Deep Breaths

Have you ever wanted to run out into a busy street and scream, “Real Christians exist! We have answers! Come talk to me!”

Seeing debates usually does this for me. I don’t have all the answers of course, or even most of them I bet, but I have SOME and it’s like none of the Christians want to give real answers to the people of this world. (not that the people of this world want to HEAR the real answers… but regardless!)

It really doesn’t take much either… In the past year I’ve studied. Some. Not a lot by any standards, but I’ve made an effort to study some, which is more than I have ever before. Through this fraction of time spent studying God’s Word, and the opinions of wiser men on God’s Word, I’ve come to a point where I feel confident in the answers I do have and I feel secure in the answers I don’t have.

{Food for thought: The easiest way to get new answers is to be confronted with questions you haven’t already heard}

It’s just so frustrating to me that the stance of a “Christian” today can be to make jokes, keep the crowd happy, and make nice with the other debater. Am I saying don’t make nice, keep the crowd happy, and make jokes?? Not necessarily, but if it’s at the expense of an opportunity to truly defend and share God’s Word, maybe save the jokes for later.

Ok. I’ve vented. Deep breaths. Sorry for the delayed post! I have a webpage up and was intending to release a blog there… but I think I might have another use for it so just keep on eye out for me right here šŸ™‚

Thanks everyone, hope you enjoyed,

God Bless

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If God Loves Everyone, Why Does He Send People To Hell?

It’s hard for people to swallow really. Christians share the message of a God who thrives on love so deeply that He sent His son to die for us, so why then is He so willing to allow us to go to Hell?

ā€œFor God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

He’s not. God the Father, sent God the Son to die on the cross – let me say it again – to die on the cross for us. There is nothing about that act that should leave room for, “Well if God loves me why is He sending me to Hell?” The catch here that people don’t like is that you can’t have it both ways. If you believe in Christ and live the life He calls you to live, you go to Heaven. If you don’t you don’t.

There has to be more right? Sure. Don’t forget that God is a good and fair God who has made the decision to grant us freewill, regardless of how we may abuse such a gift.

ā€œAsk, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

If you want Heaven, ask for it, seek it, and knock until the door opens for you. How? Through Christ. If you’re asking God to please keep His distance, if you’re seeking a life focused on the pleasures of this world, and if you’re knocking on every door other than God’s, when you stand before Him, He’s going to give you exactly what you asked for because He is a good and fair God who has made the decision to give us freewill regardless of how we may abuse such a gift.

See the loop?

So it really comes down to you. If you don’t want to do this whole “God thing,” but you’re afraid of going to Hell, maybe you need to look deeper into yourself and decide what’s actually important. We’re good at blaming other people for things that go wrong, but God is doing all He can to get you into Heaven, He just won’t force you to go in, so don’t blame Him if you decide you don’t like where you end up.

Thanks for reading everyone, I hope you’re all doing well
God Bless

Have You Accepted Christ?

“I think therefore I am,” is a quote by the French philosopher Rene Descartes who was struggling with accepting his own existence. This revelation became his cornerstone so that if everything he did after that point had been wiped away he would always be able to return to the knowledge of his existence and start again.

Acceptance of Christ should be measured somewhat like Descartes’s theory. The life of a Christian is usually a difficult one, subject to seasons of doubt, frequent failure, and persecution, so what happens when we’ve reached what seems to be the absolute bottom? Our faith should be pinned to the acceptance of Christ as the Savior, the Lord, the Son of God and if our faith is pinned to those truths, when everything else falls away, we can return to Christ and be reaffirmed in our salvation, just like Descartes would be reaffirmed in his existence.

Descartes spoke of a, “deceiver of supreme power and cunning who deliberately and constantly deceives me,” but argued that this in itself meant if the deceiver existed to deceive him, he had to exist in order to be deceived, and therefore the deceiver would never be able to convince him that he didn’t exist.

Sound familiar? Descartes considered himself a devout Catholic so it’s entirely possible that the deceiver he spoke of is the deceiver you and I battle with every day, doing exactly the things Christ warned us he would do. So if we know and trust, through Christ’s warnings, who Satan is and what he will try to do, his deceptions and temptations stand only as confirmation to who Christ is and the validity of our salvation.

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,Ā built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,Ā in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:19-21

Today when you’re faced with temptation, take a moment to appreciate it because now we can accept that it only stands to prove Christ’sĀ sovereignty which, in itself, defeats Satan’s goal for our lives. The catch is that this security only comes from the complete acceptance of Christ in a way that is so much deeper than a prayer for entry into Heaven; in a way that says, “I can lose everything I build from here on, but I will always be able to return to this spot for strength and affirmation in my eternal salvation.”

I hope you’ve all accepted Christ, and if you haven’t it’s never too late. However far from God you fall, however unworthy you feel, you can always return to salvation in Christ.

Thank you all for reading,
God Bless

Small.

Well it’s been an eventful month, (I even got married!) but I’m back and it feels great. I hope you’re all doing well. This should be fairly short so settle in and enjoy. šŸ™‚

In the New Testament there was a man I’m sure we all know who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Saul, until Christ stepped in and changed his life forever and he became Paul. On the surface, the story of Christ making such a monumental change in someone’s life is enough to inspire anyone; If Paul can kill Christians and still be redeemed in such a way my own issues seem smaller, and that’s something everyone needs from time to time… whatever you think is going to keep you from God’s love and forgiveness isn’t nearly big enough to do so.

It brings to mind the song, No Light No Light, by Florence and the Machine, which paints the picture of a couple having problems. The singer knows her lover just wants things to be better, but she’s ashamed, afraid, and doubts that he’ll stay with her regardless of everything she’s done. I haven’t done any research on whether this was intending to have a Christian angle, but it certainly does and it’s a good reminder that God just wants to set the record straight with us so we can get on with His plan for our lives. It’s definitely worth listening to.

The part of Paul’s story that I really want to focus on though is his conversion from Saul to Paul. Saul had built up a reputation but when Christ came to him he became “Paul,” which means “Small,” or “Humble,” or “Little,” depending on which etymology source you use. It was only by humbling himself before the Lord, literally, that Paul was able to become one of the biggest names in Christianity, write over half of the New Testament, and turn completely from the man he had once been.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10

So what does that mean for us? It means that not only can we redeemed from even the darkest, most destructive lifestyles, if we trust in God’s path our potential is limitless. If it seems like Christianity is starting to get persecuted in a big way again, whether it’s just in schools or world-wide, that means there’s a lot of use available for a truly humble Christian. Paul’s life wasn’t an easy one but that’s because he was building for a paradise in Heaven. Not to say you should all give up the lives you have in order to become traveling evangelists, but take some time to really humble yourself before God and there’s not a single doubt in my mind you’ll find yourself on the path He wants you to be on.

Thanks for reading everyone, feel free to share your thoughts

God Bless

Wait for the Whisper.

“And he said, ā€œGo out andĀ stand on the mount before theĀ Lord.ā€ And behold, theĀ LordĀ passed by, andĀ a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before theĀ Lord, but the LordĀ was not in the wind. And after the windĀ an earthquake, but theĀ LordĀ was not in the earthquake.Ā And after the earthquake a fire, but theĀ LordĀ was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.Ā And when Elijah heard it,Ā he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold,Ā there came a voice to him and said, ā€œWhat are you doing here, Elijah?ā€” 1 Kings 19:11-13

I hate it when I’m watching something that has gunshots or explosions or something like that and I have to turn the t.v. up higher than usual to hear the dialogue but that means I’m blasted out of my chair by the sound effects. That’s kind of what happens when we try to hear God better; everything else gets louder too. If you’re waiting on a word, maybe you should follow Elijah’s example; go where you can be alone and wait for the whisper.

Thanks for reading,

God Bless

Just Kids in Strollers.

I’m doing a Bible study and yesterday the chapter talked about when Eli’s sons lost a battle so they took the Arc of the Covenant with them into their next battle, assuming that would be enough to secure the victory for them. Not only did they lose, but the Philistines ended up capturing the Arc. The study goes on to warn against falling into a pattern of using God as a good luck charm. We’ve all done it at some point. When I was in 5th grade I very vividly remember clenching the cross around my neck and praying for knowledge I didn’t have in order to win a spelling bee. I didn’t. Not to say we shouldn’t ask God for things, but there’s always the chance of God saying no, and that’s something we need to accept and learn to be okay with.

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”” Psalm 31:14

Every once in a while when I’ve got my daughter out in her stroller, she’ll get a little spooked when we go up an incline. There’s no reason for it of course, but sometimes her mind just screams, “This is wrong. I’m not level. I’m supposed to be level, I must be falling.” So she wants me to save her, but before she even has a chance to get truly scared we level out again and she’s just fine. This is kind of how we are with God. When things are fine we’re enjoying the ride, but the moment we aren’t level anymore we want God to provide a magic way out, flatten the ground before our feet, and make the ride comfortable again.

So that’s where you have the choice; you can let God push you up those uncomfortable inclines or you can tell Him to go away and try to push your own stroller.

The problem with that last option is my daughter tries pushing her own stroller too. She doesn’t do that bad, but she can’t see over the stroller and really can’t reach very well so she doesn’t have much control over where it goes and it’s not long before she’s weaving her way right off the sidewalk and I have to intervene. (disclosure: never done beside the street… just in the park) What’s really funny though is that when she’s decided it’s her job to push the stroller, if she notices me helping her guide it, she’ll actually push my hand away. Sound familiar?? I know it does for me.

Can you just imagine though? If the entire world was made up of kids either strapped in strollers or pushing ones too big for them. Some are stretching down to push themselves along with a foot, some might have managed to snag a stick to push with. All of these kids obviously sticking close to the comfortable paths because we can’t do those inclines alone. We just can’t. I don’t have an example where my daughter tried that one because I don’t want to see the stroller flip back on her. Then you have the few actually getting somewhere because they’re letting God push. Yeah, it gets uncomfortable from time to time and most of the time you won’t know what’s at the top of that incline, but that’s okay, because God can see it and He wouldn’t be taking you there if it was somewhere you didn’t need to be.

So if you’re stuck on that incline today and you really wish God would step in and make things comfortable again, just try to accept the chaos for a moment. He’s still there and if you trust in Him, you’ll level out again soon and you’ll be better for it.

Thanks for reading everyone, share any thoughts in the comments.

God Bless

Moving On.

Well first of all, let me apologize for such a large gap between posts… hopefully it won’t happen again. Next, I’d like to thank everyone that has followed this blog. It means a lot to have you guys with me.

 

“But theĀ LordĀ hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as theĀ LordĀ had spoken to Moses.” Exodus 9:12

When I started studying the Bible again, this verse gave me a lot of trouble because I had never imagined, or heard of, God manipulating someone’s heart for any reason. I thought free will was absolute and that was that. I brought the question to my pastor and he pointed these verses out to me.

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:29-30

So what does this mean? It means that when God created you, the End was already in His mind so He knew where you’d be standing. “Foreknew”
So He lines up your life, from the family your born into (I’m sure something we all question now and again) to the people you’ll interact with.
“Predestined”
Now with your life experiences there is a job for you to do. Someone else could do it, but He wants you.
“Called”

Put simply, God knows if someone is going to choose to follow Him. It’s your choice, but He knows and He can plan accordingly. The Pharaoh was just someone who wouldn’t ever choose to follow God so God used Him for His glory. How does this apply? No matter where you are in life, God is working on you and through you. Try not to let yourself get caught up in the little things and always remember that the long-term goal is knowing you played your part in God’s kingdom.

(there are two other keywords that went beyond the point I was trying to make, but I didn’t want to leave them out as they are also infinitely important.)

This calling plays a part in the kingdom of God, so who’s to say you’re worthy of it? God did, when he sent Jesus to die for you.
“Justified”
And finally, through this process you’ve become a new creation, a child of God.
“Glorified”

Where are you going to go from here? Wherever it is, do it in prayer and with the hand of God leading the way. Thanks for reading, let me know what you guys thought.

God Bless