the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

“Christianity is unique among world religions, and Christ’s true uniqueness is the centerpiece of Christianity. The truth about Christ is based primarily on the New Testament documents which have been shown elsewhere to be authentic. The New Testament record, especially the Gospels, is one of the most reliable documents from the ancient world. From these documents we learn that numerous facets of Christ are absolutely unique.”

Christ offers a better way of salvation. Unlike the God of Islam, the God of the Bible reached out to us by sending his Son to earth to die for our sins. Muhammad offered no sure hope for salvation, only guidelines for working oneself into Allah’s favor. Christ provided all that is needed to get us to heaven in his death, ‘For Christ also died once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that he might bring us to God’ (1 Peter 3:18).

Christ teaches a better way of salvation. The Hindu is lost in the karmic cycle of reincarnation until he reaches moksha and is left to work the way out of this maze alone. Jesus promised that we would be saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5–7), and that we could know that our salvation is guaranteed (Ephesians 1:13–14; 1 John 5:13).

Christ offers a better way of salvation. The Buddhist also teaches reincarnation as the means of salvation. However, in this form the self or individuality of the soul is eradicated at the end of each life. So even though you live on, it is not you as an individual who has any hope of attaining nirvana. Jesus promised hope to each man and woman as an individual (John 14:3) and said to the thief on the cross beside him, ‘Today you shall be with me in paradise’ (Luke 23:43).

Read more here.

Has any founder of a religion died for you? Without any more for you to do except open your hands and take the gift of salvation?

Or do you have to work to follow all kinds of rules and such?

Do you work for a gift someone gives you? Or do you receive it with gratitude?

What follows is what God wants to give you.

What you give him is your love.

It is finished.

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Photo credit: abcdz2000 via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-S

social media and grief.

Social media is a 2 edged sword.

It’s “one stop shopping” for so many of us. In 5 minutes, we can touch base with 10 people without getting off the couch.

There are some downsides, too. And we pretty much know what they are.

One obscure downside is how we handle death. Below is a link to an article worth reading. It will help if you have been a frustrated recipient. And it will help you if you did not know how the timing of posting a comment could be hurtful.

Remember, it’s the immediate family who comes first. It’s been said others are hurting, too, and it’s just their way of grieving when they comment on a social media site.

I understand that. But as the article points out, there is a hierarchy of grief. If you really want to help, don’t add more stress to the immediate family.

“Please read this before you post another RIP on social media

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Photo credit: http://foter.com/re/c5eb93″>Foter.com

the lesser of two evils.

The following is an excerpt from Questions Asked by Teens About Suicide & Ideas for Appropriate Responses:

What is an appropriate memorial to a suicide victim?

“The most appropriate memorial is a living one such as contributions to support suicide prevention. The American Association of Suicidology cautions that permanent markers or memorials such as plaques or trees planted in memory of the deceased dramatize and glorify their actions. Special pages in yearbooks or or school activities dedicated to the suicide victim are also not recommended.”

I completely understand the concern here. Anyone who is vulnerable may take their life, too. It’s called “copy cat suicide”.

Yet, I think it’s important to allow people to grieve in a way that helps. Especially teenagers. They are still here and the memory of their friend or classmate will be with them forever.

Additionally, the family of the one who took their life is already suffering. To take this approach isolates the family and they suffer more.

I know suicide is a very, very difficult situation. Everyone is hurting.

I also know allowing people to grieve through remembering the one who died is important.

We try to control what we don’t understand. Sometimes, we make it worse.

Which is the lesser of two evils: another suicide or the remaining loved ones feeling isolated and shunned? Does one person have more value than the other?

I see nothing wrong with a yearbook page or plaque. It’s a simple gesture to remember a valuable life.  Without allowing something tangible to remember, it makes that life unimportant.

People who took their life were either hurting and unable to see beyond the moment and/or there was a physical imbalance creating mental illness.

How can we not have compassion for that? It is not compassionate to try and sweep it under the rug. And that is what it is when you deny someone the ability to create a memorial.

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kathymoulton

perspective.

 

Today, while peeling an orange, I thought about people who lived centuries ago, who never tasted an orange.

Or a banana.

Or ice cream.

Those who struggled to breathe on their death beds without the remedy of penicillin.

Those who went to war without a cell phone to call home.

Those who died in childbirth and premature babies who did not live without access to what we have today.

And more.

This doesn’t make the pain better. But it does give perspective.

God spoke about an eternal perspective and living daily with a view of eternity in sight.

That’s because God knows we need to look ahead in order to survive the pain.

Way ahead of here and now.

Without pausing to reflect about people who lived without the small and big things available to us, we get self absorbed for too long.

It’s up to us to reflect and remember so we don’t become consumed with hopelessness.

There is a last chapter and it’s not written yet.

Meanwhile, God comforts us until that day in eternity.

 
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light.

It is not a “religious” thing to live your life with the Bible as your guide.

Some of us read the manual when we get a new appliance or device. Some of us glance over the instructions. Some of us read it when we can’t get something working. And some of us throw the manual out without reading it at all.

No matter what kind of person you are, the manual will always help. It’s meant to help.

