So God created mankind in his own image in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
Recently, an archeological site in Jordan was determined to be the site of the ancient city of Sodom – destroyed by a meteor of fire. That fact is now added to the 1000s upon 1000s of texts and archeological finds supporting details found within the Holy Bible. As author Eric Metaxas explains in his new book, Is Atheism Dead? , science, rather than moving us farther away from proving God’s existence, is actually moving us closer.
The desire by scientists to prove or disprove God does prove something else – our human desire to be connected to something greater than ourselves. In fact you could argue there is really no such thing as atheism. If we haven’t submitted ourselves to the one and only God and savior then we have most likely submitted our lives to something else. In our yearning for connection some turn their job into their worship. While for others it is nature, money, self-improvement, the mystical, and all other manner of things the Creator has created.
Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns. Jeremiah. 2:28
Since the beginning of time we humans have sought not just the answers to the universe but a connection to it. I’ve heard it called the “God spark.” Something within us that seeks Him, not always knowing who or what we seek. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit moving in and out and around us whispering to us to look heavenward. Far too many turn a deaf ear and instead seek the world for this connection and are never fully satisfied.
I was recently asked why I started going to church. About 25 years ago my oldest daughter, then around 4 years old, started drawing angels. And singing about angels and asking about angels. We didn’t attend any church or even talk about God. It wasn’t during Christmas season. Her questions were so innocent and yet deeply yearning for answers. It sparked me to start asking those same questions. Mind you, even though I came from an atheist household, I always believed God existed. I just didn’t know anything about Him. But with that innocent child’s questions our family began a journey.
I am so thankful that God put some of Himself in each and every one of us so that we would have that yearning to be re-connected with Him one day. So many of us just need to be directed to the Creator instead of His creations.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
The other morning my husband and I were out for an early morning walk. The clouds were building to the east and I commented that I hoped it would rain. You see, living in Southern California we don’t see a lot of rain. And I love the rain. I love the sound of it hitting the pavement, especially when it wakes me in the middle of the night. We get up just to watch it rain. I even love the sound of the water hitting under my car as I drive down the road. There are so few times when the rain becomes a long, monotonous affair where I live that I never get tired of it. At my daughter’s house in Missouri, I could sit for hours watching and listening to the thunderous rain come down!
The sound of rain is just one instrument in God’s beautiful orchestra. The music of His creation is so glorious! And that’s what I praise today.
I’ve been praying the last few days for God’s direction for these last few days of praise. And on my way to have lunch with my parents – which typically is a difficult visit – my playlist of Christian music came on. A fun and almost silly song began playing which put me in just the right frame of mind for my impending encounter with my parents. And I praised God for His music. And then I praised God for putting this entire line of thought in my head!
When I think of all the beautiful instruments in God’s orchestra what also comes to mind are the voices of some of my closest friends. Their laughter and warmth. Their sarcasm and wit. I told one of them, in preparation for her day at a school office, that no matter what is thrown her way I know the office will be blessed with hearing her joyous giggle.
During the stresses of the last year and a half I started doing a sort of mediation technique to help me rest in God’s peace. When I’m at our local park with my dog I sit down on the grass and do a centering countdown. It goes like this:
What 10 different things do I see?
What 9 different things do I hear?
What 8 different trees can I find?
What 7 different smells can I smell?
And so on..
It’s amazing just sitting and listening to the music of God’s creation. The breeze rustling in the trees. Birds chirping. Children laughing. Moms talking on their phones. Cars driving by. Airplanes overhead. Bees buzzing. My dog panting. So many sounds, some of which are exactly the same as at the time of creation others unique to this very time and place.
And of course, there’s what we traditionally call “music.” I marvel that since the beginning of time we humans have been creating new types of music and songs. When you look at a music book there seems to be a limit to what can be created. There’s only a certain number of notes to use, right? And yet day after day, year after year someone creates a new song or even a new sound! How else can this happen than by some glorious design by a being who loves music and who loves the sounds of the earth?
Praise God for music that speaks to us when we need it most. Praise God for the sound of crashing waves. Praise God for thunder and chickens squawking and the crunching of gravel under my feet. Praise God for his magnificent orchestra of life!
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.Matthew 7:20
For much of my life I sought busyness. If I wasn’t “doing” then I was not worthy. It didn’t matter what that doing was, I just needed to do something. When I quit working to be a stay at home mom my greatest fear was to be seen as worthless. A non-contributor. And yes, I know I was doing the important work of raising a child. But having grown up through the 70s and 80s, being a homemaker was not a goal any of my friends wished to attain.
When my husband would come home from work and ask me, “What did you do today?” I took that as a judgment of my worth. I felt the need to provide an hour by hour list of all the important things I had accomplished.
Fast forward to 2020 – yes, the Great Lockdown. I see that time as a sifting of sorts. If you weren’t tied to a Zoom-based job you either embraced staying at home working on little projects around the house, completing endless puzzles, catching up on all those books you’d ignored, jumping in to Bible studies or you were going mad with boredom and itching to “do something important.”
What does this all have to do with praising God? I realized the other day that I need to be thankful to Him that He never asks us to live a life of “busyness.” I praise Him for instead expecting us to live a life that bears good fruit. Quality over quantity. He is not a task master. He doesn’t have verses in the Bible about accounting for every hour of our day. Yes, He doesn’t want us to be idle. But that means not wasting our precious time doing things that don’t produce good fruits.
Time spent in mediation is not idle. It helps me commune with Him. Time spent in study brings me closer in line with what He wants of me. Time spent in nature helps me appreciate and praise Him. Time spent with my husband during a round of golf brings us closer together and strengthens our marriage.
But busyness distracts me. It physically causes my heart to race thinking I need to accomplish something – anything. It darkens my heart when I equate my doing with my worth.
Jesus came to change our hearts. To remind us that our wrong intent is just as bad as our wrong doing. And knowing that releases my heart and mind to live in a peaceful state.
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
“Follow the science.” “Believe in science.” Sound familiar? And yet throughout this year “science” seems to not be the concrete “savior” so many want it to be. I once had a woman tell me she wears her mask to “show her love for me” because science says it’ll somehow save me that she is wearing a mask. While I’m not here to debate wearing or not wearing a mask I can tell you that her wearing a mask doesn’t prove to me she loves me. I’m appreciative when someone doesn’t sneeze or cough in my face but I don’t consider that a proof of their love for me either – it’s just courteous.
We are a people that love proof. So often the proof we desire is that which validates our own opinions – even in the face of completely opposite proof. My father is an atheist. While I don’t expect everyone to suddenly be a Christian, the idea of not believing there is a Divine Entity that had its hand it creating us and the universe seems so, well, unscientific. But just like the pharisees and teachers of the law in the verses today, sometimes we just have a hard time believing even when something amazing is happening right in front of our face. They were so focused on their twisted version of the Law they couldn’t even allow the people to glorify God when faced with miracles.
And then Jesus. Just the simple fact that the paralytic man’s friends knew that if they could just get him close to Jesus, he would be healed was amazing. Where was their proof? To passersby watching them up on the roof trying to lower him down might have scoffed and thought they were crazy. But to the friends, they had only heard of Jesus’ miracles and put their faith in the unknown. For the people inside the house watching Jesus heal the man they had all the proof they needed as to who He was. And yet their sticking point was Jesus forgiving the man’s sins. The healing proof still wasn’t enough for them.
I so frequently see things in nature, not just the amazing ecosystem God created for us humans to survive, but also the heart wrenching beauty and think, “How can anyone not believe there is a God?” What more proof do they need? Our bodies are fine tuned to this earth. The circular systems of creating breathable air, water to drink, food to eat, and sunshine and darkness for our bodies to succeed are really all the proof we should need.
My husband and I got four baby chicks back in March. They are now big, beautiful ladies that lay eggs daily. I asked my husband the other day, “Is there any other animal on this planet that works so hard to feed us humans?” The chicken, according to the Smithsonian, dates back between 7,000 to 10,000 years. It’s mentioned both in the Old and New Testaments. And if you look up a picture of the innards of a chicken you’ll see it is quite simple. In fact, it seems its sole purpose it to lay eggs. There’s really nothing fancy and yet they are amazingly fascinating. The process by which an egg ends up being an egg seems magical. And yet it happens every, single day. Each time I collect eggs I thank the ladies for their hard work. Because I know the next step for that egg will be something delicious – nourishment for my husband before he heads off to work, a small but important part in homemade cinnamon rolls, the key ingredient to a souffle. The chicken was made specifically to lay eggs – fertilized or not. And we were made to eat them.
And yet we still want proof. When I hear non-believers ask for proof I just smile. They are their own proof. Their amazingly complicated body system – the most complicated of all the animals on the planet – that’s their proof. Every breath we take, that’s our proof. And the fact that we are the only species to yearn for a purpose on this globe, to question why we are here, is even more proof. Sometimes the proof we seek is in the absence of something. For the pharisees, they wanted proof that Jesus could forgive sins. And yet they witnessed a God-given miracle right in front of their faces.
Goose bumps evolved to make our ancestors’ hair stand up, making them appear more threatening to predators.
As you breathe, most of the air is going in and out of one nostril. Every few hours, the workload shifts to the other nostril.
Your tongue is made up of eight interwoven muscles, similar in structure to an elephant’s trunk or an octopus’s tentacle.
On a genetic level, all human beings are more than 99 percent identical.
25 Amazing Facts About the Human Body by Mental Floss
How much amazing proof are you overlooking every day? Every single minute of every single hour we take a breath, God proves His existence. The “science” surrounds us. It is us. We are His amazing proof.
Each morning I take my sweet dog Tucker out for a nice long walk. We typically walk in the canyon near our house. Some days I listen to worship music, some days I listen to podcasts. While other days I make it a point to just listen. Yesterday I decided to walk the first mile in praise and the second in prayers for others. Thanks to this 30 Days of Praise project that mile of praise has gotten easier. I reflected on the last 12 days of posts and began reciting different phrases – “God you are my King! God you are omnipotent! God you are ever present in my life! God, you love me even when I am being unlovable. God, you have taught me so much. You are the only one worthy of this praise. You are a flawless shield.” My love pouring out to Him filled me with such joy and peace like a mirror reflects back the sunlight. It felt bold and it felt oh so right.
I found this short essay on praising God which spurs me on toward my next 12 days. Encouraging me to praise; pressing me to dig deeper; showing me that praising God is simply what all nature does every minute of the day.
“Come you children of God, and bless his dear name; for doesn’t all nature around you sing? If you were silent, you would be an exception to the universe. Doesn’t the thunder praise him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Doesn’t the ocean praise him as it claps its thousand hands? Doesn’t the sea roar, and the fullness thereof? Do not the mountains praise him when the shaggy woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Do not the lightnings write his name in letters of fire upon the midnight darkness? Doesn’t this world, in its unceasing revolutions, perpetually roll forth his praise? The whole earth has a voice, and shall we be silent? Shall man, for whom the world was made, and suns and stars were created – shall he be silent? No, let him lead the strain.”
How will you lead the strain in praising God today? Shout it as loud as the sea roars and as bold as the lightning claps! Join the conversation below!