Archive for June, 2009

Anger: How to learn to control it![1]

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Kathy[2] went bananas with anger when she told her 13-year-old, Danny, for the umpteenth time (well, the 5th time) to pick up his clothes on the floor of his bedroom and to make his bed. When he hadn’t done it at the 5th nag, she screamed her head off at him – with a few added swear words. Danny gave her the finger and swore back at her several times. This got into a screaming match with accusations flying back and forth.

How can Kathy learn to control her anger so that there is at least a reasonable relationship with Danny and he picks up his clothes and makes the bed without a rage from Kathy? Kathy needs to learn that she makes herself angry, Danny does not make her angry, stinkin’ thinkin’ is the cause of Kathy’s anger and she can change her self-talk and thus control her anger.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself in this explanation of anger management.

To control your anger, you need to get rid of the idea that many have been taught throughout their lives – that other people make you angry. Let’s get it straight! YOU cause your own anger. If you don’t believe that, please read further. If you did not think catastrophic thoughts you would not make yourself angry. It’s that simple to explain, but it takes effort and discipline to change it – but it is not all that difficult.

Let’s do an exercise to see if this is really the case.

1. Make yourself happy. How did you do that?[3]

2. Now, immediately make yourself sad. Tell me how to do that!

3. Now, change your mood by making yourself feel angry. What would you tell somebody else to help make him/her angry?

4. Make yourself contented. Teach me how you made yourself calm.

Notice what you can do. You can move from feeling happy, to feeling sad, to feeling angry, to

feeling calm, by the way you think about life. The principle is:

As you think, you feel, you act.

The key to changing your anger is to change the way to think about events. This is not a mind-control technique, but learning to control your anger by the way you think about life. Change your stinkin’ thinkin’ (irrational self-talk) and you will learn to control your anger. It works. Nobody makes you angry. You make yourself angry.

But there are a few myths we need to uncover before we get into the real thing of teaching you to control your own anger.

I. Shattering myths about anger[4]

Myth No. 1: People always learn from their experiences.

If this is true, why do parents of teens come for counselling? Johnny may have been disobedient, acting out, taking drugs, abusing teachers, for years, but the parents continue to scream back at him, ground him for months, and he still keeps doing it.

Myth No. 2: Old habits always require long periods of time to change.

If you have been in counselling for years and have seen no remarkable change, I’d recommend you quit such counselling. This approach to controlling anger is simple, effective and quick for many people – if you will put the principles into practice every day.

Myth No. 3: You cannot be calm & undisturbed in a stressful environment.

Julie was living with a very difficult defacto partner, Peter. She thought it was impossible to live a normal life with him. She failed to realise that Julie made Julie disturbed and that Julie could make Julie undisturbed if she would put into place some fundamental principles. Peter had done many things over the years and Julie became frustrated. But Peter never disturbed Julie. She did that herself.

Myth No. 4: Everyone has a breaking point.

That might be the case if you get cane trash pushed under your fingernails, but for most situations there is generally no breaking point. Some people can endure crisis after crisis in a week and not fall in a heap or go into an obnoxious rage.

Myth No. 5: Anger cannot be prevented, it can only be suppressed.

You can learn to prevent anger if you engage in correct self-talk. Another way to put it is: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”[5] This is not pretending not to be angry, but changing your thinking so that you control your anger. No matter what the issue or the person, it is possible to forgive your son who does outrageous things and stop getting angry.

Myth No. 6: Fight fire with fire.

Max stood up to his son, Brian, eye-to-eye, nose-to-nose, every time Brian swore at him. This had been going on since he was 12. He’s now 17. How long does it take for Dad to realise that fighting fire with fire doesn’t work?

Myth No. 7: Both parents and teens must be seen in counselling with a rebellious teen.

Many parents struggling with youth problems in the family, think that the teens need to be fixed and parents need not be involved. Parents can be seen alone; youth can be counselled solo. However, it would be desirable to have both parents and youth working together on the change process, but parents alone or youth alone can begin the change process – as long as they want to change.

Myth No. 8: The “real reasons” behind a problem – the hidden causes from childhood – must

be understood before personality changes can be made.

In most circumstances, it is not necessary to delve into a person’s past. What is important is to show how, for example, Dad is getting himself worked up today, with this teenager, over this issue!

If you are interested in preventing your anger, learning how to cool down, and giving up blaming others for your anger – READ ON!

II. Anger can be harmful [6]

A. Anger almost always increases your frustrations.

B. Getting angry prevents your solving problems.

C. You are a poor example of mental health.

D. Anger can make you physically sick.

E. Anger is the greatest single cause for divorce.

F. Anger can be responsible for one of the most depraved of human behaviours – child abuse.

III. The sequence of how you make yourself angry[7]

From beginning to end, there are either 5 or 6 steps in getting angry. If you end the sequence merely feeling angry and wanting to kill someone, you will stop at step 5. If you wind up punishing rather than penalising someone, you’ve gone all the way to the 6th and the final step.

Step 1: “I want something.”
Step 2: “I didn’t get what I wanted and I’m frustrated.”

What you do with this frustration is extremely important in determining the direction your emotions will take. Step 3 is probably the first point at which you can begin to react in a bad way.[8]

Step 3: “It is awful and terrible not to get what I want and not to be treated as a person.”

If you define your frustration as a catastrophe, you’ve had it. Depending on what you tell yourself about your frustrations, you can develop several problems such as depression, anxiety or anger. The hateful emotional reactions of anger, rage, revenge and spitefulness are produced by the sentences you tell yourself (your self-talk). Briefly, they are:

(a) I must have my way and it is awful not to get everything I want, and

(b) You are wicked for frustrating me and you deserve to be punished.

If you follow step 4, it mostly leads specifically to anger.

Step 4: “You shouldn’t frustrate me! I must have my way.”

At this point you have changed the wish into a demand.

Step 5: “You’re bad for frustrating me.”

You have made the unfortunate evaluation that someone was bad because he or she frustrated you. His/her actions might be objectionable, but that never means you are compelled to reject the person because you reject the behaviour.

Step 6: “Bad people ought to be punished.”

These 6 steps are easily condensed into only two steps:

(1) I want my own way, and

(2) I must, therefore, have it.

IV. How do you learn to control your anger?

A. Quit making things BIGGER than BIG in your mind[9]

Most of us can make BIG things out of LITTLE things. “The next time you get upset over positively anything ask yourself as soon as possible thereafter, and preferably before you get upset, if you aren’t really being only annoyed rather than tortured.” Could it be that you are experiencing “only a sad event rather than a tragic event”? Is it possible to “live through the frustration without it killing you”? If it is only annoying instead of being like the end of the world, you will suffer from annoyances and disappointments. BUT if you “think you’re suffering catastrophes, earth-shattering events, and deadly issues,” you will make yourself angry.[10]

This gets to the core of how to control your anger. Most events are not like the end of the world (catastrophic). Most things in our lives are not as serious as we think they are. Even those that are serious can be made worse by making ourselves upset over them.

So, how do we control anger? We need to practice this way of thinking:

1. Frustrations are not disturbances.

“A frustration is the condition of wanting something and not getting it, or not wanting something and having it forced on you.”[11] Even if somebody does something aggressive towards you or treats you like a nerd, you may become frustrated but you do not need to become disturbed (angry) by it. How come?

2. Most frustrations are quite tolerable

Here’s the challenge to control your anger. Learn to see less events in your life as frustrations.

Or, learn to see your frustrations as not as serious as you think they are. If you could do this, you would learn to control your anger. To do this, you will need to evaluate your frustrations and think more carefully about them than you have in the past. For example:

  • If somebody never loved you dearly, you would not die.
  • Being rejected is not the end of the world.
  • If your children leave clothes, books and toys all over their rooms, it is not a catastrophic frustration but a challenge to find a way to encourage them to tidy the room.
  • A person cutting you off in traffic is not reason to shout a string of swear words.

Even if frustrations are severe, there is no reason for them to lead to an outburst of anger, unless you choose for that to happen.

3. Why distinguish between frustrations [annoyances] and catastrophes?

This is to help you to control your anger. Here’s the issue:

“If you think that what is happening to you is going to kill you, then you surely aren’t going to sit still and let people run all over you. But if you do not think something is the end of the world, you’re going to take it calmly and not get angry over it.”[12]

Here’s how it happens. You make yourself angry when you say that things are awful in your thinking. When you make catastrophes out of frustrations, you will make yourself angry. It is not the end of the world to be treated unfairly by your teenager or mother. Prove to yourself and to me that it is absolutely terrible! If she accuses you of being a bitch, please show me how that must hurt you!

If you think, “What a b-b-so-and-so my mother is when she doesn’t allow me to do that, you will become angry because you are making it sound like a catastrophe in your thinking. Once you think something is horrible or unbearable, you will make yourself angry – even very angry.

4. Anger can cover up your fear.

Some angry people have fears of failure or fears of being inadequate, so they cover up with anger.

5. Do you ever have to have your own way?

a. Anger says, “I don’t deserve this kind of treatment, so it must stop immediately.”

Whenever your self-talk is saying something must or must not, should or should not be done or happen, you will most likely be building up a steam of anger. “This is an imperfect world and sometimes it stinks, so you’d better get used to the smell.”[13]

b. If you are ever to learn self-control of your anger, you need to understand these basic principles:

(1) There is no law against your being treated in a wrong way.[14]

(2) It is uncomfortable when you are treated unfairly by anybody, but it is not catastrophic (like the end of the world).

(3) If somebody treats you unfairly, there’s no point in labelling that person as wicked. That person simply does unfair things.

(4) If you try to punish severely that person, it does not help the situation at all.

You become angry because you confuse the desire for fair treatment with thinking that you must have fair treatment.

6. When you catastrophise in your thoughts, you are a dictator.

“The one type of person most people do not want to be close to is a dictator, someone telling them to do this or that without any regard to their own wishes. Has it ever occurred to you, however, that when you’re angry you are always a dictator? It’s easy enough to see this when you recall what it is that makes you sore in the first place: your demands. And what is a dictator but a walking demand?”[15]

a. Mum in control

Think of a Mum whose son, Bill, does not obey her most of the time! Instead of going into a rage just about every time, she could behave more sensibly if she would realise that:

(1) It would be very nice if Bill would become an obedient son;

(2) About the only way that this will happen is by telling Bill that guaranteed consequences will be put into place for him;

(3) To motivate Bill to obedience, these consequences will be stated in a written contract and take effect from next week. Of course, he never has to experience these consequences. All he has to do is obey Mum’s instructions every time.

(4) If these consequences don’t motivate Bill to obedience, Mum will not feel angry with Bill, but will calmly accept that fact that Bill does not want to change – YET!

b. Mum the dictator!

If Mum takes the other road of being a dictator (catastrophises), she will follow an irrational process:

(1) Bill’s disobedience is unbearable;

(2) Mum will have to work harder to get Bill to obey;

(3) If Bill does not obey, Mum will scream, slap him, let him know how bad he is for defying his mother, and insist angrily that he must do as his mother says;

(4) Keep this up until Bill sees how right Mum is and Bill obeys.

You don’t have to be a genius to see that Mum the dictator will probably not succeed. Yet millions of well-meaning parents around the world are dictators in their talk and self-talk, thinking that children have to do what’s good for them because the parents are right and the kids are facing a life-and-death issue. If Bill attacked Mum, I would hope that Mum would protect herself and others, even calling on others for assistance

If you are angry for any reason (unless there is a physical cause), you become a dictator in your thoughts: “I must get my way and he should not treat me that way.” This is irrational thinking that makes you angry.

7. Self-pity and Anger

Often depression goes hand in glove with anger. This often happens with people who are into self-pity. The self-pitier lets others have their own way, becomes bitter, but one day there is an explosion.

For example, Ann has allowed her 16-year-old daughter, Sally, to hit her around for years. Sally is taller and heavier than Ann. Ann has developed the bad habit of making a catastrophe in her thinking about stopping Sally from hitting her around.

Beware of those who engage in self-pity. The day of reckoning will come when they explode in anger. They may have been fearful, long-suffering and passive for years, while they catastrophise all inside their heads. Eventually it may lead to bitterness, anxiety and depression – and then the explosion!

“Most of the frustrations from which you suffer are really not all that awful, and the few that are bad can be handled with much more calm and acceptance than you generally think possible.”[16]

B. Quit the Blame Game

1. “Blame is the central issue of anger.”[17] Suppose I call you a nerd, shit or bastard and you rage at me, calling me a blankety blank b. . . When you get angry with me, you are trying to convince others and me that I am a damnable person who is good-for-nothing. You have turned my obnoxious behaviour into a personal assassination of me as a person. To overcome your anger, you need to separate the person from his or her actions. To control anger, you need to become problem-oriented and not blame-oriented.[18] When you damn people in your thinking, it will come out of your mouth in anger towards them.

2. To control your anger,

  • Always separate the person from his or her actions;
  • Remember that most “people behave badly for three very good reasons: stupidity, ignorance, and disturbance.”[19]
  • Forgive everyone, but learn from the things people do to you. Forgiveness means you lay aside your right to get even with another person.
  • The more you blame others in your thinking and speech, the more angry you become.
  • The more you treat people like garbage, the more likely they are to treat you the same way.

3. The next time things don’t go your way, think about how much damage you could do to yourself by becoming angry. Of course it takes time to master new ways of thinking and doing. You can learn,

  • You don’t need to have your own way;
  • It is not for you to decide that this world should not be filled with selfish and cruel people, all because you demand it to be that way;
  • That people are not labelled by you as bad because they behave badly; and
  • That people should be treated badly because they treat others badly.

4. You need to stop and think that it is false to say that you can’t take insults calmly and to sit down quietly and talk through things with others who are doing or saying crappy things to you. Your “natural” way of doing things (blaming them and exploding in anger) is nothing more than a habit of reacting that you have learned over the years. “You can unlearn to be that way.”[20]

5. “You get angry today not because you’ve been a sorehead all your life but because you are still telling yourself that you can’t stand not getting your way and that others have no right to be wrong. Should you question the notions the very next time you are frustrated, you will also not get angry the very next time you are frustrated. Try it and see!”[21]

V. If you don’t get angry, what else can you do?

By now you will have learned that you will function better if you do not blame, keep your cool, and do something else. What is that something else?

A. Control your own anger by using the principles you have learned here.

B. Keep on believing that people can control their own anger, unless they have brain damage from an accident or disease.

C. Imagine what you can do when another person tries to push your buttons and instead of flying into a rage you respond calmly and reasonably.

D. Behaviour and words matter, but actions speak louder than words. It is what you do and say about frustration that matters, not how much you scream at another person.

E. Watch out for the ways that children and spouses can be amazingly creative in getting around frustrations. Stand your ground, even if the other tries many techniques to get his or her own way.

F. If somebody accuses you, you have two options: (1) It is true. If so, admit it. You are a fallible human being with lots of faults. (2) It is false. Give the other person the right to his/her opinion and don’t enter into arguments. Let it rest. You can say to yourself (and not to him): “He has the right to be wrong.” “In this way it is possible never to become upset over any accusation or to make insults out of unkind remarks.”[22]

G. Practise logical consequences:

“Unless you suffer for your mistakes, you’re likely to continue making them. If others let you get off scot-free when you have behaved badly, you will act badly again in the belief that nothing uncomfortable will happen to you.”[23]

Here are some common issues with kids and youth and some logical consequences:[24]

(1) If your teenager will not obey the curfew time at night (or any other time), the teen is told that she may be picked up by the police and you will not bail her out if she makes choices to disobey in this way.

(2) If your youth will not turn off his desk lamp in the morning before going to school, after he has gone to school you as parent go in and pull the lamp apart, unplug it from the power point. Warn him ahead of time that you will do this if he leaves the light on when he goes to school. The same can be done with a radio, CD or stereo left blaring in a room when a child is not there.

(3) If there are fights by the children over washing or drying the dishes, tell them that they do not need to eat at your table if they refuse to clean the dishes. You don’t care either way. The choice is hers. Do the dishes and enjoy cooked food, or get the boring alternative of looking through the refrigerator for food, but you will not be able to cook any food.

(4) The child refuses to put on his seat belt while the car is moving. Don’t yell, just pull up beside the road and stop. When the belt is buckled, the journey continues. Without a word, the driver is back into the flow of traffic again.

(5) If a child will not eat with knife, fork and spoon, give her a choice. Eat with knife and fork or eat with the fingers. That becomes difficult with mashed potatoes (she sits there until the potatoes are all eaten. She’ll see quickly the advantage of eating with knife and fork.

(6) If a child leaves toys and clothes lying on the floor and furniture (he doesn’t put things away), you as a parent pick up the items and lock them away for a week. Make sure tht you warn him that this will happen.

(7) If there is fighting among brothers and sisters when they are watching TV, switch off the TV without saying a word.

(8) You have asked the children to put their clothes in the dirty clothes-basket and they refuse or “forget.” Don’t go to their rooms to pick up the clothes. Let them use up all of their clothes until one day they want a particular piece of clothing and realise that it is not clean. I can assure you that they will run to the dirty clothes basket with an arm full of dirty clothes.

These are some of the benefits of natural or logical consequences. Use them. They work.

H. Teach others what you are learning.

Most won’t learn in the heat of the argument. Wait until they have cooled down. Explain how their thinking affects how they act. Also, blowing their tops with anger is not the most healthy way to deal with anger.

I. Accept the fact that most people can become disturbed (neurotic).

J. Count to 10 before you react. As corny as this sounds, it can give you time to consider your thoughts and not make yourself angry.

VI. To control your anger

We’ve learned that you upset yourself by the irrational self-talk you use in your thoughts. You need to identify this stinkin’ thinkin’ and change it. You can learn new ways of thinking. If you get frustrated and angry, it simply means that you have learned one lot of stinkin’ thinkin.’

A. Be encouraged

You can learn new ways, but there is no guarantee how long it will take you to unlearn thoughts that lead to anger. Don’t blame yourself for those early failures of angry outbursts. Previously you did not know what caused them and how to control them. Now you know differently. You can unlearn bad habits.

B. Discipline yourself

Consider this: It is easier to shut your mouth, quit blaming others, and change your stinkin’thinkin’ (that causes anger), than to live with the regrets of jail from an outburst of anger.

“To acquire self-discipline requires the realization that difficult tasks are better handled by facing them (regardless of how ugly and difficult they may be) than by avoiding them. Controlling your anger is sometimes among the most difficult acts you can perform. Be that as it may, do it!”[25]

C. Don’t make matters worse.

If somebody commits an injustice against you, the last thing in the world that you need is to create a greater injustice by getting frustrated or by letting fly in a rage. There are two ways to keep your cool when you are tempted to blow your top. Say to yourself:

1. I am not God and am disturbed if I think that I can always have my own way.

2. I must “be smart, someone is trying to shaft me. That’s bad enough, old boy. Surely you’re not going to be dumb now and do to yourself what that fellow is trying to do. No, sir! Maybe he doesn’t give a hoot about my feelings, but I sure do. Therefore, I’m going to forcibly talk myself out of the angry mood which is beginning to come over me. Having trouble is one thing, and it’s often unavoidable. But making double trouble for myself is another matter entirely.”[26]

D. “But it feels phoney.”

Sometimes people put it bluntly, “I feel as though I have to fake it. It seems phoney when I change my self-talk (stinkin’ thinkin’).” These people fail to realise that we engage in self-talk in our thinking much of the time. “What we must always remember about Self-Talk is that we do not create Self-Talk; we simply recognize that it is already there. . . Whenever we attempt to change patterns of thinking it is hard work. We would rather stay as we are than make the effort required to change. And basically, we really don’t like to change.”[27]

Some will say, “But it doesn’t work for me.” It takes a lot of practice to learn to be a reasonable swing bowler in cricket. Women who do crochet tell me that it takes quite a bit of practice to become competent in this art form. It’s much the same with changing your thinking about anything. When people say that “it doesn’t work,” ask them what they are doing to stop it from working? There are generally three reasons:

1. They are not taking the time to identify the demands they are making on themselves and others in their thinking;

2. They enjoy the stinkin’ thinkin’ (irrational beliefs) and don’t want to leave them go;

3. They are not questioning these demands of irrational beliefs consistently.[28]

Let’s face it. It takes time to change stinkin’ thinking’ and bring them into control by thinking on what is good, pure and lovely. Positive self-talk will lead to control of your anger.

“If you are still struggling with identifying the problems in your present Self-Talk, try this. Ask what you were telling yourself just as you got angry. Or ask yourself what you were saying in your mind just before you felt those pangs of guilt, or that panicky feeling of fear and anxiety. Identify what you said in your Self-Talk as you began to worry.”[29]

E. How it worked out for Kathy

Remember we met Kathy at the beginning of this article? She went off the deep end with anger when Danny her 13-year-old wouldn’t pick up his clothes and make his bed before going off to school.

In counselling, Kathy learned these principles and practised a thought-stopping exercise. Whenever she felt the adrenalin rising and she was about to scream at Danny, she slapped the fleshy part of her upper leg. (She could just as easily have shouted, “Stop,” in her head. Or, as some prefer, put a rubber band around your wrist and sting your arm to alert you to change your stinkin’ thinkin.’) This was her cue to stop to examine her irrational thinking. She was living out the typical sequence of stinkin’ thinkin’. In her head she said, “I must get what I want and it’s terrible and like the end-of-the-world when Danny doesn’t obey me. He’s a b . . . for not obeying me immediately. More than that, I’m his mother and he does not have the right to treat me like this. I must have my way. The little b.b. so-and-so.”

Notice the shoulds, musts and demands in her thinking. As long as she continued to think that way. She made herself angry. Danny did not make her angry.

In counselling, Kathy worked on quitting the demands she was making in her thinking. It seemed strange at first, but it became easier with daily practice. These were some of her thought changes:

1. Yep! It’s a bit frustrating when Danny won’t pick up his clothes at the first ask, but he’s not a b-b-so-and-so.

2. He’s a pretty normal teen. I chose to give him my lip, over and over. I’ve been acting like Mum the dictator. I will stop this talking in chapters to him. He’s a pretty normal teen.

3. Yes, I am his Mum, but I will ask twice – max. – and if he doesn’t pick up his clothes, they go into the locked Saturday Box which I open once a week on Saturday morning. I’ll give him one week’s notice that this is what will be happening.

4. If he insults me and swears at me when he is without clean clothes, I’ll sit down with him and calmly say what I have put into a written contract, “The Saturday Box will be used every week if clothes are left lying on your bedroom floor. I’ll pick them up after you go to school. It’s up to you, Danny, to decide if you want to go to school with a clean uniform or with clean regular clothes. If necessary, I’ll let the deputy principal of the high school know what I am doing.”

Kathy learned these anger management principles by thinking and saying things that controlled her anger with Danny. It took only a short time to do it (about a couple of months of learning), but in the span of life that is a short time-frame. She was able to apply the same principles with her other children.

VII. This is simple, but not easy.

The principles for controlling your anger are simple to explain and simple to practice: Nobody makes you angry. You can’t blame anybody else for your anger. (It would be nice if people treated you nicely, but you can’t make them do that.) You make yourself angry by the way you think about people and life. Change the shoulds, musts and other demands in your thinking and you control your anger. It is simple to explain but it is a challenge to practise it daily. There will be times when you forget some of what you learned here. At those times, if you have less frequent episodes of anger, your anger is less intense, and you are angry for shorter periods of time – you are making progress. If you have severe anger and now it only lasts for an hour instead of all day – you have improved.

To help you analyse your thoughts that lead to anger, use the “Self-Talk Analysis for Anger” below.

The principles are simple. The practice of self-control of your anger takes a short time to learn, but the benefits are lifetime. How committed are you to controlling your anger?

