Saturday, February 11, 2023

3 Random Thoughts from the Auto Dealer's Service Department

Three random thoughts at the auto dealer service department:

#1 God's mercy to us is great. Just came from a wonderful time with my family in Rom 5:15–17. On the way over was doing the math on our three vehicles. The AVERAGE mileage is 236K. Mine is the "young" one at 207K. But it's still been many years since the last serious engine or drivetrain issue on any vehicle we own. That's a gentle, kind providence. If He were sanctifying us through one vehicle problem after another (He did this during seminary, when funds were tighter), it would still be a kind providence, but I appreciate the gentleness of this season.

#2 Dealer employee checked on me, as he passed by, to see how I was doing in their waiting area. I began to evangelize him, and the first response when he figured out what I was doing is, "I'm a Baptist, but I still dance." It was a short conversation after that, I didn't get any more traction. But it made me think, afterward, about how the only things that make me dance these days are my Presbyterianism (i.e. that Christ has done all in accomplishing my salvation, and that the Spirit is doing all in applying Christ's salvation to me) and Michigan Football (still working on putting away worldliness in this area). But I drink b/c I'm Presbyterian, and I dance b/c I'm Presbyterian, but both of those things are now driven by different motives to different ends that the worldly man couldn't be expected to understand. And maybe many Baptists can't be expected to understand it either. I'm less restrained in family worship than in the pulpit, and there are times that I am shaking and almost running/jumping in place with my family over how good the doctrine or application is that I'm making to us (I have a standing desk at our dinner table, from which I lead our worship). I despise most dancing that is a reveling in oneself/losing oneself/indulging feelings, or alternatively pairing/unpairing/repairing with partners. And then I also drink for particular reasons to glorify and enjoy God. Tomorrow in the public worship we'll be reading about the usefulness of wine for strengthening/invigorating in both Ps 78 and 1Tim 5, in addition to singing the Psalm selection and praying from both passages. Then, we'll come to the table to drink strength and joy in Christ, sandwiched by singing from Ps 116 of "the cup of salvation"—and it isn't pasteurization-inhibited sugar-water in the cup in the image. I'd quickly condemn all of the world's drinking and all of world's dancing—and probably most of what those who claim to be Christians do in both areas—but there's definitely Spirit-induced instances of both in my life, and I'm glad for it.

#3 The waiting area has "Sprite Zero." It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a carbonated/"sweetened" beverage. We sometimes buy carbonated, fruit-juice-lightly-flavored zero calorie drinks (our purchase threshold on those is $2.75/12, which doesn't happen much anymore). But it's mostly water and tea for me these days. After a long time not having it, I expected it to be more of a treat. But the saccharin sweetness it provided wasn't really very enjoyable, and I'm left wondering what the "natural flavors" are and why I would willingly ingest aspartame and acesulfame potassium. This has happened before with other things like certain media or entertainment. After a long time not indulging, I'd try it again, and find that it's just not worth the baggage, or is even positively disgusting. The biggest example for me has been the type of worship I got in church growing up ("grandiose traditional") and at youth group (basically the essence of worldly dancing and drinking by means of emotional manipulation through music and a certain sort of ambiance and speaking that were varieties of psychological manipulation). It's like Sprite Zero. Thank God that it disgusts me now. God is merciful. Maybe one day I'll even feel about College Football the way I've come to feel about so many other things, in His mercy.

So, yeah, that's pretty random. Isn't our God good in a marvelous variety of ways?!

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