Sunday, December 27, 2015

Why I Could Never Be an Atheist!

            “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”  (Psalm 14:1)

             “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, so that men are without excuse.”  (Romans 1:20)

            I have gone through some hard times recently.  Long, dry spiritual times, the kind that could leave you wondering if you only convinced yourself all along that there is a God.  He has been so silent, so distant.  My soul has ached for more than what He is giving right now.  I cry out but hear nothing.  I pray and pray about certain things.  And . . . nothing happens.  I want to feel like I matter to Him, and I guess maybe I expect Him to do what I am asking as a way to show me that He cares, that I matter.  But it doesn’t happen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Which One?

            Religion says I am . . . Broken, Imperfect, Sinful, Stupid, Helpless, Worthless
            Science says I am . . . Filled with Potential, Full of Wonder, Intelligent, Capable, Beautiful, Headed for Greatness
            Which one of these is more harmful?

            I saw a picture of a little girl holding up a sign like this, with a great big smile on her face.  Yet, she was clearly too young to understand what the sign meant.  It was her parents who wrote it.  And as I looked at the list and the little girl’s smiling face, I felt sorry for the parents.  Either they have been really hurt  by “religion” before or else they misunderstand it terribly.     Actually, what I should say is that there are “religions” out there that are very damaging.  I have no doubt that people have been scarred by the mean things that some religions teach or by the way some people try to force their religious beliefs on others.  So I don’t know what “religion” they are referring to. 
            But thankfully, Christianity is not a “religion.”  Religion is about rules created by an institution to work our way to God.  But Christianity is about a relationship with God, about admitting that we can’t work our way to God but that He is leaning down to draw near to us.  We can’t work out way to heaven, but we don’t have to.  Because He made a way through Jesus’ death on the cross.  He is holding out His hand and all we have to do it grasp it, in faith.  So while her list might be about “religion,” it is a gross misrepresentation of Christianity. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gay Marriage

What should a Christian do about the new gay-marriage laws? 
1.  For starters, don’t panic!
            “The Lord answered Moses, ‘Is the Lord’s arm too short?’”  (Numbers 11: 23)
            “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”  (Habakkuk 2:20)
            God has not lost control.  He is still on the throne.  Nor has anyone changed His laws and truths.  It bothers me when I hear Christians freaking out and saying, “Man is changing God’s laws!  Man is changing God’s laws!”  No, we aren’t.  Call it what they want, it still doesn’t change the fact that God decided that marriage is between one man and one woman.  And God’s laws still stand.   
            Just because society redefines "marriage" doesn't mean that God has.  Just because some churches are going against the Bible and claiming that now certain lifestyles are acceptable doesn't mean that God has. 
            We who hold to the clear teaching of Scripture do not need to be terrified of or confused about the "changes" that society makes.  Because it doesn't really change anything in God’s eyes.  We do not need to panic or freak out, acting like the sky is falling and like it’s our responsibility to hold it up, and acting like mere people can actually change His abiding truths.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Anti-"Prosperity Gospel"

            Noah “found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”  (Gen 6:8)  And this favor earned him 120 years of hard work building an ark by hand, most likely facing ridicule the whole time from those around him.  And then, he was closed up in a box for almost a year while everyone around him died off.  And then, he got to work the ground from scratch in order to keep his family alive. 
            Abraham was childless for 100 years, and he had to wait for 25 years before God fulfilled His promise to give him a son.
            Joseph was favored by God, but it sure seemed like God had a funny way of showing it at first.  When Joseph worked for Potiphar after being sold into slavery by his brothers, God poured out blessings on “the household of [Potiphar] because of Joseph.”  (Gen 39:5)  Someone else got the “blessings” because of Joseph’s faithfulness to God.  And Joseph got slavery.  And God showed favor to Joseph while he was unjustly imprisoned on false charges.  (Gen 39-40)  But even with this favor, he still spent at least two years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
            Daniel was taken into captivity as a young man and lived as a captive for decades.  And his faithfulness to the Lord could have cost him his life when the king threw him into the lion’s den for praying to God. 
            Samuel was raised not in the warmth and care of his home, by his godly mother, but in a temple by a priest who couldn’t even raise his own children up in a godly way.
            John was banished to the island of Patmos.  
            Paul asked three times to have a thorn removed from his side, and he was denied by the Lord.
            And many believers today have to live with chronic illness, fruitless job searches, and broken homes and hearts.  Many watch their children die of illness or starvation.  Many willingly face the horrors of Ebola in order to help those who are suffering and in need.  Many are losing their homes and lives and heads for their faith. 

            But, hey, forget all that! 
            Here in America, we have God’s promise that we will be rich and healthy and have an abundance of stuff, whatever we want. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

It's Time to be Horrified

            As our society seems to be going to “hell in a hand-basket,” do you ever wonder where God is in all of this? 
            The economy sucks. 
            Our religious rights are being trimmed away. 
            Schools are focusing less on academics and more on creating an anti-God worldview and the “morality” and social characteristics that they want. 
            Laws are being made which are having detrimental impacts on people, families, businesses, and economics. 
            Morality and modesty are “old-fashioned” concepts.  Flagrant sexuality is rampant, and society encourages it as being “open-minded, progressive, and free from oppressive restraints.” 
            You can’t say “Merry Christmas” or “God bless you” anymore without someone crying foul.  (Oh yeah, well, I’m going to say it . . . “Merry Christmas . . . Merry Christmas . . . Merry Christmas . . . God bless you . . . God bless you . . . God bless you.”) 
            Lobbyists have done a great job making sure that they protect their interests and the interests of big business and government, at the expense of the people. 
            Lawsuits are shaping our country for the worse because no one can bear to be offended or have someone raise their eyebrows at them. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My Favorite Verse: Joshua 24:15

            Joshua 24:15:  “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 
            This has got to be one of my all-time favorite verses.  And one of the most timely verses for our country today.  Our country is getting more and more polarized when it comes to the Bible, God, morals, etc.  Our entertainment has gotten shockingly ungodly and immoral.  Our schools have become more than just educational centers; they have become battlegrounds for the minds and souls of children.  Laws are being created to weed God out of everything.  Atheism, New Age, “tolerance,” homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, and other such issues are causing sharp contrasts and divisions among people, even among various Christian denominations.  It seems as though today – more so than any other generation – we are being challenged to “choose whom we will serve.”

Most Important Question!

            “[Jesus] asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’
            They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’
            ‘But what about you?’ he asked.  ‘Who do you say I am?’  (Matthew 16:13-15)
            “Who do you say I am?”
            This is the most important question we will ever consider.  The most important question we will ever answer.  And we are all asked it.  We all have to answer it.  And it will determine our eternity.
            Who do you say Jesus is?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Why Would Anyone Choose Jesus?

            As I was listening to a Christian radio station, they interviewed a random woman on the street who said, “I think the writers of the Bible just made it up to get people to follow them.”
            And I laughed out loud at the thought of that.  I wanted to ask her if she ever read the Bible, if she knew what it teaches.  Because if she did, she would have to wonder why anyone would make up some of the things we find in the Bible, thinking it would make people go, "Oh yeah, that sounds great to me!"