Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Winter Wind. . .

Yesterday on Facebook I shared a comic that I though very funny.  Here is a link to it:

There is an associated page or site to, called “What if: ANSWERING YOUR HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS WITH PHYSICS, EVERY TUESDAY.”

One of the questions tackled is:

What would the world be like if the land masses were spread out the same way as now - only rotated by an angle of 90 degrees?

Within that page was a mention of the “Bodele Depression” in Chad feeding the Amazon rainforest a huge fraction of the mineral nutrients required for the plants in that fertile area to grow.

I was intrigued.  I had never heard of the Bodele Depression. . . isn’t the Internet wonderful. . . the information available at your fingertips.  I began to research.

The Bodele Depression is the now exposed bottom of a prehistoric lake, about the size of the present Lake Erie in the United States, which largely disappeared several thousand years ago.  The present lake Chad is only 5% the area of this prehistoric lake.

In the winter months, the wind is accelerated and funneled over the Bodele Depression, by the topography of the surrounding land.  The exposed prehistoric lake bottom is very rich in minerals.  These strong winter winds pick up a huge load of dust.

Here is a NASA image of this process:

Due to the very heavy and incessant rains, the soil of the Amazon rain forest is very poor in minerals.  The nutrients for the lush vegetation, must be constantly replaced or the entire ecosystem would collapse.

It is estimated that 40,000,000 tons of dust are anually transported from the Sahara desert to the Amazon rainforest.  Of this huge amount, 40% of this dust is estimated to come directly from the Bodele Depression in Chad.

The Amazon rainforest is 5,500,000 km² in area, about ½  the area of the United States (9,827,000 km²).  The Bodele depression is 44,300 km² in size.  For comparison the state of Indiana in the United States where I live,  is 94,320 km² in area.  Indiana is small.  We are the 38th largest state, and the Bodele depression is just about ½ the area of the state of Indiana.

So to put this in perspective an area ½ the size of Indiana, fertilizes an area ½ the size of the United States. . .from 5,400 miles away!!! This dust travels almost 25% of the way around the earth, before landing in and fertilizing the rain forest:

I live in northern Indiana.  5,400 miles from Indiana is across the width of the United States, and another 1,000 miles beyond Hawaii more than half way across the Pacific Ocean.  The thought of Indiana dust being picked up by the wind, and having an important fertilizing effect in an area 2/3rds of the way to Australia. . . My mind cannot wrap itself around this.

Thinking about it, as important and as amazing as this is, the largest bulk of the dust picked up in the Bodele, never makes it to the Amazon.  I have read no research on this, but it would stand to reason that by far most of the dust load must be dropped long before reaching Brazil, therefore this dust hugely fertilizes not only the Amazon River basin, but indeed much of the entire southern Atlantic Ocean, AND!!! the impact cannot end abruptly with the Amazon rainforest. . . this dust must in some measure continue on past South America, could this dust on occasion possibly travel into the near reaches of southern Pacific Ocean?. . .The reverberations of happenings in a small dusty valley in Chad. . . a winter wind in a small African valley may indeed be felt around the entire world.

This world of ours is so fearfully and wonderfully made. . . .

I love Psalm 139. David was speaking of himself, but my mind is brought to considering his words in context of the entire earth. . . indeed how the entire universe is ’fitly joined together’ (Ephesians 4:16) :

Psalms 139:9-16

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;  (10)  Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.  (11)  If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.  (12)  Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.  (13)  For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.  (14)  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  (15)  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  (16)  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

What other mysteries await our discovery?  In what other ways does a gust of wind. . . or a raindrop. . . or a falling star. . . or a cloud. . .or a word. . .or a hug. . .or an act of kindness. . .or a testimony. . . or a prayer. . .seemingly unimportant in of itselves have an impact felt around the world. . .

I love you my God. . .
I thank you my Lord. . .

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Process of Complete Rebirth

John 3:5-6
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

We clearly must be born again. Entering into an intimate relationship with God is no causal occurrence. No simple prayer, or repeating of an ancient creed will transform our flesh from corrupt to holy.

By our sins we deserve death. By our sins we die. Nothing less than rebirth will restore us into communion with God.

But we are not beings of mere flesh. We are flesh and we are spirit. A child’s body grows and develops, as does it’s mind. Sin corrupts the spirit as well and as completely as it corrupts the flesh. This is why both the flesh and the spirit must both be part of the rebirth process. . . This is why both the flesh and the spirit must both be reborn in baptism. To renew the flesh without also renewing the spirit is futile and only partially effective. To renew the spirit without also cleansing and renewing the flesh would be to endlessly torment and harass the spirit with a rebellious and unsubdued flesh.

