Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Throwing Jesus out with the Bath Water

June 6, 2016

One of the biggest arguments anti Christians have is to drag out all the wrong and evil things done by churches and Christians down through the ages.  Sins of kings and governments are attributed to Christianity, when what they did was completely against Christian teaching.  Political Christianity–Kingdoms and nations who were nominally Christian, but who had political agendas, struggles and wars, is not the same as the faith given by Jesus Christ.  But people who don’t like or want Jesus in their lives will throw him out along with the rest of this.  They are ignoring the whole issue of who Jesus himself is and the arguments as to whether he was truly God, truly rose from the dead, was truly depicted in the early writings and so forth.  Truth is truth.  It cannot be refuted by the goodness or badness of the people associated with it.  Its rather like politicians today neglecting to give a cogent argument against the positions of their opponents and attacking their character instead.

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What I Did for Love

February 14, 2016

“If any of you wants to be my follower, He told them, you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross, and follow me closely.”  Mark 8:14

How many remember the title of this post as a song?  That might be dating yourself, as its quite an old classic.  1975, to be exact.  It was from the Broadway play “A Chorus Line”.  It isn’t about love for a person, but about what one is willing to do to reach a goal or fully realize a talent.  Much sacrifice is required for greatness.

Why are there not more Olympic records broken by Americans?  Why are there not more great scientific discoveries by Americans?  Why are there not more great inventions by Americans?  Why are there not more Americans with advanced educational degrees?  Why are there not more Americans with lifelong marriages?  Why are there not more Christians doing truly great things for God?

I think Jesus provides the answer in the quote above.  To be Jesus follower will cost you.  Oh surely, He had many fair weather followers, and many quiet, hidden followers, but for the disciples who would physically follow Him everywhere He went, the sacrifice was very great.  It meant leaving home and family, familiarity, comfort, bed, meals, security, and so on right up to giving one’s life.

By the way, the answer to all the questions in paragraph two is the same–too much sacrifice.  We always have people who admire or envy those who achieve greatness, but they do not achieve all of which they are capable or all which they dreamed, because they felt the sacrifice was too great.

 

Reasons to Believe Jesus

October 23, 2015

There are at least 5 reasons to believe Jesus.  Here they are–in no particular order.

  1.  Scientifically.  Jesus talked about the Creation many times.  There is a creator.  If you have intricate design and purpose, you have a designer and a creator.  It is just not possible to get from amino acids to even the simplest cell.  To get to the simplest protein we know of, you have to have the right DNA combination.  The chances of getting that are 10×10 to the 77th power.  All the rest of the combinations won’t work.  That makes chance mutation, over and over, mathematically impossible, and this chance mutation is the basis for evolution.
  2. Historically.  The resurrection is one of the best testified events in history.  All history is based on the testimony of reliable witnesses.  The witnesses to the resurrection wouldn’t recant their testimony even under pain of death.  All but one of the apostles died for their witness.  Only John did not, and he was persecuted, imprisoned and exiled.  People will die for what they believe is the truth, they will not die for what they know is a lie. And the tomb was empty.  If there had been a body, somebody would have produced it.  As for the theory he really didn’t die–no one survived a Roman crucifixion.  Their job was to see their convicts died.
  3. Change in the apostles.  The changed lives of the apostles are a testimony that something happened.  They never portrayed themselves as heroes.  They all abandoned Jesus at his arrest.  Yet, after seeing the risen Jesus and receiving the Spirit, they became bold witnesses who traveled all over spreading the news of Jesus resurrection and his teaching.
  4. Prophetically.  Jesus fulfilled 317 prophecies about himself that were written in the old testament more than 400 years before his birth.  No one could do that on their own.  You can’t control how you will be born or die.
  5. Practically.  Look at the changed lives of people today, whose path has been turned around completely when they asked Jesus to come into their lives.  So many of them have experienced things they can’t explain and they will tell you they didn’t make it on their own.

This may not be enough reasons for everyone.  Nothing can be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt.  Thats why in a court of law, proof must be based on  the “beyond a reasonable doubt” premise or the “preponderance of the evidence” method, depending on how the applicable law is written.

