The Pastor’s Corner is written by the pastor of Coronado Bible Church.

Entropy:

A friend, returning to the States gave me a little cordless screwdriver with its own set of bits. It sat on my tool room shelf untouched for nearly a year. The other day, I picked it up and found that all the bits were red with rust. I’d heard that vinegar was a good anti-oxidizer, so I tossed the bits into an old tin can and soaked them over night. It really does work. A little gentle scrubbing and the rust was gone.

Standing at the kitchen sink, with bits and a Brillo pad, I gazed out the window at the uncut grass. Things grow way too quickly in Panama. I began musing about the myriad mundane matters necessary to keep my little corner of the universe from total entropy. I’m not talking thermodynamically … I’m talking definition “B” from Merriam-Webster: “a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder.”

 Mow the lawn, get a haircut, do the dishes, wash the clothes, brush your teeth, pay the internet bill, shave, change the oil, trim your eyebrows … and your ears … now that’s a scary sign of entropy! Leave any of those tasks undone for long and things get chaotic. Amid my musings, I wondered what all goes into keeping THE universe from collapsing.

Did you know our universe is managed? The book of Job 38 contains a beautiful passage extoling God’s moment by moment involvement in the minutia of creation, even down to helping the lion find prey. The same is declared in Psalm 135:6-7 … and dozens of other places in the Old Testament. In Matthew 10, Jesus claimed that his Father knows how many hairs are on each human head (never a static number) and when any small bird falls from the sky.

Amazingly, this same detailed involvement is attributed to our Savior. Colossians 1:16-17 says of Jesus, “all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Likewise Hebrew 1:2-3 speaking of Jesus is the one whom God “appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” These texts speak of Christ’s active maintenance of the created order. The beginning of all things … and the continuing of all things are credited equally to God the Father and God the Son … “for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

Plug away at that to-do list, staving off entropy in your little corner of the universe. But in the middle of your mundane, marvel at your Saviors constant, comprehensive, cohesive management of all things! 
 
 
 

 



One Less Worry

The debate over masks rage on although both sides claim it’s scientifically settled … in their favor. I’ve seen convincing articles and persuasive videos from both perspectives, but I tend to lean toward my own sources; medical professionals and scientists in my circle of trusted friends. Almost all of them believe that masks offer some protection to others, are non-hazardous to the wearer and are generally a good idea if we’re in a pandemic. Ding! “Come out of your corners fighting!”

Now it’s the touchless thermometers. I saw a meme that said, “Don’t let them take your temperature at the grocery store. It erases your memory … I went in for milk and bread and came out with wine and chocolate.” That’s funny … but posts claiming touchless thermometers are harmful to humans are not. It’s never humorous when people spread fear and misinformation without checking their facts. You can trust me or not … but I personally understand (and have double-checked) the science on these devices. They may look like a gun, but emit nothing. Radiation is involved … but that radiation is coming from you. We all constantly emit heat in the form of infrared light. A small lens in the thermometer captures that invisible light and focuses it on a thermopile. That sensor converts the infrared radiation into electricity which is averaged to calculate your temperature. There are two real … but nominal risks with these thermometers:

1.) In an infectious situation, the person taking the temperature and the one whose temperature is being taken might stand too close to one another.

2.) These thermometers sometimes produce lower and less accurate temperatures than contact devices. This could miss a reading that would indicate that a person needs medical attention.

Takeaways:

Please don’t add thermometers to your list of worries. Unless you’re so annoyed by them that you’re going to have a stroke … there’s no danger involved.

Please do be circumspect about what you share. What’s really at stake? Quickly sharing something (even out of concern) that is untrue makes you a party to the lie. Christians follow the God of truth and are called to be a people of truth. We cannot be careless …

Ps 15:1–3 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman …

Ephesians 4:25 Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Colossians 3:9–10 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

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Clarification: Some models of touchless thermometers have an incorporated visible-light laser for pinpointing the area to be measured. That laser could conceivably pose a risk if directed into the eyes, but these models are usually for industrial applications, are more expensive and are not widely used for checking human temperatures.
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Rest

Humans have repeatedly tried to cheat sleep. Multiple scientists have searched for new sleep patterns to give people more waking hours. All are variations of a theme … long periods of wakefulness punctuated by short naps. These polyphasic sleep patterns can succeed for a time but have never proven to give more productive hours awake. And … there’s almost always a crash somewhere in the participant’s future. One such sleep study cruised along with seeming success until all the test subjects lapsed into long periods of coma-like sleep; a giant reset for their brains.

In trying to understand why humans sleep, researchers have arrived at some amazing conclusions. Recent studies have shown that waste produced by your brain is handled differently than all other bodily waste and only processed while you’re sleeping. Sleep is serious business for the human body. According to an article on LiveScience, “the World Health Organization placed nightshift work as a probable human carcinogen; there’s something about getting the sleep rhythm out of whack that causes cancer, heart diseases, obesity and other ills.”

Many of the articles I read postulated reasons we evolved with a need for sleep. As someone who believes in an infinitely wise Creator, I wonder why God designed us for sleep. The most in-charge, type-A control-freak in the world eventually must sleep. It can be unnerving to realize that you must let loose of the reigns and allow the universe to spin a while out of your control. I loved the title of one article on sleep … “Can You Cheat sleep? Only in Your Dreams?”

According to God’s Word, sleep is more than physical; sleep can be a matter of faith. Listen to the psalmists,

Psalm 3:5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.  Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 121:3-4 he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 127:2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Here are people of faith confessing that they can release the reigns because their wise and loving God never does. Some of these words were penned by David; a man who for years went to sleep every night knowing that powerful enemies were seeking his life. Sleep was an expression of faith – his faith!

Of course, the Bible has a balancing word on sleep. “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.” Proverbs 20:13 “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:10 There are times for watchful vigilance and pursuit of a necessary task … “Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.” Proverbs 6:4

Diligently do what God has set before you, but when you are weary, rest. Normally … close your eyes every night acknowledging your sovereign God’s masterful control. And when sleep alludes you, make that a matter of faith also … “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.” Psalm 63:6
 
 


Sole … Soul

The human sole is amazing! I know I’m a pastor, but I really am talking about the sole of your foot. When we visited South Africa, the village children were almost entirely shoeless. They ran down the rocky rugged roads of Umtata without injury. The sight of it made our team cringe. I could feel the rocks through the thick soles of my shoes, and I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like barefoot. Maybe like finding a forgotten Lego in the middle of the night. But studies have shown that our feet are extremely tough and adaptable. People who live shoeless have tougher soles that can stand extreme conditions and yet give the vital and detailed sensory feedback necessary for walking. Did you realize the sole of each foot has over 200,000 nerve endings and special fatty deposits that provide extremely resilient cushioning?
 

Even the bottoms of my prodigiously pampered pedestals are both amazingly rugged and incredibly responsive. They can manage small doses of rough cement without bleeding and hot black sand without blistering. And yet … I can feel the exact size and location of the tiniest particle lodged in my shoe.

I want a soul … like my sole. I want my inner man to be tough, flexible, resilient, responsive and sensitive. You don’t want to be a tenderfoot when it comes to your inner self. That was a term used among the early settlers to refer to person who was unaccustomed or unprepared to face hardship. A soul mature in faith will not be easily wounded or waylaid by the roughness of life … or people. A the same time you want your heart to remain sensitive to God and your fellow man. You want to be able to discern accurately the seriousness and size of anything that comes between your relationship with God and others. Neuropathy in the SOLE complicates walking greatly. Neuropathy of the SOUL damages your ability to walk God and those He puts in your life.

Here’s one passage that gives a great snapshot of the tough yet tender soul …

Colossians 1:9-12 We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

 
 


Reverse Engineered

Once upon a time when I was trying to make it as a professional photographer, I was sorely tempted to buy a Kiev 88. These Russian made cameras were making their way to the US markets even before the fall of the Iron Curtain. They were attractive to a young (broke) photographer because they were almost an exact copy of a Hasselblad at a tenth of the price. The Kiev was such a perfect piece of reverse engineering that that it was almost indistinguishable from its ritzier cousin. The main difference between the two cameras was quality control in production. Hasselblads were the favorite camera of the NASA space program because of their standard of excellence and dependability. The Kiev’s could be quality cameras … or junk. I decided not to take the gamble.

According to Dictionary.com, “Reverse engineering is the reproduction of another manufacturer’s product following detailed examination of its construction or composition.” …what Kiev did to Hasselblad. But here’s the definition from Wikipedia, “Reverse engineering … is the process by which a man-made object is deconstructed to reveal its designs, architecture or code.” I wonder if we could reverse engineer Satan. I don’t want to copy him … I want to deconstruct his activity to reveal its true design.

Why does the devil spend so much energy getting people to hate each other? I’m assuming you’ll agree that his campaign is doing quite well these days. But what is Satan’s beef with us anyway? Why does he constantly sow discord?

Satan’s destructive battle with humanity is totally aimed at God. He hates us because we are capable of loving and glorifying God and these are two things Satan cannot stand. By causing constant strife and hatred among men, Satan interferes with or utterly ruins our ability to love God. Here’s how I worked back to that hypothesis. It started with this passage,

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21

One verse prior states, “we love because He first love us.” Normally Christians emphasize that our love for our fellow man flows from God’s love for us. But the passage quoted also reveals the inverse. If you cannot love the flesh and blood human next to you … how can you love the unseen God? In other words, do not tell me about your fervent love for God … if your life is displaying hatred for your brother. The two are not compatible according to John.

Maybe the reason Satan is driving us … all of us toward polarization is because he knows that disrupting our love for our fellow man will, by necessity, destroy our intimacy with God.

This is the Bible’s dire prediction for the last days, 2 Timothy 3:1–5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Don’t buy the devil’s junk!