Saturday, May 7, 2022

Happiness Now

Hear this lesson on my new podcast: Gleams of the Morning

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job‬ ‭33:4‬ ‭(WEB‬‬) 

Humans seemingly have a pretty long life span in the animal kingdom. But when you start to look at the longest lived animals, you start to realize we don’t live so long after all. Some turtles live for over two hundred years. The bowhead whale does also. The Greenland shark holds the current record for longest lived vertebrate at 400 years.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Pruning Your Life

Listen to this lesson on my new weekend devotional podcast Gleams of the Morning

“Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:2‬ ‭(WEB‬‬)

Pruning has long been a practice used to shape and direct the growth of plants. Some people mistakenly believe pruning is necessary. It’s not. Plants will grow well enough without regular pruning by humans. Pruning is beneficial when you desire specific results for example, with fruit bearing plants. Pruning fruit trees and berry plants will regulate growth, increase yields, improve fruit size and quality, and maintain plant health and vigor.

This has a direct lesson for our spiritual lives.

Friday, April 22, 2022

New Devotional Book

Check it out! I have published a new devotional book written just for campers! It contains 34 unique and lively object lessons that are great for your own personal devotion time or as material for your next group worship thought! It is small and light weight enough to take camping or backpacking. It contains instructions on how to display each object in a worship talk to make them more engaging and memorable. You can get it in paperback or eBook. Check it out now!

Get it from Amazon

Be A Sea Sponge


Listen to this lesson on my new podcast Gleams of the Morning.

Key Text

“he who says he remains in [Jesus] ought himself also to walk just like he walked.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:6‬ ‭(WEB‬‬) [word added for clarity]

The sea sponge is an odd creature. It is part of a the taxonomic phylum Porifera which means ‘pore bearer’. It’s a practical name. Scientists are not known for their creativity. The sea sponge lives in a coral reef and they are often brightly colored. They attach to rock at the base and grow upwards toward the light like some alien plant. But alas, they are not plants. You’d be forgiven for thinking they are one.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Pictures and the Truth

Listen to this devotional on my podcast Gleams of the Morning

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭34:8‬ ‭(KJV‬‬)

Growing up I saw numerous pictures and video of the Grand Canyon. I heard stories of people who had been there. Everyone described its deepness and vastness, its overwhelming sense of largeness. And indeed, I could see for myself in pictures and videos, it looked big and pretty impressive. I also heard stories of people who saw it for the first time were stuck dumb, they could not

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The (nearly) Unabridged History of Outdoor Ministry

Outdoor Ministry History (Part 1)

The wilderness experience is a central idea to the Christian understanding of God and how he interacts with humans. It is a period of emotional, spiritual and often phyiscal trial that God allows to afflict those whom he is trying to instruct. It is a tool he often uses with his followers to remind them of their limited control over their own circumstances, and more importantly, of their reliance on him. 

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Tourist or Adventurer

Listen to this devotional on the new podcast Gleams of the Morning.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

A while ago I was stopped at an overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I stood at the railing looking at the scenery as a tourist bus pulled up and unloaded. The tour guide gathered the tourists and explained they would be at this stop for an hour or so and people could stay in the parking lot and visit the gift shop. He said anyone who felt

Friday, March 25, 2022

Water of Life, And Desth

Listen to this lesson on my new podcast Gleams of the Morning

“I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:6‬b ‭WEB‬‬

Humans cannot survive long without water. The person thought to have survived longest without water to drink is Andreas Mihavecz. He was placed in a holding cell by police in 1979. Apparently, communication between shifts was poor as he was forgotten about and left languishing in the cell for 18 days without food or water. He was only 18 years old at the time. It is thought he only survived by licking condescension off the walls which provided just enough moisture to prevent death. 

Survival experts suggest that survival is usually possible without any water for approximately three days. But this varies greatly depending on temperature and level of exertion. A person participating in heavy activity in extreme temperatures can sweat as much as 1.5 liters per hour. That can lead to death in a mere hours.1

Jesus knew the importance of water. He knew how good a glass of cold water tastes when thirsty. That’s why he compared salvation to water. It is refreshing to the spiritually thirsty. Water is not only refreshing, it is life giving. Water performs many functions in the body. It regulates body temperature, cushions your joints and brain, flushes out waste, forms saliva and mucus, and most importantly, it gives cells structure.2

As you know, water can be a blessing, but it can also kill. Too much water can prevent airflow to your lungs. Drinking unclean water can cause sickness. Surprisingly, drinking water that is too clean can also be dangerous. Regular filtered water is not 100% pure H2O. Home water filters remove enough of the bad things that the water is clean and safe to drink. But it is not pure. It has a trace amount of minerals and salt. These minerals are beneficial for health and actually make the water safer to drink. They are also what give water its subtle taste. 

We need to go back to high school chemistry and biology for a minute. If you recall, ‘osmosis’ is the term to describe a fluid being pulled in one direction through a semipermeable membrane. It will always be pulled toward the solution with a higher concentration. This is how living cells maintain fluid inside their cell wall. They adjust the mineral concentration inside the cell to control the amount of fluid inside. If a cell needs to absorb fluid, then it must make the fluid inside a higher concentration than outside. 

When you drink filtered water, it still has some trace minerals in it, so it won’t affect the cells in your mouth or body too much because its concentration is not too different from that of your cells. 

If scientists need ultra pure water they use a process call de-ionization. This water is so pure it has nothing in it but hydrogen and oxygen. This is type 1 ultra pure water and is only used for special scientific experiments or manufacturing. It is unsafe to drink. Even drinking type 2 pure water, a step down from type 1, is not good for you. The concentration of minerals is so low that when it comes into contact with your cells, they will absorb it. Osmosis will pull in so much of this water the cells will explode and die. 

In a video by James Orgill on his YouTube channel Action Lab, he tries some type 2 water.3 It leaves his tongue and throat feeling burned from all the cells that died due to excessive osmosis. Drinking type 1 water, is said to be able to immediately remove the enamel from your teeth and could kill you. 

In the Bible water represents eternal life and more specifically the work of the Holy Spirit upon us that leads to eternal life. The Holy Spirit is vital for eternal life. But God is gentle with us. He knows that full exposure to his purity would kill us (Ex. 33:20). So the Holy Spirit is ever so gentle with us in our fragile, fallen state. The Holy Spirit will never overwhelm us, but draws us gently to God as a cool drink draws us in the heat of the day. The Holy Spirit will always be the one to comfort us. It is the enemy, Satan who seeks to overwhelm and destroy us. 

Often times we are the hardest on ourselves. God has infinite mercy on us. But we stop ourselves from accepting it out of fear. We think we can wait and make ourselves a little more pure before we comeback to God. We try to fix ourselves. Satan encourages this lie by reminding us how good God is and that if we work a little harder, we can make ourselves acceptable to him. And so we stay thirsty for that refreshing water only God offers. When you catch yourself thinking this way, stop! You can never make yourself pure! Ask God to give you the purity only he provides. He gives it freely.

When you feel overwhelmed, hot and parched by the stresses of life, turn to God and ask for the Holy Spirit. As it said in the key text, he will give freely of his water to anyone who is thirsty. He can provide the perfect water that will well up inside you as a spring that leads to everlasting life!

Here is a question to ponder:
Have you been trying to make yourself pure on your own? Be honest. If so, ask God for the water only he can give. 

Written by David F. Garner