The Answer Man? – Not Me!

2021-06-12 Struck Down But Not Destroyed
Rick Warren once said, “When someone thinks he knows all the answers, one has to wonder if he knows all the questions.”

When one goes on a date, he or she showers, puts on nice clothes, preens in front of a mirror for a while, checks to make sure teeth don’t have spinach between them, and preps their brightest smiles and best chuckles.  The same goes for blogging.  When we get on our computers, we take time to evaluate our words; we check for grammatical errors, examine links and think seriously about the topic: i.e., we put our best foot forward in both cases (at least most of us do!😏).

We tend to be experts when we get online, because no one can see all the background work we do to make a nice blog.  We check our resources and polish the blog and show off how smart, informed, and perceptive we are.  Most of us try to avoid harsh words or crass language (at least the blogs I follow; too much cursing or four-letter words and I will not follow).

Well, I am not that smart or “together” all the time.  I sincerely try to be nice in my comments or just don’t comment (my mother’s words are still there in my head, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”)

But sometimes I do not “have it all together.”  Depression sometimes surprises me with lonesomeness that makes me feel even the sun is dark, as if I am under a rock wi2021-06-12 Pinnedth no light.  I make solitary time either after my bride leaves our bed, or in places where I can get away from everyone, and I cry. . . And I cry. . . And I cry some more.  So many folks in my family are wonderful and I know that I am loved, but loneliness still stands over me like an angry wrestler ready to push me down and hold me to the mat even after I say, “I give up.”  He won’t let me up anyway.

I am not suicidal (See  ).  As my brother is fond of saying, “That ship has sailed.”  But many times I feel like the days are just passing me by, and I am just waiting either for Jesus to return or for Father to call me Home from this world.  Depression makes you question whether anything you do matters; whether your life matters.

But the bottom line is it is not about me . . . or you.  Life is about Him!

Like the man in John 9 born blind, just as we are all born spiritually blind, “Once I was blind but now I see.”  As C.S.Lewis put it, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  The world, the universe, the animals, the oceans, the mountains, the people; it all makes sense when I begin with the Cross of Jesus and the Bible.  Rick Warren put it this way: “You were made by God and for God and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”

In no other system, no other world leader, no other religious figure claimed to BE GOD.  And if Jesus is not God, then nothing makes sense in the world, the universe or people.  But sinse He IS God, it all does make sense.  I was born spiritually blind and sinful.  Jesus came to bear the penalty for my sin.  He lived a sinless life and died an ignominious death on a mechanism for capital criminals at the hands of the Gentiles and Jews.  But He rose from the dead after three days and three nights in the tomb.  And now He lives to make intercession for any who will put their faith in Him.  It’s ALL about Him!

I do not intend this blog to be a ‘downer,’ but just to encourage you if you are feeling low, if you feel pressed into the ground by a boulder, or if you fight with the angry wrestler who tries to push you down; perhaps you wonder about your value, your worth, whether your life matters.  It DOES!  You matter so much to God that He sent Jesus to the Cross!  And I know that my Redeemer lives, and THAT is all that really matters.

“I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last He will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold Him, and not another’s.”
  Job 19:25-27

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in YHWH.
  Habakkuk 3:17

Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem – Wordless Wednesday

2021-05-19 Israel and Hamas Peace Deal

Over 3000 rockets have been fired at Israeli cities and villages without discrimination of military or civilian targets.  Israel is the only nation that has ever warned its targets of impending bombs to save civilians, but Hamas uses its citizens as human shields.  Intelligence estimates that Hamas has a about 30,000 rockets stashed in Gaza.

2021-05-19 3000 of 30000 Rockets Fired at IsaelRockets launched from Gaza by Hamas toward Israel Tuesday night, May 18. 2021

Pray for both Jews and Palestinians that they will recognize that they all have dads and moms, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and the senseless violence will accomplish no lasting peace.  Only when the Prince of Peace rules in their hearts will they find that for which they are searching.

Hell Is Authentic


The result of living without Jesus is .  Not just a fantasy, not just a short-term separation from what is good.  It is a final loss, a final “mercy” of God to those who refuse any blessing.  He will not let an evil person go on hurting others into eternity, or even themselves; so He places them in outer darkness (Matthew 8:11-12), alone and apart from any source of light or life, because that is what they have chosen.  “All that are in hell choose it.  Without that self-choice, there could be no hell.  No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.  Those who seek find; to those who knock it is opened.” (C.S.Lewis, The Great Divorce)

If they would choose to know The God Who Is Here, anyone can enter into His Life, Light, Joy, Peace and every other blessing that comes from living in consistency with “the universe.”  There is only one way to know The God Who Is Here, and that is by getting to know Jesus, the Messiah, aka Christ.  “Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)  There simply is no other way.  Father loves each one of us so much that if there was another way, He would inform us and provide us with the alternatives.  But THIS is the nature of the universe.  It is what He created and knowing Him is the only way. (Acts 4:10-12)

Like the Children of the Day sang, “Don’t try to drive the darkness out; You just turn on the light.”  Hell is the absence of light.  It is the absence of love.  It is the absence of community.  It is the absence of peace.  It is the absence of selfless joy.  It is the absence of life. 

