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No Excuses!

There is just something about the spring season on the farm that makes life better. I love waking up to the cool dew of the morning, drinking a hot cup of coffee and watching the sunrise as I listen to the roosters crow, the goats bleat, the Purple Martins sing and the cows lowing in the distance. I smell the fresh turned dirt from the neighbor's field. The trees are budding, spring grass is growing and the wildflowers and clovers are starting to color the landscape of the pastures. Everything is fresh, everything is new! It seems that all of creation is coming to life.

On this particular morning, the sun is coming up, but I can still see the moon on the horizon gently disappearing, taking the slowly fading stars with it. It has been a beautiful night and it is going to be a beautiful spring day. The time just changed, so now the days will be a little longer. Every day now brings new growth, new life and a greater beauty than the day before. Buds are now turning to leaves and all the trees are getting a green tint. Pollen from the pines is turning everything yellow (okay there are some drawbacks to spring), but overall, creation is just beautiful and amazing.

Just last week, Lisa and I spent a few days at the beach in Destin celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary. It was cool and windy the first two days at the beach as it often is in the spring, but it was beautiful all the same. The last day however, was absolutely beautiful and perfect. Two of our children and five of our grandchildren were able to join us on this beautiful day and we enjoyed one another, the warmth of the sun, the beauty of the ocean and especially enjoyed the sunset over the bay that night. Nothing in nature (other than the birth of a new baby) could be more beautiful than sunsets on the beach. However; a sunset and the night stars in the open desert like I experienced in the Middle East in October is a very close second.

There are so many more amazing and beautiful things in creation that leave me in a state of awe. Sunrises, sunsets, moon phases, high and low tides, the position of the stars, and so much more in creation are so exact in their detail, that they can be predicted to the second, years in advance. The whole process of conception and birth are remarkably amazing. The changing of the seasons are sure and absolute. The laws of gravity are certain and undeniable. The uniqueness of each person, each fingerprint, each set of DNA is beyond our ability to comprehend or duplicate. All of creation, without exception, points to the creativity, power, awesomeness, and love of a Creator God who loves us so much that He would create and sustain all this for our enjoyment and benefit. All of creation points to God and His love for us.

I am reminded of the passage in Psalm 19:1 which says: "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork." We are indeed surrounded by fantastic displays of God's craftsmanship! No one can ignore the fact of God's creative sovereignty.

Romans 1 tells us that all of creation points to Him, His eternal power and to His Godhead. There is no logical denying that God is the creator and sustainer of all that has been created. However; this passage goes on to tell us that because everything we see and experience in creation points us to God and His Lordship, we are without excuse for not knowing Him and for not glorifying Him as God.

Romans 1 goes on in verses 18-32 to tell us the consequences of what will happen when we reject Him and make idols out of things that He himself created, whatever that may be: " For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[a] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[b] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."

Despite the knowledge of God revealed to each of us through creation, most people fail to act on it. They neither glorify Him as God nor give thanks to Him, the two things that we must do if we believe God to be God. Those who fail to recognize God as supreme and worthy of our praise and thanksgiving will inevitably put something or someone in God's place. The connection between idolatry and immorality is that when we put someone or something in God's place, we are free to follow our own sinful passions, because we have no outside god to account to. What we do with God has a lot to do with our own personal character and lifestyle because we are actively choosing a lifestyle and are not being taken captive against our own will. Instead of looking to God as the Creator and sustainer of life, we see ourselves as the center of the universe and so we invent 'gods' that are conducive to our own selfish plans and desires. "It is a great honor for man to be created in God's image. It is a great dishonor that man has made God in the image of man". (Matthew Henry: A Commentary on the Whole Bible).

Our first sin is that we reject God; next, we make up our own ideas of what a god should be and do; then we fall into other sin--(all the sins mentioned in the above passage and then some). Then we grow to hate God and encourage others to do so. Even though we know that our lifestyles are deserving of death, we not only live those lifestyles but we approve of others who do so.

God does not cause this steady progression toward evil. Rather, when we reject Him, He allows us to live as we choose. God gives us over to experience the natural consequences of our sin. Once caught in the downward spiral, no one can pull themselves out and save themselves. As sinners, we must trust Christ alone to put us on the path of salvation.

Christ is the only hope for you and for me and He is the only hope for our country and for the world! God has revealed Himself to us in creation, in His written Word and through the life of His Son Jesus. We are indeed without excuse if we do not allow Him to be Lord of our lives!

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