Monthly Archives: March 2023

The Pale Blue Dot

pale blue dot

On February 14, 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft was about to exit our solar system and be shut down, but before it did, scientists directed the vessel to turn around and take one last photograph of Earth from a distance of 3.7 billion miles away. The result was an image of a hazy watery speck in what appeared to be a beam of sunlight. The image was dubbed “The Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan, who later wrote a book on the image in 1997. While copyright laws prevent me from posting the image here, a quick internet search will lead you to the image. It has become arguably the most famous picture of Earth.

When you first look at the photo, you almost can’t see the Earth, it is that small. But when you see it, you can’t help staring at it. The image certainly puts things into perspective, literally. From this vantage point, we are like a fleck of dust. But the image calls to mind for me that declaration to God in Hebrews 2:6-7:

What is man, that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned him with glory and honor.

Within the vastness of space that this image depicts, God in his infinite and unknowable wisdom still chose to create us, care for us, love us and save us. We may be small in the eye of the Voyager camera, but we will always be great in the eye of our God.

Knit Together

knit together

I recently saw a segment on the news about a group called Loose Ends that includes over 500 volunteers who work on finishing knitting projects that were left undone by people who passed away. It was a beautiful story of completing what others couldn’t so that the loved ones of the deceased could enjoy their handiwork. Most of the knitting projects were meant to be gifts to family members or friends, so when the projects were done by the finishers, the items could be worn or used.

To me, this is a wonderful picture of what we do as the body of Christ. We step in when a brother or sister in Christ cannot in order to finish what they started. As the body of Christ, too, we are called to honor those who went before us in the faith by carrying on their work so that others may see it and God may be glorified.

What is something you can finish for someone who is sick or in need of help? What is something you can do in memory of someone who died recently? What is something you can do to bind people together in the faith? Be a finisher. Be a reminder. Be a binder. Jesus is the weaver.

Moses and the Prophets

Moses and the prophets

[The rich man in hell] said, Then I beg you, father, to send [the poor man Lazarus in heaven] to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment. Abraham replied, They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them” (Luke 19:27-29).

In this modern world, we now have more access than ever through the internet to amazing and wondrous acts that talented people have done. We almost become numb to videos that show us flawless stunts and inspiring feats of strength. So it does make me wonder if anyone would even notice if poor Lazarus rose from the dead to warn the world of the torment to come to those who do not repent of their sins and believe in Jesus.

Abraham tells the rich man in hell that his family has the words of Moses and the prophets to turn them from their unbelief. We still have the words of Moses and the prophets to share with those who are searching for meaning or unaware of the power of God over sin or skeptical of Jesus as our Savior. It is our role to put those prophetic words in front of people so that they may see the true wonder that awaits us in heaven. Consider sharing the following words of Moses and the prophets today:

Moses said to the people, “Remember this day on which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, because the Lord brought you out from there by strength of hand“ (Exodus 13:3). The strength of the Lord brings us out of our slavery to sin to this day.

The prophet Isaiah said, “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders, and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus is the Child sent from God to rescue us from all danger to life everlasting.

The prophet Jeremiah said, “Thus says the Lord: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness” (Jeremiah 31:2). We have a God who provides us with grace when we need it most.

The prophet Zephaniah said, “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). We have a God who loves us and wants to be with us.

Let these words amaze and inspire us to live out our faith here on earth with an eye toward the glory to be revealed.

Unread Emails

delete emails

A few months ago, I had approximately 10,000 unread emails in my account. So I decided to start clicking on, reading or simply deleting all the unread emails. It took a little while, but I could look for keys words and delete huge batches of emails at one time. Eventually I got down to zero unread messages, and now when a new email message appears, I click on it almost immediately, read it, and keep or delete as I deem necessary.

This activity makes me think of all the messages we receive from the Internet, television, church, our loved ones, coworkers, teachers, neighbors, etc. Our brain has to assess each message and decide on whether to believe it or reject it, act on it or lay it aside. This is what is called discernment. And the Bible has this to say about it:

Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).

We who are Christian are blessed to have Christ as our guide in discerning all things. He is the litmus test. He is the final say. He is the one who makes the decision clear. Think today about the many sound bites of information you hear. Does the information pass the “Jesus test”? For instance, is it something he would say is true to his Word, God-pleasing, or effective in building up his kingdom? Then it is worth listening to. If it is not, then delete it from your brain. It is not anything that should take up space in your mental hard drive.

Giving Up

no soda

What did you give up for Lent? How is that going? I find, like with many things, that I start off well, and then start petering out as I get a few weeks in. Over the years I have attempted to give up soda, sweets or TV time for Lent. But when things get hard, when the days get long, when my work piles up, the things I gave up are the first things I give up on.

But I am reminded this day that Jesus never gave up on giving up his very life for us. Even when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleading in prayer to God that there be another way to salvation than the way of the cross, he still did not stop moving forward with God’s plan. He got up from his tough prayer and his emotional turmoil and he said to his disciples, “The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Mark 14:41).

His resolve inspires me to keep going in following him by giving up those things that can distract me from him so that I can spend more time in prayer and the Word, focused on the end goal of everlasting life with him through his death and resurrection.

Watching Movies

watching movies

I recently attended the Faith and Film Festival at Concordia Seminary here in St. Louis. It was a wonderful learning experience getting to watch five films and then discussing them with others from a Christian perspective.

In some movies, it was easy to find the Christian application; in others it was a little more subtle. But since that gathering, I have noticed myself viewing movies in a much different way. I catch myself looking at what is on the screen through the lens of my faith. What can I learn from these characters that tells me something about Jesus? What lessons can I glean from whatever movie it is that speak to my life as a Christian? It is a fascinating way to approach movies, and more often than not, I have been surprised by what I have found that relates to my relationship with God.

The next time you watch a movie, give it a try. Look through the lens of Christianity and let God speak to you through the words and images you hear and see. Then tell someone about what you discovered.