The Check Out Line

woman wearing blue jeans riding red shopping cart

Photo by Jeremias Oliveira on Pexels.com

Early last week, my step-brother passed away, he checked out. He was younger than I am, and by rights, he shouldn’t have been the first one to die, but he was. I hadn’t seen him for years so I don’t really know where he stood spiritually.  He did however, let me pray for him a few weeks before he passed. The doctors told him he had a limited amount of time and so he had the opportunity to prepare spiritually for his turn in line. They gave him six months to live but it was only two weeks before his name was called at The Check Out Line. 

You see, we are all waiting our turn at The Check Out Line. The Check Out Line is not linear and it seems random at times. You would think the first people in would be the first to check out but The Check Out Line doesn’t work that way. Sometimes those who have been in a relatively short amount of time are the first to go. Since none of us knows exactly when our name will be called, we must ask ourselves the obvious question, “Am I ready to check out?”

Lots of people think they are ready to check out but they aren’t. Those that don’t believe in God or life after death think they are ready. Those that believe that “if they are a good person” think they’re ready. Those that believe we have lots of chances at The Check Out Line think they are ready also…but they are not. The Bible says, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. ” Hebrews 9:27-28. 

We all need to make sure we are ready for The Check Out Line. There IS life after death and we must all face Jesus, the righteous Judge of the universe when we check out. He will of course look at what we have done with the lives he gave us but the most important question will be, “What did you do with the free gift of salvation I offered you?” He DID die on the cross for our sins and He offers us eternal life with Him in heaven. If we want to spend eternity with Him, we must choose Him before it is out time to check out.

Madison Avenue – Vanguard for Crass Christmas Commercialism

multicolored imax theater

Photo by Jayson Gomes on Pexels.com

Madison Avenue has always been the vanguard for Christmas commercialism. Over the decades, it has moved the cultural needle on Christmas from a religious holiday to one that is secular. I have watched this trend over the years but I was not prepared for what was presented to the public this holiday season. I probably should have seen it coming but I didn’t. Madison Avenue gave us its ultimate goal in crass Christmas commercialism…egocentric giving.

You heard it right. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the majority of commercials on television sent out the message loud and clear. The goal for this season is to give yourself the gift you want. It started with a commercial for a luxury model car. Every person in the commercial had given themselves one for Christmas. Just in case the gullible consumer was not picking up on the message, one man’s car had a tag on it that said : To James, From James. This commercial has continued to air on prime time during the month of December.

The second commercial only lasted a few days. Was there an outcry from the public that it was completely over the top? A woman went into a store and as she passed the kitchen appliance section, she hesitated, then she put one item after another in her cart until it was full. She essentially had spent her entire Christmas budget on herself. Was it too ludicrous for the public to believe? I don’t know, but it was pulled after a few days.

I could give you another example but I know you get the drift. The geniuses on Madison Avenue want us to be completely egocentric in our giving. To say their approach to Christmas is crass is an understatement. There’s not much we can do except contact the company who bought the ad and express our displeasure at the sentiment. 

I for one will reject these not so subtle messages to become egocentric in my giving and I have one word for Madison Avenue this Christmas…REALLY?

Soul Scars

monument-412941_640Image by Nini. Courtesy of Pixabay.

A week ago, I was changing a bandage on a wound. It was about three weeks old and the scar tissue had begun to form. I thought, “Well, I need to put some alcohol on this to make sure there are no germs there.” I got my bottle of alcohol out of the cupboard, put it on a cotton ball and got ready to feel some real pain as I knew the alcohol would sting. To my surprise, there was no pain. You see, scar tissue does not have any nerve endings when it begins to form. The nerve endings have been cut in the surrounding tissue, and initially, a person feels nothing.

I began to wonder about our soul scars. If someone could see our souls, what would they look like? Would there be wounds that had healed completely and others that were in the process of healing? Would there be wounds that were festering and causing us pain? I think if people could see our souls, they would see all three kinds of wounds.

The most obvious would be the wounds that were still open, still in the healing process. Sometimes life wounds us deeply with the loss of a loved one or some other deeply personal loss. These wounds may take years to heal, and only as our grief is felt or expressed can we truly heal. Tears are a valuable form of therapy with these kinds of wounds as they wash them and keep them clean while they are healing.

The least obvious would be the wounds that have healed and the scars have become part of our soul’s makeup. If you look closely at them, you will see that the area around them is healthy and whole and sometimes the scars have healed so well they are difficult to discern. 

A Soul Physician would be very concerned about the wounds that are still festering, where there is infection. We all have those kinds of wounds whether we realize it or not. They are the wounds that have not been taken care of and no healing balm has been applied to them. Usually the infection has been caused by unforgiveness and a person must purposely set out to do their part in the healing process. 

 Festering wounds must be acknowledged and we must be ready to be healed from them. We must be willing to apply the disinfectant of forgiveness to them and let go of all of our unforgiveness and bitterness. Will there be pain when we lance these kinds of wounds? Yes, they may have been festering for years, but as their purulence is released there will be a peace that takes its place.

Oh, the sweet peace of forgiveness, may it blanket our souls and make us healthy and whole!

“Forgive us our sins, for we forgive everyone who sins against us.” Luke 11:4

Two Soldiers on a Train

usa-3993911_640Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Have you ever been on a train, subway or bus when two soldiers got on? Immediately you feel safer, you just kind of breathe a sigh of relief. There are a few things you know instinctively when you see them. You know they are warriors, well trained in the art of war. You know they will not hesitate to protect the people if there is any kind of problem. You also know they will lay their lives down willingly in order to defend each person from any kind of attack.

They are a good visual for us, making us feel safer. We can see them and even touch them if we are close enough. It’s different with angelic warriors, sent to protect us. We pray and ask God to send His angels to guard us but we are unable to see them and touch them. Are they just as real as the human soldiers we see? Are they as strong and powerful? Indeed, they are.fantasy-3313964_640Image by Stefan Keller. Courtesy of Pixabay.

In Scripture, we read example after example where God sent His angels to protect and defend people, cities and nations from attack. These spiritual beings are not the cute cherubs we see portrayed in art. They are warriors, well able to protect those they watch over. We can be confident when we ask God to send His holy angels to help us that He will do just that. You can count on it.

There is an enlightening story in Scripture. The king of Syria sent his army to Dothan to capture the prophet Elisha. When Elisha’s servant got up in the morning he was afraid when he saw the Syrian army surrounding the city. He asked Elisha what should they do. Elisha answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes  of the young man, and he saw. AND BEHOLD, THE MOUNTAIN WAS FULL OF HORSES AND CHARIOTS OF FIRE ALL AROUND ELISHA. 2 Kings 6: 16-17

Remember: Just because you cannot see something does not mean it is not real. Have faith. You will be surprised what God will do for you!

Strategic

lion-4098784_640Image by Christine Englehardt. Courtesy of Pixabay.

Historic: The twentieth century was a historic time. After WWI, the geopolitical landscape of the world changed dramatically. For centuries, the Ottoman Empire ruled most the Middle East. Following their defeat, its empire was then ruled by the British. In 1917, Czarist Russia became engulfed in a civil war that ended when the Communists gained control. Sweeping changes again happened after WWII. The Middle East was parceled up into different countries. Chinese culture was upended after their Revolution when the Communists took power. Africa moved from a continent ruled by colonialism to one whose countries were ruled by self-determination. In the 1940’s and 50’s, the Soviet Union began to occupy its neighboring countries. This went on for decades until near the end of the century it broke up and those countries were liberated. Just a cursory glance at world history during those one hundred years show the epic changes that happened on the geopolitical landscape.

Prophetic: From a prophetic standpoint, the single most important event happened in 1948 when Israel became a nation. With its rebirth, the prophetic clock began ticking. Fast forward seventy years and we see political entities lining up in a way that resembles Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39. Add to that the increase of major earthquakes, the moral breakdown of societies, the epic rise of conflicts between nations and ethnic groups and you have a scenario for the birth pangs of Matthew 24. One’s vision does not have to be 20/20 in order to see that we could definitely be living in prophetic times.

Strategic: So what do we do when we believe we are living in historic and prophetic times? How can we make the most of our gifts and talents in order to make a difference in the world we live in? We must learn to think strategically. We must take stock of what we have and pray about how we can best use those resources for the Kingdom of God. Then we can strategically aim our lives towards that eternal goal.

Famed Yale Computer Science Professor Quits Believing Darwin’s Theories | Jennifer Kabbany — Reasoned Cases for Christ

‘The origin of species is exactly what Darwin cannot explain’ David Gelernter, a famed Yale University professor, has publicly renounced his belief in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, calling it a “beautiful idea” that has been effectively disproven. Gelernter, who is known for predicting the World Wide Web and has developed many complex computing tools […]

via Famed Yale Computer Science Professor Quits Believing Darwin’s Theories | Jennifer Kabbany — Reasoned Cases for Christ