This past week my husband received an announcement – his boss phoned with the message he had been dreading would come. The company decided to change directions and would no longer need him or his two friends. All 3 of them received the news, and it was crushing, but they had been expecting it – the signs were there and they read them right.
I try to move on, as if all is ok, but a part of me wants to panic and be afraid of what tomorrow will bring, a part of me wants to cry and wants stability. So many stressors… so many losses… so much pain and hurt… my mom – lung cancer, my mother-in-law – lung cancer, my brother-in-law – lung cancer and now my stepmom, who is really not step, – lung cancer. Sometimes I can’t handle it and just want to break down, sometimes I cry, but you know what’s odd? Sometimes I sing and dance, sometimes I skip and laugh, sometimes I just have to throw my hands up in the air and praise God. Sometimes the praise comes with tears, sometimes with a joy that I can’t even explain.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV
Advent Week 4 is about Angels – God’s messengers. They didn’t come with bad news; they came with good news – the Gospel.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” Luke 2:8-14 ESV
Think about how amazing that must have been! I think I get a glimpse of that in praise. Sometimes, when I’m praising God, it’s like I can hear the Angels singing, rejoicing, praising God right alongside of me. That might sound weird, but at times, it’s more real to me than the struggles I’m going through, it’s more real to me than anything around me and at those times, I know everything will be OK.
You know, God promised it will… He promises that all things work for good for those who love Him and I do, I do love Him and I believe that He loves me. I know that for a little while we suffer…
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9 ESV
But I know the One who allows me to cast all my anxieties on Him, the One who loves me and gives me peace that I do not understand, the One that holds my life, my future, my eternity in His hand.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV
When I first became a Christian, I would reach over and hold the hand of Jesus, He was there, just as real as anyone in flesh and blood, but much more trustworthy. There was a time I worried that He’d let go of me – I knew I would let go of Him, but you know, He showed me He would never, never let go of my hand and He hasn’t.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the here and now and forget our battle is with the Spiritual forces, and forget there is a realm beyond what we see, but Angels have come, they have proclaimed the great news, they have revealed truth to us, they have revealed the Gospel to us. And you know what, God came and walked among us, Jesus was born, Shepherds did hear the Angels and rejoiced and we, even though we do not see Him as those who walked with Him do, we know Him and know He loves us.
As for me I wouldn’t trade that for anything and am so very thankful for the gift of Hope that God gave me so many years ago that has sustained me through many ups and downs.
Today may seem unsure, but I know my future is secure and I know why I celebrate Christmas!
There is such depth in this week’s Advent theme – Shepherd, Sheep, the Lamb of God – it’s hard to know where to begin. My mind flows with thoughts and images – there is so much in the Bible about Shepherds and sheep and it is all so exciting and overwhelming.
Imagine, God, the Creator of All we know, telling us that He will come down and walk among us as a shepherd walks among His sheep, that He will lead us and guide us…
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul;
He restores my soul…
At Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birth, but why?
We don’t celebrate because a baby was born in a manger – We celebrate because God chose to become man and walk among us – Immanuel – God with us.
“For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.” Ezek 34:11-12
We don’t celebrate because a great prophet and teacher was born – We celebrate because the Messiah, the Savior has come, fulfilling prophecy.
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:2-3 ESV
We don’t celebrate because a man decided to die on a cross – We celebrate because the Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ was slain for our sins paying the penalty that we owed.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV
I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep. John 10:11
We don’t celebrate a man buried in a grave – We celebrate the fact that the grave could not hold Him.
But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him. Acts 2:24
We don’t celebrate an empty hope, built on false premises – We celebrate the Resurrected Savior.
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 ESV
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.” Rev. 7:16-17
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 ESV
The Lord is my Shepherd… And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving-kindness will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23
Father God, as I learn more and more about You, as I see the truth of Your Word, as I study history and see all You did to bring about the birth of Your Son, I stand amazed and can only cry out Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. You have given us Your Word to teach us who You are. In John 1 we read that Jesus is The Word become flesh. In Ezekiel 34 we read that You planned to come and walk among Your sheep, healing the broken, recovering the lost. In Revelations we read how You, our Great Shepherd, have become the lamb slain for our sins. What a mighty and wonderful God we serve.
Lord Jesus, My King eternal, this is the second week of Advent when we remember Your birth place, Bethlehem. You revealed many details concerning the where and why of Jesus’ life long before His birth. The Prophet Micah tells us: But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel. And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. And this One will be our peace. Micah 5:2-5a.
