When pain may be good for me.

I got torn in my finger today, this upset me as I find it now very hard to play my guitar, but all of this did remind me of the Bible verse, one which I believe to be so very important for all of us to learn if we are to mature in our faith. Some times God allows bad things to hurt and torment us, these very inconvenient problems do help me build my very imperfect character. I know that I have far to go before I get to the place where God want’s me to be. But I am grateful to the Lord that he has not given up on me.

thorn

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Matthew 14:13 – 21 The Feeding of the Five Thousand

In contrast to drunken feast of evil ruler Herod Antipas in 14:6-11

One miracle recorded in all four Gospels. “Herod’s party,” Vs “God’s party.”

SON’S SOLITARY Place on hearing this news about John’s (Baptist) death, Jesus withdraws to a solitary place by boat. / We all need time to grieve.

Not interested to see anybody. Leave me alone in my grief.

Jesus in Gethsemane / overwhelmed with distress / quiet of the garden. None but God saw Jesus in his soul-wrestling.

Jesus is followed by people Like bees to the flowers (So much needed Jesus)

Worst possible marketing strategy – go to deserted place to preach / attraction.

He went by ship into a desert place.

  • His apostles had returned from their mission (Luke 9:10);
  • They needed rest, no time even to eat.”
  • Poor Galileans followed Jesus on foot out of cities to deserted place.
  • Poor Galileans were better instructed than the wealthy, wicked prince.
  • In the desert, trusting in him; When Jesus is with us, we are safe.
  • Five thousand men. This did not include the women and children.
  • The total number may have stretched to 10,000 or more, far larger than the populations of most villages surrounding the Sea of Galilee.
  • The Church tradition: West of Capernaum, past the traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount, above the Heptapegon (“Seven Springs”), at present-day Tabgha.
  • This area was a favorite hideaway for Jesus. pilgrim Egeria (a.d. 383–395):

Edward Payson’s Small Audience

In the Life of Edward Payson it is recorded that, on a stormy Sunday, the famous preacher had but one hearer. Mr. Payson preached his sermon, however, as carefully and as earnestly as though the great building had been thronged with eager listeners. Some months afterwards his solitary auditor called on him.

“I was led to the Savior through that service,” he said. “For whenever you talked about sin and salvation, I glanced around to see to whom you referred, but since there was no one there but me, I had no alternative but to lay every word to my own heart and conscience!”

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Posted in Apologetics, Bible, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Church, Church History, Discernment, Evangelism, Faith, God, Jesus, Prayer, Prophecy, Religion, Sermon notes, Theology

God my provider

When God is the centre of my life it permeates into everything I say and do, when worry and fear enter into my life I need to be reminded that my focus is on me and my inadequacy rather than God and his providential grace.

Genesis 22:14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the LORD will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”jehovah-jireh

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Maturing with God

As I am getting older I have come to realise that maturity does not come with advancing age nor does it come with our increasing experience, though both can be beneficial.  Today I have to be careful not to become a grumpy old man with all the baggage that we carry as we get hurt along the way on this journey we call life.  I need to learn to grow into a person who is able to pass the knowledge on to the next generation, knowledge that was passed on to me first.

True maturity for me comes from my walking with God, him teaching me through every mistake that I make, looking through his word and learning to imitate the example of my Lord. I need to allow the work of the Holy Spirit in me.  I need to learn not to shut God out, but let him not only teach me, but also transform me.

Like a tree planted in good soil, my roots are in Christ, my branches reaching to the sky where I get my food from, knowing that I get watered and fed from above and now I need to learn to provide occasional  shelter  for the weary travellers that God may send my way.

Posted in Apologetics, Bible, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Church, Church History, Discernment, Evangelism, Faith, God, Jesus, Prayer, Religion, Theology

Problem with Absolutism and Relativism

For some time I have struggled with strong views of people based on their belief that they are absolutely correct. Equally wrong I find that so many people think that “everything is relative” therefore we cannot arrive at the point of truth on anything.

For some people the only absolute is that everything is relative if so can even that statement be trusted?

On the other hand we know that there are relative differences in culture, philosophy, law that is applied differently around the world etc.

I am always surprised by the regular TV statements that portray religion in the negative light because of some presenter’s had some unfortunate bad experiences in their past. Or opposite to that I find it rather unfortunate and uncomfortable feeling of shame when I watch TV evangelists damning everyone else who does not agree with their particular theological views.

Whilst I do believe that we can know absolute truth on some things, equally we must recognise that there are unknowns and vague areas where our knowledge is simply insufficiently acquainted with the facts that are necessary to form firm opinion.

I love debate and I believe in intellectual logic and reason as well as I believe in theological orthodoxy, but where is the point at which we need to accept that some things are certain whilst others are coincidences or uncertain inference that may or may not be related cause and effect elements of the same topic. (Some interesting debates these days on the issue of Young Vs Old earth, Global warming, predestination all stimulating but not essential)

I remember as a young man opening up my broken personal stereo because I was very keen to fix it and as I could not afford new one I knew that giving it a go was a right thing to do if I was to enjoy music that would not offend those around me. Choices were limited; I could not afford repair ether so there was only one choice open to me. I knew that I had to have a go and try to fix it.

I don’t have electronic engineering degree but I knew if I could see some disconnected wires I could try to work out where they belong and try and reconnect them. To make the long story short I did fix my personal stereo because it was obvious what was wrong as there were indeed two wires that were lose. But I could not fully understand all of the complexity in there. I believe this is exactly the same as with life, religion and God.

It seems to me that in this life I can know only limited number of truths. Most of the truths that interest me I find in the Bible, I guess as I get older I have come to realization that I cannot know everything of don’t have inclination to do the necessary search.

Therefore after some search (I continue to enjoy reading theology) I have found Bible to be trustworthy and to be proved again and again through subjects like Archaeology, History, philosophy and the also one of my favorite subjects defense of faith (Apologetics).

And here comes the main point for me here. At what point does the information and data about something need to be taken that bit further one more step in order for us to arrive to that point when we can have faith?

Faith that is logical, reasoned one that can be relayed on as being tested affirmed and accepted not as blind faith but one that can be called upon as being intelligent assessment of the situation and constructed not only on our past experiences but also our understanding of the world around us.

I wish that there was a shortcut that we could use, so that I don’t have to tell people that if they seek God they will find him. I wish that there is a mathematical formula that can be understood by all and accepted as absolute truth but science and faith are often intermingled and neither is always fully understood.

And this is why I believe that there must come a point where all my hard work my entire search for the truth will need to be committed to one way or the other. And this is why I have come to conclusion that for anything to make sense there has to be God. (My reasoning is that he must be the originator of logic otherwise what measure would we use to test anything) We must come to conclusion, that there is a God who is a creator of reason, logic, understanding minds that can see the mathematical certainty and recognize that some things are founded on the founder himself.

Pascal was right:

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.
-Blaise Pascal

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Not alone anymore

Nothing like the releasing valve of the cross which lifts the shame I bear. Yes at his cross alone is where my pain, my guilt is all removed so I feel free. I find the rubble of my scattered life gently scooped up by his two scarred hands.

I watch in shock the father’s cries; he looks away, from his wounded son, to me his gazing eyes I note. He is judging him on my behalf. The price is paid the roads now cleared. My clenching fist he holds with care, offering his tender gift.

Ashamed, alone in my throbbing pain I yield to him his healing hand. So when he picks this broken clay and I’m back on the potter’s wheel again. I know that his work on me is not yet done; he moulds me to be like his holy one.

How can anyone with hopeless words with lips infected by this broken world raise their cry to holy God? Yet with this broken sorry heart, are the bold words that are coming out “my saviour, my comforter my strength, my love, my life” to you I come.

With every breath and every sigh with every worry and every smile he’s looking at me with father’s eyes. You saved this sinner and wretch that I am, holding on to my trembling hand. My tower of refuge my hiding place in you alone I rest today.

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On Love, and speaking out for the things that matter

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

Martin luther king Jr

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King Jr

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