April Fool’s Day

Funny-April-Fools-Day-PhotosToday is the day of practical jokes and epic spoofs—it’s April Fool’s Day.  I learned early in life that the spoofer seems to get more joy out of this day than does the spoofed.

While under the influence of an older sister, poor little innocent me was persuaded to put salt in the sugar bowl and sugar in the salt shaker.

I snickered when I saw Mom slice a grapefruit in half, get a spoonful of salt out of the sugar bowl, and spread it on her grapefruit.  I laughed out loud when she took the first bite and quickly spit it back out.

Mom didn’t see the humor, and my laughter had implicated me as a guilty partner in this devious plan that was hatched in the mind of my older sister.  Shame on her for being such a poor influence on poor little innocent me.

The public has been duped on this day on more than one occasion:

  • On April 1, 1996, Virgin Cola issued a warning to consumers in the British newspapers. They announced that on the sell-by-date, a new technology would cause a reaction that would turn the can blue.  This spoof was a slap at Pepsi who had recently unveiled its newly designed bright blue cans.
  • Also on April 1, 1996, Taco Bell ran a full-page ad in six major newspapers to announce it had purchased the Liberty Bell and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell. This spoof outraged patriotic citizens across the USA, and many of them called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia to express their anger. Nerves were calmed after Taco Bell revealed it was just a practical joke
  • On April 1, 1987, the Daily Mirror broke the startling news of a romance between Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev. To support the fabricated story, the newspaper had hired models that looked like Thatcher and Gorbachev.1987thatcher_400

God may have a sense of humor, but He doesn’t think the life of a fool is a laughing matter.  Since this is April Fool’s Day, I thought I would post a verse or two about fools from God’s perspective:

  • Psalm 14:1: The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
  • Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of much learning. Fools hate wisdom and teaching.
  • Proverbs 13:20: He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the one who walks with fools will be destroyed.
  • Proverbs 14:16: A wise man fears God and turns away from what is sinful, but a fool is full of pride and is not careful.

I think this last verse is a fitting conclusion: He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be kept safe (Proverbs 28:26).

The Spice of Life

charleston_hot_peppers_white_background2This is the time of year that fresh produce is being grown in the gardens around town.  When the tomatoes ripen and the squash and zucchini are harvested, new recipes are tried as backyard chefs’ fire up their grills. The key ingredient to the success of these culinary endeavors is that special spice you add to the entrée as it simmers on the grill.

Is there a favorite spice you use when you cook?  Spices influence and change the flavor of food.  If you were the spice of life, how would your influence be experienced?

  • Would it be felt as true compassion or random passion?
  • Would you be experienced as a warming fire or dangerous and easily provoked ire?
  • Would your presence be recognized as sweet encouragement or bitter discouragement?

The difference between a good meal and a bad meal can be the difference between the right spice and a bad substitute.  If the recipe calls for sugar, you can’t expect to get good results if you substitute cayenne pepper.

The same is true will a spiritual counterfeit and a genuine servant of God.   The influence of one is positive and the influence of the other is negative.

Jesus said that you should “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned (Matthew 7: The Message).”

As the spice of life, are you genuine or a counterfeit?

GNAT: Scripture That Bugs Me

Gungus Gnat - Boletina species - Mycetophilidae - 012340

If you are outside much in the Summer months, you know how pesky a little gnat can be:  They get in your face; draw attention to themselves; and, they won’t leave you alone.

Because they are just as pesky, there are some sections of the Bible that I refer to as GNAT Scripture, and Psalm 19:1-4, is one of these.  This Psalm is small, but pesky, in the way it prods you with its important principles.

When you read the verses below, notice the GNAT (Great, Noble, And Truthful) principles it contains:

The heavens are telling of the greatness of God and the great open spaces above show the work of His hands.  Day to day they speak. And night to night they show much learning.  There is no speaking and no words where their voice is not heard.  Their sound has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

Here are a few of the pesky thoughts that prod me whenever I read this Psalm:

  • Just as the heavens testify of God’s greatness, the fruit you bear reveals your relationship with God . . . are you sweet, tart, or bitter?
  • Notice the frequency of the testimony . . . day after day and night after night. There is no room for a Sunday Saint in the understanding and application of this Psalm.  Do you live and breathe in such a way that the love of God flows from within you and is easily seen?  Is it the rhythm of your life?
  • Notice the far-reaching influence . . . through all the earth and to the end of the world. How far-reaching and powerful is your influence for Christ?

If your voice was the only voice that could be heard and your testimony was the only one that could be seen, how would your influence change the world?