Tag Archives: Jesus

Eternal Wealth

I am not often up late enough to catch Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, but the other night I was. When he announced his guest would be “The Future of the Mind” author Michio Kaku, I was intrigued enough to keep watching. Though the whole interview was interesting, one comment stuck out to me. Kaku said that to build a computer that is capable of working as our brains do, it would have to be as big as a city block, need a river to cool it and a nuclear reactor to supply it with power. Our brains use about 20 watts of power (less than a light bulb!)

My first reaction was “and you think that just developed randomly by chance?” Then, I was reminded of the story in Matthew 19 of the wealthy young man; you can read the whole story in Matt 19:16-24, but to summarise – a young man asks Jesus what he must do to get eternal life. Jesus tells him to keep the commands. When the man says he does, Jesus tells him if he wants to be perfect, sell his possessions and follow Him. The young man walks away sadly, as he was very wealthy. Jesus tells His disciples that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God.

While the passage in scripture refers to monetary wealth, the same principle can be applied to richness in any form: knowledge, prestige or comfort. If we are “rich”, we tend not to seek out help, we think we are self-sufficient and the need for Christ can get buried in the comfort we are afforded. Of course, many people who are well off seek Jesus. In the end, it is all in our attitude.

None of us are perfect, and none of us can live a good enough life to enter the Kingdom of God. We can be self-sufficient, well-educated and held in high esteem, but we are all sinners and have fallen short of the Glory of God. We are all in desperate need of a saviour. All we need to do is to admit it. Sure, most of us can probably check off the commands and say we pretty much keep them; we are, more or less, a good person, but we need to get on our knees (sometimes literally) and just confess that we, with all our “wealth”, are completely dependent on the One who came to save us.

So, like the wealthy young man, we are faced with a choice: give it all up to God, or walk away. For most of us, walking away may seem like the more attractive option, at least in the short term. We have our earthly wealth and comfort, we even have our knowledge and understanding, but to be made perfect, we need to admit that we are not self-sufficient – we need to admit we need Jesus.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Greatest Gift

In all honesty, I am pretty much just a big kid at Christmas. (Actually, I am pretty much a big kid all year ‘round, it is just easier to get away with at Christmas.) I am so filled with the excitement of everything it brings. I start to get excited as soon as the calendar turns to December. I love it all: the anticipation, the music, the food, the celebration and the reflection. To me, Christmas is the time of year where everything works together with beautiful pageantry.

Of course, there are the presents! I have a few guidelines I try to use when picking out gifts for people. I try to give something they want or need but wouldn’t buy for themselves. I like it to be a surprise, something they didn’t have on their list. I also want to give something that can be enjoyed over and over again. The best part about Christmas is that, even though it is Jesus’ birthday, He is the greatest gift.

When God gave us His Son, it was a gift we so desperately needed, but we could never buy ourselves. He foretold it for centuries but still managed to keep it a surprise; He even had to send angels and a star to get the message out. As for gifts that keep on giving, well, you can’t better than the gift of eternal life!

Jesus really was the perfect gift, no matter what criteria you use.

As we celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, who came to be our Lord and Saviour, I find it very fitting that Christmas is best enjoyed when you focus on others. Jesus, throughout His life, was always focused on others. Christmas is a time of parties and presents; it is a time to celebrate and enjoy the company of family, friends and anyone else who joins in on the festivities. And when it comes to gifts, Jesus made sure that He set the example of “it is better to give than receive”, for as great as those first Christmas gifts were, Jesus is the greatest gift we could ever want or need.

Merry Christmas!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It Only Matters if He Loves

Science will never prove there is not a God because it is the study of natural things, and God is supernatural. Religion shouldn’t be afraid of science because God set up the world with natural order and precision. Using one to argue against the other is a little like using history to argue math. The one fact we can all agree on is that we are here. No matter how we got here, there is an earth, a heavens and intelligent life.

The question shouldn’t be simply “Is there a God?” it should be “If there is a God, what is His nature?” Because if God is not a loving God, does it really matter if he made the universe? If a god simply wound up the clock of time and set the universe in motion, not caring for its creation, what difference does it make today that he exists. If the creator isn’t loving, and there is no eternal place for the soul, then for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t matter how we got here, or really, what we do while we are here.

If God is loving, if the God of the Bible is true, then it does matter. A loving God who cares about His creation and has an eternal plan for it is the opposite of not only atheistic views but theistic ones as well.

What would be the evidence of a loving God? There are miracles; events that happen outside of the natural order of things. Miracles do occur; I have been witness to more than one miraculous healing. You could also point to chance happenings that would suggest that there is someone looking over us and bringing into our lives the people we need, just when we need them. Of course, you could brush them away as just coincidences, but I have had them happen in my life more often than I can recall.

What better evidence would there be to the nature of God than to have Him tell us? For that, God gave us the Bible; throughout the scriptures, God reveals His love for His creation, especially humans.  The testimony is written down and has been kept safe throughout the ages. Every generation and culture can relate to it; its message is timeless.

We are again presented with a choice; we can look at the evidence and decide that there is a loving God who cares for us and longs to have a relationship with us, or we can reject it as fairy tale, folklore and coincidence. It takes faith to believe either way. To believe in a loving God is to take the scriptures as true and see the miracles that are around us as acts of love. For the atheist or theist, you must believe that the scriptures are not absolute truth and believe that miracles are nothing more than random luck. The key question is “what do you do with Jesus?”

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

More than Words and Water

As I was researching “the sinner’s prayer” this week, I came across a web article basically saying that the prayer was worthless and that true salvation comes from water baptism. So, I dug a little deeper into that belief to better understand it. In short, they use both biblical references (usually one verse without the context around it) and the absence of anyone actually praying a similar prayer in the scriptures as the basis of their argument.

I disagree with the argument; Romans 10 speaks of belief in Christ as the path to Salvation. Sure, this is one chapter without context, but it is in line with what Jesus said in His teachings throughout the Gospels. This is not to ignore the command “believe and be baptized”; it is just to say that “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8 (italics added)

As I thought about this further, I realized that the danger that the salvation-through-baptism crowd warns about is very true. If you simply pray the prayer and “get saved” are you really fulfilling your part of the deal? Not that we can earn anything from God – we are all woefully short on that account – but there are two commands given by Jesus that we must follow – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:34-40). “Getting saved” is not the end, it is the beginning.

I am not even close to being qualified as judge or jury; so, I can’t tell you beyond debate that praying “the sinner’s prayer” and then walking away as if nothing happened and not changing anything else in your life would get you to Heaven. I do know that is not what God wants. He wants us to turn away from sin and obey His commands. After your conversion you should be a new person, turning away from your old nature, and trying to live for God and serve others with unconditional love.

Being a Christian is not about a one-time prayer or immersion in water – it is a life; a relationship that God desires with all of us. He seeks us out and longs to commune with us constantly. Boiling it down to one prayer or one act (and then debating the relevance of either) is missing the point. It turns Christianity into simply another religion and diminishes why God “became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Jesus is the Message

“The medium is the message.” I studied this phrase, coined by Marshall McLuhan, during my college days. It means that the medium (or method) you use to communicate something has a direct effect on how the message is perceived. Though McLuhan was thinking of it in terms of mass media, you and I practice it throughout the day. We pick the best way to express our thoughts; we chose the best method (phone, email, Facebook, etc.) to communicate what we are saying. I especially notice this at work with customers and co-workers.

In John 1:14, the Bible records that “The word became flesh.” That Jesus, who is God, came to Earth in human form. The fact that God did this is very significant. It was time for a new covenant and a new way to relate with God. The message He wanted to get across needed a special way to communicate it.

Throughout the old covenant, the Old Testament, God communicated in many ways: prophets, priests, burning bushes and stone tablets. Sometimes, it is just recorded that God spoke. Was this an audible voice? Every time? Very possible, but I don’t know for sure. What the Bible does say is that after the first sin, people did not walk and speak with God face to face.

When Jesus arrived on Earth, He did walk and talk with people; as John 1:14 says, He “made his dwelling among us.” Why the change? Why did the medium for the message need to be profoundly new? I believe it is because God wanted to stress that He desires a relationship with us. Whereas stone tablets and burning bushes are inanimate, and prophets and priests put a layer between God and His people, Jesus coming to commune with us stresses the relational aspect of God.

In Genesis, the Bible tells how God, before The Fall, walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. He longs to get back to that place with each of us. He isn’t some distant being who has removed Himself from our daily lives. He isn’t simply a creator who set up the universe and moved on. He is a personal God who longs for personal relationships. The fact that Jesus “moved into the neighbourhood” as The Message puts it, is a significant point not to be missed.

Jesus had many teachings and commands, but the fact that He lived among us to commune with us and show us The Way is a statement all on its own. Jesus is the message, and He wants a relationship, a deep, meaningful relationship with you.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized