Intricately Beautiful

1 03 2010

Warning: This Post contains numbers! Don’t skip this one though, trust me. The conclusion is relevant and quite breathtaking!

Gen 1:16…He made the stars also.

The universe is also infinitely small. I’m a student of Molecular Biology (or uber-small biology). And the more I study the cells, atoms, and systems, the more I have come to realize just how amazing life is. There are thousands and thousands of chemical pathways and mechanisms going thousands of criss-crosing ways in every cells.

One single cell has more moving parts than New York City–containing more genetic information than the Encyclopedia Britannica, all 60 volumes of it, 6 times over. And you have roughly 75-100 trillion (with a capital T) cells in your body. Then there are roughly 200 septillion atoms in your body. That’s a 2 with 24 zeros following it!

If i were to get smaller than an electron of an atom, you would look to me to be mostly space–a galaxy of galaxies that i could travel through. Yes! You are a universe of atoms!All this moving, spinning, shaking, zipping around in order to make up your frame! As Albert Einstein said, “the thumb alone proves the existence of God!”

Feeling pretty big? If you have ever flown in a plane and looked out the window, you may be struck with a sense of how small we are and how big the world is. We live in a big world with 6.7 billion other people.

Starting to feel it? We live in a solar system nestled in a cluster of stars. That cluster lives in a bunch of clusters of hundreds and thousands of stars which make a pinpoint in our galaxy of about 100,000,000,000 (100 billion stars). Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is one of up to 500 billion galaxies–basically, a galaxy of galaxies. This is only what we can observe with modern technology!

These facts make Gen. 1:16 seem like a comic understatement! G-d had made this and that and–oh…he made the stars also!

David thought about what was around him in the world and remarked in Psalms 8:3-4

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

David was overwhelmed and he had no idea the extent of the earth, let alone stars and had no idea about cells. How more true is this passage today? How much more tomorrow? You may feel small now. But, believe it or not, such an infinite God cares about you. How can this be true when everything is so small and massive at the same time? Can God truly care for little old me…

This is not humbleness– it is not realizing the greatness of God! He’s so huge that he is small. He knows you at an intimate level. he knows the number of hairs on you head and goes as far as to care for sparrows! Check out Matt. 12. He is so big and his love so massively infinite that it extends to care for you! Only such an outlandishly infinite God could create such an outlandishly infinite universe and have such an outlandishly infinite attention and love.

If you want proof that God is able to love you in this way, look at the stars! If God can handle the unfathomable numbers of moving parts all around us, he han handle the care the complexities of your daily life. He literally is too big not to be able or willing to. Really–is there anything he can’t do? Only such a loving God can create something so intricately beautiful.

***For 2 pretty awesome videos of the known universe that will blow your mind check out this post from our sister blog StrayInklings! (shameless plug)

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You’re Everything!

27 04 2009

lifehouse_everything

If you haven’t seen this video, watch it. If you have, watch it again. It’s so powerful. I cry every time that I watch it. The youth at my church reenacted this skit at church this morning

Everything

Now that you have watched it…what do you think? My tears always start when I watch the girl straining to get back to Jesus. I think it shows how we cannot free ourselves from sin and temptation on our own. Our best efforts still leave us being tossed amongst our sin and struggle, regardless of what our sin may be. As Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” It’s very easy for us to get caught up in the ways of the world without even realizing. One moment the girl is dancing with Jesus, the next she is dancing with a guy that is supposed to symbolize sexual impurity. We need to admit that we struggle and that we can easily be pulled away. None of us are above temptation.

     My tears turn into sobbing when I watch Jesus holding back the sins from touching the girl. What a tangible way to see Jesus taking on our sin! Sometimes I think we lose sight of the suffering and sacrifice paid on our behalf. His sacrifice freed us from the prison of sin that we got ourselves into. Jesus was victorious and still will be in the days to come. We should live in freedom knowing that we are on the winning side. The girl’s black shirt is removed and leaves her in a white shirt to represent the cleansing of Christ. Despite her sin, she is restored and dances with the L-rd again. The same thing can happen to us if we will simply surrender. Ready to be new? “17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from G-d, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that G-d was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though G-d were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to G-d. 21G-d made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of G-d.” -2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Not only does Christ save you, He wants you to have an abundant life, becoming more righteous and being a part of His will. Walk in victory knowing that He has won. Live in gratitude because of this sacrifice. 

All I want,

Mere

 





Restoration…

22 04 2009

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What is it that draws us to read fantasy? I love a good fantasy, particularly those of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. Both write of vast, untamed worlds that are saved from the power of evil. These worlds are mysterious and full of rugged beauty. In a good fantasy, there is always a battle between good and evil and evil seems to have the upper hand. But good wins.

Fantasy often draws quite a devout following. Millions read them. I believe their popularity betrays a deep longing we all have. The Bible is clear that we live in a fallen world in, what Paul calls, bondage to decay (Rom 8:21). We are born into this world subjected to this bondage ourselves.

We have become slaves to this evil—as we rebel against goodness and seen to lack the power to overcome. We find ourselves incapable to return to the former glory. Who shall save us from this bondage to decay? Thanks be to G-d – through our Lord Jesus Christ

Through him, we find ourselves more than conquerors in His love. He is like the lens or focal point to all creation. When something passes through him, it changes its tilt or bend. In him, we become infused with His goodness. While we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6) The ultimate goal of time is the restoration of all things – that G-d will be all in all(1 Cor. 15:28).

The Bible starts and ends in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis, we see a perfect world where man is in perfect communion with G-d. We know the punch line – sin enters the world and death with it. In Revelations, we see a redeemed world where the leaves from the tree of life are used for the healing of the nations.(Rev.22:2)

The perfect communion is reestablished as God’s glory covers the earth as waters cover the seas (Hab. 1:14). Even the internal violence of nature is brought to peace, as the lion will lay down with the lamb (Is. 65:25). And the saints will be resurrected and have perfected bodies – no longer in bondage to decay (Jn. 11:25 ; Acts 4:2 ; Rev 20:6). What will such a world look like? What would we look like? What would nature look like when it perfectly reveals His majesty?

Now, we only see as though we look through a mirror (1 Cor. 13:12). No eye has seen what is in store for those who love G-d.  All of creation has been subjected to frustration and groans for the revelation of the son’s of G-d (Rom. 8:21-23). This is what creation knows about the former glory. It still remembers and echoes it faintly. That is why the writers write fantasy.

This is the kingdom! Let us declare the kingdom, of the great hope in Christ! We live in a fallen world of broken people. Let us declare that the kingdom is coming near (Mat 10:7). This kingdom is very much like a small seed in that it starts small, but it branches out into life (Mark 4:30).

Light has entered the world and darkness has not overcome it (Jn. 1:5). Even darkness must yield. The shadow of death will pass away and all will be brought into the fullness in Christ. Until then, the Spirit and the Bride say “Come!” (Rev. 22:17)

Just a thought,

-Luke





On Earth as it is in Heaven…

21 04 2009

 

invasionofgodsglory

 

How many times have we started our prayers with the phrase “G-d, if it be your will… then do such and such”? I have many times and have heard it countless times from other believers. For healing prayer especially, this statement helps soften the prayer in case it does not happen or that God does not will healing. Is this how Jesus taught us to pray?

Jesus commands us to pray “Let Your (G-d’s) will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”( Matthew 6:9-11) Is there depression, sickness, famine, suffering, pain, or sex trafficking in heaven? Then we are commanded to pray against such things.

I have heard some say that it was G-d’s will that so-and-so got cancer to teach them a life-lesson. I believe that G-d teaches us in the light as well as the dark, in hardship and in ease. G-d can destine both the good and the bad for our good (Rom. 8:28). I do not believe that sickness is in His will for us. If it is not in heaven, His ideal condition, then I want no part of it.

When we say that G-d has brought me into sickness or temptation to teach us, then what are we saying? Are we not attributing the work of evil to G-d? Granted, G-d does allow such things to take place, but He is a good G-d. His will is to become our healer, provider and strength. Do we really have faith in this absolute goodness? Who is the God we pray to?

The really powerful thing is that we are given direct access to the power of G-d through the Holy Spirit to pull heaven down to earth. Our sicknesses and iniquities were bore on the cross, and our separation from the power of God removed. If G-d sacrificed His beloved son for us, what gift will He withhold?(Rom. 8:32) If we know G-ds will, then what is to stop us from declaring its fulfillment in faith. Jesus never said pray for the sick. He said go out and heal them (Matt. 10:8).

Jesus commanded the disciples :

7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Matt. 10-7-8)

 

Beloved, I charge you to stop praying half-hearted, anemic prayers! Either we will take Him at His word or not. Let us be hot or cold. Heal the person don’t just pray. Trust in the power of Christ in us, the hope of glory.(Col. 1:27) Take authority over every form of sickness and oppression and subject it to the cross. Demand heaven, demand the garden, and demand that G-d be glorified!

It is such an injustice if we allow sickness and oppression in our midst. It is already paid for on Calvary. The scriptures state that by his stripes, we ARE healed.  Do not be silent. Cry out for heaven, cry out for the kingdom! This is our inheritance in Christ.

Take heart and have faith. Loose what can be loosed, bind what can be bound (Matt. 18:18-20). Jesus went to His hometown and only healed a few people because of a lack of faith (Mark 6:1-6). What does that say about our normal church experience? Let’s be dangerous and unpredictable. If we go out and look like fools, then very well – let us be fools for Christ. But, at least we won’t be a boring Christians.

 

Just a Dangerous Thought,

Luke

 





God doesn’t need you, He wants you!

