Saint Patrick Stained Glass Window

Science, Analogies and St. Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick Stained Glass WindowHave you noticed how the 17th of March has become a celebration of the color green (with a side of beer for the adults)? Why have a holiday just for green? or is there something more to this “St. Patrick” than you normally hear about?

My family has a copy of the book on Patrick from Voice of the Martyrs. It doesn’t talk about snakes or shamrocks, but does a great job of showing his known life with vivid pictures.

Looking around online, I’ve found a couple of pages to give you the basics of this real man’s life.

There is no question Patrick and many other early Irish believers were true followers of Jesus. If you know an Irish lass (or any girl for that matter), she can learn a lot of amazing history from a reprinted nineteenth century book about The Princess Adelina by Julie Sutter.  She was an Irish young lady whose family moved to Germany in the 700s to tell people on the mainland about Jesus. Not only did Patrick help the Irish turn to Jesus, their Kinsman Redeemer, he helped them desire to share the truth with all the people they could find!

Today, I want to focus on how St. Patrick used natural things to help people understand complex things about God.Shamrock Leaves

The story goes that Patrick was trying to explain the Trinity and plucked a shamrock leaf with its three lobes. He explained how there were three parts, but only one leaf and compared it to God’s three persons in one Godhead.

Turns out, the earliest writing we have talking about Patrick using a shamrock is less than 300 years old! So, like many other things, we can only guess if Patrick used this analogy or not.

What we do know is the world is full of things we can use for analogies to help understand God. The Bible uses things in nature all the time. For example:

  • Sin is like dirt and red dye: Isaiah 1
  • Jesus’ relationship with His church is like marriage: Ephesians 5
  • Longing for God is like a deer’s thirst: Psalm 42
  • Coming judgment is like the Flood of Noah’s day: Matthew 24
  • Believers are like harmless doves, but wise as snakes: Matthew 10:16
  • People are like wandering, but beloved sheep: Isaiah 53; Matthew 18

Jesus was especially fond of using the natural world to describe unseen things; we call them parables. He used so many there’s no way to fit them all into one post!

Throughout the years, Jesus’ followers have used their own analogies.

 

  • The Christmas tree is an analogy of eternal lifeCS4K-Butterfly-Lifecycle
  • The dogwood tree reminds us of Jesus’ death
  • The butterfly is often used to describe what happens to our minds as we learn God’s ways (Romans 12:2) and can picture the difference between our mortal bodies and our eternal ones.

In the Bible, Paul, a tent maker, used the analogy of a tent compared to a house to describe our new bodies (II Corinthians 5:1)

The fish was a very early symbol for Jesus’ followers. Jesus started it by telling His disciples they would switch from fishing the real ones to fishing for men (Mark 1:17). Later, when believers needed a secret mark to identify themselves only to other believers, they used the fish.

WMenorah-Fish-Pothy? Not only had Jesus said His followers would be people-fishers, it also makes an anagram of Jesus’ title in Greek. Plus, it’s so simple even I can draw one!

My favorite use of the fish was found a few years ago in Jerusalem. Early believers had combined the Jewish menorah with a fish forming a Star of David between them. All of Jesus’ followers have been grafted in to the blessings of Abraham!

Know this therefore that they which are of faith, they are the children of Abraham.
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the peoples through faith, preached the gospel to Abraham before, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed.
So then they which are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Galatians 3:7-9

I’ve got another article inspired by St. Patrick’s use of the natural world: Tribute to Saint Patrick: Bacterial Analogy of Jesus the Son of God

For more analogies, see Answers in Genesis: A Biblical Analogy of the Four Fundamental Entities

Lacy Ferns

Reading Through the Bible, Genesis 1 & What is God Like?

An Antebellum era (pre-civil war) family Bible...

OK, so we’ve got colds, I’m potty training my youngest (yes, guys, this writer really is a mom), and we’re busy on top of it.

I just don’t have time to do justice to rock layers like I want to. 🙁

But, for years now, I’ve put reading through the Bible top place on my priority list. I don’t do anything else but physical necessities until God has spoken to me through His Word.

This year I was determined to find a plan where you aren’t reading 178 verses one day (Psalm 119) and 14 the next (3rd John). What’s more,it needed to be a mix of passages. If you don’t get bored reading the beginning of I Chronicles, kudos. I don’t want to endure that if there’s another way.

There are a bunch of other ways! Two years ago, I used M’Cheyne’s plan and liked it a lot except for reading the New Testament twice a year. I always read more than what’s required one way or another, I don’t like having even more “required” than necessary.

This year, I decided to look for an even better plan and ran into something called a Thematic Bible Reading Plan that’s brand new! You don’t have to start on January 1 or on the first Sunday of the year. Just jump in whenever you’re ready.

Here’s why I’m mentioning it: I love the passages he’s tied in to Genesis chapters 1-4. Psalm 148 is glorious and is making me rethink whether the idea of vast amounts of water beyond space is so crazy after all. Ephesians 1 is super exciting with the reminder that God chose believers before the world began.

Then there’s how well Ephesians chapter 2 ties in with our Fall. We are all born “children of disobedience” because of what our first parents chose. But, it’s not the end of the story!

And here’s the idea that inspired me to work up this post before I have to run:

Look at Genesis 1:3. What did God do? He “said”. He used words to create. If you keep reading you’ll find there was just one thing He created without simply speaking it into being (although God did talk about His plans): People.

That’s something we like to think about. It’s cool. But look at what God does in the next verse:

And God saw

English: Sun beams lighting up the glens Stron...

I don’t really know how it works out, but there is something about actually experiencing an event that applies to God just like it does to us.

We can plan things out and think things through, but there’s nothing like actually being somewhere and doing something. Have you ever dreamed you ate food? It has no flavor. You have to put real food in your mouth to taste it.

Genesis 1 isn’t the only place this idea comes out. Look at what happened to Jesus when He became a human being:

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; Hebrews 5:8 

Jesus experienced how hard it is to obey when your body is hurting and did it anyway.

I don’t know how it all works out, but God experiences reality something like we do. What a mind blowing thought!

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

 

Some of my Favorite Christmas Characters: Mary and Nicholas

Fun KillerI wrote this post last year, but it’s timeless message will still be true in a hundred years (if the Lord tarries)….

I was reading a post by someone on Christmas and whether Jesus’ followers should celebrate it and saw a comment asking if they “[had] a bee in [their] bonnet.” Well, that is sort of true, but mostly because there are some of Jesus’ followers who have very large “bees” in their bonnets!

Last month I passed on something about Santa Claus on facebook and a lady was offended at me for not equating him with the great accuser, Satan. To my knowledge she’s not visited my page since then.

As a newly wed participating in a missions conference, a church asked us for our favorite Bible characters. When it was my turn, I shared how much I respect and admire Mary. The stillness that filled the room could almost be felt.

Who are these people who get under people’s skins so badly?

English: Council of Nicea

Council of Nicea

Santa Claus wasn’t always just a popular replacement for Jesus as the centerpiece of the holiday. He was a real man that we will get to know in Heaven. He lived in Turkey and Greece 1700 years ago and loved Jesus very much. Although he is best known for his secret generosity, he was also important in making sure the western church didn’t fall for lies about the true nature of Jesus as both God and Man.

I did find one article that isn’t from a saint-worshiping tradition; they aren’t so sure that Nicholas was really at the Council of Nicea. This was where church leaders hammered out what the Bible actually says about who Jesus is. Their records don’t say anything about Nicholas being there, but later people said he was not only there, but lost his temper and slapped the guy who claimed Jesus wasn’t really God (causing Nicholas to lose his church position).

English: Byzantine fresco representing the fir...Whether Nicholas was there or not, we know there was a real battle for the hearts and minds of believers then. Today, the same battle is still raging; many of us struggle with the truth of Genesis and the nature of Jesus as Creator and Witness.

Anyway, my kids know Nicholas doesn’t have anything to do putting the presents under the tree, and probably never saw a reindeer. But, we like reading his story and remembering how following Jesus means helping others in every way, from secret presents to taking uncomfortable stands for truth.

c. 1437-1446People don’t usually have quite as big a problem with Mary, but she has her share as well. I agree there are people who go far beyond the Bible and turn her into a kind of goddess. The Bible tells us she was nothing of the sort as she herself testifies:

 Then Mary said,

“I praise the Lord with all my heart.
     I am very happy because God is my Savior.
 I am not important,
    but he has shown his care for me, his lowly servant.
From now until the end of time,
    people will remember how much God blessed me. Luke 1:46-48 Easy-to-read Version

Mary needed her Kinsman Redeemer just as much as you and I do, but she set a wonderful example to follow. She was enough of a scientist to know that God wasn’t going to just give her a baby son without something extra happening. When the angel told her the plan, Mary was willing to cooperate even with the miraculous. Her words of acceptance and submission are a guide to all of us when we are given extraordinary tasks:

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. Luke 1:38

If we throw away everything and everyone that has been used in a corrupted manner, we won’t have anything left. From the rainbow to God Himself someone has used them for selfish, sinful purposes. As for me, I’m going to keep the memories of some of Jesus’ fellow servants dear in my heart and look forward to the day Mary, Nicholas and I stand before the throne and worship the Lamb together!

For lots more on the controversies of Christmas, check out:

Answers in Genesis: Feedback: Christians Celebrating Christmas at Christmas Town

Biblical Archaeology: Why Dec 25th?

PS My kids and I have a set of books on Nicholas, Valentine, and Patrick from the Voice of the Martyrs. They are beautifully done and treat these men as honorable heroes. I highly recommend them.

You can find some interesting legends and lots of activities about Nicholas at the St. Nicholas Center: For Kids section. We’ll probably be checking it out tomorrow afternoon!

Gratitude: the Key to our Choices

One of the most important Bible passages for Creationists to learn about, remember, and maybe even memorize (your young brain can handle it!), is in the middle of Romans chapter 1.

The whole book focuses on what God did in Jesus to bring people back to Himself. And right at the beginning we have a section talking about creation, gratitude, and the consequences if we refuse to cooperate.

The world gives us all kinds of reasons why some people go really bad:

  • The person had no family, or a rotten one
  • They didn’t have enough education
  • Poor nutrition/health care made them that way
  • They didn’t have enough money
  • People were mean and wouldn’t share with them

All these things are real problems. We are wise and right to help others overcome them and have the freedom to choose a better life.

But they don’t come close to the real cause. As usual, God reaches right into our soul and tells us what the deep reason actually is:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:21

God has shown every person enough of who He is for them to have “no excuse” for ignoring Him. But people didn’t want to admit He is there because they refused to do two things:

  • Glorify Him as God
  • Be thankful

That’s it. All the awful choices they make with the rest of their lives go back to these two. We don’t want to worship anyone but ourselves, or a god we invent to do things our way. And we sure don’t want to have to say “thanks” and owe God for taking care of us.

“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe

Americans, I’m sure you’ve noticed how the media and businesses don’t really focus on what Thanksgiving is all about. They’re fine with warm and fuzzy family time. They love good food and football. They’re really happy about people skipping sleep to go spend money the next morning. They’re even OK with saying “thanks” to you, to the turkey, to the world.

But it’s only those of us who have already chosen to follow God who like to remember the whole point of the celebration.

Let’s not be surprised or annoyed. God told us it would always be like this 2,000 years ago.

Praise Team Gospel Singers

(Photo credit: OldOnliner)

Our job is to take part in the heavenly celebration and shout His praises from the housetops. Social media and our emails are great ways to share beautiful reminders of what this Thursday is actually all about. Church praise times and passing on our blessings to needy people are Biblical, too.

Then there’s our families. When I am reminded of the pain, darkness, and misery God sees every moment, after I’ve asked Him to work, I like to focus on the one place I can change.

My goal as a homemaker is to give Jesus a place to settle down and relax. A place where He is honored as Lord, Savior, and Creator. A place where we’re never happy with our sin natures, but rejoice as we become more like Him every day.

And, assuming Romans 1:21 is true (which it is), praise and thanksgiving are the key to this goal!

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4 

Other posts on gratitude to check out: Ernie’s Musings: A Day to Give Thanks

A beautiful hymn you may have heard to chorus of: Thank You, Lord by Seth and Bessie Sykes

Updated: Pray for Us

worship

(Photo credit: vicki wolkins)

Over a year ago, I knew how important it was to draw all of you into the ministry of reaching out about our Creator God. So I put up a page inviting you to Pray for Us. At the time, my work was way under the radar and I think there had been only one or two “skirmishes” on the blog.

