“DOES GOD EXIST?”
‘Contributed by SM
If you are asked to prove that God exists how do you go about it? Let me put it another way. How do you prove love or pain or hate? You may not be able to prove that any of these three exist (whatever that really means) but when they are present you know it. In short, the feeling you feel is private to you – so some experiences I can’t feel or know cause you to say what you say about such happenings. In other words, the experience is valid for you – no one else can feel or know them.
And so with your experience of God. Many Christians assert, and continue to assert, that God works in their lives. Jesus said, “Seek and you shall find”. But where ? Where and how do you start? I can only point to that essential stillness wherein you experience the quietness within. And remember Jesus also said, “The kingdom of God is within you”. He meant that is where God operates. So try it and talk to God.
Now even Science starts with an act of faith. A chemistry student is told, “This is an acid – it will do so and so”. And he tries and proves it. But the word “try” means something else as well as “having a go”. It also means “tests” in the sense of “test this for truth” or again, “test this for…” and so on. “Faith”, said Jesus, “can move mountains” and I know from real Life that improbable occurrences do happen – I really know it. So try it. It won’t be always but they’ll happen at the discretion of God.
So, too, does Christianity start with a statement. Jesus said He was the real way to the Infinite Spirit which is God. He said He was the Truth when the question was asked, “What is Life all about?”, and He also said the life He offered was the real life that man was meant to have.
Well how do you go about “testing” it? Read Revelations Ch.3 verse 20, as the first step in an act of faith and see what happens when you do what it says. It reads, “Behold I (that is, Jesus) stand at the door (i.e. the door to your inner self) and knock: if any man (or woman) hear my voice and open the door (that is, asks me to come in to him/her) I will come in to him (or her) and sup with him (or her) and he (or she will sup) with me.”
Man was made for fellowship with God and chooses either God or fills that private area within with whatever else. There is no half way house. Jesus re-establishes the link for those who want to – not to prove God – but for you to know and live in harmony with Him.
Discuss this further with your minster or priest if it interests or intrigues you. (JSDM)
A few years ago I had the privilege of visiting Israel. This, of course, was with the aim of visiting places important in the recorded events in the life of Jesus. Some places were busy with many pilgrims and this made it difficult to visualise or even think about the events which occurred there.
Adding to the difficulty was the erection of churches over places mentioned in the Gospel accounts. The traditional place of the manger has, for example, a magnificent and beautiful cathedral, which is a tribute to the faith and devotion of those who erected it. Similarly in Cana where Jesus performed the miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding. My surprise from this visit lay in the size of the flagons which held something like 20 gallons each.
In the Cathedral surmounting the traditional tomb in which Jesus was laid after the crucifixion the crowds were so numerous that joining the queue meant standing for at least an hour and a half added to which the continual movement of other visitors inevitably detracted from the solemnity of the moment. No, I didn’t join the queue. I did my best to see, at a distance this revered place and left.
Elsewhere, significant sites were easily visited such as where Christ faced trial, where He was imprisoned, the road along which he carried the cross to Calvary and the stations of the cross (recorded events/happenings).
Golgotha or the Place of the Skull turned out to be a rugged cliff face in which two holes represented the eyes, a jagged hole the mouth and rocky protrusions evocative of a face. The ancient olive trees in the garden of Gethsemane stood silent . There seemed little doubt they could have been there when the momentous events of the first Easter took place.
Nearby was a small entrance to what is called the Garden Tomb. This is believed by many to be the actual tomb in which Jesus was laid. One has to bend to pass through the entrance into the space beyond. Here in the small area involved were two, as I recall, rocky shelves. On one of these is believed the body of Jesus lay briefly from Friday until Sunday morning. Undoubtedly one felt that this could well have been His tomb. And so I, as did others, stand in silence remembering. And then, turning to leave, one saw the words written above the entry/exit hole. They were –
He is not here He is risen.
(By all means discuss the implications of this article with a minister or priest. SM)
During a speech, former Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews, referred to Pitirim Sorokin, 1889-1968, a Russian-American. Sorokin noted of the Russian Revolution: “During the first stages of the [Russian] Revolution, its leaders deliberately attempted to destroy marriage and the family.
