Saturday, April 28

"...a Time for War, a Time for Peace."

Wars are as old as time, and peace is an illusion in this life. Whether global, regional, or personal, war is here to stay. In spite of 'civilization,' philosophers and religion, wars and rumors of wars will continue until Christ comes to judge the world.

You may be surprised to learn that since recorded history there have been less than 400 years of peace. And that number is most likely too high. Here's a list of all (or most) known wars and conflicts.

Why, then, does the Lord Jesus Christ tell us, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you." He wasn't telling the 11 apostles they would never see bad times. Most of them would be persecuted severely and martyred. The apostle Paul says, "Therefore, since we have been justified [declared forgiven of our sins by God] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1. And he tells the Ephesian Christians, "Therefore remember that at one time you . . . were . . . separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility." Ephesians 2:11-16.

So there is the peace of reconciliation with an angry God, a God who must punish sin. There is also an inner peace that is given. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22,23. Paul also says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6,7.

And on a relational level, we read, "Strive for peace with everyone . . ." Hebrews 12:14a. Even though others may not accept our kindness and patience, we must try to reflect the kindness, patience, and love that God has shown to us.

Wars of state is another issue altogether.

Wednesday, April 25

35 Years and Counting

This August will mark my 35th anniversary working with K/P Corporation. The proverbial constant of change seems to be a daily challenge (positive and negative) on a number of levels.

1.) Even though the company name is basically the same and the original owner is still a 51% shareholder, the face of the company has changed regularly through the years - updated mission statements, new constrained directions, a plurality of CEO's, changing and depleting benefits, a smaller workforce - this is NOT the same company I joined back in 1972.

2.) Few have survived as long as I. New local faces are rare but certain as we start to retire or worse.

3.) These past few years have revealed more of a family situation (for better and worse) as we've learned to look out for other departments and can fill other jobs with or without notice when emergencies and vacations arise. There are a few leaks in our tight ship, but we're pretty good at baling. That's making these last years extremely challenging for me as I get ready to say goodbye.

Yeah, I'm the old guy in the front.

Sunday, April 22

Depraved Old World

In spite of trying to keep us in shock mode by offering and exploiting and overkilling us with bad news, the news media has done the opposite. "Familiarity breeds contempt" in most things. It breeds boredom at the least, and driving the horrors of war, famine, murderous killings and sexual perversion down our throats isn't changing the world for the better: It is numbing us more with each earful.

God tells His people to "abhor what is evil; cling to what is good," but just how do we cultivate express this hatred when we're deluged with the entertainment media that calls "evil good and good evil?" How do we maintain an aversion to trigger-happy thugs and kid abusing perverts when they are "advertised" relentlessly in the news?

Those are questions we need to ask on our knees with our Bibles open in front of us. Only God can maintain that true hatred in our hearts when we want to give up the fight.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." [The apostle Paul writing to the Philippian church and to us]

Wednesday, April 11

Double Delight

One of the newer patented roses is called Double Delight. Its popularity is well-deserved. This sunset version of it replaces the strikingly white petals with a creamy glow.

Hopefully, our lives will take on this golden hue when we arrive at our golden years. Hopefully, our family, friends and strangers will see a gentleness, a loving smile and kind heart when we reach our 'crotchety' stage.

May God's Spirit teach us to deny ourselves and selfishness and give to others as He has done to us. We'll have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Sunday, April 1

Prime Property

Within a stone's throw of a spanking new shopping center and a freeway, this prime property graces travelers with its 21st century commentary on life in these United States. It could be anywhere, so I need not mention the city. Most likely, a version of it can be seen in or near your town as well.

These artists are motivated. "Graffiti writing breaks the hegemonic hold of corporate/governmental style over the urban environment and the situations of daily life. As a form of aesthetic sabotage, it interrupts the pleasant, efficient uniformity of "planned" urban space and predictable urban living. For the writers, graffiti disrupts the lived experience of mass culture, the passivity of mediated consumption." - Jeff Ferrell, Crimes of Style. On the other end of the philosophical perspective the blogger, Innowen, says, "Within this culture our name is what defines us. If you have a name, then you have an identity."

It's all about identity and protest. Identity in crisis --- the thrill of making a name for yourself while breaking the law vs. making a name for yourself lawfully (thrill included).

Personal blogs, websites, and e-mails are just lawful versions of this once-red house by the freeway. One uses a few words, the other uses a lot. One is usually meaningless, the other is usually understood.

Therefore, my solution to metropolitan blight: get these guys to start blogging! Correct spelling is optional.