What the hand reveals

“And when he had said this, he showed them both his hands and his side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20, NASB).

Almost everyone now seems to realize the unique nature of individual fingerprints. These elements of the human hand contain numerous whorls and other identifying characteristics that distinguish each individual from all others on earth. Fingerprints constitute evidence that in a legal setting may prove the presence of an accused at the scene of a crime and lead to conviction for that crime. Continue reading “What the hand reveals”

Live like God’s people every day

“‘But just look at you! You are putting your confidence in a false belief that will not deliver you. You steal. You murder. You commit adultery. You lie when you swear on oath. You sacrifice to the god Baal. You pay allegiance to other gods whom you have not previously known. Then you come and stand in my presence in this temple I have claimed as my own and say, ‘We are safe!’ You think you are so safe that you go on doing all those hateful sins! Do you think this temple I have claimed as my own is to be a hideout for robbers? You had better take note! I have seen for myself what you have done!’ says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 7:8-11 NET)

The conditions in Judah were not good. Although there was lip service to being the people of YHVH, the reality was that their hearts were far from him. Jeremiah dispelled any notion that they were in any way living as the people of God. Continue reading “Live like God’s people every day”

Growing pains

Occasionally my oldest will complain to his mother of pains. This is normal. Occasionally I complain to his mother of pains. This is also normal. But the two are not the same. The former holds the promise of growth. The later holds the promise of more pain.

“Growing pains without growth is just pain.”/1

The life of a Christian is one of growth. We begin as infants (1 Peter 2:2), but we must not stay there. Just as physical growth involves pain, so does spiritual growth. It takes effort to become fully mature (Hebrews 5:14). We must push ourselves, get outside of our comfort zones to thrive. Continue reading “Growing pains”

Just a hand

Last week I drove past a man walking on the sidewalk carrying sacks from a purchase he’d evidently just made. He had no hands. His arms were stumps, but he was able to carry his sacks. He was managing.

Jesus entered a synagogue to teach. A man with a withered hand was there. It was widely known that he would heal people on the sabbath. Continue reading “Just a hand”

In your hand

“The Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He said, ‘A staff’” (Exodus 4:2 ESV).

Anthropologists and other scientists tell us that the two physiological features that most clearly differentiate human beings from the rest of the animal kingdom are the size (and complexity) of their brains and the unique capabilities of their hands, especially because of the opposing thumbs that only humans possess. These hands allow for the efficient use of inanimate objects (i.e., tools) which almost infinitely extend the power and efficiency of human endeavors. Note that the ability of the hand to grip and use tools is paired with the ability of the brain to invent and adapt their use. Continue reading “In your hand”

God is in control

How often does it seem that God doesn’t care about what goes on in the world? Injustice seems to prevail, and laws are passed that limit our freedom. So much evil goes on yet nothing seems to happen about it. And then there is a global pandemic …

Habakkuk would have fit in with this generation – it would seem that he would fit in with almost any period of time. Listen to him as he began to talk to God about what was going on in his day. Continue reading “God is in control”

Weary hands

The eighty-year-old was tired. His hands were weary. Victory or defeat were in the balance. He needed help.

God chose Moses, a man who doubted his own abilities, to lead his people out of captivity. But Moses did not do it alone. His brother, Aaron was by his side, his strengths compensating for Moses’ weaknesses. God’s power was demonstrated through the words and actions of these men.

But the challenges Moses faced did not all drown in the sea. Different difficulties arose with the freedom of this newly forged nation. Food and water were lacking, and the people’s trust in God seemed tenuous in the best of times. Continue reading “Weary hands”

A sharp sickle in his hand

The main image of the sickle or scythe that people have is the caricature of death coming to reap (take away) life. Death is called the Grim Reaper. It is a popular image today among gamers. The sickle is an implement with a crescent-shaped blade attached to a short handle, used for cutting grain or tall grass.

In the book of Revelation, it is not Death personified, but an angel of God who wields the sickle. It is in his hand. The hand, in the Old Testament, is that part of the body “that carries out a person’s will” (Richards 324). John shares that perspective. Here, the angel is carrying out the will of God. Frank Cox noted that this angel is in the central part of seven in this part of chapter from verses 6-20 (Cox 90). It is a key section, then. This is an important moment and key action in the book. Continue reading “A sharp sickle in his hand”