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Gather and praise

Hey! Christian have you ever really missed gathering with other believers?

Sickness has prevented me from being regularly at church and I have felt this to be a loss.

Initially this caused me to wonder whether my faith was too dependent on the experience of being with others but since I have learnt from the Psalms of Ascension (Psalms 120 to 134).

These Psalms, amongst many other wonderful concepts reflect the desire of the traveller to be in the temple of Jerusalem with fellow worshippers.

The Psalms seemingly capture the thoughts of the pilgrim, as travel ends, on the final climb up the Temple Mount.

From these Psalms I learn that God’s people being together is in fact an act of worship.

We read in Psalm 133

1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is 

for brethren to dwell together in unity! 

2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, 

that ran down upon the beard, 

even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

So the gathering of God’s people brings to the Lord the adoration associated with the anointing of chief priest Aaron.

Amidst these Psalms in fact the next one on from the above, we have two commands for the people of God to gather for the purpose of worship.

1 Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord,

which by night stand in the house of the Lord. 

2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,

 and bless the Lord. 

All of God’s servants are to bless the Lord, as we stand together in His sanctuary.

1 Peter 2:9 records an instruction to all believers when it says

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

We need also to note the second command, which supplements the instruction for us together to bless our great God. The Psalm simply puts this as lift up.

Together we are encouraged by the actions of the gathered throng to raise our praise to God. Obviously this is not meant to be with dead panned expression but rather in a lively manner. The instruction in this Old Testament passage is to lift your hands. Whatever our New Testament alternative the idea is that we praise together with life sparked by the experience of being able to do this as a gathering.

So as I miss the gathering to praise God I challenge myself that this should be a response to the need we all have to praise God with others.

Of course there is the encouragement in this to visit the sick, so we are able, well and unwell, to lift together God’s praises.

OK! there has been a slackness on this site, no new article for weeks.

Well I have been processing some heavy duty stuff.

My mind has been in overdrive, not confusion, since I heard the words from my specialist, sorry! but you have an incurable disease and it will take you.

My long standing theological understanding has always acknowledge we all die. It’s just that the time of my departure is now little more finite.

Well that is the way I think but many of my associates are struggling with the question what does death really mean.

Basically we come back to three alternative views of what happens after death

1)      nothing

2)      there is a spiritual existence after death which is outcome based on one’s religious belief

3)      some form of emotional experience will naturally continue or recycle

Now into in these three concepts many facets of thinking have been broad brushed and whilst I am persuaded that 2) is along the right track for me 1) is a non-option as life’s experiences have shown me the reality of the spirit world. Let me give you but one example.

Some twenty years ago, as a senior pastor, I was asked by an allied church based group to follow up an enquirer, who through the telephone book, had made contact with them.

When I pulled up at the residence housing the enquirer, the lady of the house, had no idea who was coming to visit. Let’s be clear about this I had no obvious link with the organization she had phoned, I just happened to be asked to give a hand.

Upon introducing myself as one asked to make a house call in response to their telephone call, the lady proceeded to tell me what she had been told about me from the other side. It was spooky and factual. So who says the spiritual realm does not exist. Many say that it is biblical hogwash but as good as the Bible is, you don’t need it to prove there is more to life than the physical.

Spiritual existence is a fact of life yet so many wish to believe that there is nothing beyond the grave. Maybe this is to avoid having the obvious question- what does one do about death and the reality of a spiritual existence?

The lady in our story had a mind influenced by the spiritual realm and it quickly became obvious in our conversation that this was all to her detriment.

So how does one seek out good spiritual perspective? Like is true in all of life’s important questions, one needs to seek out a true expert. Amongst the many claiming to have such expertise I believe Jesus is a stand out. Jesus claims to be able to speak to us about matters of spirit and life.

John 6:63b The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

His Father God also assures us that He will respond to any genuine enquiry.

Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

So if one is troubled about matters spiritual, I would recommend the making of a genuine enquiry to God Himself.

I remember suggesting, to many, not to over complicate one’s spiritual search but rather make a direct appeal to God. If seeking we should all be encouraged to simply pray in a believing manner something like this – “God I am confused and I ask you to show me your truth.”

