Give Me That Mountain

No Middle Ground

The Law and Grace. Day forty-five...

What child has not heard the words, “I love you,” and hoped that in Mom's or Dad's good mood, he or she might get off the hook for chores or homework or something else unpleasant.

But my hope that Mom's warm feelings toward me might get me out of cleaning my room was always unfounded: “Just because I love you, Mike, doesn't mean that you don't have to do your chores!”

messy room

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Salt and Light

The Law and Grace. Day forty-four...

In the area where Jesus ministered, salt was primarily taken from the Dead Sea. Pure salt (NaCl) is very stable and will not lose its flavor unless it is diluted with water or contaminated with other substances. Apparently this Dead Sea salt was not pure and could become so contaminated by foreign substances that it no longer had any taste.

In practical terms, a diluted salt substance with no saltiness had no other use, but maybe to firm up a footpath by throwing it on any loose dirt. Jesus uses the illustration of this tasteless salt in teaching the multitudes on the mountain.

dead sea salt

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All Things New

The Law and Grace. Day forty-three...

After I rejected the Christianity of my youth, I began searching for something that would save me. At first I thought it was music.

When I moved to Chicago to study with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I buried myself not only in practice time on my trombone—I also buried myself in the music of Gustav Mahler and other late‐romantic composers.

chicago symphony orchestra

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Standing in the Gap

The Law and Grace. Day forty-two...

The internet, as we know it today, was not a practical part of everyday life until the 1990s. While it seems inconceivable to us today to not have all the information we want literally at our fingertips, it wasn't that long ago when we there was no such thing as online research or online purchasing.

When I first started my furniture manufacturing business the only technology available to assist our human efforts was a telephone. And this telephone was tied to a wall with a cord. I couldn't pack it with me around the factory while talking to suppliers or customers.

internet

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Unpleasant Side Effects

The Law and Grace. Day forty-one...

“If you had just done what I told you, we wouldn't be having this discussion!” How many times did I hear that phrase as a child!

If Adam and Eve had just done what God told them, we wouldn't be having this discussion either—this discussion about the intent of God's law and the wonder of God's grace.

parental discussion

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Rebellion Is a Losing Strategy

The Law and Grace. Day forty...

In the 1919 World Series, the Chicago White Sox lost the series to the Cincinnati Reds. Eight White Sox players were accused of contributing to the team's five losses in exchange for money from gamblers. Although never convicted, the eight men were banished forever from professional baseball.

As mentioned yesterday, one of the men in my classes described rebellion as, “Playing for the other team.” And what better illustration of the consequences of rebellion than this example from baseball.

shoeless joe

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Playing for the Other Team

The Law and Grace. Day thirty-nine...

Did you ever compete in an event where the rules made it almost impossible to win?

What if the event organizer came up to you just before the final go‐round and said, “When you're up this time, I've picked you to be the lucky one who gets to make up his/her own rules.” Would that affect your attitude toward the rules?

competition

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An Internal Conviction

The Law and Grace. Day thirty-eight...

Why do you try to do the right thing? Is it for fear of punishment, if you don't? Or are you motivated by the benefits you associate with good behavior?

The fear of negative consequences is a major motivator in the choices I make. I don't speed, because I don't want a speeding ticket—not because I want to keep the roadways safe. I don't evade taxes, because I don't want to get prosecuted for tax evasion—not because I want to make sure government has enough money.

prison bars

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The Rest of the Story

The Law and Grace. Day thirty-seven...

The verdict against this group of people was in, and the list was long:

  • There were those who had committed murder.
  • There were those who had treated mothers and fathers with contempt.
  • There were those who had forced foreigners to pay for protection.
  • There were those who had wronged and oppressed orphans and widows.
  • There were those who had desecrated places of worship.
  • There were those who had given false testimony in order to get people executed.
  • There were those who had committed adultery—even with their step‐mothers.
  • There were those who had committed hideous sexual crimes—raping their own daughters‐in‐law and their own sisters.
  • There were those who had murdered for hire.
  • There were those who had committed acts of loan racketeering and extortion.

gavel

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Love and Discipline

The Law and Grace. Day thirty-six...

For the very first time after the delivery, your child is secure in your arms. You look into her face and wonder how you ever lived without her. It's as if a switch has been activated that has elevated your concept of love to a level you didn't think existed.

The days pass by. Her fussing—no problem! She's just uncomfortable in some way. A quick diaper change, some food, or some time in the rocking chair.

holding baby

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