Monday, October 30, 2006

Hurry Sickness

A devotion for today.

Hurry Sickness

Read: Philippians 3:7-16

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on.

"Hurry up!" "We're late!" "You're too slow!" How often do impatient words crop up in our speech, revealing our fast-paced life? If we're not careful, we become people living in the fast lane, demanding quick arrivals and instant results. Stress experts call this "hurry sickness."

In Philippians 3, the apostle Paul's testimony of lifelong growth reminds us that Christian maturity can be encouraged but not hurried. In his book Overcomers Through the Cross, Paul Billheimer says that just as God takes time to make an oak tree, He takes time to make a saint. Christian growth is a life-long process.

Billheimer writes, "An unripe apple is not fit to eat, but we should not therefore condemn it. It is not yet ready for eating because God is not done making it. It is a phase of its career and good in its place."

Are you feeling impatient over your spiritual growth? Remember, God is not finished with you—nor does He expect to be until He calls you home. Make sure that your goal is to know Christ and to become more like Him. Then slowly but surely, under blue skies and stormy, He will bring you to maturity. It's His sure cure for "hurry sickness." ~Joanie Yoder

O God, make me one of those rarest souls
Who willingly wait for Thy time;
My impatient will must be lost in Thine own,
And Thy will forever be mine.

There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

How Do We Recognize the Evidence of Intelligence?

Why do scientists become so excited when they discover stone tools together with bones in a cave? The stone tools speak of intelligence! The scientists recognize that these tools could not have designed themselves - they are a product of intelligent input. Thus, the researchers rightly conclude that an intelligent creature was responsible for making these tools.

In a similar way, one would never look at the Great Wall of China, the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., or the Sydney Opera House in Australia and conclude that such structures were formed after explosions in a brick factory!

Neither would anyone believe that the presidents' heads on Mt. Rushmore were the products of millions of years of erosion! We can recognize design! We see man-made objects all around us - cars, airplanes, computers, stereos, houses, appliances and so on. And yet, at no time would anyone ever suggest that such objects were just the products of time and chance. Design is everywhere. It would never enter our minds that metal, left to itself, would eventually form into engines, transmissions, wheels and all the other intricate parts needed to produce an automobile!

This "design argument" is often associated with the name of William Paley, an Anglican clergyman who wrote on this topic in the late eighteenth century. He is particularly remembered for his example of the watch and watchmaker. In discussing a comparison between a stone and a watch, he concluded:

...that the watch must have had a maker; that there must have existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.

Paley thus believed that just as the watch implied a watchmaker, so too does design in living things imply a Designer. Although he believed in a God who created all things, his God was a Master Designer who is now remote from His Creation, not the personal God of the Bible.

Today, however, a large proportion of the population, including many leading scientists, believe that all plants and creatures, including the intelligent engineers who make watches, cars, etc., were the product of an evolutionary process - not a Creator God. But is this really a defensible position?

Sign of Design: Real science depends on measuring or watching something happen, and checking it by doing it again.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Is There Really a God?

God - an Eternal Being?
In our everyday experience, just about everything seems to have a beginning. In fact, the laws of science show that even things which look the same through our lifetime, such as the sun and other stars, are running down. The sun is using up its fuel at millions of tons each second - since it cannot last forever, it had to have a beginning. The same can be shown to be true for the entire universe.

So when Christians claim that the God of the Bible created all the basic entities of life and the universe, some will ask what seems a logical question: "Who created God?"

The very first verse in the Bible declares: "In the beginning God..." There is no attempt in these words to prove the existence of God or imply in any way that God had a beginning. In fact, the Bible makes it clear in many places that God is outside of time. He is eternal, with no beginning or end - God is infinite! He also knows all things, being infinitely intelligent.

Is it logical, though, to accept the existence of such an eternal being? Can modern science, which has produced our technology of computers, space shuttles and medical advances, even allow for such a notion?

What Would We Look For?
What evidence would we expect to find if there really is an infinite God who created all things as the Bible claims? How would we even recognize the hand of such an all-powerful ("omnipotent") Creator?

The Bible claims that God knows all things - He is "omniscient"! Therefore, He is infinitely intelligent. To recognize His handiwork, one would have to know how to begin to recognize the evidence of the works of His intelligence.

Sign of Design: Historically, most scientific disciplines were founded by great scientists (Newton, Pasteur, Faraday, to name but a few) who were all creationists.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Don't Miss the Message from Heaven!

God has sent mankind a clear message of hope and terror. There is coming a time when sorrow will cease, a time of eternal peace, a future Edenic state, but only for those who have obeyed Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

For those who continue to worship the created world instead of the Creator, God warns that they "shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

This is God's message from Heaven. Each of us has a choice. We need to heed His warning and flee to His Refuge, Jesus Christ!

