Archive for December, 2011

Thoughts for a New Year

December 28, 2011

Throughout history, humans have had all kinds of religious and antireligious ideas.  Because God is so far removed from humankind, it would be impossible to know Him unless He revealed Himself to us.  Christians believe He did that.  In Jesus, God appeared in human form to reveal himself to us and also to ransom us from the power of evil and death.  Its quite a story–not something humans are likely to think of.  Jesus did things no human has ever done before or since, including rising from the dead.  His remarkable stories are written down for us by people who were eyewitnesses to history, and they risked and sometimes gave their lives telling what happened.  You can read it for yourself.  Look for a book called the New Testament and see what You think.  Wishing you peace, joy, blessings, and a relationship with the God who made and loves you!

Nonni

Apologetics

December 28, 2011

I talked in the last blog about apologetics meaning not an apology, but a defense of belief.  Theoretically, apologetics could apply to defense of one’s political views, or any other belief system, but generally the term is used to mean defense of one’s religious or philosophical belief.

I said I would like to learn more about apologetics this year.  I have learned enough about various worldviews and religions to solidify my own beliefs.  I feel very comfortable believing Jesus was divine, and the eyewitness accounts of his life are reliable.  I believe what the Christians call the New Testament is true, and written by those who either were eyewitnesses to what they wrote, or were close associates of those who were there.  I believe the Old Testament is true, because I believe Jesus was divine.  Jesus testified to the truth of the Old Testament in that He quoted from nearly every book of it.

That being said, I have learned enough to be convinced myself, but I want to learn how to dialogue with those who are equally convinced their own belief system, or lack of belief is true.  I want to know the arguments of the other side of each debate, not to directly refute them, but to know how to introduce Jesus into their model.  I am utterly convinced Jesus is for everyone, no matter their background.  I am convinced He has the answers to all human problems, and is Himself the answer to the 5 existential questions every worldview must answer:  How did the world come to be?  What happened to cause evil and suffering?  What is mankind’s purpose?  What happens when we die?  and How does the wrong get remedied?  Not every worldview can answer all these questions.

I have come across some marvelous Christian apologists.  Some give themselves this title, and some don’t, because they talk about other things as well.   Probably my favorite apologists are Ravi Zacharias and his group of speakers/writers.  They are so down-to-earth and easy to understand.  You don’t have to be a philosopher or theologian to understand them.  I also like the books of Lee Stroble–especially interesting in that he came from an agnostic background, and initially set out to disprove Christianity, the bible, and even a creator.  He ended up convincing himself to change his own belief system.  Another apologist is Josh McDowell.  He’s been writing quite awhile, and has expanded his offerings to include answers to the most common questions skeptics ask.  A theologian who is deeper and more into doctrine is RC Sproul.  He has some good answers to more specific questions about Christian belief and practice.  A classic apologist, who is still very popular and readable is CS Lewis.  Here again we have a skeptic whose research dissolved his own skepticism.

The work of an apologist, in my opinion, is to give people intellectually satisfying reasons to believe.  In the apologists mind, God doesn’t expect blind faith.  He gives us plenty of evidence to mull over.  On the other hand, evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is not evidence beyond ALL doubt.  If there could be no doubt left, there would be no faith.  Sometimes in life, we just have to step out and trust.  If we didn’t do that, we would never marry and never have children. 

Ultimately, there can never be enough evidence to convince a skeptic who has emotional reasons for their unbelief.  Faith has two components:  intellect and will.  If I do not desire to have God in my life, if I simply won’t trust anyone but myself, if I prefer to believe I am the captain of my own ship and make my own destiny, then no amount of evidence will ever be enough.

 

 

Writing on here again

December 27, 2011

I realized I’ve taken quite a break from this blog.  I haven’t taken a break from writing, just blogging.  I’ve been writing for some other websites, and doing an internet mentoring kind of thing.  Thats where people write in with all sorts of concerns and questions and look for someone who can help them untangle things.  One site has been concerning faith issues, and the other, mostly relationship issues.  I got into this through a master’s program which I just completed this year.  Its a Christian psychology master’s program, and that was also a lot of writing.  What is Christian psychology, you might ask?  That would require another post.

The other website concerning faith is something I got into just by word of mouth.  This year I would like to learn a whole lot more about apologetics.  And what is that?  Apologetics isn’t apologizing for anything, but comes from the Greek, and means giving a defense.  It says in the bible that we are to study so that we may always give a ready defense for why we believe as we do.  In doing this website about faith, I realize how much more I need to know about defending my faith in Jesus, and that is my learning goal for 2012.  I’ll share more about what I learn, as I remember best those things I share.

Incarnation

December 26, 2011

Lord Jesus, today we celebrate your birth into our world.  What would our world have been like without you.  For four hundred years before your birth, heaven was silent–no prophets, no angelic visitations.  People must have thought you had forgotten them.  And then you came.  God with us.  You left your home and came into our dark and cold world.

A humble teenage girl agreed to grow and birth you.  She agreed to care for you, not knowing what that meant for her.  It could have meant disgrace, the loss of the man she loved, and maybe the loss of her life.  Yet, she said yes to your living in her life.  Today you ask the same of me.  Your desire is to live in my life–to have the place of honor in my heart.  Yes, come Lord Jesus.  Live in me.  Live your life in me.  Go with me wherever I go. Love through me.  Do your goodness through me.  Lord, do the biggest thing you want to do in my life, and then help fearful, trembling me to get out of your way while you do it.  Let 2012 be the year Jesus fully lived His Life in Nonni.