One Solitary Life

nativity
He was a man who was born of Jewish parents, the child of a peasant woman.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office.
He never did one of the great things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Many centuries have come and gone and he is the centerpiece of the human race.
I am far within the mark when I say that no armies or navies have affected mankind
as powerfully as that One Solitary Life

(Author Unknown)

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Reflection on Isaiah 7:10-16

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+7.10-17

Scripture

But the king refused. “No,” he said. “I will not test the Lord like that.”

Observation

The Lord sends a message to King Ahaz inviting him to ask God for a sign. But the king refuses, saying he will not test the Lord.

Isaiah responds that the lord will send him a sign anyway. A virgin will conceive and bear a son who will be called Immanuel. By the time the child grows up, he will be eating yoghurt and honey because the lands of the kings that Ahaz fears will be deserted; it will be a time of peace and prosperity.

Application

There is a religious spirit that blinds the heart of its victim to the grace of God. Everywhere there are people who despise the mercy of God, preferring to prove their own righteousness.

If the Lord tells you to ask for a sign, it is because He wants to show you something amazing. It is arrogant and stupid to refuse to do what the Lord tells you to do on the grounds that you are too religious. Who are we to think that we are more righteous than God?

In Acts 10, Peter has a vision of a sheet containing all sorts of animals considered unclean. A voice tells him to eat, but Peter refuses because they are unclean. God rebukes him for calling unclean what He has declared to be clean.

We are not saved by religion. We are not put right with God by following rules. God forbid that we should ever get to the place where we start to believe that we know more than God about what pleases God! But this is the distortion that the religious spirit bring to our thinking.

Often our refusal to obey God comes from fear of people. We fear what people may say about us. We fear people more than we fear God.

The Lord wants us to break out of the prison of blind adherence to rules and regulations in order to walk in the freedom of the Holy Spirit.

True faith comes from at the point where we delight in the will of the Lord, regardless of religious fear or the fear of man.

Prayer

Holy Spirit come and make me more sensitive to your commands. When you tell me to do things that offend the religious spirit, may I have the grace to obey you. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 11:2-11

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+11.2-11

Scripture

I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.”

Observation

John the Baptist is in prison and he sends his disciples to Jesus to ask Him, “Are you the Messiah?” Jesus’ response is to point out the miracles and the healings and the preaching of the gospel.

Jesus then tells the crowd about John. He asks them “What did you expect him to be?” He tells them that John is more than a prophet- he is the messenger preparing the way of the Lord.

Jesus concludes that there was no one greater than John until the present day. But even the least important person in God’s Kingdom is greater than John.

Application

What does It mean to be great? Why is John the greatest of all men until the Kingdom?

John was great because he saw and recognised Jesus the Messiah. He was uniquely called to proclaim “The King is coming!” His greatness was in his calling.

All the prophets in the Old Testament saw a partial picture. Looking back we can see that they saw the coming of the Messiah and how it would happen.

Nobody, until John, saw the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Even John had his doubts.

John was greater than Moses, Abraham, David, Isaiah and Elijah.

But the least in the Kingdom is greater than John.

Me in my ordinary humdrum existence, far from perfect, not always hearing God’s voice– I am greater than John the Baptist, greater than Moses, David, Abraham and all the “heroes” of the Old Testament.

Goodness in God’s Kingdom is not about heroic deeds and famous sermons. It’s about walking with God and listening to the Holy Spirit, determined to live the best life I can for Jesus.

Prayer

Lord it is too marvellous for words to think that you consider me to be greater than John the Baptist. Show me how to be even greater as I walk in surrender to you. Amen.

Reflection on James 5:7-10

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+5.7-10

Scripture

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.

Observation

James encourages us to be patient as we wait for the Lord’s return. We should be like farmers who wait for the rain to bring on the harvest. We must have that kind of patience because the Lord is coming.

We must not grumble about our fellow believers, because the Judge- Jesus- is standing outside the door and about to come in to bring judgement.

Application

Faith and patience go hand in hand. Sometimes God intervenes quickly and miraculously. Often He intervenes slowly and gently. We see the goal of our prayers and want Him to act immediately, but God moves more slowly than we would like.

There is a right time for our prayer to be answered. It may be today, next year or 20 years away. Will my faith and persistence in prayer last over that time scale?

The farmer looks for the rain because his livelihood depends on that water coming down from heaven. The farmer cannot control the rain, and so his life is literally in God’s hands. He calls out to the Lord, believing for the rain that will bring life.

All of this waiting and praying is about the valuable harvest. The harvest is more than money in the bank- it is fulfilment and vindication of a lifestyle and a season of work. Every farmer I know will pluck a head of grain, sniff and taste it. They know by looking if the crop is good, but they need the personal touch- the taste and smell of their beautiful harvest.

We have a beautiful harvest- not our own but the Lord’s harvest. A harvest of souls who are coming into the kingdom. This harvest cannot be brought in my machines. It needs the personal touch- every head of grain individually touched and brought in.

Prayer

Lord I understand that your time scales are not the same as mine, that you deal by generations while I live in minutes. Help me to stay in step with you. Show me the harvest that is waiting to be brought in. Amen.

Creationists Rebutting Flat Earthers

Creationists are often accused of being in the same category as flat earthers. Here is an interesting article from Creation.com aiming to falsify one implication of the flat earth theory.

 

A direct test of the flat earth model: flight times

More data supporting a spherical earth

by 

Published: 6 December 2016 (GMT+10)

Flat Earth Society, with annotations by RC

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Figure 1: “Flat earth” map obtained from the Flat Earth Society website. The locations of the cities used in this study are marked (blue dots), as are the straight-line distances from Johannesburg to each city (red lines). I also added a black flag at the approximate position of the north pole. Originally, the city locations were marked in pen on a printed copy of this map, using various geographic hints from the map itself, but the data are recreated here for the sake of the reader.

After receiving such a surprising number of negative comments on our flat-earth rebuttal, I decided to perform a numerical analysis of the flat-earth model compared to the traditional spherical-earth model.

Science is about testing hypotheses, so let us set up an experiment to test these alternative views. For this, I enlisted the help of two of my children, ages 13 and 11. It made for a fun homeschoolproject.

The basic problem is the distance between longitude lines in the flat-earth model. In a spherical earth, the longitude lines start from one pole and converge on the other pole, and the distances get wider the closer they are to the equator. But in the northern-hemisphere–biased flat-earth model, the longitude lines start from the north pole and radiate outwards to the supposed ‘encircling southern polar ring’ like spokes on a wheel.

This means that the distances become greater the further south they go. This suggests an easy test of the two models: compare distances to travel times for distant places in the southern hemisphere.

The normalized data revealed a tight correlation between the spherical earth model and flight time.

The goal of this simple study was to compare reported airline flight time data with two distance measures, the ‘great circle’ distance of spherical-earth theory and the ‘straight-line’ distance of flat-earth theory.

The driving hypothesis is that the flat-earth map is distorted and so the flight times will not match the calculated distances. This, of course, assumes there is no great conspiracy among the millions of people working for the airline industry or the tens of millions of people who fly on their airplanes annually, which seems reasonable. I am also assuming airplanes on a flat earth would use the rule we all learned in geometry that ‘the shortest distance between any two points on a [standard, Euclidean] plane is a straight line’.

This assumption was in favor of the flat earth model for, as we will see, any curved line would only exacerbate the noticeable distortion with increasing flight time and distance from the source.

 

Read the rest here