MUSINGS OF AN OLDER MAN.

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AMAZING THINGS. (7)

Bad news”, Jesus was not born on December 25. But, AMAZING news, when He WAS born and knowing that may thrill your heart as it did mine. In the gospel of Luke, chapter 2, the shepherds are watching their flocks, not in the winter, but starting about half of March-begin April. That’s the Hebrew month of Nisan. Why were the shepherds outside during the night? Because it was the time for lambs to be born. Interesting, what a time for God’s Lamb to be born. Isn’t something that shepherds looking for newborn lambs were chosen by God to be the first ones to see God’s newborn Lamb? AMAZING. Lambs born around Bethlehem were used to be sacrificed in the temple. What a picture of God’s sacrificial Lamb born in Bethlehem. AMAZING. In John’s gospel, 1:14, it says that the Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us. One of the best pictures of Christ in the O.T. is the tabernacle. How long did it take to build the tabernacle? Nine months. How long was Jesus in Mary’s womb? Nine months. AMAZING. When was the tabernacle finished, when did God come to dwell among them? On the first day of the first month, the month Nisan, the biblical New Years day for the Jews. Every important event in Jesus’ life fell on a Jewish holy day. His triumphant entry on Palm Sunday when the people would bring their lambs to Jerusalem, so God brought His Lamb also. His death on Passover. He rose on the day of the First Fruits. He sent His Spirit on the Jewish feast of Pentecost. Jesus fulfills the feasts, but he also fulfills the theme of the feasts. Is there a day on the Hebrew calendar that would fulfill the theme of the Messiah’s birth? What does His birth mean? A new beginning. What special day would fulfill this? If there is one, it would be Nisan 1. In the O.T. on the first of Nisan God came to dwell among His people. In the light of all this, wouldn’t be reasonable to think that Jesus also came to dwell among us on the first of Nisan? Quite AMAZING isn’t? The coming of Jesus, a new begin, a new calendar, the old has passed, the new has come. Praise God. Now, don’t let this dating thing spoil your Christmas, the date is interesting but not most important, His coming is, and we celebrate that on December 25. He was born in a stable, has He been born in your heart? Why not let Him in? Merry Christmas to all with much of God’s peace and presence. (To be continued).

God's Lamb

 

 

 

 

 

MUSINGS OF AN OLDER MAN.

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AMAZING THINGS. (5)A

A mouse trap and the universe.

You may wonder, what does a mouse trap have to do with the universe? What is so amazing about that? Let me explain. When you have problems with a mouse or with mice in your house, you need a mousetrap, (see image). To have an effective mousetrap, three things are necessary, first, you need all five parts. When one part is missing, the trap won’t work. Secondly, all the parts need to be exactly in the right place. To have them just placed here and there makes the trap useless. Thirdly, an intelligence is needed to assemble the parts, so they are in the right place. What a simple, yet wonderful illustration of the universe and our planet earth. To have a livable planet, we need, just like with the mousetrap, three things. First, all the parts. We need planet earth, a sun, a moon, other planets, stars, and several other things. Secondly, we need these to be in the right place. For example, the distance between the sun and the earth needs to be just right, otherwise, the earth is not livable. And, the distance between the moon, which is exactly the in the correct position, and the sun and the earth must be just right. We need to have the earth in the right place in the universe, with the right size, with the right tilt, spinning with the right speed, and having the right combination of nitrogen and oxygen, plus small amounts of other gasses. Thirdly, we need an intelligence to put this all in place, just like with the mousetrap, or the earth will not be livable. Is it all in place? Is it all working? Is planet earth livable? Oh yes, it certainly is. ISN’T THIS AMAZING? Who was that Intelligence? Did everything after a so-called “Big Bang” come together, just right, by itself? Could the five parts of a mouse trap assemble themselves? Of course not. You see, that’s why I believe in an Intelligence, that’s why I believe in God and that’s why I worship Him.

MUSINGS OF AN OLDER MAN.

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AMAZING THINGS. (3)

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1.

Have you ever looked at the insight of a clock or one of these modern-day watches? How fine and complex everything is? And all the little parts must be exactly in place, otherwise, the thing does not work. That’s the way it is with our universe and earth. The universe is extremely fine-tuned or designed. There are 122 constants, things that do not change,that are continues, eternal, persistent, unceasing and so on. (“I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist,” page 106). It is not possible to cover all these in this short article, let me just show you a few and I’ll come back to them in a later article. I just want to mention some that have to do with our planet.

Our earth is EXACTLY the right size. We are aware of the effects of reduced or increased gravity on the other planets in our solar system. There is either too much or too little. The earth is just the rightsize for its inhabitants. Because of this, water remains in a liquid state. Lesser gravity and the water would be lost to space due to the greater evaporation of cold water caused by lower atmospheric pressure.

The earth spins at EXACTLY the correct speed. The spin of the earth is ideal for producing day and night. Longer days would cause a greater warming-up effect and, conversely, longer nights — colder. A faster rate of spin would produce constant violent weather conditions.

