10 Biblical Reasons God Allows Suffering

Blogger’s Note:

I found this to be an interesting article. Thought y’all might like it. As I find myself posting more interesting articles that I may just add them into the mix by placing them on a Thursday, as I come by them. Sean McDowell, a great writer in his own right, also seems to post both articles and to his blog.

Godspeed & Good Read!

*****

Posted April 10, 2018 by Sean McDowell

SeanMcDowell.org      ORIGINAL ARTICLE
The existence of human suffering is arguably the most common and difficult problem raised against the existence and goodness of God. It is a particularly thorny issue because people experience it both emotionally and logically.

The problem of suffering has been with us since the Garden of Eden and it will be with us until Christ comes back. But suffering is not just a problem for Christians. Every belief system has to account for suffering in some fashion or another.

The purpose of this post is not to attempt a theodicy, that is, a defense of why God allows suffering. Many fine books have done this, including the classical book The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis or Why Does God Allow Evil? by Clay Jones. Rather, I simply want to highlight ten ways the Bible addresses suffering. These answers are not exhaustive, but they provide some biblical perspective for the inquisitive believer and non-believer:

1. Suffering is the result of mankind’s sin and rebellion against God (Genesis 3). Mankind chose to reject God’s one command, the world became corrupted by sin, and humans have suffered ever since.

2. God’s chosen people (the Hebrews) suffered when they disobeyed the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28).

3. People sometimes suffer from the wrong choices of other human beings, even though God uses the resulting suffering for good (Genesis 50:20).

4. Suffering brings faithful believers into deeper understanding and relationship with Him (Job).

5. Believers suffer because of the jealousy and hatred of certain people who reject the Christian faith (Acts 7:54-60).

6. Believers suffer as a testament of faith to others (Hebrews 11).

7. God allows people to suffer so they will turn to Him in repentance and not perish for eternity (Luke 13:1-4).

8. Christians suffer so they can be conformed more closely to the character of Christ (Romans 8:28-30, James 1:2-4).

9. Believers suffer so they can know Christ more fully (Philippians 3:10).

10. To prepare followers of Christ for the glory of Heaven (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Each of these points deserves much more explanation. And each point raises further questions as well. Remember, there is no single answer to suffering. But wrestling through these passages, and others, can help provide a biblical perspective on suffering.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, best-selling author, popular speaker, part-time high school teacher, and the Resident Scholar for Summit Ministries, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

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By a nation without understanding will I anger you

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, By a nation without understanding will I anger you.” And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” ~Romans 10:17-21 NASB

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So, I got into a “spirited debate” with someone over one of my posts, on another blog, where there was disagreement over the tenets of Christ’s teachings. And though we, often times, think we know the word…we more often take it out of context by separating the teachings, the tenets, and the Bible from one another. Unfortunately, this is where we tend to make our greatest mistakes because the teachings of Jesus reflects the essence of God (the same yesterday, today, & tomorrow.) We cannot separate each from one another. But we are obligated to show our dissenter(s) where they made a mistake, or they need to show us the error of our doctrinal statements. We are here to teach one another, not to be adversaries, but better yet to rid ourselves of our adversariesby making them our friends and allies.

For many are called, but few are chosen.” ~Matthew 22:14

We are each called by God to do His will and to Glorify Him. Each of us is called to do something different than others and we are charged differently to accomplish the task(s) that are set before us. But we are all called to read, understand, study, and teach the word. We are not suppose to change anything. Unfortunately, there are those that change much, or they have their own interpretation of the word & make the necessary changes in order to have their interpretations fit the bill.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” ~Hosea 4:6 NASB

In so doing, we destroy ourselves through such lack of knowledge and study bibleunderstanding of the word. And God will raise up those who disagree with each of us, either by challenging our stance, our beliefs, our understanding of the doctrines, etc. We have a duty to learn the word of God and an equal duty & obligation to study it diligently for comprehension and understanding. We should be prepared for these attacks on our beliefs, just because we follow the word of God. Remember what Jesus said?

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” ~John 15:18 NKJV

And we are charged with…

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV

error-correctionNow, don’t get me wrong, we will from time to time get things wrong, speak out of turn, etc. But we can make corrections the next time we come in contact with others. It does happen as we are not perfect. However, we can be the bigger person through our apologies and responses. We are not seeking to do the wrong thing, but spread God’s word.

In the disagreement I had above mentioned blog post, the person I had the “spirited debate” with had the belief that, this is my opinion from what was implied to me, that love and compassion for all humanity is all there is to the message of Christ. However, this is one of the greatest fallacies of many New Age and pseudo Christian movements. We were taught to have love and compassion for our fellow man, but there are other aspects to the bible which also apply to the teachings of Jesus and the bible must be taken as a whole…not piecemeal. Consider the following:

But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.” ~1 Corinthians 5:11 NKJV

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” ~James 2:10 NKJV

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” ~2 John 7-11 NKJV 

I expect disagreements and challenges; however, what got me was the implication that he was Christian (perhaps I read into the statement), “I stand for love and compassion. And whatever your Bible might say fourteen translations later, so did Jesus Christ.” But to infer that the bible is not what it says it is, is ludicrous! Saying you stand for love and compassion is a great platitude, but what is your basis? There are far too many New Age, Buddhist, and Hindu (among other) teachings out there that are based upon relativistic feelings that have no basis in reality. Meaning that “What is good for one is not necessarily good for another.” Each can have their own truth in reality. This person stated that none of his sittings (I assume statements) were “actually inaccurate”; although, he never expanded upon that. Much like when in a debate and someone asserts that you are using circular reasoning and not explaining where they got that from..?

If we cannot sway them to the true teachings of Christ, we are to separate ourselves from them. Because, as in the Old Testament if we yoked ourselves with those of pagan beliefs…we would, or could, be swayed toward paganism. The same though lies here, but we are not to count them as an enemy, but as brothers in need  and lost to the way.

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” ~2 Thessalonians 3:13-15 NKJV

So, as you can see, we must take the bible’s message in it’s entirety, because it is all interlinked as one message. I did not bring this up in order to seem like a know-it-all, but rather I saw this as a teaching moment in God’s Word! Because we each have made this mistake at taking one point from Christ, and thus forgetting all other teachings of Jesus and His Apostles! This is a grave and fallacious error on our parts.

Also, if God is real and therefore the Bible is the word of God THEN it would stand to reason that the writings within are valid (I’ll not get into the trustworthiness or historicity of the Bible in this post.) Furthermore, when the bible states:

we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” ~2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV

Also when the Bible says,

And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~Matthew 25:46 NKJV

Then it is a good chance, meaning highly probable, that we will be judged and sentenced to be punished or have eternal joy.

I hope this was helpful to you, my dear brothers and sisters!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Looking Through The Looking Glass of Another Lense

The-Looking-Glass

I recently finished reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X as told to AlexMalcolmX Haley. Which you can read my review of it on Doc Murf’s Corner Bookshelf. It was one of the most moving and prolific books I had read in quite a while. I don’t believe I had truly seen through the eyes of another as staunchly and as vividly as this one. While I neither agree with Malcolm X’s methods, his religious beliefs, nor position on many things, I can truly understand how he came to believe such things. I understand and can empathize with his struggle and with the path he had taken to get to where he finally arrived. His beliefs about the white man that he encountered daily had truly softened by the end of his trek. It was when he sought out to take his pilgrimage to Mecca, THAT was when it all changed how he thought about man, in general. It was reading this biography where this blog post was conceived and birthed to get others to see through the eyes of another who, perhaps, is the butt of jokes, bullying, or on the receiving end of a hard time by yourself or by those who are your friends. We are not called to dog other but to guide, uplift, and help them…because they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Whether they are misguided and have taken a wrong path, perhaps God is placing across your path for you to help them…not to give them a hard time or pick on them.

We are called to:

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. ~Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV

And trust me, there are many more scriptural references to urge each of us on to help our brothers and sisters. And guess what? This includes that we should not be talking about anybody behind their backs and tearing them down! It is idle talk and idleness that truly tears us down and makes us look like hypocrites. Which is one of the main reasons so many people hate going to church. Because it is the hypocrite in each and every one of us that shows it’s ugly head every time we are out of church.

 

gandhi-quote-if-it-weren-t-for-christians

No, again I am not pointing fingers at anyone, because this is an individual problem…yes, me too! I tends to be these paths we follow that allow us to learn these hard teachings from God. We don’t like them, no not at all! Who likes being chastised as such? I do not. We see in the Book of Ezekiel:

Signs of the Coming Captivity
2“Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house. 3“Therefore, son of man, prepare for yourself baggage for exile and go into exile by day in their sight; even go into exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand though they are a rebellious house. 4“Bring your baggage out by day in their sight, as baggage for exile. Then you will go out at evening in their sight, as those going into exile.… Bible Hub

New American Standard Bible

But think about this for a moment, who would we run away from? Who would we exile ourselves from? All of us has the same problem, unchristian acts of our hearts. Those who are atheist, agnostic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Nondenominational, etc. (I won’t list them all, as it would take up far too much space and you would get bored! I think you get the point.)