Self-Talk Analysis for Anger (Example)

Anger Activators
Shoulds/Musts or Demands
Restated as desires or wants
Danny lost his text book He should know better.He should have taken care of it sooner.

I shouldn’t have to tell (lecture) him.

I wish he would be more responsible.One of these days he will understand that he only hurts himself.

I sure will be glad when he takes care of these things without my help.

Notes:

[1] This is a cognitive-behavioural approach to anger management, based on Rational-Emotive Therapy.

[2] Kathy is not her real name and enough details have been changed so that you would not recognise her. However, Kathy’s anger is typical of a lot of mothers of teenage children and how she learned to control it.

[3] Note: Most people say that they thought on something that made them happy, sad, angry and calm. When I want to make myself sad, I think of the day my father dropped dead at the age of 57. I enjoy Baskin & Robbins (USA) ice-cream. I can make myself very happy by thinking on some of the delightful B & R flavours I have enjoyed over the years. I can become angry by remembering that abusive woman I met when I returned those clothes that were too small. She screamed at me as if I had stolen $500.00 out of her handbag. What a b-b-so-and-so she was! I can make myself feel calm as I look across the calm waters of Hervey Bay when I visit on a gently warm Spring day.

[4] Based on Paul A. Hauck, Overcoming Frustration and Anger. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1974, pp. 15-24. This artoc;e is a cognitive-behavioural (Rational Emotive Therapy) approach to anger self-control.

[5] Philippians 4:8, New International Version of the Bible.

[6] Based on Hauck, pp. 26-33.

[7] These 6 steps are based on ibid., pp. 42-54.

[8] Hauck used the term, “Neurotically.”

[9] This section is based on Hauck, ch. 3, p. 61 ff.

[10] Ibid., p. 61, emphasis added.

[11] Ibid., p. 62.

[12] Ibid., p. 66.

[13] Ibid., p. 72.

[14] These points are based on ibid.

[15] Ibid., p. 76.

[16] Ibid., p. 84.

[17] Ibid., p. 85.

[18] Suggested by ibid., p. 86.

[19] Ibid., p. 88.

[20] Ibid., p. 104.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid., p. 119.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Based on ibid., p. 123 ff.

[25] Ibid., p. 137.

[26] Ibid., p. 139.

[27] David Stoop, Life Can Be Great When You Use Self-Talk. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1982, pp. 149-50.

[28] Based on ibid., p. 151.

[29] Ibid., p. 152.

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Whytehouse designs

What is God up to in my life?[1]

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

By Spencer D Gear

I Corinthians 10:31

In the hustle and bustle of your life, do you ever stop to ask questions like these when:a

  • relative dies;
  • a child breaks an arm;
  • bills seem to be more than income;
  • I lose my job;
  • I am in conflict with my wife, children, the boss, or workmates;
  • there is sickness in your family;
  • life comes crashing down around me;
  • I have thoughts of suicide;

Have you ever asked: “What is God up to in my life?”

I had a 14-year-old say to me in counselling recently, “School sucks, Dad sucks, life sucks.”

What am I here for?

Does God simply want my happiness?

When the chips are down and life seems to be splitting apart at the seems, is there any reason for living?

For the believer, does God have a direction for my life?

What is God’s purpose for you?

I was thinking like this recently when God brought two verses to my attention:

The first:

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,

do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thinks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17);

The second:

“So[2] whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31).

A. What is Paul talking about?

“Therefore, also connects it to the previous verses, in fact to chapters 8-10 in I Corinthians.

Paul had been teaching them about things that are not essential to be picky about in the Christian life. The issue was buying meat in the meat markets. Meat that had been offered as a sacrifice in the heathen temples was often taken to the meat markets for sale.

Paul’s view was that, if it is good meat to eat, it is still good meat even though offered to idols. After all, the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. God made the meat. You’re hungry. Go ahead, buy the meat and eat it.

A good, godly man has FREEDOM to go where he pleases, to eat what he wants, to dress as he sees appropriate, because a good man will always be driven by a godly motive.

I Cor. 10: 25 makes it clear, “Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.'” That’s based on Ps. 24:1.

Believers, you have LOTS OF FREEDOM to do all these things — UNLESS, UNLESS — the other [person’s] conscience, especially the unbeliever’s, is going to be hindered (see v. 29).

If a person reminds you that this food, dress, whatever you do, is part of secular, pagan, non-Christian culture that you would be promoting if you used that food, that clothing, whatever. If that is the case, DO NOT DO IT for his sake and your conscience’s sake.

Paul says, in effect, you godly people, motivated by godly goals, have freedom to eat, drink, dress, go places and do things that you want. You have FREEDOM in Christ. But don’t you EVER do anything that will cause offence to the unbeliever and hinder his coming to Christ. Don’t ever do anything that will hinder a new believer.

You will NOT praise and glorify God if your actions cause ANYONE inside or outside the church to doubt the moral integrity of the gospel.

The general principle is in v. 24, “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Imagine what would happen in our families, at work, in the church, our relations with neighbours, if this drove our lifestyle: “I WILL NEVER EVER seek my own good, but only the good of other people — my spouse, my neighbours, my kids, other people in the church, my boss.

When your boy comes to you and asks you to play with him after a hard day at work, IF you wanted to do what was good and best for YOUR BOY, what would you do?

Imagine what would happen in your marriage relationship IF you only thought to do what would benefit your wife. I know many Christian wives would almost drop dead;

If you turned up for work on Monday and said to your boss, help me to do things better so that your business will prosper. I want your business to succeed. Show me how I can help you to offer a better service to the public. Boss, I want you to hold me accountable so that I can do a SUPERB job for you.

If Christian children in the primary school class room or high school class room, took the attitude, I am here to learn. I want to make the job easier for my teacher. I will do all I can to help my classmates behave in class. I will set the example.

I’ll ask my teacher what I can do in the class to make teaching a pleasure. The teacher might be shocked, but what a marvellous testimony it would be to the teacher and the school.

I can guarantee you that that action would get around the staff room in a flash.

Imagine what would happen if you, a Christian teacher, treated all students with respect as people made in the image of God and precious. If the put downs and abrupt language were gone. If you treated your enemies in the classroom as you would have them treat you, what would happen?

I would be out of a job as a youth counsellor if children only sought to do good to others, especially to their parents, brothers and sisters, school students and teachers. My counselling service would close down if we treated one another like this.

What would happen if ALL of you men, from today, said I will seek the good of OTHER people in this church? Do you think it might start a revolution if you decided: From today, I will seek the good of my pastor, his wife and family? I will NEVER seek to do him harm.

I will ask him how I can make life easier for him. I want to direct

ALL of my life so that it is OTHER-CENTRED. I will only seek and do what is good for my pastor, his family and other people. I will ask him to help train me in winning other people Christ. I want this church to grow through evangelism growth. I want only to do the church leaders good.

We need to move from the specifics of Corinth to the specific examples in this city for you.

B. From Corinth (specifics – eating and drinking) to the city where I live.

From FREEDOM in eating and drinking, Paul now moves to the general principle that should dominate your life and mine. This should motivate us for life. It is the purpose or goal that should drive your life: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31).

WHATEVER YOU DO, EVERYTHING IN THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFE, should be done “for the glory of God.”

For the believer, that means there is no such thing as: this is SECULAR WORK and that is CHRISTIAN WORK. All of life is Christian that must be lived for the glory of God. My working for the non-Christian or Christian boss is sacred; my going to a state school is Christian work; it doesn’t matter whether I am a pastor or a garbage collector. ALL OF LIFE IS TO BE DONE “TO THE GLORY OF GOD.”

C. But what does it mean to do things “to the glory of God”?

That’s pretty theological sounding stuff. Sounds a bit lofty.

Matt. 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (NASB). The NIV reads, “and praise your Father in heaven.”

In the NT, the Greek word, doxa (glory) conveys the meaning of brightness, splendour, radiance, magnificence, fame, renown, honour.[3]

“Here we find glory attributed to Jesus Christ, just as it was to God in the Old Testament. Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify him as he had glorified the Father (John 17:1-5). It is especially in the resurrection of Christ that we see his glory.”[4]

“The glory of God” is to promote, point to, advertise the magnificence of God.[5]

We see this greatness of God in terms of his power. He spoke this world into existence; he raised Jesus from the dead. He still performs miracles. He redeems the proud, drug addicts; changes adulterers into children of God. Homosexuals who bow the knee to him are changed from the inside out.

The glory of God includes his greatness of knowledge. He is ALL knowing. He knows your thoughts (Luke 5:22; 6:8). He knows you so well that even the hairs on your head are numbered. For many of us they get less every day. But he knows us that intimately. He knows when a sparrow falls.

But God’s glory also includes the moral attributes of God. God always does what is RIGHT; he NEVER does anything WRONG.

God is absolute holiness; he is total love; his mercies are beyond our imagination. He will NEVER let you down. He is absolutely faithful and trustworthy. Nobody will get away with sin and wrong. God’s justice is absolute.

The “glory of God” amounts to the “sum of his attributes and powers as he reveals them in bringing his saints to their ultimate happiness in the enjoyment of himself.”[6]

Is your life promoting God’s glory as far as the magnificence of God is concerned? Do you uplift God in all that you say and do? That’s a high calling, but God wouldn’t require it of us if it were not possible.

In everything that you do, do you honour God? Do your thoughts and actions show up God’s magnificence? Whether drying the dishes, raising a family, pushing a pen (more likely to be a computer these days) for the government, working at the local hardware store, somebody serving you at MacDonald’s — your life is to bring glory to God.

D. Let’s get very practical

1. If people watch you at work, in the home, when you go to watch your kids play sport, anywhere. If people were to peep in on you and what you say to your wife, how you treat her as a sexual person, how you discipline your children, would they be attracted to your God. Would they glorify the living God by looking at your life?

This is an awesome responsibility. But that’s what God calls us to

do in everything. Our lives have to be a lighthouse, drawing people to God. Before I open my mouth, before I do that thing, I do need to ask, “WWJD –What would Jesus do?”

2. Is your life in ALL aspects, pointing to the brightness, splendor, radiance, magnificence, fame, renown and honor of Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Discipleship within the Body of Christ is meant to hold us accountable for how we live in honour of the King of Kings.

3. Too often our cell groups degenerate into, “What do you think this verse means?” when they should be calling you and me to accountability. Spencer, what did you do this week that did NOT draw attention to the magnificence of your Saviour? How can we as a body of believers help you in making your life and advertisement of God’s radiance and renown?

I noticed that you spoke harshly to Joe when you got angry with him over his being late to the committee meeting. Was that uplifting Jesus, praising him, glorifying him?

E. Parenting & men

Dr Graeme Russell of Macquarie University, Sydney, published a report[7] that found that the mean (middle) number of hours per week that fathers took complete care of their children was 2.8 hours (or, 24 minutes a day). However, 60% of fathers interviewed were not spending any time taking complete care of their children.. The figures for the USA are similar.

Men, in what you are doing as a father, are you giving glory to God? Are you promoting God’s greatness in the way you treat your children?

I read a letter written by a runaway son. It said,

Dear Mum and Dad,

Thank you for everything, but I am going to [Sydney][8] to try to start some kind of new life.

You asked me why I did those things and why I gave you so much trouble, and the answer is easy for me to give you, but I am wondering if you will understand.

Remember when I was about six or seven and I used to want you to just listen to me? I remember all the nice things you gave me for Christmas and my birthday and I was really happy with the things for about a week at the time I got the things, but the rest of the time during the year I really didn’t want presents. I just wanted all the time for you to listen to me like I was somebody who felt things too, because I remember even when I was young I felt things. But you said you were busy.

Mum, you are a wonderful cook, and you have everything so clean and you were tired so much from doing all those things that made you busy; but you know something, Mum? I would have liked [fresh bread and vegemite][9] just as [much][10] if you had only sat down with me a while during the day and said to me, >Tell me all about it so I can maybe help you. . .

