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“Because I said so, that’s why”!

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How many of us have ever been shopping at Walmart or the grocery store and observed the following?

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Mom or Dad is shopping with a couple of kids in tow. As kids are prone to do, their eyes are drawn to things and they begin to ask if they can have them.

This goes on for a while, and each time they ask for something Mom or Dad says “no, you can’t have that”, or “no, not today”. Of course, kids will be kids, so naturally they ask “why not?”

Every. Single. Time.

After the umpteenth time, the exasperated parent finally lets out a forceful “because I said so, that’s why not”!

Now, I’m pretty sure that none of you or your children ever did such a thing (insert smile). Personally, I don’t remember doing this as a child either, but being the ornery kid I was, I probably did. Well, that and I probably knew what was waiting for me at home if I ever tried it (insert frown).

All children are inquisitive and want to get their hands on new things, even things they probably know they can’t or shouldn’t have. What they mostly want however, is to have their own way.

It’s a natural tendency to want what we want when we want it, and we want our way NOW. Humans have been this way from day one. It all goes back to that Adam and Eve debacle.

A lot of us are still like that as adults, aren’t we? As we grow older and begin working and taking on the adult responsibilities of life, we feel a certain sense of entitlement. After all, we are working hard and deserve to have a few nice things. Nothing wrong with that.

Looking at things from a spiritual perspective however is where this sense of ‘wanting to have it our way now’ can get us in trouble. That’s because in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, we are children that are in dire need of many things, and those things usually don’t include cars, boats, and the like.

What we do need however is spiritual nurturing, which encompasses a multitude of areas. These include teaching, encouraging, growth, care, support, and even discipline when necessary.

To be honest, many of us have gone through periods where we didn’t want any of those things. What we wanted was to live our life our own way, without any restrictions imposed upon us, with no strings attached.

Some of us have gone so far as to reject God altogether. We make a conscious decision not to believe in anything beyond our self. In doing so, we convince ourselves that we are absolved from any accountability to God, thus freeing our minds from any thought of right/wrong or the concept of yes/no.

We convince ourselves that we have found a winning formula. No God equals no Heaven and no Hell, nor any consequences for our decisions. This leaves us completely free to think and do as we please.

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Cue the song “Imagine” by John Lennon.

Except that it isn’t that simple. Despite our formulas, our wishful thinking, or our melodic songs, God does, in fact, exist. He simply cannot be wished away.

Despite the scientific community’s best efforts to prove otherwise, we have been created in the image of God. As such, we possess the incredible power to choose and to make decisions, whether they be good or bad.

All of this means that no, we are not free to think and do as we please. At least not without having to deal with the consequences of our actions.

We can choose to not like this arrangement all we want. We can stubbornly decide to go our own way and do our own thing until we breathe our last breath. We can override our conscious and choose to reject the call of God and leave this life having never known Him.

What we cannot do, however, is escape Him. Our decisions and actions will be accounted for one day. His judgments are certain and final, and none will be exempt.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Choosing to ignore the clear teachings of Scripture about the coming judgment in order to have it your way is to commit spiritual suicide. It is the very act of throwing away your life on earth and ultimately damming your eternal soul to Hell. To my mind, that doesn’t sound like such a wise decision, but what matters is how do you feel about that?

Do these words sound harsh to you? Does all of this talk about judgement seem…well, judgmental? Are these words offensive to you? Would you rather not hear them?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you can take some small comfort in knowing that most people agree with you. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change a thing.

This great judgment day will render everyone equal. The wealthy, the poor, the white, the black, the privileged and the pauper, will all stand on the same level ground before God’s throne. And just in case someone wants to ask “why”, it’s because He said so!

On this great day every account will be settled. Every sin not under the blood of Jesus Christ will be made known. There will be no place to hide. Every joke and criticism ever made about the existence of God will be silenced. The atheist and agnostic will at long last be silenced. The lukewarm church goer who never accepted Christ’s sacrifice for their sins will be find no solace on that dreadful day.

And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

Committing our lives to Jesus Christ on this side of eternity ensures that when that great day of reckoning comes, we will be safe and secure in the promises of God that He will redeem us for all of eternity.

Because He said so!

Have a blessed day everyone!

Ron

[1] Revelation 20:12

[2] Revelation 16:7

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice”! Philippians 4:4 NKJV

 

 

 

Why Thanksgiving is my Favorite Holiday

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Thanksgiving

Just saying the word conjures up special images and memories for each of us.

Turkey and dressing. Pumpkin pie and Pilgrims. Football and family. Tryptophan and nap time.

In our home it goes without saying that Thanksgiving Day is my favorite holiday. My wife Debbie is an amazing cook, and usually Wednesday evening will find me getting anxious to smell the wonderful things she will prepare for our family. As always, we will have turkey and all the trimmings along with just about anything else one would expect to see at a Thanksgiving feast. Come to think of it, I believe I’ve already asked her 3 or 4 times if she has everything in the house for the big day.

Of course, she teases me that the only reason I like Thanksgiving so much is because I love all the great food on our table. I’ll admit to the food being a very special part of the day, but there’s much more to it than that for me.

Thanksgiving is a Heart Thing

As a young boy growing up in rural Ohio, Thanksgiving was a time for family. My family would spend days in preparation, making sure of every detail, right down to drying the bread for my mom’s stuffing. Once the big day arrived, our home would be packed with relatives who had made the journey from as far away as 50 miles (no small sacrifice in the early 60’s).

All my aunts and uncles, cousins, and even people who I had never heard of before would gather in our home. No one even thought of watching TV, even though if the weather cooperated we could bring in two and a half channels. No, Thanksgiving was for catching up on each others lives around our huge dinner table.

Instead, all of us kids would be sent to play outside until it was time for dinner, which gave me the opportunity to show off to my city cousins a life they didn’t know existed.

For instance, we used to stand corn stalks up to make what is called a corn shock. These were made in the shape of a teepee and were wonderful hiding places from my girl cousins (and annoying sisters).

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From there I would take them on an adventure that rivaled any zoo they had ever seen. At our home we had cows, pigs, and chickens, none of which my city cousins had ever seen up close and personal. Boy, my cousins sure seemed to scare easily when they would hear a made-up story of how dangerous those animals were.

Back then, the men in my family always went hunting in the morning, returning just in time to eat dinner. How well I remember when I was deemed old enough to tag along with them. I had no gun, but it didn’t matter a bit because I got to be with my dad and uncles.

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When at long last my mom would announce that dinner was ready, we would all head towards the kitchen. Since there were so many of us, the grownups would fix our plates and we would then sit at the “little table”.

I really disliked those little card tables because the only people sitting there were us kids, and all of us knew that the “big table” was the place to be. I remember every year asking if this was the year I finally got to sit at the big table. I got used to being told “NO”, but still I had to ask.

I can still see what had to have been the biggest turkey in the store resting on a huge platter. Spilling all around it was the stuffing that we had prepared all that dried bread for. A gigantic bowl of mashed potatoes, along with an even larger bowl of chicken and dumplings sat on one end of the table. Bowls of green beans, cranberries, gravy, and other yummy things I can no longer remember filled the rest of the table.

I can remember eating so much food that my relatives would tease me that I was going to blow up. I didn’t care because being a skinny kid I could eat as much of anything I wanted and never gain a pound (oh for those days!).

After we had finished eating our dinner it was time for dessert, and I’m here to tell you that I could eat some dessert, especially my aunt Laura’s chocolate pie. I can remember there being apple pies, peach pies, blackberry cobbler, raisin pie (my dad’s favorite), and of course aunt Laura’s chocolate pie.

Those wonderful memories are tucked safely away in my mind. Those carefree days of family and friends are never far from me, and at this time of the year I think of them often. Though the years have created separation and distance in my childhood family, those are some of the best years of my life.

I regret not having had the opportunity to enjoy more of those years, but as fate would have it my dad passed away when I was 12 years of age, and for all intents and purposes life was never the same after that. Therefore, those memories are indeed precious to me.

Today, of course, things are much different. Thanksgiving is largely thought of as a day off from work and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. What a shame, because in the rush to buy someone something a lot of memories are not being made around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

It goes without saying that I am one of those that has a really hard time with seeing Christmas trees showing up in October, and as we get later and later into November the inevitable deluge of advertisements for Black Friday start showing up, as if we needed one thousand reminders a day.

Around my house I’ll be the one asking a hundred times “wait…what about Thanksgiving? Why doesn’t anyone think of Thanksgiving like they used to? Why is it so hard for us to celebrate the idea of thankfulness”?

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So, while I am grateful for the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians celebrating the very 1st Thanksgiving way back in 1621, I can’t say that it was that event that sparked my love for Thanksgiving.

Neither was the Congressional resolution that resulted in President George Washington proclaiming Thursday, the 26th of November 1789 a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” instrumental in instilling my love for Thanksgiving.

Even President Abraham Lincoln, who declared in 1863 that the last Thursday in November would become a federal holiday and a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” isn’t responsible for my fondness of all things Thanksgiving.

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While all those events are important in our nation’s history, the real reason that I love Thanksgiving is because in my mind I get to be that kid again. I get to be surrounded by the people who mean the world to me, and I get to add more memories to an already overflowing basket of thankfulness and gratitude gifted me by our Lord.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Ron