An Open Letter to my Muslim Friend Part 3

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

(John 3:16 NIV)

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Good Morning Dear Friend,

You have asked me to compare the NRSV with the KJV….I have researched on my computer and found a chart with 38 different translations among other various sites both Christian and Muslim and this is what I have concluded regarding the word begotten….which really has not changed from our earlier conversations….

KJV of John 3:16……His only begotten Son….

NRSV of John 3:16…..Gave his only Son….

Other English translations also state….Gave his one and only Son…….

The New Testament was originally written in Greek.  The Greek word was monogenes….In Greek, this means one of a kind or unique.  The English word for Beget … a verb meaning to procreate or generate…..

The problem and the long debated disputes are created when people confuse the different languages…..the translation from the Greek word monogenes and the English word begotten…..

To change begotten to one and only….or only Son…. is still using the same language…..if it is accurately translated from the original Greek word monogenes….

Begotten did not refer to the birth of Jesus because He is the Son from eternity past….

Also…God is Spirit…so begotten can have a different meaning when used for God….

I also thought the following explanation was very helpful to me…..I hope it is for you too!!

…The “Only Begotten Son” Language. The second piece of evidence we must examine is the expression “only-begotten.” It is the Greek word “monogeneis.” This is not simply “begotten,” for that expression can be applied to all believers, those who have been begotten or born again by the Spirit. This is a unique expression for a unique person, the only-begotten Son of God. The expression appears in John 1:14, 4:18, 3:16, and 3:18. It would literally mean the “only generated one.” This is the key expression for the doctrine of “the eternal generation of the Son,” meaning, he always was the only begotten Son. The expression does not refer to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, because he is the Son from eternity past…..

Perhaps the language can be better understood if contrasted with synonyms. Take the verbs “make,” “create,” and “beget.” The verb “make” is general; one can make dinner, clothes, a house, or any other product. The “create” can have the same objects, but usually elevates the act to an art: one creates a masterpiece, or a work of art, or a symphony. While these creations bear the imprint of the creator, they do not share his nature. But “beget” is different. You can only beget a child that has the same nature as you have–a son or a daughter. There is nothing else you can beget (unless you were speaking very figuratively). Your son or your daughter will inherit his or her nature from you–genes, personality–all of it. You can use “make” or “create” for producing a child; but when you use “beget” it only means you produce a child that has your nature.

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Now follow this carefully. If Jesus is said to be the begotten Son of God (using the figure from human language to make the point), then Jesus has the same nature as the Father. If Jesus has the same nature as God the Father, then Jesus is divine and eternal as well. If he is eternally God, then there was never a time he was literally begotten–which is why we know the language is figurative to describe his nature, and not his beginning. To call Jesus “the only begotten Son” means that he is fully divine and eternal. He is God the Son.

This is why the creed says that Jesus was “begotten, not made.” Why? Because He is of one substance with the Father.

One more point. The word “begotten” has “only” (mono-) prefixed to it. There is only one. This means that Jesus has a unique relationship with the Father–they two along with the Holy Spirit make up the Godhead. You and I, if we are believers, have been born into the family of God–we are said to be begotten of God. But we are not “only-begotten.” That refers to Jesus’ divine nature. We were adopted by grace and given the divine nature by the Spirit so that we may be called the children of God. But Jesus–he is very God of very God. He is the only-begotten Son of God (that is the part of the creed that reads “of very God”), which means that he is God (that is the part that reads “very God”)….

Peace,

Kathy

 

An Open Letter to my Muslim Friend….Part 1

Dear Friends…

I would like to publish a letter I recently shared with a new Muslim friend I met on social media….

…..For all those who are fortunate to connect and talk with people of different faiths and  various religions….please remember….they are ALL children of OUR God ….. and they have a life story!  And my friend’s story is simply wonderful and so beautiful …I must share!  Originally from Africa….His grandfather gave his land which was located in Africa… many years ago… to Christian missionaries…so they could build a health care clinic to serve those who desperately need care!!  What a wonderful friend I have connected with!  A Christian and a Muslim….having a respectful conversation about God!!!  

PRAISE JESUS……only through Him and His grace

An Open Letter to my Muslim Friend…..

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Dear Muslim Friend, 

Original sin is a Christian doctrine and it began with Adams’ sin of disobedience in eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil….and Adam’s disobedience… affected the rest of the human race….I see it in everything ….Do you?  The evil which exists in the heart of humanity….I possess it… and I fight it every day of my life….but I believe with Jesus’ help…I grow more like Him every day!  There truly is so much evil in our world today!  No one can deny this…

In the Bible, in the very first book of Genesis… you read after the fall of humanity which was brought about by the actions of Adam…you see the first mention of Jesus….  “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.  He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel”….Genesis 3:15….

Christians believe that what Jesus did on the Cross ….He crushed the devils head….defeating him forever…”Also known as the “protoevangeluim” ( also known as Genesis 3:15 ) shows us that God always had the plan of salvation in mind, and informed us of His plan as soon as sin entered the world….

Also in the Old Testament…you will find Jesus mentioned in the Scriptures….

Isaiah 7:14….”Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign… The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son …and will call him Immanuel”…

Isaiah 9:6….”For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, …and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”…

On Jesus’ ministry and death….

Psalm 22: 16-18….”Dogs have surrounded me…a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones people stare and gloat over me.  They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing”….

Isaiah 53…..the whole chapter is unmistakable….. It talks of Jesus and Jesus alone…, “He was despised and rejected by men….a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering….Like one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed Him not…..Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God”…..There are more…the Old Testament definitely foretells the coming of Jesus….as the Messiah… but there are more verses which speaks of Jesus…..

To me…the whole Christian Bible is about Jesus…it really is a love story….beginning in the first book…This is the Christians assurance of salvation…

I am very interested in your views of salvation….May I ask you in complete kindness a question for you to answer??

Do you know for sure you will go to paradise when you die?

Peace,

Kathy

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form”….

(Colossians 2: 9 NIV)

“and in Christ ….you have been brought to fullness”…..

(Collosians 2: 10 NIV)

It is nothing I have done dear friend,

….It is only through Christ and Christ alone…..

I love you Jesus……..

Debunking Anti-Christ Rhetoric Part I-A

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This anti-Christ image was found recently on social media…it is disturbing…it is offensive…it is damaging… but it may also be very persuasive.  The only purpose of these posts entitled, Debunking Anti-Christ Rhetoric is to expose the truth…and while I was prepared to research extensively these claims and then sharing all the references I use in order to debunk this type of rhetoric, I have now decided to conduct brief and informal online searches from reputable websites to replicate (and hopefully encourage) what the vast majority of people coming across these types of images can and should do.  As always, I strive to keep my blog truthful…honest…transparent… with no disrespect to anyone or anything…I will never personally attack those among us who (still) do not believe…

For I am a Sinner….

And I am always face down at His cross….begging for His mercy!!

Let’s first quickly examine the author……

Dr. Bart D. Ehrman….

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“I wonder if the fact that I left the faith is somehow seen as threatening, at least among people who have a gnawing suspicion.”

–Dr. Bart Ehrman

An American Professor, Author, and Scholar

Received his PhD, and M. Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary

Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Has written more than 30 books, including college textbooks

Became a Christian as a teenager and considered himself a Christian for more than 15 years

After struggling with the philosophical problems with evil and more specifically suffering…He then became an agnostic atheist…

“This was my view for many years, and I still consider it a powerful theological view. It would be a view that I would still hold on to, if I were still a Christian. But I’m not.

About nine or ten years ago I came to realize that I simply no longer believed the Christian message. A large part of my movement away from the faith was driven by my concern for suffering. I simply no longer could hold to the view—which I took to be essential to Christian faith—that God was active in the world, that he answered prayer, that he intervened on behalf of his faithful, that he brought salvation in the past and that in the future, eventually in the coming eschaton, he would set to rights all that was wrong, that he would vindicate his name and his people and bring in a good kingdom (either at our deaths or here on earth in a future utopian existence).

We live in a world in which a child dies every five seconds of starvation. Every five seconds. Every minute there are twenty-five people who die because they do not have clean water to drink. Every hour 700 people die of malaria. Where is God in all this? We live in a world in which earthquakes in the Himalayas kill 50,000 people and leave 3 million without shelter in the face of oncoming winter. We live in a world where a hurricane destroys New Orleans. Where a tsunami kills 300,000 people in one fell swoop. Where millions of children are born with horrible birth defects. And where is God? To say that he eventually will make right all that is wrong seems to me, now, to be pure wishful thinking.”

Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/blogalogue/2008/04/why-suffering-is-gods-problem.html#yAl4ESA5FrhGS7SB.99

 

 

…my heart goes out to Dr. Ehrman and I sincerely hope he can answer one day this question of why pain and suffering exists which has tested and destroyed his faith in God….I hope one day he is able to view the world through an “eternal” perspective and realize exactly what Christ promised His followers…..

My personal perspective so far…..

The claims made in this anti-Christ image by a self-professed atheist is nothing new

Having a M.Div. or PhD does not insure one believes in the Christian worldview

What we read/see/hear can be very deceiving…

To be continued….

 

The Great City of Nineveh

Dear Readers, 

I would like to share with you something I posted (a reply) on another Christians’ blog back in August.  I have always hoped my blog would be transparent and truthful, (that is why I am sharing this response) written mostly for the lost and hopeless among us!  A blog that intentionally does not mention denomination or religious creed! A blog I have shared my very personal life experiences with and shame!    A blog only to honor Christ… very little pics of me or my family….Christ only…Christ centered… and Christs’ love for all people… always!     The debate regarding homosexuality continues…never ending, sometimes (mostly) loveless and hateful toward each other.  This summer has been quite long and filled with utter hopelessness! I find myself now lost for words..unable to write anymore.  I have been the victim of attack from a Christian who I thought I was helping…I was also evaluated by a fellow Christian as to why I want to help people “spiritually”…and I lost!   God helps us all for thinking His Word…and His Gospel is only for a select group of people!  

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to read my blog!  It means more to me than you will ever know!  I have prayed for all of you and I love you all! I hope I have touched one soul… only one soul with my words…that truly was my only prayer!!  That was my intended purpose!!

The world we now live in is a very scary place…Christ did not promise this road..this life would be easy…but He does promise a glorious ending!  

again, I thank you and I love you all!! 

“And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night.  And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand for their left…”

(Jonah 4: 10-11 ESV)

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I was doing a Google search on heaven and came across this post and truly, I wish I hadn’t stumbled upon it!  This is so sad to read…to digest. To realize the length of time this post has survived…to read the hatred and bickering between Christians….the hatred from Christians to those who are still lost and in darkness…and in great need of our Savior….and to those few who were/ are struggling with same-sex attraction/ homosexual lifestyle….and decided to share their thoughts through their painfully honest and transparent testimony…..It is in times such as this….I must remind myself to keep my eyes focused on Christ alone….and not on a fallen humanity! 

We are all sinners, and we must remember that at our very best, we all have nothing but filthy rags to offer.  We all spat on Him and beat Him beyond recognition!   We ALL nailed Him to the cross!   We must love without compromising Truth.  We must be Christ- like in how we approach everyone!  God humbled himself and became one of us in a darkened and fallen world to save us all.  Jesus was approachable to the lowest members of society in His time…prostitutes and tax collectors….they felt very comfortable approaching Him….He never compromised truth yet He was able to serve those who were in greatest need. 

Please remember the story of Jonah…Jonah had an extraordinary calling to deal with a group of people he did not want to deal with…but he reluctantly went to this group of people and preached the worst evangelical sermon ever…..Destruction is coming!  Destruction is coming!  Then, Jonah went and purchased a front row seat to watch them burn….but Nineveh repented! Jonah wanted more than ever to see those people burn as He cared more for their destruction then for their repentance!  Let’s not become like Jonah….wanting complete destruction of an entire group of people instead of hoping for eventual repentance….no matter how long that repentance may take…..we are all currently under the state of grace….

The issue is…where do people stand?  Are they dead in sin or alive in Christ?  If they are dead in sin, it hardly matters what sin it is….the Gospel must be the priority of the homosexual just as it is for the heterosexual!  The church is the place to hear the gospel!  The church is a place for sinners! Jesus can and will transform lives! Transformation may take time!   Christians need to serve in truth!  Christians need to serve also…. in love.  We will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ!  We will all be asked about our lives while here on earth…..and how we all responded to the cultural issues and difficulties of our day…. Christ is not surprised by these issues….and He placed us as Christians in this exact moment in His creation for such a time as this!!  When I stand before Him, I pray I hear my Lord and Savior tell me…. “Well done good and faithful servant.”  As fellow Christians, I hope you all do too! 

 

 

 

 

Death Grip

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“Jesus wept.”

(John 11:35 ESV)

There is probably nothing more tearfully heart wrenching than losing a loved one.  The grief endured when someone you love dies is excruciating and debilitating. You seem to exist in a surreal world temporarily suspended in time and space and hopeless to the stark reality you’re trying so desperately to avoid….your loved one is never coming back….

Not here….

Not now….

Not back here…

Not ever…

One distant memory of a most unfortunate death happened many, many years ago when I was still a young and inexperienced nurse working the midnight shift at a local hospital.  I stood quite fearful and reluctantly, beside an open incubator one cold and wintery night and gently caressed the very frail arm of a 14 ounce baby born way too soon…trying desperately to provide some sort of comfort to this beautifully perfect baby whose earthly life would ultimately be measured in mere hours….

The grief stricken mother was just outside our unit door and down the pastel pink and blue wall-papered hallway.  Her life so completely different just hours before.…But now, two earthly lives forever altered in a matter of minutes…of one soon to be taken and of one left behind… unbearable grief and excruciating sorrow…of dreams shattered and plans thwarted. This tragic loss so severe for it’s victim…it rendered her emotionally unable to speak a “temporary” goodbye…

Death

 So final is your grip…..

There was an unexpected death in the town of Bethany.  As this unfortunate news spread quickly, mourners came and gathered close to the grieving family.  Many who gathered there were visibly sobbing for this man who once was.  The sisters had sent word to the only One who could save him from his acute onset, but death had visited him quickly and he lay entombed for four days prior to His arrival. As The One approached, one sister fell to His feet in anguish and sorrow…the mourners also followed her there… standing behind and beside her as she mourned loudly at the Feet of our God…but all expressing the sorrow and grief that only death can bring….

When He looked upon the grief and anguish of the one sister who lay at His feet, and of those who believed, and of all those who would eventually believe, and also for those who would remain lost, He was deeply moved and greatly troubled…..as He filled with love and compassion for all who gathered there to openly grieve ….

And He gently began to weep….

Tears…slowing and quietly streaming from the Sovereign eyes of the only One who can bring us back to life….a deeply human expression from this Man of Sorrows…who is well acquainted with grief… who came to serve…who came to save….grief and sorrow He experienced as He mourned for a dying humanity…..and motivated by pure unconditional love for us….He willingly came and stepped into this darkness just to taste this bitter vial of death for one and all…..

Grief stricken tears actually touched the Almighty face of our God…

Death

Where is your grip now?

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“Often we say That Christ will meet us on the other side.  That is true of course, but misleading.  Let us never forget that He walks with us on this side of the curtain and then guides us through the opening.  We will meet Him there, because we have met Him here.”

–Erwin Lutzer

 

 

Broken Promise

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

(Romans 1:16 ESV)

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“In conversation, the disciple who is truly poor in spirit always leaves the other person feeling, my life has been enriched by talking with you.  This is neither false modesty nor phony humility… The poor in spirit are the most non-judgmental of peoples; they get along well with sinners.”

–Brennan Manning

The above quote from Brennan Manning was the initial spark which lit the flame of my now persistent and burning desire to serve Christ and become His evangelistic servant bathed in His everlasting mercy and grace.  It would be untrue to lead anyone to believe this did not come without great struggle and outright debate with my Savior by trying to rationalize every reason in my finite mind to explain to Him why I am not the best and most qualified candidate for this sacred position but the flame persists and He fuels my flame with daily doses of increasingly greater intention.

Servant Evangelism, in my personal opinion is the only effective way to evangelize the lost and hurting among us.  It was refreshing to learn there has been a shift from the fire and brimstone type of evangelizing to a new relational, authentic, and transparent approach.  I desire to serve Christ as an authentic and transparent servant as I begin to embrace the brokenness of my own shattered past.  For it was in my broken past where I learned to become dependent on Him and His words of promise for a brighter tomorrow.  My great dependency on Christ grew more intense from the struggles and challenges of my own personal life and now I am willing to share my past to brighten someone’s tomorrow with hope in a Savior and eternal life. 

“Jesus was transparent. True, He did not have any bad to reveal, but He grieved, and expressed it; He sorrowed, and He wept.”

–Jerry Pipes

My only desire is to simply be His transparent servant.  In spite of our weaknesses and imperfections, God still chooses to use people to communicate His message.   The knowledge of my past weakness and imperfections forces me to be a humble and non-judgmental servant to others. It allows me greater understanding into the lives of people who struggle with sin and despair. I have no Christian subculture to temporarily exit from for I have never known the boundaries of “perfect” Christian living void of challenges, hardships, and struggle.  Perhaps this is the very reason He is calling me to join Him in His mission, His prodigal with enduring wounds and intense regret.  I only have to recall the price He paid to reconcile my rebellion and I’m left kneeling at the foot of His cross begging for His mercy.   There is no greater reward this side of heaven then to join with Christ in sharing the gift He gives so freely to those who only have to receive.  How can I possibly keep this gift a secret? 

I will still wrestle with Christ regarding the requirements of this sacred position.  The responsibility of representing Him to a fallen world is significant and causes me to panic.  My greatest fear is misrepresenting His love and grace.  How could I possibly take on this type of responsibility?  The testimony we have around other people is of utmost importance.  People are watching how we react in the normal ebb and flow of life.   And I love Him so much and only desire to please Him so how can I continue to say no to a Savior who gave His life to allow an unworthy, unlovable, and unclean soul like me to have one?   There is a world just outside my door that is hurting and lost and I know without doubt Jesus loves them as much as He loves me.

 “It is not the prostitutes and tax-collectors who find it most difficult to repent; it is the devout who feel they have no need to repent, secure in not having broken rules on the Sabbath.”

–Brennan Manning 

How can I remain silent and not share with them the good news?   …What began simply as a spark and turned into a flame, which has now become a persistent and burning desire is beginning to slowly engulf my panic and fears…. 

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It has been well over a year since my promise was made to You…and yes!  I now feel and now realize Your strict discipline to my broken promise….

Jesus…Please help me believe I can do this!

“Fear not, for I am with you; for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 (Isa 41: 10 ESV)

Chasing Rainbows

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“ I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”

( Genesis 9 : 13 NIV )

I was struggling with a lot of frustration.  It has been growing secretly for some time…festering slowly and manipulating my daily thoughts and emotions for many weeks, perhaps months or more .  My discouragement was beginning to hold me hostage…demanding a ransom…or at the very least, demanding a response…..Instead of responding,  I took quiet comfort in convincing myself I was not alone. There must be more like me hiding somewhere in the secret and safe places of humanity…. Wondering in silent amazement and continually asking themselves…just as I am,   “what is happening to society?”  “What is happening to the morals and values we once held so dear?”….But I was currently feeling completely defeated by the impending bleak outcome of this sudden downward shift….for it has plummeted so very far.  

 

As a child of divorce I understand firsthand the breakdown of a marriage and how it shatters a once intact nuclear family forever…A jilted ex- spouse left picking up the bitter pieces of betrayal and heartache….The innocent children left dealing with issues of abandonment and rejection…The starving daughter void of a fathers’ unconditional love and the ensuing and stagnant poverty of only a mothers wage.  The statistics are grim….even years ago….although I did not choose to be a statistic, I simply was for there is no denying the long lasting negative impacts of a divorce.  It is very well documented on the entire family, on everyone involved…and on our society.  

 

It used to begin without much fanfare…at least in the days of yesteryears.  There were societal ills even back then, such as my parents divorce…actually ever since the fall of mankind…with evil always trying to prevail.  Our hearts a constant battleground of evil versus good but there were topics not widely spoken of….Immorality was hidden from view….No public boasting of wrongdoings….A silent code of sorts that some today may argue as unhealthy but this silence seemed to stem from an inner self awareness of basic wrong versus right and a universal acknowledgement of evil versus good…A fundamental societal moral code of which we used to easily recognize but no longer possess the ability to do so. 

This moral code is greatly declining.   It is dissolving upon the stage of which is now viewed live by millions at one time.  The deception so very great…but the recognition of this deception so very small. 

“Woe to them who call evil good and good evil.” (Isaiah 5 :20 )….The line between the two now almost obsolete.  So many unable to see this grave mark of distinction simply because there are far fewer who do not Fear Him and/or far fewer who do not Love Him…It is as simple as this blatant fact for His timeless Word is displaying so brilliantly…so vividly….all without error….and I am able to recognize this…

yet I am so discouraged….

My frustration and discouragement began to peak and overflow last week as I prepared for our weekly visit to our woods in the country. It quickly culminated into a profound state of fear. I always choose love over fear just because I do love Him so very much …yet on this day… my fear of God was suffocating and leaving me breathless.  The end is well-written for all to read… but it is yet to be lived… good will prevail in the end….but the evil which exists currently is breathtaking….stunningly mesmerizing….and deceiving multitudes who deny its existence.  It will eventually engulf those who do not recognize it leaving no one standing in its wake of destruction….

But why do I still clearly see?

As we headed south to our country place of refuge there appeared a magnificent rainbow…fully intact…its range of color so vibrant, and so vivid in detail .  Stretching across His vastly enormous and endless sky and dissolving effortlessly into the horizon…as He gently and lovingly reminded me…yet once again of His promise.   A colorful symbol created only by Him.   Historically grounded in the biblical narrative yet at times stolen by a wayward humanity and used for another purpose.  The same humanity which now increasingly denies the role of sinner…and the desperate need for a Savior….and so… the statistics remain grim.  And our current state of upheaval and denial will only continue to  grow more bleak….more discouraging.   Yet He infuses me with hope when I am hopeless.  And I am once again brought to my knees in complete surrender…….and in complete submission to Him.. reduced into uttering one simple but profound phrase…

“Thy will be done.”

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