Judge Not?

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One of the most used scriptures in the Bible and yet one of the most misunderstood scriptures of the Bible.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? ~Matthew 7:1-3 NKJV

Was this mandate to us by Jesus to not judge? No, this was mandated by Jesus for us to not judge outside of rightness. (Yes, that was spelled correctly!) Jesus, time and again, judged many times through the parables he used to teach others with, the Pharisees bringing the adulterous woman for judgement, the clearing out of the money-changers from the temple courtyard, etc.

All throughout the Bible there are references that infer, or blatantly speak of, making proper judgements. Are we perfect when we judge our children as we teach them to be honorable adults? Not a chance! Because none of us is good…no, not one! We are never perfect in this life, but from time to time we must make judgement.

While listening to Should Christians Judge Others? (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #81) I find much clarification to my ability to better understand this scripture. The fact that many of us, have a tendency to, take the scripture alone and not in the context with the Biblical text as a whole. This is why when we refer to a scripture we MUST always take it within the confines of the textual context of the Bible. Why, You may ask? IF the Bible is true and is the Word of God, THEN the Bible cannot be contradictory. That said, we must ensure that whatever we excerpt from the Bible must be in agreement with the remainder of the Bible. We tend to take the Biblical text out of it’s proper context.

Remember the adulterous woman who was brought before Jesus for His judgement? There were problems with this case, so-to-say, because the Pharisees did not bring the man with whom she committed adultery. Consider what the Old Testament say on the subject:

The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. ~Leviticus 20:10 NKJV

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Kind of funny, but it works for me! We are forever stuck on the ability to see what others are doing so wrong in their lives, yet we cannot see the the same problems (although they are much worse) in our own lives. We humans have this, apparently, as a super power. The hypocrisy in our lives is grand. As we grow older…I would like to think we become a little more wise. Like speaking without thinking, first. Leaping without looking, first. I think you get my drift.

The Apostle Paul placed it into perspective when he spoke:

Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.  ~Romans 2:17-24 NKJV

wwjdOur judgement should not be hypocritical, but rather wise and honest. IF we are to truly emulate Christ in our lives, in a representative way, THEN we must act out of love, truth, honesty, integrity, and how He would also act in that same situation. You remember the old WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) If we can keep this in our field of view and use it as a reminder, then it can help keep us on the right path. Just the same as if we would keep Biblical scripture on our minds while we live out our daily lives! It is a help, not perfect because we are fallible creatures, as mentioned above.

We are all destined to do great things for God, while we live out our lives. However, we must spend time in God’s word, the Bible. We must dedicate ourselves to God, yielding ourselves to Jesus. Hearing the word, accepting the word, repenting of our sins, being baptized, and evangelizing to all others. This is our purpose, our goal to enter into heaven. And to aid others to enter into heaven, or at least laying out the option before them. We need to go before others in love and honesty…despite our faults.

Everything that we need to do is laid out in the Bible…literally written out for us.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

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Faith

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The faith I speak of in this blog post is our Faith in the Word which we believe and stake our souls eternal joy or eternal damnation on. Cold Case Christianity had some good episodes which touched on this subject between March and June 2016

Faith in the word, we need to look at the chain of custody, as well as our obligations and mandates from Jesus.

Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. ~John 7:7 NKJV

Did not the Christ tell us, our time is always ready? In that, could we not accept these words, by faith, that we are to do a great many things, as per the mandate from Christ in the Great Commission, as well as many other things! Are we not to share our faith, as the Apostle Peter warned us? (see 1 Peter 3:15)

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear    ~1 Peter 3:15 NKJV

New Testament chain of custody, which was reasonably researched and gleaned from church history and from the writings of those involved. I received this freely from Cold Case Christianity and pass it on to you that you may know the truth of the matter and the truth of the chain of custody of the Word of God.

copy of new testament chain of custody insert

Also you can obtain other tidbits of info in other areas. Such as, for one, the Book of Isaiah was obtained and intact in the Qumran digs back in the 1946-1956, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The Book of Isaiah in that archaeological find was 1000 years older than any other in hand at that time. I was transcribed and was shown to be 99% accurate. This one additional proof that the scribes that transcribed these important books of the Bible were carefully copied.

