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Posts Tagged ‘faith in Jesus’

Most of us have grown so accustomed to living in a credit card world that we give it no more thought than breathing or going to the bathroom.

We use the card, a bill arrives every month and we either pay it off or pay the minimum and eventually deal with the interest charges.

This system exists in another world, too: the world of our behaviour. When I’m rude to another driver, engage in hurtful gossip or find shady ways to avoid paying taxes, that goes on my spiritual credit card. When I ignore the needs of people around me, stay silent in the face of injustices or fail to use my God-given gifts for good, that goes on my spiritual credit card.

You might notice that I’m writing about two elements of behaviour: the wrong things we do and the right things we fail to do.

As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God), I know both elements are equally important to my creator.

Do you pay attention to both? I often don’t and that’s something I need to pray about, asking God to open my eyes and heart to see and act on the opportunities He gives me to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world.

Returning to the spiritual credit card theme, I’ve built up quite a list of items, many of them things I’m not even aware of. So have you.

As with the credit card in your purse or wallet, all the wrong things we’ve done and all the right things we’ve failed to do must be paid for at some point. This is more important than you might think because Jesus tells everyone who’s willing to listen that You must be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

Jesus says this because when this life ends, perfection is the admission price to spending eternity with Him in Heaven. Nothing else will get you past the bouncer at the door.

So my question is: how will you pay off your spiritual credit card? I know that I can’t pay off my card and achieve perfection. It’s simply not possible. And I believe that’s the case for you, too.

Acknowledging this FACT means someone has to pay off our cards for us. And the only person who qualifies – the only person who is perfect – is Jesus.

When He was physically on earth, government and religious officials who were offended by His words and deeds arrested him on trumped-up charges and put Him to death. But their actions served an entirely different and life-changing purpose: His death paid all the credit card charges for everyone who believes in Him and follows Him.

Now, when God looks at Jesus followers, all He sees is His Son’s perfection. And that’s what the bouncer at the door to Heaven will see, too. But just as important, when you say yes to God’s gift of Jesus, you welcome Him into your life RIGHT NOW to help you become the person God created you to be.

Sound like a good deal? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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I’m fascinated by the underlying points being made by this meme. Maybe you’ve noticed them too:

  1. Authority, revelation or faith are absolutely useless when it comes to beliefs.
  2. evidence will always destroy beliefs.

That’s what Dawkins, the author and controversial atheist, is really saying here. As a person of faith, I don’t agree with him, but having beliefs with zero evidence to back them up is a sad way to live. That said, I can’t imagine there are many people walking around with beliefs for which they can’t provide at least a crumb of evidence.

In my case, I believe in and follow Jesus of Nazareth, who many people believe is the Son of God. I’m not going to get into the evidence for His life, miracles, death and resurrection here (there are many, many books and websites that explore the evidence in great detail), but I will write that without that evidence, I would not have become a Jesus follower.

Still, evidence AND faith are needed to become a Jesus follower and I have no problem with that. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all live with this mix. One quick example: getting on an airplane means placing your faith in the pilots, the maintenance crews and the manufacturer that this metal tube is gonna get you to your destination in one piece. (Wikipedia lists more than 200 examples of where that faith was misplaced, each time killing at least 100 people.)

So let’s get to my main point and that is: atheism is a belief. Atheists believe there is nothing behind all we see and experience. Atheists believe we have no soul and, when we die, all that we are becomes nothing more than rancid worm food (sorry to be so blunt, but it’s necessary).

What is the evidence for these beliefs? I imagine they would point to this horribly messed up world and declare no god would ever allow wars, ethnic cleansing, dementia, poverty or hurricanes. All of that is good evidence. But for millions and millions and millions of people like me, it’s nowhere near enough.

Without exploring this in detail (that would require entire blogs), suffice it to say that much of this evidence can be explained by the gift of freewill. For example, poverty happens because:

  • Economic systems keep rich countries rich and poor countries poor.
  • governments spend billions of dollars on military instead of education, social programs and providing clean water.
  • Corruption prevents resources from getting to people in need.

As a Jesus follower, I know that the creator and master of time, space and the universe is working to change that, while still respecting His gift of freewill. Jesus-following organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, LifeWater, Compassion Canada and Christian Blind Mission are among the tools He’s using.

So, what kind of beliefs do you want? Atheism strikes me as being utterly hope-less and I don’t think anyone wants to live without hope. So check out Jesus. Learn why He’s God’s gift to anyone willing to follow Him. And how accepting the gift of Jesus provides you with credible, meaningful hope for this life and the life to come.

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mysteriousHave you ever encountered people of faith who think this way? Sadly, I have. I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned you off of considering a life of faith.

The frustrating thing is, many people of faith have not bothered to ask honest questions. Instead, if there are things they don’t understand, those things are just buried deep inside of them. And in turn, they want others to bury their questions, too.

And yet, the history is rife with people of faith asking God hard questions. Here are just a few from ancient writers:

  • My God, why did you dump me miles from nowhere?
  • Sometimes I ask God, ‘why did you let me down?’
  • I counted on you, God. Why did you walk out on me?

Probably the most amazing and poignant hard question for God came from the lips of Jesus of Nazareth, who many people believe is God’s son. When Jesus’s enemies succeeded in having Him put to death on trumped-up charges, one of His last statements (as He hung on a Roman cross) was this anguished cry: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Call me crazy, but I think if Jesus can ask a question like that, then so can His followers — or any other person, for that matter.

I showed the meme that inspired this essay to a pastor friend. Here is Ross Carkner’s thoughtful response:

God is not afraid of our hard questions, but I can’t say that we feel the same way about His answers. I believe we are very afraid of His answers.

The mystery is not so much that God cannot be understood, but why we expect who He is to fit within our own understanding. When we have hard questions, we seem to expect easy and simplified answers.

Part of the deep mystery of God is that His ways are not our ways. If we want to know God, we need courage to set our own understanding aside and trade what has previously been a mystery, for faith in Him.

Since I became a Jesus follower in my 40s, I’ve had hard questions. And they’ve never gone away. But I know enough about God — about what He’s done for me and everyone else willing to accept the gift of His Son — to set those questions aside.

Ross was a big help in this. A few years ago, he had the wisdom to tell me that when I’m through with this life, all those hard questions simply won’t matter. They’ll be utterly irrelevant in the light of eternity in the presence of Jesus.

Do you have hard questions? Are they the reason — or the convenient excuse — you have not truly checked out what a life of faith in Jesus is all about? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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