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Lead Me Not Into Temptation August 8, 2019

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This line from the model prayer Jesus taught us something the Apostle James also points out, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God;’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”  Or, as it says in the Message, “Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, ‘God is trying to trip me up.’ God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust.”

It’s us and only us who choose to sin, to turn our backs on the good and embrace evil.  “Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.”

Just like everyone else who’s wandered this earth since the fall of man I struggle with temptation.  It matters little that I know these struggles come from my own lust.  I still have a battle on my hands.  And just like everyone else I can stand strong against most temptations but I do have those sins which so easily ensnare me in their web of momentary pleasure and future guilt.  These are the things I struggle with.  Anyone who’s honest with themselves will admit they have the same situation.

Recently after a service I had a man asked for counsel about this very thing.  All I could do is all I can ever do; share my witness.

When I’m faced with the temptation to fall into my pet sins, which I face on a daily basis, I admit I’m not strong enough to resist the temptation.  These sins have years, decades even of practice in enticing me to wander from God’s path of obedience.  My own lusts have their spiritual hands on all the right levers to pull me away.  How can I resist?  Who’ll save me from myself?

Christ has come to set us free and when He sets us free we’re free indeed.  I know that’s what the word says.  But how do I get in on all this freedom when I’ve spent so much of my life as a willing slave to these sins?

The first step is to admit my inability to resist the sin.  And to realize that these thorns in my flesh are there to protect me from pride and to shape me into what the Lord intends me to be.  It’s the act of surrender, of admitting my inability to resist that makes a way.  You see when I get to the end of my rope if I give up my struggle and ask Jesus to use His strength to resist the temptation for me I can walk unscathed through the fires of my lust.  When I’m weak then I’m strong because Christ’s strength is perfected in weakness.

We’ll never be tempted by more than we can endure and in every temptation there’s a way of escape.  This is one of the many promises we can hang on to when we face our pet sins across the gulf of temptation.  Think of how the Lord himself resisted temptation in the wilderness.  He used the Word of God to rebuke Satan.

In the same way we need to have the Word of God in us if we want to have the strength to admit our weakness so we can find His strength.

Walking with God can sound and feel like walking backwards to anyone steeped in the wisdom of the world.  For the wisdom of God is foolishness to the wise of this world.  Just as the weakness of a sinner becomes the strength of the saint as hand in hand with the Man who stilled the sea we give it all to Jesus so He can give it back to us.

Those who seek to keep their lives lose them and those who give their lives away keep them for all eternity.

So how do we resist temptation?  We trust Jesus to do it for us since every sin was paid for at the cross.  Accept Him as your Lord and Savior.  Believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead.  And you will be saved.  That isn’t pie in the sky.  That isn’t a hollow promise for the great by-an-by.  That is a constant reality for the here and now.

So when those pesky old sins reach up and try to drag us down remember we aren’t out here all alone.  Once we’ve given ourselves to God in and through Jesus it’s no longer just us facing these struggles it’s Christ within us the hope of Glory.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 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 Two Witnesses Who Helped Change My Life July 30, 2019

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If it’s my way or the high way I choose the High Way; God’s way.  You see I tried my way and it led to depression, despair, and loneliness.  The best I could figure out is if this is all there is let’s roll out the barrels and have a party.  My life before Christ was like the meaningless forever party at The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe in Douglas Adam’s iconic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  The band plays on, the people careen through life in a mad dash to nowhere, everyone is laughing, smiling, miserable, and heading toward oblivion. 

In the doomed life without Christ people mistake happiness and laughter for joy, and waste their lives trying to tickle themselves to death. 

So after thirty wasted years sacrificed on an altar of senseless, self-indulgent, self-destructive tickling I chose the High Way.  I chose to make Jesus the Lord of my life because I believe in my heart God has raised Him from the dead.  I came to believe Jesus offered Himself up as a sinless sacrifice to pay the price of not just my sin but of everyone’s sin.  I came to understand that the wall of separation caused by sin between humanity and God was broken down and we can all be united with Him.  I embraced the truth that we can become His children.  We no longer are strangers but members of His family welcome to walk boldly into our Daddy’s throne room. 

Have you ever felt as if there’s no hope?  Don’t be fooled by the god of this world. There is hope.  Have you ever felt like you were too far gone, too wrong to ever be right again?  Don’t be fooled by the confusing systems of laws that litter this world, or by gnawing feelings of guilt.  We can be right with God.   

Christ told us to take His light to the world and in our finite wisdom we constantly attempt to build lamps.  They may provide light but it’s not His light.  The bewildering mazes of religious laws are paths built by men.  The feelings of guilt that inform us we have a consciousness of sin are themselves pinpricks and poundings delivered by God to prod us into the way, His way, the High Way.  They don’t mean we’re lost forever.  It’s just the opposite.  They mean God hasn’t given up on us yet.   

And if God hasn’t given up on us why should we give up on God? 

Happiness can be affected by what we had for dinner last night.  Did it taste good?  Did it sit well or did it give us indigestion?  Happiness can be impacted by whether or not we’re rich or poor, sick or healthy or any combination of things that are here today and gone tomorrow.  Laughter can be a mask to hide the tears. 

But joy is something else again.  Joy is rooted in our relationship with God, and since the world didn’t give it to us the world can’t take it away.  That’s why it’s called the joy that passes all understanding.   

This God given joy is a powerful life changing thing. 

Seeing this joy in action when I was an unbeliever is one of the things that eventually convinced me the Bible was true, salvation was real, and I could have it if I wanted it. 

When I was at the depth of my unbelief, calling myself an atheist and a hater of all things godly I witnessed people live through the birth of a very special child.  One whose physical challenges led to a short life among us but a life having a major impact on at least one life I know of: mine.  His parents loved that child.  They praised God for that child.  They gave all they had to care for that child.  And when that child passed leaving them physically, emotionally, and financially drained they held a celebration to praise God for blessing them in such a great way. 

I can remember thinking they were crazy.  I shook my head and wondered how anyone could be so different from everyone else I’d ever known.  I didn’t know it at the time but I was a witness to people living out the reality of a passage from the book of Job who was the greatest of all the people of the East.   

After Job lost everything; his home, his children, and all his wealth he was struck with painful boils from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head.  While sitting in the midst of the ashes of his life he took a broken piece of pottery to scrape off the scabs his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” which is what the world was screaming at the two followers of Christ with their family disrupted, their finances destroyed, and their child dead.  These born-again believers said with their actions to the world what Job replied to his wife, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.  Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” 

Years later as I reflected upon whether or not it was possible to live for God in a fallen world the memory of those two saints, Judy and Harry, praising God for blessings in the middle of what the fallen world saw as a curse I knew it was possible.  Now after forty years of walking with my hand in the hand of the Man who stilled the sea I know it from personal experience. 

Choose God and accept His gift of salvation not for what we’ve done but because of what Jesus did.  He paid the price for our lifetime membership in the family of God, but we still may have to pay some dues down here.  If we trust in Him when the wind and the waves smash against us we’ll stand like a house built on a rock.  If we choose to give our lives to God in Jesus we get them back again better and brighter than we could ever imagine.  If we instead try to keep our lives for ourselves we lose everything, and when the wind and the waves smash against us we’ll crumble like a house built upon the sand. 

We never know who’s watching.  We never know what someone else may see.  So let’s quit tickling ourselves to death, find the joy of the Lord which is our strength and let the joy, joy, joy of the Lord down in our souls and watch our lives become the witness He’s called us to be. 

Thank you Judy and Harry for being two witnesses who helped change my life.  I praise God for you both, and I love you with the love of the Lord. 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 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 

 

 

  

 

We’ve All Had an Apple Out of That Sack July 16, 2019

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When I first gave my life to Christ I felt so incredibly clean, so new, and fresh it was truly like being born-again.  My old life was washed away and I was a babe in Christ. 

Then as I devoured His Word reading, meditating, and praying it into the very fabric of my life it changed me even more.  I was miraculously healed of alcoholism.  Lifetime habits of chemical abuse and drug addiction were washed away in the life-giving flood of Christ’s love. 

I was saved reading and believing the Gospels.  The New Testament starts with the birth of Jesus.  It tells the whole story of His sinless life.  It reveals His sacrificial death.  And it imparts life changing reality of His life giving resurrection and ascension into heaven.  But it doesn’t end there. 

After the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John the New Testament continues with the story of the spreading of the sin shattering story of Jesus from Jerusalem to Rome in the Acts of the Apostles a God breathed History that is truly His Story.    

Secular History tells us that the few followers of Jesus shared the good news of freedom from the curse of sin, the empowerment of holiness, and the joy of salvation and that this message of hope spread like wildfire.  It couldn’t be contained by persecution.  It couldn’t be squelched by religion.  Yes, this secular History tells us that this obscure faith movement birthed in an out-of-the-way corner of a vast empire marched from person-to-person and within 300 years became the official religion of Caesar.   

