West Texas Sunsets

Peace... is seeing a sunset, and knowing who to thank.

Anonymous

Since I was a small boy, I have enjoyed the sunsets of West Texas. Though I grew up far away from Texas, my parents were both raised there and we went back each year to visit my grandparents. There is something about the gold and silver skyline when the sun sets on the plains. Add a windmill to the foreground, and it just seems to complete that which God has already perfected. I don't know how many times I viewed such a sunset as we drove across the Panhandle of Texas, but I never grew tired of that sight. It's hard to put into words, but somehow it just feels like home.

When Carolyn and I were first married and living in Wyoming, we would often come back to West Texas to visit her folks. Her Dad grew corn, and I loved to go out to the farm in the evening when he checked the progress of the irrigation. The sound of the water gurgling down those corn rows on a still evening with the sun setting in the distance seemed like paradise to this city kid - and it still does.

Tonight, I sat on a quiet back porch with friends and family and enjoyed another beautiful West Texas night. And now, as I reflect upon this evening and the years that lay behind me - filled with golden sunsets and countless windmills,  I realize how truly blessed I have been. 

I realize something else, as beautiful as the memory of those sunsets are to me: I know that I have yet to see the true beauty that awaits us all in our Heavenly home. And I know that as wonderful as this life that God has blessed me with has been, it cannot compare to that eternal life that He has just waiting for us all, if we will just live for Him.

And, while there may not be West Texas sunsets in Heaven, I am certain that there will be something even more beautiful and more peaceful in the home that He has prepared. I can hardly wait to see that place, but until then, I guess I will just have to be content with the beauty and splendor of the sunsets in the West Texas sky. Aren't we blessed!

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. 

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.

Psalm 19:1; 113:3, NIV

 

Weird Science

Only two things are infinite: The universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Einstein

One of the most important elements of critical thinking is the ability to distinguish between fact and theory. As a Christian who believes in the accuracy and authenticity of the Bible, I am far more interested in what the Bible says as compared to what some man has said. The reason for this is simple: I believe that the Bible is God's word. Other people don't have to agree with me on that stance, that's their prerogative entirely, but since I do believe this to be true, I accept the Bible as fact and view with skepticism the opinions of men. So, if God's word says don't lie, but some man thinks you can in certain instances, I accept God's word and reject man's opinion.

It's the same in the realm of science. I believe in gravity and am convinced that it is proven science. If some man comes along who is convinced that he has found a loophole to the rules of gravity and invites me to jump off a cliff with him to prove his theory, I will respectfully decline. Right or wrong, the evidence I have observed and the scientific studies I've seen have led me to accept one position as fact and one as theory. To me, it's good not to get the two mixed up.

I have watched with interest over the years how dogmatic scientists can be when it comes to theory. When I was in school in the 1970's, the prevailing scientific theory was that the earth was cooling at a dangerous pace. Something had to be done quickly or we would likely be well on the path to the next ice age (See June 24, 1974 Time Magazine for further details). But now, in the 21st Century, prevailing scientific theory suggests that because the earth has been experiencing a warming trend, that we must quickly do something about it to avert disaster. Cool!

Now, I have no problem with scientific fact. I do, however, find occasion to question the theoretic conclusions that some scientists derive from those facts. Evolutionary theory has been taught in many schools for years as fact, yet it is no more proven fact than the causes of climate change or the suspension of gravity. I have no problem with folks who believe that their scientific theories are right - some are. But, when it comes to evolution, or the next ice age, or the suspension of gravity, I believe that I will simply refrain from joining these zealots as they jump off of their various cliffs of scientific theory.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...

Genesis 1:1, NIV  

 

We Have Forgotten

I named this site, "Common Sense Christian", not because I felt that I possessed anything unusual in the common sense department, rather; I gave it this name because I am convinced that Christian living is common sense. This particular piece addresses a rather difficult topic, but one that I am convinced needs more than just a few second's consideration. So, here are some rather disturbing statistics. Use the common sense that God has given you to arrive at your own conclusions as to what these numbers mean.

2,976 - the number of innocent victims on 9-11-2001 (19 hours)

2,402 - the number of innocent victims at Pearl Harbor (15.5 hours)

6,069 - the number of U.S. deaths in the war on terror through 6/6/11 (39 hours)

25,000 - the approximate number of U.S. deaths in the Revolutionary War (7 days)

36,914 - the number of U.S. deaths in the Korean War (10 days)

58,169 - the number of U.S. deaths in the Vietnam War (16 days)

116,708 - the number of U.S. deaths in WW I (31 days)

407,316 - the number of deaths in WW II (109 days)

623,026 - the number of U.S. deaths in the Civil War (166 days)

1,343,812 - the approximate number of total U.S. deaths in all wars (358 days)

War, as someone so aptly put it years ago, is Hell.

But, what are the hours and days in parentheses beside each death total?

They are the estimated times it has taken Americans to kill a like number of babies through abortion.

At the average of the 3,750 abortions that Americans have committed each day since we legalized this hellish act, it would take just 358 days to match the total number of U.S. deaths in all wars since the time of the Revolution. Not even a year...

If you know someone who has had an abortion, they need to know that it can be forgiven - but they do need to repent because... if war is Hell, then what is this?

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19, NIV

 

We Are Not Alone

I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men. Benjamin Franklin, age 81,  addressing the Constitutional Convention on June, 28, 1787

One of the most pleasant realities of this life is that we are not alone. Too many people struggle through life with burdens that God never intended for them to carry on their own. Because of this, many people get discouraged, depressed and just plain worn out. Fortunately, there is a cure: Wake up!

At the Constitutional convention mentioned above, the attendees were deadlocked. They simply could not agree on a constitution with points acceptable to all men present. They were discouraged and worn out and ready to just forget about it and go home. That was the moment that Franklin got up and reminded them of the beginning of a struggle some 11 years prior. He further reminded them of the difficulties of the task of that day and how the men involved didn't make any decision without first beseeching the Lord for His guidance and blessing. We all know the outcome of both of these events.

So, what burdens are you struggling with in your day-to-day life that wouldn't be eased by asking God for His help? If we have been trying to do everything on our own, maybe it is time to wake up and request the assistance of the only One who truly knows what is needed to make our lives what they should be.

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

 

Use Your Time Well

The length of our days is seventy years, eighty, if we have the strength.

Moses

 

One of the most sobering thoughts is how brief this life is. It hasn't always seemed that way though. In fact when I was just a boy time seemed to go awfully slow. This was especially true when waiting for summer to rescue me from school, not to mention that seemingly endless stretch of time between Thanksgiving and the arrival of Santa.

 

But the older I get, the faster time seems to go. What, for example, has happened to our three babies? It was only a few weeks ago that my wife and I walked them to their first day of Kindergarten. Now, one is married with a sweet wife and son, one runs her own business, and our last "baby" is set to graduate from college in a mere 4 months.

 

And... somewhere along the line... I turned 54! How this happened, I'll never know, especially since my wife of thirty-two years is only 29.

 

This is when we can appreciate the beauty of God's wondrous plan: We were not created just to live for a few brief years on this planet before fizzling out like a bottle rocket on the 4th of July. Instead, we were created for an eternity of years! This means that the older and more worn out our physical bodies become, the closer we are to taking hold of the eternal youth that God has reserved for those who have been born again.

 

Just think of the enormity of God's promise to Christians: We are going to live forever! But think of the enormity of the warning to those who are not Christians or who are not faithful: They will be separated from God forever. God, who does not lie, has promised these two eternities. Since this is true, we better start using our time well. Are you... using your time well?

 

"I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

Thomas asked Him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

Jesus answered, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

John 14:2-6, NIV