Archive for May, 2016

Real problems

puppy licking catI’ve recently (well, it seems like all the time) been dealing with plumbing problems.  Interestingly enough, I’ve become, in my mind, rather good at something I loathe. Getting two pieces of pipe glued together is, after all, fairly simple; even a child can perform such a task. Keeping them from leaking however, is a different tale and one that can reduce the brightest of minds into squalling puddles of tears. Truthfully though, plumbing, a problem? Hardly! An annoyance maybe, but one should never classify leakiness with bleakness. Chicken Little proclaimed, “The sky is falling”, not “My coop is sinking.”  There are plenty of real problems in the world and plenty of people dealing with serious issues.  However, chances are good that what we perceive to be problems in our lives are not really problems at all.

In contrast consider some of the faithful people of God in the Old Testament. Now there were some folks that were dealing with tough problems! Heb 11:35-38  Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated–   of whom the world was not worthy–wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

 Still feeling poorly? Check out the problems of the Apostles. 1Co 4:11-13 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless,  (12)  and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; (13) when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

We spend too much time worrying with the appearance of our homes and yards.  When we have friends and family over, we’re self-conscious  of the lack of room.  We work incessantly over the mortgage payment, the insurance premium, garbage bill, utility cost, security issues and general over-all maintenance.  We build too, add on, remodel, repaint, re-carpet, all because we believe that our homes are daily problems that must be dealt with.  Listen to Jesus; Mat 8:20  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” If we have a safe place to sleep with walls and a roof, warm in the winter, cool in the summer, we don’t have a problem!

 I read in the news yesterday, of a woman in Illinois who was just sentenced to four years in prison for the manslaughter of her adopted child who had cerebral palsy.  This woman has ovarian cancer and on the morning she attempted to kill herself and did kill her child, she was suffering with extraordinary pain.  She had lost control of her faculties, soiling her bed, wrought with fever, unable to care for her child who was in an even worse predicament, and she did the unthinkable.  She wanted to end the pain for herself and could not bear the thought of her child left helpless. To her dismay, she lived! Now she will spend her remaining years, in prison, suffering, consumed with guilt and cancer with no child to comfort, care and love. Now, she is someone with a problem.

If we have Christ in our lives (Col.3:3), we have no problems. If we have been cleansed from the stain of sin by His blood, we have no problems.  If we have been added to His church through baptism (Acts 2:38-41, Rom.6:1-6), we have no problems.  If we are walking in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7), we have no problems. If we live and breathe and carry s the hope of eternity with Christ (1 Tim.4:10), we have no problems.

                My friend, if you’re not in Christ and Christ is not in you; you’ve got a real problem!

Darryl Fuller

Elliptical Perfection

ea436109In 1605, Johannes Kepler wrote a thesis called  Astronomia NovaI(New Astronomy) which revolutionized the way the universe would forever be perceived.  This work, along with three other papers he wrote,culminatedin Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica (1687), in which Newton derived from Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, a force-based theory of universal gravitation.   Basically, against the popularly held theory of both the Lutheran Church and scientists of that day, Kepler proposed that the planets moved in elliptical orbits around the sun, rather than perfect circles.  Contrary to popular beliefs held by the scientific community today, propagated by men such as Carl Sagan, Kepler was not an enemy of the Church as much as he was ridiculed by the scientists of his day.  Kepler wrote extensively to show that his theory was corroborated by Scriptures.  He spent many long, sleepless hours observing the movement of the planets, collecting the data, and applying the data to his three mathematical laws. In order for his theories to work however, he had to show that the Sun was the center of the Solar System and that the planets, including Earth, revolved around it.  He was a deep believer in God and a very faithful follower of the Luthern church.  He believed that the universe itself was an image of God, with the Sun corresponding to the Father, the stellar sphere to the Son, and the intervening space between to the Holy Spirit. His first manuscript of Mysterium contained an extensive chapter reconciling heliocentrism with biblical passages that seemed to support geocentrism.  His famous work Harmonies of the World (in Latin, Harmonices Mundi) begins:

Commence a sacred discourse, a most true hymn to God the Founder, and I judge it to be piety, not to sacrifice many hecatombs of bulls to Him and to burn incense of innumerable perfumes and cassia, but first to learn myself, and afterwards to teach others too, how great He is in wisdom, how great in power, and of  what sort in goodness.

