January 11, 2018

God Is Clearly "Visible"

Romans 1:18–20

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God's Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known...

God's Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,1 in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Footnotes

[1] 1:20 Or clearly perceived from the creation of the world

God Is Clearly "Visible"



Central Truth

The natural world around us cries out that a great Designer exists, that He loves beauty and order, and that He desires for us to know Him because of and through His creation.

Devotional | Romans 1:18–20

If you stumbled upon a brick wall in a remote forest, you would assume a mason came before you. If you place anything green in that forest under a microscope, you would find a microscopic brick wall. But it's more...

If you stumbled upon a brick wall in a remote forest, you would assume a mason came before you. If you place anything green in that forest under a microscope, you would find a microscopic brick wall. But it's more complex than that. It's a wall made of bricks that make more bricks AND bricks that stack themselves! If we saw this happening on the scale of a man-made brick wall, we would marvel at the engineering, at the invention of this "magical" self-constructing wall, and at the invention of this new technology. And yet when some can't see it with their naked eyes, they marvel at life while deluding themselves that there isn't a great Engineer who conceived it, designed it, and created it.

The Psalmist writes, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1, NIV) When we are surrounded by man’s creation of concrete, buildings, manicured lawns, and city lights, it is no wonder that fallen man cannot see or perceive the invisible attributes of God.

Believing friends, I call you to “stop and smell the roses” and marvel that God designed you with two incredibly sensitive cameras that perceive the colors. He gave you a chemical sensor in your nose. Acoustic sensors to hear the birds. He gave you a brain that has the capacity to appreciate this beauty and enjoy it. Urbanites, I call you to find time to escape the hustle of man’s creation, observe the created order, marvel at the heavens, and worship their Creator. 

This verse encourages us to study the created natural world in order to perceive the “invisible.” He who has eyes, let him see: God's eternal power is clearly seen in the fundamental forces, His order in the well-tuned solar system, His timelessness in the theory of relativity, His creativity through the diversity of life, His love through the feeding of sparrows, His beauty in the wild flowers, His power in the storm, and His size in the vastness of the universe. As Thomas Obadiah Chisholm wrote in "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," let us "[j]oin with all nature in manifold witness."

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Bio | Mike Frizzell

I have the privilege of serving on the Watermark technology team, which included rebuilding jointhejourney.com for 2018! Get in the Word daily. That's why we built it!

I also have the privilege of being married to my excellent wife, Marisa, whose worth "is far more precious than jewels." She is a nurse practitioner, and I am an engineer. Our three kids have learned that asking, “Why is the sky blue?” results in explanations about the atmosphere, bending light, changing wavelengths, and cone cells. For our fellow Christian nerds, you’re about to journey through one of our favorite passages of Scripture.

Discussion Questions

1. When you study our world, are you searching/striving to discover a natural cause where the "God-crutch" isn't required?

2. What invisible attributes of God do you clearly see in nature? (Comment below!)

3. When was the last time you observed something in nature that took your breath away? Did your marveling turn to worship, or did you worship the creation rather than its Creator?

4. When's your next trip to the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Rocky Mountains, or just a place away from the city lights where your eyes can open enough (literally, like the pupil opens more!) to see the "Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above"?

48 Comments available

William Breazeale 2 days ago

I am in the medical field, and one of my great experiences has been to dissect the human body for study. As I got to do this, it was evident that there was a great designer and engineer of the human body. If nerves, arteries, and vessels are even a centimeter off from where they are placed, the human body will not function at the fullest capacity. What an amazing God!

Allen Kernen 2 days ago

Invisible attributes of God clearly seen in nature: attention to detail, which evidences doing His best in everything, care/love, omnipotence and omniscience, creativity, considering others (He made everything enjoyable to all of our senses), vast/unfathomable, life-giving

Jennifer Kling 5 days ago

My 10-month-old son is such a little explorer. And just walking around the back yard with him can be a spiritual moment. He picks up every leaf and examines it, rubs it between his fingers, tries to put it in his mouth. And then he picks up another leaf and finds it just as fascinating - and delicious. Spending time with him in nature has taught me to be still and examine the details of God’s creation. It truly is a masterpiece.

