Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rocks of Offense

I was reading Grammy's blog Sept 10th and was struck by a comment she made. It wasn't her topic but I was struck by a statement. "I have publicly stated my position regarding religion and my reasons for believing as I do. I know what I believe offends some people, and I’ve been told that what I write does, too."

Maybe because I've been there too. Not so much of late but for some reason it surprised me that she has the same problem. Probably because I can't find a thing to be offended at! 

When I read Grammy's blog I was reminded of a story about a similar experience. When Peter was brought before the Council to be tried one the Pharisees, Gamaliel stood up and issued a warning to the Council. "And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you do with these men. For before these days Theudas arose, giving himself out to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was slain and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" 

It is a long speech for a single, never again quoted speaker in the Bible! But one that proved true. Gamaliel is recognized an intelligent man, even though he was not a Christian, most Christians when they hear his name feel a respect for him. He didn't follow Jesus but neither did he think it worth his time to fight about their differences. In fact, he felt it only furthered the movement. He was right and they were wrong.  There's a really good overview regarding Gamaliel and this event and even gives a bit more history about him. 

I'm always surprised when people say they don't like what I write. I'm one of those people who, if I read something I don't like somewhere else, I may speak out on my own site or I may say nothing. I don't need confrontation to protect my beliefs and I don't have to defend myself for them, even though I may feel defensive. I hope no one assumes because a comment is left with no response from me that it indicates agreement. I simple respect the rights of others to disagree and say so, on my blog if they like. At times, I'd like to delete comments I read but in fairness, I don't. If I am afraid to have my beliefs and opinions commented on, then I need to shut up. The only time I've ever deleted comments was if I felt they crossed a line in the attitude they are presented or the language was offensive. 

Sometimes I won't respond to comments at all because I feel I've already stated my case and further argument is not needed nor wanted. LOL, sometimes I even say that. I certainly hope I wouldn't sent rude notes or leave nasty comments for others to be hurt or offended by.  I'm not talking about respectful questions from people who're sincerely curious or even respectful statements saying they disagree. Having read Grammy's site for ... well a long time now, I was surprised that anyone could be offended by what she says. Like the story of Peter...There is nothing offensive in it unless there is something "in it". 

People can't be offended by imaginary things, meaning things they don't believe in. Like a monster under the bed or in the closet they don't exist, do they? So what's to be offended by? I may be disgusted by a lot of stuff out there but not offended. I no longer expect human beings to act with any decency, dignity, or integrity. There was a time when I could be shocked at anything other than those three things. Now, I'm shocked if someone possesses them!

I am usually more offended by the way I'm treated rather than in what is said about what I think. 

It is impossible, if you live very long, not to get your feelings hurt, your pride wounded, or insulted in some fashion. At some point, we all "take it personally".  Jesus knew this.  In Matt. 18:7 he said, "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"

If you look around, you see an age where everyone gets offended at every thing. It is almost to the point that no one can say what they think about any subject. You can't voice an opinion. To do so will result in hostile, possibly violent actions against you, incarceration, and in some cases, death. Simply because someone didn't like it.

In light of that, the words of David are almost idealist. Psa 119:165 - "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."

Yet there is a clue even here. Those who love the laws of God do not get offended? Apparently. They don't just love God, they love his laws. You know the ones.... Thou shalt not.... kill, covet, lie, steal, disrespect parents, etc. Yeah, those. And yet, the current political climate says those are old fashioned, archaic, out dated, unrealistic concepts. 

No wonder people get offended. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Wonder of The Stars

My post this morning was influenced by Grammy Blick Texas. She is always inspiring.

I love nature and could sit for hours in the woods and listen to the sounds and smell the scents.  I have always been mindful of how awesome is this God who could create such a structure. For me, to look at the stars, at the amazing detail of the universe and the delicate balance that had to happen for it to even be possible staggers my mind and it is at that point that I can only stare in awe and say, "What an awesome God you are to have done this thing." And I am also astounded that he'd even care if we had this!

Some would say that last statement is the reason there can be no God. There is no one out there. Because humans can't create such magnitude, we believe it impossible for any other being to do so.  So, it must all have happened by accident. I would challenge them to read Hugh Ross' "Creator and the Cosmos" and "The Creator and Time" for the chemistry involved in the actual creation and the delicate balance of required to make every single thing in the universe exist. The mind boggles. One fraction plus or minus of any single element and it would not have happened. It wasn't an accident.

"O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." Psalms 104:24

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Rev. 4:11
Despite science's attempts to find "life on other planets" or worlds similar to ours, they've never done it. "It is a matter of time" is constantly stated and yet, even scientist see that time may be running out for them and for this tiny little ball of dust. Here and there I've begun hearing that the planet will not last forever and that the human species might not be as long lasting as was once thought. There are even forces at work that can literally blow Earth apart. The
impact on the solar system might be profound but the universe will hardly notice.

In addition, humans have set in motion events that may have tipped the scale and destroyed the only home we have, eventually making it uninhabitable. It is the one creation that we were given dominion over and we showed what we thought of it in a few short decades. Thus is progress, enlightenment, knowledge, and power of the human mind. It's pretty pathetic.

And yet, the universe still stands unchanged by our actions. The billions of stars that hang there will still be there when we succeed in the destruction of this planet. In fact, the Bible only speaks to the destruction of Earth, not the universe.

Science doesn't know exactly when or exactly how the universe came into being. It is constantly debated. They have lots of brilliant minds studying the events from the second of creation until now. Every decade has seen new theories advance on "how it happened". And they try to recreate it in a lab! Today they think they know. But they thought so 100 years ago. Today's scientist say they were wrong back then. In 100 years, if we are still here, another batch of scientist will say the same about the current crop of astrophysicist.

I know, I'm simplifying all that science to the ridiculous. I actually like reading these things. For with every theory they only prove to me that there is a power at work that is to be reckoned with and that with all our lofty opinion of ourselves, with all our brilliant minds the only truth is that what God has wrought can only be imagined.

I think it is fascinating to discover that Pluto is merely a dwarf planet and that there are two others out there. And yet, the only thing it furthers is my knowledge of how much we don't know!

We may climb to the stars, send probes to the universe but everything we learn simply expands our astonishment. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." Psalm 19:1-3  

The information presented in the following articles appears to be "new" information. Science has "discovered" an amazing thing!

NASA Scientists Confirm Liquid Water On Early Earth 

Early Earth Covered by Water

It isn't a  new discovery at all!  Peter published it first. "For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,"  2 Peter 3:5  Was Peter the Einstein of his day?

Science will always make another discovery that will surprise them or that they can't explain to their satisfaction and it will constantly drive them to prove their personal theories and to force them on other people. It is, after all, a kind of religion!

"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse" Rom. 1:20
Great is our God!