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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Male Goldfinch (photo by Doris High)
Male Goldfinch
(photo by Doris High)

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"What Fools Say"

"The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1).

I wonder how many of our readers have played a trick on a family member or co-worker already today?  Or worse, maybe you were the butt of a joke?  I'm the big tease every day of the year, but Brooksyne usually does a little teasing on April Fool's Day and she did so already early this morning.

Mike, kitchen finish carpenterWe are finally at the end of our ten week kitchen renovation. The carpenter was scheduled to come in the late morning to put on the finishing touches.  But early this morning Brooksyne called out to me, just as I was stepping out of the shower, to say the carpenter was waiting at the door.  His early arrival sent a little shock, the kind that makes your heart race quickly – you know the feeling. She then told me (on the other side of the bathroom door) that she was still in her robe and could not answer the door and that he'd been standing at the door for quite a while.  I accused her of teasing me, but she was too serious sounding, so I fell for her joke and assembled myself quickly (though obviously half-dressed) to get to the door.  APRIL FOOLS!  she yelled from another part of the house after I saw no one at the door.

Perhaps you've seen the bumper sticker that states, "April 1, National Atheist's Day".   When I first spotted the sticker I was intrigued and a bit annoyed, but not necessarily surprised.  Then I moved my car in closer to read the small print.  It was actually an attempt to be a witness for the Lord, as it quoted the daily verse (Psalm 14:1).  It was then that I made the connection, "O yeah, Fool's Day is April 1"! 

Now certainly there is a relatively small segment of the population that is avowedly atheist, which has existed at least since the time of David as is conjectured from our verse today. But in my opinion atheism requires a great deal of faith! It's not unbelief but belief in something altogether different.  It certainly takes faith.  In fact I have a book titled, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist".

The daily text is a great passage to use in illustrating the importance of context as we study and interpret the Bible. Ask someone, "Did you know the Bible says there is no God?"  They might look at you as though you're crazy or you've lost your faith in God (or if they're an atheist they may smile, assuming you're finally see things their way!)  However, of course in context the passage means something entirely different than I conveyed in the earlier question.

However a far more common threat to Christ's call to genuine discipleship, particularly here in America, is not atheism but ambivalentism. OK, I admit, I coined this word and it's not in a standard dictionary or spellchecker.  But it really describes so many people that I encounter.  They are ambivalent toward God.  This means they are irresolute, indecisive, weak-willed and wishy-washy.   If pressed they would say they believe in God and would deny being an atheist.  Many even have some religious affiliation, but God is not a reality in their lives. In fact I feel this is a more accurate description of life's outlook for many people rather than the more common term "agnostic".

This coming Passion Week we will especially focus on the cross.  Oswald Chambers has observed "All heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, all hell terribly afraid of it, while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning".

Today let us declare as the wise, "There is a God and I am created bring Him glory. Through His Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, if it takes a fool to say there is no God, then I want to be numbered among the wise who early on said," You are God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other."  It is a declaration of faith that's been thoroughly tested throughout the centuries that enables me to confidently pledge my allegiance to You, an invisible God, but a visible power in my life, in the lives of others, and throughout the world. Amen.

Note in regard to today's study and topic: In my view it's unfortunate that the debate between those who hold a theistic and atheistic viewpoint is increasingly hostile and subject to name-calling.  As one holding to a Biblical and traditional outlook I increasingly sense the scorn of those who see my view as simple or even stupid for believing as I do.  It seems this is a part of the template the world uses in viewing Christians. This can be a stumbling block to many who fear being seen as nonintellectual.

Knowledge gained from one's degree of formal education does not necessarily make one smart, let alone correct in their worldview, since wisdom, understanding and common sense are not book-learned but gained through one's experience in life.

The first paragraph in today's post could appear as though I am reciprocating. I don't intend this and wouldn't use a bumper sticker like this, as in my view, it really is unlikely to win anyone over to a godly outlook.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
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"I Believe"  Video A great declaration of fundamental truths sung to music.  What a great way to learn and teach good, solid doctrine, which is greatly lacking in many of our Christian circles.

In the course of study for today's message I came across this devotional from "Our Daily Bread" with a similar theme.

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an AtheistI Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
By Norman L. Geisler / Crossway Books & Bibles
Norman Geisler and Frank Turek show, first of all, that truth is absolute, exclusive, and knowable. From there, they proceed to demonstrate that the cardinal Christian doctrines are true beyond reasonable doubt, all convincing for you as a Christians to believe, but requiring a leap of negative "faith" if an atheist is to disbelieve them.

Photo of Goldfinch 3/31/09Yesterday I had a goldfinch at the feeder in front of our office window. I tried to get a good photo but just don't have the skill and camera capability that Doris has. Here's a current collection of Doris High's bird photos.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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