Note, by that I do not mean the end of existence.  It that were the case, “hell” would not be all that bad.  If when we died we simply vanished into nothingness, there would be no reason for warning and inviting people to Life.  However, God created each of us, created YOU, to enjoy Him forever.  There is no Infinity Stone that can simply snap away our existence.  The gift of existence is without do-overs. (Romans 11:29)  We were created for eternity and “He has put eternity into man’s heart.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

One of Job’s visitors described hell as the destiny of all those who do not know God, a dreadful place he calls the king of terrors.”  Hell will be a place of eternal death, because its inhabitants will be separated eternally from the Source of Life.  There, like the demons who believe and shudder (James 2:19), its occupants will hate God and the exposing light of his glory.  “It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.” (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)

Before Him “Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water” (Ezekiel 21:7).  Just as the kings of the earth will call to the mountains and rocks, “Hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne” (Revelation 6:16), in hell God will give them what they want, a place of complete eclipse, darker than anything we can imagine. (Matthew 22:13; 25:29-30

As we have noted before (see ), anyone who longs for joy can find it.  Moses said in Deuteronomy 4:29, “If you will seek Yahweh your God, you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” But this is not like trying to find Easter eggs, either in the yard under bushes, or a hidden message in a movie.  You do not have to scour the internet or decode mysterious anagrams or learn a particular language.  God is not hiding, making you wade through mazes or difficult terminology to find Him.  He makes Himself clear to anyone willing to see Him (Romans 1:19-22)  Further, He has revealed Himself throughout history via prophets, priests, church leaders and lastly through Jesus.

It would be nice if we could say those who go to hell will only stay there for a little while and then be granted entry into Heaven, kind of like an earthly prison sentence.  But remember those who go there go by their own choice because they do now want to live in God’s Kingdom; they refuse to live with someone else that is there; they object to His rulership.

So what awaits one who refuses to believe what God has revealed about Himself? 
“This is what Yahweh, the LORD, says:
“Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’
Therefore hear, O nations, and know what will happen to them.
Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people,
    the fruit of their devices,
because they have not paid attention to my words;
    and as for my law, they have rejected it.…
Therefore this is what Yahweh says:
‘Behold, I will lay before this people a stumbling block against which they shall stumble;
fathers and sons together, neighbor and friend shall perish.’”
(Jeremiah 6:16-21)

You have this opportunity while you live. (Hebrews 9:27-28)  There is no guidance on making this decision after you die, and why would anyone refuse the Lord of Life now while they can learn to know Him before that time?  The choice is yours to make.  we will look a little more at the choice.

An Aboriginal Mental Challenge: Can You Read Without Preconceptions?

2021-02-27 G.K.ChestertonG.K Chesterton is the source for today’s blog: a challenge to do some mental gymnastics to discover something we may have been missing.  In his 1925 philosophical tome, The Everlasting Man, the “prince of paradox” presents an interesting challenge: to read a Bible story from an aboriginal mindset.  You see, we have Christmas and Easter, jewelry and architecture, names of streets, cities and buildings and so many myriad additional references in our world to that unique man, Jesus, that it is difficult to imagine anyone anywhere in our global community that does not know something about Jesus.  And depending on the source of that something, our views of Jesus have been significantly shaped by the introductions we have been given, whether from a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, friend, enemy, or Christian/anti-Christian teaching.  And Chesterton contends that much of our view, even in the “Christian west” is significantly distorted.

So I wish to challenge you, as Chesterton has challenged me, to do some mental exercising.  Set your mind as though you have never heard of Jesus, a Christian church, or anything “christian.”  Pretend for this exercise that your only exposure to the divine has been the thunderous clouds that bring rain and frightening lightning; a starry sky at night and the warm and sometimes burning heat of the sun at day; the long graceful hop of a wallaby or neck of a giraffe; the worrisome growl of a bear or roar of a lion; a baby’s sweet coo and cry and the caress of your beloved.

Begin by beguiling your brain into thinking you have never received a Christmas gift or hunted an Easter egg or walked on Christchurch Avenue or stood in front of the spires of Notre Dame Cathedral.  You have never heard of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, David, Paul or John.  Equally, you have never heard of Aristotle, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammad, Rama or Krishna or Zoroaster.   Add to that, you have never been concerned with politics, social structure or economics; no Communists, Conservatives, Democrats, Greens, Liberals, Republicans, Socialists, Tories or any other ideology for guidance of a nation.

This is a difficult mental exercise, but I encourage you, that it is not impossible.  Settle in your mind that you have never been taught anything about any god or history of creation, whether theism or atheistic evolution.  You have never worried about issues of government or society.  Your mind has been focused all these years on eating and drinking to stay alive and whatever day-to-day activities were required to survive, be at peace, avoid enemies and enjoy your time on earth.

Now, with this mindset, approach a new short book someone has brought you.  Its title is very short, just four letters, L-u-k-e.  If you can find it in its original formatting, without chapter and verse numbers, all the better.  (Chapters and verses were added centuries later to make research and memorization easier.)

