Those Who Sleep Get Sliced
Chang lived in Flushing, Queens. Every afternoon he rode the train into Manhattan to work in the post office. At the end of his shift he would ride the train back, at well after midnight.
If you've ever done shift work, you know how hard it is to sleep in the late morning while everyone else is up and making a lot of racket. That's why, try as he might to stay awake, Chang would often sleep on the train as he returned home from work. He worked out an arrangement with a kind conductor to come by and wake him up just before his stop.
One night when he awoke, his front pockets were missing. Someone had gently cut them out of his pants with a razor blade to steal his wallet and pocket change. If Chang had stayed awake, he would have made it home with his money, his driver's license, and his green card.
The causes of spiritual slumber correspond closely to why Chang fell asleep on the train. He got used to his surroundings; the temperature is comfortable; the rattle and the vibrations became monotonously redundant, and he nodded off.
You go through your spiritual routine, never venturing out of your comfort zone. Nothing shakes you up or gets too challenging. Its sameness becomes is first reassuring, then boring; you can predict what's coming because it's repeating from a hundred times before, and you've heard this same lesson over and over, and you don't bother to look up the verse the preacher cites because you already know what it says, so you just tune out and fade off, and zzzzzz!
Or you're having a chat with a confidant, but you can't claim you're really engaged in the conversation. They are revealing, perhaps for the first time, some critical personal issue that is twisting them up inside, but you are only half paying attention. You miss realizing that this is a spiritual moment, an opportunity for God's love to flow through you to your friend, and while you nod, the moment fades.
Paul warns that we soldiers can't fall asleep at our post (1 Thess. 5:5-8). We must be better disciplined. Whatever will keep us awake--whether it's changing our routine, or abandoning comfort zones, or ratcheting up our concentration--we must do. We can't afford for Satan to steal from us our zeal, then our effectiveness, then our influence, and finally our salvation--slicing it all right out of our pockets as we snooze.
Perk up! Look around! The train is nearing your station.
Copyright ©2005 Steve Singleton, All rights reserved.
Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles on subjects of interest to Bible students. He has taught Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses Bible college, university, and adult education programs. He has taught seminars and workshops in 11 states and the Caribbean.
Go to his DeeperStudy.com for Bible study resources, no matter what your level of expertise. Explore "The Shallows," plumb "The Depths," or use the well-organized "Study Links" for original sources in English translation. Sign up for Steve's free "DeeperStudy Newsletter."
Just Let ?Em Go!
I remember when I was just a little guy probably about 4 or 5 years old, I was fascinated by snakes. Not any particular type of snake ? just snakes in general. I remember being really curious about how they could move around so easily without any legs or feet. I remember liking the colors on the garter snakes that slithered through our Nebraska summer garden.
One of the most undervalued blessings is God's will to make every individual a unique creation. It takes all kinds of people to do the great work of the Lord's kingdom, and it's a good thing that each of us has special talents, callings, and gifts to serve this purpose. Working together, we can accomplish great things. Unfortunately, the world doesn't value unique character. In fact, being different often translates to being misunderstood.
Neither A Borrower
Direct Answers - Column for the week of November 4, 2002
Shame and Guilt: A World of Difference
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Information -- Schminformation, Enough Already!
We are drowning in it, our grey matter is swollen with it, half the time when we need a piece of it and we know it is "in there" somewhere, we can't access it because the poor Grey Matter Computer is so jammed it takes forever to search for the file and then it's usually "just lost" or was mistakenly deleted. And that's just our brains...what about our files, drawers, shelves, filled with papers, books, stuff.
Nurture Your Heart
Pregnant with her first child, Jill could barely contain her excitement over the dreams and hopes she cherished for her unborn baby, whom she had already named Mara (she was so sure it was a girl). She practiced the lullabies she would sing as she nursed Mara close to her breast. She imagined how Mara's eyes would light up on Christmas mornings. She dreamt of Mara's first day at school, her first date, and her college graduation. She even imagined how Mara might look in her wedding gown.
Silence means no voice input of any sort. What happens when there is silence? We cannot hear anything from the outside, but the voices inside are what we hear pretty clearly. We can hear ourselves. We can loudly hear to what we think and how we think, if we do.
Most people like movies. Some, like me, are enthralled by them. I am sure that making a movie is a lot of work; but to me, it seems like it must be the most fun in the world. I especially love movies that I can get so caught up in that they become real; so real that I forget that I am watching a movie. I fantasize about becoming an actor/director in a movie that I have scripted.
Stay With It!
I walked out of his office inspired. All I could immediately recall were those soft-spoken words, "STAY WITH IT". They were from no less a person than Rev. Sam Adeyemi of Success Power fame, on whom I had gone to pay a courtesy call. The first time we met was two years earlier when he came to my campus to speak to students about success. Then I was an undergraduate with a fledging media outfit and, most naturally, the privilege fell on me to interview him for a story for my readers.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of January 5, 2004
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Summertime - Take Time To Smell The Roses
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Struggling With Addictions
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Such Love Transforms
Everything was arranged: once the funeral was over, all were to go to Hephzibah's house for the after-funeral dinner. It was the way things were done in Nain, typical of the customs followed by citizens of the Jewish towns of the Galilee.
I Dont Like This
You always do this wrong, how many times would I have to tell as to how to do the thing right, don't you understand to what I say, I am talking to you, are you listening to what I am saying. It would have been much better if I would have done that myself. Now go.
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