Archive for August 2016

What are You Doing Next Sunday?

August 24, 2016

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

NBC commentators have been under criticism for their frequent reference to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps as “old.”  A couple of times they even noted that the 31 year old was struggling to get out of the pool. In response, one vocal critic said she guessed that 31 is the new 80.  That is one more reference that reminds me of how people speak of the “new normal,” noting how things have changed and are not what they used to be.

Well, it seems to me, then, that Sunday is the new Saturday.  Too often people are doing things on Sunday that could have been done on Saturday, and their delay is interfering with church and other spiritual things.  Now I don’t want to debate what is and is not proper “Sabbath behavior.”  But I know for a fact that God did not create the weekend, nor did he create the 5-day work week.  Those are man’s ideas.  God created six days for normal activity and one day for what He called ‘rest.’
 
What I do know is that it is designed to be different from the other 6 days, and that it is to be used for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual restoration that fits us for our labors.  We are not told in Scripture how to spend the day, but we are commanded to keep it holy.  And in the flow of the Ten Commandments, the 4th commandment about the Sabbath follows three other commands about how we are to revere and honor God and His name.  All 4 commands seem to be connected.
 
I encourage you to plan ahead.  Reconsider your priorities.  Take God seriously. This command must be quite important to the Lord, or else it would not have made the top 10!  We must give God His proper place in all we do.
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How to Keep the Proverbial Fat lady Offstage

August 4, 2016

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

 

            You have heard it, and likely have said it yourself:  it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.  The original use of the phrase has been attributed to sports journalist Ralph Carpenter in 1976, referring to a surprising comeback by the Texas Tech men’s basketball team to tie the game.  Someone said to Carpenter that it appeared the game was going to be close after all, to which he replied, “Right.  The opera isn’t over until the fat lady sings.”

            The reference, of course, is to the stereotypical image of an overweight opera soprano singing the finale, and is actually traced back to a specific opera and its soprano soloist, Amalie Materna.  The colloquial phrase is not meant to offensively profile such singers, rather it has come to mean that one cannot necessarily know the outcome of a given circumstance until is actually happens.  Until that moment, there is still hope that a bad situation can turn itself around.

            My eldest brother is 68 years of age.  Over recent years he has experienced several difficult health issues, including hip replacement and neck surgery.  However, this retired psychologist and university professor is not quite ready to surrender to the physical and emotional challenges that tend to accompany aging.  Last week on a trip to Florida he completed his training and is now a certified scuba diver; not too shabby for a mid-America resident where scuba diving is not a typical sport for that geographical area.

            We are a family that likes to laugh and joke.  I told him I did not even know he could swim!  One of his sons commented that this was no mid-life moment, but an end-life moment.  My brother remarked of himself that if the saying is true that “you’re only as old as you feel,” he must have reached triple figures.

            Whether referring to age of life, the score in a game, a pending medical test result, or any other difficult place in your life, refuse to lose hope and, instead, cling to your faith.  Do not allow the proverbial fat lady to come out on stage for the finale until it really is her turn to sing; or if you prefer Yogi Berra’s similar proverb, remember that “It ain’t over till it’s over.” 

            The ability to cling to that hope, by the way, is ultimately linked to your belief system, which is the true source of your hope.  Dr. David Busic recently wrote, “Christian hope is not the power of positive thinking.  It is not based on circumstances, good or bad.  It is not new and better ideas, utopian philosophies, or reformed politics.  Christian hope is objectively focused on the person of Jesus Christ who has been revealed to us as the ‘grace of God,’ ‘the salvation of all people,’ and our ‘blessed hope.’  Hope in anything else will not give us what we are looking for…”

            Nearly two centuries ago Edward Mote put it this way: “On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”  May you find your hope to be sufficient today.