The Good Ol’ Days

I recently heard a cover to a song published some years ago by a mother-daughter duo named “The Judds”, the song called “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days)”. The song says exactly that: “Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days”. I thought for a very long time that I was maybe born 20 years too late. I longed for the simpler times where there was no technology except for NASA and when I thought people were happier. I listened closely to that song and realized I was completely wrong. God knew what He was doing bringing me here at His time and on His terms.

I grew up in a meager environment where I wore hand-me-down clothing, carried brown-bag lunches to school and never enjoyed that “new car smell”. Half of our back yard was vegetable garden and we ALL worked in it to put away for winter, when times would be leaner. But we were never hungry and my parents worked hard, my father sometimes working two jobs, so we would have money to buy school supplies and me, my corrective shoes.

As I moved on in life, I married and my wife and I were able to have quite the extravagant lifestyle. However, I discovered that, for Christians, sometimes having more is not a good thing and God will take it away. We had a lovely 1800 sq. ft. chalet style home on a wooded lot with a huge deck, a 20′ by 40’ in-ground pool a 30 foot camper and a boat docked at a nearby lake. We lost all of this, in part, due to my carelessness. I once owned what I call a fancy SUV which I had to give up for a small economical car I could afford to feed. I have moved 3 times in the last 2 years, each time to a smaller and more basic house (the last 2 renting).

The apostle Paul wrote: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-12) I too have learned to be content in my surroundings. As God provides for us, we should also be content with what He has provided.

Many of us look to these days as being close to the end of the world, sinful with corruption, prostitution, thievery, deception and nearly complete chaos. I tell you, read your Bibles and you will find that all of these sinful ways existed back to Sodom and Gomorrah and even before Noah. This is why God destroyed mankind in the great flood. In “The Revelation”, we learn that the earth will again be destroyed but this time by fire. Jesus described the end of the age in Matthew 24. I tell you that we are all in the right place and at the right time – God’s time.

It has been difficult for many to accept these times. I am ashamed that I too have participated in some of the arguments and outright rage happening on Facebook and other Internet websites. There is no need for this behavior. If you don’t like what someone is saying you can unfollow or unfriend them, then you won’t be witness to anything else they say. As I have started doing this I have become much more tolerant of Facebook folk. If you don’t like what is in the news, political philosophy or violence on network television, use the OFF switch.  Nobody can force his ideals on others, others must accept ideals from one another. That’s a freedom neither enjoyed nor tolerated by many other nations.

This is a fallen world. We need to recognize the signs of our generations. While past generations may have enjoyed what would have appeared to be an easy-going life, every generation has had it’s sins, transgressions and tribulations. Live your life in righteousness as instructed by God’s Word. Let the other guys fight it out amongst themselves. We will all leave this world behind us one day. Make sure you travel in the right direction, in the path of Jesus, our Savior.

Righteous Charity

A while back, I had a neighbor who would constantly tell me all of the charitable things they had done in recent past. I considered it bragging. It is wrong to be self-righteous in the company of others, about doing charitable deeds. This includes contributing money, helping the elderly and/or assisting in an organized event such as a Thanksgiving food drive. True righteousness comes to you when you do these things from the goodness of your heart, expecting absolutely nothing in return. When you do this, the Holy Spirit will dispense upon you a feeling of great peace, love and a level of satisfaction that you pleased God; a satisfaction that you cannot obtain by yourself.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matt 6:1-4)

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
(James 4:10)

Adultery and Divorce

Jesus told us: “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Matt 5:31-32)
Today, it seems like couples are divorcing left and right. For what reasons? I’m sure there are plenty of divorces for the one and only single reason Jesus told us divorce was proper. But I feel there are many separations due to “irreconcilable differences”. If we are to be Christ-like and obey His direction, couples need to find common ground and stand on it together while finding ways (together) that will cause the flood waters of the relationship to recede so that both can walk farther to find harmony. Now I also will say that to live a truly righteous life in matrimony, we would have never let the waters rise so high in the first place. In a truly righteous life, a marriage would last “until death do you part”. This is true if we take what we just quoted Jesus and add to it what He says about adultery, the final product being a life-long marriage.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matt 5:27-30)
In essence, what Jesus is telling us is that we are doomed to the blazing pits of hell with every adulterous thought we think, with every sinful act we watch and with every sinful act we commit with our hands, feet and bodies save for the fact that He served Himself up to be sacrificed on the cross and paid those sin debts, in full, so that we would be able to live in His light for eternity.  Thank you God for sending your Son to save a society of sinners, like me.