Mounds and Mounds

August 20

Over the weekend, my wife and I went to a state park with an astounding history. About a thousand years ago this park was the site of the largest city in North America – inhabited by a people who left an enduring mark on the landscape. The site is now known as Cahokia Mounds and was the home of the mound-builders – a civilization known for the manual construction of enormous mounds of earth.

Cahokia_Mounds

Even after 700 years most of these gigantic mounds remain – a testament to the people who labored continuously, for centuries, to build them.

As an example, the largest of the mounds (a plateau-topped mound wider than the ancient pyramids in Egypt) took nearly 200 years to complete. Day after day, workers would dig up dirt (with stone tools), carry (in baskets) 50-60 pounds of earth to the assigned site (often hundreds of yards away) up a steep embankment to dump their load moundbuilders2and return for more. Hour after hour, month after month, year after year, for their whole lives… all they did was carry dirt up a hill and dump it. Dig. Fill. Carry. Walk. Dump. Repeat. Until they died… and their basket was passed on to the next willing worker. This went on for generations until the chief declared your task complete… and you moved on to the next mound-building project.

As I walked up the tallest mound (over 100 feet high) several thoughts ran through my mind.

What kind of people would give up their lives for such a seemingly irrelevant cause? Can you imagine anything more mundane than living your whole life moving dirt? Yet the majority of the 15-20,000 residents of this great city did just that – for nearly 400 years!

What would be the cause that would inspire and motivate people to labor so intensively for hundreds of years? This is much easier to answer and to understand. Such is the power of religion.

The people of the Cahokia Mounds were giving their lives for their beliefs. They believed their chief was in touch with the gods (of the heavens) so in obeying his every wish, they were obeying their gods – and earning favor with their gods for the afterlife.

mounds chief

When the chief said, “Move dirt. Build me a high and holy platform up to the heavens.” The people moved dirt and built. When the chief declared, “the gods want human sacrifices.” The young women rushed forward to volunteer. And when the chief died, his wife would be willingly put to death, so that he would not go into the afterlife without companionship.

All the mounds that we witness today (over a hundred of them) are the remaining edifices of the will of humanly-exalted men, imposed on a submissive people, all in the name of religious belief… for “eternal” gains.

The cynical among us might declare: “Right. So how is that any different from Christian faith?”

In just this way… the true message of Christianity is that the exalted One came down from His lofty place, became one of us, and did ALL the intensive work necessary to give us ALL our eternal status with Him. The true message is that we do NOTHING (mundane or even spectacular) to earn or gain our God’s favor. He did all the work.

it is finished

Nothing remains to be done but to enjoy His companionship – and to work side-by-side with Him in what HE wants to do.

The truth is that we are all building mounds (monuments) that will be submitted to the test of time. The ones we build to try and impress God (or other people) may gain the recognition of others… but will crumble to dust in the light of eternity. But the ones built in relationship with the Most High (according to what HE wants to do) are unseen, but truly enduring… for all eternity.

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Psalm Nineteen: 14

1PS

August 19

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

We really cannot leave this Psalm without pondering it’s most famous verse.

David concludes his song of contemplation with a prayerful hope – that his words and his heart’s concerns have been an act of true worship before His Maker.

true worship

It also reveals to us that worship of God is far more than just the songs we sing or the words we say. At the heart of the matter, worship is a matter of the heart.

The “meditations of my heart” speak the the central issue of all of worship… whether it be the living God – or the things/activities/people we adore as His replacement.

“Meditations” is a reference to what occupies our times of deepest thought, what fills us with hope or anticipation, or what leads to the expenditure of the majority of our time and resources.

What we think about most… is what we tend to worship most.

woman sitting at table has many ideas planning future

In this Psalm, David invites us to ponder God as our Almighty Creator… and to marvel at the wisdom and wonder of His insights into what gives life its greatest joy (God’s perfect Law). When the meditations of our hearts are centered in our love for God and His love for us, then we can know that our priorities in life will align with the One we least want to disappoint. Our actions always flow out of what is in our hearts – and only love can move us to be the best of us.