Secular History can tell us what happened; however, it takes the New Testament to tell us why.  We’ve all heard it said that the Gospel is good news.  As one popular song tells us today, “It’s not good news.  It’s the best news ever.” 

In the beginning, back in the garden, man chose not to obey God but instead to follow his own lusts and desires chasing into a path that has forever led us away from God.  We can blame Satan who the Bible tells us tempted Eve into disobedience but it was Adam whose willful choice to follow his own desire to be with his wife instead of with God that crossed the threshold and saw a barrier of sin separate us from our sinless God.  There was no way back.  There was no way to wash the stain from our spirit.  We were no longer united with our creator we were instead united with the father of lies. 

Now here’s the why: God in His unsearchable love came Himself in the form of Jesus born of a woman to live a sinless life that He willingly sacrificed to pay the price.  Now anyone who will confess Jesus as the Lord, the leader, the master of their life and who believes that God raised Jesus from the dead is forgiven of all sin and re-united with God.  That’s it.  That’s the best news ever. 

I was changed by systematic and prolonged study of the Epistles: the letters of the first followers of Jesus to those who believed through their ministry.   

After this saturated my life and I began taking my first steps into a world which was now the Kingdom of God I began my study of the Old Testament.  

When I read the story of Jacob and Esau, the children of Isaac and the twin sons of Abraham that expands the promise of God to send a Savior which is the essence of the entire Old Testament, I came across the line, “I loved Jacob and hated Esau.”  This was a puzzle.  Because when you read about these two brothers it soon becomes evident that Jacob was a lying, cheating, deceiving, schemer and Esau was a nice guy who obeyed his parents and seemed to live a godly life.  Why would God choose Jacob over Esau? 

Esau esteemed his birthright, which was the promise of God flowing into its third generation so lightly he was willing to trade his place as the eldest child and heir for one single bowl of stew.  He threw away eternal blessing for instant gratification. 

Seeing this I thought what a fool Esau was.  How lacking in faith and fortitude it was no wonder God chose Jacob to be the child of promise, the heir whose bloodline would one day produce Jesus. 

It was only as the years passed as I began to live out my own version of the Book of Judges I stumbled and fell.  God renewed me over and over.  It was then that I came to realize how easy it is for the followers of Christ to find themselves in the path of easy going Esau instead of climbing the ladder of faith with Jacob. 

We may not trade our eternal inheritance for a bowl of stew but how many of us choose the things of this world over the things of God?  How easy it is to find ourselves drowning in diversions instead of immersed in the Word?   Majoring on minors instead of dedicated to doing the works God has called us to do.  Perhaps we should ask ourselves, “Are we consumed by the news or devouring the Word?”  “Are we serving ourselves at the all-you-can-eat buffet of modern culture or are we helping to seat others at the wedding feast of the King?” 

When I first read the Book of Judges and how the Israelites of old after generations of miracles culminating in finding the promised land turned away from God, fell under the heel of oppressors, begged for deliverance, and then after God delivered them forgot about God and wandered off again, and again, and again I felt if I’d been God I would’ve written them off and started over.  In the first flush of my regenerated life of joy I couldn’t understand how God could just keep kissing the hand that abused Him. 

In time my own book of judges taught me that it’s God’s love that keeps Him constantly ready to accept us back.  I also learned that I was really happy that He never gave up on those Israelites and that He nave gives up on me. 

Esau gave away an eternal promise for something that looked good, smelled good, and tasted good.  But it was also something that perished with the using.  He was weak, he was a fool, and we’ve all had an apple out of that sack. 

If you’ve wandered off into the dead-end trails of self-indulgence in the trackless waste which is the world as I have time after time don’t despair.  We shouldn’t give up on ourselves because God will never give up on us.  As many times as we turn away from the world to face God He’s there ever ready and eager to take us back.  Or as a current song tells us, “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.” 

How do we change who we are?  We Let Jesus in and He does all the remodeling for us.  That’s that best news ever you’ve been hearing about. 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 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 

 

 

 

Does Any of This Make Any Sense? June 18, 2019

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Looking at the world around us it’s easy to find ourselves asking this question.  When we see the suffering, the depression, the poverty, and the horror of everyday life for so many it’s hard not to see the nightmare reality of this world as a curse.

That’s a good place to start searching for the meaning in it all because it is a curse.

