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A winter 2018 article from J.D. :
“The Vital Question for a Doubt Conundrum”
Personally witness paranormal phenomena...
…front row seats!
Experience supernatural power…
…be touched by God — and become immortal !
Solve profound mysteries of the universe…
…that confound world-class geniuses!
Discover that everything you never dare to truly hope is true…
…is true, after all ?!
I honestly never expected to observe that God was real with my own senses, at least not real in any traditional sense like being “anthropomorphic” to the point where we could relate to Him as some kind of divine person. I particularly never anticipated believing in Jesus. I grouped Christianity with other religions or myths that seemed to be primitively lacking scope by involving human beings with divinity.
Some years ago my wife Tina and I simultaneously experienced universe-shaking, miraculous conversions. This was unanticipated but inevitable after being repeatedly delivered proof from on high which I can only describe as closer to empirical evidence than I was ever taught was available or “allowed”. We began to share our blessing and proclaim that even extreme skeptics could experience faith as comfortable certainty rather than a blind leap built on wishful thinking or suggestibility. After beginning to witness, we began to get questions from old friends and associates whose curiosity was piqued. I got essentially the same queries when I enrolled in bible college, again a few years later upon my ordination as Officiant Minister, and you’ll always get them from strangers to whom you evangelize.
These are FAQ’s of prospective Christians and cynical unbelievers, alike, such as:
“Isn’t it backward these days to say your faith is the only true path?”
“How can you really know the prophecies are true?”
“Why does God let terrible things happen?”
I had heard answers to these being expressed many times throughout my life, but for decades it always came off as, more or less, clever fables steeped in ethnicity. Nothing convinced me that it was anything more than just a somewhat bizarre, somewhat sensible, but ultimately fabricated construct, made up by men to impart morals, standardize ethics, explain mysteries, and/or to be successfully self-perpetuating, catchy memes. Only by finally having personalized evidence that the Lord really existed, at all, was I truly able to genuinely examine scripture for what it really was, for the first time. Once I could tell, bar-none & to my astonishment, that God was actually guiding me to the truth, He guided me to the reality of Jesus Christ, as well, and endowed my eyes with the ability to perceive an entirely new spectrum to which I was colorblind, prior.
Matthew 7:7-8 – Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Once the Holy Spirit opens your eyes and enables you to lift the veil of deceit with which this world has so skillfully blinded us, every important question you could ever ask is all answered by the Holy Bible, prayer, and a guided walk with God. There are interesting and clever apologetics that support the existence of God and the accuracy of the bible, but if you are like I was, there’s always a worldly-wise or intellectual “out” until you receive God’s help. Without God’s tutoring winks and nudges and without seeking and accepting Him until he compensates for the veritably supernatural levels of deceitful, circumstantial evidence, no amount of dry logic or deductive reasoning may cleanly arrive at the truth because of Satan’s current, spin-doctor jurisdiction in this world.
Have you ever watched a baffling, real-life, criminal trial in which there seems to be a clear mountain of evidence against a a suspect “X” , along with oodles of indications that person of interest “Y” could have nothing to do with it whatsoever – a cut and dry case… only to have the tables turn at the end and reveal the perpetrator was, amazingly, person “Y” all along? Uncanny cases like this happen too often to count (for an example see “Exhibit A” below, or skip if you’ve seen it many times).
Exhibit A – the murder trial:
Fred, a victim who was murdered in his sleep, is found by police after neighbors call and report seeing Fred’s house being broken into.
The prosecutor shows the jury that the defendant, Bubba, had been caught with Fred’s wallet the night the crime, along with a ski mask and a handwritten note stating his intention to murder Fred. He was pulled over and searched because his car was identified by the neighbors as the exact, rare make and model that was parked outside during the crime. He was even pulled over in the victim’s own neighborhood, far from Bubba’s home or work!
No one would side with Bubba and his typical, pathetic-seeming claim of innocence, unless they had the right point of view yielding hidden truths revealed by the defense:
Bubba had, by fantastic coincidence, been practicing lines for a play where he’d don a ski mask and voice his criminal intentions to murder a fictional character, “Fred” – a fact backed up by the entire cast of his play! It helped him to remember his lines by copying them, writing them down by hand. When he was driving home that night after rehearsal, he had seen a wallet lying in the road and had pulled over and picked it up to return to the owner, also witnessed by fellow cast members he was driving home that night, one of which was a neighbor of the victim, placing Bubba and his car in the same neighborhood as Fred, when he was pulled over after dropping off his last passenger. The similarity between his rare car and that of the real murderer (arrested later) was sheer, uncanny coincidence. With only the prosecution’s side of the story, an innocent man – a “good Samaritan” intending to return Fred’s wallet discarded by the murderer, would have been sentenced to the electric chair.
Trials like this happen like this every year, and are analogous to today’s cases for God or Christ in the eyes of the analytical skeptic. The main difference is the people who stand to lose their longevity are the jurors, themselves, not the deity being tried for falsehood.
Without the Holy Spirit, we can wind up like the jury who is blinded by real, yet deceivingly incomplete facts before some late, key witness takes the stand. In our case, Satan has enough influence over the purveyors of today’s information that he can distract us with selective reporting so we never focus on what he tries to obscure. His ability to manipulate humans to obfuscate truth, to a point, is temporarily allowed to happen as part of God’s Plan – something notoriously hard to understand but which, like all other mysteries, becomes more and more clear after we earnestly and lovingly repent in the name of Jesus Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes for the first time, something totally distinct and transcendent of psychology on any level, or intelligence of any level.
Earlier I stated I’d witnessed virtually empirical evidence of God’s existence. This gave me the kick-start I needed to form the foundation of faith which snowballed and grew exponentially after I had the Holy Spirit guiding me. When I made my official, public proclamation of faith at my baptism it was with blessed confidence, not a lukewarm bed-hedging. If you’re wondering what all this evidence was, it was personally customized to my own doubts and delivered to me, repeatedly, against incalculable odds. It’s far, far more pressing, and ultimately more conclusive, for you to experience it yourself and bear witness to what you receive, than to go by my results. If anything, the personal nature of mine are not meant to be publicized in a cavalier manner.
By design, these gifts of faith will not be subjected to the public scrutiny of the scientific method, to be clinically repeated, quantified, or necessarily useful to anyone other than the individual recipient. There will be no signs to prove God’s existence made public, en masse, before the Second Coming.
When Jesus was being questioned and threatened by pharisees in Matthew 12, they ask a sign of him, to which He replies, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” (in Matthew 12:39, the sign of Jonas/Jonah is usually interpreted as a reference to His dying, going down into darkness, and resurrecting in 3 days, foreshadwed by Joah’s time in the belly of the fish).
Individually, however, when moved by love instead of hard-heartedness, people are moved toward faith every day by what one could call private signs, at risk of arguing over semantics (I separate signs into two categories in the bible, those we should expect and those we shouldn’t, rather relying on the presence of the Holy Spirit for faith once we have it).
There’s probably only one question that matters if you feel miles away from faith in Jesus Christ (and the rest will fall into place thereafter), and that is:
“How can I escape this apparent conundrum of supposedly, only being able to find truth if I already believe in God, when believing in God is the biggest doubt I have?!”
I say this because once your doubt and faith problem is conquered and you receive God, all other questions are answered thereafter (like a fishing pole instead of a fish). Forgive the secular, pagan metaphor but if you had three fictional wishes from a fictional Genie (and Genies weren’t demonic, also fictional) then the best wish would be for infinite wishes instead of three.
How do you solve this conundrum and get the divine skeleton key to all other mysteries?
The answers are: 1) prayer and 2) God’s word
The bible is a Bloomin’ Onion:
Firstly, it does turn out to be vitally true that scripture contains innate power in and of itself to teach in ways we can’t even fully understand. I shouldn’t get stuck in a mode of endlessly spewing my own words because even when I don’t think bible verses were heard by someone, I’m not there 24/7 like God to see a seed planted earlier on take root and grow, later. The innate power hidden in the Word of God is beyond simple stories, morals, and common sense. Once given ample chance, with open eyes and ears, the bible’s fascinating secrets are embedded and encoded in a way that will begin to unfold for a lifetime like an endlessly blossoming flower with as many petals to unfold as an onion has countless, transparent membranes to remove.
Secondly, prayer will express to God your desire to appreciate and know Him (despite doubts). It can offer apology for being biased against Him or His divinely inspired bible while you gave endless, scientific paradigm shifts all the breaks, and it can appeal to Him with a petition for guidance to the truth and confident faith. If you are sincere, as well as steadfast and you’re not forgetting about it two hours later, sinning unrestrained, wallowing in escapism or self-indulgence as I was my first time asking (which didn’t work), he will deliver adequate evidence to you – proof which will be personal and private, but proof which will be unmistakable nonetheless, targeting your doubts if you’re paying attention. Mine were against staggeringly improbable odds, with surgical precision, because that’s what it took to jump-start me. It will be customized to satisfy your rational sensibilities if that what it takes to debunk your own, most tenacious suspicions (as warranted as they may seem until the real evidence is revealed).
