The God of my sister: Part 1

When your own Walk gets overrun with weeds, it’s good to know there’s someone’s footsteps you can follow.

Everyone’s journey to God is unique and special; mine brought me through a series of shady valleys, deep wooded forest and dry deserted places. Beside the unfailing Grace of God, what was always there to point me back home was the opportunity to observe my sister in her own journey of faith. The following meditation is a retelling of some highlights in my walk in Christ and to Christ and how, by His unmerited favor, He provided faithful stewards of His Love to bring me back on the Path. As always, I pray that you will be blessed and share it with at least one other person. May God richly bless you. I call this:

The God of my sister

To be honest, I would have to say that I met Jesus several times. The first time I met Him, He changed my heart: I was arrogant and loud and self-confident; I was of no earthly good without any heavenly value. I was a Evolutionist, a Darwinist and, for the lack of a more accurate word, an agnostic. I believed the same way any secular person believed: tangentially and only on special occasions. Believing was a matter of tradition not a lifestyle. We paid lip service to a God that had no real place or space in our lives. However, one day, in the middle of what I would call the best time of my young life He showed up to Sunday dinner in the guise of my brother-in-law’s uncle and his family.

We were living in Italy at the time; it was the first in our series back and forth moves to and from the United States. My sister, her husband and my young nephew had gone to visit family in Milan and they, in turn, had invited them back to our house in Tuscany. My sister had spent a several days with them in Milan and had accepted an invitation to their church. Suffice to say that she came back a different person from her trip. She started talking about Jesus as if He was actually a person you could relate to on a daily basis. She told me stories people had shared with her during her trip along with a few of her own experiences during her ten-day stay. She told me of miraculous healings and of divine interventions into people’s personal circumstances and of inexplicable coincidences that could only be explained by intentional design. This went on for weeks. The person that returned home from this brief vacation was not the same person that had left from our home just a few weeks prior.

For as long as I could remember I always looked up to my sister. Ever since we moved to the States, she was always the one who took care of everything: bills, documents, school. She was the only one that spoke any English; she had taught herself basic conversational English in the few months before we left for New York using a neighbor’s college textbook. Smart as a whip, astute as snake, she always knew what the right answer was. It was exactly this part of what I knew about her that troubled me the most: the answer she had didn’t sound like the right one any longer: this could only be a grievous  misunderstanding on her part, a single flaw in what could otherwise only be described as a flawless record on her part. So, the day my brother-in-law’s relatives came to visit us, I was ready. Textbooks and quotations at hand from scholars and scientists from all walks of life, I would prove to this man and his family how terribly misguided they were and I would, in my own special, magnanimous and selfless way, walk them back to the truth of science and reason.

When they arrived we all introduced each other and we had lots of wonderful conversations about personal history and origin and as much small talk as we could muster until eventually, we slowly but surely made our way to the most important topic on their hearts. They were very pleasant, cordial and reasonable. The husband shared his testimony and spoke of Jesus, I countered with evolution; he spoke of his testimony, I countered with the Big Bang. The conversation went on for hours and I have to say that not once did he show any sign of frustration on his part; he was at least twenty years my elder and still spoke to me with eloquence and gallantry. My mom came into the living room, signaled to my sister, and we all went into the dining room to eat dinner.

That’s when it happened. Of all the years I had spent at my father’s table we had never once said Grace, ever! This man, Dino, turns to my father and asks if he could pray for the meal. My father, from his part, had no objection: we had never prayed but we were still “catholic” so we wouldn’t dare say no. He starts praying. He makes this long list of things he’s thankful for, talking to God as if He could actually hear him. He thanks God for the food and the warm reception and the engaging conversation and for the safe trip and prays for our family and our salvation. At this point, something came over me; it was like guilt and release at the same time. I started to weep and wail uncontrollably. I cried like I had never cried before. I can still remember saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. As his prayer came to a close and everyone saw me balling my eyes out in my seat, him and his wife came and hugged me and told me “it’s okay, you’ll be okay. Jesus loves you”.

That was the day I met Jesus for the first time. That was the first day in my whole entire life that I wasn’t alone. There was now this “presence” in my mind that I couldn’t explain; my thoughts were no longer on their own in my brain, there was something else, someone else there: I didn’t know what it was but I knew I was safe. I was just a boy and that was a long time ago. But that day something else happened: I realized my sister’s record was still intact. Whatever she had experienced, whatever she had seen and heard actually did happen. She was right about this Jesus, someone that now that I had encountered Him for the very first time I knew she had found the path, the True Path, and our lives and the lives of our families would never be the same.

Of course, we all know that whenever the Lord sends someone to seed and water and nurture, the enemy of our souls sends someone or something to steal, kill or destroy; and believe me, things did come and in a hurry. As believers, however, we are reminded that “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose”.

Please stay with us over the next few days as we continue to testify of the Goodness of God the Father through His Son Jesus and how, on a lonely, dark night he kept a young man from the pit of despair.

God bless you.


The Faith of the Atheist

In a recent post, we were discussing the reasonableness of believing in God or, at least in “a god”. We discussed that believing in god from a temporal perspective is, in the least, highly favored by math and physics: since time must have begun at some point for there to be”today”, the reasonable conclusion is that either an external entity created space and time or, from a deist point of view, space-time created itself: either conclusions point to an “un-caused cause”; some of us refer to that as “God”.

We also discussed how, as a response to this unassailable truth, atheist will say that although what happened before the Big Bang is currently unknown, they trust (or have faith) that science will eventually find an answer. Now, coming from individuals that pride themselves on being evidence-based, this statement and others like it fly straight in the face of what they’re trying to prove: that there is no superior “thing”. Unfortunately for them, they do believe, or trust, in something greater: in their case, it’s science.

Now, in reading the previous post, a friend commented on Twitter that “you don’t have to believe in God to have faith”! To that, I can only reply: absolutely false! In fact, the Bible teaches that each of us (believers) were given a measure of faith [Romans 12:3]. However, the verse applies to believers! The faith in this verse refers to how believers should be honest judges of themselves in accordance with this faith that was given to them by God: meaning, if you are an layman don’t think yourself a pastor!

You see, the world, like my atheist friend, mistakes and misuses the word “faith”; they’re actually referring to trust. You have heard, certainly, people say things like “I have faith in my family” or “I have faith in my children” or “the government”. In fact, what they’re saying is that they trust their family, their children, their government, etc.. Trust is based on evidence. For example: I trust there is a God, ( I have evidence of this fact), I have faith in His Word (for which I need no evidence). People trust their family to do right by them; once that trust is broken, it takes faith on their part to trust again; faith that things will go back to the way they were.

Faith, the Bible says “…is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1]. The write of Hebrews makes it explicitly clear that faith is so much more than trust, it is the “assurance”, some translations read, of something not yet materialized: faith is evidence in something that is still far-off, not yet occurred. Faith is the Power of God’s promises; having faith, even as much as a mustard seed Jesus said, is the difference between being able to move the mountain or not!

You see, the term “faith” which unbelievers refer to and the world uses so interchangeably with “trust” lacks the power aspect that we as believers have come to expect and understand regarding the promises of God. For example, politicians make promises all the time and people put their trust in them and their promises all the time, unfortunately, they lack the power within themselves to enforce those promises on their own: they win elections based on promises and lose re-elections based on un-kept promises; spouses make promises to each other: to love, honor and cherish, and even those promises are too often only empty words. The faith placed in humans by humans is ephemeral, and unenforceable. Promise like “I will never leave you”, or “I will always take care of you” are emotional checks written by known fraudsters given to others who are they themselves hoping against hope that this time, it will be different.

Among humans, a promise made is as good as a promise broken, but the experience of a Born Again Christian is altogether different. The mature Christians build their lives around the promises of God, humanists build their lives on the promises of other people as well as the ones they make to themselves: I’m going to lose 20 pounds, I’m going to finish my degree; then, life and circumstance happen to us all. A stressful year at work and with no time to exercise, the treadmill collects dust; an unexpected baby on the way and the money that would have gone towards those last few credits now goes to replace the crib and stroller you threw out thinking you wouldn’t need anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, Christians make promises too and we take them very seriously, just like everyone else. In fact the Bible has some very strong advice: first on not making promises and second, on not breaking promises made, without being too wordy. It’s easier not to make a promise than to keep one but once the promise is made. In fact, the Bible teaches us [Matthew 5:33-37]:

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

So, one would say “what does this have to do with what we’re talking about”? The answer is simple. If we who are believers are strongly discouraged from making promises, taking oaths, swearing allegiances and the like and we believe in God, what hope is there for the promises, oaths and sworn allegiances of those who don’t believe. Please don’t misunderstand, my claim is not that Christians are better suited but simply that if those who believe that there is a higher power don’t take it upon themselves to enter into such bondage because of the risk of breaking such oaths, what chance is there for those who don’t believe?

In the end, what we’re actually talking about is self-sufficiency. The faith of the atheist is built around the self-sufficiency of mankind: I will do this, I will do that! These are all promises made to oneself for oneself by oneself. It is at the center of the heart-cry of every Caesar that’s come down through the ages and at the core of self-indulgence: me! The Christian perspective is built antithetical to this where “me” is third, under others, second, and God, first. Here’s why:

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops. 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” [Luke 12:16-21]

For Christians, making plans is a part of life just like everyone else. However, the key differenve is this: when secularists make plans they just, as Christians would say, “name it and claim it”; they manifest their intentions and work towards them wholeheartedly. In the Christian worldview this desire to make plans and see them come to life is not less present or real, the difference is that they’ll add a modifier: “Lord willing”! Christians understand and have come to terms with their own inability to be self-reliant. The secularist will say, just like the Christian, “I want to buy a new house next year” or “I think I’ll publish a short novel”; both of those things are great ideas for someone that is looking for fulfillment, but the Christian knows who, ultimately, is in charge, and it’s not them.

The crux of the matter is this: the secularist, the Darwinist, the naturalist, the atheist doesn’t ultimately recognize any higher authority than themselves. That is exactly why they claim to have “faith” but place it in secular frames of reference: the marriage, the kids, the friendships, the career, the family, etc. When, all if these things, in the fullness of time frustrate and delude them, what is left, too often, is someone whom deep inside knows their is a Creator but is angry because of the circumstances of life: they would have wanted Him to show Himself in those situations to prove His existence. But, unfortunately, God is neither a pet nor He is mocked. Had He helped you, you would have just as easily assigned it to a chance occurrence or a change of heart in others: that would not have improved your condition, only strengthened your resolve. My dear friend, if you are reading this and recognize yourself in these situations, believe that you are not here by accident. God loves you and is talking to you; don’t harden your heart any longer. We encourage you to repeat this simple prayer:

Dear Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Saviour!

Friend, if you prayed that simple prayer, we believe you got “Born Again”. Find a good Bible-Based Church, keep God first place, and He’ll shows things you couldn’t even dream of!

God bless you!

Let My People Think!

Not “from”, nor “since”, but “IN”

I once heard it said that “if you talk to God, you’re religious; but if he talks back….well then, you’re just crazy!”

Too often the Church has been pigeon-holed into such corners by fast-talking and fast-thinking Bible deniers and have found themselves either feeling or being defeated or, even worse, converted! But the Truth, thankfully friends, is of a very simple nature. The Word says that “God has set eternity in the hearts of men” so that we may search for Him and find Him. God made the universe complex and intricate and immense so that, in the end, there can only be one takeaway and only one takeaway: A design points to a Designer!

Atheists will argue “everything comes from something, except in the beginning where it came from nothing” or “in the future we will know”. If that isn’t a statement of faith, I dont know what is! Then, they also take the liberty to ridicule us for saying “in the beginning, God“. Well they can’t have it both ways: they can’t ridicule believers while they themselves are believers of a non-god!

You see, what they fail to realize is that their beliefs are based on faith as well; just because their faith “is in nothing” they think themselves not religious: their God is, in effect…”nothing”. Just like the “Nothing” in the Never-ending Story, it’s still something: it advanced destroying everything in its path, leaving only darkness and space void of any sibstance at all. Where there was once morality, it replaces with subjectivism; where there was once “knowable Truth” it replaces with post-modern relativism. Now, in all fairness, I’m not saying that “all atheists” are immoral and relativistic. In fact, many will argue that they are “good people” and they would be right. Their problem is that they wouldn’t be able to define “good” or why they are “good” without having to borrow from absolutist religious tradition and worldviews. They may argue that goodness is “innate” without being able to point to the source of this goodness. In fact, their argument is made even more difficult to sustain in light of darwinistic arguments in favor of “survival of the fittest” and “selfish genes”. In essence, their argument points more and more to a “fallen” nature of man, as in the Judeo-Christian worldview.

So let us undo this overly generalized myth about atheists once and for all. They are not more rational, better-educated, super-partes, more objective scientific minds than your average believer in general and/or Christian specifically.

Their belief system starts after the initial moment of creation: they either chose not to engage it as an intellectual necessity (meaning “only the simple” would attribute it to a God) or just claim that there is not need for a creator because the universe could simply be ever-lasting and self-existing.

