Archive for October, 2011

From Belief to Faith

Posted: October 19, 2011 by Nathan in What Next...
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Romans 10:9

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

All of us are at completely different stages in our life of faith. At one end of the spectrum there are some of you who have faith that there is no God and at the other end some people who have total faith that there is one. I guess that most of us sit somewhere in between. I just wanted to address the issue that some of you may have that you have a belief that God exists but want to translate that belief into something more. I would call it moving from a position of belief to a position of faith, or trust.

The Chair

When it comes to belief and faith I like to use the analogy of a chair. It’s perhaps because I’m quite a big guy so it is more relevant to me that others, but I hope you’ll understand the gist if it.

When it comes to the question of belief in God billions of people around the world would say they believed in Him. Yet for only a much smaller percentage of the world’s population does that belief have any real meaning. Billions of people believe in God but far fewer have faith or trust in Him. Here is where the chair comes in. When it comes to a chair or a stool or anything you can sit on, when considering sitting on it we have to believe that it will take our weight. We don’t want to end up in a pile on the floor along with the remains of a chair that didn’t quite do the job. As a bigger than average chap I have to consider this more than most, especially when it comes to camping chairs or chairs that like less than robust. I can pick a chair up, examine it from every angle, pull it about, check the joints and even read the label for it’s weight limit. I can come to a stage where I can look at the chair and wholeheartedly believe that it will hold my weight. It is not, however, until I sit in the chair that I can be said to have moved from that belief in the strength of the chair to having faith that it will hold my weight. So it is with many people’s belief in God. They believe in His existence but have not yet moved to faith in Him. It is one thing to believe in God but another thing to put that belief into action by having faith in Him.

So what does having faith in God look like?

The list below is by no means exhaustive but should give a good idea of the main elements that make up a faith in God.

  1. Believing that not only does God exists but wants a relationship with you.
  2. Being willing to enter into that relationship.
  3. Believing that the Bible is a major way that God has communicated with us and continues to do so.
  4. Putting in to practise the beliefs found in the Bible as best you can.
  5. Believing that God created us and all things.
  6. Believing that we have become separated from God through our wrongdoings.
  7. Believing that God sent His only son to die for us to bring us back into a relationship with Him by paying the price for our wrongdoings.
  8. Believing that God has sent His Holy Spirit to be our guide, counsellor and help.
  9. Trying to put God first in everything that we do.
  10. Believing that God wants the best for you and knows what is best for you.

Making the transition from belief to faith is a big step and not something to be taken lightly, but also not something to get hung up about. Some people make a huge “leap of faith” and go from believing to trusting in one quick step. Others make lots of little steps and get to faith that way. There are no set rules of how to come to faith but at some point you need to make the decision for yourself and pray a prayer similar to the one found right at the bottom of the page. Some of you may find that you’re not there yet and might like to try praying the prayer below asking God to help you in your search for Him.

When it comes to moving from belief to faith the Bible is very clear, all you need to do is“…confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” God has made it simple – after all there is nothing He want more that for you to make that step. Come on, what are you waiting for?

If you do make a decision to move from belief to faith please do let us know. We’d love to pray for you!! Also if you have any questions you want to ask before making that step let us know and we’ll do our very best to help. Just click on the contact button above.

Prayers that you may find useful

A Prayer for Help

God

I really don’t know if you are there or not.

I don’t know if you can hear me or I’m just talking out into space.

But I do want to believe in you.

If you are there please help me to believe.

Please reveal yourself to me in some way.

Please strengthen my faith

and help me in my times of unbelief.

Amen

 

A prayer of Salvation

God,

I recognise that I have been on a journey towards you. I thank you that you are real and love me unconditionally.

You say in the Bible that if I confess my sins and ask forgiveness, You are faithful and will forgive my sins and remember them no more. You will not hold them against me and You will give me everlasting life.

Father, I confess that I have done many things wrong in my life. I have not followed Your ways and have hurt you and others along the way. I am truly sorry for the hurt I have cause to those around me and to you. I repent of my wrong doings and ask for Your forgiveness.

