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

Friday, November 29, 2013

Why Won't He Show Himself?

That's what many atheists ask. “It's God's obligation to prove His existence to me. If Jesus would only show Himself to me, then I'd believe. Why won't He do that?”

First of all, God will make His existence known to anyone who is genuinely searching for Him. Second, a materialist would not believe in Jesus if He appeared. And finally, I think we're fortunate that God hasn't and doesn't reveal Himself to us in that manner.

He will.
But we're lucky that He hasn't yet.
Here's why.

In His mercy, God has used His “hiddenness” to prevent our decision to rebel against him from have permanent consequences. Those who have experienced what atheists ask for, a pure revelation of God's existence, are now beyond redemption. An unknown number of angelic beings are now beyond redemption because unlike we humans, their rebellion took place with maximum light and maximum revelation. There are no agnostic angels. That is the type of rebellion from which there is no recovery.

Oh sure, there are utter fools who have tried to bring about the same fate in their own lives with the, um, what is it called? Right, the Blasphemy Project or something like that. But even there, what they are doing is being done out of ignorance. “If there is a God, I'm going to offend Him.” Woohoo!

In His mercy, God knows that many of us who begin life resisting His love and His offer of forgiveness will eventually decide that being loved with the greatest love in the universe is a good thing. We come to think that experiencing mercy and forgiveness for real guilt is not so bad after all. Giving us just enough evidence of Himself so that those who are looking for Him will find Him allows us time to experience the full impact of our sinful nature in comparison with His Grace. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Atheists in Community

Atheist Churches are springing up around the world. Those who attend these congregations say they miss the community that a “real” congregation provides. What's more, they assume that it's this human need to be in community that drives Christians to attend Church. I suppose that in some cases they might be right – about why some people attend Church I mean.

For those who are serious about growing in their walk with Jesus however, meeting together with other like-motivated believers is indispensable. We need their insight, their protecting, encouraging, their warning and restoring ministry to us. We simply cannot make it spiritually on our own.

The effort to be an autonomous Christian will not and cannot ever work. This is because we cannot learn to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who persecute us if we are not in contact with these people. God designed our spiritual maturing to be grown in community as a community project.

If atheists want to go an listen to poems and be inspired by good speakers, and if they want to enjoy the benefits of being with others, good for them. Let them meet where ever and whenever they want.

If those who follow Jesus want to become like Him, and they do, then we have no option but to follow Him into the throngs and learn to love others and to be loved by others.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How Can I Know?

I work with a fair number of people who really aren't sure if they're “saved” or not. They're not sure because they haven't really made up their minds to leave behind what this world considers important. Of course, we're all bombarded on a daily if not hourly basis with messages telling us that things and stuff and self are important. We're all inundated with messages telling us that we get our value and worth from what we own, how we look, what our level of education is and what strata of society in which we live. We all have to fight off those lies.

A person who is saved however, a person who is a follower of Jesus should be able to recognize the lies that the world feeds us.

A Christian is someone who believes to the point of acting upon what Jesus Christ taught about Himself, about life, death, sin, forgiveness and the resurrection (His and ours). Jesus taught that a follower of His is a person who depends upon Jesus alone for salvation. He taught that a Christian is someone who depends upon what Jesus calls His Word (The Bible), and upon His Spirit for guidance and strength in daily living.

Does that mean that true Christians never sin, that they never do things contrary to the teaching’s of Jesus? 

. Obviously not because our sin loving nature is the very reason that Jesus came to “seek and to save” the lost. 
. Obviously not because Christians are told to confess their sins and to ask for forgiveness. 
. Obviously not because, ‘doing what we shouldn’t do, and not doing what we should do’ is an ongoing moral struggle that is addressed in the Bible.

In his letter to the Colossian Christians, Paul says - “. . . you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

In 1st John chapter 2 we're told, “”We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.”

You can know you are saved when you look back and realize that you desire to worship God. That would have been unthinkable, absurd in your pre salvation state. You have changed from serving yourself to serving Him. Your priorities have changed from the things of this world to the things of God's Kingdom. When you are a genuine follower of Jesus, you'll stop performing, working, striving for salvation. You'll simply relax in the knowledge that your faith in the Grace of God and what Jesus accomplished on the cross is your only requirement for a full and abundant life on this planet and for eternity in paradise on the other side.

There is no need to stumble around in fear and uncertainty. When the Holy Spirit resides within your soul, you'll know.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Will Evil Triumph?

No. It won’t. But Edmond Burke gave us the recipe for how it could. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

1. Atheists once told us that if poverty was eradicated, happiness would ensue.
2. Atheists once told us that if people accumulated wealth, happiness would ensue.
3. Atheists once told us that if people got a good education, happiness would ensue.
4. Atheists once told us that if we had more free time, happiness would ensue.
5. Atheists are now telling us that if we eradicate religion from the earth, happiness will ensue.

We in the West are proof positive that atheists have been 100% wrong in their predictions.
#’s 1-4 do not produce happiness.
In reality, in the midst of wealth and health and education and free-time, we are living in a state of psychological and spiritual poverty.
Number 5 will prove no different. The mere suggestion of number 5 shows that we are in fact living in a poverty of compassion, a poverty of purpose beyond our self-interest, and a poverty of hope in what atheists tell us is an accidental universe.

It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
Mother Theresa

Atheists mock Mother Theresa while doing bugger-all to alleviate the weight of evil the is crushing people of the world. Reality is, left to ourselves, our greatest passion is for ourselves and we only work for those causes that might prolong or improve our own existence.

There are two standards by which we judge events in the world: Near or Far.”
Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

Once in awhile, not often, but once in awhile overused and much abused terms like, “I once was lost but now I’m found,” find their rightful place in the universe and take back their deepest and truest resonance. This is nowhere more true than when children are rescued from the claws of evil. To be in the presence of a soul that has been saved, to linger in the exquisite authenticity of spiritual / physical freedom makes me want to throw open the window and shout to the world, “See! Evil will NOT win. Yes there is bondage on this earth, but there is also freedom. With God’s help and in Jesus’ Name people can move from the former to the latter. That is worth fighting for - even – no especially - in the face of ridicule and mocking and the laughter of those who side with evil day in and day out.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rob Ford Admits to Alcoholism.

Well, not exactly. He said that he's quit drinking. That statement however is an admission of alcoholism because only alcoholics quit drinking. More on that in a bit.

People in transition are beginning to realize that their problems are somehow connected with their chemical use, but they believe they can handle the issue on their own. Working through this stage is going from "It's not my fault. Drinking/drugging isn't a problem for me. If everyone would just leave me alone everything would be fine," to "It is my problem and drinking/drugging is a major issue for me." It almost always requires assistance from family, employers, authority figures etc. to help these people work through this stage. However help may not look the way you think it looks.

The movement through transition usually looks like this:

1) People in transition begin to develop problems that motivates them to question the benefits of their chemical use - Impaired charges; Breakdown of relationships; School problems; or Employment problems. This is where others MUST NOT enable the person to continue using. It is vitally important that the consequences of using are experienced by the user. Nevertheless those who are addicted will still say, yes I've got troubles -
. I got an impaired charge because the police are out to get me
. I got fired because my boss is on some kind of power trip
. I got suspended because my teacher's wife left him and he had to take it out on someone
. My girlfriend left me because she can't stand it when I have fun
. I got asked to leave home because my parents don't understand me. They don't know what it's like to be me.

2) People in transition will attempt to fix these kind of problems without considering the role of chemicals in their lives.

3) People in transition will then attempt to control their chemical use.
. Only use on certain days
. Only use at certain times of the day
. Only take a certain amount of cash to the bar/parties
. Only drink beer not whisky. Only use pot, not cocaine
. Only use with these friends but not with those

4) People in transition will attempt controlled abstinence.
All chemically dependent people try to quit at some point. Rather than being a symptom of recovery, it's actually one more symptom of an addiction. Social drinkers don't try to see if they can quit, because there is no need to see if they can quit. Those who are chemically dependent try to quit for lots of reasons: To complete a task, or to give their bodies a rest. They quit to show their boss or teacher that they've changed. But most often the reason that chemically dependent people try to quit using is to prove to themselves and others that they can quit. At any rate -

5) People in transition accept the need to quit for good.

6) So these people accept the need for help, usually in a 12 step group after completing a time away learning about recovery. This is where they will most likely find success.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Where Were You?

We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives in deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.” C.S. Lewis.
Have you ever wondered what your grandchildren will say when they review history and ask:
Where were you when many millions of children were sold into slavery and when children died by the tens of thousands EVERY DAY because they didn’t have enough to eat?”
Where were you when the weak and the voiceless and the vulnerable had no one to speak for them, to protect them, to rescue them. Where were you?”
Did you show up grandpa? Did you do what you could to protect children or did you support the very industries that sexualised kids all in the name of tolerance? Grandma, did you help the industries that make money from the sexualizing of children? Did you do nothing like most of the people, mom and dad, or did you resist evil? Did you fight it? Did you work to defeat evil or did you, like atheists, pretend that evil doesn’t exist?”
What difference might it make if each of us rejected Lewis’ description of hell as a way of life and instead gave ourselves fully to the things that matter; if we sacrificed ourselves in the service of others?
What would happen if we lived Jesus' definition of love?

I'm going in for a Total Shoulder Replacement tomorrow so this will be my last post until I can type again.

