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Thread: The God Concept

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by heb13-13 View Post
    It all comes down to the heart of man, Richard. You can "study" the scriptures for 100 years and still miss God by a mile because of the lusts of your heart (speaking generally here). Why do people study the scriptures? God knows and sometimes we do to (their actions are manifest). Many shepherds are false and seek only to take advantage of others.

    If you come to God's word with an evil (double) heart you are just going to have a religious experience. If you come to Him with all your heart and wanting only to know Him you will have a spiritual experience and be changed. God knows our hearts and His word will become either a blessing to us or a stumblingblock in our path to reveal our hearts to ourselves (and many times to others).
    How then do the Scriptures help? If we begin as self-deceived sinners with "desperately wicked hearts" (Jer 17:9) then each and every one of us comes to God "with an evil (double) heart" and so according to you no one could ever properly understand the Bible no matter how much they studied it.

    It seems you are saying that understanding the Bible depends upon my own natural goodness.

    Quote Originally Posted by heb13-13 View Post
    I agree!! We see thousands of years of men taking advantage of men in the name of God.
    Yes, and God has, for his "mysterious" purposes, not only allowed two thousand years of needless suffering, but participated in it by estbalishing wicked kings over his Christian nations (such as Charlemagne and Henry VIII)!

    Romans 13:1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.



    Quote Originally Posted by heb13-13 View Post
    I don't think your words are meaningless. We all see the counterfeit Christianity down through history and very little of real Christianity. However, I have seen it and it has been very encouraging to know that I can even walk it, if I so choose to decide to (of course we cannot do anything on our own, we must abide in Him, our true life). True, it is very infrequently seen that men will follow the Lamb even unto death. Many will follow Him only so far...
    I don't know what you have seen, but I would guess it is the natural goodness of people clothed in their religious garb. If you got out more, you would see precisely the same mode of being clothed in Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Atheist garbs. Contrary to popular wisdom, the clothes don't make the man - his (or her) way of being does.

    Quote Originally Posted by heb13-13 View Post
    But, the Shepherd is alive and He is with His people in the fiery furnace of afflication and suffering and He shepherds them through suffering, unto death and beyond.
    OK - if you say so. But I trust you can see why I don't share your belief on this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by heb13-13 View Post
    Why do we not understand? Why do we not see His warnings and His plea to us to count the cost?

    We are talking about a few people following a very narrow way. We have to be concerned with making our calling and election sure.
    Well, that might be what you are talking about, but I'm talking about unviersal truths that applie to all people. Obviously, if God set things up so only a very "few" people find him, then he's not interested in saving most of us, and I'm not very interested in such a God who cares so little for people I love.

    This touches upon a fundamental problem with the Christian doctrines. Chrstianity teaches that God hates most people to such an extent that he freely chose to create a place of eternal conscious torment where he could ensure their eternal pain and suffering. Then the same religion tells me that I should love everyone, even my enemies. So am I greater than God? Do I have more love and compassion than God? If the Christian doctrines are true I see no alternative ....

    Quote Originally Posted by heb13-13 View Post
    Have we forgotten what Paul said in Acts 20, when he warned the church that "wolves" would come in, not sparing the church, after his departure?

    Or Jeremiah talking about the false shepherds and how they deceive and fleece the sheep?

    Have we forgotten the faith chapter? Hebrews 10.

    Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. (Heb 11:26)
    No, I havent' forgotten those passages. I just think the don't answer the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by heb13-13 View Post
    God's word is a two-edged sword that reveals the hearts of men. It reveals our true motivations. Out of the abundance of our heart our mouth speaks and we act on what we believe.

    Those are nice words, but are they true? What practical application do they have? What was the effect of the 50 year Bible Reading Marathon conducted by Harold Camping and his deluded followers? It only strengthened their delusions! They were the most Christian of all Christians. Their statement of faith was "The Bible alone and in its entirety." They played the old hymns all day long and had the good old time preaching men, and they read the entire Bible over their radio station day after day. It was nothing but Bible, Bible, Bible! And they all went bloody insane! And they remain utterly deluded to this day, even after three failed predictions of the rapture and the end of the world. Harold Camping is still preaching and he's being enabled by the entire staff of Famly Radio, so it's not just one senile old man. And this is just one little drop from the ocean of bullshit that flows from people ostensibly devoted to God and the Bible.

    Quote Originally Posted by heb13-13 View Post
    The truth is evil spoke of today. Many ingredients have brought about the diminishing of the absolute in men's minds and hearts, today. Yet, the Absolute is not diminishing one bit. He remains constant to those who are looking to Him.
    What justifis such confident words? Do you have any evidence supporting such ideas? When I look at the reality of the history of Christianity, both present and past, I see nothing to justify your statements.

    Quote Originally Posted by heb13-13 View Post
    But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2Pe 2:2)
    And God set it up this way, and is apparently loathe to do anything to correct the situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by heb13-13 View Post

    Christianity has truly been perverted in all generations. It is because of the wolves. Remember what Jesus told us?

    The diminishing of the absolute continues, yet the Absolute continues on.

    The true God remains and He still speaks, leads and shepherds. I have met many Believers in the "wilderness" that have nothing to do with the Harold Campings, Benny Hinns and Todd Bentley's of our day.

    Blessings to you,
    Rick

    Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (1Jn 2:24)
    We agree! I certainly can't dispute the fact that Christianity has been perverted in all generations.

    But I have yet to find any reason to believe that the "Absolute" has set things up so that a tiny minority of "true Christians" know the "TRUTH" and go to heaven while everyone else is deluded and goes to hell. I think that is entirely unbelievable. But maybe that's just because I'm one of the vast majority of people that God hates and has destined for delusion in this life and eternal suffering in the next.

    Thanks for working with me on this Rick. I know it's very challenging for a Christian to deal with these issues. I really appreciate your efforts.

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  2. #52
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    Maybe mankind has approached the God concept from the wrong direction. For millennia we have accepted the idea that God had to have created the universe when in fact we simply may not be able to know how the universe came into existence, what caused it to start expanding, and what was the catalyst to it all pre-time.
    Instead, why not consider that perhaps it is the universe that has set in place a process by which it could create God? It may sound silly or far out, but consider that from all we can tell, the existence of life within the universe is infinitely rare and the fact is that most of the universe that we understand is in fact hostile towards life. Yet despite this, we exist and as far as we know are the only sentient beings with "emergent intelligence" in existence. We are the only beings that can purposely manipulate natural laws and tweak how things work. We may in fact possess the faculties to eventually discover ways to overcome the problem of mortality as well as the dilemma of having our existence tied to a single planet! Our ability to reason, understand, and manipulate gives us the ability to accomplish things that we may not yet have dreamed of. It is a real possibility that one day mankind can truly become masters of the universe in that we may eventually fully understand it and thus be able to manipulate it to suit our collective whim.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by throwback View Post
    Maybe mankind has approached the God concept from the wrong direction. For millennia we have accepted the idea that God had to have created the universe when in fact we simply may not be able to know how the universe came into existence, what caused it to start expanding, and what was the catalyst to it all pre-time.
    Instead, why not consider that perhaps it is the universe that has set in place a process by which it could create God? It may sound silly or far out, but consider that from all we can tell, the existence of life within the universe is infinitely rare and the fact is that most of the universe that we understand is in fact hostile towards life. Yet despite this, we exist and as far as we know are the only sentient beings with "emergent intelligence" in existence. We are the only beings that can purposely manipulate natural laws and tweak how things work. We may in fact possess the faculties to eventually discover ways to overcome the problem of mortality as well as the dilemma of having our existence tied to a single planet! Our ability to reason, understand, and manipulate gives us the ability to accomplish things that we may not yet have dreamed of. It is a real possibility that one day mankind can truly become masters of the universe in that we may eventually fully understand it and thus be able to manipulate it to suit our collective whim.
    Interesting ideas... Perhaps each part of the universe is energetically linked to the whole because it is from the whole that each part originally emerged out of. How a particular part is tuned determines what information is available to be used by it. Starting back at the evolutionary point where what was to become Homo Sapiens split off from our ape ancestors a refinement began to shape our being, a genetic mutation allowed for a greater number of neurons to be created in our brains which ultimately gave us the ability to be self-aware, that alone was the key factor that propelled mankind on our journey of self-discovery. Self-awareness gave humans the ability to begin rising above our primitive urges which controls the lives of all lower life forms, because survival of the fittest and looking out for oneself was the only thing that allowed the continuance of life. With the emergence of self-awareness humans could begin to make choices to work together to promote the well-being of the whole community, having foresight and hindsight to draw from. As the language center of the left-hemisphere developed more and more, words could be used to express ideas drawn from the intuitions and insights of the right-hemisphere (which seems to have connections beyond the mind itself) allowing forms in the mind to be expressed in words.

    Here's another interesting question for you. If there is a God who created the universe, then why did this divine being wait for over 13 billion years before creating humans with self-awareness? It seems the method this hypothetical god chose to use in creating the universe looks exactly the same as it would have without a creator...otherwise, the creator is pushed back to the very beginning and thus makes no difference.

    All the best,
    Rose
    Never trust anything you are afraid to question ~

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  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    How then do the Scriptures help? If we begin as self-deceived sinners with "desperately wicked hearts" (Jer 17:9) then each and every one of us comes to God "with an evil (double) heart" and so according to you no one could ever properly understand the Bible no matter how much they studied it.

    All the best,

    Richard
    Hi Richard,

    It is not about the Scriptures alone. The letter kills but the Spirit giveth life. As soon as I was born-again, the Lord began to work with me by His Spirit to start to lead me out of darkness. Way before I began to read the Bible, the Holy Spirit was speaking to me and impressing upon my spirit things that I never knew or would ever have considered on my own. Salvation can also be called Deliverance and He has been delivering me from deception my whole Christian life and it will never stop, I will never arrive in this life. From glory to glory and faith to faith He takes us. Like raising a little baby and shepherding it into adulthood.

    The mystery of godliness is indeed a mystery. It is amazing isn't it that a man with a "desperately wicked heart" can be "wooed" by God and given grace to "see" the errors of his ways and repent, reaching outside of himself by faith into the "invisible" and "apprehending that (Christ) for which he has been apprehended."

    It still blows my mind that this "dimension" was alway one step away from me, in front of me. Indeed, it was a few words and a little understanding away from me. (Roman 10:8).

    Yes, we all come to God with an evil heart but once we come to Him our minds begin to be renewed and we are taught that we should not rely on ourselves for spiritual understanding. We are taught by the Holy Spirit that we will only fall into greater deception if we do not rely on Him. Do we get everything right the first time? Of course not! Not even the 2nd or 3rd or umpteenth time. Why? Because we also have our flesh and the powers of darkness to contend with. Satan has been deceiving men from the beginning and he knows how men and women work and what "appeals" to them. He has devices and deceptions for young Christians and different devices and deceptions for older, mature Christians. He knows how to exploit each person's "weakness". We all have them. And we are taught by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to exchange our weaknesses for His strength and not to try to walk this walk, live this life, fight the battles of the flesh and the Devil on our own. It is absolutely impossible to live the Christian life without God's Spirit. Without Him we can do nothing. All of us who have tried to do these things on our own have been miserable failures. I can say that about all of us without any hesitation without even knowing any of those on this site that call themselves Christians.

    We are all searching for more and more light, Richard. No one has all the answers. But when you get many Believers together that have a real, genuine walk with the Lord and only want Him to receive any honor and praise a real amazing thing happens. He manifests Himself. Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. And we also see more of Christ because each Believer is sharing their contribution of the Lord that has been formed in them. That is why the Body of Christ is so important and Satan has worked overtime to wreak havoc and sow confusion. We see more of Christ when we are together than when we are alone. It is like putting a puzzle together. The more pieces that you connect the more of the beautiful scene is coming into focus.

    Anyway, I am starting to ramble. It is getting late and I need to turn in.

    Sure do love you, Richard.

    Have another Sonny day tomorrow,
    Rick

    There is no other book like the Bible in the world where you have to know the Author to understand the book. If Christianity were the religion of the Book then it would be no different than any other religion in the world. But, Christianity is Christ! It is the dynamic, personal Spirit of God functioning in man.

    Answering the Skeptics Bible

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose View Post
    Interesting ideas... Perhaps each part of the universe is energetically linked to the whole because it is from the whole that each part originally emerged out of. How a particular part is tuned determines what information is available to be used by it. Starting back at the evolutionary point where what was to become Homo Sapiens split off from our ape ancestors a refinement began to shape our being, a genetic mutation allowed for a greater number of neurons to be created in our brains which ultimately gave us the ability to be self-aware, that alone was the key factor that propelled mankind on our journey of self-discovery. Self-awareness gave humans the ability to begin rising above our primitive urges which controls the lives of all lower life forms, because survival of the fittest and looking out for oneself was the only thing that allowed the continuance of life. With the emergence of self-awareness humans could begin to make choices to work together to promote the well-being of the whole community, having foresight and hindsight to draw from. As the language center of the left-hemisphere developed more and more, words could be used to express ideas drawn from the intuitions and insights of the right-hemisphere (which seems to have connections beyond the mind itself) allowing forms in the mind to be expressed in words.

