The Year of the Selfie

12-03-13 © AleksandarNakic, courtesy of iStockphoto

In this photo, it’s almost like Santa believes the lie that Christmas is about him – not the One for whom it is named. But, we shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve created that monster by how modern society celebrates Christmas and promotes selfishness.

This was the year of the selfie. The Oxford Dictionary announced selfie as the 2013 International Word of the Year. Everyone did it.

The New York Post recently ran a front-page article entitled “Selfie-ish.” It displayed a woman snapping a self-portrait with a background of a suicidal man about to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • We live in the calloused age of the selfie.

The hullaballoo includes teens capturing their mugshots with dead grandparents in the background. At bloody auto accidents. With severed heads. All to show themselves off.

  • People seem oblivious to their surroundings.

Even President Obama received criticism for his inopportune group selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. (Although the picture doesn’t portray the story as some see it.) Whether one views it as right, wrong, or indifferent, it’s still part of today’s culture.

  • We live in a society where it’s all about me.

That’s why reality shows exist. That’s why Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites thrive. That’s why the modern millennial will die without a smartphone. (That’s supposedly the argument, but the world will never know since they all have one.)

  • But selfishness isn’t limited just to our time.

John Flavel assessed in his day that household gods were man’s own self. He said that in the seventeenth century. If he believed that in his generation, what would be his critique of us in this new millennium?

Selfish pride is probably the worst it’s ever been. But since Adam and Eve took their first bites of the forbidden fruit, life’s always been about what enables each individual to be his own god (or goddess).

In the last post, we discussed how the people in Bethlehem had to hear Mary’s screams of agony. The townspeople weren’t ignorant of her plight. Yet, no one helped this poor teenage girl. They lacked empathy and compassion.

A man is called selfish, not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.

~ Richard Whately

 

  • The question is: are we any different?

 

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

~ Philippians 2:3, NKJV

Restless at Christmas

07-17-12 © BenAkiba, courtesy of iStockphoto

No one slept through the blood-curdling screams. They blared every minute or so, for hour after hour … after exasperating hour.

Because the small village sprawled atop a countryside crest, the halloos for help echoed throughout all the nooks and crannies of the town, into the hills nearby and the valleys below.

  • None were immune to the nuisance.

Lucius had just finished his watch, and he’d have to return to his post in a few hours. This was his only chance to get some shut-eye, but closed eyes couldn’t deafen the teenager’s wailing in the otherwise quiet night.

“Can’t someone make her shut up?” he yelled as he buried his head in his blanket.

  • How could anyone sleep through the ruckus?

Eliezer and Sarah had just arrived from a several-day journey. Their exhaustion begged for peaceful sleep, but rest didn’t come. They complained to the shoulder-shrugging innkeeper, but he reminded them that her agonizing cries kept him and his missus up as well. By the menacing expression of the nag behind him, it was obvious he’d already suffered her ire.

Shiphrah and Puah, the town’s midwives, recognized the girl’s travail, but they made no effort to aid her agony. They tossed and turned all night instead, jostling their covers like the restless baby fighting for freedom.

  • Not one person offered compassion.

No. Mary writhed in labor with only her teenage fiancée at her side. No comfort of a mother, a grandmother, a midwife, or even a bed.

  • Natural childbirth isn’t pain-free.

The process lasts for hours, and the birth pangs hit in wave after wave after unrelenting wave – with no relief until after delivery. The mother of the Messiah bore no less woe. This blessed maiden suffered Eve’s curse like all others before her.

Remember what God uttered:

 

“I will intensify your labor pains;


you will bear children in anguish.”

~ Genesis 3:16, HCSB

 

  • But no woman’s birth woes were comparable to Mary’s.

Not even Eve’s. The thirteen-to-fourteen-year-old’s birth canal would’ve been narrower than that of other mothers because it was virginal. As agonizing as it would be for other females, it was much worse for this teenager who had known no man.

  • Babies don’t come in secret … or silence.

That’s why it’s unfathomable that the innkeeper or Bethlehem’s other inhabitants didn’t answer Mary’s agony. The walls in first-century buildings weren’t soundproof. The soldiers, tax collectors, and pilgrims had to hear the commotion caused by Mary’s labor, for the village was very small. Every home was within shouting distance of every other. Everyone was within earshot of her excruciating screams.

  • That’s why the midwives of the town had to hear.

Since the Talmud reports that Hebrew midwives assisted in the deliveries of domestic animals, it makes their calloused inattentiveness to Mary’s plight among the animals even more perplexing. (Hul. 43a)

  • No one had concern for Christ at the first Christmas.

Perhaps, that’s why Luke subtly informs us that Mary had to deliver herself. She had to care for her newborn Child … because no one else would. Note the physician’s birth certificate:

 

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

~ Luke 2:7, NKJV (emphasis mine)

 

Scripture seems to indicate that only the shepherds came to check on the couple or their Child. No one else. The wise men came later.

  • The others didn’t have room for Him in their hearts or lives.

And many still lack interest in coming to know the Savior – especially at Christmas.

 

What keeps us from having room in our hearts and lives for Christ?

No Room for Jesus?

So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

Luke 2:3-7, HCSB 

06-30-13 © Chiyacat, courtesy of iStockphoto

Keep Christ in Christmas. Remember the Reason for the Season.

These slogans in Christian circles remind us that Christmas is supposed to be about the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The reason such jingles resonate so often at Christmas is because most people ignore the One for whom the holiday originated. This shouldn’t surprise us because it was the same on the day that Jesus came.

There were many reasons people didn’t acknowledge the Messiah’s arrival. Let’s just consider why Joseph and Mary had no place to stay.

  • A pragmatic observer might blame it on logistics.

The Roman government had ordered a census to raise taxes. To avoid missing anyone, they required the Judeans to travel to their ancestral homes to register. The hometown of David was Bethlehem, still a small village one thousand years after David lived. There weren’t enough inns for the out-of-towners.

  • But such mentality violated Eastern custom, if not rabbinic law.

The Judeans had perfected the art of hospitality during the various festivals in Jerusalem. The pilgrimages brought in millions to the capital city, which normally housed a fraction of that size. They didn’t have a Motel 6. These tourists bunked with citizens who opened their homes to strangers.

The Pharisees didn’t want any man to say: “I have not found a bed in Jerusalem to lie in.”[1] Thus, many homeowners surrendered their own beds to allow the less fortunate to stay in a place of honor.

And Bethlehem was much smaller than Jerusalem. That’s why there weren’t enough inns for the deluge of people flooding in. Thus, the only solution was for homeowners to share their living quarters.

  • For some reason, the Bethlehemites lacked hospitality.

Maybe they felt they had sacrificed enough. Maybe they believed someone else should shoulder the burden. After all, they were already filled to the brim with weary strangers.

  • Perhaps, they catered to the more distinguished guests.

After all, the people flocking to Bethlehem were David’s descendants; one of them could’ve been the rightful king. Some were wealthier than others. Some, like Mary and Joseph, were very poor. There was no room left to accommodate the less regal peasants.

  • A pregnant teen was nothing more than an afterthought.

Mary and Joseph were left out with the animals – the horses and the mules ridden by the other guests. They bedded with cows, goats, sheep, and chickens.

  • Isn’t that how we sometimes treat Jesus, too?

He’s the Lamb of God who came to take away our sins, but we just don’t have the time or the energy to give Him what He deserves.

  • It’s just logistics.

We’ve got too much work or shopping or football or whatever. We have no room or time for Him at Christmas … or ever.

We know we should be thankful to Christ for our redemption, but we love the shopping, the games, the parties, the decorations, the jingles, etc. Worship of Him just slips our mind because we’re too busy.

This Christmas, make room for Jesus – not excuses.

Take time to remember:

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:29, NKJV

What reasons have you given for not making room for Jesus?



[1] Hastings, Bib. Dic. “Guest-Chamber and Inn,” quoted by W. E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, nda), 524.

Why Atheistic Scientists Believe in the Virgin Birth

We must believe in the Virgin Birth.

~ R. Albert Mohler, Jr.[1]

06-23-07 @ Lisa Thornberg, courtesy of iStockphoto

A New York Times columnist disparaged Christians for their belief in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, whose Incarnation we celebrate at Christmas. He wrote:

The faith in the Virgin Birth reflects the way American Christianity is becoming less intellectual and more mystical over time…

~ Nicholas Kristof[2]

Did you catch that? He asserted that Christians are less intellectual and more mystical than he because we disagree with his skepticism. This cynic indicated that this tenet of the Christian faith – the Virgin Birth, or the Incarnation of God the Son in human flesh – was so impossible that only the more stupid could believe it.

His affront failed to acknowledge that …

These men and women of whom I speak aren’t Christians. They’re atheists and agnostics. They oppose belief in any deity. The academic circles that Mr. Kristof most likely esteems consider these same proponents of virginal birth to be the wisest of the wise. The cream of the crop among leaders with his same anti-Christian agenda.

  • These virgin-birth believers represent every field of science.

Evolutionists. Darwinists. Physicists. Chemists. Biologists. Geneticists. Cosmologists. Anthropologists. Mathematicians. Historians. Philosophers.

Every field of science.

  • And, again, they’re not Christians – they’re atheists.

The virgin birth that they believe in is what they espouse as spontaneous generation. They believe that life spontaneously erupted from non-life – or in simple terms, a virgin birth.

  • It requires faith to believe in a virgin birth.

Just ask some of these best-known scientists. Here is what some of them have said:

 

One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are – as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation.

~ George Wald, Harvard University biochemist, and Nobel Laureate, 1954

 

The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. For this reason many scientists a century ago chose to regard the belief in spontaneous generation as a “philosophical necessity”… Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing…

I concede the spontaneous generation of life to be “impossible.”[4]

~ George Wald

Life began three and a half billion years ago, necessarily about as simple as it could be, because life arose spontaneously from the organic compounds in the primeval oceans.[5]

~ Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard University, paleontologist, evolutionary biologist

We can assume that somehow in the primeval soup we got collections of molecules that became self-replicating; and I don’t think we need any miraculous or mysterious [explanation].[6]

~ Peter Singer, Princeton University, bioethics and moral philosopher, leading atheist

 

. . . the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.[7]

~ Stephen Hawking, University of Cambridge, theoretical physicist and cosmologist

  • It requires more faith to believe in a natural than a supernatural virgin birth.

George Wald made a correct assessment. People either believe in a Creator, or they have to believe in the virgin birth of nature. There’s no other alternative.

Even more, there’s no scientific evidence that substantiates the virgin birth of nature, called spontaneous generation, can or did occur. The reverse is actually true: scientific evidence exists from the days of Louis Pasteur that prove spontaneous generation can’t occur. And yet scientists still believe in it simply because they can’t (and won’t) acknowledge a Sovereign Creator God.

Everyone this has a choice: believe in the virgin birth of nature or believe in a Creator. Each position requires us to place faith in the one we choose.

  • I believe in the virgin birth wrought by God.

If God can create the universe, He can cause a virgin to carry the Christ Child. If He can bring about the Incarnation of the Messiah, then He can redeem those who place their trust in His redemptive work. If God exists (and I know He does), He can certainly rise from the dead. If He can rise from the dead, then I know I can believe in the Eternal Life He offers to those who call upon Him for salvation and Lordship.

  • That’s why I believe in the virgin birth of Christ.

I don’t believe in the atheistic spontaneous generation theory, which science has already debunked. And it takes less faith for me to believe in all-sovereign Lord who is willing and capable of sending a Redeemer via a virgin birth.

  • The wisest of mankind still seek Him.

The wisest scientists of Jesus’ day – the Magi – also believed in this Savior. That’s why they traversed across hazardous terrain to worship at His feet.

And today those who are truly wise will do the same.

 

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

~ Matthew 1:22-23, NKJV

 

In which virgin birth will you place your faith?

 


[1] R. Albert Mohler, Jr, “Must We Believe in the Virgin Birth?” 12/22/2010, http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/12/22/must-we-believe-the-virgin-birth-4/, retrieved on 12/04/2013.

[2] Nicholas D. Kristof, “Believe It, or Not,” The New York Times, 08/15/2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/15/opinion/believe-it-or-not.html, retrieved 12/07/2013.

[3] Vince Vitale, “Which Virgin Birth?”, January 03, 2013, http://www.rzim.org/a-slice-of-infinity/which-virgin-birth/, retrieved on 12/04/2013.

[4] George Wald, “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American August, 1954: 44, 47.

[5] “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” November 26, 1996, retrieved 12/07/2013.

[6] Peter Singer, “Is There a God?” Melbourne, Australia. 21 July 2011.

[7] Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design (New York: Bantam, 2010), 180.

Do We Know Why Christmas Precedes Judgment Day?

How can we expect people to understand Christ’s Second Coming if they don’t yet know the reason for His First Coming?

12-31-69 © alexhstock, courtesy of iStockphoto

A doomsday prophet always has a thankless job. No one wants to listen to him. Who wants to think about pain and misery, death and destruction? No one, right?

