Tag Archives: Bible

Are You Ready? Put Me In Coach!

Are you ready? Right now. This moment. Not in an hour, not in a minute, but at this exact second. Are you ready?

Scott Foster was ready. About two weeks ago, the 36 year-old accountant had to answer a very simple question: “Are you ready?” He said, “yes,” and the rest is history.

Foster, an emergency back-up goalie, never anticipated actually playing in an NHL game. As an emergency back-up, he enjoys a meal, watches the game from the sky box, and goes to games for free. But that night was different!

Foster, a former college goalie, was told to suit up. And when Chicago lost Anton Forsberg and Collin Delia to injuries, he sprang into action. The accountant went from his 10-key that afternoon to stopping all seven shot attempts during the final 14 minutes of the Blackhawks’ 6-2 victory.

The crowd chanted his name. The team jumped on him. No one can ever take that moment away from Foster and his family. Why? He was ready.

The United States Coast Guard’s motto is “Semper Paratus.” It means, “Ever Ready.” The Scouts say, “Be Prepared.” It means they are ready, in mind and body, to do their duty. But did you know that long before hockey, the Coast Guard, or the Scouts, the Bible taught how important it is to “be ready?”

Proverbs 20:4 teaches us not to procrastinate. In 1 Peter 3:15, Peter tells the disciples that they must always be ready to explain to people why they have hope in Christ. Jesus often spoke about living a life that proves we are ready for His return (Matthew 24:44).

What about you? Are you prepared to share your faith? What if Jesus returned right now? Have you confessed Him as the Son of God? Have you been baptized? Do you walk in faith, ready for His return?

By the way, Foster boasts a perfect average in the NHL. Pretty cool. We aren’t perfect, but I’ll rejoice far more for a “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

A Couple of Good Purim Lessons For Everyone

Do you celebrate Purim? Unless you are a Jewish child, or have Jewish children/grandchildren, Purim probably isn’t big on your to-do list today. But even if you aren’t celebrating, or Jewish, we can all learn good lessons from this holiday.

Purim comes from Esther, the last book of history in the Old Testament. It takes place when Persians ruled (mid-400’s B.C.). It is a “rabbinical” holiday, meaning that it was not instituted by God’s command, i.e., Passover, Yom Kippur, etc. Rather, somewhat like the 4th of July, it is a celebration of a great victory.

The holiday gets its name from the plural of “pur” or lots. Haman wanted to kill all the Jewish people because a Jewish man named Mordechai would not bow down to him. “Lots” were cast to choose a day for all Jews to be killed in their towns. Instead, though, by God’s providential care, and the work of Esther, God’s people were saved. A day of celebration, “Purim,” commemorates that victory.

Today, Jews celebrate Purim with:

  • Reading Esther.
  • Giving gifts to the poor – a reminder to help the less fortunate.
  • Festivities: decorations, costumes, food, music, etc.

You might ask, “What does that have to do with me?” Consider two great lessons from Purim…

First, Esther was in the right place at the right time to help people. We are equally in the right place at the right time to do something for God’s glory. What is it? I’m not sure what your calling is, but “for such a time as this” you have a purpose! Read Romans 12 and consider your spiritual gift for God’s purpose.

Secondly, Purim celebrates salvation from certain death. A letter of death was sent and their fate was sealed. God intervened. Today, Christians are also saved from the certain death of sin (Romans 3:23, 6:23). But do you celebrate that fact? Remember to thank God for salvation!

So…you may not be dressing up, celebrating, or eating yummy Hamantashen today, but it is always a good time to review some scripture, remember God’s providential care, and rejoice in His victory!

“It’s For the Children” May Be Harming The Children!

India recently celebrated Diwali, a holiday which marks “the homecoming of the Hindu god, Lord Ram, from exile.” In the past, it was celebrated by illuminating clay lamps. These days, it is a massive fireworks show, approximately 50,000 tons. Now that’s a show!

But there’s a problem. Delhi’s air quality is poor. A study found that “half of the city’s 4.4 million schoolchildren have diminished lung capacity.” And fireworks exacerbate the problem. In fact, last year’s show caused so much smoke that a “toxic haze blanketed the city” for a week. Many citizens suffered health issues.

So India’s Supreme Court stepped in. They banned the sale of fireworks in Delhi. Of course, the ban went over with a hiss, crack, and boom among local merchants. Nevertheless, people find a way, and enough fireworks went off that it took over 3 days to return to pre-Diwali air conditions!

When asked about the decision to ban the sale of fireworks, one merchant said, “what do we tell the kids on Diwali: ‘Go pray, eat your food and go to bed? How will they enjoy that?” Another said, “If there are no crackers, then Diwali doesn’t mean anything – only lights and sweets. It’s too boring!”

Doesn’t mean anything? Even though fireworks are a modern addition, many said they might as well not celebrate Diwali without them. It would be too boring.

Hmmm…sound familiar?

I love a good fireworks show. But we can learn a lesson from the Hindu dilemma. More harm than good is often done when invoking the plea, “it is for the children!” The fireworks in Delhi add to pollution that is literally killing the children.

Has the church fallen victim to the same irony? In a rush to entertain, do we create apathy toward true, yet simple, worship? If we remove modern entertainment, is it “too boring” to worship God? Is, “for the children,” harming the children in the church?

I do enjoy a good fireworks show. But there’s a time for entertainment, and there’s a time for the pure milk of the word. May we use wisdom to discern the two.

#forthechildren

Still Refuse To Believe? Consider The Evidence.

“And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44).

I think I’ve heard every excuse for why this couldn’t be blood in Jesus’ sweat. Some claim that the word, “like” gives an out to the skeptic. Others deny that “blood sweat” exists. Many simply shrug and say they can’t explain it.

But “hematohidrosis” is real. It is a rare condition. And a 21-year-old patient, who was recently treated for “blood sweat,” definitively answers the critics.

The young woman in question has dealt with “blood sweat” for at least three years. She was a patient of Dr. Roberto Maglie at the University of Florence. Hematologists at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto further studied her case, and they recently published their findings in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Sometimes “blood sweat” occurs in her sleep, other times under stress. It can appear on her hands and her face. The condition causes her stress and depression. She even ostracized herself from society due to the condition.

Having ruled out cuts, colored sweat secretion, such as chromhidrosis and pseudochromhidrosis, and other possibilities, doctors treated her for hematohidrosis. The medical team also reviewed 42 medical articles since 1880 about the condition. Yet some doctors still refuse to accept its existence.

Why is it so difficult to believe? Medical historian Jacalyn Duffin from Queen’s University in Ontario wrote, “the long-standing association of hematohidrosis with religious mystery may make its existence harder to accept.” In other words, because “blood sweat” is Biblical, it gets dismissed.

In and of itself, this kind of skepticism is nothing new. If the Bible said it, then secular-minded individuals want to disregard it. But at what point does overwhelming evidence not cause one to review the facts?

Of course, hematohidrosis is just a small example of a larger issue. Many will deny anything associated with religion. But consider this: every time the truth comes out, the Bible’s message is always confirmed.

Jesus was under such great stress that, Luke, a physician, wrote of a condition that appears to have been “blood sweat.” Jesus wept on behalf of humanity. Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and arose resurrected on the 3rd day. You might not want to believe any of that either, but you should carefully examine the evidence.

There will come a day when, at His coming, the truth is completely revealed to all…how does that impact your next decision?