Father, I believe that Jesus Christ, Your only Son, came to Earth and was born, that He lived among us, and that He was crucified to pay for our wrongdoings and for my wrongdoings. I believe that You raised Him from the dead and gave Him power over all creation.

God, I accept Your Son, Jesus, as my Saviour and I commit to follow Him from this day forward. Send your Holy Spirit to guide me, protect me, lead me and counsel me. Help me grow in wisdom, knowledge and love for You and Your ways. Give me the strength and courage to change my ways and resist evil and wrongdoings in the future.

God, I thank You for sending Your only Son to die so that I can live.

Jesus, I thank You in that You died for me while I was still doing many wrong things and had not yet accepted You. I thank You for forgiving my wrongdoings and for bringing me to a saving knowledge of You.

God I know this is the beginning of a new journey with you, a new chapter of my life. I ask that you would teach me to pray. Guide me. Increase my faith in you, and make me sure in the knowledge that I can rely on You, no matter what may come. Lead me to a good Christians and the right church where I can learn Your word and your will for me and where I can grow in my knowledge of You.

I ask these things in Your name, and I thank You for making me a Christian.

Amen!

What About Other Religions – Sikhism?

Posted: October 12, 2011 by Nathan in What About...
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Sikhism in a nutshell

 

In many ways Sikhism is an attempt to combine Hinduism and Islam.

 

Sikhism was founded by a man called Nanak in about 1469.

 

Nanak’s successor introduced the idea that Nanak was equal with God.

 

Sikh scriptures contain a mix of Islamic and Hindu theology.

 

Most Sikhs do not know the contents of their holy book (Granth Sahib)

 

Sikhs believe in one God

 

Salvation seems to be found, for the Sikh, by becoming absorbed into God.

 

 

 

 

Sikhism and Jesus

 

Sikhism does not recognise Jesus.

 

 

 

Why I’m not a Sikh

 

There seems to be a lot of confusion in Sikhism. Is there one God or many? Did all the gods die?

 

Much of the fundamental teachings have been changed by different gurus over time.

 

Sikhism teaches that all religion leads to god.

 

There seems to be unexplained contradictions within the teachings.

 

Sikhs believe in an impersonal God.

Islam in a nutshell

Although Islam is an interesting mix of various religions it has its origins in the teachings of Muhammad.

Muhammad was born in Mecca in around 570 A. D.

Not much is known about Muhammad’s early life.

At the age of 40 Muhammad had his first vision.

Initially Muhammad’s view met with opposition in Mecca so Muhammad and his followers withdrew to what we now know as Medina. It is this event that marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

Muhammad is seen as the one prophet of God.

Islam teaches that there is a heaven and a hell.

Islam teaches that there are several holy books, the books of the law from Moses, the book of the Psalms from David, the Gospel from Jesus and the Qur’an from Muhammad.

Muhammad did not write the Qur’an – it was written by God and passed down to Muhammad.

The Five Pillars of Islam

Faith – The believe that there is only one God and his prophet is Muhammad

Prayer – Praying five time a day

The Fast – The month of Ramadan is a month of fasting during the hours of daylight.

Alms – there are strict laws about how much must be given to the poor.

Pilgrimage – Every Muslim must make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.

Islam and Jesus

Although Islam takes many of its teaching from Christian books many of the fundamentals are completely different.

Islam does not believe in the divinity of Jesus.

Islam does not teach that Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

Islam teaches that Jesus is not the son of God.

Islam teaches that Jesus was a sinless prophet, but was not as great as Muhammad.

Why I’m not a Muslim

The God of Islam is a very impersonal God.

There seems to be an emphasis on judgement to the exclusion of love, motivating its followers by fear rather than by grace as in Christianity.

Islam claims that the Bible has been corrupted – there is no evidence (historical or otherwise) that this is true.

Muhammad initially believed that his visions were demonic in origin.

Reward is based on man’s effort and not on the love, grace and mercy of God.

I could not accept the Islamic attitude, found in the Qur’an, towards unbelievers.