By the Numbers

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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Thursday, May 29, 2014

More Reasons Trusting Christ Secures Heaven

             More Reasons Trusting Christ Secures Heaven

Some Christians say the Bible teaches we can lose our salvation and Heaven: 1. A holy God won't allow serious continued sin. 2. There's an unpardonable sin. 3. God would be unjust to reward the faithful and unfaithful alike. 4. I know Christians who denied the faith and lost their salvation and Heaven. 5. If we're free to receive Christ, then aren't we free to reject Him. Now consider my response to these five statements, and then my reasons. You might also check my former article: Seven Reasons Trusting Jesus Guarantees Heaven. Limited space requires me to summarize texts.
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 My Response to the above Introduction.
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1. A holy God gives true believers freedom to sin, but His grace secures Heaven. Our Creator God is holy, and the Standard and Judge of right and wrong. But He also is love which means He cannot force us to be good. No Bible character is morally perfect. Israel's lawgiver, Moses, murdered an Egyptian. Israel's great King David, a man after God's heart committed adultery, and had her husband, a loyal soldier, murdered. God's great Apostle Paul admitted imperfection. God's people are never morally perfect. That's why salvation cannot depend on us, but on the perfect righteousness of Christ as bearing all our sin on His cross (2 Cor. 5:21). Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more so righteousness and eternal life is in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:19-20).
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2. The unpardonable sin is rejecting the Holy Spirit's witness to the Savior. We all sin so we all need a Savior and to say we don't sin we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8,10). To blaspheme the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-30)  results in eternal condemnation or loss of Heaven. It seems to mean that the blasphemer has completely rejected the Holy Spirit's witness to him or her about Christ being the Savior. That's the only unpardonable sin. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11). If you fear you have committed this sin, it's unlikely that you have. But if you even think you have, say Lord Jesus I trust You now and forever as my Savior.
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3. God doesn't reward the faithful and unfaithful alike.  That's true, He doesn't. But God's discipline may take the physical life of unfaithful useless believers (1 Cor. 11:27-32; Heb. 12:5-8). Also, His faithful servants will be rewarded more than persons making deathbed professions. There are degrees of reward pictured as gold, silver, precious stones, or loss of rewards due to neglected opportunities or evil deeds as wood, hay, straw.  But the foundation for eternal rewards in Heaven is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:9-14; Rev. 22:12). Heaven's rewards differ as Hell's punishments differ--it's the principle of God's justice to each individual (Gal. 6:7-8).
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4. We can't always know who is and who isn't saved. Matthew 7:21-23 mentions many great works of some who call Jesus Lord. They are said to preach, cast out demons, perform wonders in His name. But Jesus told them to depart from Him as they didn't do the Father's will and He never knew them. There will be surprises in both Heaven and Hell. I know preachers who were saved in later ministry. Judas was chosen as Jesus disciple, appointed to keep the group's money, said to cast out demons, perform miracles and apparently thought well of by all the disciples. But it's clear Judas was not saved as Jesus said he was a devil and the only one of the twelve that was lost in fulfillment of prophecy (John 6:70; 17:12; Psalm 41:9; Acts 1:20).  All who profess Christ, don't possess Him.

5. But if we're free to receive Christ, then aren't we free to reject Him? I know true believers who were led astray by skeptic college professors or contact with cultists. Others who some tragic experience caused them to deny belief in a good God. Yes, we have to say this happens. The Bible says we are saved by an act of faith in Christ; it doesn't say we have a constant attitude of faith. We know faith can be strengthen or weakened by arguments or by adversities. May I admit this honestly? If my salvation depended on me having constant strong faith, with all the questions and doubts I've had, I could have died many times and been lost. But as I understand the Bible, my salvation doesn't depend on me keeping strong faith, but on God's keeping me by His grace and power. Strong faith grows by keeping our focus on our Lord and daily fellowship with Him. Further, Christian faith has solid factual foundations for those willing to seek and find.
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Five More Reasons Trusting Christ Secures Heaven.
