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Jim Knowles died earlier this month. He wasn’t a large man, but he was a big man.

He was big on his family.

He was big on his wife, Nancy.

And he was big on Jesus. A licensed minister, a holder of a Masters degree in Religion, and he had more than twenty years of service as a minister in a couple different churches. I don’t have pictures, but I have memories of him. He’s sitting in his rocker, early in the morning and late at night, Bible on his lap or right next to him.

He wasn’t an ivory-tower saint – he lived in the world, knew how it worked, and understood people. And loved them.

One thing I don’t understand, though, is how to reconcile the fact that the Bible says that there will not be marriage in Heaven, in contrast to the eternal love Jim had for Nancy.

God will work it all out. Jim trusted Him, eternally, and God is still working out His plans through Jim and his legacy.

Every one of us are unique.  We are created in the image of God, but we are not identical.  We all have something that we’re born with, maybe something that has happened to us, that makes us different than anyone else.  My wife Bettie has something that’s different, and only shows up when her hands get cold.

She has a thing called Raynaud’s Syndrome.  How it works is that some of her blood vessels like to go overboard – they clamp off the blood supply to part of her fingers if she gets too cold.

Fortunately, there’s an easy cure for this – just warm up, and everything is fine again.  The blood vessels open up, blood starts flowing, color returns, and everybody’s happy.

If she doesn’t get warmed up, I imagine there could be some significant consequences – we all need the blood to flow to keep on living.

And then I realized this is true for us spiritually.  If we don’t have the blood of Christ, we don’t have life.  1 Peter 1, verse 18 and into 19, says

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ

And that is what we’re celebrating now, the life-giving body and blood of our sinless Redeemer and Lord, available to all who answer the call.  Let’s pray.

Father God, You know us.  You see us in all of our imperfection, and You love us anyway.  You love us so much that You sent Your perfect, spotless Son to die in our place.  We are called to remember that, and to celebrate it.  We thank You so much for that priceless gift, the blood that washes away our sins.  We thank You for the gift of eternal life, and the calling to follow Jesus Christ down that narrow road.  In His name I pray, amen.

Communion meditation April 11, 2021

Nobody wants them. From Exodus 32, verses 7 and 11:

7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.

11 But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

Almost a game of Hot Potato. God, as He does, came out the winner – and also accepted the Israelites back. He is good, at many levels.

I heard something interesting the other day.  Seems like newspapers are having trouble getting the newsprint to publish their papers.  All that paper is apparently being turned into cardboard boxes for shipments from Amazon.

During these times of pandemic and quarantine, it seems like people may not know what they want, but they sure do want it now.  Psychologists have a concept called delayed gratification – the idea is that a person is willing to give up something now to get something more later.  I’m afraid that next-day shipping has thrown all that out the window.

But I don’t think that’s a very good way to think.  Goes against the idea of working towards a goal, of understanding what’s important and putting forth effort to get there.  That credit card bill is coming soon – there is always a price to be paid.

Delayed gratification reminds me of the description of Jesus, described in Hebrews 12:2 –

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Would it have felt better for Jesus to avoid the cross?  Yes, definitely.  Would it have been easier for Him to not be scourged, whipped, had a crown of thorns forced over His head?  I have no doubt.

But those things are a short-term release – immediate gratification.  Jesus had His eyes set on the long term – on eternity – because He knew what mattered.

With this delayed gratification, Jesus isn’t teaching us a life hack, one weird trick to get into Heaven.  He is showing us that being obedient to the Father is the only way to live.  His sacrifice on the cross, that buys our salvation and which we celebrate now, is a recognition of that, and a calling to that level of sacrifice.  Let’s pray.

Father God, you created us.  You created us with free will – we can choose the route of immediate gratification, or we can choose the straight and narrow road that leads to life – eternal life.  Thank You for the gift of Jesus to pay the price for our sins, and to be our Savior and our Lord.  In His name I pray, Amen.

I have been missing a lot of church services lately – my work has kept me away about half the Sundays. I participate online, but I have to say that there is something joyful in corporate worship – singing, taking communion together, hearing the Word preached.


And that reminds me of the words of King David, in Psalm 122:1: I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” He was happy, joyful.


Then on one of those “compare and contrast” moments, we have Jesus cleaning out the Temple. In the book of John, it is recorded that Jesus made a whip out of cords, and used it on the people. And in John 2:16-17 “Then he said to the pigeon-dealers, “Take those things out of here. Don’t you dare turn my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered the scripture — ‘Zeal for your house has eaten me up’”. Jesus wants to be joyful in the temple, but cannot be when it is being used for other purposes. He needed the temple to be holy.

We come now to the time of communion, where Jesus said “Do this in remembrance of Me”. This is a time of joy and happiness, as well as a time of becoming more holy. 1 Corinthians 11:28 says “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” That is not Jesus coming in with a whip. It is an invitation for us to take a look at how we have been keeping our own temple, an invitation to be holy, and invitation to joy.

Let’s pray.

Father God, You know us, better than we know ourselves. Thank You for loving us, thank You for sending Jesus to die in our place, and thank You for continually calling us to holiness. Thank You for the ever-present reminder of communion, whether in the church house or wherever we are – because You are with us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I was on LinkedIn this morning and saw this from a random company:

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!

I don’t think it’s right to discriminate by hiding Christmas behind “holiday” and then blithely assume everyone uses the same calendar.

And yes, appealing to an external, shared sense of “right” assumes that such a thing exists. Which it does. And that’s why I’m celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus the Christ, instead of an amorphous “holiday”.

I have been missing a lot of church services lately – my work has kept me away about half the Sundays.  I participate online, but I have to say that there is something joyful in corporate worship – singing, taking communion together, hearing the Word preached.

And that reminds me of the words of King David, in Psalm 122:1: I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”  He was happy, joyful.

Then on one of those “compare and contrast” moments, we have Jesus cleaning out the Temple.  In the book of John, it is recorded that Jesus made a whip out of cords, and used it on the people.  And in John 2:16-17 “Then he said to the pigeon-dealers, “Take those things out of here. Don’t you dare turn my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered the scripture — ‘Zeal for your house has eaten me up’”.  Jesus wants to be joyful in the temple, but cannot be when it is being used for other purposes.  He needed the temple to be holy.

We come now to the time of communion, where Jesus said “Do this in remembrance of Me”. This is a time of joy and happiness, as well as a time of becoming more holy. 1 Corinthians 11:28 says “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”  That is not Jesus coming in with a whip.  It is an invitation for us to take a look at how we have been keeping our own temple, an invitation to be holy, and an invitation to joy.

Let’s pray.

Father God, You know us, better than we know ourselves. Thank You for loving us, thank You for sending Jesus to die in our place, and thank You for continually calling us to holiness.  Thank you for the ever-present reminder of communion, whether in the church house or wherever we are – because you are with us.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

The mess of a debate has been sticking with me. Again, both Trump and Biden showed less respect for the office they attain to (or hold) than is proper.

But Biden calling Trump a “clown” is bothersome. I think he would have been better to follow the example of Job, from the Old Testament. Job had been afflicted greatly by the time this interaction takes place.

Job had already been through a rough day. His livestock, servants, and all his children had been killed – one day. Later on, Satan has given him boils – skin infections – from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. Ouch!

Then his helpful wife offers him some advice. “Are you still holding on to your principles? Curse God and die!”. Wow – with friends like that, who needs enemies?

But Job doesn’t take his frustration out on her. He gently says “You are talking like a foolish woman”. Not “You are a foolish woman”. He notes the similarity and leaves it there.

Biden would do well to spend more time in the Bible. Just sayin’ . . .

That would be the fall of man, in the Garden of Eden. Not the seasonal change a few days away.

Mosquitoes are meat eaters – well, blood-suckers. Leviticus 17:11 says “For the life of the flesh is in the blood”. In Genesis 1:29-30, God is speaking to Adam and Eve. “And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.”

We are left with two choices, from my perspective. Either the mosquitoes were sap-suckers, or they didn’t exist then.

Not an argument in favor of evolution. Things change over time, yes. Things die out – the dodo for one, and I don’t know of any current creature that fits the description of Leviathan. And as cute as a Shiba Inu doge is, I really doubt that there was one (or two) in the Garden.

I don’t find mosquitoes specifically mentioned in the curse when Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden. I also don’t see mention of the Blue Screen Of Death that can plague computer work, nor do I see those little yapping ankle-biting dogs that are surely a physical part of the curse, if not part of the spiritual side.

If I were to venture a guess, I’d say that hummingbirds were part of the sinless, pre-Fall garden, and mosquitoes came after the banishment. Pure speculation, and I can be convinced otherwise. I also don’t consider it a test of fellowship (if anyone has thought about it and has an opinion).

Steel is steel, until it isn’t.

Because the steel-making process uses atmospheric oxygen, all the steel made since the first atom bomb exploded actually contains minor amounts of radiation. Not enough to hurt you, not enough to make your car glow at night, but still enough to throw off Geiger counters and sensitive medical equipment. If you need low-radiation steel, the best place to find it is the dumping ground of the German Navy after World War I.

Interesting, but so what?

Those sunken ships are the remnant of an earlier time, a historical artifact that can be imitated but not recreated. With the quarantine starting to lift after the Covid-19 shutdown, what will we have as memories – or useful things – from before? How will the “New Normal” work?

Some people are gone – Bettie lost a cousin Saturday morning. Some people are changed, whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, or financially. We don’t know how culture is changing. We don’t know how work will start or continue as we go forward. Will churches continue to stream their services? Will that encourage some to be members without ever having stepped foot in the building? What does fellowship mean without being physically present?

So as things change, remember what was before. Don’t recoil from group pictures taken before social distancing. As you rebuild your future, take what was good. Discard the bad. Consider new technology, and embrace humanity. Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.

None of this surprised God, and He still knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper and not harm us.

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