Tag Archives: God

DESIGN & ORDER amidst human disorder

 

Newscasts trumpet misery, scandal and chaos. BUT! As I wander down summDSCN5023 (3)er DSCN4962 (2)pathways and drive along our country roads I’m impressed by a recurring theme. Whether it’s the tiniest beetles I find on leaves or the rising of the moon, there is evidence of design–and of the Designer.

DSCN2805 (2)It’s the same when I gaze on the apparently bewildering display of creativity among flowers. Or the astounding intricacy of a snowflake. Or the various plumages of birds or even the blades of grass DSCN5204 (2)in a farmer’s field. Variety but not randomness fills our world with a richness and interest our busy lives usually lead us to ignore.

From sunsets to cloud formations, from eyesight to dandelion fluff all around us throbs the evidence of an omnipotent Creator. “Day after day they pour forth speech.”  Too often our ears throb with a cacophony of artificially generated sounds.

Lord, help us to pause, to look around, and to lift our hearts in worship and praise–and even appeal. DSCN3181 (2)Truly, “this is my Father’s world.” This Father can bring order and redemption to our disordered and broken lives.

January Sunset

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Irrational Choices Versus Common Sense.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m neither a philosopher nor the son of a philosopher—as you can easily discern. My dad and one of my brothers were engineers, the others skilled in the building trades. I took forest engineering. We were taught pragmatics, something most profess but few practice.

Why do I say that? Well, legislators seem to be abandoning common sense. They propose practices that run counter to reality: replacing his and her pronouns, adopting multi-sex bathrooms, financing sex-change operations, legalizing some drugs and on and on it goes. It’s time to ask why? Where have these ideas come from?
In my search, I’ve returned to Francis Schaeffer’s book, He Is There And He Is Not Silent. In the 1950’s and ’60’s he challenged the irrationality of atheism and agnosticism as philosophies. Today irrationality rules.

As Schaeffer pointed out, our world view (philosophy) must explain the reality and dscn4172complexity of our universe. There are two main answers given. One, there is no answer. All is chaotic and irrational. No one has been able to live with this answer in real life. They daily depend on gravity and a thousand concrete and unchanging realities.

Answer two, there is a rational answer that can be communicated. Among those who accept this thought, there are three possible sub-answers.

1. Everything that exists came out of absolutely nothing—no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality. No one has ever been able to sustain this answer. It is unthinkable. Those who maintain this as a view embrace other irrational ideas. But empirically, everything we enjoy practically, comes not from zero but from already existing matter.

dscn39502. Everything had an impersonal beginning whether from mass, energy, or motion. However, if we start with an impersonal something, how do any of the particulars that now exist have any meaning? No one has ever demonstrated how time plus chance, beginning with the impersonal, can produce the needed complexity of the universe, let alone the personality of man. If we subscribe to this answer, human love is just an impersonal chemical reaction. And if everything arose from impersonal “things” why have values. Why worry about pollution, poverty, or injustice? Indeed, why ponder questions at all? The dilemma of modern man is simple: he does not know if or why mankind has any meaning. He is lost. Man remains a zero.

3. Everything had a personal beginning in a personal-infinite God. This choice alone explains value, complexity, and personality. Schaeffer comments, “I would

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

be an agnostic if there were no Trinity. Without the high order of personal unity and diversity as given in the Trinity, there are no answers.” Man, created in the image of God, has personality and in his complexity he has unity. God expresses in his being, the unity and diversity we see in the universe. There is no other answer that explains reality.

If, as most in the west do, we reject answer number three, we are left at sea without direction, purpose, moral principles, or goal. By choosing to ignore our divine origin and accountability, our society runs either by consensus or according to whoever has the loudest voice or the most influence. Whether a policy fits with reality doesn’t matter. Society just does whatevdscn1336-1er it wants; whatever feels good at the time; whatever gets the most votes; whatever is most convenient.

Is this any way to live? You be the judge. As for me and my house, we accept the third choice and thus embrace the description of reality and values as revealed in the Scriptures.

(Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca –Follow him on Facebook: Eric E Wright; on Twitter: @EricEWright1; on LinkedIn: Eric Wright )

Woodland Therapy?