It’s common for people to compartmentalize life and put everything to do with the Bible on Sunday mornings and special holidays.

God wants us to live daily with his word to guide us in how we think, act, and believe. Why? Because he wants to help us, not hurt us.

‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Have you ever had the electricity go out in the middle of a moonless night? Pitch black.

If we’re prepared for such emergencies, we feel our way in the darkness to get our flashlight.

People often turn to God during times of darkness, remembering a scripture, a prayer, and hanging on for dear life.

But we don’t just need the light at night. We need light during the day, too.

The light helps us – what we see, where we go, and how we get there.

The scripture is meant for day and night. Everyday.

We can’t throw out the Bible because we have questions or because we don’t understand some things. Do you know how the world was made? Even if you believe in the Big Bang Theory, the elements had to come from somewhere.

There is enough in the Bible that we do understand.

The problem is us.

We can accept or reject. God gives us that choice. And if we’re honest, we do avoid what we don’t want to hear. But if we will hear it, he will do the rest. Lots of times we wait until we feel it. God wants us to choose it, then he will help us to feel it.

You can either stumble through the dark room because you don’t know where the flashlight is, the batteries are dead, or you don’t have one.

Or you can think you see something frightening in the darkness – until you put the light on and realize it was just your imagination.

The Bible clears a lot of things up, guiding us through life, showing us how God wants us to think about things.

We live in a world where bad things happen. Really bad things.

But there is also enough good things which cause us to pause and remember the world also reflects a loving God we can learn to trust.

Whether the light at night or the light at day, we need it to see.

We need God’s word to light our lives.

                                       grace and peace

wait for the Lord.

I personally have found it challenging to wait on the Lord because of the fast paced world we live in today.

Nevertheless, the Bible says:

Wait for the Lord;

be strong and take heart

and wait for the Lord.

I have navigated through life always embracing the scripture, no matter how I felt, no matter what things looked like.

That’s not to say I haven’t run the gamut of emotions when faced with frustration, disappointment, and tragedy.

But at the end of the day, we put our trust in something.

Putting your trust in God and what he says makes us wait. Waiting is difficult for most of us.

Waiting for what?

Waiting for God to lead us in a way we weren’t anticipating.

Some people say , “God opens doors”. We might not like that because WE want to be the one to open (or close) doors.

That’s not to say we can’t because God does give us that ability to do so.

It’s just that many times we find ourselves stuck in a place and not moving. We don’t like that. If we don’t trust God and wait (only because he tells us to), we will either forge ahead or go backwards. Either way, we can make it worse.

And it’s amazing to me how he is always with us even when we take matters into our own hands. He places sure footing before our steps, even when we’re going in the wrong direction.

Make yourself wait.

When you least expect it, a door will open and bring you into a new place. This has happened to me and it really is wonderful because you know God did it.

But there is another waiting.

Waiting for eternity.

Because we’re all going to die someday. No matter what your religion, you can’t dispute that fact.

I know God promise eternal life with him when we believe. Not the kind of click your heels 3x fairy tale stuff believing.

This kind:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

And this:

Yet to all who did receive him[Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. – 1 John 3:23

If you are hurting right now, God promises this:

He [God]will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

You don’t understand now.

But someday you will.

For now, wait for the Lord.

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preserve my life.

Christians are familiar with this scripture:

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)

I’m not sure if they are with the next part:

I have suffered much; preserve my life, LORD, according to your word. (Psalm 119: 107)

Verse 105 is easy. It is the declaration of every Christian who believes in the scripture to be the inerrant word of God. It is used as the point of reference for the application of morality. It is used when a Christian is navigating through difficult situations.

But then there is the next part: I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord.

There used to be (and still is in some church cultures) an emphasis on faith, to the point of almost denying there is such a thing as suffering for the Christian. It kept one buoyant…above the fray…optimistic, positive, and fighting with the sword of the spirit (the scripture).

This is not a bad thing. It’s only bad when you are caught off guard.

Sometimes, we think suffering happens to other people.

There were times when Christians would speak of God’s goodness of an answered prayer while I was sitting there, suffering, because my prayer was not answered.

Then I learned to speak of God’s goodness when I was suffering. When I did, I found myself feeling stronger, finding peace, and even joy. When we accept, we are trusting God.

Joy and sorrow were together at the cross.

How is it we acknowledge there is suffering in the world, but then are surprised when it comes to us?

We are offended with God. We are angry. We are hurt. We are rejected because God didn’t hear our prayer. He didn’t see how hard we worked. How faithful we were. How much we did what God asked because we loved him with all our heart, soul, and strength.

Two things:

  • As smart as we are, as capable as we are, as productive and innovative as humanity is, we do not understand everything. Think about the things science and medicine cannot explain. So how can we possibly think there is an explanation for our personal pain and suffering?
  • Life is eternal. There will be a day when we will understand. All things are hidden with God. There is comfort when you believe that. And it’s not hard to believe it. Because when you have truly hit rock bottom and there is no place to look but up, God is there.

God preserves us during times of suffering. He does it even when we do not know it.

But when you know it, it is all the more wonderful.

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