AGAPE…IN THE BEGINNING

When Adam was walking with God in the garden, God showed him all the trees He had planted for the man to tend.

Two trees in the middle of the garden were mentioned, the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

“You can eat from all the trees in the garden, but you shall not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because eating from that one will bring death.”

But, that was okay. There were plenty of trees…all filled with good fruit.

(I love you….Do you believe Me…do you trust Me…do you love Me?)

………………..

“What’s the deal? God told you not to eat this stuff?”

“Oh, no. We can eat all of it. Well, all except that one.” She pointed to the one in the middle of the garden.

“Hmmm. Interesting. I wonder why not that one?”

“He said we would die.” She had a questioning look on her face.

“You believe that? Seriously? You’re not going to die. He just doesn’t want you to know the stuff he knows. You can be like him, you know. Why, that’s probably the best fruit in the whole garden!”

“Really? But He said…” She looked at the fruit…it looked better than all the other fruit.

“Believe me…you’re not going to die…you can trust me.”

She tasted, she chewed, she swallowed.
She gave some to her husband.

He tasted, he chewed, he swallowed.

Something changed…they felt…different…nervous…afraid…alone.

“Man! Where are you? Why are you hiding? Did you eat from that tree?”

“Well, the woman you gave me…”

“The serpent…it was the serpent!”

“You have chosen your own right and wrong!
What you have chosen, you shall have.
You have chosen
not to believe Me,
not to trust Me,
not to love Me.
You have chosen death,
Not Life.
You must now leave My garden, to follow the path of your own choosing.”

(And yet, I will always love you. I will make a way for you to choose to love Me.)

He gave them skins to cover their nakedness and watched them leave the garden, never having had the chance to taste the fruit of the other tree.

The tree of Life.

The tree of Love.

AGAPE.

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FAITH FROM BOTH SIDES

One Year Ago

My last post (PROOF) drew some comments on science versus dogma.
My friend, Patrick, shared a video with me; a scientific explanation of some of the prehistoric periods in the billion years history of our earth and the emergence and disappearance of various simple life forms, as they slowly evolved into the current complex forms.

I watched the 12 minute video, and I was impressed with the confidence the science lady used in telling this interesting story of how everything happened.

A lot of detail, with video…

Very compelling…

If you have the faith to take her at her word….

What I am missing every time I get into one of these discussions is the pauses in the process when some new version appears; like vision, smell, teeth, digestive systems, nervous systems, skeletal systems….
All of these systems, if important to the survival of the organism, had to be complete in order to work.

Otherwise, the organism cannot survive.

And…at what point did sexual reproduction come into the picture? It not only had to be complete to work. There also had to be two- male and female- at the same time. In the same place.

When did the reproduction change from asexual reproduction to sexual reproduction?

And, you have to begin the quest with the belief that there is no god of creation to follow this line of reasoning.

The conclusions that one finds if he believes there is a God of creation, looking at the same evidence, may bel completely different.

When I asked questions about how these tiny changes happened, I was asked if I had taken high school biology.

I had.

And I believed it.

Until I started asking some questions.

Funny, though. I didn’t even think to ask these questions until God called me from my darkness into His light.

By His light, we see.

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PROOF OF GOD

One Year Ago

PROOF…

A PERFECT DESIGNER…

LOVE FOR THE DESIGN

Lungs, designed to take in air from the atmosphere, will try to reject gas that has impurities or smoke in it…

Eyes that self-adjust for light and distance, that pick up tiny variances of color, and movement…

Taste buds and a sense of smell that will warn the creature of poison or spoiled food…

A digestive system that removes nutrients from food and eliminates waste from the body…

A circulatory system that receives oxygen from the lungs and nourishment from the digestive system and transports them to all the organs in the body…

An adrenal gland that gives huge surges of strength or energy in emergency situations…

A reproductive system that draws a male and female together…

A nervous system sensitive enough to feel a tiny insect walking on your skin, to warn you of danger, to allow you to feel intense pleasure or pain…

A marriage covenant between a man and a woman designed to last until death in order to make two people into one…

A desire to have children and protect them from danger and poor choices…

The desire a man has to protect and provide for his wife…

So many more examples of the complexity of this design we call human…

With built-in warnings to help to bring about a long and healthy and purposeful life…

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. ”

So, what happened? Why are we so messed up?

There is a second download that insures the warranty on the design.

A download that plants the eternal life inside the device.

You must request it, it is not automatic.

The device will function for a time without it.

But, eventually, without the download, the device will die.

For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life…

No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

Journal • Saturday, Feb 17, 2018, 2:54 PM CST • 7003 S Broadway Ave, Tyler, TX, United States • 48°F Mist and Fog

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WARNING SIGNS

FEB. 16, 2018

PROOF (PART TWO)

WHY DO THESE THINGS KEEP HAPPENING?

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. “

Until we stop heeding the warnings…

And do what we want to do in spite of the warnings…

Resulting in lung cancer…

AIDS…

Drug addiction…

Broken marriage covenants…

Damaged and abused children, who sometimes grow into damaging and abusing adults…

Murder…

Terrorism…

Theft…

Prison…

Early death.

The Designer built in systems of warning and correcting…

But, we choose to choose other ways to live…

Pretending that there is no designer…

Pretending that we can figure it all out on our own…

Pretending that the Designer’s love doesn’t matter.

We lose.

If you smoke, or used to smoke, do you remember that first cigarette?
You know, the one that you took in that smoke that smelled so good, and you coughed, and coughed?
And your friend might have said, “Oh, it does that at first, but you’ll get used to it, and you won’t cough any more.”

Or maybe, it was your first alcoholic drink.
The taste was horrible, and you couldn’t imagine how anyone could like that.
But your friend was there. “Oh, it tastes bad at first, but you’ll get used to it. Then you will really enjoy it.”

Maybe you were pressured into shoplifting, or breaking into a locked building, or driving way too fast. Fear overwhelmed you. You wanted to run away. “But your friend,”Oh, it’s always like that the first time. Before long, you’ll realize that that fear turns into exhilaration. It’s kinda like, you get used to it.

I guess we are talking about warning signs.

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MY OWN WORST ENEMY

Have you ever been reading along in your Bible, and you start to feel kinda good about yourself?

You know, all this talk about the righteous and the wicked, us verses them?

And then, you read something about the wicked, and you think, “Wait a minute, what?”

Yesterday, going through the 5th chapter of Proverbs, I came across this little piece:
“An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
They are ropes that catch and hold him.
He will die for lack of self-control ;
He will be lost for his great foolishness.” NLT

Ouch!?

I thought we were fighting this big war against some huge enemy.
Now you tell me that I am holding myself captive?

But, when I start to think of all the things I have thought I SHOULD do,
and of all the reasons I didn’t do them,
I begin to realize that it is my own nature that makes me wicked.
Really, I do an incredible amount of stuff to keep myself happy,
To make my life easy.

ME, ME, ME….

WHAT CHANCE DO I HAVE IF I CAN’T STOP THIS DRIVE THAT IS IN ME?

Grace.
That’s right, that supernatural gift from God that gives me abilities that I do not possess in myself.

That’s right. No one had to teach me how to lie, steal, manipulate , or feel proud of myself. It just came naturally.

Even self-loathing was a form of selfish pride.

But God, in His great love for me, poured out this grace, this favor I didn’t deserve, and considered me “good.”

Not because I was.
Because I wasn’t.
But because I suddenly realized that I wasn’t.
I accepted His payment for my wicked ways.
I could never be good enough.
Now I knew it.

He sees me differently now.
Not the natural me.
Still wicked, but, hopefully getting smaller, weaker.

The other me.
The new one.
The one that fights the old one over everything.
The one that loves Him more than he loves himself.

That one looks like Jesus to Him.

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HARDER THAN I THOUGHT

February 13, 2016

Yesterday, Wendy and I had to go through a storage building that Chelsey had used before she died. We hadn’t been in there in over 12 years, and the roof had leaked. Mice and bugs of many kinds had also taken up residence through the years. Needless to say, things that had once occupied much of Chelsey’s and Zoe’s life at that time were now pretty much destroyed, or, at best damaged.

The years rushed back in torrents when we came across little things that reminded us of true treasures, the memories attached to these things. The life, the deep love that the life of Chelsey had in our lives, these are the things that don’t pass away.

The difference between the treasures of earth and the treasures of heaven become pretty clear when you lose someone close to you.

Emotions were pretty raw, seeing these things that bring up the memories that had been buried.

Something to take away:
The memories we share with others helps to preserve them longer than any earthly representation. Moths, rust, rats, water, all succeed in bringing earthly things to destruction. But memories and shared experiences, though they may seem to fade, have a way of returning and bringing us back to someone whose love stays with us forever.

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EVIDENCE. I NEED EVIDENCE.

One year ago…

It started as a battle of wits, a competition of words.

“I definitely believe that there could be a creator. I simply don’t see any evidence of it. And I certainly don’t see any connection between a creator of the universe and the god of the bible.”

I replied, “I don’t understand your criteria for evidence. If I find a puddle of water on the floor, I know there had to be a cause: a spill from someone before I got there, an undisciplined dog, a leaky roof. If I find a watch in a field, I assume a designer, as well as a bereaved owner.”

He responded, “The evidence I require is simply science based: when collected and interpreted in accordance with the scientific method. Anecdotes, such as what I find in the christian bible, are wholly insufficient. For example, studies by Pew research show that 93% of the members of the US Academy of Sciences do not believe in God. That would be the level of evidence I want to see.”

Me: “That could be pretty compelling. I wonder, though, when the first scientist proposed a global earth instead of flat, what percentage of scientists may not have agreed. High percentages don’t always insure truth.”

No responses after that.

I looked up the US Academy of Sciences.

It currently has about 2290 members.

That means, according to this data, that there are approximately 160 members who believe in God.

That’s not bad.

Especially considerings that they have a maximum yearly election number of 84 new members.

They can only be nominated and chosen by current members.

Members who are 93% atheist , or agnostic, who would sincerely doubt a scientist’s credibility as a scientist if they knew that he believes in a god that cannot be seen, observed, or duplicated by scientific methods.

And, yet, somehow there are 160 members of this select group who see a possibility of an unseen powerful god.

I would bet the percentages would be much higher over the whole spectrum of scientists.

But, back to the evidence.

I would bet that most of these scientists believe in the evolutionary process proposed by Darwin.

Based on observational assumptions.

Not on personal observation of an event happening.

Not on a duplication by some scientific method of experimentation.

We all begin with some previous assumptions that we seek to prove.

The sad result of the conversation I had was the realization that most people don’t really want to know what is true, but only how to prove what I believe is true.

And, I feel deep, deep sorrow that I am not able to point someone to the Light, the Life, the Joy that I found in 1978, when I let the God that made me have me.

For His purpose.

Not mine.

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