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Monday, April 30, 2012

"What is Truth?"

Philosophers, sages, and theologians have debated down through the centuries as to what is truth. If you ask a college student on any given campus, what is truth, you are bound to receive answers such as, "everyone has an opinion or preference, to each his own, and whatever I decide is right."
Two thousand years ago, standing before Pontius Pilate, Jesus didn't give an opinion or quote from any of the philosophers. Instead he made a startling affirmation as to what truth was. He looked Pilate directly in the eyes and declared, "I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true." (John 18:37)
Pilate couldn't believe his ears. Who does this man think he is! Instead of bowing down in awe and worship, Pilate mocked Christ's declaration and scoffingly replied, "What is Truth?"
Our culture has carried on this same mocking and ridicule about the nature of Truth. Truth is irrelevant, only what I decide is right, is the mood of our culture. Casting aside all respect and ridiculing and rebelling against any recognized authority, our culture has abandoned any standard of righteousness and replaced it with the their own whims and wishes. Truth has been reduced to preference and whatever feels "right" at the moment. No wonder there is violence in schools, kids killing other kids, kids murdering their parents, etc.When truth is abandoned, we lose our moral sensitivity and begin calling what is evil, good. The sad lament in the book of Judges was that "everyone was doing what was right in the sight of their own eyes." As a result there was moral and spiritual decay resulting in the judgment of God.
Earlier in John's gospel, Jesus declared that  "I am the way and the Truth," (John 14:6) Three chapters later, Jesus prayed to His father to "Teach them your Word, which is truth." (John 17:17)
The Bible presents God as a God of truth and integrity. Unfortunately most of our culture has the cynicism and unbelief of Pilate, mockingly saying, "What is truth?"
Do you care about what is true and false? Jesus says that if you love the truth then you will believe and obey him. Our culture is suffering from "truth decay." The only remedy is proclaiming Christ as the truth and affirming that His word is the final authority.
If you want a life of integrity that will stand against the storms of life when all other foundations are crumbling then come to Christ and be safe and secure in the truth.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Quest For The Meaning Of Life

Philosophers down through the ages have been on a quest for the meaning of life. From Socrates to Plato and many others, the quest to discover what is ultimate reality has consumed the thinking of man for thousands of years. In all of that time has the search yielded any solid answers?
Almost two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, on the night before his crucifixion, made a startling claim to His disciples in regard to the quest for the meaning of life.
Jesus declared, "I am the way, the truth and the life."  (John 14:6)
What a bold declaration! Jesus was saying to His disciples, If you want to know the way, I am the way, if you want to know the truth, look at me, and if you are on a quest for the meaning of life, come to me!
I can just imagine the astonishment on the faces of every philosopher if they were listening to Jesus on that fateful night. They would have many questions and would have called Jesus to account for such a bold statement. They may have asked, "How can you say that? What qualifies you, Jesus, to make such a claim?"
That's a fair question. How can Jesus make such a bold statement. Let's look at his record.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. He showed compassion on the hurting and broken and gave hope to those who were despaired of life. Therefore Jesus can make the claim that if you want life, life as it was meant to be, come to me.
Jesus also exposed false prophets and spent much of his time correcting the religious leaders for misrepresenting the Law of God. He never lied. He always spoke the truth. Therefore Jesus can make the claim that if you want to know the truth, come to me.
Last of all, but most important, the claims of Jesus were not just empty words written in a book thousands of years ago to inspire people down through the ages. The claims of Jesus were made the night before his crucifixion. The next day, the religious leaders had Jesus tried for blasphemy for claiming to be God and He was nailed to a wooden cross. He died an excruciating death, but three days later, He rose up from the grave and appeared to His disciples.
The claims of Jesus were vindicated by his resurrection. Jesus is not a dead philosopher but a living Savior. He not only made these bold claims but is alive to demonstrate that everything he said is true.
If you are on the journey for the quest of the meaning of life, I invite you to seriously consider the claims of Jesus. They have stood the test of time and have changed the lives of billions of people.

Monday, April 16, 2012

" Don't ignore the warnings!"

"Unless your repent, you will perish."
       (Luke 13:5)
                This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic. On April 15, 1912, The largest luxury liner in the world plunged into a watery grave in the north Atlantic claiming the lives of over 1500 passengers. Since this awful tragedy, what have we learned? I could speak out against the evil class distinctions on the Titanic, but there is something far more important to discuss. Captain Smith repeatedly ignored the iceberg warnings and as a result, the lives of many people perished. Almost two thousand years ago, Jesus issued a warning to his disciples, "Unless you repent, you too will perish."
                  The disciples shared a story with their master-teacher that Pilate had murdered several Galilean worshipers, implying that God allowed this to happen because they were worse sinners. Jesus didn't bother to explain why God allowed this evil act to happen, but instead pointed his finger at their spiritual condition. "You will perish too unless you repent of your sins and turn to God."
                   I can just see the faces of the disciples. They were probably speechless. They were used to Jesus kissing the babies and being gentle and loving. They must have been shocked that Jesus could be so straight forward and harsh. This is the problem the church faces today. We all want a Jesus to be meek and mild and non-confrontational. We want a" politically-correct" Jesus, but Jesus refuses to be squeezed into that mold. Jesus came to save us from our sins and because He loves us, He tells us the truth about our spiritual condition.
                    The most important thing God wants us to recognize is our need for salvation. We can cry out about injustices, evil and suffering and that all has its place, but God is issuing an "iceberg" warning to the world. If we ignore it, we do so at our own peril. Arrogance and pride was the downfall of the mighty Titanic. We need to learn a lesson from history. Jesus is the way, the truth and life. He is the lifeboat that all of us need.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Jesus: The friend of a wounded heart

 "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted:
   he rescues those whose spirits are crushed."
                 (Psalm 34: 18)

The famous musical group, The Bee Gees, had a popular song in the sixties entitled, "How can you mend a broken heart." Their song lamented the pain and heartaches people suffer as the result of broken relationships. The haunting question being sung was how do you mend the broken heart? How do you move on when you are in so much pain?
There is a short, little, two-line word of encouragement and comfort found in the Bible. In the book of Psalms, which is literally, songs of praise and lament composed by David, the once famous King of Israel, there is a tiny little statement of hope:
 "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescue those whose spirits are crushed."
 I talk to my Iranian friends almost everyday, chatting with them online. Recently they have admitted to me that they have been suffering from depression and sorrow over broken relationships. My one friend, whose name I won't mention, lamented that she was tired of being tired and was thinking about committing suicide. Some of my other friends complain about feeling hopeless and tired of the oppression by the government. My heart goes out to each one of them. What kind of hope can I offer them?
 I believe part of the answer is in this tiny, but powerful, little Psalm. David writes, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted." God is not some distant, faraway deity. He is a God who is intimately concerned with the hurts and feelings of His people. This psalm encourages us that that He is near, that He is close. I can almost picture our God with His arms wide open waiting for us to run into them for comfort and healing. But Wait, God is not only close to the brokenhearted but the psalm says he does something else. "He rescues those whose spirits are crushed."
 God provides comfort and healing to our wounded hearts. How? He does it by loving us unconditionally. He rescues, that is, brings healing and deliverance to us. As a Christian, I can identify with this. Jesus showed compassion to the hurting and helpless. He healed the sick and lame and gave hope to the hurting and broken.
 Ultimately, Jesus allowed his heart to be pierced so that our hearts could be healed.
 The Bee gees sang the question, "How can you mend a broken heart?"  What then, is the answer? The answer is, trust in a God who intimately cares for us and had his heart broken so ours could be mended and healed once again.
 God is waiting for you with his arms open wide. Trust him with your broken heart. He is the only one that can mend it.