Five years ago I started this blog. This is the only entry from December of that year. While it’s a bit rough around the edges (heck we all know things don’t “always work out well in the end”) I think it’s good to repost these entries and see growth in my writing, spirituality and my understanding of God’s Word. God is with us and we can have hope in Him and His promises even when things appear bleak or don’t work out.
God is not going to make life perfect for us on this Earth. We are going to go through struggles, pain, suffering and loss. The key is to continue to trust in him. Things always work out well in the end. Remember this life is a blink of an eye compared to entirety with the Lord. John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”
Remember to continue to do Gods Work during your time here. Always trust in him during your times of struggle, in the end you will be at peace.
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin,[a] was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Because of this story Thomas is always referred to as “Doubting Thomas”. It has also led to a lot of people in the church calling those with doubts a “Doubting Thomas”. In reality that is unfair.
My Pastor on Sunday argued that this story really is about Thomas coming to belief in Jesus as He is rather than the part when Thomas doubted.
The truth is it very easy for us as to smugly read about Thomas’ doubt and shake our heads at him. But we all came to faith at some point, prior to that we didn’t believe in God at all in most cases and if we are honest with ourselves we all have doubt at times.
And that is okay!
I am big fan of Mike Winger and his Bible Thinker YouTube channel. He actually affirmed his faith by researching the claims in Christianity, he had doubt and now is an excellent Bible teacher.
Lee Strobel famously wrote “The Case for Christ” to verify the truth of Christianity but he originally was trying to debunk Christianity.
My testimony of how I started to take my faith seriously involves a lot of doubt.
I read the Bible and a lot of times struggled, I was confused and also asked myself, “How could this be true?”
I continued to read scripture, listened to apologetics while also listening to skeptics and reading books from both theologians and critics like Richard Dawkins and Bart Ehrman.
I went back and forth with points and counter points.
Then I finally just prayed for wisdom. I saw things so much clearer thank God and was able to understand the Bible and the history of Christianity a lot better.
God revealed Himself and continues to revel Himself to me in countless ways.
My faith was made stronger from my doubt.
Now like Thomas I can truly say, “My Lord and my God.”
11 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus[a] sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
John 12:12-19 English Standard Version
The Triumphal Entry
12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”
As Christians we are called to love people even if that person is emerged in their sins, even if that person is your enemy or an enemy of God and even if they hate you.
That being said love isn’t condoning bad behavior.
Love also isn’t shouting and pointing out how horrible someone is.
Look at it this way, if someone is an addict, shouting at them and telling them how horrible they’re and the wreckage they have left behind doesn’t seem like a sound strategy. Could it work? Possibly. But more than likely it will lead to them pushing you away and immersing themselves more in their addiction.
On the reverse of that if someone tells the addict, “Hey I love you the way that you are and everyone has their vices.” That is condoning their destructive behavior. In some ways that can be worse than the previous method.
Truth is both of those methods are no good and dangerous.
Instead we must correct in love, don’t condone but don’t condemn. We have to teach and show the way through our love. But how do we do that? Let’s go to scripture with two examples.
First let’s see how we show a person Biblical love by looking at what the Bible say love is…
1 Corinthians 13: “13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Next let’s look at the example of how Jesus responds in love to the woman caught in Adultery…
John 8:1-11 (ESV) 8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
Jesus in a simple sentence explained how to handle a situation such as this. He addresses her sin directly in order to correct her, He chose not to condemn her and told her to “sin no more”. He did not condone her actions and tell her, “Well you’re all sinners”. He also did not call her bad names, shout at her and tell her she was an awful person.
Remember to try and have patience as God has patience with us.
Of course there is a time when you will have to walk away from that type of person, you should always pray for them but eventually there has to be some consequences.
Often people skip right to walking away or bringing severe consequences and in some cases that is the correct method but in many circumstances that is done because it is easier than having to deal with the issue directly.
