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Archive for July, 2016

All the political hubbub with no real solutions. All the anxiety ridden news reports without real hope. All the suggested intrusions on freedom with no real security. We are not going to make progress and are going to regress rapidly without turning to the one and only solution. 

This poem actually began as two conflicting thoughts and considering the circumstances under which they came about. It seems to me now the first verse does not even go with the rest of the poem so I will separate it with extra space. See what you think:

I write poetry to keep from being bored
Focus mind when feet are nailed to a floorboard
Teasing out thoughts that are both far flung and near
Sorting through the hurtful and that which is dear

.

When I think of all the wrong that’s in the world
Murders and abuse and war banners unfurled
My mind grabs for solutions to bring to bear
All beyond reach in a world cruel and unfair

There’s the pain to loved ones from me and others
Scarred relationships start with father, mothers
Friends and neighbors had words and are offended
Words out, actions done, cannot be rescinded

Is there no hope for mankind, is it all gloom?
Tearing down self and others, is this our doom?
No, there is hope, but it’s not in self-help plans
Nor is it in the police state or gun bans

Our hope is in God’s Son through His sacrifice
His death on the cross for sin paid the full price
By trusting in His work we have peace with God
Relationship growing in place of the rod

Repentance and forgiveness we have in Him
We may pass to others as a precious gem
When seeking to forgive and be forgiven
We have with sin and disharmony striven

This makes possible reconciliation
Moving past hurt beginning restoration
Extending peace to strangers and enemies
Doing right by neighbors knowing that God sees

Hope for the future and for the present too
Pointing people to purpose both real and true
Spending time and resources to relieve pain
Pointing to the Savior in Whom is real gain

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In danger of living as mere men
Calling survival a win
We were meant for more than bear and grin
In our fight with self and sin

But the mundane creeps in day by day
And we lose sight of the way
To walk in the Spirit and to stay
In His Word and ceaselessly pray

To be bold in witness to the lost
Kind, no relational frost
Not by every wind of doctrine tossed
In holy living count the cost

Recall we’re not the vine but the limb
More than conquerors through Him
Each dead work from the vine He must trim
The source of all life is the stem

Walk by the Spirit, quit the flesh race
All of life is lived by grace
At God’s behest and at His own pace
With His help we finish the race

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     On July 7th The Ark Encounter opened in Williamstown, Kentucky, as a full-sized representation of the biblical description. Bill Nye said he wished that the ark in Kentucky had never been built because it would “indoctrinate children into this extraordinary and outlandish, unscientific point of view.” What many public school science classes have been doing for years is this very type of indoctrination in Big Bang Cosmology and Evolution, rather than in biblical literacy. The result has been that either those people who trust secular science (i.e. Scientism-the belief that science answers all questions that can be answered) have written off the Bible as Bill Nye has done, or many who believe the Bible have written off Scientism and all science, resulting in the science illiteracy Bill Nye decries. But there is a real alternative that does not oppose the methods of experimental science nor deny the literal truth of God’s Word. Science is a very good tool for exploring the world and solving problems, but it has its limits in explaining truth. The Bible points to realities that may be known beyond empirical data while not contradicting plain evidence. For instance, the apostles were eyewitness to evidence concerning the resurrection of Christ, which no longer can be tested other than historically. They recorded what they saw and experienced (I John 1:1-4; I Peter 5:1; Acts 26:12-18). Christians accept their eyewitness authority.

     If the alternative of a Biblical Worldview coupled with useful science is to be considered, it must be able to predict what we should find in the world and explain what we see. I believe that a literal reading of the Bible actually does that better than Scientism (a subset of Naturalism which encompasses Big Bang Cosmology and Evolution). Dr. Robert Carter of Creation Ministries International presents examples of how these statements are true. I intend in the few words I have left to present some of the evidence he outlines. These evidences answer the following question: What would we observe and what would be our understanding of the world if the biblical text is true? As a first example, if God created Adam and Eve and languages resulted from the confusion at Babel, then races do not exist. Adam and Eve could have had the genetic diversity that results in every skin and hair color and facial characteristic. Is it true? There have only been about 150 generations since Noah and his wife and people of all colors and locales have 99+% DNA in common. Thoroughly biracial parents have had fraternal twins, one significantly darker and one significantly lighter than the parents. If we really believed the Bible, racism would be an immediate non-point.

     What would we expect to see if the Flood was real and worldwide? There would be evidence of worldwide destruction from massive hurricane winds, massive erosion and deposition episodes, and volcanic action. Sedimentary Rocks show evidence of these things. For example, fossils are frequently formed in alternating layers with volcanic flows and ash. Also, large amounts of sediments needing large amounts of water, dead plants and animals all dumped on the continents and later turned to rock do exist. The catastrophic and sudden nature of fossil and sediment formation is seen in polystrate fossils (fossils through numerous layers), tightly folded rock layers that must have been soft when they folded or they would have cracked, and sediment layers of continental extent (that is, spreading over the whole continent as with the Tapeat Sandstone in North America). As the flood progressed, amazingly large erosion events should be expected. We indeed see these in the great canyons of the world, which show evidence of being remnants of catastrophic events rather results of slow river erosion. The suddenness is further indicated by the lack of erosion within the fossil record and conformities (interfaces (meeting and interaction) of two differing rock layers). One such interface in the Grand Canyon (Hermit Shale and Coconimo Sandstone) has no erosion even though secular geologists claim there is a 12 million year gap where they meet.

     There is far more that could be said on the deposition and erosion of layers and fossil formation alone and on cosmology, biology, and the rest of geology, but these give a few telling examples. A literal reading of the Bible is a much better and more powerful predictor of the world as we see it than Scientism. It is amazing, credible, scientific, and far more Mr. Nye.

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Await the Fall

It is perhaps an odd subject for a midsummer’s evening, or maybe not after another day of sweating profusely at chores and listening to the day’s thunder rolling over the mountain. The oddity really comes down to how it came about. The first two lines I wrote last fall one morning looking out the window by my desk before work was to begin. The pleasant thoughts that it brought to me caused me to think it was the beginning of many more thoughts but I laid it aside on  my desk until a break. I found it when cleaning up papers at the beginning of summer. I took it home and laid it next to my rocking chair where I read and pay bills and think. It laid there for a month. The next time I saw it I thought, now or never. Don’t construe the poem to mean that I dislike summer. There is much to like about summer, but we all have preferences and mine is Fall. I am thankful to God to live in an environment where there is a definite change of seasons and deciduous trees to mark the occasions.
A fair, crisp morning
Grass glistens with frost
Birds' feathers fluffed up
That heat not be lost

Chill braces the lungs
Nips at nose and cheeks
Rescue from summer's
Many draining weeks

Oh, how I love Fall
When insects retreat
Reptiles slow and stall
Dry mildews defeat

No more sweat required
Only now by choice
Humidity low
Lightens heart and voice

Skies are clearer now
Leaves have joyful hues
Stars are brighter, too
Grander mountain views

Change is in the air
Every front attests
Animals store food
For their winter rests

Crops have all matured
Bring the harvest in
Celebrate bounty
With neighbors and kin

Yellow blooms abound
Earth tones more I see
Dried herb fragrances
Nature's potpourri

Outdoor things to do
Cool air is the best
All await the Fall
For change and for rest

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In the book “10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health” by Donald 
Whitney, the second question he asks is, "Are you governed increasingly 
by God’s Word?" Following is an outline Bible study that I put together 
based on that chapter. In parentheses are my thoughts and partial answers
to questions.
1. What is the most valuable object in the world?
   Rare, beautiful, large, or necessities of life perhaps
   Bible- likened to the basic of life
       Amos 8:11, Jeremiah 15:16, Matthew 4:4
(Without the Bible we would have no purpose, direction, or explanation 
of salvation and godly living.)
2. Psalm 119:72 Do you value it that highly?
   (My evidence of valuing the Bible comes with reading, studying and 
    heeding what it says.)
3.Does the ready availability of God’s Word cause you to de-emphasize 
  its importance in your thinking and priorities?     
  Prov. 29:18, Hebrews 4:12, I Peter 2:2
  (I would value it more if it were about to be taken away or even if 
   I had to hide it and read it in secret.)
4. What practical ways do you value the Word of God on a daily or 
   regular basis?
   (I value God’s Word by reading, studying, memorizing,hearing it 
    preached, sharing it with others, seeking to live by it, and 
    changing my views based on its words.)
5. Do you consciously inquire as to what the Bible says about specific
   areas of life? If so, what are some areas?
   (I do inquire about what the Bible says about His will for me, what
    is right and wrong, how I should interact with my family, neighbors,
    church members, fellow citizens,the lost, and people I am offended by,
    and seek to live by it.
6.Do you ask spiritual leaders to help you apply Scripture in particular
  situations? Do you literally open the Bible to search for God’s will?
  (A quote by Octavious Winslow on p.31-32 may be summarized as "nothing 
   perhaps more stongly indicates the tone of a believer's spirituality,
   than the light in which the Scriptures are regarded by him.")
7. What is your response to spending time in God’s Word?
   Psalm 119:47, 48, 97, 113,119, 127, 163
   “Indifference to truth is a mark of death.” John Piper
   (David says numerous times that he loves God’s Word.
    Indifference to God’s Word is little different than hatred.)
8. Jesus, the Living Word, quotes and obeys the written Word of God 
   because it…
   a. contains truth   John 17:17
   b. contains the Father’s will and words   John 14:23-24
   c. is sufficient for all life and godliness   2 Timothy 3:16
   d. is an example for us Luke 10:26; 1 Corinthians 10:11
9.The human Jesus lived by and memorized the written Word of God
  Matthew 4:4
  (Can you imagine Jesus as a boy memorizing Scripture? OK, I'm not
   too into "sanctified imagination when it comes to Scripture, but
   seriously, when He was running over a verse, did He ever muse, 
   "Did I say that before (a long time ago)?"
Isaiah 8:20: "To the Law and to the Testimony"
             (is like saying “What does the Bible say?”)
10. How important is Scripture? Deut. 32:47
    (“no dawn”, “no light”- spiritually dead Is 8:20
     “it is your life” Dt 32:47)
11. What does the Bible say?
    Example: “God helps those who help themselves.”
              No, Romans 5:6-8 and Galatians 3:2-5
    (Rom 5:“helpless”; sanctification the same Gal 3;
     An argument could be made that helping yourself is like being 
     careful “walk and please God” and lead a “quiet life” (I Thess 4:1-12)
     and God blesses your obedience and diligence, but helping yourself
     instead of clinging to God to even do good works is humanism.)
12.  Other examples to explore: How should my child be educated?
     How would God have me vote in the next election?
     Should I make a purchase (What is its purpose?)?
     What should I be doing and not doing in my church?
     Do we have qualified biblical leaders?
     How should our church reach people with the gospel and what is my part?
     What should I do with my life when I retire?
     (In other words, “all of life-events and choices great and small-
      should be governed by the Word of God.” p.35)
13. Psalm 119:105, Acts 18:26 Have you within the last several years
    revised your beliefs and actions based on what you learned in 
    God’s Word?
    (I believe I have gained a balance in my understanding between the
     importance of covenants and times in God’s economy for the end.
     I value relationships more now than formerly.
     I crave and take more opportunity for witness as I become more
     convinced of the judgment to come.
     I have a different view of divorce and remarriage.)
14. How might you deepen your desire for God’s Word?
    (Deepen your desire for God’s Word by
     reading it, listening to sermons, meditating, praying Scripture,
     seeking out promises, searching Scriptures for life’s answers,
     training yourself to ask,“How does the Bible speak to this?”)
15. Examine your spiritual health by asking yourself,
    “Am I governed increasingly by God’s Word?"

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