Monthly Archives: November 2010

Giving Thanks: The Cure to Atheism

“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful, and has nobody to thank.” ~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti

When we give genuine thanks from our hearts, we are expressing gratitude for receiving from the hand of another that which we could not have otherwise provided ourselves.  In a society that celebrates the “self-made” man, it is an act of humility to say thanks.  For in giving thanks, we recognize that we are not the self-made individuals we sometimes like to imagine ourselves to be, but rather, in saying thanks we confess that we  are the recipients of the favor and blessings of another.  Thanks can only be given to that which is outside of ourselves.

In giving thanks for his life, the atheist must logically abandon his atheism, or cease altogether in his giving thanks for anything.  For if there is no God, then there can be no logical reason to give thanks, for there is nobody in which to give thanks to.  And if the atheist still feels thankful for his existence and the blessings of his life, and sees nothing illogical in entering into a spirit of thanks, then he should at once see a psychiatrist for the delusional mental illness  he is suffering from.

Now, I have said these things not so much in hopes of convincing an atheist of the existence of God.  Though, the famous atheist turned Christian, C. S. Lewis, was powerfully moved towards the faith by discovering as an atheist, he found himself perplexed over why he felt so thankful.  “To Whom do I feel thankful?” he reasoned.  But I have said these things to help highlight the importance we should give to the place of giving thanks in our lives.

We as Christians should be naturally thankful people, for we recognize that there is nothing in our lives that we have that we did not receive.  Far from being self-made, we are all individuals who have received an abundance of grace that has been multiplied unto us.  There is nothing we have that we did not receive from the hand of Another.  And in saying thanks, we deepen our faith in Christ, and are cured from atheism.


Refreshed by the Saints

…not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.  (Hebrews 10:25 NASB)

The last week or two at work has been very challenging on me personally and professionally.  I have to admit, the stresses put on me have left me drained, and I’ve hardly felt very spiritual, and to my own shame I admit, I’ve not been as spiritual as I should be.  I’ve fallen into the trap of allowing my circumstances to dictate my attitude and actions, instead of allowing my faith to dictate my circumstances.  In my attempt to gain control again over everything, I’ve felt this temptation to hunker down, tighten the hatch, and wait out the storm in my own little bomb shelter.

But then I am reminded by Hebrews that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  The faith I have is not mine alone, but is a faith that belongs to the greater community of believers, locally and universally.  The Lord did not save me so that I could just have a one-on-one relationship with Him.  He saved me so that I could be part of a people– the communion of the saints.  He saved me so I could share my life and faith with others who are of the same life and faith, and that together, we could enjoy the fellowship of one-another in Him.

Last night I almost laid out of a a small-group I frequent in my Church.  I try to attend weekly.  But, after such a hard week at work, I thought I could just use some me-time when I get home.  That would probably be the best thing for me, right?  Such is often our rationale, but such a rationale is not of faith.  While there are times of special prolonged fasts where we as Christians might need to withdraw for a time of solitude, the regular diet of our faith is that we should be a people who frequently come together.

You see, my personal relationship with Jesus Christ is not enough to sustain me as a regular way of life.  Nor is it enough for you.  I need you, and you need me.  And together, we need the Jesus who lives inside of each one of us.  Last night my rationale almost caused me to skip gathering  together with the saints, especially since I was running late to our meeting.  But, with my heart I knew I needed to be with these precious saints.  And from the moment I arrived, late though I was, I instantly felt a divine injection of His grace into my life.

There is something so precious about gathering together with the saints.  I often find a great spirit of refreshing come over in me in such times, as I did last night.  And why is that?  Because these people in and of themselves are the best company in the world?  No.  Rather, it is the Spirit of Christ who dwells in them that brings a time of refreshing to my soul.  As I look into their eyes and hear their voices, I see the eyes of my Lord, and I hear His voice.  I need more of that.  I need to be with the Lord more and more.  And Biblically speaking, there is no greater way to be with the Lord and have a one-on-one relationship with Him than to spend time in the presence of the saints.  Neglect such fellowship, and you will neglect your relationship with the Lord.  Embrace such fellowship, and you will thrive in your relationship with the Lord.

Why Doctrine Matters

So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?”  (Genesis 29:25; NASB)

There are some people in Evangelical circles today who are so spiritual that they’ve declared, doctrine doesn’t really matter.  All that matters to them is having a personal relationship with Jesus.  Whether a doctrine is true or not doesn’t really matter to these brethren.  All that matters is knowing Jesus.  Such is the spirit of our age.

But if I could, I would just like to make a little observation from a story in the life of Jacob.  Jacob, if you recall, was madly in love with a girl named Rachel.  He agreed to serve Laban, Rachel’s father, for seven years, if only at the end of those seven years he could take Rachel to be his wife.  Well, seven years of service came and went, and Jacob took Rachel to be his wife.  But when Jacob woke up the next morning, he discovered the woman he was with was not the woman whom he had served Laban for.   Instead, it was another woman altogether, Leah.  Jacob had been married to the wrong woman.

What is one thing we can learn from this little story?  At the end of the day, the truth really does matter.  Indeed, if your personal relationship with the Lord is not grounded in the truth, like Jacob, one day when you wake up, you may discover that after all your years of service, that you were married to the wrong person altogether.

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