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“The earth is the LORD’s” (Exodus 9:29) and He “renews the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30).
There is an exquisite appropriateness in our celebrating the resurrection of Christ in the spring. When nature is waking to life again after her long winter of sleep, it is then that the thoughts of Christians everywhere are turned to the wonder of the Savior’s coming out of the tomb after His ordeal with sin and death. Christ’s resurrection was an act once accomplished at a given moment in history. It does not in any sense depend upon seasons or celebrations, nor does the miracle of the springtime add anything to the glory of the once-done deed.
The workings of God in nature do, however, cast a warm light upon His workings in redemption, and the springtime of life in the earth illustrates the miracle of life in the new creation. In midwinter we can see a dry and leafless tree and think what a change the spring will make in its condition. Surely if God can make such a difference in a tree, He can change the heart of a sinner, too. Nevertheless, it takes some faith to stand in a winter landscape surrounded by the chilly silence of snow and ice and believe that in a few short weeks every trace of frost will be gone, that the snow-covered hills will be dressed in green and the ice-blocked streams will be running swift and free again in the summer sun. Yet our confidence is never disappointed. read more…
The most common objection made concerning the Bible is that it can’t be trusted as God’s word because it was written by men and everyone knows men make mistakes. In actuality the Bible was written through men by God. In speaking of how the Bible was written, 2 Peter 1:21 tells us, “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The Bible writers, therefore, were not inspired as great artists or inspired to produce great art, but the word translated “inspired” means, “God-breathed.” It literally conveys the idea of God breathing out the scriptures. Man, then, was only the instrument used by God to convey His thoughts in the Bible.
In a recent Steven Crowder YouTube video, Alexa, the interactive virtual assistant built into Amazon’s Echo, was asked the question, “Who is the Lord Jesus Christ?” Her answer was short and to the point: “Jesus Christ is a fictional character.”*
We may gasp at that shocking response, but the answer really shouldn’t surprise us. We live in a day and age where biblical truth is marginalized and the once-distinct line between reality and fantasy is blurred. Nowadays, a fetus isn’t a person, there are more than two genders, and Lucifer is a semi-fallen angel with a heart of gold on a successful Fox TV series.
Are you a coward?
That’s the horrifying question I asked myself as a believer the first time I read the 21st chapter of Revelation, as recorded by the Apostle John at Patmos. It is a rich and riveting account filled with vivid promises of final victory that captures the imagination and bring the believer to his knees in contemplation of an eternity without suffering, sadness, or even death. And yet, abruptly, in the middle of that hope-filled chapter where God lovingly wipes away every tear, we are confronted with the devastating flip-side of a much different outcome.
Some people, in various states of spiritual malignancy, will be tossed into the lake of fire and sulfur. And first on the list, and perhaps foremost, are the cowards…
In Ephesians 6:13-18, the Apostle Paul lays out the full armor of God with which the Church must fit herself as she struggles against the forces of darkness. We are to stand firm in the Spirit and the Gospel, says Paul, by putting on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, donning the helmet of salvation, wielding the sword of the Spirit, carrying the shield of faith, and utilizing prayer at all times.
Some Christians have assumed that these armaments are merely metaphors for the personal tools of faith that the individual believer uses to fight a private battle against the devil. Others see these implements as biblically-mandated weapons for the visible Church to wield political or military power against mortal enemies. But such viewpoints limit or distort the profound meaning that Paul is trying to convey to us in this teaching. The equipping of the prophetic full armor of God upon the Church is much more startling and humbling in its significance.
Since many people in America today, including some Christians, clamor for all things fantastical in their personal search for augmented meaning, instead of resting in God’s pure word and the attending Holy Spirit to guide their spiritual understanding, it would be prudent for thoughtful believers to consider this current pathway of metaphysical delights, its brash direction, and where it will eventually end. Indeed, the signposts on this broad road have already been erected, if only Christians enthralled with inventive speculations would stop and see the illumined markers of its ultimate destination: Transhumanism.
You’ve probably heard of the famous “Invisible Gorilla” study, conducted by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris several years ago. It was a work that won the Ig Nobel Prize for Psychology in 2004. In the study, Simons and Chabris asked volunteers to watch a one-minute long video of two teams (one group in white shirts; one in black shirts) passing around a basketball. The volunteers were specifically tasked with keeping count of how many times the ball is passed by a member of the white-shirted team. Halfway through the video, a person wearing a full-body gorilla suit walks through the scene, pounds the chest, then leaves. After watching the video, the volunteers were asked to give their official counts, but were also asked if they saw anything else in the video. Amazingly, only around 50% of the volunteers saw the gorilla.
The experiment clearly demonstrated what is known as “Inattentional Blindness,” a common mental phenomenon defined by a lack of expectation for an unattended stimulus…
We Americans find ourselves, slowly but surely, drawn farther and farther away from truth and reality. God’s revelation and His creation have been left in the dust of this current stampede towards the mirages of imagination and idolatry, a circumstance that Paul so perfectly articulated in Romans 1:18-25. Indeed the rising generation, fed with the milk of self-esteem and human potential, have become more enthralled with the things of fancy. The immense popularity of fantasy literature, movies, and video gaming belies this fact. The current American generation loves their fantasy: wizards, vampires, hobbits, Jedis, and Marvel superheroes are their role models and sometimes even their new religion.
God’s truth and stark reality are now old hat. These days, reality needs to be augmented by our creativity or replaced altogether by a VR world of our own making…