Monday, March 28, 2011

A Holy Christian Is A Happy Christian

by Elisabeth Elliot

If we aim at happiness in this
world, we will probably miss the
mark of holiness. But if we aim
at holiness, we cannot fail to be

As we consider the subject of
holiness, we must remember that
it is God’s will that we be holy. Paul
wrote that in I Thessalonians 4:2,3.
Being holy may seem theoretical
and theological—even irrelevant.
But being holy is extremely practical.

People who are truly holy are
much easier to live with because
certain things characterize their
lives. First, holy people are selfless.
They have not thought whatsoever
of themselves. Also, holy people are
characterized by serenity.

The real definition of holiness
from the Old Testament is “set apart.”
The holy vessels of the tabernacle in
the wilderness were not made of a
different kind of gold than a king’s
vessels or a different kind of brass
than any common person would
have in his house. They might not
even have been a different shape
or design. The vessels used in the
tabernacle were holy because they
were set apart for God from the

Every Christian is meant to be
a holy vessel, bearing the life and
death of Jesus. And the life and
death of Jesus are not commodities
assembled on an assembly line
but a living work accomplished in
personal sanctification.

Paul used the term “vessel,” in one
form or another, over and over in his
epistles. “We have this treasure in
jars of clay,” he said, “to show that
this all-surpassing power is from
God and not from us” (II Cor. 4:7). If
we call ourselves Christians, then
we are saying that we are willing
to identify ourselves totally with
Christ’s death and resurrection—to
come to the cross and to be crucified
with Christ. That is the prerequisite
for being raised with Christ. It
is a living work accomplished daily
and continuously in our personal

The Apostle Peter begins, “From
Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ to
those of God’s scattered people who
lodge for a while in Pontus, Galatia,
Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia [he
is writing to exiles]—chosen of old
in the purpose of God the Father,
hallowed to his service by the Spirit”
(I Pet. 1: 1,2. NEB).

We say the word “hallowed” when
we say the Lord’s Prayer, but what
does it mean? The word “hallowed”
means set apart or holy, Peter used
the expression for these exiles who
were Christians. If this applied to
the exiles in Peter’s day, then it applies
to all who have come to Christ
in faith.

Peter went on to say, “The inheritance
to which we are born is one
that nothing can destroy or spoil or
wither. It is kept for you in heaven,
and you, because you put your faith
in God, are under the protection of
his power until salvation comes—
the salvation which is even now in
readiness will be revealed at the end
of time” (v.4,5).

God has said that we were chosen
to be holy, Notice that these verses
do not say that we are chosen to be
made happy, even though in God’s
Book holiness is synonymous with
happiness. We have to sort that out
from our corrupted notions of happiness
that the world gives us.

What does it mean to be holy? In
Ephesians 1:4 we read: “In Christ he
[God] chose us before the world was
founded.” We have been born again
“into a living hope” (I Pet. 1:3). That
tells us that our future is a perfect
inheritance, which is being kept or
guarded for us beyond the reach of
change and decay. And this means
joy, for in verse six we read: “This
is cause for great joy, even though
now you smart for a little while, if
need be, under trials of many kinds.”

Are you smarting from trials of
many kinds? Almost every one of
us is smarting at least a little from
something somebody said to us
yesterday, some rudeness, some lack
of gratitude or appreciation. It may
be just a little thing, but it hurts or

Peter went on to say that this is no
accident. “Even gold passes through
the assayer’s fire , more precious
than perishable gold is faith which
has stood the test. These trails come
so that your faith may prove itself
worthy of all praise, glory, and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed” (v.7).

Going through trials is cause
of joy. It is not for nothing that
God has allowed that “smart.” It is
planned. That gives us hope and
confidence. So it is true that if we
aim at happiness in this world, we
are probably going to miss the mark
of holiness. But if we aim at holiness,
we can’t fail to be happy. One
of my life verses is Psalm 119: 14,
“I have found more joy along the
path of thy commandments than
in any kind of wealth.”

Every experience in your life, if offered
to Jesus, can be your gateway
to joy. It can also be the context
in which God will bring you closer
to the model of holiness set by His
Son, Jesus Christ. We don’t have to
be perfect to be holy, even though
perfection is our object and Jesus
commanded us to be perfect. But
God begins by calling us apart,
separating us from the world , and
then working in us as we respond to
Him in faith to make us holy.CL

Source: Back to the Bible International

Too Busy To Pray

by Shirley D

Are Church and school activities, homework and household chores chocking your prayer life?

Debbie and Pam were talking about heroes.

