Thursday, October 29, 2015

True Beauty

    What does it mean to truly appreciate and learn from creation? This is something that constantly causes me to ponder about the beauties that God has placed within our lives. We see so many things in life that are truly of the glorious in splendor and majesty, and yet we completely neglect to thank God for them and the pleasure that they bring to us.

    For instance, yesterday was quite a gloomy rainy day. There wasn't much going on that would draw the eye to the splendor of God's beauty. His sustaining mercy and power, sure, but not much towards His beauty. However, this morning began with a gloriously bright sun shining through the crimson, orange, and yellow foliage draping the surrounding hillsides and forests. There was a peace ringing through the air, as if to proclaim that everything had been washed clean and that all was new again. The clouds in the sky were sparse and the ones that were there looked like an inviting cool pillow on a hot summer's day.

    My mind was drawn to this beauty as I was driving to work. It caused me to wonder at the extreme majesty of a creator that holds everything in His power and sustains the very creation that we often ignore. I was reminded of a song by Warren Barfield. In it he proclaims the message that if we do not experience certain things in life, that we will not understand or know the true value and worth of others. This was ringing loud and true in my ears as I gazed upon the majestic. If we did not experience rain and darkness, would we really appreciate the light and beauty of the sun and it's warmth? If we did not experience the depression of the clouds and their darkness, would we ever understand what the gospel ever does to a person's darkened heart when the Light of Truth breaks into and shines with such brilliance that all you can do is stand in awe?

    Not everything that we see will cause us to be amazed and astounded. Some things will cause us to be sorrowful and depressed. However, we serve a God who is all powerful and cares deeply for those whom He has called unto Himself. So take heart on the days when the rain falls, the clouds rolls in, and darkness descends, for there is one thing that will always remain true and will always stand. That is  the simple fact that God is in control, and nothing can contain His beauty. It will always shine through and will always follow times of darkness in the lives of those who love Him.

    So be encouraged and take heart. Take some time to reflect on the beauty of God and to embrace the majesty shown forth through His creations.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Where Does Your Hope Lie?

    This morning I am reminded of my Lord's sovereignty and mercy. I am reminded of this in a way that most people would think is callous or cruel. This morning I saw the news about the shooting that took place out in Oregon yesterday. Once again, the persecution that was guaranteed to us as Christians was poured out upon the individuals involved in this shooting. The gunman was specifically looking to shoot Christians. This isn't the first time that this has happened, and it won't be the last. It is something that we have been promised to receive by Jesus.

     While I am saying that this is something that was promised, I am also saying that we need to mourn with the families of those who have been taken from this world. We need to grieve for our brothers and sisters that have lost loved ones and now must deal with the results of what happened. However there should be much pride and comfort found by those same families, if the individuals families are also Christians.

     Pride in knowing that when push came to shove, their loved one stood for the only thing that really matters and paid the ultimate price for it. Their Savior died for their sins, and they in turn gave their life to proclaim that He is in fact God and Lord of all. They should take comfort in knowing that God is sovereign and therefore has each and every one of our days numbered. We cannot live longer than He has planned and we will not die by any means that He has not ordained. Therefore those who proclaimed Jesus as Lord and were killed went to be home with Him. To ease all their pain and to rejoice in His beauty for all eternity.

     There have been people who throughout history have lived this to the fullest and proven to lead in such a way as to give strength to the weary and wisdom to those in need. One man who stands out to me is Stonewall Jackson. He received his nickname through the example he led with on the battlefield. He proclaimed to his soldiers that God knew his time and that he could not die before then, so he felt just as safe standing in the midst of bullets as he did lying in his own bed. Oh to have a faith and strength to believe like Jackson's.

     While this event is a horrific event and one filled by the sinful actions of one person. It is also filled with the glorious testimony of all those who stood to proclaim Christ's love towards a man who wished them dead because of their faith. They did not stand for their own benefit, for it led to their death or injury, but rather they stood in order to proclaim that Jesus lives, rose from the dead, and is coming again for His bride.

      While this event is extremely difficult to deal with for those involved and for their loved ones. We must proclaim to the world that our God is in control, that He does all things for the good of those who love Him, and that His glory is His goal. If we cannot attest to these things, then we cannot affirm the Christian faith. While it may sound callous to those who are not of God, it is in fact the truth. If God is not in control then He is not God. If He does not do all things for the good of those who love Him, then He is a liar and not God. If everything is not for His glory, then He is not God because He would desire something more than Himself.

      Join with me then in praying for the families of those in need of our love and support through this time. At the same time, rejoice with those brothers and sisters that have now gone to be with our King, and sing His praises for all to hear.