Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hard Times...Defining Times

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? ~ 1 Peter 4:17

This judgment Peter speaks to, what is it?

He is clear about where it begins--at the household of God.

Peter is also clear that it will move on to those who are not of the household of God--those who do not obey the gospel of God.

God has a timetable.

He sets the boundaries of time's epochs.Peace and trials are His to allot (Ecclesiastes 3).

History confirmed Jesus' prophecy foretelling the destruction of the Temple: Not one stone will one day be left upon another. Absolute destruction and desecration of the Temple carried out by the Roman Emperor, Titus. Precipitating its disappearance was a vicious aggression against Christ-followers. Jesus knew what was around the corner. So did Peter.

From our point of view it may seem strange that fiery trials would befall those who trusted their destinies to Christ. To those who faithfully committed to following Jesus. Why the trials? After all, hadn't Jesus taken the judgment of our sin upon himself at Calvary?

But history--both past and present--is replete with examples of those who followed the tenets of Christianity. In the end their follow-ship proved to be little more than culturally convenient. I mean, "When in Rome, do as the Romans." Front-runners if you will. One look at the Christianity of Emperor Constantine confirms this. It was he who made Christianity the State religion. Many Constantine wannabes have followed his game plan.

Winnowing is always a part of the Divine process. Trials amid the household of God go a long ways toward sifting the chaff from the wheat.
Peter saw that.
Peter knew that.
Peter had personally experienced that.

Not all that glitters is gold.

On the reverse side, to quote J.R.R. Tolkien, Not all that is gold glitters.

Make no mistake--hard times are defining times...

Monday, May 30, 2016

It's Memorial Day...And I Am Grateful

Another Memorial Day comes to a close. Another year I stayed with my commitment to watch "Band of Brothers." As I was doing so, I struggled with the niggling that says I am wasting time. But I steeled myself against those wretched voices and watched and wept and concentrated on every scene. Can too much appreciation, gratitude, and respect be paid to the men and women who gave so much? Shouldn't we know their story? Can't we weep for those who had no one to weep for them?

My dad, Burleigh Vernon Shorey, was a Navy Submarine Veteran. His battles were with the Japanese. He was also a Plank Member on the Pintato. Years ago, I climbed down into the same model submarine, a steel tube, where Dad sacrificed a good chunk of his teenage years. He was 5'11" tall, and I am 5'9". Stooped over, I took the tour through cold, narrow, gray, steel corridors lined with tubing and valves. Thick heavy bulkhead doors were open. Squatting lower I stepped through the oval openings. I remember thinking, "How in the world did those men endure these cramped quarters? What went through their minds as depth charges rained down on them, exploding and rocking their boat from stem to stern? Did I even have a clue as to the meaning of courage and sacrifice?"

Just outside the torpedo tubes was my father's bunk. Every 8 hours a new shift of weary, nerve-wracked sailers crawled into the shared racks for some shut-eye. I won't even begin to try to explain how uncomfortable they looked, except to say, their beds were stacked atop torpedoes whose noses were stuffed with TNT?

Toward the end of his life, Dad opened up about memories that for decades he had sealed away in his memory vault. Reader...few of us today have any idea about what it means to sacrifice. Those brave men and women who died to secure freedom have nothing to apologize for, and we have no reason to be anything but grateful.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Number Seven

Today it's my Bride's turn for surgery. Nothing life threatening--thank God, but absolutely necessary. I've been cut and stitched six times in less than a year. We are hopeful this is the last for awhile...