Independence day stirs up memories of fireworks toys I had as a child—dangerous toys used with my parent’s permission.
One of my favorites was the feather hammer. Made out of wood and looking like a long-handled hammer, this magnificent menace sent a red-white-and-blue-feathered capsule high into the air. Caps provided the power. (Remember caps, those rolls of red paper strips with little black bumps of gunpowder?) I’d fold and stack into the head of the hammer as many caps as it would hold. Then, with all the strength my child-sized arm could muster, I’d swing that hammer, smash its head onto the concrete sidewalk, and BAM! The capsule shot straight up into the air and plunged back to earth or maybe onto the neighbor’s roof. The was also a metal “bomb” version—even more dangerous.
I also had a toy with a spinning red-white-and-blue wheel that made colored sparks fly when I pushed a plunger. And my friends and I enjoyed snap bombs that exploded when we threw them at the sidewalk and little firecrackers that we made using tape and gunpowder harvested from those black dots on our caps. At night we played with Roman flares and sparklers while older siblings lit cherry bombs and M-80s. The packaging on these toys wasn’t loaded with warnings, and fireworks weren’t banned where we lived. I’m sure parents were nearby keeping an eye on us, or maybe not. When I was a kid, we ran around the neighborhood at will and played outside until the streetlights came on. No one worried about drug dealers, or being kidnapped, or worse. It was a different America back then.
Today, almost everything we buy and many things we do come with a warning. We live in a dangerous, life-threatening time. But have you noticed that one very important warning is missing? It is the most important and life-saving warning of all. It’s banned outside of the church, but if it were allowed it might look something like this.
The bible says in Isaiah 53:6 (NLT) “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” That describes today’s America, doesn’t it? And Proverbs 14:12 (NLT) adds,“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” That sounds ominous, too. At every turn something lurks to send our human GPS on the wrong path.
So is all hope lost?
No! in the New Testament Jesus provides hope. He says, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT) Yes, Jesus overcame the world. But do you know that it’s also possible for you to overcome the world?
Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve read about Jesus in the bible, or maybe you’ve never read about Him. Truly knowing Jesus, not just knowing about Him, allows you to overcome all the dangerous “fireworks” that the world throws at you. Pick up a bible and read. There are translations written in modern, easy-to-understand language. Find one that you like and read about Jesus in the New Testament. Give Him a chance. It just might save your life.
[This is a repost from 2013]
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