Take, for example, the 2013 blockbuster, Man of Steel. Modern-day moviegoers see the frustration of Jor-el, Superman’s father, at the beginning of the film. He warns of Krypton’s imminent destruction, but the ruling council ignores what are obvious signs to the viewing audience – judgment day is at hand.

  • A skeptical world doesn’t always acknowledge its need for a hero.

This is a recurring theme in superhero sagas. There’s Sinestro standing alone in the 2011 flick, Green Lantern. Even the god of thunder didn’t heed Odin’s portent in another 2011 production, Thor. Selfish people just don’t want to hear it.

  • In our world, we’d rather live it up.

In biblical times, Noah found this to be true; so did Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel. Even Jonah found that he had a poorer reception among his fellow kinsmen than he got from the Ninevites.

  • And this we learn at an early age.

Take, for example, the 1994 Disney animation, The Lion King. What was the catchphrase we remember from that movie? It was Timon and Pumbaa’s theme song about their outlook on life, and it went like this:

It’s our problem free philosophy, Hakuna Matata.

Hakuna matata is a Swahili phrase meaning no worries.

  • We long for no worries as we live like we want.

I traveled on a mission trip to Jamaica once. It was a gorgeous island with beautiful people, but there was a lot of poverty and need. That’s why we went there. People trekked over mountainous terrain on jungle paths during the hottest season just to see a doctor.

We had to depend on local volunteers to help. They smiled and expressed eagerness to lend a hand … but on their timetable. We learned very quickly that Jamaican time meant four or five hours later than promised.

Bobby McFerrin’s hit song even made their mentality famous:

Don’t worry, be happy …

  • Such laissez-faire attitudes are common today.

We’ve adopted what the Beatles sang: Let it be, which is what laissez-faire means. We just want to do as we please and celebrate the holidays like we want because in our minds Christmas is all about us any way.

  • We have forgotten why the Son of God came in the first place.

He didn’t come to teach us to be good. He didn’t come to give us our wish list. He didn’t come to deck the halls with boughs of holly or to sing Christmas carols. He didn’t even come to tell us who was naughty and who was nice.

  • He already knew we all were naughty.

A holy God knows that everyone has sinned and has fallen short of His glory. It was true before the first Christmas. It’s true for this Christmas as well. It’s true of every day since the Garden of Eden. We have to acknowledge our need for a Savior because without Him we’re doomed to eternal judgment – just like what we see in the superhero sagas. We have to recognize that mankind’s Judgment Day is at hand.

  • We mustn’t become like the prophet Lot.

Lot chose to pitch his tents near Sodom and Gomorrah. He became a judge among the Sodomites and probably tried to rule as righteously as he could. The problem was that he allowed his environment to corrupt him. He came to live like all the other sinners around him did. And the Bible tells us how that turned out – more than chestnuts roasted over an open fire in those cities.

  • We must be diligent to remember the Reason for the season.

This is especially true for Christians. Jesus came to suffer the penalty for our naughty sins. It was, is, and forever will be the greatest gift we could want or receive – the true Reason for the season.

  • Because Judgment Day will soon come, we have to proclaim:

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

~ Luke 2:11, NKJV

Do you see any other hope for our world?

There’s No Second to Lose

 

 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye … we shall be changed.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:52, KJV[1]

09-01-11 © RonTech2000, courtesy of iStockphoto

Auburn fans have a new query of their Alabama rivals: Hey, got a second? They’re referring, of course, to the 2013 Iron Bowl, where one second remained on the clock when the Crimson Tide attempted a game-winning field goal. The kick fell short, and Chris Davis of Auburn returned the ball 109 yards for a game-winning score.

  • The fortunes of two teams changed in that one moment.

The play’s outcome dashed Alabama’s hopes of a third consecutive national championship. It created bedlam in Auburn because it elevated their chances of achieving their third national championship. Another answered prayer in Jordan-Hare!

  • This rivalry has produced many such legendary moments.

No Tiger fan forgets the 1972 Iron Bowl, known as Punt, Bama, Punt. No Tide rooter neglects Van Tiffin’s last second kick in the 1985 classic. Every fanatic remembers Patrick Nix’s 1993 touchdown heave to preserve Auburn’s perfect season under first year head coach, Terry Bowden. But, the Crimson crusaders point to Roy Upchurch’s score in the last ninety seconds of the ballgame to preserve Alabama’s journey toward their thirteenth national championship in 2009.

