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Jesus Spoke To The Need
by Bro. Clifford Hurst

1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417
937.854.1351

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Shotgun Shells, Soldiers, and Control of the Spirit

Hopefully it's not a premonition I'm going to die soon but only something that happens when one becomes a grandfather and starts getting a little old. Recently, distant memories from my childhood have spontaneously ambushed me with such vivid detail they have startled me. One such was playing army on a distant cousin's grandmother's back porch. Through our backyard on the next block lived my grandparents. Next door, my cousin. On the side of his grandmother's house was a concrete porch, roofless, but surrounded with half-wall height rock walls. Knelt down inside, we could play unnoticed and undisturbed. Though it's well over forty years ago, I can, not only, in my mind's eye see us there right now, but also, hear the bumble bees buzz about the blooms on the Rose of Sharon trees that separated the properties between our grandparents' yards. We played war. When we had lost, broken, or simply worn out our sets of little green G.I.s, or blue and brown cavalry and Indians, we substituted with spent 12, 20 and 4-10 gauged shot gun shells brought home from my grandfather's and dad's rabbit and squirrel hunts. We would spend lots of time just arranging our lines of battle on opposite sides of the porch. Hours would pass with our being lost in the intrigue. Not one thing on the porch was electronic. Young boys today would think, "How absolutely boring. Thank God for Xbox." "Not so fast," I imaginatively argue with these video gaming pros. "Don't you see the difference?" "We controlled our game." "Your game controls you." We did control the game: We chose, altering from day to day, who our armies would be--Nazis and Americans, Confederates and Yankees, Cowboys and Indians, and so on. We controlled which size shells would be the privates, which the captains, and which the generals. We decided what would be the artillery we would launch against each's troops: Would it be dirt clods, rocks, sticks, or even the dead soldiers? (A shotgun shell that stood in rank as a soldier, once knocked down was dead, but could still be utilized as a great missile.) We could decide if soldiers could be resurrected or not. We made all the decisions. We were in control. What fun. We could even declare the war over, when calls came for us to come in, or to be continued the next day. Today, all those decisions are predetermined by the parameters, design, and programming of the video game. Yes, we, not the game, were in control. It is true with so much of this life. The question is simply, do I control "it" or does "it" control me. One thing I learn as a believer is that I cannot control "it" unless I have allowed the Spirit to control me. With the Spirit in control, I need not be controlled by anything else. Well, I guess, being old and having flashbacks of a distant childhood of the past isn't so bad if it can teach one how to live better and closer to God today and into the future.

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