Friday, August 29, 2008

On Miracles and Creation

Is it interesting to you that people who fully affirm the existence of miracles in the face of no scientific supporting evidence deny the possibility of a direct, recent creation that actually has scientific evidence in support of it?

These would say, "We must deny young earth creationism because all the science points away from it." Yet they do not say, "We must deny the resurrection because all the science points away from it."

That seems like selective hermeneutics to me. Somehow we are less embarrassed to believe a dead man rose from the dead than we are to believe that God created the world in six day relatively recently.

The truth is that there is far more scientific evidence for a recent creation than there is for a resurrection.

Perhaps some people should rethink their belief in the supernatural and the implications of that for their belief in the text of Scripture.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Weird Article

This is a weird article about the Olympics. "Why?" you ask. Because it is about a Chinese girl named "He." The pronoun/name becomes rather confusing at first glance. Consider this paragraph:
If the age reported by Xinhua was correct, that would have meant He was too young to be on the Chinese team that beat the United States on Wednesday and clinched China's first women's team Olympic gold in gymnastics. He is also a favorite for gold in Monday's uneven bars final.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Abortion and the Defense of Life

I heard a pastor recently talking about abortion and saying, "We had a civil war over a far less serious matter." I think there is some merit to the underlying principle, but what do we do about it?

If I saw my neighbor getting ready to kill her three-month old, I would step in to protect the life of the little one, and I wouldn't stop with just trying to talk her down. I would physically try to stop her.

If I saw a young lady on her way to abort her baby who was three months along, I would probably talk to her and try to talk her out of it if I knew her, but should I physically stop her to prevent her from killing her baby?

Here's the rub: If we do step in to protect the life of the three-month old and do not step in to protect the life of the three-month pregnancy, aren't we essentially admitting that there is a difference between a first trimester pregnancy and a three-month old?

Is a recognized legal right to kill someone a good reason not to step in and take action?

It reminds me that sin has no easy answers, particularly when it is sanctioned by the government.

Afraid of Fear

I am. I am afraid of fear, mostly because I fear what fear might encourage me to do.

I chose the word "encourage" there very carefully. Often people talk in terms of obligation: "Fear made me do it." Well, no, it didn't. Fear might have encouraged you to do it. But fear does not make us do anything.

Fear can be both positive and negative. There is a good kind of fear as in "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov 1:7). God uses fear to motivate us to salvation and to godly living. How else can we explain the frequent references to judgment and hell? In fact, passages like Hebrews 4:1 command us to fear: "Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it."

But there is also a bad kind of fear, as in "The fear of man brings a snare" (Prov 29:25). This kind of fear (usually coupled with a lust for approval) can cause us to do things or not do things because we fear the reaction of those around us.

In personal counseling (meaning not only when I counsel someone else on a personal basis, but also when I counsel my own person), I like to ask, "What are you afraid of?" I believe when we get an honest answer to the question, we are approaching the root sins that drive the sins that we see.

So what's the answer to fear? Consider this:

'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' (Isaiah 41:10)

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! (Isaiah 43:1)

'As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!' (Haggai 2:5)

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," 6 so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?" (Hebrews 13:5-6).

The answer to fear is God's presence with us, the God who redeemed us, called us by his name, upholds us by his righteous right hand, and keeps his promises of his presence with us. When we confidently believe that God is with us, regardless of what we might see around us, we will live of a life of godly fear.

I am afraid of fear, and I am afraid not to fear. I think it is a great way to live.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Food for Thought

From Truth is Still Truth on Depression:

The Lord's recipe for getting out of this depression is to reverse what put him into it.

The the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?... (Genesis 4:6-7a NASB)

God was in effect telling Cain, "Your attitude responds to your actions. Don't try to change your feelings (which is the thrust of much modern Psychology) but rather modify your actions - your feelings will follow.

From Out or Ur on multi-site video venues:

Many advocates of video venues say there simply aren’t enough church planters and talented teachers to go around. And my response is that in a video venue world, there never will be. Pursued as a large scale strategy, video venues will inevitably lead to fewer and fewer gifted and experienced lay and vocational preachers. The gift of preaching— already suffering from over-professionalization—will become ever more the work of the celebrity.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Motyer on Pain

Human intuition says, "If this is God's world, and he is good, surely things should not be so." Some even proceed to use the adversities of life as an argument against the existence of God. The intuition is correct, the deduction is false. For if there is no good God, no one would feel pain and suffering to be a problem. If the world is simply chance, then pain, too, is one of the changes and chances of life and our intuition would tell us so. If the world belongs to humankind, then suffering is one aspect of our mismanagement and we should say, "It stands to reason." Pain is a problem only if our intuition is correct that the world is directly in the hands of a good, loving, all-wise, all-powerful God.

J. Alec Motyer, "Haggai," in The Minor Prophets, ed. Thomas F. McComiskey (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), pp. 978-79.