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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Glory of God

I remember reading about some famous mathematician who tells of how, as a child, he agonised over knowing what a number is. He could not get his head around the concept of a number. He quite obviously “got it” at some point but for years it rendered mathematics literally painful for him because of his lack of understanding.

For me the concept of God’s glory has been similar in nature. The Bible, from front to back speaks of God’s glory. But what does that mean? His glory this. His glory that. What is His glory? For years I couldn’t get it.

At minimum God’s glory means His transcendence over all finite reality. For example, God is transcendent over life and death. He is not bound by them. God’s glory is everything that makes Him unique. He is perfect. He is infinite and self-existent. He is unchanging. He is utterly superior in every aspect. He is the definition of grace and mercy and forgiveness and justice and love. For God IS love. That is the glory of God.
God has not promised skies always blue, flower-strewn pathways all our lives through; God has not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain. But God has promised strength for the day, rest for the labour, light for the way, grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Atheist’s Standard

A sceptic asked, “How could a loving God eternally punish someone as good as me?”

I’m pretty sure he wasn’t joking.

What he needs to be asking is, “What kind of Love, what kind of Mercy, what kind of Grace does this God possess that causes Him to reach out and save for eternity in paradise the worst individuals who have ever been born, and all they have to do to receive this salvation is agree with their Creator that they need His forgiveness, justification and sanctification?”

This repentence of course is something that "good" atheists are unwilling to do. Even though pride will land them in hell, it's considered a positive trait among atheists.

In reality none of our efforts are “good.” None of our efforts are completely free of corrupted self-love. As has been described, our best deeds are little more than dressed-up sins. Atheists of course disagree. The Bible describes our "good" deeds as used tampons.

In light of that, some atheist named Joseph Hanson has taken the “Am I Good?” test that Ray Comfort uses when people say that they’re so good God should be thrilled to have them in heaven. Not surprisingly, Hanson found out that, “Yes indeed I am good.” How did he arrive at that conclusion? Well, the same as any other atheist. He threw out the existing rules and definitions, and then made up new ones as he went along.

That shouldn’t surprise. As Hugo says “Everybody does it.”

For example:
. Hanson took issue with the idea that if you tell lies, then you are a liar. Not so says the atheist. In atheist-world you have to tell A LOT of lies before you’re a liar. He keeps the exact number that constitutes “a lot” to himself, but you can bet it’s at least one less than the number that he’s told.

. Hanson took issue with the idea that lust / adultery is bad. Wanting to cheat on your spouse and think about having sex with the partner of someone else, “Is just being human.” And, as we know, in atheist-world, if most of the people think it’s a good thing, then it is a good thing.

. Hanson takes issue with the idea that stealing makes you a thief. Like his views on lying, to Hanson thieves are people who steal more than he has stolen and more frequently than he steals

Isn’t that precious? Like I said, or more correctly like Hugo has said, Joe Hanson agrees that this is how all right and wrong is decided. You create your own standard of morality, making sure that you sit just above the cutoff line and then - ta da! - you declare yourself to be a good person.

Joseph Hanson concludes, “I’m not a Christian, but I live my life in a good way.”

Absolutely, and he would make as good a friend as any atheist alive. As long as you don’t mind a friend who feels ok about lying to you from time to time (but not too often), fantasising about having sex with your spouse (I don’t think there’s any limit on that one) and stealing from you only the things that he defines as small and according to his idea of not too often.

Be a Dad

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say,

“You’re tearing up the grass,” and dad would reply,

“We’re not raising grass. We’re raising boys.”

Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.
C. Everett Koop

Monday, August 29, 2011

“Then I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elder; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing.” (Revelation 5:11,12).

It makes me smile when I hear sceptics talking about how boring heaven will be.
Sitting on clouds
Playing harps

They complain that we’ll have to praise God all the time, as if that is something awful.

Small minds have small dreams. Dreading praising one’s Creator shows just how far sceptics are right now from living life to the full.

God assures us that heaven will be neither boring nor will it entail lying around. We get glimpses of heaven during our lives on earth. For example, I sometimes find myself holding back from thanking God at bedtime because of where it leads. When my soul interacts with the very Spirit of the living God, I often find myself awake for hours with indescribable joy as thankfulness wells up. A peace that is beyond description settles upon me and a love that is supernatural envelops me. And that is from an imperfect knowledge of my Lord and King. When I am in His very presence, when I know Him as He is, in all His splendour and glory and power, well, it’s no wonder that praise in heaven is unceasing.
Human nature is such that Ayn Rand is thought to possess wisdom. If she tells us that the more we focus on ourselves the more happiness we’ll experience, then it makes sense to us. In the West we actually believe that our goal should be a retirement with enough money to allow us to do whatever we want, when ever we want it. This is our picture of paradise.

It’s actually called paradise.

It’s a lie.

A focus on self does not bring real life and real living. It doesn’t bring anything more than momentary happiness.

Instead, we were created to devote ourselves to meet the needs of other people, even when it doesn’t make any “evolutionary” sense to do so.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Heaven On Earth

While God’s revelation to us of Himself is the best thing that can ever happen to us, unbelief and rejection of our Creator is the worst thing that can happen to a person. Ruined lives, destroyed relationships, fear, addictions, stress, rage, all these and more stem from a broken relationship with our Saviour.

Telling your Creator that He is a liar, that He can’t be trusted, that He is not worthy of our love is to commit spiritual suicide.

“But then I won’t be able to do what I want!”

Well, no, not at first you won’t. But this I can tell you with absolute certainty. Doing what God wants instead of what we want will bring more joy and peace and security to your life than any amount getting your own way. In fact, this is so true that one day, you will only want what God wants and you’ll ignore what your old self wants at any point that it disagrees with God’s commands.

The only thing standing between you and paradise on earth is your will being in conflict with God’s will.

The only things worse than experiencing the difficulties that come with living in a fallen world is to go through these trials as an enemy of your Creator.
Knowing God, living in His will, obeying God, loving God, honouring God, worshipping God, all these things make the rest of life, the things that cause fear and distress in most people, well, these things become incidental to our well-being.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be not fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exalt in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation,” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

Friday, August 26, 2011

No Worries!

That’s a sticker on the back of an SUV parked down the block. When I first saw it, I thought it might be some Christian flaunting h/her faith. The people who own the vehicle aren’t Christians, although I have yet to know why they think they shouldn’t worry.

I’ve read many a post where atheists take Matthew 6:25 and accuse Christians of being irresponsible. I know what they mean. When I first realised that these verses and ones like them were commands as surely as “Thou shall not kill,” meaning I need to obey them, well, irresponsible is exactly how I used to feel. Now I just experience a tremendous freedom FROM worry and anxiety but, ya, at first irresponsible is how I felt.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s might hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:6,7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus . . . think about such things and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8,9

I’ve come to treasure these truths. The quality of life that God’s love and care bring into my life is practically beyond description. When I look back over my life, that worry was a waste of time is an understatement. My Creator loves me. He knows what I need. He promises to provide for my needs. All I need to do is give Him priority in my life. He promises to give me the desires of my heart and what our heart desires the most is an intimate, healed and forgiven relationship with our Creator. That can be ours through the simple decision of repentance. Sweet!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bret - The end

It’s usually at this stage of the discussion that atheists, the honest ones anyhow, admit that, “All you’ve done is show that this is a Deistic universe.”

That’s quite a statement, one that means that person is no longer an atheist - at least intellectually. He'll probably still live as though Creator God doesn't exist but in the back of h/her mind, he knows the truth. Actually, I believe that one day there won’t be any such thing as an atheist. And it will be science that makes that possible - inevitable! There will be only those who are for Creator God and those who are against their Creator.

The facts that I’ve been presenting to Bret and Hugo and anyone else who is listening do indeed show at the very least, that something from outside of and that is transcendent to nature brought the material universe into existence.

And yet, most atheists will ignore this fact while they hope for the day when someone, somewhere will come up with a third option, something - anything - that excludes Creator God as the solution to the origins of matter. In fact, most atheists will enter hell still waiting for their “miracle” answer.

Hugo knows that:
. There cannot be an infinite regress of cause, yet he lives as though there can.
. Matter has not existed for eternity, yet he lives as though it has.
. Matter cannot bring itself into existence, yet he lives as though it did.

Hugo claims that his belief in these things has led him to conclude that Creator God does not exist. In fact, he says, he’s positive.

It is truly, truly sad but such is the case for those who have committed their lives to being the masters of their fate and the captains of their soul. God has said to these people, So be it. Chart your course. Whether you go east or west, north or south, your destination will be the same. You will have indeed been responsible for where you end up.

Jesus and love

I know that I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. “God’s love for us is not determined by our circumstances.”