From personal experience I know of those who having prayed this way, have found God’s spiritual truth. Assistance may have come through reading the Bible or the help of Christian contact, but God the Holy Spirit always respond to such a prayer by beginning a process to provide the answers.

The ultimate is summed up in these verses.

Titus 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life

The loss of one’s mortal life is a dire matter but it hardly compares with the failure to secure the inheritance of eternal life?

It is a pity that many miss eternal security simply because of a failure to seek God’s help.

Faster than light? For sure!

As the sun sets on today, ask yourself, what would most spoil your tomorrow?

For sure, a betrayal of trust would go a long way toward ruining tomorrow.

Even our eyes may betray us, and an example of this is at sunset, as the sun appears to be setting, it may have already sunk below the horizon and due to refraction, we are actually viewing history.

Stability from being able to rely on those we trust is an essential. We also have the need to rely on known principles.

Principles come from many sources ranging from the concrete to the more philosophical. Many prefer the more concrete rules of life whilst others revel in the esoteric.

Those with an interest in science certainly have a wide ranging spectrum of thinking from which to derive principles.

Unfortunately some build a great divide between what is concrete and what is unproven yet may well be possible. Maybe this is because it is believed that concrete rules and developing ideas are mutually exclusive.

The fact there is debate, out of alack of certainty does not render science or theology invalid for argument, properly pursued, is healthy as a route to advanced thinking.

A wide range of thinking does exist within the discipline of science and this is exampled by the current debate going on amongst physicists. Over the years some complex experiments have come up with the idea there is particle that is able to move faster than the speed of light. The possibility of this brings questions over Einstein’s theory of relativity. Right now this is again is hot news as CERN scientists have come up with an experiment that again raises the possibility that some particles have the capability of exceeding light’s speed.

Consider the following website, from which the following quote is taken.

See http://www.day.kiev.ua/216757 .

Reports on tachions, i.e. particles that move faster than light, occur in physics with enviable regularity, only to be denied with equal regularity and sink into oblivion. In this particular case, it is about a concrete particle called neutrino. It has rather unusual properties if this may be said about microcosm inhabitants. Suffice it to say that an enormous number of these particles pierce through us every second, which we do not even suspect in everyday life. Nevertheless, this is not the first time the neutrino becomes an object of close scrutiny for physicists who experiment with the speeds close to that of light. There had been reports on the findings of a Chicago team who studied the oscillation of neutrinos in 2007 and found that they move faster than light. But those data were of no scientific importance because the margin of error in that experiment was much higher than the obtained values of light speed excess.

All of this is exciting but some do see it as earth-shattering. The possibility that concrete theories might be shattered is just too much for some.

Whether it be science or theology, no human has a full understanding, yet each discovery leads us further toward understanding.

Light is a significant biblical subject. Scripture has always declared there is an omnipresent God. That is an intelligence faster than the speed of light.

It is interesting to note how 1John speaks about Jesus, humans and light.

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

This verse suggests the possibility of a human walking in light with the same characteristics as Jesus who transcends light. That is a mortal linking beyond time.

Why then the concern of some about mass transcending time as suggested by the CERN experiment? Christians have always believed in the timeless, Jesus, the one from eternity who stepped off into time and died to transform each believer, beyond death, into His eternal presence

So let’s wait and see whether particulate material is able, as CERN declares, to transcend light.

In the meantime Christians will continue to believe that the speed of light is no barrier to the all powerful Jesus. What believers wait for is described in 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Quilters Quilt: God Graces

Will you spend time today on your favourite activity?

You know what we do is not so much determined by how much spare time we have for we all act out of motivation.

What we see as important is a determining factor in how we live.

My wife is quite busy but somehow she is able to fit in the time necessary for her to pursue here passion of quilting.

When I look at the beauty of my wife’s needlework, the adjacent panel is but one example, I have to remind myself, all of this comes from needle in, and needle out, over and over again: how amazing!

Oh! the needle in, and needle out whilst repetitive is not randomly done. It is all perfromed to a design.

Many, without her passion, may ask why does she bother with such tedium? Of course it is to do with her love of fine work and the result it brings.

We could similarly ask why does God bother with us? Especially as you consider the widespread indifference many have to God.

People quilts because theylove quilting. God is God because of His character.

He is the ultimate character, made up of incredible ability, love and wisdom. The human mind finds difficult to comprehend the fact that God desires to bring His grace and kindness into our lives.

To keep the parallel of quilting going a little longer I find these quilters to be exceedingly generous. I have seen quilts, which have taken hundreds of hours to make, just given away to an appreciative person.

God by nature is a giver and He wishes to share His grace with those who are appreciative.

In the New Testament our word grace was written in the original Greek at charis.

This Greek word according to the scholar Strong means

graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): – acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace, gracious, joy liberality, pleasure, thankworthy).

I like to think of God’s grace as the Divine influence upon our hearts. He just wants to bring good into our lives. Unfortunately our refusal to let this occur is what puts our world in its current state.

I have been recently thinking about Romans chapter 4 and there are two verses here in which charis occurs.

Firstly

Romans 4:4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift (charis) , but as an obligation.

The Scripture says that wages from labour are not to be viewed as grace. So that is what grace is not, a reward.

Secondly we read about charis in verse sixteen

Romans 4:16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed …..

God’s promise of grace is only realised

  • by faith
  • through a total reliance on Him
  • even though we don’t deserve God’s goodness
  • when we allow his undeserved favour (grace) through His beautiful person to operate in our lives.

If you ever receive from someone the gift of a quilt you need understand the grace being bestowed on you, you couldn’t afford to reimburse for its true cost.

So when it comes to the work of Christ and His death for us, how could we ever repay the infinitely powerful One? Even one hour of his effort, due to His eternal character, would come at an infinite rate.

Isaiah 53:12 indicates that because of our transgression, Christ poured out his life for us.

He poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

The concluding verses in Romans chapter 4 say this

23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him (Abraham) alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness–for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

So we all stand with a need of God’s provision of grace through Christ’s death.

The previous chapter in Romans (ch.3) says this

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

The only way that we are able to be right before God is through an acceptance of Christ’s work.

God will credit righteousness–for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead (Rom 4:24)

So in broad terms we have defined God’s grace as

1.         Something that can not be earned

2.         Only available by faith

What we need to remember about the writings in Romans is the following quote from F. F. Bruce

Paul expounds, ‘it is the one who is righteous by faith that will live’ – this is not only the kernel of Galatians and the text of Romans, but it was a foundation-principle in Paul’s own life.

Paul., was originally known as Saul of Tarsus. In his former life he was a religious bigot. He went around persecuting the Church and murdering its adherents. Then one day as he travelled along he met the risen Christ. An encounter with this One of grace, changed his life and from there on, he acted as one touched by God’s grace.

Paul found that God’s grace when grasped by pure faith, is full and meaningful and becomes the power for doing right and good. He wrote this following verse

2 Corinthians 9: 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Our choice is to see the importance of God’s grace and tap into His goodness, or remain indifferent.

Do you like to day dream?

There are times when we desire to participate in make belief. Anything to break the everyday cycle of pressure and stress.

Remember those dress up times as a child when one could imagine enough to be anyone.

Everyone needs grace

However as good as being unreal is, we know that we do not get too far in life without the occasional reality check. Getting real is an essential part of everyday living.

For a Christian the goodness of God is real but more and more we come across those who wish to refute the existence of a God’s goodness. This raises the question why would one participate in the make believe that God is not good?

Well a couple of possibilities readily come to mind

  1. Either God is not good or
  2. There are those who are motivated to refute God’s goodness.

As I know that God is good, I am left to question why would one be motivated to refute this?

Let’s first establish the fact that wrong (called sin by the Bible) secularly exists.

Failing to do right or acting wrongly is deemed to be wrong by a number of methods in our world including-  convention, law (statute and tort), ethics, values, theology, principles, policies, mathematics, scientific rules, parental judgement, peer estimate and so the list of evaluators goes on.

Mostly we clearly understand when we have done wrong. The decent human being when caught out by law or principle, normally wishes to act wisely and even make retribution.

Due process, when it is properly understood, often brings about a good result in causing the offender to properly “face the music”. This old English saying could well have come from the time a court marshalled officer was drummed out of the corp.

Where an offence has been committed, due process routinely dispenses judgment; but when one who has been offended by a wrong act extends kindness to the wrongdoer, then a dimension is added. Even the offender’s sense of guilt is known to rise.

Romans chapter four talks about God’s kindness, which we will call grace, and the way in which this wonderful characteristic of God is received.

RO 4:16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace…

God in His judgment of world-wide wrong sees that a remedy, without the extension of His kindness (grace), is an impossibility.

For the extension of His grace to be workable there is the need for a huge debt to be covered. God determined that the price of this recovery required the excruciating death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

So Jesus entered into the consequence of meeting our debt by His agonising death, an act of immeasurable kindness.

When speaking of God’s grace (original Greek word is charis) in Romans chapter 4, Paul says,

RO 4:4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift (charis) , but as an obligation.

RO 4:16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace (charis) and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring–not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

Verse 4 above suggests that where something is our due, because we have worked for it, then there is no need for kindness. When we come to verse sixteen then we are told that the promise of faith (and the consequent forgiveness) is only available through grace.

The concept of forgiveness through grace raises some interesting features, for if we are judged by the application of principles of law then the following predictable legal processes come into play.

  1. We are innocent until proven guilty
  2. A relevant law and appropriate judgement is needed to convict one of the misdeed

And Paul touches on this in Romans 4:15

where there is no law there is no transgression

When we are measured against God’s grace then, different to the law at work as above, the following applies

  1. God rules ahead of time that we have all wronged
  2. Our wrongs are of such a nature that we unable to provide a self remedy
  3. So sure is God of the above two points that Christ had to pay the price for our wrong
  4. No matter, who we are, the mere existence of God’s grace and its result, the kind act of Christ’s death, stands as irrefutable testimony to the need we all have where retribution is beyond our individual and collective capability.

One of the great expositions written on the book of Romans was by the scholar F. F. Bruce. He says this about people living in New Testament times

converts were being exposed to teaching which nullified the principle that God’s salvation is bestowed by his sheer grace and received by faith alone; it gave human beings a contributory share in that saving glory which, according to the gospel, belongs to God alone, it implied, moreover, that the age of law was still running its course; if so, then the age of the Messiah had not yet arrived, and Jesus, accordingly, was not the Messiah

In Bruce’s mind the rejection of God’s total goodness (grace) was to nullify Christ.

This quest to nullify Christ still exists today. Many do not like the thought of Christ’s crucifixion for

  • it suggest that God is good and we fail to match His quality
  • if Christ did not die it allows one to continue to be innocent until finally judged with the misplaced hope that this will not happen
  • Christ’s death is a defining moment in God’s judgement, for all have sinned and we need God’s gift of forgiveness.

The very fact that Christ was crucified speaks indelibly of our wrongdoing. Some thing that is not easy to accept.

Romans 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Everyone needs to be careful when it comes to dismissing God’s grace.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Are you awake enough to deal with today’s curve ball.

Being aware is an essential ingredient in everyday living.

On a recent visit to New Zealand I was taken with the serenity of the pictured landscape.

This is a view taken in New Zealand looking across Lake Taupo towards the Tongariro National Park. Three active volcanic mountains are pictured, concical Ruapehu (left), Ngauruhoe (centre) and flat-domed Tongariro (right).

As one looks at the serenity of this very scenic presentation it’s hard to imagine the turmoil lying below the surface. These mountains are at the southern end of long range of volcanoes associated with the rift where the tectonic plates of Indo-Australia and the Pacific meet. This rift causes magna to rise and permeate through the weaker sections of the Earth’s crust resulting in volcanic action. According to the geologists, it’s this volcanic process that has caused the uplift of the mountains over millions of years.

Ruapehu is fascinating for it has a lake in its crater. The following is an excerpt from the NZ Herald as reported earlier this year (5/4/11)

GNS Science volcanologists said today high water temperatures, currently about 38degC-39degC, were being experienced in the lake.

GeoNet duty volcanologist Agnes Mazot said changes had also recently occurred in volcanic gas output, seismic activity and Crater Lake water chemistry.

“These changes show that Ruapehu is experiencing signs of elevated unrest above known background levels.

The article concludes with

While there were currently no indications an eruption was imminent, Ruapehu remained an active volcano and future eruptions may occur with little or no warning, she said.