I was baptized in Jesus name, in the water Sunday July 16th, 2000. I felt fresh and clean. It was a wonderful moment, but I was still afflicted with sin. I was still drinking and smoking. In many ways, I was still in bondage to sin. I did not understand, and I did not even believe in being filled with the Holy Ghost. Truthfully I thought all those crazy Pentecostal people I saw around me speaking in tongues as they prayed and worshiped were faking it.

In the middle of August, a month later, we had a revival and evangelist Keith Mendenhall spoke on a Thursday night (August 17th). I went down front at the altar call, as I had nearly every service since being baptized in the water. I raised my arms, and I began to pray. Others joined in around me, laying on hands and praying with me. The evangelist came and laid his hands upon my head, and began to pray with me, and in a glorious moment I was filled with God’s Spirit, and to my astonishment began to speak in a language that I could not understand.

12 years later, I can remember the power of that time. Almost in a daze, I half stumbled back to Jackie, who was watching from the pews and told her I had been filled with God’s Spirit. I floated in a cloud for a good 2 weeks. The reverberations of that moment continued. I remember the next morning telling a Spirit filled friend at my work, what had occurred. . . . I remember the transformation of my thinking over this time. My opinions on so many things changed in a very short time.

I was 45 years old. I was not some impressionable teenager and yet I did a 180° change of direction, and thought. Measured in time, there was only a month separation between my water baptism, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. . . Measured by impact the change between July 16th (the day after my water baptism), and August 18th (the day after Spirit baptism), there was a complete and dramatic transformation.

Many try to explain away the rebirth of water and spirit, spoken of by Jesus in various non-biblical ways. Looking at the several biblical examples we have in the book of Acts (Acts chapters 2, 8, 10, and 19). Water baptism, and Spirit baptism, are clearly 2 separate events. The biblical examples, are all full immersion water baptism in Jesus name, with a separate Spirit baptism evidenced by the person speaking in another language.

We must be reborn. We are creatures of both flesh and spirit. Sin corrupts both our flesh and our spirit. Both our flesh, and our spirit must be washed and transformed by baptism. I implore you be born of the water and of the spirit as Jesus commanded. . .

I love you my Lord. . .
I love you my God. . .

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What is a Christian?

Does belief in Christ make you a Christian? Does belief in Kentucky make you a Kentuckian?

To be a Kentuckian, you must live in Kentucky. You must pay taxes in Kentucky. You must have an address in Kentucky. You cannot merely believe that Kentucky is a nice state. You cannot simply agree that Kentucky is a nice place to live. To be a Kentuckian, you must live in Kentucky. Likewise, to be a Christian, you must live in Christ. . . You must follow His teaching. . . You must obey His commandments. You must abide in Him. To be a Christian, Jesus must be an integral part of you. . .

You cannot merely believe in Him, and be of Him. . .If you believe in Christ, you must also believe in His Words. If you believe in His Words, you will follow and obey His words:

John 12:44-48
Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. (45) And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. (46) I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (47) And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. (48) He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

John 14:15
If ye love me, keep my commandments.

. . . I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. . . When do we abide in darkness? When we live with sin in our lives. If we live in sin, we cannot be living in Christ. . . we cannot be Christian. . .We cannot live in Christ and live in sin at the same time.

We fool ourselves, when we are hearers and not doers of God’s word:

James 1:22
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Poll 100 people. Ask if they consider themselves Christians? The large majority will say ‘yes.’ Ask specifics. . .

Do you tell lies?
Do you take things which aren’t yours?
Do you envy and lust?
Are you sexually active without being married?

. . . be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. . .

There are no excuses or justifications for sin. . .

John 5:25-29
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (26) For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (27) And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. (28) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, (29) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

There will be a judgment. There will be those who go to damnation. Jesus did not die upon the cross, as a sacrifice for active sin in our lives. His death was payment for repented of sin. This is a huge distinction. He came not to make a way for active sinners to go to heaven. He came to make a way for former sinners to go to heaven. He made a way for those who have rejected sin to go to heaven. He offers forgiveness to those who ask for forgiveness.

Matthew 7:21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Jesus is telling us that there will be disappointment on judgment day. Some will call Him Lord. Some will consider themselves Christians. Some will think themselves to have done sufficient works for Him to have earned His love, but they will be turned away as unknown to Him, because they continued to do bad things. . . they continued to sin.

Importantly Jesus did not say, “depart from me, ye that WORKED iniquity.”, but rather depart from Me you that ‘work’. . . depart from me those of you who have continued to do bad things. To abide in Jesus is to turn away from sin. To turn away from sin is to follow the words, and commandments of Jesus. . .there is no other way.

Repent and turn away from sin. . .
Obey the teachings and Words of Jesus. . .
Abide in Him and allow Him to abide in you. . .

Then and only then are you a Christian. . .