“Well, how can that be?” you ask. “If anyone else brings difficulty and pain and suffering into my life it most certainly does reflect on h/her level of love for me.”

Well, that’s not necessarily true. We know without doubt that parents sometimes have to do things that to their child seem very unloving - needles, stitches, consequences etc. That however is not the main point. The main point is that friends do not have the power to bring good out of any and every circumstance in our life.

This is a guarantee for everyone who loves God and who has been called according to His purpose. God will always be present, active and devoted in perfect love to bringing to us what is best for us. He is never unkind, even in His discipline. These things have been called His “severe mercies.” He will never lie to you. He will never fail to keep a promise. His love for us is sure and without change.
In this sense God is unlike any friend that you ever had or ever will have.

Because of that God shapes your circumstances with purpose, power and love. Because of that your life has meaning and context and purpose and that purpose is unbelievably good. I have never experienced life as such an adventure as since I committed my life to Jesus. Part of that is because we don’t need to know the details of tomorrow. We don’t need to have all our ducks in a row for our lives to work out perfectly. In fact, we don’t have to have our lives work out perfectly for our life to turn out perfectly. For God brings good out of what seem on the outside complete horror stories. Because of that we can have utter confidence that all will be well with our soul.

“When peace like a river, attends to my soul
When sorrow like sea billows role
Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul”

If you don’t know the story to that song you should ask me about it. It is one of the best examples that I know, of how God works in the midst of our difficulties.
Are there storms on the horizon? My Creator and protector already knows the outcome. God is sovereign and His will for me is perfect. Every day of my life for the last 31 years has proven this truth. I can “thank God in all circumstances.”

God's Love

“The love for equals is a human thing - of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles.

The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing - the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.

The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing - to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love the of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints.

And then there is the love for the enemy - love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts emotional or even physical pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer.

This is God’s love. It conquers the world.”
Frederick Buechner “The Magnificent Defeat”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bret - An Explanation - 3

“Look, I want to see things your way, but I don't think there's enough room up your ass for both of our heads.”

I absolutely despise the term LOL. And I’ve only used it once before, but I’ve got to tell you, this is worth the second time. Thanks for the laugh. Hmm, I'm having a little deja vous all over again feeling. Have you said that to me once before?

“Sorry, but it's very tedious to be told what experts say by someone who clearly doesn't know.”

You mean I have to be an expert to quote experts? That’s seems odd but, whatever. Aren’t you interested in what experts have to say? Especially when they're atheists? Not even then?

“You make broad, sweeping errors, like the idea that the big bang is necessarily the first thing to ever happened,”

That’s not true Bret. We don't have any proof for any universe other than our own. Now you may be different than Hugo but atheists are famous for saying that they only believe what can be proven so I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that you might be one of those. At any rate, our “Big Bang” may be the last of a bzillion trillion quadrillion blah, blah, blah, (although science shows that is not possible) but at some point there was a first Big Bang, a first coming into being of matter / energy and we know that there was a first Big Bang because the material infinite does not and cannot exist. This is not something that I've dreamed up. This is a scientific fact.

“. . . even that you have the authority to arbitrarily name that which has and will always exist "God,"

Bret, I said you can call it whatever you want but it winds up being The Greatest Conceivable Being or what we call God.

“insisting we then use an obsolete set of desert myths as your basis for understanding this first cause - why go on?”

You need to go on because you are basing you eternity on Atheist Origin Of The Universe Mythologies.
Oscillating universe -
Baby universes -
Multi verses -
The Cyclic Ekpyrotic Scenario -
The Chaotic Inflationary universe -
Brane-cosmology -
Inflationary multi-verse -
Bubble universes floating in a sea of false vacuum -
The many worlds hypothesis -
The black hole hypothesis -
Quantum gravity models -
Vacuum fluctuation models -
Imaginary time and imaginary space -

... I could go on, but why bother? Not a single one of these are workable. All of these are dreamed up in an attempt to avoid the reality that the universe had a beginning. It’s not my fault that the science of origins is coherent to what the Bible states. It’s just a coincidence but one worth paying attention to.

“Whatever BEGINS to exist has a cause - ...and EVERYTHING began to exist at some point right? ... except God? Nice try!”

No, everything material began to exist at some point in time. Look, if you believe that:

. An infinite regress of cause is possible - just say so
. The material infinite exists - just say so
. That matter can bring itself and space and time into existence - just say so

“ But we don't know this.”

Hugo - Does the material infinite exist?


If we know that the material infinite does not exist - and we do know that - then we also know that at one point that matter / energy nor the laws of physics nor anything for these laws to act upon did not exist.

I know that you desperately want there to be another option but I can't help you.

You'll just have to accept reality and it's better to accept reality now than:

"On that day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is King of kings, and Lord of lords and Creator of everything that is seen and unseen."

Bret - An Explanation - 2

“I don't see why matter/energy can't be eternal.”

It’s just a fact that there cannot be an infinite regress of cause. It's a scientific, mathematical and philosophical reality. I explain why in my post on why I’m not an atheist.

I guess that I disagree that it doesn't raise eyebrows now. People certainly try to ignore it but it's the elephant in the room for atheists. It raises eyebrows precisely because the “science” points to a Creator.

It’s important to remember that the statement ISN’T “What ever exists has a cause.” the statement is, “Whatever BEGINS to exist has a cause.”

As stated, the main reason that eyebrows are indeed raised is because scientists are confronted with a true miracle and for those who refuse to accept that the material is all that exists, well, that’s just not ok. For example:

Smithsonian palaeobiologist, Douglas Erwin, “One of the rules of science is, no miracles allowed. That’s a fundamental presumption of what we do”

Biologist Barry Palevitz, “The supernatural is automatically off-limits as an explanation of the natural world”

Astronomer and physicist Lee Smolin, If the universe started at a point in time, “This leaves the door open for a return of religion. The theory is to be criticized as being unlikely on these grounds”

How in the world can a scientist, someone who says that s/he is dedicated to following the evidence where ever it leads, leave out a whole category of evidence just because it goes against h/her world view?

The Creation Event is so serious a problem for those who have devolved into Scientism that they are now claiming, without any evidence whatsoever, that something can have a beginning without a cause. Here are some examples of what atheist scientists are saying and saying for one reason only - a beginning requires a Beginner.

Astronomer Arthur Eddington - “The concept of the Big Bang is preposterous, incredible, repugnant.”

Physicist Philip Morrison - “I find it hard to accept the Big Bang theory. I would like to reject it.”

Physicist Victor Stenger - “The universe may be uncaused and may have emerged from nothing.”

On the “bright” side David Hume stated, “I have never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without cause.”

Well, back in his day, when atheists were still hopeful that their faith system would prevail, that might have been possible for him to say. It is my belief that if Hume had known that Christianity would prove so resistant to destruction, he would have joined today’s atheist scientists in throwing off all restraints, put his integrity on the shelf, proposed ever more ridiculous scenarios and in that manner he would have increased his intellectual stature among the atheist crowd.

A universe with a beginning is disconcerting for atheist scientists because what existed before the Big Bang can’t be detected by observation or by the laws of physics. In fact the very concept of “before” is incoherent regarding the Big Bang because there wasn’t any such thing. Before the Big Bang, there wasn’t any time, or space, or matter or laws of physics to govern that matter. Whatever produced The Big Bang, produced those laws.

As I’ve stated before, if the universe came into being without using the laws of physics, more than that, before the laws of physics were even in place, then that is the working definition of a miracle.

Miracles as we all know are not allowed into the vocabulary of an atheist. Admittedly, some scientists feel compelled to tentatively acknowledge the obvious.

Arthur Eddington - “The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look at it as frankly supernatural.”

Nobel prize winner Arno Penzias - “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Bible as a whole.”

Physicist Freeman Dyson - ‘The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.”

Stephen Hawking - “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.”

Anthony Flew - The fine tuning of the universe at every level is simply too perfect to be the result of chance. Flew’s lifelong commitment “to go where the evidence leads” compelled him to become a believer in God.

If you say "God came first,"

I don’t say that because whatever caused the material universe to exist has always been. It has never not been. You can call it a Mind or The Greatest Conceivable Being or whatever. It’s simply a fact that either matter is eternal or the Creator of matter is eternal and matter cannot be eternal so . . . Why not just accept that and live accordingly?

Bret - An Explanation

I'm sure you know better than to just take Hugo at his word, but not everyone reading here will share that idea. And before I begin, I want to say that I can understand you not accepting some or even most of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. I get that. But to go further and throw out the existence of a Creator and by implication what we know about Jesus, well, to me at least that doesn't make sense. It's like ignoring what Jesus taught about Himself because people like me are lousy examples of what He taught. Anyhow - to Hugo's replies.

“ It implies your conclusion that God did not begin to exist and that he is thus uncaused.”

The statement stands, “Whatever begins to exist has a cause for it’s beginning to exist AND an explanation of how it began to exist.”

If you can think of any exceptions, this would be a good place to state them and explain them.

Either matter / energy is eternal (which we know cannot be true) or the Cause of matter / energy is eternal. Nothing material just pops into existence uncaused out of nothing. "Oh look!" A Zebra in my living-room." You probably know this Bret but as is evidenced by Hugo’s comments, that’s not true for everyone.

Some atheists, and I see this includes Hugo, think themselves quite clever by asking the absurd and incoherent questions:

What caused this eternal Being (God) to begin to exist? Or
When did this eternal Being (God) begin to exist?

"[...]The material universe began to exist out of literally nothing.
Prove it."

If space and time did not exist then neither did your infinite density with a mass equal to that of the entire universe. It did not exist because there was no place for it to exist. Nothing material with no space and no time; nothing mathematical, nothing gravitational - nothing.

“Then, you reach a point where you start to define the "currently unknown cause of the universe":”

It’s a process of elimination Hugo. If nothing material existed then the cause was immaterial. You say this is a false dichotomy but refuse to give any other options other than to say, "I don't know." Well, yes, whenever we reject the correct answer we must say, "I don't know."

“Not scientific means personal, with a big 'P'?”

No, by not scientific I mean that at one point, nothing material / matter / energy nor the laws of physics or anything for these laws to act upon existed. That's what I mean by the cause of the beginning of the universe not being scientific.

Then, in an instant everything material existed. Something purposely caused that to happen. Matter / energy or the material does not possess the property or characteristic of purpose or plan. Something external to and transcendent to matter decided to bring it into existence. Only Something personal carries the characteristic of purpose.

As for the capital P personal, I happen to think that a Being that is eternal, immaterial or Spirit (not spirituality which describes our interaction with the Spirit), that is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent deserves a capital P.

And while I’m on the subject I think that an event that as far as science knows has happened only once (I’m not talking about a gravitational or mathematical singularity), in which everything material, including the laws that govern matter (including the first and second laws of thermodynamics) came from nothing in an instant is a working definition of a "event singularity" with a capital S.

Your protests about my explanations being too simplistic suggests that you think we’d get further sitting around describing how the Planck threshold is characterized by the Planck length: (–hG/c3).? 10–33cm; the Planck time: (h–G/c5). ? 10–44 s; and the Planck density: c5/ h–G/2 ? 1093 g/cm3. All these magnitudes are constructed out of fundamental constants: velocity of light c, Planck’s constant –h, and the Newtonian gravitational constant G.

It reminds me of the arrogance of newbies in collage sitting around in the lounge trying to impress, not just each other but mostly themselves with how clever they can sound. In fact it sounds exactly like you, Hugo. “How much math have you studied? I’ll bet I’ve studied more.” Gag!

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made from what is unseen so that people are without excuse.”

“your reasoning is flawed and dependant on your acceptance of the conclusion a priori.”

Are you suggesting that, for example, police who walk into a house and observe a dead man on the floor, and another man standing over the body with a gun in his hand and blood spatters on his face and clothes who says, “I did it,” are not allowed to identify this person as someone they believe shot and killed the deceased, and THEN look for evidence that either rules in or rules out their belief? They must somehow ignore the body, the man with the gun and the confession and only look for extraneous evidence that leads them back to the body and the man with the gun?

Because it sounds like you’re trying to tell us that that’s what you do and I for one don’t believe it.

The reason that I cannot rule out a Creator God is because the evidence that I present confirms my belief that such a Being exists. I happen to think that my belief and awareness of the evidence came roughly at the same time but to me it does not matter - the One confirms the other and visa versa.

Not only that, but the evidence that I present rules out an infinitely old material universe or the final material universe of an infinite number of previous universes.

I understand that you believe something different but that belief is most certainly not grounded in what we know scientifically.
I’ve forgotten who said it, but the line goes something like, “I believe in the Sun for the same reason that I believe in the Son - not because I can see it, but because of It, I can see everything else more clearly.” I really shouldn’t put quotation marks because it’s so rough but that’s the gist of it.

When we walk in the light (have a healed and forgiven relationship with Creator God) we walk with confidence. I can now see things about life that were once beyond my field of vision. His light makes it so I no longer stumble - at least not to the extent that was once a daily fate.

“Those who wait upon the Lord are like Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance.”

This is the kind of life that comes from walking in the light. You receive tremendous strength with which to recognise lies about God, or lies that tell us that we’d be better off living by our own counsel. Living like this makes each year better than the year before. God’s will is done on earth, and in our life as it is in heaven.

This of course enrages atheists and everyday pagans. These people have come to believe that living in a perpetual state of doubt is the best that life has to offer. Pfft!

Living in the light allows us to trade up to a life of quality, lasting peace, joy and love.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

You Did It To Me

While in the Old Testament Jesus shows the letter of the law, in the New Testament He gives us the spirit of the law. See Matthew 25. “When you did it to the least of these, you did it to Me.” That’s what Jesus said, but what did he mean? From other things He taught I think we could fill out the lesson this way.

I needed clothes: Certainly provide clothing where none are present. How much better to clothe with forgiveness and tenderness and forgiveness and safety.

I was sick: Provide heath-care when none is available. Also provide hope for those who are sick of poverty and addiction. Provide family for those who are sick of never belonging or fitting in.

I was in prison: Of course we must not forget the horrors that take people down the road to prison. Visiting and corresponding with those who might go twenty years without any contact from “family” is like a breath of life to them. Without that, many will not escape their own prisons of fear and addiction and hate.

Jesus and the Message given in His name is one of justice and mercy for the people living on earth. In the world of our Creator:

Justice is a gift, not a punishment.

Justice is life enhancing, not a threat.

Justice comes by way of grace not retribution.

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Amos 5:24 35,36

I was hungry: Food is a good start; certainly give food where none is available. Then move on to belonging for those starving for family. Move on to employment for those who hunger to be useful. Give the opportunity for relaxation and play.

I was thirsty: Water is a good start; certainly give water where none is available. People also thirst for joy and the chance to feel good about themselves. Highlight the wonders of who God made them. Encourage and buildup.

I was a stranger: Take in where shelter is lacking. Don’t forget that most of those who lack shelter have also been a stranger to safety, and gentleness and mercy. Make people acquainted with the important intangibles.

As I look back over my life, there are several truths that recur daily.

. God shows me that He is always present with me.

. God shows me that regardless of how difficult the circumstance, He always brings about what is best for me.

. God shows me that, not because of who I am but in spite of who I am, He likes being with me, speaking to me, listening to me, walking with me through each and every circumstance. He loves to watch me try.

. God shows me that He is in charge. Nothing good or difficult happens without His permission.

These are truths that I’ve learned to live by and no decision to follow Him has turned out for the worse - never - not once.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Atheists and Faith

Sceptics have said that faith (even though they live by faith as much as any Christian) is believing something in the absence of evidence.


I’ve said before that agnostics are the ones who could call themselves the most scientifically minded. Agnostics are the ones who only go as far as the evidence will take them. Christians and atheists, on the other hand, use inductive reasoning to take them part way, and then bring about a deductive conclusion based upon the evidence in combination with their pre-set world-view.

The Bible defines faith as, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, it’s the evidence of what we do not yet see.” Hebrews 11:1

In that sense Christian faith can be described as “Choosing to believe the conclusion regarding the evidence that God has placed before us.” Atheists of course say that the existence of the universe isn’t evidence of anything. It just is and it’s always been. Pfft!

On a behavioural level faith is living as though you actually believe what God says to you in His Word. There are many many people in every congregation who say they follow Jesus but they refuse to obey Him. What He says doesn’t make sense to them (eg. Love your enemies) so they do their own thing.

Faith is taking what Jesus says He will do and letting those words change the way we respond to Him and to others. Simply knowing what God says doesn’t do anything. Most atheists know what God says. satan knows what God says. True faith is shown by trusting God enough to do what He says.

“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” (James 2:17).
“People are mistaken if they think of Christian forgiveness primarily as absolution from guilt; the purpose of forgiveness is the restoration of communion, the reconciliation of brokenness.
L. Gregory Jones

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Resting In His Love

Knowing of God’s wisdom, and greatness and power are intriguing and attractive for me. The greatest draw however, the thing that makes it impossible for me to turn away from or to reject or to rebel against my Creator is His absolute devotion to my well-being. Sure He’s incredibly amazing. He brought the material universe out of literally nothing in less than the blink of an eye. Sure He brings good out of impossibly bad situations for those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose. But savouring the truth and scope of His love for me, for us, for humanity makes me turn toward Him in a way that is like being drawn toward a powerful magnet. I can no longer resist.