A recent article in the Globe and Mail confirms the value of forest therapy. Now,Sugar Maple that’s a value I’ve always treasured, but when I express something similar, folks look at me strangely. I can see in their eyes the query, “Are you some kind of weird woodsy throwback? What about all the mosquitoes? Just tell me where to find the nearest Starbucks.” Ah, but wait.

Cassandra Szklarslo writes about “the forest-bathing movement…which is a cornerstone of preventive health care in Japan.” Forest-bathing?? Weird. The article explains that they’re not talking about bathing in water but “immersing SummerWalkEricDukeoneself in the healing properties of trees.…A walk in the woods can be great for boosting your mood.…A burgeoning group of nature enthusiasts say it can do much more—including strengthen immunity, lower blood pressure, increase focus, and ultimately lower health-care costs if done regularly.”

Data collected in Japan and Korea found that “forest-bathers” had an increased number of “immune system cells that combat disease.” “It involves simply walking—quietly, slowly and deliberately—in a forest, and taking in the sounds, DSCN1325scents, colours, forms and general vibe of nature.”

I’ve always loved the outdoors, from the fields near our home to the creek that gurgled through a nearby valley. Probably it was that love that led me to study forestry in my undergraduate years. I’ve never understand why some declare; “If you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all.” Every tree enthrals me; from the stately umbrella-shaped American Elm to the majestic White Pine.

I’m not surprised by the article. Many people appreciate the natural world. But OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhat deepened my love was an experience with the Creator of that world. In my second year of university, He sent a gospel shaft of conviction into my heart. I became a simple follower of Jesus. It was as if I unexpectedly was fitted with a hearing aid; or as if a light went on in the dark room of my mind. Suddenly it seemed as if “all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres,” for “this is my Father’s world!” “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

As this Psalm reminds us, it’s not just trees that should cause our mouths to drop open in awe and our hearts to sing God’s praises. No, it’s stars and clouds, birds and flowers, the roll of breakers on a beach, the colours of pebbles on a shore, Mute Swansnowflakes and rainbows. It’s more; even the undulation of sand dunes in a desert, the giggle of a child, and the smile of a wrinkled senior. For He made them all.

Oh, I know, there is trash in the ocean and war among nations. We are doing our best to ruin God’s world. But beneath and beyond all that disturbs, if we have redeemed eyes to see, remains the matrix that displays the creativity and artistic genius of Almighty God. This matrix reminds us to breath deeply of God’s love and grace and point people to the beauty intrinsic to the world we live in.
Besides we live in hope! “He will make all things new.” In the meantime, “all the trees of the field will clap their hands” whenever God reclaims territory in our ruined world by the spread of his spiritual kingdom in human hearts. (See Isaiah 55:11,12).

So this summer, let’s take time for a walk in the woods. Then we will return Honey bee on fall mumsrefreshed and more able to practice holy love wherever God places us.

(Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca –Follow him on Facebook: Eric E Wright; on Twitter: @EricEWright1 and on LinkedIn: Eric Wright )

What Is God Like? – #2

Our granddaughter expressed amazement that 50 years ago we traveled half-way around the world without Google or a cell phone. She illustrates how hard it is to understand something beyond our experience.

If you have never seen a tava, you will give me a blank look if I use it in a sentence. But when I describe it as a thick, rim-less frying pan used for cooking thin, whole-wheat nan over a fire in Pakistan, you may be able to picture it.DSCN1448
We learn of the unknown by comparison with the known. So it is with the invisible God. He reveals Himself by comparison with what we know.

How much does God know? “Look to the heavens…He calls them [stars] each by name” (Is. 40;26). Astronomers estimate that there are a billion trillion stars in the observable universe! He knows each hair on our heads and each bird. (Mat. 10:29,30) David exclaims; “You know me…my thoughts…all my ways…before a word is on my tongue you know it completely” (Psalm 139:1-4). God knows everything! Google isn’t even a kindergarten tool in God’s sight. “How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out” (Rom. 12:22). He knows how to solve your problems and mine!

