A Study in Contrasts

I was absent, but I was included. I know the story was more than just gossip because I’ve read the detailed first-person account of the incident.

One convicted criminal spent his last moments sneering, jeering, and cursing God. A few feet away another criminal realized the error of his way and was repentant. There was a third person who also had been deemed guilty, and his silence was a deafening echo.

Several soldiers were present and each one was dedicated to enforce the sentence that had been handed down. The dedication of these soldiers paled in comparison to the devotion of the heartbroken mother who watched their methodical execution of her son.

The day was full of contrasts. The scene was painted in bold brush strokes of black and white, unjust acts of cruelty and the faint colors of fairness; foreboding evil and enveloping goodness; and the certainty of death with the hope of life.

The climactic moment of that day occurred when the obscenity of wickedness met the hallowed and holy. In those seconds that seemed like hours, people witnessed the worst of humanity and the best of the Divinity.

This all happened on a particular day thousands of years ago. It was the day Jesus was hung on a cross. As He was suspended between heaven and earth, He became the essence of sin. On that day His earthly life was ended, so we could begin a new life with the gift of salvation. That was the day, He said, “It is finished”, so we could start over as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

That was the day that He gave the world the potential to change. Today is your day to make the most of the opportunity He has given to you.

Think about it!

It’s May 25th

To most people, May 25th is an insignificant day. It is just the 25th day of May, and there is nothing remarkable about it.

May 25th is much more to me. It is a day that kindles a fire in my brain and regenerates the memories and life-lessons that I formed in the first 12 years of my life.

My dad, Eddie Seymour, died in an oil field accident on May 25, 1965. I can remember the events of that day as clearly as if they were happening today. I can even tell you what I had in the brown paper sack that had my picnic lunch—a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some corn chips.

Dad was 36 when he died. I was 12. That was 48 years ago, and the older I get the more I realize how young he was when he died; and, the older I get, the more I value the lessons I learned from him.

One memory that has been fresh on my mind today is a fishing trip when we were wading the Arkansas River down by Oxford. The river was running high and the current was so swift it washed the sandy bottom out from under my feet and it quickly carried me downstream. I can still hear Dad’s reassuring voice as he shouted out words of encouragement to me and guided me to the safety of the shore.

Whenever I think of that incident, I think of the times in my life when the currents of adversity have knocked me off my feet. In those times, I’ve heard the voice of my heavenly Father encouraging me: Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11).

Are you weary, worn out, and beat down from the trials of life? Listen carefully and you can hear that personal invitation: Come to Me.

What If?

The act of speculation has become an art form over the last week or so. Many well-grounded individuals have become instant speculators as they have given much time contemplating and considering a question: What if?

What if I win the lottery? This question is followed by comments about the muscle car that would be bought; the dream home that would be purchased; and, the exquisite once in a lifetime vacation that would be taken.

Let’s be honest, the odds of winning is just 1 in 175,223,510, so it is a mighty big what if. Still though, the imagination of people has run wild.

There are some things that are so absolutely wonderful they are beyond the comprehension of our weak and frail minds. Paul spoke of this in I Corinthians 2: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.

Regardless of how much energy and effort we exert, Paul says our imaginations find heaven to be unfathomable.

That last word in the sentence above comes from the word “fathom,” and it is defined as a unit of measurement that is equal to 6 feet. A fathom is used when a person is trying to ascertain the depth of water. When it comes to the subject of heaven, the depth and the wonders of glory land cannot be ascertained—only speculated about and imagined!

Whatever peace you can imagine, or joy, or love, or anything else you might think of, it isn’t even close to what it will really be like when we are in heaven with Jesus. Even the Apostle John said that heaven was more than he could imagine: We are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him . . .

I Can Only Imagine is a song by Mercy Me, and it ffers several thoughts worthy of your consideration, you can listen to it by clicking here.

Truthiness

Several years ago, comedian Stephen Colbert coined the term truthiness. This term sounds a bit like truthfulness; however, on a continuum, truthiness and truthfulness are at opposite ends.

The term truthiness is used when speaking of verifiable falsehoods that are repeated so often they seem to be true. Truthfulness is concerned with verifiable facts and the means of embracing and expressing them in an authenticate and genuine fashion

For something to be true, it must correspond to reality. If I were to say: The peel of a lemon is red, my statement would be false because it did not correspond with reality.

When it comes to the subject of truth, people will generally approach it from a relative or objective perspective. The results of a survey conducted by George Barna revealed the following:
• 63% of the American public believe there is no such thing as absolute truth
• Two people can define “truth” in conflicting ways and both would be correct
• 53% of adult church members believe there is no absolute truth

The sad truth is that far too many people are viewing life through the lens of relative truth. This is a perspective that asserts: What is true for me does not have to be true for you. Isn’t that like saying: If I believe 1+1 = 3, I am as correct as the person who believes 1 + 1 = 2?

Objective truth asserts that:
• Truth is true whether I believe it or not
• Truth is discovered or revealed, but it is not invented by a culture
• Truth is universal and trans-cultural

Personally, I believe objective truth is the fountain from which morals and ethics flow. Early in the history of our nation, the codified morals and ethical principles of the Ten Commandments influenced our founding fathers.

When a society rejects these principles and tries to function with human reasoning at the center and not God, the foundation begins to crumble. Case in point is the horrible atrocities committed by Dr. Kermit Gosnel. He rejected what we must hold dear—respect for life and human dignity.

When officials raided his clinic, they found amputated feet and other body parts of babies that he had mutilated, and this was after some had been born as living and viable human beings! Gosnel labeled the body parts of some of these babies and kept them in cold storage.

I believe the future holds something much different that cold storage for Gosnel

Green Beanology

Like many of you, I worked outside this past weekend, and one of my tasks was my garden spot. As I planted my green beans, I remembered one of the supper table rules. My parents would say: “Eat a little bit every time and you’ll learn to like it.” Even though the rule was good in theory, Buster, my brother, never learned to like green beans. It was a sure bet that Buster would gag at the sight of a green bean on his plate.

Whenever I work in my garden, I’m reminded of certain words and phrases in the Bible; words like: sowing and reaping, grafting, pruning, and bearing fruit.

I wonder how these words apply to the Garden of Life and the opportunity to plant the seeds of kindness in the lives of others. To raise a good crop from these seeds, I should cultivate the garden with a smile; support it with a prayer; nurture it with acts of grace; and when necessary, mend it with mercy.

The prophet Jeremiah spoke of harvest time when he wrote: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”

When harvest time comes, will your garden be barren or fruitful?

Think About It!
Stan