An Engraved Invitation

carve

If I could carve it into something tangible like a mountainside for all the world to see, I would.  If I could afford to fly around the world in a crop duster to every city, town and village on earth, to write the truth in smoke against the deep blue sky, I would.  We need to understand that “Intelligent Design” is not the same thing as “Creationism.”

Intelligent Design” is a scientific method of empirically determining the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists; that it is genuine design, and that the designer is God.  [click on the link for a full detailed explanation]

Now that sounds pretty good to most evangelical/true Christ-followers, but danger lurks in those thoughts and ideals.  Allow me to make just a few observations.  First, and maybe most importantly, the supernatural beings created for the purpose of worshiping God and doing God’s will (Angels), know that God designed and created this world.  Some of those beings were led into rebellion against God by God’s highest angel – Lucifer.  These angels turned demon (1/3 of the heavenly host according to John in the Book of Revelation), have spent all of human history trying to convince humanity that God either doesn’t exist, or that He has lost interest in them altogether.  Yet, when Jesus came to earth to reveal God’s full and complete loving plan for salvation, Satan (Lucifer) called Him “Son of God” because even Satan knew the truth about creation, and the Garden of Eden… he was there.  All the fallen angels of heaven recognize Jesus when they see Him, and cower in fear at His omniscient and omnipotent Creative nature and character.

Second, since these supernatural beings know and believe there is a God and are not saved by Him, we should not presume that just because someone says “I believe there is a ‘being’ of some kind greater than us, that created everything we see,” that this is the same thing as salvation belief.  Knowing and/or believing that God exists is only the first step in being in right relationship with your Creator.  Let’s use Hebrews 11:6 as our proof text:  “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  Did you see the “and” there.  You might want to read that again.

The simple truth is that just because someone believes in an intelligent designer, does not mean they automatically believe that this designer rewards their efforts to know Him personally.  In fact some in this camp suggest that God “may” exist, and “may” be responsible for the design, but cares little or not at all about the humans now inhabiting this planet.  See the danger yet?

In the Bible, the authoritative, historically and scientifically proven document that reveals the Intelligent Designer Himself, truth regarding His nature and character is also revealed.  Like a huge engraved invitation across the universe of time and space, the words of Jesus ring out…

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  [John 3:16]

The truth is that not only did God design us, but He loves us so much, He is willing to die for us.  Which brings me to my last observation.

Finally, regardless of what the world may be shouting at us today, through any means available, there are NOT many paths to find this God of Salvation.  The Creator Himself has stated with authority, that only in Himself can a human being have a personal relationship with their Creator.  He said it this way:  “I AM the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the father but through Me.”  [John 14:6]

Believing there is a God, is not the same thing as yielding your life, your mind, your soul, your attitudes, your entire belief system to the authority of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  If you want to know the Designer of Life personally, Jesus says “Come!  And See!”

Jesus has already issued to you, your own engraved invitation… it is written in the scars on His back, the thorns in His brow, the holes in His hands and His side.

Come!  Come and see, and believe!  Come receive life… from the Creator of all things.

 

Carve

Locks & Keys

via Meaningless

 

The_Meaning_of_Life

The purpose of any lock on a given door is dually defined, either to keep someone out, or to keep someone in.  It may be to protect the thing inside, or to protect the thing outside from the thing inside. The lock in itself doesn’t necessarily define the meaning of its existence, it is after all, just the lock.  Therefore its meaning, or purpose, is defined by the thing it protects, or serves; that which is wholly outside of the lock.  In this way, the lock is not self-determining, rather the owner of the lock determines its meaning.  The lock can spend its whole day by agonizing over whether it is a good lock or a bad lock, whether it is truly living out its intended purpose in life, or whether it should have been used to lock a larger more significant door, or even deserving of the door it is locking.  But all of these thoughts and emotions on the part of the lock would be meaningless, since the lock has no part in any of it.

In fact, the most significant part of any lock is its counterpart: the Key.  The key is like the lock in that its meaning or definition is dual in nature: it either opens the lock, or locks it.  The key itself is exactly like the lock in that it too can waste time asking and trying to answer similar questions the lock asked, but these are just as futile for the key.  Both the lock and the key find ultimate meaning in their use by the owner of each item.  Power is in the one who locks and unlocks.  The owner using this power, inherent in holding the key, brings meaning to either as He deems fit.

It seems to me that when we search for the meaning of our life without examining whether we are locked up or free, the natural result or conclusions are meaningless.  I suggest we are all locked up in our pursuit of meaning and purpose, while ignoring the very things that bind us from discovery.  We are locked up because we think foolishly we hold the keys to everything that would make us happy.  We are locked up because we think putting on “religious” attitudes, or wearing “pious” clothes, or donning pretentious “masks,” will set us free.  We are all locked up because whatever thing you are holding onto that you think is a key of happiness, is actually the lock that keeps you enslaved.

This existence of human experience has but one purpose or meaning.  We were created to bring glory to God the creator.  When we search for keys to unlock doors leading anywhere but to this truth, we remain enslaved to a meaningless life.  When we pursue our purpose with wholly committed hearts to bring God glory with every fiber of our existence, He alone uses the key called “Grace” to unlock a beautiful existence designed specifically for us as His children.  Every day we have this choice, to live in God’s grace and to extend God’s glory to the ends of the earth.

When its over, life as we know it, will your life have had meaning?  Who determines this answer? You? No. God alone holds the keys.  He said so.  Jesus said to His disciples:

John 14:6
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  

This same apostle recorded the words of Jesus in the beginning chapter of The Book of Revelation, and guess what He talked about… yep, KEYS!

Revelation 1:17-19
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said,

“Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look–I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades. Therefore write what you have seen, what is, and what will take place after this.”

We are God’s highest creation.  We mean more to him than simple objects like locks and keys.  Yet to find our meaning in life requires a higher level of thinking and understanding than most people are willing to give.  It also requires knowing who “actually” controls the locks and keys… of life itself.

If you would like a brief glimpse inside this passage click here: Revelation 1_17-19

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Eden’s Design

via Pattern

Having a vivid imagination has it’s drawbacks. While I have imagined the Garden of Eden many times, it seems to shift and evolve each time into something indefinable.  In this way it is rather like heaven somewhere out there in the future, but the definitions are so vague it allows only expectation without perfect knowledge of the details. We can’t go back to Eden, God has secured it’s location. We have to vacate our current human housing to go to heaven, which scares us silly to think about.  What a dilemma.  Stuck in an imperfect world, with imperfect people, living imperfect lives.  Was this really the Creator’s design? No.

Tapestries are like that though.  From the backside of the tapestry one can see brightly colored threads woven in among the darker ones, colliding and cascading together in what seems on first observation to have no rhyme or reason.  It is only when looking face on to the front of the tapestry that we can understand the weaver’s intentions and design.  The pattern becomes strikingly obvious, and we have one of those “aha” moments.

I look back on the tapestry of my life so far, and I understand this only partially.  What seemed like chaos at times, living through the struggles, fears and insecurities of difficult days or events or circumstances, in one sense has order today in the view from the “other side.”  My life took on a pattern of God’s own design, weaving all those feelings, pains, struggles, joys, victories, and experiences into the person I am right this minute.  It was for His glory, not mine.  He is the Master Weaver.

Eden was the origination point for the human experience, according to the Bible.  Yet, man’s struggle with staying in the boundaries of the design, and the simple demands of the Creator, resulted in being cast into a world filled with chaos.  Even in this event God would show grace and mercy, and point to a pattern far into the future, when He would go to extravagant lengths to save the people who would trust Him.  In examining heaven’s description in Revelation, we see a look back at the design pattern for Eden.

The Master Weaver also has designs for your life you may not even recognize or know of today.  The chaos surrounding you may be deafening, or so painful you wonder if you will even come out the other side.  It’s a moment or a series of moments that every person faces at some time in their life, when they have to choose between believing there is some design, or hopelessly resigning to believe there is only chaos.  At these times it’s best if we stop and try to examine not the chaos side, but the other side of the tapestry of our lives to find the meaning of what has happened in the past.  If the Master Weaver can help us see the design so far… it becomes easier to believe there is pattern and purpose going forward. It helps us trust the Weaver to weave into our life what is best for us.

Paul says it this way in Ephesians 3:20-21…

Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us–to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

God at work

 

Baby

via Baby

What an interesting word prompt from the Daily Post!  A person with a certain bent could go so many different ways with this word.  Mother’s could write about newborns, Pro-Life and Pro-choice people could write about viability, or when life begins. Anyone (like me) who is tired of the continual alt-left rhetoric about Trump not being their president, might write about how the democratic party is acting like big babies.  People in love could write about “baby” as their favorite pet name for their lover.  Or, someone like me who is the proud grandfather of an almost one-year-old grandson, might write about a grand-baby.  Here’s an interesting fact about babies.  Did you know that a baby’s eyeballs do not grow?  The eyeballs are fully formed and the baby’s head grows to allow more of the whites than the irises to show over time.

baby-eyes

Of course, I’m going off in another direction.  My particular bent always seems to have a biblical point, and why should this one be different, right?  When I saw this word today I almost immediately went to Bethlehem in my mind.  We’re almost two full months past the Christmas season, and for most people, with Valentine’s Day behind us, all eyes are on Saint Patrick’s Day.  Too many people spend a few weeks in December thinking about angels, shepherds, kings and Baby Jesus, then it’s football playoffs, new year’s celebrations, and super bowl parties.  We like to celebrate, and often.  And hey, birthdays are celebrated every day of the year by someone.

Babies are mysterious to me. I want to know what they are thinking when those huge eyes look me, full in the face, with curiosity.  It’s hard for me to side with the pro-choice folks, and not just because of the highly charged political battles, and not just because of the spiritual issues, but because I’ve looked into the eyes of my own children at birth, and now my grandson’s eyes as he is still not yet a year old.  In these moments, I have often thought about the mystery that is salvation, brought to us in a baby, born in Bethlehem.

This baby was destined to grow up, travel to Jerusalem around bar mitzvah time and confound the spiritual leaders of the nation of Israel, then become a carpenter like his earth-daddy.  Not one peep was heard after this until Jesus shows up in Cana at a wedding, and began His earthly ministry.  After three years of wondering around as an itinerant preacher/teacher, he is arrested for blasphemy, tortured then crucified by the Roman army, and put to rest in a borrowed tomb.  That is quite a narrative.  Many today still think it is a mythical story perpetrated on mankind by a bunch of loser disciples.

My question is, “How do you look into a baby’s eyes, and not believe in a Creator?”  God’s infinite wisdom and mercy and grace allow us, if we will, to come to Him in faith, and declare that He is this very Creator.  However, it’s important to understand, in our human minds we can never fathom how God the Creator, could give His only baby boy, to offer us this grace.  I don’t understand it, I cannot comprehend it, the mystery is too great.  Yet it’s true.  It is only when I stepped over the line of faith in the FACT of it, that I too began to feel reborn, a new baby, in Christ Jesus.