Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven
where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gandolf Submits

Gandolf the atheist once wrote:

Ioreth, the wise woman of Gondor said, “The hands of the King are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful King be known.”

This statement puts Gandolf the atheist sooo close to the truth.

I think it was Frodo, or perhaps it was Gandolf himself who said, “We seem to have fallen into some sort of story.”

In reality, not the Lord of the Rings, but in reality, we HAVE fallen into a story - it’s told to you in the Bible. As the King says, “Walk no more in the shadows, but awake!”

The more we know about God, the more we are drawn in to the story until we recognise that we ourselves are characters in the story. In fact, as N. T. Wright says, “The more that you know the play the less you will be “playing a part” and the more you will simply be yourself.”
I am duty-bound to defend freedom, culture, peaceful coexistence, the civic education of children, and all the principles that the Tablets of the Law have rendered universal. Principles which Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. This means that, since I am a Gentile, a journalist and a leftist, I have a triple moral commitment to Israel. Because, if Israel were to be vanquished, modernity, culture and freedom would also be crushed. Even though the world has failed to wake up to this fact, Israel's struggle is the world's struggle.
Pilar Rahola

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You Like Kids?

There’s this new kid in town - grade one. Her name is Asia. Our kids have played with her before because she’s a cousin to some kids who live just a few doors down. When Asia’s family has come to town to visit the kids have all played together.

Anyhow, Asia's family now lives here, but we’ve told Freedom (6) and Chelsey (9) that they can’t play over at Asia’s house alone. Either both of them go together, or even Walker (9) and Riley (10) and Wyatt (10) have to be there as well.

"How come?"

"Because we don’t know their parents."

"Are they bad people?"

"We don’t know who they are or what they’re like."

Freedom comes home tonight, late for supper, and Wendy asks,

"Where were you? We phoned Alana’s and you weren’t there. You said you were going to Alana’s.”

"I was at Asia’s, but it worked out ok because no bad people showed up."

Gonna Get a Mercury!

It takes us six years to get a glorified tin can into orbit around the planet Mercury.

Yet, in the entire history of the human race we cannot develop the will to keep our children from starving to death or to provide them with clean drinking water or mosquito nets to prevent malaria or to vaccinate them from disease.

THAT would cost too much!

Just watch! In a few weeks there's going to be a headline getting the atheists all excited:

"NASA thinks they've found traces of water on Mercury and that means that in all likelihood, life has evolved there."

Polytheistic > Monotheistic

Exciting title - huh? Not!

Beginning with Abraham, Creator God took a people who had basically become idol worshipping pagans, and made for Himself a people. Since the time of Abraham and on into today’s Christian / Church age God has been “calling out” from among the nations a people for Himself.

What we read in Scripture is, "Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own."

If you're a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don't call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it's something only God can do, and you trust Him to do it - you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked - well, that “trusting-Him-to-do-it” is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.

Now think: Was that declaration made before or after Abraham was marked by the covenant rite of circumcision? That's right, before he was marked. That means that he underwent circumcision as evidence and confirmation of what God had done long before to bring him into this acceptable standing with himself, an act of God he had embraced with his whole life.

And it means further that Abraham is father of all people who embrace what God does for them while they are still on the "outs" with God. It is precisely these people in this condition who are called "set right by God and with God"!

That famous promise God gave Abraham - that he and his children would possess the earth - was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God's decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That's not a holy promise; that's a business deal. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise - and God's promise at that - you can't break it.

This is why the fulfilment of God's promise depends entirely on trusting God and His way, and then simply embracing Him and what He does. God's promise arrives as pure gift. That's the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them.

We call Abraham "father" not because he got God's attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do.

Abraham plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what He had said. That's why it is said, "Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right." But it's not just Abraham; it's also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.
Romans 4:3-5,10-25

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Don’t Waste Your Sorrow

Kid’s and even some adults read a book or watch a movie and to varying degrees pretend or imagine what it would be like to be one of the characters in the story. I shared with my children last night that we, all of us, really are characters in a true story. We are actors in a story that is currently unfolding and it’s also a story that has been laid out before us in the Bible. Our parts have been given to us, “since before the founding of the world.” We weren’t there for the beginning of the story, but we will be there for the end.

So many people believe their beginning is an accident of nature and that their end is the grave. They don’t know that their lives have real meaning and context and purpose. What I mean by that is that God takes everyday, ordinary events and uses them to change us into something that would simply not be possible on our own. In fact, He does it in ways that we would have never dreamed possible. It works like this. God brings / allows difficult events and people to come into our lives to highlight areas of needed change in our character. Suffering, loss and pain raise to the surface of our lives the most disgusting aspects of our character. Once observed and accepted, we then have the freewill option of accepting Jesus’ invitation to change.

. If our motive for living is to become like Jesus, this invitation to change is what we’ll notice.
. If our motive is anything else, the pain / betrayal / disappointment that comes with this life will push character change out of the picture leaving only anger, bitterness or emptiness remaining.

Romans 8:29 is key to understanding this paradigm. While God may use our suffering in “all things” (vs. 28) for many reasons, the bottom line reason, the main reason, the key reason for allowing suffering is this.

“For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. . .”

God uses the suffering that comes with this life on earth to make our character like that of Jesus. In fact I have never witnessed this type of character change in the absence of suffering. Most humans spend so much time trying to avoid suffering (much like toddlers, atheists seem hyper allergic to suffering) that they completely miss the learning that can only come from being in the midst of suffering.

Don’t waste your sorrow. Allow God to change you, conform you, transform you into the likeness of Jesus.
Hosea 4:14 - "I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery, because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes - a people without understanding will come to ruin!

Monday, March 28, 2011

24 hours at my place

So - I turned 60-years-old yesterday.

Breakfast, Sunday morning:
My 10-year-old asks, “How old are you today dad.”
“I’m 60.”
“Are you going to die soon?”
“No I’m not going to die soon. I don’t know. Nobody knows when they’re going to die.”

Bedtime, Sunday:
“How old are you dad?”
“I’m 60-years-old. Six Zero.
“Are most people dead by 60"
“Nooo most people aren’t dead. What the hecks the matter with you. Go to sleep!”

Breakfast, Monday morning:
“Are you 60-years-old dad?”
“Yes Riley. I’m 60-years-old.”
“Will you still be alive when summer comes?”
“You’re not going to be alive when summer comes if you don’t quit this stupid talk about me dying! Get your stuff on and go to school.”

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hell Is Locked From The Inside

Atheists simply will not listen. If it comes to listening to the most educated among us, or clinging to their faith system, atheists will pick their faith system every time.

"We have always underestimated the cell. The entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines. Why do we call them machines? Precisely because, like machines invented by humans to deal efficiently with the macroscopic world, these protein assemblies contain highly coordinated moving parts.”
Bruce Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences

As atheist Francis Crick said, "We must constantly remind ourselves that what we're seeing was not designed."

Hell truly is locked from the inside.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crash and Burn

Have you ever had to make a snap decision? Have you ever had to know what to do when there was no time to think of what to do?

Until I got too decrepit to pass my medical, I used to fly - a plane. About 40 years ago a bunch of us guys were going into the States to - well - to do what stupid young men do. It involved copious amounts of mood altering chemicals to share with not a few mood altering women.

"American woman - Get away from meee hee"

I can’t remember the city, some dump in Montana or North Dakota - Minot I think. We’d been goofing around all the way down - smoking dope and listening to music. To say that we weren’t paying attention would be an understatement (Airline pilots are not the only intoxicated drivers out there). Anyhow, we were about two kilometres back on final approach and the engine cut out.

Have you ever had your armpits go all prickly?

