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Acts 19:8-10 “8 He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 When som...

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Waiting for the Christ Child


Isaiah 7:14

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

The birth of the Messiah would be a miracle birth.  He was to be born of a virgin; something unheard of; something only God could accomplish.  People would speak of the birth, knowing that God was present in that event, and they would call the baby Immanuel, meaning God is with us.

As Joseph and Mary waited for the child to be born, they held this secret between them.  The child in Mary’s womb was not Joseph’s but God’s.  God was indeed with them.  And they awaited his birth into the world.

Christ was born into the world on a night long ago, in a manger, in Bethlehem. 

Christ is with us now, reborn into our hearts.  

And we await his return for the redemption of the world.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

A Child Has Been Born to Us


Isaiah 9: 6-7

“6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness, from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

The birth of the Messiah was foretold by Isaiah.  The Messiah was to be a child, born into the world.  Think of the wonder of this.  The Messiah, the savior of the world, would be born as a baby, a helpless infant that had to be nursed, fed and changed; an infant for which every need had to be met by its parents.  The savior of the world must first be saved; nurtured and raised to adulthood.

The Messiah would accomplish great things- endless peace, justice and righteousness.  But first he must be born.

So, during this advent season, let us eagerly await the birth.  Let us prepare our hearts for God to be born anew in us.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

A Changed Heart


1 Samuel 10:5-9

5 “After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. 6 The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

8 “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” 9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day.”

Saul was changed into a different person.  He was not changed physically, but he was changed spiritually.  God changed Saul’s heart.  

Jesus spoke often of the heart and the condition of our hearts.  The heart is the center of our spiritual lives, A basic tenet of our faith is that the Holy Spirit dwells within the heart of each believer.  The Holy Spirit works within each of us, leading us, guiding us, opening our eyes to God’s truth, and enabling us to hear God’s voice.  

But Saul, at some point, began listening to his own voice and not the voice of God.  This is the danger; that we begin believing that our thoughts are God’s thoughts.  To avoid this, We must remain open and vigilant to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit.  

We do this through living a life of prayer, worship, study, service and sacrifice.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Monday, November 27, 2023

Responding to God


1 Samuel 3:2-5

“2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

How is it that Samuel mistook God’s voice for the voice of Eli?  God speaks in many ways.  In the Bible we read of visions, dreams, burning bushes, signs, thoughts and angels that God uses to communicate with people.

We always think that if God spoke to us we would immediately recognize God’s voice.  But God speaks to us all the time and most of the time we pay no attention or we attribute the message to something else.

We laugh at Samuel, but in many respects, we are Samuel. 

How should we respond when we think God is speaking to us?  Listen to the advice of Eli:

“So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” (1Samuel 3:9a)


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Saturday, November 25, 2023

The Thread of Love


Ruth 4: 13-17

“13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” 16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.”

Ruth, the lowly Moabite widow, became the great grandmother of the future King of Israel, and an ancestor of the Messiah (Matthew 1:5).   Under Jewish law, it was strictly forbidden for Jews to have anything to do with a Moabite. (Deuteronomy 23: 3-6). 

The world told Boaz that he should hate Ruth, the Moabite.  But God, in His ultimate wisdom, was sending the Messiah into the world for the entire human population, not just the Jews.  And God caused Boaz to love Ruth. 

The thread that ties the genealogy of Christ together is the thread of love...God’s love for the world.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Friday, November 24, 2023

Lord, I am Willing


Ruth 2: 2-3

“2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” 3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.”

There is a hymn entitled “Lord I Am Willing” in which the refrain says:

"Lord, I am willing ever to be, Useful in service only for Thee; So take and use me, imperfect still, Save as I strive to follow Thy will."

Ruth was willing; willing to follow Naomi to a foreign country; willing to work in the fields for their survival; and willing to sacrifice for the love of another.  She was not perfect, by any means, but she was willing, and she served gladly.

God has plans for us, and most of those plans require us to be willing to walk in faith; willing to roll up our sleeves and work in less than ideal conditions; willing to love when it makes no sense; and willing to make sacrifices that deny self but glorify God.  

