Joachim Ribbentrop and Mikhail Molotov huddled in a Berlin bomb shelter in 1940 during an English air raid. The German foreign minister suggested that Russia and Germany divide the spoils of a defeated Europe after the war. The conversation then went something like this. Molotov: what should we do about England? Ribbentrop: England doesn’t matter. Molotov: if England doesn’t count, why are we in this bomb shelter? And whose bombs are falling?
The humanists have decided, in their collective hubris, “We are alive, God is dead.” As the old black preacher said, however, “If God is dead, why haven’t I seen his obituary? Since I’m in his family, why haven’t I been notified? When exactly did he die? And when was his funeral held so I could attend”?
Indeed, since we live in the land of the dying, how can we pontificate on any matter in the land of the Living? And whose benefits continue falling on us every morning, all day long and through the night? For those who love him, and those who don’t. For those who don’t want to live a single hour without him, and those who don’t give him a second thought. Who but God shines his sun on good and bad, and sends rain on the just and unjust?
In the longest eight minutes NASA scientists ever spent, they anxiously waited in Pasadena for the final descent of the Mars InSight spacecraft after a 100 million mile journey from earth. With touchdown confirmed, wild jubilation, dancing, hugging, shouting and screaming erupted. San Diego U-T, 11/27/18
If God is dead, who created the 100 million miles of space InSight traversed? How pitifully we congratulate ourselves on our smaller achievements and forget God’s greater ones. How truly Jesus condemned humanity in John 5:44, “How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?”
Yours for a faith that makes the mind a throne and asks Jesus Christ to sit there and rule!
Understand that Madame Guyon’s mysticism sometimes filtered scriptural truth through mistaken personal views. She nonetheless had a valid point that challenges Christians today. Far too many people, many of them disciples of Christ, are more interested in God’s benefits than a disciplined daily recognition of and personal relationship with Jesus.
They plead for us to love each other, but won’t seek the God of love. They want to be safe, to be fed, to be protected, but won’t seek the Good Shepherd. They want to be free of guilt, but don’t seek the Savior of forgiveness. They desire a joyous after-life, but won’t seek the Christ of Resurrection.
In short, they want comfort, not commitment to God; their pleasures, not God’s Presence.
Jesus made himself the focus of discipleship. He said, “Come to me”...Matthew 11:28, “and I will give you rest.” Yet we want rest, peace, forgiveness and hope while resisting, not obeying, him.
The apostle Paul declared, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20.
Jesus...the Christ...the Son of God...he’s all Paul knew and wanted and desired and served. That wasn’t mysticism, but the essence of conversion. And it never changes just because we consider Jesus a person in our life, not the One who owns our life.
Whatever has been or is the object of our life, our affections, our support, our interest, whatever...everything will vanish except Jesus when we come to the end. He awaits every one of us and he won’t disappear just because we don’t want him there. Let’s enjoy the good things of God. But let us Desire and Seek only Jesus Christ, the God of all good things. He always remains. Always. Forever. –Fini-
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“But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.” Joshua to Israel, Joshua 23:8. Madame Jeanne Guyon, 17th century French mystic, led Christians to seek peace with God without the interference of Catholic priests and ceremonies. Mysticism isn’t a Christian monopoly. Moslems and Hindus are only two of world religions with the emphasis. Ancient Essenes and Gnostics majored in it. Madame Guyon sought in mysticism what ecclesiastical Roman Catholicism couldn’t satisfy.
Mysticism is perfectly sound New Testament teaching often distorted by being filtered through one’s personality and preferences. It can be as easily absurd as formalism in belief and worship impermeable.
To be fair with the Madame, we must see Christian mysticism as a reaction to the cold, priest-ridden, form-fascinated religion foisted by Roman Catholic theology. Left spiritually cold by the externals of Catholic religion, mystics found peace by losing self in God’s presence.
