Inspiration for Today's World

Category: Tips (Page 1 of 4)

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 38

Can You Find the Real Miracle?

In the Gospel of John, chapter 9 verses 1 through 12 we find a familiar story about a miracle.  The crowd points out a man, blind from birth and Jesus spits on the ground, makes some mud with His saliva, and puts it on the man’s eyes.  “Go,” Jesus tells him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”. So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. Can you find the miracle in this story? Was the miracle found in the power of Jesus’ saliva? While we know that Jesus was human, He was also God and that makes even Jesus’s spit special.

Was it the special waters in the pool of Siloam? During Jesus’s time, the function of the Siloam Pool the pool is fed by waters from the Gihon Spring, located in the Kidron Valley, the naturally flowing spring water would have qualified the pool for use as a mikveh, a bath used for the purpose of immersion in Judaism to achieve ritual purity through bathing. It was also an important source of fresh water for the inhabitants on that part of the city of Jerusalem. It would not be inconceivable to draw the conclusion that the special waters of the pool cleaned the blind man of the source of his infliction.

Spit or water, both wonderful thoughts but the real miracle was to see a man who could not see, who did not know Jesus, listen to His instructions and undertake the laborious journey to the pool. The miracle was that the blind man obeyed. The question then to ponder is why?

Leading is a gentle process.

Check List√

Would you help someone who is spiritually blind?

By the gentleness of your touch, do others know you as a disciple of Christ?

Do you know Jesus well enough to recognize His voice?

Do you know the “blind people” in your life?

Can you accept that God loves you and has set you apart?

God had it Under Control from the Beginning

Isaiah the prophet  (chapter 42: 6-7) gives the people of Israel this message from their God: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Look carefully at these words, “will make you be a covenant.” God gives His people their marching orders, show others the way to God, even if they live in darkness.  So for our blind man to understand Jesus, to listen to Him, to obey His command, the blind man had to have been held by probably many hands through his life and helped by generous, god-fearing people. The blind man knew God well enough through those who held his hand that when Jesus spoke, the man listened and obeyed.

There are many people in our world today who are blind to the salvation that Jesus offers.  Our role, as called out by Isaiah so many centuries ago, is to take hold of their hands literally and figuratively, and lead them by our example. Yes, that is how the miracle of faith works. Show them, tell them, help them, forgive them, love them and even the blind will recognize Jesus’ voice.

Your tip, therefore, is to hold out a welcome hand to all who seem lost, and by your example, show them the joy that can come from following Christ.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 37

Which Came First?

We often find humor in the age-old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” The topic of life’s order of things is a good discussion to have. When it comes to Scripture, the Bible was written over a 1600-year period. The time of the writing was from 1500 BC to AD 100 when God’s inspired Word was spoon fed to us. So, which of God’s precious words came first? If you guessed Genesis, today’s theologians might call you wrong. The oldest book of the Bible is now believed to be Job, written around 1,500 BC, and not Genesis as you might think.

  • Job takes place during the Patriarchal Age when heads of families offered sacrifices to God (Job 1:5; 42:7-9). And heads of families received instruction from God (Job 22:22; 23:12).
  • It contains no hints regarding Abraham, Moses, Israel, the Judges, the Kings, or Prophets of Israel. Nor is there any mention of the Law of Moses.
  • The rapid drift into idolatry does not appear to have happened yet. Those mentioned still believe in the God of creation (Job 27:3; 33:4-6).
  • There are mentions of the creation (Job 9:8-9; 12:7-10; 26:13; 38:4), the fall of man (Job 31:33, 40; 34:14-15), the flood (Job 12:14-15; 22:15-17), the covenant of Noah (Job 26:10; 38:8-11), and the scattering of the people (Job 12:17, 20-25).
  • Several the ancient tribes or nations still retain names closely associated with those who were scattered: Chaldeans (Job 1:17), Cush (or Ethiopia) (Job 28:19), Ophir (Job 28:16), Sabaeans (Job 1:15), Sheba (Job 6:19), Uz (Job 1:1).

And there are other facts in Job that help foster the idea that God chose to inspire mankind by giving us His messages in Job first.


 

which-came-first-teh-chic-006Pain is often impossible to avoid but remember, how you suffer is optional.

Check List√

Can you recognize evil when you see it?

Do you blame God when things go wrong?

Do you know if a neighbor is having hardships? Have you offered to help?

Do you lead a “righteous life?”

Is your joy of life based on this world or God’s world?

Can you describe the characteristics of our God?