In a millisecond my hand flipped the switch to change fuel tanks, while Rick who was second seat was adjusting the flaps so fast it felt like we were going straight up. The engine came back to life (apparently engines always need fuel) and we landed “safely.” Without training, without enough experience to override a drug induced haze, the result would have been grim.

It’s the same with living a Christian life.
It takes desire.
It takes practise.
It takes dedication.
It takes a heart transplant.

“I will take your heart of stone and give you a heart that is able to love.”

Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Who guides, counsels, comforts and corrects, Christians would simply be people who continue to live by their worldly instincts. I’m afraid that far too many people think that Christianity begins and ends with conversion.

Jesus brought the Kingdom of God to earth to redeem and transform men and women just like me - the worst that humanity has to offer.

There are people who think they don’t need God in order to be good people. They may be right. Too bad for them that “good” doesn’t count. Regardless, these people don’t even look for the Great Physician. The rest of us however, those of us who are by nature mean and self-centred and irresponsible and hard-hearted seem better able to hear Jesus when help is offered. The thing is, when Jesus gets your attention and says, “Follow Me,” He means the whole shebang. He doesn’t just mean obey the stuff that’s easy for you to obey. When Jesus takes you into His training camp He sets you upon a regime that is intense and lasts from now until eternity. We must choose to live “in” this coming Kingdom (“abide in Me”) and ignore advice from the world around us.

Without a total focus on Jesus, the results will be grim.
Without a total focus on Jesus, you’ll probably crash and burn.
“We have always underestimated the cell. The entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines. Why do we call them machines? Precisely because, like machines invented by humans to deal efficiently with the macroscopic world, these protein assemblies contain highly coordinated moving parts.”
Bruce Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences

As atheist Francis Crick said, "We must constantly remind ourselves that what we're seeing was not designed."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dumb and Dumber

I remember reading an account in the Older Testament where the Israelites have destroyed a society of idol worshipping people whose religious practise was to sacrifice their children as live burnt offerings to their gods.

As a point of interest, atheists defend those societies and curse the God they say they don’t believe in for bringing punishment against societies that are vile and evil enough to do those kinds of things.

“How dare God destroy those who sacrifice their children and force women to work as temple prostitutes. Why, God must be a monster!”
Average Atheist.

(For comparison purposes check the comments section of the CNN article about the mom who live streamed her sexual abuse of her two-year-old daughter. O the outrage! They want her destroyed, tortured, torn limb from limb, they want her tongue pulled out. But burning your children to death as ritual sacrifices? Subjecting women to ritual prostitution? For those who hate their Creator those things aren't that big a deal. Think about that! Can you imagine how evil a society has to be for those things to be sanctioned as good and normal? To atheists that's no problem. To them it’s God who’s wrong. The God they don't believe in - Snerk!)

I'm off topic - The thing is, after defeating and destroying this particular nation, the Israelites themselves began to worship these very same gods. How dumb can humans be?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on those Israelites since each and every Christian today faces the same struggles. The pagan culture around us is unceasingly attempting to squeeze us into its mould. And in many cases, the surrounding culture is winning. Rather than being transformed by the renewing of their minds, many of those who call themselves christians take their lead from the culture in areas like marriage / relationships, business dealings and the desire / need to find security and worth in possessions and looks.

It’s not surprising then that rates of divorce and family violence among those who call themselves christians is similar to the secular world in which those christians live. Many christians actually worship the same idols that their neighbours worship.

Paul says that by the renewing of our minds we will be able to work out and approve what God’s will is, what is good, acceptable and right.

Without this renewal of mind, we’re just as dumb as everyone else.
For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

Deuteronomy 10:17-19 -

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are You Kidding Me?

In a recent poll:

“The respondents tended to split along party lines - 52% of Republicans said the increased severity [of earthquakes] could be attributed to "end times” prophesies, while 75% of Democrats said it was the result of global warming.”

Earthquakes are the result of global warming?

Are You Kidding Me?

There's evidence that global warming changes tectonic plate activity?

So Where Do I Find It?

Happiness - that is. I saw an interview with some actor - Matt Damon. He said he wasn’t sure where to find happiness but he was sure of one thing. Money wouldn’t buy it.

Is there a formula for finding happiness? Do we even know how to define happiness? For some it’s sex. For others it’s found in having more stuff than the next person. For this person it’s a cabin on a quiet lake while for that guy happiness can be found in helping the poor. Some people bristle at the very thought that there might be a formula or rules for finding happiness. That’s because in their mind, rules, by their very nature keep us from achieving happiness. Happiness, to these people is found in breaking the rules.

In a broader sense, humans seems to break the hunt for happiness into two general categories.
. One category is to create a set of behaviours and thoughts. Moral and physical discipline is the key.

. The other category is to do away with discipline and follow your desires. Go where your heart says to go. “Anything that feels this right can’t be wrong,” is a conclusion that flows from this philosophy.

Jesus takes us in a completely different direction. Jesus, our Creator, Guide, Counsellor, Saviour and Lord says that happiness now, here on earth can only be found by developing a certain kind of character. A character that resembles His.

“Follow Me,” Jesus said. Be like Me. Do what I do in My relationship with you and with others.

As a saying on my sister’s fridge goes. “Character is who you are when no one is looking.”

By following Jesus, we become men and women of integrity. By allowing Jesus to change us from within, we become people who can look at ourselves in the mirror and not be ashamed.

When my brother-in-law (married to the sister I mentioned above) was applying for a job, he mentioned that he was engaged to the daughter of Clarence Holmgren. The employer who had known my dad for decades said to my brother-in-law, “Any man who is good enough for Clarence Holmgren is good enough for me,” and hired him on the spot.

That’s character!

That’s what Jesus will do for you. That kind of character goes all the way through a person and shows itself no matter where you cut into it. The kind of character that Jesus develops within us is steady as rain. We become the same on the inside as we present on the outside.

Happiness is not found in a formula or in challenging rules. Happiness is found in a healed and forgiven relationship with your Creator.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”

“Those who wait upon the Lord are like Mount Zion. Unmoved by any circumstance.”
Why is there an Arab refugee problem? The oil-rich Arab countries have the money. There is no shortage of land. The Jews of the Holy Land. are surrounded by hostile states 650 times their territory. Yet to listen to Arab spokesmen one might think that they had been cheated because they have not also got Israel.

Israel is only .2 per cent of the land where Arab States have been established. Surely no fair-minded man can begrudge the Jews their own promised land when it is remembered that for every 2 acres that went to make up Israel, 1,000 acres became Arab.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicken or an Eagle

Our Youth Pastor told this story:

While out for a walk, a farmer in British Columbia found a very young Eagle on the ground. Having obviously fallen out of its nest, the bird had one leg and a wing that seemed to be broken. The farmer took the small bird home and nursed it back to health in part, by allowing it to live among his chickens. The oddest thing happened. As the Eagle grew in size, it seemed to think it was a chicken. Of course the farmer fed it gophers and mice, but other than that, the Eagle walked around with the chickens, sometimes even scratching in the dirt like them. The strangest thing however was that the Eagle refused to fly. Mimicking his chicken friends as they flapped their wings, the Eagle would flap his wings to the point of leaving the ground but he never would he fly away.

News of this bird made its way to a biologist who lived in the area. He asked the farmer if he might work with the bird and see if he could get it to fly. As the farmer never intended for the Eagle to remain earth-bound, the he said, “Sure.”

