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Philippian 4:14-23

14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Giving is not about the giver or the receiver, it is all about God and the glory of Jesus Christ. It maybe be the needy that we give our time and money to, but it should be in joy that we give and in the name of Jesus, because the things we are able to give was a gift itself from God. Giving to help the children of God and to further His kingdom is pleasing to God and it will be blessed. We will also be bless more to be able to give more, but more importantly, He will bless us abundantly in eternity where we will be in His presence.

21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

God is Gracious

Philippians 2:5-11

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

We aren’t told to be humble and are expect to just know what or how.  Jesus, who is God, who was with God the Father in the beginning (John 1:1-3), first showed us how, He made Himself into the form of a man, born of a human.  He put away all the power that He had as God and humbled Himself to do the will of God the Father, to die on the cross and bring salvation to us.

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus, the perfect Man, who humbled Himself to the point of death is exalted by God, He now sits at the right hand of God in Heaven and He will rule and reign in the Millennium and in the new Earth. (Revelation 20:4, Revelation 21:5-7)  Every man and beast, even those who do not believe now, will acknowledge that He is God.

God is merciful.

Living a Purpose Filled Life

Third email reply I sent my friends after I sent them some links about dinosaur tissue finds: (read the first& second replies)

My belief in God is not temporary in the least; Jesus has a death grip on my heart, His death on the cross.  Hinduism, belief in Brahman, the unchangeable god that is everything and everything is him, including us.  Our life is one of karma, and we are reincarnated over and over again until we are enlightened (changed) to the reality that we are one with Brahman.  Once we are “enlightened,” we become part of or absorbed into Brahman.  There’s Brahman changing again and we lose our identity as we become one with him.  “Resistance is futile.”  No, I don’t think so.  God, the God of Israel, created all things and is not part of all things.  He created us to know Him personally, through our sin nature, we are separated from Him, but He provided a way, the only way.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Why the Christian Bible and not the Hindu Vedas or Bhagavad-Gita?  The Bible not only claims to be the Word of God, it proves itself by fulfilled prophecy, archaeological verification, scientific insights and accuracy, internal consistency, manuscript evidence, and more.  Evidence for Jesus’ existence and resurrection is also overwhelmingly strong.

Example:  Before Isaac Newton, Hindus believed that the earth rested on the back of an elephant that stood on the back of a turtle that was swimming in a great endless see.  But Job 26:7 states “He [God] stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.”

My life is improved, but that’s the thing, I’m not focusing on improving myself.  I’m focusing on my relationship with Jesus, pleasing and glorifying God, He is improving me, my life, and my eternal future.

A rock is used to hold the loose dirt together; it is also used as a stable foundation on which to build on.  “He is the Rock” (Deuteronomy 32:4) Jesus is the Rock that we can build our faith on.  I would rather live in a shack built on a rock than a mansion built on the sand.

Poop is used as fertilizer to give nutrients to plants.

Let me define “purpose” further.  What I meant is there is an objective purpose to everything as opposed to subjective purpose.  Purpose is objective when the designer of an object had a purpose in mind for it when he designed it.  A person using that object for whatever purpose they choose is subjective.

Example:  A hammer, the maker of a hammer made it to pound nails into something.  Using it to hit a nail is objective.  Using that hammer as paperweight is a subjective purpose.

God, the Creator, the Designer, had an objective purpose for our life: to get to know Him, to be in a personal relationship with Him, and to trust in Him.  Anything else and you are living for your own subjective purpose.  “I will be fulfilled and happy once I get out of school.  I will be fulfilled when I get a job, when I get a car, a girlfriend, a wife, a house, a bigger house, a better car, an even bigger house…”  It doesn’t end; you can never be fulfilled in life unless you are filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Bible does tell me to die.  “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'” (Matthew 16:24)  We are to die to ourselves, meaning, admit that we are sinners and repent of (change) our ways.  Once we die to ourselves and believe on Jesus Christ, we will have abundant life for eternity.  There’s a saying, “Born once, die twice; Born twice, die once.”  If you are only born once (natural birth), then you will die physically and die eternity.  If you are born twice (natural and spiritual birth), then you will only die physically, as your soul will live eternally with God.  By the way, in Heaven, you don’t just float around on clouds playing the harp like a lot of people believe; you will get a new glorified, immortal body and live on a New Earth and you will get to see the face of God.

The Bible WAS given to give us hope.  The Old Testament tells us of our righteous God, a God that wants to be in our lives, but people pushed Him out and worshiped other gods.  The New Testament tells us of the blessed hope of salvation through Jesus Christ.  We can’t do anything to cleanse ourselves of our sin, only God Himself can reconcile us back to Him.

Adonis, the god of nature; Aphrodite, the goddess of love; Nike, goddess of victory; Eros, the god of love and sexual desire; Pluto, god of wealth; Panacea, goddess of health; yes, everyone prays to a god, but which one, the mythical Greek gods who were born (created) and dies, or the one true God who have always been and will always be.

Just as the Hindu god Brahman is a lie of the devil, so are the gods in Greek mythology.  He is trying to deceive people into thinking there are more than one way to live, more than one way to be with God.  He wants nothing more than for everyone to be suffering with him in hell.

God loves us so much that He provided an easy way for us to get to know Him and to be with Him forever.  Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37)  We just have to believe in Jesus Christ and we will be filled with life and purpose.

Using Science to Find God

Here is the first in a series of email replies I sent my friends after I sent them some links about dinosaur tissue finds:

I know how science works.  I also know the difference between conjectures, hypothesis, and theories and the how you get from one to the other.  I also learned from the same school as you that it takes a lot of different kinds of repeatable tests to prove a theory and only one repeatable contradictory test to disprove one.  Now, I’m not saying that the soft tissue issue is the one contradictory evidence against evolution or the old age of Earth.  I included non-creationist article of the same find and other related articles in my email in hopes of understanding soft tissue decay and fossilization.

I only sited the articles to say that people have an accepted view of something that they believe.  When new data and new information come up that might be contradictory, they wave it off as something that must fit into their belief instead of stepping back to take a look at it and how it relates.  Scientists are not the only ones I’m talking about, creationists do they same thing, as you have pointed out.

This passage really expresses how I feel about my search for the truth.

The divinely inspired word of God is infallible. Likewise, the divinely created creation is an “infallible” testimony of God’s work, Romans 1:19-20. Both are true representations of the Divine. While both these revelations are infallible, both require human understanding to have any meaning to us. This is where the real problem lies. Both our understanding of the scriptures and our understanding of the creation are fallible. Both change. Historically, I believe it is a fair representation that religious men have just as poor a track record for properly understanding scripture, as any review of the history of science could provide. This is certainly evidenced by the modern diversity of Christian religions. Such misunderstanding of scripture is illustrated over and over throughout the pages of the Bible itself. In the Old Testament the Israelites did not understand their own religion. In the New Testament the Pharisees did not understand the basics of love and justice. Indeed, Jesus’ own disciples did not understand the most fundamental aspects of His kingdom. Religious people get religion wrong just as readily as scientists get their science wrong. Let’s not get into a rock throwing contest as to which discipline is better at making and maintaining unfounded dogma. The truth is that both scientists and believers have to change our views to accommodate our growth in understanding of the infallible word of God and improved knowledge of the unchangeable testimony of His creation. To be able to change when shown wrong is sign of wisdom, not weakness.

Hill Roberts – http://lordibelieve.org/Days.htm

If you are anything like I was, I want you to always be searching and seeking instead of just believing in what we grew up with.  I always just relied on what I “knew” as fact and readily dismissed any opposing view.  I have come to be a little more diligent in trying to find what really is out there, why we are here, and what the truth is.

I am not blindly following some guy’s teaching.  I am searching for why we exist.  Why are we here if there is nothing beyond?  If we all came from one cell and a bunch of random mutation, just some intelligent animals, and there is nothing after death, then what are we doing?  Trying to make a better life?  Why don’t I just go out and do what I want, live the way I want to, instead of sitting here working for someone else?  I can lie, steal, cheat and do what I want.  But what about morals?  Where did my morals come from?  The law?  No, man created rules and regulations.  Then who?  Animals don’t have morals.  If there is nothing after I die, no repercussions, why not do what I want since I won’t have to answer to anything or anybody afterwards.  There has to be something more out there.

I am using the intelligence and the logical mind that God has given me to find facts and evidences that will help me to think through it and to decide.  For me the evidence is pointing towards God and His unfailing Word.

Secular historians and archeological finds all support the Bible.  There is no evidence out there that can prove even one verse of the Bible to be false.  In fact, your links led me to more sites and more information that defined and solidify my faith.

One of the greatest evidence is my life.  After accepting Jesus into my heart, I have become a new person.  You all know what I was like before I was born again, now, I’m living in Christ, living for God.

I probably quoted this before, but… “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7

Start searching, don’t be complacent in your life or your beliefs, God will open doors and lead you to the truth.

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.

The heavens declare the glory of God!

Psalm 19

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.

In the beginning God Created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1) He created it marvelously, the universe is enormously large with trillions and trillions of stars in it. What is even more marvelous is He created the earth with an atmosphere where we can see through to all these stars, just as Psalm 19 declares.

One of these awesome heavenly body is the nucleus of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), not only is it beautiful to look at, it declares the Christian Gospel. It shows us the Great News that Jesus died on the cross and washed us clean of our sins. We just have to believe in Him and what He did for us and we can have eternal life with Him.

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy