Saturday, January 30, 2010

Waiting For Hope

From Streams in the Desert...

"For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness" (Gal. 5:5, RV).
There are times when things look very dark to me--so dark that I have to wait even for hope. It is bad enough to wait in hope. A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence--that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane.

There is no patience so hard as that which endures, "as seeing him who is invisible"; it is the waiting for hope.
Thou hast made waiting beautiful; Thou has made patience divine. Thou hast taught us that the Father's will may be received just because it is His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.

Give me this Divine power of Thine, the power of Gethsemane. Give me the power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the casement where there are no stars. Give me the power, when the very joy that was set before me is gone, to stand unconquered amid the night, and say, "To the eye of my Father it is perhaps shining still." I shall reach the climax of strength when I have learned to wait for hope. --George Matheson Strive to be one of those--so few--who walk the earth with ever-present consciousness--all mornings, middays, star-times--that the unknown which men call Heaven is "close behind the visible scene of things."

Friday, January 29, 2010

One Day at A Time

Matthew 6:11 “Give us today our daily bread.”

This is how Jesus teaches us to pray. He wants us to look to Him to provide for us on a daily basis. If this is how Jesus teaches us to pray, surely this is how Jesus desires for us to live - daily dependent upon His provision.

This is not new with God. When the children of Israel were rescued from the bondage of Egypt, God required them to depend on Him day by day as they journeyed through the desert. In Exodus 16, the Lord ordered His people to gather enough manna to sustain them for a day. Those who disobeyed found that the extra that they had collected had become unfit for consumption except on Saturday, when miraculously the manna was preserved for an additional day so the people could rest and worship.

This sounds like the easy life. Get up and trust God to provide. It is much easier said than done, but when it is done, life sure gets easy.

We have a gifted, giving schoolteacher in our area. She and her husband have already raised one set of children and God provided them another set. One was born to them and the other is a foster child they hope to adopt. They were seeking the Lord, doing everything they could to serve God and love others, when tragedy struck.

Just more than a year ago, this relatively young vibrant mother and teacher had a stroke. It was devastating to her and to her family. She said that every moment was a chore to get through. Through painful headaches and new physical limitations, she and her husband chose to continue providing the life their children needed. She did not allow her condition to stop her.

Instead of stopping, she allowed God to provide for her moment by moment. Soon, she found that she only needed him hour by hour. Today she is living day by day and regardless of how much better she gets, that reality is not going to change.

She has gained a greater insight into reality through this trial. What she has learned and what we all need to learn from her is that we are in dire need of God’s daily provision. We are to pray and live in constant devotion to God, trusting Him for His provision.

If you are like me today, worn out and weary and in need of God’s strength and peace, there is hope. The God of the Bible has called us to look to Him daily and discover His power to provide all we need to get through and grow into the people He made us to be.

“Strange and difficult indeed we may find it, but the blessing that we need is behind it.” — Streams in the Desert.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Which Room Do You Live Like?

I have heard this preached several times. It is not a Biblical view of hell and heaven, but it is a true representation of the heart of those in heaven vs. those in hell.

The question that will stops me in my tracks: Jason, which room do you most live like?

A Holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, 'Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.'

The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in.

In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water. The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly.

They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful. But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.

The Lord said, 'You have seen Hell.'

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water.

The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

The holy man said, 'I don't understand.'

'It is simple,' said the Lord. 'It requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to feed each other. The greedy think only of themselves.'

Monday, January 25, 2010

Great Faith

Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
John 18:11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Jesus did not want to drink the cup of suffering. Nobody wants to suffer. Jesus was willing to undergo intense pain beyond anything anybody ever has or ever will go through because of His love for the Father and His desire to bring Him honor by redeeming all chosen to believe.

In North America there is a success syndrome that exists in Christianity. Like our culture, we admire and follow those we see as effective. We’ve made celebrities just like the rest of the world.

When I read Jesus’ words and Dr. Charles Parkhurst’s response to them I am compelled to believe this is not what our culture would define as great. I hope God will grow my faith beyond my cultural influence and enable to be like Jesus – a faithful servant in suffering. Read these words and be overwhelmed with a vision of what truly great faith is. This is in response to John 18.11.

This was a greater thing to say and do than to calm the seas or raise the dead. Prophets and apostles could work wondrous miracles, but they could not always do and suffer the will of God. To do and suffer God's will is still the highest form of faith, the most sublime Christian achievement. To have the bright aspirations of a young life forever blasted; to bear a daily burden never congenial and to see no relief; to be pinched by poverty when you only desire a competency for the good and comfort of loved ones; to be fettered by some incurable physical disability; to be stripped bare of loved ones until you stand alone to meet the shocks of life--to be able to say in such a school of discipline, "The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?'--this is faith at its highest and spiritual success at the crowning point. Great faith is exhibited not so much in ability to do as to suffer. --Dr. Charles Parkhurst

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Choosing Happiness

Friday's column...

A sweet, 89-year-old saint recently told me: “You choose your happiness.”

She is not from Kentucky, but she lives here now. Her old friends and home are far from here, along with what she is familiar with. Doctors she sees and the people she now calls friends are new to her.

Since being here, she has enjoyed every day because she has discovered the secret. Like the apostle Paul and all of God’s loved and revered saints, she has “learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). Her attitude has made all the difference in the world for her and for those who care for her.

Thankfully, she is not one of a kind.

A young lady in my church is extremely active. She is up before the sun and stays busy long after it goes down. There is a constant demand on her time. If she wanted to, she could complain. Instead of being negative, she chooses happiness.

In this difficult economy, a man I know is working two jobs. He has a precious wife and children he loves and must provide for. The time he spends with them is limited, but he does not complain. Throughout the day, he reminds himself that he is blessed to be healthy enough to work. He chooses happiness.

Last week, a dear friend of mine had to bury his mom. She was in very poor health and lived with pain. Those who cared for her at the facility in which she lived told him with tears how much they respected and loved his mom. He heard story after story about how she would pray for them and listen to them talk about their problems, but she never complained. Somehow, she was always optimistic. She chose happiness.

These people have something in common other than their choice to be happy. Each one of them is easy to love.

A nurse said about my friend’s mother: “Your mom was just so easy to love.”

The same is said of that seasoned saint of 89, that young woman and that hardworking man. They are easy to love.

Complicated is not a word that describes them. What you see is what you get. And what you see in each of them is a person committed to honoring God, working hard and doing right by other people. They are kind and caring. Their joy is to serve a need greater than themselves.

It is people like them who make the world a better place, who make a society work. They are the ones who keep their promises, share their resources and encourage the discouraged. They think nothing of what they do, but others cannot forget what it is they have done.

I want to be like them. To the best of my ability, I am going to choose to be happy. I am going to do what I must do to fulfill my responsibilities. I will do all I can to help others. Come what may, I will attempt to be thankful and content with what God has given me. He’s already given me far more than I deserve.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Despise the Treadmill

During the cold days of winter, I have to run on a treadmill and I hate it. It is misery. I will be the first to admit that I am a sissy, but running on a treadmill does not work for me.

I got to run outside on Monday. I ran twice as far on Monday as I did today.

The reason why only speaks to my lack of discipline. The reality is that my muscles are the same. Distance is distance. The only real difference is that on a treadmill I can press stop and walk away. When I am out on the road, if I stop I don’t get home.

This reminds me of a necessity in life with God. If we are going to walk with God, we’ve got to get out of the safe zone of living where at any moment when we get tired we can hit the stop button and leave. Stepping out in faith with Christ demands that we commit ourselves and engage God (Genesis 33:17-18), His people (Acts 2:42-47), and His mission (Matthew 28:19-20) to such an extent that we cannot walk away.

My prayer is that I will live so far down the road of grace with Jesus that stopping becomes more frightening than going forward. My prayer is that I will be so engaged with my faith family that leaving them would hurt worse than staying with them in the most hurtful times. My prayer is that I will be so engaged in sharing the Gospel that to stop seeking to make disciples would leave me lost and painfully purposeless.

We must get off of the easy-to-quit treadmill of faith and out on the real world journey with Jesus where there is no looking back.
Luke 9:62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Genesis 19:26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Snow Like the Church

On Friday Asher and I were at the park and found snow to play in. We made a miniature snowman and had a snowball fight.

It was in the mid-50s and yet there was still snow. It was because the snow had found a spot to gather together. Packed together the snow was able to remain longer.

It made me think of the church. When people gather in the name of Jesus and worship Him as His body of believers, each individual is insulated by the others. This strengthened spirit and heart is able to maintain hope in the midst of a dark decaying world.

Hebrews 10:23–25 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Friday, January 15, 2010


One of the most frustrating experiences in life is having a desire to help people, but not being able to do anything for them.

Right now I am being contacted by tons of caring individuals who want to do something for the precious people of Haiti. I do too. I’d like to get a bunch of supplies, get them to the Gulf, and take a boat there and serve people, but I can’t.

I am forced, like most people, to provide prayer and only financial resources.

What I really want is to FEEL like I have done something to help. A lot of people have this response. It doesn’t matter what we do. We just want to believe we did something to make life better for someone else.

And yet, we know that we cannot fix what is broken in the world. The fact is that only God can heal broken lives and our broken world. God has provided a fix for what is broken in the hearts and minds of people – grace. When He comes again, He will completely fix the world – judgment.

Until then, we must do all we can, but acknowledge that there is only so much we can do.

This feeling that we have to fix things should remind us of several things:

1. We are human beings made in the image of God to love people.
2. Only God can fix what is broken. We are dependent on Him.
3. We can join God in the little we have to offer and trust in His ultimate plans.

It is a wonderful frustrating faith-building feeling. It is wonderful because it reminds us that we are made to love. It is frustrating because we cannot make the difference we want to. It is faith-building because it forces us to acknowledge our dependence on God.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hope in Haiti

As I watched the coverage of the tragedy in Haiti last night, I heard something that I didn’t expect. I heard a story of hope.

It turns out that a number of orphanages throughout the area had suffered extreme damage to their facilities, but none of the children had been injured. These were orphanages that are run and supported by Christians. I know that these beautiful kids were given more than financial support. These precious little ones were supported with prayer.

In the midst of death God saved a remnant that were sheltered and prayed for in the name of Christ.

All of the world will one day look like Haiti. Only those who are found in Christ will be saved.

Revelation 21:1–5 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Let’s all be in prayer for the precious people of Haiti.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You Get One Quick Shot

I am on-call this week, which means I am responsible for the care needs of our congregation. It is a lot of extra work, but it is pure joy to get to be there and pray for people in need.

During my rounds yesterday I was reminded of Psalm 39:4–5 “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. 5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.”

I visited with a man’s family that will soon pass away. He knows Jesus and has sought to honor Him with his life. His family loves him and they are very sad to see him in this condition, but they are very happy that he is going to be in heaven soon.

Just one floor down I visited the parents of a baby that was 14 hours old. He is beautiful. He has a head full of black hair, which honestly made me jealous. With his eyes wide open, he kept looking about. I wonder what in the world he thinks about all the sights, sounds, and smells he is encountering.

Both are in the hospital right now. One is just getting started. The other is finishing.

It goes by so quick. I am reminded that I must make the most of my days. It is only in this life that we can share Jesus with lost people. I have the honor of loving a precious wife and children. My God has a plan for this brief journey and I need to stick to it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What Comes First?

I have been talking with several people over the past two weeks that are making hard decisions about life, faith, and relationships. They are intelligent people and seeking information and knowledge from many different sources.

There is a common factor in each circumstance. In order for each person's decision to make sense they have to make an important choice. They have to choose what comes first. They have to define their priority. After they have determined what matters most, they can determine what is best.

It is nice when life gives us a decision between good and bad. That is easy. What is hard is when life requires us to make a decision where we have to lose something that is good or that we may even love. There are times when life only gives us a decision between bad and worse. And sometimes the choice is between what is good and what is best. Regardless of our options, decisions need to be driven by principle and truth rather than mere emotion or personal interest.

When the dotted line has to be signed and a move has to be made, it is wise to know what matters most.

So what about you? What matters most to you? The question is not what should matter most. What really matters most? Choose your priority and make sure its right then make your decision.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Never Thought God Would Want Me To Moon Someone

I find the moon mysterious and intriguing. It reminds me so much of me and all of humanity. It is rarely the same. From day to day and week to week it changes in appearance. The size and shape of it does not change. The only thing that is different is our perspective of it.

On New Year’s Eve I was with my family and several friends outside enjoying a blazing fire. The night had been mostly cloudy, but then suddenly the clouds cleared and the brightness of the moon broke through. It was amazing to see the amount of light that it brought to us.

Spurgeon tells us that “Christ’s love is the sun and our love is the moonlight, which we are able to give forth because the sun hath looked upon us.”

As believers, we do not have the power to change the world, but God can. In the midst of darkness and pain we can reflect the light of life and bring hope to others.

We cannot create the light, but we can reflect the light of Christ that has been revealed to us though the Gospel and God’s indwelling Holy Spirit. If we would simply reveal ourselves to the Son and reflect Him to the world, the glory of God would be exposed from us and we along with our world would be transformed.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How Can Something So Wonderful Be Hated So Badly?

It is astonishing to hear people rage about Brit Hume's comments. This discourse has really opened my eyes and given a clearer indication to where culture is going in North America. It seems that Christianity will not be tolerated much longer in parts of the country.

I am thankful for wise men who understand the times and can communicate in understandable ways what is truth, what is happening, and what we can do.

Denny Burk provides some resources on the Hume controversy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Isn’t It Ironic?

Brit Hume has taken a lot of heat for his words about Christianity and for what he said to Tiger Woods recently.

Here’s part of what he said…

“Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person, I think is a very open question, and it’s a tragic situation with him. He’s lost his family, it’s not clear to me whether he’ll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal, the extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist, I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith, so my message to Tiger would be ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’” –Brit Hume, January 3, 2010 on Fox News Sunday

In case there was any question about what he meant, he had this to say…

“Christianity is uniquely and especially about redemption and forgiveness. That is what the cornerstone of what the faith is about. Now other faiths aren’t hostile to the idea, but think of what the message of Christ and Christianity is. It is that the God of the universe sent His only begotten Son, who died a hideous death on the cross, to atone for all of our sins. And we are thereby offered through that act a new covenant in which we are offered forgiveness and redemption on a continuing basis in return for our faith in God and our continuing efforts to live the Christian life. That is a unique doctrine.”–Brit Hume, January 5 on WTOP News Radio

Brit got it right. The Christian faith is built on grace received by faith in Christ alone. It is unique. It is amazingly gracious.

It is sad and odd to me that people would be offended by this.

There are a lot of people turned off by Christianity and to some extent I can understand why. When some people think of Christianity, they think of judgmental mean-spirited hypocritical people. Before I became a Christian that was more or less how I felt about believers.

The problem is not entirely with those that do not believe in Jesus. Part of the confusion and misunderstanding about Christianity is that Christians are mistaken about their faith.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Many Christians see that as a personal challenge and as a degree of accomplishment that gives them a right standing with God. They wrongly think, “Hey, I’m giving up my stuff so I am good with God and now God owes me.” This creates pride, a critical spirit, and the general negative view the lost world has of Christianity.

What Jesus is calling for is surrender, not accomplishment. This is the irony of Christianity. While all other religions of the world demand their adherents earn their way into the rewards of the deity, Christians simply surrender and are saved by the accomplished work of the God.

Once we give up on our inability to save ourselves, we can be saved. We find life in the death of our plans and gain ultimate direction by simply following Jesus through Scripture and the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Fun Than I Thought

Well, when you're wrong, you're wrong. I was wrong. We had a lot more fun than I thought we would in the snow today. We ended up getting more snow in the afternoon and so we headed to the hill. It was hysterical! Another life lesson: enjoy what you get and you might find that there is more to enjoy than you originally thought.

Today is a perfect example of thinking that something would be ok or tolerable that ended up being great. Sometimes we miss out on great people, opportunities, and deep spiritual moments because we assume the worst. God hides treasures in ordinary boxes. I got one today. Asher loved sledding. He just didn't like stoppying;-)

Snow Bust '10

Well, I do not know why I am surprised. The word was that we would have 2-4 inches of snow. The schools are out and my kids are home, but it is a bust.

The neighborhood kids are in our driveway making snow angels and trying to pile enough snow together on opposite sides of the yard so they can have a snow ball fight.

Last night when I went to bed, I pictured houses, yards and streets covered in white. I imagined my kids and I walking with sleds in hands to a small hill where we could laugh and play. My hope was that we would come home to a house filled with the smells of my wife's famous chili cooking and cups of hot chocolate waiting for us.

Well, so far it's a bust.

Sometimes life doesn't work out the way we thought or planned or wanted. We can pout about it. We can get mad at God. We can play the blame game. Or we can make the most of it and enjoy what we get.

I guess I better get wrapped up...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sometimes You’re Just Going to Be Sad

Today is a sad day. There is no way to spin this and make it anything other than what it is. When you bury a man with a loving wife, twin thirteen year-olds, and a nine year-old, it’s just sad.

And so I am sad today, but I am not without hope.

As a follower of Jesus that is burying a follower of Jesus, I do not grieve like those without Christ. The Word of God gives me reason to hope and to be encouraged even though I am very sad.

1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

And so, yes, these precious children are not going to have their father looking after them, but God will. No, this wife is not going to have her husband in this life, but she will see him in heaven. This man’s friends and other family members will not be able to pick up the phone and call him, but God is available to them.

Steve Parmley is with God and for that I am grateful. 2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” He is home. The rest of us on the way must journey without him and for that reason we will be sad today.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Intentional Friendships

Here is the map I provided in yesterday’s message (You can download the message and notes here).

The concept of this diagram is not original with me. I got the idea from Dr. Terry Walling. He developed this diagram for leaders so they could chart out the influences in their lives. Terry is an outstanding leadership coach and he loves Jesus. I highly recommend his training resources and him as an instructor. He has been a huge blessing to me.

There are several parts to this picture that need explanation. If you listen to the message, you will get a better understanding of why you should and how you can use this “friendship map.”

The first step is to define what you need. Ask yourself, “What are four areas of my life that I need improvement in?” Then list them in the “Need” section.

The second step is to discover other leaders that could coach you in these areas to enable you to get better at them. List their names in the “Being Led By” section.

The third step is to define what you have to offer others. Ask yourself, “What has God gifted me with that I can coach others in?” List what you have to offer others in the “Have” section.

The fourth step is to discover people God would have you invest what you have into their lives. List their names in the “Leading” section.

The fifth step is to define and discover the people you can learn along side of. These are people that want similar outcomes in their life as you.

You will notice there are two types of people that you grow with. One group is “In Christ” and the other is “Out of Christ.” Those “in Christ” are redeemed Christian saints that love Jesus and are seeking to be His disciples. Those “out of Christ” are not Christian believers.

As Christians, we are responsible to lead a cross-centered life, hence the cross in the middle of the diagram, that enables those “outside of Christ” to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus. We are to share our faith with those friends we love that we are growing in life with.

The final step is to live out the diagram. It’s not complicated, although it does require intentionality. I have been amazed with the impact it has had on my life.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Ones We Remember

There are people that we can't remember and there are those we can't forget. Those we can recall stand out in our minds because they said or did something that matters.

In Ezra 2 we find one of those long lists of names that show up in Scripture every now and then. Have you ever wondered why God provided those long lists of names?

I do not know all of God's reasons, but one reason these people are listed is because they were a part of something BIG God was doing.

In Ezra 2 we find the names of the people that were willing to go back to Palestine and restart the worship of God in preparation for the coming Messiah. There were plenty of dispersed Jews throughout the world that could have gone back. Most didn't because they had gotten comfortable where they were and they chose to do what was easiest for them rather than what would impact eternity.

And they were probably safe and happy, but now they are forgotten to us. They received their reward. The names that heaven honors are the ones that are willing to give up brief happiness in order to serve God's purpose. Those are the names that end up on lists like Hebrews 11.

May God bless us to be those that do what is hard and right and good and be remembered as those that made serving God our highest priority.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Avatar Is Fun, But False

I enjoyed Avatar. The special effects were amazing and the storyline was interesting. The pantheistic new age mumbo jumbo was tolerable and actually reminded me of the hope I have in Jesus. There is something to be said for being able to safely see the darkness and understand and appreciate the goodness of the light of life that is possessed by those that live by grace through faith in Christ alone.

The first chapter of Genesis exposes the hope that belongs to those that believe in Jesus. What we learn about God in this chapter is substantial. D.A. Carson, as usual, hits the nail on the head.

God is different from the universe that he creates, and therefore pantheism is ruled out; that the original creation was entirely good, and therefore dualism is ruled out; that human beings, male and female together, are alone declared to be made in the image of God, and therefore forms of reductionism that claim we are part of the animal kingdom and no more must be ruled out; that God is a talking God, and therefore all notions of an impersonal God must be ruled out; that this God has sovereignly made all things, including all people, and therefore conceptions of merely tribal deities must be ruled out.
Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God : A daily companion for discovering the riches of God's Word. Volume 1. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.

Our God brings order to life and dispels the lies of the Evil One that seeks to rob God of the glory He deserves.