Sharing the Good News

How does seasonal tire change and poor customer service relate to sharing the Good News? Let me tell you what happened to me today.

Friday is the deadline to have winter studded tires changed over the summer tires here in Alaska. This morning I took my 2 summer tires to Sam’s Club to have them put on as well as 2 more new ones. Usually this takes up to 2 hours if they are very busy.

When I arrived the line was to the door but several people were just price shopping not buying. Finally, my turn came. I told the man what I wanted and he rang up my sale. It wasn’t until after I completed the transaction and asked that I was told the wait time would be at least 6 hours!

I asked for a refund of the install cost. They told me to go to customer service to get that taken care of. In the mean time, I assumed they would pull my tires from the rack so they would be ready when I was finished. No. I again had to wait, and wait, and wait. I was courteous and assumed the clerk knew I’d already been through the line once and paid. No. A new clerk gestered in the direction of the long rows of stacked tires and told me that the ones I needed were down the first aisle then continued to ring up more sales. I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to pull tires off a stack taller than I am. That’s the employee’s job.

Finally, another customer told the attendant when he asked for the next customer that he needed to get my tires. The clerk grudgingly got my tires. I told him I could carry them to my car. I just needed someone to get them down for me. However, the clerk sarcastically said the man insisted he (the clerk) get the tires for me so the customer was just going to have to wait longer for them to be taken to my car. Very rude and inconsiderate employee.

He also said they didn’t expect to have such a rush. What did they expect? It’s just 3 days left for tire changeovers, but he didn’t think they’d be busy! Needless to say, I was less than thrilled with their customer service today. Anyway, an hour after I arrived, I had my 2 new tires and was ready to go somewhere else to have them installed.

I got to the other tire shop and was told they had no one waiting so I would be next. Terrific! While I was waiting, 2 men were discussing the Gospel including Romans. I recently got a commentary book about Romans that I’m enjoying. For some reason, I had an undeniable urge to share this book with these men.

I went over and politely mentioned the book. I even brought it with me today so I showed it to them. I was literally shaking, but couldn’t stop myself. I’ve never done this before. They were thrilled, and immediately asked how they could each get a copy! We found paper and I gave them ordering information. Within 5 minutes after that, both men’s cars were ready and they left.

Now I know why I couldn’t get my tires installed at Sam’s Club. I was meant to share this book with these 2 men. God’s ways truly are wonderful. He has a purpose in everything, even if we find it frustrating at the time.

Here’s the contact information in case you too want a verse by verse commentary on Romans.

To the Romans by Dr J. Otis Yoder

Available from

Heralds of Hope, Inc

PO Box 3

Breezewood, PA 15533-0003 USA

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OT headcovering

I’ve been sick this weekend. Blah. That gave me time to read and ponder. Among other things, when reading Isaiah, I came to a passage that struck me as a condemnation of a woman’s uncovered head and nudity.

Isaiah 47:2-3

Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks [hair], make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.

So the argument some make that headcovering and modest dress were just something cultural in the New Testament simply isn’t true. There are other places in the Old Testament that headcovering is mentioned. Even back in Genesis 24:65, Rebekka covered her head when she saw Issac. Song of Solomon 5:7 mentions watchmen beating a woman and taking away her veil. No, it started before Corinth and still holds true.

Revelation comments

This morning I finished reading the final book in the New Testament, Revelation. My dad always made me promise never to read Revelation at night. He was afraid it would give me nightmares. So, I’ve never read it at all until today.

Revelation is different from other books of the Bible. They don’t tell a history. It’s not a human story. John is given a vision of end times and it isn’t pretty. It’s filled with strange creatures, monsters, plagues, and general havoc. It is scary, as it’s meant to be; especially if you’re not a Christian. If you’re still not convinced to be a Christian after reading the other books of the Bible, perhaps Revelation will scare some into belief.

It is the story of the end of the world. The world will not just end in random chaos. It will be chaotic for humans at the time, but there will be an order in which things will happen as told in Revelation.

Revelation is full of symbolism and allegory. I had trouble understand that part of it. Some scholars believe they know what much of the symbolism means. I’ll leave it to them.

Still other parts of are more direct. For instance the description of earthquakes. Revelation is also where we learn about the gates of pearl and streets of gold in heaven.

There are direct commands for all Christians. We are told to be watchful for His return.

Some Christians say works doesn’t matter. That the Lord looks upon the heart.He does. However, in the end as revealed by Revelation, works and being judged by your works is an ongoing theme in my King James Version. Jesus concludes each message to the 7 churches with a word about their works.

Jesus tells of his return and relates it to how we dress, Revelation 16:15

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Now there may be symbolism in this. I’ve heard this verse before but never with the last part. Garmets of white as relating to righteousness are mentioned in a few places. However, it could be as simple and plain as a warning against unmodest dress in end times. Every year the fashions get more and more skimpy, tight, and otherwise revealing. God gave Adam and Eve clothes in Genesis to hide their nakedness and shame. I believe this verse is a refrence and reminder of the original purpose of clothing. It was to cover our bodies. We in modern times have changed it to display our bodies. (Surprisingly, many pro-modesty Biblical arguments don’t mention the Revelation verse.)

Overall, I wouldn’t say Revelation is among my favorite Bible books. I’m glad I’ve read it though. I do agree with my dad about reading it before bed giving nightmares. However, there’s also comfort in it for believers. It tells what terrible fates we are saved from. No wonder many Christians call becoming a Christian “being saved”.

Romans commentary

I finished reading the book of Romans in the KJV Bible last night. I’ve said before that I’m not a Bible scholar, however, there are a few points that stood out in my mind which I’d like to discuss. If I can remember the exact verses I’ll mention, otherwise it’s generalization or perhaps someone else can remind me of the specifics.

I’ve always been a bit reluctant when I hear “The good news” in reference to the Gospel. I didn’t understand exactly what it meant until I read Romans through and thought about it. Perhaps this is because I’ve never read it all the way through before but rather just in bits and pieces (see below). In Romans, we are told that the Gospel isn’t just for the Jews, but for everyone. Christ didn’t just die for those around Him or who knew of Him, but everyone. Those who didn’t know him can also be saved if after hearing they believe. This is the Good News and is the basis for our faith. Everything else, the commandments and ordinances as to how we are to conduct ourselves as Christians would be nothing without the Good News of Jesus. However, that doesn’t make them any less important either.

The idea of “once saved, always saved”. This does have some merit. However, it also has limits. Peter talks about this in some length using a grafted olive tree as an example. He likens the Jews to the original tree branches and the Gentiles/Romans as the grafts. Jesus is the trunk and God the root. He says some of the original branches have fallen away thus leaving room for grafts. He talks about getting nourishment to both the original branches and grafts. He also warns those who have fallen away they aren’t in God’s grace anymore. This shows that people who were once saved can loose their salvation. However, he also says that those who have fallen can be grafted back in again. This is wonderful news! You aren’t lost forever if you fall away. But that doesn’t change the fact that you can fall away and be lost after you are originally saved.

This fits in with the idea that it doesn’t matter how we act because God/Jesus looks at our hearts. Yes he does know our hearts. Still, it does matter how we act. In Romans, there is plenty of instruction for how a Christian should act to remain saved. Many of the 10 Commandments from the Old Testament are again given along with much more, especially toward the end of the book. Sadly, other than the Commandments or easy things that don’t interfere with our popular lifestyle, a lot of this instruction isn’t taught in most churches today. Not only that but violations aren’t enforced. I’m not legalistic but if we’re told in the Bible to do or not do something, we shouldn’t just do it if convenient. We shouldn’t make excuses. This is hypocritical even to idea that what we do doesn’t matter because He examines our hearts. If He examines our hearts, He knows it is an excuse. This is how false belief shows itself. It’s when Biblical obedience is inconvenient that true faith bears fruit.

Throughout reading Romans, and the prior Bible books, I’m reminded of the importance of reading in context. Anyone can take individual verses and twist them to meet their needs. However, when read in context, false teachings should easily be spotted. Reading the Bible through in order helps with this because often references are made to previous events. It is also interesting seeing the Bible unfold, especially the New Testament.

I’m saddened when professing Christians rely only on commentaries, daily devotional booklets, and other people’s ideas for their Biblical interpretation. These are important, but just as important is reading the Bible through for yourself. I’m amazed how many people have never read the Bible through. They can be missing a lot. How can you live a Biblical life if you’ve never really read the Bible? Especially in the US where we have such freedom and access to Bibles. Many people own a Bible, but few really read it. It’s not just a reference book, but a guidebook to daily life.