Is God’s Truth Disappearing?

gods-truth

There are days when the strident voices of a society virulently opposed to the gospel of Christ become so loud that I begin to doubt that God’s truth will ever be heard again.

One day, on the way home from work I was listening to people yell at each other on talk radio. Opposing opinions thrown back and forth at each other – much of it completely contrary to what God says. Again, the doubt that God’s truth could be heard washed over me. I could imagine us becoming a people who had accepted and believed so many lies that the truth of God would slide into oblivion. I wondered if we could be on the verge of another Dark Age with no way to stop the decay, no way to open deceived hearts to the truth.

And then, through the windshield I caught sight of a magnificent rainbow – the most beautiful and perfect rainbow I have ever seen. The colors were vibrant and distinct. And best of all, this particular rainbow remained visible much longer than others I had seen.

God was speaking to my heart through that rainbow. It was not just a scientific phenomenon – easily explained away. That rainbow was, as it has always been, a sign of God’s covenant with man. Regardless of man’s attempts to steal the sign and to destroy its meaning, it is always God’s lovely creation and message to us.

The message to me that day was that man may pervert and twist the truth but they will never change the fact that God is the great Creator and Sustainer of everything and everyone.  He is the only God and King of all.

As Psalm 2:4 says, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.” The raving of unregenerate and rebellious mankind changes nothing. God laughs at them and at their plans to rule. He not only laughs, but he ridicules their foolishness. God is unmoved by their threats and their attempts to cover up the truth. Instead, God continues as He always has and He goes on giving hope, courage and strength to His own.

The King laughs at His enemies.

psalm-2_4

He knows the end of the story and He has opened the book to the last page to let us peep at it. God’s truth is alive and well and prevails now and for all time.

 

Tell Me a Story

tell me a story

Tell me a story, Gigi.

It’s a difficult request to resist – especially when a cute little four-year-old granddaughter is making it…and she’s crawling up in my lap and waiting expectantly.

I’m not sure how this started. One day I told her a story about my own childhood, and now, just about every day, she asks for another story. They’re not terribly exciting stories – what I got for Christmas one year…how my brother and I played in the snow…the time a horse stepped on my toe. Stories of the every day – ordinary stories, but they are building up a picture of her grandma and of her family heritage one piece at a time.

My own mother was a wonderful storyteller. My brother and I would often sit with her on one of our beds and listen to the stories from her childhood and teenage years. Mom was orphaned at a young age and made the rounds of living with one or another of her large Catholic family until she left school. There were stories of the aunts with rhyming names and the uncle who was a better bricklayer when he was drunk and the grandma who owned a little mom and pop grocery store. Mom was good at describing people. And there were the places – most of all I remember her story about one of the houses she lived in in Gettysburg, the one that would have been right in the middle of the action during the Battle of Gettysburg, the house that still had bloodstains on the floor of the attic. Together we imagined the wounded soldiers that had been hidden away up there and tended by the anxious residents.

And then there were stories about how she felt – what it was like for her as a child. How she felt when a couple who had considered adopting her changed their minds. How she felt about going to Catholic school at a time when being left-handed was almost a crime and so it was tied down to force her to use her right hand. How she loved her Grandma – the one who handed out penny candy in her little store.

I haven’t heard those stories in many, many years, but I haven’t forgotten them. They are important to my understanding of my mother.

And who doesn’t love a good story, especially the story of someone you love?

What about you and the little people in your life? Are you telling them your stories?

  • Childhood stories
  • Stories of your young adulthood
  • Stories of your courtship and marriage
  • Stories of hard times and good times
  • Stories of your coming to Christ
  • Stories of God’s working in your life
  • Stories of their babyhood

Families are in so much trouble today, but maybe if we started sharing all those stories with our little ones, and we started remembering those times with each other, then we would remember that family is worth all the time and care. Maybe we would be willing to work harder to make sure that the story goes on.

For me, the next time a grandchild says, “Tell me a story, Gigi,” I’m going to dig up yet another story to tell.

 

Photography from Pixabay

Lessons Learned – Part 2

Lessons Learned - Part 2

Today’s post is a continuation of Lessons Learned at Church Camp.

To briefly recap from Monday – in my role as camp cabin inspector, I found myself having to scold a group of boys whose cabin was a mess and then doubted whether I had done the right thing.

However, God had plans to teach me and those little boys some lessons.

First, let me say that it never ceases to amaze me that God prepares us for the situations that still lie ahead of us. It shouldn’t amaze me because I believe that He is sovereign, but being a finite creature, it still amazes me.

The morning of the the reprimand, before I had ever seen that awful cabin, God had been working. In my Bible study that morning I had been doing some word studies in Colossians 3. One of the words I chose to study was “admonishing” from verse 16.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

The Greek word for admonish – noutheteo – means “exerting positive pressure on someone’s logic, urging them to choose God’s best”.

