Tag Archive: Hope


Widely swung the door. Light poured, then exploded into the room, where dark, dank and despicable creatures crawled and lurked. The owner of the house was finally home…

blinding-light-into-lent

AAAGH! GET OUT! they screamed: we don’t WANT you here!

WE HATE YOU…!

We…we….we…..

And the dark, dank, despicable creatures melted away to nothingness from the power of that light. Only friends of the owner’s son survived.

With similar shock factor and irresistible power our Creator will appear with his cleansing presence. Only friends of his Son will survive.

https://nickyfisher.com/?s=WHAT+IS+THE+GOSPEL

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No, dear reader, I haven’t mis-spelled a word in my title, I’m just rather partial to puns…

393px-Gojira_1954_poster_3Do you ever wish you could read a book or watch a movie in which nothing goes wrong, where nobody gets hurt and there are no problems to solve? I’ve discussed with my sons the fact that works of fiction probably would never meet with much, if any success, without trouble at their center.

Without some sort of tension to resolve-injustice, war, loss, unfulfilled desires, threats or enemies-any movie, novel or drama would probably be rather hum-drum and not very interesting to the majority of people. Can you think of any work of fiction without at least one problem to put right? Even Christian stories center on family break-up, loss, persecution or aggressive debate.

It seems that while we all hate to suffer ourselves, we want to see others suffering, at a distance…but then perhaps to see the problem resolved at the end of the story. The hero must win the battle, or wreak revenge, or get his desired lover. If there isn’t a problem, we like to create one…don_quijote_and_sancho_panzaWe like to tell ourselves that we enjoy seeing suffering because it “reflects reality” and touches upon our own struggles. Even sci-fi and fantasy stories are really just dressed up hypothesized versions of real-life problems, although in these times some Hollywood-style stories attempt or hope to shape reality rather than mirror it.

History is a long succession of stories filled with tensions and resolutions, and in many cases there is no happy ending. So it is even in the Biblical narrative. Problems begin almost on the first page, when Adam and Eve fail a simple test. But wait a minute: why is there a test to pass or fail in the first place? Wasn’t it God himself who put that nasty tree in the garden? And wasn’t it God who seems to have turned his back while the Tempter came to persuade Eve to disobey? Behind it all, God had a grand plan-a scheme, the subject of the Bible: a narrative which is still in process of being acted out and fulfilled. I’ve written about this in my series “Why Do We Suffer?”Ary_Scheffer_-_The_Temptation_of_Christ_(1854)I was looking at a few facebook pages of people I used to know, and I was amazed to see even there that a common source of mirth and hilarity these days is ridicule of Donald Trump. Of course this isn’t news to any of us-it’s going on in many places. And the things they say about him are hateful, spiteful and most often completely false. They come from a media and an entertainment industry which has declared war on the world’s leader and his supporters.

So what do they want in Trump’s place? Who would they replace him with? I’m convinced they want more of the same. They want what President Obama was working hard to give them: a throwing off of the influence Christianity has had over the past two millennia, and a reversal of the confusion and separation of Babel. At Babel God acted to prevent the world of men from being unified. He did that because he knew that any such unity would be in opposition against him and against all that he created mankind for. And sure enough, the modern socialistic, one-world movement seeks to redefine marriage, spirituality, gender, love, and just about everything you can think of which relates to the original plan of God for mankind. Trump, imperfect though he is-as we all are-and his supporters, seeks to set back the clock on the perversion of God’s plan. The dissenters, the “jokers” and the haters all seek to continue the movement away from God, which was so enthusiastically facilitated and encouraged by our last president, his appointed judges and his devoted followers.800px-Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_The_Tower_of_Babel_(Vienna)_-_Google_Art_Project_-_editedThe history of man has been likened to a tale of two cities: one the celestial city of God, and the other Babel, the city of man. It’s all actually one story only: history is His-story. I’ve written before about the “Beautiful City”, a place in which man will one day, he hopes, realize his Utopian dreams; where he can do whatever he wants without consequence or criticism, and from which God is banished forever. However, proponents of modern humanism and secularism do seem to like the idea of inviting into the free world one version of god and his followers, in the hope that this god will aid in the removal of the one they see as the great ogre-the Biblical God.

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot in vain? (Psalm 2:1 ESV).

Behind it all the devil works to take down free society so that the gospel of Jesus Christ can be strangled once and for all. Many people see this as a top priority in life. They just refuse to see the fact that the gospel cannot be controlled or suffocated, any more now than it ever has been; any more than it was at the beginning when Jesus Christ was crucified and his disciples scattered and persecuted throughout the world. Persecution, as horrible as it is, only serves to further the cause of the gospel.What-is-truth02All these people will accomplish is the loss of freedom. But freedom will not only be lost for those that they hate: it will be gone from them also, because the system they work to impose in God’s place is intentionally excluding the only source of freedom.

All the machinations of those who seek to destroy what the West has stood for, with all its failures and weaknesses, may succeed temporarily, and on a superficial level- the only level they’re willing or able to see and detect. But in fact they’re expending all their energies only upon that which God has already planned and foreseen. Man without God is like a convict digging an escape tunnel, only to find that the entire prison guard are waiting for him at the other end.

God’s grand story is still unfolding-we’re in the middle of it now. The last page of the story of rebellious man is not far away, and man himself is helping to write some of the detail. Our Creator will bring to completion the Resolution of all resolutions, when those who’ve sided with God’s only son Jesus Christ will experience the happiest ending of all. And the happiest ending of all will begin a never-ending succession of wonderful, amazing stories without tension, trouble, or problems.

There can be no other outcome for the world than God’s victory over man’s rebellion, because God is the creator and sustainer of all things. Not only this, but he, and his Son, are the beginning and the end of the grand story:

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:12 The words of Jesus Christ-see verse 16)

 

 

 

I recently received some good news, and remarked to several people how uplifting-and rare-good news is for most of us. With everything going on in the world and in our own lives, it’s refreshing to be reminded that there’s something worth celebrating every day.

I’ve published this post a few times before-apologies to regular readers- but it has to be done for those who’re searching for some good news and only glance at the home page. So here it is…good news for all of us!

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The Greek word translated “gospel” in the New Testament means “good news”, and in the context of the Bible the gospel is the “good news” about Jesus Christ. But what exactly was and is that good news, and what does it mean for us?

In answer to the second question first, read what Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

The Bible speaks of a love-gift from God. That gift is forgiveness of all our sin, and eternal life with our Creator. We only need to accept God’s son, and to be prepared to try to live God’s way instead of our own way.

Contrary to the common view on the street, as promoted by Hollywood and by certain authors, the gospel, the scriptures and the essential Christian doctrines were not all invented hundreds of years after the time of Christ’s life on earth. Lee Stroebel, with an MA in Law from Yale University, and a former award-winning investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune, in his book “The Case for Christ” interviewed a number of believing scholars such as Cambridge educated Sir Norman Anderson. Anderson was a Professor at Harvard, and lectured at Princeton. He was also the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London. Anderson said that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians can be confidently dated to around 55 AD (1).

Dr. Gary R Habermas, a New Testament historian, received his Ph D from Michigan State University and his DD from Emmanuel College, Oxford. In his book “The Historical Jesus”, Habermas discusses the creed quoted below as found in 1st Corinthians, and writes:

“That this confession is an early Christian, pre-Pauline creed is recognized by virtually all critical scholars across a wide theological spectrum” (2).

THE GOSPEL

Here, then, is Paul’s first century definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had given his life to, despite all opposition and threats, having once been a persecutor of Christians:

“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

So the gospel of Jesus Christ-the good news we can accept or reject-is this:

1 Christ died for our sins, as prophecied in Old Teatament Scriptures (we can be forgiven for all our sin because of Christ’s death on the cross);

2 He was buried;

3 He was raised from the dead on the third day;

4 He appeared alive to his disciples after his resurrection.

In a soon-coming series of posts I will discuss the significance of the gospel a little more, and also the nature of Jesus Christ: was he just a man, or was he and is he the “Son of God”, the incarnation of God?

