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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

False sense of security

For the fourth time in the five years that I've had my current vehicle, it was broken into. Fortunately, the Rocklin bandit(s) proved to be less destructive than their San Jose counterparts. This time, no windows were broken.

I had gotten a bit complacent. Instead of removing anything of value from the inside of my car as I had grown accustomed to doing in SJ, I felt safe and secure enough to just leave my GPS on my dash when I parked the car for the night. But I learned a valuable and harsh lesson one morning last week. No matter where you live, no matter whether it's gated or not, no matter how big or small the town, there are people out there who won't hesitate to help themselves to what you've worked hard for.

Despite the fact that God is our protector, and is omnipotent and omnipresent, we must still be wise in protecting ourselves from those who do not have our best interests at heart. John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes to "steal, kill and destroy". I felt violated as someone entered my car, went through it like it was some kind of shopping spree, then helped themselves to things I had earned, and they did not. But more than anything, I felt responsible for not taking care of my stuff properly. It is a sad fact that we just can't assume we are safe anymore. The same is true in our spiritual journeys. 

1 Peter 5:8 instructs us to be "self-controlled and alert". We must always be aware of our surroundings. We must guard our hearts. We must be wise not to allow things, people, behaviors or anything else to sneak into our lives like a thief in the night, seeking only to steal from us what is most valuable. Do not assume that the devil, and even people walking among us in our community, are not out there looking for ways to steal from you. 

Luke 12 tells us to focus our lives on building wealth that a thief cannot reach. We are to build treasures in Heaven by doing things which please the Father. Money and tangible possessions can come and go in the blink of an eye. So many get consumed with attaining wealth and possessions. This is why verse 34 says, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Where is your heart? Where is your treasure? Is it vulnerable? Or is it safe in the capable hands of God?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Restored Glory

I saw a t-shirt in a store the other day that really got under my skin. The shirt had an American flag on it that was distressed in color. That's cool. That's a popular look these days. But the caption under the image is what irked me. 

Faded Glory

I understand this is the name of a clothing line, but the close association with the Stars and Stripes caught my attention, and ire. There are many in our country, including many prominent government officials, who feel the need to preach to us how flawed America is. The fingers of blame point in every direction, except for at themselves. If, in fact, America's glory is faded, there are many who delight in it.

Like a middle aged person who isn't eating well or exercising, America isn't as fit as it once was. We're not as united as we ought to be. I've said it before, and I'll say it again here. In the hours, weeks and months following the unspeakable events of 9/11, this country was united. It didn't matter who you voted for. It didn't matter if you were for or against abortion. For a while there, we were all on the same team. 

Sadly, we're back to bickering and blaming. 

I'm upset at the t-shirt, but I'm more upset that people find some degree of satisfaction in seeing America fat and out of shape. I'm upset that some people delight in our difficulties so they can blame someone else for it while doing so with an "I told you so" attitude. 
 
For America to be great, we must return to our values. We must return to the principles upon which this country was created. God's name and word were all over the consciousness of the framers in the late 18th century when they were carving out a new nation. Now, 234 years later, under the guise of progress, we've become more sophisticated. We've become "enlightened". In doing so, we've become independent from God. We have drifted from our fundamentals as a people. We are going it on our own. And look what we've done to the place.

When in doubt, read the instructions

Have you ever assembled a toy with "some assembly required"? If so, it's good to read the instructions. If you go it alone, you're likely to have extra parts lying around, and a toy which doesn't work right, if at all. Our founding fathers were guided by God and the bible when writing the instruction manual for America. Now, we look at those documents as archaic. Now we look at them out of the context in which they were designed. 

Look what we've done to the place.

I love this country. I truly believe our best days can be ahead of us. But that can only be possible if we anchor ourselves firmly to the guiding principles of God. As we were on September 12th, we must focus on what unites us. It's time to return to being one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. It's high time to restore glory in this great country!

I close with this video by the legendary comedian Red Skelton from back in 1969. How sad that what he feared over 40 years ago is inching its way toward reality.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend.