There Is A Sea

The Jordan River originates with the melting snows of Mt. Hermon, nine thousand feet high.  Four streams flow forty miles and merge into the Sea of Galilee. The rabbis used to say: “Jehovah has made seven seas, but the Sea of Galilee is his delight.”

It was beside the Galilee that commerce flourished in Jesus’ day. It was there people found mineral springs to sooth the discomforts of the sick.  And it was there that Jesus performed most of his miracles and preached his great sermons.

The first verse of “There is a Sea” E.L. Jorgenson refers to this Sea of Galilee.
There is a sea which, day by day, receives the rippling rills
and streams that spring from wells of God, or fall from cedared hills.
But what it thus receives, it gives, with a glad unsparing hand.
The result is a stream more wide, with deeper tide, which flows on to a lower land.

From the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan drops another 700 feet over 65 miles to the Dead Sea (1275 ft. below sea level).  When the beautiful water from Mt. Hermon arrives here, it stays here.  There is no outlet.  Locked in by mountains, the sea is one giant evaporating pan.  Only 2-4 inches of rain fall here each year.  The temperature varies from 77 to 124 degrees.  The water evaporates leaving only minerals.  A third of the lake is salt. Nothing lives there, and anything living in the Jordan dies when it arrives in the Dead Sea.  In the second verse of the song, the Dead Sea is described.
There is a sea which day by day receives this fuller tide.
But all its store it keeps, nor gives to shore nor sea beside.
Its Jordan stream, now turned to brine, lies heavy as molten lead.
And its dreadful name (Dead Sea) does forever proclaim that sea is waste and dead.

The third verse is the challenge verse for Christians.  Which sea do you want to be?
Which shall it be for you and me who God’s good gifts obtain?
Shall we accept for self alone, or take to give again?
For he (Jesus) who once was rich indeed, laid all his glory down
That by his grace, our ransomed race should share his wealth and crown.

Christians who receive the gifts of God become more beautiful when they pass them along to others.  Those who keep them only for themselves, spiritually die.

LeAnn Rimes, truth, and “how does that make you feel”?

Country singer Leann Rimes has a new tattoo.  This one, in small letters on the underside of her forearm, says (in cursive) “god’s work.”

Tattoos aren’t exactly newsworthy.  The folderol is about the design: “God” is supposed to begin with a capital letter.  That’s what some of her fans are upset about, and their angst is the news.

What caught my attention was the reply of one of her defenders.  It went like this: “Some are pointing out to LeAnn that God is spelled with a capital G, not a small g. Although there is one Truth, remember everyone’s interpretation of the truth is different. In everyone’s mind theirs is the real truth. That’s how the brain works.  We connect to information that makes us feel good, and it is assimilated into our belief system.”

I’m not concerned about Leann’s tattoo, its existence, size or case (do keep in mind that such conventions as “case” did not exist in Jesus’ day).  I am concerned that while some folks are willing to acknowledge “one Truth,” they believe that whatever one thinks about that truth is equally “truth” simply because they “think it” — and it makes them “feel good.”

If you acknowledge a truth, but believe it to be false because your interpretation contradicts it, or because it makes you feel bad, it’s still truth!  And what you believe is false.

First John was written to Christians whose long held beliefs were being challenged by a new teaching, supposedly led by the Holy Spirit.  John counters it, denies it is of the Spirit and writes, in essence, ‘if you believe this new stuff, and follow it, you are believing a lie, walking in the dark, and you’ve left the fellowship of God and his people.”  John didn’t mince words.

Truth exists, and we need to be on the right side of it.  Anything to the contrary, John writes, is really idolatry.