God is not expecting us to be perfect in His service.  

But we do have to be willing to serve, and to serve with a glad heart.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Thursday, November 23, 2023

We are Blessed


Ruth 1: 3-7

“3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. 6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.”

Naomi was an Israelite woman whose hardships and sufferings took her far from her home, to the land of the Moabites, where she was met with even more heartache.  But, underneath all of these tribulations was a blessing, in the form of her daughter-in-law, Ruth.

While Ruth could not bring Naomi’s husband or sons back to her, she was the key to Naomi’s future life in Israel.

In the ever unfolding events of life it is often hard to realize that we have been blessed…. even when those blessings are standing next to us.

How is God blessing you today?


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Transformation

Judges 18:27-31

“27 Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. 28 There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob. The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. 29 They named it Dan after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel—though the city used to be called Laish. 30 There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses,and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land. 31 They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.”

The Danite priests were the grandson and great grandsons of Moses.  And they worshiped an idol; an idol made by the mother of Micah.  

The actions of Micah’s mother affected the actions of her son and eventually an entire tribe of Israel.

We do not live in a vacuum.  We cannot spew hate and expect love.  We cannot teach retribution and expect forgiveness.  We cannot worship idols and expect the world to know God.  

If our actions and words do not reflect the example of Christ in the world, then the world will never know Christ.

Transformation begins with us.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)



Tuesday, November 21, 2023

God’s Place


Judges 17

“1 Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim 2 said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it.” Then his mother said, “The Lord bless you, my son!” 3 When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make an image overlaid with silver. I will give it back to you.” 4 So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol. And it was put in Micah’s house. 5 Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest. 6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”

Micah stole money from his mother, then he returned it to her.  She took part of the silver Micah returned and had it melted down and shaped into an idol.  It was placed in Micah’s home where Micah had a shrine and other religious things.

The odd thing is that before the idol was made, Micah’s mother consecrated the silver to the Lord, as if this consecration made the idol acceptable to the one true God.

In the world today, there are still many idols, although we do not call them idols.  We worship money, material things, power, and authority, to name a few.  

We think we have worked out the perfect arrangement with God.  Our idols have their necessary places and God has His necessary place.  And this is how we justify putting God last. 

We have consecrated our silver, so to speak.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Monday, November 20, 2023

Dedicate Your Heart


Judges 13:2-5

“2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. 3 The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

The birth of Samson was foretold by the angel of the Lord. The child was to be a Nazarite, dedicated to God before he was born, and every aspect of his life was to be governed by strict rules.  He rebelled and broke every rule, but used his flowing locks to attract women and perform feats of strength until Delilah sheared them.  Although his mother dedicated his life to God, Samson never dedicated his heart to God.  

Christians believe in sanctification, the process by which we are transformed into the image of Christ.  In order for this process to begin, we have to give our hearts to God.  This is more than just going through a ritual.  It involves a confession of faith in Jesus Christ and a sincere confession and repentance of our sins.  This is followed by a lifetime of intentionally seeking God through prayer, study, worship, service and sacrifice.

Dedicate your life, but first dedicate your heart.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Saturday, November 18, 2023

God Sees and Calls


Judges 11: 1-7

“Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him. 4 Some time later, when the Ammonites were fighting against Israel, 5 the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 “Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.” 7 Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?”

Jephthah’s mother was a prostitute. He was driven away from home by his half brothers. He surrounded himself with a gang of scoundrels.  He was rejected by his people yet he became a mighty warrior; the savior of Israel.  

Jesus’ mother was a young woman, who became pregnant before she was married.  The ancient world would have labeled her a prostitute.  Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit.  He became a mighty preacher and healer.  He surrounded himself with ordinary men from Galilee.  He was rejected by His people, yet He became the savior of the world.

The world sees and rejects.  God sees and calls us to His kingdom.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Friday, November 17, 2023

The Smaller Army


Judges 7:1-4

“1 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ 3 Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. 4 But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

God asked Gideon to deliver Israel from the hands of the Midianites.  Gideon naturally thought that he needed an army of thousands to defeat them.  But God had other plans.  God wanted everyone who was involved or witnessed or were told of this victory to give credit to God and to say that there was no way that the Israelites could have won except by God’s hand.