Thus, Madame Guyon could say she didn’t need to ask for forgiveness from God. In the ecstasy of his presence, none existed. That’s incorrect. Humans must seek forgiveness before we enter God’s presence. However, while in a state of forgiveness, and in God’s presence, the forgiven Christian is aware only of the Savior’s Glory and Grace and of himself only as one lost in rapture. –End Part I-
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Skeptic-atheist Will Durant sat in his room at the Morrison Hotel, Chicago. He wrote wife Ariel that he heard church bells chiming a Protestant hymn. It sounded so beautiful he burst into an emotional panegyric, even using God’s name in his praise. It reminded him of Napoleon’s saying that even he could believe in God when church bells rang. Then the bells stopped chiming and Durant slipped back into his old, worn rut of unbelief. Dual Autobiography, 323.
What Durant, and Napoleon, unconsciously said was that God could recruit faith even in hardened atheists, sinners, intellectuals, et al, if he removed ugliness, poverty, hatred, etc. from life. Because he hadn’t, those without faith felt justified in refusing to believe in him.
While the music played, Durant believed. When it stopped, so did his faith in God. That’s the skeptic in every age. God could be accepted if sorrow fled and joy remained; if death died and life extended permanently; if solutions flourished and problems vanished.
In answer, first, God has so constituted the world that his music is always playing somewhere, by someone serving in his name where human need cries for help. This writer occasionally watches the 700 Club of CBN. The show features story after story of Christians serving around the world in the name of Jesus: God’s music playing! IDES, of Noblesville, Indiana, a Christian-Church-based benevolent organization, has story after story of Jesus Christ loving the world through his servants wherever human need rises.
In answer, second, skeptics should remember a comment of the old deist Ben Franklin. When someone criticized God for not making life better, Franklin replied if life is so troubled with God in it, imagine how horrible it would be if he didn’t exist. No beauty would then comfort and encourage. No hope would then exist.
In answer, third, we can’t take refuge in skepticism when life goes wrong, since humanity has made the wrong turns and decisions that cause the wrongs! Our refusal to accept responsibility for all the disasters experienced won’t inspire God to accept the blame.
Indeed, and this is a challenge to Christians, our faith in God doesn’t demand having his music playing. Doesn’t demand life being uninterrupted by sickness, sudden death or loss of income. Faith in God thrives whatever the circumstances of life. It’s no good for believers to tell those experiencing hardships that “God is good”, then to question that “God is good” when we face them. Faith in God must be strong and resilient and permanent at all times if it’s real at any time. For, whether or not his music is playing, GOD IS.
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Novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne visited novelist Herman Melville. He found the author of Moby Dick sure of himself when writing of the great whale, but struggling with questions about life and death; this life and the next; divine providence and human freedom. He found that Melville paradoxically couldn’t be happy either with belief in God or doubt about God. He wasn’t, and isn’t, alone in his inconsistency.
Make up your mind, people. Joshua told his generation they had to decide: serve the gods of the nations or the Living, Fearful GOD of Israel 24:15. Elijah challenged his generation to decide: “If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him” I Kings 18:21.
Quit temporizing people, as if agnosticism is admirable. Decide: you know we can’t trust ourselves to be deities, weak and temporal as we are, alive today, dead tomorrow, history a shambles of our mistakes, tragedies and sins. (Though human arrogance continues to dismiss our proven history of failures. It’s simply that we have previously lacked enough education, they say. “More doctorates of everything please,” they cry. That’s the voice of pre-Babel shouting its unreasonable confidence in humanity.)
Forget the stodgy pointy-heads so sure of themselves. Most people accept human inability to know how to live, but where do we find answers? In Buddhism, Islam, Shintoism, Confucianism or any of a plethora of other religions, whose founders lived and died and remained in their graves, moldering? In their mythical gods and finite creators?
The Living God alone, his Living Son alone and their Living Spirit of Truth alone is REAL. The triune God has no competitors, or equals, or anyone remotely similar. True, the Godhead makes demands counterfeits don’t because they fear rejection. True, since the Godhead is Truth, he doesn’t care how we respond to his teaching. He is Truth and all men are liars.
Decide. Today. Now. But be sure you decide correctly, for your earthly days and your eternal life are in the balance, even if you don’t make a decision. Only Jesus determines your acceptance or rejection by God. No one else. Be Aware: only God in Christ IS. Beware; any other deity or leaders are fraudulent pretenders destined for the everlasting fire.
