Helping The Blind To See

Roger Pontz who suffered a degenerative eye disease that slowly robbed him of his vision for over twenty years. It deteriorated to the point where he could only sense very bright light. Retinitis pigmentosa is a degenerative disease that attacks the retina. There is no treatment or cure.

Surgery was recently performed which imbedded a chip in his eye. This, coupled with a small video camera and transmitter housed in a pair of glasses, allows Roger to perceive images. While the current set-up only allows him to see in black and white, and only shapes and outlines, future enhancements may improve visual clarity. Following surgery Roger was able to see his wife for the first time in ten years.

Second Sight Medical, the implant’s maker, has apparently gone to a great deal of work in order to accomplish something much appreciated by the receiving patient. There is a person who accomplished this and a lot more with much less effort. His name is Jesus.

One day Jesus was leaving a town and a beggar named Bartimaeus was sitting by the road. When he heard that Jesus was coming, he began to cry out for Jesus to have mercy on Him. Many in the crowd were strongly telling him to keep quiet, but he kept crying out all the more. Jesus stopped upon hearing the commotion and asked for the man to be brought to him. Once this happened, a person in the crowd told the blind man to take courage and stand up because Jesus was calling for him. When the blind man approached, Jesus asked him what He could do for him. The blind man said he wanted to regain his sight. Jesus said “go, your faith made you well”. Instantly, the blind man regained his sight and began following Jesus on the road.

With this and many other miracles, Jesus demonstrated nothing is too difficult for Him. His compassion and love for the blind man is something, I’m sure, people would desire for themselves. I’m glad I know Jesus! Do you?

Making It Right

SouthwestSouthwest Airlines discovered they had missed checking the rudder backup hydraulics on 128 of it’s Boeing 737 aircraft. Once the airline discovered it’s lack of compliance, it grounded all 128 planes, initiated maintenance checks, disclosed the discovery to the FAA and developed an action plan to complete the overdue checks. The FAA made the decision to allow the planes to continue to fly for five days so the missed inspections could be completed. It seems, once the mistake was discovered, the airline wanted to make it right.

When we think of people who have made a mistake and try to make it right, we can’t help but think of what the Bible tells us about a man called Zaccheus. Being a rich tax collector, Zaccheus was hated by the people because tax collectors of that day were known to overcharge the people and pocket the overage. When Jesus came to town many people wanted to see Him and Zaccheus was no different. The news about Jesus’ miracles, kind words, and loving spirit had preceded Him. Since Zaccheus was short in stature, he could not make it through the crowd to see Jesus, so he ran ahead and climbed a tree. When Jesus passed by the tree, He looked up and seeing Zaccheus, bid him to come down and said He would stay at his house. When the crowds saw this they began to grumble because they didn’t think someone as good as Jesus should stay in what they considered a sinner’s house. At that point Zaccheus told Jesus that he would give half his possessions to the poor and return more money to anyone he defrauded. Upon meeting Jesus Zaccheus tried to make things right.

People can try to hide their mistakes in the hopes of avoiding any costs, or they can make full disclosure and attempt to make things right. What type of person are you?

Is There Something Better Than Wealth & Power?

JenniferRecently Jennifer Lopez put her house on the market with an asking price of $17 million. When we saw that, we began to ask ourselves what the average person on the street might be thinking when they see news such as this about the rich and famous. It didn’t take long to get an idea, especially when we saw a news article whose title suggested that the average person could drink the same champagne that was being served to the stars at the Oscars. Many who don’t have wealth I suspect, strongly desire it. Others may get more satisfaction out of increasing their power and influence. When those that don’t have riches or fame spend a lot of time pursuing the same, one has to ask if that’s what life is about.

Most people have probably heard of King Solomon and especially his wisdom. Solomon was probably the wisest man of his time. Leaders of many nations would come to seek his wisdom. He had palaces, many women, any type of entertainment and he pursued whatever pleasure he desired. Solomon tried everything from wine to work. He had both wealth and power. It would probably surprise most people that Solomon concluded that what he had been doing was worthless and futile. All these things were meaningless.

After seeing and experiencing the things mankind pursues, he realized what we experience through the senses doesn’t compare to what will be experienced in eternity. He said God placed eternity into the hearts of mankind. Today, people are so busy they don’t have time to think about the meaning and value of what they are pursuing. Does anything you pursue have an eternal worth?

Time Is Running Out

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday urged Jews to move to Israel from all over the world. This followed the killing of a Jewish man outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue. Prior to this, extremists attacked the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7 and was followed the next day with the shooting of a policewoman just outside Paris. On January 9, the gunman who killed the policewoman took hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris and four Jews were killed. Netanyahu is developing a $45 million plan “to encourage the absorption of immigrants from France, Belgium and Ukraine”.

Most people either won’t give news like this a second thought or will have a pro/con attitude toward Jews being called out of many countries. Most will miss the point that this was predicted back around 700 BC. The Bible has a lot to say about Israel becoming a nation (which occurred May 14, 1948) and about dispersal followed by regathering. The event of Jews returning to Israel will be around the time that this world will be judged and Jesus will come to reign and restore peace. What we see in the news tells us we are close to the end. The Bible tells us the time of the end will be unlike anything this world has ever experienced in severity since it began. Time is truly running out.

Valentine Chocolate?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested dark chocolate products in the U.S. and found some startling contents. Over half of the products contained trace amounts of milk, which could cause serious problems for sensitive individuals and those with allergies. If that wasn’t enough, a consumer watchdog group, As You Sow, tested 42 chocolate products for lead and cadmium. Well over half contained lead, cadmium or both. Many of these products are sold in what would be considered a health food grocery store. Chronic exposure to cadmium can cause kidney, liver and bone damage in humans. No level of lead is safe for children. Lead can cause learning disabilities in children.

It is apparent that what is enjoyed by a large part of the population can be harmful. Since one serving of chocolate could exceed the California safe harbor level for reproductive harm we wonder why the contents are not on the label. Perhaps the products have never before been tested or there could be concealment of what is there. Would you like to know what is in your chocolate before you purchase it?

In cases like the chocolate, it is easy for people to make judgments one way or the other. The Bible tells us that our judgments now are defective since we can only observe the outward act and cannot see the motives of the heart. When Jesus returns to bring His rule to this earth, He will bring to light those things that are hidden and disclose the motives of people’s hearts. We wonder how many would like to live in a world like that. More importantly, would we want our motives disclosed?

The Stressed Need Hope

By now most people have heard of the terrorist attacks that occurred in or near Paris, France. While people may be familiar with the attack that claimed the lives of 17 people before police killed three gunmen, not many probably know what those attacks did to the average person on the street. The data is now in that reveals an 18% increase in drugs for reducing anxiety and stress were consumed between January 9th and 13th. Television news has reported about the anxiety of the average Frenchman, but now there is documented evidence that this anxiety has carried over to the doctor’s office.

Anxiety is an uneasiness or a feeling of worry about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. The people of Paris would never know if their shopping trip would turn into a deadly event. It is apparent that there has been a surge in prescription drug usage to curb anxiety in the French, but is there an alternative? Jesus said to those who trust Him that He would never leave them or forsake them. He promised them abundant life forever, regardless of circumstances that happen in our day to day living. So the question would become – can Jesus fulfill His promises. I think so. He is a person that has opened blind eyes, made the deaf hear, made the lame to walk, restored a withered hand and has knowledge of what is not seen. If that weren’t enough, He calmed a raging storm, walked on water, raised the dead and eventually raised Himself from the dead. Our confidence in Him and knowing that He cares for us brings calm to the storm of worry and ensures us the outcome will be all right in the end.