Faith Matters - Current Posts

Friday, September 28, 2007

No Other Gods Before Me

In the ancient world everyone was a polytheist—believing in multiple gods. Every nation had different gods and humans struggled to stay out of the way of their conflicts.
For four hundred years the Hebrew people had lived under the control of the Egyptians who worshipped many gods. Then, under the leadership of Moses, they were suddenly set free from their slavery in Egypt. Talk about a life change! Even more revolutionary, Moses had a mountaintop encounter with God where God gave him Ten Commandments. The first commandment was, “You shall have no other gods before me.” All they knew was living with multiple, conflicting gods. Now they were being told that their God (Yahweh) was to always have precedence over other gods. This was a risky notion. What if the other gods didn’t like it?
An even better translation of the Hebrew words in the first commandment is, “You shall have no other gods besides me.” In other words, Yahweh was not to be their top god, he was to be their only God.
We live in a society with many competing gods with names like “Luck,” “Money,” “Science,” “Counseling,” “Education,” and “Things.” We often believe that these gods can cure our cancer, solve our problems and get us what we want in life. But the Lord of heaven and earth is saying that it’s not that way. He alone is the true God and we are to swear our allegiance to Him and Him alone.

Related Scripture: Exodus 20:3

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Who "Creates?"

Did you know that every time the verb “create” appears in the Old Testament it is always about what God does? It is never about what humans do. We are not creators. As much as we may be impressed with our human ability to invent machines and medicines, we are merely the stewards of what God has already created. Even the creations of the most innovative science fiction film makers are comprised of variations of creatures we already know. Only God can speak a universe into existence.
In the New Testament it says, "By Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”
In our world, creation defines ownership. Those same science fiction film makers “own” the movie they create. If God created the world, then he owns it. In the book of Psalms it says, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it.”
One of the most basic questions of life is over the question of ownership. Does everything belong to God or do we own it? Is it our world and our environment for us to treat as we please? Are these our bodies so that we can determine our own destiny? The answer to this question of ownership is the essential difference between being a Christian and a non-Christian, between being a believer and an unbeliever. If God is truly the creator, and therefore the owner, then we are accountable to Him.

Related Scripture: Colossians 1:16 & Psalms 24:1

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dr. Einstein

Several years ago when Billy Graham was honored at a special luncheon, he replied to all the accolades with a story. “I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist…. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of each passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached into his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his other pocket. It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat by him. He still couldn’t find it. The conductor said, ‘Doctor Einstein, I know who you are.… I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.’ Einstein nodded appreciatively.
The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, don’t worry. I know who you are. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.’ Einstein looked at him and said, ‘Young man, I too know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.’”
Billy Graham went on to explain to his audience, “I not only know who I am, I also know where I’m going.” He knew he was trusting in Jesus and that the Bible promises, “whoever believes in [Jesus] shall not perish but have eternal life [in heaven].” Do you know where you are going?

Related Scripture: John 3:16

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Finding Meaning in Tragedy

Author Richard Exley tells the story of a pastor whose son committed suicide. Returning to his pulpit ten days later, his text was Romans 8:28. With a trembling voice he read, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” He said, “I cannot make my son’s suicide fit into this passage. It’s impossible for me to see how anything good could come out of it. Yet I realize that I only see in part. I only know in part.”
Fighting for composure, he continued, “It’s like the miracle of the shipyard. Almost every part of our great ocean-going vessels are made of steel. If you take any single part…and throw it into the ocean, it will sink. Steel doesn’t float! But when the shipbuilders are finished, when the last plate has been riveted in place, then that massive steel ship is virtually unsinkable.”
“Taken by itself, my son’s suicide is senseless. Throw it into the sea of Romans 8:28, and it sinks. Still, I believe that when the Eternal Shipbuilder has finally finished, when God has worked out his perfect design, even this senseless tragedy will somehow work to our eternal good.”
In the midst of his despair, this Christian father’s hope was in God’s promise to “work for the good of those who love him.” He came to realize that God shapes our lives through both agony and ecstasy to make us more like Jesus.

Related Scripture: Romans 8:28

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Monday, September 24, 2007

Who Are Prophets

Do you ever wonder what the Bible means when it talks about “prophets”? “Prophets” are those that speak God’s truth to humans. Prophets were authors of the Bible. Listen to how the New Testament explains it:
You will do well to pay attention to [the word of the prophets].… Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation, for prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
The authors of the Bible didn’t think up what they wrote all by themselves. They didn’t spin their own interpretation of history. They didn’t make up a religion. They spoke the words God gave them and they wrote with the authority and accuracy of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is the most studied and documented book in history. What it says has been dissected, analyzed, attacked, criticized and verified for almost two thousand years. Bottom line, the Bible is the Word of God and it’s the truth. And when you put your own personal experience of faith together with the truth of the Bible, you have the two pillars upon which Christianity stands – faith and the Bible, personal encounter and truth. Christianity is not just your own experience and it’s not just the truth of the Bible. It’s a supernatural combination of faith and facts. And, together, they are life transforming.

Related Scripture: 2 Peter 1: 19-21

© 2007 Leith Anderson