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Category: Incarnation

Animal Sentinels

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Topic: Savior
Scripture: Hebrews 4:15
Source: “1986: Coal mine canaries made redundant” posted on BBC News, “On This Day, Dec 30, 1986″
Author: Bo Thompson/Illustration Exchange

Early coal mines did not feature ventilation systems. Since canaries are especially sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide, the miners would bring along caged canaries into new coal seams. The birds’ rapid breathing rate, small size and high metabolism made them ideal for detecting any dangerous gas build-ups. As long as the birds kept singing, the miners knew their air supply was safe. When the canaries stopped singing–or worse, died–the miners knew it was time for an immediate evacuation. The birds became tiny sentinels of safety.

Animal sentinels are commonly used to detect risks to humans by providing advance warnings of impending danger. By virtue of their heightened sensitivity to a variety of dangers, they can serve to make us aware of myriad perils.

Other animal sentinels include: honey bees, which are susceptible to air pollution; bats, which have been used to monitor pesticide contamination; and pigeons, which have been used to detect atmospheric lead.

Application:

We walk around as oblivious to sin as coal miners do of the presence of dangerous gasses. What we need is a sentinel–someone who can detect this danger for us before it’s too late.

Who is more sensitive to the presence and danger of sin than God?

That’s why Jesus–God incarnate–came into this world. He came to warn us all of our exposure to the deadly threat of sin. Not only this, but He willingly exposed Himself–to the point of death–that we might be warned and be saved from sin’s power and peril.

Jesus is our Divine Sentinel.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

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ISIS Destroying the Language of Jesus

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Topic: Incarnation
Scripture: Romans 12:21; Psalm 118:1; Psalm 100:5; Luke 6:27
Source: “ISIS: Destroying the Language of Jesus? ARAMAIC IS UNDER THREAT AS ISIS INVADES NORTHERN IRAQ” By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff, Posted Newser.com, Aug 15, 2014
Author: Illustration Exchange

NEWSER reports that, “Islamic militants may have an unexpected victim in northern Iraq: an ancient collection of dialects and languages that’s been around for over 3,000 years … called Aramaic.”

It was the language of ancient Babylon and the first Persian Empire. It is, today, the native language of some 200,000 modern Iraqi Christians who have been systematically slaughtered, tortured, and driven into exile. Interestingly, it was a predominant language of the common man throughout Judea and the surrounding area during the last century BC. In fact, it was the language of Jesus himself, spoken as he hung on the cross, crying out to God, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

“The threat to the Christian Neo-Aramaic-speaking population of northern Iraq is very great,” says [one] linguist. “Since each village has a different dialect, if the inhabitants of the villages are uprooted and thrown together in refugee camps or scattered in diaspora communities around the world, the dialects will inevitably die.”

Before ISIS invaded, reports NEWSER, “the best hope for Aramaic’s survival [according to FOREIGN POLICY] was in northern Iraq.” Now, it suggests, we may witness “the deliberate extinction of a language and culture, unfolding in real time.”

NEWSER reporter Neal Colgrass frets that ISIS may indeed be “destroying the language of Jesus.”

Application:

Actually, in the ancient Palestine of Jesus’ day, there were three languages that were routinely spoken. Hebrew (which became a dead language until revived in modern times), Koine Greek (which has been replaced by contemporary Greek), and Aramaic (which is now being threatened with extinction by ISIS).

But ISIS can never threaten the most important language employed by Christ–the language of God’s agape love.

In communicating His message to the world, Jesus went beyond mere words. By willingly going to the cross to pay for the sins of the world, Jesus became the incarnate expression of God’s love.

Even then, hatred, violence and persecution attempted to silence the message of God’s love by killing its messenger. But the brutality of those who crucified Christ only served to fulfill God’s plan. Evil couldn’t stomp out love. Hate only served to accelerate its spread. Instead of being “overcome by evil,” love overcame “evil with good” (Romans 12:21). God’s love, we are assured in Scripture, “endures forever” (Psalm 118:1).

Indeed, the language of Jesus–God’s agape love–cannot be destroyed.

“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).

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