Thursday, December 22, 2011

Two Opposing Orders of Truth?

Hi Team
I wasn't going to write anything more before Christmas.
However I found this is my devotions this morning and wanted to share it with you.

It is claimed that Science and the Bible contradict each other.
This is true, since Science is incomplete in its knowledge and the Bible incorrect in its translation.

Yet this is not the same as saying, There is conflict between Nature and Scripture.

Nature is the product of the hand of God and Scripture the result of the breath of God; 
between them no conflict is possible for each of them is out of God.

(Written by Frank Neil Pohorlak in a Los Angeles newspaper column.)

Beautiful eh?
Blessings, Barry

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Irreligious Thoughts about the Consequences of Sin

I have been thinking a lot about Jesus' death lately and have had some interesting (maybe naughty) thoughts about it.
Let me share them with you and, as always, invite your feedback.

When Jesus carried the sins of the whole world to the cross, he took the sins of every individual who has ever lived, is currently living or ever will live.
He carried the sins of the worst sinners ever, plus everyone else's.

So, if the future of people who die in their sins is everlasting torment in a place called hell, then surely Jesus should still be there enduring that punishment.
Shouldn't he?

Now let's remember that Jesus went to his death without repenting of any of the sins that he was carrying, that were now his.
Just like the majority of mankind will.
YET he only remained in Hades (the unseeen) for three days and was neither singed nor tortured.
AND he was resurrected.
AND he was given eternal life.
AND he was perfectly acceptable to the Father.
AND he was placed at the Father's right hand, and in perfect fellowship with him.

Doesn't that sound a bit odd?

Here's another cute thought.

The Bible tells me that the wages of sin is death.  [ Romans 6 : 23 ]
Yet what I hear preached all the time is that the wages of sin is everlasting life.
Most preach that those who die in their sins will be tormented alive forever in hell.
That sounds more like everlasting life than death to me.
Doesn't it?

That's the best I can do in the lead up to Christmas.  :-)

Have a great one - and rejoice in God's incredible plan to redeem us all through the one who started his earthly life as the baby Jesus.

Blessings one and all

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is God a Sinner?

In the Greek, the word for sin is "hamartia", which means to miss the mark or target, or fail to reach the goal.

Paul tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3 : 23)
God created mankind in his image and our purpose was to reflect him and his glory on the earth.
But we failed to achieve this, so we are sinners, miss-ers of the mark.

We probably all agree on this.

But do we realise that most of the world (including most of mainstream christianity) believe God is also a sinner, or at least will be?

Paul tells us that God's plan is to reconcile all things to himself through Jesus (Col 1 : 20).
But most people think he will not achieve this and so will miss the mark, will sin.

Jesus said he would draw all mankind to himself (John 12 : 32).
Most people feel this will not happen and so Jesus will miss the mark, will sin.

Paul said God is going to have mercy on us all (Romans 11 : 32).
Most people believe God will punish the majority of mankind forever and therefore will not reach his goal, will miss the target, will sin.

I believe what the Bible says 
and therefore believe God will achieve all his purposes.
God is no sinner - nor ever will be.

What do you think?

Blessings, Barry

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Answering Salvation Questions

All of us have heard sermons preached about how to get saved. 
And most Christians specialise in telling others how to get saved.

Here's a related question ....
When were you saved?
Most of us have been asked that question at one time or another.

What are our answers to these salvation questions?
Consider this ......
God saved us and called us to a holy calling,
not because of our works
but because of his own purpose and grace,
which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began
[ 2 Tim 1 : 9 ]

So, how do we get saved?
We don't get saved, we got saved.
God saved us.

And, when were we saved?
A long time ago, before the ages began.

Have you heard anyone giving these answers?
I can assure you, they get an interesting response (especially from other Christians).

Blessings, Barry

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Carols

I enjoy singing Christmas carols.  
It also brings a smile to my face.
Most people sing the words of the better known carols with great gusto - and make wonderful declarations in doing so.

Have you looked closely at the words of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" lately?
Verse 1, line 4 says, "God and sinners reconciled."
Verse 3, line 3 says, "Light and life to all he brings."
Verse 3, line 6 says, "Born that man no more may die."

