If Christians are a new creation, why isn’t everything perfect?

If Christians are a new creation, why isn’t everything perfect? I ask the question because of today’s Verse of the Day, from YouVersion. It says we are a new creation. The old is gone. The new is here. It sounds so exciting! So how come things aren’t perfect? For that matter, how come little or nothing seems to have changed? Is the verse wrong?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

If Christians are a new creation, why isn’t everything perfect?

See what I mean?

What’s the problem?

Why isn’t everything perfect?

Well, there are several reasons.

Continue reading “If Christians are a new creation, why isn’t everything perfect?”

For I have put my trust in you

I hate New Year’s resolutions. But on this last day of 2020, I was reading the verse of the day from YouVersion. It fits something I was thinking about earlier. So who knows – will this turn into something “regular”? Time will tell.

Ps 143:8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.

For I have put my trust in you

For I have put my trust in you

It’s easy to trust when the sun is out.

But what about during a storm?

We read that verse from Psalm 143, and it sounds so good.

And yet, here’s what it meant to me this morning:

Continue reading “For I have put my trust in you”

Merry Christmas? or Blessed Christmas?

Here in the U.S. the push is for Christians to say Merry Christmas. Actually, it’s more of a push by Christians to make everyone say Merry Christmas? But is that even appropriate, for various reasons? One of which is the word merry. Isn’t blessed, as in “have a Blessed Christmas”, much better?

merry christmas or blessed christmas

Merry Christmas or Blessed Christmas

(The fully formatted version of this post is at https://godversusreligion.com/merry-christmas-or-blessed-christmas/)

Should we, Christians, be saying Merry Christmas or Blessed Christmas?

Merry portrays having a good time. Blessed is more like to be thought of as something from God. Although, even with blessed, the word is becoming less and less about God.

But think about Christmas. For instance, look at What Christmas is not (and is). To Christians, Christmas is, or should be, about the birth of Jesus Christ. The son of God. Even more than that, the birth of Immanuel. God with us. God. Come to earth to be with His people as one of us!

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Mt 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Mt 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Mt 1:22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

Mt 1:24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Yes – 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

But there’s more than that. So much more. For some more on that thought, please check out Why does Christmas matter?

21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

And while that may be cause for celebrating, it’s also cause for reflection. For mourning. And for change.

Reflection, because we really should consider the fact that it was necessary for God Himself to come to earth to save us from our sins against Him.

Mourning, when we realize all the things every one of us that made what we are “celebrating” on this Holy Day.

Change, because after the realization and the mourning, we should want to stop sinning, as much as we can. Of course, this only comes with the power of God.

Is Christmas all there is?

No, Christmas isn’t all there is. The birth of Jesus, God with us, is an awesome event. And it should, in the right context, be celebrated. But there is, as I hinted above, so much more. I invite you to read Why is Christmas so scary? What it’s really about. for more on that topic.

After the Blessed Christmas comes Good Friday.

There’s what we call “Good Friday”. The day when Jesus was crucified. Jesus’ birth was a necessary prerequisite for Good Friday. Death isn’t possible without birth. Jesus, God, paying the price for all our sins was accomplished on that day.

The death of an ordinary person couldn’t have paid the debt we’ve all built up with our sins. Only the death of Jesus, the second member of the Trinity, could pay that price. The death of Jesus was necessary. However, by itself, the birth of Immanuel, God with us, doesn’t pay the price for our sins.

After the Blessed Christmas and Good Friday comes Easter.

Another Christian Holiday. This one turned into bunny rabbits that somehow deliver marshmallow chickens and chocolate eggs.

But think about it. Easter. Resurrection day. From a Christian perspective. Jesus came to earth. Jesus died on the cross. If that was the end, then yes, our sins were paid for. And yet, without the Resurrection, the end result is still death. For more on that, please see Which is more important – Christmas or Easter?

Both physically and spiritually, since neither of the following two events took place yet.

After the Blessed Christmas, Good Friday and Easter comes Ascension Day.

I wonder how many, other than Catholics, even know about Ascension Day. It’s important.

With the birth of Immanuel, God – in the person of Jesus – arrives on this earth.
On Good Friday, God, in the person of Jesus, suffers and dies on the cross. Our sins are paid for.
On Resurrection Day, God, in the person of Jesus, rises from the dead.

But think about what that means. Yes, Jesus is alive again. But He’s still here on earth. If He can’t return to Heaven, then how can our salvation and return to God be completed? It can’t. That’s what Ascension Day accomplishes. Jesus’ return to Heaven. Return to the Father.

And that whole sequence shows He can do the same for us. Our salvation now has a path. One we know God can accomplish.

Conclusion – Merry Christmas? or Blessed Christmas?

So what do you think? Should we, as Christians, be saying Merry Christmas, or is Have a Blessed Christmas much more in line with why we celebrate this Holy Day? And not only this one Holy Day, but the other three after it.

Trees & truck Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Nativity Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay

How can I leave you again?

Do you remember the song, How can I leave you again? It’s by John Denver. From back in the ’70s.

Di di di di di la la la la la la
In a spaceship over the mountains
Chasing rainbows in the setting sun
Leaving heart and home for the city of angels
I feel my life is undone

There are pathways winding below me
In pleasure I’ve gone where they go
In the quiet stillness I can hear symphonies
The loveliest music I know

How can I leave you again
I must be clear out of my mind
Lost in a storm I’ve gone blind
Oh, how can I leave you again

Oh, it’s been a long time since I’ve listened
Still longer since I’ve walked with you
For the first time I know what I’m missing
Some answers are no longer true

So I question the course that I follow
I’m doubtful and deep in despair
My heart is full of impossible notions
Can it be you no longer care?

How can I leave you again
I must be clear out of my mind
Lost in a storm I’ve gone blind
Oh, how can I leave you again

How can I leave you again
I must be clear out of my mind
Lost in a storm I’ve gone blind
Oh, how can I leave you again

We probably think of that as some person we’ve known.
And went back to.

But have you ever looked at the song with God as the One we’ve known?
And Gone back to?

You know, it actually does work. The lyrics tell the story.

You can check out how at https://godversusreligion.com/how-can-i-leave-you-again

See if it isn’t true for you.

If you’ve known God and left Him, it might give you a reason to return.

If you know God, but haven’t left Him, it might give you reasons to hang on when things get tough.

If you don’t understand why Christians can feel so strongly about God, maybe it’ll give some insight.

And if you’ve known God, left Him, and returned again, you’ll really get it. And understand why it’s something we really don’t want to do yet again!

It’s real. It’s true. It’s part of my story.

Does anybody notice when a healthcare worker dies of COVID?

Google doesn’t even know the answer to that question. It’s known that ten’s of thousands of healthcare workers have died from COVID. But the actual number is certainly much higher, because the numbers aren’t tracked.

But I wonder, how many people go about their daily lives, doing things they say are their “constitutional right” or “god-given right”, or whatever, without the slightest thought as to the destruction they’re bringing to healthcare workers, their families, loved ones and friends.

As someone who has several friends in healthcare, it’s something on my mind. A lot.

Here’s an excerpt from the article, A healthcare worker dies from COVID. Does anybody notice?

When you want out to eat at a crowded restaurant, you probably didn’t think about that. And when you went to that party, you maybe didn’t even care. When you refuse to wear a mask, you’re maybe telling healthcare workers that you just plain don’t care about them. I could go on, but I hope you get the point. Of course, I also know full well that some of you are cursing me now. Denying everything I’m writing.

And yet – I know it’s true. I’m living it. It’s very sad. I lose sleep over it. But you know what? I’m not the one who notices the most.

If this touches you at all, I encourage you to check out the entire article.

You know what? Even if it makes you mad and feel like I’m talking about you being one of the selfish people – I also encourage you to go check it out. Maybe it’s even especially for you.

If you already care, I hope this helps reinforce your feelings.

If you don’t care, I pray this might spur you on to start caring.

Have you ever thought about why some Christians don’t seem to know God?

It’s a question that must come to a lot of people – Christians and non-Christians alike. I know for me, as a Christian, it’s a concern both ways. Why some Christians appear to act like they don’t know God. And wondering if non-Christians don’t want to know God because they have strong misconceptions about God.

There are lots of reasons for this happening, but …

Continue reading “Have you ever thought about why some Christians don’t seem to know God?”

Dealing with COVID restrictions – do you follow Darwin – or God?

Have you ever thought about how you’re dealing with life in a COVID world? I heard a restaurant owner on the news this morning talking about Darwin and COVID. He was talking about how Darwin didn’t say that the strongest survive. Rather, Darwin said it was the most adaptable who survive. And this particular person wanted to be one of the adaptable ones who survive.

Darwin and Covid

There is, of course, a problem with that. Well, a few problems. The first one is that Darwin never actually said it was the most adaptable who survive!

Continue reading “Dealing with COVID restrictions – do you follow Darwin – or God?”

Can religion, society and the government fit together?

Should religion, society and the government fit together? I know – the title says “can”. But as soon as I typed it, I thought “should” is a better question. But I left the title as it is, because lots of people are trying to make religion, society, and government all fit together.

And yes, to some extent it can happen. Just look at China for an example. Not that it’s working out well, especially for religion. But it is being forced by their atheist Communist government.

The thing is, it’s also happening here in the U.S.

Continue reading “Can religion, society and the government fit together?”

Is Christian transformation still a thing?

Is Christian transformation still a thing? Do we still believe in it? Maybe even more important, do we still even expect it? Or, have we truly reached the point where someone says the sinner’s prayer, and we’re instantly a complete Christian?

I ask this question because of the Presidential election. You may have seen that President Trump just changed his affiliation to non-denominational. I asked in What happened to Christian transformation – becoming more Christ-like? whether that was because of a life-changing event. You know, was it a real Christian Transformation? Or was it something else?

I fear it’s something else. That it’s more about getting votes than about a real transformation. It’s sad. And it’s especially sad that so many Christians, especially white Evangelical Christians, fall for this.

A wrote Pop Tart Christians quite a while back. It talks about our growth as Christians. We don’t just say some “magic” words, which aren’t even in the Bible, and become instant Christians. That goes for a president as well as for the rest of us.

We all need that growth. We need to experience testing. Then respond appropriately. You know – like a Christian that’s following what Jesus taught, rather than what our first instinct as people of a fallen world would respond.

Continue reading “Is Christian transformation still a thing?”

New Barna Survey Finds 1 in 3 Christians Stopped Attending Online or In-Person Church Services During Pandemic — CBN News feeds

The Barna Group released a new survey looking at the changes among church attendance after the COVID-19 pandemic grew in the US. The result: Research…

New Barna Survey Finds 1 in 3 Christians Stopped Attending Online or In-Person Church Services During Pandemic — CBN News feeds

Check out the stats from this https://www.barna.com/research/new-sunday-morning-part-2/site. It’s very disappointing and worrisome.

Things like this are why I’m doing the series on the lack of in-person church services and how we can view what’s happening through the lens of the Old Testament book of Lamentations.

But still, we need to add Jesus to that picture. As N. T. Wright wrote, in God and The Pandemic:

This provides a vital answer to the question which lies behind a lot of the speculation and argument about how to apply the Bible to great and disturbing events of our own time. The New Testament insists that we put Jesus at the centre of the picture and work outwards from there. The minute we find ourselves looking at the world around us and jumping to conclusions about God and what he might be doing, but without looking carefully at Jesus, we are in serious danger of forcing through an ‘interpretation’ which might look attractive—it might seem quite ‘spiritual’ and awe-inspiring—but which actually screens Jesus out of the picture. As the old saying has it, if he is not Lord of all, he is not Lord at all.

Part 1 of the series is at did you miss in-person services.

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