Dead People

This is a good day to think about dead people. I write this on Halloween, so you may think that I am referring to all the ghosts and goblins that will knock on our door today hoping for some candy (which they will receive). You might also be thinking that I am referring to the likes of Zwingli, Luther, and Calvin as this is Reformation day – a day set aside by many to remember the time when God used those men and others to refocus the church on His great grace. Neither of those are what I have in mind, nor am I thinking so much of great figures of history.

I am thinking of people that God has used in my life that are now with Him. I have truly been blessed by many people that I can’t thank directly because they are no longer with us on this world. I start by thinking of a mom and dad who loved me, who taught me everything from table manners to truths about God. They loved me, disciplined me, praised me, and shaped much of my thinking about the world.

I think of teachers, both in school and in Sunday school. They challenged and broadened my thinking. They often affirmed and strengthened the basic truths I had learned at home, but also helped me to see the world from a different perspective. I am so grateful for a couple of professors I had who simultaneously pushed me towards independent thinking and showed me the value of learning what others have said.

I think of a pastor who taught me the word from the pulpit and informally as well. I think of the opportunities he gave me to grow and minister to others. Even though there are some areas of doctrine that I would differ with him about looking back, I am so grateful for the love of God’s word he instilled in me.

I think of a good friend who died in middle age. We worked together, played together, cut wood together, worshiped together, and prayed together. We just spent time together. He accepted me and encouraged me as a brother, and frankly I still miss him.

There are certainly many others that I could mention, but that is enough to make the point – God has blessed me through a lot of people in the past. He is still blessing me though others. Join with me in thanking Him for others. May we be used in each other’s life until that day He calls us into His presence!

Not Quite Clean

We recently had one of our daughter’s friends fly in and spend a few days with our family. She is a delightful young woman and we had a very enjoyable visit. Something rather odd happened as she left us to travel home – airport security deemed her to be a threat!

There was something about her that raised suspicion and the security guards determined to do some further testing. She passed the scan with no problem, but then was asked to take a simple drug test that involved swabbing her fingertips. She tested positive for cocaine! That seemed so ludicrous to this young committed Christian that she began laughing. The security guard was not amused and tried to impress upon her the seriousness of the charge which caused her to laugh even harder.

After a few tense moments, she was asked an interesting question – “did she handle money very much?”  She is working her way through school by working at a bank so gave an affirmative answer.  The guard then explained that people who handle a lot of money often test positive on their finger tips for drugs as drugs that were on the money have actually become imbedded in their pores. With that explanation, she was allowed to board her plane and traveled home with a story she will surely tell for years.

That story reminds me of how easy it is for us to become contaminated by the things of the world. We are certainly not to participate in evil actions (Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18 ESV)); yet our day by day contact with the world will cause some things to “rub off” onto us.  We can certainly be affected by sin in subtle ways that aren’t always easily apparent.

That is why we need the daily cleansing that comes from the word of God, (Ephesians 5:26 ESV).  We may think we are doing OK without spending time daily in the word, but there is a whole other level of contamination and cleansing that we can’t always see.  Along with David, we need to ask God to create in us a clean heart.