You see when God created the world He created it as a good thing, a wondrous, and beautiful thing.  Here’s the rub; actions have consequences.

I’ve always thought if I ever found a perfect church I’d spoil it by joining because I’m not perfect.  Most of us mature enough in life to realize we aren’t quite what we could or should be.  Some people never attain this level of self-awareness and we judge them to suffer from a type of psychological problem known as narcissism.  A central aspect of narcissism is grandiosity. That is, narcissists tend to think highly of themselves. In particular, they tend to have a positive view of themselves compared to other people.

Most of us don’t suffer from this malady.  It is more often some form of feeling we aren’t good enough that plagues us.  Those who stumble out of a dysfunctional family are all too often familiar with this one.

Whatever brand of psychobabble seeps through our lives working itself out in hubris and braggadocio or anxiety and self-doubt it doesn’t take a genius to figure out this world is messed up.  Neither is it too complicated for the least perceptive among us to discern.  All too often what the world calls good is bad and what the world calls bad is good.  This alone is enough to make us see the fractured carnival mirror reflection of justice that permeates our reality.  Add to this our personal experiences and anyone who thinks we’ve found ourselves in a bed of roses may be fooling themselves but they aren’t fooling anyone else.

Anyone who can walk through this vale of tears with no faith is a better man then I Gunga Din.

I wasn’t able to do it.  I made it till I was thirty years old and the meaninglessness of it all was on the verge of driving me to suicide.  I kept coming back to 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.  However, I found living at the perpetual party at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe was not very uplifting and after a while I couldn’t even pretend it was fun.  How anyone can stagger through all this with no hope of anything beyond this is beyond me.

I can only pray that if they ever come to the end of themselves they will look to God.  That’s what I did and I was surprised to find that God was looking at me.

‘Why is the world so messed up?  Because God made man His viceroy in this creation and instead of listening to God and doing things His way we listened to Satan and gave the whole shooting match away. The story is there for us in Genesis and because of that decision God laid a curse on the whole deal.

But He also gave us a promise at the same time that He would send a Savior.  Jesus is that Savior.  The penalty for disobeying God is eternal separation from God.  The only way back is to live a perfect life which no one can do.  So God became a human, lived a perfect life, and then died for the sins He never committed as a substitute for us.

In doing this He defeated sin, death, and the Devil.  He also opened the way for all of us to get in on the action.  All we have to do is accept Jesus as our leader in life and believe that God raised Him from the dead and that’s it.  The whole deal is reversed and we are once welcomed home.  So let’s run like the prodigal to greet the Father who has waited for us, who greets us like the like lost child we are.

So does any of this make any sense?  It does.  As a matter of fact it makes perfect sense.

You see no matter how messed up it is if we will accept God’s offer, if we will step past the end of ourselves and into His waiting arms the veil will fall from our eyes and we will see this world for what it is: an incubator for the children of God.

It’s not a matter of seeing and then believing instead it’s a case of believing so you can see.

The Bible lays all this out in great detail.  Anyone who’s interested can contact me for a guided tour.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 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

 

 

Marley’s Chains May 29, 2019

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To paraphrase scripture as presented in the Message we see that not only has the Church become Israel many have become spies only pretending to be Christians, who slipped in to find out just how free true Christians are who seek to pervert the freedom from religious legalism Christ gives us.  They want to build their own kingdoms and feather their own nests by bringing others into the same religious bondage they drag around like Marley’s chains through a life that reeks of the grave.

Now the paraphrase of Romans 2:17-29:

If you’re brought up Christian, don’t assume that you can lean back in the arms of your religion and take it easy, feeling smug because you’re an insider to God’s revelation, a connoisseur of the best things of God, informed on the latest doctrines! I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God’s revealed Word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you? I’m quite serious. While preaching “Don’t steal!” are you going to rob people blind? Who would suspect you?  It is the same with adultery.  And it is the same with idolatry. You can get by with almost anything if you front it with eloquent talk about God and his law. The line from Scripture, “It’s because of you Christians that the outsiders are down on God,” shows it’s an old problem that isn’t going to go away.

Baptism, the ritual that marks you as a Christian, is great if you live in accord with God’s law. But if you don’t, it’s worse than not being baptized. The reverse is also true: The unbaptized who keep God’s ways are as good as the baptized —in fact, better. Better to keep God’s law unbaptized than break it baptized. Don’t you see: It’s not the submerging in water that makes a Christian. You become a Christian by who you are. It’s the submerging of your heart in God, not the water on your skin that makes you a Christian.  And the recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics.