And when someone tells you that there is a bias…guess what? Everyone has a bias, no matter who they are. Christians desire it to be true and based upon the evidences, they atheist_teen_girlare true. Atheists want the Bible to be proven false. Which if you think about it…since they do not believe in God, they have no claim to truly argue about the Bible. The Bible is basically a manual of life’s moral requirements. I would argue that an Atheist possesses the position that since there is no God, all things are permissible. And if there is no God, why do they argue about a book inspired by someone they do no believe exists? We are reminded:

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God…” ~Psalm 14:1 NKJV

We show our love of God and Jesus through out lives and our daily habits. We each have a responsibility to God by loving Him! What was it that Jesus spoke?

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” ~Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

So, how do we love God? We must have a clean heart. Remember what Jesus said,

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. ~Matthew 15:18-19 NKJV

Clear your heart of these things and you will be on the road toward righteousness.

Now how do you love God with your mind? Flood it with God’s word, commentaries on His word, study His word, memorize His word, etc. Our minds are meant to bee used for doing good and God’s works; such as, missions work, bible studies, discussions, evangelizing, defending God’s word, etc.

Now how do you love God with all your soul? Well, I thought Greg Simas had a great article, HOW TO LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, on this very subject:

  1. Love the Lord with all your soul by making godly choices.

  2. Love the Lord with all your soul by pursuing obedience to His Word.

  3. Love the Lord with all your soul by pursuing a life of humility in attitudes and speech.

To love the Lord with all your soul means to love Him in the way we live, in the choices we make, and in the behavior and lifestyle we adopt.

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We also need to look at something else and that is the martyrdom that had occurred with the other 10 Apostles. Judas hung himself so he does not count, John died of old age and again he does not count. But all the other Apostles died horrible and torturous deaths. Now the question that must be asked is this one: Would you die for something you did not believe in? Probably not, and it is highly probable that the Apostles were the same way. Also, their being martyred does not necessarily prove the Bible was true not that Jesus was the Son of God; however, it does prove that they believed what they taught and evangelized to the world. That is an important thing to remember!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

Where Is The Urgency In My Life & In My Heart?

Where is my sense of urgency?

Where is my desire to follow His Word?

Where is my sense of purpose?

Where is my joy of life?

Why shouldn’t I feel something different, or act differently?

Where is the burning desire in my heart?

These are but a few of the multitude of questions I ask God and myself when I am downtrodden and feeling as though I am taken to task. When it comes to God’s work, His word, our lives, our purpose, our vocation versus an avocation…we all should have a sense of urgency. Sadly, very few of us ever seem to portray nor act out such an urgency with respect to our purpose in this life. We each stand in the light of such judgement and we need to, each of us, begin acting with such urgency to carry out the Will of God who created each and everyone of us.

The Son of the Most High God, Jesus, the second leg of the Trinity, the Messiah, gave us a mandate for us to live our lives as examples to others. We are to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19 NKJV) And we are reminded that, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:15 NKJV) Hear me when I say this, it is not I but God who mandated these things, who inspired these things. We are reminded “Behold, I am coming quickly!..” (Revelation 3:11 NKJV) This in and of itself should call each of us to arms for the Lord’s purpose to evangelize the world, teach our neighbors, preach the word of God, and to learn the skills of apologetics based upon biblical historicity and the fine art of debate and argumentation based upon facts.