“I can’t think of anybody to look up to anymore.” Debbie complained. 

“Neither can I,” Pam agreed.

“But I do know of a hero in the Bible who impresses me a lot.”  “Who’s that? Debbie asked in

“Daniel. Remember the story  about Daniel in the lion’s den. He’s my idea of a real hero.

Yet I know he got all his courage and strength through prayer.”

“I remember the story.” Debbie  said. “And I remember that Daniel’s life was on the line

because he took  time out to pray to God three times  a day, no matter what. That’s the
kind of faith I would like to have.”

Someone has said, “Praise God  anyway, no matter what happens.” In the same way, we can pray

anyway,  no matter how busy we are. It is a matter of sorting out our priorities
and making God first on the list.  We young people are often so engrossed in school

activities and  other things that we scarcely have  time to do much else. There are
after-school practices and rehearsals each day. Then there are games and concerts on

weekends. Sometimes the sports teams take trips to other towns and cities for away-fromhome
games. This takes up even  more precious time.

During so-called “spare time,”  there is schoolwork to do and home  chores to take care of.

When does such an active and involved teenager have time to pray?

One girl discovered that with all  the excitement she was waking up about an hour before the

alarm  would go off. The Lord was able to reach her and plant an idea in her mind that has

helped her prayer life  immensely. She could pray during this hour.

God loves our worship and adoration.  Even though we may give  him this at Church on

Sundays. He  longs for it every day. He also longs to hear us thank Him for answered
prayers. Sometimes we can start by counting our blessings—as the familiar old hymn states.

If we keep our ears open for the  needs of others, our prayer list will grow longer and

longer. It can easily take a full hour just to pray for all the  people we know who are in

need  of prayer. This doesn’t mean only those who are ill, facing the loss of
loved one, or in financial trouble. It means praying for people who are still lost and in

need of the Savior.  Thinking of their final fate, if they do  not trust Jesus before they

die, will  increase our motivation to pray for their salvation.

Think of Daniel and the things you admire about him. He was a competent, courageous and

powerful man.  Where did he get these great traits?  Through daily prayer.

In Ezekiel 14 two references are  made to the righteousness of Noah.  Daniel and Job. They

were not sinless; yet God honored their right ways of living and made an example
of them (see vv. 14, 20).

Isn’t it near to find an attractive powerful and righteous hero in a biblical character? He

is a hero worth imitating today.

If your school is typical, only ten  percent of the students are believers. Daniel 6 for the

courage and perseverance needed in living their faith in front of their non believing

Prayer is a vital part of faith. It is the way we communicate with God.  Daniel kept on

praying when he was forbidden to and thus faced death in a lion’s den for his incredible

loyalty to God. You may face the persecution of your peers for admitting that prayer is a

big part of your life. Yet when God acts in your life in a powerful way, your friends are

going to take notice. Then you will have an opportunity to tell them where you get your

strength and power. Your own life can be your best witness to the lost if you are yielded to

the Lord so He can use you.

The Christian girls on our local basketball teams are reaping the results of daily prayer.

They are playing the game much better and have  more wins to their credit. But the
greatest benefit is in their changed lives.

Daniel knew that a decree had been issued and was endorsed by King Darius. He knew that for

30 days any person who was caught worshiping anyone other than the king would be thrown into

the lion’s den. Fully aware of the penalty,Daniel “went into his house; and his
windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his  God, as he did a fore time” (Dan. 6:10).

We know that Daniel was made  to pay the penalty but that God miraculously  closed the mouths of the lions so they would not hurt him.
The Lord  we love and serve will  honor our prayers too. He loves us more than we can

imagine, and He  wants the best for us. But He wants to hear from us in prayer on a regular
and daily basis.

If you are not praying every day, why not try to develop this delightful habit? The first

thing in the  morning or the last thing at night may be the best times if you think
you’re too busy to pray.

Yes, if you say that God is first in
your life, can you ever be too busy to pray?
 Source: Confident Living Magazine

Thursday, March 24, 2011

          You Can Make!
by Nathanael O

WHAT is the worst mistake a man can make? This article will tell you.

"He brushed his teeth twice a day. The doctors examined him twice a year. He wore his rubbers when it rained. He slept with the windows open. He got at least eight hours sleep every night. He never smoked, drank, or lost his temper. He was faithful with his daily dozen. He was all set to live to be one hundred. The funeral will be held Wednesday. He is survived by eighteen specialists, four health institutions, and six gymnasiums."

He forgot God, lived as if this world was all, and is now with those who say,

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jer. 8: 20).'

