WORKING ON NEW SECTION ON CARM
One of the advantages about doing so much witnessing and defending the faith is finding out what the real criticisms are from skeptics of Christianity. Often, atheists, cult members, skeptics, etc., all have false assumptions about so many things and attack Christianity with prejudice and misinformation. Unfortunately as a result, a lot of people, Christians included, fall victim to doubt and worry about the truth of Christianity. Some people's faith is destroyed and others are greatly disturbed. I get many of the emails from people who have had their faith severely challenged asking for explanations. I do my best to answer them and by God's grace, almost all have regained their confidence in the Christian faith. Praise God.
This has motivated me to begin working on a section for CARM called "Evidence and Answers." Lord willing, it will have documented information validating the Bible from archaeology and history, etc., as well as answering common questions from skeptics, providing manuscript evidence and reliability documentation, answers to objections concerning Jesus' miracles and resurrection, the bible, and much more. Hopefully it will be a real asset to Christians and it will provide answers to a lot of questions and concerns.
Of course, having answers doesn't mean that someone with a skeptical presupposition is going to be changed by what is there. But, it does mean that there are answers to be had, that the Bible is not a book of myths, and that Christians can intelligently defend their faith. So, please pray that it goes well and that as I do the research and writing, that it comes together properly and efficiently.
It is scheduled for release in a couple months; after all, it takes a lot of research and writing to make it simple, informative, and easy to use. To that end, if you know of any archaeological findings that corroborate the Bible, or any quotes from Christian and non Christian scholars that verifies the Bible, or anything along these lines, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can check it out. Thanks.
A FRIEND IS DYING
In the last newsletter I mentioned how I taught a men's retreat at Palm Springs. The man who set it up, Dale, is a neat and godly man. He told me then that he had a serious issue with his liver and that he would be going in for a check up. Yesterday, via phone, he told me that it looks like he has an inoperable cancer and that he only has six months to live. He said that it looks like the last few weeks of his life will be very painful. All I could do was be silent after he said this. I was shocked.
But, equally shocking was his demeanor. After informing me of the situation, he told me about his love for God. He praised the Lord Jesus, thanking Him for the opportunity to be able to glorify Him through this ordeal, and mentioned how in his last few months of life, he'd like to help promote CARM. Again, I was shocked. Instead of becoming angry, he was full of praise. Instead of complaining, he thought of others. Instead of blaming God, he thanked Him. All I can say is that after talking to him, I feel less of a Christian.
What would I do if confronted with the same thing? Would I be as gracious and kind and loving? I could not say for sure, but being the accomplished complainer/whiner that I am, I do not think I would handle it nearly as well as he. I know myself. It wouldn't be pretty. But Dale is praising Jesus.
What would you do?
Please lift up Dale in your prayers. Please ask the Lord to be glorified and that God's sovereign will be accomplished. Furthermore, ask that the Lord would heal Dale completely -- to the glory of God. I will keep you informed as the weeks progress.
SHORT BIBLE LESSON - WHO IS SOVEREIGN?
In light of the preceding information about Dale's cancer, I thought now would be a good opportunity to discuss God's sovereignty.
Sovereignty means that God has the right to exercise supreme and final authority over all things. This is so because God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. There is nothing that is outside of God's knowledge, ability, and presence. Of course, God cannot sin or stop being God since that would violate His own nature. But, God can do all things that He desires to do. This means that He always does what is right. It also means that He is sovereign over Dale, over me, and over you. The problem is not comprehending that He is supremely in control. The problem is how we work that out in our lives and the lives of others when we are faced with great difficulties.
If God is sovereign and in control, then why does He let cancer kill people? Why is it that there are wars, famine, floods, and fire? Why do we see children suffer? Why? These questions are good ones and different answers can be offered. But basically it comes down to knowing that we live in a fallen world where the effect of sin is working its way through history. Like a grenade thrown into a crowd, the effect of sin hits one person with a disease and not another. Why? Because that is what happens sometimes. Yet, by faith we understand that God is in control of all of this. He has a plan and a purpose for what is happening in the world and for what He permits to happen. In this, we need to trust Him beyond our ability to understand. That doesn't necessarily make it easy. But, it is true. It means that we Christians walk by faith (Hab. 2:4).
This is crux of the Christian walk through trials: Faith. We must trust God in His sovereignty, in His absolute right to rule His creation as He sees fit. In this, we must humble ourselves and trust Him. We must prepare our hearts to trust Him. We must practice trusting Him so that when the time of true testing comes, we will trust Him to carry out His sovereign will.
How do you think the disciples felt watching their Lord Jesus being beaten and crucified? Do you think they were all smiling through the ordeal with great confidence because they knew the sovereign plan of God? Hardly. They fled and they doubted. It didn't make sense to them to see what was happening to Jesus until AFTER the resurrection of Christ, until AFTER they had seen what God was doing by providing a sacrifice for sins so that we could be saved from the righteous judgment of God. You see, God has a plan for things and we must trust Him in His sovereignty and we must trust that He will accomplish His divine plan. Sometimes we get the answers to our questions here in this world and other times we do not. But, we know that God is in control and that things happen for a reason, even if we simply are bewildered by what happens.
Consider briefly Acts 4:27-28 from the NASB, "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur." Do you see how God was at work even in what seemed to be a horrible event, the death of Christ? Do you see that even though Herod and Pilate, along with others, put Jesus to death, it was in the predestined will of God that it occur? The point is that even though things sometimes absolutely make no sense until after we see how things work out, God is in control. We must trust Him beyond our ability to understand. We must trust that His sovereignty is exercised both wisely and lovingly.
It is easy to say and it is easy to read. It is not so easy to do. But, by God's grace all things are possible.
Summer is a slow time and this economy is in a crunch. However, the enemy doesn't let a slow economy stop his work. Can you help CARM out by sparing a $5 monthly deduction from your credit card? If so, please go to http://www.carm.org/goods/donations.htm. CARM needs your support. CARM is a valuable ministry. Please keep it in your prayers.
Last email newsletter I asked people to click on the CARM homepage once on Saturday so that they could be counted. I was curious and wanted to see how much more than normal the hits would be. Last Saturdays page views totaled 2,725. The week before was 1898. That is an increase of 827 hits. Thanks for doing that. Also, please remember that when you stop by CARM, please click the homepage once to be counted. Many people peruse the subfolders of CARM and never get to the home page so they are not counted.
GOT A SUGGESTION FOR CARM OR THIS NEWSLETTER?
If you have suggestions for what you would like to see in this newsletter or for CARM, please return e-mail me and let me know.
VERSE OF THE WEEK.
"And looking upon them Jesus said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible," (NASB).
Matt Slick, your missionary to the Internet.