I think that all the kids who are doing so many things that grownups are tearing out their hair worrying about, are really looking for somebody [who] will have time to listen a few minutes and who will really treat them as they would a grown up who might be useful to them, you know B polite to them. If you . . . had ever said to me, “Excuse me,” when you interrupted me, I’d have dropped dead.

If anybody asks you where I am, tell them I’ve gone looking for somebody with time because I’ve got a lot of things I want to talk about.

Love to all,

Your son.[11]

Men, are you glorifying God as a parent in your family? How about arranging time with your children, one by one. Ask them to tell you about their day and you had better be an attentive listener. Ask them what they would like you to do with them.

I heard of a little girl who followed for father as he carefully stepped through a new garden. She stepped exactly where he stepped and she said to him, Daddy, if you don=t get mud on your feet, I won’t get any mud on me.[12]

Dad, will your children get mud on their feet? Fathers, wear shoes you want to be filled.

Men, God knows your thoughts and actions. What would God’s estimate be of your family life? Are you giving glory to God in how you live and lead the family.

F. Responsibility as spiritual leaders in the home

Men, what view of God and the world does your family see from you? I haven’t time to develop this much, but God expects men to lead the family spiritually and practically.

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph.5:25); As Christ loved the church. How much did he love the church? So much that he died for her!

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

Whose role is it to take the lead in the training and instruction of the Lord in your family? Eph. 6:4 says, Fathers. Men, are you glorifying God in your responsibilities as a spiritual leader in the home?

Men, too often we think this is the wife’s primary role. Not so as far as God is concerned.

The role of decay in any society will be seen in the attitude and action of spiritual leadership and what happens to the family.

Down through the years, some assessments have been made of what caused the great Grecian Empire to crumble. Why did the Roman Empire fall? These are some of the elements:

G.  The Common Pattern of Decline in Many Nations

1. Men ceased to lead their families in worship.

2. Men selfishly neglected care of their wives and children to pursue material wealth, political and military power, and cultural development.

3. Men, being preoccupied with business or war, either neglected their wives sexually or became involved with other women or with homosexuality, and a double standard of morality developed.

4. The role of women at home and with children lost value and status.

5. Husbands and wives competed against each other for money, home leadership, and the affection of their children, resulting in hostility and frustration and possible homosexuality in the children.

6. Selfish individualism grew and was carried over into society.

7. As unbelief in God became more complete and parental authority diminished, ethical and moral principles disappeared, affecting the economy and government.[13]

This chain of events began by the men turning from God to pursue material wealth, and each successive step occurred automatically. The domino effect. That’s where Australia is going today. It will take Christian men like you to help turn the tide.

Two factors will contribute to where your family goes and where Australia will end up:

First, when you turn away from God, the slide begins. Read Romans ch. 1, The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness (v. 18);

Second, What the family is, such will society be.[14]

H.  Aware of their responsibility as men

God views the relationship between the husband and his wife as a picture of Christ and the church. How awesome! Your Christian marriage will either exalt the love relationship between Christ and his church or it will be a denial of it.

Base your marriage on God’s Word and he will pour out his blessing on it.

Right now I’m thinking of the father whose family was grown up and the kids were all gone. He said,

If I could do it all over again, this is what I would do:

I would love my wife more in front of my children.

I would laugh with my children more–at our mistakes and our joys.

I would listen more–even to the youngest child.

I would be more honest about my own weaknesses and stop pretending perfection.

I would pray differently for my family. Instead of focussing on them I would focus more on me.

I would do more things with my children.

I would do more encouraging–and bestow more praise.

I would pay more attention to little things, deeds, and words of love and kindness. Finally, if I had to do it all over again, I would share God more intimately with my family. I would use every ordinary thing that happened in every ordinary day to point them to God.[15]

There’s a desperate need for Christian men to share with other Christian men how to be better husbands. Let’s join forces and build Christian marriages that can withstand the assaults of an antagonistic culture. Build marriages that shout to a seeking world that Jesus is the Redeemer of his people–including marriages. Wives who submit to their husbands, and husbands who love their wives as Christ loved the church. Fathers who don’t exasperate their children. Wives who submit to their husbands.

 

I. Priority of worship instead of fishing

If you woke up to a beautiful sunny day on Sunday and you faced this: The water on the Bay was calm and the whiting were biting, where would you rather be: out fishing or meeting with the people of God? If you choose fishing over God, what message does that send to your children, neighbours and the people of God?

J. My struggles

These are some of my struggles when it comes to glorifying God in all that I do:

  • eating. I just love sweet things. They are not good for me and my heart condition. How can I glorify God and draw attention to his marvellous Self when I do NOT control my intake?
  • working with secular people in counselling and moving them towards considering ultimate issues, particularly their relationship with God;
  • When I come to a quick assessment of an issue, it can be crystal clear to me. Why can’t others see it? I can be abrupt in the way I speak;
  • Why can’t people get fair dinkum with God instead of playing around with him?
  • My patience is stretched when I see an epidemic of drug abuse and yet there are people, community leaders, politicians, media personalities who accept or promote illicit drug use.
  • I want to speak forthrightly in exposing injustices and unrighteousness in our society, but I want to continue to love such people who are sinning their way to hell. How can I stand up for Jesus, confront sin, and bring glory to God?
  • I want to give God glory in my sharing Christ with as many people as possible. The busyness of my life can stop those opportunities. No matter how much success a person achieves in this life, if they are lost for eternity they are BIG LOSERS. I must proclaim Christ while God gives me breath. Lord, I want to do it to your glory.

Endnotes:

[1] This message was preached for a men’s breakfast at Redlands Alliance Church (greater Brisbane area, Qld., Australia), 6 June 1999.

[2] Greek, oun, is better translated as, “Therefore.”

[3]William F. Arndt & F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature (translation and adaptation of Walter Bauer). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1957, 202-203.

[4]Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1985, 998.

[5]The following is suggested by Erickson, 266ff.

[6]J.I. Packer, Laid-Back Religion: A penetrating look at Christianity today. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1987, 25.

[7]It was in 1979.

[8]The original said, Chicago.@

[9]The original said, crackers and peanut butter.@

[10] The original said, “well.”

[11] This was a letter from a young boy, printed in a midwestern [USA] newspaper several years ago. It was sent to the editor by his parents, with hopes it would help other parents avoid the mistakes they had made.

[12]Green, 147.

[13]In Carl Wilson, Our Dance Has Turned to Death. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, pp. 84-85.

[14]The famous Harvard sociologist, Pitirim Sorokin, wrote this back in 1956 and is quoted in Wilson.

[15]In John MacArthur, Jr., The Family. Chicago: Moody Press, 1982, p. 104.

 

Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 9 October 2015.

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THE CERTAINTY OF RESURRECTION

Saturday, June 6th, 2009


A study of I Corinthians 15:12-34 (NIV)

A few days before my friend, Allan Cooper, died in late 1989 in Bundaberg Qld., Australia, I was sitting beside his bed in Ward 2 at the Bundaberg Base Hospital. I was speaking with him and reading the Scriptures to him.

He was barely coherent. I held his hand and told him to squeeze it if he understood what I was reading. One of the passages I read was Romans 8:37-39

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

He squeezed my hand on at least two occasions. I looked at Allan’s human frame:

¨ bloated face (he was dying of cancer);

¨ eyes glazed and staring at me;

¨ he jumped with pain on at least 4 occasions while I was there.

I thought: Why am I here? What’s the point of it all? He’s in excruciating pain, knocking on death’s door. Why don’t the doctors give him an extra dose of morphine to end his misery? Euthanise him!

I asked myself some straight questions:

Why bother with the Christian life?

As a Christian, am I inflicting some magic on somebody that has no basis in fact?

Is religion, as the founder of Communism, Karl Marx, said, “The opiate of the people”? Is it a drug to stop us from facing the horrible reality of the world around us?

How can I talk of new life, eternal life in Christ, when here, for my friend Allan, is death–vicious death?

In the midst of these penetrating questions came the thunderous reply from God to my heart: RESURRECTION!

Then I turn on the TV at Easter or Christmas time, or I read books and newspapers and this is what I hear or read:

¨ To make the resurrection acceptable to modern, sceptical people, some preachers want to get rid of the supernatural. At Easter 1989, the Anglican Bishop of Durham in England, Rev. David Jenkins, said that Christ’s resurrection was a “spiritual resurrection.” It didn’t literally happen. It was only symbolic, he said.[1]

¨ Rudolph Bultmann, a liberal German, Lutheran scholar within the church (died 1976), wrote: “Jesus rose into the kerygma [i.e. the first formulations of the Christian gospel]”[2] – that is, into the faith of the first believers. Their conviction that Jesus was still with them was itself his resurrection.”[3]

¨ John Shelby Spong, former Episcopalian bishop of Newark, N.J.: The resurrection of Jesus and his appearances after the resurrection are “legends and myths that cannot be literalized. . . Resurrection may mean many things, but these details are not literally a part of that reality.”[4]

¨ Lloyd Geering, Presbyterian & University Professor in N.Z.: The resurrection phenomena are those of a “legend” and are not “historical”.[5]

More recently, we have theologically liberal scholars from the Jesus Seminar saying this:

¨ John Dominic Crossan: “When the evangelists [i.e. Matt., Mark, Luke, John] spoke about the resurrection of Jesus, they told stories about apparitions [i.e. ghosts or phantoms] or visions.”[6]

¨ Crossan again: “In I Corinthians 15 Paul begins by enumerating all the apparitions of the risen Jesus. . . Bodily resurrection has nothing to do with a resuscitated body coming out of the tomb.”[7]

¨ Robert Funk (founder of the Jesus Seminar in 1985): “The original [resurrection] appearances did not depend on the view that Jesus rose bodily from the grave. Jesus appeared in ecstatic revelations, in visions and in dreams.”[8]

¨ Marcus Borg of the Jesus Seminar: “Easter need not involve the claim that God supernaturally intervened to raise the corpse of Jesus from the tomb. Rather, the core meaning of Easter is that Jesus continued to be experienced after his death, but in a radically new way: as a spiritual and divine reality.”[9]

¨ Borg writes, “It seems to me that whether something happened to the corpse of Jesus is irrelevant to the truth of Easter.”[10]

Brothers & sisters: Take the literal resurrection of Jesus away and you may have a religion, liberal religion, but it is not the Christian faith. Let’s just pause for a few moments to confirm that Jesus did die and rise from the dead as events in human history and that this is not metaphor, myth, apparition or spiritual resurrection. A few points to establish that the resurrection of Jesus happened in history and the tomb was empty on Easter Sunday with Jesus walking and talking on earth:

  1. First Corinthians was written by Paul in about A.D. 53-55.[11] Jesus was crucified about A.D. 30. So, “Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 15 within twenty-five years of Jesus’ death, while various of the original eyewitnesses were still around to correct him” if he got it wrong.[12]
  2. In Luke’s Gospel, you find the description of Jesus’ resurrection and the empty tomb in ch. 24. Sir William M. Ramsay, a prominent British archaeologist of about 100 years ago, “examined the sites of Paul’s journeys firsthand and comparing them with the testimony of [the Book of] Acts.” He began as a sceptic and became a Christian after his investigation.[13] Ramsay concluded: “Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . this author deserves to be placed among the very greatest of historians.”[14] From the evidence we have about Luke, the historian, we have no reason to doubt the truth and historical fact of what he wrote about Jesus’ resurrection, including the empty tomb.
  3. These are the historical facts:[15]

Fact 1: After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s personal tomb [Luke 23:50ff].

Fact 2: On the first day of the week after the crucifixion (we call it Sunday), the tomb of Jesus was found to be empty by a group of his female followers (see Luke 24:1-3; Luke 23:55 identifies these as women).

Fact 3: On a number of occasions and under different circumstances, different groups of people experienced Jesus being alive from the dead after his resurrection (see Luke 24: 13ff).

Fact 4: The original disciples of Jesus were convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead and were prepared to go to their deaths based on Jesus’ resurrection. (see Luke 24:44ff.). They didn’t leave to do that until they were “clothed with power from on high” by the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49).

