Archive for February, 2016

Why

February 29, 2016

How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods!  For who among us can know the mind of the Lord?  Romans 11:33-34

There is just something about us that has to ask “why?”  We’re perhaps at that stage in our cultural development that corresponds to a preschooler because they incessantly ask why.  And so we as people ask why does God allow suffering, why does God allow the innocent to suffer, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people and so on.

Those who criticize God, and there are many, act as though they themselves are the purveyors of morality.  They assume their human minds have a superior understanding of what is good and bad, who is good and who is innocent, who is deserving of suffering and who is not.  Often those same critics of God are the ones looking for a reason not to believe Him.  They set up their own idea of the perfect God, and since their experience of life  doesn’t match what their God would allow, then God can’t be real.

Those who try to defend God perhaps have better motives, but in the end are about as foolish.  Trying to fathom a good reason for what God does is just beyond us.  Jesus taught us that God is love, and Jesus sacrificed Himself to prove it.  (He also rose from the dead to prove He was divine).  But for any of us humans to come up with any kind of argument to explain God’s goodness is  like a second grade teacher trying to explain relativity to a second grade class.  Its beyond the comprehension of both the teacher and students.

Why Does God Allow Evil

February 27, 2016

“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.  Romans 8:28

How can a good God allow evil?  Its an age old question.  A best selling book some years ago attempted to answer the question.  Called Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, it proved in the end not able to answer the question.  In this passage from the bible, the question is answered in the affirmative.  All the things that happen, whether we judge them to be good or bad, are allowed to happen as part of a process.  This process works good for all who love God and are not rebelling against Him. What looks good or bad to us is seen only through our short sighted lens.  God sees through a telescope.  God sees around corners where we can’t see.  But I do believe this…if we could see what God sees, we would agree with what God does.

What is my life about?

February 26, 2016

“How would you answer Jesus if He asked you why you are following Him?” We all need to ask ourselves this question. It can be very enlightening. I know it was for me personally. When I first began to follow Jesus, I wanted to know what would be my eternal fate. Would I go to Heaven? I needed security that way. I had just experienced a lot of death of those I loved, and I wanted to know what that was all about. What happened eventually, as I followed Jesus and learned more and more about Him, experienced His guidance and His answers to my prayers, is I began to really, truly love Him. I didn’t want Heaven as much as I wanted Him. Now I can say that while I am still very sinfully selfish and fight that selfishness all the time, I really love and appreciate Jesus. I want my life to be about helping others love and appreciate Him too. I want it because Jesus deserves all my love and the love of everyone. He is really, truly, wonderful. So don’t be discouraged if right now you mostly want to know what your life is all about and what following Jesus means for you personally. If you search the scriptures to get to know Jesus, and begin to spend time with Him in real, honest, emotional prayer, you will come to love and appreciate Him deeply yourself.

What is God Like

February 26, 2016

“Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies.”  Romans 1:25

There used to be a billboard along the Freeway that said “Do I have to come down there?” –God.

I always wanted to say:  But He already did that.

If someone reads the accounts of Jesus life, they know they are seeing someone very, very unique, special and powerful.  This is no ordinary human, by any reading of the history.  Looking at the writers and what happened to them, the stories have a credibility that is at least as strong as the news stories we read today.  They are eyewitness accounts, and journalistic accounts by those who interviewed the eyewitnesses.  It would be much more difficult to disprove Jesus claims than to accept the evidence of their truth.

Beyond the accounts of Jesus, there is a preponderance of evidence in the universe to point to a creator.  An example of how one looks at evidence is seen in this irony.  Stone circles occurred throughout Europe during the ice age through the natural forces produced by ice, but no one will agree that Stonehenge falls into that category.  No one is willing to say that Stonehenge occurred through the work of natural forces because there is an element of design to it.  Then no one should be able to say that even the simplest form of life just evolved from natural forces because the argument for design is so much greater.  But people are often willing to believe all we see just came about through natural forces–without any explanation available as to how that could have happened.  Why is that, and why can’t people see the contradiction in their requirements?

