Hand Me The Thing & “Let There Be…”

In the traditional sense of the word “creativity” covers painting, photography, music, sculpting and other things people wearing hemp love to do. Well, whoever you are I promise you you have your thing. It might be baking delicious cupcakes or creating incredible spreadsheets with graphs and “what if” statements! All of us have some sort of creative gifting and when paired to the application of that gifting we experience a strong sense of satisfaction.

Apart from application of your specific gifting you will have also encountered that sense of accomplishment in other things. For example, have you ever attempted the near impossible task of assembling a chair bought at Mr. Price? You always end up with at least three broken nails, a bruised ankle and slightly suspect neighbours but, in the end, you stand back and admire the chair and the way in which, by your handiwork, a collection of random kitchen utensils turned two cushions into a fully adjustable executive chair.

Ever wondered why we love this process of creation?

Have another look at the way which God created the earth (taken from The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul):

The act of creation was the first event in history.  It also was the most dazzling.  The Supreme Architect gazed at His complex blueprint and shouted commands for the boundaries of the world to be set.  He spoke, and the seas were shut behind doors and the clouds were filled with dew.

He bound the Pleiades and buckled the belt of Orion. He spoke again and the earth began to fill with orchards in full blood.  Blossoms burst forth like springtime in Mississippi.  The lavender hues of plum trees danced with the brilliances of azaleas and forsythia.

God spoke once more, and the waters teemed with living things.  The snail sneaked beneath the shadowy form of the stingray while the great marlin broke the surface of the water to promenade on the waves with his tail.  Again He spoke, and the roar of the lion was heard and the bleating of sheep.  Four-footed anumals, eight-legged spiders, and winged insects appearted. 

And God said, ‘That’s good!’

God then made us, the imitators:

Then God stooped to earth and carefully fashioned a piece of clay. He lifted it gently to His lips and breathed into it. The clay began to move. It began to think. It began to feel. It began to worship. It was alive and stamped with the image of its Creator.

We were made in the image of God – an imprint if you like. Our natural tendency is to imitate our Creator. Next time you look at a painting or read a great novel or listen to beautiful music know that it is nothing more than the manifestation of the imprint of the Great Creator. Someone somewhere designed the chair you are sitting on now and he/she did nothing more than to show the tiniest reflection of that which God did at the very beginning. Look again at creation (human creation and God’s creation) and see infinite depth in the creativity of an amazing God.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 6 – Jesus Who?

What would you say if someone asked you to describe Jesus? How would Jesus’ CV look should you write it? Most of us are familiar with the Sunday school answers: “Jesus is my Saviour and He died for me on the cross.”, “God loves me and He sent Jesus, His son, to die for my sins.” all of which are true but does not really tell the whole story. How well do we understand what really is revealed to us in the Bible regarding the life and death of the perfect God and Man? Lord’s Day 6 of the Heidelberg Catechism should help.

He is a perfectly righteous man:

Q. 16: Why must he be very man, and also perfectly righteous?

A: Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned, should likewise make satisfaction for sin; and one, who is himself a sinner, cannot satisfy for others. 

By becoming fully human Jesus could bear our sins. In other words: for us to be saved God had to become fully man. He had to become weak, vulnerable, and experience all the temptations of the world so that He could die as our substitute. But He not only had to become human He also had to live the perfect life so that His right-standing with God could be transferred to us.

He is also fully God:

Q. 17: Why must he in one person be also very God?

A: That he might, by the power of his Godhead sustain in his human nature, the burden of God’s wrath; and might obtain for, and restore to us, righteousness and life.

We so often hear the cliché of Jesus bearing our sins on the cross that we give it no second thought. We seem to waltz through the day unaware that every time we lie, every time we act in anger, every time we desire a car or a house, every sin we commit we choose something instead of God. We constantly exchange the ultimate truth for a lie (Rom 1:23). The crime is massive and the punishment eternal.  While being fully man Jesus is also fully God because, as God, He has the strength to bear the weight of each and every of our blasphemous sins.

He is both man and God:

Q. 18: Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God, and a real righteous man?

A: Our Lord Jesus Christ: “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”

Who is Jesus then? He is the God who gives wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. He gives us the means to get to know Him, a clean slate, a life of growing closer to Him and the means by which we can escape the wrath of God that we deserve. This is possible only because He became a man.

He has shown us all this:

Q. 19: Whence knowest thou this?

A: From the holy gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise; and afterwards published by the patriarchs and prophets, and represented by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; and lastly, has fulfilled it by his only begotten Son. 

The actual CV of Jesus Christ is infinite, we are told this in John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.“.

So what would you say in summary, who is Jesus? Apart from the infinite CV, it might work if you summarised with references:

    • See in the Paradise, also known as The Garden of Eden.
    • See the patriarchs and prophets.
    • See the ceremonies and sacrifices of the law.
    • See Jesus Himself, fulfilling every requirement as the dear Son of God.

