Sunday, January 11, 2015

So...let it snow, really!

In the children’s learning center at our little church, one of the verses we studied today was:
“He [God] spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes”

(Psalm 147:16) NIV

The Bible is clear about who is in charge of the weather--
despite our wide-ranging feelings about it on any given day.

         His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the
         clouds are the dust of his feet.
(Nahum 1:3b)

         When he established the force of the wind and
         measured out the waters, when he made a decree
         for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm,
         then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he
         confirmed it and tested it.
  (Job 28:25-27)

         He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
         he sends lightning with the rain and brings out
         the wind from his storehouses.
(Psalms 135:7)

         Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides
         rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on
         the mountains.
(Psalms 147:8)

         lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds
         that do his bidding,
(Psalms 148:8)

It may be easy to recognize the comeliness of the earth after a spring rain when He has washed the world clean. In sheer relief we may praise Him for safety after the fury of a hurricane has passed us by.
After all, we are told, “The heavens declare the glory of God;the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
These are “in your face” indications of our Father’s hand in the weather around us, for those whose eyes are open and who choose to believe the truth in those words.

But an even more astounding message came to my simple heart as I looked at a book we showed the children of greatly magnified pictures of real snowflakes with their varied and magnificent designs and exquisite beauty. God could have produced and then demonstrated any number of dramatic and outward natural manifestations of his creation and glory and then said, “It is good” and stopped at that.   
WA Bentley photographing snowflakes
No, rather He chose to make perfect the tiniest details of his creation...things that can barely be seen or remain unseen to the natural eye...things like cells and their chromosomes, micro-organisms and fragrances, atoms and ...snowflakes. 

Why? Why did He go to such great lengths to show Himself in the things He made? I have, of course, no definitive answers other than--
1. He did it for His glory
2. And, as was said of His Son, “He has done everything well” (Mark 7:37)
There is certainly a lesson in that!

See: Bentley & Humphreys (1962) Snow Crystals New York:Dover.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Blueprint for the New Year---2015

Our Father says…
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
  (Isaiah 43:18-19)

My response should be…
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139: 23-24)
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3: 13-14)
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12: 1-2)

My Goal and Year's Verses for 2015...
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced

(I Chronicles 16: 11-12)

Monday, December 22, 2014

What Makes a Blessed Christmas?


                            Oh, Come let us adore Him!

 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us
John 1:14

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pre-Christmas Check Up

Christmas is in what?....something-teen days?   
Are you ready?  Not the usual "ready" of decorations, presents, groceries, travel plans, etc. etc.

Are you ready inside to celebrate the season of Christmas--the birth of the Christ?
This semester at work had been a good one, busy but fairly quiet as semesters go. Then suddenly, about a month ago, things with which I will not bore you changed. Deadlines loomed large. Students who were supposed to submit their work weeks ago didn't. My house suffered, my sleep suffered, my "peace on earth good will to men" suffered (significantly).

It came to a head on Thursday when I drove to my office in a fog of concern about what I still had to do and what I had forgotten to do. There is a little fire station on the outskirts of the city where I work that has a marquee where they post birthdays, other important occasions and announcements.
Thursday's notice read...DO NOT OVERLOAD YOUR OUTLETS.

I get it that they were talking about electrical circuitry --- but they were really talking to me. I was there--in Outlet Overload Land! Does that sound familiar?  Have you ever been there?
I drove on by that fire station and began to think about the deeper truth and wisdom in their message----a message far more profound than, "Don't plug in too many connected strings of Christmas lights," like the Chevy Chase Christmas movie. 

If your outlets and circuits are nearing overload (or there already like mine were)  on this December 13th with something-teen more days until Christmas, here is our invitation for renewal and hope from the Master Electrician.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul...
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
Psalm 19: 7a-8

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
I Peter 5:7
Be still, and know that I am God;
Psalm  46:10
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Isaiah 26:3
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

There is certainly a lesson in that!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

On Giving Thanks

I’m looking at the representative Thanksgiving symbols sitting on the mantle in our den as I type this…a Pilgrim lady and gentleman, each clutching pumpkins and other samples of the bounty of the season.   

Between them stands the ubiquitous turkey gobbler, this one not looking very endangered and dressed in somewhat strange colors for the turkeys in real life I have known.  (I learned a long time ago NOT to accompany Granddaddy out in the farm yard to deal with the Thanksgiving turkey…a bit too violent for my tastes.)  

Turkeys and Pilgrims all have their places, as do pumpkins and other signs of the holiday. I’m a follower of holiday decorating, having watched Granny Cole place little candle Pilgrims on her Thanksgiving table.

My personal “turkey” theme continues in various settings around the house as fat, stuffed cloth turkeys find their roosts or nests, waiting for the big day, safe in their knowledge that their cotton stuffing will never make it to the dinner table.

Thanksgiving decorations notwithstanding...due to family constraints, I’m skipping traditional Thanksgiving celebration this year.
Under the circumstances, I don’t have a problem with that.

But the “Thanks” part, I don’t want to miss out on that.

#Giving thanks is not optional. We are commanded to do so.  

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (I Chronicles 16:34)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  (Colossians 3:17)

#Why give thanks?  Benefits to us and to others. 

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalm 28:7)

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  (2 Corinthians 4:15-16)

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11-12)

#When should I give thanks?
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
(I Thessalonians 5:18)

Who is worthy of my thanksgiving?
I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. (Psalm 7:17)

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.  For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:2-5)

And again…

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
(Psalm 106:1)

I'm sure there's a lesson in that.