Category Archives: Ministry of Reconciliation

Another Dichotomy

Why do the self-professed atheists I encounter rail against Christianity only? They must understand Christ is true. So they imitate the devil in their opposition: religion doesn’t bother him, or them: it’s the person of Jesus they oppose. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you,” Jesus said.1

Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion unsuccessfully argues that my belief in a personal and supernatural God proves that I am deluded. He knows nothing about it. Saul of Tarsus, the ultimate Jesus-hater, had one of those supernatural encounters 2 just like I had. After meeting Jesus in a frightening fashion, he wrote about Mr. Dawkins and others: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 3

I’m like a couple billion others who walk daily with a supernatural Jesus, to varying degrees. We get to turn the tables and say the so-called rationalists themselves, in Dawkins’ words, have “a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.” 4

The evidence is right in front of you all; you just don’t see it. The devil has blinded you.5 Oh wait – he’s supernatural so it’s impossible in your view to believe in him either. Too bad; he wins this round, and may God help you snap out of it before the end.

But then, discounting everything but rationalist arguments leaves no room in the heart for a loving, compassionate Creator. The universe is heartless, clockwork, mechanical, you say. God’s love does not exist. In such a world, the populace must then be people who themselves have god-like delusions. How sad to fall so short of what exists.

A spot of good news: I’m only accused of being deluded; at least I’m not being deceived in this; deceit comes from the devil. Deceit is much harder to overcome than delusion. How does the deceived ever come to know the truth? Only by God’s intervention: again, a supernatural event.

The world isn’t suffering from an epidemic of misinformation, but a burden of myth-information. What the devil would have us suppose always obscures what God would propose. Satan’s voice is louder, but it doesn’t have to be clearer. Listen past his yammer.

All this confusion is heart-breaking. When I weep over it, my tears must be sanctified. They bless the earth on which the saints have trod and make holy the sinners’ ground. I pray that God brings his Super into the Natural these folks fruitlessly toil in.

As for my fellow believers, the greatest lie Christians fall for is that they are not good enough. The greatest truth they must know is that they are not good enough. The truth points toward Jesus, for salvation. The lie points to the devil, for confusion and blindness.

People who blame God for their troubles are also wrong in their belief. There is good news there as well

In blaming God, they unwittingly acknowledge that He is all-powerful. And so, there is hope for them, because God is love.6

Atheists, agnostics, lukewarm believers, doubters, the unsure: God has a place for you. My prayer is for all of you who have yet to come into Christ’s kingdom. May your arrival precede His return.

1. John 15:18
2. Acts 9:1-6 – “Saul, still breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and requested letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any there of the Way, either men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he went he drew near Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’ He said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’. The Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ Trembling and astonished, he said ‘Lord, what will You have me do’ The Lord said to him, ‘Rise up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’”
3. 1 Corinthians 2:14
4. The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, © 2008, Mariner Books, US (Reprint Edition)
5. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – “But if our gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those who are lost. The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
6. 1 John 4:8 – “Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

Image by Ann H via Pexels


When life deals me a blow, especially at the hands of another person, I can feel grief, or I can feel aggrieved. It’s always my choice. I can grieve, or I can create a grievance.

By feeling grief, I choose to be hurt; to be aggrieved, I choose to hurt myself further. Grief leads to freedom; a grievance, to bondage.

When I allow myself to be hurt, God can help me work through the pain and, in the end, release it to Him. I find Him in that pain, and then He leads me out of it.

When I perch atop a grievance, a resentment, I tell God: ‘This is more important that the forgiveness You offer to help me with.’

Grief is a sadness, a product of compassion. I grieve because people can be wicked, thoughtless and selfish. They can knowingly or unknowingly hurt me.

Grievance, on the other hand, is a product of pride, which feeds my own selfishness in response to that of others. Should their choice to be selfish give me the right to choose selfishness as well?

Compassion always leads me toward forgiveness. Grievance always hardens a heart, even a soft one.

Where does my heart rest today? Always between the extremes in the moment of hurt, but it must ultimately move one way or the other.

If I’m to have peace, and move forward, my heart must come to rest (and will have rest), in Jesus. He’s my only source of rest. So I grieve, and find peace.

“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” (Ephesians 4:26-27 MSG)

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)

Image via Pexels

A heart formed of barbed wire

Opinion Peace

(A two-minute read)

Leaders need love more than they need to be liked. And, they need prayer even more than they need love. What’s more, they need to know you are praying for them.

I wrote a prayer for leaders a few weeks ago, noting that the Bible is clear that we pray for leaders, 1 even ones I think are in sin, or wrong theologically or preaching ‘a different gospel’. Maybe especially for those! I suggested there was a sermon to hand. Here it is. Don’t worry. It’s very short.

Reading the online debates about Christian leadership can be disheartening: what various religious leaders are or aren’t doing; if we think they are being good or evil; whether they’re preaching the true gospel, or a false gospel; whether they appear more interested in building a ministry than saving souls.

On one hand I observe these things myself. I agree with many points that are made. On the other hand, these debates challenge my ability to remain at rest.

I’m not saying you need to change what you do, or stop posting on social media. Rather, I’m making a confession myself, because I always need to preach to myself. After more than thirty years in journalism, it’s hard to resist weighing in with an opinion or ten. Perhaps the phrase ‘old habits die hard’ is the secular version of acknowledging that it’s all too easy to walk back into a stronghold, even one that was once broken.

Also, my opinions don’t move things in the spiritual realm. Instead they frequently generate strife and division. If there’s argument in a church scenario, the devil is present, chuckling and rubbing his hands. Opinions are the kindling that feeds the bonfire that brings down the church.

We must always reserve judgment until we hear from the Holy Spirit. We need discernment, and patience and time to sit with the Lord until we hear from him.

Noah landed on dry ground six weeks before he and his family left the ark. He waited for the Lord to give him permission. Patience is truly a virtue.

And so we pray all these things for our leaders, as well as for ourselves. Especially for ourselves. Repentance begins with me. Revival begins with me.

1. 2 Timothy 2:1-2 Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty,