Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

something to help you laugh and think about life with Christ

hearing loss — July 13, 2022

hearing loss

As we age, I am finding that my wife and I are wearing out the word, “What?”  (as in “what did you say?”)   We need either hearing aids or speaking aids.  Not sure where the fault lies.

This reminds me, however, of an event that took place recently.

A group was gathered near Zilker park at a Thai food truck.  It was a cool clear Austin evening – a great time to share a relaxing meal together after a grueling week of school.

The tranquility was shattered by an ear-splitting car collision in the intersection nearby.   The offending pick-up caused the sedan to careen off towards the food truck.   Some ran for safety -others did not.

Eleven diners were mowed down.  Two sustained life-threatening injuries.  But why didn’t they all react and move out of the path of the car?  

Sadly, it was because among them were students at the nearby school for the deaf.  They just didn’t hear it. 


Bad things can happen when we fail to hear!

Back in 30 AD or so, the nation of Israel was a mess.  Politically: it was enslaved and ruled by the iron fist of the Roman Empire.  Economically: Rome drained the wealth of the nation.   Spiritually it was a heartless, cheerless cesspool of legalism.  The nation desperately prayed for better days. 

God answered!   He sent them Jesus, who was to redeem them from their sin and then restore the nation and righteously rule the Kingdom from the throne that David once occupied.

He came preaching this message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near!”  – Matthew 4:17

Everything the nation had ever hoped for – prayed for – hinged on their repentance.  They were exhorted to turn away from their self-indulgent sin and turn to Jesus the Messiah

But they had a hearing problem.  After a long season of preaching His message of repentance Jesus said, “For the heart of this people has become dull; they are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” –   Matthew 13:15

He would have healed the nation in every way but they were deliberately deaf to His message.

At a later time, Jesus was trudging downhill from the Mount of Olives, He was headed to Jerusalem which was sprawled out before Him. 

There on that dirt road, surrounded by a throng of followers – Jesus wept. 

Luke 19:41-44 reads, “Now when Jesus approached and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. They will demolish you—you and your children within your walls—and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”  

He wept because He knew that Rome would soon level the city and intensify the suffering of the Israeli people and their children.  This was because the nation had rejected Him and His offer to intervene and bring healing. 

Rome eventually leveled the land just as Jesus had predicted.  Was it His fault?  No, He tried to intervene.  He wanted better things for them.  It was the nation’s choice to make. 

I am thinking that decades ago, Jesus possibly looked upon the USA and wept once again.  Because the nation of which it was said, “God shed His grace on thee” – that nation had become deaf to His message.   

And every day the people and the children of our nation are suffering the terrible aftermath of it. 

Jesus, I weep with you

A PRAYER: Jesus I weep with You

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you and this nation as well.

Scripture references are from the NET Bible®

creamed — March 17, 2021


Our God is at war today – and you and me may be His targets!  I speak from experience. 

Many moons ago I was finishing up my bachelors in preparation for ministry.  I was confident that God would open the doors to a position in a church. 

After all, I had a GPA of 3.96 and I had planted and served in the leadership of a church.  I possessed endorsement letters from a couple of published seminary professors, and I could play a pretty mean guitar.  From my perspective, I was a great candidate for that perfect job. 

I was contacted by a large church in Austin.  A friend with national influence recommended me for a position as a youth pastor.   

They flew us down to Austin and housed us in the home of a staff member (so they could keep an eye on us).  We toured the church facilities and were impressed with the size and quality. 

They wanted me to meet with the Elders, but there were too many to gather at once – so they staggered the meetings. 

The first took place on an early Friday morning for breakfast.  There were 6 of us.  They were dressed in jackets and ties and ready to zip down the freeway to their law firms and banks downtown.

The waitress delivered our coffee.  Quickly the men began to pepper me with questions.  “What is your philosophy of ministry?”  How would you approach a teen with a smoking problem?” 

In the meantime, I was trying to treat my coffee.  The liquid creamer was packaged in a goofy little triangular bag.  It was designed so that you tear off the corner and squeeze. 

Did it – but no cream.  More questions.  Sweat on my brow.  Tear a little more – squeeze a little more – but no cream.   

More questions.  Knees are starting shake.  Tear still more and squeeze but no cream. 

Squeeze a little harder and finally there was cream – but not where I wanted it.  The back of the packet blew open and showered the jackets and ties of the 3 Elders on my right. 

Oh my!  They were angry with me, but in a pleasant Christian way. 

And so, my unemployment was prolonged.  They didn’t want me in Austin. 

As I pondered my experience, I asked the Lord, “Was that necessary?  The waitress could have brought that dry nasty powdered creamer.”

He directed my mind to His answer, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.”  James 4:6

Oops – – I get it Lord.  I was resting on my resume rather than You, so Ya let me taste a hefty dose of humility.  All my credentials didn’t seem to matter much after I drenched my potential bosses with a milk product.

The verse is disturbing but it is a concept that is repeated multiple times in the Old and New Testament.  I can only assume that pride is a pervasive problem with us ornery human beings and that God takes great offense at it. 

In fact, the Greek word for “opposed” was used elsewhere to describe an army that went to do battle.   The implication is – God goes to war with the proud.  The passage does not limit the target to those who do not believe.  It includes any who might be proud. 

So God goes on the warpath against pride and He has lots of bogies.

Arrogance often cloaks our political leaders.  I hear their boasts and I cringe, and wait for God to eventually say, “OK that’s enough.  You need a big serving of humble pie.” 

I worry about pastors and their empires.  Success is subtle as it poisons the ego.  This last year, in our town of 80,000 we have seen several of the pastors of our largest churches go down in the flames.   Could it be that pride was the cause? 

I am praying for a once happy family that is now conflicted and angry with each other.  The battle has gone on for months now.  Each party is waiting for the other to say, “I was wrong and I’m sorry” but pride has pasted their mouths shut.

But forget about them.  I need to worry about me. 

I need to boast a little more – more like Paul, who said, “I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.”  2 Corinthians 12:10

My abilities are liabilities when I fail to recognize that it is God who is at work in me (Phil 2:13)

A PRAYER: Sometimes I am even proud about being humble.  Lord search me and know my heart.

Scripture references are from the NETBible ®

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