Remembering

May 22, 2015

Memorial Day is a national holiday to honor those who have died in military service. John Logan, a U.S. Congressman and Union General during the Civil War, began the memorial. As commander in chief of a Union veterans’ organization he urged the members to decorate soldiers’ graves with flowers on May 30th. Eventually it became a national holiday and extended to all U.S. war dead. Memorial Day is marked by the laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. With the current war on terror, I suspect that we are keenly aware of what soldiers sacrifice.

My memories of Memorial Day growing up are quite vivid. For a small child, it wasn’t fun for the most part, although we did cook out at the end of the day The day was spent with my parents, my Grandma Holden, and my great-aunt. They would pick peonies from the yard and make bouquets. Then we would spend much of the day driving to cemeteries and placing these bouquets on the graves.

It seems like there were at least four cemeteries that we went to, and they were miles apart from each other. For a child, it was being cooped up in a car on a nice day in May. For the adults, it was a day of remembering and sharing family history. It was a day of honoring those who had died as soldiers. It was as the name of the day implies a day of remembering.

If you count all of the wars the United States has been involved in, we have lost 664,440+ soldiers in combat and another 673,929+ soldiers who died from accidents, privation, disease or as prisoners of war. As a child, I was witnessing adults who had lived through WWI, WWII, or both. I think I understand why they took the meaning of remembering so seriously. Those two wars represent 52% of all the combat deaths.

I wish that I could say I could find all of those cemeteries and graves, but the truth is I only remember the location of one of the cemeteries. Some family history has been lost, but an impression was made on me. As enjoyable as it was to cook on the grill at the end of that day, Memorial Day was important to them for remembering.


A Living Sacrifice

May 15, 2015

Recently, someone said in the assembly, “We ought to be able to give an hour a week for worship.” I cringed at the statement, and I’ll explain why in a moment. I think I know what the speaker meant, so let me start there.

A recent headline highlights the concern: “You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span than a Goldfish.” “The article explains researchers have found that the human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds in recent years. The goldfish comes in with an attention span of 9 seconds explaining the headline. The source of the problem is our digital life where we may have multiple screens providing us with information. This may make it difficult for us to concentrate on one thing and maintain sustained attention.

Yet, you are capable of much deeper thoughts than a goldfish, and you can have sustained attention if you try and practice at it. Worship is one of those places that needs our sustained attention. Reading books, especially reading the Bible, is another. Somehow thoughts about God ought to rank higher than our instant messages and Twitter feed.

I hear complaints at times that people are talking, passing notes, or on their phone during worship. Granted that a person may be reading their Bible on their phone, but this is not always the case. The suspicion is that people are distracted and not paying attention and being a distraction to others who are attempting to pay attention. I think that is where “the hour a week” comment comes in. Can we learn to give sustained attention to the things God has asked us to do? This may take some effort on our part, but it is a call to be different from the world around us. It is also a call to be reverent and respectful.

What made me cringe about the statement? I don’t want to convey the idea that Christian living can be pigeonholed into an hour a week. God wants your whole life not just a token hour. He wants you to be “a living sacrifice” daily. It means being a Christian on the job, at school, and in the home. I’m giving God all of my time as I use my entire life to glorify God.

When I give God my life, then the times of worship become a no-brainer. I don’t have to decide each time whether I’m going or not. Worship, whether in my devotional life or in the assembly, becomes a part of the rhythm of my life. Worship shouldn’t be something that I begrudgingly give to God counting down the minutes until I’m free. Worship should come from the overflow of a daily walk with God. My aim is to be a “living sacrifice.”


The Legacy of Ruth

May 7, 2015

The Book of Ruth is a genealogy with a narrative preface. The genealogy belongs to King David with David being the last word in the book. The narrative explains how a Moabite woman came to be in the genealogy of Israel’s king. Despite her nationality, Ruth was a remarkable woman, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

The book is never shy about calling her a Moabite. Her name occurs twelve times in the book and five times it is in the phrase “Ruth the Moabite,” and in the first occurence she is identified as a Moabite. Her nationality, however, did not determine her faith. Ruth was a convert: “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16c). Boaz acknowledged that she had taken refuge under the wings of Yahweh, the God of Israel (Ruth 2:12). Ruth was a woman of faith.