The most tragic mistake anyone can make is to forget God and His claims upon a life. Leaving Him out of your plans will certainly spell eternal ruin for you.

What happens when you take the. Wrong road while driving? You lose time, petrol, and patience. But you can always get back on the right road, can't you? Such is not the case traveling to heaven. The Bible warns:

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 14:12). Many ways which seem right, such as church membership, good deeds, trying to keep the Golden Rule or the Ten Commandments, without a personal faith in Christ, will lead to one destination: eternal death. Jesus alone is "The
way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). If you miss the Jesus-road in this life, you can't get on it later. There are no alternative routes after death. God says: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27).

If you make the mistake of not properly caring for your teeth, the worst thing that can happen is that you lose them. But you can always get an artificial set.

Not so with your soul. If you let sins, habits, and Christ-rejection drive it to an endless hell, you can't get a new soul. There is no second chance. You have only one soul which will live forever in heaven's bliss or hell's torment. Your decision here makes its destiny final.  Jesus asks you these solemn questions:

"What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36, 37)..

You need not make the terrible mistake of rejecting the Saviour of your soul. Right now, you have the power to believe. You can say to the Lord Jesus Christ: "I accept Thee into my heart as my own personal Saviour." He will become your Saviour and make you a child of God. Here is His promise: "As many as received him (Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1: 12).

Do you want forgiveness, joy, peace, and satisfaction? All these can be yours if:

You repent of all your sins.

You trust not in your own efforts or goodness, but in the blood of Jesus shed to pay for your sins.

You confess Christ as your Saviour before your friends and relatives.

You live daily for Him, reading your Bible and praying faithfully.

Sounds good?

It is!

All these wonderful things can happen to you if you will bow your head now and invite the Son of God into your life. Will you do it?

Remember, the only way you can avoid the worst mistake you can make is by taking the best step you can take. Believe and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and God TODAY!

(Bible Teaching for Confident Living’ magazine April/May 2009)

Confident Living Magazine, A Back to the Bible Publication.
Bible Teaching for Confident Living’ magazine April/May 2009 Share



            by James Kanaganayagam                

What pleases God?  Acts of charity, service to the saints, sacrificial giving, walking by faith.  All this pleases God.  The Bible tells us, all our actions should be done by faith as this pleases God (Heb. 11:6).

This article looks at the life of three men whose faith in God lived out in their life brought glory to God.

Daniel chapter 3 tells us the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego whose faith in God was such that compromise was no option in their lives.

Compromise was no option (v. 12)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were deported to Babylon in 660 BC with Daniel.  They were noblemen from Judah who were intelligent, good looking and had great leadership abilities.  Nebuchadnezzar the greatest king of Babylon, who was ruling at that time, made Daniel the ruler of the province of Babylon which was the capital province.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were doing well in Babylon.  They had good jobs, wealth and power, as the heads of administration of the capital province.  They also had the potential of rising higher since they believed in the living God who could bless them, they were intelligent and capable, and they also had friends in higher places.  Daniel was in the king’s presence, but during this time of prosperity and potential of doing better, king Nebuchadnezzar built a 90 foot tall golden image of himself and ordered everyone to bow down to it.  The three Jews had a choice to make.  Their choice showed their strong faith.

The men did not bow down to the golden image or the other Babylonian gods and thus showed that in their faith, compromise was no option (v.12).

They could have bowed to the image and said, “We didn’t worship it” or they could have said “Since it’s only once, it’s alright, or “God will understand the pressure we are under” but they didn’t.  They did not compromise and this pleased God.   Is our faith one where compromise is not an option?  We, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, are prospering and have the potential of rising higher.  Would we, as a church compromise if our prosperity and safety was at stake?

I was told of a Christian man, who when he joined a new firm was given the task of getting a telephone connection in record time.  He was also given money to bribe the telecom.  As a Christian he knew he could not bribe and he told his boss that.  To this his boss told him that if he didn’t get that line on time, he would be fired.  This man was in a dilemma. He refused to compromise though his job was at stake and God performed a miracle by getting the telephone line on time even without bribing anyone.  Because of this man’s faith that did not compromise, God glorified Himself.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego’s faith was not only one that did not compromise, but it was also one that was not influenced by circumstances.  Therefore, secondly, a faith that glorifies God is a faith where:

Circumstances are not the deciding factor (vs. 16-18)

Nebuchadnezzar challenged the God of the Jews and the three men replied him saying that God would deliver them.  Though God could deliver them, they say in these key verses that, “even if He didn’t save them, they would still remain faithful to Him.”  Their faith was not determined by their circumstances or whether God would save them or not.  I am sure they knew of Pharaoh’s challenge to God in Exodus 5:2 and how God proved to Pharaoh, His greatness and superiority.  They knew that their God would prove Himself to Nebuchadnezzar too, but whatever their lot was going to be, they were going to be faithful to God.  Their faith was not determined by their circumstances.

