Monday, October 27, 2008

“Palin is too ambitious!”

I heard that comment this morning. More and more people are coming to believe that Sarah Palin has her sights set on 2012 vs. 2008. Maybe. Maybe not. But if you think that she’s alone in striving for more, think again.

No one runs for leader of the free world without an almost unimaginable level of ambition. I mean, think about it! What kind of person would say:

I want to the President of the United States.

I could be President of the United States.

I should President of the United States.

I’m the right person for President of the United States.

I could do that.

Humility is not even close to being part of this game. Sarah Palin may be too dim to hide her ambitious character but neither Obama or McCain nor anyone else is taking second place to Palin in the high self-esteem category.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Christians and Money

A few days ago, some atheist was whining about Churches always asking for money. I suppose he did that because he mistakenly believed that:
.The power company donated electricity to the Church
.The gas company donated heat to the Church
.The furniture company donated the pews
.The publishing company donated the hymn books and teaching materials
.The carpet company donated the carpets
.The contractors donated their time and building materials
.The Pastor donates his time and
.All the charities that Churches support around the world run for free.

Well, atheist ignorance should, I suppose be allowed. How can it be any other way. But he raises an interesting point. Why should people “waste” their money by giving it to the Church. After all, Churches just spend their money on non essentials like
.homeless shelters,
.AID’s hospices,
.leprosy treatment centres,
.shelters for battered women,
.shelters for runaway teens,
.food distribution programs,
.schools and universities,
.and on and on that are staffed and constructed around the world and all supported by your local congregations.

While Christians certainly spent their share on some of the following, these are things that atheists think are more important than donating to a Church. Last year in North America we spent:
.22 billion dollars renting videos and DVD’s (this does not include attending movie theaters.
.95 billion making our lawns and gardens greener, including gnomes and bird baths
.389 billion on restaurant meals including 10 billion on fast food
.24 billion on salty snacks
.16 billion on chocolate
.5 billion on anti-aging creams
.10 billion on mother’s day flowers and gifts
.30 billion on pornography
.50 billion on lottery tickets
.50 billion on illegal gambling
.775 billion on recreation

So how does that compare to all the money that Churches are always asking for to run the above charities?

Giving to 690 Christian charities (stuff that Churches receive) came to 2.56 billion.

I’m not sure what percentage of the total that comes to but it’s clear that ending starving children, sexual slavery, taking care of the lost and lonely is no where near being important to anyone except Christians and their Churches.

In Canada the average household spends $66,858.00 on “needs.” Of that, on average, $307.00 goes to the Church. That's 307 dollars for each Canadian household of which perhaps 5-10% actual households that attend and donate to Church. Again, it's clear that staffing and running the above charities are not important at all, in comparison to those who have experienced the love of Jesus in their lives.

So what happens when atheists come together to raise money? What happens when they ask for donations and raise 80,000 pounds? They spend it on signs that say,

“God probably doesn’t exist so screw the world - Eat - Drink and be Merry,”

and then they put them on buses to promote the greatness of atheism.

25 yrs. ago today, Jesus died in China

It was 25 years ago today that the atheist government in China announced that Christianity was officially dead in China.

“The missionaries are gone. There are no more Christians, and no worship of Jesus anywhere is this country,” stated an official of the atheist run nation. He may have spoken too soon.

It is estimated that in two or three years, China will be the largest Christian nation on earth.

October is missions month in our congregation and this weekend, we had members of China’s underground Church speaking to us. Courageous hardly describes the believers in today’s China. While China has given up trying to stamp out believers, it is still a serious offence to evangelise. Despite this, people are coming to Jesus at an average of 18,000 a week. While there are many hundreds of Pastors and many thousands of believers in jail for talking about Jesus, one of the surprising things that these men and women requested of us is that we DO NOT pray for the end of persecution. “Persecution, beatings, loss of jobs and having property confiscated serve three important purposes.

First, persecution spreads the gospel faster than anything else we have experienced. This has been true, down through history from the killing of Stephen by the apostle Paul and his group to this very day. Danger causes us to move into new territory where believers tell more and more people about Jesus.

, hardship teaches us to depend on Jesus for our well-being, and under hardship the presence of His Spirit is so very real.

Third, persecution keeps the Church pure. There are no hangers-on in the China Church. Believers know that they will suffer for the faith so no one joins us out of curiosity.”

Interestingly, at least for me is how Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens have all taken their dream for America and the world directly from the play-book of both atheist China and Stalinist Russia. In China it is illegal to teach anyone under 18 years of age about Jesus or Christianity. That is what these atheists have repeatedly stated as the solution for bringing about a generation of free thinkers in North America. In fact it is the failure of education to clearly announce the death of God in each generation that infuriates Sam Harris. His proposal for raising free thinkers is to outlaw thinking / talking / teaching about Jesus for not just his children but for yours as well.

After hearing from these men and women from China this weekend, I hope that the current crop of atheists achieve their goals. Right now, Christianity in North America exists from coast to coast but it is only a centimetre deep. Hopefully we are forced to understand the old line, “You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

“Thinking is anathema to religion.”

This of course is by now an old quote from Richard Dawkins, but I’d like to explore it just a bit.

The comparison that I want to make to Richard’s comment is to two rather interesting clients that I had a few years ago. The first man I’ll call Ron. I used to run Therapy Groups and Ron was a member of one such group. When Ron first joined the group, his schizophrenia was not being properly managed. As a result, or more correctly one of the results was that he was certain that there were secret service agents just outside the office window. Ron believed that the agents had been sent by the government and that they followed him everywhere. Ron could describe how they looked, what they were wearing and so on. Of course neither I nor any of the other people in the group could see that which was solely Ron’s hallucination. Until his medications kicked in properly, Ron could concentrate on what was being talked about in groups relatively well if the blinds were drawn and he sat with his back to the window so as not to notice their shadows. Because Ron was so convinced of his beliefs, he thought that the rest of us were nuts.

The second person that bears a striking similarity to Mr. Dawkins is someone I’ll call James. James believed, he truly believed that he was invisible. I met James while working at an inpatient treatment centre. Whenever I “saw” James in the lineup at the cafeteria, I’d say “Hello James. How are you today?” The look on his face was one of total surprise. The psychic disconnect he experienced when I could see the invisible rendered James speechless for a few seconds every time I greeted him. One day I was doing some teaching on our senses and I asked a group of which James was a part, "How do we know that we're here?" In a most earnest tone of voice James immediately said, "That's a REALLY good question!!" It was very frustrating for James to know that I didn't comprehend the true nature of his invisible status. In fact, he thought there was something wrong with me.

Richard Dawkins’ delusions of grandeur (something that to the outsider seems present in virtually all atheists) cause him to make such silly statements as, “thinking is anathema to religion.” The absurdities upon which Dawkins bases his whole life (eg. At this very moment there are literally billions of planets in our universe upon which life is evolving) are believed by Dawkins to such a depth that for someone to not completely agree with him causes, at least in his mind, the only possible conclusion. Anyone who disagrees with Richard Dawkins must not be capable of rational thought. In fact, that person must purposely avoid thinking.

I hope that someday Richard gets the kind of help he needs.

Friday, October 24, 2008

God Came To Visit

“The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” Jn.1:14

The word “dwelling” is one of the things that makes this verse interesting. The root of this word means God purposely “pitched a tent” among us. God deliberately “spent time with us.” God desired to come and “fellowship” with us. For about 33 years, God came to His creation in order to point the way home.

Jesus taught that He, God, came to earth with the purpose of identifying with us, living what the most disadvantaged among us live, to know what it’s like to struggle with the very struggles that you encounter day in and day out. I especially find this verse interesting because as a counsellor, that is what we attempt to do with our clients. We try to get into the lives of our clients. We try to understand what it’s like to live their lives. It’s a necessary thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the empathetic thing to do. In coming to earth, in experiencing life as we experience life, in giving His life for ours, Jesus did the most loving thing that has ever been done.

If you want to know what God is like, look at the life of Jesus. And if you want a better understanding of the Old Testament, interpret it through your understanding of the person of Jesus who is the God of the Old Testament. Hebrews 1:2,3 - “But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being sustaining all things by His powerful word.” Jesus said, "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

That kid is going to Nebraska

There’s nothing quite like American ingenuity. Centrally located for easy access, the United States of America has provided for it’s citizens “Child-Be-Gone: The Nebraska Drop-off Depot for Unwanted Children.”

As of March / 08, any person who has an infant who is no longer providing that fulfilled feeling that new parents mistakenly believe will last forever, can now take the little darling(s) to Nebraska, open the chute provided on the drop boxes and simply say, “I’m outta here.” According to the brochure, this service is also available for older children. There is no charge for this service. No questions get asked. Simply cross the State line, open the car door and shoo the little munchkin off into the sunset. Paragraph three of the Press Release states that removing the duct tape from wrists and ankles of the child is optional. What’s surprising about this program is that it isn’t just for the really horrible kids. For example:

. If your 12 year old daughter doesn’t take out the garbage? Off to Nebraska with her.

. If your 16 year old son is 10 minutes late bringing the car home? Off to Nebraska with him.

Because no questions are asked, the only excuse you really need is the one that you tell yourself. “It’s really whatever you can live with,” said Connie Altmont, who is the Director of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce.

Apparently schools are even getting into the act. Mrs. Wheeler’s grade six class in Broken Arrow, Main is practically empty. This is because many parents have signed waivers allowing teachers to decide independently as to whether any given child, regardless of age should be allowed to remain in the community. “The two students that I have left are just the sweetest little helpers that I’ve ever had in my 60 years of teaching,” said Wheeler who keeps several rolls of duct tape on her desk, “Just as a reminder to pay attention.”

