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Why I believe (4-6) how we live matters

God created us. God owns us. God cares about us. God is good.

All of that gives God the right to make the rules, and us the obligation to follow them. And I’m glad He does make rules because our choices have consequences. Our words and our actions heal or harm, help or hurt, restore or destroy.

How we live matters.

I’m not one of those Christians who thinks you just need to pray a magic prayer and then you’re set. God cares deeply about how we live, and our decisions can bring eternal good or eternal harm to ourselves and others.

We live in a moral universe. We answer to a moral God. We have been given the power to bring good or evil into the lives of the people God loves. How we live matters.

Dwight

PS. On 10/12/2019, our Inner Wealth topic will be overcoming a painful past. Many people want to forget the past, but don’t understand how and why the past still affects them or what you can do to get free.

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Why I believe (3-6) God is good

Some read the Bible and find in it a malevolent, vindictive God.

I do not.

Rather I find a God who hurts when we hurt, a God who fixes things that are broken, a God who keeps on loving us even when we slander Him, ignore Him, marginalize Him. I find a God who is fiercely protective of His children, who seeks out those who have lost their way, who heals hurts and repairs relationships.

It’s no surprise to me that followers of God have started clinics, hospitals, food pantries, schools, and universities. In the name of Jesus, people have worked to end slavery and human trafficking throughout the world, to end poverty, to stop racism, to end child labor, to repair broken relationships, to heal hurts of all kinds.

All of this rings true on my own experience. Throughout my life God has been kind to me, and even though I’ve experienced hard times, He has always turned those things around for good.

I believe what the world doubts: God is good.

Dwight

PS. On 10/12/2019, our Inner Wealth topic will be overcoming a painful past. Many people want to forget the past, but don’t understand how and why the past still affects them or what you can do to get free.

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Why I believe (2-6) in the Bible as God’s word

There are many sacred texts, but the Bible stands out to me for these reasons.

(1) It has stood the test of time.

(2) It is an incredibly diverse set of books by a diverse set of authors, but all point to the same God.

(3) The Bible is event-oriented. This is important. It isn’t merely a collection of opinions. It bases its authority on historical events like the resurrection of Jesus that took place in time and space in front of witnesses who could easily discredit the message if these events did not take place.

(4) The Bible has been embraced by people from nearly every nation and people group. Its message is universal.

(5) There has been an irrational hatred for the Bible throughout the ages. Even today, in some countries, people are imprisoned, tortured, or executed just for owning a Bible.

(6) Even though I’ve read through the Bible many times, I still find new depth of meaning in old familiar passages. Others report experiencing the same thing.

(7) The Bible offers hope and a connection with God I find nowhere else.

Dwight

PS. On 10/12/2019, our Inner Wealth topic will be overcoming a painful past. Many people want to forget the past, but don’t understand how and why the past still affects them or what you can do to get free.

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Why I believe (1-6) in God as Creator

Nothing created everything?

I don’t think so.

Big bang or not, everything came from something. There is a first cause, and that first cause is, by definition, supernatural—or beyond the natural, able to do what the natural cannot do.

Then there’s life. Do the math. Time and chance cannot arrange a trillion atoms into a single self-replicating cell—I don’t care how many times lightning strikes the mud puddle. It can’t be done.

And then God is supposed to be absent when hundreds of base pairs magically rearrange themselves in DNA not just in one organism, but also in another of the opposite sex. This needs to happen at the same time. The two need to find each other, mate, produce offspring before they both get eaten. And this is supposed to take place not just once, but millions of times.

Really?

In my mind it takes a whole lot LESS faith to simply embrace Genesis 1:1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Dwight

PS. On 10/12/2019, our Inner Wealth topic will be overcoming a painful past. Many people want to forget the past, but don’t understand how and why the past still affects them or what you can do to get free.

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Great things God has done

 

…consider what great things He has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24

 

God brings order from chaos. That’s how He created the heavens and the earth. And that’s what He does with our lives. He takes the turbulence of our lives, together with the dull drudgery of day after day existence, throws in our dysfunctional past and somehow creates something beautiful from it.

Eternal life has begun inside us. It will grow and eclipse all that we have known. Eternal life, Jesus said, is knowing God and knowing the Messiah God sent. Even today, we are walking into that experience.

Dwight

PS. Our Inner Wealth topic for October 5, 2019 will be “Little known secrets for mind renewal”—an explanation of how we life-transforming paradigm shifts from God. (See Romans 12:2.)

