Archive for August, 2013

Surprise Visit

I was studying at my desk this morning, attempting to put together an article for this week when I got a visitor. This was no ordinary visitor mind you, he did not knock at the door or announce his entrance into the building with hurried footsteps down the hall. I heard no car or truck or motorized vehicle of any sort which clued me to his appearing. I received no phone call or text message with approval to arrive. He did not make an appointment at an early date for which I had forgotten. He simply showed up. He came around and tapped at my window. I heard him tapping lightly at first but was so engrossed in a piece I was reading that it only registered on my sub-conscious. He continued to tap until I finally came out of my trance and turned to see what it was. I heard the tapping again and got up from my chair, opened the blinds, no one was there. I went to the side door of the office, opened the door, no one was there. I called out, “Hello, is there anybody out here?” No answer. I returned to my desk and continued with my work. Tap! Tap! American_Goldfinch_b13-40-018_l_0I jumped up and pulled the blinds back up and caught him as he fled away. My mystery visitor was an American Goldfinch Spinus Tristus. I was mesmerized by his beautiful colors. He was bright yellow with a white rump, black forehead, white edges on black wings and tail, and yellow at bend of wing. By the way, I know he was a “he”, because the National Audubon Society says so. I was curious as to what kind of bird had come to call, so I pulled up the Audubon’s web site to identify this particular species. Now, here’s the marvelous part of God’s creation, Identification!

First, let’s get an idea of how many birds there are in the world. By most authorities on the subject, the best estimate is 10,000 different species and approximately 400 billion birds worldwide. In the United States alone there are anywhere from 10 billion in the spring to 17 billion in the fall. 400 billion birds! No wonder Alfred Hitchcock made a scary movie about them. There are only 7 billion people on the earth. There are 57 times more birds than there are humans, yet God said in Psa 50:11  I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. God made all the birds unique in several different areas. The biggest and most distinguishable way to identify birds is by their color or plumage. The particular bird that called on me this morning was distinguishable because of his vivid and contrasting colors. I was able to go quickly and find this bird because of the distinct color markings. Now, the bird is unique in the fact that no two birds are alike. The American Goldfinch is one of hundreds of finches which is but one of hundreds of perching birds. Their colors are very similar, but no two are exactly alike. I was determined to know for sure and so with the help of the Audubon web site, I opened the window and played several different recordings of songs of that particular species. On the third recording, he returned to the window sill and sang a similar song. I felt like Dr. Doolittle.  I asked him how far it is to fly to Chicago and he replied; “Chirp, chirp”. Ok, so I couldn’t really talk to him, but because of the marvelous way God made these beautiful creatures, in a very short few minutes, I was able to identify and communicate with him.  I pondered this extraordinary moment from an ordinary day and thought of this passage in John 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

                The Lord’s voice is unique! His words are spoken to those who are willing to listen and respond. They follow the unique call of their master’s voice. Shepherds, who carried the sheep into the fields to graze, would often encounter other shepherds with their sheep. These two groups of sheep would get mixed together, and the only way to separate them was for both shepherds to go separate ways and call their sheep with their unique voice. The sheep would follow their master’s voice.

God made billions upon billions of birds, and the scripture reminds us that he cares and knows every bird that ever was. More importantly, He knows every human that ever was or is and cares for us even more. Mat 6:26  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Since He places such importance on us, shouldn’t we listen to His voice.  We all know what it is! It is recorded for us in the Bible. He’s calling us to listen to His voice and follow Him from this world of sin and woe. He’s singing a song to us of love and adoration. He’s bidding us come home. When the Master bids you to the window sill, fly to him and sing back, “I’m listening”.

Darryl Fuller

Far, Far Away

voyager2_largeI was just starting as a freshman in high school when two man-made objects were launched into space, still going today, on an unprecedented journey. The Voyager spacecrafts 1 and 2 were launched in August and September of 1977 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. My first-period class was Physical Science and as part of the class we all got to go outside to the football field and watch the launch. Over the years I had the privilege of watching many of the moon shots from our yard in Kathleen, Florida. The Saturn V was an impressive rocket even from 120 miles away. The launch of the Voyager craft was less dramatic, riding up through the atmosphere on the back of an old leftover Titan from the Gemini days. From 120 miles a glimpse of the rocket is nothing more than a bright orange light followed by a large plume of white smoke. I certainly didn’t imagine at that moment that I’d be writing an article about it, as it continued its journey, 35 years later. Both spacecraft are the furthest man-made objects in space. As of this writing, Voyager 1 (the one I saw) is approximately 11.6 billion miles away, Voyager 2, 9.5 billion miles. To put that in perspective, it takes light or radio transmission 18 hours to reach the spacecraft. If NASA decides that they want to send a command to the craft, it will take 18 hours to send the command and then 18 hours to know whether the craft responded or not. You would have to travel around the world 464,000 times in order to equal the distance to Voyager. If you could drive your car out to Voyager and you could drive at 100 mph, it would take you 21,967 years to get there; a long way from home, and every hour it travels another 36,000 miles, further from home.

I wish I could impress upon people who place no importance or thought into being close to God, the similarities between their lives and these far away probes. Both are destined to eternal gloom without the touch or communication of the Maker. These distant ships have no choice. They were designed to travel for eons further and further from their maker.  We on the other hand were designed with the ability to choose, to choose to stay close to the Maker or leave His presence. Consider a few of the similarities, and ask yourself, “Am I close to the Maker?”

Source of Life

As the probes get further and further away their nuclear fuel diminishes.  The biggest problem for these bus-size vehicles is the extreme cold temperatures which hamper the thermoelectric generators.  The Sun itself does not fuel the craft, but the distance away from the Sun disproportional has a negative impact. In short, it is solely relying on its original energy source with no help from the distant sun.

The same holds true of us. God made us, and He made us to last. However, due to sin, we are slowly dying, separated from the creator, the source of our energy.  We need God!  Psa 86:2  Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you–you are my God.

Source of Light

For every hour that the craft travels further from home, the Sun becomes fainter and fainter. Its light has been reduced significantly.  At Pluto, the most distant planet, it is estimated that sunlight is but a 10th of what it is here on earth, and Voyager is 7.3 billion miles further, cold and dark!

This was the state of man the hour Jesus died on the cross, darkness. Luk 23:44-45  It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,  while the sun’s light failed.  To be separated from God is to be in darkness.  How scary and lonely it must have been for the Son of Man, who hung on a tree, far away from God because of our sins.  He endured that so we wouldn’t have to, but there are many who prefer the darkness. Act 26:18  To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

Source of Influence

Even at those great distances, the Sun continues to have the great influence over the crafts.  They continue to push to escape this influence we call gravity. Like a long, big hill, they slowly make their way up the hill to eventually find the top and coast down the other side.  But the hill is huge, and it will not let the vehicles go so easily. If we could only see how much energy we expend in trying to get away from His influence. He knows that we need Him and He is not willing that any should be lost (2 Pet.3:9) Psa 119:133  Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

So, quit wandering so far away and come back to the Maker. He’s sending a signal to come home.

Darryl Fuller

Saved from what?

If you were trapped in a building, doomed to fire, what would you do, say, or pay to escape such an end? Had you been on the Titanic on the night it foundered, what might you do to be saved from such ruin? Some that night retorted, “Saved from what?”, this ship is unsinkable! Recently, I had this question thrown back at me, “Saved! Saved from what?”  hurricane_sandy_threatening_newyork_oct2012

It is quite apparent to me, that this world and all that is in it will fail. I’ve read enough history to know that the greatest of empires have been vanquished. The Egyptians, Hittites, Phoenicians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Spaniards, Germans, Dutch, and British were all superpowers at one time and controlled trade through their currency. Yet, they all succumbed to their greed and lust for power and wealth. What followed their collapse was not pretty and beckons us as citizens of the United States to take note. We are the current superpower and our currency is the reserve currency in the world.  When the US Dollar fails, (and it will if we continue to print more money without reducing our debt and paying our bills), then, like the nations afore, we will meet ruin. Is this the thing I should be saved from?

When the Philippian jailer was faced with the fear that his prisoners had escaped due to the earthquake, he drew his sword out to kill himself. The Roman law was clear. If a prison guard failed in his duty, his life was required. Paul and Silas stopped him from suicide, and when he learned that none of the prisoners escaped, he fell before them and asked; “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  Acts.16:23-34. Was it the Roman iron fist of law that the jailer feared? After all, all the prisoners were still there. None had escaped! Indeed, he might receive commendations for controlling the situation in light of an earthquake. In a matter of seconds things went from the status quo to doom to this could be even better than before.  Yet the jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  It wasn’t the hand of Caesar that the jailer sought refuge from, it was the wrath of God! He fell down before Paul and Silas with genuine, stone-cold, scared-to-death fear!  Fear of the Almighty God who provided the prisoners with a means of escape (earthquake), but kept them there through peace (Paul and Silas’ prayers and songs).

That was and is a powerful God! More powerful than any Caesar, and the jailer knew it and the other prisoners knew it! “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

It’s not money or security here on this earth that we should be worried about.  It’s not the hand of the US government or any other foreign government we should fear. It’s not the social upheavals and strife we see playing out around us that should make us scared. It’s not the threat of nuclear, biological or chemical annihilation we should get upset about. It’s the wrath of the Almighty God who made us and can destroy us that we all should dread. Rom 5:8-9 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

This is exactly the question God wants you to ask, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  God’s desire is for all of us to be saved 1Ti 2:4 Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. To ask or even contemplate, “Saved from what?’ is arrogant and foolish! (Remember the man on the Titanic?). It’s like the mosquito, who has just bitten your hand turned and said to the other mosquito, “Saved from wh…splat!” To not fear and respect that power and authority is detrimental to both body and soul. Mat 10:28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

If then the question from you is, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Then the answer is simple.

1. Only in Christ can you be saved. Act 4:12  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

2. Only through repentance can you come to Christ. Act 2:37-38 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

3. Only through baptism can you be in Christ. Rom 6:4  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Are you saved?

Darryl Fuller

Life’s Purpose

I bought a tool recently, a special tool for a special purpose. It was somewhat expensive, but for the need of such a tool I was willing to give even more in order to accomplish the job. The tool was specifically designed for one purpose, to extract the heater element out of a water heater.  It failed to accomplish that for which it was designed to do, twice. In the attempt to try it again on another element in a totally different water heater, it broke, and was rendered useless.  The special tool, that had a special price, was put into a special place, the garbage.

We should see ourselves as these special tools sometimes and understand the purpose for which we were made. Our Holy Father has a great deal to offer us on our design and what His purpose was and is for us. What makes us even more truly remarkable is the price he was willing to pay in order to obtain us, a special tool for a special purpose.

A lot has been written and talked about regarding the pursuit of one’s dreams or purpose in life.  From the moment that a child is born, most parents begin to shape and form the direction their children will hopefully go. Some choose carefully a name that will be indicative of their future.  Some begin early to hone skills, like Tiger Woods’ father, who had Tiger hitting a lot of golf balls at the age of 3. For much of human history, children usually grew in the skill set of their parents and usually carried on in such capacity. Farmers begat farmers, irons-smiths begat iron-smiths, carpenters begat carpenters. It has only been in more recent times, since the age of enlightenment or the end of the 18th century, that individuals have been encouraged to fulfill their dreams, “be all that you can be”, “reach for the stars”, “climb the highest mountain”, “find your path”, “survival of the fittest”. Children have been taught or raised to believe that they can do everything that everybody else does.  They have been encouraged to go to college and pursue the American dream. A baseball glove was put into their hand and they were told that if they worked hard they could be the next Mickey Mantle or Derek Jeter.  Girls were dressed up as dolls and paraded in front of judges and told, you can be the next Miss America.  We’ve had slogans such as “No Child Left Behind”, and “Be all you can Be”.

We’ve pushed our children to be things that we never were, like astronauts and nuclear physicists, playwrights, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelists, Harvard law graduates and Yale financial wizards.  Don’t take this wrong.  I am in favor of encouraging our children to accomplish great things in life. I believe in a strong education and in the idea that if one works hard, they can fulfill great ambitions, but what of their purpose? We fail often in that we equate our purpose in life with all the things mentioned previously. We often equate our lives and our  purpose as a career. A career is not our purpose!

In the very first chapter of the Bible God tells us an important part of who we are Gen 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. This word image is from the Hebrew root word tselem, and it means shadow or resemblance. It really is more than the visual likeness of God; it’s more about the substance of God.  God made us with this purpose in mind; to be like He is! Paul states in Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Later Peter added this revelation in 2Pe 1:4  by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. Clear and simple, God’s purpose for us is to be like Him, partakers of His divine nature.

We teach and encourage our children to become earthly subjects. God tells us He wants us to be like Him. Which is the greater purpose, a career in medicine or law or to be an Heir with the Creator of the Universe? God’s desire is that we are His Son’s apprentices here on earth.  He’s calling on us to train and mold our spirits. He’s paid the ultimate price for our education, through the blood of His Divine Son.  Not only is Christ the price of our tuition, He is our Instructor and example of what God intends for us to be.  Our purpose is not to make lots of money and be well suited in this world.  Our purpose is to be in school, listen to the Master, follow His examples, study hard and endure the test. When the “day of graduation” arrives, He will be proud to see we’ve accomplished our purpose; to be like Him, and prepared for the world that awaits.

Darryl Fuller