All posts tagged Items of Thanksgiving

Wonderfully Made

 

Note: If you haven’t yet heard, we are excited to announce that we are pregnant and expecting our first child in June, 2014! We praise God for answering our prayers and giving us the blessing of children!

baby-6-months-illustThere is something mysterious and wonderful about having a baby growing inside of you. He or she is about the size of a pea pod now, and it still seems incredibly surreal. Pregnancy still felt like something my imagination had conjured up, until we got to have an ultrasound and hear our little one’s heartbeat. My teary eyes saw little arm and leg buds wiggling, and our amazed ears heard the whooshing of a tiny heart beating. We could see the silhouette of this little person inside my belly! If I could look inside now, I would see a little nose and other facial features, tiny arms with hands and fingers, and little legs. His or her joints are mostly formed, and small fingerprints are forming. And within my baby’s wee body ribs and vocal chords will soon be developing.  Bones are hardening.[1] This little person is looking like a baby!

When I consider all this, I marvel and am amazed at the design of our Creator God. Soon after we found out that we were expecting, my husband and I watched “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made,” a lecture by Dr. David Menton. This is an excellent explanation of how the many detailed stages of the reproduction process, from fertilization to delivery, are examples of design. There are countless mechanisms and processes of development that, if they developed gradually, would cause the death of either the mother or the baby. To say that the process of evolution slowly fixed the problems just doesn’t make sense in light of the disastrous effects of something being just a little bit wrong. In general, it happens so perfectly that it can only be attributed to a designer.

As I give thanks to my gracious God for the honor and privilege of caring for this tiny creation, I am reminded of the words of David in Psalm 139:

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.”

(Ps. 139:13-15)

To God be the glory, great things He has done

 

Aimee Mariani

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Who’s fault is it?

 

As more tests were performed to determine the extent of Sue’s cancer, there was good news.  The cancer seems to be contained to one area.    It seems we may have detected the cancer before it spread to other organs, and the surgery appears to confirm this.  The surgery was a difficult one, but a success, and we are still in for a long haul.

In-The-BeginningThe question is, who is responsible for Sue having cancer?  Is it God’s fault?  If God is a God of love, how could He allow Sue to have cancer?  God is not to blame.  As I study Genesis chapters one and two, God made everything perfect (very good).  Cancer is not ‘very good.’  It is a corruption of what was originally very good.

So, how did this corruption enter into God’s perfect creation?  Again, the answer lies in Genesis.  Adam and Eve were made to live forever in paradise, but something went wrong.  The serpent, which was possessed by Lucifer, deceived Eve, who then enticed Adam to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  When Adam ate of the fruit from this tree, death and corruption entered into God’s perfect world.

So God is not to blame; man is to blame.  The death and suffering we observe around us is a consequence of sin.  I have also observed that when mankind moves further away from God and His Word, suffering seems to increase.

Does Sue have cancer because God is punishing her for her sins or those of her parents?  The answer to that question again is no.  Jesus revealed this in John chapter nine.

John 9:2, 3: “And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

Is it God’s will or desire for her to have cancer?  The answer again is no.  God’s desire is for all to repent and have eternal life and have it abundantly.  God came to bring life and not corruption and death.  The evil one comes to bring death and suffering.

John 10:10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” 

Jesus Christ came to deliver us from this present evil world of death and suffering.

Galatians 1:4:  “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”

Revelation 21:4: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

God’s will and desire is to take away death, sorrow, crying, pain, etc.  God wants the best for us, and that is why He sent His Son to save us.

Satan is the prince or god of this world.  Through Satan’s deception and man’s sin, death and suffering abound in this world.

John 14:30: “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”

2 Corinthians 4:4: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

Jesus Christ has come, and will come again, to change the corruption which has entered into the world.  Praise the LORD!

God is always very good and everything He does is right, but God has allowed Sue to have cancer.  We do not know why, but there must be a reason.  God has a plan for our lives and that is all we need to know.  So for now our goal is to glorify God in any circumstance and to rejoice in the LORD always!

Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

God will be with us through this time of suffering. Thank you for all of your prayers and support.

Hebrews 13:5:  “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

 

Richard Stepanek

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Dirty Six Letter Word

 

Most people have heard of those bad four letter words, but there is a six letter word that affects many people today.  People shudder when they hear this word, especially if they are told they have it.  That six letter word is cancer.  Sue, my wife, was told that she has cancer.  The doctor said it was bad, and we were in for the long haul.

Thoughts of death immediately came into our minds.  We were in a state of deep mourning for two or three days.  The mourning wasn’t over her dying, but over her separation from loved ones.  There is no condemnation in Christ, and to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Romans 8:1:  ”There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Philippians 1:21:  “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

As we were grieving over this temporary separation, we were wondering how God must feel with permanent separation from those who do not trust in Jesus as their Savior?

God loves everyone and desires to have a close relationship with all of mankind, and that is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ.

John 3:16, 17:  ”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Having cancer is not the worst thing that can happen to a person.  The worst thing that can happen to a person is to die without knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior.

 

Richard Stepanek

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Have a Laugh!

 

The following is an article from Creation Moments ( You Need a Healthy Laugh ):

laughingProverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

Laughing is good for you even if it does begin with the release of adrenaline and other stress hormones.

Whether you are tickled or reacting to a good joke, at least seven different centers in the brain react in various ways. Your response begins with the release of stress hormones. Your normal breathing rhythm gets interrupted, and various neurotransmitters, including dopamine, are released. And, yes, your brain also interprets the tickle so that you cannot tickle yourself since your brain knows when your own fingers are involved. Scientists also believe that as you begin laughing, your saliva glands begin to secrete extra immune compounds. Antibodies and virus-killing T-cells are also released in larger doses. Your heartbeats also increase, and your blood pressure goes up to support the muscle spasms that result from your laugh. Those muscle spasms are actually a good aerobic exercise. In fact, one minute of a good laugh is said to be as good as ten minutes of exercise on a rowing machine!

Besides promoting social bonds, laughing is indeed good for you in many ways. Tickling is a common way that parents bond with their young children. And wholesome humor can cheer the heart and raise the spirits. Moreover, while laughing appears to have no evolutionary advantage, it is easily explained as a gift of God to raise our spirits.

So here are some actual typographical errors and poor word construction found in church bulletins that were announced at church services … hope they make you laugh!

  • The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
  • Scouts are saving aluminium [sp] cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
  • The sermon this morning: ’Jesus Walks on the Water’. The sermon tonight: ‘Searching for Jesus’.
  • Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
  • Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
  • Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  • For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice.
  • Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  • Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
  • The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
  • Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
  • This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
  • The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
  • Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
  • The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

The Comfort of the Word

 

Comfort in JesusMy mother shared with me an experience that happened to her last week. She went to visit a dear Christian friend of hers that was at a hospice facility, something she had been doing several times a week when possible. She told the nurse that she would only stay for a few minutes, but the nurse insisted that she stay as long as she wanted, for her friend, even though near death and in a comatose state, could hear her.

My mother held her friend’s hand and conversed with her, just as if she was fully awake. Soon into the one-way conversation, my mother had a strong feeling she needed to read scripture to her friend. Having forgotten her Bible in the car, she was able to borrow one from the attending nurse.

Continuing to hold her friend’s hand, she began reading Psalm 23. At the end of the 23rd Psalm, and only a few words into Psalm 24, my mother’s friend passed away into the arms of her Creator, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Although my mother felt great grief and loss with the passing of her friend, she also found comfort and peace knowing, not only that her friend was with the Lord because of her faith, but also that the last words she heard were the words of God – and comforting words they are!

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Psalm 23:1-6

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

God of the Impossible

 

Recently at a small group Bible study we attend, we were studying the book of Jonah. Through the study the fact came up that some people say Jonah contains so many remarkable (some might say miraculous) elements, that it can’t be taken literally. This subject naturally connected the conversation to Genesis.