If we were as smart as we thought, wouldn’t we change our bad, hurtful and harmful ways and pick-up & develop better habits? It sounds great but it also reminds me of all those “New Year’s Resolutions” from days long gone bye! We start and at some point in time we go back to our easier, no thinking ways.

Sadly, as the species of man goes, we are always judging others. At work, on the streets, passing people at the mall or while doing our grocery shopping…feel free, name the place, we are always judging someone. Concerning their manner of dress, their mannerisms, their actions toward others or the clerk(s), whether or not we can take them (in a fight), whether or not he/she is cute enough to date, and the list goes on and on. We were warned by Jesus Himself:

Judge not, that you be not judged.” ~Matthew 7:1 NKJV

Our reprehensible sin of judging others is always in our way! Jesus showed Himself to be the Light of the World because of His righteous judgement upon others, and His gracefulness and merciful attitude toward others. We are also subject to the laws of man, as well as God. Jesus noted that who are we to judge another if we ourselves are not free from sin? All things, all laws truly have their pitfalls…can we truly sit on a jury and adjudicate another for a crime? Truthfully, we can. While we cannot sit in judgement on other for spiritual matters without serious spiritual consequences, we can make judgement upon others for the safety of our society, as a whole.

Sadly, once again, nothing occurs within a vacuum with regard to life. Everything is constantly changing and is most likely very complicated. While Malcolm X lived through a great number of things which were travesties and shaped his worldview and how he viewed the white man, much the same goes on with us as to how we view the world, the occurrences around us, each thing we experience hones and shapes our worldview and our view on those around us.

bibleWe can use the Bible as our rock and moral compass for our journey through this life, but as is noted within the New Testament we do live in this world, until we move on to be judged by God, or stand before the judgement seat of Christ. The Bible should be our looking glass that we use in order to place things into the proper perspective. And if we are truly followers of Jesus Christ, our Bibles should be well used and broken in! Friends, when you overwhelmed by a problem of great importance or of significant magnitude…turn to the Word of God in order to obtain a better perspective on the matter.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

References & Other Reading:

Lesson 17: The Sin of Judging Others (James 4:11-12) | Bible.org

22 Inspirational Bible Verses About Empathy – Bible Reasons

Ezekiel 12:3 “Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings … – Bible Hub

Walking in others’ shoes | Staunton Mennonite Weblog

Developing Empathy: Walk a mile in someone’s shoes

When Men Run From God

RunFromGod2

My wife and I are both Christian,” the 70-year-old performer explains. “My father AliceCooperwas a pastor, my grandfather was an evangelist. I grew up in the church, went as far away as I could from it — almost died — and then came back to the church.” [ref: Legendary rocker Alice Cooper credits Jesus with curing him of alcoholism] We each have our demons, per se, those things which cause us to run away from God. Even though we tend to go that extra mile by telling ourselves that we are only running from the Church, the priests/pastors, or from the hypocrites within the Church. I myself was born into the Roman Catholic faith, but I always found it to be wrongfully preached or taught. When I was sixteen, I was in the pew listening to the priest say, emphatically I might add, “You are too ignorant and stupid to understand the bible. That is what we priests do, we learn the bible and teach you what you need to know.” While this was paraphrased, it was the crux of what this priest said, in essence, to the congregation. It was this particular straw that broke my camel’s back and sent me packing from the church, or from God. This was the driving force, in my opinion. I would truly say I left the Church because I did not accept what was stated, foolishly I might add.

Return-to-ChurchEventually, I ended up going back to Church, but it was a Pentecostal Church. Of course they had their doctrines which I disagreed with…after all, some of these doctrines that are taught in the Churches of a Denominational God tend to expound upon aspects of the Bible, which in essence, contradict the Bible, or God’s Word. After several other Return-to-Godconcerning issues, I left the Church, yet again. After a ten year hiatus, and much prayer, I returned. But unlike others I never actually left God. Though I had tested God, tried to disprove God, tried to explain away God…I still believed God. He tugs at your heart’s strings. Often times, you are saved from great dilemmas and problems which would essentially destroy you, and rightfully so – I might add. But God in His infinite & divine wisdom protects you in some of the strangest ways. Eventually, by God’s grace, you come around.

