Many Proofs

Today’s reading is Acts 1.

Sometimes what amazes me most about the Bible is not what it does say, but what it does not say. There are bits and pieces left out that to me seem really important. For instance, according to Luke, over 40 days Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles “by many proofs.” Why didn’t Luke share more of that? Certainly, a couple of those events are recorded in the gospels, but if there were many, why not show more? If I were a skeptic, I’d jump on that with a fervor saying they didn’t have many proofs. I’d say Luke was just making it all up. In fact, even as a believer, I’m a little drawn to that and start to have my doubts. However, something pulls me up short from running headlong down that trail. I ask myself, if I were making up this story of Jesus out of whole cloth, what would I do? Like Luke, I would want there to be many convincing proofs. Like Luke, I would think there needed to be many convincing proofs. Not just a couple, but many. Not just a handful, but many. If I were making up this story, I would make up many “proofs.” I’d start developing so many stories of Jesus appearing to the apostles and to others that the reader would have to cave under the pressure of all the proof. But oddly, Luke is satisfied with simply saying, “Oh yeah, there were many convincing proofs. I don’t have room to share them. But they were there.” Then he moves on with the story. Why? Because Luke isn’t making up the story. Since he isn’t, he doesn’t have that overwhelming psychological and emotional need to multiply proofs. As far as he’s concerned, the few he shared in the first volume is enough. As far as he’s concerned, telling the stories of Jesus’s impact on the disciples in the coming chapters is enough. That is a mark of people telling the truth. They don’t feel the need to multiply supposed proofs. And all of this reminds me that what Jesus is striving to produce in us is faith. As shocking as it is to us, when faith is the premium, there will always be room for doubt. But I ask you, does Luke write like an author who knows he is lying, making up stories, fabricating events to convince us to follow him as a religious leader? Or does he write like a man who believes, who knows he is simply telling the truth? I know what I see here. What about you?

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 1.

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Father, Son, & Holy Spirit

Today’s reading is Luke 3.

What an amazing scene at Jesus’s baptism. Jesus has been immersed while praying, and the heavens are opened. In that moment, we see all three persons of the Godhead–the Son being baptized as the Spirit descends in the form of a dove and the Father speaks from heaven. There are many ways folks have tried to illustrate the triune nature of God. All of those illustrations fall short somewhere. And the skeptics say, “See, this just doesn’t make any sense at all.” But isn’t this struggle actually to be expected? God is beyond space and time. He lives in a “dimension” beyond ours. We have no scope of reference to understand even the realm of His existence, let alone the nature of His existence within it. Doesn’t it stand to reason that trying to explain His infinite existence in finite terms to limited minds is going to be practically impossible? Would we honestly expect that explanation to be easily grasped? It would be like a 3-dimensional cube trying to explain its nature to a 2-dimensional square.

Cube: “I’m six squares placed at right angles to each other so that every edge connects to the edge of another square and forms a unified whole.”

Square: “O, so you’re six squares?”

Cube: “Well, actually, I’m one cube.”

Square: “Wait! What?”

Cube: “Try this. Imagine a million squares stacked on top of each other to form a kind of square that extends up.”

Square: “What is up?”

Cube: “You know, extending into space above the plane on which you exist.”

Square: “What is space? And what do you mean ‘above’?”

Cube: “Just try to imagine one square laying flat on top of you and another and another and another on up to a million.”

Square: “Okay, okay. I don’t know what ‘on top” means. But you’re saying you’re a million squares, not six squares?”

Cube: “No, I’m one cube.”

Square: “Which is it? Are you six squares or one cube?”

Cube: “Yes.”

My point is not that God is three persons added together to make one God. The point is simply to see that the struggle we have to understand the Triune God makes perfect sense. If He were easy to understand and comprehend, it would likely mean we made Him up. Keep studying. Keep working at it, but don’t let the skeptics get you down. This struggle to understand God is exactly how it should be.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 3

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Today’s reading is Revelation 4.

I find it interesting and a little bit challenging, when I search my photo stock using the word “worship,” especially connected with images of “Christian worship,” I am inundated with pictures of people standing up, eyes closed, faces to heaven, arms upstretched. However, when I look through the Bible at pictures of worship, what I find (Old and New Testaments) is people falling down, laying on the ground, bowing, casting off crowns. Don’t get me wrong, I know men are to lift holy hands in prayer. I know through Jesus Christ we are forgiven and undefiled, therefore we have confident access to God’s presence, and we don’t have to come into it with self-flagellation, scraping on the floor, and begging for entrance. Therefore, I don’t want to establish some bodily posture rule about worship. Nor do I want to paint with such a broad brush as to say every prostrate worshiper has the right mindset and every upright worshiper does not. But I wonder if this stark contrast in the majority of “pictures” between modern Google and ancient Bible demonstrates some kind of shift in our view of worship. Obviously, each of us must examine our own heart regarding what we are doing in worship. Here is what I do know. No matter how we are sitting, standing, laying prostrate, raising hands, worship is the casting down of our own selves and our own worthiness before the Lord who is the only worthy One. Whether our bodies lie prostrate or not, worship is the prostration of our hearts and minds before a holy God who was and is and is to come, who is worthy to receive glory and honor and power because He is creator and we are creation. And whether we are actively involved in a worship action or not, this must be the state of our heart before God at all times. He is worthy. Praise God!

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 5

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Today’s reading is Revelation 4.

Worthy! That is what our God is. Why? Because He is Creator. We see magnificent creatures. The creation is by itself almost inconceivable. Especially the creatures John was privileged to see in his heavenly vision. But even what we see of the creation is almost beyond comprehension in magnitude–from the expansive universe to the microscopic atom. However, behind all of that is Someone who brought it into existence. Someone who understands enough and is powerful enough to speak it and bring it into being. That is our God. That is our Creator. He is worthy. And how amazing it is that He has condescended to love and save us by the blood of His Son. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 5.

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Who’s Your Father?

Today’s reading is 1 John 3.

As disciples of Jesus, we are children of God. How cool is that? Have you ever heard the phrases, “Like father, like son” or “Like father, like daughter”? That is exactly the idea we need to keep in mind. Being a child of God is not just a designation. It isn’t just a title. It is a process. That is, it is a process of growing up to be like our Father. We must understand, the question is not: Will we grow up to be like our father? We will. We are. The question is: Who is our father? If the devil is our father, we will become more and more like him. Not that we will become exceedingly wicked and evil by worldly standards. Rather, we will become exceedingly self-governed and pleasure seeking. If God is our Father, we will become more and more like Him: holy, righteous, pure. The question we have to ask today is, “Who do I want to become?” Choose wisely.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 John 4.

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A New Way of Thinking

Today’s reading is Matthew 16.

What a great victory for Peter followed by such an unmitigated failure. He leads the disciples in confessing faith in Jesus as the Christ and then, despite that confession, rebukes Jesus for claiming He will suffer at the hands of the elders, priests, and scribes. Which one is He? Is He really the Messiah of God who knows what He is about, or is He mistaken? I tend to believe Peter must have thought this was some kind of test and felt he would be the one who would respond correctly (I tend to think the same about the whole washing of feet debacle). But Peter absolutely missed the boat. He failed the test. Why? Because he did not have his mind on the things of God, but on the things of man. Discipleship thinking is different. God’s ways are not ours. Don’t be surprised when God’s ways are surprising. Submit and let your mind be led by God.

Tomorrow’s reading is Matthew 17.

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Trust, Don’t Test

Today’s reading is Matthew 4.

One of Satan’s greatest tools is trying to get us to seek some kind of sign that we really are children of God. He took that tact with Jesus Himself. “If You are the Son of God…” he repeated. Essentially, he was saying, “If You are the Son of God, make God prove it.” But Jesus demonstrates beautiful trust. He trusts God will do what He says in the moments that are appropriate and right. He doesn’t need to manufacture moments, putting God to the test to make sure. The problem is, of course,  when we decide to put God to the test in such a way, we are demonstrating we aren’t really His children and the test will always fail. Rather, when we simply do what God asks of us in His Word, putting one foot in front of the other, walking in God’s hand, we will be amazed at how God cares for us. Today, don’t test God, trust Him.

Tomorrow’s reading is Matthew 5.

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