Tag Archives: Religion

Today Is The Day!

“For I hope (wait for and trust) in You, O Lord;
You will answer, O Lord my God.” Psalm 38:15

In Psalm 38, King David cries out to the LORD acknowledging his sin and seeking relief from the suffering it brought. He knows (vs 9) that his LORD is aware of all his concerns, confesses his inability to do anything about them, then makes the declaration of verse 15.

As with David, much, if not all our troubles can be traced back to our sin / sins. Though, we must remember the words of Jesus Christ in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” If we live in this world, we will have trouble and not necessarily because of anything we have done, and we can overcome in it because He has, and we are in Him.

That said, our failures, disappointments, reversals, and more, may be traced back to the person we see in the mirror each morning. Someone once said: “I am what I am because of the choices I have made”. David, as should we, took full responsibility for his situation, and if we are to move forward from where we are today, it must begin at this place of confession. In Psalm 32:3-6, David says he suffered until he acknowledged and confessed his sin. Only then did forgiveness, relief from guilt, and reconciliation with God come.

We all need  to be reconciled to this indispensable, Life-giving relationship; agreeing with Him about our condition, finding the abundant forgiveness He offers through Jesus Christ’s completed work, then, following His detailed instructions on how to get on and stay on His path (Psalm 32:8-11).   This fulfills our reason for existing, gains His favor, successes and life-sustaining supply. This gets Him the glory and honor He deserves and He mercies us with joy, rest and the inner peace He has guaranteed.

Seek Him NOW while He can be found (Psalm 32:6).  Today is the day!  Know the benefits His way assures (Psalm 32:10, 11).  His unfailing love is here, now, and promises consistent ongoing personal improvement and future amazing outcomes to all who believe in Him.

May this be yours in abundance, Today!

For more help in knowing God personally:  https://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html

Carpe Diem!

Mitch

Introductory Comments…

“From Thy precepts I get understanding; Therefore, I hate every false way.  [For] Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:104-105

I’m privileged to join LRPSP as a contributor / editor.  In a day of fake news and an unlimited array of information sources, getting the truth about anything proves to be a challenge.  But the Scriptures, as interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit, can give us God’s view on all things and offers wisdom that can make life work for us.  Why look to Him?  Because His Word tells us He is the only reliable source for truth.  He, our Creator and Sustainer, is that Source.

There are many voices but only One we can depend on. There are many worldviews and paths to take but only a dynamic relational link to God through His Son, Jesus Christ, makes us privy to the vast liberating flow of Truth and Life that gives Light, revealing His path, His way.  He desires to do this in us.  It is only from this Foundation we experience the outcomes and success He’s intended. Otherwise, we are following “fake news” disseminated by the enemy of our souls, who only seeks “…to steal, kill and destroy”.  Any other way  but His is false.  Jesus said of Himself that “He is the Way, The Truth and The Life.  No one comes to the Father but through me.” John 14:6

He’s promised to be our adequacy, sufficiency and security.  As our Maker, He is uniquely qualified to fulfill these needs.  As we choose His way and let Him work in us, it pleases Him and gets Him the Glory, Honor and Dignity that is His alone as Creator, Sustainer, Counselor, Guide…Our Hope, Deliverer, Redeemer…Friend.

I trust your times spent reading here will be helpful.

Indebted,

Mitch

Which Side of The Cross Are You On?

When I started this blog I thought that I would treat issues from the Philosophies, Sciences, PoliticsLife, and Religion equally.  All of them are interesting to me and all of them are equally important in defining who we are as a person, as a nation, and as people of this world.

As it turns out though, I have gravitated more towards religion than any of the other studies.  There are a few reasons for this, not the least of which is you, the people I perceive that actually take the time to read my musings.  When I look at the stats for this blog, the readership is heavily slanted towards foreign visits.  United States of America visits do not even comprise half of the readership here.  At least according to the WEB statistics.

And while I find politics immensely interesting, I am only exposed to a couple of political factions in the world.  Those here in the U.S. and those of the Philippines.  Perhaps to some small extent those of Great Britain, but only because of the close history shared between them and the U.S. and definitely not from an understanding of the political culture in the country on a day-to-day basis.

I am not sure I could adequately represent U.S. politics in such a way as to gain interest or engagement from such a diverse international readership as the stats of this blog indicate.

We do all share a common ground however.  And that is Religion.  And it is only natural that I would weight my discussions towards religion.  Because our religion is what will set our biases and our beliefs towards our purpose, as humans here on this planet, and how we establish a moral and ethical code of conduct, both to ourselves, our God (if we believe in one), and to each other.  We ALL have a religion.  Even if you are atheist, it is still your religion.  Atheism influences your set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.  All the religions of the world influence people in their understanding of life, their purpose, and their obligations to themselves and one another.  Agnostics practice a religion, as do people of great faith.  We all are bound to one religion or another whether we recognize it or not.

One religion however has a seminal event that had a great impact on the entire world and stood the test of time and spanned the ages and continues to guide the course of human events even today.

That religion is Christianity and the event is the Cross.  We’ve marked time by it.  We’ve defined faiths by it.  We’ve ostensibly fought wars because of it.  And we’ve tortured and created martyrs over it.  It is a symbolism that is recognized the world over and brings a controversy and impact with it wherever it goes like no other event in history.

What is amazing to me is that those who would stamp out the controversy of the Cross are not amazed by the impact it has made the world over.  How is it that one man, the person of Jesus Christ, and one death upon the Cross has brought us to the point we are at in the world today?  How is it that the more the world tries to erase its very existence from human history, the more those that cling to it strengthen their grip?  How is it that a seemingly insignificant event, that of a man being executed upon a Cross could make such an impact upon the entire world?

There have been many executions throughout human history.  Many of them famous ones.  I could surely name some that the vast majority of people the world over would be familiar with.  But none of them would compare to one event, some two thousand years ago, that has defined the course of human history.  How is that?  And how are people not amazed and in wonderment of that?  How is it the very executioners of Jesus Christ themselves thought his claim of being the Son of God must be true (Matthew 27:54)?  How is it this one event has reverberated through the annuals of time unless Jesus Christ were true to his claim and he really is the Son of the Most High God?

But the point I want to get to today is that there were at least three crosses upon that hill (that we are told about).  There was a cross to the left and a cross to the right of Jesus (Mathew 27:38).  Three individuals were crucified that day.  And history records all three.  The other two are known as malefactors or thieves.  Today, in most western cultures, and quite a few eastern cultures as well, we would hardly execute someone for the crime of stealing.  Here in the U.S.A. it is not uncommon for thieves to receive a monetary fine and a few years in jail (Source: FindLaw.com and Laws.com).  Certainly a far cry from execution, let alone execution upon a Cross.

The interesting thing to me is that both of the individuals are identified as thieves.  They were both guilty of the exact same crime.  Kind of like you and me.  We are all guilty of violating God’s law (Romans 3:23).  We have all stolen from God the glory that is rightfully His.  We have all stolen the sovereignty that He and He alone deserves.  We have all stolen the allegiance that the creation owes the creator from an Almighty God.  And like the two thieves that hung on their cross on either side of Jesus Christ, we hang in the balance on one side of the Cross or the other.

Each of the two thieves had a different mindset towards Jesus Christ as he hung on the Cross (Luke 23:39-43).  One of them feared God.  One did not.  One of them was responded to.  One was not.  One of them recognized that they were both in a common conviction (justly) of their sins while Jesus Christ was not.  The other simply mocked and ridiculed him.

There are two sides of the Cross.  And the dividing line is the outstretched arms of Jesus Christ.  There is no middle ground.  Jesus Christ himself, and He alone occupies the middle ground.  And we are all (every man, woman, child, every human being that ever has, ever will, and who today exists upon the face of this earth) on one side of that Cross or the other.

My question is: Which side of the Cross are YOU on?  I’m on the side of the thief who begged that Jesus Christ, Lord, would remember me in the Heavenly Kingdom (Luke 23:42).  I pray that you would come to stand on the same side as well.

Expectations In Life …

Expectations in life can be a roller coaster ride.  A series of ups and downs and twists and turns.  Sometimes you are upside down and other times you are plummeting straight towards the ground.

There are many religions in the world that teach transcendental meditation as a way of emptying oneself or removing all expectations from ones life.  However, while proclaiming this is the path to fulfilment or completeness, they do little to explain what that state is when achieved, and why it is to be desired.

For the true atheist there is no good way to manage expectations.  Since this life is all there is, you either go for the gold or you do not.  Either way, you are bound to be disappointed at some point in time.  But it is kind of shallow since whatever your expectations are, they are temporal in the here and now.  The true atheist can only be happy or sad in the present moment and is in a constant pursuit of the next stage of happiness.

In reality, the true atheist is not seeking the betterment of others because they desire the well being of the other person, but rather because by helping (or perceiving to help) the other person they themselves experience some type of satisfaction or feeling of accomplishment.  But why is that?  Why does generosity or kindness to another bring a sense of fulfilment to the person offering that kindness?

For the theist the management of expectations and the inequities in life are a much different matter.  The theist should realize that they are part of a much grander plan and that the Master (God) is the architect of that plan.  And for the Christian specifically, they should realize that the grander plan has many different forces at work within it.

I believe that a majority of stress and anxiety people experience in their lives is due to mismanaged expectations.  Mismanaged expectations lead to the roller coaster ride we experience when we find ourselves in the middle of situations we did not plan for, or places that we believe to be unfair, or a condition outside of our control.  And it is that roller coaster ride that leads to the stress and anxiety within our lives.  And that has a devastating effect on us spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Jesus Christ said it like this:

“7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them.  When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;  And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.  10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.  11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.  13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:  14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”  (Luke 14:7-14)

But Jesus was not telling us we should not be without hope, rather he was telling us that  we should not assume that place which we are not offered and we should manage our expectations.

Everyone wants to sit at the head of the table.  The problem with the head of the table is there are limited seats of honor.  If every seat is the seat of honor then we should have no expectations at all.  However since every seat is not the seat of honor (nor can they be), we should manage our desires and seek the lower seat until asked by the Master to move to the head of the table.

This is contrary to the thinking of the world today.  Everyone wants the best that life has to offer.  Some would view Jesus’s teachings on this point as that of a defeatist attitude or a meek and underwhelming person.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is equally as dangerous to attempt to manipulate the system.  If you sit at the lowest place for the express purpose of gaining the Master’s attention and then you are passed over, you run the risk of becoming angry because you were not noticed.

It is not how you play the game, it is where you heart is at within the game.  A right heart will manage expectations appropriately and as such will not be offended sitting at the lowest place or the highest.  A right heart will stay in tune with the Master desiring his will and to serve him completely.  A right heart will avoid stress and anxiety in life not by attempting to empty oneself, but rather by putting oneself into a right relationship with God.

I will be the first to admit that this is one of the more difficult lessons in life.  And one that I sincerely wish God would teach me more about.  It is hard not to want to sit at a higher place at the table.  Even those that have no desire to sit at the head of the table struggle to manage expectations in life.

But those that do achieve (even on some small level) to place themselves into a right relationship with God have a great reward to look forward to.  It was this same Jesus which also said:

“29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.  30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.”  (Matthew 19:29-30)

There are going to be quite a few surprised people in the new life when they learn that their place is not what they thought it was going to be.

So what are your expectations in life?  Mine are having a right relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Whose Science Is It?

One of the more amusing aspects of the whole God debate to me is the exclusive territory of science.  As if certain crowds have a lock on particular disciplines.

When studying the world around us, there are many different facets that can be taken into account.  And there are different theories and interpretations of the data.  But just because one world view doesn’t line up with your world view does not automatically mean that you have a lock on the interpretation of the data.

There actually is a science of Theology – Theo, of the Greek Theos or God, and ology, primarily of Latin origin for the study of.  Hence, the study of (or the Science of) God.

Theology is not Religion and not all religions have Theology at their base.  In the strictest sense of the term, Atheism is a religion.  Atheism is, in fact, a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.  And those beliefs hold that there is no existence of a God.

What is interesting then is that atheism (for the most part) tends to claim ownership of all of the realm of science.  The claim is that you cannot mix religion and science (particularly data and facts).  But that is the very thing that Atheism then tends to do.  To my amazement, it tends to do it to exclusion.

But Atheism, by its very definition has no Theology.  How can it?  It prescribes that there is no God.  And having no Theology, how can it then, evaluate any premises it may form, correctly concerning the existence of God?  In reality, it purports to establish fact based upon evidence it cannot support.

I do not need to prove the existence of God in order for him to exist.  God either exists or he does not.  But that does not mean that I cannot take a preponderance of the evidence and draw some conclusions one way or the other.

To say that I cannot infer the existence of God based upon science is preposterous.  My Theology is perfectly capable of forming hypotheses and theories based upon the observable universe around me.  And I should be able to determine which model the evidence better supports.

The Atheist may determine that the model better supports their particular world view, but that in no way gives them a lock on Science.  Science has neither conclusively proven nor dis-proven the existence of God.  Theists simply believe that the preponderance of the evidence more conclusively supports the existence of a God than not.

Typically (not always, but in most cases – at least in my experience), people want to argue Religion and not Theology.  But before you can argue Religion, you must first agree upon which Religion you are going to debate.  And there are many of them to debate, and not all equal at that.  Satanism is a Religion.  One might suppose that Satanist at least accept the existence of God since the very concept of Satan comes from God centered religions.  Perhaps not though.  There may be some Satanist that believe there is no other God other than Satan himself, in which case they still accept the existence of a God (albeit, in my world view, the wrong one).

Atheism is, in and of itself, a religion.  And if one is to undertake a religious debate, one must argue the merits of Atheism compared to other world religions.  However, if one wants to argue the existence of God, one should argue from a Theological standpoint.  Does the evidence better support a model for a God or for no God?  In my world view, the evidence is greatly in favor of a God.

Once one has determined in his or her own mind as to the existence of God, then the debate as to who or what that God may (or may not) be can take place.  At this point there are many religions that purport to have that answer.  I am satisfied with my aligned Religion (Christianity), but even within that there is a myriad of disparate thought.  I’ve drawn my own conclusions, and at times I am given to deep contemplation over a perceived belief.  But those have never altered my Theology.

At times I wonder why Atheists even want to debate their position.  Why would it matter?  If there is indeed no God, then where is the derived meaning in Life?  Apparently the Founding Fathers of the United States of America could find no other recourse for the inherent basic truths of life other than that of a Creator (God).  Their preponderance of the evidence led them to believe that a Creator endowed mankind (Human race) with inalienable rights.  If further evidence purports that there is no God, then it fails to establish any rights, liberties, or happiness other than cosmic chaos.  Indeed, even Dr. Richard Dawkins has stated that the appearance of Intelligent Design is actually an illusion of whatever naturally occurs in nature.  Meaning, that there is no meaning behind it all.

Actually, in my experience, what Atheists really want to debate is not Theology, they have none, since their minds are made up on that point, but rather religions.  Atheists want to have a religious debate because their own religion does not prescribe to what other world religions assert as a basis.

But even here, I do not believe it fair to lay exclusive hold to the realm of Science.  It is disingenuous to begin with, as if their religion is the only religion that could ever interpret scientific data.  But it also shuts down creativity and growth of the human race.  Exactly what they claim other religions do.

May I use Science (other Scientific Disciplines) to support my Theology?  Of course I may.  And if my interpretation of the data is different than yours, it does not mean that a differing world view owns the Science and therefore cannot consider my conclusions.  Neither does it mean that my conclusions are wrong or have necessarily been disproven.  It simply means that there are multiple interpretations of that data.

So whose Science is it anyway?  It is all of our Science.  We are all free to explore and discover and derive our own set of conclusions and beliefs as we learn and grow in life.  So don’t tell me I cannot mix Religion and Science, because at the point of my Theology I can.  Just the same as the Atheists already do.  The only difference is I actually encourage them to use Science to explore and to learn the mysteries of Life and the Universe.  Because I find that data supports my Theology.

LRPSP

LRPSP. com has been up for over a week now and I thought I’d step back and provide some foundation for the categories, my biases, and the general discussions.  The About page provides an overview of the Blog, however I thought that over time a little more detail might be provided.  This is a short introduction.

