More Desirable Than Gold

CS Lewis, the famous British author and broadcaster of the 1950’s, once called Psalm 19 “the greatest poem in the Psalms and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.” In it, David declares that nature reveals only partial answers about God, but His word reveals the rest. He said that God’s judgments in His word “are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold” (v10).

I did a little research about the desirability of gold. The largest owners of gold bullion in the world are governments. This is because gold has traditionally served as a source of security when there are upheavals in the world. In the 1960’s, Canada used to own about 1000 tonnes of the stuff, but has since sold off most of it. The Royal Canadian Mint has created quite an impressive business designing and manufacturing gold coins for the world’s governments. The United States has 8,133 tonnes, worth roughly $300 billion dollars. The top ten gold-owning nations in the world store about $804 billion! Apparently, that’s only about 15% of all the gold ever mined to date, which includes the ring on your finger.

David, being the greatest Old Testament Israelite king, must have owned quite a bit of gold. But he considered the word of God and its wisdom to be more desirable than owning large quantities of it. That’s a marvelous comparison that rings true in our materialistic country. It’s far better to learn God’s word than it is to have a pile of gold! The latter might be impressive, but the former will bless your life and give you great happiness and salvation. David, in verses 7-11, actually gives us eight blessings that the word of God can give us. Have a look, and marvel at what he says.

Oh yes, CS Lewis was right.

– Tim Johnson

What to do When Your House Falls Apart

“The inheritance to which we are born is one that nothing can destroy or spoil or wither.” (1 Pet.1:3, NEB)

As a homeowner, I’m always amazed at the endless work it takes to keep things in good shape. One house we had needed painting every few years due to the damp Maritime climate. Tired of scraping and painting, I tore all the clapboard off and installed new wood, painted the whole house, and hoped it would solve my problem. It didn’t. A contractor friend said there was too much humidity inside the house (4 kids and all those showers…), so I installed an air exchanger, and had the whole house covered in vinyl siding. That fixed it.

That same house also had a leaky basement. We had to dig a trench, 5 feet deep, all around the foundation to repair cracks, install drain tiles, and then fill it all in, rebuild front and back porches, repair the lawn, restore the driveway…Oh my!

Sometimes home ownership can be tedious indeed. One works on things inside and out. If you own a house, you know what I’m talking about.

The scripture above tells us we have a home waiting for us in heaven that will never need the kind of upkeep we do in this present world. “Nothing can destroy it,” Peter declares. It will never suffer from fire, floods, or simple aging. It will never “spoil” from damp weather, rotting materials, insects, or our endless wind. And it wont “wither” (fade away) from the hot sun, blasting weather, poor materials, and shifts in the ground. It will always be in perfect shape and carry no worries or expense.

It’s an inheritance God reserves for those who faithfully serve Him as Christians, even when life is hard. He has a spot for you awaiting your arrival in the next life – a reservation in heaven.

The next time you are knee-deep in dust, dirt and paint, remember that you won’t have to do any of that in heaven. “In this you greatly rejoice…” (v6).

– Tim Johnson

Microcomputers in the Brain Tabulate Design

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

I’m typing this article on a personal computer. You are most likely reading it on some form of one, whether a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet (which are really just small computers). These amazing devices are all around us. Brilliant researchers have spent billions of dollars designing the most functional computers to help people all over the world achieve their goals. You may well know, however, that one computer is more powerful than any that humans have been able to design—the human brain. As LiveScience writer Charles Choi stated, “The most powerful computer known is the brain” (2013).

But a fresh look into the brain has revealed something amazing. This supercomputer is even more “super” than we thought. Inside the brain are short branches of cells called dendrites. These dendrites have long been thought to be simple transporters of nerve signals to brain neurons. Recent discoveries by neuroscientist Spencer Smith and his team of researchers suggest, however, that dendrites do more than passively transfer information (Choi, 2013). It appears that dendrites are actually minicomputers that process information instead of simply transferring it. Because of this discovery, Smith stated: “Suddenly, it’s as if the processing power of the brain is much greater than we had originally thought” (as quoted in Choi, 2013).

To what did Smith compare this remarkable discovery? He illustrated the results in this way: “Imagine you’re reverse engineering a piece of alien technology, and what you thought was simple wiring turns out to be transistors that compute information” (as quoted in Choi, 2013).

The implication of Smith’s statement about alien technology could not be clearer—the brain is comparable to (but surpasses) any technology humans have designed. Therefore, if we were to realistically compare it to something, it would have to be technology produced by brilliant aliens whose mental capabilities must be far superior to that of humans. But wait, the technology that we at first recognized to be superior, we discover to be even more advanced than we originally thought. What does that say about the brain? It must have been designed by a Being with incomprehensible intelligence. The idea of mindless evolution simply cannot account for the computer, no, the supercomputer filled with minicomputers, we call the brain. It really is a no-brainer, there must be a God.

From Apologetics Press www.apologeticspress.org

A Living Hope

A LIVING HOPE

The Prairies can be a lonely place, but it was especially so for Tom Sukanen, a Finnish immigrant who moved to Saskatchewan over 100 years ago. He’d walked 600 miles from Minnesota, where his family waited for him to later return and get them. Seven years later he did, but his wife had passed away and all his children had been placed in foster homes. Alone, he returned to his homestead near the South Saskatchewan River. He dreamed of returning to Finland and, having been trained as a shipbuilder, decided to build a sea-going vessel he could sail up the river to Hudson’s Bay, then across the Atlantic. The Great Depression hit, and at great sacrifice, he managed to build his craft in sections, moving each by himself 17 miles to the river. The heaviest piece needed help, and no one would lend a hand. He sank into depression, especially after vandals stole some of the metal parts. Institutionalized in a hospital, he died in 1943. Decades later, the community organized a museum and Tom’s ship is the crowning piece. You can visit it today, just southwest of Moose Jaw.

Sukanen’s sad story teaches us many things, but one thing stands out: the futility of unreasonable hopes. While we all would wish for Tom’s success, there were just too many obstacles. It’s different with the hope that every Christian carries in his heart – to live again after death and enter heaven. Peter put it this way: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3) He emphasized that it is A LIVING HOPE. It’s not an impossible, and therefore unreasonable hope. Jesus Himself rose again, demonstrating forever that the coming resurrection will indeed take place. Our hope is real, and it will not fail.

– Tim Johnson

A Good Ending

Life is full of endings. A good show ends when the curtain comes down. The movie is over when the credits fill the screen. The job ends when you retire. The day ends when you go to bed.

God not only gives us new beginnings, He brings us lots of endings. The Babylonian captivity ended after 70 years. The Law of Moses ended at the cross – “For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom.10:4) Our old lives of sin end at baptism. (Rom.6:6) Our lives will end.

The most dramatic ending of all will be that of the entire universe. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Pet.3:10) Our busy lives should pause and reflect on the coming end of all things. Peter asked all Christians, “What sort of people ought you to be?” (3:11)

What makes an ending good is the quality of life that comes before it. A sad, tragic life results in a sad death. But a life lived with joy and faith has a far better ending. How are you living out the time God has given you on earth? Those who live by faith will win the victory.

Remember what the apostle Paul said as he faced the end? “…the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Tim.4:6-9). Live so you can say the same.

The end.

– Tim Johnson