However, it is available at a website where you can look up your language in which to read it.  If English is your native language, I encourage you to use the ESV noted in the website connection.  If another language is your “heart language,” feel free to try to find it under the ALL tab when you pull down the languages from the little arrow by the default version that opened.
So sorry, Mongolian is not on the list . . . yet.  But Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Tagalog and LOTS of others are there.
Any Gujariti readers here? 😉

2021-02-27 Biblegateway

Now that you have emptied your mind of any preconceptions about this little story, begin with Luke’s introduction to his narrative for his friend, Theophilus.  Read the short biography at a single sitting if you can; in your heart language it should not take much more than 90 to 120 minutes .  Remember, you have never heard of these people, Luke, Herod, Elizabeth, Martha or Jesus before.  Your entire impression of these people will come from your reading this for the first time!

You may want to have a pencil and paper handy, and note what you discover about some of the characters introduced to you for the first time.  Questions are sure to come up, as we begin with no information on the culture or history of these people and events; Why did He say THAT!?  Why did she do that!?  Why was He so rude?  Why did that confuse them?  Isn’t Jesus supposed to be meek and mild? Aha, you’ve slipped from the aboriginal mindset and are remembering something you’ve heard.  Try again! 😁

If you want to dialog about your questions, email me (capost3k@gmail.com) or comment here.  No guarantees I have any answers for you.  Either Tim Keller or Rick Warren wrote (but I cannot find the referemce), “When someone thinks he knows all the answers, you have to wonder if he knows all the questions.”   (Similar to a Confucius quote.)

Here’s to hoping you have a good week and discover who Jesus really is.
Enjoy Peter Hollen’s and Home Free’s a-capella performance of Amazing Grace.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”  C.S.Lewis

My Most Important Blog EVER

2021-01-30 News AnchorNews hits us faster than we can absorb it.  This began with television reporting back in the 60s and 70s of the last century.  The joke about our level of engagement came with a news anchor announcing, with a bright smile, “10 killed in hit-and-run on Broadway, film at 11.”

We are saturated 24/7, 1,440 minutes per day, with available information any time we look at our watches, phones or computers, most of which is unrelated to our daily lives, very little about which we can do anything, and most without consequence for any length of time, only lasting until the next broadcast or posting on social media.

But there IS something that matters, something integrally related to your life, something over which you have complete control, something that will last for all eternity: 
What will you do about the claims of Jesus, called the Christ? 

Jesus is the focal point of history, changing for over half the world the way we count the days of our lives ever since shortly after He walked on earth.  And He made some pretty audacious claims, so auspicious that I capitalize pronouns when I refer to Him.  Nothing particularly holy about capitalization, but simply to reflect that He is higher, better, greater (every positive superlative of which you can think) than any other human, past, present or future.

To understand who Jesus claimed to be one must read His biographies, which we call the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the first four books of the New Testament. (Many online sources are available and each one can be read in your native language in less than an hour; my favorite source is at Biblegateway.com where you can see if your language is listed.)

Even those who do not trust Him as what He claimed to be admit something unusual happened after He left the world, something that transformed His followers from meek and frightened, politically disenfranchised jellyfish to robust and daring defenders of what they had experienced.  What they experienced is recorded in Matthew 28, John 16 and 20, and Acts 1 and 2.  And all but one of them died rather than recant; only John survived to old age, but that was in exile on a prison island.

These disciples who had deserted Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, are next seen hiding in quiet rooms, afraid the High Priest, Sanhedrin or Roman authorities might be coming after them next.  Their political aspirations were dead, their leader had been crucified and the Jewish leaders had ensured that none of the disciples could steal His body.  They were confused and dismayed that the One they expected to lead Israel to international prominence, even over the Roman Empire, was dead and buried in a Roman-guarded sealed tomb.  How much worse could it get!?

But rather than getting worse, some women went to the grave in which Jesus was buried and found it empty, encountering angels who declared, He is not here, for He has risen!”  Mary Magdalene, hardly an archetype of integrity, did not believe the angels and came at first to announce to the disciples, who were cowering in their chamber, that the tomb was empty.  Two of the disciples, Peter and John, ran to the tomb to see for themselves and also found it empty.   But then Jesus met Mary Magdalene in the garden where His tomb was and showed her that He was alive!  A couple of others returned from Emmaeus and said they had seen Jesus alive!

In all of these encounters, the ones who knew Jesus best resisted the stories and did not understand the Old Testament scriptures and refused to believe tales of seeing Jesus.  They still could not think of the things He had taught them about His death!  It was just too much for a rational brain to take in . . . until He appeared to them in a locked room.  (They were still afraid and could not sort through the events that were happening faster than the Fall of the Berlin Wall in modern times.)   But when Jesus appeared to them, He showed them His wounds from the crucifixion and they finally believed.

So what did He claim about Himself? 
That He is the bread of life that came down from Heaven.
That He is the light of the world.
That He is the good shepherd.
That He is the resurrection and life.
That He is teacher and Lord.
That He is the way, the truth and the life.
That He is the true vine.
That He is not from this earth.
That He is King of the Jews.
That He is The I Am!  This is arguably His most significant claim to be God, as He claimed to be one with Father, the I AM.

2021-01-30 I AM

This short blog does not allow nearly adequate space for me to show you from the Bible all that it teaches of who Jesus is, but you are all intelligent and capable learned people.  Hey, you access a computer and blog! 😉  So do not take my word alone for this.  Read the Gospels and discover for yourself if you can trust this Jesus to be what He claimed to be.  What will you do?  You MUST do something, either admit these to be true or reject them to be false.  There is no middle ground.

If you believe, the next step is to receive HimJohn 1:12 says, “To all who receive him, who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God.”  Picture you came to my home and I offered to feed you dinner.  You could believe I was going to provide a meal; you could thank me for it; we could sit at the table together and talk about the food in front of us . . . but if you did not reach out and take the food, you would leave my home as empty as when you came.

So, first, reach out in your heart and mind to Jesus.  He is God and knows what is in your heart and thoughts even before you say it.  So invite Him to come and live in you.  Admit you are a sinner and have not let Him rule your life yet.  Turn away (repent) from your self-guided life and tell Jesus that you will trust Him to lead the rest of your life.  Do not worry that you are not perfect, or that you do not understand all this yet.  Simply trust Him that He will come live in you and begin to work in you to perform His will.  There are no special formulas for praying.  Just talk to Him as you would your own earthly father.

Secondly, if you decide to do this, the next step is to begin reading the Bible.  It is His directive to us, an ultimate guide for life and practice.  Do not be intimidated by the size (it is actually a library collection of small books; just take one at a time.)  There are numerous Bible-reading “plans” you can access, but just read!

Thirdly, if you talked with Jesus to invite Him to live in you, you have begun to pray.  Keep it up.  Again, there are lots of books and helps for praying, but remember, it does not take any special language.  Plus, as you get to know Jesus better (not just know about Him, but know HIM), you will find prayer is not just you talking to God.  In times of His choosing, He will talk to you!  Although the value of prayer cannot be measured by its volume, it can safely be said that prayer is valueless if you do not pray.  Make time to pray.

Lastly, God does not call “Lone Ranger Christians.”  Find a community of people who are seeking and experiencing the Presence of God.  Some will be phony; some will be misguided or misinformed; some will be manipulative; some will be dishonest; but you need them as much as they need you.  And as you pray and read the Bible, you will grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and your Savior, Jesus Christ.

Certainly, there is no requirement or expectation for you to contact me regarding your Journey into Faith, but if you want to contact me, please feel free to email me at capost3k@gmail.com.  No question is off limits.

Finally, let me assure you from many years of Bible study and examination of world religions from Atheism to Zoroastrianism, from Buddhism to Hinduism to Islam to Jainism, there is no intellectual reason for rejecting the claims of Jesus.  There is no text more authentically relayed to our generation than the Bible.  There is no way to get to know who God is, other than through the God-Man, Jesus.

I’ll Bet!

2020-05-16 Pascals Wager

I say daily prayers with The God Who Is There and as I get older, I feel a sense of urgency to encourage others to consider the claims of Jesus and what that could mean to their lives.

My mother used to scold me when I would use the phrase, “Well, I’ll bet that . . .”
“You should never gamble; do not bet!” would be her retort.  But here is a bet which I’ll bet even she would approve 😉.

Consider “Pascal’s Wager.”  (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/)  In its simplest form it is the challenge that one who seeks to believe that God exists and lives as such will have lost very little if he is wrong compared to one who does not seek to believe in God and will miss Heaven if he is wrong.  In contrast the former will gain Heaven if he is right, and the latter gains very little if he is right.

Of course, Pascal’s Wager does not address the issue of whether one truly believes God exists or genuinely submits his life to a Creator. (See Hebrews 11:6 and .)

This blog is not out of any sense of being “holier-than-thou” or having any advantage.  Very few of you know anything about my life before Anita, and frankly, I plan to keep it that way.  It was not a good time in my life, and I was not a very good person.  But Someone got hold of my life and led me to changes that have showed how much He loves even the worst of sinners. (Romans 5:7-8; 1 Timothy 1:15)

The wonderful thing about Jesus is His exclusiveness and His inclusiveness.
He is exclusive in that He claims to be the only way to get to know the Creator God.  He is inclusive in that anyone (even I!) can get to know the Creator God.

One of the strongest arguments against following Jesus is that He only appeared to His disciples, people who might have a vested interest in proving He arose from the dead.  However, all of them suffered immeasurably and most were killed because they would not renounce their claims to have seen Him alive after His crucifixion.  This lends credence to the idea that they believed what they had seen.

Chuck Colson, Nixon’s ‘hatchet man’ went to prison for his crimes and there met Jesus.  He says of his experience: “I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate [the criminal enterprise for which he was in prison] proved it to me.  How?  Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it.  Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned or put in prison.  They would not have endured that if it weren’t true.  Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world – and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks.  You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years?  Absolutely impossible.”

The attached page (https://wordpress.com/page/capost2k.wordpress.com/16919) gives more perspective on this issue in that it details views of skeptics who do not believe in Jesus, but grudgingly admit that the disciples saw “something” though they admit they do not know what.

So I’ll  bet that if you try Pascal’s Wager, you may find more that you bargain for.

I doubt, therefore I might be.

With apologies to the great French mathematician and philosopher, Descartes: “Cognito ergo sum” translated “I think, therefore I am.”  So though my existence is not in question, there is a lot about this existence that is.

Questions 2I doubt that the Bible is true.  I doubt that there is a Creator.  I doubt that we live after this body dies.  I doubt that there is anything beyond what we see and experience in this life.  Perhaps we are only creatures of an eternal evolution; everything is continuing as it has for all time and there is no purpose, only existence.

How does one handle these kinds of thoughts that enter the mind uninvited?  When they come in as you feel discouraged or disconnected?  When life has handed you lemons and your attempt to make lemonade winds up a broken pitcher and a puddle on the ground?

To come out of this downward spiral you have to return to the basics of what you know to be true:
First, that you exist.
Second, that you are not the only one to exist; there are lots of others around you.
Third, that this existence is not new; we were not born in this minute.
Fourth, that the world has been around for a long time.
Fifth, that some of those others have recorded what happened to them.
Sixth, that not all of them are liars.
Seventh, this downward spiral will lead to disillusionment and hopelessness.
Eighth, there is a better way: listening to those honest recorders before you.

Resurrcetion 1This takes us back to the crux of history, that event that overshadowed all others when it occurred and changed all of history.  The Resurrection of Jesus, called the Christ or the Anointed One.  Paul must have experienced something of this disconnect to have penned “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)  There have been times this statement confused me.

We who follow Jesus have mostly good lives.  Many of us, especially here in the West, have little persecution (yet).  We enjoy each other’s companionship and share worship experiences and many of us even “hear God speak to our hearts.”  Not that many claim to actually hear a voice, but such strong impressions that seem to come from somewhere outside ourselves invade out thinking.  To the one that has experienced this, there is no question in his or her mind, God has spoken!  And we are filled with joy and “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7) regardless of external circumstances.

So how does Paul conclude that if we are wrong, we are of all people most to be pitied?  Consider the insane man who thinks he is living in a palace with sumptuous banquets and lavish comforts when in reality his trailer home is overrun with mice and cockroaches nibbling at his droppings of crackers and cheese.  Would we not pity this man?  In this same way, if the resurrection of Jesus did not occur, we are certainly crazy people, believing in angels and demons and a Creator who loves us and will provide eternal comforts for us.  We are to be pitied.

But Paul does not leave us in this pitiable state!  In the next sentence he points out the reason: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20)  So it all hinges on this: did Jesus arise from the dead or are his remains rotting away in some forgotten Judean grave outside Jerusalem?

Someone once said, “There is more historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for the truth of George Washington being our first president.”  I am not sure how this speaker evaluated the evidence, but Jesus’ resurrection is one of the most authenticated events of history.  This is not true of any other religious figure’s miraculous events.

Gautama Buddha’s miraculous walking that produced lotus blossoms under every footstep reads more like a fairy tale than real events.  That he lived around 500BC and the earliest mention of him shows up around 300 years later suggests a long time for legends to develop, especially given the often differing and conflicting narratives about him.  His oldest “biographies” are dated between 300 and 500AD, 800 to 1000 years after his life.

Examine each of the other figures of major religions and you will find gaping holes in historical validation, especially of major events marking the initiation of their teaching.  Even in the 19th century, the stories of Joseph Smith and his experiences with Moroni, the angel who gave him special glasses to enable his understanding of the “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics” are conveniently uncorroborated by anyone else.

Jesus resurrection falls into a whole other category with its historical evidence and validation by eyewitnesses who lived with him and wrote what they heard and saw.  “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)  And not just Peter, but many women, James, His brother, and all of the apostles and then more than 500 others who were most likely present at His ascension saw the risen Jesus.

Do not take my word for the historicity of these events.  Read them for yourself in the biographies of Jesus, called the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Read Paul’s exposition of the good news that Jesus arose from the dead in 1 Corinthians 15.  Then look at the skeptics who doubted but became Christ-followers:  Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict and He Walked Among Us.  Read Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ in which he details how he thought the resurrection was a fairy tale that any good reporter could debunk . . . until he tried and became a follower.  Look at C.S. Lewis’ Surprised by Joy and Mere Christianity that describes his logical process of not believing in God and being angry at God for not existing, until he found Jesus was really present in his life.  Consider Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morrison, a British lawyer annoyed that his wife was becoming “one of those religious fanatics.”  He attempted to show how a legal mind could not accept the resurrection and it would be laughed out of an English court.  Instead he found the evidence clear and convincing that Jesus was alive.  And this list could go on of authors and seekers who attempted to shut down the silliness of believing in the resurrection and wound up following the One they at first disdained.

Beyond these intellectual analyses, there are the experiences of millions whose lives have been transformed by encounters with Jesus, through prayer, involvement with miracles, comfort for unbelievable suffering, revelations by visions or dreams, all consistent with the teachings of the Bible.

So when we begin to doubt, as often happens when life does not go the way we hope, we must come back to what we knowI told you the most important truths: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say; that he was buried and was raised to life on the third day, as the Scriptures say.” (1 Corinthian 15:3-4)

Chuck Colson.jpgI leave you with this quote from Chuck Colson, who was one of the most powerful and feared men in the Nixon administration in the 1970s, involved in what became known as Watergate.  “I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me.  How?  Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it.  Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned or put in prison.  They would not have endured that if it weren’t true.  Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks.  You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years?  Absolutely impossible.”