Not only are we warned to avoid the legalism of religion we are specifically warned about false teachers and wolves disguised as Christians who seek to build their own kingdoms and lead others astray.

At the end of the book of Romans Paul warns us; One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.

And in Philippians 3:17-19 Paul tells us; Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.

I’m not knocking anyone’s beliefs or their traditions.  What I am doing is trying to warn those who want to follow Christ.  We can’t let anyone, anything, or the peer pressure of any community fool us into elevating a system of man over the freedom of Christ.  We should ask ourselves, “How can customs, traditions, holidays, and ceremonies transplanted from paganism to attract or mollify converts as faith in Christ was spread, sometimes by the sword, across barbarian Europe after the fall of Rome save us?”  Anything that obscures the fact that it’s by faith alone that we’re saved and by obedience alone we’re changed is something holding us back from becoming what God created us to be.

Once again turning to Paul, the Apostle of the heart set free, we find in Galatians a stunning rebuke of those trying to turn a living faith into a religious structure.  In Chapter three he says, “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”  After faith comes we’re free.  Holding on to the structure of religion may make following easier but making ourselves a slave to it doesn’t set us free.  And Christ came to set us free.

Remember whatever is not of faith is sin and  no one can snatch us out of the hand of God but we can sure jump.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 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

 

Show Me Then I’ll Believe May 21, 2019

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I’m in the process of re-writing my autobiography.  I initially wrote it back in the early nineties.  Until now it never seemed like the right time to publish it, but now I believe the time has arrived.

As I re-read the chapters which chronicle the adventures of a lost young man throwing away everything nature and nurture gave him and self-medicating his way to total despair I can’t help but think of all the missed opportunities and self-inflicted pain.  Anything that should’ve meant something was discarded in a blind attempt to escape the pain of not understanding the world around me.

However, time and maturity have finally taught me that if I hadn’t taken every step I’ve taken to be here I wouldn’t be here.  Instead I’d be somewhere else.  And I know without a shadow of doubt that I’m standing exactly where God wants me, which is the only place I ever want to be.

At an early age I discovered History and my immature mind told me, “If you understand how we got here maybe you could understand here?”  So I started reading History on a daily basis, a habit I’ve never lost.  However as I gained a vast knowledge base I didn’t seem to gain any wisdom.

I knew what happened but the why always seemed to escape me.  I just couldn’t figure out why bad things happened to good people and good things happened to bad people.  A fact the study of History proves over and over.  The drugs and alcohol I used to ease the pain of confusion didn’t help.  I ended up thinking I should do bad things if I wanted good things to happen.

As a child I’d given up on Christianity the first time I heard about turning the other cheek.  My young but already street smart mind told me, “If you do that the world is going to slap the taste out of your mouth.”

I thought ideas such as loving those who hate you, returning good for evil, and sacrificing yourself for the good of others was foolishness.  Living like this seemed like walking backwards through a burning building.  I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

At least not until I’d lived my life into a corner and came to the end of my rope believing there was no afterlife and nothing except what I could touch, see, or feel.  I figured if this is all there is why go on, why continue living only to die.  My life became a parody of the chorus from the song, Is That All There Is; “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.”

Luckily for me that isn’t all there is.

That’s when I ran into Jesus.  I gave my burned-out useless life to Him and He gave it back to me all shiny and new.  He gave me purpose.  He gave me hope.  He gave me a loving wife, the love of my life, who’s my other half in a one flesh marriage.  He gave me the opportunity to know the joys of being a second-chance father and a stand-in grandfather after having all my own children aborted.

In my former life I did my best to destroy and throw away everything given to me.  But, God works with what’s left.  He takes the cinders and the ashes and makes them into something beautiful.  Tears may come at night but joy comes in the morning.

Has everything been as smooth as silk and twice as nice since I’ve become a new creation?  Not by a long shot.  There’ve been trials and tribulations beyond counting and they aren’t over yet.  At first I would pray for God to take this cup from me forgetting the second half of the prayer, “but not my will but yours be done.”  Then I’d wonder, “Why do I keep going through the same things over and over?”

