Cecropia Moths

Yes, the title is right.

And, no, you haven’t stumbled onto a nature page of some sort.

The title is there because, this morning, I encountered a Cecropia Moth for only the second time in my 78 years.

We’ve had record rainfall this year.  As a result, everything is lush and beautiful and green.  And, as a result, the maple tree in our back yard has produced an exorbitant number of “helicopter” seeds.  I was out there trying to clean them up.  While doing this, I nearly swept up the moth.  I couldn’t really tell because of all the seeds, but it looked like the moth was just finishing up emerging from its cocoon.  It was so beautiful.  I was trying to find a picture of one of them to include in the post, but once again technology has gotten the best of me.  (At least, I know what a dial telephone is.  I read something the other day about a lady whose grandson wanted to know what the wall phone she was talking on was.)

Anyway, according to Scripture, we’re a lot like that moth, or, more correctly, the caterpillar from which it comes.

1 John 3:2 says, Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

And Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54:

Behold, I tell you a mystery:  we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

One of these days, perhaps in my lifetime, or in the lifetime of our grandchildren, or maybe not until the life of their grandchildren, the trumpet will sound and believers will all be changed.

“It has not yet been revealed what we shall be….”

One day, that caterpillar was minding its own business, chewing away on a delicious bit of green when all of a sudden, it had this urge to spin a cocoon….

I’ve read that there is a complete change of DNA in that cocoon.  Nothing is left of the caterpillar as it changes into, say, a Cecropia Moth.  The creature that emerges has nothing in common with the creature that spun the cocoon.

One day, perhaps you or I will be chewing on a delicious bit of green, metaphorically speaking, and the time will come.  Death will knock at the door or the trumpet will sound, and we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

 

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– And Peter –

In our reading the other morning, my wife and I read the last two chapters of Mark.  These two words in Mark 16:7 struck me, as I’m sure they have at other times in reading this portion.

Our Lord is so gracious.  So kind.  So understanding.

I’m sure Peter thought he was done.  After all his braggadocio,  “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Mark 14:31 – here he was, hiding in the shadows somewhere, overcome with shame, remembering….

There are a couple of verses in Luke’s account that bear on this.   Luke 22:60, 61 tell us that before he was even finished with his denials, Immediately, while he [Peter] was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter,” emphasis added.

In the midst of His own suffering and humiliation, being taken to a death we cannot even begin to imagine in our culture of concern for “criminal rights,” the Lord Jesus remembered His errant disciple….

And He turned and looked at Peter.

That look must have torn through Peter like a knife into his soul.

The fact that all the disciples said it, Matthew 26:35, was probably no comfort to Peter.

He had said it.

And Peter went out and wept bitterly, Luke 22:62.

Ah, beloved, the Lord knows us better than we can possibly know ourselves.

“But go and tell His disciples – and Peter….”

And He still loves us and cares for us and restores us.

“This Little Light…”

“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work….  You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it.  And its wick-trimmers and its trays shall be of pure gold.  It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils.  And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain, Exodus 25:31, 37-40 NKJV.

He also made the lampstand of pure gold; of hammered work he made the lampstand….    And he made its seven lamps, its wick-trimmers, and its trays of pure gold.  Of a talent of pure gold he made it, with all its utensils, Exodus 37:17, 23-24 NKJV.

This is the second piece of furniture in the holy place – the first compartment of the tabernacle.  It’s perhaps the most important piece, if “rank” can be assigned to these pieces, because by it the priest could see the other pieces and could see where he was and where he was going.

Scripture has a great deal to say about “light.”

One thing it says is in John 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it, vs. 1-4.

These verses tell us that God is the source of light, or, more specifically, “the Word,” the Lord Jesus, is that source.  In Genesis 1:3, God said, “Let there be light,” and created light as something distinct from Himself, who, Himself, is Light, 1 John 1:5.

John 1 further says that life itself is “light:”  the life was the light of men.  Life itself tells us that there is “more to life” than life.  This is spite of the fact that evolution tells us that man is just a sad, essentially useless cosmic accident, with no purpose or meaning.  This world and all that’s in it will wend its way through the ages that remain until the Sun, with its last dying gasp, flames out and extinguishes everything.

But man knows innately that there is something more “out there.”  How many religions and philosophies there are which want “to ascend,” want to leave this physical plane for some “spiritual” something or other that is said to be superior to, and “beyond,” ordinary life.

_______________

1. Light guides us.

I’m thinking here of the old sailing days, before GPS and all the electronic gadgets that we have.  Old time sailors were not without their own navigational aids in the stars and Sun and lighthouses and a lot of knowledge that I’m afraid is pretty much lost to us.  We can’t hardly go to the corner store without consulting Alexa or some other electronic device.  Even then, our eyes are glued to our phones, to the extent that, according to the latest news,  “distracted driving” has become a major problem and is an increasing cause of traffic accidents and deaths.

To the old-timers, a lighthouse was a welcome sight.

Scripture also guides us and gives us some indication as well as to what is “out there.”  It tells us that there is indeed more to life than life and that when this life is over, life itself is not over.

There’s a story told of a little country church that was surrounded by fields belonging to an atheist.  The church wasn’t air-conditioned and, in warm weather, had to have its windows open.  One spring, this atheist planted his fields on a Sunday, plowed and tended them especially on Sunday when the church was in session, and, finally, harvested them on a Sunday.   After he was done, he wrote to the editor of the local paper:  “I planted my fields on  Sunday, took care of them on Sunday, and harvested them on Sunday.  I didn’t pay any attention to god and I had a bumper crop this September!  What do you think about that?”  The editor printed the letter, but then answered, “My friend, God doesn’t settle His accounts in September.”

“God doesn’t settle His accounts in September.”  But He will settle them!

It is appointed to men to die once, but after this the judgment, Hebrews 9:27, emphasis added.

2. Light discovers.

You can see stuff in the light that is hidden in the darkness.  That’s why, almost invariably, when people go into a dark room, even a familiar one, they turn on the light.   In the same way, Scripture lights up the darkness of this world so that we can see things to avoid – or to receive.

I heard someone the other day who called Christians, “God’s flashlights.”  That’s not a bad analogy.  We’re here to shine in the darkness of this world, in order to guide people to the light of the Gospel.

3. Light can be overpowering.

When I was in Bible College, one of my fellow-students in the dorm, if I remember the wattage correctly, decided to get a 1000 watt light bulb.  It’s been over 50 years, but I remember vividly that when you walked into the room and turned on the light, it almost knocked you over, it was so bright.  Needless to say, the administration took a dim view of this and made him get a smaller bulb!

This is what happened to Saul of Tarsus as he was intent on wiping out the name of Jesus.  On the road to Damascus, with no thought of anything but that, he saw “a light from heaven, brighter than the Sun, shining around him and his party.  It turned him and his life completely around, to the point that he was preaching salvation through the very Name that he had just a day or so before tried to destroy!

He saw the Light and it overpowered him.

That’s what light does to the darkness.  It doesn’t negotiate with it.  It doesn’t try to “woo” it or reason with it.  It simply shines, and the darkness is gone!

4. Light isn’t always welcome.

God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed, John 3:17-20, emphasis added.

Men don’t like to be told they’re sinners, or that, apart from the Lord Jesus, they stand condemned in the sight of God.  They want to believe the devil’s lie that they’re all right.  As the saying was, a few years ago, “I’m ok, you’re ok.”  The problem is that, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, I’m not ok, and neither are you.

The Lord Jesus has come and turned on the light!

What does it reveal?

Have folks come to the Light?

Or have they, like rats and roaches, scuttled back into the darkness?

Thank the Lord, many have indeed come to it, but many more have rejected it.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,”  Matthew 5;16.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” Acts 16:31.

“Three…”

I know it’s a little late for this, but it just occurred to me this morning as we were reading.

“For as Jonah was parts of three days in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be parts of three days in the heart of the earth,” Matthew 12:40, Good Friday version.

“The Bread of Life”

“You shall also make a table of acacia wood;  …And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always,” Exodus 25:23, 30 NKJV.

This table was about three feet long, a foot and a half wide, and a little over two feet high, covered with gold and with gold decorations and molding around its top.  We’re not so much interested in the table itself, as we are in what was put onto the table:  the showbread.

Along with their part of the animal sacrifices, the showbread was part of the priests’ provision, although we’re not told how, cf. Mark 2:26.  We’re not given a great deal of information about its preparation, except that during Solomon’s reign, it was replaced weekly by some of the sons of the Kohathites while still warm from the oven, 1 Chronicles 9:32; 1 Samuel 21:6.  There are records of it being on the table as late as the time of Nehemiah, Nehemiah 10:33.