This then is the Good News. The story of Jesus, fully man, fully God, satisfying the rightful anger of our perfect God.

Gravitasie Aard-(Appel)

In Maart 2009 is ‘n Satelliet met die naam GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) in die ruimte in gestuur deur die European Space Agency. GOCE het die aarde gewentel slegs 255km bo die oppervlakte en heeltyd meetings geneem van die sterkte van gravitasie reg oor die aarde.

Hierdie meetings is saamgestel en vorm die boonste illustrasie (sien ‘n video hier). Hierdie wys hoe die vorm van die aarde sou gelyk het as dit heeltemal oortrek was met water. Met ander woorde, die blou, of laer stukkies, is waar die aarde se gravitasie meer is en die rooi waar dit minder is.

So hoekom deur hierdie oefening gegaan? Wel daar is paar redes om die geld te spandeer:

  • Die verspreiding van die gravitasie kan help met die verstaan van aardbewings soos die onlangs in Japan siende dat die energie van die aardbewing vinniger voortplant in ‘n meer digte medium en met die kennis kan die oorsprong, onder andere, meer akkuraat bepaal word.
  • Verstaan die binneste struktuur & samestelling van die Aarde
  • Verstaan die see strome
  • En nog vele meer

Loer na die berig op National Geographic se website.

The Grace of God – The Whole Bible

A post by Dane Ortlund on his blog Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology highlights the presence of the Grace of God in each book of the Bible. As he puts it:

“But while the Bible is not uniform, it is unified. The many books of the one Bible are not like the many pennies in the one jar. The pennies in the jar look the same, yet are disconnected; the books of the Bible (like the organs of a body) look different, yet are interconnected. As the past two generations’ recovery of biblical theology has shown time and again, certain motifs course through the Scripture from start to end, tying the whole thing together into a coherent tapestry..”

Here follows the description of the motif concerning the Grace of God in each respective book of the Bible:

Genesis shows God’s grace to a universally wicked world as he enters into relationship with a sinful family line (Abraham) and promises to bless the world through him.

Exodus shows God’s grace to his enslaved people in bringing them out of Egyptian bondage.

Leviticus shows God’s grace in providing his people with a sacrificial system to atone for their sins.

Numbers shows God’s grace in patiently sustaining his grumbling people in the wilderness and bringing them to the border of the promised land not because of them but in spite of them.

Deuteronomy shows God’s grace in giving the people the new land ‘not because of your righteousness’ (ch. 9).

Joshua shows God’s grace in giving Israel victory after victory in their conquest of the land with neither superior numbers nor superior obedience on Israel’s part.

Judges shows God’s grace in taking sinful, weak Israelites as leaders and using them to purge the land, time and again, of foreign incursion and idolatry.

Ruth shows God’s grace in incorporating a poverty-stricken, desolate, foreign woman into the line of Christ.

1 and 2 Samuel show God’s grace in establishing the throne (forever—2 Sam 7) of an adulterous murderer.

1 and 2 Kings show God’s grace in repeatedly prolonging the exacting of justice and judgment for kingly sin ‘for the sake of’ David. (And remember: by the ancient hermeneutical presupposition of corporate solidarity, by which the one stands for the many and the many for the one, the king represented the people; the people were in their king; as the king went, so went they.)

1 and 2 Chronicles show God’s grace by continually reassuring the returning exiles of God’s self-initiated promises to David and his sons.

Ezra shows God’s grace to Israel in working through the most powerful pagan ruler of the time (Cyrus) to bring his people back home to a rebuilt temple.

Nehemiah shows God’s grace in providing for the rebuilding of the walls of the city that represented the heart of God’s promises to his people.

Esther shows God’s grace in protecting his people from a Persian plot to eradicate them through a string of ‘fortuitous’ events.

Job shows God’s grace in vindicating the sufferer’s cry that his redeemer lives (19:25), who will put all things right in this world or the next.

Psalms shows God’s grace by reminding us of, and leading us in expressing, the hesed (relentless covenant love) God has for his people and the refuge that he is for them.

Proverbs shows us God’s grace by opening up to us a world of wisdom in leading a life of happy godliness.

Ecclesiastes shows God’s grace in its earthy reminder that the good things of life can never be pursued as the ultimate things of life and that it is God who in his mercy satisfies sinners (note 7:20; 8:11).

Song of Songs shows God’s grace and love for his bride by giving us a faint echo of it in the pleasures of faithful human sexuality.

Isaiah shows God’s grace by reassuring us of his presence with and restoration of contrite sinners.

Jeremiah shows God’s grace in promising a new and better covenant, one in which knowledge of God will be universally internalized.

Lamentations shows God’s grace in his unfailing faithfulness in the midst of sadness.

Ezekiel shows God’s grace in the divine heart surgery that cleansingly replaces stony hearts with fleshy ones.

Daniel shows God’s grace in its repeated miraculous preservation of his servants.

Hosea shows God’s grace in a real-live depiction of God’s unstoppable love toward his whoring wife.

Joel shows God’s grace in the promise to pour out his Spirit on all flesh.

Amos shows God’s grace in the Lord’s climactic promise of restoration in spite of rampant corruption.

Obadiah shows God’s grace by promising judgment on Edom, Israel’s oppressor, and restoration of Israel to the land in spite of current Babylonian captivity.

Jonah shows God’s grace toward both immoral Nineveh and moral Jonah, irreligious pagans and a religious prophet, both of whom need and both of whom receive the grace of God.

Micah shows God’s grace in the prophecy’s repeated wonder at God’s strange insistence on ‘pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression’ (7:18).

Nahum shows God’s grace in assuring Israel of good news’ and ‘peace,’ promising that the Assyrians have tormented them for the last time.

Habakkuk shows God’s grace that requires nothing but trusting faith amid insurmountable opposition, freeing us to rejoice in God even in desolation.

Zephaniah shows God’s grace in the Lord’s exultant singing over his recalcitrant yet beloved people.

Haggai shows God’s grace in promising a wayward people that the latter glory of God’s (temple-ing) presence with them will far surpass its former glory.

Zechariah shows God’s grace in the divine pledge to open up a fountain for God’s people to ‘cleanse them from sin and uncleanness’ (13:1).

Malachi shows God’s grace by declaring the Lord’s no-strings-attached love for his people.

Matthew shows God’s grace in fulfilling the Old Testament promises of a coming king. (5:17)

Mark shows God’s grace as this coming king suffers the fate of a common criminal to buy back sinners. (10:45)

Luke shows that God’s grace extends to all the people one would not expect: hookers, the poor, tax collectors, sinners, Gentiles (‘younger sons’). (19:10)

John shows God’s grace in becoming one of us, flesh and blood (1:14), and dying and rising again so that by believing we might have life in his name. (20:31)

Acts shows God’s grace flooding out to all the world–starting in Jerusalem, ending in Rome; starting with Peter, apostle to the Jews, ending with Paul, apostle to the Gentiles. (1:8)

Romans shows God’s grace in Christ to the ungodly (4:5) while they were still sinners (5:8) that washes over both Jew and Gentile.

1 Corinthians shows God’s grace in favoring what is lowly and foolish in the world. (1:27)

2 Corinthians shows God’s grace in channeling his power through weakness rather than strength. (12:9)

Galatians shows God’s grace in justifying both Jew and Gentile by Christ-directed faith rather than self-directed performance. (2:16)

Ephesians shows God’s grace in the divine resolution to unite us to his Son before time began. (1:4)

Philippians shows God’s grace in Christ’s humiliating death on an instrument of torture—for us. (2:8)

Colossians shows God’s grace in nailing to the cross the record of debt that stood against us. (2:14)

1 Thessalonians shows God’s grace in providing the hope-igniting guarantee that Christ will return again. (4:13)

2 Thessalonians shows God’s grace in choosing us before time, that we might withstand Christ’s greatest enemy. (2:13)

1 Timothy shows God’s grace in the radical mercy shown to ‘the chief of sinners.’ (1:15)

2 Timothy shows God’s grace to be that which began (1:9) and that which fuels (2:1) the Christian life.

Titus shows God’s grace in saving us by his own cleansing mercy when we were most mired in sinful passions. (3:5)

Philemon shows God’s grace in transcending socially hierarchical structures with the deeper bond of Christ-won Christian brotherhood. (v. 16)

Hebrews shows God’s grace in giving his Son to be both our sacrifice to atone for us once and for all as well as our high priest to intercede for us forever. (9:12)

James shows us God’s grace by giving to those who have been born again ‘of his own will’ (1:18) ‘wisdom from above’ for meaningful godly living. (3:17)

1 Peter shows God’s grace in securing for us an unfading, imperishable inheritance no matter what we suffer in this life. (1:4)

2 Peter shows God’s grace in guaranteeing the inevitability that one day all will be put right as the evil that has masqueraded as good will be unmasked at the coming Day of the Lord. (3:10)

1 John shows God’s grace in adopting us as his children. (3:1)

2 and 3 John show God’s grace in reminding specific individuals of ‘the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever.’ (2 Jn 2)

Jude shows God’s grace in the Christ who presents us blameless before God in a world rife with moral chaos. (v. 24)

Revelation shows God’s grace in preserving his people through cataclysmic suffering, a preservation founded on the shed blood of the lamb. (12:11)

How Much Information Did God Store In Your DNA?

In a recent post in ScienceDaily the total amount of  of possible storage in the world (that is digital & analog) is estimated. So how does these mountains of information on every imaginable thing and what still can possibly be recorded compare to the information stored in your DNA?

“Looking at both digital memory and analog devices, the researchers calculate that humankind is able to store at least 295 exabytes of information. (Yes, that’s a number with 20 zeroes in it.)

Put another way, if a single star is a bit of information, that’s a galaxy of information for every person in the world. That’s 315 times the number of grains of sand in the world. But it’s still less than one percent of the information that is stored in all the DNA molecules of a human being.

Die Heiligheid van God (Looking Beyond Shadows)

God het Homself aan elkeen van ons gewys en uit onsself, as ons aan onsself oorgelaat word, teen dit inskop. Dit is vir ons so maklik om eerder God te verklein in iets wat Hy nie is nie, en dit is die wortel van afgodery. Ons verander God in iets wat ons pas.

Hierdie is die idee wat Tim Challies bespreek in sy studie van Dr RC Sproul se The Holiness of God.

Die probleem met ons is nie dat ons nie weet, of ‘n idee het van God en wie Hy is nie, maar eerder dat ons weier om dit te glo. Dit is weereens die oneerlikheid met onsself wat lei tot die aanbidding van ‘n afgod. DIe heiligheid van God is nie iets wat Hy wegsteek nie, dis sigbaar vir almal, nie net vir ‘n paar super-heiliges nie. Sproul stel dit so:

…The knowledge of God that is given through creation is not a knowledge we warmly receive and embrace. Instead it is our nature to abhor this knowledge of God’s holiness. It is characteristic of the reprobate mind not to want to retain God in our knowledge. We prefer to change the holy into something less than holy. It is this rejection of God’s majesty that leaves us with minds that are darkened. It results in a massive foolishness that has disastrous consequences for our lives. Once we refuse to honor God as God, our whole view of life and the world becomes distorted.

Challies vertel dan hoe Sproul aan die einde van die stuk die fokus verskuif na dit wat God waarlik is: goedheid, skoonheid en waarheid. Challies vertel hoe hy bid en dankie sê dat God is wie Hy is en vir ons wys wie Hy is.

Sproul verwoord die perfektheid van God, soos hy dit sien en God dit vir ons wys:

God’s perfection applies to all of His attributes. His power is perfect; it has no weaknesses or any possibility of weakness. His knowledge is not only omniscient but reflects prefect omniscience. There is nothing that God does not know or that He could possibly learn. Some modern theologians have tried to declare that God is omniscient but that His omniscience is a limited omniscience. They assert that God knows everything He can possibly known, but He does not and cannot know certain things, especially the future decisions of free agents. But a limited omniscience is simply not omniscience. And it is not perfect. This view of a limited omniscience robs God of His holy omniscience, which is a perfect omniscience. God’s love, His wrath, His mercy—all that He is—is perfect. Not only is He perfect, but He is eternally and immutably so. There never was a time when God was less than perfect, and there is no possibility that in the future He may slip into any kind of imperfection. What has been with God will be so forever. His perfection is immutable. It cannot change.

Laat ons gebed dan wees om waarlik aan wie God is vas te hou EN dit nie net te verstaan of sien nie, maar dit te glo.

Satan & Ironie

Volgens Jonathan Edwards is jaloesie die rede hoekom Satan teen God gedraai het en die mens verraai het. Hy was jaloers om te sien hoe God aardse wesens so verhewe het en hom, ‘n hemelse wese met groot kennis en mag, verwerp het. Die toneel wat afspeel word deur Edwards so geskets:

“And oh, how may we conclude Satan triumphed when he had brought ’em down! How did he as it were laugh, to think how sorrowfully they found themselves disappointed in their expectations of coming to higher honor and being like gods.

But their fall has been the occasion of their being advanced to much greater dignity than before, brought much nearer to God, far more nearly united to him, [and] are become his members, his spouse, and in many respects more honored than the angels. . . .

This very act of Satan has been the occasion of bringing about the very thing, the destruction of which he therein aimed at, and that in higher degrees.”

Wat ons moet sien in die scenario is die ironie. Die ironie van Satan wat probeer om die mens af te trek, weg van God deur sonde en dan hoe ‘n onbreekbare band geskep word tussen die mens en God deur Jesus Christus.

Ons sien nog voorbeelde van hierdie ironie op ander plekke in die Bybel byvoorbeeld Josef se broers wat hom wou vermoor:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” – Gen 50:20

Josef se woorde weergalm ook in die Nuwe Testament as Paulus die skryf:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Rom 8:28

Vanuit Satan’s Schemes Always Backfires in the End, Tyler Kenney.