So, God whittled Gideon’s army of thousands down to 300.   

Sometimes we think our resources are too few or too scarce and the task too large.  We complain that we cannot do things or move forward.  But what if it is God’s intention that our resources be few and scarce?   

Gideon developed an ingenious battle plan for his small army of 300.   And Gideon’s army was victorious.

God’s victory is at hand….the task is large….the resources are few…. and He is waiting for our plan.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Thursday, November 16, 2023

A Light that is Hidden


Judges 2: 8-10

“8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.”

One of my favorite things to do as a Pastor is to preach the children’s sermon during worship.  Sometimes the message goes over their heads but more often than not the message strikes a chord and the children immediately want to tell you how it relates to their lives at home or with their friends.  Children are faith sponges.  

We owe it to our children to pass along the faith not only in story but by our example.  Once children see that we are not living what we teach then the faith becomes worthless to them.

Joshua and his generation failed their children.  They failed to pass along the story and failed to live as examples of their faith.  And their children began to worship false gods.

Jesus told His disciples: “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:15).

A light that is hidden means darkness for others.  

Share your light.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Wings


Joshua 10: 12-15

“12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel! 15 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.”

As a child I used to pray that I could fly.  In my prayers I would see myself flying like an eagle through the sky, up among the clouds, up above all of my childhood problems.  God saw through my prayers and saw that what I really needed was peace. And somehow, through my visions of flight, he gave me that peace.

Joshua prayed that the sun would stand still.  We now know that the sun does not rotate around the earth, but the earth rotates around the sun.  The sun did not need to be held in place on that fateful day, but God somehow gave the Israelites the sense that time was standing still.

God hears our prayers, no matter how foolish they are.  And when He answers, He strikes at the heart of the matter.  We may not understand the answer right away, but with the spinning of the earth and the unfolding of time we realize that God has given us wings to fly.

May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Stand Up


Joshua 7: 10-12

“10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.”

Because of God, the Israelites had experienced a tremendous victory.   Yet they sinned and violated the covenant.  They lied, and they stole. And because of this they were defeated by the Amorites.

When we begin to believe that our success excludes God; when we believe in our own power rather than God’s; when we believe that we can act outside of God’s will with no consequences, we make ourselves liable for our own destruction.

But as the dust of our destruction clears, in the midst of our despair, the God of second chances asks that we stand up and resume our walk with Him.

God’s love is a forgiving love.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)



Saturday, November 11, 2023

The Lord is With Us


Joshua 6: 27

“So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.”

Did you ever meet anyone famous?  I once met Gaylord Perry, a famous Major League Baseball pitcher who was from my home state and who grew up in a town not far from my hometown.  The mascot at Campbell University, where Gaylord went to college, is“Gaylord the Camel”, named after him.  Even though he achieved Baseball’s highest honor (The Hall of Fame), he is most famous for throwing an illegal pitch known as the spitball, using spit and Vaseline to make the ball spin and curve in an unnatural manner.

Joshua became famous because the Lord was with him, and he was able to accomplish some incredible things, namely the defeat of Jericho in a highly unorthodox manner.

The Holy Spirit dwells within every Christian believer.  We carry God in our hearts, minds and souls.  The Lord is with us.  

And even though we are just normal people who occasionally throw spitballs, great things can be accomplished... because the Lord is with us. 

May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Friday, November 10, 2023

Standing on the Wall


Joshua 6:1-5

“1 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

I am sure that the soldiers of Jericho had never been attacked in the way that the Israelites attacked them; blowing horns, marching around and around, shouting.  This had to be one of the most unusual attacks in which anyone had ever participated.  But, being inspired by God, it worked.

We humans have our ways of doing things and God has His ways.  Sometimes they are the same and other times they are very different.  We may laugh at or belittle someone who is being used by God in a different way to accomplish His will, as I am sure the soldiers on the walls of Jericho laughed.

How is God working in the world today in a different way?  Are we supporting it?  Or are we standing on the wall laughing?


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)



Thursday, November 9, 2023

Stones


Joshua 4: 1-7

“1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.” 4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

Geologists can look at stones and tell you the ancient geological history of a nation.  As a child I studied the geologic division of North Carolina into three areas, the mountains, the piedmont, and the coastal plain.  Each division has a different type of soil, and as a result, different types of stones.

Stones were used in biblical times to mark a place where an important event had happened so that they would always have a reminder and a reference point for the event.  The stones were proof that an event had taken place on that spot.  Parents could point to a pile of stones and explain to their children the things that happened there in the past.

Is our faith a pile of stones of what used to be?  Do we point to and long for the past?  Or is our faith active and happening now, so that when we explain our faith to our children we can point to people who are alive in the faith, and living the example of Christ?

Do we point to stones?  Or do we point to the fire of the Holy Spirit?


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Not Just Hearers


Joshua 1: 1-6

“1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.”

Moses had died.   The Israelites had wandered in the wilderness for forty years.  God had shaped and molded them into a people who were prepared to enter the promised land.  All that was needed was the courage to act.  

God has been at work in our lives, shaping us and molding us into the people we are today.  Through this process His love and mercy have been revealed to us.  He has prepared us to be members of the Kingdom of God.  God calls us to be not just hearers of the word but doers.

Do we have the courage to act?


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The Fulfillment of God’s Promise

Numbers 36: 7-9

“7 No inheritance in Israel is to pass from one tribe to another, for every Israelite shall keep the tribal inheritance of their ancestors. 8 Every daughter who inherits land in any Israelite tribe must marry someone in her father’s tribal clan, so that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of their ancestors. 9 No inheritance may pass from one tribe to another, for each Israelite tribe is to keep the land it inherits.”


God promised Abraham land, numerous descendants, a good name, and blessings and protection in a hostile environment (I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse- Genesis 12:3).  


This covenant was passed to Abraham’s descendants.  The promised land was divided among the tribes by Joshua, and each tribe became responsible for safeguarding its inheritance. Each day the Israelites could walk outside their doors and see the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.


A Christian’s inheritance is not land or any worldly thing, but it is the promise of forgiveness and eternal life with God.  Each day we have the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us into a deeper relationship with Him, conforming us with Christ.



May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Monday, November 6, 2023

The Hope of the Cross


Numbers 21:8-9

“8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.”

Snake bites are scary.  A friend of mine was bitten on the foot by a poisonous snake and by the time he reached the hospital his leg was unrecognizable.  

The Israelites who were bitten by snakes in the wilderness were totally dependent upon God for their cure.  People who looked at the bronze snake that God asked Moses to make, lived.  It is  my assumption that they  had to look upon the image of the snake and see life rather than the source of their death in order to be healed.

In the same way, people can either look at the cross with hope and faith and see life, or with skepticism, seeing only a means of death.

Look at the cross.  What do you see?


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Saturday, November 4, 2023

Religious Pride

Numbers 15: 37-41

“37 The Lord said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. 41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord your God.”


All Pharisees wore tassels on their garments to remind them of their obligations under the law.

Even Jesus wore tassels on his garments.  The hemorrhaging woman reached out and touched them and was healed (Matthew 9: 20-22), yet Jesus criticized the Pharisees for wearing their tassels in a prideful manner, and making a show of them (Matthew 23:5). 

The things that we do to remember, praise, and serve God should be done sincerely, reverently, without show and without worldly pride.  


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)


Friday, November 3, 2023

The Journey


Numbers 9:15-19

“15 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out.”

God was with the Israelites during their journey through the wilderness.  His presence was manifested in a cloud and in fire, an obvious sign of His presence for all to see.  Yet, throughout their journey to the promised land, the Israelites complained that they would die and expressed to Moses that they wanted to go back to Egypt, back to their old lives, back to bondage.

God is present in our lives, yet we ignore the obvious signs.  We feel that He has deserted us or is punishing us because times and the journey are hard.  We yearn for our old lives, the good old days, even though we were bound to sin and death

Christianity is not an easy journey.  But God is with us, leading us and guiding us along the way.  


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)