Sapphire Sky

February 26, 2013

What “radical” looks like to the nanny state …

Filed under: politics, economy, etc. — Anthony Biller @ 7:26 pm

The sequester horror … (zoom in to see it). The wheels come off the federal behemoth Saturday if these draconian measures go into effect.

Who knew the leviathan was so fragile?

Catastrophic Cut

February 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anthony Biller @ 4:57 pm

Happy Valentines Day!

Sapphire Sky

The Roman Emperor Claudius II Gothicus, AD 268-70, is said to have been a large and fierce man.  In his efforts to fight the invading Goths and Germans, he attempted to increase the size of the Roman army.  Volunteers were few, due largely to what was essentially a life-long commitment of being a Roman soldier. Legend has it that the Emperor believed young men weren’t joining because they were too comfortable and too interested in pursuing women.  (Some things never change.  My classmates in college often were incredulous that I was volunteering for military service. I was often asked “Why?!”.)  With dictatorial efficiency, Claudius solved that problem by simply outlawing marriage.

One problem, legend has it that the Priest Valentinus continued to marry Christians.  When called before the Emperor, Valentinus refused to acknowledge the Roman Gods and reportedly witnessed to Claudius the truths of Jesus Christ.  Claudius had Valentinus killed.

A…

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February 11, 2013

Let The Nations Be Glad

Filed under: Ministry, politics, economy, etc., praise — Anthony Biller @ 10:15 pm

Another Great Awakening is taking place in our world today. More people are becoming Christians than at any other time in history. God’s Spirit is sweeping across the nations of China, South Korea, Australia, Central and South America, Cuba, and parts of Africa drawing more than 82,000 people every day according to recent surveys. However, only 3 to 4% of these daily conversions are occuring in North America

How can our nation become part of this Great Awakening and experience God’s blessings? Let’s look at Psalm 67 for some answers from God’s Word. Although we don’t know who wrote this psalm, we do know that he wanted God to bless his nation and he wanted to be a blessing to others.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah 2 that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.

Notice that the first thing the psalmist does is go to the Lord in prayer. He begins with a cry for God’s forgiving grace. This is the first step in receiving His blessing. God forgives, then God gives. Then the psalmist asks for God to bless them and give them a realization of His favor and approval. Finally, he asks that God’s ways may be known and His saving power experienced by all the other nations of the world. That’s a great prayer for us to ask of God.

The Lord has blessed us so that we will be a blessing to others. He answers our prayers so that we might become the answer to someone else’s prayer. If we are not sharing the “Good News” of God’s saving power with others, our spiritual life may end up resembling the Dead Sea, a holding pond with no new life or blessing. This certainly is not God’s plan for His people! He wants us to be a channel of His blessings and share them with others.

The psalmist has a passion to know Him and make Him known. God’s will must be known on earth if it is to be done on earth. If people do not know the Lord’s will, how will they ever follow it? In His Word, God revealed His will by extending His grace to unbelievers. He also demonstrated His method through the life of His Son. The way He communicates His will, in addition to studying His Word, is through His people as they share His way with the nations (Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6).

God chose and blessed Abraham so that he might be a blessing in reaching a lost world with the saving message of His Name (Genesis 12:1-3). Later, He took on flesh and blood and became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself to the point of death (Philippians 2:8) in order that the “Good News” of salvation might go out to all the nations.

First, God’s grace draws us to Himself; then we gain knowledge of Him as we spend time in His Word; then He gives us the desire to see others experience His saving power; and the result of this process is praise. We cannot see God without His grace and we cannot praise God without knowing Him.

3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah 5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

When believers share God’s love and the way of salvation with others, praise results. However, nations will never be glad and sing for joy until they come into a personal relationship with the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ (John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:25; Rev 7:17). Then and only then will they be glad and sing songs of praise and joy.

6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

The prayer of the first verse is the song of the last verse. He blesses and blesses and blesses! As we humble ourselves and pray, trust Him and obey Him by sharing His saving power with others, He will meet our needs and cause a Great Awakening to sweep across our nation (John 4:34-35).

One day all the nations of the world will fall down and worship the King of Kings (Isaiah 45: 20-24; Philippians 2:9-11). However, the worldwide worship of God will not become a reality until the “Good News” of Jesus Christ is shared both here in the United States and in the nations of the world.

Ask God how he might want to use you to bless others and see our nation be blessed by Him (Psalm 33:12).

Dave Dagwell
Assistant to the President
Capitol Commission

February 9, 2013

His Image

Filed under: Poem, praise, video — Anthony Biller @ 6:09 pm

February 1, 2013

Truly, there is a God who will be known.