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There is a stairway to heaven offered to each of us; however, we will not walk such a path unless we repent before God and change our ways. As I have mentioned so many times before within the context of this blog site and I say it again:

the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” ~Genesis 8:21 NKJV

your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you…” ~Isaiah 59:2 NKJV

We, as the species of man, are evil. This is not because God created us, but rather because we have the right to choose. And again, as I have mentioned so many times before on this site, choice is the greatest gift and, at the same time, the greatest curse that we possess. From the very beginning we started out as good, but then we chose to do what was wrong in God’s sight. Of course we waited at least seven days, at least I assume that. If you doubt me, you might consider re-reading Genesis 3.

Urgency was experienced in man at that time. Urgency was experienced by those who built the ark and those who were trapped by the flood waters. Urgency was experienced by Abraham when he fought to save Lot from his captors. We are in a constant state of urgency, excepting when we are dealing with God’s word and our fellow man and his soul. We have, now-a-days, a greater sense of urgency to find a parking spot closer to the grocery store entrance than to speak to our fellow man about the love of Christ!

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I have been off the last 9 days from my job, vacation…or, stay-cation… I have done more to get certain things done around the house, as opposed to studying God’s word, or reviewing/learning God’s scriptures. It is a sad reality that we come in contact with as we reflect upon ourselves. But when such a reality slaps us in the face…what do we do about it? Most will blow it off as a bad feeling. There are others who will see it as a warning, of sorts. And still others will make a positive note of their failing and try to do better in the future…with an emphasis on doing better. Still, we have this tendency of failing.

This is one of my biggest failings, in that, I have always had a problem of applying what I have learned and placed it into actual action. I have several degrees, not boasting just noting that this failing of mine has held me back in many respects. Perhaps it is part of my generation (tail end of the “Baby Boomer” generation.) Perhaps it is how I was trained to do things and despite all that I have done to better my circumstances I have additionally failed to find my way out of this pit I have dug myself into. There are a plethora of possible answers to my dilemma, but no matter how you approach it or look at it…sooner or later you must apply what you have learned to get a little further beyond where you are at this particular time. Perhaps this was a way that God would use to hold me back until I was ready for what He had planned for me to do. All things are possible!

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28 NKJV

Then a whole new list of conundrum queries come to light while thinking of this scriptural reference.

  1. If I keep failing God, do I really love Him?
  2. How can I continue to love my God if I continue to sin?
  3. etc., etc., etc.

Trust me, there are more, but these are always at the top of my list of questions, but perhaps delving into these are meant for another blog post.

The basis of this post was to poke or prod you, as well as myself, into developing a sense of urgency on your life with God!

Godspeed, my friends!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

Was Jesus Promoting Evidential Faith or Blind Faith?

Listening to Cold Case Christianity (6/27/2014) podcast J. Warner Wallace truly made me think on the subject, that is what I like about his style…he questions your belief and challenges you to reason why you believe what you believe. All too often we, as Christians, do not truly understand why we believe what we believe. More often than not, we cannot truly express, verbally, what it is that we believe, nor are we able to defend the belief we have.

I have read two of J. Warner Wallace’s books Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace, and God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe by J. Warner Wallace. Both of which opened me and my mind to things which I would not have seen or thought of before. After reading his books I began listening to his podcast show. While at work I will listen to it for roughly 6 hours, 5 days a week. And I have only made it to January of 2015, thus far.

As mentioned so often in his books and podcast shows, Peter told us to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15 NKJV) I was turned on to, inspired toward, really, by Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, Scott M. Sullivan, Michael Behe, Michael Liacona, and so many others. While building up to a voracious reading habit.

As Christians, we should all eventually come to the point where we will seek more information, more knowledge to aid us in our explanation of what we believe, a passion to speak on the subject as to why we believe what we believe, and finally to not argue but rather defend our position as to how we came to such a belief. Oddly enough, all too many will just brush off someone as being a heathen or pagan who challenges their beliefs without ever attempting to justify or explain their beliefs. We are mandated to:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you… ~Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV

…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. ~Mark 16:15-16 NKJV

And we are reminded, with equal importance, why we must warn those around us:

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.  ~Ezekiel 3:18 NKJV

I like the phrase which J. Warner Wallace uses that we should not strive to be million dollar apologists, but rather we need to have a million 1 dollar apologists. In that, he means that we need to be just regular people speaking to others about Christ and salvation! Speaking anywhere and everywhere without fear. Why no fear? Because we will be chastised and ridiculed by everyone for the expression of our faith. Holding to the faith of Jesus Christ.

