Faith And Evidence

 

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Have you been considering whether or not there is a higher power? A power that formed the Universe and all that’s in it. A power that took nothing and created the earth, the sky, water, and living things?Where did the simplest plant come from? The most complicated creature… man? I struggled with the question for years. I sought the answer in science.

Surely the answer can be found through the study of these things all around that amaze and mystify us. The answer had to be in the most minute part of every creature and thing. The atom! The essence of life must be found there. It wasn’t. It wasn’t found in the nuclear material or in the electrons spinning around it. It wasn’t in the empty space that makes up most of everything we can touch and see.

All these thousands of years of looking and no one has found the essence of life inside the common things around us. I knew there must be a force, a power, that was doing all this around me. Was it God? Okay, why doesn’t He just reveal Himself to me? Why not? If this force is a living God why all the mystery? Wouldn’t it be more logical for Him to say, Okay, here I am. I did all this. Now go about your business.”

Not until I met a special woman who I reluctentantly went to a Bible study with did I start to understand any of this. The people there were studying the Scriptures and I thought they must be searching for the same thing I was, but just haven’t found it yet. The leader of the group read a passage from the Bible written by a man who used to hate Christians but was changed. Changed in an amazing way. His name was Paul and he wrote,

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-9

Those words “grace” and “faith” fascinated me. What did they really mean? Later that night she asked me to go see a movie, of course she tricked me into going to a Christian movie. At the end of the show there was a short message by Billy Graham. Here he was, a farm boy from North Carolina, explaining to me the very thing that I had been struggling with all along. He said, “You can’t explain God scientifically, philosophically, or in any other intellectual way. “You simply have to believe God is real.

You have to have faith that what He said He did as it is written in the Bible. That He created the heavens and the earth, that He created the plants and animals, that He spoke all this into existence as it is written in the book of Genesis in the Bible. That He breathed life into a lifeless form and it became man. That He wanted to have a closer relationship with the people He created so He took on the form of a man who was God’s Son and came to the earth and lived among us. This Man, Jesus, paid the debt of sin for those who will believe by being crucified on the cross.

How could it be so simple? Just believe? Have faith that all this was the truth? I went home that night and got little sleep. I struggled with the issue of God giving me grace – through faith to believe. That He was that force, that essence of life and creation of all that ever was and is. Then He came to me. I knew that I simply had to believe. It was by God’s grace that He showed me His love. That He was the answer and that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for me so that I could believe. That I could have a relationship with Him. He revealed Himself to me in that moment.

I called her to tell her that I now understand. That now I believe and want to give my life to Christ. She told me that she prayed that I would not sleep until I took that leap of faith and believed in God. My life was changed forever. Yes, forever, because now I can look forward to spending eternity in a wonderful place called heaven.

No longer do I concern myself with needing evidence to prove that Jesus could actually walk on water, or that the Red Sea could have parted to allow the Israelites to pass through, or any of the dozen other seemingly impossible events written in the Bible.

God has proven Himself over and over in my life. He can reveal Himself to you also. If you find yourself seeking proof of His existence ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Take that leap of faith as a child, and truly believe in Him. Open yourself up to His love by faith, not evidence.

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Dear Soul,

Do you have the assurance that if you were to die today, you’ll be in the presence of the Lord in heaven? Death for a believer is but a doorway that opens into eternal life. Those who fall asleep in Jesus will be reunited with their loved ones in heaven.

Those you’ve laid in the grave in tears, you shall meet them again with joy! Oh, to see their smile and feel their touch… never to part again!

Yet, if you don’t believe in the Lord, you’re going to hell. There is no pleasant way to say it.

The Scripture says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23

Soul, that includes you and me.

Only when we realize the awfulness of our sin against God and feel its deep sorrow in our hearts can we turn from the sin we once loved and accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior.

…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.  – 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9

Don’t fall asleep without Jesus until you are assured of a place in heaven.

Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life, first you must believe in the Lord. You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven and put your trust in the Lord. To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life. There’s only one way to heaven, and that’s through the Lord Jesus. That’s God’s wonderful plan of salvation.

You can begin a personal relationship with Him by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:

“Oh God, I’m a sinner. I’ve been a sinner all of my life. Forgive me, Lord. I receive Jesus as my Savior. I trust Him as my Lord. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you have never received the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, but have received Him today after reading this invitation, please let us know.

We would love to hear from you. Your first name is sufficient, or place an “x” in the space to remain anonymous.

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A Letter From Heaven

The angels came and ushered me into God’s presence, dear mama. They carried me like you did when I would fall asleep. I awoke into the arms of Jesus, the One who gave His life for me!

It’s so beautiful up here, so beautiful like you’ve always said! A pure river of water, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God.

I was so overwhelmed with His love, dear mama! Imagine my joy seeing Jesus face to face! His smile – so warm… His face – so radiant… “Welcome home my child!” He tenderly said.

Oh, don’t be sad for me, mama. Your tears fall like summer rain! I feel so light on my feet like I’m dancing, mama. The curse of death has lost its sting.

Although God called me home so early, with so many dreams, so many songs unsung, I’ll be in your heart, in your cherished memories. The moments we had will carry you through.

I remember when at bedtime I’d crawl up in your bed? You would tell me stories of Jesus and the love for us He had.

I remember those nights, mama ~ your treasured stories. Mama’s lullabies that I tucked in my heart. The moonlight danced on the wooden floors when I asked God to save me. 

Jesus came into my life that night, dear mama! In the darkness I could feel you smile. Bells rang for me in heaven! My name written in the Book of Life.

So don’t cry for me, dear mama. I’m here in heaven because of you. Jesus needs you now, for there are my brothers. There’s more work on earth for you to do.

One day when your work is over, the angels shall come to carry you. Safely into the arms of Jesus, the One who loved and died for you.

A Letter From Hell

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. ~ Luke 16:23-24

A Letter From Hell

Dear Mom,

I am writing to you from the most horrible place that I have ever seen, and more horrible than you could ever imagine. It is BLACK here, so DARK that I cannot even see all the souls I am constantly bumping into. I only know they are people like myself from the blood curdling SCREAMS. My voice is gone from my own screaming as I writhe in pain and suffering. I cannot even cry for help anymore, and it is no use anyway, there is no one here that has any compassion at all for my plight.

The PAIN and suffering in this place is absolutely unbearable. It so consumes my every thought,  I could not know if there were any other sensation to come upon me. The pain is so severe, it never stops day or night. The turning of days does not appear because of the darkness.  What may be nothing more than minutes or even seconds seems like many endless years.  The thought of this suffering continuing without end is more than I can bear. My mind is spinning more and more with each passing moment.  I feel like a madman, I cannot even think clearly under this load of confusion. I fear I am losing my mind.

The FEAR is just as bad as the pain, maybe even worse. I don’t see how my predicament could be any worse than this, but I am in constant fear that it MIGHT be at any moment.

My mouth is parched, and will only become more so. It is so dry that my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth. I recall that old preacher saying that’s what Jesus Christ endured as he hung on that old rugged cross. There is no relief, not so much as a single drop of water to cool my swollen tongue.

To add even more misery to this place of torment, I know that I deserve to be here. I am being punished justly for my deeds. The punishment, the pain, the suffering is no worse than I justly deserve, but admitting that now will never ease the anguish  that burns eternally in my wretched soul.  I hate myself for committing the sins to earn such a horrible fate,  I hate the devil that deceived me so that I would end up in this place.  And as much as I know it is an unspeakable wickedness to think such a thing, I hate the very God that sent his only begotten Son to spare me this torment. I can never blame the Christ that suffered and bled and died for me,  but I hate him anyway. I cannot even control my feelings that I know to be wicked, wretched and vile. I am more wicked and vile now than I ever was in my earthly existence. Oh, If only I had listened.

Any earthly torment would be far better than this. To die a slow agonizing death from Cancer; To die in a burning building as the victims of the 9-11 terror attacks. Even to be nailed to a cross after being beaten unmercifully like the Son of God; But to choose these over my present state I have no power. I do not have that choice.

I now understand that this torment and suffering is what Jesus Bore for me. I believe that he suffered, bled and died to pay for my sins, but his suffering was not eternal. After three days he arose in victory over the grave. Oh, I do SO believe, but alas, it is too late. As the old invitation song says that I remember hearing so many times, I am “One Day Too Late”.

We are ALL believers in this terrible place, but our faith amounts to NOTHING. It is too late. The door is shut. The tree has fallen, and here shall it lay. In HELL. Forever lost. No Hope, No Comfort, No Peace, No Joy.

There will never be any end to my suffering. I remember that old preacher as he would read  “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: And they have no rest day nor night”

And that is perhaps the worst thing about this terrible place. I REMEMBER. I remember the church services. I remember the invitations. I always thought they were so corny, so stupid, so useless. It seemed I was too “tough” for such things. I see it all different now, Mom, but my change of heart matters nothing at this point.

I have lived like a fool, I pretended like a fool, I died like a fool, and now I must suffer the torments and anguish of a fool.

Oh, Mom, how I miss so very much the comforts of home. Never again will I know your tender caress across my fevered brow. No more warm breakfasts or home-cooked meals. Never again will I feel the warmth of the fireplace on a frosty winter’s night. Now the fire engulfs not only this perishing body wracked with pain beyond compare, but the fire of the wrath of an Almighty God consumes my very inner being with an anguish that cannot be properly described in any mortal language.

I long to just stroll through a lush green meadow in the springtime and view the beautiful flowers, stopping to take in the fragrance of their sweet perfume. Instead I am resigned to the burning smell of brimstone, sulfur, and a heat so intense that all other senses simply fail me.

Oh, Mom, as a teenager I always hated having to listen to the fussing and whining of the little babies in church, and even at our house. I thought they were such an inconvenience to me, such an irritation. How I long just to see for a brief moment one of those innocent little faces. But there are no babies in Hell, Mom.

There are no Bibles in Hell, dearest mother. The only scriptures inside the charred walls of the damned are those that ring in my ears hour after hour, moment after miserable moment. They offer no comfort at all, though, and only serve to remind me of what a fool I have been.

Were it not for the futility of them Mom, you might otherwise rejoice to know that there is a never ending prayer meeting here in Hell. No matter, there is no Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf. The prayers are so empty, so dead. They amount to nothing more than cries for mercy that we all know will never be answered.

Please warn my brothers Mom. I was the eldest, and thought I had to be “cool”. Please tell them that no one in Hell is cool. Please warn all my friends, even my enemies, lest they come also to this place of torment.

As terrible as this place is, Mom, I see that it is not my final destination. As Satan laughs at all of us here, and as multitudes join us continually in this feast of misery, we are constantly reminded that some day in the future, we will all be summoned individually to appear before The Judgment Throne of Almighty God.

God will show us our eternal fate written in the books next to all of our wicked works. We will have no defense, no excuse, and nothing to say except to confess the justice of our damnation before the supreme judge of all the earth. Just before being cast into our final destination of torment, the Lake of Fire, we will have to look upon the face of him who willingly suffered the torments of hell that we might be delivered from them. As we stand there in his holy presence to hear the pronouncement of our damnation, you will be there Mom to see it all.

Please forgive me for hanging my head in shame, as I know I will not be able to bear to look upon your face. You will already be conformed into the image of the Savior, and I know it will be more than I can stand.

I would love to leave this place and join you and so many others I have known for my few short years on earth. But I know that will never be possible. Since I know I can never escape the torments of the damned, I say with tears, with a sorrow and deep despair that can never be completely described, I never want to see any of you again. Please don’t ever join me here.

In eternal Anguish, Your Son / Daughter, Condemned and Lost Forever

A Love Letter From Jesus

I asked Jesus, “How much do you love me?” He said, “This much” and stretched out His hands and died. Died for me, a fallen sinner! He died for you too.

***

The night before My death, you were on my mind. How I desired to have a relationship with you, to spend eternity with you in heaven. Yet, sin separated you from Me and My Father. A sacrifice of innocent blood was needed for the payment of your sins.

The hour had come when I was to lay down my life for you. With heaviness of heart I went out to the garden to pray. In agony of soul I sweat, as it were, drops of blood as I cried out to God… “…O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” ~ Matthew 26:39

While I was in the garden the soldiers came to arrest Me even though I was innocent of any crime. They brought Me before Pilate’s hall. I stood before My accusers. Then Pilate took Me and scourged Me. Lacerations cut deeply into My back as I took the beating for you. Then the soldiers stripped me, and put a scarlet robe on Me. They platted a crown of thorns upon My head. Blood flowed down My face… there was no beauty that you should desire Me.

Then the soldiers mocked Me, saying, ” Hail, King of the Jews! They brought Me before the cheering crowd, shouting, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” I stood there silently, bloody, bruised and beaten. Wounded for your transgressions, bruised for your iniquities. Despised and rejected of men.

Pilate sought to release Me but gave in to the pressure of the crowd. “Take ye Him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.” he said to them. Then he delivered Me to be crucified.

You were on my mind when I carried My cross up the lonesome hill to Golgotha. I fell beneath its weight. It was my love for you, and to do My Father’s will that gave Me the strength to bear beneath its heavy load. There, I bore your griefs and I carried your sorrows laying down My life for the sin of mankind.

The soldiers sneered giving heavy blows of the hammer driving the nails deeply into My hands and feet. Love nailed your sins to the cross, never to be dealt with again. They hoisted Me up and left Me to die. Yet, they did not take My life. I willingly gave it.

The sky grew black. Even the sun stopped shining. My body wracked with excruciating pain took the weight of your sin and bore it’s punishment so that the wrath of God could be satisfied.

When all things were accomplished. I committed My spirit into My Father’s hands, and breathed out My final words,”It is finished.” I bowed my head and gave up the ghost.

I Love you… Jesus.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13

An Invitation to Accept Christ

Dear Soul,

Today the road may have seemed steep, and you feel alone. Someone you trust has disappointed you. God sees your tears. He feels your pain. He longs to comfort you, for He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

God loves you so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die in your place. He will forgive you for every sin you have committed, if you are willing to leave your sins and turn from them.

The Scripture says, “…I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” ~ Mark 2:17b

Soul, that includes you and me.

No matter how far into the pit you have fallen, God’s grace is greater still. The dirty despondent souls, He came to save. He’ll reach down His hand to hold yours.

Maybe you’re like this fallen sinner who came to Jesus, knowing He was the One who could save her. With tears streaming down her face, she began to wash His feet with her tears, and  wipe them with her hair. He said, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven…” Soul, can He say that of you tonight?

Perhaps you’ve looked at pornography and you feel ashamed, or you’ve committed adultery and you want to be forgiven.  The same Jesus who’s forgiven her will also forgive you tonight.

Maybe you thought about giving your life to Christ, but put it off for one reason or another. “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” ~ Hebrews 4:7b

The Scripture says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9

Don’t fall asleep without Jesus until you are assured of a place in heaven.

Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life, first you must believe in the Lord. You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven and put your trust in the Lord. To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life. There’s only one way to heaven, and that’s through the Lord Jesus. That’s God’s wonderful plan of salvation.

You can begin a personal relationship with Him by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:

“Oh God, I’m a sinner. I’ve been a sinner all of my life. Forgive me, Lord. I receive Jesus as my Savior. I trust Him as my Lord. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Faith and Evidence

Have you been considering whether or not there is a higher power? A power that formed the Universe and all that’s in it. A power that took nothing and created the earth, the sky, water, and living things?Where did the simplest plant come from? The most complicated creature… man? I struggled with the question for years. I sought the answer in science.

Surely the answer can be found through the study of these things all around that amaze and mystify us. The answer had to be in the most minute part of every creature and thing. The atom! The essence of life must be found there. It wasn’t. It wasn’t found in the nuclear material or in the electrons spinning around it. It wasn’t in the empty space that makes up most of everything we can touch and see.

All these thousands of years of looking and no one has found the essence of life inside the common things around us. I knew there must be a force, a power, that was doing all this around me. Was it God? Okay, why doesn’t He just reveal Himself to me? Why not? If this force is a living God why all the mystery? Wouldn’t it be more logical for Him to say, Okay, here I am. I did all this. Now go about your business.”

Not until I met a special woman who I reluctentantly went to a Bible study with did I start to understand any of this. The people there were studying the Scriptures and I thought they must be searching for the same thing I was, but just haven’t found it yet. The leader of the group read a passage from the Bible written by a man who used to hate Christians but was changed. Changed in an amazing way. His name was Paul and he wrote,

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-9

Those words “grace” and “faith” fascinated me. What did they really mean? Later that night she asked me to go see a movie, of course she tricked me into going to a Christian movie. At the end of the show there was a short message by Billy Graham. Here he was, a farm boy from North Carolina, explaining to me the very thing that I had been struggling with all along. He said, “You can’t explain God scientifically, philosophically, or in any other intellectual way. “You simply have to believe God is real.

