“If mommy isn’t happy, nobody is happy” is a humorous statement we hear, and it’s probably quite true! But a happy dad is also a remarkably healthy thought, and God gives us a very good example of one in Joseph. We should not, however, be content just to enjoy his story and praise the Lord for him, but rather, to learn about the key ingredients to real, lasting, happiness. (WT57)
During these eight weeks of confinement we have had many reasons to go out on our little, fourth floor kitchen balcony — the daily clap for sanitary personnel at 8pm, to get some fresh morning air with a cup of coffee, or just to drink in the green scenery. But there is another neat little pleasure I’ve been able to enjoy, and it has to do with the various birds flying around outside.
One kind I often see are the blackbirds, hopping around in the freshly cut grass as they look for any unfortunate worm that happens to stick its head out. There are also many kinds of finches, each with their peculiar colors, flight pattern, and song. Sometimes I’m able to watch the acrobatic swallows, as they dive around in pairs, at times flying straight towards the building before veering off in the last second. Several turtle doves have apparently adopted our neighborhood this spring, and they add to each morning and evening their soft and melancholy coos. And I definitely cannot forget the blue heron, skimming the top of the trees that line the river, as it heads down the valley, flapping its wings ever so slowly, as if it didn’t have a care in the world.
Each of these uniquely beautiful creatures goes about its business as usual, enjoying the experience their Maker has designed for them, with absolutely no concern for the Coronavirus.
How different from the human beings that are all around them.
Interestingly, it is exactly these little animals that Jesus points to as an example for us in times of crisis. It doesn’t matter that they don’t have our brain or that they can’t reason through the dangers of the pandemic. The fact is, they were made by a God who follows their lives, cares and provides for them, and knows exactly when and how they die. We who have self-consciousness and so much more cognitive ability, are supposed to learn from them.
The Lord asked the question, “Aren’t you of more value than birds?” It was a rhetorical question for his anxious disciples, and no verbal answer was expected. But, it did and does call for a response, though it be just a physical one: a bowed head that acknowledges its lack of faith.
May God help us to learn the lesson of trust and peace, even if the birds must be our teachers.
Matt. 6:26, 10:2
Today the hot water heater technician came for the yearly revision. When he was done he said that although it was an old model, it was still in excellent shape. That was a wonderful surprise, but not nearly as shocking as the one I received when I was about to sign his receipt, as always. He said, “No signature needed! With the Coronavirus measures in place we are not allowed to do that anymore.” He and I were basically contactless. Wow.
A little while later I was at the supermarket paying for my groceries. The friendly cashier lady had gloves and a mask on. I had gloves on. Every person in the store had gloves on. But she gave me my receipt in a little plastic box, which she immediately proceeded to disinfect after I took out the receipt. Wow.
No, I would not have believed you if in February you had told me these measures would be in place. There is something out of whack in our modern world right now, and I’m not referring to the virus itself, as serious as it may be. My goodness, I never realized how easily the entire global culture could be upended.
As I thought about the technician and his receipt, and the subsequent supermarket exchange, a passage came to mind that I had read this morning. The Lord Jesus was walking through a city when a man “full of leprosy” saw him. The leper fell down before him and begged him for healing, surely expecting to be kept at a safe distance because of his condition.
But Jesus reached out with His hand and touched the man. Wow.
That contact must have been the most comfortable and tender touch the man had ever felt.
Those of us who believe in the very same Lord have a glorious hope before us. For as we each try to figure out how to honor both God and the human authorities in this crisis, we look forward to a celestial home, a place where there will be no death, no sorrow, no crying, and no pain. That definitely means there will be no virus either. We will not have to maintain social distancing, nor be afraid of spreading or receiving invisible germs, because the Lord will be right there in the middle of it all. And no plague can exist that would ever disturb His eternal City’s beauty, health, or joy.
Luke 5:12/Rev. 21:4
Yesterday morning was the first in which we could go outside for exercise. After 48 days of confinement to our homes, people really took advantage of it! But in the weeks previous I found it interesting to see some of the ingenious ways our neighbors were working off calories. I found out that two Fridays ago, one of the young ladies from our church walked over 11 miles in her tiny apartment — 24.000 steps up and down her hallway! As I walked to my garage the other day I saw a lady pacing back and forth on her balcony, which was about 15ft long. Most days at about noon I could look down from our third floor balcony, across the gardens, the river, and the street, down into a tiny yard that comes out of another apartment complex. A man would walk the perimeter of the little area for a solid hour — I couldn’t help think of a hamster at a wheel! Most afternoons I would go to my elliptical, to read and burn away 1000 calories.
What did that all of these have in common? The will to walk, and the understanding that walking is one of the healthiest, easiest, and most practical forms of exercise. It is true that many people know the value of walking and yet never make it happen. They set themselves up for heartache in the future because they neglect to move things out of the way for physical exercise.
But it is even sadder when we neglect the most fundamental of all spiritual exercises — walking with God.
There was a man long ago who also had a huge commitment to walk with the Lord. His name was Enoch. One day his walk with God just never ended, and it appears that he walked right into heaven. Wow! Today, the mere mention of his name brings the whole subject of the spiritual walk to our minds.
May God help us make it a serious matter to analyze our own devotion to walking with Him. Maybe the Coronavirus measures in our various countries have messed up our schedules and shaken up our regular creature comforts. Of course that can be irritating. But in many cases it might have afforded a bit of extra time to walk with God. Or maybe not. Maybe we just have to find a quiet balcony, or a hallway, or a tiny yard, and simply decide it’s going to happen.
Walking by faith doesn’t take place by accident or coincidence.
It is a decision.
2 Corinthians 5:
There are so many angles and levels from which to study the triple temptations of our Lord by Satan, that it is a chore to know where to start. This study is hopefully simple and practical enough to be helpful in understanding some of the dynamics that go into being tempted and being ready to withstand the temptations. (WT55)
Spreakers audio: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/26502668
clips & pics
Bonikowsky JUL video report