For Everything There Is A Season

For everything there is a season

 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

I feel a changing of the seasons. A time for me to keep silent as surely as there is a time for me to speak. I sense that a season away from blogging is in order. A time of refreshing. God is allowing me a season off to spend quality time with my children unhindered by a Tuesday/Friday writing schedule. Time which will allow an occasional skipping of naps to go on an expedition (thank you Christopher Robin); this break will mean the post I needed to write won’t be late. Writing two times a week doesn’t seem like much when I type it, but compiled on a list of other to do’s both maternal, matrimonial, ministerial, and homeschooling (too bad that can’t start with an “m” ) it is much.

Even Jesus need time away.

With that said, I am taking off the entire month of August and will determine if my break will continue in September and October at the end of the month. I believe that it will be a three month break which will pinpoint me coming back in November and December to celebrate our Savior’s birth with you. God will let me know once I have been obedient to take the break I feel is necessary. Being a naturally driven person, it is hard for me to follow through with a break. I have almost talked myself out of it several times over the last week after I made the decision.

I pray that my ministry here is effective in the hearts and lives of those of you who read these posts; that these words I type would be an encouragement to keep fighting the good fight and to arm yourself with the belt of Truth and the breastplate of righteousness and to seek the eternal in the everyday. Thank you for your prayers for me  and my family as well. I will be re-posting past posts over at iBelieve.com during that time so feel free to join me there every Tuesday if you can’t stand the time away. (I almost completely say that tongue-in-cheek!)

May our days apart be a time to plant, to laugh, to dance, to build up, and a time to gather stones–may God’s intended time be beneficial to you while we are apart.

See you in the fall,

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Getting Ready as in the Days of Noah

Getting Ready Noah

The Bible tells us–even more specifically Jesus tells us–that in the last days it will be as in the time of Noah:

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. (Luke 17:26-33, ESV)

God determined to destroy His creation and created because of the rampant sin on the earth.

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:5-8)

The sins of our day are not unlike the sins of Noah’s day; in fact, sin has been the same since the days of Adam and Eve after the fall. Murder, lying, adultery, covetousness, sexual immorality, and idolatry to name a few. The sins of our times are not unique to our times; they are, however, more rampant and championed–like the days of Noah.

Once God gave Noah the command to build the Ark, Noah knew that the time men had to repent and turn to God was limited. Scripture leads me to believe that Noah preached repentance and faith in God to save those who would listen. The people of his day decided they would mock Noah and his God and not heed the warning of impending doom.

God protected and preserved human life and animal life on the Ark in his abundant grace. God provided a way out–a wooden ark. Today, God continues to provide a way out of damnation and judgment: Jesus Christ. Just as the Ark provided the only way to survive God’s judgment of sin by water, Jesus provides the only way to salvation when we face God’s  judgment of fire. (See 1 Corinthians 3:13 for the believers, and 2 Peter 3:10 for the destruction of the earth by fire.)

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:3-5)

I believe we are living once again in the days of Noah. I believe that everything we are seeing on a national and international stage is preparing the way of the Lord as in the days of John the Baptist. That is why it is so very important for us to know the Scriptures so that we are wise unto salvation and prepared to heed the coming of the Lord Jesus. Noah’s Ark may seem archaic, or like a children’s story, but in reality it is a pivotal picture of what is to come.

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What’s the Flood Got to Do With It?

What's the Flood Got to Do With It

You most likely remember the 1984 Tina Turner hit song, What’s Love Got to Do With It? Not sure what Ms. Turner decided about love, but, for the next few posts we are going to consider a brief overview of the Noetic Flood account (Genesis 6-9) and determine, What’s the Flood Got to Do With It? (You can thank me later for planting that song in your head for the rest of the day!)  I think we will find that the world-wide flood of Noah’s time has everything to do with the world we see today, and the condition of the world we will see in the end-times prior to Jesus return.

As we begin to unfold the events of Genesis 6-9, lets commence with a few facts concerning the Noetic flood:

1. From the time God closed the door of the Ark, to the day Noah’s family and the animals departed, was 371 days.

2. The flood had to be global in scope for the following to be necessary:

  • The need for the Ark: Why not simply mass exodus with family and animals during the 120 years from God’s command to build the Ark and Noah’s family entering it?
  • The size of the Ark: The gross tonnage was about 13,960 tons placing it within the category of large metal ocean-going vessels today.
  • All the high mountains were covered. (Genesis 7:19-20) The flood would have had to be global in scope for the waters to cover even one high mountain…let alone all the high mountains. Water seeks its’ own level therefore the water would have had to cover the entire earth to cover one high mountain.

(The Genesis Flood, Whitcomb and Morris, p. 10)

3.  It is imperative that we understand the flood condensation did not come from water found in the cloud coverage. “If all the water in the earth’s atmosphere were to condense, only an average of one inch of rain would fall.” (In the Beginning, Walt Brown, p. 362) However, if we flattened the mountain ranges and lifted the ocean basins then there would be enough water to cover the earth over two miles high.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:11-12)

  • “Fountains of the greet deep” refer to subterranean water chambers 10 miles underneath the earth’s surface.
  • The opening of the great deep left a permanent scar on the earth called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. (Click here for Google Images.)
  • The scar, Mid-Atlantic Ridge,  is composed of basalt rock which is found in the interior of the earth.
  • See full explanation of Dr. Walt Brown’s Hydro-Plate Theory at www.creationscience.com.

Perhaps you, like me, didn’t give the Flood Account a second thought in reference to the scientific and geologic ramifications of such a catastrophe. Perhaps, you focused instead on the animals going in two-by-two and the picturesque rainbow scene thereafter. However, once we look at Noah’s Flood in such a way, it will change our view of the earth and the scientific information of our secular society. Additionally, our understanding of multiple texts we encounter when reading the Bible will be further enlightened and read with added meaning.

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Pinterest Perfect

Pinterest Perfect

I recently had a woman from my home town ask me if I cooked all the recipes that I pin on Pinterest. I had to laugh! She was almost convinced that I mange to homeschool my children, write a blog, and actually try my hand at the pins I pin on Pinterest.

First of all, I was flattered. However, I was also a little unnerved because I somehow managed to give off the impression that I may have achieved what the rest of humanity has yet to do: have it all together. Let me put your ponderings to rest: I am not that good.

Anytime I cook real meals for dinner more than three nights in a week, I joke that I am in the running for wife and mother of the year awards. I do not believe that any of my friends will accuse me of being Sandra Lee or Ma Ingalls! Secondly, my staple meals are black beans and rice with guacamole or homemade chicken salad with Vegenaise mayo. Not quite a Pinterest perfect spread now is it?

Would you join me at iBelieve for the rest of the post? I would be so grateful. (Click here.)

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*Fantastic and fun photo by my husband Ron.

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Seeking the Colorful Promises When Life Pouts Gray

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*A repost. 

I should have known it was a drama storm when I saw soggy carpet in the passengers seat and water splotches on the roof of the car. I mumbled some complaints and made it out the drive when I realized I had forgotten my cell phone. What if we break down? I don’t exactly know how much water is in the car and if it will cause car trouble? “Ugh!” I cried as I shook my fists in the air and then turned the car around to retrieve the phone.

That is when she started praying:

“Please Father God get us to church safely.”

Now that is the reaction that I should have had instead of stubborn and proud fists flying, I said to myself. After finding my phone under a stack of books and papers I had been reading that morning I was once again buckling up and listening to Emily lay her request before the Lord to ask Him for safe travel.

She remembers our wreck from a three years ago. She knows that danger sometimes comes very unexpectedly; she knows who to call in times of need.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

~Psalm 121:1-2

We are here later than usual Lord, where will we find a parking spot? Please let it be close I don’t think I can handle a long walk with two children and a large umbrella this morning, I silently prayed as I told the kids we should be hoping for a spot. Then it happened the third time:

Dear Lord thank you for getting us safely to church. Please help us find a parking spot.”

“Emily, thank you for praying again taking all our needs to God like He tells us to in the Bible. And you started with telling Him thank you – that is exactly what He tells us to do as well!” I said. I had read those truths in Philippians 4:6 that morning so I rattled them off to her and Joshua as we continued to search out our spot. We soon found one in a grassy area as close to an entrance as I could hope for.

