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Friday, June 20, 2008

Salty Believers

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men” (Matthew 5:13).

Those who heard Jesus speak about salt knew the importance of salt. Fishermen packed their fish in salt for safe shipping. Farmers spread salt on their fields to increase the sodium chloride content of their crops. Families used salt to preserve and flavor their food. However, if a family discovered its salt had become contaminated with gypsum or other minerals, family members would toss it outdoors and into a road. In time pedestrians would trample it into the ground.

Jesus identified believers as “the salt of the earth” and indicated it is possible for them to lose their saltiness. He wants us to retain our saltiness—to serve as a preservative against moral decay in society and to add flavor to daily life.

Jesus cares about our role in society. He wants us to be effective messengers of His good news in a world that receives so little good news. If we retain our saltiness, our words and our behavior may draw others to Him. It is easy to focus on the moral decay that is weakening the texture of contemporary life. But effective believers respond proactively by spreading “salt” in liberal doses.

It has been observed, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. But what if you first give the horse some salt?”

Written by Jim Dyet © Haven Ministries

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

If the Hat Fits . . .

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

My son and my older daughter bought me a really nice watch for Christmas six years ago. I especially liked it because it was a golf watch. Limited edition. Brown leather wristband. Recessed etching on the face—of a golfer, caddy, green, and flag—in gold. Elegant black lettering around the design boasts “FOSSIL AUTHENTIC.” As the grandkids say, “It’s cool!”

I wear that watch proudly on and off the golf course.

But a not-so-cool hat came with the watch. It’s a green baseball-style cap, and it’s hanging on a hook in the garage. I put it there when I carried the torn Christmas giftwrap to the trashcan, and it has been hanging there ever since. I just haven’t had the heart to toss it out. After all, it was a gift from my son and daughter. What kind of dad would junk a gift from his kids?

So here’s the problem. The hat, like the watch, says FOSSIL. Fossil watches are popular, but who wants to wear a hat that says FOSSIL? Can you imagine the stares and not-so-funny comments I’d get if I wore it? “Look at that fossil.” “Did you see that fossil with the FOSSIL hat?” “Now there’s a guy who likes to advertise his age!” No thanks; I can get along nicely without that kind of attention.

So the FOSSIL hat will stay right where it is in the garage.

Now, this Christmas, if my kids give me a golf hat that says “PAR MAN,” I’ll even wear it to bed!

Strange, isn’t it, how we accept some gifts enthusiastically but considerate others inappropriate, even unwelcome. I guess that explains why gift exchange lines are so long the day after Christmas. Yet, God’s gifts are always appropriate and welcome. You see, He knows exactly what we need, what suits us best, and what we can use. The apostle James wrote: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

The apostle Paul commented about the variety of spiritual gifts God gives to believers. He said, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Romans 12:6). Then he counseled us to use our specific gift faithfully.

Let’s not hang our spiritual gifts on a hook somewhere!

© 2008, Jim Dyet

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

May He Find Us Faithful

Sunday, Father’s Day, was quiet. I missed seeing the children and grandchildren in Denver, because I preached in Penrose, which is about two hours from Denver. Vacations, recreation, and other activities pushed the bottom out of our Sunday morning attendance. We had no music, so I led the congregation in the singing of “The Old Rugged Cross” without accompaniment.

I have been preaching through 1 Thessalonians, and spoke about the rapture Sunday morning. Because many pews were empty, it almost seemed like the rapture had occurred. It would be very special if it did occur on a Sunday morning during church, wouldn’t it? That would be a dramatic way to end lengthy sermons.

Later this morning I will conduct a graveside service for a 92-year-old woman, who was alert and productive until a stroke ended her earthly life. She enjoyed preparing theological papers on her computer and mentoring younger Christian women. At 90, she typeset a booklet I wrote about the end times. Prophecy was one of her favorite subjects. Now in Heaven she has all the answers to questions so many people ask about the rapture, the tribulation, the millennium, and the eternal state.

The rest of us must continue to search the prophetic Word, hope for the imminent return of our Savior for us, and serve Him faithfully in the interim. There is even more work for us to do now that another faithful believer is with the Lord. May He find us faithful.

© 2008, Jim Dyet

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Fathers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and personalities. Some express their emotions freely; others tend to be rather reserved and keep their emotions bottled up inside. My father was unemotional except when he disciplined my brothers and me. His temper flared occasionally, but only when we deserved to be punished.

Dad was a true Scotsman. He was proud of his roots, and spoke with a Scottish accent until he died. He and Mom emigrated from Scotland to Canada in 1939 with my older brother and me in tow. I retained my Scottish accent for a few years, but exchanged it for a Canadian accent that I later exchanged for an American accent. No one now would ever guess I was born in Scotland and reared in Canada, eh? Nevertheless, I inherited my pride of Scottish roots and my somewhat reserved personality from my father. I tend to keep my emotions to myself.

Dad and Mom enjoyed Scottish food. (I can’t call it cuisine.) So I grew up on porridge, steak and kidney pie, mashed potatoes and mince, rabbit, tripe, saps, and blood sausage. My parents called blood sausage “black puddin’—a euphemism if ever there was one. I actually enjoyed a few of those meals, but I could have survived quite nicely without the porridge and tripe. Once, when I pushed aside an unfinished bowl of tripe, my father issued an ultimatum: “You get that knocked into ya or I’ll break baith yer legs.” The message came across loud and clear. I ate the tripe to the last slithering spoonful.

Dad was a door-to-door bread salesman. He left for work Monday through Saturday by 6:00 A.M. and returned home around 6:00 P.M. The days were long and hard, especially in winter. For several years, I assisted him each Saturday. It was hard to work outdoors in the cold and snow just one day a week. I knew I did not want to become a retail bread salesman on a full-time basis. But observing Dad at work and working alongside him instilled a strong work ethic in me. I don’t think I will ever retire.

On this Father’s Day I’m sure my daughters and son know I love them. I may not express the depth of my fatherly love verbally, but I have always tried to demonstrate my love by providing for them—often by working two or three jobs at a time when they were growing up—by showing an interest in them, by leading them spiritually, and by standing up for them.

Please indulge me on this Father’s Day as this Scottish-Canadian-American dad says, “I love you,” to Sherrie, Heather, Brian, and their mother.