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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fickle Weather

Last night’s weather forecast called for up to a foot of snow to arrive during the night. I expected to have to clear snow from our driveway to find our morning newspaper. However, the driveway was bare. The snowstorm must have taken a detour.

March and April are Colorado Springs’ snowiest months. December through February is usually a dry and sunny time of year. Spring is our winter, and winter is our spring. Local weather forecasters must find it very difficult to predict what will happen in a 24-hour period. I’m sure the mountains play a big role in our weather’s fickle nature. So I don’t put much credence in weather predictions.

Nor do I put much credence in detailed prophetic predictions. I believe Jesus will rapture the Church, but I don’t attach any degree of reliability to those who predict a date. I prefer to leave the timing in God’s hands.

This morning, local weather forecasters said dry air might have delayed the snow. It may arrive later today, they advised.

Jesus may come for the Church before any snow arrives, but notice I said “may.” In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes on the sky and my snow shovel close by.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jay Has Left the Stadium

He’s gone! Jay Cutler has left Denver. He put his $2 million house up for sale and moved to Chicago. He is now da Bears’ quarterback.

The Broncos had planned on Jay’s throwing arm to carry them to another Super Bowl, but along came a new coach, Josh McDaniels, who talked about possibly trading Jay. The word “trade” dug into Jay’s feelings like a sharp knife. He knew how to cope with the disappointment of having his passes intercepted, but he couldn’t deal with the angst caused by the word “trade.” How could any coach trade him? After all, by his own admission, his stronger throwing arm is stronger than John Elway’s.

So Jay sulked and refused to show up for team meetings. He even refused to return owner Pat Bowlen’s telephone calls.

I think most Denver fans think Jay acted like a baby. They had hoped for a quarterback with a psyche like his strong throwing arm. Although some fans blame the new coach for Jay’s departure and call him a New England carpetbagger, most Denverites blame Jay. They see him as a little baby with a big arm.

Now Jay is in Chicago, where he can enjoy a Gino’s deep-dish pizza or a Portillo’s hot dog. While he is swallowing some of Chicago’s outstanding food, maybe he will also swallow his pride.

Sensitive feelings are not limited to idolized sports figures; they come packaged in immature church members too. It is not uncommon for a church member to develop hurt feelings if he or she hears talk of a “trade.” The Minister of Music wants to move a sensitive person from choir director to the soprano section. Suddenly, the choir director fails to show up at choir practice, and begins to shop around for a new church home.

A soloist in one church I pastored kept a written record of how often he sang and how often each of the other soloists sang. He complained when he spent more time “on the bench” than the others. Eventually, he left the church and took his hurt feelings to another church.

Jay Cutler has given a new meaning to Jaywalking, and Jaywalking is not a pretty sight in sports or in church.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Life Is Fragile

Another stark reminder that life is fragile hit me this morning. I was having breakfast with Doug Hirt, an excellent fiction writer, when we learned that Lisa, a personable waitress, died Sunday of a ruptured brain aneurysm. She was only 44.

Gloria and I got acquainted with Lisa when she interrupted us one day when we were offering thanks for our food. The three of us enjoyed a laugh over what had happened, and Lisa mentioned a “tract” she had received from a Jehovah’s Witness customer. After the meal, I gave her a book I had written: All Good People Go to Heaven and Other Religious Lore. She was so touched by this gesture that tears welled up in her eyes and she hugged me. I was embarrassed by her display of emotion, but was glad she received the book so enthusiastically.

The book I gave Lisa refutes false notions about the way to Heaven and explains that Jesus is the only Way. He gives eternal life to all who trust in Him as Savior. I hope Lisa embraced salvation by faith in Jesus.

One never knows when life will end. In the normal course of life the old must leave Earth soon, but the young might leave at any time. Some people say when your number’s up, it’s up. I say it is important to know the One who puts the numbers up.

The Bible promises, “He who believes in the Son [Jesus] has everlasting life” (John 3:36).

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Yesterday's Stress/Echo Test

Health insurance has become complicated. I checked into a cardiology clinic yesterday for a stress/echo test that was supposed to last an hour and a half. After 30 minutes, I walked back into the waiting area. It seems my chest wall is too thick to transmit clear images of the heart. In the past, a nurse would solve this problem by injecting a contrast dye into my veins, but my insurance company discontinued payment for the procedure. So I had only a resting echo test before the technician escorted me to an appointment scheduler. The scheduler set up an appointment for a nuclear stress test that will last three and a half hours. Fortunately, the insurance company approves nuclear stress tests, but I had to wait 30 minutes to find out what the copay will be.

Waiting thirty minutes at a medical facility is not my idea of time well spent. My patience fades and frustration builds. Nevertheless, I did not experience a heart attack during the waiting time, and I don’t expect to have a heart attack during the nuclear stress test. “You have need of patience” (Hebrews 10:36) is not my life verse, but it is certainly appropriate.

It seems to me it costs a lot of money and consumes a lot of time to find out what my heart looks like, except when I ask God to search it. He examines the heart thoroughly and provides an infallible diagnosis. King David wrote, “I know also, My God, that You test the heart” (1 Chronicles 29:17). Wisely, he asked God to examine his heart (Psalm 26:2).

After the nuclear stress test, I may not be due for another heart test for a year or so, but I need to ask God to examine my heart daily. But that kind of test appeals to me as a Scottish-born lad—it’s free!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Slingshot and Care Message

I have yet to catch a foul ball at a baseball game, but one leisurely afternoon I did catch something that resembled a baseball. It happened between the fifth and sixth innings at Colorado Springs’ Sky Sox Park, the world’s highest professional baseball park. Sky Sox staffers had carried tightly rolled T-shirts and giant slingshots onto the field and assumed a launching position between home plate and the pitcher’s mound. Zap, Zing! A missile flew swiftly toward me. I reached up and grabbed it. (No, the Sky Sox didn’t offer me an outfielder’s contract.)

I unfurled the wadded T-shirt and read its message: “Memorial Hospital. We hear. We heal. We care.” What a good motto for a hospital, I thought.

Jesus’ earthly ministry was one of hearing, healing, and caring. He heard the desperate cries of sin-oppressed, poor, physically challenged, and outcast men and women. He provided both physical and spiritual healing for those who believed. He cared about everyone. He lifted burdens, met needs, forgave sins, turned sadness to joy, and instilled hope in those who despaired.
Jesus still cares. He hears our simple calls for help, meets our needs, and makes life worth living.

—By Jim Dyet

© 2007, Anchor, Haven Ministries

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Just Another Day?

“How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:12).

When I started out in pastoral ministry in 1958, Sunday was unlike any other day. Very few stores were open for business, and many Christians observed Sunday as a day of rest. Some regarded Sunday as the Sabbath and observed strict rules about what they would do and not do on Sunday. They would attend Sunday school and church, enjoy a special dinner at home, and spend the rest of the day reading or performing quiet pastimes. They would not take a Sunday newspaper, work on Sunday, participate in sports, shop, or eat out.

Times have changed, haven’t they? Now Sunday seems to be just another day to many people. We have come a long way, but in what direction? Are we closer to what God wants us to be and do, or are we farther from what He wants us to be and do?
Jesus taught the strict Pharisees in Mathew 12:1-13 that observing ironclad rules about the Sabbath while neglecting to minister to others misses the mark of honoring the Lord of the Sabbath. He condoned His disciples’ harvesting some heads of grain on the Sabbath in order to satisfy their hunger. Also, He healed on the Sabbath. Jesus cared about people then, and He still cares. So we should not confine kindness to six days of the week.

Sunday is not the Sabbath; it is the Lord’s Day, a day of worship and service. Perhaps today we might persuade someone to believe in Jesus if we not only attend church on Sunday but also help that person in a practical, kind way.

© 2007, Jesus Cares by Jim Dyet, Haven Ministries