Sunday, January 14, 2018

Fw: the nature of man

We like to think that people are essentially good.  We like to think that we are generally in the right.  But I don't think so. I think our tendency is to go wrong more than it is to go right...if we're left just to our personal desires.  God got pretty frustrated with mankind in the early generations...so much so that He regretted ever making man.  Were it not for Noah there would have  been no-a more people!  Consider the account of Genesis 6:
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The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
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As I think about it, I owe a lot to Noah.  None of us might be here if He hadn't chose to walk in obedience with God.
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It's not that we are essentially good...It's that God is completely good and gracious to rescue us from our selves!


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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Friday, January 12, 2018

Fw: two bites of the apple

Genesis 3:So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
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When Satan tempted Eve with the fruit of the one tree that she and Adam were not to eat, she showed us the drama of sin as it plays out in our lives as well.  It occurred to me that Satan knew just what "buttons to push"...what would appeal to the eye, to the stomach and to the ego.  And before Eve actually ate the fruit physically, in her mind she had eaten it already with anticipation.  She bought the expectation of fulfilled desire, was absolutely convinced that everything she wanted would be realized with tasting, chewing and swallowing it (and she also was convinced that she knew this better than God!). 
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It takes "two bites of the apple to sin".  First we become convinced that what we know is wrong is actually right (because we know better than God somehow...or we rationalize that it may be wrong from God's point of view...but we prefer our point of view.)  This is the first bite.  The second bite just follows through on what has already been determined somewhere within us.
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No wonder we need to guard the inputs to our mind.  Satan knows our weaknesses and will exploit them.  But God is made perfect in our weakness and if we fill our thoughts with His we are more likely to be convinced of the outcome of His promises and this is the first bite of the good fruit of faith.  The second bite follows through to put faith into action.
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Walking in obedience to God means being careful about making the first bite (even before we have actually tasted the fruit)!
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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fw: dust and bone


Genesis starts with God's creation of everything we know...all living and inanimate things and beings.  I was struck with the fact that God spoke the creation of animals into being without giving much detail.  But with men and women He threw in a little more information.  Consider these verses:
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Genesis 2:then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
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Genesis 2:20 But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
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These details are interesting in their nature and their distinction.  First God made the earth and then He made man from the substance of the earth.  Then He made woman from man.  I don't know what it all means but here is a thought: Our temporary life that runs from birth until death is housed in a complex body that was made, for men, directly from the elements of the earth.  Clay people.  Man was not complete in this form.  He needed help for the natural life and so God made woman from man's substance.  From dirt to man to woman to completed couple...whom God entrusted to then care for the earth that provided the substance for living.
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God is the creator of life and the designer of marriage and the provider of purpose.
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What began, continues!

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."



Monday, January 1, 2018

Fw: Eagle flight

I caught this eagle in flight this morning over the Diascund Reservoir.  It was about 20 degrees outside but the eagles and other birds didn't seem to be affected by the cold.  They seemed to be having fun climbing and diving and circling over the water.  The view of eagles soaring seems appropriate as an image on this first day of a new year.  The cold air awakens us (and freezes us unless we dress for it!) as the new year refreshes our hopes and expectations.  It's almost as if the slate has been cleared...the white board erased...the new canvas posted on the easel and we can soar also beneath the sunlight of our Creator and above the fears and failures that may have anchored us in the past.
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Hope is an eagle that has taken wing in our hearts.

Isaiah 40:31a 
   but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Fw: Lord of All

The image of Jesus coming as a baby, just as we do, reminded me that we also must come to Him, one by one.  We are touched in the Christmas story by the  coming of shepherds and the coming of the wise men.  In a very real way we must also come individually to Jesus, in response to His coming to us.
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It occurred that Almighty God truly becomes almighty to us when we have humbled ourselves before Him...one by one...  The One whom we have become convinced loves us through our faults so much that He provided a solution to resolve the crevices created by those faults has now become Almighty God because He first became the God of our personal salvation.
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Of all the things we are grateful for, we who have placed trust in the God of Abraham and of David and of Jesus, we are most grateful that He rescued us personally from an eternity of separation and restored us to a close bond for that same eternity with our Maker.
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We hold life dear but we have come to hold the author of life even more dear.  The focal point of Christmas is the babe humbly lying in the manger.  This is the meekness with which our Lord has come to us.  How can we not also come meekly to Him...that the babe would become the mighty King in each heart.

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fw: veterans of life


These old trucks remind me of people.  They remind me of people who have lived through a lot of life.  They have carried countless burdens, weathered storms across every season multiple times, survived bumps and scrapes and traveled untold miles...moving through the routines of life and the occasional long range adventure.
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Now they move no longer...they rest and watch the newer trucks pass by.  As they sit side by side they almost seem to be enjoying their bond as veterans of life.
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You may identify with these trucks if you have also weathered many turns of the calendar and have been through life's tests and life's rewards.  But isn't it encouraging to know that, even as the outer person declines, the inner person can be renewed and refreshed by the true and living God!  On Monday we'll celebrate the birthday of the Son who makes our new birth possible...the new birth by faith that will carry our weary chassis past this place of testing to a place of continual praise.
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Luke 1:

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, "Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!"

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 "Don't be afraid, Mary," the angel told her, "for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!"


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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Monday, December 18, 2017

Fw: power lines

As I sat and reflected on a new morning today I noticed the power lines that traced a line across the field where I was sitting.  (The picture is actually an internet find.)  I thought about power lines and their important function to connect people with the electricity needed to provide energy for their homes.  When we have an occasional ice storm or tropical storm we can lose those power lines and then we really appreciate power lines working as they normally do.  In our area the Dominion power people work tirelessly to restore the lines when they are down.
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I thought about my power lines to the Lord...power lines of prayer...of looking up and expecting to hear...of His Word.  When I utilize those power lines the energy flows from Heaven into my inner person and I can "power up" for daily living.  Storms can also affect these power lines, but my experience has been that they actually get used more in the storm than in the "good" times.
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How are your power lines?  Are they in place...have you established a living relationship with Jesus Christ, who carried the power line from Heaven to Earth and planted it at the Cross?  Nothing can disrupt the flow of power on this line once we have made the connection to our hearts...but we can fail to access the power or ignore the lines.
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Psalm 59:16
But as for me, I will sing about your power.
    Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge,
    a place of safety when I am in distress.

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."