The message yesterday was on Acts3. While I sat and listened to the preacher talk, the scene began to play out before my eyes. Those of you that have read and are familiar with the New Testament know the story I am talking about. The story of Peter and John as they came upon the lame man begging for money outside the temple gate, where Peter spoke those famous words; “Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give to you also. In the name of Jesus Christ stand and walk.” Immediately the beggar’s legs were healed and he ran shouting the praises of God. As the story was played out on the screen in my head, I began to empathize with one of the players. This is one of the many ways God has spoken to me through the scriptures, so I waited with eager ears to hear what He was about to say. I wasn’t disappointed. I was surprised, and astounded by the vastness of my ignorance, tho. I expected to see something of me in Peter, or for something to resonate between me and John. I did NOT expect to empathize with the lame beggar. You see when Peter spoke to him, the beggar paid attention. He turned to Peter and John expecting money, something to live on for the next day, or if he was lucky, the next two or three days. These men of God had taken pity on him, and were going to give him something. This is the way I feel when God speaks to me. He has had pity on me and is going to give me something to help me through the trying times of this life. So when Peter said his famous words, it confused the beggar for a moment, and then he reached and took him by the hand. That is when God worked through Peter. Not just giving the beggar money, but giving him something worth sooo much more! The ability to walk! No more did he have to rely on the generousness of others to live. No more sitting and hoping that some man would take pity and help him. He turned to Peter expecting money, and received his Life instead. If we count on men, at best we can only get enough to get by for a few days. If we count on God, we need never worry about it again. After the service I was in awe of how I could miss such a message in all the times I had heard and read that story. Then I had to laugh. I realized that I was going to have to go home and tell my wife that God told me I was lame.
There have been times in my life when I have gotten into arguments. No, really, I have. I know you find it hard to believe, but it is true. Nine times out of ten (or maybe eight, at least seven, I know) times it is because of miscommunication. More specifically on the definition of a certain word or phrase that I thought was a “given” meant something different to somebody else. I recall one time my wife and I got in a serious disagreement over the Bible. She said it was an ‘Instruction Manual’, and I corrected her (yep, mistake no.1) and said it was a ‘Guide Line’. When someone says ‘Instruction Manual’ I think of “place screw 15786509 into hole 344476349 and tighten until snug” or some such. You see it names the screw and the hole and tells you what to do with them. A Guide Line is more of “a good way to take connect these two boards with a screw. You may also use a nail or some twine, but the screw is the best way.” Do you see the difference there? It may only be a subtle difference, but there it is. It was enough that the Devil could stick his foot in the door and cause stress and dissention in the ranks. We argued over that particular subject for quite some time, and I had no idea why until much later. We were both saying the same thing, but using different words to accomplish it. The Bible tells you how to handle situations without getting bogged down with the specifics (like names of screws and pegs and what-nots). Now-a-days, with the advent of texting and social media we have to be extremely careful of how we phrase things, lest we give the enemy an opening. We as partakers in social media need to also keep this in mind and not take offense at the first perceived insult. It is really hard to apply the right ‘tone’ to some messages, and sarcasm often doesn’t translate well either (imagine that!) So when you read something you may find offensive, before you fly off the handle and start a three page rant about someone, and then unfriend them, you might stop a moment and try to figure out if what they ‘said’ was actually what they ‘meant’. (And to finish the story about me and my wife arguing, all was well as soon as I admitted I was wrong. There see how easy that was?)
There is a secret that most anthropologists use in their study of different customs and cultures. That secret is the fact that regardless of how much you try to lessen the impact of your presence on your environment, you still change things just by being there. People will react differently around you. Animals will behave different than they normally would because you are there. Even if you try to hide your presence you are still affecting things around you. Wind has to change course because you are there displacing air. Even light reflects differently because you are there. You can’t change that. What you CAN change is HOW you affect things. You have two options. You can either make a positive or a negative impact. Just by keeping a positive attitude or making an improvement in the surroundings generate waves of the same type of energy all around you. Being negative will do the same, just with the opposite effect. Now some people do not care how their actions change their surroundings, because they make their changes and move on, never having to deal with the results. Some people do not realize they are changing things, and some wear blinders to how much change they cause (and a lot of times it does no good to try to explain it). I figure if I am going to make an impact on my surroundings, I want it to be a positive one. As long as we do that, life can get better for everyone. This is what Jesus was teaching with the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. When you do this, you improve not only your life, but everyone and everything around you. So why not make a positive impact?