As I tried my best to remain calm and gracious-not to mention dry- I struggled with the wind and the large umbrella. How would the Proverbs 31 woman look carrying her children into church by herself in the middle of severe weather? I remained unsure but I sincerely wanted to give that woman a piece of my mind.

The morning at church went beautifully. Someone took my nursery duty as Joshua was sick and he and I got to worship together and play on my iPhone during service. I noticed he was half listening when Pastor Willy would say “God” or “never ever,” a phrase Joshua and Emily have picked up, Joshua would look up from his playing to watch and listen more intently.

The rain poured on and on as Tropical Storm Debby conveyed she was clearly a hormonal woman that poured tear after tear all day and into the night.

Upon awakening this morning Emily came out of her room and rushed to the window and said,

“I want to see the rainbow.”

This stilled me. She awoke seeking the promises of God.

Although she couldn’t see it I told her that did not mean it was not there.

After breakfast we dressed and put on our rain-boots to survey the debris from the storm. Walking back to the house I looked up to the sky and there it was, God’s promise arched over the sun. His glory on display. His faithfulness a banner.

This rainbow was visible only through the lenses of sunglasses but perhaps that is how He intended it.

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

~Proverbs 25:2

Emily’s prayers, her seeking the promise of God’s rainbow, reminded me to seek the colorful promises of God even when life’s circumstance pout gray. As we try to construct a Christian world-view for our children to reference and claim as their own they are listening and simultaneously He is teaching us far more than we could have imagined.

We should praise Him in the storm.

 

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How to Build a Beautiful Body

I was seeking a place of solitude and rest. It was the end of the work week building houses in Honduras.  In the cool, dark confines of another house, I sat near the water cooler on one of the many scrap lumber piles in the main living room. Covered in sawdust and dirt, and drinking a cool bottle of water, I looked down to see this beautiful piece of wood lying at my feet.

The ink markings conveyed that this scrap wood had a designer. It had been intentionally used by a creator to speak a message to all who would read its markings.

Jennifer. I knew immediately which teammate had lovingly created this piece of art for one of the children who had danced and laughed and played around our team that week.

As I looked down, I found yet more…

As I marveled at the love etched on the pieces of leftover wood I thought, so this is how you build a beautiful body Lord.

What some would leave for scraps or the burn pile, He takes and make something beautiful and new. The One who created life and trees themselves also came in bodily form to stretch out His hands on splintered wood as the payment for my sin so that I, we, can become a new creation in Him.

This is how He builds His beautiful body:

…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 4:15-16 (emphasis added)

Jennifer had the job of guarding our water supply to make sure it did not become contaminated. It was imperative that the 40+ workers on our site had clean water to drink or else our upset bellies would decrease our productivity. Jennifer took her job to another level by loving on the children as Jesus would while she also conducted the mundane, but important, job of guarding the water.

She was working with the mind of Christ.

When Christ saves us He gives us a new mind and spirit: his own. In this way, His body can be of one mind and one spirit and act in accordance with His will. Missions, both foreign and domestic, both intentional and invitational- that which God lays in our path each day- provides the present day church the opportunity to live as the early church did. To live this present life to the fullest.

Today I want to extend to you the opportunity to join a friend of mine, Stacy, in feeding hungry children in the Tampa Bay area. Stacy and  her two sons have made it a family goal to purchase and pack 5,000 meals through Feeding Children Everywhere. I have talked with Stacy on many occasions as she and her children have diligently worked toward making this missional dream a reality.

Please visit their donation page linked here to donate any amount. Ten dollars feeds 40 people! Your donations are appreciated and is far-reaching. You may also want to volunteer which you can sign up to do on the website (click here).

Choose “Make a Donation” on the left margin. The next screen should say, “Donate Without Sponsoring a Team or Individual.” Once you input your information, the donation will automatically go towards Joshua and Chase’s project. Thank you!

Thank you for building a beautiful Body in Christ.

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Love Never Fails

Love Never Fails

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.~John 13:34-35

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

If I am in fellowship with Christ, then shouldn’t I demonstrate love in action? Even with the provocations of life? Instead, I sometimes, perhaps more often, bend the opposite way of love, and so goes the clanging pieces of broken people clashing loud… the absence of love.

