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If God is So Good Why is There Evil? June 20, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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This question has confounded philosophers for ages and led countless millions to blame God for all the evil in the world.  We must have faith if we’re going to question whether God is the author of evil since the Bible says of God, “You are good, and the source of good.”

We need faith to doubt God and instead ask the question, “If God is good why is there evil?”

Why do I say that we need faith to question God?

To even consider this question we must first accept the fact that God is and that He created the world.  If those two things are not the foundation of our faith, the basis of our world view, the question which forms the center of this essay is a meaningless exercise, an enigma wrapped in a riddle that makes no sense.

Most of us believe in fairness.  So how can we even think of blaming God for evil if He isn’t the source of it?  That wouldn’t be very fair would it?  So we’ve established that if we ask this question, “If God is so good why is there evil?” Or, if we blame God for all the evil we see in the world we must therefore believe in God and believe He is the creator of all things.

Having established that this question will only make sense in the context of faith let’s move forward with our reasoning.

First, we must determine is life as we know it normal?  Is this world filled with hatred, violence, death, disease, and war what God intended?  Was it His plan to have us suffer through this vale of tears?

There is only one place we have a chance to get God’s side of this question.  He only wrote one book.  Therefore if we reject the Bible as God’s word we have nowhere to get the answer to this question except our own finite mind.  Does seeking the answer to an eternal question in a finite source make any sense?  If as established above we have a foundational faith in the existence of God and that He is the creator of the world eternal facts which we can only learn from the Bible why would we then reject the Bible as a source of other eternal knowledge?

Moving forward in reasoning based on the eternal knowledge revealed in the Bible:

We know God placed Adam and Eve in Eden.  Are we to believe that God intended for his children to run around naked in a poison ivy patch filled with thorns and thistles?  No, at the end of the fifth day of creation after God had made the whole universe and all that is in it except man he looked over everything He had made and it was good.  If everything was good and then after He brings man into the equation all of a sudden there is all this not good going on all over the place what happened?

Humanity was not an afterthought.  God didn’t create the world and then decide, “I need a gardener” and then make humans to fit the bill.   You see long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ.   Humanity was marked out as God’s children before He said, “Let there be light,” or as the science guys call it, the big bang.  Before the foundations of creation were laid God purposed a family, and humanity is the answer to that purpose.

But what kind of a being did God create?

When God was saying let there be this and let there be that and He came to the creation of humanity He said, “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.”   That’s right. He made humanity in His own image.  He goes on to tell us, “God created human beings; He created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature.”  That’s what it says.  When God first created humans they were in His class.  Not the monkey class…the God class.

And He even tells us why, “So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”  Then He gave them the power to reproduce so they could give Him a wonderfully large family to manage His creation, “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!  Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”

That was His plan.  He created a perfect earth and then created beings that were like Him to run it as His assistants, His superintendents.  Humanity was given complete charge over the earth from the fish in the sea to the birds in the air.  It was all ours to command because God gave it over to us.

If God is anything He is fair.  If He makes a deal He sticks to it.  God is not a contact breaker.

Just think of this: if I gave my child a new car signing the title over to him doesn’t he then have a legal right to do anything he wants with that car?

I may have wanted him to use it for his business, maybe taking the kids to school, and even for his own pleasure.  That was my vision when I gave him the car.

But he had other ideas.  He decided to give the car to someone else.  He signs the title over to her.  Who does the car belong to?

Would I have any legal right to take it back from the one he gave it to and say, “Hey, that isn’t your car!  I bought it for my child.”  I don’t think that would stand up in court.  That wouldn’t be legal.

You see God gave humanity dominion over the earth.  We have no idea how long that dominion lasted.  Adam and Eve could have been in the garden for millions of years. We have no way of knowing.  But then along comes Satan, the father of sin, whose original sin was saying that he would set his throne above the Most High and that he would make himself god.

And what does he do?  He invents the first pyramid scheme.

He entices Eve with the idea that she could be like God.  Eve was conned.  She bought the dream … eat the forbidden fruit … then lay on the beach collecting residuals as the new god.  Hook, line, and sinker she swallowed it all.  She never understood the part about kicking it all back up the line to her new boss, Satan.

