Is GOD really real?

Wow! Another month has passed!  What better way to kick-off May than to write about another Q&A topic. (Thanks A.Y. for the inspiration!) 🙂

As a Christian, I’m sure there are times when we asked ourselves whether God really exist? Is Jesus Christ really the only way to Heaven??

Growing up from a Christian family, I’ve asked myself these questions:

  • “Is Christianity the one and only religion where God extends the gift of Salvation to us and invites us to be with Him in Heaven when I die?
  • “Why is God’s gift of eternal life FREE FOR ALL? When other religions (i.e. Buddhist, Muslims) out there think they have to work so hard to earn their salvation/a place in Heaven??”

Then the Story of Baal came to mind (Thank you Sunday School teachers!)

The Story of Baal from 1 KINGS 18 – ELIJAH PROVES HE IS THE LORD’S PROPHET

1-2For three years no rain fell in Samaria, and there was almost nothing to eat anywhere. The LORD said to Elijah, “Go and meet with King Ahab. I will soon make it rain.” So Elijah went to see Ahab.

3-4At that time Obadiah was in charge of Ahab’s palace, but he faithfully worshiped the LORD. In fact, when Jezebel was trying to kill the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah hid one hundred of them in two caves and gave them food and water.

Ahab sent for Obadiah 5and said, “We have to find something for our horses and mules to eat. If we don’t, we will have to kill them. Let’s look around every creek and spring in the country for some grass. 6You go one way, and I’ll go the other.” Then they left in separate directions.

7As Obadiah was walking along, he met Elijah. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down, and asked, “Elijah, is it really you?”

8“Yes. Go tell Ahab I’m here.”

9Obadiah replied:

King Ahab would kill me if I told him that. And I haven’t even done anything wrong. 10I swear to you in the name of the living LORD your God that the king has looked everywhere for you. He sent people to look in every country, and when they couldn’t find you, he made the leader of each country swear that you were not in that country. 11Do you really want me to tell him you’re here?

16Obadiah left and told Ahab where to find Elijah.

19Call together everyone from Israel and have them meet me on Mount Carmel. Be sure to bring along the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.

20Ahab got everyone together, then they went to meet Elijah on Mount Carmel. 21Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you try to have things both ways? If the LORD is God, worship him! But if Baal is God, worship him!”

The people did not say a word.

22Then Elijah continued:

I am the LORD’s only prophet, but Baal has four hundred fifty prophets.

23Bring us two bulls. Baal’s prophets can take one of them, kill it, and cut it into pieces. Then they can put the meat on the wood without lighting the fire. I will do the same thing with the other bull, and I won’t light a fire under it either.

24The prophets of Baal will pray to their god, and I will pray to the LORD. The one who answers by starting the fire is God.

“That’s a good idea,” everyone agreed.

25Elijah said to Baal’s prophets, “There are more of you, so you go first. Pick out a bull and get it ready, but don’t light the fire. Then pray to your god.”

26They chose their bull, then they got it ready and prayed to Baal all morning, asking him to start the fire. They danced around the altar and shouted, “Answer us, Baal!” But there was no answer.

27At noon, Elijah began making fun of them. “Pray louder!” he said. “Baal must be a god. Maybe he’s day-dreaming or using the toilet or traveling somewhere. Or maybe he’s asleep, and you have to wake him up.”

28The prophets kept shouting louder and louder, and they cut themselves with swords and knives until they were bleeding. This was the way they worshiped, 29and they kept it up all afternoon. But there was no answer of any kind.

30Elijah told everyone to gather around him while he repaired the LORD’s altar. 31-32Then he used twelve stones to build an altar in honor of the LORD. Each stone stood for one of the tribes of Israel, which was the name the LORD had given to their ancestor Jacob. Elijah dug a ditch around the altar, large enough to hold about thirteen quarts. 33He placed the wood on the altar, then they cut the bull into pieces and laid the meat on the wood.

He told the people, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it over the meat and the wood.” After they did this, 34he told them to do it two more times. They did exactly as he said 35until finally, the water ran down the altar and filled the ditch.

36When it was time for the evening sacrifice, Elijah prayed:

 Our LORD, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Now, prove that you are the God of this nation, and that I, your servant, have done this at your command. 37Please answer me, so these people will know that you are the LORD God, and that you will turn their hearts back to you.

38The LORD immediately sent fire, and it burned up the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones. It scorched the ground everywhere around the altar and dried up every drop of water in the ditch. 39When the crowd saw what had happened, they all bowed down and shouted, “The LORD is God! The LORD is God!”

Taken from: http://www.godsstory.org/elijahandtheprophetsofbaal

It’s an amazing story isn’t it! I like how God is so Powerful and Almighty that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM!!!  (Matthew 19:26)

Now let me share this article with you (the link is below)! It’s very encouraging to hear how God is willing to draw close to you as long you have the desire to know Him more! 🙂 (James 4:8)

After reading this article, I don’t think there’re any more doubts in me whether God really exists! 

Let us THANK GOD and PRAISE HIM for ALL that He has done for us! 🙂

To read about the encouraging article, check out: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/muhammad.descendant.sees.vision.of.jesus.3.times.the.last.one.to.save.him.from.group.of.muslims.who.tried.to.kill.him/83949.htm

Related articles:

Great Sacrifice

10 Reasons to Believe in Life After Death

 

God is ALWAYS Faithful! (No matter what happens)

Hi again! Hope you had a good day today! 🙂

I had a good day-off from uni! Had a nice heart-to-heart talk with my Heavenly Father! =) Started off the day by praying, after reading this article: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/prayer-for-beginners  (Thanks W.Z.) 🙂

I prayed for my family, especially my sister who’s in her final year of high school this year!

Then I spent some time with God through a Praise and Worship session. (haha, good excuse to get back on the piano! ^^)

Just before I sang & played this song, the lyrics really spoke to me, especially today. (The video is below 🙂 )

You are forever in my life
You see me through the seasons
Cover me with Your hand
And lead me in Your righteousness

And I look to You
And I wait on You

I’ll sing to You Lord
A hymn of Love
For Your faithfulness to me
I’m carried in everlasting arms
You’ll never let me go
Through it all

All the unjust things that are happening in this world make me so sad =( I’ve seen quite a number of sad news on Facebook. What depresses me the most are the injustice things that are happening behind closed doors!!

I haven’t cried so hard in such a long time. (Sorry trees, I didn’t mean to kill you!)

I thank God for being there for us whenever we need to pour our ❤ to Him! So glad we don’t have to make an appointment or queue up to speak to Him! 🙂

BTW, if you have Facebook, there’s a quick daily 5-min Bible Study and you can leave your prayer requests/pray for others! https://www.facebook.com/ourdailybread/?fref=ts 

ODB 5 mins Bible Study.png

FB Prayers  via ODB.png

I had an enjoyable time doing this! (haha, And promoting my blog at the same time) 🙂

After all these, I watched the news and saw this: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-28/port-arthur-service-to-mark-20th-anniversary-of-massacre/7364070

Sigh… doesn’t it feels like there’s this cycle of never-ending sad/bad news?

Well, I really can’t wait when “God will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.“(Revelation 21:4 NLT)

13041029_10153502905067681_1031483392523997588_o.jpg

May God bless you and be with you all as you go through whatever struggles/hardship you are currently facing! =)

Annalisa ❤

Related song:

“Through It All”

Related articles:

https://journeyfaithhopelove07.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/qa-why-does-god-allow-suffering/

https://journeyfaithhopelove07.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/a-reflection-on-cease-striving-and-know/

 

Japan Earthquake =/

Good morning all. You probably heard about the Earthquake in Japan.

After my quiet time, I saw the news on TV. It’s very devastating to hear about the earthquake that has killed at least 9 people.

I know a few people who are currently in Japan. I think they are fine so far.

My thoughts and prayers are with these people. May you be comforted and know that God is near to you and still cares for you.

Related article: https://journeyfaithhopelove07.wordpress.com/qa/why-does-god-allow-suffering/

Hope these songs will bring comfort to you all! ❤

 

10 Reasons to Believe In Life After Death

10 Reasons to Believe.jpg

The greatest fears of life are often connected to the unknown, and for many people the greatest unknown is what happens one second after death. Can we believe the promises of the Bible that there is life after death—and that it lasts forever? Embracing the wisdom of the Bible in this important area can have a dramatic impact on the way we live our lives.

 YOU’RE NOT ALONE if you find yourself honestly unconvinced about life after death. But keep in mind that Jesus promised to give divine help to those who want to know the truth so as to surrender to it. He said, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own” (John 7:17 NIV).

If you see the evidence for life after death, remember that the Bible says Christ died to pay the price for our sins, and that all who believe in Him will receive the gifts of forgiveness and everlasting life. The salvation Christ offers is not a reward for effort but a gift to all who in light of the evidence put their trust in Him (John 5:24; Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-10).

Content taken from: http://discoveryseries.org/ten-reasons/christ-rose-from-the-dead/

Here’s the pdf version: https://d3uet6ae1sqvww.cloudfront.net/pdf/ten-reasons/in-life-after-death.pdf

Contents include:

  1. The Injustices Of Life
  2. Beauty And Balance
  3. Near-Death Experiences
  4. A Place In The Heart
  5. Universal Beliefs
  6. An Eternal God
  7. Old Testament Predictions
  8. Quotes Of Christ
  9. The Resurrection Of Christ
  10. Practical Effects

Nothing Is Impossible With God: Verse with Commentary

Impossible to Possible with God.jpg

Matthew 19:26 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

 What does it mean that with God, nothing is impossible?  Is there anything impossible for God?   If so, what is it?

There is more than one thing that God cannot do and that is that God cannot lie!  God’s nature is that He is always good and cannot do evil, therefore God cannot lie and that is so reassuring when we read the Bible.  In fact Paul tells the Corinthians that “all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Cor 1:20).

It is also impossible for God to be mocked since whatever we reap, we are sure to sow (Gal 6:7).  You cannot reap a lifestyle of sin and not reap the awful consequences.  You will most certainly reap what you sow, later than you sow but also more than you sow.

It is also impossible for God to change as “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8) for God has declared “For I the Lord do not change” (Mal 3:6). Humans change and someday we will be changed for “in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:52-53).  God has no cause to change for He is always the same; perfect, holy, complete in Himself and has no need of anyone or anything.

With Man Some Things Are Impossible

God looks at everything and sees that nothing is impossible for Him.  With humans, only a few, limited things are possible but with God all things are possible.  God has a history of taking improbable people and doing impossible things.  The story of Gideon’s army showed that when God is one your side, there is nothing that He cannot do as Gideon’s army of 300 defeated an army of 32,000!  Martin Luther said that God plus one is always a majority. The fact is that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chron 16:9).

With God, All Things Are Possible

Mary was told that she was to conceive and have a child and call Him Jesus, even though she was a virgin and told her relative Elizabeth, being past child-bearing age, that she would bear a child and call him John, she was told by the angel Gabriel that “nothing will be impossible with God.”  The same thing happened to Sarah who at age 90 would gave birth to Isaac for it was “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised” (Heb 11:11) and God asked the rhetorical question “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen 18:14).   The answer of course is no, there is nothing too hard and there is nothing impossible that God cannot do (except lie, be mocked, and change).

Faith in the God of the Impossible

Luke 17:6 “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

If you read Hebrews chapter 11 you can see just how powerful faith is and it is not our power but the power of God that is revealed in this faith.  Our faith is only as strong as the Object of our faith and when the Object of our faith is God, then what is a mountain to God?  Is there really anything too hard for God?  If we have faith in God’s ability then we can do anything as long as it is His will and it is for His glory.  That is what Jeremiah knew.

With God, Nothing is too Hard

Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.”

If God can create the entire universe, creating everything out of nothing, then how can He not do the impossible?  God loves to show Himself strong and to be glorified by doing what the world considers impossible.  In fact, the more impossible it seems the more God is glorified by doing it!  What a great God we serve!!!

God; Impossibly Out of Nothing Comes Everything

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

We know that for every effect there has to be a cause but there does not have to be an effect for every cause because God is uncaused. He is the unmoved mover which is the concept described by Aristotle to explain the origin of everything.  If there is anything that now exists, then there had to be a cause greater than the things that were created and the indescribable infinite nature of the universe had a cause much greater than itself…and that cause was God.  What is greater…the house that the builder built or the builder himself?  It is the builder of course for without the builder there would be no building, therefore the builder will always be greater than anything he can build just as a Creator has to be, by necessity, greater than anything He could create.

What is there in this universe that had no beginning?  What is there in the entire universe that had no cause?  God alone is the cause and all matter including all life had as its cause, God.  There can be no other explanation.  God has to be eternal for He could not have created Himself because He would have had to be or would have had to have existed prior to His being created so the sheer illogic that God has a cause is irreconcilable.

Conclusion

There are three things as we have read that God cannot do:  He cannot lie, He cannot be mocked, and He cannot change.  Someday we will exchange our mortal body for the immortal body (1 Cor 15) and we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is even if it does not yet appear what we shall be like (1 John 3:2).  This is when the children of men will become the children of God (John 1:12) and it will happen in less than a split second. 

If you are not born again then you will face quite a different future as Daniel described in 12:3a because “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt [but] “those who are [born again, they shall] shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Dan 12:3b). 

Which state you shall be in is up to you (John 3:16-18). 🙂  You have a choice to make and no choice is to reject the One, True Source of Life.

 

Article taken from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2014/06/01/nothing-is-impossible-with-god-verse-with-commentary/ 

Picture take from: https://www.facebook.com/ChristianCorner/photos

 

 

Is God Fair?

Today in my Management class we learnt about how to motivate employees and whether what the employers are doing is considered fair.

The class started off with the lecturer asking, “Is there anyone out there who’s willing to come up and touch my desk? I’ll give you $10.”  At first, everyone in class was sceptical, including me. Is this for real? One daring person actually walked up and touched the desk and was rewarded $10! I couldn’t be bothered because I was sitting at the back row (that’s what happen when you have a class from Business school and have to rush off to the Octagon Theatre.) Anyways…

Doesn’t that happen to us sometimes as well? We tend to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness especially when we are not getting what we asked/prayed for. I must admit that I have wished for a photographic memory or eidetic memory so that I don’t have to waste so much time revising/studying for exams. I didn’t know there were downsides to having photographic memory until I read this article: http://hubpages.com/health/photographic-memory-problems

The student who was interviewed explains why he’s not a straight A student even though he had photographic memory:

The simple answer is that the “photographs” in my memory are so fragmented and so cluttered that it consumes a whole lot of my energy just to visualize one chosen memory.

“Remembering lots of stuff doesn’t necessarily make you smarter. In fact, the brain can become overloaded with lots of unneeded information. Forgetting makes our brains more efficient. Memory involves selecting bits of information we need while ignoring what’s unnecessary. Remembering what someone looks like is beneficial. Remembering exactly what they were wearing each and every time we meet them isn’t.”

We are reminded in James 1:17 that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” God also says His gift of salvation is free for all and all we need to do is to trust and believe in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8). Check out “Crown of Glory” if you are keen to know how to start a relationship with God.

So, with the gifts that God has given us, are we grateful for what we’ve given? Are we waiting for something to happen/ our prayer requests to be answered before we are motivated to praise God? No. God’s great love should be the key reason for us to praise Him and thank Him for all that He has done.

Don’t be like the monkey in the video. (How can you waste food??!!) Learn to be grateful with whatever God has given you, don’t compare with others. Remember He always has your best interest in His heart. Nevertheless, hope you will laugh at this video as much as I did (LOL who knew lectures can be this exciting?) 🙂

Pretty good reads:

http://www.gotquestions.org/is-God-fair.html

http://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-study-course/bible-study-course-lesson-4/god-is-always-fair

 

Q&A – Why does God allow suffering?

I thought I would kick-start the Q&A section by tackling one of the most commonly asked questions. The following article is adapted from various sources including Bubzbeauty and Christianity Today.

Why does God allow suffering?

Don’t we question Him a lot? From a broken leg to a broken heart to a broken family. Some people think, “Maybe God messed up. Maybe he was too busy dealing with Taiwan’s earthquake that he forgot about the children in Africa.” Some people think, “Maybe God is angry with me for turning my back on him. That’s why He is punishing me.” The Lord doesn’t mess up nor take His anger on the World. 

That “why” question is not a new one; it can be dated back since the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th Century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. And the 21st Century didn’t start any better. There was 9/11 and now the Syrian slaughters, and on and on. Why do all of these horrific things happen if there’s a loving and powerful God? Why do bad things happen to good people? I cried out, “It’s not fair God!!!”

There are no words to describe the anguish being felt by those who are suffering today; our heart and prayers have, and will, go out to them. There are so many tragic stories, so much pain. And many people are asking the question, “Why? Why me? Why now? Why did God allow this?”

Maybe you’ve never asked why our world is infected with pain and suffering, because God has been gracious to you, protecting you from harm and unnecessary heartache. But here’s a heads up. Jesus said they are coming. Unlike some other religious leaders who wrote off pain and suffering as mere illusions, Jesus was honest about the inevitability of suffering. In John 16:33 he said, “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say you might—he said it is going to happen.

 So why does a loving Father (that’s how Christians describe God) allowed us humans to suffer here on Earth? Does He not care about us anymore after He created us??

To answer these questions let us turn to the Word of God. I remember attending a Go(o)d & Evil talk organised by OCF in 2015. The Pastor mentioned a lot of people assumed either He is not a God of love and is indifferent to human suffering (i.e. He doesn’t care about us), or else He is not a God of power and is therefore helpless to do anything about it. Is God then not good or great, or simply not there?

In Isaiah 55:8 God says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” In 1 Corinthians 13:12 we’re told, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.”

Someday we’ll see with clarity, but for now things are foggy. We can’t understand everything from our finite perspective.

Yet it’s still important to tackle with the question of why God allows suffering in our lives. Even though we can’t understand everything about it, I believe we can understand some things.

Let me give you an analogy:

When a new baby is born, the parents will give consent for their child to receive injections. From the baby’s point of view, he or she feels the pain, thinking “Why is my parents allowing me to suffer?” On the other hand, the parents know this is the best thing to do, to prevent their child from getting sick. Likewise we (humans) are like a child and God is our loving Father.

God says, “Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you and you will give me Glory.” (Psalm 50:15)

All you need is to have Faith in Him because He is Right. Things may seem wrong from our point of view because us humans have our own way of judging but God knows what is Best. Think of Him as a pilot. Sometimes, we don’t know where he is taking us and we may even enter into storms but we have to TRUST HIM because at the end of the day, He is just trying to take us Home. He WILL take us home. Where is home? With Him in Heaven.

“Our comfort is not God’s priority. If it is, how do we explain challenges such as death, disease, slumping accompanies and earthquakes? If God exists to please us, then shouldn’t we always be pleased?”- Max Lucado.

Key points to remember

  1. All suffering results from the fallen nature of our world.
  2. Much suffering is a direct result of our own sinfulness. (e.g. the suffering caused by drunkenness, or greed, or lust, or…)
  3. BUT some are not (see John 9:1-3)
  4. In the end we don’t know why God allowed evil into the world.
  5. However, we should thank God that He does something about our suffering, Jesus suffered and died so that we could be forgiven and participate in the ‘new creation’ where there will be no suffering. (*Hallelujah!!!*)
  6. God uses suffering to discipline and strengthen his children. (Hebrews 12:7-11; Romans 5:3-5) That shows us He ❤ us!

I personally am going through some hard times at the moment but really thank God for His strength and peace as I go through this season in life. Check out “Cease Striving and Know” if you haven’t read my testimony.

It’s my prayer today that you can find peace and comfort in this loving Father who cares for you and He totally understands the troubles/sufferings/loss you’re going through. Because God sacrificed His one and only beloved Son, Jesus Christ for us all. May you find comfort and strength in Him today! =)

Songs that have brought me comfort (Hope they will bring you comfort too! ^^)

“Through It All”

“Jesus, Draws Me Ever Nearer”

“Still, My Soul Be Still”

Acknowledgement

Thanks to Bubz from Bubzbeauty for attempting to answer this question. Want to know more, check out: http://bubzbeauty.com/ask-bubbi/184-why-does-god-allow-suffer-a-evil-to-happen.html

Chrsitianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2012/july-online-only/doesgodallowtragedy.html

Further readings

10 Reasons to Believe In A God Who Allows Suffering https://d3uet6ae1sqvww.cloudfront.net/pdf/ten-reasons/in-a-god-who-allows-suffering.pdf

Don Carson, How Long , O Lord?, 2nd edn, Baker, Grand Rapids, 2006.

John Dickson, If I were God, I’d end all the pain, rev. end, Matthias Media, Sydney 2002.

Paul E Little, How to Give Away Your Faith, rev.edn, IVP, Downers Grove, 2006, chapter 6.

Kel Richards, Defending the Gospel, Matthias Media, Sydney, 2006, chapter 8.