jump to navigation

All That Really Matters September 14, 2020

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
3 comments

Back when I was an atheist and I believed this is all there is I was passionately interested in politics, economics, and current events.  I was committed to working for my side and to defeating the other guy.  Now that I’m a born-again child of God, a citizen of Heaven, and merely a pilgrim here I follow the ever-changing kaleidoscope of civic events more like a soap opera.   

Yes, I understand that within this bubble we know as the space-time continuum the ins and outs of who’s up and who’s down actually make a difference.  For example, it will have a profound impact on the United States whether we hand the government over to socialist revolutionaries or if we deliver it to capitalists.  However, in the grand scheme of things this makes about as much difference as which queen bee is laying eggs in which hive. 

I came to this level of a wokeness after years of Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with God.  Just as a caterpillar goes through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly, I believe humans go through much the same process.  Only instead of a two-stage process like a butterfly we go through three stages. 

First, we’re a fetus (in Latin fetus means little one) for approximately nine months.  Second, we’re born into this world and live here for as long as we do.  And finally, we pass from this world into eternity.  Let’s see: nine months, maybe 120 years, eternity.  Which stage do you think is the real deal?  The nine months prepare us for the 120 years and the 120 years prepare us for eternity.  Two of these stages are merely steppingstones for the main event.  Therefore, I contend that humans are in fact eternal beings who pass through two stages of development to become what we were created to be. 

All that really matters in this stage of our development is the direction we’re facing when we leave it.  Are we looking to God and putting our faith in Him?  Or are we looking to the world still grasping for all it has to offer?  Think of it this way: if when we’re a fetus inside our mother the umbilical cord is wrapped wrong or if there is a chromosomal problem we could enter life with some sort of handicap that we will spend the next 120 years dealing with.  In the same way if we enter eternity facing in the wrong direction, we will spend eternity dealing with the ramifications of that choice. 

From my personal Christian perspective here’s the 411 on how we turn from the world and face in the right direction. 

Everyone can see that this world is broken.  Evil runs rampant.  The bad are rewarded.  The good are crushed.  Sickness, poverty, and oppression are on display in every direction.  If God is good, why would He create such a horror show? 

The easy answer is He didn’t.  When He was done with creation He paused and looked around.  Surveying all that He had done and it was “Good.” 

Then man turned away from God, embraced Satan, and God cursed the world while at the same time promising that a Savior would come who would step on Satan’s head and deliver humanity from the grip of the evil we chose. 

The price was a sinless sacrifice, the good for the bad.  No human could do it because none of us has ever or could ever live a sinless life.  Therefore, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to be incarnated as a human, live a sinless life, and then offer himself up as a sacrifice for us all.  After His sacrifice Jesus descended into hell and as an eternal being suffered the punishment for every sin that had ever or would ever be committed.  Then He was born-again in the very heart of darkness, triumphed over Satan, and God raised Him from the dead.  Jesus led all those who had died waiting for this deliverance out of Satan’s grasp and emerged on the third day with the keys to death and hell. 

After spending forty days instructing His disciples on how to carry the message of the best news ever to the world He ascended into heaven.  Ten days later the Holy Spirit arrived and filled the new believers so that from then on they were no longer earth bound humans. They were instead wall-to-wall God birthed children of the Most High on a pilgrimage here with a mission to share their experience to be witnesses

There it is in a nutshell.  The word Gospel means “Good News” in old English.  So, when you get filled to overflowing with all the bad news the world vomits up every day why not turn to the good news.   

Don’t worry about what you can’t do anything about.  Do you think if you missed one news broadcast or if you stopped watching them for ever it would make any difference to what is happening on the stage of the world or would the actors just keep reading their lines and playing their parts?  The bad news impacts us more than we can ever impact it. 

It’s like a joke making the rounds: 

An English asks an Amish fellow, “Why isn’t the COVID rampaging through your communities?”  The Amish fellow says without hesitation, “Because we don’t have any TVs.” 

The TVs, radios, magazines, and papers may carry the news, but only the Bible has the Good News.  It all comes down to choices: “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  In other words no matter what, we’re all going to serve somebody.  It will either be any one of the countless gods of this world or the one true God. 

How do you make that choice?  Is it by joining the right church?  Is it by attending the correct services, worshipping in a certain way, or following any of the endless rules the world invents to complicate and build a barrier between us and the God who wants us to join His family?  No!  Not only has He made it simple He has made it easy.  All we need to do is confess Jesus as the Lord of our life and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead and we will be saved.  That’s it.  Do that and we have joined God’s family.  Then we can pour ourselves into His Word so that it’s life-giving Spirit will fill us and recreate us.   

Forget about the bad news and study the Good News instead. Let’s “Eliminate the negative, accentuate the positive, latch on to the affirmative, and don’t with mess mister in between.” 

Or to put it another way, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2020 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 New You for a New Year  January 8, 2020

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?  Are you facing a new year and thinking, “Why?”   Have you ever looked at your life and thought, “I wish I could start this all over again”?  When we come to the end of ourselves, we have the chance to find the beginning of everything else.

Every person is the center of their own universe simply because that’s the only vantage point available to anyone who has ever lived.  Usually by the time we’re old enough to know anything we’ve figured out that just because we’re the center of observable reality that reality doesn’t revolve around us.  And it doesn’t take long to realize that the cold machinery of the space-time continuum takes as little heed to us as we do to the microbes in the ground we walk over every day.

The cold impersonal avalanche of happenstance leads any thinking person to the question, “What’s it all about?”  The inscrutability of the carnival mirror maze we perceive as reality leads many to conclude there is no meaning, there is no point, and there is no reason.  All there is is what it is and that’s all that there is.  A sort of Popeye philosophy that leaves us constantly wandering about looking for the magic can of spinach that’ll make us strong enough to break through the mirrors to scan an open horizon with a clear vista.  On our own it always seems to be just around the next corner.

This is where revelation comes in.  A mouse in a maze never sees the whole picture.  It only sees the corridor it happens to be in at the time.  And though it searches and searches it always seems like someone has moved the cheese.  Only through revelation can we see enough of the puzzle to learn which piece needs to go next to which piece to make the picture whole.

Lucky for us there is a God who created all this and He wants to allow us to see behind the curtain of the physical giving us a glimpse of the spiritual, which is the essence of it all.

I’m a Christian.  By that I mean I have confessed Jesus Christ as my personal Lord, and I believe in my heart that God has raised Him from the dead.  Because of that I believe I am saved, I am born-again, and I have a free pass out of hell and into heaven.  And on a daily basis I do my best to follow Christ: loving and forgiving myself and the world around me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

This wasn’t always the case.  Until I was thirty years old I was an unapologetic reprobate, and an atheist who cursed a God I proudly declared I didn’t believe in.  Then I had a personal encounter with Christ which led me to study the Bible, which led to my confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and my unswerving belief that God has raised Him from the dead.  Through this I was born again receiving a brand-new life here and now and that afore mentioned free pass out of hell and into heaven.

I immediately transitioned from hopelessness to hopefulness, from despair to joy, from dread to expectancy.  This is such a good deal I can’t bear to keep it to myself.

My words and my testimony will not get you anything.  They can’t give you a new you.  Only God’s Spirit can do that.  We can’t think our way to God.  It’s only through His revelation that we can get beyond the example of a blind man trying to picture an elephant by touching its trunk or tail.  The only way I have found to find God is through His word.  Think about it. If God only wrote one book out of all the billions of books in the world doesn’t it seem logical that it would be the most important thing we could possibly read?  If we deny that His word is His word we close the door and throw away the key.

You might say, “Why do I need to be born again?

Here are some reasons and their biblical support

  1. Jesus Loved you enough to die for you

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

  1. You cannot even please God if you’re not born again.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

  1. You will be living under God’s wrathif you’re not born again.

Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything: life complete and forever! And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn’t see life. All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that.

  1. You’ll be under the control of the devil if you’re not born again.

In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,

  1. You will experience the second death if you’re not born again.

Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire, and if anyone’s name is not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Jesus Christ is always there for us. He’ll answer us anytime we call him. He stands at the door of our heart and knocks.  Open the door today and He’ll come in.

As a new year begins, we can all begin a new life.   The mistakes of our past don’t have to be the blueprint of our future.

One of the most important truths in Christianity is that God loves us so much that He sought us out before we even start trying to find him.  Referring to Himself in a title reserved for the Messiah Jesus said, “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  He also said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.”

Since He chose us, all we must do is choose Him and that new life starts right now.  That is the Way.  I have shared what the Bible says we must do to be saved; confess and believe.  But it isn’t about a formula.  Being a follower of Christ is much more than that.  It’s following Christ.  He said “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”  because as He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  Christ doesn’t show us the way.  He is the Way to a new you for a new year … or any year … any time.

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

 

 

 

 

Is Thanksgiving All About Receiving? November 27, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

In millions of homes throughout America families and friends join to together to celebrate a cherished holiday, Thanksgiving.  In countless homes people go through various types of rituals and traditions including taking time to share what they’re thankful for.  If we listen to those often hastily prepared statements we’ll find the vast majority of them refer to what’s been received.

“I’m thankful for my family.”  “I’m thankful for health.”  “I’m thankful for peace, prosperity, safety, security, a home, a car, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, etc.”

It’s good to give thanks for all we’ve receive.  It’s even better to give thanks for the Giver and to recognize that it’s all a gift.

The greatest gift of all is Jesus.  God gave Him to us as our Savior.  It’s through His stripes we’re healed.  It’s through Him making Himself poor that we became rich.  And it’s through the indwelling Spirit of God that we have access into the wisdom of the ages.  And that wisdom teaches us that it’s better to give than receive.

So this Thanksgiving as we share what we’re thankful for perhaps we should be thankful for all the opportunities we have to give.  The Word of God tells us plainly, “If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.”  In another place it says, “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way.”

All around us a world in need of God stumbles through the inky void of uncertainty not knowing why bad things happen to good people, why the evil seem to triumph over the good, or where they’re going when they die.  And we have the answer.  His name is Jesus.

So how do we share what isn’t just good news but the best news ever with the lost and broken around us?

It isn’t by trying to shove a Bible down their throat.  It isn’t by beating them up with doctrines they don’t know repeated in religious speak.  It isn’t by trying to scare them to death with stories of what will happen when they die.  When we use these time-tested mistakes while trying to share the most beautiful truth in the world, that Jesus came to bring us life, our success rate is perfectly expressed by my favorite band, Casting Crowns, “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.”

It’s not about who we are it’s about who He is.  It isn’t about what we’ve done it’s about what He did.  And it isn’t about what we get it’s about what we give.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  May the Lord bless you and keep you may He make His face shine upon you.  As we gather with our loved ones on a day set aside for giving thanks instead of offering a litany of what we’ve received let’s give thanks for opportunities to give.

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

 

 

Lead Me Not Into Temptation August 8, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

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

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

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 

 

 

 

Show Me Then I’ll Believe May 21, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

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 

 
 

 

What Easter Means to Me March 28, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
Tags: , , , , , ,
4 comments

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

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
Tags: , , , , ,
2 comments

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

 

%d bloggers like this: