Sunday, December 24, 2006

Feliz Navidad!

Hope Enthroned
By: Terah K. B.

Sent to save the world from sin
That sinners might be born again,
Emmanuel. Hope enthroned
Upon the day our Christ was born.

Redeeming grace sent down to earth,
And simple shepherds greet Him first.
What child is this of lowly means?
Behold! He is the King of Kings!

Hello Everyone!

Merry Christmas from Steve and Ter here at Rubies & Sapphires! We hope that the Lord blesses you during this festive time of the year with many happy moments with family and friends!
Today we published the Christmas issue of our family's ezine, Blue. We encourage you to check it out at
Have a safe and Merry Christmas!
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. -Matthew 1:23

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Science in my Worldview

by Stephen B.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
– Isaiah 40:21, NRS

One’s view of the beginning of matter—the beginning of existence, period—is the base for one’s worldview. This is not just a matter of opinion, the answers to all of life’s questions lie in the beginning. Just as a book starts on the first page and a music cd begins with track 1, everything you and I believe starts at the beginning of existence. A person can begin his or her search for meaning and shape his or her worldview without at first considering the question of “Where did this all come from?” (much like one can start a book in the middle or even at the end). However, if one asks questions long enough, they will be forced to eventually consider this question.

Actually, most of us have an answer to that question, even when we do not consciously know our answer. If we were to look for that answer within our concept of life (our worldview) we would undoubtedly discover the “why” for many of our other beliefs and feelings. My worldview is based on God (or Who I believe God to be), and I derive my understanding from God—and thus my worldview is based on—the Bible, which I believe to be God’s words in a written form. The validity of this base is rationally arguable to a certain extent, but in the end, I would have to admit that the naked truth is that I simply have faith that my foundation is concrete and real. This does not scare me because my Bible tells me that my relationship with God is and must be built upon faith. Hebrews 11:3 tells me, “By faith we understand” (NIV).

How does science play into the picture of my worldview? Hebrews 11:3 actually offers the beginning of the answer to this question, as well, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (NIV). By “universe” I understand this Biblical author to meaning all that exists. I believe that this verse (and others that back it up and expound upon its concept) means that God created all matter and the laws that our world operates by. Thus, I believe that God created the things we study in Science.

But, I believe that God made more than just the physical world and its laws; I believe that God also made things that cannot be studied with a microscope. He also made beauty and emotions. The very essence of life is in Him—both the physical and surreal aspects of life. Thus, when I look at a rainbow I see an amazing “painting”—a work of art. I see a message that I understand through theology and faith. And, equally as important as the first two, I see drops of water with light streaming through them just as the Creator said that they would when he made the miracle of refraction.

I see God.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Do You Judge God's Gift of Grace?

Written By:
Terah K. B.

God’s gift of grace is an amazing thing! It’s a mystery that we cannot fathom. Our human minds just cannot understand the concept of grace. Why would Jesus give His life for sinners that did not care? Why would our God heap blessings upon us when we least deserve them? And if we do not even understand grace, then why are we so presumptuous as to judge God’s gift of grace in other’s lives? This final question is very humbling.

According to Romans 3:23, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We are no more worthy of grace than the person standing next to us. Why, then, do we judge what amount of grace they should be allotted? Grace cannot be earned! For instance, let us look at the following example:

If ever a man deserved something special or an easy road in this world, it was Jesus, who was the epitome of all perfection. And instead, Jesus received a crucifixion. Now, Peter, on the other hand, denied even knowing Jesus three times over. But did Jesus deny knowing him in return? No! Jesus said to him, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32) Jesus knew that Peter would be afraid, that Peter would fail, and that Peter would deny knowing him three times. Jesus knew, but still He prayed. He prayed that Peter, even after denying him, would regain faith. And Jesus instructed Peter, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Did Peter deserve to return after turning his back on Jesus? Did Peter deserve to even strengthen his brothers in Christ after such a denial of Christ? No. But God allowed him these privileges. The perfect Son of God received crucifixion, and the sinful Peter received redemption. Grace can definitely not be earned!

Why, then, if grace cannot be earned, do we judge who should receive God’s grace? Who are we to dictate which person should receive a blessing of grace and which person should not? “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4) We each are a servant of our master, God. What we will be allotted is dictated by God. This applies to earth and to Heaven. We do not know why God would give an undeserving person more of the very thing that he does not deserve. And we do not know why God would give less of that same thing to someone who does deserve it. We do not understand because we do not understand grace. Perhaps God does these things to draw His children to a closer walk with Him. Perhaps He uses these things as a tool to build our faith. Our God is omniscient. We humans only know what God has allowed us to know. We should not presume to know whether a person should be allotted God’s grace or not.

If grace cannot be earned and we cannot know who needs grace, then as Paul says in Romans 14:13a, “Let us therefore not judge one another anymore.” Let us not judge those who receive God’s grace, but let us instead trust God who works in ways we cannot fathom. After all, “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10b) So let us each concentrate on our own personal walk with the Lord. Let us count our own blessings, each of which we also do not deserve.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

On Purpose and Life's Meaning

Here's another assignment I've done that I thought you might enjoy reading. It's another science/theology thing. It deals with an interesting "idea" scientists have only recently come to the conclusion about: the anthropic principle. Rather interesting; hope you enjoy it...Steve

The anthropic principle is a theory on the why the universe (and the laws that make it operate) exist as they do. This principle states that things are as they are because “the physical features of the universe” must support life (Giberson 205). This is apparently in contradiction to the hopeless (and unreasonable) former scientific conclusion that the universe just happened to explode into a perfect existence. According to the anthropic principle, matter must exist for a reason, and that reason is to support life.

I suppose that this is science’s verification that there was a thinker behind the existence of the physical universe. Though this principle might seem slightly obvious to a Christian (especially a Creationist), it is actually a rather dynamic statement. Think about it—everything exists as it does so it can support life. WOW! Here, we find the evidence of something...something deeper than just chance. This has implications that are much more far reaching than just the start of the world.

If matter was created (or came into being) for a specific purpose, then maybe people all have a purpose too! If life is not by chance, mere circumstance, than maybe presupposition comes before every life. That presupposition is demonstrably not present in every human parent’s act of procreation, so there is good reason to wonder about a supernatural Being doing the supposition. This may be a little off the subject, but we are not merely discussing science when we discuss the beginning of being; we are discussing the roots to a whole worldview. How one believes the world came into being is reflected in every aspect of one’s worldview. Thus, it is no giant leap from the anthropic principle to the issue of sanctity of life. Purpose is the question being presented here, and purpose is also the answer to the questions of why (if not who).

I have talked in previous assignments about the abyss I see between science and religion. This abyss, as I havestated before, is filled by God, and I believe, is where science and religion meet. This abyss is formed by the question of purpose. It is put into very apt words by the anthropic principle. In reality neither science nor religion has the answer to why. Neither can say “I know the whole truth,” because neither of them do. Throughout much of world history, religion has often been recognized as the keeper of the answer, and in recent years scientists have tried to finder a more “plausible” answer for an increasingly prosaic culture. However, neither of them have the answer.

Neither of them hold the answer, but both of them lead to it. Or, at least, they can both lead to it if truth is the object of the seeker. In order to emphasize my point, allow me to state the matter like this: Religion is the science of the spiritual realm of God’s presence, and Science is the religion of the natural realm of God’s presence. I know that this statement will probably not be well-received by either camps, but I use it in order to accentuate the fact that both Science and Religion are viable paths to God. He is most definitely present in both places (and at the same time, too!), and He brings them both together in Himself. The abyss is not really so great as we might suppose, it is simply God Himself. Both religion and science’s journeys of discovery ultimately end in the question of purpose (why, how and who), and both can find their ultimate answer in the One Who initiated both studies.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ancient Computer

Talk about wisdom of the ancients! Here's an article about a 2,100 year old "computer"!!!!

Yep...check it out at

Pretty cool...Steve

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Divine Call of Self-Control

Matt. 16:24-26
Col. 3: 1-14

I never really understood Jesus' teaching in the Matt. passage to be a reference to personal desires. Yet "deny himself" definitely carries those connotations.

Paul describes those things we must deny ourselves of. He says it so forcefully, "Put to death...whatever belongs to your earthly nature." He gives two lists (vv. 5 + 8-9) of things that we are to stay away from because we "have been raised with Christ." He then gives a list of what we should do (vv. 12-14). These lists involve actions just as much as thoughts. In fact, all of the lists contain things that spring from our hearts (which is where our sin is rooted and buried, but where Christ desires to dwell).

The two passages I listed above are both talking about the same thing--following Christ. I think it can be read as a dialogue (even though it probably not originally written this way). Paul points out that Christ has been "raised" and now sits with God. Christ tells us that we can "come after" Him, that is follow Him. Paul then adds that when we are born again (modern term) our life is hidden away with Christ.

I find it intriguing that we say "born again" and Paul often refers to accepting Christ as "dying" (see v. 3). Letting Christ into our lives is really only the first part of this death. It takes conscious effort on out part to help God in purifying us. I am not elevating man here, I am referring to what Jesus' calls "carrying our cross." It is a wonderful part of God's love that He never forces His healing touch on us. After we let Him into our lives, He begin the long job of cleaning our out our hearts. As He goes along, He will reveal to us things that are hidden within our hearts (things we might not even have known about or remembered). We then have to either destroy that things (through Christ's strength and help) and move on to a deeper point in our relationship with God, or we can hold on to that thing and stop in our growth.

The first of these two is our "denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Christ," and requires practicing self-control. The latter is willfully "forfeiting our souls for the world." The latter leads not to glory, but to shame--Christ cannot know those who deny Him.

A final note: we can only achieve a deeper walk by succeeding in our "denial." We can only succeed in our denial by keeping our eyes on Christ. In Paul's terms, "Set[ting] our hearts...[and] minds on things above, not on earthly things." Above--that is where our King is, and that is where we are hidden.

P.S.: That pic at the top is from our property. We got about six inches of snow yesterday! This is unusual for is really beautiful (though somewhat of a bother!). -Steve