Relativity

A GPS is my Going Places Solo machine.  Without my GPS, I Gotta Phone Somebody or Gotta Petition Strangers.  I need my navigator to direct me to where I want to be.

But if I believed in the relativity of truth I would be more hopelessly lost than ever!  Not only would I not know how to get where I was going, but I wouldn’t even know where I was going . . . or where I came from, either!  (I don’t think my GPS could handle that!)

On the other hand, if I step into the Christian worldview, the Bible instructs me in absolute Truth.  This worldview reveals to me the definition of right and wrong.  (A little like how my GPS tells me what street to turn on and when.)

As a relativists, I can’t get directions, because I have no absolutes . . . and with no absolutes, I can’t even be absolutely certain there are no absolutes!  (That reminds me of when my GPS says, “lost satellite reception”.  Without absolute coordinates, I might as well put a tent up in the middle of the street, because I’m never getting home!)

So many religions claim to have the absolute truth that I could see all these different claims as evidence that no religion can be right.  (But even if a million different GPS’s tell me a million different streets to take to arrive at my house, there is still only one street that connects to my driveway.  The fact that all but one of the GPS’s must be wrong doesn’t mean that the one telling me the correct street can’t take me to my house.)

And anyway, even a relativist has absolute truth . . . in a very different way.

If I’m sure there is no absolute truth, then I’m banking on the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth . . . which is absolutely uncertain . . . or not, because I can’t know that there is an absolute uncertainty about the absence of an absolute truth in a belief of no absolute truth!  (If I input that kind of data into my GPS, I think it would be so confused it’d just give up and start playing radio music.)

. . . . How could I even know I’m a relativist if I’m a relativist, if everything is relativist? (Now not only do I have no GPS, I have no car, either!)

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, NLT)

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Do I let people know they can come to Jesus?

Go to the people who like me and agree with me and who I feel comfortable being around.

My calling is for anybody who God puts in my path, whether that be my postal worker or next-door-neighbor or waitress or trash collector or boss or drive-thru attendant or custodian or mayor or gas station attendant or doctor or customer or relative.

Or it may be that person we run into at Wal-Mart who has black eye-liner, spiked hair, and nose rings.  Or the holier-than-thou elderly woman with the gaudy string of pearls.  Or the loudmouth bigot.

As I walk around my life, Lord, teach me to look for souls, not costumes or occupations or status, not even for personality matches, not even for people who will like me or make me feel good about myself.  Teach me to look for souls, Lord.

Show mercy to some people who have doubts. Take others out of the fire, and save them. Show mercy mixed with fear to others, hating even their clothes which are dirty from sin.

God is strong and can help you not to fall. He can bring you before his glory without any wrong in you and can give you great joy. He is the only God, the One who saves us. To him be glory, greatness, power, and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord for all time past, now, and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:22-25, NCV)

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See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Do I really want people to be saved?

Do I have an interest in saving the world . . . or only an interest in my “stuff”, my close circle of family and friends, my career, and my mortgage payment.

If I had to draw a pie graph of my day, how much was spent pleading for the souls of people, living as a witness, and speaking out about Christ?  How much was spent doing “stuff” with no regard to the Holy Spirit’s prompting or God’s plan for my life?  How much of my free time was spent evangelizing . . . and how much was spent entertaining myself?

What would that pie graph look like?

Oooooh.

What I don’t do for Christ I do for Satan.

Romans 8:1-5 (NLT) both encourages and warns:

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.  But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.  It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.  That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

If I’m just going through a routine or living life for the dud pleasures of this world, I can say we care about the eternal souls of people . . . but I don’t.  If I’m serious that eternity lasts forever and the here and now is here and gone, I better start acting like it.

Otherwise, I’m not going to be the laughingstock of the world because I’m so different.

I’m going to be the laughingstock because I’m not.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stand and Join

My mom took me to the Dixie Stampede for a birthday getaway.  Over the years, trips to Dixie Stampede has served as a marker of different “eras” of my life.

