Just A Quick Update!

First, I want to thank all of you who sent emails to check on me or requested access to the website. (I had made it “not visible” because I didn’t want anyone to leave comments, etc. that never got posted or responses, etc.)

Second, all is fine here for me and my chickens. I did receive a job offer as a temporary employee shortly before my unemployment ran out. That was a blessing, even though it only paid about $1.00 more per hour that what I received through unemployment. It DID allow me to continue paying my “big” bills and fulfilling my financial pledge to my church.

In a little over a week, I will begin a permanent job with benefits and a better hourly rate. And I won’t need to be getting up at 4AM! (That’s even before the chickens are ready to get up!)

More importantly, I have learned to be much less anxious about the future. I’ve learned that I can truly trust God to take care of me. It may not be in the way that I hope for or imagine, but He is dependable. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that it has taken 60 years to begin to learn such a basic lesson.

Oh, and my girls would be disappointed if I didn’t let everyone know that Miss Bessie has been laying eggs for about a month now almost every day! The others aren’t quite there yet, but it shouldn’t be too much longer. Two are already eyeing the nesting box curiously and wondering what goes on in there!

Finally, I’ve removed the “not visible” from the website. Who knows, there may be some who still want to read previous posts. I just can’t guarantee any responses to comments, etc. It is likely that I will pick up posting again regularly once I’ve gotten adjusted to my new job and have better, more reliable technology.

I can’t say what any new posts will be like. There are some of the old comic characters that just don’t “speak” to me the way that they once did. I can’t “hear” their dialogue in my head any more. In other words, Laser Eyes Jesus may have zapped his last zap. But that may not be such a bad thing. When I look at the statistics for “likes,” the “Some Serious” posts really do way outnumber the “Some Funny” posts even though there are more in the “Some Funny” category.

Perhaps some of that has to do with getting older. A good deal of it has to do with being concerned about how WordPress can be used as a tool to reach “Church Outsiders.” Some of the posts here did that, I believe. But most seem to have only reached “Church Insiders.” Not that I would consider that a bad thing…it’s just that more and more I feel that the world of “Church Outsiders” has turned its back on Real Life Jesus and I want to somehow be a part of the solution.

Well, that’s about it for how. Thanks again for everyone’s kind words and prayers!

John

P.S. Sorry no graphic…working from the library computer!

“Desperate Times Call For Desperate Chemistry Set Names”

I think that the main idea of this comic strip is to put aside any kinds of rules that might be stuck in your mind about gifts and giving. You may even want to check way back and deep down. (I know I did!)

It wasn’t until I had a “Words Of Christ In Red” Bible that this next verse really stood out. It’s in the middle of what seems like page after page of black text except for some words that Jesus said to Paul.

…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35 (KJV)

The other thing that makes these words stand out for me, besides being surrounded by all of that black text, is that it is not a direct quote in the context of events. The writer of Acts is reminding us of what Jesus said, perhaps because these words are not found in the four gospel accounts.

When it comes to giving and gifts, I think that the reason you’re more blessed when you give than when you receive is because when you are giving, you are acting like Our Heavenly Father. He gives abundantly those things which are good for us and which glorify Him.

What does Our Heavenly Father see when we are more desperately enthusiastic to give than to receive? Hmm…That’s when I think we look a lot like Jesus.

I know this probably sounds simplistic and way too much like a children’s Sunday School lesson, but it’s something that I needed to remind myself of this morning. Maybe I will have more astute and “adult” content tomorrow? Please bear with me! Caleb Joseph is doing his best to convince his mother that a chemistry set would be both good for him (help him to be a Junior Inventor) and glorify God (by doing using it in a Sunday School lesson). I’m afraid I see way too much of myself in Caleb Joseph today!

“First Things First”


Before anything else, I guess I should give a deep and sincere “Thank You” to all of my readers who have been waiting patiently for the list titled “How To Get A Dinosaur Off Of Your Grandma’s Sofa.” So “Thank You!” and be assured, I will not rest until there are no dinosaurs on any sofas anywhere in these United States!

Still, I do want to say that I think Rob is really on to something here.

I had planned to include something in this post about my own “Grandma’s Jesus” as that seemed like a logical way to end this series. That has proved to be almost as difficult as the “Dinosaur and Sofa” list.

One of the things I know is that my grandmother grew up in a very different time. She cooked the best butter beans ever and her fried cornbread was almost perfection. But my grandmother never really found her voice.

I think she tried to make up for this towards the end of her life. She bought several very large Bibles from door-to-door salesmen. They were big and heavy and not for everyday reading. I think that more than anything she wanted the words of forgiveness to be as big in her life as they were on those pages.

For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Luke 8:17 (KJV)

I’ve know people who have lived in fear and condemnation because of secrets. They never found their voice for the wrongs they committed (actual or perceived) or the wrongs done to them. They have lived their whole lives covering up secrets, yet a secret only has power so long as it is hidden.

“Finding Your Voice” is the topic of the next “Voices From The Last Pew.” The story presented is different from my grandmother’s, but it’s like so many stories involving secrets that seem to be retold with each new generation. Hopefully it will help keep the next generation of grandchildren from ever saying, “My grandmother never really found her voice.” (And yes, that does go for grandfathers too! I have my grandfather’s Gospel of John as well. It is pocket-sized and worn.) 

“Oh, Yes! He Did! (Show Mercy)”

I must admit that I still have not decided in my mind whether Lydia said “Godzilla is really only a guy in a big rubber suit” to be hurtful or helpful or to be a “know-it-all.” So what do you think? Is her motivation maybe not all that important? Maybe ignoring the “Why?” is part of what being merciful is about?

When we are merciful, we don’t really look at a person’s intentions. In fact, we don’t even look at the person at all. Instead we look at the One who has shown us mercy and continues to show us mercy.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (NASB)

Just like the tears that no one saw in yesterday’s comic strip, mercy often has a cost. We should remember that God’s mercy towards us had an immense cost in the anguish and pain of the Cross Of Christ.

I learned from a new Christian recently one of the things that impressed him most about Jesus and what convinced him most that Jesus was real was that He endured crucifixion when He could have “blasted everyone straight to Hell for crucifying Him.”

What a wonderful model of mercy we have, I believe, in Real Life Jesus.

In preparing the “Monthly Digest” for May, I found that for a good number of posts I had more text than I could edit into the space set up for that format. So in some respects, today’s comic strip commentary was an exercise in brevity. I have even thought of doing a group of Laser Eyes Jesus comic strips specifically on The Beatitudes. I like the idea that Laser Eyes Jesus is hearing from others in passing what “that guy on the next hill over there is saying” and how the words of Jesus are slowly changing his life, perhaps without him knowing it.

“What My Best Buddy Godzilla Dreams”

Occasionally in this comic strip there is a view into what life is like for Laser Eyes Jesus after most of the children go home. That has made me wonder about a Bible verse that I remembered about “sleep,” especially since there’s this thing called “insomnia” which you may have experienced. (By the way, you’ll notice that Laser Eyes Jesus doesn’t really answer the question “What do you do when we’re not here?”)

The last thing I want to do is stir up the “KJV Only” controversy here! I enjoy the King James Version. When a Bible verse or phrase comes to my mind, it’s almost always in that version, and I like that because it’s easier to find in a concordance or online search that way.

But this is one of those verses that maybe, just possibly where…well, I’ll let you decide for yourself. So what do you think?

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2 (KJV)

I’ve always focused on the last part as meaning “If God loves you, then he will give you a good night’s sleep.” But if you have insomnia, that verse can sort of cause you some spiritual doubting, right? (If you can’t get to sleep, does that mean you aren’t one of God’s beloved?)

Recently I’ve started comparing verses in the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) when I feel like there may be something more. (Thanks, Don and My Heart Is For Israel!)

In vain do you get up early and put off going to bed, working hard to earn a living; for he provides for his beloved, even when they sleep. Psalm 127:2 (CJB)

So what do you think? Does that make a difference? To me, it does. I no longer need to worry that a sleepless night is maybe because God is withholding sleep from me. Instead I can rest soundly while knowing God is providing for me even when I’m sleeping.

“He provides for his beloved, even when they sleep” sounds so very compatible and so very comforting, I believe, with the word of Real Life Jesus concerning the lilies of the field (or “the fields of wild irises” in the CJB).

When I doubt between text versions, I do tend to choose the words that magnify God and make Him bigger in my heart and emphasize His lovingkindness and grace.