That’s why love is the fulfillment of the Law (Romans 13:10 ). Love is at the heart of God – and when we love Him first and foremost, then we are motivated by His heart, His love… and our actions truly reflect Him.

Pure-HeartIt takes courage to honestly evaluate the meditations of our hearts – but is essential to guarding ourselves from the tragedy of self-deception. It is human nature to convince ourselves that, in spite of our issues, we are always better off than someone else (and therefore, okay!).

But a true heart of worship begins with a true and honest heart. We must be what we say we are… and if not, then we must repent (change our thinking) to align with what is right and true. Our meditations reveal our hearts and we must make absolutely certain that our meditations reveal a heart of true worship for God.

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God-Hypothesis: Just Tuning In

Speed of Particles

August 18

The mind-boggling power at work within our universe (to form vast star-emitting nebulas; trillions of galaxies; a countless number of stars; and an even more incomprehensible number of planets, moons, and other celestial bodies) surely tells us something. All that power must have come from an even more powerful source.

star formation

Science has concluded that our universe had a beginning – and all that unleashed power either came from nothing… or it came from something.

At the center of the God-hypothesis is the assertion that the most reasonable explanation for such an immense display of power is an almighty, all-powerful Being.

Nothing… has no power to do anything. An almighty Being has the power to do everything.

The best answer to fit the evidence should be clear.

But what else should we expect if God is the designer and creator of the universe?

We should expect a magnificent display of engineering… and ingenuity. There should be undeniable evidence of the intellect, knowledge, and wisdom of an infinitely intelligent Being. In other words, the universe should be governed by immutable natural laws (that work everywhere in the universe) and, as Arno Penzias put it: “one with a very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life.”

Fine-tuning-of-Physics

Evolution banks on all the order in the universe coming from undirected chaos. A mindless, purposeless, freak happenstance that somehow produced (fortuitously for us!) all the finely-tuned components necessary for life.

But, in our everyday experience… when does meticulous order ever come from chaos?

The fine-tuning of the universe is a direct indication of an unparalleled intelligence at work – and everything about the functions of our universe carry the distinct trademarks of all things that are designed with purpose.

In our everyday experience… things that work (and work with such intricate precision) are always the result of intelligence and design.

watch design

This was the observation of Nobel Laureate (in physics) Charles Townes: “This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.”

fine tuning graphic

Some of these finely-tuned factors (to name a few)…

* If the strong nuclear force were slightly more powerful, then there would be no hydrogen, an essential element of life. If it was slightly weaker, then hydrogen would be the only element in existence.

* If the weak nuclear force were slightly different, then either there would not be enough helium to generate heavy elements in stars, or stars would burn out too quickly and supernova explosions could not scatter heavy elements across the universe.

* If the electromagnetic force were slightly stronger or weaker, atomic bonds, and thus complex molecules, could not form.

* If the value of the gravitational constant were slightly larger, one consequence would be that stars would become too hot and burn out too quickly. If it were smaller, stars would never burn at all and heavy elements would not be produced.

I have included a short video presentation that provides a more in-depth look into the fine-tuning of the universe (it’s well worth watching!)…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE76nwimuT0

Physicist Paul Davies offered his observations about our universe: “It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in numbers, has been rather carefully thought out… The seemingly miraculous concurrence of these numerical values must remain the most compelling evidence for cosmic design.”

Even Stephen Hawking noticed these finely-tuned constants of the universe when he said:

S H fine tuning

The question must be asked… what or Who made these intricate adjustments. Again, is it more likely that the astronomical accuracy involved in the constants of the universe were the work of mere chance? Or is it more likely that these numbers were conceived, and executed, by an incomparable intelligence?

As scientists discover more and more about our universe, those discoveries are leading those scientists to different conclusions than were reached only a few years ago. Walter Bradley, author of The Mystery of Life’s Origin, observed: “It is quite easy to understand why so many scientists have changed their minds in the past thirty years, agreeing that the universe cannot reasonably be explained as a cosmic accident. Evidence for an intelligent designer becomes more compelling the more we understand about our carefully crafted habitat.”

Does the fine-tuning of the universe prove the existence of God?

In a word, no. But it is another in a rapidly growing number of “coincidences” that are better, and more logically, explained as the handiwork of an Almighty Creator – rather than the progression of an infinite number of positive results through random chance.

Creator God

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What I’ve Learned About Love

August 17

“Love never fails.” (1Corinthians 13:8a)

Today is my 33rd Wedding Anniversary. I must say… the years have flown by (which must mean that I am having fun!).

It helps being married to an amazing woman. She is the purest soul I have ever met. The most caring, giving, encouraging person I know. She lives to serve. Seeks to make everyone around her feel important and special. And she doesn’t have a clue just how wonderful she really is.

As with any relationship, there have been some difficult times – and some challenges along the way…

r-ship struggle

…but those times have only deepened our reliance on God, and each other, and our friendship with each other (and, yes, that is still vital).

Since I have been married for 33 years, I have children who are becoming adults and “teaming up” with their own life-partners. They are “falling in love” and setting their course to get married… and build families of their own.

As I look at their lives, I flash back to when I was their age. It gets a little scary.

Flashback

The worst thing about young adulthood is that you think you are smarter than you really are – and not nearly as qualified to be an excellent spouse (or parent) than you might imagine. I speak from experience… I was clueless to how clueless I really was.

And one of the things I knew so little about (that I thought I did!) was love.

I thought about love. Wanted love. Read about love. Talked about love. Even wrote about love. But I didn’t really know about love.

Love is not something you can “follow the right instructions” or “do all the right steps” and be successful at doing. Love requires patience, practice, and perseverance. And just when you think you have learned how to love, you realize you haven’t really arrived anywhere. That’s because love is a continual journey, a continual commitment, a continual test of whether you will choose to give of yourself… even when it would be much easier not to.

love-journey-e1534466352581.jpg

Love isn’t really love without the test of time. It takes time for love to grow, mature, become more true in us. Love has to meet the challenge of choice to keep on growing. And at any point along the way, we can end its growth simply by choosing a more self-serving path. The opposite (and death knell) of love is not hate… it is always selfishness.

Love is the most difficult thing for a man to do (which may be why men are commanded, by God, to “love their wives”). It is never easy for us to willfully seek to meet every need of our wives (spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical) – but it is an essential thing for us to do. Scripture tells us that love (in a marriage relationship) is meant as a living lesson in how Christ loves us. Husbands are never more like Jesus than when we are living to seek to provide for our wife’s every need. We are always “on the give” – just as Jesus came and demonstrated for us.

Eph 5 25

I have learned that the greatest counsel about loving is found in the Bible.

The apostle Paul was inspired to write:

1Cor 13 4-7

Truer words were never uttered – and a more accurate description never penned.

That’s because they come from the Heart of God… to instruct our hearts – to use as a barometer to determine if our efforts at loving are genuine.

Love, indeed, is the greatest thing (1Cor. 13:13) – but it is only that greatest thing within those who willingly live their lives continually giving of themselves to the object of their love.

Oh, and by the way… that is how God loves us!

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Whoever Believes in Me; part 6

Whoever believes in me

August 16

“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” (Jesus – John 11:25)

I am often perplexed and saddened by what I hear on the evening news – even though we hear it nearly every day.

It’s not just the murders or rapes or child abuse or drug busts… in our times, it is much more callous than that. Young women are kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery.

s traf

Identity thieves take great pleasure in emptying the bank accounts of decent, hardworking folks.

hackers.png

And during moments of civil unrest, looters take the opportunity to help themselves to whole stores – without a thought as to how their actions destroy the commerce of whole communities.

Looting

It is not just the actions of those who do wrong – it is the heart behind such cruel and throughtless actions that causes such deep concern for our world.

