Tag Archives: foundation

You’re Not A Flamingo! Christians Don’t Have A Passive Gravitational Stay Mechanism

The flamingo stands on one leg. You’ve probably seen pictures. You may even have wondered how and why they stand that way. Many theories still exist about the “why,” but researchers from Emory and Georgia Tech have recently answered the “how.” They call is a “passive gravitational stay mechanism.”

Flamingos have a unique mechanism in their legs. When standing on one leg, the foot centers beneath the body. That engages a “stay mechanism” that allows the bird to stand with no effort at all. In fact, the researchers were even able to engage this mechanism on dead flamingos!

In other words, Flamingos stand with no muscle or energy expenditure! When the flamingo wants to swap legs or stand on two feet, they simply disengage the mechanism by leaning in. It is, truly, an amazing design.

Humans, of course, don’t have that ‘stay mechanism.’ We use muscles to stand, and we expend energy. If we stand in one position with knees locked, we will typically pass out or fall over after a certain amount of time.

Ironically, though, Christians sometimes act like flamingos. We think we can stand firm in the faith without actively working at it. When a person becomes a Christian, they are said to be a new creature…but not a flamingo! Standing requires effort.

Paul reminded the Corinthians to stand firm in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1). Standing firm requires alertness, courage, and strength (16:13). He exhorted the Galatians to stand firm to avoid slavery to sin (Galatians 5:1). The example is of a soldier standing in battle with “cleats” on his sandals.

The flamingo’s “knee” is God’s amazing design. The best “why” guess scientists have is that, by expending no energy on standing, they can regulate body temperature better. They are designed to withstand their environment.

We are designed to withstand our environment as well. We stand securely when we stand on the promises of God! But our standing is not passive – it requires an active faith in the saving work of His Son. Now that is a firm foundation!

The Danger Of A Little Damage

 As I write this article, about 200,000 people have been evacuated from below the Oroville Dam in California. The citizens of California, the evacuees, and all the families whose lives are being impacted are in our prayers.

Oroville Dam is the tallest dam in the United States, and it sits about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco. Built in 1968, it holds back Lake Oroville. The lake is crucial to California’s “State Water Project,” a system of retaining water for use in the dry spring and summer seasons.

Because of heavy rains and snowmelts, the water levels are extremely high…almost at capacity. And with more storms on the way, state officials and engineers have been frantically releasing as much water as possible. This effort has been hampered by damage to the main spillway and erosion on an emergency spillway. 

If the dam fails, at any spot, there could be a massive, uncontrolled release of water…a 30-foot high wall of water entering the valley below. It could cause significant damage. It would certainly be devastating financially for citizens and the state. And it would cause a significant depletion to reserve water needed in the year ahead.

As I read about the challenges facing these workers and the decisions being made to shore up the weak spots, I remembered something my friend David Pharr once said. A paraphrase would be: “you don’t have to destroy the whole fence in order to render it useless; a break in a small section will let all the cows out.”

Of course, the same principle is true of our adherence to God’s Word. It is easy to be tempted by phrases such as: “it is such a small thing,” or “that isn’t really an essential command,” or “we’ll fix that some other time.” If small cracks aren’t identified and shored up, they can lead to catastrophic failure of faith.

The song, My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less says the words better than I have (see below). It is a song that reminds us that there is no foundation, no rock, no trust as great as the one we have in Jesus. If we build on that firm ground, we will remain secure.

We pray for the workers and all those who are trying to secure safety for the citizens of California. As we do so, let us also remember to remain vigilant in our faith and secure eternal safety for others and ourselves in Christ, our solid rock.

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Refrain:
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil. [Refrain]

His oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay. [Refrain]

When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain]

A Foundation Built On Jesus Won’t Crumble!

tin can earthquake

The news out of Taiwan is sad and painful. Tragic loss of life always is. The damage caused by the earthquake is significant. Several buildings collapsed, dozens of people are dead, and hundreds are missing.

But one of the 11 buildings that collapsed caught the attention of investigators immediately. Why? It practically disintegrated after the earthquake. Evidence shows that structural columns and walls were filled with plastic pieces, foam, oil cans, and other inappropriate building materials!

And now, the developer is under arrest.

Lin Minghui was arrested Monday night on “suspicion of criminal business misconduct resulting in fatalities.” And this isn’t the first time he has been questioned. During the Sichuan Province earthquake that killed 70,000 in China in 2008, Lin’s practices were questioned in school buildings that collapsed.

Whether or not Lin Minghui will be held accountable for illegal practices is unknown. But we will each be judged eternally by how we build spiritually. And how we build in this life matters to God!

In fact, in 1 Corinthians 3, Paul discusses the Christian life in terms of a building project. There is only one foundation, Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11); we should take great care in how we understand, teach, and live in Christ (3:12); when the quality of the work is revealed, the materials we used will become evident (3:13); and those who used faulty products will face condemnation (3:13-15).

Those who recognize Jesus as the true foundation will not use any other foundation. They will teach and preach Christ using the words of life found in scripture. Like the others, their building materials will be revealed in days of great trials. But unlike the others, they will receive a reward because their work remains.

Work that is built on anything other than Christ will crumble; it is just foam, tin cans, and plastic. What will the work of your life be built on, and how will it look when it is revealed by the refiner’s fire? Build a better life today on Christ, and your work will stand the test of time.