Tag Archives: evil

This isn’t the first time people of God have had to stand against the evil, corruption of a decadent world

Right on the heels of the vote in Ireland to permit homosexual marriage, I’m reading this devotional in Henry and Richard Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” p 166: “No matter how ungodly the environment you may be in, God will always find you and walk with you. Noah lived in perhaps the most wicked age in history. No one worshipped God.”

Point taken, the Bible tells us of many ages full of human wickedness. Why would we expect ours to be any different? [it is kind of interesting this comes just before the rendering of the U.S. Supreme Court decision] it’s not just homosexuality either. Men and women think that it’s almost a “pro forma” to live together before marriage. Sorry, that’s not acceptable either. We have a society that is no longer concerned about being God honoring and is solely concerned about pleasing and honoring self, and then we wonder why we are surrounded by all sorts of debasement. if there is any sense of propriety, dignity, character, nobility, it has become so distorted in contemporary use as to usually become meaningless or irrelevant.

We have those in society who make ridiculous demands “I expect $15 an hour to work at McDonalds” and then still don’t do their work with any level of competence or cooperation. Women today are more debased and sexualized then ever. The PC crowd, who couldn’t care less about the treatment of women call that sexual expression and then wonder why woman are treated with more disrespect now then ever.

I understand there have been many times in human history where there has been such gross ignorance and debasement it seems, based on history, that eventually builds and there is a vicious backlash against the attempts to drag our society and children into even cruder and coarser practices.

As Christians we have stood over the course of history for human dignity, while the secular continues to degrade every possible segment of the world. Eventually the abusers are shoved out, either by a culture that finally realizes it is being abused and taken advantage of, or certainly the resurrection when God establishes the world the way it was meant to be.

We want a world for us and our children that honors the sacrifices made for us, that we observe on this Memorial Day, for example.  We want what is fine, noble,courageous, dignified, precious. We do want those who are continuing to undermine and corrupt to stop polluting the world. By the same token we don’t want to see people debased, destroyed or abused. Now more than ever we need to pray for all, to witness to all those the Holy Spirit puts in front of us.  The church does have some responsibility in all this too.  The church has been far too passive, far to willing to stick it’s head in the sand and ignore what is going on. We do need to speak out in support of what God wants, but we also need to be constant and faithful in the Christian’s most powerful weapon prayer, and all the spiritual disciplines.

There have been worse times, the church of this time needs to step up and show real integrity and also genuine willingness to live according to God’s will and to witness that to the world. No we will ever  live without sin, but we need to live with Christian integrity and faith in God’s leading.

