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Is Evil From God?

Looking at the world and seeing all this sickness and suffering, one has to question where all this evil comes from.  From a Christian’s point of view, God created the world and everything in it.  So, did God create evil as well?

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:17-19

God cursed the the earth because of Adam’s work…

But God also created a way for us to be saved.  He gave His only Son to redeem us from our sins.

This article from Answers from Genesis explains it well.

God is Merciful

Merry Christmas!

This has been a crazy year, filled with ups and downs and some scary moments.  The biggest event would be from the second half of the year when my wife was diagnosed with brain cancer, it is definitely a life changing event. It has however, shown us the love and care of all our friends and family and it has brought us all closer together.

We have been drifting away from God and this event has steered us back on course and to again rely on Him for all our needs.  Jesus is Provider and Comforter, He has given us all we need to deal with this, sometimes before we knew we needed it and sometimes right after we find out we needed it.

He has also given us a mind and the resources to combat this and to grow from it.  The biggest of these would be the change in the mindset of diet, from living to eat to eating to live.  Eating the natural, organic things that God has provided so that we can have a long health life, that we can live for Christ, that we can have an abundant life.

Even though cancer is very scary and a life threatening thing, I believe it has made us grow and when we are done, we will be better because of it.  God is awesome!

I pray you have a Merry Christmas and a joyful New Year!

God will provide

Christmas Idea

I received this in an email and I thought it was a great idea, so I thought I’d post it here.

Christmas 2011 — Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.

THIS could be the new American Christmas tradition.

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list — post it to discussion groups — throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city — send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments.

This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn’t that what Christmas is about?

 

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me

Murderers, adulterers, liars; how do you forgive them or even love them?  But that is exactly what God will do if you believe His Son died for you for those crimes.  Well, you say, “I have never killed anyone.”  Jesus says, “Whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”  You say, “I’ve never cheated on my spouse.”  Jesus says, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  I’m not even going to mention lying, if you say you’ve never lied before, than you just lied.

Compared to Jesus, who is perfect, we are all wretches.  And that is why it is so amazing that God forgives us of our sins.

I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see

I was in darkness before, unable to see the truth, believing I was a good enough person and that I would be able to get the Heaven if there was a Heaven.  Well, now I see how wrong I was.  God has opened my eyes and allowed me to see the glorious truth of His grace.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

I can still remember that moment when I understood and believed in His grace, I broke out in tears and thanked Jesus for the suffering He endured for me.  Now, even hearing when others accept Christ, I have an uncontrollable urge to shed tears.  Those moments are just that precious.

The Gift of Giving

There are many reasons why people donate to churches and charities: tax deduction, tradition, habit, or out of quilt, but the greatest way to give is cheerfully. (2 Corinthians 9:7) Happily giving without thought of getting something in return, which is a hard thing to do, that is why it is a gift of giving. God gives us the will to give of our money and our time.

If you think about it though, it really isn’t that hard to give. First, He blesses us with riches, especially here in this country, where even the poorest have a couple bucks to get something to eat or find a soup kitchen. Compared with others parts of the world, we have a lot. Out of these riches we are asked to give just a little bit, He even tells us that, “Try Me now in this, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessings that there will not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10)

Lastly, the Bible tells us that we should store up treasures in Heaven. (Matthew 6:20)  Nothing here will last forever and even if you have it buried with you like the Chinese Emperors or Egyptian Pharaohs, it will just be buried or more likely, stolen.

Giving in the Name of Jesus will allow you to take it with you, or more exactly, it will be there for you. This actually presents a kind of dilemma for me, I feel like I am thinking about getting something when I give, I will be getting much more back when I get to Heaven. I think it’s okay though since we are told to store up treasures in Heaven.

Whatever it is, I know it will be more than enough just to be with my God forever.

The Rich and the Rich Poor

Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

James 1:9-11

The rich is of course the wealthy, the ones who have a lot of money. They may have inherited it, saved it, earned it, maybe even won it, but they have a lot of it. Does that mean they have a lot of happiness? Possibly, it all depends on who they know and I don’t mean a celebrity or some great looking people, or even the president. None of those people can make you truly happy with an everlasting happiness. Jesus is the only one who can do that. If you know Jesus as your Savior and your friend, you will receive His grace, peace, and joy. A truly lasting joy that surpasses all entertainment on Earth.

