Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Those with experience are never at the mercy of those with theory – equally those with convictions vs. those with opinions.

20131221-175118.jpg

Dawkins: “Congress members must be faking religious belief to be elected … they are intelligent, after all…” ?!?

How is that for arrogance.

Reasonable Faith Podcast – The “Unbelievers” Movie. Listen to full audio here.

20130626-071307.jpg

You think the heading above is wrong-headed? Listen to the audio segment below & see how you would very likely change your mind.

Reasonable Faith Podcast – Taken from “Do Theists Really Believe in God?”. Listen to full audio here.

20130415-202107.jpg

debateAround 15,000 people watched the live debate between William Lane Craig and Alex Rosenberg on “Is Faith in God Reasonable?”. View number, as of this writing, sits around 26000. The debate, hosted at Purdue University, was watched online live around the world with all 50 states represented and over 60 countries and the conversation trended (top spot for a few hours) on Twitter (#GODdebate).

A potential spoiler, or something to attract your attention more… post debate voting about the best argument was 4-2 by the formal panel, 1390-303 by the audience, 734-59 online. You can watch & guess which side got the mentioned votes. Also note the bottom of this post after you watched. (more…)

When heart-wrenching tragedy (like this & this) strikes, what do you tell people that ask “why would God allow this to happen?”

For people less intimately involved in a tragic event, see also the intellectual problem of evil, in this post. Obviously intellectual reasoning has nothing to offer a heart that is overwhelmed with deep & unbearable grief.

The following true story illustrates, the deliverance & real power over adversity and even joy that people can & do find, through Jesus. Make sure you listen to the audio above also (or download here).

I was a college student when I met Mabel. It was Mothers Day, and I was taking some flowers to the county convalescent home to brighten the day for some lonely mothers and grandmothers.

This state-run convalescent hospital is not a pleasant place. It is large, understaffed, and overfilled with senile and helpless people who are waiting to die. On the brightest of days it seems dark inside, and it smells of sickness and stale urine. I went there once or twice a week for four years, but I never wanted to go there, and I always left with a sense of relief. It is not the kind of place one gets used to.

On this particular day I was walking in a hallway that I had not visited before, looking in vain for a few people who appeared sufficiently alert to receive a flower and a few words of encouragement. This hallway seemed to contain some of the worst cases, strapped onto carts or into wheelchairs and looking completely helpless.

As I neared the end of the hallway, I saw an old woman strapped up in a wheelchair. Her face was a horror. The empty stare and white pupils of her eyes told me that she was blind. The large hearing aid over one ear told me that she was almost deaf. One side of her face was being eaten by cancer. There was a discolored and running sore covering part of one cheek, and it had pushed her nose to one side, dropped one eye, and distorted her jaw so that what should have been the corner of her mouth was the bottom of her mouth. As a consequence, she drooled constantly. I was told later that when new aids arrived, the supervisors would send them to feed this woman, thinking that if they could stand this sight they could stand anything in the building. I also learned later that this woman was eighty-nine years old and that she had been here, bed-ridden, blind, nearly deaf, and alone, for twenty-five years. This was Mabel.

I don’t know why I spoke to her – she looked less likely to respond than most of the people I saw in that hallway. But I put a flower in her hand and said, “Here is a flower for you. Happy Mother’s Day.” She held the perfect flower up to her distorted face and tried to smell it. Then she spoke. And much to my surprise, her words, although somewhat garbled because of her deformity, were obviously the product of a clear mind. She said, “Thank you. It’s lovely. But can I give it to someone else? I can’t see it, you know, I’m blind.”

I said, “Of course,” and I pushed her in the chair back down the hallway to a place where I thought I could find some alert patients. I found one, and I stopped the chair. Before I could speak, Mabel held out the flower and said, “Here. This is from Jesus.”

That was when it began to dawn on me that this was not an ordinary human being. We distributed the rest of my little supply of flowers in the same manner, and I wheeled her back to her room. There I began to learn more. She had grown up on a small farm that she managed with only her mother until her mother died, and then she managed the farm alone. Her social life was limited to the country church near her home, where she had played the piano from the time she was a girl. Finally blindness and sickness and poverty sent her to the county convalescent hospital. For twenty-five years she got weaker and weaker, with constant headaches, backaches, and stomach aches. Then the cancer came. There was little medical care for people like Mabel, people with no money merely waiting to die. For company she had three roommates, human vegetables who screamed occasionally but never spoke intelligibly. They often soiled their bedclothes; and because the hospital was understaffed, especially on Sundays when I usually visited, the stench was overpowering.

Mabel and I became friends, and I went to see her once or twice a week for the next three years. Her first words to me were usually an offer of hard candy from a tissue box she kept near her bed. Some days I would read to her from her beloved Bible, and often when I would pause she would continue reciting the passage from memory, word for word. On other days I would take a book of hymns and sing with her, and she would know all the words of the old songs. For Mabel, these were not merely exercises in memory. She would often stop in mid-hymn and make a brief comment about lyrics she considered particularly relevant to her own situation. I never heard her speak of loneliness or pain except in the stress she placed on certain lines in certain hymns. Once, for example, while singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” following the line, “Is there trouble anywhere?” she murmured softly, “Oh, yes, there is.”

It was not many weeks before I turned from a sense that I was being helpful to a sense of wonder, and I would go to her with a pen and paper to write down things she would say. I have a few of those notes now (I wish I had had the foresight to collect a book full of them), and what follows is the story behind one scrap of paper.

During a hectic week of final exams I was frustrated because my mind seemed to be pulled in ten directions at once by all of the things I had to think about. The question occurred to me, “What does Mabel have to think about – hour after hour, day after day, week after week, not even able to know if it is day or night?” So I went to her and asked, “Mabel, what do you think about when you lie here?”

And she said, “I think about my Jesus.”

I sat there and thought for a moment about the difficulty, for me, of thinking about Jesus for even five minutes, and I asked, “What do you think about Jesus?” She replied slowly and deliberately as I wrote; so slowly that I was able to write it all down. This is what she said:

“I think about how good he’s been to me. He’s been awfully good to me in my life, you know. . .

I’m one of those kind who’s mostly satisfied. . . Lots of folks wouldn’t care much for what I think. Lots of folks would think I’m kind of old-fashioned. But I don’t care. I’d rather have Jesus. He’s all the world to me.”

And then Mabel began to sing an old hymn:

Jesus is all the world to me,

My life, my joy, my all.

He is my strength from day to day,

Without him I would fall.

When I am sad, to him I go,

No other one can cheer me so.

When I am sad, he makes me glad.

He’s my friend.

This is not fiction. Incredible as it may seem, a human being really lived like this. I know. I knew her. I watched her for three years. How could she do it? Seconds ticked and minutes crawled, and so did days and weeks and months and years of pain without human company and without an explanation of why it was all happening – and she lay there and sang hymns. How could she do it?

The answer, I think, is that Mabel had something that you and I don’t have much of. She had power. Lying there in that bed, unable to move, unable to see, unable to hear, unable to talk to anyone, she had incredible power.

How do you keep your sanity amidst mounting troubling trends? Maybe you are living in abundant blessing & joy, but then you might need this kind of advice sometime in the future. Listen to the full audio for the full message – the audio above is a small extract.

Check out Line of Fire Radio. Listen to full audio here, or download segment above here.

The video above is highly recommended before you read further. Context & understanding matters.

The gospel is the singularly most important communication of God to man.  In Jesus, who is God the Son, we have the revelation of God’s love and sacrifice that saves us from God’s righteous judgement upon sinners.

If you are not a Christian and want to know how to be forgiven of your sins and follow Jesus as your saviour, or are just curious to know what the Christian gospel is, then this is for you.

The Bible tells us what the gospel is in 1 Cor. 15:1-4,

Now I make known to you brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

The Bible says that we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23).  This means that we have all offended God.  We have all broken His law & fall short of His standard of righteousness (more on this below).  Therefore, we are guilty of having sinned.  Because of this, we are separated from God (Isaiah 59:2), are dead in our sins (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:3), cannot please God (Rom. 3:10-11), and will suffer damnation (2 Thess. 1:9).  The only way to escape this judgement is by receiving Christ, by trusting in what Jesus did on the cross (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Pet. 2:24).

Jesus, who is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 8:58; Col. 2:9), bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24).  He died in our place.  He paid the penalty of breaking the Law of God that should have fallen upon us.  He satisfied the law of God the Father by dying on the cross.

It is only through Jesus that we can escape the penalty that God will execute upon all who have broken his holy and perfect law. Consider that God’s Law is really perfect.  His judgements are really righteous.  Do you want to be saved from the righteous judgement of God?  If so, you must realize that you have sinned against God, and are under his judgement.  You must look to Jesus who died on the cross and trust what he did in order for you to be forgiven of your sentence and be saved from the judgement of God.  Consider also that the cross is where God’s perfect love and perfect judgement meets.  God cannot just forgive since there is a price to be paid – God has declared that is so & that cannot be changed.  God, Himself, however paid the price, though Jesus, His eternal Son, for you.  You cannot add any human works to what Jesus has done, but you cannot continue to live in wilful sin from this point on. You need to consider the truth claims made here & evaluate that for yourself – not if the message sounds ‘nice’ or not.  Truth is all that matters in the end. For help in that regard, ministries like Reasonable Faith might help. Don’t think that Christianity is only for people that don’t deeply consider the choices they make in life – especially where it comes to such a drastic decision as trusting & giving your life to Jesus – if anyone takes a decision like that lightly he/she surely doesn’t understand the personal impact or cannot be too serious about the personal cost involved.

Count the Cost

Jesus said, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?”  (Luke 14:28). Jesus tells us to count the cost.  The cost of becoming a Christian can be quite high sometimes.  In some parts of the world it can cost you your life.  In the western world, it is not really dangerous, but that very likely produced a ‘flaky Christianity-lookalike’ in recent years – which is dangerous & does damage to the gospel if those that carry the name (i.e. they seemingly associate themselves with Jesus) don’t live according to His way.  Nevertheless, if you commit your life to Jesus, God will start to work in your heart and in your life to change you and make you more like Him.  Often this can be difficult, but this is what it means to become a Christian – a follower of Christ (‘Christ’ meaning ‘Messiah’) – to have God work in your life, through His Holy Spirit and to continue to work in your life after you have been saved to, every day more fully reflect the glory of God that we, as His representatives on earth are supposed to do.

Receive Jesus (aka Yeshua, the Messiah, the Deliverer of Israel & the World)

If you desire to give your life to Jesus as your Lord & source of life & deliverance we offer the following prayer as an example.  It is not a formula, but it is a representation of what it means to trust in Him. Read it, change it slightly to make it your own words and only pray it if you mean it.

“Lord Jesus. I come to you and confess that I am a sinner, that I have lied, thought evil in my heart, and broken your word.  Please forgive me of my sins.  I trust in what you have done on the cross and I receive you.  Please cleanse me of my sin and be the Lord of my life – take over the control of my live according to your will, not mine, from this point on.  Give me the strength to persist & hold me close to You from this day onwards.  I trust You completely for the forgiveness of my sins.  Lord Jesus, please save me.”

If you’ve prayed a prayer like this with sincerity, you have just started your walk of the rest of your life as part of the family of God!  Now tell others about your commitment to Jesus.  If you find it too hard to do, be somewhat suspicious of your commitment & keep at it until you shared it with several people – even if it takes you weeks or longer to do.  The Bible says, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10).

Examine Yourself!

If you think you are saved, and this post is not for you, that you have been a Christian for a long time, …what does it mean to be a Christian? …and if you think you know, it would be best that you examine yourself, and be sure.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?2 Corinthians 13:5

________________________

List of some scriptures referenced above:

  • Isaiah 59:2, “Your sins have caused a separation between you and your God….”
  • John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
  • John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
  • John 14:6, “Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
  • Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
  • Romans 3:10-11, “as it is written,’ There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God…’”
  • Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
  • Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • Romans 10:9-10, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
  • Ephesians 2:3, “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”
  • Colossians 2:9, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,”
  • 2 Thess. 1:9, “And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,”
  • 1 Pet. 2:24, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”