On Wednesday the 8th of June, voting for the Top 25 Faith Blogs for Moms ended.
My Friends and Blog readers voted in surprising numbers and my blog had huge exposure. I want to thank you all so much! I ended number 101 out of more 300 faith blogs, which is such an encouragement for me in sharing my faith through blogging!
Unfortunately, there were also lot of negative comments about my Gate Keeper of the Home posting, especially from Blog readers of the other faith blogs like those from Pagan and Witch blogs.
There seemed to be some misunderstanding or misconceptions about Christianity in the comments posted by these people. Back to Ancient Ways is a Christian blog. My blog is not here to defend my faith or to evangelize Non-Christians. The Godly calling on my life and thus on my blog is to disciple and encourage Christian Mothers in their high calling as Mothers!
So as not to spread the misconceptions, I have deleted the comments that I had previously allowed through and will not publish any more comments received in the future on that particular posting; as it is not the goal of this blog to promote misconception about Christianity.
In response a friend helped me put forward an attempt to state why I have hope and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. It would take way longer than this to say everything that needs to be said, but here is what I trust will be helpful right now.
I do believe that the Bible is the Word of God. It is authoritative, inerrant and sufficient in everything pertaining to life and godliness. As a result, that is where I turn to for wisdom and insight into life; not my experience/perception/opinion. Faith is, after all, what we put our trust in. What we trust to deliver for us.
Therefore I consider the following to be true:
I put my faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who was born of Mary in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and was baptised in the Jordan. He performed many miracles proving His Divinity; including the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, the lepers being cleansed, and the deaf hearing, the dead being raised up. And He also preached the gospel to the poor. He fulfilled prophesies that He had no control over like the place and date of His birth and where He would travel and then be located as a child, the linage of His parents, and what would happen to His followers and His body after His death. He was crucified, died and was buried and rose on the third day and appeared to many witnesses.
By being raised from the dead, two points need to be taken note of.
1. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead. Romans 1:3-4
2. God has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through Jesus Christ whom He has appointed ...” Acts 17:31
Most people who have had some exposure to Christianity will know John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
Jesus said more than that though. He carried on to say ...
17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:17-21
Ephesians 2:1-10 tells us a whole lot about our deeds. Some people are still dead in their trespasses and sins, while others are now made alive together with Christ because of God's mercy (not getting what we deserve) and grace (getting what we don't deserve). What is key is that we are saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. That faith is a gift from God, not a result of good deeds/works; so no one can boast about this salvation.
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:1-10
Once before, long ago, someone preached a message to the people of Athens in the Areopagus. Some sneered, some were willing to listen again, and some believed. That choice is yours today too.
22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 “Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:22-31
Good News - God is. More than that, God is worthy of all worship.
Bad news - We are sinners. Not just that we sin, but our nature is sin marred and does not want to submit to or worship God. We have rebelled against God. As a result we deserve God's judgement.
Good News - God has done what was required to reconcile us to Himself. He fulfilled the requirements of the Law in the death of His Son. His wrath at sin was satisfied in the death of Jesus Christ. As a result we can be forgiven.
Bad news for some (but it is actually GREAT NEWS) - There is salvation in no one else other than Jesus Christ; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
At the close of a sermon that changed the course of history the preacher was asked, "What shall we do?" The preacher replied, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38
To repent is to think differently after. Now that you have heard what has been presented here, you are faced with a choice. Carry on with life as it was, or think differently after - God is worthy of your worship, you have rebelled against Him and deserve His judgement but He sent His Son to die in your place (satisfying His wrath as sin) so that you could be adopted as His child.
I pray that God would reveal Himself to you through diligent studying of the Bible (start in the New Testament book of John). That He would breathe life into your spirit, give you the gift of faith in Jesus Christ so that you can be bought back, made as if you had not sinned, made right with Him and ever increasingly doing right as defined by His Word, not our own wisdom or standards.
This same Jesus said that the greatest commandment is "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" and the second is like it, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." Matthew 22:37, 39
If your neighbour had taken some poison and you had the antidote; is it loving not to tell your neighbour "that's quite a refreshing drink you just had" and watch them die? Or is it more loving to tell them about the poison and encourage them to take the antidote?
Telling our neighbours the Good News about God's love and desire to save them from the power of sin is one way we demonstrate our love for God, because we are pointing people to Him. It's also the most loving things we can do for our neighbour so that they come into a right relationship with God by His grace.
Here's to a life of loving God and loving our neighbours.
Thank you so much Ray and Debbie Strydom for your time put into this!