But even more so the easiest thing to do would be to ignore the issue entirely so you don’t have to deal with it at all.
Think of someone you love, if they were in need of something or struggling in sin would you allow them to suffer or would you help them? Of course you would help them.
But Jesus calls us do something more radical, to love those who hate us.
So help those who hate you and be the light to battle the dark.
I like many others struggle with how the world is today. But what’s helping me is my faith in God. Throughout my life I always believed in God but never really took my faith seriously. I heard before over and over that Jesus said, “You are not of the world.” I never really grasped that until I read the Bible fully and looked at the world we live in.
The world is so dark. If you compare it to the Bible, God tells us it’s okay to ask questions to Him, there is always room for forgiveness and redemption no matter what you’ve said or done. God tells us once we are forgiven He will never bring up what we have done again.
The world screams at you for questioning things and tries to destroy you if you make a mistake. Your past will never be forgotten no matter what you do it will always be brought up and held against you.
God tells us the importance of disciplining children so they will have the opportunity to be good adults. The world hates those who discipline their children unless it is in the way they tell you.
The Bible tells you to stand up for truth but at the same time respect and love everyone even if you disagree with them or they’re your enemies.
The world tries to destroy anyone they disagree with or thinks differently than it does.
The Bible tells those who have money don’t be prideful or love your money but use it wisely and the poor who lack money are called blessed.
The world shames both the poor and the rich.
I can go on and on with examples but the main message here is this world has completely gone off the rails and is filled with hate, anger, sadness and evil.
They take their hatred out on us as Christians because we are not a part of their evil world but we’re of God.
Atheist don’t believe in God of course, however if you ask them if there was a Hell would they go to it after they die, it is very rare to hear them say, “yes”. Usually the answer is “no” and filled with many reasons as to why they wouldn’t and most importantly that they believe themselves to be a “good person”.
Well the truth is being a “good person” doesn’t make you good, we all allow others to suffer around us and we constantly do the wrong thing. We may all strive to be a good version of a person but we can’t say that we are overall “good”. That alone goes to God.
Only He is righteous and good.
We can only be righteous through Him.
We are all sinners.
*Psalm 53 1-3 says, “The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good.
2 God looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. 3 Every one of them has turned aside;
They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good,
No, not one.”
Now this of course relates to David’s time and to Israel but we can also use this as guidance to the world we live in today. We all struggle to do the right thing and many times have our own motives. Can we truly say that we do “good” or at least as “good” as we should?
We as Christians know we are sinners and we must humble ourselves to the Lord. We recognize God is so merciful to us all despite the lack of mercy we on this earth show to each other. Religious or not we all can do better.
When we do make mistakes there is usually an earthly consequence, we could go to jail, ruin a relationship, lose a job or even smaller consequences like just make someone upset or lose out on something you wanted to enjoy. The type of consequence doesn’t matter, the main focus is that there is consequences.
But what about spiritual consequences? We know the wages of sin is death** but what about after death? How can you make up for all your collective sins, mistakes and bad things you have done?
Well God made a plan for us all to be redeemed, it was through the Son, Jesus Christ. He died so our sins could be forgiven and we could have eternal life with the Lord. But you have to accept Jesus’s sacrifice as your atonement for your own sins.
If you don’t than you will have to take on the spiritual consequences.
So to the Christians out there that is why we must spread the Gospel to the world and pray that people’s hearts our opened to God.
I know sometimes it can be hard to talk to others about faith especially when you are attacked or mocked or ridiculed. I saw a picture that really inspired me it stated, “Atheism is a temporary condition” then pointed out every knee shall bow. We know this from scripture.
In Philippians 2:10-11 it says, “10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” ***
So my Christian brothers and sisters have confidence in faith and be bold and spreading the Gospel because in the end God wins and we will spend eternity with Him. And since we all strive to be “good people” then we as Christians need to follow God’s will and be a part of His salvation plan by helping those around us learn about the Lord so hopefully they can be saved as well.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter. This week I am posting the Luke 24 Chapter and two videos, one from the Bible Project on Luke 24 and the service from Heritage Baptist Church. Note if you would like to see the entire Easter story I will post a link below from a great article I found that shows all of the story from the Bible in order.
