Monthly Archives: April 2014

Today is My Birthday!

Beautiful-birthday-cakes-with-candles

O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me … I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalm 139:1, 14)

I am sixty-four years old today. Aside from those previously unknown aches and pains that inevitably accompany the aging process, I really feel good – for an old guy. 🙂

As I reflect on my life, I consider myself incredibly and undeservingly blessed. Not that my life has been without its share of trials and tribulations – many of which were self-inflicted wounds and consequences – but through good times and bad, I have never felt abandoned by my Lord. Even when I did some pretty despicable things, God brought me back in line and back in sweet fellowship with Him. I have learned from experience that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And I have had plenty to confess! The assurance that I am secure in the hands of my Creator and Savior is the single greatest blessing in my life. Along the same lines is the assurance that when my time on earth is ended, I will be eternally in His presence. There can be nothing greater than that!

God has blessed me with so many precious and tangible gifts as well. Following a failed marriage, He restored “the years that the locust hath eaten” (Joel 2:25) and more with my beautiful wife, June. She has enriched my life for over twenty-six years and the trend seems sure for eternity. God continues to bless me with wonderful Christian friends who are more like family. There is no sweeter bond than that found in the family of God. There is an even greater blessing in having earthly relatives who are also in the family of God. What a great reunion we will experience one day soon! God has also given me a great place to serve Him at the Institute for Creation Research. What a joy to fight rush-hour traffic every morning to serve and be with my brothers and sisters in Christ doing important work for the kingdom of God!

God has also given me two fine sons who are wonderful fathers to my three granddaughters and one grandson, and who are loving husbands to their beautiful wives, my daughters-in-law. They are the flesh of my flesh and the love of my life, and I am so very proud of them both. Yet to my knowledge, my time with them is only for this world, and this is my greatest sorrow. Yet, while there is life, there is hope. I do not believe God ever closes the door until the lights go out for the last time. In this too, there is blessing.

So, happy birthday to me! God is so good to me. He always has been, and He always will be. Of that I am sure. “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness” (Psalm 65:11). Please, Lord, I could use a little less fatness! 🙂

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The Invisible, Visible God

The Glorified Christ

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature (Colossians 1:15)

The Trinity, or the triune nature of God, is a difficult concept to grasp even for Christians. It is no wonder that Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims accuse Trinitarian Christians of polytheism. While we believe in one God manifested in three persons, in our conversations we treat the three persons as three separate entities, but they (He) are (is) not.

God created man “in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, emphasis added). Man has a triune nature composed of mind, spirit/soul, body, as does God, but we do not think of ourselves as three separate entities. This thought occurred in my mind, my spirit motivated me to write it down, and my fingers, i.e., my body, carried out the will of my mind, yet I am the one writing this.

To the woman at the well, Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24, emphasis added). A spirit is invisible. Likewise, you might be able to dissect my body and inspect my brains, but you can’t see my mind. John says, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). “Declared” translates the Greek word exegeomai from which we get our word “exegete,” and it means to explain, make known, or reveal. In His last hours before His crucifixion, one of His disciples, Philip, asked Jesus, “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:8-9, emphasis added). The two, actually the three, are inseparable. Were someone to ask me, “Show me your mind.” If they were someone with whom I was well acquainted, I might reply, “As long as you have been around me, you know how I think, you know how I act – if you have seen me, you have seen my mind!” As our leading verse expresses, Jesus is the very image of God.

As I consider this, I recall that many in the Old Testament saw God, beginning with Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3, after the first couple disobeyed God, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8, emphasis added). Would a “spirit” make any kind of sound while walking or would a spirit have the need to “walk”? Possibly, but probably not. I conjecture that God in this case appeared as the pre-incarnate Christ. There are some who suggest that the first humans were clothed in “light” and that when they ate of the fruit, the light was extinguished and they saw their naked bodies for the first time. The Bible often describes God as surrounded by dazzling light. It makes sense, therefore, that the couple felt shame because they were no longer clothed as their maker. I further conjecture that in order for God (Christ) to clothe the couple, He personally, in physical form, had to slay the animals that would be used to cover His fallen creatures. (As an aside: He didn’t do the same for Satan when he rebelled.) This pattern of “sacrifice” would be followed by Adam and his descendants from then on. (See the sacrifices of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:3-5.) Later, Abraham had personal encounters with the pre-incarnate Christ: Genesis 12:7; Melchizedek in Genesis 14:17-20; the “angel” in Genesis 18, etc.

There are many more examples of this in the Old Testament that would take an entire study, but as I continued to ponder this, I was reminded of Isaiah’s encounter with God. “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1, emphasis added). Did Isaiah see a spirit? Does a spirit sit on a throne? Does a spirit wear a kingly robe with a long train? These are physical attributes. I think Isaiah saw the physical manifestation of God, i.e., Christ. Ezekiel saw a similar manifestation of God. Ezekiel describes a most unusual craft that transports the spirit (Ezekiel 1:20-21) of God. But upon closer inspection, this “spirit” has physical attributes. Ezekiel reports, “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (Ezekiel 1:26-28, emphasis added). (Just as an aside (again), it is interesting that whenever the Lord is seen displaying His glory, men fall down on their faces to worship – no raising hands and swaying bodies – for whatever that is worth.) The Apostle John describes a similar scene at his first view of the resurrected Christ (Revelation 1), and his first view of heaven (Revelation 4).

In each instance, God is given physical attributes. But how can a spirit have physical attributes? It cannot. Jesus is the embodiment of the Godhead. The three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are manifested in the One, the Lord Jesus Christ in whose image we are made. Jesus is the invisible, visible God.

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Review: ICR’s New Creation Video Series

Coming this June!

Creation Science 4 Kids

Homeschooling? Part of a church? Know some young people? You won’t want to miss this!

icr-home2A few weeks ago I saw ICR’s invitation to preview a brand new series explaining creation for everyday people. I expected a nice, high quality video page (to see what I mean, check out That’s a Fact). They do indeed have one on the new site, but it was just the beginning.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis

is the title of the series. It’s designed to present to groups over 12 half hour (or less) sessions. Here’s the heart of what ICR is seeking:

Click to read more at your Origins Matter

“…to reach beyond our faithful constituency to the millions in evangelical churches who are unaware of the full extent of information revealed in the early chapters of Genesis. One of our goals is to guide the millennials to God’s Word and equip…

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What’s Special About Sunday?

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week ... (Matthew 28:1)

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week … (Matthew 28:1)

And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. (Mark 16:2)

Why should Christians worship on Sunday instead of Saturday as do the Jews and certain other “Christian” denominations? After all, in fourth of the Ten Commandments, God specifically says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11). So, are we in violation of God’s commandment by worshiping on Sunday?

First of all, let me say that setting aside one day of the week for rest and worship is right and proper whether that day be Friday, Saturday, or Sunday or any day of the week for that matter.  “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).

Much of the confusion comes with the interpretation of the word “Sabbath” in the Bible.  The word in the Hebrew does not mean “seventh” (shebəiʽi), but rather “rest” or “to rest” (shebbot).  Genesis 2:2 tells us that “on the shebəiʽi day God ended his work which he had made; and he shebbot on the shebəiʽi day from all his work which he had made.”  Translating that seventh day to mean Saturday “assumes” that God began His creative acts on Sunday, and we really have no textual basis for that conclusion other than what has been handed down to us by Jewish tradition – that, however, is not to say that this tradition is in error.  Furthermore, as you study the “Feasts of the Lord” given in Exodus and Leviticus, you find that each of those days is considered a shebbot (Sabbath) regardless of what day of the week it falls on.  So, we need to be careful not to become dogmatic over things on which the Bible is unclear.  However, it is clear that we need to “sanctify” – set aside – one day a week for the Lord.

Today, on Resurrection Day, we celebrate our Lord’s victory over death. (See “Risen Indeed,” where I cover the facts of the Resurrection.) The Resurrection is significant for us who believe because we have the promise that because Christ conquered death, we too can be assured of a resurrection to eternal life. “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain … But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14, 20). Today we rejoice in Christ’s resurrection and look forward to our own resurrection to be with Him eternally.

In the New Testament, the first Jewish Christians went to the temple or synagogue on the Sabbath (Acts 13:14; 17:2; 18:4) for the sake of the Jews, but they also met on the First Day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2) because this was “the Lord’s Day” and also for the sake of the Gentiles which were not obligated to follow Jewish custom (Colossians 2:16). The reason for this change is because this is when Christ was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).

The First Day of the week was also the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples gathered in the upper room (Acts 2:1). Scripture does not specify the day of the week, but when you consider that Jesus arose on the first day of the week and count forward 50 days (the Day of Pentecost) you will find that day to be Sunday also. The day that Jesus arose was the “First Omer” (Nisan 16) and the Day of Pentecost was the “50th Omer (Sivan 6). Not only were these days important on the Jewish calendar, but they have even greater significance in the Christian calendar. For this reason, it is proper that Christians should meet on the First Day of the week to celebrate the Risen Lord and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

 So, as you celebrate this Resurrection Lord’s Day, remember why it is so special. He is risen indeed!

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No One Escapes Judgment

It is Finished!

It is Finished!

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)

When challenged with the question, “When you die and meet God face to face, and He asks you, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ how will you respond?” many answer by saying that they have been basically a good person, they have been kind to others, they have given to the poor, etc. They mistakenly assume that God will weigh their good deeds against their bad deeds, and that their good will outweigh their bad. The Bible clearly says, “for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). This fact not even the sinless Son of God could escape.

From the dawn of creation, sin separated man from God (Genesis 3:23-24), and innocent blood has been shed to cover (atone for) the sin of man (Genesis 3:21). But this was only a temporary fix. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Animals did not sin. Man sinned. Man is the violator, and responsible for his own infraction; but the infraction demands payment in blood. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11, emphasis added); but it must be innocent blood. What man can claim innocence? “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20); “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). What can man do! “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Can man live a sinless life? “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10, emphasis added). There is nothing man can do. Man is doomed to die for his sin.

There is only one solution to this dilemma: “Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8, emphasis added). And “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, emphasis added). “[God] hath made [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Alone, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5). As our sin, for which we could not atone, was cast upon Him, He looked up into heaven and cried, “It is finished!” (Paid in full) “and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:30)

Problem solved! Now He says, “I am the way, they truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6, emphasis added). Jesus’ death on the cross provided the way for you and me. He took upon Himself our judgment so that we would not have to, but for the one who insists on making it through his own merits, that one will face the judgment on his own. No one escapes judgment.

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A King On A Donkey

 

Hosanna!

Hosanna!

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)

Passover was just a few days away. Jerusalem buzzed with activity. Jews from all parts of the Roman world made the pilgrimage to the Judean capitol to celebrate the first of three Feasts of the Lord that required mandatory attendance by every Jewish male (Deuteronomy 16:16). In spite of Roman oppression, this was a time of celebration as everyone anticipated the promised king that would deliver them and restore Israel’s former greatness. “Perhaps this year,” they thought.

To this cacophony of festivities entered the unassuming King of Kings. Daniel had prophesied this event more than 483 years before. “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:25-26). Today the prophecy appeared – lowly, and riding upon a donkey’s foal as prophesied by Zechariah. Even this unnoticed act was miraculous. A foal is a donkey (or horse) that is not yet a year old. This one, a colt (male), had never been ridden (Mark 11:2; Luke 19:30). Surely anyone reading this knows what happens when a donkey, horse or mule is mounted for the first time, but not so here. “And they brought him [the colt] to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way” (Luke 19:35-36). Somehow, that little animal understood the significance of the rider. He was carrying the Creator, the One who said, “Take my yoke upon you … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).

Thus Jesus entered His city to present Himself as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). A conqueror would have entered upon a white charger parading his conquests before him, but a king who comes in peace enters in on a mule or a donkey (1 Kings 1:30-40). As Jesus made His way into the city, the crowd thronged Him singing the words of the psalm “Hosanna!” meaning “Save now!” “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD” (Psalm 118:25-26). Who knows if the mob understood the significance of the psalm or of the Man to whom they sang? When the religious leaders compelled Jesus to silence the crowd (for they understood very well the significance of the words), “he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).

Interesting that at the first Passover, when the children of Israel were in Egypt, Moses required each family to take an unblemished lamb into their home at the first of the month. This lamb would become endeared to the family, and then on the fourteenth of the month, the lamb would be slain and its blood painted on the door posts of the house (Exodus 12:1-12). Now the Lamb of God entered the house of Israel to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. All things foreordained “from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). Thus Messiah, the King on a donkey, presented Himself only to be “despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3). Soon the Passover Lamb would be “cut off” (Daniel 9:26).

The King will return. When He returns, His mount will not be a lowly donkey, but a mighty, white steed. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war … And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11, 16) – no longer a King on a donkey.

Hallelujah! “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

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Episode 44 – Useful and Versatile Hands

We are awesomely and wonderfully made!

That's a Fact

Mankind has made a lot of tools, but none of them rival the usefulness and versatility of the human hand. Its structure and design give evidence of God’s creativity and allows us to do a wide variety of tasks—like typing, eating, and building skyscrapers.

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