John T. Willis

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tana River Crested Mangabey

In the southeastern part of Kenya in African is the Tana River floodplain. This is the only habitat on earth where the Crested Mangabey lives. The Mangabey is a white monkey. Its body is between 17 and 25 inches long, and its tail is between 15 and 30 inches long. The technical term of the Mangabey is Cercocebus galeritus.

For the ongoing existence of the Crested Mangabey, the Tana River needs more trees. The Mangabey is a social monkey and spends very little time in the brances. These monkeys scour the forest floor of food that drops from of is sheltered by the trees. These Mangabey groups consist of numerous females, their offspring and up to approximately six adult males.

The Mangabey monkeys are endangered as a result of human beings removing the timber, agriculture, forest fires and changes in the flow of the Tana River. In 1978, the Kenyan Government created the Tana River Primate Reserve to try to sustain the Mangabey and the Colobus. Experts estimate that approximately 1,200 Mangabey monkeys still live on earth.

I hope YOU appreciate and attempt to support ALL of God's creatures on earth, including the Crested Mangabey. Far above this, I hope YOU are thankful for God's marvelous gifts and seek to serve HIM.

Abundant Blessings--John Willis

Thursday, January 27, 2011

God as Husband, Shepherd, and Vinedresser--Jeremiah 12:7-17

After interacting with Jeremiah concerning some of Jeremiah's complaints, Yahweh reasserts his declaration that he is about to punish the people of God in Judah because of their sins. In this short paragraph (Jeremiah 12:7-17), the composer uses three metaphors about Yahweh: husband, shepherd, and vinedress. He also returns to the "call" or "commission" of Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:4-10. This paragraph conveniently falls into two parts.

I. Yahweh declares he will punish his sinful people. Jeremiah 12:7-13.
a. Yahweh proclaims that he has "forsaken" or "abandoned" his "beloved," that is, his wife=Judah. He has given her into the hands of her enemies, that is, the Babylonians. The reason for this is that his people have lifted up their voice against Yahweh as a lion roars in the forest. Yahweh summons "all the wild animals" to come and devour his sinful people. 12:7-9.
b. Yahweh's people are Yahweh's "vineyard" (see this same figure in Jeremiah
2:21; Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:8-19). Therefore, Yahweh is the "vinedresser." Yahweh's people are like sheep, and thus Yahweh is their "shepherd." But there are earthly "shepherds" who often "destroy" and "trampled down" Yahweh's sheep. These are the sinful leaders of God's people, and by extension, the enemies of Judah whom Yahweh uses to attack his sinful people. Therefore, Yahweh has made Judah "desolate." "Spoilers" have come. Yahweh has sent his "sword" to punish and destroy his sinful people. The people of God have struggled to succeed in spite of Yahweh's punishment, but to no avail, "because of the fierce anger of the Lord."

II. Yahweh will then punish the enemies of God's, redeem the penitent of God's people, and have compassion on and redeem the enemies of God's people. Jeremiah 12:14-17.
a. Returning to the language of Jeremiah 1:4-10, especially 1:9-10, Yahweh announces that he will "pluck up" the enemies of God's people, and "pluck up" the house of Judah from among them. 12:14.
b. Afterward, Yahweh announces he will "have compassion on" all these nations and restore them to their respective lands. 12:15.
c. IF these nations will "diligently learn" the ways of Yahweh's people to swear by his name, "As the Lord lives," they will be "built up" in the midst of God's people. 12:16.
d. But IF any nation will not listen, Yahweh will "uproot"and "destroy" that nation. 12:17.
This little paragraph shows that Yahweh is concerned about ALL PEOPLES on earth, not just his chosen people Israel. Our God is a universal God, not a restricted God.

Share YOUR ideas and insights with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Come, Share the Lord

The purpose of the Lord's Supper, the Eucharist, the Communion is to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to give all human beings life and a future and eternity. Therefore, ALL people on earth are welcome. When we partake of the Lord's Supper at Highland, we invite all persons to come forward while various members of the family of faith there greet, hug, and try to bless those who come.

Often, we sing together the marvelous song: "Come, Share the Lord." Please think of the words of this song.

We gather here in Jesus' name,
His love is burning in our hearts like living flame,
For through the loving Son
The Father makes us one,
Come take the bread,
come drink the wine,
come share the Lord.

He joins us here, He breaks the bread,
The Lord who pours the cup is risen from the dead,
The One we love the most
Is now our gracious host,
Come take the bread,
come drink the wine,
come share the Lord.

We'll gather soon where angels sing,
We'll see the glory of our Lord and coming King,
Now we anticipate
The feast for which we wait.
Come take the bread,
come drink the wine,
come share the Lord.

No one is a stranger here, everyone belongs,
Finding our forgiveness here, we in turn forgive all wrongs.
We are now a family of which the Lord is head,
Though unseen He meets us here ikn the breaking of the bread.

I hope these thoughts bless YOU and OTHERS. Share YOUR ideas and dreams with everyone around. Let me hear from YOU.

JOhn Willis