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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tolerance is that rare flower the grows in few places and withers too easily.

Live Free or Die

I think that might be a motto of one of the States in the U.S.A. or something like that. There aren’t a lot of places that the term naive fits, but this is one of them. People who make these kind of statements usually have little or no concept of what freedom entails. Nor do they understand how human nature works.
Freedom always entails restrictions. We can’t eat anything we want or any amount we want and remain free from poor health in later years. We can’t have sex with just any person and remain free from disease or death. We can’t drive at any speed we want in any part of town that we want and remain free from pain, injury and death or jail. To remain free of negative, we must to some degree curtail the things we’re free to do.
For example, if I want my marriage to last, I must say no to a temptation to engage in an affair. If I want to maintain my freedom to go where I please I must ignore any temptation to break a major law. Freedom isn’t found in a lack of all restrictions. Rather freedom comes from adapting to our lives the right restrictions.
Those who are naive about human freedom also fail or refuse to understand what motivates humans. For most people, the very things that we think will bring us freedom wind up becoming our jailor. Money, looks, power, education, mood altering chemicals, all these and more promise freedom but have the power to destroy relationships as we come to base our value and worth and security and sense of belonging on attaining and keeping these, what the Bible calls idols.

In fact these things are mere distractions. And people of the world almost always mistake those things that distract us from life for life itself.
Those who are naive about human freedom are also naive about reality. Just as we are not created to live under water, neither are we created to live outside of a relationship with our Creator. When we don’t honour our design, we cannot live to our full potential. Maturity is when we no longer have to do something just because we want to do it. Wisdom is knowing which of the things that we want to do will fit best with our design.
If you hold to My teaching, you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” Jesus. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

That's a good question!

When the Pope resigns, does he quit being infallible and if so, at exactly what point does he become capable of making mistakes, just like the rest of us?

Why Not an Atheist President?

Atheists feel quite insulted that the majority of people would not elect them leader of the United States. Ya, like everyone else could get elected as long as they weren't an atheist.
Don't worry. Your day will come. Maybe. But here's the thing about why atheists can't get the votes.
The most dangerous thing about atheists is that they think they are good people. Stalin and Pol Pot etc. really thought that killing 90 million Christians was a good thing to do. More and more atheists today agree with Islamic extremists that Christianity should be outlawed, banished, removed from existence.
Reality is, normal people simply don't trust those who are so fantastically blind to their own nature.
In fact the only thing that is recognized as "wrong" by the atheists with whom I've interacted is what is generally called, crime. And even then, individual atheists pick and choose which behaviours should be called crimes.
For the atheist, moral behaviour is decided by:
a) society at large, IF they agree with what society thinks, or
b) the community, unless the atheist disagrees with the community. In that case it comes down to
c) the individual atheist according to h/her likes and dislikes.
When asked, "Are you a good person?" a response of, "Well, I haven't killed anyone," is seen as an acceptable answer.
Atheists must believe they are good people because one of their many points of dogma states, 

"I don't need God in order to be a good person." 

And, as long as they can point to someone who is visibly worse than they are, atheists truly believe that they are good people. This particular creedal point forces atheists to believe they are indeed someone who is good, someone who doesn't need the character transforming Spirit of Creator God in their lives.
So the average person on the street (someone who doesn't get sick or suicidal from looking at two steel beams in the shape of a cross) looks at the atheist's moral processing and thinks, if the levels of corruption that we see in government and even in ourselves occurs in people who recognize they need help to be good, what would it be like in people who think they don't need help?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bill Nye Got It Right!

Can you imagine? The atheist guy who says that the Bible is bunk has announced that the Bible (specifically Revelation 8:8) is correct on the fact that an asteroid will strike earth.
Go Billy

Shouldn't It Be Criminal?

I suppose it wouldn't do any good even if it was a crime.
We're just back from a skiing trip. The kids skied until they were ready to drop. It was close to a perfect time. I should feel rejuvenated, alive, thankful.
Instead I'm so overwhelmed with sadness that I'm almost immobilized. The youngest of our children has finely been assessed. A precious precious child. Full of life and smiles and insecurity and frustration. She knows something isn't right. She's not alone. Specifically, the last three of our seven kids have IQ's of 64, 73 and now this last one, 65.
We've been given a stack of papers about community living options: crafts and swimming and basketball and summer camps. So much information that my mind shuts down. I can't compute. It's all too much.
Acquired Brain Injury.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
Their mothers drank alcohol while pregnant.
Their mothers destroyed the future of their children.
Their mothers were also Fetal Alcohol brain damaged and so the cycle continues, with each brain damaged female producing several more of the same.
Sometimes life is a load too great. And yet all we're asked to do with these kids is love them. Just love them. Keep our minds from wandering too far into the future and just love them.
It still feels criminal; to know what you're mother did to you and then to inflict the very same damage onto your own children. Ah me, to watch that is pain.
Just love them. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Echo Chamber of Blog Loftus

In the comments section of his latest post, I asked John Loftus if any of his books, including his new book, explains the circumstances regarding his leaving his last congregation, and how the event led to the breakdown of his marriage. 

I also asked if he understood how the subsequent venting of his fury toward Christianity, and God Himself was related to John being held accountable for his actions. 

Since the events that I'm referring to are only available to me through hear-say, I'd like to hear from John himself what took place. Atheists are people eager to demonstrate integrity. At the very least I thought this would be material that would sell books.
I would certainly buy a book that honestly explained his journey.

Apparently his blog is only a vehicle for printing salutations of praise for a man still asking for donations from people to support him.

My comment was only visible for an hour or so before being removed.
Can you imagine? 
He says I'm not allowed to comment on his blog anymore.  
How am I to survive such a loss?

”When it comes to the origin of life, we have only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility. Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved one hundred years ago by Louis Pasteur, Spellanzani, Reddy and others. That leads us scientifically to only one possible conclusion — that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God. I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation arising to evolution.” 
George Wald, in the Scientific American

They Rode Off In All Directions at Once

As long as atheists think they’re in control, they find the Christian paradigm of salvation rather amusing. It’s something to toy with. The thought that they might be resisting their Creator makes atheists feel powerful, independent, even noble. However, once they find out that they are merely doing what their Creator has ordained for them, they scatter like deer before a pack of wolves. They run off in all directions at once.
Reality is, we are incapable of finding salvation on our own. Salvation and forgiveness of sins is from our Creator, from beginning to end.
No one is good. Not even one. Like sheep we have all gone astray.”
When it comes to salvation, it’s not just atheists who seem dumb as a post. On their own, sheep wander aimlessly without instinct, without any sense of home. Like sheep, we cannot find home without help from the Shepherd.
Like sheep, humans are unable to even know they are lost. Unless this state is revealed to us, humans have no idea that they are on their way to hell. Once their spiritual eyes have begun to open, our sin nature begins to kick in and our first impulse is to resist the call to come home.
Sin, in its initial state makes us feel powerful. It makes us feel in control. It makes us feel independent. That perception of independence couldn’t be further from the truth. As stated above, as long as we think that we’re in control of the game, jousting with our Creator is quite appealing. Once the truth sinks in, once atheists comprehend that their fate is sealed they scatter like cockroaches before a freshly lit light bulb. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

On atheism, our base for good behaviour, as the saying goes, plants its feet firmly in mid-air, on the bases of what atheists call “enlightened” self-interest. 

When I Was A Christian . . .

I've lost track of how many times I've heard such nonsense. People like John Loftus speak of their days as “Christians” just as though being a follower of Jesus has something to do with the depth of theological knowledge or their GPA in Biblical literacy.
It's as though these men and women know nothing of the fact that being a follower of Jesus has to do with inner change, with how you live your life, not by rote learning, but by Spirit driven transformation. It's as though these people have no clue that one can be theologically astute and Biblically literate yet be in a position where they will one day hear Jesus say, “Get away from Me. I never knew you.”

No, as it is said, “If they left us, it was because they were never with us.” 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Uniquely Free Thinking

Isn't that precious? You know, when you meet an atheist who is certain that he or, significantly less frequently, she truly believes to be unique among humanity?
 Unique in the sense that s/he doesn't like to be controlled, doesn't go along with the crowd or, in the vernacular, is definitely not a sheeple?
Ah me, 100% of atheists deem themselves unique in resisting the pull to life in suburbia with a dumpy partner and snotty children. Their lives will be filled with adventure and swimming heroically against the stream of banality.
Interestingly these Brights crow and strut with pride at the exponential growth in numbers (if atheists can be believed) of these utterly unique individuals joining their group on a yearly basis; each one a clone of the ones who came before.

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”
Psalm 2

Hmm, seems as though modern day atheists think exactly like those bronze-age camel herders for which atheists show utter disdain. If it wasn't for the New Atheists, no one would have ever thought of rebelling against their Creator in such a unique manner. Snerk!

Monday, February 18, 2013

You know how atheists rarely venture outside of the Old Testament lest they run into teachings of Jesus that convict them of a deep need for forgiveness? And you know how atheists accuse Christians of cherry-picking verses to make our case? Do you think atheists ever do the same thing? Now atheists incorrectly associate Southern U.S. Slavery with the safety net slavery of early Israel. That is why you will never see or hear an atheist ranting about this?

Micah 6:8 - He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God

Immense riches are seldom possessed by leaders of countries or corporations without the oppression of their citizens, employees or investors. Immense riches are seldom gained without the willingness to rape and plunder the earth. Unlike their neighbours, and unlike our modern industrial societies, people in ancient Israel (those who atheists call dim-witted bronze-age goat herders) were to make sure they did nothing to take advantage of each other.
Peace, Mercy and Justice were then and are today to be the hallmark of God's people.

See Atheists Doing Good

Africa Mercy Ships 

Well worth the watch

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Atheists Meaning and Purpose

Atheists are infamous for claiming two things:
. You can just invent meaning and purpose and voila, you’ve got them
. The Bible is written by ignorant bronze age goat herders
Well, there are people who know that the atheists are wrong. One of them was a man who lived about 3,000 years ago. And the rest are those who are today in their 80's and 90's who also once thought that you could just invent meaning and purpose, but are now either jaded in their cynicism or depressed in the futility of it all.
The person who lived in what atheists think was an age of ignorance wrote a book about finding meaning and purpose in this life. He too believed, for a time that one could search for meaning and purpose apart from God and find them with relative ease.
He tried to find meaning and purpose:
. In the pursuit of wealth. In fact he was perhaps one of the wealthiest people of all time.
. In the pursuit of knowledge. In fact he was world renowned for his wisdom and knowledge.
. In the pursuit of hedonism. This guy had more sexual encounters than most present day rock stars and sports super stars ever achieve. Thousands upon thousands of sexual encounters are recorded in his diary.
. In the pursuit of travel. No country was off limits.
. In the pursuit of entertainment.
. In the pursuit of collecting art.
. In the pursuit of education. Horticulture, biology, medicine, astronomy, you name it. He studied along with the leading authorities of the time accumulating knowledge in the hopes that it would bring meaning and purpose to his life.
. In the pursuit of social action, solving injustice and reaching out to those who were in need.
. In the pursuit of humanism and philosophy.
. In the pursuit of public works. His Temple and Gardens were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
. He distinguished wisdom from foolishness; compared the immediate with the ultimate and working hard with rest. All led to a conclusion of meaninglessness and purposeless living.
In the end he learned, as everyone does by the end of their lives something that present day atheists refuse to allow themselves to consider - Nothing that this life has to offer, even in the face of mental gymnastics, mind games and outright lies to oneself, can bring ultimate meaning or purpose.
All is like chasing after the wind.
By the end of his journey in the pursuit of meaning and purpose, looking everywhere under the sun left him deflated and disillusioned. He concluded that trying to find meaning and purpose in what this life had to offer left us no better off than the animals that live in the wild. With no end beyond this life, this man summed it up as “[We live] a few years of futile life.” This man concluded rightly, “Have reverence for your Creator and obey His commands, because this is all that man was created for.”
Ecclesiastes 12:13.
While arrogant and bigoted atheists just assume that they, the Brights of the 21st century possess more wisdom than anyone who is not an atheist, particularly those who lived thousands of years ago. This man has shown what almost everyone but atheists know, ultimate meaning and purpose is something bestowed from an outside source. It is not invented. It is not found in anything this world has to offer.
Yet what do we find on university campuses around the country? Young people caught up in the thrill of their own intelligence, certain that they can invent meaning and purpose apart from God if only they become more politically active, greener, more tolerant of aberrant behaviour, try-harder humanism, and atheism. And decades down the road they repeat the cycle once more and end confused in the pit of pointless philosophies.
Atheists – those people who truly believe they are unique individuals conform precisely to the kind of futility reserved for the growing thousand of those who deny the existence of their Creator.
Sad but true. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

To God be the Glory great things He has done
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son

Art is a reflection of God's creativity, an evidence that we are made in the image of God.”
Francis Schaeffer

That Is Not Good

In Romans 2:1-16; 14:10, as well as 1st Corinthians 4:5 and 2nd Corinthians 5:10 among other places, we are told that when Jesus returns, the secrets of all hearts will be made known.
People will have to give an accounting for every idle word they have spoken.
If you are someone like me, that is something unpleasant to anticipate. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

As all men are touched by God’s love, so all are also touched by the desire for His intimacy. No one escapes this longing; we are all kings in exile, miserable without the Infinite. The modern atheist does not disbelieve because of his intellect, but because of his will; it is not knowledge, nor the lack of knowledge that makes him an atheist.
The denial of God springs from a man’s desire not to have a God—from his wish that there were no Justice behind the universe, so that his injustices would fear not retribution; from his desire that there be no Law, so that he may not be judged by it; from his wish that there were no Absolute Goodness, that he might go on sinning with impunity.
That is why the modern atheist is always angered when he hears anything said about God and religion—he would be incapable of such a resentment if God were only a myth. His feeling toward God is the same as that which a wicked man has for one whom he has wronged: he wishes he were dead so that he could do nothing to avenge the wrong. 
The betrayer of friendship knows his friend exists, but he wished he did not; the post-Christian atheist knows God exists, but he desires He should not.”
Fulton Sheen in Peace of Soul

The Absurdity of Atheism

On materialism, nothing of ultimate significance takes place. Because of that atheism itself, and those adherents of atheism who strive to invent meaning and purpose, live within a belief system that is absurd, illogical and incoherent.
This need not be the case, for the answer is as close as their next heart-beat.
"Living the awareness of the risen Jesus is not a trivial pursuit for the bored and lonely or a defence mechanism enabling us to cope with the stress and sorrow of life. It is the key that unlocks the door to grasping the meaning of existence. All day and every day we believers are being reshaped into the image of Christ. Everything that happens to us is designed to this end. Nothing that exists can exist beyond the pale of His presence (“All things were created through Him and for Him” - Colossians 1:16), nothing is irrelevant to it, nothing is without significance in it.
Everything that is comes alive in the risen Christ. Everything - great, small, important, unimportant, distant, and near - has its place, its meaning and its value. Through union with Him, nothing is wasted, nothing is missing. There is never a moment that does not carry eternal significance - no action that is sterile, no love that lacks fruition, and no prayer that is unheard. “We know that by turning everything to their good, God cooperates with all those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28)." 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"There really is no such thing as morally right or wrong. Individual life is without meaning or moral value. We must face the fact that nihhilism is true.”
atheist Dr. Alex Rosenberg

Reading is Feeding

Have you ever seen the eyes of someone who has been without food for a long time. Sunken, vacant, staring, drained of life. Our body needs to be refuelled on a regular basis. So does our spirit / soul.
We refuel our soul by feeding upon God’s Words. We nourish our spirit by listening to someone who is close to God explain a passage. We energize our relationship with our Creator by remembering what He did for us on the night He was betrayed.
Without a regular feeding, our eyes show the same signs of starvation, this time spiritual starvation. Lady Gaga says that when she isn’t performing she “feels dead.” But even when she is performing the smell of spiritual death oozes from every pore.
The fact is, Christians cannot progress in goodness without a daily input of God’s Word. Oh sure, people can strive for goodness without the Bible, but it’s all pretence. A show where all goodness is performed to manipulate and control the impression of others and even of self.
Without a steady input of renewal we who believe will falter under the constant assault of hell or even under the severe mercies of heaven. Woe to the tree that is not firmly rooted when the storms of life pass by. Any dead or dying limb will simply snap off. We too must be filled with the sap of our Saviour’s nourishment or risk being torn up by the root.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Into Your Hands

Into your hands I commit My Spirit.” Those were some of Jesus’ last words.
What a wonderful relaxation.
What a wonderful rest.
Have you known that rest? Have you been overwhelmed by the details of life – yet – at peace with whatever the outcome because you automatically say to your Creator, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
What an amazing place to be.
Cast all your anxieties upon Me.” Give them to Me. Throw them at Me. Be rid of them. Forget about them. Let Me take care of them. So many people live a third rate Christian life because they hold on tightly to their worries. By refusing to commit their spirit to their Lord and Saviour, many Christians disobey the One who wants to love them.
Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.”
I will lie down and sleep in peace because you alone O Lord provide for my safety.”
What kind of person turns away from an offer of true and deep peace?

Monday, February 11, 2013

I heard a funny line. 

An atheist was talking about how confusing life is for Christians. Why, we Christians have to cope with things like the reality of the way non-believers seem to be as morally good as them.”

No, sir. We have to cope with the way non-believers are just as corrupt as we are. That's not confusing. It's just sad. 

Christian Weakness

Atheists often accuse Christians of being weak and needy. They say we need a crutch; a fantasy buddy in the sky. We can't handle, they say, the harsh realities of life, so we invent a God.
To be honest, some of what atheists say is true. We are needy. We are weak. 
Now I maintain, based upon empirical evidence, that all of humanity is this way, yet atheists seem oblivious to this fact. This is a puzzle for me and part of me wonders if God allows those who are going to reject Him to be good enough human beings that they really can believe that they are good people. What's more, they take the credit for being good people. That by some sort of great effort they've created of themselves a superior moral being. A bit of a laugh when you consider the fact that on atheism, determinism rules.
Yet it isn't hard to find atheists who are every bit as big a jerk as I am.
I suppose it's simply a case of it being only those who are going to saved whose spiritual eyes are opened to their need for forgiveness.
And boy do I need forgiveness.
No one celebrates the grace and love of Jesus more than a person who experiences this need on a daily basis. I remember one women saying, in response to being accused of needing a crutch, “You say Jesus is my crutch? He's my freakin ambulance, my stretcher, my hospital. You're darn right I need a crutch.”
As C.S. Lewis said, “No one knows how bad he is until he tries really hard to be good. A good man knows something of the evil still in him. A thoroughly bad man thinks he is good.”
That certainly describes the transition that's taken place in my life. At my morally worst, I actually thought I was a pretty good person. Now that I stand in the presence of a perfectly Holy God, the evil that still resides in my being, ever ready to take advantage of a weak moment leaves me both sad and grateful.
Sad because my Lord and Saviour deserves so much better of me.
Grateful because I am forgiven and loved with the greatest love in the universe.
What kind of person would turn away from such a gift?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sex Over Eighty

Have you noticed? For atheists, the absence of what they call material evidence for the existence of Creator God, is in their minds evidence for the absence of an immaterial Creator God.


While trying to destroy the faith of others, modern atheists constantly confuse “evidence” with “proof.” It's sad and not fit for those who chant the mantra of "I'm a Bright, and you're not!"

As, W.L. Craig points out:
God is the best explanation of why anything at all exists
God is the best explanation of the origin of the universe
God is the best explanation of the applicability of mathematics to the physical world.
God is the best explanation of the fine tuning of the universe for intelligent life.
God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness.
God is the best explanation of objective moral values, duties.
God is the best explanation of the historical fact of Jesus of Nazareth.
God is the best explanation of the fact that God can be personally known and experienced.
The reason that atheists are never able to articulate what evidence they would find acceptable, is because there isn't any evidence that they would accept. If a mathematically precise, life sustaining, moral universe that came into being out of literally nothing material isn't good enough, then there isn't anything, ANYTHING that would do the trick.
Oh, and about sex over 80? It is not recommended. Preferably find a rest-stop. Or at least pull over to the shoulder and put on your hazard warning lights.

Friday, February 8, 2013

 “Christianity isn't about being self-sacrificing or self-indulgent. It isn't about being self-effacing or selfish. It isn't about self at all. It is about Christ. Forget about yourself.”
Robert J. Fortner in Relevant magazine

So What's The Deal With Israel?

Lord, are you at this time going to restore the nation of Israel?”
It sounds as though these guys don’t have a clue.
Here is Jesus, He’s died, He was buried, He rose from the dead, after His resurrection He interacted with hundreds of people for almost two months, and these guys are STILL focused on the nation of Israel.
As it turns out, they aren’t nearly as dull as they might sound. The fact is, Israel IS the main point of the story. From Genesis to Revelation, the rise and development of the nation of Israel is a huge, huge part of what the Bible is about. It’s a huge part of why God created humanity.
Of course the salvation of the elect is a big deal.
Of course the punishment of those who are guilty of disobedience is a big deal.
But Israel, the nation, the people, their role in the “life” of God the Son this is at least as important as what we naturally think about when we read the Gospels. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

 God enjoys His creation. The apostle John says frankly that God's purpose in creation was His own pleasure. God is happy in His love for all that He has made. We cannot miss the feeling of pleasure in God's delighted references to His handiwork.”
A.W. Tozer in The Knowledge of the Holy.

Atheists Are Correct On This One

With a fair bit of regularity atheists post how humans are born atheists. And while this is more a statement of belief than proven fact, the evidence seems to lend credibility to that statement.
After all, if we're born atheists it would help to explain why parents have to train their children, the ones born with no healed and forgiven relationship with their Creator:
. To not lie
. To not hit
. To not steal
. To not cheat
. To not pull hair
. To not be greedy
. To not throw toys when angry
. To not call people hurtful names
. To not throw tantrums when denied what they want
. To share with others, and so on.
Without being trained in the finer traits of Christian virtue, humans default to the well known atheist motto: Might Makes Right.
Children know that fact of life right from the get-go.
So, good insight atheists. You maybe got this one correct.

Oh and the discoverer of the latest and largest Mersenne Prime is
Sheldon Cooper!
FYI it's 2 to the power of 57,885,161 minus 1

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

 “Through brokenness and heartbreak, we have cried together and have witnessed together how God can create beauty and love in places that felt full of desolation.”
singer, Sara Groves

But What About Those Who Haven’t Heard?

That’s a good question. A really good question. I’m not sure that I or any person has the full answer, but here is how I understand it.
First of all, God is love and God is just. No one who should be in heaven will miss the opportunity. That is an absolute fact.
Second, a person must put h/her trust in Jesus for salvation
Third, God is the one who initiates that belief.
On the other hand, God has decided where each and every person will live during h/her lifetime. He knows who will or will not accept His offer of salvation so . . . 
Atheists like to mock Christians for being born into a Christian family. In the atheist mind this somehow negates the possibility of a real conversion. Well, they can mock if they want but they're simply confirming what God has already determined.
Besides that, we are told in Romans 2:12-15 that all of us know the “law” in our heart of hearts. We know whether we are wilfully disobeying our conscience. We are also told that:
. Through the existence of the universe, everyone on the planet has enough evidence of God's existence to explore for His reality further. “If you search diligently for Me, I will allow myself to be found by you.”
. The more we obey God the more of Himself / Jesus He reveals to us.
Abraham, Noah, Rahab etc. none of these people knew Jesus, but they believed God and were counted as righteous because of the way they responded to the knowledge of God (however little) that they did have.
Again, God is just. God is love. We can trust that anyone who would like a healed and forgiven relationship with h/her Creator will have that kind of relationship.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Darwinism is a cesspool of ideologically-driven propaganda posing as dispassionate science."

"Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy-five years in the world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained. In other words, if it ever were to be possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence by means of some drug or other medical mumbo jumbo, as Aldous Huxley (and all atheists down through time) envisioned in Brave New World, the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be endurable. This, of course, is what the Cross signifies. And it is the Cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ.”
Malcolm Muggeridge

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lui the atheist: “Compare the amount of scientific information contained in a high school science textbook and the Bible, and there’s no comparison,”

Isn't that interesting? It's so profound, I don't get it. It's profound like this:

Compare the amount of information contained in the Bible regarding relationships: relationships with God, with others and with ourselves, to that in a high-school science textbook, and there's no comparison.

Forgiving Those Who Forgive You

In the midst of a conversation with an atheist, I mentioned Jesus' injunction to forgive those who harm you not just once, or even seven times, but every time. The atheist came back with a quick, “I bet you don't do that,” as proof that the teachings of Jesus were useless. He could say that because you see, in atheist-world, Christians who fail to live up to Jesus' commands are proof to the atheist that s/he does not need to take Jesus seriously.

Only atheists can connect the dots on that "logic." 
They're smarter than us – don't you know?

Anyhow, it's interesting that out of all the things that I do wrong, this atheist should challenge me on the one thing that I actually get right. Until the issue of forgiveness was brought up, I hadn't even realised how far Jesus had brought me in the last 32 years.

I say, “how far Jesus has brought me,” because until Jesus came into my life, forgiveness was simply not part of my behavioural repertoire. In fact, revenge and retaliation were something I enjoyed. Needed. Craved. Revenge and retaliation were on my “must do” list. I didn't know any other way of living. If someone hurts you, you hurt them back – only a little bit more - right?

I think the worst, stupidest and most shameful example was this. I had this ex con (he was never “ex” for very long) working for me. I liked him and we were almost to a point where you could have said we were friends. Except -

He was an alcoholic.
He was addicted to cocaine.

I don't know if you've noticed but those things are often problems in a relationship. I'm being facetious.

As anyone could have predicted he stole from me (a hand gun and two rifles) and disappeared. Angry didn't half describe what I was feeling. When I found out that he'd been arrested and which jail he was in, I got him to put me on his visitor list with an offer of forgiveness (lies, lies, all lies). When I got in there we met in this small cubical with a Guard watching.

. Here's the worst part. I laid into this guy with “who do you think you are,” and “how dare you,” and - well - blah, blah, blah.
. Here's the stupid part. This guy had arms as big around as my thighs. He out-weighed me by a hundred pounds. Did I mention he was in the Regional Psychiatric Centre for the criminally insane?
. Here's the most shameful part. I was already a follower of Jesus. Albeit I was brand new at it but that was my goal. To be like Jesus. If you want be theologically correct, it was my destiny. What a joke! I was a follower of Jesus who took deep offence at being robbed and if I couldn't get my guns back (I couldn't), and if I couldn't beat the crap out of this guy (I most certainly couldn't) I could at least hurt this person verbally. I could attack him as a person. Ya, like he'd never experienced that kind of abuse as a child.

And so, I vented my rage face to face.
That was about 32 years ago.

Today, because Jesus has made deep inroads into my soul, that type of thing is very, very unlikely. Today, I actually enjoy it when I'm slighted or insulted or taken advantage of. Not because I'm a masochist but because it gives me a chance to observe the power of the Spirit working in and through me. And while there are even a few more areas in which I could claim “victory,” there are also many areas that still need vast improvement. Technically that's okay. It's okay because the quality of my relationship with Jesus is not based upon the degree of success that I've so far attained in loosening the organized and determined nature of my sin-life. For Jesus said, "I will complete the good work that I began in you."

I'm forgiven and for that reason I can forgive others.
I've received mercy and for that reason I can give mercy.
I am loved with the greatest love in the universe, and for that reason I can love without reservation. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

“O To Be A Friend Of God”

That's a line in a Michael W. Smith song. It sends my heart soaring. That is, when it isn't doing a nose dive into dismay and regret.
I was reading John's account of what we today call The Last Supper and what they celebrated as the Passover Meal. It's in chapter 13 of his Gospel account. Here's the scene:
As John describes, Jesus and His closest disciples are eating the Passover Meal. It's the night before Jesus is to die by Roman crucifixion. Jesus has just finished teaching His friends / followers about servant-leadership by washing their feet. The Creator of the universe took the lowest position to be held in that society. He's told them that rather than a top down leadership style, servant leadership is how they must lead others. As the account unfolds, Jesus describes how He is the final Passover Lamb or sacrifice. And as they are reclining at the table John, the youngest in the group is reclining next to Jesus. If fact we're told that John is about to lay his head on the chest of God. Can you imagine?
O to be a friend of God.
If only.
As Jesus is explaining how history is about to unfold, He's just said that one of the group is going to betray Him to death. This arouses appropriate confusion and distress among the men and Peter motions to John, “Ask Him who it is.” John leans back against Jesus to ask, and Jesus says, “It's the one to whom I give the next morsel of food.” Jesus then dips some bread into the sauce and gives it to Judas.
Do you know what this means?
Think about it!
These men are reclining on cushions around what is probably a Middle Eastern U shaped table. Torso in, legs out to the side, resting on their left elbow.
John is close enough to Jesus to lean back and rest his head on Jesus chest to ask Him the question.
And where is Judas? Doesn't he have to be every bit as close to Jesus, only on the other side? For Jesus to reach over and give him the bread dipped in sauce, Judas is certainly within arm's reach, as was John.
I don't know about you but this hits me like a rock. Judas, the one who was about to betray His master, His Lord, His King, His Creator, not only appeared to be close to Jesus. He was close to Jesus. Jesus may have even allowed – no invited - Judas to "sit" in a favoured position at the table.
And this is what sickens me. For I am often like Judas. And I'm not alone.
. We Christians are all capable of allowing ourselves to be seen as being close to God. We are even capable of thinking - no more than that - we capable of believing that we're close to God while at the very same time being self-righteous, proud, judgemental, controlling, easily angered, bitter, and demanding. We're capable of seeming to be close to God while at the same time being seriously dangerous to others.
In a book titled, “A Dangerous Calling” author Paul Tripp says:
. We all have the ability to talk about God's grace yet be a husband or leader with little or no grace for those who annoy us.
. We can lead a boy's ministry to teach sexual purity but lust after women in the store or at the office.
. We can teach about self-sacrifice but be unwilling to serve at home.
. We can define Biblical humility to others but be so proud that we think no one has any right to comment on our leadership in the Church.
. We talk about the beauty of forgiveness yet harbour bitterness against families or leaders who have opposed us.
. We talk of the rest we have in God's sovereignty and then anxiously work behind the Board or Pastor's back when changes arise in music or programming, all to ensure that we get our way. A way that we're certain is the only right way to do things.
. We talk of giving God the glory that is His due, but secretly feel hurt and unappreciated when people don't acknowledge what a good job we've done with the program we're running.
. We teach people that rest can be found in Jesus, but we care very much what people think of us.
. We teach what it looks like to be content but quickly grumble, and complain and try to draw people to our side and against “them” when things don't go our way.
. We often forget how much we need everything we teach.”
I'm not guilty of all of these obnoxious behaviours, but I've seen them present in every Church we've attended and I know myself well enough to know that I could just as easily be Judas instead of John.
Thank Jesus for Your forgiveness, Your love, and mercy and most of all for Your salvation – so undeserved on my part, so gracious on Your part.