I heard from my mother-in-law, who had gone into a popular sporting goods store where a Muslim sales clerk had refused to deal with a customer because he bore a cross around his neck. The manager who handled the transaction stated to the man that he could have tucked “that thing” under his collar. And that is just one example of how Christians are being ridiculed. Sadly it is to happen, and it will get worse. Although, I pray ardently that it will not be as it once was under Nero, who used the Christians as human torches to light the roads in Rome.

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I firmly believe, based upon scriptural truths, that Jesus was an evidentialist…He did not promote Blind Faith, as so many seem to think Christianity is based upon. Consider the following:

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

Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~John 20:24-29 NKJV

…And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”… ~Matthew 11:1-19 NKJV

There will always be those people who are skeptical and questioning everything, because they want to learn and because some do not believe and will never believe. However, there are those who will ask in order to poke holes into one’s argument(s). That is why I am a firm believer in apologetics and it’s studies, to prepare our ranks with the ability to defend your position as to why you believe what it is that you believe. There are those who believe upon seeing, but there are those who believe without seeing simply because they trust God and His Word and promises! It does not mean they are stupid or foolish, in fact, they have an extraordinary amount of faith. People such as myself who were indoctrinated into their original faith…simply because they were told to believe just does not hold water with me…especially when questions are asked without any truthful answers. A sad way to start a relationship, don’t you think? I would urge all my friends to follow my lead and seek out the answers to the questions you hold dearly and be able to defend your faith, not argue. Present your case, your studies, lay your knowledge bare before your detractors and show them you are a man, or woman, of real faith. No matter how you got to this point…you can answer all your detractors’ questions. The real problem is whether or not they will accept those answers you give them.

We each have a gift given to us by God, we also through that gift glorify our Creator. But regardless of your gift, we must all be prepared to answer the questions presented to us. I mentioned it in a previous blog post and I also know that J. Warner Wallace had mentioned it in several of his own podcasts, that our kids are sent off to colleges and universities to the wolf den. Roughly 16% of those who go in Christian graduate as Atheists, Agnostic at best. These are sad statistics which are based upon the fact that many of us as parents do not do a good enough job upholding our Christian beliefs and studies, as well as, talking to our kids on a regular basis.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents even though I had my differences with them. They would take me and my siblings to our religious studies on Wednesday nights, we went to church on Sunday, etc. But we never truly talked until long into my adulthood life. My mother wouldn’t carry on a conversation much past 5 minutes, once I was able to speak with her up to 20 minutes…for her that was Guinness Book material! My father was a bit different, when I was a baby Christian I held a very mild conversation with him when he was going through radiation treatments for his cancer in 1989. Which he succumbed to the battle about 3-4 months later. We never had a real conversation over beliefs and religion, as well as, salvation and Christ. After all, religion and politics were those two subjects you just didn’t have discussions over. I had some light conversations with my mother probably a few times over the last 10 years of my mother’s life. She also succumbed to her battle with cancer in 2012.

So long as you have breath in you, a heartbeat, and are able to speak…you can make your point. What is the absolute worse thing that can happen? Death? Feel strangely odd and out of place? What fear truly holds you back? Because it is nothing in comparison to God’s promise to sentence you to the “…lake of fire…” Now could it?? Think on that for a moment or two!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

The Of Weakest Enemies Can Be The Most Destructive

weakest-enemy

In the Garden of Eden the enemy was a serpent. In the time of Noah the enemy of man was water. The impetus for the great Exodus was water, frogs, biting insects, wild animals, disease of livestock, locusts, darkness, and a great mist. In the time of Joel, the prophet, it was locusts, again. The list can continue on and on, but I shall refrain. The fact is, in each of these cases, the enemy was weaker than man. God uses the weakest in a genealogical line to do great things i.e., David, Samson, Noah, etc. God can also use the weakest of things to bring man to his knees; at least that is the hope in the long-run.

IImage result for cupn every case, no matter how you slice it…man was created to Glorify God. I f consider the purpose of a cup is for drinking and, therefore, glorifies it’s creator (a man.) Rather simplistic, in nature, but telling of the nature of things. Just as something simplistic can be used to explain things, the most simplistic of things can cause the fall of man.

“Nothing is weaker than water, But when it attacks something hard Or resistant, then nothing withstands it, And nothing will alter its way.

>OR<

Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the Bruce Leeobject, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” ~ Bruce Lee

While I do not ascribe to the beliefs from which these statements came, I do believe there is merit to these statements, in and of themselves. When water comes in abundance, as in a collapsing dam or, perhaps, the crazy down-pouring of rain for 40 days and nights…you are looking forward to a flood. Sadly, death by drowning and other means may occur.

Image result for Great Dust Bowl of the 1930sConsider the Great Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Think about how weak and yet how destructive wind can be. Also, think about how weak and yet how powerful the sun can be. Everyday things that we all take for granted and consider to be so weak, but has a tendency to be so very destructive to mankind.

Man has this propensity to be sinful, slothful, as well as, so many other qualities that areImage result for Great Dust Bowl of the 1930s sad and detracting from his purpose. We all have such problems and slip ups in our lives. Sadly, even more so, we fail to learn to control our natural desire to sin, which permits our weakest enemy to be so destructive in our lives. Our greatest enemy to us is our own inability to rule over our own desires. Think about this for a moment: Our desires are thoughts. Thoughts are weak and can be easily changed and averted. However, we tend to let them fester and build to something far and away greater than they should be…desires. Yet, these are still but thoughts in our minds. They can still be controlled, changed, and averted.

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” ~Genesis 4:7 NKJV

While reading my Chronological Study Bible (an interesting endeavor, I might add) today’s reading started with Galatians 1. A reminder to the Christians in Galatia, by the Apostle Paul, that he marvels, “that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ…” ~Galatians 1:6-10 NKJV This seems to be a plight for all mankind, in general, in that, we do not see things happening as fast as we like; then, we turn back to the old ways of our lives. But we must remember that all things happen in God’s own time, not ours (Ecclesiastes 3). And, without a doubt,

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28 NKJV

Everything takes time. I have noted, over the course of my time on this earth that man has such a propensity and desire to get into arguments, fights, and wars; however, if they are not won quickly they soon lose interest in them and forget the reasons why they got engaged in the first place. Sad, but very true.  Man is an arrogant winner and a sore loser. He, now-a-days, believes everything needs to be handed to him on a silver platter. But neither God, nor any man owes anything to any other man on the face of this planet.

Man, as well as you and I, need to remember something…life is a process, of sorts. And there is a learning curve attached to it. It takes a lot to learn the things of this life, it takes even more time to do the research to come to the belief that what we as Christians believe is true. In so doing your reading, studies, and your research that you will come to find out that the evidence leans in favor of the Bible and its teachings. More importantly, your heart is the clock and as long as it still beats and as long as you have breath in your lungs…there is still time to turn things around! Do not allow the enemy to gain a foothold over your eternal life. Once you have ended your life on this earth, your time is up…there is no going back and no ability to change.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

P.S. – REMEMBER: Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of Christ. Not the necessarily the literal birth on this day, but rather a gift to mankind to turn back toward God through the gift of salvation…through Christ Himself! May the blessings of God be upon you all and that you dwell in His love and peace forever and ever! Godspeed to all!

Are you defining faith the same way Richard Dawkins does or the way Jesus does?

