Too Good To Be True

I have always been told, as I am sure you have too, that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true at all. We wish for things. Oh, if it were only true. I was also told that promises without action are just empty words. Don’t be sold a bill of goods.

W.C. Fields said “Never give a sucker an even break.” You get the point. We want to believe something to be true and we might even go to ridiculous lengths to try to prove it to ourselves. In my youth, that’s how I looked at the promises of the Bible.

My sense of justice says that the bad guys should get locked up and I have often fantasized about giving someone the proper beating they deserve. It’s really difficult to put up with everybody else’s flaws. If I were in charge, there would be some changes. Ya right.

God sees terrible behavior from us and wants to forgive us

God has His own view on all those flaws in human character and my way of dealing with them. His ways are counter to mine, and I dare sway yours too.

He looks at disgusting human behavior and sees a person in need of forgiveness and salvation. Instead of taking somebody behind the woodshed, He wants to take them to the foot of the Cross. He has given them His son… Jesus.

God forgives us even though we do not deserve it

I am not deserving of salvation or forgiveness. There’s just too much history. But the Bible says I can be forgiven, no matter what I’ve done. If I’m really honest, I have to admit that whatever the record says, I am guilty as charged.

The Apostle Paul, the guy who wrote most of the New Testament, but also the guy who personally killed many Christians, asked in the Book of Romans, “Who shall save me from this body of death?”

He admits he’s a rotten guy. But Jesus chose him to be an evangelist. Jesus forgave him. Too good to be true, right? What did he do to catch a break like that? Well, nothing. Jesus chose him. He reached out to him and gave him to opportunity to join God’s family of believers and deliver to Good News. Paul did not earn this privilege. He didn’t buy it. It was given to him.

Salvation seems WAY to easy?

Like many people, I have wrestled with the idea that just because I can confess my sins and ask for forgiveness, it will be given to me. Confess my sins, yes, that is a good thing, Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, repenting and opening up my heart to God is all fine, but is it too good to be true? Sounds too simple… too easy?

The key to understanding this offer of eternity in heaven is to come to grips with my own inadequacy and realize that I can do nothing to reverse the punishment that has already been ordained. Jesus paid the price. He offered His life on the cross.

Paul said that “the wages of sin is death,” and Christ died to pay the bill. Paul then said that the gift of God is eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord. This has to be too good to be true. Is salvation really that simple? A child can understand it. Say you’re sorry and let Jesus be your forever friend, to put it in a child-like way. Simply stated, that’s what the Bible promises.

We must have faith to be forgiven by Jesus

We also have to exercise a measure of faith. It is by faith that we are saved, not by our actions. Is that justice? Yes it is, because in God’s justice rich people can’t get off Scott-free just because they have the money to buy their way out of trouble.

It is justice because God IS justice, perfect justice. Paul explained that what we could not do for ourselves, God did. Too good to be true? What promises made in the Bible have been proven to be a lie? None of them!

God’s track record in bringing prophesy to pass is flawless. For believers, Jesus comes to life in their hearts and minds. He is a living, breathing Savior, who shows Himself in remarkable ways in people’s lives. I can’t prove this to you. I’m only telling you that the Bible ISN’T too good to be true, because it is the absolute truth.

The greatest news man has ever received is the Good News of salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s God’s word. I’ll leave it at that.

Random is Illogical… Everything is Ordered

Everything in the universe is ordered. The sun comes up at exactly the predetermined time every day. The earth revolves around the sun every 365 days. The seasons come and go. That isn’t just a cosmic accident.

Those who do not believe in the Bible will come up with any number of explanations, none having anything to do with God putting everything into its place. Creation, intelligent design, call it what you want, but somebody ordered things.

The Bible has a lovely description. It doesn’t explain how it happened, it just states that God spoke everything into existence.

Order cannot come from chaos

The second law of Thermodynamics says that out of order comes chaos. Chaos does not bring about order. It doesn’t work both ways.

Things don’t just evolve from one thing to another. Living creatures recreate after their own kind, as the Bible states. Cats begat cats, dogs begat dogs.

Bible says there are two genders

Now in today’s society people think they can claim their own gender, or they sometimes insist that references to people be gender neutral. That doesn’t work either.