We discussed the fact that many people have a hard time believing that such things as a man being swallowed – and rescued – by a great fish, or God creating the universe in 6 days, or a flood that covered the whole earth, can possibly be taken literally. Many might object, “That kind of thing just doesn’t happen in the real world. It’s not natural.”

Now, it is understandable when unbelievers have a hard time accepting the Bible. As it says in 1 Corinthians, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Cor. 2:14) However, what about those who are Christians, believers and followers of Christ? Is it consistent when they cannot accept the teaching of Genesis as literal truth?

Christ-raising-a-childMy question for those who fall into that category is this: do you believe in miracles?

Do you believe that Jesus was born of a virgin? (Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:25)

Do you believe that Jesus raised people from the dead? (Luke 7:22; John 12:1)

Do you believe Christ Himself was raised from the dead? (Romans 6:9; Col. 2:12)

Do you believe that God can do the impossible? (Mark 10:27)

God does not change. (Malachi 3:6; Heb. 13:8) So if we believe in the New Testament teaching of Jesus, how can we disregard the Old Testament account of the beginning of the world and all that is in it, or dismiss it because it is inconsistent with the teaching (or science) of society today? God’s word is truly trustworthy, but it certainly isn’t always consistent with popular worldly teaching!

One of the beautiful aspects of the consistency of scripture is that God is still doing amazing and miraculous works today. Take for example the testimonies of believers coming to Christ, and the many accounts of illnesses healed and marriages restored. When considering these, we must remember that we cannot fathom God’s ways and His thoughts, for they are higher than ours. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Our all-knowing God may answer prayer with a “yes,” but often the answer is “no,” or “wait.” So even when we don’t see the answers we expect, or miraculous healing and restoration in every circumstance, we can still be assured that our unchanging God is still comforting, healing and restoring His people in ways that we cannot entirely comprehend.

So I encourage you to consider: is your view of God consistent? Do you accept the whole of the Bible as the inspired word of the unchanging God – and believe it? My guess is that many people (if not all), myself included, don’t always actively believe that God is truly who He says He is in Scripture, and that He does what He says He does. How would our view of God and our walk with Him change if we truly take Him at His word?

Will you join me in this challenge, to daily believe God’s word and live in light of who He is? Let’s remember that our God can do the impossible!

 

Aimee Mariani

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

A Close Call

 

Good to SeeIt is good to be writing this blog — especially on THIS computer. Let me explain. Mary Jo and I were speaking on creation at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. After our time there, and a very late dinner followed by a 1.5 hour drive back to the home where we were staying, we arrived about 1:30 in the morning.

I had just dropped into bed at 2 AM when Mary Jo asked if I had packed her laptop computer. It was not in her bag. I told her I didn’t, but as I thought about it (as clearly as I could at 2 AM), it suddenly dawned on me that I had indeed packed her computer, but in my bag thinking that it was mine. Oh, no, I had left my computer in the back of the room where we were speaking.

Thoughts of panic went through my brain and body as I was no longer sleepy. “Would I ever see that computer again?”   “What all was on that computer?” Also, I had just finished putting together my program for one of the next nights of speaking in Minneapolis and had not backed it up yet. What was I going to do?

Well, prayer was a great place to start. Mary Jo & I committed that computer and my dumb mistake to the mercy of our Lord. After some time, we did manage to get to sleep. At 7 AM, I called the student center office in the building we were in. I was certainly relieved to hear that the computer had been tuned in to Lost & Found. Thank You, Lord Jesus! So, now you know why it is great to be writing this blog on THIS computer!

For the person who was honest enough to turn it in to Lost & Found, THANK YOU! And to Jed, thanks for bringing it down!

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

 

Great Job, Sam

 

Minnesota ReporterIn one of my last blogs (Presentations at the University) about the university programs in Illinois and Minnesota, I mentioned that I had an interview with a student reporter from the campus newspaper (Minnesota State University at Mankato). I said in that earlier blog, “. . . but you never know about the objectivity of the reporter as well as his editor.  Sometimes there is accurate reporting while at other times —  well, sometimes, I can’t even recognize what they quoted me as saying. Time will tell for this article.”