I have been hurt because of an absence of love..in action, word or deed. Past experiences, even recently past, help beckon me to compassionately pursue love as my first reaction…at least they did today.

Earlier today, I arrived early for my appointment at my doctor’s office. The receptionist first said, “Did you make an appointment?” My heart sank, Oh no, they didn’t put my appointment in their system, I thought.

Seconds later, “You are not in our system, only your husband.” Now she’s telling me, essentially, she has no idea who I am or why I am there. Wait, it get’s better. Next, she seems to be looking under the wrong insurance for my coverage and says, “Your insurance says it isn’t in effect.” Suffice it to say, I wanted to ask her if it was her first day on the job. It was with  my most loving attempt reacting kindly when I didn’t shout, or even say, “I’ve been a patient here for 6 years and I made an appointment! Find me in your system!”

Love is kind and patient. It treats others with respect and knows when to take a time out. I decided to leave while I still possessed the grace to do so… kindly.

I knew that my children and fellow patients were watching.  I knew that this woman was made by God and in His image. It wasn’t entirely, or perhaps at all, her fault she had no proof that I had ever been a patient there. So I consciously made an effort to be respectful to show compassion and love.

Mind you, it wasn’t that I provided a perfect example of love (my children heard the phone conversation that I had with their father afterwords in which I said what was really on my mind) but rather in that instance (and most of the phone conversation)  I didn’t say something that I would later have to apologize for.

The Bible conveys what love is in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient and kind. It is content and humble. Love seeks to forgive and be forgiven. Love shows honor and acts with respect. Love pursues and proclaims truth. Love endures while it keeps no record of wrongs. Love protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Perhaps perseverance is one of the more difficult pursuits in love. Love never fails.

God alone possess and expresses perfect love in abundance and without fail. That is why we are grace chasers. We need His grace and abundant love to truly live and to love well. His perfect love is expressed perfectly in the triune relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–and next, to His creation.

To sustain my relationship with others I require the love of God as infused by daily filling of the Holy Spirit. The filling that I should seek and lean into through prayer and the reading and memorization of Scripture. Additionally, love is learned and sustained in community. Love must be lived out with others to truly be love. Love is not something that can be fully learned or expressed in isolation because love costs. It would not be precious if it didn’t.  

Whether preaching the gospel in our home, to each other as members of the body of Christ, or to the lost world, love is the essential key for others to see Christ in us. We must convey love towards people both within the Body and without in order to know that we truly believe what we profess.

Jerry Bridges perfectly illustrates the effects of the absence of love in the following story:

I remember hearing of one university student of whom it was said, “He can lead people to Christ, but no one wants to room with him.” Whether he could, given that immaturity of character, truly lead people to a saving knowledge of Christ may be questioned by some. But whether he could or not, it is true that a great big dose of love was needed to make him truly effective. ~ True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia

Love is the most essential ingredient. Period. Without love we are not what we claim to be. To live apart from love is to live apart from Christ. That is a state of the lost.

I need more of Christ because I need to love others more.

I need to love others more because I love Jesus Christ.

Because the Holy Spirit lives within me, and the greatest act of love and forgiveness has been afforded me at Calvary, I am free to love even when it costs me convenience, pain, or even rejection.

Because our love never truly falls to the ground– Jesus receives and accepts all of our meager offerings to love and He always returns our love even with others do not–we are free to risk being rejected because He knew rejection.

We can forgive those who have rejected our love offerings because we have certainly rejected the love of God at one point or another. This knowledge of His continued love in the face of our rejection reminds us how very much we have been forgiven and the gift of His love–grace.

Love never fails. Love never fails to give. Love never fails to give of itself. Love never fails to forgive.

Love…never…fails. 

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What a Difference a Year Makes

It is incredible what a difference a year makes isn’t it?

Last year at this time we were a foster-family to one incredibly endearing little boy. I frequently pounded Dunkin Donuts coffee with cream and sugar, and don’t forget the turbo shot, and we were a one-car family.

Fast-forward almost exactly one year and we are not currently fostering; I discovered in January that I am allergic to sugar, dairy, gluten, eggs, oatmeal; there goes the usual Dunkin; and, as of yesterday, my husband is the proud owner of an old-man, second-hand, Buick (complete with blue leather interior!). What a difference indeed!

