I Blog For Books

23 October 2009

What Is This World Coming To?

I sit here in front of my computer, in a slight state of disbelief. In today's instant society, there is information available at the touch of a fingertip, and today was no exception. A friend of mine had posted a link on facebook, and intrigued by the caption, I clicked on the two minute clip.

http://www.myfoxmemphis.com

Imagine the shock and horror as I watch and listen ... two small children, ages 2 and 3, were left at home alone while their mother and aunt go "take a man home" who had apparently cut the mother's grass. It is not specified, but we assume that the mother is the distraught individual who can barely stand that we see briefly in the background. The aunt, on the other hand, shows no remorse whatsoever for having left the two children alone in the house. She states that she's not sure how the house caught on fire, "the kids might have done it", or someone might have thrown something in there to make it catch on fire ... but her primary concern? She "needs to get in there and see if her purse burnt up because it had her food stamp card in it."

A two year old and a three year old are in critical condition at a Memphis hospital because they were home alone when a fire broke out, and all she cares about is whether or not her food stamp card burned? All I can do at this point is beg for forgiveness because the thoughts that are in my heart for this woman are not good ones. The firefighters and the neighbors shown are in varying states of disbelief or sorrow, but not good ol' auntie! One is quoted as saying "they were like ragdolls" when they were carried from the home. Two young lives, horribly injured, and she is worried about her food stamp card?? One of the first things that went through my mind is that I hope she chokes on food bought with that food stamp card, and that I hope she's at home alone when she does! That is wrong of me. I should not feel that way toward this woman, or anyone for that matter. It is not my place to judge. She will be judged by God, as she should be.

Sometimes it is very difficult to step back and realize that God works in God's time. God's time and our time do not always coincide. It is not our place to pass judgment, for we don't know the complete story. Even if we did know the complete story, it is still not ours to judge. I guess what hurts the most is the complete and utter disregard for human life that she shows. A two minute video clip cannot begin to show a full picture of an individual, and while it does seem that at times they are indeed designed to highlight the worst, it is just horrific to realize where she places the importance of things. THINGS. Not people. THINGS.

Things can be replaced. People cannot. What does it say for us as a society when more importance is placed on what we have or what we own than who we are? It has been said that character is who you are when no one is watching. Thanks to the rapid news of today, the world will see this woman's concern for her food stamp card, not the lives of her nephews. Last week it was "balloon boy," this week, "food stamp card lady." What will we see next?

Lord, please give me the ability to listen and understand. Remind me that YOU are the source of all strength, and that you will never fail. Please help us to turn around and realize that WE NEED YOU! Give us the eyes to see that slipping away from you only puts us further into the mire. You gave us Jesus, your son, so that we may have eternal life. Please let us see that life is a gift from you not to be squandered. Money, possessions, and food stamp cards won't go with us to heaven ... we need to realize that your greatest gift is LIFE!

"On the very day they sacrificed their children to their idols, they entered my sanctuary and desecrated it. That is what they did in my house."~Ezekiel 23:39 NIV

17 October 2009

To Everything ... There is a Season

Since I stopped working on Saturday nights, I can usually be found in front of the computer playing some nonsensical (ie. time-wasting) game while the radio plays in the background. When I say radio, I mean of course, listening live through my computer. My usual Saturday night fare is Jukebox Saturday Night with Allen Skipper on WOAB 104.9. I listen to Allen for a couple of reasons: first-we are friends and I enjoy listening to him on the radio. The other reason I listen is that music inspires me. It always has, even before I started writing regularly. This week, while listening, I was struck with inspiration by the song "Turn, Turn, Turn" by the Byrds.

Whether or not you are a secular music fan, you are probably at least somewhat familiar with these lyrics. Why? Because Pete Seeger took HIS inspiration for this song from the Bible! Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, in fact. Verses 1-8 in the King James version underwent very few changes to be turned into this wildly popular tune written in 1959 but not released by Seeger until his 1962 album The Bitter and The Sweet. "Turn, Turn, Turn" was also released that same year, by a little known group named the Limeliters. Don't know them? How about "things go better with coca-cola?" Yep, that's the Limeliters.The Byrds released "Turn, Turn, Turn" in October 1, 1965, probably the song's best known version.

Get your Bible and turn to Ecclesiastes, chapter 3. Unless you've never heard the song before, I'm willing to bet that many of you are singing to yourselves as you read! "To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn) and a time to every purpose under heaven." It is said that the only lyrics that can actually be credited to Pete Seeger are the phrase "turn, turn, turn" and the song's last line "I hope it's not too late." So what does this song have to do with a devotion? As I'm sure most of you know by now, I love music. I find inspiration in what some may consider pretty off-the-wall stuff. Let's break it down a bit and look at the next part of the song.

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

What does the Bible say?

A time to be born, and a time to die
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to weep, and a time to laugh

What does that mean to me? There is indeed a time for each of us to be born, and a time for each of us to die. We don't know when our time to die will come, and I'm relatively certain there is good reason for that. God knows, and that is enough. What we sow, so shall we reap. Galatians 6:7 tells us this. If you plant seeds of bitterness, do you truly expect to reap happiness?? Think about what you are planting! I probably have the most problem with the phrase "A time to kill, a time to heal". The only reasoning I can find to make this sit well with me is not to take it literally as in killing = murder, but to look at it from the perspective that sometimes things have to be stopped where they are. If I am living my life full of self-destructive habits, I have to "kill" those habits before I can heal. For each negative that I replace with a positive, I have "killed" in order to heal.

Last but certainly not least, there will indeed be times in our lives when we must weep, and times when we will overflow with joy in such a way that it will manifest itself as laughter. Stop and think for a moment: when was the last time you cried? Why? Was it a momentary hurt, or a deep soul-wrenching ache? What about the last time you laughed? Is it just me, or is it true that the ones who can make you cry the hardest are also those who can make your laughter the deepest? When someone is that close to you, they have the ability to both wound and heal. Sound familiar?

Lord, when I open my eyes each morning, make me have a smile upon my face. I should face each day thankful with the chance that I have been given instead of grumbling about what I'd rather not do. God indeed has a purpose for everything that He does. Lord, please give me the will to follow your will instead of thinking that I know what is best. There is a reason, just as there is a season. May I follow the seasons that you have set for my life, and live in a way that pleases you. As I walk through the seasons, your reasons will become clear.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
~Ecclesiastes 1:3 NIV