By the Numbers

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How Could God Allow This To Happen To Me?

                How Could God Allow This To Happen To Me?
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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct paths. Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."  (Proverbs 3:5-7; Romans 8:28 Life Application Study Bible, Living New Translation). But does the Bible bear this out. Let's check it out by a look at the life of Job and the life of Abraham.
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Upright Job, asked God why is everything taken from me but my life? Though right with God, Job lost--possessions, prestige, wealth, children, health, being left covered with painful humiliating boils, a nagging spouse and consoling friends who became offensive condemners. Now what can test ones faith in a good, caring, powerful God more than that?
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But in all this Job's faith shown. He said,  "The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord, Job did not sin by blaming God (Job 1:20-22 NLT). When his wife said, "Curse God and die. Job replied, Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?" Job said nothing wrong (Job 2:10). In painful agony, Job affirmed, "I know my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, Yet in my body I will see God"(Job 19:25-26).
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From his limited spot in time, Job couldn't see God's perfect wisdom, sovereignty, and justice. But God's questioning him enabled him to be humbled and restored. He lived 140 years after that with four generations of children and grandchildren. God also gave him twice the sheep, camels, teams of oxen, donkeys and seven more sons and three beautiful daughters.
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What can we learn from the Book of Job and his suffering? First, we may learn something about its causes. Suffering can be due to my sin, other's sin, natural disasters, ignorance, or the devil and his demons. What else can we learn? (1) That we should trust God even though we don't understand the things that happen in our lives. (2) That human wisdom is always partial, temporary, and subject to pride. (3) That what we don't understand now we may understand with later maturity. (4) That God is always present everywhere but at times He may seem nonexistent. (5) That we should be really careful in condemning others as we may not understand their circumstances and motives. (6) That the best consolation we can give suffers is just our empathic presence. (7) That when we lose everything, God is yet with us to provide and restore. (8) That we're to remember the patience of Job and the great example of faith and integrity he set for humanity. See book of Job; Ezek.14:14,20; James 5:11. 
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God promised Abram a son, then later told him to sacrifice his son. "The Lord said to Abram, 'Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father's family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those nations that bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families on earth will be blessed through you' (Gen. 12:1-3).
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This passage is known as the Abrahamic Covenant and is repeated to Abraham several times (Genesis 13:14-17; 15:1-7, 18-21; 17:1-8). In it God gaves personal promises to Abram to bless him, make him famous, be a blessing to others, and others would be blessed as they help you. God gave national promises as his children would become a great nation, the land would belong to his descendants, the covenant would be established with his descendants. And God gave universal promises as nations blessed or cursed as they treated his descendants, and finally all the nations would be blessed meaning the coming Messiah and Savior. But, Abraham had to wait a very long time and endure such great testing even to have the promised son only to be asked to sacrifice him.
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Let me first dwell on the sacrifices he had to make before all this could happen. Abram longed for that promised heir but year after year went by and his hopes were disappointed time after time. First, he lost his nephew Lot who was not the promised one, but God reassured him of the promised heir. Next, he thought it was his faithful servant Eliezer of Damascus, but no God said it was be from his body and he would have descendants like the stars of heaven. Abram and wife Sarai being so impatient thought they could bring it about with her servant Hagar who bore Abram a son Ishmael whom he loved. But that was not God's plan either. Then the Lord Almighty appeared to Abram, changed his name to Abraham, the father of nations and Sarai became Sarah, a princess.
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God promised them to have a son next year about this time. Sarah laughed wondering how this could be since she was ninety and he one hundred years old. The Lord asked Sarah why she laughed? Lets ponder the Lord's question a moment. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Can't the all-knowing, Almighty Creator God supply our need as we trust and obey Him in His timing? Whether with our family, our employment, our relationships, our health,whatever? God assured them they would have a child this time next year.
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The Lord kept His word as He always does, Sarah became pregnant and bore a son at the time God said she would. Abraham circumcised him as God commanded and named him Isaac meaning "he laughs."But here is the bad part. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, the promised son, the one he waited decades to have. What kind of God would do that? That was an immoral act even murder not any different than the pagan tribes living all around him. Could Abraham have misunderstood? Doesn't this defy all reason? And what of all the promises God told Abraham he would fulfill? God now asked him to give up the love of his heart--it was his severest test. But Abraham willingly unhesitatingly obeyed walking 50 long miles to Mount Moriah with his beloved promised son beside him. But carefully notice what Abraham told his two servants with him. He said, we, speaking of him and Isaac, will worship there and come back (Genesis 22:5).
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Abraham had by this time found God to be utterly trustworthy in his love-trust relationship that he could give up his greatest treasure and show he loved God more than anything the world had to offer.
It was no leap into the dark as critics often like to claim, it was a lifetime of trusting God in so many different occasions and finding God always faithful to His promises. Hebrews 11:19 tell us Abraham believed that when he killed Isaac, that God would raise him up from the dead and this was before later prophets raised people from the dead. We can see God do incredible things the Bible promises if we will believe and be willing to allow God's way in God's time. Not like Sarah who told Abram to have a child with her servant girl even though that was an acceptable custom at that time. Not like Abraham when he told Sarah to say she was his sister and he not be killed.
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Yes, we will be tested again and again always with the choice of who and what comes first in our life, God's way or my way. We have to come to the point that we believe the Creator who designed all things throughout the universe and made us for a love-trust relationship really knows in the long run what's in our best interests. Now, what about the personal promises of the Abrahamic covenant?
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Well, Abraham did have descendants like the stars of heaven and sands on the seashore. Many nations and kings did come from him. Israel survived when Canaanite nations of that day didn't. Clearly God has blessed obedient Israel and nearly allowed disobedient Israel's destruction. Nations that blessed Israel prospered as the USA and others that cursed her were destroyed as Egypt and Hitler's Germany. It seems the U.S.A. is turning its back on Israel today in fulfillment of prophecy (Matt. 24:9).
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But the land promise of the Abrahamic covenant has not yet all been fulfilled. Israel is a nation today after centuries of being scattered among the Gentile nations from 70 AD. While Joshua captured much land, King David expanded it greatly, and Solomon collected tribute. Israel has never occupied all the land God promised from the border of Egypt to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18-20).
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 Now these land promises God made to Israel were confirmed in several ways.The are said to be without conditions, eternal, God passing between animals with a smoking oven and burning torch. Male circumcision became its sign and seal. I believe God's promises to Abraham are just as permanent as God's promise of my salvation in Jesus as God doesn't lie. Later prophets say Israel will return to their land in unbelief as happened after 1948. We are getting close to Jesus coming for his saints (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
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Now the Jews of Christ's day expected the Messiah their prophets foretold, but not as suffering servant Messiah dying for people's sin's (Isaiah 53; Luke 19:10). In their pride, they despised the Gentiles, resented Roman oppression, and could only see Messiah as reigning king so they rejected their promised Messiah (Luke 19:14).
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Understand, Israel is a theocratic kingdom (God rule),  while the Church is a universal brotherhood. The Church begun on Pentecost with all believers indwelt by God's Spirit, and with the New Covenant in Christ's blood as the final sacrifice so Christians as priests with direct access to God. The body of Christ composed of both Jew and gentile was a mystery not known until Christ paid for our sins. The church is not fulfilling God's promises to Israel. The separation between Israel, the Gentiles, and the Church is maintained throughout the Bible (Acts. 4:8; 3:12; 21:28; Rom. 10:1). Paul said, "Don't give offense to Jews, Gentiles, or the Church of God (1 Cor. 10:32).
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 But Israel will later be the head nation and other nations come to Jerusalem to worship while the whole world will enjoy peace and prosperity (Isa. 2; 11);  There will be justice and equality (Jer. 23:5-6), joy (Psa 48). God's children will be freed from the curse of decay and death and our bodies will be released from sin and suffering. Oh what a glorious day of the Lord it will be (Rom. 8:18-24; Rev. 20). So does God keep His promises? You bet He does, big time! So let's make every day count by keeping our love-trust relationship alive that leads to obedience and unending joy. We have through the internet the greatest opportunity to share God's good news. Let's not waste it doing trivial things. We don't want to be ashamed when we see Jesus. 
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A Challenge To Open Hearts & Minds

                     A Challenge To Open Hearts & Minds
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Politically correct is most incorrect if it seeks to stifle truth. We humans have minds that innately think, weigh evidence, and seek to discern truth from falsehood. Free speech is our inherent right and should be mandated everywhere by law. Authorities political, scientific, or religious that seek to suppress truth stifle the well being and progress of society. We must understand that truth is universal and reasonable, not just my truth against your truth that leads us to disrespect and strife. The questions below give Christian evidence authorities increasing seem to ignore, discount, ridicule, and marginalize from the public arena. I trust you to give it your honest objective reflective thought.
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Does Empirical Science Put God Beyond Human Knowledge? Some scientists claim we can't know anything that is not tested by repeatable, measurable experiments. The truth is only present physical objects are subject to such testing. Historical events, ethics, law, art, philosophy, even what you ate for dinner last week is not subject to such testing. Yet we know these things exist in the real world. Scientists assume even before they begin their experiments, that the world exists, it is knowable, our senses give accurate information,  we can think logically, and honest accurate data are imperative to discover truth. What is this then but a mountain of faith? 
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Consider this question seriously: If God could create a great universe with its laws, then would lessor things like angels, men, miracles, and heaven be difficult? Surely creation of the  greater means no problem for the lessor. And, if the Bible's God is Spirit or Mind, isn't it wrong-headed to expect to discover Him with microscope, telescope, or contrived experiments. Even supposing God exists, can we demand He perform a miracle we can film to prove He exists and can act in our world? What if God made us in His image for loving relationship with Him, then wouldn't it seem reasonable for Him to make Himself known to us?  But! maybe not on our terms.
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Isn't this the crucial question? It's not whether God exists, since we may intellectual believe some kind of God exists, but care nothing about Him. When we don't know God, we may fear He may not have our best interests in mind. That fear may cause us to ignore or discount all evidence that points to Him. It doesn't matter if He's said to be our Creator, loves us, or gives us the breath we breath--we just don't know what to expect. We humans prefer our ways and don't want to stray from our comfort zone of what we think right for us. We wonder, will this God give me what I want?

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 Unlike superstitious pagans, Christians believed God created a rational knowable world for us to explore and enjoy which provided for experimental science. He provided us the foundation and authority for absolute truth, ultimate purpose, human dignity, ethics, justice, love, and life after death. All this gives us hope and makes life worthwhile. So He's a good and wise God who loves us.

Christians believe Jesus is the God-man who walked among us doing good (John 1:1-3, 14). He even died to pay for our sins, and arose again to give us abundant life (John 10:10; 2 Cor. 5:21). Before Jesus', time, pagans offered sacrifices to their fearful vengeful gods. So it was unthinkable of God to love us so much to die such excruciating pain nailed to a cross, be naked, cursed before glaring eyes, and laughed at, bearing the punishment for our sin. It didn't matter how ignorant, foolish, poor, hateful, selfish, ugly, misfit, rejected we might be, or might become--Jesus loves us to give His life so we can have eternal life.

We have abundant evidence Jesus is the risen Son of God. It launched the Christian church that dates the calender (Acts 1:1-3; 2:22-24). Jesus underwent ridicule, torture, and death so we today can know Him as our Savior, Lord, and Guide. Paul mentioned 500 people saw Jesus after His resurrection many still alive when he wrote 25-30 years later (1 Cor. 15:1-8). Jesus is the world's only visual evidence we have life after death, and Heaven if we trust Him to save us.
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Friends, evolutionary science is based on naturalist assumptions: But no experiment shows a dog can change into a horse, monkey evolve into a man. Mindless molecules can't arrange themselves into men even in billions of years no more than red, white, and blue confetti thrown from a plane can form the American flag.. There's no one missing link, but chains of them between all the life forms. Artists pictures in science textbooks are no proof. Those who don't want a loving God in their life have to fall back on evolutionary assumptions. The naturalist claim there's no God, is arrogant and used to excuse life apart from the God who really loves us and wants us to know Him? 
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If the Beginning Universe Didn't Create Itself, Then What Did? All science is based upon a cause and effect relationship so that whatever has a beginning must have a cause. It's illogical to think a nonexistent universe could created itself. Then, the cause of the finite, material universe must be timeless, immaterial, intelligent, powerful, and personal. And its cause can't come into or go out of existence, but is eternal, self-existent, and prior to creation. These characteristics describe the Creator God of Genesis 1:1; the self-existent I Am of Exodus 3:14, eternal Word (Mind or Lord Jesus) of John 1:1-3, 14 and Christian's Redeemer of Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:14-18.  

Doesn't Our Conscience tell us we're responsible to Moral Law and its Lawgiver? The philosopher Immanuel Kant thought it implied justice, immortality, and God. Excuses make no sense unless we break a moral law. We suffer guilt and shame to break one. We feel a sense of duty to save life even at the risk of our own. All cultures share laws for as against genocide and rape. We judge the human race for moral progress or regress. Moral laws are discovered, not invented. We may deny the moral law, but when someone cheats, steals, lies, or abuses us, we scream foul! So then, it's a moral world. We violate God's known moral standards and need His forgiveness and power to live better.
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Can't true events, if accurately recorded, be just as true millenniums later as when recorded? The Gospels tell us essentials of Jesus' life and each one adds its own details and perspective that is verified in secular history. We don't have to know everything to know something. Ancient people knew nobody can walk on water, raise the dead,  heal visible diseases unless God does it (John 3:2; 21:24, 25). For over three years, Jesus astonished His disciples, and hostile witnesses with hundreds of visible miracles that demonstrated His claims to be God were true. Talk about empirical tests!!
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Won't you say YES! to the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ? Christians don't live perfect lives. Nobody in the Bible did, but Jesus.  It's His righteousness upon which we depend. His victory over sin is why He can save us sinners. We have victory over the world's system of evil, over Satan and his demons, and over our own sinful tendency as we focus on our Lord, trusting in His forgiveness, His love for us, His goodness, and power. We become God's people and all things become new as we keep surrendering our self-centered lives into His Almighty loving arms. Whatever your need, won't you say: Lord, I trust You right now to save me the sinner, and to be my Lord and Guide throughout life. That's the best decision of your life.
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Now to grow in Christ get a Bible and really study it. I recommend for English readers, the "Life Application Study Bible". It's clear living translation and many helps are far superior to any other Bible I know. Read, link on to, & share these gospel articles on the www to win others to the Savior. Lord, help this brother or sister be faithful and abundantly fruitful. In Jesus name, amen. Praise God!
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Jesus' Obedient Followeers Focus On Fishing

                 Jesus' Obedient Followers Focus On Fishing
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Yes, we're busy people. Yes, so many demands are made on us--work, family, home chores, relations, but don't we usually give priority and time to those things we feel most important?  One day everyone will bow before Jesus, the King of kings as a believer to receive their degree of reward for service, or unbelievers to receive their degree of punishment for sin. We decide which in the life we are living now. Yes, our every thought, word, and deed now decides what our eternity will be--light and love, or darkness and despair. This is a most serious issue. Now let's see how it all plays out.
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The Bible Clearly teaches we are beings of both dignity and depravity. Unlike animals, God made both man and woman in His rational, moral immortal image (Gen 1:26; 9:6; James 3:9) whereby all persons are to be shown the same respect and dignity. At the same time we are fallen into a depraved state preferring selfish desires over God and His way (Gen. 3; 6:5 ). We are born with a corrupt sinful nature that we struggle with all our lives (Romans 6:6; 7:18-20). Jesus described it thus, "Evil words come from an evil heart and defile the person who says them. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all other sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander" (Matt. 15:18-19). See also Romans 1.The consequences are our spiritual and physical death being corrupt, without love for God, rejecting God, and to be without God and His benefits in eternal darkness and torment. It's each persons choice, although God offers us a love-trust relationship with Him now and forever in the new Heaven and earth.
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We are made right with God by His grace, not our good deeds. Where man's religions and philosophies fail is that they claim we can save ourselves by our own goodness and good deeds.The Bible is unmistakeably clear that it cannot happen anymore than the leopard can change his spots (Jer. 13:23). We sin every day showing our sin nature. "Yes, Adam's one sin brought condemnation upon everyone. But Christ's one act of righteousness makes all people right in God's sight and gives them eternal life. Because one person disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many people will be made right  in God's sight (Romans 5:18-19 NLT). For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ" (2 Cor.5:21 NLT). That's the only hope we sinners have for a better world and and eternal life with God. Jesus said, I Am the way, the truth, the life, No one can come to the Father except through me" (Jn. 14:6 NLT).
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Again, "God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; It is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have don so none of us can boast about it (Eph. 2:8-9 NLT). Repeatedly the Bible affirms God's grace excludes our good works for salvation (Rom. 11:6; 3:21-31; 4:1-11). If our good deeds could save us, Jesus' death on the cross was foolish and useless suffering. (Gal 2:21).
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We must not let theological disputes prevent us from obeying our Lord. Some Christians object to Calvinism saying if God elects who will be saved and it's predestined even before they are born, then it's all fixed in stone so it doesn't matter if we witness or not. Now Evangelism Explosion is a training program used in many churches of many denominations to win people to Christ all over the world. I was made the second level EE teacher for several semesters because I lead teams out to witnesses to more people and had more professions than the other teams. But this EE training used of God to win so many people to Christ around the world was designed and originated at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, a Calvinist Church.
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So, it's really no problem for a couple of reasons. One, God knows who will be saved, we don't, so we must witness to all so that everyone can hear the gospel and have opportunity to be saved. The other, we're told several times in several scriptures to witness. Thus, not to do so is disobedience to God and loss of Heavenly reward. Now let's be gracious and get on with being obedient to God and loving toward all the brethren who trust in the Savior.
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Believers will receive great reward for sharing their faith in Christ. "For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies. (2 Cor. 5:10 LNT). Paul further says to believers no one can build on any other foundation but Jesus Christ. Anything built on the foundation of Christ will be rewarded to varying degrees as gold, silver, jewels have different values. Other things don't do anything to further Christ's kingdom are compared to wood, hay, and straw( See 1 Cor.3:10-15). For example, using our time and talents to play computer games or show pretty pictures won't count for reward while using the www to teach Bible, encourage Christians, and praying for and inviting others to Christ will bring great reward when we see Jesus. The Bible further speaks of rewards as crowns we give credit to Jesus for enabling us to earn them.
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Unbelievers will receive their just degree of punishment for cowardly rejecting Christ. Yes, they claim all kinds of reasons--I can't detect God with my physical senses, we're just evolving soulless animals, God created a terrible world, all religions say the same thing, a  good God would never have let my loved one die, natural law makes miracles impossible, the Bible is just a bunch of contradictions and myths, Jesus was only a good man--their list is unending. But their reasons are only excuses because they are afraid God will want them to give up their sinful desires and lifestyle.
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They aren't willing to believe the all-knowing Creator who designed us knows what's best for us and wants a love-trust relationship with us that will prove better than anything we know or desire. Besides, Christian Bible scholars, and apologists have answered these ignorant and conflicting objections long ago.
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"All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. But COWARDS who turn away from me; and unbelievers, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those who practice witchcraft, and idol worshipers, and all liars--their doom is in the lake of fire that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death."(Revelation 21:7-8 LNT).  
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What does the Bible say about sharing the gospel?  Jesus said "come be my disciples and I will show you how to fish for people.  Jesus said, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciple to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this; I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19-28). We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. Be reconciled to God! (2 Cor. 522 LNT). It is a great honor and privilege for Christians to tell others Jesus is the only Savior from sin and Hell to all who will trust in Him to forgive and cleanse them making them fit for a perfect Heaven.
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The internet gives us the opportunity to reach people for God's grace and glory worldwide. We don't have to learn another language, or go to another country. Just pray and send these gospel articles around the world in many languages. Simply put your pointer on send. You can take thousands with you through the Pearly Gates. Tell your friends about goodnewsmessengers.blogspot.com.This can become your effective ministry to reach many peoples and many nations, to explain the Biblical worldview, and to make a more moral and sane world. God bless.
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The world seems to be getting increasing more violent and sinful.  Jesus warned it would before His return. But let's not lose heart with such great opportunity to do good. "So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless (1 Cor. 15:58 LNT).
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Was Jesus A Rational Empiricist?

                         Was Jesus A Rational Empiricist?

Our enlightened elitist culture demands a religion be logically consistent and related to the real world. We no longer believe in gods evolved from nature, made with human hands, or confined to someone's mind. That's just superstition or myth. We require supernatural claims be repeatedly tested and observed as in empirical science to demonstrate what exists in the real world. Now Christians claim God is Jesus who walked among us adding a human nature and body. Can we give that a fair honest objective appraisal to see if it's logically consistent and related to the real world?

Did Jesus know the three basic laws of logical discourse? Aristotle identified the basic laws of rational thought and discourse. As Logos or Reason, these laws have their basis in God, and Jesus as God used them teaching people (John 1:1-3, 14). Most essential is the law of noncontradiction from which all the others stem. It means that opposing statements can't both be true at the same time in the same sense. Some of his examples are contrasts between children of light with children of darkness, rebuking truth for error, children of the devil cannot be children of God, and that we are to test the spirits to see if they be of God. Jesus used the law of identity when he said to let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Jesus was saying that we can't think or talk in a consistent way if God could also mean no God, faith no faith, good not good. And Jesus used the law of excluded middle that a statement must be either true or false. For example, whoever is not for me is against me. We either walk in light or walk in darkness. In such cases there is no middle ground. 
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Space limits me to mention only a few other forms of logical discourse Jesus often used in abbreviated form. A fortiori arguments mean that the greater is more reasonable than the lessor. So if sinful people give good gifts to their children, the heavenly Father will give far greater gifts to his children. He used disjunctive syllogisms such as you cannot serve God and mammon--there is no middle position. Jesus used hypothetical syllogisms as this example. If David by the Holy Spirit called the Messiah his Lord, then Messiah is more than David's son; Messiah is also his God which Jesus claimed. He used categorical syllogisms in reply to the legalistic Jews who forbade work on the Sabbath. Jesus defended his actions several times as his disciples eating grain, healing a man's deformed hand, their getting a sheep out of a ditch. His replies were to do good, emergencies required it, people were more important than rules, the Sabbath was make for man, he was Lord of the Sabbath being God. He replied a reductio ad absurdum argument when accused of casting out demons by the power of the devil. He said if that's true, then the devil's kingdom is devided and he is fighting against himself and will fail. Further, they know Jesus performed good miracles.
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Did Jesus logically expose the clever traps of His adversaries? Jesus slid through the horns of a dilemma. giving a third option. King Herod's supporters asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not. A yes answer meant he put Caesar above God. A no answer meant he was opposed to Caesar, so either answer was a trap. Holding a Roman coin with Caesar's inscription, Jesus astonished everyone when he said give to Caesar what belongs to him and to God what's his due.  
 
Did Jesus demonstrate His logical arguments to be God were empirical fact related to the real world?  Yes abundantly! Jesus miracles contrary to nature's patterns confirmed his claims to be God. He performed miracles during daylight, before large crowds close at hand, often upon request, sometimes at great distances, often before hostile eyewitnesses seeking to discredit him. He did this at the temple, seaside, at large gatherings, passing through little towns, and in homes for more than three years. John said the books couldn't be written to describe them all (John 21:24-25).
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Jesus' miracles showed he is Lord. He had power over nature turning water to wine, walking on water, stilling a storm, cursing the fig tree, twice catching many fish, and Peter going to find coin for tax in fish's mouth, twice multiplying food. And there was his virgin birth, transfiguration, resurrection, and ascension. He immediately healed various bodily ailments. There were several with visible skin diseases, paralysis, blindness, deafness, a woman with issue of blood, man with dropsy, severed ear of Malchus. He restored five demon possessed persons and raised three dead people. 
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Some founders of other religions are also said to perform miracles. But devoted disciples made that  claim centuries after their deaths. .Jesus gospel miracles were published just decades while eyewitnesses were still alive. New Testament epistles included hymns and creeds used in churches from the beginnings. If Jesus' miracles were true events, then they would be no less true today or a thousands years later. We can't demand Jesus appear and walk on water  every decade before we can believe. Jesus said if anyone wants to do God's will, he will know the teaching. Do U want God's will? That's the crucial question! God gives U the right to choose being alone with your madness under his wrath in eternal darkness weeping and gnashing teeth! Matthew 8:12; John 3:36.
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Which group is really logical and empirical, Jesus' once astonished skeptical disciples, or His modern critics? Modern critics with naturalistic assumptions say they can easily explain Jesus' miracles. Demons are just bad attitudes or insanity. The dead people were just in a coma. Jesus hypnotic personality  convinced people they were not really sick. Ancient people were ignorant of nature's laws. Mystery religions abounded in that day of men being gods performing miracles, and arising from the dead. Jesus was some kind of trickster.  Are the modern skeptics right?
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I think not!  Demoniacs are distinguished from diseases. If diseases, Jesus could heal them immediately while modern doctors cannot. Demons recognized Jesus as the holy one of God even before the disciples. Possessed can speak other languages, show exceptional strength, and different personalities. Jesus exhibited a visible empirical event when the demons were caste into the pigs. It amazes me that liberals explain dead bodies raised as comas.  Since Adam and Eve people know dead bodies are cold, pale, and stiff. Jesus' can't hypnotize persons born blind to receive sight, skin diseases to disappear, deaf and dumb to gain these faculties--only God's power can do such things. Jesus disciples knew natures laws that people don't walk on water, raise the dead, or ascend into heaven. They were skeptical, often astonished, and Jesus often rebuked their unbelief.
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Jesus miracles proceeded the mystery religions. They in fact may have borrowed from him as modern cults do today. No monotheistic Jew would accept religions about Greek or Roman gods. The mysteries were mostly fertility religions related to yearly crop cycles. Only Jesus was virgin born holy, lived without sin, died to pay for our sins, and arose to make believers God's redeemed people. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount teaching is the epitome of ethics. He challenged his bitter enemies to find fault with him, and when they couldn't, they plotted his death.  After his resurrection his at first skeptical disciples, then died horrible deaths not for a lie but to affirm Him as the holy Lord of glory.
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What we choose to believe about Jesus is the crucial ultimate decision of our life and destiny! The Bible doesn't say Christians are without sin, but does say true believers are counted right with God because Jesus loved us enough to give his human life for us and the Holy Spirit in us to make us increasing better persons as we focus on God's truth, forgiveness, love, and power. God's love can't be forced. We're not programmed but can freely choose Jesus with the peace, love, and joy he can bring to our life, with heaven to boot. Won't U say, Lord Jesus, I trust You now to save me the sinner and always be my Guide until I go to be with You. Amen! (So be it).  Now serve your Lord and minister to others sending an article on the www every day.   See my note below.
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Saturday, August 2, 2014

