How Sweet It Is

How Sweet it isWhen was the last time you over-indulged?  Capital Punishment Style?  With Habenera Heartburn—Insufferable Indigestion—Mount Vesuvius Acid-reflux—Migraine inducing Nausea—Behemoth Bloating with Boa Constricting belt tightening. Did two boxes of Alka-Seltzer help?  A quart of Pepto-Bismol?  A case of Tums?  An injection of liquid Protonix or stronger?  Was an EMS ride to the ER included?  Did the ER nurse get the fluids running right away, or did you have a couple more hours endurance in the crowded waiting room?  Costly trip, huh?  Expensive ice cream?

Gluttony is a weighty matter.  It’s addressed in the Old Testament (OT) book of 1 Samuel; along with some of its consequences.  Eli was an OT priest and judge of Israel who had two sons; Hophni and Phinehas and “They were wicked men who had no regard for the Lord”     1 Samuel 2:12.   Serving as helpers to the high priest, they were allotted a portion of the sacrifices to eat, but they demanded more—much more.  How bad were the boys?  They took advantage of their position to satisfy their own lust for power, possessions, and control.  Their contempt and arrogance toward both people and worship undermined the integrity of the priesthood.  Eli knew they were evil, but wouldn’t correct them.  These boys stole the first-fruits before they were offered to God on the altar.  They were a couple of ruthless chow-hounds. A prophet predicted the destruction of Eli and his family.  The two sons dying on the same day was a sign that validated this prophecy.  Was it any coincidence that Eli died within hours of his sons?  No!

The Bible gives us a detailed record of Eli’s death.   1 Samuel 4:18 says, “Eli fell backwards off his chair, by the side of the gate.  His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and heavy.”  Eli was an OT person with a modern problem.  The recognition and respect that he earned in public did not extend to his handling of his private and family affairs.  He might have been a decent priest but he was a terrible parent.  Oh, he responded to others problems, but he definitely didn’t solve any of his own.

When you serve the Lord, putting Him first, it leaves a sweet taste that lingers. When you serve yourself first, and over-indulge, Satan’s pride enters in and turns the sweetness to bitter.

There is a lesson here in over-indulging; know your limitations.

How’s Your Peripheral Vision?

How is your peripheral Vison

We are talking about the outer area of the vision field.  Your vision field comprises the way in which one sees or conceives something.  Let’s be clear on something early on.  Seeing something and understanding what you see is night compared to day.  Want an example?  When you see a snake in an exhibit at the zoo, you see a predator in a simulated environment that is easily observed, measured, studied and controlled.  When you go to another country and take a stroll in the forest, the circumstances are eerily similar, except that now you are the one being observed, measured, studied and maybe controlled: by the snake.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to be invisible?  Who hasn’t!  Think of the endless possibilities for sneaking around, spying, playing tricks or just disappearing when relatives come for a visit.  How many of your remember 1951′s Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man or Arnold Schwarzenegger battling an invisible alien in 1987′s Predator?  With all craziness aside, there’s a serious race on all over the world for a cloaking device that makes things and people invisible.  Warfare, crime, world stability could change forever.  There’s also a serious moral dimension to the whole idea of a human no one can see.

invisability

When “things” are familiar your mental image concerning discernment or perception is at normal levels.  What about when things are all convoluted and normal is nowhere to be found?  What about the “invisible” forces that work in and around our lives every day?  Why does the price of gasoline jump fifty cents overnight without any rhyme or reason?  Why is it fifty cents more per gallon just a mile down the road?  Why has the most popular condiment in grocery stores, peanut butter, doubled in price in only five years?  Why is church attendance up, but church building down?

Adam Smith, a Scottish philosopher and economists, wrote a book in 1776 titled “The Wealth of Nations”.  He wrote about an “Invisible Hand” affecting the economic and political affairs of countries.  His peripheral vision was spot on and he is still highly regarded as a must read in colleges and universities today.  He sensed this “Invisible hand” was what affected inflation, innovation, and eventually, an industrial revolution.  There is an “Invisible Hand” at work.

Jesus met this “Invisible hand” several times in his ministry.  Eve meet him in the Garden of Eden.  The twelve Apostles met him at various times in their lives.  Paul met and sparred with him several times.  You have met him, and will continue to meet him.  Be prepared to spar on an individual basis.  If you look verrry closely—Invisibility reveals more than it hides.

Stand at Ease Disease

Stand at Ease Disease

fungiWho remembers high school chemistry?  How many of you took chemistry?  How many of you took high school biology?  How many took high school?  How many of you took college chemistry, biology and other medical classes?  What do you know about diseases?  Besides they maim, paralyze, and kill.  Fungal growth usually live off of and feed on living organisms.  Dangerous stuff!  A disease is an abnormal condition of an organism or part that impairs normal physiological functioning.  A fungus is any of numerous plants or the division or sub-kingdom Thallophyta lacking chlorophyll ranging in form from a single cell to a body of mass of branched filamentous hyphae that often produces specialized fruiting bodies and including the yeasts, molds, smuts, and mushrooms.  Whadda think: is sin a disease or a fungus: or both?

People say alcoholism is a disease.  If it is; it’s the only disease that is bottled, sold and taxed!  People say marijuana is a disease.  If it is; it’s the only disease that is packaged as brownies, cookies, candies and other venues then sold and taxed in many areas.  Truffles are tasty, but they’re still a fungus!  Let’s put away our chemistry, biology and medical books; we find sin defined “in the Bible”.  Romans 14:23 says that; “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin”!  You might think this a gray area.  “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” means that to go against a conviction will leave a person with a guilty or uneasy conscience.  When God shows us that something is wrong for us, we should avoid it.  This is not rocket science.  And we know what alcohol, marijuana, and other drug products do to us.  They maim, paralyze and kill.  All diseases and fungi aside—sin is 100% fatal; unless…you have THE ANTIDOTE.  The definition of sin and its cure are found on the Roman road!  Looking?

Bottom Line

Be careful what you choose.  You are free to choose between two masters, but you are not free to manipulate the consequences of your choices.  Each of the two masters pays with his own kind of currency.  The currency of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  That is all you can expect or hope for in life without God.  Jesus’ currency is eternal life.  What choice have you made?