Bethlehem was the city You chose, the City of David, a city whose name means ‘house of bread.’ You, who are our Bread of Life, were born in the city whose name represented, in part, what Your birth would mean to us. Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35
You Lord, our Creator, revealed yourself to us through the prophets and through Your Word, that we might know You. Then You came to earth, born of a Virgin, (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26-38) born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-5a; Luke 2:1-7); You came to the outcast, the sick, the lonely (Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 5:31-32), and made us family (Romans 8:15), healing our wounds, and loving us with Your great mercy.
Now, we, Your children can live in peace, with joy beyond understanding even though we live in a fallen world with much pain and suffering. Because of You, because You came and were born in Bethlehem, because You chose to come and walk among us, because You chose to die for our sins, because You love us, we are free. Thank You My Lord and Savior. Amen.
The Old Testament of the Bible tells us the story of God and His creation. Written over hundreds of years and by several authors, the Old Testament tells us a cohesive story about the God who created us, about the deception of Satan that brought about the fall of mankind, about sin and darkness, about death and despair. But it doesn’t leave us there – it tells us of God’s love for us, His plan to redeem us, to save us, His plan to restore all things through His love and light bringing us life and hope.
Today is the first day of Advent. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts to celebrate Christmas, to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and Jesus was God’s plan. Throughout the Old Testament, God speaks to us through His prophets, revealing His plans so that when the time was right, we would see the truth and know that God Himself has walked among us.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ~ John 1:1 ESV
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven,
For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness ~ Ezekiel 34:11-16 ESV
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man;
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel ~ Isaiah 7:14 ESV
Immanuel – God with us…
and the Word was God …. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14 ESV
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the prophets.
I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
Sometimes it’s good to get back to the basics of what I believe and remind myself of who and whose I am.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
There is a song that we used to sing at a church I went to when I lived in Tallahassee, FL. The lyrics were based on Isaiah 43 – ‘Yahweh You have created me, You have called me by name and I am yours.’ What an amazing comfort it is to know and believe that God has called me by name and I am His. Another line says something like ‘though I walk through the fire I will not be scorched or burned for God is with me…’
During my time in Tallahassee, I went through some dark days, my world seemed to be crashing around me. During that time, I had a dream and in the dream I was seeking help, turning to different people, friends, counselors, pastors for help but everyone was too busy – and then a voice in my dream said to me, “Tami, even if you lose everything and everyone, I will never ever leave you.”
Where does my hope come from? From God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. ~ Psalm 121 ESV
He knows me, all my faults and weaknesses, but He has called me by name. He has called me His child, and He has promised to never abandon or forsake me. One day I will sit on His lap and He will wipe away every tear and there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more mourning. In my heart of hearts, I can cry Abba Father and know I am loved.
Sometimes… a lot of times… I forget this. I get caught up in the trials of day to day living, I get caught up in my fears, I get caught up in my failures, but when I remember, when I remind myself, that my Father, God Almighty, the Creator of Heave and Earth, has called me by name and I am His, I know peace, deep, deep peace.
When I remind myself what I believe…
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” ~ John 10:28-30 ESV
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. ~ Galatians 4:4-7 ESV
“Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
You tell me that you’re pleased and that I’m never alone
You’re a Good, Good Father It’s who you are, It’s who you are, It’s who you are
and I’m loved by you It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am
I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers only you provide
Because you know just what we need before we say a word You’re a Good, Good Father It’s who you are, It’s who you are, It’s who you are and I’m loved by you It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am” Good Good Father by Housefires
Our websites are responsive; this means that they change to look right on different size and types of devices. This is important not only for the look of the website, but also for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Recently Google updated its search criteria to favor sites that are mobile friendly:
More mobile-friendly websites in search results – Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices. ~ http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html
Search Engine Optimization – Structured Data Markup
We use Structured Data Markup to make it easier for your site to be found by Search Engines.
Promote Your Content with Structured Data Markup – “Structured data markup” is a standard way to annotate your content so machines can understand it. When your web pages include structured data markup, Google (and other search engines) can use that data to index your content better, present it more prominently in search results, and surface it in new experiences like voice answers, maps, and Google Now. ~ https://developers.google.com/structured-data/
XML Sitemaps – Sitemaps help organize your data for search engines making them important for SEO.
With New Leaf Designs’ Photo Albums and Memory Books you can pass along photos, recipes, memories and more through the wonders of digital publishing. ePub Albums and Books* can be read on mobile devices, tablets and computers. Being a digital book, you will be able to share it virtually with anyone and with as many people as you like. With printed books, if you want to share them you have to purchase a new copy of the book, but with ePub Photo Albums and Memory Books you just send a copy to anyone – all for the one time publishing fee.
