Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Generational Gap

Have you ever found yourself being faced with what’s called the “Generation Gap?” It’s a given if you are the parents or grandparents of older children. Just recently Addison our granddaughter came for a visit. During all of her previous trips clothing was not an issue; however this time was different.  When Sunday came she appeared dressed for church in what we old folks would call questionable attire. Her grandmother immediately said “Addi honey, those shorts are not appropriate for church.”  Of course this was not an issue to a twelve year old getting ready to become a teenager. She then informed us that her dress clothes had not been packed. After some deliberation and searching, her grandmother found some black pajama bottoms that were suitable. On the way to church our little girl was unhappy. She was quiet and preoccupied which is unusual for her. Although the clothes looked fine to me I knew the thoughts running through her mind. “I can’t go to class like this. All the kids will know I’m dressed in pajamas; how embarrassing.” So, upon arrival I told her to stay in the car that we were going shopping.  We rushed to the K-Mart down the street and went in. I told her to go pick out something. She replied, “I can’t. I never go shopping. Mom always goes for me.”  That’s okay simple enough, so I asked what size she wore. She responded, “I don’t know.” Now I’m stressing because I certainly did not know and time was of the essence. Needless to say I felt helpless and frustrated. Finally with the intervention of a Good Samaritan cashier we were able to accomplish the task. The end result—she looked great and was very happy. Years down the road when much older she will remember that day. What will she reflect upon? Hopefully her thoughts will turn to a grandfather who faced a Generational Gap crisis, but in that moment took the time to care and relieve the worries of a little girl who felt temporarily embarrassed and humiliated while wearing pajamas.  God our father is forever closing the “Gap” on our behalf letting us know He cares. That’s what makes visiting with Him such a wonderful experience.    

Sunday, July 19, 2015

How Do People Identify You?

Just recently I was privy to an amusing conversation between my two oldest granddaughters. They were discussing the number of houses that had been built in their subdivision recently.  A definite point of contention arose between the two of them as they were counting. The oldest declared there were thirteen, the youngest countered with fourteen.   What created the amusement was the way in which Addison described her neighbors while counting.  She said to her sister, “You don’t even know all the people who live in the neighborhood.”  As she went around the circle she began to identify them.  “The people who never come out of their house live here; the weird people live there; the nice people on the corner; our friends live at this location, and the mean people live in the house up the street.”  The saga continued until she had named everyone while at the same time winning the argument. Indeed there were fourteen houses. While laughing I began to reflect upon the dialogue asking the question, “Wonder how people identify us?”  This brought to my mind one of the teachings of Jesus.  He used a similar tactic by stating, “You will know them by their fruits.”  Some will have the semblance of rotten apples, others wild grapes, while a few will carry the aroma of a melon patch. However, in essence the best identification can be found in Paul’s writings to the Galatians.  Each should be indelibly branded with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith.  Such marks will allow us to be pleasantly remembered as friends and neighbors of high regard. So, let me ask again “How do people identify you?”

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Cloak of Conviction

A young police officer was taking his final exam for the police academy and was given the following problem to solve. “You are on patrol in the outer city when an explosion occurs in a gas main in a nearby street. On investigation you find that a large hole has been blown in the footpath and there is an overturned van nearby. Inside the van there is a strong smell of alcohol. Both occupants—a man and a woman—are injured. You recognize the woman as the wife of your Chief of Police, who is at present away in the USA. A passing motorist stops to offer assistance and you realize that he is a man who is wanted for armed robbery. Suddenly a man runs out of a nearby house, shouting that his wife is expecting a baby and that the shock of the explosion has made the birth imminent. Another man is crying for help, having been blown into the adjacent canal by the explosion, and he cannot swim. Describe in a few words what actions you would take.” The young man thought for a moment, picked up his pen and wrote, “I would take off my uniform and mingle with the crowd.” Are we the church guilty of taking off the cloak of our convictions and mingling in the crowd? Over the last few months radical decisions have been made that has altered the face of our nation.  However, those making the decisions did not rise to positions of power by themselves. They had to have help.  When you calculate the numbers, there are enough Christians in America to amend any decision that stands in opposition to their faith. Through the power of prayer and our vote we can make a difference. It’s sad to say but it appears as if too many have removed the cloak of conviction and are merely mingling in the crowd.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Blessed America!

President Ronald Reagan once stated, "America was founded by people who believe that God was their rock of safety. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side." No truer words could be spoken especially in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage.  This decision has sent emotional tremors throughout our nation. While multitudes are erupting in praise, others stand weeping. The turmoil has caused me to reflect upon God and our Christian response to decisions of government that disappoint us.  So, how should we react? The humorist, Mark Twain once said "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them." That directive will result in a display of wisdom in most situations; however, it will not work for all of life’s challenges.  These are days of anger, frustration, and perceived futility. But for the Christian they can be looked upon as a season of testing.  We have the freedom to express our thoughts and feelings; the freedom to uphold and embrace those convictions that are in keeping with a pure conscience believing that God is standing with us. Yet, in the expression of that freedom we must continually ask, “Are we on God’s side?”  Although we find disagreement with decisions that oppose our faith, any speech given without prayer, any statement offered without love, and any attitude displayed without respect, places us at odds with God.  In essence, we are to exemplify the life of Christ. He wasn’t given to compromise but was considerate. He never sought for uniformity but for unity. He never lingered with the antagonists of God’s law but loved them ceaselessly. We as Christians should do the same. Following His example will merit the Father’s favor and will perpetuate a blessed America!