Updated on April 7, 2015
Around every Christian holiday, I can count on seeing a post or two shared on Facebook from an organization whose mission in life is to be free from religion. Strangely, I strongly endorse their efforts – but likely not in the way they imagine.
To understand what religion is, you must travel back to the beginning. God created Adam from the dust of the ground and filled him with spiritual life. He placed His children in the Garden and gave them dominion over the Earth.
However, they weren’t alone for long. There was an enemy present, Satan. His rebellion before led to a catastrophic judgment of Earth, leaving it in darkness, and covered with water. This was the condition when God recreated the earth in Genesis 1. He was an outsider, an intruder, and had Adam or Eve exercised their authority, they could have sent him packing. Instead, he engaged in a conversation with Eve. And she listened to what he had to say.
Updated on August 16, 2014
I recently took part in a discussion on suffering, specifically Christian suffering. All the usual anecdotes were offered, the unborn, the premature death, the physically disabled, those born into poverty, or living in war zones. The usual Biblical examples were dragged out – Job and Paul’s thorn. It makes you wonder what Bible people read. Let’s take a look at some of these examples.
In a passage often quoted from Job 1, Satan complained to God because He had placed a hedge around Job, and blessed all the works of his hands to the point that he was the richest man in the East. For Believers, this should be cause for hope. Instead, this passage is often misunderstood as either God, or Satan, removing the hedge and attacking Job. If this is what you have been taught, you need to dig deeper into God’s Word. The Bible tells you exactly what brought that hedge down, and hindered the Blessing. It definitely was not God, or Satan directly.
Updated on March 6, 2014
When I was a wee lad, there was a series of books published featuring the entire Bible illustrated in comic book form. I devoured each one, fascinated by the stories, miracles, and such a wonderful God. I soon graduated to a children’s RSV, and then the Thompson Chain-Reference KJV my parents gave me in high school. Now, I have many translations – electronic, printed, and with the Internet, seemingly an unlimited supply of options to consider.
I have always read the Bible as God’s Truth. I also understand that His Words are filtered through men. Different translations, unfamiliar languages, strange religious practices, or cultural nuances, can make the Bible challenging at times. Religious tradition may create boundaries that make it difficult for the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s Truth. But if you keep digging, continue searching and expecting God to reveal the meaning of a passage, it will come.
Updated on March 4, 2014
In my last post, I discussed the Blessing, the fall of man, along with Satan’s temptation of Eve. If you missed the article, I recommend taking a quick peek back before continuing. One of the most common weapons the devil uses to undermine faith, is to get people to doubt God’s Word. Because if you doubt God’s Word, your faith will definitely fail. How can you have faith in someone, if you don’t trust their word?
Just the other day I was sitting in a church listening to a sermon on Hezekiah, the Assyrian invasion of Judah, and the siege of Jerusalem (2 King 18:13-37, 2 Kings 19:1-37). This is a wonderful story of how God supernaturally destroyed the Assyrian invasion force, 185,000 men in a single night. Hezekiah had heard Sennacherib’s threats, and instead of worrying about it, or focusing on the circumstances, he turned the problem over to someone who could handle it, God. But that’s where the sermon derailed a bit. The pastor started to undermine the story – maybe it wasn’t 185,000 killed, or perhaps there was a plague, or maybe the writer embellished the story. Though momentarily offtrack, he somewhat recovered by mentioning the decline of the Assyrian Empire from that point, and the fact that Judah would remain independent for another 100+ years until Babylon invaded. Unfortunately though, the damage had already been done. Because you don’t believe the story because historians, theologians, or even archaeologists think its true. You believe the story because God’s Word is Truth. Natural evidence may put your mind at ease, but faith rests in your spirit. You KNOW the Word is true in your heart first, and you renew your mind with the Word of God until it falls in line with your spirit. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. But you must have spiritual “ears that hear.” (Matthew 11:15, Mark 4:9, John 16:12-15, Romans 10:17, 12:2, 1 Corinthians 2:4-16, Galatians 3:1-6, Ephesians 4:15-23, 5:6-10)
Updated on March 14, 2014
“Why Did This Happen To me?”
Its a question that gets asked far too often. And unfortunately, it is often coupled with a belief that tragedy, sickness, or death was sent by God. It is like a no-fault religion. A belief system that takes absolutely no responsibility for what happens in life. But as in the natural world, you have cause and effect. In the spiritual world, its called sowing and reaping.
This topic sometimes makes people uncomfortable. The opposite should be the case, especially for Believers. If you are prone to ask these types of questions, or question God, remind yourself of God’s ultimate will for mankind. This can be found throughout the Bible. But let’s look at Genesis 1 to get started – underlining added for emphasis.
Updated on August 22, 2013
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus gives a short parable about a widow who keeps coming before an unjust judge, badgering him until he finally gives her justice. Then Jesus explains that God is nothing like the unjust judge, and will grant justice speedily to all who call on him. He ends the parable with an interesting question,
“But when I, the Son of Man, return, will I find people who have faith?”
Luke prefaces the story with an introductory line telling folks the parable is about praying, and not giving up. A common explanation for the parable is that Believers should keep praying until they get the answer. But what sometimes gets communicated, or understood, is the notion that you need to act like the widow, and pester God until He gives you what you want. It seems people are more focused on the actions of the widow and the godless judge, rather than God’s promise to grant justice speedily.
Updated on August 6, 2013
The film Mirror Mirror (2012) was a reimagined version of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs fairy tale featuring Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane, Sean Bean, and Lily Collins as Snow White. In the closing scene, the adorable Lily Collins performs a Bollywood-esque dance to her song titled “I Believe In Love.” The song is about romantic love, Snow White getting the prince, and of course ridding the kingdom of the evil queen.
If you missed the movie, here is the video of the closing scene. It really is a catchy little tune.
Updated on January 29, 2013
I am fascinated by people who proclaim themselves spiritual, but not religious. I first started seeing this in the dating/singles world and then later with celebrities as a technique to distance themselves from the sometimes awkward subject of religion. Much like the independent or moderate tags come up when it comes to politics, the term spiritual sounds to some as more worldly, or dare I say transcendent.
The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. — Psalm 10:4 <NLT>
Posted on March 30, 2011
I recently read an article that challenged its readers with a quiz. Taking violent verses out of the Koran and Bible, the challenge was to name the source for the verse. The object of course was to prove that all religions are inherently evil – at least I think that was the point.
I do agree that individual verses without context can be twisted to mean just about anything. If we are drawing a comparison strictly between Christianity and Islam, there is a much better comparison – look at the founder and the fruit. There is a major difference between the life of Christ and the life of the prophet. Islam was spread almost exclusively by violent attacks and has been at war with civilization for over 1400 years – wiping out Christians, Jews, Hindus and other faiths in their path. For a good chronology of the spread of Islam click here and here. Rape, murder and violence were established as acceptable behavior from the very beginning and have continued into the present day.
Updated on January 31, 2013
Why Blame God?
The following blog post was in response to an article written asking why God allowed the Arizona shootings. No other topic brings out the passion in me than someone ignorantly blaming God for evil. The god of this world must be amused that he is never accused of anything.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. — John 10:10 <NIV> (Jesus speaking)
In the beginning, man was given dominion over the earth, but through sin, he was disconnected from God. If he accepts Jesus as his Savior, he is reborn into God’s family and reconnected to God by the Holy Spirit. If he has not, he is spiritually connected to the thief (satan). There is no middle ground or “lawful neutral” options.
Updated on February 26, 2011
A Thunderstorm Lesson
Today, I found myself reading in my bedroom when a late summer storm hit. Boris is usually terrified by storms, but this time he came and crouched on my lap. As the thunder and lightning intensified, he would start to move towards the utility room, his favorite “safe” place during storms. But I would talk to him and get his focus back on me and he would settle back down. Then there would be another clap of thunder, or more intensity in the rain, and he would take his eyes and attention off of me and back on the storm. This went on for almost the entire duration of the storm.
Updated on January 31, 2013
God Does Not Abuse His Children!
“My (sickness) is one of the greatest gifts that God has given me.” — A Theologian
Recently, I read an article by a prominent theologian that made the point that his sickness was a “gift from God.” I edited his statement above and do not list his name. The point of this is not to judge or condemn this man.
But I am fascinated by Christians who make statements like the above – accusing my Heavenly Father of child abuse. Has he ever read John 10:10? Satan is the one that kills, steals and destroys. Jesus came to give you abundant life! Jesus healed everyone who believed and he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. You will never find anywhere in the Gospels an instance where Jesus made somebody sick. And remember, if you have seen Jesus, you have seen God!