Email from a few years ago –

7/28/2015

Q. You always see somebody holding this message behind the end zone.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” What does this really mean?

A. It means that God is infinitely and perfectly holy and as sinners we can’t be in close proximity to His presence without getting burned up into oblivion. So we can’t spend eternity with Him unless we stop pretending that we can erase that sin gap problem between us by earning our way to heaven by our own efforts (this is pride). Instead, we are required to believe that Jesus (perfectly innocent scape-goat) willingly paid the price for our sins (free ticket!) so that we can spend eternity in the presence of our perfectly holy God. God had to do it entirely His way for us, because Adam and Eve (representing all of mankind’s tendencies through free will) basically said to God, “Dude, we’ve decided to take matters into our own hands and do things our way” So now God says, “Alright, but I’m your perfectly holy creator and that’s a sin. Therefore, in order to get back into safe relationship with me you will have to submit to doing it my way. And just to show you I’m not vindictive about it and I actually love you, I’m sending my own son to pay the bill for any and all of your sins.” So, instead of punishing us for our sins; God, in His love for us, asked Jesus to vicariously take the punishment onto himself so that we could have a free ticket (get out of jail free card) to blissful eternity with God.

Seems pretty simple, but the thing is, we often have so much inflated egotistical pride (from doing things our way) or an insecure need for positive personal identity in our own performances that we are often blinded by the sheer simplicity of this gospel message.

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

7/17/2015

Beware of wicked men of seared conscience commissioned by demons and being loosed upon the earth. They will aspire to turn our faces from the heavenly places and from the keeper of our salvation. They are carriers of an infectious plague of doubt and indecision and they are sent among the sheep to raise questions regarding the goodness of God.

As the world shakes and convulses with the trauma of self-induced disasters of war and habitat, these wicked men of seared conscience who have already infiltrated the rank and file of our Christian community will rise up and assign spiritual malpractice to the Creator of the Universe. Their evidence will be the same as the evidence that was offered for the condemnation of Christ; concocted, contrived and conjured up by the vain imaginings of prideful and deluded men.

But even regarding their fate, Proverbs 16:4 states, “The Lord works out everything for his own ends– even the wicked for a day of disaster.”

As for us –

We set our minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For we died, and our life is now hidden with Christ in God.
We know that when Christ, who is our life, appears, then we also will appear with him in glory. (Col 3:2-4)

The First and Last Temptations of Christ

7/7/2015

At the beginning of his public ministry, the devil offered Jesus an easier way to accomplish his mission:

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Mathew 4: 8-11)

At the end of his public ministry, Jesus himself asked his Father if there was an easier way to accomplish his mission:

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. (Luke: 39-43)

Each time that Jesus overcame temptation and chose the Father’s will, angels came and ministered to him afterward.

In each event there was the opportunity to choose another, easier direction. But in each event he resolved to obey the Father’s will rather than his own. By doing so, his life would become more difficult and painful, both emotionally and physically.

The choices Jesus made are now a spiritual blueprint for our ministry upon this earth. Are we willing to choose the journey that is the Father’s will for us despite the fact that it will likely be considerably more difficult and painful? If so, then perhaps our daily prayer ought to be, “Father, let our wills be as one; your will be done.”

And surely He will send his angels to minister to us.

The Divine Transcendence

7/1/2015

Far beyond the lofty heights of the soaring eagle,
beyond earth and sky and unfathomable space,
veiled from the eyes of mortal men by clouds of impenetrable mystery,
here is the dwelling place
of the Most High and Exalted One.

He is beyond the din of the day,
the shroud of the night, the winding of the seasons.
His boundaries are inscrutable,
the sum of His ways, incomprehensible.

He is not measured within the confines
of creaturely definition.
His measure is infinitude;
His dimensions are goodness, mercy and love.

He is quantity without capacity,
for capacity implies a limit.
His limitlessness;
the garment of His divine transcendence.

All power to be, is the power of He
who is omnipotent.
Life, love, and every energy
is formed through the conduit of His Sovereignty.

He has no helpmate,
For He is sufficient within Himself.
Yet from within Himself,
He spoke His present company into creation.

The bull does not charge, the heron does not fish,
but that He has decreed it.
His commands order the very establishment
of cause and effect.

His self-existence insures
the perpetuation of our own eternity.
That He changes not,
grants us hope to endure the ravages of time.

The High and Exalted One who is above all else,
reduces time and space to a habitation for His omnipresence.
…the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?”

He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. Job 26:7

Nothing in all creation is as it ought to be, but everything is as it should be. That is; all things, whether presenting themselves from order or from chaos operate within the structures and boundaries of the word of God. And the word reveals that within those structures and boundaries; God is good.

Nothing in all creation is as it ought to be –

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Romans 8:20,21

But everything is as it should be –

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Proverbs 16:4

I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things. Isaiah 45:7

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought and planned, so shall it come to pass, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” Isaiah 14: 24

That is; all things, whether presenting themselves in order or in chaos operate within the structures and boundaries of the word of God –

Isaiah 55: 10,11
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

And the word of God reveals that within those structures and boundaries; God is good.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Meanwhile at my trail cam…

Baby raccoons lose their mother but find another! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EisDQ1p-58

3 1/2 foot long black Rat Snake (originally in the garage). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dekwyd5GG0g

Mountain Bobcat rolls around & purrs gently as he leaves! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lH4K7f-pvzs

More bobcats behind our home! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diu1GSWPu6o

A zillion raccoons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_Kz0rAGxO0

Ans, as usual, coyotes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr-yQqTnaJg

God’s response to the great delusion that has engulfed the earth.

Psalm 2

1Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, 3“Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”

4The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.