The world is a dark place – and it is become darker each and every day.

dark place

As Christians, we should not be surprised. Whenever a culture rejects the One true God, descent into deep darkness is inevitable. Human history is a lesson in human nature – without the Light of God, we find an abundance of ways to destroy ourselves. Here in America, we are on the fast track to removing every vestige of God in our schools, in our public places, even in our laws.

The saddest note of all is that we call it “being progressive” – even “enlightened.”

I am not ashamed to say that the only hope for humanity in any age, and in any culture, is Jesus. He came “into the world AS light” to rescue us all from our blindness and darkness.

jesus light

He came and told us about the Light, but more importantly, He showed us the Light. He lived to love. He reached out to the hopeless and helpless, giving them help, hope, and dignity. He came into the world to show us what God was really like – because in our darkness, our view of Him gets so distorted.

And in the ultimate expression of love, Jesus volunteered to take the wrath of God for the punishment of our sins – He took our place so we could find our place (home!) with Him.

Jesus-death

But He did more than just show us about God, or show us the depth of His love, He opened up the door of opportunity for each and every one of us to know Him personally – and to have our lives transformed in the knowing.

He came to save us. He came to change us. He came to bring us into the fullness of His Light, so WE could be the Light of the world… just as He was.

Jesus doesn’t just offer us forgiveness or a new beginning… He offers, to “whoever believes in Me,” the opportunity to be Light in the darkness.

Be the Light 1

Yes. The world is a dark and terrible place – and Jesus was right… the darkness will always despise the Light.

But in the darkest of times the Light shines brightest. It is most essential. It still exposes evil for what it is. And it still offers hope to those whose hope has faded.

Because of Jesus, the Light can still be a beacon of hope to a darkened world… through us!

Posted in Being the Light, Belief, Daily devotional, Light of the world, Purpose in Life, True Christianity, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Whoever Believes in Me; part 5

Whoever believes in me

August 15

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (Jesus – John 11:25)

It is one of the things that most people do not care to talk about. We don’t even like saying the word. We say things like, “they passed.” Or “kicked the bucket” or “gave up the ghost.”

But any way you say it… it is death.

funeral

Maybe we don’t like talking about it because there is such a seeming finality to it. One moment a person is full of the breath of life – and the next they are not.

For anyone who has lost a loved one, there is hardly anything that is more difficult for us to even think about. When all we have is memories, those memories become precious possessions – though those memories can still cause us pause… or pain.

But has been said, “Death is a part of life.” It is something we will all face, without exception – without any regard for status, or importance, or financial means. Death awaits us all. We cannot escape its steely grasp. 

graveyard

But this is exactly why a relationship with Jesus is so important. Jesus said it Himself… He IS resurrection. He IS the life. And to prove His point… He did both.

But the best part of relationship with Jesus is the fact that He shares everything He is (and has) with those who place their complete trust in Him.

doorway to heavenBecause He IS the resurrection and the life – He has promised that even those who die will yet live. For “whoever believes in (Jesus), death is not the final destination of our journey… it is only a doorway into a life that can never end. What Jesus gives, lasts forever… and that includes the kind of life He offers to every single person who turns to Him in unreserved faith.

This brings a tremendous hope to each of us – even to us who have had to endure the pain of loss because of death.

As the apostle taught us: we do not …grieve like the rest, who are without hope… For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died… Encourage one another with these words.” (from 1Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Jesus. Resurrection. Life. All part of the total package that God freely offers to whoever believes in Jesus.

I have been to many funerals (maybe you have, as well). There is a definite difference between when the person who died is known to trust and love Jesus… and when nobody is sure. With the latter, you can feel the weight of despair. There is a wishful hope that their loved one will spend eternity with God, but the uncertainty is like a foreboding cloud hanging over every soul.

sad funeral

And then there is the death of one who loves Jesus. There is sadness, yes… but that sadness is for ourselves, and for our loss. When our thoughts turn to the one who has gone to be with the Lord, they are filled with joy and celebration – as we realize that they have left the pain and sorrows of this life to be with their Lord forever.

joyous funeral

In the end, that is the finish line we all hope to cross. There is nothing more despondent than the soul who has gained “the whole world, only to lose their soul.”

Jesus came that the finality of death would be dealt a death blow – and that the mortal sting of death would be swallowed up by His eternal life!

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Whoever Believes in Me; part 4

Whoever believes in me

August 14

Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’” (Jesus – John 7:38)

Believing in Jesus does more for us than just fill us with the water of life (see yesterday’s post)… believing in Him also makes us a conduit of His life-giving flow.

The Christian life is never intended as a means of self-satisfaction alone – God’s intention is always to fill us and to have us “overflow” on those around us. What Jesus gives us so freely… is meant to be shared just as freely.

overflow

The context of this verse is fascinating. It is one of the few times that Scripture ever records Jesus crying out to the masses. Almost pleading with them. He is so overcome with the promise of Life that He cannot contain Himself.

God. With us. Shouting at the top of His lungs… His offer to us.

The offer is to the thirsty – those who are parched for truth, joy, peace, and for that which continually satisfies our souls. The offer is a plea: “Come to Me.” Come “and drink.” (7:37)

dying of thirst

And the One offering, and pleading, is the One Who knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we need more than we do. And He knows that we need what only He can supply.

He also knows that our deepest joy is not found in what we take for ourselves… but in what we are able to give. Because He has fully supplied, He has completely satisfied our deepest inner longing – He has made us a means to pour Him out to others. In abundance. In life-giving flow.

Living water.

This term has special meaning. It is not just water in a container (when emptied, there is no more). It is not just water from a lake or pond (which tends to become contaminated with time). Living water is that spring of purest water bursting forth from the ground in a never-ending flow. It is of the highest quality. The purest. The best. The most enriching.

bubbling_spring

John goes on to tell us that this living water flowing to us, and from within us, is God’s Holy Spirit – given freely to “whoever believes.” (7:39)

As Jesus was God with us… the Holy Spirit is God within us. Given to connect us with Jesus – to continually receive from His life-giving flow. And given to us so that Jesus can continue to quench thirsty souls, through our open lives.

When we see the simplicity and the magnitude of what Jesus offers us, it is no wonder He was shouting it out. Simple in the fact that we were created to receive what Jesus offers us. He made us to be filled with His living water.

living water from Jesus

Also simple in the fact that the essence of Christian life is to be the outflow of this living water – inviting the thirsty to come and drink from His water flowing through us. Not by trying to convince people they need what Jesus offers, but by simply letting Jesus “flow out” through our lives. We take the living water we have received and are a spring of His life-giving flow.

In all this simplicity, God brings the magnitude of His love into direct encounter with those who need what only He can provide.

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Whoever Believes in Me; part 3

Whoever believes in me

August 13

Whoever believes in Me will never thirst.” (Jesus; John 6:35)

We are all familiar with those scenes where a dying man is stuck in the middle of some oven of a desert, longing for only one thing… a drink of water. Just about when all hope is gone he looks up to see a shimmering pool off in the distance. With a renewed resolve,he musters all his energy to make that one last push to the liquid salvation that beckons him … only to discover that the refreshing pool is never any closer to him. It is only a mirage – enhanced by his all-consuming thirst.

desert dying man

This is what it means to be thirsty. Most of us have been there. Your mouth is like a desert. Your need for water is like a persistent gnawing… chomping away at your mental capacities. All your thoughts turn into one… the need to quench your thirst.

Jesus reminds us that what we experience in the physical often has a parallel in the spiritual. Thirst is just as real for our spirits as it is for our bodies. And the need to have our spirit’s quenched of thirst is also just as real.

People often try to quench this spiritual thirst with so many things. But they are all such poor substitutes for the only thing that can truly satisfy us.

Jesus reminds us that He came to not only be the Savior of our souls, but the Satisfier of our deepest longings. He came to quench the burning agony of the lack within us. He came to bring the depth of His refreshing to everyone who finds themselves in an arid and weary state.

overheated

This was at the center of the topic with the woman at the well (John 4). What began as a conversation about natural water quickly turned to a lesson in spiritual water – and how desperately we need what Jesus alone can give us.

He is the One Who said: “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” (4:14)

As with most of us, the woman at the well, thought: “Wow! What a concept… water that quenches thirst – continually. I’ll take that water… so I won’t ever have to come to this watering hole again.” (4:15)

But how is that even possible?

Jesus tells us: “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

woman-at-the-well

Several years ago, we were visiting family, in another state, and just happened to drive past quite a sight. Out in a field was what looked like a huge fireman’s hose, on a platform, elevated off the ground. From the hose was gushing a continuous flow of crystal clear water. People were gathered around this hose filling up their empty milk jugs with the water flowing from the “hose.” When we inquired, we found out that the “hose” was tapped into an underground spring which caused an unending flow of the purest water you could possibly find. The farmer who owned the land, set everything up so that anyone who wanted to come and experience the purity of the water could come and help themselves to as much as they wanted.

spring water

This is a picture of Jesus and what He offers us. But the best news of all is that He has not limited this flow of thirst-quenching water to a few, or to the specially privileged – He has opened His life-giving water to “whoever believes in Me.”

The only limit to what Jesus offers us is the limit we place on Him by our lack of belief. Whenever we are believing in Jesus, we have tapped into that life-giving flow… as much as we want, whenever we want.

Only Jesus is the constant satisfaction of the thirst of our souls – and He offers Himself freely to whoever will come.

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God Hypothesis; Dig That Light Show

Speed of Particles

August 11

Scientists often use something called the scientific method to discover and evaluate the things in the universe around them. It is based on a simple step-by-step process where information is gained, processed, tested, evaluated, and understood.

scientific method

Concerning the scientific method one science website observes: “there are probably as many versions of the scientific method as there are scientists! But… the goal remains the same: to discover cause and effect relationships by asking questions, carefully gathering and examining the evidence, and seeing if all the available information can be combined in to a logical answer.”

Our focus, today, is on this prevalent goal of science… “to discover cause and effect relationships… to form a logical answer.”

If science is the discovery of that which is true, then, to be truly scientific, all possibilities need to be explored. But so often, when it comes to the question of the origin of the universe, this is seldom the case.

in science we trustAs we mentioned in last week’s post. Many scientists will consider every angle… but God. There are “stated” reasons for this… “God is not ‘testable,’ so there is no way for science to confirm or deny if there was an intelligent designer and creator of the universe. God falls into the realm of faith… not science.”

There are also the “unstated” reasons… 1) The possible consideration of a divine creator leads to other questions (like: our responsibility to Him!) – most of which make people who see no need for God, very uncomfortable. And 2) Most scientists see no need to look for proof of something that could not possibly exist. Since many scientists ONLY accept the reality of a material universe… anything that would be considered “outside” of the material is, by default, non-existent.

But to be true to science itself, is it possible that our universe had a divine originator? Especially since now science confirms that our universe must have had a beginning.

big bang

Logically, there are only two options about this beginning… One) it happened all on its own; or Two) Something or someone must have initiated it.

What is the most reasonable and logical conclusion to explain the cause of universe?

If there was a divine Originator, we would anticipate that the universe would be reflective of His attributes. As a master painter is known by his masterpieces, so the universe would reveal an Originator’s expertise and ability.

rembrandt

If the divine Originator is all-powerful we would expect the universe to be an magnificent display of that power.

Scientists have discovered some phenomenal facts about our universe. First, it’s physical size is unbelievably immense. It is composed of billions (trillions?) of galaxies and is estimated at over 28 billion light years across!* We cannot really conceive of how BIG that is!

So as we think about power and the universe, let’s bring this closer to home… and use our sun as an example.

SolOur sun (Sol) is known as a yellow dwarf and burns at 5500 degrees Celsius (on the surface; and 15 million degrees at its core!) as it turns hydrogen into helium through constant nuclear fusion. The power emanating from the sun is the equivalent of a trillion 1-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding every second. It produces light to the magnitude of 300,000 candle power over every square inch of its 870,000 mile diameter (110 times the diameter of earth). Scientists estimate that the sun is capable of burning, at its current capacity, for another 5 billion years.

Now, when we think about those figures… they are quite astounding. Yet, the sun is hardly the only star in the universe. And it is barely middle-of-the-pack when it comes to size. Our universe contains an incalculable number of galaxies (a paper published in the Astrophysics Journal, in 2016, estimated the number of galaxies to be two trillion!). And the amount of stars within those galaxies? It would be an incomprehensible number!

galaxies

When we think of just the power of our sun and multiply that power exponentially we begin to catch a glimpse of what kind of power must exist in the origination of this universe.

As we “carefully gather and examine the evidence” is it more likely that the awesome power on display in every galaxy in our universe was the result of some undirected explosion (where every bit of matter exploded into existence out of nothing) OR could it be a direct indication of One Who is known as all-powerful and without limits?

As for me, it seems most logical to agree with the assessment of the Psalmist… The heavens declare the glory of God… Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.”

night sky 4

*A light year is how astronomers measure the distance of things in the universe. That distance being how far light would travel (at the speed of light) in one year’s time. One light year = appr. 5.88 trillion miles.

Posted in Creation, Daily devotional, God as Creator, Intelligent Design vs. Evolution, Power of God, Science, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Whoever Believes in Me…” part 2

Whoever believes in me

August 10

“Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

We all tend to make the nature of belief to be about what we want God to do for us. Most of our prayers (the most common exercise of our faith in God) are about our requests for God to act, to move, to do something for us (or for someone for whom we are praying).

prayer

We can get very one-sided about faith… our issues, our problems, our concerns, our needs, our desires – all laid before the Great King, in the hope that He will hear us and graciously grant our requests (if we can talk Him into it!). This is usually how we tend to view the practice of our faith in God.

But Jesus’ words (in John 14:12) bring a different focus to our attention. We tend to miss the link between the “works (+ greater works)” and where Jesus is. We must remember that Jesus qualifies His amazing statement about disciples doing miraculous workings by telling us this will happen “because I am going to the Father.”

Scripture is very clear that Jesus’ current location is “seated at right hand of the Father.” (Ephesians 1:20) And Peter declares that Jesus has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him.” (1Peter 3:22)

right hand of the father

Why is this so important? Because the Right Hand of the Father is the place of all authority on Heaven and earth. It’s where things get done. Mighty things. Miraculous things. It’s where the decree goes forth from the King of the Universe and everything in the universe must obey — everything must align with His will.

Jesus is there. In that place of authority. Getting the Father’s directions. Ready to act on the Father’s will.

But He has a very specific way in which He has chosen to act, now that He is seated at the Father’s right Hand.

He has chosen to work through His people. In many ways, ONLY through His people… “so that now through the Church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 3:10) No wonder Jesus promised that “whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing.”

The basis of Jesus’ work, here on earth, was getting ahold of the will of the Father and acting on it.

jesus healing man

And now that He is seated at the place of heaven’s authority, He is ready to impart the Father’s will to us – and act on the Father’s will through those who will truly believe in Him.

This is where who we ARE comes into play. The Bible tells us that, because of our commitment to Jesus (through what He has done) we are eternally interconnected with Him. We share in Him. What He has. What He has done. And where He is!

Throne of Jesus

Our connection with Jesus carries an eternal and infinite reality… we ARE privileged to seek out Heaven’s will and act on that will as Jesus reveals it to us – and as He invites us to participate in every bit of the process.

This should change how we pray. It is really not our matters that matter… it is our King’s matters – and we get to come boldly before His Throne of Grace to discover what He wants to do… and then, play a part in Him doing it.

True faith leads us to the place where we realize that who we ARE now in Jesus affords us the opportunity to lay hold of the Father’s authority to do whatever the Father wants done. This is the work Jesus did… now immediately available to “whoever believes” in Him.

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