May, 2011 Archives

31
May

Holding high the torch of freedom

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Items are left on a grave at Arlington National Cemetery

Items are left on a grave at Arlington National Cemetery (Credit: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Of the holidays unique to America, is any more significant than Memorial Day?

Beginning with our Revolutionary War, more than 1.1 million women and men have died in the defense of our country.  More than 5,900 have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.  Some 2.4 million Americans are engaged in active or reserve service to our nation this morning. Read the rest of this entry »

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27
May

If Earth were the size of a pea

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


peas in a pod on a table

peas in a pod on a table (Photo by Gaetan Lee via Flickr)

Today we’ll close our series on science and faith issues by taking one more look at the universe we inhabit.  What does its design say about a Designer?

Consider first the microscopic objects which make up our observable world.  They are so tiny as to be nearly beyond description.  For instance, take a look at the dot on a printed “i.”  It can hold something in the neighborhood of 500 billion protons.  That’s more than the number of seconds in half a million years. Read the rest of this entry »

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26
May

The greatest miracle you know

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Adult hands holding the foot of a baby

Adult hands holding the foot of a baby (Photo by Pawel Loj via Flickr)

We have been discussing issues of science and faith.  How can modern people believe in miracles and other supernatural events?  Here’s one answer: consider the miracle that is you.

Your body consists of 206 bones, wrapped with 650 muscles and seven miles of nerve fibers.  Your eyes possess 100 million receptors, and your ears 24,000 fibers.  Your heart beats 36,000,000 times every year and sends blood pumping through more than 60,000 miles of veins, arteries, and tubing.

Your brain contains 13,000,000,000 nerve cells.  Picture the possible number of interconnections in your brain this way: the number of atoms in the universe is 1 followed by 100 zeroes.  The number of different patterns possible in your brain is 1 followed by over 800 zeros.  And your unconscious brain database, that which your unconscious brain knows and stores, outweighs your conscious brain on an order exceeding 10 million to one.  You literally cannot imagine how remarkable you are. Read the rest of this entry »

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25
May

When did you board the boat?

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Noah's Ark reconstruction

Credit: www.photostock.am

The story of Noah’s Ark communicates the clear message that God offers his grace to all who admit their need of his mercy and accept his forgiveness.  But is the story true historically?

The biblical text is written as historical narrative rather than poetry, with no hint that it intends to be seen as symbolic.  Other ancient documents also tell of a universal flood, as we would expect if such an event did indeed affect the entire human race. Read the rest of this entry »

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24
May

522 railroad cars and the Ark

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


railroad cars lined up in railyard

Credit: Rick Sargeant

Can modern people believe in a prehistoric Ark?  If not, what else in the Bible must we consider outdated today?  Yesterday we met Noah, the man who received God’s chen (“favor”).  Our Father offered such grace to all of mankind, but they would not accept his mercy.  As we will soon see, they rejected every opportunity for salvation.

On the other hand, Noah positioned himself to receive such grace.  He was “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).  His righteousness did not earn God’s favor, but it put Noah in position to receive what God wanted to give.  Noah was by no means perfect—remember his drunkenness in Genesis 9.  But he responded to God’s grace, for himself and his family. Read the rest of this entry »

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23
May

Snails on the Ark

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


snails in the rain

Credit: tenjedendzien.pl

What are your hardest science and faith questions?  When I was speaking recently on our subject, an audience member stopped me afterwards and confided that he could reconcile creation and evolution, science and miracles, but Noah’s Ark was a major problem for him.  As it is for many.

Are we really supposed to believe that we and every species on our planet are descendants of inhabitants on a prehistoric boat?  That lions and sheep could cohabit the same living quarters?  That caterpillars and snails made it on board?  And what happened to the dinosaurs?  As we work this week on science and faith issues, let’s begin with his question. Read the rest of this entry »

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20
May

God don’t make no junk

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


pickup truck in a junk yard

Credit: Terry Alexander

The Baptist Student Ministries of Texas Tech University once asked me to come to their campus to discuss creation and evolution.  They publicized the event campus-wide and staged it in one of the biology department’s lecture halls.  The entire biology faculty attended, no doubt alarmed that a Baptist preacher had come to discuss this volatile subject with their students.

At the beginning of the hour I set out my ambition: to discuss what the Bible actually says on the subject of creation.  As everyone knows, it states that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  Does it tell us how long ago he did this?  Does it tell us the specific means he used?  In biological terms, his word claims that he made birds and fish (vs. 20-21), livestock and wild animals (vs. 24) and humans (v. 26).  But how he did so, we are not told. Read the rest of this entry »

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19
May

The caterpillar which roared

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Caterpillar of the Polyphemus moth

Caterpillar of the Polyphemus moth (Courtesy of user MamaGeek at en.wikipedia.org)

David, perhaps after an shepherd’s evening spent reflecting on the night skies, reported: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).  I would add that caterpillars make good preachers as well.

God called our family from Midland to Atlanta, Georgia in 1994 and then to Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas only four years later.  We loved Atlanta—the wonderful people, the exciting vitality of our church, the stunning beauty of the area.  God was blessing our congregation in such amazing ways that his call to leave came as a shock to us. Read the rest of this entry »

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18
May

The leaf which spoke to my soul

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


This image shows close detail of the citrus leaf. It includes veins, pores, and surface of the leaf.

Courtesy of user Zoofari at en.wikipedia.org

I became the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Midland, Texas at the age of 30.  My previous pastorate, which I served while teaching at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, averaged less than 100 on Sunday morning; our new congregation had more than 8,000 members and more staff than our previous church had in Sunday night worship. Read the rest of this entry »

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17
May

The apple of God’s eye

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


The apple of God's eye

Credit: st-fotograf

Bill Bryson, in his insightful A Short History of Nearly Everything, states: “Consider the fact that. . .every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so.  Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result—eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly—in you.”

You are indeed an amazing being.  But how did you get here? Read the rest of this entry »

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