Starting at $79.95
*PDF Version also available.
New Leaf Designs ePub Photo Albums, Memory and Recipe Book prices vary based on the number of photos, the amount of text, and any extra services requested. After receiving all of your information, we will send you a quote for the final price. Once the price is agreed upon, you will receive an invoice. A 50% nonrefundable deposit is due at start of the project and the remainder is due upon completion.
Number of Photos
Amount of Text
Text Editing or Revising
Number of Recipes
Photo Touch-up or Restoration
Clip Art or Graphics
For a quote or to order your ePub Photo Album, Memory Book and/or Recipe Book send the following information to Tami.
Type of ePub Book: Photo Album, Memory Book, or Recipe Book
Number of Photos
Link to your Photos
Group Photos together in a folder
Name the folder with the Title you want for your Album/Book
Name each photo with a relevant name and number them in the order you want them to appear
Share stories to go along with your photos and recipes using the following for a guide. Not all pictures or recipes need the following info, it’s just an easy way to organize your information so that I know what goes with what.
Recipe Picture Name, can be a picture of the food or the person that the food reminds you of
Several years ago, I read a book that to me, even though I wasn’t a Christian at the time, had a profound Christian message that has stuck vividly in my memory through the years. In the book, the author writes about an encounter between a priest and a vampire. The priest was holding up a cross, which was glowing, radiating power up the priest’s arm and he felt comforted knowing that while he held up the cross the vampire was cowered in front of him. The vampire had a hostage though and was threatening to do harm to the hostage. The vampire tells the priest that he will let this boy go if the priest will put the cross down and fight him ‘your religion against mine.’ The priest hesitantly agrees and the vampire lets the boy go. Then the priest starts to think and he thinks that as long as he has the cross he is safe and now that the boy is safe, why should he put down the cross. As he thinks this, the cross starts losing its glow, then the vampire walks up to him, takes the cross and breaks it in pieces. The vampire then tells the priest that if he had put his cross down, he would have won the battle, and he went on to tell him that he forgot what his religion was about; the cross and the other symbols the priest held dear were just symbols and, without faith in the God behind them, they were meaningless.
This Easter, we need to rejoice in the fact that we serve a living and mighty God and not an idol or an empty symbol. Sometimes when we are confronted with the evil, the horrors, the pains and sufferings of this world, it’s easy to forget that our God is in control. It is easy to start trusting in things, in symbols, in status and in our actions to get us through.
We start putting our faith in what we can do (even the good we can do, like Bible study, prayer, etc.)
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by the flesh? Gal. 3:3 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. Eph. 2:8&9
or in what we have (riches, success, accomplishments, reputation)
Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food, thought the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Hab. 3:17&18
and forget that our religion is not about what we can do or what we have been blessed with but about a living and true God and what He has done and what He has accomplished for us.
Lord, Thou wilt establish peace for us, since Thou hast also performed for us all our work. O Lord our God, other masters besides Thee have ruled us, but through Thee alone we confess Thy name.Isaiah 26: 12&13
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to the adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight. Eph. 1:3-8
This Easter, we celebrate the victory of our God, a God who became flesh and blood to dwell among His flock. One who died upon a cross to pay the penalty for our sins, to fulfill His covenant with us, and to set us free from the bonds of death. The true and living God who has called us by name and has loved us first so that we might love Him. This Easter, as we think of the cross, remember it is a symbol of hope, power and strength, not because of what it is, but because of what it represents to us who have Faith in the One who died on it. So let us remember the cross, but let us worship the resurrected Savior and let us not forget that one day soon He is coming back to take us home. …and He shall dwell among them and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Rev. 21:3-5
The Bible teaches us that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is on and in them.
By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. ~ Psalm 33:6
For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. ~ Psalm 33:9
For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. ~ Psalm 139:13-14
We live in a day and age where all of this is questioned, and not only questioned, but if you believe this you are thought ‘backwards.’ Our culture teaches that evolution is the only way to believe, the only theory that is credible, and that those espousing creation science are not ‘real’ scientists.
As a Bible believing Christian, one of my goals in teaching my children is for them to understand that all learning starts with an understanding of God’s Word. The Bible clearly and repeatedly teaches that God is our Creator; God as the Creator flows throughout the pages of Scripture. If we deny this vital aspect of God then we are not adhering to the whole of God’s Word; we are picking and choosing what we want to believe based on societal norms rather than the absolute standard of God’s Word. There is an absolute truth, everything isn’t relative, and what we believe about God and His Word should affect every aspect of our learning and our teaching. It is important that we instill in our children an understanding of who God is, in all His majesty and magnificence.
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John1:1-5
As we see in these verses, God’s light shines forth brightly, but the darkened world does not see it.
Why would we believe the word of man over the Word of God?
Not only has God revealed Himself to us in His Word, but He has also revealed Himself to us in His creation.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful. ~ Romans 1:18-21a (You can also read the Psalms where David praises God over and over for His magnificent works and Job where God questions Job about all He (God) has done.)
Again after these verses, the question looms forth “Why would we believe the word of man over the Word of God?”
This brings us to the question of Creation vs. Evolution. Where is the truth in this issue? Creationists are sometimes mocked as not being ‘true’ scientists, so let’s start with the definition of science. Science is:
The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. ~ dictionary.com
knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method and concerned with the physical world and its phenomena ~ merriam-webster.com
In other words science is observing things, processes, etc. and trying through observation and controlled experimentation to understand our world and our universe. As a scientist observes, he postulates different hypotheses as to why things are as they are.
Philip Stott in his book Vital Questions says: “Science, as Mendeleyev, Mach and Einstein pointed out, deals with what can be measured, everything else is speculation. Recorded human history goes back approximately five thousand years. No scientist can go back in time to take measurement of what happened before that, so when scientists make statements about anything that happened more than five thousand years ago they are dealing inevitably with speculation.” ~ Philip Stott
When a scientist postulates his hypothesis, he then begins testing in a controlled manner and this testing either finds the hypothesis true or false or finds that more testing is needed. Once a hypothesis is thought to be proved true, it still doesn’t become a theory until much testing is complete.
“If the data continue to support the hypothesis, it eventually becomes a theory. If it does not, it must be altered or discarded.” ~Wile, Jay L., and Durnell, Marilyn F., Exploring Creation with Biology
With Evolution you have several different hypotheses and theories that you are dealing with. Following are a few examples and some key issues surrounding them.
In the 1800’s, Charles Lyell came up with a theory that basically says the present is the key to the past.
In this theory, we look at what’s happening today and project these processes back through time to understand our beginnings. Part of this idea is the theory of gradualism, which is:
‘Slow processes gradually going on through immense spans of time are assumed to be the only cause for virtually everything in nature and in the universe.’
With this belief comes the idea of evolution, i.e. given enough time anything is possible.
The truth is gradualism is true, but only in part.
There are other ways things happen besides the slow change over time method. Think of Mount Saint Helen’s. With the eruption of that volcano, scientists were able to observe geological phenomena that were supposed to take millions of years to occur, happen in seconds. This view, where geological phenomena occur in seconds, is the catastrophic view of how things came/come about. We see both of these processes occurring around us today. Some creationists would attribute most of the geological structure we see today to a catastrophic event, such as a great flood, where a gradualist would attribute most of what we see today to change that has taken place over vast amounts of time.
Next we have Darwin, who in his study of animal life noticed amazing similarity between animals.
As he observed, he came up with what to him was a plausible idea, creatures adapted to their environment by changing their characteristics and over time due to the survival of the fittest theory, the ‘new’ animal would be better suited for the new environment and the old would pass away. For example, given like species, those in a desert climate would learn to adapt and be able to survive with little water, where those in a rainforest would need more water to survive. When you compare the two you would see many similarities, but at the same time many differences.
The truth is there is truth in Darwin’s observations and ideas.
Animals do change over time, they do adapt to their environment. God has created this magnificent ability within them; it’s programmed into their genes. This process is called micro-evolution and we can observe it and verify that it does indeed happen. The thing is it happens within a species; a species doesn’t become a whole new species. Look at all the variety of dogs, cats, horses, frogs, and even people you see in the world today. (If all mankind came from Adam and Eve, then all the races had to come from them too – amazing huh?)
Where Darwin’s theory goes haywire is with the idea of macro-evolution.
Macro-evolution is the theory that says one species brought forth another.
Darwin, in his speculations assumed that if a species could change within that species then, given enough time, species could change into a whole new species. He believed that as scientists researched this idea, they would find in the fossil record many transitional species, which would show the slow gradual change of one species into another (i.e. back to gradualism – over enough time anything is possible), but to his dismay, in his own studies he could not find the numerous intermediate links he believed would be there.
“Geological research, though it has added numerous species to the existing and extinct genera, and has made the intervals between some few groups less wide than they otherwise would have been, yet has done scarcely anything in breaking the distinction between species, by connecting them together by numerous, fine, intermediate varieties; and this not having been affected, is probably the gravest and most obvious of all the many objections which can be raised against my views.” (The Origin of Species, 6th ed, 1962, Collier Books, NY, p. 462) (Wile, Jay L., and Durnell. Marilyn F. Exploring Creation with Biology, 286)
Scientists have continued to search the fossil records for these transitional species, but still haven’t found the proof they seek. With the lack of evidence, you would think that the ‘theory of evolution’ would be called an unproven hypothesis rather than a theory. Today, scientists have come up with a new theory/hypothesis to explain how evolution can be true given the lack of fossil proof, it’s called punctuated equilibrium.
“… in 1972, evolutionary scientists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge proposed another explanation, which they called “punctuated equilibrium.” That is, species are generally stable, changing little for millions of years. This leisurely pace is “punctuated” by a rapid burst of change that results in a new species and that leaves few fossils behind.” ~ PBS Evolution Library
Basically, punctuated equilibrium says that there are no transitional species, but that one species births a totally different species without all the intermediate steps.
Scientist in their desire to prove that creation did not happen, have sought many ways to prove evolution true. So far they have failed, and yet they hold on to their beliefs and come up with new hypotheses and then test and research.
As Christians, we need to set the precedent in the study of God’s truths and do so with a vigor that rivals the evolutionist in his search to prove there isn’t a creator.
Scripture teaches us about God but so does His creation. We need to hold fast to God’s Word while learning the truths that are around us. In Darwin’s day, many denied Darwin’s theories and threw out the good with the bad. In their defense of the Bible, they were unwilling to look at any scientific evidence that would contradict their view of Creation. It was widely believed in that day that God created each animal unique. Today we have learned much about genetics and can see how God created the ability to change and adapt within the genes. Does this mean God did not create? Of course not, it just means His creation is much more complex than those in Darwin’s day thought it was.
As a Christian, I believe that God’s Word is true and that I cannot pick the parts I like from it and throw out any that I may have a hard time grasping. When modern science and the Bible seem to conflict, I need to take a harder look at what science is actually teaching. We must never fear to glean all the truth we can from the scientific community, but we must look at all we glean in light of God’s Word to us and make sure we are getting the truth. This principle holds true for all aspects of our study, science is just one example.
By Tami Munden
An excellent site for more information about Creation and Science is Dr. Jay Wile’s blog: http://blog.drwile.com/ . He also has a helpful list of websites/blogs for people who want to delve more deeply into the subject.
Lent is fast approaching. I’ve always liked the idea of seasons in the church, times of reflection to focus on different aspects of God. The idea of Lent is something I’ve always found interesting; I’ve even written a devotional for it. But this year, as I’ve been thinking about Lent, I’m having a hard time with aspects of it.
I love the symbology of the ashes that are used during Ash Wednesday services. Ashes remind us of several things:
Ashes remind us that we are created. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Gen. 2:7
Ashes remind us of our fallen nature and our need to repent.“I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees Thee; Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6
Ashes remind us of what Easter is all about.“For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Heb. 9:13-14
Ashes remind us that Christ, through His death, burial, and resurrection, has set us free from the bondage of sin and has given us “beauty for ashes.”
It’s the other aspect of Lent that I’m having a hard time with – “Traditionally, Lent is a somber time of preparation, a time of self-denial…”
Lent is a time to prepare our hearts for Easter. Easter is about God seeking us out. Easter is a time of great joy, but… it is also a very somber time. The Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, the trial, the condemnation, the death on the cross, Jesus bearing the wrath of God for our sins, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Mark 15:34, the burial, the tomb, the darkness, the despair… yes a very somber time.
Maybe that’s why we feel the need to be somber in preparation for Easter – maybe that’s why we feel we need to give up something for Lent? Maybe…
Maybe we want to feel good about ourselves, feel like we’ve done something to earn the forgiveness, the love, we’ve received? Maybe…
Maybe we’ve forgotten, maybe we don’t remember – maybe we think it’s up to us? Maybe…
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. ~ Romans 5:6-11
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. ~ 1Peter 1:3
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
“The good news is that Christ frees us from the need to obnoxiously focus on our goodness, our commitment, and our correctness. Religion has made us obsessive almost beyond endurance. Jesus invited us to a dance…and we’ve turned it into a march of soldiers, always checking to see if we’re doing it right and are in step and in line with the other soldiers. We know a dance would be more fun, but we believe we must go through hell to get to heaven, so we keep marching.” ~ Steve Brown