pew (yet)
- Not everyone likes my cartoons but at least (so far) I am not the target of murderous 'anti-humor' zealots
- I have had a number of minor health issues over the years but at least I never been bit by a snake
- I confess to a few speeding tickets in my life, but at least I have not done jail time
- I am no Einstein, but at least I know the difference between figurative and literal.
- I am not a perfect husband, but at least I no longer THINK OUT LOUD... often.
And finally..- I may not be perfect, but at least I am not ONE OF THEM! .. sorry.. it is the cheese that made me do it.
So while life's trials and circumstances real, at least I never have to face them alone. This is not a Christian cliche' , but is our rock solid hope we have with Jesus.
Psalms 23 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
May God bless each of you this day. May you be inspired by at least you never are alone in this life. If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
Jeff (at least I don't attend a snake handler church) Larson
I love my God, but during Sunday morning worship let's just say I am not GIFTED .. Please don't ask to me sing, clap, and chew gum at the same time. Our church is big enough that you would not be 'blessed' by hearing my mediocre voice... My lack of a sense of rhythm is concealed well because as I now raise my hands during worship in a low key manner which minimizes my ability to clap along with any song. I mean to say.. We are PROTESTANTS not PENTECOSTALS!
note: I am neither making fun of Protestants or Pentecostals here.. I am making fun of ME.. BUT I DIGRESS
But my Bull in a China 'Worship' Shop stylings is NOT my topic for today. The Bull I speak of exists in what I may say, or tweet, or maybe a facebook post. I have the ability to undermine the Gospel message with blunt, biting, and sometimes sarcastic words. AND if the person I am talking with or the group I disagree with I feel disrespects me.. my button gets pushed. This button must be pretty easy to spot and has hair trigger switch.
Like usual my disclaimer is .. I am not a bad guy, BUT sharp, and sarcastic words compounded by a frustrated spirit is NOT a fruit of God's Spirit. WHO KNEW?
The Fruit of God's Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, and self control to name a few. Well with this as my measuring stick I stand before you all blurting in my daily email A WITHERED TREE.
So back to being a BULL.. how do I stop myself from breaking life? How do I return to being peaceful? I think one of problems is though I break a few things and hurt a few feelings to those close to me,, the bigger damage I often do is crashing around inside my head hurting myself with feelings of failure.. and not allowing for God's Grace to heal me.
All I can do is pick up the pieces and not try to superglue them back together, but make them a matter of prayer. Ask forgiveness from those who I may have injured, and pray for God to intervene in my heart and mind, and a soul to where my bull like manners become peaceful. You know, that Peace that passes all understanding.
I don't want today's words to be a downer to any of you BULLS. I pray you will encourage any of you who struggle in your BULL-ish moments to regroup, and return to God where peace is waiting.
May God bless, lead and use each of us today DESPITE our frailties, insecurities, frustrations, limitations, and.. lead us through this faith journey without breaking the good China. AND if we do break anything, God's grace is bigger than superglue.
hmmm.. I think that should be on a Hallmark Card.
Jeff (Bullish in the Back Pew) Larson
PS.. a very big PS: Sharing the Gospel message can be another Bull in the China Shop moment. Not everyone has the gift of evangelism, but we ALL should pray for opportunities to share.
Pray to be used by God to share His light in this dark world. Through conversational testimony found in our words and actions the seeds are planted in those who at this point do not know Jesus. Whether we plant or sow we are all part of God's plan.
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 1 Cor. 3:7
I love Matthew 6: 5-15, where Jesus teaches how we should pray, and I return to it often to remind me how I could better pray.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Those are the beautiful calm words of Jesus on prayer and the power of prayer. In contrast this world plows forward without purpose like an rusty old truck without a muffler, blowing it's horn, leaking motor oil while all ready being two quarts low. This world is distracting, and without prayer, without our Lord this life does not go well.
So this brings me to a lazy Saturday morning where I was discussing life with my wife while eating an egg with toast, and drinking my daily allotment of coffee. Mary is a school teacher anxiously preparing for school that starts next week. Also in our conversation Mary shared about a little baby boy born last week with some serious health unknowns. With this in mind and other issues in life we decided we should pray.
As I started to pray out loud, our dog Cooper sniffed over to Mary's breakfast plate she was holding and started licking it. Mary moved the plate across her body, but Cooper was happy to move too. So she then stacked it on the table out of reach. As we chuckled I continued to pray only to be drowned out by loud engine sounds like on a race track from not too far away. There are no race tracks near me but a classic car show was being held that day, and while a classic car show sounds like fun, it was distracting. We chuckled again, then Cooper heard a neighbors car, a chipmunk crossing our yard, and/or maybe a gathering of 'nefarious cat lovers' up to no good at the end of the block. No matter what it was he ran to the door barking. We chuckled again, calmed our dog, and continued to pray.. finally my wife inserted. AMEN.
It was funny, but we did persevere though if there was an angel nearby my wife and I could have been pulled over and ticketed for 'Praying while Distracted'. Sorta like distracted driving for our prayer lives.
Now while this distracted prayer did not fit nicely into the Lord's teachings in Matthew 6 I know this sometimes is how our prayers look. I confess too often my prayers are fit into my day without setting aside a time to be QUIET. Yes this world's dogs may bark, the engines roar, there is 24/7 entertainment and news available to us on our literal fingertips via our smartphones, TV, and the internet calling for our attention, but I know I should do a better job of being quiet, and pursuing God in this quiet.
Again read.. Mt 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I am not at all saying, those quick prayers, and impromptu conversations with God are wrong. I am simply wanting to encourage us to seek our Lord in the quiet without distractions using Matthew 6 as our model. Let the dogs bark, phones rings, and the world rage all while finding God's people quietly pursuing to be obedient to the Lord, and not man.
May God bless each of you with a relationship with Him where your prayers become adoring conversations with our creator. May we seek and are blessed with the quiet alone times with our God knowing He hears our prayers.
Jeff (distracted in the Back Pew) Larson
As a sophomore in High School I was mistakenly selected as a runner for our varsity cross country team. In response to this challenge I finished..LAST in my very first race. I could not see even with superman vision see a trace of the runner I saved from being last. I was quickly demoted to the Junior Varsity team for the rest of the season as I simply was not physically a strong enough runner to compete with varsity athletes.
My senior year I returned to cross country running with the goal of conditioning for the upcoming basketball. I ran JV again while the varsity team made it all the way to run in the State Finals finishing 6th. Me on the other hand was an alternate for the state team but then broke my BIG TOE in a pick up game and.. missed most of the entire basketball season. Hence, my high school accomplishments as an runner were underwhelming.
At this point in my young life.. running is treating me badly! Running is not my friend... UNTIL
Then the running community was all a buzz (not really) as I returned to competitive distance running by participating in MY FIRST MARATHON. Yes, on October 4th, 2009 I participated in and completed the Twin Cities Marathon. Thank you, thank you.
Ok, let me clarify, I participated as a fan only cheering on my daughter in law Laura and her sister Erin, BUT HEY.. it was a long day for me too.
There were several times where I did not think I would make it as I drank too much coffee at the different mile stops and the lines to the porta-pots were long. BUT.. in the last few miles we drove to a local restaurant where I sat down to eat some sweet potato fries with my wife, daughter and son at mile 21. After this much needed nourishment I could see the finish line was in my reach, and so completed my first marathon just over 5 hours after I first began.
Admittedly watching the Twin Cities Marathon, and running it are not the same thing, but let me share that I was tired, and did go home and take a nap.
Marathon Runners: Now on to those who do like to 'say' they like to run. I once had a pastor friend who has run many a marathon. My good friend Bryan Anderson combines long distance races with winter weather by participating in cross country ski races. Hmm .. COLD WEATHER + ENDURANCE SPORTS.. in my way of looking at it.. 'two negatives do not equal a postive'... and 2 wrongs don't make a right. Bryan's brother Jim has ran marathons in all 50 states, as well as marathons in other parts of the world including China.
While most of us have not run one marathon kudos to those who have. BUT for runners and non-runners alike we need to all be about what the Apostle Paul describes as... Running the Good Race.. but I take this scripture as an excellent spiritual metaphor.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Cor 9:24
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me. Acts 20:24
I do remember the discipline of training for Cross Country races in High School. I did not enjoy it and was not a gifted runner, but it did prepare me for the upcoming races. The exhaustion and pain found in training and competing I would not call it happy, but it was satisfying when I found I was prepared for the competition.
Very much in the same way to prepare my body, mind, and soul to run this life for God takes discipline. It will be met with hardships, and the race will not be easy. This secular world has IMO is against (not just indifferent to) Christians. To be faithful to our God in these days and in the year 2020 is a race that we must take serious. This is not the time to stop off for sweet potato fries at mile marker 21. This is a time to press on and to honor God with all the moments that make up our days. In all things TO GOD BE THE GLORY
So this completes my running ramble. This is not a call to be sedentary, but this is a time to run the good race and fight the good fight.
May God find us all faithful, and REMEMBER running is a spiritual metaphor.. no need to buy new running shoes.
Jeff (Happy Trails) Larson
Now how is that for a catchy title? I can divide my readership all in that one phrase.. IF I meant it.. and I do not. I REPEAT I DO NOT!
No it was not sweeps week in the Christian blog biz, and I did not use this title to roll my eyes ( no holy roller pun intended ) at those who would are a bit more charismatic than me. Truth be told.. WOOD is more charismatic than I am.
You see I was brought up in a wonderful small town little white church (both the building and the people) in Cable Wisconsin.. this is where I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was 6 years old. I appreciate my church upbringing, and the people who made up my church heritage.
The denomination was Christian Missionary Alliance (protestant) which was founded by A.B. Simpson, and like the 'Apostle' John (Denver) sang.. “Thank God I’m a Country Boy!”
So what does any of this have to do with being Pentecostal or charismatic? Literally Nothing.
There was an Assembly of God church in town, and they were the 'other' Christians. There was also a Lutheran, Catholic, and Congregational church.. and truth be told I did not know much about any of them. The funny (not funny) baggage I picked up on was that our church was the good one, and the other churches.. well .. while there I am sure are Christians in those churches.. but my church was the one doing it the right way. This was not taught to me, but this was my tainted perception.
Now fast forward 40+ years from when I accepted Jesus at age 6, and for about a year I found myself attending a small church that would describe themselves as charismatic and Pentecostal.
Doesn’t God have a great sense of humor?
We were there because my daughter Erin had connected with a youth group that is the best I could pray for. In this little charismatic church my daughter was loved and taught to love God and others. Though the energy, hand raising, and some dancing of sorts during worship stretched my comfort zone.. the teaching was down to Earth, AND also recognized the healing and amazing power of God for our lives.
I don’t speak in tongues nor do I pursue it BUT I desire to NEVER PUT A LID ON how God may work, how God may heal, how God may speak, and how God may choose to work through his people or how he may choose to work in me.
You may be wondering where I am going with this.. so here is my point. Just like Republican, or Democrat are labels of man, so is Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Pentecostal, OR any other denomination man's theological labels. Love God with all your heart soul and mind, and love others as you love yourself! These are the greatest commandments, and all other laws and DENOMINATIONS (should be) built on this.
So while being a Christian cartoonist and self proclaimed humorist I do find Charismatics make me smile and roll my eyes sometimes.. but I must be honest that we all are pretty funny in our differences. And.. VIVA LA DIFFERENCE!
One body, many parts.. and plenty of room for those who want to raise their hands, dance, speak in tongues, don’t speak in tongues, cry, laugh, shout halleluiah, shout amen brother, or sit on ample butt while all worshiping God. Our God is big. He is too big to be put into a man made box with any denomination label sticker on it. This is the good news, .. this is GREAT news.
Love God, love others, love yourself.. SMILE MON!! Thus declares Jeff.. Pentecostal in training.
I pray God would bless and use His people as they serve Him. I pray God gives us appreciation for those who obviously love the Lord and serve Him but may worship differently than we do. AGAIN.. The Church is one body, many parts as He designed.
Jeff (hand raiser now sometimes) Larson
Note: Since the original writing of this email, we no longer attend this Pentecostal church, but I pray I never forget the lessons of taking the lid off what is possible when God is present. Is this Pentecostal thinking? Maybe, AND it certainly is biblical.
THIS LIFE is filled with awkward moments. For example,
Ok, TMI I know, but in reading my Bible I discover I am not the only one with awkward moments to deal with.
There were miracles a plenty.. in my Bible leaving mouths hanging open speechless at the power of God. But of course as a cartoonist and self-declared humorist awkward silence in between the verses retelling these stories are a fine place for a awkward one-liners. For example, when..
all of the above and more from the the very pages of our Bibles cry.. AWKWARD!
BUT.. that was THEN.. This is NOW
The above are just a few moments that make me collectively cringe, smirk, and then realize the more things change the more they stay the same.
Today's world is still so very awkward in response to this life and God. We as Christians are to be in this world but not to be of this world, but awkwardly we attempt to do both. We reason.. 'Jesus is love so I should be about loving others'.. BUT.. in doing so we embrace the sins of this world. AWKWARD.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15
So I pray we all stand strong for our God.. unwavering examples of His truth, and do so in love. To stand faithful in our words and deeds is to honor God and be a testimony to mankind.
May God bless and use each of you this day in ways that are beyond your dreams and even in the awkward moments of life.
Jeff (sitting awkwardly in the Back Pew) Larson
I wrote this blog a couple years ago, and found it fitting today more than ever in 2020.
2 Corinthians 10:5 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.
With this great scripture in mind, I feel sometimes like I am serving 60 years to life in the Alcatraz of my Mind. Instead of holding every thought captive obedient to Christ I may wander and become a captive to my thoughts.
In these times my weary brain becomes lost in the tasks of another anxious day living in this very broken spinning out of control world leaving me frazzled, weary, and downright .. pouty.
Now pouty may be cute when it is my 4 year old granddaughter, but when it is 63 year old Jeff.. just ask my wife Mary, it's not cute.
So what do I do? I read aloud again 2 Corinthians 10:5 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.
To be very frank, 2020 a dumpster fire of a year. It is the year of Covid-19, race tensions rivaling the 1960s, anarchist groups like Antifa, and BLM , and civil disobedience all wrapped up in an Election year where the MSM has become the National Enquirer with an agenda that has little to do with reporting the news. When STORY is more important to the MSM than TRUTH, we have a problem.
So how does 2 Corinthians 10:5 fit in to 2020? I believe It fits in perfectly.
When 2020 shouts "PANIC.. It's the end of the world!".. I must take that panic and make it obedient to Christ. My prayer is to be found faithful and trusting in Him now more than ever.
This will be my life long process of returning to this scripture truth when my anxious, jealous, lazy, angry, compromised etc etc thoughts occupy the podium in my brain. Christ must be the answer.. He is my hope. So here ya go Jesus.. THANKS!
May God bless each of you this day where God's perfect Truth & Love is the answer when your thoughts are have you locked in the cell next to mine on the Alcatraz of your Mind.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson