Wednesday, 11/3/21 – Pressing on… Creation Proclaims His Praise!

Creation Proclaims His Praise!

This past Sunday we considered the testimony of God in His Creation as it’s marvels and beauty, design and purpose, variety and symmetry lifted our hearts in praise to our Lord and Maker. As the psalmist sang, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

Author Lee Strobel has written extensively demonstrating how the disciplines of science support the Biblical account of divine creation.

Cosmology: Science has shown and logic demonstrates: 1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. 2. The universe had a beginning. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause. Astronomer Robert Jastrow states, “The chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.” This agrees completely with the Genesis account, “God said… and there was…” (Gen. 1).

Physics: The laws and constants of physics reveal astoundingly slim odds: e.g. 1. Gravity is fine-tuned to one part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion. 2. The cosmological constant (energy density of space) is as precise as throwing a dart from space and hitting a bull’s-eye just a trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter on Earth. Over 30 other physical or cosmological parameters require a precision so exact that a “by chance” creation of a life sustaining universe becomes laughable!

Astronomy: When one considers Earth’s position in the universe, its geological and chemical processes: e.g., a sun with just right mass, light, age, distance, and orbit in just the right galaxy and location to nurture life on a circling planet, plus multiple other factors necessary for our existence…. well, as astrophysicist John A. O’Keefe of NASA comments, “It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.”

Biochemistry: Charles Darwin once admitted, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Yet irreducibly complex structures like cilia and bacterial flagella, must necessarily be fully present in order to function. The same is true for system of transporting proteins within cells and the complex process of blood clotting. States Biochemist Michael Behe, “…irreducibly complex systems are strong evidence of a purposeful, intentional design by an intelligent agent.”

Biology: Human DNA contains a four-letter chemical code for that individual’s construction. Stephen Meyer has shown that no hypothesis has explained how this information could appear by naturalistic means. He further states that this kind of information is always the product of intelligence. “Information is the hallmark of a mind, and purely from the evidence of genetics and biology, we can infer the existence of a mind that’s far greater than our own — a conscious, purposeful, rational, intelligent designer who’s amazingly creative.”

Consciousness: Professor J.P. Moreland sees proof of a Creator in the simple fact of human consciousness: “You can’t get something from nothing.” He asks, “How, then, do you get something totally different — consciousness, living, thinking, feeling, believing creatures — from materials that don’t have that?” But if everything started with the mind of God, he said, “we don’t have a problem with explaining the origin of our mind.”

What a wonderful world! What a wonderful God!

Press on…

Content for today’s post drawn extensively from Focus on the Family, The Design Hypothesis.

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Link to video: I Believe / Creation Calls (6:22 min)

And here’s an interesting related audio message by Chuck Smith (52 min)

Wednesday, 10/13/21 – Pressing on… Random thankful thots…

Random thankful thots…

We thank God not only for His gifts but for His Character. God is good… all the time. God is Loving… all the time. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chron. 16:34). We give Him thanks also because of His workings on behalf of His called and faithful. As we read yesterday, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28). “Everything will work out in the end,” says Max Lucado, adding “If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.”

Are you new to thankfulness? God says, Let thankfulness happen … let it out… surprise yourself with the new thankful you! “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” writes Paul, “…and be thankful.” (Col. 3:15). The “let“-ting and the “be“-ing in that verse indicate a Christian’s expression of peace and thankfulness are largely a matter of deciding to do it!

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Col. 4:2). Prayer can be a battleground and the Christian walks a tightrope. Peter urges, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8), and Paul’s says, of equal importance as prayer and watchfulness is thankfulness.

Don’t forget to be thankful for your brothers and sisters in Christ: those who have gone before you, and those who are all around you! “I always thank my God for you,” writes Paul (1 Cor. 1:4).

Do you know you also have power to cause thankfulness to spring from others? Here’s how it works: As God blesses You, He intends You to bless others… to be generous at every opportunity! Then, the thankful recipients of your goodness will express their multiplied thankfulness to God! “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Cor. 9:11).

So much more can be said! Thankfulness consecrates: “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Tim. 4:4-5). Thankfulness is always appropriate, always God’s Will: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). Thankfulness should accompany our petitions and is sometimes hard worka sacrificea song

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6)
But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you…’” (Jonah 2:9). “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High.” (Psalm 50:14)
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.” (Psalm 28:7).

Be Thankful, and…

Press on…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 9/27/21 – Pressing on… 70… to Infinity

70… to Infinity

In Psalm 90 the psalmist muses on mankind’s guilt, the ultimate justice of God and the brevity of human life. In verse 10 he writes, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Ps. 90:10). In light of this, two verses later he prays, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (v.12).