21 04 2009

 

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out”

(Luke 19:40)

"If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."     

     Sometimes as believers, we get caught up in all the things that we think God needs us to do. Saying and or thinking things like, “well, I need to feed this homeless person because God needs me to,” “God needs me to go on mission to Africa,” “God needs me to spend time in prayer,” “I need to go to worship on Sunday morning because God needs to hear my singing.” I believe that we need to be reminded and humbled knowing that God does not need us. As Jesus pointed out, “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). In this passage, Jesus is referring to His disciples’ praise. Basically, He is telling the Pharisees, those that followed the letter of the law and probably thought that God needed them, that the praises of men are not vital to who He is; the creation will cry out His praise if we don’t. As I read Psalms this morning I came upon this passage:

     “I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Sacrifice thank-offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” (Psalm 50:9-15)

     God seems to be reminding us that we really have nothing to give on our own. Everything that we have to sacrifice belongs to Him. He says that if He had a need, He wouldn’t tell us because the world is His. It would be like God asking us for a band-aid when he owns CVS pharmacy and is standing in the band-aid aisle. God establishes that He does not need us, then He tells us to sacrifice to Him, be faithful, and call on Him when we need Him…Why is this? Because He wants us! What an amazing paradox our relationship with God is! God has everything and is fulfilled, but yet He wants us to choose to praise Him and He allows us to be a part of His plan. Make no mistake, the Lord does not need you to do anything, but He does want you to do things because it will bring glory to Him and a blessing to you as you play a role in His will. Jesus was sent to be the sacrifice for us, which is another example of how we are unneeded in all of this. We could not fix our own sin, so God took something that is His to be our sacrifice. Jesus shows us His desire for us in His prayer before He is crucified:

     “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you have loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24).

   Even though it does not make sense, He wants us. Jesus desired us so much that He thought enduring the cross was worth it. Once we realize that God wants us and does not need us, our praise and service can be out of gratitude and affection. Think about all that Christ went through just to have you with Him, where He is; may that humble you and cause you to honor and praise Him, although He doesn’t need it, He really wants it. He really wants you.

 

His,

Mere





The Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything

21 04 2009

 

creation

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

When I was a child, I asked the age-old question: “Why did God create man?” I still do ask that question from time to time. In all my study of science, you never get down to that itching question of why. “Why a heaven and an earth? Why stars? Why create man, knowing he would fail? Why? Why? Why?” 

When I was a child, I asked the age-old question: “Why did God create man?” I still do ask that question from time to time. In all my study of science, you never get down to that itching question of why. “Why a heaven and an earth? Why stars? Why create man, knowing He would fail? Why? Why? Why?” 

For a while, the best answer I could come up with was that He created everything for His glory — but that answer never seemed to settle the matter in my head. It is true that the whole of creation screams “God!” and testifies to His glory, but I’m not convinced that is the primary reason He created us.

Without a doubt, God is glorious and creation displays it. Glory is an attribute of God. There is nothing we can do to detract or add to His glory. He simply is glorious and good. However, if this is the primary reason to create everything (particularly man), it raises a few questions. “Is God insecure in His glory?” “Why would He need or want praise from people?” “If He wanted glory, why didn’t He create us all like the seraphim before His throne? (Rev. 4:8)” I believe there is something more — love.

I believe it was God’s good pleasure to create man to commune with man. He created the free-willed man to love on and to love him back. If this is the true reason, then we know our ultimate purpose. I think that this is why the greatest commandment is to love God with everything we got. And the second greatest commandment is just like it, because if we love God, we love what He loves – other people. (Matt. 22:36-39)

I think this is why the pharisees got the cold shoulder. They demanded that we follow ritual to get close to God and attain His love and acceptance. But God has always been about the heart. From loving and respecting God, the law begins to flow from our hearts. It cannot be done the other way around.

Here is an example of this: Picture a man who comes to the door of his house and his newly wedded wife lets him in. She finds that he has surprised her with a huge bouquet of flowers.

“Why have you brought flowers?” She asks, “It is not my birthday or anything.”

The man puffs his chest out and happily replies, “It is my duty as a good husband to bring you flowers.”

Do you think she was pleased? Here is another biblical example.

1“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
      These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands: 2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.  (Rev. 2:1-6)

The Church of Ephesus would be seen as a healthy, vibrant and strong fellowship. It would be seen as a better church than most we see today. But they had a huge problem — they left their first love of God. This is a serious error, because God is always about the heart. He cares far more about the heart than actions. You see, we are created for Him and by Him for His good pleasure.

I don’t know about you, but I often beat myself up over failure. One day, I was being prayed over by an elder in the church and she said something I will never forget.

“Luke,” She said, “a standard of holiness is good, but not to the point of beating yourself up. Once we know what we are and why we are, then we will know who we are to Him.”

 

Just a thought,

-Luke