  • Alabamians are passionate about their favorite school.

Such loyalties divide the state – even families. That’s what makes the Iron Bowl so intriguing every year. It’s first and foremost in the minds of everyone on game-day … and all year.

  • But the game isn’t lost or won on one play.

There are always many opportunities to win and to lose in every game. A dropped ball here. A missed block there. Broken tackles everywhere. Every coach’s decisions and every player’s actions impact the outcome every year, with this year being no different.

  • This is how it is in life.

The decisions and actions we take every day impact who we are and what we become. Such choices not only affect us, but also influence the outcome of others’ lives. The roads we take have ramifications far beyond football.

  • Any second’s decision has eternal consequences.

There are only two teams in the winner-takes-all battle of life: those who’ve placed their faith in the atoning salvation offered by Christ Jesus and those who have not. The Lord settled the outcome of that conflict two thousand years ago when He rose from the grave victorious over death and hell.

  • His return will occur in less than a second.

And when He comes back, He knows who’s on His team. Those who believe in His redemption will join Him and will be forever changed; those who don’t will be lost – forever chained to their judgment. No last second reprieves will happen then.

None of us should let another second go by without making sure we’re part of the Savior’s Glory Days to come in Heaven. We should recruit, recruit, and recruit others to Christ’s team – and give the greatest effort possible in every situation, with every person.

  • Eternity’s in every moment; everyone’s outcome, in every second.

We just need to live like that’s true, and be as passionate about it as we are about the Iron Bowl.

  • We should live like there’s no second to lose … because there isn’t.

Got a second? Consider this:

Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever.

~ C. S. Lewis

 

Are you on the winning team? If not, here’s how to join.


The Graceful Beekeeper

“I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey … “

~ Exodus 3:8, HCSB

12-29-07 © florintt, courtesy of iStockphoto

God covenanted with Israel that He’d give them a land flowing with milk and honey. The Lord would only pledge such if He had already provided that property with what He promised.

  • But to experience God’s promises, they had to trust God first.

The Israelites were slaves. They had to garner the faith that He’d save them.

  • The Lord gave them ample evidence of His faithfulness.

The Lord freed them from their bondage by judging the sins of those who opposed His will. Only those He saved through the plagues did He enable to experience the blessings He promised. He did so with many signs of His holiness, grace, and truth.

  • They had to believe that the same God would fulfill His promises.

But that’s not what happened. Even those He rescued through miracles failed to believe in what He willingly provided. Almost all rebelled and never got to see God’s full faithfulness to them.

  • Those who did saw God’s grace.

Not only did God demonstrate grace in saving them, His grace also provided His people with the land flowing with milk and honey. Just as they hadn’t merited their salvation, they did nothing to create such provisions.

What they found in Palestine was that the bees had already produced the honey God promised them. The Lord had ordained that the bees provide for them. And they did.

Just as the people of God had done nothing to produce the honey with which He blessed them, they had committed no acts of righteousness to save themselves either.

If He we can trust Him to give us blessings such as honey, then we can trust Him for salvation as well. If we believe He saved us, then we should have faith that He will provide for us as well.

 

If God has saved us, what other blessings does He have in store for us?

The Promised Land

“I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey … “

~ Exodus 3:8, HCSB

07-13-05 © PaulCowan, courtesy of iStockphoto

Day after day, the slaves labored for their taskmasters in the hot Egyptian sun. Rags for clothes. Lashes for tattoos. Thirst and hunger instead of nourishment. This was the life each one experienced under the tyrannical rule of the pharaohs.

For as long as any of them could remember, it was this way. There was an ancient rumor of a distant land filled with plenty, but none of them had ever seen it. Most doubted its existence.

  • Then, one day a forgotten man spoke of a place past recall.

Moses was a fugitive – a condemned man thought lost to oblivion. He’d somehow survived the barren wilderness. He stood before them a changed man, and he verbalized foolishness to those enslaved.

  • The God of their forefathers had appeared to him.

Most of the Israelites had lost faith in this God because they believed He had forsaken them. Instead, they labored constructing monstrosities to pagan deities who looked down upon their plight with pleasure. To them, the Egyptian gods held the power of life and death over them. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was unfamiliar.

  • But Moses claimed this God had made an unbelievable promise.

The Lord planned to deliver them from slavery. And He did. Although the congregation didn’t have faith in Him at first, God performed miracle after miracle to set His people free.

  • Even so, His provision went beyond freedom.

The Lord vowed to lead them to a new home. Not just any territory though. He covenanted with them to give them a land flowing with milk and honey.

  • And that is exactly what He furnished.

God bestowed upon these slaves something they couldn’t have dreamed of ever possessing. He didn’t necessarily give them wealth as much as He gave them what they needed to live the life He had called them to live before Him and before others.

 

What blessings has God given to you?

A Busy Bee-liever

The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.

~ John Chyrsostom

05-02-10 © boryak, courtesy of iStockphoto

Growing up in the rural South, my brothers and I lived outdoors. The Atari games were around, but we didn’t own one. Instead, we ran around shirtless and barefoot in the yard wearing cut-off jeans.

We’d find ways to entertain ourselves for hours: swimming in the creek, playing any kind of ball we could, riding bikes… We were adventurers, exploring all of nature that we could in our little world.

It was a promised land to us, like one flowing with milk and honey.

  • We never wanted to go inside the house.

That was boring. Do you hear me? B-O-R-R-R-I-N-G!

For food, we scavenged off the land, picking, berries, apples, muscadines, quince, and plums. We gulped warm water from a hose, or cooler refreshment from a well – depending on whose house we thirsted at.

  • One of our favorite pastimes was collecting bees.

My grandparents’ property had large blooming plants – hydrangeas, snowball bushes, and the like. Their yard attracted bees like no other; theirs was a great hunting ground for us, the miniature beekeepers.

  • We’d make homes for our prized captures.

We transformed old Golden Eagle Syrup jars into glass menageries by punching holes in the tops. We furnished them with flowers and old honeycombs. And we bumbled around with our makeshift hives for the rest of the day.

  • At dusk, we’d have to let the bees get back to work.

Our grandparents made us release them so the honey-makers could go home by the light of the honey moon.

I never was sure that they made us let the buzzers go for noble reasons. I believed it was more to prevent us from bringing them into the house, wanting to avoid an angry stinger’s fury.

God created the bees to help mankind produce crops – even more to make the honey we poured on Grandma’s homemade buttered biscuits. That’s why bees constantly buzzed around. They were hard at work to fulfill God’s call on their lives. And part of their work helped us.

  • There’s no such thing as a lazy bee.

These insects never stopped fulfilling what God created them to do.

Now, as I watch them zip from one flower to another, I have to ask myself if I am busy doing what God’s called me to do. Do I worship God through serving others, or am I just busy as a bee hoarding my own honey?

 

And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

~ Colossians 3:17, HCSB

 

Do our lives show we are busy as bee-lievers?

The Secret Life of Bees

The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.

~ Saint John Chyrsostom

05-02-10 © boryak, courtesy of iStockphoto

Something’s abuzz in the air.

An environmentalist organized a commemorative ceremony for some victims in a recent tragedy. He held a service to honor 50,000 bees that died due to pesticide exposure in an Oregon parking lot.

  • He wanted people to become beekeepers … of a sort.

The memorial emphasized the bees’ role in the circle of life. Rozzell Medina related that he’d hoped to:

… memorialize these fallen lifeforms and talk about the plight of the bees and their importance to life on Earth.

While I won’t be attending any bee funerals, I have to admit that …

  • The bee’s mission is important to our lives.

These insects provide a necessary function in agriculture. Gardeners rely on the bees to help beautify their gardens. Farmers depend on them to pollenate their crops. We need these insects to feed the world.

  • Bees are unappreciated workers.

The USDA reports that the bees pollenate eighty percent of our flowering crops, or one-third of our diet. Without honeybees, we’d lose foods such as fruits, almonds, and soybeans. Due to their prominent role in alfalfa propagation, it would jeopardize the beef and dairy industries as well since the grain serves as a major source of feed.

Just think about what impact bees have on the American diet.

That’s why one of the most ingenious men spoke of them in awe:

If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.

~ Albert Einstein

  • Our Creator intended it to be this way.

God gave everything a purpose. Bees exist to glorify the Master of the world. Every time we hear the humming of their wings, we should recognize they’re fulfilling God’s purpose for their existence.

  • To fulfill God’s purpose is the true secret life of bees.

We should as well. Paul wrote of Christ’s role in this matter:

 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

~ Colossians 1:15-17, NKJV

Do we fulfill the Lord’s purpose for creating us?