Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miracles vs. Magic

There is no such thing as magic. I have always believed this to be true. But what about miracles you ask? But miracles are not magic. Although at first sight this may not seem to be the case, a closer look shows that they are in fact two very different, in fact opposing, phenomena. Miracles are an outward show of God’s Grace. Nobody in this world can do miracles apart from God’s Will. No saint manipulated God to perform miracles but God gave the saints miraculous powers because of their great love and devotion to the Creator. Magic, on the other hand, is quite different. Magic is a selfish and manipulative act. Magicians attempt to control the forces of the world and make it submit to him/her. Magic delves with the unknown and sometimes with forces in the world we do not, or do not want to, understand. These are my reflections on the stark differences between magic and miracles. Certainly, white magic is innocent, but I wouldn’t recommend playing with tarot cards or ouija boards.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Discovering God in His Creation: My Trip to Northern Arizona

video

In August 2010, my family and I went on vacation in Northern Arizona and took some incredible photos. The photos in this video come from the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Arizona Snowbowl, the Arboretum at Flagstaff, the Painted Desert, and various other places. The music is by John Michael Talbot. The first song is Thanks to Thee and the second one is Sunrise. Here is an aspect of life we often miss. God in incredible =)


Here is a beautiful Psalm (Ps. 140) that wonderfully expresses how I felt in Arizona:

Praise the LORD, O my soul.

O LORD my God, you are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
He stretches out the heavens like a tent
And lays the beams of his upper chambers on
Their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
And rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers,
Flames of fire his servants.


He set the earth on its foundations;
It can never be moved.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled,
At the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
They flowed over the mountains,
They went down into the valleys,
To the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
Never again will they cover the earth.


He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
It flows between the mountains.
They give water to all the beasts of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
The birds of the air nest by the waters;
They sing among the branches.
He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied by the fruit if his work.
He makes grass grow for the cattle,
And plants for men to cultivate –
Bringing forth food from the earth:
Wine that gladdens the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread that sustains his heart.
The trees of the LORD are well watered,
The cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
There the birds make their nests;
The stork has its home in the pine trees.
The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
The crags are a refuge for the coneys.


The moon marks off the seasons,
And the sun knows when to go down.
You bring darkness, it becomes night,
And all the beasts of the forest prowl.
The lions roar for their prey
And seek their food from God.
The sun rises, and they steal away;
They return and lie down in their dens.
Then man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening.


How many are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
The earth is full of your creatures.
There is the sea, vast and spacious,
Teeming with creatures beyond number –
Living things both large and small.
There the ships go to and fro,
And the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

These all look to you
To give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them,
They gather it up;
When you open your hand,
They are satisfied with good things.
When you hide your face,
They are terrified;
When you take away their breath,
They die and return to the dust.
When you send your Spirit,
They are created,
And you renew the face of the earth.


May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
May the LORD rejoice in his works –
He who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
Who touches the mountains, and they smoke.


I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
As I rejoice in the LORD.
But may sinners vanish from the earth
And the wicked be no more.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Praise the LORD.