God has given a lot of evidence for His existence

Ravi Zacharias is one of the most influential Christian apologists of our time, I’ve been reading him for a long time. I do copy a lot of things, but there is a lot of great stuff out there that others may not see and that I think is important to share and so I am submitting this for your consideration.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is beautiful and true, yet oftentimes one will ask, “How can it be true that there is only one way?” Odd, isn’t it, that we don’t ask the same questions of the laws of nature or of any assertion that lays claim to truth. We are discomfited by the fact that truth, by definition, is exclusive. That is what truth claims are at their core. To make an assertion is to deny its opposite. Rather than complain that there is only one way, shouldn’t we be delighted that there is one way?
The question really is, how do we really know this is the truth?
Whether Hitler or Hugh Hefner, religious or irreligious, everyone has a worldview. A worldview basically offers answers to four necessary questions: origin, meaning, morality, and destiny. In turn, these answers must be correspondingly true on particular questions and, as a whole, all answers put together must be coherent.
Taking it a step further, the three tests for truth must be applied to any worldview: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. When submitted to these tests, the Christian message is utterly unique and meets the demand for truth.
Consider the empirical test of the person, teaching, and work of Jesus Christ. A look at human history shows why he was who he claimed to be and why millions follow him today. A comparison of Jesus’s teachings with any other claimant to divine or prophetic status quickly shows the profound differences in their claims and demonstrations. In fact, none except Jesus even claimed to be the divine Savior. His offer of grace and forgiveness by being the perfect sacrifice of our offense is profoundly unique.
I position the sequence of fact and deduction in the following way: Love is the supreme ethic. Where there is the possibility of love, there must be the reality of free will. Where there is the reality of free will, there will inevitably be the possibility of sin. Where there is sin, there is the need for a Savior. Where there is a Savior, there is the hope for redemption. Only in the Judeo-Christian worldview does this sequence find its total expression and answer. The story from sin to redemption is only in the gospel with the ultimate provision of a loving God.
But the question can be pushed back further. Does this not all assume that there is a God? Yes, it does, and there are four stages in the argument. The first is that no matter how we section physical concrete reality, we end up with a quantity that cannot explain its own existence. If all material quantities cannot explain their own existence, the only possibility for self-explanation would be something that is non-material.
Secondly, wherever we see intelligibility, we find intelligence behind it. Thirdly, we intuitively know that our moral reasoning points to a moral framework within the universe. The very fact that the problem of evil is raised either by people or about people intimates that human beings have intrinsic worth. Fourthly, the human experience in history and personal encounter sustains the reality of the supernatural.
There you have it. Who is God? He is the nonphysical, intelligent, moral first cause, who has given us intrinsic worth and who we can know by personal experience.
The verification of what Jesus taught and described and did make belief in Him a very rationally tenable and an existentially fulfilling reality. From cosmology to history to human experience, the Christian faith presents explanatory power in a way no other worldview does. Our faith and trust in Christ is reasonably grounded and experientially sustained.
I often put it this way: God has put enough into this world to make faith in Him a most reasonable thing. But He has left enough out to make it impossible to live by sheer reason alone. Faith and reason must always work together in that plausible blend.
Many of you may be familiar with my own story. I was born to Indian parents and raised in India. My ancestors were priests from the highest caste of Hinduism in India’s Deep South. But that was several generations ago. I came to Christ after a life of protracted failure and unable to face the consequences, sought to end it all. It was on a bed of suicide that a Bible was brought to me and in a cry of desperation, I invited Jesus Christ into my life. It was a prayer, a plea, a commitment, and a hope.
That was fifty years ago. I hardly knew what lay ahead of me, except that I was safe in Christ’s hands. Now as the years have gone by and in 2014 we celebrate thirty years of ministry at RZIM, I marvel at the grace and protection of God and the doors he has opened for our team. And more and more, I am convinced that Jesus Christ alone uniquely answers the deepest questions of our hearts and minds.
• This article was posted in: Just Thinking Magazine

• This article was posted in: Just Thinking Magazine

Awesome God First St Johns Lutheran Church August 10, 2014


We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father, and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know that we trust and obey God and never rely on our own understanding said … AMEN
Pastor Cory Burma refers to the Rich Mullins song “Awesome God”, Burma says that Mullins was surprised that people were taking “awesome” in a contemporary sense, like amazing, or really cool. “awesome” means that God is “to be feared and loved, one who has done things our mind cannot fully comprehend.” 1
If we go back to chapter 1 in the Book of Job starts by saying “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from all evil.” Quick note, Uz was also where Moses lived for forty years.2 Satan reports into God, and seems a little random, but God pops up with: ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” The Hebrew word translated “turning away”, means not just avoiding but even actively turning away evil influences. So what we see here is God not just commending Job for being so great, but actively pushing away the influence of evil. WOW! Wouldn’t that be great, if God was talking about you that way? Ya that Jim he’s such a great guy, not only does he live his life right, but he actively does things in order to rip out evil in his part of the world. I’d certainly love it if God talked about me that way. But Satan kind of challenges God on Job; sure Job’s great, everyone would be great if you set them up the way You’ve set up Job.
You might hear in Christian circles people praying that God will set a hedge about them. In other words that God will protect them and this is where the expression comes from because Satan says; “Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house?” (Job 1:10) Satan is saying; “of course Job is all righteous, he’s your fair-haired boy, you’ve set his life up to be perfect. Job knows where his blessings are coming from and so of course he’s going to be faithful and upright with you. But if you rip everything away from him then “he will surely curse Thee to Thy Face.”’ I couldn’t find anyone who would take a shot to say why God would allow Satan to go and stomp on Job, but there can be no doubt that God, in His sovereignty, has already set this whole thing up. I have no doubt that God wants us to know that He doesn’t have favorites, that He will subject us to trials, that no one is so “good”, that they are immune to the trials and tribulations of life.
Job is immensely wealthy and he has a lot to lose and almost immediately Satan swoops in and arranges for the Sabeans to attack and they took off with all Job’s livestock, and killed all his servants. Then a great wind comes and knocks the house that his children are in and kills all his children. What was Job’s response to what would seem to be this unfair treatment? Those words we have heard so often: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21). Wow! Job is a righteous man. Then God allows Satan to take Job’s health. At this point the advice starts pouring into Job. His wife says, the Driskell translation; “really, you’re still faithful to God? Just curse Him and die!” Advice Job rejects. Then his three friends come along; Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar. What’s their answer to all of this? … Come on Job, you’ve obviously committed a really huge sin, fess up, ask for forgiveness and then trust God. Longman and Dillard point out that “The Three friends represent the age-old wisdom of retribution theology… God blesses the righteous; he curses the wicked. If so, then if Job suffers, he must be a sinner in need of repentance.”3 Now is that the case? Is Job being punished for some really humongo sin?… No! We just read at the beginning of Job what God Himself has said about Job: “…there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar are all wet, they don’t know what they’re talking about, yet they presume to make judgments for God. Not smart! Job even responds after Zophar’s speech to say: “Behold, the ‘fear’ of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.”(Job 28: 28) Job goes on through chapter 30 praising and extolling God and then, well, the cheese kinda slips off the cracker. “Hey it’s not because of my sin, come on, look at all these great things I’ve done to serve God,” really saying “hey I don’t deserve to be kicked around by God and I’ll tell Him all these great things to His face, ‘Behold, here is my signature; Let the Almighty answer me!… I would declare to Him the number of my steps”’.(Job 31: 35, 37) OK, now Job’s kind of stepped off the deep end, now he’s getting a little self righteous and ya, “maybe God does owe me an explanation, because I did all these great things and I don’t deserved to be kicked around.”
Elihu has stepped into the conversation now and he takes offense and finally someone is the voice of reason. He tells Job, woe now, just wait a minute here: “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33: 4) Let’s get a little perspective here Job and remember who created us and what He does for us. You have no right to demand an explanation. Elihu goes on four more chapters praising God and all that He is. Then finally what happens? … Ya, our reading today. God Himself steps in and says, woe, wait just a minute all of you and speaks to Job. “Hey, where were you when I created all things, where are you when I sustain all things. You have no clue the vastness of all these things. Who are you to get up into My grill and demand answers.” God goes on three chapters pushing Job and questioning him. Obviously Job is just overwhelmed, he has no answer to God’s questions and finally says: “But now my eye sees Thee; Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6). God gave Job a four chapter beatdown, which applies to us also. Especially in this day and age when we think that science and technology have all the answers and we don’t need to rely on God. Read chapters 38-41, do you think you or any of our brilliant scientists have any answers to the questions God raises? No! Sure, we can still keep learning and searching, but keep in mind that there will always be questions that we will never know the answers to.
Take some time this week to first read chapters 28-30 in Job. See how Job glorifies God, even though Job has just been beaten down and maybe we might think unfairly, but in His sovereignty. “…we know, that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
as Paul told us in our readings from a couple of weeks ago. From ancient Scripture God is using Job’s experience to teach us today that it’s not our understanding that matters, it is God’s will that matters and yes sometimes His will is really tough to accept. But in the end, it is God’s will who saved us through Jesus, His will, which we don’t understand, that caused Jesus’ suffering but for our deliverance. When we are Job, we don’t understand the need for suffering. When we are sinners in need of a Savior, then we do accept God’s wisdom, that wisdom that put His own Son on a Cross to die for our sins.
So yes, “Our God is an awesome God, He does reign from heaven above with wisdom, power and love, our God is an awesome God.”
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.