In the half hour before setting foot in that cabin, the idea of admonishing was intriguing to me and stuck in my mind. After I saw the cabin, I knew that exerting positive pressure and urging the little boys to choose God’s best was the way to go. It was a little harder to believe that when I saw them crying, but I kept telling myself it was the right choice.

The next morning when I saw a wonderfully clean cabin, I was thanking God again for leading me to be firm and follow what He had shown me.

I couldn’t resist hinting to the cabin counselors how pleased I was with the transformation and how I couldn’t wait for lunch time to affirm their boys. The counselors revealed a bit of new information. Almost all of the boys had pitched in to do the cleaning, but a couple had not. The other boys tried their best to encourage and threaten and beg the lazy ones to help, but nothing doing. Hmm…

I pondered on it and before lunch time came around I knew just what I needed to say. I had learned some important things and now it was time for the boys’ lessons.

After announcing the third place cabin and the second place cabin, I asked the boys and counselors of the messy cabin to come to the front. This is what I said,

“Yesterday, I called these boys up and talked to them about something. None of you knew for sure what it was, but you guessed. And some of you made fun of these boys. I wish you hadn’t.

“These boys and I have learned some lessons because of their messy cabin. First, I learned that it is biblical and right to admonish each other – to encourage each other to chose God’s best. I did admonish these boys yesterday, and they responded, they chose to go God’s way and now they have a perfectly beautiful cabin. I’m so proud of them!

“But that’s not all – this group of boys is learning another important lesson. Not everyone in the group helped to clean the cabin. Some did not pull their own weight. Unfortunately, that is reality in all parts of our lives. Not everyone in a family pulls their own weight. Not everyone in a church pulls their own weight. Not everyone in a community or even a country pulls their own weight. However, that does not stop the rest of us from doing what is right.

“Colossians 3:23-24 says,  ‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.’ Regardless of what people around you do, you keep doing right – not for me, not for your counselor, but for God.”

And then, I was about to let those little guys go back to their seats, but I called them back to announce that they had won the clean cabin award for the day. It felt so good for all of us!

So…

lessons learned from church camp…

  1. Admonish one another – call your brothers and sisters to choose God’s best.
  2. Whatever you do, do it for your God alone.

Oh, yeah, and keep your cabin clean!!!

Lessons Learned at Church Camp

Lessons Learned at Church Camp
Freely Photos – Katherine Clark

Church camp is an amazing place where unexpected lessons can be learned. 120 hours in which to learn more about yourself, about the people with you, and about your God.

For me, this year’s lessons began in a messy boys’ cabin. I know that sounds weird, but one of my roles at camp is cabin inspector. Every morning while the campers and counselors are at breakfast, I use my master key and inspect each cabin for cleanliness. On the second morning of camp, I thought I was seeing the messiest cabin I had ever seen. The lights had been left on,the towels were hung haphazardly (or not hung at all), the sinks were smeared with toothpaste, and (most shocking of all) someone had hung their underwear on the porch right by the door. Yuck!

So…after I presented the spirit stick for the first place cabin, I mentioned that one of the cabins was in need of work and that the underwear had better disappear. I thought that was the end of that.

I was wrong.

The next morning I approached the same cabin expecting to see great improvements. Hmm…socks on the doorknob. I knew that was a joke from one of the counselors so I ignored it as best I could, but when I walked into the cabin, I have to say that I lost it a little bit. If anything, the cabin was worse than the day before. Now there were suitcases open with the contents strewed out all over the floor. Had they tried to get messier? Was this some sort of conspiracy? A messy cabin of the year conspiracy?

I had until lunch time to consider how to handle these little clean cabin malefactors. I knew I had to be careful not to totally humiliate them, but I needed to make it clear that rules are rules and that, for the good of everyone, keeping your cabin clean is a rule that cannot be ignored.

The time came and I announced the top three clean cabins and awarded the spirit stick. Then I asked the boys of the messy cabin to come up and talk to me. I put away the microphone and explained to the boys just exactly how disappointed I was and how I expected them to change their behavior. Then I instructed them to use the first fifteen minutes of swim time to clean their cabin. Yes, ma’am, and they went back to their seats.

When I got back to my table everyone wanted to know what I had said to make that pack of little boys listen so carefully and return with their tails between their legs. I wondered, had I been too severe? Then, to my disbelief, I saw that several of the boys were crying their eyes out! Of course, I went to their table and hugged on them and told them it would be okay, but now I was really questioning myself and wondering if everybody thought I had become the clean cabin witch. Those thoughts followed me all day long.

The next morning it came time for cabin inspection and I approached the, by now, notorious cabin. The clothesline was perfectly neat. The water shoes were perfectly lined up on the front porch. I opened the door and saw one of the cleanest cabins I have ever had the delight to look upon. Plus a basket full of handwritten notes and little treats. I could scarcely believe what I was seeing. And I was thrilled! I was so thrilled I knew it would be hard to wait until lunch to make the announcement.

First, however, God had some lessons He had been working on and needed me to put together in my heart.

 

What were the lessons learned at church camp this summer? Check back on Wednesday for Part 2 to find out!

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