Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thought of the Day

Pray Without Ceasing
"Defeat is delivered into the hands of the General who believes himself too wise to take heed to counsel."-MCS

Prayer is a powerful thing. Through it, God has delivered entire nations into the promised land (Joshua 1:2), and also spared entire nations from being exterminated (Exodus 32:11-14). Through the power of prayer, children who were once sick on their death bed are given a second chance at life (1 Kings 17:22). The lifeblood of a child of God truly lies in the power of prayer, and the direct petition it gives them to God.

In life, we are like Generals, all fighting our own battles. Though my battle may take on a completely different shape than yours, our battle plans come from the same book; the Bible. That book also gives us the same strategy guaranteeing success; petitioning God in prayer. James 5:16 tells us plainly that the effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much.

God promises to deliver us through the battle if we pray for His counsel (1Cor. 10:13); the world promises to deliver us defeat if we don't.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Answering Atheism (Pt. 2) Occam's Razor

Lately, every discussion I have with an atheist where we are discussing the existence of God, they will inevitably refer to a philosophical principle called Occam’s Razor in order to prove the God of the Bible cannot exist. They do this by quoting Occam’s Razor as, The simplest explanation is usually the best.” They then give an explanation of the two beliefs as shown below.


Before I get into talking about Occam’s Razor, I first want to take a minute to refute this image and what it proposes. There are not “major branches” within true Christianity. In fact, Ephesians 4:5 says, “One God, one faith, one baptism.” Anything that is outside the realms of what God set up in His one faith is not any part of the true Christian religion. Therefore, this image is flawed from the beginning. The Christianity line should look exactly like the atheist line; one solid line without any branches, therefore making these two equal again. Now we have two equal theories, just as Occam’s Razor requires. We must figure out which one makes the most assumptions.
The problem with the atheist’s rationale toward Occam’s Razor is it distorts a valid philosophical concept in order to serve a personal bias. Contrary to the popular summary, the simplest available theory is often a less accurate explanation. I will explain how this is true later. To begin, we must first properly define the theory of Occam’s Razor. Properly defined, Occam’s Razor is, “Plurality should not be posited (or suggested, MCS) without necessity.” The man attributed to this philosophy, William Ockham, went on to further explain this idea by saying, “No plurality should be assumed unless it can be proved (a) by reason, or (b) by experience, or (c) by some infallible authority.” Since we have properly defined what Occam’s Razor really stands for, I want to take this time to refute the atheist’s stance.
Now that we have clearly defined it, let us take a look at which religious view holds true against Occam’s Razor: Atheism or Christianity.
Let’s deal with Christianity first. Christianity, in its simplest form, can be made in 4 assumptions:
1.       There is an all-powerful, all merciful Creator of the universe and everything in it, including you and me.
2.       That Creator sent His Son, Jesus, to die in order to reconcile mankind back to Him.
3.       He gave His infallible, specific instructions to man, in the form of the Bible.
4.       As the Alpha and the Omega, this Creator is not subject to any laws of nature, as He is the Creator of them.
This is Christianity summed up in four simple assumptions. This means we have covered all the bases necessary to answer all questions that man can have regarding the origin of, and subsequent ponderings of this universe and all that resides in it.
Let us take a look at the atheist’s line of thought and count the number of assumptions they have to make:
1.       There is no God; therefore, science must explain everything.
2.       Since there is no God, nature created everything.
3.       Nature had to have created everything spontaneously.
4.       When creating everything spontaneously, everything was created from nothing.
5.       This had to have been done during an event similar to the Big Bang theory.
6.       Since the First Law of Thermodynamics states that neither energy nor matter can be created from nothing, then it had to have been temporarily suspended during this event, along with all other scientific laws.
7.       This “supernatural” occurrence was not caused by God, but rather by the same laws that were temporarily suspended, such as gravity.
8.       After this event took place, order began to form from chaos (in direct contradiction of another scientific law, The Chaos Theory.)
