Monday, 15 September 2014

Why I trust in Jesus

Having been a Christian for over four years, this feels like an overdue post! I have something that is too good not to share, so here goes my attempt in trying to convince or remind you of how awesome Jesus is!

Jesus is Unique

There are 12 major religions, and many minor religions - with so many to choose from, why Christ?

The answer to all of that is the fact that God is everything He ought to be and says He is. The God we worship is the God who created us and the moral and physical laws that govern us. So it makes sense that His nature radiates these laws. What I have found with many of the world's revered is that they are not always moral - when they give in to their lust, greed and anger, how can they expect us not to? God however is the epitome of purity, love, justice and righteousness - so it is fair that He demands us to reflect that. The reasons are numerous but I'll end with the one that caught my attention - you see, no one else speaks of a god who chose to come down to earth in order to die and set us free from the bondage of sin.

God is perfect. Habakkuk 1:13 reminds us of the fact that God is 'too pure' to 'approve evil' or tolerate wickedness. Hence heaven ought to be a place free of sin; 'nothing impure will ever enter [New Jerusalem]' (Revelation 21:27). We're all law breakers, it doesn't make sense for God to weigh up the good and bad...even if He does, the bad isn't going to vanish. Saying God will forgive us is theologically half baked - God is a righteous judge, your sin cannot be overlooked. That is why He came, in the body of Jesus, He lived a perfect life, died an unjust death and rose again beating death. He paid our ransom, so that on His account we can go free - so the saying goes, 'Religion says do, Jesus says done!'

Moreover, our faith and hope rest on one truth: Jesus rising from the dead. It is a truth that has never been, and can never be, disproven. It is the only thing (apart from the transforming work of the Holy Spirit of course) that validates all that we believe.
1 Corinthians 15:14 & 17 - And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith...and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
As Jesus rose from the dead, we know that everything else that He said must also be true.

Jesus Defies Logic

Read the following verses carefully...

Isaiah 29:14 - I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.
1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:7 - ...God's wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

1 Corinthians 2:14 - The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

Apart from exposing my love for Paul's letter to the Corinthians, these verses highlight something very important. The Gospel is inclusive yet exclusive - it is open to all, but it is elucidated by the Holy Spirit! That's the reason why the good news about Jesus being our Lord and Saviour doesn't make sense to everyone.

Friend, if it doesn't make sense to you, I urge you to sincerely ask the Holy Spirit (even if you do not believe in the 'unseen') to reveal this mystery to you as it concerns your eternal destiny.
I know it sounds like folklore, but how can our incompetent brains fathom the God who stretches far above and beyond the science and logic we treasure, (after all, science and logic are also part of His creation) until He intervenes?

I have deliberately failed to address scientific perspectives as this post will end up being too long for anyone's liking...I shall tackle that at a different time! Nevertheless, let me just say that science does not and cannot disprove God or anything pertaining to Him or His nature; God is not bound by the laws He has established.

Jesus is the Only Way

People believe in what they do, whether it be someone of a particular faith, no faith or multiple faiths, because they feel that they are right in believing it and rejecting all other possibilities.

Going back to the above one has ever claimed to be 'THE way, THE truth and THE life' except Jesus. What an outrageous claim! If Jesus did rise from the dead validating all that He has said, then this too is a statement we cannot shy away from. If there was any other way through which we could be saved, Christ's sacrifice becomes unnecessary and meaningless! There cannot be many truths, when one of these 'truths' claims to be the ONLY TRUTH!

Albert Einstein (who is not a Christian) had this to say about Jesus, 'As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.' Although Einstein recognised the difference in this 'myth', I am not aware of whether he chose to do something about how he felt. Like Pilate during Jesus' trial, and Mr Einstein, many acknowledge Jesus' splendour and are filled with awe, but very few choose to unravel this captivating Jesus. 'You will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart' (Jeremiah 29:13)

Let me conclude with C.S. Lewis' beautiful expansion on this point from his book, Mere Christianity: 'I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.'

So friend, if you haven't already, why not check Jesus out for yourself?

Friday, 5 September 2014

Rent A Friend

It wasn't until recently that I heard about a paid service available for 'lonely folk', allowing them to 'Rent A Friend' to guide them in a foreign town, to watch a movie, to have dinner with...seriously, except the first reason, all others just saddened me.

Did you know that 800000 people in England experience loneliness? Majority falling prey to depression, which is the most common mental health disorder in the UK?
Did you know that it is mainly the over 50s, divorcees and widows who feel lonely? Women being more vulnerable than men?
Did you know that the number of people falling into this category is steeply increasing? That it is no longer a problem associated with a particular age-group or gender?
I didn't!

Loneliness is a neglected problem in our society - scientifically, socially and spiritually.
  • 'Campaign to End Loneliness' equates the detriment in a lonely person's health to that of someone who smokes 15 cigarettes a day! Loneliness often leads to depression which, as we are reminded time and again by various celebrities, can lead to death - both suicidal and natural.
  • We are social beings. Sadly we are made socially deficient by virtual reality. *GENERALISATION ALERT* People speak of times when neighbours sat in their gardens or front yards and spoke to each we even know our neighbours, let alone anything about them? Even in my lifetime I enjoyed staying out till late to play badminton and tag with the kids in my neighbourhood...where have the kids gone? We're developing a future full of couch potatoes! Where isolation is conceived, loneliness is birthed. According to Darwin's theory of Natural Selection and evolutionary history, the human race was so successful because they were social and the development of languages allowed greater levels of interaction. By preventing ourselves and others from intimacy, aren't we devolving? This problem therefore weakens the infrastructure of our society, to our peril.
  • I remember reading about the discovery of an elderly female Homo erectus skeleton - she is belived to have died of hypervitaminosis A. They say that the only reason she survived long enough was because she was cared for by those in that ancient civilization - I hope we in the West have not grown out of it! In the East I know for a fact that families actively care for their elderly, but I seldom see it here.
  • Loneliness makes us spiritually vulnerable to sin. Loneliness often results in idleness, and we all know that 'an idle man's brain is the devil's workshop'. We escape accountability, hence it is so easy to slip into and be bound by secret sins like pornography - not only to keep you occupied but to give you the false sense of security and fulfilment as you crave some sort of intimacy. Loneliness is the path that leads to the bog of sinfulness.
While some are oblivious to this, others hesitate to care. Talk about monetary or one-off measures for the 'greater good' and you will have people flooding your door, but loneliness is one that very few want to tackle as it demands something of far greater worth - time - the thing we never seem to have enough of!
Why care? Jesus cared and still cares!
We, as Christians, are called to love like Jesus and care for the hurting - yes that means investing time and even money but think of all the time we literally waste! As I type away, I am reminded of how much I fall short of this calling! There are many who say that the world is falling apart; as salt and light however, we are to show people how to super-glue it back together.
There is a lot we can do. If you don't know where to start...
  • Start with a smile or a simple 'Good morning!', especially to the elderly
  • Get volunteering or campaigning for the government to better address this issue - you can check out 'Campaign to End Loneliness' for more information.
Like tiny drops of water joining to make a mighty ocean, let us challenge each other to make a conscious effort in our little corner of the world to be a friend to the lonely!