Tag Archive: Life


Above It All

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This Mother’s Day…

As believers, let us never forget we can rejoice and praise the Lord in both the good times and in the bad.

We all have so many hopes and dreams, especially for our lives and our children’s lives, yet often this world sends storms beyond our control and we can do nothing but simply watch as our course and the courses of those we deeply love are altered. Sometimes these changes are, in part, due to decisions we have made. Other times, they are just the result of living in a broken and fallen world.

Special days like Mother’s Day can be so exciting, a time to thank our mothers and be thanked as mothers, yet it’s also a time when sorrow can quickly invade. There are many circumstances, some of which I understand first hand, that have affected families, ones that cause days like today to be quite difficult. Regardless of time, wounds are often still present. But dare we never forget that even in the worst of storms, the sun still shines above it all.

Praise Jesus, because for the born again believer, there’s eternal hope beyond the temporal storms and successes, above the peaks and valleys of this world. Regardless of the tragedies, trials, broken hearts and even beyond the earthly successes, there’s a wonderful kingdom above it all. This heavenly kingdom is eternal and available for any and all who choose to receive the full and free forgiveness of Jesus Christ. “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46.

Despite what we’ve been told, true life is not the sum total of all our expectations, experiences, hopes, and desires. Life is so much more than us. True life is Jesus Christ and no matter what storms come across our course, as Christians, we can still know victory because our God is outside and above it all. Jesus endured it all and laid down it all. He became sin for us, so we could finally be brought above it all to know what life’s really all about.

He became the lowest of all and then raised up to highest of all to provide the only way for mankind to receive Him as our All in All! Only because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection can we have true life, ETERNAL life! In John 17, Jesus reminds us, “And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”  John 17:3. The Christian life is not easy. In fact, it’s frankly impossible. Only Jesus lived it perfectly and only Jesus can live His life in us. True life is only discovered when we once and for all give Jesus the reins, letting Him lead us Home to our Heavenly Father.

But the old life I chose to mortify still knocks on the door of my heart and mind. It still wants to be appreciated, noticed, and coddled. It becomes jealous when anyone else gets the attention, most of all Jesus.The world, the flesh, and the devil will often remind us of the tragedies and fleshly triumphs, desiring nothing less than for us to lose sight of the Son above, all together forgetting about our risen Lord and Savior.  And days like today can sometimes become grand opportunities for the flesh to come knocking.

Instead of opening the door, may I embrace the true Comforter, the Savior and sanctifier of my soul. May I take my eyes off myself and instead look intently at the only One I truly cannot live without. May I learn to embrace the difficulties this planet offers as opportunities to steadfastly grow closer to my Rock and Refuge.

The Lord has called us to so much more than we can ever comprehend this side of Heaven. May we take time to love Jesus today, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. And then let us simply continue serving Him, letting Him take care of every outcome. There are perhaps many tragedies filling your heart today. May the Lord bring us above them all, empowering us to continue running the heavenly race He has set before us with joy and grace in our hearts!

May we simply abide in Christ, continually feasting on His wonderful Word. Then let us continue faithfully planting and watering His Word in all those He puts in our path. We cannot truly change the course of anyone, but we can point them to the only One who can. His light will shine, even piercing through the darkest of storms, and with it comes true life. What an absolute privilege and blessing to wholeheartedly love and follow Jesus, knowing He truly is above it all!

“Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

“Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

The Only Way

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I wonder if perhaps one reason the Lord created the earth to orbit in such a way that it never gets anywhere new is to help us remember to stop trusting in the same old, man-centred habits we’ve repeatedly embraced and performed for so many years.

There is a tree firmly rooted in this sin-soaked soil, one that every prideful heart pledges to protect at all cost. This tree is watered and fertilized with every vain philosophy and false religious system formed and followed by the first Adam’s fallen race. Sadly, the fallen nature in each of us delights in its temporary beauty, food, and shelter.

Ever since sin came in, the mantra of man has been onward and upward by whatever earthly means possible. No matter how many times mankind’s failures reveal his own futility, he stubbornly refuses to switch directions. Our persistent pride is truly deplorable! We have repeatedly fulfilled Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

There’s only way to get off this earthly orbit. If we desire to truly be free, to truly live, our heart must move, not only off this planet, but out of the universe. Creation is fallen so it can do nothing but cause us to fall back to this world. We must move past all of creation and instead wholeheartedly fix our full and undivided attention upon the Creator. Only by turning to the One True God, the Creator and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, will we pass from death to life.

