Eternity and a soft, warm kitty

Some time ago, my oldest daughter managed to interest me in the TV series "The Big Bang Theory".  For the most part, I enjoy the series, but their overt references to ungodly lifestyles is a bit much to swallow.  However, the three pictures above do show a sweet side to the show.  Everyone needs love and affection and the lead character, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, PhD is no exception.  He is an exceptionally gifted intellectual (and knows it), with a lack of understanding basic interpersonal principles that is astounding!!!  His contempt for all things "religious" is "proudly" portrayed.  It is plain that he has replaced God with his own mind.  This is nothing new; human beings have been attempting to replace God with a variety of things since there have been Homo Sapiens!!!  The Apostle Paul writes...

Romans, Chapter 1

 14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish.  15 So, as much as is in me, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who are in Rome.  16 For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek.  17 For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.”  18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,  19 because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them.  20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. 21 Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. 

  22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  23 and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.  24 Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves,  25 who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 

The thing is... The picture shows something very interesting.  People get sick and sometimes die.  Then what?  For those who have submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and obeyed the Gospel- the emboldened verses above tell the story- LIFE!!!  Those who have not- see the underlined verses- WRATH!!!  Life is about choices and all the cute little songs in the world will not replace the Gospel of Jesus the Christ of God!!  Need comfort?  Real comfort is in the knowledge that your faith and actions will reserve a place in heaven for you!!!  Can't say that?  Change things!!! Don't know how?  Read on...

Acts, Chapter 2
 14  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke out to them, “You men of Judea, and all you who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words.  15 For these aren’t drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is only the third hour of the day.  16 But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: 
  17 ‘It will be in the last days, says God,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions.
Your old men will dream dreams.
  18 Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days,
I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy.
  19 I will show wonders in the sky above,
and signs on the earth beneath;
blood, and fire, and billows of smoke.
  20 The sun will be turned into darkness,
and the moon into blood,
before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
  21 It will be, that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

  22  “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in your midst, even as you yourselves know,  23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed;  24 whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.  25 For David says concerning him, 
‘I saw the Lord always before my face,
For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.
  26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope;
  27 because you will not leave my soul in Hades,
neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay.
  28 You made known to me the ways of life.
You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

  29  “Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,  31 he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was his soul left in Hades, nor did his flesh see decay.  32 This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses.  33 Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear.  34 For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he says himself, 
‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand,
  35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’

  36  “Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 

  37  Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 

  38  Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”  40 With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” 

Choose wisely; your life (eternally) depends upon it!!!

Bible Reading Feb. 25

Feb. 25
Exodus 6

Exo 6:1 Yahweh said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh, for by a strong hand he shall let them go, and by a strong hand he shall drive them out of his land."
Exo 6:2 God spoke to Moses, and said to him, "I am Yahweh;
Exo 6:3 and I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them.
Exo 6:4 I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their travels, in which they lived as aliens.
Exo 6:5 Moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered my covenant.
Exo 6:6 Therefore tell the children of Israel, 'I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments:
Exo 6:7 and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Exo 6:8 I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: I am Yahweh.' "
Exo 6:9 Moses spoke so to the children of Israel, but they didn't listen to Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
Exo 6:10 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 6:11 "Go in, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land."
Exo 6:12 Moses spoke before Yahweh, saying, "Behold, the children of Israel haven't listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, who am of uncircumcised lips?"
Exo 6:13 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a command to the children of Israel, and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
Exo 6:14 These are the heads of their fathers' houses. The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben.
Exo 6:15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon.
Exo 6:16 These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were one hundred thirty-seven years.
Exo 6:17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families.
Exo 6:18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel; and the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred thirty-three years.
Exo 6:19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations.
Exo 6:20 Amram took Jochebed his father's sister to himself as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty-seven years.
Exo 6:21 The sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri.
Exo 6:22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Sithri.
Exo 6:23 Aaron took Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, as his wife; and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
Exo 6:24 The sons of Korah: Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites.
Exo 6:25 Eleazar Aaron's son took one of the daughters of Putiel as his wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites according to their families.
Exo 6:26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom Yahweh said, "Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies."
Exo 6:27 These are those who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are that Moses and Aaron.
Exo 6:28 It happened on the day when Yahweh spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt,
Exo 6:29 that Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "I am Yahweh. Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak to you."
Exo 6:30 Moses said before Yahweh, "Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh listen to me?"