In case you don’t live by a Dixie Stampede, it’s a huge theater arena split into two sides, the North and the South.  As you watch a variety show, the two sides compete to win contests like a wagon race, piggy race, and horseshoes—with help from the audience.

The rivalry is amped up until the very end of the show, when the final game is played and the winning side announced.  Then the mood changes.  The song Color Me, America is sang and the audience stands for the presentation of the flag.

My heart ached and yearned and burned as we stood and I looked around at the sea of united people.  I thought about Heaven, and how one day I will stand with people from every age and every land who gave their allegiance to Christ in this life.

As my eyes glanced from person to person, I thought about my friends and my family, and how I want every single one of them to be in Heaven with Jesus.  I thought about how I want everyone to be in Heaven with Jesus!  I want every person who is still alive or is yet to be born to unify under the banner of Christ.  I want no one to miss out on the mercy we can receive through Jesus Christ.

All my friends, stand and join the family of Christ.

All my family, stand join the family of Christ.

All who live in my city, stand and join the family of Christ.

All who live in my country, stand and join the family of Christ.

All who live in my world, stand and join the family of Christ.

Come—all of you—come from homes and streets, hotels and huts, apartments and railroad tracks, caves and mansions.

Come—all of you—come from nursing homes and universities, hospitals and prisons, military barracks and monasteries, orphanages and businesses.

Come—all of you—come from cities and villages, farms and skyscrapers and suburbs and shelters, ghettos and mansions.

Come—all of you—come from every language and come from every land.

Come to the only banquet in the world where everyoneEVERYONE—is invited.  Come to the only banquet in the universe where the dinner is paid—PAIDfor all who will come.

Please come.

I want to stand with you.

And Christ Jesus wants you there.

He told his servant, ‘Run to every street and alley in the city! Bring back the poor, the handicapped, the blind, and the lame.’ “The servant said, ‘Sir, what you’ve ordered has been done. But there is still room for more people.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go to the roads and paths! Urge the people to come to my house. I want it to be full. (Luke 14:21b-23, GW)

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1, ESV)

On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! (John 7:37, ISV)

Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, AKJV)

I will give those who are weary all they need. I will refresh everyone who is filled with sorrow. (Jeremiah 31:25, GW)

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9, NLT)

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Photograph by David Woo, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/mckln/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 11:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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But why didn’t the animals attack each other or Noah and his family?

Animals that didn’t get along with each other were probably placed in separate cages.  Since God gave Noah enough wisdom to construct a huge boat when nothing of that kind had ever been built before, it would make sense that God also gave Noah wisdom about animals.  No doubt, he had to know about animals dietary needs to store enough of the right kinds of food, so why wouldn’t he have had knowledge about animal behaviors, too?  Noah may have been the first zoologist!

The Bible tells us animals weren’t afraid of people until after the flood.

Carnivores were probably already eating animals at this point, but they could have lived in separate cages or pens from herbivores.  Many friendly herbivores could have been placed together, much as we see them coexist peacefully in national parks.  Care would probably have been taken to separate smaller animals from larger ones to keep them from getting squished in the small space!

The most important factor to remember when thinking about Noah’s Ark is that God was the designer and protector.  God could have intervened and simply commanded the animals to peace with each other during their time on the ark.  This is the God who shut lion mouths when Daniel was stuck in a den with them (Daniel 6).  And this is a God who made a lion stand by a donkey without eating it (1 Kings 13:24-28).  Nothing is too hard for God.  And I am not ashamed to believe that my God, who was raised from death, could give harmony to a gazelle and a lion as they were called aboard to the ark and even during their time on it if He wanted to.

God remembered Noah and all the wild and domestic animals with him in the ship. So God made a wind blow over the earth, and the water started to go down. (Genesis 8:1, GW)

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Cost

I can’t afford the cost of judgment.

There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. (James 2:13, NLT)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7, NIV)

“For if you forgive others their offenses, your Heavenly Father will forgive you also; but if you do not forgive others their offenses, neither will your Father forgive yours.” (Matthew 6:14-15, Weymouth NT)

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Photograph by Daniel Borman, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/dborman2/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 7:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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