If God isn’t Real, will you still try to be Good?

The Bible tells me to be good and Holy. But what if I don’t believe in God, will I still try to be good?

If I don’t believe in God I can have several reasons to be a good person:

One, being good is good enough in itself. However, I know from experience and from observing many people from different cultures that being good is impossible. Don’t misunderstand me, a person can do good acts, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that such a person is good. For sure, that person will fall short soon in many areas of life. I am not aiming for perfection, but being good means being consistent in his good ways.

Two, being good is great even without its rewards. To be a good person selflessly is a very good thought. However, again this is false. Being good basically means embracing suffering and pain. If suffering and pain are the only things you will get from trying to be good, then why pursue it? No way, if there’s no reward! Looking for a reward is a source of hope in the times of sufferings!

Third, being good attracts good relationships. Love begets love, and this is great incentive. However, even the most satisfying human relationships will never satisfy a human heart. This has been proven again and again. Our hearts is designed for something bigger.

What then, now? Being good is good only if there’s God who is living, loving, and Himself quite Good, or Holy. And that Only God has a Name, His Name is Jehovah, or Yahweh, or Jesus.

Going back to the reasons above, only God can meet the challenges for us to be good:

One, only God can give a person a good heart. The human heart is so corrupt only God can change it.

Genesis 6:5 (KJV) And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jeremiah 31:33 (KJV) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

So, without God, it is impossible for a person to be good. Very imposible

Two, God gives eternal rewards to those who try to be good. It is God’s Character to reward. And these rewards do not negate the virtue of good deeds, but rather validate their goodness before God, indicating that God values goodness highly.

Ruth 2:12 (KJV) The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

Psalms 18:20 (KJV) The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (KJV) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Third, only a relationship with God a man can be satisfied. Human relationships will never be enough, only in God there’s lasting happiness and peace.

Psalms 27:9-10 (KJV) Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Psalms 16:11 (KJV) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

I affirm therefore with the Apostle Paul that if I do not hope in anything else in the after life for doing good and for being righteous, then I am to be pitied most among all else.

1 Corinthians 15:17-20 (KJV) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

So, I try to live a pleasing life to God because I have this hope of being resurrected and being totally one in Christ Jesus. Amen, Lord Jesus, come quickly!

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Does Satan Work for God?

Does the Devil work for God? Short Answer: No. Long Answer that will require explanation: Yes.

The Devil does not work for God in the sense that the Devil hates to do so; he sees God as an enemy so his plans and actions are motivated to destroy or thwart or at least delay God’s plans and purposes.

However, because God is in control and accomplishes His purposes and that includes overruling the Devil’s actions, indirectly the Devil serves or works for God. To be a little more technically accurate, the Devil is a tool that is being used by God to accomplish His purposes.

Let us take the greatest ‘murder’ in all of human history as an example. (I put quotation marks for murder because it was not a murder after all, for Jesus voluntarily gave His life – John 10:11–15). And that is the Death of Jesus.

Who killed Jesus? The Jews? Pontius Pilate? Satan? The Pharisees? Well, they all had their part in killing Jesus, so partially they all did kill Jesus, they contributed to His physical earthly death.

However, it was God Himself who killed Jesus. It all started when God spoke of it in the Garden of Eden:

Genesis 3:15 (KJV) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

That Scripture tells us that it was God who dictated what will surely happen in the future at the Cross: The Messiah would physically die as an Offering to God for man’s salvation, and thru that death Satan would be permanently defeated. That’s it. God ordained the death of His Son and the Son agrees to the plan of the Father:

John 10:11, 15, 17-18 (KJV) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Those Scriptures tell us plainly that it was not Satan who took away Jesus’s life – but it was the plan of the Father and the Son for the Messiah to be killed. It might seem brutal to us, but it was the Father who killed the Son. Again, another Scripture:

Acts 2:23-24 (KJV) Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

So, in that incident, it was God’s plan to offer the Messiah as the perfect Lamb who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and the Jewish leaders and the unbelieving Jews and Satan took their respective parts in fulfilling it. So indirectly, the Devil did work for God.

Another example is the popular suffering of Job. Satan wanted to destroy the faith and devotion of Job to God, yet God wanted to strengthen Job’s faith and to show to Satan that Job loves God above all else, not because He is blessing Job. So again Satan was just a tool.

The more the Devil rebel against God, the more of God’s Justice and Holy Wrath will be magnified; the more people sin, the more God’s Grace of Forgiveness and God’s Righteous Judgement will be glorified.