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., theology — Anthony Biller @ 5:40 pm

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”   John 18:38Christ Almighty Vasnetsov

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”   John 14:6

Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness   Ephesians 6:14

We believe in truth. Truth is important. Arguably, truth is popular.  Bad guys lie. Good guys tell the truth. In a just court of law, truth is supposed to win. We want to know the truth and often pay top dollar to get “the truth,” particularly if we get it before others.

Why?

I’ve long found it ironic how militant atheists claim to be so passionate about what they claim to be true about God.  Why should they care?  If they’re correct and someone believes a falsehood, there’s no ultimate consequence because there are no ultimate consequences, aside from annihilation.  In contrast, if Christians are correct, there are eternal consequences for being wrong about the truth.

We know the truth in our hearts.  Perhaps it’s part of being made in the image of God.  Our fallen natures affects our relationship with the truth, yet the truth remains.

Nearly all people will speak in terms of what is true or otherwise presume that “truth” exists.  Yet, the fact that we’re certain truth exists proves something.

“Truth” presupposes God and consistent with that, Scripture makes it clear that truth is not just a “what.”  Truth is personal; truth is a “who.” The existence of “truth” proves there is God. Further, the Bible explains that Christ is the source and foundation of all truth, and is in fact truth incarnate.

Think about it.  If there is no God, i.e. a transcendent and eternal intelligence beyond our dimensions of space and time, then the materialists are most likely correct — everything we see happened by blind chance.  Mechanical processes led to what and to whom we are and what we believe.  But that cannot be.  Truth presupposes a transcendent standard.

If I smashed ten bottles, I would have ten smash patterns and a mess.  No more.  No less.  That’s it.  If I smashed ten million bottles, I’d have a bigger mess and larger smash pattern.  If I continued that smashing for billions and billions of years I can expect lots of patterns.  But that’s it.  It would neither be true or false.  It would just be.

If our reality is simply the result of random, unguided physical processes, we would be nothing more but an extremely complex and unlikely “smash pattern” of sorts.  No more.  No less.  The pattern is neither true, nor false.  It simply is. If we were simply an evolved mechanical pattern, there would be no apparent reason for our consciousness to create standards, let alone deeply felt standards, that transcend our smash pattern.  That would be pointless. But indeed, we hunger for more than accurate observations, we hunger for truth.

Notwithstanding the best efforts of Zen Buddhists, we’re hard-wired to believe in “truth.”  We pursue truth and we presuppose its existence. It’s such a natural part of what we are and how we’re made that we hardly question its existence.  Whether you believe in objective or subjective truth, it’s still “truth.”

The universe provides compelling reasons to encourage and corroborate our belief in truth.  Instead of finding random smash patterns, we find order and precision.  Everywhere.  There are ordered laws that govern and control how matter and time relate.  From where did such ordering come if not the mind of God?  Why would thoughtless, random time and matter promulgate any laws, let alone intricate and amazing laws and order from the uniform weighting of sub-atomic particles to the movement of universes.

There is a temporal aspect to truth. Truth was, is and will be. There is also an empirical form of truth.  From the tiniest particles to the largest galaxies, we do not find randomness.  We find order.  We can know where Jupiter will be tomorrow based on those laws. We can know that the snow forming in the clouds overhead will fall to earth.

The transcendent nature of truth becomes more apparent when we leave temporal observation in favor of non-observational truths.  Put in other words, we can “see” truth more when it “shows” itself in those things we cannot see. Truth exists beyond what we can see and measure.  For example, it’s self-evident that the statement “all knowledge is empirical” immediately collapses under its own self-contradiction.  Moral truths provide a “clean” example of transcendent truth, e.g. it is wrong to kill an innocent person. We “know” that is true. We do not need to observe murders to ascertain whether it is “wrong” or to derive a definition of “wrong.”

Transcendent truth runs even deeper than morality though, to the very forces that animate our existence.  In my experience, the most important truths at work in the lives of individuals are faith, hope and love.  Yet, faith, hope and love are not really “forces.” They are not empirical.  They transcend space and time, yet the reality or truth of faith, hope and love (or lack thereof) provide the greatest forces (or devastation) in our lives.  With neither faith, hope or love, a person perishes.

Finally, truth manifests most clearly in the person of Jesus Christ, whom scripture reveals as the truth.  Scripture teaches that through Him all things were made.  As explained above, time and space corroborate truth by the way Christ ordered and structured creation.  This certainty of ordering and being able to observe and know the ordering is the foundation of science. It is also the fingerprints of Christ.  Scripture also teaches that when Christ is in us, then we will be true.  Finally, the Word teaches that if we teach the truth, we teach the Gospel of Christ.  Christ was, is and forever will be the fount and foundation of truth. Outside Him, there is no truth.

We live, move and have our being in His creation.  His truth surrounds us and testifies to Him.  The soul’s hunger for the truth is no more and no less than its hunger for our eternal Lord, creator and savior Jesus Christ, the ultimate truth.  Amen!

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