It’s January 1, 2020 AD according to the Gregorian Calendar. As usual people are posting resolutions for the new year and reflections on the previous year. I suppose I’m not that much different.
I used to joke that my new years resolution was to not make any. It’s time to retire that one. Yes I made some resolutions but I’m not sharing them with you or anyone else except my Lord and God. I have learned that I am always in need of improvement. Make of that what you will.
Some time back I discovered the joy of fountain pens and journals. I used to only take notes with a pen or pencil and paper and any serious writing I would do with a keyboard. With a keyboard you can write very quickly. If you’ve got halfway decent tools available they can spot your errors for you and help you fix them. Nobody has to know that you can’t spell or that you re-wrote that last sentence fifteen times before you got it right.
Not that a lot of people bother to make the effort to spell correctly or to write grammatically. All you have to do is read a newspaper these days or your “news feed” in your social media app of choice to see that while we communicate a lot these days we don’t really communicate. Or care whether we’re properly understood.
With a pen and paper every error is there and easily seen. Ink is rarely erasable so if you really mess things up you either cross out the mistakes and start over or throw away the sheet and begin again. You’re less likely to want to throw away the sheet in a bound journal though. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from using pen and paper rather than pixels and bits it’s that I need to slow down and think more about what I am writing.
I really don’t care for Donald Trump. My wife has a strong antipathy toward the man. But he is the President and he has our support politically. He’s done more to fix some of the things that have been broken in our country than any other President since Reagan. He’s also done some rather bone-headed things politically too.
The derangement from the Democratic Party and some of the old guard of the Republican Party regarding the “orange man in Washington, D.C.” is amazing. Or it would be if you don’t bother to reflect on human nature and the type of creature that runs for office or that votes for them.
Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish. — Psalm 146:3-4
For the last three days the lead article in the Washington Times has been from a series titled “Losing Our Religion: Fall of faith threatens America”. There are two more promised articles in the series. As I read them I can’t help but think that the author misses much of the point.
Religion, as many people seem to practice it, is just more hokum and snake oil. It offers no real hope for America or for the vast majority of its practitioners. The devout Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or Christian who looks to his religion and his works to save him is going to Hell just the same as the atheist, agnostic, and Satan worshiper. It is impossible to buy or earn your way into Heaven and ignoring Hell won’t keep you from suffering its flames.
It was religion that resulted in one of the biggest mass murders in Utah history. On September 11, 1857 a group of religious men tricked the defenders of a group of about 140 men, women, and children into giving up their arms for safe passage from Paiute Indian attackers, and murdered them. These religious men were the ones who had duped the Paiutes into the attack in the first place and who had led the attack. It took well over 100 years before the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints admitted to complicity in the attack and vaguely took responsibility for it.
My wife and I visited the grave site on the Sunday before New Years. I took the time to reflect on what false religion does to people.
Mankind is horribly depraved. Read the newspapers. Watch the news. Remember and reflect. Any honest assessment of people in general will tell you that “the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth”. No religion devised by a man can fix that.
We need to be made new. Our hearts need to be changed. Only Jesus can do that and he’s already made the provision. His death was for our sins, his resurrection for our new life. Repent and trust in him today and you can have life.