Monday, April 21, 2008

Adventures In Ever Increasing Sophistication

The other day, on a whim, I decided to eat at a Japanese Restaurant. I have never eaten Japanese food before. I had a friend at seminary from Japan; his family sent him all sorts of delicacies from his native land. He was very generous in offering his fellow students samples. Even though much of it looked unappetizing, I sometimes partook. However, I had never entered a Japanese restaurant before. It was an experience.

I ordered Chicken Terriaki; that sounded familiar. I also asked for the House Salad. A few minutes later, the waitress placed a small bowl before me. It contained two thin slices of cucumber with a very small portion of white noodles in some sort of liquid. Is this the salad? I thought. Then the waitress also placed a small bowl of a broth like substance next to the other bowl. (The waitress told me it was meezil soup.) Meanwhile, I noticed that I had no silverware. Instead, customers were furnished with chopsticks. The packet they were in gave instructions as to how they were to be held. I tried to use them, but I could only pick up big pieces. How was I to know that the sticks were supposed to be pulled apart?! A fork was quickly furnished. Then the salad was served; it had ginger dressing on it. Although my record of eating vegetables is spotty, I ate every one that came with the meal. Who wants to appear to be a culinary buffoon? Even the cucumber was good. Was it the sauce it was in, or do I like cucumbers but didn't know it? The only thing I did not eat were the mushrooms that came with the chicken dinner; I left a huge pile on my plate. Overall, the experience was not only memorable, it appealed to my palate. I am sure the next time I go to that restaurant, when the waitress sees me coming through the door, she will have a fork ready for me before I sit down. But I shall be ready. I now know to pull the chopsticks apart.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Monday Morning Devotions

Ps. 18:6- "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and I cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple and my cry came before Him, even to his ears." (NKJV)

One cannot charge the author of this verse with writing about what he had not experienced. The author is David, and he wrote these words after being delivered from the hands of Saul, Saul's army and all his enemies within Israel. If anyone in the Old Testament knew what it was to be delivered time and time again by God, that person was David, even when he was just a child. David was confident that he would defeat Goliath because God had previously delivered him from both lions and bears as he guarded his father's sheep (I Sam 17: 31-37). Later, he could have the confidence that God would deliver him from Saul because God's man in Israel, Samuel, had anointed David as King, replacing Saul ( I Sam. 16: 1-13). Having had a life-long relationship with God, David had no doubt that deliverance would be his by God's hands. The good news is that we can live in the very same assurance David had. In fact, if God the Father and Jesus the Son live in our hearts through the presence of the Holy Spirit, we can have greater assurance than even David had. A personal history with God gives us the assurance that God will never let us down, that He will always be there for us. Yet if we attempt to live in our own strength after God saves us, we will prevent that personal history between ourselves and God to develop. If we should prevent this relationship from forming, then when times of distress and trial come, we will have no more assurance than anyone else has. I am not claiming that if we live in close communion with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that we shall never experience distress. David tells us in the Psalms that he cried out to God in his distress. Yet while in agony, he knew God had heard him. The origin of David's assurance was God's deliverance of him when he was young. David cried out in his distress and he knew God had heard. And his cries where written down and became God's word to us.
Christians, you who have been delivered from your sins, you who desire to follow Jesus, will you allow this same relationship to develop between you and God. Will you allow such a relationship to become a reality before the world, the flesh and the Devil do everything they can to cause you to lose the faith you already have? (See Matt. 13: 1-9) As the final verses of the "Sermon on the Mount" reveal, we all go through storms, whether we are followers of Jesus or unrepentant sinners. Preparation through relationship with God is our only protection. Without this preparation, nothing in our lives will stand.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Good Day Indeed.

My father turned eighty on 04/05/08. My mother reached this milestone on 02/01/08. Both are in good health. It is doubtful rather I will make it that far in such good shape.

A Sad Day Indeed.

Charlton Heston, 10/04/23 - 04/05/08.