Tag Archive: Christian life

If this then that.  

It is the IF that brings about the Then.  It all begins with a presupposition, an idea that if this, then that.  If there is a God, then he must have created everything.  Or conversely if we evolved then what was the origin?  But always there is the presupposition that begins the theory, the hypothesis, and therefore impacts the answer.
Richard Dawkins states “Christianity was founded by Paul of Tarsus”, this is the if.  If this is the founding, the beginning then the rest is laughable.  It is not based upon the reality of Christ.  Christianity then becomes a what should be, not a what is.  But if instead Christianity was founded by Jesus of Nazareth, what is the then?  Now it’s a truth system based upon factual accounts, grounded not in a way things ought to be but, on the way things are.
So what are the proofs, facts, and truths, that Christianity is based upon?  Mr. Dawkins would have us believe that it is based upon not the teachings of the Christ, but of Paul.  While it is true that much of the New Testament was written by Paul, not all of the New Testament, his were not the first writings, nor the last.
If Paul was the founder of the Christian faith then we Christians are to be pitied more than any others for we are not only following a religion that can not do what it claims, but leaves no hope for those that would trust in it.  One of the foundational truths, in fact I would say the foundational truth is the claim by Jesus “I am the way the truth and the light, no man comes to the Father but by me.”  How can Paul make such a claim for the Christ?

Or if ? then?

If, on the other hand, man is the result of matter+time+chance then there is no right or wrong.  Can one be moral without a Creator?  Not if we are the result of evolution.  If we are evolved then morality is whatever society says it is, but society can only declare what it must declare.  Gone is free-will, instead is instinct.  And morality determined by each society is anchored in nothing.  After all as Ravi Zacharias points out “some societies love their neighbors, others eat them.  Do you have a preference?”
On the other hand if there is a creator, then even the atheist can be moral.

For only with a moral law giver then there can be a moral law.

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R. C. Sproul in “The consequence of ideas” examining the portrayal by Kirkegaard of religious stages states “Obedience is motivated, not by a zeal for conformity to an abstract precept but by a passionate love for the law giver who says “Thou shalt.”

What a wonderful picture, obedience flows out of spontaneous love, not external coercion.

What a great way to express the call of the Christian to love his neighbor. Not because the other person is worthy of love, because maybe they are not.  Perhaps they have wronged you.  Maybe hurt you beyond description.  Or what if like the Samaritan you have never seen them before, and will likely never see them again?  Then what?
Instead to love your neighbor, or your enemy because you love God with a love that overwhelms everything else.  That is real, true love.  Love that loves because it can do no other.
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The wrong perspective

I sometimes find myself judging a book by its cover.  I live in a little town and like most little towns, we may not all know each other, but you see everyone.  I can’t speak for all little towns, but he there are a handful of, shall we say, less than attractive, at least by modern standards, people.

When I lived in a city of over 100,000 I didn’t notice, or perhaps because I didn’t go to “that” side of town, I don’t know.  But it reminds me of something Jim Rohn used to say “You can say people shouldn’t judge you by how you look.  But here’s a hint, They Do.”
On the other hand God judges people by how they look, the difference is that God looks at the soul.  He loves all of His creation, but he sees the horror and repulsiveness of the soul that is wrapped in sin.  God looks at these souls kind of like a dentist looking at a decaying tooth, and doesn’t think tear it out.  He loves with a depth that I can not begin to comprehend.  A love that is overwhelming in its depth, breadth, and intensity.  And God sees? Beauty? Potential?

Worthy of Love, and needing it

So how can I not see the soul of the person in front of me at the grocery store?  How can I not look at the heart, perhaps scared, torn beat-down, and not simultaneously ache & see the beauty of one formed by God.  One who Is loved so much by the Creator, that God’s desire is to hold, heal, help.  How can I not see the beauty God has created in someone?  I struggle, but none the less I try to see the beauty thru the eyes of the Creator.  What’s more I need to not just try to see the soul loved by God, but to also feel and act as the one who created them does.
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English: Prestbury war memorial - northern fac...

English: Prestbury war memorial – northern face “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. On 864428. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

” Our comfort is not God‘s priority.” Max Lucado from It’s not about Me

Does God love man? 

Of course, but how off track do I get. I get tied to this idea that His love means that His end game is to take care of me.  God’s goal is not to lift me up.  Instead his goal is to bring me to a place where I bring glory to Jesus, that is really what Christian living is all about.  Not bringing glory to me for his sake, but to Christ for my sake.
I, you, all of creation was made to declare the glory of God.  Yet God’s glory, his greatness is not for His good, but for mine.  Lets be clear God does not need praise, worship or adoration.  He was full and complete long before the creation of the first angel.  Before God created man, God had need of nothing.  He created man to reveal his glory for man’s benefit.  Had God not created man He would still be glorious, perfect, and complete.

If you had it all, would you  share freely?

Even if it cost you, a lot?  Me either which is why it is a good thing neither of us is God.  His desire was to create man so that we could share in His glory.  Not loneliness or need motivated this, but love.
Thank God he is not me.
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Does Walt Disney have it all wrong?

I know more than a few women that take on that whole princess persona, and I have always thought.  “Who the heck, wants to be with someone that needy.”  But it got me thinking.  Why do so many girls, and even grown women long, or desire to take on that persona?

Well what is a princess?  Isn’t a princess the daughter of the king?  Doesn’t that mean that every Christian woman is by extension a princess?  How many different places does the Bible call us the children, or sons and daughters of God.  Brothers and sisters in Christ, who is the King.  So is this a longing for women to take their rightful place?

Seeing the women around us for who they really are.

This seems to be a confirmation of the God shaped hole that we are born with.  I have often heard the sermon or teaching on wives submit to your husbands, and know more than a few people, men and women that get offended at such a thought.  Why, because we have such a confused and distorted understanding of what it means.
If you think of a great King or Queen what comes to mind?  Do you picture Henry 8th or is it Arthur?  What about Queen Elizabeth, whatever the case most often we do not imagine Prince John from Robin Hood, or the queen in Snow White?  No we picture the kind gentle caring monarch.  The one who cares for the people.  Princess Buttercup, who cares about the poor, not Anne Boleyn.  So why do we have a problem with submitting?
See if you’re a man, you are called to submit not to another person, but to Christ.  Called to submit, to love others so much that death is the least you can do.  Submitting to death even death on a cross.  So how can you not care enough about your wife, that serving her is your natural position.  Isn’t that what it means to be a Christian, to submit to one greater than yourself, and to serve those that are in your life
So who wants a princess?  Well thinking it over I guess I do.
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But neither will I.

When it comes to God’s grace and mercy, you can’t earn it, I don’t deserve it.  That is the point.  If we could be good enough to earn God’s forgiveness and mercy, then I wouldn’t need Jesus.

I was having a conversation with the pastor at church and we were talking about the roles of grace and the law.  How do we explain Christian ethics and lifestyle and what it means to live a Christian life.  The conundrum is the balance and conflict between the two.  I can’t earn forgiveness, and Paul talks time and again how the law brings death.  Yet I know that the law is God’s standard.  So what do I do with that?

Obeying the law won’t save me, it won’t earn me salvation or forgiveness.  For if I could keep the law I would not need forgiveness.  Without a doubt there is the danger of falling into legalism.  It is way to easy to fall into looking at how I am keeping this law or that precept, and how you are not.  Then next thing you know I start looking down my nose and judging you, because although you may be great at keeping laws 1-2-3, they’re not the ones I think you should be focused on keeping.

At the same time how do you encourage people to keep the law, not for what it does for them but because of whose laws they are?  So I’m wondering if this makes sense?  We should strive to keep the law, knowing we are going to fail.  But still strive to keep the law because the law is God’s standard, shows the attributes of God, and pleases him.  Not because God wants to be a wet blanket, but rather than the law is how the universe works.