Where is God? David cries, “Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there;…depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn,…DSCN1541far side of the sea even there your hand will guide me” (Psalm 139:7-10). God is in Toronto, in the depths of the sea, in the farthest reaches of the universe. He is everywhere, multi-tasking, at the same time listening to a prayer in Bangladesh, guiding a puzzled teen in Mumbai, comforting a bereaved mother in Mexico. Yet as a spirit, God has no dimensions. His real presence is wherever we call upon Him. He’s there beside us when we’re lonely and afraid.

How powerful is God? Look at sunrise and sunset. Look at the night stars. “His greatness no one can fathom…Praise him sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars…he commanded and they were created” (Psalm 145:3; 148:3,5). There was nothing and He spoke a word and instantly, all the stars were created. He is powerful enough to meet whatever our need is today.

How has God changed over the millennia? Everything in our universe changes over time. Most deteriorate; giant sequoia, mountains, even our sun and the expanding universe. But Moses saw a strange sight in the desert, a “bush was on fire but did not burn up.” From the fire, God gave Moses His name, “I am who I am” meaning many things, but first that God is not subject to combustion, change, or decay of any kind. (See Exodus 3) Since “I the Lord do not change,” therefore we can be assured that His promises and His faithfulness do not change. (Mal. 3:6) I can trust him as Abraham did.

Upon what is God dependent for existence? We depend on our parents for birth, on oxygen and food for existence; upon gravity for stability. Fish depend on water. Plants depend on sunlight. But God is self-existent, dependent only upon Himself, as His special name indicates; “I am who I am”. “God who made the world…is not served by human hands, as if he needed anythiDSCN1325ng, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else…in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:24,25,28). We depend upon Him for every
breath!

What a God! All-knowing, everywhere-present, all-powerful unchanging, and self-sufficient. And yet He says to us, “I have loved you with an everlasting love”. Can we do more than worship and serve Him with all of our energy?

(Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright )

Searching for the Unsearchable

Life’s most important goal is to know God. But how? No one has ever seen God. As Paul writes; “To the King eternal, immortal, INVISIBLE, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever” (1 Tim. 1:17).

January SunsetHow then can we know what He is like? In fact, we are told, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How UNSEARCHABLE his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor…For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever!” (Rom. 12:33-36)

Clearly, neither reason nor telescopes nor atomic microscopes can help us find God. He must reveal Himself to us in ways that we can understand. Something like how an Aussie might describe for us a platypus.

Have you ever seen a platypus? No? The dictionary defines it as “a small, aquatic, Moonlit nightegg-laying mammal of Australia and Tasmania, with webbed feet, a tail like a beaver’s and a bill like a duck.” (Webster’s New World Dictionary)

The dictionary compares a platypus with things with which we’re familiar; eggs, webbed feet, a beaver’s tail and a duck’s bill. This familiarity enables us to visualize this Australian mammal.

In the same way, God has revealed aspects of His character and being by comparison with things in our experience. For example, mountains and stars, towers and shepherds, earthquakes and the sun. Comparisons work well as long as we remember they are limited. The platypus’s bill is not exactly the same as a duck’s bill, nor is God the same as a mountain. Limited though they are, metaphors and similes help us to learn much about God.

DSCN1541How big is God? “Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool” (Is. 66:1)? Imagine a being so immense that he sits on a throne set in space and uses earth as his footstool. Astronomers tell us that the observable universe is 91 million light-years across. (A light year is the distance light travels at 186,000 miles per sec in a year. It takes light 8 minutes to travel the 93 million miles from the sun to earth.) As Solomon said, “The heavens even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built”( 1 Kings 8:27)! And yet, although infinite in immensity, as David described in Psalm 139, God is present with His whole being at any point in space. A paradox that sends us to our knees in awe. He right here with me!