People like Hugo look at my cancer and see sadness. Or they look at the tragedy in Somalia and direct their anger toward Christians. Their anger is never directed toward themselves for not preventing the tragedy; only at Christians because - um - because - well, it feels good to be angry at Christians. People like Hitchens have built a career on being angry at Christians. What atheists don't know is that we, humans are responsible for virtually all the tragedies and suffering while our Creator determines the results or the outcome. Nevertheless, sceptics and atheists see God, if at all, as small, uninterested, angry, weak and irrelevant to their lives.

Nothing could be further from the truth. They are caught up in a lie. They are caught up in the worst kind of lie; a lie that is not only going to kill and destroy them, but a lie that seems to them as the greatest truth they’ve ever “discovered.”

How can anyone fail to be enraptured and captured by the love of someone who is perfect in wisdom and power and glory, who is perfect in honesty, sincerity and caring, who is not only thinking of you, but walking with you and loving you with perfect love through every second of every day?

How could I not adore someone who wants to spend eternity with me, not because of who I am but because of who He is?

I know that as a parent, my children’s behaviour changes the degree of love and devotion that I feel for them. Oh sure, I know that “love never fails,” and I'll remain committed to them for the restof my life, but I’ve got to tell you, some days I’m so annoyed that I wonder if I even possess the ability to love.

This is not the case with our Creator. He can’t NOT love me. Circumstances do not, as sceptics believe, determine the degree of God’s love. Instead, the more difficult the circumstance, that greater the amount of love that God pours into those who follow Jesus. He takes every thing that we call bad, or in Hugo’s case, “sad” and uses it for good. Each and every command is for our good. There is not a heartache, a tragedy, suffering or sickness in which God’s mercy and grace and love is not amply evidenced to those who love and honour and worship their Creator.

“All good things and every perfect gift is from above, coming down to us from the Creator of heavenly lights in whom there is not shifting or changing like shadows.”
If anyone is weary, if anyone is in prison, if anyone is in captivity, if anyone is in the wilderness, let h/her come to Jesus, who is as the shadow of a great rock in a dry and weary land. Delay not, arise and come away.”
Johnathan Edwards

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hook Line and Sinker

Hardly a week goes by that I’m not frustrated by the dullness of my mind. It’s like a cloud stands between me and what I want to understand - my Creator.

No matter what you want to call it, sin, or our fallen nature impairs our ability to know God in a way that would make life now, the way it will one day be.

Sceptics take this dulled mind and slowed thinking and declare it their best attribute. They listen to satan’s lies, and believe that God should be ignored. They discredit His character (“[The Christian God is] “Arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynist, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”) completely blind to the fact that doing so will destroy their lives now and for eternity.

This of course is the God they say they don’t believe in.

They say that God is unfair, unwise and indifferent if not disgusted with us. Sceptics actually believe that they are more competent in running their lives than is God and they sit in judgement of Him.

satan has sceptics coming and going. They’ve bought into every lie he has to offer. Either God is incompetent and unwise - so He should be ignored / rejected, or they walk in shame thinking that He wouldn’t want to have anything to do with them, just as though God only chooses those who are worthy.

God loved you so much that He gave Himself in the form of Jesus to pay the price for your sins, for your inability to make right the broken relationship with Him. God loved you so much that He made possible for you to live for eternity with Him in peace and joy and in the very presence of Infinite Love. God loved you so much that you will have to step over the dead body of Jesus in order to reject this love.
Don’t be a fool! Come home.
I think it was A.W. Tozer who said, “Jesus will give us the strength to endure and grow from any difficulty. He will then take that difficulty and use it for good within His perfect plan - to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people over the greatest length of time using the best means possible.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Truth is Discovered

Atheists would have you believe that there is no such thing as truth and they expect you to believe that statement to be true.

Atheists have no problem with self-defeating statements like that because they adhere to a self-defeating, illogical, incoherent, absurd belief system.

Atheists say that we invent truth as it suits the situation. What's true today may not be true in 50 years.

Is adultery right or wrong? Eh, it depends on when you ask.

The fact is, truth is not invented. It’s discovered.

The world was “round” before anyone knew it to be true

2 + 2 = 4 before anyone knew how to describe it

Gravity and other physical laws existed before anyone knew how to explain them

Everything that begins to exist has an causal explanation of it’s beginning regardless of what anyone thinks.

Truth is discovered, not invented.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing of lasting value.” (John 15:5).

Anyone who knows anything about horticulture knows that the vine is the source of all life-giving nutrition for the branches. That is why Jesus said, “I Am the life.”

Without Jesus there is no life. Without Jesus people mistake distractions for life. Jesus is the only source of permanent joy, peace, satisfaction, even companionship.

Because of our fallen nature, we all look to the world’s distractions expecting that in them we’ll find life. We look to relationships, and money and education and physical appearance, and power or status, only to find that with time, each and every one of them will disappoint and fail to deliver on their promise to provide a life worth living.

Jesus - only Jesus - is the Way, the Truth and Life itself.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Suffering and the question of Why

My skin cancer is back - in two new places.

What is the point?

Why does Jesus allow suffering? Well, there are many reasons, but the one that I want to focus on is this. God uses pain, tragedy, loss and difficult relationships because these things bring to the surface characteristics of ours, nasty disgusting characteristics that remain hidden in times of ease.

Once we are aware of these characteristic we have the choice, the opportunity to decide - Do I pick up my cross, obey Jesus and allow Him to transform me into His likeness, or do I choose to disobey Jesus and carry on as per normal. That's one of the opportunities that comes through suffering.

Our hardships also bring us closer to Jesus.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

Did you notice? We WILL go through deep waters, difficulty, oppression. Christians are not promised, nor should we expect to be spared the suffering and loss that comes with life on this planet. However, we who are part of God’s family can know beyond all doubt that our difficulties are not for nothing. They have meaning and context and purpose.

For atheists and pagans, life's difficulties are just an annoying and truly tragic waste of time. Something to be avoided at all cost. Something that usually drives them even further from God. Richard Dawkins has expressed amazement that trouble actually brings Christians closer to the One who brought or allowed the trouble to come into their lives. How could he think otherwise when the main goal of pagans is to create a life of ease?

When we who are citizens of Heaven grab hold of Jesus' hand and with eyes wide open step into life's suffering, we experience the power of the living God. "But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

“In all things (suffering, loss, tragedy) God works together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. In all these things (suffering, loss, tragedy) we are more than conquerors.”

The long and winding road of suffering is meant to bring us to obedience. I too, along with the apostle Paul thank God for another opportunity to draw closer to Him, to learn from Him, to realine my priorities.

Thank you Father for your love, and mercy and grace.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Response To Hugo

“You really think that the universe could not work if the laws of mathematics did not exist? You really think that because we can describe the world using mathematics it means that it was designed using mathematics?”

It was designed using what WE call mathematics.

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m talking to someone who doesn’t know the difference between Something and Nothing. Knowing that gives me the patience to answer you yet again.

Truth, and the Laws that govern the universe (Physics, Math and Logic) are discovered by us. They are never invented, conjured up or conceived. The “concepts” that we call Physics or Math or Logic are just words or a group of words that we use to describe what already IS. As I’ll describe below, without what already IS, nothing material would exist.

In like manner science can only describe what IS. Do you get that?
Science describes what IS.
Never Why and only sometimes How.
What IS.

Not what we imagine.
Not what we conceive
Not what we describe
but what IS.

And when it comes to the laws of physics, math and logic, what IS was in place at Planck Time - 10^ -43 second.

“Nothing we measure and compute using math is precise,”

You mean like, 2 + 2 = 3.9?

Maybe you need to give me your definition of precise. Here’s mine.

Because of clear scientific evidence, we know that:
. Only in a universe so finely tuned as ours, could we expect observers such as ourselves to exist. Note: Fine Tuning is a neutral secular term in that it refers to constants and quantities (atomic weight, gravitational constant, strong & weak force, etc.) being just right for the existence of intelligent life. That’s in comparison with the huge range of possible values.

In fact, the natural range of possible values is from 0 > 10 ^53 or from
0 - 10,0000000000, 0000000000, 0000000000, 0000000000, 0000000000000.

Let’s conceptualized this number as represented by a dartboard. The distance from one side of the dartboard to the other side extends across our entire Milky Way Galaxy. With that in mind, let’s look at the ranges upon which our lives, our very existence depend.

