Lose the naivete, Christian!

On a state or secular college campus, the atheistic professor has complete freedom to spout religious views and opinions without protest from the students or interference from the dean. However, let a Christian instructor relate his personal story to inform the students of his worldview so they can better understand where he’s coming from, and he’s harassed and soon out of a job.

At a convocation of students on the average secular campus, freedom of speech and the First Amendment are championed. However, let a student stand and own up to being a follower of Jesus Christ who attempts to live by the Bible, and he/she is hooted down.

Ironic, isn’t it, the hostility those of a secular bent have toward belief in Jesus Christ. And they call themselves open-minded champions of free speech.

It’s more than just a prejudice, however. It’s a full-blown hatred.

That hatred is born of a fear of Jesus.

If in reading the gospels you have wondered how in the world things in that remote day came to the point where reasonably-minded people moved to arrest and crucify the Lord Jesus Christ, He who never lifted a finger against a human on the planet, the Prince of Peace, then take a look around you.

Human nature has not changed in the last 2,000 years.

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Favorite scriptures on Christ’s resurrection

As a college student, I doubted the resurrection of Jesus in a sense.  I believed it in a spiritual sense–whatever that means–but “just knew” that there was no real evidence for this historically and that Christians had to take this doctrine, this “truth,” by faith.  Which means of course that I had a lousy foundation for my faith in Christ.

And then when I was 25 years old and a seminary student, I opened the latest issue of Christianity Today magazine–they gave free subscriptions to seminarians–and read a life-changing article by a British law professor named J. N. D. Anderson on “Evidences for the resurrection.”  I was stunned, and blessed out of my socks to learn there is genuine, I-can-prove-it-to-you evidence for the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.  My faith grew by a mile in one hour.

Later, when Professor Anderson enlarged the article into a book, I bought it and reveled in it.  Since then, I have been delighted to see many have written such helpful books.  See below for a couple.

Here are some favorite Scriptural texts on the resurrection of our Lord….

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The ultimate game-changer: The resurrection of Jesus and why it scares people

Jesus showed Himself alive by “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3).  

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (I Thessalonians 4:14).

If Jesus really did rise from the dead, then nothing is the same and everything has changed forever.

The reason Christians are positively giddy about the Easter Event–the resurrection of Jesus–is that in walking out of that tomb and leaving it forever empty,  He broke the stranglehold in which death had held humanity.

We are free.  We are free forever. We are free to live forever.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

Clearly, everything stands or falls on whether Jesus rose from the dead that first Easter Sunday morning.

The resurrection of Jesus was Heaven’s imprimatur on Jesus’s ministry, the Father’s validation of Jesus’ every claim, eternity’s “amen” to Jesus’ promises, and convincing evidence that Jesus Christ is everything He said He was.

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Jericho’s blind beggar: Responding to the Bible’s critics

Critics of the Scriptures want to have it both ways.

If they find an inconsistency in Scriptures–the numbers seem not to agree, or a story is told in two or more different ways–it proves the Bible is man-made, filled with errors, and not to be trusted.  If however they could find no inconsistencies this would prove the church authorities in the distant past conspired to remove all the troublesome aspects of the Bible in order to claim it to be inspired of God.

Either it is or it is not.

When one is determined not to believe a thing, nothing gets in his way. He can always find a reason not to believe.

Take the matter of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar of Jericho.  His account is told in three of the gospels, but he is named in only one (Mark 10:46).

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God is making plans for you.

“…the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

We don’t begin to have a clue.

God is doing a zillion things He has not deigned to reveal to us mortals.

It’s not our business to know, for one thing.  Most of what goes on in the universe He is keeping to Himself.  “The secret things belong to the Lord our God…”  (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Everything we know about the operation of the created world is but a sliver of the full story. (And yes, isn’t it fun to make these discoveries. Scientists get to see what God has done before the rest of us!)

How can it be that before the world as we know it was formed, the Heavenly Father was already at work making plans for us to arrive and dwell with Him forever?

I do not know. Neither do you.

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10 big things Jesus said which we keep forgetting

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things I tell you” (Luke 6:46).

“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

I apologize for the title. Everything our Lord said was “big.”  It’s just that some of His statements in particular seem to have been muted in recent years.  See what you think.

1) We keep forgetting the second commandment is a command.

We want our religion to be private, just “me and the Lord.”

Jesus refuses to play that game. After being asked to identify the “greatest” command, He said, “And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). We must note that this is a command, not an option, an opinion, a wish, a Facebook “like,” or a good idea. To love one’s neighbor strongly is a key component of the kind of witness Jesus envisioned His people extending to the world.

So, why don’t we obey it? Answer: We have found it inconvenient, difficult, and demanding. When we love people–truly care for them to the point that they know it–they might need us and that would interfere with our schedule. It’s much easier to love the lovely, to care for the appreciative, to give to the deserving, and to reach out to those who need little or nothing.

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God loves you everlastingly

“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying, ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

What part of ‘everlasting’ do we not get?

These days, we are learning through science a little of what unending and infinite look like. Space seems to be continuous, going on and on.  The lineup of galaxies across the heavens staggers our imaginations, considering their size, makeup, and number.

The Psalmist who said “The heavens declare the glory of the Lord” had no clue just how much they say about the majesty and might of our Creator. That’s not to imply we do, only that we have far more information on the complexities and delights of the universe which the Father has wrought with His own hands than biblical writers ever imagined.

“From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2)

From everlasting in the past to everlasting in the future, God is God.  There never was a time when God did not exist; there will never be a time when God does not reign.

I cannot get my mind around that. To my puny intellect, infinity of any kind is fearful.  To think of being snuffed out upon death, that after our last breath, we are extinguished forever, is frightening and painful beyond belief.  I think of loved ones whose passing took with them a huge hunk of my heart and soul. The thought that I would never see them again strikes me with a sadness that is incalculable.

But infinity of the other kind–living forever and ever, world without end–is just as mind-boggling. How could that work? How could we exist knowing that nothing would ever end?

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Some assumptions are nothing more than prejudice. However….

The book focused on the year 1940 and all the war-related events of that brief period: Hitler’s invasion of the Low Countries, Churchill’s coming to power, Dunkirk, the Blitz, FDR’s election to the third term, and the isolationism in the USA.

I emailed the author of my appreciation for the book and added, “That year is also special because I made my appearance on March 28, 1940.”

After thinking about that a moment, I added, “But don’t think me old just because I was born in 1940.”

Later, I wondered why I’d said that, since I do not know the author or expect to meet him. Why was that important to me?

It must be a personal thing.

None of us want to be pigeon-holed because of demographics or statistics, nor for preconceptions or ignorance. Just because you are a Southerner does not make you a redneck. Living in Mississippi does not mean you are barefooted. All Louisianians do not speak Cajun. All Yankees are not rude.  All Democrats are not socialists nor all Republicans idiots.

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The single reason we will not fear. Not now, not ever.

A program on a science channel dealt with “Venus: Earth’s Evil Twin.”  The two planets are similar in size, and according to the experts, have the same origin. But Venus is hellish, with acidic atmosphere and temperatures in the monstrous range.

Early in the program, the scientists began telling how Earth’s future is to become as Venus is now.  Not next week. But in the distant future.

Now, personally, I have no trouble with anything that occurs on this planet a billion years down the road, which is the time period the experts dealt with.  For one thing, I won’t be here, and neither will you.  For another, scripture says “the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat” (2 Peter 3:12).

Wonder why the scientists feel the need to tell us such?

Watch enough such science shows, and you come away feeling that their purpose was to unnerve the viewer, to frighten the audience with the awful fate awaiting the planet and possibly to eradicate any primitive thoughts of a God who could be expected to rescue us from such a future.

I suspect their ploy works.  If one watches enough of this stuff, it would.

But there is one thing–one word actually–which keeps people of faith grounded, one word which is our answer to those who would frighten us about the future of this universe.

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Man is basically good. (Try saying that with a straight face.)

Checking into a company’s website, a pastor friend noticed their statement of values:  “We believe in the basic goodness of all people.”

He came away wondering what a person would have to do to convince himself of that misguided philosophy.

True, there is something inside us that wants to believe in the basic goodness of people. I suspect that’s part of our sinful nature, believing against all evidence to the contrary that we are all right and not in need of forgiveness or salvation. It’s a major strain in our sinful system to hold that all we need to do is release everyone from restraints and for preachers to quit laying guilt trips on us and all will be well.  “Imagine there’s no religion,” said John Lennon.  As though that were the problem.

Have you seen the news this morning? How many people were killed in your city last night by people who were resisting restraints and determining to have their own way?

Our Lord said, “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children….” (Luke 11:13).  You are evil, but you still get some things right.  That’s what He said.

We are a mixture.  Rat poison, they say, is 98 percent corn meal.  But that 2 percent changes everything.

Insights on this subject popped up in two unlikely places:  a western novel and a biography of a longshoreman philosophy from over a half-century ago.

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