Proverbs 8:17 – I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
(here, “early” means diligently)
It begins with prayer that only takes a few minutes. How much time have we all frittered away zoning out or fiddling with something occupying a few minutes? Even if I’m wrong or crazy, look at what you stand to gain, costing nothing but infinitesimal time, but potentially worth more than all the money and gold jackpots on Earth. It’s one gamble upon which God won’t mind you placing a bet, and the odds are unbeatable. Everyone who understands this game wins.
There’s a ton of essential bible school lessons I leave out when I go on this “pray for proof” testimony, but what I’m witness to is that the rest all falls into place after people find God and use that as the rock solid point of departure for the rest of what they seek. The message of salvation being through, and only through, the Son of God, is central to the gospel, but that’s faith-dependent, too. The biggest problem with people who think like I do (people who enjoy sciences, who grew up on Cosmos, Star Trek, or Eastern philosophy) is that they don’t tend to pray for what they really need the most (faith), or give scripture enough of a chance to work it’s wonders because standing back a few feet from the Religions shelf at the library makes the bible seem unworthy of enough dedication of time and attention, and so we don’t lend it.
Once we grasp the bonafide reality of it all and we get it, and then God gives us more… and more…
Speaking of which — just as those with faith will be given more and more truth, conversely, no matter how high people’s IQ’s are or how much worldly wisdom they believe they have mastered, it is written – those who lose all interest in seeking Him, will know less and less without Him.
Matthew 13:12 — For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
For those who seem to never have had any doubts, and who claim to have never been convinced by witnessing anything in their life, great…
John 20:29 — Jesus saith unto him, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
…but if you surreptitiously approach the conversation with a little shameless cunning, most will reveal there were things they saw or which happened along the way that convinced them, even if they simply didn’t have to take the initiative and ask. In the above verse, Thomas meets with the other apostles to hear them claiming to have seen Jesus risen from the grave, but he doesn’t believe, stating he won’t believe unless he sees for himself and examines Jesus’ wounds for himself. When Jesus reappears and tells Thomas to examine the wounds, He states the above, but this doesn’t mean faith is 100% blind by nature or that we never get to experience any type of evidence whatsoever. There is a lot of foreshadowing in the bible. Jesus being gone for a few minutes and coming back is analogous to the apostles seeing, firsthand, signs and wonders in the form of miracles with Jesus present in the flesh whereas today, we are to have faith hearing about that but not being there. In fact, if we do see public, open displays of great signs and wonders before He returns, prophecy warns us:
Matthew 24:24 — For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Getting over the initial hump of doubt and becoming open to faith is important, when it’s an issue for someone as much as it was me. No matter who we are, or what stage of life we’re in, once the lack of interest is no longer an issue, and we persevere with prayer, bible study, we repent (change our minds and intentions) something miraculous happens in its own right – we are then empowered by the Holy Spirit to accurately and effectively learn the answers to all questions, from the most essential FAQ’s to the most esoteric mysteries of existence, the sky is no limit.
Then the bible lessons available on every corner will hold new meaning, dots will connect unlike ever before, and knowledge will increase.
Even if you’re on top of the world (not rock bottom, seeking a church), even if you’re not afflicted with feelings of purposeless and your goals feel comfortable, even if you don’t need to value life more because believing “when you’re dead, you’re dead” makes you savor every last drop of life to the fullest instead of feeling a need for immortality – all of the so-called psychological pitfalls of the supposedly, psychologically needy… even if you’re in the top, happiest 1% of nigh-atheist agnostics in the world, surely prudence and skeptical curiosity alone is worth “performing the experiment”. It’s not even aptly scientific to have enough subconsciously spiteful hubris not to justify the minuscule time and effort it takes to pray, and to simply give the bible as much attention as it takes to know it for the trivial sake of well-rounded conversation or the entertainment factor of satisfying mere, anthropological curiosity. Even if one has a history of bible study, one must re-examine scripture in tandem with the earnest prayer to God for open eyes.
There’s far more at work here than frame of mind.
Without God, no frame of mind will connect all the dots because it take a supernatural, divine dose of Lasik surgery to correct a supernatural, demonic dose of night blindness by very real forces of darkness . Let there be light in your life. Only one Doctor can bring it.
Luke 8:17 — For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
That’s pretty awesome. Until next time, stay blessed — J.D. Burris