It’s important to remember that the values of these constants and qualities were not something that evolved, or something that “settled in” as the universe aged. These constants were “put in” at the 10^-43 second after the Singularity. As well, you may be interested to note that the constants, quantities and values that are found in our cosmos appear to be unrelated in any way. They seem to be random, even arbitrary. They are almost totally independent of each other. However, they do share one thing in common. In fact the only thing the constants, quantities and values of our universe have in common is that all of them, every single one of them is needed to be exactly as is, in order for intelligent life to exist on this planet. While there are several dozen constants and qualities that are known, the most fundamental constants are the Fine Structure constant, the Gravitational constant, the Weak Force, the Strong Force and the ratio between the mass of protons and electrons.

. What scientists, what ATHEIST scientists call an “astonishing coincidence” is the fact that at the Big Bang, the ratio of the strong force to electromagnetism had to have been exactly as it was or else at 10 to -17 seconds after the start of the Singularity, the necessary binding of helium -4, beryllium -8 and carbon -12 would not have occurred and life as we know it would not have appeared.

Hugo says this is not very precise. I disagree.

. The exact number and types of neutrinos at 1 second after the beginning of the Big Bang had to be in place or the expansion rate would have prohibited the formation of our universe.

Think about that!

. If the mass of a neutron were slightly increased by about one part in seven hundred, then stable hydrogen burning stars would cease to exist.

. If the strong force were a long-range force (like electromagnetism or gravity) instead of a short range force that only acts between protons and neutrons in the nucleus, all matter would either instantaneously undergo nuclear fusion and explode or be sucked together forming a black hole.

Pretty lucky for us, huh, that all this just happened by chance?

. If what we call the Pauli-exclusion principle did not exist, all electrons would occupy the lowest atomic orbit, which would make complex chemical interactions impossible.

. If what we call the quantization principle did not exist, there wouldn’t be any atomic orbits, electrons would be sucked into the nucleus and therefore no complex chemistry would be allowed.

. The gravitational constant must be exactly 10 ^ 40 weaker than the strong nuclear force or again, no us. For those that are interested, that’s ten thousand, billion, billion, billion, billion times weaker than the strong force - exactly!

Pretty lucky for us that it just happened to work out that way - prior to Planck time.

. A change of only 1 part in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000 in the Gravitational constant as well as in the Weak Force would prevent life from existing.

I suppose you could get more precise but apparently that isn't necessary.

. If the density of the universe and the speed of expansion had been off by one part in one hundred thousand million million, again, no life. Remember, these values had to be put in prior to what is known as Planck time; that is, 10^-43 seconds after the Singularity.

. The cosmological constant is what drives the inflation of the universe. It is tuned to 1 part in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Any variation in either direction more than that and - no universe.

Now, I mentioned this galaxy wide dartboard comparison. This equation gives us a target within our galaxy wide dart board that is less than 2.5 centimetres in diameter. Listen up now because here comes what atheists call the really lucky part. The amount of fine-tuning of the cosmological constant, one that we come upon, according to atheists, by accident is like blindfolding yourself, spinning around ten times and then randomly throwing the dart at our GALAXY wide dart board and hitting the target exactly in the centre of its 2.5 centimetre disk.

Sadly and amazingly, if you’ve made a philosophical commitment to atheism, this won’t be enough to convince you of anything Super Natural going on so let me use a different example.

. The entropy per baryon that had to be “put in” PRIOR to Planck time is 1 part in 10 followed by 1,230 zeros. If that hadn’t been put in at the Big Bang our life supporting universe would not exist. This requires an extraordinarily precise arrangement of mass and energy. To hit this exactly right by accident (as atheists tell us is the case), we would put on our blindfold, spin around ten times, and according to atheists, throw a dart randomly at a UNIVERSE sized dart board and hit the exact CORRECT PROTON.

Atheists will sometimes scoff at this by throwing out the term, “the magic of large numbers.” It’s a meaningless phrase regarding what’s being discussed here, but it makes them feel secure in their ignorance. Let me however describe the above equation in yet a different manner.

Scientists have described it this way. Imagine an aircraft carrier weighing 100,000 tonnes. If the weight of the ship was balanced to 10 ^ 1,230 it could not be off by more than billionth of a trillionth of the mass of an ELECTRON on one side or the other, or the ship would capsize.

Just how precise do things need to be for you Hugo?

Are you getting this?

Do you still think it accidental?

. One more example. It is estimated that the total number atomic particles in the entire universe is 10 ^ 80. Got that? Good. The odds of our universe, even according to atheist scientists, coming into being by chance or by accident is 10 ^ 1240.

Are you SURE you’re getting this?

10^50 is generally accepted, even by atheist scientists, as impossible.

If, by this point your mind isn’t numb with the credulity and gullibility that atheists force themselves to live with, I just don’t know what it would take to get you to throw up your hands and demand that atheists get out of the education business. I mean, just how blind does a person have to be before s/he stops demanding the right to drive the car?

This is not a joking matter any more. Atheist scientists have discovered this information. They know it, but obviously maintaining their bias against a Creator is worth throwing away their integrity. It’s embarrassing. It’s shameful. It should be a crime for them to teach “The Universe As An Accident” to your children.
Because these constants and qualities are independent of and unrelated to each other, as astronomical the odds of any one of them being just right, to find ALL of them being as they are in the same universe, by accident is beyond comprehension.

To figure out those odds, you would take, say, the Weak Force constant of 1 in 10^100, add to that the gravitational constant 1 in 10^120, add to that . . . and so on for ALL the constants and quantities.

No wonder atheist scientists say that we’re really, really lucky to be here.

Because of clear scientific (observable, repeatable, verifiable) evidence, We know that the fine tuning of the universe is due to one of the following:
. Physical necessity (it had to be this way and no other way),
. Chance (it’s just a really, really, really lucky accident), or
. It’s the design of an Intelligence beyond anything we have ever experienced.

We know it’s not due to physical necessity. In a secular or natural reality there is no reason whatsoever that ANY given universe has to exist, let alone a life supporting universe.

Nor is this fine tuning due to chance. As just shown, the required fine tuning of our universe is so exquisite (for Hugo I mean - so precise) that an infinitesimal change in any one of the necessary constants and quantities would mean that neither we nor any life would happen. As shown above, the odds against this happening by chance are insurmountable.

Even Richard Dawkins doesn’t believe this happened by chance. He thinks it will be discovered that the constants and quantities have to be exactly the way they are because of their relationship to Dark Matter. So, on the one hand he’s admitting that it’s absurd to think the fine tuning of our universe is accidental. On the other hand, he has no explanation why Dark Matter would have THAT property, why it would exist at all, or how it would come to begin to exist out of nothing by nothing.

Hugo, I said at the beginning that you doen’t seem to know the difference between something and nothing. I know from earlier conversations with you, that you think a vacuum is nothing. Now it appears that you also think a black hole is nothing. In fact you use the term "infinite density" to describe your version of nothing. Well, if mass is nothing then I suppose you're correct.

And when you can tell me where this mass existed (since space did not exist)
And when it existed (since time did not exist)
then I may come around to agreeing with you.

Until then, Hugo -
The Cosmological Constant
The Pauli-exclusion principle
The Quantization principle
The Gravitational constant
and on and on - these are words that describe what IS. They describe what was in place, precisely in place at Planck Time.

They don't describe what we’ve invented.

We live in a mathematically precise universe.

. It would be what we call mathematically precise even if we’d never discovered what IS

. It would adhere to what we call the laws of physics even if we’d never discovered what IS

. It would adhere to what we call the laws of logic even if we’d never discovered what IS

These non material laws, objective realities, were brought into the material world that existed AT Planck time along with space and time. They are what allow for the very existence of the material universe and they did not come from a material mind.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What an amazing life it is to know that no matter what the circumstance, no matter what the emotional or physical cost, no matter the loss, the degree of suffering, the tragedy, the depth of darkness, God has, will and will continue to bring enormous good out of that circumstance.

It’s simply come to the point that I can no longer doubt the truth of this statement. There have been no exceptions. After sixty years, I can say with confidence and honesty that those who have determined to follow Jesus will KNOW life and know it to the full. God loves us too much to not change us, to not strengthen us, to not lead us through hard times. From the loss of our only biological child, to crippling arthritis, to cancer, to brain damaged children and on and on, God has proven Himself more than dependable.

Never once, not a single time has my Lord and my Saviour allowed my life to take a mortal hit from the events that come with living in a fallen world. Romans 8:28 has been proven true, literally, countless times. Knowing this truth in advance makes such a huge difference in how one approaches the day. While I have not necessarily received everything that I want, I’ve been given everything that I need, everything that the deep of human nature desires. What an amazing honour and privilege to serve our Creator.

