Friday, December 15, 2017

Two Tool Boxes - You Choose!

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord which I am commanding you today: and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known” (Deut. 11:26-28).
Hey Gang:  When you reach that stage of your life where you are older that dirt, much of your life is filled by praying for your friends and neighbors who are also members of the “older than dirt” generation.   Yesterday, we attended the funeral of a very close friend who, through the years of our friendship, often bailed me out with sound advice on many issues.

His loss created a hole that I will not try and fill.  There are some holes that are sacred to me and I do not want to fill:  the loss of my sons and others along the way who have added pearls of great price to my life.  As I sat there I believe God gave me this message to share with you. 

In the early tenure of our working with hurting families we title our workshops ’The Toolshed’.  Through the years of development of the Village we became much more sophisticated in our language and the “Toolshed” found its way into the archives.  However, several weeks ago, a hurting mom stopped me and asked a question pertaining to a problem she as having with her son. Suddenly the Toolbox illustration came flowing forth from my lips.    

But this time there were two toolboxes- with a message to the young people of or land.  I have a great sadness in my heart for our millennial kids- and they are kids.  We have failed them so horribly and I see them floundering- seeking something that will fill the vacuum in their chest cavity that is just the size of God.  As a counsellor in a detention home years ago, I saw an emptiness in the eyes of most of the kids that passed through he facility.  I see that same emptiness in many young people today.

The two tool boxes were labeled: one said Jesus Fringe Package and the other Satan’s Tools.  Both were based on Paul’s words in Galatians five.  A listing of Satan’s tools are found in Galatians 5:18-21.  The list is too long to include and is incomplete here.  We find other list throughout God’s Word with warnings that we need to heed very carefully.  Paul emphasizes the dangers of dabbling in Satan’s Toolbox in verse 21 when he warned, “…those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”.  His warning sounds very clear.

But John tells us that if we have dabbled in Satan’s Tool Box, God provided antidote to fix the emptiness and pain that dabbling has caused in our mind and heart.  He gave us the fabulous news that is so familiar to mega people in our nation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).    
With that wondrous gift to His creation, Paul tells us He (God) included a Tool Box filled with fringe benefits, on that day when Father God breathed life into His Son and up from the grave He arose. And, if we choose, we can be freed from the bondage of sin.  What are those fringe benefits?  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against these things there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23).

Every morning, when we begin our day, those same two Tool Boxes are on the breakfast table:  we all have the opportunity to choose which one to pick up - the one that feeds the white dog? or the one that feeds the black dog?    As you choose, keep Paul’s warning in mind: “HE WHO PRACTICES SUCH THING WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM.”