4/29/09

Rocks Cry Out -- Part 2

I remember hearing the title of a message, “Crying Rocks,” when I was small, and I wondered what a rock would have to cry about! In more recent years, I’ve wondered what the rock tomb of Jesus would say as it enclosed the dead body of the Creator, and then, what the same rock would cry out as Jesus burst from the grave. Do rocks shout, “Hallelujah”?

I love archeology, which often uncovers rocks that point us back to the veracity of the scriptures. It’s as if these rocky finds shout, “Look here! It’s all true!” Especially in Israel, near the Temple Mount, archeologists with Dr. Eilat Mazar and the Israel Antiquities Authority are uncovering stones they believe are from the citadel (stronghold) next to the palace of King David, and many of their discoveries lend additional credence to Israel’s historical claim to Jerusalem.

But even if the rocks did not cry out (even if archeology suddenly seemed to contradict the Bible), God’s Word will always be true. At one time, people read the Bible and scoffed that it mentioned a nation of Hittites. Scholars said there was no such nation, and the Bible must, therefore, be false in relation to history. Suddenly, some inscriptions were discovered in Asia Minor, and archaeologists concluded that the Turkish city they were excavating was actually Hattusa, the ancient capital of the Hittite Empire!

David says, “Praise the Lord ... you mountains and all hills” (Psalm 148:7, 9). I’d like to think that is more than symbolism. Rocks can “speak the truth” in ways we’re only beginning to understand, and it all leads to praise for our great God and His unchanging Word.

4/22/09

Rocks Cry Out -- Part 1

In Luke 19:35-40, the story of Palm Sunday, Jesus told the Pharisees that if his disciples were silent, the rocks—perhaps the rocks on the path beneath Him—might cry out in praise. Everywhere one goes in Israel, rocks and stones have significance from Bible times. Jesus was condemned to death on the stone pavement of the Gabbatha (Lithostrotos in Greek), the area around Pilate’s judgment seat (John 19:13). No doubt the stones of the prison where Jesus was held were stained with His blood from the vicious beating. He was crucified at Golgotha, where the rocks split apart as Christ breathed his last breaths on the cross (Matthew 27:51).

But beyond symbolism, while I don’t think rocks can think, nor do they have a soul, I do think all of nature somehow vibrates, hums, and maybe even “sings” in response to the Creator. Don’t we, every Thanksgiving, include that concept in our worship? “All nature sings, and round Him rings ...” (This is My Father’s World).


A couple of years ago, Scientific American reported (Oct. 18, 2007) that a black hole in the Perseus galaxy “sings.” The note is “a resounding B-flat,” the report said. Other black holes sing different notes. The scientists do not attribute this to anything biblical, of course, but rather to sound waves echoing from the Big Bang. Amazingly, the report also notes, “the sun has been chanting,” too. The scientists call it “the music of the spheres.” Although no living thing on Earth can hear the music of outer space (because the frequency is too low for human ears), the report concluded, “The cosmos continues its orchestral display.” I believe the created heavens are singing for the Creator.


All things were made to declare God’s glory and declare the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1). David exhorts all of nature to praise the Lord, including the sun, moon, and stars (Psalm 148:3, 7-10). I like to think of the branches swaying their leaves, the rivers humming along, and the wind whistling a tune—all making music for the Master. David invites the angels to praise God (Ps. 148:2), something they do so well in the heavens. And certainly, praise is one reason humans were created (Isaiah 43:21; Hebrews 13:15), and we do well to teach our children to praise Him (Psalm 78:4). Believe it or not, God will use even the wrath of sinful men to somehow generate praise (Psalm 76:10).


Believers are chosen by God to praise Him for calling us “out of darkness into His wonderful light” from early morning until we pillow our heads (I Peter 2:9; Psalm 113:3). If Jesus says rocks might somehow break out in praise, how much more should we, the redeemed?

4/15/09

My Little Hummingbird

My friend Corrie Bush told me her story, and touched my heart. I share it here with her permission. Molested as a child, Corrie grew up in fear and a desire to run from life. She ran to the streets and into the arms of strangers, drugs, and drink. She stopped using drugs at the age of 17, but alcohol still had a grip on her life when she met her husband at the age of 21. She knew that, as a drunk, she could not lead her husband to Christ. She stopped drinking and began a long, painful process of healing from the scars of her life. Overwhelmed by God’s love, she surrendered to serve Him, yet scars remained that reminded her of the old drive to run away. Eventually, physical problems slowed her down enough to listen to God.

In the midst of this learning process, Corrie continually saw hummingbirds. Everywhere she went, she saw the little creatures—while in Arizona visiting a sister, at the lake walking with a friend, at church, and at home.


Hummingbirds can perch, but they don’t walk. They also don’t flap their wings. They actually fly with their “hands,” moving their wrist bones instead of the shoulder bones at 38-78 strokes per second. They scurry around in all directions, rotating 180 degrees. Their resting heartbeat is 480 beats per minute, but their heats can beat as high as 1,260 times per second when they’re excited! Just thinking about that makes me tired!


Sometimes hummingbirds simply need to perch for a while. Corrie told me, “Hummingbirds remind me of how desperate I am for rest—how desperate I am for my Maker to still my heart.” She hears God speaking: “Be still, my little hummingbird.” Oh how I needed to hear that, the day Corrie told me her story. I was scurrying around doing many (many!) good things, but I was worn out and tired from deadlines and responsibilities. It was as if God was saying, “Perch and rest, and you’ll accomplish more in a little while.”
I think I need a picture or a statue of a hummingbird near my desk, to remind me of this very wise choice.

4/8/09

Believing in Vain

I read the wonderful words of Paul concerning the resurrection, but somehow I got hung up on this little phrase, “unless you believed in vain” in I Corinthians 15:2. “What in the world does that mean?” I wondered. Salvation in Christ is secure (Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:1-10). Without belief in His finished work on the cross, and faith in the resurrection, there is no salvation. So how can someone believe in vain, as if the belief has no effect?

As with all of scripture, words must be taken in context, and also compared with other scriptures. The Bible tells us to rightly divide the Word of truth, and when we do so, it all fits together. When I kept on reading in I Corinthians 15, the familiar Gospel story came next, along with eyewitness accounts of Christ’s resurrection (verses 3-8). There is clear evidence that many people believed Paul’s and these witnesses’ accounts, but not everyone. Verses 12-17 indicate that some said, “There is no resurrection of the dead.” So Paul makes some powerful “if” statements: If Christ did not rise from the dead, your preaching is empty and so is your faith. (Another translation of empty is “futile” or “vain.”) If He is not risen, you are still in your sins.

Paul presents a single hypothetical case here. If a person believes in Jesus, but Jesus didn’t truly rise from the dead, then that person’s faith would be in vain, no matter how strong he or she believed in Jesus. Everything hinges on the resurrection of Christ, even our future destiny (15:17-18). Paul states that if Jesus is not the risen Christ, then all believers who died believing in Him have already perished.

“But now Christ is risen from the dead” (vv. 20-23). What a contrast this reality is to the hypothetical “if.” What a difference that word “but” makes! My choice is to believe this truth—He is risen indeed, just as he said (Matthew 28:6). Our believing is not in vain!

4/1/09

Am I a Fool? (Sometimes)

Comedian Steven Wright once said, “I live in my own little world, but it’s OK. Everyone knows me there.” This statement makes me laugh, because everyone knows I am a ding-a-ling sometimes. I do things that make people roll their eyes and wonder when my brain will return. These moments are the exact opposite of what I want to be—a wise woman. Some women don’t have to wait for April Fool’s Day to exhibit their folly.

Proverbs 9:13-18 is one of the passages in this book of wisdom that describes the foolish woman. The context of the passage is the temptress who would seduce men into sin, but God spoke to me through verse 13, to show me that it is not just immoral behavior that is a hallmark of the foolish woman.

There are two other negative qualities listed there. First, the foolish woman is “clamorous.” She’s noisy and frivolous, reckless, and perhaps even brazen and brash. I would like to think that I am never like that, but sometimes foolishness is in our words as much as our actions. I have to admit that there were times when I was less than ladylike—when males slipped into “locker room” verbiage, and I chimed in like “one of the guys.” (What was I thinking? I wasn’t.) The wiser choice would have been silence, or words directed by the Holy Spirit. A wise woman remembers to be a lady and godly in her speech.

Second, the foolish woman is “simple and knows nothing.” Because she is either ignorant of (or makes light of) the ways of God, she appears empty-headed, senseless, and open to all forms of evil, because she willfully (or recklessly) ignores true eternal values. She does not make choices according to the perspective of God. Sometimes I fail to think or act with biblical wisdom, and like all fools, I suffer consequences.


How about you? Are you ever a fool? We can make choices to change that. I’m praying that God will change my heart, and teach me how to walk in wisdom—living prudently and with discretion (Colossians 4:5a).