AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ATHEIST

Dear Atheist,

CreationIf you say there is no God, that we are just physical beings meant to return to oblivion and dust, what’s inside us that makes us desire love, appreciate beauty, or laugh out loud?

Is it possible that the molecules of our brains somehow mix at just the right proportion to create emotion?

Do you ever ask yourself: If there is nothing more within the capsule we call our bodies, are we no more than puppets of flesh that shouldn’t even have a name? If our mind was just an evolution of the physical being of our brains, without an intelligent Creator, how can we trust our thoughts?

If we somehow evolved out of chaos, each molecule arranged to form our being, how is there the moral capacity to know right from wrong?

Do we just react to the elements that have randomly crossed the span of time we are on this Earth? If we are, how is it that we have free will?

If we are a mass of inhabitants on Earth that have multiplied by the millions, while we forever spin on a planet that came together by the forces of the universe to somehow sustain life

Why would it matter what we did with our lives?

If we have intelligence to design and build buildings, where and when was the existence of original intelligence?

If we can save lives with a scalpel, where and when was the existence of original skill?

If we can cultivate the earth for food, who made the seed? If you say the fruit, who made the fruit?

When and how was the first masterpiece of art or music ever crafted?

What or Who created creativity?

How do we know good and evil?

If there is no God, then what or who has brought on the origin of good? In the expanse of space and nothingness, where did kindness begin? How was benevolence conceived?

Where is the hope beyond destruction and heartache? Is there vindication of evil to satisfy our deep-seated need for justice and an end of the pain of this life?

If good and evil had an absolute beginning, won’t there be an absolute victory of one or the other? Can you or I utterly end this struggle? Won’t whatever or whoever orchestrated the beginning also have the capacity to bring about the end?

How is it that we can contemplate eternity?

In regards to all of the above, can an undefined “life-force” of energy possess good to instill compassion within man? Can it distribute intelligence? Can it bear emotion to be able to pass on a capacity to love and grieve, to be glad or to anger?

No, my friend, it was not a WHAT, but a WHO.

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” Eccles. 3:11

 

 

WHAT IF THE WORDS I SPEAK WERE WRITTEN ON MY SKIN?

Words on hand

Why do I suddenly feel the need to cover up? And when I say “cover up” I mean head-to-toe cover up. I wouldn’t mind adding a second layer, and a cap, and a pair of tall boots.

Maybe that’s because there would be many words I wouldn’t want anyone to read.

Words that spew out in anger at people who least deserve it.
Words that I add for shock effect just to see the reaction and bring attention to myself
Or what about that one extra thought that crossed the line the minute it came out of my mouth,
but I said it anyway.

Not to try to make anyone feel worse, but the words we speak are just as obvious to God as if they were written on our skin.

And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by our words you shall be condemned.” (Matt. 12:36).

I’m going to have to give an account for every word I speak (or write for that matter). It says in this scripture that I’m going to be justified or condemned by my words, so it seems to be saying that God judges our salvation based solely on what we say. It seems to support a works mentality, a doctrine that says that our salvation is based on what we do or don’t do.

However, if you read over both the Old and the New Testament, you’ll see a consistent message that we are saved by grace through faith. (Eph. 2:8, John 3:16, 2 Corin. 5:21, Romans 3:28, Psalm 32:1-2). Therefore, we cannot be saved or condemned on the basis of our deeds or words; instead, they are evidence of salvation.

Words (and deeds) are not a means to an end, (salvation), but a manifestation of our spiritual condition, an accurate gauge of what’s in the heart. What’s more, no matter how hard we try, they will give us away:

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. (James 3:8-12)

When we are full of our angry, mean selves, it comes out, but this passage isn’t just talking about words spoken in passion. The Greek transliteration for the word “careless” is “Argos”, meaning “useless, barren, unproductive, inappropriate.” 1 It also refers simply to words that reflect the idleness and the pride of life.

Lord knows there’s plenty of that. It reminds me of a phrase my dad used to use when we were kids. He would say “Callam fodi”, which is literally translated from Arabic to mean “Empty words”. It was no surprise that we would hear that phrase almost any time the TV was on because of all of its useless, wasteful material. A question to ask ourselves: how much of it are we pumping into our hearts and minds on a daily basis?

Thank God that although our words are exposed to Him, He offers His righteousness as the best cover-up to those who believe in Him. Better than a cover-up. They are washed away.

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

What were your conversations about today? Can you say that they were life-giving and encouraging or useless and wasteful, even angry?

Why do you suppose it’s so hard to tame the tongue?

1)      The McArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 8 – 15, P. 319

 

ANNOUNCEMENT AND FREE GIVEAWAY: FEATURING AUTHOR MARILYNN DAWSON

Hello Friends,

Just wanted to tell you the exciting news that “Ministry in Words” is taking part in a virtual book tour for Author Marilynn Dawson’s next book, “A Year in Prayer With Jesus”! This book is due to launch in September, but she’s giving away a one-month sample before it’s even released! We are one of twelve stops on this tour, and we don’t want you to miss it! There will even be an opportunity to sign up for Marilynn’s monthly newsletter, and get a free gift in the process.

Today we feature an excerpt from the back cover of her book:

Do you struggle with the idea of a daily prayer life? Have you ever found yourself asking along with the disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray”? Then this book is for you. Let us join the disciples as we sit at Jesus’ feet and join Him in prayer. . . for an entire year.

It is important to realize that The Lord’s Prayer is not a recipe for answered prayer. Rather, it is a recipe for increased relationship with the One Who desires to answer our prayers. There is a very specific order in which Christ says we should approach God the Father. This order, if followed, brings the child of God into a place of gratitude, humility, and reverence. It seeks to bring the heart of the prayerful one into alignment with what beats God’s heart and it moves the Christian to put feet to their prayer life.

It is my desire as you go through the coming year with me, that you’ll gain a practical, living understanding and personal experiencial insight into the realm of prayer that will lift you above the materialistic tendencies; above the selfish motives; above the need for instant gratification and attention, and into the realm of God’s heart not just for you, but for those around you; not just for your own issues and needs, but those around you, and lastly, that you will experience the richness of just “being” in His presence.

Click this link here to get your tenth single day prayer guide outline.

http://songdove.fa-ct.com/stuff/YPWJ/YPWJ-day161.pdf

Be sure to stop by Marilynn’s blog (http://songdove.fa-ct.com/wordpress-mu/songdovemusing) on July 14th for your next single day prayer guide free download. Be sure to sign up for her monthly newsletter for yet another free gift! Don’t you just love FREE?

Here’s the next tops on the tour:

Week Five – Author/blogger feature over at Marilynn’s blog ( http://songdove.fa-ct.com/wordpress-mu/songdovemusings/): July 14th – Tour stop: July 16th – Jansina Grossman – http://thilly-little-nothings.blogspot.com/

Week Five – Author/blogger feature over at Marilynn’s blog ( http://songdove.fa-ct.com/wordpress-mu/songdovemusings/): July 17th – Tour stop: July 19th – Madeline Duffy – http://www.shaneflynn.com/blog/marilynn-dawson-author

Author Bio

3x4 3 (2)Marilynn Dawson is the author of “Becoming the Bride of Christ: A Personal Journey”, “Mom’s Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate”, “Practical Thoughts on Becoming an Author”, and “Dressed for Eternity”, her latest book released through Songdove Books, her own Imprint.

Marilynn grew up in a solid Christian home, coming to Christ at the age of 7. She has been actively involved in Church life since age 10, including activities such as joining her Mom and sister in singing special numbers, choir, teaching Sunday School, leading Sunday School open session, planning Sunday School lessons, and more. Marilynn attended both public and private schools growing up. She attended North Island Community College on Vancouver Island and Trend College in Kelowna, obtaining certificates in receptionist work and Comptia A+ computer repair.

Throughout her life, Marilynn has written poetry and published in the American Poetry Anthology(two issues). She has written numerous unpublished articles on end-time eschatology, written unpublished short stories, word studies and more.

