Have You Noticed?

09.08.09 | Cecil Van Houten | Comments[4]

Have you noticed how many trees, mostly maples it seems, are starting to turn color already?  Connie and I were driving around the southern tier over the long weekend and were surprised at how many leaves shone in bright shades of orange and yellow against the blue sky.  And how many brown ones were already on the ground.

Have you noticed how "back to school" is the same no matter what stage of life you're in - child, parent, grandparent?  There are hems to be adjusted ("You grew a lot over the summer!"), notebooks to be purchased (Hannah Montana or Demi Lovato...tough call) and schedules to be adjusted ("Billy!?!  I said 'now'!!").  As grandparents of 3 (4 if you count one in preschool) school-age children, we get the benefits - the colorful drawings, the excitement over a hard-earned 'A', the joy of watching them learn - without all the hassles their parents have to endure.  Life is good.

Speaking of school, have you noticed that if you really sharpen a No. 2 pencil the tip always breaks and has to be worn down to a rounded nub to be usable?  I think it's a conspiracy in the lead industry.

Have you noticed how more and more people seem utterly indifferent to the claims of Christ in their lives?  Some, even when confronted with a major life crisis, just don't seem to care to acknowledge that there is a spiritual dimension to life that must be addressed. 

Have you noticed that the more things change, the more they stay the same?  And have you noticed how many of those old adages really are true, especially the older you get?

Have you noticed that, as a culture, we don't value history or the arts or language anymore?  We allow a flat-screen tv to be our window on the world and we willingly substitute 'reality' shows for reality.  Reading is almost a lost art.  We equate the accumulation of things with wealth and the information contained in our iPhones and Blackberrys with knowledge.  How sad.

Have you noticed that there is a God who is passionately in love with you, who desperately wants to engage you in a relationship unlike any other you have ever known?  It's true.

Have you noticed? 


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 09.08.09 Brian G. commented

I couldn't agree more Cecil. In so many words, Jesus told the crowds listening to him that they too would have to suffer like He would. The Scriptures say that many walked away when He said these things.

Suffering is probably the most disliked aspect of being a Christian and a follower of Christ. Suffering isn't very popular with non-believers either. Yet suffering gives an essential perspective to appreciate the small, simple blessings of everyday life. I know I have suffered in my life. Your last couple posts Cecil show you have suffered also.

More and more as a culture, we have substituted electronic devices of every kind for the comfort and connection we once got from other people directly. We text-message, talk on cell phones in public, watch television, etc. ignoring the person sitting right next to us. Instead of using public transit (which has all sorts of advantages) we prefer the isolation and convenience of driving alone in a car. And the list goes on.

We Christians can be guilty of these things as much as anyone else. Pastor Andrew Wommack has said that many American Christians, if they were put on trial for being believers, would have to be acquitted for lack of evidence.

More and more I see the logic behind Jesus saying that He is present with two or more gathered in His name. That we need to fellowship with one another and to encourage and edify each other. It truly is a challenge to be set apart from the culture, while still living in the culture.

Solitude has a time and place, as do many of the electronic comforts we take for granted. But when those things rule our lives, we lose out far more than we know. None of this should surprise us. Though it should absolutely concern us. In our short history as a nation, America has forgotten (or is ill-informed about) the Christian beliefs and God-fearing intentions of founding fathers. We can curse in public, we can talk non-sense and drama on cell phones in public, but try to pray to Jesus in public.

It reminds me of the science experiment where different groups of frogs were placed in both hot water and also comfortable water that was then heated up gradually. The frogs placed immediately in hot water died. The other group failed to notice how the water was getting too warm to survive, until it was too late.

on 09.16.09 Martha S commented

It is amazing that there are many people who go through trials and don't realize what God has done for them.I often wonder how people survive without the Lord because I sure couldn't!!
The other day I was leaving our Walmart and the greeter noticed my church camp t-shirt and was asking me about it and she was so surprised that I actually stopped to talk to her.The world is a busy place and many just go about their agenda and don't realize what a few minutes means to someone like a Wammart greeter. I thanked God for that moment as I drove home.And I thank God for your blogs..they are very thought provoking..and God bless you!!

on 09.16.09 Debbie from Cortland commented

Have you noticed? that once we begin to see these trees a changing their colors.....

and the children begin their five day school weeks.....


oh well, Mother nature is predictable at times. God bless ya'll!!

on 10.03.09 Sheila commented

As I grow older I have come to appreciate the blessings I have in my life. Fall is my favorite time of year and I look forward to all the glorious colors of fall. I love sharing the wonder of colors with my grandchildren. None of my grandchildren (3 total) are in school yet, but the 3 year old just loves to watch the big yellow school buses go by and wonders when she will be able to ride one. She wants to grow up so fast and I want her to stay little longer.

I have come to realize that being a grandmother is a very important role in life and I take it very seriously. I want to share with them what it means to have Jesus in their lives and all the blessings and wonders of God's creation, including them. My 3 year old granddaughter can tell you many things about a computer, but I want her to know about the wonders of reading a book and using her imagination to create something. We all are in such a hurry and want everything accomplished quickly instead of enjoying time to imagine.

I know my grown children are busy with raising their children to be the best they can be and I know they appreciate the fact that their children have grandparents to spend time with them, showing them the little things in life.