Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How NOT to Witness

by Dan Jones





In May of 2012, scientist Mark Armitage found a very large Triceratops horn in the Hell’s Creek formation of Montana. But, what he found inside that horn is what made news.

It was soft tissue.

The problem is that soft tissue like this most assuredly should NOT be present inside a fossil modern science claims to be over 65 million years old.

In 2013, Armitage published his findings in a respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal, and that’s when the trouble began.

Mark Armitage is a Christian.

He believes the Bible when it says God created the heavens and the earth and he believes that the Triceratops horn he found is probably about 4,000 years old—a date that coincides with the Biblical account of the great flood.

None of those beliefs are present in the article that was published, but California State University fired him for expressing those beliefs to some of his coworkers.

And, of course, that resulted in a lawsuit.

Armitage contends he was fired because he is a Christian and cites an incident in which he was told, in no uncertain terms, that Christian beliefs would not be tolerated in the lab.

I am a big fan of Creation Moments on Kinship Christian Radio. I firmly believe that the world around us was created by God. I believe that the incredible complexity, diversity, and pure genius of God’s design absolutely, positively cannot be explained by random chance mutations of genetic material no matter how many millions of years are claimed to have elapsed since life supposedly spontaneously sprang from some “primordial soup.”

I have some background in the study of biology and I have studied the arguments for and against both sides of the issue. Although there are certainly many who have a greater understanding of molecular cell biology than I do, I believe I could engage in an understandable and informed discussion to support my belief.

But I won’t.

And the reason I won’t is because I have done so in the past and found it to be a lousy, awful, ineffective way to witness for Christ.

It always becomes contentious. It never stays a discussion. It becomes a debate which can easily escalate into an argument.

And that’s a terrible way to try to tell someone that Jesus loves them.

We are called to witness for Christ. Paul explains where the power comes from quite well in 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5 (ESV)

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

The Holy Spirit holds the power to change hearts and minds. God does not need us to be His spin doctors or PR agents, and His creation is its own argument for His glory:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1: 20 ESV –emphasis added.)

So, when news comes out that the Bible has been found to be correct (again) we should certainly take it as affirmation that our God has always told us the truth.

But the power that saves souls is Jesus Christ risen from the dead. It is the darkness of our sin nailed to the cross and the joy of our salvation in the empty tomb.

While there is wonder and excitement and beauty in what God has created, eternal life comes from Jesus Christ and no other.

Mark Armitage did not conceal his beliefs when he was hired by CSU and, from what I have read on the subject, it does seem he was unjustly fired. We can pray for him and pray that scientists everywhere would come to know the real truth about the glory of God’s creation.

But when it comes to right down to it, there is far more power in the blood of Jesus Christ than some tissue inside a dinosaur’s horn.

Today’s Praise

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David.
(Luke 1: 68-69 NIV)



Friday, July 24, 2015

Almost a Bear! By Allen Jones




Clearly, this is a picture of an epic mountain man and his beautiful wife, trekking across the mountains, encountering perils unknown.  This must have been a rare moment of peace where they could get a picture taken.

Or, it is my wife and I taking a wonderful vacation in Montana a couple of summers ago...I prefer the first interpretation.

Now, I don’t share this picture to take you on a journey of slideshows where you continue to nod politely at each family photograph.  I share this picture, to tell you of a story that happened on this trip.  

We were visiting family that lives a little south of Glacier national park, and  one day, they took us tubing down one of the clear mountain rivers.  Just an incredible ride; floating along this stream that was perfect for trout fishing.

The highlight of this day (and honestly the trip for me)  was when we had finished tubing, and my father in law and aunt in law were strapping the tubes to the top of the car.  The rest of the family, about 5 of us, were all standing in a circle chatting a little ways behind the car.

Suddenly, two cars pull off the road, the guy driving the first car, looked like his eyes were about to pop out of his head, and yelled “did you guys see that bear?”

I quickly reply with “What!?” (you should know, it is a life goal of mine to see a bear in the wild)

The person in the second car, responded at this point, “Yeah guys, there was a black bear that just ran across the road right there!”  

He points to a spot about 30 yards or so from where we are standing, and at this point I start to get really excited.

“It looks like he ran into the woods just behind you, so be careful guys!”

And with still astonished faces, the two cars drove away.  I thought I might finally have my chance of seeing a bear, but alas, he never came out of the woods again while we were in the area.

The whole family was shocked that no one saw the bear, but we weren’t paying attention, and we missed an incredible opportunity!

