Every couple of years or so, I take an extended break from writing this blog. Now is one of those times. The Bible recommends an occasional long rest from your labors, so I am taking sort of a sabbatical for a couple of weeks or so. I never want this writing opportunity to become burdensome. Hopefully I will come back refreshed and invigorated, with many new ideas for articles.
In the meantime, perhaps you would like to check out the archives of Jesustrek. There you might find something to make you laugh, or something to make you cry, or something to make you mad or something to make you think. You will almost always find a verse of Scripture. Hopefully, through it all we will become more intentional and more focused as we journey through this life together with Jesus.
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…’”—Jeremiah 6:16.
Tern eggs that were disturbed
Over the July 4th weekend a large group of people boated out to Sand Island, which is about a mile off the coast in Mobile Bay in Alabama. There they set up tents and volleyball nets and began to play. However, there were many bird nests and eggs in their way, so they cleared enough space for their games. Sadly, their actions led to the death of many young coastal seabirds. These particular birds, called least terns, are federally protected. The headline of the article I read said: “Beach volleyball players in AL accidentally kill hundreds of birds.
Switch that scenario to human embryos and see if the logic would hold true. Would the headline have said that humans were killed? I doubt it.
I wish that baby humans in the womb were federally protected.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”—Psalm 139:13.
On the ride home from church one Sunday, a father asked his young daughter, “How was Sunday School class today?”
“It was fine.”
“Who was your teacher?”
“I don’t remember her name, but she must have been Jesus’ grandmother because she didn’t want to talk about anyone else.”
It certainly is true that grandparents love to talk about their grandchildren. It is also true that Christians should love to talk about Jesus.
“…You will be my witnesses…”—Acts 1:8.
A little girl was quite sad and upset because her beloved cat had died. Her mother tried to cheer her up by pointing out that her cat was with God in heaven now.
“Really?” the little girl asked.
“I think so,” her mother replied.
After thinking about that for a few seconds, the little girl asked, “Why in the world would God want a dead cat?”
Little girls aren’t the only ones who sometimes have a problem comprehending what it means to be resurrected. That’s why the Scriptures urge us to focus on the resurrected Jesus and to reflect on the fact that Christians, too, have in a very real sense already been raised to walk with him.
“Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead…Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”—Colossians 2:12; 3:1.
A mother heard her 4-year-old son let out a scream, so she came running into the room. There she saw her two-year-old daughter pulling mightily on her brother’s hair. Mom gently released the little girl’s grip and comforted her son, “There, there. She didn’t mean it. She doesn’t know that hurts.”
Mom was barely out of the room when the little girl let out a loud scream. Rushing back in, she asked “What happened?”
“She knows now,” the boy replied.
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”—Romans 12:19.
A mother once came to President Lincoln to ask him to spare the life of her son who had been sentenced to death. After listening to her pleading, Lincoln issued a pardon. As she left her meeting with the president, she exclaimed to the man who accompanied her, “I knew it was a lie!”
“What do you refer to?” the man asked.
She replied, “Why, they told me he was an ugly-looking man, but he is the handsomest man I ever saw in my life!”
Those who aren’t attracted to Jesus simply haven’t comprehended the fact that he has offered them a pardon from eternal death. Once they understand this, Jesus becomes the most handsome man they know!
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”—1 John 2:2.
The railroad crossing about a mile from my house has a warning signal with flashing lights and mechanical arms that come down when a train is approaching. This warning signal malfunctioned recently. The lights were flashing and the arms were down, but there was no train nearby. Drivers cautiously drove around the arms of the signal and went on their way. A worker came out later that day and fixed the problem.
I suppose an even greater problem would be if the warning signal malfunctioned in a different way—by not flashing its lights and lowering its arms when it was supposed to do so. After all, that’s what a warning signal is for—to warn people of impending danger. If it doesn’t do its job, the result could be tragic.
Part of our job as Christians is to warn others of the wrath of God that is coming on all those who ignore him or oppose him. That wrath that is surely coming will be swift, complete and eternal.
Have you warned anyone lately?
“Save others by snatching them from the fire…”—Jude 23.
Kyle McAleer was sitting with family and friends under the scoreboard at Wrigley Field on July 24, when the Cubs hosted the Diamondbacks. After the bottom of the fifth inning, Kyle was injured when a piece of the scoreboard fell and hit him on the head. Fortunately, he was wearing a plastic bucket on his head as a “rally cap”. Otherwise, the freak accident almost certainly would have caused a much worse injury, perhaps even resulting in death.
It is important to protect your head in spiritual matters as well. When we put on the “full armor of God” (Eph.6:13) that the Lord provides for us, we must “Take the helmet of salvation…” (Eph.6:17). Make sure that you have accepted the grace that God has offered to all people through Jesus!
Chipper Jones was recently inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. Jones piled up a lot of impressive statistics in his career, but this one really stands out. The switch-hitting slugger batted for a .303 average as a left-handed hitter and .304 from the right side. Such consistency is amazing!
Chipper’s father saw the advantages of being able to hit from both sides of the plate, and he and Chipper were adamant about the fact that he was going to be a switch-hitter. Occasionally a coach would ask him to bat only from the right side, especially in a crucial game situation. But the Joneses were committed for the long haul, and their perseverance paid off.
Sometimes we are tempted to take the easy way out. We have a plan for the long run, but sometimes it is easier in the short-term to give in and abandon our program. We cheat on our diet. We neglect our Bible study or prayer time. We forget our promise to watch less TV in order to spend better quality time with our family.
Churches too, are prone to cave in and do things the easy way. It’s too hard to incorporate new music into the worship service. Getting serious about making disciples is more difficult than merely showing up and going through the motions week after week. Confronting divisive people makes us uncomfortable, so we allow them to chip away at the unity of the church. Pointing out immorality in the church might upset someone, so we become as tolerant of evil behavior as the world is.
Heaven forbid that we take the easy way out! Jesus never promised us that living for him would be easy. But he promised to be with us if we remain faithful to him.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”–John 16:33.
Wildlife conservationists have a saying, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” This is to remind people of the dangers of feeding wild bears. There is danger, of course, to a person who would interact with a bear in such an inadvisable way. But it is dangerous to the bear also. You see, bears who lose their fear of human beings often become a nuisance. They begin to see humans as a food source and start coming closer to people. Sadly, this often ends in tragedy, as nuisance bears are sometimes killed if they are perceived to be a danger to humans.
So, the bottom line is this—Do not feed the bears!
When it comes to God’s people, however, the opposite is true. We must be fed the Word of God. The danger is that we will not be fed, and as a result will become weak in our faith.
You don’t have to be a gifted teacher in order to impart some biblical knowledge to another person. We all have the ability, and the duty, to teach others what we have learned from God’s Word. Let’s not be hesitant to feed each other!
“…Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’”—John 21:17.