All Things Bright and Beautiful
A righteous man regards the life of his animal.
Have you ever asked yourself why God created animals—so many of them with such variety?
Clearly God loves animals. He filled the Garden of Eden with them, preserved them during the Flood, and expressed concern about the cattle of Nineveh at the end of the book of Jonah. He even makes the surprising statement in Proverbs 12:10 that righteousness includes treating our animals well.
Recommended Reading: Matthew 10:27-31
God undoubtedly created animals to be lessons for us. We learn diligence by watching ants do their work (Proverbs 6:6); we learn trust from the sparrows (Psalm 84:3); safety from the hen with her chicks (Matthew 23:37); confidence from the eagle (Isaiah 40:31); surefootedness from the deer (Habakkuk 3:19); discipleship from the sheep (John 10:4); gentleness from doves (Matthew 10:16); obedience from the horse (Psalm 32:9); wisdom from the badger (Proverbs 30:26); courage from the lion (Proverbs 30:29-30); and faith from the raven (Luke 12:24).
If you’re vacationing with your children this summer, talk about the animals. Sometimes their very presence is a sermon for our souls.
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, / All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.
Cecil Frances Alexander
Read through the Bible: Ezekiel 18 – 20
Six Things It Means to Be in Christ Jesus
By John Piper
[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. (2 Timothy 1:9)
Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking to be united to Christ. Bound to Christ.
If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:
He Who Understands
You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.
The famous prayer usually associated with Francis of Assisi begins, “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace”—thus often called the “Peace Prayer.” It is a prayer that asks for things that are counterintuitive to natural human impulses, such as, “O divine Master, let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand.” Consoling and understanding (instead of being consoled and understood) are not natural to us.
Recommended Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16
Most teenagers say to their parents at least once, “You just don’t understand!” And that may be true—parents are long past their own misunderstood teenage years. Yet even as adults we wonder if anyone really understands us. Francis’ prayer seems to be modeled after the life of Christ, for surely He was one who came to serve rather than to be served, to console and understand rather than to be consoled and understood (Mark 10:45). Indeed, the Bible tells us that Christ understands our lives since He endured every human experience we do (Hebrews 4:15).
When you think no one understands, turn to Jesus in prayer (Hebrews 4:16). Not only will He hear, He will understand.
Christ understands loneliness; He’s been through it.
Paul S. Rees
Read through the Bible: Ezekiel 13 – 15
Jesus Will Trample All Our Enemies
By John Piper
Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24)
How far does the reign of Christ extend?
The next verse, 1 Corinthians 15:25 says, “He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” The word all tells us the extent.
So does the word every in verse 24: “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.”
There is no disease, no addiction, no demon, no bad habit, no fault, no vice, no weakness, no temper, no moodiness, no pride, no self-pity, no strife, no jealousy, no perversion, no greed, no laziness that Christ will not overcome as the enemy of his honor.
And the encouragement in that promise is that when you set yourself to do battle with the enemies of your faith and your holiness, you will not fight alone.
Jesus Christ is now, in this age, putting all his enemies under his feet. Every rule and every authority and every power will be conquered.
So, remember that the extent of Christ’s reign reaches to the smallest and biggest enemy of his glory in your life, and in this universe. It will be defeated.