Tag: Covid-19

Two Wills in the Universe

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One more tree will fall
   How strong the growing vine
Turn the earth to sand
   And still commit no crime
How one thought will live
   Provide the others die . . .
– John Lodge

Trying to make sense of the madness around us today, we should ask what is at the root of it all. Is the anarchy evil, or actually good at its core? 

The Bible (Galatians 5:22-23) describes the fruits of the Spirit (godliness) as:
LOVE
Joy
PEACE
Patience
KINDNESS
Goodness
Faithfulness
Gentleness
SELF CONTROL

On the flip side, the fruits of the sinful nature, or wickedness (Galatians 5:19-21) are:
Sexual immorality
Impurity
Debauchery
Idolatry
Witchcraft
HATRED
DISCORD
Jealousy
FITS OF RAGE
Selfish Ambition
DISSENSIONS
FACTIONS
Envy
Drunkenness
Orgies, etc.

We can meditate on these things and figure out the answer to today’s problems for ourselves.

The fruits of the Spirit and the fruits of wickedness showcase the two wills in the universe — the will of God and the will of the self.

Satan was the first to set his own will against the will of God. He said:
I WILL ascend to Heaven;
I WILL raise my throne above the stars of God.
I WILL sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost
heights of the sacred mountain.
I WILL ascend above the top of the clouds;
I WILL make myself like the Most High!
– Isaiah 14:13-14

In contrast, Jesus said, in the garden on the night he was betrayed:
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; Yet not my will, but Thine be done. 
     – Luke 22:42

Satan, or Lucifer, beautiful cherub though he may once have been (see Ezekiel 28), is only a creature, made by the very Lord he wants to destroy. He is not God. He is a Creator of nothing. Yet he thinks he deserves to be God and wants to rule the universe. He cares for no one and nothing except himself. 

Jesus IS God (John 1:1). He made us (John 1:3). He has the right to rule the universe and subjugate us to his will. Yet his attitude is the opposite of Satan’s:

[Jesus] Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but rather emptied himself, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!  – Philippians 2:6-8

There are only two wills in the universe. All of us are on one side or the other. There is no neutral ground. Our nature without Christ is the sin nature — rage, jealousy, hatred, envy, lust, etc. Whatever goodness we might know comes not from ourselves, but from God, whether we are believers or not:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” – James 1:17

“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteousness.” – Matthew 5:45

Once we belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit begins His work in us and we can know the joy of living in the gifts of the Spirit — Love. Joy. Peace. Kindness. Goodness. In Jesus alone is everything that our aching and dying hearts are crying out for and everything that this ugly, unhappy, violent world sorely lacks.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved . . . For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  – Romans 10:9-13

You are Loved! Psalm 139

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Man, there’s a lot of crap out there right now. If I never hear the words “Covid-19” or “Coronavirus” or “social distancing” ever again I will be perfectly happy. Besides this global pestilence thing there were the fires in Australia, the hordes of locusts in Africa and the Middle East, whatever disaster hit California this year, and there was a 6.5 earthquake in IDAHO today. Nothing ever happens in Idaho, so part of me is thinking maybe the sh*t really IS about to get real. 

Who knows. I do think that God may be trying to get our attention. But even if he is, or if all this is happening just because we live in an unpredictable, dangerous, fallen world, we don’t need to be afraid. Just take a deep breath, step away from the media horror hype, and remember how dearly you are loved by God. He’s in control. If you are his, you are going to be okay.

Psalm 139 is a favorite pro-life psalm, with good reason, but it applies to all of us. It applies to me and to YOU.

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. (verse 1-4)

Why is this comforting? The creator of all the universe and the sustainer of all life not only made you but he knows you intimately, better than you know yourself. He is beyond time, so he has an infinite amount of time to devote to you individually. He knows everything you’ve ever done, everything you’ve ever thought, yet you’re still alive! So he must really, really love you.

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your right hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (verse 8-10)

We can never be away from God’s loving care. Even if we’ve sinned so badly we think we’re beyond hope, he is right there beside us. Remember the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-31). He messed up about as much as anyone could, yet when he finally slithered back home he found his father was watching for him, and his father ran to him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. Dad didn’t wait for Junior to come groveling and then humiliate or chastise him. That is so hard for us to understand! A judgmental, distant, displeased God, that is easy to imagine. But the creator of the universe, loving us so much that HE runs to US? For some reason that is hard to wrap our heads around. But it’s true. You are loved by God so far beyond anything you could ever ask or imagine. He gave you everything, literally. Not only did he give you life, but Jesus gave his life to pay the sin-debt that none of us can ever pay on our own. I am loved, you are loved, we are LOVED!

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I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (verse 14)

It is always a good time to give thanks to God for our many blessings. Did you wake up today? Have enough to eat? A job to go to? Someone to talk to? That’s enough to give thanks for right there; everything else is gravy.

Verse 17 has two possible phrasings, according to my NIV notes. First one: How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

I interpret that as being amazed at the vastness of God’s thoughts, at how all-encompassing they are. A praise of God’s greatness.

Yet, according to NIV, the other possible phrasing of this is: How precious concerning me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

This makes the meaning quite different. It is then far more intimate, and illustrates how consistently God thinks about us. He can do that. He is beyond time, remember, so not limited Iike we are. He has eternity to devote to you. Being concerned about the other 8 billion people on the planet does not take away one moment of the time he has for you. 

I encourage anyone who reads this to take time to contemplate this psalm. Contemplate how you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Take five minutes just to look at your hands and be amazed at what incredible things they are. What magnificent little machines, more complex than any man-made machine could hope to be. Then contemplate the one who made you. Who has eternity to devote to you. Who knows you better than you know yourself. Who loves you more completely than you could ever hope for. Who proved that love by setting aside his glory and becoming a human being, by dying on a cross 2000 years ago and then by rising from the grave so you could rise with him. God is in control of even these crazy times, and if you are in Him you are safe, even if you have to go through really hard times. This life is short, Eternity is forever. And you are loved so dearly.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. … for all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. – Romans 10:9-13