Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Can Anything Good Come From There?

"Can anything good come from Nazareth?"  That is what popped into my head when I saw this picture of my brother and sister in Christ, Larry and Peggy at Nazareth.  What a wonderful opportunity to be in Jesus' hometown!  This is where Jesus grew up!  This was Jesus' home town.  

Evidently, it was an insignificant city according to Nathaniel in John 1:46.  I wonder if people at the time did not think of Nazareth the way people around here think of some of the small, out-of-the-way towns in my area.  If it hadn't been for Jesus, Nazareth would have remained an obscure place.  Who would stop to see Nazareth in their travels if it had not been for Jesus of Nazareth?  Jesus put the Nazareth on the map for thousands of years!  The answer to Nathaniel's question is, "YES!  Something good did come out of Nazareth! - -  Jesus of Nazareth!"

I suppose you could have asked the same questions of many other places.  There are place names that we remember, or at least have heard of simply because of what Christ did through his people in those places.

Can anything good come out of Nicaea?  Can anything good come out of Wittenburg? Northampton? Cane Ridge? Bethany? Searcy? Can anything good come out of ___________?  Many places would be lost to obscurity were it not for what Christ did through people struggling to be faithful to his calling in those places. 

If Jesus is there, then yes, something good can come from there.  The significance is not in the place, but in the person.  The significance ultimately is Jesus of Nazareth.

In Christ, no one is obscure.  In Matthew 10:29-30, Jesus said that the God who sees each sparrow fall to the grown knows the number of hairs on my head.  In Matthew 18:1-4, Jesus said that the greatest in the kingdom are the least.  In 1 Corinthians 12:23, Paul wrote that in the church, the least are the ones with the greatest honor.

Something good always comes from wherever Jesus is raised up and people follow him.  Thank you Lord for coming to our humble world to save us and lift us up to the Father. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

God is Good

God is good.  Praise God.  Thank you Lord.  Those phrases have been a constant refrain over the last few days.  One of my sons, Jeremy, was involved in a very bad accident when he had a near head on collision with a semi.  The weather was bad that morning and there were many accidents.  I had no idea that my son would be among those involved in the accidents that morning.  A few days after the accident, we were buying some medical equipment and furniture for the house in preparation for Jeremy returning home from the hospital.  In our conversation with an employee, we talked about why we were buying the furniture.  After describing the accident and where it happened, she said that she and her kids had heard about his accident on the radio.  It was really bad.  The semi had to be towed away and Jeremy's pickup was smashed.  He was a little disappointed that his truck is totaled, but is more thankful that he himself is not totaled.  It will be a long recovery, but he is alive and still with us.  Jeremy said that he is so fortunate because it could have been so much worse than it was.  I told him that I do not know the name of his angel, but God had to have sent an angel to protect him during the crash.

God is good.  Yes he is.  But is he good because Jeremy survived?  Yes, most definitely.  But what if Jeremy had not survived the crash?   This thought hit me like a mac truck after the experience of seeing  Jeremy's smashed and twisted truck in the impound yard.  Even if Jeremy had not survived the crash, God is still good.  I had to ask myself would I still bless the name of the Lord as Job did?  Would I still say that God is good?  I am thankful that I do not have to answer that question from personal experience.  Regardless of how circumstances look on the surface, God is good.  He is on the throne, he allows things to happen, he makes things happen, and somehow in his infinite wisdom that is beyond our eyesight, he works things out for good.  Why? Because he is good. 

I am reminded of the 107th Psalm that says, "Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good.  His loyal love is everlasting.  Let the redeemed of Yahweh say so."  Some days it is easy to declare that he is good.  Other days it is harder and is more of a matter of faith.  However, regardless of how I feel about it, or how I understand it, God is good. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Teacher Fish

I recently read an article about the discovery of 3 new types of sea creatures that live in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.  Evidently, they are previously unknown species of snailfish.  What is so unique about they are designed to live in a part of the ocean that few other creatures could survive in.  The article stated that they live in a trench in the bottom of the Ocean that is seven miles deep!  A submarine is able to only go about 2,000 feet deep.  They have very few predators because most other sea creatures are not capable of going that deep into the ocean.  The extreme pressure of the deep sea provides the environment for these unusual creatures to thrive in.  If they were to come to the surface, they would literally fall apart and melt.

Psalm 19 and Romans 1 tells us that the creation reveals to us something of the nature of God.  So what do these previously unknown creatures who live in the dark in an environment made for them tell us about God?  Maybe it is a reminder that each of us has our place and purpose in God's created order.  These unusual creatures have their unique place in the bottom of the ocean for whatever purpose they were created.  Maybe it is a reminder that we must live in the environment that God has created for us.  These creatures must remain in their environment, or they may be attacked by predators and fall apart from the lack of support of the deep sea pressure. If we do not remain in Christ, we will ultimately perish.  He provides protection, support, and life for us.  Maybe it is simply to remind us that God is infinite in his wisdom.  We never arrive.  There is always something more to discover and something more to learn.  Humility leaves us open to learning and enjoying new things.