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Sunday, July 04, 2010

How Now Shall We Live by Chuck Colson

Now How Shall We Live by Chuck Colson, published in 1999

Eleven years ago Chuck Colson wrote this book and, yet, it is very timely for today. I've had it for awhile in my TBR pile and got around to reading it this year. It is very well written and I would recommend it for anyone to read. Of course, it's on deep subjects so children wouldn't be interested but I think it would be a good read for teenagers and adults.

Our world is no longer faith based here in America. It's scary and shocking to those of us who remember a different time when believing in God was normal and attending church was what families did. It's been turned inside out. Taking our children to church on Sundays is considered abnormal now. Only freaks and stupid people believe in God. God is for the weak or "God is dead". I remember learning the 23rd Psalm, the Golden Rule, the Lord's Prayer and John 3:16 in my public school. Once a week, we had announcements over the intercom in which a short prayer was given. This was in junior high school. Even in High School (mid 1970's) we had a Bible class where I memorized all the books of the Bible and learned the basic timeline of the Bible. We had a storyteller who came to our 1st grade class to tell Bible stories using beautiful flannelboards. But, now, it's illegal to lead prayers in the classroom or mention God in any way. In order to pray, our children have to leave the school building and go to the flagpole. No more prayers in the cafeteria or before a football game. God is being systematically deleted from our government by our courts in suits brought by people who have nothing better to do and are so intolerant of other people's religion that they sue. It's offensive to them. It never crosses their minds that they should just be polite and quiet while someone prays at the ballgame and extend the courtesy of the benefit of the doubt. Instead, Christians are suppose to be polite and quiet while some atheist curses next to them at the same ball game and to give these foul mouths the courtesy of the benefit of the doubt.

For those of us who are believers, it's a harder world to live in. How do we teach our children that belief in God is honorable and intelligent? We aren't stupid, in fact, we are challenged to ask God questions and study His answers. We are taught to love God with all our heart, strength and mind. Yes, our intelligence can love God too. He created us with brains. We don't just suspend our intelligence in order to believe God. We start with faith in God despite our questions. But then our minds are opened by the indwelling Holy Spirit and we are able to learn about God and His truths and why they aren't pie-in-the-sky, in the sweet-by-and-by. They are real and it can affect us where we live. Our faith is stepping-off-a-cliff faith. It is what God requires for our salvation. We don't understand it but we believe! But, once we are saved, in that moment when our spirit is born, the Holy Spirit also comes to live within us to train and mature that new baby spirit. This is called being "born again." It is this spirit that will live forever with God in heaven. Once we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins it's work of "sanctification." Our lives become a classroom where the Holy Spirit can teach us. We are no longer cast upon the sea of doubts and circular arguments. There are answers. The Bible and the Holy Spirit have the truth that sustain us in our questions. We just have to study and read the Word and pray for guidance in our meditations.

If you ever saw Harrison Ford in his Raiders of the Lost Ark series of movies, you may remember when he was searching for the holy grail, the goblet that Jesus used in His last supper. He is in a cave and runs up on a vast chasm. There seems to be no way to get across it. But, in faith, he steps off the cliff. And, suddenly, the camera shifts and you can see the optical illusion. There really is a bridge of rock that he can cross. He couldn't see it from his position on the edge of the cliff. In his mind he is stepping off into nothing with a fall straight down. But when he makes that step, his foot finds footing on a bridge. It was an optical illusion to test his faith. So it is with us. We stand at a chasm so wide and deep and there seems to be no bridge to cross over. Our treasure is God. We seek Him and desire Him. We want to run to Him but we can't get past our doubts. It seems to be all mumbo jumbo, abracadabra. It's not logical or rational so we stand on our side of the chasm and say, "God is dead." But something tells us that if we step off the cliff, we can reach Him. "But it doesn't make sense," we think, "I have to have proof." We argue with ourselves and then we come to a decision. We will either trust in God and take that step or we turn our backs and go back to the way we've always lived. But once we take that little step, we will find sure footing on that bridge to God. It's scary as we make our way across that bridge. But God is there, He has provided a way (through Jesus Christ, the bridge to bring men to God), He desires us to take that plunge and come to Him. We may make some missteps but we will never fall to our utter destruction (hell). We took that first step of belief and now we are in God's hands and He will not allow us to be plucked from His hands. Once we get on the bridge, our mind is now able to study and learn and grow intellectually.

Colson's book is one way of learning and growing intelligently, with our minds, towards God. We can be sure enough in our faith and be smart enough to engage our culture. Their silly arguments can be met with intelligent and thoughtful rebuttal (and should be done with courtesy). Colson encourages us to apply God's truths to our everyday lives... in school, at work, in politics, in relationships, in our families, in our ethics, morals, values. We aren't just Christians for one hour at church. We are Christians through and through and every moment.

I encourage you to read this book, it's very articulate and easy to read but very deep.

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