Living for Christ

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August 2010
Daily Devotions Reference List:
(Click here to view the daily devotions)

(8/1) Psalm 24:1-2
(8/2) Genesis 19:24-25
(8/3) 1 Samuel 23:3-5
(8/4) Daniel 2:47
(8/5) Luke 5:8
(8/6) Ephesians 4:20-24
(8/7) Proverbs 10:6-9, 11
(8/8) Psalm 24:3-5
(8/9) Genesis 21:2, 6-7
(8/10) 1 Samuel 23:7, 17
(8/11) Daniel 3:1
(8/12) Luke 5:9-11
(8/13) Ephesians 4:25
(8/14) Proverbs 10:12
(8/15) Psalm 24:6
(8/16) Genesis 21:9-11
(8/17) 1 Samuel 24:4-6
(8/18) Daniel 3:7
(8/19) Luke 5:12-14
(8/20) Ephesians 4:25
(8/21) Proverbs 10:13-17
(8/22) Psalm 24:7-10
(8/23) Genesis 21:22
(8/24) 1 Samuel 24:16b-18
(8/25) Daniel 3:14, 16-18
(8/26) Luke 5:15-16
(8/27) Ephesians 4:26-27
(8/28) Proverbs 10:18-21
(8/29) Psalm 25:1-3
(8/30) Genesis 22:1-3a
(8/31) 1 Samuel 24:16b-18

Note: This is subject to change.

Daily Devotion Topic Schedule:
Sun - Psalms
Mon - Early History
Tue - Later History
Wed - Prophecy
Thu - Gospels
Fri - Paul's Letters
Sat - Proverbs
10 Atypical Arguments for Christianity

I want to go in a different direction with this month's article. Instead of focusing on a person, I want to focus on ideas that support the truth of the Christian faith. They are atypical because none of these ideas comes directly, word-for-word, from the Bible, and most of them are actually rooted in the secular world. I find many of these ideas to be fascinating and it is my hope that they can help strengthen your faith. If you are not already a Christian, I hope that this article will at least give you some things to think about.

(Due to the importance of some of the topics addressed here, and since many people are traveling and may not see it during the month of August, I plan to leave this in place as the feature article for a two-month period.)

1. The Bible refers to the Holy Trinity more than 1500 years before mankind had ever heard of the concept. In the very first chapter of Genesis, verse 26, we find these words: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.'" God is a single entity, referring to Himself in the plural through the hand of Moses, the assumed writer of the book of Genesis. This isn't an attempt to try to convince anybody of anything. God knows He is three forms within one entity, and He inspires Moses to write those words in that way. If the Bible didn't come from God and some random person wrote this verse, how likely is it that it would have been worded the same way?

2. Jesus was not the type of king the Hebrew people expected. They were looking for an earthly king (and non-Messianic Jews still are). If humans simply wrote the Gospels and those events didn't happen, logic dictates that they would have taken on a very different form. They would likely have told the story of a king who rose to earthly power and delivered them from other nations. Before Jesus came, and even while He was here (as we see from accounts of some confused disciples) no one fully understood that Jesus was going to die and rise again three days later. If humans simply wrote the Gospels to try to trick people, wouldn't they have tried to "fulfill" the prophecy in the way the Hebrew people thought it would be fulfilled?

3. Why is Jesus' name the only one used in vain? It's an interesting thing to think about. God's name is, sadly, used in vain quite frequently in our culture by Christians and non-Christians alike. And yes, saying "oh my gosh" but replacing "gosh" with God's name is a way of using it in vain. But have you ever noticed how many non-Christians readily use Jesus Christ's name in vain as well? You don't usually hear people yelling "Buddha!" or "Muhammad!" or "Zeus!" when something goes wrong, but even many strong atheists will use Jesus' name in vain. To me, that is a clear indication of who Satan is waging war against. He doesn't need to attack false religions that won't get you into heaven, but he readily uses non-believers at his puppets to attack Christianity as often as he can.

4. Why do we have sinful ideas and actions? Why is Las Vegas called "Sin City"? Why do even non-Christians who are not living a moral lifestyle do things that they themselves call bad, dirty, or even sinful? Those ideas and values must be ingrained in us somehow, even if some people choose to ignore the moral implications of their actions. I think these types of things point to the fact that God designed us with intrinsic moral values and a knowledge of what is good and what is evil or sinful. Otherwise, it would seem that only Christians and perhaps people of certain other religions would have any strong concept of good and evil.

5. The human cell could not have developed randomly. The deeper scientists delve into the human cell, the more evidence they see that undeniably supports an Intelligent Designer. Unfortunately, many scientists choose to be extremely closed-minded to this truth, but the evidence is becoming increasingly clear. The microscopic cell not only contains many different parts that all have to work together just right in order for the cell to function, but it also contains an incredible amount of information (DNA) in an area infinitely smaller than even the most sophisticated computer. Scientists estimate that a single cell contains around 1 gigabite of information--a vast amount by any measurement. Research has also shown that the type of natural selection process, which is what Darwin claimed to have discovered, would actually reduce the amount of information over time rather than increase it. This indicates that this vast amount of information had to come from somewhere - or Someone - in the first place.

6. An increasing number of leading scientists now believe aliens seeded life onto this planet. The theory is called directed panspermia and basically states that some other form of life initially "planted the seeds" of life on this planet millions of years ago. Personally, I find it exciting that this theory is growing in acceptance. Yes, I believe the theory itself is quite silly, but it also shows that some scientists are beginning to open their minds to the possibility of some form of intelligent design. Unfortunately, it also shows that they are willing to consider any possibility, no matter how far-fetched it sounds, instead of admitting that there is even a chance that God is our Ultimate Creator.

7. It's no coincidence that so many people have attempted to suppress Christianity. Now, let me qualify that statement before I continue: I realize that people from many religions have been persecuted over time. Still, I want to consider a few facts. In the United States, Christians seem to be coming under greater attack than people who practice any other religion. People attempt to suppress anything that refers to the Christian faith while people are free to practice other religions or sinful lifestyles. Perhaps all of this is because this country was founded under Christian principles, which obviously threaten Satan. Around the world, we have many nations in which Islam is the official state religion. Can you think of a country in which Christianity is in that position? I can't. I believe there is an underlying reason for all of this: Satan is waging war against the true God. He doesn't care if people follow Islam, Hinduism, or any other religion because those belief systems are false. Only one belief system leads to the true God, and that's the one Satan is battling against. And in spite of all of this, Christianity continues to persevere.

8. Christians support free speech while many secular leaders do not. Of course, this is something those secular leaders would never admit. But it is happening all around us and it is very clear to see. For example, in many of our colleges and universities, Christian thought is no longer tolerated. Professors are told to teach science apart from any Christian influence. (I encourage you to watch the movie "Expelled" for much more insight into that issue.) We want to openly debate issues ranging from abortion to the origin of life. Unfortunately, many people on the opposing side do not want to debate. Instead, they throw insults or just act like our beliefs are inferior. Why is that? The answer is simple: They often don't have a legitimate argument. If they did, they would use it. Christians welcome debate (at least many of us do, and all of us should) because we know the facts and evidence would ultimately support our positions, based on God's Word and our strong moral foundation. The opposing side, afraid of that prospect, chooses instead to hurl insults or belittle us and our beliefs, no matter how valid they may be. As Christians, the truth really does set us free.

9. The wisdom that we find in the Bible couldn't possibly have come from man alone. The Bible is packed full of so much wisdom that I can't possibly choose just one or two samples to share here. Check out Proverbs, the four Gospels, and Paul's letters for the best evidence of this. Jesus Himself offers so many nuggets of unconventional wisdom that defies the way humans typically think, such as "the first shall be last" and "give in order to receive." Paul frequently tells us to die so that we may live. I also think the name God gives himself ("I am") is a remarkable piece of wisdom! The point is, the wisdom that we find in the Bible is at such a level that it could not have possibly come from some mentally disturbed person, if the Bible were not divinely inspired as non-believers claim. It is illogical, irrational, and unreasonable to read the incredible amount of wisdom presented in the Bible which could have only come from a divine source and then to assume that it is a fictional story written by mere human beings.

10. Based on historical evidence, the Bible is more likely to be accurate than any other written work. Plato, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Pliny the Younger all wrote their own accounts of history. Each one has 7 or 8 original manuscripts still in existence today, and those manuscripts were not written until somewhere between 750 and 1350 years after the original work. Yet no one questions any of those general history accounts. Homer's Iliad ranks far above any of those works, as 643 copies of that manuscript have been discovered. Does anyone ever doubt the accuracy of that book? Of course not. Yet they doubt the Bible. In contrast to all of those examples, how many manuscripts do you think we have of the New Testament? The number is certainly far greater than 7 or 8, and it's even significantly higher than 643. In fact, we have some 25,000 manuscripts of the New Testament. And instead of 1,000 years or more passing before the first of those was actually written, the time span in this case is only about 40 years.

There is also remarkable agreement between all of those manuscripts. Only about 40 lines of text are disputed between those 25,000 manuscripts, compared with 764 lines in dispute among the 643 manuscripts of Homer's Iliad. This is even more remarkable considering the New Testament was written by about 9 different authors. In fact, despite the fact that the entire Bible was written by about 40 different authors over a period of about 1600 years, it is remarkably consistent. That consistency and reliability of the Bible is impossible to deny for anyone who looks at the facts with an open mind. Unfortunately, most non-believers don't allow themselves to do that. They just look for any opportunity to discredit Christianity, no matter how logical, rational, and reasonable the faith really is.

If you are a Christian already, I hope these arguments have strengthened your faith and given you some facts to use when discussing your faith with others. If you are not a Christian, I hope these arguments have given you a reason to at least do some thinking and ask some questions about the faith. Of course, being a Christian isn't about believing in these arguments but about believing in Jesus as Savior, but for a skeptic, I realize that solid, rational arguments are often a good starting point, and that is what I have attempted to do with this article. Christians are far from perfect and we've made many mistakes throughout the last 2000 years, but that's actually what the faith is all about--admitting that we are sinful and in need of a Savior who offers forgiveness from those sins. If you are not already a Christian, I hope and pray that the things you have read in this article can help to lead you toward the first step of that journey.