Category: Faith in God


, American religious figure.

, American religious figure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Really?

 

Actually no I can’t, and neither can you.  I used to always worry, no not worry, I would be terrified of what God would ask me if I submitted all of my life to Him.  Was God going to ask me to go to some jungle?  Would He expect me to the next Billy Graham?  Would I ever survive if God wanted me to be……”insert scary job here”

As a teenager I had worried about these things.  Then I walked away from God and the church in my twenties, vowing never to go back.  That was until 5-6 years ago when God, being the patient and loving father he is, didn’t try to force himself on me, but wooed me.  Gently calling out to me.  Since that time gently coaxing me back me back to a loving relationship with Him.
Now a funny thing is happening with those old worries.  Those worries from my youth are back, the same but different.  At 46, my kids are grown and gone starting families of their own.  Twenty years ago their mother and I divorced so I am single with no real ties to anyone or place.  So now I am looking at those old fears and I wonder what I was afraid of, and where would I be now if I had yielded then.

 Reading too much into the current situation?

My career has gone from being fairly successful to barley hanging on, and I am left to acknowledge that any success, any privilege that I’ve had isn’t because of me.  I don’t know anymore what God has in mind, but instead of doing things my way, I’m trying to do things his.  Easy? Hardly, and trying to figure it out some days is a battle.  Out of my depth, or without the resources, and more than a little concerned with failure.
What if this doesn’t work?  Am I kidding myself thinking I can make a difference?  The only way to find out is to put it out there.  Maybe it matters, or maybe all that comes back is the sound of crickets.  But only one way to find out.  Scared or not move forward try, or maybe more accurately in the words of Yoda “Do or do not, but there is no try.”

What about you?  Is there some thing you should be doing but fear is holding you back, stopping you from putting it, or yourself out there.

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How much time, energy, and effort am I wasting trying to keep my failures, and short-comings secret from the one who already knows everything. Not only what I have already done but what I will do.

Love that makes no sense

The God who created everything knows not just my past which is bad enough, but also knows my failures to come.  And yet I can not really fathom this, God still chooses to love me.  He chooses to love you, faults and all.  Not because either of us deserve it, or can even hope to earn it.  I can’t, and I see so many trying.  As if that kind of love could ever be earned, deserved or purchased.  Would it even be called love if you earned it?
I don’t think so, I’m not sure what you would call it.  Maybe admiration but definitely not love.  Love real love can only be given and received freely.  Is it conditional?  It seems so at least in that we have to accept it, and why God chooses to love us.

Letting myself be loved when I don’t feel worthy

On the one hand “God so loved the world” however to experience God’s love at it’s fullest, as God desires to love us, we have to stop fighting against it.  Easier said than done.  I want it on my terms, trying to define what is really best for me.  But history clearly shows that for the lie it is.  I have made and continue to make a mess of it.  Yet all I have to do is submit.  Not a pretty word now a days, but what I need to do non the less.  Not easy, but what is really best for me.
Hard?  Yes, not because of God, because of me.  Even though I know that God wants only the best for me, and for you, I let all my junk get in the way.

Here is to submitting on more time.

English: Penn Jillette at Rio Las Vegas

English: Penn Jillette at Rio Las Vegas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abraham was instructed to sacrifice Issac to God.  But what if God never intends to accept or allow this sacrifice to take place?  If God is all knowing then the plan and the outcome are already known by God.  If on the other hand God does not know what Abraham will do and what’s going to happen then God is not God, but god.

So which is it?

“If god(however you perceive him/her/it) told you to kill your child- would you do it” …….”if your answer is yes, please reconsider.” Penn Jillette
And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me.” Genesis 22:12

Is God different?

What if instead this is looked at in the context of what was unfortunately all to common place in the region at the time.  We know child sacrifice was not uncommon.  What if instead of Abraham being asked to be like those around him, God was showing him that Yaweh was nothing like what others thought of  as God.  “I will provide the sacrifice” says God.  And your children are not what I desire.  If you are going to take a portion of the narrative of what is going on then don’t you have to take it in full.  The account does not give the option that part is true and the rest is not, the sacrifice is required, and the type is stipulated.  Do others make human sacrifice?  Does God ever accept it? Or does he make it clear time and again that those that do as much bring his wrath down on their own heads?
Do we really think that God who is unchangable, has changed his mind?  Or is it any wonder that God no longer blesses a country that sacrifices her children by the millions on the alter of convenience?
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Who are you?

Fear and Trembling

Fear and Trembling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What would I give to see God for who he is.  All of his glory in such a way that it would drive me to my knees like Isaiah in fear and trembling.  To really grasp my weakness and unimportance in the presence of God.

To see my self as I truly am because of seeing God for who he really is.
Or so I think.  Could I really handle seeing God face to face?  Or would I beg for him to depart,to leave me alone?
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Or so I used to think.

Earlier this morning I was talking to God.  And in typical fashion when I was discussing my financial needs with Him, I was saying to God, just get me to “Here.”
This year has been, from a business stand point anyway, the roughest I have ever had.  I started in real estate 15 years ago, and I have never had a tougher year in this industry.  You know the kind, one step forward two back.  So I am praying about the things I need to cover expense wise, new tires, insurance, marketing costs and a handful of other things.  I had added up the dollar amount and was praying to God just get me to here.  When I realized, then what?  Am I really so bold as to think I could actually handle it from there?
How ridiculous it seems now just a few hours later.   To say to God “Just get me to the edge of the Promised Land and I will do the rest.”  Only to realize then what?  I can’t do it on my own.  Just look at my life and it becomes obvious.

Doing the right things may not be enough.

I can do all the “right” things, and usually do.  Plan, set goals, do the work (lots of it), but without God’s blessing, I am going to if not fail, at least struggle mightily.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying don’t try.  I am saying that realizing my utter and obsolete dependence on God is not just for today.  I am going to have to continue to rely on God.  Probably more so when things are going great, then during the struggle.
When work is not going well, or anything else for that matter, it’s easy to rely and trust in God, at least for me.  But when things are going well how easy it becomes to say “Look how great I am”, or “Look at what I’ve done” or to even say to God “I’ve got it from here.”
Oh the arrogance.  Guess that’s what I get for praying for a humble heart.  God pointing out where I am arrogant and powerless all at the same time.  Not at all the type of wisdom I was looking for, but I guess God doesn’t always give us what we want, but he does always supply our need.
Has God ever given you what you need, even if it wasn’t what you wanted?
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Do I focus too much on the knowing, the need to know.  Rather then believe, and let God be God, accepting that some of his workings are beyond my comprehension.  Or should I trust what I do not fully understand while seeking knowledge and wisdom.  Search for truth, and understanding, believing that God wants to be known, or else he would not have made himself known in even an infinitesimally small way.  Which comes first, believing God or knowing God?

Faith ain’t always easy

Any of you who know me, know that I do not see Christianity as being dependent on blind faith.  I see God as one who has shown himself over and over again to man, and yes to me personally, tho before you get the wrong idea, no I have never had a vision, a dream or even a burning bush.  Still I find myself focusing on trying to know the why and the what of God.  Why are things in my life the way they are?  What is God trying to show or teach me?  But what if it is not about me?
Max Lucado has a great book “It’s not about me“.  Sometimes this book is a bit hard to read, at least for me.  Not because it is too deep or theological but because of what it makes me face.  One of the things Mr. Lucado talks about is the story of Job, yes that Job.  He points out that after all that Job goes thru and endures, loss of family, wealth, health.  When God comes and speaks to Job, and restores everything and more to him, God never tells him the why.  God doesn’t ease Job’s mind about the why.  God doesn’t tell Job, “Look people will be studying your life, and using it for an example for 5,000 years”

No my trials and issues are NOTHING like Job’s

Would it have made a difference to Job?  I don’t know.  I do know that sometimes I don’t get to know the why.  Maybe that’s just as well.  I can’t speak for you but if God came and told me.  “I know this is tough but someone reading this 20 years from now half a world away is going to make it through a hard time because of this.”   My first thought would probably be really, you can’t find someone else to use as an example?
I’m not one for blind faith, and even tho this might seem like what I am talking about having, it is not.  I have faith because God has been faithful.  God has done things in my past that make it seem realistic that he knows what he is doing.  Even when I don’t.
What about you?  Do you find God wanting you to know him or trust him more?
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While I understand that many may believe that the God of the bible expects blind faith, I wonder where this comes from?  I can not seem to find this teaching, this command anywhere in the Bible.

