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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Miranda Writes: Black (and Blue) Friday, Part 1




by Omar Miranda



“It was like the running of the bulls in Spain!” my wife told me with a quivering voice. Her eyes were bugging out of her head, and her hands were shaking. I thought to myself, Is she describing a fight? an accident? a natural disaster of biblical proportions? No, what she was describing in stark detail was . . . a sale . . . at Walmart . . . at 5:00 a.m.—that’s right, a.m.—the day after Thanksgiving! She had gotten there at 4:45 a.m., and the parking lot was already packed! My wife had braved a crowd of bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived, caffeine-crazed, frothy-mouthed shoppers—some of whom probably had been planning their Friday shopping blowout down to the last aisle and item in intricate detail.

Now, before you begin to judge my wife, I need to give you a little background; first, we are a one-income family, and money is tight! I mean tight! And the money she saved that Friday at Walmart was phenomenal!

Second, my wife did this because she loves her family; that’s why she subjected herself to the craziness. I’m thankful for my wife’s love for her family and for her unwavering focus on being a good steward of our money.

But—in the end—it’s just stuff. My wife was not happy that I said that to her! In fact, I don’t really remember what happened next—maybe several years of intensive therapy may begin to make the details more clear, but really, who has the money and time for that?

Anyhow, several years ago I saw a bumper sticker on a car that read “The person who dies with the most toys wins!” But the real-life bumper sticker should read “The person who dies with the most toys . . . still dies!” We live in a world that is absolutely hollow! It’s like a beautiful chocolate Easter bunny. Sweet to eat for a bit, but in the end it is hollow, leaving us with a bad taste in our mouths and a yearning for something more! But a yearning for what? I’ll come back to this thought in a minute.

I read a news article online in November 2008 titled “Walmart Death Preventable, Union Says.”* It had this to say: “Jdimytai Damour, 34, was crushed as he and other employees attempted to unlock the doors of a Long Island, New York, store at 5:00 a.m. Friday, police said.” (This was not the same Walmart where my wife was.) The article goes on to report: “At the Walmart, police say that a line began forming at 9:00 p.m. Thursday and that by 5:00 a.m. Friday there were as many as 2,000 customers outside. A video showed about a dozen people knocked to the ground as the doors were opened and the crowd surged, breaking the doors. Minutes later police trying to give Damour first aid were jostled by customers still running into the store, authorities said.”

Does any of this sound awfully bizarre to you? It should. A person died because people wanted stuff! Why are we focused on stuff so much? Is it that important?

I contend that the stuff isn’t that important, but it’s the hole that the stuff is trying to fill that is important. You see, each one of us has a hole in our soul—an indescribable need for an intimate relationship with God that nothing could ever fill . . . except God Himself. So there are only two questions that you have to ask yourself (and hopefully answer correctly):

1. Am I looking for stuff to fill that hole in my soul that only God can fill?

2. If I am, what do I need to do in order to fill it with the right thing—God?

In regard to the first question (which, by the way, is a timeless and crucial issue for everybody who has ever lived, is living, and who will ever live), the wisest man who ever lived spent a long time searching for meaning and satisfaction in this world. In his frustration—but to our benefit—he wrote his conclusions down in his diary, and we have it in the form of the Old Testament book called Ecclesiastes.

You remember Solomon, don’t you? He was the one who wrote many of the proverbs in the book of Proverbs. How do you think he got so smart? Well, God gave him a lot of wisdom, but he also screwed up a lot . . . and he wrote his conclusions down! All right, everybody, all together in one, two, three: “Thanks, Solomon, you’re the man.” Well, technically, “You’re the king.”

In 12 short chapters in the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon drops the wisdom bomb! He doesn’t mince words or mess around. He’s straight to the point about his ups and downs. And you and I can greatly benefit from it. If you haven’t read it, don’t wait another minute. I challenge you to read it today. I know you’ll learn a lot from it.

Solomon shared a lot of awesome information about living life, making choices, searching for the things that are the most important in life, making mistakes. What he ultimately learned will blow you away. Interested? I hope so, because I’m not above hooking you and letting you hang on until next week. Hang in there; I promise you’ll be richly rewarded with Solomon’s conclusions, and their simplicity and complexity will astound you.

Until next time, remember God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Make God first above all in your life and you can’t go wrong.
Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912
   
*www.cnn.com/2008/US/11/29/black.friday.death/index.html

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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