The pillars of the site – Life / Religion / Politics / Science / Philosophy are the foundations we exist upon.  I have collapsed some of the categories for the sake of a short, catchy URL (at least I hope it is catchy), but for the most part the things that make up our world and make us who we are fit into these categories.  They are also the categories where the most passionate debates come from.  These are the discussions about who we are, how did we get here, why are we here, where are we going, what are we supposed to be doing, and what does it all mean?

if you were to look at an apologetics course such as The Truth Project – hosted at Focus On The Family you will find pretty much the same core of pillars.  These pillars are also where apologists such as Dr. Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Del Tackett, or Josh McDowell might build their cases on.

I am nowhere near as talented as either one of these three individuals, or others like them, but I do have an understanding of the basics, and I enjoy a heart-to-heart conversation.  And I’d like to invite anyone and everyone to join in the conversations.  Especially those that are dissenters, such as these folks that obviously take issue with Josh McDowell’s book Evidence That Demands A Verdict.

Of course this is a family oriented site so the rules are somewhat strict.  Of course that doesn’t mean we cannot have adult discussions from time-to-time, but it does mean that a certain level of civility and a language code will be insisted upon.

The pillars cover the following:

Life– Everything that animates us that we experience, know, and deal with on a day-to-day basis.  Life covers the physical, our bodies, our world and our interactions with it, our souls, our emotions, thoughts, and what makes us laugh, what makes us cry.  Life covers all the unique characteristics that make you – you and me – me.  These could be hobbies, sports, interests, studies, jobs, interactions, or anything else that makes us the unique creations we are.

Religion– Everything within the Spiritual world and our connection with God.  Religion may encompass Theology, our innermost selves, Heaven, Hell, Angels, Demons, and all things of a Devine nature.

Politics– Would cover our Governments, our laws, things that govern our social interactions, or even the application, adjudication, or interpretation of those laws.  Governments (and thus politics) do not necessarily exist at the Capitol buildings and no where else.  They generally permeate our entire lives.  Homeowners Associations are a form of Governance (and are generally found to be the bottom rung of government).  However, Politics may even extend into the home and the family structure.

Science– Is all the sciences.  Biology, Sociology, Anthropology, Archaeology, Geography, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, etc.  the Sciences are important because they facilitate our discovery and our understanding of the world around us.

Philosophy– Our Philosophies are what define and establish our World Views.  They help shape how we see things and through what colored lenses we interpret things.

Obviously by now, if you have followed any of my timeline, or read my blog posts from the beginning, you might surmise that my World View encompasses a God.  I believe Theology (I just grouped this under Religion) is the foundational study of all.  It is the foundation upon which everything else is built.

It should be clear by now that my Theological Foundation is the ground floor that all other pillars sit upon.

And I would like to point out that all great minds start out here (not that I am saying that I am a great mind, but rather that I am a good student and have learned from them).

Even amongst our high level contemporary thinkers, Dr. Richard Dawkins, Dr. Richard Carrier, Dr. Stephen Hawking, and (of course) Dr. Ravi Zacharias, and Dr. Del Tackett, all of these start with Theology.

What is it that consumes Dr. Dawkins completely?  Why it is to disprove the existence of God.  Dr. Stephen Hawking’s latest book, The Grand Design, states “It is reasonable to ask who or what created the universe, but if the answer is God, then the question has merely been deflected to that of who created God.” (The Grand Design, pg. 165, 1st paragraph).  Dr. Carrier is certainly consumed by Christians (if not God), see part of his talk at Skepticon 3 (or just search YouTube for him).  All of these individuals are consumed with Theology, the study of God.  Granted, their study intends to disprove the existence of God, but you cannot disprove that which you do not study.

Clearly all great minds agree that Theology is foundational to any other study we may pursue.  It provides us insight into other studies and (as Dr. Hawking points out in his book on pg. 164), it is a necessary study to answer the questions: “Why is there something rather than nothing?  Why do we exist?  Why this particular set of law and not some other?” just before he launches into a Theological discussion of God.

But I hope you don’t think all of my Blog discussions will be some boring, unintelligible diatribe about Religion, or Politics, or Philosophy, or Science.  No, I’d like to discuss the fun parts, the sad parts, and the parts of life that interest you as well.

It is sincerely my hope you will see the importance and value of these pillars, and that they will help  guide your input, but if not, don’t worry about it.  Either read for fun, or join in to share you opinion.

But let’s have a conversation about: Life/Religion/Politics/Science/Philosophy!