Would you want someone you love to suffer for you?

So if we love God, wouldn’t we want, try, even strive to keep the law?  1- because it is God’s standard. 2-because it pleases God. 3- Because of all He has done for us.  4- my sin Jesus took on himself on Calvary, suffering for my sin, why would I want to make Him suffer more?

After all God does not need us to “behave” to bring him joy, although our obedience and worship brings him joy.  We can’t earn God’s mercy, so why keep trying?  It’s not about trying to earn Mercy from God we already have mercy as much as we will ever need.

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Christian Living- Judge not

And yet we do it all the time.  Ok not we, I, I do it all the time and then I try and justify it.  After all didn’t Jesus say “You brood of vipers” or “..beware the leaven of the Pharisees”. To judge is to determine right from wrong, good from bad, holy from evil.  God knows this because it is the separation of what is his nature from what is not.  If it runs counter to the essence of God then it is evil, wrong, destructive.  So what if those statements by Christ were not a judgement but rather a simple statement of fact?

Discern or judge?

Basic Christian ethics tell us to discern, to rightly divide right from wrong, but I don’t think that’s judging, but more like being on a jury.  The only judge for us as Christians is God, for he is the only one with the authority to do so.
Now I am as guilty as anyone.  I look at Christ one minute saying “judge not”, and the next “you brood of vipers” and then I use this to justify my judging others.  And I never stop and remember that Jesus is God.  Maybe I should spend a little more time before making a judgement that when Jesus made a judgement he had the authority to do so because while he was a man, he was/is also fully God, so he gets to judge.
Have you ever fallen into the trap of judging someone else?  What about those times when you have found out later that you made your rush to judgement with less then all the facts?  Did it change your mind?  Yea me too.  I don’t have it right yet but maybe next time I will actually pause, even if its just for a minute before I go exalting myself to the position of judge.  Living a Christian life isn’t easy, none the less that is what you and I are called to do.
Let’s be clear from the start I consider myself as a classical liberal.  For those of you unclear on that I’m big on the responsibility and the value of the individual, limited government low taxes and states rights.  Or what is often referred to as a conservative.  Does this matter, probably not but I’m big on disclosure so there you go.

Do we really need more coarse language?

Ok so the vitriol that spews forth against the current President from people who dare to call themselves Christian is to me amazing.  Christian leadership needs to criticize, speak out against things you think are wrong, even immoral ie: abortion to your heart’s content, but isn’t it time you remembered that you are commanded to have respect for authority for they are placed in office by God.  Read Romans 12 & 13. The magistrate is there to do 2 things.  Punish evil, condone the good.  For a more in-depth analysis of this concept see “The Truth Project” 
Are their laws and actions being taken by the government that I think as a Christian I have a moral obligation to protest, fight against, and do my best to change?  Of course.  We should stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  What you and I should not do is promote hate for people no matter how much we disagree.  You and I have an obligation to reflect the one we call Lord.  If your daring to call yourself by the name of Christ and then saying some of the things I see floating around on Facebook, twitter, and blogs, I have to wonder what you’re trying to show the world.  If your calling yourself a Christian, you are setting yourself up as a witness for Christ.  Are your actions, your language really the way you want people to view Jesus?

Hate the action, not the person.

 Let me be clear, hate is not disagreeing. Hate is not holding the belief that certain actions or lifestyles are wrong.  When my sons were teenagers one of them decided that smoking pot and skipping school was how he would spend his days.  I hated what he was doing, because I love him.  Because I love him, I want what’s best for him.  Not what he wanted to do, and what he thought was best for him.
Likewise if I see someone doing things that aren’t best for them, I hate that too.  Before you go getting all bent jumping on the “judge not lest ye be judged” bandwagon, I’m not judging.  That’s not my place nor do I have the wisdom or the authority.  All I know is what God says.  If you have a problem with that, then it’s for you to deal with, not me.
If your going to call yourself a Christian, especially publicly, we are commanded to love our enemies.  Disagree with the actions, no problem, hate the actions, what you see government or this administration doing all you want.  Oppose it, work to change it.  But please stop spewing the hate of the person, instead of the action.  We, you and I are give direction that we are subject to the authorities God has put over us.

“If your going to preach fire and brimstone you need to do it with tears in your eyes” –  Jim Rohn

What do you think when you see others tearing apart our leaders out of anger, instead of seeking to change things because of love?  What about when it is someone who then claims to be a Christian?
So I’m struggling with re-evaluating my goals and priorities.  I’ve always been one to set a lot of goals.  Big goals little goals, short-term, long-term, you name it I’m a goals kind of guy.  Over the past ten to fifteen years I’ve become pretty good at it.  Now that’s not to say I’ve been great at achieving all of them, and sometimes I’ve gone to redo them at the end of the year and some things that I thought were so important the previous year don’t make my top twenty the next or they evolve, but overall I’ve been pretty good about achieving them, until this past year.

After the first year, which wasn’t bad, I regularly made around six figures .  Not bad for a guy with a high school education. I regularly patted myself on the back. “Look at me” from the clothes, cars, house even relationships, not that any of these are bad in and of themselves.

What really matters?

But now I am wondering if all of this hasn’t been, if not a waste of time, at least a focus on things that don’t bring as much satisfaction as I thought they would.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I do for a living, real estate consulting if you must know.  I enjoy it, I’m pretty good at it, and I do feel like what I do is important.  But what is the motivation behind what I’m doing?
The bible says what ever you do, do it as unto the Lord.  So is it because of not doing it as if unto God?  Would I do it different if when I looked at a client, instead of seeing a person, I saw God.  Would I prepare more?  Use different words?  Have a different approach, or priorities.
How do I do my job as if unto The Lord?  To view every person that I work with or for as if I am working for God, because I am, seems almost overwhelming, but I am instructed to be a witness for Christ.
Do you see your self as working for God in the day-to-day actions?  What would you do different if it was God standing in front of you instead of some rude jerk?
So the other day my mind started going places I really don’t want it to go.  To a life I used to live, and unfortunately with considerable zeal, & I find myself wondering why.  That life, that old me I gave up, turned away from, and made a vow to never return.  No I didn’t follow thru on the thoughts but only because of the grace of God, not to mention his strength/mercy.

Do you ever wonder if “Christian Living” is even possible?

I’m thinking is it any wonder that so many that are held up as leaders of spiritual matters fail (some not just falling but jumping off the cliff). Jesus said plainly that if a man even lusts after a woman he has already sinned, yet how many laughed at former President Carter over his confession of that very same sin.  Do we think Jesus was joking?  I cannot speak for anyone else if for no other reason than the simple fact that I cannot know your heart or your mind.  But for me I will take it literally and believe God meant it.

Is living a life for Christ too much to ask?

So can I be free of that?  This sin of thought.  I don’t know but it seems that God would not make us in such a way that sin can not be conquered.  After all how many times does Peter, Paul and others write that sin “HAS” been conquered.  Notice they did not say could but has.  So thru the power of God and by the holy spirit living within me it is possible.  And yet even Paul, old camel knees, speaks to doing what he doesn’t want to do and not doing that he wants to.  Not an easy path, this Christian life I’ve chosen, but what’s the alternative?
I suppose I could walk away from God, and the church but then what?  As the philosopher once said, “The problem with knowing a thing is that once you know it, you can’t un-know it”. I could pretend I suppose, but what good would that do?  What about you, do you sometimes wish you didn’t know what you should do?  Maybe thinking it would have been easier being left in ignorance?
Me either but some days I do have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and then push forward.  Usually changing location and a lot of prayer helps.  Other days I find myself not really wanting to avoid my old self.  “Should we continue in sin that grace may abound?  God forbid.” Romans 6:1-2.
When your on overload and ready to give up what do you do?  Is it getting better, or do you stop and wonder?