So, a friend of mine was surprised the other day to find out that I am a Bluegrass fan. Yes, it’s true. I love the music that originated with Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. It’s a wonderful style of music that leaves me smiling any time I listen to it. Plus, how often do you get to listen to a style of music that you can trace back to the creator? Not often, I say.
The thing is, though, that I like all kinds of music. Yes, that includes Rock. Yes, I admit it, I like the music that I was not allowed to listen to when I was a kid. In fact, I thought all rock music was the devil’s music until sometime in my high school years. And yes I do look back at those times with some nostalgia.
Being late to the game, I had some catching up to do. I dove in and learned the history of Rock just as I learned the history of Bluegrass. Sure, I knew about those groups in the 60’s that my dad listened to before he abandoned Rock n’ Roll.. I knew who the Beatles were. I knew all about the groups and singers before the Beatles and other British invaders came to America. But I had to learn about those late 60’s, early 70’s bands. Led Zeppelin entered my frame of reference. I listened to Pink Floyd.
And then there was Deep Purple.
Making the Guinness Book of World Records for being the loudest band is pretty cool. Having a song that has the line, “Swiss time was running out” and mentions Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention is even cooler. Deep Purple was some band. There’s only one problem.
Their time is over. They are reduced to being a nostalgia band. Their Swiss time has run out.
Our time is running out too.
We have a Savior who came into this world. Prophecies had been made to alert Israel to the fact that He was coming. As Paul tells us in Galatians 4:4, that happened “when the fullness of the time came.” Christ came when He was supposed to.
The same could be said for His life, His death and His resurrection. Those things happened when they were supposed to, when the fullness of the time came.
It’s the same for you and me. Our time here on Earth is short. The time our watches show between now and when we leave grows less everyday. Our Swiss time is running out.
What are we to do? What should our reaction be?
We should not wasted a moment of it. Since our time here is limited, let’s make the most of it. We have people to love. We have the Gospel to proclaim. We have a mission to fulfill. Let’s get to it. Let’s quit drifting through life hoping God will do something sometime. Let’s be vehicles for Him to do something NOW!!!
Swiss time is running out.
I’ve been a runner all of my life. However, I’ve recently had a period of my life where I haven’t been running. I’m trying to rectify that. These four thoughts have come to mind lately that parallel between my running and my spiritual life.
Starting Is The Hardest Part
Getting back into a running program is difficult. It is hard physically. It may be hard mentally. Life adjustments have to be made. Time adjustments have to be made.
It’s the same thing spiritually. It can be difficult. You may have to get earlier to read your Bible and pray. You may give up some things you have been doing. You may add other things like going to a small group. Regardless, it’s a change to your life and it can be difficult to start.
The More I Run, The More I Can Run
The great thing is that the more you run, the more you can run. You can’t jump right back into running a half marathon or marathon after a lengthy layoff. You have to build up. The more you run over several days, the longer you will be able to run. Eventually, your long runs begin to grow longer.
Spiritually, you may be able to read a chapter or two of your Bible. Your prayers may be very short. However, the more you read, the hungrier you become to read more. The more you pray, the richer your prayer life become.
Extra Baggage Slows You Down
After a running layoff, it’s inevitable that my weight has changed. I haven’t been exercising, so my weight has crept up. That slows me down and keeps me running at my normal pace.
You carry extra baggage after a spiritual layoff too. You may have attitudes that you need to be rid of. There may be sin in your life. Set aside those besetting sins and those things that encumber you. Getting back into a “spiritual program” will help you rid yourself of these like a running program will help lower your weight.
It’s A Daily Grind
Here’s the thing. You can’t run one day, then one day again next week and expect to see results. That won’t help you train for a marathon or help you lose weight. It takes a daily grind. I don’t mean that in a negative way. I love running. But it takes a daily commitment to it to see results.
Same thing in your spiritual life. It takes that daily grind. Get up. Read your Bible. Pray. Spend time in fellowship. Worship. It takes a daily commitment to these things to get your spiritual life back on track.
What would you add to these? What have you learned from something in your life that parallels your spiritual life?
Here I am. Or you. Or anyone else.
Here is God!
What in-between is pointing us to and drawing us closer to Him?
We watch a lot of movies in Dunn Holler. If you don’t know about Dunn Holler, then you need to follow me on Twitter, but that isn’t what this post about at all.
I am the gatekeeper of the movies we watch, so it would be easy to simply put movies that Andrew and I like into our Netflix queue. Yes, I still get the movies in the mail because I live in Dunn Holler, a land of poor internet options. But I digress again. I actually try to get movies that all of us will like. Sometimes, though, I will get something for the girls, which they appreciate since they have little interest in movies like Die Hard and Roadhouse.
One of last weekend’s selections was Water for Elephants. This is a movie about a guy who quits college after his parents die. He ends up running away and joining the circus.
One scene has the owner of the circus showing him the animals. He tells him to feed a lion and, of course, he is terrified. When he opens the gate, the lion rushes him and he falls down getting away from it. He tells the owner that the lion could have bitten his arm off. The owner just laughs and tells him that the lion has no teeth with which to do that.
That’s us, isn’t it?
There is a lion in our lives that has no teeth. He was defeated two thousand years ago. Dying on the cross, Jesus pulled his teeth and claws out. He still has a semblance of his old self. He still prowls around looking for someone to devour. If you and I know Christ there is no way he can devour us. He’s just a toothless lion. The only weapon he really has with us is fear. He will try to frighten into not following the Lord. He will try to growl and convince us that we are missing out on something. We know we’re not. We are just fooled by that roar. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to see.
No, we have a better lion on our side. This lion has all of his teeth. His claws are razor-sharp. He comes straight out of Judah. He doesn’t have to roar to get our attention. His mere presence draws us. Does He bring fear? Absolutely, but it is the fear of the Lord. Is He safe? Like Aslan in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, He is definitely not safe. But this Lion is good.
We really have our choice of lions in our life. One just gives the appearance of a lion and seeks that which he can destroy. The other is the True Lion. Plain and simple, He is the King.
Which lion impacts you?
This is a work of fiction. You can read other chapters at my Fiction page.
Tom Davis pulled into his usual spot in the Mary E. Greene Memorial Park. He reached over and grabbed the small cooler that was sitting in his back floorboard. It was his lunch time and his routine rarely varied. He drove the five minutes it took to get from his office to the park. He parked under the same tree. His lunch was even usually the same, unless he decided to do something crazy, like grab something over at Taco Bob’s.
Tom looked around while he ate his sandwich. A few children were swinging. Their mothers were pushing a few of the smaller ones. Some older children were on the slides. He wasn’t good at guessing kids ages. He wondered if some of them were just not old enough to go to school or if some were homes schooled. He knew a few people who did that at church, but he didn’t recognize any of them.
Tom grabbed a handful of chips as he watched two mothers load their children into jogger strollers. He supposed they were going to run on the path around the small lake in the center of the park. It was just beginning to get chilly. They had long-sleeved t-shirts and running tights on. Tom thought that they might have been slightly over dressed for the conditions. He would still be wearing his regular running gear if he was going out. He would probably try to get his run in after work.
Taking a long swallow of water, Tom grabbed his Bible. He spent most of his lunch time reading his Bible and praying. He was trying to read the Bible through in ninety days. It was ambitious and he had to stay on it pretty hard everyday. Most of the time it was pretty easy, but some of the genealogies were tough sledding. Today he was reading through the minor prophets. He wondered what some of them would think if they knew that was how they were referred to now?
After he finished, he spent some time praying. As normal, he focused on praying on the search process for the new pastor. He thought it would be exciting when he found out that the church has selected him to be on this team. He had learned quickly that it was going to be a lot tougher than he realized. Everyone seemed to be good to work with, but Bill Johnson was another story. Tom did not understand him at all. Everyone was aware of the way he had pushed worked to run Donald off this past year. In Tom’s opinion, he shouldn’t be a deacon, much less chairman of the group. It made even less sense to him that Bill had been selected to the search team. He had yet to hear anyone admit that they voted for Bill. Something just didn’t seem right with it.
Tom finished praying as he often did. He prayed for the Lord to send him a wife. He had been praying for this for so long that he couldn’t remember when he had started. It’s not like he hadn’t dated a few ladies. He just hadn’t found one that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Most of them had been fine, but they didn’t have the same desires for life that he had. Tom spent a week of his vacation every year on some sort of mission trip. Most of the gals he had gone out with thought this was good, but not something they wanted to do. Tom wanted someone in his life who he could share these experiences with.
Tom looked up and saw the jogger strollers round the bend finishing their first lap around the lake. He watched as they rounded back to where they had started and headed out for a second loop. He had run that so many times he knew they had just finished the first half of a three-mile run. He started his car and backed out. He pulled out on the road and headed back to work. He had about four hours until his own run. Just like every other day.
As you read this, I am longer drinking Diet Mountain Dew. It has been a long interesting relationship that ended a couple of days ago. Simple. I’m finished with it.
The question may be why? Why would I want to give up drinking DMD after years and years of pouring it down my throat. After all, I even wrote a blog post about drinking Diet Mountain Dew to God’s glory. Why?
The answer is really rather simple.
I finally realized that it had a strong hold over me. You might even say I was a slave to it.
I would be ashamed to tell you how much of this concoction I was drinking each day. Let’s just say that I would put heavy coffee drinkers to shame. I started each morning as I got up and would often even drink it just before going to bed. I was immune to the effects the caffeine should have had on me.
The bottom line is that Diet Mountain Dew had become my master. I was a slave to it. I tried to say that I just really liked it, but I need to be honest. I was in bondage to it.
I realized that I wasn’t free. In short, the way I was drinking it was a sin.
Guess what? Christ didn’t die on the cross so that any of us could remain slaves in sin. He didn’t pay the debt of my sins so that I could keep sinning.
I had to stop.
I did pray about it. Not that I would miraculously released from its hold.
I just prayed that I could slowly get over it. And that’s what has been happening this month. Each week I have reduced how much I drink.
Today, I’m done.
That doesn’t mean I think you have to or should. You may have a good grip on it. You may not have reached my level of consumption. It’s ok. Drink it if you want. Not a peep out of me. Your free to do it.
I’m free from it.
Have you ever battled to become free of something?
For many years, I have been happy to label myself as a conservative. I mean this in every area of my life. Especially my theology. However, my discontent of this term has grown and led me to a decision.
Don’t call me conservative anymore.
Unfortunately, that lumps me with people like Rush Limbaugh and whatever politician is pandering to the Evangelical Right. Quite honestly, I hate being pandered to. Plus my political thinking has shifted and is much less important to me than it used to be.
Don’t call me liberal. I am the furthest thing from being liberal in any area of my life. However, I am striving to be liberal in one area of my life and I have a long way to go. I want to be liberal in love.
Don’t call me progressive. I’m not that. I don’t throw out the old simply for something new. I don’t allow what is the popular current thought of the culture to make a decision for me.
Don’t call me fundamentalist. The last thing I want in my life is some sort of legalism controlling me. I don’t want that for you either.
Don’t call me evangelical. That term is so broad that I don’t even know what it means anymore. It might have meant something when Carl F.H. Henry was developing the term, but I’m not so sure anymore.
You can call me a couple of things, I suppose, if you want to.
You could call me a Christian, but I wonder if the shelf life of that term ended. A lot of Americans call themselves Christians, but I’m not sure about that either.
Once you could have called me Baptist or Southern Baptist and I would have worn that badge proudly.
Timothy Keller uses the term orthodox to describe himself and I like that term. Please don’t confuse it with Orthodox. I’m not that either.
You could call me Biblical, but I screw that up sometimes. I know that I am not infallible in my interpretations and that my eyes will be opened wide when I get to glory.
You could call me a believer.
You could call me a follower.
You can call me someone who is on the Way.
Or you can just call me Deuce.
Do you fit neatly into labels and categories? Have your labels or categories changed over the years?