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Posts Tagged ‘John 10:10’

As the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) spread and entire countries shut down in a desperate bid to stop it, some of us felt growing unease, fear, impatience and frustration.

Is there nothing anyone can do to stop it? Does the battle seem hopeless?

Perhaps. But I found an Internet meme that explains exactly why it’s NOT hopeless, because it contrasts COVID-19 with one of the most remarkable people in the history of this planet.

You may scoff at what you’re about to read, but I’m hopeful that you’re open minded enough to give my words mature, thoughtful consideration. It’s all I ask.

COVID-19 causes damage. But the man considered by many people to be the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, heals. How do I know this? Note these words by an ancient Hebrew writer: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. You can read one example of a life healed here: https://wp.me/p2wzRb-5g.

Coronavirus creates fear. Jesus brings courage. Here’s evidence, written by an ancient Middle East prophet: Be determined and confident. Your God, the Lord himself, will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.

That courage made atheist Jennifer Fulwiller willing to re-examine her worldview after having her first child and, eventually, become a Jesus follower. I wrote a blog about her story: https://wp.me/p2wzRb-h4.

COVID-19 makes us weak. Jesus brings strength. The words passed along by an ancient Hebrew prophet: There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

That strength helped me decide to follow Jesus even though it created a division with all my biological family, which wants nothing to do with Him.

Coronavirus separates us. Jesus wipes away divisions and brings people together. From a person Jesus trained to follow after Him: In Christ, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or free, male or female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus.

COVID-19 creates chaos. Jesus gives us peace. The words of Jesus: Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give. I do not give it as the world does. So do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.

That peace helped a grieving mother to forgive her son’s killer. I wrote about it here: https://wp.me/p2wzRb-qB.

Coronavirus is temporary. Jesus is eternal. From an ancient Hebrew prophet: Earth and sky will wear out, but not you; you’ll stay the same, year after year; you’ll never fade, you’ll never wear out.

COVID-19 can lead to death. Jesus always leads to life. The words of Jesus: I came so people can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

You can get in on everything Jesus brings to the world simply by making a serious decision to follow Him. Interested? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Is there any truth to this viewpoint, which I found on an atheist Internet community? Unfortunately, yes.

Just visit some Christian or Muslim communities on social media and you’re sure to encounter a few “religious” people who believe they have all the answers to life’s questions.

But isn’t this the case for every group out there? I’ve spent time in atheist Internet communities and have encountered many, many people who announce their opinions — such as the assumption stated in this graphic — as if they were scientifically proven facts. It just ain’t so.

Most followers of Jesus of Nazareth that I know absolutely do not go around claiming to know it all. In fact, it just takes a few moments of mature, respectful conversation with thoughtful Jesus followers to discover they have all kinds of questions about the things they don’t know. And I’m one of them.

But here’s the thing: it’s not about what we don’t know. It’s about what we DO know. Here’s a brief summary:

1. God loves every person on this planet, no exceptions. How do serious Christians know this? Because one of the primary source documents about Jesus states God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life.

2. God wants a living, breathing relationship with us. Consider these ancient writings, from prophets and Jesus followers:
Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. Notice the word “everything” in what we are to pray for?
I came to give life—life that is full and good (the words of Jesus).
I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.

3. The wrong things we’ve done, and the right things we’ve failed to do, have put a wall between us and God. Evidence? All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness (written by one of Jesus’ earliest followers).

4. God went to extraordinary lengths to knock down that wall, by offering Jesus — His life, his sacrificial death, His glorious resurrection — as a gift to anyone willing to accept Him. The evidence: Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed how much he loves us (written by the same early Jesus follower).

5. When you accept the gift of Jesus, God no longer sees the wrong things you’ve done and the right things you’ve failed to do. He only sees His Son’s perfection. And when you accept the gift of Jesus, He comes into your life and starts a process of change that doesn’t end until this life finishes and you spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

Interested? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

 

 

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tumblr_n9z91ls6xO1r7gbhio1_500When I saw this graphic — posted on an Internet atheism community — the first thing I did was look up the definition of cult. Here’s part of what Dictionary.com says:

1. A system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2. An instance of veneration of a person, ideal, or thing.
3. A group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
4. A religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

Does Christianity fit all that? I’m sure some folks would shout YES! Let me beg to differ. As far as I’m concerned “religion” is a set of behavioral rules designed to fit people into little slots and let others pass judgement on them. I would not be a follower of Jesus Christ if that’s what Christianity is about.

It’s hardly a surprise to write that serious Christians venerate Jesus Christ, whom they consider to be the Son of God. Nor is it a shock to write that serious Christians are a group bound together by veneration of Christ.

But by those definitions, “Beliebers” (fans of pop star Justin Bieber) could be labelled a “cult”, complete with all the onerous attributes that most of us associate with that term.

So what happens when anyone leaves any group? Most of the time, it would be questioned, dissected and judged. Indeed, if it weren’t, then the members of the group clearly don’t care about the person leaving.

Serious believers understand that following Jesus Christ means:

  • Having a lighthouse to guide us through life’s nastiest emotional, financial and physical storms.
  • Knowing that we are loved — loved so much that God offers all humanity the gift of His Son, whose sacrificial death makes up for all the wrong things we’ve done and all the right things we’ve failed to do.
  • Having the assurance we will spend all of eternity in the intimate presence of our Creator.
  • When someone leaves all that, should we shrug and walk away? That’s not respectful; that’s telling them they don’t matter to us or to Jesus Christ. And that would be very wrong.

Does that mean we would stage “interventions” or prevent them from leaving like the inmates of Jonestown, the horrific cult that Jim Jones established in South America in the 1970s? That cult ended in 1978 when, on Jones’ orders, more than 900 people drank cyanide-laced punch.

I think even the angriest opponents of Christianity would admit that’s not what following Jesus Christ is all about.

What wise Christians do when someone decides to leave is to remain friends with them, pray for them and welcome spiritual conversations.

Not all Christians are that wise, of course. But I think it’s safe to write that Christianity has nothing to do with any credible definition of “cult”. It has to do with Jesus’s explanation for why he came to this earth: “I came to give life—life that is full and good.”

Do you want this life? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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