So apparently the vaccine line at one South Carolina location was hours long - inefficient, frustrating, and absolutely ridiculous. Somebody commented that no one handles drive-through lines better than Chick-Fil-A. So those in charge of the vaccine administration called a local Chick-Fil-A manager. He came down, looked things over, made adjustments, and decreased the wait time to a mere 15 minutes. Sandy, on JoyFM, was telling this story. And her take? When she finds herself in a pickle and things are not going well, she just wants to see one cow, as in Chick-Fil-A’s slogan “Eat More Chicken.” (The sign held by a cow.)
Doesn’t that make you smile?!
As I smiled, I was flooded with my own cow associations. I don’t automatically think of cows and Chick-Fil-A. I think of the Sandhills of Western Nebraska on my grandparents’ five-section cattle ranch. I think of the summers I spent on the ranch chasing cows, following Uncle Mike, milking cows, helping Grandma, putting up hay to feed cows, taking piano lessons from Mary Ann, riding on the feed sled, talking with Grandad, driving the scatter rake, checking salt, flying in the two-seater Cesena with Grandad to find a bull, cleaning out an autogate, changing the irrigation lines, picking potato bugs off the potatoes, taking the cows to the Dille (my great-grandparents’ homestead - 16 miles across country from the ranch), doctoring the cows for pink eye . . . Very quickly I get lost thinking about one of my most favorite places on earth.
I associate the Sandhills with peace, quiet, fresh air, sweet smells, sweet Sandhills water, precious childhood memories, and a more relaxed pace than my normal hurried existence. It is still a wonderful place, but there’s a sense of loss. So many people who are part of the fabric of my memories of the Sandhills have died. It’s just not the same without them; there’s a huge void.
It takes a lot longer to describe the thought progression from vaccine lines to Chick-Fil-A to cows to the Sandhills than it actually happened in real time. In just moments, a twinkling of an eye (so to speak), I was thinking of that time when I’m going to see all of those who have gone before. I’m going to experience a place more wonderful than the Sandhills, a place of peace and joy and the people I love so much. I’m very grateful to have that blessed assurance before me every day.
And I’m so glad that when I’m in a pickle, when things aren’t going so well, I think of the One who can make all things right, make all things flow more smoothly - my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I don’t think about a cow.
I'm still flabbergasted by Christians who claim they hate abortion but voted Biden. Was it because of their inability – or unwillingness – to think biblically, to have a biblical worldview, and to have their faith inform all aspects of their lives? I'm saddened to say that today the words "lemmings, woke, and cultural pressure” comes to my mind when thinking on Christians gulping so much of the worldly media’s influence instead of the Bible. These claimants to Christ too often are just clones of the world, and offer little difference to what the pagans are all about. For Christ followers the issue of LIFE can not be anything but the very first issue. It is the umbrella that covers ALL the other components relating to mankind: Family, Marriage, Law and Order, Gender, Govt., Abortion, Church, Sexuality, Morality, and Freedom just to name a few. So by using abortion as a litmus test in voting we have been accused of being "single issue voters." Really? That would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad. That is just not true. Life is found as God's intention in ALL the important concerns of God in the Holy Bible. From the very first book we can read His Words to Cain.
Genesis 4:10 NIV "The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood (LIFE) cries out to me from the ground." This was said to Cain right after he killed his little brother. These brothers are the sons of Adam and Eve. This was the first family! It didn’t take long in history for a godless choice to snuff out a life. It took even less time for God to reveal what He thought about taking a Life in the verses that followed
Years later in an effort to equip Israel with wisdom right before taking up residence in a demonically influential territory across the Jordan River God states emphatically, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you LIFE and death, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE (Vote) LIFE, so that you and your CHILDREN MAY LIVE and that you may Love the Lord your God, Listen to His voice, and Hold Fast to Him. For the Lord is your LIFE, and He will give you many years (LIFE) in the land He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NIV
Did you notice here that CHOOSING LIFE is equivalent to Loving God, Listening to God, and Being in the Presence of God? What Christian shouldn’t, IN ALL OUR WAYS, reflect those things first? But that’s just a start in these two verses in regards to LIFE. Not only will the adults be blessed but the natural overflowing result spills out into the LIFE of the children. By choosing life you are choosing to allow God to bless you and YOUR CHILDREN. God gives us the great gift of freedom to choose (blessings, vs.19) but with that freedom comes a very real danger. That danger is that we can make the wrong choice (curses, vs.19). Finally He is telling Israel that when you choose LIFE you are choosing Him. This foundational rule is reinforced by the Messiah Jesus as He talked to Thomas the Apostle, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me (LIFE), you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:6-7 NKJ) Voting Life is obviously much more than a single issue to The Father and The Son. Jesus seems to be saying when you don’t regard LIFE to the fullest, when you don’t choose that which represents His very character, you don’t know Him or His Father. That is unthinkable for a Christian….and should be for everyone!
Since we’re speaking on character, if you define “abortion,” one of the definitions is “to terminate and destroy”. Did you know that in the last book of the Bible, the book called Revelation the prince of the bottomless pit is known as Apollyon? Were you aware his name means destroyer! Rev. 9:11 KJV
Finally in this same book of Revelation, let me list the overwhelming evidence the Father and Son place on LIFE. In these divinely inspired verses they give their readers an inside view of the very heart and mind of God. Listen to how They have titled the various precious things of eternity for Themselves: Water of Life, Tree of Life, Book of Life, Spirit of Life, and finally the Crown of Life. We should be in Awe of the LIFE He gives ALL freely and protect it always.
A “single issue voter”? Hardly!
My aunt died a few weeks ago. She was a good woman, and I loved her dearly. We decided to take flowers to her gravestone in memory of her for Memorial Day.
The cemetery is located in a small southeastern Missouri town, a very poor community with many rundown buildings. Nevertheless, the cemetery was very pretty, already showing a wide display of flowers distributed around the grave stones in anticipation of Memorial Day. There’s something to be said for people who remember their loved ones. And maybe even their not so loved ones.
After placing the flowers on the gravestones (My parents are buried there too.), we spent some time just exploring the cemetery. The oldest gravestone we found was of a child who died in 1867. Some stones looked older but had weathered to the point we could not read the etchings.
There was a certain sadness in that for me.
Time eventually even erases the marks in stone we make in an effort to remember people who once experienced life.
Looking out over the cemetery, I could see in my mind the layer of caskets beneath the surface of the ground following the contour of the land like a vein of ore waiting to be mined. The value of this vein is not in the materials making up the caskets, substantial even though that might be. Rather, the value resides in the caskets and their contents as markers of prior lives God has not forgotten over time. There is no weathering of God’s memory.
Atheists would say this is a religious pipe dream.
I’m glad I’m not an atheist.
I have hope, a strong conviction, from what I have learned from the Bible.
Pentecost is about a harvest season, not of grain or even of valuable ore, but of people. Walking around in that cemetery I could almost feel the waiting, the listening for the call from Christ to come forth.
John 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
One of the messages of Pentecost is to remember we are workers in a harvest season. In the not too distant future, this particular harvest will end.
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We are planning to observe Pentecost on Sunday, May 31st at 11 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus hall in Washington, MO. This is our first meeting in many weeks, and we will not have a potluck this time. You are welcome to bring your own snacks/drinks if you so desire.
We do plan to follow the guidelines on social distancing. If all goes well, we may return to our regular sabbath schedule at the Opera House in June.
I know some of you have plans to meet elsewhere, and that is fine. Please feel free to observe Pentecost wherever you so desire. Regardless, may we all enjoy the Holy Day!
It is hard to believe that song was first recorded some 65 years ago. Jerry Lee Lewis was not the first to record it, but his version in a 1957 release event climbed to #1 on the Billboard R & B chart and on the country charts and made Lewis a celebrity.
“I ain’t fakin’, whole lotta shakin’ going on.”
In the last four months the world has experienced a whole lot of shaking going on. The health, economic and social shakings from the COVID-19 pandemic have been severe. Many sources claim there’s a lot of faking of information in attempts to move forward various agendas.
The truth is hard to come by oftentimes in this world; we rarely, if ever, get an accurate total picture. Nevertheless, some things are telling. Funeral homes in hard hit areas overflowing with bodies waiting to be cremated. Refrigerated body storage facilities parked on some hospital lots. The desperate pleas for respirator devices which marked early attempts to treat sick people with low O2 levels.
I think most of us, maybe not all, can at least agree this is not your average flu season.
But agreement beyond that has been difficult to come by. Many kinds of allegations have been made. My inbox has been inundated with multiple warnings of the plots “really” behind the COVID-19 actions, both governmental and private.
All of this has resulted in much conflict between people: the left vs. the right; citizens for/against government policies to deal with the outbreak; churches for obeying/not obeying government guidelines for meeting/not meeting, and so on and on.
