Various Articles and Thoughts Vol. 4

The Unfinished

We stand here as works in progress,

Our lives are still being defined

And we decide each moment who we are.

We are the Unfinished,

But what will we become?

We are constantly changeable,

A malleable object choosing its shape.

If we take the shape of the world

We become distorted, convoluted and useless.

If we take the form of Christ

Then we take our rightful, intended form.

We are the Unfinished.

Do we allow God to make us better?

There is another opportunity for the Unfinished,

There is another day to grow and improve.

Around every corner is another work that can be done.

From day to day the Unfinished is developing.

All that is unrefined must be purified and polished,

But soon the Unfinished will be presented to God,

And what will He find?

2 Timothy 2:20-21
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.
21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

Romans 9:21-23
21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,


Expectation vs. God’s Solution

            Naaman had a problem. He was a leper. In the hope of being healed he goes to find the prophet in Israel. He finds Elisha’s house and immediately a solution is offered by God through Elisha (2 Kings 5:10). “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”  This troubled Naaman. It made no sense to him. There were impressive rivers in the world but the Jordan was not one of them. His home Syria had better rivers than Israel. Why the Jordan? Why wash seven times?

            God did His part for Naaman. He told him the answer. He offered the remedy clearly, quickly and easily. Naaman did not have to wait. He did not have to plead. The solution is easily understood and done. Truly the cure was waiting for Naaman to arrive. Naaman did not even have to pay the prophet. What else could he want? How much better could this be? Naaman’s tripping point seemed to be that it did not match his expectation. But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy’” (2 Kings 5:11). He anticipated something more dramatic. But how would drama help? The goal is to be healed not to be impressed by theatrics. If that is all he wanted then Naaman should have gone to a show and kept the leprosy. The question arises: is Naaman serious about being healed? God gives him the means to be restored. It is granted but Naaman rejects it because it is not the way he thought it should be done, which is absurd. If Naaman knew how to be healed he would not need God. Yet here he is at Elisha’s door complaining on how it should have been done.

            The voice of reason came from a servant in 2 Kings 5:13. And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” Could Naaman choose the body of water? God specified the Jordan. Couldn’t God pick a place exciting and exotic? He could have. But sending Naaman needlessly to a distant and mysterious source of water would be less than kind. Instead God sends him to the nearest river. That is mercy. The task is simple but it must be done to be healed. It is a test of obedience. When Naaman decided to take God’s solution he is healed.

            The question is: Are we serious about solving our own problems? God offers the cure. But remedies come with a test of faith. Regardless of where it comes from we must have faith the solution will work. Can God provide? When Naaman complained against God’s method he seemed more satisfied with leprosy than go to the Jordan and solve his problem. Is the problem better than the solution? Can one be content as a leper? There are many people who would rather live with sin and its burden of heartache than trust God’s way. They want their own way even though it fails and leads to pain and shame. They want their way to work but it can’t. Like Naaman they imagine how it should be and refuse the simplicity and mercy found in God’s solution. Their expectations blind them. They would rather continue with the problem than take the cure. Our ways work against us. Life is best with God.


In The Details

“It is in the details. Pay attention to what you have done and what is needed.” Typically if I ask one of my children to clean a room they obey but probably not to my liking. They will usually tidy it in a hurried manner then report to me when the job is accomplished. They believe the area is clean. They feel confident they have done the job. A parent’s internal quality control sees differently. To the child it is as though there is mischievous magic about the house. The pile of clothes in the corner, the things left on the floor or the dirty dishes in the kitchen only appear when a parent enters the room. The words, “How did that get there,” are spoken with complete astonishment and have been heard in our house over the years. The truth is: the room they thought was clean is not clean. The job is not done; as a matter of fact it is hardly begun. There is a difference between a clean room and a dirty room we think is clean. The difference will be found in the details. “Those things on the floor you must walk around or trip over must be picked up.” That is a detail. These various particulars matter – even the ones we consider small. Is that not what God tells us throughout scripture? We must pay attention to what we are doing and how we are doing it. God sends us to the job and He gives the specifics for the work.

Details matter to God. Paying attention to detail in God’s word means the difference of obeying or disobeying. It means the difference between life and death. Eve learned that the detail in God’s command mattered (Genesis 3). Nadab and Abihu learned the detail in worship to God mattered (Leviticus 10). Uzzah and David learned that the detail in the laws for moving the Ark of the Covenant mattered (2 Samuel 6). Death was the result in all of this. Adam and Eve died spiritually the moment they sinned. Nadab and Abihu died on the spot for their neglect of one detail. Uzzah was killed by the wrath of God for not giving full consideration of God’s warning.

Do not think that since we are now under the New Testament that God no longer cares about details or that the Law of Christ is missing details. We must give diligence to all scripture. In 2 Timothy 1:13 are these words, Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That pattern has details and we are called to hold fast to them. This is an act of faith and love. God expects us to be attentive. He expects us to accomplish all He has sent us to do. If He did not then Christ’s words in John 4:24 mean nothing. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

To disregard scripture as optional to suit our own feelings is sin. Believe each word in scripture is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16). Take God’s commands seriously. It will mean the difference to your place in eternity.


Canned Food and Faute de Mieux

             Did you know the can was invented about fifty years before the can opener? Using cans for storing and preserving food was a great idea, but everyone using canned food had the same problem. You have to open the can to eat the food. Until Ezra Warner invented the can opener people used what they had and did whatever worked. It is not a pretty sight watching someone hammer and chisel a can of corned beef. At one point that was the best idea. Enter the can opener and all was well, or at least better. Since the days of Mr. Warner the can opener has been redesigned untold times. It seems odd that one brilliant idea using metal cans presents such problems that people remain compelled to reinvent ways to open them. Even after 150 years from its inception and after all its remakes and multiple forms I’m still not entirely satisfied with the one we have in the kitchen.

            The French phrase faute de mieux means, “for lack of something better.” We do things a certain way because that is all we have. Until something better presents itself this is what we do. It is easy to laugh at people in the past for using antiquated tools. They did the best they could until the better idea came along. But what about a generation refusing anything better? What about a people who perpetually wait for something better when the something better has been around for a long time?

            Years ago Dr. Colin Patterson (who served as Senior Paleontologist for the British Museum of Natural History) became rather bothersome for his question:Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing, any one thing that is true?” He had come to a point in his life when he realized he has given his entire career to studying evolution and could prove none of it. He knew the theory. He knew what should be evident in nature, but he also knew what was not there: any evidence in nature demanding evolution.

            Phillip E, Johnson wrote the book Darwin on Trial. Johnson was set on the task of reviewing textbooks for the state of New York. In the book he interviewed Dr. Patterson asking his opinion of popular textbooks. Patterson noted there were numerous matters remaining in biology textbooks which were purposefully behind the times. He thought it irresponsible for publishers and schools to continually tout evidences which were disproven decades earlier. Why must students be subjected to Piltdown Man as proof of human evolution fifty years after Piltdown Man was discredited? It was not an honest mistake in facts it was an intentional fake. Why keep textbooks fifty years behind the facts? Were any other subjects in schools so far behind?

            When Dr. Patterson was asked if he believed evolution should be kept in schools he responded with, “yes.” This is where Dr. Patterson ceases to be honest and become no better than the schools and publishers he criticizes. If he could prove nothing about it and if it is an accepted practice to perpetuate disproven and fraudulent information, then why keep it? He stated it must be taught until something better comes along. It may be false but that is the best we can do. Is this science? I was taught science was based on fact. You do not teach known lies while waiting for facts. You teach what you know to be true. Deception and cover-ups help no one. Anything founded on lies cannot stand. 

            Suppose there is something better but men preferred to stay ignorant. What if that information always passes the test of reality, shouldn’t that be called science? The Bible has never been improved. It never has to wait for something better. It is perfection. It is the foundation for all human education having been proven through the generations by very brilliant men, some of whom wanted to prove it wrong. The idea of faute de mieux (we’ll just use this until something better comes along) applied to existing and ancient perfection is foolish. Perfect is perfect. Anything else will fail.

            Using hammer and chisel to open a can is one thing. That does not promote a lie. Using a failed pet theory so obviously false is another. The efforts of evolutionists are based on one objective: denial of God. To them nothing else matters. You must sacrifice your mind and honesty for it. Men like Dr. Patterson looked for something better but would never accept a Creator. They would rather live with a lie than the truth.

Romans 1:20-22 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.