Somehow in my continuous reading of God’s Word I’d missed this part:

Even when we’re surrounded by troubles we keep right on shouting praises, because we know if we walk through these troubles hand-in-hand with the man who stilled the sea they’ll develop perfect patience in us.  And if we learn to practice perfect patience this forges the polished steel of virtue.  This virtue keeps living in expectancy ever on the lookout for what God will do next.  Living in this kind of breathless expectancy, we’re never left feeling ripped-off or overwhelmed by circumstances.  No, it’s just the opposite.  If we’ll walk through our problems like this we can’t find enough treasure chests to contain all the blessings God in His mind-blowing generosity pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Still seeking after wisdom I spend every day pursuing the One who is wisdom, the One who is light and life, the One who is the Savior of my soul, the King of Glory who died and rose again.  The ever living Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Father, the One who sent the Holy Spirit to live in me.

If life doesn’t seem to make any sense, if we find ourselves going through the same things over and over let’s step out of the meaningless maze of carnival mirrors and find peace in union with God.  Give it all up to get it all back.  If we lay down our lives Jesus will show us how to live.  Let’s stop fighting a war that’s already been won.  Victory is found in surrender.  It isn’t a matter of “Show me then I’ll believe,” instead it’s a matter of “Believe and it will be revealed.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 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

 

 

All We Need To Know May 14, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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The Bible tells us Adam sold us down the river of sin.  His first sin, disobedience was followed by death; spiritual death or separation from God and then physical death.  The Bible also tells us no one gets a free pass.  Every one of us descended from Adam is born in sin and subject to death.  Because that first sin of Adam’s broke humanity’s relationship with God in every way.   

However, the far reaching extent of this wasn’t apparent till God made it crystal clear to Moses.  Here’s what we learned from God’s detailed and explicit law: Sin is a yawning chasm separating us from God that leads to death.  We also learned that even those who don’t sin in the same way Adam did, by disobeying a specific command of God, sin in one way or another.  Consequently we all experience both the spiritual and the physical end of life which is separation from God not just as an inheritance but as something each of us earns on our own.  

But God didn’t leave us hopeless.  When God cursed the serpent for tempting Eve to sin which is what dragged Adam into choosing fellowship with his wife over fellowship with his Creator He also made a promise that from woman would come a Savior.  From the moment of the fall comes the hope of resurrection pointing ahead to the One chosen before the foundation of the world to get us off this one way conveyor belt to hell. 

To maintain God’s absolute justice sin had to be paid for.  The penalty of separation and death had to be fulfilled.  All humanity could ever do was continue the cycle over and over since everyone sinned and added to the burden of the verdict.  Then Jesus Christ, God Himself, came to bear the burden and pay the price becoming a sinless sacrifice, the just for the unjust.  His death foreshadowed by every sacrifice ever offered up under the Law.   

However, the blood of goats, bulls, sheep, and other animals could never cleanse from sin.  The best they could do was cover symptoms of sin through obedience to the commands of God.  They couldn’t deal with the root cause, separation from God because no human ever lived a sinless life after offering one sacrifice so another was always needed and death flowed like a river of sewage through the lives of all.  

Just as Adam’s sin brought death into the world one person condemning many the sacrifice of Jesus brings life into the world One person making the way open for many.  Though one foreshadowed the other and one fulfilled the other the gift of Jesus is not perfectly parallel to the death-dealing sin of Adam.  You see if Adam’s sin put all of humanity in the well-deserved black hole of separation from God, imagine what God’s undeserved gift poured out through Jesus Christ’s sinless sacrifice can do.  How can we possibly compare Adam’s death-dealing sin and Jesus’ life-giving gift?  The righteous verdict on Adam’s sin was the death sentence on everyone born of Adam.  The gracious verdict on the sacrifice of Jesus is this life restoring sentence on everyone born of Jesus, the second Adam 

Here it is in a nutshell: Death which is separation from God gained the upper hand through Adam’s sin.  Now the astounding recovery of life, real life, life in union with God explodes in our spirit as soon as we’re born-again out of the descending line of Adam and into the ascending line of Jesus.  Since the price has been paid and an acceptable sacrifice made the just for the unjust everyone who accepts this absolutely undeserved and free life-gift sees reality flow back into the mold God initially wanted for humanity: Living, loving, and praising in union with Him.   

That’s the back story now for all you need to know: 

If we confess Jesus as the head of our life and if we believe in our hearts God raised Him from the dead we will be saved.   

It just that easy and it’s yours if you want it. 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 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 Ambassador Comes to Call April 23, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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When my wife and I were students at Regent University working on our doctorates we often had gatherings at our large Victorian home in South Norfolk.  I’ll never forget when a man from Africa attended for the first time.  He arrived with several of our usual guests and was a very engaging and likable person, “A hale fellow well met,” as he would’ve said in his elegant British accent.

