Tag Archive: Jesus Christ


GETTING FAITH

A member of my distant family recently commented that he had not been given the gift of faith. This to him is the end of the matter-he clearly expects to live the rest of his life without it.

gift-wrapping-paperSome Christians think that faith is only given to a select few. God chooses some while the rest get left out. That flies in the face of the words of Jesus Christ himself, who said:

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself (John 12:32 ESV)

and:

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 NIV).

Faith is elusive for someone who thinks it’s a blind conviction or a feeling. It’s difficult for people to find where they’re kept in the dark: where mention of the Christian faith is shunned or forbidden, or even put down with violence. Many voices in the West are working to silence the faith of their fathers, and instead to welcome a faith which will enslave them and the nations they live in.

Jesus said “whoever believes…” The Christian gospel offers salvation as a free gift to anyone who will respond. We have to turn from our un-Godly ways, and accept the sacrifice of God’s only Son, and his resurrection. I’ve written before about this*

I explained to my family member that getting faith isn’t a difficult thing. We don’t have to first deny reality, or strain to convince ourselves of everything in the Bible, or work up a feeling or an emotion. Instead, I said, having faith is a little like getting on a plane. The pilot and his airline guarantee that they can get us to our destination. All we have to do is trust them to do it, and get on board.

God built the “plane” of salvation, and Jesus Christ is the pilot: just get on board.

* https://nickyfisher.com/2013/08/13/what-is-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ-2/

 

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Truth was once a universally-accepted standard which was “out of style”*. Then truth became whatever you wanted it to be. Now political correctness is attempting to muscle out of existence all opposing views of truth, in order to impose its own…

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Many people have written and commented on post-modernism, and on the “post-truth” age, as have I in my own small, humble, bumbling way. I asked, rhetorically, if anything is objectively true, or is truth only that which we personally or as a society imagine or decide for ourselves is true? Does the answer matter anyway?

In post-modernism, apart from an Almighty God as our Western world now is, nothing is objectively true. There’s no Truth with a capital “T”.  Nothing is incontrovertibly factual, and nothing is set in stone to measure all standards and opinions and decisions by: such truth is out of style. Law, belief, standards and truth itself, are now all, to use a popular euphemism, “fluid”. This is also why the US Constitution is increasingly under attack, or at least being bent out of shape for convenience.

Without that ultimate measuring stick of the Word of God-the removal of which was and is one of the aims of the anti-Church, anti-Christ movement, you’ve got your truth and I’ve got mine, and even if both views are in total opposition it doesn’t really matter, because we can still both be “right” and happy.

I here repeat an assertion of a colleague of mine who calls himself an atheist and a “rationalist”. To demonstrate just how rational he is, he told me that given enough time “anything” can happen, and gave an example by saying that in any universe, due to “the laws of probability” a man would somewhere eventually do backward somersaults through a hoop while being both swallowed and spat out by a whale.

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Of course, there’s no way of disproving my friend’s theory, but my point is that people-many people now-are prepared to believe patent nonsense, simply because it tickles them, appeals to their view of what truth ought to be like, and might I say, provides a colorful deviation from that measuring stick known as Almighty God.

There are, of course, downsides to this approach to truth. For example, under this kind of logic a politician or celebrity and his compliant media representatives can adjust, hide, twist and manipulate the facts and give a totally different story to the real one, but still be telling the truth- as he sees it. We all know out-workings of that little fallacy.

But it seems to me that those pushing for “fundamental change” in our society have already had some success in taking us all one step further, to a time in which the rest of us are being coerced into accepting one view of things; their rough road to Utopia. What they say is true is to their minds now objective truth-they being the gods of the new age, and any criticism of it is struck down with a hail of insults and accusations. It’s no longer enough for them just to have a wildly differing take on truth: any opposition to their opinion must now be destroyed.

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Political correctness, so-called “hate-speech”, and the accompanying self-righteous inquisition work to push the now old multiverse of truths out of existence: there can be only one acceptable view of things. Any dissension will land you, they intend, out of a job, out of business, and in prison.

What the rest of us are convinced is unquestionably true, such as the fact that men are born men and women women (barring physical mutation) they insist is an old lie-an oppressive construct of dark ages past. Old lies must be buried, burned, knocked down, abolished and forgotten. Truth as seen by all of humanity for all of the several thousand years of civilization is under attack. What most of us have known logically, instinctively, physically and empirically are the things which, opponents are determined, must be abolished and forgotten. We are in the age of Anti-truth.

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However, here’s some good news: the good news. Jesus Christ said,

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me  (John 14:6).

Yes, dear reader, no matter what may or may not be thrust upon our culture and our time by the enemies of Truth, there is an end in sight to all this madness and foolishness, and it begins with our acceptance of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ.

*  https://nickyfisher.com/2014/05/17/truth-is-out-of-style/

 

 

 

 

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.

Some people would rather not know if God exists: they’re afraid of having their lives transformed…

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I first noticed this “willing ignorance” after reading the first two books I’d ever read by a creationist. I’d been a Christian for a year, and by good fortune and coincidence (ha!) I discovered “God, Science and Evolution”  and “Christ and the Cosmos”  by Prof. E.H. Andrews.  At the time Andrews was Professor of Materials at the University of London, and formerly the Dean of Engineering at Queen Mary’s college. He had a long list of scientific credentials.

(This is an edited version of a post I published in 2012).

