Romans 3:23, 5:8, 10:9-13

1 Samuel 17:34-35, John 10:28

Last week at church, Bernie Hayes gave a sermon entitled, The Living God. http://noelridge.net/ He talked about how David, in 1 Samuel, took a sheep out of the mouth of a lion and bear.  I found that fascinating and revisited the Scripture later.  In the account, David said that if a bear or a lion picked off a sheep, he would chase it, hit it, and retrieve the sheep from its teeth.  When countered by either predator, he would grab its hair, strike it and slay it.  To follow through with the previous actions, I think David probably put the sheep down for a moment, and then maybe lovingly picked up its scared, saliva-soaked self.

That Old Testament account of David keeping sheep safe from a predator is similar to a New Testament situation.  Once Jesus saves one of His “sheep,” Jesus said, “…no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Matthew 24:12

In my opinion, Matthew 24:12 is one of the most fascinating verses of the Bible.  In response to His disciples about signs of His coming, Jesus let them know that since wickedness will rise, “…the love of most will grow cold…”

I witnessed a couple of situations that I think can fall within the category of love growing cold.  I was driving in construction and the road narrowed with orange cones flanking both sides.  Without construction, there is a clear left lane to turn left plus a lane to go forward.  The driver of a van tried to get as far left as he/she could.  The light for the main lane was green.  The driver of a large pickup behind the van moved in closer.  The van could only inch forward, still waiting for the opportunity to turn left.  The pickup driver managed to pull around to the right of the van, yelled something at the van driver, made a sustained angry gesture, and drove off.  Love was absent and he acted in a cold way.

Another example of cold love involves a mean girl and an autistic boy.  At our church, there’s a young boy who’s autistic.  Sometimes, he has a troubled look on his face, but a lot of the times he’s excited about something, usually music or geography.  One day though, he heard that “Chloe”, a teenager, was going to be helping in the class.  He suddenly acted in a way we hadn’t seen before.  He went to a corner of the room, facing the wall.  He was very disturbed and said, “She’s my annoyer.  She comes to annoy me.  She’s been here since 2000 and I’m allergic to her.”  It turned out to be a different Chloe, but it was evident that another Chloe hadn’t shown him love and acted in a cold way.

If Jesus said something, it’s true.  If He said that most people’s love will get cold, it will.  So, if a random yelling man makes an angry gesture, a familiar “annoyer” slings more hurtful comments, or any other near-loveless or loveless action happens, just rationally remember that Jesus called it.

Luke 5:1-11, John 8:32, 14:6, 18:37

Before my family and I went on vacation recently, I picked up a National Geographic magazine with the title, Jesus and the Apostles on the cover.  I wanted to know what was being said about my Jesus.  On one page, I was pleasantly surprised to read a caption in support of what was called a “Jesus Boat.”  Apparently, scholars used to doubt the fishermen of Galilee could have boats that could have held the number of disciples mentioned in Scripture.  But, a drought that affected the Sea of Galilee in 1986 led to the discovery of an old, 27-foot-long boat (Get out some measuring tape for the full effect), and  “…scientific dating revealed it was built within decades of the birth of Jesus and could have been used during his lifetime.”

On another page of the same magazine, however, an author said, “It may be, in the end, that the Jesus of history isn’t what matters most.  It’s what we believe about him that counts.”  It seems the author is sowing seeds of confusion.  It sounds like he’s trying to separate the Jesus of history from the Jesus of the Bible.    If that’s what he’s saying, that’s a lie and not truth.  To know Jesus is to understand that Jesus is truth!  Whether you are or aren’t on the side of truth, check out part 1 and part 2 of Who is This Jesus:

As my family and I were vacationing in Virginia, we drove by a church sign in Big Stone Gap that read, “Prevent truth decay.”  That’s good advice.

Exodus 20:7, 18-21, Psalm 139:20

Our kids had swimming lessons last week.  As I waited on them nearby on Friday, I heard a lifeguard in a pool chair talking to a couple of other lifeguards in the water.  She kept using God’s name in vain like that was a cute thing to do.  She did that so much so that one of the lifeguards sounded annoyed and responded, “What?!”

That lifeguard in the pool chair was supposed to be thinking about guarding the lives around her.  In addition, she needed to guard her words.  She may have not realized it, but misusing God’s name is a sin.  To misuse God’s name is to break one of His commandments.

In Exodus, after God gave the 10 commandments, the people heard a trumpet and thunder, saw lightning, and a smoking mountain.  Moses let them know that God was just showing that they needed to fear Him and avoid sin.  To take God’s name in vain is to be an enemy of God.  Spread the word.

 

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 32:11

We’ve had the pleasure of watching a pair of mourning doves and their two babies right outside our home.  Now that the babies are gaining independence with their wings, it’s always a surprise where we find them, maybe in our lilac bush, near our roses, etc.  It’s kind of like a living version of Where’s Waldo since they’re camouflaged.  Mommy Dove and Daddy Dove have done a good job taking care of them.

Our Heavenly Father compares Himself to an eagle parent that flutters above the young and carries the young on its wings.  That’s a picture of love.

Matthew 7:7-11, John 3:16

Matthew 19:14

My mom returned our book, “Heaven is for Real” this past week.  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s about a boy, Colton, who claimed to visit Heaven during an appendectomy.  I believe him since his story doesn’t counter the Bible.  Chapter nineteen is entitled, “Jesus Really Loves the Children.”  One example of Jesus’ love for children is in Matthew, where Jesus talked about giving good gifts to children.

