Redeeming the Times      


                         A nation is greatly blessed when the church and individuals are free to exhibit moral standard of righteousness. God is moved by a righteous behavior, not by a great display of magnificent edifices, alone. Prov. 14:34 (NKJV).

      Some years ago a prominent figure was asked, "What is your opinion about civilization?" Without hesitation, he responded with, "I think it's a great idea. Why doesn't someone start it?" When I look about me at the world around me I think of that exchange of thoughts. When Einstein presented the possibility of the Atom Bomb, and the first two that were in existence at the time, were dropped on Japan, the world changed. Following that catastrophic event, technology has moved forward at the speed of light. In the past 40 years, as fast as a new electronic device is on the market, it is obsolete almost before the warranty is expired.

      When I look back on my youthful years of growing up on the family farm, I miss the laid back, slower pace that prevailed then. I did not get a driver’s license until I was 18. I was 22 before I left the farm. It was only then I realized I had grown up poor. I still enjoy reminiscing of my days of growing up as a farm boy. Strange as it may seem, we had all we needed. My brother and I learned much about farming from our Dad as he tilled a goodly portion of 59 acres of dry-land in Louisiana. The sale of cotton brought in all the money we needed. Except for a few minor necessities, we raised all our food. Money from cotton was sufficient to pay our medical needs, clothing and gasoline and other occasional necessities. Bartering was common. How well I remember Mother trading chickens and eggs for items she needed from the Watkins Dealer, who drove all over the country side with a chicken coop on the back of his vehicle. But times have changed.

      It appears that we have moved from Paradise to pandemonium! Some are beginning to suspect the machines we have created are running wild and that we are on a merry-go-round and can’t get off. Sometimes I feel like Alice in Wonderland where she had to run as fast as she could just to stay where she was. Sometime ago I read an article in which the author suggested the old adage has been reversed so that today invention is the mother of necessity. We are being devoured by our own devices and outwitted by our computers and other devices. We have a tiger by the tail and are afraid to let go.

      I do not suggest we go back to kerosene lamps and the horse-and-buggy days. Certainly we are not to withdraw from society. The key to Christian conduct in times like these is found in Paul’s advice to the Christians in Corinth. Paul lived in a day of progress. The mighty Roman Empire stretched all the way from Great Britain to the near East with its armies, its laws, its government and its culture. It was an empire of progress. Paul was not excited and enthused about the pomp and pageantry, the grandeur and glory of Rome. The apostle wrote, “. . . brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it. For this world is passing away.” I Corinthians 7:29-31 (NKJV).

      The apostle is hardly speaking as though for an after-dinner speech to the Rotary Club or the Chamber of Commerce. He is alluding to the right pitch for a Christian pilgrim and stranger in this world. Observe the deep wisdom of the apostolic writer. Christianity consists not only of specific injunctions, but consists of principles which are left to the individual Christian’s conscience. Yes, you can marry and not be guilty of sin. Or, you may remain unmarried, and you have not sinned. If invited, you may attend a heathen feast, or you may decline to go, and you have not sinned. You may remain a slave or may wish to be free, but you have not sinned. But, what the inspired Apostle Paul is demanding is this: whether married or unmarried, whether slave or free, in sorrow or in joy, we are to live in a spirit that is higher and loftier than that of this world.

      The spirit of this world says, “Time is short, therefore use it while you have it; take your fill of pleasure while you may.” Christ, through his Word and His people say, “Use this world”, but in opposition to the spirit of this world it adds, “Do not abuse (misuse) it.” Christians are in the world, but the world cannot have them; they may be masters of the world, but not slaves of the world.

      Christ’s teachings and Paul’s admonitions do not bar the delights that are taken in natural things. For things lawful in themselves, are in their excess sinful and prove to be bitter in the end. The Christian life is the art of being and doing good; that is, being adept in it is to become just, truthful, sincere, self-denial, gentle, forbearing, pure in word and thought and deed. The school for learning this art is not in the closet but the world. It is therefore one of the Christian’s daily lessons to teach himself effectually how to “use this world as not misusing it”; how to extract from present things all fair and honest enjoyment, without some mixture of  baser elements.

      Every news report I watch tells me the fashion of this age is passing away. The crowds rushing from store to store, the bumper to bumper traffic, the United Nations, the politicians, wars and rumors of war — the fashion of this world is passing away. The Christian is in this world, but not of it; I’m a pilgrim and a stranger; I’m not a citizen of old Babylon, rather, I am looking for another City, a City not made with hands. The time is short and the fashion of this world is passing away!

     Just A Thought Across The Garden Gate by Parson Don.  



                                                                                                       Updated - June 15, 2013

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       Each devotional was written by Parson Don Brown, and inspired under God's Direction

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