“”God always gives enough light for those who believe and enough shadows for those who doubt.”  Pascal

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.

Jesus in my Purse

March 26, 2010

Crazy Love by Francis Chan is one of the most profoundly life-changing books I have ever read.  It is truly counter-culture, both in terms of American culture and Christian culture.  Ultimately it asks, “How much do you love Jesus?”  How much do we think we love Jesus?  How much do we love the real Jesus?  How much of our love is devoted to a Jesus who fits our own image of what a God should be?

I think American women really want a Jesus they can fit into their purse.  If Jesus can fit into my purse, the convenience is amazing.  He’s small enough that I can carry him wherever I go, not a big God who (God forbid) carries me!  He’s  easily hidden so he doesn’t show up and embarrass me.  I take him when I please, and leave him home if he’s too much trouble to drag around wherever I’m going.  If  he’s with me, I want him to be sort of like a small spray can.  If I’m lacking confidence, poof!  I have it.  If I’m scared, poof!  I have  courage.  If I’m feeling weak, poof!  I have the Power!!  If I need money, the right words, a parking place, I name it and poof!  I have what I need instantly.  Oh yes, I’m grateful.  I’m always saying “Thank you Jesus!”  People think I’m really religious since they hear my thanks so often.  I even try to do things for Jesus to keep him happy there in my purse.  God forbid he should jump out and quit taking care of me.

Oh wait!  I have just broken the second commandment and broken it in a huge way.  I’ve made a Jesus in my image.  This is NOT the Jesus who came to earth to teach me who HE is and what HE wants of me.  This is not the Jesus who “set his face like flint” and headed to Calvary so He could die for me and the boatload of silly, selfish, foolish users just like me who treat the Lord of Heaven and Earth like my personal assistant.  This is not the Jesus who asked me if I would take up my cross and follow him.  This is not the Jesus who told me to love God with all my heart(passion), all my soul (emotion), all my mind (faith), and all my strength (commitment), and actually commanded me to love the other person (any other person in need) as much as I love myself.  No, the real Jesus won’t ever fit in my purse, and I have to ask if He will fit in my puny life.  My life is about keeping my shoes clean, looking good and not breaking a nail.  My life is the life of a “nice” lady who is only beginning to realize the depth of her sin and the enormity of the loving grace of Jesus.

Homecoming

February 20, 2010

I watched a scene at the airport where a father greeted his daughter.  They smiled and hugged and laughed.  They couldn’t wait to go home and see everyone.  Is this what it will be like when you come for your loved ones, Jesus?  I know you said you’d come to us when all is ready, to take us where you are.  I always thought your eyes would be kind.  What never occurred to me is that we might run toward each other, laughing and hugging, and racing for home because we can’t wait for me to see everyone.  And yet, why shouldn’t it be this way ?  If we humans, sinful as we are, feel so much joy in seeing our favorite people, surely you do, too.  The father of the prodigal son, after all, is a picture of you.  Lord, that you should be glad to see me, is just more than I can comprehend.  It brings tears to my eyes.

Prayer when sharing Jesus

February 9, 2010

Lord Jesus, I so want the people I love to know You–really know you personally.  I want You to be as real to them as their best friend.  Yet, overtures on my part, to share You with them seem to be treated as just another solicitation, another piece of advertising, or just another scam.  Are we so bombarded with all our media we have just shut down to new ideas?  Do we just cut off and shut off everything with cynicism?  We still seem to know about those things that interest us?  Why is that?  Are we interested in only those things that entertain or benefit us, while demanding nothing.  Is that it?  Do people push away any knowledge of You because they fear You will demand something?  What can be done about that Lord?  You surely are the best friend anyone could ever imagine, yet you do demand everything we are and have.  How can that be?  Because friendship with You changes everything about us.  The love and joy we enter into makes us want to give our all for You.  How can we explain that Jesus ?  We need Your help and Your intervention into our loved one’s life.  No wonder it is said that faith is a gift.  “Even your faith is not your own, it too, is a gift from God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

Magnificent Obsession

January 20, 2010

I just finished a book I read a long time ago as a young person.  The title, Magnificent Obsession, is the same title used for two movies made from the book, and a TV series was also spun off from the book and movies titled Dr. Hudson’s Secret Journal.   I also watched the tv series as a young person.

The idea behind the story is that doing good deeds in secret results in spiritual power for the doer.  It comes from a bible verse:  “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”  Matt 6:3,4.  

Of course, the book is a novel, so anything that happens as a result of the secret giving is fictional, but the words of Jesus are not fiction to anyone who believes the bible.  They contain a promise that God does reward secret charity.  What if, as the thesis of the book suggests, a great many of us decide to test this out?  What if we invest our excess of time, talent and treasure in people, rather than traditional places?  What if we ask those people to please keep the transaction a secret?  If they want to pay us back, we have to tell them we’ve already been paid back, and to pay it forward instead.  Instead of the good one person can do in a lifetime, we may be multiplying good through many lives and it may be carried on beyond our lifetimes.  Do we believe the promise of God that there is a reward?  Our giving will not leave us paupers.  Many other words of Jesus promise that our giving will never leave us barren.  “Give and it will be given to you, full measure, pressed down and running over.”  Luke 6:38.   Wouldn’t it be a grand experiment to try this just for this year?  After all, we’re only giving what we can’t keep anyway.  Invest wisely and prayerfully, invest where it can grow.  “Remember this:  whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”  2Cor 9:6-8

Something’s Leaking

October 28, 2009

There is an Indian legend about a man who goes every day to a well to draw water and return home.  He carries two jugs for the water.  One day he drops one of the jugs and it cracks.  When he fills it, it leaks.  Now he feels he must hurry home with his water filled jugs, so as not to lose too much water from the cracked jug.  One day while cursing his luck over the leaking jug, he looked down and was amazed to see flowers growing all along the path where his jug was leaking.

We are made of clay, according to the creation story.  We are also imperfect, broken creations because of sin.  We most certainly leak.  Yet, what does anything leak?  Whatever its full of, of course.  If we are daily filled with Jesus love, we will leak it over a dry and thirsty human race, wherever we travel.

Grateful for Faith

August 8, 2009

I feel overwhelmed today.  I just feel so much gratitude for my Christian faith.  I remember a time when I wasn’t sure that God existed.  I didn’t know the history of Jesus, and how he rose from the dead.  I didn’t know all the proofs that he is God.  I didn’t know His promises of eternal life.  I was afraid of death.  I was afraid of bad happenings after death.  I was also afraid that death might be the end.

Humans are the only beings on earth with self awareness.  We know we exist.  We are able to wonder why we exist.  We are aware of our mortality.  We are able to wonder what happens after our death.  Our awareness would be cruel if we didn’t have any answers, or if our lives were so short and death was final.  What would be the purpose of all we learned and all the loves in our lives?  What would be the point of a love that was so great you couldn’t believe it would one day die, if that were all there was…the death of love.  But then I began to learn and discover the promises of Jesus Christ.

No other religion has the promise of the Christian faith.  With some religions the best I can hope for is some kind of melding with the eternal–a loss of my self.  With other religions, I can only hope for some eternal reward from a God who is quite unknowable, not at all personal, and quite arbitrary.  With other religions, notably atheism and agnosticism, I can hope for, well, nothing at all.  That is my best hope with atheism–that there is nothing following this life.

Christian faith offers a personal God, a God who has had our experience of human life and understands what that is like to be human.  Christian faith offers the promise of God that life can be forever.  Christian faith offers the love of God, grace, forgiveness and the promise of a future home being prepared just for us.  It is backed up by the historical evidence of Jesus life, the miracles that proved his credibility as God, and His resurrection which proves His promise of eternal life to be true.  The resurrection of Jesus is one of the best attested facts in history.  If one were to throw out His history, we would have to throw out history books completely. 

I’m grateful for the Christian faith’s promises, I am grateful for a God who loves his creatures, and I am grateful He never made it necessary for our faith in Him to be a blind faith.