Tag Archives: word

Instructions With A Good Warning! “Common Sense Required”

Recently I finished a tile project in the kitchen. I had never used this tile cutter before, so, I decided to do something smart; I read the instructions. I came across the most interesting paragraph. It read:

“The warnings, precautions, and instructions discussed in this instruction manual cannot cover all possible conditions and situations that may occur. It must be understood by the operator that common sense and caution are factors which cannot be built into this product, but must be supplied by the operator.”

Now that is a disclaimer!

In other words, they have explained the right way to use the product, and they have given reasonable warnings. But no manual can devise warnings for every possible misuse of their product. A little “common sense and caution…must be supplied by the operator.”

When it comes to the Bible, the same is true. The Bible is a tremendous collection of law, history, poetry, wisdom, prophets, letters, and apocalyptic literature. It tells us how to be saved. It tells us the proper way to live in order to go to heaven.

But it can’t list everything in the “don’t” category. Even if God tried, which He doesn’t, people would look for loopholes. Yet, people seem to want to hold the Bible to a ridiculous standard: “It doesn’t say I can’t!”

A little common sense would go a long way for reading God’s Word. That’s why Paul writes in Philippians 2:12, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” In doing so, we receive the grace God provided through His Son.

So…give the Bible a read. It isn’t a list of every “don’t;” we must supply a bit of common sense and caution. But it does reveal the words of eternal life (John 6:68).

There is one main reason for using a tile cutter – to cut tile! There is one main reason for reading God’s Word – to be assured of eternal life. If you skipped reading the instructions, you probably missed something important!

“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand” (Matthew 7:26).

Prank Caller, Prank Caller…Hang Up!

If you lived in the 90’s, you may remember the “Jerky Boys.” They became famous by prank calling people while using voices and characters they had invented. They recorded the calls, got them played on the Howard Stern show, and eventually sold over 8 million copies of their albums.

Recently, pranksters known as “The Russian Jerky Boys,” have taken it to a whole new level – prank-calling heads of state! They successfully prank called Senator John McCain and Elton John. Their latest victim is Energy Secretary, Rick Perry.

In a 22-minute call, Rick Perry thought he was discussing cyber hacking and biofuel with Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman. They discussed deals on coal exports, fuel innovation, and the Paris accord. But it was all a lie – jokesters masquerading as Ukrainian officials.

No one likes to be fooled. It is embarrassing. And sometimes it can be more than just a joke – it can be downright disastrous.

The Bible tells us to watch out for those pretending to be something they aren’t. Specifically, the Apostle Paul warns:

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Did you catch that? Satan masquerades as an angel of light. And so do false teachers!

So what’s a person to do? How can we know what is true? How do we avoid being duped by a “prank caller” with eternal consequences?

John gives a simple solution: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). And how do we do that? By comparing God’s Word against the things we are told by all teachers and preachers (Acts 17:11).

Want to avoid prank calls? Check the number. Want to avoid false teachers? Check the Word.

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]

He Who Has Ear To Hear…Listen To The Plants?

talking-plantsIf plants, trees, animals, and the earth itself, could warn humans of danger, what would they say? Well, as it turns out, plants are talking…and you really want to hear what they are saying!

In a journal article in Nature Materials, MIT researchers explained how they have helped turn spinach plants into “bomb sniffing machines.” The plants were embedded with tiny carbon tubes to help them detect “nitroaromatics” (chemical compounds used in explosives). Once the plant detects the compound in the air, it emits a fluorescent signal that is picked up by an infrared camera and wirelessly notifies a smartphone.

Yeah…pretty amazing.

You see, plants have impressive skills when monitoring the chemistry of their environment. And they often react quickly – so quickly that they are able to “speak” in real-time. It will be years before bomb-sniffing dogs are out of a job; nevertheless, it is nice to know that scientists are listening to the plants.

As it turns out, Job suggested listening to the earth a long time ago. “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; and the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you” (Job 12:7-8). And what would they say? “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this…” (9).

If plants can warn us about bombs, I wonder what else they could declare? What if the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil could have warned Adam & Eve? If we could hear the groaning of the earth, stained by Abel’s blood, would there be fewer murders?

Job says that the world is screaming, “God made us!” And if it could, the earth would warn us to follow God’s way. Will you hear today?

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).