You have to have faith that what He said He did as it is written in the Bible. That He created the heavens and the earth, that He created the plants and animals, that He spoke all this into existence as it is written in the book of Genesis in the Bible. That He breathed life into a lifeless form and it became man. That He wanted to have a closer relationship with the people He created so He took on the form of a man who was God’s Son and came to the earth and lived among us. This Man, Jesus, paid the debt of sin for those who will believe by being crucified on the cross.

How could it be so simple? Just believe? Have faith that all this was the truth? I went home that night and got little sleep. I struggled with the issue of God giving me grace – through faith to believe. That He was that force, that essence of life and creation of all that ever was and is. Then He came to me. I knew that I simply had to believe. It was by God’s grace that He showed me His love. That He was the answer and that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for me so that I could believe. That I could have a relationship with Him. He revealed Himself to me in that moment.

I called her to tell her that I now understand. That now I believe and want to give my life to Christ. She told me that she prayed that I would not sleep until I took that leap of faith and believed in God. My life was changed forever. Yes, forever, because now I can look forward to spending eternity in a wonderful place called heaven.

No longer do I concern myself with needing evidence to prove that Jesus could actually walk on water, or that the Red Sea could have parted to allow the Israelites to pass through, or any of the dozen other seemingly impossible events written in the Bible.

God has proven Himself over and over in my life. He can reveal Himself to you also. If you find yourself seeking proof of His existence ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Take that leap of faith as a child, and truly believe in Him. Open yourself up to His love by faith, not evidence.

Heaven - Our Eternal Home

Living in this fallen world with its heartaches, disappointments and suffering, we long for heaven! Our eyes turn upward when our spirit is bent to our eternal home in glory that the Lord Himself is preparing for those who love Him.

The Lord has planned the new earth to be far more beautiful, beyond our imagination.

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing… ~ Isaiah 35:1-2

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” ~ Isaiah 35:5-6

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” ~ Isaiah 35:10

What shall we say in His presence? Oh, the tears that shall flow when we behold His nail scarred hands and feet! The uncertainties of life shall be made known to us, when we see our Savior face to face.

Most of all we shall see Him! We shall behold His glory! He shall shine as the sun in pure radiance, as He welcomes us home in glory.

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. ~ Revelation 21:2

…”And he will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” ~ Revelation 21:3b

“And they shall see His face…” “…and they shall reign forever and ever.” ~ Revelation 22:4a&5b

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” ~ Revelation 21:4

Our Relationships In Heaven

Many people wonder as they turn from the grave of their loved ones, “Will we know our loved ones in heaven”? “Will we see their face again”?

The Lord understands our griefs. He carries our sorrows… For He wept at the grave of His dear friend Lazarus even though He knew He would raise him up within a few moments.

There He comforteth His beloved friends.

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” ~ John 11:25

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with them. 1 Thessalonians 4:14

Now, we sorrow for those who fall asleep in Jesus, but not as those who have no hope.

“For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” ~ Matthew 22:30

Although our earthly marriage will not remain in heaven, our relationships will be pure and wholesome. For it is but a portrait that served its purpose until believers in Christ shall be married to the Lord.

“And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things shall be past away.” ~ Revelation 21:2

Overcoming the Addiction of Pornography

He brought me up also out of an
horrible pit, out of the miry clay,
and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my goings.

Psalm 40:2

Let me speak to your heart for a moment.. I’m not here to condemn you, or to judge where you have been. I understand just how easy it is to get caught in the web of pornography.

Temptation is everywhere. It’s an issue that we are all faced with. It may seem like a little thing to look at that which is pleasing to the eye. The trouble is, looking turns into lusting, and lusting is a desire that is never satisfied.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  ~ James 1:14-15

Often this is what draws a soul into the web of pornography.

The Scriptures deal with this common issue…

“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” ~ Matthew 5:28-29

Satan sees our struggle. He laughs at us deliriously! “Art thou also become as weak as we?  God can’t reach you now, your soul is beyond His reach.”

Many die in its entanglement, others question their faith in God. “Have I wandered too far from His grace? Will His hand reach down to me now?”

Its moments of pleasure are dimly lit, as loneliness sets in having been deceived. No matter how far into the pit you have fallen, God’s grace is greater still. The fallen sinner He longs to save, He’ll reach down His hand to hold yours.

The Dark Night of the Soul

Oh, the dark night of the soul, when we hang our harps upon the willows and find comfort only in the Lord!

Separation is sorrowful. Who of us haven’t grieved the loss of a loved one, nor felt its sorrow having wept in each other’s arms no longer to enjoy their loving friendship, to help us through the hardships of life?

Many are passing through the valley as you read this. You can relate, having lost a companion yourself and are now experiencing the heartache of separation, wondering how you will cope with the lonely hours ahead.

Being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart… We are homesick for heaven and anticipate the reunion of our loved ones as we long for a better place.

The familiar was so comforting. It’s never easy to let go. For they are the crutches that have held us up, the places that have given us comfort, the visits that have given us joy. We hold on to what is precious till it’s taken from us often with deep anguish of soul.

Sometimes its sadness washes over us like ocean waves crashing over our soul. We shield ourselves from its pain, finding shelter under the wings of the Lord.

We’d lose ourselves in the valley of grief if it were not for the Shepherd to guide us through the long and lonely nights. In the dark night of the soul He is our Comforter, a Loving Presence who shares in our pain and in our suffering.

With each tear that falls, the sorrow nudges us towards heaven, where no death, nor sorrow, nor tear shall fall. Weeping may last for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. He carries us in our moments of deepest pain.

Through teary eyes we anticipate our joyful reunion when we will be with our loved ones in the Lord.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” ~ Matthew 5:4

May the Lord bless you and keep you all the days of your life, until you are in the presence of the Lord in heaven.

The Furnace of Suffering

The furnace of suffering! How it hurts and brings us pain. It is there that the Lord trains us for battle.  It is there that we learn to pray.

It is there that God gets alone with us and reveals to us who we really are. It is there where He prunes away our comforts and burns away the sin in our lives.

It is there that He uses our failures to prepare us for His work. It is there, in the furnace, when we have nothing to offer, when we have no song in the night.

It is there that we feel like our life is over when every thing we enjoy is being taken away from us. It is then that we begin to realize that we are under the wings of the Lord. He will take care of us.

It is there that we often fail to recognize the hidden work of God in our most barren times.  It is there, in the furnace, that no tear is wasted  but fulfills His purposes in our lives.

It is there that He weaves the black thread into the tapestry of our life.  It is there where He reveals that all things work together for good to those who love Him.

It is there that we get real with God, when all else is said and done. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him.” It is when we fall out of love with this life, and live in the light of eternity to come.

It is there that He reveals the depths of love that He has for us, ” For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time  are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  ~ Romans 8:18

It is there, in the furnace, that we realize ” For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:17

It is there that we fall in love with Jesus and appreciate the depth of our eternal home,  knowing that the sufferings of our past won’t cause us pain, but would rather enhance His glory.

It is when we come out of the furnace that spring begins to blossom. After He reduces us to tears we offer liquefied prayers that touch the heart of God.

“…but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” ~ Romans 5:3-4

There Is Hope

Dear friend,

Do you know who Jesus is? Jesus is your spiritual lifeguard. Confused? Well just read on.

You see, God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to forgive us of our sins and to save us from everlasting torture in a place called hell.

In hell, you are by yourself in total darkness screaming for your life. You are being burned alive for all eternity. Eternity lasts forever!

You smell sulfur in hell, and hear blood curdling screams  of those who rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. On top of that, You’ll remember all the horrible things that you have ever done, all the people you have picked on.  These memories are going to haunt you  forever and ever! It is never going to stop. And you’ll wish that you paid attention to all the people who warned you about hell.

There is hope though. Hope that is found in Jesus Christ.

God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus to die for our sins. He was hung on a cross, mocked and beaten, a crown of thorns were thrown upon His head, paying for the sins of the world for those who will believe on Him.

He is preparing a place for them in a place called heaven, where no tears, sorrows or pain will inflict them. No worries or cares.

It’s a place so beautiful that it’s indescribable. If you would like to go to heaven and spend eternity with God, confess to God that you are a sinner deserving of hell and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

What The Bible Says Happens After You Die

Every day thousands of people will take their final breath and slip into eternity, either into heaven or into hell. Sadly, the reality of death happens every day.