We live in a culture that often emphasizes outer beauty, and the standards of that outward beauty are so unreal that even models are photoshopped. In comparison, we have no physical descriptions of Ruth, but we are told of her inner beauty. Boaz praised her as “a worthy woman,” and acknowledged that the community knew this as well (3:11). This is the same word used to describe the virtuous wife of Proverbs 31:10. The NET Bible’s footnote in Proverbs 31:10 explains the word’s use in this passage and in Ruth 3:11. It has to do with moral worth and virtue. Ruth was a woman of virtue.

The antithesis of Ruth is Orpah, Ruth’s sister-in-law. When given an out by Naomi to look out for herself, she took it and abandoned Naomi. Ruth, on the other hand, modeled loyal love. This was no sentimentality or fleeting feeling. Ruth demonstrated loyalty and unfailing kindness in her actions. When the decision was made to return to Bethlehem and leave Moab, Ruth went. When the two women needed food, Ruth labored in the field as a gleaner. When Boaz provided her with a midday meal, Ruth saved leftovers for Naomi. When talk of a kinsman redeemer took place, she trusted Naomi and then Boaz. Ruth was a woman of love.

Ruth was a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She is in the family tree that produces “a man after God’s own heart” — David. Raising children is a labor-intensive, hands-on project. Society will be blessed with mothers who also model faith, virtue, and love. This was the legacy of Ruth.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Real People

May 1, 2015

Lawrence Mykytiuk writes, “… at least 50 people mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.” This list includes kings of Israel, Mesopotamian rulers, and lesser-known figures.1

Mykytiuk illustrates with the famous Tel Dan inscription discovered in 1993. The inscription was found on a basalt stone in secondary use in the lower part of a wall. It was written in Aramaic and dated from the ninth-century BC. The inscription was commissioned by a non-Israelite king mentioning his victory over “the king of Israel” and the “House of David.” Prior to that time, some skeptical scholars had considered David to be mythical because his name had not been found in inscriptions. But this find indicates that David was still remembered as the founder of a dynasty a century after his death.

You may wonder why there are not more than 50 people known from archaeology. Archaeologist Edwin Yamauchi explains the fragmentary nature of the evidence. Archaeology deals with materials remains: buildings, inscriptions, and objects like coins, lamps, and tools. Of the material remains from the past, only one-tenth are still in existence. Six-tenths of that has been surveyed, one-fiftieth of that excavated, one-tenth of that examined, and one-half of that published. This is not to minimize archeology but to interject some humility into discussions about what moderns know about the past. We have only .006 percent of the evidence from the past in archaeology.2

Yet, the findings of archaeology have confirmed my faith. As I read my Bible, I know that I can turn to an atlas and find the places that I’m reading about on a map. The events don’t take place over the rainbow or in Neverland. I can look at pictures of objects from the past that illustrate customs and lifestyle, and I can imagine real people going about their lives.

As I read my Bible, I meet people who are all too familiar. Human nature isn’t different just because several millennia stand between them and us. The Bible provides me with noble examples to imitate as well as warning examples to avoid. Archaeology adds to my knowledge. In the pages of scripture, I meet the true God and real people.

1http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-in-the-bible-confirmed-archaeologically/
2 Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, 159


Real People

May 1, 2015

Lawrence Mykytiuk writes, “… at least 50 people mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.” This list includes kings of Israel, Mesopotamian rulers, and lesser-known figures.1

Mykytiuk illustrates with the famous Tel Dan inscription discovered in 1993. The inscription was found on a basalt stone in secondary use in the lower part of a wall. It was written in Aramaic and dated from the ninth-century BC. The inscription was commissioned by a non-Israelite king mentioning his victory over “the king of Israel” and the “House of David.” Prior to that time, some skeptical scholars had considered David to be mythical because his name had not been found in inscriptions. But this find indicates that David was still remembered as the founder of a dynasty a century after his death.

You may wonder why there are not more than 50 people known from archaeology. Archaeologist Edwin Yamauchi explains the fragmentary nature of the evidence. Archaeology deals with materials remains: buildings, inscriptions, and objects like coins, lamps, and tools. Of the material remains from the past, only one-tenth are still in existence. Six-tenths of that has been surveyed, one-fiftieth of that excavated, one-tenth of that examined, and one-half of that published. This is not to minimize archeology but to interject some humility into discussions about what moderns know about the past. We have only .006 percent of the evidence from the past in archaeology.2

Yet, the findings of archaeology have confirmed my faith. As I read my Bible, I know that I can turn to an atlas and find the places that I’m reading about on a map. The events don’t take place over the rainbow or in Neverland. I can look at pictures of objects from the past that illustrate customs and lifestyle, and I can imagine real people going about their lives.

As I read my Bible, I meet people who are all too familiar. Human nature isn’t different just because several millennia stand between them and us. The Bible provides me with noble examples to imitate as well as warning examples to avoid. Archaeology adds to my knowledge. In the pages of scripture, I meet the true God and real people.

1http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-in-the-bible-confirmed-archaeologically/
2 Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, 159


Real People

May 1, 2015

Lawrence Mykytiuk writes, “… at least 50 people mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.” This list includes kings of Israel, Mesopotamian rulers, and lesser-known figures.1

Mykytiuk illustrates with the famous Tel Dan inscription discovered in 1993. The inscription was found on a basalt stone in secondary use in the lower part of a wall. It was written in Aramaic and dated from the ninth-century BC. The inscription was commissioned by a non-Israelite king mentioning his victory over “the king of Israel” and the “House of David.” Prior to that time, some skeptical scholars had considered David to be mythical because his name had not been found in inscriptions. But this find indicates that David was still remembered as the founder of a dynasty a century after his death.

You may wonder why there are not more than 50 people known from archaeology. Archaeologist Edwin Yamauchi explains the fragmentary nature of the evidence. Archaeology deals with materials remains: buildings, inscriptions, and objects like coins, lamps, and tools. Of the material remains from the past, only one-tenth are still in existence. Six-tenths of that has been surveyed, one-fiftieth of that excavated, one-tenth of that examined, and one-half of that published. This is not to minimize archeology but to interject some humility into discussions about what moderns know about the past. We have only .006 percent of the evidence from the past in archaeology.2

Yet, the findings of archaeology have confirmed my faith. As I read my Bible, I know that I can turn to an atlas and find the places that I’m reading about on a map. The events don’t take place over the rainbow or in Neverland. I can look at pictures of objects from the past that illustrate customs and lifestyle, and I can imagine real people going about their lives.

As I read my Bible, I meet people who are all too familiar. Human nature isn’t different just because several millennia stand between them and us. The Bible provides me with noble examples to imitate as well as warning examples to avoid. Archaeology adds to my knowledge. In the pages of scripture, I meet the true God and real people.

1http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-in-the-bible-confirmed-archaeologically/
2 Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, 159


Real People

May 1, 2015

Lawrence Mykytiuk writes, “… at least 50 people mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.” This list includes kings of Israel, Mesopotamian rulers, and lesser-known figures.1

Mykytiuk illustrates with the famous Tel Dan inscription discovered in 1993. The inscription was found on a basalt stone in secondary use in the lower part of a wall. It was written in Aramaic and dated from the ninth-century BC. The inscription was commissioned by a non-Israelite king mentioning his victory over “the king of Israel” and the “House of David.” Prior to that time, some skeptical scholars had considered David to be mythical because his name had not been found in inscriptions. But this find indicates that David was still remembered as the founder of a dynasty a century after his death.

You may wonder why there are not more than 50 people known from archaeology. Archaeologist Edwin Yamauchi explains the fragmentary nature of the evidence. Archaeology deals with materials remains: buildings, inscriptions, and objects like coins, lamps, and tools. Of the material remains from the past, only one-tenth are still in existence. Six-tenths of that has been surveyed, one-fiftieth of that excavated, one-tenth of that examined, and one-half of that published. This is not to minimize archeology but to interject some humility into discussions about what moderns know about the past. We have only .006 percent of the evidence from the past in archaeology.2

Yet, the findings of archaeology have confirmed my faith. As I read my Bible, I know that I can turn to an atlas and find the places that I’m reading about on a map. The events don’t take place over the rainbow or in Neverland. I can look at pictures of objects from the past that illustrate customs and lifestyle, and I can imagine real people going about their lives.

As I read my Bible, I meet people who are all too familiar. Human nature isn’t different just because several millennia stand between them and us. The Bible provides me with noble examples to imitate as well as warning examples to avoid. Archaeology adds to my knowledge. In the pages of scripture, I meet the true God and real people.

1http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-in-the-bible-confirmed-archaeologically/
2 Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, 159


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