You know, there are very few Christians. I see them in traffic cutting people off, giving me the finger (real incident, not kidding); and there on the bumper is a Christian fish. Showing the world how loving and joyful it is to be a "Christian"! "Oh! Oh! I wanna BE LIKE HIM!!!" As if. These are the many who will stand before Jesus, as Matt7:21-23 says, and He doesn't know them; or they are from Laodicea, thinking they are rich and don't need anything, not knowing they are poor blind miserable wretched and naked (and Jesus will vomit them from His mouth!) --- Revelation3:14-22. There are few real Christians. And even those who do know Him --- are fallible, capable of failing you and me. None of us are perfect; but only a pitiful few really love Him.
Originally Posted by Grunner
You're absolutely right. And why is that?
My issue is in part with God. The Bible says that God is not mocked. However, I would say that God is certainly mocked and Christians today and through the ages are making a mockery of Him.
Jesus said, "He who is not with Me, is against Me." Mattthew12:30. The stark reality of being Human, is that we are slaves. There is no choice, we're born slaves, and we'll die slaves. The only control we have, is to whom we are enslaved.
We're born slaves to sin and darkness; to become enslaved to God (Rm6:22), we are actually set free (John8:34-36). His yoke is easy, His burden light. Doesn't mean life as a Christian will be easy; just the opposite, we're promised tribulation. (Matt11:29-30, Jn16:32.)
We can serve the darkness, or we can serve the Light --- we must serve one or the other. There is no "in between". Jesus said in Matt7 that "you will know them by their fruit". People who are hateful and hurtful, are only revealing the dark side that they serve.
Ahhh, you want Him to come roaring into the world and make everything right! A very honorable desire. But there is a time and a place.
If there is power in the name of Jesus, which I would readily contest, where is it?
1Jn4 says "God is love" --- love has certain characteristics, by definition. 1Cor13:5 says "love does not demand its own way". The deepest desire God has is that people love Him back. It is the greatest commandment, on which all the Law and Prophets are based. (Matt22:37) I don't know if you're married; but if you or I were in love with another person, could either of us make that person love us back? Never! We can only ASK. And that's why God has chosen an "age" where He is not visibly controlling everything, to give people the chance to love Him from their hearts, not for what He can do. He wants to be a close Father, not a cosmic Santa.
Jesus, to Doubting Thomas: "You believe because you see? Blessed are those who have NOT seen, and yet believe." Jn20:29
Obviously God values unseen-love, more than seen-love; though Jesus blasted an audience once for having seen His miracles, but still refusing to believe (Matt11:21-24). If He was overtly making things right, then what value would "love" have?
There is so much evil in the world; Christians are tortured and killed for their faith now, much more than even in the First Century. But death isn't a big deal for God; everyone dies. Yet our death is the beginning of being with Him. The time WILL come when Jesus will make that appearance you long for --- riding in with a sword, setting right so much that has gone wrong. It defies logic and history to think otherwise; nothing of Biblical prophecy has ever been falsified, and it is the most credible text in history.
Look at this:
"Realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, ...ungrateful unloving ...brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; avoid men like these!" 2Timothy3:1-5
Sound familiar? That's what we're seeing! This hating and mocking of God, does not mean that people are bad; well it does, but it ALSO means that Jesus is coming much sooner than people expect! The world sits on the edge of a collapse; I don't think we can survive 2012, or 2013. We are seeing earthquakes and famines, wars and rumors of wars, all sorts of disasters. We're going to see a lot more.
"We have to have faith". What does that mean? There are all sorts of paths to faith. The credibility of Scripture, the testimony of believers, historical events --- I believe a bill snuck through in May 2005 ("Real ID") will become the Mark of the Beast, tracking buying and selling on the pretense of "identifying terrorists" (Rev13:16-17); rumor has it being enforced in 2013, everyone in America (and likely in the world) MUST have the card. But it boils down to making a conscious decision to believe in God. I can talk to you of science, the absolute impossibility of life happening by mere accident; I see serious intelligent thought all around. I can talk to you of personal faith; but each person has to make his or her own decision. I really really believe that if a person asks honestly, "God, are you real? Do you want me???" --- the answer will be YES.
Thirty years ago, I asked those exact questions; and His answer is why I belong to Him now! He is love, perfect and eternal love; He is perfect, and He is everything.
Grunner, you are not even CLOSE to being "closed-hearted" to Him. I don't know what you need to turn you BACK, but I pray with all my heart and soul that something happens to make Him real --- real enough that you will take His hand and let Him chase away the anger and fill you with His joy. John15:11!!!
Remember, a couple hundred centuries ago, a guy who did NOTHING wrong was hated, mocked, and nailed to a tree to DIE. Dripping sweat and blood from the nails, from the wounds the bone-and-metal-tipped-whip had torn, and from a cruel circlet of thorns (dozens, each an inch or two long!) that had been slammed down onto His head so that the thorns actually stuck into His very skull --- what did He do?
"Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing."
Forgive them. He forgave them in the MIDST of their murdering Him, in His agony! How can we be angry with men, when Jesus Himself felt sorry for them?
You and I may not get drunk or fornicate/adulterate or steal or murder or any number of "heinous crimes"; but both of us fully deserve the fires of Hell. You know, belief in Jesus, is also belief in the reality of Hell. He's not "just an escape", but both concepts go together. I tell Atheists I would MUCH rather belong to God and be wrong about everything, than to live life in sinful abandon and then die and be wrong!
I don't know what to say, to convey the reality of Jesus that I know, to you. I can say "ask Him", and mean it --- I know He will answer! But just as the Jews rejected Jesus because He didn't fit their idea of a "making-things-right king", we also have to accept Him on HIS terms. And we have to believe that He WILL make things right. In His time.
No one can harm us, who belong to Jesus; as He said, whatever good OR BAD is done to us, is really done to Him. Matt25:40.
I want so much to say something of value to you. I want you as a brother (sister?), forever! I have no greater treasure in Heaven than YOU, as one of our family; and I pray with all my heart that I treat people with kindness and love that they will want to be with me also. God does not condemn people for being bad; they condemn themselves for rejecting Him --- being bad is just the consequence of loving sin rather than seeking God.
I pray VERY hard that something I say, or anyone else says, will cause your anger to go away, and to seek Him --- for Scripture says time after time "if we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him". Jeremiah29:11-13!
May God bless you, and bring you close to Him, forever; for He is perfect love, and He loves you and desires your company and mine more than you or I can ever realize. That's why the veil tore, Mark15:38, the moment He died; it tore for YOU --- you are invited behind the veil, into the very presence of Almighty God. Because He DELIGHTS in you, celebrates your fellowship. That is the ultimate truth of the Universe, "Grunner"; His thoughts of you outnumber the grains of sand! In your spirit you know these words are absolutely true.