As discussed in a previous post we are the church, we the people, with Christ at it’s head. All the world IS God’s possession and can be used as a Church for God. What we do is return to God and return to His presence. It is our purpose to glorify Him in all we do…even if we do so through finding Him again and coming home to Him. Just as was spoken in the Parable of the Lost Sheep., or the Parable of the Lost Coin, or the Parable of the Lost Son.

I have, once I could identify it, always been of the mind of Jean Paul Sartre, who said (effectually):

“To name it is to kill it!”

Essentially meaning that if you define something through a naming process of some sort, you will in effect confine it. Yes, that does include God, as well as religion as a whole. When you name a religion that religion is then defined by it’s name through the associative process in your brain because you will associate all of the tenets of that particular religion to the name it bears, or it’s brand – if you will.

There are, as I recall, approximately 34,000 variations of Christianity throughout the world, today. Why? Because they each have a differing set of tenets to abide by. Drinking, no drinking, dancing, no dancing, snake handling (yeah! you heard me!), acknowledging holidays or not, etc. You change just one thing, one tenet in some manner or form…>>PRESTO!<< You now have a new religion.

Now I have gotten a little off the path of this post, BUT, you can focus on the remainder…This is why we as Christians that we MUST…ABSOLUTELY MUST…study the scriptures and read a lot! Because we will not learn all of this by osmosis. We must research and learn it all in order to have the answers for those who seek to know. We are a beacon of hope, in a manner of speaking. Those who are lost, they too are seeking. Either you and I will answer them…or someone else will misguide them. We have an obligation, according to the Great Commission to enlighten them and at very least steer them toward the truth that God has for them. In doing so, we fulfill the mandate in the Great Commandment.

There are those who are going through something similar to you in your youth, meaning they are running from God & the Church. And God has prepared you for just such an encounter by having you follow the path which you have followed over the course of your life. Man is never satisfied with what he has, because he always wants something more. Me in my youth I can truthfully say that I whored myself out to earn more money so I could obtain more. In so doing, I grew ever so slowly or quickly away from God by slowly divorcing Him out of my life. And though I obtained more, I was none the happier for it. But our God is strong enough and big enough to create something good, or help us to take away something good, from such an experience. And it is just such an experience that we need in order to help another who is going through such turmoil in their lives. We are able to show them God’s love and to let them know…”You are not alone in all of this!”

Jonah ran from God’s mandate and he was not happier for it, in fact he suffered for his brash actions until he fulfilled God’s command. In the Book of Hosea, Gomer ran from her husband back to prostituting herself for more until she was sent to the block to be sold. She was only to be bought back by her own husband, Hosea. This was the story of true love of God for His people and the showing of their ungratefulness.

The bible is full of the information we need, and I mentioned in a previous post as to Why we memorize scripture?…because of those AH-HAH! moments which we can learn quite a bit from.

I have written several posts concerning the subject of “Once Saved, Always Saved.” (Part 1, Part 2, & Revisited) I have always questioned such a thing; however, after much deliberation and much study on the matter I finally concluded that it is in fact the case. I have concluded that IF you do not believe in “Once Saved, Always Saved,” then you must hold the argument that YOU must do something over and above what God has already accomplished. I.e., the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus as the pure and unblemished lamb for our mis-deeds. Such a fallacious belief to have and I do not say such lightly. It is fallacious because you must ask yourself one very pointed question:

What can I do that is greater than the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior? What can I do that is far more superior than His being crucified for ALL of my sins?

[Keep in mind, when Jesus hung on the cross…you were not born excepting only that God knew of you before you were in the womb!]

I have often though long and hard on the opening monologue of the movie, The Patriot, where the opening words were spoken:

I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear.” ~Benjamin Martin, opening monologue of ‘The Patriot’

It is not our sins that come to visit us and cause us turmoil, but rather our bad choices. Choose now to follow Jesus, by accepting Him as the Son of the Most High God and as your Savior, YOUR sins shall be forgiven. Turn from your life of tumultuous behavior and turn toward Jesus who will guide you to the heavenly.