Sign of Design: In the United States alone, it is conservatively estimated that there are upwards of 10,000 professional scientists (the vast majority not officially linked to creation organizations) who believe in biblical creation.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Empire Building

A devotion for today.

Empire Building

Read: Daniel 4:28-37

Those who walk in pride He is able to put down.

After being warned by Daniel about his pride, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was struck with insanity. The Lord restored his mind, but only after he spent 7 years in a field thinking he was a wild animal.

Nebuchadnezzar went from boasting, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for . . . the honor of my majesty?" (Dan. 4:30) to a humble prayer: "I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven" (v.37). He had repented of prideful empire building.

Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee expressed concern about empire building in the church today. He advised Christian leaders, "Don't try to build a little empire of your church. I started out with that viewpoint, and I had never been more unhappy." He encouraged them to "build into the lives of people" and leave the results to God.

When a church devotes undue energy to statistics, buildings, and programs, pride can enter in and the needs of God's people can be forgotten.

Jesus never forgot the importance of individuals. He invested His time in 12 men (Mark 3:14). Paul discipled Timothy who in turn discipled others (2 Tim. 2:2). God's kingdom grows when we invest in people. ~Dennis Fisher

Churches grow when people pray
And pastors preach the Word,
When love for Christ seeks out the lost
To win them to the Lord. —D. De Haan

Poor is the church that values programs above people.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Voyager 1 and 2 Send a Mistaken Message to the Heavens

The Bible tells us that man will accept a lie rather than admit to the truth that God Created all things, that man is a sinner and must bow down and accept his Creator as Lord of his life. To avoid the truth, man has "changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things" (Romans 1:23).

What better way to show how man has done this than to look at the two Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977 and sent barreling towards the outer reaches of the solar system. On each ship is a gold-coated phonograph record, offering a message to extraterrestrial civilizations.

This message includes pictures of the "evolution of man" from molecules, via fish, reptiles, ape-like creatures, to humans. It also presents the "evolution of man" in sound - a series of sounds in an evolutionary progression: music of the spheres, volcanoes, earthquakes, mud pots, wind, rain, crickets, frogs, birds, hyenas, elephants, chimpanzees, wild dogs, footsteps, heartbeats and laughter. There is also the sound of fire and speech, of stone tools, a tame dog, Morse code, ships, a train, the F-111 aircraft and so on.

The Voyager craft also offer greetings from representatives of nations around the world. These messages bring greetings from Earth, calls for help, offers of friendship, pleas for peace and promises that man is thinking about them (the extraterrestrial intelligent beings), calling these supposed beings out there "great ones."

And just to make sure they were communicating, scientists included a greeting from some whales! In the book Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record, by Carl Sagan and others, we read about the "whale greeting":

We listened to it [the whale greeting] many times and always with a feeling of irony that our imagined extraterrestrials of a billion years hence might grasp a message from fellow earthlings that had been incomprehensible to us.

United Nations delegate Wallace R.T. Macaulay of Nigeria made an impassioned plea in his massage carried by Voyager. "To extraterrestrial intelligent beings: We are supposed to inhabit this planet alone but we know this is not quite so. In Africa, we want to believe that we have you and you are all-knowing, and perhaps possess high intelligence and therefore can help us solve the many problems of our world here."

Why don't they listen to the message from God? Psalm 121:2 tells us where to look for solutions: "My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."

Sign of Design: Consider the incredible improbabilities involved in getting the whole evolutionary scenario started in the first place. People talk as if it were somehow an observed fact - but the fact is that no one really has any sort of scientific explanation for how the complicated, information-bearing molecules required for even the simplest conceivable "first life" could have arisen without outside intelligence. And there are good scientific reasons for believing this to be impossible.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Man Has Rejected the Heavenly Message

Man is crying our for purpose and meaning in life. But he is not listening to God. In fact, he doesn't want to listen. As we read in Ephesians 4:18: "Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." In 2 Peter 3:5, the Apostle tells us that man is "willingly ignorant" - he deliberately rejects the truth about creation.

This great, infinite Intelligence - the Lord God of the Bible - sent His prophets, and man stoned them. God sent His Son, and man nailed Him to a cross. God gave us His Word, and man has burned it and its preachers at the stake. Man cries out on one hand for there to be something more, but then shakes his fist at God. Why? Because man really wants to make his own god - he doesn't want to acknowledge that he is in rebellion against his Creator, or that he will have to answer his Creator for the things he has done.

Sign of Design: There are unsolved problems and unanswered questions in the creation model, but the same is true for evolution. Billions of tax dollars are spent each year trying to solve evolution-related questions; a pittance, by comparison, is spent on real creationist research.