“Jesus said… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.” John 14:6

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears My word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24

Faith Becomes Sight!

Flynn and CherrieMy beautiful bride of almost 18 years went to be with Jesus last night (March 21st), entering into the joy of the Lord.  She served Him faithfully for 20 plus years. Regardless of cancer’s intrusion three and a half years ago, she simply continued running the race set before her with joy in her heart and Jesus as her sole and grand prize!

Cherrie honestly hungered and thirsted for righteousness, searching the Scriptures daily, desiring to know her Lord and Savior more and more.  One word that has always come to mind to describe her walk is integrity.  She understood the absolute necessity of a sincerely Christ-centered and upright life. She knew the very real need for God’s Word in the believer’s life and the Gospel to every nonbeliever she came across. When she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in July of 2010, the doctors would not tell us how long she had left.  Later we discovered that many with cancer that far advanced really don’t have more than several months.  Praise God we learned quickly that God is not a God of statistics.

Through chemo, radiation, and the prayers of the saints, the Lord allowed the cancer to shrink small enough for surgery in May of 2011.  Three weeks later we had our 15 year vow renewal, moved to a new house, and Cherrie got busy again, going back to work part time from home.  Everyone we knew surrounded us with so much encouragement and love. It was truly humbling! After getting through surgery, Cherrie told us she was surprised to overhear the nurses talking outside her curtained room about her whole lung being removed.  She was only supposed to have her left lower lobe taken out, but the surgeon found a small amount of cancer in the upper lung and chose to remove the entire thing.  She said she laid there with this new revelation, contemplating life with only one lung. Self pity began creeping in, but as she explained it, only for a moment.  The Lord opened her ears to those around her.  She could hear a man moaning in agony, a baby crying in pain, and families sobbing near by.  It was at that moment that God reminded her that there were many people hurting as much or worse. It was then that the Comforter began to produce in her a new desire, a ministry of comfort to those affected by the ravages of cancer.

When her son, Jake and I first talked with her after surgery, she smiled and told us she wanted to start a cancer group at church, focusing on Christ.  God is so amazing! The next two years were filled with Cherrie serving as the leader of Calvary Cares Cancer Support along with keeping up her blog, Comfort in Christ.  We were blessed to minister to many during that time, but God was not through yet.  Last summer Cherrie decided she wanted to make her blog into a devotional book so we embarked on yet another journey in the Lord.  We picked 50 of her posts and with the help of two friends and the support and prayers of many, her e book, Comfort in Christ Cancer Devotional  was finally sent in for publishing on January 31, 2013.  She was so excited to see the book go live in January! In January, Cherrie experienced a set back that landed her in the hospital for a week.  It was at this point with much prayer that we sought the Lord’s face, desiring to do His will.

With a new granddaughter in the midst and much desire to continue serving the Lord, she decided to stop chemo and simply continue resting in the Lord, running the race until He called her home. She always told me, “I never want to chase cancer’s tail.”  I can say, although at times cancer caused her to go places and do things outside of her control, she never allowed it to own her.  She simply used it as another tool in witnessing to the lost and encouraging the saints.  In the extra three and a half years she was given, praise God she did not go the route of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:25), but instead the way of Job, praising and testifying of the greatness of God in the midst of adversity.  She was blessed in that time to see her son get married, have a beautiful granddaughter, begin a Christ-centered cancer support group, write an encouraging blog, put together an e book, and be a godly witness to countless thousands.  Although we never asked for this valley, we both said we wouldn’t have traded it for a moment.  How ironic that for years, Cherrie sought the Lord, asking Him to open the door for her to have a focused ministry to pour her life into.  The answer came in the form of adversity, providing a mission field we would’ve never ever thought of on our own.  In the midst of experiencing the effects of the curse in a very deep way, God took that curse and turned it upside down to bless others.  How awesome is our God!

Last Saturday, we laid in bed and Cherrie for the first time told me she was ready to go home to be with Jesus.  She leaned on my shoulder and told me she just wanted to rest in what the Lord had done with joy in her heart.  She was ready.  She had fought the good fight and run the race, coming out victorious, not because of anything good in her, not because of her own strength, but because of the ultimate Victor- Jesus Christ who lives and abides forever!  She simply yielded to His will as a vessel to His glory and honor.  Cherrie was not perfect and she would have been the first to remind people of that.  She would probably “kill” me for writing so much about her.  She wanted to focus to be on Christ.  Her life was simply one that yielded to the Savior.  Jesus gets all the glory and I know she’s face to face with Him now singing His praises.

Even in the last week, although she really could not leave the house, our prayer was to be like the Apostle Paul.  Even though he was under house arrest by the Roman authorities, he shared the Word with all who would come to see him as well as the guards he was chained to.  We prayed the Lord would give us opportunity to share the truth with the hospice nurses and aids coming to our home.  Sure enough God honored our prayer.  We had the privilege of testifying of God’s goodness and He opened up an opportunity for me to talk a bit in depth with one particular male nurse, leaving him with Gospel tract and Lord willing, much to consider. Mid Monday, Cherrie was admitted to Peppi’s House here in Tucson, where she had excellent care and still we were able to share Jesus with all those who came.  Thursday night, a good friend came to visit us and God opened an amazing opportunity for us to share with Brenda, a 71 year old volunteer.  We talked for a half hour and she was so interested in hearing about Jesus.  Jesus’ life in Cherrie was again being proclaimed as I shared some of her testimony to Brenda.  It was a great night with many seeds planted and watered yet again. PicsArt_1395520014824Cherrie ran the race all the way to the end!

Last night (Friday, March 21) her son was able to come down again to be with her.  Jake and I sat with Cherrie praying and reading Scripture and literally upon finishing with 1 Peter 1:3-9 and with “It Is Well With My Soul” playing in the background on my phone, she breathed her last temporal breath. The timing could not have been more amazing and blessed!  She entered the joy of the Lord peacefully and pain free. God so undeservedly blessed me with an amazing woman who taught me many things throughout our 20 years of knowing one another, however the most important lesson I ever gleaned from her was that fear of the Lord is truly our strength and joy!

God is good!  Below is a collection of Scriptures and other writings that the Lord has impressed upon my heart over the last several days.  I hope they bless and comfort you! In Christ’s truth and love, ~Flynn

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“Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation [encouragement, refreshing].” 2 Corinthians 1:2-7

Poem by C. T. Studd Only One Life, ’Twill Soon Be Past “Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way; Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done; Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat; Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears; Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score; When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep; Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn; Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne; Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,”Thy will be done”; And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”; Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. ” — extra stanza — Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.” ~C. T. Studd

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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withers, the flower fades: because the spirit of the Lord blows upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:1-8

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:1-8

“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.  But he that had received one went and dug in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants comes, and reckons with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliver unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Matthew 25:13-21

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 11:1-10, 13-16, 23-27, 12:1-2

“I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple: I was brought low, and He helped me. Return unto Thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.  I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant, and the son of Thine handmaid: Thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:1-9, 15-17

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21

Why Did Jesus Come?

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.comWhy did Jesus ultimately choose to be born, crucified, and three days later rise from the dead? Not to sound heretical, but ultimately Jesus did not come to merely die for our sins. I believe God’s Word points to a much grander plan.

Too often a prisoner who has spent many years in prison, once released, has a difficult time acclimating to freedom. Ultimately a prisoner is not released just to be released. He is set free to live a new life of freedom operating under a new perspective of how to utilize that liberty. So it is with the forgiven sinner.

Often we are so excited we’ve been released from our prison of sinful selfishness, but then don’t know what to do next. We, in a sense, are standing just outside the prison walls, unsure what steps to take next. So instead of stepping out in faith, we set up camp where we are, never truly enjoying new life in Christ. Jesus reminds us, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

We are redeemed, we are set free not just to be set free, but so we can for first time freely begin to understand and know the Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

So, yes Jesus came and died for our sins, but ultimately He came to do so much more. May we pull up our stakes from the prison walls and begin stepping out in faith, fully assured of our high calling in Christ Jesus! May we seek to continue growing in the understanding of our Glorious Redeemer and also boldly and lovingly make Him know to those both stuck in prison and those who have pitched their tents just outside its walls.

 

“You Only Live Once”

Bible Light Bulb Image“You only live once” has been used innumerably throughout the centuries to give people permission to do things they probably shouldn’t. In reality, they’re really saying they only live one time in this body, so let’s eat, drink, and be merry. But declaring “you only live once” really stands in judgement against those seeking to use it as a cloak to cover their sins. 

The truth is, living once means we only have one short lifetime to turn to Jesus. We only have one life to ask Him to forgive us of our sins. As born again believers, we only have one time in our earthly tents to walk uprightly, allowing His Holy Spirit to work in our lives so we can be effective witnesses of His glorious Gospel to the lost. 

Saying we only live once shouldn’t be a slogan that gives us permission to slide, but to stand firm on the Rock and live a life pleasing to the Savior. After all, we only have one time to live on this side of Heaven or Hell.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

“Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” 1 Corinthians 7:23-24

Recently there was a biblical discussion between several men from two totally opposite camps of belief.  Both claim to hold to God’s Word and both claim to desire the truth above all else, however both cannot be correct.  When dealing with the subject of whether or not God created the universe, there is really no division among  professing Christians.  All those claiming to be followers of Jesus Christ would join arms here, yet the separation occurs as soon as the discussion moves beyond this point.  This recent panel conversation was no exception.

Some in the group expressed their belief in a literal six-day creation around six thousand years ago.  The others clung tightly to a long-earth view, stating that the Bible leaves plenty of room for the common evolutionary belief of billions of years along with death and suffering as the major agent used by God.  What was most interesting was not how quickly some abandoned the Word of God to make their points, nor how much the long-age spokesmen thought they were honoring God.  What was most amazing was how blindly those who purported the old universe doctrine claimed to be neither evolutionary, nor hold to any teachings majorly different than those who aligned themselves with a literal reading of Genesis 1-11.

It Does Matter: Hugh Ross, an astrophysicist and self-proclaimed day-age Christian, was one such guest. He is either ignorant in his assertions or disingenuous when stating that he is not an evolutionist at any level.  He also said he really believes no differently than Ken Ham, who was also on the panel and unashamedly holds to a literal interpretation of Genesis 1.  If it weren’t so sad, it would almost be funny. Although Hugh Ross claimed no major differences in belief, there are actually about 10 billion of them. After Dr. Ross’ proclamations, two others from the panel joined  in, making similar statements.  After pitching his tent on the same side as Hugh Ross, Sean McDowell, son of Josh McDowell, smiled and boldly proclaimed that it really doesn’t matter how God made the universe as long as we believe that He did.  Sean said he chooses instead to focus on how much God loves us and has a purpose and plan for our lives.  Even though Sean and others say it doesn’t matter, there could be nothing further from the truth.  It really does matter when and how God created the universe.

Sean McDowell’s Log Cabin: As an intro after a commercial break, TBN (the host channel of the creation discussion) played a clip of Sean McDowell talking to the camera as he stands inside a beautifully decorated log cabin.  The point of the video is to reveal how obvious it is that the universe has a designer, but Sean makes an unfortunate mistake.  Paraphrasing his video monologue, Sean asks the viewer to pretend he stumbles upon a cabin after walking through the woods.  The door is unlocked and the viewer chooses to enter.  Looking around, the hiker notices his favorite foods are on the dinner table and everything inside is perfectly prepared for his tastes.  Sean then moves to strike, pulling the analogy together by asking,  “What can we deduce from the cabin being filled with everything that suits us?”  He then explains that we should conclude that the cabin must be designed for the hiker.  And just as the cabin is intentionally built  for him, so it is with the universe. Everything in this world and universe fit perfectly to provide all that we need in a way that reveals a master designer. While this might be an adequate intelligent design argument, there are a few things Sean has left out. More will be said about this in a little bit.

Analogies: Just as it is with other analogies, Sean has a starting point or belief system and his starting point is what dictates the analogy.  Although analogies are good tools for making points, they often times also reveal the speaker’s own presupposed philosophies.  It’s also worth noting that no analogy can completely cover all tenants of a person’s belief system.

Ray Comfort’s Airplane and Parachute: Another analogy given by Ray Comfort unfortunately also missed the mark even though he is someone who has consistently held to a literal reading of Genesis 1 and believes the earth to be around six thousand years old.  Ray routinely uses an airplane flight to show the importance of  the Gospel of God. Although a good analogy in demonstrating the necessity of putting on Christ (like a parachute) for the right reasons, the story falls short when used in conjunction with the importance of whether or not creation happened just as Genesis 1 plainly spells it out.

An Unnecessary Contrast: Ray began his wrap-up of the two hour panel discussion by saying that although the conversation of how God created is an important one, if you were on a plane that was broken and ready to crash, you would not turn to the stewardess handing you a parachute to ask her the age of the plane.  Instead you would gladly put on the parachute to save your life. Again, while on the surface this might sound reasonable, the decision to contrast creation and the Gospel actually does more harm than good.

Here’s why: Ray’s comments separate the method of creation and the method of salvation, yet fail to consider that both reveal the character of the same God.  In actuality, neither the Gospel nor creation are the center of the Christian life. Granted, the Gospel is the good, rather the great news of God’s amazing act to buy back all who will come to Him, and without it we would have no hope of eternal life. But in reality, God Himself is the center; God Himself, revealed in Jesus Christ, is our life.  His character is what matters most, and His character is demonstrated and revealed in all He says and does.

An Old Plane and an Old Parachute:  Since much of this post is filled with other people’s analogies, I’d like to use a couple of my own. Let’s say the stewardess tells the passenger the plane is old, really old and that’s why it’s going down.  What if the parachute and the plane are the same age?  What if, as you’re free falling with your chute carefully strapped to your body, then pull the rip cord only to see moths fly out along with dust and only scraps of silk cloth remaining?  In your mind you’re thinking, “I guess the age of the plane really does matter.”

The Incompetent Maker: What  if the plane isn’t in disrepair due to its age?  Perhaps the maker and maintainer of the plane are at fault. Maybe this person, although very intelligent, wasn’t quite smart enough to make and maintain the vehicle to last very long in the sky. What if the person was basically incompetent? Then what if the one who made and maintained the plane was also the one who supplied the parachute?  (This is probably the most closely related analogy to the God who created the universe and also is the Savior of mankind.)  If the plane is going down, then one who made and maintained it did not do as good of a job as he could have.  If this is the case, then if he also packed and supplied the parachute, would there perhaps be a little trepidation in putting it on?  Let’s say you’re tumbling through the sky, pull the cord, and the cord breaks off.  You then reach for the backup cord and there is none.  Finally, with only seconds before impact, you try to manually open the chute only to discover it is not packed correctly by the maker of the plane.

You see, there are serious implications connecting the plane’s age, the method and competence of the plane’s construction and maintenance, and the parachute inside.  The Maker’s character is the heart of matter.  If the plane goes down, then one must ask why did it fall in the first place.  The answer will inevitably lead back to the maker of the aircraft. There is perhaps one more basic answer to the failure of the plane.

The Disturbed Designer: There is also one more thing to consider.  Perhaps the designer of the plane is not incompetent at all.  Maybe he is simply disturbed.  Maybe he purposely designed the plane to crash.  This has definite implications when strapping on the parachute.  If this is true, then most likely the chute itself would be sabotaged for all unsuspecting passengers.

The Cabin’s Creator: Analogies can also be used to reveal the errors in Sean McDowell’s cabin.  If, as Sean says, it doesn’t matter how God made the universe and if God is the builder in his cabin story, then it actually does matter.  Although this planet is amazing, there are all kinds of dangerous things that seem to raise questions.  We have natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc. as well as poisonous creatures and plants, and the list goes on.  So saying that there is a wonderful cabin filled with all your favorite foods is less than an accurate view of the world around us.  To make it more fair, let’s say the hiker walks into the cabin and begins eating the food only to get food poisoning.  He then goes into the bathroom and trips on a broken tile.  Then washing up, the traveler discovers there is only ice cold water and the towels are inundated with lice.  If this were the case, the person might begin wondering about the competence and intentions of the one who made and prepared the cabin.

IT  REALLY  DOES  MATTER  HOW  THE  CABIN  WAS  MADE.

The Creation/ Salvation Connection: Interestingly, regardless of an old earth or young earth, many from both camps would agree that Jesus died and raised in three literal days and is the only way to Heaven. Yet those that cling to billions of years fail to see that the character of God is inextricably entwined with both creation and salvation. They are eternally linked.  Why? Because God is responsible for both.  To say it doesn’t matter how God created is like saying it doesn’t matter how God provided salvation.  It matters.  His character is revealed in both.  The Living God created life by His Word, not through death, and the God of love chose to die for sinners because sin, not God, brought death. God brings life.  If a business builds its success by murdering people, does it really matter whether or not it gives money to orphans and widows?  No matter how you spin it, if God’s character is directly connected with death as the ultimate agent of life, He is the author of death.  Yet according to His own Word, death is said to be the last enemy of God.  1 Corinthians 15:26.

But death brought life in Christ, didn’t it?  Yes and no. Yes, Jesus chose to die for the sins of the world.  “For He has 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.  But if Jesus would have stayed dead, we would have no hope at all, so it’s not merely His death, but His resurrection that brings men life.  In the same chapter of 1 Corinthians, the Holy Spirit, through Paul, writes, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:14. Yes, Jesus laid down His life and this led to eternal life to all those who turn to Him, but His death would not have been necessary if sin had never been allowed to intrude into God’s perfect creation.

If death would have been God’s original “thumb print” on creation, then why use death as Adam and Eve’s judgment?  After all, creatures would have been dying and evolving for millions of years before Adam and Eve sinned.  So Adam and Eve were seeing creatures killing each other and dying of cancer, etc.  Then God tells them if they eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that they’ll die just like everything else is already dying???  Then later Jesus comes to die for the sins of the world, the sins that brought death upon mankind; the same death that God had already used for millions of years in all other creatures to help them evolve.  This makes no sense!  Sadly, confusion, at best, is all we are left with when man’s ideas are mingled with the Word of God.  

The Whole Counsel of God:  It’s clear the Lord has given the saints different giftings and areas of ministry that serve the whole Body of Christ, but one thing is certain.  We are all to grow in the complete understanding of the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13). This growth takes the power of the Holy Spirit, the love of the truth, and the humble, wholehearted study of God’s Word.  We all must be careful not to let the focus of any ministry overshadow the whole of Scripture. We must proclaim more than a message.  May we never forget to declare the whole counsel of God!  

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:23,27 and 28

“The greatest Part of Mankind, nay of Christians, may be said to be asleep; and that particular Way of Life, which takes up each Man’s Mind, Thoughts, and Actions, may be very well called his particular Dream. This Degree of Vanity is equally visible in every Form and Order of Life. The Learned and the Ignorant, the Rich and the Poor, are all in the same State of Slumber, only passing away a short Life in a different kind of Dream. But why so?

It is because Man has an Eternity within him, is born into this World, not for the sake of living here, not for any thing this world can give him, but only to have Time and Place, to become either an eternal Partaker of a Divine Life with God, or to have an hellish Eternity among fallen Angels: And therefore, every man who has not his Eye, his Heart, and his Hands, continually governed by this twofold Eternity, may justly be said to be fast asleep, to have no awakened Sensibility of Himself.

And a Life devoted to the Interests and Enjoyments of this World, spent and wasted in the Slavery of earthly Desires, may be truly called a Dream; as having all the Shortness, Vanity, and Delusion of a Dream; only with this great Difference, that when a Dream is over, nothing is lost but Fictions and Fancies; but when the Dream of Life is ended only by Death, all that Eternity is lost for which we were brought into Being.”  ~William Law, “Spirit of Prayer”, Chapter 1, p.1. 

For the full article, see: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/law/prayer/files/prayer1.htm

“Indeed, evolution answered nothing. Neither did its mother, the big bang. They seemed little more than a comic book fairytale. I saw them as absurd, baseless, and fantastical hypotheses mired down by one conjecture upon another, while conveniently overlooking the most important questions. Even as a tween I realized this feeble attempt to account for the universe had four glaring gaps: the beginning, the end, the origin of life, and especially the existence of intellectual and moral beings.”  ~Desmond P. Allen, 2008, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v1/n1/unification-theory

“An Eternal Perspective”

Some 250 years ago William Law portrayed a “very prosperous and busy young tradesman” who was “about to die in his thirty-fifth year.” The young man had this to say to the friends who came to express their sympathy:

“You look upon me with pity, not that I am going unprepared to meet the Judge of quick and dead, but that I am to leave a prosperous trade in the flower of my life…. And yet what folly of the silliest children is so great as this?

Our poor friend Lepidus died…as he was dressing himself for a feast. Do you think it is now part of his trouble that he did not live till that entertainment was over? Feast and business and pleasures and enjoyments seem great things to us-but as soon as we add death to them they all sink into an equal littleness….

If I am now going into the joys of God, could there be any reason to grieve that this happened to me before I was forty years of age? Could it be a sad thing to go to heaven before I had made a few more bargains or stood a little longer behind a counter?

And if I am to go amongst lost spirits, could there be any reason to be content that this did not happen to me till I was old, and full of riches…? Now that judgment is the next thing that I look for, and everlasting happiness or misery is come so near to me, all the enjoyments and prosperities of life seem vain and insignificant….

But my friends, how I am surprised that I have not always had these thoughts…! What a strange thing it is that a little health or the poor business of a shop should keep us so senseless of these great things that are coming so fast upon us!”
An Eternal Perspective“, The Berean Call, see: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/5718.

“May Christianity be more than some big event or social club to us. May it, rather Christ, be our life. May we see this world as a military zone, not a theme park. Let us desire to jump into the trenches for our neighbor’s sake, knowing we are called to rescue souls from Hell, not entertain ourselves to death.” ~F. Huseby

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