The year was 1972. Anita and I were attending a Christian concert held at the National Guard Armory in Angola. Terrible acoustics! But we wanted to support Nancy Honeytree, Petra and several other groups as they performed. Nancy went first and did a great job with her Christian folk style. Everybody loved her easy way of loving Jesus.
Next came Petra with their Christian rock style. Sounds bounced all over in that armory building. Behind me I heard a banging sound that wasn’t in rhythm with Petra’s drummer. We turned around to see this old gentleman banging a metal folding chair up and down on the concrete floor. He was angry and demonstrating his disgust. People were stunned. He finally stopped and stomped out of there in a huff.
We watched as Honeytree followed him out the door. About ten minutes later they walked back in. He quietly sat in his folding chair the rest of the concert. I don’t know what Nancy told him, but it calmed him down. I will never mention the man’s name, because he was a committed Christian and is today with Jesus. But I will forever remember that Nancy went out of her way to build a bridge with that older man to connect him with the music of a younger generation. That is true Christianity.
Wish you could’ve been there to see Goliath hit by that rock? The Philistines were bold and outrageous. The Israelites were fearful and apprehensive. King Saul was willing to try anything. And Goliath was as vocal as Mohammed Ali. David was defensive of the honor of His God. He let the rock fly and God guided it to its mark…Goliath’s forehead.
The prophet Isaiah wrote of judgment: It “reels to and fro like a drunkard and it totters like a shack, for its transgression is heavy upon it, and it will fall, never to rise again” (Isaiah 24:20). But Isaiah was not writing about Goliath’s demise, he was writing about the Great Tribulation upon the earth in the last days. In the last Days there will be such immorality and resistance to God that all sense of civility collapses. Are we there yet?
Its time for a believing church to arise to the occasion and speak to what remains.
Anita watches our two grandsons (14 months) on Mondays and Wednesdays. One thing I’ve learned by watching them is that they both have a common world view. Elisa Morgan, president of MOPS International (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers), recorded it like this:
If I want it, it’s mine.
If I give it to you and change my mind later, it’s mine.
If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
If it’s mine, it will never belong to anyone else, no matter what.
If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.
If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
We chuckle at this from a toddler’s egotistical perspective, but when a full grown person keeps carrying that same selfish attitude, we know trouble is on the horizon. Its time to grow up and take responsibility for some of the selfish things going on in our lives. Its what we give away that we get to keep for eternity.
St. Augustine was one of the founding fathers of the church who lived from 354-430 AD. In his autobiography entitled Confessions, he wrote:
“There was a pear tree near our vineyard, laden with fruit. One stormy night we rascally youths set out to rob it…We took off a huge load of pears – not to feast upon ourselves, but to throw them to the pigs, though we ate just enough to have the pleasure of the forbidden fruit. They were nice pears, but it was not the pears that my wretched soul coveted, for I had plenty better at home. I picked them simply to become a thief…The desire to steal was awakened simply by the prohibition of stealing.”
Romans 7:7-13 explains Augustine’s experience by saying that human nature is inherently rebellious. Give us a law and we will see it as a challenge to break it. Tell a child, “Don’t touch that”, and we know what they’ll do. When God places His Spirit inside of a believer, He imparts a new desire and ability so that our greatest pleasure becomes bringing pleasure to God.
You will be tempted to cheat today. What does God’s Spirit say?
I have a lawn care company professionally spray my grass for weeds each spring. This year they sprayed one of my 2-year old oak tree transplants. The tree is tough but not that tough. The leaves are curling and stunted in growth. It is slowly dying because it got spray on the leaves.
A couple of years ago we owned a dog that got sprayed by a skunk. The dog was healthy but she knew she was rejected by us. Tomato juice helps, but that dog wasn’t allowed near anybody for awhile. She had been sprayed. All her relationships changed.
Our team that just arrived back from the Dominican Republic also got sprayed by the Holy Spirit while they were down there. When you get sprayed, nothing remains the same. Everything changes. The Spirit’s spray soaks in and has a continual affect on one’s life. They’ll be sharing the report of their amazing trip to touch the lives of Dominican nationals tonight at 7PM at the church. I don’t want to miss this.
I was a teenager when I adopted a young pet raccoon. The farmer I worked for had shot the mother and discovered several babies in his hayloft. Each of my fellow farm hands took one home with us. One was promptly executed by the boy’s father, and another fell into a cistern and drowned. I raised mine until she was ready to depart on her own.
That little coon was my best friend for awhile, sitting on my shoulder while I rode my bike all over town. She would wash her own food and play with my younger siblings in the cutest way. But, a second later she would be fiendish in an evil kind of way, sneaking up from behind and biting us on the ear. She wasn’t trying to hurt, but her teeth were sharp! She ate the dog food, raided the garbage can, and was a general nuisance. We soon learned that you can’t train the coon out of a racoon. She was by nature a wild creature who will not be corralled. The older she got, the more closely we needed to watch her.
Paul observed this about himself: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18). Although we are new creatures in Christ, we still possess a tendency to sin. But we need not be governed by it, for we are united to Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. By obeying God’s Word and yielding to the Spirit, we can be victorious over the nature of the beast within.
Monday night I was surfing the web at home with our newly downloaded Windows 10. This new Windows has a ‘Siri’ type option that keeps popping up to ask if she can help. I keep closing it out because I don’t want her help. Anyway, last night she popped up again. I was waiting for a window to open, so I ignored her question.
At the same time Anita was chatting on the phone across the room to our daughter-in-Law, Layna. Anita responded to Layna, “I haven’t fixed a strawberry pie in a long time.” At that, the oral app on my computer printed out, “I haven’t fixed a strawberry pie” and opened up a search page for strawberry pie recipes. Not what I was searching for, but they all sure looked good.
I wonder if God is listening in on our conversations. If so, I wonder if He really understands about what we’re saying. Does He take our statements literally? If I say, “That scares me to death”, does He dispatch angels to bring me home? If I say, “I could never do that” does He then write us off as people who have no faith? I want God to take me at my word, so I need to choose my words carefully.