Notice the EXACTLY correct orbit of the earth. It only varies slightly in its distance from the sun, causing relatively small variations in temperature. A more elliptical orbit (as some other planets have)would be devastating for life on Earth.

EXACTLY the perfect distance from the sun. If we were 10 percent closer to the sun, the earth would have furnace-like temperatures, and 10 percent farther away would produce icy deserts. Also, the oceans would boil off or freeze solid respectively so there could be no life as we know it.

And finally, EXACTLY the right construction of the earth offers a vast supply of resources, such as wood, metals, animals, plants, and a host of others that are useful for mankind. In addition, Earth has the right conditions to permit the formation and maintenance of the ozone layer in the atmosphere to protect us. It has a magnetic field which helps deflect harmful radiation from the sun. The magnetic field also aids navigation for man and beast. Our atmosphere is composed of just the right gases, unlike some of the noxious combinations found elsewhere in our solar system. In other words,everything is JUST RIGHT, isn’t that absolutely amazing!? Doesn’t that just thrill your heart?

 (Bates, Gary. Alien Intrusion (p. 113-114). Creation Book Publishers. Kindle Edition.)

Now, what does all this mean that everything is exactly right? To what conclusion do we come? It’s been designed that way. And every design has a designer. The universe and the earth have a highly complex design. Therefore, the universe has a Designer. As Antony Flew, the world’s most notorious atheist has said, “We must go where the evidence leads us, THERE IS A GOD.”

AMAZING THINGS. (1)

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The Hummingbird. Someone has called it, “Creation’s superhero,” I call it, “God’s little hero.”

It is an absolutely amazing creature, judge for yourself.

Hummingbirds are native species of the New World and are not found outside of the Western Hemisphere except in a few zoos or aviaries. There are no hummingbirds found in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia or Antarctica. There are more than 325 unique species in the world.

Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop, though their feet can be used to scoot sideways while they are perched. Roughly 25-30 percent of a hummingbird’s weight is in its pectoral muscles. These are the broad chest muscles principally responsible for the flight. A hummingbird’s maximum forward flight speed is 30 miles per hour. These birds can reach up to 60 miles per hour in a dive. A hummingbird’s wings beat between 50 and 200 flaps per second depending on the direction of the flight, the purpose of their flight and the surrounding air conditions. They can fly forward, backward, upward and downward. Amazing little helicopters. Millions of dollars have been unsuccessfully invested in biomimetic engineering attempts to duplicate this complex system of biomechanical wonders. However, evolutionists believe that random mutations, natural selection, and millions of years can do better than brilliant engineers. It makes more sense to explain the brilliant hummingbird design as created by a brilliant divine Designer.

An average hummingbird’s heart rate is more than 1,200 beats per minute. In comparison, a human’s average heart rate is only 60-100 beats per minute at rest. At rest, a hummingbird takes an average of 250 breaths per minute. Their breathing pace will increase when they are in flight. To support such ‘breathtaking’ metabolism, this marvel must eat almost constantly to get the energy needed. Every day, it extracts nectar from up to 2,000 flowers. In addition to nectar, these birds also eat many small insects and spiders, and may also sip tree sap or juice from broken fruits. Hummingbirds do not suck nectar through their long bills, they lick it with fringed, forked tongues. Capillary action along the fringe of their tongue helps draw nectar up into their throats so they can swallow. It can lick 10-15 times per second while feeding. It digests natural sucrose – the sugar found in floral nectar – in 20 minutes with 97 percent efficiency for converting the sugar into energy.

The Rufous Hummingbird has the longest migration of any hummingbird species. These hummers fly more than 3,000 miles from their nesting grounds in Alaska and Canada to their winter habitat in Mexico. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird flies 500 miles nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico during both its spring and fall migrations.

This little bird is absolutely amazing and evidence of our great God, the Creator.

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MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.199.

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Nr.198 ended with: “There were so many people going with the train that day, that they had to add two carriages. That took a little time, enough for us to get there and get on the train……..! Praise the Lord! And then we started laughing…..! And we still laugh when we think of that……!” (See richardandmarina.net).

From the train on the plane and off to Canada. Leaving our family behind was hard on all of us, but knowing we were all in the will of the Lord and in the hands of our God made a difference. And so we arrived in Canada on Thursday, October 15, 2009. For the first two weeks, we stayed with friends while our condo was being painted and new rugs were put in. I had rented a car to shop around for one. Because of my back problems I needed a car that sits quite high. New ones were too expensive and the right second hand one was hard to find. I don’t know how many car dealers I visited but I was sure getting tired. Saturday came and I drove to Guelph and, to make the story short, within half an hour I had found the right car for the right price, $500.- less than what I received for our car sold in Belgium, wonderful! Our daughter Rosa told me later that she had asked the Lord to “drop a car into my lap.” I believe He did, praise Him!

We moved into our condo and a couple weeks later our boxes from Belgium arrived. While the fridge, couch, bed and TV were bought new, the rest of the furniture was all second hand. We had a great time visiting Salvation Army stores in Kitchener/Waterloo, where we were able to pick up some real good things for a cheap price.

We have been her now for almost seven years, unbelievable how fast time goes. It was great to be able to make a 9000 km trip out West to visit Marina’s family and also friends and churches that had been supporting us from time to time. Except for the last 1½ years, I preached every Sunday and also at some weeknight meetings. Marina spent much of her time phoning and writing cards to folk in Belgium. Last year I had a serious breakdown and had to stop all activity, but slowly I am improving and preaching again. Marina had colon cancer surgery last year December but is now completely clean. She also received a new pacemaker, just in time. I had prostate surgery in May, which went well. We do not have the strength anymore which we used to have and that is frustrating at times, but we have to accept our limitations, this is life. The Lord continues to provide for us, at times in amazing ways, for which we praise Him.

Next week will be episode 200 and the last one for the time being………..! (Go to richardandmarina.net).

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.197.

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Nr.196 ended with: “After more discussion with our friends there, a few days later I was on a plane to Toronto………….!” (See richardandmarina.net).

Why the hurry? Because there were others interested in this condo. Our friends had asked the person responsible, to wait and give me a chance to see it. I arrived in Toronto, was picked up and together with our friends went to see the place. I walked through it, took a good look at it and knew this was for us. The financial side had to be arranged which took time and then, on the fourth day I flew back to Belgium owning a condo in Elmira, praise the Lord! Marina and I decided not to move until the fall as I had a lot of speaking engagements lined up yet and we had to get rid of a lot of things. We had arrived in Belgium in December 1971 and were leaving in October 2009, so after 38 years there was a lot to leave there.

Just to mention this, we bought the condo in April and moved in the end of October, but from April until October another missionary couple, Les and Sharon Frey, who were working in Spain, were on furlough and were able to make use of our condo, it fitted all so well, praise God!

Quite a number of our churches in Belgium organized farewell parties for us, either alone or with a couple others, and there was a final farewell of all the churches together before we left. These meetings were wonderful but also painful, as we were saying goodbye to many spiritual children whom we dearly loved. Many were in tears, as we were at times. In one place a woman came to me in crying and telling me that her father had died just recently “and now, you, my spiritual father are leaving me too.” It wasn’t easy, but I assured her that we will meet again, if not down here, then “up there.”

I had quite a library, hundreds and hundreds of books, and since I could not take all of them with me to Canada, I took a number of boxes with books along to the meetings, put them out on tables and told the people they could take them and give whatever they wanted.

Slowly we were getting rid of things, selling some of our furniture and giving away some. Our daughters helped us pack boxes and boxes full of dishes, clothes, and many other things. We had all kinds and sizes of boxes. A friend had an export company and arranged the moving of our stuff by boat to Canada. We agreed to meet a certain day, bring all our boxes and pack them into eight large and strong cartons our friend brought. But now, could we get everything into those…………? (Go to Musings).

 

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.196

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Nr.195 ended with: “In 2008 we made a trip to Canada to see how the Lord would lead……….!” (See richardandmarina.net).

There were several reasons for why we were thinking of returning to Canada. Already mentioned was our physical condition, we were really tired, I guess the result of years going in overdrive. Another one was the fact that we did not feel right about being fully financially supported, while we were not able to be as active anymore. On top of that, our health insurance was running out, or in the case of Marina, had already run out. We were with a company in Canada that insured missionaries, but only up to the age of 70, then they were expected to return to Canada and be covered by government insurance. Our church graciously covered the monthly premiums. Staying in Belgium would mean getting private insurance which is very costly. And then, of course, there was our daughter Rosa, who, because of her debilitating illness, has had to be without us, without her sisters and her nieces and nephews for many years. We felt we should be near her now.

We prayed a lot about this and talked to the elders of our church. They were in agreement with our returning to Canada and were ready to give us a letter of commendation for full-time work in Canada. We also asked the advice of good friends who were in accord with our move back. Because of Marina no longer being covered by health insurance and having heart problems, we felt we should go ahead with planning our return. We were at perfect peace about all of this. So we started looking for a place to live and after driving all around Elmira I found a house on a quiet street that was up for sale. The elderly lady who owned the house showed me around and it looked real good. However, the next time I went to see her, there was a note on the door which said that she had changed her mind and was not selling. It was sort of disappointing, but we left it in the Lord’s hands and returned to Belgium.

In April 2009, we received a call from good friends in Elmira telling us that there was a condo for sale in a seniors building, which had 27 condos. Our friends took pictures of the condo and emailed them to us. We thought they looked great and were quite excited, even though some years ago we had visited other friends who were living in that building and I had told Marina afterwards that I would never want to live in a place like that! We really prayed about it and felt perfect peace. After more discussion with our friends there, a few days later I was on a plane to Toronto………….! (Go to Musings).