9.       The explosion of the Big Bang placed Earth in just the right spot cosmologically to the sun, as well as having the perfect tilt, rotation, and development of atmosphere.
10.   Eventually, because of this new found “order from chaos”, the Earth gained oceans, vegetation, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and many more other essential elements to life.
11.   Through millions of years, humans have been evolving, beginning first as a single-celled entity in the ocean, then mutating on the backs of crystals, until we eventually evolved into apes, and so forth.
12.   In light of all of this, God is no longer necessary to exist, let alone be worshipped. 
When in a debate about God, the atheist will inevitably turn to the fact that the existence of a God would violate laws of nature. The atheist says that you cannot say that there is something that does not obey natural law. However, in regards to the very beginning of The Big Bang, Dr. Stephen Hawking in his book A Brief History of Time is quoted as saying that all laws of nature were temporarily suspended at the onset of the big bang (pg. 136). This would mean that The Big Bang, in itself, was supernatural, or not subject to obeying natural law. This is hypocrisy. 
The atheist considers the belief in an all-powerful God, who is not subject to the very laws He created, ignorant, superstitious, and unnecessary. Yet, we are to accept belief in the supernatural act of nothing creating everything while suspending the very same laws is perfectly rational thinking. The problem is very little of it actually is.
Even when we use the distorted version of Occam’s Razor, God still comes out victorious. It makes the fewest number of multiplied assumptions and would therefore be the most likely answer.
However, I would be doing you, the reader, an injustice if we did not apply William Ockham’s complete explanation to this problem.  If you will recall, Mr. Ockham said, “No plurality should be assumed unless it can be proved (a) by reason, (b) by experience, or (c) by some infallible authority” (emphasis, MCS).
What could a Christian turn to that would be considered an infallible authority that directly addresses the creation of all things, the existence of God, and the order He put forth? The Bible, of course! Within the Bible, we have not just one witness, but rather a whole collection and multitude of eyewitnesses to the proof of the existence of God and the Bible!  Jesus himself answered this issue of witness in John 8:17, “It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.”(emphasis, MCS) When Jesus said this, he was speaking to another group of people who were openly hostile to him. He was speaking to the Jews. The point made by Jesus is just as valid today as it was then.  In the court systems of the United States, two witnesses are more than enough to validate a claim. We have over forty men who wrote their testimony. It was collected together forming the Bible which includes numerous others who witnessed the proof of God’s existence. Study after study has further proven that the alleged contradictions of the Bible when looked at in their context are not contradictions at all. There is not one alleged contradiction in the Bible that cannot be reasonably explained to someone who is open-minded. The problem with some atheists is their unwillingness to listen to this reasoning. Regardless, the Bible stands as the Christian’s infallible authority, which is necessary for Occam’s Razor.
On the surface level, when they distort the valid philosophy of Occam’s Razor, the atheist appears to have a convincing argument. However, it is only when properly applies Occam’s Razor correctly that one sees the argument fall apart. God is the Creator of all things, including science and logic. It cannot be used to disprove Him.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Mind God Intended Us to Have

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."-Philippians 4:6


Worry is a very dangerous thing. It's deceitful because when you are not suffering from it, it seems like it would be such an easy thing to conquer. When it's not one of the problems you are personally dealing with, it is easy to tell someone to simply stop worrying. We've all said it to someone else at one point or another. However, it is a very different story when you are the one wrestling with worry. Indeed, worry is a master of mind warfare, because it hides it's true strength before attacking it's victims.

As you may know by now, I have a developed a fondness of looking up the origin of a word, and this is no exception. The word worry comes to us from the Old English word, "wyrgan", literally meant "to strangle". Isn't that a most fitting definition of the word worry today? When we worry about something, we find ourselves consumed by it, sometimes to the point of having a panic attack that can actually close off our airways, and literally strangle us. And all of this for what?

Worrying is never done in a present-tense situations. Whether the moment be 5 minutes from now, or a time so far off, it may never happen, worrying is necessarily a future-tense action. The things that are produced from out of our mouths take their origination from the thoughts that control our minds. When we always talk about things that revolve around worry, it shows a lack of trust and faith in God and His plan for us. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Much like the apostles in the book of Acts, If we are doing God's purpose, we should know no fear or worries. If anyone had the right to worry, then it would have been the apostles in the book of Acts. They were strictly forbidden by the Jewish council in Jerusalem to teach and preach the message of Jesus, and were ultimately thrown in jail for defying these orders (Acts 5:17-41). However, while they sat locked up in prison, an angel of God came and gave them a different commandment. The instructions given by the angel were not to go out in the streets and preach the message of Christ, but to take the message of Jesus to the temples! God simply wouldn't allow His plan to be disrupted by the worries of men. However, the apostles were brought in and questioned regarding their further teaching, and I love the response they gave in justification for doing so. Rather than worry about what the "powers-that-be" would do to them, they gave a clear and decisive answer. Acts 5:29 says, "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." When I picture this scene in my mind, Peter is not cowering or saying this meekly. No, that is not the brash Peter we know. He stood tall and said this in a matter-of-fact tone. Worry was worship to a false god, and the apostles knew it.

I believe the apostles were able to preach the message because their minds were not given time to focus on thoughts of worry and doubt. Instead, the kept hearing the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:20, "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." It didn't matter what the high priest or temple captain did to the apostles, there would be no worrying from them. Believe me when I say that this was not based in an ignorant mindset. After all, they had just witnessed what the priests and temple guards were capable of doing when they turned on Jesus. However, the sweet words, "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." kept ringing in their ears.

"And lo.."- This is used to call the attention of the listener. This meant that Jesus intended for the following words to have 100% of the audiences attention.

"..I am.."- This is powerful because it was Jesus of Nazareth, the one and only savior taking personal responsibility for the promise that follows. This is not Christ putting the responsibility off onto someone else, but accepting a job so big, only he could do it. It also shows a present tense application, which means that it will never stop happening. He didn't say that he was, or that he possibly would be. No, he said I am.

"..With you alway.."- Jesus is putting an subject to his powerful promise. If he ended it here, it would have been sufficient to know that we have the almighty power of Jesus, in whom all power is given (Matt. 28:18).

"..even unto the end of the world."- This seals the promise Christ just made. It is meant to invoke a feeling of solidarity to the promise. The idea is that there is nothing of this world that can possibly separate us from the love and comfort of God. Not even death could hold this promise back. In fact, not even the ending of this world could break this promise of God.

"Amen"- The word amen means, "so let it be done." Jesus said it, and he sealed it, on Earth and in heaven.

Someone once said, "Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It's simply the ability to take God at His word, and take the next step." This has never rang more true than when we discuss the topic of worry. It is not God's plan that you would allow yourself to be strangled by your own thoughts. No, like the apostles, he has plans for you. The key to conquering worry is a three step process.

First, you must believe Romans 8:28.

Second, you base this belief on Matthew 28:20.

Third, you work this faith by implementing Philippians 4:6.

Only after we've obeyed God's plan of salvation and stay true to the steps above can we enjoy the benefits of the healthy mind that God intended us to have in the first place.

Monday, January 10, 2011

MEMORANDUM

MEMORANDUM

 Date: January 10th, 2011

RE: Pew Riders Club Fare Changes


Dear Pew Riders;

We would like to take this moment to express our appreciation to those of you who utilize our Pew Riders Club services. We realize that without you, there would be no such thing as a Pew Riding Club, and we recognize that fact. So with that being said, "Thank You!"

However, we felt it necessary to inform you of some changes to our Pew Riders Club. Due to recent changes (and by recent, we mean over 2,000 years ago) made by our Management (and by management, we mean Jesus) at an important meeting (and by meeting, we mean the Sermon on the Mount), we are now required (as we always have been) to request a surcharge in order to gain the maximum benefits of our pews.

