At great length, King Solomon opined about the vanity of life and the pleasures of things which man has made. Some people might read the first couple chapters of Ecclesiastes and draw the conclusion that life is futile. But Solomon goes on to make the point that God gives life meaning and value. While the things we labor over are only temporary, the ways and actions of God will always stand because He is in control. The book of Ecclesiastes touches on many aspects of humanity that we are confronted with daily. Solomon’s writing style gets a lot of traction from skepticism and pessimism, making me wonder if he might have relied upon sarcasm in social intercourse. Nonetheless, if you’re feeling somewhat undervalued or maybe as worthless as the remains of this pier at Whittington Beach in Hawaii, I’d suggest taking a short trip through this book to get a no-nonsense life course correction.
Coming across the Rocky Mountains last week, along what I believe to be one of the most beautiful drives in the country, a glance in the rear-view mirror captured my attention. After winding down the east side of Roger’s Pass, the highway straightened out for a long stretch and seemingly reached out for some infinite point in the distant mountain range. The beckoning springtime grass, scattered clouds and silent highway combined to make a compelling scene. This sight brought to mind a number of thoughts and Scriptural messages, but one in particular felt like just the right fit.
“Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God!” Isaiah (40:3) spoke these prophetic words about John the Baptist’s future role. Later, each of the Gospel writers would document John doing precisely this, with John 1:23 recording, “He [John the Baptist] said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness; Make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said.”
So John basically made this proclamation to anyone who would listen to him, and maybe even to some who wouldn’t. But what was he telling them? God can do anything He wills, surely he doesn’t need people to pave the way for Him! John’s purpose in this announcement was to put people at the ready for Jesus Christ, who would soon be in their midst. This was not only so folks would be on the lookout for Him, but was an urging for people to get their lives right by God prior to the impending arrival of the King.
Just as the arrival of Jesus Christ in the flesh was imminent in the time of John the Baptist’s life, the Kingdom of Heaven will soon be at hand when Christ returns in judgement. We don’t know when that will happen (Matthew 25:13), but if our lives are not right with God at that moment, we will not join the fellowship in His kingdom. Worse, we will be ushered to the gates of Hades. So, what if you don’t believe that Christ’s return is going to happen soon? Well, perhaps you’re right, but then I’d ask, when will you die? Again, if you don’t have your life right with God when you leave this life on earth, the same rules apply. And that death can happen in an instant – even when you’re least expecting it.
Listen carefully…..do you hear it? Hailing from the clutter and noise of our modern day wilderness can still be heard that same announcement – Make straight the way of the Lord!
Last weekend I was in northwest Washington-state and my visit coincided with the beginning of the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Over the past several years I have traveled on business to this part of the country, but wasn’t aware that the cut-flower and bulb business had such an economic impact in the Mt. Vernon-Burlington area. And evidently the flowers were not in bloom at the time of previous travels, or I think might have noticed them. My timing was fortuitous this year and I become one of the more than 200,000 people who flock to the locale each year to take in the sights.
The first field of blooms to draw my attention turned out not to be tulips, but daffodils! And I actually believe I saw more acres of daffodils than tulips during my time there, however I didn’t cover the country extensively. Even on a cloudy, dreary day, the brilliant yellow was impossible to miss.
The variety of colors at the tulip farm was pretty amazing, and each row of flowers was like a work of art. Mud and drizzling rain turned out to be a good thing, as many of the tourists stayed out of the fields and headed for their cars early, allowing for some relatively clean shots of the fields.
While the tulip business in Washington doesn’t compete with Holland in terms of acreage or economic impact, it remains a very impressive sight to experience. And the colors and beauty of the flowers serve as poignant reminders of He who made them!
As I was driving down the highway last week, a thought – nay, a revelation – struck me suddenly. And for some reason I heard this in the voice of Andy Rooney, using his signature “Did ya’ ever notice how….” line. The amazing thing is that this thought had not occurred to me many years ago. Oh, so you want to know the thought? Well, as Andy would have said it, “Did ya’ ever notice how evolution only seems to work on Earth?”
Think about that for a few minutes, and roll it around in your mind a few times.
The whole idea of evolution, the spontaneous generation of single-celled life from dust and gas and rocks and time and luck and… It all seems absurd. But even more absurd is the thought that those single-celled things “evolve” into fish then frogs then lizards then rabbits then monkeys then people! Given enough time, the evolutionists say this will happen. Okay, for a few short seconds here, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are right. If so, then there should be all sorts of “tweener” critters wandering all over the place, right? So where are they? But I digress…
If the “science” of evolution is right, then this amazing and spontaneous generation of life from stuff should occur on other planets, too. Life adapted to cooler temperatures and the high carbon dioxide atmosphere of Mars should be abounding on that planet, while the warmer weather and higher atmospheric pressure on Venus should support some really tough life forms. Here on Earth we have life forms that don’t use oxygen, and some that can withstand extreme temperatures and pressure, so why haven’t those kind of critters appeared and evolved into complex beings similar to mankind on the other planets?
Did ya’ ever notice how evolution never produces anything as simple as a golf pencil, but instead can grow an amoeba into a person? I’m sorry, I still don’t have enough faith to believe in evolution!
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 For the rest of the story, click here.
Civilla Martin, who wrote the lyrics to the hymn, “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” said this about her inspiration to write the song:
Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was simple: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” was the outcome of that experience.
The image of this Chipping Sparrow was a capture I made on our old 20-Acre Wood on June 23, 2012, only a couple days before wildfire would consume our woodland sanctuary in the Bull Mountains.