Then Adam comes home and Eve tells him of the fabulous deal Satan is offering.  Adam isn’t fooled.  He sees through the whole thing but he wants to be with his wife so he signs on the dotted line and by doing that he transferred his dominion over to Satan.  He gave Satan the title to the new car.

Now God being a loving Father wanted his children to have the new car but they gave it away, so being a just God He can’t just take it back.  Therefore, because of the treason of Adam creation now groans under the lordship of Satan.

That’s it in a nut shell.  God created humanity to be His supervisor here on a perfect earth.  He gave us the title deed to the planet.  Then through Adam’s willful disobedience we gave it to Satan and that’s how he became the god of this world.  Ever since, Satan’s nature, evil, has ridden rough shod over us and sin and death have plagued us from that day to this.

This isn’t what God planned.  This is the result of our choice, the choice to serve Satan instead of God.  And remember Satan’s original sin was that he wanted to play God, so every time we blame God for what Satan has done we give him exactly what he wanted all along … to be recognized as God.

What a mess we made.  God gave us a good deal and we traded it in for a swindle.

All I can do is echo another poor sinner saved by grace who once said, “Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

More on that later. …

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

A Childless Father Who Has a Son June 12, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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I am blessed.  My wife gave me a son. He was hers before he was mine.  Then he became ours.  In my heart he is always mine and I feel as if I am his Dad.  But it often feels like a homerun record with an asterisk, an almost.  You see, I’m a step-father.  That’s as close as I will ever come to experiencing the life of a father and for that I am forever thankful to God for I am a childless father who has a son.

I know the pride of watching my son play little league.  Together we experienced the joy of victory and the agony of defeat.  I encouraged him to play music.  I helped with homework.  I watched him march in band.  I raced against the stop lights time after time to make it to events and meetings with teachers, doctor’s appointments, and birthdays.  I watched him graduate grade school after driving him from one town to another so he could remain in the same school with his friends after we moved.  I blessed God when he graduated high school and earned scholarships to college.  I was happy when he chose the girl my wife and I prayed for long before we ever met her, enjoyed being the father of the groom, and I love my grandchildren with all my heart.  I am truly blessed.  My wife gave me a son.

But there are four other children I have never known.  Four other children blood of my blood and bone of my bone that I never had the chance to know.

These are my aborted children.

They were aborted without my consent, told by the women involved and the courts that it was none of my business, murdered within the law, slaughtered beyond the pale.  They are still alive within my heart.

Let me say in defense of the women who aborted my children, before I gave my life to Christ I was a snake.  As a matter of fact I’ve always said that before I was saved snakes would cross the street when they saw me coming.  I was a drug addicted; drunken scheming dreamer convinced I should be something I wasn’t and equally convince I wasn’t what I was.

Any young woman who learned they were pregnant and that I was the father could not be blamed for deciding I was a waste of space, a self-indulgent loser, and a disaster as a potential father.  And although none of the three young women involved ever told me why they aborted my children, that’s what I have always thought was my addition to the equation.

Once I gave my life to Christ.  Once I sobered up, straightened out, and stood in the light of His love I knew he forgave me for any part I played in the deaths of these innocent children.  I know He forgives everyone who lays their sins at the foot of the cross.

Over the years He has ministered to my heart, my spirit, and my soul as I have cried tears for who could have been.  I am healed for when He said, “It is finished,” sin was defeated.  When He rose from the grave life conquered death, and since He ascended into heaven where He took His place at the right hand of the Father together we all live in Him.  I am healed.

But there is not a day I don’t miss those children.  There is not a day I don’t think of what might have been.  There is not a day that I don’t imagine seeing them in Him.

I struggle sometimes knowing that two of the women who aborted my children later had other children.  They’ve had an experience they took from me.  I don’t begrudge them the joy of parenting.  I have forgiven them.  But sometimes I’m jealous of what they have and of what I shall never have and for this I repent.  I also struggle sometimes watching other women I know have had abortions and later had children.  I know God has forgiven them.  I don’t have anything against them but at times I struggle with my own emotions.