The people who know Him are the rich poor; He makes the poor in wealth rich in spirit. Even the poorest people who have nothing more than shelter and the day’s food are content and fulfilled if they know the Prince of Peace.

I not saying that all rich people are sad, lonely, or depressed, not at all, many born again Christians have been blessed by God with earthly riches, who in turn blesses others in His name. I guess they would e the rich rich.

The blessing of the LORD makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it.

Proverbs 10:22

I have been blessed greatly by God and He gives me great joy in giving back to Him.

Purposed in My Heart

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself”  Daniel 1:8

“Dare to be a Daniel.”  That was the main theme while my pastor was teaching through the book of Daniel.  It’s because Daniel purposed in his heart to not defile himself and to devote his life to the living God.  He was a man filled with the Spirit and did amazing things, he was blessed with wisdom and insight and was greatly used by God.  Daniel’s life was a witness for the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, who by the end of his reign glorifies God.

And at the end of the time[a] I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, “What have You done?”

At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.

Daniel 4:34-36

By changing that one person, who is very influential, Daniel was used to changed many people’s hearts.

Through the power of Jesus, I will purpose in my heart to not defile myself with my fleshly desires and to serve Him with all my strength.  I have to ask to be filled with His Spirit daily and to pray continuously for His power to accomplish this.  To have Christ increase while I decrease, that is how I will be able to live a life that pleases God and to glorify His Name.

Hell – Why is it taught in the Bible?

Hell is not a threat, it really depend on how you look at it.  To me, it’s more of a warning.  He knows what is good for us and what is bad for us, so He is letting us know that the way of man leads to death.  But if we just listen to Him and His warnings, and trust in Him, we can have life.

We are not going to know everything; His knowledge is infinitely larger than ours.  Just like a parent is way more knowledgeable than his 5 year old.

If the 5 year old is playing with matches near some gasoline, the dad is going to tell him, “Don’t play with the matches or you’re going die.”  The kid could take that as a threat, rebel against his dad and keep on doing what he’s doing.  Or he could listen to his dad, heed his warning and not get burned.

So God is warning us, if we keep doing what we’re doing, we will have eternal death.  But if we choose to listen to Him and trust in His knowledge, we could have eternal life.

God is perfect and holy and righteous.  He can’t be righteous and dwell with unrighteousness.  That is why and how hell is created; it is a place where His presence is absent.  Take a guy who murders, rapes, and steals just because he wants to.  We wouldn’t want to live in the same house or even the same town as him, so we send him off to prison where my loved ones and I won’t be.

But hell came into existence for the fallen angels, not for man.  He loves us all immensely and He doesn’t want any of us to perish.  That’s why He has done everything He can, short accepting the sinful and forcing them to be with Him, to save us and to be in communion with us.

Why believe Jesus is God and that He died for us on the cross?  Let say that 5 year old kept playing with the matches and dropped one on a puddle of gasoline.  The dad loves his child and doesn’t want him to be hurt, so he throws himself between his boy and the fire, taking the punishment of the fire.

Here’s the analogy quoted from an issue of Solid Ground that explained it for me and was my turning point from Atheist to Christian.

You see, there are actually three passions in “The Passion of the Christ.” The passionate intensity of God’s anger at us for our sins collides with the passionate intensity of God’s love for us, causing the passionate intensity of the agony of the cross to be shouldered by God Himself in human form.

The story is told of a king who, having discovered a theft in the royal treasury, decrees that the criminal be publicly flogged for this affront to the crown. When soldiers haul the thief before the king as he sits in his judgment seat, there in chains stands the frail form of the king’s own mother.

Without flinching, he orders the old woman to be bound to the whipping post in front of him. When she is secured, he stands up, lays down his imperial scepter, sets aside his jeweled crown, removes his royal robes, and enfolds the tiny old woman with his own body. Baring his back to the whip, he orders that the punishment commence. Every blow meant for the criminal lands with full force upon the bare back of the king until the last lash falls.

Solid Ground, March/April 2004 by Gregory Koukl, Stand to Reason

He has done everything for us so that we can be with Him and He can be with us.  Even in the Tribulation, He will save lots of people who repent and trust in Jesus.  He’s going to send the Two Witnesses, 144,000 Jews, and angels who will proclaim God’s love and Jesus the Savior.  Every opportunity is given, the only people going to hell are the ones who, in the face of all this evidence, choose to rebel against Him and choose to live the life the way they want to, which leads to death.

God is not going to force His Son and His love on us, that would essentially be rape.  Take, for example, the one you love, you want him or her to love you in return.  You are going to try your hardest to convince her of your love so that she will choose to love you back.  If you bound and gagged her and took her to your house then forced her to stay with you and to love you, that would be meaningless, she might as well be a robot.  But if she chose to love you, how wonderful is that feeling!

That’s why God created us, He wants to share His love with us and to have us love Him in return.

God made us in His image, which includes morals, free will, intelligence, faith, and love.  All of these gifts which He has given us are blessings.  We can use our gifts to pick apart His Word or to study it as Truth.  We can believe the lies and almost truths of the devil or we can trust in the Word of God, the Work of Jesus, and the Power of the Holy Spirit.  It’s our choice.

Believing in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for me to wash away my sins and was resurrected to give me eternal life in Him, and allowing Him to come into my heart and allowing the Holy Spirit to come into my life has completely changed the way I look at this life, the world, and His Word.

So, we can rely on ourselves, our intelligence, and our own efforts and reject Him or we can rely on Him to study His Word, to find out more about Him, to get to know Him personally and trust in Him.

Grace be with you.

Asking for Forgiveness

Here’s my take on it.

“He saved us” (Titus 3:5) and “forgiven us all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13).  It is in the past tense, Jesus said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), so it is done and over unless you want to call Him a liar.  So, not only are past sins forgiven, present and future sin as well, we don’t have to do anything else, any more work, and He doesn’t have to die again for us to be really saved.  We can’t do anything anyway, because it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” (Titus 3:5)

Why then does the Lord’s prayer do we ask for forgiveness of our debts?  I think it’s not what you should pray and ask for, it a reminder.  First, we are to pray “in this manner” (Matthew 6:9), not pray this exactly, so they’re things we should have in mind when we’re praying.

  • “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:9) He is our maker, the creator of heaven and earth, blessed is His name.
  • “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)  We are looking forward to His second coming and always to watch for Him.  We are to decrease and He increase, His will be done, not ours.
  • “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)  We are to forgive others who have hurt or offended us, because He has forgiven us and He has forgiven them.
  • “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13)  We can not fight evil or our fleshly temptations on our own, we need to ask Him to do it in us and for us.  He is the everlasting almighty God.

To expand on the forgiveness part, He is not saying we have to ask for forgiveness every time we pray.  He is also not saying that we have to forgive others in order for us to be forgiven.  He is saying that we have been forgiven and He has forgiven our debtors, so we should forgive them as well, lest we put ourselves above Jesus.

1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. (Titus 3)

We have to “affirm constantly” (Titus 3:8) that the Lord by His mercy and His grace has saved us and forgiven us and through Him, by His grace, we should forgive others.

Missionaries

What is a missionary?

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  (Mark 16:15)

Jesus commanded His disciples to go and tell the whole world of the great news of His resurrection, that is why christians go to remote parts of the world to spread the word.  Some of us do not feel called to go to other countries, fortunately, there a need for mission work wherever you are, in your very home town.  For me, I am hoping this blog will serve that purpose in the cyber world.

Some people ask, “Why do you christians always try to convert people to your religion?”  That’s because we know the Bible to be true and the words and instructions contained in it are the words of God.  The Bible teaches that we are all sinners in need of a Savior and from my own past experiences and “conversion,” I whole heartily believe that.  And because of that truth and of the consequences of unbelief, I try to tell all the people I know about Jesus and of all the reasons why I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  (Romans 10:13-15a)

Every person is given the choice to call upon the name of Jesus and to turn from their sin but someone needs to go and preach the gospel.  Of course, this is not the only way that God can work, He is Omnipotent and can work in miraculous ways, but it gives Him great joy to see His children work for Him.

To read more about the reliability of the Bible, visit Answers in Genesis.