On the bright side, we now have a great story of a bear encounter; even though nobody actually saw the bear.

Incredible things, happen around us all the time.  Occasionally we get to witness them, and sometimes we may be completely unaware of there presence.

If it hadn’t been for the folks warning us that a bear was close, we would have had no idea that one just ran behind us.

It makes me wonder of all the times I didn’t see something incredible, and no one was there to tell me about it either.

It’s like the secret hand of God, always moving in our life.  Occasionally, his hand is very clear in the actions in our life, and sometimes he may do so many wonderful things for us, and we never even notice.

I write all of this, to simply bring awareness to the continued working of God in our lives.  That we may not take it for granted, but praise him in thankfulness, even for what we are not aware of.

Psalm 106:1-2                                             Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise?   




(this is how I imagine the bear...that I didn’t see)    

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Beauty


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8 ESV)

I recently read an excellent article by Steve Turley called “Love or Lust? How to Effectively Teach Beauty to Our Students.”

In it, he notes that only in recent human history has beauty become a relativist concept. For most of human history, beauty was not merely in the eye of the beholder.

The definition of “beauty” used to contain an intrinsic quality that drew people to truth and goodness. All three were linked together, each drawing a person to an inner radiance that emanated from within. That which did not radiate truth and goodness was not considered beautiful.

The song, “Amazing  Grace” comes to mind. The truth of the message that we are saved by grace, the sweet goodness of that amazing grace, and the beauty of the music all work together to make the song mean more than any one of the elements could ever impart separate from one another.

In fact, it’s virtually impossible to hear the music alone and not have the words and that beautiful, beautiful message come into your head. It’s a transcendent, timeless song.

And while “Amazing Grace” is an example of man-made beauty (Or, is it?) it certainly seems that appreciation of natural beauty is a human universal.  

I mean who hates a sunrise or a sunset, or the Grand Canyon, or a rainbow?

Appreciation of the beauty of water also appears to a human universal. Ask a real estate agent. Shoreline property is usually a minimum of twice the cost of other comparable property.

Human beings love the beauty in nature. From the rugged beauty of the Alaskan wilderness to the tropical vibrance and glorious colors of the tropics, our hearts yearn to be in places like these.

Certainly, some individuals will have a preference for certain types of natural beauty over others, but we all seem to agree that the Northern Lights over Lake Superior are beautiful whereas a flashing neon sign over a cesspool is not.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “We do not want merely to see beauty... we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”

And that’s where God comes in.

All of our efforts at beauty pale in comparison to the incomparable beauty God has designed and created. Who has not stared up at the Milky Way on a clear, still night and marveled not just at its beauty, but what it took to set it in place?

Who can sit by a northern Minnesota lake, surrounded by the deep green of stately towering pines, at that very moment when the sun is going down and brilliant hues of red and orange and pink and gold and blue are painted across sky and water and--across the silence of the moment, as if on cue--the cry of a loon floats through the air rejoicing in the glory all around it?

Yes, beauty is real.

I believe it is not random. I believe it is not an accident. I believe it is not subjective.

I believe it is to His glory.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge. (Psalm 19: 1-2, NIV)

That’s why a world without God seems so barren, so hopeless, so ugly.

Turley is right. Beauty without truth and goodness is shallow, empty, and devoid of meaning. Beauty without God becomes a commodity—something to print on a calendar or a post card or copy and paste onto your computer as wallpaper. It’s nice to look at, but beauty without the glory of God at its core is just clever marketing.

But with God, beauty becomes what Lewis was writing about. It beckons to our soul. It touches something inside of us which unites us with God. It wells up in our soul like the refrain from Amazing Grace. It fills us and lifts us and it causes gratitude and worship and praise.

It overwhelms us.

I once was lost, but now am found.

Not because I have found beauty, but because beauty has found me.

Thank you, Jesus.

Today’s Praise
You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful
Oh God, there is no one more Beautiful

–from “Overwhelmed,” by Big Daddy Weave

Friday, July 10, 2015

What a Coaster! by Allen Jones




You may have heard by now that my Mother had a heart-attack last week.  I’ve been talking about it a lot during my radio shows, because it was such a shock, followed by all kinds of other emotions.

Sadness, love, a little bit of anger, eventually all followed by great relief, when my mother was finally deemed OK.

Last week was a roller coaster ride of emotions, and I didn’t quite know what to do with myself.  However, I had the greatest comfort in the world knowing that God was the one in charge of the ride.

I’m pretty sure he planted comforting thoughts into my head throughout all of last week.  

You see, my mother passed out while riding bikes with my father when she had the heart attack. She fell headfirst onto a gravel road before she could get off of her bike. (Thankfully she was wearing a helmet)

They had to fly her out with a helicopter, from Miller SD to Sioux falls, and she didn’t wake up until nearly 4 days later.  

The hospital had her sedated so she could have some time to heal, but in that time, we were simply not sure what her brain function would be like when she came to.

And throughout all of this, my heart just really went out to my mom.  I felt so sorry for her when I imagined the scene of her falling off her bike and having to be flown to a hospital.

My wife said, it was probably for the best that she wasn’t awake during the helicopter ride, knowing that my father, would have absolutely hated such an experience.  

It was in that moment, I remembered something I haven’t thought about in years.  That my mother was the first person I rode my first real roller coaster with.  I was in Fifth grade at the time, and my class had taken a trip to Six Flags over Texas.  Not wanting to leave me to my own fifth grader shenanigans, my mother decided to be a chaperon for the trip.

It came to a point where most of my friends were wanting to ride “The Batman” (pictured above) and I was absolutely terrified.  However, my Mom decided to ride as well, and that gave me the courage and comfort I needed to conquer my very first roller coaster.

I have never thought that much of my mom being a brave person, but remembering that day in Six Flags, I realized how brave my mother truly is.  

I told my wife, that I think she would have loved being in a helicopter, minus the whole heart attack factor or course.

That memory really filled me with joy, and hope for my mom, and I know that it came straight from God.

He provided exactly what I needed, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will always provide exactly what I need, when I need it most.  As He will provide exactly what you need, when you need it most, when you put your faith and trust in Him.

Isaiah 41:10

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ya Cristo Viene


Last week, I wrote that perhaps it’s not what we see in Jesus that makes people uncomfortable, but what we see in ourselves.

It’s called “sin.”

I know that’s a very unpopular word lately. Anytime we use the word, people get very, very uncomfortable—sometimes even angry.

More often than not, any discussion of sin ends up with someone being accused of being condemning and judgmental.

And it’s absolutely true that talking about sin can be done in a way that is condemning and judgmental.  It’s pretty easy to tell if that’s what you’re doing to someone else, because there’s almost always a pointing finger involved—and a log in your own eye.

But, from what I’ve seen, it’s also impossible to talk about sin without some kind of emotional response because the conscience gets involved.

Actually, that’s a good thing.  It’s uncomfortable and it can be maddening. We can look for a way to ignore it or escape from it, or cover it up and rationalize our sin with lies, but eventually it always comes back to haunt us.

It’s guilt.

There, I said it. That’s a worse word than “sin” in today’s culture. I hardly ever see that word in print or hear it spoken outside of a court case. Oh sure, sometimes someone will use it half-jokingly, but it’s almost never used in its Biblical sense.

Sin is what drives a wedge between us and the God who designed us to love and to be loved. Sin is our desire to claim that we are smarter and wiser and more capable of judging right from wrong than God is. Sin claims that this present life is our only chance of joy and happiness and completely denies that there is a life to come.

But that’s where Jesus comes in.

We are all guilty. We know that. Our hearts know that. That’s why it hurts so much when you can no longer run and hide from what you know to be true.
Jesus washes away that sin.

While rationalizations and excuses and lies can temporarily relieve the guilt we feel from our sin, only Jesus actually takes those sins away. Only Jesus removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. Only Jesus is the answer.

That’s why there is power in His name.

It’s the power in Jesus’ name that opened the eyes of the blind, that caused the lame to walk, that raised the dead. It’s the power in Jesus’ name that causes the demons to tremble in fear.

When I was in the Dominican Republic, I saw many handmade signs that said, ‘Ya Cristo Viene.”

They were everywhere--on power poles, on buildings, on traffic barricades.

The translation is, “And Christ returns”--and they mean it will be soon.

Given recent events in our country, I cannot say I disagree with that assessment of the situation.

I am no prophet. I cannot and will not say I know when Jesus will return.

But I know this: 
As Christians, we need to speak the name of Jesus more often.

We need to say, “Jesus is LORD” without fear.

We need to speak the name of life and light and truth—and we need to do it in love.

Now, I know there are those who think there is no God and Jesus either never existed or He was just some guy who said a bunch of stuff.

And I cannot and will not try to prove that God exists, but I will tell you this:

I know Jesus is real.

I know He is real because I have personally had Him touch my heart. I have been overwhelmed by tears of joy, and by the profound, all-surpassing, absolutely humbling knowledge that He loves me and every human being on this planet enough to die for us.  

So, while I am not a prophet, I am a witness.

Jesus is real. He is alive. He is living and active and He loves you.

Yes, you!

And no one, no matter how much guilt and pain they feel for the mistakes of their past, is beyond His ability to save. Jesus is the Way and He promises that anyone who seeks Him absolutely will find Him.

All you have to do is ask.

Today’s Praise
If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 ESV)


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Just Keep It to Yourself


The other day, someone posted something on Facebook that began, “I am a Christian…”

It went on to express an opinion in a way that communicated love and a willingness to talk about issues without judging or condemning others or engaging in name-calling.

Of course, someone replied who stated they were not a Christian and did not believe in the Bible. “Live and let live,” she wrote, “and stop condemning others. Just keep it to yourself. That is all I ask.”

“Just keep it to yourself.”

I’m going to have to respectfully decline that request.

As a Christian, I believe God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them. From the infinitesimal to the infinite, our God not only created all the glorious, awesome wonders of the universe, he spoke them into being!  “Let there be light,” He said. And there was light!

From each and every atom and proton and neutron and quark—from things so small no microscope has ever viewed them yet they make up the very substance of everything in the universe—to the insects  and the birds and the fish and the plants and the mammals, to the oceans and the mountains and the sweeping plains where they live—to this big, blue ball of atmosphere and water and minerals—to the solar system—to the galaxy spinning in space among an infinite number of stars and asteroids and comets and planets and other galaxies—He made them all!

All of this He not only created, He designed all in beautiful and miraculous ways. From the precise distance of the earth to the sun, to the incredible properties of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, to the amazingly-engineered DNA molecule that holds the code to every living thing on the planet, to the precise mathematical formulas that run back and forth through all sorts of living creatures, to the absolutely stunning miracles of all life’s interrelation and dependence on all other life on the planet that cannot be explained away by any number of billions and billions of years of random chance—He made them all.

But there was one thing he did not speak into being:

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7 NIV)

With His own hands, He formed us in His likeness.  With His own breath, he gave us life.

He designed us to love and be loved. He designed us for a perfect relationship with Him.

But evil came along and we decided, of our own free will, that we would rather be god than let Him be God.

Whether atheist or Christian, whether Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim, all of humanity agrees that human beings are flawed and imperfect. We all know something is just not as it should be.

But as Christians, we believe that God had a plan to restore us to the perfection for which we were designed from the start.

Only Christianity teaches that God Himself restores us to relationship with Him. Only Christianity teaches that God Himself would take on flesh and allow Himself to be tortured, mocked, beaten, and unjustly murdered to balance the scales of perfect justice and restore us to the relationship He designed us for.

Only Christianity teaches that simply believing and having faith in the One who died for us saves us.

Only Christianity teaches that the very Holy Spirit of God will come to live in us when we believe that.

Only Christianity teaches that the presence of the Holy Spirit is our guarantee that we will live forever with God in perfect harmony with Him.

Only Christianity teaches that God knew all of this all along and He had a plan from the beginning.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1: 1-3 NIV)

And the name of the plan is Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Only Christianity has grace.

Only Christianity has Christ.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17 NIV)

So, no, I cannot and will not condemn anyone because I am no better than anyone. No one is perfect. No one is blameless. We have all committed that sin of trying to make ourselves our own god.

We all need Jesus.

That is why I cannot keep silent about Him. I cannot just keep Jesus to myself.

For to not speak of Jesus is to condemn you to a life without knowing the love, the mercy, the grace, the incredible joy that lives and moves and has its being in Jesus Christ.

So please excuse me if Jesus makes you uncomfortable.  I would humbly ask you to consider that maybe, just maybe, what makes both of us uncomfortable about Jesus is not what we see in Him, but what we see in ourselves.

Today’s Praise

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. (Acts 5:42 ESV)


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Glorious God

by Dan Jones

It often seems our culture pictures God as some kindly old guy with a long flowing beard seated on a cloud.  Sure, He’s wise and powerful, but we often seem to think of him as some kind of ambivalent wizard who can be persuaded to approve of whatever we decide is good at the time because, well, he is God and he understands, right?

We talk of God’s glory, but I’m not so sure we truly understand what that glory actually looks like.

“All for God’s glory,” we say. Or (especially at Christmas) “Glory to God in the highest.”

Biblegateway.com records 285 uses of the word “glory” in the Bible and many times the Bible describes the actual physical manifestations of His glory—and they are not subtle.

Exodus 24 describes Moses going to the top of Mount Sinai to hear the LORD. It says, “To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. (Verse 17, NIV)

At one point on the mountaintop, Moses asks to see God’s glory. (Charles Spurgeon said this was the greatest petition any man has ever asked of God.) 

And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33: 18-23 ESV)

The glory of God was so intense, Moses’ face glowed afterwards so brightly that people were afraid to come near him.  He had to wear a veil over his face as a result. (Exodus 34: 29-35)

The prophet Ezekiel was also in the presence of God’s glory when he was being shown the temple:

And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. (Ezekiel 43:2 ESV)

Ezekiel could do nothing but fall on his face at the sight of such glory.

Several times, the glory of the LORD fills a place and prevents people from entering it.

…and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God. (2 Chronicles 5:14)

In Psalm 29, God’s glory can again be heard:

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. (verse 3 NIV)

His glory is lofty and high above all else:

From the rising of the sun to its setting, The name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens. (Psalm 113: 3-4 ESV)

One of my favorite descriptions of God’s glory is in Psalm 97, verses 2-6. (ESV)

Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.

And here’s a description from Psalm 104:

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke!
(verses 31-32, ESV)

These are not descriptions of a God who is merely powerful, they are descriptions of a God who is omnipotent—ALL powerful!

He is not merely wise, He is omniscient—ALL knowing!

He is not a “big” God, He is an INFINTE GOD!

He is not just good, He is HOLY!

He is not merely worthy of praise, He is worthy of ALL praise!  

And that omnipotence, that omniscience, that infinite holiness and love culminated in one earth-shattering minute here on this earth:

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. (Matthew 27: 50-52 NIV)

But, while that one moment seemed like all the darkness and hate and pain and sin had blotted out God’s glory, His glory had in fact triumphed over all the evil the world would ever offer up.  

For the Jesus who was so mercilessly crucified would rise on the third day in the most glorious event described in all the Bible--His eternal triumph over evil and death itself!

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! (Luke 24: 1-6a NIV)

Today’s Praise



And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. Revelation 21:23 ESV

Monday, June 22, 2015

Closed Gate by Allen Jones




Well, I’m pretty excited to be writing my first blog for Kinship Christian Radio!  Why, you may ask?  Allen, how different is a blog from what you do on the radio everyday?

I’m so glad you asked!  One, there are no visuals on the radio.  It’s both a strength and weakness.  Strengthening your imagination muscles!  Getting to really cue in, on all that’s being said without so much visual stimuli.

However, I find sometimes, that I really wish I could show a picture to you, or we could all gather around a computer and watch a video together.

That is something this blog allows me to do, share pictures and images with you!  Even though I can go into great and excruciating detail to describe such pictures on the radio, sometimes it’s wonderfully simple to say, “Hey!  Look at the picture!  It’s right in front of you!”

Such as the picture in front of your face right now.  This is one of my favorite images in the world.  

It was taken back in 2013 when the federal government shutdown, and it is a picture that makes me both happy and sad.

It makes me happy because it’s just so darn cute, but it makes me super sad for that little boy!  He so wants to go to the zoo, he’s got his animal hat on, but the gates are closed, and there will be no going to the zoo today!

At this point it doesn’t matter how badly he wants to go to the zoo...those gates will not be opening, until congress and the President hash everything out.

Staring at those gates reminded me of a verse in Revelations 25

25On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.

This verse is referring to the new Jerusalem.  When the wheat has been separated from the chaff and the immoral are no longer in this world.  

The evil have all been locked away, and there is no purpose in closing the gates.  For no harm will come to the city of God.

We will come and go as we please without the fear of ever being separated from God again.

But right now, we do still have that worry.  There is the possibility of showing up to the gates of heaven and find that there is no entry.  But not because of a heaven shut down, because the angels and God couldn't agree on some heavenly legislation.  It’s because we chose to never look to Christ in our life.

It’s because we didn’t accept his grace and sacrifice in our lives, and we never humbled ourselves before the Lord of all.  

To put it simply, we never knew Christ.

Matthew 7
22"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

Those gates will remain open to all during this life on earth.  We have the choice to enter through those gates, but we must know Christ.