Beach in Jamaica / Things That Last / Observations

Beach in Jamaica

I was looking through some of the pictures from our Jamaica mission trips, and I forgot I had taken a few bracketed exposures on our second trip in 2009. So I threw some of them into the HDR-O-Matic, just to see what would come up. I didn’t know much of anything about HDR photography back then, except that it might be something I would like to try.

This is from the beach at Dunn’s River Falls. On this trip, the beach wasn’t crowded at all. That was either because schools were still in session or because it was a cloudy, rainy day. Or both. But even with the clouds and rain, I still enjoyed being there.

Beach in Jamaica

Things That Last

This was the devotional message last night at the Bartlett Woods Church of Christ. And if it sounds familiar, it is adapted by something I wrote for Good News from the Bible a while back.

I don’t know if you are like us, but I would guess you probably are. And at our house lately, we have had several things that needed some repair.

Not long ago, we went out to get in our truck, and we saw that there was an 18 inch crack in the windshield. So we had to get that fixed. And then the brakes on our car were vibrating and squealing. So we had to get those fixed, too. Our light in the front yard quit, and it’s very dark without it. But now it works again. Our security system quit, and it needed a new battery and transformer. And of course it is fixed now, because otherwise I would be inviting you to break into our unsecured home.

One thing I have learned over the years is that the things we have here are going to break. They are going to fall apart. They are going to quit working. You can fix them. At least for a while. But then they are eventually just going to break again.

In the book of 1 John, the apostle John talks about this in 1 John 2, beginning in verse 15:

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17 NIV)

Of course, here John is talking more about the desires of this world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust in his eyes, the boasting of what he has and does. And here John tells us that these things come from the world rather than from God.

But John tells us not to love the world or anything in the world. Which seems hard to do. Because there are some things in this world that I do love. Some things that I really enjoy having. Some things that I would really like to get.

Then John tells us why we shouldn’t love the things of this world: If we love the world, then the love of the Father is not in us. If we are spending all our time worrying about our things and about getting more things, then God’s love is not what is controlling our lives. As John says, everything that is in the world comes from the world, rather than coming from God.

Our desires for the things that are in this world are contrary to how God wants us to live. And if we are desiring what the world has to offer, then we are not desiring God. If we are seeking the pleasures of the world, then we are not seeking God.

Jesus helps us put this in perspective in Matthew chapter 6, beginning in verse 31:

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33 NIV)

So why should we not love the things of this world? Back in 1 John, we are told that “the world and its desires will pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

This world will not last forever. And, rather than spending our time on things that will not last and are opposite of what God wants for us, we should be spending our time focusing on God and his love for us. God sent his son Jesus into the world to be the sacrifice for our sins, even though we did nothing to deserve that gift of forgiveness. And because he has shown us so great a love, we should love God in return. And as we seek God in our lives, he will be overflowing in our lives, so that we in turn share the love of God with others.

In the Gospel that bears his name, this same John recorded the words of Jesus in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

This world will not last forever, but if we have followed God, if we have been baptized into Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, then we can truly live forever.

Observations of the Past Week (3/13-3/19)

The Observations of the Past Week from Twitter and Facebook. It’s like a train wreck - you can’t help looking.

It sure was hard to get up in the dark this morning! (I want my Standard Time back!)

If Aristotle were alive today, he would say, “Wow, I’m really, really old!” (Deep philosophy.)

I’m going to spend my spare time coming up with a teleporter to beam myself home. Think of the savings in time! And gas! (Unless, of course, the teleporter runs on gas.)

I had a clever thought once. Maybe it will happen again sometime. (But probably not any time soon.)

Almost lunchtime! You know what that means - I’ll be eating lunch soon. (Captain Obvious strikes again!)

“It’s not easy being green.” - St. Patrick (I think Kermit the Frog stole his line!)

Why don’t people say “groovy” any more? Wouldn’t it be groovy if they did? (Groovy!)

At 5:30 AM, the dog was barking. Then a helicopter flew overhead. And I was still trying to sleep. What gives? (Doesn’t anyone take sleepytime seriously any more?)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Or be a rebel and don’t wear green. And say, “Happy March 17!” Just to make people wonder. (If they didn’t wonder about you already, that is.)

Sitting in the front porch swing, listening to the birds, watching the sun go down. Until the wind blew us back inside. (Leave it to the wind to break up a peaceful scene.)

It’s a lovely day at the Memphis Zoo! Except for seeing all those people we know here. (So much for the Witness Protection Program.)

From the Memphis Zoo back home to our own zoo. But the animals are a little different here. (And the food service is better, too.)

World Bible School

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.