How Can It Be?

  • “O Saviour, as my eyes behold the wonders of thy might untold,
    The heavens in glorious light arrayed, the vast creation thou hast made,
    And yet to think thou lovest me – my heart cries out, how can it be?”
  • “As at the cross I humbly bow and gaze upon thy thorn crowned brow,
    And view the precious bleeding form by cruel nails so bruised and torn,
    To know thy suffering was for me, in grief I cry, how can it be?”
  • “How can it be?  How can it be?  Was ever grace so full and free!
    From heights of bliss to depths of woe, in loving kindness thou didst go,
    From sin and shame to rescue me, O Love Divine, how can it be?”
  • Chorus: “How can it be?  How can it be?  That God should love a soul like me?  O how can it be?”

                                                                   Avis B. Christiansen 1895 – 1985

What Do You Believe?


It is not hard for me to believe the Bible.   After all it claims to be God’s word.  Either it is or it isn’t.  I believe it is.  If you haven’t investigated for yourself, you’re making a foolish mistake.

By investigating for yourself, I do not mean that you collect other men’s opinions about it or you believe that whatever religious organization you belong to has the right idea about the Bible.

Investigating for yourself means you have personally read the Bible, seeking honest answers, and asking God to show you the truth.  

You owe it to yourself and to your children because, if it is true, your soul and the  souls of your children are at stake.  “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?”

A well known preacher, years ago, put it this way; “If you’re a gambling man, you would figure that there is a fifty per cent chance that I’m wrong about believing the Scripture.  If you choose not to believe and you’re wrong, you lose your soul, for eternity.  If I choose to believe and I’m wrong, I lose nothing.  I’ve lived a good life with few regrets.”  Who do the odds favor in this situation?  Are you willing to gamble with your soul?

The stakes are high; eternal life or eternal death.  The apostle Paul said, “To be absent from the body (for the believer), is to be present with the Lord.”  Eternal life starts when one trusts Jesus Christ and His merit alone as one’s only hope of salvation.  Eternal death is referred to in Scripture as eternal damnation or everlasting punishment.  

Something that is eternal does not start and stop, it never ends.  If one leaves this life without security in Christ alone, there is no hope according to the Scriptures.

Do you really believe this?  Have you warned anyone?  Have you warned your family, your friends, your neighbors, the people you rub shoulders with every day?  Do you live in such a way, that your life gives credibility to the message?  When a person truly believes something, it will show up in his or her life.

In Luke chapter 16 there is an account that Christ gave about the rich man and Lazarus.  Just before He gave this account, Christ addressed the Pharisees as follows: “For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”  

In accord with their keeping up of appearances, the Pharisees most likely regarded the rich man as blessed of God.  The plight of Lazarus as the down and out beggar surely disgusted them.  He was a sinner and God was his judge.

The rich man fared well, dressed well and ate well.  Lazarus laid at his gate desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.  Moreover, it says, the dogs came and licked his sores.

 Lazarus died and went to heaven (Abraham’s bosom) while the rich man also died and was buried.  “And being in torments in Hades (hell), he lifted up his eyes……..then he cried and said…..send Lazarus that he may dip his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” 

Abraham replied; “…..between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.”   

The rich man then asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house, because he has five brothers; “…that he, Lazarus, may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.”

Abraham replied; “they have Moses and the prophets (Scripture); let them hear them.” 

The rich man countered; ”…but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” 

To which Abraham gave this final answer; “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets (Scripture), neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”

So what are you waiting for; a sign, some miracle, a voice from heaven?………..Why not just read the Bible?

“For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

A Substitute

When it was discovered that our daughter had a mass in her chest that needed to be removed, I wanted to do for her what I think most parents would want to do for their child; I wanted to take her place.  I asked God for this.

Perhaps you may be thinking that this would be impossible.  I guess that would depend on who you worship.  I worship the living God; He who spoke the universe into existence and who holds it together by the word of His power.  

With man, such a request would be impossible but with God nothing is impossible.  All He had to do was to will it so, or to speak the word and it would be so.

I remember the day before our daughter’s surgery, consciously breathing in measured breaths to see if her symptoms were now mine.  On the day of her surgery there came a point where I realized that God was saying “no” to my request.  

This would be our daughter’s burden to bear. This would be her suffering to endure.  This is what God was going to use to continue the work in her life that He had begun when she became a Christian.

There has only been one other time in my life, that I can remember, when I prayed this way for someone.  The other individual, however, was not a believer.  He was terminally ill.  

I was willing to take his place if it would have allowed him more time to make things right with God.  I am saved.  I know that I have eternal life. The only thing better than death for a believer is the Rapture.

The apostle Paul said, For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; Romans 9:3&4.  

While I have a burden for the lost or unbelievers, I have not been able to say, as Paul did, that I could wish myself accursed on their behalf.  I have a long way to go in my spiritual growth.

I do, however, know the One who actually did that for us.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. I Corinthians 5:21.  

Jesus Christ took upon Himself the curse of our sin, paying our sin penalty and redeeming us, who believe, from the curse of the law. He took my place.  Will you accept that He took your place too? Will you accept God’s provision for your sin?

He was buried and rose again from the dead triumphant, offering salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life to all who would believe on Him and His merit alone for salvation.

The Lord’s love for us makes it possible for believers to intercede on the behalf of unbelievers and in so doing, become more like Him.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8.

What Does This Mean?

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; “

“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”

“Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:”

“For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.” I Timothy 4:1-6

What If?

When our daughter was diagnosed with a mass in her chest in May (see blog dated 7-14-15), the initial prognosis was not encouraging. She and our son-in-law are the parents of two small children.  

We were crushed by the news……what if they can’t…?  What exactly is this mass…..what if it’s….?  This condition is extremely rare….what if it is not…?  How much damage has been done….what if she is….?  Will they be able to remove the mass…..what if they….?  Will she be able to resume a normal life……what if she….?

As you can see, the “what ifs” were killing us but these “what ifs” were really just speculation founded upon fear .  We had to overcome the “what ifs” and our fears in order to get through this.  

We overcame the “what ifs” by permitting ourselves only to be concerned with definite/concrete information.  Definite/concrete information is information that we know to be true at this very moment, not information that we fear maybe true.  

For instance, we did not know whether or not the mass was cancerous.  The biopsy was inconclusive.  Rather than fearing the worst, we could not allow ourselves to worry about “what if it is cancer?”  Until it was an established fact, we would be “anxious for nothing”.

There were unspoken fears about whether or not she would survive the operation and about what quality of life she would have if she did survive.  There were unspoken fears about the grandchildren not having a mother and about how our son-in-law would survive and raise two babies if she did not survive.  

Each of these fears was based upon uncertainty.  These speculations or fears were situations that did not exist at that very moment.  They were not real at that given time.

We could not allow ourselves to speculate.  We simply had to acknowledge that this was not a surprise to God, that He was in control, and that He would take us through it one day at a time………..and He is doing exactly that. 

Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,…think on these things.  Philippians 4:6-8