Sunday, November 24, 2019

Evolution and Creation

Doing some websurfing, I found the following, rather humorous, statement on the https://atheiststooges.wordpress.com/ blog.  I am not endorsing the blog, I haven't read enough to do so.  I do, however, find this posting bordering on brilliant, what with the fossil Ida "discovery" and subsequent 10 years+ absence of info (think Piltdown hoax), I do believe that this is basically what the "scientific" community asks of those of us who are stone cold creationists.  And we are the ones with the vivid imaginations.... This would be what I would call? "Evolutionary Creation:"

1. First, there was only random atomic motion of dead atoms. This continued for billions of years until….

2. Somehow, in the pre-biotic soup of earth, some of these dead atoms magically sprang to life. The dead chemicals of the pre-biotic soup somehow sloshed around, and magically constructed the 3.5 billion base-pairs of the first DNA strand.

3. But simply constructing the first DNA strand was not enough. Because at precisely the same time, the necessary enzymes for DNA replication also magically appeared.

4. Not only that. For some unknown magical reason, the first DNA strand suddenly decided to replicate it’s own complicated double helix structure. Even though the Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, and Nitrogen atoms
that DNA is composed of is PRECISELY THE SAME as any other dead atoms….. nevertheless, for some magical reason, the first DNA strand decided to replicate it’s own structure.

5. This first DNA replication, conducted by recently dead atoms, involved all the inherent morphological difficulties that would be expected when you have to spin and unzip 3.5 billion base pairs. But somehow, it all happened, as if by magic.

6. After the first DNA strand magically felt the need to replicate itself, this replication continued for billions of years. It is important to realize that the whole show is being conducted by the VERY SAME ATOMS that were originally dead and non-living. So these dead atoms were magically replicating DNA structure for no good reason.

7. But it gets better. After magically replicating DNA for awhile, these very same dead atoms magically became aware of their own existence. (the appearance of the first human brain.)

8. After magically becoming aware of their own existence, these dead atoms went on to invent all kinds of technology, including the internet and the newsgroup “talk.origins.”

9. These very same dead atoms are, at this very moment, causing me to type this posting. And they are causing you to read it. Because according to atheists, the human mind, and in point of fact the ENTIRE
HUMAN RACE, is nothing but a complicated arrangement of dead atoms.






Friday, November 22, 2019

Coming Out of the Closet

Ephesian 6:10-18


"Therefore put on the full armor of God, 
so that when the day of evil comes, 
you may be able to stand your ground..."

It happened.  I found the website and the poster I was looking for.  I had received a guarded and rather backhanded invitation, almost a dare to read what should never be written, to get a glimpse into the darkened soul of a friend, from that friend. And I was at once filled with regret (that I had taken the time to seek it out) and later, joy (that I now knew the answer to the questions I had long had).

The lies, the deception, the witchery all attested to this friend's perceived reality.  Abominations were being spoken. Spells were being cast.  Lies were being told with impunity. Prayers were being made to, and conversations held with, the goddess maiden and the horned god. And some of these were being directed toward me out of resentment for who I was and what I was standing for.

I had felt this darkness in my soul for some time, perhaps a year or more.  I asked some godly men to pray over me when I first perceived I was being attacked spiritually.  Over the course of a few months the heaviness lifted a bit.  And then bitterness, envy, and strife became apart of my life - not emanating from me but surrounding me - rumors, innuendo, accusations. It was what many have referred to as a "dark night of the soul."

But that lifted yesterday when I saw with my own eyes the results of playing with demons.  This person is out of the closet and proud of the bondage to self, the entanglement with wicca, the love of the perversion in the life in which this former friend now lives.  My heart is broken. And yet I am relieved to be able to clearly identify the enemy and I can pray against these things more fully.

I have been convicted.  I have not been putting on the full armor of God.  I have let my spiritual strength devolve amidst the feeling of oppression.  I have neglected that constant, ongoing regimen of scripture reading, of praying in the Spirit at all times, of standing my ground, of praying against the powers and principalities - including the human agents of these demonic forces.

We, here in the West, too often see our faith as something of a choice we make - some to Judaism, some to Buddhism, some to New Age, some to Wicca...and in so doing we fail to appreciate the Biblical truth that there is but one way and that is through Jesus Christ. We fail to appreciate the powers of darkness that surround us. We fail to appreciate the fact that people do worship satan in their wiccan pantheon, though they may use a different name. We fail to appreciate the power of spells, and hatred, that are so often associated with sexual perversion, self-deception, worship of other gods/goddesses, with other "faith systems."

We live in a broken and cruel world, beset by evil, in need of redemption.  We do ourselves a disservice as we neglect to invoke the powerful might of the One True God, when we neglect to bind satan, his minions, and handmaids in our prayers, when we fail to gird our loins daily for the battle for righteousness.

Hell is real and it will be occupied by many of our friends, our neighbors, even our loved ones who fail to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. The demons of hell surround us in the purveyance of astrology, tarot card readings, mediums, spell casting, and even the ouija board/dungeons and dragons/rpg activities that have become such a part of the lives of so many.

And so, I too am coming out of the closet.  No longer will I withhold from God the glory due Him. No longer will I deny the evil prevalent in our society and even the self-proclaimed "christian" attitude that tolerates the abominations around us.  And I will put on the whole armor of God so that I may stand my ground, in Jesus and pray against the demons that seek to thwart His most perfect will in our lives, as if that were even possible.

Soli Deo Goria!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

His Faithfulness

Psalm 44
Luke 8:22-56

"Redeem us because of your unfailing love..."

Scripture is fillied with references to, and evidence of God's unfailing love.  David seeks God's rising up,his provision of help, not based on the people's lack of sin or their own faithfulness, though he makes note of their allegiance along these lines.  Rather he beseeches the Lord God, to act based on God's own unfailing love, because God's nature is love, is faithfulness, is appropriate provision.

So often we wonder what we may have done wrong, we question what we have done to deserve the particular circumstance with which we are unhappy.  We focus on our particular situation and assume some sort of failure on our behalf. Or we stand in accusation of God declaring His apparent unfaithfulness without simply accepting that we may well not have done anything wrong AND that God is still faithful, that stuff happens, to good people and to bad, because we live in a fallen world.  We may affirm our own dignity and at the same time affirm God's faithfulness without there being any contradiction.

God is always faithful. We are not. But God does not punish us for each and every sin we commit. And God does not reward us for each and every act of faithfulness.  In every circumstance of life, whether we are faithful nor not, God is faithful. We we sin, God is faithful. When we are faithful, God is faithful. While it may be difficult to understand how He is working in any particular situation, we may be fully assured that He is AND that the only problem with our seeing Him at work is our humanness. We are not God.  In spite of our hopelessly helpless, human condition, and subsequent inability to always perceive His work, He is faithful.

Whether we are demon possessed, suffering, or even dying, the Lord is faithful. In each and every situation, if we will seek His will and beseech His grace, He will respond and He always responds lovingly and  faithfully.  

Whether our desires, our ends, our self-perceived needs are righteous or selfish, he will respond faithfully.  I believe that each of those people involved in today's passages sought the Lord's will and were willing to accept His decisions as righteous. The bleeding woman, didn't necessarily seek healing itself so much as she sought Jesus whom she knew was capable of healing. So too Jairus. They sought out Jesus. Even thedemoniac sought Him out as he landed. David sought the Lord based on the Lord's unfailing love.  I wonder if we seek the Lord, simply because whatever He does will reveal His faithfulness, or if we only seek the healing or deliverance we think will demonstrate His faithfulness.  The difference might be slight but if we seek the Lord based on his faithfulness, we will accept His unfailing provision whether or not it accords with our desire or what we, in our human mindfulness, might consider to be a faithful response.

Could it be that our suffering, even our dying, could be a part of His plan, who suffered and died for us?  Can accepting our particular situation as a foregone conclusion, apart from the grace of God, knowing that it is not doctors, or faith healers, or friends or family, or pastors or preachers that heal, but only God, lead us to seek God in a new way?  Do we treat the Lord as simply a last resort, another possibility, or a "roll of the dice?"  Do we approach God with a sincerity of faith, like David - dependent not upon our own deserving estate? Do we approach God with a confidence that he cares even for us who may be far off, like Jarius? Do we approach God confident that if we could only get close enough to touch his robe we would be healed, with the unstoppable faith of the unnamed woman, or even with fear like the demoniac?

Help us, Lord, to lay aside everything that hinders us from understanding, from appreciating, from comprehending that fact that your are ALWAYS faithful; that your love is unfailing, irrespective of the outcome in our lives.

"Redeem us because of your unfailing love..."
In Jesus' name, Amen!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Longing Within - 3

Psalm 44
John 1: 43-51

You shall see things greater than that."

Nathaniel is excited as Jesus reveals the fact that he saw him before Philip approached him under the fig tree.  In light of what Nathaniel believed to be and act of clairvoyance, he declares Jesus to be "the son of God...the King of Israel."

We too are so enamored of what might be called parlor tricks, things that are so naturally apart of God's ways., they hardly seem significant enough to mention.  And Jesus proclaims the he will see far greater things. And so he did!

As the Lord called me and I became so enamored of my salvation, a simple matter of the Lord's everyday work, like Nathaniel, I had no idea just how great the things would be that I would experience in my walk with the Lord.

As John writes as the conclusion to his gospel:

"Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one f them were written down
I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."

There have been so many glimpses of the Kingdom in my life - appearances, God's inbreaking work to save, to sustain, to change...miraculous interventions, healings, deliverances...hearing His voice, following His clear lead, finding Him in the least obvious places...

If only those stories could be told and heard and believed. But too often people's eyes glaze over in doubt or fear or disbelief. It is too much for them to process, perhaps because they have always relied on themselves and have never given them over to Your most perfect will, Lord. And the longing within to tell of these great things is almost unbearable.

Oh the glory, the joy, the peace that is forsaken because of fear rather than enjoyed by faith. When I hear the words "I could never..." I want to shout "with Christ all things are possible...even the dead will brought back to life!"  Greater things, indeed we do see as we walk with you, trusting in all you ways.

Grant me, the longing of my heart, Lord, to share with the world the great things you have done, the heavenly things I have seen, the joy I experience in my walk with you.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Longing Within - 2

Psalm 44
Luke 23:35-43

"You have made us a reproach to our neighbors, 
the scorn and the derision of those around us."

The rulers even sneered at him...
The soldiers also came up and mocked him...
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him..."

Desires run deep.  The desire for significance,the desire for peace within, the desire for understanding the world around us.  Living in a broken and corrupt world too often tempts us to feel sorry for ourselves.

David lamented, what he perceived to be, the Lord's abandonment of His people, though they had done no wrong.  The nations around them talked of them with scorn and derision...They had been disgraced and shamed in front of their enemies.

So too, as Jesus hung on the cross, though he had truly done no wrong, he received the mocking, derisive insults of the reprobate, the scorn of the powerful, the resentment of the lost...

Such is, sometimes, the lot of the believer(s).  There are times when we suffer the consequences of our own actions and the well-deserved scorn or anger of others, to be sure.  But that, if we are honest, is deserved. We make mistakes. We say things we shouldn't and we recieve the just correction of those around us. What is so much more difficult to take however, is the disdain of the unredeemed, the mocking of the jealous, the resentment of the self important...when we have done no wrong.

It is difficult to endure those undeserved comments and actions, but should we expect anything more from those who lives are so anchored in this life, which are so focused on personal social standing, who are more concerned about the judgement of their neighbors than of God?  Ought we not feel pity and sorrow for them in their lost estate rather than wallow in self pity?  Ought we not instead, as Jesus did, beseech the Father, "forgive them for they know not what they do?"

How is it that we even dare feel sorry for ourselves, who are so blessed, who, redeemed by God, have experienced such amazing love, such unmerited grace and mercy?  How is it that we withhold from others the very unrelenting love that was extended to us? How is it that we dare to pray for His forgiveness even as we withhold it from those whose sins have merely offended us when by so doing we, ourselves, offend God?

Is there not, or should there not be a deep longing, and sincere desire within us for their redemption, a deep abiding wish and prayer for them to experience that which we have experienced?

Open our eyes, dear Lord. Strengthen our resolve. Grant unto us the love of Christ, who so loves us and them, that we might in turn be more interested in the redemption of our enemies than in their condemnation. Enable us to earnestly, honestly, and with full integrity, pray for our enemies and bless those who persecute us, in Jesus' name. Amen!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Longing Within - 1

Psalm 16
John 4:31-38

"Lord you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance."

Why is it, O Lord, that I can at once seem so comfortable in what I have and where I am, and at the same time feel so guilty for the relative wealth, ease, and comfort in which I abide?

Is wanting to be challenged, desiring to struggle more, hoping to suffer for my faith, wrong?  How is it I can be content when so many wander apart from the peace you offer? How can I rest when the world does not yet know of your grace? How can I forgo mission when true worship is foreign to so many?

Let me partake of the food you offer, which is to do your will, that I may be truly satisfied in Jesus. Amen!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Psalm 89
Revelation 2:8-11

"I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; 
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. 
I will declare that your love stands firm forever, 
that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself."
 
We are reminded again and again that the great heroes of the the faith experienced persecution, oppression, accusation, seeming defeat, beatings, imprisonment and other such challenges. They were imperfect, questioners, sinners who simply put their faith, their hope, their future, in the Lord's hands.
 
David claims your great promise even when it seems that his enemies have gained the upper hand, and he praises you.  You warn the church at Smyrna not to be afraid of what they are about to suffer at the hands of the devil...but even though they die, the will inherit the crown of life.
 
Teach us, Lord, such a deep and abiding level of trust in you to live as they did. Even today, give us ears to hear what your Spirit says that we may sing of your great love, forever.  Amen.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Psalm 71
2 Corinthians 11:7-12:10

"This is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

When I am brought to my knees, when I can do no more, when I have no control, then I may trust in you alone, O Lord, my God.  It is a good place to be, solely dependent upon you.  It is not a place I seek but it is a good place.  It is freeing to know that it is you who alone is in control.  I am tempted, far too often, to attempt to wrestle control from you, to attempt to take charge of the situation, to will and to work for what I believe to the right outcome.

Keep me close to you, O Lord, whether it be in the Upper Room with friends, or in the garden crying droplets of blood, at the foot of the cross in fear and sorrow, or even on the cross itself suffering and dying. But keep me close to you.  For it is only with you,  for you, by you, and because of you, that I draw this fleeting breath.  Amen.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Psalm 71
2  Corinthians 4:1-6

"Our spiritual life is his affair; because, whatever we may think to the contrary,
it is really produced by his steady attraction, and our humble and self-forgetful response to it.
It consists in being drawn, at his pace and in his way, to the place where he wants us to be;
not the place we fancied for ourselves."

So, Lord, let us trust that this is the time and place, and these very circumstances are the ones to which you have drawn us, in which you will demonstrate your grace to us, by which you may be glorified, if we but give ourselves and our circumstances over to you.

Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry we do not lose heart."

You have granted us the privilege, Lord God, of making this witness to you, a witness of obedience, of steadfast loyalty, of faithful suffering, irrespective of the circumstances, even our own sinfulness, which may have brought us here.  Grant us the wisdom, the grace, the opportunity, to bear witness to your work, standing firm on your word, at the foot of the cross, reflecting on him who is the Rock of our Salvation.  Amen.

Friday, November 8, 2019

In Memory of Fr. Luis Espinal

Psalm 90
Acts 17:17-34

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

We are the definitive smile for all of mankind...We accept the struggle and even death, because Christ, our love, will not die...We are not in a game of chance. eternity is unfolding and God has the final word...The eternal alleluia has begun. From the thousand openings of our wounded bodies arises a triumphal song. So teach us to give voice to the new life you provide and let us proclaim it throughout the earth. Because you dry the tears from the eyes of your children forever...and death will be no more.

(based on a meditation by Jesuit Father Luis Espinal, La Paz Bolivia c. 1980)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

True Faith

Psalm 90
1 Peter 1:3-9

"Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God."  (John 6:54)

We cannot accuse Jesus of obscurity.  Eternal life is direct knowledge of God. It is not some numinous faith, some strong inclination, some distant hope, so much as it is a deep and abiding knowledge of the Creator Himself, the God of All...  Knowing God begins the process, sets one on the journey, directs one in the path, and becomes the fulfillment of salvation.  Pity those who talk of the God who, to them, seems to be, or those who "believe in" but do not "believe" - whose faith lacks personal and intimate knowledge of God Himself and whose lives don't take God at His Word. Even worse those who "can't accept that God would limit himself to one expression such as Jesus." 

Once taste God and nothing else will satisfy.  To know God, to believe God, to trust Him, to have intimate fellowship with Him, is to experience salvation.  It is also, however, only a foretaste, an hors d'oeuvres of the fullness of knowledge which is to come.

The Lord reminds us in 1 Peter 3 that "this great salvation is to be revealed in the last time." So too that any trials, any grief we now bear only serve to steel our faith, to prove the sincerity, the genuineness, of our commitment to God whom we know fully in Jesus Christ, and that this very perseverance we now demonstrate will result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed.

I am filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy as I receive the goal of my faith, the salvation of my soul - ever increasing knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and of His faithfulness, in whose name I pray.  Amen!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Reminders - 3

Psalms 89 and 141
Revelation 2:8-11

"Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;
    let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
    for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers."

Yet another reminder that the great heroes of scripture experience persecution, oppression, accusation, seeming defeat; they were imperfect, questioners, sinners who simply put their faith, their hope, their future in your hands, O Lord.

David claims your great promise even when it seems that his enemies have gained the upper hand, and he praises you.

You warn the church at Smyrna not to be afraid of what they are about to suffer, what the devil will do...but even though they die, they will inherit the crown of life.

Grant unto me, even today, ears to hear what your Spirit says, that I may overcome, in Jesus' name.

Amen

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Reminders - 2

Psalm 90
Hebrews 11:32-12:2

"Therefore, since we are surrounded 
by so great a cloud of witnesses, 
let us throw off everything that hinders 
and the sin that so easily entangles..."

Scripture is so clear on this matter of putting off the old, casting away our sin, throwing off that which hinders... Why do we, why do I, still wrestle to put to death in me the anger and the anxiety, the envy  and the jealousy, the greed and the gossip?  Why do I allow myself to wallow in self pity or worry about tomorrow?

I am surrounded by heavenly glory, a crowd of faithful witnesses, those who have conquered kingdoms, seen resuscitation and resurrection, who have exchanged glory for a cross...

Open my eyes dear Lord, even today, to experience your grace anew. Remind me of these faithful witnesses, in Jesus' name.  Amen!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Reminders - 1

Psalms 86 and 146
1 Timothy 6:6-19
Luke 6:19-31

What a blessed encouragement to be reminded that our problems are miniscule compared to the One who is the Solution.

"Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see and be put to shame."

"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in his God."

"Fight the good fight of faith..."

"Woe to you who are complacent..."

You, O Lord my God, are my Redeemer. My hope is in you alone. I fear not princes or powers, or authorities set on self appeasement, injustice, and self affirmation. But in you do I place my trust, my faith, my life.

I am reminded that in this life I will have troubles, but in you I find my hope.  Blessed are you, O Lord my God. Blessed am I by the blood of the Lamb!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

On Becoming Holy - 3

Psalm 19
Colossians 3:1-11

The directionality of a redeemed life is clear:

  1.  We are raised with Christ;
  2.  We set our hearts (desires) on heavenly things (true reality);
  3.  We set our minds (thinking) on things above (righteousness);
  4.  We put to death our earthly  nature (fleshy desires);
  5.  We are renewed in our knowledge, in the image of Christ (becoming Holy)
How is it that such a simple, such an easily attainable and promised certainty of change in our lives seems to be so challenging for us?  It can only be due to our spiritual laziness, the sluggardly aspect of our human condition.

We are complacent, comfortable, and even content in our lifting up both the claim to be working out our salvation, and of the possibility for others to join us, in a work that we have not truly even experienced or willingly participated in.

With godless and gutless phrases like "everyone sins" or "no one is perfect" we excuse our own purposeful participation and complicity in sin.

If only we would set our hearts and our minds on heavenly matters, on the truth of transformation we would find the strength to put to death our earthly desires; whether they are habitual, addictive, or even pathological.  In Christ we are more than conquerors, of E.V.E.R.Y. aspect of our lives.  No excuses for sin but laziness and complacency.  In Christ we may attack every stronghold.  We may overcome every behavior. But it all begins with recognizing who we are in Christ, changing our desires to accord with His and our thinking to line up with His!

In Christ we can do all things!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

On Becoming Holy - 2

Psalm 19
John 9

There is an obvious tension in our theology - between the forgiveness of our sin and the deliverance from our sin.  Too often we are content to wallow in our sin, proclaiming, rejoicing, and celebrating our self-perceived forgiven-ness, without a hint of deliverance from the sin itself.  What a sham of righteousness that we, still stained by the love and embrace of that sinful conduct, dare to declare our perception of God's love while we refuse to be lifted from the miserable circumstances in which we abide.

It is as if the blind man in John 9 simply walked away with the mud on his eyes proclaiming Jesus' promise of sight while still stumbling about in his blindness.  We abide in our sin, repeating it, rejecting the deliverance from it like children playing in  mud puddle, when a trip to the beach is offered.

We sin with impunity, assuming that God forgives sin which may be acknowledged but which is not turned from. We confess, but do not repent, and we presume and even proclaim a forgiveness which doesn't exist.

Have mercy, O Lord, on me, who has too often been told to go to Siloam to wash, but have chosen instead to continue to stumble in my own strength, trying to proclaim a truth I have refused to experience personally.

Have your way with me, Lord.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Amen!

Friday, November 1, 2019

On Becoming Holy - 1

Psalm 19
Ephesians 5:1-20

"...find out what pleases the Lord..." Eph. 5:10

"Our first task is to dispel the vague, murky feeling of discontent and to look critically 
at how we are living our lives. This requires honesty, courage, and trust. 
We must honestly unmask and courageously confront our many self-deceptive games. 
We must trust that our honesty and courage will lead us not to despair, 
but to a new heaven and a new earth." (Nouwen, All Things New)


Finding out "what pleases the Lord" is an easy task. His will for us is made abundantly clear in scripture - take off the old and put on the new, have nothing to do with, put on the full armor of God, the fruit of the Spirit is...

So too, critically examining our lives in light of His revealed will is a fairly straight forward task.

But actually putting off the old, letting go of things that hinder, ridding ourselves of the burdens, is hard work.  It is not that we do not have the means.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  But, truth be told, we love the comfort of the familiar and hesitate to do the hard work of stepping out in to the unfamiliar, even when a new heaven and a new earth awaits us.

What self-deceptive games do I need to unmask and confront, Lord?  I have graciously been given the time and the means to undertake the endeavor.  Do I have the courage to do so?  The battles I fight are within me and not around me.  It is always easier, it seems, to identify the weaknesses in others, and that itself becomes a hindrance, a distraction.  Persistence, perseverance, and patience will be my own battle front - taking it minute by minute, a day at a time...

Lead me O Lord, not unto busyness but unto faithfulness.  Direct my paths to faithfulness and not to distraction.  Keep me focused on your light which will direct my paths.

To you alone be glory, honor, and power in my life, in Jesus' name.

Amen!

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