Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ant Farm

My wife and I decided to teach our 4-year-old daughter a letter a week; our goal is for her to be able to write the capital and lower case letter and know the sounds the letter makes. And for each week we are doing a project that reinforces the letter.

We just finished week 1, so to demonstrate the letter A in action I thought it would be fun to make an ant farm. But making an ant farm on the fly can be difficult when there is no terrarium around. I grabbed a clear storage tub with a snap on lid, but after filling it with fire ants I realized that there was enough room for the ants to crawl out around the handles, so I started over.

Next I used a clear bowl we use to store leftovers. One shovel full from an ant bed overfilled the bowl, so I had to press the lid down very tightly. In the morning I realized that (1) there wasn’t enough room for the ants to displace dirt to make tunnels, and (2) most of the ants were dead. My 3rd attempt finally yielded some decent tunnels. I also got about a dozen ant bites on my hands throughout the experience.

Did I mention that I’m allergic to ants?

I was going to make that ant farm even if it killed me (and it could have!), and once I was finished, my daughter was not impressed. Not only was she not excited about my meager ant farm, she didn’t even realize what I went through to make it.

So many people wander through life oblivious of what Jesus went through to offer them forgiveness. Some people know about the cross, but they aren’t impressed. What a shame it is that some people will die in their sins, never having received the free gift that God offers them through Jesus.

If you have received this gift, stop and thank Jesus right now for what He endured to make that possible. As I reflect on Him right now, a handful of ant bites hardly seems like something to complain about.

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
1 Peter 2:24

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Night is Coming

One thing we know for sure about each day is that it will end with the night. Eventually the sun will go down, so to speak, and the night will come.

In our world of electricity, 24-hour media, and 3rd shifts, the night doesn’t always slow us down. But before we had indoor lights and technology to keep us awake, the night signaled the end of the day. Being inside wasn’t enough; people were in bed when the night came.

So when Jesus told His disciples that the night was coming they would understand His point: the work has to be done before it was too late.

Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; the night comes when no man can work (John 9:4).”

For Jesus, He had a specific mission that was coming to an end, but as His followers we also have a mission. It’s actually more of a commission.

And I believe that it is evening and the sun is setting. The night is coming, and there are millions of people all around us who need to hear the gospel message. Let’s spread the word before the night comes. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ordinary Superheroes

People have always loved a good superhero. From comics to cartoons, from TV to toys, we like to see larger than life characters accomplish things that no ordinary person can.

Subconsciously many of us think that there are superheroes in life that can do things that we mortals cannot do. We think the best looking, the most talented, the highest GPAs are the ones for the job, and the rest of us are doomed to a life of mediocrity.

Even in the church there exists a hierarchy of super humans: the staff, the deacons or elders, and the gifted few that seem to do everything form their own Justice League.

But God has never been in the business of only calling on the flashiest, most obvious choices. In Acts 9 God chose an otherwise-unknown man named Ananias to be the hero that Saul needed.

In chapter 8 Philip the deacon and Peter and John the disciples were used by God in mighty ways; even a well-to-do eunuch from Africa is highlighted. But Ananias? He was definitely not an admired superhero. He wasn’t even a sidekick.

And yet God chose him to minister to Saul and help launch the ministry of the greatest missionary the world has ever known.

You might not think you are a caped-crusader for Christ, but God can use you anyway. Ananias was simply obedient when he said, “Here I am, Lord (Acts 9:10).”

If you are willing to be obedient to Christ, then He can use you to accomplish great things, possibly even rescuing someone in distress.