How do Burgers Measure up in Utopia?

On Saturdays I am usually too busy at work to take a lunch break, so am usually quite hungry come 5:00. Today I planned to run errands after work, so decided to stop at one of the three fast food restaurants near the shop where I work. But, which one?

First, we have McDonald’s. The food there is “iffy”, the service is usually lousy because the menu is crowded with items, and the young person behind the counter usually gets confused.

Then we have Wendy’s. The food is usually pretty good, but the people behind the counter all seem to have bad attitudes.

Third, we have Culver’s. The food is always great, the people behind the counter are always smiling and helpful, and the customer service is so great that they will bring the food right out to the patio if you like.

H-m-m. Hungry, worked all day on my feet, what was I in the mood for . . . great service, confusion or bad attitudes?

As I was enjoying my delightful meal at Culver’s out on the patio in 75 degree sunshine, I reflected on the three fast food experiences.

How does Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Culver’s relate to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Lots!

All three establishments had the opportunity to hire fine young people. Only one of the three establishments apparently provided adequate training. In the other two cases, management apparently didn’t care about the dining experience of its patrons. And likewise, the employees at Culver’s applied their training, which made for an enjoyable dining experience.

We all have a choice. We can listen to the subtle “training” of the soft, still voice of God, and make our own lives and the lives of those around us “Utopia,” Or we can ignore the voice, and exhibit confusion and bad attitudes. It is our choice . . . our only real choice to improve the world as we know it.

No, I do not have scripture to back this one up. I have only life’s hard experience. Have faith.

Wendy S.

Disclaimer!

I have total and full respect for anyone trying to work and better themselves in this economy. The McDonald’s and Wendy’s restaurants near you may be a little closer to Utopia than those near my place of employment. If you work in a fast food environment, I have complete and total respect for your efforts!

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Off the Hook?

I am working my way through the entire Christian Bible Old Testament for the first time (complete) and how I wish I had total recall!

I wish I could list chapter and verse all the times the covenant between God and the Israelites is reviewed, re-stated and reinforced!

The main covenant goes something like this, and is repeated many times throughout the Old Testament from Genesis through 2Kings, where I left off a couple days ago.

– If the Israelites walk in the ways of God, they will be blessed with good fortune.

– If the Israelites abandon their walk with God, then they will bring curses upon themselves.

Okay, that was the deal with the Israelites. But what about the rest of us? Are non-Jews left out?

I pondered over this question for a while, and then I remembered the Apostle Peter’s vision found in the New Testament book of Acts, Chapter 10. None of us are off the hook! The covenant holds true today just as it did in 900 B.C.

If we walk in the ways of the Lord, then the blessings are self-evident. We are treated to profound security in the arms of our Father in Heaven. We are free to experience His love, joy and the peace that passes all human understanding.

But, if we abandon our walk with God, we will condemn ourselves to an existence de-void of the security offered by God. Our self-exclusion is our penance.

Which will you choose? Have faith.

Wendy S.

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As Unique as your Fingerprint . . .

I hope I am not rushing the season, but picture a big family seated around the table on Thanksgiving.

After a nourishing and satisfying meal of turkey and all the trimmings, my family would talk in endless conversations about everything from politics, to existentialism, to UFO’s, to, of course, religion. Everybody always got a piece of the action, and everybody was respectful of everybody else’s opinion.

Everybody was unique, and everybody had their own individual point of view. Once I was twenty minutes into a conversation with Steve about purgatory before I realized he wasn’t kidding.

Where did all these fascinating and distinctive opinions come from? And how do they relate to Jesus Christ?

Each person at that holiday table lived and experienced life from a different vantage point.

Every book we read, every television show we watch, every song we hear on the radio, every conversation with a friend helps to shape who we are in relation to God.

None of us can un-read a book, or un-hear that song on the radio. Everything we see and hear becomes a part of our individual story, our fingerprint.

Our relationship with God hinges on our unique earthly history. Many of us use that “inner dog” we experience in the soft, still voice of God to help shape our unique psyche and guide us toward rewarding and helpful encounters with God via our personal experience here on earth.

If we all allow God the opportunity to help shape our lives, then, our fingerprint is super-imposed under His. God is part of us in all we experience here on earth.

Our own personal history on earth can be one with His-story. Have faith.

Wendy S.

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Following Jesus . . .

I work in the retail world, selling carpet and flooring. Yesterday I happened to notice that I and each one of my co-salespeople seem to have catch phrases that they use frequently. My biggest catch phrase is, “And that’s for sure.” Tom’s is “Or whatever.” Michelle says “Umm” constantly. But Dan’s catch phrase is, “follow me?”

Of all the catch phrases on the sales floor, I had to ponder that Dan’s is probably the most effective. “Follow me?” Dan will begin to explain product features, and then to confirm that the customer understands, he will ask, “Follow me?”

Yesterday when I heard Dan ask “follow me,” I thought of Jesus.

Jesus is known to invite each one of us to follow Him. But what does Jesus mean? “Follow me.”

There are many ways a person can follow Jesus. During His ministry on Earth, the multitudes followed Him around, listening to Jesus as he ministered and healed. Sort of like a game of “follow the leader.”

Some people will take heed and “pick up their cross and follow Jesus.” In other words, they will recognize the burden of their shortcomings, and follow Jesus as he leads them spiritually to a joyous eternity.

Like the carpet salesperson Dan, Jesus may also be asking us to understand Him.

Dan says “follow me?” Or “do you understand me?” Jesus, sometimes, when He invites us to follow Him, He is asking us to understand Him. Understand what He is doing in our lives. Read, ponder, and understand His ministry as conveyed in the Christian Bible New Testament. Read, study, and understand scripture. Understand the soft, still voice of His Holy Spirit as He directs us. Follow. Understand. Have faith!

Wendy S.

P.S. “And that’s for sure!”

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Just Who is to Blame for this Mess?

Ethnic cleansing? Mass extermination? Herem? Reading the books of Joshua, Judges and Samuel makes me doubt the very goodness of our Father in Heaven, or at least causes me to invoke a double dose of faith.

The Canaanite people were apparently not worthy of the blessings of the Lord, while the Israelites, who screwed up time after time, were often treated to success in battle.

Makes me wonder. Why didn’t God encourage the souls and minds of the Canaanites to follow Him? Were the Canaanites the “stepchild nobody wanted?”

As I am working my way through the Christian Bible Old Testament, I am seeing a side of God that I never knew possible.

Now, the New Testament I have read through several times, enjoying the building relationship between God and mankind through God’s sacrifice of his own Son. But the Old Testament, in reality, I have read piece-meal, usually relying on the Old Testament readings coming from the pulpit.

The loving Father, Friend and Soulmate I know from the New Testament is elusive as I read the history of the relationship between God and mankind from an Old Testament point of view.

Has God changed His mind about His creation? Or did mankind progress in faith along the way?

I searched my soul for the answer because I do not take very well to reading where all the men, women and children, and babies were destroyed in the name of God!

The answer from God, through personal revelation and inspiration, came swiftly.

God seems to be saying to me, “Take it easy, Wendy, you are on the right track.”

I invite my readers, if you have such a profound question, to search your soul. Meditate and ask God, and then rest in His care.

The answer seems to be good news indeed.

Many people, during the first few millennia of the creation, did not reach out to God. They appeared to be a peoples who had to be concerned with their environment and bare survival. Learning right from wrong, from a soul connection with God, may have seemed like a luxury, out of the reach of many people.

As man was able to progress in faith, and began to learn to control their environment, God was apparently able to send relief in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The New Testament does not recount a culture of war, but it heralds a culture of profound peace.

Mankind, with the help of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus’ life on Earth, has won the Holy war once and for all.

Man has evolved. Think how the great opportunity of having Christ in the world may have affected our own history, and culture, and think of the great opportunity our future holds in fellowship with Christ Jesus. Have faith!

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De-Mystifying Sin

What comes to mind when the word “sin” is mentioned? God? Punishment? The Ten Commandments? The word “sin” takes on an almost supernatural definition.

According to one source, “sin” is mentioned in the Bible 474 times in the NIV. Yet, bringing it down to the Earthly level, just what is “sin?”

If we erupt like Vesuvius when our child spills his milk, is that a sin? Lying, cheating, gossip? Are they all sins?

In reality, we all sin, and our sins have an effect on our fellow man, who may also sin as a ripple effect.

We may hear “Jesus takes away our sins.” Yes, through faith in Jesus we are redeemed. But we still committed the transgression. We sinned. The sin belongs to us, and we must own up to the sin.

Our sins are taken away through the supernatural act of Christ Jesus working within our souls and our psyches, but we still own the sin.

It is up to each and every one to listen to that soft, still voice of Christ, who will help us and guide us away from sin.

Our help is in the “lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Have faith.

W.S.

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