Monday, March 12, 2007

A witness

We once met a Jewish fellow who was interested in Christ --Steve Cohen was his name --he joined Jews for Jesus eventually--but first he asked God to prove His presence to him --to give him a sign. It had to do with a street lamp --He asked God to make it blink or something --I'm not sure I remember the details --anyway --it happened, whatever he asked for a sign --more than once --and he was "almost persuaded" but kept wanting these signs and he was with a Christian friend and prayed that a candle would go out in the room if Jesus were the son of God --and nothing happened this time--until the friend blew out the candle. He told this as part of his testimony of coming to believe. i realize it's not convincing --but when he told it, it was. The street light part was pretty convincing to him and to us listening. The friend played the role of Christian witness and provided the last sign --Steve knew he had already received enough of a sign without asking for more magic show from god.

People who seek God will find Him --St Paul was an earnest devout Jew who hated Jesus whom he never met --until the Damascus road experience (acts 9) Because he really DID love God and knew the scriptures and persecuted Christians out of his orthodox postition as a Jew, God did a miracle on him --blinded him; Jesus spoke audibly out of the blinding light; he sent Paul (Saul) into town (led by his companions) and told him to wait for instruction; meanwhile, a man named Ananias was told in a vision by Jesus to go to the street called Straight (ironic) and he would find Saul, a man who was told in a dream that Ananias was coming to restore his sight.

Beowulf doesn't compare --doesn't have the ring of history nor the importance --nor do King Arthur's Legends -or Greek myths -- They weren't meant to be history and they don't sound like history ---maybe helen of Troy and the Trojan horse but that's not about salvation--not like the Bible which is wholly about the Creator and man and the problem of sin and the promise of salvation from sin and death. These other stories have no salvation message for us. There are various superman legends as man has always wanted to believe in super powers --but the stories of Jesus are different some how --as the bible says, "His spirit bears witness with OUR spirits" -- there is a consistancy in the Bible that is greater than any of the inconsistencies in the Bible --e.g. before Christ, Isaiah 53 prophesied about a suffering servant on whom all our transgressions would be laid.

CS Lewis in Mere Christianity makes it logical to be a believer --so does Chuck Colson in Born Again. You know CS Lewis had a BBC radio series from which his book is taken --he had been a firm atheist. Of course, faith can't be entirely a matter of proof and logic; the Bible says it is faith that saves us, not our certainty. But there are GOOD reasons to believe that the Gospels just might be true after all!

as for science --it's the study of all that God has made and we have discovered principles and laws and facts, etc. The things we learn through science should and usually do fortify faith for believers--we should regard nature and the universe with awe --and think it's preposterous to believe in ourselves as part of a cosmic accident.

You said a ship is built and designed but that doesn't mean the builder is good or loving. But if that builder talks to you, that can be convincing --and the Bible says that's what the Creator did. You can tell sometimes by craftsmanship if the builder loved his work. If he made a beautiful boat and tied it up at my dock and put my name on it --I'm going to think somebody loves me! If my life is blessed with the joy of living, the joy of parenting, and being a wife to a wonderfully kind and tolerant, long-suffering, handsome man, if I just look at nature and its beauty and the marvels of human beings and our design --at my age and condition I'm glad for what health I have and that I don't hurt all the time somewhere -- I AM the fat lady who sings --or tries to sing --but my kids are beautiful to me --and I enjoy their personalities --I enjoy family and getting together --these things are blessings of God that He wants all of us to have --and the only reason so many don't have all these blessings is too often sin --adultery, porn, tempers, selfishness, unrealistic expectations --more often our doing than God's if we don't feel blessed.

My life isn't completely idyllic as I may make it sound--but when I count my blessings, it is. But I know I'm facing health problems and I hope to run the race of faith to the end with enthusiasm. I just don't suffer well and hope I won't have to.

I have besetting tendencies --I avoid my taxes, bills, filing, mail like the plague --I find the tv too absorbing --I procrastinate and eat too much because I can--I don't walk easily because of a genetic issue compounded by overweight.

Nevertheless, love comes my way --because of God's mercy.

Just ask God to show you the nailprints in His hands and see what He does.

You might be amazed. My husband says that any morning that he remembers to consciously ask God to use Him to share his faith with someone, he gets an opportunity tailor made to tell of his faith in Christ. Some patient will bring up religion --and then he's sure to fall behind schedule! but he thinks he's had some "crucial conversations" just because He told God He was willing and eager.

When you ask God to prove Himself to you in some convincing way, I believe he will. He has for others. But don't dictate the terms --as some people do when they want healings or want to see grandpa sit up in his coffin.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your posting.
BTW - I know Steve Cohen - he's a wonderful brother in Christ ministering in St. Louis now. I too am a Jewish believer in Jesus and a Jew for Jesus (I trained with Steve Cohen's son). So your post had some personal value.

I have said a prayer for your health.

May the Lord bless you and keep you as you remain faithful in Him.

Barb said...

Do you have a MYSPACE blog? I wrote an email to you but then realized that I was contacted by email about your comment by Blogspot and not by you yourself so my email probably would not get to you. I have not made my email address available to all. I may get around to figuring out how to do some kind of email address for this blog that doesn't give my whole name to the world.

If you tell me you have a myspace, and how to find it, I could email you through that.

My MYSPACE PROFILE with pics is at www.myspace/

My reply:

Hi Richard! You made my day!

Curious –how did you run across my blog? I figured no one will ever find it. I tried to install? sign up for-- Site meter –I don’t see a “site meter” icon to click on my site anywhere –this is all fairly new to me.

How old would you be as a friend of Steve’s son? And where are you assigned ? We kept Cohens overnight in Toledo once when they were speaking in this area --and I think they may have had at least one little boy then. We had supported them --but they gave us someone else to support -and JforJ is one of our charities we do still support. I was not a good correspondent to them. Just busy. We visited the Haight St. office when we were a young couple at a med conf. in San Francisco. They had a formal debate that night on biblical verses in support of Calvinism vs. Arminianism --the issue: eternal security. I really liked that way of approaching controversies in Christendom. I thought the Arminian side won.

I also liked how they just passed the hat for someone's problem with his car --or a need for tuition, or whatever. This would have been in the 70's maybe? or early 80's.

Do you live anywhere near Toledo?

What encouragement to me to think someone saw my blog! And took the time to encourage me. And pray for me.

I would like to know more about you and your ministry and update on Cohens without posting my email address here for everyone.

Myspace is free. I've never looked up j for J there --I wonder if they have a space --it is a way of giving out an address for correspondence without getting on junk mail lists.

Tell Steve he should be sure to offer his presentation to nearby Greenville College. they have myspace websites --including the college choir sounding gorgeous at



Barb said...

correction: I meant to say, just find my myspace site and you can contact me there if you also have or sign up for a myspace website --because I would like to know a little more about your ministry and the Cohens today.

One can be on myspace for correspondence without giving out any personal info or pics to the world if he prefers.

I love the GOOD things about the internet.