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God's gift of salvation is not subject to recall. The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). God gives believers in Christ salvation unconditionally--no if, but, maybe, or hope so about it. Like God's covenant with Israel, His covenant with the Church is eternal. God's infinite unchanging power and integrity assure its certainty. God would have to deny himself to allow it. He must keep His promises or we could never trust Him. See also 1 Peter 1:4-5.
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All God declares just will be glorified (Rom. 8:29-30). God knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10). So from God's all-knowing perspective everything is predestined, even our free choices, and He declares whoever He calls will be justified and glorified--made fit to receive Heaven. First Peter 1:2 says much the same thing. So to God who sees the future our salvation is a certain reality.
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Believers are eternally sealed by God's Spirit.  When we trusted in Christ, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who guarantees  our inheritance. It already a done deal at the moment of faith until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14). God's sealing makes our salvation a permanent  purchased inheritance. No power or persuasion can break God's guaranteed seal.
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Nothing can separate believers from the love of God (Rom. 8:37-38). Here God's Apostle Paul gives a list of every created thing present and future and affirms nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus too, having all authority, said he is with us (believers) always until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20).  If any words can convey certainty of salvation, these do.
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The risen Christ insures Christian labor is not in vain. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58). If Christ is not risen our faith is vain or useless. But His resurrection means Christians will have a new powerful body in Heaven with Him and this should spur us on to always work harder. Five hundred people saw the risen Christ making Christian faith the only world religion that gives proof of life after death and of Heaven for followers. Hallelujah, praise God!
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What tremendous promises and guarantees Christians have that unbelievers don't! Our eternal well-being is the most crucial concern of our earthly life. God's Spirit speaking through God's Word may be giving an opportunity you may never have again. Please don't harden your heart and ignore God's voice of love, assurance, and eternal life. Say, I trust You Lord Jesus as my Lord and Savior now and forever. I look forward to receive my reward in Heaven. Thank You, Lord.
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Now tell your friends, circles, and others of your new found faith. Share these articles so they come to trust, love, and serve our Savior. Let's pray, share, and work for a better world.
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Seven Reasons Trusting In Jesus Guarantees Heaven

              Seven Reasons Trusting In Jesus Guarantees Heaven
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Some Christians point to human experiences and Bible texts they say show we can lose our salvation. Others explain that these Bible texts refer to other things such as mere intellectual belief, moral reformation, loss of rewards, only that Christian faith is better than others, or are texts taken out of context. With space limitation, I can only mention the tremendous loss Christians experience by unbelief and sinful living, and give Bible reasons that show faith in Jesus alone does guarantee believers go to Heaven.
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Perish the thought heavenly security frees one to godless living!
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Sinful living forfeits so many tremendous benefits Christians enjoy. Sinful living forfeits the intimate love-trust fellowship they gain when focused upon their Lord that brings them peace, love, joy and give Him glory. It hardens their heart, corrupts their conscience, darkens their mind toward evils, quenches the Spirits guidance, prevents bearing spiritual fruit, burdens them with guilt and shame, and destroys their godly testimony and influence. Sins of commission and omission destroy God's peace and joy and forfeit heavenly rewards. Moreover, continued willful sin can bring God's discipline to the point of physical death, but doesn't destroy believer's relationship with God.
What Bible reasons give Christians belief in the Savior's assurance of heaven?
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Salvation is of the Lord. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Acts 16:31. This is a plain, unmistakable promise from God. Unless God is a liar, we have to take it at face value. Moreover, if God is deceiving us in this crucial issue, there's no reason to believe anything else He might have to say. This was the answer God's apostle Paul gave in the Philippian jail to the jailer who was desperate and about the kill himself thinking his prisoners had escaped. He couldn't go to a priest, join a church, get baptized, or any other thing--he had to know the simple truth that moment or plunge his sword into his body.  Now the Gospel of John written to the world at large says the same thing with no strings or conditions attached more than a hundred times. Can't we just believe it?
