The Mainstream of Religion

Religion is not just a temporary thing that helped us adapt to our environment. Rather it is a permanent and central aspect of the human condition. This is a bitter pill for secular, nonreligious people to swallow. Everyone wants to think that they are in the mainstream, that they are not extremists. But robust religious beliefs dominate the world. There is no reason to expect that to change.

Timothy Keller. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. Dutton Adult, 2008. 6.

Why Do I Believe What I Believe?

A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.

Timothy Keller. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. Dutton Adult, 2008. XVII.

Mark 1:21-28 Jesus Rules and Reigns Over Satan and Demons

Mark 1:21-28 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Be confident in God’s Word. If the Bible says it, it is as good as gold. It is as good as done. (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”

Do the demons know who God is?

Do the demons know that Jesus is Lord God Almighty?

Do you believe in God?

Do you believe everything He says?

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

 

Series: I have made mentioned of our family devotions on the Internets and gotten a few requests for my notes. So that is what I am doing just that here. Every Wednesday as a regular weekly series, I will share my notes that I write in preparing for family devotions.

Who is the Lord over heaven?

Who is the Lord over earth?

Who is the Lord over hell?

Satan is not in charge of anything except demons. Christ is charge of everything. When Christ died on the cross, Satan, demons, hell, sin and death were defeated at that moment.

Parents: This is where we talk about the supremacy of God. We do not live in a dualistic universe where the forces of good battle against the force of evil. We live in the kingdom of God where Christ has claimed victory over Satan, death (Heb 2:14), demons (Col 2:15), hell (Phil 2:9-11) and sin (Heb 7:27).

In 50 Trillion Years

So if you and I exist in some way or another 50 trillion years from now, and we exist from now until then and beyond, then this 50-trillion-year mark is far more important than what happens to you at 8, at 16, at 42, at 61, or at any point in this little dew-in-the-morning, gone-in-the-afternoon life of yours and mine. So really and honestly, the cruelty of God would be to protect you here and now in such a way that would rob you of eternal life into the 50-trillion-year mark and beyond.

The mercy of God would be to wound you in such a way that your heart was bound to him, so that in 50 trillion years with an imperishable body when all things have been made new, you might be singing the praises of the King with those who loved him alongside of you.

Matt Chandler, The “How” Matters

We Haven’t Evolved In Rising Above Sin

Wilson: You say, incidentally, that this kind of law was bringing coals to Newcastle—Moses came down from the mount and told people that murder, theft, and perjury were wrong, and all the assembled rolled their collective eyes. “We already knew that!” But the problem is that ancient man didn’t know that, and modern man still doesn’t know it. To state some of the issues that are subsumed under just one of the three categories you mention is to point to controversies that continue down to this day. Consider some of the issues clustered under the easiest of these three to condemn—murder. We have abortion, infanticide, partial-birth abortion, euthanasia, genocide, stem-cell research, capital punishment, and unjust war. Murder is the big E on the eye chart, and we still can’t see it that clearly.

Christopher Hitchens, and Douglas Wilson. Is Christianity Good for the World? Canon Press, 2009. 39.

Shutting the Trapdoor, An Hindsight

I am reading though the short and insightful debate between the late Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson, published in the book, Is Christianity Good For The World? and can’t help to think about the recent Internet-driven bruhahas over the last month, namely:

Rachel Held Evans versus Douglas Wilson.

Supporters of Same-Sex Marriage versus Chick-fil-a and from my finite perspective, the rest of the Conservative Evangelical world.

(Absence of links? I am too lazy to collect them for you.)

I have written opinions about these items and while I don’t necessarily regret my words, I wonder if my voice helped, hurt or even worse still, contributed nothing to the conversation.

If I was completely honest with myself, I know that I contributed nothing and possibly hurt others in the process.

In my mind, I vowed to “know nothing but Christ and him crucified” but my heart’s idol-worship of my soul, will, and intellect betray me. I felt like I had to speak up because I felt like I know more than others and my way is the best way. That is obviously and simply not true.

For whatever the next great Internet debate shows up, I think it would be best to keep my trap shut unless I am asked for my thoughts. When that time comes, I will pray for I am in desperately in need of God’s wisdom in order to think and His expert skilled hands to brutally kill off the pride in me.

 

God Knew Ahead

Wilson: “God knew that we were going to need to pick up dimes, and so He gave us fingernails. He knew that twilights displayed in blue, apricot, and battle gray would be entirely astonishing and beyond us, and so He gave us eyes that can see in color. He could have made all food quite nourishing, but which tasted like wadded up newspaper soaked in machine oil. Instead He gave us the tastes of watermelon, pecans, oatmeal stout, buttered corn, apples, fresh bread, grilled sirloin, and 25-year-old scotch. And He of course knew that we were going to need to thank Him and so He gave us hearts and minds.”

Christopher Hitchens, and Douglas Wilson. Is Christianity Good for the World? Canon Press, 2009.

Is Christianity Good for the World? by Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson, A Quick Review

Good, good, good, so good.

Wilson is top-notch and has the upper hand to give the response.

Hitchens is spot-on typical atheist:

  1. Remove God from the equation
  2. Plug-in Evolution as the new source
  3. Profit$

In this, the main hard-hitting topic was Morals and Ethics or the source of Morals and Ethics.

Wilson’s explanation needs none here. Hitchens’ explanation is that there is no source but rather, our morals have evolved.

Classic Romans 1:18-32.

The book is super-short and an awesome introduction to the end-of-an-era Modern Enlightened Atheist and what the Bible has said otherwise. (I must emphasized Modern Enlightened because I don’t know what a post-modern atheist looks like or is that label even possible under post-modernism. But I digress.)

Can’t recommend this highly enough. Bravo, Wilson. Bravo, Hitchens. (I wish you were still here with us.)

Purchase from Amazon.

Mark 1:16-20 Jesus Calls Out

Mark 1:16-20 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

When we are saved, when we accept Jesus into our hearts and trust in Him and trust what he says, there are a ton of things that God did before we could even know who God is.

God knew you.

God loved you.

God created you.

God pursued you.

And God called you.

Just like the disciples here, Jesus Christ called them one by one, telling them to all, “Follow me.” Likewise, when we heard about God for the first time and when we heard about what Jesus did for those who trust and believe in Him, His Holy Spirit was calling out to each other hearts, saying, “Follow me.”.

When do you remember the first time you felt God calling you?

 

Series: I have made mentioned of our family devotions on the Internets and gotten a few requests for my notes. So that is what I am doing just that here. Every Wednesday as a regular weekly series, I will share my notes that I write in preparing for family devotions.

We Haven’t Arrived Yet

The sum total of all useful exegetical knowledge did not reach the apex during the Reformation, or even in the past century. As much as we can must learn from our theological forebears, we face the harsh realities of this century; and neither nostalgia nor the preferred position of an ostrich will remove either the threats or the opportunities that summon our exegetical skills to new rigor.

D. A. Carson. Exegetical Fallacies. 2nd ed. Baker Academic, 1996.