Everything has been directed by God, and in the End everything and everyone will have their respective places as determined by God as revealed in the Bible.

I am God

This is a Poem I wrote many years ago after a prayerful reflection on the Attributes and Characteristics of God especially from the Old Testament.

I Am God
And there is none like Me.
In Class and Perfection
I stand apart, I have all the Glory.
My very being is above everything,
My transcendence makes you nothing.

I Am God
And My life extends beyond all time.
I consider your eighty years of life
As a tiny speck of dust
Compared to my no-beginning
And no-end of eternity.

I Am God
And everything owes its existence to Me.
I Am the Only Being in the universe
Whose existence is not caused by outside force.
For from the abundance of Life from Myself
Came out everything your eyes can see.

I Am God
And my Infinite Mind contains
All wisdom and the facts of reality.
In My mind are all the events of eternity,
I know everything so how can you think
That you can counsel me?

I Am God
And I Am sovereign over all.
None can stay My hand
From accomplishing My pleasure.
You may be surprised at the
Unfolding of events, but none
Of reality is strange to Me
For everything comes from My Sovereign Decree.

I Am God
And My Holiness is unapproachable.
Though you are created in My image,
You made yourself sinful and corrupt,
There is no way you can
Come close to My Pure Light.
I Am God
And I Am joyous all throughout My life.
I may get angry over sin
And anguish on the innocent’s suffering,
But all is in My control
I can do what will make Me happy.

I Am God
And I have the biggest heart of all,
For I Am the Author and Being of Love.
In all your power
You have rebelled against Me,
But in My Love and Infinite Mind
I devised a Plan so
That to you I can draw near.

I Am God
And though you trampled on My Glory
By repeatedly sinning against Me,
Remember that I Am God
There is no stopping Me
If I choose to reach out to you,
And take you home with Me.

I Am God
And I don’t expect you to
Understand this Great Mystery:
That among all I chose My Son
To suffer and die on your behalf,
So that My Holiness and Love
Could find a way in your life.

I Am God
And all the Glory is Mine.
Though Glorious that I Am,
And little that you are,
I make My Fullness spill
-over to you
As My heart aims to satisfy.
Come, see My Glory, be satisfied.

The Generosity of God

Many people question the Generosity of God. In reality, God is the most generous Person of all. The giver of life, the Creator of everything, the One who lets the Sun shine on both the righteous and the wicked, etc.

But why do people question the generosity of God?

  1. They don’t know the character of God. God freely gives, but it is His character to withhold sometimes what we ask for – maybe often. We really cannot understand His ways, and often we ask amis of His purposes. Very few people know how to ask from God. An immature person would ask, “Give me this, that…” A mature person prays, “Let Your will be done.”
  2. People are naturally selfish and narrow-sighted. We don’t see as God sees. And, people are impatient.
  3. God has His own timetable in accomplishing His purposes.
  4. We are not thankful nor grateful enough. God has already given us so much – 2000 years ago via the death of His Son – and daily, He still showers us with His blessings. It is just that we don’t thank Him enough.

Christians seem to not receive God’s unconditional love after Salvation

I have been asked in Quora if Christians are not receiving God’s unconditional love. For him, it just seems so.

Well, from the Bible attested by personal experiences, here’s what I could say.

First, straight from the Bible, Christians or the children of God are receivers of God’s unconditional love. This is evident from Ephesians 1, Romans 5:8, and many others.

However, to say that they seem to not receive that is purely based on observable experience that is misinterpreted or not correctly understood according to the Scriptures.

  1. We misinterpret the nature of God’s Love. God’s love includes giving pain in many forms. It could be from a hard lesson, a test of faith, rebuke or discipline. If you are loved dearly by God, expect dearly that time to time God will intentionally hurt you, but not to destroy you (like what Satan does) but to build you up, mold your character, and bring Glory to His Name.
  2. We do not understand God’s long-term purposes. We humans are basically narrow-minded and short-sighted creations. We do not see as God sees. When Jesus was about to undergo pain and was in pain, many of His followers could not understand it. The Father hurting His Son? In Acts it is said that it was the Father’s will to hurt Him and to kill Him (not of Satan’s). But in the end, it was necessary to exalt both the Father and the Son (Philippians 2:5–10).

Idols of the Heart

This is the second letter I have written for my friends in the worship ministry. This letter is also applicable for the Christians especially those in any form of ministry. You could read the first letter as a preceding post below.

