If you were wondering, no, I don't know what I am doing. Just kidding. I have a plan believe it or not. My goal is to present meaningful content for my Social media stream to strengthen and encourage believers and believers-to-be. Of course, it is a work in progress, and I am doing this by working in different parts of the content, one thing at a time.
My blog and the bulk of my writing, and my videos, poetry, and photography, are featured in one place on my website, www.reason2believehim.com where I hope I am demonstrating the relationship between Faith and Reason. I have expanded this site outward to include 3 satellite sites: A Scripture Encouragement Site http://sunrisescriptures.weebly.com/ for comfort and healing from God's Word. A Spanish Language Site that features some of my work translated, and some unique Hispanic content at http://dondeestadios.weebly.com/ which blends relevant work from all of the sites to answer the question, "Where is God?" Then, there is the Kids' Site http://www.animatedfaithzone.com/ which features quite a bit of short stories and video content. The videos are rough, "experimental" quality videos created by me with limited equipment and no experience or training. So, bear with me there. Also, my functional ability to move around enough to create the videos has not been good since we moved. Hence, a big delay in production on that front.
But, I have added in what I call Scripture Tweets: Midnight, Morning, Noon, and Evening (which appear on Facebook and Twitter via Hootsuite.) These tweets feature brief comments on a scripture with the reference only at 6 and 6 daily. The noon verse is a direct quotation from the world's greatest speaker, Jesus. And, the midnight tweet is a verse on deliverance, or salvation. My motivation for these Scripture Tweets comes from Psalm 92:2, and is explained in more detail in two of my blogs Deliverance at Midnight/ Revelations at Noon and Faithful and Loving!
Much of common sense has been stated by many people in the world around us. We don't have to look far for quotations that demonstrate reason and faith. Just before 3 and just after 9, twice a day, I have staggered in well known quotations that feed my "message," if you will. These I stack in my Buffer application dashboard to appear at timed intervals, instead of all at once. But, my goal is to lace these with some of my own content, as I get them written. I have started adding in my own personal quotes at the 2:45pm slot, and labeling them with the hashtag ":)Ain't it so Mamma?" This is intended to be my own personal humorous, and hopefully sensible, comments, in my own childhood inner voice. Bet you didn't know that was my inner voice talking, in poor grammar, did you? :) Look for more in this area to expand to my own writing, and less of other people's quotations. But, I always credit the source when I use someone else's words.
It is my hope that you are blessed in some way by what you get here. I hope it is not too fragmented to follow. As it is a work in progress, I beg your good humor. Thanks if you have been following me from the beginning. If you have recently joined me, I hope this post provides a road map through the maze of "stuff" around here. God bless you!
There is so much noise; so much distraction sometimes. 1 Corinthians 14:10 Everything means something, of course, but not everything is significant. And, sometimes you are faced with choices for your ear. There will be tradeoffs, you know.
Revelation 22:17 Have you ever heard God call your name? He speaks more than we hear. We call it "selective perception." We tune out what we don't really want to listen to often. I find myself peering at the words in my Bible sometimes calling the words, pronouncing the syllables, without my mind focused on making meaning. Going through the motions only gets you going with wind up toys. Twist the little gadget around and around, and release, to see it fly, wobble, or dance across the floor. That never gets you far with God. You just end up going in circles.
I like numbers... they are so clean and pure and honest. Math is fair. Social Studies is filled with conflict, civil rights struggles, wars. Reading itself is a struggle for many students. Much of what we read is fiction. And, Science can be a twisty path of theories, all of which have their proponents and opponents. Wishes, lies, and dreams! But, Math, Math is. Math is fair for all. It doesn't matter what color your skin is, two plus two equals four. That's equal rights. There are no wars, conflicts, or battles fought over the greater than less than decision. There are some numbers that are perfect. No Science theory is perfect. No historical fact is perfectly true. All books are written from someone's perspective, or limited imaginings. Numbers translate into any language.
Show me a student who is poor in basic Math, and I will show you a student who has not been taught Math. That is not always the case with children who can not read. But, much of recreational Math is just that, amusement. You go around in circles. Math mazes, Math finds, Number sequences, though enjoyable to follow the logic, the meaning fails. Have you ever had your child come home from school and say, "Guess what Mom, Dad! We added five and four today, and you'll never believe it but five and four make nine!" No, they don't say that, because those are just bare, naked numbers. Bare, naked numbers are meaningless. If you've seen one, you've seen ten and forty-nine. The "point" of Math, it would seem, is to find the answer, so you can plug it into some larger situation and make sense of that situation, by measuring, quantifying, or figuring.
