Listed as Safe from the Evil One

www.bible.com/72/2th.3.3.hcsb

Wow. If there was ever s verse needed, it’s this one. Do you need a verse that guarantees your divine protection from the diabolos? The Evil One? The Devil? I know I don’t talk much about him here, so maybe a few words would be helpful.

I was talking a few days ago to an individual who remarked that God and Satan are the same person. Why? Because they are both blamed for the same things. Cancer. Catastrophes. Calamity. Either or both are often blamed. I get that. I’ve heard it. If a child dies, did God take it or did Satan poison it? Did God make that choice, Or the devil.

Christians have wrestled with these issues for hundreds of years. We still struggle with them. I believe that is on purpose. God demands that despite all we think about why bad things happen to good people, we have to practice faith in His Word. Science and philosophy are not going to help us. This is a region where faith in what God says and faith in the nature of a kind and loving God comes in. He calls us to this faith despite our emotions and our natural anger. Will we believe in Him even when it doesn’t make sense?

It seems Satan’s work is on the rise. The first three verses of 2 Timothy 3 are becoming more relevant with each passing day. How can we hope that God is still protecting us? Try to imagine a world where God didn’t protect us. Which world is worse?

I know by faith that God and the Evil One are not the same. God is good. And I believe good is stronger than evil. Because I believe God is stronger than Satan. To say otherwise is to imagine that Satan is co-equal with God. Satan did not and will never die for me. Satan has no love in his heart for anything but himself. Satan corrupts good people. If I as a human being can know right from wrong, to know the difference, then there is a difference. If I know that there is a good so good that I can never achieve it, how can I possibly know it? Surely there is a good God who gave that insight to me. In my heart, I want good to overcome evil. Why do I want that? Where did it come from? I believe it comes from a good God who placed that in me, because I am made in His image.

This worldview requires faith. It cannot be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt. Science nor philosophy is equipped to do this. It must be understood by faith. Fortunately, it is built into us to receive this by faith, because we are made in God’s image. A fact I also know by faith. Convincing others cannot and never will be accomplished through proofs and theorems. But it comes through lives changed, families healed and hope offered.

I apprehend by faith that God will protect me from the evil one. May God protect you today.

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Evidence

www.bible.com/72/heb.12.2.hcsb

When looking at this verse, I realize that the only part of this verse that can be proven historically is that a man named Jesus from Nazareth died on a cross nearly 2000 years ago. While that seems like a long time ago, it is easier to prove than the exodus of Israel from Egypt or the Flood of Noah.

The rest of this verse depends not only on the crucifixion, but another piece which isn’t mentioned, the resurrection. That too can be proven historically beyond a reasonable doubt. With these two points in hand, what can we say about the others?

Jesus is the author and perfected of our faith. – because Jesus rose from the dead, He is the first to both predict his resurrection but also to fulfill it. While there are other resurrected god stories out there (i.e., Osiris), we actually have historical evidence that His is true. There are a number of eye-witnesses, there documents recording their varied accounts. A number of eye-witnesses, On threat of death, refused to recant their faith in the living Christ. Then there is the Shroud of Turin, whose image was burned into by an amazing heat that cannot be explained by natural means. This One is the author of our faith. He started it by rising from the dead. He perfects it by continuing to work in us today as the living Christ. I can accept by reason that He is alive. I accept by faith that He continues to live and mentor me today.

Jesus now sits at the right hand of God. – This one is harder to prove, but not impossible. In His life in earth, Jesus claimed often to be the Son of God. He performed many miracles which established His power over creation like His Father. When he died and rise again, he established that even death had no hold over him. By these evidences, He has proven He is the Son of God, God in flesh. So it is not much of s stretch to believe by faith, though we can’t see it, that today He sits at God’s right hand, a position of favor with His Father.

Evidence? Far more reliable than the reasoned suppositions offered by others. It is far easier to prove God exists in an ordered, physical universe than to prove He doesn’t. What kind of God He is can be found in the pages of Scripture. While we may not agree with the Christian God, that doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. I am grateful for a God who loved me enough to save me before I was ever born.

Thank you God.

Creation Entitlement

www.bible.com/72/rev.4.11.hcsb

Sorry about the late post today. Time got away from me this morning. But I looked at this verse and immediately knew what I needed to write about it.

If you make something, do you feel ownership is entitled to you? I mean, if I write a post, and someone else quotes from my post without giving attribution, will that make me upset? Of course, and rightly so. That material is an extension of me, it goes forth from me and represents my thoughts and inner workings. It is me to an extent.

So when God creates the universe, is He entitled to credit for making it? Duh. And yet, what has happened? Why is there so much desperation to make it a natural random chance event? Why are there those fanatical about making the universe create itself? Because doesn’t that put the creative earnest right our laps? Surely the atheist believes that is the universe created itself, and we are the highest form of life in this universe, we are responsible for creating ourselves. Or something like that. And we don’t have to give credit where credit is due.

But God is the Creator, and He is entitled both for credit and for Ownership. He made it. It belongs to Him unless He willingly sells it to someone else. And there is another who stole it from Him, stole the power of the air for himself and stole men away from God. So God sent His Son. Jesus died and paid the ransom for many. God owns us. Twice. He will own is a third time when He grants us a resurrection body, a newly created thing when we lose this one to death.

Isn’t God amazing? Let us glorify Him together.

Why go to Church if God isn’t real?

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

This is the objection of the person convinced by the world that there is no God. Most often, the individual has not seen the evidence, nor has this decision been made as a purely intellectual one. Typically, a person denies God because they don’t want the consequences of belief in God, namely, ethical behavior. They want to do whatever they want without a God looking over their shoulder. Arguing the existence of God will not change his position. They will continue to cite “evidence” of “Scientists” and say that anything religious is just begging to be believed.

Always begin your responses with Prayer, so that God will help you with the words. Remember that an atheist is one who has been personally hurt by the Church or by the choices they believe God has made against them (i.e., He didn’t cure my saintly mother from cancer). So you must deal gently, not with an argument for the head, but listening for the pain in their heart. Atheism is rarely purely intellectual, nor can it be son soley with logic.

You might ask the person if they know absolutely that there is no God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has set eternity in the hearts of men. Every man knows there is someone beyond his understanding. God put it there. The typical “atheist” is actually a hurt agnostic. He will admit that he doesn’t know “absolutely” that there is no God. He will cite evidence from evolution, or say that evil exists in the world, or something equally dismissive. (These arguments he has developed as walls for his conscience to reassure himself that it’s ok to be an atheist because God can be reasonably doubted.)

If he uses the argument of evil, remember that we would not know what evil is without knowing what is good. The fact that good exists, and that a standard of good and evil exists, points to greater moral sense among all cultures, and introduces what C. S. Lewis calls the Moral Argument for God’s existence. God put this morality into all people, because He is the Moral Lawgiver. (Romans 2:14)

Repeat back to him his own statement positively, “so you think there might be a God? And if there is a God, how would you know it?” He would probably ask for some miracle or evidence of supernatural things. Then you can talk about God’s word – the Bible as a written revelation of God to Man or God’s Son – the personal revelation of God to Man, or just about the miracle of the resurrection, attested to by many ancient witnesses. What you’ve done is cause doubt in his own presumptions, perhaps enough doubt for him to peek over the wall of his arguments and see God for who He is. This may require repeated discussion, and certainly love and patience, but you will have an opening into this man’s life for future conversation and conversion. You may offer to pray with him before you are done talking to him.

P.S. Since this post has generated a bit of attention via comments, I am going to add an additional free resource (well, I got it free anyway) that I have that I want to pass on. This is a PDF of a brochure that addresses many of the common rebuttals listed both above and in comments.

JesusCritic