People are male or female, not some concoction of the two. Anything else is a direct revolt against God’s order.

Man is NOT the center of the universe

The problem is that man is not the center of the universe. Man does not appoint the time of birth and death. Nor does man select eye color, or skin color. He/she also did not put the earth on its axis, or teach the lions how to hunt. But we sure do make a lot of noise about what we want.

We are a vapor, but God is eternal. Our entire lifetime, long or short, is less than a blink of an eye for God. For an eternity before the earth was formed, God was there. For an eternity after we’re gone, God will still be there.

We don’t get to make the rules. We just bend the ones that are clearly in place. Then, we bristle at the thought that God may not approve. It seems much easier accept God’s direction.

We are never the best or everything we want to be

I wanted to be an athlete, but I wasn’t good enough to really go places. It would have been nice to be a musician, but it’s a challenge to really be good at it. I did many things well, but I knew there was always someone who could do it better.

The hardest lesson in life for me was just to accept who I am, make the most of it and be contented.

The best is yet to come

With God, the best is yet to come. He has ordered my days, directed my path and he will call me home, but it’s all good. Knowing that there is a loving and caring God, who is interested in my welfare, is comforting. I don’t have to force the issue. Or as the song goes, “Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”

Any concern I have will pass away. This is a good thing. God will decide the rest.

After Christmas

Nativity scene, Christmas star on blue sky and birth of Jesus, illustration.

When I was in Navy boot camp, we had an Easter service in a large drill hall. None of us were thinking about Christmas. All the recruits at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center were lined up by company. Hundreds of young men standing at ease as the Navy chaplain began his sermon.

I will never forget how he began. It’s as vivid now as it was when I heard it. “Now here it is Easter,” he grumbled, making it sounded like he’d much rather be somewhere else. “Most of you guys haven’t been near a church since Christmas, so how the hell are you supposed to know anything about Easter.”

That’s what he said. I really cannot tell you one word that followed because I immediately turned him off. If that’s the way God is going to talk to me, why bother? A couple of years later, I heard the message of the Bible from friends and a truly remarkable pastor. They got my attention.

As the years passed, I thought about what that chaplain had said. Although I completely disagree with his choice of words and his entire approach, the fact that many people go to church only on Christmas and Easter is worth thinking about and writing about.

The guy wasn’t entirely wrong. The Christian faith sounds nice when we hear about the birth of Jesus and learn of His remarkable life here on earth. The whole idea of Christmas presents, a baby being born, and singing carols is traditional and pleasant. But for so many it really does end there because they have not yet explored their faith. That process is called discipleship and simply stated it’s just learning the Bible.

Learning what’s in the Bible is discipleship

Think of discipleship this way—you receive a piano keyboard for Christmas, with an instruction book, but you never play it. Maybe you tinker a little, but you never learn how to play. You tell yourself it’s because the piano isn’t for you.

Many Christian believers get that wonderful, initial taste of the faith but never go farther. My wife and I went to one of those mega churches. The place sat 7600 people. They had over 10,000 members. The pastor’s sermon that day was about how they brought people into the faith, but they did a poor job in discipleship. People became “Christians” but they weren’t growing in the faith, there was no discipleship.

My mother never understood her Christian faith

My mother was a devoted Episcopalian. Cradle to grave, she never missed a Sunday. I have Bibles from her childhood church that had little commemorative notes hand written on the inside cover. She had perfect attendance.

But she was never discipled. She never spoke of her beliefs, nor did she talk to me about Jesus, or the Bible. When I came to faith as a young adult, I quickly realized that her knowledge of the Bible was extremely limited.

When I would quote from the Bible, or talk about stories from the Gospels, she didn’t believe me. It’s not that she wasn’t listening. It was just that she had no foundational frame of reference. She just assumed I must have been wrong.

I really never could discern her true, core beliefs. Even when I went through confirmation classes at our church, I didn’t learn about Jesus. I learned about the church. It wasn’t her fault. That’s the way she was raised and that’s what she knew.

My dad only listened later in life

My father grew up in a Methodist home and had strict parents. As a young man, he had his snoot full of religion and turned it off. In his last years, we really connected and he opened his heart to listen to God’s Word.

