In years past, two of my favorite comic strips were “Dennis the Menace” (naturally) by Hank Ketchum, and “Peanuts” by Charles Schultz. They both contained humor, but also some content that would cause me to look for deeper meanings. Both artists used pure, wholesome humor that the whole family could enjoy. (any emphasis is mine)
One example is a Dennis the Menace single frame from the 1960’s. According to Wikipedia, the Dennis strip first appeared in newspapers on March 12, 1951. Hank Ketchum retired in 1994, and the strip continues today through the talents of other artists that are applying his pure humor. Mr. Ketchum passed away June 1, 2001. While I do not remember the exact date this favorite frame appeared, it showed Dennis on his knees at bedside; hands folded and eyes closed. The caption was, “Well God, I goofed again!” At the time I could truly relate to that prayer; and still do.
Charles Schultz’ first publication of Peanuts was October 2, 1950, and continued to February 13, 2000. Mr. Schultz’ strip has been one of the most popular and successful works ever, and has been translated in at least 21 languages. There have been several movies produced featuring the Peanuts kids. One of the most popular is the “Charlie Brown Christmas” from 1965. On the day prior to his final strip being published (February 12, 2000), Mr. Schultz passed away. Wikipedia states it was his 17,897th Peanuts strip.
In the Peanuts strips, I had many favorites; however, one stands out for me. Linus is standing with a fist in the air, and is talking to someone that’s not in the frame. The first frame has the caption, “I’m Independent!”; Second frame, “I can stand on my own…”; Third frame shows Linus looking and pointing down; Fourth and final frame shows his fist again raised and looking up with the caption, “Two…My Own Two Feet!”
Looking at the Dennis the Menace frame first, 1 John 1:8-10 comes to mind. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar (not a good idea), and His word is not in us.” This is a “conditional covenant” in that we will be forgiven IF we confess and ask forgiveness. It doesn’t pay to try and “fool” the Father. If we will do our part, He will do His.
Some additional verses on forgiveness are Psalm 103:10-12, Psalm 130:3-4, Isaiah 1:18, Isaiah 43:25, Isaiah 55:7, Micah 7:18-19, Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25, Luke 6:37, Luke 7:47-48, Luke 24, 46-47, Acts 3:19, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 1:7-8 and Colossians 1:13-14. There are more, but these should demonstrate how much the Father loves us, and is willing to give us many opportunities to be right with Him.
As for the Linus strip, God does not expect us to be so “independent” that we think we don’t need Him. As we gain “maturity” here on earth, many lose sight of what lies beyond. Satan convinces many that “heavenly things” are actually fantasy, and not real. What’s so sad is the sheer volume of people who buy into his lies for the sake of this world’s “pleasures.” Nothing of this world is permanent, and will only be with us as long as we are here. Eternity is a real long time to make this mistake.
Matthew 18:10, “See that you do not despise [cause harm to] one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in Heaven always see the face of My Father in Heaven.” Is it any wonder that when the time comes, Satan will receive the harshest eternal punishment of all? Go to Matthew 18:6, “But if anyone causes one of these little ones, who believe in me, to sin, it would be better for him [her] to have a huge millstone hung around his [her] neck, and to be drowned in the open sea.”
Children hold a special place in our Savior’s heart. Matthew 19:14, “But Jesus said, let the little children come to me, and do not try to stop them; for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” The harm being directed at the children of the world today is staggering. There have always been those who would abuse children in terrible ways, but not nearly the volume of this day and age. Child “trafficking” is becoming a big business, and the victims are mostly helpless to resist. The predators really need to go back and read Matthew 18:6 carefully. The warning is from our Creator Himself; and remember, Jesus is God, as given in John 10:30.
As my “relationship” with the Savior has grown over the years, I have learned He is not impressed as to how “mature” I believe I have become. One verse that tells it like it really is – 1 Corinthians 1:25, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom; and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” This verse is foolishness to the devoted unbelievers, as told in 1 Corinthians 1:18. This attitude is a sure way to have a place in line at the White Throne Judgment.
The Ketchum/Schultz strips were absolutely fine for all kids to see every day. Much of the “garbage” that is being fed to our youth today is designed to desensitize them to anything that is harmful and sinful. Daniel’s warning about human knowledge increasing is a two-edged sword (Daniel 12:4). For the one seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit will open our hearts and minds to this cause.
On the other side, for those who reject our Savior, Satan is right there to lead them into eternal darkness. God will never force anyone to accept His Son, but is always there to help any and all who will call out for Salvation (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:9-13).
As given by our Savior, Paul, James, Peter, John and others, false prophets and antichrists are increasing daily. Satan has an agenda that shows he’s feeling the pressure of his time running out. 1 John 2-5 tells about all the activity that would be increasing toward the end of this age. That time is here; now; today.
At a time that is known only to our Father, Jesus will be calling all true believers world-wide, up to meet Him in the air. This is to keep God’s promise to keep all of Jesus’ flock from the Wrath/Tribulation to come. We don’t know the “exact” time, but we were given signs of when this age would be near the end, and all those signs are here now for the first time ever. This does not mean we should just sit down and wait for the call. We need to keep ourselves occupied with Heavenly things to keep our service to the Lord strong. Whatever talent we may have should be directed to being ready to meet our Savior face-to-face.
Study the word of the Lord (Bible); talk to Him daily (prayer); do not get all caught up in what this earth has to offer, as it will be gone one day. Consider each day that we are here as “Another Day – Another Chance” to get closer to our Savior. It is absolutely the best decision you will ever make.
Shalom Aleclem! (Peace Be With You)