If you have stumbled here by accident let me first insist that there really are no accidents in life. If however, you came on your own free will then please by all means open your hearts and your minds to the "New Wine" that God has prepared for you!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Devine watchmaker

Let’s think about the task of producing a working watch for a moment. Our first step would require planning, design and blueprints. Only then could we design and create the machines that forge and produce each individual part needed to assemble a watch.  All of the miniature springs, gears and movements will have to be designed and built to extreme tolerances. Now supposing we take all these brand new parts and throw them out into a field. How many millions of years of evolution would go by before they accidentally assemble themselves into a functional watch?

Creationists believe that our universe had a beginning and will also have an end. They admit to seeing inescapable elements of design in the sub-atomic world, in our own world and the entire universe in which we live. There are too many aspects of design literally all around us. Obvious evidence that the watch maker was not blind but indeed can see beyond the physical limits of time and space! The following story is an example of how God inspired 40 different authors to write 66 books over a period of 2,000 years and still manage to maintain literary consistency.

When I was about 15 years old I began a search for the truth. I remember my search eventually landed me at the foot of the cross. I went forward to receive Christ (I made a public confession) at the altar of a worship service at Scott Memorial East in El Cajon, CA. I began to study the bible only to be frustrated with such a large book filled with names I couldn’t pronounce, places I’ve never heard of and stories I did not understand. One example is found in the gospel of John 3:1-21.

In this story Jesus is talking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus.  He has come to Jesus by night, under the cover of darkness to hide his identity, to hear from Him what God wanted to say to mankind. Jesus tells him that unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. To which Nicodemus responds “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 

Jesus explains that a man must first be born into the physical world through the flesh and then born into the spiritual world through the Spirit in order to see the kingdom of God. In John 3:14 Jesus uses an Old Testament prophecy hidden within the writings of Moses to illuminate the answer for Nicodemus.
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” 

Now if you are a new believer or someone who has not studied the Old Testament, this quote from Jesus will make absolutely no sense. On the other hand, if you have taken the time to study this story in Numbers 21:9, which was written by Moses 1500 years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, you will see evidence showing that God inspired this prophecy to point to a future moment in time.

The children of Israel had been wandering around in the desert grumbling and complaining. So the Lord sent fiery serpents that bit the people and many died. The people repented and asked Moses to pray for God’s intervention. God instructs Moses to make a fiery serpent and place it on a pole. When someone was bitten and they looked up to the serpent on the pole, they lived. 

It’s both interesting and at the same time very odd that God instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and had him place it on a pole to be lifted up. The serpent represented the original sin from the Garden of Eden while the bronze it was made from represented judgment, so together it was symbolic of “sin judged”. 

Now 1500 years later, Jesus is making reference to this Old Testament story as the same time as Nicodemus is asking basically “How a man must be saved?” Jesus is pointing out to him, and all of us, that in a few short days He Himself would be placed on a pole lifted up to die for all of our sins. As all who would choose to look up to Him, and believe in Him would be saved! 

God sent His own Son to become sin for us, He watched as we nailed Him to a tree so that one day we could see the kingdom of God. Our Divine watchmaker even inspired His-story  to be written in advance so that in hearing, we might believe in the provision of His Son. All who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths will be saved!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The bench

The bench sat alongside a lonely stretch of dirt road under the shadow of Victoria Peak. Day after day horse drawn wagons passed by but their riders never bothered to stop and enjoy the breathtaking views from the bench. Many full moons passed when a woman appeared planting flowers around the wooden bench. Soon the bulbs sprouted and grew into beautiful spring lilies that seem to clothe the bench in a beautiful God-spun coat of many colors.  The woman also placed a small twisted circle of woven briers complete with large thorns over a rusty spike that had been driven into an old rugged wooden cross which stood behind and to the left of the bench.

Soon spring left the bench to be pummeled by the scorching winds of summer. As the last drops of moisture from the bench’s wooden slats evaporated into thin air, the bench began to crack and split. When cooler nights came the bench would gaze up at the stars wondering if this was all there was to life? He knew he had a purpose in life but still nobody ever seemed to find time to sit and enjoy his comfort and majestic views of the surrounding hills.

One day, as a gentle breeze began blowing, several leaves floated down from the heights coming to rest on the seat of the bench. The leaves startled but delighted the bench all dressed in their brightly colored warm hues of red, orange and yellow. The woman who planted the spring flowers and hung the crown of thorns returned to pay the bench a visit. She was not alone and in her arms was a black cloaked figure which was holding a pumpkin. The pumpkin had been carved with a face and a flickering candle illuminated its interior.

One evening, as a full moon crested over the hills, the bench had many unexpected visitors. Hordes of children came by to stare at the ghoulish figure that was unmoved. The kids were all dressed up in costumes complete with scary masks that covered their faces. They all stopped to stare at the mysterious figure sitting on the bench who was holding his pumpkin head in his hands. They all laughed and giggled and some boys even threw rocks at the headless ghost’s glowing head.  The bench was overjoyed that someone was actually taking notice of him and had hardly noticed the rocks that the little boys had bounced off his back.

Soon clouds began to gather pushing themselves up against the tall mountain sides. The gathering gloom brought with it rain and sleet that covered the ground. One night, as the temperature began to drop, the sleet turned into beautiful flakes of snow. Each flake was unique as it swirled through the cold night air landing so very lightly on the top of the bench’s seat. The swirling night air caused a shiver to move down his back.
During the day, wagons carrying the harvest in from the fields made ruts in the muddy dirt road. The wagons were overflowing with corn, pumpkins, gourds and all sorts of fruit and vegetables. There were so many things to be thankful for, but still nobody came by to visit him. The woman who been there so many times before hadn’t been by in a long time he began to worry that she might not come back.

As the storms continued pounding the countryside, the snow began to pile up around the bench until one day he couldn’t see anything at all. He sat for many days and nights alone shivering in the solitude of a snow drift. Then one day he heard someone shoveling snow and the familiar voice of the woman. She was singing hymns with each scoop of the shovel as the cold wet snow was removed. 

At last the warmth of the sun was beginning to shine on Him. The woman began adorning him with brightly colored glass ornaments, garlands and beautiful tinsel. She then laid a manger at his feet with a small baby that had been wrapped in swaddling clothes. A loving mother and father were set up as if they were admiring the baby. Magi and an assortment of sheep, cows and donkeys were placed in the snow just outside the proud parents. 

The bench was now the center attraction of the entire village as people, both young and old, passed by to admire the newborn babe. Nobody threw rocks this time and even a choir stood by singing praise to the baby who was some kind of special king. The bench watched all the smiling faces that peaked out from under the colorful scarves wrapped tightly against their necks. But it wasn’t until the preacher arrived and began reading from a special book that the bench understood who the baby was. He was the Son of God and prophesied Messiah that was given as a gift to the entire world!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Beyond time

There are four basic questions that every human being will wrestle with at some point in their life. Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where will I go when I die? I remember as a teenager thinking about these questions, including the thought of my own death, which would bring on an anxiety attack.  It was freighting to realize that someday I would cease to exist and that my consciousness would evaporate forever. Now, with all my gray hair and wisdom and thanks to my faith in God, I do not feel the same way but look forward to eternity and getting back to the future!

These four basic questions eventually lead us to only two possible world views; that everything is a cosmic accident or that we are the result of a deliberate design by a designer.  For most of us, growing up in the 1960’s, we were taught that outer space was infinite. We were also instructed that the microscopic world existed in an infinitely smaller and smaller direction.   We were systematically taught that everything around us was the result of a cataclysmic accident. We were forced to swallow “The big bang” theory, which simply stated explains that “First there was nothing and then it blew up!” Doesn’t it take more faith to believe that then in an omnipotent Creator?

So now science has discovered that our universe is not infinite but finite. They have discovered that the velocity of light is not constant but is indeed slowing down and if you have lived here on earth for any length of time it soon becomes clear that all matter goes from a higher energy state of order to a lower, cooler disorganized state. Just open your garage door (if you can) and see if it looks organized or cluttered. If left on its own does your garage contents tend to become more organized making room for the family car? As we near death even our own body begins to break down ending in one of our own major organ failure. Even our sun and the galaxy in which it resides will one day suffer catastrophic heat loss as it cools beyond a pre-determined threshold point. 

So if there is a God is He getting older with us? Is His hair turning gray as He sits waiting for us to return to the garden? The answer to that question is really the one that got my attention. Since we live in three dimensional space consisting of height, length and width we can discern the fourth dimension, time, but all additional dimensions are simply just out of our ability to comprehend.

Eternity is not a place where there is an abundance of time but rather it is outside the confines of our physical universe altogether. If all of us could accept this, then most theological disputes evaporate into thin air. Here’s a crude analogy: Your sitting on the main street of a metropolitan city watching a parade as it turns the corner. You can’t see the beginning or the end but only the present as it rolls by you. Now think about someone sitting in a helicopter hovering over the parade route. From their perspective they can observe the entire parade at once. Every detail from the staging area, street routes as well as the finish area is observable to someone in the next dimension. 

As we study the bible we find many examples of where information has been recorded ahead of time with precise detail. It’s this amazing property of the scriptures that has convinced many people of the existence of God. Proof for many that the universe we are presently living in was created by an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Designer. 

We were not created to live like we do now, with death always looming over us. We were originally designed to live and walk with God in eternity. It was because of man’s sin that God planned for his redemption from before the foundations of the world were formed. He then inspired men through inspiration by the Holy Spirit to write the bible. It is through His Word, Jesus Christ, which all creation was originally created and it is through Jesus that all men have been redeemed. All we have to do is accept this free gift God offers to us. God never forces us to do anything therefore we must turn to Him and choose to receive His forgiveness.

So, If you don’t yet believe, why not take this time to ask God to reveal Himself to you personally? All you have to do is ask. Our hardware will wear out someday but our software or soul will continue to exist. So the question is “where  do you want to spend eternity”?