Here is the problem with that theory: in an effort to deny the existence of God, they have just created a different God. Part of the most basic definition of a God or deity is that it must be uncaused, meaning that it didn’t originate from something else. Here’s some basic math: the eternal past cannot exist or today would never be a reality! There would be an infinite number of days before getting to today. Ergo, today would never happen. So, since “today” is a reality, time must’ve had a beginning: either caused by an extern agent (God) or self-caused (being God). Therefore, whether you believe in a creator god (or gods, which we will address in a follow-up post) or believe the universe is self-causing, you are, by definition, not an atheist! If you believe that “something” has either always (unhinged from the constraints of time) existed or was and is self-existing, you are, by definition a believer in a “god”: an un-caused cause. Therefore, to say that there is no “need” for there to be a creator or something responsible for the “birthing” of the initial moment of creation is not just intellectually unnecessary but intellectually dishonest.

So the solution is really simple: either god created the big bang or the big bang created itself and therefore fits the definition of “god”. Either way, this just proves that there is no such thing as an “atheist”; at best, one may be “agnostic”, meaning “not enough information” or not enough information as to “which god” is the “real God”. For now, we will leave this particular piece for another time.

The Bible says that “in the last days, people will have a form of religion but deny its power”. This is the reason why people will say things like “I believe in God, just don’t believe Jonah was in the belly of a whale for three days” or that “Jesus couldn’t have been born of a virgin”. Unless your definition of “All-Powerful” is separate and distinct from everyone elses’, an All-Powerful God is able to make both of those two situations happen without much ado about nothing. Even an “atheist” would concede that everything came from “something”. Now if this “something” is so powerful that it started the universe, which is a miracle in its own right, why are people so perplexed when we hear of more recent “miracles”? It sort of works like this:

-The universe came from nothing. It came “into being” while creating the Laws for “being”: it broke, bent or suspended the Laws to create the Laws.

-A miracle is a suspension or a breaking of the Laws of Nature. Example would be: resurrection, turning back time, holding time still, levitating just by thinking it, etc.

-The story of Jonah and the story Jesus’ birth are therefore beliefs that can be held by perfectly rational people without a need to ascribe religious beliefs: if an agnostic scientist can make room in his/her mind for the Laws of Nature to be suspended, bent, or broken, the same can be said of that scientist’s view on Biblical accounts of miracles.

As you can see, none of this takes a degree in Astrophysics to see how plainly and how easily this argument can be made. So why is it that people struggle so profoundly with this simple Truth? The Bible teaches us that for those who blaitantly refuse the Truth “God has handed them over to a reprobate mind” so that they would not believe even when it is made as plain as day. The Bible also teaches us that “to live like there is no God makes you a fool”. What this simply means is that it’s better to believe and be wrong than not to believe and be wrong.

So, whether it is based on faith in God, simple math or a simple thought experiment, regardless of your personal hang-ups with God, it is better to believe than not to believe! Therefore: believe, search for Him and you will find Him when youbsearch for Him with all your heart. And lastly: be saved!

God bless you!

Dummy’s Guide to Apologetic:

3 Questions that gets them Every Time!

I recently had the opportunity to debate several people….at the same time. It’s easy, really: simply post a totally reasonable question on #Twitter and wait for the #sharks to show up! My mortal sin was asking them the following question:

Q1: is there ANY evidence u would accept as proof positive of A god?

If you can imagine, I got lots or replies, just none that actually answered the questions I was posing. I can say that what I did get was lots of attacks on religion, my religion, my personal beliefs, my intelligence and my dignity. I put my very best foot forward and kept soldiering on. I have to say that after engaging with a few people that seemed genuine, I quickly got the gist of the situation: none of them were interested in debate, especially one they would lose. A few, after having given it some thought accused me of circular reasoning, without having said a word!

I took a break; it was my oldest 9th birthday yesterday and it wouldn’t have been nice being on the phone with all those guests there. After sleeping on it overnight, went to church and spoke to a pastor friend of mine. He showed me that I was going about it all wrong: I was trying to show them my reasoning. “Atheism is not about reasoning” he said “it’s an evil demonic spirit. be careful. They don’t attack your ideas, they attack your core, your inner-man”.

With this new found knowledge, I returned back home and spread my net out again to see what I would catch. I asked again:

Q1: is there ANY evidence #atheists would accept as proof positive of A #god?