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My child,

In my first letter I have tried to put emphasis that Christians today should seek God with all of their hearts. By doing this we will get to know His ideals and we will discover that much of what we are doing as Christians and as the Church fall short of His standards. By seeking God with all of our hearts we are empowered to do things that will bring restoration to true worship and service. I also said that we do not experience God enough because we do not seek Him fully. Often, we do not experience God at all.

Now, why is it that we do not seek God with our full heart? One main reason why it becomes naturally hard for us to seek God fully is because the Christian heart today is full of idols. Going back to the Old Testament when Moses gave the Ten Commandments, it is very clear from the first two commandments (Exo. 20:3-6) the two great truths:

  1. God demands our full worship (honoring, loving, and serving Him).
  2. Worshiping God fully means not having idols, for God is a jealous God.

God will not rule in a heart that is full of idols. God could not get the honor and worship that He deserves from the heart that ‘has other false smaller gods.’  And the sad truth is, the heart that is full of idols will naturally not be able to seek God fully, nor will it desire to seek God. The heart that is full of idols is far from God and cannot draw close to Him.

From the beginning, God demands the worship of His covenant people, Israel, and that extends to the Church today. We may not have literal carved idols in our homes, but we have lots of idols and false altars for the worship of these false gods in our hearts. A Christian that has idols in the heart will only sing worship songs from his lips, but never from his heart. (Matt. 15:8) A congregation or Church who sings only from the lips because the heart is far from God is an insult and abomination to God. It could never bless God, and it will never bless the worshiper.

The Church, especially the youth, is a victim of these idols taking various forms. These idols take many forms and are all around us. They are made available and attractive so they could easily be patronized, and now they are idols that are worshiped and served in our hearts. Too often we are easily swayed by the fads and trends of this world. There are gadgets that take us instantly to the online world. We ‘point and click’ too easily without considering our motives and its effects on our spiritual health. I agree very much with worship leader Kari Jobe when she sung the song ‘Heart of Worship.’ She admonished the Church to look onto their hearts for idols; she told that our gadgets and the apps in it are taking us away from God strong and fast before we realize it.

Paul was so sincere and solid when he said that whether we drink or eat, or whatever we do, we must do it for the Glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). To Paul the glory of God is the basic consideration for all of the things that we do. If eating this or that will cause others to stumble, which will dishonor God, then we should not do it. We should take and heed the counsel. If clicking this will draw myself or others away from God, then I should not do it.

Social Networking sites (Facebook, MySpace) are not all about ‘being social,’ often, they are about the very big ‘self.’ What is so bad about the ‘self?’ Aren’t we commanded that we should love others as we love ourselves? (Matt. 22:39) Loving the self in this context means caring for the self for its basic needs: food, clothing, and shelter. It also denotes the idea of respect and forgiveness. But, it will never mean being vain (vanity), or too much appreciation of the self, or thinking and believing that we are too likable compared to others.

A large number of “likes” boosts our ego and self-worth, and it makes us feel good and worthy. We post our best shots, and be careful to make sure that we look nice, strong, powerful, and pretty. I have observed, and many have confirmed, that these social networking sites make us live in a virtual world where we make the big self as beautiful, powerful, and attractive as much as possible – often trying to hide or mask out the real weaknesses inside. Try and search Google and even psychologists who are not Christians observe the same things in their studies. One study even mentioned that many Facebook users feel unhappy and discontented as they see other Facebook users who look like living happier lives, and envy is produced in their hearts as a result. See, it is all about the self. In fact, it is the worship of the self.

This vanity connects much to the heart of the devil. The basic definition of Satanism, according to the Church of Satan is “the worship of the self,” or, “the love of the self.” It is honoring and loving the self outside the bounds of Biblical principles.

This is confirmed by the first temptation to man used by the devil that is recorded in the Bible. Eating the forbidden fruit will cause man to be like God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5). The sin of pride, the sin of egocentrism. The sin of desiring the self to be exalted. Now this sin is offered not by giving us the forbidden fruit, but by allowing us the free use of the internet (social networking sites and others) wherein we can expose the beautiful and attractive big self. These privileges that the internet is giving us are really opportunities to exalt the self and promote the self to others. It is a cult of self-worship.

We could say a lot more about the bad effects of being addicted to social networking sites (less time for real people, lost of real communication to the family and friends, a cold home, wasted time, broken relationships, gossips, etc.) but the focus here is the idolatry of the heart in connection with vanity.

