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Archive for December, 2014

(First Draft, since starting with the completed version might not happen in time)

I am prepared and even enthusiast about living for however much longer God has in mind for me, be that 50 minutes or 50 years. However, the longer I live the less likely I am to live substantially longer. I do participate in some risky behaviors, albeit, thoughtfully, cautiously, and frequently with prayer. And additionally I most fervently hope that me writing this blog just now is not an indication that God is getting ready to take me soon, though I will not object in the least if He does. Rather, I see this blog entry as a bullet on my to do list that has had a few red flags inserted by recent personal events. I want to mention my wishes for my funeral.

The most expensive item first: Bury me wherever is cost effective and convenient for those dealing with my loss. God can resurrect whatever parts and pieces He has ordained to be transformed into my new body from anywhere in this old world from mountain top to ocean depth and a whole lot of less glorious places than that. We respectfully plant bodies (good terminology given what I Corinthians 15 says about perishable seed) because they contained spirits made in the image of God and because those of believers will be resurrected to be in His presence, which is comforting to the mourning loved-ones. An inexpensive casket and what not is sufficient; I’ll assure you it won’t impress me.

I would like to influence several aspects of the service, however.

Primarily, focus on the Savior; I certainly will be. I have too few earthly accomplishments of merit with which to praise the Holy One. I do have this: grace. God has imparted grace to me in salvation, in living, in family, in provision of every talent, possession, happiness, pursuit, safety, knowledge, or any other thing you can think of He provided me with. Speak of His grace, sing of His grace, pray about His grace, urge hearers to partake of His grace.

One area of grace in my life was a love and desire to know and live by God’s Word (you can argue later about how I didn’t do either; the point is God gave this poor sinner so much). So please sing “How Firm A Foundation”. I have sung all 7 verses with a congregation before. They are very appropriate for this situation. Why are you in such a hurry, I’m not going anywhere? At least sing the first two, please.

If you think you are leaving this place (Earth, I mean) without the help of Jesus, you are headed the wrong way; reconsider now. I know where I’m headed and why, and I want you to hear about it at my funeral. Please sing all four verses of “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less”. If you cry, let it be because you understand just how deep His grace is reaching to secure your eternity. It is not your effort, not your rock solid faith or piety; it is the rock solid faithfulness and power of Jesus on your behalf, enabling you to believe, continue to believe, and improve in your living.

If you will tolerate singing yet a third hymn, let it be “My Hope Is In The Lord”, or a fourth hymn, sing “Praise The Savior”. These complete my list of most favorite hymns, though my children should know that I had many “favorite” hymns.

Read from I Corinthians 15. If someone is available who can or will, preach on it, especially the depth of witness to the event of the resurrection (verses 3-11), the reason it matters (verses 12-18), and Christ’s resurrection (verses 20-28). If time allows speak about the first and second Adam (verses 40-49) where you cannot neglect to bring in Romans 5 about justification by faith. If you see nodding off or rolling eyes, just tell them that I was dying to hear one more time about all that Jesus has done for me and them. No, actually, don’t mention half of what I’ve said in this blog. It may be a solemn occasion even if a celebratory one, owing to my home going.

If you want to read other Scriptures, some suggestions include Genesis 1 since by God’s grace I have always believed that God created the heavens and earth in six literal days, all the more as the scientific evidence pours in. Read from Revelation 21 and/or 22. The last chapter fortifies the weakest of faith. He is coming again; we can persevere by His enabling power and faithful Word through the Spirit we are given. Hold on.

A good call to worship to God, for that is what I hope my funeral will be, one of my favorite passages is Hebrews 1:1-4, though you don’t have to stop at verse 4.

I know this is getting a bit long and will have to be cut down, but I so love Hebrews 4:9-16. Please don’t be afraid to give a bit of commentary on each of the verses I have suggested so that God might powerfully move in the hearts of the faint-hearted and the lost. I am at my rest because Jesus didn’t rest until He had finished His work on my behalf (II Corinthians 5:21). How could you neglect to read a few verses from II Corinthians 5 at a funeral? Maybe I should just write the sermon and put it in a blog entry for you to print off and read. Perhaps, but probably not, because it would be better if the Spirit spoke to that crowd on that day. At some point I may well organize this rambling list of desires for my funeral into a more coherent service. I hope that you (the organizer) will not neglect this list out of hand. Blessings to you in the name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord.

If you want to read something I wrote, perhaps one of my better poems about God and our life in Him would be in order. Pick as you may, but here are some suggestions based on appropriateness or value: “Trust Is Your Rest”, “The Why”, “But a Few of His Benefits”, “Our Demise”, **”Ichthus Rhyme”, “First Cause”, “A Servant’s Ambition”, “Just Sayings”, **”Eyes on Things Above”, **”A Need To Create”, “Advent Colors”, or

God’s grace is my comfort and rest

My strong tower in the midst of test

While I trust Him I shall prevail

Raised from the dead without fail

Man, did that list get carried away. Pick one or none, but read Scripture and sing hymns.