Godspeed my friends! I hope this was helpful and informative for you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

Desperation Leads To Deliverance

Notes Deperation pt4

In Mark 5 we learn of several people: the man from the tombs who is possessed, Jairus and his dying daughter, and the woman with the bleeding disorder. Jesus, throughout His life made a great many “Bold Statements” to the people He taught, instructed, healed, befriended, etc. While the title of this post is not a bold statement which Jesus made…it is, however, a bold statement made due to plain observation of His many encounters with those who were desperate.

Each of these people had desperate problems, desperate needs, and (most had) faith in Jesus to heal.

Everyone had the notion in their heads, at one point in time, who is this Jesus? Who is He that He can heal? Only God can heal, only the healers and men of God can heal…who is this Jesus?

Gods handJesus, the Son of God, who has authority over sicknesses, ailments, death, hunger, the disposition & health of one’s soul, etc. YEAH, that Jesus. It is hard to believe that when one makes their way through the biblical accounts of Jesus, His travels, His trials & turmoil, His teachings & sermons, His healing of the sick and disenfranchised…hard to believe that anyone could ask such a thing. Considering the fact that even after His crucifixion & death, in the area of Jerusalem that His teachings were continued by His Apostles and followers. Jesus1If that which was taught about or by Him was wrong why was there no outcry against it? If He were not crucified to death, buried, and rose again…why then did not those who said, “this did not happen!” Why did they not produce His body? There were many assertions and theories on this, but then they go beyond the scope of this blog post. However, it should be in the back of one’s mind when listening or reading of the great things accomplished by Jesus and His followers.

Getting back on track…

First, we encounter the possessed man from the tombs. He who was possessed by Legion. Jesus commanded Legion, Come out of the man, unclean spirit! (verse 8) And, of course, Legion asked to be cast into the herd of pigs. And Jesus allowed it; then the pigs were sent running off the cliff. Now, you or I…today, would see this as a travesty that so much bacon would be wasted. But, as it was brought to my attention, that this was a great economic problem for the owners of the pigs. Why? You might ask…because the pigs were used in many of the pagan rituals and therefore, Jesus just deprived them of great money making possibilities.

And of course, the man who was possessed desperately desired to go and follow Jesus in verses 18-20. Why? because he had firsthand knowledge and experience of such power and healing that Jesus could perform [my interpretation and understanding]. The gratefulness and the gratitude that he had toward Jesus…could have been second to none! But each of us has a voice to be heard by certain people, apparently the recently healed man of possession needed to have his voice heard by his people…God’s will be done!

Second, we come in contact with one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus whose daughter was dying. Now this is something. a ruler of the synagogue sought out Jesus to heal? But when it comes to one who is near and dear to us, we will not concern ourselves with such a matter, despite what our fellow synagogue leaders think of such a man as Jesus. But family is family…to many, family is everything. Jairus even showed such courage and faith by saying, My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.(verse 23)

While on the way to heal Jairus’ daughter we come in contact with the third person of faith and desperation, the woman with the flow of blood issue.She who used up all her money to be healed. She could neither work nor be around people because she was labeled, “unclean.” So, by the mere touching of the hem of His clothes, she truly had faith that she would be healed…now that is faith, a truly strong faith! But such would not go unnoticed with Jesus.

As with the woman, do we not (in our youth) fail to ask for permission and find it more useful to wait (if caught) to seek forgiveness? But she knew that she was wrong in what she did, as she was “fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.” And once again, God was glorified! And Jesus responded, Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.

So, now back to the second person he ran into…Jairus. His faith was what was to heal his daughter. Those who came from the synagogue ruler’s house said, Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” This raises a question, or two, but those go beyond the scope of this post. One that comes to mind is: If this synagogue ruler was such a man of faith, why didn’t his whole household know of Jesus? Perhaps, I would speculate, that he didn’t want to be unfaithful to his brethren of the synagogue and Jesus was the last person he thought of in this time of trouble. As many of use might do. 

But Jesus in classic form said, Do not be afraid; only believe.” Which was assurance to His caller, the synagogue ruler, and perhaps his entire family. Then Jesus followed on with this, Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping. To which many around just laughed and ridiculed Jesus, considering such a thing just idiocy. After all, this crowd of people, many of which I speculate had seen the body of the girl and suspected or knew the girl to, in fact, be dead. But are we not called to believe despite what we have seen, or believe without seeing?

