What Others Say

Thank you for using your gifts to help others see faith in their creator and their savior in God's son Jesus Christ.
Brian M.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Rescued


For the last two weeks the World Cup has been upstaged by a 12 boy soccer team trapped along with their coach in a cave in Thailand.   The situation was desperate.  A 2.5 mile labyrinth largely submerged under flood waters separated them from freedom.  It looked hopeless.

But a multinational task force united by courage and determination succeeded in saving them all, each one led through dark waters by their guides.  One Thai Navy Seal lost his life setting up the complicated system of oxygen tanks to enable their rescue.

On Tuesday, July 10, the last of the boys and their coach were brought to safety.  The entire world celebrated.

It was a refreshing and heroic story in a world where human life often appears cheap. It served as a reminder of the precious value of every individual.  Like those boys trapped in a cave, every person of every nationality is important, every man, every woman, rich and poor, of every race, every refugee in every country, every life is precious.

It echoed the teachings of Jesus in which He repeatedly urged us to treasure everyone with whom we come in contact.  In the story of the Good Samaritan He instructed us to be neighbor to others by going out of our way, to put ourselves at risk, to bind up their wounds and care for their recovery. (Luke 10:25-37).

This is the way God sees us.  He loves us, each and every one. He searches for us to rescue us.  Like a shepherd who leaves his 99 sheep that are safely home to seek for the one that is lost, God searches for us and celebrates when we are found.  (Luke 15:1-7).

Like these courageous men who put their own lives on the line for these boys, God put His own son’s life on the line for us.  Even more so, God sent His son to rescue us trapped in a world dominated by evil, knowing His Son must suffer and die that we might be rescued.  

As the Bible says, “My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.  (1 John 4:7-10 The Message).

In a world increasingly sown with suspicion and distrust, where racial and economic divisions are rearing their ugly heads, we have all been lifted by the demonstrations of love, sacrifice, determination and joy in Thailand where twelve boys, one-by-one have been rescued by courageous men from many countries working together.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Trees - Marvel of the Universe


I have always been struck by the beauty of trees: majestic pecans, towering oaks and whispering pines of Texas, the blue spruce,  crab apple and maple of Minnesota, the cottonwood and quaking aspen of Colorado.

Trees are majestic, mysterious and essential to our existence on earth.  They sprout from tiny seeds that can be held in the hand.  They send their roots deep beneath the earth and extend their limbs to the sky as if in prayer, transforming soil and light into substance.  They bear the snow of winter and explode with blossoms in spring. They whisper in a gentle breeze and howl when the storm whips their branches.  Their life-giving leaves filter the air to produce the oxygen that we breathe. 

They give shelter to the birds that build their nests, perch among their leaves and sing their songs.  Forests form the homes and habitat for wildlife. For thousands of years the trees have provided the wood with which we build our homes, fashion our furniture, warm ourselves in winter and produce the paper to preserve our written records.  They feed both man and beast with their nuts and fruit.

Trees remind us of those who have gone before, those who planted them and those who lived among them. We sit in their shade in summer as our mothers and fathers sat in an earlier day.

The oldest trees date back more than two millennia. The “Arbol del Tul,” a Montezuma Cypress in Mexico has the widest trunk on earth and may be 3,000 years old.  Some of the olive trees in Gethsemane are at least 900 years old and likely descended from the very trees that shadowed Jesus when he prayed.

The “Cotton Tree” in Sierre Leone marks the place where freed slaves gathered beneath its branches to give thanks for their freedom in 1792.  “General Sherman,” the Giant Sequoia, one of the largest trees on earth is believed to be between 2,300 and 2,700 years old. The 500 year old “Treaty Oak” in Austin, Texas was once the sacred meeting place for Comanche and Tonkawa Indians. Stephen F. Austin met with them beneath its branches to form the first peace treaty for his colony.

The redemptive story of the Bible begins and ends with trees.  It starts with the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” in Genesis and ends with the “Tree of Life” in Revelation.  Psalm 96 proclaims, “Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord, for He is coming!”

In the fullness of time God chose a tree in the form of the Cross to accomplish our redemption. The Bible says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles.” (Galatians 3:13-14).

Trees remind us of God’s goodness and grace by which he created the beauty of the earth and redeemed us for his glory.