Special Mediocracy

Special Mediocracy

Luke 17:7-10

Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?  Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?  So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’

This is a lesson for many of us today.

So many of us feel we should be rewarded for just showing up in life and we teach this to our children. We start this “you are special just for showing up” at a very young age.

Participation trophies, attendance awards, etc., these are meant to make the mediocre special.

No wonder we now throw around hollow and meaningless compliments like pennies in a wishing well.

This feeling of mediocracy as something to celebrate spreads into our adult lives.  We have a government that swears by it and promotes it. We have mass media that follows suit. Continue reading

Silent Dogs

Silent Dogs

Isaiah 56:9-12

All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
    all you beasts in the forest.
His watchmen are blind;
    they are all without knowledge;
they are all silent dogs;
    they cannot bark,
dreaming, lying down,
    loving to slumber.
The dogs have a mighty appetite;
    they never have enough.
But they are shepherds who have no understanding;
    they have all turned to their own way,
    each to his own gain, one and all.
“Come,” they say, “let me get wine;
    let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
and tomorrow will be like this day,
    great beyond measure.”

The heading of these verses in the English Standard Version of the Bible is “Israel’s Irresponsible Leaders”.

Isaiah is speaking to Israel who has stop walking in the way of the Lord.  Isaiah is pointing out that their deviation from God and righteousness is coming from the top down.  He is speaking of leaders who have turned from doing what is right for the people and are only doing what is best for the leaders’ own benefit.  And of course if you have read some of my previous posts you will know that I see this ancient commentary on society as being as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. Continue reading

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Isaiah 44:9-20

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?  Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.  The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.  He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.  Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.  No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”  He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

The English Standard Version of the Bible titles these verses: The Folly of Idolatry”.

Isaiah speaks of how we take man-made objects and give them powers they do not possess.  We turn them into false gods that meet our human expectations.  We do this today just as it was done in the time of Isaiah.  It is done within the conventional organized religions, where symbols are professed to deliver us from evil.  And there are those who claim that some man-made objects can possess evil powers.  These are obvious examples of idolatry.  But many of us fall to the folly of idolatry in a more subtle manner. Continue reading

The Heart Can Be Deceitful

The Heart Can Be Deceitful

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?

Jeremiah is talking about how we try to rationalize away our sins.  He is speaking of man’s heart.  A heart that is filled with worldly desires.  A heart that he talks about in Jeremiah 17:5:

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    and makes flesh his strength,
    whose heart turns away from the Lord.

A heart that trust man, one that draws strength from flesh.  A heart that is filled with desires of the flesh cannot be filled with the Lord. Continue reading

Every Man Under His Vine

Every Man Under His Vine

1 Kings 4:25

And Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon.

When I read this it reminded me of my post “Candy Cried” which referenced the scene in “Of Mice and Men” where all the misfits were gathered in one place and talking about their collective passion.  All they wanted was a little piece of land to call their own.  A place in life to work and reap their rewards, a place to be left alone. Continue reading

Watch Out On Top

Watch Out On Top

Daniel 6: 1-5

It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss.  Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.  At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.  Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

In this day and age with so much media, mass media, social media, etc., it’s very easy for everyone to voice their opinions.

Therefore it’s an everyday occurrence to see the person who’s on top being pulled down by those who are jealous of the top person’s success, for whatever reason.

That’s something that’s been going on since the dawn of man. Continue reading

Lift The Yoke

Lift The Yoke

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

This verse follows the verses that I wrote about in a previous post, These Things Are For Children.   In that post I wrote about the Kingdom of God being in our hearts, and how the world comes along and fills our hearts with worldly things.  We then allow these things to push out the Kingdom of God.  Once this is done we burden ourselves with worldly desires and these burdens wear us down.  Sometimes the burdens don’t allow us to realize the Kingdom of God was in our hearts and it is really still there if we just make the room for it.  Tragically, sometimes they wear us down to the point of denying the existence of God. Continue reading

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

Romans 8:5

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

This verse caught my attention when I read it.  What made me stop and write it down was the paradigm shift I had when I read it.

I originally thought this verse to mean you think and act according to worldly wants and desires and you pay the price.  You think and act of God and you are saved.

I still believe that, but this time I saw an affirmation of my belief in the simplicity of life and God.  I saw the simplicity of getting your relationship with God and in doing so you are filled with the energy, the will, the Holy Spirit of God. Continue reading

These Things Are For Children

These Things Are For Children

Matthew 11:25

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;

Jesus was preaching to the crowd that gathered to hear the discussion he was having with the disciples of John the Baptist.  Christ was condemning the cities that had failed to repent even after having witnessed the works of Christ.

I would assume the cities that Christ was referring to in the earlier verses, considered themselves to be an epicenter of intellect and enlightenment.  But Christ is telling them they will pay the price for their arrogance, stiff necks and harden hearts.  This is just as the great prophets of the Old Testament had preached to metropolises of their time.

After denouncing these worldly centers, Christ then speaks the words in verse 25. Continue reading

Expectations of False Gods

Expectations of False Gods

Isaiah 51:7-8

On a high and lofty mountain
    you have set your bed,
    and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
Behind the door and the doorpost
    you have set up your memorial;
for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
    you have gone up to it,
    you have made it wide;
and you have made a covenant for yourself with them,
    you have loved their bed,
    you have looked on nakedness.

Isaiah starts Chapter 51 of his book with this verse:

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord….

Isaiah prophesied about the pending destruction of Judah and the Jews being carried off into captivity by the king of Babylon.  Those captured and enslaved will be the lucky ones, the others are set to be destroyed by pestilence, famine and the sword. Continue reading