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Long to Worship? (Satire from The Babylon Bee)

SPACE — This week, NASA unveiled photos of distant galaxy clusters now visible from the world’s most powerful telescope. After seeing the images, millions have reported an uncontrollable urge to praise whoever may have created such a majestic, expansive universe.

“We’re not religious or anything, but my wife and I both felt compelled to give glory to a higher power — as if there were a higher power than multiverses, monkeys, and primordial sludge!” Local man Dave Deaver scoffed while speaking to reporters, emphasizing his unshakable faith in the unguided evolution of a godless reality. He added that the images made it difficult to suppress his instinct to glorify some kind of creator, who he again clarified doesn’t exist.

At publishing time, additional documentation has claimed that “the heavens declare the glory of God,” but it has yet to be peer-reviewed.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2022 in creation

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Creation)

The Bible teaches that we are made in the image and likeness of God. The Creator. So, of course, we want to create! But in all our creations, we need to be super vigilant that WE don’t receive the credit or think that WE should be praised and admired. HE gives us the ability to imitate Him in His creativeness. And the Triune God wanted to invite human beings into His circle of love which has always existed between Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Being an Eco-Warrior (Time for a Great Commercial)

What a great commercial! We should care about the environment, the animal world, and even ice caps. This is our Father’s world, right? But caring for creation can’t be our highest goal in life! We are challenged to love God and love others as our first priority!

Your thoughts?

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2019 in ecology

 

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Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #5) SAVING SOULS BUT NOT TREES?!

We are continuing to look at the book by the United Methodist minister Martin Thielen entitled What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Divided into two sections, Part 1 lists “Ten Things Christians Don’t Need to Believe” and Part 2 is entitled “Ten Things Christians Do Need to Believe.” Let’s think about the fourth belief Christians don’t need to believe.

Chapter 5 is entitled God Cares about Saving Souls But Not About Saving Trees.  Thielen subtitles this chapter “God cares about personal salvation and social justice, and so should God’s church.”

I must admit I agree with Thielen on much of this chapter. The believer in Jesus should be concerned about the environment and social issues. It is unfortunately true that fundamentalist churches have often expressed a concern only for men’s souls. We are charged with being good stewards of God’s creation — and we have sometimes failed miserably.

I agree with the author that our religion must be personal but dare not be simply private. Every aspect of God’s world ought to be impacted by the believer living out his or her faith and caring about what God cares about.

MY RESPONSE: However, while Thielen uses expressions like “affirming faith in Jesus Christ” and “evangelism,” I suspect he will articulate a liberal view of the gospel when we get further along in the book. But at this point, I agree that we should care about the environment and not engage in partisan politics. He cites abortion and homosexuality as two issues that conservative Christians seem most concerned about, but that is reasonable given the prominence of those two critical topics. It is difficult to read the Minor Prophets, for example, and not be challenged to care about the poor, the oppressed, the unborn. We will have to see what positions Thielen takes on those hot-button issues.

One takeaway for me: I find Becoming Worldly Saints by Mike Witmer a balanced approach to caring about the world that God has made — without watering down or compromising the gospel.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2019 in beliefs

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 20)

Let’s begin our examination of Jonah’s prayer in chapter two this morning.  He is in an unusual place, to be sure, but his prayer is sincere, heartfelt, and, most likely, smelly!  He is somewhere safe — and he is grateful that God has spared his life from drowning.

Jonah prays “to the Lord his God.”  This was a deeper prayer than the sincere one offered by the pagan sailors in chapter one.  Jonah knew “the Lord his God” and he speaks with the One who rescued him.

Several truths jump out at me as I look at this prayer:

(1)  Jonah prayed when he was distressed (v. 2).  That’s a great time to pray!

(2)  Jonah recognized that GOD was behind the sailors’ action in tossing him overboard:  “You hurled me into the depths”; “all your waves and breakers swept over me” (v. 3).

(3)  Jonah sensed that he was “banished” from the Lord’s sight, but he found hope in looking towards God’s holy temple (v. 4).

(4)  Jonah realized (as he sailed through the air and plunged into the ocean’s depths) that his life was over.  Engulfing waters and straggling seaweed were certain to bring an end to his renegade days (v. 5).  (to be continued)

My prayer:  “Lord of the sea and the ocean depths — Remind me that YOU are the Creator and that creation listens to You and does Your will.  Help me, as a creature made in Your image, to do the same!   In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 11)

Let’s continue thinking about Jonah’s first orthodox statement:  “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”  Like the rest of us, what Jonah says he believes is very orthodox.  But his professed beliefs are contradicted by his behavior!

“I am a Hebrew” — Jonah does not hesitate to identify himself as one of God’s covenant people.  He is proud, it seems, instead of being ashamed that he is betraying his heritage and refusing to do his part in fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant of being a blessing to all people (Gen. 12).

“and I worship the Lord . . .” — What is worship?  Is it merely ceremony, rituals performed to placate a sometimes angry deity?  How could he say “I worship the Lord”?  How can we say we worship the Lord when we don’t do what He tells us to do?

“the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” —  This is the Creator God!  This is the One who is responsible for this lethal storm.  This is the One who fashioned the dry land (which these sailors were longing for about right now).  We Evangelicals make a lot out of God as Redeemer, and rightly so.  But, I wonder, have we ignored much of the Bible’s witness to God as Creator?

This is no deistic-designed universe.  God is personally involved in sustaining His world. And He sustains His servant long enough for him to identify himself theologically.  But even pagans can see through such hypocrisy (to be continued).

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 114)

Psalm 114

When Israel came out of Egypt,screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-11-14-17-am
    Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
    Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled,
    the Jordan turned back;
the mountains leaped like rams,
    the hills like lambs.

Why was it, sea, that you fled?
    Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,
    you hills, like lambs?

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
    the hard rock into springs of water.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2017 in personification

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 104)

Psalm 104

Praise the Lord, my soul.screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-5-45-29-am

Lord my God, you are very great;
    you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
    he stretches out the heavens like a tent
    and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
    and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers,
    flames of fire his servants.

He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled,
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
    they went down into the valleys,
    to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
    never again will they cover the earth.

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
    it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
    the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
    they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
    the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
    and plants for people to cultivate—
    bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
    oil to make their faces shine,
    and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord are well watered,
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests;
    the stork has its home in the junipers.
18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
    the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,
    and the sun knows when to go down.
20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
    and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21 The lions roar for their prey
    and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
    they return and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go out to their work,
    to their labor until evening.

24 How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
    teeming with creatures beyond number—
    living things both large and small.
26 There the ships go to and fro,
    and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

27 All creatures look to you
    to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
    they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
    they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face,
    they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
    they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit,
    they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord.
35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
    and the wicked be no more.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Praise the Lord.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in creation

 

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Loving the Lord with Our Minds — The Apostle Paul in Acts 17 (Part 8)

We continue with our study of Acts 17, Paul on Mars Hill.  I’m looking forward to Emmaus Bible College’s “Christian MInistry screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-5-57-12-amSeminars” on February 6-7. My theme, “Anti-Intellectualism Isn’t Spirituality,”  will pursue several topics.  We will look at Acts 17:19-34 to see how the Apostle Paul used his mind to reach five different groups.

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-6-19-05-amBeginning with a compliment, Paul proclaims the “unknown god” to the Athenians.  Let’s notice verses 24-28.  As Paul moves into PROCLAMATION, he speaks clearly of Christian doctrine!  Notice that he credits this “unknown god” with creation (He “made the world and everything in it” – v. 24) and providence (caring for His creation) (“he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else” – v. 25).  Paul makes it clear that this true God is independent of His creation (He “is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands . . . and . . . is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything” – vv. 24-25).

Wow!  That’s a lot of Christian doctrine!  Paul goes on screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-6-29-18-amto talk about man’s creation (“all the nations” – v. 26) being intended by this God to “inhabit the whole earth” (v. 26).  Both man’s relationship to time (“marked out their appointed times”) and their geography (“the boundaries of their lands”) are covered in verse 26.

And this Creator-God is not content with simply making stuff.  He wants a personal relationship with human beings (“God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for him and find him” – v. 27).

Question:  Are we presenting the true God of the Bible as One who wishes for a personal relationship with each of His creatures made in His image?

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Acts 17

 

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Great Quote from J. Vernon McGee: “You Don’t Have a Universe!”

“This is God’s universe, and God does things His way.You may have a better way, but you don’t have a universe!” screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-8-20-29-am

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-8-23-45-am

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2017 in Creator

 

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