Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

something to help you laugh and think about life with Christ

better than a youtube — December 18, 2019

better than a youtube

james ray johnson

Do you prefer to learn by reading the instructions or by having someone demonstrate? 

Well it’s that dreaded time of year when naïve men and a few daring women will spend a frantic Christmas eve assembling toys for their kids.   

Diary of a dad: “Kids are down, time to get the Barbie and Friends Deep Space Probe and Spa from the closet.  But wait!  There’s no instruction manual!  What?  I have to download it?  Where are the instructions on how to do that?  2 hours and 1.5 gigabytes later- finally got the digital how to.

But it was written by the Chinese manufacturer in Chinglish.  It says, “The product design is used is succinct and the technique that the line is easy and smooth and possess the beautiful to look at and fine elegant featute.  Prodruct is completely as a result of 2,000 volts of highhanded shocks, no leakage of electricity, and ensure safety.”  Seriously? 

Oh wait, I just found some instructions in the box. They were stuffed into the warp drive hot tub (NOTE: instructions needed on where to find the instructions.) 

This English is better, but just can’t seem to get a hold of the Barbie-sized assembly tools that were included.   

Done!  But there’s a pile of parts left over and a pedal whomper that won’t whomp.   Hours wasted over a failure.    

Fortunately, found a youtube done by an attention starved man, who demonstrated with excruciating detail how to assemble it.”  

Putting a toy together is tough but putting a life together is even tougher. 

How do we deal with an angry person or live a moral life in a cesspool world, or persevere when under fire?  Not many step-by-step videos for these.

We have a manual for sure.  The Bible is replete with sound wisdom that speaks to such things.  But sometimes it almost reads like Chinglish to our dull senses. Oh, for a youtube.

God did better.  He sent Jesus to show us how to do life.

When God took on flesh in the person of Jesus, He had to live as a human being according to the same conditions and rules that we are subject to.  He did it successfully and He has left countless examples for us.

Are you proud of your humility?  Maybe you need help.  Watch Jesus!   He took a towel and a wash basin and stooped to wash the filthy dusty feet of at least a dozen disciples.  Then He said, “For I have given you an example—you should do just as I have done for you.”  (John 13:15)

Are you mired in immorality?  Watch Jesus.  “The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.” (1 John 2:6).  Read the Gospels and learn from the master.   (Note: Walking refers to His manner of life.   Don’t try this on water.)

This is a third (in this series) and surely a significant reason why Jesus became God Incarnate.  It was God’s kind way of showing us how to do life. 

There was a time when I suffered unjustly (at least from my perspective.)   My humanity wanted to lash out and accuse and gather sympathizers who would come to my rescue. 

But I was arrested by the words I found in 1 Peter 2:21-23, “For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his steps. He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth. When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly.”

I let the example of Christ seep into my broken soul and I found a path forward.  Jesus gave me company and His example kept me from destroying my reputation and the well-being of others.

Better than a You tube.

May your Christmas Eve be painless!

Enjoy the guitar Carol below: One of my favorites: What Child Is This?

What Child Is This: Guitar arrangement by Jim Johnson

All Scripture references are from the NET Bible ®

the devil and december 7th — December 10, 2019

the devil and december 7th

Just last week the U.S. paused to remember Pearl Harbor Day.  On December 7th, 1941 Japan mounted an unprovoked attacked on U.S. naval and air forces in Hawaii.  The nation picked itself up and went to war. 

American forces began to work their way through the South Pacific snapping off each tentacle of Japanese domination, but the battle would not be won.  Japan was a fanatical, formidable and determined foe, willing to sacrifice everything to forestall defeat.

The war would not be won until it was taken to their home, the very island of Japan.  Only then was victory attained.  Only then did the flag of surrender fly over Japan. 

We all have our own war to wage.  The Scripture refers to Satan as our adversary (1 Peter 5:8).   At the beginning of time, he entered our air space, and inflicted a crippling surprise attack on Adam and Eve and the human race they sired.

The battle between man and menace raged for many worn torn years.  But the war would not be won until it was taken to his home.  Earth, the throne of his dominion – his place of power – must be invaded if there was to be victory. 

So, Jesus came. 

The apostle John wrote, “For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil.”  (1 John 3:8)

Christ was God clothed in flesh.  He chose to don that not so gay apparel, in order to meet the devil on his own turf and bring the battle to his stronghold.

The first skirmish took place in the thirsty Judean wilderness where Jesus resisted the relentless voice of the devil who tried to badger Him to compromise.  From there Jesus rolled through the promised land liberating the demon possessed and alleviating the diseases they inflicted. 

Satan’s simpering minions cowered when Jesus appeared. “They cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone! Have you come here to torment us before the time?”  (Matthew 8:29)

However, Satan dealt a knockout blow when his mole betrayed Christ into the hands of the bloodthirsty leaving Him on a cross until He had bled the last drop.

Three days later, Christ unexpectedly but decisively won the battle and the war when He triumphantly emerged from the dead.   

Japan surrendered September 2nd, 1945.  Soon after they released their prisoners of war. Among them were 14,473 emaciated but grateful Americans.  

Paul spoke of the devil as holding people captive to do his will. (2 Tim 2:26) and when Jesus invaded his domain, Jesus also set the captives free. (Ephesians 4:8)

Jesus has defanged the devil and one day will return to this earth to put him away forever. 

So a second and most important purpose in the Incarnation of Christ was to defeat the devil. 

Now you may be thinking, “Christmas is about the incarnation, and this devil stuff is out of place.  If it were part of the Christmas story, we would be singing about it – right?”  

Well maybe we should.  Forget “Ding Dong Merrily on High” and let’s sing (with Munchkin like voices) “Ding Dong the devil’s dead.”  

Or maybe we could amend a few carols to include the theme.  For instance “Away in the manger no crib for a bed, but He died on a cross now the devil is dead.”  Or how about “Silent night, Holy night, the devil ran away in fright.”

Too much? 

I hear you.  But the theme actually is implicit in a few our Christmas Carols like O Come, O Come Emmanuel.   The verse goes, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel; that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.” 

The song captures the pathos of our situation with a haunting melody and minor dissonant chords.  It colors the human condition with sadness, thanks to the evil one who once held us captive.

Fortunately, we also have carols like Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.  The verse goes, “Come thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free.”   Jesus – God who chose to be born as man in order to invade and defeat the devil on his own turf – He has set us free.

Hey why settle for a verse when you can hear the whole song!   Relish His victory as you listen to the link below: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus by Fernando Ortega https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dmO8UPlWoo

PS: What did the sheep in the manger scene say?

“Fleece Navidad.” 

All Bible references from the NET Bible ®

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