Archive for November, 2011

In my humble, but firmly held opinion, atheism is arrogant. Pure atheism requires absolute knowledge, unless we define it as faith and not knowledge. To say that I know for certain there is absolutely no God, then I have to be able to say, I have searched and researched every possibility. I know everything, therefore, I know there is no God.

In order to have faith that says, “I know that there is a God,” I do not have to know everything, I simply have to know God. For example, someone in Japan says, “I have absolute knowledge that Brad Bessent does not exist,” they have to be able to say, “I have met every person in this world, and there is no Brad Bessent.” For someone to say, “Oh, but you are wrong, I know that Brad Bessent does indeed exist because I have met him personally.”

It is not arrogant to say that I know that God exists. I have met Him. He speaks to my heart, and I talk to Him everyday. Some can say (indeed some have said) that I am nuts. But knowing God does not require absolute knowledge, just personal experiential contact with the living God. Atheism, pure unadulterated atheism, that requires absolute knowledge. Since no one has that, except God, then anyone claiming to be an atheist ultimately declares their arrogance. That is my uncut raw point of view.

Agnosticism, however, is a different matter. Someone who settles in agnosticism, or gives up the search for truth, so to speak, is just lazy. If you don’t know, keep searching.

I hate religion. I don’t want to be a religious person. I think most religious people are selfish, mean, and bound for hell.

Have I gotten your attention yet? “Religion” is the activity of people to try and gain God’s approval. It is built on a code of behavior of certain “do’s” and “Don’ts” that you are expected to practice in order to be “religious.”

Think about all the evils of the world in the name of religion. The Crusades were two powerful religions killing each other. Think of the masses in India that are oppressed in the name of religion, even hungry with cows walking around that could feed them if they weren’t worshipping them.

Knowing God is not about being religious. Knowing God is about entering into a personal relationship with the living God, and then enjoying daily fellowship with Him. I believe that God can make the rules because He is God. I believe that God can disclose Himself to us, or not. I believe that if God discloses Himself to us in some form of revelation, He determines how we come to know Him.

Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not subscribing to a religion. It is acknowledging in faith that God has indeed revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ and that He has made a way of access to Himself. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, except by me.” (John 14:6)

Some will say, that is so narrow minded. Maybe. But consider this. It is narrow in that it is one way, the only way. But it is broad in that anyone can come that way. Religion sucks the life out of you. A relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the beginning of real life.

Do you ever wonder why the world is so fascinated with vampires, and ghosts, and werewolves? Now we have a romanticized vampire series. What is it about the stories of a ‘dark world’ that attracts so much attention?

When did we lose the ability to tell the stories of truth, and light, and goodness in a way that is attractive? I would hazard a guess that most people in our nation today can only tell bits and pieces of a few of the stories of the Bible. But even though it is so much more, it is one of the greatest story books ever. The stories are true, and they are fascinating.

There are wars of epic proportions, the most significant of which is spiritual. There are heroes, and their are victories.
There are dark figures and there are failures in lives. But through it all is a great story of God’s incredible love for the people He created and His work of redemption to restore creation to its pre-curse splendor.

The Bible says that men prefer darkness over light because their deeds are evil. We do have a natural inclination to lean to the dark side. But Jesus is the light of the world. And we were created to live in the light. So I propose we tell the ‘Daybreak Series’. It is far superior to the Twilight series.

OK! So I admit it. I stop and get directions on a trip only when I am completely and hopelessly lost. And yes I put things together without the instructions and have parts left over. I am a man, that is what we do.

When it comes to life, most people read the instructions or seek directions after the fact. But a loving heavenly Father wants to guide you to get the most out of life. The psalmist writes, “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, and a light on my path.” (Ps. 119:105). I want to suggest to you that you begin your day with instructions and directions from God.

Unlike any other book, the Bible is not just some words written down about God. It is not a book of men’s words about God. It is God’s revelation of Himself to man, and it gives directions to life. It is much like a “driver’s manual” to your automobile. In the glove compartment of your vehicle is a driver’s manual that was placed there by the manufacturer. It gives you instrucitons on how to care for your vehicle. It was not placed there to cramp your style, but to give you the most mileage and use and enjoyment out of the vehicle.

God’s Word is not written to “cramp our style” but to help us get the most out of our lives. It has been given to us by the One who designed and created us. It has been given to us in order to lead us to full and meaningful lives. When God says, “Don’t do something”, it is because He knows that doing that will harm us in the long run. When He tells us to do something, it is again for our own good.

Develop the habit of sitting down everyday and reading the instruction book. Spend time in the Word of God and get directions for your life. No need to wait until you are hopelessly lost, because you are already there. God wants to light your path. He has provided a lamp on your way.

Find a Quiet Place today, and let God speak to your heart through His Word. If you have never read the Bible, begin with the Gospel of Luke, or John. Go from there to Genesis. I love to read from Psalms everyday as well. I take the date, and then add thirty. So, for example, today is the 29th. So I read Psalm 29,59,89, 119, and 149. That way I read through the Psalms once a month. I also read from Genesis. May God bless you as you spend time with Him.

I have a small framed piece of cross-stitch that a friend of mine gave me many years ago. He has long since gone to be with the Lord, but the cross-stitch simply says, “Where God guides, God provides.” Most of the Christians I know would say that they whole-heartedly believe that. When it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, however, they live as though they are practical atheists in that regard.

For example, the church I serve as been involved in mission effort in Mali, West Africa. The average cost per person for a trip is $4,000. Some look at that and say, “Holy Moly, I could never afford that.” And yet after four years and 22 teams, God has provided for each person He has sent. The money comes from many directions. But God has faithfully provided. Some, however, sensing God’s call have chosen not to go because they said, I cannot afford the trip. My point of view is that God can provide you with $4,000 as easily as He can provide you with 4 pennies.

God called Abraham in Genesis 12, to leave his home, his relatives, and go where He would lead Him. He did not tell Him where that would be, or what He might encounter along the way. When God promised an heir, Abraham got tired of waiting and took matters into his own hands. He slept with his wife’s servant, Hagar, and generations have reaped the results of his sin. God, however, provided an heir in Isaac, even when the Bible says that Biologically Sarah could no longer bear him children.

When God challenged Abraham to offer his own son, Isaac, Abraham obeyed. On the way to the place of the sacrifice, Isaac said, “Dad, you have the wood, and the fire for the sacrifice, where is the Lamb?” The answer is amazing. Abraham said, “God will provide Himself the lamb.” God did, and ultiamtely He proviced Himself in the person of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world.

Today, remember this. Jesus said, “Don’t worry about what you will eat or wear. Instead, seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be provided for you.” (Matthew 6:33). In other words, Jesus said, if you will make it your business to seek first my priorities and my business, I will take care of your needs.” When we focus on God, God will provide. Indeed, God will make a way, even when there seems to be no way.

I was listening to one of the sports channels the other day, and they were advertising a game to blame with your friends called, “Would You Rather?” Honestly, I have never played the game, or had I heard of it before. But it brought some interesting thoughts to mind. So in the privacy of your own life, no one but you around, I have some questions.

Would you rather sig through a church service, or a close football game between your team and their biggest rival? Tell yourself the truth. Which would you actually choose to do?

If you had to choose between one hour in the Presence of God, or three weeks in your favorite vacation place, which would you choose? Really?

If you could choose financial security for your family for the rest of your life, or the opportunity to carry the Gospel to a village in India or Iraq, where they had never heard of Jesus, and know that only one outcast woman would be saved, which would you choose?

If you could give $500 and have two 50 yard line seats for the whole season at your favorite sports venue, or give $500 to an organization fighting the human slave trafficking in our world, which woud you give to?

If you could spend an extra three hundred dollars each month and have a brand new car, or give that same $300 to get your church out of debt, which would you choose?

Would you rather see your football team win the National championship, or see someone saved in church this Sunday, which would you honestly choose?

The truth is, we make these choices every day of our lives, don’t we? What does your calendar and your pocket book say about your commitment level to God?

Someone asked the other day, “Do you believe in unconditional love?” The answer to that question for me is an unreserved “Yes.” Having affirmed that, however, I must confess that I cannot comprehend unconditional love. I am confident that only God is capable of completely loving unconditionally.

God’s Word teaches that God is by His very nature the essence of love. I John 4:8,16 state, “God is love.” It is God’s love that drew salvation’s plan. And yet God’s justice provided the means of salvation. Unconditional love is based upon absolute righteousness. God who is absolutely righteous paid the debt of our sin so that we might experience His grace.

Grace is an amazing possibility. Grace is receiving something we do not deserve and could never merit. That is the whole foundation for us having a relationship to the one true and only living God. God loves us because of who He is, not because of anything we have done or could ever do. Honestly, we could never under any circumstances merit or deserve God being gracious to us.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, before we ever thought of God, sought after God, or even desired God, He loved us. He provided a way for us before we ever sinned. It is beyond human ability to comprehend the marvelous, infinite, matchless grace of God.

Pride stands in our way. It stands in our way on the one hand when we think we can do anything without God. When we think that we can be our own “god” by being in charge of our lives, we refuse to submit to God. On the other hand, and we call it an inferiority complex, it is pride that says I have to do something to merit being loved, and since I cannot, God could never love me.

Experiencing God’s grace, and therefore, His incredible love, is a surrender of faith. It is a humble admission, I do not nor could I ever deserve it, but God loves me anyway. It is understanding that I can never do anything to make Him love me more, nor can I ever do anything to make Him love me less. He loves me unconditionally, because He is God.