I am not saying that using social networking is evil, I am just presenting the fact that sometimes, much of what we do in social networking are drawing us away from God — and most of the time, unknown to us – one of the subtle evils of our information-saturated world. The sad truth is that even the Christians are caught in this trap. The worse truth is that they are not willing to admit it. Why? For some reasons:

  1. It can’t be wrong because it brings us pleasure.
  2. It can’t be wrong because I also do spiritual things in social networking.
  3. It can’t be wrong because I get accustomed to it and it feels right.
  4. It can’t be wrong because almost all Christians are doing the same thing.

I am not also saying that everything that we do in Facebook is necessarily evil. We could post healthy memories like family reunions, church activities, prayer requests and devotions. But remember: even the best of motives could be corrupted by the devil. Sometimes even the ministry could be idolized, showing a wrong motive behind pursuing the ministry. For example, we intentionally post great pictures of the ministry for boasting about ‘self-accomplishments,’ rather than glorifying God. Or maybe we post good things just to hide the filth inside, or trying to show others that we have better ministries. We should always examine our hearts for its real intentions and motives.

We should strive to be discerning in all our actions. We should be filled with the Holy Spirit and be knowledgeable in His written Word so we could tell what is right from what is wrong even in small things. I know of some Christians who choose not to have a Facebook account for the sake of purity and deep spirituality. They have known the wiles of the devil in these attractive modern things of life.

Social networking is just one of the many things that create idols in the hearts of the Christian youth. More could be said about secular movies, TV personalities, clothes, accessories and fads, etc. Have we not realized until now that cheering out loud for celebrities is in fact a very subtle form of praising men and women? Have we not considered the fact that getting hooked in love/romantic movies is a way of agreeing to the shallow love presented by the fallen world which is very far from the godly love exemplified by Jesus and some Bible characters?

Idols are very subtle and dangerous. Often, they are the good things of this life (career, possessions, girlfriend, books, ideas, dreams, in fact so many common things) that are valued and loved beyond what is appropriate. Yes, an idol is anything that is valued and loved and sought for beyond what is appropriate, and as a result it draws us away from God. It makes our love for God run cold.

That is why it is very hard to find nowadays a powerful Christian: A Christian who is an effective witness to the Lord, a Christian whose prayers are answered, a Christian whose motives are pure, a Christian whose ministry is fruitful. It is quite hard to find a powerful Christian today and one reason is because the typical Christian heart is full of idols.

The idols of the heart are the things that brings us satisfaction and pleasure. This issue is never new, it has been the problem of God’s people since the beginning. The greatest sin of all Israel from the Old Testament is idolatry. The only difference is that Israel’s idols were actual and literal figure-idols. Now our idols are in our hearts.

Yet the common thing is that all of these idols bring us pleasure, satisfaction, and joy. Jeremiah 2 is one good exposition of this. In the context Jeremiah was just starting out his public ministry and God has revealed to His prophet the gist or the core of His heart: it tells that Israel has forsaken the true fountain of pleasure (God) in exchange for the things (idols) that they thought would give them pleasure:

(Jer 2:13) for my people have committed two evils: (1) they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, (2) and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

I have found a very good prayer that could help any Christian in the renunciation (giving up or surrendering) of all idols and past/present sins. It includes a prayer of recommitment to God. The prayer is three pages long but is complete. You can download the prayer here: http://www.delvecchio.org/OTROSTEMAS/Estudios/pdf/prayer_of_renunciation_and_reconciliation.pdf

I testify from my experience that a prayer of renunciation is very effective when prayed with a sincere heart with faith in God’s promises of deliverance. I was freed from my idols after I finished praying audibly.

May God show and radiate His Holiness to His Church. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Bro. Francis S. Hernandez

 

Just Continue Hoping

If I were to ask you something that would reveal the weakness of your human heart, would you still dare to admit it?

This early afternoon we held again our Bible Study at the BSEd building. To be honest, my heart was not ready, and I have not prepared something to share. It is because I am experiencing spiritual flaws and I thought we would not have the Bible Study that afternoon because we were supposed to have our Science Elect class.

I shared about hoping in prayer – despite of the fact that as Christians we are suffering from spiritual lapses.

Could we still hope and pray boldly? Could we still ask for the most wonderful things even if we know in our hearts that we are not pleasing Him?

Yes, the Bible tells so. Psalm 50:15 tells of the heart of God that pleases to answer prayers. Of course sin is always an obstacle against our prayers, as Isaiah 59:2 says. But, crying out to God to get us out of sin that entangles us is something that God would surely answer – God would love to rescue us from sin.

We will continue to hope and ask desperately for God. We are weak. If we were strong, why should we put our hope in God?