Old Faithful

OldFaithful

In Yellowstone national park, there is a geyser named Old Faithful. On the average it erupts every 90 minutes or so. When it erupts, it sends some 4,000-8,000 gallons of water squirting to the sky some 100-200 feet in the air. The outburst of this geyser lasts several for several minutes. This has carried on for over 150 years at least.

If you have seen Old Faithful erupt, you have also seen the many spectators who have gathered with their cameras engaged to catch this special event. There is something about this regular event that pulls in hundreds of spectators several times a day to watch.

The faithfulness of God is every bit as spectacular to watch. Jeremiah wrote,

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

When God makes a promise, he keeps it until the end. He made a covenant with Abraham to bless him and his offspring (Genesis 12:1-3). He repeated it to Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 26:4; 28:13). He remembered it 400 years later when he saw the persecution of the people of Israel (Exodus 2:24).

His promise was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus, who brought the blessing of God to the Gentiles. Paul told us that “it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). This promise has remained true for thousands of years. It is worthy of watching.

Fresh Fruit

One of my favorite entrees at our dinner table is a bowl of freshly cut fruit. Apples, bananas, pineapple, strawberries all mixed together is tough to beat. Conversely, one of the most detestable foods is rotting fruit. It smells bad. It looks bad. It tastes bad.

There is a spiritual parallel. Rotten fruit is identified as “the deeds of the flesh … which are: Immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, …” Fresh fruit, on the other hand is produced by the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Unlike normal fruit, the only fruit that doesn’t grow rotten is spiritual fruit.

The Symbol of Christianity

Corporations are often known by their symbols. Nike has its swoosh strip. NBC has its peacock. My children can spot the golden arches of McDonalds from miles away. Goodyear is known by its blimp. Arby’s has it’s cowboy hat.

There is power is a uniting symbol. But, American free-enterprise isn’t the only portion of society that has figured this out. Gangs have their symbols, which they spray paint on walls. Clubs have their symbols. Secular ideologies have embraced symbols as well. Marxism identifies with the hammer and sickle. The Nazis in Germany embraced the swastika.

Cities have their symbols. The Eiffel tower is the symbol of Paris. The space needle is the symbol of Seattle. The Sydney Opera house is the symbol of Sydney, Australia. You see these structure and you instantly think of the city. Even Rockford has it’s own symbol.

Every world religion has its own symbols. Judaism has its Star of David (2 equilateral triangles). Islam is symbolized by the a crescent moon. Buddhism has the Yin Yang symbol. Christianity is no exception. It has a symbol. Its symbol is the cross — a vertical line intersected by a short horizontal line. It is seen on the top of steeples on churches. A cross is often displayed in the center of the sanctuary of many churches. It’s on the front of many Bibles. Crosses are all over the place. And rightly so.

Other symbols could have been used to represent Christianity. A manger could have been used to depict the incarnation. An empty tomb could have been used to depict the resurrection. But, it is no accident that the cross is the one symbol that stands out as the symbol for Christianity. Of all of the symbols that could be used to define our faith, none is better than the cross. The cross is the center of our faith.

“May it never bee that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).

The MRI

Our day has seen some tremendous advances in medical innovation. One such example is the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Taking advantage of the magnetic properties of the nuclei of atoms inside the body, an MRI machine is able to generate incredible images of internal organs of the body without dangerous radiation. The technology for such a machine is truly amazing.

Yet, as good as the MRI is as a diagnosing ailments, it is equally as terrible for curing the ailments. In other words, an MRI scan can help you identify various diseases, but an MRI isn’t going to help you regarding the treatment of such diseases. In this way, the MRI is a bit like the law of God. It is good at diagnosing your problem (i.e. sin), but it ins’t particularly helpful in overcoming your problem before God. The law is a tutor that instructs us of our sin, but it can only lead us to a Savior, who is able to justify us before God (Galatians 3:24).

The Privilege of Being a Son

My father is a retired orthopaedic surgeon, which meant that his days were often long and busy. For the most part, he was unreachable. If you tried to call him during the day, the best you could have done was to leave a message with his office staff, requesting him to return your call. However, if I tried to call him, I could usually reach him. I simply told the office staff, “This is his son.” Even if he was incredibly busy, there was something about the words, “this is his son,” that gave me access to him.

If you are trusting in Christ, then the same is true for you and your heavenly Father. “You are no longer a slave, but a son” (Galatians 4:7). It’s with good reason that Jesus taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9). So, enjoy the privilege of being a son.

Taken Captive For Us

Several of my children are in the midst of performing the play, “Beauty and the Beast.” At one point in the story, Belle’s father is imprisoned by the Beast. Because of her great love for her father, Belle offers to take his place in prison, so that he could go free.

This is what Jesus has done for us. Because of our sin, we have been taken captive by the devil. And yet, because of God’s great love for us, Jesus was taken captive for us, so that by faith we could go free.

“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. … But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” (Galatians 3:23, 25).

Taking Down the Ten Commandments

From time to time we hear of a news story where some atheists want a courtroom or a school or a business in a public place to take down a display of the Ten Commandments. These fights in court are merely a sign of the times. As a nation we are drifting from the religious roots of our heritage.

I am fully sympathetic to those who are fighting for these displays to remain. However, there is another thoroughly Christian perspective that would delight to see these displays come down.

The message of the Ten Commandments is not good news. The message of the Ten Commandments is a message of condemnation. We will never be able to live up to the law’s demands. They teach us that we need a Savior. Paul said it this way, “The law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith” (Galatians 4:24).

So, let us take down the Ten Commandments displays. But let us replace them with a cross.