Tag Archives: faith

Live to Tell

What if, by just looking at someone, you could see the soul of that person? If you could tell if they were a Christian, would that change the way you interacted with them? Would you tell them about Jesus if you could see they had never met Him?

I wondered this as I was l leaving the mall this past weekend.  I had needed some help in one of the stores and as I was walking out I waved to thank the women who had helped me. I wondered to myself if she knew Jesus. She had been helpful and friendly, much like you would expect from someone with a customer service job. The question just popped into my head: did she have Jesus’ love in her?

Christians are commanded to share the love of Jesus with the world.  My guess is that very few of us tell random strangers about Jesus with reckless abandon. I have rested on being open with my beliefs, living out my faith. I am careful not to use inappropriate language and having never had an alcoholic drink makes for a great starting point when business meetings spill over into the bar, but I fall way short when it comes to evangelizing everywhere I go. Would that change if I had a visual reminder of the danger they are in? Or would I simply pray that someone they know would tell them about the Good News?

When you stop and think about how much Jesus did for us, you would think that sharing it with others would be something we do with enthusiasm. When you stop to think what it means if you die without giving your life to Christ, you would think that we would do everything we could to share the Truth.

Most of us wouldn’t believe just anything some stranger came up and told us. What people do respond to is something they like or something they are intrigued by. So what if we treated every person we came across in a way that would cause them to ask what makes us so joyful, or positive, or loving? What if we approached every interaction with the goal of showing them Jesus? If we live and interact in a way that causes people to ask us, and we are ready with an answer, then we will be able to share Jesus with anyone, even if we can’t see their soul with our own eyes.

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My God Can Move Mattresses

It’s funny how the smallest child can so simply remind us of a great truth.

The other day, I was making our bed after my wife had done the laundry. As I know she appreciates when the sheets are well tucked at her feet, I wanted to make sure that the sheets were well anchored. I proceeded to lift up the bottom end of the mattress and tuck the sheets under, and then drop the mattress back into place. Upon seeing my, what must have seemed to her, great feat of strength, my 17 month old daughter wanted to test her strength and tried to lift the corner of the queen-sized cushion. Of course, the thing didn’t budge. She then looked up at me as if to say, well, I guess you got that going for ya.

At that moment, I could almost hear God say to me “you know there is a lesson right there”.

I could blame it on many things, but the fact is, I like to be in control and know how things are going to work out. I rely too much on my own intelligence and ability, even when they are severely unqualified for the task at hand. I try to “lift the mattress” on problems that are too big for me to handle on my own.

The problem I run into is that if I can’t figure out how do to it, I assume it can’t be done. If I can’t figure out how it works, or what the best answer is, I assume it doesn’t work, and there is not an answer. I all too quickly limit the world of possibilities to what I can accomplish and understand. As if like an infant trying to figure out how to make her parents’ bed.

I need to be reminded all the time that I serve a big God. I am not talking about a God who I can present a problem and He will help me figure it out. I am talking about a God who knew the problems I will face before I was even born and has been working in my interest all along. My God isn’t reacting to the universe, He created it, governs it and cares deeply about it. My God can look at the “mattress” I am struggling to move an inch and simply will it to move. My God doesn’t just understand things, He knows them intimately. His plans are bigger than mine, His imagination far more creative than mine – and that is saying something, because I can come up with some pretty crazy ideas!

It’s funny how God can use the look of a small child to remind a grown man of something he should not forget in the first place.

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What do you do with Jesus?

The Christian faith splits from all other religions at Jesus. It is the belief in Him that defines it. Actually, it is accepting the gift of forgiveness, believing Him to be the Son of God, the redeemer of the human race, and saviour of the world that defines Christianity. So, what do you do with Jesus?

First, you can deny His existence. This would be a fairly easy thing to do if the Bible was the only record of Him. Simply discount the Bible as nothing more than legend and the question goes away. Even though the New Testament has been shown over and over again to be historically accurate, there are many books written today that place fictional characters in historical events. The issue with doing this is that Jesus is referred to in other documents from the time, thus making a strong case that Jesus, the man, did walk this planet around 2000 years ago.

So, if Jesus did walk the planet, that doesn’t mean He was God. There are currently around 7 billion people on the face of the Earth, and none of them are the Son of the Most High. So what makes Jesus so special? Couldn’t He have just been another good moral teacher? Simply stated, no.

C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, lays out the argument that Jesus could not have said the things He said and have been a good moral teacher. Very clearly Jesus proclaims Himself to be God. This leads Lewis to state “But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

So what do you do with Jesus? According to Lewis, you have three options.

First, you can write Jesus off as a lunatic. Claiming to be God is not something sane people do. If someone was to walk up to you on the street and say he or she was God, you would not offer to take them to lunch for the sole purpose of learning as much as you can from him or her.

Second, you can deny His claim and consider Him a liar. This is again possible, but a lie that great, and in fact so detrimental to the human race, would not come from a man who was a great moral teacher. The best reason I can think of is to direct people away from the True God; and that person would be working for, or in fact, Satan himself. Again, the title “great moral leader” would hardly be the right one.

The third option is that Jesus is Lord. He is what He claimed to be. His life an example for us all, His death our only hope and His resurrection our saving grace. He was a great moral teacher, and He is God.

So, we are back to the original question: What do you do with Jesus? This is the most personal question there is. It is a matter of faith – and not faith that He is a historical figure, but that He came to give you the gift of forgiveness and eternal life.  So, what do YOU do with Jesus?

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Evidence of God

When we come across a beautiful piece of art, we naturally assume that there is an artist out there, somewhere, that spent a great deal of time and energy to create the masterpiece. The natural assumption is that someone of great talent created it; not that, by some random accident, it came into being. The same is true of a good book; none of us has ever asked to meet the author and expected to be introduced to a room full of monkeys plugging away at typewriters.

Why, then, do some completely ignore the evidence of God in the world? Naturally, we should come to the conclusion that there is intelligent design and a greater being out there. Assuming there is no God is denying the evidence; this is not to confuse evidence with proof, as it does take faith to believe in God.

The simple fact that the universe exists points to a creator. Everything that exists was created by something; and the more complex the creation, the more intelligent and skilled the creator. To believe that it came about by cosmic accident is to make an assumption and try to fit the evidence to meet that belief.

Creation is not the only evidence available to us from God. There is the personal relationship that is available to anyone that wants it. Understandably, those who do not believe that God exists will completely discount any relationship with God as simple feelings that help comfort those who don’t really know any better. This is along the lines of denying that I have a wife simply because you have never met her. If you do not know me personally, you can only take my word for it that my wife exists and is not simply a figment of my imagination that I made up to comfort me.

The only way to experience the evidence that my wife is a real person is to get to know her. Simply seeing her out on the town with me would not be proof that she is my wife, but the more you get to know her and see us interact, the more evidence you would have that she is my wife. Simply telling you I have a wife is not proof that I have a wife; it isn’t even a strong piece of evidence. In order to obtain evidence the I have I wife, you need to get to know, which you can’t do until after you have meet her, and in order to meet her you would have to believe that she really existed. How would you know she really exists? You would have to see her with your own eyes.

The same is true with God. He has given us all a General Revelation through creation; that is, all the evidence that you need to “see” God is in His creation. Simply believing that God exists is not His end goal; it is the first step in building a relationship with you.

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Where Did God Come From?

Last week, my premise was that it takes more faith to not believe in the existence of God then it does to believe that God does exist. As I laid out why I think this is the case, I stayed away from the characteristics of God that Christians believe in because if you don’t believe that God is even real, you can’t believe that He is good, caring or anything else. I used the argument that it would take more faith to believe the stuff that was present so “The Big Bang” could happen than it would to believe that God created the universe.

Of course, the natural question is, “where did God come from?” It is a fair question, and I think helps my point. I believe that God has always existed. He did not come from anywhere (He wasn’t created). I admit, this may seem like a copout answer, and it kind of is. Every question about creation is answered with “I don’t know how, just that God did it.” My faith starts and ends (in this argument) on two pillars:

1)      God exists
2)      He created the universe

For atheists, obviously, pillar one, by definition, is rejected. Pillar two needs to lose the personal pronoun. I would expect the reserve pillars to be:

1)      There is no God
2)      There is a universe

I am sure that there is not simply one doctrine that all those who do not believe in the existence of God accept. For the sake of this post, I am choosing one example of why it takes more faith to believe the universe exists without God creating it. Whereas a Christian believes that God exists outside of time and space and therefore He can have always existed without having a physical world; an atheist would have to believe that matter (in some form) has always existed. If matter has always existed, then there would have to be an infinite number of days in the past; the clock would have always been running, in which case we would never have arrived at today (there would always be one more day to get through before today). The other option would be that matter could exist outside of time. This would take faith because we have never observed the world without time being in the equation.

My point is, that either you accept, through faith, the first set of pillars, and when you get to a point where you can’t explain or prove your belief, you fall back to “God did it”, or you accept the second set of pillars, and when you can’t explain or prove your belief, you fall back to “I don’t know, it just is”. For me, the latter takes more faith because my mind is always trying to figure things out, so “just because” is seldom an acceptable conclusion.

What you or I believe has no effect on the reality. However it happened is the way it happened. We are left with the choice to believe, by faith, one way or the other (or we could sit on the fence and be agnostic). The fact is, we exist and exist on a planet that works for us. How did we get here? Your answer to this question lays the building blocks for a much bigger question which I will address in the coming weeks.

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Believe not to Believe

I have to admit, I have a lot of respect for atheists. I don’t agree with them; but I do respect them. I am not talking about agnostics either, but true atheists. Where agnostics basically choose to sit on the fence and not put their faith in any camp, atheists put their faith into the no belief camp; believing what can’t be proven. You can’t prove something doesn’t exist; so, it takes extreme faith to believe that there is no God.

Christians, too, have to have faith to believe what they do. Though God works through our lives on a daily basis, it is possible to explain it away (though you cannot prove it is not God’s work) as coincidence or luck – even karma. What Christians do have is a mountain for proof that there is a creator, an abundance of evidence that a being greater than us is looking over us, loving us and ultimately working for our benefit.

Atheists, however, have to have faith in a lot of things, even if it can be played off as no faith at all. Take creation/evolution for starters. An atheist must have faith that the answer is not God but some other non-intelligent design based theory. For simplicity sake, let’s assume that the answer is based in the secular worldview “Big Bang” theory (I say secular because I, as a Creationist, believe there probably was something like an explosion at the centre of the universe to get us going, I just believe that God caused it!).

To believe that the “Big Bang” happened and that this is no superior being takes a lot of faith. Where did the stuff come from that was mixing before the Bang happened? What sparked it? What stabilized it? Even if you accept that you can never know the specific answers, you have to believe there is an answer. Whereas the Christian faith simply believes God did it, the answer for an atheist has to be more complex than that.

Boiled down to the simplest statements, there are three options we have when it comes to faith. We can decide not to believe (agnostic), we can believe in a superior being (religion), or we can believe not to believe (atheists).

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Proof of God

For a majority of the movie Field of Dreams, very few people can see the ballplayers playing on the ball diamond nestled in the middle of 8-foot high corn. During one of the critical scenes in the movie, one of the ballplayers makes the choice to walk off the field and into the bleachers. As he does, the skeptics sitting there have their eyes opened not only to the transformed player but also the whole ball game that is taking place right in front of them. This scene can be used as a metaphor for the experience of knowing there is a God.

So many people rely on their 5 senses and can’t believe anything that cannot be observed with them. Trying to convince them that you have proof of God is nearly impossible because that proof isn’t definable by sight, smell, taste, touch or hearing. It is real, but first you have to believe before you can know the proof. You have to believe before you can “see” the evidence. If you remain a skeptic, never letting go of your own logic, you will never know God. If you surrender to God, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and honestly accept His gift, you will have no doubt that you know God. It isn’t that God doesn’t want to reveal Himself; it is that He reveals Himself in ways that require faith.

Why does God make faith a requirement to know Him? That is a question I may never comprehend the answer to. I can tell you that there is lots of evidence if you want to see it; and often times, much like in the movie, the evidence can stare you right in the face. One example is the ingrained desire to call out to a higher being when trials hit. Even confirmed atheists have been known to cry out to God when the situation is so dire they have no other option. Another example is the miracles that happen around us every day. If you have never noticed one, chances are you are too skeptical to admit that what you witnessed could only be explained as The Almighty reaching out.

Once you have believed through faith, you are filled with the Holy Spirit. This allows you to have an intimate relationship with God and know Him in a very real way. He speaks to you, directly to your heart. Sure, to the skeptic, it can be passed off as your mind just working, but I can tell you that is simply not true. I have experienced too many times the power of His voice in my life; through my own thoughts and through God using others to speak to me. I say too many in the sense it would take more faith to believe in the unimaginable odds that those times are all only coincidence.

God is, most likely, not going to walk out of a corn field and provide you with an extra proof of His existence. He will, however, continue to try and get your attention so that you won’t need your 5 senses to have proof that He loves you. I would even suggest that if you seek Him, He will be more than happy to reveal Himself to you; not through your eyes and ears, but through your heart.

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