Even the Christian leaders who tell me I cannot preach such things in their churches sing these words without a qualm.
Good eh?
Probably brings a smile to your face too.

Blessings to you all this wonderful Christmas season.

Friday, November 25, 2011

How Sincere Are We?

Look what I discovered today.
The New Testament Greek word that we translate as 'sincere' is 'heilikrines'. 
It comes from two Greek words - 'helio' meaning 'sun' and 'krino' meaning 'to judge'. 
So 'heilikrines' = sun-judged or sun-tested.

Likewise, our English word 'sincere' comes from two Latin words - 'sine' meaning 'without' and 'cere' meaning 'wax'.
So 'sincere' = without wax.

No, absolutely beautiful.

Early marble workers would fill cracks or mistakes in their art pieces with a mixture of marble dust and wax to present a "perfect" product to sell.
When exposed to the heat of the sun the wax would often melt and expose the blemishes, and their dishonesty.
Similarly porcelain workers would use a pearly white wax to fill the cracks that appeared in their pieces during the firing process. 
They looked OK in the shop, but the wax appeared as a dark seam in the white porcelain when held up to the sunlight.

Honest artists and craftsmen would mark their genuinely perfect pieces as 'sine cera' (without wax).

When we are sincere, we are without wax - open to God's penetrating light and found to be made of the right stuff all the way through.

I was blessed by that little gem and wanted to share it with you.
Have a great day.
Blessings, Barry

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Happy God

What is your picture of God?
Many people "see" him as an old man with a stern, unhappy face framed by grey hair and a long white beard.
Many of God's Old Covenant people considered him to be angry, unable to be pleased and judgmental.

Even Christians, who know that he loves them so much that he gave his son to die for them, often see God as one who is sitting waiting for them to do something wrong so he can pounce on them and squeeze a confession out of them before it is too late and he has to exclude them from their inheritance.
What a sad state of affairs!

Those of us who know God's plan to save the world through Jesus usually see God much better than that.
We see him as loving, kind, merciful to all, showering mankind with his amazingly, generous grace.

But let's go a bit further.
Have you noticed the difference in translation of the Beatitudes (recorded in Matthew 5) in different versions of the Bible?
The familiar "Blessed are ..... " statements are often replaced by "Happy are ..... " statements.
Let's consider both these translations.

"Blessed" means for one person to be given a compliment or a good recommendation or praise by another - "I was blessed by what he said."
So the "Blessed are ..... " translations are saying that the categories of people mentioned are praised by God, they are commended by him.
For example, "Blessed are the poor in spirit" means "Praised (or, to be praised) are the poor in spirit."

"Happy" means more like "having joyousness springing from within" - I felt so happy when I heard that.
So the "Happy are ..... " translations are saying that the various groups of people mentioned have joy welling up within them, they are (inwardly) joyous or content.
For example, "Happy are the meek" means "Inwardly joyous or content are the meek."

Now which translation option (blessed or happy) is to be preferred?
Clearly both are acceptable as we don't know which of those two meanings Jesus had in mind when he made these statements.
And because I don't know which he had in mind, I'll make my own choice.
I like "happy" better.  Blessed is a bit ethereal or nebulous for me, while happy is more earthy and real.

In any case, if you want to say blessed or commended, the Greeks have a separate word for saying it than the one used in the Beatitudes.
It is "eulogeo," which means to say-well of some one or thing, and looks very much like our English word "eulogise" which means to highly praise someone.
In the Beatitudes, however, "blessed" is a translation of the Greek word "makarion."
And "makarion" conveys the idea of happiness (inward joyfulness), as well as being fortunate or well off.

So I would prefer to leave all the blessing to "eulogeo" and all the happiness to "makarion."

One of the benefits of making this translation choice is found in 1 Timothy 1 : 11.
..... according to the Good News of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Now if we replace "blessed" by "happy," as do at least two literal translations I own, we have Paul telling us that what was committed to his trust was the good news of the glory of the happy God.
The good news which Paul was preaching came from the happy God - that's good news in itself.

That's a better picture than most people have of him - and picturing the happy God is easier for me to do than trying to picture the blessed God.
Seems more real in some way.
What do you think?
Are you worshipping and serving the happy God who has this wonderful plan of reconciliation for the whole world, and has called you to be a minister of it?

Blessings, Barry

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And There's More ......No Timeframe (almost)

Another interesting thing about the Law of Redemption is that there is virtually no time-frame applicable to the people involved.
The law does not say that a person must be redeemed immediately by the close relative, or even within a set time of being sold. 
Any point within the period of bondage is an appropriate time for a person to be redeemed.

But there is one time factor that overrides everything else, supersedes all redemption laws.
It is the Law of Jubilee.
Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years.
Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land.
Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.
The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines.
For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.
In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.
[ Lev 25 : 9 - 13  NIV ]
On this occasion, once every 49 years, all debts were cancelled and all people returned to their own land.
The application of this law prevented debts continuing for ever (which plagues modern society) and prevented everlasting punishment for sin.
This is God's grace in action - in the LAW!
And who said grace was only a New Testament concept?

And for the person sold to a foreign master and unable or unwilling to be redeemed?
Even if they are not redeemed in any of these ways, they and their children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee, for the Israelites belong to me as servants.
They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
[ Lev 25 : 54 -55  NIV ]
There are no debts and no debtors in the land after the Jubilee.
Everyone is free.

It shouldn't be hard to see the application of the Jubilee to the plight of the world - of those who can't or won't be redeemed by their close relative Jesus.
The creation's jubilee is coming.
Every thing and every one will be set free.
As Peter says
Heaven must receive him [Jesus] until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
[  Acts 3 : 21  NIV ]
And Paul
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
[ 1 Cor 15 : 22  NIV ]
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
[ 1 Cor 15 : 26  NIV ]

and Jesus 
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
[ John 8 : 36  NIV ]
No-one remains a debtor to Satan at the Jubilee of God's creation.  Wow !!
G.R.A.C.E. is what I call it.

Blessings, Barry

More Leviticus Thoughts

Some more thoughts on the speck of gospel gold we found in Leviticus 25 : 47 - 55.

It seems that there were some choices available to the "players" in the redemption game.
The rich foreigner, the one sold and the close relative all had decisions to make.

The rich foreigner, or creditor, could choose whether to enslave his debtor or not, or whether he would just give him more time to pay his debt.
He does not have the option, however, to decide whether or not to allow the slave to be redeemed (provided that the proposed redeemer is a close relative and has the required payment.)

The one sold, or debtor, could choose whether to allow his close relative to free him or not.
He may think he is better off with the master he has, than working for an unpleasant or over-demanding or less generous relative.

The close relative, or redeemer, could choose (providing he had enough money) whether to redeem his kinsman or not.
Although the redeemed would be required to now work for him, he may decide that is not good value for the money he might invest.

All of them have choices they can make, but only within the limits imposed by a greater law, called the Law of Jubilee.
(We'll discuss this greater, over-arching law in the next posting.)
So each of them has "limited freewill" - a brilliant oxymoron I just love to toss into these discussions.

In the broader picture, the application of Israeli life is most interesting.
As Paul suggests, what happened to them is a model or example or pattern for what God is doing universally.

The rich foreigner is Satan who has placed all of mankind into bondage to himself.
He had the choice whether to do this or not, but clearly he chose to capture Adam and all of his "estate."
He also has no choice but to free those in bondage, when the close relative redeemer arrives and pays the price.

The debtor is mankind, some of whom have chosen to be redeemed by their brother, and others who cannot or will not be redeemed.
Those who have chosen to be redeemed are required to serve their redeemer instead of their task master, their creditor.

The close relative is Jesus, who did choose to redeem all who were in bondage to Satan.

The story of the Old Testament and New is much the same.
The same God of grace operates consistently through all the ages - which is a bit of a surprise for many people.

Blessings, Barry

Monday, October 31, 2011

Leviticus has Specks of Gospel Gold?

Most of us view Leviticus as a boring, irrelevant read.
And so it is - if you read with your spiritual antenna dismantled.
But look what I found in Chapter 25.  The Law of Redemption.

There are several aspects to this law, but verses 47 - 55 really caught my attention.
Let's start with verses 47 - 48.
If a foreigner residing among you becomes rich and any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to the foreigner or to a member of the foreigner's clan, they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves.
One of their relatives may redeem them.
[ Lev 25 : 47 - 48  NIV ]

Does this look very exciting to you?
Just hang in there - I think this might sneak into Chapter 4 in the book eventually.

Notice that a wealthy friend or some other well-to-do citizen can't redeem the sold person, only a close relative can.
That's the law - God's law.

Now what does that have to do with us?
Have you ever wondered why God came to this planet as flesh and blood to redeem us, rather than as an angel or in some other spiritual form?
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might ....... free those who all their lives were held in slavery .....
For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way .....
[ Hebrews 2 : 14 - 17  NIV ]

He came as the fully human Jesus so that he would qualify as a close relative of those he came to rescue.
God lives by his own law.
He could not rescue us any other way.
Only a close relative could demand the release of those sold in debt or poverty or slavery.

Hallelujah!  Isn't that something?
Blessings, Barry
(I'll post some more on the remaining verses soon.)

The Giant Sudoku

This is a short section from Chapter TWO of the book.
Because some stuff that comes before it is relevant but missing in this post, it might not be as useful to you as it could be.  
But I thought it was worth sharing with you anyway, as it is part of my explanation of how God's sovereignty and man's "freewill" can co-exist, and this is always a challenge for thinking Christians to get their minds around.  This co-existence I have called The Magic Combo earlier in the chapter.

Isabel loves solving Sudoku puzzles (and I'm known to enjoy them pretty frequently too).
It occurs to me that these are another example of the Magic Combo we have been discussing.
Each puzzle has a designer and players.
The designer creates the puzzle, determines its end result and sets the rules to be used in its solution.
As such, the designer builds the fence inside which the players must remain to enjoy and solve the puzzle he/she has created.
The rules are written in negative form (you must not have the same numeral in any one row, column or region) as were the rules for the behaviour for the management team in our corporate governance-management model above.

Although there is only one correct solution or end result for each puzzle, players can work towards that in any way they choose - as long as they keep to the rules.
Within these limits, they are free to make a wide range of decisions and use a variety of strategies.
They have “limited freewill.”  (There's that term again.)
They can guess, follow clues logically, backtrack, erase the work done so far, start again, or any combination of these.
They can even put it aside for a time and come back to it sometime later.

But the correct solution never changes, nor do the rules, no matter what the player does.
The designer is sovereign, and all players must submit to his/her sovereignty.

Within the puzzle itself there are clues to help fill in the blanks and reach the goal.
And there is usually a rescue plan in place for those who can't make it on their own.
If the puzzle is in a book, there might be hints or the final solution in the back.
If the puzzle is attempted online, hints and prompts are readily available with the click of a mouse button.
One way or another, it is possible for every player to achieve the end result, although they may take different routes and different amounts of time.

We happily accept there is only one solution; we happily accept there are rules that cannot be broken; we happily accept the challenge the designer has set before us.
That's just the way things are!

As is life.
God is sovereign, the Designer, who has decided on the end result and set the rules for getting there.
Mankind can make choices and decisions like a Sudoku player, but in the end, there is only one result and the same rules apply to all players.
And thankfully, there is a rescue plan in place for those who can't or won't get to that result during their lifetime on the planet.

Blessings, Barry

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Acts 3 : 21

One of my favourite GRACE verses is Acts 3 : 21.
It addresses both God's purpose and some elements of his timing in achieving that purpose.
Heaven must receive Jesus until the time when everything will be restored as God promised through his holy prophets long ago.
[ GW ]
It was this verse that first got me started on a hunt through the Old Testament to see how far back God started talking about his plan to restore all things.
One of the first clues I bumped into was 2 Samuel 14 : 14.
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die.
But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.
[ NIV ]
We might be banished or disappear from this planet, but will not be banished from God.
He has plans to keep in touch with us.

Another was Psalm 22 : 27 - 29.
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations shall worship before You.
For the kingdom is the LORD's, And He rules over the nations.
All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive.
Both the affluent and the poor, the alive and the dead, will all worship the Lord.

And what about this in Psalm 65 : 2?
You who answer prayer, to you all people will come.
[ NIV ]

And Lamentations 3 :  31 - 32.
For the Lord will not reject us forever.
Though he causes us grief, he then has compassion on us according to the abundance of his loyal kindness.
[ NET ]

And there are stacks more.
So this idea of GRACE - God Reconciles All Creation Eventually - is not a Plan B.
This was part of God's plan right from the beginning.

The more I study this, the more excited and appreciative I become.
Blessings, Barry

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Romans 11 : 36

Paul concludes his little essay in Romans chapters 9 - 11 on the history, condition and future of Israel with
"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be glory forever."
[ Romans 11 : 33 - 36   ESV]
Some translations have "for him are all things" rather than "to him are all things."
That sentence
"For from him and through him and to (or for) him are all things."
has become my mantra in recent years.

The Message translation says it this way.
"Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him."
That truth has now permeated my whole being.
Everything I see, hear, read and think about is filtered through this speck of gospel gold.
It helps me keep God's overall purpose and plan in perspective so that I can more easily see isolated events and circumstances as consistent parts of God's big picture.

"To him be glory forever."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Specks of Gospel Gold

Hi Team.
Will I ever finish writing this book? 
I sure hope so.  
It's message has totally consumed my thinking, completely changed my outlook and will be such wonderful, freeing news to so many.

Nevertheless, I have explained so many times how I become distracted, not just with the events of life around me, but with exploring the new insights God is giving me as I spend so much more time these days reading and digesting his word.

Each new discovery or glimpse of new light usually captures my attention so much that I go hunting it down with single-focussed enthusiasm.
Many of these are confirmations of possibilities I have shared with you before - like the fact that at the Great White Throne all unbelievers will become believers, so that the Lake of Fire receives those who are believers whose names are NOT in the Book of Life.
But some of them are brand new thoughts like the discovery of TWO gospels, not just one as I had always believed.

The book-writing is definitely still happening, but more slowly, as I mentioned recently when I unhooked myself from the advertised time schedule for it. 

And you will have noticed that postings to the Blog have become quite rare.
Two reasons.
1.  All my recent writing has gone into the draft for the book.
2.  I haven't shared any of the distractions with you.

So that the Blog will not become completely deserted, I have decided to share some of these distractions with you - not as long epistles, but as small specks of Gospel Gold that I am discovering or wanting to brainstorm about.

As always your feedback is most welcome. 
Your email notification of a new posting or comment is an unformatted, unstyled version of what changed on the Blog, but should not be used to send me your feedback.
I just ask that all (non-personal) feedback be made as a Comment on the Blogsite so that all readers can enjoy the full discussion between us.

I'll probably get the first one up this week.
If you're not interested in these "extras", just delete the email announcing their arrival.
I'll still love you and appreciate your fellowship and feedback.  :-)

Blessings, Barry

Friday, October 7, 2011

Change of Pace

Hi Everyone.
For some time I've been working towards finishing the manuscript of the book by the end of the year so that it can be published early next year.
And I would still dearly love this to be so.
But I have to be real.

Events and other circumstances keep drawing me away from the desk, and my drive to keep to my schedule of completing a new chapter for you to look at every few weeks is putting at risk the need to be thorough in my research and thinking before I finalise what I write.

Today, I have decided that I must change that priority.
The need to be thorough in my writing must come first - regardless of how long it takes to get the job done.
People are going to be more influenced by what they read than by how long was taken to write it.
And what ends up in print is going to be around for a long time, and unable to be changed, so it must not be the product of hasty work.

I will continue to post chapters at as they are completed, and I will continue to be grateful for your critical comments on them. (I have had some great feedback from the bits already posted, so please keep that coming - it is so helpful.)

Blessings, Barry

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Here's Chapter ONE

Hi Everyone
Thanks so much for your feedback from the Preface and Introduction.

I have now posted Chapter 1 for you to read and review for me.
It is at

Some of it will be familiar to you if you've been reading the blogsite regularly.
And that will be true for other chapters as well. 
The blogsite is used by me to try out ideas on you and get your feedback in small bits before those bits become parts of a chapter.

So your candid feedback is always appreciated on the blogsite as well as the on draft chapters that are now being posted at

I am hoping to get the draft of Chapter 2 ready for you to review by the end of the month.
But life is so busy when you've retired   ;-)    ...... but that's my aim.

Thanks again.
Blessings, Barry

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You can start reading the book - at last !

Hi Everyone.
After writing for non-Christians,and then re-writing for Christians, and then re-writing for the non-churched and ex-churched, I have decided to write for all of these groups together and hope that whoever reads the book will find themselves engaged by it.

So, after lots of fiddling around, I am ready to give you the draft manuscript of the book, bit by bit, and ask for your earnest and honest critiques in the hope that it will be finished its "peer review" by Christmas (you are the peers) and I can look at publishing it and completing the website early next year.

The preface is available at 
and the introduction at

Let me know if you have any difficulty getting either of these and I will email you a separate copy.

My plan is to put each draft chapter up at similar locations every two weeks or so, beginning with Chapter1 in mid September. I will let you know when each draft reaches its destination through this blog site.

Thank you for your love and patience.
I will really appreciate your corrections, criticism and suggestions as you review each piece that is posted.

Blessings, Barry.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Law of Gravitation

(Haven't decided whether to put this into Chapter 1 - "God Loves Us" or into Chapter 4 - "Jesus is the Saviour of the World".  As always your opinions, views, criticisms are most welcome.)

I enjoy reading science. 
Although my science degree (from 50 years ago) is in Physics, I like to keep in touch with where mankind is up to in appreciating and understanding God's wonderful creation in other areas as well - like chemistry, biology, geology and astronomy.
So please indulge me and let me digress a little to talk some science.

Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation states that any two objects exert a gravitational force of attraction on each other.
The direction of that force is from the centre of one object to the centre of the other.
The size of the force is determined by the size of the objects and their distance apart.
For any two particular objects the force on one is the same as the force on the other, but the effect of that force will be more visible on the smaller object.

Let me illustrate by considering the earth and me.
We attract each other with a force of about 800 “force units” (in the metric measurement system).
If I step off the top of a building, remove the “obstacle” between me and the earth, this force causes us to come together quite rapidly. 
But which one of us does the moving?
The force of 800 force units is not enough to get the earth moving towards me, but it sure moves me towards the earth.
So, small objects will move towards, and may eventually collide with, large objects because the force of attraction between them gets the smaller one moving more easily.

So why this digression?
I knew you'd be wondering by now.

I see the law of love working in the same way as the law of gravitation.
They are both universal laws put in place by God - one in the physical realm and one in the spiritual.
In the universal law of love, God is the big object and mankind is the small one. 
There is a love force of attraction between God and us whose direction is from the centre or heart of God to our centres or hearts.
That force is always acting so that when obstacles between us and God are reduced or removed, we will start moving towards God - and will eventually meet him, be united with him.

Jesus referred to this when he said that he would draw all people to himself.
It might take a while, it might need lots of obstacles to be removed, maybe reduced bit by bit, but eventually all people will meet him and be united with him.

Love to hear from you on this (or anything else for that matter)  Barry

Friday, August 12, 2011

Evolution is Deadly

In Chapter Four of THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT GOD I talk about Jesus being the Saviour of the world.
In discussing this, I assume the position that sin is a fact and that a Saviour is therefore necessary.

My recent thinking about atheism and evolution have made me realise that a growing proportion of people do not make these assumptions. 
Why not?

The TV vision of the recent London riots and associated criminality alone should give everyone a clue that sin is rampant in our world.
Yet, many are still blind to its existence or its relevance to their lives.

One of the reasons for this, I believe, is the growing saturation of our secondary science curricula and media presentations with evolutionary indoctrination.
Here's a simple example.
In our monthly RACV magazine, a medical doctor writes a column on some aspect of public health.
In this month's edition, he was promoting the health virtues associated with swimming and began the column entitled "In the Swim" with "Once we were fish and then most of us stopped swimming."
No wonder hordes of us believe the evolutionary story is true.

Even many Christians think that evolution is only a side issue and can be believed alongside their basic Christian beliefs.
But consider this .....
If evolution is true then
  there was no Adam and Eve created by God,
  there was no original sin in the Garden,
  there is no need for a Saviour,
  there is no need to be reconciled to God.

And being unreconciled to God is the definition of death - no life ..... in the kingdom.
But Christian faith leads to life, life in the kingdom age, so how can these two positions be compatible?

I am going to try to work this in to Chapter 4 in some way - not as a major point but as a passing comment to get readers to think a bit about this area while they are reading about Jesus being the Saviour of the world.
Any comments good people?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Atheism is Stupid

In Chapter Two of THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT GOD (my working title for the upcoming book) I talk about the sovereignty of God, how God is in total control of everything.
In discussing this, I assume the position that God does in fact exist.
Although I don't want to get into a debate on the existence of God in this book, I thought I might use the theme of this chapter to point out the stupidity of atheism, and a couple of consequences of holding such a position.

Atheism is considered to be a non-religious position, the non-belief in a God or deity.
But atheists generally are very committed to TWO religions, two belief systems of their own. 
A cursory reading of evolutionary literature quickly demonstrates that the theory of evolution is a belief system which is held with more passion than most Christians hold to their belief system.  
Although it is promoted as a science, the theory of evolution is certainly not a science as it cannot be even demonstrated experimentally, let alone proven by scientific practice.

And humanism is the second religion of atheists, the belief system that promotes humanity as the sovereign deity and only saviour of this planet.

I find it interesting that these two religions oppose each other yet are held by the same people.
Let me illustrate.
Evolution says that we all appeared as a result of natural, random processes.
So our minds, our most prized possessions, are controlled by physical laws, and our thoughts, feelings and emotions are just the result of chemical reactions. (see comment below)
We can't take credit for anything we do or think or feel or decide.
These all happen the way they do because of the way we are, the way we have evolved.
We are no more in control of ourselves or of our behaviors than is a cog in a wheel or a rock on a hill.
We just do what is consistent with the way we happened to end up in the evolutionary process.

Humanism, on the other hand, says that we have the capacity and brilliance to determine and control the future of mankind, including solving all its problems..
That's aiming a bit high for a cog or a rock, don't you think?

If we follow the atheism/evolution connection further we would also come to some other interesting, but demeaning, conclusions.
Since no-one is responsible for who they are or for what they can do, all behaviour is just part of the package we have become.
A loving hug is the same as an act of murder; the skilled person is exactly the same as the unskilled - all are the result of random, undirected processes over which we had or have no control.
Everyone is just doing what they are made to do, what they "just have to do" because of who they have become.

What meaning is there in a life explained by an atheist or evolutionist?
We are just robots doing what the particular mix of physical and chemical bits that was our lot determine we should do.

No wonder people brought up on a diet of atheism/evolution have no hope, see no future, see no purpose in life.
How could they?

Guys and Gals, I would be very interested to get some solid feedback on this blog.
Talk to me please.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

'ere Cum Da Judge

Crime is rampant in our society and we are pleased to see criminals apprehended and dealt with appropriately.
Our motives in seeing this happen are mixed. 
Some of us want criminals taken off the streets, some want revenge, some want justice, some want criminals rehabilitated and restored to society, and some want a cocktail of several of these.

Let's see what happens.
A crime is committed, the alleged offender is apprehended and brought to trial.
Evidence is presented and the judge makes his decision.
If the accused is found to be innocent, he is set free and continues life in the community.
If the accused is found to be guilty, he is taken away and given a suitable punishment.

Now what happens to this guilty offender?
He is first of all taken away - removed from society. 
This frees the community from his offensive behaviour and influence, which is beneficial, both for the community and for the criminal. 
The community no longer has to suffer the consequences of his actions and the criminal is prevented from getting deeper into a life of crime which will have even more severe consequences.

Secondly, the criminal is punished. 
Although many people see this punishment as revenge or justice, so that the offended members of society are avenged for their loss and heartache, it is much more than that.
The punishment is also designed to rid him of his anti-social behaviour and attitudes, so that eventually he can re-enter society as a changed person and make a positive contribution to the life of the community.

I appreciate this doesn't always happen, but surely that's the plan.
Indeed it's the same plan God uses.

Jesus is the Judge and the court convenes at the Great White Throne.
Evidence is presented of the life story of each person.
Those found guilty at this judgement will be taken to be changed of their behaviours and attitudes so they can be reinstated into God's kingdom.
The Bible describes this process like a lake of fire which God uses to purify and change the hearts and behaviours of those who have not had those changes made by the Holy Spirit previously.

Eventually all will be changed, by the Holy Spirit or the lake of fire, and made fit to enter eternity at the end of the ages.
What we attempt to do with our legal systems on earth, God does perfectly in the heavens.
All of us, no matter how wicked or rebellious or immoral, will be rehabilitated and reinstated in the family of God.  We will all live in fellowship and harmony with God and with the rest of his family in eternity.

How will the lake of fire do its work?
I have no idea, but I would like to think it will work much like the pig pen worked for the prodigal son in the story Jesus told (as recorded in Luke 15).

The prodigal in his remote and horrid circumstances realised that even his father's employees were far better off than he was, and decided to go home, be reconciled to his father and offer to work for him. 
What he knew of his father, his love and his father's household drew him back to his father.

Those found rebellious and unreconciled to God at the Great White Throne judgement will eventually realise that even the least in God's kingdom are far better off than they are and will decide to go home, be reconciled to God and offer to serve him.

God's love, demonstrated so vividly on the cross, will eventually “compel” everyone to be reconciled to God.
All the world's prodigals from all generations and ages will eventually want to be reconciled to the Father and so God's plan for the universe will be achieved.

Jesus will then have completed his mission as “the Saviour of the world” and will have drawn all people to him as he promised he would.

Blessings, Barry

Friday, June 17, 2011

Recent Progress - book, web and blog

Hi Everyone.

As you will have seen I haven't posted anything for quite a while.
Sorry for the delay.
Have been on holidays in NT and had some family opportunities to pursue.
Have been engaged in some interesting discussions by email and face-to-face with non-Christians, calvinists and other Christians, which has been envigorating and relevant to the subject of the book, but has not added anything to it. Indeed, I have used material from the book drafts in these discussions to advantage.
And I will be going to QLD soon for several weeks.

Nevertheless the book is progressing, as is the website to accompany it.
Have now decided the book has to be readable by anyone, so I have cut it down tremendously and am putting the 'meatier' discussions (theological and philosophical) on the website for those who want to pursue them.

Most chapters are drafted, but I probably won't get the chance to tidy them up and make them available to you  until after I return home in early August.

Blessings to you all.
Will catch up with some of you on my QLD travels soon.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Peter's Personal Experience

Peter, James and John formed an executive of sorts of the disciples that closely followed Jesus when He was on earth and they shared some very special times and ministry experiences with Him.

John instinctively knew God's love for him - he wrote about it often.
Peter knew it too, but had to go through a dreadful experience to be sure of it.

Not long after declaring that Jesus was the Messiah and watching the crowds celebrating Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, Peter assured Jesus that no matter what happened there, he would stand by his Messiah, even to the point of death.

Disastrously, Peter did not keep his promise.  He denied even knowing Jesus when the real pressure was on.  In fact he denied knowing Jesus three times - hardly a careless once-off slip. 

Jesus was crucified and buried and three days later rose from the dead.

According to Mark's record, three women went to Jesus' tomb and discovered Jesus no longer there. An angel told them He had risen and that they were to go and report this to the disciples and Peter.

Have you ever wondered why Peter was singled out?  He was already included in "the disciples" the angel referred to, so why was special mention made of him?

I think the angel was saying, "Tell the disciples everything is OK.  Jesus is risen.   And especially tell Peter, his failure to stand by Jesus has had no permanent effect.  Tell him it's all OK."

John recorded the time later on when Jesus personally caught up with Peter.  Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him and three times Jesus reinstated and recommissioned Peter to ministry in the future - once for each time Peter denied knowing Him.

That ministry commenced a few weeks later on the Day of Pentecost.  Peter's first sermon in the new Christian era, accompanied by a spectacular show of God's presence and power, saw God adding 3000 to those being saved at that time.

Regardless of Peter's previous performance, Jesus showed He still loved him, and was prepared to trust the beginnings of the Christian era to his leadership. 

God loves us even when we fail Him.  God is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to him. 

The Bible shows us over and over that God is always in the reinstating, restoring and recommissioning business.  Even for those who have previously denied Him.

That's the sort of God I can worship and serve.
Blessings, Barry