All of this is the burden of this forgotten father.  I was forgotten in the decision to abort my children.  I have been forgotten in all the years since.

I may be forgotten but I cannot forget.

My children died.  Four lost lives in the American holocaust of millions.  They are four souls whose blood cries out to God, four cracks in my broken heart, four children of God I long to know, four tears I shall cry till the day we meet.

A step-father is like a used shoe.  It may look good, it may wear well, and at time it may even feel good.  But it’s still a used shoe.

However my step-son may feel about me I know how I feel about him.  He is my son.  I may have lost four but I have gained one.  I am blessed.  My wife gave me a son.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

A Soap Opera That Never Ends Will Finally End Then What? June 6, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
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All my life I’ve been in love with History.  I learned at an early age that if you love reading you can live a thousand lifetimes and if you’re wise you have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others.  I’ve certainly experienced the former while unfortunately not doing much of the latter.

My love of History metastasized into a love of Political Science.  These two intellectual “Loves of my Life” have given me countless hours of joy lost in reading, mired in thinking, and entertained by speculation.

Now as I enter what are called the golden years, though I believe they might be made of brass, having spent several decades teaching both subjects I feel a need to share some insights not on particulars but instead on something that is usually disparaged and often dismissed, generalities.

Though most have never heard of him many can misquote the writer and philosopher George Santayana who is reported to have said, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”  What he actually said was, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  There is a subtle difference there for learning and remembering are two different things.  This sounds so wise.  It even appears self-evident.  And it apparently, at least to my observation, it’s an oxymoron.  After a daily study of History for sixty years the only lesson I’ve learned is that humanity never learns the lessons of History.

In my classes I tell my students that History is nothing more than the stories of people just like us who lived at different times in what were essentially different worlds.  They had the same bodies and minds that we do.  They felt the same emotions.  They lived, they died, and now it is our turn.  I also tell them that if we don’t learn anything from History that helps us in our everyday life we might as well read fiction.

I know that most people study History because they have to.  I know most people find it boring.  As an exercise in memorizing dates, names, and facts to be later regurgitated on a test and forgotten I can well understand the boring part.  There are so few who can see through to the stories making History so exciting.  So few can lose themselves in the narrative, imagine themselves on the deck of that ship, in the palace with the king, or in the hut with that peasant.  They only see dates, and names, and facts. BORING!

And Political Science who cares about that?  I tell my students who don’t care about it at all that it’s the science of who gets what and if they don’t care about it someone else will and then they get to make the decisions.  So what do you want?  You decide.

Now after decades spent following politics through the lens of History attempting to share with others the insights gained I must tell you all that it’s essentially the equivalent of an ant studying a castle made of sand.  He spends his life telling other ants how wondrous the castle is, how imposing its turrets are, how deep its moat, and how formidable its defenses then the waves come in the castle is gone and the ants have disappeared.

I recently taught a class on American History from 1877 until the present to a class full of millennials.  We used a textbook that was more than a thousand pages long.  It wasn’t until the last few pages that we reached anything the students could remember as having happened since they became aware of the world around them.  That last twenty minutes of the semester really had an impact.

To most people History begins the day they’re born.  For all of us it ends the day we die.  And Political Science ends up being the science of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

In the 4.5 billion years of this planets existence, in the fifteen billion years since the Big Bang the history of humanity doesn’t even take up the last few pages.  It would fill perhaps part of a sentence, a few words such as……………. All things will pass only those things done in Christ will last.

That’s it.  The sum total of all I have learned, all I have discovered, and all I will ever know.  No Christ no peace.  Know Crist know peace.  For those who seek to gain their life will lose it and those who lose their life for Christ will find it.  He is the truth, the light, and the life and without Him there is no truth, or light, or life.

Stop fighting a war that’s already been won.  Stop spinning your wheels running in a race that goes in a circle.  Step out of the darkness and into the light and let this be the first day of the rest of your life.

