What side you are on is the more important question

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Are we looking for affirmation for ourselves, or to find the will of God? Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Everyone who believes in God claims God is in their side. Wars have been fought and both sides prayed to the same God for victory, and claimed they would have it because God was with them.

Today there are liberals and republicans who claim God is in their side. There are debates on whether Jesus would have been a conservative or liberal.

The scriptures do say God is with us, and Jesus said “I am with you” when he sent them out to proclaim the gospel.

What if we turn the statement around? What if we ask, are we with God? Instead of Jesus saying, “I am with you,” picture him saying “you are with me.” …

Knowing the difference can change how you see the world

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Photo by Mark Boss on Unsplash

When Jesus left the Earth after his resurrection, he said “I am with you,” as he sent them out to proclaim the good news. Gospel means good news, and the good news is that we are forgiven by God and are invited into a relationship on a spiritual level.

The Holy Spirit came soon after that and they were empowered to do even more.

Jesus was with them because he had sent them on a mission. It is arguable that mission continues today. There still seems to be a lot of people who don't understand the good news.

But everyone wants to think “God is on my side” no matter what side it is. What if we turn the statement around? What if we ask, are we with God? Instead of Jesus saying, “I am with you,” picture him saying “you are with me.” …

It can be an irritating catchphrase, but there could be some truth in there

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There is freedom in having a spiritual life. Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash

It does get aggravating when people say “you need Jesus,” as the answer to almost any problem there is. It’s even aggravating when you already have Jesus. But … What if? What if you really do need Jesus?

If you are hungry you need food. If you are sick you need medicine or treatment. If you are depressed you might need anti-depressants. Some people claim to have been supernaturally healed of sickness. I don’t know whether they were or not, but it is rare that God actually heals someone.

There is also a spiritual reality, and if you are feeling empty or lifeless, maybe Jesus really is the answer you are looking for. …

Whether it’s dating or freelance writing, your attitude can change the pain.

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Rejection never feels good at the time. Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

No one likes rejection. It was hard when I was dating and it was hard when I was starting out as a writer. The two things — dating and writing — do have some things in common. In both situations, there are emotions involved. You are putting yourself out there making yourself vulnerable. It is more than just selling a widget that you made.

When you try to sell what you write you are offering someone — an editor — a piece of yourself. No matter the reason they say no, it still is going to feel a bit like you are being rejected. …

Were the older translations better? Or what if the new ones don't feel right?

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There’s no need to make the simple complicated. Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

A rant about those that attack modern translations of the Bible.

Every now and then in Christian circles, some people start complaining about “new” translations of the Bible. They usually hold the King James Version to be the bible Moses preached out of or the one that Jesus read.

This of course is not true. Even so, these ideas are attacks and are just as bad as cynics claiming the whole thing was made up in order to control people. Neither attack is true and could cause people to doubt what they read without good reason.

It is important to understand how it all works. I have been studying the Bible for 40 years, and have studied ancient languages for about 25 of those years. I have translated a good bit of the New Testament myself. I have paid my dues and done the work, so I feel I have a right to speak on things like translations and accuracy. …

The real meaning of Christmas is in accepting the gift

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The gift does not become yours until you accept it. Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

What if someone sent you a gift? It was paid for and delivered to your porch by a brown truck. You “own” the box now and its contents. You could open it and enjoy your gift. You could also never open the box and ignore it. You would still have the gift, but it would do you no good. You could even throw it out in the yard and reject the gift.

These are our options when we think about the gift from God which we celebrate at Christmas.

Regardless of all the noise out there, the politics, and people who love bashing Christianity, the essential message remains the same. God became a man and lived among us and offers us the gift of salvation, or relationship. That is what real Christianity is about. …

Look inward to find the sweet spot we need as writers

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Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

You may not be able to flip a switch from dark to light, but you can nudge the grey.

Words flow effortlessly from the mind to the keyboard. Typing is automatic and the writing is like magic. Words and ideas come so fast it’s hard to keep up. A sip of coffee is barely noticed as the next hundred words roll on to the page. The keyboard feels like a finely tuned piano and you are playing songs you don’t know.

That is how writing is supposed to be. It should be fun, exciting, filled with discovery. When it’s like that you love being a writer.

But we writers know that is a fleeting state. It comes on its own and can leave just as fast. …

Mystical Magi show up after they recognized a sign in the sky pointing to him

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Wisemen came to present gifts to the newborn king. Photo by Robert Thiemann on Unsplash

In the Bible story of the birth of Jesus, wise men show up, saying they had seen his star and had come to offer gifts.

In the traditional Christmas play, they show up just after the shepherds abiding their flocks by night cross the stage. In reality, it was a few years later. The bible says they came to the house of Mary and Joseph and presented their gifts to “the child.”

With the current Solstice on Dec. 21st, some may think this is what they saw all those years ago.

Maybe they saw this star two or three years earlier, and it took them this long to get to Bethlehem. With the current Solstice on Dec. 21st, some may think this is what they saw all those years ago. It’s a long story but Dec. 25 was chosen as the date to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Most scholars think it was spring but we don’t know for sure. …

The real reason for the season is in understanding Easter

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The first Christmas. Photo by Pixabay

Christmas is a very radical idea at its root. Christmas and Easter are holidays to celebrate two important theological ideas. They (holidays) are not in themselves necessary or even important.

Here is what matters

God became a man (human) and lived as a human being. This was the first part of the gift, and Easter — the resurrection — was the completion.

To the people who first heard the idea, it was crazy, and it remains largely misunderstood today. Gross commercialization has not helped, nor has politicizing it.

The idea sounds rather silly on the surface.

“Here, take my son and kill him, then I’ll forgive you,” seems to be what God was saying by sending Jesus to die on the cross. Let us be really clear on this point. Jesus did not come to show us how to live or to teach us spiritual truth — though he did do those things. He, as God in the flesh, came to die on the cross to pay for our sins. That was his primary mission. …

The same way you measure temperature with a yardstick

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kAre we really all along in the vastness of the cosmos? Photo by Mick De Paola on Unsplash

You can’t measure temperature with a yardstick. You can try to all day long and you won’t find any. If a yardstick is all you look at, you will eventually throw up your hands in frustration and say there is no evidence that temperature exists.

This is the problem with the “no evidence” argument against the reality of God and the spirit world. God, and real religion, are supernatural. If it could be seen in the natural world — with your eyes, it would no longer be supernatural. …


James Jordan

Teller of tales, many of which are actually true. Award-winning journalist, and the William Allen White Award for reporting.

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