Author Archive

What’s God like?

Posted in Books, Theology on September 8, 2009 by joannagoanna

After hearing Gracie’s very excellent book review on Bitesize Theology, by Peter Jeffery on Saturday night, I felt compelled to read the book. I have to say, no other book sums up the basics of Christianity quite so comprehensively, as this book does. Its subjects include reconciliation, redemption, justification, grace, election, the Second Coming! All this church jargon is sure to confuse even the most learned minds! Thank God for Bitesize Theology!

Every day we pray “Heavenly Father” or “Dear God”, but who is this God we pray to? He is the Creator, the Father; the Head of the trinity (amongst many other things). Currently in our bible studies on Exodus, we are beginning to unearth the character of God. Through Exodus we have seen that He is patient, determined, sovereign (in control of all things) and most of all loving (and many more!). He is of course all those things but concisely, Bitesize Theology describes God to be like some of the following attributes:

God is holy – He is free from all sin and evil and there is in him absolute moral perfection; God can do nothing that is not holy. Therefore, God’s love is a holy love; his justice, a holy justice and his wrath, a holy wrath. This is especially comforting to us, when we apply this to salvation; his salvation is a holy salvation there is no possibility of it failing. (Psalm 99:9; 119:9)

God is sovereign – He has the power to carry out his will and purpose. God is no fairy-tale king who can only look on helplessly as his enemies triumph. He is omni-everything! Omnipotent (He has all power), omniscient (has all knowledge), omnipresent (in all places).

The God of providence – (He provides) He is always at work in the lives of his people so nothing happens to us by luck or chance. God upholds, guides and governs all circumstances. In other words, God knows what is going to happen, when, how and why; all for His glory.

God is good – There is nothing harsh or unreasonable about him, but God’s goodness is not weakness or softness, He is not something we can take advantage of. As Christians, we can rely on his goodness; we can rely on God, we can know that whatever the circumstance, God will use it for our good, to point everything back to the cross.

God is love – a love that acts on behalf of its recipients. It is undeserved (Romans 5:6-8), it is unsought love (1 John 4:10), it is unimaginable (1 John 3:1).  No other love is more sacrificial and more self-less than the love God has shown us, through the death of Jesus.  Imagine: Letting a family member or friend face death, for the good of many others.  UNREAL right?

Peter Jeffery also writes that “if our thinking about God is not correct then every other doctrine we apply our minds to will also be incorrect. This is the most important doctrine yet people seem to think they are free to make up their minds as to what God is like… This attitude is responsible for what is possibly the greatest sin a person can commit – to reduce God to terms that are acceptable to us (Psalm 50:21)… It is a slander on the character of God and all worship that flows from it is worthless.”

An example of this is only accepting some of the truths about God and ignoring others. Basically picking and choosing what we think God should be like. Putting God (and everything He does) in a box, is limiting God’s capabilities, essentially underestimating God. And from God being sovereign, we can see how putting God in a box is the wrong thing to do!

Read the book. It’s AWESOME!!!

Grace has a copy or ask one of your friendly bible study leaders. They will track down a copy for you.

Christianity, a verifiable religion

Posted in Books, Reflections, Reviews on May 21, 2009 by joannagoanna

adapted from “If I were God, I’d make myself CLEARER”, John Dickson

Great! So you believe in the gospel! That Jesus Christ came to earth, as a man, preached God’s glorious message and bore the brunt of God’s wrath for all the awful (comparably to God) sins we have committed (past, present and future) (Phillipians 2:6-8)! But, do you ever get that inkling feeling that what you are believing in is just a fictional story, made up by an ordinary man who wanted a great and grand following for himself? Or if you do really, truly believe that the “Jesus story” is true, has anyone ever challenged you of your belief? Worst still! … Did you find yourself lost for words with the confrontation?

I am sure you will be comforted to know that what you are believing is true! Christianity is a verifiable religion! What do we mean by verifiable? Can it be supported by other witness accounts or documentation to establish the truth, accuracy and reality?

