Why am I a Christain?

Is why I am a Christian the reason you should be one?  How do I know if you should be a Christian if I cannot answer myself to why am I a Christian?  Can I explain it to you in a way which you understand, makes sense and does not take an hour or previous knowledge of the Bible.

Our Pastor has been challenging us and/or telling us we all should be disciples, not just the Pastor and I agree.  Yet, I have been floundering over this, for some time, not just lately when the Pastor mentioned it.  Why do I not feel like yelling about Jesus of the rooftops?  I could not find the word until the other day, it is I don’t feel qualified.  Along with not feeling qualified, I don’t feel confident enough.

I can tell you my story of how I became a Christian – but it does not tell you the right now, why I am and remain a Christian.    In my posts onward, I will continue to post scripture, but I will also intertwine it with my effort to answer this question.

Here is the most straightforward answer to this question:  Why am I a Christian.  Because I believe in Heaven and Hell and I believe the path to heaven is through my faith  and love in Jesus Christ.  It is because I believe Jesus came to earth, lived and then died for our sins.  And if I believe he lived and died for my sins, then it is logical I believe the rest of what is written in the Bible.  Yes, there are things in the Bible which do not make sense to me, seem strange, mean, dangerous,  or irrational.  But, as I read through the Bible, I realize people in the Bible, such as JOB had things happen to them they did not understand and yet, they retained their faith.

I am posting this, but will be working on a deeper, maybe more concise answer as well as work on answering other questions.

God Bless,

Leland Bartlett

 

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Obadiah

There is no compelling reason to doubt the unity of this brief prophecy. Its theme is that Edom, proud over her own security, has gloated over Israel’s devastation by foreign powers. However, Edom’s participation in that disaster will bring on God’s wrath. She herself will be destroyed, but Mount Zion and Israel will be delievered, and God’s kingdom will triumph.

Obadiah 1–4 (ESV)

The vision of Obadiah.

Edom Will Be Humbled

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:

We have heard a report from the Lord,

and a messenger has been sent among the nations:

“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”

Behold, I will make you small among the nations;

you shall be utterly despised.

Proverbs 24:17–18 (ESV)

17  Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,

and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,

18  lest the Lord see it and be displeased,

and turn away his anger from him.

The pride of your heart has deceived you,

you who live in the clefts of the rock,

in your lofty dwelling,

who say in your heart,

“Who will bring me down to the ground?”

Though you soar aloft like the eagle,

though your nest is set among the stars,

from there I will bring you down,

declares the Lord.

I discovered Obediah is the least read book of the Bible, really!?  I must read this, knowing it also is only four pages long including the NIV intro and explanation and only two chapters.

The chapter is about God’s wrath on a group for not having empathy for misfortunes of both Israel and Judah.  I thought about how this might apply to me, to us right today.

With our political environment as hot and contested as it is, I thought it might apply to our desire to have the other political party fail – and we may cheer and reward ourselves if and when they do.  However, on both sides of the political line are God’s children.  Additionally, I don’t believe as Christians we should cheer anyone’s devastation, but always have empathy.  We may think those that contest our beliefs are bad people and deserve what they get, but I don’t believe that is our judgment.  It’s like I have heard – maybe it was just a TV story, but the story goes, that a woman doctor eventually had to operate and save the life of a man that had raped her.

I hope you will take the twenty minutes or so and read the book, leave me a comment of your take away.

The New Jerusalem

Revelation 21:9–21 (ESV)

The New Jerusalem

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

Verses 9–21
God has various employments for his holy angels. Sometimes they sound the trumpet of Divine Providence, and warn a careless world; sometimes they discover things of a heavenly nature of the heirs of salvation. Those who would have clear views of heaven, must get as near to heaven as they can, on the mount of meditation and faith. The subject of the vision is the church of God in a perfect, triumphant state, shining in its lustre; glorious in relation to Christ; which shows that the happiness of heaven consists in intercourse with God, and in conformity to him. The change of emblems from a bride to a city, shows that we are only to take general ideas from this description. The wall is for security. Heaven is a safe state; those who are there, are separated and secured from all evils and enemies. This city is vast; here is room for all the people of God. The foundation of the wall; the promise and power of God, and the purchase of Christ, are the strong foundations of the safety and happiness of the church. These foundations are set forth by twelve sorts of precious stones, denoting the variety and excellence of the doctrines of the gospel, or of the graces of the Holy Spirit, or the personal excellences of the Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven has gates; there is a free admission to all that are sanctified; they shall not find themselves shut out. These gates were all of pearls. Christ is the Pearl of great price, and he is our Way to God. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. The saints in heaven tread gold under foot. The saints are there at rest, yet it is not a state of sleep and idleness; they have communion, not only with God, but with one another. All these glories but faintly represent heaven.  Henry, M. & Scott, T., 1997. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

The New Heaven and the New Earth

Revelation 21:1–8 (ESV)

The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Verses 1–8
The new heaven and the new earth will not be separate from each other; the earth of the saints, their glorified, bodies, will be heavenly. The old world, with all its troubles and tumults, will have passed away. There will be no sea; this aptly represents freedom from conflicting passions, temptations, troubles, changes, and alarms; from whatever can divide or interrupt the communion of saints. This new Jerusalem is the church of God in its new and perfect state, the church triumphant. Its blessedness came wholly from God, and depends on him. The presence of God with his people in heaven, will not be interrupt as it is on earth, he will dwell with them continually. All effects of former trouble shall be done away. They have often been in tears, by reason of sin, of affliction, of the calamities of the church; but no signs, no remembrance of former sorrows shall remain. Christ makes all things new. If we are willing and desirous that the gracious Redeemer should make all things new in order hearts and nature, he will make all things new in respect of our situation, till he has brought us to enjoy complete happiness. See the certainty of the promise. God gives his titles, Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, as a pledge for the full performance. Sensual and sinful pleasures are muddy and poisoned waters; and the best earthly comforts are like the scanty supplies of a cistern; when idolized, they become broken cisterns, and yield only vexation. But the joys which Christ imparts are like waters springing from a fountain, pure, refreshing, abundant, and eternal. The sanctifying consolations of the Holy Spirit prepare for heavenly happiness; they are streams which flow for us in the wilderness. The fearful durst not meet the difficulties of religion, their slavish fear came from their unbelief; but those who were so dastardly as not to dare to take up the cross of Christ, were yet so desperate as to run into abominable wickedness. The agonies and terrors of the first death will lead to the far greater terrors and agonies of eternal death.  Henry, M. & Scott, T., 1997. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

The Resurrections . . .

Revelation 20:4–6 (ESV)

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Verses 4–6
Here is an account of the reign of the saints, for the same space of time as Satan is bound. Those who suffer with Christ, shall reign with him in his spiritual and heavenly kingdom, in conformity to him in his wisdom, righteousness, and holiness: this is called the first resurrection, with which none but those who serve Christ, and suffer for him, shall be favoured. The happiness of these servants of God is declared. None can be blessed but those that are holy; and all that are holy shall be blessed. We know something thing of what the first death is, and it is very awful; but we know not what this second death is. It must be much more dreadful; it is the death of the soul, eternal separation from God. May we never know what it is: those who have been made partakers of a spiritual resurrection, are saved from the power of the second death. We may expect that a thousand years will follow the destruction of the antichristian, idolatrous, persecuting powers, during which pure Christianity, in doctrine, worship, and holiness, will be made known over all the earth. By the all-powerful working of the Holy Spirit, fallen man will be new-created; and faith and holiness will as certainly prevail, as unbelief and unholiness now do. We may easily perceive what a variety of dreadful pains, diseases, and other calamities would cease, if all men were true and consistent Christians. All the evils of public and private contests would be ended, and happiness of every kind largely increased. Every man would try to lighten suffering, instead of adding to the sorrows around him. It is our duty to pray for the promised glorious days, and to do every thing in our public and private stations which can prepare for them.  Henry, M. & Scott, T., 1997. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Run till the burn is gone . . .

James 4:7–10 (ESV)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

My Thoughts:  

It’s like a rubberband, it’s like a magnet, if you do not flee with enough force and speed, they will bring you back.  It reminds me of when I am driving out on the open road, it’s weird, but I will pass a car and all of a sudden they want to keep up with me and I cannot seem to lose them and eventually, for some reason, the catch up to me – again and they pass me.  Then we play this game back and forth.  I eventually learned when I go by another car, I need to get up some speed and go by so quickly that by the time they really notice and react, they figure, they are already too far ahead and just continue the speed they are going.

I want to relate this to my burn and walking with the devil in intimacy.  I knew I was being drawn in, I knew it was not really right, I knew I should run, but I also felt and believed that I could not get burned from it.

I tried to move away at least three times, but I did not make the moves dramatic enough, I did not run far enough, long enough or fast enough.  Circumstances, life, me, her, drew us back together – because there was something of a connection between us, just like a magnet.  Don’t move them far away enough from each other, the attraction without effort resumes and sometimes, I did not even realize it.

Even after I did run and felt far enough – so I thought, I had to go back one more time.  I “had” to make things right, I needed to make sure everyone was on the same page.  It was the wrong thing to do, I got trapped, I got burned.

It’s NoOne Else . . .

Revelation 19:11–21 (ESV)

The Rider on a White Horse

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

Verses 11–21
Christ, the glorious Head of the church, is described as on a white horse, the emblem of justice and holiness. He has many crowns, for he is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is arrayed in a vesture dipped in his own blood, by which he purchased his power as Mediator; and in the blood of his enemies, over whom he always prevails. His name is “The Word of God;” a name none fully knows but himself; only this we know, that this Word was God manifest in the flesh; but his perfections cannot be fully understood by any creature. Angels and saints follow, and are like Christ in their armour of purity and righteousness. The threatenings of the written word he is going to execute on his enemies. The ensigns of his authority are his name; asserting his authority and power, warning the most powerful princes to submit, or they must fall before him. The powers of earth and hell make their utmost effort. These verses declare important events, foretold by the prophets. These persons were not excused because they did what their leaders bade them. How vain will be the plea of many sinners at the great day! We followed our guides; we did as we saw others do! God has given a rule to walk by, in his word; neither the example of the most, nor of the chief, must influence us contrary thereto: if we do as the most do, we must go where the most go, even into the burning lake.    Henry, M. & Scott, T., 1997. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.