An old philosopher once said “In the end people believe what they want to believe.”   People don’t want to believe in a personal God because that might require something of them.  If I owe my existence to natural forces, then I am pretty free to live my life as I please, making up my own rules as I go along.  That has quite a draw, especially for the young who tend to think they will live almost forever.  But if I believe in a personal God who created me, then He might have some ideas of what He wants for His creation (including me).  And so people believe what they want to believe, and no amount of evidence for God or Jesus will ever be enough.

Who is my Boss?

February 24, 2016

“We must obey God rather than men”  Acts 5:29

When should I ever disobey the laws of my government?  We are seeing, for the first time in the United States, civil laws which require obedience that violates the  conscience of some people.  For the first 200 years or so of this nation, laws were based, more or less on the Judeo-Christian tradition.  That was discarded by progressivism in favor of law based on majority rule.  Right and Wrong in a progressive democracy is decided by majority rule, and so is free to follow changing cultural mores, changing technology, changing ideas about science and changing ideas of what it means to be human.  The democratic majority is assumed to always get it right.

Speaking with a progressive, someone with traditional values is amazed at the utter lack of understanding about conscience.  Some progressives seem to feel that obeying the laws is always the right thing to do no matter what, and there is simply no higher authority to give anyone qualms about it.  Therefore some can be totally comfortable with the horrendous practices of late term abortions, if the law allows it.  Their mantra is:  your beliefs may be true for you, but not for me, and you can’t force your beliefs on the majority.  In other words, there is no absolute truth and no absolute morality.

Following such logic, it was totally correct for the Nazi officers to run the death camps.  The law was the law, and the Nazi party was democratically elected and authorized to make the laws of the land.  Individual conscience did not trump the law, and the party recognized no authority above their own.  Yet, when the allies conducted the Nuremberg war crimes trials, they did not recognize following legally justified  government orders as an excuse for what was done.  Why?

How to Get to Heaven

February 23, 2016

“But anyone who asks for mercy from the Lord shall have it and shall be saved.”  Acts 2:21

Most people never consider whether they will get to heaven.  They just assume everyone gets there if they’re good enough.  They figure God grades “on the curve”, and because in their own minds they are definitely in the top 50 percentile, they will surely make it in.  Others think God has a gigantic balance scales, and as long as one has more on the “good” side than they do on the “bad” side, they will be ok, (since they are always doing something nice for someone).  Still others think it just doesn’t matter, and they’ll find out about Heaven or whatever the afterlife is like when they get there.  Hardly anyone wonders what God thinks about the matter.

Think a minute.  Is Heaven a perfect place or not?  If its not, then what makes it any better than being here?  If there is still crime, violence, sickness, accidents, sorrow and pain, what difference does it make at all?  But most of us long for a perfect place where all the suffering of Earth no longer exists.  Longing for that perfect place at least suggests the possibility such a place exists.  If God is perfect, then His home surely is perfect too.  Think about your own home.  Would you let people track in all kinds of grass and mud and do nothing about it?  Would you let it be full of flies and roaches?  Would you let garbage pile up till the smell is sickening?  Of course not.  Then what makes us think there could be anything wrong in Heaven?  If there is nothing wrong in Heaven, why would we be there?  Are we perfect?  Are we totally good?  We know in truth, we aren’t.  So, we have to somehow pass through God’s cleanup process.  That’s what “being saved” is all about.  We aren’t thrown out with the dirt and garbage if we are “saved”.  And how does that happen?  We recognize our lack of goodness, indeed our badness.  And we ask for mercy.  That is the “narrow gate” Jesus talked about Heaven having.  We have to come in without armloads of good deeds, or mountains of arguments about how good we are compared with someone else.  We can only squeeze in with empty arms, and the grease called “Mercy,”  Let’s recognize what we are and ask for it.

Purpose in Life

February 22, 2016

Everyone searches for meaning.  Viktor Frankl, who survived the Nazi concentration camps, learned from experience that those who believed their lives had meaning, were able to live through terrible deprivations and suffering.  Those who despaired of purpose succumbed more quickly.

In the middle ages Christians began to organize their beliefs into a system that was easily teachable, and all the traditions at that time wrote “catechisms” in order to teach children and new believers the essentials of the faith.  One of the first  questions in every catechism was “What is the chief purpose of man?”  The answer was “To glorify God.”

What does “glorify God” mean?   God’s glory is His goodness, His Love and His beauty.  When humans glorify God, they reflect those things about God.  Therefore, when someone looks at a follower of God, they should not be seeing that person so much as seeing how good God has been to that person, how much God has loved that person, and how beautifully God has worked out His plans in that person’s life.  It will be all about God, and not about the person.  I will not be glorified.  God will be.  And that, I think, was the sin of Lucifer.  He wanted God’s glory for himself.  That is the essence of pride, the self-love and self-gratification that is the opposite of love for God, to whom we owe everything including our very existence.

Reasons Not to Believe

February 17, 2016

People who work in the field of Apologetics are very smart people.  Apologetics is the field of study involving reasons to believe.  Christians in the apologetics ministry present a lawyer’s case of evidence for the truth of the Christian message, so no one need be asked to accept Christ with “blind faith”.   Questions are answered based on evidence, historical evidence, archaeological evidence, textual evidence and the like.  However, the biggest surprise for many in the field is why, after being presented with so much evidence supporting the claims of Christ, evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, some people still won’t believe.

Jesus answered that question.  Jesus said:  “There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him (Christ) to save them.  But those who don’t trust him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God.  Their sentence is based on this fact:  that the Light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  They hated the heavenly Light because they wanted to sin in the darkness.  They stayed away from that Light for fear their sins would be exposed and they would be punished.”  John 3:18-21.

Augustine knew and understood the truth about Jesus before he finally gave in to it.  He was involved in a sinful lifestyle and didn’t want to give up his enjoyment of that right away.  I once knew a man who had an adulterous affair going and didn’t want to give up the woman, so he would say he “didn’t know” anything about God, and didn’t think anyone could know.  That was in spite of once professing faith.  Not all of the reasons for unbelief are intellectual.  If there are sincere questions about matters of faith, then the apologist can work.

Abortion and Animals

February 16, 2016

Someone posted on Facebook today that being pro-choice doesn’t mean being pro-abortion.  It just means that someone else’s choice is none of my business.

Well, if I did to puppies what is done in a late term abortion, I would be in jail.  Could someone explain to me what is the difference?  It is not that unborn babies don’t feel pain–they do.

Greatness in Leadership

February 16, 2016

“Your care for others is the measure of your greatness.”  Luke 9:48

Who was the best boss you ever had, and why?  We all remember the story of Scrooge, and his boss Mr. Fezziwig.  That boss was actually loved, because he thought it was important that his employees had a little happiness now and then, and he attempted to provide it.

Who was the worst boss you ever had and why?  Probably the one who was demanding, yet uncaring.  Or, the one who was using the employees to make him or her look good, because they were only having a rest stop on their career ladder

Greatness can never be achieved by one’s own self promotion.  Greatness comes about through building up others.  True greatness makes the well being of the others in one’s circle of influence a priority.  As a famous management principle says:  “Take care of the people and the people will take care of the organization.”   There’s truth in that.  A group of people achieves greatness when they feel their needs are being addressed, when they feel cohesion as a group, and when they sense the goals they are working for are important.  The leader promotes all these things–the workers’ needs, the sense of family within the group, and the workers’ sense of importance to the overall mission of the organization.  Promoting all these things puts the people first, and the leader stays in the background.  The leader shines when the group succeeds.

The quote above is from Jesus.  Most people think Jesus only talked about heavenly things.  Actually, He was quite a wise observer of worldly things, as well as an astute prescriber of solutions that work.