Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Ascension of Jesus

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

He ascended into heaven



Per the Holy Bible:

Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.

Luke 24:1-12 (NLT)

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere — in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
Acts 1:6-11

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...the ascension of Jesus holds no great theological importance other than what Jesus told his disciples about it in John 16:7: "It is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the [Holy Spirit] won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you."

Stay tuned. There will be more about the Holy Spirit in five weeks.



Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Resurrection of Jesus

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

On the third day, [Jesus] rose again in accordance with the Scriptures



Per the Holy Bible:

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NLT)

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

Then they remembered that he had said this. So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.

Luke 24:1-12

One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.”

But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.

Matthew 12:38-40

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...there would be no Christianity without the resurrection. Make no mistake, the first Christians did not make up the story of a resurrection in order to validate their "cause". The resurrection of Jesus turned them into Christians. Otherwise, they would have been just one more group of disappointed fans.



Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Burial of Jesus


Per the Nicene Creed:

[Jesus] suffered and was buried



Per the Holy Bible:

The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment. They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.

Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. A sign announced the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!”

Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there.

This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance.

Mark 15: 16-46 (NLT)

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...Believing Jesus died is an important part of Christianity, and not just because "he died for our sins." If he had not actually died, then the resurrection would be a farce and, as the Apostle Paul wrote, "we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world." (1 Corinthians 15:19)

 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Death of Jesus

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate


Per the Holy Bible
:

Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”

So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

Matthew 27:24-31 NLT

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...the "he was crucified" part isn't so much a matter of faith as the "for our sake" part. There is extra-biblical evidence that a man named Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifixion during Pilate's term as Roman governor. The amazing thing about that crucifixion is the belief that it was an example of the truly innocent willingly paying a penalty in the place of...for the sake of...the truly guilty.

Thank you, Jesus.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Live On, Mom

 

Sunday, April 11, 2021...Georgina Della (Smith) Roth has been in a state the professionals call "actively passing" for three or four days. Around 1:30 AM, she completes the process.

At 7:00 AM, my brother, the oldest of my surviving siblings and the one who had been daily providing care to Mom before the medical incident that put her in a nursing home by way of the emergency room...my brother calls me and says "This is the call."

"This is it," I respond.

"Guess who woke up in heaven this morning?"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...Mom had spent six years and 9 months as a widow, and I doubt she truly enjoyed a single minute of it. Yes, she was sometimes distracted by happy events and visits from children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but there was always a longing to go Home. Enjoy your sweet victory, beloved saint!

Psalm 73:23-26

Yet I am always with you;

    you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

    and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

    but God is the strength of my heart

    and my portion forever.




Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The "What" of Jesus

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

He became incarnate from the virgin, Mary, and was made man



Per the Holy Bible:

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord."

Luke 1:35-46

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
John 1:14

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Philippians 2:6-8

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.
Hebrews 2:14-17

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Just so we don't turn "incarnate" into some mystical, purely-religious term, let's remind ourselves that it has a universally understood definition: "embodied in flesh; given a bodily, especially a human, form."

Truth is...While occupying Planet Earth, Jesus was not a visible spirit, magically hovering six inches off the ground and never quite "one of us." When people refer to Jesus as "God in the flesh," that is exactly what they mean. Jesus had a human body, just like you and me.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The "How" of Jesus

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

By the power of the Holy Spirit


Per the Holy Bible
:

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God."

Luke 1:35 NLT

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

This clause of the creed is simply explaining how God the Son took on human form. Well, explaining is probably too strong a word to use. It's more like giving credit without really understanding any behind-the-scenes making of the sausage. For God the Son to take on flesh, it took some kind of special power, and that power was administered through God the Spirit.

Truth is...I don't understand it, but I don't really expect to be able to understand everything about God.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The "From Where" of Jesus

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

He came down from heaven


Per the Holy Bible
:

No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.

John 3:13 NLT

He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.

John 3:31

After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.

That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!

The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them. Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

“Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.

John 6:12-38

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...the idea of coming "down" from or going "up" to heaven may be a bow to our limited, human understanding, so let's not get all excited about getting in a rocket and blasting out into space looking for a physical place called heaven. The point being made is that Jesus existed in a purely spiritual "form" before being birthed on Earth having taken on the form of a human being. (Philippians 2:7)


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The "Why" of Jesus

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

For us and for our salvation


Per the Holy Bible
:

I have seen your salvation.

Luke 2:30 NLT

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

1 John 4:14

There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.

1 Timothy 2:5-6

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...there are plenty of people who say plenty of things as to why Jesus came to Earth. "He came to show us how to love." "He came to be an example." "He came to teach us truth." But primarily, it was the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth that made it possible to restore mankind's relationship with Father God. He saved us!


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Jesus Creator

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

Through him [Jesus] all things were made


Per the Holy Bible:

God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.

John 1:3-10 NLT

Through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.

He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see - such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:16

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

If you've been paying attention, you might be saying, "Hey, wait a minute! The second phrase in this creed says that God, the Father Almighty, is 'maker of heaven and earth,' so what's the deal all of a sudden saying that the SON was the creative agent?"

Pay attention to the two Scripture references above. God the Father did the creating, but he did it through the Son.

It might help to take the opening of John's gospel literally for a moment when it equates Jesus with "the Word" and then reread the first chapter of Genesis where God speaks  -  pronounces a word  -  and things come into being.

Truth is...It's as if God the Father sits enthroned eternally and any personal interaction, like touching or creating, is accomplished by God the Son.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Father and Son Unity

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

Of one being with the Father



Per the Holy Bible:

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.

John 14:10-11 NLT

I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
John 17:22-23

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...If it helps to think of deity as being a physical substance, then we can say that God the Father and God the Son (stay tuned for truth about God the Holy Spirit) are both made up of the same "stuff". 


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Begotten

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

Begotten, not made



Per the Holy Bible:

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God.

John 1:1-2

Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.

John 16:28

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

I have to admit, this whole "begotten" thing has always been a mystery to me, so for this step in our journey through the Nicene Creed, I turned to the depository of all earthly knowledge, YouTube, for help. The One-Minute Apologist has this to say:

Now, while I find that kind of helpful, it's not really an answer. And neither is Merriam-Webster: "brought into existence by or as if by a parent", which is exactly the opposite point the creed is trying to make, that being, that even though it appeared that Jesus of Nazareth "came to the world in the usual way," he was not conceived in Mary's womb by any human union, but that the eternal God-the-Son put on flesh by miraculous means.

Truth is...there's a lot more studying that can be done to sort out terminology, and a person could do worse than deciphering through the article that is the source for this post's graphic, "Begotten, Not Made", by Josh Malone in Creedo Magazine. (To read it, CLICK HERE.)


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

God from God

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God


Per the Holy Bible:

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God.

God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

John 1:1-14 NLT

The Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.

John 16:27-28

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...The Nicene Creed may be guilty of a little overkill here for the sake of poetry, but the point is that Jesus is God the Son, not Joseph and Mary's son, born in some backwater Palestinian village. He emanates from Yahweh. Stay tuned, there's more to come.


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Eternally Jesus

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

Eternally begotten of the Father



Per the Holy Bible:

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God.

John 1:1-2 (NLT)

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am!”

John 8:58

For through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:16

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

Philippians 2:6

We'll deal with "begotten" in two weeks. The point today is "eternally" and the assertion that, like the Father, there was never a time when Jesus didn't exist.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...infinity and timelessness are things that make my mind get all wobbly, but for Yahweh to always be the Father, there has to have always been the Son. As it's been stated before, if God could be totally explained, he wouldn't be all that worthy of worship now, would he?


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Son of God

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

...the only Son of God...



Per the Holy Bible:

The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father.'"

Psalm 2:7 NLT

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

Matthew 3:17

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

For Yahweh to be eternally identified as "Father," there has to have eternally been a "Son". That loving, authoritative/submissive relationship has always been present in the Godhead and is beyond our complete comprehension. How can Jesus be both God and Son? That is a mystery clearly taught in Scripture, but never fully explained.

Truth is...if I could completely understand God, I don't think he'd be worth worshiping.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

One Lord

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ..."

Per the Holy Bible:

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

John 20:28 NLT

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”

Acts 16:31

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...there are SEVERAL more Scriptures calling Jesus Lord that could be quoted, but the point is this: there is only one Lord, and a person can't have divided loyalties. As Jesus himself said, "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other." (Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13) And as Bob Dylan said, "You gotta serve somebody. It may be the devil or it may be the lord, but you still gotta serve somebody."

Bonus Truth: Serving the one lord is what makes a church body a church body. Please watch and enjoy this music video ("One Lord One Body") from the church body I call home.



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Of All That Is, Seen and Unseen

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

"...of all that is, seen and unseen."


Per the Holy Bible:

"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:15-16 NLT

"God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him."

John 1:3

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...Just as "All that glitters is not gold" and "All that's gold does not glitter," so too, not everything that exists can be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched. Beauty cannot be quantified, loneliness cannot be stored in a closet, and love can only be seen by the actions it inspires. "Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens." (James 1:17)



Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Maker of Heaven and Earth

  

Per the Nicene Creed:

"...Maker of heaven and earth..."



Per the Holy Bible:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.

Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. God called the space “sky.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. And evening passed and morning came, marking the third day.

Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day.

Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the fifth day.

Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth,and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

Genesis 1:1-31 NLT

Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:

“Who is this that questions my wisdom

    with such ignorant words?

Brace yourself like a man,

    because I have some questions for you,

    and you must answer them.


“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?

    Tell me, if you know so much.

Who determined its dimensions

    and stretched out the surveying line?

What supports its foundations,

    and who laid its cornerstone

as the morning stars sang together

    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?


“Who kept the sea inside its boundaries

    as it burst from the womb,

and as I clothed it with clouds

    and wrapped it in thick darkness?

For I locked it behind barred gates,

    limiting its shores.

I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.

    Here your proud waves must stop!’


“Have you ever commanded the morning to appear

    and caused the dawn to rise in the east?

Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth,

    to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?

As the light approaches,

    the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal;

    it is robed in brilliant colors.[b]

The light disturbs the wicked

    and stops the arm that is raised in violence.


“Have you explored the springs from which the seas come?

    Have you explored their depths?

Do you know where the gates of death are located?

    Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?

Do you realize the extent of the earth?

    Tell me about it if you know!


“Where does light come from,

    and where does darkness go?

Can you take each to its home?

    Do you know how to get there?

But of course you know all this!

For you were born before it was all created,

    and you are so very experienced!


“Have you visited the storehouses of the snow

    or seen the storehouses of hail?

(I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble,

    for the day of battle and war.)

Where is the path to the source of light?

    Where is the home of the east wind?


“Who created a channel for the torrents of rain?

    Who laid out the path for the lightning?

Who makes the rain fall on barren land,

    in a desert where no one lives?

Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground

    and make the tender grass spring up?


“Does the rain have a father?

    Who gives birth to the dew?

Who is the mother of the ice?

    Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?

For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,

    and the surface of the water freezes.

Job 38:1-30


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Truth is...believing in nothing but evolution or that Yahweh used evolution as a tool or that God's creation of all things was instantaneous requires an element of faith. There is no way to scientifically or logically or mathematically prove anything particular about the origin of all things. However, it is apparent that everything that exists is dependant on something existing before it, and if we follow all those causes back in time, it must eventually lead to something/someone that didn't need to be created...an uncaused cause. (Whether the chicken or the egg came first is a moot point because they each require the other to exist.)

We believe Yahweh is the uncaused cause, the original designer, and the copyright owner of the universe.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

One God

 

Per the Nicene Creed:

"We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty..."


Per the Holy Bible
:

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”

At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.”

Genesis 17:1-8 NLT

Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.

Deuteronomy 6:4

Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.

Matthew 6:9

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Truth is...while this statement may cause some consternation down the road when thinking about the Trinity, it really is the basis of all that follows. There is one entity above and beyond everything; one entity who has been and will always be Father: the almighty source of life and love eternally; worthy of praise and submission. We submit ourselves to Yahweh.