An Excellent Question
One of the benefits of hosting a website is having the ability to see what kinds of questions people "Google." Recently, someone typed in, "Is God Real?" So I thought, "that's one of the best questions I've ever seen anyone ask."
A Question I Once Asked Too
When I was 12, I laid down on my bed, closed my eyes, and for the very first time in my life, asked this question to God; “God, if you’re real then show me.” Although that’s the only time I remember asking this question to God directly, the thought was always in the back of my mind. It seemed that life was too big and too intricate to not have been created by some Divine Being. I also wondered what happens after people die and why this life is so difficult. Eventually, God answered my questions indirectly, through the help of other people who cared enough to spend some time teaching me the answers from the Bible.
Our Tangible Expectations
We live in a world that is very tangible. We can see with our eyes and feel with our touch everything material. We can also know Laws of Nature exist by observation. But God is not Someone we can touch today. God is not someone we can directly observe today. In fact, God has told us in the Bible that "the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). So we have to acquire our knowledge of Him in a way that is unobservable in nature.
The Conclusion of a Creator
The observable world can lead us to the conclusion that there must have been an Intelligent Designer/Creator. One can come to this conclusion by observing nature; trees, animal life, cosmology, the beauty of creation, etc…, that Someone intelligent brought these things into existence. The fact that the earth rotates around the sun, that the earth spins, that the earth is the exact distance from the sun to make life possible, this is all the handiwork of God. Too much in this world works with precision to attribute it all to random chance after some so-called “Big Bang.” Even if we concede that there was a so-called Big Bang, from where did the materials of the universe originate? It’s not possible for something to ever come from nothing.
Evolution is Dead
Despite what we hear in popular culture today, The Theory of Evolution, that we evolved from lower species, has been proven incorrect by scientists. There is no absolutely no evidence of any intermediary species between monkeys and man. The truth about creation can be found in the early chapters Genesis.
An Intelligent Language
Scientists today have also noticed the signature of design in DNA. There is an intelligent language written in every cell. And the only explanation for the existence of an intelligent language is an intelligent Communicator of that language. This science is called “Intelligent Design” and has completely dumbfounded atheists and skeptics from a scientific perspective.
We can certainly see evidence of a Creator in the observable world but wouldn’t it be nice if God could write in a book about Himself and how everything came to be so we could just read it and understand? That’s exactly what He did. He gave us the Bible; penned by the hands of men that were divinely inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. This is why we call the Bible "God’s Word." The only way to know for sure that God is real and the Author of all creation is by reading what God has revealed to us directly in His Word.
You’re Asking the Right Question
So if you want to know if God is real then you’ve have begun well by asking the best possible question; "God, are you real?” A few years after I asked that question, God answered by showing me the answer in the Bible. God created everything. God sustains everything. But the Bible tells us so much more. The Bible explains why there is sin in the world. The Bible explains why I am a sinner. The Bible explains why we all die. The Bible explains what happens after we die. And the Bible explains what God has done to make it possible for us to know God and have eternal life.
Find the Answer in God's Word
Start to know that God is real by reading the books of John and Romans in the Bible. And keep asking God to answer your question. I'm confident that if you seriously want to know then God will answer you, as He answered me. This is the most important question of your life because it has eternal consequences. What you really need to know is what happens after this life. As Jeremy Taylor has succinctly stated, "God hath given to man a short time here upon earth, and yet upon this short time eternity depends." So please read the Bible and let me know if I can be of help to you as you investigate God’s existence and so much more.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11
WE STRUGGLE WITH CONTENTMENT
Contentment is something we all struggle with, even believers. We’re always seeking something better. A better place to live, better car, better job, better church, better situation. And it’s not necessarily wrong to desire better circumstances.
But as we reflect back upon our lives, we realize that there was often a feeling that, whatever situation we were in, it was never good enough. Seldom were we content with raw reality.
IDEALISM IS UNREALISTIC
We live with a sense of idealism, of what life should be like. But what we find is that life doesn’t always go as planned or hoped for. We experience disappointments, trials, and aggravations. It’s easy to feel, at times, that life isn’t fair. We may think, “if only such and such happened then this wouldn’t have happened. Life is full of disappointments.
GOD IS WORKING EVERYTHING OUT FOR GOOD
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
True contentment is a strong confidence that God is working everything out in our lives for good. Sometimes the situations we experience are, honestly, not good. But God, in His providence, His sovereignty, is working everything out for good. We might see the good a few years later or we might not see the “good” until we’re in heaven. We must cling to God’s truth in His Word that, no matter what the situation is, He is working ALL things together for good to them that love Him.
COVETOUSNESS IS THE OPPOSITE OF CONTENTMENT
The opposite of contentment is covetousness. Covetousness is a feeling that whatever our current situation (trials, troubles, disappointments, or health problems), must be improved. We tend to always want to be in a better position. God, on the other hand, wants us to be content in whatsoever situation we’re in.
God hates covetousness. He commands us not to covet. This goes all the way back to the Ten Commandments and is reaffirmed in the New Testament;
“For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet.” Romans 13:9
WE LIVE IN A FALLEN WORLD
We have to accept that we live in a fallen world. It’s sinfully unrealistic to expect life to be a fulfilled dream. Idealism is a tendency to want things as they might be, could be, or should be instead of how they actually are.
For example, when we drive to church on Sunday morning, we may have seen people out fertilizing their lawns, walking their dogs, raking leaves, pushing baby carriages, turning into packed parking lots at the supermarket. "It’s not the way things used to be," we might say quietly to ourselves. "People should be caring about their eternal souls. They should be lining up at the church door hoping there’ll be a seat left for them to come learn truths from the Word of God." Ideally, that's the way it should be. There should be such a thirst in the land for the Biblical explanation of what life is all about. But that’s not the way it is. What the world is like, ideally, is not what it’s like in reality.
The same is true about most aspects of our lives. Everything is not what it should be. We live in a fallen world. The so-called “dream job” is never as dreamy as we imagined. The long years of healthy and wealthy retirement often don’t match our expectations. We live in a fallen world filled with disappointments.
So we shouldn’t get all bent out of shape when life doesn’t go as we expected. But that doesn’t mean we should be fatalistic about life and say “whatever will be will be.” There is often something we can do to improve our situations. We can go to the doctor if we're sick. We can go to the mechanic when the car breaks. But there are also times when nothing, humanly, can be done.
BEWARE OF ANGER
If we don’t accept that we live in a fallen world then we can easily become angry or bitter. Anger over our situations can dangerously make us raise our fists in defiance to God. But that wasn’t Paul’s example. He learned to be content in every condition.
When you were permanently indwelled by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation, God gave you spiritual gifts. The purpose for those gifts is to serve in the church. If you’re not exercising your gifts then your church is missing out.
Some believers are unsure what spiritual gifts they have. Some wonder if they've received any at all. But God assures us in His word that every born-again believer has at least one (1 Peter 4:10). The question is not, “Do I have any spiritual gifts.” The question to ask is, “which spiritual gifts do I have?”
Theologians have categorized them into two groups; speaking gifts and serving gifts. Speaking gifts are those verbally communicated. They include evangelizing, teaching, exhorting (encourage, comfort, counsel), and pastoring. Examples of gifts in the serving category are administration, faith, giving, helping, and mercy. If you really have no idea which gift(s) you have then how can you learn to identify them? Here are six suggestions:
Look for a need in your church and ask yourself if there’s something you can do to fulfill that need.
Just try something. Does someone in the church need a bit of encouragement (exhortation)? Can you take charge of ordering supplies like hand soap, paper towels, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies (administration)? Can you teach a 4th grade Bible class (teaching)? Can you befriend visitors and explain the gospel to them in a clear way (evangelizing)? Just try something.
Often, but not always, God gives spiritual gifts to make our natural gifts more impactful.
Think of the Apostle Paul. Taught by Gamaliel, Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees, intelligent, and a naturally gifted communicator. But once saved, his natural abilities were enhanced and used for their intended purposes; to evangelize, teach and exhort. God may also have given you gifts that pair well with your natural abilities.
Be open to identify and accept whatever gift(s) God has given you.
Some gifts attract more attention than others. Obviously, pastors and teachers are prominent, everyone knows who they are. But equally important are the gifts being exercised which few recognize. Remember, it’s God, in His Divine providence, Who decides which gifts to give to which of His children. All gifts are important because all members of the body are fitly joined together.
Have the right attitude about spiritual gifts.
Realize that they’re to be used for service. They are not intended to attract attention to yourself. Remember Jesus’ words; “the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Be like Jesus.
Evaluate your experience.
Do you think your service to others was effective? Do you have an inner sense of satisfaction after serving? If so then you possibly have that gift. Believers rejoice when they know they’re being used effectively by God. Think soberly about your gifts. You shouldn’t think of yourself more highly than you ought. On the other hand, you shouldn’t think too little of what God has given you. Think soberly.
Ask other mature believers for their honest evaluation.
Remember, sometimes the expression of our gift takes time to develop. Ask a trusted, mature believer for feedback.
Your relationship with the church is one of giving and receiving. Not only do you receive when you listen to sermons, attend Bible studies, and are edified by the choir. God also wants you to serve using your spiritual gifts. If you’re not serving then the church is missing out. God says you’re important and your gifts are important. This world is discouraging in various ways but the church is instructed to encourage and build each other up (edify). We do that by exercising our spiritual gifts. We need each other.