The article came out the morning before our 3 nights of lectures were to begin and we were pleasantly surprised. It appeared as the lead front page article and also included a large picture of Mary Jo and I. Not only was the placement the best we could ever expect, but we were also very happy that this reporter did a good job with the article. It was objective without a bias showing through like we frequently see. So, I will have to say, “Thank you, Sam and editors, good job!”

For those who wish to read the article, check out http://themsureporter.com/creationists-to-present-on-campus/  for the online version.

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Northern Lights in Minnesota

 

Northern Lights 3Between midnight and 1 AM Wednesday morning, Mary Jo & I were returning to Minneapolis from our university presentations at Duluth. God demonstrated his glory in a great display of northern lights. It was not just a single burst of light, but for many miles along the highway, the display illuminated 1/3 of the sky. The timing was great as this light show punctuated the conversation that we were having with the campus ministry leaders as we were driving. We all actually got out of the car for a while to view the display.

One of the remarkable discoveries about the northern light electromagnetic phenomenon is that if we could have a camera set up in the southern hemisphere we would get a mirror image picture of the same scene pictured here at precisely the same instant. This was demonstrated by researchers several years ago.

We felt privileged to behold this long-lasting northern light display during those many miles on the highway. It certainly fits what I wrote in an earlier blog titled Glorious. Several news channels reported on this display we saw. If you wish to see a great video of this spectacular event taken at another city just west of where we were, check out Northern lights put on show over Minnesota.

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

God Most High

 

God Most High

I sat down today to write about having a high view of God.

“This should be easy,” I thought to myself. “After all, there is so much to say about how big, how awesome God is, it should be no big deal to write that down.”

I was wrong. It is a daunting task indeed to mentally plumb the depths and scale the heights of the greatness of God. I invite you to take a little trip with me as I trace my thoughts on this subject.

Let’s consider….

…The human body – full of complex intricacies and delicately balanced systems that centuries worth of scientists have not fully comprehended.

…Outer space – miles upon miles of vastness, galaxies of stars and our own solar system, all of which contain inexplicable features that inspire scientists and artists alike to marvel.

…The Oceans – murky depths and shallow wonders, teeming with life and color, mystery and intrigue.

…Underground caves – revealing another world’s worth of pattern and scenery, creatures and mineral growth.

…Animals – from insects to birds to crawling creatures, the wild assortment displays design.

…History – Approximately 6,000 years of time, filled with a mosaic of events that together make up His Story, the working of God through the lives of men.

Even with years of incredible scientific advancements, scientists still can’t comprehend the immense mysteries that remain. All of these things together merely scratch the surface as a representation of the created universe. “But,” you may ask, “What does this have to do with the bigness of God? You can’t use the physical world to discuss that – it’s got to be all spiritual.”

In fact, I believe that the investigation and marvel of the physical world is a vital part of the study and worship of God. Many people object to a God who asks us to believe in Him, though He is not seen. I can understand the argument, but it is actually unfounded.

Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

Belief in God does require faith, but that does not mean that He has given us no proof! His power, nature and attributes have been on display since Day One…..literally.

So I ask you this: is your God big enough to be Savior and Creator? Or has the deception of evolution caused you to have a low view of God?

Little inconsistencies in our beliefs can often lead to hairline cracks in our faith. At first they may be invisible, but they can eventually result in a decaying foundation. If we do not believe God could have created the world and all it contains in 6 literal days as it says in Genesis 1, then do we really believe that Christ literally was crucified for our sins and was raised on the third day? (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Can we toss out the first chapters of the Bible, and still keep the gospel?

Praise God, He is trustworthy and reliable, unchanging, all-knowing, and everlasting! He has shown us Himself through the wonders of His creation and the truth of His word. I invite you to look around, and consider and marvel with me…our God is truly God most high!

 

Aimee Mariani

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.