Saturday, September 20, 2008

Compassion To All: Part One

We had some real good storms a couple weeks back with a lot of rain. As I was walking into work I noticed that this soaking we needed had really brought out the frogs (toads). So I mentioned this to a fellow employee sitting at one of the picnic tables outside. And he tells me, "ya they are really out, but it's a shame because some idiot will start stomping on them on his way in".

What satisfaction does a person get from something I see as so terrible? Why would you kill something (whether a frog, dog, cat, mouse, whatever) for fun? I really don't get people at times. I think we should do all we can to protect God's creation since we were entrusted with dominion over them. (Genesis 1:28-31) I think so many people misunderstand that statement. We do have, granted by God, dominion over the birds and creatures of the earth. Should we not use that dominion in a compassionate and merciful way like our Heavenly Father who has dominion over us does? An old quote I found interesting goes like this; "A truly religious man does not ask how far this or that deserves sympathy...,to him, life as such is sacred."

There are many verses in the Bible that deal with God's relationship with us and animals. As well as our relationship with animals. Look at the great flood in Noah's day. God saved Noah's family and two of every kind of animal (seven of each of the clean animals) in Genesis 7:1-3. And after the flood we see that God made a covenant with Noah, his family and all animals and earth that he will never destroy earth again with a flood. Genesis 9:8-10 "Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying; and as for me, behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you; the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth." I find it interesting that God mentions the animals too. They are his creation after all, for we cannot breathe life into things, only God can.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 "For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust and all return to the dust." This verse tells us that in the end, whether beast or man, we all die. For all come from dust and all will return to dust. We are guaranteed eternal life through Jesus Christ, animals are not mentioned in that salvation. So to all the people who ask if they're dog or cat went to "doggy or kitty heaven", I must admit that the Bible does not teach this. However I can say in the beginning in the garden of Eden there were animals. And many prophecies for the future kingdom of God show animals present and in harmony with one another. Isaiah 11:6-9 "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; there young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobras hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the vipers den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."

Hosea 2:18 "In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the creepy things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely."

Both these scriptures we just read speak of the coming kingdom of Christ where all will live in harmony as was in the garden of Eden. I love the verse where the lion will eat straw like an ox. I will do my next blog on the New Testament and Jesus' teachings on compassion and love to all including his Father's creation. I hope I didn't lose any of you in this cause it got longer than I'd hoped. But so many people are just mean to animals and I don't get it! They have the breath of life in them just as you and I do. I don't get how a Christian can ask for mercy from God who is above when he shows no mercy to what is below him. The scriptures make clear that God expects humans to be caretakers of his creation.

My prayer for all is that we see the value and the beauty of God in his creation of us, his animals and nature. That we treat all people and animals with love, mercy and compassion as God so wonderfully does for us. With love and prayers always.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

"The Small Things"

I was at a education committee meeting at church a while back and we read a story of some American missionaries that were in a poor third world country working to spread the good news of Christ. The story talked of the things they were learning, especially how poor other parts of the world really are. The lady writing it said that her family always said grace before a meal and gave thanks for the food they were blessed with, yet didn't realize how much of a blessing that was til they had to go with lack of on their missionary journeys. That really got me to thinking how spoiled we are in this country in the sense of food.

How many times have you had to go to bed hungry because you had nothing in the pantry to cook or eat? How many times have you had to tell your kids its time to go to bed, we will eat tomorrow? I am not a wealthy man according to this societies measure but that is something I am fortunate enough to say I have never been through. Many people in other countries and even this one face this struggle everyday. I know we have all seen the starving kids on TV and heard about the lack of food elsewhere and the crisis that it is. I do not say this to make you feel bad or anything of that nature.

Think about the faith that would produce in a person if they literally had to rely on God completely for their next meal. Something we so often take for granted yet need to survive. I have heard of remarkable miracles happening in places like these that we don't hear often here and I just wonder if it has to do with the amount of faith people like this have. You have to truly go without something to know what a blessing it really is and these people know this firsthand. It's easy to say God is great and go to church on Sundays and maybe volunteer for some church activities, but its when the true hardships come and we are forced to go without that true awesome faith is produced in us. That's when God does His most powerful acts and works to and through us. We so often, and I am extremely guilty of this at times, overlook all the "small things" in life that actually are not that small. Many people will die in their sleep tonight and we will go through the day never thanking God for the breath in our lungs. We will eat at least two to three meals tomorrow not realizing what a treasure and blessing it is. We will notice our friend has a nicer car than ours and we will not thank God that we have a vehicle that runs and gets us to work and our kids to school. We will forget what a blessing it is we can cloth our kids and send them to get a free education. On and on and on I could go.

I am going to put the story of Elijah and the widow at the end of this post for any who would like to read don't have to go find their bibles right away. Most of you know the story, the widow had enough oil and flour for one cake for her and her son then she was going to starve to death. Elijah said to make him a cake from it and them one as well as The Lord will not allow the oil to dry up nor the flour jar to be used up until the rain comes. (There was a severe famine because Elijah said the Lord will not allow it to rain because of their disobedience and worshipping of false Gods. This drought lasted about three and a half years. James 5:17) Think about the faith of this woman. Her last meal for her and her son and this stranger walks in and wants that last meal. Look at verse 12 says, she isn't even a believer in Elijah's God for she says "As the Lord your God lives...".

Now I got to ask you a question, what would you do. Be honest with yourselves. You would say no. I would say no. Most of us in this situation would honestly say no and in essence would miss this miracle that God wanted to do through us. I have a hunch that the Lord really pressed this on her heart but that is just my opinion, either way it is still amazing to me. This woman was down to literally nothing and not even a believer in the true God at this moment, yet had the faith to try anything since she had nothing to lose. We can all learn a great deal from this remarkable story, there is alot more in here than just some story we tell our kids.

This post is dedicated to my grandpa. I asked him today if he ever had to go without because I knew he was raised in extremely poor conditions and he remembered his mom saying we just have to go to bed tonight because we have no food. I pray that he and us see God in these situations for he is now sixty five years old. The Lord brought him through those times safe and with a great future. I pray we all see Gods hand in all the "small things" as well as the big things in our lives. May we a go forth with our faith, hope, and trust completely in Him.

With love and prayers.


Elijah and the Widow (1 Kings 17:8-16)
8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 So she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’” 15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.