First the biologist held the bird as high as his arms would reached. With a lifting motion he tried to “boost” the Eagle into the air. The Eagle did spread its wings and jump, but only enough to allow it to glide to the ground with the rest of the chickens. Next the biologist took the bird to the top of the chicken coop, with the same result. Finally, after several days of encouraging the bird to fly, the biologist took the bird to the top of the farmer’s house. As he repeatedly threw his arms up in the air, the most he could get the Eagle to do was spread its wings for balance while clamping its talons firmly to the gloved hand. Just as he was about to give up, the man raised his tired arms one last time in the air and to his great joy and surprise, the Eagle took off, flew high above the pines and never returned to the farm yard.

No one knows if the Eagle survived or not. Having never been trained to hunt, perhaps not. The point of the story, however, is this. We Christians were meant to sore. We were never meant to be earth bound. We were meant to glide into and through life upon the wings of the greatest Love in the Universe. This is not true for everyone. Those who “live upon the earth,” like chickens, scratching and clawing for the crumbs that this life has to offer are as happy as they’re ever going to get.

We don’t need to settle for less. Because of Jesus, there is so much more to life than scratching for crumbs! As N. T. Wright says, “Love is not a duty. Love is our destiny.”

You are part of God’s Kingdom and that Kingdom, while incomplete at present, starts right now. Live like you know it!

“Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will rise up on wings like Eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31
“Your life is much bigger than a good job, an understanding spouse, and non-delinquent kids. It is bigger than beautiful gardens, nice vacations, and fashionable clothes. In reality, you are part of something immense, something that began before you were born and will continue after you die. God is rescuing fallen humanity, transporting them into his kingdom, and progressively shaping them into his likeness - and he wants you to be a part of it.”
Paul David Tripp

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Jews like Jesus"

In light of my post on Donald Trump, I'd like to highlight a way of living that is in direct contrast to Trump.

“They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore”

That’s a line in a song that was written by a guy called Kinky Friedman. Friedman ran for Governor of Texas a few years back. His slogan was,
“Governor? How hard can it be?”

The point of this post is, not only are they not making Jews like Jesus anymore. They ain’t making anybody like Jesus then, now or at any time in the future. If we can go by the Gospels, and I believe we can, then Jesus was a truly unique human being who invites us to become part of the advance Kingdom of God that He brought deep into enemy territory on planet earth.

The way that Jesus acted and interacted in His relationships was totally other. So unlike human nature as we know it, His closest followers were barely able to grasp what it was that Jesus was trying to teach. Of course, they weren’t the brightest bunch of guys, but even the most educated completely misunderstood what they were seeing. Much like most people today.

What Jesus was teaching seemed to have something to do with a Kingdom of God that was coming at some point in the future, yet at the same time, according to Jesus, this Kingdom was also already here. It is a Kingdom, Jesus said, that is all around us and could even be within us. And while this Kingdom is not based on rules, it comes with a set of behaviours and attitudes that can be clearly seen in those who are part of this Kingdom; those who have this Kingdom within them.

For example:
Generosity and forgiveness - especially towards ones enemies.

Another characteristic is an almost emptying of one’s self and a steady focus on putting others first in importance.

An unforced humility, patience and faithfulness.

To the Greeks of the time, as is true even today, these traits were seen as signs of weakness and not useful to a utilitarian form of thought.

These traits, known to be part of God’s Kingdom, where these thoughts are done on earth as they are in heaven - are traits expected of heaven’s citizens.

Those who exude these traits are as enigmatic and incomprehensible to the neighbour’s of Kingdom dwellers today as they were to those who observed Jesus when He dwelt among us.

No, they sure ain’t making Jews like Jesus, anymore.
Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage.
Philippians 2:4

Monday, March 21, 2011

So Glad Trump Said That!

“Trump, who has said he will decide on a presidential bid by June, said he is particularly happy with the fact he "screwed" Gadhafi on a past real estate deal. "I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn't let him use the land," Trump boasted "That's what we should be doing. I don't want to use the word 'screwed', but I screwed him."

I know that many American’s will still be stupid enough and corrupt enough to vote for Trump but I hope these comments cut his potential votes by half - or more. Only an arrogant, narcissistic, wholly corrupt individual could brag about something like that.

But hey, he’s not a Christian. Atheists might vote for him in droves. Thankfully atheists are only about 2% of the population.

Trinity and Why It’s Important?

God is a living personal Spirit. He is active and creative. He is personal with a known and knowable character and nature. He is eternal. This One God exists as three distinguishable persons; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Yet -

“Here O Israel; The Lord our God is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

Some people would like to avoid the whole issue of God as Three in One. The problem is, the Trinity is inherently important to Christianity. Here’s why.

Just as all three persons of the Godhood were present and active in the creation of the universe, so too are all three involve in the new creation of a redeemed soul.

Our sin separates us from a healed relationship with God. At least two “persons” are involve in any broken relationship. The offender and the offended. In this case it refers to us (the offender) and God (the offended). Yet Jesus IS God. Now three people are involved for “Only God can forgive sins” Mark 2:5-7. So, if Jesus does deal with our sins, then He must be God.

When people ask for their sins to be forgiven, when people enter into a healed and forgiven relationship with God, based upon the forgiving work of Jesus, those people receive the guiding, comforting, counselling work of the Holy Spirit. It is He who regenerates and reforms and transforms our being.

It is through the Spirit of God that we know God, experience God, trust God.

The redemptive aspect of Christianity is based entirely upon the reality of the Trinity.

Jesus and Suffering

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. So if you find life difficult because you're doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he's doing, and he'll keep on doing it.
1 Peter 4:12-13, 19

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rob Bell Unsure About Gandhi?

I like Rob Bell. He’s a cool Preacher, savvy marketer, pretty decent author. I think he’s also theologically dangerous. Giving people what they like is not always better than giving people what they need. For example, Rob Bell says, (my paraphrase) “I’m not sure whether Gandhi is in heaven or hell. Jesus said there would be lots of surprises regarding the issue of who is and who is not in heaven.” One of Bell’s fans says she likes that he doesn’t just spoon feed the standard Christian answers. Bell says he likes people to think for themselves.

Fair enough. I too don’t know whether Gandhi is in heaven or hell. But shouldn’t both Rob and I explain why we aren’t sure? For me, and as I understand the Bible it must be the same for Mr. Bell, the answer is that we simply don’t know beyond doubt what relationship Mohandus Karamachand Gandhi had with Jesus before the Hindu leader died.

Mark 16:16 - Jesus said, “Those who believe and are baptized will be saved but those who refuse to believe will be condemned.”

John 1:12,13 Jesus said, “Unless you are born again, you can never get into the kingdom of heaven.” There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust Him to save them. But those who don’t trust Him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God.

John 5:24 - Jesus said, “I say emphatically that anyone who listens to My message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life and will NEVER be damned for his sins. He has crossed from death into life.”

John 8:24 - Jesus said, “For unless you believe that I am the Son of God, the Messiah, you will die in your sins.”

Romans 3:27,28 - Our acquittal is not based on our good deeds, it is based on what Christ has done and our faith in Him. So it is we are saved, by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do.

If what Jesus said is true, then Mahatma had to make some changes in his relationship with Jesus or he will not be in heaven.

“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
John 3:18,36

It is what it is! And unless Gandhi had a deathbed conversion, then according to Jesus, and I hope according to Rob Bell, Gandhi is not and can not be anything but eternally separated from his Creator.

To make their point, atheists often resort to the example of a murderer who accepts Jesus’ offer of salvation and Mahatma Gandhi who did many good things but did not convert to Christianity. Both atheists and I would agree that the murderer has done wrong by society. Gandhi while making life difficult for a few people (eg. his wife from his adulteries and lies) did enormous good for many, many others. What atheists ignore or cannot comprehend, what they’re unwilling or unable to accept is that both the murderer and Gandhi have committed grievous offenses against Creator God. That is why the one’s forgiveness for his crimes against God and the other’s refusal to admit a need for forgiveness is what allows the murderer to go to heaven while Gandhi goes to hell. It’s called a spiritual reality.

