Confident Faith - May 2017

Post Easter thought on the importance of the Resurrection.

When you buy a house or a car, there's a transaction that occurs. Two people sign a bill of sale. You sign accepting the property in exchange for your payment, and the seller signs accepting your payment and tranferring the property to you. There's no deal unless both buyer and seller sign.

There was a transaction as Jesus suffered on the cross, but it was an unseen one occuring in heaven. Jesus was buying our sins and their death penalty in exchange for the payment of his perfect blood. He signed the transaction that his side of the deal was done when he uttered the words, "It is finished" (John 19:30).

In the physical world, people only saw a man die by crucifixion for the crime of blasphemy. He had claimed to be God, did what only God had the right to do, and accepted praise rightly due God alone. Justice was served.

The rocks stopped shaking. The skies cleared. The dead man was placed in a tomb. People went home to celebrate Passover. The world thought all was the same it had been.

Then, the third day, God signed the transaction. He affirmed Jesus' identity and worthiness to take our sins, proclaimed justice satisfied, and set us free from the penalty of our sin by killing death through Resurrection! "He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Romans 4:25, HCSB). Without the Resurrection, we are not justifed in Jesus' sacrifice.

Both parties - Son and Father - had to sign the transaction. There had to be both a Cross and a Resurrection - else "... if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins" (1 Corinthians 15:17, NASB95).

Where you see a cross, also see an empty tomb.

Harold Henderson

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterShare with friendsPrint this page

Confident Faith - March 2018

Has Yesterday's GOD Grown Bigger Today?

My goal when I teach or speak is for people to see GOD as bigger - more wonderful, more beautiful, more trustworthy, more glorious. Living in the reality of an ever greater GOD is an essential element of building a confident faith.

One habit for making GOD bigger each day, is to live with anticipation and expectancy of fellowship. We follow a GOD who wants to be found and honors the sincere seeker.

Daily Bible STUDY (not just skimming the Word) is a common element. The Bible is where GOD speaks to us. GOD will not speak from any other source in contradiction to that written in the Bible when properly translated and understood.

Regular commitment to a local body of Christ (church) is essential, not optional. We grow in our vision of GOD through interaction with one another. This is a real GOD working out in real lives.

Beauty is another common revelation. Who is not enthralled at a beautiful sunset? Do you not feel the awe of the masterfully painted scene calling you to Him? There's the beauty and power of music. How wonderful that the mathmatical precision of music perceived by ears stirs wonder in hearts - think "Hallelujah Chorus." Even scientists look with suspicion on mathmatical equations solving great mysteries if they are not "beautiful."

Stories of heroic sacrifice move me. The story of the Parkland High School coach who took many bullets protecting his students is an example of supererogatory (look it up) love that evolution cannot explain. There are the stories of missionaries who leave home, parents, children, and everything familiar to bring the Gospel to foreign - and often hostile - lands. Many have died after long or short sojurns planting seeds with little visible return only for us to see great later harvests from their faithfulness. What a cloud of witnesses!

Perhaps our least favorite way of seeing a greater GOD is when we actually comprehend our sins as darker, deeper, and more devilish than we ever imagined. Did you not feel this in Brother Gevan's comments about the cup Jesus asked not to drink from - the cup of MY sins? As John Newton said, "But I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour." I think the sense of Newton is that Christ, in saving us, is an even greater Savior than we could ever imagine -- and that He should grow greater and greater every day in reaching to my deeper and deeper chasm of sin. Some might see this as ugly, but I see it as the most beautiful, undeserved love.

We all try to fit GOD into our box. Fortunately for us, GOD is in the box busting business. He cares enough about us that He will not stay in such small confines. If we are open and actively seeking, He is ever revealing a bigger GOD for our confidence in Him to grow.

Harold Henderson

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterShare with friendsPrint this page

Confident Faith - February 2018

Here's one of the best Pro-Life articles I've seen in a long time. It reveals the gut level inconsistency of killing the unborn.

Abortion Justifications Flip Moral Reasoning Upside Down

by Amy Hall/Stand to Reason (str.org)

Unfortunately, in the last few years we’ve had more than one opportunity in this nation to ponder this question: Why are we more grieved and outraged when a child is murdered than when an adult is murdered, even though both are valuable human beings? As I’ve watched, listened, and considered, three reasons have come to the forefront:

  • The child didn’t have a chance to live his life.
  • We feel a special responsibility to protect children because they’re dependent on us.
  • The more innocent the human being, the more deeply we grieve the crime perpetrated against her.

The younger the child gets, the more our horror increases: A high school bus is hit by a drunk driver, and we mourn; elementary school students are murdered by a gunman, and we have national grief; babies at a daycare are targeted by a terrorist, and our shock and anger at the heinousness of it consumes us. The horror increases as the age decreases...until we reach the womb. Then suddenly, all our moral reasoning is flipped on its head.

Once we go back in age beyond that magical point, we use those same three reasons not to condemn abortion, but to justify it:

  • Instead of opposing abortion because a child has her entire future outside the womb taken from her, we justify it by saying she didn’t yet have any "interests" since she wasn’t aware of what she’ll be missing.
  • Instead of opposing abortion because of our keenly-felt responsibility to protect the most defenseless of children, we justify it by saying their total dependence on us is parasitical and therefore we have a right to deny our consent for them to depend on us.
  • Instead of opposing the violent actions of abortion taken against the most innocent of us, we justify it by comparing those unborn children to violent attackers from whom we have a right to defend ourselves.

Do you see the ridiculousness of this? If it’s a tragedy when a five-year-old loses the rest of his life, isn’t it an even greater tragedy when an unborn baby loses every experience waiting for him outside the womb? A five-year-old has seen much of what life is about, though only for a short time. An aborted baby has had even that short time stolen from him. It’s the very fact that an unborn child has not had a chance to become aware of his objectively real interests that makes his death more tragic, not less.

Why are we not consistent on this moral principle of increased horror with decreased age? It makes no sense to arbitrarily flip this principle upside down and use the very points that normally condemn violence against the young to justify it.

Harold Henderson

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterShare with friendsPrint this page

Confident Faith - January 2018

I have added a daily reading to my prayer time from “The Valley of Vision”, a compilation of almost 200 short prayers of our Puritan fathers. I have found these prayers from the 16th-17th century refreshing and insightful to the current day with the same flesh talking to the same unchanging God.

Below is one of the prayers from that book:

“Fullness

Thou hast revealed me to myself as a mass of sin, and thyself as the fullness of goodness, with strength enough to succour me, wisdom enough to guide me, mercy enough to quicken me, love enough to satisfy me.

Thou hast shown me that because thou art mine I can live by thy life, be strong in thy strength, be guided by thy wisdom; and so I can pitch my thoughts and heart in thee.

This is the exchange of wonderful love – for me to have thee for myself, and for thee to have me, and to give me thyself.

There is in thee all fullness of the good I need, and the fullness of all grace to draw me to thyself, who, else, could never have come.

But having come, I must cleave to thee, be knit to thee, always seek thee.

There is none all good as thou art: with thee I can live without other things, for thou art God all-sufficient, and the glory, peace, rest, joy of the world is a creaturely, perishing thing in comparison to thee.

Help me to know that he who hopes for nothing but thee, and for all things only for thee, hopes truly, and that I must place all my happiness in holiness, if I hope to be filled with all grace.

Convince me that I can have no peace at death, nor hope that I should go to Christ, unless I intend to do his will and have the fullness while I live.”

Perhaps your prayer time would benefit from reading these prayers, too.

Harold

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterShare with friendsPrint this page

Confident Faith - November 2017

"You can't be certain about the claims of Christianity," says the lady to whom you are witnessing. How do you answer?

The key is the word, "certain." Ask her what she means by "certain" and for an example of a decision she makes on that kind of certainty.

Is she imposing a standard of absolute certainty (no possible doubt) that no one really lives by? There is almost no decision in our lives that we make with 100% certainity. You drive through the green light, but do you have 100% certainty that you won't be broadsided? No. You know there are people killed every day because someone ran a red light, but you know the probability is very low. That knowledge, and past experience, leads you to make a "reasonable" decision to drive through the green light inspite of the "possible" deadly consequences.

J. Warner Wallace, cold-case homocide detective, explains this in light of life impacting courtroom decisions:

"So, when someone tells me that they can’t make a decision about the existence of God or the claims of Christianity because they still have possible doubts or unanswered questions, I simply remind them that criminal juries make critical decisions every day without possessing the level of certainty they are imagining. In fact, none of us know much of anything “beyond a possible doubt.” Instead, we move forward through life with a very different standard of proof, growing comfortable with decisions that are “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If that standard is good enough for the most critical decisions we make in the courtroom and in our daily lives, it’s good enough for any decision we might make about God’s existence or the truth of Christianity.”
"Rapid Response: 'You Can't be certain about the claims of Christianity" by J. Warner Wallace at http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/rapid-response-you-cant-be-certain-about-the-claims-of-christianity/

Challenge this unrealistic expectation, and then go back to the evidence for the Gospel. That's Confident Christianity overcoming obstacles.

Harold

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterShare with friendsPrint this page