Friday, February 28, 2014

The North Wind and the Sun (Aesop's Faithfuls)

The North Wind and the Sun

THE WIND and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. 

Then the Sun came out. At first he beamed gently upon the traveller, who soon unclasped his cloak and walked on with it hanging loosely about his shoulders. He then shone forth with his full strength, and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on, and was glad to throw his cloak right off and complete his journey more lightly clad.

The moral of this story, according to Aesop, is persuasion is better than force.

As believers we have an important message; we understand that people all around us are separated from God because of their sins, and if they would put their faith in Christ they can be forgiven.

Our job is to persuade people to trust in Christ, but we cannot force them to. Sometimes we may be guilty of manipulation, guilt, or scare tactics, when all we really need to do is present the truth in love.

Like the sun in this fable, let us “gently beam upon” the unsaved, and with our loving demeanor, make them glad to throw off the cloak of sin that covers them.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Aesop's Faithfuls

Aesop is believed to have been a Greek slave who lived around 620-560 BC. A gifted storyteller, Aesop wrote a collection of fables that have been translated and preserved for centuries.

Today children read his stories, and adults use his analogies. We tell stories about the tortoise and the hare, and we refer to a golden goose or a wolf in sheep’s clothing because of the fables of Aesop.

I don’t believe Aesop was what we consider Christian (he lived before the term Christian was coined) because he referred to Greek gods such as Mercury and Jupiter in his fables. So without trying to deify Aesop, I believe we can learn valuable Christian lessons from his fables.

This series is called Aesop’s Faithfuls—I will post fables as they are, then give a quick truth that we can apply today. Whether you are six or 86, I hope you enjoy this series reading or re-reading some classic literature.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Catechism #9

Question: How many persons are in the one God?
Answer: Three persons are in the one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, the same in substance and equal in power and glory.

The three Persons of the Godhead are known collectively as the Trinity. Some will argue against the concept of the Trinity since that precise word does not appear in the Bible, but that is not enough reason to throw it out.

The idea of God existing as the Trinity is biblical. Consider how Paul mentioned all three members together in 2 Corinthians 13:14:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Jesus grouped Himself together with the Father and Spirit when He gave the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, which says, “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

At the baptism of Jesus all three Persons are present again. Not only is Jesus on the scene being baptized, but a voice came from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” As God the Father spoke, the passage says that the Spirit of God descended like a dove (Luke 3:21-22).

The Trinity also appeared together at Creation. Genesis 1:1 says God created the heavens and the earth, and verse 2 says the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the water. If you add John 1, it says that Jesus is God, and created everything as God (also consider Colossians 1:15-17).

Colossians 2:9 tells us that in Jesus existed all the fullness of the Godhead (the Trinity) in bodily form. Read John 14-16 and see how Jesus taught about all three members of this Godhead.

Some have tried to find illustrations to help grasp the point, but even the best fall short. Some look to water, which can be liquid, solid ice, and steam. This sounds good, but water does not exist in all three forms at the same time, while the Trinity does.

There is only one God, but He exists in three Persons: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Catechism #8

Question: Is there more than one God?
Answer: There is only one, the living and true God.

There are many gods in the world.

If there was only one God, then why would God begin the 10 Commandments by saying, “You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3)?”

There are several gods listed in the Bible: Baal, Molech, and Asherah, to name a few. Today we see gods named Allah and Brahman; in mythology we read about gods named Zeus and Osiris; pantheists believe that god is in all of nature. Atheists live for themselves, making themselves the god of their lives. Today people make their jobs, hobbies, possessions, and other temporary things their gods.

While there are many gods, there is only one living and true God. The word god means “ruler,” and there is really only one Ruler, and that is the God of the Bible, whose name is Yahweh.

These other gods are not real deities; their only power exists in the minds of their followers. Zeus and Osiris only existed on the paper where their stories were written; Baal, Molech, and Asherah were carved idols—none of their followers ever believed they were real people, so how could they be gods?

Brahman is a belief in the unity of everything, not a real person or powerful being. Only Allah is thought to be a real, genuine god, but even he is powerless, for he never really existed.

There is only one powerful Ruler. His throne is in heaven, yet He dwells within the hearts of His followers. He says of Himself in Isaiah 45:3 “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God.”

Are you looking to Yahweh alone as your God, or have you replaced Him with someone or something else?