Monday, October 13, 2014


A man complains bitterly, “There’s no justice in this world!”

What is he talking about? 

If it doesn’t exist on earth, he has obviously never had any contact with the quality of justice that he is complaining ought to be here but isn’t. How does he know it is missing in human experience? Why is he sure it exists?  Where could that be, and how does he know about it? How does he even have the concept of “justice” (or of grace, truth, holiness, or selfless love) if he is only the material of his body and has had no physical contact with justice by sight, hearing, taste, touch, or smell?

Indeed, justice has none of these physical qualities. It is unquestionably nonphysical.

That we understand nonphysical concepts proves that we, our real selves that exist independent of our bodies, must be nonphysical as well. Materialism simply won’t hold up to examination. It cannot explain even the simplest realities of life that we experience daily. Much less can materialism explain profound thoughts, philosophical concepts, the drive to expand one’s knowledge, and the yearning for purpose and meaning even beyond this physical life.

Undeniably, the appreciation of truth, wisdom, and beauty, the loathing of evil, and the longing for ultimate fulfillment do not arise from any quality of the atoms, molecules, or cells that constitute the body or even of the brain.

Tissues know nothing about issues. There is therefore good reason to believe that the spirit to which these undeniably spiritual capacities belong will continue to exist even when the tissues that make up the body it has inhabited have died.


There is no denying the fact that, even though we have never seen it on earth, each of us innately recognizes a perfect standard of absolute justice, truth, and moral purity. Moreover, we have something we call a “conscience” that tells us when we have violated that standard. We can learn to turn a deaf ear to this inner voice or to pervert it, but it is there nevertheless.

Once again, the conscience can only be explained on the basis that there is, residing in these physical bodies, a nonmaterial spirit made in the image of a personal Creator who is a Spirit and has impressed His standards upon us. And it can only be from Him that the obviously spiritual capabilities we possess originate.

The God who inspired the Bible claims to have written His moral laws in every human conscience:

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another. (Romans 2:14-15)

The consciousness of having broken an unseen but not unknown perfect standard of right and wrong goes beyond culture and cannot be explained in terms of learned behavior. We can reason about what is right and wrong and decide upon behavior totally at odds with our upbringing and presumed conditioning.

This fact is proved again and again as generation after generation rebels against the standards they have been taught. The hippies of the sixties are but one example. Sin is defined in the Bible as coming short of that perfection for which God created us in order to reflect His own glory.

Sin is rejecting God’s light, refusing to let it guide and energize us in obeying our Creator’s will. We know when we are guilty of that, and that disturbing sense of coming short is what troubles the conscience.


Yes, we all have an undeniable inner recognition of right or wrong. The man who complains about the injustice of a court decision need not be referring to a violation of any legislated law. In fact, far from accepting every law passed by legislative bodies, we often complain about their injustice. The man sitting in court and observing what he considers to be improper procedure and conclusion is really demanding that the court itself adhere to the innate standard that he knows exists and believes the court has violated.


No one has the right to take another’s innocent life to save oneself. That rule is written in our conscience. But it is the very opposite of everything that evolution, were it true, would produce as instinctive reaction. Self-preservation is the law of the jungle and enforced by tooth and claw without compassion. 

Respect for others is highly regarded among humans, and survival of the fittest could never produce it. Everywhere in nature, creatures kill and feed upon one another. We consider that normal and ourselves feed upon lower life forms that we have killed for our sustenance. At the same time, however, we know it is wrong to murder other human beings of whatever color, race, or creed. The random motions of atoms in our brains that presumably all began with a big bang and have proceeded by chance ever since could never produce the moral understanding that is common to all. 

Nor can moral conviction or compassion for others be explained by any evolutionary process. In fact, “survival of the fittest” would be undermined by, and could never produce, conscience and ethical concerns. Yet the soldier who falls on an enemy hand grenade to save the lives of his buddies (as some have done), or the policemen and firemen who gave their lives in the attempt to rescue others on September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was brought down by terrorists, are admired as heroes. A consistent materialist/evolutionist view would have to denounce as utterly senseless the risking of one’s own life to save the lives of total strangers. In spite of the predominant instinct of self-preservation, however, self-sacrificial deeds are admired and given the highest praise by society. How can that be, if we are products of evolution? 

When did evolution do away with the instinctive law of the jungle that is so essential to survival of the fittest?


Furthermore, in spite of “thou shalt not commit murder” being written indelibly in every conscience, man finds reasons to kill and even to torture his fellows. These rationalizations include supposedly justifiable wars, ethnic hatred, and religious fanaticism. Man has his devious explanations by which he can justify almost any evil. He is a rational being, even accusing others of being irrational, the worst insult one can level at another. 

But big bangs and the resulting chance motions of atoms do not produce rationality. Reason is not a quality of matter but an ability of persons. Consequently, a person must consist of something more than the material of the body. Nor can a physical universe explain the existence of personal beings with the ability to reason about their origin. That could come about only through an infinite Being having created them in His image and likeness so that they could know and love Him and one another and receive His and others’ love.

That we recognize a love that puts others ahead of oneself as the highest experience—and that the expression of human love involves not just the physical pleasure of an animal body, but something so far beyond it that it can only be described as spiritual—is further proof of man’s origin at the hand of God and that man is more than the physical composition of his body. 

The very fact that we have a conscience apart from culture and an innate sense of justice that does not derive from man’s laws but even complains about their injustices, can only be explained in one way: our spirits living in these bodies were created in the spiritual image of the God who is perfect in justice, holiness, love, truth, and those other nonphysical attributes that only God could possess in flawless fullness.

Excerpted from Seeking and Finding God, Dave Hunt

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Zak and Beth's Wedding, Part 2

Early in the week before the wedding, we enjoyed extended family time at the wonderful guest house, planning for the wedding (of course!) and many times of fellowship with the folks from the church in Rhinelander. Their hospitality was such a blessing!

We cherished our times
with this sweet big brother :)

Breakfast and devotions outside

We exceeded the capacity of the trash receptacles at our temporary abode (what else is new?) so we were given instructions to a nearby dumping area which we had permission to patronize.

Strawberry plants that Ruth (Beth's sister) and our girls
wrapped and used for decorations
Aaron (Ruth's husband) and Solomon setting up risers 
we borrowed from friends

Our friend Casey blessed us with his carpentry skills, and reinforced the risers
(to ensure it didn't crack under the weight of 30+ people on at one time!),
and added a step.
We had one big room to use for the wedding and ceremony, and we saw that first setting up chairs in rows for the ceremony, then rearranging and adding tables for the reception, would not work with the number of people attending. So we had to be creative and figure out how to fit 220+ loved ones in the space available, for both parts of the day.

Measuring distances for tables

Every square inch of space was accounted for!
We spent a while going over possible layouts, and eventually, settled for this arrangement:

(The chairs in front were being used for step-stools for decorating)
All the chairs faced forwards, with the tables set up. And following the wedding, the chairs in front of the tables were turned around.

While there was an abundance of chairs at the church building, they were all mismatched. So, our little boys sorted and tallied up all the different colors and styles of chairs, and came up with their own symmetrical pattern, to make the room look more "festive." :)

The church building did not have light covers for the light bulbs, and so Mom came up with a creative way to shade the rays a bit.

The picture doesn't really do it justice, but these fans cut out of butcher paper not only softened the light but cast pretty patterns across the ceiling. It was, as Bethie said, "simple, yet elegant!" :)

On Tuesday, some of the girls made a raid to the local Goodwill, to see if we could find fabric to make a backdrop for the wedding. We had the use of a room divider, which would be good to cover up most of the window in front of the building, but we were hoping and praying we could find something to cover it and give it some nice color. The Lord blessed our efforts and we left the thrift store with armloads of various blue and green curtains, sheets, and tablecloths, which we were able to pin up on the room divider as one big drape. As one of the girls said, "Zak and Bethie are going to get married in front of a clothes line!" :)

Sarah's creativity was responsible for turning the rather barren wall divider
into a simple/sweet backdrop

Even though things were super busy, and both families were separated by a two hour drive, Zak, Beth, and both sets of parents had a great desire to somehow have a special time together before the wedding, to slow down for a bit and encourage one another.  We are thankful to the Lord for working out all the details, with each side driving an hour to meet up in the middle, on Thursday evening.

One of many sweet times with the Conjurske family
Friday came quickly - the day before the wedding. We spent most of the day preparing food for the reception, last minute cleaning the building, and working on decorating.

Hannah and Bekah, labeling serving dishes

Hannah and Hanna Bale making guacamole

Hannah browning ground beef - 65 pounds in all! 

Then as it got later, various friends and family who would be involved in the wedding arrived, and we got ready to do the rehearsal. It was tricky starting out - not only were several of the key people for the ceremony not there (as they needed no rehearsing, and would arrive the next day) - the bride and groom were not there either! Beth was two hours away in Ironwood, and wasn't able to get to the church till an hour later than the time we planned. And Zak, along with a few siblings, was at a trailer park 2 hours away from Rhinelander. He was able to leave the trailer there set up, so when he and Bethie left Saturday evening, their home sweet home would be ready. 

Everyone was sleepy and this resulted in some silliness.
Here Aaron welcomes us to Zak and Beth's wedding. :) 

Zak hadn't yet arrived at this point, but we made the most of the time
by going over the order of ceremony

Finally at 10:30 or so, Zak arrived and participated!
Note his shoes. They performed an important role later on.

Brandon (in the lemon pants) was a huge help in keeping us on track,
and stayed till we finished up - at midnight!

We closed our late evening in a time of prayer, and then it was off to get some rest. Beth took Zak's car and stayed overnight with some friends in Rhinelander. Our family piled in the bus and realized -this was our last time to ride in the bus as a family of 16! It was with much excitement and anticipation (of course, more so for one of us!) that we settled down for the night.

Next will be wedding pictures!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Zak and Beth’s Wedding, Part 1

We arrived in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, in the wee hours of July 5th, and stopped at this lovely little brown house where we would stay for the next week. It was owned by one of the families in the church, and they very graciously opened it to us during our stay.

It even had bus parking!
Considering that this time was a huge, weeklong festival in Rhinelander, with every hotel/motel room in town filled, we were humbled and blessed to see the Lord provide free and wonderful lodging for us right in town, through these local saints.

After a good night’s rest in the guest house we spent the day settling for the coming week. Part of that included a trip to the thrift store, as we discovered that one of these young men left their clothes duffel on the kitchen floor back in St. Louis.

Thankfully his wedding outfit made it safely!

On Sunday the 6th, we met with the congregation at the church where the wedding would be held, and had a wonderful time catching up with old friends, and getting to meet new ones. Nearly all the Bales came down from Ironwood, MI (2 hours away) to be at church as well. After the meetings were over, we and the Bales prepared to head up to Ironwood, Michigan, where the Bale family is from. It was a beautiful day up north and we had planned to spend the day at Lake Superior — which, we learned, the locals simply call the Lake.

After mixing up Kleins, Bales, and Bîlcs in the bus, van, and truck (to make use of the two hour trip with much anticipated visiting!), we hit the road.

Rebekah, Hanna Bale, and Abi

After the group arrived in Ironwood, we met up with the remaining Bales at the house, and began to pack up lunch in the bus. It was gray and drizzling that morning in Ironwood, but by the time we arrived, the sun was coming out.

Once all was ready to go, all the crew piled into the bus - the Kleins; Zak and Beth; Mr. and Mrs. Bale, Hanna, Samuel, David and Nate; Esther (Bale) Bîlc and her husband Andrei (from Romania); and Josh Bale (Beth's younger brother, from New York City) with his wife Jen, and baby daughter Ariella. The Bales’ oldest son Ben (based in California) joined us at the Lake later on. We missed Beth's sister Ruth and her husband Aaron, who live in Rhinelander.

The bus is big, but with 27 people we didn’t quite fit in the front bus cabin, so the horde of boys cheerfully resigned to sitting in the back of the bus, on top of the collective ice chests and boxes of lunch. They kept the 1/2 hour jaunt to the Lake quite merry with their squeals and shouts filling the cabin as they bumped up and down in the back. 

Josh Bale and Ariella, trading shades
(Between both the Klein and Bale families, there are
five who share names - Benjamin, Joshua, Hanna,
Samuel, and David!)

Sadly I have no better picture of the front, as the boys had the cameras in the back.

And they mostly took pictures like this:

 But all the same, it was a tightly packed and happy bunch of people in the front!

At the Lake - we had almost the whole place to ourselves!

By the time we arrived at the Lake, it was 4 o'clock, and lunch began to get underway in earnest. The boys prepared a fire pit to roast hot dogs, while the girls prepared the remainder of the meal.

Solomon and Samuel Bale preparing fire pit

We forgot to pack serving bowls or utensils - so we improvised
with cardboard boxes, plastic silverware and a pocket knife.
The cute couple, finding twigs for roasting hot dogs

Lunch underway
Hannah Klein, Sarah, Samuel Bale, Samuel Klein, Josh Klein

The “to-be-weds”, as we called them. :)

The afternoon was full of much fun and fellowship, with lovely warm temperatures, not-too-cold water, and sweet family. We took advantage of it all!

Ben Klein and David Bale
Andrei and Daniel - best buddies :)
Sarah and Ariella
Searching for agates
Friendly rock skipping competition
Where the little people spent most of the time —
riding along the shore on their trusty “water donkeys” (driftwood)
Josh trying to teach the kids how to correctly skip rocks

Now this is not just a sweet picture of the to-be-weds, but it has a special meaning for our family - it showed us how much Zak was in love.

Fast forward to a week from this day: We were visiting with folks from the Rhinelander church, and we told them about this incident. Dad told them, 

“Zak and Beth decided to wade on the shore of the Lake - and Zak actually took off his shoes and socks. He never does that. He doesn’t want us to know he has feet. We haven’t seen his bare feet in 20 years. But we saw them that day.”

In response to this, a wise brother in the group observed, 

“Well, I guess you can say that Beth just knocked his socks off.”

We concur!

The dads clearing away our lunch mess

As it got closer to 9 pm, we gathered together to dry out and have song time. Singing runs deep in both our families - it wouldn’t be a complete get-together without song time. :)

Beth with her sweet guitar teacher :)

And we capped it all off with fireworks!

And so began our first week in Rhinelander! There was much preparations to be done, errands to be run, and so many details to be ironed out - but before it all began, the Lord made it possible for all of us to gather together at the beautiful Lake, just to relax, spend time with each other, and enjoy His creation. We left with thankful hearts, excited to see what God would do in the days ahead.

Unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, 
according to the power that worketh in us, 
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, 
world without end. 

Ephesians 3:20-21