Tale of Two Steves
In one of the earlier Gospel-notes of this series, we have a striking contrast between two Apostles of Christ – that’s in link 25. In this “G-note” link 176, we have a striking contrast between a couple of my relatives. Now they were BOTH special & dear to me. But they illustrate the extremes in the American family – one “churched”, and the other not “churched”.
My uncle Steve was an A.F. veteran who married in the church, then continued in family church activity with his wife & kids till the end of his life in 2014 – Steve was 85. He had a successful marriage, successful career, good home life & long retirement in Sun City, AZ. More or less the picture of God’s blessing in suburbia, USA.
My nephew Steve (another family) was from a dysfunctional “nest” & was not a veteran. He was not oriented towards the church or religion, and his family & marriage was mostly without light or discipline from above. He had a “gypsy spirit”, and was in trouble with the law from an early age. Jail time, then spotty employment. This cycle went on for decades, then sadly at age 44 Steve was shot in a gunfight with the police. The cop my nephew shot survived, but Steve didn’t. Dramatically the picture of living without God’s blessing in suburbia, USA.
I am amazed at the contrast between the two Steves above, and I don’t know why there is so much other diversity in the family I was born into. Unless God wanted me to see all kinds of lifestyle extremes or contortions -- positive & negative, rich & poor, conservative & liberal, etc., then write gospel conclusions. And my take on the bigger picture of our society & its failures is the basic family unit is collapsing. From the 50’s, television has become more & more devoid of truth & decency (the god of this world has mostly taken it). Prayer has been removed from public school. Bible plaques have been removed from the court. Most mothers have gone to work leaving kids at home alone too much. Alcohol & drugs are stylish. The Christian life has been lampooned & lambasted in our schools & universities. Then science & technology is seen as the final answer. We have had perfect “soil” for a secular & faithless society for decades. We are now seeing the outgrowth of all that liberalism, and the resulting hate & sin & violence & killing all around. The question is, CAN WE GET STABILITY BACK??
I want to believe there is hope in the U.S. & world today BECAUSE of the Balance of Nature. (see link 92) The pattern of history is “the pendulum swings”. We have had serious issues & decline for decades but God is not dead! I would like to believe people are ready to bring back salvation & church affiliation -- even if it’s not politically correct! I look forward to a season of church growth & better family pictures. But it has to start w/the individual. Are YOU ready to move toward a relationship w/God? Are YOU ready to experience God’s blessing & freedom in Christ? Here’s a few refs. from God’s Word that seem to fit this essay:
-- Psalms 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging bread.” (I can vouch for the truth of this, and also say it’s better to be righteous than “riot”eous in lifestyle. . .)
-- John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the
Father, but by me.’”
-- Romans 10:9 “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God
raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
-- Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
-- Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”
I could have gone the way of my nephew Steve above – I came from a more hopeless district in Phoenix. But I heard the Gospel of Christ & responded, which has been much more than I expected. My wife & I have 45 years of that Blessing & Hope to reflect back on. And Regeneration in Christ is available to “whosoever will”. Choose Jesus, He is alive. See also “The Blessing & the Curse” link 66.
Many other Titles: www.gospelnotes.net – Link 1 is Index * * F. J. Stone * *