When was the last time you recited your time tables, "just for fun?" That would be about as exciting as alphabetizing your grocery list. So, what's my point? My point would be that so much of what we do is pointless. That's why it's called "a-muse-ment." To muse means to think. Amusement means spending time not thinking. I don't know if they had Math puzzles in Paul's day, in the Bible. But, Paul found a much higher level of things that can be pointless in his life.
Try this quiz. Which of the following did Paul think was pointless?
1. Talking in Tongues
5. Giving to the Poor
6. Dying for a Friend
7. All of the Above
8. None of the Above
The correct answer is ....
Click here ----------------------------------->
The Genesis record continues to be credible in our day. The record provided by Genesis is verifiable on many counts. The New Testament contains over 200 references or allusions to Genesis, indicating that the Apostles and Disciples, as well as the Pharisees, Saducees, Jewish leaders, and Jesus Himself accepted the validity of the text.
Science lends credence to the creation account. Evolutionists contend that things of greater complexity derived from things of less complexity. This is purported in the development of intelligent Homo Sapiens from higher primates of the animal kingdom, which in turn developed from lower primates, reptiles, fish, down to a single-celled organism. This single cell developed from a “soupy Sargasso Sea” that formed from gases that appeared from nothing. This line of reasoning is in direct contradiction to the laws of Science. Science shows that intelligent life comes from intelligent life. All creatures reproduce “after their own kind,” as in the Genesis account.
Furthermore, the Big Bang theory supposes that a colossal explosion hurled the planets into their orbits. Of course, it wasn't supposed to be a fast explosion, just some unknown force moving things apart, as the Universe is thought to be ever expanding. Opponents of the theory first called it the "Big Bang" and the name just stuck. We know now that not all the planets or their moons orbit in the same direction, which would defeat the idea of the planets spinning as a result of an explosion. The idea of chance producing a complex universe is as absurd as the idea of a Mercedes Benz being created in the aftermath of a tornado going through a junkyard. Theoretically it could happen. But, would there be gas in the tank to make it go? I think not. In the same way, wildflowers can grow in a field, as fragile objects of beauty deriving apparently from nothing. But, in a hundred years the field of wildflowers will not remain, unless tended by human hands and caused to continue their growth. Living things decay. The earth changes continually, seemingly at the whims of nature. A garden continues to grow because it was planted. The universe continues to spin because it was constructed and hung in space by the Creator.
The universality of the Deluge in Genesis is a fact, based on Non-Biblical evidence (i.e. dating of oldest living things at post-Flood time, marine fossils found on crests of mountains, sudden extinction of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.)
Further, 87 important Biblical words were first mentioned in Genesis, providing strong internal evidence of the validity of this collection of ancient books. The words life, atonement, command, glory, just, impute, mercy, love, light, salvation, and righteousness all appear first in Genesis. This supports the idea that Genesis was the foundation work of the other 65 books of the Bible.
I think the most compelling reason to believe the Genesis record is the stark plainness and simple honesty of the recorded events. The polished omissions of a story weaver are not there. We read succinctly about Jacob’s lies, Sarah’s laughter, Eve’s deception, Noah’s drunkenness, Lot’s incest, Tamar’s adultery, Dinah’s seduction, Miriam’s outrage that her brother married a black woman, and Leah’s lewd accusation to Rachel concerning the mandrakes. These character deficits are not the usual list of accomplishments of a nation’s heroes or the founding fathers of a religion. You never read in the history books about what a drunk U. S. Grant was, but only about his military prowess. The detailed record of such foibles in Genesis, (as well as the accurate list of birth records) gives undeniable credence to the Genesis account.
Furthermore, if we expect to believe that God is capable and willing to redeem us, then we must first believe that He created us. If we cannot accept the accuracy of Genesis miracles, such as creation, then we have no basis for belief in later miracles, such as Jonah and the whale, water into wine, Elijah in the chariot, etc. This is one of the primary reasons Atheists try to deny the credibility of Genesis. They seek to tear out the foundation for the cross.
The Genesis record is important as the foundation of our salvation plan. Genesis 3:15 is called the protoevangelium, which means “the first good news.” Now that man has sinned, God’s grace is evident in that He promised a Messiah who would come later and bruise Satan, destroying his power. There are many types of Christ in Genesis; including Isaac and Joseph. There is no purpose for the cross work of Jesus if Genesis is discredited. This would destroy all our Christology and Soteriology Doctrine. Without a Fall, we would not need a Savior-Hero.
There is evidence that God could have created a universe with “age-dating factors” already in place to support life? After all, it is stated that Adam and Eve were created as adults, not babies. It is reasonable the earth would have appeared aged at Creation. There are fossil records dating back billions of years, as well as human attempts at “carbon-dating” that indicate an aged terra, well beyond the age indicated by creation and the Genesis account. This, as well as the existence and extinction of the dinosaurs indicate an apparent conflict in dating. However, one theory is that God created the earth fully mature, as he did Adam and Eve and the animals. Therefore the mature earth was created with fossils intact, sufficient to support plant life. Another theory conflicts with this idea. This theory contends that the earth was perfect after creation, according to God, and could not have contained death within the earth. The fossils only appear to be so aged because of the devastating effects of the worldwide flood. Both are viable options. Why should they be less viable than current evolutionary thought?
When Enoch was 65 years old, his wife had a son. Enoch named this first son Methuselah, meaning literally, “man of the dart.” That can be interpreted as meaning “God’s Judgement comes next” or “When he dies, Judgement” for two reasons. First, Enoch was a prophet, according to Jude 14, 15. He prophesied of the Second Coming of Christ. Second, the Flood began the year Methuselah died; indicating God seemed to have a promise with Enoch concerning the life of his son. So, it seems Enoch was prophesying of the Flood when he named his son. We know that God relates longevity to adherence to his laws because of Exodus 20:12 and the fact that Enoch (and Elijah) was translated not to even see death because of his walk of faith. Methuselah lived 969 years, the oldest recorded. He must have had a good relationship with God. Its interesting to note that God stayed his hand of judgement for 969 years in loving compassion, just as He now tarries so long before the final judgement. As Peter said, God is “longsuffering,” not willing “that any should perish.”(II Peter 3:9) This lays a foundation of our escatological doctrine. Escatology, the study of things to come, is meaningless if there is no resurrection from the dead.
The Patriarchs were a part of the Genesis Record: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees, 19 generations after Adam. Terah, his father moved the family to Haran, possibly to separate his family from the prevailing idol worship. Abraham moved the whole family to the Promised Land, after Terah’s death. The word patriarch means “rule by the father,” so these men were the ruling fathers who formed the roots of the nation of Israel. Pulling Genesis out from under the Biblical Canon would quickly unravel the whole Gospel.
A dispensation is a period of time in which God deals with humans in a very distinct and unique way. It refers to the geographical concept of time and place. It includes the different groups of people who were treated in a different way from other people, or people of a different time. The seven dispensations can be broken down the following way:
1st Innocence Gen.1:28 One rule, close (perfect) communion with God
2nd Conscience Gen.3:10,23 Do your best, communion through sacrifice
3rd Human Government Gen.8:20 Man governs for God, communion through government
4th Promise Gen. 12:1 Blessings tied to the land, communion through bloodline
5th Law Exo. 19:4-8 10 Commands and many laws, communion through strict adherence
6th Grace John 1:17 Love brother as self, communion through blood of Jesus
7th Kingdom Ephesians. 1:10 Rule by Jesus Christ, perfect or Messianic communion restored
We live in the dispensation of Grace. Genesis establishes reason and evidence of God's plan through the ages for a redemption of mankind from the curse of death. Paradise was lost in Genesis. Paradise will be restored in Revelation. Unless, of course, Paradise never existed. Where would we be without Genesis? There is so much more to look at when considering the Genesis record, and I have not scratched the surface. But, there is more than enough evidence to convince a thinking person that the record of Creation has been retained through the generations intact. I believe in Creation by an omnipotent Creator God. I believe Genesis was inspired by Him, and outlines not only His work of the ages past, but His plans for the ages to come.
Everybody has questions. But, not everybody has the answers. This guy has his own answers, though he doesn’t seem to know it yet. Partial quote from an email I received a few years ago…
“What reason is there to believe IN him? Murder, rape, theft,
lies, etc. etc… If God does exist, where is He? What does he do for the
good will of Humanity? When Christians rally to places of unrest to help, or
when they raise charities for the poor, ill, etc, I don’t see God. I see a
banner. A rally cry. (If God does exist, he’s only in peoples heads, an
imaginary friend, if you will)… ‘People need help in New Orleans! Let’ do
it! God will help us on this Crusade! The Bible teaches us to help one another!
Let’s do it because our religion tells us to!’…You rally to help people,
because your religion asks it of you. What about that seems wrong? The fact that
you need to be told to help others, but that’s besides the point. The point is
you USE God to help people. (There is nothing wrong with helping people, but
why not use humanity as your banner.) You make him into the sword and
shield to fight pain, and inhumanity. My argument against this is why not
look IN yourself for strength, instead of looking OUT somewhere else for it?
Why do you need to look somewhere else for strength?”
He ended with a list of several different questions, and a polite thanks. So, I’ve chosen 4 to talk about specifically here, in addition to the underlined ones from the actual letter.
