Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lonely and Afflicted

Psalms 25:16-18  Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.  (17)  The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.  (18)  Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.

While my wife is away, in the quiet moments between the distractions I manage to find, I’ve been pondering loneliness.

All of the fears, bad memories, insecurities, idle (and often sinful) habits rise to the surface when we are alone.  Discipline takes a back seat and we search for comfort in lesser substitutes than the relationships which we’ve taken for granted.  Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.  When we are no longer alone we remember the pain and try harder to love and to serve others.

During the pain it is good to pray for God’s grace to get through the affliction of loneliness and the trouble of one’s heart.  We know that God will give us grace as seen in the strength to get us through the distress.  As we realise that our lonely period is coming to an end and we are going to make it through, we can thank God more easily for his grace towards us in getting us through and in forgiving our sins.  We do not deserve the comfort that comes from above, yet it is a sign of the grace that covers our marred and blackened souls.

Thank you Lord Jesus.  Give us strength to endure and deliver us from loneliness.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It Is Not Good That The Man Should Be Alone

With my wife away for the first large chunk of time since we were married last year, I have come to reflect on the passage below from yet another perspective.  Initially I has considered it from the perspective of a single man, yet to find a wife.  Now I am a married man who has grown to rely on the presence of his wife and who has had that comfort and warmth taken all of a sudden.

At least my lovely wife will be back from the funeral in South Africa in two weeks, and we can speak on the phone or communicate via email.  If I am feeling miserable without her now, how might I feel if I was permanently left alone without her?  Needless to say, I have been constantly praying for her safe return since her departure!

Interestingly, we have a little doggy to keep me company but, as cute and distracting as she is sometimes, she is no substitute for the fullness of a “helper fit for [me]” that is my wife.

It truly is such that I am lamenting the separation of my flesh by the geographical distance.

God’s word proves true once again, and there is a comfort in His eternal promises that pain is not forever for His children.

Genesis 2:18-24  Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."  (19)  So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.  (20)  The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.  (21)  So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  (22)  And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  (23)  Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."  (24)  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Intelligent Design vs. Biblical Creationism (a concise comparison)

A quick search via google found very little in the way of a reasonable comparison and nothing concise.  I’ve attempted to provide this as a Christian who believes that the literal account of creation from Genesis is true, wanting something simple to reference people to, and out of frustration at those who argue that ID is Creationism.  

One note that is important in the extreme:  While any form of belief in a creator god must be labelled as creationism, including Intelligent Design (ID), there is a clear distinction between the broad sweep of the creationism of many different religions and the Biblical Creationism that is most commonly under attack by evolutionists.

It is just not fair or honest to insist that ID is Biblical Creationism under another name.  While there may be some overlap, as there is between even Biblical Creationism and Evolution, this doesn’t mean they are the same thing.  The debate should be shifting towards refining the points of contention and not just slinging words around to muddy the waters and slur opponents positions unjustly.

The Comparison
Intelligent Design
Biblical Creationism
Is an “old” earth compatible?YesNo
Is “Irreducible Complexity” a 
necessary argument for 
your position?
Is the theory of Evolution 
compatible with your 
(ID offers an explanation 
for many gaps in 
evolution too)
Does your position require 
the Bible to be true
Does your position rely on 
a different interpretation of 
much of the same 
evidence that the theory 
of Evolution and “old earth 
geology” uses?

A Word on The Debate
It is the final two points where the debate needs to take place between Biblical Creationism and the current Atheist/Secular Humanist position.  Anything else is missing the mark.

The questions for debate are:
1. Is the bible true?
2. Can the evidence be interpreted in a reasonable but different way?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Review - The Element, by Ken Robinson

If you are familiar with Sir Ken Robinson’s famous TED talk on how schools can kill creativity, or his more recent RSA Animate piece on the need to change education paradigms, then you will already know what to expect with ‘The Element’.  It is more of the same strong call that is rapidly spreading across the globe to develop a society that will nurture human talent.  This is done so using a host of wonderful stories of people who have discovered their element and how they have reached amazing success through this.  People including musical artists Bob Dylan and Jay-Z, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Actress Meg Ryan, Broadway Choreographer Gillian Lynne, physicist Richard Feynman, athletic legends, business leaders, and more.

I would recommend this book to anyone at all, though if you are already familiar with Sir Ken’s work it is more for your own inspiration via the collection of stories of people’s lives.  The drum that he is banging will not be unfamiliar territory, though the the print form of these ideas give more time to reflect and absorb the details than the video presentations.

Seeing God

In each Christian we should see a developing picture of God the father.  This is because we are becoming more Christ-like and Jesus was the exact representation of the father’s nature. This is how we glorify God, i.e. by displaying his image in ourselves.

If you do not see this nature within yourself, can you call yourself a Christian?

How can you develop this nature within yourself?

What does God do in your life, from day to day, week to week, year to year, to develop this godly nature in you?

Hebrews 1:3 He [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,

Romans 8:29  For those whom he foreknew [believers/Christians] he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

2Corinthians 3:18  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Romans 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 2:4  Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Romans 5:3-5  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, (4) and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (5) and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

John 14:5-12  Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?"  (6)  Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  (7)  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."  (8)  Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."  (9)  Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?  (10)  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.  (11)  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.  (12)  "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.