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Salvation is God's gift, not our attainment. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9. We can only receive the Lord's sacrifice on the cross for our sins as a gift through faith. It's not of ourselves or anything we can do. John 1:13. If we add anything we could do to that, we have cause for boasting--''I did my part which got me saved." In effect that makes us our own Savior, and cancels salvation as God's gift. See also Titus 3:5; Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:16.
Believers already regarded citizens of heaven. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body. Phil. 3:20-21. This couldn't be said if we had to wait until death to see if we were faithful and worthy. We become and remain citizens of heaven the moment we believe.
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Believers passed from death to life, and can't come into judgment. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My Word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24. Unbelievers are spiritually dead, but when they believe the Father sent the Son, they receive unending spiritual life. Since Christ died for us before we were even born, SHALL NOT COME excludes judgment of believers from all our sin past, present, and future. See also Rom. 8:34; John 3:18.
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Believers can know they have eternal life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13. God's apostle didn't say this knowledge of having eternal life was based on our good feelings, or good deeds, but on our belief in the Son of God. My friend, that's all it takes. Only God can give eternal life.
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Believers are born into God's eternal family. As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. John 1:12. In receiving Christ we are born again into God's family, which will never change. Jesus said we must be born again spiritually (John 3:7-8). Just as physical birth happens only once, so spiritual birth into God's family occurs once. The Bible never says sin can make us unborn or repeatedly born. But we must be born again spiritually to be in God's forever family. Yes, like with our parents we can have disagreements with the Lord and His love discipline us as sons, but that never severs relationship. Hebrews 12:5-11
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Believers are kept by God's almighty power. Peter speaking of the inheritance reserved in Heaven for us, says who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5. No power can match God's power as God upholds all existence and it's that almighty power that keeps us saved and will be revealed some day. Yes, skeptics, mockers, cultists, the devil can cause us confusion and doubts. I know, I've had plenty, but they can't altogether destroy faith and there are answers if we will trust God, seek them, pray and believe in His timing and His way. These articles God gave me answer the questions and doubts I once had.
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Is God speaking to you, my friend? Are you willing to trust the Savior as your Savior? You don't have to have all the answers now and you will understand better in time. We grow in our knowledge, love, and relationship with the Lord. Won't U humbly admit you are not all you should be and trust Jesus to take your sin away and make you God's person now and forever. Just say Lord, I believe You died for me and I trust You now to save me, be with be forever and receive me into heaven. Thank You.
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Now you can do the best thing a Christian can do for someone else. Sent them these articles that answer the crucial questions of life and invite them to trust in your loving Savior. God bless U in faith and love ministry. We may see many in Heaven we prayed for and ministered to.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Is Bible Morality Really Moral?

                                                Is Bible Morality Really Moral?
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Let me be honest! Some events of the Bible make God appear unloving, unreasonable, cruel, even heartless.  But, do we understand their cultural historical context? Could we be unfairly imposing our ideals upon an ancient people? Let me first mention some Bible teachings to help us understand events from their biblical perspective. Then I will discuss some individual cases.
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Could there be some essential Bible teachings we're never considered?
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The Bible teaches God is the almighty standard.  God created the heavens and the earth and said everything He made was very good (Gen. 1:1, 31). Creation confers God authority to manage His property His way for His purposes. The Bible God is infinite and perfect in knowledge, wisdom, power, and love. This shows God alone is the absolute standard of truth and goodness (Gen. 1:1, Col. 1:16-17). Our opinions by comparison are limited, selfish, often mistaken, conflicting, and can be destructive (Col. 2:2-3, 8-9). But God's thoughts and ways are above ours; He knows the end from the beginning, so He is always right (Isaiah 46:9-10; 55:7-9). Further, the God who gives life, has the prerogative to take it according to His will and wisdom we may not understand.
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The Bible teaches God's good world is cursed and corrupted by our bad choices. God created us directly in His mental, moral, immortal image so we could fellowship with him and enjoy life together (Gen. 2:7; Matt. 19:4; Ephesians 4:24; James 3:9). Men and women are made in God's image bestowing on both the same dignity and respect (Gen. 2:27; Col. 3:10-11). That God made us for fellowship is shown by His visit, walk, and talk with our first parents (Gen. 3:8). But our first parents choose self over God in eating forbidden fruit that brought a cursed world of death, destruction, and separation from an ethically perfect God (Gen. 3, Rom. 8:20-22).
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The Bible teaches God made us for a love trust relationship with Him, but its our choice. God made us with free will to accept or reject Him and His way. Love cannot be forced which would destroy our freedom and dignity. God, however, preserves our freedom and dignity even to be wicked. Yes, we are influenced by our heredity, environment, God, and the devil, yet we still decide our own actions. And, we are always being tested whether we will choose our own way in our thoughts, desires, imaginings, words, and actions, or obey God instead.
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Now let's look at a few individual cases that might somehow seem unethical.

What about all the unfairness and miseries of life? We can't blame God for the bad world we humans make. We may have a hard life. People won't treat us right. We're denied opportunities. So we can hate life, people, ourselves, and blame God for it all. But God didn't do it, we do.  Our pity and hate doesn't make things better, only makes us bitter.  God promises that when we trust Him that in His time and way He will work things out for our good, and that our present sufferings are nothing to compare with the glory with Him in eternity (Romans 8:18, 28). 
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What about our suffering for the sin of our first parents? We inherit characteristics from our parents and sin somehow corrupted human nature. Their partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was all humanity's choice of a world that is both good and evil motivated by the devil and his demons. A sovereign God knew and allowed it because only then will His true people one day realize there's no other way we can fully know and appreciate the forgiveness, love, mercy, grace, patience, and wisdom of God's glory. When we see Jesus our redeemer, we'll know and understand (1 Cor. 13:12).
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What about God hardening our heart and blinding our minds? Yes, the Bible does speak of God hardening hearts and blinding minds. This refers to the experiences of life God brings upon us to test our obedience. Our inner attitude decides how we will act. In good experiences we may thank, praise and worship God, or feel things being alright we don't need God or fear judgment. In bad times we may think that's God's judgment and repent, or harden our hearts and rebel all the more. In Bible times when God sent prophets and performed miracles people could respond either way depending on whether they wanted self  glory, or God's glory (Isa. 6:9-10; Acts 28:26-27). The sun that melts the wax hardens the clay.
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What about an eternal tormenting Hell? Countries and peoples everywhere put incorrigible persons who want to hurt and destroy away to themselves as punishment. God, being perfect and Heaven being His perfect home, cannot allow evil of any kind to corrupt Heaven ( 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Rev. 21:27). Love is justice in a societal context. God seeks our attention is various ways--intelligent design in nature, our conscience, learn from mistakes, His messengers, and His Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11). Jesus in love gave His life to pay for our sins and we will one day stand before Him to receive reward for service or punishment for rejection. Now is the day of salvation and before the all-knowing God, we have no excuse. For our sins, we all need redemption. Persons in the Old Testament looked forward to the redeemer's coming (Gen. 3:15; Heb. 11),  we after Christ look back to His cross (John 1:1-2, 14; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 1:1-3).
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Perhaps my friend, you have never quite understood Bible teaching and had a hard life without hope. There is hope, but it's found only in the sinless Son of God who died to pay for our sins. We can be forgiven and free of condemnation in trusting commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Savior of individuals and nations who willingly trust in Him. We can have treasures in Heaven for our earthly service, or torments away alone from everything beautiful and good in life. It's Your choice. I pray U choose Jesus and tell others about Him sharing these articles.
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See other articles below & on the right side.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Is the Christian Bible Believable?

                                        Is the Christian Bible Believable?

So many holy books exist, each claimed as the authority for world religion--Book of Mormon, Qur'an, Vedas, New World Translation, Spiritualist Manual--to mention only a few. So isn't authority for any holy book just narrow-minded arrogance? How can we even be certain about past events? What about all the different translations and interpretations? Can we know they are anything more than human opinions or guesses? It all seems incredible! I can't answer every question that arises, but with respect to the above will you give my answers fair consideration? Thank you and I hope I'm helpful.
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Events Accurately Recorded Are True Millenniums Later. If you accurately listed and discussed the events in your day, wouldn't they be true millenniums later? If others observing you from their perspective added more details, wouldn't supplementary facts form an even clearer picture?  We don't have to know everything to know some things. In case of the Bible, many eyewitnesses claimed true events. The prophets and apostles who predicted judgement on hostile evil rulers risked their lives. Many persons knew Jesus was tried, crucified, and then 500 eyewitnesses later saw Him alive as He predicted. Hostile skeptical writers record events of Jesus' life and mention that he was believed to be God and risen from the dead. There is nothing like this in other religious holy books.
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Humans Naturally Use Figurative Speech to Communicate. History, prose, poetry, metaphors are commonly used to communicate in human languages. Understanding requires we acknowledge the type of literature represented. Spiritual darkness means moral evil and ignorance. Washed in the blood means we're saved by Jesus' death on the cross. He was made sin for us says Jesus in love took our place to pay for our sin. Only begotten refers to Jesus as the unique sinless God-man. The  soul can stand for a person, or spiritual part of a person. Jesus as the door speaks of His being the only way into God's perfect Heaven.
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Biblical Events Are Not the Character of Myths. Myths speak of freakish imaginative things said to exist long ago in inaccessible places. For example, Cupid's arrows, Thor's lightening bolts, Poseidon's rising from the sea to blow the winds, moving statues. Medusa's hair of snakes. But Bible miracles are signs traced on a historical time line with consequences evident to persons seeing them. Persons, places, and events known to secular history as well as failures of Bible characters all verify the Bible is reliable and true. Unlike freakish myths, Bible miracles are events that are normal within nature such as water becoming wine, the blind gaining sight, skin diseases healed, food multiplied. All show God's grace, power, authority, and Lordship over nature.
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Many Translations Are Necessary Because Languages Are Always Changing. No translation is perfect as single words can have several meanings. To believe in Jesus means to trust in, rely upon, depend on, and commit to Him. Translators may can't convey the complete meaning. Further, language is always changing so new translations are needed every generation and for every language group.  Meaning of words and ways of expressing them change. New words come into being and old words lose or change their meaning. And yes, translators and readers can be bias. Though scholarship improves, we may feel reluctant to use a newer or unfamiliar translation that may be even better.
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Understand that new translations are not made from old translations. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, so translations are made from those manuscripts.  Scripture writers believing they were conveying God's Word, were extremely careful counting the letters across the page and the lines down. They would discard a manuscript if they found any mistakes. Now, unlike other ancient accepted classic writings with few copies dated centuries later, Bible manuscripts number in the thousands and are dated only decades after publication. When scholars lay these manuscripts side by side, it's easy to correct  misspellings, word omissions, and word repeats which mistakes we all make. That is why Bible translations are known to be the most accurate of any ancient documents.The New Testament is estimated to be as high as 99% accurate.
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Many Interpretations Arise Because We Humans Have Diverse Backgrounds, Likes, and Beliefs We Don't Like to Give Up. We are all naturally influenced by our age, culture, family, and religious background. It's easier to believe or accept some teachings over others. Our teachers may emphasize some teachings and ignore others. Human sinful nature too can lead us toward legalism--a rigid do or don't behavior system, or one that almost any behavior is O.K. Some Bible passages aren't clear, or their meaning is lost to our culture. The real problem may be that we simply don't want God to tell us what to do and look for an excuse! Could that be true with you?
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The Christian Bible Gives Good Evidences of a Creator Who Has Spoken to Us in Ways We Can Recognize or Understand. Jesus could read minds of persons he just met. Although he dared challenge hostile critics to find sin and fault in him, they could not. He fulfilled detailed centuries earlier predictions of the Jews Messiah. He showed himself Lord over natures forces, angels, demons, disease and death, all the while claiming to be God who walked among us. Absolutely no other religious prophet, wise man, or holy book, gives evidence of one who could do such things and claim to be God, but Jesus did in New Testament history.
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Jesus alone is our Light and Life out of  darkness. He promises us an eternally fulfilled life--John 5:24; 10:10. Such clear evidences show the Bible is God's Word, and Jesus is our only Savior. Astonishing visible evidences are necessary to get our attention, eliminate human guesses and excuses, and to show us a real God acts in our real world and in our human lives.
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Will U Acknowledge the only Savior of Your Soul? Though without sin, Jesus paid for our sin by His death on the cross. By trusting in Him we will be made clean, counted righteous in Him, receive eternal life to one day live in His sin free Heaven in a complete and fulfilled life. Won't you now commit to Him. Say, Lord, I trust You now and forever to be with me, and guide my steps until I go to be with You.  Thank You most holy, just, good, and loving Lord.
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Friday, March 7, 2014

What's The Abundant Christian Life?

                                          What's The Abundant Christian Life?
 #Christian-Life  #spiritual-fruit
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Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly" (John 10:10). But some say, I don't see where Christians are any better off than I am, or have anything I would want! They seem to have the same problems, difficulties, sicknesses, unhappiness, and are no more perfect than me, maybe even worse in some ways. How can I ever think being a Christian is any better? Thank you for sharing your honest truthful thinking. It deserves good honest answers which I hope to supply.
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Let me first say what being a Christian doesn't mean necessarily. It doesn't mean that everyone who goes to a Christian church, is a member in one, reads the Bible, prays, claims to believe in Jesus, or is even a preacher, is a Christian. Persons can do any of those things but still not trust in Jesus. They do these things to be socially accepted, join the church ball team, sing in the choir, have business connections, or for some other reason. So external things don't prove one is in right standing with God. I even know of preachers who were came to trust in Christ in their later ministry. For these reasons persons can take a negative attitude about the church and persons who aren't even Christians.
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It means Christians like everyone else have problems, difficulties, sicknesses, unhappiness, and aren't morally perfect. Yes, Christian have struggles with all these things too and maybe worse struggles as opposed to the evil world system, the devil, and their own sinful nature. God has not promised to exempt Christians from these things, but will see us through them in faith  (Matt. 28:20)
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It means Christians may not be more wealthy, successful, popular, wise, or talented than non Christians. Some may be, but others are not. Although true Christians should seek to be and do their best for the Lord. Moreover, Christians and non Christians may share the same external interests as sports, politics, school, work, and so on.
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It doesn't mean a Christian will know, understand, accept or live by all the Bible teaches though the Bible as God's Word should be his or her authority for faith and practice. Christians are at different levels of maturity and understanding. Persons from dysfunctional homes have special difficulties. Bible teachers and preachers don't teach or emphasize all the same doctrines. Some Bible passages can be misunderstood or interpreted differently. There is room for differences on non essentials.
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Let me explain how a person becomes a Christian and receives God's gift of eternal life. According to the Bible, to become a Christian we must first admit to a perfect God our wicked ways are unacceptable and they make us unfit for His perfect Heaven. Only then are we ready to trust in Jesus, God's holy Son and God's way to save us from our sending ourselves to a permanent jail, or rather Hell . We are warned repeatedly of separation from God and all His benefits (John 16:8-10; Rom. 2:14-16; 1 Cor. 6:7-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:27). The all-knowing God is love, and as such doesn't force but allows us our way to matter how selfish, stupid and destructive it may be.
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But God will save all who are willing--"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). Saving belief is trust in Jesus alone to cleanse us of sin and count us in right standing with Him (Rom. 5:18-21; 2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life (John 5:24 MacArthur Study Bible). Salvation is not just an intellectual admission Jesus is God and the Savior--even the demons believe that (James 2:19; Matt. 8:29). Real faith will make positive differences in our life (James 2:22).
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Consider the radical differences in persons showing the lusts of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit which is the abundant life Jesus and New Testament writers discuss (Gal. 5:22-23). The lusts of the flesh consist of adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, hatred, murders, drunkenness, gossip, theft, and others. We put such persons in jail to protect society. Can we blame God for putting their burning evil passions away (Rev. 21:8; 27) to protect His Heaven? But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. The fruit of the Spirit is the abundant life only achieved through true commitment. 
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But why don't we see more of these wonderful spiritual qualities in Christian's lives? Unlike instinctive animals, humans have choice either to follow our sinful desires which lead to eternal torment in God's jail--Hell. Or, we can  yield to God's Holy Spirit that brings abundant life (Gal. 5:16-18; John 15:5: 16:16-18). Victory comes when we positively focus on our relationship with God and His grace, not on keeping laws which no one can keep perfectly (Phil.4:8). It is God who works in us to will and do His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). Trusting prayer and serious Bible study gives us greater insight. Patient waiting shows our faith and love for the Lord is real--like Job (James 5:11).
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It's good to meditate and memorize passages that tell us how to have victory in Christ. But lots of factors go into how we behave, so that Christians are not always recognized. People can do the same things from purely selfish  motives and attitudes, or from a desire to please their Lord. While it's not always obvious, God is always working things our for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). Many Christians will testify they are not all they should be, but in Christ are far better than what they used to be. Thank God for His grace and glory.
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But what if  there's no God and we are just soulless dirt. Or, that everything is god and we will be recycled into the energy of the universe. Both mean the world is an accident of chance, we have no real dignity, no sure basis for  right and wrong, and no ultimate purpose to live beyond the thrill of the moment--we're only somehow a more highly evolved animal. Biblical Christian faith is the record of God's entrance into our world who performed miracles, fulfilled prophecies all the while saying he is our God so we are without excuse.  Trust Jesus now as your Savior, Lord and Guide of us sinners and be eternally blessed.
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Truth, God, and Life After Death

                      Truth, God, and Life After Death
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Some persons scream their faith is the only true religion about God and life after death. But equally sincere persons claim world religions are simply different ways to God or the Ultimate. Then, others dogmatically claim there's no God nor life after death. Who is right? Maybe some pointed questions will help us decide.
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1. Can the many conflicting religions all be right? For example, the wise politician, Confucius, gave us some ethical concepts he believed would make a better world. The atheist, Buddha, said to deny desire and follow his eightfold path would solve our problem of pain. Zoroaster believed in both a good God and a bad God and to follow the good one would make a better world. Hindus believe we need to know God is the spirit of the universe that takes many forms and many lives. Muslims claim Allah's angel spoke the Qur'an to Muhammad and everyone must believe it to go to heaven. Christians believe in one God as a Trinity and Jesus alone is the Savior. 
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Now in the interest of truth, there's no way opposite truth claims--no God, one God, two Gods, the universe is god--can all be right. We must base our beliefs on some kind of objective visible evidence. Otherwise they are just limited human guesses, mere claims without factual basis.  
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2. Can our sincerity be enough to set things right with God and give us assurance of Heaven. Maybe there are many ways to God and Heaven. Persons seem narrow minded, prejudiced, disrespectful, and condemning who say their religion is the only way. God may be known by different names. All religions teach the Golden Rule. If God is love and forgiveness, then surely He cares and accepts us imperfect people everywhere. It doesn't seem fair that God would make Himself known to just one group.
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The sincerity view seems so reasonable. But it has serious limitations that may be fatal to ignore. If sincerity is all that is needed, then it doesn't matter whether we believe in God or not, or whether we  save life or destroy it. Jesus said love your enemies; Muhammad said kill the unbelieving infidel. Cannibals say eat your enemies. All may be sincere believing they are right. Again, objective factual evidence is needed for honest thinking people to believe. If and when it's given, all the sincere arguments above are shown to be human guesses, and fall to the ground as null and void.
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3. What if there really is NO God? Then doesn't each person have to make up his or her mind what seems right for them? That being so, and all of us being imperfect and self-centered, we naturally choose what we want despite our fellow human beings. The evolutionist is right that things are always evolving and chance, so there is no absolute truth or morality. It's whoever can get the biggest stick or power to impose his way on the rest of us. And since we are all only animals that return to dirt, all that ultimately matters is what we can get for ourselves. Why be overly concerned about the other animals? A conscience and rules of morality can change with our situation--it's after all a world of temporary survival of the fittest, a world without ultimate purpose that ends in darkness and death.
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4. But what if there really is a God? Hasn't science given us good reasons to believe in a Creator of matter, life, mind? We now know the universe is running down, cooling off, there is no eternal regression of time, our dependent universe can cease to exist, so the material universe had a beginning. Its Creator (sustaining cause), then must be eternal, immaterial, unchangeable, all powerful and personal. As eternal, He is unchangeable as what changes goes out of existence. As immaterial,  He would be everywhere upholding everything but be unseen. He must be all powerful and personal as an infinite mind and will is necessary to create things of such variety and complexity  purposely working together--mindless energy simply can't accomplish that. We are more than star dust. Now here is an amazing fact: an eternal, powerful, spiritual, personal cause of the universe is what the Bible calls God as we intuitively know as a Higher Power (Gen. 1:1; Ex. 3:14; Rom. 1:18-20; Col. 1:16-17).
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Hence, things impossible for us would never be a problem for the Almighty, the universe's  Lord, Owner, Lawgiver, Life-giver, and Authority. But the crucial questions are: Does this God act upon our world in ways we can know Him?  We should be honest, objective, and open to that possibility? Wouldn't we have to know everything to deny it? I can't tell you what's going on even in the next room.
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5.  What kind of evidence is required to know God? We know the world operates with a system of natural laws of cause and effect. But when we know a Creator and Sustainer exists, then He would be in control of everything--He could direct His laws anytime anywhere to suit His purposes. So if someone could walk on water, multiply food, heal obvious diseases immediately, even raise a cold still smelly corpse, and all the while claims He is God come to us with a human nature in the form of a man, that should get our attention. That should give us good reason to believe He is what he claims to be--God.
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Further, if He shows He can read minds of persons He just met that too is good reason. Then, if He can dare hostile critics to find anything morally wrong with His life and they cannot, that too is good reason. Again, what if He can predict detailed future events impossible to explain away as coincidence or contrivance such as the circumstances of His betrayal, rejection, death, and resurrection three days later? And two hundred or more predictions about Israel's Messiah made centuries before Jesus, He alone can be said to fulfill. These include Bethlehem His birthplace, virgin birth, miracles, death for our sins, resurrection, and ascension. There is nothing in world religions even remotely like all this. 
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All that is what is meant by visible, objective evidence for faith, and not just a claim some impossible thing happened somewhere because some honored person said so. Knowing nature's laws both hostile critics, and Jesus' disciples with him more than three years, were astonished and forced to admit he did such things. And after 500 saw him resurrected, they were willing to be condemned, tortured, and murdered because they could not deny him as Lord and Savior of us sinners. See Acts 1:3; 2:22-23; 1 Cor. 15:3-8.
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 6. But you still have questions! We don't have to know everything about history to know some things, and even secular and hostile critics will admit miraculous things are said of Jesus and that He is said to be God. Like everyone else, Christians aren't perfect, but that won't excuse anyone at the judgment. Our moral sense, purpose in nature, Bible history, and God's Spirit, all tell us there is a God, and we may find Him if we are willing to go His way. When God has given evidence honest thinking persons can know, and the majority of persons choose to disagree, a truly loving God can't force them to love and obey Him. Nobody has all the answers, but Jesus being our Savior is the crucial solution to our rebellious sin problem. When we put thieves, rapists, murders in jail to protect human society, we can have no objection when God allows them their way to Hell to protect His perfect Heaven. Let's not deny what evidence says is true!
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Now this hour can be your decision for eternity with God, or the other uncomfortable place. Jesus forgives and cleanses us of all our sin, and credits us with His perfect purity making us fit for His Heaven. Won't U say, Lord, I trust You now and forever to be with me to live a life that honors You until I go to be with You in Heaven. Thank You Lord and use me as Your faithful and fruitful servant. I love You Lord.
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