Wondrous Eyes and Parasitical Worms by Jim McGuiggan

Wondrous Eyes and Parasitical Worms

Believers like to point to the "design" in nature and life as a proof that God exists. That move has real but limited value. Design might prove that more than one God exists and even if we knew only one God existed we couldn't tell from the creation if he/it was all-powerful or all-wise or all-benevolent. Maybe (as John Stuart Mill and others have suggested) a god less than all-powerful and a bit less than all-wise and all-benevolent created the universe.
David in Psalm 19 and Paul in Romans 1 told the truth when they said the heavens declare the glory and power of God but they were saying what they knew via inspired teaching rather than by philosophic argument. And the God they were talking about, who revealed his power and glory in creation, was Yahweh or the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ rather than some conclusion to a syllogism. We mustn't make less of a biblical statement than its own claim. Paul claimed that Yahweh (who was now shown as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ) is seen in the creation. That's not an "argument"; it's a proclamation.
It's increasingly true that people in the West are utterly dissatisfied with the god "chance" and are looking for a "Designer" to explain the utterly miraculous degree of adaptation we see everywhere we look. Witness the effect of Dembski's work and the confession of the late Fred Hoyle who repudiated "chance" not long before he died. It isn't just the intricacy of one thing that astounds these scientists, it's the inter-relatedness of a host of incredibly complex systems that overwhelms their scepticism so that they move from speech about "adaptation" to speech about "design". Distinguished scientist George Wald confessed that to get from inorganic material to us was "impossible" and yet, he said, here we are, the result of the "impossible". Many scientists just glibly assert that "given enough time anything can happen" but modern computer technology is burying that notion under a universe of "odds against". At the Wistar convention in Philadelphia nearly forty years ago mathematicians were already digging the grave for that non-scientific claim.
It isn't just "adaptation" that has to be faced; it's simultaneous adaptation of a host of things. Whole reproductive systems have to emerge simultaneously before creatures can live without water. Eggs have to develop tough covers or they'll dehydrate but the creature within has to get out so it must develop a way to get out. The tough covers can't develop in the water and don't have the time in one generation to develop out of the water. The gill systems have to be replaced, the sense to bury eggs must occur, the fertilisation of eggs system has to be replaced. I know there are scientists who dismiss such talk as silly and ignorant but that's part of the reason so many people are turning from "chance". They're offered assertions instead of explanation (or even part explanation). The existence of water creatures, amphibians and land creatures is supposed to assure us that they must have found a way but it already assumes the theory of transmutation. We're ceaselessly told how like the animals we are and rarely told how unlike them we are.
Is there an omnipotent, omniscient and omni-benevolent Creator? I'm sure there is. But television programmer David Attenborough put the really fundamental question that bothers people. For fifty years he's been looking at fantastic adaptation and has no wish to deny the force of the argument. He said he sees the incredible eye, which the creator is said to have made but he also sees the worm that bores into the eyes of tens of thousands of children. Did God create that worm also? And isn't it an incredibly complex creature? Where do we go from there?

The Savior's Tender Invitation (11:28-30) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

               The Savior's Tender Invitation (11:28-30)


1. In the text for our study today, we find a wonderful invitation 
   extended by Jesus...

   "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give
   you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle
   and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My
   yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

2. From heaven Jesus still offers this tender invitation; but do we 
   really understand and appreciate...
   a. To whom Jesus extends this invitation?
   b. What He offers to those who will accept it?
   c. What He expects from those who desire to respond?
   d. The true ease of accepting this invitation?

[These are some of the questions we shall consider as we examine what
has been called "The Savior's Tender Invitation"...]


      1. To those who are burdened by sin
         a. A burden which separates one from God - cf. Isa 59:1-2
         b. A burden with terrible side effects
            1) A lack of inner peace - Isa 48:22
            2) Instead, one is burdened with anxiety, depression, fear
               and doubt
            3) And rightly so, in view of the ultimate consequence of
               sin (spiritual death) - Ro 6:23a
      2. This invitation, then, is really for everyone!
         a. For all are sinners! - Ro 3:23,10
         b. And as such are in bondage to sin and its heavy burden 
            - Jn 8:34

      1. That they are sinners
      2. That they are enslaved by sin and its burden
      3. That they need Divine help to freed from the burden of sin

[If you are not too proud to face the fact that you are a sinner and
need Divine help, then "The Savior's Tender Invitation" is especially
designed for you!  But perhaps you wonder...]


