Friday, April 27, 2012

A Simple Pleasure Denied...

I visited a dear friend in the nursing home last Saturday.  She is a small woman, a farmer’s wife, bright and feisty with a quick smile.  She didn’t recognize me at first as I’ve grown a beard.  “I haven’t seen you in a while,” she said.
During my high school years, I worked on their farm for her and her husband when and if I had time.  They had lost two sons to childhood leukemia; I grew up with their two daughters.  I loved working for them; it was a positive, fun place to be--a bright stop on some dark days.

I asked her if she needed anything but she said “no”.  Look Beef, I have everything I need; I wonder why God has blessed me so.  I also wonder why He keeps me around.  It was then a young nurse came in to give her some medications.  Lorraine smiled, patted the nurse on her check, and thanked her.  She introduced me and told me what a great person this young nurse was.   The nurse left beaming.  I told Lorraine, “I think that’s why you’re here, to be a bright light in this somewhat sad place.”

We had a great visit.  Before I left, I asked again if she needed anything.  Her eyes moved; she was about to ask for something.  Then she shook her head no.  I said, “Lorraine, what were you going to ask for?  She kind of looked down and sheepishly asked for a fast food hamburger.  All she wanted was a fast food hamburger!  Why the hesitation?  She was told they are not good for you.  She reminded me that she and her husband ate hamburgers probably four times a week throughout their married life (he lived into his late seventies).

What kind of educated idiots have we become?  We won’t allow a ninety year old woman a fast food hamburger?  As Lorraine said, “Like one more would shorten my life!”

What’s happened to common sense and compassion?  No, we shouldn’t live on fast food hamburgers but so what if she wants just one more.  Who are we to think we have the right to deny her a simple pleasure?

I wheeled her down for supper.  I promised her the next time I come through I’d get her a burger.  “Cheese also” she said.  I think I’ll get her four burgers, French fries, plus some good beer and lemon pie.  We will have a party.  The food police can sulk in the shadows and stew in their envy…

Friday, April 13, 2012

Questioning Authority—How the sixties have come home to roost or Things I think about when I cannot sleep

Sleepless nights set the mind a thinkin’.  How have we gotten to where we are today?  Where are we?

We live in a country which has ½ of the world’s psychologists.  Over the last 30 years, we have seen the number of psychologists rise 350%.  Clinical Social Workers have risen 320%.  Today we have two psychotherapists for every dentist.  Family counselors have risen 680% in the last 30 years.  We ourselves have become the center of our lives.  We are obsessed with ourselves and we are hurting.  What do you think about when you have nothing to think about?   Whatever it is, it probably is the center of your life.  Do you like what you see there?
There are situations where genuine therapeutic help is needed but we have replaced the greatness and authority of God with the desire to find the right techniques or some therapeutic formula to fix ourselves, by ourselves.  We cannot fix ourselves.  We need outside help.  We need God.

We love the new and trendy.  We want and love to talk about the love of God but we won’t consider contemplating His wrath.  This is trendy—love has become unbridled permissiveness.  Love is no longer sacrificial service to others.  We have turned self-love in on ourselves and we are starving to death emotionally and spiritually in the midst of an overabundance of secular and spiritual mush.
We have questioned God’s authority; we have thrown Him aside in the ditch.  In the same ditch is respect for parents, teachers, police and judges.  We live in an age where the President of the land chastises the Supreme Court showing no respect for the Constitution.  Do we even consider much less cringe when we consider we are all accountable to God?

The authority of God’s Word is forgotten because we don’t bother to read it, much less study it, or heed what it says.  We say it’s outdated and time has moved on.  Time has moved on but man’s condition hasn’t changed, and yes, the horses are faster and the women are better looking but we still need a Savior.
We shutter at advertisements that make fun of dad’s.  According to Hilary Rosen and her ilk, motherhood is not real work.  Yes, finally we have become liberated from the morals and shackles of the past.  We do not want to be accountable to others much less God.  We want to have sex with whomever we want, however we want.  We reserve the right to force our favorite selfish sin down everybody’s throat whether they like it or not.

Liberal thought and religion is about so called rights; ever changing feelings and the fickle moving of our hearts rule the day.  Conservative thought and religion is about the authority of a changeless God and respect and accountability to that unchanging God.
I know most people consider this “old fashioned” and out of date.  It is out of date to our modern society but modern society is coming apart.  We have high connectivity but we have never been so lonely.  We have full bellies but empty hearts.

Let’s do some late night soul searching…and start me, Lord.  Amen

Thursday, April 05, 2012

We are all beggars

The following is a quote from Frederick S. Leahy’s book The Cross He Bore. I feel it says it better than anything I could have prepared for Easter.

“As in thought and experience we stand before the cross, we tremble as we consider the wrath of God which flames forth against his Son. We tremble, too, when we think of the sin which incurred such fearful judgment—our sin. Here the awakened soul can only cry out, ‘God be merciful to me the sinner.’ That is all we dare ask for. Here and nowhere else abundant mercy is found. Christina Rossetti had it right—
'None other Lamb, none other Name,

None other Hope in heaven or earth or sea,
None other Hiding-place from guilt and shame,
None beside Thee.”

“The proud, self-sufficient, modern humanist despises the whole idea of forgiveness. Like the blustering W.E. Henley, he sees himself as master of his fate and captain of his soul. ‘Forgiveness’, said George Bernard Shaw, ‘is a beggar’s refuge. We must pay our debts.’ About the time of Luther’s death, a piece of paper was found in his pocket on which he had written in Latin and German, ‘This is true. We are all beggars.’ There is the contrast between the stony heart of unbelief and the heart of flesh that weeps for sin and looks in faith to the crucified and risen Savior for mercy.”

“The forgiven, restored sinner willingly takes up his cross and follows the Lord Jesus Christ. That cross is whatever the Christian suffers for the sake of Christ and his truth. In bearing that cross there is peace and blessedness as the Christian experiences the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. Not that we can share in the redemptive suffering of Christ, but rather that we seek by God’s grace to deny self, accept the anguish of the struggle against sin and bear meekly the scorn of a world that rejects Christ. ‘There are some’, said Samuel Rutherford, ‘who would have Christ cheap. They would have Him without the cross. But the price will not come down.’”

“The hand that reaches out for salvation must be empty. Everything of self must be disowned. We are debtors to mercy alone. We are all beggars.”

Reposted from April 9, 2009