To My Internet Atheist & Skeptical Friends

                                   To My Internet Atheist & Skeptical Friends

Thank you for such challenging responses. Please forgive me if I'm not always as sensitive, knowledgeable and empathetic as you desire. My sinful nature doesn't always honor the Lord or you. I don't desire to intimidate you, but passionately desire to present the facts as I can understand them. So I avoid adjectives like brain dead, stupid, crazy, others worse, since they only degrade, distance, and destroy our good relationship and don't even answer your questions. While I can't address all your concerns, I hope you can graciously understand my human limitations. Different views enhance our education and enlightenment, but test our fairness and compassion. But, I'm confident you will be open to understanding these issues below in a new and exciting way. God bless.
Believing God Exists May Require We Be Open to the Evidence. Raised in India we likely believe in many gods; living in Saudi Arabia we've allowed no choice but Allah, and in communist lands we must be atheists. In each case our teachers and background shape our beliefs. But human guesses, opinions, and force doesn't prove anything right. Were we so fortunate to be born in just the right place to know? If the world is to make any sense, opposing views can't all be right. So then which is true, many gods, one God or no God?  If any one is right, there must be evidence that it is so.
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People at one time thought the world was flat for the best of reasons. You could plainly see it was flat; if it were round you would fall off, and the Bible even said it had four corners, all which proved the world flat. So if raised to believe a certain way, or hearing only one view of an issue, we may be dogmatically certain of our belief and feel others stupid to think otherwise.
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 Hebrews 6 surveys the great faith exhibited in Bible heroes and happenings--Cain slew Able, Enoch caught up to heaven, Noah's flood, Abraham & Sarah having a child in old age, Rehab escaping Jericho, Samson's exploits, Moses delivering Israel, prophets being beaten, imprisoned, cut in half, thrown to lions.
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Critics claiming Bible events myths of a prescientific people make no sense. These people knew nature's laws and were astonished to see miracles. They  risked their lives believing God's promises, and if not true their lies could never have been accepted. They correlate with the history of other nations and with archaeological data. Jesus too mentioned many of these events as true history. Regardless of what David Hume and Immanuel Kant said, it's only an unproven naturalistic bias that rejects the biblical God. Human knowledge is only a dot in the universal circle. 
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The Spirit of an Almighty Lord could be acting in the world and our lives right now. Think about this honestly: "Anyone who wants to come to God must believe there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him (Heb. 11:6, NLT). Closed minded hostile bitter attitudes just make one's life miserable. God's love through faith in Christ brings millions forgiveness, love, peace, joy, and hope.
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Israel's Theocratic Kingdom is Not the New Testament Brotherhood and church of Christ. A theocracy is the claim of God's rule. By today's standards some of Israel's laws seem harsh. Among them death for blaspheming God, child dishonoring parents, kidnappers, adultery, homosexuality, child sacrifice, sex with animals, and an injurer punished eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Slavery under humane conditions was permitted and slaves could be freed. God gave dietary and health laws to prevent disease. God who took Israel from corrupt Egypt, sought to take corrupt Egypt from Israel, and prevent corruption again in idolatrous Canaan.
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Now fairness requires we understand the historical cultural context. God choose Israel to be his special people, witness, and example to the surrounding nations. Obedient Israel was to show his goodness, love, protection, power and provision. In God's plan the Jews and their Messiah was to be the means of human redemption pictured in a slain Lamb. But like nations, schools, churches, and individuals, people always drift away from God's rule preferring government dictatorship and self rule even though it brings destruction and death (1 Samuel 8:7-20; Judges 21:25).
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Understand Israel's law is not N.T. grace. God's law never saved anyone, but is necessary to enable us to see our shortcomings, need of a Savior, and God's guidance. A substatute sacrifice of a Lamb was the visual way a holy God reminded his imperfect people of their constant need of his power, love, and forgiveness.Still God's Ten Commandents are moral foundations for a sane secure society.
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If  there's an Almighty Eternal Lord, then He's the Rational Unity and Standard of Everything.
Being the Source and Ground of everything, rather than chaos there would be unity and order, a standard of judgment, a purpose for living, as our world makes rational and scientific sense.  Yes, we do see means adapted to ends showing a great mind and will. Further, there is no basis to say an Almighty Lord cannot assume a human form and nature such as said of Jesus being the God-man.  
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If There's No Good, Just, Loving God, then Our World  is a Jungle and Temporary Survival of Prey and Predator. Evolutionists claim we have no further need of God as evolution can explain everything. Mindless molecules can magically arrange themselves into all life forms given enough time. That's like saying red, white and blue confetti dropped from a plane forever will one day be arranged into the American flag. I don't see how any intelligent persons can believe that.
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The science experiment with short lived fruit flies showed after many generations the only result was mutated deformed fruit flies. The only real proof for macro-evolution would be thousands of transitional fossils showing each step in the process. While museums contain thousands of bones no connecting links are found. It's all based upon theories supporting theories and artists drawings in science textbooks. Nebraska man fossil that persuaded Americans science has authority over God and the Bible turned out to be an extinct pigs tooth.
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Now if macro-evolution is true, it makes our world a bloody jungle where each predator and prey compete for a brief survival. In interviewing Wendy Wright, the atheist "scientist" Richard Dawkins even admitted Darwinism is bad for society. But the biblical God who created man in his image gives us the basis for human dignity, equality, freedom, justice, love, responsibility, a rational world, purposeful lives, and life after death with opportunity for Heaven. Come clean Richard! If you were as dedicated to Jesus as to mindless degrading macro-evilution, you could be greatly used of God and not have to live alone in eternal darkness. How can anything be rational and scientific about it?
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Unless We Be Perfect People, We Need A Savior and Lord. If mindless molecules have arranged themselves into all life forms, and God is unnecessary, then we have no basis for complain about our jungle world as we're all prey and predator animals. We can't say life is unfair when we're eaten by other animals, we're abused, abandaned, raped, whatever. 
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None of us are perfect. And Jesus' death for our sins and resurrection shows the world doesn't have to be an animal jungle. He arose and he's coming back to reign in righteousness. My skeptical friends the proof is in the pudding, taste and see that God is good and what you really need. "Jesus loves me. This I know for the Bible tells me so." He loves you too my friends. Won't you start a new life asking Jesus to become your Savior and Lord?
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lord Jesus, We Trust, Love, and Obey You.