Quebec Charter of Atheist Values

The Quebec Charter of Values tips the atheist's hand to the fast-track version of an atheist utopia.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

If I say ‘Suppose the Divine did really walk and talk upon the earth, what should we be likely to think of it?’ I think we should see in such a being exactly the perplexities that we see in the central figure of the Gospels: I think he would seem to us extreme and violent; because he would see some further development in virtue which would be for us untried. I think he would seem to us to contradict himself; because, looking down on life like a map, he would see a connection between things which to us are disconnected. I think, however, that he would always ring true to our own sense of right, but ring (so to speak) too loud and too clear. He would be too good but never too bad for us: ‘Be ye perfect.’ I think there would be, in the nature of things, some tragic collision between him and the humanity he had created, culminating in something that would be at once a crime and an expiation. I think he would be blamed as a hard prophet for dragging down the haughty, and blamed also as a weak sentimentalist for loving the things that cling in corners, children or beggars. I think, in short, that he would give us a sensation that he was turning all our standards upside down, and yet also a sensation that he had undeniably put them the right way up.”
G.K. Chesterton (Wisdom and Innocence, 151).

And now brothers, I will ask you a terrible question, and God knows I ask it also of myself. Is the truth beyond all truths, beyond the stars, just this: that to live without him is the real death, that to die with him the only life?”
Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

“The Moth” To What End?

Just finished reading 50 stories from “The Moth.” It's a compilation of stories from thousands and thousands of stories that people have told at on-stage, stand-up story telling venues.
Many of the stories of are people who have triumphed over life's circumstances - addictions, death, many and varied types of suffering. The sadness that comes with the human condition was at times overwhelming for me. Yet, these people triumphed, succeeded, overcame their lot in life.
Sort of.
For as Jesus said, and as every Christian knows, “How can it be of any benefit to you if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?”

Monday, November 4, 2013

I'm reading a really good book on marriage and came across this quote by C.S.Lewis. The context is addressing our demand for retaining freedom even as we marry another.

"Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to a pet. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable,impenetrable, irredeemable, The alternative to tragedy or at least to the risk of tragedy is self-damnation."

Our culture makes individual freedom, autonomy, and fulfillment, the very highest values, and thoughtful people know deep down that any love relationship at all means the loss of all three.

Homosexuals Ruined My Marriage

That's the fear that some people have – right? Some Christians say, "It won't ruin my marriage, exactly, but marriage in general, and the family specifically will be torn apart if homosexuals are allowed marital rights."
Truth is, the fact that we've arrived at a place where homosexual marriage is even being talked about in the way that it is means that marriage, as it was meant to be, is already ruined. It was ruined way back when common-law relationships were considered equal to marriage as instituted by our Creator. In fact by the time they're 39 years old, 60% of women will have lived in a common-law relationship. That's something when you think that prior to 1960, almost no one, only those on the criminal / addiction fringes lived common-law.
What we have before us today is a generation of children who know nothing of the kind of love that makes life-long commitment to a relationship possible.
All mammals, including humans, learn relationship by what they see while growing up. Deny those essential observations and you've emotionally and relationally handicapped that offspring for life.
Because we've turned our backs on Jesus  ("The one who loves Me is the one who will obey Me."), we've ordained temporary arrangements that are built on “Can you make me happy,” the standard by which we determine “love.”

We've sown the wind and we will indeed reap a whirlwind. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

You Scare Me!

I wonder if there is anyone in the world more afraid of their own shadow than the U.S. Citizen.

With a fair bit of regularity and predictability we read in the News about child after child shooting h/herself or another family member with a loaded gun that was left lying around. And just as predictably people who are commenting on the event wonder aloud why people don't lock up their guns.

Well duh!

When the bad guys that are lurking just outside every American's door, decide to come into your house and rape and kill everyone who's inside, what good is a gun that is safely locked away?

Handguns are for killing people, and you can't kill someone if you don't have your gun handy. It's best to have the gun with full clip and a round in the chamber holstered to your body. Sadly, you can't always do that because the gun might get wet while washing the dishes or it might poke your partner while having sex. So the next best option is to have your weapon lie on the coffee table in the living room, or on the kitchen table, or on the nightstand in the bedroom.

When you're scared of your neighbours, and Americans are terrified of their neighbours, you'll want to have a loaded gun within easy reach. The NRA advises that having a gun in each room of the house is the most sane way to live. Americans seem to believe that.

But what about all the kids that get killed, sometimes by the dozens, when a mentally disturbed person decides to use his assault rifle in the manner it was intended to be used? You know, like at LAX?

Well, according to Americans, dead kids are an acceptable price to pay. All so they can keep their guns ready for when scary people (they're everywhere) come through the door.