September 24, 2014

Evidence of God’s Presence

The legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s rite of passage tells of a boy who is blindfolded by his father and left alone overnight in the forest. The lad sits on a stump all night and is told not to remove the blindfold until the sun rises.  

The boy is terrified by the night sounds, but the only way he can be considered a man is to sit without showing fear or distress. When morning comes, the youth removes his blindfold and discovers that his father is sitting nearby prepared to protect him from all harm.

The story of the Rite of Passage suggests that like the Cherokee father, God may not be seen, but that doesn’t mean He is not present.

Recently, I had an echocardiogram, and as I watched on the monitor and heard the sound of my heart pumping, I marveled at the evidence of a Creator within me. My embryo was only three weeks old and smaller than a bean when my heart spontaneously began to beat and circulate the blood within me.

Evidence of God’s presence is there for everyone to feel in a human heart which begins beating spontaneously when an embryo is even smaller than a bean and only three weeks old. I estimate this perfect pump in my eighty-three year old body has been beating more that 3 trillion times nourishing and cleaning the 100 trillion cells within me.

The miraculous human heart, inspired by our Creator, is more than sufficient evidence of the existence of God.

September 19, 2014

Faith and Works

A man fell in a deep pit, and he couldn’t climb out. Here are the reactions from people who passed by the pit: 
An EPA agent asked the man if he had a permit to dig the pit.
An IRS agent asked the man if he was paying taxes on the pit.
An optimist told the man, “Things could be worse.”
A pessimist told the man, “Things will get worse.”
A “fire and brimstone” preacher said, “You deserve the pit.”
A psychiatrist said, “Tell me about your childhood.”
A mathematician calculated the depth of the pit.

A reporter took notes to write a story about the the pit.
Everyone who found the man in the pit had an opinion about his plight, but none of them did anything about his dilemma, until . . . Jesus found the man in the deep pit and rescued him.

In a letter considered to be a how-to book on Christian living, James, the brother of Jesus, wrote, “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”

Most Christians have the belief part down.  The question is, “Have they broken a sweat doing something about it?”

September 11, 2014

Jesus: Simply A Good Man and a Moral Teacher?

People who do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God will often suggest that He was simply a good man and a moral teacher. Those who take that position would obviously agree that honesty is one characteristic of a good man.

Jesus claimed to be God. Was he lying? If so, He was not a good man. If He wasn’t lying, His claim must be true or He was deranged.

Moral people are truthful. Jesus claimed he could forgive our sins. Was that a lie?  If not, His claim must be true or He was insane.

Was Jesus a lunatic? Jesus spoke some of the most profound words ever recorded, and in those words people have found strength and comfort for two thousand years. No logical person can possibly conclude that Jesus was insane.

If Jesus was not a liar and if He was not insane, the only alternative is that He was the Christ, the Son of God…. as He claimed.

C. S. Lewis, a professor at Cambridge University and a former agnostic, said this:
“You can shut Him (Jesus) up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a daemon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

September 4, 2014

Following Jesus

After a delicious seafood lunch at a restaurant in the port town of Beaufort, North Carolina, Nancy and I sat by the docks where the fishing boats come and go.

Nearby, two fishermen were cleaning their day’s catch of blues, flounder and mullet. As we observed this scene, a third man approached the fishermen 

“Can I help you?” said one of the fishermen. The stranger smiled and said, “Pete and Andy, come with me. I’ve been looking for you. I have an important job for you to do.”

The fishermen obviously didn’t know the stranger, so we were stunned when they washed their hands, put their knives away and walked off with him.

Perhaps this familiar Bible story in a 21st Century setting will help the reader  appreciate what a courageous and bold act it was for Peter and Andrew to walk into an uncertain future as Jesus’ disciples.

It still takes courage to follow Jesus. Discipleship requires a desire to do the will of God and belief that Jesus is the Messiah.

What is the will of God? The 8th Century prophet Micah answered that question with this simple statement: “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”