John T. Willis

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I would rather be a Doorkeeper

The experiences of life bear out the marvelous truths proclaimed in the Bible. One of many examples of this is Psalm 84:10:
"For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper
in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness."

These words are truly impressive. BUT they take on "flesh and bone" in "real life" when we are engaged in actual experiences.

Through 77 years of my life, I have had several enticing opportunities: to preach in a large church, to serve as dean in a university, to be a professor at a pretigious university in the northeast, to live overseas in a plush, peaceful country to live at ease, and the like. I have rejected all these opportunities BECAUSE I have watched how accepting such opportunites almost always corrupt the lives of good people.

In the Bible, I think of humble Saul, who became the first king of Israel, and quickly changed into an entirely different person, taking things into his own hands instead of turning to God for help. I think of favored Jacob, who felt necessary to deceive others and lie and steal, living a miserable life. I think of chosen Judas Iscariot, who yielded to peer pressure and betrayed Jesus for a small amount of money.

In my own lifetime, I can name numerous "good" people who got some position or wealth or prestige, and soon became entirely different people. There is something about money, prestige, position, fame which transforms a person into a different individual.

Sorry, this is not worth to me to sell out my soul for all these enticements. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God than to sell my soul. What about YOU?

Share YOUR thoughts and insights and dreams with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Friday, March 18, 2011

Keep the Sabbath--Jeremiah 17:19-27

The fourth of the Ten Commandments is:

"Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventhy day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work--you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, of your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep; the sabbath day." Deuteronomy 5:12-15. See the parallel text in Exodus 20:8-11.

The message of the Old Testament prophets [as well as the New Testament] is rooted in the Law of God. As one example, Yahweh through Jeremiah confronts the people of God to observe or remember the Sabbath. Jeremiah 17:19-27. This little paragraph falls into two parts.

I. The People of God refused to keep the Sabbath. Jeremiah 17:19-23.
a. Yahweh through Jeremiah commands the kings of Judah and all the people of Judah to keep the Sabbath as they go in and out of the Jerusalem temple to worship Yahweh. Yahweh specifically commands His people to not bear a burden on the sabbath by the gates of Jerusalem or out of their houses, as Yahweh commanded his ancestors in the Ten Commandments. He encourages them to do this "for the sake of their lives" [17:21a]. 17:19-22.
b. YET, God's people "stiffened their necks" and refused to remember or keep the Sabbath. 17:23.

II. Yahweh gives His people the choice of obeying or disobeying his command to keep the Sabbath. Jeremiah 17:24-27.
a. Yahweh says: "IF YOU LISTEN TO ME," and bring no burden on the sabbath, THEN kings will sit on the throne of David, this city shall be inhabited forever, and people shall come from the towns of Judah and the places around Jerusalem, bringing all kinds of sacrifices to the house of Yahweh, the Jerusalem temple. 17:24-26.
b. BUT Yahweh says: "IF YOU DO NOT LISTEN TO ME," to keep the sabbath day hold and carry in no burden through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath, THEN Yahweh will devour the palaces and Jerusalem and destroy this city. 17:27.

Of course, people can abuse the Sabbath in many ways: by being insincere, by being self-centered, by living in ungodly ways against other people, etc. But God desires that we keep the sabbath. This has not changed throughout the centuries. Let us strive to discipline in such a way as to honor God by keeping the sabbath.

Share YOUR thoughts and ideas and dreams with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Baseball Season

The March 2011 issue of AARP contains 50 quotes from various people about baseball. Here are some of these quotes:

Tallulah Bankhead: "There have been only two authentic genuises in the world, Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare."

Satchel Paige: "I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I toss one that ain't never been seen by this generation."

Yogi Berra: "Ninety percent of the game is half mental."

George Bernard Shaw: "Who is Baby Ruth? And what does she do?"

Tom Trebelhorn: "Running a ball club is like raising kinds who fall out of trees."

Gerald Ford: "I watch a lot of baseball on radio."

Bill Veeck: "If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can't get you off."

Tim McCarver: "Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher I even saw. He always pitches when the other team doesn't score any runs."

Joe Adcock: "Trying to sneak a pitch past Hank Aaron is like trying to sneak the sunrise past a rooster."

Yogi Berra: "The other teams could make trouble for us if they win."

George F. Will: "All I remember about my wedding day in 1967 is that the Cubs lost a double header."

Casey Stengel: "Sure I played, did you think I was born age 70 sitting in a dugout trying to manage guys like you?"

Charlie Lau: "There are two theories on hitting the knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither one of them works."

Bill Vaughn: "As a nation we are dedicated to keeping physically--and parking as close to the stadium as possible."

Pete Rose: "I'd be willing to bet you, if I was a betting man, that I have never bet on baseball."

Yogi Berra: "Little league baseball is a very good think because it keeps the parents off the streets."

Cincinnati Gazette editorial: "The baseball mania has run its course. It has no future as a professional endeavor."

I hope YOU have fun with these quotes. Have a great day.

John Willis