Tuesday, February 20, 2018

REASONS TO BELIEVE: IS THERE ONLY ONE WAY TO GOD?

This is the tenth in a series of blog posts with my sister Betty Haynie about what we believe. Our thoughts are intentionally brief on subjects that could fill volumes.

REASONS I BELIEVE JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD

By Betty Haynie


I heard a story which described many pathways to God. Each pathway had its ups and downs, lessons about life strewn in the path etc, but from the eagle’s viewpoint, they all gradually merged closer and closer to each other. Finally they became one huge path. After walking this path for a while it was obvious that the path was getting narrower and narrower. Then, up ahead, there was a humongous boulder blocking any further passage. You couldn’t get over it, under it or around it. BUT, there was a door. The door was marked Yeshua. To continue on your path to God you HAD to go through the Rock - the Yeshua Rock.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.’” John 14:6

And remember, He only said what His father told Him to say.  

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.” John 14:10-11

I went through a period of doubt, wondering why God would condemn people to eternal separation from Him for not accepting His Son, Jesus, as divine. It seemed to me there should be more than one way or one path to heaven. Well I have come to realize that God is not willing that any should suffer eternity without love (God being “love”).

In an article from Focus on the Family, Del Tackett believes this issue (one way to God) is core to our faith and proof of God’s holy nature. We Christians believe in absolute truth - God’s truth. Therefore if it is in the Bible and we quote it, we are not expressing our own truth but that of God which we have accepted.

“Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

THE path to God, i.e. Salvation, is found in no one but Jesus. "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

He was the sacrificial lamb who died for our sins so that through our confession of sin and acceptance of the gift of Christ we can avoid death. We who believe will simply go from this life to the next as if walking through a door.

John sees Jesus coming to him and says, “See, here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

The path for believers is full of love, hope, joy, peace, truth, growth, change, caring, acceptance, happiness, freedom from guilt and remorse and much, much more. The path of the world is full of competition, aggressiveness, dog eat dog, ulcers, cheating, conniving, lying, sexual promiscuity, greed, heartache, sorrow, fear, suspicion, etc., etc. Which kind of path are you on? Are you satisfied with your choice?

Blessings, Betty


REASONS I BELIEVE JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD

By Dottie Parish

There are many historical, factual reasons to believe that Jesus is the only way to God. Throughout the Old Testament there are over 100 predictions about the future Messiah. These were written by many authors, in numerous books, over a period of 1,000 years. For instance one of the prophets said the redeemer is to be born in Bethlehem. “As for you Bethlehem,.....from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2

Over one hundred prophesies about Jesus as the Messiah are fulfilled in the New Testament. What is the probability of that?

Jesus said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law or Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 24:44

In addition, all the books of the New Testament – written by men who knew Jesus, offer their own testimony about him. Here’s part of what Peter says:

“We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’  We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” 2 Peter 1:16-18

So who did Jesus say he was? Mark Driscoll in a talk at the Crystal Cathedral listed seven statements of Jesus that are “earth shattering, history altering and life changing.”

1. Jesus says “I have come down from Heaven.” He says this repeatedly in the John 6 alone. This is an unprecedented and unparalleled claim.

2. Jesus says that He is God. “I and the Father are one.” John 10: 30 He is claiming equality with God the Father.

3. Jesus said his miracles proved he was God. “Why do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said I am God’s son? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father.” John 10:36-39

4. Jesus claims he is without sin. “Which of you convicts me of sin?” John 8:46 Jesus is either a boastful, arrogant man or the God-man he says he is.

5. Jesus said he could forgive our sin. “Your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5 Conflict erupted as people said God alone forgives sin. And they were right.

6. Jesus said he is the only way to heaven. “I am the way, the truth, the light (singular and exclusive). “No one comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:6

7. Jesus said he would rise from death. “The son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles. They will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him and three days later he will rise again.” Mark 10:33-34) He is the Redeemer, the Savior! He conquered death!

