Give Me That Mountain

God Is Where?

Faith and Unbelief. Day eighty-seven...

I have a problem with most Christian funeral services anyway. I just don't like all the emphasis on the trappings of Heaven. It's as if we believe that the first thing out of anyone's mouth upon arrival will be, “Take me to the stuff?” rather than, “Take me to Jesus?”

So it probably won't surprise you when I say that the following passage—so commonly read at funerals here in the Midwestern U.S. —isn't necessarily about Heaven at all:

funeral home

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The Reality of the Invisible

Faith and Unbelief. Day eighty-six...

Jimmy Stewart (1908‐1997) played Elwood P. Dowd in the 1950 movie, Harvey. In the film, Dowd's best friend was an invisible rabbit—a six‐foot, three‐and‐a‐half inch pooka (spirit/ghost) named Harvey.

While I'm not suggesting there's any value in watching the film, I am suggesting that at times I feel like my relationship with God is treated with the same rolled eyes as was Dowd's relationship with an invisible rabbit.

harvey

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God’s Ways Are Not like Ours

Faith and Unbelief. Day eighty-five...

“It was the custom when men received nominations to come to me for contributions, and I made them and considered them good paying investments for the company. In a Republican district I was a strong Republican; in a Democratic district I was Democratic, and in doubtful districts I was doubtful. In politics I was an Erie Railroad man all the time.”

Such a comment reveals much about financier Jay Gould (1836‐1892) who was worth approximately $77 million at his death. Gould was obviously quite skilled at gaining the world through his cunning—but at what expense? He appears to have been guided by a worldview of self‐preservation at all costs.

jay gould

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A Bigger Perspective

Faith and Unbelief. Day eight-four...

“The Germans got us, and they got us right smart. They just stopped us dead in our tracks. Their machine guns were up there on the heights overlooking us and well hidden, and we couldn't tell for certain where the terrible heavy fire was coming from... And I'm telling you they were shooting straight. Our boys just went down like the long grass before the mowing machine at home. Our attack just faded out... And there we were, lying down, about halfway across [the valley] and those German machine guns and big shells getting us hard.”

The words of Alvin C. York (1887‐1964), as he recalled his battalion's predicament from the German machine guns and artillery. York was the real‐life WWI hero played by Gary Cooper in the 1941 film, Sergeant York.

sergeant york

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Retreat or Advance

Faith and Unbelief. Day eighty-three...

My elementary school had just been open a couple of years before I began to attend. It was built to consolidate the remaining one-room schools in our farming community. Even then, no class had more than about fifteen kids. When I was in the seventh grade, the eighth‐grade class had about four boys who had flunked at least one grade, if not two. Those boys, not surprisingly, were way bigger than us seventh‐graders, and they used their size as a weapon.

During recess, I remember those eighth‐graders making us sit behind home plate, up against the backstop. As we had the backs of our heads pressed tightly against the chain links, one of the bigger eighth‐graders would pick up a ball bat and see just how close to our heads he could swing it. (And they pulled this stunt several times that fall.)

ball field

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Tolerate or Control

Faith and Unbelief. Day eighty-two...

When I moved back to Missouri from New York State I began to ride again. But it had been several years since I had trained and shown horses, and I had forgotten a few things.

I was having trouble with a horse of Dad's, so I asked a friend who knew horses, “This gelding I've been riding has some problems. How do I know when to correct a horse and when I just need to live with their behavior?”

horse training

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Defense or Offense

Faith and Unbelief. Day eighty-one...

When I thought about the sieges of fortified cities in the ancient world, I assumed that penetration of the gates to the city was the preferred offense. Not so. Unless traitors within the city opened the gates, the invading army used other methods than to just storm the gates with brute force.

Wheeled siege towers and stone‐throwing artillery were two of the more successful offensive weapons used by invading armies. And of course, starving the city into surrender was always an option.

city gates

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Nothing Held Back

Faith and Unbelief. Day eighty...

Submission is a more vulgar word to us here in the U.S. than is any word of profanity.

It's not that we never submit to anyone. We have those people that we easily bow to, but are they the right people? We frequently elevate the wrong people to positions of influence in our lives, while we diminish those who have a proper authority over us.

adoring fans

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Recognizing Jesus

Faith and Unbelief. Day seventy-nine

In Mark Twain's novel, The Prince and the Pauper, Tom Canty (the mock king) was about to be crowned King of England, while Prince Edward, in beggar's clothing, was making little headway in convincing the court that he was the true heir to the throne.

“Sir Thomas, arrest this—No, hold!” His face lighted, and he confronted the ragged candidate with this question—“Where lieth the Great Seal? Answer me this truly, and the riddle is unriddled; for only he that was Prince of Wales CAN so answer! On so trivial a thing hang a throne and a dynasty!”

boy reading

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Faith in God or Faith in Man

Faith and Unbelief. Day seventy-eight...

A Chinese missionary to the United States was asked, as he was about to return to his country, “What about the U.S. has made the biggest impression on you?”

His answer: “What you have done without God.”

achievement

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