The stories of those who have gone before teach us nothing if they don’t lead us to Christ.  The politics of this world are an endless loop, a tempest in a teacup, a soap opera that never ends.  It may be engaging to watch like a slow motion train wreck.  It may be exciting, exhilarating, even entertaining but for most of us in a hundred years no one will even know we were here.  In a thousand years no one will remember the compelling arguments of today, the all-important bitter debates about whether we place the deck chair here or there.  Yet in an eternity from now heaven will know whether or not we acknowledged Christ as our Savior, for if we confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead we shall be saved.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

The Only Way Back to God May 29, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
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If Jesus is the Son of God, if God became man and walked among us, if the incarnate deity suffered and died to pay for the sins of the world, if He descended into hell and took the keys of death from the devil, if He rose again from the dead justifying all who become one with Him, if He rose into heaven and anointed the ultimate altar with His blood offering up the payment for the fall of man what is there that can be of more importance than that?

If out of all the millions of books ever written God wrote one book, one set of writings infused with His Spirit, and alive with His Word what can compare with that?

I remember back when I first began to walk with Christ.  As with most new believers I burned with passion and devoted myself as exclusively as I could to the study of His Word.  I couldn’t get enough.  I read His Word every chance I got.  I devoured it.  I lived and breathed it.  Nothing else mattered. I just had to get His Word into me, into my life.  And it changed me.

Reading God’s Word led me to Christ.  Reading His Word taught me to love. Reading His Word taught me that I shouldn’t pollute His temple (my body) with drugs, tobacco, and other things.  It healed me of addictions I had accepted as a normal part of life, cleansed me of sins I hadn’t even known I was committing, and it gave me a love for God’s people, and His church.

Being a self-centered substance abuser, a street-fighting loner, and in general a morally bankrupt reprobate gave me a lot of running room in my search for holiness in Him.  I was working forty to eighty hours per week and spent every waking hour not at work in the Bible.  It was a wonderful time and a joyous time of getting to know my first love.

For many of us as the first blush of love fades, as the joy of Christian fellowship becomes an everyday event, as we learn that many Christians shoot the wounded, crucify pastors, and leave their love at the altar the supernatural becomes mundane and love fades.  Slowly we become colder until we wonder, “Was it all a dream?”

The cares of this life seem to cauterize the faith of believers.  We strive to walk by faith and not by sight but most of us are peeking.  We still have one eye on the world, one ear to the ground, and one hand in the cookie jar.  That’s what trips us up.  We can’t walk through life divided.   If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  You see no one can serve two masters.  For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and the world.

I have made that mistake.  Like Frodo looking into Mount Doom I peeked at the news until it consumed me.  My daily study of “What was going on” became an exercise in naval gazing: a worthless pursuit that gave me the ability to speak like an expert and live like a fool.  For a fool has said in his heart there is no God.  And I know there is a God and I invested my intellect and my attention in that which is not God.  For this I repent.

I remember when I was a new believer reading through the Bible for the first time.  When I read the book of Judges I wondered why God kept saving those Israelites over and over when after a few times it became evident they would just backslide again.  Then I had my first stumble, and my second, and my third, and I am forever grateful that God does not shoot the wounded.  Instead he binds the broken hearted.

As Unspoken puts it,

YOU CAN NEVER FALL

TOO HARD, SO FAST, SO FAR

THAT YOU CAN’T GET BACK

WHEN YOU’RE LOST, WHERE YOU ARE IS NEVER

TOO LATE, SO BAD, SO MUCH

THAT YOU CAN’T CHANGE

WHO YOU ARE

YOU CAN CHANGE WHO YOU ARE

If the world has caught you in its web once again, if shiny objects glittering in the light have captured your attention turn away from the world, cast your eyes upon Jesus, keep your thoughts upon Him, and return to your first love.

You may ask, “How do I do that?”

There is only one way back to God. …

Get back to God.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

What Easter Means to Me March 28, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
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I look at my life before Christ and I am struck by the fact that it doesn’t seem like my life.  I was born again on Palm Sunday in 1980.  I was thirty years old.  That has been thirty-eight years ago.  When I was first saved I mourned for all the years I had spent wasting my life trying to do it on my own.  I remember praying and asking God to give me as many years to serve Him as I had wasted denying Him.  Now, that is just one of the answered prayers in my life.

