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the iron horse 12-17-2017 11:23 AM

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To me, there is nothing more comforting than knowing that there is a God of providence who is aware not only of every one of my transgressions but of every one of my tears, every one of my aches, and every one of my fears.

~ R.C. Sproul

the iron horse 12-24-2017 11:29 AM

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Daily Gifts

the iron horse 12-31-2017 12:12 PM

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Two Truths

There are two truths about human beings that matter deeply.

We are all of us rag dolls. Flawed and wounded, broken and bent. Ever since the Fall, every member of the human race has lived on the ragged edge. Partly our raggedness is something that happens to us. Our genes may set us up for certain weaknesses. Our parents may let us down when we need them most. But that’s not the whole story. We each make our own deposits into the ragged account of the human race. We choose to deceive when the truth begs to be spoken. We grumble when a little generous praise is called for. We deliberately betray when we’re bound by oaths of loyalty. Like a splash of ink in a glass of water, this raggedness permeates our whole being. Our words and thoughts are never entirely free of it. We are rag dolls, all right.

But we are God’s rag dolls. He knows all about our raggedness, and he loves us anyhow. Our raggedness is no longer the most important thing about us. We were not created ragged. From the beginning there was a wonder about human beings that caused God himself to say “Very Good” as he looked at them in the department store window. There was a wonder about human beings that caused the writer of Genesis to say they had been made in God’s own image. There was a wonder about human beings that caused the psalmist to say they rival the divine beings in glory and honor. There is a wonder about human beings still that even all our fallenness cannot utterly erase.

There is a wonder about you. Raggedness is not your identity. Raggedness is not your destiny, nor is it mine. We may be unlovely, yet we are not unloved. And we cannot be loved without being changed. There is such a love, a love that creates value in what is loved. There is a love that turns rag dolls into priceless treasures. There is a love that fastens itself onto ragged little creatures, for reasons that no one could ever quite figure out, and makes them precious and valued beyond calculation. This is a love beyond reason.

This is the love of God. This is the love with which God loves you and me. Love is why God created us in the first place. Theologians speak of the fact that God created everything freely, not out of necessity. This is a very important idea—it means that God did not make us because he was bored, lonely, or had run out of things to do. God did not create us out of need. He created us out of his love. C. S. Lewis wrote, “God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them.” But the full extent of God’s love was shown not so much when he chose to create us. It was shown when we had become sinful and unlovely.

For God is fully aware of our secret. He knows that we are rag dolls. The prophet Isaiah said it thousands of years ago: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6, NIV) Every one of us has become ragged, so damaged by sin and guilt that it seemed like the logical thing left was to discard the human race. Toss it out and start over. But this God could not bring himself to do. So God proposed reconstructive surgery. God proposed to take the human race to where he could change filthy rags and remove the guilt and sin that left the objects of his love so unlovely. There really is such a place. It is called the cross.

~ John Ortberg


I wanted to thank you for taking time this past year for reading these dispatches.

You can view the daily dispatches on our Facebook group:

Happy New Year to you, your family, and friends.
Take care,


the iron horse 01-14-2018 12:39 PM

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Forever, O Lord,
Your word is settled in heaven.

~ Psalm 119:89

the iron horse 01-21-2018 11:11 AM

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What does it mean that God “speaks” through creation?

Article excerpted from Theology: Think for Yourself What You Believe by The Navigators:

God speaking through creation or the natural world means that when we look up at the stars or gaze at a California hill covered with wildflowers, we see the fingerprints of God. The more we fix our eyes on the wonder of creation, the more we must conclude that these things could not make themselves. Both the intricate design of creation and the way the universe appears to be fine-tuned for life declare that this couldn’t happen by chance.

Consider the following: If the electromagnetic force in atoms were weakened by a mere 4 percent, then the sun would immediately explode (the diproton would have a bound state, which would increase the solar luminosity by a factor 1018). If it were stronger, there would be fewer stable atoms. If the protons were 0.2 percent heavier, they would decay into neutrons unable to hold on to electrons, so there would be no stable atoms around. If the proton-to-electron mass ratio were much smaller, there could be no stable stars, and if it were much larger, there could be no ordered structures such as crystals and DNA molecules.

God doesn’t just speak through the order and design we find in creation, but also through the jaw-dropping beauty that surrounds us. From something as mundane as a group of bright red cardinals sitting in a leaf-bare bush on a snowy Midwestern day, to the spectacular views of nebulae in distant corners of the galaxy beamed to earth by the Hubble Space Telescope creation doesn’t just tell us that a Creator exists, but that this Creator is an artist without peer. The feelings of awe that come over us as we watch the waves pound against the rocks at the beach or hold a newborn baby for the first time are in fact God speaking to us through his masterpiece. Psalm 19:1-4 puts it this way:

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 display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world. (NIV)

While the order and beauty of the universe appear to be rock-solid proofs of God’s existence to believers, unbelievers find many ways to explain them away. Physicist Max Tegmark writes extensively on the way our universe is fine-tuned for life, yet he doesn’t see this fine-tuning as evidence of a Creator. Rather, he sees it as further proof of the existence of parallel universes where such fine-tuning does not exist, and life is not possible. For him, the fact that we find ourselves in a universe teeming with life is no more of a miracle than checking into a hotel and being given a room with the same number as the year of your birth. Room 1985 exists because all the other rooms exist. In the same way, Tegmark believes an infinite number of universes exist where every possible combination of physical laws rule. Some have life while others cannot. Other scientists regard what we call beauty as nothing more than the end result of natural selection playing out over eons of time. Bright red cardinals sit in bushes on snowy days because red feathers made the males of the species more attractive to the females. That’s why this trait became dominant in cardinals — no further reason.

For those who see the hand of natural selection in the world rather than the fingerprints of God, beauty is purely in the eyes of the beholder. Believers may hear God’s revelation of himself through nature, but clearly, not everyone is listening.

the iron horse 01-28-2018 11:13 AM

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You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
~ Isaiah 38:17

We shall never understand the extent of God’s love in Christ at the cross until we understand that we shall never have to stand before the judgement of God for our sins. All our sins – without exception – were placed on Christ and he took the judgement we deserve. He finished the work of redemption.

If we are believers, we have already come through the storm of judgement. It happened on the cross. Don’t be bound by guilt or fear any longer but realize that sin’s penalty has already been paid by Christ completely and fully.

~ Billy Graham

the iron horse 02-04-2018 10:16 AM

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“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”

~ Timothy J. Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

the iron horse 02-11-2018 11:49 AM

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I get up in the morning looking for an adventure.

~ George Foreman

the iron horse 02-18-2018 12:04 PM

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One cannot simply read the Bible, like other books. One must be prepared really to enquire of it. Only thus will it reveal itself. Only if we expect from it the ultimate answer, shall we receive it. That is because in the Bible God speaks to us. And one cannot simply think about God in one’s own strength, one has to inquire of him. Only if we seek him, will he answer us.

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

the iron horse 02-25-2018 08:27 AM

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Across the bridge where angels dwell
Across the bridge where angels
Across the bridge where angels dwell
Children play

Beyond the place where time is still
Beyond the place where time is
Beyond the place where time is still
Night is day

Close your eyes in fields of wonder
Close your eyes and dream
Close your eyes in fields of wonder
Close your eyes and dream

Along the path where heaven lies
Along the path where heaven
Along the path where heaven lies
All is clear

Ahead where home awaits the heart
Ahead where home is waiting
Ahead where home awaits the heart
Peace is near

Close your eyes in fields of wonder
Close your eyes and dream
Close your eyes in fields of wonder
Close your eyes and dream

Across the bridge where angels dwell
Across the bridge where angels
Across the bridge where angels dwell
Children play


the iron horse 03-04-2018 11:11 AM

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So be careful how you live; be mindful of your steps... Make the most of every living and breathing moment...
~ from Ephesians 5 (The Voice)

Take Time for 10 Things

1. Take time to work: It is the price of success.
2. Take time to think: It is the source of power.
3. Take time to play: It is the secret of youth.
4. Take time to read: It is the foundation of knowledge.
5. Take time to worship: It is the highway of reverence and
clears the dust from our minds.
6. Take time to help: It is the source of true happiness.
7. Take time to love: It is the sacrament of life.
8. Take time to dream: It hitches the soul to the stars.
9. Take time to laugh: It is the singing that helps with life’s loads.
10. Take time to plan: It is the secret of being able to obtain security,
money and time in order to enjoy the first nine to the fullest.

~ Cary Grant’s notes on living, dying, and the art of happiness
from his daughter book “Good Stuff” Jennifer Grant

the iron horse 03-11-2018 12:01 PM

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
~ John 16:33 (NIV)

The most important element in human life is faith; if God were to take away all his blessings--health, physical fitness, wealth, intelligence--and leave me with but one gift I would ask him for faith. For with faith in him and his goodness, mercy and love for me, and belief in everlasting life, I believe I could suffer the loss of all my other gifts and still be happy.
~ Rose Kennedy


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the iron horse 03-18-2018 08:50 AM

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Cooper: You're a scientist, Brand.

Brand: So listen to me when I say that love isn't something that we invented. It's... observable, powerful. It has to mean something.

Cooper: Love has meaning, yes. Social utility, social bonding, child rearing...

Brand: We love people who have died. Where's the social utility in that?

Cooper: None.

Brand: Maybe it means something more - something we can't yet understand. Maybe it's some evidence, some artifact of a higher dimension that we can't consciously perceive. I'm drawn across the universe to someone I haven't seen in a decade, who I know is probably dead. Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space. Maybe we should trust that, even if we can't understand it.

~ Interstellar (2014)

the iron horse 03-25-2018 12:29 PM

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We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it.
~ Alexander Polyakov, Russian theoretical physicist

But ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what’s going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his hand—
Every living soul, yes,
every breathing creature?
Isn’t this all just common sense,
as common as the sense of taste?

~ Job 12:7-12 (The Message)

the iron horse 04-01-2018 10:48 AM

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You must make your choice: either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

~ C. S. Lewis

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