Wondering While Wandering Through Time and Space

Off the usual moral themes of this blog, this is simply a logical discussion.  Time is an attribute of God.  You will not find this in any theological text and as far as I know I am the only one to espouse this idea, but it feels right, it appears logical, and common sense verifies it as true.

Swallows of San Juan Capistrano

The “brains” of this world, the intellectuals, are fond of making things very complicated.  “Instinct” is an invented word that means “we do not really have any idea.”  The dictionary defines “instinct” as “an inborn pattern of activity or tendency to action common to a given biological species.”  Why do birds fly south in the winter before it turns cold?  Why do the swallows fly from Argentina over the same pattern to San Juan Capistrano every year?  Why does a dog chase its tail?  Actually, we have no idea, so we ascribe these behaviors to “instinct.”

Hawking A Brief History of Time

In the same way, the late Stephen Hawkings, the brilliant and modest physics genius had problems explaining how life could evolve in the universe without God, so he came up with the idea of a “multiverse,” an infinite number of possible universes in which one, ours, could possibly have evolved life without Outside interference.  A pretty idea, but sounding an awful lot like Star Trek, it is basically absurd intellectualism to disguise his lack of evidence shrouded in complex mathematical formulae that he claimed “proved” there was no need for God.  The amazing thing about truth, or Truth if you prefer, is that it is usually self-evident.  “The king is not wearing any clothes” is a statement only a child would make in a kingdom that could not bear royal embarrassment.  No need for complicated conspiracy theories or complex equations.

So let’s get back to Time, a feature of our universe that I believe to be an attribute of God, like Space (yeah, that one, too, but maybe for another blog).  Time stretches back into eternity past and forward to an eternal future.  It, like God, is immutable; that is, it never changes in spite of Einstein’s ideas.  It is beyond the pale of man’s imagination to figure out a “time” when Time did not exist.  There is no reference of the Bible that says Time had a beginning.  The created universe had one, but “when” did that happen?

There are other things about God that our little minds cannot fully understand.  Remember, HE is God, we are not!  Thus, we have to rely on what He has revealed about Himself.  Somehow, He is Three-In-One, a single being with three persons.  We followers of Jesus are not tri-theists.  There is One God, and He is ONE.  Yet Father blesses the Son at His baptism and the Holy Spirit descends like a dove over Him (Luke 3:21-22); all “parts” of God, yet each is fully God and sort of like . . . well, there is no adequate illustration of God, because He IS God and there is only ONE of Him, and no one and nothing else in the universe is like Him.

So let’s get back to Time, again.  The Bible never says, “Time will be no more.”  That’s a line from a nice song about spending eternity with Him, but not a theological reality.  When will we be with Him?  When we leave this world by death or the Lord’s return.  How long will we be with Him?  For all the Time of eternity.  Clearly the Bible does not teach that we will somehow lose personality or identity; mystically absorbed into the infinite (Buddhism).  Hinduism and Jainism teach there is a personal soul but its blissfulness is very close to Buddhism’s loss of personality by the time you reach that state.

Einstein

The Bible shows individuals around the Throne of God worshiping Him, not in some ethereal sphere of timelessness, but in Eternal Time (Revelation 4 and 22).  It is the measuring of Time that changes, not time itself.  Einstein pictured a train passing at some distance from an observer, and it seemed to go slower than it appeared to someone on the train.  We see this when we watch a jet slowly traversing the sky; we can trace its travel with our finger, but if we were in a balloon up next to it, it would be whizzing by!  But the time and speed it is traveling does not change; only our perception of it.  So Time does not bend, but our measurement of it does.  We have all experienced this in the way we perceive time, sometimes happening very quickly, sometimes very slowly.  But Time is constant and does not change.

There was a time when God was alone . . . as the Three-In-One who had communion within Himself.  Then at some time in the Eternity past, He decided to share His existence with others, so He created amazing beings (to humans) of light and majesty, that if we were to encounter one of them, we would be inclined to worship him (Revelation 19:9-10).  Like God, He gave them free will, intelligence and emotions.

Then at another point in Time, Lucifer (Light-Bearer), one of the chief three angels came up with an absurd and twisted idea that he wanted to be God (Isaiah 14:14).  However, the insanity of his thought was that he was a created being, not eternally existent in the past; not omniscient, not omnipresent, not omnipotent, not containing Time and Space in himself.  So God kicked him out of Heaven, i.e. left him out of relationship, and separated him and the third of angels who followed him from the Life, Light, and Love that is God.

At another time, God decided to create another being, after creating the Earth, the planets, the stars and the galaxies of our universe.  He made this one with free will, intelligence and emotion as well.  Only this time He limited how much of Himself He would show to these created beings.  So Adam and Eve walked and talked with God, who apparently took on a form that they could comprehend.  Now we live in the in-between Time, between Eternity Past and Eternity Future, but actually part of the Eternal Time: “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Emperors New Clothes.jpg

So in my childlike view of The Emperor’s New Clothes, my little brain just figures Time is an attribute of God.  What difference does this make?  Very little for our spiritual lives.  Like arguments between the Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday crucifixion of our Lord, the important issue is that He was crucified and raised from the dead.  The important thing about Time is that it is in His hands and He has numbered the days for each of us before we appear before Him (Psalm 139:16).

As for Space, besides the Acts 17 reference, you can look at Colossians 1:16-17:For IN him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and IN him all things hold together.”  He inhabits the “Colossian Space.”  (see https://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/topics_relativity_spacetime.html)
Just wondering while wandering through Time and Space.

All-Powerful OR All-Good?

Batman vs Superman1.jpg

For those of you who might not be comic book fans, or at least more interested in Marvel’s Avengers than in The Justice League of DC comics, the Lex Luthor character is one of Superman’s continual nemeses.  In the most recent iteration of Superman and Batman, Lex shows up as a brilliant, though maliciously evil, scientist.  The movie was panned by the critics, an assessment with which I agree.  Do not bother renting the video nor streaming it when it becomes available; one of the rare comic book movies that was a total waste of 151 minutes.

However, the movie does a good job in presenting the argument that God must not exist. In a significant point in the movie, Lex confronts Superman with a brief story of how he was abused by his father, and came to the conclusion that “if God is all-good, He could not be all-powerful; if He is all-powerful, He is not all-good.”  batman-vs-supermanAbout the only coherent and useful scene in the movie: to present an atheist’s view of God.  Sadly, even though the “good guys” win in the end, the challenge from Luthor is left unresolved.

Recalling my recent fall that resulted in a broken back, one could wonder, “Well, c.a., why do you continue to believe in a God who could not catch you when you fell, or better yet, prevent you from falling in the first place?  After all, didn’t God promise Jesus His angels would ‘bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone?'”  (Psalm 91:12)  Why could not such promises apply to you?”

Interestingly, this was the same promise quoted to Jesus by Satan when the evil one was trying to get Jesus to assert His own authority apart from the Heavenly Father’s.  (Matthew 4:5-6)  Even if we assume Jesus never hit his thumb with a hammer nor stepped on a nail, one has to wonder what the demons thought when they succeeded in getting the Roman soldiers of Jerusalem to capture Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, and proceed to beat the living daylights out of Him.  Is God the Father all powerful or all good?  How could He possibly be both and allow His own Son to suffer and die?  (What the devils were thinking is a subject for another blog another time.)  This issue for today is The Problem of Pain.  If God is all good, why does He not do something to prevent His children from pain.  If He is all powerful, can He be all good?

This problem arises because of God’s allowance of free will and His time frame for justice.  Free will, by definition, means that one can choose good or bad.  This was the same choice for the first couple in the Garden of Eden: trust (believe in) God or trust Satan (and your own reasoning).  Choose His way or another, but since He is the source of all good, the source of all order and sense in the universe, any other way will become bad, disorderly and senseless.

God’s time frame for justice arches over the ends of the universe He created.  So allowing for free will means He will not change a bat into a feather simply because someone decided to hit another in the head with it.  He will not defuse a suicide bomber’s vest at the moment of detonation and turn it into a radio.  But His justice will mete out what is right one day, though for the time being, the poor victim at the bat’s end will suffer and the bomber will inflict terrible damage.

This does little for the victims of abuse or of a bomber in the immediate.  If the abuser or bomber repents, there is hope even for him, and there may be elements of redemption for his victims as well.  But rest assured that Abraham’s confession of faith will stand in the end: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”  (Genesis 18:25)

C.S.Lewis covered this subject with much more clarity and wit than I can, so I give you his words to describe the process (with a strong recommendation for the book 😉 ):

“There is a paradox about tribulation in Christianity. Blessed are the poor, but by judgement (i.e., social justice) and alms we are to remove poverty wherever possible. Blessed are we when persecuted, but we may avoid persecution by flying city to city, and may pray to be spared it as our Lord prayed in Gethsemane. But if suffering is good, ought it not to be pursued rather than avoided? I answer that suffering is not good in itself. What is good in any painful experience is for the sufferer, his submission to the will of God, and for the spectators, the compassion aroused and the acts of mercy to which it leads.

“In the fallen and partially redeemed universe, we may distinguish (1) the simple good descending from God, (2) the simple evil produced by rebellious creatures, and (3) the exploitation of that evil by God for His redemptive purpose, which produces (4) the complex good to which accepted suffering and repented sin contribute. 

“Now the fact that God can make complex good out of simple evil does not excuse – though by mercy it may save – those who do simple evil. And this distinction is central. Offenses must come, but woe to those from whom they come; sins do cause grace to abound, but we must not make that an excuse for continuing to sin. The crucifixion itself is the best, as well as the worst, of all historical events, but the role of Judas remains simply evil.

“We may apply this first to the problem of other people’s suffering. A merciful man aims at his neighbor’s good and so does ‘God’s will,’ consciously cooperating with the ‘simple good.’ A cruel man oppresses his neighbor, and so does simple evil. But in doing such evil, he is used by God, without his knowledge or consent, to produce the complex good – so the first man serves God as a son, and the second as a tool.  For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.”  C.S.Lewis, The Problem of Pain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rR_Rdb1CTE

Do Babies Go To Heaven?

Baby Sick Pi cI stood by the bedside of the two month old infant girl in 1975.  She was unconscious from the sedatives the doctors had prescribed to calm the seizures that were occurring from her encephalitis.  Her mother was a lovely young Navy mother, but the strain of the last two days was evident in her unkempt hair and bags under her eyes from a sleepless night and hours of crying.  The doctors were “realists” who did not mince words about the little girl’s risks.  She could develop epilepsy or dysphagia if she survived the fevers that were wracking her tiny body with 105-107 temps (40-42C).  If they could not get the fevers down, she might die.

The three of us standing around her were gowned and wore masks and gloves as the cause and contagiousness had not yet been assessed.  The minister with us placed his hands on the febrile child and commented on how hot her body felt.  He asked God very directly for a miracle in Jesus’ name; to heal this infant and remove the encephalitis; to allow this little girl to grow up with no side effects of having the disease; to comfort the mother that it was in no way her fault her daughter had become ill.

The minister and I left eventually as the mother sat by her daughter’s bedside for the evening, planning on sleeping by the child.  The next morning the pastor called me to ask if I would go back to the hospital with him.  He had received an excited call from the mother after the doctors’ rounds.  The infant girl was well, feeding and showed no evidence of fever or the disease that had molested her the last two days!  Baby Well PicWhat a joyous celebration was going on when we arrived.  One of the doctors seemed a little cross, looking for someone to blame for a misdiagnosis, but the techs and nurses, as well as other doctors were very clear.  They had not erred. This was the same girl.  Yes, the tests were on this patient.  Somewhere in the night a Greater Physician, unseen, had visited the little girl and cured her.  Someone once said, “Second-hand miracles make doubters of us all,” but for those of us who had prayed by her bedside the day before, this was no second-hand miracle.  We had been given a front-row seat to our miracle-working Savior.

Fast forward three decades and a five month old boy was lying in a hospital NICU.  Most of his family were believers; many friends were praying in homes and churches whenever they met; several pastors had visited the hospital and laid hands on the child and prayed for healing.  But on May 5, 2005, this first-born little boy left his mother Baby tombstone.pngand father to weep and try to understand where God had gone; to wonder why Jesus had not healed their precious baby boy; to bury a child, which is perhaps a parent’s greatest grief.  I wondered why would God heal the little girl so beautifully and allow this amazing little one to die?

We do not have all the answers to the problem of pain and the reason The God Who Is There sometimes responds with miraculous healing and sometimes not.  But we have assurance of the Bible that babies who die will be reunited with believing parents when they meet again in Heaven.

Some argue about baptism of infants or salvation of pre-lingual children as though God would send an “innocent” to hell.  First of all, the children are not innocent.  Just babysit a one to two year old group of children and watch “original sin” in action!  Infants and toddlers are self-centered, thoroughly selfish, completely oblivious to fairness or justice, greedy and merciless, have no regard for others and no respect for life.  To say, “of course God will save children” will not suffice.  Given the inherited sin nature there is no “of course” about it.

Others will note that the Scripture makes no reference to an “age of accountability” that evangelicals like to invoke when discussing the death of a child.  It certainly does not teach the moral innocence of children, but demands training to lead a child into wise paths and righteousness.   Charles Spurgeon said, “We believe that the infant fell in the first Adam, ‘for in Adam all died.’  If infants [are] saved it is not because of any natural innocence.  They enter heaven by the very same way that we [adults] do: they are received in the name of Christ.”  There is simply no other way to Heaven, but by the blood of Jesus, called the Christ (Acts 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 2:5).

So you may ask, from where does my confidence come that babies who die will be reunited with Christ-following parents?  Spurgeon quoted the first half of 1 Corinthians 15:22.  The whole sentence says, For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”  It is an unqualified claim that has no allowance for exception. It is categorical and absolute!  Yet we understand clearly from the same Bible that not all are saved at the judgment (see Romans 2 and Revelation 20).

Therefore we must use the rational thought processes which God has given to understand this.  Simply ask yourself, “How did I die in Adam?”  We are found guilty before a perfect God for being born of someone who had sinned.  The sin nature activated at our conception makes us guilty.  It is a corporate guilt based on our genetic association and predisposition.  And it is in this same way that we can be made alive!  It is a corporate forgiveness based on Jesus’ position as the Second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).  So Paul could tell the Romans, Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” (Romans 5:18)

Resurrcetion 1This is why Paul became so excited as he went on to say, “but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 5:20-21)  Where the corporate guilt of my involuntary participation in Adam’s sin is covered by the corporate forgiveness of my involuntary participation in Jesus’ resurrection, His grace and mercy extends past the corporate sin and guilt to my personal choices of sin that result in an even guiltier verdict.

Though there is no “age of accountability” mentioned it the Bible, the concept is clear in the Scripture to which we have been referred.  All of us died because of Adam.  All of us are saved from eternal death because of Jesus.  But at the point I take initiative to disbelieve in Jesus, to choose my own way over what I have learned to be right and true, I am no longer saved under corporate salvation, but need my own salvation.  I have to turn my life over to Jesus and make a conscious decision to trust Him for my salvation, and watch His grace abound even more!  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)