Of course, the idea that we’re all on the same road to God or that there are many paths to God is ludicrous. Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I Am who I say I Am, you will die in your sins.” The answer to the question, “Was He right?” is not in the same category of questions like, “What is the most pleasing thing in life?” or “How would you describe the perfect holiday?” If there is a Creator God, then the answer to the question of His existence is of the same order as the answer to the question, What is 2 + 2? The answer will either be right or it will be wrong. Period!

. If God has revealed Himself to us, as Jesus said that He has, and
. If God has provided a path of belief that is intended to lead us to Him, again as Jesus said that He has, and
. If our very salvation depends on us following the path that has been laid out for us by Creator God, as Jesus said that it does,
. Then other paths or alternate paths can only lead us away from Creator God, and not to Creator God.

To know what Jesus taught and to then deliberately choose to follow Buddhism or Native Religion or Hinduism or anything else instead cannot and will not place you on the same path to God as Jesus directed.

As C. S. Lewis pointed out, there may be many wrong answers to any given mathematical problem. And some of the wrong answers will be much closer to the right answer than some of the others (2 + 2 = 3.95) But there will always and only be one correct answer. Everything else will always and only be a wrong answer. Likewise, there are several thousand answers to the questions, What is God like? and How can we know Him? Some of those answers will be closer to correct than others in their understanding of Creator God. However, one thing is certain, there is only one right answer to both 2 + 2 = , and Is Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life? And not just any old path will lead you to either answer.

A decision must be made, and according to Jesus there are eternal consequences to how we answer His question of “Who do you say that I Am?”

Jesus may be many things to many people but one thing He isn’t. Jesus is not ‘sort of important.’ If He is correct in what He taught, then what you do with Jesus is the most important decision that you will ever make. So, are you going to believe what Jesus says about Himself and salvation, or are you going to believe what some atheist says about Jesus and salvation? Either Jesus is correct about Himself or somebody like Hugo is correct. It can’t be both.

Regarding the means of salvation and how it applies to Gandhi as well as to us, Jesus is saying something like, “I’ve already bought the concert tickets for you but you have to go and pick up the tickets by three o’clock on the day of the concert. If you don’t pick them up and if you just tell the attendant at the door, “I’m a really good person, so let me in,” it won’t work.” Sounds simple doesn’t it? Makes sense? Not to atheists. In fact, it makes them furious. Explaining Jesus’ plan of salvation to one atheist, a single mother of two, caused her to call me a “Fuckwitted Fundy.”

So, as simply as I can make it, the scenario goes like this:

The murderer has wronged society in a way that requires punishment

Gandhi has not wronged society in a way that requires punishment

The murderer has wronged God

Gandhi has wronged God

Society demands justice of the murderer

Society demands nothing of Gandhi because he tries to do good things

God demands justice of the murderer whose heart is not right toward God

God demands justice of Mahatma Gandhi whose heart is not right toward God

Justice is served for the crime against society on the murderer (death or imprisonment)

No justice is demanded by society for Gandhi

Justice is served for crimes against God on behalf of the murderer by Jesus

Justice is served for crimes against God on behalf of Gandhi by Jesus

This undeserved payment by Jesus is accepted by the murderer.

This undeserved payment by Jesus is rejected by Gandhi

This undeserved Grace from Jesus is accepted by the murderer.

This undeserved Grace from Jesus is rejected by Gandhi

Paradise is given by Jesus to the murderer

Jesus is not able to give paradise to Gandhi because he has rejected the offer.

It’s a Spiritual Reality.

Grace is a concept the is incomprehensible to all atheists, to Mahatma Gandhi and all other non Christian religious people.

In Ezekiel, Jesus is quoted as saying, “I don’t take any delight in the death of the wicked. I want the wicked to change their ways so that they can live! You don’t need to go to hell. Rather than tantrum like a frustrated child, do what it takes and you will never need to experience eternal separation from Me.” Ezekiel 33:11.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Atheists Follow The Evidence (Snerk!)

“Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say “supernatural”) plan.
Nobel laureate Arno Penzias

Friday, March 18, 2011

Jesus, our role model and Women

I’m sorry for how long this post is. It’s just that I need to respond. Whether they be atheists or the ignorant on the fringes of christianty, I keep reading posts from people who say that Christianity keeps women down. First of all, I’ve done several posts that give dozens and dozens of verses to show that the religion that bears the name of Jesus the Christ can in no way be used to justify degrading or demeaning women in any way. I’m not saying that some men haven't tried it. But these men cannot use Jesus’ teachings to justify their behaviours. And if you think that it’s Christianity that keeps women down, what do you make of the recent news account telling us that Canadian Universities - those bastions of feminism and secular fundamentalism - are the worst offenders of pay inequity between men and women in Canada?

How about some facts?

The OT records a creation order whereby women were equal to men in stature. After, and because of the fall, by the time of Jesus’ arrival, man’s corrupt self-love had demeaned and diminished women to little more than chattel. A Rabbinic traditional blessing stated, in part: “I thank God that I was not born a heathen, nor a woman.” The prophecy “he shall rule over you” was completely fulfilled.

Jesus came to restore the proper order of Creation. Jesus’ behaviour is free from disdain for women that was then widespread in Judaism. For example, Jesus had a long discussion with the Samaritan woman and even revealed to this “loose” woman His mission and messiahship. In contrast to the practice of Jewish teachers of the law, Jesus had women among His followers who were able to join in being instructed by Him (Luke 10:38-42). His proclamation - “Come to Me ALL who are weary,” was and is truly valid for all.

Jesus’ parables contain many examples from the world of women (Matt. 13:33; 24:41; Luke 15:8-10; 18:1-8; Mark 12:41-44). In contrast, Rabbinic parables used women - if at all - almost exclusively in a negative light. Jesus’ teaching is free from every form of open or concealed disdain for women. Unlike Rabbinic teaching which warned of males being seduced by women, Jesus warns against the male tendency to seduce women (Matt. 5:27-30). The Rabbinic tendency was to view women as morally inferior to men. Instead Jesus emphasised the wickedness of the human heart which affects both sexes equally.

Jesus preached against not just the supposed moral superiority of men but also their legal superiority. In Mark 10:2-12, Jesus condemns every kind of divorce and ties the OT permission to divorce to man’s hard and evil hearts. Jesus emphatically protects the woman from the devaluation that was bound up with the Jewish divorce practise and legalised polygamy.

Through His absolute love command (Matt. 7:12; 22:34-40) Jesus threw out once and for all, every kind of male egoism or oppression of women. Jesus did not just take women seriously as people who have the same value as men, but in an unprecedented way He turned His attention to suffering and morally despised women. He protected these women without denying their sinfulness (Luke 7:36-50; John 7:53-8:11). Women as well as men could experience Jesus; healing power (Mark 1:29-31; 5:25-34; Matt. 9:18,23-25; 15:21-28; Luke 8:1; 13:10-17). Jesus even set aside the Jewish Sabbath regulation to heal a woman during a synagogue service (Luke 13:10-17). Answering the objections of Jewish leaders, Jesus called this woman a “daughter of Abraham.” This is a tremendous honour that is NEVER found in the Talmud. “Truly I say to you . . . harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” (Matt. 21:32).

Jesus points to women as spiritual examples. He praises the faith of the widow (Mark 12:41-44). He shows amazement at the faith of the Syrophoenician woman (Matt. 15:21-28), He praises the queen of Sheba’s quest for truth (Matt. 12:41,42), and He sets up the importunate widow as an example for His disciples (Luke 18:1-8). Women responded to Jesus’ character with great love and respect as would any woman whose husband modelled Jesus’ attitude toward his wife. Jesus protected women again and again against men’s lack of understanding. He defended the woman who anointed His head with oil. He backed the woman of ill-repute who anointed His feet with myrrh. He corrected His disciples when they harshly discouraged the women who wanted to ring their children to Jesus. Jesus allowed women healed by Him to join His band of followers and accepted the assistance of women. Jesus did not see this as weakness.

Husbands often come to me bemoaning their wives lack of respect and support. I’m forced to think, “Is it any wonder? If the only reason for respect is because they demand it of them, what else should these men expect?” Jesus’ unique attention to women was met by them with responsive love and support which put the disciples to shame. At His crucifixion, while John the only male was present, several women among His followers were nearby or within sight during His final hours. The faithfulness of these women continued after His death. They rose on the first Easter morning to anoint His body and so were honoured to be the first witnesses of the resurrection. In this way, not just the earthly Jesus Christ, but the resurrected Christ demonstrated with mighty power that with His coming, a new era for women had broken in. In Jesus, God’s valuation of women as man’s equal companion appears with total clarity, and made obsolete the tendency present then and still present even today to regard women as of lesser worth.

In Mark 9:35 Jesus shows, that in God’s kingdom there is still both authority and subordination, the man leads and the woman is led. Yes the wife is to give unconditional respect as per Ephesians 5:33 - BUT - in place of arbitrary domination on the part of the husband, he is to reign in unconditional love, in a humble servant leadership which is to be seen entirely as a service given TO the wife. We men are the spiritual leaders of the home. What does that mean?

A Spiritual Leader Models For The Family:
Our job is to show our family what those things look like. If we, as husbands and dads don’t do our job properly, our children, like so many others will view Christianity and Hypocrisy as synonymous.

Anybody can go to Church
Anybody can read the Bible
Anybody can Pray

Only someone in an intimate, healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus
wants to live and love as He lived and loved.

THAT is what our children need to see from us.

They see it most obviously in how we love our wives.

“But what about the Bible saying that women are to be subordinate to men?” says the sceptic.

In 1st Corinthians 11:3 a woman’s subordination to man is compared to the subordination of Christ to God.

Think about that!

Obviously the subordination of woman has nothing to do with a one-down position. It would be absurd to suggest that the subordination of Christ to the Father means that Christ is of less value to God the Father, for Jesus is God.

Since the headship model finds its origin in God the Father over Jesus the Christ this removes any justification for a man to lead his wife in anything but a loving and tender and equal manner.

Creation is not considered complete by God until the creation of woman and it is not considered good by God without the creation of woman. The term “helpmate” is the same term that God uses of Himself in sustaining us during our lives so it is definitely NOT a one-down connotation.

Finally, whose job is it to make sure that the other is obeying or submitting properly? (Ephesians 5:22-25, 33). In verse 33 we notice that husbands are to treat their wives with unconditional love and that wives are to treat their husbands with unconditional respect. That means that there are no excuses or scenarios whereby we can absolve ourselves from loving and respecting each other. Empirical data from studies shows that love, for women and respect, for men are the two greatest needs for women and men respectively, in marriage. Notice that Paul doesn’t say, “Women, make sure that your husband is treating you with love.” And notice that Paul doesn’t say, “Men, make sure that your wife is treating you with respect.”

None of us can say to God, “My behaviours are the fault of my spouse.”
We are both, individually accountable to God.

I have no doubt that many, many women have run into christian men who have treated them poorly. I’m not trying to excuse that behaviour. On the other hand, there have been many, many women who have been treated poorly by secular men, or men in general. We men really do not do relationships well.

The important thing however is this. Jesus will not fail you. Jesus will never reject you. Jesus is the one to follow. Never, ever put your trust in humans of either gender. Do not blame Jesus for how sinful humans treat you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Atheists, Vanity and Pride

A well known line from Ecclesiastes is, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. It’s all a chasing after the wind.”

Vanity means that everything you consider important ends in emptiness and absurdity. It all comes to nothing.

Pride means that you won’t let yourself admit that.

That pretty much sums up atheism.

We live in a universe that exudes purpose and morality.
We live in a universe with meaning and context.

Atheists deny it all.
They cling to the theory of accident.
They long for it to be an accident.
They deny any evidence that leads them away from the idea that they come from nothing by nothing and that they are going to nothing.

Vanity and pride.

Political freedom is a predominantly Christian phenomenon and there is no evidence that it can survive paganism, which naturally gravitates towards totalitarian rule.
Vox Day

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Who Will Save Us?

I’m sure you’ve heard the line, “You can’t legislate morality.” Yes? It’s kind of silly, when you think about it. We can and do legislate morality all the time. There are hundreds if not thousands of laws on the books attempting to do exactly that - legislate morality.

And, if your country is made up of moral people, it works quite well. However, if, as is happening even as I type, social desires slide inexorably toward immorality, then no amount of rule enforcing will make any difference.

I grew up in the 60's when the brilliant among us (and I believed them) decided that it was morality itself that was in fact destroying us. We needed a new society, the secular geniuses said, where each one of us could do exactly as we thought right in our own minds. “If you can’t be with the one you love (have sex with) baby, love the one you’re with.” Well that experiment has pretty much run its course, and your perspective on whether it’s been a success or failure depends on where you stand - morally.

Have you noticed how our Newscasts of all types are packed to the brim with accounts of corruption - increasing and unstoppable corruption? A fairly predictable response to rampant corruption is to introduce new rules. The problem of course is that new rules, old rules or any rules won’t get to the heart of the problem because, as Jesus said, the heart is the problem.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
Matthew 15:19

Hardly anybody, it seems, has even the slightest clue that integrity matters. If the government is made up of a representative sample of the general population, and the general population is corrupt. What then? If the general population is so corrupt that it believes that morality is itself immoral, who will save us from ourselves?
“Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say “supernatural”) plan.
Nobel laureate Arno Penzias

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Can You Read The Signs?

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging
Psalm 46

Jesus said, "There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places. There will be wars and rumours of war. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world. On earth, nations will be in anguish and perlexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea."
Luke 21

Jesus said, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times."
Matthew 16:2,3

Jesus said, "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that the end is near, it is right at the door."
Matthew 24: 32,33

Monday, March 14, 2011

All My Favourite People Are Broken

When I talk to atheists, it reminds me how much I love honest people; I love people who know themselves; who are honest enough to admit that they’re broken and not whole. I love to be with people who are strong enough to admit that they need help, fixing, forgiveness. I love to be with people who have said to their Creator, in the words of a Buddy and Julie Miller song, “You can have my heart, if you don’t mind broken things.” And of course He doesn’t. The whole reason that Jesus came to earth as a sacrifice for our sins is so that we could be whole again.

I think that’s why I find atheists so annoying. How can people be honest with others when they refuse to be honest with themselves? As the saying goes, and it fits perfectly with atheism, “The reason we cannot communicate effectively with others is because our lives are so full of contradictions, we can’t even communicate with ourselves.

Instead, I get to know and work with heros. Most people sit out there pretending to themselves and others that everything is ok. I get to work with those who have the courage to admit that everything isn’t ok, that they are not ok. It’s a privilege and honour to meet such people and share a flake of their lives. And that’s why I say that all my favourite people are broken.
So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.
2 Peter 1:5-9

Sunday, March 13, 2011

CT Entertainment Reviews Porn

Check this out, from:

Christianity Today - March 20, 2021

In keeping with our mandate to reflect today’s Christianity, CT magazine has decided to begin highlighting for you the best that American Porn has to offer. This trend would be backed up by Barna Research Corp. whose most recent survey shows that 95.5% of today’s Christians believe that Phil.4:8 is quaint and naive and “ALMOST NEVER or NEVER plays a role in what they watch, listen to or read.” This becomes 100% for the 63% of Christian couples, both homo and heterosexual couples who are living common-law versus those who are married.

Reverend David Fallows of U.U. Nevada, Christianity Today’s Entertainment Reviewer says of the sixth and latest Max Ironrod series “While some Christian parents may not find this XXX movie suitable for children under six, it does not come without its spiritual, specifically Christian element. Introducing five new female teenage conquests, Max romps through a carefree adventure under the warmth of the Florida sun. In the same manner that God loves all of us, Ironrod plays no favorites when it comes to yummy young flesh." When asked about the value of watching porn with your children in contrast to simply giving them the DVD to watch on their own, Fallows had this to say. "We at Christianity Today Magazine believe that watching porn with your children, regardless of whether you can find anything resembling a Christian message, and talking to your children about the cinematic value inherent in the making of pornography can go a long long way in helping to offset any negative components that sometimes comes with this segment of the entertainment industry.”

Because of how Christianity is Today, you can look forward each month to Christianity Today remaining on the leading edge of societal change as we review the best that America’s Porn Industry has to offer. Each movie will be chosen for its deeply hidden yet provocative Gospel message. In fact "the more evil the movie (or music), the harder we look for anything the might have come out of Jesus' mouth - anything." Reverend Fallows expresses amazement at how these spiritual messages seem lost on stuffy old fundamentalists who refuse to even explore contemporary culture “while those of us on the fringes of Christianity can receive these messages from God in any and every venue."

Friday, March 11, 2011

“The road I’ve travelled is pockmarked by disastrous victories and magnificent defeats, soul-diminishing successes and life-enhancing failures. Seasons of fidelity and betrayal, periods of consolation and desolation, zeal and apathy are not unknown to me.

And there have been times . . .
When the felt presence of God was more real to me than the chair I am sitting on;
When the Word ricocheted like lightening in every corner of my soul;
When a storm of desire carried me to places I had never visited.

And then there have been other times . . .
When I identified with the words of Mae West: “I used to be Snow White - but I drifted;”
When the Word was as stale as old ice cream and as bland as tame sausage;
When the fire in my belly flickered and died;
When I mistook dried-up enthusiasm for gray-haired wisdom;
When I dismissed youthful idealism as mere naivete;
When I preferred cheap slivers of glass to the pearl of great price.”
Brennan Manning.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Smarter Than You!

There is a thing on CNN about computers / intelligent Bot’s that are far superior to human intelligence by 2050. In fact, says Ray Kurzweil, computers will be just like humans having the personality and character (eg. consciousness) just like humans.

I’m 60-years-old so I’ll never get to see one of these machines display love - you know - I’ll miss watching a machine decide to jump into a river to sacrifice its life to save another machine that is less intelligent and therefore less “valuable.”

Finally, I find it a bit amusing that here’s Kurzweil, the atheist who has failed to learn the first lesson of Darwin - Don’t create anything more intelligent than yourself.

Who Should Lead

Appoint leaders in every town according to my instructions. As you select them, ask, "Is this man well-thought-of? Is he committed to his wife? Are his children believers? Do they respect him and stay out of trouble?" It's important that a church leader, responsible for the affairs in God's house, be looked up to — not pushy, not short-tempered, not a drunk, not a bully, not money-hungry. He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself, and have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.
Titus 1:5-9

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet

Over the years I’ve heard several atheists expound on how unfair it is that someone like Hitler or a paedophile priest “could” (that’s an important word in this context) could be forgiven. And while atheists are busy in their rants that someone who is “worse” than they are CAN be forgiven, they completely ignore the fact that they have put themselves in a position whereby they CAN’T be forgiven.

When you are filled with delusions of your own goodness, when you are filled with contempt for your Creator who says that you are in desperate need of forgiveness, when you are so full of yourself, then it’s simply impossible for your Creator to give to you what need most. It is impossible for your Creator to give to you what you have determined that you don’t need and therefore don’t want. The unbelief of atheists is a cold-hearted, determined unbelief and that simply cannot be forgiven - UNLESS they turn from their sin.

“I take no desire in the death of the wicked, so turn from your sins and live.” Ezekiel 18:32

“Where is the god who can compare with you—
wiping the slate clean of guilt,
Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear,
to the past sins of your purged and precious people?
You don't nurse your anger and don't stay angry long,
for mercy is your specialty. That's what you love most.
And compassion is on its way to us.
You'll stamp out our wrongdoing.
You'll sink our sins
to the bottom of the ocean.” Micah 7:18

“I put myself in your hands!
You're well-known as good and forgiving,
bighearted to all who ask for help.
Pay attention, God, to my prayer;
bend down and listen to my cry for help.
Every time I'm in trouble I call on you,
confident that you'll answer.” Psalm 86:5
“It astonishes me how many Christians watch the same banal, empty, silly, trivial, titillating, suggestive, immodest TV shows that most unbelievers watch - and then wonder why their spiritual lives are weak and their worship experience is shallow with no intensity. If you really want to hear the Word of God the way He means to be heard in truth and joy and power, turn off the television on Saturday night and read something true and great and beautiful and pure and honourable and excellent and worthy of praise (Phil. 4:8). Then watch your heart un-shrivel and begin to hunger for the Word of God.”
John Piper

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More Rules? Not!

I find myself returning, again and again, to Jesus’ encounter with the Rich Ruler. You know the one; in Luke 18 where the guy asks Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to be saved?”

I keep coming back to this event for a least two reasons.
. First is because of the frequency with which I encounter atheists who are intently focussed on Jesus telling this individual to, “Sell all you have and give your money to the poor.” Atheists do this solely to prove, or so they think, the hypocrisy of we who claim to follow Jesus. “You’re no Christian if you haven’t given everything away.”
. More than that however, I return to this account because the most important part of Jesus’ response, the part that atheists ignore, is so radical and life transforming that I can scarcely look away.

What must I do to have eternal life?”
“Follow Me,” says Jesus.

How must I live to have eternal life?”
“Follow Me.”

If you notice, in this account and in the account preceding it with the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, both the Tax Collector and the Rich Ruler are already doing pretty good at keeping the law.

“I don’t steal,
I don’t commit adultery,
I tithe," -

These guys see themselves as being pretty good people. Jesus however draws their focus to a new locale.

Notice that the focus of the Tax Collector (“God, be merciful to me, the sinner.” Luke 18:9-14) is on his relationship with God whereas the focus of the Pharisee is on his works / deeds. Yet Jesus says that the Tax Collector (a horrible sinner) and NOT the Pharisee (who keeps the rules) goes home forgiven. In similar fashion, notice how Jesus takes the focus of the Rich Ruler from his good deeds and puts it onto what is missing - again, a focus on God.

“Follow Me. Become like Me. Do what I do in My relationship with others.”

That’s the point that people completely miss when they focus on giving all his money away. They’re incapable of seeing that yes, money and possessions had become his idol. Jesus saw this clearly. More than that however, without becoming a follower of Jesus, the man could have given everything away and still been completely lost.

Both the Rich Ruler and the Pharisee, and atheists for that matter, are inwardly focussed.
“Look at me. See what a good person I am. See all the rules that I follow? I don’t need God in order to be good.”

But God and His kingdom are to come first in our lives.

We don’t need more rules.
We need to follow one rule, and one rule only.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and mind, and strength."

We don’t need to try harder.
We need to allow Jesus to make us a different kind of people.

This is what spending time with Jesus does. Jesus, the Truth, sets us free from all the rules. When we become the kind of people that Jesus wants us to be, the rules, as humans generally understand rules, simply no longer apply. Rules are no longer a burden. Rules no longer feel confining.

. Spending time with Jesus makes us men and women of integrity. With Jesus as our guide we become the kind of people where killing the weakest members of society is no longer needed to experience freedom. With Jesus as our guide, we no longer need to abandon our spouses and children to find love in the arms of another.

. Spending time with Jesus brings about a way of life and freedom where I can follow my dreams. This is because with Jesus as my guide, which slowly but surely transforms my character, my dreams and desires stem from a healthy mind and soul.

. Spending time with Jesus makes me the kind of person where God’s will and my will slowly mesh until they are one and the same.

Jesus, as well as the rest of the New Testament writers talk about the kind of character that naturally produces in those of us who were profoundly and desperately wrong, the kind of behaviours that almost incidentally keep the rules or guidelines that God has set up for correct living. Words like transformed, predestined, conformed and such (see Romans 8:29) means that being a follower of Jesus shapes who we are. Our new nature produces the kind of behaviour / character / personality to which most people think that rule keeping will guide us, but which a “rule-keeping” paradigm can never achieve.
“It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in numbers, has been rather carefully thought out. The seemingly miraculous concurrence of these numerical values must remain the most compelling evidence for cosmic design.”
Physicist Paul Davies

Monday, March 7, 2011

There Be Dragons Here

This post could have been called “Fighting John Eldredge.” You know the guy. He wrote “Wild at Heart” and more recently “Waking the Dead.” He’s the guy who says that once we’re Born Again we’ve been made good -

Good people with good hearts.

The wrong that we do after conversion is not us, says Eldredge. It’s satan. The good that we do IS us - well - it’s God working in us, while the wrong that we do is satan hounding and attacking us.

Of course, the idea didn’t originate with Eldredge. Who was it who said the same thing? Oh ya! The apostle Paul. The Bible!

I have to admit that over the years I’ve fought this concept tooth and nail. Eldredge says, “Of course you fight it. It’s the last thing that satan wants you to believe.”

Yet, danger lurks whenever I dare to think that I’m a good person.

"There be dragons here."

When I was at my worst, I thought that I was good. C.S. Lewis says, “A good man knows something of the evil still left in him. A thoroughly bad man thinks that he is good.” How can I let myself go in that direction again? Do I dare believe what Paul and Eldredge say? Don’t I need to be hyper-alert of my badness to avoid drifting backward?

The Biblical precept goes something like this:
. When I was an enemy of God the bad that I did was me.
. When I became a friend of God, the bad that I do is no longer from me.
. Now that I am Born Again (and I am) I am good, I’ve literally been given a good heart, a new heart. I’ve been given a heart that worships Creator God, that longs to please Jesus for what He’s done for me, a heart that loves others because God works in me to work out my salvation.

What a difference it would make if every born again Christian knew this to be true! If we could see ourselves as a new creation, it would change everything! But does the Bible agree? Is this a sound doctrine? Let’s see.

“Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Ps. 34:5

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”
1st Corinthians 6:19

“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1st Corinthians 3:16,17

“You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.” Ps. 5:4

God lives in me. But God cannot dwell with the wicked. If God cannot dwell with the wicked and He DOES dwell with me then . . . Wait! There’s more!

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

“The time is coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, declares the LORD. This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the LORD. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31:31-33

So what do you think about who God has made you?

Jesus and Suffering

Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like Him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
1 Peter 4:1-2

There is the odd article on atheist websites saying that Jesus wasn't poor. That He didn't suffer. Rather, like Buddha, they say, Jesus was very wealthy.

Ya, right.
. His parents could only afford the offerings of the poor.
. He didn't have a place of His own to live.
. He ate His last meal in a borrowed room.
. He owned one cloak which was stripped from Him on the cross.
. He was buried in a borrowed tomb.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

How Can This Be?

In the minds of atheists everybody else is stupider than they are - EVERYBODY!

. Christians? - “Thinking is anathema to Christians,” Richard Dawkins

. Writers of the Bible? - “That Bronze Age book?” Apparently, according to atheists, Truth has a best before date.

. Mary? - Mary! Why ask about Mary? Atheists don’t care about Mary.

Ah ya, actually, they do. You see it involves that whole virgin birth thing. Mocking and ridiculing anyone who believes that a virgin could become pregnant (even though it could be done today with practically no effort at all) is an absolute favourite pastime of atheists. So what’s that got to do with Mary? Well, she’s a stupid woman. A Bronze Age stupid woman. She’s so stupid she believed that a virgin could become pregnant.

Mmm, no, actually. That’s not true.

People back then may not have had as much knowledge or information as we do now but intelligence wise we’ve got nothing on them.

And atheists?

They were just as dull of mind and slow of thought back then as they are today.


She knew absolutely what could, and what could not happen. Doctors today may be able to make a virgin pregnant but back then it would have sounded like pure nonsense.

Angel Gabriel - “You are going to have a baby and you are to call Him Jesus.”
Mary - “How can this be? I’m a virgin.”

Whoa. A bronze age woman asking the same question that 21st century atheists ask?

And the answer?

Gabriel - “With God anything is possible.” The whole mathematically precise cosmos, space, time, matter, energy the laws that govern matter, all this was brought into existence by Creator God. Life and the genetic code that governs life was brought into place by Creator God. Creating life within you, Mary, is well within the powers of your Creator. He has the power to give life, to take life and to give life back again. Your Creator has the power to make you live forever. With God anything is possible.

He can even take a man who denies His existence and cause that man to worship and serve and dedicate his life to Creator God. With God anything is possible.
“Surrender your poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the Lord. Whether you understand it or not, Jesus loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon.”
Thomas Merton

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hugo - Did You Read This?

CNN - Juarez Mexico: March 4, 2011.

Sanitation officials in Juarez Mexico are fed up with bodies in the street. Carlos Mendez, President of the Sanitation Workers of Juarez said in an interview with Anderson Cooper, “The flies, the stench, gack!”

In an effort to remedy the situation, Mendez said that in addition to Grey Garbage bins that are picked up once a week, and Blue bins for glass and plastics that are picked up every two weeks and Green bins for paper and cardboard that are picked up every three weeks, new Beige bins will now be distributed to households in Juarez for bodies. “Three specially designated trucks will cover our city every day. If you’ve killed someone or even several people, our new extra capacity bins should help keep Juarez appealing and friendly looking so the tourists come back. I mean, as it is, the stink of these bloated bodies is unbearable, gack!

When Anderson Cooper asked if this wasn’t actually promoting or at least condoning murder, and would make teenagers more likely to commit murder, Mendez took exception. “You Americans are too judgmental. Adapting to changing social conditions will do nothing but remove the unfair stigma from those who are forced, through no fault of their own, to kill those they don’t like. Besides, it’s good for kids to build up muscles and burn calories by helping mom or dad lift those stinking bodies into the bins. It’s dead weight you know,” Mendez said, obviously please with his pun. “Anyhow, we’ve made the bins low profile so personal injury doesn’t take place by lifting obese dead guys. The fat ones stink worse than skinny ones. They attract more flies too, gack!”

Mendez said that it will be up to residents to rinse out their own garbage bins and scrub any blood from their driveways. “Blood attracts flies. I hate flies! Gack!”

Different Is Wrong!

