If God made us in his image, why do so many Christians seem to hate gays and transgender people?

If God made us in his image, why do so many Christians seem to hate gays and transgender people?

The Bible is clear in calling out homosexual acts as detestable (Leviticus 20:13). It is even made more clear in Romans 1:27 how God views homosexuality, “men committed shameful acts with other men, and received and themselves the due penalty for their sin….so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so they do what ought not to be done.”

That said, God’s word in Matthew 7:11 warns Christians not to judge others lest they be judged. Perhaps you have heard the expression, “hate the sin but not the sinner.”  Christians are not supposed to hate anyone including gay or transgender people. That kind of hate is actually a sin from which one needs to repent and seek God’s forgiveness. (Galatians 5:19-21) Christians should be caring and compassionate taking every opportunity to share the gospel message of love, repentance, forgiveness and salvation.

With respect to the subject of gender, in Genesis we read that God created man and woman or male and female. A person who declares him or herself as transgender goes against God’s design for humanity and his wisdom in creating beings that can be joined together in marriage, have children and create families. That is God’s design for the basic structure of a loving and compassionate society.  Here again, a Christian should not hate but reach out to everyone with the truth of God’s word in a loving never hateful way.

How can I know that God is Real? What is the evidence?

How can I know that God is Real? What is the evidence?

One legacy of the modern world is the feeling that to believe something, there must be conclusive evidence, so conclusive that no one can possibly doubt. This is not realistic. Every day we make decisions based upon deep, unconscious and sometimes incomplete understanding. It is called faith. So it is with God. The existence of God is something we believe, even on those days when we doubt, based upon a deep sense that God is there and we can always live in his presence.

Even a trained lawyer, Chris Scruggs said, “After I believed on the basis of an answer to prayer, I was able to understand profound arguments for the existence of God from the way the world is and the underlying reliability of the Bible. Before that, there was a sense that there is a God, and God answers prayer, that faith makes sense of life and morality.” Then there is the difference that faith makes in the lives of everyone who believes.

If you really need evidence, there is an abundance of evidence that God exists in the intelligent design of the universe and the complexity of human life. There is also the affirming evidence of the fulfillment of more than 300 Bible prophecies because only God knows the future of all events. Yes, God exists and you can know Him best through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In Him you will find all the evidence you need, plus the assurance of eternal life and peace with God.

Are you prepared to have an encounter with God that will help you discover the truth of His existence? Click on our post: How does one become a Christian?

I believe in Jesus. Is that good enough?

I believe in Jesus. Is that good enough?

The real question seems to be, “Good enough for what?”  To believe in Jesus is to believe that God was present in a particular human life–and if that is true, that life is of supreme importance for all of us. If Jesus is God, then learning about God and God’s ways, following Christ in everyday life and a host of things called, “Discipleship” become very important. Believing in Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord of your life is enough, and ought to motivate you to follow Jesus and live like Jesus. Simply passively believing is not enough, as even the devil knows about Jesus.

To become a faithful follower of Jesus requires spending time in God’s word, the Bible, learning about his life, his teachings, his character, his cause, his reliance on the Father, his commandments, and his perseverance in the face of many challenges. When you trust and believe in him intimately and imitate his life, that will be good enough.  Ultimately, Jesus wants you to know him as your best friend now and for eternity.

If you would like to learn more about the gift of life that God offers, we encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

Why does the Bible have an Old Testament and New Testament?

Why does the Bible have an Old Testament and New Testament?

The entire Bible, all 66 books, was written over a period of 1500 years. The Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, was written to reveal God’s plan of Creation, redemption and salvation through the coming Messiah. It is focused on the nation of Israel and prophecy. It was compiled in the B.C. era, i.e. before Christ. Remember that God first revealed himself in the Creation and then in the written Word. Malachi is the last of the books in what is referred to as the Old Testament. It was written about 400 years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

After 400 years of silence, God revealed himself in the living Word, Jesus Christ. The first four books of the New Testament, called the Gospels, recorded the life, teaching, miracles, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. They are followed by the historical account of the establishment of the Christian Church, titled the Acts of the Apostles. After Acts, the New Testament contains 21 letters written to churches and individuals laying out the theology of Christianity and providing instructions on how to live lives that reflect the great gift of salvation bestowed upon then by the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God.

The last book of the New Testament, believed to be written near the end of the first century by John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, is a vision of the risen Christ in all his glory and a view of “end times” events.

To summarize, there are two testaments, Old and New, because they reflect the times in which they were written. Together they provide a full revelation of God’s plan for mankind. They tell us about God’s nature and character, the sin nature of mankind and the need for salvation. They then explain God’s answer to man’s sin, the sending of his son, Jesus to rescue mankind and provide a way for individuals to be brought back into a relationship with God.

The two Testaments tell us all we need to know to receive God’s gift of love and grace in Christ to gain eternal life. The Bible is truly the operating manual for life and is Best Investigated Before Leaving Earth.

How will my friends react when I become a Christian and follow Jesus?

How will my friends react when I become a Christian and follow Jesus?

That depends on you. When you choose Christ for your friend, building his kingdom for your cause, the Bible for your guide book, the Christian church for your fellowship, then these consciously chosen influences will transform your life. You will be different. Guaranteed your friends will notice. How they react is up to them. But what they do, to some degree depends on you.

Will they see someone who cares about them even if you choose not to engage in behaviors that may not honor God? Will they see someone willing to share your discovery of the greatest friend anyone can know? Will they see a joy in you that makes them want to find out what’s changed?

You may fear that you will be rejected, and we all know that fear of being different is a big problem in life— and it does not go away however old you may be. We all want to be liked and accepted. However, if Jesus is God in human form, then living like Jesus will be different.

It’s possible that you will discover that some of your friends treat you differently and may reject you. You may find new friendships among other Christians or those who want to befriend someone who lives a positive Christ-like esistence. Once you embrace the understanding that as Christians, we are in communion with the living God, your outlook on life and friendships will change as well.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to be ‘salt and light’ to a darkening post-Christian world. Our world desperately needs Christians to tell them about Jesus. It is more important to be a loyal friend of Jesus than to worry about being different. So, we encourage you to dare to be different for Jesus!

Why is the Bible true whether you believe it or not?

Why is the Bible true whether you believe it or not?

The Apostle Paul, wrote to Timothy, a missionary partner who, at the time, was the leading pastor in the Asia Minor city of Ephesus. In his letter, Paul was providing guidance for leadership and reminded Timothy of the importance of The Bible as God’s inspired Word.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16,17

Because God is the source of all truths, and it is His inspired Word, the Bible is true whether you believe it or not. You can look at it this way. The law of gravity is true. Your belief in that truth will not change how gravity affects you and everything else in the universe. Gravity does not depend upon your belief to make it true. 

The Apostle John describes Jesus as the living Word of God just as Paul explained that the Bible was the written Word of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

One’s personal belief does not alter the truth. Jesus, God’s son, makes a claim about truth that requires every man, woman and child to make an existential, eternal decision. Jesus said:

“I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” 

John 14:6

Further proof that the Bible is true is that it contains prophecies about the future which have turned out in every case to be true. How is that possible you might ask? Consider the fact that God exists outside of time and space and therefore sees human history as if it’s already complete. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament there are prophecies about future events which have or will come true. So the question for you to answer is, “Do you believe that the Bible is true and will you put your trust in its author, God, and accept His offer of grace, redemption and salvation in Jesus Christ?

When you genuinely seek God’s truth from his inspired living Word, the Bible, you will know the truth that will set you free to be all God created you to be. If you haven’t already taken advantage of the true gift of life that God offers, we encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

We trust that you will make this decision today since no one knows if they will have tomorrow.

Is the Biblical view of marriage outdated?

Is the Biblical view of marriage outdated?

According to the Bible, marriage was given as a gift of God at the time of creation. (Genesis 1-3) The Creator made humans in His own image, both male and female. God’s stated intention still is that the two shall become one in a blessed partnership. One of the most important roles of that partnership is parenting. A man and woman join together to give birth and to raise and nurture children.

This is the blessed relationship for the family for the good of life on earth. Without it there would be no future generations of human beings capable of experiencing and sharing God’s love and forming a moral society. So, we can say with confidence that never is the Biblical view of marriage outdated. Challenged yes, perhaps politically incorrect, but never passé.

The glorious gift of sex symbolizes and sustains this intimate divine union. The sexual act for humans is intended only within the boundaries of marriage. Marriage is intended to be a life-long relationship, “Until death do us part,” based on mutual trust, fidelity, and chastity. After giving the gift of marriage, the Lord stepped back and proclaimed,” It is very good.”

God’s beautiful dream of what marriage was meant to be has unfortunately been tainted by sin and our secular human updates such as divorce, adultery, slavery, spousal abuse, and more recently so called “open marriage,” same-sex unions and sadly broken homes with single parents.

We can say with certainty that there will never be an acceptable substitute for a Biblical view of marriage. The gift of marriage as God intends is evident yet all around us. Loving, healthy family life is still one of the best parts of our broken world. It is the fundamental nurturing institution of any nation. Biblical marriage outdated? Heaven forbid! Thankfully, no.

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What does it mean to sell your soul?

What does it mean to sell your soul?

Usually, when someone thinks of selling one’s soul, he or she thinks of selling it to the devil, aka Satan. The idea derives from an ancient German parable and subsequent Elizabethan play entitled The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus. Here a man exchanges his soul (that part of him that is eternal) for 24 years of pleasure, wealth and magical powers.

More commonly, the selling of one’s soul to the devil, is commonly associated with anyone who is willing to do that which is immoral, unseemly or otherwise evil, to amass wealth, gain power or fame, or achieve a seemingly unattainable degree of personal pleasure. Satan dangles all manner of temptation before individuals in an attempt to lure them away from his archenemy, God. He is so bold and so convinced of his personal power that he even tried to get Jesus to sell him his soul. Matthew records the story of this remarkable attempt by the devil to get Jesus to turn on God, his father.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Matthew 4:1-11

Satan may influence an individual to do evil, but God always has the last word. No matter how great one’s sin, the price for that sin has already been paid in blood on a Roman cross 2000 years ago. Satan has been defeated and he has limited power on earth until Jesus returns and gets rid of evil forever. Satan’s power is defined in the Bible.

The power of deception

…Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

2 Corinthians 11:14-15

The power to challenge angels

But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Jude 9

The power to bring havoc

“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Job 1:10-12

Power that is limited

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

Power that can be thwarted by those who place their trust in God

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.

Ephesians 6:11:12

You don’t have to sell your soul to the devil to gain the greatest gift in the world…peace in this life and an eternity free from pain and suffering while feasting with the creator of the universe. If you haven’t already taken advantage of the gift of life that God offers, we encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

What is the Christian worldview regarding the origins of man?

What is the Christian worldview regarding the origins of man?

A Christian worldview is unique with a character and coherence that stands up to reason and is underpinned by both history and experience. It clearly differs from other worldviews. That can be easily seen both in the creation of all things and most specifically in the origin of man.

The foundational tenet for the Christian worldview of man’s origin is found in the account of creation in the ancient writings of Moses:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

     So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 1:26-28

When God created humans. He made them unique. Unlike the rest of his creation on earth, God made men and woman to have characteristics of God including the ability to think, reason, communicate, empathize, and to love. This view is in stark contrast to the humanistic view of a creature evolving over eons of time—a view that is not supported by evidence or by reason.

In the Bible we learn that God has revealed himself in three characters, God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. These three live in perfect communion and have infinite love for one another. That love is what God desired when he made man. He fully loved man and gave man the ability and choice to love him.

Unfortunately, man used his choice to disobey God and turn his love from God to love of himself. In theological terms, this is known as the fall or original sin. This love of self and belief that each of us is the center of the world is the root of everything that is wrong on earth.

Pride or vanity is the central sin from which all others derive. It is the belief in one’s own abilities to the exclusion of the one that has given us those abilities, interfering with our ability to recognize the grace of God.

Envy is the desire for what rightfully belongs to others—their abilities, intellect, social standing, and possessions.

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.

Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.

Anger or wrath is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility because something or someone prevents us from getting what we want.  

Greed or avarice is the desire for material wealth or gain that blinds us to the spiritual wealth we already have as a child of God.

Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work—the very things for which God equipped his finest creation..

Known as the seven deadly sins, these behaviors set man against man, man against God,  and man against nature bringing about the strife that besets the world. However, since each of us is made in the image of God we have an innate sense of right and wrong it’s our conscience. God speaks to us through it, but to the extent that we try to shut it off and listen only to ourselves we become further separated from God.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23

This is the Christian worldview of the origin of man. Moreover, this worldview embraces the understanding that man does not have to be forever separated from his creator. God provided a way for redemption and restoration. It is this hope that makes the Christian worldview at odds with all others.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

If you would like to know more, I encourage you to read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

After hearing the story of creation and the Garden of Eden, youngsters at Vacation Bible School posed numerous questions including these two. Let’s start with the second. Sin is everything that is in opposition to God.

God, creator of the universe is the embodiment of love, justice and all that is good. Therefore, that which is unlovely, unjust and bad, qualifies as sin. But sin is more than that. Whenever we choose to put anything—job, possessions, family, wealth, career, personal aggrandizement, etc.—ahead of God, we are turning our back on God and therefore are sinning. God has proclaimed that this sinning separates us from God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

When we lose our ability to hear God and to know how to behave according to his standards, we experience a form of spiritual death. This separation from God carries over into the afterlife where that death is forever, and heartache, torment and pain becomes an eternal punishment.

Why, then, did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? This answer is simple. God loved Adam and Eve just as much as he loves each of us. He loved us so much that he says that he made men and women in his image. (Genesis 2:1-25) He gave humans the capacity to think rationally, to communicate with one another and with God, and to love.

Everyone who has loved or been loved understands that love is a choice. God didn’t force man to love him, he offered him a choice. He created a paradise devoid of sin where Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect fellowship with God. They loved him because God love them so much that he provided for all of their needs. Unfortunately, the risk God took in giving humans free will (to love him or not) was that they might choose to reject his guidance as they did when tempted in the garden.

Listening to Satan and choosing to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree was the first act of sin and resulted in death coming to the first man. (Genesis 3:1-24) Spiritual death came first as man was separated from God and driven out of the garden. Physical death followed for Adam and Eve and everyone thereafter.

However, God didn’t give up on man. His love never stopped. In fact, he loved humans so much that he provided a way to restore fellowship with them. The death that came because sin had to be reconciled. Therefore, God performed an ultimate act of love. He sent his own son, Jesus, to take the punishment for the sins of you and me and everyone who has ever lived and everyone who is yet to be born. All he asks is that each of us who want to have a forever relationship with God, acknowledge that we are sinners in need of redemption and accept the gift of life he has to offer. To learn more about how to obtain this gift of live and turn your back on sin, we encourage you to  read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

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