I Didn’t Make Myself

Truthfully, I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone who claimed to have personally created themselves.  There are self-made people, but that has to do with who they are not their very existence.  The evolutionist, those who believe evolution is real, wouldn’t dare claim that they created themselves.  Something else did.  Actually, someone else did!

In the movie “Expelled” by Ben Stein, you know the teacher from the movie “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off” and the show, “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” he talks with atheist Richard Dawkins.  Interesting conversation.  Dawkins believes that there is the possibility of an intelligent designer, but rejects the idea that this intelligent designer is the God or a god of any sort.  It cannot be the Hebrew God, the Christian God, the Hindu god or gods, or any possibility of god, a non-personal or a personal god.  He totally rejects that.  He wouldn’t want that!

I reject the concept of “Mother Nature.”  Nature is God’s creation.  The God of the Bible, the Hebrew and Christian God.  Nature is not our creator, or even a god over us.  The Bible rejects the notion that there is no God and teaches there is only one true God.  “In the beginning God…” (Genesis 1:1); “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).  The forever existent, self-existent being — GOD!  Hmm!  Pre-existent to creation, existing outside of time and space and existing beyond the end of the world and time.  Everlasting God is who He is.

So, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). From that point God created time (day and night, the seasons, the week – 7 days long) and created various aspects of what we have on this planet (land and sea, plants and animals and sea-creature, the sun, moon and stars) and human beings and you and I are related to Adam and Eve the progenitors of all humanity (Read Genesis 1).

I was created through conception and birth, a picture of the creation of man in my mind.  I didn’t make myself.  God made me and gave me breath and life.  Now, I can take my life (that’d be pretty bad) and I can ruin my life and I can run from God and deny him if I please (which is also very bad).  God gave us that prerogative; free-will, the freedom to choose right and wrong, the freedom to obey or disobey God.  In that, I guess I could be a self-made man, but I choose to let God’s creating continue in me.  To recreate, to renew my life through faith and hope in Jesus.

My physical make-up shows me without having to look into some high-powered microscope and see the depth of the detail of my cells and the molecules that make up my body.  It’s natural functions, breathing, eating and digestion, etc., tell me that there is a God and Jesus reveals who that God is (Romans 1:19-20), Yahweh the creator God who is Lord of creation and the whole world.  He rules from a throne in the spiritual realm and enters the physical world through Jesus, through messages from angels and prophets, through his Holy Spirit who is in the Christian, remaking me every day into the image and likeness of Christ who is the image and exact representation of God.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” Colossians 1:14-17, NIV.

I am his because he created me and because he has recreated me through Christ.

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Significance and Evangelism

The past 50 years has seen a major paradigm change in American.  Used to be, we were satisfied with settling down to life as it existed.  It may be college, or a factory or service job.  Most of us got married and had kids, bought a house, and lived life enjoying the stability.

The paradigm change has been that people search to find meaning in their life instead of letting meaning rest in them.  They want to make a difference.  I encountered this with a young man who was going to graduate from high school last year and he was worried that his life would be nothing more than “I think therefore I am.”  My body functions, my mind has thoughts, and I live with my desires and the environment I am in, but does it make a difference.  A sad thought if that’s all life is.

Recently, Relevant Magazine presented an article about how the search for significance can also have a negative side (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/deeper-walk/features/20665-trapped-by-the-search-for-significance).  It is worth reading.

People want their lives to be more than just existing.  As the Relevant article begins, “I have an insatiable need to feel extraordinary….”  That’s where we’re at in our culture.  I want to make a mark and be remembered for something significant and feel that I have done something significant.

We are significant to God and our lives no matter how extraordinary we feel, are just that, extraordinary.  I get a sense of satisfaction when I impact someone’s life positively.  I work with teens who have attachment disorders (For a definition and description click on this link; http://www.helpguide.org/mental/parenting_bonding_reactive_attachment_disorder.htm).  My main role with them involves as many as three elements; leading spiritual time and dealing with spiritual issues, being an encourager, and at times counselling from a Biblical perspective.  I see change in some the students and I understand that I have impacted some of them.  That makes me smile, because I know I have been able to help them, but I do not do it because I am searching for any sort of significance.  I get my significance through God and Christ.

I want to make a difference because God intends to redeem the world. The impact I want to make in this world is what God is doing. “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent,” (New Living Translation).  God wants to save everyone.  His desire is to redeem each individual.  My satisfaction isn’t that I have done something that impacts someone, but that I have been saved by God, gifted by his Spirit, and he does incredible things in and through me and sometimes without me.

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The Big Event

February 2010 is a big month.  The Super Bowl (and its unfortunate outcome), the 24 hours of Daytona, the Daytona 500, and the Olympic games.  The Olympics are huge.  They’re the most diverse and international thing there is.  Every country can compete, and every one that does, has a chance to win or simply medal, no matter now slim their chance may actually be.

I tend to be a purist.  I don’t believe that true competition involves votes by judges to determine a winner, like gymnastics, figure skating, mogul and stuff like that.  True competition is head-to-head competition against competitors, sometimes comparing times or distances to determine the victor.  Now that I rode my hobby-horse, let me get to the point.

There are lot of big events, in sports, championships, big-time challenges and competitions.  There are big events such as presidential elections, debates over critical and moral issues (such as abortion, universal health-care, global warming, etc.).  We can list a whole lot of things that qualify as big events, but there are four events that are the most important, the biggest of all.

1st – When God created the world. Genesis chapter 1 paints a picture of incredible power and beauty when God made the world and all that is in it as well as creating people.  Adam and Eve being the first ones.  Though they screwed up and sinned, we are heirs of their DNA and students of their example.  We didn’t inherit their sin, but learned how to sin and have followed their example (Cf. Romans 3).

2nd – When Jesus died on the cross. Turn to the end of every one of the four Gospels and you will see Jesus betrayed, arrested, tried, and put to death on a cross.  Cruel and inhuman, but real and true.  His death was to deal with the sin we have all committed.

3rd – When individuals are saved.This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24.  He is referring to the day of salvation.  A double meaning.  Both the moment that God offered salvation when Jesus died for our sins and when we died to sin through faith in Christ for our salvation.

4th – When Jesus comes back a second time. What a time of joy and rejoicing that will be.  It is in that moment that those of us who are in Christ will realize what we have hoped in for so long.  Eternal life where God dwells with us (Revelation 21:3).

The Olympics are a pretty big deal for just about everybody.  But the greatest events of all involve Jesus.  From creation to his second-coming to earth.

I for one am looking forward to that reward.

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I Just Don’t Know

I don’t get art. I mean, I am not an art appreciationado by any means. If someone paints an apple and it looks like an apple. I go, “Wow, that looks like an apple.” If someone paints a portrait than I admire the resemblance to the subject of the painting. But most art to me, is about as understandable as abstract art. There is no rhyme or reason behind it. The piece on the left here seems like light to me. But makes no sense otherwise. There seems to me to be nothing normal about it. Just colors. Just paint strokes. Whatever. I may like it, but it means nothing to me. It’s not an apple or a painting of a president or something that makes sense to my mind.

Today has been a difficult day. I guess it is the culmination of the past few days. Now there is tomorrow and I don’t know what that will bring. Life to me has always been, that’s an apple or that’s a president, not what is that?

Let me explain.

For me, life has been cut and dried. It is what it is and it made sense. I’m a guy, a product of a Christian home, 70’s music, a conservative understanding of life and politics and the Bible. I have been influenced by family, and church, and school, and friends (both Christian and not). I believe in marriage, that it is between a man and a woman, in parents raising their children, and punishment for wrong-doing. I can go on.

Life has always been pretty cut and dried. And I know a lot of the answers for why bad things happen to good people and why good things happen to bad people. You know, the problem of evil. I’ve even led people to a belief and understanding about God while discussing the problem.

But today has been, well, abstract. All I know just doesn’t make sense at the moment. Why does a 90-year-old woman die of cancer and not old age. That’s what happens to younger folk, people  my age. Why am I working the grave-yard shift when it so unnatural to stay awake all night long every day of the week. Night is for sleeping, not for working. And so sleep doesn’t come in ways that gives rest and clear-headedness. Why is a work week not Monday through Saturday, but Wednesday through Sunday. Who thought of that?

What I consider normal, working during the day and not on weekends, and sleeping at night and eating 3 times a day at pretty much set times, and people living to be old but dying from being aged, is well, only normal to me I guess.

The questions of life come down to this. In everything, in every aspect of life, every moment whether “normal” or not, do I love God with all of my heart and mind and soul and strength, and do I trust him with all my heart.

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PS: Besides, I may be catching a cold. Now that sucks!

Faith Journeying To Heaven

For the past year and a half, we have watched a man’s faith thrive and he really alive.

I told you about Jim who has been dying of cancer in an earlier post, and yesterday, I asked you to pray for Jim and his family.  Jim passed on last night near midnight.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, “So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.  That is why we live by believing and not by seeing.  Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.  So our aim is to please him always, whether we are here in this body or away from this body.  For we must all stand before Christ to be judged.  We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies” 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, the New Living Translation.

Jim was a servant of God and a follower of Christ.  He wished to please God.  Now he gets to do so without any restrictions that his body placed on him, or the confines that earth kept him in.

Did Jim accomplish everything he wished and planned too?  No, but that’s alright.  Jim had things he wanted to do before he went, but at the same time, he was ready and willing to go.

Is Jim in heaven?  I can’t say.  I am not the judge who makes that determination.  But, if the fruit of his life is any evidence, I expect we’ll see him when we get there with a huge smile on his face and a welcome that says, “You’re going to love it here.”

I thank God for Jim’s life and that I got to share in it and learn from his faith even for a short time.

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Religion and Life

alfred-gockel-stroking-the-keysTwo quotes from Albert Einstein:

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

Isn’t that the essence of “Love God – Love People?”  Isn’t that the call of true relgion (James 1:27).  Isn’t that what Jesus did?

“True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.”

Mr. Einstein nailed what the Christian life is about.

Wisdom from God in unlikely places

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