The Perfect Savior 2

The blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross is not just to improve our moral performance in the areas of honesty, integrity, tolerance, and the capacity for unselfish love…because the ancient goal…the prime target…the foremost, primary reason for the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice…is to focus and home-in on the remedy and removal of sin.

If God is not internally consistent in this fundamental moral concept of freely choosing God-sovereignty over self-sovereignty…in Gethsemane and at Calvary…within the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit…then justifiably God could not ask us to make the difficult, Holy Spirit assisted transition from self-sovereignty to God-sovereignty in the course of our lives (Jn. 3:14-21)…of allowing God to displace our ways with His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 46:9-10; Jn. 12:24)…to achieve in some measure in our lives this same divine unity-of-purpose (Jn. 17:21)…after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories of faith.

God identifies for us in the Garden of Gethsemane…that Jesus Christ is operating at the apex…at the highest pinnacle of morality and virtue…when God reveals with incredible honesty and candor His own difficulty…performed at the far outer-edge of virtuosity…the unique and singular challenge in all of time…past, present, and going forward into eternity…of offering Himself as the loving sacrifice for our sins…in order to restore our severed relationship with Him…on the highest terms of true and right justice yet at the greatest cost to Himself…the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection three days later.

Because this entire scenario of truth, challenge, and drama soars far above the capacity of human literary fictional invention…in my opinion…this answers the question of how we would know with certainty that Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for mankind’s sins…being morally perfect and having sinless virtue.

A popular defense of the Bible and Christianity…should start at some point…with the biblical uniqueness of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ…paramount in importance and at the very zenith within the broad array of moral concepts.

God-composed life-scripts for the people of faith in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible…eventually over time lift them up into the victorious positions of becoming overcomers (1 Pet. 5:10)…but not in the worldly conventional sense of self-validation and worldly pride…that is centered upon oneself.

God’s elevation of people into high positions…Abraham the “father of faith”…Joseph the governor of Egypt…Moses the great prophet and deliverer…Joshua the military leader…the Israelites conquering their homeland…Peter the leader of the early Christian church…and Paul the missionary evangelist to the first-century Greco-Roman world…to name a few…are for unselfish service to other people…and not for self-validation and personal achievement.

God-composed life-scripts in the biblical narrative stories of faith…are designed to fix things…to the most radical extent required…at all costs…at the micro-level in the moment…and at the macro-level over the long-range duration of human redemptive history…extending into eternity.

The biblical narrative stories of faith are about enabling God to set-up and manage a program throughout human redemptive history…that allows God to actualize events and circumstances into reality…to fix our world and our lives…from the viewpoint of eternity (1 Jn. 2:17).

This is an elevated program…that will run above and often contrary to the culturally accepted direction of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking (Mt. 5:3-12, 6:25-34).

This element of elevated unconventionality explains Abraham waiting in faith for the birth of Isaac…Joseph’s unusual MBA preparation in the house of Potiphar and the prison of Pharaoh…the Israelites in bondage in Egypt…and the advance preparation of Moses as a shepherd of sheep in Midian.

It explains David being pursued for his life by the jealous King Saul…Peter utterly failing in the courtyard of Caiaphas during the night trial of Jesus…and the incredible conversion of Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus…creating the radical humility needed for a highly educated Pharisee to take the gospel message that Jesus is the Messiah to the larger Greco-Roman world…without looking down his nose in disdain at the polytheistic, idol-worshipping Greeks and Romans of his day.

These are the scenarios composed by God to fix our world and the problem of sin in our lives…from an eternal perspective.

The brilliantly creative capacity of God to get His arms around the vast stretch of human experience…of Jesus maintaining consistent fidelity to God-sovereignty in the midst of the lowest failure and the highest success… allows every person of faith that accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, King, and Tour Guide through this life…to get to know God personally from the least to the greatest…as prophesied roughly 2,600 years ago by the prophet Jeremiah…in anticipation of new covenant believers (Jer. 31:31-34) not offended by Jesus on the cross…all energized by God-sovereignty rather than being fueled by the pursuit of individual achievement according to the tenets of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

The cross and the resurrection of Jesus were in service to mankind…at the peak and pinnacle of moral perfection…the purest essence of virtue.

The cross and the resurrection of Jesus were and are radical measures in the extreme…designed by God to fix the human problem of sin…fundamentally defined as going our own way in autonomous individualism.

God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…as patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith…creating similar unity-of-purpose partnerships between God and people…is the antidote to the individual autonomous rebellion of going our own way.

When this uniquely biblical reality is separated-out and highlighted from amongst the broad array of existing moral concepts…this provides a compelling basis for accepting Jesus Christ into our lives…for accepting a God-composed journey of faith applied and interwoven into the course of events in our lives.

This humanly inconceivable, acid-test of the consistency of God-sovereignty within the Trinity…faithfully and seamlessly exhibited by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and on Calvary Hill…also actualizes within the biblical narrative stories of faith…and actualizes within the God-composed life-scripts for Spirit-born Christians today.

This validates the argument that the Bible cannot be the creative invention of human literary imagination.

This also provides us with a huge reveal…a unique and innovative tell…of the real truth about God.

The Perfect Savior 1

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”                                                                  (Heb. 4:15)

In all of the accounts of the intense opposition from the religious and political leaders…the Pharisees, scribes, Sadducees, and lawyers…that Jesus reacts to as recorded in the four New Testament gospels…in His miraculous examples of healing and deliverance…of preaching to hundreds and thousands of people…in His interactions with His disciples and the common people…we see what we would expect to see in the moral attributes and traits of virtue in a person claiming to be the divine Son of God and long-awaited Messiah…truth, honesty, kindness, tolerance, forgiveness, humility, and uncompromising courage…to name a few…that give Jesus a grade of A-plus…of perfect 100-percent test scores across-the-board…within the broad array of moral concepts we can use as standards for judgment.

We can agree with Pilate the Roman governor in Jerusalem…after examining Jesus: “I find in him no fault at all.” (Jn. 18:38).

But the one area where we can…with solid confidence… conclude that Jesus Christ is operating at the cutting-edge of divine perfection…above anything that any other human being has ever been able to achieve…is that Jesus Christ is living-out His God-composed life-script to be the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for sin…to the outer limits of absolute perfection.

The life-script mission of Jesus Christ would require perfect adherence…without any gaps of inconsistency…to the uniquely biblical, moral concept of God-sovereignty…Himself being the Second Person of the Trinity…which would be humanly impossible for anyone other than the messianic God/man Jesus Christ to actualize.

Every positive person of faith in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible…other than Jesus Christ…have God-composed life-scripts that take into account…that have built-in allowances for human error (Rom. 4:6-8)…for the fact that all of these people are morally imperfect and are not perfectly virtuous…morally imperfect like the rest of us…in the many categories of the broad array of moral concepts…but also in their inability to perfectly follow…without stumbling and bumbling at certain points along the way…within their God-composed life-scripts…in pursuit of their divinely created callings and destinies.

If the biblical narrative stories of faith can be described as God’s attempt to give us something of Himself…to enable us to experience first-hand the expression in-and-through-us of some portion of His divine character…as actualized through the events of God-composed life-script storylines…we can also see that this extraordinary program entails our imperfect performance.

Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Esther and Mordecai, Ruth, Hannah, Daniel, Peter, and Paul…none of these people are morally perfect and sinless…and their life-scripts are based upon Holy Spirit empowered grace-through-faith…and proceed according to their individually exceptional gifts and abilities…plus the creative imagination of God their Creator…as life-script Writer.

These biblical life-scripts are not based upon the self-realization of autonomous individualism built upon the attempt to save ourselves through the self-performance of good-works…that as entirely human-driven and human-directed…would and must fall far short of moral perfection and sinless virtue.

But the God-composed life-script for Jesus Christ the Son of God…intentionally exploits and utilizes to the fullest His uniquely divine nature to the maximum extent…to be able to perfectly succeed in the one area wherein God knows we will have the most difficulty…the area that is the definition of sin…and that the cross on Calvary Hill focuses upon…the area of God-sovereignty versus self-sovereignty…of following God’s leading in our lives…compared instead to going our own way in shortsighted self-rulership (Isa. 53:6).

God singles-out and highlights this key element within the broad array of moral concepts…honestly and candidly revealed in the difficulty that Jesus has in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion.

Matthew 26:36-46 and Luke 22:39-46 record…that in the Garden of Gethsemane…the night of His arrest and preliminary trial…that Jesus asked His disciples to “watch and pray”…that His soul was “exceedingly sorrowful”…that He received the assistance from an angel from heaven to strengthen Him…that He went back a second time to “pray more earnestly”…and that He sweat “great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

The remarkable words of Jesus spoken that night: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk. 22:42)…tells us that God has brilliantly written a life-script for Himself…for the second Person of the Trinity living in a human body…that manages to challenge Himself in the one humanly unreachable zone of moral perfection and sinless virtue…yet still comprehensible within our capacity for moral reasoning…in the unconventionally inconceivable test-case scenario in the Garden of Gethsemane…of God-sovereignty consistent and indivisible within God Himself…within the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

If Jesus does not say in perfect faith…without skipping a beat: “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done”…but instead decides to go in another direction other than the cross the next day…at that precise moment in time God-sovereignty would have been split in two…introducing autonomous individual rebellion into the God-head of the Trinity…Jesus the Son of God going His own way apart from the Father…and away from His ancient destiny as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8).

