A place for thought.

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“And then what happened?”
“Well, nothing really, that was the last thing.”
“Nothing? Really? Are you sure? I mean, this is happening,” she waved her hands about indicating us, the room, the world.
“Things exist, things continue.”
“But nothing happens?” she still could not agree.
“Nothing to write home about.”
“So things need to reach a level of interest or entertainment to be happening?”
He felt she needed convincing, ”So, what’s going on in your life?”
“Not a thing,” the way she answered suggested she considered herself a failure.
“And if you did write home what would you say to the dear folks?” he said driving home his point.
“Nothing!” she gave in completely. “Nothing is going on.” She paused and thought a full minute. He knew the process and waited patiently. Her eyes lit, she understood, “And nothing is going to happen.”
He nodded. She looked disappointed. He understood her disappointment. He had seen it before. “It’s okay,” he assured her.
“For nothing to happen?” her eyes were wide open and she looked a little mad, in every sense of the word mad.
“Things aren’t that bad,” he said with confidence.
She thought for another full minute, “No, not that bad,” she stressed the word bad.
“You’ll see, after all, nothing is going to happen,” he saw understanding creep over her pretty face.
She walked out into the street. She didn’t get hit by a car. No one screamed and set themselves on fire. The world didn’t stop spinning – nothing happened.

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The Fourth

The walls of the tiny house shake; a flash of light affirmed the proximity of the explosion. We pull the blanket tighter around us feeling somehow more secure. We think of people living this way for years at a time, people we do not know, far away people, but people with faces, hopes, lives. For us if we survive this night it will be over for another year. Another explosion, farther away this time, the cat asks entry but is refused.

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First of all it is not black and white. No one is all left and no one is all right. We are a mix, each and every one of us – but we tend to be team players, herd animals. Consider a football team, the one considered to be yours, the one you root for when they win and when they lose. Imagine a key player, the guy that cuts through the line and slaps the ball out of the quarterback’s hand. That key player, during the off-season, is traded to a rival team. He once was cheered. He once was honored for his skill. Now he’s the cheating bit of slime the just hurt our quarterback!
My wife and I do a thing that is considered, by some, unthinkable. We cheer for individual plays. If the offence executes a play with skill and success we cheer. If the defense blocks progress and pushes the ball back to second and twenty we cheer. I realize it’s a messed up way to watch football but I suggest it is a better way to handle the politics of our country.

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And Then She Said:

“I was looking decent, but nothing fancy and certainly not sexy! I was going to the grocery store! I mean, I had shorts on, but not short shorts. I had on that little tee-shirt top, you know, the pale yellow with the little loop stitching on the edges? Nice, but not exactly an attention getter. Well I see a group of construction workers working on a building up ahead, so I just look straight ahead, no eye contact, nothing to lead them on. So when I get up close every single one of them goes presidential on me. I couldn’t believe it! I wanted to tell them a thing or two but that would just encourage them so I kept my eyes straight ahead and kept walking. What’s this world coming too?”

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Psalm 103:12

Psalm 103:12
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

I looked at this verse differently. What if you turn around? I was excited. It fit so well into the rest of the Bible. Repentance is an abrupt about face, turn from your sin and turn toward God right? So I shared it with three pastors. I’m thinking this will preach! But not only did no one get all excited and start to make sermon notes; they didn’t even like it.
Looking into it I think I now understand why. The modern day view of Grace is that our sins are made right. But sin is never right and can never be made right. God prunes the bad branches and takes them to the dump to be burned and while we are on Earth the consequences remain. Only Godliness goes to heaven. We work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
So how far is my sin from me? I’m a fairly normal guy. I read books and find descriptions of people who think a lot like me. I can be driving in my car singing worships songs (Walking West) until someone cuts me off for no good reason and I ride their bumper (Walking East) and then the love of God finds its way back into my heart and I back off and look for my place in keeping the highways safe (Walking West). I’m making an effort to walk toward God all the time, but I don’t and going from walking away from God and walking toward God is always an abrupt about face.
So what is the Grace God gives us? What is this undeserved gift that we should not be able to even conceive? I believe that because of the Grace of God we can understand what goodness is. We can make a choice between Good and Evil because of Grace.