Despite complaints and concerns from those who have never been blessed by children, State Trooper Graham Pollick said "Child-Be-Gone" is not “that bad of an idea.” Graham stated that since Nebraska began accepting kids from “across North America” the incidents, reported from law enforcement agencies across the nation, of finding kids stuffed into suitcases and left in the ally “is way down.” Because the United States is a deeply Christian nation, Graham attributes this drop to the fact that “stuffing your kid into a rolled up carpet and dumping it in the woods really does a number on the conscience of a lot of people in this country. If there's a less violent means of changing the family dynamic, Christians will pick it every single time.”

Border guard Anthony (The Tone Man) Tilly stated, “The size of Canadian families that are coming into the States has grown remarkably [over the last few months].” “It used to be that we’d see Canadian moms and dads with 1 or 2 children in the vehicle. Now they’re coming across with 5,6 and sometimes 8 or 9 kids, all of them stacked like cordwood in the back of vans. It’s a little suspicious but hey, this isn’t Russia. If they say they’re on the way to Sea World what am I supposed to do?” Reports of an underground railway made up of individuals willing to secretly remove your children from Canada, for a very steep price, could not be confirmed at the time of this writing.

Linda Cullen, from “Save the Children” asks, “Just where are all these children going? Go to any park in Omaha and you don’t see any increase in playground use. We know from volunteer spotters that there are at least 800 to a 1,000 kids getting dumped into Nebraska every week. Where are they?” We managed to find and interview one 15-year-old girl who said she used to live in California. When asked why her parents drove her all the way to the Nebraska border only to “burn rubber” going the other direction without her, Tanisha* said, “My mom and I were having this huge argument and when I said, “Well if you don’t want me why’d you have me?” mom looked at me with crazy eyes and said, “Who knew it would be you!!.” Tanisha* got tears in her eyes but turned away so we wouldn’t see.

We witnessed parents shoving their children out of the vehicle at the border, some of them not even bothering to come to a full stop. We attempted to speak with them but all but one were unwilling to comment. Mary Janzen, from Dayton Ohio, who requested that her name not be used explained, “It’s true that we’re living in a much more diverse society, but this Child-Be-Gone service may take awhile to be accepted by everyone. We don’t want to be hassled by fundamentalists who disagree with this. In the mean time, my husband and I are off to Aruba.”

So there you have it. Another first for the United States of America.
*(Tanisha is not her real name)

Britain's Bus Campaign? Priceless!!!

Atheists - Sometimes you just have to love em. In fact, if there was one in my house right now I do believe that I'd get up out of my chair and give him a great big hug.

They are such precious - well - I'll let Richard Dawkins show you. Here's his message to promote atheism via London's bus adverts.

"There's no God so Screw the World - Eat - Drink - and be Merry."

Richard Dawkins

I seriously encourage Christians from around the world to donate to this bus campaign. We must keep this one going for as long as possible. Richard is so dependable for providing an early morning giggle.

Thank you God for creating Richard Dawkins.

“I Have No One to Forgive Me!

One of the profoundly sad things about living under the weight of atheism is that when an atheist ponders the amazing life that is being lived, the beauty that surrounds us on every side, the love we encounter in this life, the joys of learning, the physical bounty that is thrust upon us, the atheist’s dilemma is that s/he has no One to thank. Oh sure atheists can and do say, “I’m thankful that I’m such a clever person,” or “I’m grateful that there have been so many positive coincidents this year.” But those thoughts are simply directed into the atmosphere.

Real thankfulness and real gratefulness means that a person has acknowledged RECEIVING something from an outside source; usually on an undeserved basis.

“I have no one to THANK” is a refrain with which all atheists must struggle. But it doesn’t stop there.

In a forlorn and pathetic tone, “I have no one to forgive me,” was a comment made a while ago by an atheist in an unguarded moment.

I don’t know how I’d live if that were true for me. I have hurt so very many people. I’ve lied and stolen and deceived and betrayed and disappointed. I’ve taken and taken and taken. I lived for the first three decades of my life totally and completely in the service of self. Compared to who God has made me today, I find my former self disgusting. There is no way that I can undo the damage that I’ve caused over the years and if I had to carry the guilt of that with me for the rest of my life well, I just don’t know how I could do that.

Humans from around the world share common struggles on many levels. To name only three:
- The fear of living a meaningless life, is one struggle.

- The ending of one’s existence at the point of death is another fear.

- A huge fear, one that is the point of this post, is the fear of an inability to live with real guilt.

Of course most of us, at one time or another, have been exposed to false guilt. Usually it was inflicted upon us by well-meaning folks. Other times we were hit with false guilt by absolutely horrid people. Both groups have used guilt as a parenting tool to manipulate and control their children. Others have used guilt to extract favours from vulnerable people. That kind of guilt is a fairly effective tool, at least in the short term and it’s used by people from all walks of life; by the rich and the poor, city or country, by the religious as well as those of no religious faith. That’s not the guilt that I want to talk about.

. Real guilt is what we experience when we cheat someone who trusted us.

. Real guilt is what happens when we betray another’s genuine love.

. Real guilt is what we feel when we’ve harmed the defenceless.

. When we abuse ourselves and others it is common and GOOD that emotional discomfort is a fact of life.

The physical and emotional consequences of carrying around real guilt was a common theme for those I saw as a counsellor. Real guilt is something that cannot be “stuffed” if you expect to function as an emotionally healthy individual.

Now, Jesus teaches His followers how to meet the above fears and how to move beyond them. Because Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and because He proved His claims about Himself by rising from the dead in such a manner as to defeat all attempts to explain away His resurrection, for the obedient Christian these “fears” become nothing more than a temporary nuisance. We can trust His directives and when we obey Him, Jesus leads us through life as “more than conquerors.” We can live with our eyes wide open, in honesty and integrity and not lose one iota of perceived worth or value.

It’s a much different story for the atheist. Because atheists claim that they “Don’t need God in order to be a good person,” atheists have to pretend they’re actually good people just as they are. In fact, atheists are so dependent on this philosophy that most of them find it quite offensive when they hear Christians admitting to the reality of their own flaws and weaknesses. Atheists can’t imagine how anyone can psychologically survive while holding such a dim view of humanity in general and of their selves in particular. Describing his decision to take an honest and fearless inventory of his inner self, a former atheist once said, “For the first time I examined myself with a seriously practical purpose. And there I found what appalled me; a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a harem of fondled hatreds. My name was Legion.”

All Christians can relate. One of the reasons that we can confront the reality of our inner self is that we are forgiven. We are accepted as we are. We are loved as we are. In fact, we are loved so much that upon the confession of who we really are, Jesus immediately begins the process of changing our corrupt character and that is something for which we are so very very grateful. In Jesus, and through His forgiveness, we are freed from the guilt of past actions. Jesus can do this because it is against Him and Him only that we have sinned.
It is our Creator’s laws that we have broken.
It is our Creator’s forgiveness that we need.
While the consequences of our wrong actions may follow us for the rest of our lives, Jesus has dealt with our guilt, forgiven our sins and He has set us free from the power and control of sin.

Guilt of course is an uncomfortable feeling, and a common complaint from atheists is that the teachings of “Christianity” is what made / makes them feel guilty. So what’s their response? Oddly enough, these people who conceive of themselves as brave and courageous souls actually run from reality. They pretend that:

a) there is no one to Judge them and

b) there is nothing to judge.

In an atheist’s world there is no objective Right or Wrong, only opinions, beliefs, likes, and dislikes. Living by this philosophy creates a world where one’s concept of Good and Bad is based totally upon whether the thing being judged coincides with one’s opinions, beliefs, likes and dislikes

- If it makes me feel good in the moment, then it’s good.

- If it makes me feel bad in the moment, then it’s bad.

- Guilt makes me feel bad, therefore a sense of guilt is bad.

At this point the atheist adjusts h/her opinion of said topic to mesh with the current pattern of conduct.

Why are Christians able to handle the situation differently? We know from our “pre Christian” lives that trying to adapt to “what works in the moment” is an extremely ineffective and self-defeating way to deal with guilt. Saying that what’s clearly wrong is actually right simply to avoid feelings of guilt is beyond the pale stupidity.

. If there is an objective standard of right and wrong, and everyone knows at some level that there is indeed such a standard, and
. If one is not meeting that standard, and
. If one is thereby experiencing emotional discomfort,
The solution is not to attempt to change the standard or one’s opinion and one’s culpability in light of the standard.

THE SOLUTION IS to change one’s character and / or behaviours so they conform to the standard.

There is no other way to maintain emotional health while at the same time dealing effectively with guilt.

Guilt, real guilt, is like physical pain. It’s essential to our well-being. Remove the ability to feel physical pain and the loss of limbs and digits is inevitable. Block out the emotional pain of real guilt and we are lost in an ocean of options with no way of knowing which course to set in order to find a safe harbour for our souls. Without listening to our conscience, and by resetting our inner compass to suit our circumstances, relational crashes and hurting those we love the most are outcomes that are absolutely guaranteed.

As part of God’s plan to defeat evil, Jesus died in our place in order to remove the guilt from our lives and to provide for us a means of forgiveness. The atheist who said, “I have no one to forgive me,” is just flat out wrong.

. There IS someone to guide you safely through life.

. There IS someone to forgive you.

. There IS a way to be set truly free from real guilt.

The offer of forgiveness will remain open until your dying breath. However, hardening one’s heart so as to not be affected by one’s behaviours can make it so you are no longer aware of the offer. And second, none of us knows when our dying breath will come.

If hearing that makes you feel uncomfortable or even angry, be grateful. That awareness comes courtesy of the One who provided you with feelings as a means of getting you to pay attention. The reality of strokes, heart attacks, accidents, sudden storms, falling or random violence means that we should heed the warning that says, “Now is the time that God is calling out to you. Now is the time to ask for forgiveness. Now is the opportunity to be freed from guilt. Now is the time to take hold of the salvation that is freely offered. Creator God who loves you longs to bring you safely home.

Good luck on your journey.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who needs Jesus?

The answer to that all depends on the evidence. You see, if what Jesus taught about Himself, about life, death, sin, heaven, hell, etc. is wrong, then Christianity is perhaps worse than worthless. If Jesus did not rise from the dead and if He is not in fact God, as He claimed to be, then atheists are correct in stating that Christianity is a very dangerous idea.

However, if, as I believe the evidence shows, Jesus was and is exactly who He claimed to be, then there is not a book, an idea, a concept, a discovery, or any way of being that is, nor ever will be as important to you and to your life as is Christianity. If true, Jesus and what you do with Him marks the difference between incomparable good or disaster beyond imagination.

Unlike every other religion on earth, and unlike every "teacher" who has come and gone, Jesus is not “sort of important” or, “He might be important for you but not for me.” Jesus is either of utmost importance for every individual on this planet or Christianity is worse than garbage.

Discovering the truth about Jesus and His resurrection from the dead is not something that you want to leave up to what you’ve heard from someone else. You need to go to the source. You need to find the best evidence.

You need to make a decision.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Down with the Family! Long live Heartache!

It’s no surprise that those who have experienced multiple relationship failures, and who see serial adultery as simply “going where my heart leads” are primarily the ones who are also championing / supporting lifestyles that corrode the stable family model. People like Lindsay Lohan say things like, “No one needs marriage. It’s not wrong to have an abortion. It’s not wrong to get pregnant and not be married. It’s not wrong to live with someone without getting married.” Because they don't know where to find committed love, and because they've never learned how to give committed love, they pretend that love is not important. That is the message with which they relentlessly and tenaciously pound your children.

Society needs relationship and family planning advice from Ms. Lohan and her Hollywood peer group like my three-year-old needs to attend a day-care run by a paedophile. Likewise, having the Entertainment Industry hold an AID’s benefit is like having the Tobacco Industry put on a Cigarette Awareness Week at your local middle school. They're not interested in health. They want a pill that will allow them to continue the very lifestyle that does nothing but promote STD's including AID's.

Having a good life is not an accident. We can’t put on just any old behaviours and expect good results. Good outcomes require good input. If we’ve learned nothing else from history we should know by now that Marriage is the foundation for an emotionally healthy family, and the Family serves as the foundation for an emotionally healthy society.

The Christian marriage paradigm is built on this foundation:
. God is the CREATOR of the marriage relationship;
. Heterosexuality is God's PATTERN for marriage;
. Monogamy is God's BLUEPRINT for marriage;
. God's PLAN for marriage is for physical and spiritual UNITY, and
. Marriage was DESIGNED to be permanent

- Your children’s emotional health is dependent on this paradigm. Social experiments which set this design aside have consistently failed.

- Your community’s stability is dependent on this paradigm. The tragic repercussions of the anti-family experiment are as obvious as global warming or the depletion of the fish stocks or the demise of the world’s rain forests. There is something terribly wrong and if we don’t pay attention to the symptoms disaster looms large.

- Your nation’s strength and the world’s attainment of peace is almost totally dependent on this paradigm. The past has repeatedly proven it. The present is showing what we should have learned from the past, and the future will be nothing short of disaster if we fail to learn from the past in this regard.

I’m convinced that one of the reasons why God brought about the concept of marriage as opposed to taking whoever and whatever we want, is that for humanity to continue, and for our children to grow into stable, emotionally and spiritually healthy individuals, people need to be committed to the well-being of at least one other person. Each of us needs to be totally sold-out to a determined effort to support at least one other person for the duration of our lives. Simply put, the human race will not survive without this type of commitment. This has nothing to do with “being loved.” It has everything to do with our willed, desired, volitional love that is directed toward at least one other individual, again, for the duration of our natural life.

That is how God loves us. He will literally die for you, in order to provide for you a safe and secure home - for eternity no less.

Sadly the way our society is headed, with it’s “I promise to love you as long as I'm getting what I want from you,” it simply will not cut it. Lines are being drawn in the sand. Beliefs are becoming entrenched. Even worse, the deliberate undermining of our society’s supports is being done almost completely out of ignorance. People like those described above don’t even know that a better way to live exists. They have been raised in an atmosphere of survival of the fittest. You meet my needs or I’m out of here. A tremendous self-serving bias that rules out any and all attempts to reign in lust and misdirected passion is literally leading to the downfall of all that we’ve come to appreciate. The current economic down-turn is just one example of what results when people adopt this type of thinking. Personal safety is literally being thrown out the window in an effort to appease the most dysfunctional members of society.

It’s tragic. Rather than stopping and changing course, a scapegoat will be found.

Monday, October 20, 2008

3 degrees of Christianity

I’m always amazed by the stories of people who are either angry at God, or are disappointed in God or have given up on God altogether because of a perceived failure on His part to “deliver the goods” as they imagined would happen if they became followers of Jesus.

In a very general way, the path these people follow is something like this:
A child gets sick, or
The layoff notice is handed out, or
Ones love-life is non existent, or
Depression or other chronic illness strips one of hope.

So a person prays that:
. The child would be healed
. New work is found soon
. Some one to love you comes along
. Freedom from the illness is provided

Nothing happens
The relationship with God is damaged, neglected or tossed aside. When someone has turned away from God, the above seems to be the Path the most people have travelled.

This doesn’t need to be the way life goes.
While the above may be the general Course that is travelled, the falling away from God comes for two main reasons:
. First, as I’ve just described is the erroneous perception that Jesus is not trust worthy, His promises are false, and the “good” life that Jesus promises is far, far different than the one imagined.
. The second reason for a damaged relationship with Jesus is a failure on the part of the individual to take into consideration ALL of God’s provisions. The person seems focused on and even obsessed with what s/he thinks are the negatives in life and ignores all the good that Jesus has brought into one’s life up to that point in time.

If this is the way a person does life, the result is practically guaranteed - the end of that person’s life as a Christian. This actually should not surprise. When Jesus was telling the parable of the seed and the sower, He indicated that roughly 75% of those who begin to follow Him will at some point fall away. Jesus said that the spiritual life of most would-be Christians will be strangled by life’s worries or enticed by life’s temporary attractions or simply crushed under the weight of trouble.

There is so very much more to the Christian life that these early quitters completely miss. They simply never pushed beyond their initial encounter with the harsh reality of life. Because they failed to be trained by Jesus, because they never exercised or practised with the tools that Jesus promised to give to them, they were unable to persevere, to endure and claim the victory that is ours if we don’t give up.

To move beyond this pitfall, to move on to the next stage of one’s Christian walk involves interpreting life in light of Jesus’ promises. Rather than looking at life and concluding, “God is not good,” we need to start with the truth that “God IS love” and interpret the events of life through that lens.

Jesus truthfully said, “I will never leave you or give up on you.” What does that mean when a child dies?

Jesus truthfully said, “I will meet all your needs.” What does that mean when your vehicle or even your house is repossessed?

The person who makes it to the second level of Christian growth is someone who has not made the error in logic that says - “If bad things happen to me, or if my prayers are not answered with a “yes” that means that God must not exist.”

The person who reaches this stage of h/her walk with Jesus is usually the person who stands in awe of all the good that Jesus has brought into that person’s life. In fact, that is why the tragedies that Christians experience can be somewhat confusing. How is it that God loves me, but allows / causes the loss of love or never experiencing love. How is it that a God who loves me also allows poor health to persist? What does it mean when God says, “I love you. Now deal with the death of your child”? My wife and I have walked through all this and much much more and I can say beyond a shadow of doubt, Jesus really is all one needs in circumstances like these. That is why people like Richard Dawkins find it so confounding when tragedy actually increases a Christian’s faith, when experiencing life’s horrors actually draws someone closer to God. Sadly, people like Dawkins can’t possibly know the richness and depth of the life that is lived with Jesus as Lord and Saviour. These people are left to stand on the sidewalk looking in and criticising something they know nothing about.

Having said that, the second stage is crucial to the development of faith, of trust, of acceptance, of patience. This step is mandatory if one is to develop the Fruit of the Spirit as per Galatians 5:22ff. For those who suck it up and work this stage of Christianity, one of the major things that is noticed is the presence of God’s love, mercy, grace, gentleness, kindness and protection not just in the midst of pain and suffering, but ESPECIALLY in the midst of the sorrows that life is sure to bring. While bewildering in the beginning and while causing the furrowing of the brow and meditation in the quiet moments, the realisation slowly dawns on us that Jesus really doesn’t leave us or give up on us. The realisation awakens in us that we are slowly but surely becoming emotionally indestructible. We begin to see that suffering, and lots of it is not something to be avoided at all costs. Rather, the presence of suffering in our lives takes on meaning. We come to realise that in a weird way, suffering has become essential to our greatest personal growth. And suddenly we understand why God’s suffering in the person of Jesus of Nazareth was so important to God’s plan of salvation. Suffering in our world is not an accident or mistake. It has purpose; deep and meaningful purpose.

This takes us to the third and final level of Christian living. As with Paul, we can now understand what once were incomprehensible verses.
. “When I am weak, then I am strong,”
. “I rejoice in my infirmities, in insults, in hardships, in difficulties.”
. “I have learned the secret of contentment in all circumstances.”
. “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
. “We also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character and character produces hope.”
. “So then those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
. “Therefore humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand. Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares about you and at just the right time He will lift you up.”
. “Be thankful in all circumstances.”

This is a wonderful, wonderful stage of life. Rather than worrying, and planning and watching for all the possible eventualities that may befall a person, I can simply follow Jesus wherever and through whatever He leads me. I can do this because through experience I’ve discovered that even if I or my wife or my children should die, regardless of what life may bring, I know that all is well with my soul. I have been tested and tried again, and again and again over decades of sometimes brutal pounding and I know beyond any doubt that the presence of God delivers far beyond my hopes and dreams. I’m alive and well and living in the Lord.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Which culture do you want influencing your nation?