Belinda Breitling 5 days ago

Yes, the Grand Canyon was nature shouting out the existence of our Creator God. It took my breath away. Walking down into the canyon was a whole new, deeper experience. I wasn’t simply looking at this spectacle I was in it. That’s how i find my walk with God as I go deeper into His Word with obedience and wonder. That one day i will stand before my God face to face! This wirld has glimpses of His beauty and i am undone. "Taste and SEE that the Lord is good! Psalm 34:8

Joel Holyoak 5 days ago

Mike, maybe you remember me. As another nerd and Scoutmaster, in going to Philmont on a trek with my son, it is difficult to not see God’s glory in everything. Likewise, in astronomy, it is also difficult not to see God’s handywork. Just to think he knows every star just as he knows each of us. To not believe “Intelligent Design” would seem foolish.

cory williams 5 days ago

  1. What invisible attributes of God do you clearly see in nature? - The different types of birds and their colors, The trees, vast fields of grass, the sunset/sunrise, the aurora skies, gravity, space… I can go on forever! lol Its all wonders of God’s love and power.

Georgia Littlejohn 5 days ago

Enjoyed today’s message. Thank you. I personally I find myself thanking God a lot from the sun shining to the much needed rain. I am thankful for so much. Buying a real Christmas tree is a gift of Gods design. I can’t afford to travel to the places you mentioned (yet) but I have faith that I will. I want to go to the beach to hear the waves, see the water for as far as can and gaze at the sky. Gods gifts are all around us.

Alma Barber 5 days ago

Wow. One of the best devos I’ve ever read. Not a whole lot more to say after reading that. But certainly lots of food for thought. Thank you Mike! Ted Matos, my sentiments exactly. One of the reasons I enjoy running so much, is that I get to have amazing conversations with the Lord about His creation. I love it when He points out certain things-which He knows I love-and tells me…He created that just for me! (usually flowers, cotton clouds, the sun…)He knows just how to put a spring in my step. :relieved: how I love Him! Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, oh Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou hast created all things and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

Pam Pelley 5 days ago

A gentle breeze reminds me of our gentle Shepherd. The large trees behind my house that were here before we moved in and will probably still be here long after I’m gone remind me of our Unchanging God…the same yesterday and today and forever. I love to visit family/friends who live way, way out in the country…far away from city lights. When I arrive and get out of the car, the first thing I do is stop and look up at the night sky. STARS!!! Soooo many stars!!! Psa. 8:3-4 “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Stars humble me.

Autumn Zevely 5 days ago

I often take nature walks in this amazing park in Oklahoma. It is completely nature and lots of wildlife. I marvel everytime I am there. We were afforded the opportunity to go to Hawaii this past June and it was so magnificent. There are so many different species of plants, fish, animals, etc. I felt like I was driving cross country on each island because the scenery would change so much! It was amazing and I highly recommend. Even as busy as we were exploring, I HAD to give God praise, I HAD to be in the Word on the beach at sunrise and sunset, it was absolutely stunning.

Aaron Young 5 days ago

q2 - gravity never fails!

Kelli Davis 5 days ago

Good Morning! Loved this Mike. I make it a point to see God’s creation daily. It’s the little things that bring me great joy. About a week ago, I randomly pulled the blinds back to look out a window on one of our very cold days and there was a butterfly buzzing around in circles right at that moment. And a couple of nights ago I was sitting in my bedroom floor reading and out of nowhere a ladybug landed on my nightstand. Again, it seemed random, but it felt like God saying “hello” to me.

Charlie Kaye 5 days ago

So fun! So great. Thank you Mike. Now I’m super ready to “retreat” with a purpose of solitude and admiring God’s creation!

James Rener 5 days ago

Great Devo Mike, thank you for sharing with us. When I take a moment to study the world, I am often “in awe and wonder” at the amazing creativeness of our God.

Scott Coy 5 days ago

Simply excellent Mike. You have done a great job in pointing out the 2 things God has clearly made known to all who can see . How one can look at His beautiful creation and say “gosh, what a nice accident”. good work friend

Ted Mattos 6 days ago

Thanks for today’s devotional, Mike. I marvel when I think that the same God who wove the galaxies and universe into being is the same God who witnesses the birth of a shrimp at the bottom of the ocean, and who causes a flower in a distant, unseen forest to bloom for the first time. And He is the same God who watches out for me. I can’t find more comfort than that anywhere on this planet!

Sue Bohlin 6 days ago

Super devo, Mike! I loved all the specifics of your appreciation of God’s design. As an apologetics teacher, I love pointing to DNA as the closest thing to a silver bullet of evidence for God’s existence, intelligence, and design. Paul didn’t know about DNA when he wrote Romans 1, but the Holy Spirit did. The glory of God’s creation in that amazing chemical language was just waiting to be discovered for 2000 years after Paul wrote this book.

Michael Scaman 6 days ago

God’s love for protecting what is precious to Him can be seen to an extent in his anger. A parent loves their child and may show anger against threats to their child. God does not delight in the death of the wicked and his delight is in lovingkindness Micah 7:18 “English Standard Version Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.” God’s love for His holiness can be seen in wrath

Linda Aland 6 days ago

Because of the beauty of all of the things that God created which are around us, there is no excuse for the belief that God does not exist. A person who claims that there is no God has no excuse for that belief and must ignore the amazing intricacy of the created world. Unrighteousness is a function of closing one’s eyes and mind to what one can see and hear and know. I think of how lonely my atheist friend is who thinks that science can explain all natural phenomena. He is without excuse.

Greg Jones 6 days ago

Verse 18 is a interesting verse to me. It’s written by Paul who had a reputation for violence, to the church in Rome, the center of an empire with a reputation of suppression with the threat of violence. God’s wrath on man’s wrath. Then 19 and 20 we get the difference between the creation of God and what man can create. My takeaway is man’s wrath is no more a revelation of God’s character, than man’s creation is of God’s nature.

Theron Smentek 6 days ago

Good morning Mike, I love your point of emphasis this morning. To answer some of your questions, for me it’s always been about the things that are necessary for our survival that God has created our bodies to “enjoy”. There’s natural things that humans have to do (rest, eat, move, etc.) and by in large, the way our bodies were created-there’s enjoyment in that. It would’ve been simple for those to have been robotic, but we actually get to find enjoyment in those tasks. I think the other big take away this morning from this text is this God, this creator of everything, would’ve been “unknowable” to us (he’s knowable in the fact that His creation points to Him), but He would unknowable if He hadn’t revealed Himself for (His character and mercies), yet He chooses to do just that. That’s amazing!

David Hester 6 days ago

there is nothing that better exposes the ignorant blindness of man than the splendor of Gods engulfing creation…

amy stephenson 6 days ago

Thanks for the devo. Great reminder for me today to worship the creator rather than than only creation. I walk my dog daily and can marvel how God gave us not only grass but a bunch of different kinds of grass, and trees and plants and COLORS. Nature is beautiful. I am convicted today to be in awe of Him on my walk today. May my soul magnify your name.

Marlie Austin 6 days ago

Hi Mike, thanks for the awesome devotional. I think gravity reveals to me how God’s love is constant. So, on earth, gravity is always keeping us on the ground. My actions don’t change that, I could feel like gravity isn’t working but that doesn’t change that it still is, gravity is present in every moment of my life. And that makes me think of how constant God’s love is for us. His love doesn’t waver based on my actions, I might have seasons of doubt, but God’s love remains constant much like gravity through every season of my life.

Claudia Mansinghani 6 days ago

I praise the Lord for the manner in which Join the Journey is ministering to me. Q2: I think creation is a window to the heart of God, it reveals who He is and how much He loves us. He created and saw it was good! He was pleased to create a beautiful world for us, He loves us! He is all powerful, thoughtful, perfect, precise, mighty, gentle, gracious

Michael Scaman 6 days ago

‘You make Leviathan to play in the sea’ says psalms of a creative powerful God. The stars were made with the fingers of God; redemption brought by the strong arm of the Lord. The glory baked creation is good but broken and has death, pain, suffering and cancer. Although shows power and majesty, not so much shows mercy, compassion or love. The star might lead part of the way but the scripture brings the men of the east to the redemption child in Bethlehem. God is a good creator but the good but broken world needs the special revelation of the scripture to see more of God.

Shelley Price 6 days ago

Strong words from Paul… wrath of God, plain to them, clearly seen, and without excuse.

Ray Bohlin 6 days ago

Mike, thank you for “wondering” at His creation. This is my professional life verse. One other attribute I see is His intelligence. The deeper we dig into the Cell and the workings of our bodies, the more I just shAke my head.

Michael Scaman 6 days ago

God baked glory into creation to display at least some of who He is. His creativity, his power, his infinity. Ps 68 says ‘You make morning and evening to shout for joy so that your awe may be seen to the ends to the earth’ And men don’t just ignore it. They work hard to suppress seeing that glory.

Patrick Gibbons 6 days ago

Thank you for the good days devotion. Also one of my favorite verses, in the Bible chapter I tend to come to most. It is exactly this – nature and God‘s creation – that has always made it inconceivable to me to be able to not believe in God. Trees. Just look at trees, and how can you not marvel? We are without excuse! Let us all rejoice in this day! :slight_smile:

Jen Payne 6 days ago

One of the things that blew me away is when I got pregnant. My body changes so much to sustain his sweet little life inside me, my body birthed him and then was able to sustain him outside my womb from nursing. I couldn’t get over how beautifully and perfectly that whole process was designed. That is not chance, that’s God!

Sheila Etonga Ngol'esueh 6 days ago

When I look at the beauty of the trees and sky, I see that God’s beauty is not like man’s. Man’‘s beauty looks for symetry, perfectly rounded or squared…see how we manicure our lawns. However God’‘s beauty is seen in diversity, that when bundled together makes a canvas of beauty. The trees all different sizes make up beauty, the colors of the clouds, all different make up the most remarkable sunset. So in diversity in nature we see God’'s beauty, we see how He expects us to treat others who are different from us-He expects us to welcome their difference’s because together we make up God’s beauty.

Shawn Foster 6 days ago

Beautiful, descriptive, encouraging words & truth. Thank you very much Mike!!! Have a great day of worship.

Ben Solomon 6 days ago

Mike, I so appreciate your wisdom, your friendship, and your never-ceasing Aggie Engineer neediness. As I read these verses and your commentary, I hear Phil Wickham’s song “Beautiful” and am reminded so see the beauty of creation and be reminded of a beautiful, artistic, holy and personal Creator God.

Kathy Hempel Cox 6 days ago

I see HIs provision in the pine that the animals burrow in and make their home. I see His power in waterfalls. I see His order in the circle of life when man-made or natural disasters occur…HELLO beautiful aspen trees. I smell creation after a rain in the mountains…best smell EVER. I marvel at His awesomeness from the mountaintops.

Christopher Hyland 6 days ago

Good morning Mike. Love the reference to Psalms and the picture of the self engineered wall. I marvel at the beauty that exists in creation and the vastness of the universe in the night sky. I also love when physicists and others who when they honestly embark on a journey to understand the elemental forces of the universe invariably find God

Michael Spain 6 days ago

Wonderful devotional, Mike, a beautiful way to begin my day. Thank you for the part you played in the redesign of JTJ. I like the new format, and as of Day 11 am still current. Ha! This is probably gonna sound really cheesy, but one of the attributes of God I see in nature is the simple, unconditional love and trust my cat has for me: there are tough days when I come home to an otherwise empty home, and God reminds me of his simple, uncomplicated, delight and pleasure in just my presence through the love and affection ‘Quito has for me when I walk through the door.

Hope Harris 6 days ago

@ChristopherLandry thanks for reminding me of some of my favorite spots on the planet. Brought a smile to my face

Julie Newmeyer 6 days ago

I live in NE Ohio and in the past week, we have had 2.5 feet of snow, negative 23-degree weather, an ice storm 2 days ago, 54 degree weather today, and another snow storm that is coming tomorrow. If that doesn’t show God’s power, I don’t know what does. Daily, I have been praising God for the way he designed and created me. That I am made in His image.

CHRISTOPHER LANDRY 6 days ago

My last comment disappeared. Whoops. To summarize: great Devo Mike, clear to see your passion for the Lord. Also, I love to marvel at God through 1) undiscovered musical prodigies and 2) majestic natural settings (I.e. Redwoods I’m Norcal, or all of Yellowstone…).

Brent Voorhees 6 days ago

Mike, what a God-centered, God-exalting view of Scripture, calling application from experiencing God and His mighty works! I absolutely loved this journey, it absolutely enriches my soul this morning. Q3 - Being a new parent, studying my children helps me develop more admiration for the Lord. They are so unique… they aren’t just random pieces of me and Abbie mixed together. They are God’s workmanship, and I pray that He might open their eyes to His goodness and give Abbie and I words from the Spirit to teach them about His glorious Son!

CHRISTOPHER LANDRY 6 days ago

Thanks for the fun Devo Mike! Could perceive your passion for the Lord through your style. These little acoustic receivers of mine ponder God’s goodness when I see undiscovered and raw talent of a musician. Like a viral

Hope Harris 6 days ago

Mike, I like that you used the term “Created Order” that is a key term for the remaining portion of Romans 1. I think I love the ocean the most; because it appears chaotic, but actually has a predictable order. That order is seen in tides and currents. The ocean serves as a reminder that God restores us to God’s intended design for life. The Westminster Catechism states, “The chief end of man is to enjoy God and glorify Him forever.”

Lindsey Driscoll 6 days ago

Mike, awesome devo and great work on the JTJ app! I love the song “Great is they Faithfulness” my dad and I sing it together before we asked down the isle at our wedding. When I see a sunrise or a sunset I see the God of peace and order in the cycle of waking and rest. We can marvel at a God who loves beauty and creativity when we see the colors of the sunset and the haze of the sunrise. The sounds of the insects that make noise at night remind me that God is powerful and over all of His creation.

Hope Harris 6 days ago

Thanks Mike for you hard work on the updated JTJ. In response to ? 2: Oceans mountains and sunsets, reveal to my heart and mind that God is creative and in-turn that He is my creator.

Hugh Stephenson 6 days ago

God has shown Himself to me. His power and nature are obvious. I suppress the truth. I am without excuse. I deserve the full extent of His wrath. I spent most of my adult life building a great church resume. Service. Tithing. Teaching. Learning. I was a really smart sinner. If works got me to Heaven I was a 9.5 (at least). What filthy rags!! As my works increased so did my misery. My heart knew it would never be enough. It took a complete meltdown for me to see I was not a 9.5 (at least) but a .000001, (at best). I saw the chasm that could never be breached. I am without excuse. Wrath is what I deserve. Grace is what I get. Ridiculous. Unexplainable. Amazing.

Amy Merritt 6 days ago

*sinful lives. And I see God is not happy about both of these kinds of people, God is compassionate for his people. Daily we can look around and see God our creator everywhere, “clearly seen”. Look at a newborn baby for instance, what a beautiful example of Gods creation. He makes it clear, but people can be self focused and unable to look past themselves at times and aknowledge Gods sovereignty, beauty, and power.

Amy Merritt 6 days ago

I see God’s love for his people in these verses. Paul says the wrath of God is revealed against all who are godless (lack any reverence for God) as well as the wicked (those living in sin

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