Redeeming the Time (or “without a Microwave”)

May 17th, 2023

Mark 9:48 “Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” 

Like poison that spreads its arms out both ways into the past and future. Until every action of another (some "Offender"), whether right, wrong, or indifferent, is seen through a lens of disgust and hatred. That’s what bitterness does. It’s the worm that never dies and never finishes its meal. Until its Inhabitant sees its Offender as a demon. And soon the Inhabitant becomes one himself.

This is what awaits those who enter Hell, you know? Those sightless, brooding worms: Bitter, Blame, and Self-Righteous. Hell doesn’t need fire, brimstone, and cold dank caverns. It needs only a nice, quiet solitude where hatred can fester. And once that bitterness takes root, it will spread back beyond to the beginning of the Individual’s life and reveal nothing but Hell all along. For those who find Heaven will find that earth was always a prelude and stepping stone to its beauty. But those who find Hell will find that earth was always Hell. 

The root begins in the Individual’s local offenders—family, friends, neighbors. But eventually it spreads its reach further to government, outsiders, and finally unto God. And upon Him will the Hell-bent Soul hold all accountability for its sin. 

You see, Jesus knew that the blame of all sin would be put on Him, no matter what. Either accepted by Himself as an act of love on the cross, or thrown at Him in desperation and blood-thirsty ignorance of those in Hell. And whence those souls in Hell mount up their individual sins upon Him, He will become a demon in their eyes and the circle will be complete. They will see then that their god is a demon, and its name is Satan. 

What is it then, to “redeem the time”? For bitterness works itself forward and backward, casting its long deformed shadow across those we find offensive, making demons of them all. But forgiveness, likewise, meanders down the forward and backward paths of time in our hearts and minds. It cleanses. It digs deep into crevices that the soul was unaware of. It burns us; by all means is abhorrently uncomfortable. For the soul must be reminded again and again to continue its work—forgiveness must take its full effect, lest it be undone and uprooted. 

Eventually, the water washes the soul entire and we are able to hold no offense any longer. We can see the Offender as Christ sees them—perfect and blameless. 

That is what it is to redeem the time. To let forgiveness wash us from past to future and heal our souls.  

Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.

May 18th, 2023

Jason’s house was ransacked, and a riot nearly killed all of them in Ephesus. Paul calls this a “labor of love” and moves on. The first letter to Thessaloniki shrugs off this abuse and turns the attention back to its complainer. What are we supposed to do then—Live unclean and fit? No! We are meant to live righteous and holy. 

God has not called us to mere cleanliness, but to righteousness. Not status quo, but above reproach. And in so doing, we will love our neighbor. And the consequence--(or is it the action? Both product and factor? Both affect and cause?)--I lead a quiet life, mind my own business, and work with my hands. 

And just as Chambers said- so doing will bring more to Christ than anything else.

What am I afraid of besides not receiving fame and glory?

May 19th, 2023

All this talk about slowing down and making time matter was put to the test about a month ago for us. It’s all well and good to say you want to make time for the little things and don’t mind working hard for what matters most. But we don’t really know what the little things are until they smack us in the face.

Then, about six weeks ago, the microwave broke. That little device that’s been around for 80 years has become an institution. Not for proper meals, but all the in-between. The quick-fix chicken-nuggets because your son doesn’t want the dinner you prepared; The soup, hotdog, or chili your daughter prepares herself for lunch; The popcorn during the movie; And of course, the blessed reheated coffee you nuked for the sixth time today because you nurse your coffee like a psychopath.

When it blew out, it mattered little to us, because there was a spare in the garage, meant to go next door in our Bed and Breakfast. I shrugged and removed the old dinosaur before installing our old reliable. Two weeks passed and Ol’ Reliable blew out as well.

This was a test that I didn’t know I needed and was altogether excited by once a day or two passed us.

I wanted the little moments to matter more. And now they were. I discovered that you don’t really need a microwave for anything except convenience and making your food soggy. What you need is a stovetop, pot, and a little patience. And those things I had plenty of. And now, I don’t know if I will ever go back to the microwave. Not because I’m some self-righteous prig who thinks food tastes better this way (though it does), but merely because I enjoy the process of waiting and preparing.

I think God the Father does as well.

May 20th, 2023

Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."

I have often revered the need for contentment as a state in which I am satisfied with my family, purpose, career, and home. But I see now contentment really is being satisfied with myself. Now, I do not speak crudely that I should be content with Keith the Sinner or Keith the Foolish. But instead, Keith, son of God, made in His image, wonderfully and fearfully. For the last thing I would endure, is myself or anyone else reading this surmise that I think I (or anyone) can be satisfied with who they are. But I can be satisfied with being myself. I must be okay with me. My mind is my mind and God created it as such. 

Therefore, if I am striving toward His goal and His likeness, I must be content with who I am in that sense. Especially in being alone. For in my solitude, I find I cannot entrust my heart unto any man, woman, child, or calling—but only unto Christ. And in that “alone” I can find myself with God, content. I am not a failure. I am not a rejection. I am Keith. And He loves me and is proud of me. 

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