Drugs or God

Yahoo had an interesting article today about researchers giving cancer patients psychedelic drugs. Basically getting them high to relieve end of life anxiety.

The story focused on a woman dying of ovarian cancer.

Edlich, whose cancer forced her to retire from teaching French at a private school, had plenty of reason to seek help through the NYU project. Several recurrences of her ovarian cancer had provoked fears about suffering and dying and how her death would affect her family. She felt “profound sadness that my life was going to be cut short.” And she faced existential questions: Why live? What does it all mean? How can I go on?

“These things were in my head and I wanted them to take a back seat to living in the moment,” she said. So when she heard NYU researchers speak about the project at her cancer support group, she was interested.

Sounds like she needs a pastor not a drug. She has valid concerns. What is society coming to when we choose to drug ourselves instead of considering God even at the end of life? The drug won’t take away the true underlying cause of her anxiety, the need for God.

The therapy seeks to help patients live fuller, richer lives with the time they have left.

All three people in the study so far felt better, with less general anxiety and fear of death, and greater acceptance of the dying process, Ross said. No major side effects have appeared. The project plans to enroll a total of 32 people.

We will all eventually face these same anxieties unless we know Jesus. Some people don’t even get a second chance to make that choice if die tragically in accidents. Now is the time to decide, for we don’t know the number of our days.

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Jesus, just a metaphor?

I recently overheard part of a conversation where a young woman was trying to convince another of the universality of religion. Her belief was that there is more than one way to God. As long as you have the virtues of peace, love, understanding, etc it doesn’t matter if you were Jewish, Buddist, Christian, Muslim or even atheist. She said Jesus was only a metaphor today.

Unfortunately, her belief is getting to be more and more common. Why do you need a relationship with Jesus? He is the Son of God. He’s real, not merely a metaphor for righteousness. While other religions speak of God (and even Jesus), God’s Son is central in no other religion or belief than Christianity. The Bible has this to say about it:

John 14:6 (KJV)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

That’s pretty direct. Jesus is the only true way to God. It’s why He came and died. We don’t need to do anything to earn our salvation except believe in Him. Just being spiritual, religious, or righteous isn’t enough. You must have a personal relationship with Jesus.

How can we be assured he is the Son of God since there are miracles by prophets in some of the other religions? The Bible assure us.

Matt 8:29 And, behold, they [devils; demons, or evil spirits depending upon translation] cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Matt 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God

Matt 27:43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God

John 11:27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Then once you have that relationship, your actions show you are a Christian. They show you have a changed heart. This is where works and righteousness come in and why faith and works go together. James 2 has a lot to say about faith and works. Works are the fruit of the spirit which show we are Christians. While you can’t work your way into heaven or a relationship with God, you can work your way out. Jesus said in Galatians 5:21

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The young woman I overheard got it half right. The traits of righteousness are associated with Jesus. However, they are the fruit of the Spirit as described by Jesus Himself. They are not an end to themselves.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Most every major world religion stresses some of the traits of righteousness. Also, they all have some form of worship and ordinances that are to be followed. None of these will earn you a true relationship with God. Jesus called the scribes and pharasees hypocrites several times. They were the religious leaders of that time, so you’d think they would have a terrific relationship with God. Not so. A true relationship with God can only be had through a personal relation ship with His Son Jesus. Just religion or being religious is not enough.

If you can’t have a true relationship with God by religion or righteousness, how do you? You must have a personal relationship with His Son Jesus. There’s no magical sinners prayer. No ritual. Just humbly ask Him to come into your heart and guide your life. Then live the way the Bible teaches believers. It’s not difficult, but not always easy. However, if you want to continue in your relationship with God, it’s the only right way.

So do you have a personal relationship with Jesus or are you relying on righteousness or religion? Is Jesus simply a metaphor or have you made him Lord of your life?

Savior and Lord

I’ve been sick these past few days so I’ve had extra time to ponder spiritual matters. Today what is on my heart is Jesus as savior and lord of Christians. Jesus wants to be both our Savior and Lord.

I hope all who claim to be Christians understand and acknowledge Jesus as their savior. This is the easy part of being a Christian because it doesn’t require us to actually physically do anything other than acknowledge Him. Or does it? In order to need a savior, you need to have something to be saved from. In our case, it was sin. So, in order to acknowledge Jesus as your savior, you need to first acknowledge your sins. This is a personal introspection, not just general human sins. Hence everyone’s need for a savior. Romans 3:23

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [emphasis mine]

This understanding can be a stumbling block, but it shouldn’t be. All have done things wrong in God’s eyes. No sin is worse than another. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your sins are too great. Jesus understood this. He came for all sinners. After acknowledging your sins and a need for a savior, acknowledge Jesus as that savior.

Mark 2:17

When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Finally, let Jesus be Lord of your life. A lord watches over his subjects and tells them what to do. He protects them and expects obedience in exchange. This can be the hard part since it is often contrary to how our culture says we should live.

Jesus as savior and lord go hand in hand. A radio program recently said the Christian life should be one of simple obedience. Nothing more but nothing less. It’s wonderful to know Jesus as a savior. I don’t think it’s asking too much to be obedient to him as Lord over my life in exchange.

How do we know what he wants of us as our savior and Lord? Read the Bible. Read it in depth, not just in short passages from devotionals or commentaries. Everything we need to know is there, especially the New Testament. It’s full of instructions as well as inspiration.

2 Timothy 3:16

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

Yes, some of it doesn’t fit well with popular culture and today’s consumerist lifestyle. Still, what is culture when dealing with things eternal? 1 John 2:15-17 tells believers

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

We need to teach Jesus as both savior and lord to our children. We need to lead them by example. They need to see us living a life set apart for Christ as Lord. Children should see their parents worshiping God and praying daily, not just on Sunday morning in church. Parents teach children about sin and it’s consequences, about Jesus as savior.

Unfortunately, I ‘m seeing a lot of church’s Sunday children’s programs are more like a Bible themed day care with little Biblical instruction. I’m not saying they can’t have some games, but the real focus should be on learning about God and Jesus through studying the Bible. They need a solid foundation with Jesus as their savior and Lord, not just a friend for having fun.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it

So is Jesus your personal savior and lord? Are you an obedient servant?