What happens the moment after you die?

The moment after you die, your soul temporarily departs from your body to await the Resurrection.

Those who place their faith in Christ will be carried by the angels into the presence of the Lord. They are now comforted. Absent from the body and present with the Lord.

Meanwhile, unbelievers await in Hades for the final Judgment.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments… And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” ~ Luke 16:23a-24

“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” ~ Ecclesiastes 12:7

Although, we grieve over the loss of our loved ones, we sorrow, but not as those who have no hope.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: so shall we ever be with the Lord.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 17

While the unbeliever’s body remains resting, who can fathom the torments he is experiencing?! His spirit screams! “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming…” ~ Isaiah 14:9a

Unprepared is he to meet God!

Although he cries in his torment, his prayer offers no comfort whatsoever, for a great gulf is fixed where no one can pass to the other side. Alone he is left in his misery. Alone in his memories. The flame of hope forever extinguished of seeing his loved ones again.

On the contrary, precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Escorted by the angels into the presence of the Lord, they are now comforted. Their trials and suffering are past. Although their presence will be deeply missed, they have hope of seeing their loved ones again.

Will We Know Eachother In Heaven?

Who of us hasn’t wept at the graveside of a loved one,
or mourned their loss with so many questions unanswered? Will we know our loved ones in heaven? Will we see their face again?

Death is sorrowful with its separation, it’s hard for those that we leave behind. Those who love much often grieve deeply, feeling the heartache of their empty chair.

Yet, we sorrow for those who fall asleep in Jesus, but not as those who have no hope. The Scriptures are woven with the comfort that not only will we know our loved ones in heaven, but we will be together with them also.

Although we grieve the loss of our loved ones, we’ll have eternity to be with those in the Lord. The familiar sound of their voice will call out your name. So shall we ever be with the Lord.

What about our loved ones who may have died without Jesus? Will you see their face again? Who knows that they haven’t trusted Jesus in their last moments? We may never know this side of heaven.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ~ Romans 8:18

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

What Is Faith?
I think people sometimes associate or confuse faith with feelings or think faith must be perfect, with never any doubt.  The best way to understand faith is to look up the use of the word in Scripture and study it.

Our Christian life starts with faith, so a good place to start a study of faith would be Romans 10:6-17, which clearly explains how our life in Christ begins.  In this Scripture we hear the Word of God and believe it and ask God to save us.  I’ll explain more fully.  In verse 17 it says faith comes from hearing the facts preached to us about Jesus in the Word of God, (Read I Corinthians 15:1-4); that is, the Gospel, the death of Christ Jesus for our sins, His burial and resurrection.  Faith is something we do in response to hearing.  We either believe it or we reject it.  Romans 10:13&14 explains what faith it is that saves us, faith enough to ask or call upon God to save us based on Jesus’ work of redemption.  You need enough faith to ask Him to save you and He promises to do it.  Read John 3:14-17, 36.

Jesus also told many stories of real events to describe faith, such as that in Mark 9.  A man came up to Jesus with his son who is possessed by a demon.  The father asks Jesus, “if you can do anything…help us,” and Jesus replies that if he believed all things were possible.  The man replies to that, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”  The man was truly expressing his imperfect faith, but Jesus healed his son.  What a perfect example of our often imperfect faith.  Do any of us possess perfect, complete faith or understanding?

Acts 16:30&31 says we are saved if we simply believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  God elsewhere uses other words as we saw in Romans 10:13, words like “call” or “ask” or “receive” (John 1:12), “come to Him” (John 6:28&29) which says, “This is the work of God that you believe in Him Whom He has sent,’ and verse 37 which says, “Him that comes to Me I will certainly not cast out,” or “take” (Revelation 22:17) or “look” in John 3:14&15 (see Numbers 21:4-9 for the background).  All these passages indicate that if we have sufficient faith to ask for His salvation, we have sufficient faith to be born again.  I John 2:25 says, “And this is what He promised us – even eternal life.”  In I John 3:23 and also in John 6:28&29 faith is a command.  It is also called the “work of God,” something we must or can do.  If God says or commands us to believe surely it is a choice to believe what He tells us, that is, His Son has died for our sins in our place.  This is the beginning.  His promise is sure.  He gives us eternal life and we are born again.  Read John 3:16&38 and John 1:12

I John 5:13 is a beautiful and interesting verse which goes on to say, “these have been written to you who believe in the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the Son of God.”  Romans 1:16&17 says, “the just shall live by faith.”  There are two aspects here: we “live” – receive eternal life, and we “live” our daily life here and now by faith.  Interestingly, it says “faith to faith.”  We add faith to faith, we believe to eternal life and we continue to believe daily.

2 Corinthians 5:8 says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”  We live by acts of obedient trust. The Bible refers to this as perseverance or steadfastness.  Read Hebrews chapter 11.  Here it says it is not possible to please God without faith.  Faith is the evidence of unseen things; God and His creation of the world.  We are then given a number of examples of acts of “obedient faith.”  The Christian life is a continuous walk by faith, step by step, moment by moment, believing in the unseen God and His promises and teachings.  I Corinthians 15:58 says, “Be ye steadfast, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

Faith is not a feeling, but clearly it is something we choose to do continually.

Actually prayer is like that also.  God tells us, even commands us, to pray.  He even teaches us how to pray in Matthew chapter 6.  In I John 5:14, the verse in which God assures us of our eternal life, the verse goes on to assure us that we can have confidence that if we “ask anything according to His will, He hears us,” and He answers us.  So continue to pray; it is an act of faith.  Pray, even when you don’t feel like He hears or there seems to be no answer.  This is an example of how faith is, at times, the opposite of feelings.  Prayer is one step of our walk of faith.

There are other examples of faith not mentioned in Hebrews 11.  The children of Israel are an example of “not believing.”  The children of Israel, when in the wilderness, chose not to believe what God told them; they chose not to believe in the unseen God and so they created their “own god” out of gold and believed that what they had made was “god.”  How silly is that.  Read Romans chapter one.

We do the same thing today.  We invent our own “belief system” to suit ourselves, one which we find easy, or is acceptable to us, which gives us instant gratification, as if God is here to serve us, not the other way around, or He is our servant and not we His, or we are “god,” not He the Creator God.  Remember Hebrews says faith is evidence of the unseen Creator God.

So the world defines its own version of faith, most of the time involving anything except God, His creation or His Word.

The world often says, “have faith” or just says “believe” without telling you what to have faith in, as if it were the object in and of itself, just some sort of nothingness you decide to believe in.  You believe in something, nothing or anything, whatever makes you feel good.  It is indefinable, because they don’t define what they mean.  It is self-invented, a human creation, inconsistent, confusing and hopelessly unattainable.

As we see in Hebrews 11, Scriptural faith has an object: We are to believe in God and we believe in His Word.

Another example, a good one, is the story of the spies sent by Moses to check out the land which God told His chosen people He would give to them.  It is found in Numbers 13:1-14:21.  Moses sent twelve men into the “Promised Land.”  Ten returned and brought back a bad and discouraging report causing the people to doubt God and His promise and choose to go back to Egypt.  The other two, Joshua and Caleb, chose, even though they saw giants in the land, to trust God.  They said, “We should go up and take possession of the land.”  They chose, by faith, to encourage the people to believe God and go forward as God had commanded them.

When we believed and began our life with Christ, we became God’s child and He our Father (John 1:12).  All His promises became ours, such as Philippians chapter 4, Matthew 6:25-34 and Romans 8:28.

As in the case of our human Father, whom we know, we don’t worry about the things our father can take care of because we know he cares for us and loves us.  We trust God because we know Him.  Read 2 Peter 1:2-7, especially verse 2.  This is faith.  These verses say grace and peace come through our knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

As we learn about God and trust Him we grow in our faith.  Scripture teaches that we know Him by studying Scripture (2 Peter 1:5-7), and thus our faith grows as we understand our Heavenly Father, Who He is and what He is like through the Word.  Most people, however, want some “magic” instant faith; but faith is a process.

2 Peter 1:5 says we are to add virtue to our faith and then continue to add to that; a process by which we grow.  This passage of Scripture goes on to say, “grace and peace be multiplied to you, in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ our Lord.”  So peace also comes from knowing God the Father and God the Son.   In this way prayer, knowledge of God and the Word and faith work together.  In learning of Him, He is the Giver of peace.  Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they who love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”  Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”  Through learning the Word of God we are connecting to the One Who gives grace and peace.