Times have changed.

If you go to my “about” section on facebook, you’ll see how many rules I’ve had to put in place to keep my sanity and still allow interaction (when possible) with people who have yet to acknowledge Jesus as their Creator, Savior, and Lord. Compared to some of the other pages and ministries I’ve seen, I’ve still got it easy.

There is a real battle for the minds and hearts of humanity. Whether we owe allegiance to a Creator God or are autonomous accidents [don’t have to deal with anyone above us] is one of the main flashpoints across most of the world. That puts all of us right on the front lines, plus in the support lines behind the main workers.

Conversations at Vermillion

(Photo credit: JeanineAnderson)

Last week there were a handful of interactions online which broke my heart. Several people were so incapable of following guidelines, I had no choice but to block them without having a chance to share Jesus with them. Someone else tried to comment on the blog with such an insulting email name I couldn’t post it.

Then there have been a few on our side who still have a lot of growing in Jesus and His Spirit to do. Only God has the power to help them remember to imitate Christ rather than the Enemy they rail against.

These burdens are far too heavy for me to bear alone. Then I remembered God never meant me to try. I need my family’s help! So do all the people reaching out to the world outside. We aren’t extra special saints, just called. We are vulnerable to all kinds of attacks on our own. Jesus describes us as His body; we are designed to work together and support one another in a humanly impossible task.

So, here’s what I’m adding to the Pray For Us page:

  • May God’s Holy Spirit be the ruler and influence on every person coming in contact with my sites (this includes this blog, the facebook page, Twitter account, and Google+)

My prayer is that the Enemy’s lies will be exposed and the Holy Spirit will work in a special way to soften and prepare hearts for the truth of the Bible. We are instruments for communicating this truth, but without open minds and hearts, there is no hope. With God, all things are possible.

  • May each of us interacting with duped people who give us a hard time be filled with supernatural peace (my heart normally races every time this happens), compassion, and wisdom

Natural humanity either wants to ignore those who disagree, or argue with them and call them names. God’s ways are not ours. If He doesn’t speak through us, we are no different from everyone else.

I’ve heard many testimonies of people who found Jesus because they realized He was the Creator. Please pray that truth seeking people would find the information about Creation scattered around the internet and that many people will be added to Christ’s kingdom through our work.

In the same vein, we pray many people will find their faith in and commitment to Jesus grounded and strengthened by the confidence understanding the scientific support for the Bible brings.

Thank you and God bless!

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that plants any thing, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase. I Corinthians 3:6-7

Reasons for the Hope Within Me

English: William Tyndale, Protestant reformer ...

William Tyndale, Bible translator. One who was “absolutely confident” to the death

Yesterday I got a most interesting message on facebook. A creation doubter said he was interested in my answer to the question of why I am “absolutely confident” in my beliefs. I’d like to tell him thank you for such an awesome opportunity. We are commanded by God to “be ready always to give an answer for the hope [confident expectation] that lies within you.” I Peter 3:15 This is the first time I’ve gotten to give that answer!

First, I need to make an observation about today’s Western intellectual culture. It is considered a virtue and honor to rely on one’s own thinking to decide what is right and important for yourself. To rely on some authority (other than one’s modern peers) is to be weak-minded and backwards. God calls this foolishness and arrogance.

At the same time, to be fully convinced that one has found unchanging truth is considered highly arrogant. Doubt is, for them, perhaps the highest virtue of all. In their view, to say “I could be wrong about everything” is to be truly humble.

But no one actually lives like this. Mathematicians rely on unchanging constants as the foundation for every equation they ever work. Engineers assume the tests performed on the materials and shapes they work with will continue to follow the same laws into the future to build safe structures. Scientists fully expect an experiment done in the exact same way, under the exact same circumstances to have the exact same result. If it doesn’t they look for some unknown variable. They don’t just write it off as “the rules of physics changed since last time”.

Every person trusts so completely in gravity they aren’t fearful to leave their home. They know the power won’t suddenly stop causing them to tumble off the planet at any moment. We all are “absolutely confident” about any number of daily realities. If we weren’t, we would be huddled in our beds in constant terror.

Now to the question:

Yes, I am absolutely, 100%, I will die rather than admit any doubt, confident that God is who He says He is, has done the things He claims to have done, and will bring me into His heavenly home the moment my mortal life is over.

Here’s why:

  • I’ve experienced God. I know Him. I’ve trusted in Him, talked to Him, and seen Him work in, through, and for me. There have been times in my life when there was every earthly reason to be terrified and Jesus has filled me with peace. Often His peace came hours, days, or even years before the proof of why I needn’t worry came into being. Just this past week I’ve turned over rather serious concerns to God’s control, experienced His peace, and am starting to see glimpses of how He’s going to work things out.

I would give you specifics, but each case involves others who haven’t given me permission to share.

At other times, things don’t end up with a “happy ending” by the world’s standards. This is perhaps when I feel God’s presence the most clearly. Jesus is described as a “man of sorrows”. When I am in pain from any grief or loss, I sense His care and sharing in my pain. He helps me to walk through the darkness, keeping my sanity and finding joy when happiness is a distant memory.

  • I’ve also seen God at work in other’s lives. My husband was a grieving, bitter alcoholic in his youth. Jesus got a hold of him and turned his life completely around. Instead of focusing on his own pain and desires, he now focuses on the needs of others, living a life characterized by peace and joy. Hundreds of people knew him before and can testify to the transformation in his life.

My family works with people suffering from serious mental illness. I’ve watched hundreds of people with bipolar and schizophrenia turn over their hearts and minds to Jesus. Slowly they stabilize to the point where they not only don’t end up the hospital often, but they are reaching out to people around them being a blessing and exuding joy.

I fully expect you to write each of these off as mental exercises or coincidences that don’t require any god. Here’s the thing: I can’t put into words what is really going on. When a person believes in Jesus they receive a completely new dimension to their lives a unbeliever can’t imagine.

I’d like to give you an analogy of what I’m trying to describe:

The blind leading the blind

The blind leading the blind (Photo credit: Squonk11)

Imagine a valley where everyone is born blind. They’ve learned to survive as they are, although the large boulders scattered everywhere do cause them problems.

One day, a soft voice whispers to people going about their business, “I am the Eye Doctor. Come to me and I can restore your sight.”

Many people ignore his call, pretending they didn’t hear it, or that the words are nonsense. But a few are interested enough to follow the voice, including you. Gently, the Eye Doctor shares the unknown realm of sight and the beauties awaiting those who have their sight restored. He explains that if you will trust him, he can replace your defective eyes and then begin the long process of building brain connections to allow you to comprehend what you’re seeing.

You decide to trust the Eye Doctor enough to allow him to perform surgery on your eyes. It’s over in an instant. Even from the first moment a previously unimaginable world of color floods you. It’s overwhelming!

Daisies in dew 2

Daisies in dew 2 (Photo credit: aprilmo)

Over the next few months, the Eye Doctor works with you, building up connections so your brain can understand the information your new eyes are sending you. Suddenly the world is brimming with beauties. The tiniest flower, blade of grass, and rock are gems bringing great delight. More than this is the joy of getting to know the one who gave you this gift. He speaks to you, guides you, and explains to you why you are the way you are. Even knowing your weakness, he loves you. The feeling is like nothing you’ve ever imagined before.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Parable of the ...

One day, you realize you can recognize the faces of those around you. You can see them blundering around, slamming into rocks, hurting themselves and others. The next day, you try to warn someone carrying a small child that they are about to fall over a rock. A little later, someone carrying a heavy load heads for yet another boulder and you call out in alarm. To your surprise their response isn’t gratitude, it’s annoyance at your bossiness.

Many people begin to avoid you and you start noticing angry expressions on people’s faces even when they remain silent. It hurts.

But then there’s a face that looks right at you. This has never happened before! So, you move around to see if they just happened to be turned your direction. No, this person follows your quiet movements. You smile at them. They smile back. It’s another person who’s been to the Eye Doctor! Oh, the joy, oh the fellowship! Finally, someone who understands the wonder of what’s happened to you.

The next day, a group comes to you and grabs your arm. They drag you to the council and demand you cease and desist your bothering of the good citizens of the country. “There is no such thing as sight. There is no such thing as color!” they cry. “If you insist upon your delusional beliefs, we will ban you from the valley. Admit you were wrong, or suffer exile.”

Are you in any doubt about what has happened to you? Not a bit.

Are you tempted to pretend it was all a lie? Just a little. Being exiled is a serious thing.

But then you see the Eye Doctor standing behind the crowd. He has his hand out, ready to walk with you into exile and care for you. All fear fades and you speak calmly and boldly, “I know whom I’ve believed, and am absolutely confident he is real and what he has given me is real. There is sight and there is color. I only wish you would come experience it with me.”

This analogy is my own, but the Bible often refers to people outside of Christ as “blind”. Jesus Himself said He is the light of the world. Another word picture God uses is to “pass from death into life”. The difference between death and life is not something someone can describe to a person who’s only known death.

Do I think this testimony will change my correspondent’s heart and mind? No. People have free will and adults have a lot invested in the life they have chosen. But, I also believe in the Holy Spirit. He is the one who shines the light of Jesus into hearts, and for some reason, He often chooses to work through ordinary words.

People praying at the Cenacle in Jerusalem.

So, all of you who have been to “the Eye Doctor”, I ask you to pray for my friend. If it was just me, I would ban any opposing view on sight, it “isn’t good for my blood pressure“. But taking the time to share with each person who comes to me is a sacrifice of love I make to the Creator God who “isn’t willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth.” II Peter 3:8

For another take on the experience of knowing God, check out Creation Clues: The Little Things

Exciting, Brain-Frying Changes

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http://www.epa.gov/win/winnews/images05/0510keyboard.gif

Every few months I’ll have a day where no post topic jumps to mind. Usually, whatever I want to study or share has been banging around in my mind for a while, threatening to steal my sleep if I don’t write it up. Then it’s a relief to sit at the computer, get it out, and share with you all.

I enjoy days like those!

But, today I checked out facebook, Twitter, and my email and realized nothing was standing out to me. I could transfer my idea file from my old computer (now the kids typing tutor), but then I remembered you all don’t know the big news yet.

No, I haven’t heard back from Master Books yet. Or rather, just enough to know the president got my letter and would I send a proper submission form to the screener, please? That was easily done and got sent out on the 2nd of July, a week after we found out a major change is coming to our house.

My 7th baby moved into my tummy in June! We kept the news quiet until we were pretty sure this little one wasn’t going to head on to be with Jesus right away like his/her big sibling.

Now, this isn’t a Mommy blog, but it’s rather important for you all to know anyway for one reason:

The Brain Research Institute

The Brain Research Institute (Photo credit: rytc)

Some moms get terrible morning sickness. Some moms get horribly weepy and cry at every commercial. I get brain fog.

When a baby moves in, a large portion of my brain power shuts down. The first thing I discussed with God (even before our need for a full-sized van to hold 8 people at once) was, “Lord, I’m going to need your help with CS4K. You know how my brain fries!” Can you guess what His answer was?

Sunbeam

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Yes, Lord.

Mostly I’m letting you all know so you can pray for us and won’t get annoyed if my post rate falls off. I don’t suppose the skeptics will care about bugging a poor brain-fried mommy, but it can’t hurt to appeal to their natural sympathy.  But I also want God to receive the glory when He manages to get something decent published through my brain fog. 🙂

These things are also proving something we all know about our Creator:

God loves children

The Painting entitled

He has filled me with a burden for the millions of kids who know a bit about Jesus but have no help fitting God and the Bible into the science they learn in school. That’s why God gave me a time of full brain power to work on a book for them. What an awesome thing it would be to have young people stand strong in their faith in Christ because I could help them see the truth!

He also loves to reward His followers with children. Of course, this far from Eden, it doesn’t always work out barring a miracle. Mutations are everywhere and can seriously mess things up. Other problems can get in the way of God’s “very good” design. But there’s only one way to bring a new person on the planet and that’s through a mommy! It is my joy and privilege to be one of them: to be so close to God’s everyday miracles.

Thank you, Father. It’s all yours and I will trust you!

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalm 127

God, You’re too Harsh!

The parable of the talents, as depicted in a 1...

The parable of the talents, as depicted in a 1712 woodcut. The lazy servant searches for his buried talent, while the two other servants present their earnings to their master.

Jesus told this parable where He was the master and we the servants: Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate.’ Matthew 25:24 NLT

It wasn’t easy deciding whether this was a topic to cover on a blog “for kids”, but the more I run into arguments against worshipping and loving God, the more I realize our kids need to have answers, and soon.

What is it unbelieving people are telling us about God? “Atheists” like Richard Dawkins spend an awfully lot of time talking about how horrible the God of the Bible, the only real God, is. If they really believed God was invented by people, why work so hard to smear His character?

Eagerly they seek out the goriest accounts in the Bible seeking to prove God is too disgusting to deserve our worship. It seems the only kind of God they would consider worthy is a spineless softy who let everyone get away with murder (literally).

Interestingly, these people never touch the worst case of “genocide” in the history of the universe, Noah’s Flood. They don’t dare take that one seriously, or it would give us the opportunity to point to the mountains of evidence for the Flood having really happened.

So how can a God-fearing believer in Jesus respond to such a low blow? Let’s see how Jesus, the Master, responded to the fearful servant in the story:

Parable of the Talents

Parable of the Talents

But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate,why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ Matthew 25:26,27 NLT

Did he claim to be a kind and gentle master? Not at all. He accepted the accusation and turned it back on the servant. “You knew I was like this, so why didn’t you meet my expectations?” That’s not what we would have said! But it’s what Jesus claimed.

What’s more, here are the consequences for the servant’s bad attitude and fearful actions:

“Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:30 NLT

Our God, the God who is, makes a terrifying enemy indeed! But there’s something else going on. Remember who the guy is? He is one of the master’s “servants”, but doesn’t have the master’s protection. He isn’t part of the family.

This tells us every person on earth, no matter what their attitude about God is, still is one of Jesus’ servants. He gives them “talents”- skills, opportunities, and character traits to help them accomplish God’s work on earth. They are expected to return a profit for Jesus’ kingdom no matter what.

Here’s the bottom line. God made everything, including all people. He gets to decide when a person is to die or live. If we ignore Him, thumbing our noses at His rules and mistreat His creation, God will eventually say, “enough is enough.”

tombstone shadows

tombstone shadows (Photo credit: Rick Payette)

That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Psalm 104:28,29

God isn’t “pro-life” the way we are called to be. He does love all of us, but there comes a point of no return:

 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.” Luke 19:42-44 NLT

God was, is, and will be terrifyingly mean to those who hate Him. But, He offers each and every one of us a way to find protection-  by hiding ourselves in Him through Jesus’ life and cleansing.

Lacy Ferns

Is the Bible Reliable: Faithful witnesses

For Jr. High and up:

English: A small courtroom in the Supreme Cour...

A small courtroom in the Supreme Court of the Canton of Berne, Switzerland.

One of the reasons some people refuse to admit the Bible is true is the “lack of evidence.” We don’t have physical objects to prove Jesus really rose from the dead or did any of the other miracles the Bible records, but does this mean the Bible has to be taken by blind faith?

If it does, than the judicial systems of the world take a lot of things by blind faith too.

The other day I ran into an article written by a retired Australian Chief Magistrate (judge) called Can we believe the Gospels? Hearing what a judge looks for in a witness or group of witnesses is exciting and teaches you a lot. The article is long, but laid out so well, I think you can handle reading it. Just try to learn the section headings and you’ll be able to remember his main points easily.

When you’re done, see how the Mark account I covered yesterday ties in. If you were inventing a “perfect” savior and making up stories to “prove” he was all that, would you have mentioned this sputtering miracle? Considering how few Christians through the years have known what to do with it, you would have to really want to believe Mark and Peter (the one who told the stories to Mark) had such a wild imagination.

English: visual cortex

visual cortex

It makes a lot more sense and unravels a big snarl if Jesus really is the Creator God who understood our brains and bodies! We have a faithful God and a rock solid foundation for our faith. The more we learn, the more we find Him true.

Jehovah, the LORD is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; Exodus 34:6