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Friday, July 27, 2012

It's Not You!

The verse Epesians 2:8-9 is a verse that tells people how to become a christian, but I want to point out a few words.


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.


I just want to point out that your are a christian not by works, but by grace. God says that twice in this passage through Paul. 2 times. It must be important.


For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Romans 12:3


Paul wrote both of these verses because Paul knew without a doubt that his faith was not of himself. Paul was once known as Saul. He killed Christians and watched them be stoned, but was miraculously converted to a christian by God. Paul knew that all he was was not of himself because if he had not seen Jesus, the light, then would probably be killing Christians all of his life. This is not of yourself. This is what Paul was sure to tell to those from Roman and Ephesus. He probably told this to other places he visited, maybe even by mouth. But Paul was sure of it. 
Maybe you experienced something like Paul were your eyes were opened, or maybe you came into God's family in a more "basic" way. (Basic in quotation marks because no matter how you became a Christian, God sees it all the same) But anyway, maybe you came into God's family in a more "basic" way, it doesn't matter...you should be aware that IT'S NOT YOU! 


Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought!

Friday, July 20, 2012

God Cares: Design and Creativity

The is a picture of the Horseshoe Falls, better know as the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. This is a God designed structure that has one sole purpose: to glorify God.
I went to Niagara Falls (Which is one reason there wasn't a lot of posts last week) and it got me to thinking this: Why did God make Niagara Falls?
Why did God make that swirl of colors? Why didn't God make earth like the moon...plain...empty. Then I came to one conclusion:
GOD LOVES US
There are so many things God created that are beautiful, but they don't have to be there.
While God was punishing one generation with the flood, he was blessing another with natural structures, and with a pretty home to call ours.
God punished man, and yet he was still thinking of us. He wanted to bless us and make things that scream his name. 

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD.
Psalm 148

Let them praise the Lord! "you highest heavens and you waters above the skies" This makes me think of a waterfall, the water above the sky.
Standing beside Niagara Falls made me feel small. Watching water tumble over it's edge left me feel weak. But God is bigger than anything he created. I can't even image how I'd feel before God when I felt so small compared to his creation.
At Nigera, I went on a boat that went right below Niagara Falls. Look at the water. Niagara Falls is amazing, but the thought that God put into it is even more incredible. God thinks about us. And Niagara Falls is one of the smallest examples of it.
This crazily insane waterfall that has thousands of gallons of water going over its edge. God made a masterpiece the day he he spoke and the earth came to be, and he added some extra stokes with the flood.
The Bible says that the stars proclaim the glory of God...well the stars are not the only thing that tell of God's majesty.

He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar--the LORD Almighty is his name.
Jeremiah 31:35

Photo Credit:
Niagara Falls Pictures: Me!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Trees: The Olive

When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.
Genesis 8:11

The olive tree represents new life. Both after the flood and after we become a christian. In Romans, Paul says that went we are wild olive branches and God grafts us in to his tree when we become a christian.

Jesus Jewish Carpenter, Grafting
If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
Romans 11:17-21

They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense.
Exodus 35:28
The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with olive oil.
Numbers 11:7-8
He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes, like an olive tree shedding its blossoms.
Job 15:33
his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
Hosea 14:6
"Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards...Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD.
Amos 4:9
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3:17-18
Then I asked the angel, "What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?" 
Again I asked him, "What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?"
He replied, "Do you not know what these are?" "No, my lord," I said.
So he said, "These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth."
Zechariah 4:11


And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. "These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
Revelation 11:4

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Trees: The Fig

The fig tree is pretty cool, but yet can be used to represent sin. Even the very first sin ever.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened...they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Genesis 3:7

When Adam and Eve sinned, they wanted to cloth themselves, so they made there own clothing. They did things their own way. When Jesus walked on earth, he cursed a fig tree for not bearing fruit. God cursed Adam and Eve for sinned and later they let God do things his way, by killing a lamb to cover them.

That fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley, will be like a fig ripe before harvest--as soon as someone sees it and takes it in his hand, he swallows it.
Isaiah 28:4

Figs are hard to see until they are ripe.
There is one ripe fig in this picture and many unripened figs. I circled some figs (I didn't circle them all) just so you can see how hard it is to find unripened figs.

He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored.
Proverbs 27:18

Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered. Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.
Mathew 21:19; 32

At the end, Jesus starts talking about his second coming and signs of the end ages. And when Jesus cursed the fig tree, figs weren't even in season. I think Jesus did this to start a conversation about when he would return.

and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.
Revelation 6:13

(These are not a fig trees, but a palm trees. Look at comments to figure out why they are here.)

The Acacia
The Cedar
The Palm
The Fig
The Olive

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Clouds

cloud4

The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen.  He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through them.  At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them.  He brings the clouds to punish men, or to water his earth and show his love. 
Job 37:10-12

cloud2

The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
Psalm 135:6-7

cloud1

God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
Jeremiah 10:12

cloud5

The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Psalms 97:1-2

Monday, July 2, 2012

Trees: The Palm

As a Christian, you should strive to be like a palm tree by being be very useful. Here are some things that palm tree are used for:

  • Shade in the desert
  • Food
  • The Fronds can be used to make baskets
  • The seeds are food for camels
The palm tree's roots go deep into the ground in search for water so that it can survive even when it's really dry. Here are some bible verses about the palm tree.

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.
Exodus 15:27

On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers.
1 Kings 6:29

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
Psalm 92:12

The vine is dried up and the fig tree is withered; the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree--all the trees of the field--are dried up. Surely the joy of mankind is withered away.
Joel 1:12

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!"
John 12:13

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
Revelation 7:9

Like a palm tree, we should try to be useful and strong. And we should go as deep as we need to to find Jesus, our water.


The Acacia
The Cedar
The Palm
The Fig
The Olive