Today many Christians, even those who have been in the faith for many years, have up and down spiritual lives.  When things are going well around them, their faith is strong, but when things are gloomy, their faith is shaken and sometimes ruined.

I’m not saying Christians should not be affected by things in life.  Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”  There are times when we are troubled, sad and weep, and there are times when things go well and we are happy.  But our happiness or sadness should not be the deciding factor of our faith.

A young girl said, “I don’t believe in God anymore.”  When asked why, she replied, “I prayed that God would make me 5’ 5” but I’m only 5’ 2”.  Does unanswered prayer determine our faith?

God is so good, we say when the picnic went off well and the weather was fine.  But what happens if the weather was bad and the picnic a disaster?  Does it mean that God is not good?  Circumstances do not determine the goodness of God.

Do circumstances determine our faith?  This is what the prophet Habakkuk says in Habakkuk 3:17-18.  A faith that glorifies God is a faith where circumstances are not a deciding factor.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego’s faith which was not determined by their circumstances, led them into a deeper faith which glorifies God, a faith which completely surrendered to God.

Complete surrender is the climax

Since Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refused to deny or compromise their faith king Nebuchadnezzar, in a rage, commanded them to be burned.   They allowed themselves to be tied up and thrown into the fire, without any resistance.  They could have backed out but they didn’t.  After all, what’s the point in leaving everything you can see and dying for something you cannot even see?  But the faith that completely surrendered was the faith that brought the greatest glory to God.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were willing to give up their very lives, for their faith.  Their faith caused them to go all the way; they didn’t stop short even when their lives were at stake.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego’s faith was a faith that glorified God, a faith where complete surrender was the climax.

We who don’t share Christ because of the fear of what our friends say, how far short we fall.  We do have a faith worth dying for.  Therefore, let’s ask God to strengthen our faith as we completely surrender to Him right now.

This is the faith that brings the highest glory to God, for in the fire, we see not only Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, but we also see the pre-incarnate Christ or an angel of the Lord with them.  Though they were in Babylon, God was with them during their suffering and we can be assured that even today God is with us, wherever we are, when we are suffering for Him.

 The faith that completely surrendered culminated (resulted) with glory to God, as God miraculously saved them.

Faith culminated with glory to God vv. 28-29

The stand of faith made by Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego culminated (resulted) in glory to God.  Nebuchadnezzar, the man who blasphemed God saying, “Who is the god that can deliver you,” now blessed God.  He also spread the news of what God had done.  He was so impressed by what God had done, that he made the penalty of saying something against God, worse than that of not bowing to his image.  Because of the faith of Shadrach Meshach and Abed-Nego, Nebuchadnezzar’s subjects, all over the world, heard about the living God.  God was glorified.

Mr. James Kanaganayagam
The actions of our faith either bring glory to God or dishonour.  The faith that glorified God was one where compromising was no option, circumstances were not the deciding factor and where complete surrender was the climax. CL

(Mr. James Kanaganayagam is the CEO of Back to the Bible International, Lincoln, Nebraska, U S A)

Confident Living Magazine, (A Back to the Bible Publication, printed and published from Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India)

To obtain this magazine by post please contact Back to the Bible India Office at Secunderabad.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Making Sense of Tsunami (A Christian perspective on Tsunami and Earthquake)


by Dr. Woodrow Kroll

Cover Page of the magazine

It was a clear beautiful day that the tsunami hit.  No one expected it.  The skies were beautiful; the ocean waves were calm.  Then suddenly and without warning, perhaps the greatest disaster of our time struck.

A tsunami is a series of ocean tidal waves created by disturbances in the earth’s crust.  On 26th December, 2004, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean west of Sumatra created the giant tidal wave that took so many thousands of lives.  And the recent one 11th March 2011 at Japan a 8.9 magnitude earthquake also took many thousands of lives.

Such catastrophic events not only create great loss of life, pain and sorrow, they create many questions.  Perhaps you have questions about why the tsunami came or why God would permit such a disaster.  Your questions are good.  It is not wrong to ask questions of God as long as our questions are not accusatory.  A sovereign God need not answer our questions; a gracious God often does.

In this series of articles we will ask six questions you probably have asked yourself already.  We will offer answers to those questions from the Bible.  Whether you accept the answer or not will depend on whether you accept what is written in the Bible as God’s Holy Word.  If you do, it is comforting to know that God has not been silent.  He has addressed your questions.

1. What Caused The Tsunami?

Tsunamis are caused by earthquakes on the ocean’s floor.  When the tectonic plates that makes up the earth’s surface shift, the result is an earthquake.  The violent movement of the earth in turn pushes the water on the surface of the ocean in all directions.  The speed of the waves is controlled by the depth of the ocean floor.   The tsunami of the day after Christmas traveled at approximately 500 mph.  when the wave approached the coastline and the ocean floor rose sharply to the level of the water, the speed of the wave on top the water slowed.  The energy behind the wave, however, was constant and caused the wave to rise to a heap.   It was this wall of water sometimes 60 feet high that slammed into the coastline and destroyed everything in its path.

But the real question is how could this happen?  What caused the earth’s floor to shift producing the 9.0 earthquake?  Was this the work of God?
The answer is no.  God did not push the waters toward the coastline knowing that thousand of people would lose their lives.  The wave was not the work of His almighty hand.  The earth God created would not have produced such destruction.

God’s Earth Was Very Good

At the end of His six days of creation (Genesis 1:31), God surveyed all He had made and proclaimed it “very good.”  The Hebrew terminology used indicates God’s creation was both complete and perfect.  The rivers were running between their banks.  The earth was stable and beautiful.  The waters of the ocean were gently lapping the seashore.  Psalm 33:6-7 say, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.  He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses.”  The oceans God created were gathered together in peaceful storehouse in the deep.

Job poetically describes God’s creation saying, “He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters” (Job 26:10).  The Lord “shut in the sea with doors” (Job 38:8).  Violent earthquakes and tsunamis were never a part of God’s original creation.  Adam and Eve lived happily in an idyllic paradise and they shared such an intimate relationship with their maker that God came to the garden “in the cool of the day” just to spend time with them (Genesis 3:8).

But the peacefulness and tranquility of Eden were soon shattered.  Genesis 3 – in fewer words than an anchorman on the TV news reports the lead story describes how the first human disobeyed God and sin entered our world (Genesis 3:1-6).  The Bible also describes the curse(s) on the earth that resulted from that sin-including pain and death (Genesis 3:14-24).  Whereas our first parent lived on earth with no potential for disaster, we now live on earth that is cursed, a disaster just waiting to happen.

The Groaning Earth

The apostle Paul, in Romans 8:19-22, described the entire creation as subjected to the corruption that resulted from the sinful event in Eden.  Here’s what he said.  “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility… because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”  This groaning began the day sin entered our world, but something soon happened that made the groaning even worse.

The good earth deteriorated rapidly after that initial sin as did mankind’s relationship with God.  Just three chapters later, Moses wrote:

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth and He was grieved in His heart.  So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air (Genesis 6:5-7).

Genesis 6-8 records a great global destruction of the earth resulting from the Great Flood.  This was God’s judgment on our corrupt earth.  The Bible indicates that the waters which caused the Flood came from two sources:  (a) the fountains of the great deep; and (b) the windows of heaven (Genesis 7:11).

The recent tsunami proves the destructive power of moving water.  Put that into perspective.  Imagine the devastation that must have been created when all the forces of the earth worked together in the Great Flood.  Rain dropped from the canopy above the firmament.  Earthquakes shook the earth.  Volcanoes erupted around the planet.  The tectonic plates of the earth’s crust shifted under the weight of the water.  Mountains lifted yup.  Canyons were pressed into the ground. Tornadoes hurricanes and multiple tsunamis were spun into existence.  Havoc reigned in God’s creation.

Changed Conditions on the Earth

Prior to the great Flood our world was a much different place than it is today.  Numerous biblical scholars have suggested that in those days the Earth was devoid of natural disasters like the tsunami.

John C Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris suggest:
This is inferred from the fact that the “breaking-up of the fountains of the great deep” (Genesis 7:11), which implies this sort activity, was one of the immediate causes of the Deluge; therefore it must have been restrained previously… Thus the Biblical record implies that the age between the fall of man and the resultant Deluge was one of comparative quiescence geologically.  The waters both above and below the firmament were in large measure restrained, temperatures were equably warm, there were no heavy rains nor winds and probably no earthquakes nor volcanic emissions.*1

It is not unreasonable to suggest that the global flood of Genesis 6-8 not only radically altered the face of the Earth, but also created the conditions on earth that are responsible for many natural disasters experienced since that time, including the  recent tsunamis.

Why does the Earth experience natural disasters?  Not because God created a world in which natural disasters are natural.  Natural disasters are not natural to God.  God put the laws of nature into place but sin put natural disasters in place.  Insurance companies often label things as an “act of God,” but God had nothing to do with it.
Today we inhabit a once-perfect but now-flawed Earth.  Today, because of Adam’s sin, earthquakes produce tsunamis which produce deadly devastation.  That wasn’t true with the earth God created. *2

2.  Is God To Blame For The Tsunami?

Since God created a world that was “very good” but sin brought evil into it, the corruption and curse that resulted are to blame for the tsunami, not God.  Still, many people blame God.  Is this justifiable?

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner wrote a book entitled When Band Things Happen to Good People.  In it the Rabbi said, “Virtually every meaningful conversation I have ever had with people on the subject of God and religion has either started with the question, Why do bad things happen to good people? , or has gotten to it before long. *3

The Real Source of Evil
Let me say one thing very clearly.  You cannot blame God for evil.  The primary source of bad things like the tsunami is the emperor of evil, Satan himself.  It was his pride that initiated evil.  Lucifer was one of God’s trusted angels, but he thirsted for more.  You can read about that pride and the sin that resulted in Isaiah 14.  Satan wasn’t content with loving and serving a good God, he wanted to be God himself.  But by his rebellion Lucifer destroyed himself and introduced evil into the world.  Satan is the primary cause of evil in our world today.

But there’s a secondary cause and this may surprise you.  The secondary cause of evil is men and women.  When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, he joined Satan’s rebellion against God.  As a direct descendant of Adam and Eve, you and I were born sinful, born with a wicked heart and a bent toward evil

If you don’t believe that’s true, look around you.  Do you think rape, murder, class oppression, child abuse or political and business corruption is just passing fads?  Evil permeates our universe; it always has.  You don’t have to teach a child how to lie or cheat or steal.  It’s natural.  Evil is here because we brought it with us into the world.

God Will One Day Destroy Evil
Terrible things like the tsunami will happen until God destroys the evil of this world and creates a new heaven and a new earth.  You can read about that in the last two chapters of the last book of the Bible.  But for now, be encouraged.  You can be delivered from the consequences of evil, which is death, by believing that the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary’s cross paid the penalty for your sin.

Is God to blame for the tsunami?  No.  The tsunami occurred because our world is cursed, it is decaying, it is ready for renewal and aches for the day God will make a new heaven and a new earth.  The tsunami was a natural consequence of the rebellion of satan and the sinfulness of the human heart.

Natural disasters can and will happen again.  Evil is here to say for now, but with a new heart, it won’t ruin your life.  Jesus came to change all that, and He can change it in your life today, if you ask Him

3.  Was This Disaster The Judgment Of God?

Most people view disasters in one of two ways. Either they believe God caused them or the believe God was helpless to prevent them.  Those who believe God caused the disaster frequently view events like the tsunamis happened in December 2004 and the March 2011 as the judgment of God.  Those who believe God was powerless to stop the tidal wave ask, “Where was God when the disaster occurred?”

But there is a third way to view disasters in our world. I believe it’s the biblical way.  The tsunami was not caused by God.  He had nothing to do with it.  In a sinful world, disasters happen.  God could step in and prevent every disaster but He doesn’t.  instead, He does something better.  He provides salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.  He promises that death is not the end.  He brings hope for resurrection to those who have died and comfort to all who are alive and remain.  All of this will be discussed later.

Judgment and Natural Disasters
Is it possible the terrible tsunami is the judgment of God on Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India Japan and other nations bordering the Oceans?   Hasn’t God used natural disasters before to judge His people?
Indeed He has.
The great flood in Noah’s day was the judgment of God on the entire world because of its sinfulness (Genesis 6-9).
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone was the judgment of God on the sinful practices of those cities (Genesis 19).

Their lack of faith in Jesus after they heard so much of His teaching and saw so many of His miracles was the cause of God’s judgment on the cities of Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida (Matthew 11:20=24_.

The God of all creation can use His creation to bring judgment on people when He so chooses, but we should not see every natural event as the judgment of God.

Natural Disasters and No Judgment
Jonah was cast into the sea in great storm as God’s judgment on the prophet (Jonah 1:15).  Paul was cast into the sea in a great storm but it was not God’s judgment on the apostle (Acts 27:41).  In Numbers 12, Miriam, the sister of Moses, became leprous as a demonstration of God’s judgment.  But in Exodus 4, Moses’ hand became leprous as a demonstration of God’s power.

