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And His Name Is Jesus

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Is Christ Unique Among Religions?

Posted by obsessd on December 25, 2012 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I've seen some of this lately, and sadly to say I've seen it in connection with Christmas this year, the celebration of the birth of the Savior. Some people make a lot of fuss over supposed similarities between Jesus Christ and other so-called gods of the pagan religions that have come before or since the birth of Christ. They say things like,

 

Other gods supposedly did the same things Jesus did, dying and rising again, so really Jesus is just people taking the same old stories and adding their own names and places over the old myths.

 

But I don't believe this is actually true at all.  It's not that there are not a number of similarities, that's not the point. It's not about the surface details, but the core. An analogy may help explain. Suppose you have two men. They're both named Rupert and they were both born on February 7th, 1989. Their mothers are both single parents. They both graduate from college with a bachelor's degree. They both are killed October 9th, 2008. They, on the surface, seem like very similar people, don't they? Here's what we don't get told: Rupert A's mother is single because she got a divorce from her husband who cheated on her and she refused to forgive him (although he truly was repentant of his sin) and so she left him. Rupert B's mother's husband died in a car accient leaving her to raise Rupert alone. Rupert A was a history major while Rupert B was criminal justice. Now here's the really important bit. Rupert A overdosed on heroin his first time trying the drug. By the time parametics made it to the scene, he was already gone. Rupert B was shot by an enemy soldier in Iraq protecting the rest of his squad from harm. His sacrifice made sure the rest of his men made it home safely.

 

They're very different people, despite the similarities on the surface. Even if we took away all the differences but that last one, that's enough to make a major difference. One died to save others, while the other just...died.  They even died the same day! But does that mean that if we talk about Rupert B, it's just Rupert A with a few different details? Of course not, they're two distinct individuals.

 

In a very similar way, the story of Christ is not merely a repainting of existant mythology. It can seem that way if all you examine is the surface, but there's much to differentiate Christ from all who came before or after Him. His death was a sacrificial death, one that saved all mankind from our sinful state, offering us a pathway to escape our rightful condemnation to the fires of Hell, and to bring us into the light of God's presence. He was born specifically for that. He came to this earth precicely so He could suffer and die and so that He would bridge the gap between God and men that could be bridged by none other than Himself.

 

Jesus' death was not incidental, it was a part of the plan since the beginning of time. And it is the only death that is sufficient to cover the sins of any of us, if we accept Christ into our hearts and offer our lives up to Him.  If we do not surrender ourselves to Christ, we are still in our sins and destined for the torments of Hell.

 

So while some may see the surface similarities, I see the core contrasts that set Jesus Christ at the head of history, the most important Man to ever walk the face of the Earth. Because He was both man and God. And everything the Bible claims He is.

 

Can You Be Born a Christian?

Posted by obsessd on December 5, 2012 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Before I truly came to Christ, there were a lot of things I didn't understand that I thought I did. It's amazing but there are many professing Christians out there who fall into similar traps.  How many have heard someone who professes to be a Christian say this:

Oh, I've always been a Christian. I was born one.

 

I think the root of the problem is that so many people mistakenly identify Christianity as a religion, and not as a relationship with Jesus Christ.  A religion is a system of works whereby sinful man attempts to justify himself before a holy God, where Christianity is God's justification of sinful man based on the merit of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. There are major differences in these two, but that's its own post that may well come later. For now, however, let's focus on one difference: a religion you can be born into.  A relationship you cannot.

 

But that nonsense was a mindset I was comfortable with at one time.  Amazing, isn't it? Of course, it's simply not possible. You can be born in to a Christian home, but you cannot be born a Christian.  That would be like saying the best friend you have on earth right now, you were born already knowing that person.  I didn't come out of the womb and think, "Hm, I'd really like to hang out with my best friend" because I didn't have one.  I didn't build a relationship with anyone yet.

 

The first step of any relationship is to meet that person. I can't very well say I know someone I've never met. I've never met Tom Hanks, so I can't claim I have a relationship of any kind with him. So before anything can happen, first you must meet the individual.