At the end, Kepler concludes:

Purposely I break off the dream and the very vast speculation, merely crying out with the royal Psalmist: Great is our Lord and great His virtue and of His wisdom there is no number: praise Him, ye heavens, praise Him, ye sun, moon, and planets, use every sense for perceiving, every tongue for declaring your Creator…to Him be praise, honour, and glory, world without end. Amen.

Johannes Kepler did not need the universe to look perfect for his faith to grow, he needed only to marvel at its complex, mathematical precision.

Like the planets, which need not be in a perfect circle to be perfect, God’s church is a marvelous design of perfection. Consider its perfection:

Christ is the head of this church

Heb.  5:8-9 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.  (9)  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

Col. 1:17-18  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  (18)  And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

 As with this election year, we’re all looking for that perfect leader, the head of our government that will lead us, have a vision for us, fight for us, die for us! Well, we’re not going to get that this year, or any year for that matter.  The only perfect leader, is the head of His perfect church; Christ!  However, consider; He was poor, unseemly, a carpenter, a Nazarene, considered by his peers as a bastard child, died a thieves’ death.  He was definitely not a perfect circle by the way we look and judge perfection, but His elliptical life worked out to perfection for us all.

 The laws of this church are perfect

2Ti 3:16-17  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  (17)  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The laws of this perfect church do not have to be revised or changed year after year. All that was recorded for us, 2000 years ago, is still as relevant today.  In just over 200 years our United States Constitution with its original 10 amendments has grown to 27 amendments. There are at least 5,000 federal criminal laws, with 10,000-300,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally. In fact, our entire criminal code has become a leviathan unto itself. In 2003, there were only 4,000 offences that carried criminal penalties. By 2013, that number had grown by 21 percent to 4,850. The code has become so big, that the Congressional Research Service and the American Bar Association simply do not have enough staff to adequately categorize every law we have on the books.  The gospel may be archaic and elliptical to many, but it’s God’s perfect law for us. (James 1:25)

This church is built on the perfect foundation

Mat 16:18  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

There are scarcely any remaining intact structures that were built 2000 years ago. They’ve succumbed to wars, earthquakes, destruction, or other natural and man-made causes, but the church Jesus built still stands. Many have tried to destroy it, but as Christ predicted, Satan himself will fail to bring down that which is built on the perfect foundation.

This church has the perfect system of worship.

John 4:24  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

From the very 1st century, man has tried to perfect what he perceived was imperfection, namely the way the church worshipped God.  Surely, man thought, that It must be bigger, louder, more opulent, more pious, a display of greater reverence.  He has added creeds, dress, musical instruments, lofty structures, flamboyant festivals, meticulous and boring rituals. He has strived for the “spirit” and left the “truth”.  However, we should marvel at worship in those first few waking moments of the church.  Consider:  Act 2:42-43 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.  (43)  And awe came upon every soul…Perfect worship is prayer and fellowship, devotion to God’s word and breaking bread.  When man followed the letter of the law (truth), man was in awe! (spirit).

This church has a perfect way of entrance.

Act 2:41  So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

No test, no entrance exam, no pre-qualification period, no initiation ritual, no huge down payment or signing away your wealth, no health screening.  Just a willingness to listen and the heart to obey.

If you’re looking for perfection in an imperfect world, consider the elliptical orbit of the church of our savior, Jesus Christ.   Perfection by design.

Darryl Fuller

 

From the very 1st century, man has tried to perfect what he