Welcome to tomthinking.com Wednesday, December 12 2018 @ 11:00 PM UTC

Was Columbus A Good Role Model?

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On Columbus Day I posted a PragerU video about Christopher Columbus and the significance of Columbus Day. My son-in-law, Erik, then posted a response that gave a wider view of Columbus, including information written by Columbus in his own journals about some of the things he and his crew engaged in that you and I, today, would be appalled at. I’ve seen these kinds of things before and used to dismiss them because, as a conservative, I’ve looked at flawed men like Columbus and said the standard conservative mantra, “Columbus was a man of his time,” therefore, we shouldn’t judge him by modern standards. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that this is an excuse.

Will You Get Alone Time With Jesus In Heaven?

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A few times scripture says Jesus sent away crowds or persons after a miracle occurred.

Jesus sent others away so he could pray.
Jesus sent others away so he could move on to something else.
Jesus sent others away to tell others about him.
Jesus sent others away to follow a law about healing.

In every instance when Jesus sent others away, they had to get back to their own lives.

 

Prayers God Always Answers With A Yes

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Let’s get right to the point. There are four things you can pray for that God always answers with a yes. Here they are:

  1. To know God
  2. To become a spiritual man or woman
  3. To resist temptation, and
  4. To be filled with the Holy Spirit

How do we know that God will answer yes? Because the scripture says so. 


First, God’s desire is that we come to know him. John 6:37 says, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” To know God is the chief aim of Christianity. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” (I John 5:20).

 

All Religions, Except Christianity, Have One Thing In Common

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What are you looking for in a religion? By involving yourself in religious belief or an organization, what do you hope to gain?
My experience with people from all over the world has revealed to me a single truth: People choose a religion for what they can get out of it. Very rarely do people take up a religious view simply because they want to know the truth about their existence or about the supernatural (though there are exceptions). So let me give you a brief inter-faith journey on what religion offers you. No matter what religion or spiritual view you may take up, all of them offer some things in common.
• A community of belonging, even love 
Any group of people who surround themselves with people of like mind often form communities or associations meant to encourage them in their beliefs and goals. It is human nature to form communities.
• Purpose and meaning in life
People usually find purpose and meaning in things outside of themselves. Religion offers many ways for people to express their beliefs to the world around them.
• A future in this life
Everyone wants hope. No one wants a bleak future. All religions offer their version of hope to any who embrace them.
• A way to deal with sin and wrong
Most religions deal with the issue of sin by either redefining it as something innocuous or by ignoring it. Usually this comes in finding ways to ignore or put away feelings of guilt without actually dealing with the act of sin itself.
• An identity that transcends culture, nationality, and all other associations
This is part of forming community. People of like-minded faith have a natural affinity for others of the same faith regardless of where they may come from.
• Activity that changes people's lives for the better
 

I Know What You're Afraid Of And How To Overcome It

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I know what you are afraid of. I’ve been there myself. I understand what it means to have spiritual fear. Maybe you’e never heard it put that way before, but you know what those fears are. They range from simply sharing Jesus with a person you’ve just met to suffering for your faith. Living in the modern world, in a culture dominated by so-called modern sensibilities we sometimes define what is appropriate or prudent in our spiritual life by the circumstances around us and how we feel. If we feel nervous, or intimidated, or unsure of ourselves we shrink back from doing that which the Bible encourages us to do. Here, let me give you an example.
Sharing your faith with your family. Have you ever talked about Jesus with your parents or siblings? Who are you to tell your parents about their sin and need for Jesus? Has that ever run across your mind? Sure it has. What if it causes a tear or break in your relationship? I know you’ve thought of that too. Just how far do you have to go with your Christianity in order to be a real Christian anyway?

Why God Doesn't Speak

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There’s an important page in your Bible that, if you are like most people, goes completely unread. Chances are, you are like most Christians who rip past this page without a moment’s thought. In fact, in all of the Bible this page might be described by some as the most irrelevant, unnecessary, useless page between its soft leather covers. Virtually no one earmarks it, thumbnails it, highlights it, or contemplates what it represents in God’s grand scheme. Yet I’ve found this page to be one of the most important reminders to me that God is always sovereignly at work, performing his will in the world and in my life. Before I tell you where to find this page in your Bible, allow me to share a story.
Craig was an up and coming political star, somewhat controversial, but completely dedicated to his mission. He passionately wanted to represent righteousness in the political system but often found himself frustrated. We were on the phone one day, discussing his latest machinations with his political party and race for power when he pulled a big question out of his hat that was probably the most important question he’d ever asked me.
“Tom, why don’t I hear God speak?”

Experiencing God's Love Through Violence

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How much does God love you?
I was reading a passage from John 17 this morning that caused me to stop and wonder about the incredible love of God. In verses 22 and 23 Jesus is praying for our unity, saying “…that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
In case you missed it, Jesus said that God loves you and I to the same degree that he loves his own son. He loves you just as much as he loves Jesus.
This is a staggering thought. You and I are filled with sin—the thing that God hates the most. In our natural selves we rebel against God. Yet Jesus says that God loves us to no greater or less degree than he loves his own perfect, holy, sinless, eternal son. Yet here’s the kicker…
God’s love for his son did not prevent him from sending Jesus to the cross.

The Necessity of Sin and Guilt

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I first posted this article on October 23, 2008.

After writing my article, The Truth About Truth, I felt that something was missing. There were a small number people upset with the article, but as might be predicted, they were people who had trouble with the idea of absolute or objective truth. Since I’ve brought it up, let me touch on one aspect of objective truth verses subjective truth. I read a Buddhist blog entry this week where the writer protested the notion of “objective” truth. He reasoned that since all truth has to be perceived by someone, therefore no truth is truly objective. The writer asked, “How can one posit an objective absolute without a subjective perceiver?” I respect his point of view, understanding where it comes from, though I disagree with it for a very simple reason.
 

Reflections on the Superior Life of Jesus

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Consider some of the most respected figures in religious or political history. Moses is revered by the Jews as their lawgiver. Yet Moses was a murderer. Mohammad is honored by 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide as a prophet. Yet Mohammad may have been a pedophile, having sex with a child bride when she was just nine years of age. Buddha is revered by more than 300 million Buddhists. Yet Buddhism’s founder abandoned his family without warning to search for enlightenment. Karl Marx is revered by atheists and communists. Yet Marx’s philosophies led to the murder of more than 30 million people in the 20th century.
Every great religious or philosophical figure has some dark, stained past that even their so-called good deeds later in life can never erase. The same is even true in Christianity.
Christians regard Paul as the greatest Apostle, and most of the New Testament was authored by him. Yet Paul was a man of cruelty bent on murdering Christians before he became one himself. King David is revered by Jew and Christian alike for his tender heart to toward God and his unswerving devotion to righteousness. God called David a man after his own heart. Yet David was also an adulterer, a murderer, a man even the scriptures call, “a man of war [who has] shed blood”
Jesus Christ is altogether different, wholly remarkable, and completely superior to these men. Unlike these significant figures of history, Jesus Christ lived without sin.

Is God Brutal?

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Recently I watched the movie, Son Of God. Toward the end of the movie I was deeply moved by the long portrayal of Jesus’ suffering, from his beating, to carrying his cross, and finally the crucifixion. I’ve seen a good number of movies and plays about Jesus but I was never moved so emotionally by a portrayal of the crucifixion like I was watching Son Of God. Why is that?

As Americans, we live in a sanitized and antiseptic culture. Everything is clean, orderly, and has its place. Even our suffering. Most Americans don’t experience extreme brutality like Jesus experienced for us. And that got me thinking again about suffering.