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Reasons: Part III

Reasons

If you are just joining, please see Reasons: Part I and Reason: Part II.

If God loves us and wants us to know and believe in him, why be so completely invisible? What is the purpose of being so illusive to those who believe and worship him?

This is an interesting reason for rejecting Christianity.  First, it can be argued that God is not invisible.  He came to earth as a man, Jesus, and revealed Himself in human form to hundreds of eye witnesses who recorded the account in Scripture.  Second, anyone that has seen a glimpse of God has hardly been able to handle it.  Think about Moses when he came off the mountain after meeting with God.  His face shone and the people could hardly look at him.  And they were only seeing the effect of God, not God Himself.  We could not handle seeing the glory of God in the infinite form.

However, we do see glimpses of God all around us.  Creation evidences God.  Our very existence is evidence of God.  The design around us indicates a Designer.

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own parts have said, For we are also his offspringActs 17:28 KJV

So my restatement of the reason would be:

God’s glory is so great that we cannot see Him and live.  In His goodness, we see evidences of Him through the creation, through the eyewitness accounts of His Son recorded in Scripture, and through our very existence.  He is invisible only to those who choose not to see the evidences He has given.

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The Wilderness

The past month of my life has been a difficult season.  I have felt very much alone with silence from God.  I have prayed, sought wise counsel, searched, and still had no clear answers to some very pressing questions.  I was feeling especially discouraged last night, and wrestled with God about opening His word.  I must admit that I do not always feel like reading my Bible.  (Side note- I’ve used the word feel several times in the past few sentences.  That is key- my knowledge of God does not always connect with my heart.  I KNOW He is still there when He is silent.)  I finally opened my Bible and turned to where I am reading in Deuteronomy.  Now, when I am feeling down, Deuteronomy is not my first choice for verses of comfort.  But God saw fit to let me land on a chapter about the wilderness.

For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands.  He knows your going through this great wilderness.  These forty years the LORD your God has been with you.   You have lacked nothing.  Deuteronomy 2:7 ESV

The Lord does not forget His people: the Israelites in the wilderness or His daughter in her own wilderness.  Does that mean I will not wander around a bit longer?  Not necessarily.  I may wander around much longer.  I may never see an earthly Canaan.  But my hope is not in what this life holds but rather what I know is on the other side.  Heaven is my home, and I can trust the One who cares for me to do so even in the bleak desert.  So I wait, and I do what I do not feel like doing all the time- I trust in My God even in the wilderness.

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Reasons: Part II

Reasons

If you are just joining, please start with Reasons: Part I.

Point two from the Losing My Religion post:

The act of throwing people into infinite torture and punishment for not believing a Jewish guy from 2,000 years ago was God’s son, or unknowingly worshiping the wrong god, is extremely cruel and sadistic.

Again- there is an assumption with this point that man is somehow good and deserving of good things and that God has created a hardly believable and narrow way if anyone does not want to experience eternal judgment.  The problem with this thought process is that the author is presupposing the good of human nature.  But it is impossible for a finite being to have infinite knowledge in order to determine that human nature is good.  The author is also assuming that God’s judgment is unjust.

For example, let us assume that a person is coming out of a building and is attacked, bound, and thrown in the back of a car by a man.  Instantly, it seems like an injustice and a horrible story.  The abductor is deemed cruel.  However, if the person coming out of the building has taken the lives of half a dozen innocent people inside and the attack is by a police officer, the act does not seem unjust.  The police officer had knowledge that warranted his actions in the circumstances.

God is the only omniscient one.  Who are we to question the justice of God?  The Bible is clear:

God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.  Psalm 7:11 ESV

So my contra-statement is this:

We have broken God’s law and deserve punishment.  Because of God’s mercy, 2,000 years ago, God sent His Son Jesus to earth, to die, be buried, and rise again in order to make a way for fallen man to spend eternity in heaven.  Jesus was the perfect atonement for imperfect man- an act of pure sacrifice, redeeming love, and undeserved mercy.

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Motivated to Do God’s Will

It is Motivate Me Monday at Like A Warm Cup of Coffee.  There is nothing more motivating for me that Scripture.  Whenever I attempt to pull from Scripture, I always feel so inadequate to share for fear of misinterpreting or taking something out of context.  However, I know the Lord can work through my own inadequacies, and I am always open to hearing other thoughts.

I was amazed at what I read in 1 John last night.  Sometimes concepts just jump off the page and attach themselves to my heart.

1 John 2:15-17 states:

Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions- is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  (ESV)

Now it is easy to see the importance of this passage as whoever does the will of God receives eternal life, but whoever does not passes away.  So the question becomes- what is the will of God?

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.  Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him.  1 John 3:23-24

If we backtrack just a little bit in 1 John, we see the significance of abiding.

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you.  If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Ftather.  And this is the promise that he made to us- eternal life.  1 John 2:24-25

1 John is the love book- there is much about love.  And loving one another and not loving the world or the things of the world.  It is key to our eternal life.  The command given by God is to love eachother and believe in Jesus.  It seems simplistic, but it is not watered down.   This is the truth of God’s word.  This is what He has asked of us.  Let us do it with great joy- for whoever does the will of God abides forever!

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Reasons- Part I

Reasons

I randomly came across a blog post called Losing My Religion.  (This is not an endorsement of the site- it is simply giving credit where credit is due!)  It was written by someone who claims to have been a Christian who now does not profess any faith.  As I read through the post, I was intrigued.  Some of the very reasons the author claims as reasons why he abandoned his faith are the very reasons why Christianity makes so much sense to me.

I am going to embark on a mini-series as my own personal response to his listed reasons.  This is not an attempt to create a scholarly critique of the of the reasons given, but to merely present my own reflections on the author’s thoughts.

One other note: there is much discrepancy as to whether or not it is possible for a Christian to lose their faith.  While I hold to perseverance of the saints, my goal is not to discuss this particular aspect of the Losing My Religion post.  Perhaps the title is what makes it clear- a religion can be lost, a relationship is eternal.

That being said, here is reason one as stated by the author:

God is wrathful, jealous, hateful, and kills nations of people like it is a bodily function. He is certainly not just or “holy” in nature.

The problem with this argument is that the author supposes God cannot be both wrathful and holy.  In our finite minds, it seems difficult to comprehend that both could be true.  But when logic reigns, it is clear that in order for God to be holy, He must also be wrathful.  A god who is indifferent to the sin of His created beings is not a God I would want to worship.

Ironically enough, the author is claiming his own ability to determine what is just based on his own standard.  His basic complaint is that God does not respond to evil the way he thinks God should respond to evil.

My contra-statement would be this:

God demonstrates wrath towards sin and allows death as a result of the fall of Adam.  His anger towards sin and His judgment on sin are clear examples of His justice and His holiness.

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Amazed by the Blood

I finally finished reading through Numbers.  What a reminder of God when viewed in light of the whole of Scripture.

I was amazed as I read through chapter 35.

Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death. Numbers 35:31 ESV

I was struck with the contrast this is to Jesus!  Whereas no ransom could be make for the life of a murder in Numbers, Jesus came to be a ransom for all.

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.  1 Timothy 2:5-6 ESV

There is such a vast difference between the law and grace.  The law always fell short.  Jesus never falls short.  We cannot fully understand grace without first understanding the law.

I love seeing Jesus in the Old Testament.  I think it is too easy to view the OT as a different section of history versus a Sumpremely designed part that points to the glorious Savior of the NT.  God’s workings are evident in the details from His impartation of the law to His impartation of grace thorugh His son.

What the law could not do in its incompletion, Jesus did in full through His death on the cross.  May I never cease to be amazed by the blood.

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Longing for God

KnowGod

Our longing to do something for God should never supersede our desire to know God.  I had this thought as I listened to a Paul Washer clip yesterday.  How often we find ourselves ready to serve God but without the hard pressed hours on our knees in preparation for the service.  I am guilty.  Even as I sit here writing this post, I am reminded of how much I need to read His word and approach the throne of grace on my knees.

I want my desire to first be to know God.  If I ever want to effectively serve Him, I MUST know Him.  It becomes a very self-centered task to do things for God without first knowing what it is He requires.

A man would hesitate to purchase a lawnmower for a woman whose heart he hoped to win.  He would strive to know the heart of that woman and then purchase his gifts in accordance with his knowledge.  A Christian can offer all kinds of nice gifts to God- a life of service, a willing heart, a giving spirit.  But we must first understand the person we are serving in order to be an effective servant.  The priority must be our personal devoted relationship with God above our outward tasks for God.

Do not put to death the desire to be used of God and to do much for His glory.  Simply prioritize the knowledge of Him over all else.  The stronger our relationship is with God, the more naturally the outpouring of our usefulness will be to God.