God has defeated death!

This week we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and we must ask ourselves, “Why is this so important, and what is the relevance to us?”  Why is a reported event that took place nearly 2000 years ago so earth shattering?  If we believe that Jesus was who he said he was, nothing could bring more hope to the human race than God himself dying as a human being but defeating death and promising the same for us.

For centuries death has always been mankind’s final enemy. Frankly, we are all mortal and will, one day, die. But something within us rebels and says , “There must be more to it than that”. As a christian, and follower of Jesus Christ, I have a hope in a future resurrection. Is this hope well founded or is it just wishful thinking? I hope, in this article, to state why I can be so convinced that my hope in a future resurrection is based on the reality of what happened to the one I follow, Jesus Christ.

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All creation waits on tiptoe

What is in store for this wonderful universe which we call home.  Some scientists say that eventually the stars will be so spaced out that our sky will be dark and that the stars will dim as they run out of energy. eartrise2All matter will approach absolute zero in temperature, all life will have long since disappeared.  Everything around us decays. Life ends in death.

And yet the Bible gives us a very different picture.  Apparently there is hope for creation itself to be delivered from its bondage to decay. What does this mean in practice?  This slightly speculative article seeks to explore the possibility of a new or renewed act of creation that gives us, and all of creation with us, a hope for a better and glorious future.

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Resurrection. Truth or Lie?

heisrisenFor centuries death has always been mankind’s final enemy. Frankly, we are all mortal and will, one day, die. But something within us rebels and says , “There must be more to it than that”. As a christian, and follower of Jesus Christ, I have a hope in a future resurrection. Is this hope well founded or is it just wishful thinking? I hope, in this article, to state why I can be so convinced that my hope in a future resurrection is based on the reality of what happened to the one I follow, Jesus Christ.

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Tell the nations that love has won

carillonChristine and I belong to a choir.  We have just held a number of Christmas concerts and we sang this carol among others. It starts with typical words about Christmas bells and “Peace on earth”.   The carol goes on to say:

“Tell the nations that love has won”

But then suddenly comes this verse:

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth”, I said,
“for hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, goodwill to men”.

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Faith: a window to God

sun room windowFaith is like a window. We can think of a window in many ways.  We could concentrate on the construction, the design, the curtains, the glass but fail to realise that the purpose of a window is to actually look out and enjoy the view.  A window brings the outside in and exposes the inside to the outside.

Faith is a window which enables us to see God clearly and enables us to have a direct relationship with him.  God can also see us clearly and yet because of his great love for us does not look upon our imperfections.

Religion, on the other hand, can prevent us from really seeing God.  We argue about the window style, and say that unless our window conforms in construction or rituals it is inferior or even not a window at all.  Religion puts obstacles in the way of seeing God.  It makes rules and regulations and says that unless we conform we cannot know God. [Read more…]

What is wrong with Religion?

religions
When I was a child I attended Christian churches, which, although they preached the good news of the Gospel, nevertheless taught that we had to strive all of our lives to please God and conform to certain rules.  So I was taught not to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, visit the cinema or to dance.  We had turned Jesus into a religion.

Now we can drink as long as we don’t get drunk, and we can even dance in church.  However there is still a risk of encouraging religion by expecting people to conform to our standards and rules.

For two thousand years, we have turned the good news into a religion.  The process started with the early church when some were told they needed to be circumcised to really be saved.  Others were told that they mustn’t eat meat which had been used as an offering to other religions.  Others were side-lined into worshipping angels. Some tried to reconcile the Old Testament law with their new-found faith. [Read more…]

Resurrection

Vision refreshedFor thousands of years humans of all cultures and all races have acknowledged the inevitability of physical death but have refused to accept that this event is the end of personal existence.  Almost all religions and tribal mythologies have some concept of an afterlife.  Only recently have atheists and humanists rejected the idea that there is any other form of existence for us.  I suspect that the hardest problem with accepting an atheistic world view is giving up the hope of resurrection.

There is an old saying, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes”.  In the natural world, life and death are fundamental to existence.  Jesus said,

“I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds”.

Our physical bodies consist of about 7*1027 atoms (that’s a 7 followed by 27 zeros!) or seven billion billion billion atoms.  These atoms do not really belong to us, they are constantly being replenished and eventually have to be given up to the ground, and then to produce other life.

But we are not just flesh and blood.  The real you, and the real me, is the breath that God breathed into us; what we call our spirits.  The hope and the certainty of resurrection is that even though our bodies die, our spirit can live on for ever.  Death, mankind’s oldest enemy, was defeated when Jesus as the Son of God, died a terrible death on the cross but three days later was resurrected, bringing hope to us all.  The Spirit of God, alive in Jesus, made it impossible for him to stay dead.  That same Spirit of God, alive in us, means that we too have the hope of resurrection (see Romans 8:11). [Read more…]

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