Why did Jesus wait four days before raising Lazarus from the dead?

Why did Jesus wait four days before raising Lazarus from the dead?

This is a very profound question and deals with both Christ’s purposes and integrates into Jewish traditions and Pharisee beliefs.
As background, the incident takes place in John11:1-43 and should be very carefully read. Jesus had two previous occasions where He brought dead people back to life; Darius daughter in Mark 5:35-43 and the widow of Nain’s son in Luke 7:11-17.
In each of these cases the dead person had been dead for a short period, one day or less. Hence, the Pharisees were saying they were only ‘sleeping’ or in a coma or such and were not really dead. Most significantly however is the Jewish tradition and teaching that a dead person’s spirit remains over the body for a period of three days after death and then departs.
Now with Lazarus, Jesus was across the Jordan, a two days walk to Bethany where Lazarus’s body lay. When the messengers came reporting all to Him, Jesus deliberately remained and did NOT begin his return to Bethany. When He finally did arrive FOUR days after burial, not three, to negate any doubts by the Pharisees, Lazarus was already embalmed with spices and wrapped with burial strips and in his tomb. It was then He called him out of the tomb and Lazarus was returned to life, with his burial wrappings still on him. Lazarus, alive again, became a part of the Jerusalem believers’ group.
This incontrovertible miracle so marveled and infuriated the Pharisees that that they now began their plan to have Jesus killed. Read about it in John 11:45-54.
Perhaps the best answer to your question is that stated by Jesus, as recorded in John 11:42, in His reply to His previous statement, John 11:11, “…I am going there to wake him up” which is “…I said this for the benefit of the people standing here that they may believe that You [the Father] sent Me.”
Do you have the joy of being committed to Jesus as your Savior and know for certain that you have eternal life? You can. Just invite Him into your life today. He is waiting. None of us know if we have tomorrow!

Will the ‘lost or unsaved’ have bodies in Hell or only tormented souls?

Will the ‘lost or unsaved’ have bodies in Hell or only tormented souls?

This is another most intriguing and somewhat perplexing question. It has been considered many times down through the ages by Christians and non-Christians alike. Back in 1320 AD Dante wrote the book, Divine Comedy, and it was published finally in 1472 AD. It describes his view of what torment might be like in various levels of Inferno or Hell. It is of course fictional but worth reading to get one perspective on torment in Hell for body and soul.

We, however, always look to see what God has said in His inspired Word, the Bible. First, in many references it says that Hell is a real place, a place that was initially created for Satan and the fallen angels. (Jude 1:6) It is also a place for all those who have rejected God’s free gift of redemption and salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ. The Scriptures are very clear that there is no condemnation or punishment or torment for those who have trusted in Jesus as Savior and Lord. (Romans 8:1) That’s the good news! Jesus, who spoke more about Hell than heaven, described Hell as a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. In other words, a body.

In the book of Revelation there is reference to the resurrection of the dead nonbelievers with bodies as it says every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. (Philippians 2:9-11) Unfortunately, it will be too late for those to enter heaven as they made their choice while on earth to say no to God. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed onto man once to die and then judgment.” Again in the book of Revelation 20:11-15 we learn that the unsaved will stand before God in judgment and be cast into hell or the lake of fire for all eternity.

Finally their unsaved souls will be in constant torment and anguish. They will forever regret the choice that was made to reject Jesus. They will lament over thoughts like, if I had only listened, or if I hadn’t been so stubborn, or if I had only believed, or if I only trusted in Jesus. God gives everyone an equal chance to have eternal life and be forever with Him in heaven. So choose wisely while there is yet time. Jesus is calling. We trust that you will say yes.

Does becoming a Christian mean my life will be easy?

Does becoming a Christian mean my life will be easy?

Two weeks ago we addressed the question, “Why is life so hard?” We regularly need to be reminded that at times life can be difficult. There is no way around that. We live in a fallen world where sin reigns mostly due to our human nature and our own choices. Sometimes the choices that others make hurt us and contribute to our discomfort. Unfortunately becoming a follower of Christ does not mean that suddenly life becomes easy. So maybe the question should be asked a different way.

How will becoming a Christian help me deal with the hard times in my life?

Think about who we are as humans. We are selfish and prideful and make wrong choices. That pretty much describes everyone with whom you interact. That’s why we all end up hurting ourselves and others and why others hurt us. But God’s good news is that Christians have a helper, we call the Holy Spirit, to comfort us when we we’re hurting; to help us see clearly when the road ahead is cloudy and dark. Life doesn’t necessarily become easier, but you are better able to endure your suffering knowing that as you sincerely call on God, he will give you peace.

When the first humans chose to break their relationship with God (Gen. 2:16-17), he promised he would provide a way to restore that relationship. He did that by first sending his son, Jesus, to suffer the consequences of our separating ourselves from God. Then he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell all those who accept the death of Jesus as the substitute for their own death, and choose to become a follower of Jesus. They, in effect, are born anew. As such, each Christian can enjoy a measure of peace knowing that Jesus has “overcome this world” (John 16:33).

