Many, many years ago when I was a youngster, probably about the age of my son, my brother, myself, and our friends from around the block would get together during the days of summer break. We did all manner of things, some of them reasonable. Then there were the other things... I remember that we had a line of trees that ran alongside the Parsonage. The Parsonage itself was nestled in the crook of an L that was made by the church that surrounded it. That line of trees was so much fun... and the bushes in front of the house. The bushes were the host of many
robber hideouts, or scout observation posts. The trees though. We used to ride our bicycles across the church yard, the front yard of the parsonage, stand on our pedals, and grab the low hanging branch. Our bikes would continue across the alley, and we would nimbly crawl up into the tree. We did this for the sole reason that we had seen the Lone Ranger or some other cowboy do this to get away from whoever was pursuing them. Even as I look back, this was a lot of fun- but it was rather dangerous. Luckily, we never hurt ourselves too badly, yet it could have been tragic.
As we move into the Summer, families are going on vacation, parents are at work and children are at home. Perhaps the children are at a friend's house and running around the neighborhood. What we take in becomes significant. The things we listen to on the radio, that we read in books, magazines, or the internet, the TV shows we watch all have an impact on us. Growing up, that impact was that I was an indestructible cowboy... even if I wasn't.
In Philippians 4:8 Paul admonishes us:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.
As we walk through the world, there are so many things that we can brush our elbows up against. Some of these things will have no real impact on us. They will simply be there. Yet there are other things that are more nefarious. What is it that they glorify? What is it that they seek to grow in our lives?
Recently, in Sunday Morning Bible Class, this conversation was had around the idea of Witchcraft, entertainment, and Isaiah's statement in chapter 2. The broader reality to this is that there is a lot of witchcraft in entertainment out there, but there's a lot of other stuff too. Where is hedonism being embraced? How is paganism being accepted as normal? Is God's good design being assaulted? These are all questions that we can contemplate as our Children are home and free to do as they wish this Summer. As we sit poolside, or celebrate with friends the various holidays, what do we show in our lives? Are we reflecting Christ in all things?
Our litmus test for faithfulness, to answer all the previous questions, is rather straight forward. Does whatever it is, meet the statement of Paul? If it does, fantastic. If it doesn't, maybe we should take a moment and reconsider what it is that we are watching, reading, partaking in. The saying I was taught many years ago, that has held the test of time, and being applied in so many different ways; whether computers, diet, or something else bears worth keeping in mind: garbage in, garbage out.
I pray that as you are enjoying your summer breaks, that God blesses you with the opportunity to spread the love that He has given you. My hope is that as you travel from place to place that you continue to live empowered by the Spirit of God, and you are the witnesses of Jesus everywhere you go.
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