Life’s Little Lessons XVII
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2Tim. 3:1-5).
Dear Ann Landers:
“The reader signed “Georgia,” who lived through the Depression and described how hard it was to be a teenager in the 1930’s, said kids today have an easy time of it compared to teens in his day. You said you couldn’t argue with him.”
“Well, I can. Let me ask your generation a few questions: Are your parents divorced? Almost every one of my friends come from a broken home. Were you thinking about suicide when you were 12? Did you have an ulcer when you were 16? Did your best friend lose her virginity to a guy she went out with twice? You may have had to worry about VD, but did you have to worry about AIDS? Did your classmates carry guns and knives? How many kids in your class came to school regularly drunk, stoned, or high on drugs? Did any of your friends have their brains fried from using PCP? What percentage of your graduating class also graduated from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center? Did your school have armed security guards in the halls? Did you ever live in a neighborhood where the sound of gunfire at night was “normal”? You talk a lot about being dirt poor and having no money. Since when does money mean happiness? The kids at school who have the expensive cars and designer clothes are the most miserable. When I am your age, Georgia, I won’t do much looking back; I’ll just thank God that I survived.” (Signed: Other Side of the Story in Indianapolis)
Choose a Side
“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt. 12:30).
At the outbreak of the Civil War, a certain individual could not decide which cause to support, the North or the South. He had friends on both sides; thus, he decided to be neutral. He wore a gray jacket and blue trousers, thereby dressing for both the Confederacy and the Union.
One day the neutral man was caught in the middle of a skirmish between the two armies. He stood up and shouted that he was neutral in this fight and expected to be allowed to leave the field before the battle closed in on him. However, Union sharpshooters, seeing the gray jacket, riddled it with bullets. And, Confederate marksmen, seeing the blue pants, filled them with lead.
We have no way of knowing if the above story is true or not; however, the point is well taken. In important issues one cannot be neutral. He must make his stand one way or the other.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:4-5).
In Robins Reader, Frank W. Mann Jr. writes: “An enlightening pastime is to make a list of favorite things that impact the senses. It sharpens our appreciation of these golden moments in time. For example, one person’s list of ten favorite sounds are: ‘A distant train whistle; a mother talking to her new baby; the scrunch of leaves on a bright autumn day; seagulls crying; a hound baying in the woods at night; the absolute silence of a mountain lake at sunset; a crackling fire on a bitter cold day; a stadium crowd singing the national anthem; the screech of an airplane’s tires as they touch down; his wife’s voice at morning.”
God gave us our five senses and filled His creation with pleasures for each sense. Our God is good. Let us praise His name and be thankful to Him.
“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man…” (Eph. 3:16).
We signed up for a hike with a ranger, who told us a remarkable thing. He said, “When a tree’s life is threatened, stressed by the elements of fire, drought, or other calamity, it twists beneath its bark to reinforce and make itself stronger. On the surface, this new inner strength may not be visible, for the bark often continues to give the same vertical appearance. Only when the exterior is stripped away, or when the tree is felled, are its inner struggles revealed.” (From Marilyn J. Abraham)
In our stress, grief, or hardship, God can strengthen us in ways which are not visible to the world.
Be Patient with All
“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1Thes. 5:14). How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. (From George Washington Carver, American Botanist – 1864-1943)