Some kids played an April Fool’s trick at the Waterloo Park, destroying a landmark playground by setting it ablaze. Chopped up rubber tires on the ground and treated wood timbers made for quite a bonfire. Everyone in town is disgusted with the senseless waste.
The kids I hung out with growing up weren’t much better. I was a part of several vandalism parties myself, propping nails under tires, blowing up mailboxes and throwing rocks through abandoned windows. Its a wonder we weren’t cuffed and stuffed by the police more than once. But we all grew up to be respectable citizens giving back to our communities. What is it about childhood that makes us want to test the limits and see what we can get away with? I think its the discovery of sin. Its the uncontrollable desire to taste the apple. We don’t want to miss anything.
There is one thing that held me back from being worse than I was: the fear of my father. My Dad wasn’t afraid to swing a board across my backside. And I feared that punishment more than anything else. My father’s wrath was life shaping.
“The fear of the Lord is the begging of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverb 1:7).
One of my projects last week was to research Anita’s Coleman ancestors. We knew they were from Sullivan County, Tennessee, but that was the end of the trail. I set out to find the next generation. However, there were no census records for Sullivan County prior to 1820. And no Tax Lists, either. Records were kept, but have not survived.
I followed skimpy records northeast across the county line into Washington County, Virginia. I finally discovered a pension application for the mysterious ancestor. He had volunteered for the Continental Army during the Revolution and was sent to the Georgia Line where he spent his three year enlistment. I can’t wait to follow up on the “Georgia Line” lead and discover what role he played in the American Revolution.
Growing in our faith follows a similar pattern. We have to follow the leads He gives us and see where they lead. One discovery leads to another until we finally find our way “Home”.
I’ve spent the past week on vacation. I spent the first day working outside burning brush in the snow. I had been waiting since last fall to do that. The next day I got sick…and stayed sick all week. So, instead of several days doing spring clean-up I spent several days doing some genealogy research on Anita’s side. Fun, but not what I had been planning.
I also took a two-week sabbatical from this blog. I did so because I needed a break. Daily postings had become burdensome and wasn’t fun anymore. But I’m back.
Perhaps there’s something in your life that has become burdensome and you need to take a break. The principle of the sabbath works in all areas of your life.
“Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him” (Luke 5:10-11).
God is often heard to say, “Don’t be afraid.” That seems to be a common emotion with us humans. Whenever God seems to be drawing near to us, we get afraid. We fear losing control.
Along with the admonition to not fear, there was a prophecy: “From now on you will catch men.” There was something special about the “now“. Peter had just seen an amazing harvest of fish where there was none a little bit ago. God had just proved that He was the provider. And, the Provider was pointing Peter in a new direction, toward human “fish”. How would Peter respond?
1) “They pulled their boats up on shore“, 2) “left everything“, 3) “and followed Him“.
There is a cost of following Jesus, but He is the Provider.
I am anxious for Spring to come so I can get back outside and resume my running. Using the treadmill in my basement is so boring. There are certain changes that occur in the human body when a person gets conditioned to running long distances.
When the body begins to overheat, sweat glands release liquid to cool it. When it begins to run low on sugar, which is fuel for the muscles, a hormone from the pancreas tells the liver to release stored sugar into the bloodstream. As the legs and heart need more oxygen, the brain signals the heart to beat faster. Blood flow to the internal organs and upper body is shut down by 80% so that more blood gets to the legs and heart. Deep breathing brings in more air. Vessels in the legs dilate 400% to accommodate the increased flow of blood. All of this enables a person to run long distances.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31). God will give us strength as we run the race.
“Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Christ” (Luke 4:41).
We understand that Jesus cast demons out of people. We also understand that they do not want to lose their dwelling place. But, why would they shout, “You are the Son of God“? And second, why would Jesus want to silence that testimony since it was the truth? How did the demons know this and why did Jesus rebuke them from speaking? Those are questions that no one has answers to, although we’d like to guess.
Your testimony is your release of your story. This is what God has done for you. The demons had no testimony, but the people who were being delivered had the testimony. Jesus refused to allow people without a testimony to speak about Him. Only once they had a deliverance were they permitted to testify.
Because of the work Jesus has done in my soul, I can testify, “He is the Son of God”.
I stopped in the hospital yesterday morning to see my brand new grandson, Caleb. I got to hold him for awhile while he slept. There is nothing more fresh than a new life without the scars and blemishes. There is so much hope and possibility.
Later that day I visited a lady in another hospital who is dying with cancer in her 50s. She may have another day or two, and was struggling to breathe. Her husband and two adult daughters were with her in the room. What a contrast.
But every life has both ends, doesn’t it? We celebrate the coming, and we grieve to passing. But both are a part of life on this earth.
The next time you behold a newborn baby, think about the wonder of life, because it is, after all, temporary.