    Here's another interesting question for you. If there is a God who created the universe, then why did this divine being wait for over 13 billion years before creating humans with self-awareness? It seems the method this hypothetical god chose to use in creating the universe looks exactly the same as it would have without a creator...otherwise, the creator is pushed back to the very beginning and thus makes no difference.

    All the best,
    Rose
    I also have an interesting question for Rose, why did evolution took 13 billion years to evolve human beings with self awareness? Yet humans could make new breeds of animals such as dogs and cats etc. almost instantly through inter-breeding. Isn't it possible that millenniums down the road, humans could become so advanced technologically that he could duplicate fusion energy of the sun and create planets and moons as well? Humans then could create new species of animals and plants out of DNAs and populate newly created habitable planets? Is it too far-fetch to imagine a time when humans could create new solar systems and inhabit them?

    This brings us to the idea if many stars that we see were created by super advanced intelligent beings?

    May God Blessings and Grace be with you all.
    Last edited by CWH; 11-30-2011 at 11:32 PM.
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  6. #56
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    The more I look at and dissect religious thought, the more oxymoric themes I find.
    For instance, the goal of most religions is ultimately to deify man is some way, shape, or form whether its adherants realize it or not becase in the end, the elect, the saved, or the born again, etc., get to experience a Godlike status, immortality, and the like in a state of "zen" or bliss paradise. The ironic thing to me is that though the goal is to ultimately deify man, the religious often must first tear down man into some desperately wicked being with an evil heart that is incapable of attaining that which the religion ultimately promises without the intervention of some God-being that is totally inconceivable, thoroughtly undefined, contradictory, and ultimately nothing more than an imaginary vision of what an individual or culture of individuals view as holy and righteous.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by throwback View Post
    The more I look at and dissect religious thought, the more oxymoric themes I find.
    For instance, the goal of most religions is ultimately to deify man is some way, shape, or form whether its adherants realize it or not becase in the end, the elect, the saved, or the born again, etc., get to experience a Godlike status, immortality, and the like in a state of "zen" or bliss paradise. The ironic thing to me is that though the goal is to ultimately deify man, the religious often must first tear down man into some desperately wicked being with an evil heart that is incapable of attaining that which the religion ultimately promises without the intervention of some God-being that is totally inconceivable, thoroughtly undefined, contradictory, and ultimately nothing more than an imaginary vision of what an individual or culture of individuals view as holy and righteous.
    Very well stated!

    It's amazing what you can see if you just open your eyes, eh?

    But I try to remind myself not be an "anti-fundamentalist fundamentalist" since I am all to aware of my tendency towards absolutism. If feels good - indeed, "godlike" - to declare absolute truths. And that's another great irony with fundamentalists. They claim that the greatest sin is to try to be like God, and then they go about acting like God with their absolute proclamations.
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  8. #58
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    Thanks Richard,

    I find myself having to fight against being too anti-fundementalist at times as well. There is an innate yearning many of us seem to want to have to deal in absolutes that is so severe that we are often absolutists in speaking against absolutism.

    Back on the subject of God, we need to be careful not to let our feelings, desires, and cultural influences get the best of us. If we are objective and look at the facts that are currently knowable we will neither be able to say there is no God or that there is a God, and this is what God is like. So today when asked about God, I feel the best and most intellectually honest answer I can give is that 'there may in fact be a creator God, but other than saying that it created, there is nothing else I can definitively say or know about it."

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by throwback View Post
    Thanks Richard,

    I find myself having to fight against being too anti-fundementalist at times as well. There is an innate yearning many of us seem to want to have to deal in absolutes that is so severe that we are often absolutists in speaking against absolutism.

    Back on the subject of God, we need to be careful not to let our feelings, desires, and cultural influences get the best of us. If we are objective and look at the facts that are currently knowable we will neither be able to say there is no God or that there is a God, and this is what God is like. So today when asked about God, I feel the best and most intellectually honest answer I can give is that 'there may in fact be a creator God, but other than saying that it created, there is nothing else I can definitively say or know about it."
    I have the same attitude about God. The first problem is that the concept is not even well-defined. There are huge philosophical problems raised by the concept omniscience and existing "outside of time." And the traditional God of Christianity is an apparently incoherent mix of the God of the Philosophers (Absolute Being) and the anthropic God who walks and talks with us. And who is it that is trying to spread the "God concept" anyway? If God were real and wanted us to believe in him, I would expect him to be promoting himself. But all I see are many different groups of humans all competing with each other, saying:

    My God is the true God! Is not! Is so! Allah Hu Akbar! Praise Jesus! Brahman is Creator!

    It's a bedlam of confusion - potsherds clashing with potsherds. I find it impossible to believe that there is a God who will judge us according to which one of those arguments we finally conclude is correct.

    And to add to all this confusion, just look at the history of Christianity. Most people were never presented with any knowledge of Christ at all, and of those who were, most of them were told what to believe - that had no choice! The King quit Catholicism and became a Protestant? Then so have you. Anyone who refuses baptism will be killed by the King's Order.

    Add to that the Biblical declaration that every king that has ever ruled over humans, including the wicked kings that ruled over Christian nations like England, were put in power directly by God himself!

    Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

    Like I said - it's amazing what you might see if you only open your eyes ...
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
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  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Add to that the Biblical declaration that every king that has ever ruled over humans, including the wicked kings that ruled over Christian nations like England, were put in power directly by God himself!

    Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

    Like I said - it's amazing what you might see if you only open your eyes ...
    Hi Guys,

    Yes you could say they were put in power by God, because He allowed them to rise to power. This is a world filled with good and evil and evil can go only so far as God's determinate purposes.

    Jesus came and subjected Himself to men that His Father "raised" up. Men like Herod, Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas.

    It is also amazing what happens when you walk as Jesus walked. When you willingly subject yourself to being taken advantage of and ridiculed and bullied in various and sundry ways and yet still love your persecutors. Redemptive power and grace are released from and through your life when you choose to forgive and love those who persecute you. Only this can truly change men's hearts from the inside. No amount of self-will can do what God's redemptive grace can do.

    What is it that causes these followers of Jesus to love men and women so much? Even at the expense of their very lives or reputations in many cases? Is it foolishness? Are they crazy? Are they living in a fantasy land? Or do they have a hold of something REAL and ETERNAL? Do they do it for some reward? It certainly is not logical or reasonable. Or, do they do it because of their love and thankfulness to God for restoring them to Him? Do they do it just for Him and nothing else?

    I have said it before and I will just mention it again. I could care less for gold or silver or crowns. My reward is Jesus Christ. I live for Him, not "boy scout merit badges", (nothing against the Boy Scouts).

    I do see the false church all around me. How can anyone miss it? And I understand why people are jaded and cynical today. I have had to fight those inclinations, myself. (Keep yourselves in the love of God. Jude). How I wish people that name the name of Christ would depart from wickedness and truly walk as Christ walked. the Cross is indispensable to "Have this attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus...". And because hypocrisy is rampant I can understand why God has gotten a bad rap. It is because of many of the things that you guys talk about on this board. And I absolutely cannot argue with you regarding hypocrisy. I see the same things as you do. The nations around Israel in the OT used to mock them as hypocrites and mock their belief in following this one God. And really, nothing has changed much, today. Has it? But there will always be some who are willing to suffer in the flesh (carry their cross) to remain true to God. These people never hurt anyone and will not take advantage of anyone. They will serve the lowly because they consider themselves even lower.

    "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" Rom 5:5

    When the love of God is shed abroad in your heart you instantly realize that it came from without you. It is not something you can self-generate or is innate.

    "
    Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" Heb 11:25

    "
    Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward" Heb 11:26

    And the true follower of Jesus would rather be considered crazy for walking as Jesus walked than for building their own kingdom on earth and just paying Him "lip service" or using Him to draw their crowds.

    When those of you feel that it's not worth it, consider Jesus.

    "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" Heb 12:3

    "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin" Heb 12:4

    When you think about it, there is not a lot you really need to know. Many Christians in other countries only have a few pages of the Bible, but the important thing is that they already have what is most important; Jesus! The love of God has been shed abroad in their hearts. They have touched eternity and the heart of God, but more importantly, He has touched them. When I was a 2 week old Christian I did not have any answers (reasonable, factual knowledge) but I stood my ground with a very influential atheist friend of mine. I could not answer any of his questions but that did not diminish the facts that I DID know (I had been translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His wonderful Son).

    You see, you don't have to have all knowledge or all answers to all your questions. You just have to have one Answer. Jesus!

    "
    O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee" 2Ch 20:12

    ...neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.

    May the Lord bless you all with His peace that surpasses all understanding.

    Rick










    There is no other book like the Bible in the world where you have to know the Author to understand the book. If Christianity were the religion of the Book then it would be no different than any other religion in the world. But, Christianity is Christ! It is the dynamic, personal Spirit of God functioning in man.

    Answering the Skeptics Bible

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