Why was it First?

God knew that when He granted mankind free-will, they would suffer due to their own decisions and choices in life. God wanted to tell us that in our suffering, we will never know all the facts as He knows them. God began His story about Job by showing us that there is evil in this world, God has a conversation with Satan. Evil can cause pain and suffering, but evil, despite its impact on mankind, is still subservient to God. We must never forget that God is fully in charge. While Job shows us that to be righteous is a good thing, righteous living did not insulate Job from suffering. He lost his friends, family, home, health and much more.

We learn in God’s first story that perseverance and suffering have its rewards and suffering validates our faith and often confirms our love for God. God already knows us better than even we know ourselves so we do not need testing. Suffering, therefore, must be somehow beneficial to us. It would also be wrong to think that suffering is always God’s punishment for sin. Yes, bad decisions, free-will, can lead to physical suffering and pain. The good news is that when this happens, God will use any experience of suffering for good things, to strengthen and grow our faith and to confirm His love for us.

In the story of Job, we learn that suffering comes as the result of an unseen conflict in the spiritual world. We are also shown the inadequacy of our reasoning in the presence of tragedy and suffering — we can also see that there are limits on our own understanding. The book of Job clearly tells us that God is sovereign and supreme over Satan as well as our suffering. As a first message, God chose to give us this story first to lay the first cornerstone for our faith.

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part….. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 

After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. ~Job 42:10-13; 16-17

Your tip, therefore, is to know that when you are surrounded by suffering, Christ has taught us there still can be plenty of room for patience, love and compassion. Never forget that the story of Job ends in joy.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 36

What are heaven and hell like?

Did you ever wonder where our perceptions of heaven and hell come from? Heaven is easy. There are countless Biblical references to God’s Kingdom where peace, love and joy transcend all who are eternally present. Hell is a different story. Since the writing of Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem entitled Divine Comedy, the Inferno tells the journey of Dante through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine circles of suffering located within the Earth; it is the “realm…of those who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice against their fellow man.

In 1648, a group of reformed theologians wrote the Westminster Confession of Faith. This was simply a compression of what people believed about their God. In it we find this:

The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might.

So here lie our first clues, when God said, “Let there be light,” He did so to show us His nature and character. Without light, we see nothing. Even a simple candle can overcome the darkness and show us the way. Light is good and it is necessary to see our God and His creation.


img227It is possible, with an open heart and open eyes to see Creation.

Checklist √

Can you see the “Deliberate Design” in our universe, our world in life itself?

Have you looked closely at the perfection of living things, the perfect purpose for our world?

Our universe operates by universal laws of nature, why?

Do you see the uniqueness of earth among the stars?

Through what was made, can you see God’s power, presence, protection, provision, and wisdom?

Christ is the “light” for men – Can you see the peace, love and joy He brings to life?


Can Anything Good Exist Without Light?

Light is an amazing thing. We see our good side and our bad side. We see God’s creation and mankind’s destruction. Light sustains life and it is light that provides us the ability to make choices, good ones and bad ones. So is light a two-edged sword?

Like opening one’s eyes, we can simply decide to walk blindly or with eyes open, we can focus on nothing eternal or on God around us. And when we do open our eyes to the light it can do good things for us. As we find in Proverbs 15:30, “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the body.” When we see God in this world, we do not have to wait until the next event to experience His peace, love and joy. But it is a choice and the choice is ours to make. It is no different than the choice made by the eagle and the vulture. An eagle soars the skies and sees only the living; the vulture soars those same skies and sees only what is dead.

What better way to describe hell than living without light, without God for eternity in a place filled with hatred, violence and hopelessness. Eternal separation from God is hell.

Your tip, therefore, is to choose to live life in God’s light, opening your eyes to His evidence and sharing His love for us with all you meet.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 35

Did God Create Evil?

This is one of those theological questions that has been pursued for generations. Why if God is “Love and Peace” does evil exist? To begin any discussion, let’s take a look at one of the best and most concise definition of Christ ever written.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. ~John 1:1-3

So we begin by establishing that there was something here in our Universe right from the very beginning, that is a time before our limited intellect can comprehend. The Apostle John chose to use the term “WORD” to define Christ. Christ was here at the beginning, was part of the design process, a component of the creation process and, therefore, is part of God. What we conclude from the Word of God, our Scriptures, is that this world and all that is in it was designed and created for a purpose. It is not inconsistent with reason to accept that the process of creation could very well even have been evolutionary.