Have a Blessed Week,
Luke 24 New King James Version (NKJV)
He Is Risen
24 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, [a]and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were [b]greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”
8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like [c]idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths [d]lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
The Road to Emmaus
13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was [e]seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you [f]walk and are sad?”
18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”
19 And He said to them, “What things?”
So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He [g]expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
The Disciples’ Eyes Opened
28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He [h]indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.
30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was [i]known to them in the breaking of bread.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
40 [j]When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish [k]and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.
The Scriptures Opened
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, [l]and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city [m]of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple [n]praising and blessing God. [o]Amen.
You see it all over the internet, media and in our day to day lives; hate towards Christians.
I’ve seen God called things like an “Ego Maniac”, “Heartless” and “Evil.”
I’ve seen people laugh and scoff when someone talks about God, the Bible or their personal testimony. Even behave as childish as to hit the “laughing” icon at people’s comments.
Seeing these comments from people it is totally understandable to become angry.
But take a minute to look further into these types of people, think about what is in their hearts.
The truth is satan has overtaken their hearts and it’s lead to an obsession and hatred towards God. They’re totally ignorant to this as they don’t believe in God or the devil.
I saw a man on a nice Christian post on Facebook mock God and His believers, his words were filled with anger and hostility. Those who he didn’t respond to he clicked the before mentioned “laughing” icon on many, many posts that praised the Lord.
His hatred and anger had become an obsession.
I decided to click on his profile and what did I see? Profanity, obscene posts, cursing and mocking others not just related to Christianity but just people in general, his profile picture was a picture of his young child giving the middle finger to the camera.
He has let evil take over his and his family’s lives.
Think about the hearts of people like him and others, the unhappiness that must be inside of them. What a burden that must be to carry around.
It’s sad really.
Let’s not worry about what they say but instead let’s pray. Let’s pray because we know the true God and we see what they’re missing. My heart hurts for them.
We also need to remember Jesus told us this would happen*.
Rejoice and Praise God when they hate you and make sure to love as Jesus loved.
Have a Blessed Week,
*John 15:18-27 New King James Version (NKJV)
The World’s Hatred
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’
The Coming Rejection
26 “But when the [a]Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
It is true you cannot change the world. That may surprise you as you try to spread the Gospel to the world but the true reason you can’t change the world is you are not of this world*. However it is our job to spread the message of the Gospel to the people who live in the world so they can be brought out of the world and into the Kingdom of God.
This world hates* you, it despises you because this world is evil and is filled with injustice.
But God is good, He is just and He will create a new Heaven and a new Earth**.
Also remember you cannot change a person’s heart, it is up to them and God. Pray first, trust the Holy Spirit to guide you on how to present the Gospel to the individual person or group you’re speaking too.
God is infinite as is His wisdom. There is so much in the Word of God. Someone might be craving a message of justice, a message of family, a message of hope, or just plain love. Only God knows what message they need to hear so let Him guide you on how to present the Gospel in that moment.
It is very important to know scripture and know God because if you don’t your message of the Gospel may become twisted to fit the world. We must stick to the Truth and remember to let the Holy Spirit guide you on how you present the real Gospel.
Remember we are the light of the world***, even if we aren’t of this evil world we still are the light that is on it for now. While our light still shines on the Earth remember to shine it to those in need.
Present to those you are reaching out to, Christ in all His wonder, present Him as the True King, the One who will take back the Earth and make all things new.
Have a Blessed Week,
*John 15:19 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
**Revelation 21: 1-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
**All Things Made New
21 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, [a]John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said [b]to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
6 And He said to me, “It[c] is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes [d]shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, [e]unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
***Matthew 5:14-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.