May 16, 2011

Why Believe?

A group of Christians were setting around after Bible Study.  “I just don’t understand why people do not come to Jesus.  It just makes sense.” Another piped in, "They are just too lazy to try to figure it out.  They rely on what others say.” The truth is much more complicated.  People don’t “come to Jesus” for a lot of reasons, some logical and some self serving and illogical. I came up with some 12 to 13 reasons why a person doesn’t just fall in step with the Jesus folks. I only have room to discuss three of them.

For example, some people do not bother to even think about Christianity, or any religion for that matter, simply because they believe there is no God and no eternity.  The philosophy is “eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow you may die."  There is nothing after death, no sense of being, and no feelings.  We go to sleep and never wake! With this understanding of life, we need to get everything we need/want now even if we have to kill for it. In the popular saying, “This is a dog eat dog world.” 

Wow, there is not much you can say to these folks. They are too busy with life in the here and now and

April 21, 2011

That other Stuff

The road to salvation for many people is cluttered with stuff that stands in the way to reaching the goal.  The secret to completing the trip is to find a way around the policies, creeds, arguments, etc that provide interesting, but distracting, hindrances to reaching the goal.

Some of the stuff is indeed interesting and worthy of study. In fact, many learned men and women spend a lifetime studying these things.  I don't pretend to know all the distraction nor am I able to explain them. But I do know that spending valuable time on them can be counterproductive when one is considering whether to seriously consider or commit to God and the actions of His Son Jesus. The distractions below are presented without explanation, but rather as an acknowledgement they exist. 

1. Why are there so many different groups of Protestant Christiens?  If they can't agree on their own religion, how can I know what to believe?

2. The history of Christian nations is filled with stories of war and greed and other decidedly non Christian activities.  The crimes committed in the name of Christianity are well known.

April 19, 2011

Christians get help on Judgement Day

Well, I said Christians are different from other religions as it regards to a future judgement day when our sins will be evaluated and our eternity decided. To recap, we believe all men and women have sinned in some way. The sin may be small or large, but it is sin nevertheless, In other words, there are no levels of transgressions, no relativity, no point system based on the severity of the sin.

Think about that for a minute, no difference in the severity of sin? So lying to Aunt Milly about that broken flower pot is the same as stealing $1 million from a bank or committing adultery or killing someone?  Jesus raised the standard when he equated hating to killing and lust to adultery. This seems terribly unfair doesn't it?  But that's where we are different.  Christians know when Judgement Day comes, we will stand before God and answer "guilty" when asked if we have sinned. And we know the consequences of that sin is figurative death or separation from the presence of God for an eternity. Let's not talk about the conditions in that place of separation for many opinions exist about the place we name Hell. For Christians, separation from God is our Hell!

April 18, 2011

Christians are different

People have been asking that for centuries ever since that day when the crowd begged Peter to tell them, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter was the first evangelist preaching the message, "You must be saved and this is how to do it!" 

Salvation generally means being saved from eternal damnation.(John 3:16-17) But salvation has another meaning for this present lifetime.  Jesus said "I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). The bottom line is quite simple, believe in Jesus and live an abundant life here and live eternally with Jesus after the death of your physical body. 

The key is to believe, by faith, that Jesus is the only source of that exciting promise.  A word of warning is in order.  Throughout this process, do not get hung upon the many questions arising from those who are struggling with their faith. The simple first step is like that of a child learning to walk.  She wobbles away from the chair and trusts her mommy will catch her if she falls.  Paul says another way. When I was a child (in the faith), I thought like a child. (1st Cor 13:10-11). The first step is trusting that God's Son, Jesus, can free you from the penalties associated with sin.

Reaching that point where an individual is "saved" can happen in a heartbeat or over a period of years. It can be as simple as John 3:16 or as complicated as a 1,000 page book. In my experience, and perhaps I am unique, there seem to be several steps a person goes through on their journey to salvation.

March 29, 2011

Prayer: More thoughts on Prayer

In a previous posts, I indicated that one of the questions about God that I have to believe on faith is, how does God keep up with all of us! It would be humanly impossible for God to keep up with the 6.8 billion souls on the earth. Even Facebook with 500 million subscribers can't begin to reach everyone.  So I accept on faith that God watches over me and hears my prayers.

The question is how do we talk to God in the appropriate way and how do we plea our case or make our requests in a way acceptable to God, the Creator of the Universe. I just do not feel comfortable addressing GOD in an informal conversation. "Hey God" doesn't sound right to me.  In addition to having the correct

March 21, 2011

Prayer: Some thoughts on Prayer

It seems that everyone has advice on How to Pray.  There are hundreds of books, thousands of sermons and radio programs all devoted to prayer.  So why am I writing a post on How to pray? Good question! Well, this post is shorter. But, consistent with the original purpose of the blog,  putting my beliefs in writing helps me to solidify them in my mind. If someone benefits from my personal insight that is an extra bonus.

Mom, Let's talk!
The most important part of prayer is the nature of the person to whom you are praying.  The previous post addressed that issue.  Personally, I am more comfortable praying to a loving Parent than to the exalted creator and Lord of the Universe. Either is acceptable and I support both positions.  But I prefer the first.

So I talk to God as I would talk to my Father or to a good Friend.  I do not use churchly language, there are no "thee's and thou's" in my prayers. And I

February 25, 2011

Prayer: To whom are you praying?

To Whom are you Praying?
Prayer is such personnel things that it has been hard for me begin writing an article attempting to define or explain or even instruct someone on the subject. We are confronted with a huge variation in prayer types and practices. There are very formal prayers associated with Church rituals such as communion or marriage or funerals. There are free form prayers offered by ministers and worship leaders; silent prayers, prayers in music and prayers offered by individuals. Prayers by individuals may be long or short, rote or free form. There seem to be as many methods and forms of prayer as there are people making the prayer. And there seems to be no end to the books written to explain prayer and offer suggestions for a “meaningful prayer life”.

February 17, 2011

Preview of thoughts for upcoming Posts

I wonder??
I thought that Prayer would be the easiest of all aspects of Christianity to discuss. Certainly, as Christians we all pray.  There are numerous  scriptures relating to prayer. If we are not praying, certainly, we are in the presence of those who are praying whether prior to a meal or prior to a church meeting or from the pulpit at our church. People pray at the opening of the US Congress, at State events and until lately at the beginning of athletic events.

There are a lot of books on prayer.  I have been reading one lately titled,

January 9, 2011

The Will of God (Discerning His Will)

Staying in the Will of God

Okay God, which way now?
It is not always easy to determine God’s will. We all would prefer a dramatic sign. We want God to appear to us and speak out a burning bush as He did to Moses.  If I thought, “God, just tell me what you want me to do”, and a voice spoke to me out of a burning rose bush in the back yard, I really don’t think I would argue with it. After awakening from fainting, I would be off to do whatever God said.

But that’s not the way it usually works. We don’t have a stranger walk up to us and announce God’s will for us. Often God speaks through the circumstances of everyday life. When my boss asked me into his office, closed the door and said, “Steve, here is two weeks severance pay.  Go clean out your desk”, it didn’t seem like God talking to me.  As it turned out, God was working His will with me in the only way he could get my attention. With you, God may work His will in another way that will get your attention.  A job opens up in the exact field where your passions lie. You close the computer and begin to get dressed for the office party. At the party, you strike up a conversation with the spouse of your co-worker.  As you are telling about the novel you are writing, he mentions he is a publisher and is looking for promising new writers.  A recession hits and you are one of the casualties of the economic downturn. You find another

January 2, 2011

The Will of God (Three sides of the same coin)

What's God's Plan for You?
It isn't hard to discern God's intentional will for his creation. He created a beautiful garden for the humans; he gave them full run and enjoyment of the garden. They didn't have to work hard; they knew no sin. Jesus said something of the same idea in John's Gospel when He is talking about being the Good Shepard. (John 10:1-18 NIV). I particularly like the second half of verse 10.
 "...I have come that they (the sheep, us) may have life and have it to the full."
 (the King James Version says ...have it more abundantly.)

I believe God's intention was for us to have a full and abundant life. But God also wanted us to

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