without further ado, here are my 3 things for today
1) in my college bible study tonight, we were studying in Luke 3 where John the Baptist starts his ministry. and we've all heard about him preparing the way for Jesus and him being able to baptize Jesus and i guess can think that he had a pretty great life. but the message that God gave him to proclaim?? was a message of truth but was new for the Jews in that culture. in Luke 3:7, he was baptizing and apparently quite a crowd had gathered. his first recorded words to them was to call them a "brood of vipers" ... not exactly what his crowd was expecting him to say i would imagine. he calls out their actions, says it's no longer enough to follow all of their rules and customs. it's no longer enough that you are "sons of Abraham" - that your bloodline makes you God's chosen people. he goes on in vs 8 to say "bear fruit in keeping with repentance". now getting into heaven means more than which people you belong to. now it's about repenting from sins and the actions that stem from having a repentant heart. he mentions helping the needy, being honest in your work, showing justice and being content with your wages. these are foreign concepts to people who were raised to believe if you follow all the rules outwardly, then that's enough to earn your way to heaven. not everyone is called to proclaim the truth with such bluntness, but John was. he ended up being beheaded due to his telling the king the truth about him marrying his sister-in-law... but he really did lay the framework for Jesus to come and say things like "the commandment says you shall not kill, but I say if a man look on another with hatred, he has committed murder in his heart".... we all liked verses 5-6 which talk about how John would prepare the way for Jesus - by making the paths straight and even, smoothing out the rough places and making it all level so that all man could see the salvation of God. the idea that when Jesus came to earth, all became equal in the eyes of God. it mattered NOT who your great-grandfather was but instead it was about your heart and your willingness to repent from your selfishness
(sorry for the long winded-ness of #1)
2) as i walked riley tonight i couldn't help but notice all the birds that were out ... i'm not a huge fan of birds normally as they tend to wake me up when it's still dark out and they always find my newly clean car a perfect spot for a bathroom break ... but it was nice to listen to them all sing and think about just how many species of birds there are. God could have given us the robin and the cardinal and we would have never known the difference. but to see them all - some big, some tiny, some chirp, some sing and some even squawk ... the variety and beauty that they provide ... the magnitude of God's creation is mind-boggling sometimes ... and that is just the birds ....
3) have i mentioned lately how much i am actually enjoying both my jobs ... it's a fairly new thing for me to be so fulfilled and satisfied with what i'm doing. i've been at the same place for almost 13 years now and i find i'm liking what i'm doing now much more than i ever have before ... i'm feeling very grateful and blessed