Beginning now, we would like to inform you that all members of our Pew Riders Club will be asked to pay a small club membership fee of evangelizing the world. We accept the following forms of payment;

Inviting your neighbors to services
Visiting the sick and elderly
Preparing communion
Cleaning the Building
Teaching a Bible class
Volunteering to organize functions
And a host of other options!

If you have any questions regarding any of our easy (and by easy, we mean required by Christ) payment options, please don't hesitate to contact our easily accessible billing dept (and by billing department, we mean our elders, deacons, or minister).

For further information, please reference the following Administrative Forms and Procedures


Club Requirements Form Matthew 28:19
Club Requirements Form Mathew 25:31-46


Thank you,

The Billing Department

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Answering Atheism

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; There is none that doeth good." Psalms 14:1

The sin discussed in the verse above is known by the term 'atheism' today. However, the concept is still the same. There is a lot of wisdom in this verse for more than the obvious reason of God's existence, but also because of the logical fallacies that atheists have had to cling to in order to hold on to their (false) belief system. During the next several articles, which will be an on-going series, we will explore the many contradictions that are offered by an atheist.

Recently, I have been afforded the opportunity to have discussions with many atheists, and though I had these conversations at different times with different people, one point would always be brought up by the atheist's corner; they believe that through science they have the advantage of logical thinking on their side. They also believe that through this science, they can say with absolute certainty that there is no god, especially not the God of the Bible. They do this by trying to point out the scientific impossibilities of certain events that the Christian holds sacred ever happening. However, I would like to take a moment to break down the atheist's argument piece by piece, and show the fallacies of such a belief.


Atheist Fallacy #1: "Atheism is the abdication of all religious beliefs, especially those involving a God."

This is clearly false, and we can see this by breaking down the word 'atheist' itself. The term atheist is made up of two root words, 'a' which means 'without', and 'theos' which means, 'god'. Literally, the word atheist means 'without god'. The problem with this is that in order for someone to proclaim themselves an atheist, and thereby reject all religious beliefs regarding a God, requires one to make an absolute decision regarding God in the first place. Therefore, if one has made a concrete decision regarding the existence, or non-existence of god, they have therefore bought into a belief regarding religion, thereby subscribing to a religious belief. This, of course, would make the argument that atheism is an abdication, or a renouncing of all religious beliefs, essentially false.


Atheist Fallacy #2: "God cannot be proven empirically, through the scientific method, therefore He doesn't exist."

This concept is based in a quote by the Evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson who said, "It is inherent in any definition of science that statements that cannot be checked by observation are not really saying anything..." In other words, Mr. Simpson would like you to believe that anything that cannot be proven scientifically through the scientific method is not really anything at all.

The key to proving fallacy in this lies in something very basic to human life; emotions. When you feel love, hurt, anger, excitement, stress or sadness, do you have a tangible way of measuring these emotions? If you do not, then George Gaylord Simpson (and every atheist who subscribes to this train of thought, for that matter) would like you to believe that your emotions are not real. However, we know that it is our emotions and the way we employ them that make up our personalities. Without our personalities, we are nothing but empty shells. Does this mean that an atheist is willing to admit that their emotions, and by default, the lack of their personalities have taken away their rights to be considered human? I would think not!

Another problem an atheist has in employing this thought process is in the fact that God is not subject to the laws of science, as man is. In order to believe this, we have to be willing to put God on the same level playing field as mankind, and we know that this simply is not the case. Just as you are not subject to a paper airplane you create, God, as their creator, is not subject to the laws of science. This is important to remember, especially when considering the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that matter nor energy can neither be created nor destroyed. This gives us the answer to how it is possible that God has always existed. He is not subject to the law of science that requires He be created.


Atheist Fallacy #3: "God was not necessary to create the universe and all that was in it."

This is a big one in the atheist community. If they are able to minimize the necessity of God in creating anything, then in their minds they have won the argument. However, this is the weakest point for an atheist to argue because they are making a charge or an accusation, but have no evidence to prove it.

The best explanation they have to offer comes recently by Dr. Stephen Hawking who is quoted saying, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist... It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.

However, with all due respect to Dr. Hawking, this does not answer the fundamental question of where 1) the law of gravity itself came from, 2) where the particles or matter that was pulled together by said gravity came from? The First Law of Thermodynamics states that neither matter nor energy can be created nor destroyed from nothing. This single law in itself refutes Dr. Hawking's assertion that the universe is here due to gravity. In fact, in order to believe in both the First Law of Thermodynamics, and the fact that the universe and all that exist within it are in fact in existence, one would be forced to believe in the idea of an Original Creator (i.e., God). There is no other logical conclusion.

Simply put, until the atheist can reconcile such a large contradiction, there should be no need to consider the atheist platform any further. 


Atheist Fallacy #4: "Science can prove there is no God."


During my discussions with atheists, this claim is thrown around so cavalier that it is almost frightening. The problem with this argument is the fact that science is always evolving and changing as our understanding grows. Science in itself hasn't really began to take off until the past 400 years. This is a problem considering an atheist would like us to believe that the universe and Earth have been in existence for almost 7 billion years! It has been only in the past 400 years that we've gained a truer understanding of our universe and planet alike through science. The fact is, what we hold as scientific facts is always evolving.

Think about when Christopher Columbus sailed the oceans. The general "scientific fact" of the day was that the Earth was flat, and you could sail right off the edge of it if not careful. However, we know this to be false today because of science evolving. Another example is the belief of what caused many to fall ill. For centuries, the "scientific fact" of the day said that it was because of evil deeds that someone fell ill. However, today we know that it is because of things like bacterial, viral, and fungal infections that causes people's illness. In 1847, Doctor Ignaz Semmelweis first suggested people wash their hands in order to keep from spreading illness. The idea was originally scoffed at, until it caught on and the mortality rates of hospitals plunged.

The point is that science is a young, ever-evolving subject. And in so being, it is dangerous to say that we have reached such an understanding about anything that we are able to completely dismiss such a consequential thing as the existence of God. Remember, God is not subject to the laws of science, because He is not tangible, and therefore subject to be proven or dis-proven empirically. Science is no more ready to provide an argument against God as it was in the 1400's to argue for the existence of a flat Earth. As we previously mentioned, science has a hard time proving their own beliefs on how the universe was created, let alone dis-proving it's creation by God!

Famous religious skeptic and professor of physics and astronomy, Chet Raymo is quoted as saying, "Science cannot rule out heaven and hell because they are beyond the reach of empirical investigation."

It is my belief that as science evolves, as well as our full unadulterated understanding of it, we will see how God and science are in one accord with perfect harmony.

Atheist Fallacy #5: "Religious beliefs are held by those in society that are weaker minded, and need to hold onto fairy tales."

This statement always makes me smile because it is an arrogant statement for an atheist to believe. An atheist will tell you that the universe is in existence because of something called, The Big Bang. In case you are unfamiliar with the concept of The Big Bang, let me take this moment to fill you in. The Big Bang is a scientific theory that says that tiny atoms of matter were floating freely around the vast empty space that the universe now occupies. These atoms began floating closer and closer together due to the law of gravity, until they were pulled so closely in together, that enough energy was formed that made a large explosion and sent larger chunks of matter flying throughout the universe, thereby creating the planets, suns, moons, asteroids, and other bodies that create our universe.

When I think about this, it takes just as much (if not a lot more!) faith to believe in the concept of The Big Bang because an atheist again cannot answer the questions that need to be answered regarding the origination of the tiny particles of matter, the law of gravity, what caused the pull of gravity on these tiny pieces of matter, and how these tiny pieces of matter, said to only be a few atoms in totality, mushroomed into celestial bodies big enough to create our universe.

To believe in the fairy tale that is The Big Bang, one would also require a belief in a concept that is a direct contradiction to the Chaos Theory, which states that you cannot get order from chaos without a direct outside intervention. Simply put, the universe could not create the designs it shows throughout it without an outside interference (i.e., God).

We've already covered how God is not subject to the laws of nature and science, therefore, making it unfair to say that the accounts of God are fairy tales. Which one takes more faith and is more likely to be a fairy tale, belief in The Big Bang theory, which is full of scientific contradictions, or belief in an everlasting, ever-loving God of the Bible?


Atheist Fallacy #6: "Religion is the cause of most of the wars fought throughout humanity."


Simply put, this is clearly proven false by the evidence! The recorded history of human warfare goes back to the beginning of recorded human history itself. A recent comprehensive compilation of the history of human warfare, Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and
Alan Axelrod documents 1763 wars, of which 123 have been classified as a religious conflict. So, what atheists have considered to be "most" really amounts to less than 7% of all wars. It is interesting, however, that 66 of these wars (more than 50%) involved Islam, which did not exist as a religion for the first 3,000 years of recorded human warfare, and well over 600 years after the birth of Christianity!

It would actually be more accurate to say that most wars have been due to an atheist agenda, since again, the word atheist means 'without God'. But that would be an unfair classification, so I will refrain from making such a charge. I would not want anyone to think I believe atheists have started many of the wars in history in order to force their belief system on others. Doing so would be irrational, right?

While this is a small sample of the arguing points made by atheists today, I believe it is still a fair representation of their stances. As we have proven here, the atheist has indeed shown themselves to be a fool for believng in such contradictions. And while we as Christians must ultimately rely on faith (Hebrews 11:1), we are able to know and base our faith in Him who knows all things (1 John 3:20).  And when the time comes to make a decision whether or not to follow God, the most logical choice will always be to side with Him, who truly exists and is the creator all things.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Friend/Disciple Conundrum

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13: 34,35

What exactly makes someone a good friend? What is the difference between a "good friend" and a "disciple"?

The English word disciple originates from the words dis, which literally means "apart", and capere, which means "to take". In other words, it means break it down or to take something apart to study it's pieces. The word later evolved into discipere, which means "to grasp intellectually, to analyze thoroughly".

The concept of a disciple is not new to me by any means, but I've never thought to look up it's definition until recently. I was struck (as I often am, it seems!) by it's similarity to the concept of a friend. If you think about it, isn't a true friend someone who we have both broke down and studied and analyzed thoroughly, and visa versa? The concept is the same for a friend as it is for a disciple. They both require a deeper relationship than that which is given to the average person we come into contact with on a day-to-day basis. The average person usually only gets a surface level interaction from us, and it's generally with an image we choose to project. However, a friend or a disciple is someone who knows better. Figuratively, oth have torn us down, and know the most intricate parts of us. From our quirks, to our ticks, they know the best and worst we have to offer.

The apostle John never left Jesus. He was with Jesus at the most important parts of his ministry. John observed the transfiguration and conversation between Jesus, Moses and Elijiah (Matt. 17:1-9). He was near him in the upper room (Mark 14:13-25), he was near him in the garden of gethsemene (Mark 14:32-41), he was at the foot of the cross during the crucifixion (John 19:26,27), and he outran the other disciples to Jesus' tomb after receiving news of his resurrection (John 20:4).

