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Friday, May 25, 2012

Deliverance Part 2, AKA, Jurassic Park Revisited

After rereading my entry from April 20 and hearing my pastor preach on 2 Chronicles 20 since then, I need to amend one of the conclusions I drew before. I previously stated that God appointed unidentified attackers to fight the battle that faced His people in this chapter. I now realize the ambushes that defeated Judah's enemies were the enemies themselves! There were three armies threatening Judah, all of whom  turned on each other, leaving God's people to just show up for the "door prizes" (see v. 25).

This reminded me of the first time I watched the classic film, Jurassic Park. My sister Jo Ann, who had seen the movie before, tried to build suspense by telling me just enough without giving anything away. As we viewed the culminating scene, she promised with a sly smile, "Help comes from an unexpected source." If you haven't seen the movie, here's where you may want to stop reading, as I'm about to spill the beans.Who could have predicted the T-rex would show up at crunch time to devour the velociraptors that had cornered our heroes?

In similar fashion, the Almighty bailed me out of my recent protracted trial. When He was ready to move, His actions were sudden, stunning, and unmistakable. I had no clue what curve-throwing means He would use to spring me. I had braced myself for the long haul, so was delighted at this heavenly change-up.

Ephesians 1:13 claims that we as God's children demonstrate "the praise of His glorious grace." It really is all about the glory. His glory. He's entitled to it when He acts miraculously on our behalf, but is no less deserving when He leaves us in the trenches. If anything, the tougher the ordeal, the harder He works to get us through it.

For more like this, check out: Morsels for Meditation...: Deliverance

Morsels for Meditation...: Sleep on It

Morsels for Meditation...: God Rather Than Men

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sheep, AKA, Shadow of Doubt

There never seems to be a shortage of news stories about people's missteps. Politicians and preachers are accused of infidelity, warranting streams of speculation and ridicule. Parents' poor choices result in public criticism and mass judgment. Everyone seems to want to jump on the bandwagon and make light of other people's embarrassment, regardless of how much or little actual evidence there may be. Caustic Jay Leno monologues solidify the ill-researched opinions we form from two-minute news clips on TV.

I have one question. Why?

Why, in a society driven by fact-finding, do we allow ourselves to be so easily led by common opinion? Why, when most of us at one time or another have felt the sting of gossip and contempt, are we so unwilling to give a fellow sufferer the benefit of the doubt?

While carting my son and a friend around in the car recently, I was struck by their preoccupation with the local news. Several stories centered around the alleged wrongdoing of some local arrestees, one of whom was known to them, and the boys were all over it. They seemed to find these people's predicaments comical. I was stunned and appalled by their lack of sensitivity to the damage being done to reputations and relationships, as they plunged into unreasoned conclusions based on one-sided presentations. The shadow of doubt that clever lawyers thrust into the face of hard evidence would have been a welcome companion - for once - to the biased reports we saw. Of the nearly half dozen newscasts we caught about these events, only one presented anything positive about the accused; the rest were short, choppy, and inflammatory.

Maybe the phrase "freedom of the press" should be changed to "long live yellow journalism."

I remember seeing a TV movie once about a man falsely accused - and tried and condemned in the media - of sexual assault. The court of public opinion proved too much for this innocent man, and he chose to opt out of life rather than keep fighting for his reputation. I wonder how well I would withstand heartless scrutiny under similar circumstances.

The donkeys and elephants may be vying for election, but for the moment it's all about the sheep.

"'Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.'" Matthew 7:1-5