I know God loves our kids.  I have a recent example of how much God loves our daughter, Emily.  Emily and I had a Biblical conversation while driving home from an event.  As we pulled in the driveway, I felt satisfied that her questions were answered.  Five days later, I half-listened to a morning devotional, but knew that the writer had talked about losing wedding/engagement rings.  Then, one or two days after that, the kids were practicing tennis in the afternoon when I decided to sit down at a picnic table in a nearby shelter.  Before I sat down, I noticed something shiny and small on the concrete floor.  On closer inspection, I saw it was a child’s toy diamond that had become dislodged from a play ring.  I remembered the devotional about the lost rings and decided to read all of it on my phone.  It reminded me of the Biblical conversation I had with Emily almost a week before.  After the kids were done practicing tennis, as we were walking, I asked Emily if she remembered that conversation.  She did, but she had additional questions that I didn’t know about, but God did.  I listened to her and I again was able to answer her questions.  Evidently, it was important to God that Emily get answers to her extra questions.  Those answers were good gifts from God.  He showed He cared about her questions by lovingly and patiently going to great lengths to get them answered.

Colton was persistent in telling his parents how much Jesus loves kids.  Jesus’ words in the Bible revealed His love for children, and I’ve seen evidence of that love.  If you have kids, please remind them that Jesus loves them!

Psalm 51:7

Earlier this week, I decided to organize a bathroom drawer.  I threw out some ponytail holders that our daughter wore years ago.  When I got to the back of the dark drawer, I discovered an unused Q-tip, with unkempt fuzzy ends.  It didn’t surprise me it could fuzz-out like that.  What did surprise me was that it had yellowed.  I hadn’t seen a yellowed Q-tip before.  We’ve lived in this house over a decade, so it looks like it got shoved to the back of the drawer and left for years.

Let’s pretend the old, yellowed Q-tip represents an unrepentant sinner that has run away from God.  Are you an old, yellowed Q-tip?  Is someone you know an old, yellowed Q-tip?  If so, you, or someone you know, can be a new, whitened Q-tip.  Jesus can make anyone whiter than snow.

Joshua 3:7-4:7

Earlier this month, my family and I took a trip to Virginia Beach, VA.  One of our stops was at Appomattox, VA in the McLean House, where, on 4/9/1865, Lee surrendered to Grant.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLean_House_(Appomattox,_Virginia) Years of fighting and bloodshed preceded that surrender.  We remember the sacrifice many soldiers made.

Although Virginia is chock-full of history, Israel is loaded with history as well.  Because of God’s power, Israelites miraculously crossed over the Jordan River on dry ground, even though it was “at flood stage.”  http://www.bible-history.com/maps/palestine_joshua.html  Twelve stones were taken from the Jordan River’s middle ground to their camp.  Joshua then set the stones up as a memorial.  I guess Joshua had a different kind of Memorial Day.

(Repost with minor revisions)

2 Samuel 22, 21:15-17a

I read about a battle between Israel and the Philistines.  David was exhausted and a Philistine named, Ishbi-Benob,  wanted to kill him.  Then Abishai came forward and killed the Philistine.  I believe God used Abishai to rescue David.  David was a thankful man and sang in celebration after God helped him many times.

Eight years ago today, God rescued me.  I was driving on Bever Avenue, a busy street, when someone ran a stop sign and headed for the left front of the car.  I was forced to swerve immediately to the right onto a side street, and unfortunately, there was a little car that suddenly appeared at a stop sign there, right in my path.  I braced for the impact as my tires screeched, but instead, the front of our car just seemed to float.  I opened my eyes and saw the little car I had tried to avoid still at the stop sign, with no damage.  I was pointed in the right direction.  Shaken, I drove very slowly and found a place to park.  I checked out the car.  There wasn’t any damage, and I wasn’t injured!

Believe what you like, but I believe God sent an angel to pick up our car.  Thanks be to God, my rescuer!  God helps me in many ways, but the heavenly help on Bever Avenue that afternoon stands out.  Every year now, when I put up a new calendar, I write on the month of May, “Heavenly help on Bever Ave,” so I can remember what God did for me.

 

Daniel 1:3-14, 2:46, 3:23-30, 6:23

I read Daniel for the third time yesterday after watching the movie, “The Book of Daniel.”  This movie mostly adheres to Scripture with some minor differences:

Scripture:  A court official was too afraid to grant Daniel’s food and drink request, but a guard agreed.
Movie:  Daniel only talked to the court official.

Scripture:  After Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s statue dream, Nebuchadnezzar “fell prostrate before Daniel…”
Movie:  After hearing the interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar walked toward his throne and sat down.

Scripture:  Royal advisers and others looked for evidence of fire on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and Nebuchadnezzar didn’t mention the word, “fire.”
Movie:  Nebuchadnezzar examined them and said the word, “fire.”

Scripture:  Daniel had to be lifted up out of the lion’s den.
Movie:  King Darius said to Daniel, “Come forth” and Daniel simply walked out.

Daniel and his friends were steadfast in their loyalty to God.  They probably had God-fearing mothers.  If their mothers still lived and found out about their applied love for God, they would have been pleased.