“Let’s talk about a Tomato”

     With gardening season just around the corner, I like to think about those fresh garden vegetables that will be available for us to eat. The leaf lettuce, green beans, corn, and of course those incredible inviting big plump meaty red tomatoes. I, just like many of you remember from years gone by, would go into the garden and pick one of the tomatoes off the vine, washing it off with the garden hose, then, with salt shaker in hand bite into the bright red skin tasting the fresh luscious flavor of your home grown beauty. With juice running down your chin, you sprinkle a little salt on the meaty red innards, which is now exposed and you take the next bite. The flavor is rich and “tomatoiey” as itshould be and the texture is rich and tender.

     It makes my mouth water just thinking about them and I’ll bet, those who also love the flavor of a great home grown tomato, your mouth is watering too.

     Problem is today our food has been “genetically modified”, or should I say “messed with” by man, because they feel the need to improve on something that God created and said, “it was good.”

      We need to look at what we have gotten in our tomatoes of today, those “hot house or genetically modified” man messed with, improved type. They still have the wonderful red color on the outside but the inside is a pale shade of red, with a hard spindly core, and a bland (if any) flavor at all.

     I share this as a comparison to the way we practice our faith today and by the many of us who call ourselves Christians. Have we been so changed by man and the world around us to forsake our First Love and the following of His teachings that are set forth in the Bible? Have we become like the tomato with man made improvements to our faith and what is taught in the Holy Scriptures?

    We may put up the appearance of that beautiful tomato on the outside but are we bland, flavorless, with a hard core on the inside? We need to rethink and test our motivations and commitments of our faith so we can get back to that fullness and wonderfulness of a Christ centered life. Where we see what is on the outside, we need to remember, God sees what is on the inside and that is what He will judge us by on “Judgment Day.”

“Who are you listening to, and do they really know anything?”

     A little over a year ago I wrote this article for the Kenton Times newspaper in Kenton Ohio that is, with a few minor changes to bring it into the perspective of the here and now of Newaygo County MI.

     The article began with the report on the Lima Ohio television station where the two anchors were talking about the find of what was believed to be the bones of St. Peter. First of all this paper is not about that so much as it was about the comment; “If you find the bones of St. Peter, you would for sure be admitted into heaven when you die.” The anchors were animated and very humorous about this story although this is not the point of this story.

     Yes that would be an interesting find, but how would you know they were really St. Peters bones? This of course is not the point of this article either.

     The point of this article is the fact that these two fine journalists would expose themselves, as having such ignorance about how someone is able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This may have been just a little kidding around, but we have a society today of people who think this way. They think they are good people and God, the Creator of the universe is going to allow anyone to enter into His eternal glory without even the first bit of knowledge, understanding, or obedience to His authority, plan of salvation, or edicts.

     According to the Holy Bible there is only one way to enter into the glory of Heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ and His atoning blood. No short cuts, no free passes, and no bones believed to be that of one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ.

     We live in a country that has been so blessed with the many freedoms, we have and the ability to rise to whatever you want to be, yet we do not want to take seriously what the Creator has done, is doing, and will do. We think of ourselves as wiser, brighter, and more creative & imaginative than any god or religious figure. Whether you are a Christian or not, it’s amazing how we spend more time speculating about the end of the world, the apocalypse, how our favorite sports teams are doing or who will win “Survivor”. Yet we continue to talk about God like He is a man, speculate about when He will “pull the plug on the world”, joke about the big party that you and your friends are going to have when you all go to Hell together, and of course taking the Lord’s name in vain as often and with such great vigor at the same time tip toeing around the offensive words like the “n” word or the “q” word.

     It is true that the end of time is coming, and yes it is true that we don’t know the time and date. We just know it will happen. Could it be that we don’t have a clue about anything that we read ….cough, cough, excuse me,…or should I say, we are told by somebody else who says what the Bible tells them. Have you tried opening the BIG scary book, and tried reading it for yourself? We know that it is all written in “Code” and we have to find the secret to the numbers used in the book as well so we can unlock the message that was written so long ago, After all we did see that in a movie, right?

     What is wrong with us? Are we all really that ignorant, naïve, or apathetic? Is it that we don’t want to really know the Truth that is contained in the Bible because we will learn that we are not as powerful, wise, and wonderful as we would like to think?

     The point of this is simple, just like the plan of salvation is simple. You need to read for yourself what the Bible tells us. From this you will unlock for yourself the incredible story of life and see what God has done, what He is Doing, and what He is about to do. Don’t confuse the wisdom of mere men with big titles and degrees along with their philosophical opinions and thoughts to cloud the judgment of what the Holy Spirit guides you to understand, and not by reading just a couple of passages you might find, but by reading the entire message that will reveal the “Big Picture” from start to finish.

     Simply put, salvation is the first step on entering the Kingdom of God, finding the greatest hope for today, as well as the future, and a peace within you, beyond the understanding of any man. You have to work out your salvation by allowing Jesus Christ into your life. It begins by hearing the Word, confessing your belief in God and His Son Jesus Christ, repenting of your sins and being baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then walking in the newness of life. This is the only way, and it is just the beginning of a great transformation of one’s self, that God will do for you, not some man, or some religion, but God, the Great I Am! He wants a relationship with you!

     My prayer today is for us all to take God seriously, putting our faith in Him, following Him, obeying Him, excepting His grace and gifts, and stop relying on our “own understanding” or the understanding of mere men.