I tell you, God is the funniest guy I know.
So, just in time for Halloween and horror movies that I hate, one of the cows in the pasture behind us has a baby and will you look at that sweet clown face?
I tell you, God is the funniest guy I know.
You're skeptical about that? I don't blame you. When my Bible reading approaches 1st Chronicles, I mutter, "No, not again. First and Second Chronicles are just a rehash of First and Second Kings--a whole long list of greedy assassins reigning over chaos for a few years before being assassinated by the next king wannabe."
But that's not all there is. Judah had a few righteous kings like Hezekiah, whose stories of divine deliverance are spectacular. But with them all, good and bad, the Chronicler throws in some pungent commentary. And always, always, there is something that will help you today and tomorrow if you take it to heart.
Herewith, let me introduce you to Jehoshaphat. His story is wild. The points made in it are momentous.
Steven Pressfield's The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War. It's like watching the supernaturally charged battles of the Old Testament playing out in real time.
Here's an excerpt. The narrator, Israeli aviator (and former U.S. Marine) Lou Lenart is relating the first air mission in a critical battle for the state of Israel in 1948. Problem is, he and his few cohorts are flying crazy, Frankenstein-like planes constructed of mismatched, barely functioning parts (pp. 47-48):
Because on this Friday almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ did the impossible, reconciling a world of sinners to a holy God: "For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life."
This is the funniest coincidence I've experienced in a long time--
Here's a terrible photo of a gorgeous calendar of botanical prints that I've kept in storage since . . . 2000. Two days ago I found it while cleaning out the storage shed, and said to myself, "Self, a 17-year-old calendar needs to be tossed, regardless how beautiful it is." So I hung it on a nail and forgot it.
While fetching something from the shed today, I looked at the calendar again, and turned the page to March. I noticed that March 1, 2000, fell on . . . Wednesday. "Cool!" said I. "So 2000 is one of those years that coincides with 2017."
“For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.” (1 Pet. 4:6, ESV)
Scriptures like this (and this) are why I changed the ending of Streiker’s Morning Sun and followed that up with If Only for This Life. Some readers have been irritated or confused by my extension of Adair and Fletcher’s relationship into the supernatural, and some, ah, hate it.
I understand that, which is why I began to address those concerns here. My own Southern Baptists have very strict rules about God’s not messing with people after death other than to send them to heaven or hell. But then how do you explain this verse?
Is it? I don't know; I kind of doubt it. But this article neatly expresses one of the most troublesome issues I had on Facebook: I couldn't strain out the politics. And for many people--myself included, if I am not very careful--politics takes on religious overtones. (I wrote about that here.) But politics makes for a cruel god whose acolytes are bitter and angry. I didn't want to wind up like that, so I signed off both Facebook and Twitter.
I still follow current events just to stay informed, given the certainty that God alone is King of kings and Lord of lords. (Graphic via Custom Tombstone Maker.)
"Encourage each other every day, as long as it's called 'today'"--
I've read that what we experience moment by moment is the closest we come to eternity in this life. That is, eternity is an ever-present "now." Of course we can't understand that as long as we're timebound, but the first Christians' "today" is the same as our "today" when it comes to the choices we make.
I’ve had so much fun rereading old literature anthologies that I discovered lurking in the dust on my bookshelves. Seeing “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes transported me back to my parents’ house when I was ten. One wall of the family room was lined with books, and the lower shelves dedicated to children’s books. So I’d fry a bologna sandwich, take it to the family room, and sit on the floor next to the shelves to pull out one of the books of children’s classics.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor, eating my sandwich, I got acquainted with poetry and prose. Without knowing it, I absorbed rhyme and rhythm, sound effects, and significant details. I became attached to characters solely to find out what happened to them. Again without realizing it, I learned that story is everything.
After Jesus had been resurrected, his disciples asked him, “Lord, are you going to free Israel from Rome now and restore us as an independent nation?” (Acts 1:6, TLB) Jesus replied, "Chill; you're asking the wrong question" (paraphrased). It was natural that they should expect Him to redeem His people from an oppressive regime. But His deliverance was not political; in fact, less than 40 years later, the hated Romans leveled Jerusalem.
Today in the US, we also tend to look for political redemption. The image below was originally a depiction of the Archangel Michael (I think) by an artist whose name got cropped out so rigorously that I can't find out who that is. A current presidential candidate's follower(s) photoshopped his head into the image and circulated it widely on twitter. You get the message. (Obviously, I blacked out that candidate's head here.)
Lest you think I'm belittling this candidate or his followers, let me tell you that I struggle with looking for God's hand in politics, or His favor on a particular candidate or party. I'm asking the wrong question; our redemption isn't coming that way. It has to come through our individual obedience to "the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion."
My first book, Chataine's Guardian, was published in 1984: the beginning of one wild ride.