Many people lament all the denominational differences there are in the Protestant Church. I’ve always seen the issue in much the same manner as sports fans. There are billions of sports fans, but not all of them love the same sport. Humans by nature are marvellously diverse and the Bible reflects this diversity. So when you think about, it’s no wonder that some aspects of our Lord’s message resonate with this person more than it does with that person.

Of course, the difference between religion and sports is that while sometimes fans of rival teams will pound on each other and every once in awhile some fans get killed, few mountain climbers would be willing to do battle with a football fan over which is the correct sport to take part in. Few who enjoy swimming would chastise those who sky-dive for choosing the wrong sport. Sadly, this nonsense is a common trait of those who take religion seriously. The most tolerant among us are those who don't seriously believe anything.

Having said that, it seems to me that there are a few things that are unquestionable regarding Church life and the rest should be left to personaltaste.

For example:
. Any Unity in the Church must be based upon the Life and Teachings of Jesus. Without the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, there is no Christianity.
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
That Christ died for our sins according to Scripture (Isaiah 53)
That He was buried
That He was raised on the third day according to Scripture
- 1st Corinthians 15:3,4
The Church must exist to preach the good news of Jesus’ salvation and to glorify Him who saved us.

. Any Unity in the Church must be based upon Love for the lost and for each other. “The Church builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:16. This of course is much easier said than done. Generations of bitterness and resentments accompany most people as they enter the Christian walk. Dying to self is for most people their Mount Everest. Those who wish to reserve a small space for Jesus in their lives, those who wish to wear Jesus as an accessory to their secular world-view or secular life-style will never learn to walk the walk.

. Any Unity in the Church must be based upon Truth. Christians from around the world have accepted doctrinal creeds as summaries of Biblical truth. The earliest is the one I quoted above from 1st Corinthians 15. To stand upon truth, and Jesus IS Truth, the Church must be built upon the teachings of Jesus and those whom He taught, the apostles. The Bible itself must be held as the absolute measure of truth. Scripture should interpret itself in conformity to context. Personal insights and experiences must summit to Scripture for authenticity. Revelation from God is closed.

The Joseph Smiths and Mohammeds of the world must be seen as frauds and hucksters but after that, enjoy Jesus' love forever and ever

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2,3.
For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens.
Deuteronomy 10:17-19 -

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Old and Alone

Jack Nicholson (72) laments that he was once oddly irresistible to women, but no longer.

That’s a problem for anyone listening to satan when they are young and bedding as many partners as possible. Reject Jesus and His desire for you to learn how to love and be loved, and all you'll wind up with, for your "fun" (besides STD's and children that you don't or can't look after) is old and alone.

Or, if you’re rich like Nicholson or Charlie Sheen or - um - I can’t remember her name. A big busty blond who overdosed a couple years ago, you can pay prostitutes of either gender to pretend to like you when you're old.

Hugo - This is interesting

“Most high school biology teachers don’t endorse Darwin’s theories in their classes, according to a new survey. Instead 60% of them instruct their students on the principles of evolution only as they pertain to molecular biology (they only go as far as the evidence allows), as one alternative among a variety of theories about biology or as necessary to pass national tests.” (insertion mine)
Time Canada - Feb. 14 / 11

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Free To Have Enemies

Sounds weird huh? What I mean is this. I’m not sure why but sometimes people feel the need to pretend that now that they’re Christians, they love every one and life is perfect.

Well, I can attest to the fact that life is immeasurably better now that Jesus is Lord of my life. But to say that everything is perfect and that I don’t struggle with relationships would be a flat out lie. Jesus warned anyone who was considering becoming His follower that becoming a Christian would bring on a whole new set of problems in addition to the ones that life already brings our way. Why else would Jesus tell us to love our enemies if becoming a Christian meant that we wouldn’t have any enemies? “If they hated Me they will certainly hate you as well,” Jesus warned.

We don’t have to pretend that everyone is our friend, or even that we like every one. We do however have to treat people with respect and dignity. God wants us to be honest in how some people are just plain difficult to be around. Jesus says, ‘I know what it’s like to be hated and here is how I want you to respond. Don’t be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” The apostle Paul who, like the other apostles was taught directly by Jesus says, “Don’t pretend that you aren’t angry. Deal with your anger. Settle the issues quickly before sinful behaviour settles in.”

Only when we are free to admit that we have enemies are we also free to accept God’s direction for dealing with those who don’t like us and who are out to destroy us. The freedom to admit that we have enemies is to gain the freedom for God to work in and through our weakness.

Spread the News

Every movement we make in response to God has a ripple effect, touching family, neighbours, friends, community.
Belief in God alters our language.
Love of God affects daily relationships.
Hope in God enters into our work.

Also their opposites - unbelief, indifference, and despair.

None of these movements and responses, beliefs and prayers, gestures and searches, can be confined to the soul. They spill out and make history. If they don’t they are under suspicion of being fantasies at best, hypocrisies at worst.

Christians have always insisted on the historicity of Jesus - an actual birth, a dateable death, a witnessed resurrection, towns located. There is a parallel of historicity in the followers of Jesus. As they take in everything Jesus said and did - all of it a personal revelation of God in time and place - it all gets worked into local history, eventually into world history.
From Eugene Peterson’s introduction to Philemon - The Message

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You Ever Have Doubts?

The pre-born child (later to be known as John the Baptiser) leaped in his mother’s womb when Mary, herself pregnant with Jesus approached John’s mother, Elizabeth. There was a Spiritual connection between Prophet and Saviour of the World, even from before birth.

John grew up and became a rugged man. A man’s man. No beer drinking for him. He was a Nazarene. A religious fanatic by some people’s terms. Living off the land. Telling anyone who would listen that the Messiah is coming; in fact the Messiah is now here.

John the Baptiser, telling of miracles about to happen; Healings about to take place; Salvation for any and all who want it. And then -

John is tossed into prison. A dungeon really. Did he have hopes? Dreams? Expectations of what might come to be when the Saviour of the world, the Jewish Messiah finally arrived? Might John himself be part of this royal kingdom? Sit on a throne perhaps? Naw, he didn't need that? Thrones are for sissies . . . but . . . but this? A prison?

“How can my sitting in a dungeon be part of God’s plan? What if Jesus isn’t the Messiah?”

Have you ever thought that? Lot’s of people have. I can’t imagine it happening to me, but then again, I’ve never been where John the Baptiser has been.

And then John, said to his disciples, “Go and ask Jesus if He really is the one we’ve been waiting for.”


“Go and ask Jesus, “Was I right? Have I made a mistake? If you’re the Messiah, why am I here in prison. I was your runner! I came in the very spirit of Elijah! There’s been no one quite like me. Do I have a place in Your kingdom - if - that is - if you really are Messiah?””

Have you ever asked?

If your real, Jesus, why have I lost my job?

Why am I sick? Why don’t you heal today like you used to?

If you’re a God of love, why did my child die?

Why did I have to experience years of sexual abuse?

If you’re real, God, why all the physical pain and suffering?

John asked. And John didn’t even know at that point that he was about to have his head cut off.

Have you ever had doubts about Jesus?


“Take a look at a rose. Is it possible for the rose to say, ‘I’ll offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people’? Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? And observe how indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature - even to the one who seeks to cut it down. This is the first quality of compassion - its indiscriminate character.”
Anthony DeMello

“I make the rain and the sun to fall on the Godly and the ungodly.”

Yes, a day of judgement is coming, when Jesus will come in power and glory. For now we are living in the age of Grace - the greatest and purest and all encompassing grace and compassion in the whole universe, that of our Creator. Now is the day of salvation. Today is the day that forgiveness is being offered. Don’t throw this opportunity away!