Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thoughts of Earth Day


So last Thursday was Earth Day, huh?

I like the earth. Really I do. It's where I live, right? It's a planet perfectly designed for human life. It has a perfect atmosphere. A perfect magnetosphere. A perfect tilt.

I also like taking care of the earth. I like not littering. I like teaching my children to pick up trash, and when it is possible, to recycle.

I also like trees. And flowers. And mountains. And rivers. Oh I really like rivers. In fact, I think this place is beautiful. My family and I love to be out where we can really experience the beauty that God has created.

Yes, that God has created.

As much as I like this planet we call home, I still realize that the best is yet to come. This is not the end all be all. It's sometimes hard to imagine that as wonderful as our world is, that it is actually still in a fallen state. It makes me anxious for what is to come!

But, for now, this is where I live.

So I am all for planting trees, and picking up trash, and doing things that naturally keep our world beautiful (notice I do not mention things like taxing AIR. That's as far as I'll go with that for now).

Ahem.

Anyway, I say all this to say that...I like the earth.


But I LOVE its Creator.


There is a cult among us which encourages us to love the earth, yet it denies God as the Creator.

It denies that He actually is the end all be all. And one day, when the earth actually is destroyed, He will still be on His throne. Psalm 97:5 prophesies that the mountains will "melt like wax before the Lord" at His coming.

So, even in the midst of our "green" culture, don't lose sight of the fact that this rock is our temporary home. Sure, we should live responsibly and do our best to take care of it. God wants us to enjoy His creation and teaches us so much through it.

But my encouragement is this: the next time you plant a tree, don't just think of it as a small act toward saving the environment. Think, for example, about the miracle that God has provided through the dying of seeds and the restoring of new life. Realize that this earth is full of beauty that points to God. It is merely His creation, and He will not be outdone.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Emily's Song About God


I couldn't resist sharing this little nugget.

Maybe I should get her some guitar lessons? :)

video



Friday, April 16, 2010

The Motions

Ah, I love these days.

I love having the windows open; the fresh smell, the nice breeze, the low electric bill (relatively speaking, of course).

We've been spending lots of time outside, too. Doing schoolwork on the trampoline and in the treehouse is really motivating for my nature loving daughter!

So the other day, while we were adding fractions outside, Jacob kept wanting me to push him in the swing. I pushed him several times, but then I decided that maybe it was time that he learned to swing himself!

I told him how to do it. I got him started and then began chanting, "Out, in! Out, in!" trying to correspond with his swinging motion. He obediently stuck his legs out and pulled them in when he was supposed to. But was he swinging himself?

No.

He was moving his legs out and in, but that alone was not working. He wasn't doing what was really required to pull himself back and forth. He didn't have the power. He was simply going through the motions.

Sound familiar?

Sometimes people go through the motions too. Go to church. Pray. Read Christian literature. Do good deeds.

But we're not robots. God desires genuine fellowship with us. He created us in His own image, so that we could have relationship with Him as our Father.

Jake was getting nowhere by only going through the motions. Neither will you. It may satisfy for a while, and make you feel like you are on the right track, but eventually you will wear out, because you are not drawing from the real Source of Strength.

We don't have to settle for the motions, because the same Power which spoke the universe into existence is available to us! The same Power which defeated death and brought everlasting life to mankind is available to us!

Going through the motions--trying to follow Christ without having a real relationship with Him--is fruitless.

I could go on and on about the different implications of this, but for now, this is where I'll leave it. Just something to think about...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spotless




I was standing in the loft (as we call it), which overlooks the living room and dining area of our home. The house had been straightened up, the kids were all tucked in, and the lamplight was providing a cozy atmosphere in the now quiet house. The dining room light was on too, and as I stood at the balcony, I performed a mental appraisal of my view.

It all looked so perfect!

The dining room table was shining in the reflection of the chandelier, the hardwood floor looked spotless, the carpet in the living room looked clean and inviting.

Then, as if snapping back to reality, I started remembering things. I started remembering the giant scratch on the table that I made a few years ago with the back of a clock. I remembered the rugged etching in the wood, produced by my son with a fork. I started recalling all the scratches and spots on the hardwood, made from things such as Hotwheels and milk, respectively.

I then remembered the spots on the carpet, some of which were caused by the time Ashlyn's upset stomach couldn't handle a red popsicle. No amount of Oxy-Clean or Clorox has gotten that up completely!

None of those imperfections were visible from where I was standing, but I knew that they were there and could easily be seen with a closer look.

We are all imperfect aren't we? And we know it. Then why do we stand from afar and look in on others and compare ourselves and think that they are perfect? Everybody has scratches, dents and spots, sometimes caused by the most vile of circumstances, sometimes caused by accidents, and always caused by sin.

That's where we are as humans. We are all in the same need of God's Umbrella of Grace.

And once we are underneath, we are covered by Christ's perfection in the sight of God. Then, and only then, do we really become

Spotless.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Great Exchange, Part 2



I have read this passage so many times:

He was pierced through for our transgressions
He was crushed for our iniquities
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him
And by His scourging we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray
Each of us has turned to his own way
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
Isaiah 53:5-6

I always knew what it meant, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I really realized something. I realized that how we often focus on the physical brutality of what Jesus endured. For sure, that is significant. It was ugly, horrible, and no doubt worse than anything we can imagine. However, I realized that God, in His wisdom, knew that we (as humans) can relate to physical pain. And as ugly and appalling as the torture that Jesus endured is to us, that is how ugly, horrible, and beyond imagination our sin is to God our Father.

As a human, the physical torment was horrible to Jesus. But as God the Son, I imagine that the bearing of the sin of all mankind was worse.

He bore the wrath of God that we deserved.

The ugliness of our sin was put upon Him, and He took the punishment.

The Jews who watched Him die mistakenly thought that Jesus was being punished for His own sin (Isaiah 53:4). But He was the substitute. Our substitute. He was the sinless God-man, experiencing both physical and spiritual punishment so that we would not have to; so that instead, we could experience freedom from condemnation.

We recently bought Emily a Bible that is the International Children's Bible translation. Here is Isaiah 53:5-6 from her Bible:

But he was wounded for the wrong things we did.
He was crushed for the evil things we did.
The punishment, which made us well, was given to Him,
And we are healed because of His wounds.

We all have wandered away like sheep.
Each of us has gone his own way.
But the Lord has put on Him the punishment
For all the evil we have done.

Today is Good Friday. No doubt that many of you will be thinking on these things today and praising God that He provided the Substitute for our atonement. I pray that you will have a weekend full of reflection and thanksgiving for the One who took the punishment that we deserve.