He didn't understand everything Jesus did. He didn't want Jesus to surrender to the guards, but he also never said "I told you so!" and left Jesus. Neither did he appear to ever give up his hope or his love for Christ, even when everyone else had. Because he had faith and love for Christ on Saturday, he witnessed a miracle on Sunday. He never gave up, he never accepted leaving Jesus, depite how desperate it continued to look. For all he knew, he was next. While Jesus hung from the cross in agonizing pain, his concern was not on himself, but rather for his mother, and one other person- John. While suffering agonizing pain, Jesus instructed Mary to take care of John as her own son (John 19:26). Likewise, Jesus intrusted the care of his mother in his absence to John (John 19:27).

Is this being a disciple, or being a true friend?

Was John merely a disciple of Christ?

Is it even possible to merely be a disciple?

Doesn't being a disciple require being a true friend?

The line really begins to blur when we study the character of John and his love for Jesus. Please understand that I'm not trying to diminish the place of John as an Apostle of Christ, or suggest that he was anything less than such. However, the lesson is perfectly clear. What kind of a friend are we to one another? Are we the type of fair-weather friends that are so fickle that we can be blown to-and-fro by the wind? Or do we have the "friendship fortitude" shown by John toward Jesus? Some people are like friendship sponges; the only thing they do is soak others dry, while giving nothing in return. However, this is not a friend at all. After all, it is not what we receive from others that determines the value of a friend, but rather what we are willing to give for them.

S3ABTZH63ZZC

Monday, January 3, 2011

Making the Most of 2011

Lamentations 3:22,23 “It is of Jehovah's lovingkindness that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”

Regardless of who you are in life, I believe there is a certain amount of appeal that all people share when it comes time to celebrate the New Year. We all have our own specifics, but the overall story is the same. The excitement surrounds the hope of being able to start anew. In our minds it is a symbolic rebirthing of sorts. A chance to right some wrongs, to press the proverbial reset button.

For some of us, it offers the chance to change parts of our self image we're uncomfortable with. Others of us will make strides to change aspects of ourselves that others are uncomfortable with. Perhaps your change is a physical one? Maybe it's a personality trait you'd like to change? Or maybe it's something more drastic like a total location make-over you'd like in 2011? No doubt, the New Year is the perfect time to make these changes. But this new year, as I examine what I would like to change about myself, one question based on one word keeps running through my mind.
That one word is Trust.
That one question is, “Are we fully trusting in God's plan?”
Lamentations 3:22,23 tells us, “It is of Jehovah's lovingkindness that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”
I love these two verses because they say so much to anyone who is paying attention. First, it tells us the amount of God's love for us. But I see so much more in these verses. The fact that God's love for us is not based on the performance of a bad day, or even a succession of bad days. We all stumble and fall, and fall short of God's glory (Romans 2:23). But God wants us to return to Him in His way. We must hear the word, believe it, repent of our previous sins, confess Christ as our Lord and savior, and be baptized. However, we must also continue in the faith, and this is where some of us may have strayed.
God has a purpose for all of us. He knew our personalities before we were born (Psalms 139:13). God also tells us that He is never changing, He is always the same. His love and mercy for us will always be there for us, never fading, never growing old or worn out. As long as we are willing to repent and turn from our sins, His hands will always be there to help lift us out of our own misery.
This new year presents quite the opportunity for many of us. Perhaps some of us have put off returning back to Christ's arms because we feel shame for our numerous past sins. Maybe we've been gone for so long, that we've forgotten where to find Him. Sometimes, it may be that we simply feel like a lost cause, totally and utterly unworthy of Him. However, God says that it is never too late for a prodigal child to return back unto Him (Luke 15:11-32). Matthew 28:20 reads, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” To believe anything else would be a lack of trust in God's ultimate plan.
Have we strayed because of a lack of trust in God's plan? Do we have a need to be returned back unto Him? If so, God's given us another day to make our past truly our past. However, we know that we're not promised a single moment longer on this Earth, and must make every moment count when it comes to being found waiting. God has given us the perfect opportunity to do so! He's given us another day of life, and has provided the perfect spotlight to do it in. A new year, at the beginning of a new decade! May we all make 2011 the year that we grow in our relationship with God.