      1. Jesus is offering rest for our souls!
      2. Souls which have been burdened by:
         a. The guilt of sin, which separates from God (i.e., legal 
         b. The side effects of sin, such as anxiety, depression, fear
            and doubt (i.e., emotional guilt)

      1. Which includes a removal of the guilt of sin!
         a. For by God's own love and grace, forgiveness of sin is now
            possible through Jesus - cf. Ro 5:8-9; 1Jn 4:10; Ep 1:7
         b. Through His own blood, Jesus frees us from the condemnation
            of sin - Ro 8:1
      2. Which includes a removal of the side effects of sin!
         a. To have true rest for our souls, we need more than just
            1) For even those forgiven may be plagued by the side 
               effects of sin 
            2) Having lived so long under the burden of sin, it may not
               be easy to lay aside those feelings which often 
               accompany sin (e.g., anxiety, fear, doubt)
         b. Jesus certainly provides what our souls need...
            1) To remove anxiety, Jesus offers peace to calm the
               troubled heart
               a) A peace unlike any that the world might give - Jn 14:
               b) A peace stronger than any tribulation the world might
                  bring - Jn 16:33
               c) A peace which guards our hearts and minds, and 
                  "surpasses all understanding" - Php 4:7
            2) To remove depression, Jesus offers joy to lift our
               a) The same joy Jesus Himself had - Jn 15:11
               b) A joy later described as "inexpressible" - 1Pe 1:8
            3) To remove fear, Jesus offers love which casts out fear
               - 1Jn 4:18
               a) The same love which exists between the Father and the
                  Son - Jn 15:9
               b) A love which "passes knowledge" - Ep 3:19
            4) To remove doubt, Jesus offers hope for facing the future
               a) By assuring us of eternal life - Jn 11:25
               b) By promising eternal rest to those who die in the 
                  Lord - Re 14:13

[I have not exhausted all that pertains to the wonderful rest Jesus
offers, but it is...

   * A rest from the burden of sin's guilt, and a rest from the burden
     of sin's side effects!

   * A rest for our burdened souls now, and eternal rest for our souls
     when we die!

Incidentally, even physical burdens are made lighter by coming to 
Jesus, because the soul is made stronger to bear them!  This sounds 
wonderful, but...]


   A. "COME TO ME..."
      1. This is easy, even though Jesus is "King of kings and Lord of
      2. For as He says, "I am gentle and lowly in heart"
         a. He is so gentle, children felt comfortable in His presence
            (cf. Mt 18:2)
         b. He is so lowly in heart, the common people heard Him gladly
            (cf. Mk 12:37)
      -- As prophesied, Jesus would be tender and sensitive to our 
         needs ("A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He
         will not quench" - Isa 42:3; Mt 12:20)

      1. "In Jewish literature a 'yoke' represents the sum-total of
         obligations which, according to the teaching of the rabbis,
         a person must take upon himself." - William Hendriksen
         (Matthew, New Testament Commentary)
      2. Jesus is therefore expecting those who desire the rest He 
         offers to:
         a. Accept His teachings
         b. Accept whatever obligations He would lay upon you

      1. This is how we learn what obligations He would place upon us
      2. We must be willing to listen to Him, and do whatever He says
         - cf. Lk 6:46-49

[In essence, "The Savior's Tender Invitation" is a call to 
discipleship:  to commit your life as a disciple of Jesus, committed to
learning from Him and accepting the obligations He places upon you 
(i.e., "His yoke").  This might prompt one to ask...]


      1. That we observe all that He commanded - Mt 28:19-20
      2. That we abide in His doctrine (teaching) - Jn 8:31

      1. John, who was a disciple for over fifty years, said:  "His
         commandments are not grievous" - 1Jn 5:3
      2. What helps lighten our burden is the strength Jesus Himself
         gives - Php 2:12-13; 4:13
      -- Certainly the burden Jesus places upon us is lighter than the
         burden sin lays upon us!


1. Do you desire the rest for your soul that is offered by "The 
   Savior's Tender Invitation"?
   a. Then come to Jesus in full obedience to His gospel
   b. Commit to becoming His disciple, learning from Him all that He

2. As suggested in Mt 28:19-20, this life of discipleship begins with
   a. For in baptism we put on Christ - Ga 3:27
   b. For in baptism we rise to walk in newness of life - Ro 6:3-4

As one rises from the watery grave of baptism, they are freed from the
burden of sin through the precious blood of Christ.  As they continue
to observe all that He commanded, their burden becomes even lighter as
they apply to their lives the wisdom Jesus taught.  

Have you accepted the yoke of Jesus?  Are you living under that yoke?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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