So sitting above the snowline on Ruapehu we have a lake of warm water. What happens from here?- well mostly nothing but read on.

Ruapehu is one of the world’s most frequently active volcanoes and it erupts on average every couple of years.

Over the last one hundred years the Crater Lake was completely emptied, by volcanic action, on two occasions (1945 and 1995). During these eruptions quite some damage occurred to infrastructure like bridges.

Then there was the occasion on Christmas Eve in 1953 when the Lake partially emptied and washed away a railway bridge causing the death of 151 of the 285 passengers and crew aboard an express train.

So the lake may now be only lukewarm but it will get hotter and there will be another eruption.

All of this reminded me of a book published by George Barna over twenty years ago. This book entitled “The Frog in the Kettle” has proven to be very accurate in its revelation of community attitudes, then and now.

Thematically the book is around this quote from its opening chapter.

The signs we need to perceive are not vague predictions about the future—many are present realities. The trouble is that they occur so gradually that we often do not notice them. It’s like the familiar story of the frog and the kettle of water. Place a frog in boiling water and it will jump out immediately because it can tell that it’s in a hostile environment. But place a frog in a kettle of room-temperature water and it will stay there, content with those surroundings. Slowly, very slowly, increase the temperature of the water. This time, the frog doesn’t leap out, but just stays there, unaware that the environment is changing. Continue to turn up the burner until the water is boiling. Our poor frog will be boiled, too—quite content, perhaps, but nevertheless dead.

When speaking particularly of our Christian insensitivity Barna says

This insensitivity is all the more remarkable because we have an opportunity to observe the very process that threatens us. It has occurred in recent times almost on our doorstep. Many Christians in England warn that we are undergoing in this country a rise in the “temperature” of our spiritual environment much like they experienced in their own land.

These observers recall when England was a nation in which the Church was the central institution of society. Moral values, social behavior, cultural activities, family development, lifestyles and even political decision-making all revolved around the nation’s religious perspective and spiritual sensitivity. Ingrained in the nation’s thinking was the belief that the highest goal in life is to worship and serve God.

More recently these values have been undermined by the encroachment of secularism. There is more concern now for the material than for the spiritual. God is no longer at the center of the nation’s agenda. Its Christian community has all but disappeared. Once representing the vast majority of that great nation’s population, true believers are estimated now to be only about 2 percent of the population.

There are striking similarities between the spiritual decline of England and the current spiritual condition of the United States. A thoughtful evaluation of modern America—our social, political, spiritual, moral and economic condition—shows how insidiously our own spiritual foundations are deteriorating. We, too, are a materialistic society, more concerned about the physical comforts of today than the spiritual needs of the future. It is very hard to persuade us to think seriously about the effects of cultural change on the nation’s religious beliefs and behavior.

What is it that will persuade us to become more sensitive so that we think seriously about the effects of cultural change?

Barna’s closing remarks in his book are telling.

In an era of change and turbulence…. there is little hope that the Church….. will make a difference unless each of us initiates an unbreakable covenant with God that we will serve Him with all of our heart, mind and soul, for His glory.

So Barna is saying we need to switch off to our situation and switch on to God.

The great writer the apostle Paul struggled with a similar problem. He wrote to the church at Galatia and asked

Galatians 5:7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?

The truth he was promulgating was highlighted in the previous verse

Galatians 5:6b The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

The accusation he was levelling is covered in these verses

Galatians 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Around the same time he also wrote to the Romans about this need for God’s grace to be pre-eminent.

In writing to Rome, what he asserted about God’s grace to the Galatians was more argument based when he wrote to the Romans, but nevertheless it was absolute truth.

Look how he talks about the magnificence of God’s Grace in the following verse.

Romans 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

You see Paul did not want his followers to be people captive in a warming kettle. He wished them, by their own individual choice, to reign in life through God’s grace.

Barna concluded we need to be turned onto God.

Paul tells us that this comes through an awareness of God’s grace.

Our opening question posed the need of awareness to enable us to deal with today and as we close out we have come to the point where the suggestion is that we need to become more aware of God’s grace.

To behold the beautiful scene pictured above we had to travel many miles, first over the ocean to New Zealand and then across the land mass of the North Island. We had to come to somewhere adjacent to the foot of the mountain, so to speak. The better our vantage point the more splendid the view.

If our God is full of grace, absolutely loving, totally knowing and all powerful through time and eternity; how do we get to take in that view. Let’s truncate Romans 5:17 as mentioned above to gain the clues.

receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Even if we find God a little hard to comprehend the fact that historically Christ died for us is where we begin. Even for the mature Christian it is important to keep coming back to that point. God in his grace and love so much wants us to be part of His economy that he made provision for that in Christ’s death. An agonising, excruciating, death for me. So intense was the suffering that Scripture talks about the cross being a place of separation, scorn, abuse, suffering, sorrow, nailing, enduring and an agonising death

We all know how we feel when someone dear to us really extends themselves and on our behalf does something nice. Imagine how we should feel if we really believed that the Almighty Creator extended himself, by crucifixion, to deliver the possibility of an everlasting blessing. Wow! Wouldn’t that change our attitude?

This is something we all should think about for according to Paul, when we become fully aware of God’s grace, then we are able to reign in life, even whilst our world, in cauldron style, injuriously bubbles on.

Do you see a way to breeze through trouble?

Right now the world struggles with many issues like the endemic global financial crisis.

Then there is the debate about saving the world from us humans and the pollution we generate.

Saving the world from green-house gases, as emitted by us humans, to some, has become a spiritual exercise. Almost a quest to invent a perpetual motion device.

I support the ethic of being environmentally considerate but once we have the morality in place, then I also believe it’s time for the expert to take over.

In spiritual matters I see the apostle Peter as an expert. He said this in the second epistle which bears his name.

 2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Peter noted that all of life’s requirements, including spiritual needs, are satisfied in the knowledge of Christ and we will discuss this further a little later.

Let’s return to green-house gas emission. When it comes to the generation of electrical power there is a strong need for the qualified expert to determine the right array of options.

On recent trip to New Zealand (NZ) we came across such an array of power generation as we saw alternatives encompassing wind, geothermal and hydro.

On many hills there were wind turbines driving generators. As we drove past turbine after turbine it seemed that this method of power generation was all pervasive. This caused one to wonder, is this because of its credentials as a power source or is it from ethereal influence? Have the marketeers of these units offered a sound engineering solution or have they tapped into the appeal that comes from such a clean, invisible, but in some cases noisy, power source?

A visit to Wairakei (just north of Lake Taupo), the home of geo-thermal power stations (right picture above), was interesting. To walk through the thermal parks there (left picture) and see bubbling water and mud virtually under your feet, was an experience.

Like NZ, the US has used this energy for many years and systems are currently being developed and tested in Australia, France, Japan, Germany and Switzerland.

The idea that you drill down three to five kilometres, inject water and extract steam is certainly on the boil.

The world has an ever increasing demand for electrical power and this is compounded by the electrical inefficiencies associated with generation, transmission and consumption.

Even if a motor was directly connected to the generation source, a power loss of 25% is typical. The fact that the use of electricity is remote from the sourcing point could cost a further inefficiency of up to 10% due to transmission losses. Worldwide this means we probably lose at least a third of the power we generate.

Deep down, we know that life is a struggle. On a scientific level, pure physics teaches us about a world of inefficiencies.

No matter how we come to perceive the existence of the struggle we all have a spiritual awareness of a need for things to improve. Many attempt to satisfy this need by pursuing good endeavours like addressing global warming.

However, we can not move past the point that whilst we are able to make some improvements, perpetual motion is beyond our grasp. No matter what our total resource, we are still limited by our mortality.

As per our opening, Peter saw beyond these earthly limits. By stating the following he called attention to a Power that is able to give us everything we need for life.

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Clearly he did not mean that physical limitations would be brushed aside but he did go on to discuss the qualities we need to assist us to cope. These are the qualities of faith, knowledge, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.

Peter then says we are able to be kept from the affect of life’s inefficiencies and unproductiveness in the following way

2 Peter 1:8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

It would seem that the best way to tangle with the problems of the world is to accept that physical limitations do exist and reach beyond these by seeking the knowledge of Christ.

Perpetual motion will then come later.

2 Peter 1:11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.