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Superfluous Living
by Rick Stephenson
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Iím not sure why but the word superfluous got stuck in my head the other day and I couldnít seem to shake it out. Maybe itís because for the first time in my life I went shopping on Black Friday. (What a mistake that was, but thatís for another blog). This year since the stores were opening up early (midnight on Thanksgiving Day) and since I usually stay up until that time of night anyway, and there was one thing I wanted to get for someone at a nearby store, I thought I would try it. So, I got in line behind some who had been waiting for hours for a $6.99 DVD. Regardless of the incredibly long line I stood in for over an hour and a half and the cold wind that whipped almost through me, I didnít give up and got through the doors at 12:10am only to find that the deal I was looking for was gone within the first nine minutes or sooner. So there I was standing around as shoppers whizzed by me and around me. I decided to watch them for a while and what I saw was something that can only be described as superfluous living.

First, let me say that I am happy to live in this great country called the United States of America, but what I saw was anything but united, stately, or previously typified by the word American. You see, we live in a land of abundance because over the past couple hundred years or so we have been blessed. These blessings have come to our country for the most part, because we as a nation have had our eyes on the most important thing Ė Our God. When the pilgrims came over to this country, it was for religious freedom (not freedom from religion as some are calling for today), which means they craved the right to worship God freely as they chose without restriction or persecution. As this nation grew and developed it needed some guidelines in place to help facilitate itís proper growth, so those we now refer to as our founding fathers answered the call. They wrote an outstanding document called the constitution, which they based upon the personal relationship they had with their Almighty Creator and so God blessed this fledgling nation.

Everything at first was done out of necessity as this nation strove for survival, first physical survival of the harsh environment, next survival of a dream for independent rule, then survival for unity and cohesiveness within, even survival from outside tyranny and axisí of evil. All the while, the driving factor was a reliance on God to see this nation through as we prayed in courts for right judgments to be made, as we prayed in schools for right minds and behaviors to be developed, as we prayed for elections for right leadership to gain control, even as we prayed for those who stood up to fight for what was right to have courage and do what was necessary to ensure it. Therefore, in, during and as a result of all this God blessed!

However, as God blessed, our wealth, status and confidence as a nation grew and we began sharing what we had with others less fortunate as God had asked of us to help spread His renown and love. Therefore, God blessed us even more.

Now, somewhere along the way we have taken our eyes off God and placed them upon ourselves, truly believing that we ourselves have brought our prosperity upon ourselves, that somehow we earned it or deserved it. As a result of this attitude, God has backed away and let us experience what we ourselves can produce, things like corruption of government, lack of meaningful leadership, tremendous crime and selfishness, reduced influence and status as well as meaningless pursuits.

So, as I stood there on an appropriately named day called Black Friday, it had become a self-fulfilling prophecy, revealing the darkness of the American heart. That darkness is called superfluousness. In its basic definition, it means that we have more than what is necessary and we continue to pursue the inessential and if we continue down itís path there is nothing awaiting but self-destruction and annihilation.

There is hope however, that things can change once again. It will require much sacrifice, determination and a willingness to turn around and pursue light. In other words, we must take our eyes off self and focus on God once more. We must humble ourselves and recognize our need for the Almighty to guide us. If we do this from a sincere heart, God will bless us once again, not for our benefit, but for the worldís benefit, so they may know Him.

I would encourage you today that it must start with us as individuals and then those individuals must unite, come together in purpose, carry themselves in a stately manner moving slow and steady in the direction that God calls us to, and present the previously known American heart of compassion and generosity. If you, like I, will simply look around, for the most part, we have more than enough to get by on and the rest is really not essential to our survival. Letís resist superfluous living and pursue meaningful living remembering the following:

Deuteronomy 11:24 -28 ďBehold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.Ē (KJV)

God Bless! - Rick

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