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” ~John 10:37-38 NKJV 

 Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[a] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~John 20:29 NKJV

…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed… ~Romans 4:16-21 NKJV

Face it, we are all raised to be skeptical of those things we do not see. We are also taught that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t. Sadly, we live in a skeptical world and this is one of the things we must overcome as we grow older and seek out God in our own way. There are a great number of things that preclude the possibility of knowing God, as we are taught to believe in the theory of evolution and other very smart and educated people who do not count God as a potential, or possible, First Cause for our existence. While some, and yes even some Christian sects discount the classic First Cause argument. But, let us return to our original posting…

Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” This had to be a grand spectacle for all to see! Immediately the girl arose and walked which, of course was not told to us until the writing of this Gospel.

These three instances spoke volumes to us all, that Desperation Leads To Deliverance. While my message is slightly different from the sermon presented by my Pastor (Scott Beckenhauer) the essence of it remains the same. We each follow a path in our lives, good and bad, but eventually we begin to ask the bigger questions which eventually lead us to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

gotGod

Desperation can lead us down a very dark and bleak road in our lives, or we can see a glimmer of light and hope at the end of the tunnel which takes us on the trail that leads to hope, faith, love and charity. God awaits all of us to arrive at the finish line, but not all will get there. We are all invited, but not all will accept His generous offer of Grace.

What about you? What is your heart seeking? Where do you desire to go?

Got God? Got Jesus? Got Holy Spirit?

Until next we meet, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

While Breathing, Man Forgets His Breath Is From God

breath of life

We all seem to forget one of the greatest gifts we possesses, the breath of life which is within each of us by the grace of God! We each continue to waste our time and lives on such trivial things to debate if or whether or not that God exists…despite this great gift!

What are the Odds?:

And what something even more basic – say, your own existence?  A couple of months ago, a “probability chart” produced by Harvard Law School blogger Ali Binazir went somewhat viral, encouraging people to contemplate this very question.  In the chart, Binazir calculates just how improbable it was that the right sperm from your father hooked up with the right egg produced by your mother – by his estimate, it’s about one chance in 400 quadrillion (that number seems only slightly more tame in scientific notation: 4 x 10^17).  And that’s hardly the whole battle:  To even get to that stage, all of your ancestors, going all the way back to the beginning of life on Earth, had to survive to reproductive age.  Multiplying the string of probabilities together, he concludes that the odds of your existence are an astronomical one in 10^2,685.000.  (As you can imagine, not everyone in the blogosphere was kind to Binazir; one asked if it was painful to pull those numbers out of you-know-where.) (“Life, the Universe, and Everything: What are the Odds?“, 12/2011, Dan Falk)

Let us consider mathematical a understanding:

improbable = something that can happen, but its probability is comparatively low, but not zero. The distinction between probable and improbable is not, as far as I know, exactly defined.

if you roll one hundred dice, it is very improbable that all of them will land as sixes.

almost impossible = something that can happen, but its probability is exactly zero

if you roll a frictionless die, it is almost impossible that it will end up on its edge.

if you keep rolling a die until a six lands, it is almost impossible that you will never stop rolling.

impossible = something that cannot happen.

if you roll one hundred (standard) dice, it is impossible that at least one of them will land as a seven.

probable

if you do get one hundred sixes in a row, it is probable that the casino will kick you out.

almost definite

if you attempt to balance a frictionless die on its edge, it will almost definitely topple to one of its faces

definite

I think you will definitely try to balance a die on its edge. If you do succeed – remember it’s due to friction.

~cited work: John Dvorak (https://math.stackexchange.com/users/49851/john-dvorak), Improbable vs Impossible?, URL (version: 2013-10-05): https://math.stackexchange.com/q/515620

We are each in a physical existence, unless you believe life to be an illusion…but that is another story. The odds of us evolving to the point where we are (individually) today is an astronomical one in 10^2,685.000, if not more so. I say that because this number was the odds for either you or myself…not all of us on this earth. Which means that the odds would drastically and astronomically increase by an exponential factor.

