Welcome to tomthinking.com Sunday, December 17 2017 @ 03:37 PM UTC

Are You A Religious Person?

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Of all of the questions or tools you can use to start a conversation about Jesus and share your faith with someone, this one may be the most useful: "Are you a religious person?"

There are many ways of opening up a faith conversation. Perhaps you've heard these types of questions: Do you go to church? Where are you on your spiritual journey? What do you believe about God? What do you believe about Jesus?

The Hard Things

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What are the hard things of Scripture? Are they things like God being accused of genocide in the Old Testament? Things like sacrificing everything you own? Choosing Jesus over your parents, siblings, friends?

These are all hard things to deal with. Remember Jesus' injunction to one man, "Let the dead bury their own dead" (Matthew 8:22). That's a hard thing. But I don't think it is the hardest of things that scripture presents us with.

I think the hardest things in scripture are:

Why Is America A Divided Nation?

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America is divided for one, simple, yet profound reason. We no longer believe the same things.

Take the case of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Politically they were polar opposites, yet they shared the most basic principles of morality, right and wrong.

In today's America, most on the political left don't believe in an all powerful, benevolent Creator. Most on the right believe in a God, but they don't really live as if he exists and are accountable to him.

The Case For Death Prior To The Fall

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I identify myself as an Old Earth Creationist (OEC), holding to the day-age view. This means that I believe the earth and the universe are old in the extreme and that the days of creation listed in Genesis 1 are best understood as long periods of time, or epochs, in which the Lord exercised his creative acts. This stands in contrast to Young Earth Creationists (YEC), who believe the earth and universe are geologically young, between 6,000 and 10,000 years and the days of Genesis 1 are literal 24 hour days.

It is not my intention, in this article, to write an apologetic for OEC. Rather, I would like to address one issue within OEC that YECs say helps disprove the case for OEC, and is a persistent problem for OEC advocacy. Is there a case for death prior to the fall into sin? To state my belief up front, I believe that human death was possible prior to the fall. However, as a religious view (not a scientific view), this is religious speculation. What is possible is not always actual. Nevertheless, I believe human death was possible before the fall because such an idea, to me, seems to be a reasonable explanation for certain difficulties in the biblical text about primeval history.

The Power Of Powerlessness

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I had forgiven him. He had done some things against me that were unconscionable. But I told him I forgave him. Meanwhile, deep in the recesses of my heart where I hide all my secrets, I wished for his life to be a explosion of failure and public embarrassment. After all, he hadn't really repented. So I declared forgiveness, but privately imagined a downfall for him that would justify my secret hatred.
I hadn't really forgiven him, had I? There was an important reason why unforgiveness still clung to me. It was because I was powerless to harm him.

Powerlessness Is A Part Of Unforgiveness

“People Only Believe What Their Culture Tells Them About Religion.” Wanna Bet?

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Have you seen those memes on social media about the one true religion? They usually go something like this: “Out of the thousands of religions that exist, the only one you were exposed to as a child is the only ‘true’ religion? What an amazing coincidence!”
Reality check. All over the world, people are abandoning their ‘true religion’ for Jesus Christ.

Getting Jesus From Genesis

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Have you ever heard someone say, or a preacher preach that Jesus can be found in every book of the Bible, but you wonder if that’s really true? I’d like to help you a little with that problem by showing you just how prevalent Jesus is in the Old Testament. And to make my point I want to show you six ways Jesus is pre-figured in the Old Testament. But not the whole Old Testament, just the book of Genesis. But not the whole book of Genesis. Just the first three chapters. You see, if Jesus is really pre-figured in the Old Testament, we ought to find him in many places, and the first three chapters of Genesis set this stage with six instances.

Where do I find Jesus in Genesis 1-3? Try this on for size:

Are You A Man Of God? Here's How To Find Out

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In my early radio career I was once engineering a live talk show. The host was taking live calls. One woman said, "You sound like a man of God." My friend, the host, suddenly became very solemn. During the commercial break he said to me,"Did you hear what she said? She called me a man of God. I've never been paid a greater compliment." He was truly humbled by the experience.

Just what does it mean to be a man or woman of God? Has anyone ever thought of you in that fashion? Do you think you have the qualifications to be a man or woman of God?

The Shroud Of Turin Is Not The Burial Cloth Of Jesus, Here's Why

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I had a recent conversation with someone on Facebook advocating that the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus and that the image on the shroud is a miraculous image of the real Lord Jesus. The exchange has driven me back to scripture to one again ensure that my position on the Shroud is not a mistaken one. I do not believe that the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus. I think a careful study of scripture reveals that the Shroud is not authentic. I’ve written previously about this, however, today I’d like to make a much more thorough case comparing the Shroud to the scriptures about Jesus’ burial to demonstrate why my conclusion is valid.

To keep the length of this article manageable, I will not be providing background information about the Shroud of Turin and its history. If you are interested in more details about the Shroud then you can find that information here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shroud_of_Turin) and here (https://www.shroud.com). My concern is with what the scripture reveals about Jesus’ burial and whether or not the physical evidences of the Shroud comport with the biblical evidences. What are those physical evidences?

Stop Saying, "Supernatural"

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There is difficulty for some to accept the idea of the supernatural because, in their understanding, the supernatural is akin to magic. So when a skeptic hears a report of a miracle or healing such a report is easily dismissed. Magic makes for good fairy tales, but it doesn't really exist. Thus, the supernatural doesn't exist.

This is all a matter of definitions. The biblically grounded Christian knows that the supernatural exists, but as long as his reports are bound by the definition of the skeptic he can never see a skeptic acquiesce that the miraculous might be possible. Perhaps what we need is a new term unsullied by notions of magic, superstition, and the flamboyant preacher who puts on an episode of his miracle and healing show.

I'd like to suggest that we may want to stop using the term supernatural and instead one possible term might be, Above Natural. Here's why.