Friday, November 17, 2017

In the beginning, WHO?

God's Book says, The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world. (Psalm 19:1-3 The Living Bible)

We know WHO made the universe because it is revealing Him to us all the time through everything He has made: For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature.  (Romans 1:20 TLB)

So far, we know at least FOUR things about the origin of the universe:
-Ultimate reality, the source of all that exists, is a Person (He has a title and the personal pronoun "his" is used of Him). 
-This Person is powerful. 
-This Person's power lasts forever, which means this Person has no beginning or ending. 
-And, if you haven't figured it out from these three clues, this Person is GOD.

But you say, what about those who don't know? 

What does God's Book say?  NO ONE doesn't know! Read the context around Romans 1:20, from verse 18 to the end of the chapter: 18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

His Book goes on to give the consequences of our knowing the truth and deliberately suppressing it: 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.
23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

This is what WE did. Because we refused to give Him the 
-worship and
-gratitude due Him,

our minds were darkened and confused. We considered ourselves --wise but in fact we were
--utter fools.

We created our own (false, ineffective) "gods," worshiping ourselves and other created beings--anything and everything except the one true God, our Creator.

Now look at what GOD did, in response (the rest of Romans chapter 1). We hardened our hearts, so he hardened them more. We abandoned Him so He abandoned us, we pushed Him out of our lives so He let us go--spiraling downwards.

Read and shake in your boots; read and repent; read and turn back to the true God who is worthy of your worship and willing to forgive and receive you as His child:

24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

Penalty: DEATH
--all because we refuse to recognize our Creator, to worship and thank Him. Choose to turn from being an "utter fool" to being "wise!"

Thursday, November 16, 2017

In the beginning, WHO? Who knows?

A version of creation - Rig Veda (Hindu Scriptures)

Then even nothingness was not, nor existence,
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?

Then there was neither death nor immortality
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.

At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined cosmic water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.

In the beginning desire descended on it -
that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom
know that which is kin to that which is not.

And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

But, after all, who knows, and who can say
Whence it all came, and how creation happened?
the Devas (minor gods) themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

Whence all creation had its origin,
he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows - or maybe even he does not know.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dr. John Mitchell on time

Dr. John Mitchell, our beloved Bible teacher at Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon back in the 1960s, told us this anecdote about time:
Some years ago, a friend of mine, Robert Millard, now with the Lord, was an astronomer who had a 4 ½ -5 inch telescope on Council Crest up on a hill near here. And one night about, oh, about midnight, I was just getting ready for bed when the phone rang. 
And my friend called me up and said, “Jack, you come on up here, 
and I want you to see the heavens.”
I said, “Listen, Bob, I’m just getting ready for bed.” 
He said, “Call Mary to the phone.” 
I said, “OK. We’ll be up.” 
So, Mrs. Mitchell and I drove up to his home, and he had some friends there—some mutual friends—and we went into his observatory and we began looking at the various stars. It was a beautiful night. 
And he talked to me about the various things in the moon, and with different magnifying glasses we could see certain things on the moon, the craters and the mountains and so on. 
  And then, I said this to him—it was about 2 or 3 o’clock in the 
  morning by this time—and I said, “Bob, what time is it?”And he
  pulled out a big watch. 
I said, “I don’t care about your watch. When Western Union calls you each morning and says, ‘What is the time?’ you tell the time from your big grandfather clock which you keep in time with the stars. Is that right?”
He said, “Yes.” 
I said, “Now, is my watch right according to the stars?” 
And he pulled a book out and he said, “Now, about this time a certain star should be in a certain place in the universe.” And he turned around his telescope and found his star, looked at the gradations on his telescope and he told me within the very second what the time was. 
 “Do you mean to tell me that that star which is going through
the heavens at millions of miles an hour is always in a split second in a certain place?”
He said, “Yes. In fact, I can tell you a hundred years, two hundred years from now, it will be in the same position at the same time.”
Here, we have worlds in space going along at unbelievable speed and yet always on the exact second. My friend, we ought to just fall down and worship God. 
That’s what I said to Bob. I said, “Bob, it’s just about time that we got down and worshiped Him.” 

This is taken from Dr. Mitchell's Let's Revel in Hebrews.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

WHEN was "the beginning"?

Let's back up and examine what the Bible says about the origin of the universe so far.

In the beginning--

The phrase is בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית (be·re·shit). What does it mean? The beginning of what? 

Of time. Of space.  Of matter. 

What was before the beginning? Eternity. The Bible refers to eternity past and eternity future: from everlasting (past) to everlasting (future). "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Psalm 90:2 ESV

Perhaps before the beginning there was only God.

But "at the beginning," God started the celestial clock running between eternity past and eternity future (past, present and future from our perspective) and parallel to unbroken eternity ("now" from God's perspective). 

Time is characterized by change, motion and progression (technically, by the perception of these and maybe other characteristics). The book of  Revelation speaks of events and subsequent events, causes and effects in heaven, where I would assume there is no time. Revelation 8:1 even refers to there being "silence for about half an hour" (an amazing concept to me, that there could be a timed pause outside of time, even if it's just an estimate--"about"-- or not according to our measurement of half an hour)! Perhaps time has not yet ended by then. 

But even in eternity there apparently is and will be motion, progression and change (change of location if not intrinsic change, as in growth and development of organisms). Angels will be flying, singing, serving, worshiping--and so will the saints, who will also be exploring, learning, traveling, ruling, and enjoying each other's company.  I think there will be progression--maybe roses unfolding--without decay. 

During the first week of creation, God establishes markers to break up and give significance to this period-of-a-certain-length (unknown to us) called time: "lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night...for signs and for seasons and for days and years."

Every time (!) we check a watch or clock we are getting information from the "two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night" which God created that first day (or, with more recent technology, from atoms, which God also created).

"What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know." St. Augustine

(Check back sometime in the future, since you can't do it in the past, for changes, corrections and updates, as I learn more about time.)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

WITHOUT WORDS: The Heavens Declare

from The John 10:10 Project


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...

The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. 

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017


They've made me feel like a prisoner
They've made me feel set free
They've made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king
They've lifted my heart to places I've never been
They've dragged me down back to where I began

Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart
Or put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't want to say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

You can heal the heartache
Speak over the fear
God, your voice is the only thing
We need to hear

Words can build us up
Words can break us down
Start a fire in our hearts
Or put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't want to say a word
Unless it points the world back to You
Let the words I say
Be the sound of Your grace
I don't want to say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

I want to speak Your love
Not just another noise
I want to be Your life
I want to be Your voice

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't want to say a word
Unless it points the world back to You
Back to You
Let the words I say
Be the sound of Your grace
I don't want to say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

Words can build us up
Words can break us down
Start a fire in our hearts
Or put it out

I don't want to say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

                               --Hawk Nelson

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Site under re-construction

This blog used to be I changed the name to record the history and adventures of the good ship Phoenix. Now the Phoenix information has become redundant--you can find it in three other places:

1. A new website:  We have formed a tax-exempt corporation to raise funds to restore the Phoenix--we're one-third of the way toward getting her raised from the Mokelumne River as an historic (mobile) artifact. At that site you can see the information that was posted here and more:
--a song about the brave wooden boat
--updates on speaking engagements by crew members of the Phoenix and sailing scheduled of the Golden Rule 
--latest new books and articles 
--letters from readers
--progress on the fund-raising project and ways to make donations. 

You can check in there periodically or type in your email address there to follow that blog instead of this one.

2.  What I wrote here became two books both available at
-- The Reynolds Family, the Nuclear Age and a Brave Wooden Boat
--MUM: The Conscience, Courage and Compassion of Barbara Reynolds

Within the next few weeks, I am going to restore this site to posts about random subjects of interest to me: Christian perspectives on various issues, pro-life, intelligent design, nuclear weapons, warfare prayer and persecution, kids, animals, humor, beauty, philosophy, yachting, Japan, psychology, inner healing, C.S. Lewis, nature.

My blogs  and  are my current ones. See you there?

Wishing you God's very best,

Jessica Reynolds (Shaver) Renshaw
Long Beach, CA  2017