Tag Archives: 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.

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).

The Bible Is Still The Best Spiritual Superfood

cockroach-milkWhen I was growing up, it was “eat your veggies.” But these days, everyone wants “superfoods.” What’s that, you ask? The Oxford Dictionary defines “superfood” as a ‘nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.’

So, you’ve probably seen marketing for foods such as: kale, salmon, blueberries, hempseed, chia seeds, and wheatgrass. But the newest superfood takes the cake. What is this rage of tomorrow? Cockroach milk! Mmm…yum.

“Gag,” “Yuck,” “Ugh,” “No, thank you.” All these reactions seem appropriate. But, according to a team of scientists at India’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, you might want to put that bug spray down for a moment.

It turns out that the Pacific beetle cockroach feeds it’s babies by lactating protein-dense crystals that are more than four times the nutrition of cow’s milk! Researcher Subramanian Ramaswamy calls this roach milk a “fantastic protein supplement.” So, while it doesn’t sound attractive, cockroach milk might be hitting a grocery near you!

Of course, “drink your milk and get your protein” isn’t a new message.

In fact, the Bible has always maintained that God’s milk is the only way to get our spiritual nutrients. In 1 Peter 2:1-3, Peter reminds Christians, “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”

Now, I’m pretty sure that Peter didn’t have roach milk in mind. But he used the universal idea of the purity of mother’s milk to remind us that we need nutrients in our spiritual diets. If we fail to do so, we will grow weak in our faith and in our spiritual life.

I have no idea what roach milk tastes like. But I know that the kindness of the Lord is the sweetest thing ever. As we grow in our salvation, we must continue to dine on the protein packed meal of the good news of Jesus.

Are You Spiritually Fit? Metabolism Lessons From “The Biggest Loser”

big loserLike many people, I tend to go through weight gain-loss cycles. Put on 5-10 pounds, hit the gym, and start over. Sound familiar? The problem is, as someone once told me, “You can’t outrun your fork.”

Truth be told, cutting out the late night snacks would probably do the trick! But the more tempting path most people take these days is a “fad diet” or “extreme exercise” program. While these diets might appear to give great results in the short run, a new study suggests they might cause more harm than anyone previously imagined.

Researchers recently followed 14 of the contestants of The Biggest Loser for six years after the show ended. Even with post-show assistance, 13 of 14 regained their weight. But it wasn’t due to poor eating habits or lack of exercise; they actually had damaged their metabolism! Researchers determined that high weight loss from the show caused their metabolisms to slow significantly and never recover.

For example, one contestant went from 263 lbs. to 176 lbs., but her metabolism burns 552 fewer calories than someone her weight should burn in a day. This makes keeping the weight off an enormous struggle. And her metabolism might never recover! (Click Here for the NY Times Article w/metabolism study)

Now, physical exercise is good, but spiritual exercise is far more important (1 Timothy 4:8). Sometimes people realize their spiritual life is out of shape so they have a quick zeal for God. Sadly, they often burn out and end up doing more damage to their spiritual lives when their “fad spiritual exercise and diet” fails!

Here are a few thoughts for a successful spiritual exercise life:

#1 Spiritual junk food is not a healthy diet. There is no substitute for the Word of God. Bread by itself is just carbs, but God’s Word is a sufficient meal (Matthew 4:4).

#2 Steady wins the race. Jesus reminds us that seeds that don’t have good roots will spring up fast and burn up in the hot sun (Matthew 13:5-6). Balance is required to remain in the world, but not be of it (John 17:16).

#3 Quick fixes are typically not lasting ones. Quick fixes are like the easy, broad path that leads to destruction. The more difficult, life-changing and narrow path is a road that few take; but it leads to glory (Matthew 7:13-14).

Begin drawing closer to God today, and He promises to draw closer to you (James 4:8). It may take years of proper training to have the spiritual body you want, but with daily discipline we will get there! Consider Paul’s words:

“Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).