Jesus asks “Who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15 We all must answer this question. It’s the most important question in life. So….who do you say Jesus is?

Father, I pray for those who don't know you. I pray they will gain not just information but transformation today. Give them your Holy Spirit to dwell in their hearts and guide them, and to fill them with joy, peace and grace that never ends. And I pray they say, "Yes, Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God!" In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Blessings, Dottie

Watch for the next Reasons to Believe post on WHY I BELIEVE CHRISTIANITY CHANGED THE WORLD in late March by Betty and Dottie


Monday, February 19, 2018


REASONS TO BELIEVE THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO GOD

This is the tenth in a series of blog posts with my sister Betty Haynie about what we believe. Our thoughts are intentionally brief on subjects that could fill volumes.

REASONS I BELIEVE JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD

By Betty Haynie


I heard a story which described many pathways to God. Each pathway had its ups and downs, lessons about life strewn in the path etc, but from the eagle’s viewpoint, they all gradually merged closer and closer to each other. Finally they became one huge path. After walking this path for a while it was obvious that the path was getting narrower and narrower. Then, up ahead, there was a humongous boulder blocking any further passage. You couldn’t get over it, under it or around it. BUT, there was a door. The door was marked Yeshua. To continue on your path to God you HAD to go through the Rock - the Yeshua Rock.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.’” John 14:6

And remember, He only said what His father told Him to say.  

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.” John 14:10-11

I went through a period of doubt, wondering why God would condemn people to eternal separation from Him for not accepting His Son, Jesus, as divine. It seemed to me there should be more than one way or one path to heaven. Well I have come to realize that God is not willing that any should suffer eternity without love (God being “love”).

In an article from Focus on the Family, Del Tackett believes this issue (one way to God) is core to our faith and proof of God’s holy nature. We Christians believe in absolute truth - God’s truth. Therefore if it is in the Bible and we quote it, we are not expressing our own truth but that of God which we have accepted.

“Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

THE path to God, i.e. Salvation, is found in no one but Jesus. "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

He was the sacrificial lamb who died for our sins so that through our confession of sin and acceptance of the gift of Christ we can avoid death. We who believe will simply go from this life to the next as if walking through a door.

John sees Jesus coming to him and says, “See, here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

The path for believers is full of love, hope, joy, peace, truth, growth, change, caring, acceptance, happiness, freedom from guilt and remorse and much, much more. The path of the world is full of competition, aggressiveness, dog eat dog, ulcers, cheating, conniving, lying, sexual promiscuity, greed, heartache, sorrow, fear, suspicion, etc., etc. Which kind of path are you on? Are you satisfied with your choice?

Blessings, Betty


REASONS I BELIEVE JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD

By Dottie Parish

There are many historical, factual reasons to believe that Jesus is the only way to God. Throughout the Old Testament there are over 100 predictions about the future Messiah. These were written by many authors, in numerous books, over a period of 1,000 years. For instance one of the prophets said the redeemer is to be born in Bethlehem. “As for you Bethlehem,.....from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2

Over one hundred prophesies about Jesus as the Messiah are fulfilled in the New Testament. What is the probability of that?

Jesus said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law or Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 24:44

In addition, all the books of the New Testament – written by men who knew Jesus, offer their own testimony about him. Here’s part of what Peter says:

“We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’  We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” 2 Peter 1:16-18

So who did Jesus say he was? Mark Driscoll in a talk at the Crystal Cathedral listed seven statements of Jesus that are “earth shattering, history altering and life changing.”

1. Jesus says “I have come down from Heaven.” He says this repeatedly in the John 6 alone. This is an unprecedented and unparalleled claim.

2. Jesus says that He is God. “I and the Father are one.” John 10: 30 He is claiming equality with God the Father.

3. Jesus said his miracles proved he was God. “Why do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said I am God’s son? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father.” John 10:36-39

4. Jesus claims he is without sin. “Which of you convicts me of sin?” John 8:46 Jesus is either a boastful, arrogant man or the God-man he says he is.

5. Jesus said he could forgive our sin. “Your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5 Conflict erupted as people said God alone forgives sin. And they were right.

6. Jesus said he is the only way to heaven. “I am the way, the truth, the light (singular and exclusive). “No one comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:6

7. Jesus said he would rise from death. “The son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles. They will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him and three days later he will rise again.” Mark 10:33-34) He is the Redeemer, the Savior! He conquered death!

Jesus asks “Who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15 We all must answer this question. It’s the most important question in life. So….who do you say Jesus is?

Father, I pray for those who don't know you. I pray they will gain not just information but transformation today. Give them your Holy Spirit to dwell in their hearts and guide them, and to fill them with joy, peace and grace that never ends. And I pray they say, "Yes, Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God!" In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Blessings, Dottie

Watch for the next Reasons to Believe post on WHY I BELIEVE CHRISTIANITY CHANGED THE WORLD in late March by Betty and Dottie



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

WE ALL NEED VALENTINES


Q. How important is it for married couples to express romantic love to each other? My wife and I have been married for twenty years. On Valentines Day she wants me to give her a Valentine, tell her I love her and be romantic. I think she should know I love her because I go to work every day and I help around the house. I think actions like these are more important than words or cards. Also, our relationship isn’t always great so why should I do anything? What do you think?

A. Valentine’s Day has been celebrated by couples since the 14th century.  Cards, gifts, flowers, candy or a romantic evening together are traditional ways to do this. Romance enhances relationships and revives a dull or troubled marriage. 
        
You question being romantic toward your wife on Valentine’s Day and justify it because you do other things for her and your marriage isn’t always great. I have news for you. No marriage is always great. If you meet your wife’s need for romantic attention I suspect your marriage will be a great deal better. What have you got to lose? Why does this seem so difficult? Every marriage must be nourished in a variety of ways or it will die. 
        
We have been misled by movies and the media into thinking love is easy; a feeling, an emotional high. We confuse love and infatuation. Love requires commitment and work. It requires giving of oneself, abandoning our self-focus. Many marriages fail because they are not nurtured. 

If you have resentment about the fact that your relationship is “not that great” you need to communicate this to your wife. Tell her what you need from her; how she can make the relationship better for you. Your needs are important also. Everything either of you do is either building your marriage up or tearing it down. Which would you rather do?
        
Gary Smalley, in his book Love Is A Decision, cites four qualities needed in every marriage in order to nurture it. He compares a marriage to a plant and suggests these needs:
     1. Security in marriage is like sunshine to a plant. A life time loving commitment to each other enables a marriage to flourish.
     2. Meaningful communication in marriage is like water to a thirsty plant. We must share feelings, needs, hopes, dreams and be good listeners in order for our marriage to thrive.
     3. Romantic celebration experiences are like rich soil that nurtures a plant. We need to schedule, plan and carry out times of celebration together.
     4. Loving care and touch is essential even for plants. Similarly our marriage needs hugs, kisses, and cuddling on a daily basis for it to blossom.
I would also suggest the following. 
·      Put your wife first. This means she comes before your mother, your father, your son and your daughter. At times she even comes before yourself.
·      Don’t let your work or a hobby keep you from spending quality and quantity time with your wife.
·      Say, “I love you.” No matter what else you’re doing your spouse needs to hear those words often. This goes for wives as well as husbands.
·      Learn to forgive. We have all done hurtful things we needed to be forgiven for. Also, unforgiveness hurts you as well as the marriage.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Let’s express love to our wife or husband in special ways. We can also express love to family members, friends, co-workers and others. Visit a shut in. Email a friend. Send cards to those who are alone and need to know they’re loved. Say “I love you” to family and friends. We all need Valentines.

“Love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
Blessings, Dottie



Valuing Ash Wednesday

This year Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day are in the same day!

Ash Wednesday is on February 14th first this year. This is a special day celebrated in many Christian churches. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the beginning of the 40 weekdays before Easter. Lent is observed in many Christian churches as a period of prayer, confession, repentance, fasting, and self-denial. It echoes the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and overcoming temptation in the wilderness. It also assists Christians in focusing on Jesus resolute journey leading to his crucifixion and resurrection. We learn to identify with his unwavering obedience. We recognize the price he paid for us.

Our faith journey, described in Changing Churches, began in a United Methodist Church – a church that observes Ash Wednesday. Throughout our years there, Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of a solemn and holy time of reflection. While searching for a church in 2008 we attended an Ash Wednesday service at another Methodist Church. I noted in my journal:
         
We sang six verses of “Just As I Am” and  “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood.”  The hymns, responsive readings, confession, and pastor’s message, touched and filled us. We received ashes in the shape of the cross on our foreheads and took Communion—opening and recommitting ourselves to Him. What a sacred event!

Prayer Journaling
In 2004 the teacher of my ladies Bible class mentioned journaling Psalm 51 about David’s sin, one phrase at a time, for the forty days of Lent. This proved to be a sobering but valuable exercise. In order to build up the church, Christians must change and grow. We must face our own sin and repent.

Understanding the Church Calendar
For those not in a liturgical church, Mark Galli’s explanation from his book Beyond Smells and Bellsmay help you appreciate the emphasis on the church calendar. He writes:
The church calendar aims at nothing less than to change the way we experience time and perceive reality. . . . Advent signals the new year. For the church, the annual rhythm is not winter, spring, summer and fall, but Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost. . . . The church calendar is not about the cycle of life – school or sports or harvest time – but about the movement of history toward a glorious goal. We celebrate the past events of history not merely to remember them but note how they infuse the present with meaning and power, and point us to our future hope.
Let this be a Holy season for all Christians to ponder and pray and deepen our faith.

Blessings, Dottie


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Psych Info: COUNSELING AND SPIRITUAL ISSUES

 Q. My wife and I have some problems in our relationship which we need
to face. We argue a lot and don’t know how to settle disagreements. I’ve been involved in AA for several years and it has helped me stay sober. It has also done much more than that. Through AA I have come to a more meaningful understanding of my “Higher Power” - my God!

 I’ve joined a church and have found new purpose and meaning to life. My wife believes in God but she doesn’t understand my new found faith. We’ve had a few arguments over this. I’m hoping and praying we will grow together spiritually. We want to talk with a Christian counselor. We can’t afford to pay much for counseling but we don’t want to talk to a minister. Who could we talk to about these problems? What do you suggest?

A. The problems you raise are important ones. Many of us need or want counseling in relation to our spiritual questions and our spiritual growth. We feel a yearning toward God and an interest in deepening our faith. We also want to be able to share our faith with those closest to us.
         
Many of us also know we need individual or marital counseling yet we want to see a therapist who shares our faith. Talking with a therapist who has a similar world view is especially important if you want to explore spiritual issues. To do otherwise is like trying to communicate in two different languages. Some of the meaning might be understood but much would be lost in the translation.
         
This does not mean that a Christian counselor would impose their own views on clients.  As with secular therapists, the treatment is guided by the client’s needs and wishes.  However, in any therapy the counselor does have a bias. Our beliefs and opinions are transmitted often without any words.
         
Your experience with AA and your faith journey that resulted from this is a testimony to the value of that program in helping alcoholics recover. Often after sobriety is established there is need for marital counseling. Prior to that, problems were avoided or drowned in alcohol. You will need to learn to stay out of arguments with your wife - especially about spiritual issues. Arguments don’t solve anything. If you can’t control your feelings postpone talking with your wife until you are calm. 
         
Use mirroring when you do talk. Mirroring involves repeating back a summary of what you heard her say before you give your opinion. She will listen to you when she feels you understand and respect her opinions. What you do speaks louder than what you say so live your new faith. 
         