Unlike my mother, dad became convinced that I knew what I was talking about. He came to that position with the help of a local pastor where he was living. Dad used that guy to verify what I was telling him. Like my mother, his knowledge of Scripture was very limited. He was never discipled either and never went to church with us. It wasn’t his fault. That’s the way he was raised.

Faith is personal

Faith in the Bible is a personal thing. In previous posts I talked about not being able to prove the Bible, so God wants us to accept Him on faith. We are saved by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus. Simple message.

Who is the baby born on Christmas? Who is this Jesus? That’s why we need discipleship. Coming to faith is great, but that’s just the first step in a long and exciting journey.

But that leads to a big problem. Once we understand who Christ is, and what He is, we are accountable to God. Now what do we do? We can put it all aside, just like laying a book down on the coffee table. Or we can explore, ask questions, question answers and argue about what the Bible really says. It just reminds me of the old Gospel song, “His love is richer, deeper, fuller, sweeter, sweeter as the days go by.”

What comes AFTER Christmas is the best part.

Contentment versus Contempt

There’s an Irving Berlin song that goes, “After you get what you want, you don’t want it.” That is the main point of this posting, finding contentment. We are never satisfied and all too often it drives us crazy.

Most people want “more,” or “bigger,” or “better.” Whatever we consider to be happiness seems to be connected somehow with getting what we want. The Bible makes no promises of wealth, prosperity, celebrity or any other superficial goal. Why can’t we just be content?

Be content in what you have

The writer of the Book of Hebrews gave us a warning:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)

God desires a relationship with us and it is His desire that we would want Him. It’s not like a jilted lover getting cut loose in the romance, but it’s simply that God, our creator, loves us and made us an object of that love.

Any parent would want their son or daughter to love them back and want to be with them, so it is no mystery that God would want us to want that close relationship with Him. But we focus on other things. Instead of God, we long after things, material things. The trouble is, it’s insatiable. We’re never satisfied.

Has few material things but still content

I have known people, who by most standards, would be considered living in poverty. As a young man, I met a couple from church who lived paycheck to paycheck. The good news is that although they had little to nothing, they had Jesus in their life. They had what they needed and were content. Because of Jesus they were satisfied. Their two children were provided for. Dare I say it, they were happy.

As a young man I didn’t understand the source of their happiness. It was God. It took me a lot of years to see that. That contentment was something that could not be taken away from them. This close-knit family, with God at the center, was just fine.

Many who have everything but are NEVER satisfied… Nothing is enough!

I spent many years covering sports as a journalist. I met people who were so driven that they could not enjoy their successes. Nothing was enough. Win, win, win. And they did win, but there was no joy. Titles and money were the payoff, but there was no fulfillment. It struck me as very sad.

Acceptance often major key to contentment

I now coach baseball at the high school level. We encourage our players to love God, love one another, work hard at their skills and accept the results that will follow. Win, lose or draw, players know that there is contentment and satisfaction in leaving it all on the field. It’s fun to compete.

Without the pressure of winning, the boys have done a lot of winning over the years. They have victory in Jesus, and a couple of state titles. Over the years, only one went on to play professionally, but even that is secondary in the young man’s life. He loves God. He is content.

Paul able to be content in prison, hard to imagine, but true

So much of the Apostle Paul‘s writing came about when he was in prison. But even then, he talks about being content. Not happy, content. There’s a difference.

The man poured out the grace and love of God in his writings, all the while suffering physical discomfort and a lack of freedom. It teaches us to look ahead, to look for the future that God promises through His son. This life is temporary, but the Kingdom of God shall never end and we are promised a permanent place in it. Things of this world will pass away, so why hold on to them?

Don’t waste time having contempt for contentment.

Is there really sin?

One of the major themes of the Bible, beginning in the Book of Genesis and weaving all the way through to the Book of Revelation is the influence of sin on the relationship between man and God. It is the primary dividing line between us and our creator. It’s also the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

Sin started at the beginning

In Genesis 3, the serpent asked Eve, “Did God REALLY say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” Clearly he is challenging the truth of the statement and questioning the goodness of God. He is appealing to Eve’s ego. He entices her to eat the forbidden fruit.

The sin of Adam and Eve causes a breaking fellowship with God, resulting in their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. From there, for the rest of Scripture, the “on again off again” relationship with God leads to the coming of Christ and man’s redemption.

Often people don’t believe in sin today

In today’s world, the concept of sin is greatly diminished, as people do not want to hear challenges to their lifestyle choices, or their conduct. There is no right and wrong.

For example, the Bible clearly speaks against same sex unions, but today it is mainstream and perfectly acceptable, if not celebrated. Additionally, people argue that there are more than two genders. Rejecting the Biblical account that God created man and woman. Babies are born male and female, but they are allowed to select what gender they identify with, so male and female in their world is no longer valid

Not only is the picking and choosing gender encouraged, any questioning of this “right” is greeted with anger and disdain. Children are allowed to undergo surgical procedures to change gender and their parents are proud.

Divorce is common regardless of how harmful

Divorce rates continue to climb. Once considered a rarity, divorce is now more common than a sustaining marriage. No fault divorce is the norm, as irreconcilable differences are the key to walking away from one’s spouse and children.

We have become numb to this destruction of the family unit. We have family and extended family. Men jump from marriage to marriage, and have children with every partner. Single moms are more common than married ones. But it’s acceptable. Sin is not considered.

Greed is celebrated

All aspects of culture center around personal satisfaction and gain. Television advertising zeros in on this and appeals to our selfishness. Not only do they make you want something, they tell you that you deserve it and because of this, anything that gets in the way is wrong.

Bigger house, better car, any little pleasures of life are yours because you are entitled. Advertising appeals to the worst of our nature.

We turn from God as we sin

Sin is just turning away from God. Sometimes it’s unintentional, but in all too many cases, it’s deliberate.

The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is filled with accounts of people turning away, suffering, then turning back. Sin is an inconvenient truth.

The Bible teaches that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) It goes on to warn that “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) This death is eternal separation from God, a never-ending punishment.

But it also goes on to say that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Realizing that we all turn away from Him and sin, God’s grace is extended to us through His son, Jesus.

It’s like being in court and the judge rules that we are guilty as charged. But then the judge takes off his robes, gets out of the chair of judgment and pays the penalty for us.

Because of what the Messiah did on the cross, we are set free., if we make the choice to accept the gift. You don’t have to accept it, but it’s highly advantageous to take it.

A wrathful, vengeful God? He is a God who loved all of us so much, He allowed his only son to die on the cross. The Bible’s most powerful theme is forgiveness and reconciliation. Sin is defeated when the gift of life is accepted.

Creation or Evolution

Creation versus evolution, what should I believe? I recall my days in high school science, when the teacher talked about the scientific method. There’s not a whole lot I remember to be honest, but he talked about science being able to recreate an event. That’s how they prove things. They make something happen again.

Currently, there’s a lot of theories about where we all came from. Was it from a primordial ooze, or were we created by God? Many theories on this are accepted as science, but they can’t be proven by the scientific method and are therefore only theories.

One theory is that man evolved over millions of years. The other theory, the one presented in the Bible, states emphatically that man was the master handiwork of God. We have only one source for this—the Bible.

Creation cannot be proven because by the rules of science, the event cannot be recreated.

So what do we believe about our creation?

Okay, what are we supposed to believe? On the one hand, using the scientific method, we cannot recreate the beginning of time. Call it the “big bang” or whatever, but something remarkable happened.

The Bible says that God spoke the universe into existence. Out of nothing, God spoke and whammo, it all began. Could that be an explanation for the “big bang?”

On the other hand, we can accept the Biblical account, not because of the evidence presented by the scientific method, but simply by faith. In other words, we just say “Okay God, I’ll take your word for it.”

The problem is that the Bible is not a science book, although arguably its scientific accounts are solid. God told us what happened, but did not include how it happened.

Does God exist?

The really big problem is that we cannot prove the existence of God. It can’t be disproven either. This sounds like a standoff of some kind, a stare down. To accept the Biblical account, it takes faith. To accept the man evolved from amoeba, likewise takes faith.

So the two sides are left to agree to disagree. Call it a draw? No, they both can’t be right and wrong at the same time. The Biblical account is either true, or it’s a fairy tale.

Takes more faith to believe in evolution

Interestingly, some say it takes more faith to accept evolution than it does that accept the Biblical narrative. With evolution, there is that sticky scientific method to get past. Species of animals don’t just change from one thing to another.

The Bible says that creators were created and recreate after their own kind. Tigers don’t turn into alligators. Dogs don’t become cats. There is order.

Evolutionists will claim the fossil record explains everything, but the fossil records have huge holes that cannot be reconciled, so it takes a leap of faith to bridge those gaps.

I believe the Bible

I have embraced the Biblical account about our creation, not because I can disprove evolution, but because I don’t really understand it. It assumes order was created out of chaos, this is illogical to me.

The Bible says God created all things. I believe in God. I believe in His word and I take it by faith, nothing more. My understanding is that He created all things, but I have no clue how He did it. I’m satisfied, because the “how” is not nearly as important as the “why” and the “why” of every Biblical account is what captivates me.

God had a purpose for creating us

If I can get past the “how did it happen” and focus on why it happened, I can begin to understand God’s purpose, His intentionality. Scripture is an intellectual feast and doors open when you can look to God and ask Him for guidance and insight. Unlike any other book, the Bible is a conversation, a living breathing conversation between man and God. That has my attention.

Keeping It Simple… The Gospel isn’t complicated

The Gospel isn’t complicated. It’s easy to understand. Children can grasp it. Still, the good news that God shares with us in the Bible will be rejected by more people than those who will accept it.

People like to complicate

Left to their own devices, many people will complicate any topic. The Israelites took 10 commandments from God and created 613 rules and regulations. Every aspect of life came under the Law of Moses. The prophets came along and added to the mix. Religion was born.

Now there is nothing wrong with having religion. Certainly not. But religion and the Gospel are two different things. Religion dictates what man must do to be acceptable to God. The Gospel is what God did to make man acceptable to Him.

Those 613 laws were boiled down to one statement–

For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not parish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus offered a clarifying statement when he said,

I have not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

He told the people that all of the law was still very much in force, but He was the one who would fulfill all of the righteous requirements of the law, so people who put their trust and faith in Him would be forever accepted into God’s family.

When I was a small child, I received a vaccination for polio. My parents didn’t know anything about the years that went into the development of the vaccine, or the science behind it, but they trusted that it would prevent the dreaded disease.

The law is impossible to follow. Every living human being has broken a commandment. The trouble is, Jesus said if you break one, you’ve broken them all. Breaking a commandment is sin, and the Apostle Paul wrote that

the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 3:23)

So what’s the point? The point is simple– the law, the 10 Commandments, points us to Christ. Jesus did not sin. He paid the full price. That is an amazing statement. He fulfilled all of the requirements so that anyone who believes in Him will be guaranteed heaven. We can’t, He can.

It’s simple, straight forward and easy, at least on the surface. Paul said “all have sinned,” which can be a sticking point for some, who do not believe in sin and do not believe they have committed any transgression worthy of an eternal punishment. But he adds,

the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

Those who acknowledge their sinfulness, big or small, and accept the gift of life through faith in Jesus, are welcomed with open arms, no strings attached. Jesus said,

I am the way the truth and the life. Nobody goes to the Father except by me.” ( John 14:6 )

In other words, there is no back door into heaven and no other way to satisfy God. It’s simple enough, yet so many choke on the idea that they have sinned. Call it pride, or maybe they just don’t understand, I have known some that seem incapable of understanding the simplest things of God. They scoff, they mock and completely dismiss the entire message of the Bible.

The Gospel offers salvation by grace and faith

There are many religions, but only one offers salvation by grace through faith. Christianity stands alone, completely alone. Judaism is the closest, and many Jewish people have accepted Jeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah, much to the chagrin of the Jewish leadership. It was the same during the time of Christ.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe in the simple things. If you make up a religion and make it complicated, you just may find some followers. But God and the Gospel offer you a simple, straight forward invitation. Believe in My Son. Jesus gave Himself so you could live. He paid your debt in full… Simple.

Why Truth Matters

Nihilism is the absence of truth

Marian-Webster Dictionary Definition of nihilism

1a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless Nihilism is a condition in which all ultimate values lose their value.— Ronald H. Nash

b : a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths

When Pontius Pilate questioned the Lord Jesus Christ prior to ordering his death, he asked a strange question: “What is truth?” There is little to suggest that the Roman governor had any interest in the answer, as truth had nothing to do with the arrest, trial and execution of the Lord.

Call it the world’s first recorded kangaroo court, one in which the outcome was predetermined and influenced by a wave of negative public outcry. The truth did not matter. The facts did not add up to anything more than a loving expression of God’s grace, with no threat to Roman authority or the Jewish religious establishment. It was the first “Big Lie.”

We OFTEN ignore truth

They say perception is reality. I take exception to this, as the statement is incomplete. Perception is “stronger” than reality, because what people believe, or want to believe, is often driven by false assumptions, preconceived ideas and a lack of reason.

Truth? Once the perception has taken root in the minds of people, no amount of evidence, no clear and obvious truth, and no facts will get in the way. When there is no truth, no absolutes, no accepted common ground, the world gets turned upside-down and nothing in the way of common sense or reason has any place in the public conversation.

We focus on ourselves

This all has to do with our preoccupation with self. We are the center of our universe. Our opinions are more important than any that are not in alignment with our worldview. Unencumbered by an open mind, people latch on to whatever idea suits them. They become steadfast in their belief that the world is flat, science is bad. And if you don’t agree with their position, you are most definitely wrong. The trouble is, when there is no standard, no accepted truth, anything can pass for fact.

The Bible IS Truth!

The Bible still has a reasonable reputation. It’s the “good book” after all and there are still people who will say that the Bible is fine, but keep it to yourself. They may even own one, but seldom, if ever, read it. Or if they do chose to read Scripture, they fail to grasp its intended message.

People get off on theological rabbit chases and wind up missing the point entirely. Armed with their own opinion, they forego the truth for an alternative reality. Their views supersede those of the Biblical writer and as this delusion grows. The truth of the Bible is ignored, forgotten and lost in the conversation.

The Bible interprets itself. Everything is explained. But man loves to make up his own religion. That’s why we get churches preaching anything but Biblical truth in favor of a politically correct. A watered down version of the Gospel.

Questioning the truth of the Bible seems to satisfy an ego need. “Well, I question that…” People sometimes believe they are great intellectual thinkers when in reality they are just refusing to accept the obvious.

Ask God to help

A simple prayer can be a big help. When reading the Bible, ask God to show you the way and help clarify that which you do not understand. What is written? Is it a command, a promise?

Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through . Ask questions and wait for the answers. The Bible will surprise you at times with its simple truths and challenge you with its complexities. It’s a remarkable book. It offers objective truth, absolutes. It is God speaking to man, giving loving direction on managing the difficulties of modern life.

Draw Close To God, What’s The Big Deal?

The preacher begins his sermon by telling the congregation to open their Bibles to draw close to God and select passage. For those who do not have a Bible, he invites them to take one from the ushers walking up and down the isles. Once everyone is settled in, he begins to read from that selection.

Why would he do that when the whole purpose of the sermon is to unpack the selected text and explain it. Simply stated, it’s to engage the congregation in building community. Together they go through the text and learn.

People often say that religion is something that people should keep private. But the whole idea behind people reading the Bible together is to strengthen their faith, gain knowledge and insight into God’s plan for their lives. Think of the Bible as a manual for the human condition, an instruction book that contains everything you need to know to draw close to God. Believers can learn together, encourage one another and create a loving family.

Religion can get in the way

Religion gets in the way. Churches are social institutions and as such, churches naturally are subject to human frailty. We make up rules and regulations, way beyond those taught in the Bible. We watch each other to make sure everybody stays in line.

There’s an old joke that says if you take a Baptist fishing with you, he’ll drink all your beer. But if you take two Baptists, nobody will drink any beer. You see, our personal convictions are all too often manipulated to align with those of the group.

When I went to confirmation class as a child, I learned about the structure of the church. Also I learned about the importance of bishops, priests and deacons. I never learned about salvation through grace, the eternal promise of heaven offered through faith in Jesus. I learned about that which had no bearing on living a happy and fulfilled life. What a waste of time. I learned nothing of value.

Religion can actually keep a person away from God, because when you are constantly looking for that bolt of lightning to strike, it’s hard to cultivate a loving and lasting relationship.

Ironically, the Bible talks of forgiveness and grace; a reconciliation with God. The idea that sinners are struck down is a fantasy promoted by those who want you to look away from what they are doing.

Reading the Bible allows us to draw closer to God

The whole idea here is to draw closer to God, to develop a real, lasting relationship. Instead of do’s and don’t s, it allows us to focus on wants and needs. That is, what God wants for your life and what you need to do to allow that to happen. Keep it simple. You and God.

I encourage you to read the Bible for yourself. Many churches offer really good small groups, so people can study together and talk about what they’ve read and learned. Churches that focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, will offer opportunities to grow in the faith. It’s you and God.

Read the Bible with the mindset that it is God speaking directly to you, unfiltered, with a message that is intended to benefit you and those you love. It’s not religion, it’s relationship.

Is the Bible TRUE?

Is the Bible true?

Does God Exist?

To decide is the Bible is true, you must first ask: Does God really exist? This is an important question, but the answer is simply we cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. Belief in God and the Bible is simply a matter of faith.

The Bible begins…”In the beginning God…” The Bible is the story about the relationship between God and man, and faith is an important element in that relationship because the Bible says that “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Need to desire faith and be willing to seek God

For those who have faith, or desire to have faith, the answers to most questions are provided by the Bible. So finding answers is simply there for the reading. Also, it follows that, the answer to the question does God exist is yes.

For those who demand scientific proof, they will likely be disappointed, because if proving the existence of God were merely a scientific exercise, there would be no need of faith.Then everyone would know that God exists and and seeking Him would become irrelevant. We all know that gravity exists on earth whether we believe in it or not. We don’t need to seek it or believe in it.

If science could proof the existence of God then we would not need to seek God or read and study the Bible.

Lots of proof about the existence of God and that the Bible is true

Still, there is plenty of proof, if you choose to look for it. But understand that two people can look at the same evidence, study it and come up with opposite conclusions. Therefore, if you look at the evidence in terms of God putting it there, things fall into place. If you are just looking for answers, in the absence of God, your information may not line up. Again, it is a matter of faith.

It’s probably easier to understand God or the existence of God, in terms of order and design. All of nature, for example, functions. Because of God, plants and animals do what they were designed to do. There are 24 hours in the day, and we know to the minute, when the sun will rise and set every day of every year.

Just the air we breathe is perfectly balanced. Most people understand cause and effect and that suggests something caused everything to come into existence. Something caused that to happen. That something is God.

We were created in the image of God

Man has the ability to reason, to create. We have an inner sense of right and wrong. The Bible states that we were created in the image of God, which would explain where our sense of right and wrong comes from.

Evolution is a lie and most scientists know it

But, men and women may not believe the truth, no matter how much evidence is put before them. Sometimes they would prefer to believe a lie.

A scientist once said, when asked about evolution or the biblical account of creation, that he knew evolution was a scientific impossibility. But because he refused to believe in God, he chose to believe in that which he knew was not true.

Denying God and believing in evolution requires an act of faith. Evolution is a religion which endeavors to explain the origin of life in the absence of a creator God. Man has long wanted to put himself equal to or ahead of God.

The three major religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, endeavor to explain the origin of life in terms of God. Christianity goes one step farther than the two others, in that it explains all of existence in terms of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible is TRUTH

Christians and Jews believe the Hebrew Bible to be God’s word, and so they accept the creation account in Genesis. God spoke the universe into existence, therefore we exist. That account sets the stage for everything else that is to come.

God blesses those who believe in Him

The Apostle Paul write in Romans, Chapter 10,

“As Scripture says,

Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?

And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?

And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

How can anyone preach unless they are sent?

As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

But not all the Israelites accepted the good news.

For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

Belief in God and His word the Bible is an act of FAITH

It is a matter of faith. Reading the Bible is a good way to build knowledge, but at the same time also to build faith.

The Bible is a living document, just as alive and vibrant today as it was when each book was first written. It is the inspired word of God, given to man for wisdom, guidance and encouragement if he has the faith to seek it.