Friday, March 28, 2014

No Doubt


The risen Christ and Doubting Thomas

Last week, I was reading an article written by an American astrophysicist who spoke about the origin of the universe. “…you don't talk about the spherical earth with NASA and then say let's give equal time to the flat-earthers. Plus, science is not there for you to cherry pick. You know, I said this once and it's gotten a lot of Internet play, I said the good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it. I guess you can decide whether or not to believe in it, but that doesn't change the reality of an emergent scientific truth.

This has gotten a lot of attention in the scientific and Christian community because it reinforces the belief that God was not the creator Christians claim Him to be. As I read this interview, I realized that many people walk around thinking they know the truth, while calling into question the belief and faith of Christians. Some Christians feel the need to defend the scriptures, to exhibit outrage at those who speak out against the bible, but the truth is that no matter what anyone says, no matter what evidence people claim to have, it comes down to what you (or I) choose to believe. People can say that because I believe in the infallibility of the scriptures, that I’m as naïve and primitive as those who once thought the earth was flat, but that's cool with me because I have no doubt.

Faith in Christ is not (and never has been) rooted in what one sees. Faith is an affirmation that God is right, true, and just. It is an acknowledgement that I cannot rely upon myself for discerning truth, I must trust in God. You see, the Christian understands the difference between coincidence and grace. Grace isn’t simply having good fortune occur again and again in my life; it is the realization that in the toughest of times, God is with me.

It means I have no doubt!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

God’s grace is sufficient for whatever comes my way, even those who challenge my belief in the salvation of Christ. We humans all have egos, we all have some level of insecurity, and we exhibit selfishness, greed, lust, envy, hatred, malice; traits which reveal our true character. This is especially true when our views are opposed. We want to silence those who say, “I don’t agree”.

But God is not threatened by the opposition of humans. How could He be? What kind of God would He be if He exhibited the same flaws which are revealed in society?

We Christians believe that all creation is clouded by sin, that God sent Jesus Christ into this world to bear the punishment for all. God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ bore our sins on the cross, died, and subsequently rose from the dead. This gospel is the crux of our faith in Jesus Christ. It is an unshakeable faith because for the Christian, it is indisputable. It is also why we believe in the second coming of Christ and in our resurrection; to live eternally in God’s new creation.

Now I understand that to someone without faith, this sounds totally stupid. Paul understood this when he wrote about the resurrection:

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

That’s it in a nutshell! If there is no resurrection, then Christ Himself could not have rose from the dead. Meaning all scripture is of no value; it and our faith is useless. More than that, those who claim to be witnesses are liars.

My faith is of no value to me, leaving me in a state of sin. Some may argue, that if there is no resurrection and the witnesses are liars, how can I be in my sins?

Because of one irrefutable fact: all die!

Nothing claimed, argued, challenged or denied will alter that fact.

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

I realize that during times when I faced doubts, when I was afraid, or I experienced anxiety, it was not the truth about Christ that I struggled with but my willingness to trust God’s grace. I didn’t understand that God’s grace is sufficient for me. I didn’t need some demonstration of His great power; I needed to trust in His grace.

But I didn’t believe it was enough, I had doubts!

It has taken me years to appreciate God’s patience with me to finally get it. I understand now that I never needed Him to prove who He is; I only needed to believe in His immeasurable grace being enough for my life. I will continue to face trials in my life just as I have in the past, health, career, home, marriage. I know what it means to suffer loss. I may yet find another trial which brings me pain, but I know that God’s grace is enough; more than enough. I am convinced that even if what I face brings death to my door, God’s grace is all I need.

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

In this life, things are temporary. People make promises that they later break, countries go to war because someone fails to hold up their word. But God has promised to never leave you. Who else can say that?

When the going gets tough, it seems easier to just give up and quit. When have things ever been too tough for God?

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.

I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were willing to die rather than surrender their faith in God. There are things which will challenge your faith, but when you know what is indisputable, you understand that your life has always been in God’s hands; nothing can change that.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is no doubt in my mind because,

He gives more grace.

MTJ

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say Thank you, to each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your busy schedule to read a post on this blog encourages me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment, but it really doesn't matter whether a comment is left. What matters, is that you came here. I hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Christ in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sundays

Friday, March 21, 2014

God Provides

God provides for the birds of the air, He provides for you too!

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6:26, NIV)

Each morning I wake up in Sweden and I hear birds. I go to the balcony and see them clustered in the trees, on a rooftop, or in a field. Someone recently mentioned to me that a bird must consume it’s weight each day. I cannot imagine having to eat as much as I weigh every day, but then again, I don’t go around flapping my arms through the air.

As I watch these birds, I realize that God provides for them every day. They don’t have any thoughts about tomorrow, or what someone said about them. They aren’t concerned with politics, religion, hatred, animosity or envy.

They exist.

We humans, far superior to the birds of the air, are constantly faced with a multitude of questions demanding to be answered each day.

What will I wear?

What will I do?

What will I eat?

What happened to my Internet access?

How will I pay my rent?

When will I get a job?

When will I find someone to love?


Don’t get me wrong. These are all legitimate questions we humans ask ourselves, but they often obscure the fact that God provides for us.

He is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.

Worry? Yes, we all have concerns regarding our life and of those whom we love and care for, but we must not lose sight of the fact that God cares even more.

He loves us!

If a bird can eat its daily weight in food, then I am certain that God will meet my needs. No matter what they are, he will provide because He cares.

No matter what you face in this life. No matter that there are times when you may feel all alone, God cares. You can trust Him.

Abraham trusted Him with the life of his son Isaac. David trusted Him with his life even though Saul sought to slay him. Elijah trusted him with the life of the widow’s son. The centurion trusted Jesus with the life of his servant. A father trusted Jesus with the life of his daughter. The woman with an issue of blood trusted Jesus by touching the hem of his garment.

You can trust Him too!

I am certain that God provides because He has demonstrated His provisioning grace in my life. I am certain that God provides because I am a witness to His healing power. I am certain God provides because I have experienced how He makes a way out of no way.

These words may sound cliché, but they ring true in my spirit. They affirm my belief that God is a Provider.

What are you faced with that concerns you?

Trust in the God who loves and cares about you. Be a witness to the grace He extends your way enabling you to ascend mountains, overcome obstacles, and achieve what you know you could never do on your own.

God provides.

MTJ

Prayer:
No matter what you are faced with today, I want you to know that I'm praying in agreement that God will provide your need. Heavenly Father, I'm praying for this one whom You love and care about. I faithfully believe that You will meet their need no matter what it requires. You are the God who saves, heals, and protects. You provide! I speak Your word right now that we can come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. This is that time of need Father. We trust, depend upon and need You to be our light and shield. Our faith is strong and steadfast. We refuse to doubt who You are. We declare that You are Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides, and You will provide. Thank You for Your infinite love, mercy and grace, in Jesus name. Amen.


A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Christ in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Spiritual SundaysNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).