This unimaginably unconventional development…of the testing of divinely sinless unity-of-purpose consistent between God the Father and Jesus the Son of God…of unerring fidelity to the one right course of action no matter how difficult it is or how high the cost…in the Garden of Gethsemane…separates out God-sovereignty as the most important and the highest of issues in all of reality…because all of the other moral concepts and virtues are secondarily derivative to the primary concept of God-sovereignty…of following God’s leading in our lives…rather than going our own way as autonomous independent agents (Isa. 53:5-6).

God Has Our Back

“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”  (1 Cor. 2:10)

God has our back in a crisis.  The only way we would know this for sure is by actual experience…by being in the middle of a shooting war.

This has to be true…because it cannot be fiction.  It does not hold up as fiction.  Once it rises to the level of becoming recorded in writing…put down on paper…it enters the arena of being universally testable and falsifiable over time.

The interaction between the living God and David….memorialized forever in David’s 23rd Psalm…is true because it cannot be otherwise…it cannot be fictional writing.  Once David writes about walking through the valley of the shadow of death with God at his side…then fiction-writing as the source of its inspiration and origin becomes nonsensical.

The uniquely biblical concept of the living God participating in our lives to this extent of personal interaction…at the very center of our life-scripts…is too far outside of the default, conventional worldview thinking of sitting atop the thrones of our lives in self-sovereignty…to make the huge leap across to the other side of the spectrum in placing our lives on-the-line in sacrificially following…through a journey of faith…the living God.

According to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking, David should be telling us how great and powerful he is…not about successful faith in God…because self-adulation surrounding his achievements would be the normally expected outer limits…the extent of his possible experience.

What would be the point…the motivation…the inspiration…for David making this Psalm 23 up…if the actual boundaries of human experience stop at the edge of self-sovereignty, self-reliance, and autonomous individualism?

Following God into an adventure of faith would not hold water…would not stand up…for any period of time within actual lived experience…unless God is real…and that we can experience His active participation in our lives.

Religious “faith” that is still rooted in self-reliance and self-rulership is not biblical faith.  Biblical faith will connect us with the real God…who according to the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible…will displace our ways with a higher life-script that reflects His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9).

This is the root of what was so threatening to the religious leaders in Jerusalem in the first-century that led to crucifying Jesus Christ…a line of reasoning revisited several times in more detail throughout this book.

The religious leaders in Jerusalem were exposed by Jesus as being blind hypocrites…as being fraudulent religionists.

They said they were the authorized representatives of God (Jn. 8:33, 39, 41) when in fact they were the deadliest enemies of applied biblical faith.

They were firmly committed to the default worldview of self-sovereign self-rulership…of maintaining complete control over their lives…to the point of instigating the death of Jesus through Roman crucifixion…in order to remove the threat of having to surrender this self-guided, self-sovereign status quo (Jn. 11:47-48).

They knew roughly about biblical faith…had been exposed to it as they studied the Hebrew Bible…but did not want any part of it themselves (Lk. 11:39-54).

This is a component of the “mystery” of iniquity…the conflict between self-sovereignty and God-sovereignty in our lives that produced the radical outcomes of the cross, the resurrection, and our salvation…which again is analyzed and discussed throughout this book…from many angles and in more detail.

The risk-factor involved in the novelty of voluntarily and willingly walking through a genuine journey of faith following the living God…is on its own a powerful and persuasive evidence that supports the divine origin of the Bible…because as human invented literary fiction…the concept of God-sovereignty displacing our self-sovereignty as imaginary fictional invention…cannot and would not exist for any length of time in real practice.

Minutes, hours, or days of actual tested experience would quickly expose this concept…if fiction…as empty fantasy…and be discarded as functionally worthless.

If God is in actuality “not home,” then His brilliantly imaginative solutions in the biblical narrative stories of faith…that soar above human creativity and invention…would not only be inaccessible as real experience…to be recorded as life-history on paper…they would also be beyond the creative imagination of human contemplation altogether.

David…or someone else inventing the 23rd Psalm…as fiction writing…has no motivational or conceptual legs to stand on…it does not take us anywhere within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

A real journey of faith following the living God…as recorded in the Bible…is inconceivable and incomprehensible to a person committed to following their own way according to self-rulership.

This dichotomy of worldviews…two different approaches to life as unmixable as oil and water…should be an obvious red-flag jolt to anyone involved in the debate over the existence of God.

The fundamental first question…like the causal explanation of the Big Bang (herein defined in this book as the divine creation of the universe ex nihilo …out of nothing…according to Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning” around 13.7 billion years ago)…is what or who is the source of the completely novel and innovative, alternative worldview of a God-composed journey of faith life-script…starting with the life of Abraham…continued through all of the biblical narrative stories of faith?

What explains the origin of this consistent storyline pattern in the Bible…of  the cross of Christ (Lk. 22:42)…continuing down to contemporary Christian experience in our modern times…that is so utterly contrary to the conventionality of the accepted life-approach of going our own way in self-reliance and self-autonomy?

In modern speech…a biblical-quality adventure of faith…if it is fiction…if it is false…then it would be a “non-starter”…it would have no “there/there.”  It would be without tangible, supportive substance.

If there is no active engagement between God and people…then there is nothing extraordinary, unconventional, or supernatural to write about…nothing that could “get-off the ground” and sustain air-born flight.

This is why God-composed adventures of faith life-scripts…having God displacing our ways with His higher ways…are non-existent in other religions, philosophies, and worldviews…outside of the Bible.

This is why biblical adventures of faith fall far outside of and above the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

This dichotomy of two distinct worldviews…delineated exclusively in the Bible…and miles apart in their practical application to human purpose and meaning in life…is a major, commonsense apologetic argument for the divine origin of Old Testament Judaism and New Testament Christianity.

It is never raised by atheists and skeptical critics…because they cannot even see it as a target to attack in scripture…as a debatable talking point.

It can only be raised by Spirit-born and Spirit-led Christians who have themselves been in the danger zone of faith in a “shooting war” that has real consequences in life…because people personally led and taught of God are the only people on the planet aware of this reality.

The idea that God-scripted life-plans fall so far outside of conventional thinking…is itself a compelling and persuasive argument for the truth of their divine origin…because this unique genre is inexplicable as humanistically invented, literary fiction.

If Christians do not see the unconventionality of the cross of Christ skillfully embedded within the script of every biblical narrative story of faith…because they have not experienced God having our back in a crisis…then this positive and compelling apologetic argument for the divine origin of an adventure of faith…completely unknown outside of the Bible…will not be made.

It will be missed in the competing marketplace of ideas.

This is the dual choice we all have…as cognitive beings having free-will…to follow God down an adventurous path of discovery…or to go our own way in self-lead, conventional normalcy and thinking.

The Real Truth about God 2

The biblical stories of faith are not about elevating individual people upward into being the focus of praise and adulation…but instead focus upon achieving something…a particular positive goal or task…not lifting up someone.

The positive characters in the biblical narrative stories of faith focus upon achieving the tasks at hand…which in-the-moment are bigger than themselves…requiring God’s help.

The biblical narrative stories of faith tell us that God’s ways are higher than our ways.

The end-point goal that God is aiming for…as demonstrated in the biblical narrative stories of Abraham through Paul…is not the acquisition of material wealth, popular acclaim, and financial security (Mt. 6:19-34)…not even the pursuit of basic survival in a difficult world…if that is our bottom-line, minimum definition of success…but something entirely different.

The end-point goal of God is higher…to compose and bring into being specifically tight life-scripts designed to benefit mankind…to fulfill to the highest extent the innate potential of those people called by God into their unique tasks, from the viewpoint of eternity…and at the same time to reveal to these people of faith and to the world-at-large…the real truth about God.

I have several books published on how to avoid making costly mistakes in building construction…through proactive debugging…yet not everyone buys these books, reads them, and puts this concept of advance personal preparation from the bottom upward…into practice.

Yet this divinely crafted experience about how to best acquire the raw data through first-person basic field research…in this case specifically on how to best manage construction jobsites…informs me about the real truth about God…that if our worldview priorities match the outlook of Hebrews 11:12-16…and we are willing to give God the benefit-of-the-doubt regarding His leadership skills to the point of picking up our cross to follow Him…then God can plan-out a course in our careers, our personal lives, and our ministries to the larger world…that far exceeds anything that we can or would come-up with on our own.

Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead the third day…to restore our relationship with God…to clean us up in terms of a new spiritual re-birth that creates the capacity for us to hear God’s voice…and to walk within a journey of faith…precisely so that the kingdom of God within us can not only prepare us for a future in the kingdom of Jesus Christ…but also so that God…through us…can fix a small part of the world around us to the extent of the outreach of our capacity and influence.

This tells us something about the real truth about God…which could not have originated through human literary fiction.

This concept…this worldview…of “seeking a country”…of “desiring a better country, that is, a heavenly”…could only originate from the God of the Bible who has the loving and brilliantly insightful capacity to prepare individual apprenticeships designed to prepare us for a future eternity in the kingdom of Jesus Christ…starting now with our lives here.

If this concept of God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts as articulated in the biblical narrative stories of faith…beautifully summarized in Hebrews 11:12-16…that establishes and highlights the worldview that this life is a preparation for the upcoming life in the kingdom of Jesus Christ…to desire a better, heavenly country while living and participating in this current world…this then exposes the contrasting opposite worldview of going our own way (Isa. 53:6) as the worst possible misdirection to take.

If one of the main goals and purposes of this life is to discover the real truth about God (Gen. 3:1-5; Ps. 32:8; Jer. 33:3; 1 Jn. 2:17)…then going our own way in autonomous individualism…will not get us there.

Through my career path in building construction…I discovered the reality of a God-composed journey of faith life-script…in which God knew through foresight the precise end-point to aim for…and was able to open the right doors at the right times to create the opportunities…to reach a final destination that I could not have planned or orchestrated on my own…with anywhere near the success that God’s higher ways and thoughts for my life achieved.

This has real-world application to the question raised earlier in the book about the relevance of the biblical narrative stories of faith…to our modern lives today.

The concept that God can compose life-scripts for us to prepare us for an eternity in the kingdom of Jesus Christ…and that as our Creator God He is the only person who could possibly know in advance the final end-point this preparation should aim at…is in every sense of the words…timeless, brilliant, and modern.

This concept of the higher ways and thoughts of God applied in our lives through God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts…tailored specifically to every person who will follow God in faith…lies at the heart of the real truth about God.

Finally, God does not want to control…to over-manage…our lives.  God created human beings with an incredible capacity for intellectual reasoning, moral judgment, and free-will choice.

The last thing God wants is for people to be like robots.

God simply has divine foresight…and resides at the top-most point on the vertical spectrum-line of absolute goodness and brilliant pure light.

God wants to joint-venture with us in a personal relationship.  The half that God brings into the relationship is His divine attributes of perfect love and divinely timeless foresight.

If God can see 15 years into the future for a 21-year old young man just starting his career in building construction…to inspire and inaugurate a program of observing, recognizing, and recording construction problems as they occur…with the long-range goal to be able one day in the future  to eliminate these problems proactively through the same quality of foreknowledge that God exhibits through divine foresight…demonstrated in the life-scripts in the biblical stories of faith…then God can do this for every imaginable career, calling, and life-plan “under the sun.”

God can insert the same divine quality of advance inspiration to the biochemist researcher looking for the cure for cancer…to the high school English teacher trying to find the best teaching method to inspire her students…to the defense attorney to find the best legal argument to acquit his innocent client…to the stay-at-home mom raising three children looking for the optimum approach to being at the top of her game as multi-tasker in-chief.

If God is this “savvy” and “with-it” to know about the unmined and untapped area of debugging building construction…to set-up a program for me to begin observing and recording this obscure information years before I would actually need it as a jobsite superintendent…then God is also current, proactive, and relevant for every other imaginable career and enterprise.

This is a small part…yet a well-defined insight…into the real truth about God.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”   (Heb. 13:8)

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”                                                                    (Jn. 10:10)

The Real Truth about God 1

In my preparation to become a field superintendent in building construction…my chosen career…I spent a large portion of my early-to-middle twenties working in as many different building trades as I could…such as residential framing, finish carpentry, remodeling, residential drywall, commercial drywall, commercial lather on a 22-story high-rise in downtown Los Angeles, mason’s tender on the masonry block portion of the construction of a supermarket store, and laborer on a large department store in a shopping center in Homestead, Florida, for three months during my summer break in junior college.

From ages twenty-eight to thirty-one I broadened my experience by working three years in residential construction customer service for a large builder…first as a repair-person and then as head of the department.

I then furthered the advance preparation of “paying my dues”…of “learning my craft”…by working as an assistant superintendent for two and one-half years in production tract housing…before becoming a superintendent in my middle thirties…completing a bachelor’s degree in construction management at age 38 by attending night classes.

Because my goal from the beginning was to become a construction field superintendent…during these years as a tradesman, in customer service, and as an assistant superintendent…I took detailed notes and made rough sketches of what to do and what not to do as a jobsite superintendent…to be able to influence the work…at key milestone points…to run more smoothly and as error-free as possible.

These notes and sketches became the material for four books published by McGraw-Hill (1995-98)…on how to avoid problems, crashes, and collisions between the various building components…in housing construction…which I began writing and illustrating at age thirty in 1982.

This is not unlike many careers where people “work their way up from the bottom” in order to learn their craft…before moving up into a supervisory/leadership position.

I should disclose here that I became a Christian at age 18…and received a very clear and supernaturally confirmed calling two years later…to become a construction superintendent…which would take-up too much space here to describe adequately and in detail.

My personality is such that I would describe myself as being a rather slow and deliberate thinker.  I usually need to “go once around the block” before I figure things out…in nearly everything in life.  I am not an instantly “savvy” or “with-it” person by nature…needing first to experience or observe something in action before it clearly “sinks in.”

I would guess that this is true for many people.

The inspired approach of making an early investment of first-hand, varied building trades experience upfront…worked well for me…because when the time came to be a full superintendent in charge of my own projects…I had developed a good sense of how to proactively think-ahead to organize and schedule the work.

But equally important, I had also built-up over the years a personal database of close to two-thousand problems and issues to avoid…which if eliminated upfront through constructability analysis and by using detailed checklists sequenced to each successive phase of the work…removed these subtle debugging problems altogether before they had a chance to enter unnoticed by stealth into the construction…which otherwise would create the seemingly inescapable, repetitive daily syndrome of “putting-out-fires” that plagues the jobsite management of many new construction projects.

How this all relates to this book about the real truth about God…is that this approach of advance preparation toward a very specific and well-defined future goal…in my work career…also informs part of my understanding of the underlying purposes and intentions of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…demonstrated in the biblical narrative stories of faith.

Most importantly…this informs a unique worldview having purpose, meaning, and hope for human life…that when understood in its novel, elevated, and unconventional aspects…turns out to be light-years ahead of any atheistic, naturalistic philosophy for life.

If our very short-length lives here are intended to be an experiential preparation for the upcoming reality of eternal life in the kingdom of Jesus Christ…this then turns upside-down all standardized priorities within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking (Mt. 6:33).

It more accurately defines the true spirit of God-composed journeys of faith.  It more accurately defines the essence of the Christian life.

Some of the most unconventional, non-worldly verses in the Bible…that describe the elevated outlook of the people engaged within their God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts…can be found in Hebrews 11:12-16:

12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts are intended by God to create the context for the advance preparation of Spirit-born Christians to enter into the kingdom of Jesus Christ…now and in the heavenly world to come…by being part of the active solution of fixing specific and wide-ranging problems here in this world…sometimes solely and simply by becoming a better person “in Christ” right where we find ourselves…through the divine foresight, insight, and premeditated planning of God.

This is what I experienced in my divinely orchestrated  apprenticeship in preparation to become a building construction superintendent…imperfectly performed by me at many points along the way…yet perfectly planned and managed by God in its conceptually insightful program…and in its uniquely innovative, final outcome.

Should the goal in life be to acquire material wealth, elevated social status, personal acclaim, and financial security…or should our goal be to walk within a journey of faith with God…allowing Him to reveal to us the talents and abilities He created within us…in unselfish service to other people and to the world-at-large…while leading us into the all truth of John 16:13 as preparation for eternal life in the upcoming kingdom of Jesus Christ?

The Christian Church in the Last Days 2

In my opinion, the organized Christian church (the outwardly visible church) today does not know who or what it is.

Some “mega-churches” rely on well-dressed people driving into the parking lot for Sunday worship in expensive luxury cars, able to write substantial checks to support the large new building mortgage debt.

The stark economic reality of  increased financial responsibilities often forces the “church growth” program of the mega-church to foster and maintain an artificial exterior front that everything is socially, economically, and spiritually perfect in the lives of its church members…in order to attract the “unchurched” and expand its support base.

Other churches sadly are so mired in stuffy rituals and old-fashioned tradition…that the Holy Spirit…and most young people have left.

Some churches wanting to be acceptable to the world and to fit-in with the liberal cultural agenda of moral relativity and universal tolerance, have abandoned any fidelity to absolute moral truths and biblical ideals.

All the while a new covenant journey of faith following Jesus Christ that would actualize into every Christian’s experience leading personally to knowing God from the least to the greatest (Jer. 31:31-34), is sadly neglected and placed at the bottom of the priority list.

The Christian church needs God’s help to find itself.

The Christian church does not need an early exit, pretribulation rapture from the typically biblical, unimaginably unconventional scenario of events that God will guide and shape in the last-days for the eternal benefit of His church.

The plans, schemes, and actions of God that we read about in the individual lives of the people of faith in the Bible give us a clue as to what we might expect for the last-days Christian church as a whole.  This is the final exam, the capstone course on faith and trust in the good intentions of God, worked out through the tightest of circumstances to match His normally unusual, brilliantly ingenious method of operations.

In short, we need God to set-up the unique circumstances in life to enable us to find ourselves and to find God.

A journey of faith is a journey of discovery, and only our Creator God knows the end-point of purpose that will fulfill each of us individually and as a church.

This is a work of the Holy Spirit, the gift of God purchased for us through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Abraham discovered both his true self and God through his journey of faith, pushed to the limits of human patience and endurance.  Likewise all of the positive characters of faith recorded in the Bible found their true selves and God…by being pushed to their limit by the carefully crafted journeys of faith composed by God.

No one could have engineered these brilliantly imaginative biblical life-scripts except for the living God.  There is no comparable frame of reference throughout all of human culture, literature, or history for a biblical journey of faith.  By intentional design, a biblical journey of faith falls completely outside of humanism.  It is not something that we can manufacture on our own.

A journey of faith following Jesus Christ comes entirely by grace through faith.  This is why the scripture says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).  Without a God-composed journey of faith fully integrated into our lives, God cannot impact us in the supernaturally transforming way He intends.

This is what is at stake for individual Christians and the Christian church as a whole.  This is what Lucifer and the powers of deception will attempt to undermine and destroy in the days ahead.

In the last-days one of the things in Christianity that will be most targeted by radical skeptical unbelief is the one thing…the supernatural elements in the narrative stories of faith in the Bible…that serves as the strongest antidote for the individual defense of our faith.

The debate over the credibility of the Bible is not only a macro-battle that will continue to take place within apologetics, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, history, linguistics, and the natural sciences, but also at the micro-level in the everyday experiences in the lives of Christians.

We prove the faithfulness and credibility of Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life within our personal and collective journey of faith experiences.

It is easy to have faith when we are living on the mountaintop.  Christianity is easy when life’s events are going smoothly in parallel with worldly conventional normalcy.  The acid-test for Christians is at the point where God inserts hardships and suffering, expertly designed for our character growth but painful nonetheless, according to a game-plan and training regime that is not of our making.

This is a key feature of our Christian walk following Jesus that elevates it far above irrational and make-believe religion.  Defining who the real Jesus Christ is, as Creator, Savior, and King of the realm for all eternity as revealed in His divine Word the Bible…but also through God-composed journeys of faith… is the central issue to be finally and emphatically resolved in these upcoming last-days.

Can we as individuals and as the church exercise our faith and maintain our fidelity to Jesus Christ if He leads us into the darkest valley (Ps. 23:4)?  Can we push through in faith as overcomers, bearing our cross despite dauntingly negative appearances?  This requires the most expert advance training.  This training needs to begin now.

The first-century apostles were not initially the intellectual and spiritual elite of Israel.  They were ordinary and unremarkable people from a worldly viewpoint.  God crafted them into the spiritual elite of Israel, creating through them the early Christian church that has withstood the test of time.

God has been capably transforming lost sinners into mature saints of God for thousands of years.  This provides hope that God can do the same for Christians today.

What is it worth to find out through first-hand experience that our God is more intelligent and wiser than ourselves, beyond human imagination?

Is it worth a journey of faith containing the risk that God might fail us?  This is the question that was in the back of the minds of every person of faith answering their individual callings of service in the Bible, and the question that each of us has to individually face in our own journeys of faith.

What would be our source of joy for the length of eternity?

It would be to serve a King who is wise, intelligent, adored, respected, and interesting beyond our imaginations, and has our best interests at heart in all of the activities He would involve us in.

God has enlisted this current broken world as the optimum, temporary school for the lessons of faith that will serve us for eternity. This is why an active journey of discovery now is vitally important for the Christian church as a preliminary lead-up to the enormous spiritual conflicts of the last-days.

Some people will accurately complain that I am overstating the case repeatedly throughout this book.  I admittedly am guilty of “over-painting the canvas” in coming back to the cross and the need to surrender our self-in-control natures to God to make room for Him to work in our lives.

This issue is so important that I risk the impatience of the reader in sounding like a broken phonograph record.

The highest standards of God for Christians and the Christian church today starts with the surrender and yielding of ourselves to His leading, so that He can initiate the type of biblical-quality life-plans that will get us into top spiritual shape to meet the end-times challenges ahead.

It is the deep and uncompromising love of God that wants to see each one of us triumph as overcomers in this upcoming great end-times conflict between truth and error.

To close out the book, I quote from 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 (KJV):

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.

9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

11 For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

13 We, having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak,

14 Knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

The Christian Church in the Last Days 1

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”      (Pet. 1:10)

As I explore the narrative stories of the people of faith in the Bible, I see God deliberately leading and maneuvering people into challenging trials, almost impossibly tight circumstances, and nearly hopeless situations…way beyond our natural desire for worldly soft, conventional normalcy.

Like inspired athletic coaches pushing their players towards excellence achieved through total commitment, the God of the Bible sets up unimaginably unconventional scenarios that require faith and trust to break through to a positive outcome for our eternal benefit (Jud. 7:2).

This has been the experience in my own life that informs my understanding of the Bible and the writing of this book.

It is certainly not Abraham’s idea to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah.

It is not Joseph’s plan to eventually end up in Pharaoh’s prison.

It is not the fault of Moses that Pharaoh’s heart is stubbornly hardened and bent on keeping the Israelites as slaves in Egypt.

The singularly unique strategy for Gideon to defeat the invading Midianites is God’s plan…Gideon would never come up with this battle plan in his wildest imagination.

Similarly, the unusual military strategy for Joshua to bring down the walls of Jericho belongs entirely to God.

The anointing of David by the prophet Samuel to become the future king of Israel did not include the relevant information that a jealous King Saul would pursue David to kill him.

Ruth’s decision to follow Naomi is in response to the unexpected death of Ruth’s husband.

The deadly confrontation between the three young Hebrews and King Nebuchadnezzar…regarding the idol worship of the King’s image…is not of their making.

Daniel is completely innocent of any wrongdoing as he is being lowered into the lion’s den.

The desperate plan of Esther and Mordecai to derail Haman’s evil scheme to destroy the Jews, balances precariously on a knife’s edge.

Nehemiah faces enormous external opposition in his attempt to rebuild the walls surrounding Jerusalem.

Jeremiah’s best prophetic utterances to reform Israel…end in outward failure.

It is not the plan of Peter and John that God should heal the crippled man at the gate called Beautiful leading into the temple on that particular morning, initiating a remarkable cascade of events resulting in Peter and John being “set in the midst” of the Sanhedrin council (Acts 4:7).

The Holy Spirit empowered witness of these two disciples to the resurrection of Jesus is so committedly fearless and forthright…that Peter and John were probably not only amazed at their own courageous stand…but members of the Sanhedrin “marveled” at their boldness (Acts 4:13).

The opposition that Paul faced continuously throughout his evangelical ministry to take the gospel message to the first-century Greco-Roman world…is not of his making (Acts 26:22-23).

If we are engaged in a biblical-quality adventure of faith, God will eventually take us to places where we do not want to go, to fulfill unseen potential within us and to stretch our faith, both for personal growth and for the benefit of others (Lk. 22:42).

We all have a tendency to want to do things our way (Isa. 53:6).  Each of us to some extent has trouble listening to others…listening to parents, a spouse, family members, children, friends, co-workers, and listening to God.

We all want to stay within the comfort zone of our own ideas and our own ways of doing things.

Only our Creator God could beneficially override this innate tendency by inserting supernatural plans and outcomes into our everyday lives.  But this requires our willing cooperation, and faith and trust in God’s character and intentions.

A biblical adventure of faith, where our self-sovereignty as kings sitting atop the thrones of our lives…is placed on the cross to be crucified alongside Jesus…is specifically designed to cancel-out the stubbornly prideful component of the I-know-it-all, I-can-do-it-on-my-own tendency.

If the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, and lawyers in the first-century had been flexibly open-minded and teachable, they would not have rejected the message and the Person of Jesus Christ as Messiah.

If they had been actively engaged in their own biblical-quality journeys of faith…they would have recognized the Holy Spirit within the actions and speech of Jesus of Nazareth.

In the extreme, the insistence upon having everything our way, as demonstrated by the religious leaders in first-century Jerusalem, leads to the final tragic outcome of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

A journey of faith humbly following the leadership of Jesus Christ in our lives, trusting upon His wisdom and good intentions for us in everything, is the opposite attitude of the entrenched religious leaders in Jerusalem wanting only their worldly conventional vision of a military style messiah…promising political and economic deliverance from Roman rule…or nothing at all.

Of course we should never surrender our independent moral judgment to other people (Acts 21:13).  But the ability to listen in the Spirit, and be open and teachable to truth is an attribute that with few exceptions every person can improve upon (Acts 19:30).

God invented the supernatural vehicle of a journey of faith to navigate triumphantly through this broken world.

God, in His infinite wisdom, took the malevolent temptation of Lucifer in Eden that “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5) and turned this around into a positive, commendable, prophetic mission-statement for mankind.

God created this spiritual vehicle called a journey of faith, whereby He could engineer events and circumstances in the lives of the people of faith who willingly trust and follow Him, brilliantly crafting and reshaping Lucifer’s ill-intentioned and destructive temptation into positive fulfilled prophecy in the most laudably clever and commendable way (Prov. 3:5-6).