Thank you Lord for your love and mercy and grace.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

“Any hour of any day may be made perfect by merely choosing. It is perfect if one looks toward God that entire hour, waiting for His leadership and trying hard to do every tiny thing exactly as God leads. The most important discovery of my whole life is that one can take a little rough cabin and transform it into a palace by flooding it with God.”
Frank Laubach - “Letters by a Modern Mystic

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sold Into Slavery

The Bible tells us that we were born into slavery to satan. Jesus redeemed us. At a price born by Himself, Jesus freed us from the power of sin, only to take ownership of us Himself. In fact, it was God who gave us to Jesus as a gift. And what a wonderful thing that was. That type of redemption has provided for us life eternal in the presence of purity and perfection. Adopted into the family of Creator God, we have been given everything that the soul could ever want.

How should a person react to a gift like that?

Love doesn’t half describe it, yet Jesus says, “The one who loves Me is the one who obeys Me.”

. A servant who is loved and who loves h/her owner in return, when tempted to betray that owner must surely say, “I can’t do that to my Master. He saved my soul.”

. If the chance to gain wealth by dishonesty, one redeemed by Jesus must turn away.

. When tempted by sorrow or trials, Jesus’ brother or sister need not fear but instead we take hold of His hand a wade into the thick of it.

. When those around us let others do God’s work, we who know what it’s like to be lost must with joy pick up the slack. “Jesus gave His all for me. How can I do any less for Him?”

. When lusts of any kind turn my head, as a servant I will set my face like a flint and with my eyes on the prize I will finish the race, I will fight the good fight, I will remain faithful.
It’s been my experience that the more I know Jesus, the longer that I spend in relationship with Him, the more that I pay attention to my life with God, the more that I’m blown away by His generosity, His compassion, the willingness to forgive, to love and to wash me with His mercy and grace. It’s like He’s saying, “There is so much more for you to have. Come and take from Me all that you can enjoy.”

“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are hard-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex, and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
C.S. Lewis - “The Weight of Glory”

Thursday, August 11, 2011

God’s Promises

While salvation or reconciliation with God has always been by grace through faith, the Bible teaches that the ultimate purpose of history is not the salvation of man. Rather the ultimate purpose of history is the glorification of God through the revelation and completion of His plan for the universe.

God has two distinct programs for history:
The first is for Israel.
The Second is for the Church, His believers.

God’s promise regarding Abraham:

. I will bless you
. I will make your name great
. I will give you descendants too many too count
. I will give your descendants the land of Canaan for everlasting possession
. I will bless those who bless your descendants and curse those who curse your descendants

God’s promise re Israel:
. I will bring Israel into existence as a nation
. I will give Israel great influence over other nations
. I will disperse you into other countries around the world because of disobedience
. I will bring you back from other countries around the world to reform your nation
. I will make tiny Israel like a stone around the neck of the other nations of the world.
. I will give Israel the land of Canaan forever

God’s universal promise:
. I will bless all the families of the earth through Abraham’s line of descent - the Messiah who has existed from eternity past, since before the universe began.

God began the nation of Israel more than 4,000 years ago through the call of Abraham. The nation of Israel was to fulfil three distinct roles:
. To be a nation of people who would worship Creator God. This would be a nation of people through whom God would reveal His divine plan to the world.
. To be a nation of people who would receive, record and spread God’s Word to the world.
. To be a nation of people through whom God would reconcile the whole world to Himself through the person of God the Son, who would be born into the Jewish race.

As prohesied, God brought the Israelites to Egypt to form them into a nation several million strong. In the wilderness God gave them the Law. Exiled for unbelief they were brought back to Palestine, as prophesied, for the arrival of Jesus. Shortly after the beginning of the Church Age (recorded in Acts), the Jews, as prophesied were scattered around the world and the nation of Israel dropped from view. However, the nation of Israel did not cease to exist from God’s plan. Again, as prophesied, almost 2,000 years later the nation of Israel was once again brought back into existence and Jews, as prophesied, came streaming home from around the world. At the Rapture the Church age will end. This event will usher in a time of distress upon the earth the likes of which has never been seen before. This time of tribulation will bring Israel to repentance for rejecting its Messiah. It will also be a time for judging Gentile Nations for their rebellion against God and for how they treated “the apple of God’s eye,” the Jewish people.
Every time we are confronted with doing what we want or doing what God tells us is the right thing to do, we are facing the same decision that Adam and Eve faced. We have to decide, “Based upon what God says about Himself, based upon past experience with God, can I believe that what God tells me is what’s best for me? Does He really want to give me what’s best? Or is He trying to withhold something good from me?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

“All behaviour is purposeful.”

That’s a creed from Reality Therapy. It’s true. In fact, we were created to do what is best for us. Sadly, sin corrupts and twists and clouds our thinking so that, at least in relational and moral decisions, humans most often make the wrong decision first.

We will act in self-interest but to many, that decision causes us to engage in sex outside of marriage, lie, cheat, steal (the government, that business, those people have more than enough. They won’t miss it), covet, ignore our Creator etc. etc..
In reality, following what our Creator says is best for us IS in our best interest - even when it seems counterintuitive - i.e. loving our enemies, giving away in order to get, dying to self in order to live.

It comes down to being led by God, or trying to be the master of our fate and the captain of our souls. It’s one or the other in any given circumstance.
Most of us try to do the right thing at various times throughout our lives. Those who follow Jesus do so because it is an honour and a privilege to server the One who saved us. Not just that, but NOT following Jesus isn’t just a little bit worse, it’s horrifically worse regarding the quality of life.

To not just act different, but to BE different is, at least for me, like an out of body experience. To watch Jesus change me and mold me and shape me into a man of integrity is bizarre and strange and wonderful. To have Him move me toward being the kind of man, father, and husband that I should be is beyond my wildest dreams.
Trying to be good simply doesn’t last. Acting good doesn’t last. Checking off a list of moral guidelines leads to a life of boredom and defeat.

Thank you Lord for changing my soul.
The reason that following God always makes out lives better, if because God will not steer His people in the wrong direction. It’s impossible for Him to give us bad advice.

Obeying God is always better than not obeying God.

It is never a mistake to follow Jesus.

Every time you decide to love God with all your heart soul mind and strength, you are making a decision that will do nothing but improve your life.

While Jesus leads us deep into troubled waters, going with Him is alway better than staying on the shore. This is not only important for you but for your family, your community and the world as a whole.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Is That A Christian Song?

We were driving down the road with the radio on. My son listened for a bit and asked, “Is that a Christian song?”

It was a secular station so I replied, “I doubt it.”

He listened a bit more, heard the word “life” and said, “Yep, he said life. It’s a Christian song.”

My son missed the part about the singers wife leaving him and his “life” stinks, but my son heard the word life and he knows that Jesus is intimately connected with life.

For anyone who’s listened to both Christian and secular music, the difference couldn’t be more clear. Both cultures sing about what we know.

Violent Sex
Women’s bodies
Cheating and being cheated on
Satan / Devil
Money and being rich
Fast Cars
Drinking Booze
Doing Drugs

Beauty of life
New Life

Secular and Christian songs both talk about love, but there too the difference is stark.

Secular love:
I can live without you
Needy, Needy, Needy
Or even anti-love

Freedom giving

Without the Resurrection - Nothing

“The resurrection of Jesus is the central point of the Christian religion. Everything quite simply depends on the event of the resurrection of Jesus.”
Atheist Gerd Ludemann

Any person who identifies as a Christian but denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus simply does not understand the teaching of Jesus the Christ.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time For A Trade

Have you ever longed to “trade-up”?

A worse car for a better car.

An older drill for a newer drill.

A heavier bike for a lighter bike.

A smaller house for a bigger house.

Your Creator has something similar in mind when He shows you how to live.

Yet people respond:
“What do you mean I can’t work on Sunday? That’s terrible! How could God be so cruel as to tell me to rest; to tell me that money is not the most important thing in life. I want to work, and work, and work seven days a week.”

“What do you mean I can’t destroy my family by committing adultery? That’s terrible! Like atheists say, “People should be allowed to do whatever they want, where ever and whenever they want.” How dare God restrict my fun like that. Marital fidelity is a horrible idea.”

And on and on it goes with sceptics disagreeing with God on every level.

My walk with God has proven the polar opposite. Every decision to obey Him has only moved my life in the direction of improvement. To see God for who He really is, Someone who loves me and cares for me and who wants the best for me changes all of my responses to God. Obeying Him is always, always, always better than ignoring Him or rebelling against Him.

Obeying God in any and every circumstance is always a trade-up.

Do You Ever Think About Malchus?

Huh? Who?

I know. He’s not a well known figure in history. But what a history he has.

A man.

A soldier.

A Roman soldier.

Part of an elite fighting force.

Almost killed by a no-account fisherman who was known to drawn his sword on occasion.

Healed by the One he’d come to arrest.

When fools said that miracles like rising from the dead were impossible, Malchus knew better.