Free love was glorified by the official ‘glass of water’ theory: if a person is thirsty, so went the Party line, it is immaterial what glass he uses when satisfying his thirst; it is equally unimportant how he satisfies his sex hunger. The legal distinction between marriage and casual sexual intercourse was abolished. The communist law spoke only of ‘contracts’ between males and females for the satisfaction of their desires either for an indefinite or a definite period – a year, a month, a week, or even a single night. In short, a variation on that musical play, “Anything Goes.” Really? Does this ring a bell?
The social chaos, which followed the policy, caused its abandonment later in the 1920s. It doesn’t take a university degree to see what this could do to the social values of Western civilization with respect to personal relationships and individual attitudes. Could it happen here? Is it happening here?
Furthermore, one could be brave and state that in the West courtesy still exists. Certainly it exists but so does, increasingly, masculine aggressiveness (machismo) an example of which is the single, sometimes fatal, punch reported from time to time. Sledging in cricket is now accepted as a norm and the behaviour by some players of football needs no comment.
In short, the death of courtesy in Western civilization is noticeable. So what is courtesy? Simply the social oil which facilitates good relationships between people and peoples. It is not the only catalyst but it is a necessary one. It is what Christianity calls “Love in action” – courtesy – respectful kindliness in behaviour…
Without its presence male-female relationships are endangered; bullying can potentially exist in workplace dealings; in the twilight world of crime enforcing extreme violence becomes the norm. It is useless to go on as you already know where the bully boys operate. The practice of courtesy – EVEN A SMILE — as a habit — would make a real contribution to harmony and safety in the community. So? Simple ….. GET WITH IT — TRY IT. You could be really surprised at its effect. Better still find out what being Christian really means!
Been to worship in a Church recently? No? Try it – you might find the peace you seek. [Speak to a minister or priest if the above has interested you. – SM]
The poet, W.B. Yeats, has a most expressive line in one of his poems, “Easter 1916”, which says simply: “All changed, changed utterly.”
Everything is changed and changed utterly in our world from what it was.
Few people think much about our living in an era seemingly indifferent to the Christian message which was embraced widely by those who went before us. Christian faith has been decreased by the great flood of blood in World Wars I & II and the embracing of different ways of looking at what we call reality. In other words, we are in a Post Christian era. You can see it in the lifestyles depicted in film and TV and in society itself – an eat, drink, and go-for-it life.
Everything is changed and changed utterly.
Christian standards are irrelevant. Everyone decides what to do for him/herself. If you are a Christian OK but don’t expect the world to act or look at things the way you do. Christians think and act differently because Christians march to a different drum from society at large.
Everything is changed and changed utterly.
Why? Because of the good news. Hear it and get to grips with the heart of Christianity – the gospel (which means good news). But what is it? What is the good news?
SIMPLY THAT JESUS SAVES – BUT FROM WHAT?
From Hell? What and where is Hell? To answer simply – saved from DESPAIR where the Latin origin of “despair” means de = without & spiro = I hope or spirit. And, without limiting its meaning, you know that life without hope (despair) can be hell for some people. So we can be saved from that because Life is not a cosmic joke – ending in nothing.To be changed from Despair to Hope is to be changed and changed utterly. To be in-spired (or inspirited) is to get a life –to be changed utterly.
Christ rose from the dead – that validated his message and changed everything in life utterly and forever. He is not still on the Cross. He is not still there sacrificing His life for any shortfalls in our behaviour (our sins) by giving his life to offset them. He is not still in his tomb. He is not dead. He is risen – ALIVE and now with God. People saw Him, ate with Him, talked with Him. His friends recognized Him by voice and face.
Dare to believe He did all that and is alive now. Then…pray and ask Him into your life and you will be changed utterly. You will have Hope that where He is you will be. What goes on in the world will pale into insignificance besides that Hope. Worry? Trouble? Sickness? Yes, still around because we are human. But, whatever happens, we go on as believing travellers in time to finally meet Him.
Dare to ask Him into your life? Try it. Talk to any minister if you wish and if you haven’t got one try ours at (07) 3831 7458 [SM] .