Atheist bus ads follow up…

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the British atheist bus ads having the slogan, “There’s probably no God.  So stop worrying and enjoy your life.”  In that post I made the comment that I thanked those folks responsible for the bus ads because I knew it was putting God into the mainstream news and that this would allow Him to shine His light and reveal the truth.  Get caught up on the story here: Thrown Under the Bus  Well, Sunday at Time Magazine’s online publication the latest news is allowing God to do just that.  http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1877658,00.html

Several Christian groups have launched their own retaliatory bus ad campaign with such statements as, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. Psalm 53:1″ and “There definitely is a God, so join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.”

Backers of the atheist campaign responded to the pro-Christian ad by saying, “It just proves that we’ve had an impact” and they’re absolutely right.  Only I don’t think they’re having quite the impact they anticipated.  Something tells me this debate is only beginning.  I’ll be sure to post updates as they occur.  Perhaps the most profound statement of the article was the opening line by the author, “The word of God is on the move in London…”  It certainly is and I’m sure God will continue to use this as an opportunity for His glory.

Psalm 139:12 “even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

Proverbs 13:9 “The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.”

II Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

 

 

Praise You in this storm

I think a lot of times we hear songs and like them because they have a catchy tune or a chorus we enjoy.  I wanted to post the words to the Casting Crowns song, “Praise You in this storm” because the lyrics are just so powerful and true.  Read the lyrics and then click on the video below to hear the song.

Have a blessed day!

 

Casting Crowns “Praise You in this storm”

I was sure by now, God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it’s still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
“I’m with you”
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

Chorus:
And I’ll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can’t find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away

Chorus

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

What is Spirituality?

I started writing a response to a series of multi-part questions that were asked on the Facebook group page for this blog, http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=62075386824 , but I soon realized that the complexity of the questions might be overwhelming to read in just one post.  So what I decided to do was break down the questioning into its components.  Since spirituality was at the heart of the questions, I want to talk about it first.  Also I want to say that I do not think it was a coincidence that spirituality was the topic of Sunday’s sermon at my church.  Likewise, a passage I’ll refer to later was in my email inbox as K-LOVE’s inspirational verse of the day. www.klove.com 

So what is spirituality?  We hear this word a lot.  People throw it around like a buzz word.  According to Merrium-Webster’s dictionary, spirituality is defined as “concern with religious values; relating to or affecting the spirit; relating to supernatural beings.”  To help assist with this definition, I wanted to look up spirit.  It’s defined as “an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms; supernatural being or essence; temper or disposition of mind or outlook especially when vigorous or animated.”  But this still doesn’t explain what it is or how it applies to us.  Maybe we should look at what the world says about spirituality.  Oprah has an entire section devoted to it on her website with insight from multiple “religious” leaders.  In fact one of her New Age minister’s provides the follow quote on the subject, “So to be spiritual is to be in touch, connected with that dimension of depth in yourself.”  A second quote from her website on spirituality says the following, “Spirituality is where you lay claim to a ground of being within yourself where you say, ‘I want to be that. I really do. I want to be that person that I’m capable of being.’”  A third minister applies the following logic, “Spiritual practitioners must practice spirituality where we stop, take a breath, become still inside—that’s the act of meditation and contemplation,” he says. “It is the same in all of the religions.”  I will just tell you, all three of these quotes came from 3 different people with 3 different religious backgrounds.  Yet they all sound similar.  Primarily, each deals with self and what you can do for you.  On the surface, it sounds like a good idea although a selfish one, but for “religious” leaders where’s their religion?

The truth is the only religion is these quotes come from reliance on self.  There’s no deity, no ultimate authority, and definitely no presence of God (capital G).  Since “religion” had no offer for an answer on spirituality, what does Christianity say about spirituality?  Since I believe Christianity is less a “religion” and more a relationship with an engaged, personal, and powerful God through His Son Jesus, I’d like to discuss what the Bible says about spirituality.  First, spirituality is unattainable without accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior.  It’s through this repentance of sins and acceptance of Jesus that the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and blesses us with spirituality.  To learn more about accepting Jesus as your Savior, go here http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?page_id=3  or click on the Knowing the Truth tab above.  When Jesus ascended into heaven after his death, burial, and resurrection, He promised the disciples he would send another to remind them (us) of the things He taught. John 14:25-27 With the planting of the seed in our hearts by accepting Jesus, the Holy Spirit offers us the nutrients and water that the seed needs to grow.  With that growth comes the Fruit of the Spirit or our spirituality.  Galatians 5:22-23 outlines the outward fruits that take place from our inward spirituality.  These fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  They don’t exactly reflect a reliance on self like the world’s “religions” do they?  Galatians 5:25 instructs us that, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  This walk is reflected in our fruits. 

But spirituality does not stop there.  For Christians, we must continually grow our inward spirituality so that our fruits will be externally displayed.  The walk that I referred to earlier comes from living out three basic spiritual behaviors found in I Thessalonians 5:16-19.  This passage says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.”  So we see that the first of these behaviors is to “rejoice always”.  Again in Philippians 4:4 we are told, “Rejoice in the Lord always…”  This rejoicing is rooted in Christ.  It doesn’t come from a self-made happiness, but in a deep joy and peace in Jesus regardless of external happenings.  In the second spiritual behavior, the Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:18 to “pray without ceasing” and “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 Christians are to be actively engaged with the Lord through prayer by creating an atmosphere of prayer.  The following quote epitomizes this sentiment, “The activity of prayer may be intermittent, but the atmosphere of prayer should be constant.”  For a deeper discussion of prayer go to http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?p=26  The third behavior necessary for growth of a Christian’s spirituality is, “in everything give thanks”.  Does any “religion” offer that as an example of spirituality?  The answer in short is no.  For them it’s all good as long as it’s all good.  Christian’s know that trials will come and the Apostle Paul’s petition for us to give thanks in everything regardless of our outward circumstances shows how important this idea is.  Last week’s blog “Trial by Fire” offers insight into giving thanks in difficult times, you can find it here: http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?p=178

Spirituality cannot be taken lightly, as the world would have you believe.  The world and her “religious” leaders tell us that spirituality is a reliance on self and is the same in all religions, but this simply isn’t true.  While Christianity in its structure is a religion, it’s a far more than that.  It offers a meaningful relationship with Jesus that leads to true spirituality through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  It’s only through the saving grace of Jesus by his death on the cross that we can experience these truths.

Have a Blessed Day!

Ephesians 4:15 "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ"