Archive for 2010

SEARCH ME, O GOD

Almost as soon as she could talk, my oldest granddaughter, who is now 4 years old, has been praying at mealtimes when given the opportunity. At first I couldn’t decipher all of her words. She always started out with “Jesus”, which I recognized, but then followed with a phrase that took me a year to finally figure out. “Jesus” was, and is to this day, followed by the phrase, “Help be good.” I find it interesting, that children, even at very young ages, can know that they are sinners, even though they might not yet know the word sin. ”For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Ro 3:23).

As an adult, I truly understand sin and the impact it has in our lives. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I strive to be righteous. It is a challenge … immorality is rampant in this world we live in, and is presented to us on a platter by the media. We need to guard our hearts and minds from the corruption around us. I don’t know about you, but just like a child, I need help …”Jesus, help be good!”

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.        (Psm 139: 23-24)

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1Co 10:13) 

Lanny Johnson

Snow and Snowflakes

Wow! Even in the midst of cold shivers in a blizzard, we can marvel at the beauty and intricate design of what God has made. It escapes me how someone can look at snowflakes under magnification and not see this.  The hexagonal shape and pattern is slightly different in each flake. The shape depends on many factors happening right at the boundary of the snowflake as it is forming. This includes the air temperature, humidity, wind, and interaction of other nearby snowflakes. Since each snowflake forms under slightly different conditions, each one is different—each one is uniquely beautiful.

Years ago, I heard of someone from a tropical environment who had visited the mountains and saw snow for the first time. Without even knowing of the intricate design and uniqueness of each snowflake, he was ecstatic. Why? For the first time the passage in Isaiah 1 became clear to him. “. . .though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. …” He had never seen snow, so he never knew how bright white it is. Now he knew just how cleansed he was.

Though I might prefer fall (see earlier blog), winter does have its high points among the low points of temperature. Let us all be ecstatic over not only the intricacies and detail of what God has made in each snowflake, but of what Jesus has done for us his work on the cross!

Dave Nutting

The snowflake pictures are from Wikipedia commons.

A selection of photographs taken by Wilson Bentley (1865–1931)

Teaching Revelation in India

In preparation for another creation tour to India in Jan. and Feb. 2011, I am planning what new topics I will teach.  Not only are the Indians interested in Genesis and creation, I have discovered they are also fascinated with the book of Revelation and end times.  This became apparent while I was teaching from Genesis, there are many similarities between Revelation and Genesis, and they began asking many questions about Revelation.   

Being limited on time, I quickly answered their questions and continued in Genesis.   With one pastor, I had the opportunity of an extended conversation and was able to touch on my teaching in Revelation.  In his enthusiasm, he wanted his class to know more about this topic.  So before my return trip to India, I will be preparing a presentation on Revelation and end times.  It is truly amazing how the first book of the Bible is connected to the last book of the Bible!  Jesus Christ is the First and the Last and His Word reflects this truth.

Rich Stepanek

Granddaughter’s Dedication

The dedication

This past Sunday, my youngest grandchild was dedicated to the Lord at her parent’s church. This dedication really had not so much to do with our granddaughter; rather it was a time of celebration … an opportunity and a privilege for the parents, family, and church family to commit to do something, not just for the children, but for the parents as well.

The parents (and grandparents!) were challenged to make a commitment:

  • To lifting up their children/grandchildren in prayer every single day.
  • To walk with God in such a way, that when they see us, they see the path they are supposed to take.
  • To lift up our children/grandchildren, allowing them to grow into the man/woman God wants them to be, showing them the ways of God all along the way.
  • To make an early commitment to follow through with raising children and being part of a process of leading them to a place where they will make a decision for Christ.

The church family was also challenged:

  • To set a Christian example of what it means to walk and live for Christ.
  • To pray for the parents.
  • To help as needed.
  • To walk with them as they set an example to their family.

Oh Lord, I pray that we might be shining examples and not stumbling blocks …not only to our families, but to all those we meet.

Lanny Johnson

Thank God for Winter?

I would love to hold onto Fall for another 4 months and skip winter altogether, but with the weather turning very cold and snowstorms predicted, I guess that isn’t going to happen. Anyhow, amidst the shivers, I can console myself in the fact that spring, summer, and another beautiful fall will come again. I just have to be patient!

I know you snow fans and skiers are happy for the winter, but for me (while waiting for that warmth to reappear), I remind myself that God made both summer and winter, so we need both. He knows what His Creation needs most in whatever part of the world they live:

Ps 74:17: Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.