Lots of animosity.
Stress does that type of thing.
There’s a saying which goes something like this: “When you get shaken, what’s really in you spills out.” That’s my paraphrase of it. Until something unbalances a person they can hide what’s in their cup. No more hiding though when the contents slosh out.
I do know for sure none of this has caught God by surprise. In fact, Isaiah 45:7 quotes the LORD, “I form the light, and create darkness. I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (KJV). This verse is an example of parallelism in Hebrew scripture - light vs. darkness, peace vs. (not moral evil) calamity.
God Himself says He creates calamity, trouble.
Deuteronomy 8 gives some insight. Even though God brought Israel out of Egypt as His chosen people, not everything seemed rosy to Israel in the wilderness.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 - And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (KJV)
Difficulties humble us and prove what is in our hearts. Our words, choices, and actions declare what is really in us.
We have been shaken out of our prior lives and routines. Things will never be just like they were even when a “new normal” does come.
Romans 8:28 is a favorite scripture: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (KJV)
There is evil in this world manifested at both the physical and spiritual levels.
They mean it for destruction, but God means it for good.
There may still be some flare ups over the next few weeks of COVID-19 panic/disruptions/disagreements, but it is likely the worst of this particular challenge is in the rear view mirror. At least for the summer. Hopefully.
We all should take some time to meditate on what spilled out of us during this time of shaking.
As Jesus indicated in Matthew 24, these birth pangs will precede His return and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on this earth. Stronger contractions, birth pangs, are coming in the future. That’s how the birthing process normally goes, right? The wise see, learn, and prepare.
This is from Marvin Olasky’s page in World magazine, April 11, 2020, page 72:
A Duty to Protect
Some Christians have said things like: Let’s continue to meet. God will protect us. Here’s what John Calvin wrote in his Insitutes of the Christian Religion (Book 1, Chapter 17): “For he who has set limits to our life has at the same time entrusted to us its care. He has provided means and helps to preserve it . . . Thus if the Lord has committed to us the protection of our life, our duty is to protect it; if he offers helps, to use them; if he forewarns us of dangers, not to plunge headlong; if he makes remedies available, not to neglect them.”
What’s the practical application? One Sunday in 1862 pastor and soldier Robert L. Dabney preached a sermon on God’s “special providence,” nothing that in a recent battle “every shot and shell and bullet was directed by the God of battles.” Not much later Dabney found himself under fire and took cover behind a large gate post. A nearby officer kidded him: “If the God of battles directs every shot, why do you want to put a gate-post between you and a special providence?” Dabney replied, “Just here the gate-post is the special providence.”
That story ends with a touch of humor, but the following is only tragic:
Richmond Pastor Who Defied Social Distancing Orders Dies of COVID-19
Anne Stych April 14, 2020, Ministry Watch, (https://ministrywatch.com/richmond-pastor-who-defied-social-distancing-orders-dies-of-covid-19/).
A Richmond evangelical preacher who told his congregation “God is larger than this dreaded virus” after defying state social distancing recommendations has died of COVID-19.
Bishop Gerald O. Glenn, 66, died April 11. The church announced the pastor’s death in a video on its Facebook page that was posted on Easter Sunday.
Bryan Nevers, a church elder, said in the video that funeral arrangements will be announced in the next few days and that they will adhere to Virginia’s quarantine guidelines.
Glenn continued to hold services at Richmond’s New Deliverance Evangelistic Church even after the spreading coronavirus threat led government officials to warn against gatherings of 10 or more people, preaching to 185 congregants March 18, per The Washington Post, and saying at a March 22 service he would continue “unless I’m in jail or the hospital,” the New York Post reported.
“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus. You can quote me on that,” he said at the later service, repeating the statement for emphasis.
Virginia Gov. Ralph S. Northam had closed non-essential businesses and banned gatherings of more than 10 people on March 17 in response to the spreading pandemic. Northam expanded the mandate to a stay-at-home order March 30.
Glenn’s wife, Mother Marcietia Glenn, 65, also has tested positive for the virus, according to their daughter, Mar-Gerie Crawley, who urged people to “understand the severity and the seriousness of this, because people are saying it’s not just about us, it’s about everyone around us.”
That last sentence is worth re-reading. For those not concerned about self, there is still the possibility of passing this virus along to others. A substantial percent of people pass this virus along while not showing or developing symptoms.
At least for the present, consider social distancing and diligent hygiene as providences of God.