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In an e-mail Christmas greeting friends of mine sent there was what seemed to me an exceptional Christmas Card picture. The beauty and poem and tenderness were not the exceptionality for me. The profound nature of the picture was the silent commentary of an empty manger. In the same way as we as Protestants insist on an empty cross, it is appropriate for us to reflect on an empty manger. He is not a helpless baby any longer; He is not any longer tempted as we are (though without sin); He is no longer on the cross or in the tomb; He is still fully human and fully God, glorified, reigning from His throne on high. In time and history He came to the manger, the villages, the cross, the tomb. He is there no longer! But He is still in my heart and yours through the Holy Spirit so that we are positionally in Him on the throne at the right hand of the Majesty on High.

I enjoy a well done creche that makes an attempt at accurately picturing the scene of His arrival. But because we are given so little information and the shepherds’ and magi’s visits were probably separated by at least months and we don’t know if it was a cave, barn, lean-to, or adobe house extension, we spend inordinate amounts of time imagining things that are not of great benefit. But that He came to the most humble of circumstances and is now exalted on high is the most outrageously glorious rags to riches story of all time. And that was not the low point or high point of His humility. On the cross He was robbed of every decency and deserved honor willingly to take on your and my indecency and deserved dishonor so that we might be glorified with Him. That is worth celebrating all the time; crosses and mangers and tombs are mere symbols for remembering what we celebrate.

Merry Christmas

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Growing up I was taught that the Bible is true, but at the same time I caught that the National Geographic held truth about the beginnings and progress of the world. My young mind was in conflict. Even at a young age I understood that both could not be true about how we got here and what changes have taken place in the world. God’s grace gave me faith to believe that what the early chapters of Genesis say about the Creation and worldwide Flood are true as plainly read regardless of what others say in print or in person. A good portion of my life has been spent searching and waiting for answers to evolutionists’ barrage of denials of God and His work. My history and perspective opens me to accusation that I am religiously biased and unscientific. On the first point I agree, but on the charge of being unscientific I disagree for two reasons. First of all, Science is a tool limited to investigation of natural phenomena. Science is a tool for understanding what God has done, not who He is. Naturalists insist that this is the reason that they do not accept the supernatural or remain agnostic on the subject. They emphatically claim to only accept empirical evidence. This claim is false in practice and of necessity. They are not admitting to their beliefs and faith. Where did we come from? What is our purpose? What happens after death? What is the source of love, beauty, and kindness? They have no answer for these questions apart from faith, and particularly on the subject of purpose, they cannot continue to live without it. Therefore, my second reason for denying that I think unscientifically is the fact that it impossible to think scientifically without faith. Frequently I read or hear accusations from Naturalists that God must not exist because we cannot observe Him, but the Bible says otherwise: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

As Christians who believe what the Bible says and believe that Science and Technology are God given tools for advancing knowledge and solving real world problems it is a time to rejoice and speak up. The Naturalist’s evolutionary model is proving to be very poor at explaining evidence and making predictions about how the world works. I had the privilege just recently to attend the premier of a documentary, “Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels”1, written and produced by Creation Ministries International. In this 96 minute documentary, 15 scientists explain why evolution’s proclaimed strengths are actually its weaknesses and how the Creation model based on Scripture explains better what we observe and makes predictions that are being confirmed in various areas of science. The areas discussed in the film are natural selection, genetics, the origin of life, the fossil record, the geologic column, radiometric dating, and cosmology. Two subjects that were the longest holdouts in my understanding of how science could reflect what the Bible says were radiometric dating of rocks and fossils and the redshift of cosmological objects (stars, particularly pulsars, and galaxies). How could we deny the time indicated by decaying radioactive elements when their half-lives can be measured in the laboratory. The documentary discusses assumptions (beliefs really) that are made to come up with these dates and evidence that it simply does not work so easily.2 Redshift of starlight is said to be a result of Doppler Effect as stars speedily retreat from us. This Doppler Effect is the same one that causes a siren or race car to change pitch as it approaches, passes, and speeds away from you. There are other reasons why the light may be shifting toward red and evidence is given of stars located in the wrong place to be red shifted as claimed. I urge you to get the DVD for yourself and hear the evidences and conclusions. The final discussion drives home a major practical reason it matters to us and our children: ethical implications. This documentary is not a Sunday School answer, “because God said so.” It meets scientific evidence and evolutionist claims head on with evidence and logic. On the other hand, it does not neglect to bring up what the Bible says and why it matters. I have long believed and proclaimed what the Bible says about the origin and progress of creation. With consistency I now can joyfully add scientific reasons for my faith that I hope will assist those blinded by the glitz of evolution’s false faith-based claims.

 

1It would be well worth your time to acquire your own copy of this documentary and you may for a very modest price at http://www.creation.com. I do not work for them.

2”Thousands Not Billions” by Dr. Don DeYoung, Master Books, 2005, or the DVD by Institute for Creation Research are excellent resources for digging deeper into why radiometric dating is better explained by creationism.

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Work With God

A third grandchild has arrived. It is time to praise God and plead mercy for the child. I pray that God might graciously answer my prayer:

Matthias gift of a gracious Lord

Come early to know your Savior God

That He may mercy to you afford

In the life ordained you run and trod

Knowing the path He gives to you

 

Spurgeon a flower of healing be

As the Prince of Preachers know God’s Word

Live it and speak it so others see

The Gospel and God’s glory be heard

That others taste His goodness through you

 

Francis a freeman by Providence

A slave to righteousness may you be

Soldier in step with Master’s cadence

To challenge fly, from temptation flee

The Lord’s will and work be done in you

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