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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Foggy morning (photo by Doris High)
Foggy morning drive through the Middle Creek Wildlife Area
in northern Lancaster County.
Photo by Doris High

"The Blessed Creator"

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Romans 1:25"I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34:1). "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth" (Isaiah 40:28). "....The Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen" (Romans 1:25b).

For several evenings we've had the faint smell associated with a neighborhood skunk. At 10:00 last night Brooksyne let the dogs out for their bathroom duties and like a streak of lightning Mollie darted into the dark night outside of the boundaries she is allowed. Though Brooksyne and Ester yelled for her to come back she stayed out for about 10 minutes. Finally she came running back with her eyes squeezed shut and her head soaking wet with the foul pungency of pervasive full concentrate skunk spray. We surmise that she was checking out the skunk as animals tend to do
(if you know what we mean) when she had her surprise. Of course she passed it onto us and throughout our home.

We immediately got her in the bath tub where Brooksyne bathed her using a skunk smell abatement recipe we have used when Roxie got into similar encounters. Having that concentrated smell inside was far worse than Roxie's summer outdoor and more distant encounters! Today we have Yankee Candles burning throughout our house and even an open window in our bathroom in hopes of dissipating the odor. Thankfully within a few minutes after Brooksyne sprayed lots of water over her face and eyes Mollie opened them and had no damaging effect from the sulfurous spray.

Are we upset at the skunk? Of course not. He (or she) was just acting like the Creator designed though Mollie was clueless as she was checking out the strange visitor!  We could choose to moan and groan over the sleepless night we endured as the invisible yet pungent odor filled the air in our otherwise very comfortable home. Our agitated spirit might respond to the sleepless night by whining, "Woe is me!" Or we can choose to recognize this to be another day that God has given us to rejoice and be glad and bless His name (Psalm 118:24).

Do you find yourself giving spontaneous praise to God, even when things aren't the way you prefer? For some the answer is yes. For others it's only when things are going well. And yet there are those, when circumstances are at their worst, who offer a sacrifice of praise. Consider Job's powerful praise in the deepest time of his affliction, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).

Sometimes it's just a simple phrase like, "Praise The Lord", that is deep from within the heart. The Psalmist wrote, "I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth" (34:1). "I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live" (146:2).

In this section of Romans (1:18ff) Paul is writing some of the most sobering material in the Bible explaining mankind's sinful condition and the awful consequences that follow. I expect we will have several more days studying this material and frankly I can hear some readers muttering, "Well this sure isn't very encouraging!" Indeed it's not but the glorious cure God offers is all the more wonderful and absolutely encouraging when we recognize and acknowledge our wretched sin condition. As we read through the book this is made more clear.

In Romans 1:25, Paul inserts what seems like a spontaneous praise, following a very troubling indictment of the people "who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen"

A major emphasis on Paul's teaching early in Romans is contrasting the created (creature) with the Creator. In 1:20 he refers to the creation of the world, "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, so that they are without excuse."

Of course many modernists mock the notion of creation and a Creator. Science, they reason, fully explains the origins of the natural order. Big bang, evolution, billions of years of chance; it can all be explained without the need for a Creator they proudly proclaim, seeing those of us who believe in the Biblical Creation account as simpletons. I can't help but refer again to a verse we used last week, "Professing to be wise they became fools" (Romans 1:22).

Genesis 1

Sadly far too many seek to accommodate the Bible to the fickle views of science. Many tell us we must disregard the first chapters in Genesis regarding Creation. But the teaching of Creation and a Creator is not limited to the first several chapters in Genesis but is heavily sprinkled all through the Bible. Denying the Creation account is not merely making the Genesis account a myth. You can't stop there!

Taking an expository scalpel to the entirety of God's Word in seeking to diminish the Creation account makes for a very messy, and in my view, deadly operation. For instance
Jesus said, "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female" (Mark 10:6). In this text Jesus affirms that there was "the beginning of creation" and proceeds to quote from Genesis 1:27, "male and female He created them".

Today let us join Paul as we proclaim our praises for "the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen".

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we offer thanks to You that we do know and we have heard that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. Yet there are those who have never heard this message and there are still others who have exchanged the truth of God for the lie, choosing to worship and serve created things rather than the Creator which makes their thinking futile and their foolish hearts darkened. In ourselves we are nothing but as we walk in the light of Your inspired Holy Word we live in truth and walk in righteousness. So we give praise to You, the Creator, who is forever blessed. Amen.

A short sampling of Scripture texts throughout the Bible that affirm creation and the Creator
  • “Indeed, ask now concerning the former days which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and inquire from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it?" (Deuteronomy 4:32).
  • "Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created" (Psalm 148:5)
  • “It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it" (Isaiah 45:12).
  • Jesus said, "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female" (Mark 10:6). Jesus recognized a that there was a "the beginning of creation". and proceeds to quote from Genesis 1:27, "male and female He created them".
  • "To bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things" (Ephesians 3:9).
  • "For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve" (1 Timothy 2:13).
  • “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4).
  • “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
Furthermore the ancient church creeds and catechisms affirm a belief in Creation:
Apostle's Creed:
"I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth."
Nicene Creed:
"We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible."
(Question nine of the Westminster Shorter Catechism) What is the work of creation? "The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good."

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Creation Calls - Are You Listening?"
  Video  Brian Doerksen

"The New Doxology"
  Video  Gateway Worship

"Behold Our God"
Sovereign Grace Worship

"Blessed Redeemer"  Video 
Casting Crowns

"Inviat" (We Will Rise)  Video  Corul si Orchestra Nationala BBSO (Romanian Youth Choir)

Roxie getting her bath
After two encounters Roxie (our other dog) hopefully learned from her skunk experiences. Photo taken in our backyard in the summer of 2007. Roxie is troubled at her strange smell and Brooksyne is trying to reassure her while she scrubs her down with the skunk smell remover solution. See here. Because we want to be helpful in any way we can here's the skunk smell abatement recipe!

Skunk Smell Remover

1 quart  3% Hydrogen Peroxide 
1/4 cup  Baking Soda
2 tbsp  dishwashing liquid (Dawn works well).

Mix the ingredients in a large bowl. Wash the dog with this while it is still foaming, because it is the oxygen which reacts with the oils in the skunk stink to neutralize the odor. If it sits around, it will lose its efficacy because the oxygen boils off. Don't try to store it in an airtight container, because it will blow up. The brew also works for clothes, humans and unlucky cats.  (We pulled this recipe from the internet.) 

To be honest, there is still a very faint smell of skunk that I'm sure will fade away completely in the next day or so.

Today's photo of the foggy morning was taken by our friend Doris High and is a part of her photo collection taken at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in northern Lancaster County. During this season thousands and thousands of Snow Geese stop by the mountain lake during their migration north.

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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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