In our cold winter months, we often think nothing is alive outside. While many animals hibernate until spring, tree squirrels are amazingly active all year. They’re interesting little animals that can entertain us by their acrobatics in the trees and along fences.
My research revealed that our black variety in Barrie are actually Eastern Grey Squirrels. Rather than dig a burrow in the ground and hibernate for the winter, they build tree nests, called dreys, and use that as a home base. They roam our neighbourhoods all winter to feed mostly on nuts scattered under the snow, or what remains on trees. They’re out in the worst weather hunting for food, and seem to thrive.
Now what’s my point in all of this? If a simple squirrel must work hard to eat, even on frigid winter days without fail, isn’t it true that we must work hard to feed on the word of God just as regularly? We feel like hibernating in winter too, but we have to get out and be with other Christians at Bible study times regularly. It takes work, inconvenience and determination, but that’s what we have to do to be strong and survive.
Paul told Timothy to be “constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following” (1 Tim.4:6). This is how he was to remain strong as a preacher. Peter urged Christians to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet.3:18). Where does that knowledge come from? By being taught by well prepared teachers, and by your own personal study. We must avail ourselves of both. Even in winter.
Nature knows it must eat or die. Do we?
– Tim Johnson
One of the most amusing characters this time of year is the Grinch, who despises Christmas and has a generally negative personality. People like him have been around for a long time.
Such a man was encountered by Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13 when they took the gospel to Cyprus and the household of the Roman Governor. In his employ was a magician named, ironically, Bar-Jesus (meaning the son of someone named Jesus), aka Elymas. When Paul tried to teach the gospel to the governor, Elymas kicked up an awful fuss and tried to “turn the proconsul away from the faith” (v8). He was a first-class Grinch. Paul said to him, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?” (v9) That’s quite an indictment against this troublesome man.
How many times have people tried to turn others away from the good news of Jesus Christ? Or made crooked the straight ways of the Lord? We often see modern-day versions of Elymas, who do all they can to discourage others.
Sometimes we can have a Grinch-attitude by criticizing good things that may simply be new, different, inconvenient, or something that threatens the status-quo. I’m not talking about matters that are rebellious or un-Biblical, which are rightly rejected. But good and righteous things are sometimes criticized just because we don’t like to consider change.
The New Testament urges us to be positive, kind, open to that which is good, Biblical and helpful. “Encourage one another day after day” (Heb.3:13). “Encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thess.5:11). Faith has an open attitude to God and the brethren. “Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col.3:12).
Let’s make sure the Grinch is just a fairy-tale, not a reality within us.
– Tim Johnson
Last week it was reported in the news that Mark Lewisohn, a British author, is writing a 3-volume set of books about the Beatles. This was met with great interest by Beatles fans because Mr. Lewishon is a trusted friend of the remaining members of the band. He said that most books about them are not well written, and he wants to write something more definitive and exact. What I found interesting are his thoughts about accuracy in writing such a set of books. “I think it’s an important book to write. I think it’s important that it’s done now whilst the paperwork is still around and whilst the witnesses to the history are still alive to tell it.”
The writers of the New Testament also took pains to be accurate and to consult with living witnesses of the things Jesus said and did. Luke explained his own methods in Luke 1:1-4. “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order…” Luke did careful research, consulted with living witnesses who knew their memories were important, and to write it out accurately.
In addition, the 12 apostles were all official witnesses of the resurrected Christ, and they had unique memories that contributed to the writing of the New Testament. John spoke of “what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1). Witnesses are vital to accurate authorship, and the inspired writers of the Bible consulted with many of them while they were still alive.
If people recognize the value of living witnesses to a historic band like the Beatles, we should feel even greater confidence about the carefully-written accounts of Jesus Christ.
– Tim Johnson
Dr. Edwin Slessor said, “The greatest miracle of the Bible is its chemical accuracy.” The Book of Genesis says, “The Lord formed man of the dust of the earth.” (Gen.2:7) This statement is literally true.
In the general area where the beginning of civilization is thought to have taken place, a soil sample consists of 16 different chemical elements. All these are found in the body of man. How could the writers Moses, Job and David have known this? Yet before the science of chemistry was born this truth was declared as a fact. Christians have no difficulty believing these Bible writers were inspired by God. Continue reading
On Tuesday, newspapers around the world, including the Barrie Examiner, reported the opening of a new museum exhibition in Jerusalem of some ancient clay tablets written by Jews who were taken to Babylon in the 6th century B.C. Most Christians are very much aware of the Biblical accounts of their 70-year stay, as written by prophets such as Daniel, Ezekiel and Jeremiah. Apparently the hand-sized clay tablets were discovered in modern-day Iraq several years ago and have been carefully examined by archaeologists. Continue reading