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Showing posts from June, 2022

Ravens’ Beaks

  Last week I wrote about eagles’ wings and how we need to wait upon the Lord in order to renew our strength. So can we think about a different bird this week? The raven is not a majestic bird that soars in grace like the eagle. It is actually a scavenger bird, eating the carcasses left behind by nature. Thanks to Poe, the raven has taken on an association with the darker side of literature.  But God has worked through the raven. The fowl served a purpose after the flood, as Noah sent one out that did not return, letting him know it was not yet safe to disembark. But more importantly, God used ravens to help Elijah and to teach him to trust in the Lord. In I Kings 17 the prophet came suddenly onto the scene and told King Ahab that there would be nether rain nor dew for three years.  This was punishment for the idolatry that had become commonplace in Israel’s northern kingdom, but it was also God’s evidence that He was superior to Baal. Ahab’s wife Jezebel had once served her father as

Eagles Wings

  When I was a kid I had one of those cloth Bible covers with the zipper, the kind that could hold pens and highlighters, and in my case, candy for church. The front cover was embroidered with a picture of an eagle in flight, and these familiar words from Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Those words greeted me every Sunday morning when I unzipped my Bible at church, and I know many people have found comfort in that passage.  That was Isaiah’s purpose, after all, to bring comfort. The chapter opens with the words, “Comfort, yes comfort my people!” That word comfort invited a remarkable shift in mood, as the first thirty-nine chapters dealt primarily with judgment. Because of years of idolatry and rejecting of their Lord, the southern kingdom of Israel was about to be conquered by Babylon and taken into captivity. That was the prophet’s mes

SBC 22 Update

The Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting is in the books, and I wanted to give a recap of some of the highlights. We were glad to represent Putman among more than 8,000 messengers in the beautiful city of Anaheim, California.  Most notably, the SBC dedicated serious time to the issue of sexual abuse within the convention. One year ago messengers asked for the creation of a Sex Abuse Task Force (SATF) that would report back 30 days prior to this year’s meeting. The report was horrific (to quote outgoing SBC President Ed Litton, it was “a gut punch”). In response, Southern Baptists overwhelmingly voted to adopt both recommendations from the task force.  First, the convention approved a continuing task force, called the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF), that will work for as many years as is needed to continue the effort begun by the SATF, which was only given one year to work.  More importantly, the convention adopted the creation of a database at the SBC office. The

Follow the Blueprints

I’m not an architect, but I have seen a few sets of blueprints in my life. I love how incredibly detailed blueprints are, with everything to scale, showing every door and window, and noting the dimensions of each component. A good set of blueprints can let the builders, plumbers, and electricians know exactly what they need to do. If you are unsure, just consult the blueprints.   No, I am not an architect, but I can follow blueprints. Not the trademark blue paper used for sketching plans; I am talking about the pattern of conduct that mature believers should model for younger Christians. In his first letter to the church in Thessalonica (which still exists as Thessaloniki in Greece) Paul commended the congregation for doing exactly that. He wrote: “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia (1:6-7).”  The Greek word translated

Sculpting a Lion

  A sculptor once made a remarkably lifelike statue of a lion. A friend of his was struck by how realistic the image was, especially in light of the fact that he could not have a lion stand still and pose while he was working on it. When his friend asked him how he was able to craft such a stunning piece of art, the sculptor replied, “I just kept cutting away anything that didn’t look like a lion.”  That is great advice for life. No, I am not talking about us sculpting lions, but in living lives of holiness. In I Peter 4:2 the Apostle said believers are called to “live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” Being a Christian means we are called to live a set apart life—set apart from the world and set apart to God. Rather than a lion, we need Jesus to be our model, and then we simply need to cut away anything that does not look like Him. The Apostle Paul gave us some specific character traits that might need to be cut away. Before l