Posted by: T. Boyd | April 15, 2016

Last of the Mohicans

At Gold’s Gym I did a half hour on the treadmill in the “cardio cinema” theater while watching a portion of the 1992 movie, “The Last of the Mohicans”.  I knew nothing about the story, having never read the book nor studied the French-Indian War, and the retention of history is, alas, not a strength of mine.

But I started thinking about the small amount I know of the sad history of the natives of the Americas and how they were treated by the European migration to this continent.  And I wondered, if that had been done in God’s righteous ways, if it was under the Lord’s guidance and direction, what would it have looked like?

In this vast continent, surely there was enough land and resources to support all the new comers as well as the natives in a prosperous and fruitful, peaceful manner.  God’s original purpose was for mankind to spread out an occupy the whole earth in a good, righteous way, ruling over it – being caretakers of it.

If the kingdom of God had been continued without man falling  in the Garden of Eden, and then later, after the Flood, if Noah’s family had not continued the sinful pattern, then the ones that migrated originally to the new world would have done so under God’s hand; and so when the later explorers arrived, there would have been a peaceful settling into the “new” continent – it would have been driven not by greed, but by the impetus of the Spirit of God with a much different outcome.

So what?  Why think about this?   Maybe thinking through these scenarios could help us to know how to pray about our relationships with our neighbors, with new immigrants,  or even about how to care for the environment;  it could help shape how we should live and work now in this age before His return upon the Earth in bodily form.

Besides that, I just really enjoy anticipating the new kingdom and how glorious it will be when the Lord Jesus is on the throne on Earth, ruling over us in all aspects, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  We cannot even imagine how good and wonderful it will be.

No more sickness or death, no hunger or thirst, no more war or crime.  Wow!  It blows our minds to imagine it.  Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus, come!

 

Posted by: T. Boyd | July 2, 2015

Holograms and Seeing Jesus

How is a hologram made? The light from a laser is used to illuminate some chess pieces in a certain way and a piece of photographic film is exposed to the reflected light as in the diagram below.

hologram setup

After the film is developed, in its transparent form, it looks like this picture under ordinary light, in other words, it looks like a nice pattern of swirls like water waves set up by a rock dropped into a pool of quiet water.

hologram film

But if the film is exposed to the same laser light that was used to make the exposure, then looking through the film like a window, with the laser light diffused so that it doesn’t harm the eye, you can see the original chess pieces as if they are placed behind the “window”.

hologram picture

The next image shows what happens as you move your head to the left and then to the right as you look “through the window”, and you can see the chess pieces shift around just like they were really sitting there.  In other words, the hologram is producing a 3-dimensional image of the original chess pieces. hologram pictures

Lots of science-fiction movies simulate what 3-d holograms can do in transmitting messages to look like the person is really present, floating in midair.  And there have been recent advances in trying to do this, but the best so far is being able to produce an image that seems to hover in front of a screen, but not really floating in the space like Princess Leia in the first Star Wars movie.  And the image can only be seen from a limited range of angles in front of the projection.

leia_hologram
From Wikia.com
 
 
Seeing Jesus

There are a couple of ways that this science discovery has analogies in the spiritual realm.  First of all, the image cannot be seen without special light, at least with this type hologram (there are such things as “white” light holograms that can be seen in normal light).

And as mentioned several times in the New Testament, it takes the special light of the Holy Spirit to understand the good news about Jesus, and to even be able to come to him and be born again.

The most interesting feature to me of holograms is how you can cut the film into a bunch of pieces: for example, cut a 2″x2″ square film into 16 1/2″ x 1/2″ little squares and still have a complete picture. Each little  square, when illuminated by the laser light will show all the chess pieces just like the picture above, but from different angles, different perspectives.

I see in this the analogy that every believer in the Lord Jesus has a unique perspective on the Lord, a different set of experiences and revelations about Him, that only he or her has seen.  And to get the total picture of our Lord, then it takes all of the stories of all the saints (God calls all believers saints) to complete the portrait of Jesus.

As the end of John’s gospel says, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

——–

The images and ideas for this article were borrowed from my long-time friend and Ga. Tech. college mate, Rod Nave, from his popular web site that describes all of the many areas of physics: Hyperphysics of Georgia State University.  They are used by his permission.

Posted by: T. Boyd | May 19, 2015

Awesome

Christianity Today recently had an article suggesting the popular expletive, “Awsome!”  describes only to one thing, rather one person: the triune God!

About 2 feet from where my hands are typing this article is a bird feeder right outside the window.  Rarely do Caroline Wrens come to feed at a sunflower source – maybe he was looking for insects there.  But being so close, I was struck by his beauty.  Such a neat, sleek creature.

And I exclaimed, “How did you do that, Lord?”

How did He create such beautiful creatures that are so varied and numerous?  And then there are the humorous looking ones that must have made Him laugh as He saw what He had made.

That is awesome.  He is Awesome!

And I am saddened that the people who believe that these wonders evolved spontaneously cannot experience the same joyous excitement, the wonder of the experience, of  “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know … what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe… (Ephesians 1: 18-19

Posted by: T. Boyd | April 12, 2015

Life is Unspeakably Sad

Recently I bought three books that were recommended to me: Inside Out  by Larry Crabb, When Heaven is Silent  and The Faith Crisis by Ron Dunn.

Crabb’s book hits quick and deep about our natural, strong desire to avoid conflict and sadness, and how the church has facilitated that escapism with its surface “fixes” and programs to keep us busy – not just the church, but it is also my own tendency to escape into a new hobby or activity in order to keep my mind away from the sadness.

Dr. Crabb’s famous line, “Life is unspeakably sad” is so insightful – that life will always bring us episodes of sorrow until Christ returns – that Jesus will provide a means to experience joy in the midst of the sorrow, to give us hope of the victory to come as He brings worship to our hearts; an assurance that the outcome doesn’t depend on us.

Yesterday I was given the opportunity to experience this for the first time: A new friend in our neighborhood, described the chaotic, violent eviction of his next-door neighbor that morning – a young mother with 2 small children, with all their belongings flung out of the house – a TV and big mirror, for example, destroyed as they were thrown out on the sidewalk and street, by angry, rude men that had been hired by the house owner. They flung every belonging of the family out of the house upon the wet curb and street in the chilly, rainy weather.

The sorrow was overwhelming to me; and typically, I would have nursed the anger that arose in my heart, not knowing how to react, wanting to do something to escape the ache and hopeless feeling I was experiencing.  Rather than dealing with the sorrow, my usual thing to do would be to “change the subject” by feeding some desire for pleasure – maybe food, or turn to the internet to browse Facebook – anything to stop the emotional pain.

But instead I read a few pages of Inside Out  and I realized that I did not need to escape those feelings, that I did not have the power to do so;  but I could respond in the way that the author of Psalm 73 was led to respond to the unspeakable sadness:

“But when I thought how to understand this,
    it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
    then I discerned their end.”

And my application here of these words is not out of vengeful feelings and thoughts, but of the knowledge that the righteous judge of all the earth will deal with this event; and it is not even that the thought of justice so much, but I think it is the thought that I can take this sorrow and burden to Him and not feel that I am responsible for the evil that I saw through my friend’s eyes.

The sorrow still remains, but it is not a despairing, hopeless feeling, but an inexplainable hope that arises in spite of the sight of the destruction of that mother’s belongings.
Instead there is a hope that looks beyond the tragedy; that sees that the power of the gospel may allow that family to say, along with Joseph, son of Jacob, “… you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today”.

It is the law of unintended consequences that God is always using to thwart the actions of the enemy.

The point of this long story is that the Lord has worked into me a new coping mechanism of not becoming despondent over something that brings sadness to me; instead, He has shown me how to confront the sadness instead of “sweeping it under the rug” so to speak.  Maybe I have learned a little bit about using the feeling of sorrow for good, and a joy arising that is like Paul’s statement in 2 Corithians 6:10 – “…as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.”

Posted by: T. Boyd | November 18, 2014

Mount Ebal – Mount Gerizim

ICHMMG07_400(1)

( Image courtesy of www.HolyLandPhotos.org )
As I watch the daily news about the turmoil and trouble in the U.S., and the awful storms that are taking a toll on the country – the tornadoes, floods, drought, sudden frigid weather right now descending on us, I hear a voice, “Repent…Awake, Oh Sleeper, before it is too late

It is a call to our nation, to the believers in our country that don’t see the need to cry out to the Lord for revival of His people; that we would repent and turn from the idols of prosperity and the “good life” that the vast majority of us are worshiping; to fall on our faces before Him in seeking Him for mercy and healing of our land.

I thought of the Mt. Ebal vs Mt. Garizim ceremony, the blessing and curse promises of the Lord to His nation of Israel which would follow their choice to either follow His commands or not. Moses gave the directions starting in Deuteronomy 27:4 , and then carried out in Joshua 8:30-35.

The message from Moses includes this important command in Deuteronomy 30:19 –

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

Would that each believer that is truly committed to Jesus would reach out to his or her friends that are also serious about following the Lord and ask them to become sober, to become watchmen on the wall, and warn the people about the curses that have been experienced and future ones that are coming; to prepare for the persecution already breaking out in much of the world and will soon be experienced in our own country.

Would that we all take the call in Hosea to heart: “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn…” (Hosea 6:3)

Would that we turn off the TV and open His Word instead, and sit often and at length before Him; to be able to join Elijah in saying, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand…”; and from that place of holy ground to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom – to warn of the calamity coming; but also to point to the path, the Way of salvation, namely Jesus Himself, as the only way out of the darkness into the light.

Posted by: T. Boyd | January 31, 2014

Shattered Lantern and Mockingjay

book-shattered-big

(Warning – Mockingjay Spoiler Alert)

I am currently reading The Shattered Lantern by Ronald Rolheiser. It offers “a spiritual antidote to our everyday agnosticism…The way back to a lively faith is not a question of finding the right answers, but living in a certain way” – a quote from the back cover.

Rolheiser convinced me that we truly live in an agnostic age, one in which we no longer see God permeating our existence; most of us no longer live as if we need Him to get through our daily lives. And then Rolheiser shows the way back out of the resulting emptiness and longing for wholeness.

He uses John of the Cross to give direction: we have to enter the dark night of the senses, the dark night of the spirit, and the dark night of death. Rohlheiser explains this description in a loving and convincing way that resonates with my soul’s longing for healing and completion, a longing for God Himself.

images

 I was helped to picture what Rolheiser means when I recently read the third story of the trilogy of Hunger Games, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

At the end of the story, the heroine, Katniss, is found by Buttercup, the cat of her late younger sister, Prim, who was killed in battle. Katniss is in the long recovery from the sorrow and pain of being a leader in the battle against the tyranny of the government during which most of her team members were killed, and she herself almost destroyed.

Katniss has been moved to her childhood home to heal and recover. The cat, Buttercup has trekked many miles to return home and arrives weeks later. He is in bad shape – wounded, bedraggled, and starving. Katniss has always despised the cat, and likewise he has always shown hatred toward her.

But, strangely enough, through their shared  series of tragedies, they learn to comfort each other.  Katniss reflects,  “… hours later, when I come to my bed, he’s there in the moonlight. Crouched beside me, yellow eyes alert, guarding me from the night.” Katniss has finally begun to heal and to find purpose in the dark night of the soul that she has experienced.

And for me, that brought completion to the whole trilogy saga, and it seemed to parallel the hope, the faith, the love that permeates Rolheiser’s book, “The Shattered Lantern”.

For our lives, there is an end as well as a process, a goal that culminates in the opening of something “further upward and further in” (C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle) in our journey to truly enter the Kingdom of God.

May The Lord strengthen us to always keep our eyes on Him, on Jesus Himself, and be transformed into His image. Amen.

Posted by: T. Boyd | January 11, 2014

Awake, Sleepers!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

As I read the weekend edition the Wall Street Journal this morning, I found it just packed full of sorrow and evil that is so prevalent in our world.  It tends to just give me more depression, but I am thinking the righteous reaction is to soberly pray for the conditions of the sufferers.

I also just started reading a Randy Alcorn novel, Safely Home, that depicts very vividly and accurately (according to reviews) the sad situation in China of the Christians in the rural home churches.  The persecution is awful and very widespread, apparently.

The vast majority of Western Christians just don’t get it. We are asleep at the wheel, just keeping the throttle wide open, being part of society’s hurling toward disaster, crushing any that hinder our progress toward our prosperity and pleasure seeking.

Why are we not weeping, casting ourselves before The Lord in seeking His face to how we can join in the battle against evil, in spreading the gospel, in reaching out to widows (divorcees, unwed mothers) and orphans; to those in poverty and sickness; and those in prisons all around us?

Taking our place in the battle line does not need to be dreaded. It can be, it should be, “for the joy set before us”, knowing that we are finally fulfilling our purpose in being here, and of being called to be children of God, fellow sufferers of our eldest brother, Jesus Christ, God’s own Son. And in joining in the host of believers that are on the front lines, being cheered on by the “great cloud of witnesses.”

Here is the way Hebrews 12 says it in The Message:

 “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”

I’m so glad to see churches like East End Fellowship where many young adults and teens have heard the clear, clarion call to rally to our commander, our Lord. The words of the old hymn come to mind:

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
W
ith the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!

 May we pause in this busy, crazy, 100 yard dash toward our next goal; may we get before our Lord, and wait to see His face, to hear this call, to pray for courage to respond; to take up the “whole armor of God” and enter the fray as He directs with His strong, encouraging voice; knowing that “He is our strength and shield, a very present help in times of trouble.”

Boyd

Posted by: T. Boyd | October 15, 2013

When I Run I Feel His Pleasure

1924-eric-liddell-stamford-bridge_n

Eric Liddell, at Stamford Bridge, London, in qualifying trials for 1924 Olympics, original at http://www.ericliddell.org/ericliddell/photographs/eric-liddell

In my morning bible study a few weeks ago, I noticed a new parallel I had not seen before, unless my memory fails me (which happens a lot these days🙂 ).

I was reading chapter 9 of Deuteronomy, verses 4 and 5, where Moses is talking about going into the promised land – like us “going” [processing?] into our sanctification:

“Not because of your righteousness … are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out from before you…”

The new thought that came to me: it is like what God is doing in making us more like Jesus. It is not because of our righteousness that he is doing this work: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ“, but it is because He loves us and wants to drive out the wickedness that lingers in our flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these… ” (Galatians 5:19).

That purging is not fun or comfortable – those “inhabitants” of past experiences, our natural inclinations, our prejudices which affect our relationships, those strong opinions that cause us to insist that we are right and others are wrong; all of these “works” have to go, have to be taken captive and destroyed by “Him  whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).  And, although, by faith, we have been crucified and that dying is completed in one sense, (“we are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10), in another sense it is an on-going, daily experience (“Take up your cross daily and follow me” Luke 9:23).

It is not fun, but it brings joy, because in the transformation process

 (“And we all , with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” 2 Corinthians 3:18).

We begin to experience God’s pleasure.  As Eric Liddell, the olympic runner told his sister, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”  God made each of us for a purpose – in fact He had our purpose in mind before the world was created!

Can you believe that? It is found in Ephesians 1:4 – “He chose us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him”, and Ephesians 2:10 – “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  And when we walk in the path that He has planned, we feel joy in our hearts – we feel His pleasure.

Posted by: T. Boyd | August 26, 2013

Too Small to Fly!

I was upstairs in my “man cave” when I noticed something tiny flying around. This bug was tiny compared to a fruit fly which we sometimes find in the kitchen around the fruit. It was moving quite fast, so I didn’t get a good look at it, and it didn’t land as far as I could tell.  In fact, it seemed very busy.

And I started wondering.  How could such a small creature have all the equipment and the know-how to fly?  It seems impossible.  I looked on the web for the smallest flying insect, and the winner is the Fairfly (http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent425/text01/smallest.html).

Fairy Fly, from Wikipedia

Fairy Fly, from Wikipedia

This fly is only 0.139 mm long. To compare, I got my micrometer, pulled out a hair from my beard (ouch!) and measured its width: 0.21 mm.  Imagine! This fly could land and turn around on the hair without it overhanging the sides.

So I say again, as in the title, it is too small to fly! But, obviously, it does.

Imagine what it would take to build and make such a small flying object which would also be autonomous (self-governing). Not only is the physical makeup of this fly very complicated – just as complicated as a large wasp, I imagine; but to give it the mental ability to maneuver its body and decide where to fly to, how to land safely, and what chore to accomplish, is stretching the best engineers’ abilities today.

The latter have developed small autonomous flying aircraft, but with much less ability that one of these flies, and not near as small (so far). Again, I come to the conclusion, that the ability our creator is accurately described when He says,

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)

Posted by: T. Boyd | April 18, 2013

Forever He Will Run

Return of the Prodigal Son – Rembrandt – used by permission of Wikipedia

I love the song by Freddie Rodriguez, “I will run”.  The chorus has these words:

Forever I will run
So I will run
Unto You, oh God
Now You have my heart
So I will, I will run
Forever I will run
Run to You, oh God
Where else can I go
Forever I will run

And they do express the desires of my heart most of the time, but they are not strictly true, because I am not faithful in my walk.  I will not forever run to God.

But He will forever run and pursue me, and consequently I will always return to Him, because He is God and He will not give up on me.

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