We know little about evil. It seemed to be around when we were created and poor Adam and Eve fell victim to a slithery door to door or should we say, tree to tree sales snake in the grass. Punishment for not listening to God was immediate separation from God. And that takes us to a non-theological definition of evil: Evil exists when anything is separated from the very Creator that designed and built us, who loves us so much that became one of us, Christ.


clip_image041Life takes practice – Have a good plan:

Check List √

Do you avoid temptation?

Can you recognize places where evil breeds?

Are the stories of the Bible an inspiration for you that teach you how to see God in our world?

Have you picked friends that inspire you to open your eyes to a hopeful “light-filled” world?

Have you practiced sharing what you have learned about God and Christ with others?

Most importantly, have you made the choice to allow Christ into your life?


It’s the Light!

The Apostle John also gives us the strongest hint yet of how to avoid evil in our world.

4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:4-5

On a bright sunny day, close your eyes tightly. You see nothing, you see no light. Yet, all of the beauty of our world, the sky, the mountains, the sea, the living things, the evidence of the Design and Purpose cannot be seen unless you are willingly open your eyes. That is what faith is, a choice.

It is darkness, the choice of closed eyes, that breeds human sin. The night is a frightening place to be without any source of light. The bad news was that we were given free will and constantly keep our eyes closed. The good news, however, is that we still have free will and Christ is here to be our guiding Light. Faith and eternal salvation is still just a personal choice away. Remember even a simple candle flame can overcome the darkest night.

Your Tip: Pray that the Holy Spirit will always lead you to reject sin, live with open eyes, so that your choice will always be Christ’s redeeming work and God’s light.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 34

Will There Ever Be Peace?

We live in a divisive time. The world cannot seem to agree on anything. There is little or no tolerance for differing opinions. The choice always seems to be “my way or the highway.” No discourse seems to ever lead to peace. So the big question is why?

28 They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. 29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be! ~ Deuteronomy 32:28-29

This is not the first time in history that people have disagreed. Can you imagine the struggles of Moses getting the people of Israel to trust him and follow God’s commands? We find Moses telling them in Deuteronomy that they have no sense, no discernment and if they were as smart as they seem to claim, their own doom would be obvious. Wow, that is right to the point. Moses got the correct point alright but he had gained his wisdom directly from God. In fact, God appeared to him, spoke to him directly and even wrote down some rules on a couple of tablets of stone. Moses was humble enough to accept God at face value and discern God’s Truth.

There is danger in divisiveness, a physical danger, even an eternal danger. But how do we know we are defending the correct side of an argument? How do we know that we got it right? God holds us to a high standard of correct behavior and beliefs. Yet if we get it wrong, just like the people of Israel got it wrong time after time, there are consequences. History is filled with them. The good news is that we have a merciful God.

This is where our Savior comes in, when Jesus showed up, He not only gave is commands to follow but He even showed us how to know what is TRUE and follow what is TRUE!


jesus-carpenterThe task is to gain wisdom, to establish a lifestyle that is in constant pursuit of wisdom so that life can benefit with choices made through Godly discernment.

Checklist √

Do you pray, weekly, daily, hourly, and every time you need to make a decision that could impact your life?

Is the Bible, God’s Word, part of your educational plan?

Have you joined a Bible Study so that you can practice discussing God?

If you have children, are they involved in a formal program to develop their faith?

Are you observant to the issues of our world, our country and your family that are caused by poor judgment?

Do you learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others?

What are the sources of your knowledge? (e.g. Not everything you hear, read or even see may be true)

Can you walk away from some disagreements and just agree to disagree?


Growing Wise

Luke points out that it is Jesus’s mother Mary in chapter 2 verse 52 gives us a hint. Mary shares this about her son: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” What makes this so amazing is that this verse encapsulates all we know about Jesus’s life from the age of 12 to 30 years old. One sentence, eighteen years’ worth of life’s history.

So how did Jesus grow in wisdom? Wisdom is comprised of experience, knowledge and good judgment. With wisdom, Jesus grew to have an acceptable relationship with both God and mankind. This should be all of our own goals too. Jesus’s experience started with a family who cared, His work in a real world as a carpenter, His humility shaped his character. Knowledge on God and life was gained through observation and formal education. Jesus spent countless hours learning from the teachers of the times at the Synagogue. His engaging style of conversation provided insights into people, all with disparate opinions. So when it came to taking a side, Jesus could use good judgment, we call it discernment, to convince many of the Truth. For those He could not change, we can only hope for His merciful judgment.