I recently saw a video by Aron RaFaith is not a Virtue, and he will contend that to have faith is to disengage your mind, to turn off your cognitive ability.  Just some examples are:
  1. “Faith is a secure confidence not based on evidence”.  Can’t speak for anyone else but my faith can only be based upon past experience, and the fact is the same with much of science.  After all what much of what is called scientific “fact” is taking multiple results to an experiment and based on getting the same result multiple times, believing that the results will continue to be the same ad infinitum.
  2. “Faith is unsupported wishful thinking”.  Christianity isn’t about wishing things were all puppy dogs and rainbows, but rather an acceptance of what is, not about how we wish it was.  We accept what is and make the decision to live our lives based on that, working to achieve what we believe to be the best possible outcome, even if we do not have the certainty of success.
  3. “Religion is a belief system that means you are required to believe this, and forbidden to believe that” – guilty as charged, however science is in the exact same boat, for example, if you’re a mathematician aren’t you required to believe that 2+2=4, and not 6? Or how about an evolutionary biologist?  If you don’t believe the theories of this discipline can you still call yourself an evolutionary biologist?
  4. “The real problem for empirical scientists and rational skepticism is we care more about truth than the religious do” – really? As a follower of Christ the pursuit of truth is a requirement, not an option.  The problem with scientists and skeptics is the refusal to admit, at least in public, that those data points most often used as “proof” of evolution, the beginning of the universe, and the like are assumptions, an if this then that, line of thinking.  Where is the willingness to stop and say clearly that ” We believe that The universe began because of X, therefore Y, but if the beginning is actually Z then the answer would be completely different and the truth is we can not know if for no other reason then there are different ways to get to this point and there is no empirical evidence which can say with absolute certainty that X is really the starting place.”  Will you ever hear a Hawking, Dawkins or other scientists who believe in evolutionary origins say this?  Will they freely admit to doubt or other possibilities?  I doubt it but time will tell.
  5. “All sin can be forgiven if you believe in Jesus, and simply because you believe in Jesus” – Close but not quite, yes all sin can be forgiven, however as James says “Thou believe that there is one God; thou doesn’t well: the devils also believe, and tremble”.  So no just belief is not the key, it starts there, but it also requires, a declaration of Jesus as Lord, see Romans 10:9-10, and if you think this is just some sort of lip service to God think again.
  6. “He(God) lives by those rules even when circumstances demand exception” – really and what exception would that be?

Not having the answers doesn’t make you wrong

Oh don’t get me wrong there are far too many who call themselves Christians, and even claim to speak for God espousing some of the things mentioned above.  Even saying some incredibly ridicules things as if they were a prophet.  Maybe according to some I am a heretic for even questioning their beliefs.  I think however that those of us that dare to claim Jesus as Lord should be neither closed-minded to what science has to say, or to take it on blind faith.
Unlike Mr. Ra I can freely admit my prejudices but also accept that at this point there are some things that neither science or Christianity can answer.  Things like how exactly was the universe created, when the Bible speaks of a 6 day creation is it 6 literal days?  Or is it like Peter spoke of that a day is like a thousand years?(2Peter3:8). Only time will tell.

I’ll keep looking for answers,thank you very much.

For now I must be content with not knowing all the answers, but continue to search for them.  I don’t believe God gave us a brain only to turn it off when the questions get tough.  Although I am a little frustrated with others, especially non-Christians, trying to define Christianity, I will continue to do my best to point out the flaws, even glaring errors in their definitions.  Maybe it won’t matter to them, but it matters to me.
What about you, have you encountered people mis-representing what Christianity is?  Did you speak up?  What did you do about it?

Believing hard enough, long enough, deep enough is NOT enough.

Everywhere I turn lately it seems like I am being told that I just need to believe. That if I believe enough everything I want will come to me. But what if I am believing the wrong thing? What if I believe that I’m a car and then go run on to the freeway? Or how about if I believe that all the money at the bank is really mine?
Now these may seem extreme, but these are actually some of the less dangerous false beliefs I could hold. In the first I might get hit by a car or a bus, the other I go to prison. But what if I believe Jesus was a good guy, a really smart teacher but not God in the flesh?
How much do you hate your neighbor?
Letting the people around me keep on believing something that is wrong is not loving them. As Penn Jillette states: How much do you have to hate that person if you see them heading to hell and you do nothing”.
Belief, if its in something that is wrong is still wrong no matter how much, how deep, how thoroughly you believe. I keep checking my beliefs to see where something silly or even dangerous might have snuck in.
What about you? Have you really opened up what you believe to look at all the implications?

Trying to make a point only to make it worse.

Recently I was reading one of those forwarded emails claiming to be from a commentary given by Ben Stein.  As is my typical reaction I take the things with a grain of salt, so I decided to jump over to Snopes.com and see if it was actually from Mr. Stein, because simply put it just didn’t sound like something he would say.  Well sure enough only a portion was from big Ben, and the whole exaggerating stuff, especially in regards to statements regarding religion, in this case religious freedom, makes me wonder what part of not beavering false witness do these folks not get?  However that aside the following line appeared in the article, “funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says “.  Contrast that with the following quote attributed to George Carlin, ” people will believe in this man in the sky without a second thought, but put up a sign that says wet paint and they have to stick their finger in it”

Now both of these statements are at least partially false. We now all to well that people like Rush, Hannity, and others question what the papers say all the time.  Likewise men like C. S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, & Ravi Zacharis have questioned and looked for Biblical truth.
Shouldn’t all of those who dare to call themselves Christians be questioning what they believe?  Notice I didn’t say doubt, but question.

Question to understand

If R.C. Sproul is right that showing the existance of God & the truth of the Bible is 90% of the battle, then shouldn’t you and I be constantly asking the tough questions?  Shouldn’t we be ready when a non-Christian & and especially when an Anti-Christian questions our beliefs?  If you are a Christian you are directly told to “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with gentleness, and fear”. – 1Peter 3:15
So maybe faith and belief isn’t a lack of questioning?  Maybe faith should come because of having asked the hard questions, going deeper than anybody else.  Perhaps when doubt comes in, asking harded, deeper, & tougher questions than anybody else, is what I should be doing.  If you and I ask the really hard questions of ourselves, then we won’t be surprised by anything that anybody else can throw at us.
Have you been lied to by someone just trying to help?  Should we tolerate this kind of imbelishment?  How would you deal with Freinds and fellow Christians who lie to make a point?

Well at least it shouldn’t be.  Faith is about taking what is known or makes sense and applying it to that which can not be proved.

Are you supposed to leave your mind at the sanctuary door? Why does it seem so many people think that either believing in God requires turning off your brain, or if you’re not turning off your mind well then at least faith has no place in the outside world.  Religion is all well and good but there are far too many holes and too many leaps of faith to make it really of any value besides making you “feel” good.

Well that’s a bunch of baloney, a load of bull.  Stop and actually look at the current trends in scientific study such as cosmology, biology, and history and look at all of the leaps of faith being touted as fact and ask yourself, does this make sense? 

I still remember sitting in a third grade classroom in Lancaster and having a teacher tell us that the earth was heading into the next ice age.  Thirty years later, my own kids are being told that the planet is warming.  High school, the planets millions of years old, today its billions, and too bad those extra zeros couldn’t have found their way to my bank account instead.  Science would like for us to “Believe” it has all the answers, but it doesn’t.  Two of my brothers are men of science, one a doctor the other computers, and don’t get me wrong I want science to take us to the moon and beyond, thankful for its cure of polio, and hope for further amazement.  Hey I’m still waiting for the flying car and the transporter.  But what I really want is to hear science say “Well if this then that, but the truth is we really don’t know.  What we are telling you is what we think happened, but to truly believe it we have to take this amazing leap of faith that things played out in the past exactly how we think they did with absolutely no variance to the equation. 

So which is more an act of blind faith?  Believing in the latest idea about how the world began, no it’s NOT a theory go plug “scientific theory” into Wikipedia yourself, then ask does evolution meet that criteria? Or is a belief system that’s been around for 2,000 years seem more stable more permanent and less a blind leap than the latest trend?