From the first day I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior I have done have never denied Him and standing on the faith He has given me I never will.  Have I always served Him?  Yes.  Have I always served Him well?  He will be the judge.  Have I ever fallen short of what He would have me be?  Yes, constantly, consistently, and often consciously.  Just as the greatest sinner and the greatest saint I will stand or fall based on His grace.

In my years before Him I lived my life into a dead-end of self-seeking, selfishness, and self-loathing.  Though I denied He even existed He reached out to me.  Though I took His name in vane he loved me.  Though I followed hedonism into every type of sin He washed me as clean as a new born baby, as clean as a new blanket of snow.

Jesus delivered me from alcoholism, from drug addiction, from hatred, from envy, and shame.  He gave me a new life complete with a new wife, a son, a healthy mind, a healthy body, and a new name.

What He has done for me He will do for you.  He loves you as much as He has ever loved anyone.  Your name is written on His hand and no one not sin, not hatred, not failure, and not the devil can snatch you out of His hand.

Trust in Him.  Reach out to Him and He will reach out to you.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Being God He did not grasp at that but instead emptied Himself and became a man.  Living a perfect life He was sacrificed for the children of Adam paying the price for every sin and opening the way through faith to become the children of God.  For if we will confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord an believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead we will be saved.

And salvation is not just pie in the sky.  It is not just a far off reward for a life of toil and pain.  Salvation is a right now new life, a life where we will never be alone for He will send His Spirit to live within us.

Don’t let anything hold you back when Jesus wants to hold you up.

This is what Easter means to me life from death and life evermore.  An old song sums it up rather well:

Living he Loved Me
Dying he saved me
Buried He carried my
My sins far away
Rising he justified me
Freed me forever
One day he’s coming back Glorious day

Have a blessed Easter.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

How Can You Stay So Optimistic? February 28, 2018

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People ask often me “How can you spend so much time following the news and writing on the bizarre twists and turns of our political theater of the absurd and still remain so happy and optimistic?”

The answer is, “It’s easy because my hope is in Christ and all of this is just a soap opera.”

Sure I tune in multiple times every day to see what my people are up to.  Yes, I follow every twist and turn in the plot.  I cheer when my favorite characters triumph and I hiss when the evil nemesis unfairly pulls them down.

However, all in all I realize I’m something like Horton.  I hear the Who.  And like Horton I realize there’s a whole world living on a speck of dust flying along oblivious to the fact that dust in the wind is not the most stable place to exist.

Fleeting flowers and beautiful sunsets like snowflakes and icicles dazzle the eye inspire the imagination and then they are gone.  Look at the sweep of History.  We can read of empires long ago.  The amazing DNA tests available through a multitude of sources can tell us where we come from.  Ancestry web sites tell us who we come from.

In reality what do we know of those billions who have gone before?  What were the names of your eight great grandparents?  If by some miracle you can name all eight what do you know about their lives?  Can anyone reading this name their sixteen great-great grandparents?  I would wager 100 to one no one can.  So in our own lives our knowledge of History dissolves before 100 years has elapsed.  Sure we can read and memorize facts about the past but how far back does that really go?  At most 5,000 years.  Conservatively the earth is at least four billion years old.  The universe itself is estimated to be at least thirteen billion years old.

And our direct knowledge goes back maybe one hundred years.  Our knowledge gained through study maybe five thousand.  Get the picture?  We are the Who.

If that was all there was I would jump up on a table and sing,

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is

And for thirty years of my life that’s what I did.  The emptiness and futility of it all led me to the edge of sanity and beyond.  I wandered about aimlessly muttering, “I’ve got to try something.  I’ve got to try something.”

Until a voice in my ear said, “Why don’t you try God?”

That day changed my life.  That day led me to road that led me to Christ and from that day to this I have hope and joy and nothing I see prancing across the stage of this earthly drama can take it away.

In America our standard greeting is, “Hi how are you doing?”  Not that anyone really cares.  Not that anyone ever really listens to your answer.  That is just a customary greeting.  I always answer, “I’m blessed.”  This often brings questions such as, “Why?”  This gives me an opportunity to tell them I’m blessed because I have eternal life and that Jesus gave it to me and the devil can’t take it away.”

Sometime people answer, “I am too.”  And it’s always a joy to meet a brother or sister wherever they may be.

So, though it is interesting and it helps pass the time as we hang on to our speck of dust as it swirls about in the wind don’t let the story-line get you down.  Just skip to the back of the book and you’ll find out that Jesus is God, God wins in the end, and no matter how bad it gets we should pray, “Come Lord Jesus.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Christmas 2017 December 18, 2017

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In December of 1914 in the first bitter winter of a long bitter war the solders of the German Empire and the soldiers of the British Empire defied the orders of their officers.  They abandoned their hastily dug entrenchments that would soon grow into an elaborate maze of trenches stretching from Switzerland to the English Channel to meet each other in no man’s land. They sang hymns and exchanged gifts in a spontaneous outpouring of the feelings of peace, fellowship, and forgiveness which were then the staples of a Christ centered Christmas season.

In the midst of the War to End War these enemies found peace in the love of their Savior.  Can we at least hope that in the midst of what feels like a terminally divided America if we would take His hand, if we would follow Him maybe we could do the same?

The season for which He is the reason is upon us so let us reflect:

If you drench yourself in the torrent of Christmas movies that bombard us from Thanksgiving till December 25th you see that the spirit of Christmas in emotional America isn’t about the Christ child who came into a lost world to die as a payment for sin and to rise again to bring new life in harmony with God.  It is instead about the sentimental ideal of love and the boy gets the girl or is it the girl gets the boy?  Who knows sometimes they throw in a curve that really builds the suspense.  There are movies about Santa Clause, his sons, his daughters; his elves and wingless angels all of whom help people learn the true meaning of Christmas which is never about Christ and always about family and friends and being nice people.

In our highly commercialized America Christmas is about Black Friday that starts on Thursday then goes for a week and discounts so deep they remind me of the street vendor in Mexico who follows you shouting “I’ll give you 110% off if you buy two!”  The Chia Pets come out along with snuggies, pet rocks, and every other doodad imaginable to buy for people who already have too much.

The mountains of presents which obscenely bury Christmas trees in so many American homes are ripped apart by sugar-high children. Children who get into a frenzy of getting so intense they never have time to appreciate what they get. All they want is to get something else.  The beautiful wrapping paper, the miles of ribbon, and the forests of bows are stuffed the next day unceremoniously into big green garbage bags on their way to landfills.

We hear and see the refrain, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” from those who try to stand against the tide.  If we do or say anything to question the Madison Avenue, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, tinsel, twinkling lights, Santa’s on the roof, and do reindeers really know how to fly presentation of a holiday on steroids we are accused of being a Grinch.

The following sums up the tension between Christmas and Xmas for me:

Shortly after I gave my life to Jesus I was moving to another part of the country and I decided to spend my last Christmas with relatives in the old home place.  When I walked in the door I was greeted by a small committee who knew of my new found devotion with the command, “Don’t ruin Christmas with a bunch of Jesus.”

Sometimes the words of others can express our own feelings as well or better than we can do ourselves.  For me personally of all the contemporary Christian artists which help make my life livable Casting Crowns most closely expresses my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.  And although this isn’t technically a Christmas song it gives voice to the faith that for me truly makes Jesus the reason for the season:

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

Yeah

Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who’s writing in the sand
Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of thieves
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
No one knows what we’re for only against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

‘Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost ’cause and I was the outcast
Yeah
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

To make sense of His birth we must look also to His death, His resurrection, and to the fact the He will come again.

Or as Casting Crowns puts it in the remake of a classic:

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

 

So from me to you:  Merry Christmas…oh glorious day indeed.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

My Witness April 12, 2017

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
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When I was young I was not a nice fellow.  Snakes would cross the street when I sauntered down the sidewalk.  My all consuming passion was getting enough alcohol and drugs to help me forget something I couldn’t remember.  Playing music and living in a 24/7 party atmosphere was all I cared about.  Other people were collateral damage on my way to a buzz.  I had the name of my guitar tattooed on my arm so women would know where my loyalties lay.

Spiritually I was dead inside.  I called myself an atheist and I was faithful to my boast.  Anyone who spoke to me of any religion was automatically consigned by me to irrelevance.  The closest thing I had to an actual conviction was a strident attachment to militant apathy.  I didn’t care about anything and I couldn’t stand anyone who did.

That was my life until I was thirty.  Then God spoke to me.  God touched me.  God changed me.  God gave me a new life.  I was born again.

Today I can remember what I did in my former life but I can no longer relate to it.  It as if my life before God was a movie I have seen.  I can recall the important scenes and the important characters but I feel a complete detachment to being one of the actors in the plot.

God gave me a wife who is the love of my life.  He gave me a son who is my heir and friend.  He gave me a daughter-in-love who is the daughter I always wanted to have.  He has given me two grandchildren who are the joy of my life as a seasoned citizen.  He has allowed me to see miracles, plant churches, be a pastor, found ministries that fed and clothed thousands, watch people accept Him, watch people grow in Him, and hold the hands of people who went to join Him.

I was born again on Palm Sunday in 1980 so I just had my 37th birthday as a child of God.  I give Him the glory for my life.  I give Him the honor that is His due.  I cannot even give a fraction of the love He has shown.  He is my source, my summit, and my all.

As we approach the celebration of His rising from the dead I am reminded of the fact that it is faith that saves us and that not of our self for even the faith is a gift.  I look about at all the traditions and customs we have developed in more than two thousand years and I smile.  I pray that everyone who calls on His name has a blessed and joyous Resurrection Day.  Enjoy the season as best meets the requirements of your faith.

Let us all recall that if we confess Jesus as Lord and if we believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead we shall be saved.

That is the truth, the truth upon which all of reality rests.  That is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, all the rest is window dressing.  Just as one enjoys Italian food and another enjoys Chinese yet all food is good to those who like it.  So too, our traditions and customs if they do not detract from the truth of by who and how we are saved are all good.

Have a wonderful time with family and friends, coreligionists and those C&E Christians who make it standing room only at so many normally empty churches at this time of year.  Love them all and let God sort them out.  Just remember, the biggest surprise when we get to heave in not who is there but that we are for it is not by works but by faith that we are saved.  The greatest saint and the worst sinner both need the Lord’s grace to enter in.

There is no sin so great that it cannot be forgiven if we lay it at the cross.  He knows us better than we can ever know ourselves and he forgives us.  Don’t labor under a load you were never meant to carry any further than the cross.  Give it all to Him and he will give you rest.

I praise Him for saving me.  I Praise Him for giving me life.  I ask Him to open doors for me to serve Him.  And when I am gone there is but one eulogy I wish anyone to hear, “God got the glory!”

Yours in Him,

Robert

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

Hope For The Hopeless April 3, 2017

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy, Religion.
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What is the self-deception of self-perception?

It is so easy to believe that the universe is self-centered because our perception is.  The only universe anyone can see is viewable from one and only one perspective; with our self in the center.

Like any other type of navel gazing the self-deception of self-perception carries the seeds of its own penalty.  While focusing on self we miss the reality of the world that is spinning around us oblivious to the self-absorbed child prattling away in the center of a room full of adults.  We may think we are profound.  However if our only frame of reference is the inherently flawed one we perceive from our perch in the center of an ego-centric universe our insights are skewed and our judgement irrelevant.  We may believe we are essential.  However, while knowing we are essential we should recall that graveyards are filled with irreplaceable people.

This is not an attempt to bring about a personal Great Depression.  It is not it is not the voice of one crying from the roof tops, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here” from someone who ascribes to the street wisdom, “Life’s a bitch and then you die.”

No, this is the warning of one who has made the mistake of confusing the apparent reality of a personally centered universe for the reality of a God centered universe.  For make no mistake, if we do not put God in the center we will inevitably and eventually put ourselves there.

As we watch our world wobble off into a bizarre pseudo-reality created by perpetually re-elected control freaks in government, indoctrination centers posing as educational institutions, and spin machines in the media it is hard to see where it is going.

Look at the so-called Russian Scandal.  What I want to know is that if the Russians hacked the election to change the outcome and Hillary won the popular vote why aren’t we looking at her campaign for the collusion?

The shrill campaign to make the Trump Presidency appear illegitimate becomes more transparent every day.  Look at Judge Neil Gorsuch, a man who was earlier confirmed unanimously for the Appeals court Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer now says he has “serious doubts” that Judge Gorsuch is within what Democrats consider to be the legal mainstream.

On issue after issue whatever President Trump tries to do or say he is attacked.  It reminds me of the story making the rounds; President Trump is out in a boat with another man.  The other man’s hat blows off.  President Trump gets out of the boat and walks on the water over to get the hat and then walks on the water back.  Gives the hat to the man and gets back in the boat.  The next day the headline is, “Trump can’t swim.”

Many of those around us, many of those who rule the world around us are trapped in a cycle of navel gazing.  They can’t see the forest for the trees.  In the last election we had the choice between the last nail in our coffin and a chance.  We decided to take the chance.  Don’t let those who believe they are the source and summit of all things stop us from at least trying to get ourselves out of the ditch they drove us into.

And by the way the only real antidote to falling into the self-deception of self-perception trap is to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and to believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead.  If you will do that all the rest of this will fall into place no matter what headlines the media cartel chooses to invent.

The only way we got here to begin with is because prayer works and because He promised if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

So when you see the navel gazers lying about everything, making up their fake news, and convincing everyone around you to repeat their headlines thinking that these are their personal opinions don’t get dismayed.  Don’t be depressed.  For though a thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; it shall not come near you.  Only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked.  Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place no evil shall befall you nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;  for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.  In their hands they shall bear you up lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Remember without hope your hopeless and I would not want to leave you hopeless.  In other words, why worry when you can pray?

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

We Battle Not Against Flesh and Blood February 27, 2017

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy, Religion.
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There are many of us who believe that prayer played a major part in the upset victory of Donald Trump last November.

He may not be a born again Christian. And he may not be one who believes in miracles.  As a person who grew up in the church of Norman Vincent Peale he is the personification of that minister’s theological doctrine of positive thinking.  Like Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral fame, or any of the word of faith, gab-it-and-grab-it, believe to receive crowd The Donald believes the words of his mouth have power to shape the world around him.

Anyone who sees the result of being positive as opposed to being negative knows there is much real world sense to this belief.  Is the glass half empty or is it half full?

As spirit-filled born again believers we know that it isn’t about who we are it is all about what He has done and it isn’t about what we have done it is all about who He is.  We know that prayer is the answer and faith is the key.  We know that God can use any tool to accomplish His purpose.

We also know that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  And in this struggle we know that a thousand may fall at our side and ten thousand at our right hand but it shall not come near us if we keep our eyes on Him.

So as we watch our president surrounded by the Progressive Fusion Party of Democrats, Republicans, courts, and media don’t despair.  Don’t return to the couch and think, “We voted him in now we can go back to sleep.”  Now is the time to do battle in the heavenlies.  This Hail Mary victory pass shall not stand unless we hit our knees.  We must hold the president and our nation up in prayers.  Pray confusion into the counsel of the enemy, pray that President Trump has the courage and strength to stand for America when everyone around him is proclaiming they are citizens of the world and that America should be just another state in a UN dominated new world order.

The nation state is what won in November.  The globalist conspiracy was thwarted at the very moment when they thought the last nail would be driven into our coffin.  They had victory snatched out of their talons and they are going berserk as the rail against the last gasp of American independence.

Many of these advocates of global centralization and the authoritarianism it would need to re-distribute the world’s goods claim to be atheists.  They are actually devotees of humanism, worshipers of self.  In other words those who have bitten the apple and listened to the siren song of the serpent, “you will be like God.”

And we also know God has promised, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  If we will do that, if we will turn from this world and embrace Him then we shall receive the benefit of those who wait on the Lord.  We shall renew our strength.  We shall mount up with wings like eagles.  We shall run and not be weary.  We shall walk and not faint.

So why worry when we can pray?

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

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