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Sponsored by the Japanese Buddhist Temple, they will gather in Balboa Park this Friday to celebrate the “spirits of their ancestors.” They compare their festival with the Catholic Dia de los Muertos festival on All Saints Day. Though different in practice and traditions, each celebrates their ancestors.
Of course, they will sell food and drink; have Bon Odori—Bon dance—like the country line dancing but done in a large circle with repetitive movements (based on a Buddhist tradition I won’t bother to divulge); and the chance to shop for Japanese art and clothing at the Resale Store. Proceeds benefit the Buddhist Temple scholarship fund. San Diego U-T, 8/2/18
Good old tolerant America; welcome everyone, of every religious or atheistic persuasion; parade your religion or lack thereof in public; use the Speckles Organ Pavilion grounds to celebrate your beliefs. Welcome everyone...except God in Christ! Pray to dead ancestors, who can’t help you, but not to the Living God, who can. Keep prayers to God in Christ private, in church services and Bible studies, but publicly appeal to the dead!
Meanwhile...as we dig our national depravity deeper, God’s Unilateral Rule of History through Jesus Christ warns of his judgment to come on our society. God cannot be mocked, Galatians 4:7 says, and history proves. Not...won’t be mocked or shouldn’t be mocked...but CANNOT be mocked...as in, is impossible to be mocked. Since He is alone Sovereign of ALL, any person or society holding him in contempt will be held in contempt by him: inevitably, certainly, unavoidably.
I talked to a boy my own age at a Life Recruit Rally in Terre Haute, Indiana. A LONG time ago. We stayed in the same house for the night. He related that he had been in an accident which killed a friend but spared him. Which aroused a question: why did he survive? That led him to Christ for the answer.
I remember, as a youth in Lincoln Christian Church, that a community family had lost a son in a motorcycle accident. It hadn’t been a church-going family. The Sunday following the funeral service, they attended church services. I wondered then, and wonder now, did they return the following Sunday, and beyond?
As a minister I talked with a man about Jesus. He admitted that seeing an accident on the road slowed him down. But did it speed his approach to God?
Allowing for the exceptions, life-experiences will likely average out over a period of years for everyone. The important question is always: will they have brought us closer to God, left us distanced from God or driven us farther from God?
We can’t tell the effect of experiences by immediate tears that fall when loved ones get sick, have strokes or contract cancer and die. Only if the experience rouse questions in us: what about my life? Am I missing something? Have I resisted learning lessons God wants to teach? Do I need to return to Bible teaching I heard when younger, but forsook for something else when growing older?
Keep this principle as a life-rule. Any experience we have that leaves us unchanged before God is a WASTE and a LOSS—no matter how pleasant or profitable. It doesn’t matter how it improves us intellectually, or financially, or relationally, if it doesn’t bring us closer to Jesus Christ. But...any experience that convinces us to question our purpose, our end, our judgment at Christ’s throne, and leads us to Jesus, is a BLESSING for which we should thank God! Whatever burdens of discipleship it imposes.
What impact will any experience have on my faith in Christ? In our end, “in life and death, and life is surely flying, the crib and coffin, carved from the self-same tree”...in “life and death, and death so soon is coming...., escape I cannot, there’s no place to flee....” How will any experience impact my faith in God and lead me to love the Savior?
After tears dry; after memory fades, after we have gone on to other things, where will we be in our relationship with Jesus? Only that matters. Nothing else.
Historian Bruce Catton wrote a column for American Heritage magazine called “The Way I See It.” In a June/July, 1978 article he addressed the problem of humanity losing faith in itself. The son of a Minister, Catton didn’t regret the loss of faith in God beginning in the 18th century, succeeding the strong faith of the 17th century. A textbook this writer read in the late 1970’s noted the distinction in the “deadly earnestness” of belief in God during the 17th century contrasted with the “enlightened 20th century mind.”
The arrogance of the statement ignores the intolerance of such intolerant systems in the 20th century as Nazism and Bolshevism. As the philosophers in the 18th century forgave Frederick the Great’s wars because he stood with them as a fellow secularist/atheist, liberals today forgive Stalin though he killed more people than Hitler because they feel Stalin wasn’t as bad as Hitler.
The most savage mistake humanists ever make is to consider faith in God dangerous and faith in humans necessary. –End Part I-