Blogger’s Note:

This was shared by one of my favorite Apologists, J. Warner Wallace. (His books are a great read and his podcasts are well worth the time, as they are filled with knowledge which we all need to be armed and prepared to use. I found this to be rather intriguing and telling article. It is quite telling that regardless of who we are talking to, we tend not to ensure that we are on the same page and are not using the same definitions. Which is our gravest of mistakes! We fall into the trap of “assuming” things that can have grave consequences concerning our discussions and debates. We must learn to be a little more meticulous and a lot more quiet…you know, two ears to listen with and one mouth to talk with. Meaning we should do twice as much listening and half as much talking! (I fall into this category quite often, so I am neither casting stones nor am I pointing fingers; but I am passing on a warning!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

P.S. Enjoy the read!

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October 17, 2018 by Erik Manning ORIGINAL ARTICLE

There’s this really annoying thing that I see many atheists do. Not to overgeneralize, but I’ve heard it far too often. And it’s that they will persist in defining faith as belief without evidence.

Here are some notable examples:

“Faith is pretending to know what you don’t know” – Peter Boghossian

“Faith is belief without evidence and reason; coincidentally that’s also the definition of delusion.” — Richard Dawkins

“Faith is generally nothing more than the permission religious people give one another to believe things strongly without evidence.” – Sam Harris

There’s also this thing annoying thing I see Christians do. And it’s that they’ll basically agree with the atheist.

The famous reformer Martin Luther is noted for saying:

Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.

That guy sure had a way with words. You’ll see similar sentiments echoed these days, even on church signs.

Blind faith or biblical faith?

Here’s the problem: This notion of faith just ain’t biblical. Faith isn’t believing without evidence. Faith is accepting the evidence you have as true and living accordingly.

Now you might say “Wait a second. Didn’t Jesus say “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed?” (John 20:29)

Yes, he did. But never read a bible verse in isolation to its context. Think about it for a second.

Thomas already had ample evidence. He saw water turned to wine. (John 2) He saw the lame healed. (John 5) He was there when Jesus fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. (John 6) He witnessed the blind see. (John 9) He was present when Lazarus come out of the grave. (John 11)

And he also already heard Jesus predict his own death and resurrection. (John 2:18-21) Or so John tells us.

Furthermore, he heard about the empty tomb from people he knew very well. His friends had already reported that they had seen the risen Jesus. Jesus wasn’t saying we’re blessed if we have blind faith. Jesus was chiding Thomas’ stubborn refusal to believe the evidence he already had.

Let’s look at the next verse:

Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His Name.” (John 20:30-31)

This is also the same gospel that Jesus refers to his miracles as proof of his divine claims.

“…the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.” (John 5:36)

“If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:37-38)

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” (John 14:11)

Jesus didn’t demand blind faith

Jesus wasn’t asking anyone to just believe blindly. He didn’t say that faith was a leap in the dark.

Jesus was saying have faith in the evidence he was providing through the miracles. He just expected Thomas to believe the testimony of others. Because there was a good reason to do so. There still is good evidence today. It’s what this site outside the blog is all about.

The same John who wrote the gospel penned a letter to a local church. He wrote:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us…”

Seen with our eyes. Looked at. Handled with our own two hands. Does this sound like “believing what you know ain’t so?” Can we please lay to rest this silly strawman?

The witnesses still speak today. We have the records that contain their testimony. God isn’t asking us to check our brains at the church door. Christianity teaches us to “prove all things, hold close to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Defining faith the way you wish is an easy way to take a cheap shot. It might score some rhetorical points. Christians have all too often accepted the definition their opponents have given. But faith is not a choice made in spite of the evidence but in response to it. And unbelief would be to close your eyes to it. Many did in Jesus’ day. Going back to John one last time: “Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him.” (John 12:37) The evidence can stare you in the face and you can still explain it away if you want to.

Therefore, don’t let someone knows nothing about faith tell you what faith is for you. Jesus and John didn’t define faith this way. Neither should anyone else.

*****

Erik Manning

Erik is a former atheist turned Christian after having an encounter with the Holy Spirit. He is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training College and is interested in the intersection of evangelism and Christian apologetics

 

We Failed To Follow God’s Admonition

GodsAdmonition

God gave us up to the vile passions of our hearts and minds (Romans 1:26), because we failed to follow His admonition of ruling over the evil and sin that lied at our door (Genesis 4:7). We always seek to blame some one else for our misdeeds, our improper conduct, our lies, our mistakes, etc. But our greatest problem is traced back to Adam & Eve, back in the Garden just prior to their eviction. We, as the species of man, are easily tempted and easily fail by giving in to our temporal desires, instead of withstanding the temptation  and maintaining our integrity with God and His Word. Genesis 3 is a great explanation of how man easily gives in to temporal pleasures, whether by one we trust or by our own failure to stand firm in God’s Word. It all comes down to us and a choice to take one path or another. I have always said that “choice” is both man’s greatest blessing and greatest curse. Sadly, the Bible is riddled with those who have made very bad choices and few who have made wise choices.

God once spoke with Cain and told him rather plainly,

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord Sin-is-at-your-doorrespected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.  ~Genesis 4:1-10 NKJV

Cain’s anger was based upon a bad choice on his own part. Instead of choosing to a lessermy way valued offering, as many of us do or have done in the past, Cain could have chosen to give the best to God. Sadly, this is the story of many of us and the paths we have lead throughout our lives, by finding shortcuts in our work. In so doing, we fail to give our best to those who have employed us. Ultimately, WE work for God! We are reminded by the Apostle Paul:

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. ~Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV

We are also reminded by King David of the following:

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.  ~Psalm 24:1 NKJV

So, when you look at working and who you presently work for…remember that the What-does-the-Bible-say-about-workingrewards you receive are from God, Himself! God pays you through your employer and rewards you for what you do. If you receive little, perhaps…you have done little. Consider the The Parable of the Talents:

14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ~Matthew 25:14-30 NKJV

We are a product of our choices. Choices are not that difficult, you know…pick one or the assumeother. Unfortunately for us, we tend to choose to do what is easiest for us and most profitable for us. Even if we have to bend our principles a little. And when I speak of principles and their bending…I mean Yoga flexibility! Because biblical principles are rather rigid and should not be bent in any direction. Your word, my word, and the word, or promise of others, should carry a promissory meaning with it. That we are willing to live up to a specific code of ethics. That we will not lie to anyone, nor cheat them in any way.

The Bible is filled with advice and wisdom. We each can read and apply the basics of what is written therein. You know: Do not steal, do not lie, do not commit adultery, do not murder. Although, we must extrapolate some other teachings from the Bible. Such as determining what is meant by the numerous parables within the New Testament and then apply those teachings to our present day lives. This seems to be one of the bigger problems, as a whole, to mankind. Don’t misunderstand me, people are mean and demand their own way…even to the point of murdering, bearing false witness or stealing from others. But it is those people who are truly seeking the ways of God, those seeking to better understand Jesus, and those who seek the answers to the bigger issues of life’s great questions that are truly enamored by the Parables of Jesus. THOSE are the people that will greatly be affected by their quest for the “Holy Grail” of the Bible and it’s teachings.

We, as the species of man, often are misguided and lazy in our desire to seek wisdom. We know, inherently, that which is right and that which is wrong. However, we tend to take the more expeditious route by doing what is easy, more pleasing and more advantageous. It is those people who stave off the desires of the heart and carnal pleasures and follow the truest teaching of Jesus. Thereby maintaining a straight line of moral standards in our lives. Jesus was our example of moral standards and we are to follow His example, not the example of those around us or those who we have some sort of hero worship over.

Hope I did not over blather like a bloviated warthog! Godspeed My Friends!!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy