Hallowed Be Thy Name

In the ancient worldview, the name referred to the character of the person. The prayer in this case is that God will be seen as holy. That’s a topic we don’t really talk about much these days. Holiness. In fact, we don’t like the sound of holiness. When the word “holy” is said, one can get filled with pictures that rarely strike us as positive.

Holiness is not seen as something enjoyable. Holiness reminds us of monks that can seem to spend long hours poring over a text or in medication. Holiness seems to imply to us a “hands-off” way of looking at something. It makes us think we must necessarily be quiet and somber. Now is not the place for joy but for pure seriousness.

I’m skeptical that’s the way it is.

Nevertheless, the Bible does make it clear that holiness is to be taken seriously. Hebrews 12:14 tells us that without holiness, no one will see the Lord. Think about that. If you want to see God, then you have to be holy. There is no other way around it. If only we could get this into our minds and hearts. How much less we’d trifle with sin saying that such and such is only a small sin. We’d beg for it to be taken away from us and that we’d realize the holiness of God.

The book of Hebrews is largely about this holiness as it’s about presenting Christ as the great high priest who comes to take away our unholiness. He is the one who acts on our behalf before the Father to be sure that we are holy. In Levitical times, the price of a sin was a sacrifice. Consider what that would mean. What if you had to take a bull? You lost a strong animal that could mate and produce more cattle for your herd as well as a good source of food when the time came for the bull to die. 

If you lost a sheep, you not only lost reproducing that sheep but so much more. You lost the wool that would be used to make clothes. You lost the mutton that could be had from the cooking of the sheep. Sheepskins were also used for writing and if you were in the industry of making writing available, you could not do that. 

The emphasis was clear. Sin costs something.

If only we saw that today.

What does it mean to be holy though? I see three aspects. Purity. Separation. Completeness. This is why the codes of Leviticus said to avoid clothes of mixed fabrics and to avoid hybrid animals. Perfect purity was to be the standard. Every aspect of the lives of the Israelites was to remind them that they were the priests of a holy God.

When done properly, holiness is what draws one close to God. How is it that we see holiness as a burden then and something to be avoided? Could it be because we have a low view of God? I saw one today asking who wouldn’t want to be loved by God? The answer is many of us. We often wish God would love us less. When he loves us the way he does, he seeks our betterment which often means getting rid of our sin. We often wish God would just overlook that sin so we could “better enjoy ourselves” as we think.

Part of us is fearful to draw close to God and that is certainly understandable. If we have no fear of God, we need to question if we’re talking about the right God. Our idea of God needs to be reconstructed in our area that focuses on physical realities entirely and lets that which is eternal take a backseat to the temporal.

Holiness needs to be a drive in our lives and that should be in our prayers. We are to pray that God be seen as holy not for his sake but for our sake. When we see him as holy and learn to respect his name as holy, then we are more in line to serve him. It is noteworthy that the attribute to be seen of God in the prayer is holiness. This is the very attribute the angels in Isaiah’s vision spoke of.

If our world is to be revolutionized today, if Christianity is to be a driving force in our lives, if we are to make a difference for now and for eternity, we must recover holiness. It is not an optional in the Christian walk. It is an essential.

Who Art In Heaven

Alright. I’m not a KJV-onlyist but darn it, the language of that translation does come to mind naturally with the Lord’s Prayer. First though, let’s get to some questions.

First, thanks to the comment about prayer being on that person’s mind. It should be on our minds more often and sadly, if it is, it’s either “I’m not doing it enough” or “I’ll do it later.” I don’t know about anyone else, but I get intimidated when I read books about people who spend hours in prayer. I think many of you might as well. That’s why I write this as one who is not a prayer warrior to others who aren’t.

Second, to the other comment which I appreciate with questions. First, why do we refer to God as Father? The simple answer really is the best one. That’s how he has revealed himself and if he’s revealed himself in that way, then we Christians should address him in that way. When I pray, I do pray to my Father and call him such.

The question did ask if God is genderless. I prefer the term sexless, but the same concept I think would apply. I don’t see God as such though. I see male and female being in his image. Of course, I don’t ascribe physical genitalia to God but more characteristics that are associated with the male and female and for the male, one of them is the position of leadership.

As for matriarchial societies, I really don’t approve of such. Christians should still address God as he has told them to address him regardless of the surrounding culture. Is this bigotry? No. The biblical worldview is one that has repeatedly honored women instead and raised them up. Women are equally in the image of God as much as men are. I could go more in-depth if need be, but that would be for another time. I’d like to get to these lines.

We covered much of who yesterday in saying God is personal and I could point to my blog on “The Who of God” for further reading. The are leaves out something that we often take for granted. God is. If we could wrap our minds around this idea, I wonder how much it would revolutionize the way we think.

I pondered this today as I considered why I think about God more than I did as a child. The answer is he is more in my worldview now than ever before and to knock him out would be to completely change my worldview. It could be the degree to which you ponder and contemplate the nature of God, the greater a nature he has in your worldview. If this is the case, then I will admit I need to see more and more of God for who he is for I do not think about him enough.

It seems so many of the things we say of God become just words and we don’t seem to know how to get the content out of them. We say he is omnipotent, but then we tend to leave it at that and we don’t think about it when a crisis comes. We say he loves us, but then we wonder about that love when the bills start pouring in. The concept we have of God too often is just one that is abstract and not one that is applicational to our lives.

The biblical God is though. People throughout history have been willing to die for the God that they find in the Bible. Are we in a same position? I would hope I would die for my faith if need be, but I am cautious about saying such for I remember a certain apostle in Scripture who said he would do the same and embarrassed himself three times. I would simply pray to God that he give me strength to accept my fate if need be.

God is in Heaven also. The Jews understood this though as not implying that God is spatially bound to any location. 1 Kings 8:27 tells us that not even the highest Heavens can contain God. This would refer to a place where God rules. I do believe there is such a location now, but how it is I could not say. Is it another dimension or something of that sort? Possibly. Of course, it could just be this world and wherever God is in charge.

I often speak about my eschatology where I say that our cosmos is to be re-created and brought to a stage past Eden where whole new physical laws will be in effect to prevent any decay and the presence of God will be fully manifest. In saying such, I point out that God is not relative to Heaven but Heaven is relative to God. Heaven is where God is manifest.

There is meant though to be an air of transcendence about this and as we approach God, we should remember that. The opening verses of Ecclesiastes 5 warn us about our attitude to God. He is the judge ruling over us and we are the subjects. Let’s not enter the throne room thinking we are in charge. We are specifically told to let our words be few. Not in the sense that prayer is a dialogue. I don’t think it is. They are to be few for we are not to babble before the throne but remember the holy one who we approach.

In fact, that is the next line. Why not save that for next time?

Our Father

I figured in discussing the content of prayer, we’d use the Lord’s Prayer as an example. There’s a story I’ve heard about a seminary professor that had a student in his class open up each class with a prayer and when they were done praying, the professor would grade the prayer. One wise student when called upon one day said the Lord’s Prayer to which the professor replied afterwards, “That’s cheating!”

Sometimes, I just think about the words of the Lord’s Prayer though and dissect each of them for as much meaning as I can. There is much beauty in this prayer and while I’m not for vainly repeating it, (Isn’t it interesting that Christ warns us against vain repetition and we go and vainly repeat the Lord’s prayer.) I do think the attitudes that are in the prayer are helpful ones. 

On an interesting note, when the Jesus Seminar wrote “The Five Gospels,” the words “Our Father” were the only ones in red, meaning those were the only ones they believe were definitely said by Jesus.

Before we get to the Father, let’s consider that Jesus says “Our.” Note that he is teaching his disciples how to pray. Never when speaking to his disciples or anyone else does Jesus speak of “our Father.” In fact, John 20:17 has him saying “my father and your father.” He is the Son by nature and we are sons and daughters by adoption.

