Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Do you ever feel guilty for not really wanting to go to heaven . . . today? A few mornings ago, Sheila and I were sitting in our screened porch enjoying the view and a few cups of coffee. The grass was green from all the recent rain and had just been cut the day before. The temperature was perfect. We had finches, blue birds, red birds . . . and as a little bonus, a mamma and her two fawns to enjoy watching.

It’s a rare thing that I take my Bible to the porch; I usually read inside. But this time I took it. My scheduled reading, Isaiah 35, was about heaven. So there I sat struggling with guilt for not wanting to go there . . . just yet. I know when we get there, we’ll kick ourselves for being so foolish; but as I sat there pondering, I realized that this is the world He has given us to enjoy for now.

The day will come when we will leave this world. Heaven will blow this world away. There will be tastes we’ve never tasted, colors we’ve never seen and sounds we’ve never heard; and all eternity to enjoy it. But for now, He has given us this world. It is His creation. He was pleased when He created it. I think He enjoys seeing us enjoying it and is okay with our not wanting to leave it . . . today.

 

I heard recently of a Facebook conversation between a couple of friends. Though I have not seen the dialogue, I was told the jist of it.

One has chosen a gay lifestyle. Believing God made him that way, he is fully convinced God accepts his choice. Another from our group called him on it. The one line I remember she used was that we all heard the same preaching.

What has changed? Has God changed? Was he against it then but now he’s not? Was it just a case of man’s wrong interpretation of a loving God? Or, has Satan slipped in to deceive? Is the current view held by our mutual friend and so many others today a result of the success of this deception?

I thought a lot about this when I heard about it. I thought of how Satan deceived Eve. She had heard what God said, but Satan suggested something that made her question what God meant. And in that mental frame she was open to Satan’s new meaning.

Not too long ago, I stumbled across a verse in Luke. “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” It is a constant struggle to make sure that what we believe is right. If we rely on what we once believed, what we once believed can be twisted. And if it is twisted, no matter how much we believe it is light, it is actually darkness.

 

A Deafening Silence

Forgetting God is a subtle . . . and gradual . . . thing. As I sit here this morning, I would say that I am not guilty of forgetting God, but my journal testifies against me. There have been years where my time with God (my reading and subsequent journaling) has resulted in 4 – 5 journals. At the pace I am on right now, the one I am currently in could almost last an entire year. Have I forgotten God? No way. I have this current journal to prove it. But this same journal also proves that I have to an extent.

Isaiah spoke of a people that had “forgotten God their Savior”. They “had not remembered their Rock, their fortress”. I would suspect, like myself, they would argue that they had not forgotten Him. Knowing how subtle and gradual the forgetting happens, there must surely be trickles of remembrance, sufficient for our minds to believe we haven’t forgotten Him. From what Isaiah says about them, they were further along in their forgetting than I, and God was letting them know the consequences.

Of another group, similar problem, comes this staggering thought; I can’t quit thinking about it. It is God’s response to them. “I will remain quiet.” With impending plans of judgment . . . silence. It makes me wonder of us today. His silence allows us the luxury of assuming acceptance. It may very well not be the case.

 

A Time for Cleansing

There is nothing new under the sun. Even in Isaiah’s day, there were those who called evil good and good evil. It is going on today at an accelerated pace. This last one over the bathrooms has, it seems, pushed to a point of absurdity that we have finally decided was unacceptable.

I pray for the government of North Carolina; that the Lord would give them success as they take a stand, as now the DOJ has filed suit against them. North Carolina could to loose 1 to 2 billion in federal funding – over a bathroom issue. They seem as hell bent on making North Carolina pay as they do in seeing that Hillary Clinton doesn’t. Imagine that.

Isaiah said God would “cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire”. I’m not sure how that will actually happen in our government, but it is without a doubt in need of happening. From the injustice of granting a woman the right to choose, when that choice results in the sacrifice of a human life, to the injustice of allowing Hillary Clinton to remain unscathed in spite of her blatant disregard for law, to this latest bathroom issue; our government is in need of a cleansing. I pray their day is coming.

Push Back America

I like writing that is right – that describes accurately how things are. Just this morning, I read something that Isaiah wrote that describes how things were in his day. Here are few of the selected phrases that speak to what was happening in his day. The young were rising up against the old. The base were rising up against the honorable. The guides were leading people astray. They were parading their sin like Sodom.

By his accurate description I can see a parallel to our present day. I am able to see what God thought about it – what he planned to do about it. I can see, so much like today, how the base is rising up against the honorable. His account inspires me. In the flood that the guides of today are pushing, I see that God has his own guides; and through this one I am inspired, not to just let my light shine, but to push back.

I like an Abraham Lincoln quote I read the other day. “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” The honorable people of our society are in the right place. We need to do more to stand against those who are pushing the base things of this world. They parade it like Sodom. And again, from someone elses descriptive writing, we know that didn’t end very well.

Misery

In Israel’s history of kings, some led them toward God and some led them away. In Hosea’s time, it was bad. God’s holy people were given to prostitution, adultery and other evil deeds.

How did it get that way? How did we get the way we are? How did we get to the point that we have a transgender bathroom issue? When good people do nothing, without the restraint, evil will flourish. And when it does, it will make life miserable for the good people who did nothing.

North Carolina’s government is trying to do something. They took a stand and evil thinking is making their life miserable. Concerts are canceling. Corporations, reportedly, are threatening to pull out of the state. They are paying an unpleasant price.

Why can’t the good people in our country be as organized for good as those who are organized for evil? Why can’t we make their life miserable? What if the groups that canceled concerts in North Carolina felt the sting of small crowds in other states? Target has come out in support of it. What if Target felt the sting of almost empty parking lots? (I intend to let them know – politely – that we will not be shopping there.)

In Hosea’s day, good people had done so little restraining for so long that evil had made life miserable. I like his line: “In their misery, they will earnestly seek me.” In these miserable times, let us seek him for what we might do.

 

 

The Last Leaf

This O Henry short story portrays a disheveled old painter who lives alone. He admires two younger sisters who live above him on the third floor. He longs to be appreciated by both the sisters and the local gallery. So far he has had little success.

One of the sisters becomes deathly ill. Her will to live is gone. From her bed she can see a tree next to the brick building across the street. It’s early winter; most of the leaves have already fallen. One day she decides she will live as long as the leaves last. For days, the sisters and the old man keep a close eye on the tree.

The day comes when there is just one leaf left. A winter blast is moving in. And with the wind whipping at the leaf, there is not much hope that it will survive the night.

By morning, the attention turns to the curtains. Reluctantly . . . they are opened. But somehow, the last leaf is still there. And just like that, the will to live is back.

Outside, a crowd gathers around the tree – wondering what possible explanation there could be for this old man to have been out in such a storm.

One final look at the leaf . . . as the twig separates from the brick wall.

(The Giver gives gifts and talent . . . ours to develop; His to determine their purpose.)

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers