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Show Me Then I’ll Believe May 21, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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