Twizel New Zealand
JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ Alive and Well in New Zealand
Twizel New Zealand
When Jesus was twelve years old, the family went up to the Feast of the Passover. After the Feast his parents returned home unaware that Jesus had stayed behind in Jerusalem. They went back to to look for him and found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" He returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
WHI I BELIEVE IN GOD
WHY I BELIEVE
Why shouldn't I believe in God? It's always been apparent that there are supernatural influences that affect our lives. Every single ancient civilization and every single primitive tribe of indigenous people has worshipped images of deities they perceived to be gods who had power over their society and controlled their destiny.
Today, a great many people who state that they don't adhere to any religious beliefs< will still admit to believing that their lives are influenced by astrological powers, claiming that they are Scorpios or Librans or whatever. While they reject the belief in an all-powerful God, they might still seek information about their past, or future, from clairvoyants and tarot card readers. Atheists may be reluctant to admit it, but it
defies logic to believe that everything we see on earth evolved simply by chance and will continue to do so in the future, without believing that there is something that causes it to happen. Otherwise on what does one place his, or her, confidence that there will be exactly twenty-four 60-minute hours every day in the coming future?
Considering the above, it is fair to say that believing in a supernatural power is as natural as an appreciation of beauty and a desire for happiness. And if anyone says that they wouldn't want to be in a place where beauty and happiness was eternal, there would have to be something wrong with them. One is being inconsistent, to say the least, if one is obsessed with seeking worldly pleasures but wouldn't want to
go to heaven if it existed, since Heaven, I am convinced, is a place where inhabitants will live forever in perfect happiness. A problem for unbelievers who struggle to accept the existence of an almighty God,
who created and controls the whole Universe and everything in it, is that people tend to create an image in their minds of what they think God should be like if he existed and then conclude that He doesn't. I'm sure they are right. The God they conceive doesn't exist. But that's not a basis for denying that the God they can't conceive does.
A WORLD OF DESIGN
Everything in the universe has a pattern that reveals a designer. Scientific experimentation is only possible because of the consistency and reliability of those patterns and laws. If it wasn't God who designed these, what else could have? It's foolish to think that the laws of nature are all the result of chance. If the prevailing
rule is that things happen by chance, then it's necessary that there should be chances that things wont happen. Keeping this in mind, what do you think the chances are that the sun won’t rise at exactly the same time as it did today on this same day next year?
It's possible to chart the precise speed and exact location of all the known planets hundreds of years into the future. What keeps them moving with such exquisite precision? What power keeps them in perpetual motion without fuel if there is no supernatural being in control?
FAITH
Without faith in the consistent speed at which planets travel, space exploration would be a totally fruitless pursuit. Who boards a plane without the faith that the pilot, whom the passenger has probably never met, knows how to fly it? Who would plant fruit trees if they did not believe that one day they would bear fruit?
How do we know that the sun will rise tomorrow? Do we not have faith in such things? Anyone who says they don’t adhere to any faith at all is either a very lazy, or very shallow thinker.
Everyone lives according to some type of faith. Life would be unbearable without it. It's faith that gives hope. Take away hope and life seems pointless. For me, that's what life without faith in God would be. My only concern would be to look after myself. The trouble with that is that it's impossible to put oneself first without
placing others in a position of being less important. What hope can there be for a world where everybody's aim is to gain at the expense of others? If our hope doesn't rest with faith in God, what is the alternative -faith in chance?
Some people justify their unbelief on the grounds that they have never seen God. Well who has seen nature? Who has seen the wind, electricity, the sun’s rays, xrays, microwaves or sound waves? To my knowledge, all the billions upon billions of stars in all the galaxies in the Universe are kept in perpetual motion at predestined speeds by gravity and magnetism. Is the invisibility of these powerful forces a basis for denying their existence? Who governs the laws they keep to?
WHO MADE GOD?
Some people ask, "Who made God?" It's a pointless question, because if there were a possible answer we would be left with the question, "Who made whoever made God?' Then we would want to know who made whoever made whoever made God. We must conclude that something had to come first. We also have to conclude that whatever (I prefer to say whoever) came first had to be greater than whatever followed. No creation can be superior to its creator.
Although it is impossible for us to conceive how God always was and always will be, I personally can’t conceive any other alternative. People who believe that the Universe started with a big bang cannot possibly escape the fact that there would have needed to be something there in the first place to explode and something to cause the explosion. It couldn't have all started with nothing. Besides, explosions
never produce anything but devastation. At least there is one thing we can all agree on - the world couldn't have created itself.
It's said that you can’t prove that God exists. I'm not sure about that. But what I'm absolutely certain of is that you can't disprove His existence. What the Bible says seems evident to me, "The heavens declare the Glory of God." As well as the laws of nature, I believe that there are spiritual laws, which God has told us about through the Bible. I also believe that all the problems we humans face were caused, and will continue to be caused by our (I'm certainly not excluding myself) breaking these laws by actions known as sins.
TRANSFORMATION
You can't make any material thing out of nothing, and you can't reduce anything to being absolutely nothing. Everything, according to nature's law, can be transformed but it can never disappear. It is what scientists call the first law of thermodynamics. Water can evaporate, wood can completely go up in smoke and metals can be ground into very fine dust. But such things never go away completely; they become
absorbed in other substances. Likewise, no part of our physical being totally disappears when we die. It will either turn to dust if we are buried, or it will be transformed into smoke and ashes if cremated.
But what happens after death to that invisible part of us that we might call our spirit; that part of us that thinks, imagines, is creative and distinguishes our own personality from those of others? Is it not reasonable to believe that if our flesh doesn't dissolve into nothing when we die then perhaps our spirit doesn't either? Surely our spirits are more intrinsic to our individuality than our flesh, organs and bones, which seem to be interchangeable without affecting our personalities. The fact that no one returns from the after life doesn't rule out the possibility of there being one. Did a butterfly ever turn back into a chrysalis? Did a frog ever revert to being a tadpole?
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT?
So what have we got to lose if we believe in God anyway? If those of us who believe are wrong, in what way will the atheist be any better off at death than we are? For the dying believer, at least there is some comfort in the hope they have of a new eternal life. Dying is the most crucial problem we will ever have to face. We can choose not to think about it, but we wont be able to avoid it. Why not try to make it less sorrowful? On the other hand, let's suppose that those of us who believe are right. Aren't we going to be infinitely better off than the non-believer? Well, not necessarily, according to the Bible. Just believing that there is a God without caring to know about him or obey him is not enough. As the Bible says, "Even the Devil knows there is a God and Trembles." (James 2:19)
Christians, like myself, not only believe in one true God, but we believe that he sent His one and only divine son, Jesus Christ, to offer Himself up as a living sacrifice for our sakes so that we might regain the right to eternal life, which was lost when the first two human beings, Adam and Eve, whom we all descended from, chose to sin against God. Jesus told us that by offering up his own perfect sinless body - as He did on the cross - He would purchase eternal life for all of us who wanted it. All we have to do to qualify is to acknowledge that we are sinners, ask God to forgive us (as he is only too willing to do), and then trust and obey him.
Millions of people have undergone a life changing experience through this simple act of humbling themselves and inviting Jesus into their lives, because the feelings of bitterness, resentment, and hatred for others that they carry in their hearts starts to wash away. It's like being born again into a new life. After all, how can you possibly have peace of mind if you are constantly angry with others, or constantly feeling sorry for yourself? I can't see how it could be possible to have constant joy until one has arrived at having constant peace. And I’m convinced that constant peace cannot be derived unless one has peace with others, peace within themselves and peace with God. If I am right, then it stands to reason that one can’t be at peace with God if one refuses to accept that he is real.
JESUS, A MAN OR GOD?
Christians reject the thought that Jesus was just a very good man, as many religions teach. Jesus made claims that no other person, if he wanted to be taken seriously, would dream of making. He predicted that he would be martyred, he claimed he would rise from the dead, he stated that the only way to eternal life was through him. He said, "I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father (God) except through me." (John 14:6.) Anybody who made such claims if they were false could not possibly have been a good man. One would have to be either a blatant liar or crazy. But there is nothing in the known facts about Jesus that could even remotely indicate that he was either of these things.
Some might argue that Jesus was truly only just a good man but those who wrote about him distorted the truth, especially when they wrote that he rose from the dead. But as the great apostle Paul said, "If Christ did not die on the cross and rise from the dead, then everything I and all the other apostles have preached has been in vain." (1st Corinthians 15:14.)
It confounds me what the motivation would have been for the apostles to want to give up everything they had; all their personal possessions, their homes, their jobs, their former religion and even their very lives, so that they could run around the country and abroad spreading stories about Jesus if they didn't believe them themselves. It's not as if they expected to gain good fortune from it. Jesus told them to expect hatred, suffering and persecution; and that's exactly what they got. Doesn't it seem peculiar that anybody would preach love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and honesty in order that people would believe the lies they were spreading? For at least 50 days after Christ's reported resurrection, the apostles expressly stayed and preached about it in Jerusalem, the very city where his crucifixion took place. All that was needed for the apostle’s detractors to refute this claim was to produce the body. What happened to it?
Jesus said the whole law is summed up in these few words, "Love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul and your whole mind, and love your neighbour’s as yourself." (Matthew 22:38-40.) What reasonable objection can there be to that? I can only presume that the objection comes from a desire to be able to sin without feeling guilty. Without the fear of answering to an almighty judge, one can feel free to seek satisfaction from a life of indulgence. But can the reader honestly think of anyone who succeeded at finding satisfaction in that? As Jesus said, "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul?" Is there anything at all more worth thinking about?
Jesus Christ Alive and Well in New Zealand