How old is God? Consider the ancient mountains; Everest, K2, Rockies, or Alps or even the worn down Canadian Shield. ”Before the mountains were born or youRockies brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you ARE God” (Psalm 90:2) He is before all and will be after all. And yet, there is no becoming with God. Past, present, and future which is so much a part of our lives is meaningless to God who exists in mysterious, everlasting now-ness. “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by…[but we are like] the new grass of the morning…by evening it is dry and withered” (Psalm 90:4-6)

In subsequent blogs I’ll continue to ponder the awe-inspiring greatness of Almighty God. In the meantime, what can we do but echo the Psalmist; “Praise the Lord…praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness” (Psalm 150:1,2).

(Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright )

Comfort for a Concussion Sufferer

Mary Helen suffered a painful concussion several years ago. Recently, another bang on the head brought back headaches which seem erratic and very difficult to DSCN1515control. However, through it all, she has found the most comfort from talking to the LORD; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These were her thoughts as she wondered down a path in the autumn of that first concussion.

Oh, what bliss to be in your presence, Father…To know that you care.

Lord Jesus, you have promised to never leave me nor forsake me. Thank you for reminding me of that today.

05-07-2007-10-12-28-171As I walk this forest path, the leaves are beautiful in their autumn colours—and you’re here with me. Quietly, yet a very sure presence. Sometimes, the path is even and smooth. Other times it goes up and own, and at times is a bit treacherous. Yet, your arm steadies me and reminds me of your presence. The light ahead is a reminder of our blessed Holy Spirit, leading the way.

From time to time, we meet others, who encourage us and even reach out with encouraging words and actions. Does our Father send angels to clear the way or minister to us through individuals along the way?

The journey of life is empty without knowing you’re there, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Forgive me for failing to share this experience of your daily presence and forgiveness; of your love, mercy, and grace which are so very DSCN1507real. I love you Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I haven’t reached the pain-free zone yet, but see the very edge of it up ahead a ways, so I carry on with a bit more strength in my step and stride. (Mary Helen Wright)

“Cast your anxiety upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). “The Lord comforts His people” (Is. 49:13).

Enjoying Simple Pleasures

Enjoyment comes in many forms. A holiday at the seashore. An affirming friendship. A wide-screen TV. A candlelit dinner at a high end restaurant. A Sunday afternoon nap. The smell of a new car. Reading a good story while sipping a cup of coffee.

But as I think back over my life, I’ve often been disappointed by experiences anticipated or things desired passionately. My first portable radio quickly lost its fascination. Our first new car turned out to be a lemon. Disappointment has not dogged my steps, but I’m gradually learning to appreciate the simple pleasures of life.

God has given us five senses to use in the enjoyment of his gifts. “God gives us richly all things to enjoy.” Many of these simple things flow around us unheeded as part of the natural world in which we live—unnoticed until we pause long enough to stop, look, and listen. And most of gifts are free!

Sight. The sun rising in the morning and the moon at night. Cumulous clouds drifting across the sky. The breeze ruffling the leaves on the trembling aspens. Swallows dipping and diving for insects. A squirrel eating a peanut. The unfurling of a flower. Words on paper telling a wonderful story. Snow covering everything in a white blanket. And letters in the mail.

Taste. The first asparagus of the season. Ripe, garden-grown tomatoes, cut thickOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA and eaten juicy on a slice of freshly baked bread. The taste of one’s own home grown beans, carrots, peppers, and cucumbers. A freshly picked cob of corn smothered in butter. A bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day. And, ah yes, a steak broiled on the BBQ.

Touch. A hug from a grandchild. The encouraging touch of a friend. A kiss from A Wright family dinnerone’s sweetheart. The feel of opening a new book.

Hearing. The enthusiastic harmony of a congregation singing, How Great Thou Art. The chatter of a c???????????????????????????????hild. A phone call from a friend living far away. The wind rustling leaves in a tall oak. The chatter of a goldfinch.

Smell. The scent of freshly plowed ground or cut grass. The fragrance of lavender or the earthy pungency OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAof a forest glade after rain.

How very kind of our Heavenly Father to have kept me from great wealth lest my appreciation for simple things become jaded. No costly caviar nor expensive wine for me: better a burger or a fresh-brewed cup of coffee, the sight of towering storm clouds or a rainbow after rain.

Lord, take envy far from me. Instead give me the good sense to enjoy the pleasures you have spread all around me—the simple pleasures of life.