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Showing posts from November 1, 2015

Testing God

Have you ever heard your mother or father say, "Now, don't put me to the test!" It is the nature of a child to go to the edge of created boundaries and to push against them. To put your parent to the test is to challenge their rules or boundaries. It is to push up against the guidelines they have set for living under their umbrella. You and I have seen parents "put to the test" and it is not a pretty sight. They become angry, disappointed, determined to now make their point about following the rules very clear. Several times in Scripture this idea of putting God to the test is mentioned. "In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test." (Psalm 106:14) "We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes." (1 Corinthians 10:9)  This refers to the people of Israel in the wilderness who "grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, 'Why ha…

Make Over

In the movie, My Fair Lady, two English gentlemen, Professor Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering, wager concerning the ability of Higgins to change the speech of a pauper into that of a lady. Language, culture, posture, and etiquette are pounded into Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl.  Yet, in the end however successful they think they have become was shattered by the truth of their internal struggles of love. A similar yet more powerful and meaningful story is told by Ezekiel of God's choosing and caring for Israel. On the day Israel was born it was "thrown out into the open field" and despised, but God "passed by and saw [her] kicking about in [her] blood." He said, "live!" God then made "you grow like a plant of the field…and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels." Later, God passed by and "saw that you were old enough for love." He "spread the corner of [his] garment over you and covered your nakedness. […

Two Sides

Pick up a quarter and look at the markings on each side. They are different, both have meaning but are part of the same coin. Listen to two people share their version of a story and it will be different because it is told from their perspective. There are two sides to the story of Joseph's departure to Egypt. Genesis 37 tells the story of Joseph's continued proclamation that his brothers and his mother and father were going to bow down to him. His brothers were infuriated with this suggestion and upon the occasion of Joseph travel to join them, far away from their father, as they tended the flocks, they "sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt." (Genesis 37:28) That was their story, but Psalm 105 tells a slightly larger story, it's God's story of that incident. "He [God] sent a man before them—Joseph, sold as a slave." (Ps. 105:17) Their story was that he was sold. God's story was, yes he was sold by his…

Buried Treasure

On a regular basis there are people searching the depths of the sea for buried treasure. Some seek gold and silver sunken in ships now covered by water and sand to obtain wealth for themselves. Others seek answers, clarity to questions long asked, like the Titanic sinking or the reality of slave ships and their cargo. Treasure is exciting to find but requires a discipline to discover. Lives are dedicated to its pursuit and documents are scanned and parsed to find clues to its locations. It seems to be one of the ultimate quests, exploring lost moments that are decades and centuries old. But there is one treasure that is before all of our eyes. It lays on tables before us, is among stacks on shelves, but is hardly thought by most to be of enough value to study. That treasure is the writings of the Bible. It is identified as "living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitud…

Builder God

We praise the builders of great works. The Empire State building, the Twin Towers that used to stand in New York, the Sears Tower in Chicago, great dams, rockets and capsules that are able to take men to the moon. These and many more great works around the world demanded plans of intricate detail. Systems have to be created for elevators, water transport, heating and air conditioning, waste management and teams of great men design them to work properly. The writer of Hebrews says that "Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything." (Hebrews 3:3-4) We focus our attention on those last seven words. From microbes to mountains, water (both sea and pure), man to animal, tribes to nations, dirt, plants, trees, sun, moon, planets, stars, gravity, photosynthesis, math and more is all created by God. For centuries it was unders…