As the shadows were swallowing up the last rays of this evening’s sun, a muley buck trotted across our place with a mission in mind. The rut is in full swing here, and he only has a limited number of days to find receptive does. Avoiding the hunter’s aim is paramount to his success and survival.
So what is the “joyful sound?” I believe it refers to the gospel message of salvation, which is indeed a message of joy, peace and comfort to those who believe in Jesus Christ. Walking in the light of His countenance requires obedience to Biblical principles and the commands of Christ. This sets the stage for Him to allow us to yield fruit (see my previous post) through what we do, say and participate in…as a result of our faith and salvation, not as a condition thereof!
As I was driving down the highway last week, a thought – nay, a revelation – struck me suddenly. And for some reason I heard this in the voice of Andy Rooney, using his signature “Did ya’ ever notice how….” line. The amazing thing is that this thought had not occurred to me many years ago. Oh, so you want to know the thought? Well, as Andy would have said it, “Did ya’ ever notice how evolution only seems to work on Earth?”
Think about that for a few minutes, and roll it around in your mind a few times.
The whole idea of evolution, the spontaneous generation of single-celled life from dust and gas and rocks and time and luck and… It all seems absurd. But even more absurd is the thought that those single-celled things “evolve” into fish then frogs then lizards then rabbits then monkeys then people! Given enough time, the evolutionists say this will happen. Okay, for a few short seconds here, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are right. If so, then there should be all sorts of “tweener” critters wandering all over the place, right? So where are they? But I digress…
If the “science” of evolution is right, then this amazing and spontaneous generation of life from stuff should occur on other planets, too. Life adapted to cooler temperatures and the high carbon dioxide atmosphere of Mars should be abounding on that planet, while the warmer weather and higher atmospheric pressure on Venus should support some really tough life forms. Here on Earth we have life forms that don’t use oxygen, and some that can withstand extreme temperatures and pressure, so why haven’t those kind of critters appeared and evolved into complex beings similar to mankind on the other planets?
Did ya’ ever notice how evolution never produces anything as simple as a golf pencil, but instead can grow an amoeba into a person? I’m sorry, I still don’t have enough faith to believe in evolution!
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 For the rest of the story, click here.
“Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” Luke 8:25b
Along with cooler temperatures, fall weather often brings with it plenty of wind and rain. While this season is one of my favorite times of year, there are times when I wish I had the ability to alter the weather. But, alas, that is one of many things well beyond my control. For Jesus Christ, calming a storm while at sea was a simple matter of scolding the weather and the storm ceased and the sea calmed! I don’t know about you, but the fact that I have my faith in The Creator with that kind of power is very comforting. With the turbulent state of affairs in the world today, knowing that He is in control is very reassuring. It isn’t that I simply ignore what is happening around me, but I acknowledge that when things get to a certain point, He will step in and make His will happen. In the meanwhile, I can impact the people and circumstances I interact with, as He directs my path. But mostly, I pray that more will make the decision to be followers of Christ.
Speaking of calm seas, earlier this month I took a short cruise from Long Beach, CA to Ensenada, Mexico. The ocean was pretty calm during most of the trip, making the passage very pleasant. While I am glad I had the opportunity to be on the cruise, I learned that this is something I don’t need to do again anytime soon. While the Carnival Paradise is a very large vessel, I found it to be very confining by the end of the second day on board. Perhaps if I was the kind of person that would have been entertained by the bars, dance floors or casino, I would have enjoyed the experience more. However, none of those venues hold much appeal for me. On the positive side, I did enjoy being out in the sea air, and found solace in sitting outside on the upper decks in the evenings (while everyone else was enjoying the more social aspects of the voyage) very peaceful and relaxing. There were a limited number of photo opportunities that I was able to take advantage of throughout the journey. Click on the pictures below to see them in a larger format.
- The Dynamics of Faith and Receiving from God (pjcockrell.wordpress.com)
- The Perfect Christian (5ptsalt.com)
“The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.” Psalms 10:4
I guess I should have joined Facebook sooner. If I had, perhaps I would have learned more life application skills that would have really simplified my life. Unfortunately, I am not an early-adopter. It is more my style to let other people work out the kinks on new technology and “advances” in general. So I drug my feet for several years before finally succumbing to Facebook. Even then, I did it more to find out what all the hubbub was about, than anything. After several months of lurking and accepting a few friend requests, I was near the point of pulling the plug on the whole thing. But then, it happened. I was reading through a series of comments about depression as a factor in suicides (pretty exciting topic, huh?) when I encountered a revelation, of sorts…
“We don’t need god anymore. We now know enough about the human body and mind to have a basic idea about the mechanisms of mental illness including depression to understand it sufficiently. Not perfect knowledge, of course, but enough to know there’s no need for a god to explain it. Further, we don’t need to make up fictional father figures to feel love. We have the capacity for love already inside us. We know that part of the human imperfection is that we lose track of that capacity.”
Wow! I actually had to read it several times to really take it in. If this is really true, then I have been wasting a lot of time in church, at Sunday School, praying and witnessing to other people. Oh, and the time this sinner spends confessing to God, now that really adds up over the years. Assuming that I am lucky enough to live another 20 years, one full year will be wasted in all these activities that are apparently useless. Of course, adopting this new worldview will mean that I will need to depend on the “smart people” who have all this wonderful knowledge, and having a little luck will be essential. Maybe I should buy a rabbit’s foot to keep on my key chain as a constant reminder of how important luck will be to me? And the smart people are going to be awful important, so maybe we ought to consider building some shrines to honor them?
And that mushy “love” topic? This new learning seems like the ultimate freedom! Over the years there have been a lot people who I don’t really like, but I’ve prayed for them, taught them and helped them in various ways. Erroneously, I thought I was sharing God’s love with them, but if there is no God, I must have been wasting my time. Whew, that’s going to be load off my plate! If I feel like loving someone, I will; if not, I won’t give it another thought because I must simply not have the capacity for it within me.
Oh, this would be the easy way out. At a glance it looks pretty tempting to adopt this worldview…but at what cost? What meaning would life have if there is no God? How would I navigate through life without the One who is always there for me? There would be nothing to look forward to in the afterlife, and I’ve been planning on lodging in His mansion.
On second thought, I don’t think I will adopt this worldview. After nearly 50 years of experience, I am convinced that there is a God and that I need Him. The Bible is the document guiding my life, but even without it I would know He is there. I talk to Him often and He answers. He has protected me through times when I didn’t deserve it and in places I shouldn’t have survived. He loves me and shows me how to love others, not because of any great knowledge I’ve accumulated or deeds I’ve accomplished, but because I do my best to trust and obey Him. He is sufficient for me.
To say we’ve had abundant rain in central and eastern Montana would be a tremendous understatement. While many of us have been challenged and tested by the record moisture, much of God’s creation has benefited and been refreshed by it, including the bathing Robin pictured below. The point of this post, however, is to simply point out that I’ve refreshed a couple of the galleries with new images. A few new pictures depicting insects have been added to the “Things That Creep” gallery and a number of wildflower and foliage images have been added to the gallery titled “From the Third Day.” I hope you enjoy them.
Spring continues to do battle with winter in Big Sky country. Today’s temperature wasn’t too bad – high 30’s to low 40’s – but rain and light snow fell intermittently throughout the day. The Red-winged Blackbird didn’t allow the weather to dampen his spirits, as he took post high in the cattails and commenced to singing. Finding something to eat couldn’t have been an easy task for him today. And as one of the early arrivals in the spring migration, there weren’t too many other blackbirds around to keep him company. Everything seemed to be working against this poor fellow, but he didn’t let them get in the way of rejoicing in song. I think we have a lot to learn from this weather warrior.
Often we overlook the many blessings in our lives, and instead dwell on things that aren’t going our way. Worse yet, many of the things that we allow to bring us down are trivial in nature. But we, who have been given dominion over so much by our Creator, get mired in self-pity and sorrow when we don’t get our way. How much simpler and satisfying it would be if we would just rejoice in what the Lord has done for us, and bring our needs and desires to Him in prayer. He knows what is best for us, and He will take care of our needs in accordance with His plans. We enjoy the largest measure of God’s kindness and spiritual blessings, so let’s take a page from the Red-winged Blackbird’s playbook and rejoice in Him.
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 6:37-39)
What an awesome invitation from our Saviour! If we come to him in faith and believe in Him, we will receive an abundance of peace, joy and love. Our “thirst” will finally be quenched when we have shared those gifts with others. Without water, our bodies will dehydrate and eventually die. But the living water that we receive from Christ is an everlasting gift for us to share with others on earth, and then to enjoy in the hereafter with Him. Are you thirsty? Then belly up to the Living Water bar, tended by the Master Himself. Oh, and you don’t need money; His water is free, you only need faith!