 Accordingly, probabilities can be approximately 1010^23, give or take a few billion orders of magnitude.
cited work:Vincent (https://math.stackexchange.com/users/332815/vincent), Can something be statistically impossible?, URL (version: 2016-12-08): https://math.stackexchange.com/q/2049730
In order to show that something is impossible, the possibility of it happening must be less than zero. To the average man, woman or child getting much less than 10*-10^23 is not necessary…I believe that for the rest of us that this is sufficiently lass than zero to be impossible. Now let us look at the odds for something being probable to happen: One in 10^2,685.000. This is 1 chance in 10^2,685.000 (10 followed by 2,685 zeros.) Can it happen? Yes. Is it likely to happen? No. Consider the likelihood that we (any one of us) are able to win the Powerball. What are the odds? Last I checked into that it was one chance in 248, 000, 000. To me that is astronomical. So, when looking into it we have a greater chance of winning the Powerball than evolution producing you or I and having the breath of life in either of us.
Talk about chance and odds! We have been given a great gift, this thing we call life. We each need to hold dearly the idea that life is precious. This world has all but gone to hell in a hand-basket if it were not for those of us who hold dearly to the idea that God gave each and everyone of us a precious and beautiful gift…LIFE…THE BREATH OF LIFE!
we are dying

So, in the words of Clarence the Angel to George Bailey on “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” rings true about now…

“You see (George), You really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?” When you step back from a situation and place all things in their proper perspective, we are able to see without all of the other distractions of life – objectively. We all do this at times in our lives. And I hope and pray that you see such is the case for yourself, my dearest friends, brothers and sisters.

 

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Repentance

repentance

Just as we learned from Jonah, where the Lord “repented,” though it was not actually the Lord who repented but the Ninevites…the Lord changed His course of action because of the Ninevites’ repentance.  So, cannot God do with us as the potter deals with his creation?

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to  build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it. ~Jeremiah 18:1-10 NKJV 

The funny thing is that many look at this and believe this is a contradiction…but is it truly a contradiction? No, I do not believe so. God does not repent in the traditional sense of the word as man would repent. So, what is repentance? According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, repentance means:

There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance. (1.) The verb _metamelomai_ is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

(2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one’s mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun _metanoia_, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.

Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one’s own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments.

The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).

Was God truly “repentant”? No, but as the word means, in one of it’s definitions, He changed His mind. Was it proper for the writer to use the word that he chose to use? Probably not, but it was a means to get across the message that God would change His wrath to joyfulness, because the penitent changed from their evil ways to the ways of God.

 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. ~Luke 15:7 NKJV

With this promise to later on be said by Jesus, could you imagine the joy over the Ninevite’s turning over a new leaf and turning their lives over to God? Such joy to be had and noticed!So, was God sorry? No, He was glad and joyful that those who followed a path of evil had changed their minds and hearts to align with God’s heart and will. But He did change His course of action, instead of destroying the people of Nineveh He blessed them. Jonah went up on the hill to watch the Ninevites revert back to their old ways, because in Jonah’s mind “you just cannot trust a Ninevite!” On a side note God is always sorry and heartbroken that man chooses a path that leads him to Hell, because God “…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

But, of course, man needs to want to do so, man needs to choose for himself that God’s way is the right way, and man needs to believe the word of God. These are choices that we all must make, if we happen to choose the opposite view we are on the precipice of choosing our own destruction and have no recourse of action. Nor can we truly blame God for our actions as we chose to do so of our own volition. This is why I taught and firmly believe that choice is man’s greatest blessing and greatest curse all wrapped up in one!It was on that hill that God had to teach the prophet, or evangelist, a lesson, or two, and gain him back to God’s way of thinking, again. And He did it through a vine.
As mentioned in an earlier post that man tends to get attached to the strangest things. Sadly, it doesn’t take too much for any of us to get attached to much of anything these days. Dogs, cats, lizards, money, work, etc. The list can get very long! Why was Jonah on the hill? Because he just knew that the Ninevites would fail and revert back to their old ways. Thereby, reverting back to their sinful ways and actions…business as usual. 

In the book of Ezekiel, and other places within the biblical text, we are told:

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul. ~Ezekiel 3:17-21 NKJV

God is forgiving, if we are repentant. But God will hold each of us accountable for the sins of our neighbors and brothers IF we do not warn them as we are told to do. We are each called to be ministers, priests, and evangelists. Bearers of the Word of God and therefore, we are to warn all peoples we come into contact with that their souls may live with God.

repentance1

We are the “Watchmen”, for the sake of men’s souls and eternal life! This is the endgame of bringing the word to others…to open their hearts in order to bring about a repentant heart that God my yield his mercy and forgiveness. Regardless of how repentant we may be, none of us is good…NO NOT ONE!

repentance-quote

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD