The Cybersalt Shaker features devotionals and commentary written by Pastor Tim.
This November I am turning 36. That means I was born in 1965. According to many that also means that my generation has had no defining moment.
We may have had no Pearl Harbor, but we did have a defining moment. In fact, our defining moment was quite a long one: the cold war. As children we grew up under the constant reminder of sudden calamity falling from the skies to be followed by the arrival of a very long nuclear winter. And so we are already well defined for the pins and needles we are once again experiencing in anticipation of further acts of terrorism following September 11.
However, we are not used to having an enemy to go after in defense of ourselves. Because of that, I am asking those of you who have had such an enemy, to pray for my generation. You went to war and now we must do the same. Pray that we can repeat your acts of battlefield bravery, and persistent home front resistance.
We have entered a time that will challenge, mold, and shape us in such a way that if we respond successfully future generations will not understand us - just as many from my generation have, in the past, not understood you. Pray that we might also have the grace to be misunderstood and under appreciated by the very ones we sacrifice to give the gift of peace to.
And one more thing; on behalf of my generation, thank you for doing what we see we must now do. When evil interrupted your life you responded with zeal, vigor, and force to beat it down and back so that future generations could live in peace and safety as you once had. We have always known what it took for you to win victory, but now that we have been handed an estimate for the cost of peace for our children, more than ever we are able to appreciate the price you paid for us.
From one generation to another, thank you.
The other day I decided to treat myself to something I had been saving for a long time - a new pair of socks.
Some time ago after making a large new sock purchase, I buried away in the back of a drawer a nice black pair - still embraced by their sticky band paper. My theory behind this action was that that someday, either if I was out of clean black socks or wanted a fresh, snug new pair for the day, I could just delve into my stash and voilá!
So on the day when I retrieved the above mentioned sock treasure, you can imagine the anticipation and sheer "sock glee" that was mine as I removed the factory wrapping off of my time-capsuled hosiery. I guess it had been quite a while since I purchased those socks because it soon became apparent that the only part of my feet that were going to get in them were my toes. Darn! They are now keeping my wife's feet warm.
Many times in our walks with Christ, we are blessed by having people come into our lives. Whether a new person moving into our neighbourhood, a hurting person at work confiding in us, or a classmate sitting in the desk next to us, God has wonderful plans in bringing both us and them together. And let's not forget the many more personal relationships we have as well. God calls us to love our spouses, teach our children, honour our parents, and be faithful longtime friends.
However, it can be tempting to take the people God has brought into our lives and bury them under a drawer full of hobbies, television, computer activity (ouch!) and career aspirations. Nobody ever does so with the plan that these people will be buried for years. Neither do they expect that time will fly by and that those God has brought close to them will grow up, or even grow away from them.
Those who put away people in pursuit of things, risk, and perhaps must surely expect, bitter disappointment when they turn for comfort to those they have stored away too long.
Wear your socks when they are new.
Pastor Tim Davis, Copyright 2006
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Pssst, buddy, want to buy a watch?
Some offers just seem too good to be true. At least that's what Glen and Gloria Sims, of Turnersville, New Jersey thought. Back in June they received a phone call informing them that they were the lucky recipients of a cool one million dollars. "Yeah, right!" was their response. In fact, H&R Block, the company awarding the prize, had to go to the media to help them convince Mr. And Mrs. Sims that they actually were the winners chosen randomly out of 17 million people.
Pssst, buddy, want to go to Heaven?
Some offers just seem too good to be true. At least that's what a lot of people think when they hear that the forgiveness of sins and receiving of eternal life is free through faith in Jesus Christ's death for them. For some reason, many have an easier time getting their minds around the lie that you can work your way to heaven. God has called Christians to go to such people and help sway them towards the truth that out of over 6 billion people on the planet, He loves them like they are the only one and has already paid the price for them.
Pssst, buddy, want to accomplish big things through God's power?
Some offers just seem too good to be true. At least that's what a lot of Christians think when they hear that God wants to bless them and use them to dynamically change the world and eternity for Him. For some reason, many believers would rather opt for a mediocre and safe, middle of the road walk with God (is there really such a thing?) instead of trying things that they can't do unless God empowers them. Such people need dynamic and faithful examples lived out by Christian leaders and brothers and sisters in Christ to inspire them to imitate and adopt a lifestyle of faith.
Buy the watch because time is short, believe in Christ because eternity is long, and attempt big things for God because He is faithful.
I know it sounds too good to be true - but it is.
The return of summer has also meant the return of an interesting phenomenon at a beach near where I live. On the hottest summer days, light traveling from nearby ocean-going freighters is refracted back to earth as it leaves cool air by the ocean and enters warmer air higher up above the waves. The result is what looks like a ghost ship traveling, inverted, in the sky. My youngest daughter describes the whole effect as an "obstacle illusion."
I've been thinking about her description and, even though it doesn't quite fit the light phenomenon I described above, it is an accurate description of something else we can all face in our walks with Christ. You see, often in our lives situations or things arise that cause us to doubt whether God can or will help us.
For instance, soon after Israel left Egypt, they found themselves trapped between the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian army. To them it looked like the end had come and that God had abandoned them. The same must have been the thought of the disciples after Jesus was killed. They locked themselves away for fear of the authorities who had killed Him. It looked like the end had come for them and God's work in their lives. Of course, all was not as it seemed to be for Israel or for the disciples. Things only looked really bad at the time.
What about you? What seemingly impossible situations are you facing in life? Do you feel stuck in a dead end job? Are you unemployed with bills mounting up? Are medical tests looming in your future? Do you have a child that has rejected God? Is the church you are pastoring going nowhere fast? Is your spouse utterly clueless about how you want love shown to you? Does life look and feel like God has abandoned you and that you should just quit altogether?
Don't give up! Don't despair! Just because things look bad that doesn't mean that God has left you or cannot or will not help you. Pray and keep praying until your deliverance, or better yet your Deliverer, comes.
Don't quit on God because your way is blocked by an obstacle illusion.
This week I heard of as awkward and frightening a situation that any man could face - pinch hitting for an expectant mom at a baby shower.
You see, down in Florida there is a work place that had planned a lunchtime baby shower for a coworker named Libby. Unfortunately, Libby was put on bed rest by her doctor the day before the shower. This is where her husband Kelvin comes into the story (so far as the baby shower goes). Kelvin was a real trooper and attended in his wife's place.
Many of you ladies reading this may think, "So what's so hard about that?" Trust me, that all the male readers have already uncomfortably tried to imagine themselves unwrapping a present, holding the gift up and trying to exclaim convincingly, "Booties! Aren't they just darling!" Kelvin, we feel your pain.
A baby shower is the only place I can think of where gifts are opened by someone other than the one for whom the gift has been given. Yet, there are some out there who live like their church is another such place. Many Christians have sat, for years, under sound Bible teaching about the truth that God has bestowed upon every believer a divinely given ability - otherwise known as a spiritual gift - for the purpose of serving God in their church and community. Some even have received more than one.
Unfortunately, too many people have responded to such good and exciting news by just sitting back like babies waiting for someone else to open their gift. They seem content to wait and let everyone else, or anyone else, try to do what God has gifted and called them alone to do. Sometimes these infantile servants make a lot of noise about what is going on around them and when they feel like it they sure can fill a diaper and raise a stink. However, as for getting serious about serving God in the way He has planned for them, they have hidden themselves away behind the bars of their crib - waiting for their environment to be changed.
I'm not saying that it is easy to leave your comfort zone and exercise daring faith in trying new things for God. I'm also not saying that every church out there is always open to new people in old roles or new ideas in place of old habits. But, if for years you have been sitting on the sidelines of your church and wondering why things aren't more like you think they should be, what are you waiting for?
Even more disturbing are the vast number of people in the world who are depending on the spirituality of relatives or even their country to help them out when their life ends and they go to be judged by God. The Bible tells us that God loved *the world* so He sent His Son to die for *the world.* Yet some people refuse to lift even a finger to personally experience God's gift for them.
Instead, they figure they will be ok because their grandfather was a pastor, or they had their kids baptized in a local church, or worse yet, because they live in a country that is considered Christian. Sadly, such people are deceiving themselves into having all of the warm fuzzies of thinking they are going to heaven without actually having to experience what God did for them - and then respond with thankfulness by living a changed life for Him.
Are you a Christian who can't be bothered to do your part in church? Are you someone who thinks you can make it to heaven on somebody else's coattails? If so, stop being so laid back and lazy about such important and eternal things.
Open your own gift.
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