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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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

I’m Blessed November 19, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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When asked by the Barna Group, “Do we have a personal responsibility to share our faith with others?” a majority of Christians answer in the affirmative. 

100% of Evangelicals and 73% of born again Christians said yes. When this conviction is put into practice however, the numbers shift downward. Only 69% of Evangelicals and 52% of born again Christians say they actually did share the Gospel at least once this past year to someone with different beliefs in the hope that they might accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. 

“Born again Christians” were defined in these surveys as people who said they have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today” and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as “born again.” Being classified as “born again” is not dependent upon church or denominational affiliation or involvement. 

“Evangelicals” meet the born again criteria described above plus seven other conditions. Those include: saying their faith is very important in their life today; believing they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; believing that Satan exists; believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; asserting that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Being classified as an evangelical is not dependent upon church attendance, the denominational affiliation of the church attended, or self-identification. 

Many people have a hard time sharing their faith in Christ.  They feel as if they don’t want to be perceived as pushy.  Possibly they’re afraid to speak to strangers or they don’t know how to get a conversation to a place where speaking about faith might be appropriate. 

Here’s an easy, comfortable way that my wife introduced me to many years ago. 

In America a common greeting is, “Hi how’re you doing?” 

Most people aren’t really concerned with how we’re doing it’s just a greeting.  However, when someone asks us a question we’re free to answer it and it’s a natural and comfortable thing to do. 

Whenever I’m asked America’s greeting “Hi how’re you doing?” 

I answer, “I’m blessed.”   

The reactions are very interesting.  Some just give a quizzical look.  Some say, “You are?” which is another question.   

And as in the initial situation answering a question is an easy natural thing to do.  I’ll answer, “You are?” with something like “I am and I won’t accept anything less.” 

Sometimes people will answer with another question something like, “Why are you blessed?” and this opens the door for easily speaking about Jesus gave it to me and the world can’t take it away or some other friendly answer that leads directly to speaking of Jesus.  Not often but every once in a while it leads to an actual chance to share the hope of the Gospel.  If nothing else it opens the door to speak the name of Jesus in public.  And you never know who might be listening and what the sound of that Name may have in the ripple effect of reality. 

Sometimes our initial response of “I’m blessed” is met with, “I am too.”  This opens a door for fellowship with a fellow believer and the collateral opportunity for others to hear people who aren’t afraid to share their faith in public and another opportunity to speak the Name of Jesus into the air of a world that needs him. 

This type of conversational evangelism is reflected in one T-shirt I have.  It says, “I’m Blessed” and then under that large headline it offers an answer to anyone who might ask why, “You better ask Jesus.” 

It’s also reflected in the words to an old song from the hills of Missouri:  

I’m Blessed and I know that I am since Jesus took control of my life. 

I’m blessed and I know that I am since He gave to me a new life. 

I’m blessed and if you happen to ask how I am my friend. 

I’m Blessed, I’m Blessed, I’m Blessed 

So for any of us who find it hard to get started with sharing the good news of the Gospel with others why not give, “I’m blessed,” a try since we are.  Then get ready to walk through any doors God decides to open. 

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 

 

 

 

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