 

So it is with Christ.  We first must meet Him, when we come to Him asking for forgiveness for our sins, aware that only through His sacrificial death, the perfect, unblemished passover lamb offered for the forgiveness of sins, can we be made right with our heavenly Father. Then we must build a relationship with Him by reading the Bible and following the instructions therein, not because good works will lead us to heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9 explains that very succinctly), but because they help us grow and be changed more into the likeness of the One who bled for us.

 

Jesus wants to build and cultivate a relationship with us, but if we are not willing to meet Him, to get to know Him, and to follow Him, it's never going to happen. And the scariest part of all is that a relationship with Him is the only thing that saves you from the punishment every man and woman rightfully deserves: an eternity in Hell.  

 

For those who think you can be born a Christian, I would humbly say that you cannot be born into a relationship with someone. If you really want to be a true Christian, you must acknowledge yourself a sinner, justly deserving God's wrath. You must accept Jesus as God's one and only Son, and the cross as the payment of the debt your sins bear that cannot be paid in any other way.  If you have not surrendered completely to Him, if you've ever held any sins or desires or parts of your life back from Him an refused to make Him Lord over them, I would be concerned and do whatever was necessary to "make your calling and election sure." (2 Peter 1:10).

I hope this post has been enlightening and useful.  May God bless you, all.

 

Encouragement I

Posted by obsessd on December 1, 2012 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

This will be short, but I thought I'd offer some encouragement. I've noticed that I tend to tell people about Christ only when I see that there's a direct conversational line to Him from what we're talking about, usually because someone asks me. I'm always glad to talk about Him, but I'm shy to just bring Him up.  However  I notice that it seems I make little progress. I thought I would share this encouragement in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation.


If you are evangelizing and the person to whom you are telling the Gospel to doesn't seem responsive, don't lose heart. You never know whom else might hear your words. The seed might be planted where you least expect it and grow and flourish. Just be faithful and trust the Lord to do with His word as He sees fit, for His greater glory and honor and praise. God bless.


May you be greatly blessed in the Lord Jesus Christ for the fulfilment of His purposes and the bringing about of His Kingdom, all for His glory, the glory of God the One and Only. Have a wonderful Christmas season!

Is Jesus a Fairy Tale?

Posted by obsessd on November 11, 2012 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I haven't written in a while, but I'm back now with another topic to discuss.  This will follow in the vein of a number of others, discussing evangelism questions that may arise potentially when discussing the faith with other people, and attempting to provide answers for those questions.  Perhaps you've come across someone saying the following:

 

The Gospels are all made up.  The disciples and Apostles all made this up so they could be in power of a new system (or for some other equally selfish reason) or perhaps they just were delusional.

 

Ever heard that? Well here's the good news: It's competely refutable.  Let's tackle the first half of the equation before we move on: the whole story was made up.  We all know men are sinful, and we lie and scheme and cheat to get to the top. It's our human nature coming to the fore when we act this way. Why should we feel that the disciples of Jesus were any different? Perhaps there was no Jesus, and they invented Him for their own purposes, claiming to be eyewitnesses of things that never happened.  It's possible, isn't it?

 

Actually, it's not.  Even most secular historians will tell you that there is no doubt that Jesus, as a historical figure, existed.  Even Josephus makes mention of the Nazarene in his works.  So we can be reasonably sure that Christ truly did walk this earth. But what about after He was gone, could His disciples have made up the resurrection and falsified testamony to their own ends? They could have, but it makes no sense when you consider the rest of the facts.  Especially the fact that many of them died for their faith.  No man dies for a lie he himself made up.  You wouldn't go to a horrible, drawn-out death (such as crucifixion, which some of the Apostles would suffer) to protect a faith you largely invented for your own gain.  The fact that they were willing to die for His testamony speaks to the legitimacy of their belief.  They were not lying.  

 

Could they have been delirious? This explination also falls short when we examine the evidence more thoroughly.  First, we're talking about a larger group of people than most may realize.  It was not a handful who were privy to Jesus' teachings, but many. He was a big name in His day.  His miraculous doings were done live in front of crouds on occasion.  On two separate occasions, He fed five thousand people with food that might fill a handful of people at best.  And at the time that the faith was first being spread, all these people were alive and well.  So unless thousands upon thousands had the exact same halucinations at the exact same times, over a period of about three years, we can safely rule out this phenomenon.  Then Paul comes along to shove the final nail in the delirium coffin.  An avid persecutor of the early Church, Paul has a totally unexpected encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus that radically changed his life and set him on the path to Apostlehood.  He was late to the game, as far as the rest of the "big names" of the first generation were concerned.  Peter, John, and the others had been with Him since the begining, and now Paul joins the ranks a number of years later.  If delirium is the cause of it, why would he suddenly experience the exact same halucination or halucinations as they did spontaneously that leads him to be the man who writes two thirds of the New Testament?  It makes no sense.

 

So what does make sense? It makes sense that Jesus was a historical figure. That means He lived and walked where the Gospels say He lived and walked.  The disciples were not psychotic nutjobs who dreamed up the entire scenario, nor were they manipulative sociopaths greedy for power.  Their martyrdoms testify to the honesty of their belief in what they preached, and the sheer number of witnesses effectively rules out delirium.  Therefore we can expect that what these men saw, and to what they testify, was exactly what the Gospels declare: the Christ, the Son of God Almighty walked this earth in human form.  He suffered at the hands of sinful men, bearing our sins on the cross for the salvation of mankind, and on the third day He rose from the dead, being seen by His disciples and made known His resurrection to them before ascending into heaven, where He resides now.  But soon, very soon, He will come again to gather His bride from among the nations and bring them in the blink of an eye. This is called the Rapture, and only those whose faith is in Jesus Christ will be taken to paradise.  The rest will remain to suffer through the worst seven years mankind will ever see.  The Tribulation. 

 

God's Name Used In Vain

Posted by obsessd on August 31, 2012 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Ever heard someone take God's name in vain? Either Jesus Christ used to express disgust, or the title God followed by a curse word? I highly doubt there are many, if any, who have never heard this before.  This is called blasphemy, and it's a sin, but how do you explain why it shouldn't be commited, other than "it's wrong"? How do you make the point politely and clearly?

 

Using God's name in vain is a method of expressing disgust with something. It is replacing a curse word with the very name of God. God hates this, as He does all sin.  But what's the big deal? Try looking at it this way:  Imagine someone is standing next to you and suddenly they stub their toe and the first angry words out of their mouth is your name.  How would you feel? Angry? Upset? Why is that? Isn't it because that person chose your name to be a symbol of disgust?  They could have said a lot of things from the (admittedly goofy sounding) "Oh darn" to some other choice words (that probably shouldn't be uttered, either), but for some reason, they felt that your name fit the bill for the job.  Why does that upset us? Isn't it because we see ourselves as good people and this smears our name? It's like saying we're on the level of that disgusting thing, that situation, that problem.  It brings us down to that level.  

 

Now imagine God. He is perfect in every way. There is nothing false about Him. And yet we think that it's alright to take His very name, the name of our savior, the man of Salvation who came to free the world from the bondage of sin and rescue a hellbound planet from the wages of their sins, the name Jesus Christ, and compare it to something horrible?  That's comparing diamonds to what you just shoved down the garbage disposal.  That's comparing rubies to used diapers.  It's insulting to the object of that comparison. It mocks that name being used. If we wouldn't want someone using our name in such an undignified manner, can't we - shouldn't we - show the same respect to Almighty God, who created us and offers salvation through the forgiveness of sins by His work on the cross? We mock not only Jesus, but what He did, when we misuse His name in this manner. 

 

Seek, But Will You Find?

Posted by obsessd on August 10, 2012 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

What particularly interests me of late is the Emerging Church movement, and people like them who can deny the necessity of repentance and faith in Christ. They say things like, "You're seeking God in your own way." That may be true, you are seeking God in your own way, maybe. The problem is, while you might be seeking, you're surely not finding.


