Category Archives: Dan’s Blog

Joy Rooted in Peace

The reality of human suffering strikes at the very heart of God’s intention for His creation. God is not unjust; He’s merely fulfilling His purpose with the ultimate goal of eternal life in mind. So, does God want us to be miserable during our lives here on earth? Not at all! He wants us to be happy, just not at the expense of what we’ve truly been designed for.

For God, happiness is defined as joy. We sometimes experience true joy—that delightful inner feeling springing up through our emotions. Yet for most people it’s rare, because joy is rooted in peace. And peace is what’s missing when relationship with God is lacking. Jesus said it best: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart troubled nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

The Mystery of Suffering – Part 3

From the very beginning God planned to send His Son, Jesus, to reconcile sinful people to Himself. His purpose involved Jesus’ own suffering on an inconceivable scale, culminating in His death on a Roman cross. We can’t begin to imagine the pain and humiliation He suffered on our part. No one in history has suffered more intensely. Laying aside His privileged position to share our humanity, Jesus paid the ultimate price for us all.

Jesus knows and understands each one of us for who we truly are. All our weaknesses, along with all the temptations natural to the human condition, are no surprise to Him. By personally taking part in human suffering, He has provided us the supreme remedy. As the Bible says, “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

The Mystery of Suffering – Part 2

We are all destined to suffer in this life; it’s unavoidable. But why do some have to suffer so much more than others? One answer may be that suffering is not necessarily an evil in God’s eyes. He uses suffering to draw to Himself those who are seeking truth. Security, prosperity and the pursuit of pleasure frequently do just the opposite. People who have everything they could ever want often are miserable to the point of burying themselves under destructive obsessions in their attempt to escape reality.

Even more to the point, the horrific level of suffering found in this world is not God’s doing at all. People bring most of it on themselves, since rejection of God’s purpose sets the stage for evil to flourish. As evil people gain control over the lives of others, evil is unleashed on an unbelievable scale. It can always be traced back to sin.

The Mystery of Suffering – Part 1

In an attempt to understand God’s purpose for His creation, people routinely stumble over the issue of suffering. How can a good and loving God allow the kind of suffering we see in this world? It just doesn’t seem fair. Is it possible to reconcile what seems to be a contradiction in God’s nature? The problem lies in our inability to truly understand God Himself, and thus His purpose for creating things the way they He has.

Our perception of life’s purpose revolves around “the pursuit of happiness.” We see everything in terms of enhancing our quality of life here on earth. This idea is drilled into us throughout the course of our lives. God doesn’t see it this way. His purpose is all-encompassing: life on Earth is an incubator of sorts, a temporary place of testing wherein the children of God ultimately rise up as His chosen ones.

It’s Time to Act!

People often ask: “What about those who have never heard the gospel? If what you are telling me about Jesus is true, what chance could they possibly have of making it to heaven?” Only God knows the answer to this very reasonable question. He has provided the way for all to come to Him, regardless of the fact that we are unable to fully understand His methods. God’s justice demands it.

Every person on earth has the chance to become one of God’s chosen few. Everything God does, whether it’s His compassion and mercy, or His wrath, stems from His intrinsic love for mankind. The bigger question is this: what have you done about this awesome gift? What are you making of this opportunity in light of the fact that you have heard? This is where personal responsibility comes into play. You’ve now heard the truth; it’s time to act!

Freedom of Choice

We were created for union with God. Children forever share a blood relationship with their parents; they will always be family. God sees us this same way. For Him the gift of family will never be forgotten, and therefore His promises are irrevocable. Yet this doesn’t mean we can’t separate ourselves from His purpose through neglect or outright rejection. People can, and do. Children often reject heartbroken parents, who are incapable of restoring relationship with them no matter how hard they try.

The problem isn’t on God’s end; it’s on ours. We always have a path to God if we choose to take it. But beware—judgment is coming to separate the sheep from the goats! Judgment would be impossible without freedom of choice on our part. Free will is the reflection of God’s nature in our own. This is fundamental to God’s purpose for the destiny of mankind.

From: The Path through the Maze—Answering Life’s Ultimate Question: What Happens After We Die?

Faith Comes from Hearing

“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ,” Romans 10 says. People need to hear the Gospel. What we say about Jesus may seem to fall flat but in reality is very influential, because God takes this opportunity to drop the promise of eternal life into the heart. It then produces a glimmer of hope which motivates them to believe.

“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved,” the Bible states. But it also says, “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?” We must avoid being pompous, but we also need to speak. Our words become much more powerful when coupled with a lifestyle glorifying God. Sometimes the seed of truth is planted through us, sometimes we water, and other times we reap the harvest. What a privilege it is play even a small part in someone’s salvation!

One Giant Step

The step of faith is one of immense proportions. It bridges the superficial nod of the intellect to the true belief of the heart. I was once seated next to a guy who had not asked Christ into His life, yet accepted the fact that God did indeed exist. We got into a prolonged discussion about Jesus but came to no conclusion as to what he might do about taking that big step.

Finally I asked the critical question: “Are you willing to ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you? And if He does, would you be willing to give your life to Him? His answer? “No!” I appreciated his brutal honesty. He knew something really significant was required on his part. That’s why his answer had to be “no.”  It was the price he was unwilling to pay. It was the fear of giving up control of his life.

The Obedience of Surrender

Surrendering your life is a step of profound obedience. Since God is well aware of every detail of your life, He knows what a huge commitment this is on your part. Take comfort in the fact that God designed it this way and therefore has made every provision for becoming reunited with Him—in spite of the inborn weakness of your humanity. There’s no need to worry. Being “born again” into this new life in Christ can happen in an instant of time for the heart that’s ready to receive Him.

At the same time the Bible instructs those who have already taken this step to: “Test yourselves, to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Do you recognize that Jesus Christ is in you—or do you fail the test?” (2Corinthians 13:5) You’ll find this practice useful in judging your spiritual condition no matter where you are along life’s path.

From: The Path through the Maze—Answering Life’s Ultimate Question: What Happens After We Die?

Faith is the Key

Just how does a person receive the grace God has so generously provided through Jesus? It involves faith. God deals with your heart as well as your intellect. Faith comes through an act of your will; believing God’s promise is a decision on your part. But faith comes with a price. Jesus gave all He had and He asks you to do the same—the surrender of your entire being to Him.

Yet how can we even make a decision of such magnitude? It’s here that God’s gift of grace comes alive. Faith is not only action, it’s also a gift.  Without God Himself instilling within you the faith needed to receive Him the whole thing is simply impossible. So ask Jesus to do in you what you obviously are not capable of yourself. He will; and you will receive a life you never dreamed possible. It merely takes willingness on your part.

From: The Path through the Maze—Answering Life’s Ultimate Question: What Happens After We Die?