“Our” though points to a community. This prayer was meant to be used by the disciples as a whole. I’ll admit I’m one who gets antsy sometimes during group prayer. I recall being in a service once and hearing the prayer and when done we wondered if there was anything the guy saying the prayer left out. 

In Bible College once, I was told a story about a young man who approached a friend of his and asked for prayer support in a problem concerning a girl. This friend started to pray and he went through every book of the Bible saying what God did and the way I heard it, I mean every book. He went through both testaments and this young man who asked I’m sure is wondering what the heck is going on. 

As if that’s not enough, after he goes through the Bible, he starts going through church history and finally, when they get to modern times, the friend who is praying says “And now Lord, X here would like your help with a girl.”

Something about group prayers can make me nervous. I always think that the person praying is praying what’s on his heart and it isn’t necessarily on mine and I find it hard to join in. Then, my theological side is often listening to the prayer and sometimes think “Whoa! Hold on! That wasn’t theologically accurate!” Unless it’s outright heretical though, I don’t speak. Fortunately, I haven’t had to yet.

But there is a place for group prayer. We need to return to it in many ways. Christianity is not meant to be an individualized religion but a religion in a community. Go through the Bible sometime and see how many times you see in the epistles especially the words “one another.” We are to do things in a community and that includes prayer.

Father. This is a hard word for some. Some people grew up with a father who was not a father. For them, we must be careful when we speak of God as Father. For better or worse, the way you view your earthly father does tend to shape the way you view your heavenly Father. Some good theology can help you overcome that, but your first idea of the heavenly one usually comes from the earthly one.

God is your Father though if you are a child of God. If you have made Jesus Christ your Lord and savior, you can call him your Father by adoption. Now he is your creator by definition, but you are not part of the family by being created, but by being born again. The Father through the Son invites you to partake of the fellowship of the blessed Trinity.

Let’s keep this in mind also. This is prayer to a person. God is not just some higher power or the force of Star Wars or a pantheistic concept. God is personal and in Christian thought, there are three persons that partake of the nature of God. This means you are approaching someone who has a mind and a will.

And yes. You can approach. You are loved and you are welcomed. You are even told to approach many times. Take advantage of it. It is amazing that we Christians have the right to enter the throne of God and so rarely take advantage of that. It is we who are deprived when we refuse to do so.

The Purpose of Prayer

I’m writing late as I was out late with some friends tonight at a bowling alley. Bowling is one sport I can really enjoy. I know there are highly skilled players out there, but it’s something also that people that aren’t really athletic like myself can do a decent job at. With the steel rod on my spine, I do have a handicap, but I’m pleased with my performance tonight.

Humorously, I remember going up one time to bowl and for the first time the thought came into my mind of “O Lord. Grant me a strike.” Wouldn’t you know that that bowl was the first time that I got a strike? I had to smile, but then I also had to wonder. Could it be there was divine intervention to put a smile on my face? Maybe. Yet I thought that if such was the case, isn’t there revealed then that great danger of always getting what we pray for?

If I was guaranteed one every time I went up to bowl, for instance, then I would be detracting from the joy of bowling. Instead of working to improve my game as I should if I want to be a good bowler and learning from my mistakes, I would simply be depending on God to do for me what I should do for myself and not only that, I would be taking away from people who really do put in the practice at the game and work to succeed.

Let us thank God that prayers are not always answered yes. Chaos would result.

Yet there is nothing wrong in asking God for things, even little things like that. However, is that the sole purpose of prayer? When we come to pray, it seems one of the first things that is on our mind is our grocery list of requests. We want things. Does that now show how far we’ve fallen? Imagine if you went to a nation with a monarchy and were invited into the presence of the king. When you got to his throne and saw him in his royal robes and holding a royal scepter, it would not be fitting to say “Hi your majesty. I was wondering if while I was here, you could do a few things for me and then I’ll be out of your way!”

Such an idea seems preposterous. Such an idea seems like what we do to the greatest king of all.

Again my readers, keep in mind I speak to myself also.

What I’ve found though is that lately, my prayers become times to think about God and what theology means in my life. I try to come with praise first and find that I have to move past praise or I’ll keep my prayer at that point and we are commanded to bring our requests to God so I do not wish to do that. Still, praise is essential.

I also try to confess sins throughout the day. For me, it’s not outright sins but rather attitudes that I have had throughout the day and even thoughts I don’t think I should have focused on. It’s trying to remind me to become more Christlike in my life.

I also have thanksgiving as well and I thank God for the many blessings I have in my life and at this point in my life, my friends are a high priority on the list. Being away from family especially, my friends have become all important to me for they are as if they were a surrogate family of sorts. They’re the ones that keep me going.

Now we come to requests and I have a list that I go through. I’m the last one on my list as I have family and friends I pray for. For instance, to this day, I still pray for two Mormon missionaries that visited my roommate and I that I think left in serious doubt. I encourage everyone else to pray for these Mormons. God knows their names. I won’t give them here.

Prayer though is a privilege and too often, we don’t see it as such. It is not meant to be simply a duty. It is meant to be a joy. We don’t pray for God’s benefit but for ours. God is not bettered if we pray and worsened if we don’t. We are bettered if we pray and worsened if we don’t. God has given us the privilege of entering his throne room. It is one we should not take lightly. Let us give thanks for that privilege.

Heck. Maybe the best way to give thanks would be to do so in prayer.

That We Pray

I recently looked at the first part of the Sermon on the Mount in the fifth chapter of Matthew. The next area I’d like to touch on is prayer. I call this “That We Pray,” for I believe we deal with a different problem than the people in the days of Christ. For them, the problem was that they were praying to be seen by men. For us, the problem is often that we are not even praying.

Now the exception to this is when we are in a church service or a Bible Study. Does anybody else suspect that several people when giving a public prayer in such a setting are trying to make it sound as good as possible? You listen to them and sometimes wonder “I wonder if that’s really what they pray like in private.” Maybe I’m the only one like that and I hope my public prayers match my private prayers. 

That goes along with my suspicion though about all of us putting on a spiritual face when we get together. We often tell people “I’ll pray for you,” but I wonder how often we really do this. In fairness, I must admit I have some friends who are very dedicated to the prayer life. One tells me the reason she prays so much might be to compensate for those of us who don’t. I’m very thankful for her and other prayer warriors like her.

I’ve noticed also that whenever I hear someone preach a sermon on prayer, they say that that is something they need to work on as well. Those of us in ministry have a really difficult time with this I believe. We can get so caught up in the service of God that we often forget that we need to spend time with God himself. C.S. Lewis warned of the dangers of those of us who spend so much time defending the existence of God that some, including us, might think he has nothing better to do than to exist. 

The only other time we pray is when we’re really in a bind or want something very badly. All of a sudden, prayer comes naturally to us. Many of us have a problem with praise prayer. Christian speaker and resurrection expert Gary Habermas has joked that some of us might not be comfortable with praise because somebody might think we’re charismatic. This is a valuable lesson that those of us who aren’t charismatic though need to learn from our charismatic brothers and sisters. It is okay to break forth in praise to God. 

To get further to the that we pray, I’ll go on and confess that for me, this is something difficult as well, but I do it every night. I’ll turn out the lights after some reading and the last thing I do before I doze off is purposefully focus on God and pray. It’s amazing that in many cases, that is the happiest I am during the day and one wonders “Why don’t I do this more often?” 

Before getting into content, which will be for another day, let’s be sure that there are different ways to pray. Some people prefer to kneel down. I have a steel rod on my spine. Kneeling is not the #1 posture I prefer to be in. I tend to lie down. If I’m in church and we stand for prayer, I have often sat down. I try to keep humility in doing so for I do not believe I am worthy to stand in the Lord’s presence and I want to remember that I am privileged to enter his presence.

As for time, I will tell you to not worry about it. Some of you think you should pray for a long period of time. Some of you can. God bless you. If you can only pray for five minutes though, give him five. If you can pray for half an hour and do so because you really want to pray and not just to pray for half an hour, then pray for half an hour. Prayer is meant to be a joy. Not a matter of legalism.

Bottom line though. Pray. It’s a command and a gift.

Quantum of Solace Thoughts

I went to see the new Bond movie tonight so if you haven’t gone to see it, you might want to save off on this blog until you do go see it. I try to not give many spoilers out anyway, but some are inevitable for a review unfortunately. 

This Bond movie continues the story behind Casino Royale with Bond still suffering from the loss of the girl that he loved. This is quite different from what we normally see of Bond who is generally just a playboy going around from girl to girl and not forming any commitment whatsoever to them. The girl in the last Bond before this was different and the loss of her was all the harder.

While normally, Bond is cool and stoic, and in this one he is in many scenes, one still sees something in him that is anger. There is a drive for revenge in this one. The quest is personal as he is seeking something. It is not just answers. This is a case where it seems more information will not help him out. He wants more.

In my conclusion, this movie is about forgiveness.

I have heard that Philo once said, “Be kind, because everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” I wonder how much we consider that. I wonder how much I consider that. Each person that you meet each day is having their own struggles. There are things even close friends can be hesitant to reveal to one another. Some things you just don’t want to bring up.

One of those involves forgiveness. There is a story where in a town once someone wired a message to twelve of the most important people in town one evening that said “All is revealed! Flee now!” By the time morning had come, half of them had left town. What if you got such a message? Would it send a shiver up your spine?

Forgiveness is an odd thing. It doesn’t come cheap, as it cost the blood of the Son of God, but at the same time, it comes easily. Picture if someone sold all they had to give you one thing. Giving that one thing to you could be an easy act, but that easy act comes at a great cost. I believe that forgiveness is really easy for God. In fact, it’s a delight for him. He wants us to know how gracious and loving he is. It comes at a great cost though.

It’s not that God won’t forgive us. Many of us know deep down he has.

It’s that we don’t forgive ourselves.

If we can’t forgive ourselves, part of us thinks God doesn’t.

I wonder how it would be if we could just pause and finally realize one day that God has indeed forgiven us. 

This Bond movie had a lot of the normal characteristics of Bond movies. It had the explosions and the bullets and the stabs and the beautiful women, but it was quite different. Bond leaves the final villain to be eliminated by those he has betrayed. There is one Bond girl in the movie who you expect to see it happen as it always does to a Bond girl, but it doesn’t. This is the one time I remember that he doesn’t sleep with the Bond girl. She even says she wishes she could set him free.

Biblically, we know the truth will set us free.

What is that truth?


What is a quantum? There are many definitions in the dictionary, but I think the one that we are to go for is that which refers to a quantity. Solace would refer to the peace. Bond is one in this movie who isn’t sleeping well. He has no peace. At the end, M asks him if he found what he was looking for and he says yes.

He found that quantum of solace.

He found that forgiveness.

Now we Christians realize that true forgiveness comes from God and without that, any self-forgiving is useless, but we can still take that valuable message from the movie. We can’t let the past control us. We can’t put together broken eggs. There’s no sense crying over spilled milk. We cannot live in the past and in the present both. It must be one or the other.

We too must find our quantum of solace.

For us, it truly is in God. The question is, have we truly realized it?

Kingdom People

I had a friend over tonight for our regular Smallville viewing on Thursday nights and afterwards, we started discussing apologetics issues and this time, it came to biblical interpretation and the role of the law in the life of a Christian. It’s late as I write this, so I’d simply like to focus on one point I brought up and explain it further.

When we read the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has a total reversal. The Beattitudes that he starts out with have as the blessed, the very ones that you would not expect to see as blessed. The ones that are despised by the world are the ones that are honored in the kingdom. The kingdom is about what kind of person you are.

Yet in Matthew 5:20, we are told how great our righteousness must be. Our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees. We look at that group and as much as we condemn them, we also realize that these were the big lawkeepers of the day. If anyone was said to be moral, it would be them.

Yet turn to a passage like Matthew 23 or Luke 11 and you see Jesus turning on them and telling them exactly how he sees them. Jesus does not deny that they keep the externals of the law. He talks about how they are inside though. What kind of lives are they living in response to the moral law that is written on our hearts?

So we have a command telling us not to murder. Well, I don’t know about you all, but I haven’t murdered anyone lately. I’ve decided to limit that to days that end in “Y.” Few of us hopefully have murdered anyone. Jesus says “Okay. You haven’t murdered. How’s your heart?” This is when we get to the real matter.

What’s your attitude towards your brother? Do you love your brother or do you hate him? 1 John tells us that loving our brother is essential. How are you doing on this? Is this something that you do easily? Isn’t it hard when your brother does something that truly annoys you? What if he genuinely wrongs you? Are you loving him then?

Anybody else having a challenge?

What about adultery? Most of us I hope have not committed that. But what about the internal reality? I could safely say I’ve made mistakes involving the opposite sex. I think most single guys especially would say that. I can only speak as a guy of course, but I don’t think the struggle is easier for our female counterparts. 

Men. How are you handling yourself sexually? Are you living a pure life there, or is it something that is controlling you? Keep in mind I’m not talking about sexual desire per se. You should have that. The question is, do you have the desire or does the desire have you? Do you control your sexual drive or does your sexual drive control you?

What about oath keeping? Jesus raises the bar. Here’s how good your word should be. There should be no need to emphasize anything or even call on oaths. Your word should be gold. How about it? Is your word trustworthy? When you say you will do something, do you do it? How are you measuring up to the commandments?

I could go on, but I want this point to be clear. Jesus is raising the bar, but I think the good news must be said. He has fulfilled that as well and he is making us into that kind of people. We must be perfect as our Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) However, he is helping us on that perfection. When we stand before God, we will have been brought to that goal. 

Furthermore, if you think about Heaven, consider this. Heaven will be a place full of kingdom people. Read the Sermon on the Mount and think about what kind of world we would live in if everyone kept that sermon perfectly. That’s an idea of what Heaven is like. Heaven is for Kingdom People, and Christ is preparing us for that.


For my birthday a couple of months ago nearly, my roommate got me “The Complete Works of Flannery O’Connor.” He told me he really liked her material and thought I would to. Now there have been some stories I’ve got lost on and I have no idea what really happened, but there are others I’m finding later on that I’m being completely drawn into. There’s something I do notice about her work though.

Her stories don’t really seem to conclude. You get to the end and you realize something has happened, but you don’t know where the characters are going to go from there. In some earlier stories, some characters move on to another story. Maybe that happens in some later stories. I haven’t read all of them yet.

As I read that, I realize that that’s the way our stories are. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who does this, but being in this mindset of reading stories now, I can picture myself in a story and wonder what it would be like for someone else to describe my story from their perspective. What would they say if they could see how my mind was interpreting things? Sometimes I hear the words in my own mind as I describe what I am seeing and thinking and my reaction to it.

I have a friend on here who would be surprised that I’m thinking of him in this as I know he wrestles with a lot of questions. I hope he can identify himself from that. I saw him put some pictures of himself up on Facebook and they were the first ones I’d seen and when I saw them I thought “This is someone going out and living his own adventures.”

Isn’t that what we’re all doing though? We’re all involved in an adventure. I was recently out with my roommate and a mutual friend of ours and we were talking about apologetics and what it’s like being an apologist. Our friend spoke of it in a way I’ve seen it. I go about my job now and my knowledge is not something that’s visible, but I just realize that at any moment, I might have to deal with some objection and then enter into a sort of “battle mode” and debunk an argument.

That doesn’t mean that you see the opponent and think “Must destroy.” No. It can be done subtly and for me, I prefer to debate that way. It’s more of a Socratic technique. I like asking questions so that my opponent can realize what they are doing. Now sometimes, that’s not the best format. When we had the Mormons up here though, it was the one we used. When dealing with matters of fact though, I still had to give straight answers and did so for questions like “Why do you think the text of the Bible is reliable?”

Each day I wake up in apologetics, I see it as that adventure. (Or rather, I try to.) I think that there is something new I can learn today. I can dive deeper into my faith today. My adventure is going on. There are arguments to answer and Christians who are doubting to rescue and adversaries to be dealth with. Friends might come needing support and I best be able to help them out.

I also know that God is in charge of my story. In fact, he’s in charge of yours, and I find it amazing that so many stories are coming together in such a beautiful way and will do so. I think of my roommate and how across space and time, our paths converged and our stories came together and while we’re each playing out our own story, in some ways, we are playing out a dual story now where our accounts come together.

Are there some minor stories concluded as it were? Yes. However, before me is the grand sheet of what the master author is writing and like any good author, I trust he is going to work out all things for the heroes in his story for good.

I look forward to the next entry of my story.

Thankful For Freedom

While a question was raised in an earlier comment, today, I’ve chosen to write on freedom due to it being Veteran’s Day. Any time I’m out and I get to see a veteran, I’m always thankful and usually salute them. It’s incredible what these men do. They are the ones that are willing to go out and face death from an enemy just so I can be free.

In Ben Stein’s “Expelled”, he speaks of how valuable freedom is and why it must be defended. He is certainly right on this. Here in America, freedom has always been of rank importance. I’ve said that I’m skeptical as to how much freedom we’ll have in our next administration, but despite that I don’t favor it, I still urge people who want to enlist, do it. We had a clip playing here before the election of John McCain saying something every American should agree with. “America is worth fighting for.”

Too often, we don’t really think about what happened. I’ll be blunt and say that veterans haven’t been on my mind much today. I fear that I am not alone. I wonder how many people have gone through today and not even realized that it is Veteran’s Day? How many people are living in a land of freedom and not considering how that freedom came about?

Freedom does not come cheap and with things that come cheap, we should hold them in awe. As Christians, for example, we should hold our forgiveness in awe and realize the graciousness of God in giving it, for it certainly did not come cheap, but it involved the very Son of God coming and living among us so we could be free from sin.

How many veterans have their been in history? How many people put on a uniform and took up arms and kissed their wives and children good-bye not knowing if they would ever return again? How many of them are overseas right now as the Thanksgiving holiday gets started simply because they believe in fighting for their nation?

Even if you disagree with the war now, those are still our troops over there in it and we should honor them. One reason you are walking around free and not fearing terrorist attacks now is because someone else isn’t. Someone is in an area and for all they know, they could be attacked by the enemy and die tomorrow. For all we know, some of them might go to sleep tonight and be the recipient of a bomb in their sleep and wake up in glory. We don’t know.

Neither do they.

And I speculate, they don’t really care either.

Now I’m not saying they don’t love their life and wouldn’t like to get back and see their families? I’m saying that they enlisted because they are willing to pay that price in order to bring about freedom for the land that they love. When they enlist, they know what they are fighting for and they are ready to go fight for it.

We saw this after 9/11. Immediately, one of the first stories I recall seeing is that of several people going to offices to enlist for the military. Someone had attacked their homeland and they wanted that someone to know that they don’t take that lightly. These men were immediately ready to drop what was going on in their lives because they love their country.

I still love America. I’m not pleased with all that’s going on in it now and I’m not pleased with the way the upcoming administration looks, but I still think I live in the best nation on Earth. At this moment, I can go and worship where I want and I can speak what I want. I have a job and I have education and I have family and friends. I have that not as a freebie though, but at the price of many men who died in combat so I could be free. If we could count that number, I wonder how great it would be.

Today though, there are some who fought and lived to tell the tale and we need to honor them. Let’s remember though that it is not just today that we are free. We are free everyday because people were willing to fight. Honor the Veterans today that you know.

Why Doesn’t God Heal Amputees?

By now, I suppose that we’ve all heard this one if we’ve been on the internet in apologetics discussions for any length of time. I was quite stunned though to hear a well-known skeptic in the public arena use it Saturday night. This argument has been going around and when a non-Christian speaks, he references this as if it is a good argument?


Now let’s suppose I granted the main assumption. Let’s suppose that no amputees have been healed. I say this because I don’t know about all miracle cases past and present. Could it have happened somewhere? Maybe. I’m certainly open to the possibility and if one is there, then it would seem the atheists will need a new track. (Which will be just as bad.) Let’s suppose though that they’re right and no amputees have been healed.

First off, the skeptic who presented this presented it as if this was something obvious unlike cancer which would have just gone into remission. We all know there are cases out there that doctors describe as just miraculous. Maybe I should believe them? Because X is not healed, then that means Y was not healed? It does not follow. If cancer is removed in a way described as miraculous, it does no good to say “That couldn’t have been God because an amputee wasn’t healed.”

Let’s also keep in mind that we all know what it’s like to pray for someone to be healed and it doesn’t happen. I’ve been through enough sicknesses and hospital visits to know about that. It doesn’t always happen and frankly, it won’t. Eventually, everyone is going to enter into this little condition that we like to call death.

However, this brings us to another point and this is again assuming the stance that no amputees are healed. One can ask “Why should God do so?” The answer I received was that it would be something more obvious. One wonders then if God should heal an amputee just so the atheist will say that he has something obvious to look at. Will that lead someone to immediately falling down and embracing Christ as Lord? Could not one then simply form a God of one’s own choosing?

Now could there be some that would convert? Possibly. Yet as I ponder that, I think that God must have a reason. Could it be such a person would be a flaky Christian who would fall away? Could it be that God knows that person will come to Christ in another way that will lead him to lead a richer life? We don’t know and frankly, I tend to not like to speak about such things when I have no business as I’m in a position of ignorance. When people would ask me if Hurricane Katrina was the judgment of God, I would say “It’s not my call.” Then it’d be a quick turn to Luke 13 with the message of “Repent anyway.”

Notice this though. Let’s suppose I was straight-forward when asked this question and just said “I don’t know.” What has been proven by the non-Christian? It’s been proven that I am not omniscient. Well geez. If that was your goal at the start of the debate, all you had to do was ask. I’d have been glad to tell you that I was not omniscient. 

The skeptic though is the one making an assertion in saying that he knows there is no good reason for God to not do this. Oh really? How would you go about demonstrating such? It would be something impossible to do. I’m fine to just say “I really don’t know” and go about my day. Some may think that’s kind of shallow, but other factors must be kept in mind.

For instance, this question is not asked in a vacuum. If all we had was this, I could understand skepticism. However, I live in a world that I believe is designed, that I believe contains absolute moral commands that I ought to follow, where there exists a Bible that I believe to be an accurate account of historical events including miraculous ones, where I believe that a man named Jesus who claimed to be the incarnate Son of God lived among us, died, and rose agian. I live in a world where I can philosophically reflect on many arguments such as the infinite regress and believe a God exists, or see the argument from beauty and believe God exists, or see the philosophical backing of such Christian documents as the Trinity.

I’d consider it foolish to abandon all of that just because I don’t understand how God works in one area, like I was ever supposed to….

Yet I consider it just as foolish though for one to abandon all other areas in the interest of one. This argument will not stand on its own. I’ve got all the other arguments and I’m happy to live with another unknown variable. One wonders if the skeptic wishes to use this as a main argument if he is not just putting forth an emotional doubt masking itself as intellectual.