A professional counselor will help you address the issues you have raised. You will be free to explore your problems at your pace and according to your own needs. The counselor will not solve the problems for you but will help you find solutions that fit you both. In talking with the counselor you will come to a better understanding of each other and of your relationship.
         
To find a Christian counselor ask a pastor or call Christian counseling centers listed in your phone book. It is essential that you find a counselor who has a Christian worldview. There are also low cost Christian programs that can be very helpful for marriages  including The Third Option, A Weekend to Remember and Marriage Encounter.

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you.” Proverbs 3:3

Blessings, Dottie






Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Best Books RE-READ in 2017

I re-read 18 books last year. Here are the two best books RE-READ in 2017. I first read ALL IN in 2013 and JESUS CONTINUED in 2014. I appreciated them more the second time!

All In: You are One Decision Away from a Totally Different Life
By Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson makes a case for the fact that Christians often say they are following Jesus when they really are inviting Jesus to follow them. Many of us have "bought in" to Christianity but we haven’t "sold out." Missionaries a century ago bought a one way ticket on board a ship when going to the mission field. And they each packed all their belongings in a coffin. They didn’t expect to return.

Batterson says: “Jesus didn’t die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous.” All In is a challenging book with many stories and biblical examples of those who did go “All In”; totally committed and giving their all to Christ. As I read this book two songs came to mind – “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no holding back” and “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord to thee…” 

This book will teach and inspire us to consecrate ourselves to Him and do everything for His glory.

Jesus Continued: Why the Spirit inside you is better than Jesus beside you
By J. D. Greear

This is an excellent book about the Holy Spirit. The book is divided into three sections: The Missing Spirit, Experiencing the Holy Spirit and Seeking the Holy Spirit. Throughout the book Greear weaves Bible stories or references and the words of well known scholars, as well as sharing his own experiences and stories. For example, a touching story to illustrate God’s adoption of us brings this concept to life as he tells of he and his wife adopting four siblings at once. 

Are there times when you can’t feel God’s presence? Greear says “If you are a believer the feeling of being alone is always an illusion.” The section on seeking the Holy Spirit is challenging. We long for revival and for Holy Spirit power. “Revival is the intensification of the normal operations of the Holy Spirit.” Greear outlines steps to revival. These are not easy steps – think humility and repentance. “The Holy Spirit… is power for those who know they are powerless.”

This is a life changing book.

Blessings, Dottie



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

This is the twelfth section of Psalm 119 – the longest chapter and the longest Psalm in the Bible. There are 8 different terms referring to Scripture used through out. These are: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, word and ordinances. My thoughts follow each verse.


Kaph. 

81 My soul languishes for Your salvation;
I wait for Your word.

Father, My soul is sad about this fallen world and longs for your salvation;
I am saved and wait for your second coming promised in your word.

82 My eyes fail with longing for Your word,
While I say, “When will You comfort me?”

Father, my eyes and heart long for Your coming promised in your word,
When will you comfort me?

83 Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget Your statutes.

Father, though I’m getting quite up in years,
I do not and will not forget your statutes.

84 How many are the days of Your servant?
When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?

Father, How long do I have to put up with all this?
When will you judge those who persecute Christians?

85 The arrogant have dug pits for me,
Men who are not in accord with Your law.

The stuck up people lay traps for Christians,
They are unbelievers who reject your law.

86 All Your commandments are faithful;
They have persecuted me with a lie; help me!

All your commandments are true and good for us,
But the world is tearing down all these standards, help us!

87 They almost destroyed me on earth,
But as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts.

They are nearly destroying the morals of this country,
But those who love You, including me, do no stop obeying your precepts.

88 Revive me according to Your loving kindness,
So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.

Send revival to our country with your loving kindness and grace
So our country will be saved by your marvelous moral laws and precepts of your word.

Blessings, Dottie