‘Tis The Season

 In spite of the “climate change” mania that is so pervasive in our day, I’m going out this morning to pick some more cucumbers and green beans and squash in my little vegetable garden.  Even with the cooler temperatures and the extra rainfall that we have had this summer, amazingly there is still a plentiful harvest.  Praise the Lord!  …but I’m really not so surprised.

  In the time of Noah, who was one of eight people who survived the cataclysmic flood that true science confirms happened in the third millennia BC, God made a promise to all mankind.  He said, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)”

 Please don’t misunderstand; I know that there will be years of plenty and years of blighted crops, but that is nothing new—I still remember these from my youth.  My point is simply that as far as our gardens, the weather, and all things natural, we have no need for worry, God can be trusted, and what He has promised, that He will do.  I’ll probably plant a garden next year too!

  But there is a lot more to life than raising a few vegetables, important things that fuel the anxieties of decent folks who feel responsible for fending for themselves in what appear to be perilous times ahead.  Perhaps we should consider other promises made by the Creator, to those who love Him.  “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:27-30)”

Play Christianity

  Perhaps in every generation since the beginning of time, children have played “let’s pretend.”  In yesteryear, it was Girls with dolls, and Boys with toy soldiers and guns, or miniature earth moving equipment.  Now it is monsters, mutated creatures, super human executioners, and other sordid purveyors of carnage, …and strangely enough, this seems to be the standard fare for both genders.  And yes, there are only two genders in the realm of reality—all else is just another version of “let’s pretend.” (Genesis 1:27)

  The most casual perusal through the annals of history reveals that adults are just kids in older bodies, with more experience at playing “let’s pretend.”  Even among those who call themselves, “the people of God,” this childlike “let’s pretend” has often manifested itself in epidemic proportions.  In the 7th and 8th centuries BC, the time of God’s prophet Isaiah, God’s people, Israel, worshipped the Lord with all the formalities prescribed in the Levitical Law, while they had forsaken God in their hearts. (Isaiah 1:10-17)  Their worship was a sham, an impressive game of “let’s pretend.”

  In Revelation 3:14-19, the Apostle John recorded the words of Jesus’ letter to the 1st century AD Church at Laodicea.   They thought they were on the top rung of the religious ladder: rich, increased with goods, and in need of nothing.  Christ told them that they were wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked—their religion was a sham, an impressive game of “let’s pretend.”

  Today is no exception; churches claim to worship the God of the Word, while ignoring the Word of God.  They think that God will be satisfied with their worship, their way.  They embrace yet another version of “let’s pretend.”

  “What does God want?,” you might ask.  “O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8).”  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalms 51:17)”  “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (Psalms 29:2)”

Which Generation

  Most agree that there are two types of generations: the family generation and the social generation.  The family generation, though it varies in length is pretty easy to define.  Grandparents are one generation, Parents are a second generation and Children are a third, etc.  So, a familial generation usually lasts 20-25 years before another enters the picture.

  A Social generation is not as easily defined because it involves national and international events like war, depression or recession, etc.  On the brighter side, technological advancement, etc. can create a new paradigm for the lives of young adults about to enter into their prime of life.  We are told that there have been seven generational changes since the turn of the last century: The Greatest Generation (1901 – 1927), The Silent Generation (1928 – 1945), Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964), Generation X (1965 – 1980), Millennial (1981 – 1995), Gen Z (1996 – 2010), Generation Alpha (2011 – present).  As you can see, social generations range from 14-26 years in length.

  Much can be gained from one generation to the next, especially in the sciences, technology, industry, etc.  Most of the change is deemed good, at least by the younger generations who are responsible for producing it.  Older generations have to accept the change and learn some new tricks in their advancing years if they are going to keep up with “the kids.”

  Similarly, much can be lost in just one generation.  Generational losses tend to be more in the social, political, spiritual, and moral realms.  Many of our losses are viewed by God as detrimental to society as a whole.  Because of the downgrade, life becomes more threatening, less predictable, harder to navigate and less peaceful or pleasurable.

  In light of the effects of generational losses, consider: “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls….”  But sadly, in Jeremiah’s day, just before a seventy year captivity, “…they said, We will not walk therein. (Jeremiah 6:16)”  What say ye?

Spilt Milk

  My upbringing took place on a retired dairy farm in NC, in the days when cows were milked by hand into a milk pail placed right under the spigots.  Occasionally a cow might lift a foot to kick at a pesky fly crawling on her underside and then misplace it right into the milk bucket.  The milk was ruined, it was an udder mess, and would be dumped out on the ground, generally by a subsequent movement of the cow’s foot.  Since it could not be retrieved,  “There was no need to cry over spilt milk.”

  On occasion, this phrase is borrowed from yesteryear, and endued with interesting new application.  e.g. When you have done something that cannot be undone, and the consequences prove to be disappointing, or even detrimental, you might feel badly about it for a while, but you have come to accept, “There is no need to cry over spilt milk.”  Perhaps this idea resonates with you because of things done in your past, decisions you have made that hurt still.  If only you could erase the consequences of prior choices, perhaps you could finally experience lasting peace—or so you think.  But then that hopeless and helpless feeling arises in your heart and you conclude again, “There is no need to cry over spilt milk.”

  But wait!  Perhaps there is something that can be done to alleviate the penalties accrued in your “less than perfect” past.   Jesus, God’s Son, came to earth to die for the sins of the world, “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18)”  He rose from the dead and lives, even now, at the right hand of God the Father, and offers forgiveness in exchange for faith.  He pleads, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)”    Truly, for those of us who call Him, Lord, “There is no need to cry over spilt milk.”

My Refuge And Strength

  In every sustained conflict there is a need for strength to stand in the heat of the battle, and a refuge into which we might retreat for rest, rejuvenation, and renewed marching orders.  In modern warfare, strength might be defined as “fire power,” which today, involves ways and means for launching explosive projectiles in the direction of the enemy.  In days of old, it was physical strength to wield the sword or cast a spear.  The refuge (safe place) would be at least as diverse from one era to the next: a cave, a fort, a battlement, an encampment, an armored personnel carrier, etc.

  The study of warfare involves spellbinding history, and fascinating tales of modern technological advancement, and then their are the soldiers—a limited number of people who dwell under the spacious skies, around the amber waves of grain, the purple mountain’s majesty, and above the fruited plains of America.  But there is a warfare in which every soul is engaged—the battle for truth and right!  The smoke never clears, and the onslaught never slackens on this battle field that spans the minds of all mortals.  At risk are the souls of men, peace among nations, the sustainability of freedom in the physical realm, as well as the spiritual.  It is a battle in which “decent people” fight to defend the things they have chosen to cherish: Good, God, and Country.

  It is in this invisible, but undeniable conflict, that followers of Christ are encouraged to proclaim, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. …The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (Psalms 46:1-3, 11)”

  As for His strength, He“…is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us (Ephesians 3:20).  And for a refuge, He calls, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)”