“Our lifestyle runs downstream”

This July, Rex and I spent a refreshing week away from it all in Snowbird, Utah, several thousand feet above the Salt Lake plain. From our window we could see this waterfall, gushing with snow melt from a late Spring and summer. At the top of the mountain, reached by cable car, you could walk through patches of snow that turned into thin trickles of water. As we hovered many feet above the ground in a ski lift on the return journey to the ski resort, we could see how the trickles had picked up speed and joined other rivulets. They began to merge into a serious stream that became the waterfall on the hillside, and the rushing river below our balcony that lulled us to sleep at night.

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Mercy

In the kind of work I did at a charitable organization, I often struggled with the concept of giving to the poor versus enabling someone who is caught in a cycle of dependence through their own choice. I looked up the definition of mercy in Wikipedia. Here’s what I found: “Mercy is compassion or relief given to an undeserving recipient.” When I think of the undeserving recipient, I think of myself as the recipient of God’s mercy in my undeserving state of sinfulness. Jesus died for me, whether or not I would accept Him, it was not conditional on my treating Him right. In fact, those that crucified Him spat in His face, beat, whipped and insulted Him. He still had compassion and mercy for them when He said: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

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Justice and love

As I look at the Bible with the big picture view, there appears to be a constant state of tension between God’s justice and His love. In the Old Testament, justice reigns, typified by the Ten Commandments written on cold, hard tablets of stone, while in the New Testament God demonstrates His love for humanity, personified in the warm bundle of the baby in Bethlehem.
The story of the Bible has two main protagonists, Adam and Jesus. Their lives are in sharp contrast in the consequences of their actions:
When Adam sinned, justice prevailed, bringing punishment and death.

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Why so much suffering?

Look closely, a battered orange starfish clings to the rock – Just lately we have been bombarded with personal prayer requests from family, friends and acquaintances who have fallen sick, been recently diagnosed with a disease, or become victims of a serious accident. It lays heavy on our hearts to see all those people we care about suffering pain and heartache. It hits close to home when it’s people we know. We have been through some medical tests of our own that thankfully proved negative after an anxious waiting period.

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