You tip, therefore, is to seek God’s Wisdom, pray for discernment and God’s peace will follow you forever.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 33

Why is History Important?

Our world seems to be confused on the value of history. While events, tragic events, are often remembered on their anniversary, there are many who choose to conveniently forget the paths and places we have been both personally as well as a nation that generated “history.” What we must never forget is that God Himself, gives us history as evidence of His existence. To forget anything is to deny the very existence of our God!

All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. ~Judges 2:10

We owe much of our freedoms today to our founding fathers who were educated under a system called the “Scottish School of Common Sense.” Before our country was formed, Reverend Thomas Reid (1710 – 1796) helped establish the simple principles that were the basis for learning in our country. Rev. Reid said, that the principles of education must include these facts:

  • There is a God;
  • God placed a conscience (a moral sense) into every individual;
  • While the natural order is often attributed to God, God also established “first principles” such as law, government, education, politics, and economics, all to be discovered by “common sense;” and
  • There is no conflict between reason and revelation – both come from God and revelation fortifies and clarifies reason.

This educational process works by joining our conscience to a Holy Spirit that is our guide to discernment. Without God is liken to sailing a ship without a navigation chart. You are destined to find the shoals the hard way. And that is where history comes in. To ignore any element of learning from our past doesn’t make much sense. Our ancestor’s journeys through time are our gift from God.
To work correctly, history must never become selective. That is why the Old Testament is as relevant to us today as is the New Testament. God provides us a rich and proven history of His existence, let’s use it.


Reverend Thomas Reid (1710-1796), Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both learned by the standards of Rev. Reid.  Ready to join the ranks of great people? Here are some ideas.

Checklist √

Do you defend your belief that God is real?

How to you include God in your important decisions?

What is the foundation of your moral sense?

Are you hungry for discovery, looking for the evidence of God’s existence?

Can you recognize God’s providential hand at work?

How do you practice your discernment?

Is your knowledge of history being passed on to the next generation?


Free Will – The Enemy of Discernment!

God was most benevolent when He created us. We have “free will.” Can you imagine, having every moment, every action, every decision, even every thought controlled by someone else. We would all agree that if life had no freedoms, it would be a prison of the worst kind. Instead, our Creator build a Universe filled with design and order. He then created us to discover it, enjoy it and, yes, take care of it while we are here. Yet, it is free will that directs us to cast aside “common sense.” It is free will that teaches that satisfaction is gained through the pursuit of wealth and power. It the free will that fans the flames of division and war. Yet, history tells us that we overcome our world through discovery and common sense. History has shown us what is good: the act of justice, the love of mercy and humility before our God.

Your Tip: Pass on the gift of history for our own sake and salvation.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 32

Stating the Obvious

Matthew recalls a story from Jesus.  “Therefore, keep watch, but understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.” It seems pretty obvious, if we know when a problem is going to occur, we pay attention, get prepared and respond.  Or do we?  Crime seems to be something that has been around for a few thousand years.  Today, there are alarm systems, video monitoring, heavy steel safes, gated communities, and even insurance if the criminal is successful, to protect those things that are of high value to us. We love to subcontract  protection.  But let’s apply today’s attitudes against a few more verses before and after Matthew 24:16.

40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. ~Matthew 24:40-44

The picture is little different.  Jesus is talking about death, not knowing when our time will come and those mysteries of eternal life will be forever known to us.  So are we as a society, subcontracting the “watching and waiting” for our Lord too? In our busy and playful society, taking time to think about eternal life often takes a lower priority to the daily activities of life.  Working hard to maintain a secure job, finding and maintaining a place to live where our families can prosper, having fun, sports, beach time, hobbies, all discouraging the constant vigilance that Jesus is warning about. We read an occasional good spiritual book, see a movie with a moving lesson for life, maybe even offer a prayer or two while driving on our local highways.

None of the things in life that bring us joy are in themselves wrong.  But as this verse points out, it is not whether the thief will come but the the fact that the thief will come.  It is not enough to go to church once a week and then forget about God until the next visit. It is not enough to only remember God when we really need something.  Just as God is woven through the fabric of the Universe, faith and hope in our Savior should be woven into the every DNA of our lives.


thiefHave you thought about how to make Christ part of your daily and hourly existence?

Checklist√

Is prayer part of your all day thought process? Before work, during meetings, before big decisions, during quiet time, while having fun?

Have you decided that a personal relationship with Jesus is a good thing?

Do you seek quiet time to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your soul?

Have you made it your own responsibility to know and understand God’s Word?

Is your trust in Christ and your faith in His eternal gift obvious with those you meet?

Are you always ready?


Some Things Never Change

Isaiah, some 700 years before Jesus’s birth, finds himself really frustrated by society and the times he is living in.  See if you notice any similarity to today’s frustrations?

1 I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’ 2 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—3 a people who continually provoke me to my very face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on altars of brick; ~Isaiah 65:1-3

Isaiah finds himself trying to warn his nation.  While they didn’t ask his advice, he is trying to warn them that  their selfishness, their reliance on the wrong things for strength, their improper worship of material gods, would lead them to harm.   Do you feel the same way?  Our world grows more divided, hatred booms, violence and death seem to be commonplace, and no one seems to care.  Well, don’t lose heart.  The message for the good or the bad is that in this Universe, God is in charge.  He will have the last word.

Your Tip: Prepare your life every day so that you are vigilant, ready for God’s call to you whether is is for service in this world or the glory of the next.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 31

The Teacher

King Solomon has been granted the distinct honor of being called the wisest man who ever lived. Buried in his advice are four very good rules to use when either evaluating your effectiveness or selecting a leader.

  • The goal of wise teaching is to impart knowledge.
  • Proverbs impart knowledge.
  • Pleasing words are necessary to convey knowledge.
  • Words of Truth are required to convey knowledge.

The first point here is that leadership (Solomon was a king) is responsible for teaching its subjects and the goal of teaching is knowledge. Of course, pure knowledge does little for society so effective knowledge must be linked to behavior. Solomon is pointing out that hatred and vitriol speech has no place in education. You must understand, internalize. Reading Proverbs helps to appreciate what experience can bring to an educator. Proverbs are part of the Old Testament but they are very different. Unlike commandments that we find throughout Scripture, Proverbs are pithy advice about life, gleaned from experience. So leadership should be reserved for those who have served their apprenticeship and have a proven record of success.

Solomon’s final point is that to successfully transfer to others, it must be based on truth. This might be the hardest of lessons to learn. It is not sufficient to hear what we want, to do what we want, to act any way we please. Truth tells us that there is a right way and a wrong way. It is the Teacher’s responsibility to know the difference. That is why we follow Christ, we gain knowledge, we gain Truth!


TIPS-31Teaching is no easy task. We depend on teachers during our educational years, we use what we learn to raise a family, we apply our knowledge and experience to pick our leaders and for some of us, we use that knowledge to become leaders ourselves.

Check List√

Do you teach others to change their lives and become more Christ-like?

Are you observant enough to learn from experience and relate your knowledge succinctly to others?

Is your style constructive, building up those you teach and do you lead by example?

Do you know the Truth and are you willing to share it with others?

Have you read Solomon’s Proverbs?


Cliff Notes

In the Gospel of John, chapter 10:25-27, Jesus answers the question of whether He is the Messiah by reminding the people that the answer to this question can found in His works, not His words. And so it is with leadership. We are told time and time again, the character of a person is visible in their behavior. We are being called by both Solomon and Jesus to “be observant,” called to look for the “experience that should be the foundation of wisdom. Are the teachings pleasing enough that we retain the knowledge? Do we hear truth?

Jesus says that some will see the “Father” in His actions, His sheep will know His voice. Yet others, who see the same acts of mercy and grace see nothing but themselves. And that is the essence of faith. Mankind is in no position to judge each other’s sin. That is reserved for our Lord. We are, however, called to observe the peace and perfection that can be found through Christ. Then, we are challenged to lead a life that compels others to seek the same life we have found in Christ.

Your tip, therefore, is to share Christ in your life—and only, when necessary, use words.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 30

Do You Know For Sure?

The classic question for all mankind is whether a person knows “for sure,” what happens when they lay their head down for that last time and never wake up again. Good question, isn’t it. What makes this such a deep question is the “for sure” part. Our faith walk should be all about getting this question answered correctly.

Those without hope, would answer “nothing happens.” It is all over and our moment of earthly glory becomes just history. But that is not what the Christian belief is based on. If Christ had just died on that cross, it would be doubtful that 1/3 of the world’s population would consider themselves Christian.

When Mary Magdalene walked up to the empty tomb, she had no idea what was about to happen to the world. Those present that day became witnesses to Christ’s response to death. Christ gave us the answer to that very tough question, What happens when you lay your head down for the last time ?” And the answer is “Good News.”

The verses in John 20:1-18 tell the well known story of Christ’s resurrection. On that day, there were many witnesses. In the days to follow, there would be many more. Christ came not to show us this world was bad but to show us there is much joy in the next one.

It must have been quite convincing. Those early witnesses to the resurrection frequently chose death rather than to change their story. Their willingness to die for what they saw established the truth that the answer to our question is “there is life with God after death.”

We do, however, have a responsibility that goes along with this news, we are responsible for the “for sure” part of our belief. Knowing something is true comes from experiencing and witnessing something so dramatic that it drives out doubt. That is what our Christian faith walk is all about. They say the only things that are for sure in life are death and taxes. We should add and eternal life with God is for sure too.


TIPS-30Being sure of your faith is a life long walk. There are many things we have been given to help us with that journey. Here are a few of them.

Check List√

Do you read the Bible regularly? It has all the answers.

Do you attend church regularly? The companion of others who seek the same goals can ease the burdens of your journey.

Do you regularly look for evidence of God’s presence? Try a child’s birth, their joy, a sunrise on a warm morning, the joy of friendship and companionship, your heart, answered prayers, and all that is visible to us.

Do you approach all life’s questions with reason and allow God’s revelation to answer them?

Do you have hope and faith?


Another Wow!

The first conversation held by Jesus after His death. John 20:17 “Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Jesus is giving us some important facts here.  First, He is alive in human form.  Otherwise, He would not be recognized.  Next, He is different, not filled with pain and suffering as He was just a few days prior.  Third, we see His priority.  Jesus is telling Mary to go tell the others about what she saw.

When you finally get your answer to your question, don’t be quiet about it.  We are called to share our beliefs and joys with others.  There is no better way to erase doubt in someone than to let them see the confidence you have from knowing the answer.  With only 12 Apostles and a few witnesses, the hope and joy of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection changed our world for the better.

Your tip of the month, therefore, is to remember that God is REAL, eternal life is REAL and eternal joy can REAL.  Embrace it as your Creator planned it.

TIPS (To Inspire People Spiritually) News Letter No. 29

A Convenient Truth

No, I did not get the title wrong. Unlike the infamous book entitled, “An Inconvenient Truth,” I meant to say convenient. Each of us is not aware that our society is playing a very destructive game with us, using only those facts that support their opinion to support their opinion. Let me explain.

A notable person writes a book, not based on facts but an opinion that a certain fact is true. So the next person who likes to think that fact is true, references the book supporting that opinion. The cycle continues until generations later, no one questions the false opinion.

This is bad because we loose sight of the truth and without truth, we lose sight of God. So how should a person protect themselves against the use of “Convenient Truths” meant to deceive? There is only one way to do this and that is to take responsibility for validating the facts you use to form your beliefs. Many of the things we believe in are experiential. Some are based on the misinformation of our society, perpetuated by using a convenient truth. With respect to history, we are told to go as far back to the source of the information as we can. Research, reread, study and then form our own opinion. God supports this too. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to Timothy, points out that it is Scripture itself that should be used to teach, correct and train both ourselves as well as others. Why? Because it is God’s own words, that are the original commands.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” ~2 Timothy 3:16

When you discover the Bible for yourself, when you commit to regular worship, study and discussion with your peers, you guard yourself against forming opinions that have been based on someone else’s idea of a convenient truth. Why do this? Because only the real truth within Scripture saves us.


TIPS-29God is real. God’s truth has been given to us within our Scriptures.

Check List√

Do you have a working knowledge of the content of the Bible?

When you hear an opinion , how do you validate it?

Do you regularly discuss the Scriptures, your pastoral messages and/or readings with others ?

Do you read outside materials from known trusted authors?

How would you test whether the point made in this newsletter is true?

When you share your faith experiences, they impact others—are your experiences based on God’s Truth and justice?

People will die for the truth—would you die for God’s Truth?


You Are Not Alone

Paul stated that God’s plan had been “revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 3:5), and that his own teachings were inspired by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:13)

Jesus Christ told His followers that the Holy Spirit, which the Father would send to them, “will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).

It is through God’s Spirit within us that we can gain a truthful understanding and insight. (1 Corinthians 2:11, 12).

Each of us must pursue our own truth and not assume the convenient truth’s of others.  Those others may very well be speaking the truth but take responsibility yourself and use God’s Word guided by God’s Spirit to make sure you know the Truth. And once you are sure of the truth, share it with others.

Your tip, therefore, is to worship regularly, read the Bible and study the Bible. Few people have ever read Scripture on a regular basis and not emerged a new person, empowered by God’s Truth, making a difference in this world.

 

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