Month: January 2004

Poison for Pain …

My parents own a cabin at a private lake west of Oklahoma City. We grew up “going to the lake” Friday evenings through Saturday during the spring and summer months. Unless it was Memorial Day, Labor Day or another holiday, we were home for worship on Sundays. Early on we learned to be on the lookout for Copperheads – poisonous snakes. We kept our eyes open as we rode motorcycles and hiked. We scoured the landscape as we walked to the swimming hole or to fish. Poison strikes fear, especially in youngsters.

Today I read where the poison taken from a sea snail may be helfpul for those facing pain from cancer and AIDS. An inset carries the headline, “Venom as elixir.” Talk about turning things upside down – poison for pain!

Isn’t it interesting how many things get turned upside down. I think of Jesus’ phrase repeated in the Sermon on the Mount, “You have heard it said, but I say to you …” He turned conventional wisdom and popular notions upside down. Life with Jesus is an experience in an upside down life being the right side up way to live.

Desperate times call for desperate measures …

Today’s “Daily Oklahoman” carries an article about the arrest of a bank robber. This is no ordinary story – or is it. Generally we consider the reason behind a bank robbery to be the support of some habit that so controls a person they cannot keep a steady job. The need for money overwhelms better judgment – as if good judgment leads to damaging habits. The habits could range from drug use/abuse to extreme laziness. Debts mount and one considers the only solution to be a bank heist.

Seems as though a reputable businessman, community leader and family man came to conclude the only way he could bolster the bottom line and keep things afloat was to rob a bank in Edmond. Seems logical to me – what about you?

We look at the details of the story and immediately find this an abberation – an extra-ordinary case. Yet, this man’s line of thinking fits the standard for those who would not be considered reputable at all. Therein lies the value of the phrase, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Left to ourselves, reputable or no, we too make such poor decisions.

God moves to desperate measures. Surely you would agree the notion of giving up your Son for a cast of “reputable and disreputable” mugs would appear quite desperate. The good news is it was his idea for us not our own for ourselves. Out of this action God demonstrates the effects of these desperate actions for those experiencing desperate times. He extends grace where we would spurn it. He grants mercy where we would shun such action. I do not suggest that everyone who follows God makes stellar decisions. There is penty of evidence to the contrary. I simply offer this as an illustration to thank God for his demonstration of grace and mercy when we found/find ourselves in “desperate times.”

Thank you God for acting for me when my way of thinking would only lead me to . . . do anything but what would be right.

Some addiitions …

I moved over my posts from “Musings on life and faith” from December 2003 to justtodd here with Typepad. I am still figuring out the template and the things I can do. Keep checking back to see the latest in my attempts to improve the blog experience.

A Long Obedience …

The transistory nature of our culture heightens those times when we witness something of stability. Eugene Peterson wrote a book on the “Songs of Ascent” titled, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. On December 31, 2003, my pastor – Brother Justice died at the age of 96. A memorial service was held and several men impacted by his life shared stories and experiences to communicate something of the character and commitment of this godly man. Born in Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma, Brother Justice, as we called him, experienced the grace of God. He gave his life to preaching the gospel of Jesus, the Christ. He kept to this commitment for 73 years! He preached his last sermon two weeks before he died. Though he lost his physical eyesight, he found his spiritual sight unhindered. I am glad to have known and been imprinted by one who understood “a long obedience in the same direction.”