His history included a miracle and a new ear.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you (Psalm 32:8).

My Lord and my God has proven Himself 100% dependable in all His counsel, correction, comfort and guidance. I cannot think of a single example where following / obeying God has led to something that I would regret. In fact, even though He has answered my prayers in ways that I would have never dreamed of, His way has always been better than my own plan.

Creator God is a Father whose plans for us are life changing and eternal. Because His plans for me have always been perfect, I long to walk ever closer with Him through each and every day. This is a Father who longs to spend time with me. Not because of who I am but because of His love and compassion. The price He paid to be with us should remove any doubt of His intentions toward us.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sexual Freedom

I remember many years ago, a prostitute rights group in Nevada “COYOTE” (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) railed against Christianity for saying that having sex with anyone and everyone was wrong.

Aldous Huxley, who wrote “Brave New World” said that he and his atheist friends wanted a world without Creator God and without meaning because that would give them “Liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.”

Yes, sexual freedom. Aren’t we ever free now that Christian morals and values are being driven out of our culture? So free that we can’t stop ourselves from screwing strangers even if it might kill us.

Our Creator knew what secular freedom would bring, so He gave injunctions against sexual immorality i.e. Any sex that takes place outside of marriage between one man and one woman: Acts 15:29, 6:18; Corinthians 10:8, Ephesians 5:3; 1st Thessalonians 4:3

Creator God demands purity in our lives because He is pure. We are to reflect His purity.

Those who fight against their Creator say:
Who needs freedom from unplanned pregnancy?
Who needs freedom from STD’s?
Who needs freedom from abortions?
Who needs freedom from guilt?
Who needs freedom from an emotional roller-coaster?
Who needs freedom from sexual insecurity?

We don’t need peace of mind.
We don’t need the right setting for raising children
We don’t need to know what it’s like to trust our partners
We don’t need true intimacy

We reject this stuff precisely because Jesus says it’s what’s best for us.
And if we do what He says, well, then we won’t be free.

This Is Love

God reveals that He knows exactly who we are and that He loves and accepts us and provides a means for our forgiveness regardless of who we are or who we have been.

This is the kind of love that each of us needs.

We won’t find it on earth.

We won’t find it in other people.

God provides it for us free of charge.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Now That Is Funny!

I read again yesterday one of the more humorous aspects of atheism. A girl (young woman?) who was clearly confident in her original and well thought out world view (sarcasm) was mocking someone, anyone actually, who was afraid of spending eternity in hell. The idea that fear should kick-start a commitment to Jesus was, to her, unthinkable, shameful, embarrassing even disgusting. Well, of course. To make any decision just because you fear the consequences is childish and way uncool. A Bright would never make a decision based upon fear. Although -

Stand safely on a tall ladder? Only an addle brained human would not.

Look both ways before you cross the street? Duh!

Dress for rainy weather? It’s up to you, but . . .

Lock your doors at night? It’s the prudent thing to do.

Plan for retirement? How clueless would you have to be to not prepare?

Eat healthy? That’s a no brainer.

Don’t walk down the train track with your ear-buds at full volume? Pfft!

Stay out of burning buildings? Mmm, ya. I think so.

Use a match to test if that smell is natural gas? Not a chance.

Avoid tigers in the jungle? Sure. Makes sense.

Worry about where you’ll spend eternity? Are you crazy? What a stupid thing to do.

People like Hugo are absolutely certain, beyond any doubt that there’s nothing beyond the grave. Why waste one second thinking about it? Fear eternity in hell? What a silly thing to suggest. Accept Jesus’ offer of salvation and avoid eternity in hell? That would mean that I was allowing fear to influence my decision and a Bright would never, ever do that.

Tell me Hugo, I understand your certainties - I can quote them for you if you’ve forgotten what you’ve said - but could I ask, If hell exists, and if what Jesus taught about hell is true - IF - only IF, would you be damned for eternity?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No Place To Land

In the account of the flood, we read of the dove being sent out but having to return to the ark because there was no place for it to land.

It’s the same for us. The world offers us no safe place to land. If we do not return to the ark of Jesus, we will die. And that is why we must remember to thank God, every day, for His protection and love and mercy and grace.

Relationships won’t fulfil our deepest desires. Neither will money or possessions or position or power or mood altering chemicals or looks or popularity and fame.

Lady Gaga recently said that when she is not performing she feels dead. A talk show host said that if the show goes well he feels good about who he is. If his jokes fall flat or mistakes are make he feels like a failure for days afterward.

Not even family or early retirement can give us what we need most. Nothing that the world offers, nothing that the world tells us is essential for “the good life” can satisfy our deep longings.

All God.

Only God.

Land safely in His arms. Don’t rest until you’ve claimed His promise of an intimate, healed and forgiven relationship with Him and life will never again be lacking.

Jesus said, “Take the water that I offer and you’ll never thirst again.”

I promise you, it's true.
“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness,” Isaiah 25:1

We were at family camp this last week. It's one thing to go to the lake - it's nice - it's relaxing. It's another thing altogether to be at the lake where the emphasis is on the Creator of everything. I'm so sorry Lord for what we've done to your creation.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Response to Hugo, Bret and GTA

“If you are not suggesting Christianity makes someone a better person, I just wonder why there is such length to the arguments presented in this post regarding how only through Jesus can someone live for others.”

Oh, I DO believe that Jesus makes someone a better person than s/he was before. Just not necessarily better than someone else. I think I told you about encountering someone from my highschool days and when I told her what I was doing for a living you screeched, “You! But you were the worst one!”

And I don’t mean the religion of Christianity as it is currently practised makes you a better person: praying, going to Church, reading the Bible, doing good deeds etc. I mean, the person of Jesus the Christ, and His indwelling Spirit changes a person for the better. I’m a bzillion times better today than my former self and every year marks new and better changes. But I may not be a better person than you.

If you look in Romans 8:28,29 you’ll see that the main good, the bottom line good that God brings out of all situations if that we become more like Jesus. That is the reason for us being on this planet; to become like Jesus. Because of Jesus, and all because of Jesus I truly am a new creation and this is the case for every genuine born again believer. We’ve been “born again.” We’ve been given another chance, a new beginning, a starting over. I spend so much time writing about it because those of us who have been called by God to be His servants are NOT able to be good people without Jesus. That’s led to the problems that you’ve identified. Humans frequently make the mistake of thinking, ‘The way my life is, is the way everyone’s life is.’ That’s why Christians have thought and taught that atheists must be grossly sinful people. We think you guys must be just like us. In a way you are.

Atheists mock Christians saying, “If you’d be out raping and pillaging without Jesus, then I’m glad you got saved.” And it’s said as though the Christian is a fool for thinking that they need God to be a good person. Why? Because the atheist is doing the same - “I can be good therefore everyone can be good.” Not true! Saint Francis noted, “God picks the weakest, the smallest, the meanest of people on the face of the earth.”

To me, the proof of changed lives is the FACT that while we’re all born in rebellion against God, it is those who are born again who far and away - not exclusively - but far and away lead the pack - by a long, long way - in sacrificing themselves to do charity work around the world - including the place where you live. It took until the 20th century for atheists to discover, “Hey, being good to other people is almost like being good to myself.”

An even bigger mistake though, is putting the emphasis on “being good.” It’s a mistake because no matter how good your are, all is lost if you are not saved / forgiven. I’d say that if you see yourself as so good that you can’t even fathom your sinfulness and need for forgiveness, you should be afraid. It’s a sign that God is honouring your desire to do life without Him. You may believe that thinking you’re “horrible” is a bad thing, but what’s far worse is to believe that the disease that is killing you is your greatest asset.

“It's not just offensive to atheists to suggest this, it's offensive to anyone of any non-Christian religion who puts in the effort to be an amazing person.”

An amazing person? That’s funny. Is that what you are, Bret or GTA, or whoever wrote this? Are you an amazing person? I know. The concept of grace is terribly offensive to the natural man. Grace is so offensive that it would have never been invented by humans. Our pride and corrupt self-love demands that we take credit for our own salvation.

I’m curious, what percentage of humans do you think try to be amazing people i.e. try to do amazingly good things for others and for the planet? I’m guessing two percent, with the rest just wanting to make enough money to buy food and pay the rent. And no, I would not include myself in that two percent.

“So then where's the motivation for Christians to be better?”

Where’s the motivation? Good grief, man! Our Creator (yours and mine), our Lord, our Saviour took His own penalty, endured His own wrath, suffered what we deserved so we don’t have to be eternally separated from Love. The only good person to ever walk the earth allowed us to do our absolute worst to Him so He could pay the penalty for our sins. And even though you’re still nailing Him to the cross He’d forgive you today if you let Him.
That’s the motivation! I offer my life to Jesus because He gave His life for me.