Immediately I had more bites, not just some of those from the day before but new names and approaches quickly fired back. As you can predict, many were insults but two seemed sincerely interested in the conversation. I restated for them again, hoping to clarify and try to use neutral words like “validate”, “prove” and the like: I didn’t want them to accuse me of language or syntax bias or bias of any kind. With all my good mannerisms, they could not distinguish God from religion and could not give me a straight answer. So I decided to stroke their egos a bit and change my approach. So, here it is! You’re ready? How I check-mated #atheists on #twitter with 3 simple questions, of which 2 were ego-stroking freebies:

    1. Do you believe in science?

What self-respecting auto-proclaimed master of the universe would say “no” to that? Of course! Science is the breadbasket of their ego; it’s where they go to feed from and reinforce each other in the belief that there is no need for a God since all they need is science. They will gladly take the first step into your lion’s den.

2. Do you believe in the “Big Bang”?

Are you joking? Of course! It is the quintessential substance of being a good, secular, science-proves-all-things atheist! They will answer yes, but the more astute among them might object to this line of questioning: not because it’s wrong but because they might sense you have something up your sleeve; they can feel you forcing them in a corner and they’ll cry “foul play” even before you get all “religious” on them.

So far, these two questions were the “gimmes”, the easy bonus questions meant to give them a certain sense of calm and that the conversation is going in their favor. Even as I write this post, I’m fending off at least 10 people on #twitter all attacking the “God of the Bible”, attacking the Bible itself, the stories in the Bible, how they contradict and so on and so forth: if you’ve been a Christian longer than a week or have been conversing with non-believers at any point in your life, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Now, the question that deserves a “thinker’s” answer. The first two are reflex reactions, even Christians can answer “yes” to those first two questions and not break with their worldview. No, the last question forces anyone with strongly held believes that claims to have reached them by reason to go deep and give a legitimate answer not based on sarcasm or stereotypical beliefs about the other side of the conversation. The last question proposes that idea of a “creator” in a language that is not your typical language that atheists are used to hearing when asked about a “un-caused cause”. So here it is:

3. Please explain your answer to question #2.

it seems a very low-ball question that you can easily and simply over-step and dismiss. But not so quickly! You see, you can believe is science and you can believe in the big bang but “something” started the Big Bang. Whether they say that it came from a “previous” universe that “collapsed” or quantum physics or the Spaghetti Monster, it doesn’t matter: whatever their answer is, that IS their god. Whatever idea we have of God, or which god is God, or whether your tradition is polytheistic, monotheistic, deist or pantheist, it doesn’t matter, the baseline definition, the lowest common denominator of the definition of “god” is somewhere between “un-caused cause” and a entity with nothing that is superior to it.

In the Beginning....
Whether you believe in the chicken or the egg theory, “something” must’ve created one or the other.

If Quantum Physics created the universe, God is Quantum Physics, if the Big Bang and the Universe created itself, the Universe is God, if the Spaghetti Monster created the Big Bang, then he’s god. In effect, an atheist, cannot be an atheist: what we have just shown is that the opposite of theist/deist is not atheism but agnostic. Atheists can only claim “who” or “what” or “which” god is god, but they cannot claim there is no god. Even more metaphysically “reason” can be god: if they believe, as they often do, that “one day science will give us an answer” they have just given us the definition of who their god is…science.

Ultimately, everyone believes in a higher power: some of us call him Jesus, others YaHWeH, still others by various other names. There are others, however, who call him by a more familiar name with a much more familiar face: the image staring back at them in the mirror.

This is not, of course, meant to insult anyone but to show that, in the end, all of humanity has a built-in belief in a higher power, we all believe there is something greater than ourselves, greater than all of us. The Bible says that “God has set eternity in the hearts of Man” so that we would search Him out. We all are looking for Him. want to find Him, want to know Him and desire a deep and personal relationship with the Maker of all things.

It is our most sincere and genuine prayer that, all of us, in our searching for Truth, find Jesus Christ and come to know Him as our personal Savior. The Bible teaches us that “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart“. Also, Jesus taught that “You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free“. We belief the Truth is knowable and it is discover-able and it is in the person of Jesus Christ. We encourage you to search, study, question and draw your own conclusions. We trust that an honest search will discover the honest Truth. Please share this article with anyone you feel may find it interesting and thought-provoking. Feel free to comment and we look forward to hear from you.

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