False Evidence . . .

What is fear?

False Evidence Appearing Real!fear

That’s what I read today in a cubicle here at work. It’s the first time I’ve thought about “fear” like that. But I started thinking. What have I “feared” in the past? Generally, it’s the things we “worry” about – things that never happen, or things that are inconsequential. Things that are false, but appear real.

Most of the time, we worry or fear things that we have no control over, and things that in the end don’t really matter.

Changing topics for a second, I have had the privilege of listening to children recite memory verses for AWANA, as well as recite questions about “Why God gave us the Bible.” While they have the answers in the book, I try to ask them, why do you think God gave us the Bible. The answers are almost all genuinely better than the answer the book gives.

One answer I think comes back to the question of FEAR. God gave us the Bible so that we would know our future.

We don’t have to fear anything. God is in control. He has given us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

And to that end:

Fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God – Isaiah 41:10a

Exposing yourself to God

David brought us many Psalms in the Bible, and this verse is quite interesting from Psalm 25.

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. – Psalm 25:5

How many times do we, as Christians, proclaim our faith in God? We declare our trust, and (sometimes) proudly wear our Christianity on our sleeves.

 

The truth….

Many times we use excuses to hide our faith

  • “I don’t want to offend anyone” – we say…
  • “I’m not allowed to talk about that at work” – we insist…

Well, I’m just as guilty as the next person!

But I try, unsuccessfully sometimes, to discreetly bring my faith into discussions with others [mentioning church events and other activities of faith during conversations].

I think this is a good step forward to “exposing” who I am and what I believe.

But, there’s still more to the verse, read it again:

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. – Psalm 25:5

David mentions that he wants the Lord to LEAD him and TEACH him. Are you open for leading and teaching? If so, how? How does the Lord know you are willing to be taught, or lead by Him?

an uncertain future . . .

Many of us don’t have a clue where we’ll be 2 years from now, much less 25 years from uncertaintynow.

Sure, we all have dreams or aspirations of moving up (in our jobs), moving to the beach, or maybe simply retiring. Each of us has our own desires.

But truly NONE of us really know where we will end up.

We have an “uncertain” future. Despite our ability and desire to plan, we have limited power to determine our future.

There is good news, however. While we can’t control our earthly future, we can control our destiny.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. – Jeremiah 29:11

And we can know those plans, too (for our destiny, that is). Wesley has been asking a lot this week, “when am I getting baptized?”

He knows the days are closer and closer (4 days now to be exact). While he already knows his future in Heaven, he can’t hardly wait to obey God, and tell the world about it.

Do you have that kind of certainty in your life, that you’re ready to take the next step of faith in God?

Short and Sweet

And the answer is…

What is the 6th and 7th most read Scripture verse(s) on BibleGateway.com to date?

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Need I say anything?

Data taken from: https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2009/05/the-100-most-read-bible-verses-at-biblegatewaycom/

The Unknown: #8

Unknown #8 – Moses wasn’t the only one to part the waters!

One thing I love about the Word of God is that it is “living.” We use that word (living) to describe the Bible, but don’t always know what it means. I would define it as such:

The Living Word of God is revealed to us as we are ready, and not before.

Essentially, we can read the Bible over and over again, but until we are ready to accept certain aspects of it, we may never understand it, or even recall reading certain passages. This is definitely true for me as I read the Bible; I still pick up things every time I read it. One example is as follows: these passages have never stuck in my head before (except of course the first one).

1) Moses (and children of Israel) @ Red Sea: Exodus 14:21-22 (also mentioned in Nehemiah 9:10-11:12, various Psalms, Isaiah 63:12, and Hebrews 11:29)

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided….

2) Joshua (and children of Israel) @ Jordan River Joshua 3:13-17 (also mentioned in Joshua 4:7, 4:23, and 5:1)

 13And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap. . . . 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing.

3) Elijah (and Elisha) @ Jordan River: 2 Kings 2:8

Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

4) Elisha @ Jordan River: 2 Kings 2:14

[Elisha] took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.

Who knew?

Moral: If God wants you on the other side, He’ll find a way to get you there

Broken Beautiful

A good friend once told me “that song will preach.” I translate that to mean that the words are so powerful in the song that it brings the Word of the Lord without any further need of explanation.

And if you’re a music lover, that’s how a lot of Christian music is today. Ellie Holcomb recently released Broken Beautiful which I would have to say “that song will preach.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J62qayrMcHw

Don’t believe me? Well, it would just happen that since I’m in the mood, I created a draft Sermon Outline for the song. Ok, it’s not a fancy alliterated outline, but it still preaches.

broken_beautiful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Lyrics from Ellie Holcomb: Broken Beautiful

Do you have more faith than your atheist friend? I think not!

Today, I was listening to a posting on Facebook (yeah, I know, not necessarily the most academic place to learn). However, an evangelist posted a video in response to an atheist about creationism vs evolution.

The video is in response to those who try to debunk creationism with the supposition that it requires faith to believe in creation. However, as the video points out, the “theory of evolution” is just that – a theory. That means it cannot be proven. Theory is based on observation and experimentation. However, because evolution has never been observed, it cannot be a basis for a theory. No one has ever observed evolution in the sense it is used to apply to the beginning of our world. Only Charles Darwin ever observed what might have been micro-evolution with finches on the Galapagos Island (which was really more of natural selection). HOWEVER, this supposed evolution may have also been evidence of various species of birds, not evolution , as some scientists of his times have reported.

It is even noted that Charles Darwin never once denied the existence of God. He was more known as agnostic, although he was somewhat active in the church, including having church on his private property. Furthermore, he admitted in his own books that if evolution was true, that fossil evidence should be found, which of course, has not been. He found a limited number of fossils which led him to believe in natural selection, but purely admits that the small amount he found is hardly enough to even establish a theory, much less prove one.

So, if we can’t observe evolution, then it requires faith to believe it.

In fact, modeling the theory of evolution:

1) chaos on earth

2) big boom

3) life springs forward

… would result in the following effect: watching a tornado pass through a junk yard and then at the far end, see that in all the chaos of the wind and garbage being blown about, that a well-oiled complex 747 airplane was put together ready for flight after all the destruction. Ok, if we want to be honest, maybe only a 1 seater was thrown together by the tornado, and then it slowly, over millions of years (as the theory goes) turned into a 747 with more garbage and tornadoes hitting it. Sounds like non-sense to me. But people who believe it sure do have faith in it! And I believe it takes more faith to believe that, then it does God!

Did she really go there? Oh yes she did!

(This occurred just a couple days ago to a dear friend, posted via Facebook*)

Friend: Today I was walking around a store that I have a gift card for, and it seemed that everything I picked up was way more expensive than the gift card value… no surprise there! However, while I was looking, a lady and her daughter were also looking around…. This is how the conversation went:

Lady: Oh good grief, these clothes!

Friend: Yes, I know! They are more expensive than I thought.

Lady: Expensive?

Friend: Yes, my $25 gift card is not going to do much . . . sadly.

Lady: I was wondering why my daughter wanted to buy such cheap nasty stuff!

Friend: (Looking slightly embarrassed) . . . Well, if you shop wisely, you can get good value for your money.

Lady: I don’t need to do that . . . and at your age, neither should you.

Friend: (not knowing what to say and sending a prayer to God for help) . . . Well, God has given me all I need! The gift card was a bonus from my kids at school.

Lady: (Looking long and hard at friend….then walked away…)

God – 10 points
Lady – ZERO!

What do you think? Has God provided you everything you need? Or do you still seek comfort in material things? Maybe you are seeking approval from friends or peers. After being imprisoned, Paul wrote this:

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. … Indeed, I have all and abound. – Philippians 4:11, 18a, (NKJV)

He realized that even though he had nothing, he had everything he needed. His message about Jesus Christ was being spread among the nations. He went on further to tell other believers:

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)

Are you allowing God to supply your needs, or are you trying to do it by yourself?

Material possessions will rot and fade away, but God’s love will abide forever (Matthew 6:19-21, Luke 12:15, Matthew 16:26)

* Paraphrased and edited for content

Hall of fame –> Hall of FAITH

Some have heard of the Hall of Faith; others have not. It is detailed out quite nicely in Hebrews 11.

Although we don’t know who penned the book of Hebrews, we can trust that God inspired the person to summarize the accounts of each of these who had complete faith in God. From Abraham sacrificing his son to Noah building a boat in light of the shame of the world, we have record of some of the most famous faith-filled men and women in Biblical times.

What is interesting about this synopsis to me is not just the listing of their names and events, but the commendations that they received in heavenly rewards from having such faith. Throughout this chapter, we find individuals who received great rewards:

  •      Noah who built the ark in complete obedience – was the only family to survive the flood
  •      Abraham who (almost) sacrificed his son – went to live in the land of promise with many descendants
  •      Enoch who had faith – was taken out of this world to be with God
  •      Sarah who believed – conceived a child very late in life
  •      Moses who was not afraid of Egypt – led the Israelites in the Exodus and across the Red Sea

The list goes on and on about conquerors, resurrections, and more.

However, here is another interesting twist:

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. – Hebrews 11:39-40 (NIV)

This serves to remind us that we need to be faithful and faith-filled, despite what happens. Just because we feel we are being led to a certain mission, event, or trial – don’t try to anticipate the outcome. God has a plan much bigger than us, that we normally cannot see. Not everything may work out the way we desire, or plan, but that doesn’t mean that it ended wrong.

Let God direct your paths. Seek Him and He will provide. He will commend those who are faithful and faith-filled.

Updating your address

When moving, it can sometimes be hectic to get your address changed. One might think that it is so simple, since the US Postal Service provides a card that will forward your mail (up to a year).

However, with on-line shopping, credit cards, bank statements, etc, the amount of times one must update your address is really overwhelming.

I recently updated my address at an on-line bank, but they continue to show my former address. Even after repeated attempts, I still cannot get the system to recognize that I have moved. I no longer live there!

Sometimes, life can be that way. When we become Christians, our old life has ended, and our new life is just beginning. The hope and joy we receive when we understand God’s love is unbelievable, almost. We are at a point in our life that we think it can’t get any better.

Well, for life on earth, I think that is a very true statement. When we realize what God has done for us, nothing can compete. The only thing that can beat it is when we finally get to Heaven and have every tear wiped from our eyes.

Unfortunately, while still here on earth, our old life, our old friends, maybe even our old habits will continue to crop up. Like my former address, the old things in our past (those former items) try to interfere with our new life.

Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before. – Philippians 3:13 (ASV)

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing  -Isaiah 43:18 (ASV)

Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ASV)