Last Days…

July 2017
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“The Eye of God”

Good morning! The Lord has blessed us with another glorious day! Don’t believe
me? Then just take a minute before you start your day, and look outside at this beautiful
snow covered scene here in Las Cruces. Isn’t it amazing that each and every snowflake is
different — a testimoney to the awesome nature of God’s Creation! For it is said in John
1:3, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was
made.” KJV. It’s wonderful to consider what a loving God we have — He made
everything, and provides for our every need. Amen!

God’s Creation is certainly a pleasant reminder of His grace shown to us each day. We
are a constant witness to this Creation, and are blessed with each new day. As it says in
Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” The
fact is, we are blessed to know the source of this gladness, and it is always good to give
thanks to God when we first start our day. Don’t miss the opportunity to let your “first
thoughts” be to that of God. As Christians, we do this out of faith and obediance.

It’s an interesting realization to consider that the “Eye of God” (worldly term) is upon us.
Sounds a bit scary until we come to grip with the fact God is all knowing. Psalm 139:2-3
says, “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You
discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”

With such perfect and loving knowledge, we can know that God truly cares about each of
us, imperfections and all — including every single thing we do in our lives. When we
humble ourselves before the one true God in prayer, submitting to Him and giving Him
our first waking thoughts — we find that our obedience is pleasing to Him, and He gives
us rest. According to His will, He lovingly gives us all we need — for He knows exactly
what we need — when we need it. As it says in Psalm 139:1, “O Lord, you have
searched me and you know me.”

Even though we cannot see God, His grace is continually upon us. Isn’t it comforting to
know that dispite our sinful nature, He still loves us. Hey… that’s you and me! Surely
God sees things in us that many times we can’t see for ourselves. What an awesome God
we have that tenderly cares for us! How else then can we begin each new day, but to give
thanks to the One that lifts us up, and makes all things possible. Amen!

This coming Monday, I will be driving by myself out to California to deliver some
telescope equipment to a friend in Manhattan Beach. It’s quite a long drive, so I will be
staying with some friends in Tucson, AZ for the night, and continuing on the next day.
After I drop off the equipment, I will continue on to Ventura, CA to see some old friends,
stay the night, then back on the road to Las Cruces. I plan to be back home on the 4th.
Please pray for my safe travel, and that God will place someone in my path this trip, so I
may share the Good News of Jesus.

One thing I’m looking forward to on this trip is listening to God’s Word. I have a digital
jump-drive loaded with the Bible on MP3 files. My truck’s sound system allows for
“voice recognition”, so all I have to do is to say, “Play track John 3:16” and it
automatically changes and plays John 3:16. This is kind of handy since as I listen to the
Bible, I hear verses that remind me of other verses. With this setup, I can quickly change
over to any part of the Bible I want. Anyway, it will be fun to be absorbed in God’s
Word for the 25 some hours driving this trip.

Speaking of listening to God’s Word… Has God ever spoken to you? I think we could
all say, “Yes”, but the larger question is, “Do we listen to Him?”. More importantly, do
we obey Him? When we think about it, obeying God is not an option. This gives rise to
our occassional tendency to hide from God, but who can escape the omniscience of God?
What is this Omni-wad-da-ya-call-it? Simply put, it is that God is all knowing, infinite,
infallable, independent, simultaneous — for all time — past, present, and future. Now
that’s something to think about! In concert with this, knowing that God is omniscient, we
must constantly reflect on our daily walk, making discernment with the guidance of the
Holy Spirit in all that we consider and all we do. We do this out of faith in God’s Truth,
because we know in our hearts that the Truth will set us free — recognizing all the while,
at every turn, where our salvaiton comes from. As you can imagine, this greatly
influences our daily behavior, our outlook on life, and our dealing with others. Let this
understanding be a blessing to all of us.

At this last Wednesday’s “early morning” Bible Study in Hebrews 12:14, the question
was raised about “sanctification”, which prompted questions on “justification”. As I
thought about the discussion, it prompted me to consider the difference between these
two terms, and perhaps the varying viewpoints on this topic. Now… I’m not a theologian,
and perhaps that’s a good thing, but perhaps like you, I DO want to stand firm in my
Faith, and I DO want to understand the Truth, and I DO want to grow in Christ. For what
reason? ETERNAL DESTINY of course! Let’s listen to what 1 John 2:17 says, “The
world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
Some fundamental questions might be worth our considering, for how can we understand
our eternal destiny, if we don’t understand the basis of our Faith? And how can we
understand the basis of our Faith if we don’t understand God’s Truth? This is not to
promote circular reasoning or contradiction, for God’s Word is clear, but it does prompt
each of us for an exact undestanding of the reason for our hope.

Why all this fuss — we are all Christians, right? I think we can make that assumption, but
we want to get this right, for while we are in the world, being the body of Christ, in Christ
Jesus, we likewise need to set about doing our Father’s work. Fortunately, our church
(SVCC in my case) has a “Statement of Faith” that we agree with and adhere to — that is
to say, make clear our understanding, commitment, and obedience.stuff?

As Christians, we believe we are justified by faith.

This “justification” means that God has declared us as sinners, to be righteous. In so
doing, God “justifies” us as sinners when we put our faith in the sacrifice that Jesus made
on the cross, and trust that He is righteous. This is applied in our life by understanding
and doing what is says in Ephessians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one
should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Keep in mind that this “Faith” we as Christians speak of, is not constrained to an
intellectual understanding or acknowledgement of God. Remember in James 2:19, “You
believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that— and shudder.”
Rather, our Faith is made secure by our belief in what Jesus did for us, even as we were
sinners. As Paul writes in Ephessians, this Faith (our Christian Faith) results in our being
saved.

So begins our “sanctification”… We have all heard the expression, “We can’t work our
way into Heaven.”. How true, but some of us feel unsure about this “works” thing. From
James 2:20, “You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless.”
This certainly makes us take notice! However, what James is really eluding to here is
that there are two kinds of faiths: one Faith that “leads to Godly deeds/works”, and one
faith that does not. I like what Henry said in one of our Men’s Bible Studies, “There are
no Christian plateaus. You’re either climbing or falling!” Hence, it is our Godly Faith
that we declare, inseparable from our walk in Christ, that allows us to grow as Christians
and bear good fruits. Having been justified, this is the ongoing process of our
sanctification.

So as we continue our climb in this world (that is, our Christian walk), let us proclain,
“How wonderous it is that God could save a sinner like me!” Let this beg the question
from those we encounter; those who have ears to hear, thereby giving us the opportunity
to share the Good News of Jesus — sharing with boldness the reason for our hope. After
all, we all have a “Story” — a testimony of how Jesus made an eternal difference in our
life. Share it with someone today! Make a difference in someone’s life! Draw someone
closer to the salvation that only comes through faith in Jesus!

Difficulties in this world abound — no mystery to any of us! In fact, some of us are
facing great personal difficulties right now. However, let us be encouraged and stand
firm in our Faith, with full understanding of God’s Truth — always growing in His Word –
– always walking humbly and in full view of God’s Gracious Spirit. As it says in Luke
12:2-3, “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not
be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light;
and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the
housetops.”

As such, let us all commit to obey God, and walk faithfully in His Light. For this, God
will reward us.

Speaking of God’s Light, I would like to share an astro image that I took from our remote
observatory near Mayhil, NM. This object is commonly called “The Helix Nebula”,
technically a Planetary Nebula named ngc7293. This object is within our own Milky
Way Galaxy, and is some 650 light years distant from Earth. It is the result of a star that
had turned into a “red giant” and is ejecting huge amounts of gas and dust.
This object is so unusual, that it has become known as “The Eye of God” — although it it
interesting to note that NASA rejects this name. In any case, let this image be a blessing
to you today, and a reflection of the discussion above.

My prayer for you this day is from Numbers 6:24-26,

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be
gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Have a great day, and a super weekend!

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick

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