Sunday, February 21, 2021

Warming Trend

It's Saturday afternoon as I write this week's entry in the quad life. The sun is shining outside making the snow covered ground extra bright. I have been sitting here all day thinking about what to write this week, and still haven't come up with a topic, even as my stick is putting out words on my keyboard.

As usual, it has been another week of staying inside. Last weekend and early in the work week, outdoor temps were well below zero. I woke up Tuesday morning to my thermostat reading -14° just outside my window. With a difference of more than 80° from outside to in, I wasn't surprised to see my room below where it usually sits. Thankfully, the weather has improved and that same thermostat now reads nearly 37°.

In the corner of my room, a five-sided, 45-gallon aquarium sits where I can easily see it. After a shift in fish population, due to the death of some and others becoming snacks for larger fish, I have been down to two fish for quite a while. One of the two was a large algae cleaning fish that frequently hid behind rocks. Therefore, I only saw one laxidasical angel fish most of the time. On January 29, my parents finally got to Des Moines and came home with a surprise of five new fish.

I enjoyed the new buzz of activity and watched the active new arrivals chase each other and explore their new home. However, our reliable fish store may have had a disease problem. As of Thursday, the large plecostomus was the latest burial in the snow. My original two fish died as well as three of the new ones. After having seven healthy pets, I'm back down to two survivors. Dad has been changing the water, filters, and adding medicine to help keep these two around. Hopefully they'll stay alive, but we may be more hesitant to repopulate the tank.

Finally, on Friday, I watched a conference about the current virus news, discussing mask wearing and the treatment. Many have been banned by social media for simply showing facts, and I therefore won't discuss specifics. However, I am more confirmed that I will not be getting the vaccine and continue to breath easily with my face uncovered.

February 20 also marks 36 years since becoming a quadriplegic. I'm thankful for the extreme number of blessings God has given me throughout the years. Even with just a regular week with little to come to mind, He has provided all I need. With the last full week of February ahead, I look forward to the coming of spring again.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Day of Love

February 14 is Valentine's Day, named after St. Valentine. It's a day when couples get each other cards, chocolate, flowers, and other gifts. Some claim this day was invented by greeting card companies so they could sell more product. Whatever the cause, it's a good day to be reminded of love.

The past several months have had riots, protests, finger pointing, and accusations of all sorts from different sources. We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is patient and kind. It can be challenging at times, but we need to love those we disagree with and be patient with them. However, we can go too far in that direction as well.

If we see a child playing and having fun, it would not be kind, or loving, to stop them. However, if the location of the play is on a street, or railroad track, and danger is approaching, it is loving to stop the child's enjoyment and move them. In the same way, when someone is living in sin, it is loving to warn them about the danger ahead.

Yes, God is love, but He is also a just and righteous judge that must see sin punished. If you do not repent of sin and do everything possible to keep from it, then justice will be served. Unfortunately, many churches just preach the first part and forget the second.

As sinful men and women, God showed His love for us by Jesus' death on the cross and paying our debt. All who repent and put their faith in Him alone will be saved. We demonstrate our love for God by following His commands, reading His word, and telling others about the gospel. It can seem unloving to show sin in someone's life, and needs to be done thoughtfully, but we cannot give a solution unless the problem is known.

Throughout this day, and week, remember how God demonstrated His love for us, and extend it to all around us.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Leviticus, why bother?

Other than snow and cold, it has been a pretty calm week. I spoke virtually to a class of RT students, but that was about all. Every morning, I continue reading through the Bible. I am now in Leviticus, and some may wonder why this is needed in modern Bible study.

The main point of the Old Testament is to point toward the coming Messiah and His payment for our sins. This book, while sometimes hard to read, is a major illustration of what is needed to cover sins against God. While it is aimed at the Levites in their service in the tabernacle, it also has application for Christians.

First, the animal had to be perfect to be accepted as a sacrifice. It couldn't have any blemish, and then it had to be offered on the alter in a prescribed manner with only certain pieces of the animal. Every part had a function, and even the ashes had a required method for disposal. Sacrifices were also required regularly, some at prescribed festivals, but others every morning and evening. They were to be a continual reminder of the need for forgiveness.

In the New Testament, Jesus was called the lamb of God. Just as the lamb had to be perfect for sacrifice, so did Jesus. He was the only one who had not sinned, and was holy, blameless, and acceptable to cover our sins. The blood of sheep and goats could not cover our sins for all time, but Jesus' one act on the cross paid for the sins of all who truly come to Him for forgiveness.

Other sections of Leviticus tell the Israelites how to live as a distinct nation, apart from the people around them. Just as they were not to follow many of the practices of other nations, so Christians are to be distinct as well. In 1 John 2:15, Christians are told not to love the world or the things in it. While the world moves further away from God's Word, we need to hold to it and live as His people, no matter the cost.

Just reading through some of the Old Testament can be a challenge. However, when we pay attention and apply it, the difficult passages make sense. If medical personnel in the Civil War, or Black Plague, had followed Leviticus and separated sick people from the well, and cleaned instruments with running water, it would have saved many lives. This is why it is still useful to read books such as Leviticus and see how it can point to today.