Yesterday I turned 70 (“threescore years and ten”). Rigidly following the above Scripture, one might say I am now living on “borrowed time”… or, more accurately, by the grace of God. But really, our entire lives are “by the grace of God.” From the get-go this “free will” creation of the Almighty rebelled and went awry. We proved ourselves faulty, made ourselves marred, and did not repent (change our minds and course).

But our Maker did not destroy us… crumple up our clay and discard us. No, he decided to reshape us… remake us… not en-masses, but one at a time… not by force, but by wooing. He maintained our freedom of minds and allows us each to choose… Will we to be pliant in His Hands? Or not?

If you have recognized your need of Him, yielded to Him as softened clay, then He is already at work in you. He has particular design in mind for each of us… for you, and for I. He is giving you a new mind and a new heart; He has set you now on a new course.

In Galatians 5 Paul urges the Galatians to stay that course. Some had begun to stray from it and these he urges to return: “You were running a good race,” he writes (5:7), but someone cut in, tried to mar the race that remained. He says, don’t let that happen to you. Our good Father wants us each to finish well our race.

Paul, now aged, wrote the young and vibrant Timothy, “…my departure is near…I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:6-8).

For those who have commited their souls to Christ the future is not tragic but joyous!

“To infinity and beyond!”Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 8/20/21 – Today’s Question: Why did Rachel want Leah’s Mandrakes?

Why did Rachel want Leah’s Mandrakes?

Today’s question arises from an incident recorded in the 30th chapter of the book of Genesis, the very first book of the Old Testament, the book of beginnings. From the creation of all things, the origin of sin, Noah, the flood, God’s covenant with Abraham, His dealings with Isaac, Jacob (whom God renamed ‘Israel’), his sons, and the beginnings of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Now Jacob, you may recall, loved Rachel and worked 7 years for her father, Laban, to win her hand in marriage. Laban, however, tricked Joseph into marrying Rachel’s elder sister Leah first and then working an additional 7 years in exchange for Rachel. You can well imagine the rivalry between these two sisters for the attention and favor of Jacob, and giving him sons was seen as one way to score points!

Leah turns out to be the most fertile and bears Jacob 4 sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah). At this, Rachel becomes desperate. She gives Jacob her servant Bilhah to produce sons for her, and Bilhah does, giving Jacob 2 more sons (Dan, Naphtali). Two can play at this game, thinks Leah, so she too gives her servant Zilpah to Jacob and 2 more sons are born (Gad, Asher).

The score is Leah 4, Bilhah 2, Zilpah 2, Rachel 0, and it is at this point the Mandrakes come in (Gen. 30:14-16).

Reuben, Leah’s firstborn, discovers some Mandrakes plants and brings them home to Leah.

Mandrakes belong to the nightshade family. They have white or purple flowers and produce large yellow berries. Many cultures used them as an aphrodisiac and fertility drug. Mandrakes appear two times in the Bible, here, and in the intimate love poem of Song of Solomon.

“The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my beloved.” (Song of Solomon 7:13).

This then is evidently Rachel’s interest in obtaining them. So far she’s given her husband no children at all. The Mandrakes just might boost her odds.

As it turns out though, Leah is the next to bear and in time gives Jacob 2 more sons (Issachar, Zebulun) – Oh, and a daughter (Dinah)!

At long last Rachel does bear Jacob a son (Joseph) and some time later, with her dying breath, another (Benjamin) (Gen. 35:16-18).

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Wednesday, 7/14/21 – Pressing on… You hold the Answer everyone seeks!

You hold the Answer everyone seeks!

As I discussed yesterday God has brought Truth to us. It is clear all around us, has been lived out among us, and is written down for us. More than this, when a soul surrenders to Saviour the Truth of God is deposited within him! The Holy Spirit of God takes residence in him, speaks to him, and leads him into more and more Truth. (Eph. 1:13b-14; John 8:32; 16:13).

In awe of this Paul wrote,

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:6-7, kjv).

Yesterday we read in Timothy that the Word of God, the Truth of God, is all we need for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” It is sufficient to equip the believer “for every good work.” – every one of them! Whatever you could imagine!  

Now, those without the Word, without the Truth of God, without the context of Truth by which to understand the madness of this world, the vague yearning of their soul, their inability to master self, the meaning of their existence or the possibility of life beyond the physical, those souls wander in worrying and ache for answers.

But the believer knows all these answers. The believer knows Truth. He knows Truth environmentally, historically, textually and personally. Though some curiosities continue no unknowns haunt him. The Saviour he knows, knows, and His answers are good.

Believer, you hold this treasure in your frail flesh. It is the answer the world seeks, whether they know it yet or not, and it is being brought to this world through you. You are one of the vessels by which He has chosen to bring it. Every believer, a little Christ. We are scattered everywhere… salt… light…

Why does He do it this way? “that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Be not intimidated by the arrogance of some. You hold within you the only and true answer, “it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16).

