Maybe you've heard the old saying, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." There's a lot of truth in that which we see displayed around us almost every day!
Please allow us to expand just a little on this subject of TRUTH.
Have you ever had the experience of being deliberately lied to by someone? A rhetorical question; all of us have probably had that experience. And depending on who did the lying, it's often a very upsetting experience. When someone you know well tells you a lie, you have to ask yourself, "Just how well DO I REALLY KNOW THIS PERSON?" Maybe you yourself have been caught in a lie. That's also a very upsetting experience, both for you and for the person who found you are no longer trustworthy. Today we have our media lying to us; businesses big and small lying outright about their products or trying to hide facts they don't want us to know; and many of our elected government officials telling us whatever they think will further the agenda they wanted to get elected to promote.
One of the things I love about Christian ministry is the fact that it is based on absolute truth. Lots of people have said, "The Bible was written so long ago, and by so many different people, and then translated into English and many other languages...how can we possibly know that what we have today is really true and accurate?"
Back in 1947 in Israel there was a stupendous discovery which has become even more stupendous with the passing of time. You have perhaps heard of the "Dead Sea Scrolls," called that because they were found near the northwestern coast of the Dead Sea in Israel. The discovery of these scrolls was accidental, but that makes them no less important. The scrolls (rolled parchment or papyrus hand-written documents) include complete or partial texts from all of the Old Testament books except one. They date from perhaps two centuries before the birth of Christ to about a hundred years after that date. Most important, they confirm for us that we do indeed have accurate translations today of the original Hebrew and Aramaic texts.
We find statements in Scripture like "God is not a man that He should lie." Jesus Himself said when praying to His Father, "Sanctify them [speaking of His disciples] in the truth; Your word is truth." Then He said, "For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth." (The word "sanctify" simply means "to make holy; to set apart as sacred; to consecrate.")
(Don't you wish you knew a few people today who were "sanctified in truth"?)
There is another Bible verse which says "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof (rebuke), for correction, for training in righteousness."
The Bible can be true, or it can be false. It can be ONLY one or the other; it cannot be both. People have been trying for many centuries to find fault with Scripture, to prove that it contains false statements or misleading errors. They are still trying today. But no one has ever succeeded in showing that the words God said were "inspired" by Him are not the absolute truth. (In fact, the opposite is true: Continued archeology in Israel produces concrete evidence that references to people and places in Scripture are accurate.)
If the Bible is true, then God is real, Jesus is precisely who He claimed to be, and the Holy Spirit is the single most important influencing factor in this life that we can rely on. Oh, yes...and hell is real too.
We know at this point that God will never lie. The Bible even tells us He cannot lie. Therefore, when He tells us that everything in the Bible is "truth" and was "inspired by God," we can be assured that God gave us a book we can trust -- and trust with our lives if necessary. And when the Bible tells us we are created "in the image of God," we need to understand how spectacular a creation we are! (We are created with a soul which will enable us to live forever when God Himself bestows eternal life upon us; we are created with a soul which is eternal and which is where our true identity resides; and we are able to relate to God because we are spiritual and He is a Spirit.)
But there is another way we can arrive at that same conclusion to trust the Bible and understand its truth. The Bible is a book that's chock-full of prophecy. Prophets were people who were inspired by God to say what He told them to say, and what the prophets said and recorded in writing is called prophecy. Prophecy can be verified (proven) with the passage of time. (You can think of prophecy as history written in advance.)
Let's consider a Bible prophecy concerning the nation of Israel. Modern Israel declared its status as an independent nation on May 14, 1948. The Bible records a prophetic proclamation made in 537 BC, over 2,500 years earlier, which declared that Israel would not become an independent nation again until it had fulfilled God's time of punishment for turning away from Him. God's assigned timetable was fulfilled and the prophecy was proven accurate to that very day in 1948!
Here's what God says about Himself through the prophet Isaiah:
"I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,
declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things
that are not yet done, saying 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all
My pleasure.' When I have spoken it, I will bring it to pass. When I
purpose it, I will also do it. My salvation shall not delay."
(from Isaiah ch. 46)
ALL THROUGH HISTORY, mankind has been guilty of turning away from God and rejecting Him. God has been telling us right from the beginning what we should do to enjoy not only the best kind of life on this earth, but also the most satisfying relationship with Him. Our response? "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25) In effect, we said "Thanks, God, we sure appreciate Your concern, but we're here, and You're way up there, so we've got this. We can handle it. Our way will work just fine." But our way has never worked just fine. Look at the level of evil in the world around us. Does this world look like we're even remotely able to handle things on our own without guidance from God? Throughout the Bible, a loving God has told us "Please...I created you and the world you're living in. I know best, I really do. Try living my way. I know you'll be much happier."
Rejecting God is the ultimate in foolishness and stress. (Trying to live without God always leads to the S-word...SIN.) The first murder occurred only four chapters from "In the beginning," way back in the book of Genesis. Mankind has been trying for centuries to become truly expert in sinfulness. The Bible tells us we have "learned how to do evil with both hands." God is indeed a God of love, but He is also a God of justice...and His justice requires consequences. It's no different in our own legal system, where disobeying the law will require payment of a fine, or worse. God asked His Son to pay our fine, and He was willing to do that, paying with His own life.
God is not the stern grandfather figure some of us picture Him to be. (He doesn't age, because the Bible tells us that he does not change. If you were God and loved your creation enough to create it in the first place and then redeem it when it became so corrupt and sinful that it could not be saved except by the sacrifice of a perfect being, would you choose to exist as a aged grandfather?) The Creator of Life exists as a supremely powerful Source of Life. More than anything else, God is a Being who loves. The Bible says "God is love." A God who radiates love. He proved that when Jesus went to the cross to redeem us from our sinful ways and show us the path to follow to join Him in Heaven.
Many people ask themselves, "Why is there so much evil in the world? Why doesn't this God who loves us so much just get rid of all the evil?" Back when everything was "in the beginning," there was no evil. None. But when God said to the First Couple, "don't eat from that tree over there," they were persuaded that He didn't really mean that, and they disobeyed. The snake, who was really the devil doing what he does best (hiding in plain sight), had adopted the mission of trying to force God off His throne so he, the devil, could take over. He has been opposing God ever since. But what we have to understand is that God, who really DOES love us so much, wants a love from us that is real and authentic. The only way to make sure our love for Him is real and authentic is to also offer us an alternative: We can choose NOT to love Him and to reject His gift of eternal life. When we have a choice to love God or not to love Him, both choices have to be real. And it was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the tree God told us not to eat from, which provided the authenticity and opened the door to evil. (Side note: Even when He created us, God knew we would disobey Him. But He also had already decided on His plan of redemption.) Once you become familiar with the Bible, you will understand in absolute black-and-white terms that God is very good and the devil is very NOT good. (There is quite a lot of "absolute black and white" in the Bible.)
Remember what Jesus said when He was speaking with His disciples: "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." (John 14:9) In other words, "If you want to know what God is like, just get to know Me." And the best way to get to know Jesus is by knowing what the Bible says about Him. (Which is precisely why God went to all the trouble to put that wonderful book in our hands!) When the Bible tells us "Those who belong to God hear what God says," (John 8:47) you should take that literally...and then make sure you are one of those who belong to God!
People in the medical profession, especially those connected with hospice services, will always, when pressed, tell you some of their experiences with people who they witness transitioning from this life to the next. Remember, not everyone who leaves this life is going to be happy with the continuation of existence that awaits "on the other side." According to the Bible, "broad is the way that leads to destruction." When you've seen lots and lots of people die with an expression of complete surprise and horror on their faces (compared to the number of those dying with broad smiles and radiant joy expressed on their faces), you begin to understand that what awaits us is a pretty stark choice between an eternity that is either wonderful or woeful. Among other things, we are trying with the PPM.world website to make it as easy as possible for you to make an informed decision about how you want to live this life and where you want to be in the next. (Be sure to click below on the small graphic which says GETTING TO KNOW GOD. This will open for you a three-page article which you can -- and should -- print, read, and share with those you love.)
Also click below on the WHOFIRST logo to access lots more information from our ministry website.