NOTES

1 Lee Strobel “The Case For Christ” (Pub. By Zondervan, © 1998) p. 230.

2 Gary R Habermas “The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Missouri, © 1996 Gary Habermas) p 153.

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION

A friend of mine who’s been dabbling in several religions and philosophies for many years including Buddhism, but who’s arrived at no particular view of truth (and probably never will) asked me if I meditate, and if so, what does Christian meditation entail…

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My answer was that whereas meditation within Buddhism and other philosophies is
designed to dismantle and “free” a person of self, and ultimately the “illusion” of
the world around, meditation in a Christian context is centered squarely on the
object of our faith and hope: God, and his son Jesus Christ.
Instead of “emptying” our minds we fill them with Him, and we do this through and by his
own Holy Spirit, who dwells in all true believers. The Spirit of God, in conjunction with his
written word, enables us to see more of Him, to examine ourselves, and to worship Him in
truth and holiness.
I was thinking about how valuable this kind of medition is in our present world. As we look
around, we see Truth being abandoned and lies embraced and promoted. We see freedom
under threat, even at the hands of some of our own leaders who have only their agenda and promotion in mind. We could, if we allowed ourselves, be in some despair or even
depression. But our antidote is the Spirit of our God, and our fellowship is with God and his Son.
Our victory is secure, our home is with the Creator of heaven and earth: we can’t lose.
So let’s keep our eyes on our great God and Savior. Let’s meditate on him and on his word
daily. Let’s lift ourselves, and so those around us, with the kind of intimacy that lasts, forever.

A MESSAGE FOR ALL YOU FAILURES

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Hey – you’re not alone! I’m not even successful at being a failure!

If you see yourself as a failure in life, or if you’ve been branded as such by those around you, it’s time to lift up your head and smile. Why? Because the God of the universe takes pleasure in failures like you and me.

Sometimes, when I’m in a constructive frame of mind, I can be thankful for being a failure. It’s a major part of God’s plan of the ages to be working in the lives of those of us who just don’t fit in this world, not because we are failures, but because we’re far more likely to fit into his world instead. It was not the wealthy, successful, credentialed, self-important celebrities of the day that received acceptance by Jesus, but those who were the total opposite:

“I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure” (Luke 10:21).

If heaven had been invented by men, it would have been designed for the wealthy, the powerful, the beautiful, the intellectual, the popular, and the achiever. You can read a story that Jesus told which illustrates how the truth is very different. He spoke of a rich man who lived in a large house and had plenty of friends, while at his gate was a beggar who had nothing and was completely alone. The beggar, who Jesus named, went to heaven, while the rich man who is not even named went the other way (Luke 16: 19-31). In life the rich man had no time for God, and no sympathy for the beggar.

The drawback for those who are successful is that they think they don’t need God.

Here’s what Jesus said to the failures of his day:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you,  and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Luke 6: 20-23).

Did you notice that little qualifier: “because of the Son of Man”?

It’s by associating ourselves with him that our failure will be turned to victory and success:

“…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1).

And this is Christ’s view of those who are successful in this world, but who are without him:

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you…” (Luke 6: 24-26).

Paul wrote about the wisdom of this world being in total opposition to the wisdom of God, and made it very clear that it’s not human values, accolades or standards of wisdom which gain acceptance with God: he isn’t impressed in the slightest. In fact, God intentionally chose the “foolishness of the cross” to bring people to know him, because he hates human pride and that false wisdom which says “we know best (and we don’t need God)” (1 Corinthians 1: 20-25).

Jesus chose simple fishermen to be his disciples, not the movie stars or the professors from the local universities or the nation’s leading intellectuals, and they weren’t even good fishermen (Luke 5:1-5). Those who God takes an interest in are not those who think they have it all together, but those who know that they don’t:

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” (1 Corinthians 1: 26-29).

I’m not saying it’s sinful to be successful, but if you are, remember your God, care for those who are not successful, and remember that it’s not your success that gains favor with God, it’s your realization that you have nothing to offer that impresses him, except your acceptance of his son Jesus Christ.

Don’t forget that the crowds saw Jesus as a failure. When he was being crucified they mocked him, they spat at him, they cursed him, and they laughed at him. Isaiah wrote that the Messiah was “despised and rejected by men”. But here’s the final outcome of that life-story:

“I saw heaven standing open, and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war…Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of almighty God. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19: 11-16)

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