Not of stellar engines, nor of Dyson spheres

As I write this, my father is on a ventilator in an ICU, fighting for his 73-year old life. As you might suspect, he has COVID-19. I received the call from my mother that they had made the decision to intervene while we were live streaming our worship from my phone. My mother, one year younger, also has COVID-19. Thus far her symptoms are mild. My sister is an RN who has specialized in COVID treatment over the last year. One of the frontline workers who has traveled to the country’s worst regions, she is now taking on the role of private in-home nurse, PPE and all.*

I am concerned about my dad. I am concerned about my mom. My dad was pretty much only concerned about my mom as they spoke on the phone before he was sedated. This whole situation creates a flood of interesting, if not difficult, emotions and thoughts to assess. Continue reading “Not of stellar engines, nor of Dyson spheres”

Before birth

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).

Birth is a beginning, but not the ultimate beginning. It is true for all of us that life begins before birth.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of God’s Sovereignty in his life prior to his physical birth: “Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name” (Isaiah 49:1). Continue reading “Before birth”

Lord over nothing at all

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is Lord over all.

In the book of John, the apostle makes use of seven signs (2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-9; 6:1-14; 6:16-21; 9:1-12; 11:1-46), which demonstrate Jesus’ power over quality, distance, time, quantity, natural law, misfortune, and death. /1

The gospel according to Luke presents Jesus as Lord over and again. The fisherman Peter was presented with the magnitude of Jesus’ sovereignty when the current anglers, at the Lord’s direction, caught more fish than their boats could hold. Peter, convinced of Jesus’ preeminence, fell to his feet and pleaded with the Master to depart from him (Luke 5:1-11). Continue reading “Lord over nothing at all”

What is wrong with birth?

“A good name is better than precious ointment and the day of death than the day of one’s birth” (Ecclesiastes 7:1, NKJV).

There goes the cynical wise man of old again. Solomon’s discussion of the meaning of life (known as the book of Ecclesiastes) is filled with phrases like “all is vanity” (1:2), “no profit under the sun” (2:11), and “this also is vanity and grasping for the wind” (4:4). One who reads the book casually, especially for the first time, is likely to picture its author as an embittered old man who is disappointed with life. But is that a true description of Israel’s wise King?

One seemingly cynical statement which helps fill out that description is found in 7:1 where Solomon prefers death to birth. An easy interpretation of this verse concludes that life is nothing but a disappointment and those who are ready to leave it are “happier” than those just beginning. But is that really what Solomon is teaching? Continue reading “What is wrong with birth?”

What and who will be in Heaven

If in Heaven we’re going to play harps for all eternity, I don’t want to go there, said a woefully uninformed person. This perspective reveals that people must be careful not to think of Heaven in earthly, carnal concepts, far from God’s revelation in Scripture. This is also a problem for one masculine-centered religion which sees Heaven in terms of access to hundreds of virgins.

What is going to be in Heaven that motivates everyone, men and women, rich and poor, to make every effort to get there? Here’s a short list. Continue reading “What and who will be in Heaven”

The secret of life

On February 28, 1953, 67 years ago this week, two scientists made a discovery that would forever change the way people understood the human body. On this day, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the famous “double helix” structure of DNA.

This ground-breaking discovery proved that DNA could indeed carry complex data. It also allowed people of all ages to understand the human body in new and exciting ways. In announcing their discovery, the scientists exclaimed, “We have discovered the secret of life!”

As scientifically significant as this discovery was, I would propose to you that the secret of life is something else entirely. I suggest that the real secret of life is death. Continue reading “The secret of life”

Life and immortality

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8-10 ESV).

Life and death. It is a lesson we learn early on; that which is born is going to die. It seems to be an unbroken cycle. Life is a gift, death is a curse. We rejoice with those who experience new life, and we mourn with those who experience death.

For thousands of years people lived and died without knowing the full measure of God’s grace. The faithful longed to see it (Matthew 13:17). The prophets wished to know the fulness of their message (1 Peter 1:10). What is the meaning of life? How will God deal with sin and death? Continue reading “Life and immortality”