VIDEO God’s Silence, Then What? – This Illness Is for the Glory of God

Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).

A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

If there is only one strand of faith amongst all the corruption within us, God will take hold of that one strand.  Not Knowing Whither, 888 L


This Illness Is for the Glory of God – John Piper

 

The Main Actor

The Lord has done this.  Psalm 118:23

 

I once heard about a student taking a class in preaching at a prominent seminary. The student, a young man who was a bit full of himself, delivered his sermon with eloquence and evident passion. He sat down self-satisfied, and the professor paused a moment before responding. “That was a powerful sermon,” he said. “It was well organized and moving. The only problem is that God was not the subject of a single one of your sentences.”

The professor highlighted a problem all of us struggle with at times: We can talk as if we’re the primary actor (emphasizing what we do, what we say) when in truth God is the primary actor in life. We often profess that God is somehow generally “in charge,” but we act as if all the outcomes depend on us.

The Scriptures insist that God is the true subject of our lives, the true force. Even our necessary acts of faith are done “in the name of the Lord”—in the Lord’s power (Psalm 118:10–11). God enacts our salvation. God rescues us. God tends to our needs. “The Lord has done this” (v. 23).

So the pressure’s off. We don’t need to fret, compare, work with compulsive energy, or feed our many anxieties. God is in charge. We need only trust and follow His lead in obedience.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

When are you most tempted to think you’re the main actor of your life? How has God invited you to let Him be the center of your life?

God, I’ve been paying lip service to You being in charge of my world. It’s exhausting, and I want to stop doing that. Help me trust You.

The Revelation of Our Salvation

1 Peter 1:10-12

If you’ve ever read through the Bible, you probably came to realize divine revelation is progressive. It was over the course of hundreds of years that God provided man with indications of His plan for reconciliation. That’s why, as today’s passage indicates, the Old Testament prophets could speak of the salvation we have in Christ even though they didn’t understand how everything fit together. It was as if they were looking at a distant mountain range but had no idea how far it was from one peak to the next.

Isaiah is a good example of this. He wrote of Israel’s Messiah as a king who would rule over a restored world (Isa. 9:6-7; Isa. 11:1-10) yet in chapter 53 described Him as a suffering servant who would die.

Though Isaiah wouldn’t have been able to grasp the full meaning behind the words God’s Spirit moved him to record, later revelation gives us a more complete picture. We know Jesus came the first time to sacrifice Himself for our sins, and one day He’ll return in glory to rule the entire world as King of Kings.

What’s even more amazing is that angels long to look into this salvation, which we so often take for granted and see merely as the doorway by which we enter heaven. Such simplistic thinking reveals we truly don’t understand the scope of what transpired at the cross and how it effected our salvation.

We should be curious like the prophets, who sought to know more about Christ and the sacrifice He lovingly made on our behalf. When we make that a priority, we’ll learn more about our Savior and salvation, and our awe and love for Him will increase.

Throwing Darwin a Curve

throwing_darwin_curve_wide
“The pitch cuts the inside corner of the plate for strike two.”

That familiar sound is heard on radios around the world. In fact, some of the best pitchers in America are not Americans. Great pitching ability is not limited to ethnicity or geography, but rather to human beings alone. Great pitchers make it look so easy, and “practice makes perfect,” but it helps that the brain power necessary for control, neurological connections, and muscular arrangements for the human arm are exceedingly better than any system that exists on the planet. Is throwing a ball really that complex?

Planning Motor Activity

Most people have heard of “gray” matter and “white” matter in the brain. If the brain were cut in half and viewed from the end, two distinct layers would be seen. The darker-colored outer layer of the brain, about one quarter inch thick, is the gray matter, and the white-yellow area inside is the white matter. In very broad terms, the gray matter associates sensory input with memories, plans motion and muscular activities, and provides awareness of sensations. It is called the cortex and is the conscious part of the brain. The white matter is composed of nerves that are covered in an insulating material with high fat content, giving it a whiter color. The connections are not random, but organized into “tracts” carrying data from one specific point to another. However, the number of connections is huge, so every part of the brain is essentially connected to every other part.

One part of the pitcher’s cortex is the premotor area. Since childhood, the pitcher has been storing thousands of plans in this area that coordinate the actions of whole groups of muscles. It is the primary storage location in the brain for learned skills, particularly ones that are repetitious in nature. While every pitch is unique, the general plan for muscle coordination pertaining to each type of pitch is stored—and constantly refined—in that area. A great major league pitch was started possibly at age two when the pitcher was handed a ball by his father and he made his first toss, influenced by every throw since then. Today, the pitcher will pull a general plan for a curveball from the premotor cortex.

The premotor is absolutely essential to control muscular movements. Large muscle groups are controlled and coordinated so that simultaneous and ordered motions occur as planned. A pitch involves primary muscle groups in the neck, hand, arm, shoulder, trunk, hips, legs, and feet. Individual neurons send impulses to several muscles, and each muscle receives impulses from neurons in multiple spots in the cortex simultaneously. Several neurons in the brain control each muscle, and each muscle is sent impulses from neurons located in several locations in the premotor cortex. This extent of control is necessary to achieve proper muscle coordination for pitching.

The batter is a power hitter, so the pitcher decides to throw the ball a little high and over the outside edge of the plate but still in the strike zone. From the moment of his decision, he will be modifying the premotor general plans. He fixes his eyes on his target. He knows that the path of the ball is going to follow an arc—not an absolute straight line—so he wants the end of the arc to be at the correct elevation. Hitting that elevation is primarily a function of speed and distance. Good pitchers have programmed these factors into the premotor area. But the exact elevation of any one particular pitch has not been programmed, so conscious changes to the plan are inserted. Wind and type of pitch also figure into the trajectory of the ball.

The rehearsed plan from the premotor area, coupled with conscious modifications, is sent to an adjacent area of the brain called the motor cortex and simultaneously to the cerebellum. This distinct area of the brain located toward the back and base of the skull functions like an extraordinarily rapid gatekeeper and a switching station. As a gatekeeper, it receives movement and environmental data from all of the sensors in the tendons, muscles, eyes, ears, skin, etc., and sorts out those pertinent to the execution of the pitch—an astonishingly huge number. It will couple that input with data from the motor cortex and send instantaneous modifications to the execution of the plan back to the motor cortex and to the muscles. As the pitch is performed, the motor and premotor cortexes and the cerebellum work in concert in a blindingly fast “circuit” that provides continuous input from the brain, through the spinal cord, then out through thousands of microscopic nerves to the muscles.

Integrating Visual and Vestibular Input

Looking back to the batter, even if the catcher has not moved his mitt to become a target, the pitcher can still lock onto a target of plain three dimensional space. How? Subconsciously his eyes pick up cues regarding distance based on the relative height of the squatting catcher, umpire, home plate, batter, and other things. Keying on any movement of the people around the target, the relative motions one to another also give accurate indications of depth. These cues are constantly being compared with data stored in memory to give an extremely accurate estimation of distance relative to height or motion. Another aid is his “stereo vision” (since the distance between pitcher and batter is less than 600 feet.). The pitcher’s eyes are set about four inches apart. However, this small distance is enough to allow the line of vision from eye to object to not be parallel but angled. The slightly dissimilar images projected onto the retina are interpreted by the brain as a three-dimensional image that helps aid in the sense of depth or distance.

A right-handed pitcher’s body will pivot on his left foot and rotate toward the left. To stay locked on target, his left eye turns toward his nose, the right turns toward the right temple, and they both rotate (to compensate for head’s leftward tilt) a little to the right—in exact unison. Six small extremely fast muscles for each eye control these movements.

As the pitcher turns through his pitching arc, the body’s rotary motion is sensed by semicircular canals in both the left and right inner ears. The right semicircular canal sends an inhibitory signal to eye muscles attached to the nose bone of the right eye and the temple bone of the left eye—which allows these muscles to relax. The left semicircular canal sends an excitatory signal—of exactly equal timing, magnitude, and duration—to an eye muscle on the nasal side of the left eye and the temporal side of the right eye, causing contraction. Visual input is integrated with these inputs and “tempers” these signals that contribute to extremely smooth eye motion fixated on the target while the head and body move “around” them. While the right hip of the pitcher may swing through an arc covering more than four feet, the eyes will turn through the same number of degrees of turn (generally until release of the ball) but move about one inch.

Meanwhile, tiny adjustments are being made to the circular motion of the arm, wrist, fingers, and trunk all the way down to his feet. The arm swings through an arc angled from the perpendicular, and at just the right time the wrist rotates so the hand stays in the same orientation toward the ground. Muscles in the forearm start to flex the wrist forward, moving it in its own small arc as the whole hand swings forward. The wrist’s movement inputs spin to the ball and increases power. At just the right moment during the swing, the brain sends signals to the muscles controlling the thumb. Pressure by the thumb on the ball loosens in a carefully graded manner. Promptly thereafter, muscles in the back of the arm are signaled to just barely loosen finger pressure on the top of the ball. The force imparted to the ball pulls it out of the hand at the right moment so its trajectory is right on target at over 90 miles per hour…for a strike.

Conclusion

Drawings of cavemen throwing primitive spears may seem convincing evidence of humanity’s evolutionary ancestry for those who fixate only on the spear. This makes no more sense than standing in awe of a free-falling 500 pound “dumb” bomb but ignoring the stealth jet fighter that released it. For anyone not blinded by evolutionary prejudice, it is easy to see that the real star of the show is not the archaic spear—but the incredible arm that threw it. All arms reflect features of design whose origins resist natural explanations. In no small way, misplaced appreciation robs the Lord Jesus Christ of His rightful praise as the prestigious Designer. Yet, His arms remain open, inviting all to “come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).


* Dr. Randy J. Guliuzza, P.E., M.D is the National Representative for the Institute for Creation Research.

Small and the Great

Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

—1 Peter 5:5

Some time ago we heard a short address by a young preacher during which he quoted the following, “If you are too big for a little place, you are too little for a big place.”

It is an odd rule of the kingdom of God that when we try to get big, we always get smaller by the moment. God is jealous of His glory and will not allow anyone to share it with Him. The effort to appear great will bring the displeasure of God upon us and effectively prevent us from achieving the greatness after which we pant.

Humility pleases God wherever it is found, and the humble person will have God for his or her friend and helper always. Only the humble are completely sane, for they are the only ones who see clearly their own size and limitations. Egotists see things out of focus. To themselves they are large and God is correspondingly small, and that is a kind of moral insanity.   TWP034

Lord, help me never to be too big for a little place. In humility let me serve and revel in You as my “friend and helper always.” Amen.

 

The cup which my Father hath given me

The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?—John 18:11.

Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.—Romans 12:2.

 

We are often greatly hindered in the fulfillment of our duties by an unconscious clinging to self, which holds us back from God, and which leads us to seek our rest, in something other than the simple fulfillment of His most holy will. If we honestly sought nothing save His will, we should always be in a state of perfect peace, let what may happen. But, very often, even when we ask that God’s will may be done, we still wish it to be done after our fashion.

Père Hyacinthe Besson.

 

When we are fully delivered from the influence of selfish considerations, and have become conformed to the desires and purposes of the Infinite Mind, we shall drink the cup, and drink it cheerfully, whatever it may be. In a word, we shall necessarily be submissive and happy in all trials, and in every change and diversity of situation. Not because we are seeking happiness, or thinking of happiness, as a distinct object, but because the glorious will of Him whom our soul loves supremely, is accomplished in us.

Thomas C. Upham.

 

Be Free to Travel

“And I will strengthen them in the Lord: and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord.” Zech. 10:12

A solace for sick saints. They have grown faint, and they fear that they shall never rise from the bed of doubt and fear; but the great Physician can both remove the disease, and take away the weakness which has come of it. He will strengthen the feeble. This He will do in the best possible way, for it shall be “in Jehovah.” Our strength is far better in God than in self. In the Lord it causes fellowship, in ourselves it would create pride. In ourselves it would be sadly limited, but in God it knows no bound.

When strength is given, the believer uses it. He walks up and down in the name of the Lord. What an enjoyment it is to walk abroad after illness, and what a delight to be strong in the Lord after a season of prostration! The Lord gives His people liberty to walk up and down, and an inward leisure to exercise that liberty. He makes gentlemen of us: we are not slaves who know no rest, and see no sights, but we are free to travel at our ease throughout Immanuel’s land.

Come, my heart, be thou no more sick and sorry, Jesus bids thee be strong, and walk with God in holy contemplation. Obey His word of love.

 

%d bloggers like this: