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Archive for October, 2014

plan 10.14It’s one of the basics of the Christian faith, that God has a plan for each human being who decides to follow Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians, and many others, believe is God’s son).

For people who have accepted the gift of Jesus, that means seeking God’s will for their lives through carefully reading the Bible, praying (alone and with others) and attending church services.

Does this mean we’ve got it all figured out — that’s learning God’s plan is simply a matter of following an equation? Not even a little.

One of the things thoughtful Christians take very seriously is the truth that God is God. And we are NOT. God is, in many ways, a mystery. Indeed, a section of the Bible called ‘Isaiah’ says “I [God] don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.”

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that figuring out God’s plan is sometimes as easy as decyphering string theory. Frustrating? Sometimes, but careful Bible reading, praying, attending church and consulting knowledgeable, experienced people of faith can make the process easier.

So what about the graphic (found in an atheist Internet community) that inspired this essay? Is God’s plan for so many a life of starvation and early death? Absolutely NOT.

Let me go out on a limb and write that in some ways, starvation is humanity’s plan. What am I talking about? Consider this:

  • Corrupt governments in developing nations are often far more interested in spending money on guns than on growing food.
  • Stingy governments — and the citizens they represent — in well-off nations just don’t care about people far away (who should just suck it up and feed themselves, darn it!).
  • Big business, which is beholden to shareholders, usually concentrates on sponsoring local charity runs and local community projects. In other words, helping people in well-off nations who are potential customers and/or shareholders.

All these things are certainly NOT part of God’s plan. Indeed, a case can be made that on a larger scale, the God that Christians believe in makes His plan crystal clear. In a section of the Bible called ‘Matthew’, Jesus tells anyone willing to listen that “Anything you refused to do for any of my people here, you refused to do for me.”

And because God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only son (that fact is found in one of the four Bible accounts of Jesus’ life), that includes everyone who is starving.

You can be part of God’s plan, by welcoming Him into your life so you can learn what He has planned for YOU. Just accept the gift of His son. And if you’re serious about it, watch as things start to change. For the better.

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A MIND OPEN TO BELIEF

Mind open to belief 10.14The message in this graphic, kindly offered up by an atheist Internet community, makes me smile. It’s a common notion in our culture, that people of faith are close-minded.

So stick with me as I advance some notions that might leave you wondering….

I asked questions about the universe; how it began, where did the planets (especially Earth) come from. My mind was open to all kinds of ideas.

After checking them out, reading about them, debating them with other open-minded people, I came to (what is for me and for many others), the logical conclusion: God began the universe. God created the planets.

I asked questions about how Earth seemed so perfect for life to form and thrive. Once again, I read up on the theories and talked to people.

After that, I came to the conclusion, as so many others have, that it was the work of God. No other explanation seems as logical.

My mind pondered the mysteries of human behaviour (and misbehaviour). Why do we act as we do? When and why do we fail to act? How did “right” and “wrong” come about?

I travelled back down the familiar road of reading the various viewpoints, talking to various people and thinking, thinking, thinking. My conclusion? God created right and wrong. God created freewill. And we humans have done many horrifying things with that gift.

What about life after death? My mind, opened by wonder, read all kinds of things about this. Some said it doesn’t exist. Other said it does and explored a myriad of possibilities.

I pondered those possibilities, discussed them and then came to the conclusion that’s shared by millions upon millions of others: after we die, there’s more to come. And what that “more” is depends on us (and how we’ve used the gift of freewill).

I wondered about this dude called Jesus. Did He exist? Was He who he claimed to be? Did He die on a cross as a sacrifice for all the bad things we’ve done and the good things we’ve failed to do? Did He come back to life after three days? Is He still active in our world?

I pondered these questions. Boy, did I ponder. I read articles and books, watched videos and heard church sermons. I had long discussions with people. In other words, I worked  like a miner through this mountain of questions.

In the end, I understood that not all my questions could be answered about Jesus. But enough of them could so that I could easily make the leap of faith and become a follower of Jesus.

When I did that, my life changed for the better. I saw the wonder of God’s creation in a new and glorious light. I saw the wonder of His gift to me (Jesus, offered to every person on this earth, regardless of race/creed/gender/behaviour). I gasped at the wonder of what is to come when this life ends — and how it will be amazing and more, because I accepted the gift of Jesus.

What do you think of this gift? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

(P.S. A mind open to wonder means a mind open to belief.)

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