I’m in the middle of recording my third CD, When the World Turns Around. One of my favorite songs on the album is Angels from Devils. The lyric of the song I’d like to dissect as part of today’s message goes like this, I’m gonna leave here in the mornin’…I just can’t take another day…Who can tell rainbows from hell, or angels from devils anyway?
The Absurdity of the Modern World: So, just how am I gonna leave here in the mornin’ when the entire world is closed? And how could I possibly take another day now, when I couldn’t take one more while the world was open? The last half of the verse contains the clue that gives away the answer. The light of truth is the great disinfectant and the ultimate cure for a world sick with lies, where people are ruled by the forces of darkness, fear, corruption, and greed. The good shepherd and sheepdog are one and the same. The good shepherd discerns the rainbows from hell, and the angels from devils, while the sheepdog in him leads his flock where? To the good pastures and still waters. Visualize this in the context of our present chaos and confusion. God brought us here for a very good reason; Rainbows from Hell + Angels from Devils = Shepherds from Charlatans. The modern world has stigmatized the former and lionized the latter…empowering the charlatans to do what they do best. Lead the flock astray. He has finally awakened us to the horrible reality of our reality. A shocking pre-apocalyptic view of our last step in this life…before we take it. A society that “legalizes” the torture and dismemberment of a fully developed innocent human being has no next step. “Astray” doesn’t come close to fully capturing the bed we’ve made for ourselves.
The roots of “charlatan” are, perhaps fittingly, a bit obscure. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is derived from the Italian “ciarlatano,” meaning “babbler,” thought to be from “ciarla,” to prattle or chat, a word possibly formed in imitation of the sound of someone babbling.
Now, it would appear, God has given us all a Time Out.
While we sleep, justice is being carried out on the wicked. But this is of little or no consequence to us. Whether Tom Hanks was quarantined or detained, or whether Disney’s Iger stepped down of his own free will, as hundreds of his peers follow suit, matters not. What matters most of all is what you and I do with our time out.
This is where it helps to reflect on the fact that the ones Jesus specifically identifies with are Christians—particularly Christians who are suffering because of their commitment to the gospel.
He is saying that if you believe this message at all, of course you are going to be moved to action by the stories of those who are suffering for their commitment to this message. ~ J.D. Greear, Are You a Sheep or a Goat?
When I was young and stupid “Last call for alcohol” was the message that got my full attention. It took a real long while for my young and stupid to wear off…but God finally wore me down. While most of you were earning your degrees, making your mark, and raising your kids, I was howling at the moon. I think God must have finally heard me and decided to put my howl to better use. In hindsight Shutupnhowl may have been a more fitting name for this blog because that’s what it feels like I’ve been doing for the past eleven years or so.
Dear friends, use this time wisely. Whoever and wherever you are. It makes no matter. What you did. Who you did. How you did what you did. What matters most of all right now is what you do. Let me help, Sheepdog that I am, with your most important 1st step…oath if you will; love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Make hay in this time out. Think of our history as a people, our beginning, our amazing successes, and our tragic failures. Think of those honored and disgraced. Think of those who sacrificed it all for strangers they would never know. Think of loved ones gone and what they hoped for you, and what they would say to you now. Most of all, huddle your children close, bring them in, God will speak His voice to them through your lips…as He looks into their eyes and lights their souls through your eyes. Love thy neighbor as thy self…look in on the elderly. If this is not last call, lets make it the best dry run ever. Either way, tomorrow will be better than yesterday. That is a promise!