It's like a game of hide and seek. If you look everywhere except where the person is hiding, you will never find them. It doesn't matter how thoroughly you search the wrong location, or how dedicated to the mistaken belief that person is hiding there you may be, if the person is not there, you will not find him or her. The difference between this and God is that He has announced His location to us in His word, the Holy Bible. He has come right out and said "Here I am!" but so many of us are still checking in the closets, in the pantries, under the beds, in garages, and refuse to believe that He has given us the answer.


So while the Emerging Church and those who preach that same concept are half right, they are still all wrong when it comes to the solution to the problem. The only solution is true faith in Jesus as the Messiah and repentance, a genuine turning from sin. Surrender your life to Christ, and you will finally find what you have been seeking.


God bless.

A Double Standard?

Posted by obsessd on May 4, 2012 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

In keeping with last blog's theme of stating obvious things, I wanted to talk on jealousy a bit.  It seems like there is a 'double standard' in Scripture that we are held to but God is not. I would like to explain how that's not the case.  Perhaps someone has mentioned this to you in some form.  Well, here's my best answer to it and you can tell me what you think of it.


It says in Scripture that we are not to covet, that we should not be jealous of what others have, then God Himself says He is a jealous God, and Scripture talks about His "jealous anger" being poured out on a disobedient Israel.  Is there a double standard here? Of course not. Let me try to explain as best I can.


We are commanded not to long for those things which don't belong to us.  For example, our neighbor's beautiful BMW when we drive a Honda Civic.  Why? Because we have no right to those things.  But God is jealous and justified in His jealousy because He has title deed to all Creation.  He is jealous after what is rightfully His in the first place:  mankind, His creation.  When we turn away from Him, He is jealous after us because we who are saved in Christ belong to Him.  I believe He is also jealous after the salvation of the lost, hence the Great Commission to save those who are presently doomed to Hell.  This jealousy is not a longing to gain without earning, but a longing for what belongs to Him. 


Let me put it this way:  would anyone think there was anything wrong if a man worked 40 hours and did a wonderful job at his work, but when the time came to be paid, he wasn't given a penny, and so he longs 'jealously' after his wages he earned? I doubt it. We would sympathize with his plight. He jealously longs for the money, but the difference is by the rights of the secular world, he earned what he is jealous for.  In a similar manner, God has the right to be jealous for us.  He paid for us on the cross, why can't He long after what is rightfully His?  So there really is no double standard at all, because our jealousy is base and sinful, corrupted by our nature, while His is perfect and pure and godly, as is His perfect Nature. 


I hope this makes sense.  God bless.

License to Sin?

Posted by obsessd on May 1, 2012 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

If you live in America, a big thing about the political culture here is our rights. We can be obsessed with them, and perhaps rightly so.  However some people seem to feel that Free Will equates to having the right to sin.  Obviously this isn't true.  It may be stating the obvious in this post, however sometimes the obvious needs stating, so here it goes.


God created us with free will, and therefore with the ability to sin, but He never confered on us the right to sin.  The major difference is this: an ability is just that: the physical capacity to perform an action.  Consequences aren't factored in and can be severe. But a right implies that there will be no negative consequences.  Nobody ever went to jail (I hope) because they exercised a constitutionally-guaranteed right (at least in the way in which it's guaranteed?).  Rights are intented to be consequence-free.  So while we were given by our Creator the ability to disobey Him, we don't have the right to do so.  Hell is proof we have no right!  Just like a judge in a secular court will punish you for breaking laws you have no right to break, God will do the same to those who transgress His laws and are not covered by the saving blood of the Savior, the Man Jesus Christ, Son of God. 


Let us never forget the difference between an ability and a right, and keep our eyes firmly on Christ at all times.  Amen.  God bless.

A Dream I Had

Posted by obsessd on April 1, 2012 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I want to start off by saying I'm just posting this as an interesting dream, not claiming it is prophetic. If it is, the Lord hasn't told me. Feel free to tell me what you think of it. I'll just relay this thing step by step. The dream took place about a week ago, but I remember the details very well. I also wrote them down that day.

 

I was walking in a field with my grandfather when I heard a loud yet muffled boom sound. Imagine what must be a loud clap of thunder, but from a great distance. You hear it, it's loud, but it's no longer a sharp sound. It lost that piercing quality. That's essentially wat it sounded like. I looked behind me in this huge open field and where before had been nothing, now there hovered a large white spaceship. When I say large, I mean large. This was not anything trivial. I saw many rows of 'portholes' and figure it could have housed thousands. The ship was long and tapered like a rocket on the side, more or less. It's hard to describe in words. The very tip was greater in width vertically than the immediately preceeding "neck" of the ship. The entire back of the ship was covered in a white fog or cloud. The fact it failed to disipate suggests to me that the ship was generating the cloud itself for some point or another. The ship hovered what looked to be a very short distance above the ground. Perhaps several feet.

 

I should note that the ship did not descend from the skies. Before the boom, there was no ship, and after it, it was suddenly there, hoving a short distance above the ground as if always preset. The best description I can give, though not necessarily exactly what happened, was that the ship seemed to have teleported to that location.

 

Many people started to run out into the field and mill around, anxious to see this ship. I did not see or hear from any aliens at any point in the dream, but the ship showed no signs of leaving. I had the impression it would be there for a while. My grandfather and I kept walking away, though it was definitely drawing my interest.

 

At some point, the ship produced an automated drill of some kind. It looked a bit like this: a large black ring,  with four more black rings inside it as if at the 'points' (north, south, east, west).  Each point of the smaller rings had some sort of directed flame emitted from it that was drilling through a small mountainside nearby. I have no idea why they were drilling, but the drilling itself didn't seem to be threatening in any way.

 

The news media was going crazy over the event. It was the only thing on tv. Pictures of the spaceship was the only thing any channel would show. They were hailing it as the 'day we made contact' and it definitely felt like a dramatic shift in humanity had happened, that we had stepped beyond some point of no return. I remember telling my mom, "Well, the Great Deception is here" as if it was a matter-of-fact. I had a bit of a sense of dread about the ship, as if it boded badly for me that it was there. I can remember the date was either March or May 26, 2012. I had the dream March 26, early in the morning.

 

Again, I'm not saying look out, something is coming, but IF it proves to be prophetic in any fashion, I wanted it posted. I know God said in Ezekiel 33:6 that "if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood." I'm not claiming to be one of these people, but I feel that whomever God gives information to of that nature, it's their duty to present it. If I'm not sure it's information from Him, I feel I had best present it, making sure to note I'm not aware if it is or is not of the Lord, and let Him sort the matter out as He sees fit. That is my personal philosophy. Basically better safe than sorry. God bless you all and thank you for taking the time to read my dream.

Life: A Gift Summary

Posted by obsessd on March 14, 2012 at 3:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I've not personally heard this arguement, but I anticipate it, I suppose. I can see someone making this claim, so I want to nip it in the bud if at all possible and explain the fallacies inherent in the arguement.  It goes like this:

 

If you're right, my life is a gift from God, and as a gift, I can use it however I want and if God was the loving God you claim He is, He wouldn't punish me for spending the gift He gave me as I see fit.


I respectfully but forcefully disagree with this approach.  Please permit me to illustrate my point.  Suppose you have a friend who needs a new hairbrush. She really needs one, I mean. You find one at a store somewhere that's unique in the extreme, exactly the sort of brush she'd love. So you being a loving, caring friend, immediately buy it for her and on her birthday, you give her your gift, so pleased to be able to provide it. A week later you come over to her house and find out that she's been using the hairbrush you searched high and low to find to scrub toilets. How would you feel?Upset? Angered, maybe? You'd probably want an explenation for this. But why's that? Wasn't it a gift, after all, and hers to use as she saw fit? Yet we still are angry at the misuse of a precious present.

 

If we, mere humans, are upset when we see this sort of abuse, why would our Father in heaven be less so? Life was a gift. We can either use it as it was intended - by the gift giver - or we can scrub toilets with it. Which will it be? But we give an accounting for how we used or squandered our precious gift when the One who bestowed it upon us comes calling to see how much we love what He freely gave to us. In short, how we use our gifts is very important. Anyone who claims otherwise doesn't fully or truly appreciate that gift.


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