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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

 

 

What is Christmas? December 22, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Yoko Ono and John Lennon, a Buddhist and a who-knows-what Maharishi chasing pop singer who said the “Beatles are bigger than Jesus,” wrote a Christmas song.  It’s a classic.  We hear it every year.  If you really listen to the lyrics it is about a world where everyone gets along, there is no fear, and “war is over, if you want it, war is over now.”  Everyone thinks the title to this much beloved and much played song is “So This Is Christmas.”  Those are really just the first words and part of the refrain.   The title is actually “Happy Christmas (war Is Over),” so it should surprise no one that it wasn’t written as a Christmas song. Instead it was written as an anti-Vietnam War song disguised as a Christmas song. Yet, it’s a classic.  We hear it every year.

This brings me to the question, “What is Christmas”?  I believe it is such a personal thing it can truly only be answered as “What is Christmas to me”?

Is it an arbitrary date instituted by the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor).  The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336AD during the reign of Constantine.  In 350 AD Pope Julius I declared December 25 the official date and in 529 AD Emperor Justinian declared Christmas a civic holiday.

There is no Biblical evidence to support the date.  Bible History tells us, “Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year. The biblical reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they hear the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) might suggest the spring lambing season; in the cold month of December, on the other hand, sheep might well have been corralled.”

We know it isn’t just a date.  So what is Christmas?

Is it a baptized celebration of the winter solstice? Is it a cultural holiday to celebrate love and family?  Is it all about Frosty and Rudolph and George Bailey?  No, I don’t believe that this is the answer to the question “What is Christmas?” and I know it isn’t the answer to the question, “What is Christmas to me”?

What is Christmas?

Culturally Christmas is more than the sum of all its parts.  It is the public declaration that we are a Christian culture founded upon faith in His declaration, “I am” when he was asked “Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”  It is a public declaration that we as a people dedicate ourselves to living as Christ taught us we should no matter how imperfectly we do so.

What is Christmas to me?

It is a time to celebrate the love that Christ has birthed in my heart for friends and family.  It is a time to cherish the traditions which have become Holy through usage and dear through memory.  Above all it is a time to affirm in my heart that Jesus is the only name under heaven by which men must be saved and that Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior.

Christmas is a time to give gifts in memory of the greatest gift of all: Christ the friend of sinners given to a world that did not know Him when He arrived, does not honor Him now, and will not be prepared when He comes again.

The greatest gift I could ever give I give to you. The Bible is the unadulterated Word of God and it does not leave us any doubt about how to be saved.  In the Bible is something called by many the Romans Road.  I followed it years ago, and it changed me forever and gave me a new life.  I pray that it will do the same thing for you.

The Romans Road lays out the plan of salvation through a series of Bible verses from the book of Romans . When arranged in order, these verses form an easy, systematic way of explaining the message of salvation. There are many different versions of Romans Road with slight variations in Scriptures, but the basic message and method is the same. Many evangelical missionaries, evangelists, and lay people memorize and use Romans Road when sharing the good news.

Romans Road Clearly Defines:

  1. Who needs
  2. Why we need salvation.
  3. How God provides salvation.
  4. How we receive salvation.
  5. The results of salvation.

Romans Road to Salvation

Everyone needs salvation because we have all sinned.
Romans 3:10-12, and 23
As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” … For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (NLT)

The price (or consequence) of sin is death.
Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT)

Jesus Christ died for our sins. He paid the price for our death.
Romans 5:8
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (NLT)

We receive salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9-10, and 13
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved … For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (NLT)

Salvation through Jesus Christ brings us into a relationship of peace with God.
Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (NLT)

Romans 8:1
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Romans 8:38-39
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT)

Responding to Romans Road

If you believe Romans Road leads to the path of truth, you can respond by receiving God’s free gift of salvation today. Here’s how to take a personal journey down Romans Road:

  • Admit you are a sinner.
  • Understand, that as a sinner, you deserve death.
  • Believe Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from sin and death.
  • Repent by turning from your old life of sin to a new life in Christ.
  • Receive, through faith in Jesus Christ, his free gift of salvation.

So this is Christmas: The birth of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God Himself clothed in flesh, the incarnate creator of the universe here to open the way for his creation to be reunited with Him. This makes possible our new birth as a child of God.  It’s open to all.  It’s free.  It is yours for the taking, and you can unwrap this present any day of any year.

Merry Christmas.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

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