As always we sat around our big table in the large kitchen talking, laughing, and sharing what the Lord was doing in our lives.  After a few hours our new friend received a call and told us he was sorry but pressing business required his immediate attention.  The people he’d come with offered to drive him home but he said, “No worries, I’ll call my driver.”

We went back to visiting until we were interrupted by a knock on the front door.  You can imagine my surprise when I opened the door and there stood a tall man in a chauffeur’s uniform.  Over his shoulder I could see one of the longest limos I’d ever seen with pennant flags of black, red, and green flying from the front fenders.  I asked the man in and went back to the kitchen to alert our new friend that his ride was here.  On the way back I asked him, “What do you do?”

He answered, “I’m the Ambassador from Kenya.”

You can imagine my surprise.  There were some heavy hitters in that program; CEO’s for large corporations, command grade military officers, and pastors from some remarkable churches.  However this made me think, “An ambassador was among us and we didn’t even know it.”

Since then I’ve thought, “Ambassadors are sent to represent the interests of another.  If they don’t make this aspect of their presence known how can they fulfill their mandate?”  And, “Every believer is called to be an Ambassador for Christ.  How many of His ambassadors walk through this world and no one even knows this aspect of our presence?”

Sad to say the world is filled with undercover Christians.  For most of us it’s a relevant question to ask, “If we were indicted for being a Christian is there enough evidence to convict?”  Or would the charge be dropped with prejudice, which means it was dropped for a lack of evidence.

God’s Word is specific about this responsibility, “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

Or to put it another way, “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.”

So many people say the Bible is filled with vague mysterious sayings open to almost any interpretation, like the I Ching or Tarot Cards but this operator’s manual for life on Earth gives us direct and real-time directions.  Those of us who have confessed Jesus as our Commander-in-Chief and who believe that God raised Him from the dead are his twice-born children.  As such these instructions apply directly to us.

We’re called to be Ambassadors for Christ.  We’re called to share the message of his life, death, and resurrection and all that it means.  As so often is the case the words of an old hymn sung for generations delivers the good news.

One day when heaven was filled with His praises, one day when sin was as black as could be, Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin He dwelt among men, my example is He!

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—O glorious day!

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain, one day they nailed Him to die on the tree; suffering anguish, despised and rejected; bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He.

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer, one day the stone rolled away from the door; then He arose, over death He had conquered; now is ascended, my Lord evermore.

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming, one day the skies with His glory will shine; wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing; glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!

Which all adds up to our ambassadorial message, the one we’ve all been born-again to share: 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—O glorious day!

Or, as one more contemporary song puts it, “It’s not good news.  It’s the best news ever.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 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

 

 

 

 

Who Are We? April 4, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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Who can ever know us better than we know ourselves?  Obviously the answer is no one.  Yet most people spend much of their life in frustrating attempts to figure it out.  We’re like a man who looks into a mirror and as soon as he walks away forgets what he looks like.

I have that experience in an outward way daily as my inner man who feels like he’s in his mid-thirties remembers that outwardly I appear for some reason to be in my late sixties.

I’ve heard people say that life can be confusing because it doesn’t come with an instruction manual.  I always feel bad for these people because they haven’t discovered there is a set of instructions for being a human being on the planet Earth.  It’s called the Bible and it’s a really good book.

If we ever come to the conclusion that this one book was in fact inspired by God in a literal sense, that its words are a God breathed revelation written and preserved through thousands of years just so that we can learn the meaning of life, the universe, and everything and no, it isn’t 42.  It can change our life.  At least I know it did for me.

You see, I’m one of those radicals who believe to the deepest depths of my soul the Bible is God’s Word for humanity.  I have a simple belief … God said it … I believe it … that’s it.

This life changing revelation teaches us God created a perfect world.  Man was given the keys to the kingdom and made God’s overseer.  We turned away from God and gave the keys to the Devil.  God is a just God.  He wanted us to have dominion over his creation but we gave it away so He couldn’t just take it from the one we’d given it to and give it back to us.

Imagine our Daddy bought us a brand new car.  He wanted us to have the car.  He wanted us to enjoy the car.  He gave us the keys and the title.  It’s our car.  Than we give the car to someone else.  That isn’t who Daddy wanted to have the car but we gave it this other person.  We gave them the keys and signed the title over to them.  Now it’s their car.  It was legal transaction so it wouldn’t be fair or just if Daddy just took the car from that other person and gave it back to us.

It’s the same way with God’s creation.  By turning our backs on God and following the devil we turned the whole thing over to our enemy and we became his slaves.  That’s what original sin is all about.  We inherit the sin nature from our father Adam then each of us adds to the burden of sin on our own.  The sin from the first to the last has to be paid for if God is to return the title deed to creation back to humanity.  And the only way for that to happen was for someone to carry all that sin through a perfect life, pay the penalty for sin; which is physical and spiritual death, descend into hell, and take the keys back from the devil.  No human could ever do it because none of us has ever or could ever live a sinless life.

So God had to do it himself.  He became flesh.  He lived a sinless life.  His death on the cross was a physical and spiritual sacrificial substitution for all of us.  He went down into hell.  He took the keys away from the devil.  He rose from the dead.  He ascended into heaven.  And now as the new Adam of a new human race He declares any who believe in Him to be His children which means we can stand in the presence of God without any feelings of guilt or shame.  We are completely forgiven and made sinless because we are united with Jesus through faith.  When God looks at us He sees Jesus.  He gives us back the keys.

That’s it in a nut shell.

So who are we?  We are who He says we are.  We’re His children.  We’re living stones built up into a spiritual temple where He himself dwells.  He says if we confess Jesus as Lord, acknowledge Him as the boss of our life and believe God raised Him from the dead we will be saved.  He doesn’t say we might be saved.  He doesn’t say we could be saved.  He says we WILL be saved.  Believe it.  Receive it.  Live it.  Walk out of this vale of tears and into the light of the Son of His love.

So who are we?  You can be anyone you want to be.  As for me and my house we will follow the Lord … we will be who He says we are … His children.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 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

 

 

Random Thoughts V March 14, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy, Religion, Uncategorized.
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If Planned Parenthood was selling puppy body parts they would be shut down yesterday.

The thirties and forties are a blur with work and family.  The fifties start to slow down and in the sixties you start to get comfortable with yourself, or not.

Before Obama: We had no ISIS, no BLM, No ANTIFA, and no war on cops.

With Obama: We had a no-growth economy we were told was “The New Normal”

Sometimes wisdom is best said with silence.

You may have lost but you are not lost. You are His and no one; nothing can snatch you out of His hand. When there’s nowhere to stand…stand on your faith.

Clinton admitted to using marijuana.  Obama admitted to using cocaine.  Teddy Kennedy killed a girl in a car accident and covered it up.  But suddenly Kavanaugh’s drinking habits 30 years ago are reprehensible to Democrats.

Three democrat senators on the judiciary committee voted not to impeach president Clinton even though:  He committed perjury, obstructed justice, lied about having sex with a White House intern until DNA evidence proved he lied, Almost a dozen women accused him of rape and sexual assault.  But at least there was no political motivation for their political assault on Justice Kavanaugh.

One thing the Presidential alert test did….reveal all the cell phones illegally owned by inmates in prison.

People are poor because of rich people.  And slow cars are slow because of fast cars.

Why are American citizens who want to protect our sovereignty called Nazis and racists while illegal aliens are called Dreamers?

Everyone is the center of their own universe because that’s the only vantage point any of us have.”

When we compartmentalize reality the little chunks seem to slip away like ice floats on a river.  They’re a big deal while they’re here but once they’re gone there’s another in its place to be a big deal for a while.  Maybe that’s why when something happens, even important things I figure, “That’s not such a big deal.”  Because the river is still flowing and I’m looking forward to the ocean.

You get what you get because that’s what you got.  Which is the possessive of Popeye’s philosophical high point, “I yam what I yam an’ tha’s all I yam,” which is the cartoon reflection of the Hippie truism, “It is what it is cause that what it is.”  Which is the modern reflection of Aristotle’s insight of the law of identity: ‘Whatever is, is.”  Which is the verbal expression for the math term: For all a: a = a.

Most people read the headline and make-up the story.

All one can do is all one can do and if everyone would just do that imagine how much would get done.

The difference between junk and stuff: Junk is stuff you no longer want. Stuff is junk you want to keep.

When all is said and done it will all be done just as He said.

God saves us from things we think we need and blesses us with things we don’t know we need.

Irony is lost on the ignorant.

I used to remember that before I forgot it.

Graveyards are filled with indispensable people.

The melting pot has become the smelting pot.  Once we all wanted to become Americans.  Now Americans all want to become some kind of hyphenated – American.  Identity politics and the cult of victimization is Balkanizing America.

The Bible: Read it – Believe it – Live it and watch it change your life

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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