Fact 5: You must believe in the resurrection, as it happened, to be saved. Romans 10: 9-10 (NIV): “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

Fact 6: 1 Cor. 15:12 says something very clearly in the Greek langauge that is somethimes lost in the English translation: ek nekrÇn eggertai. “Paul says that the preaching of the early church was that Christ was raised from out of the realm of the dead ones. The word nekrÇn does not merely mean death or the grave, but surely refers to the dead persons or corpses.”[16] This is confirmed by the second half of v. 12. “Resurrection has to do with the persons Jesus left behind when he was raised, not the relationship he had subsequently with his followers!”[17]

Fact 7: Prophecy

“How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (I Cor. 15:12)

So “what actually and historically happened to the body of Jesus”? According to John Dominic Crossan: “His body [was] left on the cross or in a shallow grave barely covered with dirt and stones, the dogs were waiting.”[18] So, “Jesus’ corpse was thrown into the common graveyard reserved for criminals and was probably eaten by dogs.”[19]

Here in I Corinthians we have it declared plainly.

IF THERE IS NO RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD (ch. 15:13). . .

1. Not even Christ has been raised (v. 13)

But Paul, the apostle, has just given us the eyewitness testimony (vv. 5-8) that Christ was seen by:

Peter;

The Twelve was a general term used to refer to the group of disciples, even though Judas wasn’t there, but Matthias was the replacement (see Acts 1:26);

More than 500 brothers at the same time, most of them are still alive (for people to check with if they wanted);

James; and

All of the apostles.

But if Christ has not been raised from the dead,

2. My preaching today is useless, empty, without basis, I am wasting my time (v. 14).

If Christ is dead in the grave and has not been raised, or it is a myth, ,

3. Your faith in Christ and my trust in Him are useless.

V. 17 uses an even stronger word. Your faith and mine are futile, frivolous, trivial. Your faith is a lie if Christ is not resurrected. You and I are conning ourselves and others if Christ is still dead.

The obvious implication is in v.15:

4. We are false witnesses about God

if Jesus has not been raised.

We are telling lies in the Christian church if Jesus is still dead. It is a lie carried out in the name of God. We are accusing God of something He did not do. We are false witnesses if there is no resurrection of the dead; if Jesus has not been raised.

Do you understand how critical it is that Jesus is alive, he did rise from the dead. If Christ has not been raised, what does that mean for us who are living now?

5. You are still in your sins (v. 17).

Perhaps the Lord saved you from drunkenness. If Jesus is not alive, you are still an alcoholic. There is no hope.

Sister, you were running from God, doing things “your own way.” You are still damned in your humanism, if Jesus is not raised.

I, Spencer Gear, would be still wrapped up in his sinful self-righteousness. I’m lost forever, if there is no empty tomb.

King David is still an unforgiven adulterer and murderer.

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians who were sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers. He told these sinners, “That is what some of you were. But you were washed [by the blood of Christ]…” (I Cor 6:9-11).

This is all hog-wash, a sham; we are still in our sin and on our way to hell if Jesus is not raised. It is bleak indeed for the living, but it is just as devastating for the dead.

6. Those who have died as Christians are lost (v. 18).

Why? Because, as with the living, they are still in their sins. They have no future of any kind because their sins have not been cleansed.

My friend, Allan, is lost;

My godly dad, Roy Gear, and my Christian mother, Enid, are eternally damned.

Your friends who died as true believers in Christ, you will never see again. They are condemned forever, if there is no resurrection of Jesus.

V. 19 sums up the devastation: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all [people].” If Christ is not raised from the dead, we not only don’t have present forgiveness but have lost our hope for the future as well. If we have believed in a future resurrection and there is no future, then of all human beings we are most to be pitied.

The point: To deny Christ’s resurrection is to deny Christian existence altogether. Some preachers and theologians want to deny the literal resurrection of Jesus. If you had been there, you would have seen the empty tomb and you would have been able to see the real, live Jesus and touch him–even though 3 days before he had died a cruel death on a cross.

If you deny the resurrection you must face the consequences:

All preaching in all churches all over the world is useless;

Faith in Christ in the past, present and future is futile;

We are all still unforgiven sinners going to hell and there is no hope.

BUT… BUT… BUT!!  CHRIST INDEED HAS BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD (V. 20).

Nothing else but the literal resurrection of Jesus is what the Christian faith stands for. The apostle has just given us the eyewitness evidence. He names the people. Those who saw the resurrected Christ.

Professor Thomas Arnold, formerly chairman of the Modern History Department at Oxford University, England, says, “I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God has given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”[20]

One of the greatest legal minds ever known, Dr. Simon Greenleaf, formerly Royall Professor of Law at Harvard University, examined the legal value of the apostles’ testimony to the resurrection of Jesus. He concluded that the resurrection of Christ was one of the best supported events in history, according to the laws of legal evidence administered in courts of justice.[21]

Lord Darling, former Chief Justice of England, concluded that “there exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true.”[22]

CHRIST INDEED HAS BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD. God declares it as true in His word, the Bible. Other evidence has proved that it is true.

Since he has been raised, I Cor. 15: 20 says he is

1. The firstfruits of those who have died.

He is the first of the harvest, serving as a guarantee of the full harvest to follow. When I see the first watermelons in the fruit stores about October, I know that around Christmas there should be plenty of them, even a glut. That’s like it is with Christ. His resurrection is the firstfruits, a down payment. The full harvest is coming.

Fully harvest of what? Acts 24:15 says there will be a future “resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” What will happen to these people? Matt. 25:46: “Then they [the wicked] will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Your resurrection is guaranteed. If you have repented of your sin and trusted Jesus Christ alone as your Saviour and Lord, yours will be a resurrection to heaven. If you haven’t, it will be a resurrection to hell. Punishment, forever.

Because Christ died and rose again, the events of the end of the world are set in motion. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY CHRIST’S RESURRECTION IS CRUCIAL? In vv. 23-24 we have the order of events that lead to “the End.”

(1) Christ’s resurrection, the firstfruits;

(2) Then, Christ’s second coming with those who belong to Christ;

(3) Then the end (the finale):

(a) Jesus hands over the kingdom to God the Father;

(b) Then he brings to an end all other dominions, authority and power.

By raising Christ from the dead, God has in fact triumphed over death. Christ now rules, but despite this rule, the enemy is still at work since people still die.

That’s why the resurrection of the dead is a divine necessity. It alone is the evidence of the final overthrow of the last enemy — death itself.

Verse 26 says literally, “The last enemy is being destroyed, namely death.” As long as people die, God’s sovereign purposes are not yet fully realised. When the final enemy is defeated through the resurrection of the dead, then God becomes “all in all” (v. 28). That’s the point of vv. 23-28.

The work of Christ is the key to everything:

the resurrection of believers;

the consummation of the saving acts of God;

the defeat of all of God’s enemies.

Somebody has called this passage of Scripture, “EPIC GRANDEUR.”

In vv. 29-34, Paul, the apostle, has one last go at those in Corinth who say there is no resurrection of the dead:

IF THERE IS NO RESURRECTION… (V. 29)

1. What will those do who are baptised for the dead?

What does this mean? At least 40 different solutions have been suggested by biblical scholars. No one knows what in fact was going on. The best we can do is point to the most viable options, but finally admit we do not know. Whatever it was that was going on was a contradiction to the position that there was no resurrection of the dead.

This is one of the rare times in the book of I Corinthians where Paul addresses the Christian community in the third person plural (“those people,” v. 29), which suggests that there was a group, possibly only a few in the church, who were being baptised on behalf of some people who had already died.

Who was being baptised?

For whom?

Why were they doing it?

What effects did they think it had for those it was being done for?

We have a theological problem. How can Paul appeal, without disapproving of the action, to a practice that is in opposition to his own understanding of justification by grace through faith? Especially when faith always implies a response by the believer, and baptism is a personal response to the grace received.

We do not know. But we do know what it does not teach. It does not teach proxy baptism for the dead that was practised by the ancient gnostic heretics such as Marcion and by the Mormon church today.

“Paul did not teach that a person who has died can be saved or helped in any way, by another person’s being baptized in his behalf. Baptismal regeneration, the idea that one is saved by being baptized, or that baptism is in some way necessary for salvation, is unscriptural.”[23]

If you cannot be saved yourself by baptism, it cannot be biblical truth that you could save another vicariously by being baptised on their behalf. The Bible is clear in Eph. 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” Nobody is saved by baptism–not even living persons, much less dead ones. In fact, the Bible is very clear: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27).

However, Paul used this argument only in passing. His point is this: If there is no resurrection of the dead, what’s the point of this baptism for the dead that some of you are engaging in? If there is no resurrection, what’s the point of this nonsense of being baptised for the dead?

Also, v. 30:

2. Why endanger ourselves?

Why fight with the “wild beasts in Ephesus” (v. 32) if it is for purely human reasons? The “wild beasts” are probably a metaphor for those who opposed Paul and his gospel. In other words: why confront, engage in debate, with the opposition, if there is no resurrection. It’s a lost cause and a wasted cause.

II Corinthians 11:23-28:

23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.

24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.

25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,

26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.

27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

If there is no resurrection, then instead of fighting those who oppose the gospel, we might as well whoop it up.

Look at v. 32:

3. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die”

The pleasure loving Epicureans in the time of the apostle Paul taught and lived this philosophy. Sounds like Australia today. I recommend that this be your lifestyle and mine–to the pub, the club, Sizzler & Pizza Hut, day in and day out, if there is no resurrection. If there is no life after death, this is all there is, so let’s party and party BIG!!

Let’s apply this to us:

1. If there is no resurrection of Jesus Christ, there will be no life after death and resurrection for you and me. We are accountable to nobody. SO!!

2. Why bother with standing for Christ in the workplace?

3. Why be called a fanatical bigot and wowser because you stand for biblical truth? Why stand for right and wrong, God’s absolutes for morality when the world around wants to “do its own thing”? Why be a fool and be ostracised? Why not join the mob, get drunk, get off my face on drugs, sleep around, rebel against parents, abuse your kids, run wild and care less about anybody? Sounds like the kids and parents I work with every day.

4. Why send missionaries, like Jackie Hamill to the Philippines, or Jim Eliot to Ecuador, to be slaughtered for their faith?

Paul’s concern in vv. 29-34 is simple: We are to behave in a way that is expected of those for whom the future is both:

ALREADY — we are washed from our sins through Christ’s death. The future is both already, but

NOT YET — we wait for the final destruction of death and the final resurrection.

Ladies and gentlemen: I urge you to know Christ personally. Live as people who have a future because:

CHRIST INDEED HAS BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD.

WE WILL BE RAISED FROM THE DEAD IN THE FUTURE. IT IS AS SURE AS CHRIST’S RESURRECTION.

FOR EVERYTHING WE DO, WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE LIVING GOD.

THE FUTURE IS MARVELLOUS IF YOU KNOW CHRIST PERSONALLY.

THE PRESENT IS CHALLENGING AND DYNAMIC.

ALL BECAUSE OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION.

“A Russian lecturer, a member of the Communist party, was addressing a packed audience on the subject of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He spoke at considerable length, seeking to discredit it. At the end, a [Russian] Orthodox priest rose and asked if he might reply. He was warned that he could have only five minutes. `Five seconds is all I shall need’ was his reply. He turned to the audience, and gave the delightful Easter greeting, characteristic of the Eastern church, `Christos aneste‘, he cried, `Christ is risen.’ Back with a deafening roar came the traditional reply from the crowded hall, `Alethos aneste‘, `Truly he is risen.’[24]

What happened on the morning that Jesus Christ was resurrected changed history and changes your future.

Islam denies the resurrection of Christ. Judaism states that the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not happen. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim Jesus’ body was discarded, destroyed, or dissolved into gasses. Jesus Seminar fellows claim it was a supposed spiritual resurrection or just wishful thinking. Are they correct? What happens if this is a hoax and Jesus was never raised from the dead?

If there were no resurrection of Christ, there is no Christianity; it’s a fable. There is no hope and certainly no future. What happened on that first Easter Sunday changed the world and your future.

Let’s conclude with this refrain from the early church. I’ll say, “Christ is risen.” You respond together with, “He is risen indeed.”

Spencer: Christ is risen.

The Congregation: He is risen indeed.

Endnotes:

[1] In “An Interview with The Most Reverend George Carey”, former Archbishop of Canterbury, by the Episcopal News Service, Carey said, “I think if you take the issue of resurrection for example, yes you can have diverse interpretations reflected within the Church, but at the end of the day one could say very clearly that the physical resurrection has always been the normal one, the tradition of the Church and the spiritual resurrection has not been anything more than a minority view within it. And so one could always say as a leader, as I did say against David Jenkins [Bishop of Durham], the faith of the Church says ‘this'” Retrieved from: http://gc2003.episcopalchurch.org/ens/3577_23633_ENG_HTM.htm [19 March 2004]. Also at The Church of England Newspaper, “England on Sunday” : http://www.churchnewspaper.com/?go=eos&read=on&number_key=5693&title=Sinister+developments+in+the+Communion%2C+part+2 [19 March 2004].

[2] Rudolph Bultmann 1964, “The Primitive Christian Kerygma and the Historical Jesus,” in Carl E. Braaten and Roy A. Harrisville (trans. & eds.), The historical Jesus and the Kerygmatic Christ: Essays on the New Quest of the Historical Jesus, Abingdon Press, New York, Nashville, p. 42.

[3] In Funk, R. W. 1996, Honest to Jesus, Hodder & Stoughton (A Polebridge Press Book), Rydalmere, NSW [Australia], p. 257.

[4] John Shelby Spong 1994, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? A Bishop’s Search for the Origins of Christianity, HarperSanFrancisco, San Franciscom pp. 235-236.

[5] Lloyd Geering 1971, Resurrection: A Symbol of Hope, Hodder and Stoughton, London, pp.58-59. The exact words were: “The later Gospels present just the phonomena we would expect if a legend were to arise shortly after the death of Paul.” He states that Hugh Anderson’s “excellent survey of the state of New Testament studies today speaks of ‘the almost complete failure of historical criticism to authenticate and establish for us the ‘history’ of Easter'” (pp. 58-59).

[6] J. D. Crossan, 2000, A Long Way from Tipperary: A Memoir, HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco, p. 164.

[7] J. D. Crossan, 1998, The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately after the Execution of Jesus, HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco, pp. xxviii, xxxi. The quote on p. xxxi goes on: “And neither is bodily resurrection just another term for Christian faith itself. Bodily resurrection means that the embodied life and death of the historical Jesus continues to be experienced, by believers, as powerfully efficacious and salvifically present in this world.”

[8]Funk, 1996, Honest to Jesus, p. 273.

[9] Marcus J. Borg 1997, The God We Never Knew, HarperSan Francisco, San Francisco, p. 93.

[10] Marcus Borg 1998, “The Irrelevancy of the Empty Tomb,” in Copan, P. (ed). 1998, Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? (debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan) [pp. 117-128], Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 122.

[11] Gordon D. Fee 1987, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (F.F. Bruce ed., The New International Commentary on the New Testament), William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 15.

[12] Ben Witherington III, “Resurrection Redux,” in Copan, P. (ed). 1998, Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? (debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan) [pp. 129-145], Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 140.

[13] William Lane Craig 1994, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, p. 220.

[14] William Ramsay 1915, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, Hodder and Stoughton, London, p. 222, cited in William Lane Craig 1998, “William Lane Craig’s Rebuttal,” in Copan, P. (ed). 1998, Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? (debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan) [pp. 40-44], Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 41. Another of William Ramsay’s books was: St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1895.

[15] Based on William Lane Craig 1998, “The Debate: Opening Addresses” in Copan 1998 [pp. 25-32], pp. 26-28.

[16] Witherington 1998, “Resurrection Redux” in Copan 1998, p. 132.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Crossan, J. D. 1994, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco, p. 154.

[19] William Lane Craig 1998, “Opening Addresses” in Copan (ed.) 1998, p. 29.

[20]Josh McDowell, More Than a Carpenter. Eastbourne, Sussex: Kingsway Publications, 1977, 93.

[21]An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1965, 29, in McDowell, 93-94.

[22]In McDowell, 95.

[23]John MacArthur, Jr., The New Testament Commentary, I Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press, 1984, 425.

[24]In Michael Green, The Day Death Died. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1982, 64.

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The drug menace! What can parents do?

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Image result for syringe drug use public domain

(public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

Note: the statistics in this article need to be updated, but they should provide an example of the use of illicit drugs in Australia.

Matthew is above-average as a student, not bad looking, liked by his mates, faithfully attends church, comes from a middle-class family. By the time he reaches age 18, what are his chances of experimenting with alcohol or an illicit drug (including marijuana)?

Marijuana is the most common illicit drug in Australia;

One in three people aged 14 and over has tried marijuana;[2]

One survey found that 15% of all Australians used illicit drugs at least once in the previous 12 months;

26% of all teenagers (aged 14-19) used illicit drugs at least once in the previous 12 months;

98% of street kids (under age 19) used illicit drugs at least once in the previous 12 months.[3]

27% of 15-year-old girls smoke nicotine and 21% of 15-year-old boys smoke nicotine (1990 data)[4]

From 1985-1993, the proportion of South Australian 14-19 year olds who said they had ever used marijuana increased 50%. This was after decriminalisation (on-the- spot fines) in SA in 1987. This compared with increases of 4% (Qld), 31% (WA), 39% (Vic), and a decrease of 7% (NSW).[5]

What is happening for the older age groups is of great concern:

50% of people aged 20-29 have used marijuana;[6]

60% of males and 45% of females aged 25-39 have used marijuana.[7]

Variation of % of 20-39 year olds who ever used marijuana, 1985-1993: increase 6% (Vic), 11% (WA), 15% (NSW), 32% (SA) [after decriminalisation (on the spot fines) in SA in 1987], and a decrease of 2% (Qld).[8]

In 1989, as far as “absolute alcohol consumption is concerned, [Australia ranks] 15th in the world and our level of consumption is the highest of all English-speaking nations.

“Alcohol abuse has now become the major drug problem in Australia, with alcohol-related road deaths, hospital admissions and drownings bearing witness to the enormity of the problem.

“Family breakdowns, domestic violence, homicides and money worries go hand-in-hand with excessive drinking, as do depression, sexual impotence, permanent brain damage and poor dietary habits.”[9]

“Drug misuse [is] estimated to cost Australia more than $14 billion a year in road trauma, health care, lost productivity, and law enforcement.”[10] The breakdown is:

Alcohol = $6.027 billion

Tobacco = $6.842 billion

Street Drugs = $1.441 billion.[11]

These people come from every walk of life: rich and poor, liberal and conservative, religious and non-religious, rural, suburban, and inner city.

The legal drugs are devastating our community. Why then the push to make illict drugs (such as marijuana and heroin) more readily available? I think this is crazy thinking.

It’s time to conclude that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and do something about this plague on the nation.

How to Motivate Others to Get Involved.

In one city,[12] a group of parents joined together to try to curb drug abuse and provide a treatment program for their youth. They called themselves “Parents Against Drugs“. They approached government with this idea that when children are caught with drugs or alcohol at school, the student will be placed in a school where everyone enrolled has the same problem with drug and alcohol abuse.

The students would provide support for each other to stay drug-free. They would have access to treatment alternatives.

Even if these parents do not succeed, they have at least raised the awareness of the need in that city and have the ear of government officials.

In another city, on New Year’s Eve when there are a lot of drink-driving deaths, businesses, parents, P&C’s, and other groups, are pulling together to provide free rides home to those who become drunk.

In Philadelphia (USA), parents became angry at the number of crack (a form of cocaine) dealers who had moved into their area. They formed a group:

to become the best-informed parents in the country about drugs;

police trained the parents to observe behaviour to identify drug pushing and dealing;

that learned how to spot the problem and they took action by calling the police with a complaint about a drug dealer in the street;

that cleaned up suburbs that were infested with crack and its dealers.

which had a practical impact on its community.

If you are frustrated with a lack of action in your community to deal with drugs, stop expecting others to solve the problem. It’s time for parents to stop pointing fingers and start looking for ways that everyone in the community can stop drug abuse. It can start with you.

How can it happen?

PARENT POWER

For parents to pull together to save our children, it must start with someone. One concerned parent can begin something that will make a radical difference for drug-free children.

The most important contributors are parents.

We need a grass-roots effort to change the direction of the drug problem.

Parents can take other steps:

  • insure that existing laws against drug abuse are strictly enforced;
  • make a public fuss if you believe magistrates are not doing the correct thing in sentencing;
  • do something at the level of the education department to make sure our youth are getting accurate information about drugs. Perhaps starting at the P&C meeting. Maybe parents can form prevention groups to go into schools.
  • parents should work to keep drug abuse a criminal offence. Decriminalisation sends a dangerous message to our youth.

Parents could join together to:

  • make sure there is no alcohol or drugs at school functions or parties their children go to;
  • close down functions for children and under-age youth where there is alcohol or drugs;
  • make sure the names of those who supply alcohol and drugs to the under-aged are given to the police and are prosecuted.

However, we must make sure parents know the dangers of alcohol and other drugs so they understand the reason for the firm stand.

You don’t have to be a psychologist or a counsellor to run a support group for parents or youth. Advertise it and when the first person comes, you have the start of a support group to begin the movement to drug-proof your children. However, plan your approach carefully. There is no excuse for a shoddy program.

PEER POWER

Before motivating parents to join together, you could start with youth coming together. Often when youth join together to attack the drug problem, it is easier to get their parents involved.

When youth form a group against drugs and alcohol, it should be based on a pledge that all members of the group are accountable to each other and their parents to remain drug and alcohol free. Often youth join a gang of drug-users because of a lack of alternatives. Why don’t youth join a group that could be called A.A.D.D.–Adolescents Against Drunk Driving? Wouldn’t it be amazing to see such a positive peer group in our schools?

A New York State (USA) survey of 8,000 high school students found how the peer group influenced drug use. The results were:[13]

Close Friends Who Used Drugs Personal Use of Drugs
None 2%
Few 17%
Some 50%
Most 80%
All 90%

The study found that the “number of weekly visits with drug-oriented friends had an impact on drug use.” The message is clear: Our children become like the mates they hang around with.

THE PRO-ACTIVE CHURCH

The war on drugs will be won when the community comes together to help. Churches need to be part of the pro-active movement to deal with drugs. It is not to be left just to church youth workers, Sunday School teachers and pastors–it is the job of the whole church.

  • train the staff;
  • choose leaders for the church’s pro-active stance against drugs;
  • there needs to be teachers in the church for drug education, prevention and treatment;
  • make courses available for parents. They need to know the facts about drugs and prevention strategies;
  • after the parents get knowledge, it’s time to educate the children:
  • children don’t learn best by lectures. Bring in a redeemed drug addict to tell his/her story. Show films giving graphic details about the realities of drug abuse; use drama.
  • educate the children of the church with exposure to accurate drug information.

You could organise parents to provide healthy activities for youth when temptations are there. After sporting events or other social events for youth, why not organise pizza parties at your place?

Join with other churches in presenting a united voice against the drug problems in your city or suburb. The church can set a standard of leadership for the whole community. We desperately need a community-wide drug education and prevention push that challenges the government’s “harm minimisation” line. I believe it is ludicrous trying to teach our youth how to use harmful drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and other illicit drugs to minimise harm. I find this a message of madness.

ONE CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

Anybody can start the drug prevention movement in your city. There’s no reason why it can’t be you, if you are convinced about the danger of drugs and you want to be part of the solution.

The year 1975 was a bad one for the U.S. State of Alaska. Marijuana use in the privacy of the home was made legal. Drug use and abuse escalated. Lynda Adams was deeply concerned. She formed a local parent group that eventually became a state-wide organisation, Alaskans for Drug-Free Youth. A 1990 public referendum in Alaska made marijuana use a criminal offence again. She says, “I encourage people not to give up because dedication and perseverance can make a difference.”

You can mobilise the media, the schools, police, and parents to stop the drug problem in your area. The drug war can’t be won alone. The hearts and minds of this generation of young people are at stake.

ONE PERSON WITH COMPASSION, COMMITMENT AND LOVE FOR OTHERS, CAN MOTIVATE A CITY TO BEGIN THE FIGHT.

Molly Frye was a mother of three teenagers:

“A few years ago, she got fed up with what her kids were being taught about sex and drug abuse in the school system, and she decided to do something about it.

“Without a day’s experience in formal youth work, Molly wrote a curriculum about crisis pregnancy and drug and alcohol abuse. As a guest instructor, she presented her curriculum in a health class. It was so well received that [in one] year she and a modest band of volunteers spoke to more than 16,000 students in [her] community. One person can make a difference.[14]

The Family and Drug Abuse

One of the best predictors of a youth’s drinking habits is the attitude of the parents towards alcohol. “Children of alcoholics have a four-times-greater risk of developing alcoholism than children of non-alcoholics.”

Children are more likely to “abuse drugs if their parents:

  • smoke cigarettes;
  • abuse alcohol or are alcoholics;
  • take illicit drugs;
  • use any substance to help master stress;
  • impart an ambivalent or positive attitude toward illegal drugs.”[15]
  • What happens when children see:
  • Daddy has a so-called harmless few beers or glass of wine after work?
  • Mum feeling lousy and running to the medicine cabinet for a valium?

Then there’s the denial or lack of knowledge by parents of what their children are up to. One U.S. study of 600 grade 12 students and their parents about alcohol use found that “only 35 percent of the adults believed their sons and daughters had consumed beer, wine or liquor within the last month. But according to the kids, the actual figure was nearly double that.”[16]

Notes:

[1] Prepared by Spencer Gear when he was a family counsellor in Hervey Bay, Qld., Australia. He has since retired from that role.

[2]Recent statistics reveal that “marijuana is the most wide-spread drug in use following tobacco and alcohol, with 31 per cent of Australians having tried it and 13 per cent using it in the year before the survey.” This National Drug Strategy household survey involving 3,850 people over a two month period, was conducted by AGB-McNair and was released by the federal Health Minister, Michael Wooldridge (in the Bundaberg News-Mail, July 6, 1996, p. 10.)

[3]Statistics on marijuana and other illicit drugs, based on NCADA National Household Survey 1991.

[4]NSW Cancer Council Study, 1990 data.

[5]Queensland Criminal Justice Commission Report 1994 (CJC). Source: NCADA 1985-93, in Elaine Walters, The Cruel Hoax: Street Drugs in Australia. Shield Pty. Ltd., [PO Box 230, Malvern, Vic. 3144, Phone: 018 036 898], 1996, 35.

[6]The Parliamentary Joint Committee on National Crime Authority, 1989, Table 2, p. 38.

[7]Statistics on drug abuse in Australia, 1992, p. 33.

[8]Queensland Criminal Justice Commission Report 1994 (CJC). Source: NCADA 1985-93, in Elaine Walters, The Cruel Hoax: Street Drugs in Australia. Shield Pty. Ltd., [PO Box 230, Malvern, Vic. 3144, Phone: 018 036 898], 1996, 35.

[9]“A devil too many of us know well,” The Canberra Times, March 3, 1992, p. 21.

[10]“Legal drug abuse more costly than illegal use,” The Canberra Times, April 7, 1993, p. 19.

[11]National Campaign Against Drug Abuse, March 1991.

[12]Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA), in Stephen Arterburn & Jim Burns, Drug-Proof Your Kids. Pomona, California: Focus on the Family Publishing, 1989., p. 162.

[13]What Works: Schools Without Drugs. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, 1987, p. 15, in Arterburn & Burns, p. 27.

[14]In Arterburn & Burns, p. 172.

[15]Donald W. Goodwin, M.D., Is Alcoholism Hereditary? New York: Ballantine Books, Inc., 1988, p. 3, in Arterburn & Burns, pp. 27-28.

[16]Ken Barun and Philip Bashe, How to Keep the Children You Love Off Drugs. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1988, p. 4, in Arterburn & Burns, p. 28.

 
Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 January 2014.

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Danger zones for domestic violence

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Men are not born violent. All people have the ability to choose to do the wrong thing and the correct thing in the family.

How can men recognise the signs that often lead to family abuse?

Physically, there may be tensions in the muscles around the shoulders, neck, back, in the stomach and elsewhere. Men may clench their fists, veins may stand out on the neck and head. Others pace back and forth and there is a change in breathing patterns.

Another cue is in the emotions. A man may feel he has been put down and misjudged by his wife. This leads to a sense of feeling hurt and misunderstood and rage develops along with resentment.

Lifeline’s Spencer Gear said, “I have known men who do a lot of fantasising before abuse. They daydream about getting revenge. Others see themselves as punishing the wife for wrong that he perceives. He uses ‘stinking thinking’ to give himself the gee-up for his imagined payback.”

There are some danger zones when men find it easier to choose to be violent. These include discussion of sensitive topics such as children, finances, sex and the in-laws.

For some men, there are special times and places when they choose to be abusive. Travel in the car can be a prime example. Others find being in the kitchen around tea time as an opportunity to abuse the partner.

Men sometimes keep on telling themselves things that fuel the sense of being a victim. He then lashes out.

Men’s abuse of women is a choice. It can be changed.

Our personal warning signs are cues that indicate that we can choose to be abusive or violent very soon. Just as you can ignore the road signs to your own danger, so ignoring warning signs for abusive behaviour can be very dangerous if ignored.

What may be a warning sign for one man might not be for another. We all need to be aware of the warning signs of abuse and take responsibility to choose a different way to treat the wife and children.

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I have never hit her!

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I’ve had men say to me in counselling, “I have never committed violence against my wife. I would never, ever hit her.” But he has no qualms about screaming at her, cursing her, cutting off the money, or preventing her from seeing friends.

All of these are abusive behaviours that need to stop to build a healthy marriage or relationship.

How can men learn to change their angry and abusive ways?

One of the special ways is through a group that provides a safe environment for them to examine their abuse. Changed behaviour often starts with a change in beliefs about how men treat women.

A group encourages men to explore their abusive beliefs, challenge one another and to seek better ways of relating to women.

Groups are different from individual counselling. They give the opportunity for men who have not faced the music of their relationships to openly and honestly explore and challenge one another on their beliefs about intimate relationships.

In our Aussie male culture, this type of self-examination and self-confrontation is fairly rare. Here’s an opportunity for blokes to learn positive techniques about anger and abuse from other blokes.

It starts with changing abusive beliefs!

Journey from happy family to abuse

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

How can a happy wedding night turn into family abuse within a couple of years? What turns the joy of dating into nightmares of family violence? What is even more alarming is that approximately 87% of family violence in Australia is inflicted on women by men!

It is important that we do not see family violence only as physical abuse. Hitting a woman is obnoxious behaviour that must be stopped. But it is only a narrow way of examining abuse.

Bill would abuse his wife by controlling her money. He was in absolute control of the finances.

John would call Isobel an idiot and a useless woman around the house. He would scream at her, “When we got married, you were trim and good-looking. Now you’re a fat slob.”

Sean would swear at Anne whenever she wouldn’t do what he wanted. If she did not buy the petrol on time for the fishing trip, she got the finger and blankety-blanks.

Lifeline’s Spencer Gear said that “sometimes in counselling men tell me that they get angry and that’s what makes them abuse women. Men do get angry (so do women) but men can choose how they express it. Some men seem to create situations that lead them to become angry. Anger becomes an excuse for men to be abusive and violent.”

Other men blame their use of alcohol and other drugs for their family abuse.

To blame anger or grog for family violence is a myth. Men are responsible with what they do with their anger and how they express or control it.

Drinking or abusing drugs is a choice that men make. They are responsible for that choice, even if they lose control while drunk.

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Why do men abuse women?

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I would like you to meet Monte. You won’t recognise him by name. He is a composite of many abusive males I have counselled over the years.

As a male family counsellor, I have spent many years working with men and women in conflict. Monte could abuse his wife and not realise the impact on his wife and children. She could tell him at home and in counselling about how it hurt her and the kids with his uncaring dominance.

Yet he wants her to respond positively to his sexual advances at night and is miffed when she refuses him.

By abuse, I mean those who use mental abuse through their words (swearing & put downs). They cut off the money and refuse to allow spouses to meet with friends. Some are very demanding sexually. Occasionally they hurt the partner physically.

Monte is like one of these men. He can swear at his spouse, accuse her of being unfaithful, and threaten to toss her out of the house.

When I work with abusive men, I try to help them see the link among, beliefs, thoughts, feelings and their actions.

What beliefs cause men to eventually abuse their women? Three seem to be prominent.

Firstly, when a man makes himself central or king pin in the relationship, he will disregard the effects of his swear words and other insults on her. He will not be able to walk in her shoes and feel as she feels (it’s called a lack of empathy).

Secondly, some men believe that men are superior and become super sensitive and defensive when there are any threats to that superiority. Monte was like that. He would demand that his wife always agree with him and do things his way. Why? Because he was the expert in many things. He was the only one who could be right!

Thirdly, men who abuse sometimes exclaim, “I don’t deserve to be treated this way.” They expect a certain level of care and love, otherwise they will continue to abuse the wife.

These three belief systems often lead to angry and aggressive men who abuse their wives or partners.

Is there any hope for change? There was for Monte. He realised that he had inherited the view that a man was the centre of the universe from his father. When he woke up to the fact that this was a core reason for such horrible conflict in his relationship, he changed. But it started with his beliefs being challenged.

Is there hope for men who abuse? Absolutely! But the beliefs need to be addressed at the foundation.

I wish you could meet Monte today. He is a radically changed man. But he took responsibility for changing his beliefs and in turn he changed his behaviour. There is hope for men who abuse!

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Who created God?

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I was talking to a group of teenagers about the things of God and of Jesus when one of them blurted out, “What stupid stuff you Christians believe. I can’t see your God but you want me to believe in him. Every thing I know was made by something else. Wood comes from trees which come from seeds. Human beings happen when Mum and Dad get together. Who created your so-called God?”

This is a reasonable question. God’s view is that “anyone who comes to [God] must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”(Heb. 11:6, NIV). Before we can approach God, we must believe that he exists. We Christians spend too little time helping people with something that God requires before we can even approach him. This is the existence of God.

What kinds of evidence would you accept?

I once lived in a house that had several mango trees in the yard. When the fruit was of reasonable size, each morning I could go to the tree and see that something had been destroying my fruit by eating bits and pieces out of the green and near-ripe fruit. I didn’t see the flying foxes, but I can infer their existence from the evidence.

It’s like that with God. There is evidence all around that shows his existence. It shouldn’t bother us that we cannot see him. I can’t see the wind. I can’t see your brain and you can’t see mine. Neither can I see the principle within me that gives me life. But I sure know the wind, my brain, and my life exist – from the evidence they produce.

We can see the effects of God around us if we care to notice. Let’s take a look at our universe. Examine the intricate design of a human eye. If this earth were orbiting closer to the sun, it would fry. If it were further away, it would freeze over.

Let’s look at some other evidence:

Consider the sun. It is monstrous when compared with the earth. It has a diameter of 864,400 miles and a volume that is over one million times that of earth. The surface of the sun has a temperature of 6,000 degrees C, but that rises to 14 million degrees C at its core. About 4 million tons of the mass of the sun is lost every second, but it is of such gigantic proportions that it has enough fuel for about another 5,000 million years.

But the sun is only an average-sized star in the Milky Way galaxy. This galaxy, shaped like a disc, is 621,000 million million miles in breadth. There are 100,000 million stars in this single galaxy. The nearest star in the Milky Way, Andromeda, is about 24 million million million miles away.

Doesn’t this boggle the mind? All of it is perfectly designed and holds together by something or someone.

Now consider the dimension of the universe in light years. Light travels at just over 186,282 miles per second, which means that light travels at about 5,878,000 million miles per year. At this phenomenal speed, how long would it take to reach the sun from earth? Eight minutes. The nearest group of stars in our galaxy, Magellanic Clouds, takes 170,000 light years of travel to reach them. It takes 2.2 million light years to reach the Andromeda Spiral.

We could go on and on about the time to reach Sirius, Polaris (North Star), and Ursa Major (Great Bear). But this is only in one galaxy. It is estimated that there are at least 100,000 million galaxies, and we haven’t discussed the size of stars.[1]

After considering these and other dimensions of our wondrous universe, British evangelist, John Blanchard, asked: “What exactly is it that we are seeing? How does it work? Has it always existed? If not, when and how did it come into being? Will it go on for ever? If not, when and how will it come to an end? Why is it there at all? Does it have any meaning or purpose?”[2]

If the known stars in the universe were divided among the present population of the world, one writer has suggested that each person would receive two trillion of them.[3] A trillion is 10 to the 9th power, or, one million millions.[4] There are so many stars in the universe that each person in the world could have two trillion of them. What an immense cosmos.

Examine the composition of just one cell of a human body.

“The DNA molecule inside each cell contains a three-billion letter software code capable of overseeing and regulating all the anatomy on display in Body Worlds [the human body]. Increasingly we are learning to read the code. But who wrote it? And why? Can anyone guide us in reading not only the microcode inside each cell but the macrocode governing the entire planet, the universe?”[5]

As I consider this information about the existence of the Creator God, a few passages of Scripture come to mind that confirm this kind of evidence. I’m thinking of . . .

Psalm 8:3-4:

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them? (TNIV)
[6]

Psalm 19:1-6:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.

4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth (TNIV)

A verse from the NT confirms these passages from the Psalms: Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (TNIV).

Philip Yancey said: “In my lifetime, astronomers have ‘discovered’ seventy billion more galaxies, admitted they may have overlooked 96 percent of the makeup of the universe (‘dark energy’ and ‘dark matter’), and adjusted the time of the Big Bang by four to five billion years.”[7]

Today I’ve given a couple pointers to the existence of God, but . . .

Who created God?

I’m convinced beyond reasonable doubt that God exists, but how can I come to know who created God?

So, who made God?[8] The simple answer is: Nobody made God. God has always existed. The only things that are created are things that had a beginning – like you, me and our universe. All of us and our universe need a maker, a creator. Since God did not need to be created, the question, “Who made God?” is meaningless because he is not a created being but is the eternal being who eternally existed before he created the universe.

To ask, “Who created God?” is as illogical as asking, “Who is the bachelor’s wife?”[9]

However, there are questions that remain for those of us who do a little thinking. You might be asking questions like these: [10]

  • If the universe needs a cause, then why doesn’t God need a cause?
  • If God doesn’t need a cause, why should the universe need a cause?

Please note that: “The word ’cause’ has several different meanings in philosophy. But in this article, I am referring to the efficient cause, the chief agent causing something to be made.”[11]

A logical answer should go like this:

1. Everything which has a beginning has a cause.

2. The universe has a beginning.

3. Therefore the universe has a cause.[12]

Its important to emphasise the words “which has a beginning.” Our universe requires a cause because it had a beginning. Everything that had a beginning is caused by something. God is not like the universe. He had no beginning and therefore doesn’t need a cause.

In Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which has a lot of experimental support, is “the geometric theory of gravitation that was published by Albert Einstein in 1916. It is the current description of gravity in modern physics. It unifies special relativity and Newton’s law of universal gravitation, and describes gravity as a property of the geometry of space and time.”[13]

From this well established theory of Einstein’s, we can deduce that God, unlike the universe, had no beginning, so He doesn’t need a cause. Einstein’s theory of general relativity shows that time is linked to matter and space. So time itself would have begun along with matter and space.[14]

Thus, time, space and matter all had a beginning. The universe cannot be eternal.

God, by definition, is the creator of the entire universe, including time, space and matter. He cannot be limited by time. He created it. So, he had no beginning. There is an interesting verse in Isaiah 57:15a that confirms this: “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy. . .” (ESV).

Therefore, the eternal God does not have a cause.

It’s time to put on your thinking caps again. It’s a long while since I did science and I’m not a scientist. I did chemistry and physics in high school and a chemistry subject in my bachelor’s degree.

I want to introduce you to the term, “thermodynamics.” It is “a field of physical science that relates matter to energy. The principles of thermodynamics are regarded as inviolable and are applied constantly to engineering and the sciences, including origin science.”[15]

According to the first law of thermodynamics, “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.”[16] That really is a philosophical way of putting it. Since science is based on observation, the observational evidence for the first law of thermodynamics should read: “[As far as we have observed,] the amount of energy in the universe remains constant.”[17] i.e. scientists have not observed any new energy coming into existence or going out of existence.

This statement cannot affirm or deny that the universe was created. It simply states that, “as far as we can tell, the actual amount of energy that was created has remained constant since then.”[18]

That’s the first law of thermodynamics.

But there’s a second law of thermodynamics.

Are you ready to think a little more with me?

Remember the core of the first law of thermodynamics: “[As far as we have observed,] the amount of energy in the universe remains constant.”[19] i.e. scientists have not observed any new energy coming into existence or going out of existence

The second law of thermodynamics is another story. It can be stated this way:

“In a closed, isolated system, the amount of usable energy in the universe is decreasing.”[20] When I learned it back in my Grade 12 and university classes the term used was increase in entropy for decrease in useable energy.

Remember, the term is thermodynamics. By “dynamic” we mean that the amount of energy is being changed into unusable energy. This doesn’t conflict with the first law of thermodynamics, rather “it amplifies it.”[21]

Norman Geisler puts it this way: “If energy is constant, why do we keep needing more electricity? The answer is that entropy happens. The second law states that ‘overall things left to themselves tend to disorder.’ Overall, the amount of disorder is increasing. The entropy—that is, the disorder—of an isolated system can never decrease. When an isolated system achieves maximum entropy, it can no longer undergo change: It has reached equilibrium. We would say it has ‘run down.'”[22]

Put a cabbage in a closed system such as a glass house with no cracks and let it stay there for 6 months. What will happen to the cabbage? There will be an increase in entropy, or a decrease in energy. The cabbage will become putrid. Guaranteed. Think about this principle.

So, according to science, the second law of thermodynamics indicates that our universe is running down. If it is running down, it is running down from a higher position when it was created. It’s another way of showing that the universe cannot be eternal. It had a beginning; it had a cause and there is a decrease in useable energy.

But who is eternal and who caused the universe to come into existence. I put it to you that God Himself, the eternal one, created the universe. This is confirmed in the very first sentence of the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1 NIV).

Here’s another searching question about God:

Since God is has always existed and was not created, what was he up to before the creation of the cosmos, the universe, the world?

One of the great Christian teachers of the fifth-century, St. Augustine of Hippo, had two answers to this question. One of them was humorous and the other was serious.

His humorous answer was: “God was spending his time preparing hell for people who ask questions like this!”

The serious answer was: “God didn’t have any time on his hands, since there was no time before time was created. Time began with creation. Before creation, time did not exist. So there was no time for God to have on his hands. The world did not begin by a creation in time but by a creation of time. But, you may think, if there was no time before time began, what was there? The answer is, eternity. God is eternal, and the only thing prior to time was eternity.”[23]

Our very question, what was God up to before the creation of the universe “implies that an infinitely perfect being like God could get bored. Boredom, however, is a sign of imperfection and dissatisfaction, and God is perfectly satisfied. Thus, there is no way God could be bored, even if he had long time periods on his hands. An infinitely creative mind can always find something interesting to do. Only finite minds [like yours and mine] that run out of interesting things to do get bored.”[24]

This is not the time or place to get into a discussion of the nature of the Christian God who has three persons, Father, Son & Holy Spirit, in perfect fellowship. There is no way that such a person could become bored or lonely. There would always be somebody with whom to communicate who would have “perfect understanding, love, and companionship. Boredom is impossible for such a being.”[25]

Conclusion

William MacDonald calculated this:

“If it cost a cent to travel 1,000 miles, a cruise to the moon would be $2.38. But if you wanted to go to the sun, the one-way ticket would cost $930. And a trip to the nearest star would be – hold onto your hat – $260 million. Yet a place in the heart of the One who made this vast universe is free, based on the priceless sacrifice of Christ. Have you reserved your place?

Wonder of wonders! Vast surprise!

Can bigger wonder be?

That He who built the starry skies

Once bled and died for me.[26]

Imagine your 5-year-old.[27]

“Daddy,[28] who made me?”

“God made you, darling.”

“Well, Daddy, who made the sky and the trees?”

“God made the sky and the trees. God made everything.”

“Daddy, who made God?”

What a good question? “What do you say? Who made God? is a natural question for a child. If we teach our children that everything in the world is made from something else, where do we stop this line of reasoning? If everything has a maker, then who makes the maker? We find clues to the answer in God’s curious name for Himself, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’

“The simple answer (try explaining this to a child!) is that God does not require a cause. He causes all creatures to be, but He Himself is caused by no one. He makes all things move, but He Himself is moved by nothing.

“God exists by His own power. He alone is self-existent.”[29]

This is a summary of what I have been trying to communicate:

1. I have tried to show that the universe is not eternal. It had a beginning.

2. It is unreasonable to believe that something that had a being could begin to exist without a cause.

3. Therefore, the universe requires a cause as Genesis 1:1 and Romans 1:20 confirm.

· God, as creator of time, matter and energy, is outside of time. God has no beginning in time. He has always existed, so he doesn’t need a cause.

· The end of the story is that God was never created. He is eternal.

 


Endnotes:

[1] This information is from John Blanchard, Does God Believe in Atheists? Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2000, pp.244-245.

[2] Ibid., p. 247.

[3] Ibid., pp. 245-246.

[4] A trillion is “a number represented as a 1 followed by twelve zeros (1,000,000,000,000) If you have a bucket that holds 100 thousand marbles, you would need 10,” available from: www.ncsu.edu/project/agronauts/workbooks/Mission_1_Glossary.doc [4 May 2009].

[5] Philip Yancey, Rumours of a Another World. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003, p. 30.

[6] TNIV = Today’s New International Version, available from: http://www.tniv.info/bible/ [3 May 2009]. A hard copy of The TNIV Bible: Timeless Truth in Today’s Language (Today’s New International Version) 2005 is available from Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

[7] Yancey, pp. 29-30.

[8] With help from Norman Geisler, “Tough Questions about God,” ch. 1, pp. 23-32, in Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler (gen. ed.) 2003, Who Made God? And Answers to over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

[9] Ibid., p. 24.

[10] The following is based on Christian Answers, available from: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c039.html [4 May 2009].

[11] Endnote #1 in ibid.

[12] “Who created God?” Christian Answers, loc. cit.

[13] “General relativity,” Wikipedia, available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_relativity [4 May 2009].

[14] “Who created God?” Christian Answers, loc. cit.

[15] Norman L. Geisler 1999, “Thermodynamics, Laws of,” in Norman L. Geisler 1999, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, pp.723-724.

[16] Geisler, “Tough questions about God,” p. 24.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.,

[19] Ibid.

[20] Geisler, “Thermodynamics, Laws of,” p. 724.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Geisler, “Tough questions about God,” p. 28.

[24] Ibid., pp. 28-29.

[25] Ibid., p. 29.

[26] In “D.P’s Scrap Book,” New Life, 11th December 1997, p. 15.

[27] The following example is from R.C. Sproul 1987, One Holy Passion, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, p. 15.

[28] Sproul used “Mummy,” but I changed to “Daddy” because this message was originally presented at a men’s breakfast.

[29] Sproul, ibid.

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