Another Environmental Fuss Over Nothing

They keep saying “Plastic is forever” and wanting to ban plastic bags and straws to save the planet. It turns out that plastic does degrade realtively rapidly in the environment, under the influence of sunlight and microbes.

This article talks about plastic in the ocean, and we still need o be responsible in disposing of rubbish. There is no denying that animals near coastlines can be badly damaged by plastic, but outside of that particluar niche, not so much.

From wattsupwiththat.com

Plastics: Science is Winning

Kip Hansen / 2 hours ago October 18, 2019

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen — 18 October 2019

Science is beginning to win in the long battle over misinformed anti-plastic advocacy.  It has been a long time coming.  The most recent paper on the subject of pelagic plastic (plastic floating in the oceans) is from a scientific team at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Mass., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The study is “Sunlight Converts Polystyrene to Carbon Dioxide and Dissolved Organic Carbon” by Collin P. Ward, Cassia J. Armstrong, Anna N. Walsh, Julia H. Jackson and Christopher M. Reddy.   It is good basic science.

styrene_cups

We are all familiar with polystyrene — it is prevalent in modern packaging, both as a solid,  such as yoghurt cups, or in expanded form used for disposable foam drink cups.  Much of the plastic flotsam found on the worlds beaches and floating  in rivers is this ubiquitous plastic, particularly the expanded foam.

The new abstract of the new study starts with this:

“ABSTRACT:   Numerous international governmental agencies that steer policy assume that polystyrene persists in the environment for millennia.  Here, we show that polystyrene is completely photochemically oxidized to carbon dioxide and partially photochemically oxidized to dissolved organic carbon. Lifetimes of complete and partial photochemical oxidation are estimated to occur on centennial and decadal time scales, respectively. These lifetimes are orders of magnitude faster than biological respiration of polystyrene and thus challenge the prevailing assumption that polystyrene persists in the environment for millennia.”   [ bolding mine — kh ]

It is about time that someone scientifically challenged the activist position held and promulgated by many environmental, anti-plastics and anti-corporate groups that “Plastic is Forever”.

Plastic is not forever.  Glass, both natural and man-made,  is forever, but not plastic.

Read the rest of the article here

Reflection on John 10:1-21

Scripture

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”

Observation

Jesus says that anyone who climbs into the sheep pen is a thief and a robber. The person who enters through the gate is the shepherd. The sheep follow him because they know his voice.

Jesus is the gate for the sheep. Whoever comes through Him will be saved. The thief comes to steal and destroy, but Jesus came so that we can have life to the full.

Jesus is the good shepherd. He lays down His life for the sheep. No one can take His life from Him, but He chooses to lay it down because of the Father’s command.

Application

Jesus is the gate. He is the way to salvation.

Jesus paints a picture here of a sheep fold. The true shepherd is the one who lies across the entrance to protect the sheep. Others may come to steal or kill the sheep, but they will come in over the walls and not through the gate.

Jesus promises that if we go through Him we will be saved.

There is no other way to be saved, no other name that can bring salvation. We cannot go through Mohamed or Buddha, through philosophy or atheism, through acts of kindness or acts of valour. Only Jesus will save us from our sins.

This is not just about eternity, important as that is. Jesus says that the sheep come in and go out through Him to find pasture. This is talking about provision and abundance in this life.

When we are with Jesus, we must not fret about where our next meal or our next pay cheque is coming from. We trust Him and follow Him, like good sheep, and He leads us to the good pastures.

Prayer

Lord, you meet my every need in this life and in eternity. You are the gate and I choose to come in through you. Amen.

Reflection on John 9:1-41

Scripture

“Ever since the world began, no one has ever been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.”

Observation

Jesus comes across a man who was born blind. His disciples ask who sinned to cause this to happen. Jesus replies that it is for God’s glory, and proceeds to restore the man’s sight.

There is some doubt about whether this man is the same beggar, but he keeps testifying “I am the one.”

The Pharisees get involved. They conclude that Jesus could not have done this because He is a sinner. The man responds by saying, “God doesn’t listen to sinners, yet Jesus healed my sight. He couldn’t have done this if He were not from God.”

Application

The healing of someone born blind was a miracle that people believed only the Messiah could perform. In the investigation into this matter, every alternative explanation is explored. Even when it is clear that the man born blind is healed, the Pharisees could not accept that Jesus is the Messiah because they had already labelled Him a sinner.

The man’s testimony is vital in this narrative. Nobody has healed a man born blind, and certainly a sinner could not do this. Jesus must be who He claims to be, even if the Pharisees don’t like it.

God often comes to us in ways that are surprising or that defy our understanding. Maybe we don’t like the person who prays for healing for us. Maybe a prophetic word is delivered in a way we find offensive.

Sometimes God answers prayer in a way that we don’t expect, and we find it hard to see how this could be His work.

Always we need to look beyond circumstances and past our prejudices. God appears to us in surprising ways because He is bigger and smarter than we are!

Prayer

Lord, thank you for every answered prayer and every God encounter, even when they don’t look the way I expect. Amen.

Reflection on John 8:42-59

Scripture

“Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the word of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”

Observation

Jesus continues to discuss with the Jewish people in the Temple forecourts.

He tells them they are children of the devil because they love to do the things he did from the beginning. The devil is a murderer and a liar. Therefore they cannot see the truth that Jesus conveys.

Anyone who belongs to God welcomes God’s words.

The leaders accuse Jesus of being possessed by a demon. Jesus replies that His only aim is to honour the Father. Anyone who obeys Jesus will never die.

Application

Jesus tells us here that anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to God’s words. If we don’t want to listen to God’s words, it is a sign that we do not truly belong to God.

When I first got saved, my immediate priority was to read the Bible. I started at Matthew and read right through the New Testament in a few weeks. The Holy Spirit in me stirred up a hunger for the word of God.

If you find that reading Scripture is too hard or if you are bored during the sermon at church, then it may be a sign that you are really not born again.

God’s people love His word because it gives life. The Scriptures show us who God really is, and what He expects of His people. Preaching that is faithful to God’s word should make us hunger for more. That is not to say that there are no bad preachers, but a pastor’s love for God’s word should inspire us to go back to the scriptures for more.

Prayer

Lord I love you and I want to know you more. Please help me to read and understand your word, and to know how to apply it to my daily life. Amen.

Ephesians 1:14

Here is my commentary on Ephesians 1:14. I am publishing these once or twice a week, but you can read all of the available articles at our web-site.

Ephesians 1:14

[Holy Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance. But how does this work? Why is the Holy Spirit a guarantee?

The Holy Spirit is given to christians when we are first saved. We speak of “having,” “receiving” the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is “in” us. We speak from experience of the Holy Spirit, but we lack any objective measurement or framework to describe how this works.

We know that we know. There is a difference in our lives that takes place as we attend to the Holy Spirit’s directions.

Once we had no concept of the Holy Spirit in us, but now it is our experience that God fellowships intimately with us.

People experience the Holy Spirit is different ways. For some, there is an ongoing clear conversation in which they are often keenly aware of the Holy Spirit’s direction. For others, the Holy Spirit is a vague entity, occasionally experienced as a still, small voice that is easy to miss.

The Holy Spirit is manifest in the form of various gifts such as those in 1 Corinthians 12 in which various abilities are given in order to build up the church. The Holy Spirit is also revealed as, over time, various qualities (the fruit of the Spirit) become activated to make a believer more Christ-like in temperament (Galatians 5:22-23)

When we believe we receive the Holy Spirit who serves as a guarantee of what is to come, our inheritance.

Our inheritance is our salvation, God’s free gift of eternal life to all who believe. At the instant we truly repent of our sins and decide to follow Jesus, the Spirit comes in and “seals” that decision, guaranteeing that we will receive eternal life.

A guarantee is given by a producer or service provider that their product is fit for its intended purpose. For consumers this might be in the form of a promise to replace a defective item if it breaks down in a certain time period. For businesses it might be a statement that a product such as a fuel has a certain composition or a rating. If this product fails to meet the specification a purchaser is justified in suing for the damages they suffer.

The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our eternal salvation. We have this witness inside us that assures us that we are in relationship with God, and our destiny is not in doubt.

In most worldly guarantees, a corporation or a government stands behind the promise. With our salvation, it is God, our Creator and Redeemer, who stands behind the promise. In fact, He is the promise.

So God’s guarantee of our inheritance is to put Himself into us as a sign of what is to come.

The Bible does not give us much of an explicit description of what heaven is like or how eternal life will be lived. We do know that our relationship with God will be the focus of the new life.

In this life, sin blocks our relationship with God. For now we see in part, but one day we will see in fullness, in perfection. We will see the glory of God unfiltered by our physical limitations.

Since our relationship with God will be the focal point of eternal life, it is appropriate that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of what will come. We have intimacy with the Holy Spirit as a foretaste, or a deposit, of what will be.

The conversation that we have with the Holy Spirit, the revelations, dreams and visions, the power to heal- all of these things are a sign of what is to come later, our inheritance in Christ.

An inheritance is something we receive when someone dies. It is something they owned which is passed on to us.

The inheritance that we have comes as a result of the death of Jesus. We were estranged from God, alienated and far off. Then, the One and Only Son of God came into the world to pay for our sins and bring us back to Him. We are now a part of God’s family, reconciled and restored to our Father.

Now we are heirs of the Father, joint heirs with the Son as Paul says in Romans 8:17. The Father literally owns the whole of creation, and now we share in that inheritance. Everything that God has, we have too.

An inheritance is not always available immediately. The estate of the deceased person must be settled. Investments must be liquidated, property may need to be sold, debts must be paid, and so on. There is a delay between inheriting and receiving.

While we live in this life, we cannot receive all of our inheritance. The Holy Spirit for now is our portion or deposit guaranteeing that the rest will come.

One day we will possess the inheritance, and be possessed by it.

Words cannot express nor minds imagine what heaven is like. There have been many people who have claimed to have gone there for a while before returning to earth. The book of Revelation gives a glimpse of the glory awaiting. Literally we have no words to give content and context to our destiny.

So in the meantime we live in fellowship with the guarantee of the inheritance, the Holy spirit.

The words “to the praise of his glory” relate to the single sentence of verses 13 and 14 which gives a brief story of salvation. In Christ we heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation, received the Holy Spirit, and the deposit of our inheritance, all to the praise of his glory.

Just as the Holy Spirit is a testimony to us of God’s promise, so too our lives being redeemed, empowered and made holy, are a testimony to the world of God’s grace.

This is all to the praise of His glory. We are living testimonies of God’s glory, stories of the efficacy of God’s big rescue plan and of His love for all people,

Key points in this verse:

  • The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee of our inheritance
  • We have to wait to receive the fullness of the inheritance
  • our relationship with God now is a sign of what is to come
  • all of this is for the praise of God’s glory.