Not long after reading these works I had a discussion with a new friend who challenged me to show him proof that God exists. I offered him my favorite answer then and now, “You’re looking at it!” This wasn’t a good enough answer for him, although in God’s economy, it’s all the evidence we need.  My friend went on to insist that all scientists believe in evolution and not in God, and  therefore the only logical conclusion was that there must not be a God. I offered my friend one of Prof. Andrews’ books, telling him that Andrews was well qualified and a fascinating read, and would at least help to get him thinking about the possibility of the existence of a creator.

“No thanks”, replied  my friend with a sneer.

The views of Andrews, and similar expressions made by countless other brilliant people before and after him, are intentionally blocked out of the education system and the public eye in general. Why? What are those who do the blocking afraid of?

A few years later I had something of a debate, along similar lines, with a Geology/ Geography high school teacher I knew.  At that time I had in my personal library a book by Dr. A J Wilder-Smith, an Englishman with three earned science doctorates from Oxford. It discussed and refuted many claims taught in schools as “evidence” for evolution. I offered to lend the book to her, as a way of letting her know that Creationism wasn’t just for “semi – insane fundamentalist American preachers”.

“No thank you”, she replied firmly.

The reason, or excuse, the teacher gave for declining the book offer was that she liked her world just as it was, and she didn’t want it changed. In this admission was a wealth of honesty and information.

As time went on my book, video and then DVD collection has grown. Not wanting to hoard the faith-building insights I’ve benefited from, I’ve offered them to family members, teachers, tutors, friends and strangers, who’ve almost without exception not been interested in having their minds and their lives changed. One book, called “In Six Days”, containing the comments of fifty scientists who believe in Biblical Creation, was rejected by a young man on the grounds that Richard Dawkins, who is after all on TV (and we all know that the TV only tells us the truth) said that evolution was a proven fact and that anyone who questioned it was ignorant and deluded. Is Mr. Dawkins a god? If he’s the purveyor of all truth and knowledge doesn’t that make him God? Hasn’t he disproved his own assertion that there is no God?

It’s virtually law now that scientists are not to even consider God in their studies or their presentations, since “that’s religion”. If they do, their work will be ignored or mocked. Once the Creator is reduced to a dispensable fantasy, He can be conveniently contained on a hard-drive in the “religious education” room and forgotten.  As scientists study the intricacies of our world and universe, constantly amazed and astounded by what they find, it doesn’t occur to most of them (it does to some) that they’re looking at the very evidence for God’s existence, character and power that they claim is nowhere to be found. Oh, and by the way, He’s not just on that hard-drive, because “…the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him” (1 Kings 8:27).

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Many people are far more interested in discovering the football results than they are in searching for God and for meaning in life. The most perplexing, soul-searching questions they could and should ask themselves are not being asked or answered, or when they are asked they’re not being given the benefit of a two-sided argument. Why? What does this say about human nature?

Scripture discusses this problem. Peter, in his characteristically direct and no-nonsense fashion, hit the proverbial nail right on the head. He said that people are “willingly ignorant” of God’s work of creation and the subsequent world-wide flood (2 Peter 3: 5-6 KJV). The NIV translation says that “they deliberately forget”.

Paul also comments on this willing ignorance:

“…the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1: 18 – 20).

Paul’s contention is that it’s man’s love of sin that drives him to intentionally ignore God (verses 18 to 32). They’re afraid of having their lives changed.

Zeroing in to the heart of the problem, Jesus Christ explained it this way:

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into it for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John3: 19– 20).

Ironically, while the skeptic and the atheist mock believers for being ignorant and deluded, the Bible says that it’s the atheist who is deluded:

“The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).

The problem is not lack of evidence, it’s the heart of man. It’s the fear of living life God’s way instead of their own way. At best we could say that the majority of willing unbelievers (I’m not speaking of those who haven’t had a chance to hear and consider the gospel) ignore God, and comfort themselves in the conviction that “all scientists” believe in evolution and not in God. People not only fail to search for God because they do not want to: they actively turn their backs on any light there is for fear of having their worlds changed.

THINKING OF YOU

Have you ever felt like nobody really cares about you? Having a tendency to be rather melancholy myself, I’ve struggled with those feelings on and off all my life. The truth is that someone does care…to the point of obsession…

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I’ve been scanning hundreds of old pictures I took of my sons just before the advent of digital cameras, from the day of their birth onward. I was one of those Dads who would talk to his kids even before their birth. I told them I loved them. I played beautiful music to them. I prayed for them. I told them I couldn’t wait to see them.

I knew I had a lot of photographs, but what’s struck me as I’ve been sorting through them is how many different situations and poses they were in when I took the pictures. I was (and to be honest, still am) almost obsessed with my kids, just as any other normal, loving Dad is. I took pictures of them while they were playing, while they were asleep, while they were painting, while they were eating, on my shoulders, in the country, in the city… And it occurred to me almost in an instant, that my obsession with my kids is a picture (excuse the pun) of our heavenly father’s obsession with us.

Jesus saw Nathaniel under a fig tree: he knew where Nathaniel was and what he was doing even before he met him (John 1: 43-49). He told his disciples after his resurrection, “…and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

God, the Father of all those who love Him, is watching us, even when we aren’t at all aware of him. But he’s watching us in a loving way, in what we could almost call an obsession. Perhaps the most popular scripture regarding God’s obsession with his people is found in Davids’ writings, in Psalm 139:

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar…”

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there”

“When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be…”

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