Apr 14, 2016

OK… So What’s Next?

So you have prayed the prayer at the end of the last blog post titled “Chocolate or Vanilla, Warm or Cold Climate”. Now what?
By way of reminder, this is the prayer you prayed, or you prayed one very much like it:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and coming for me. Thank You for your gift of love to me that You offered when You died on the cross. I can’t thank You enough for that, and I believe You did that for ME. I now receive Your gift – the gift of Your presence in my life, in my body, soul and spirit, and I ask You to forgive me of my sin. Cleanse me from all that separates me from God the Father. I ask You to give me Your Holy Spirit and take my life and turn it into something that honors You and glorifies You as well as fulfills my greatest need. I thank You for all You have done for me. And now Jesus, teach me Your way to live life. I thank You again Jesus, and I pray this in Your Name. Amen.
Let’s take a look at what you did by praying that (or similar) prayer.
First, you thanked Jesus Christ for loving you through His work and His coming to earth for you. And you thanked Him for offering to you the gift of His presence in your life. Another way to understand this, using Biblical language, is you received the gift of eternal life. That is what the Apostle Paul wrote in the book of Romans chapter 6 verse 23 where he writes, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Bible quotations taken from the English Standard Version [ESV] and are used with permission.)
Second, you actually received that gift of eternal life. You said to Jesus, through your prayer, “I now receive Your gift…” You also prayed, “give me Your Holy Spirit…” That is, you asked God to take up residence in you. HE, GOD, is the gift! The gift effects every part of who we are – body, soul and spirit. The receiving of the gift of His very presence in you (your life) is the means by which God forgives you (cleanses you) of your sin. When you prayed and asked Him to forgive you of your sin, that is precisely what He did.
You may have felt something emotionally, and then again maybe not. If you did not feel anything thing emotionally, that does not change the fact that He cleansed you from your sin. The action of God in your life is not dependent on your feelings. It is dependent on His sovereign acting in your life.
You may ask, “If I did not feel anything, and you say the gift effects every part of who I am – body, soul, and spirit – then how can I know it happened? How can I know that it’s true?” I can say that because God has promised it would happen, not that it would be accompanied by any particular sensation or feeling. Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:9 that God does not want any to perish. If that is true, and it is, then God will not make it difficult. Not being difficult to receive the gift of eternal should not say to you or me or anyone that the gift is not overwhelmingly precious, or that that is all there is to it, and nothing more. The Apostle John also writes in the Gospel of John chapter 1 verses 11-13, “He [Jesus] came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
So God’s word says God does not want any to perish, and that anyone who receives Jesus – which is a onetime event, – and believes in His name – which is a continuing, day in and day out, ongoing believing, that person will have the right, the authority to become a child of God. There is no mention of emotional experience in these particular promises.
The word “believe” means to “trust.” If you trust your car, you manage your life in a particular way so that when you need your car to operate, you go and use it and expect it to operate. If you did not trust your car, then you would make other arrangements to do the things you would normally trust your car to help you with. If your car did not work and you had to walk to work, you would adjust your schedule to give you the additional time needed to walk rather than use your car. But if you trust your car to work, your schedule would be such that you don’t leave yourself that extra time to walk because you fully expect your car to do what you expect of it. That kind of trust is what the word “believe” means when we read it in the Bible.
So the “What now?” of our new relationship with God, through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and in the power of God’s Holy Spirit is that we learn how to “walk with God.” Some may say this by the phrase “walk your talk.” This is what is meant by the portion of the prayer where you asked God to “take my life and turn it into something that honors You and glorifies You as well as fulfills my greatest need.” Believing is a matter of behaving, not merely changing our mental thinking/understanding. New thinking leads to new actions/living. As A.W. Tozer once said, “If you’re not changed by grace, you’re not saved by grace.”
The whole purpose of your local church is to help you walk with God. They will help you with that new relationship with God. These blog posts will help you with that too.
So here’s a quick two-step summary of “What now?” 1) Read your Bible every day. It is God revealing Himself to us. I’ll be redundant here – read your Bible every day. 2) Find a good local church in which you can grow in God’s grace, and you can help them too.
Read your Bible. Get involved with a local Christian church.
Sign up to receive RSS feeds of these blog posts so you can stay on course. The enemy, and God’s enemy, Satan or the devil, likes nothing better than to get new Christians off to a bad start. Don’t let that happen!
God bless you in your new relationship and walk with God!

Apr 5, 2016

Chocolate or Vanilla? Warm or Cold Climate?

So… what do you prefer? Chocolate or vanilla? The warmer or the cooler climates?
Did you answer the question re the level of importance knowing what happens after we die? Is it along the lines of personal preference, or is it along the lines of what is often called the “first order questions of life”?
Enough of the luring. There are definite answers to these questions, and they do belong to the category of “first order questions of life.”
To know truth about life after death, if there is any and if so what is it like, we must have evidence that is not dependent on our experience; the evidence is not based on subjective experiences or feelings or best guesses. The evidence must be objective. That is, it must be evidence that points to and “reveals” truth that is true for all people regardless of virtually all life circumstances. I say “virtually all” because there do exist in some of the more extreme cases circumstances that would change the outcome if absolute strictness to revealed truth for the vast majority if adhered to. (These could be called “exceptions.”)  But then even those “exceptions” are also based on revealed truth.
Does this objective truth exist?
Yes.
And YOU can know it. And YOU should know it and make decisions about it in YOUR life because as the saying goes, “There will be a test.” And no, you can’t get out of the test, “CLEP” the test, or use any other method to avoid the full test.
It’s even more sure than the sun rising in the morning.
How do I know this? Well… let me share that with you.
Let’s say I blindfolded you and took you to Texas. (Have you ever traveled across or through a good portion of Texas? It’s BIG.) I have covered the state of Texas about two feet deep in silver dollar coins, but there is one, just one, that is different in the slightest way. If you are one of these people who can detect the slightest variation in weight, or texture, etc. you would not be able to do that with this one particular coin.
Now imagine I asked you to walk out into Texas and go anywhere you wanted and pick up a coin – any coin. What are the odds you would be able to pick up that one particular coin that is different from all the others, on the first attempt, while you are still blindfolded? I’ll tell you the odds because back in the 1940s Peter Stoner figured this out. [see footnote for who he is.]
The odds you could do that are 1X10 to the 17th power. That’s 1 with 17 zeros after it. I don’t know how to say a number that big. From a statistical standpoint, it’s impossible for anyone to pick up that coin on the first try. That’s a statement based on science, not speculation, or intuition, or feelings but it’s objective evidence.
But it doesn’t stop there. What if I told you that someone actually did something like that, but even MORE astounding! Yes, that’s right! Someone did something like that, but almost ten (10 yes, TEN) times more Unlikely! Think about that for a moment… Someone did something that statistically it would only happen once in what must be considered the proverbial “astronomical” number.
Jesus Christ of the Bible did this. He did more than the 1X10 to the 17th power. That figure is based on a number of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. The number of prophecies it’s based on is eight (8). Now consider this, the number of Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled is more like sixty (yes 60 – that’s not a typo – six zero). That produces a number far to large for us to even begin to grasp. That’s why professor Stoner looked for another way for us to understand this.
What does this objective fact tell us? What does it reveal to us? It shows us that someone was behind the scenes directing everything to a desired end or outcome. That “someone” of course is God.
God has revealed Himself in the pages of the Holy Bible, and He has shown us the answer to our question. We may like that answer, or we may not like that answer, but you know what…? We can’t change the answer. We MUST deal with what God has shown us.
Here are the facts for all of us – we have been separated from God and we need a redeemer. God has prepared that Redeemer for us in the person of Jesus Christ. The fact that Jesus Christ fulfilled these prophecies shows Him (reveals Him) to be the chosen means God has given by which we can know what happens after we die. You don’t need to guess. You can know.
I’ll go into this further in later posts, but if you want to know for sure that when you die you will be in the best place and experience the best possible life, then commit yourself to Jesus Christ as Lord and receive Him as Savior. Part of committing yourself to Him as Lord is to change your mind and your actions to come in line with what the Bible teaches as pleasing to God. The Bible calls that “repentance.”
If you are truly honest with yourself and sincere in your desire to be redeemed by the only Redeemer, to be cleansed from all that separates you from God, then in the honesty and integrity of your heart, pray the following prayer and let me know you have done this. I will help you find a good church in your area. That’s part of the repentance thing too.
OK – here’s the prayer – pray this and think of yourself as speaking to God, because you are.
Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and coming for me. Thank You for your gift of love to me that You offered when You died on the cross. I can’t thank You enough for that, and I believe You did that for ME. I now receive Your gift – the gift of Your presence in my life, in my body, soul and spirit, and I ask You to forgive me of my sin. Cleanse me from all that separates me from God the Father. I ask You to give me Your Holy Spirit and take my life and turn it into something that honors You and glorifies You as well as fulfills my greatest need. I thank You for all You have done for me. And now Jesus, teach me Your way to live life. I thank You again Jesus, and I pray this in Your Name. Amen.
Now let me know you prayed this prayer if you would please by emailing me here.
God bless you!
(Peter Stoner credentials: PETER W. STONER, M.S. Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College until 1953; Chairman of the science division, Westmont College, 1953-57; Professor Emeritus of Science, Westmont College; Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Astronomy, Pasadena City College. [gleaned from http://sciencespeaks.dstoner.net/index.html#c0])