Are You Ready? (Shepherd’s Echo)

Few of the parables of Christ have sparked such debate as that of the ten virgins and their lamps. Though it is pretty well accepted that Christ is the bridegroom much else seems to be up for debate. Questions prompted are: Who are the virgins? What is their role? What are the lamps and what is the oil all about?  Some of the theories can get pretty complicated, and in my opinion, convoluted to the point where the parable is reduced to minimal importance.

Allow me to weigh in with just a few observations. The parable is found in the first 13 verses of Matthew 25. It is set amongst other parables relating to the end times, specifically the return of Christ, and how people are to be living life in anticipation of that day. Continue reading “Are You Ready? (Shepherd’s Echo)”

Ticking Towards Eternity (Shepherd’s Echo)

[The Shepherd’s Echo is a reposting of a previously published TheShepherdsPen].

Many people may not remember the old TV commercial about the Timex watch that was tied to a boat or car tire and taken for a ride after which a spokesperson would pronounce, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” It was amazing. Still more amazing is the universes’ oldest chronograph – the Earth. Genesis tells us that the earth was the first planetary orb created. It was around before the sun. Time was being measured in days before the Sun helped us out.

God created the entire universe to attest to His glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork” – Psalm 19:1. What is interesting to contemplate is that time was not existent until God created it for the benefit of mankind. God is eternal, both in the past and the future. He had no need of time. On the fourth day, God created the sun, and the ultimate ‘timepiece’ was created. The earth rotated each day, clicking off the universal “minutes.” The Earth revolved around the sun clicking off the universal “hours.” And, as they say, it has never been the same. Continue reading “Ticking Towards Eternity (Shepherd’s Echo)”

Are You Ready?

Few of the parables of Christ have sparked such debate as that of the ten virgins and their lamps. Though it is pretty well accepted that Christ is the bridegroom much else seems to be up for debate. Questions prompted are: Who are the virgins? What is their role? What are the lamps and what is the oil all about?  Some of the theories can get pretty complicated, and in my opinion, convoluted to the point where the parable is reduced to minimal importance.

Allow me to weigh in with just a few observations. The parable is found in the first 13 verses of Matthew 25. It is set amongst other parables relating to the end times, specifically the return of Christ, and how people are to be living life in anticipation of that day. Continue reading “Are You Ready?”

Natural Theology

What does nature tell us about God? We see from Genesis that God has made all of creation to glorify Himself. Part of the way He is glorified is by being worshipped as Creator of all. In fact, Psalm 97:6 tells us,
“The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples have seen His glory.”

 We see His glory in creation. 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…”

 Wow! Let’s unpack that a bit. “Since the creation of the world…” That means from the beginning. God has made His invisible characteristics known to man from the beginning. Before the Old Testament, before the coming of Christ to earth, before the revelation of the New Testament, God made His invisible attributes, His eternal power and His divine nature known to man.  I am sure I cannot fully understand what this means but I have a few ideas.

Just the sheer intricacy of nature reveals the hand of a designer; someone greater than ourselves is here. As the Psalm says, the heavens declare His righteousness. We understand from the fullness of nature that we are not alone. No one on earth has made a mountain, star, water, or even dirt for that matter. We also see that He is a creative God. The bray of a donkey, the beauty of a sunset, the fall colors. We can understand that God has a deep appreciation for aesthetics; can you say music? His eternal power is seen in the magnitude of the earth, the sky, and the entirety of the cosmos. Wow!

We can see that His divine nature is one of order. The earth rotates, giving days and tides. The earth revolves giving seasons for planting. The rain falls giving rivers; that flow to the sea with fish in them. Then the water evaporates into the sky only to fall again as rain to water the earth, which provides food. We can also see in nature His divine plan to take care of us. He desires to send rain and give fruitful seasons (Acts 14:17). He is not a God who ignores those who He’s created. He is not apathetic.

These are just a few of the gleanings we receive from the natural world, but to what end? For what Purpose? If you look at the big picture, from the very beginning it was God’s desire to make Himself known to man. In the garden He had a very personal relationship with Adam. He desired to reveal Himself to all of mankind because our God is a relational God. He wants us to know Him. Even before the prophets. Even before the promise of the Messiah in the Old Testament. Even before the revelation of God in Christ – He is the perfect image of God (Colossians 1:15). Before the understanding of the New Testament, man had the assurance that God was. He was involved, creative, BIG, relational, orderly, compassionate, caring, and righteous… and yes, relational.

Yes, God has always wanted to be known. He is not hiding behind a cloud, or turning a deaf ear. He is there and wants an eternal relationship with everyone (2 Peter 3:9). As the verse says, He can be understood by what has been made. The rest of Romans 1:20 is a reminder,  “so that they are without excuse.” What does that mean? It means we cannot simply deny that God exists and get away with it. We cannot say, “Gee God, I never saw any evidence that you existed, otherwise I may have believed in you.” That won’t fly.

Go outside and check out the trees, mountains, rivers, animals and the stars. See how God has revealed Himself through nature. Next step? Check out His Word and see how He so desired an intimate relationship with you that He sent His Son Jesus, to establish a right relationship with Him through His death and resurrection (John 3:16-17).

Ticking Toward Eternity

Many people may not remember the old TV commercial about the Timex watch that was tied to a boat or car tire and taken for a ride after which a spokesperson would pronounce, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” It was amazing. Still more amazing is the universes’ oldest chronograph – the Earth. Genesis tells us that the earth was the first planetary orb created. It was around before the sun. Time was being measured in days before the Sun helped us out.

God created the entire universe to attest to His glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork” – Psalm 19:1. What is interesting to contemplate is that time was not existent until God created it for the benefit of mankind. God is eternal, both in the past and the future. He had no need of time. On the fourth day, God created the sun, and the ultimate ‘timepiece’ was created. The earth rotated each day, clicking off the universal “minutes.” The Earth revolved around the sun clicking off the universal “hours.” And, as they say, it has never been the same. Continue reading “Ticking Toward Eternity”