Jury Duty

Called to jury duty. Gained some insights into the White Throne Judgment. Let me explain . . .

There are 12 jurors, presumably representing the 12 disciples. Then there are the lawyers, representing the defendant and, in this case, the State of Oregon. I know the one representing the State would be analogous to Jesus and my guess is, though not convinced, the defendant’s attorney represents Satan. Then, of course, there is the judge, representing God the Father.

It was the duty of the jurors to be “convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt” that the criminal had 1) been in possession of a firearm  and 2) that he was a previously convicted felon at the time of arrest. The State called the arresting policeman for his witness. He had a bodycam on him at the time that was shown to the court. It was a video of the young man being arrested. Out of his own mouth, when asked by the police if he had a gun, said, “You know I do.” He then proceeded to tell him it was in his back pocket. The police removed it from his pocket and showed it on the video. Throughout the encounter, the police remained calm yet firm; the defendant was emotional, cursing, out of control. While the video was playing, I watched the defendant. He appeared quite pleased with himself as this encounter was shown to those of us in the courtroom. He smiled, almost laughed, glancing at the jurors and attorneys from time-to-time. I wonder if at the White Throne Judgment the lost will act similarly as their life is revealed before them. There was no question as to his being a convicted criminal at the time of arrest as both lawyers agreed on this matter in the courtroom.

The only hope the defendant’s lawyer had was to deviate from the law. The question was, “Did the defendant have a firearm at the time of arrest?” The lawyer tried to manipulate, attempting to deceive, by asking the question, “Does an unloaded firearm constitute danger?” This point had nothing to do with the question to be proved Yet, is this not the way that Satan deals with us today–and how he dealt with Eve so many years ago?

Now, I believe that this analogy breaks down with Satan wanting any of us to spend eternity in heaven. On the other hand, it was clear that the lawyer knew her case was hopeless and the only point she tried to bring up was to twist the law. Satan is no different. He has been deceiving and twisting the Law from his first encounter with mankind in the Garden.

As we walked out of the courtroom for the last time, I imagined what it would be like if the attorney for the State would have stood up, told the judge that he would cover for the defendant, taking his place. Of course, this would not be possible on earth, but this is exactly what Jesus did for us.

I wondered why we waste so much money and time giving ear to a criminal case with an obvious verdict. When I asked, they told me that everyone has the right to a trial. Then it occurred to me that God is giving all of us an opportunity to plead guilty and ask Jesus to take our place every day. Oh, that those who walk into the courtroom could see the much bigger picture that God is reaching out to man through this process!

The jurors reconvened one more time in the Jury Assembly Room B for a final meeting where the judge came in to talk briefly with us, answering any questions. We were then released, dismissed from further jury duty. At the White Throne Judgment, we, too, will be released. But not back into our daily lives on earth but into heaven, our eternal home with Jesus, the One Who stood in for us when we were guilty. Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus!

God’s Children are Like Stars

God’s children are like stars that shine brightest in the darkest skies (Verna Hall).

In the beginning God created the heavens . . .

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. (Ps. 19:1)

God  counts the number of the stars; He calls them by name (Ps. 147:4). Interesting to note thatGod names the stars while Adam names the animals.

A team led by an Australian astronomer set out to discover if there are more stars in the sky or grains of sand on the beaches. Their conclusion: Stars outnumber sand. Astronomers currently estimate that there are 70 thousand million million million, or 70 followed by 21 zeros, stars visible from the earth through telescopes–and that’s only the known universe. One scientist concluded that this unfathomable number is “more than 10 times the grains of sand in every beach and desert on earth!” Dr. Simon Driver, who led this study, remarked that “Even for a professional astronomer used to dealing in monster numbers, this is mind boggling.”

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

Johannes Kepler was an astronomer who relied on God and His Word to resolve mysteries that had stumped scientists for centuries. He stands out as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, astronomers of all time. In fact, his Three Laws of Planetary Motion are referred to regularly by today’s astronomers. Kepler was an astronomer with a deep love for and commitment to God. He lived at a time when most of the people were superstitious and actually afraid of the night sky. Because of his discoveries and contributions, those who came after him such as Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton were able to build their discoveries on reason and not fear of the unknown.

Due to his faith in God he reasoned that the sun represents God the Father, the stars represent Jesus, and the universe the Holy Spirit. Kepler is often quoted as saying:

I was merely thinking God’s thoughts after him. Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it benefits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.

He believed that the world of nature, the world of man, and the world of God were all designed by God to fit together perfectly. As he furthered his studies in science, he knew that the was studying God’s handiwork. Because an intelligent Creator designed the universe, it should function logically. It was this belief that led him to his discoveries.

He knew that God had given the sun, moon, stars and planets as natural clocks and calendars because Genesis 1:14 says, “. . . let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years.” His reasoning led him to understand how to predict when a full moon would appear, when the sun would rise and set, and when an eclipse would darken the sun.

He had to leave Germany due to religious persecution. He moved to Prague where he became the assistant to Tycho Brahe, a great astronomer. He was given the job of determining the orbit of Mars. He persevered for six years seeking a solution to this problem. Eventually, he decided to think outside of the box, going against the thinking of his contemporaries and hypothesized that Mars’ orbit just might be that of an ellipse rather than a circle traveling around the sun. These discoveries became known as Kepler’s 3 laws of planetary motion–the foundation of astronomy today. His first law states that the planets follow an elliptical orbit around the sun.

Because of his faith in God and God’s Word, he was able to solve the question of planetary motion. This question had eluded scientists for centuries. His simple logical pattern for planetary motion reflected God’s wisdom. In Kepler’s words,

We see how God, like a human architect, approached the founding of the world according to order and rule and measured everything in such a manner.

His book, “The New Astronomy”, ends with heartfelt praise for God as he pens

Thus God himself was too kind to remain idle, and began to play the game of signatures, signing his likeness into the world.

Kepler considered his many studies as just another way of looking into God’s magnificent creation. This is borne out by looking at any of his studies and finding them rich with praises to God.

A brief look at some of God’s “signatures in the sky”

God spoke the stars into existence.

Right in the center of the Whirlpool Galaxy, M51, where the sun is merely a tiny speck, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovered this image, that looks strikingly similar to a cross. Dr. Holland Ford of Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope and Science Institute remark that this image “marks the exact position of the nuclear black hole.” According to NASA,

This image of the core of the nearby spiral galaxy M51, . . . [reveals a cross] silhouetted across the galaxy’s nucleus. The “X” [cross] is due to absorption by dust and marks the exact position of a black hole which may have a mass equivalent to one-million stars like the sun. The darkest bar may be an edge-on dust ring which is 100 light-years in diameter. The edge-on torus not only hides the black hole and accretion disk from being viewed directly from earth, but also determines the axis of a jet of high-speed plasma and confines radiation from the accretion disk to a pair of oppositely directed cones of light, which ionize gas caught in their beam. The second bar of the “X” could be a second disk seen edge on, or possibly rotating gas and dust in MS1 intersecting with the jets and ionization cones.

The size of the image is 1100 light-years.

Louie Giglio explains this discovery well here. You might enjoy taking a few minutes to listen to this interesting YouTube video of various sounds in space. Finally, you there’s Louie Giglio’s Stars and Whales possibly singing How Great is Our God.

Something to think about

If at all possible, I’d like to share my all-time favorite homework assignment from Bible school. Take 15 minutes one night this week to lay under the stars and reflect on how awesome God is. You might want to consider the question, How do the heavens bring you to worship God?

 

The Creator Leaves His Mark on His Creation

Behind every piece of artwork, musical instrument, song, tree, mountain and person there is a creator. The more complex the creation the more we can learn about the creator behind it.

Take Raphael’s Sistine Madonna for example:

What can you learn about Raphael from just looking at his artwork? What kind of thoughts do you think dominated his mind? Why do you think he chose to be a painter? Do you think he spent much time learning to paint? How did he perceive Jesus and Mary? I hope you took a couple minutes to answer some of these questions about the person behind the painting. Look closely at the cherub angels on the bottom of the painting–what do you see in the caricature he portrayed of them? What time in history did he live? What continent did he live on?

What about this recently created painting? Ask yourself the questions from above about the creator of the butterflies painting.

The creator will always leave his mark on his creation.

What can we learn about God by looking at His creation? A good place to start is Genesis 1, the creation account. It appears to me that God has provided all of creation for us to learn about Him from–that is if we are willing to accept that He is the creator of heaven and earth. He tells us that He created light and darkness/heaven and earth, the sky, vegetation and plant life, the sun, moon and stars, birds of the air and fish of the sea, land animals and people. Can’t think of a thing that He didn’t create. Therefore, it stands to reason that we can learn about God by closely looking at just about anything. If we go back far enough, or delve deep enough into our subject, I believe we will be able to learn something about God and/or a Biblical principle. Job 12:7-10 tells us:

But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?

I love Psalm 32:7, “You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. Take a minute to pause and think about it. We can turn to Him in trouble and He will surround us with songs of deliverance.

Consider Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

What can you learn about the creator of this clay lamp used in Bible times? The creator leaves his mark on his creation. The creator used primitive tools to create a functional light. A degree of beauty was attempted through the carving on the lamp, but functionality was of greatest importance to this creator. Paint was not used. Clearly, the creator of this oil lamp was most interested in providing a simple source of light.

Why would you want to know about the creator of an object?

What can someone learn about you by looking at your schoolwork? Your artwork? Your room? Your friendships? What you do in your free time? Do you like what others can learn about you by examining various parts of your life? What small change would you like to make?

Challenge for the Week:

Take 15-20 minutes this week to carefully observe a small portion of creation in nature, a person, the sky or water. Ask God to show you something about Himself in it. Take the time to slow down and think about it. Ask God to reveal something about Himself or a Biblical truth in what you are observing. If you prefer, you could find something that interests you and ask God to teach you about Himself through it. It’s good to ask other people–family, friends, parents, siblings, experts–to help you with this. Or you could do an Internet search or find a book to learn how a thing works and what you can discover about God as a result. Selah.

Here are some ideas to get you going if you need a little boost:

  • Branch, John 15, good branches must be pruned > we must go through trials
  • Tree, Psalm 1, time with God = healthy tree/man
  • Wheat, Jn 12;24, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. > I must die to my selfishness in order to bear much fruit for God.
  • AntsProv. 5:6, Go to the ant you sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise. > they teach us to beware of laziness. This could become a great investigation for anyone.
  • Dog, God gives everyone a companion/friend or Prov. 26:11,“As a dog returns to his vomit, [so] a fool returns to his folly.” > Don’t continue in foolishness.
  • Cow, Gen. 1:26-28, Man is to take dominion over the animals. A cow provides milk, meat, labor and clothing for man.
  • Birds, Mat. 6:26, Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
  • Rose, a beautiful flower yet it has thorns. We must endure trials and hardships before the beauty and aroma of Christ can penetrate our life.
  • Wind, though I cannot see it, I can feel it. An exercise in faith.
  • Water, I have often thought of a drink of water as a special smile from the Lord as He delights in satisfying my thirsty soul.
  • Rainbow, God is light. The rainbow is light broken up into colors. Each color can represent an individual. I have no right to complain if my friend is “blue” and I am “orange.” We need all colors to make up the light.
  • Cat, God likes to give us textures and companions.
  • Horse, God loves grace and beauty.
  • Mountain, Majesty of God; How great thou art!
  • Rock, Jesus is the chief cornerstone

Lord bless and keep you,

Cindy
God’s Fingerprint Detective