                 Lord Jesus, We Trust, Love, and Obey You.
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Lord, life is full of difficulties, perplexities, temptations, injustices, sufferings. But, we don't excuse our sins by blaming You for the evils we humans commit to become bitter about life. We trust in Your redemption,  righteousness, love, promises, and good purpose to make us better persons who make a better world. We grow in faith and achieve victory over adversities as we focus on You, Your will, grace and glory. You promised believers in Jesus Heaven, and a higher quality of life, dignity, and purpose on our way. Help me clarify this Lord in the following statements of biblical Christian faith.
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Both science and reason agree in this: Anything begun must have an adequate cause for its beginning. Several facts show a nonexistent universe didn't create itself. It's expanding from a central point. Its useful energy is being depleted. Its existence cannot be traced backward eternally. So it depends upon a prior adequate eternal cause for its existence.  See Hebrews 3:4; Ephesians 2:8-10.
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But what kind of cause is required for its existence? A preexisting cause is required for our beginning material space-time universe that is immaterial (or spiritual), that exists outside of space and time, that sustains the universe, yet can act within it. It required an eternal, unchangeable, or self-existent cause independent of creation. Further, the universe's immensity, complexity, and fine-tuned interrelated elements show design suggesting an infinite powerful mind and will. That means a personal intelligence is behind the creation of the universe. And since there can only be one Almighty Creator, this is the same God Almighty the Bible describes. See Gen. 1:1; Psalm 19:1; Rom. 1:20; Col. 1:17.
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Science too shows this. Dead chemicals don't spontaneous become alive. Mindless molecules don't magically arrange themselves into men no matter how much time. Living things have an immensely complex genetically instructed language with built in limitations. Complex linked systems and organs must function together from their beginning. Thousands of transitional forms would prove macro-evolution, but their absence shows God created life to reproduce after it's own kind--dogs don't change into horses, monkeys don't evolve into men. Vast differences between man and animals show You created us Lord in your mental, moral immortal image from the beginning. You made us directly and dominant over the animals, and for relationship with You. See Gen. 2:15-24; 3; Matt. 19:4; 1 John 1:1-3; Rev. 21:1-4.
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We, however have limitations. We limited persons cannot prescribe Lord, what You can or cannot do, nor how You must manifests Yourself--You have to make all that known to us. And, You Have manifested Yourself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit  throughout Bible history. See Gen. 1:2; Psalm 2:7; Isa. 9:6; Matt. 28:19-20; John 1:1-3,14; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1-4; 1 John 1:1-3; 2 John 7. Lord, we acknowledge You have revealed Yourself as the Creator of all worlds and our Life Giver. 

Now this is the decisive question: How can we know You speak and act in our world? It seems there could be three visible ways the all knowing Almighty Creator could get our attention and show us he speaks and acts in our world. One, send messengers who can predict the future. Two, have his  messengers control the forces of nature. Three, come to live among us to explain his plan and give us hope.
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Consider some Bible prophets and supernatural fulfillment. Samuel told Saul 20 signs that would take place the day he was anointed to show he would be Israel's king (1 Samuel 10:1-9). Saul sent messengers to capture David three times who became God's prophets instead, and then Saul prophesied (1 Samuel 19:20-24). Another prophet gave Israel's King Jeroboam a sign his altar would break and a future descendant of David named Josiah would burn false priests bones on his altar--it occurred 300 years later  (1 Kings 13:1-6; 2 Ki. 23:15-20).  Please read the Bible passages.
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Consider also his messengers control of the forces of nature. Unlike pagan myths, or hearsay  miracles of Indian holy men, Bible miracles were supernatural signs before astonished eyewitnesses. God's prophets risked their lives to warn evil rulers of judgment. As Lord of nature, miracles are no great feat, and they occur only at times and places that confirm God's redemptive purpose. 
 
Now consider Jesus, the God-man, who walked among us. This is shown by His fulfillment of Messianic prophecy, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His admission to be God's Son, His death for our sins, His resurrection, His command of angels and demons, and His Ascension into Heaven. Both Jewish and secular writers mention events of his life described in the gospels and epistles. So Lord, we trust Your Word as true and the light to our pathway. See Luke 1:1-4; John 21:24-25; Acts 1:1-3; 2:22-24; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:16 .
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Science can only describe what is, not what ought to be. Scientific method depends on a rational world, valid logic, honest and accurate data, and absolute truth--all these depend upon a good and rational Creator. If scientific determinism is true, everything is programmed--we have no free will, no dignity, no moral responsibility--we're just animated machines that perish. And, if libertarian free will is true, then we can do anything we desire even to murder the human race. Laws, locks, jails, judges, and wars worldwide show we have a natural inborn bent to sin and rebellion.
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Can we face reality? Unbelief blames You Lord as cause of suffering, injustice, misery, murder, rape, torture, warfare, and every evil. But it's us who rebel and despise your commandments that are for our good. It's us who are ungrateful for Your blessings, who ignore Your invitations, who spurn Your warnings, who disdain Your judgments. We deny design in nature, harden our conscience, quench Your Spirit, turn our backs from Your goodness, love, and salvation in Christ. Lord, You don't send us to Hell, we choose eternal darkness and torment ourselves by our love of evil (John 3:13-21; 2 Pet. 3:9). Your plan of redemption that we spurn is revealed throughout the Bible and history.  See Gen. 3:15; Eph. 1:3-12; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 21:3-5.
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 It's said we think ten thousand or more thoughts a day. I admit Lord, most of my thoughts are about me and what I want. I seldom think about You and Your will, or how I can help my neighbor. I'm self-centered and selfish. Lord. I resent other people abusing me even though I may be insensitive, indifferent, and abusive of them. And yes, all the things called sins in many lists of the Bible I've desired, if not actually committed--lusts, hate, jealousy, murder and others, maybe a thousand times. 
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But victory focuses on You Lord, Your grace and glory. Our sins, Satan, and the world system of evil can discourage, defeat and drag us down to despair. But we don't have to dwell on, or give in to them. You give true believers in Christ the power and authority to be over comers. Victory comes by continual focus on Your goodness, love, forgiveness, truth, and power in us. We can do Your will through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Our Lord's resurrection power is given us. Sin does not control us as we continually give ourselves to You Lord (Rom. 6:14-16). Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in work of  the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58). Praise You Lord for Your goodness, power, love, and the victory You give us!
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We obey Your commandment Lord to spread Your gospel of grace worldwide in love to others. I'm Bob Jones, a love slave of Jesus Christ. Who will stand with me? -------------------------------------
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Pray and contact Tyndale Publishers to again publish Charles Colson's terrific book, Tough Questions about God, Faith, and Life. It's a clear user friendly and greatly needed book for a discussion group in Bible believing churches. It needs a new cover inviting peoples old and young to read it. It could also be translated into other languages.
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Animal Philosophy, Or Jesus Faith?

                        Animal Philosophy, Or Jesus Faith?

We all live by faith and what we accept as facts. Equally brilliant and educated persons can believe either the animal philosophy of evolution, or the Jesus faith of the Bible, especially the New Testament. The purpose of this article is to explain both and discuss some difficulties people have with them. I hope you find it helpful.
Darwin's Theory Is Called Naturalistic Evolution.  Charles Darwin (1809-1882) is famous for his theory that all living things descended from a single cell life form in the past by natural selection. So we don't need the personal ethical God of the Bible anymore as nature explains everything. Since his time many of the world's educational systems have adopted Darwinism as the most scientific and reasonable explanation of the world and applied it to every field of learning.
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Jesus Faith Is Called Biblical Christianity. The Bible opens with the statement that God created the heavens and the earth, and later that God created the animals to reproduce after their own kind, but made man--male and female--direct and distinct in His rational, moral immortal image dominant over the animals and for relationship with Him. God provided a beautiful garden with everything man needed for healthy and happy living and walked and talked with man in happy relationship. 
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God  explained two particular trees in the Garden of Eden. Eating from the tree of life meant they would live with God in happy relationship forever. But they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or they would die. God wanted people to trust and obey Him in happy relationship forever, but had to test their desire with freedom of choice. Satan, an angel God created had disobeyed God, and used a serpent to tempt the couple to disobey God. They ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which meant their choice for a world of good and evil. 
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God in mercy expelled Adam (made from ground) and Eve (mother)  from the garden lest they eat from the tree of life and lose their opportunity for eternal life in paradise restored. From their time until today all people have this inherited tendency to distrust God and choose self interest. But God, knowing this would happen, gives us invitations throughout life to take steps toward Him. Even in Adam and Eve's day, God promised a redeemer (Gen. 3:15; Gal. 4:4). Ever since God has been speaking to us through conscience, the Bible, Holy Spirit, angels, miracles, prophets, apostles, judgments, blessings, dreams, and visions that point the way to God and the redeemer His Son Jesus Christ--the God-man who walked among us (John 1:1-3, 14, 29; 3:13-36; Heb. 1:1-3; Phil. 2:5-11).  
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What Darwin's Theory Means for Everyday Life. If evolution is true, then we're soulless animals only evolved to a higher degree than the others, and nature is bloody in tooth and claw. As part of it, we too are prey and predator who must do whatever it takes to be the survivor. We can have rules and make laws, but if to lie, steal, rape, fight, or murder is more beneficial and satisfying, then why not? Stepping on people is ultimately no worse than stomping a bug. Guilt and shame, rights and justice, make no sense. Ultimately it's each person's opinion, and whoever gets the big stick, beats the rest of us into submission. In essence, no Jesus means no God, no afterlife, no human dignity, no judgment, no ethical responsibility and everyone is free to do their own thing be it minister to others which doesn't make much practical sense, or murder them. The world is a meaningless jungle and death ends it all.
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What Jesus Faith Means for Everyday Life. If Jesus is the God-man, then the Bible is God's Word, the foundation and authority for truth, hope, security, and human well-being. Created in God's image, we are beings of dignity and destiny. It matters greatly what we do and what others do to us--God is watching and will see justice is achieved.  God loves us and has a plan for each life, but we are free to reject God--we can think we know better that the all-knowing, all-wise, and loving Creator. We can come to know God by trusting in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to pay for our sins, arose again and was seen by 500 people. Jesus' righteousness is credited to us. God comes to live in us and work out His will in our life. We can have cleansing, peace, love, joy, and victory as we focus on Him and His will. Being a saint means we are set apart unto God's service, not that we will be perfect in ourselves. We have God's promise that we will one day live with Him eternally in that restored Paradise called Heaven. If we don't want God and His right ways, His love and goodness can't be forced on us. He will justly let us have our own way and rightful place--Hell.  
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Difficulties With Evolution. Some persons are quick to shout evolution is fact because all the scientists say so, or at lease the intelligent ones. Evolution is shown by the varieties of dogs, cats, monkeys, and people. There are fossils of prehistoric men and one day we'll find the missing links. A chimpanzee  has 99% DNA, the same as man. Creationists don't get papers published in the science journals. Experiments show chemicals mixed together can produce amino acids which form the basic constituents of life. Mutations and time can produce anything. And we believe in science, not in spirits and superstition.
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But we have to assume mindless molecules can arrange themselves into all the complex life forms. And each is intelligently designed with multiple compatible systems and organs requiring original creation. None of the above arguments and others show anything but that the wolf for example in designed with the genetic capacity for a variety of dog descendents. Check out my articles on science.
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Difficulties With Jesus Faith. I don't see anybody walking on water, raising dead people to life, or ascending into Heaven today. Is there a rule God must perform miracles at your demand, or could it be at crises times He decides? There are so many different versions of Christianity. God invites us to study His Word and grow in understanding and favor with Him; He doesn't force us all to believe the same way. Christians seem to be hypocrites rather than good people. Are you sure who the real Christians are, and what is your definition of good if there is no God. There can't be a good God with so much evil in the world. If God allows us free will, then we're free to do as we like--would you prefer God make us all robots? How do we know God even exists? Science operates on the principle of cause and effect. So the begun material universe requires a cause that is an eternal, powerful life and Mind. Check out my articles on worldviews and Bible benefits. There are good honest answers to each of these questions and others. Biblical Christianity has answers for persons willing to seek and find them. See also my article: Darwin's Missing Links, Or Jesus' Miracles"
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Now let me invite you to have the most crucial experience of human life. Say, Lord Jesus Christ, I turn to You now in humble admission I'm a sinner deserving your eternal justice. But I thankfully trust You to come into my life, take away my sin, and help me live for You from this day forward. Thank You Lord.
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See my notes below, and serve the Lord by sharing this and other articles with others on the web. God bless.
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