What will you do with this treasure today?

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Thursday, 2/27/20 – Discipleship – The Bible

Nature’s Signs

close up photo of woman wearing golden ring

Look straight ahead. Now, making a fist extend your right arm straight forward. Align the thumb side of your extended fist before the center point of some fixed object in front of you. As you look at the back of the fist you have made the distance from its thumb side to its pinky side will be a fairly accurate 10°. If you change your fist to a “Y” shape by spanning thumb and pinky as far apart as you can the distance between thumb and pinky will be doubled to a fairly accurate 20°. Moving your arm two “Y” shaped lengths plus 1 three middle finger spans (see chart) to the right will result in your arm pointing 45° to the right of the center point from which you began.

20200226_060553Three middle finger spans = 5°. A pinky span = 1°. Nine fist spans = 90°. Eighteen “Y” spans = 360° and so on… You can use these “human sextant” tools to determine heights of trees, buildings or other objects, and by using triangulation even distances across rivers and such.

I learned all this from reading in a fascinating book called The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs, by Australian writer and navigator Tristan Gooley.

gray small bird on green leaves

God’s creation holds many secrets and speaks to us in many ways if we listen. In fact, scripture tells us that “God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Rom. 1:20). Jesus Himself often pointed to creation in His parables explaining the Love and Nature of God the Father.

In the beginning God spoke… and created (Gen. 1). Some 2,000 years ago this same Word became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ. Later the Word became text as holy men of God were inspired by the Spirit thereby creating the written Word of God, the Holy scriptures to guide us. Creation, Flesh, Book. But we must apply our ears and hearts, minds and spirit to grow. We must “have ears to hear,” as Jesus put it.

white printer book page

Dig into the Word of God today. As Peter writes, “desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow” (1 Pet. 2:2). Jesus Himself pleads, “learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Friday, 2/7/20 – Friday Tough Question

“Pseudipig–” what?

photo of a person kneeling in front of book

“How important are the writings from Jewish tradition? Such as 1 Enoch should we steer clear or read with knowing that only scripture has ultimate authority?”

I’ll have to back up and start running toward this question in order to set it in a context that will help with understanding.

gray concrete post tunnel

It was not until some 30 to 60 years after the resurrection of Christ that the first apostles began to write. Their gospels and epistles circulated amongst the early churches and served as a basis for testimony and teaching. There were many such writings circulating about at this time… including many spurious writings by shysters or persons pretending to be one of the Apostles… Early “fake news,” or “spam” if you like. (Such is fallen human nature!)

To deal with the confusion it eventually became necessary to create a biblical Canon, a grouping of writings recognized as genuine….inspired by God. But how was this determination to be made? Key questions were considered:

  • Was the document written by a known apostle or prophet?

  • Was the document quoted or referenced by Christ as authentic?

  • Did the teaching of the document agree with previously canonized writings?… etc.

silhouette photo of person standing in cave

Finally after much discussion, research, and debate the current 66 book Canon was agreed upon. (39 books of the Old Testament, 27 books of the New Testament).

Writings that did not meet the requirements of the canon fell into one of two groupings: Apocryphal writings, and Pseudipigraphal writings.

The 14 Apocryphal books* that you may find inserted between the Testaments in some Bibles are historical records of the 400 year period between the Old and New Testaments. They are fine historical records, but not deemed inspired. Martin Luther’s translation of 1534 was the first widely-used Bible to include these apocryphal books.

man wearing black crew neck shirt reading book

The Pseudipigraphal writings are those which are most questionable. Some of these more spurious writings include the Gospel of Thomas, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Epistle of Barnabas. In such pseudo-gospels you will find stories such as Jesus making birds out of clay for fun as a boy, and a Jesus who is totally out of character with the Jesus portrayed in the canonical Gospels. Though I tend to shy away from Wikipedia as a resource the highlighted link below** may be of interest.

Pseudipigraphal writings, which include the three books of Enoch mentioned above, should always be approached great caution– if approached at all –and only by a mature believer firmly established in the Truth of Scripture. So today’s questioner has rightly presumed their own answer: “…steer clear or read with knowing that only scripture has ultimate authority.”

Press on…

*The 14 Apocryphal books: 1 Esdras (Vulgate 3 Esdras), 2 Esdras (Vulgate 4 Esdras), Tobit, Judith (“Judeth” in Geneva), Rest of Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4 – 16:24), Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach), Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremy (“Jeremiah” in Geneva) (all part of Vulgate Baruch), Song of the Three Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24–90), Story of Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13), The Idol Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14), Prayer of Manasseh (Daniel), 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees
**Link here to Wickipedia list of O.T. Pseudipigraphal writings

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.