The journey of a nerd who loves the Lord

Posts tagged ‘God’

Watching the Decline

Salutations.

Speaking to your loved ones, friends or co workers about things that matter most can be hard.  Trust me, I know.  Whether you bring up a discussion about God, or go for something a bit less sensitive, such as exercise/diet, you run the risk of alienating that person…perhaps permanently.  Even when spoken in love, attempting to discuss the truth about a situation with someone can end poorly.

noreligAt first, I thought that since I often spoke about faith in God, the rejection and reactions I received was because I dared to bring up a subject somewhat taboo in our culture.  Yet, when I tried other subjects about self-improvement (or even saving oneself from an early death), I found myself facing similar walls.  Despite the fact that I would choose topics that, on paper, should appeal to democrat or republican, religious person or atheist, people often waived me off (at best) or told me to shut the heck up.

The common thread I noticed was that I was challenging others (and myself in the process), to take steps outside their comfort zones and consider other ways of living their lives.  And, while you may understand why some people do not wish to hear someone else’s religious viewpoint regardless of how true they think it may be, when it comes to something such as how our food in this country makes our children sick, one would think that people would be a bit more open to discussion.  Yet, the vast, vast majority of people I speak too have no interest, as for whatever reasons/excuses, they simply cannot take the time to consider other points of view.  In all reality, they simply do not want to give up the lifestyle they currently enjoyed.  In our culture, inconvenience of any sort is one of the most grievous of sins.

foodWe simply only have to look around us to see the results of such narrow thinking.  The interesting thing about our sugar-saturated diets is that we can see the results on the waist-lines of most people around us.  A quick look at Google pulls up reports such as this one from the Washington Post / CDC showing that the average weight of Americans has risen six pounds the last decade alone.  And, it only gets worse as time marches on.  Yet, few will sit down and have a real discussion on the subject because so few have the desire and will power to take the steps necessary to change their habits.

If we struggle this much with something such as personal diets or holding our government responsible for the quality of mainstream food…imagine how we fail, as a nation, to gather the willpower to turn around our sinking finances, or make truly ethical high-ground decisions.  Our forefathers understood that doing the right thing often came at great cost.  However, Americans today cannot even fathom changing their diet to help themselves, their family, and the society around them (through greater productivity and less reliance on medical care).  Unlike earlier generations, we cannot claim ignorance as an excuse, when we have full access to the internet.  We simply do not wish to be inconvenienced.  We do too much already.

worlddestNow, multiply this self destructive, selfishness and laziness across our entire nation…or even the world.  Can any of us sincerely say that we truly believe that somehow, as a group, we will do what we cannot bring ourselves to do as individuals…. especially given the examples of history?  Will we stop pollution, war, waste, etc., before something truly catastrophic happens?  Or, like so many individuals, will we wait until our dying breath to realize we should have made different choices?

I understand that this missive seems overly negative.  The truth often hurts.  However, until we understand just how deeply in trouble we are…how depraved we are as individuals and as a group, can we see just how much we need God in our lives.  I can face each morning, knowing the above, because of Him.  For those of us who put our faith in Him, we have a hope and a peace the defies most understanding.  We know that this world is in His hands.  And, we know that we are safe as He has paid the price for our poor decisions and deliberately selfish actions.  We now live our lives in thanks to Him!

 

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Lukewarm Faith

  1. Revelation 3:14-16 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

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A Life Pleasing to God

Today, we study the following… 1 Thes 4.9  Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

I stumbled across this passage in doing a quick study a week or two ago.  I have listened to many sermons on various topics and scriptures.  Yet, if I have heard one on this passage, it does not spring to mind.  I know of no one who quotes it, or uses it as a rule to live by.  Yet, it has quickly become a favorite of my wife and I.  In many ways, it echoes what we try to do in our own lives.

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Taking Down Crosses

Salutations.

On a fairly regular basis, friends will share with me articles showing acts that range from atheistic to down right anti-Christian or anti religious.  One day, one may show me an article about the a plaque with the ten commandments taken down from a local courthouse.  Another might show me an article where a judge overturned the state’s conservative majority decision to define marriage as one man and one woman.  For a number of years exceeding well over a decade (or more), this steady stream of news bombards me from various angles and directions.

Yet, for me, the only amazing fact about these articles is that my friends find them amazing enough to share with me. (more…)

Quiet Time Revisited

My wife and I took a trip a bit off the beaten path today, far away from our house and the hustle of busy careers.  She ran off to take care of a few things, leaving me with an hour or so of ‘quiet time.’  Surrounded by nature, the only noises I hear out here include the chirping of crickets and various bird calls.  Surrounded by unfamiliar, yet comforting foliage and a beautiful view beyond, my mind feels free to wonder. I hope to share pictures in the near future.

It continues to amaze me that so many can claim that God does not exist when surrounded by such splendor.  I recall Romans 1.20, “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 people are without excuse.”  Another song, from decades ago, said “Every mountain, every valley, Your creation, it surrounds me!  Every breath I breathe, every heartbeat, every sun rise that you give to me.  These and so much more tell the story we cannot ignore, The Evidence of God.”

As I look over His creation, I give thanks, in prayer, for His love, shown through His creation, which sustains us.  In my busy life, I easily forget that He blesses us with life including the food and shelter we have.  I thank Him for my job and the work I have, but I appreciate this moment to stop, stand still, and listen.  And, I realize that I need to find a way to do this more often.  Getting away to walk with God, read His Word, pray and contemplate Him should rank much higher on my list of priorities.  I recall the Words of Jesus, “For Man does not live by break alone, but by every Word from the mouth of God.”

I have a few friends blessed (and disciplined) enough to rise every morning, or find some other time of the day, they may reliably spend time studying the Bible and in prayer.  I absolutely encourage such a practice.  However, getting away to a different location, outside of your house, and taking time to spend with God may also refresh and renew your walk in Him.  Sometimes I read a book about God (or, of course, the Bible), I may do a prayer walk, or I may just sit quietly in His presence.

Ironically enough, as I pick up my laptop to journal the experience, I discover I wrote about this very topic a year ago.  God does work in mysterious ways.

 

I thank God for the moment of rest and refreshing.

The Logic of Using Science to Disprove God

isgoddead

In speaking with many young people, I discover that most do not believe in God because they feel an impossible divide exists between God and Science.  Further questioning reveals they honestly do not know much about either subject.  After careful study of both, one may logically conclude that we have very strong proof for the existence of God, using none other than science to get to that point.  Yet others feel differently.  In 1883, Nietzsche proclaimed “God is Dead.”  The sentiment was echoed by Time magazine over 80 years later.  Many do not have a sincere faith in God, citing scientific theory regarding the origins of life as the answer.  But, is this logical? (more…)

The Logic of Salvation by Faith Alone

darkheartSalutations.

The challenge of sin and how one may obtain forgiveness overshadows nearly every other theme in our lives.  While some have learned to ignore it, guilt eats many from the inside out.  More than any other motivating factor, most people seek out religion to answer the question of guilt as we have all committed wrongs that have pained others.   More seriously, we have offended our Holy creator, who sets the standard of holiness.

When you compare many of the world’s religions side by side, you can find any number of answers to this challenge.  Buddhism asks you to empty yourself of all desire and negativity to reach nirvana.  Eastern philosophy asks you to do enough good deeds to outweigh the bad.  Catholicism and Mormonism churches theoretically hold the keys to heaven.  To enter, you will need to join and follow various rules and sacramental ordnances .  I have noticed that nearly  religions have you do a multitude of things to either earn or qualify for forgiveness needed for salvation.

On the surface, this almost seems logical.  After all, if one presumes that we create some sort of spiritually based debt when we commit an act of iniquity, than certainly enough selfless or holy acts that benefits mankind could, theoretically, pay it back.  As children, we would try to get away from punishment by promising better behavior in the future.

Yet, if we ponder how justice works, we see the shortcoming in this logic.  When we commit a civil offense, we cannot trade in our good actions, past or future, to get away from the penalty.  Recently, I police officer gave me a ticket for a traffic violation.  Despite my nearly flawless driving record through two decades, and promise to learn from my error, the officer still issued the citation.  An appeal to the judge to waive the requisite penalty based on future promise would fall on deaf ears.  I broke the law, and I must pay the penalty.

The Bible makes it clear that the wages of sin are death, not promised (or actualized) good behavior.  Once we’ve committed even one selfish act, we bring ourselves under the terrible penalty of sin.  And, most of us have committed not one, but a multitude of sin.  Interestingly enough, when asked, most reply that they believe they are ‘good’ people…as if we’ll all be graded on a curve.  Unfortunately, the holiness of God demands that He judge us based on His Holy scale, not our understanding of it.

bornBack to the topic of hand, as I studied world faiths, I saw one, clear contrast as I read the Bible.  John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  In Acts 16 a keeper of the prison “29 …called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Christianity provides the only method of salvation whereby God has already done all of the work.   In just about every other faith, you have to jump through hoops, prove yourself worthy, and hope it is enough.  The Bible, on the other hand, says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2.8-9)  Jesus paid the price, in full, on the cross.

Occasionally, some friends of different faiths will point out that such a message implies that the sinner may continue to go on sinning.  In fact, he probably will knowing that he’s forgiven of all sin, past, present and future.  To make such a statement shows an ignorance of the New Testament message.  When one puts their faith in God, Jesus says they become ‘born again.’  God takes the old nature of that sinner, and replaces it with a new heart.  Where, before, the sinner cared mostly to satisfy his own desires (selfishness), he finds he loves his God and fellow man more.  The Bible states that God grants repentance, or a desire to turn away from sin, as well.  The sinner no longer finds sin captivating or compelling.  While he or she may still struggle and fall from time to time, the characteristics of the Christian life, over time, will include a surrendering of their sinful way to the Lord, and a new heart filled with love for God and fellow man.

The Bible goes so far to state that a life void of love and holiness characterizes a dead faith (and, therefore, not a saving faith).  James says, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  A child born of parents will have the characteristics of both.  If he does not have any, people suspect that he is born of different parents.  This applies to spiritual birth, as well.  If one claims to have been re-born by the spirit of God, but lives like the devil, one would logically question if that person ever game to a saving faith in Christ.  For the Bible states that “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Are you born again?  Do you have heart that truly desires the Holiness of God?  Do you delight in His ways?