But we’re not so much interested in that as we are in a confrontation our Lord had with some of His contemporaries centuries later, as recorded in John 6.

John 6 is a difficult chapter to understand, on several levels.  The Jews who heard Him had difficulty with it and a whole church ritual is built on a misunderstanding of part of it.  Here is that part:

Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.  Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

…………

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.  He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him.  As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father,  so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.  This is the bread which came down from heaven – not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead.  He who eats this bread will live forever.”

These things He said as He taught in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said; “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” John 6:26-29, 48-60 NKJV.

This quote breaks into the middle of the conversation.  Though there is much in this chapter, we’re interested only in that part where Jesus said He was the bread of life, and talks about eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

There is another Scripture we must add to the mix:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink for it, all of you.  For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  [And lest folks later get the wrong idea about what these elements were, He continued,]  But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 6:26-29 NKJV.

There is another whole discussion about these verses we’ll not get into, except to say that our Lord isn’t declaring that these elements become His flesh and blood, nor is He saying that, in some ethereal way or another, His flesh and blood are along side these elements.  He is only saying that these elements represent His flesh and blood.

This brings us back to the showbread and our comment that it was part of the priest’s provision.

When Jesus said, “I am the bread of life,” He was telling those who heard Him, and us, that He – and He alone – is the provision that will give us eternal life.

Well, then, how do we “partake”?

In answer to a question from His contentious audience in John 6, He told us:

“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent,” John 6:29.

“Believe”….

There seems to be a whole cottage industry built around that word.  I see posters and pictures and potholders which tell me to “Believe.”

What I’m to believe isn’t mentioned.

But the only “belief” that will do any good spiritually is belief – faith – in the Lord Jesus Christ, who He was – the Incarnate Son of God, and what He did – took the place of believing sinners, enduring the wrath of the Father against their sins and forever discharging the debt they have because of those sins.

It’s futility – presumption – beyond description to believe that some little act of ours – some penance, some “good deed,” some charitable act, some routine or ritual – can take away even one sin, let along the innumerable number of which we are guilty.  It’s only because we’ve forgotten who God is, if we ever really knew, that we can believe such things.

If there was something we could do to pay for sin, then the death of Christ was unnecessary.  I hate even to write such a sentence.  But because we are helpless and our efforts hopeless, the Lord Jesus took pity on us and took our place on the Cross.

He is the Bread of Life.

But how little we feed on Him, which can only be done through the Word.  It alone tells us what we need to know about Him.  To read that Word, to meditate on it, to believe and trust it for our soul’s welfare – that is to “feed” on Him.

Have you partaken of Him by faith?  Do you trust Him and Him alone for the forgiveness of your sins and for the privilege of going to heaven one day?

If not, oh, that today you might see your need of Him and trust Him for your eternal benefit.

If yes, then rejoice and feed even more through His Word.

He is the Bread of Life.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in him, Psalm 34:8.

Entering the Presence of God

At last, we will be able to push aside the fabric screen that serves as the door of tabernacle itself and step inside.

I don’t know how Aaron and his sons felt the first time they stepped into this building, but it should have taken their breath away.  They stepped into a treasure-room of pure gold with three beautiful, indescribable pieces of furniture.  I’m sure the descriptions we’ve read of them do not do them justice.

Beyond all that, though, this was the building in which God had said He would dwell and meet with them.  Of all the people of Israel, Aaron and his sons were the only one who had that privilege.

I wonder what he felt that first time?

What do we think of that privilege – that privilege of coming into the presence of God?

What our Lord said to His disciples when they questioned Him about His use of parables is applicable to us as well:

“Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many righteous men and prophets desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it,” Matthew 13:16.

Generations of people, even entire civilizations, have come and gone without ever seeing or hearing the gospel, or any part of the Word, or even having the opportunity to see or hear.  Even at the present time, darkness covers much, if not most, of our globe.  Very few places have the light of the gospel and I’m afraid that light is flickering badly in the winds of wickedness that are sweeping through our cultures.

So, why have we been allowed the priceless privilege of hearing and seeing?

Our Lord answers in His prayer to the Father as recorded in Matthew 11:25-26:

At that time, Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent and have revealed them to babes.  Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.”

Paul put it like this in 1 Corinthians 1:25-29:

For you see your calling, brethren, that no many wise according to the flesh, not many noble, are called.  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence, emphasis added.

It is of God so that we may not take credit for it, as if it were of us.