We are not good people:
We’ve told lies - that makes us liars
We’ve taken what doesn’t belong to us - that makes us thieves
We’ve fantasised about people seeing them as sexual objects - that makes us fornicators and adulterers and people who degrade others.
We’ve hated people and thought about ways of getting revenge - that makes us murderers
We’ve wanted what belongs to other people and not been satisfied with what we have, that makes us covetous
Every person on the planet is a hypocrite and a bigot to one degree or another
When Jesus was asked what's the greatest and most important commandment He said, “Love your Creator with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Nobody does that because we love ourselves more than we love the One who created us.

If these kinds of people were allowed into heaven, it wouldn’t be heaven. It would be earth with the same conditions that we have right now. Jesus isn’t being picky. He’s being Just.

There is not one crime or horrendous act of savagery that, given the right circumstances any one of us isn’t capable of committing. And if you can’t see that then you suffer from a profound lack of insight.

I could go on and on, but the fact remains that people are lying thieving, murdering, adulterers who want what they don’t have (and who are willing to go to war and kill others to get it) and who reject and ignore and actively rebel against their Creator. And instead of seeing that as a problem, most people, like you, say “They’re just little lies or only a few lies. I only took a few pens and sticky notes from the office. Everybody sees women as sexual objects once in awhile. There’s nothing wrong with anger as long as you don’t hurt anyone and blah, blah, blah.”

We don’t abhor sin. We celebrate it. We love reading about it and watching it. We actually watch murder and adultery and crime and war for entertainment. We make heroes out of psychopaths.

“All people, every single person on earth has sinned and fallen short of God’s demands for us. Regardless, they can be justified freely by God’s grace (He will give us what we don’t deserve - heaven) and mercy (He will not give us what we do deserve - eternal separation from His Love in hell) through our faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:23.

Because God is Just there will be consequences for the wrong that we do. We can either let Jesus pay the consequence for us, or we will pay it ourselves. No one needs to be surprised by this. Every atheist posting knows the ground rules well in advance.

“The wages of sin, the consequences of sin, the result of sin is hell. But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

We are sinners who deserve to be banished from heaven, but God provided a way out for us. God didn’t even wait for us to do anything good, “While we were still His enemies, He died for us.” Romans 5:8

“If you declare out loud, “Jesus is my Lord, Master and Saviour,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be SAVED.” Romans 10:9

“That is ultimately what I find so disgusting about Jesus; it doesn't matter how "good" you are, because we're supposedly all horrible enough to not deserve heaven.”

We’re less than Holy and nothing less than Holy will be allowed into heaven. It’s the spiritual reality in which we live. It’s not complicated. And besides, if we don’t use our Creator’s standard of “good enough” whose standard do you suggest we use? Yours? Mine? Hitler’s? I mean come on. You know very well that the only reason you think you’re a good person is because you can think of other people who are worse than you.

You don’t compare up.

You compare down.

What kind of a standard is that?

I’ve been involved in maximum security penitentiaries for ten years - child rapists, murderers, people who killed senior citizens for a few bucks, you name it, I’ve seen it and you know what? Not one of those men thought he was a bad person because just like you, he could think of at least one person who was worse than himself. I’ve maybe said this before but I’ll pose it again. Imagine yourself in your favourite restaurant ordering your favourite meal. And when it arrives you notice three of the chef’s pubic hairs in your food. Is that “horrible” enough to warrant returning the meal? How about two hairs? Would you still send it back if there was only one? Shouldn’t the chef think, “Ginx is just like that disgusting Jesus. It doesn’t matter how good the meal is, Ginx is always noticing what isn’t right.”

Or how about this? Imagine that you’re needing emergency abdominal surgery and the surgeon has several sterile scalpels on hand. Just as she is about to open you up she drops the scalpel on some bloody rags from a previous operation that for some reason weren’t cleaned up. Instead of opening the other sterile knives that she has available, she just picks up the dirty knife because, “It’s only a little bit of dirt.”

Since you’ve studied the Bible, you must surely know that the issue is not the amount of dirt.
It’s the presence of dirt - period.

It’s not the amount of sin (Really Horrible, Horrible, Good, Really Good).
The issue is the presence of sin - period.

To a perfectly Holy God, any sin is abhorrent, disgusting, intolerable. If you put one drop of black paint into a can of white paint, it is no longer white paint. It’s become something less than white, pure, perfect. Each and every atheist on the planet (each drop of black paint) thinks that an exception should be made for h/her and for h/her sins.

You and I are both sinners in need of forgiveness and freedom from real guilt. I’ve accepted this offer and you’ve refused the offer. That is the only difference between us.

“Either your actions are important in Christianity, or they are not.”

Certainly, our actions are important, but not in the sense that they are capable of saving us. You probably know that 1st John 2:3,4 that says, “We can know that we have come to know Jesus, if we are obeying His commands. The person who says, “I’m a follower of Jesus,” but does not do what Jesus commands, is a liar and the truth is not in that kind of person.”

These two verses are not talking about how to be saved. These verses are talking about how we can know that we ARE saved. We know that we ARE saved when we willingly and gladly obey Jesus, when we desire to obey Jesus. He said, “The one who loves Me is the one who obeys Me. The one who does not love Me does not obey Me.” Obviously actions are important.

A little later, in 3:18 John is recorded as saying, “Don’t just say you love others. Prove your love by your actions.” Actions, thoughts, behaviors are extremely important in Christianity. Just not in the sense that you mistakenly long for. Now, to be fair, you can, if you want, be judged according to your behaviors, and in fact you WILL be judged according to your behaviors. But you need to accept that the only grade that will allow for entrance into heaven is perfection. And by the time you know that, it’s already too late because you’ve been sinning for many, many years.

I don’t think anyone ever quits sinning, but a Christian should be done with the pattern of sin that was part of their former self. If a person is a true follower of Jesus, the power of sin will have lost its organised, deliberate nature.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the account that Jesus told, of people coming to Jesus on the day of judgement and relating to Him all the good things they have done - in His Name. These are religious people. And what does Jesus say? “I never knew you. Get away from Me” (Matthew 7:21). The account begins with, “Not everyone who says to Me, “I am a Christian” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

And yet you and other atheists say, “Oh yes they are. If people say they’re a Christian, then they damn well are Christians.

Faith alone does save because true faith brings with it the indwelling of God Himself through His Spirit. AND faith without works IS dead because it proves that the person is not indwelt by the Holy Spirt. There is no contradiction here. You’ve said it exactly right.

“My view of good works has less to do with my Catholic upbringing than in my materialist view of the universe.”

Oh dear, you remind me of Somerset Maugham’s character Philip Carey. At 27 years old, you probably still think your ideas on virtue are original, and your breaking free from the constraints of the Church are due to how clever you are. Yes? You’ve discovered, on your own that enlightened self-interest is the evolutionary foundation of good behaviour? Yes? Ah youth. What are you going to do with it? You’ve not yet noticed that in order to be an “amazing person,” you’ll have to adhere to the same obligations and self-discipline that you were trying to avoid when you left the Church? I’ll stop now before I write “snerk!”

I think we both have very good reasons for doing everything we can to support life on this planet, to do good to others and to the planet itself. Your reasons are in part because you believe this is your only go-round, your only chance to make a difference. Well guess what. I too believe that this is my only chance to make a difference. This is my only chance to show my appreciation to the One who died so that I might live. My reason is also that because a Holy, Pure, Loving and Just God exists, everything and everyone is important. We (Christians) are here to become like Jesus and Jesus did not discount anyone or anything. That’s where His rage came from. Again, because of your studies, you’ll have notice that Jesus’ anger was directed almost exclusively toward the religious leaders who were making it difficult for sinners to come to Him for forgiveness. Forgiveness - the most important thing about your existence.

I thought you’d like that about Jesus.

Finally, unlike Christians, atheists seem to have a very high opinion of their own virtue. This is odd since the things that atheists brag about: being honest, being kind, being honourable, and so on, are merely things that they should be doing. It’s nothing special. Nothing worth bragging about yet atheists seem to think they deserve a pat on the back and an “Atta boy” for doing what is expected of them. See Luke 17:10

Hugo - “Deliciously ironic”

Well, it would be ironic - if Creator God did not exist. In fact the evidence of OUR existence points directly toward His existence. Hugo, you have a whole universe to account for.

I’m sure you’ve heard the statement, “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.”

The atheist claims:
“The material infinite exists,” or
“Everything material came from nothing material without a cause,” or
“Some things don’t need a cause to begin existing,”
are highly extraordinary claims which need extraordinary evidence to back them up.
Saying, “I don’t know” does not absolve you from needing to prove your statements that the coming into being of the material universe does not need a non material Cause.