What happened Yesterday

Comic Sans MS – My uncle e-mailed us last week to tell us that he was getting a new television and that we were welcome to the old one under the condition that we go there to pick it up. My mom and all the boys loaded up and went to go get said television yesterday afternoon and all was well on the way there.

On the way back, the SUV started making noises as the vehicle accelerated and then it died. My dad had made cars and trucks all his life, even though he couldn’t identify the problem, he knew better than to try to drive it home.

That’s when I recieved the call. They were thirty miles away and needed the numbers of whatever towing services were in the nearest two cities. I took the online Yellow Pages and completed their request. There was nothing left for me to do but wait.

At their end, the towing service they selected found them quickly and loaded the truck with no delay. The driver mentioned that he was not allowed to drive all four passengers, but only two. My mother and the exchange student recieved that honor. As for my father and brother, they would have to wait at McDonalds.

No sooner had they entered the restaurant they met a member of our former church. He said that he would have left an hour earlier, but he and his friend got to talking and they lost track of the time. He realized that it was not usual for us to visit a McDonalds thirty miles away from home. (He lived out in that direction and regularly made the thirty mile trip to church in our town.)

He offered my father and brother a ride home, and they accepted. My brother took the oppurtunity to put his Christmas gift to good use, he called us from his cell phone and had me update mom about their good fortune. They all arrived safe and sound and installed the new television in short order. My dad remarked that the towing fee was a cheap price to pay for a bigger flat screen television.

What floors me about yesterday are all the details. How the tow truck had no trouble finding my parents or loading up the t.v.-laden SUV, how my parents had given my brother a cell phone that Christmas when every other time he was given a cell phone by anybody else it was taken away, how that member of our former church happened to be there, and how easily the new television was set up. Now we have to figure out what to do with a 37-in. monster television that is as tall as it is wide and as wide as it is deep.

This Little Light

Century – My sister recently pointed out that we’ve been getting light only a third of the day. As far north as we are, it gets late early around here and early stays late often. Sometimes we don’t realize how necessary light is until it’s gone.

Before I moved to Indiana, I had always lived in a suburb of Oklahoma City. The first winter here was tough. I don’t think that I had ever gotten up before the sun did in Oklahoma. Here, I could wake up at the same time and would have to wait two hours for sunrise. There were days that I would be up and awake and not see the sun until lunch-time because of the lack of windows in the old school.

That first year I suffered Seasonal Affected Depression. The usual treatment is spending time by a light box, maybe eat breakfast or read a book. I managed to muddle through without a light box, and over the years the winters were easier, dark as ever but not so bad. It is for this very reason why it is difficult for me to wake up early in winter.

1 John 1:5-10, ” 5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
 8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”

I am so dependant on light. I can’t see without it. I wouldn’t be warm without it. I can’t be guided without it. Perhaps young children are right to be afraid of the darkness. However, in as much as we are in the light, others are in the dark, spiritually, physically, and mentally.

Ephesians 4:17-19, “17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”

Have you ever tried to read by a dim light? Have you ever used a nearly-dead flashlight to find your way? Sometimes, I think, people willingly ignore the difficult teachings of the Bible and so dim their own light. It’s not meant to be an easy book. There are things we can’t know. Sometimes people make a theology around it. One church I visted baptized children because the Israelites circumcised their sons. Too many churches are dimmed, presenting a gospel without using words like sin, Satan, and Hell. A dim light offers no warmth, the view of things is obscured by the nearness of the darkness. Be humbled and lit by God’s light. A light so bright Moses used a veil to hide his shinning face. The light that destroys the darkness obscuring the dim lights.

1 Peter 2:9-10, “9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

Worm Infestation

Candara – Imagine talking a walk in the countryside and happening upon one of the trees planted by none other than Johnny Appleseed. You find an apple on the ground, it’s probably been a month since it fell off of the tree. It’s mushy. It’s brown. It smells. You would call it rotten.

While you’re pondering about good old Johnny, a man comes trudging up the hill. He explains that his car needs work and he could use a little help. The man picks up that rotten apple. Now in this society, it’s not allowed to impose your opinions or beliefs on others so much so that nobody talks about them anymore, so you get a sick feeling as you watch the man eat that apple.

In this particular countryside, the Shady Indigo Nerve Worm, which is not as rare as one might think, had been infesting nothing other than apple trees. There was one such worm in that apple. The man was not only sickened by the bad fruit, but poisoned by the worm as well. The clock was ticking, without immediate care he would die.

Being the old-fasioned person you are, you help him to your four by four and you take the straightest path to town even risking the speed trap. Fortunately, Doc Morris is awake at this hour and begins pumping in a general anti-venom.

The town preacher notices your vehicle at Doc’s and he walks in fearful of your condition not knowing that the stranger is at death’s door. He speaks with the man then goes to sit with you in the waiting room. The only thing on your mind is your negligence. Had you simply warned the man things might be okay. Had you gown down from the hill immediately, the man might have gone upon his way. Had …

Doc Morris comes out from the room and plops himself on the recliner. He explains that the recently read a paper on the Shady Indigo Nerve Worm and knew that he had eaten it by the purple spot on the man’s head. Now it was up to the man, if he could fight the poison and survive the next three hours, he would live.

With time on your hands, you headed toward your four-by-four. You have a car to fix.

(So it is with moral relevatism. Which person are you? The walker whose fear of offending the man led to the negligence of the truth? The man who couldn’t discern between good and bad? The doctor who knew what he needed to know? The preacher who knew the regulars? Nobody is ever truely offended if you save their lives. You might have to step on people’s toes, but its better to do that than to let them go to the place where the worm does not die.)

a like ness

Cambria – Christlikeness should be our goal, there is no better example – of anything – than Christ. If we want to be a good teacher, then we should teach like Christ taught. If we want to be a good servant, then we should serve like Christ served. If we want to be good people then we should be good like Christ was good. It’s a tall order, isn’t it? Christians. Annointed ones, named after our very Lord. We bear His name, His image, and yet we don’t always bear His attitude. Lord, help me to care about what you cared about. Help me to be Christlike in every way.

Sin! Sin! Sin! Sin!

Calisto MT – Romans 1:28-32, ” 28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

I finally have a verdict on that video game I discovered many weeks ago. I have played it some, but because of the nature of the game I have decided to quit playing it. I’m not thrilled with the possibility that the game has no true conclusion. It promotes that which my Bible denies, including vampirism, witches, thievery, and certain relationships. If the game promotes these things, then I shudder to think what else can be unlocked.

Matthew 5:17-20, ” 17″Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

My issue is that it seems that this game approves what is clearly wrong and there is no option to pursue faith as I know it. This is the same society that plays the Grand Theft Auto series. Anti-heroes are not heroes at all. I don’t care if the graphics are amazing or the sound is breath-taking. The overall goals of these games is thinly veiled sin and the celebration thereof.

Mark 9:42-50, “42”And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. 43If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48where
   ” ‘their worm does not die,
      and the fire is not quenched.’ 49Everyone will be salted with fire.
 50″Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves,
and be at peace with each other.””

It’s not only in video games. The encouragement to sin is everywhere. It’s in books, movies, music, and even on our streets. I know that no Christian public school teacher is fond of Mark 9:42, but it applies to anyone. There are video I games that I play that aren’t perfect, but none of them are as blatant in sinfulness as GTA and the game to which I was refering, the Sims. Make your life better than your simulated character’s and you won’t need a simulated life. This is the time when we have to closely guard our hearts, it’s all too easy to trap us into sin. So when you are encouraged to sin, let me encourage you to fight it and run the other way.

Merry Christmas!

Californian FB – For a long time now, I’ve been suscribed to the daily quotes e-mail from The Foundation for a Better Life. I thought I’d like to share the quote that they sent me today.

β€œAnd the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? [Christmas] came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” – Doctor Seuss

 

This Christmas

Calibri – This Christmas is different. It’s a lot like last year’s in many ways, but not quite. Our Christmas tree is a two foot tall fiber optic tree on a two foot tall table. It’s not a live tree like last year. But Christmas isn’t about trees, real or artificial.

We have fewer gifts this year, but one gift I’m thankful for is that my dad still has a job. (He makes trucks.) Last year we had more gifts, but Christmas isn’t about the number of gifts you get or if you get any at all, although it is nice if you get at least one.

Our house doesn’t have any lights on it or any indoor decoration other than the tree itself. I don’t think we had lights or any other indoor decoration either last year, but Christmas isn’t about lights or indoor decoration.

We eat our Christmas dinner at lunch, just like we always do, but Christmas isn’t about Christmas dinner or when you eat it.

If this recession turns into a depression (if it isn’t one already) then it will be more and more difficult to carry on a traditional Christmas as we knew it. We’ll get to the bare bones of Christmas. Santa Claus won’t be able to bring as much compared to years past, but Christmas isn’t about what we do or do not have. Christmas is about Jesus Christ.

When we have no choice but to focus Christ Jesus, can we do this holiday any justice. We gather our families together to celebrate the birth of the savior that made us a part of His family.

It’s just not right to be bummed out without a real tree, lights, other decoration, and with fewer gifts when Christmas isn’t about any of that stuff. Perhaps this is a better Christmas because the unneccessary things have been taken away that take my focus from Him.

Now I know what that one gift is, the news the angels gave the shepherds, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” What greater gift could there be than that? (Luke 2:11)