Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

something to help you laugh and think about life with Christ

automotive distancing — October 7, 2020

automotive distancing

I believe in automotive distancing as in, “Hey buddy, I can do without the tailgating.”  

Twas, on a Saturday night in Dallas that it became a problem.  The evening started well.  The leader of the singles group led us in study of Psalm 139. 

I was new to the faith, but I had a voracious appetite for God’s Word.  David the author tried in his small way to explain God’s great way. He wrote, “O Lord, you examine me and know me.”  (verse 1) That’s powerful!  I’m not even sure I know myself much of the time. 

He explained, “You know when I sit down and when I get up; even from far away you understand my motives.  You carefully observe me when I travel or when I lie down to rest; you are aware of everything I do.   “Certainly my tongue does not frame a word without you, O Lord, being thoroughly aware of it.”   (139:2-4)

Such things can only be said of a God who is all the time everywhere; awesome in power and is all knowing.  Theologians call this His omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience. 

Then David said in verse 5 “You squeeze me in from behind and in front; you place your hand on me.”   He spoke as if God used a Star Trek like force field, that preceded and followed him.  So, God surrounds us to protect us.  I was genuinely awed as I mulled this over.

I drove a borrowed car that night – a bright new yellow Camaro convertible.  Hey, it was a singles fellowship – I wanted to impress the girls. 

On the way home, I pulled up beside a mobile beer bash.  The light changed and I moved on, but they didn’t.  The driver waited until I was about 30 yards ahead.  He stomped the gas pedal until he was inches from my bumper and then screeched to a stop.

I was confused and stunned, but then he did it again and a third time.  His next move was to pull in front of me and slow down.  We were almost bumper to bumper when he locked his brakes again.

He was trying to scare me and it was working.  But I was angry too. If I had been in my $100 clunker of a car, we might have met, in an automotive kind of way.   Did I mention that I was a new Christian? 

He was behind me again and ready to make another run.  And do you know what was going through my mind?  “God how far before and behind me do you go, and does it include the length of this car?” 

In those days I tended to literally interpret the Bible – I still do, mostly because God literally fulfills what He has written, including His promise of protection.

I did a mission trip in Mexico and during that one week God kept my team and me through an earthquake, a volcanic eruption and a street gang.  At another time, our team barely escaped some angry Haitians who were waiting in the dark to stone us. 

His protective care is not always so sensational and yet still appreciated. 

I think of a friend who had met his deductible on his health insurance – so on a whim he decided to have a battery of health tests done.

They indicated that he was already dead or at least close.  His arteries were almost completely occluded.  There should have been great pain to warn him, but there wasn’t, but because of the tests he was able to have surgery before the widow maker hit.  That was God at work.

Now I know that we are not going to live forever in these bodies.  But God will keep us temporally secure until the day He chooses to eternally secure us in heaven.

In the meantime, if you belong to Him – then go with God.  Relax a little as He takes the point AND brings up the rear. 

Oh, and as to my distancing problem – at the very time I prayed, I came upon a well-lit convenience store with a pay phone in front of it.  (a pay phone – now that’s a miracle) 

I whipped the car in, did some brake stomping of my own and grabbed the phone – and they fled the scene.  Thank You Lord!

A PRAYER: Lord I am not courageous enough to face life alone.  Please go before and behind me and open my eyes to see the ways in which You are protecting me

All Scripture is quoted from the NET Bible ®

doofus gets a moonroof — January 22, 2020

doofus gets a moonroof

This may be a cart-before-the-horse kind of thing, but my wife and I bought a nice, but used RV to go camping with grand kids.  Great except that my pick-up truck is underpowered and has a manual transmission which my wife can’t operate, and it seats only 3.  Where would we stuff the grand kids? 

Since I bought the cart, I needed a bigger, stronger “horse” to pull it.  We found a used Toyota Sequoia with enough life in it to last the life we have left in us. (hopefully)

It’s packed with every option ever to come out of Detroit (or Tokyo).  Heated leather seats, separate temperature controls and best of all – a moon roof.  Golly gee, we have never had a moon roof before.  So, one balmy December eve, we opened the moon roof and went out for some pizza.

The next day my wife Sharie discovered that we (and I emphasize we – don’t listen to her) – we, forgot to close the moon roof.  And of course, an overnight rain storm left us with a serene reflecting pool in the console of the SUV. 

Unpleasant things seem to happen when we fail to use the protections we have been given. 

If I forgo my gloves when I clean the gutters, I slice my hands.  If I skip my vitamin regimen for a few days, I get a cold.  When I fail to seal the moonroof, I get a moon river. 

This carries over into the spiritual realm as well.  We have been given protective measures from God to keep us from spiritual calamity.   When we fail to employ them, temptation prevails, and our faith fails.  Spirits darken, marriages are wounded, addictions grab hold, and God’s mercy to us takes the form of His painful discipline.

His Word is a crucial protection. Paul likens it to a sword that slays our spiritual adversaries.  (Ephesians 6:17) The old King James asks, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:9).  

I read my Bible each evening.  If I fall into a pattern where I skip it or I read the words without really chewing on them, my attitude starts to look like the pre-Christian me, rather than the Christ-empowered me.  My family senses it (and would like to knock some sense into me)

Another essential protection is the Holy Spirit.  He alerts us when we get too close to sin – like a smoke alarm only not as obnoxious.  Some of us have silenced that blessed alarm.  (1 Thessalonians 5:19) Change your batteries. Confess your sin and get a fresh start (1 John 1:8) 

Jesus instructed us to specifically ask God to, “Deliver us from evil.”  (Matthew 6:13) Evidently, we need His frequent divine intervention and lots of it, but it is something that comes in response to our prayers, says Jesus.  

And what about the fellowship of the saints?  Hebrews 3:13 says, “But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception.”  NET Bible ®   

I am frightened when I hear people say, “I am a Christian, but I don’t do church.”  This passage and many others tell us that we need our fellow believers.  Without their voices, we become hardened to sin.  Hey, I know that churches are imperfect – but so are you. 

It’s all there – everything we need to protect ourselves from the influences that threaten to ruin our interiors.  So, seal up your soul!   Don’t be a doofus with a moonroof.

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