The Gospels were written in a simple and understood langauge called Koine Greek or common greek. It was a language widely used during the times of Alexander the great; no doubt, many other historical documents were written in this language, forming the basis of those ancient history text books used in high school!

In addition, as it is described by John Dickson (referenced below), historians do not expect to find original manuscripts of any writer from such an early period. Instead, they try to find copies of the original which date as close as possible to the original writings. For instance, Plato’s (famous philosopher – dying in 347 BCE) oldest manuscript can be dated back to 895 BCE. On the other hand, the earliest manuscript of the Gospels were dated around 200 CE, indicating that they were copied around 120 years after they were written. As you can see, there is a whopping 500 or so years between Plato’s originals and copies, compared with only 120 years for the Gospels’.

Now that we have established the authenticity and age of the manuscripts, put yourself in the position of a non-Christian person. You would probably want other documentation to verify that the content is actually true! And aren’t we lucky we had awesome notetakers back in the day! The life and death of Jesus has been also confirmed in non-Christian writings of that period, three from Roman writers and four from Jewish writers.

But most of all, the claim of the risen Christ itself! How can this be verified? First of all, it is an outrageous thing to lie about! Who would believe you if you claimed your dog rose from the dead? Let alone Jesus?! It is said that numerous people (ie multiple witnesses) had claimed to have seen the risen Christ. And in today’s courtroom, that you have a witness to testify is pretty great evidence!! Secondly, as previously written, there were awesome notetakers in Jesus’ time (many of their accounts forming our knowledge of that era), yet there seems to be no documentation of a counter claim; to say that the numerous witnesses were lying.

This is just a really, really miniscule amount of information, to verify a very, very small portion of Christianity. There is sooooooooooooooo much more information out there in support of Christianity! I really encourage you guys to make the time to find out more information in support for the great faith, Christianity!!

Food for thought: If what Christianity has to say can be applied to other religions with a few minor details changed; doesn’t changing those “few minor details” essentially change the truth/core beliefs of Christianity or of that other belief with which you are comparing it to?

Great books:

Case for Christ and Case for Creator– Lee Strobel

If I were God, I’d make myself CLEARER – John Dickson

Please add comments, questions, books!

edited by Gracie

Compassion Day 2009

Posted in Events on May 11, 2009 by joannagoanna

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Thursday May 14th

This year commemorates the 10th anniversary of Compassion Australia’s “COMPASSION DAY”.

Compassion Day, a day for Australian Christian radio stations to unite and appeal for public support to achieve their goal of sponsoring 1500 children throughout the day. Your local Christian radio station is 96.5 FM, and will be airing stories from workers, sponsored children and their families of the struggles and triumphs. But most of all, encouraging you that your small contribution will make a difference!!!!

1500 children have been selected from Ethiopia and Bangledesh. These countries are two of the hardest hit in the global food crisis, resulting in many living a life of poverty and struggle. The global food crisis is described in the Washington Post as a “global shortage;… the world’s food supply and demand (have) fall(en) out of balance… as the world’s poorest nations, dependent on the global marketplace to feed their people, are losing the fight against hunger”.

Compassion Australia is an organisation specialising in helping children of poverty stricken countries in Jesus’ name. They not only aid in helping the communities with financial need, but also help individuals turn to Jesus’ in their most turbulent times.

Remember: God has blessed us with our uni, food in our stomach and comfortable life.. PRAISE GOD FOR THAT!.. but remember we are stewards of God’s blessing. At the end of the day, it’s God’s money, He enabled us to receive it (as He is omni-everything!.. ~potent and ~scient), and as a steward (one who manages another’s property or financial affairs), we must choose wisely how we spend His money.

  • So help Compassion Australia, help these people in dire need!!! Consider sponsoring a child this week!!! and visit www.compassion.com.au —-> follow the links to sponsor a child! (p.S. only 44BUCKS/month.. that feeds, clothes, educates the child and helps their family out!! COULD YOU DO THAT FOR 44BUCKS?)
  • AND tune into 96.5 FM from 6am to 10pm, Thursday May 14th to hear words of encouragement and the amazing things God has done 🙂

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