I ran into a snag recently, so I’ve been looking for a new theme for my site. I’ve finally decided on this one, but it will take some reconstruction to get it where I want it. You can, however, read my blog and all the other pages. I’m keeping everything operational as I work on it.
If you have thoughts or suggestions, add them to the comments below or go to the Contact Me Page. I’d be happy to hear from you (as long as you’re not a spammer).
One day a Pharisee named Nicodemus came to talk to Jesus. Jesus told him that unless a person is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. This confused Nicodemus. How could he, as an adult, be “born” a second time?
Nicodemus didn’t realize that Jesus was speaking about a spiritual birth, rather than a second physical birth. Jesus clarified that — first you are born of water (a natural physical birth), then you are born of the spirit (a spiritual birth). He even restated this — your flesh is born of someone else’s flesh, and your spirit is born of the Holy Spirit.
By now Nicodemus was more confused than ever. Maybe you are too.
Born of the Spirit?
Jesus explained to Nicodemus about the Spirit. The Spirit is like the wind. You can’t see the wind blow, but you can feel it blow. You can also see the results of it blowing. So, the wind blows, and the tree branches move. Or the shingles fly off your house. Or garbage blows across your lawn. You can’t see the wind, or where the wind is coming from, but you can see what it is doing.
That is one way to know if you are born again. Is the Spirit doing things in your life? Things that you can’t tell where they are coming from? For instance, something might tell you to give a twenty-dollar bill to a homeless person. Or to pick up a hitch hiker and speak to him about Jesus. Or apologize to someone for something you said about them.
By default, we do bad things, ugly things, selfish things. But when we are born of the Spirit our default changes and we want to do good things.
A Child of the Light?
Jesus also talked to Nicodemus about the Light. A person who has not been born of the Spirit doesn’t like Light, because it exposes him. It shows clearly how selfish and evil he is. But when a person has been born of the Spirit, he embraces Light. The Light helps him to see. It leads him to do good, to be unselfish, to be unafraid of being seen.
If you are born again, other people will see it by the changes in your life. And you will see it because you are no longer afraid of the Light revealing you.
“Whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life.”
My son-in-law’s dog likes to ride in the front seat of his truck and snooze. But when someone else is driving, he’s very alert and ready to jump in and help where needed. In this case, my daughter is driving, so he knows that he better not go to sleep.
Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. (Matthew 6:6, The Message)
Lord, I have shut the door, Speak now the word Which in the din and throng Could not be heard; Hushed now my inner heart, Whisper Thy will, While I have come apart, While all is still.
Lord, I have shut the door, Here do I bow; Speak, for my soul intent Turns to Thee now. Rebuke Thou what is vain, Counsel my soul, Thy holy will reveal, My will control.
In this blest quietness Clamorings cease; Here in Thy presence dwells Infinite peace; Yonder, the strife and cry, Yonder, the sin: Lord, I have shut the door, Thou art within!
Lord, I have shut the door, Strengthen my heart; Yonder awaits the task— I share a part. Only through grace bestowed May I be true; Here, while alone with Thee, My strength renew.
The hardest questions in life cannot be answered by science or philosophy. To discover what makes life worth living, we need to go to the Bible. To discover where we come from, and why, we need to go to the Bible. To discover who God is, what heaven is, what good is, or what evil is, we need to go to the Bible.
Do you wonder, like Job did, why life isn’t fair? And why good people need to suffer? The Bible has the answers. You may read CS Lewis’s book, The Problem of Pain, and it will help you because—and only because—it takes you to God and to the Bible for answers.
Don’t look to the theologians and the philosophers. They are helpful only as they take you to God and His Word. Human reason, philosophy, and logic don’t have answers, only questions. If you want to study apologetics, focus on the ones that show that the Bible’s message is authentic, genuine, and inspired. Once you have established that, you can go to the Bible for the other answers.
The big question you need to settle first is God. Once you experience God, you have a foundation that you can trust. Once you realize that God is real and that the Bible is the expression of God’s Truth, then you have an invincible fortress to protect you from sin and Satan and Agnosticism.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (Jesus Christ)
This book includes a short summary and introduction of every book in the Bible. It also gives a brief introduction to Bible study methods. If you want to know more about the Bible this might be the book for you.
I’ve tried different ways of tracking my time. But I finally found a good app for it. It’s available for Windows and Android, and maybe more. It shares from device to device using either Google Drive or One Drive clouds. I just installed it on my phone and “bingo” — my data was there.
… over the question of suffering and evil. They ask, “Why would a goodGod allow such badthings?” They assume that this question forces us to accept that either God isn’t good, or He isn’t God.
But it isn’t good for finite people to make rash assumptions about an infinite God. We end up either making fools of ourselves or turning God into an enemy. So, let’s consider this question for a bit.
We live in a broken world. But it is a world that looks forward to better things. Pain, evil and suffering are merely the birth pangs leading to a better world. (See Romans 8:16 – 22)
Romans 8:16 – 23
… uses the concept of suffering to explain what it is like to be a Christian. It also gives us some reasons why suffering is important. Notice the two pictures that Paul gives us here. On the one hand we have suffering Christians. On the other hand we have nature, also suffering.
For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. (Rom 8:16-23 NLT)
Here are some concepts
… from this passage.
If we expect to share in the glory of Christ, we need to accept his suffering. Why should we expect the one without the other?
Any suffering we might face is nothing in comparison with the glory we look forward to. So why should we balk at paying the price?
God had created man and woman perfect. He had also created nature perfect. In this perfection there was no evil, no pain, and no suffering.
Sin changed it all. It broke us, and we died spiritually. God also cursed nature, because broken humans needed a broken home to live in. Now nature is broken too. Broken beings and broken things suffer.
God told Eve that she would be saved by child birth. I’m sure that every time that she conceived a child she looked forward eagerly to her labor pains. Maybe this child would be the savior! Nature too is suffering labor pains. Suffering reminds us of better things coming. It is a very foolish mother who thinks that she can have the joys of child-birth without suffering labor pains.
It is through suffering that we give birth to the glory in store for us. Nature will also be reborn someday and will be part of a new heaven and a new earth—perfect once more. It will the perfect home for a perfect people who have been reborn with perfect bodies and perfect, sin free spirits.
No mother enjoys the pain of delivering a child. But through that pain she receives a “new” son or daughter. It makes her a mother!
My grand daughter was delivered by C-section. She didn’t go through the pains of being born. But the painful experience of birth is necessary for the health of a child. She suffered later because she didn’t suffer those pains. Even so, we wouldn’t become perfect people living in glory without the labor pains we suffer here on earth.
Join the society of the broken
… living in a broken society on a broken earth. But birth pains never last forever. The time is coming, and coming soon, when the pain will burst into GLORY!