1. Is it wrong to look within for help, rather than look to God?
2. Is it right to think I control my future, and fate has nothing to do with it?
5. How is “faith” an argument to fact?
8. Should Christianity be a believe, or idea?
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Yes, he knows why we can’t lift humanity as our banner. The reason for that is tied in very closely with Question 8 and with his list of human woes at the top of the letter, “Murder, rape, theft, lies, etc. etc.” In every conflict, men follow a banner that stands for something they believe in, an idea as he put it. In war, American soldiers live and die for our flag raised over a bloody field littered with the corpses of their fallen comrades. Oh, but that idea in their heads is backed by faith, belief in the little girl that may run into Daddy’s arms, if they make it home outside of a body bag. They believe in the
ideas of their country. That belief is not founded on mere ideas because they didn’t read the ideas from a book somewhere, but have had real life experiences with America, baby girls, terrorism, hatred, love, and peace. They are willing to go through hell to secure the heaven they left at home.
Can we trust in humanity with a list of characteristics like the ones named in the letter? Can you trust a murderer, a rapist, a thief, a liar? All your heroes will die. Jesus Christ is the living God, the one true God of the Universe is the Spirit living inside of Jesus. Christianity should be more than
an idea. It must be a believe, a belief based on hard empirical evidence of personal experiences.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
This means simply that faith is substance, what Science calls "matter." Faith is what we can actually feel with our senses of hope. Faith happens inside our minds and our hearts. Faith produces reactions in our emotions. So, faith is substance.
I remember a rock song titled, “Give me Something to Believe In,” from the early 90’s, by a group called aptly, Poison.
Well I see him on the Tv Preachin' bout the promise land
He tells me to believe in Jesus
And steals the money from my hand
Some say he was a good man
But Lord I think he sinned, yeah
Twenty-two years of mental tears
Cries a suicidal Vietnam vet
Who fought a losing war on a foreign shore
To find his country didn't want him back
Their bullets took his best friend in Saigon
Our lawyers took his wife, his kids, no regrets
In a time I don't remember In a war he can't forget
He cries "Forgive me for what I've done there
Cause I never meant the things I did"
And give me something to believe in
If there's a Lord above
And give me something to believe in
Oh, Lord arise
Our best friend died a lonely man
In some Palm Springs hotel room
I got the call last Christmas Eve
And they told me the news
I tried all night not to break down and cry
As the tears rolled down my face
I felt so cold and empty
Like a lost soul out of place
And the mirror, mirror on the wall
Sees my smile it fades again
Sometimes I wish to God I didn't know now
The things I didn't know then
Road you gotta take me home
I drive by the homeless sleepin on a cold dark street
Like bodies in and open grave
Underneath the broken old neon sign
That used to read JESUS SAVES
A mile away live the rick folk
And I see how they're living it up
While the poor they eat from hand to mouth
The rich is drinkin' from a golden cup
And it just makes me wonder
Why so many lose, so few win
You take the high road
And I'll take the low road
Sometime I wish I didn't know now
The things I didn't know then
And give me something to believe in
This song caught my attention every time I heard it on the radio, even though I wasn’t in the church at the time, didn’t have a relationship with God. Those verses I underlined were the ones I remembered over the years. They stick with their ironic pictures of homeless people sleeping under a Jesus saves sign. It sounds as if the singer believes Christianity is as broken as that old neon
sign with missing letters.
That has not been my experience with God. In my experience, Christianity is as vibrant, real, and alive as Jesus Himself. He is no imaginary friend. Prayers really get answered. My God answers prayers. My God is a real Friend. My God is a living Savior. Jesus really saves lives. And, Jesus does love us.
The suffering around us is part of the woes of human failure, certainly a fallen race, every one of us. None of us are heroic in and of ourselves. It is only when we step outside of ourselves that we can reach out to the rest of humanity, to point them upward to God, who is above humanity, our Banner…Jehovah Nissi means “The Lord is our banner” in Hebrew.
That brings me to the question about doing good for humanity because our religion tells us to. Religion is a label for belief. What we are really talking about here is belief. I believe I should help my fellow man. He obviously believes we should help our fellow man, from the letter. So, is that his
religion telling him to believe? If not, where did he get that idea? And, it is a really good idea, as far as ideas go. But, ideas are not based on real substance like beliefs are, now are they?
I believe I should help my fellow man, because something in my heart aches to see my fellow man suffering, laying homeless in the street. I’m sure God put that compassion in our hearts toward mankind. But, apparently, there are still homeless people everywhere. Mankind is not very good at helping himself or each other. What we really need is a God. A heroic, savior-type God who can lift
us up above our fallen selves.