I also warm my inner being in the fact that winter demonstrates the Truth of God’s Word as given to Noah shortly after the Flood:

Ge 8:22:  While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

That certainly has been a true promise. I am thankful that God promises to take care of what we need. That includes the seasons. Seasons for planting, season for harvesting, (and a season for eating—like during this Thanksgiving/ Christmas season).

How would you like to wake up one day that is in mid-summer heat and the next day find it is the coldest of colds.  Or what if the morning rolls out and the sun is gone-there is no day? That doesn’t sound so good.

I thank Him for the order and predictability of what He has made. I thank God for the Truth of His Word. Therefore, I thank God for seasons – including winter!

Dave Nutting

When Snakes Fly

You have all probably heard the statement “when pigs fly”, but have you heard “when snakes fly”?  That’s right, snakes can fly, well, they actually glide.  Scientists have discovered a strange species of snakes located in Southeast Asia, India, and southern China that can glide.  You have heard children say, ‘Look mom, no hands’.  Well these snakes have neither wings, nor wing like appendages, to help them glide.  How do the snakes do this?  The Department of Defense would like to know and so they are funding Virginia Tech to research this amazing feat.  

The snakes will climb the biggest trees in the area (about 200 ft.), take a flying leap, and glide to a spot about 780 ft. away.  While in the air, they undulate from side to side to create an aerodynamic system. Their whole body becomes one long wing.  They can even turn in the air.  Humans are trying to discover the technology to fly without wings or create a flying machine that is all wing.  When we study snakes, they truly give God the glory.

Richard Stepanek

Source:

“DOD tries to uncover secret of flying snakes” by Mark Kaufman – Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 22, 2010; 11:37 PM

Master Plan Ministries

Demonstrating the Divine Proportion

Just recently, I was invited by the ministry of Master Plan of Mesa State College to a retreat with 33 college students at a beautiful mountain lodge in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. I was able to teach on several subjects (Age of the Earth, and the Hand of God) to a crowd of believers and non-believers of Biblical Creation. I was also able to share the Gospel message with the entire group. The teaching time was followed by a period of question and answers. I pray that the faith of those that do believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior was increased, and a seed was planted in the hearts and minds of those who doubt.

Cascade Lodge, where the retreat was held, is about 30 miles north of Durango, Colorado, close to the Purgatory Ski Resort. The lodge was built during the late 1920’s and early 30’s. The construction (on National Forest Service property) was a community effort, spearheaded by a local pastor and a banker. The lodge was created for the positive moral and spiritual enrichment of the youth in the Durango area.

Cascade Lodge

In the mid 30’s, the lodge was transferred to non-local private families. It remained this way for the next 50 years. During this time many of the original purposes of the lodge were lost to the Durango community. The lodge was donated to Master Plan Ministries in 1986. The Forest Service informed Master Plan that they had to tear down and remove Cascade Lodge. After a battle that eventually went to Washington D.C., the lodge was declared a historic building and was saved from destruction. In 1987 the long process of restoring and repairing the historic building began. Through Master Plan Ministries, the original purpose has been restored.

Master Plan Ministries’ goal is “preparing others to reach and influence the world for Christ through spiritual multiplication.” They have ministries on 2 campuses on the western slope of Colorado. If you know of students attending Fort Lewis State College in Durango have them go to http://eternityimpact.com for more information. For students attending Mesa State College, go to http://mytnl.com . These ministries will help the students meet their spiritual needs.

Lanny Johnson

Giving and Receiving

To truly give thanks requires acknowledgment of need, a heart of humility, and an appreciation for the giver. Think about it! It’s hard to give thanks for things for which you see no need. It’s also hard for a prideful, self-sufficient person to recognize or accept a gift. Finally, it’s hard to give thanks if you care nothing for the heart of the giver.

Think about some of the gifts you have received in times past – that shirt or blouse that didn’t fit, or the fragrance you couldn’t stand, or that “outlandish” tie or scarf. You hem and haw around – you may even say “Thank You,” but were you truly thankful? Or how about the times people have offered help when you were in need or given advice to help you out of a particular dilemma, but you were too prideful or self-sufficient to receive the help or even consider the advice, so you scoffed or turned it down without regard for the feelings of the giver? I’m sure we all at times have done such things, because we are all “children of Adam” – sinful and self-centered.

But givers, too, can be selfish and self-motivated. This shows up when we don’t take time to really get to know the person or his/her needs and wants, or when we give something because “we” like it (without regard for the tastes and likes of the receiver), or when we give “gifts” to control or manipulate another.

Giving and receiving – two sides of a coin. As human beings we often fall short. But God, the perfect Giver gave the perfect Gift. He knows us intimately; He gives the Gift to meet our deepest need; He gives freely, without manipulation or control, out of pure love. The question is, will we receive His gift? Some people don’t know their own need, and thus don‘t recognize the greatness of the gift. Others are too prideful and self-sufficient to admit their need and receive the Gift. They care nothing for the heart of the Giver or the worth of the Gift.

I encourage you during this season of giving and receiving, to gratefully receive the perfect Gift (Jesus Christ), given by the good and gracious Giver (your great Creator God), to meet your deepest need. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)  “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name … (John 1:12)

Mary Jo Nutting

Attitude of Gratitude This Thanksgiving

God led me to a book called “Lord, Change My Attitude Before It Is Too Late” by James MacDonald (if you can get past your attitude and read the book, it is great!). Much of this blog came from that book. You will not read a blog from me very often because the computer and I have agreed to hate each other … in fact the Lord had to change my computer attitude as I wrote this, because I was screaming at the machine for not doing what I wanted it to do! I am grateful for the computer. I think back to the years of ministry trying to use a Kodak slide projector and I praise God for helping us obtain a MUCH better system. I also praise God for a husband that knows how to run it so that I don’t have to!!!!

The word gratitude is defined in the dictionary as “to show that a kindness received is valued.”  Genuine gratitude requires that we get past obligation (saying thanks when we don’t really mean it) and somehow show that we deeply appreciate what we’ve received.  There’s a test that will help you analyze whether your thankfulness is genuine or obligatory.  Think back to the last time you were in church.  What was going through your mind as you parked and sat down?  Truthfully, what was at the center of your heart? Did any of these thoughts enter your mind?

            What am I going to get today?

            Am I going to be encouraged?

            Will I like the pastor’s message?  Will he keep my attention, and make me smile?

             I wonder who’s singing today.  Oh, I hope it’s not ______ again; he is just awful!

            Will I be glad I came?

If that kind of thinking was present as you “prepared” for worship, it reveals a self-centered, thankless theology that promotes complaining and stifles gratitude.  The truth is, if we never received another thing from God for the rest of our lives, we could still fill each day with genuine gratitude:

           Thank you, God for this new day.

           Thank you, God for life that I can use to serve You.

           Thank you, God for health

           Thank you, Lord for my family

But somehow we make the choice to turn from all we have received and focus on what we still want to have -that’s where complaining comes in. We minimize the blessings of life and magnify every negative circumstance we encounter. The people’s complaints in Numbers 11 were heard by God but his anger was also kindled. The Israelites paid a price for complaining. Complaining is an attitude of choice and will rob you of joy. Thankfulness is an attitude that perfectly replaces my sinful tendency to complain and it will release joy plus blessing into my life. This Thanksgiving make a list of God blessings. If you find yourself just saying “thanks” because of obligation or if you find yourself complaining … look back at your list of things to be thankful for! 

From the Johnson house to yours – have a God Blessed Thanksgiving!

Marilyn Johnson

Scientific Objectivity?

Recently I had a student tell me that studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals have “all been verified and results have been duplicated.” I told him that wasn’t the case and in fact, impossible, if nothing else, simply because of the sheer volume of research. However, he was convinced that scientific research has been shown to be accurate in demonstrating the truth of evolution.

It’s interesting how so many people blindly put their faith in “science” and “scientists.” For many, “science” and “scientists” have replaced God and His Word. Now don’t get me wrong – the scientific method is a powerful tool for learning about the world we live in. It can help us discover how things work and provide hints for new technology, medicines, etc. However, “scientism” is a very different thing. It is elevating “science” to a position of trust and worship that should only go to God.

It’s amazing to me how readily people put their trust in the words of other human beings, just because they are called “scientists.” In reality, scientists are just people — limited, fallible, biased, and sinful (sometimes ruled by greed, deception, pride, and other human frailties) just like other “normal” human beings.

On top of that, none of them were “there” in the past to observe the so-called evolutionary processes that produced all the complex and diverse life seen today. It makes much more sense for me to place my faith in the unchanging, all-knowing, all-powerful, holy, loving, everlasting Creator Who was “there” in the beginning and had told us what He did in His unchanging Word. 

Mary Jo Nutting