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Only for a Season  

This morning it was fire-engine red, eye-catching and full of fall’s finest. This afternoon, that same leaf perches on my desk curled and brown and surprisingly brittle.

That any living sprig could possess color and life so late in the season—as this leaf did— surprised me.  To the point, I had to pause my morning walk and snap a picture of the thing.  Even the stem was striking (this, after many nights where the temperature dropped into the lower 30s).

But sunset tells a different story, a sadder tale if you want my opinion.  Not to get melodramatic (we are talking about one small maple leaf here), the shriveling process offers a visceral reminder to us humans.

Like my beautiful leaf, you and I are here only for a season. 

That our Designer typically gives us so many more days to live does not alter the stark warning from the maple leaf: we are only for a season.  The sense of scale is vastly different.  A lucky leaf might live for eight months, while lucky humans might survive eight decades. 

But again, it’s only for a season. Isaiah 64:6 whispers that eventually, “We all do fade like a leaf.”

Making plans makes sense.

Having goals is good.

But remember—it’s all only for a season.   

 
Of Crocs and Kids  

Adults reading familiar Bible stories:

Predictable. Safe. 

 

Kids reading familiar Bible stories:

Unpredictable. Vulnerable.

As a young mom, Lynnette recently revisited the story of Moses with her four children. Together, they pondered the dramatic moment where baby Moses was set afloat on the Nile river with nothing more than a homemade basket to protect him.  The kids expressed an intriguing range of concerns.

SADIE (Age 4): That’s scary, because of crocodiles.

JOSIE (Age 12): Wait! Is the Nile brackish?  Because crocs are saltwater reptiles, right?

CALEB (Age 8): Crocodiles are a worry.  But did you know that the Egyptians dumped their waste into the Nile and then turned around and DRANK the same water?  That’s a bigger worry.

SADIE (Age 4): Whoa. Yeah. So I am NOT going to be living in Bible times. I don't need anyone killing ME as a baby.

It’s easy to read those Bible stories as we adults have perhaps a hundred times or more—and fail to think through this kind of stuff.  And you gotta love the kids' blunt honesty.

When Lynnette’s children progressed through the story of Moses and arrived at the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, Caleb commented, “Not sure I would have faith enough to walk through, even if I was seeing it.”

I'm thinkin' Caleb's right.  

Isn’t God good to give us teachers—like little children?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Where's Our Song?  

Goodbye watermelon.

Goodbye swimming pool.

Goodbye lawn chair.

Fall comes at an exorbitant price.

For me, one of the sadder summer losses is crickets.  They speak peace to the troubled night and calm to the cacophony we call early morning.  But as I take my sunrise walks in the second half of October, the cricket symphony decrescendos dramatically.

A few courageous critters sill scrape their wings and make the music.  But as early morning temperatures dip into the upper 30s, the insect orchestra reduces to a few brave soloists. 

When I hear one now, I smile big and walk gently toward the source of the sound, trying for a louder listening experience.  Inevitably, I find the crickets go mute.  You can't blame them for being terrified at the vibration of something hundreds of times their size.

Still, a few—a very few—can yet be heard.  The season is late.  The landscape is dark, and the conditions are cold.  But they sing anyway.

These hearty crickets are a metaphor for the lifestyle required of Christians on the front edge of the end times. Meaning—the season is late.  The spiritual landscape is dark.  The conditions are cold—and getting colder.  But we're called to "sing" anyway.

So let us:

  • Sing the love of Jesus.
  • Sing the great gospel story.
  • Sing the glorious hope of heaven.
  • Sing so that a cold world in dark darkness can find the hope and joy that is Jesus.

Let us Sing!

 

 
Breathe Normally  

It’s one of the funniest lines—that never gets a laugh.

I refer to the safety demonstration from a flight last week:

  • This aircraft is equipped with six emergency exits...
  • Your seat cushion may be used as a flotation device...
  • Smoking in the lavatories at any time is prohibited...

Then the flight attendant rattles off this disturbing scenario: “In the event of a sudden loss in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down automatically.  Reach up and pull the mask to your face—and breathe normally.”

Think about it.  What could possibly cause a “sudden loss” in cabin pressure?  A bullet through the fuselage?  A blown out window?  A severed tail?

There simply is no scenario that would result in a sudden loss of cabin pressure  that would allow any sane and sober person to “breathe normally.”

But if sanity and safety are to be restored in the middle of a crisis—in the air, on the ground—or in our spiritual lives—breathing normally is exactly what we must do.  Consider:

  • There seems to be no end to Coronavirus, despite the efforts of the world’s greatest scientists. But breathe normally:  “The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul” (Psalms 121:7).
  • The election finds us tense—and getting tenser.  But breathe normally: “Behold the nations are like a drop from a bucket and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales” (Isaiah 40:15).
  • Our history is being rewritten—and none of it for good. But breathe normally: “For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
  • Our culture has traded truth for narrative and facts that “don’t fit” are discarded.  But breathe normally: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him” (Psalms 28:7).
  • In many cities, our streets are in flames.   But breathe normally: “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matt. 6:27).
  • Our nation and our world reject and ridicule the very name of Jesus.  But breathe normally: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him” (Revelation 1:7).

Feeling a sudden loss of cabin pressure?

Breathe normally.

“The Lord reigns” (Psalms 93:1).

 

Amen and Amen!

 

 
I Sat in the Batmobile  

I sat in the Batmobile!

In case you missed it, the Batmobile made a stop in Hinsdale, Illinois.   But I was impressed by more than the car itself.  In an age of high crime and low trust, the dynamic duo simply left the Batmobile right on the street.  Neither Commissioner James Gordon nor the Gotham Chief of Police was on hand to guard the iconic vehicle.

What was it like to sit in the Batmobile, you ask?

Impressive, frankly.  From the bubbled Plexiglas windshield to the dash-mounted Detect-A-Scope, I was lost in the lore of Gotham City.  I grabbed the Bat Phone (see photo), desperately hoping to speak with the Caped Crusader.  But it was not to be.

How I wish Batman and Robin had shown up.  How I wish they would show up now! 

Isn't that what this world needs —a superhero?

We need someone ferociously fearless, unfailingly fair, and consistently courageous.  We need someone who is genuinely humble—not one who merely pretends to be.  And is it too much to ask that our Hero be kind to the core?

And here we leave the pages of DC Comics to ponder the ultimate Hero.  No Bat Phone for this champion.  He has better: uninterrupted communication with His Father.

Don’t look for a cape.  But He did wear a crown—made of thorns.

Don’t look for Him in the Batmobile.  You’ll see Him next on a white horse.  Given Covid-19, the election, the hurricanes, and national unrest, I don’t think Jesus can come soon enough!  Amen?

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

--Revelation 19:11-16

 

 
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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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