I can’t imagine anyone who hasn’t heard the phrase, “Religion has no place in government.”

What that usually means is, “Members of Government should not allow their beliefs to influence how they govern.” And what that statement usually means is there should be no noticeable fallout or no observable consequences from a Christian being in office. Ya, well only an amazing degree of ignorance of human nature could allow someone to say that. To make my point, I’m going to say, ‘Under no circumstance should atheists allow their beliefs to influence how they make decisions.”

This will immediately raise the comment,"I don't have any beliefs regarding god. I lack a belief." Ok, Could you keep the consequences of your lack of belief in God out of your decision making process? And the atheist, in some cases truly believing this statement will say, "There aren't any consequences of not believing in god."

The fact is, We are what we believe and what we believe influences the decisions that we make.

Case in point. After we’d been married for 20 years, and after adopting the only two children that we had at that time, my wife became pregnant. The following is a true story.

OBGYN #1 (atheist) “I’ll arrange for you to have an abortion.”
My wife - “I don’t want an abortion.”
OBGYN #1 “Why not? You already have two children. They’re practically grown. You certainly don’t need another child at this time in your life.”
My wife - “What’s that got to do with anything? I’m pregnant. You’re a gynaecologist. Aren’t you supposed to help me with this?”
OBGYN #1 - “I’ll help terminate this pregnancy for you.”

My wife got out of the chair and said that she would arrange to see someone else. She asked around and found another gynaecologist who was known to be a Christian.

OBGYN #2 (“Christian) “Well, well. You’re about to have some big changes in your life.”
My wife - “This is not how we expected to spend our retirement, that’s for sure.”
OBGYNr #2 - You know that at your age, the likelihood of carrying this child to term is very small.
My wife - “Yes of course.
OBGYN #2 You know that the chance of birth defects are higher than normal at your age.
My wife - Yes, I know. But we’d like to leave this in God’s hands and whatever happens will happen.
OBGYN #2 - Certainly. Well let’s order an ultra sound and see where things are at.

What a difference between the atheist culture of death and the Christian culture of life. Whether we work in Government, in a doctor’s office or anywhere else, we cannot possibly keep the consequences of our beliefs out of our decisions.

The question is, Which culture do you want influencing your nation, your community, your children? We don’t need a “Christian” government. And we don’t need a government pushing Christianity onto other people. What we do need is members of our government who live lives of Christian integrity, who value life, who value families, who value those who are not valued by others.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jesus never claimed to be God???

That’s what a blog said the other day. Sheesh, you can just say any old thing can’t you? Well, I feel compelled to point out the following:

Jesus claimed to be the great I AM -
. “I am the Good Shepherd.” Jn.10:11 - But the Old Testament says that Yahweh is our Shepherd
. “I am the Judge of all men.” Matt.25:31ff Jn.5:27ff - But the Old Testament says that Yahweh is the Judge of all nations.
. “Father, glorify me, in your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began,” Jn.17:5 - But in the Old Testament Yahweh says that He will not give His glory to anyone except Himself.
. “I Am the Bridegroom,” Matt 25:1 - But the Old Testament uses this term only for Yahweh
. “I am the first and the last,” Rev.1:17 - But this is the exact term that Yahweh uses of Himself in the Old Testament.
. “I am the light of the world,” But the Old Testament says that Yahweh is the light of the world.
. “Before Abraham was, I AM,” But the Old Testament says that Yahweh is the great I AM.

The religious leaders wanted Jesus to be killed because they clearly heard Him claim to be God.

Jesus claimed to be equal with God:
. “Son, your sins are forgiven.”Mk. 2:5ff - But the Old Testament says that only God can forgive our sins.
. “I have the power to raise the dead and to judge them also.” Jn5:25-29 “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes,” Jn 5:21 - But the Old Testament says that only God can give life and raise from the dead.
. “He who does not honour Me does not honour the Father,” Jn. 5:23 - But the Old Testament says that only God should be honoured.

The religious leaders wanted Jesus to be killed because they clearly heard Him claim to be God.

Jesus claimed to be Messiah - God
. Isaiah says of the coming Messiah, [He will be] “Mighty God, the everlasting Father.”
. Jesus says that prophecies from the Old Testament concerning Messiah were referring to Him and to Him alone.
. “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus answered, “I Am.” The High Priest tore his robes and said, “What need of we for further proof. You have heard Him say He is God.”

The religious leaders wanted Jesus to be killed because they clearly heard Him claim to be God.

Jesus claimed to be worthy of worship:
. Even though both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible forbid the worship of anyone or anything but Creator God, Jesus allowed people to worship Him.
-In Matt. 8:2it was a leper whom Jesus had healed.
-In Matt. 9:18 it was a rich ruler.
-In Jn. 9:38 it was someone who Jesus healed of blindness.
-In Matt. 14:33 it was His closest followers after He had done what only God could do - calm a storm.
-In Matt. 15:25 Jesus allowed a Canaanite women to worship Him as did the mother of James and John which is recorded in Matt. 20:20
-In Mk. 5:6 A man who’d just be freed from a legion of demons worshipped Jesus.

In all these cases Jesus allowed people to worship Him and to call Him God as though it was His due. Jesus considered Himself to be God Incarnate and
The religious leaders wanted Jesus to be killed because they clearly heard Him claim to be God.

Jesus claimed that His authority was equal to that of God:
. One of the most famous portions of the historical record of Jesus’ ministry is Jesus’ promises to the people as found in the Sermon on the Mount and in His, “You have heard it said . . . but I say,” statements. He said that He was the Promise and the Authority and the people recognised that He spoke with authority, ‘Not as their teachers who quoted other authorities.’ Jesus told His followers that by His authority He was sending them out to tell others about God’s love as they had seen that love demonstrated through Him. Jesus pointed out that it was those who reject what He taught that would be condemned to eternal life in the total absence of God’s love. "He who rejects me rejects the Father." Clearly He taught that He was more than just a man.

The religious leaders wanted Jesus to be killed because they clearly heard Him claim to be God.

Jesus claimed that people could and should Pray “in His name:”
. “Whatever you ask in My Name, I will do it.” Jn.14:13.
. Jesus explained what it meant to be asking for something “In Jesus’ name” when He said, “If you abide (walk, talk, live and exist in an ever increasingly intimate relationship with Jesus) in Me I will give you want you want.” Jn.15:7.
. “No one comes to the Father but through Me. I and the Father are one.” We are encouraged to pray to God, but also to Jesus who is God.

The religious leaders wanted Jesus to be killed because they clearly heard Him claim to be God.

. The people who knew Jesus best, both His friends and His enemies recognised Jesus’ claims to be Yahweh. He demonstrated this fact by the things that He did. At one point Jesus said, “You don’t have to believe that I Am God by what I say, but you should believe that I Am God by what I do.” Why? Because the things that He was doing were not possible via natural means. They were supernatural. He fulfilled prophecy, He led a sinless life, He performed miraculous deeds, the greatest of which was His resurrection from the dead.

The religious leaders wanted Jesus to be killed because they clearly heard Him claim to be God.

As far as I can see, there can be only two reasons for making a statement like, “Jesus never claimed to be God.”
First, the writer suffers from profound ignorance regarding the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Second, the writer is a liar.

There may be other reasons that I’m not aware of but the conclusion is the same, the writer is wrong at every level.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Do you love your children?

Do you love your children? And if you do, how do you show it. Do you ever consider the connection between who your heroes are and how your children turn out?

I’ve worked with so many families where the kid’s heroes were television wrestling stars. It showed. I’ve worked with families where the kid's heroes were their drug dealing / criminal dads. It showed. No surprise, the heroes for those dads when they were young were also criminals.

Who is your hero? Who would you like to emulate? For the atheist it might be Richard Dawkins, or for the drunken atheist it might be Christopher Hitchens. For someone else it might be a sports figure (I don’t mean the plastic ones - a real one). For someone else it might be Ghandi or Martin Luther. For me it’s Jesus and here’s why.

Right or wrong, good or bad, my children, and especially my sons want to be like me when they grow up. They tell me that they love me and that they hope they can “be brave like you dad,” “be strong like you dad,” “be kind like you dad,” “help people like you dad.” Virtually all parents have heard something similar from their children.

What that means however is that I can’t take the easy way out. I can’t say just any old thing or do just any old thing. My children are watching me. They would notice if I told them to be honest but told a lie myself. They would notice if I told them to be kind but wasn’t kind to them. There’s a really good line that goes,
“Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.

Some people believe that the best way to raise children is to tell them to trust no one - question everything, “Be Sceptical.” I couldn’t disagree more.

While discernment is necessary, it’s far more important to give our children something to trust. Help them to put their feet on solid ground. Let them know that they don’t need to live their lives in perpetual doubt. That grounding starts with us, the parents.

I love my children. I care about their futures. Having a good life, is like having a good marriage. It is not a crap shoot where it might work out or it might not. A good life, a good tomorrow and good relationships are built by the good decisions that we make today. My life is not my own.

I want to be like Jesus because my children want to be like me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I give up - Really!

When I first started wandering through atheist blogs, I naively believed that if the writer simply heard the facts then s/he’d reconsider what was being said. I’m embarrassed to say how long it took me to see the error of my ways. Then I thought, ‘I can’t just abandon the cause. While the writers of the blogs may be immune to logic, what if someone who is undecided reads these blogs and is taken in by the striking contradictions?' eg. “I understand that OUR universe can’t be infinite but our universe came from one that existed before it.”

Dear God the stupidity is too, too much to bear. I can't do this anymore!!!

Nevertheless, I trudged on, playing the game “mole hole” whacking errors as they popped up here and there. Yesterday was my final coin. I’m still not sure if it was deliberate or not but the “feigned” ignorance that was present in my last interaction was just over the top.

Two atheists were explaining MY lack of understanding regarding the Big Bang. According to these two individuals, the “universe” prior to Planck time was a tiny egg of matter “floating” they actually said “floating” around - wait for it - “in the universe” and then for natural reasons yet to be explained, it exploded and the rest, as they say, is history.

The stupidity of it all brings a tear to my eye even as I relive the painful experience. So, that’s it. If atheists want to be rid of Christian travellers, I recommend “pretending” to be the village idiot. Keep responding to “Whatever BEGINS to exist requires a cause,” with, “Well if everything that exists needs a cause . . .” And respond to “Without God there are no objective moral values and duties,” with, “So you’re saying that atheists can’t be moral people. . .” and sooner or later, we’ll just hang our heads in despair, throw up our hands in wonder and go away.

Or at least, I will. I know I’ve said it before, but this is the real deal. The ache in my chest is getting too deep. I fear that it might not be sorrow after all.

Good luck on your journey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Homo Schooling Association of America

Just in from the AP wire service is this note on a new movement that’s making waves in America. “The Homo Schooling Association of America or opened its official website today catering to the needs of homosexual parents who are worried about the deleterious affects of their children attending schools where they are often ridiculed and bullied for having two parents of the same sex. Rhonda Flemming who lives with her partner Alicia Flemming (no relation) told news sources this morning that this new web-site is a god-send. “As an atheist, I don’t actually believe in god but I don’t know any other way to describe this resource. The name calling, the pushing and intimidation that my and Alicia’s children have to endure is criminal. But we couldn’t get the school to do anything about it. They just said, “You made your bed, now you and Alicia can darn well sleep in it.””

No surprise to some, this service was begun in Texas, a State that is notorious for herding homosexuals into pens and keeping them there, sometimes for days on end without the ability to contact family members or loved ones.

“We simply can't take it anymore,” said Robert Stoble, the creator of the site, who along with his life partner, Ken (Kenny) Fitzpatric decided “Enough was enough. Now our kids can learn in the safety of our own home. Robert and Kenny who attend the First Methodist Church of Austin said, "I don’t see the anti-gay agenda that is so prevalent in America ending any time soon. Once our sons are big enough to fight back, we’ll send them out into the world again. Until then, they’re staying where we can keep and eye on them.”

The Pastor of First Methodist was not available for comment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why did God command that stuff?

There is an atheist blog somewhere or other that has asked the question, “Would you kill a baby if God told you to?” The implication being that in the Old Testament, it’s recorded that God commanded people to kill babies so any day now He might do it again.
Be afraid! Be very afraid!! Pfft.

Unless asked, I’m not going to address in this post why that’s a ridiculous question. However the "presence of evil" issue will never go away. It’s a problem for Christians just as the presence of joy is a problem for those who think that we’re nothing but a mass of firing neurons. After all, when our genes are as selfish as Dawkins says they are, there is no need for joy in order to do what we need to do.

Now, I certainly don’t have a definitive answer for why we have records of God commanding the Israelites to kill “everything” in the enemy cities. However, I do have these thoughts on the issue.

Suppose you need to clear some brush from your land. It’s a big job; an almost overwhelming task. Your neighbour hears you talking about it and he says that he’d be glad to help. Your eyes light up because you know that this guy has a huge brush clearing mower and a huge chipper and rake. You accept his offer, pick a date and agree to meet him there on Saturday. The day arrives and you’re at the site early in the morning. Your excitement mounts as you hear a truck coming up the hill. However, as your friend drives through the gate the excitement melts into deep disappointment. He didn’t bring any of that stuff. All he brought was some work gloves and a heave ho attitude. You get your spades and axes out of the back of your pick-up and with a forced smile you thank him for coming. You pick up the tools that you’ve got and you use what’s available.

As I see it, this is what’s happened with God and us. At the beginning, God gave us all the tools that we would ever need to live and thrive in the paradise that He’d provided for us. For whatever reason, we decided to leave those tools on the shelf and we decided that we'd do this life by brute force.

Now, there is no doubt that most people don’t approve of how God is running the world now. Atheists express rage toward the God they don’t believe in while Christians profess confusion as to why things are the way they are. Buddhists and Hindus say things really aren’t this way and most adherents of other religions work as hard they can to get their god to do things differently. We’re all Monday morning quarterbacks with loads of “insight” into how God should have done things differently. The problem is, we can never know how God would have done things if we’d brought the tools that He'd made available to us. We don’t know how things would have worked out if we hadn’t introduced - no - if we hadn’t invited the presence of evil into our lives and our world. We simply never gave God the chance to let that scenario unfold. We left our tools at home.

So, God works with what He’s got; sinful, selfish, self-centred, corrupt, murderous, hateful, spiteful, grandiose, greedy, ungrateful, sin-filled individuals. Rather than wish it wasn’t so, God uses evil and all these characteristics to carry out His plan of redemption. According to that plan, God has brought the impending defeat of evil and our present salvation to the world through the Israelite people. The Israelites at that time of history in question, had sworn enemies. There were societies that wanted to destroy God’s chosen people. I’ve always wondered if the Israelites are God’s chosen people because they’ve always been hated, or if they’ve always been hated because they are God’s chosen people. If one subscribes to the theory of a universal battle between good vs. evil, and I do, I believe that it’s the latter.

Anyhow, it is never a good idea to set one’s self up as God’s enemy. Now, some believe that those references to God ordering the killing of everyone, even the babies is simply a lie that somehow made it into the Bible. That of course presents all kinds of issues for those who hold to inerrancy etc. Personally, I think that it’s true and accurate. Evil inhabits every single one of us, no one is innocent and evil WILL be defeated, by God, according to His plan.

. Because God is all good, He WILL rid the universe of evil

. Because God is all powerful, He CAN rid the universe of evil

. We still experience the presence of evil

. Therefore just as Jesus prophesied, God can and will rid the universe of evil at a time in the future that is predicted by, appointed by and known by God alone.

If you are God’s enemy, that means that at some point He will rid the universe of you. The reason that He hasn’t done it yet is because He is giving everyone who is going to come to Him in peace and humility the chance to ask for forgiveness. If you want, that opportunity for peace with God can and will be extended to you.

Reality is, God preserves and protects those He loves; be it a nation like Israel or an individual like you. He will do whatever it takes to make sure His plans for you are carried out to completion. This is seen as “Jesus set His face as a flint toward Jerusalem,” so that He could / would endure His own torture and death on your behalf. Whatever it is that we don’t like about this life, God Himself lived it. Unless asked, I’m not going to go into detail here but we need not think that we suffer alone or that God sits on high with smug indifference to our difficulties. He will one day defeat evil and He will do whatever it takes to carry out that plan, even to the point of living out our hardships, tragedies and sorrows to show us that it can be done.

Do you love your children? Show it now by making peace with your Creator.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On being Thankful

I mentioned a couple days ago about how atheists cannot be thankful or grateful. Actually I said they can’t be logically thankful or grateful. What I mean by that is that an attitude of thankfulness is actually a confession. It’s a humble confession that I have received from an external source something that I could not have provided for myself.

Now of course, an atheist family could sit around the table and when someone asks, “So what are you thankful for?” dad could say, “I’m very thankful to the pharmaceutical companies for providing me with Viagra so that I'm not so grumpy anymore.” And maybe that isn’t so bad if that’s all you believe in. But for Christians at least, thankfulness is an acknowledgment of the fact that we are cared for with blessings that are new every morning, even in the midst of disaster and heartache.

Now the development of this attitude goes as far back as Judaism records it’s history. There are hundreds of references to thanksgiving and thankfulness throughout the Bible. For example:

1st Chronicles 16:8 - Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

1st Chronicles 16:34 - Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 28:7 - The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

1st Timothy 4:4 - For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

Ephesians 5:19-21 - Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:5-7 - Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It's important to note that this is not a pagan manipulation of some deity in order to get something. The Christian thanksgiving is an admission to Creator God that He has given us what we need even before we realise that we need it.

Thankfulness - the admission that but for the grace of God I have no existence, no sustenance, nothing of importance to look forward to, no hope, no life.

With God in my life and Jesus in my heart I have peace, I have joy and most of all I have freedom.

Thank you Lord for your patience, mercy, love and grace.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rep. John Lewis retracts his retraction.

The civil rights icon issued a statement Saturday evening which said a "careful review" of his remarks made earlier in the day "would reveal that I did not compare Sen. John McCain or Gov. Sarah Palin to George Wallace."

As a hush fell on the crowed press room, Mr. Lewis followed, “All I said was that comments made by George Wallace in the past were nearly identical to the comments being made by McCain and Palin today. By pointing out that if four little girls just happen to get killed by a bomb while going to church in the next few weeks, I was just saying that we’ll know exactly who to blame - George Wallace. And, if I may add, I was clearly stating that the racist views of McCain and Palin are nothing like the racist views of Governor Wallace. So, as you can see, I did not in any way compare McCain and Palin to former Gov. George Wallace, although what he said sure sounds a lot like what they’re saying, but not the other way around. I’ve got to go. Thank you.”

Are you Thankful? Or are you an atheist?

In Canada we’ve reached that time of year again where for Christians at least we take part in a special celebration for something that we do on a smaller scale everyday. Specifically, we thank our Lord and our Creator for His physical, emotional and spiritual blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s also the time of year when atheists pretend that they have something to be thankful or grateful for. That of course is ridiculous. Atheists can no more be logically thankful for what they have "received" than a worm can dance a jig. At best they can feel very, very lucky. And if any atheist was actually able to comprehend the odds against them being here by accident, they would feel very lucky indeed. No, according to atheism, any given individual is nothing more than the chance result of one person’s selfish genes forcing h/her to successfully mate with another phenotype of the same species. If the result of the mating is able to use a computer, chances are there were no extraordinary mutations during the process.

For the rest of us, there truly are marvels bestowed upon us that we gratefully receive day in and day out. The greatest marvel of all that is given to us free of charge, with no strings attached, is the Love of Creator God that resulted in the provision of the salvation and rescue for our souls.

“But in our eyes there was no attractiveness at all, nothing to make us want to be around Him.

We despised Him and rejected Him - He was known as a man of sorrows, well acquainted with bitterest grief.

We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by.

He was despised and we didn’t care.

Yet it was our grief that He carried, It was our sorrows that weighed Him down. He lived this earthly life so that He knows exactly what we’re going through. We thought that He was just another man, a mere mortal struggling with the sorrows and tragedies of life.

Instead He was being wounded and bruised for our sins. He was tortured to death so that we might have peace; He was lashed and whipped and crucified so that we could be healed!

He never did anything to deserve the punishment that came upon Him. All He did was love and encourage others to do the same. Instead, we are the ones who strayed into danger. We are the ones who left God’s paths to follow our own way. We are the ones who are prone to wander.

Yet God’s plan, from before the creation of the universe was to lay on Jesus, who was God in human form, the guilt and sins of every one of us.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted yet He never said a word. That should have opened our eyes to the fact that something special was happening. An innocent Man, silently and without defence was allowing others, us, to have Him executed. Jesus stood silent before the ones condemning Him and He allowed Himself to be tortured and killed. Thousands of years before this took place, it was prophesied that Jesus’ sole purpose for coming to earth was to take the penalty of our sins upon Himself so that we, if we so choose, do not have to be forever separated from eternal Love.

From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But no one among the people of that day realised it was their sins and ours that He was dying for - that He was suffering their punishment on their and our behalf.

This was Jesus’ plan for Himself from before the founding of the world. It was God’s plan to bruise Him and fill Him with grief. By making His soul as an offering for sin, He rescued a multitude of people, too many to count. Because He lives again, God’s program prospers in Jesus’ hands. And because He sees all that is accomplished by the anguish of His soul, He is satisfied with His perfect plan for our salvation.

Through this plan, Jesus makes it possible for billions and billions of people to be counted righteous before God, for He carries the punishment for all their sins. Therefore I will give Him the honours of One who is mighty and great, because He has poured out His soul, even unto death. He did this while we were still His enemies. But oh how few have believe it. Oh how few have listened.
Isaiah 53.

“Thank you Lord for saving my soul. Thank you Lord for making me whole. Thank you Lord for giving to me, your great salvation so full and free.”

Saturday, October 11, 2008

There’s a family in our town

The family that I’m talking about lives just on the other side of the street. There’s a mom and dad and eight kids - six teens, a twelve year old and a nine year old. It’s a pretty conservative family. They go to the Bible Church. The parents have been married for 30 years. The parents seldom drink alcohol. None of the kids nor the parents smoke or gamble or any of that stuff. The kids are involved in hockey and basketball, and baseball and soccer. Music lessons are on the calender for all the kids. Both mom and dad work and in fact they make a pretty good living. The kids are all really nice and have a good reputation in the community. They all do well in school and the teachers have never had any complaints. All but one go to Church and on Sunday afternoon they generally do activities as a family; going to the park or a movie or whatever. For the most part, members of this family get along pretty good. For the last couple years however there’s been some ripples of discontent.

One of the kids, Ryan is his name, doesn’t like and is becoming increasingly irritated by some of the rules. Actually it’s not so much the rules as the habits or the traditions of the family that Ryan doesn’t like. By all standards Ryan is a good kid. He’s 16, drives the car, takes swimming lessons and is a starter on the highschool football team as a running back. He does well in school and is never overtly disrespectful to his parents, at least not until lately.

You see, Ryan is the only atheist in the family. While the rest of the family has known about Ryan’s beliefs since he told them three years ago, they’ve never made a big deal out of it. From their own experience growing up, mom and dad know that the worst thing they could do is push. The parents have made a conscious decision to allow Ryan to “find his own way.” In fact, the whole family has always maintained a live and let live attitude toward pretty much everyone. That’s changing. Ryan told the family about a year ago that he didn’t want them praying at meal time anymore. He said that it made him uncomfortable. There was a family meeting and the result was, meal time praying stayed. He didn’t have to take part but he couldn’t interrupt or put on a big pout either. Actually, the idea of interrupting had never occurred to Ryan. He was, after all, a good kid. He just thought it purely stupid to be thanking the equivalent of an invisible tea pot for anything. And, if truth be known, he did pout that other people didn't think like he did.

To be fair, there were a few snide comments from one of his sisters from time to time, but the rest of the family tried to “get along” with the increasingly obstinate boy. Then, late this spring, Ryan said that spontaneous comments like, “Thank you Lord for such a beautiful day,” or “Thank you Father for the safe trip home,” were really starting to get on his nerves.

“So what do you want us to do, Ryan,” asked his mother, “stop all references to God?”

To her surprise Ryan said back, “Ya! That’s exactly what I want.”

From that point on things got a little tense around the house. Till then everyone had felt a close bond with Ryan. After all, he was family. Now, two of Ryan’s siblings were openly hostile toward him. And while mom and dad tried to keep the peace it was evident that a compromise had to be made or a serious split was a real possibility. Nevertheless, the summer went smoothly. The family had an awesome trip to the Canadian Rockies. They went hiking and white water rafting and they absolutely loved soaking in the Hot Springs in Fairmont B.C. Ryan seemed to love the trip, and everyone got along really well. On the way home however Ryan delivered this ultimatum to his family.

“When we get home, I don’t want any more praying at the table when I’m around. I don’t want any more Bible reading in my presence. I don’t want any more “Praise god,” or any other crap like that being said while I’m in the house. If you want to fill your minds with superstitious nonsense that’s up to you but I don’t want to have to be exposed to it any more. Is that understood?”

Silence. After another couple kilometres dad pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road. Turning in his seat he said, with obvious frustration, “What have you got going on in that head of yours, boy? And just who do you think you are? This is our family, he said indicating with his hand that he meant everyone. Not your family. We make decisions as a group in this house and you do not dictate to the rest of us how we’re going to live. Do you understand?”

Ryan didn’t say anything. He just glared at dad.

“I love you Ryan. We all do. Now, you’re entitled to your thoughts and opinions, but so are we. I get it that you don’t agree with us on everything but I really don’t get it as to why, for you to be happy, you need us to quit doing what we consider very important. What in the world is going on?”

One of Ryan’s sisters began to say something about spoiled and selfish, but mom shut that down real quick.

Ryan began to get tears in his eyes and blurted out, “I don’t feel like I fit. I feel like you guys don’t even want me in this family. All of you have turned against me and you make me feel like a freak. Sometimes I think I should just run away, but I’m not going to. This is my family and it’s my house and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

“Take what?” dad asked incredulously. “What more do you expect us to do to make you feel welcome? You have the car whenever you want. We feed you. We give you all the clothes that you want. We’ve put you into any sports that you wanted to join. Not only don’t we force you to go to Church, for over two years we haven’t even asked if you want to come. We’ve withheld absolutely nothing from you. What can’t you take anymore?”

The rest of the kids also wanted to know how he was being cheated. A couple pointed out that he was getting more than they ever got when they were his age.

“Don’t you get it,” Ryan screamed. “I can’t stand your religion. I just can’t stand hearing about god this and god that and I want you to quit. It’s driving me crazy!”

Finally, Ryan’s oldest brother spoke up. “So you, Ryan, feel that you should be able to dictate to the rest of us how to live. One person telling the other 90% how they should and can live seems fair to you? Is that what you’re saying?” Without waiting for an answer he continued. “You’re saying that because you don’t like religion, none of the rest of us should be able to talk about what’s most important in our lives? Is that what you’re suggesting? Are you saying that because you don’t find God relevant in your life He can’t be relevant in mine either? Is that what you’re saying?”

“No. I’m just saying that I don’t want to hear about it, or see it, or be exposed to it in any way, shape or form.”

“Well, excuse me,” mother chimed in. “This may come as a surprise to you but you are just one member of a ten person family and you simply do not dictate the rules around here. No one is forcing you to believe what we believe. We tried that when you first told us about your atheism and you were right, trying to change your mind is not fair to you, nor could our family survive if we kept going down that road. However, short of us all splitting up and moving to different homes, we are going to have to find some way of living together. Ryan, you are our son. We love you. Your brothers and sisters love you. You have everything, literally everything that they have. You lack nothing. You are an equal partner in this family but you are no MORE than an equal partner. I’m sorry if you don’t agree with what we believe but for you to think that you can dictate to us how we are to live, right in our own home, well, I’m sorry. That just ain’t going to happen. Stanley, get back on the road. We’re going home.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My son bought me this huge flat screen tv. So I'm watching the ball game tonight and I could see ALL the way down Joe Torre's ear canal. Two more seconds of camera time and I could have told you if he was in the early stages of an ear infection. Cool!

I hate free choice - but I would die for it. Huh?

Many atheists began their run from God because they were / are afraid that “under God” they would lose their freedom. Little do they realise that it’s only because of God, and the manner in which He created humans that we have the freedom to make the freewill choice to turn our backs on Him. What we end up with is roughly 10% of the world's population who push God out of their lives and then, because they possess no awareness of God, they declare, “I find no evidence for the existence of God!”

The ability to choose between two or more alternatives is what freewill is all about and atheists demand the right to make such decisions. Can you imagine the reactions if atheists found out that on Monday of next week, they would have to begin believing in God?

So here is what I find strange. In the blogs that I’ve read, atheists mock the concept of freewill when it’s used to explain the presence of evil.
.‘It’s too easy,’ they say.
.‘It’s cheap.’ And most of all,
.‘It doesn’t blame God for the presence of evil and that is where the blame needs to fall.'

What we end up with is about 10% of the world's population who say, "The God that I don’t believe in is the reason that we have suffering and evil and because there is suffering and evil in the world, I simply cannot believe in God."

Yikes! When I wrote a blog asking “Would you be willing to die for being an atheist?” the unanimous response was, “I wouldn’t die for atheism but I would certainly be willing to die in order to preserve my freedom to choose to be an atheist.”

Isn’t that interesting? On the one hand, “I hate the freewill concept,” but on the other hand, “I’d die for my right to have freewill.”

Besides Salvation, love and freewill are the two greatest things in the universe. It’s God’s Love for us, love that is willed, volitional and desired, it's God freewill choice to love us that caused Him to take the payment of our sins upon Himself so that we could, if we want, experience His salvation. That in turn, if we wish, would allow us to live for eternity in the presence of love. It would prevent us, if we want, from living in the total absence of love.

We need love. We need freewill. We desperately need God’s salvation. From a spiritual perspective, we wither and die in their absence. Besides salvation, the ability to love and the ability to choose are the greatest “good” that God has given us. Atheists crave love and freewill as much as anyone. Yet they can’t have it both ways. They can’t be willing to die for the freedom to reject God and then fault God for giving them that freedom. Nevertheless, this is just one of the many, many inconsistencies that one is forced to live with when accepting the atheist faith.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Will I be different?

What happens when we die? What happens when it’s time for judgement? Do we retain the character that we had at the moment of death? Are we changed into something better, worse? Think of how many people fully expect to enter heaven as jealous, petty, mean-spirited, abusive, selfish and self obsessed. Think of how many people fully expect to enter heaven as lust-filled, fearful, anxiety ridden, worrying individuals. And these people think that they’d be happy surrounded by, never mind a perfectly Holy God but by those who have a character much like His. How could someone be happy in the ever present reality of God in heaven, when they seldom if ever experience His omnipresence here on earth? How can you know His joy there when you’ve never experienced it here? If we’ve never been enraptured by God’s stupendous Creation here, why would we expect to find that sense of awe in heaven?

It’s been my experience that those who have a low view of God here on earth, also have a low expectation of heaven. They simply cannot conceive of the glory that awaits them. We are so weighted down by the burdens of life, we are so hobbled by the perceived absence of God’s presence in and during our trials that we hardly raise our eyes heavenward to apprehend the wonders of His presence. Many Christians don’t even know that they can have the joy of the Lord in and during their difficulties, during an illness, during a difficult marriage, during a searing loss. Because of that, other than to escape today’s difficulty, for many people who call themselves Christians, there really is no longing to be in the presence of God.

Now I know that my perception of people is influence by those I see as a counsellor. It’s no accident that those who seek counselling are also those who cling so desperately to their worries. They grab on to anxiety and squeeze it for all its worth, when in reality, it isn’t worth anything. Worry and anxiety totally block out the goodness of God, a God who is in our midst wanting to care for us, because He cares about us.

I used to be in a different business. And while I managed to raise our two oldest kids and come out of it all debt free and with a few extra dollars in the bank, at the beginning, I wasn’t very good at it. I had my own ideas on how to do things and in reality, they weren’t working out so good. One day, a neighbour who had been in the business all of his long life stopped by. And as we were visiting in the yard, he said, “You know Rod. If you want to be good at this business, you have to do the things that others who already ARE good at this business are doing.”

That advice can of course be applied to virtually all areas of our lives.

Most importantly, if I want to be a changed Christian, if I want to be a victorious Christian, if I want to enter heaven with a character like that of Jesus, then I need to do the things that victorious Christians do. I need to think the things that victorious Christians think. I need to imitate those who like Paul, said, “Do the things that I do . . . and the peace of God will guard you heart and your mind.” He is saying, 'Imitate me because I imitate Jesus.' It is then and only then that we will know a peace beyond all understanding. It is then that we will be able to pray with thanksgiving in all circumstances. It is then that we will be able to cast all my anxieties upon the Lord, knowing that He cares about us. God is as present in my today as is my wife or even this computer. This room is filled with His presence. My very being is filled with His love. Nothing in this world can touch me or harm me for all is well with my soul.

Will I be changed? I'm being changed on a daily basis.
“Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.”
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Buddhist Atheists - Amusing or just Pitiful?

I never thought that I’d live to see anything more curious than atheists ignoring scientific evidence because it didn’t support their belief system. Ding Dong I was wrong.

Something that I’m finding more and more often on atheist blogs is the “confession” of atheists who are self-identifying as Buddhists. Now I understand that Buddhists are technically atheists. However, to encounter atheists who pride themselves on being rational, logical and immune to superstition, and who also proclaim their Buddhism, well, that is just so amazing to me! Now of course these atheists rarely say which of the several dozen Buddhas they follow. For example, is it
Buddha Dipankara, or
Buddha Dhammadassi, or
Buddha Kondanna, or
Buddha Siddhattha, or
Buddha Mangalaa, or
Buddha Tissaa, or
Buddha Sumanaa, or
Buddha Phussa, or
Buddha Revataa, or
Buddha Vipassi, or
Buddha Spbhitaa, or
Buddha Sikhi, or
Buddha Anomadassi, or
Buddha Vessabhu, or
Buddha Padumaa, or
Buddha Kakusandha, or
Buddha Naradaa, or
Buddha Konagamana, or
Buddha Padumuttaraa, or
Buddha Kassapa, or
Buddha Gautama, or
Buddha Sumedha, or
Buddha Sujata, or
Buddha Piyadassi, or
Buddha Atthadassi or any of the others too numerous to mention here?

As well, atheists don’t say (don’t know?) which type of Buddhism they follow, but that doesn’t stop them from saying, “I’m a Buddhist.” And while their ignoring science is hard enough to comprehend, I just wished someone would explain how they rationalise the following with their rational, logical, superstition avoiding atheist beliefs. In the teaching about Buddhism we find these “facts.”

Immediately after his birth, Buddha stood up, took seven steps north, and fearlessly uttered:
Supreme am I in the world
Greatest am I in the world.
Noblest am I in the world.
This is my last birth,
Never shall I be reborn"

As proof of his enlightenment, The Buddha, using only his mind, created a golden bridge in the air, and walked up and down the bridge for an entire week.

. On the first day [of an important festival] Buddha held his toothpick, put it on the ground and it turned to the wish fulfilling tree. It was decorated with jewels, like a Christmas tree.
. On the second day Buddha manifested two wish fulfilling jewels.
. On the third day the king offered to wash Buddha's feet. When Buddha washed his feet, he threw the water and it became a pool with the eight special qualities of water.
. On the fourth day it rained and the rain filled the eight canals.
. On the fifth day Buddha emitted golden light from his mouth and people could see beings of the six realms being liberated.
. On the sixth day Buddha transformed some energy and everyone became clairvoyant and knew each others minds.
. On the seventh day Buddha manifested as the wheel turning king and many people converted to Buddhism.

When the time came for the contest, the Buddha cast a mango seed on the ground; instantly the seed took root, and a great mango tree arose to shade the hall.

After The Buddha returned to his father's kingdom, some people were still unsure about whether Gautama Buddha was really enlightened or not. Some perceived him as the same Gautama that had abandoned his family to become an ascetic. Apparently he was much improved. In order to clear the obscurations to their pure perception, Buddha produced flames from the upper part of his body and streams of water from the lower part of his body, and did so similarly between the left and right sides of his body. Six coloured rays sprang from every pore of his body, reaching up to the highest realms and down the lowest realms. He performed this miracle on numerous occasions to ripen the minds of those in attendance.

Even for those of us who are jaded and cynical and believe that we’ve seen it all, that kind of a stunt is proof of something pretty, um, special.

For what it’s worth, in 2006, millions of people flocked to Sri Lanka as rumours spread that several statues were giving off colourful “Buddha rays.” I wonder if any of the atheist bloggers were among the faithful? I’ll have to ask next time I encounter one.

On one occasion, Buddha flew into a Brahma's world, and skilfully explained to the Brahma that all things are transient and temporary and devoid of independent existence. After hearing The Buddha's words, the Brahma felt intense faith and decided to follow The Buddha's Dharma. The Brahma then requested a competition of powers between the two of them. The Brahma hid himself in many places but The Buddha easily pointed out where he was located. Then The Buddha hid himself in voidness and meditation but the Brahma could not spot him. The Brahma's faith in The Buddha was increased. No doubt!

A cousin of The Buddha, the son of the Buddha's maternal Uncle, was named Devadatta. Devadatta was tormented from early in his life by jealousy against his superior cousin. After trying quite a number of dastardly schemes to no avail, one day Devadatta set loose a fierce elephant, known as Dhanapala, to destroy The Buddha. This elephant, who had been intoxicated into a crazed state by his keepers, ran through the town towards The Buddha. A frightened woman accidentally dropped her baby at the Buddha's feet. Just as the elephant, who was headed for The Buddha, was about to trample the child, The Buddha calmly reached up and touched the elephant on the forehead. The elephant became calm and quiet, then knelt down before The Buddha. Some accounts indicate that The Buddha then gave a personal Dharma sermon to this elephant.

One day Gautama Buddha asked his disciple Ananda to go get him some drinking water from a well. Ananda however repeatedly told The Buddha that the well was filled with grass and chaff, and thus not drinkable. However The Buddha continuously asked Ananda, so Ananda went to the well. As Ananda walked to the well, Buddha with his power alone expelled all the grass and chaff from the well, so the water was radiant and clean.

At one time Gautama Buddha walked on water by levitating over a stream in order to convert a Brahman to Buddhism.

Standing in the air at the height of a palm tree, flames englufed the lower part of his body, and five hundred jets of water streamed from the upper part. Then flames leapt from the upper part of his body, and five hundred jets of water streamed from the lower part. Then by his magic power, the Blessed one transformed himself into a bull with a quivering hump. Appearing in the east, the bull vanished and reappeared in the west. Vanishing in the west, it reappeared in the north. Vanishing in the north, it reappeared in the south. ... Several thousand kotis* of beings (a kotis is roughly 10 million beings), seeing this great miracle, became glad, joyful, and pleased." To each his own I guess.

One of the cool things about Buddhism is that anyone, even atheists can “do it.” One of the great places to get to is the Attainment of the fourth Dhyana and Buddhahood which leads to the Six Psychic Powers (Abhijna), namely,

1) Divyacaksus - divine eye, instantaneous view of anything in the Form Realm.
2) Divyasrotra - divine ear, ability to hear any sound anywhere.
3) Paracitta-jnana - ability to know the thoughts of all other minds.
4) Purvanivasanusmrti-jnana - knowledge of all former existences of self and others. (I’m unclear how this fits with the atheist belief of one life, one death and then nothing).
5) Raddi-saksatkriya - magic power to be anywhere or do anything at will, such as walking on water, levitation.
6) Asravaksaya-jnana - supernatural consciousness of eliminating all vicious/minds, also known as the extinction of asrava (i.e. outflow).

The first five are mundane, while the sixth is realized only by the Arhats, who attain the fourth stage of Dhyana. The attainment of the Sixth Psychic Power distinguishes the liberated sages (eg. Christopher Hitchens) from the mere wizard (eg. Richard Dawkins). I'm sorry. I couldn't help it.

As I said at the beginning, this is absolutely amazing. Not what the Buddha did (I can do that stuff on a sleepy Saturday afternoon) but what atheists believe. Rational, logical, reasonable atheist Buddhists. Astonishing.

I want to be clear that I’m not saying anything against Buddhists. You folks can believe whatever you want. What I don’t get, AT ALL, is how atheists, who pride themselves in avoiding all things superstitious could ever allow themselves to slide into this lifestyle. I guess desperate times require desperate measures.

And so, just as most atheists don’t have clue to the contradictions that they are committing themselves to and living with when they say, “I’m an atheist,” neither do they have a clue what they’re claiming when they say, “I’m a Buddhist.”

So what do you think? Is it amusing or just pitiful?

Can Heaven be worse than Hell?

In yet another attempt to show the world that atheists don’t need God in order to be kind, tolerant, compassionate individuals, a blogger is encouraging fellow atheists to boycott any stores that play Christmas music during the, well, Christmas season. Another atheist chimed in and said that he already stays away from any store that posts anything relating to Christianity on it’s bill board.

That got me wondering:
. What if someone like that person was forced to live in heaven for eternity?
. What if he had no choice about being in the presence of God?
. What if a person who detests the very thought of prayer had to be around constant prayer?
. What if a person who detests the very name of God had to be around those who praise God forever and ever?
. What if a person who can’t bring h/herself to be in Church for one hour in this short life on earth had to be around those who worship God forever and ever?
. What if a person who can’t stand the concept of bowing to anyone, especially God, had no choice but to bow before Creator God. Oh wait, that WILL happen regardless of whether atheists like it or not. Ok bad example.
. What if a person who hates the concept of God had to be around those who love Him forever and ever.
. What if a person who denies God’s existence had to be in the presence of God for eternity.

No doubt, hell is going to be harsh beyond imagination, but some WILL go there and some, it seems, would rather go there than be in the presence of eternal Love. No one will be forced to love Him who they make a profession of not loving.

If you can’t stand Christmas music, how could you ever expect to tolerate heaven?

. What could be better proof of a loving God than providing atheists with the opportunity to never again be pestered by God, or prayer or Christmas music forever and ever and ever?

Monday, October 6, 2008

I want to be God

Seeking to take God’s glory is the first sign of corrupt self-love, and self-idolatry.

Our Pastor told a story on Sunday about a time when he and his wife were visiting his wife’s elderly and ailing father. During their visit the elderly man went on and on about a pie that his other daughter had made for his last birthday. It was the best pie he’d ever had. Not even his late wife had ever made a pie that good. The old man said that he sure hoped that daughter made another pie for his next birthday. When the visit was over, as they walked to their car, our Pastor remarked to his wife, “Dad sure liked the pie that your sister made. We’ll have to remind her to make another one this year.” His wife replied, “I was the one who made that pie.”

There aren’t many people who can’t relate or can’t imagine what it would feel like to hear someone else getting the glory for something that you’d worked so hard to make perfect. Sure it was just a pie. But regardless of how big or small the affront, our nature reacts.

Here’s my point. Taking God’s credit is what atheists spend a life-time practicing. And then, they comment on how inappropriate it is for God to express anger at those who reject Him. They call Him small minded. They call Him petty. Atheists spend a great deal of time mocking the God they don’t believe in.

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” That is a theme that is found from the beginning to the end of the Bible. So why is God such a stickler in this area?
. Could it be that those who are proud have nothing to be proud of?
. Could it be that there is nothing for which they should be taking credit?
. Could that be why it’s such an offence to say, “By my might and by my power I have made myself great?”
. Could it be that our Heavenly Father is so upset because it is precisely that kind of thinking that will ensure that we spend eternity in the total absence of His Love?

Consider the following:
. You and your friend frame houses. Someone remarks to your friend what a great number of houses he’s completed in the last year and you hear him say, “I did it pretty much all by myself. I’ve got another guy helping but most of the time it’s me doing the work.”

. Your team wins the game and a teammate tells the reporter, “They couldn’t have done it without me.”

. Someone remarks what good children you and your husband have. He leans over and whispers, “It’s because of me. My wife does next to nothing around the house.”

. When you were in grade five, you and your little brother wanted to surprise your parents when they got home from work. The two of you wash the dishes and sweep the floor. When mom comes through the door you hear your brother tell her, “I did it all by myself mom. Bret didn’t help me at all.”

. You walk into the office just in time to hear your boss congratulating a co worker for an ingenious plan that will save the company a pile of money. The plan was yours.

. You’re lying on the grass outside of a burning house. You’re fighting for breath after having just made it out with a child in your arms. The firefighters are holding an oxygen mask to her face. Had you not gone into the house once again, she would have never made it out alive. You hear another man tell reporters that what he did was nothing special. “When it comes to a child’s life, I had no choice but to go in and get her.”

. You and a colleague are close to finding a cure for lymphoma. The two of you have worked on this project for ten years. You find the faulty gene and you go to the press with a story that makes it look like you and you alone have made this huge step.

It is God who brought the universe into existence. It is God who set every single constant and value just so. It was God who brought about the mechanism for life to come about on earth. All this and much more is enough to point the open-minded to His existence. Atheists block all this out and instead of humbly acknowledging their gratefulness and indebtedness, they ignore God, reject His presence in their life, and tell people that they've done it all themselves.

“God? Who’s God? Never heard of Him. As far as I know, He doesn’t even exist.”

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Look At What Religion Does!!!

As a counsellor I’ve been repeatedly exposed to hearing about the horrors of relational abuse. I’ve worked with women who’ve had their jaws, fingers and arms broken. I’ve even worked with one woman who’d had her back broken by her husband. I’ve worked with men and women who have been stabbed by their partners with everything from a pitchforks, to broken boards and bottles. Sometimes I’d go home numb and practically too impaired to drive by the shock of what I’d listened to that day.

My conclusion? Rid the world of love.

Based on the evidence that I’ve witnessed I can say without a doubt that love is dangerous. Love is violent. Love does harm to everything it touches. There’s no telling how many lives have been destroyed by exposure to love. To end this senseless cycle, and to literally save the world, we must get serious about making sure that our children at not exposed to any teaching about love. Even the word "love" should be banished from schools and certainly anything supported by government funding should have nothing to do with promoting love. If any private schools open up in order to teach children of fundamentalist parents about love, I say, “Shut em down.” Why such drastic measures? In reality, love is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the small-pox virus but harder to eradicate. Love is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that love seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness. How can we ever know how many children had their psychological and physical lives irreparably maimed by the compulsory inculcation of love? I mean, how much do we regard children as being the property of their parents? Should so called loving parents be free to impose their beliefs that love is good onto their children? Parents, have no god-given license to enculturate their children in whatever way they choose . . . to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma . . . or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own belief in love.

You might be saying by this point, “That’s ridiculous. Who would be so stupid as to say things like that?” Well, atheists that’s who. No, no, they don’t use the word love. They use the word religion. Most recently Bill Maher has realised that he can make a load of cash by promoting bigotry and hatred. And before him, Dawkins and Hitchens and 80% of atheist blogs take the crusades, and suicide bombers and three or four guys who shoot at abortionists and conclude that the world should be rid of religion.

To reach my conclusion about doing away with love, I didn’t consider all the good that love has instigated down through history. In fact I had to purposely avoid that evidence and only focus on how love has been misused and abused. Just so, rabid atheists seem completely immune to the historical good that religions of all types have brought to our existence. Has there been tragedy because of religion? Certainly. But in the words of Michael Shermer, past President of the Skeptics Society “However, for every one of these grand tragedies there are ten thousand acts of personal kindness and social good that go unreported . . . Religion, like all social institutions of such historical depth and cultural impact, cannot be reduced to an unambiguous good or evil.

We can only hope that Bill Maher and his cronies will be held accountable for the mass hysteria they hope to instill in Godless people around the world. We can only hope that an awareness of their bigotry and hypocrisy seeps into the minds of those who believe that they don’t need God in order to be kind and compassionate people, even as they sit in theaters for the sole purpose of laughing at an identified, specified group of people; not because of what they’ve done wrong, but because they think differently than do atheists.