Friday, August 11, 2017

Lifting God Up

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. That whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” John 3:14 (ESV)

In the book of Numbers, we read of the Israelites complaining about God and how they bad-mouthed Moses. God gave them something to gripe about. (Do you remember when you were a child hearing: “If you don’t stop whining, I’ll give you something to whine about?”) The Lord sent serpents who bit the people As a result, a lot of them died.

            They approached Moses and begged him to pray to God and ask Him to take the serpents away. God chose another way to deal with the serpents and the people.God instructed Moses to make a serpent and set it on a pole. God’s reason for this was that all who were bitten by those serpents could look at the bronze serpent and live.

            John tells his readers in our focus verse to lift up Jesus just like Moses lifted up that serpent. You might ask,” How do we do this in our world today?”
            We lift up Jesus when:

                        *we attend worship services
                        *we spend time in personal prayer
                        *we study scripture personally and in a group setting
                        *we pray with a friend
                        *we tithe our income
                        *we honor God in all we do

            Let’s think of other ways we can lift up God.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Looking at Our World

Image result for Our World

            And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28
            As we go through our daily activities, we sometimes wonder why we do tasks in certain ways. I have concluded that we, as children of God have been assigned to care for our earth.

            I recycle what I can. Our town has a curbside pick-up program that helps the citizens in this effort. Some people participate because they believe their actions in recycling will keep the landfills from filling up as quickly.

            Several sites around town have dumpsters provided by a company that collects and recycles newspapers, magazines, and office paper. The company pays the site owners for the paper collected.

A school in a town to the immediate north of ours collects plastic caps and those caps eventually are reprocessed and become park benches. An interesting sidelight about this process is there are six memorial benches in Northern Indiana made from recycled plastic bottle caps and lids. This project was done by Girl Scouts. (

            An elderly man in our immediate area collect pop can tabs and donates them to our state’s children’s hospital. His efforts have received stories in our local paper and news coverage on television. People bring these tabs to him and he scouts around the area for empty pop cans to assist the hospital in their mission to aid children who are ill.

            I have concluded that we have a greater reason to recycle. In reading Genesis chapter one, we see God and His Spirit forming the world out of nothing. On the sixth day, God told man to have dominion over the fish, the birds, and every living creature on the earth.

            What does have dominion mean? Simply stated, it means we have a responsibility for what God had given us. A friend of mine has creative ways to apply the guideline, “recycle, reduce, reuse.”

            One of my friends estimates they recycle, reduce, or reuse 90% of what they have. If they don’t recycle through the city program, they compost what most of everything else. Because of what I have read in the Bible and learned from my friend, I realize anew I need to expand my recycling efforts from just newspapers, kitchen and grocery items to include items I toss into my waste basket in my computer room/office. I plan to be more diligent with my recycling because it is my responsibility.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Looking at Scripture with New Eyes

Saint John the Apostle 

                This past weekend, I attended a writing conference at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, about 35 miles from where we live. One of the keynote speakers, Bob Hostetler, spoke on “What If John Had Not Written?”  When I arrived home, I rested, got caught up on what happened while I was away. Went to bed early because I was exhausted. Sunday morning, I stayed home and rested. I decided to read the Gospel of John as a carry-over from the conference. I saw things differently than I had seen them before. What follows is a reflection on John 1:1-12.

“In the Beginning, the Word with God, was God.”   
            John reminds us of God’s presence at the creation of the earth. He tells us that God’s message was also there. Also, that His messenger is God. (V. V.1-2) John continues to extol God as the maker of all things. He states that nothing has been or ever will be made without God and his stamp of approval. (Verse 3) We need to reread the Creation Story in Genesis to fully understand what occurred at that time.

“The Light that Shines in Darkness”

            John gives praise that God’s Son is the light that shines in the darkness. And that the darkness has not overcome the true light. (Verse 5) (I believe the darkness will never blot out Jesus’ light.)

“A Witness to the Light”

            The Apostle John speaks of John the Baptist. The people asked baptizer John if he was the One for whom they had been waiting. He told them no he wasn’t. The one they waited for was so great that John could not even tie His shoe. His role was to tell others about the coming Messiah. (V.V. 7-8) John’s message was simple; he told the people to “Repent.”

“God’s Son Was Rejected by His Own”

            Yes, the Messiah was entering the world. Although He was in the world and He had made the world, those of this world did not know Him. His people did not receive Him. (They even crucified Him.) (V.V. 9-11) The Pharisees and Sadducees and the priests were jealous of Jesus and chose to incite the Jewish people into a frenzy that paved the way for the Crucifixion of Christ.

“God Granted Us the Right of Being His Child”

            To those who accepted Him as the Son of God, the Messiah freely gave the right to become His children. All we have to do is ask Jesus to come into our hearts. This right the Savior bestowed was and still is in accordance with the Will of God. (V. 12)   

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...