James, Jesus’ half-brother, wrote that we should change our perspective when we face these difficulties, because they produce joy and maturity in us when we rely on God for help in these circumstances (James 1:2-4, 2 Cor. 4:17). For a Christian, facing life’s difficulties is easier knowing that:

“The joy of the Lord is our strength”

          Nehemiah 8:10

How could God make something–creation–out of nothing?

How could God make something–creation–out of nothing?

This is a frequently asked question and in a way a mystery but there is a simple answer…because He is God and He can. As such, He is the Creator of all and has existed forever.

In the Bible God is referred to as, I Am. But, a more explanatory answer is that He is a ‘transcendent’ God meaning He is in a separate world of dimensions well beyond ours and is not limited to time and space as we humans are. With God in eternity there is no time. He ‘spoke’ our universe into existence through the power of His Word and both time and space were created. We are unable in our limited dimensions to comprehend this fact. We also cannot understand time. It just is! It is there to mark the days and years and the seasons of life. But, He did give us practical, positive and understandable evidence of His existence and presence and creative power. A few examples are:

  1. 1. Nature: The greatness, grandeur and magnificence of all on this earth, and the laws that govern the sciences.
  2. 2.Life: The concept of all life and how it all fits together for it’s reproduction and existence. We know that humans are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)
  3. 3. The Bible: We know it is God’s inspired Word because only He sees all of human history as if it’s already happened. That’s how there can be hundreds prophecies of future events that are 100% certain like the first and second coming of Jesus…. God’s omniscience and power on display.
  4. 4. Divine Intervention: God heals diseases, answers prayers, influences our decisions and most importantly transforms lives. Examples of these are endless. Think about John Newton, author of Amazing Grace, transformed from slave trader to preacher and hymn writer.

In summary, God created the universe out of nothing because He wanted to demonstrate His love for all who desire a personal relationship with Him in this life and for all eternity in a new dimension, heaven. That relationship and salvation is possible for all those who trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. (Romans 10:9&10)

Why is life unfair? Why does life hurt so much?

Why is life unfair? Why does life hurt so much?

This life is not fair and hurts. When this life hurts, we can draw upon God for comfort and love. We are all imperfect people who are given the freedom, out of love for us by God, to make choices. When we make choices out of selfishness, pride, anger, fear or any other negative emotion or motive, we hurt others, but even more, hurt ourselves. This is sin, or missing the best that God desires for us and started with Adam and Eve disobeying God in the Garden of Eden.God can use anything, even evil, done to us for our own good.

God cares more about our character and heart than anything, and allows us to go through hurt and pain, so that we can grow and mature. We can thank God that he is just, and isn’t fair with us either. We have failed and hurt God by our actions most of all. God, out of his love for us, sent his only son, who was perfect and without sin, to Earth to take upon himself the sins of everyone, not just us, so that we could enjoy a life in relationship to Him. Jesus dying in our place was unfair, but necessary, for God’s best for all of us.

Should Christians try to convert those of other religions?

Should Christians try to convert those of other religions?

Another great question as all Christians are called to go and make disciples of all nations. ( Matthew 28:19) First, it must be said that Christians do not actually convert others. Christians are to be Jesus’ ambassadors to the world bringing the Good News of the Gospel that Jesus alone saves. God does all the convicting of sin and the need for a Savior and the converting through His Holy Spirit. Second, a Christian’s conversations and testimonies are to be shared in love and compassion to all those of other faiths, to those who have no knowledge of God and even to those who are agnostics and atheists who deny there is a Creator. (John 3:16)

Christians do all this because they are instructed to do so in many passages of scripture and because they want to share God’s love and that joy of knowing Jesus as Savior. They want every person to experience that new wonderful transformed and meaningful life He gives now and forever to all who believe. When a person experiences God’s love and forgiveness and are saved from God’s wrath. So, why would they not want to tell others about their new life and Savior. Remember, Christians only tell others about Jesus, the Gospel and how He died and rose again for each person. We are only His ambassadors. We go and tell just like the Apostle Andrew said to his brother Peter, “Come and see. We have found the Messiah, Jesus.”

There is nothing greater than seeing a lost soul find Jesus as Savior. Now how about you? If you are a Christian do you tell others about Jesus? Perhaps it’s a family member or friend or colleague that needs to know Him. We encourage you to be that Christian friend that shares the ‘Good News” and points them to Jesus just like Andrew did to Peter. Then watch in wonder as God does a marvelous transformation in that person’s life. What happens really does surpasses all human understanding but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

What does the Bible say about conflict resolution?

What does the Bible say about conflict resolution?

This life is tough and the hardest things are relationships, especially when they aren’t healthy.

For the most part, we can control ourselves and our actions; we can’t (or shouldn’t) control others. People offend us and we will get hurt. There’s no hiding from that. Sometimes, it’s intentional and other times it’s not; sometimes they aren’t aware of how and when they have hurt us.

The Bible tells us to forgive in all things, though sometimes, we need to confront the other person (in love) (Matt. 18:15-17). Ultimately, Jesus died for all of our sins. God’s grace and mercy extends to all, and should be passed through you to others. He forgave us even before we even asked for forgiveness, and we will never deserve forgiveness, just as other might never deserve it, Jesus even told us He would forgive us our sins, as we forgive others (Matt. 6:14-15). It is a hard thing to do to forgive, but it is required to have true peace. God’s Holy Spirit inside of believers enables us to forgive.

Ask God for the power, wisdom and make the choice to forgive today; the feelings will come later.

Does the Bible claim to be the Inspired Word of God? 

Does the Bible claim to be the Inspired Word of God? 

First, an easy, direct answer, YES the Bible does claim to be inspired and has shown itself to be so by the hundreds of predictions exactly fulfilled in date and event hundreds of years later. This is so because God knows the entire experience of the human race as if it has already happened. The apostle Timothy wrote,

“ All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Some additional comments are worthy of note. Translations, and there are many, make the best effort to capture the intent and context of the inspired original. Hermanutics is the study of Scripture. One must go to the original language as far as possible to get the authors’ full intent, meaning, and purpose of that written. Context, that is who is writing it, when was it written, to whom was it written, what were the circumstances surrounding the passage, etc. are all relevant to gain understanding and discover the treasure of truth contained in the Bible.

It is important to remember, early languages, Hebrew in particular, had a limited vocabulary estimated at 4000 words or less compared to English today of 400,000+ words. Hence most original Hebrew text words had multiple meanings making context of the passage very important. Greek originals of the New Testament were more precise and therefore were more easily translated into modern English.

Finally, the Bible is absolutely the inspired WORD of GOD and God purposely provided it the way He did. This makes one’s study of it so much more exciting and fun. Every time one reads the Bible they discover more truths and the inspiration for living a meaningful and purposeful life. Some say that the word BIBLE is an acronym for the phrase, ‘Best Investigated Before Leaving Earth.’

We urge you and everyone to diligently, take time, and read and study His Word. We encourage you to make it a daily habit. It’s one you will never regret. It will lead you to Jesus who is the only way to Heaven. (John 14:6)

Why did Jesus talk more about hell than heaven?

Why did Jesus talk more about hell than heaven?

Jesus spoke more of Hell than Heaven but we do know He spoke a lot about both.You know God tells us that He loved us so much that “… while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8). So God’s purpose for each of us is to bring us into a present and future Heavenly relationship with Him. So warning us of the consequences of not giving our hearts and lives to Christ is a further evidence of this love for us. Jesus it seems wanted to make the choice simple and obvious.
It is similar to you and your children whom you love. If you see them entering a dangerous situation don’t you immediately warn and stop them and tell them of the danger?
Christ’s persistent warnings about Hell tells us that it is a real place and He doesn’t want anyone to go there. Remember, a person’s ultimate destination at death is either Heaven or Hell. The point is that Jesus is saying that there is existence beyond physical death and there are only two possible outcomes.The fact is that God would have all come to know and trust Him and gain eternal life, but He gave everyone the free will to choose.
So, how about you? Have you come into that life-transforming personal relationship with Jesus and now know for sure where you will be for eternity?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9&10 (NIV)

Why is being ‘Gay’ viewed by Christians as a sin?

Why is being ‘Gay’ viewed by Christians as a sin?

This question really has two parts. The first is what is sin? The second is what does being gay involve? Is being gay a mindset, an attitude, or a behavior? Now sin is simply breaking any of God’s laws in word, thought or deed. What is important to understand is that it’s not how Christians view sin but what God views as sin. The condition of being gay suggests an unnatural intimate relationship with a person of the same sex. Note that it is the practice of homosexual activity, not same gender attraction, that is a sin.
So, let’s see what God has to say about homosexual activity. In the Bible book of Leviticus 19:22 it is called an abomination. It does not get more explicit than that. In the book of Genesis chapter 19 we find that God totally destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their unnatural homosexual desires and practices. It is easy to see that God detests homosexual activity because it breaks God’s order about the relationship between a man and a woman.
In Genesis 1:27 we find that, “God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” Further on we read,” man shall become one flesh with his wife and be fruitful and multiply.” God’s intention is for mankind to be joyful, healthy, safe, to love and to be loved. It is also for the forming of families in which to raise children where godliness can be learned and practiced. Now to be clear, it is not just homosexual behavior that God calls sin, but all sexual activity outside of the marriage between one man and one woman. Just think how much emotional, spiritual and physical pain would be eliminated if mankind followed God’s plan for human relationships.
When one’s life is surrendered to Jesus, one of the great things that happens is that God’s Word in the Bible certainly makes sense. We often wonder how they were so blind to the truth the Bible contains. God’s Word has the power to cause one to pause and reconsider what he or she may have believed before; and now to seriously doubt what the culture is proclaiming today.
Accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord allows the power of the Holy Spirit to begin the process of overcoming temptations and transforming behavior. If the idea of a life lived according to God’s Word is appealing to you, why not ask Jesus into your heart and begin this wonderful journey into the newness of life today.