We have already seen that for believers God hears our prayers and grants them in accordance to His will (I John 5:14).  A good father will give us only what is good for us.  Romans 8:25 teaches us that this is what God does for us also.  Read Matthew 7:7-11.

I’m quite sure this does not equate to our asking for and getting whatever we want, all the time; otherwise we would grow into spoiled children instead of mature sons and daughters of the Father.  James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  Scripture also teaches in James 4:2 that, “You do not have, because you do not ask God.”  God wants us to talk to Him, for that is what prayer is.  A great part of prayer is asking for our needs and the needs of others.  This way we know that He has provided the answer.  See I Peter 5:7 also.  So if you need peace, ask for it.  Trust God to give it as you need it.  God also says in Psalm 66:18, “if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”  If we are sinning we must confess it to Him to get it right.  Read I John 1:9&10.

Philippians 4:6&7 says, “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Here again prayer is tied into faith and knowledge to give us peace.

Philippians then says to think on good things and “do” what you learn, and, “the God of peace will be with you.”  James says to be doers of the Word and not hearers only (James 1:22&23).  Peace comes from knowing the Person you trust and in obeying His Word.  Since prayer is talking to God and the New Testament tells us believers have complete access to the “throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16), we can talk to God about everything, because He already knows.  In Matthew 6:9-15 in the Lord’s Prayer He teaches us how and what things to pray for.

Simple faith grows as it is exercised and “worked out” in obedience to God’s commands as seen in His Word.  Remember 2 Peter 1:2-4 says peace comes from the knowledge of God which comes from the Word of God.

To sum up:

Peace comes from God and a knowledge of Him.

We learn of Him in the Word.

Faith comes from hearing God’s Word.

Prayer is part of this faith and peace process.

It is not a once for all experience, but a step by step walk.

If you have not started this journey of faith, I ask you to go back and read 1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah chapter 53, I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:1-14, and John 3:16&17 and 36.  Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

Who Is God?
After reading your questions and comments it appears that you have some belief in God and His Son, Jesus, but also have many misunderstandings.  You seem to see God through only human opinions and experiences and see Him as Someone Who should do what you want, as if He were a servant or on demand, and so you judge His nature, and say it is “at stake.”

 

Let me first say my answers will be Bible based because it is the only reliable source to truly understand Who God is and what He is like.

We cannot ‘create” our own god to suit our own dictations, according to our own desires.  We can’t rely on books or religious groups or any other opinions, we must accept the true God from the only source He has given us, the Scripture.  If people question all or part of Scripture we are left with only human opinions, which never agree.  We just have a god created by humans, a fictional god.  He is only our creation and is not God at all.  We might as well make a god of word or stone or a golden image as Israel did.

We want to have a god who does what we want.  But we can’t even change God by our demands.  We are just acting like children, having a temper tantrum to get our own way.  Nothing we do or judge determines Who He is and all our arguments have no effect on His “nature.”  His “nature” is not “at stake” because we say so.  He is Who He is: Almighty God, our Creator.

So Who is the real God.  There are so many characteristics and attributes that I will only mention some and I will not “proof text” all of them.  If you want to you can go to a reliable source such as “Bible Hub” or “Bible Gateway” online and do some research.

Here are some of His attributes.  God is Creator, Sovereign, Almighty.  He is holy, He is just and fair and a righteous Judge.  He is our Father.  He is light and truth.  He is eternal.  He cannot lie.  Titus 1:2 tells us, “In the hope of eternal life, which God, WHO CANNOT LIE, promised long ages ago.  Malachi 3:6 says He is unchangeable, “I am the LORD, I change not.”

NOTHING we do, no action, opinion, knowledge, circumstances, or judgment can change or affect His “nature.”  If we blame or accuse Him, He does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Here are a few more attributes: He is everywhere present; He knows everything (omniscient) past, present and future.  He is perfect and HE IS LOVE (I John 4:15-16).  God is loving, kind and merciful to all.

We should note here that all the bad stuff, disasters and tragedies which occur, occur because of sin which entered the world when Adam sinned (Romans 5:12).  So what should our attitude be toward our God?

God is our Creator.  He created the world and everything in it.  (See Genesis 1-3.)  Read Romans 1:20&21.  It certainly implies that because He is our Creator and because He is, well, God, that He deserves our honor and praise and glory.  It says, “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God, nor gave thanks to God, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

We are to honor and thank God because He is God and because He is our Creator.  Read also Romans 1:28&31.  I noticed something very interesting here: that when we do not honor our God and Creator we become “without understanding.”

Honoring God is our responsibility.  Matthew 6:9 says, “Our Father Who art in heaven hallowed be Thy Name.”  Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Thou shalt love the LORD with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  In Matthew 4:10 where Jesus says to Satan, “Away from me, Satan!  For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

Psalm 100 reminds us of this when it says, “serve the Lord with gladness,” “know that the Lord Himself is God,” and verse 3, “It is He that made us and not we ourselves.”  Verse 3 also says, “We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”  Verse 4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”  Verse 5 says, “For the Lord is good, His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”

Like Romans it instructs us to give Him thanks, praise, honor and blessing! Psalm 103:1 says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name.”  Psalm 148:5 is clear in saying, “Let them praise the Lord for He commanded and they were created,” and in verse 11 it tells us who should praise Him, “All kings of the earth and all peoples,” and verse 13 adds, “For His name alone is exalted.”

To make things more emphatic Colossians 1:16 says, “all things were created by Him and for Him” and “He is before all things” and Revelation 4:11 adds, “for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”  We were created for God, He was not created for us, for our pleasure or for us to get what we want.  He is not here to serve us, but we to serve Him.  As Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and praise, for you created all things, for by your will they were created and have their being.”  We are to worship Him.  Psalm 2:11 says to, “Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling.”  See also Deuteronomy 6:13 and 2 Chronicles 29:8.

You said you were like Job, that “God formerly loved him.”  Let’s take a look at the nature of God’s love so you can see that He does not stop loving us, no matter what we do.

The idea that God stops loving us for “whatever” reason is common among many religions.  A doctrine book I have, “Great Doctrines of the Bible by William Evans” in talking about God’s love says, “Christianity is really the only religion that sets forth the Supreme Being as ‘Love.’ It sets forth the gods of other religions as angry beings who require our good deeds to appease them or earn their blessing.”

We only have two points of reference with regard to love: 1) human love and 2) God’s love as revealed to us in Scripture.  Our love is flawed by sin.  It fluctuates or can even cease while God’s love is eternal.  We can’t even fathom or comprehend God’s love.  God is love (I John 4:8).

The book, “Elemental Theology” by Bancroft, on page 61 in speaking about love says, “the character of the one loving  gives character to the love.”  That means that God’s love is perfect because God is perfect.  (See Matthew 5:48.)  God is holy, so His love is pure.  God is just, so His love is fair.  God never changes, so His love never fluctuates, fails or ceases.  I Corinthians 13:11 describes perfect love by saying this, “Love never fails.”  God alone possesses this kind of love.  Read Psalm 136.  Every verse talks about God’s lovingkindness saying His lovingkindness endures forever.  Read Romans 8:35-39 which says, “who can separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation or distresses or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?”

Verse 38 continues, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God.”  God is love, so He can’t help but love us.

God loves everyone.  Matthew 5:45 says, “He causes His sun to rise and fall on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”  He blesses everyone because He loves every one.  James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with Whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning.”  Psalm 145:9 says, “The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

What about bad things.  God promises the believer that, “All things work together for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28)”.  God may allow things to come into our life, but be assured that God has allowed them only for a very good reason, not because God has in some way or for some reason chosen to change His mind and stop loving us.

God may choose to allow us to suffer the consequences of sin but He may also choose to keep us from them, but always His reasons are coming from love and the purpose is for our good.

LOVE’S PROVISION OF SALVATION

Scripture does say God hates sin.  For a partial list, see Proverbs 6:16-19.  But God does not hate sinners (I Timothy 2:3&4).  2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord…is patient toward you, not wishing for you to perish, but for all to come to repentance.”

So God prepared a way for our redemption.  When we sin or stray from God He never leaves us and is always waiting for us to return, He does not cease to love us.  God gives us the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 to illustrate His love for us, that of the loving father rejoicing in his wayward son’s return.  Not all human fathers are like this but our Heavenly Father always welcomes us.  Jesus says in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will not cast out.”  John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world.”  I Timothy 2:4 says God “desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.”  Ephesians 2:4&5 says, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”

The greatest demonstration of love in all the world is God’s provision for our salvation and forgiveness.  You need to read Romans chapters 4&5 where much of God’s plan is explained.  Romans 5:8&9 says, “God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”  I John 4:9&10 says,”This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His One and Only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  I John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us…”  It is here in I John that it says “God is Love (chapter 4, verse 8).  That is Who He is.  This is the ultimate proof of His love.

We need to believe what God says – He loves us.  No matter what happens to us or how things seem at the moment God asks us to believe in Him and His love.  David, who is called a “man after God’s own heart,” says in Psalm 52:8, “I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.”  I John 4:16 should be our goal.  “And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.  God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him.”

God’s Basic Plan

Here is God’s plan to save us. 1) We have all sinned.  Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 6:23 says “The wages of sin is death.”  Isaiah 59:2 says, “Our sins have separated us from God.”

2) God has provided a way.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son…”  In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.”

I Corinthians 15:1&2 “This is God’s free gift of Salvation, the gospel which I presented by which you are saved.”  Verse 3 says, “That Christ died for our sins,” and verse 4 continues, “that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day.”  Matthew 26:28 (KJV) says, “This is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sin.”  I peter 2:24 (NASB) says, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross.”

3) We cannot earn our salvation by doing good works.  Ephesians 2:8&9 says, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”  Titus 3:5 says, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us…”  2 Timothy 2:9 says, “who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.”

4) How God’s salvation and forgiveness is made your own:  John 3:16 says, “that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  John uses the word believe 50 times in the book of John alone to explain how to receive God’s free gift of eternal life and forgiveness.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 10:13 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Assurance of Forgiveness

Here is why we have assurance that our sins are forgiven.  Eternal life is a promise to “everyone who believes” and “God cannot lie.”  John 10:28 says, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”  Remember John 1:12 says, “As many as received Him to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to them that believe on His Name.”   It is a trust based on His “nature” of love, truth and justice.

If you have come to Him and received Christ you are saved.  John 6:37 says, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.”  If you haven’t asked Him to forgive you and accepted Christ, you can do that this very moment.

If you believe in some other version of Who Jesus is and some other version of what He has done for you than the one given in Scripture, you need to “change your mind” and accept Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world.  Remember, He is the only way to God (John 14:6).

Forgiveness

Our forgiveness is a precious part of our salvation.  The meaning of forgiveness is that our sins are sent away and God does not remember them anymore.  Isaiah 38:17 says, “You have cast all my sins behind Your back.”  Psalm 86:5 says, “For You Lord are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.”  See Romans 10:13.  Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  Jeremiah 31:39 says, “I will forgive their iniquity and their sin will I remember no more.”

Romans 4:7&8 says, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven and whose sins have been covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”  This is forgiveness.  If your forgiveness is not a promise of God then where do you find it, for as we have already seen, you can’t earn it.

Colossians 1:14 says, “In Whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins.”  See Acts 5:30&31; 13:38 and 26:18.  All of these verses speak of forgiveness as part of our salvation.  Acts 10:43 says, “Everyone that believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His Name.”  Ephesians 1:7 states this also, “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

It is impossible for God to lie.  He is incapable of it.  It is not arbitrary.  Forgiveness is based on a promise.  If we accept Christ we are forgiven.  Acts 10:34 says, “God is not a respecter of persons.”  The NIV translation says, “God does not show favoritism.”

I want you to go to 1 John 1 to show how it applies to believers who fail and sin.  We are His children and as our human fathers, or the father of the prodigal son, forgives, so our Heavenly Father forgives us and will receive us yet again, and again.

We know that sin separates us from God, so sin separates us from God even when we are His children.  It does not separate us from His love, nor mean we are no longer His children, but it breaks our fellowship with Him.  You can’t rely on feelings here.  Just believe His word that if you do the right thing, confess, He has forgiven you.

We Are Like Children

Let’s use a human example.  When a little child disobeys and is confronted, he may cover it up, or lie or hide from his parent because of his guilt.  He may refuse to admit his wrongdoing.   He has thus separated himself from his parents because he is afraid they will discover what he has done, and afraid they will be angry with him or punish him when they find out.  The closeness and comfort of the child with his parents is broken.  He cannot experience the safety, the acceptance and the love they have for him.  The child has become like Adam and Eve hiding in the Garden of Eden.

We do the same thing with our heavenly Father.  When we sin, we feel guilty.  We are afraid He will punish us, or He may stop loving us or cast us away.  We don’t want to admit we are wrong.  Our fellowship with God is broken.

God doesn’t leave us, He has promised never to leave us.  See Matthew 28:20, which says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  We are hiding from Him.  We can’t really hide because He knows and sees everything.  Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?”  We are like Adam when we are hiding from God.  He is seeking us, waiting for us to come to Him for forgiveness, just as a parent just wants the child to recognize and admit his disobedience.  This is what our Heavenly Father wants.  He is waiting to forgive us.  He will always take us back.

Human fathers may cease to love a child, although that seldom happens.  With God, as we have seen, His love for us never fails, never ceases.  He loves us with everlasting love.  Remember Romans 8:38&39. Remember nothing can separate us from the love of God, we do not cease to be His children.

Yes, God hates sin and as Isaiah 59:2 says,” your sins have separated between you and your God, your sins have hidden His face from you.”  It says in verse 1, “the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear,” but Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”

I John 2:1&2 tells the believer, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”   Believers can and do sin.  In fact I John 1:8&10 say, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” and “if we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”  When we do sin God shows us the way back in verse 9 which says, “If we confess (acknowledge) our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We must choose to confess our sin to God so if we don’t experience forgiveness it is our fault, not God’s.  It is our choice to obey God.  His promise is sure.  He will forgive us.  He cannot lie.

Job Verses God’s Character

Let’s look at Job since you brought him up and see what it really teaches us about God and our relationship to Him.  Many people misunderstand the book of Job, its narrative and concepts.  It may be one of the most misunderstood books of the Bible.

One of the first misconceptions is to assume that suffering is always or mostly a sign of God’s anger at a sin or sins we have committed.  Obviously that is what Job’s three friends were sure of, for which God eventually rebuked them.  (We’ll get back to that later.)  Another is to assume that prosperity or blessings are always or usually a sign of God being pleased with us.  Wrong.  This is man’s notion, a thinking which assumes we earn God’s kindness.  I asked someone what stood out to them from the book of Job and their reply was, “We don’t know anything.”  No one seems sure who wrote Job.  We don’t know that Job ever understood all of what was going on.  He also did not have Scripture, as we do.

One cannot understand this account unless one understands what is occurring between God and Satan and the warfare between the forces or followers of righteousness and those of evil.  Satan is the defeated foe because of the cross of Christ, but you could say that he has not been taken into custody yet.  There is a battle still raging in this world over people’s souls.  God has given us the book of Job and many other Scriptures to help us understand.

First, as I stated earlier, all evil, pain, sickness and disasters result from the entrance of sin into the world.  God doesn’t do or create evil, but He may allow disasters to test us.  Nothing comes into our lives without His permission, even correction or allowing us to suffer the consequences from a sin we committed.  This is to make us stronger.

God does not arbitrarily decide not to love us.  Love is His very Being, but He is also holy and just.  Let’s look at the setting.  In chapter 1:6, the “sons of God” presented themselves to God and Satan came among them.  The “sons of God” are probably angels, maybe a mixed company of those who followed God and those who followed Satan.  Satan had come from roaming around on earth.  This makes me think of I Peter 5:8 which says, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  God points out his “servant Job,” and here is a very important point.  He says Job is His righteous servant, and is blameless, upright, fears God and turns from evil.  Note that God is nowhere here accusing Job of any sin.  Satan basically says that the only reason Job follows God is because God has blessed him and that if God took those blessings away Job would curse God.  Here lies the conflict.  So God then allows Satan to afflict Job to test his love and faithfulness to Himself.  Read chapter 1:21&22.  Job passed this test.  It says, “In all this Job did not sin, nor blame God.”  In chapter 2 Satan again challenges God to test Job.  Again God allows Satan to afflict Job.  Job responds in 2:10, “shall we accept good from God and not adversity.”  It says in 2:10, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

Note that Satan could do nothing without God’s permission, and He sets the limits.  The New Testament indicates this in Luke 22:31 which says, “Simon, Satan has desired to have you.”  The NASB puts it this way saying, Satan “demanded permission to sift you as wheat.”  Read Ephesians 6:11&12.  It tells us to, “Put on the whole armor or God” and to “stand against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Be clear.  In all this Job had not sinned.  We are in a battle.

Now go back to I Peter 5:8 and read on.  It basically explains the book of Job.  It says, “but resist him (the devil), firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”  This is a strong reason for suffering, plus the fact that suffering is a part of any battle.  If we were never tried we would just be spoon fed babies and never become mature.  In testing we become stronger and we see our knowledge of God increase, we see Who God is in new ways and our relationship with Him becomes stronger.

In Romans 1:17 it says, “the just shall live by faith.”  Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”  2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”  We may not understand this, but it is a fact.  We must trust God in all this, in any suffering He allows.

Since the fall of Satan (Read Ezekiel 28:11-19; Isaiah 14:12-14; Revelation 12:10.) this conflict has existed and Satan desires to turn every one of us from God.  Satan even tried to tempt Jesus to mistrust His Father (Matthew 4:1-11).  It started with Eve in the garden.  Note, Satan tempted her by getting her to question God’s character, His love and care for her.  Satan implied that God was keeping something  good from her and He was unloving and unfair.  Satan is always trying to take over God’s kingdom and turn His people against Him.

We must see Job’s suffering and ours in light of this “war” in which Satan is constantly trying to tempt us to change sides and separate us from God.  Remember God declared Job to be righteous and blameless.  There is no sign of an indictment of sin against Job thus far in the account.  God did not allow this suffering because of anything Job had done.  He was not judging him, angry with him nor had He stopped loving him.

Now the friends of Job, who obviously believe suffering is because of sin, enter the picture.  I can only refer to what God says of them, and say be careful not to judge others, as they judged Job.  God rebuked them.  Job 42:7&8 says, “After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right as my servant Job has.  So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves.  My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly.  You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.’”  God was angry with them for what they had done, telling them to offer up a sacrifice to God.  Note that God made them go to Job and ask Job to pray for them, because they had not spoken the truth about Him as Job had.

In all their dialog (3:1-31:40), God was silent. You asked about God being silent to you.  It really doesn’t say why God was so silent.  Sometimes He may be just waiting for us to trust Him, walk by faith, or really search for an answer, possibly in Scripture, or just be quiet and think about things.

Let’s look back to see what’s become of Job.  Job has been struggling with criticism from his “so called” friends who are determined to prove that adversity results from sin (Job 4:7&8).  We do know that in the final chapters God rebukes Job.  Why?  What does Job do wrong?  Why does God do this?  It seems as if Job’s faith had not been tested.  Now it is severely tested, probably more than most of us will ever be.  I believe that a part of this testing is the condemnation of his “friends.”  In my experience and observation, I think that judgment and condemnation form other believers is a great trial and discouragement.  Remember the word of God says not to judge (Romans 14:10).  Rather it teaches us to “encourage one another” (Hebrews 3:13).

While God will judge our sin and it is one possible reason for suffering, it is not always the reason, as the “friends” implied.  Seeing an evident sin is one thing, assuming it is another.  The goal is restoration, not tearing down and condemnation.  Job becomes angry with God and His silence and begins to question God and demand answers.  He begins to justify his anger.

In chapter 27:6 Job says, “I will maintain my righteousness.”  Later God says Job did this by accusing God (Job 40:8).  In chapter 29 Job is doubting, referring to God’s blessing him in the past tense and saying God is no longer with him.  It’s almost as if he is saying God formerly loved him.  Remember Matthew 28:20 says this is not true for God gives this promise, “And I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Hebrews 13:5 says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  God never left Job and eventually spoke to him just as He did with Adam and Eve.

We need to learn to continue to walk by faith – not by sight (or feelings) and to trust in His promises, even when we can’t “feel” His presence and haven’t received an answer to our prayers yet.  In Job 30:20 Job says, “O God, you do not answer me.”  Now he is beginning to complain.  In chapter 31 Job is accusing God of not listening to him and saying he would argue and defend his righteousness before God if only God would listen (Job 31:35).  Read Job 31:6.  In chapter 23:1-5 Job is also complaining to God, because He is not answering.  God is silent – he says God is not giving him a reason for what He has done.  God does not have to answer to Job or us.  We really can’t demand anything from God.  See what God says to Job when God speaks.  Job 38:1 says, “Who is this who speaks without knowledge?”  Job 40:2 (NASB) says, “Wii the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?”  In Job 40:1&2 (NIV) God says that Job “contends,” “corrects” and “accuses” Him.  God reverses what Job says, by demanding that Job answer His questions.  Verse 3 says, “I will question you and you will answer me.”  In chapter 40:8 God says, “Would you discredit my justice?  Would you condemn me to justify yourself?”  Who demands what and of whom?

Then God again challenges Job with His power as his Creator, for which there is no answer.  God essentially says, “I am God, I am Creator, don’t discredit Who I am.  Don’t question My love, My justice, for I AM GOD, the Creator.”

God does not say Job was punished for a past sin but He does say, “Don’t question Me, for I alone am God.”  We are not in any position to make demands of God.  He alone is Sovereign.  Remember God wants us to believe Him.  It is faith that pleases Him. When God tells us He is just and loving, He wants us to believe Him.  God’s response left Job with no answer or recourse but to repent and worship.

In Job 42:3 Job is quoted as saying, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things to wonderful for me to know.”  In Job 40:4 (NIV) Job says, “I am unworthy.”  The NASB says, “I am insignificant.”  In Job 40:5 Job says, “I have no answer,” and in Job 42:5 he says, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.”  He then says, “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”  He now has a much greater understanding of God, the correct one.

God is always willing to forgive our transgressions.  We all fail and don’t trust God sometimes.  Think of some people in Scripture who failed at some point in their walk with God, such as Moses, Abraham, Elijah or Jonah or who misunderstood what God was doing as Naomi who became bitter and how about Peter, who denied Christ.  Did God stop loving them?  No! He was patient, longsuffering and merciful and forgiving.

Discipline

It is true that God hates sin, and just like our human fathers He will discipline and correct us if we continue to sin.  He may use circumstances to judge us, but His purpose is, as a parent, and out of His love for us, to restore us to fellowship with Himself.  He is patient and longsuffering and merciful and ready to forgive.  Like a human father He wants us to “grow up” and be righteous and mature.  If He didn’t discipline us we would be spoiled, immature children.

He might also let us suffer the consequences of our sin, but He does not disown us or stop loving us.  If we respond correctly and confess our sin and ask Him to help us change we will become more like our Father.  Hebrews 12:5 says, “My son, do not make light of (despise) the Lord’s discipline and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and punishes everyone He accepts as a son.”  In verse 7 it says, “for whom the Lord loves He disciplines.  For what son is not disciplined” and verse 9 says, “Moreover we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.  How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live.”  Verse 10 says, “God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness.”

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful, however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

God disciplines us to make us stronger.  Though Job never denied God, he did distrust and discredit God and say God was unfair, but when God rebuked him, he repented and acknowledged his fault and God restored him.  Job responded correctly.  Others like David and Peter failed too but God restored them also.

Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, for He will have mercy upon him and He will abundantly (NIV says freely) pardon.”

If you ever fall or fail, just apply 1 John 1:9 and acknowledge your sin as David and Peter did and as Job did.  He will forgive, He promises.  Human fathers correct their children but they can make mistakes.  God does not.  He is all knowing.  He is perfect.  He is fair and just and He loves you.

Why God Is Silent

You raised the question of why God was silent when you pray.  God was silent when testing Job too.  There is no reason given, but we can only give conjectures.  Maybe He just needed the whole thing to play out to show Satan the truth or maybe His work in Job’s heart wasn’t finished yet.  Maybe we aren’t ready for the answer yet either.  God is the only One Who knows, we must just trust Him.

Psalm 66:18 gives another answer, in a passage about prayer, it says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me.”  Job was doing this.  He stopped trusting and began questioning.  This can be true of us also.

There can be other reasons also.  He may just be trying to get you to trust, to walk by faith, not by sight, experiences or feelings.  His silence forces us to trust and seek Him.  It also forces us to be persistent in prayer.  Then we learn that it is truly God Who gives us our answers, and teaches us to be thankful and appreciate all He does for us.  It teaches us that He is the source of all blessings.  Remember James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ”  As with Job we may never know why.  We may, as with Job, just recognize Who God is, that He is our Creator, not we His.  He is not our servant that we can come to and demand our needs and wants be met.  He does not even have to give us reasons for His actions, though many times He does.  We are to honor and worship Him, for He is God.

God does want us to come to Him, freely and boldly but respectfully and humbly.  He sees and hears every need and request before we ask, so people ask, “Why ask, why pray?”  I think we ask and pray so we realize He is there and He is real and He does hear and answer us because He does love us.  He is so good.  As Romans 8:28 says, He always does what is best for us.

Another reason we don’t get our request is that we don’t ask for His will to be done, or we don’t ask according to His written will as revealed in the Word of God.  I John 5:14 says, “And if we ask anything according to His will we know He hears us…we know that we have the request we have asked of Him.”  Remember Jesus prayed, “not my will but Yours be done.”  See also Matthew 6:10, the Lord’s Prayer.  It teaches us to pray, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Look at James 4:2 for more reasons for unanswered prayer.  It says, “You do not have because you do not ask.”  We simply don’t bother to pray and ask.  It goes on in verse three, “You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives (KJV says ask amiss) so you can consume it on your own lusts.”  This means we are being selfish.  Someone said we are using God as our personal vending machine.

Maybe you should study the topic of prayer from Scripture alone, not some book or series of human ideas on prayer.  We can’t earn or demand anything from God.  We live in a world that puts self first and we regard God as we do other people, we demand they put us first and give us what we want. We want God to serve us.  God wants us to come to Him with requests, not demands.

Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”  I Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”  Micah 6:8 says, “He has showed you O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Conclusion

There is much to learn from Job.  Job’s first response to testing was one of faith (Job 1:21).  Scripture says we should “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Trust God’s justice, fairness and love.  If we question God, we are putting ourselves above God, making ourselves God.  We are making ourselves the judge of the Judge of all the earth.  We all have questions but we need to honor God as God and when we fail as Job later did we need to repent which means to “change our minds” as Job did, get a new perspective of Who God is – the Almighty Creator, and worship Him as Job did.  We need to recognize that it is wrong to judge God.  God’s “nature” is never at stake.  You cannot decide Who God is or what He should do.  You can in no way change God.

James 1:23&24 says God’s Word is like a mirror.  It says, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”  You have said God stopped loving Job and you.  It is evident that He did not and God’s Word says His love is everlasting and does not fail.  However, you have been exactly like Job in that you have “darkened His counsel.”  I think this means you have “discredited” Him, His wisdom, purpose, justice, judgments and His love.  You, like Job, are “finding fault” with God.

Look at yourself clearly in the mirror of “Job.”  Are you the one “at fault” as Job was?  As with Job, God always stands ready to forgive if we confess our fault (I John 1:9).  He knows we are human.  Pleasing God is about faith.  A god you make up in your mind isn’t real, only the God in Scripture is real.

Remember in the beginning of the story, Satan appeared with a great group of angels.  The Bible teaches that the angels learn about God from us (Ephesians 3:10&11).  Remember too, that there is a great conflict going on.

When we “discredit God,” when we call God unfair and unjust and unloving, we are discrediting Him before all the angels.  We are calling God a liar.  Remember Satan, in the Garden of Eden discredited God to Eve, implying He was unjust and unfair and unloving.  Job eventually did the same and so do we.  We dishonor God before the world and before the angels.  Instead we must honor Him.  Whose side are we on?  The choice is ours alone.

Job made his choice, he repented, that is, changed his mind about Who God was, he developed a greater understanding of God and who he was in relation to God.  He said in chapter 42, verses 3 and 5: “surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…but now my eyes have seen you.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”  Job recognized he had “contended” with the Almighty and that was not his place.

Look at the end of the story.  God accepted his confession and restored him and doubly blessed him.  Job 42:10&12 says, “The Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before…The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.”

If we are demanding of God and contending and “thinking without knowledge,” we too must ask God to forgive us and “walk humbly before God” (Micah 6:8).  This starts with our recognizing Who He is in relationship to ourselves, and believing the truth as Job did.  A popular chorus based on Romans 8:28 says, “He does all things for our good.”  Scripture says that suffering has a Divine purpose and if it is to discipline us, it is for our good.  I John 1:7 says to “walk in the light,” which is His revealed Word, the Word of God.

Why We Believe in Creation and a Young Earth Rather Than Evolution
We believe in Creation because the Scriptures, and not just in Genesis chapters one and two, clearly teach it.  Some would say that the Scripture is authoritative when it talks about faith and morality, but not when it talks about science and history. In order to say that, they have to ignore one of the most obvious passages on morality, the Ten Commandments.  Exodus 20:11 says, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.  Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

 

They also have to ignore the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6.  It says, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”  Jesus is directly quoting Genesis.

Or consider Paul’s words in Acts 17:24-26.  He said, “the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands…From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth.”  Paul also says in Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned –”

Evolution destroys the foundation upon which the plan of salvation is built.  It makes death the means through which evolutionary progress is made, not the consequence of sin.  And if death is not the penalty for sin, then how could the death of Jesus pay for sin?

 

We believe in Creation also because we believe the facts of science clearly support it.  The following quotes are from ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, Charles Darwin, reprint by Harvard University Press, 1964.

Page 95 “Natural selection can only act by the preservation and accumulation of infinitesimally small inherited modifications, each profitable to the preserved being.”

Page 189  “If it could be demonstrated than any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

Page 194  “for natural selection can only act by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a leap, but must advance by the shortest and slowest steps.”

Page 282  “the number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great.”

Page 302  “If numerous species, belonging to the same genera, or families, have really started into life all at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of descent with slow modification through natural selection.”

Pages 463&464  “on this doctrine of the extermination of an infinitude of connecting links, between the living and extinct inhabitants of the world, and at each successive period between the extinct and still older species, why is not every geological formation charged with such links?  Why does not every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of the forms of life?  We meet with no such evidence, and this is the most obvious and forcible of the many objections which may be urged against my theory…I can answer these questions and grave objections only on the supposition that the geological record is far more imperfect than most geologists believe.”

 

The following quote is from G. G. Simpson, Tempo and Mode in Evolution, Columbia University Press, New York, 1944

Page 105  “The earliest and most primitive members of every order already have the basic ordinal characters, and in no case is an approximately continuous sequence from one order to another known.  In most cases the break is so sharp and the gap so large that the origin of the order is speculative and much disputed.”

 

The following quotes are from G. G. Simpson, The Meaning of Evolution, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1949

Page 107  This regular absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists.  It is true of almost all orders of all classes of animals.”

“There is in this respect a tendency toward systematic deficiency in the record of the history of life.  It is thus possible to claim that such transitions are not recorded because they did not exist, that the changes were not by transition but by sudden leaps of evolution.”

 

I realize those quotes are rather old.  The following quote is from Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton, Bethesda, Maryland, Adler and Adler, 1986 who refers to Hoyle, F. and Wickramasinghe, C, 1981, Evolution from Space, London, Dent and Sons page 24.  “Hoyle and Wickamansinghe…estimate the chance of a simple living cell spontaneously coming into existence as 1 in 10/40,000 tries – an outrageously small probability…even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup… Is it really credible that random processes could have constructed a reality, the smallest element of which – a functional protein or gene – is complex beyond anything produced by the intelligence of man?”

 

Or consider this quote from Colin Patterson, a paleontologist who worked at the British Museum of National History from 1962 until 1993, in a personal letter to Luther Sunderland.  “Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils…I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.” Patterson is quoted by Sunderland in Darwin’s Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems. Luther D Sunderland, San Diego, Master Books, 1988, page 89.  Gould is Stephen J Gould, who with Niles Eldridge, developed the “Punctuated Equilibrium Theory of Evolution” to explain how evolution happened without leaving any transitional forms in the fossil record.

 

Even more recently, Anthony Flew in cooperation with Roy Varghesem came out in 2007 with the book: There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.  Flew was for many years probably the most quoted evolutionist in the world.  In the book, Flew says it was the incredible complexity of the human cell and especially of DNA that forced him to the conclusion that there was a Creator.

 

The evidence for Creation and thousands, not billions of years is very strong.  But rather than try to present any more evidence, let me refer you to two websites where you can find articles by scientists with PhDs, or equivalent degrees, who strongly believe in Creation and can give the scientific reasons for that belief in a compelling manner.  The website for the Institute for Creation Research is www.icr.org.  The website for Creation Ministries International is www.creation.com.

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