Why birds sing



I saw God in a massive, secular, scientific book. I was Christmas shopping with my family in a mall several years ago. We shopped separately and had arranged to meet in the book store (I wonder who had that ingenious idea…) around a certain time. I was the first to arrive, and decided to wait in the center aisle of the book store, so I would be seen by my family members when they came in. I stood near a table with a variety of books on it, including the aforementioned huge book. I believe it was called Birdsong, and it was about, as you might guess, birds and their songs. I flipped through it, glanced at some pictures and diagrams, and read a few pages. I learned that singing is not necessarily easy for birds. They don’t just open their little beaks and let their songs out. Some birds have to do seemingly awkward and difficult things with their bellies and throats to make the right sounds. Scientists devised a complicated mouth harp which replicated the sound-producing parts of a bird, to see if a person could duplicate the song of a bird. After much practice and effort, the result was a poor imitation of the original. I looked at many very detailed pages, and the entire book seemed to be about the scientific mechanics of bird songs, or HOW birds sing.

There was a section at the back of the book about another book that was in the works, based on ongoing studies with the focus of WHY birds sing. A preliminary summary of the studies’ findings went something like this: Sometimes birds sing to warn of danger. Sometimes they sing to attract a mate. But for the most part, it appears that birds usually sing simply because…THEY LIKE TO SING. Wow. I got goose bumps when I read that, especially in the context of this completely secular manual. That is SO God. The Creator of all joy, beauty, and meaning designed birds to sing because they like to. I love finding God in science!

But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth,and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
 In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10




Someone at my church sent out an email saying that he created a poster/flyer that he hung over his computer at work, reminding him of what God requires, including the Ten Commandments, the Great Commandment, etc., as well as his favorite Psalm. I think that is a great idea! I replied to the email, NOT with a correction, but an encouragement/reminder of what motivates us to follow God’s commands. Here is my reply:

It is admirable that you are striving to please God in all that you do, and finding ways to remind you of His Word throughout your day. Psalm 96 is an awesome song of praise to our God! I would just like to encourage all of us to remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is GOOD NEWS, not a To-Do List. Our “do’s” are ALWAYS rooted in His “DONE.” All of Paul’s letters begin with at least a chapter or two of reminding us what Christ has done, before getting into what we must do. His amazing love for us motivates our service for Him. We tend to skip over the indicatives (what God has done) when we’re reading the Bible, and focus on the imperatives/commands. The imperatives in the New Testament are basically showing us what our lives can look like when we begin to grasp the amazing grace of God. The love of Christ compels us! (2 Corinthians 5:14) We must “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” if we want to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

I have found that if we focus on what we must do instead of what He has done, we will either be proud because (we think) we are doing it, or discouraged because we know we can’t do it. We WILL run into a wall. We WILL have bad days. But the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel is that God’s approval/acceptance of us is based NOT on our successes or failures, but on Christ’s perfect righteousness! Hallelujah!

One thing I like to do to help me focus on what Christ has done as motivation for my obedience and service to Him is highlight the indicatives and imperatives in my Bible with different colors. I use PINK for THINK (indicatives) and BLUE for DO (imperatives). (I use yellow for prayers and orange for warnings). I love that I can even do this in my Kindle Bible/iPhone!


Here is a little article that explains the indicative/imperative idea better than I tried to explain it. http://theresurgence.com/2010/12/04/be-who-you-are-indicative-imperative

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. Romans 16:25-27

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

In Christ,


Ephesians 2 on a heart monitor



This is your heart on sin: Dead. Flatline. Nada. Stone. Cold. This is your heart on God, in Christ: ALIVE!!! I was reading Ephesians 2, and it hit me. I was dead. Now I’m alive. And I didn’t bring myself to life. God gave me life through Christ! That’s exciting! I pictured the verses charted on a heart monitor. I bought a cheap roll of paper, wrote out the words of Ephesians 2:1-10 in one straight line down the middle, and drew a red flatline under verses 1-3. Then I started drawing ‘blips’ like crazy for verses 4-10. My attempt at illustrating this idea below may not be quite as effective, but…you’ll get the idea.

(flatline) And you were dead (flatline) in the trespasses and sins (flatline) in which you once walked (flatline), following the course of this world (flatline), following the prince of the power of the air (flatline), the spirit that is now at work (flatline) in the sons of disobedience (flatline)—among whom we all once lived (flatline) in the passions of our flesh (flatline), carrying out the desires (flatline) of the body and the mind (flatline), and were by nature children of wrath (flatline), like the rest of mankind (flatline)       

But *BIG BLIP!* God *BIG BLIP!*, being rich *BLIP* in mercy *BLIP*, because  *BLIP* of the great *BLIP* love *BLIP* with which he loved *BLIP* us *BLIP*, even when we were dead *BLIP* in our trespasses *BLIP*, made us alive *BLIP* together *BLIP* with Christ *BLIP* —by grace *BLIP* you have *BLIP* been saved *BLIP* — and raised *BLIP* us up *BLIP* with him *BLIP* and seated us *BLIP* with him *BLIP* in the heavenly places *BLIP* in Christ Jesus *BLIP*, so that *BLIP* in the coming ages *BLIP* he might show *BLIP* the immeasurable *BLIP* riches *BLIP* of his grace *BLIP* in kindness *BLIP* toward us *BLIP* in Christ Jesus *BLIP*. For by grace *BLIP* you have been saved *BLIP* through faith *BLIP*. And this *BLIP* is not *BLIP* your own doing *BLIP*; it is the gift *BLIP* of God *BLIP*, not *BLIP* a result *BLIP* of works *BLIP*, so that *BLIP* no one *BLIP* may boast *BLIP*. For we *BLIP* are his *BLIP* workmanship *BLIP*, created *BLIP* in Christ Jesus *BLIP* for good works *BLIP*, which God *BLIP* prepared *BLIP* beforehand *BLIP*, that we *BLIP* should walk *BLIP* in them *BLIP*.

It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found. Luke 15:32

And you, who were dead in your trespasses…God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses. Colossians 2:13

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26


He burned my mortgage!



Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook!  My dear Christian friend posted a picture with this saying: “If you want to live in God’s blessings, you’ve got to live by God’s standards.”

I don’t really like that quote. I do believe we need to live by God’s standards. But that quote sounds kind of nanny nanny boo boo to me. Like if you don’t get your act together, God’s not going to bless you!

I believe the Gospel is the glorious News that through Jesus Christ we get ALL of God’s blessings even though we don’t always live perfectly by His standards. I believe that’s why God’s Son came, lived a perfect life, and died for our salvation. So we get His perfect record in exchange for our messy one. I was thinking about this as I was driving, and I felt like God was pouring Bible verses out on me. I was so blessed, and I wanted to share the blessing with you.

In 2 Corinthians (1:20), it says ALL of God’s promises are “Yes” in Christ. Not just the ones where we keep our end of the bargain. It’s not about us. It’s about Him and what He did for us and what He continues to do for us.

In the book of Hebrews (12:2), we are told to fix our eyes on Jesus, the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our faith. In other words, God SET the standard. “Be holy as I am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2) And He MET the standard. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.” (Revelation 5:12) Jesus is the Finisher.

The last thing Jesus said on the cross was “It is finished.” (John 19:30) In Greek, it’s just one word: tetelestai. In New Testament times, the word tetelestai was written on business documents or receipts to indicate that a bill had been PAID IN FULL. Jesus wrote a big, fat check to cover ALL of my sins and yours. And I’ve heard someone say that the fact that He rose from the dead shows us that the CHECK CLEARED.

In Colossians (2:14) we are told that our sins are forgiven because Jesus cancelled the RECORD OF DEBT that stood against us, nailing it to the cross.

Last summer there was a ceremony at my church. To celebrate the fact that the church and the parsonage are paid off, we BURNED THE MORTGAGE. That’s what Jesus did for us. We don’t have to drag that burden of debt around anymore. My chains fell off! My heart was free! … On the cross He sealed my pardon, paid the debt, and made me free! … Hallelujah! What a Savior!