Friday, May 30, 2008
Today I came to Psalm 1 in my reading. It's been my good friend for more than 40 years. I have read books on this Psalm, listened to sermons, and studied the passage.
The first 6 words of verse 1 are profound. David begins the whole book of Psalms with these words, "How blessed is the man who..." From these words he describes the power of choice, influence and God's word. All of these affect us and make us into who we are. In other words if I hang out with monkeys long enough I will start to act like one. (Don't even mention looking like one...I avoided that thought on purpose!) But don't forget his beginning. It's actually the end result of choice, influence and God's word. The author starts with the result and describes in brilliant colors the power of these 3 things to change our lives. Choice is important. I make the decision- where will I spend my time, but after I've made my choice other things happen that I have no choice over. Then we move into influence. Influence and peer pressure are big in our lives. They have more power than we realize. And finally David talks about the work of God's word in a life. The language and picture of a tree by streams is beautifully clear to the readers who knew what this looked like. In that same way the results of a life invested in God's word looks like that flourishing tree drawing on those streams of water in the arid desert.
It's a powerful Psalm. It still inspires me each time I read it. Take a slow walk through these 6 magnificent verses. The instruction of these verses is life changing!
Psa 1:1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
Psa 1:3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psa 1:4 The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Psa 1:5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Psa 1:6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
.I've seen a number of amazing videos of squirrels and their ability to navigate almost any hindrance in their quest for food, but this photo really caught my eye. Wow, these guys are amazing. I know I couldn't do this. I can't even stand on a bar stool without falling! So today I humbly admire this amazing creation of God as he relaxes to enjoy lunch. More power to him!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I'm blessed. Today is my dad's 82nd birthday. He's been an amazing man in my life and I love him dearly. When you think of the great men of time and history it won't be those of fame and success, but those who have lived faithful lives loving the Lord, their wives and children. Thanks, dad, for being one the great ones. I love you.
Jer 9:24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
John 7:38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" -Jesus
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Mat 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Mat 11:30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." -Jesus
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Psalm 100- A Psalm for Thanksgiving. Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I just got a call from a dear friend who is grieving over sin in his life. I have known him for more than 20 years, but he still battles his own host of "demons". Most of the time he is doing well....in the word, praying, upbeat, encouraged....but once in a while he falls and then his question is why even bother? He doesn't feel he's growing at all because this sin still trips him up. I feel so bad for him as I hear the remorse in his voice over sinning once again. But I know too that this remorse and sorrow over sin is a really good sign. We prayed together. I will need to check on him again tomorrow, but I know he's growing because of how he views this fall. He's grieved, sorrowing, hurt....how could he do this again? But it's that very brokenness that tells me he will be ok. I can't wait for the day when this fallen world and the sin that trips us up will finally be dealt with. I can't wait for the day when the battle will be over. Come Lord Jesus, come. I long for the day when we will be like you. I long for the day when sin, sorrow and death will be swallowed up in life....when you will wipe away every tear....especially the tears of remorse my friend cried today.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
If you have ever had a mom today is the day to remember her.
If you had a good mom you are most blessed. If you had a bad mom you now know how not to repeat her mistakes.
Whatever your situation...thank the Lord you had a mom. You wouldn't be here without one.
If you are lucky enough to still have her living....CALL HER!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Rom 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Rom 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
A good friend of mine is a pilot for American Airlines. He always knew what he wanted to do and he has been a pilot for more than 2 decades.
A few weeks ago he went through his recurrent training. It's an ordeal that all commercial pilots go through every 9 months. The training includes classroom training and a few hours in the simulator. This time, during his simulator flight, the trainer set him up with an engine failure. His task was to get the plane safely "on the ground" with one engine. He said he did well, and passed for another 9 months.
Then it happened. The very next week, on a flight from the west coast, he lost an engine. He told me later that in all his years this has never happened before (good report for American Airlines.) He said he thought about his simulator training and was glad he had already gone through this the week before in practice. He was busy for the next hour. He had to divert to another airport, deal with flying on only one engine, communicate with the passengers who heard all the banging and were quite aware that the engine had stopped. He was busy, but told me it was easy because he had already done it in practice. Obviously, because I'm telling you the story, he got home safely, but he didn't take this "coincidence" lightly.
Coincidence? I don't believe there is such a thing. I know it's easy to spiritualize things that happen in our lives, but there are times when you can clearly see that God has been working. I'm glad my friend was ready for this emergency and I'm sure the 120+ passengers on the plane were glad as well.
So, what do we do with a story like this? For me it's a great application of a verse from Paul, "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." For my friend his great need (which he didn't know about yet) was to be prepared for this dilemma in flight and God met that need a week before he knew he would use it. Provision isn't always about money. Often it's about a story like this that we would call coincidence, but God would call his great provision.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Here's one for the "funny subtitle" category. This was a news item about a volcano in Chile posted on the BBC website. I wondered when I read this- who wouldn't be surprised when a volcano had been dormant for over 450 years?
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Yesterday I talked about the creation of the universe and how amazing it is as we discover more and more of what God has made.
Today let me go the other direction- from macro to micro. Here is a photo of one of God's small creations. When I saw the photo I was as amazed by this small creature as I am by the amazing universe.
God is so creative. How does he think of such creatures? This little beastie looks like he has antlers, and he seems rather proud of them by his pose. To be honest I have no idea what it's called, I was just amazed by another of God's amazing creations and thought you would enjoy it as well. (I know, I know...I'm using "amazing" far too much, but what other word describes what God has done?)
A bright is a person whose worldview is naturalistic, that is, free of supernatural or mystical elements.* The term was coined by Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert, a pair of brights from Sacramento, California, who thought it would be sensible to adopt a common name for atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, materialists, rationalists, secular humanists, and skeptics.* All these disparate groups share in common a naturalistic worldview. According to Futrell and Geisert:
The simple noun bright gathers under the same umbrella a great diversity of persons who have a naturalistic worldview. Under this broad umbrella these people, as brights, can gain social and political power in a society infused with supernaturalism.*
They also assert: "We cannot designate other people brights. Bright is a self-identifying term." The term is intended to be a pragmatic civic identity term rather than a philosophical belief term.
They invite anyone who wishes to be counted as a bright to let them know. As of February 2006, people from 138 different nations have identified themselves as brights.
The term "bright" was chosen, according to Futrell and Geisert, for its positive emotive associations, which they hope will counteract all the negative terms that society-at-large uses to describe those who have no supernatural elements in their belief system. (Some of the terms that have been used at various times in various places to convey disapproval are: atheist, heretic, infidel, non-believer, unbeliever, disbeliever, pagan, blasphemer, nonconformist, dissenter, apostate, defector, and fallen-away (Catholic, Jew, etc.).
Daniel Dennett has suggested that the opposite of a bright might be called a super, someone who holds a worldview that is characterized by supernatural or mystical elements.
-The Skeptics Dictionary
I must admit that I'm humored by this new definition. What is really fascinating to me is that naturalists, who are totally in the dark about God, life and truth, would choose this word to define themselves. God has already given a name to this worldview. You can find it in Psalm 14:1.
It's as if language has been turned upside down! Another author, a self proclaimed "bright", was concerned that those who are not bright would consider this to be arrogant. You think? How else could this definition be taken? Arrogant? Yes, without question.
The implication clearly communicated by this redefining of terms is that anyone who is not a naturalist is also not to be considered bright. Let's see, what else would you call them- dull, dark, dim, dumb? The claim implied by this definition is clear...we have truth, we have light, we can see clearly and if your worldview is different, if you believe is God, then you are one of the "dims."
Redefining terms does not change truth. Rant, rage, redefine....it makes no difference in reality. Raise your fist to heaven if you wish, here's God's response:
Psa 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?
Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
Psa 2:3 "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!"
Psa 2:4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.
Psa 2:5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying,
Psa 2:6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain."
Psa 2:7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
Psa 2:8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
Psa 2:9 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'"
Psa 2:10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Psa 2:11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.
Psa 2:12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
Friday, May 02, 2008
"On August 25, 2003, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope blasted into the same dark skies it now better understands. In just two years, the observatory's infrared eyes have uncovered a hidden universe teeming with warm stellar embryos, chaotic planet-forming disks, and majestic galaxies, including the delightfully odd galaxy called NGC 4725 shown here. (I'm sure that's not what God has named it. -Mike) This peculiar galaxy is thought to have only one spiral arm. Most spiral galaxies have two or more arms. Astronomers refer to NGC 4725 as a ringed barred spiral galaxy because a prominent ring of stars encircles a bar of stars at its center (the bar is seen here as a horizontal ridge with faint red features). In this false-color Spitzer picture, the galaxy's arm is highlighted in red, while its center and outlying halo are blue. Red represents warm dust clouds illuminated by newborn stars, while blue indicates older, cooler stellar populations. The red spokes seen projecting outward from the arm are clumps of stellar matter that may have been pushed together by instable magnetic fields. NGC 4725 is located 41 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices."
And for me here is the amazing part of this....God describes the creation of the stars, the galaxies and the universe in this way in the book of Genesis. Read it carefully, it's really quite amazing:
Gen 1:14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
Gen 1:15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.
Gen 1:16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
Did you notice that last phrase? Only 5 words that speak of a universe we are only now beginning to discover. 5 words that describe billions of galaxies we have yet to see. A universe so vast we are only beginning to measure it. Now I must admit that if you are going to worship any God don't you want to worship the one who creates all of this almost as an afterthought? 5 words to describe a universe so vast, amazing and beautiful that we have yet to see even a small part of it. What an awesome God! That's the God I worship.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
There remained one last target - for the SS guards still standing atop the watchtowers and along the electrified barbed-wire fences: the surviving Jews of Buchenwald.
That night we were kept in the central square, from which those who came before us had been taken to their bitter end. Many collapsed and died that night. Those who could stand on their feet, as well as those who were lying on the frozen ground still breathing, no longer believed in miracles.
But about an hour before noon, the unbelievable happened. A gray-green jeep smashed through the gate and stopped in the center of the square.
Suddenly we saw the Messiah before our eyes. Three American soldiers - I remember one was African American - stood there in olive-green uniforms we had never seen before. We burst into applause; they stared at us, the doomed who had escaped the gallows by seconds, those of us whose luck and strength had held out. We could celebrate a "second birthday."
AS I REFLECT on our liberation all these years later, I think about the terms "Holocaust" and "genocide." Yes, there is bloodshed all over the world; it has existed since Cain murdered Abel. People, nations, tribes kill each other because of the unharnessed ambitions of rulers, because of unbridled instincts, border disputes and religious fanaticism.