The Bible passages indicate that we should never presume to know the intention of God when He permits natural events, unless clearly revealed in His Word.  Jesus spoke of a natural disaster which occurred during His time, the falling of the tower in Siloam that killed eighteen people (Luke 13:1-5).  We cannot know the reason for such tragedies but nonetheless they do serve to cause us to ponder our sin and repent lest we likewise perish.

Most often when God wishes to judge a nation or a people, His judgment falls on that nation alone.  Other nations are not affected.  The Babylonian Captivity was God’s Judgment on His sinful people.  They were carried into captivity in order that God may reprove them, refine them, purify them, and yes, to punish them (2 Chronicles 36).  The prophet Obadiah prophesied God’s judgment on the nation Edom, but Israel was not affected by this judgment.  Nahum prophesied God’s judgment on the Ninevites, but other nations were not affected.

Rarely do we see the judgment of God on multiple nations as a result of one natural disaster, such as the great flood.  God deals in specifics, not in generalities.  The great tsunami of 26th December 2004 and 11th March 2011 does not fit the biblical pattern of God’s judgment.

4. How Can God Be Good And Allow This To Happen ?

If it is true that tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters happen because the earth groans under the curse of sin, that means God did not cause the tsunami and it was not His judgment on the nations affected.

But could God not have prevented this disaster?  The prophet Nahum notes that “the Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm” (Nahum 1:3).  Why did God not prevent the tidal wave even if He didn’t cause it?  Can God still be good and kind even if He did nothing to prevent this natural disaster?

The answer is yes.  God’s character was the same the day before the tsunami as it was the day after.  The character of God cannot change.  “I am the Lord, I do not change”  (Malachi 3:6).  In fact, not only does the character of God not change, it cannot change.  If God’s character could change, would it change for the better or for the worse?  If it changed for the better, He isn’t fully God now.  If it changed for the worse, He couldn’t be fully God then.

God is Good All the Time

The Bible teaches that God is good and all He does is good.  The Psalms especially point us to the goodness and benevolence of God.

Psalm 25:8, “Good and upright is the Lord.”  Psalm 34:8 bids us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”  When he was in trouble David said to God,  “I will wait on Your name, for it is good”  (Psalm 52:9).  And another time when his life was threatened David said, “I will praise  Your name, O Lord, for it is good”  (Psalm 54:6).

Asaph begins Psalm 73 with the words, “Truly God is good.”  “You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You”  (Psalm 86:5).

Psalm 100 is a great hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God.  It bids us to “enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.  For the Lord is good:  His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations”  (Psalm 100:4-5)

Psalm 106 continues that theme:  “Praise the Lord!  Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!”  Similar words can be found in Psalm 118:1,29;  135:3; 136:1; 145:9; 147:1).

So we must distinguish between the good character of God, which never changes, and the evil things that happen in this world, which God did not cause.

Natural Laws

When God created our world it operated under the natural laws He established at the time of creation.  There were natural laws in force in the Garden of Eden.  For example, if Adam jumped off a cliff hoping to land in a pool of water below, he was not disappointed.   The law of gravity made sure he made it to the pool.  If Eve wandered into the path of a charging elephant, she had to jump out of the way since two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.  Those are the laws of nature.

The same laws of nature that produce good for us, however, can also produce great tragedy, as in the case of the tsunami.  In addressing this point, Norman Geisler noted:

“In a physical world where there is water for boating and swimming, some will drown.  If there are mountains to climb, there must also be valleys into which one may fall.  If there are cars to drive, collisions can also occur.  It may be said that tornadoes, lightning, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are likewise byproducts  of a good physical world.  for instance, the purpose of rain is not to flood or drown, but the result of rain may include these disasters”. * 4

God’s world was a world of order.  The natural laws that God created were for our good because God’s character is good.  Natural laws allow us to produce fir, but the same laws that enable us to cook our food also allow us to destroy entire forests.  When a fire ravages a forest or a flood destroys homes, does that change the goodness of God?  Of course not.  God’s character is not changed by the misuse of His creation.

The Tsunami and Natural Laws
The tectonic plate on which the Australian continent rides has been pushing north at seven centimeters each year.  Near Sumatra the plate is forced down and underneath another carrying the European and Asian continents…. It was a natural occurrence in a world that is groaning, shifting, and waiting for redemption (Romans 8: 19-22).

Psalm 145:8-9 say,  “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion  slow to anger and great in mercy.  The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”  The earthquake that produced the tsunami was not caused by the good character of God.  It was caused by natural forces that govern a world cursed with sin and feeling the effects of that curse all the time.

Earthquakes, tsunamis, even death do not remove God’s goodness, they only prove the presence of sin and the curse on our planet.  God’s goodness is evident in life spared, not life taken.

You can trust God to be good all the time, because God’s character is good and His character does not change, even when there is a killer tsunami.  End
—to be continued in the next issue.

In the next issue we will be dealing the following topics:

1.  Is There Any Hope Now?

2.  How Can I Face The Future?
 3.  Promises, Not Questions.

4.  God's Promises To You.


  1. A.M. Rehwinkel, The Flood (St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1951): Joseph C Dillow, The Waters Above (Chicago Moody, 1982).
    2.  John C Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood (Grand Rapids, MI:
         Baker, 1961).  Pp 242-243

   3.  Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People (New York:
        Schocken Books, 1981), P.6.

   4.  Normal L. Geisler, The Roots of Evil (Grand Rapids MI:  Zondervan, 1978),  p.72.


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Dr. Kroll's Photo.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

A Big Stink or a Sweet Fragrance- The Choice is Yours

by Dr. Woodrow Kroll

Your son or daughter says some things that hurt you deeply. What started it all is important. What ended it all was the painful expression, “I never want to talk to you again!” What do you do now? 

Someone in your church has had his or her feathers ruffled by you, as you have by them. Glares were exchanged, as well as words. Feelings were hurt. Everyone knew it. 

What do you do now? Your choices are limited. You can allow your anger to fester and degenerated into hated. You can do nothing and hope the whole thing will blow over. Or you can set in motion the steps that lead to forgiveness and reconciliation. In mostcases, the choice is yours. 

When Peter asked the Lord Jesus how often he should forgive a brother who sinned against him, Jesus gave His “seventy times seven”nswer and then told the parable of the unforgiving servant. The parable is recorded in Matthew 18:23-35. a certain king had a servant who owed him an incredible amount of money. When the servant pleaded for mercy,the king felt compassion for him and chose to forgive his debt. That same servant then hunted down a fellow servant who owed him a mere pittance and demanded payment. When his fellow servant pleaded for mercy, the ungrateful first servant hose not to forgive him and threw him into debtor’s prison. 

Many factors must be taken into account in this matter of forgiveness. In don’t want to oversimplify the problem, but the bottom line is generally the same. Forgiveness is a choice—your choice! 

When two people have a sharp disagreement, doing nothing can be the most devastating thing of all. Forgiving is not just being passive or shrugging off your problem. You cannot remain neutral when wrong has been done. Making things right through forgiveness is your only option. 

When someone has wronged you, you cannot simply try to forget what was done. We’ve often heard that we should “forgive and forget.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? But it isn’t true. God has given us memories, and we can’t blot things out from them at will. Only God can say, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:34). 

But even though you will remember, you must choose to forgive. Forgiveness is s choice. 

When someone hurts you emotionally, you can’t simply be emotional about forgiving them. We can’t forgive someone because we feel sorry for that person or because we are emotionally drained. We forgive because we choose to do so. 

When Jesus was hanging on Calvary’s cross, He said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). He didn’t do because He was physically or emotionally drained. He hadn’t simply become emotional about the sin of the world. He forgave because that was why He was dying—to atone for our sins and to forgive us of our sins. 

Forgiveness is an act of the will. It doesn’t depend on feelings. And frequently we must make the first move towards reconciliation, even though we may be innocent of any wrongdoing. 

This was true of the Lord Jesus. God the Son had been spat upon, crowned with horns, tortured, ridiculed and crucified. Yet when men were at their worst, God was at His best. When men shouted, “CrucifyHim,” Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” Forgiveness was a conscious choice. 

And what about you? What about your situation with that son or daughter who has hurt you so deeply? What about that person in your church who has ruffled your feathers? Should you just forget it? Should you meet them halfway? No. Neither of these is the answer. God didn’t meet mankind halfway, and He certainly didn’t ignore our sin. He initiated our forgiveness; He began the reconciliation process. 

If you really want to take care of your problem, listen for God to speak to you through the Holy Spirit. When God burdens you with the need for reconciliation, He will also motivate you to initiate that reconciliation. Ask God for grace and for courage. Humble yourself and give your son or daughter a call. Initiate reconciliation. Speak to that person after church and ask to meet with him or her. Bathe the whole process in prayer. And remember, forgiveness sis a choice. Make it your choice. 

Mark Twain once said, “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” When you are crushed by someone, especially a family member or a close friend, you have the choice of making a big stink or emitting the fragranceof Christ. Forgiveness is a choice.CL

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