Jesus said we are hypocrites when we give, pray, or fast only outwardly. He called our prayers “pagan” when we try to pray unnaturally. Jesus desires for our giving, praying, and fasting to be natural parts of who we are.This is a short clip of a full-length teaching called “Keepin’ it real” that I shared exclusively with my Patreon supporters. If you would like to sponsor me too for just $5/month, check out the details here.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” —Audrey Hepburn
“Astronomers are thrilled by the extraordinary images provided by the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)—but some of the data already contradict Big Bang expectations. … Creationists have long noted that the Big Bang suffers from the mature distant galaxy problem. Big Bang theorists assume that light from the most distant galaxies took more than 13 billion years to reach Earth. By Big Bang reckoning, we should be seeing these very distant galaxies, not as they are today, but as they were more than 13 billion years ago. Hence, these galaxies should look ‘unevolved’ and ‘immature.’ Yet this expectation is routinely contradicted, and preliminary data from Webb continues the trend.” Check out more from this ICR article.
“Our leadership will always be second to our followership of Jesus.” —Pastor Ben Stoffel
Have you ever been cursed out? Here’s how Jesus wants Christians to respond. It’s pretty easy to say something nice to someone who has done something nice for you. But Jesus tells us to say nice things to people regardlessof how they have treated us.
“The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself—that’s where it’s at.” —Jesse Owens
“Your walk walks, and your talk talks, but your walk talks more than your talk talks.” —Anonymous
A reminder from a class I recently taught: you don’t have to go to a church building to be the Church of Jesus Christ—
“When the Holy Spirit is ignored or rejected, religious people are forced either to do their own creating or to fossilize completely. A few churches accept fossilization as the will of God and settle down to the work of preserving their past—as if it needed preserving. Others seek to appear modern and imitate the current activities of the world with the mistaken idea that they are being creative.” —A.W. Tozer
Dr. Kristin Collier is a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan and director of the school’s Program on Health, Spirituality and Religion. In a recent keynote address to medical students, she had some wise words: “The risk of this education and the one that I fell into is that you can come out of medical school with a bio-reductionist, mechanistic view of people and ultimately of yourself. You can easily end up seeing your patients as just a bag of blood and bones or human life as just molecules in motion. You are not technicians taking care of complex machines, but human beings taking care of other human beings. Let’s resist a view, of our patients and ourselves, that strips us of our humanity, and takes away from the very goal of why we went into this profession in the first place: to take care of human beings entrusted to our care in their moments of greatest need.”
Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or Audible.
I just love it when science catches up with what God has already pronounced in the Bible!
I’ve blogged previously about psychology, archeology, and astronomy uncovering truths that have already been stated in the Bible, but there are also numerous recent medical discoveries that confirm what Scripture has already been telling us.
Like the fact that there is a healthy way to relieve stress, and that retaining the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies for too long has serious implications. The apostle Paul tells us to not “be anxious about anything” but to enjoy “the peace of God which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:4-7).
And then there is this finding that my YouVersion friend Shelly pointed out. “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 AMP).
In a WebMD article, medical science confirms this truth of dried-up bones resulting from depression. They wrote, “Even mild depression may significantly increase a woman’s risk for developing osteoporosis. … The level of bone density loss attributed to depression in the study was similar to that previously associated with other well-known osteoporosis risk factors, including smoking cigarettes and getting little or no exercise. … Bone mineral density testing revealed that 17% of the depressed women showed evidence of bone thinning at a particularly vulnerable area of the thigh bone, compared to 2% of women who were not depressed.”
Doug Clay, the General Superintendent of the Assembly of God wrote, “Our nation needs revival!
“Culture may well be at a deeply dark moment, but that’s when the Church can shine the brightest as Christ’s witness to the world. I’m reminded of Romans 8:19 (Message), ‘The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next.’
“A.W. Tozer once said, ‘The world is waiting to hear an authentic voice, a voice from God—not an echo of what others are saying, but an authentic voice.’ Let’s rise and be that authentic voice to a generation that is desperately in need.”
“What satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” —C.S. Lewis
Meet Piper. She was abandoned with her mother and one other sibling. The mother then left the two kittens behind, who were hiding in a storm pipe. We were able to rescue this little calico and named her Piper as a reminder of where she was rescued from.
Physicist Brian Cox discusses where God fits into scientists’ understanding of the universe. Two statements that are interesting to me—“we don’t know all the laws of science” (at 1:17), and “science is only an observational framework” (at 2:40). Both of these statements fit well with my biblical creationist paradigm.
Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or Audible.
C.S. Lewis, like many atheists, wondered if the God of the Bible might be an egomaniac because He is always encouraging people to praise Him. In his book Reflections on the Psalms, Lewis wrote a thoughtful response to this after he had become a Christian:
“Just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it. ‘Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?’ … I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. … This is so even when our expressions are inadequate, as of course they usually are. But how if one could really and fully praise even such things to perfection—utterly ‘get out’ in poetry or music or pain the upsurge of appreciation which almost bursts you? Then indeed the object would be fully appreciated and our delight would have attained perfect development. The worthier the object, the more intense this delight would be.”
His phrase, “our expressions are inadequate” is especially true when we are attempting to appreciate and praise the Infinite, the Eternal, the Omnipresence, the Omnipotence of our God and Savior! But the biblical authors call for Christians to mature in this—we want to keep praising, keep expressing, until we finally find the perfect fulfillment in His presence.
Paul talks about the maturing nature of love—when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child (1 Corinthians 13:11)—but then he prays for us to grow in both our understanding and our expressions of our Savior’s love (Ephesians 1:17-19).
I like the wording of Ephesians 1:19 in the King James Version: the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward. The word “exceeding” means God pours out in a way that is beyond human imagining. The Greek word that Paul uses for “greatness” is only used here, and it reinforces the truth that God is beyond our full comprehension. And then Paul adds that this overflowing, incomparable power is directed “to us-ward”!
Paul then prays for us to be able to understand ever-increasing new dimensions of this transcendent power and ability that God directs to us through His Son Jesus, and for us to be able to express it (Ephesians 3:14-19). In other words, we are to grow in our experience of Jesus so that we can grow in our praise to Jesus.
The incomparable Jesus means at least four things for us. It means Jesus is…
…matchless in His power. Isaiah 40:12 says God holds the waters of the world in the hollow of His hand. How much water is this? Scientists estimate the Earth’s water supply to be 326 quintillion gallons of water (that’s 326 followed by 18 zeros)! Not only does God hold all of the water, but He directs its activities on behalf of His children (Exodus 15:11-13).
…unequaled in knowledge.Isaiah 40:12, 26 tell us that all of the stars in our universe fit onto God’s outstretched hand, and that He knows all of the stars by name. How many stars is this? Astronomers calculate the heavens to contain 10 septillion stars (that’s 10 followed by 24 zeros)! Not only does God know each star by name, He knows each human by name, and thesmallest of details about each of them (Isaiah 49:16; Matthew 10:29-31).
…inimitable in His care. We humans can get to the end of our strength, but God never does. He cares for us unlike anyone else or anything else ever can (Isaiah 40:28-31). The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles (Psalm 34:17).
Knowing we have a Savior like this, why would you ever settle for anything less The Genuine?!
Our incomparable Jesus wants us to pray in His incomparable name so that our incomparable Father can answer in a way that brings Him incomparable glory! We’re helped, He’s lifted up, and others are drawn to Him.
Star Struck by Dr. David Bradstreet is an insightful book for astronomical issues, but I found it lacking in the way he missed multiple opportunities to use the mind-boggling discoveries in astronomy to point to a majestic Creator. Check out my full book review by clicking here.
“Those who study the stars have God for a teacher.” —Tycho Brahe, a sixteenth-century astronomer
“Almost all ancient civilizations believed that the universe had existed forever. Throughout the ancient world there was just one civilization that didn’t subscribe to this cyclical vision of eternity. Jewish Scripture, with the story of the Creation, stated clearly that the world had a beginning.” —Martin Gorst, historian
“Science is great as science, but it makes a lousy religion.” —Guy Consolmagno
“The atoms that so liberally and congenially flock together to form living things on Earth are exactly the same atoms that decline to do it elsewhere.” —Bill Bryson
“Eratosthenes of Alexandria (276–194 BC) “did the math, concluding that the earth was 24,662 miles around. His results were shockingly accurate: within 1 percent of our current estimate of 24,859 miles.” —Dr. David Bradstreet
“The sun is so powerful that we sometimes must shield ourselves from its heat, even after that heat has taken an eight-minute journey to earth, losing a third to half of its radiant energy to the protective atmosphere of our clouds. ‘Nothing is deprived of its warmth,’ says the psalmist (Psalm 19:6).” —Dr. David Bradstreet
“I wanted to become a theologian. For a long time I was restless. Now, however, behold how through my effort God is being celebrated in astronomy.” —Johannes Kepler
“Science keeps religion from sinking into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzing obscurantism. Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If we study science without Scripture, we risk falling into the ditch of atheistic evolutionism; on the other hand, the study of Scripture separated from God’s laws in nature risks ideologies that misinterpret God and distort His character.” —Timothy Jennings
“Holy Scripture and nature are both emanations from the divine Word.” —Galileo
“God cannot be reduced to the role of a scientific hypothesis.” —Father Georges Lemaître
Interesting astronomical tidbits:
Unlike everyone else in the neighborhood, Venus rotates backwards.
Jupiter rotates on its axis in slightly less than ten hours, faster than on any other planet.
Saturn is twice as far away from the sun, lowering its temperature and stretching out its orbital period to nearly thirty Earth years.
Neptune is so far away that it takes 164 years to orbit the Sun.
Uranus’ North Pole is tipped a whopping 98 degrees to its orbital plane.
Every day our powerful atmospheric shield hijacks some 100 tons of small rocks and other pieces of space stuff heading our way, breaking up and incinerating everything before it can hit us.
Our own Milky Way galaxy is home to more than 200 billion stars. There are more than 200 billion additional galaxies in the cosmos. These galaxies serve as gigantic star factories, each of which has its own 100 to 300 billion stars. Do the math and the numbers are mind-boggling: our Sun is merely one among some 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars.
This book is part autobiographic in how Dr. Bradstreet got into astronomy, part historical as he walks us through the advancements in the study of the heavens, and part devotional as he attempts to tie in biblical passages with these fascinating astronomical discoveries. But for me, this attempt to be all-encompassing didn’t “scratch the itch” that I thought it would when I first saw the subtitle. I think I would have appreciated it more if this were presented as three books: memoir, history, and devotional.
For me, the best part of Star Struck was the history of astronomy. Hearing from an astronomer how his predecessors thought, reasoned, hypothesized, and then presented their findings to an often skeptical world (and usually an even more skeptical church) was quite fascinating. I especially enjoyed some of the many tidbits about stars and planets, particularly the look at our Sun, Earth, and Moon.
I would not, however, recommend this book as a means to understand how astronomy shines such a clear light on the majesty of the Creator seen in the pages of the Bible, as I found that attempt quite lacking.
As a pure astronomy history book, Star Struck is a great read for anyone, from students to adults.
Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on Apple or Spotify.
…God has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have wrought salvation for Him (Psalm 98:1 AMP).
I like The Message paraphrase of this verse too: “Sing to God a brand-new song. He’s made a world of wonders! He rolled up His sleeves, He set things right!”
This psalmist happily extols all of the ways God the Creator has revealed Himself to mankind:
He has done marvelous things
the Lord has made His salvation known
He has revealed His righteousness to the nations
the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God
let the sea resound, and everything in it
let the world praise, and all who live in it
let the rivers clap their hands
let the mountains sing together for joy
This tells me how fitting it is for us to use all of the sciences—every “ology” to declare God’s greatness: biology, astronomy, cosmology, chemistry, psychology, anthropology, and even theology. All observations point to the glory of God.
C.S. Lewis wrote,
“If I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole (that excludes a rational, personal God), then not only can I not fit in Christianity, but I cannot even fit in science. If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees. And this is to me the final test. … Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.”
The apostle Paul agreed with this psalmist, telling us that creation itself is enough proof that there is a God. But God went further: He gave us His word, He gave us prophets to remind us of His word, and ultimately, He sent His Son Jesus to earth. Paul concluded that “men are without excuse—altogether without any defense or justification” for refusing to believe in God.
Don’t ever buy into the lie that science and Christianity are incompatible. All of the discoveries of science point to a Creator. We use all of these “ologies” because we never know which one may eventually get someone’s attention.
Famed scientist Sir Isaac Newton noted, “In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”
Let’s join our minds, our hearts, and our voices in declaring the greatness of our Creator at every opportunity we have!