Exactly one year ago I wrote a post at iBelieve entitled, Man Does Not Live On Coffee Alone. I hope you will read it below. Much has changed in the year since its original publication.

I continue to enjoy coffee twice daily–I drink it black now, or with a spoon-full of coconut oil added (don’t gag!). One thing always remains the same; the Word that sustained me then is the Word that continues to sustain me now. No matter what changes this year has brought for you, consider the words an older and wiser friend told me years ago:

He wouldn’t have brought you this far to leave you now.

God writes a story with, and of, our lives. He is outside of time so that the choices we make are not controlled by Him, but rather He sees us past, present, and future and knows the ways that we should and the ways we will take. He sustains us better than any substance ever could.

Please join me, perhaps again,or for the first time, as I recount how man does not live on coffee alone.

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The morning started out like most.  The alarm signaled the start to another day and, of course, I hit the snooze.  As the second reminder sounded, I obliged and turned the alarm off. Feet to the floor, my hand turned the worn knob, and an exhilarating smell greeted me like a welcome guest.

Ah, coffee.

This particular day brought the flavor-rich coffee to the desired boldness with the absolute perfect portion of added hazelnut creamer. Finishing off the last sip with a reading of multiple Psalms from my daily Bible reading plan – the one that I seem to always be behind on – I managed to complete my morning breakfast and Bible ritual before the kids awoke. Success!

I poured another cup, threw on my gym clothes, brushed my teeth and headed out the door to my local women’s gym. With three children and one car, my husband and I have set days to work out. I look forward to my turn each time.

Join me over at iBelieve today to finish reading this post. Click here.

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Theistic Evolution, Genesis Gap, or Six Literal Days?

Origin of Man

Many differing camps within the church exists which try to squeeze millions of years into the Bible in efforts to allow for the claims of evolution. Two such theories are Theistic Evolution and the Gap Theory. We will look at a brief summary of both of them today.

Two questions we might consider together: When did the literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account come into question? How long ago did man, and/or the church, question the belief in a Creator who made all that we see?

It wasn’t until the later decades of the 18th century that scientists started to develop and pursue the idea of an older earth. Geology (the study of rocks and fossils) became its own separate field of science during the 19th century (or ~200 years ago). In the infancy of uniformitarianism (doctrine that believes change has occurred at a constant rate in the geologic record) vs. catastrophism (doctrine that physical changes in the geologic reccord can be explained by catastrophic events i.e. the Flood which happened in the past) debates, many believers embraced the newly developing theory of an old earth and immediately began squeezing millions of years into the only place possible: Genesis 1 and 2.

Namely, Thomas Chalmers (Presbyterian) in 1814 with his Gap Theory and George Stanley Faber (Anglican theologian) promoting the Day/Age view (see here).

Even the highly respected and often quoted pastor, Charles Spurgeon, of England, accepted the old-earth geological theory:

Years ago we thought the beginning of this world was when Adam came upon it; but we have discovered that thousands of years before that God was preparing chaotic matter to make it a fit abode for man, putting races of creatures upon it, who might die and leave behind the marks of his handiwork and marvelous skill, before he tried his hand on man.

I would like to question Spurgeon’s claims with my own question, “And we know this how?” Apart from an infinite Creator imparting to man the origins of time, space, and matter, we are left with presuppositions and worldview claims as to the creation (for lack of a better term) of life as we know it. This is an area we call historical science, which differs greatly from observational (testable) science.

We assume that geologists and scientists have actual facts to back up their evolutionary age of the earth claims. However, these claims are not in fact factual, but more simply, promoted as such. Christians unquestioned acceptance of such claims deteriorates the authority of God’s Word beginning with, “In the beginning, God created.” (Genesis 1:1)

Let’s look at an overview of the thoughts behind Theistic Evolution Theory and Gap Theory.

Theistic Evolution

  • God used evolution over long ages to create the universe.
  • Supports molecules to man evolution.
  • Does not believe in a historical Adam and Eve as the Scriptures teach both in the Old and New Testaments.
  • Makes God, instead of Adam and Eve, responsible for sin and death with the thought that the sedimentary, fossil bearing layers of the (man-made) geological column were laid down over long periods of time rather than during a period of days as a result of the world-wide flood. (See Genesis 6-9)

This theory purports that God set up the conditions for life and then walked away. Further, that man was not a creation of God, but that he evolved from lesser life forms over a period of perhaps millions of years. This is problematic for several reasons, one of which is that men and women would have evolved from multiple ape-like creatures all over the earth (in line with evolutionary thinking) and not from one mother-father pair. Meaning that there would not be a literal, albeit evolved, Adam and Eve by which sin would have entered the world. Jesus was the last Adam come to save his created from their sin. Apart from a literal Adam to usher in sin, there is no other reason to believe that God was therefore not the initiator of sin. Therefore, no reason for Him to redeem that which He would have created as evil in the beginning. Certainly the Bible does not support this line of teaching.

For Christians who are content to accept salvation and the gospel message of the New Testament and neglect the Old Testament, the above line of thinking should raise many questions. Questions for which there are answers to be found. (Matthew 7:7)

Gap Theory (Ruin/Reconstruction Theory)

  • God created earth and let it sit for untold millions or billions of years.
  • Lucifer and the fallen angels fell prior to the creation week and roamed the earth with spiritless “man-like” creatures and animals.
  • Sin was so rampant that God decided to flood the earth and start over—Lucifer’s flood.
  • God began again in Genesis 1:2 and proceeded with the creation week.

The Gap Theory is weak in that the fossil record from Lucifer’s flood would have been replaced with the fossil record from Noah’s flood and would have erased all the “evidence” of an old earth and Lucifer’s flood. Most importantly, once again, where do we see this accounted for in Scripture? Finally, is it necessary? Why do we need to insert more information into the Creation Account that is not found within the Scriptures? Is it merely in an effort justify the Biblical account with the claims of an evolutionary worldview? A worldview which secular society promotes as truth, and additionally, which exists only as a necessity to explain the world apart from a deity’s involvement. If so, then we need to question evolution to determine if the claims of evolution are supported with scientific data.

If this post has peeked your interest in the origins of man and creation, then I would refer you to this post (click here) for a list of recommended resources. Thank you for seeking for the Truth with me today.

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To Honor and Remember

Rice has become a mainstay in our home the last 6 months with our new diet restrictions. Thursday as I was preparing our rice for lunch, a few cooked grains fell to the counter. As I retrieved the three stray grains, my mind wandered to the story of Louis Zamperini as documented by Laura Hillenbrand in her brilliantly crafted book, Unbroken. Shortly after reading his biography I recall telling a friend, “I’ll never look at rice the same way again.”

You see, for Louis and his fellow Pacific POWs, rice had become a symbol of the horrors they endured. Curious about the connection? Read the book and find out why.

The Pacific POWs who went home in 1945 were torn-down men. They had an intimate understanding of man’s vast capacity to experience suffering, as well as his equally vast capacity, and hungry willingness, to inflict it. They carried unspeakable memories of torture and humiliation, and an acute sense of vulnerability that attended the knowledge of how readily they could be disarmed and dehumanized. Many felt lonely and isolated, having endured abuses that ordinary people couldn’t understand. (Unbroken, Hillenbrand, p. 349)

The story of Louis Zamperini is one of God’s amazing grace and restorative power in the midst of life’s pain, the forces of evil, our insufficient coping mechanisms, and His unfailing pursuit of human hearts.

Louis Zamperini went on to be with the Lord this week. How fitting that a man who sacrificed years of his life as a POW drew his final breaths so close to the day we celebrate America’s Freedom.
This weekend as we remember those who have sacrificed life, limb and certainly peace of mind in the wake of all that they are witnesses to, I would like to pause and remember the life of Louis Zamperini. He endured the unimaginable and went on to live a life grounded in Christ Jesus. Thank you Louis for your service  to our country and for sharing your story of faith with the world. I look forward to meeting you in heaven and telling you, thank you face to face.
May America turn in repentance to Jesus Christ and return to the shining city on a hill that we were founded to be. One that was founded on religious freedom and the quest to spread the gospel. May we recognize and honor the sacrifices valiant men and women make today to secure our liberty and protect our land.  My sincerest thanks to them and their families.
I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still ~Ronald Reagan, 1984
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