Call Me Caleb

I want to be Caleb. You remember him. When the children of Israel approached the promised land, Moses sent twelve spies in to check things out. All saw the same thing, a land filled with promise but with challenges. Ten counseled caution. We can’t do it. Aaron and Caleb said with God’s help, we can do it. For all, God’s redemption of them from Egypt and the destruction of Pharos army, were fresh memories. You would have thought that more than 2 of 12 would still have been pumped about the power of God.

Forty-five years later the generation of the unfaithful were all dead, except for Caleb and Aaron. Caleb was 85 years old and still ready to take on the challenge of invading the promised land. I want to be Caleb.

I haven’t posted a blog in a while. I haven’t known what to say in light of terrorists, cop killers and cop killings. I have read lots of opinions and haven’t completely agreed with any of them. I’m not a police officer nor am I black so I’m haven’t had subjective experience to challenge or confirm all that I’m hearing. I have friends on both sides of every issue. I feel the anger, fear and frustration on all sides. I don’t know the “right” answers but do know the divisions are “giants” in the land.

There are giants of racism and fear. There are giants of distrust and secularism. There are giants of untruth claiming that even if there is a God; all ways to Him are the same. There are too many guns in the hands of bad people and not enough in the hands of good and no way to fix one problem without worsening the other.  The giants are ravaging the Promised Land and scaring off the salt and light that can change things.

I want to be Caleb. I don’t want to be fearful because I’m looking at the giants and the inability of men to slay them. I don’t want to forget that God has redeemed and sustained me all these 67 years. I want to remember that God is powerful enough to destroy evil and to protect His children. Our response is to be his children and thus safe salt and a strong light in the shadow of His wings. We need to be Davids and trusting in slingshots and the Lord in the face of armor clad giants.

I want to be Caleb at 85, even if all the unfaithful are gone, even if I alone remain. I want to still believe I am as strong in the Lord as ever and just as eager to take the promised land from the illicit occupiers. Until then I want to be fearless, patient and secure in the Lord. I want to be Caleb.

Please Lord, just call me Caleb.

Alive

If you are reading this you are one of the lucky and blessed ones. I’m not saying that this post is all that great. What I am saying is that if you are reading this, you are alive. You have made it to another day. There are many who have not. You and I are blessed, so what are we going to do about it?

Pass the Test.  We all face death. We have a limited amount of time to justify our existence. This life is a test. It’s an opportunity to choose to follow Jesus, not just in a one time decision, but in a continuing life. We follow by placing our trust in Him and being in obedience to His commands for our lives. We live to know Him and to make Him known to others, to make disciples. If we haven’t made that decision, we may be technically alive, but are, in fact, Walking Dead. The first obligation of those of us blessed to still be alive is to pass the test of life.

Enjoy the rest.  Did you know that “Eden” means “delight?” God created man and placed us  in an environment which is meant to be delightful and joyous. It’s amazing that so many of us believe that our choice is to live a happy life or to follow Jesus. Following the Lord is certainly not all fun and games, but it is true joy and satisfaction. God has placed us in a world full of reflections of His glory that can bring joy and blessing. As long as are alive, we should enjoy the benefits of life. It’s really an obligation, because it helps us stay connected and in relationship to the one who is behind it all.

Do our best.  God placed us in an environment that mirrors His glory but doesn’t rob us of the free will choice to follow His son or not. He gave us His best, including the Son who died for us. Should we return any less. Every new day presents opportunities to put to best use the gifts God has given us. Shouldn’t we return with our best effort? It isn’t what saves us or establishes a relationship with our creator, but flows from that relationship.

Pass the test. Enjoy the rest. Do our best. Thank you Jesus for another day. Help me make the best of it.

Independence Day

Today we celebrate Independence Day. It’s a good time to do some thinking. This country is very different from the one I grew up in. We spent the weekend in Houston. We didn’t see many folks who could speak English. I am not saying that’s a bad thing. It’s just one piece of evidence that the country is changing. The people who make up America are changing. We have always been a melting pot; it just seems that lots of the new folks aren’t melting in. I’m not sure that’s good. The new folks don’t seem to be aware of or grateful for how we got to be independent. Even the young folks who were born here seem to have that problem.

We have always been free; but I wonder how free we are. I feel more controlled and watched and limited by government than ever before in my life. I have never known a time when the IRS and the justice department and the Congress in general was so corrupt. it’s not a question of “might be” corrupt. There isn’t much issue about it.

I think we are less free than ever.  What worries me more is that we seem to be doing less than ever with our freedom. Christians complain about being marginalized and maybe even a bit persecuted. It’s not like we are doing that much to call for such attention. We are making fewer disciples than ever before. We are known more for complaining about sin than for introducing sinners to a savior. We seem more separated in our mega churches and denominations than ever before. We seem more racially segregated than ever. We are certainly more economically separated, there’s an obvious divide between the have too much and the have-nots. No wonder a socialist like Bernie can make such a splash.

I think there are lots of reasons for this. Young people seem completely ignorant of our history and the workings of government. This generation hasn’t faced a draft or the need to go off to war. A few have done so bravely, but it doesn’t seem to have changed the entire generation. What you don’t have to fight for or don’t remember your parents fighting for can easily become very unimportant. The young seem to yearn for socialism with no understanding of what it is. I wonder what they would think of JFK’s speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you; but what you can do for your country.” That was 50 years ago. How much has changed.

As bad as things are, I think we are still the most free. We just need to start acting like it. We need to exercise our freedom of speech and religion and not be intimidated by political correctness. We need to be willing to serve the country and to honor those who do instead of thinking of our military as those who just couldn’t get real jobs and were silly enough to think you need to have a job. If we are going to have better politicians we need to have better people willing to serve. You can’t tell me that Hillary and Donald are the best this nation could come up with.

Finally we need to celebrate the real freedom that comes with a life of following Jesus. We need to pass on to the next generation that the greatest blessing is in following Him, serving a cause greater than ourselves, and in loving and honoring those who inspire us to do that.

Happy Independence Day. Why not celebrate it by being independent, fighting to stay independent, teaching those who have forgotten how we became independent, and by living lives of true independence and not politically correct, silent, marching in step citizenship that seems the norm today. Sounds radical, even revolutionary? Good that’s exactly what I intended.