Is this Hero-God imaginary? Not from the perspective of the drunks I have known who were saved and now support their families. Not from the hard empirical evidence of homeless single Moms who were pulled out of the pits of despair by their faith in Jesus Christ. There is no strength inside me or you. We are weak and we will all die. Somebody will sort through all our possessions
one day, and divide them among our friends. We won’t have anything to say about that, outside what we wrote in our “will.” We will be dead. Our body will lie in a grave. But, our soul is the part of us that will never die. It will live on somewhere. We will need a Savior, a heroic God to deliver us when we have no strength to deliver ourself. If you are looking for strength, look up.
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and
lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near.
It is not wrong to look within, just so turtle-like. Man is not meant to be a turtle, always looking out for number one. Man is meant to be an eagle, and to soar on the winds of adversity. Dream, aspire, look up for a higher power, not within our measly hides.
Fate is a lie. We are in charge of our future. The decisions that we make affect not only ourselves, but those around us. We must decide carefully, based on facts and evidence of the unseen. There is more than meets our eyes.
He asked where God is, if He is real. That’s the easiest question of all. Why, He is right here inside my heart. I believe in Him. And, He is there in front of your eyes. Where do you think that breath you are breathing comes from? Some primordial amoeba soup? I know you can’t cook bread by accident.
Somebody has got to do the cooking or we will all starve. If you’ve ever held a newborn baby that came from your body, you marveled that this being, who was prior non-existent, and a product of your flesh, could indeed now be real and fact, when before he was a mere idea, a hope. Faith is as real as a child.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament
shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows
knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the
world. In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom
coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. Its going
forth is from the end of the heaven, and its circuit unto the ends of it: and
there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of
the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening
the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments
of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be
desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey
and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of
them there is great reward.
Who can understand his errors? cleanse me from
secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not
have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of great
transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be
acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
God has two books: Creation and Scripture. David studied both. He often compared and contrasted the two volumes in his psalms, revealing the excellent nature of God from both. The book of Creation will never contradict the book of Genesis, nor Genesis the book of Creation, for my Father wrote both of them. This Psalm expresses with 14 verses, what I have tried to express in my blogs; that Creation shows God's glory, that the Scriptures show God's glory, and that our personal relationship and communication with God shows God's glory. Some of what I write never gets posted, of course. And, I have several unfinished blogs in the not quite ready for prime time category. I read and think about some chapters and psalms and then never get them written at all, only thinking I have written them down. In all of the showing and telling, as David was showing and telling in this Psalm, it may happen that I tell you the same thing twice. So, if I have been here and wrote that, I hope you can still see the beauty of each passage of Scripture.
Charles Spurgeon said that even the sun shines in light borrowed from the Father of Lights.
"Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul, Acknowledge Him thy greater; sound His praise both when thou climb'st, and when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall'st.
In my personal search for meaning, for beauty, for reason, I find Jesus, who I can not see in flesh, but I see His face imprinted in Creation and Scripture. It is our interaction with and knowledge of the Words and Works of Jesus that form the foundation of our relationship with Him.
David was a shepherd boy, and spent days and nights in the field, watching the sheep, and the heavens. Psalm 18 was probably written on one of those nights, and Psalm 19 must have been penned on one of those sunny days. In the first six verses above, David is talking about Creation; the Works of God. In the middle portion he is talking about Scripture; the Words of God. The last section is David's prayer to God...communion. It is not yet possible for me to see God, yet He makes Himself visible in his Words and Works.
"Therein our fingers feel, our nostrils smell, our palates taste his virtues that excel, He shows Him to our eyes, talks to our ears, in the ordered motion of the spangled spheres." -Du Bartas
Or, as David said... the heavens are telling the glory of God, the sky showing the work of his hands; today speaks to tomorrow, tonight calls out to tomorrow night. And they are all talking about God's glory. (My paraphrase)
Job 36:3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe
righteousness to my Maker. (old KJV this time)
Isn't that what I am here for, to write about the righteousness of my Maker?
John 12:9-11 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and
they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom
he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put
Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away,
and believed on Jesus.
Reason can have multiple meanings, as seen in a few of the definitions.
a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.
a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action.
the mental powers concerned with forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences.
to think or argue in a logical manner.
As a noun, you can have a reason, give a reason, and use your reason. As a verb, you can reason out or with. Either way, to say the "reason is because" in a sentence is criticized as redundant. The word because (literally, by cause ) contains within it the meaning of reason; therefore saying "the reason is because" is like saying “The cause is by cause,” But, as one of the usual features of the 1611 King James Bible, redundancy is prized as a teaching method of repetition. It is a key feature that you can find a synonym just after the new words used in their first occurances. For example, when the KJV1611 uses collops of fat, fat tells you what collops are more commonly called. This could be looked at as redundant in today's language, but the feature helped generations of Americans learn to read using the Bible as a reader. I am not promoting this method of learning to read. But, it was used, and it worked at that time. I think it illustrates that redundancy has a purpose in more than just poetry and song.
Joseph Glanvill, an English writer said, "The belief of our Reason is an Exercise of Faith, and Faith is an Act of Reason." We are using our intellectual powers of reasoning when we have faith in God. The passage from John 12 above gives reasons that people came to hear Jesus. I haven't throughly researched all the reasons people came to see Jesus, but I can say off the top of my head that the majority of reasons had to do with the miracles He performed for and through people. In fact, that is the reason given here. They came because Jesus had raised a man from the dead. They wanted to see this dead man walk and talk. And, they wanted to start trouble for Jesus and kill Lazarus because of the Jews that had fallen away from the temple and were following Jesus.
Imagine that! They wanted to kill Lazarus because he was healed! He was a dead man walking and he was about to be a dead man walking. What were they thinking? If Jesus had brought a dead man back to life, how did they think they were going to kill him again? And, how were they going to kill a man who could raise the dead? It is unimaginable. But, Lazarus caused all this grief. He made Jesus a wanted man...wanted dead.
We have our reasons for seeking and believing in Jesus. And, Jesus had His reasons for seeking us out through His death, burial, and resurrection. Our human powers of reason are often at a loss to explain Jesus' reasons. Suffice it to say, He loved us. That is reason enough.
The randomness of things that happen without seeming rhyme or reason leaves me feeling somewhat befuddled. I just got home from church about an hour ago, without ever making it to church. I got caught in a severe weather situation, and never quite made it there. I did spend a lot of time praying lengthy prayers... mostly for our safety. And, to think I was concerned about going empty handed when I realized I had forgotten my Bible at home! I didn't need it afterall.
Storms have always been moments of glory and beautiful light displays in my eyes. The thunder reverberating leaves me in awe of God's power. But tonight, realizing I would not make it before service was almost over, and pulling off the highway for a bite to eat while we waited the storm out, I found my self screaming as I ran for the IHOP, not from the quarter inch hail pummeling us, or the pouring rain, but from the lightening flashing all around me. I don't think I remember being outside in lightening before, and certainly not in hail. But, I have watched the lightening show front row seat and felt the thunder from the shelter of my front porch in years past. When did my comfort with this vanish?
I used to marvel that my Mother could not recall much of past events in her life, facts and details, while I could list events from each year of my life, and which ornaments were gotten for the tree which year, and who gave them to me. At, least I could until about the age of 40, when the years all began to run together. I used to play a little game with my boys on long road trips. Matt would call out outrageously complicated mathematical calculations for me to solve mentally while I drove, and I could without fail, arrive at the correct answers in mere seconds. He was impressed, I could tell. I always found a calculator to be the "slow" way to figure. I could find the answer mentally before friends could with a calculator. Now, I can comfortably reach the calculator key on my laptop in mere seconds, and arrive at an answer, after mislocating a neuron in my brain and dropping digits all over the floor, trying to do mental arithmetic. I find the numbers trip all over themselves in my head. What happened?
I'm no longer comfortable with driving at night, let alone in storms. These situations make me tense. And, to think, I used to marvel that many "older adults" used to complain that they couldn't see well to drive at night. What's up with that? I remember wondering how I would be able to accept the loss of the children in my home, when they would grow up. But, there came a point when I realized I no longer wanted little kids to raise. I had enough. Now, I find myself ready to let my sister go deal with her children when they start making a fuss while she is on the phone with me. I want no part of the hubbub. I'm tired :)
Ironically, the only thing that hasn't changed is that I miss my Bible if I forget it when I leave the house for anywhere, as if it has a purpose... a reason for lying there on the seat beside me.
Psalms 90:9-12 For all our days are passed away in your wrath: we spend
our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and
ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength
labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power
of your anger? even according to your fear, so is your wrath. So teach us to
number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
In strength is labor and sorrow. Imagine that! Notice the reason? Because it is soon gone. The very reason youth and strength are such a sorrowful thing is because they are fickle, and vanish without reason. This leaves you not only willing to lay aside everything that you valued as you age, but it causes you to come to value the laying down of the care, and the number of your days. But, notice the verse says that our anger equals the strength of our fear? Emotions are all from the same point of origin within us, afterall. We feel emotions with pretty much equal intensity. Fear and anger both escalate when reason vanishes. The best we can make of our moments is to spend them as if there is no yesterday.
"Be well assured that on our side
The abiding oceans fight,
Though headlong wind and heaping tide
Make us their sport to-night.
By force of weather not of war
In jeopardy we steer,
Then welcome Fate's discourtesy
Whereby it shall appear,
How in all time of our distress,
And our deliverance too,
The game is more than the player of the game,
And the ship is more than the crew"
Fragment from "A Song in Storm"
Poem by Rudyard Kipling
Kipling struck a chord here with the last two lines of this stanza. He points out the simple fact that there is something greater, bigger than us. The fact that we play this game of life points to a set of rules we play by. There is no game that is relative, having no set rules and realities, except for the game played by Alice and the assorted creatures in Alice in Wonderland...called the Caucus Race. The more limitations placed on the players of the game, the greater the enthusiasm for the game and the thrill of victory for the winner. Compare playing checkers to chess. Once you've played chess, checkers lacks something.
Hebrews 1:1-2 "God, who at many times and in various manners spoke in
time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Has in these last days spoken unto
us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made
Has God spoken in your world? Do you really need a God? If you have all the answers within your own self, then you are your own god. If God is God, then He contains within Himself the unknown answers of nature, of history, and of redemption. God speaks in different ways, at different times. The act of scorning divine revelation is rebellion, or the refusal to allow God to be God. When we insist on thinking things through for ourselves, externally from God's divine and specific revealed truth, we are trying to be masters of our own existence, claiming to be the ultimate reality and reason. Ironically, there is a ditch on both sides of the road. Some scorn God's divine revelation by inventing prophecies that contradict God's already revealed truth in the Bible. God can not contradict Himself.
I saw this bumper sign on a car in Atlanta today. It reminds me of the recent predictions by Harold Camping. When men specifically add to God's word like this they are rebelling against God's will. I knew a sweet older lady who used to get those photocopied handwritten pages of prophecies from televangelists like Ernest Angeley and the others. They were basically ransom notes, photocopied and mailed to pensioners around the country. You had to pay to get the blessing promised. That is just wrong!
We tend to talk things through with each other, to sound our ideas and values off our peers, to question our teachers, expecting the answers to mold to our own "reasonable" ideas. All of this is senseless. After all, if you are building furniture you want defined measures and standards, and not approximations..."Oh, about from here to there sounds good to me." No, you wouldn't ask for opinions but for a measuring tape.
But, when we use reason to define morality, we do so at the expense of allowing God to be God. There is no reason beyond the reality of Jesus Christ. If Jesus is the God of the Universe, then He must be reason incarnate. If not, then He is not God. When God speaks, He does not silence the workings of our intellect. He liberates the mind of man to a reason and reality larger than himself. Our job is to accept and conform to that larger perspective of ultimate truth and reality, instead of trying to construct our own reality. God does not offend my reason. He only offends my pride of reason, which pretends that I am able to answer the central questions of life in and of my own intellect. Hand me the rule book if I propose to play this game!
I not only can not answer the central questions of life, in and of my own powers of intellect, but I fail at asking the central questions. What are the big questions of life? What really matters? Food? health? war? shelter? marriage? peace? security? family? race? social position? education? class? wealth? recreation? literature? politics? Who is God? What is death about? Where is the grave? Can sins be forgiven? How can I reach God? even trying to brainstorm a simple list, I reveal the shortcomings of my own human reasoning. Has God really spoken?
We as humans have the capacity of mind to reason out alternatives. Only God can provide the moral yardstick to judge between correct and incorrect alternatives. Alternatives will not lead us to the path of salvation. If we have all the answers, we don't need a Saviour. We don't need a god. We become our own idol. Reason must match a morality. Morality is ir-relative of reason. Morality is definition and reality.
Someone said that no man is an island to himself, floating around out there defining his own realities. One ex-navy friend said that he learned on a carrier ship that it's the really big things in life that provide stability. Climb into a little boat and find yourself tossed about all over the sea. But, on a carrier, you don't even notice the waves. That's where we find the presence of the church in our lives to be so important. If we try to stay afloat on our own, we will sink alone. But, the church provides direction and stability to the "crew." When a sailor loses sight of the railings, he ends up wet, to the cry of man overboard.
I found the following poem on the face of a greeting card in a college bookstore in 1983. I kept it all these years instead of giving it to somebody, the real purpose of cards. It captured me, because the poem points out the need for something real. All around we can hear the cry,
Who am I? Who am I?
So many search for the answer
Till the day they die.
So many people come and go
Never learning what they must know.
What am I meant for? What shall I do?
God, dear God, if only I knew.
Some search to identify with someone else,
Never having the courage to look to themselves.
They search with vigor and with vim,
For the answer that lies only within.
For some it is easy to run away,
They haven't the courage to face the next day.
For some it is easy to face the next day,
They haven't the courage to turn away.
All around we can hear the cry,
Who am I? Who am I?
So many search for the answer
Till the day they die.
And yet the answer is as clear as day and night,
You must do what makes you feel right.
Above all, be real.
Be real by Paul Samuels born 1944, a Messianic Jew
More can be found at: http://www.paulsamuels.com/poems.html
Though I love the poem, notice the answer that he claims is as "clear as day and night," is really murky? He never defines reality. He leads you up to the edge of a cliff to see the world, and then screams, "Jump!" I always suspected he didn't know himself what was real when he wrote the poem. And, I can tell you from personal experience that many things that "feel right" will get you in trouble. There are "real" people sitting in prison and stretched out in graveyards. We need a God bigger than the reality of our own mind.
"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this
petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.
Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
(Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act V, scene 5.)
This sense of purposelessness was not unique to Shakespeare. Bertrand Russell said:
"Brief and powerless is Man’s life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom
falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction,
omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man, condemned to-day to lose
his dearest, to-morrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains
only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his
little day; disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of Fate, to worship at
the shrine that his own hands have built; undismayed by the empire of chance, to
preserve a mind free from the wanton tyranny that rules his outward life;
proudly defiant of the irresistible forces that tolerate, for a moment, his
knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but unyielding Atlas,
the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of
Bertrand Russell is now dead, after living 98 years, a miserable liberal humanist philosopher. He could be considered both atheistic and agnostic. But, suffice it to say, all would consider him dead. Though he is dead, the ideas he propounded with great success still live, for he was very influential in our modern world.
Every man has considered our reason for existence on Earth, however briefly. If you are a Christian, then you admit that whatver the reason is for our existence, that reason is contained in the mind of a Higher Power, a God... the God of the Universe.
Romans 11:34 For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?
We can't stretch God out on the couch here and probe his mind to discover what His reasons might be. We are not His counselor or His psychologist.
1 Corinthians 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Can we know the mind of Christ?
Ephesians 1:9-10 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things
in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
The Greek word translated as "gather together in one all things" means literally "head. It's used the same in our phrase, "to head up."
Children "do sums." But, what is the object of adding one number to another repeatedly? They don't continue to do sums without reason, or at least they don't want to. What is the purpose of counting, if not merely the adding itself? There must be an end to the rote counting somewhere, a reason or purpose for the adding process. The sum is where it's at. The sum heads it up. Without a sum to head it up or end the counting, the whole business becomes meaningless.
Psalms 39:4 LORD, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
David asked to know a reason for the number of his days. Back to the Ephesians passage, here we find that the sum is Christ Jesus. Jesus is the sum total, the head, the end of all things.
Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
All humanity is looking for a reason to believe, something worth living and dying for. Here you have purpose and reason, all inside Jesus Christ.
Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Can we find reason in the Universe? What is its end? What is it that will make a "sum" of our years when the tale is told? Jesus is the fullness of all things in the New Testament. But, look at the words "in him" in the Ephesians passage. That gives social meaning to our Universe. We are in Him. We have a purpose "in Jesus Christ!" Humanity being one with Jesus Christ is what the Universe is all about! The humanists see only the human side of this equation. But, man alone is meaningless. Are you in Christ? If not, can I ask why you are here? What are you doing here anyways? We've all heard the joking expression, "Well pardon me for living. Stop the world and I will jump off!" That is a funny parallel to driving. But, one day we all will come to the end of our ride, the sum of our days. At the point our life comes to a head, then we will meet Jesus, who is the head of all things.
I said we could not analyze the mind of God like a Counselor on a couch. But, we can find our answers in Scripture, which contain the mind and will of God. We can pray and ask God whatever we want to know, and He is faithful to answer our questions. We may not like all His answers, but He gives such as is sufficient for our earthly minds.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man.
Colossians gives us the idea that we can get answers for others from Jesus, who is the source of this salt. (See Matthew 5 on the salt.)
Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
In Colossians we are told that God can give us the knowledge of His will through prayer. Look back at the last of Shakesphere's words above. "...signifying nothing." The equal sign is the sign of the sum. Our life in Christ equals purpose. We have reason in Jesus Christ. In the fullness of times, when all is made known, then we will hear the sum total of the matter.
I find myself loving the words John is speaking in the first sentences of the Gospel. I can quote them from memory in English, Spanish, and in Greek. They come to my mind often in any given day. But, do you know who the Logos the Word...is?
Logos: (log' -os) something said, a topic, also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation; specially the Divine (when with the article in John;) account, cause, communication...
The Greek word Logos is usually translated as "Word." But, it hides in Acts 18:14 and in I Peter 3:15. The Last passage is the headline tag I use at the top of my Reason 2 Believe Him website home page:
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
So, as you can see, the same Greek word is translated not only as "word," but as reason...my reason for believing. Now try John 1:1 the other way around...which would still be correctly translated:
In the beginning was the "REASON," and the "REASON" was with God, and the "REASON" was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:1-5 God is our reason. Yet the darkness couldn't understand the reason.