I attended a Writer’s Conference in Pell City, Alabama this past weekend. I really enjoyed myself, meeting new people, and realizing that I shared connections with some that I had no idea existed. During that time, a man came by my table and glanced at my books. He picked one up, turning it over and looking and then placing it back on the table. He started to turn around and leave, but then turned to me and asked; “What is the difference between Christian Science Fiction and regular Science Fiction?” I answered him by saying that I wrote the story from a Christian worldview, with Christian morals and beliefs. “The morals are there in regular science fiction, too.” Looking back on the conversation now, I realize that my answer was not very self-explanatory. I was always a Star Trek fan (R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy), but as I have grown older and looked back on those original episodes, I see where the writers would take ‘pot shots’ at organized religion such as Christianity. They portrayed people that believed in an all-powerful deity as ignorant savages. The misconception that is generated here is that God and Science oppose one another. I disagree. One does not have to exist excluding the other. Never have I heard a Christian exclaim “There is no science!”, but I do know there are scientists who believe in God. Science can only explain things going back so far, and the explanation always falls short of explaining the “Origin” of all things. Some people say the answer to life on earth is “alien seeding” of the universe. Even if you accept this theory as true, the question remains; “What was the origins of those aliens?” Kind of puts you right back where you started, huh? The Big Bang Theory? Nobody said God ‘quietly’ created the Heavens and Earth. Evolution? I have never seen a fish turn into a man, and if man came from apes, why did it stop happening? It seems to me if that were the case we would have some half-man/half-apes walking around somewhere. Where are they? So where does that leave us? It leaves us with questions that only religion can answer, and those answers do not deny science. They do not exclude science. I have pondered all of these questions before and I came up with this statement that covers all of the above; “Science is man’s way of describing God’s paintbrush.” So why do people insist on separating the two?
I’ve always been a little forgetful. It’s usually because my mind is going in twenty different directions at once. No lie, I’ve got five different projects in the works right now. And that’s not counting my paying job. Anyway I proved to myself once again just how forgetful I can be this weekend. I was mad. I usually try to hook up on the net with my son who is out of state. We try to play a game together and just be part of one another’s lives over the great distances between us, but this particular weekend my router was determined not to cooperate. Apparently some of the settings had gotten scrambled (not exactly accurate, but close enough to give you the idea) and it was preventing us from playing. It was the first time me and my son would have been able to play in several weeks, so I was really disappointed. And I said so in no uncertain terms and with a few words I shouldn’t have towards my router. What I had forgotten was the fact that I was lucky to have that router. Late last year a thunderstorm came through and fried my old router, and I didn’t have the money to replace it. My mom just happened to have an old one she wasn’t using. That little fact had slipped my mind as I searched, poked and prodded, changing settings and fuming because it wasn’t working like I wanted it to, when I wanted it to. Forgetting to be thankful for even having it. I finally got it working right (after many a headache), but I still feel bad about having forgotten to be thankful.
Some days when I am thinking about what to write for my blog my mind goes blank, and I have to sit and contemplate matters for a bit. That was what happened today. And it just so happens that I sat there long enough for my computer to think I had left. It displayed a message, “Starting Power Save Mode”, and the screen went dark. I thought to myself “that’s a lot like how we as humans react.” When we aren’t being pushed or motivated by someone else we drop into “Power Save Mode.” Why is that do you think? Sure it’s easy to sit around and do nothing, or to even vegge out watching television. But what are we accomplishing when we do this? . In order to reach a goal you have to keep pushing toward it, and it’s a lot easier to keep a stone rolling than it is to start it back up. A little enjoyment is fine, but when it becomes part of your daily routine then perhaps it’s time to shake things up a little bit. Just like you have to touch the keyboard or ‘shake’ the mouse to wake your computer up out of Power Save Mode. After all, what are you saving it for?