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Our only King

 

But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your calamities and distresses. And you have said, “No, set a king over us.” 1 Samuel 10:19

 

As far as God was concerned, getting a king was a step backwards, not forwards, for Israel. God wanted a direct relationship with His people. He wanted to be their King. He wanted to be their Savior—that is, the one who rescued them when they were in trouble.

God still wants a direct relationship with His people. He doesn’t want our spiritual lives to be funneled through the pastor, the worship leader, or some other Christian “king.” He wants us to go to Him, to look to Him, to relate directly to Him.

Don’t get me wrong. Leaders have their place, and worship services have their place. But they were never meant to be a substitute for God.

Dwight

PS. Our Inner Wealth topic for October 5, 2019 will be “Little known secrets for mind renewal”—an explanation of how we life-transforming paradigm shifts from God. (See Romans 12:2.)

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You will be changed

 

The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 1 Samuel 10:6 (emphasis mine)

 

Samuel is telling Saul how his life is about to turn upside down. God gave Saul a big job, but He never expected him to do it on his own. God was ready to partner with him. God wanted to turn Saul into a great leader.

God gives us gifts and God gives us power for a purpose. He is changing us into the people He wants us to be.

The phrase “you will be changed” is one of the most significant in all the Bible. God is constantly looking for opportunities to transform us. Most of the trials we have in life are merely God’s attempts to maneuver us into a position where we face the truth about where we’re at so that God can tell us the transforming truth about who we are.

Dwight

PS. Our Inner Wealth topic for October 5, 2019 will be “Little known secrets for mind renewal”—an explanation of how we life-transforming paradigm shifts from God. (See Romans 12:2.)

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Starting small


 

They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them. 1 Samuel 10:4

 

Saul had just received the startling news. God had appointed him king. Samuel was laying out some predictions to confirm Saul’s new identity. And then, he slips in Saul’s first instruction: “…which you will accept from them.”

God didn’t start by telling Saul to negotiate a treaty or raise an army or build a palace. He started with something simple: Someone is going to offer you a gift—accept it.

While it is true that God has given us an identity as royal sons and daughters of the High King, He knows exactly where we are in our growth toward maturity, and He builds our lives with simple instructions, step-by-step obedience.

Our calling may be great, but God breaks a great life down into moment-by-moment opportunities to say, “Yes, Lord,” to simple instructions.

Dwight

PS. Our Inner Wealth topic for October 5, 2019 will be “Little known secrets for mind renewal”—an explanation of how we life-transforming paradigm shifts from God. (See Romans 12:2.)

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Lost donkeys

 

Now the donkeys belonging to Saul’s father Kish were lost… 1 Samuel 9:3

 

One night I went with a group of Christian guys to get some self defense training. Our instructor was shorter than any of us, older than all of us, and weighed less than we did. But he had no trouble at all throwing the biggest of us around anywhere and anytime he wanted. It was amazing to me to see how a little tiny bit of pressure—in the right place—would send a grown man flying.

A new chapter of history is opening. Israel is about to get her first king. Like the self-defense instructor, God introduces this development with finesse. He takes a little, seemingly inconsequential incident—lost donkeys—and uses it to turn around not only a man’s life, but the political landscape of an entire nation, and—ultimately—the history of the world.

This is one of the exciting things about life as a child of God. We never know when God is going to take some trifling matter in our life and use it to change our world.

Dwight

PS. Our Inner Wealth topic for 9/28/2019 will be overcoming anger.

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Our new identity


 

“Who can stand in the presence of the LORD, this holy God?” 1 Samuel 6:20

 

Sadly, many needed to die before people began to wake up to reality: God is holy. Israelis died in battle because their leaders had no regard for the Lord. Philistines died of plagues because they thought the ark of God was booty, a plaything for their people and their god. And now the men of Beth Shemesh die because they had the presumption to think their eyes had the right to pry into the secrets of God’s ark.

For many years God posted “Off Limits” and “No Trespassing” signs around His presence. Then Jesus died and the curtain of the temple was torn from top to bottom. The signs were changed. The sign now reads “We Have Room for You.”

What changed? Did people suddenly get better? Or did God lower His standards?

Neither, of course. God just set into motion His plan to make us like Him: holy.

That is why the whole focus of our Christian lives is about living out our new identity as saints—“holy ones.”

Dwight

PS. Our Inner Wealth topic for 9/28/2019 will be overcoming anger.

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