Marilynn lives with her two grown children, cat and gerbils, in Kelowna BC Canada. Her day job is fixing computers and engaging in multimedia for her church. In the evenings and on weekends she’s a soundtech doing various events through the year from funerals to workshops to concerts and weddings. Marilynn has sung alto or tenor in various choirs and praise teams over the years.

Marilynn can be contacted via her author page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Marilynn.Dawson.Author or by email: author@fa-ct.com

AMERICA AND CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: THE APPROACHING STORM

Religious freedom

Dear Friends,

In the midst of all the fireworks of last Friday night’s Fourth of July celebration, I sat wondering if anyone else saw the impending clouds in the distance. They were no longer just an outline on the horizon, but were now deep and ominous, almost filling the sky.

I closed my eyes for a moment. I had to get away from the crowd for just a minute to block out the deafening booms and bangs and the oohs and ahhs. “Wait a minute…was that thunder?” I asked myself. No, what I sensed buried underneath the noise was a low rumble, like a grumpy, shifting giant, groaning deep within his diaphragm from hunger upon awakening. It was barely discernable at first, but obvious to me once I recognized the sound. I turned away with my head down, passing through a sea of partyers.

The approaching storm I was thinking of had nothing to do with the weather. It had everything to do with the slow and steady approach of threat to the very independence we celebrate. Bewildered, I have had to ask myself and others this question: Are we so comfortable in this freedom we enjoy that we don’t see what life would be like without it? Are we so mesmerized by the proverbial starburst and colors of our liberty that we don’t see, (or don’t want to see) the darkness that makes it so precious by contrast?

As Christians in America, I am beginning to feel the social tension like a wrench on an oxygen tank as it stifles religious freedom by degrees with every turn. However, we have not yet breathed in the smoke of arson setting fire to our churches as they have in Egypt, nor have we choked on the dust of rubble and ruins as those destroyed in China.

We haven’t yet had to clutch the tiny hand of a child born in prison as we wait to see if we would live or die, simply for the crime of professing Christ, nor have we had to surrender our children as we hear their last cries at the hands of Boko Haram militants. As the writer of Hebrews may say, we have “not yet wrestled to the point of bloodshed”. (Hebrews 12:4)

But why am I so “discouraging” or “negative”, you may ask? The answer is simple. I’m not saying all of this to be a downer. I’m simply pointing to Biblical prophecy. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul prophesied that these things will occur; that the church will come under attack and individual Christians will be persecuted. After all, Jesus Himself said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that they hated Me first” (John 15:18). This was not if, but when:

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.(2 Timothy 3:12-13)

Get this one:

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”(Matt. 24:9)

Notice the “all the nations”?

It’s sad to say, but as great as this country is, America will be no exception.

But that doesn’t mean we should be flustered and taken off guard. No doubt we will be frustrated and discouraged, but this is all the more reason to temper those reactions with God’s word, all the more reason to get on our knees and seek His comfort and strength.

First, let’s examine our own hearts. Let’s take an honest look at how our own sin, (not anyone else’s), has done a fine job of separating us from God all on our own. It’s from a humble heart that God empowers His own to be a light in the world, ready to have an answer for our hope and faith.

Second, let’s remain sober-minded and focused upon our roles as believers in this world. Let’s wake up while we still have the opportunity! Let’s not be blind to the storm clouds coming or deaf to the rumblings of injustice. Let’s hold fast to sound doctrine, (for there will be many false teachers, Matthew 24:24), and re-dedicate ourselves to sharing the gospel as the kingdom calendar winds down.

Third, even though we understand prophecy, we can, and must make our voices heard for the simple preservation of society. Even in the recent Hobby Lobby case, it is important to point out that it was won by one small vote. Therefore, I implore all of you to go and vote for congressmen and senators that reflect your values, to make your thoughts and opinions known to our leaders. God has given us channels to defend these principles. On a practical level, I found some very helpful links and ways to get involved to make a difference in the world while we are here:

How to contact your Congressman

How to get involved in your local politics

Having said that, I believe that laws and social reform fall short in one major way, and that is that they do not have to power to change the heart. They are a crucial framework by which to live, but they cannot, and do not transform anyone from the inside out. They cannot give me a desire to obey and live a godly life. As a Christian, I believe only the gospel can do that. Speak up we shall, but our greatest voice is to share the gospel. This perspective is that where godliness is seen, there is an influence on the individual, and the whole.

Last and most importantly, let’s remember that God is sovereign over all governments, and that all forms of wickedness and corruption will be cut down and God’s name will be glorified. Even in these times, we have the promise of comfort and peace in the end.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

What are your thoughts and convictions in regards to religious freedom and what is going on in this country and the world?

 

 

WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU?

I was watching an online clip not too long ago that featured a woman in her 20’s that has literally not grown since she was 5 years old. She looks and acts like a toddler, leaving doctors mystified about her condition. More than once the narrator used the term “frozen in time” to describe the lack of normal aging and maturing .*

We tend to see only the physical, but we are both physical and spiritual. In much the same way as someone born with a physical abnormality, it is possible to never get out of our spiritual infancy. This is shown in the Apostle Paul’s writing in1 Corinthians 3:1-3:

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.”

Let me break down this scripture:

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ”

Paul was talking to the Corinthian church, pointing out that although they were Christians, they showed no signs of spiritual growth. He “could not speak to [them] as to spiritual men, that is, they were acting more like “men of flesh”, a term used to describe someone who does not know God, or knows little of God. They were “babes in Christ”.

“I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it.”

Baby bottleBabies drink milk, a substance that’s easy to take in and handle to a baby’s body; it’s contains the basics of nutrition. Using the illustration of a baby drinking milk, Paul draws a spiritual analogy. The “milk” he provided them was the basics of the gospel. Like many Christians today, the Corinthians seemed content to stay on milk. They don’t want their teachers to give sermons that had a lot of “meat” on them, that would get “too deep”, or “too specific”. The problem with this is that once you have heard the gospel and believe, then what? Do you just keep listening to the same evangelistic message? How do you learn the myriad of principles in God’s word? How do you apply it to your life and soul? Like today’s listeners, they may have claimed that teachings of any substance had “too much doctrine” or on an unspoken level, exposed their sins and godless lifestyle.baby

Living off of spiritual milk is like nodding my head at a sermon that skims the surface of the gospel, understanding the truth in concept alone. I’m content to being passive and spoon-fed, not just because it’s easy, but because I don’t have the spiritual muscle mass that would crave solid food because I haven’t flexed them. I haven’t burnt too many spiritual calories so I can’t get strong. My spiritual self is flabby and plump from inactivity.

Steak dinnerOn the other hand, what does it mean to crave solid spiritual food? When I think of solid food, I think of a substantial, wholesome meal, not sucrose filled, junk food –like messages we often hear today. These messages taste good at first – they offer nothing but prosperity and ego-boosting self-motivation, but have little to do with the gospel (they are neither “milk” nor “meat” but false, misleading teaching!). Solid spiritual food is grounded in the word of God, given through careful study of the text. It exposes sin and challenges the believer to godly living, establishing him in the fundamentals of the attributes of God, man, sin, salvation, judgment, and eternity. It gives the basis for each. It may not always feel good going down, but it is necessary for the healthy believer.

Indeed even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.”

Even then, we can’t leave our growth (or lack of growth) on the shoulders of our teachers and pastors. If we are going to grow beyond the baby bottle, we must take the responsibility to take in God’s instructions on a daily basis. We have to exercise our spiritual muscles by reading the Bible ourselves. Together with the Holy Spirit, this will begin to create the appetite for solid food. Then we can’t be called “fleshly”, as those who have no desire to grow.

Believer, where do you think you are in your growth chart today? Are you a new believer starting out on “milk”? Are you weaning yourself by learning more and surrounding yourself with good teaching? Are you stuck on “milk” and should be eating “meat”? Do you remember a time when you were…or are you enjoying a full course meal on God’s word?

*http://singularityhub.com/2010/05/17/what-secrets-are-in-the-dna-of-a-17-year-old-girl-with-the-body-of-a-baby-video/

 

ANNOUNCEMENT: I’VE CONVERTED TO EVERY RELIGION! (JUST IN CASE)

Religious symbolsHey, I have a great idea. With so many religions in the world, I hate to think I was wrong all this time. Why not follow all of them? Why not just play it safe and cover my bases by worshiping every god? I mean, just in case?

If I convert to every religion, I can stand before whoever turns out to be god and say, “Hey, remember me? I was on board! Sure was busy, though. As a Muslim, I made my way to Mecca faithfully. As a Jew, I was at the temple every Saturday when I wasn’t working on my 2 year mission as a Mormon. I kept my Catholic rosary in prayers and confession, and let’s not forget about all my audits as a Scientologist! This blog would get a complete overhaul. I’ve got so many ideas! I would post vegetarian recipes to suit my Hindu faith and maybe a spell or two for my Wicca sisters, followed by Buddhist prayers throughout the week, and then of course, I’d rest on Sundays. The point would be that at the end of my life, I would be able to say, “God, whoever you are, I was a believer!

Having every faith would be like having a mutual fund. I could diversify across the board so I can spread my spiritual safety net as far as I can.

Sounds ridiculous? Yes, but that’s what the people of Athens did in the 17th Chapter of Acts:

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols… (Acts 17:16)

“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an alter with this inscription:

TO THE UNKNOWN GOD

Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of Heaven and Earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. – Acts 17: 22-25

Paul noticed that the city of Rome was homage to every deity that men would worship. There were many shrines and relics dedicated to one god or another. He saw them everywhere he went. There was even one that they called “unknown” since they felt there may be a god beyond their ability to understand, and if they didn’t know him, they figured “better safe than sorry” and build a shrine to him too.

Paul seized the opportunity to speak to them right where they were spiritually. “You wonder who this ’Unknown God’ is?” he asked, “I’ll tell you…” Then he proceeded to describe Him as the creator of the world, the one whom gives to all things. He was the one and only. He was not just the missing piece, He was the whole picture.

People can have a “just in case” mentality about God. They are not sure which god is the true god, so they are on board with all of them. Just like the Athenians, they subscribe to all religions, or believe that “all roads lead to the same end” to cover their bases. As “politically correct” as that may sound, it can’t logically be true. On a rational level, I thought of some reasons why:

  • Where will you spend eternity? Are you going to heaven? Will you be reincarnated, stay in purgatory, continue to various stages of being, be annihilated, or go to hell? Can’t be all of the above.
  • Who is your true master? Converting to all religions does nothing if you don’t truly believe in them, do they? Does any god want less than your all? Would he really have his rightful place as god if he didn’t?
  • Can you serve both God and Satan?

By saying “no matter who is true, I’m going to be onboard with all of them”, you are effectively cancelling out all of them.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.”- John 14:6

If someone claims to be the Son of God, fulfilled prophecies, performed miracles, rose from the dead, and made such an all or nothing statement, wouldn’t you think twice about His exclusive claim to deity?

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

My Dad – 2014

Dear Readers,

The company where I work used to have a question posted on our intranet site that the employees could answer and share if they want to. In tribute to my dad, I wanted to share one that I answered. Here it is, word for word:

Who inspires you and how are you a bit like them?

“My father inspires me because I have seen him & my mom go through many hardships and through them he never wavered in his love and faith in God. His life is an testimony of God’s goodness even when things go wrong. He has never ceased to be content, thankful, peaceful of the future, full of humor and hope, encouraging, and always putting others above himself. I know his source of strength is in Christ, and because his walk matches his talk, he has inspired me to follow this path to my own faith. I don’t know how I got so blessed to have him as a dad (& my mom too), because I fall short of his example but I could only hope to be like that.”

Many people read it, but I also got an email response from a co-worker:

Margaret,

“We’ve never met but after reading your comment today about what inspires you, I had to let you know how awesome I thought your answer was.”

******

Dad, may you continue to inspire many with your character, your unwavering spirit, and love for God and others.

 HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, “BABA”! YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION

Who inspires you and how?