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Feb 02 2010

What Do We Believe?

Is it important what we believe?

I have friend who believes in reincarnation.  I have shared the Gospel with her but her response is that she believes in reincarnation.  I once asked her on what basis she believes in reincarnation.  Unbelievably she told me that she has nothing to support her belief but it is what she believes.  That’s it.  She has chosen to believe in reincarnation but admits that she has nothing to support her belief.  In essence, her belief is based on something she wants.  Then she turned and asked me on what basis I believed what I believe.  That was an easy question.  I have the bible.  I took her through the historical truths of the bible, the 100% accuracy of the prophecies and  the claims of the bible.  She did not dispute what I had to say.  She listened intently.

Astonishingly, she replied that she liked believing in reincarnation.  It is a pleasant and comforting belief for her and therefore, she stakes her soul on this belief.  She shared with me that she was married in one of her previous lives and had a brood of children.  I asked her how she she knew that.  Her response was “I just feel it.”  I have had some pretty vivid dreams that just feel very real but they are not real.  They are but the imaginings of my mind while I sleep.

Scripture tells us that one day, our soul will be required of us – each and every one of us.  (Luke 12:20).  Man has come up with all sorts of beliefs as to what happens after we die.  It does not matter what we come up with if it is not based in truth.  Truth is not relative – there is but one truth. 

I think about my friend and I agonize over her.  I really do care for her and would love nothing better than to see her saved from the penalty of her sins.  Her brother once asked me to please, please plead with her and talk to her about her eternity.  I have but reincarnation holds her heart.  She has decided that she gets to come back and do this life all over again.  Nothing to support that belief except her desire.

Christians say that people like her don’t want to believe.  I used to believe that as well.  But according to scripture, it is not true.  Man is dead in their sins and cannot understand.  Oh sure they understand the words and understand the concepts of Christianity.  Actually, I understand the concept of reincarnation.  It’s not difficult to understand concepts.  My friend is not choosing death over life.  She does not understand the spiritual in her heart.

“Spiritual arguments to an unregenerate man are only warm clothes to a corpse.  Debating in this matter is like standing before Lincoln’s Memorial and talking to the statute of the former president about moon trips.”  W.E. Best

(Joh 6:44)  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Were I to become so skilled at debate (and I’m not), my words would fall on deaf ears unless God first does His work in regeneration.  No argument, now matter how well crafted will have an affect on an unregenerate person.  But we don’t stop for we are planting seeds.  When I was a little girl, I helped plant a young tree in our back yard.  We moved away shortly thereafter.  I never got to see it grow.  The new owners of the home saw it grow and by now, it’s probably a large tree.

What do we believe?  Is it important?  In this life, perhaps not.  Life can be good both for the saved and the unsaved for God’s blessings rains on the just and the unjust.  (Matthew 5:45).  However, it will matter for eternity when we leave here and stand before God.

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14 comments

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  1. Margaret

    Tishrei,

    Yes, God blesses the just and the unjust….. Usually, the unsaved interpret that to mean they are A-okay with whatever the “deity” might be….. They choose to have no regard for any sort of gospel message and can get quite obnoxious about it….. I’ve known several such people over the years.

    But, I also had a friend, who had been Buddhist and became a Christian….. In his new-found “faith”, the old superstitions were really hard to get rid of….. He was very fearful of walking by a cemetery because the spirits did not want to be disturbed….. It was very sad.

    Many of us tried to plant many seeds for him, but I don’t know how he is today.

    Margaret

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Margaret,

      I think we approach this a bit different. I don’t believe people choose damnation — which is what happens when they don’t believe. They cannot choose UNLESS God chooses them. In all the people I have ever run across in my entire Christian life, no one is making a choice for damnation. Scripture says they cannot see — not that they don’t want to see.

      Before I was a Christian, I did not refuse to believe — I just didn’t have the ability to believe. It was nonsense to me. At least it was nonsense to me until God opened my eyes and began to call me. Until then, I had no affinity towards the spiritual things of God.

      A person lacks the ability to believe because they are dead spiritually. They must be made alive so that they can believe and repent. Only God can cause a regeneration in a person so that he has the ability. Without that, people will act according to their nature and that nature is spiritually dead.

  2. Repent Harlequin

    Hey Blog Lady T.,

    I would dispute your contention that you are not skilled at debate. However, if simply winning an argument were enough then Heaven would only be populated by very smart people, ahem, and people who lost a debate.

    Your friend brought to mind something that I think is quite common. The ‘feeling’. We no longer base our ideas on findings or opinions based on something else, a fact or a book (in this case a Bible, but I mean any book). There used to be a time when people would debate or discuss based on a shared history of having read the same books explored intellectually the same ideas. Now it seems most people think their knowledge comes about by osmoses, it’s in the air somehow. If we feel it then it must be right.

    I’m probably not articulating this well…

    Anyway, planting seeds is the way to go. You are right in that arguing someone into eternal life is not possible. We are lost, all of us, and no matter how persuasive the evidence are fallenness will keep us lost without God.

    In Christ,
    Kent

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Kent,

      Thankfully debating skills are not needed in persuading folks. Christians argue enough as it is — just check out discussion boards so imagine if our ‘powers’ of persuasion worked.

      I totally agree with you on this ‘feeling’ people get. Truth has now become relative. Your truth works for your but my truth works for me. That’s pretty much how it is now. I respect your right to believe as you do and you must respect my right to believe as I do. We each have our own truths. OY

      Okay, I had to crack up over your comment about gaining knowledge through osmosis — it’s in the air. It’s funny but in a sad sort of way because that’s how people act.

      It’s even happening in our schools. We remove history and change it and teach it to school children as if that makes it true.

      BLT

  3. reverent1

    The bible tells us to steer clear and too “put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards”. As for our souls they shall arise but we will not regenerate into trees.. We will want to be as close to God singing “glory, glory, glory” rather than wanting to be a tree or butterfly.

    When I enter the Kingdom of Heaven of God I will know who I am and everyone I met here on earth. If I were to go to hell I will know who I am and will lust to have a millisecond for those I love, had friendship with, etc.. to be around me.

    Considering searching, looking into or reading: 23 Minutes in Hell – By: Bill Wiese

    1. Tishrei

      Hi, I might be a bit dense tonight (it’s getting late here), but I’m not following your comment with respect to the post. Are you saying that my friend who believes in reincarnation is afflicted with a familiar spirit and I should stop associating with her? I may be completely misreading what you’re saying (again it’s probably me as it’s getting late and I can be dense at times, LOL).

      I did not read the 23 minutes in hell — I saw a video of — Bill Wiese was talking. I’ll be honest and I don’t mean to offend — Canon is closed and God is not giving new revelation. What I do know is God does not send Christians to hell even for a few minutes. Hell is described in scripture and we need no new revelation on what it’s like. Let me share this. I was flipping through the tv channels and one of those Christian channels caught my attention. Long story short, it was about people who had died and went to hell and came back. Unbelievably each had a different version of what it was like. Actually they also had people who went to heaven and came back and they also had different descriptions.

      If God is still giving revelations, we need to be adding those to our bible and making them part of the Canon.

      Honest, I’m not trying to offend — I just happen to believe that God has revealed all that He desires and that can be found within the pages of the bible.

  4. Jonie

    I subscribed to your blog some times ago and want to thank you for your thoughtful posts. This one is brilliant.
    I too have friends who base their beliefs on feelings, very sad. I’d just like to mention the power of prayer, probably the single most important thing we can do for them.
    God bless you, Jonie

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Jonie,

      Thanks for commenting and letting me know that this blog is one that you read. I can share that the unsaved is one that really touches my heart. I completely agree with you 100% that prayer is the single most important thing we can do — our words and sharing the Gospel doesn’t do much good if God is not reaching their hearts.

      God Bless,

  5. PaulFan

    I understand your anguish, tishrei. I have a childhood friend who was brought up Catholic. He never really believed in the way. Instead, he grew up and lived worldly. Later, he battled drug dependence, kicked the habit and became to believe in Eastern mysticism. Buddhism is his belief. We have had similar conversations, and I realized that he believes what he wishes to believe for his own reasons which I cannot understand. I told him “It is said that when Buddha was near death, he stated that he was still searching for the truth. My friend.. “, I said to him, “Jesus Christ told us that He “is” the truth. So our search is over.”

    I do not know if that one bit of honest reality has helped him. What I do know is, if God does not draw my friend to Jesus Christ, then my friend will “not” come to Jesus Christ on his own. It is my belief that none of us come to Jesus Christ without our father drawing us. As it is said in Romans 3:12… “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good, not even one.” And in the Book of Jeremiah 3:12, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?”

    It is the mercy of God which brings a person to faith in Jesus Christ. The glory belongs to God alone. :-)

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Paul,

      Like you, I do not know if anything I have shared with my friend has had an effect. And I know that it is not what I say but it is the work of God who regenerates her so that the words that I speak can penetrate her heart. If she comes to faith, I am but the vehicle in which God uses to deliver the Gospel message to her.

  6. Liz

    What we beleive is very important. I will pray for your friend. God sees where she is at. You planted a great seed. Now it is the Holy spirits job to woe her to himself.

    I had a similar situation but with someone involved in a thing called EST, or Landmark Forum. A very New Age and very mind brain washing.

    I prayed for her and her family, I tried to share with her truth from the word but she was blind and closed minded.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Liz,

      I have not heard about EST or the Landmark Forum. I guess I’ll have to google it and see what it’s about — there’s so much stuff out there, it’s hard to keep track of :(

      And you’re right, it is the Holy Spirits job to open the hearts of folks so that they can believe.

  7. Margaret

    Tishrei,

    I think we’re on the same page, at least to a point….. I was in a hurry to get doggie to the vet for her yearly checkup, and did not express myself very well. :)

    Each individual comes with a lot of baggage that they have gathered over the years from the various influences in their lives….. So, we are blessed that God personally knows each one of us and is able to draw us through His word….. Only God working through His word can open our eyes, and God knows how to clean out the baggage we’ve collected….. So, it is vital that we study His word daily and meditate on it.

    In what you said about “I don’t believe people choose damnation — which is what happens when they don’t believe” — I have to think about that a bit….. James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe and shudder.”

    So, demons “believe”….. But, they choose to not obey the Lord….. And they shudder because they know they are headed for hell…. Frankly, I know some people, who seem to fit that description….. They “believe” God is real, that Jesus died for the sins of the world, that heaven and hell are real — (at least they say they do) — but they love their sins and still don’t think they will go to hell for their blatant, adulterous disobedience….. I’m talking about a disobedience that has lasted for years, in spite of much witnessing from many Christian friends.

    Now, King David repented of his sins and was immediately forgiven….. Those I’m referring to will not repent, even though they claim they believe….. They just don’t “feel” that God really minds their kind of sin, because He is a forgiving God and loves the whole world….. Only God can open the eyes of such blindness and they have had many people witnessing God’s word beautifully with no effect…..

    Even though we are very saddened by these situations and know the outcome as stated in the Bible, everything is in God’s hands…. He is just and able to judge all….. I can only think of the Old Testament prophets, who continually preached to a rebellious people, in spite of being mocked and harrassed and even killed for preaching the word of God.

    God allows us to live in a world that constantly tests our faith and willingness to trust in His word only.

    I can’t say, but, it seems that there might be a difference in people that only God sees…. You give the wondrous example of God working in your life….. Then, I think of Paul, who gladly went about trying to kill Christians because of his zeal for what he thought God wanted done….. He had zeal for God, but needed to be forcefully led to the truth before he got the picture of God’s salvation that turned his life around…. The Christians were very afraid of Paul right after his conversion because they did not know what God knew….. Whatever the situation, God knows how to lead.

    Margaret

    1. Tishrei

      First — how’s doggie (I don’t know his/her name)?

      And true, each of us comes to Him with a whole load of excess baggage that needs to be dealt with. And yes, it is VITAL that we study His word and meditate on it. But I think you are talking about those that are already Christians. I’m talking about the non Christians. Why would they pick up the bible and study it and meditate on it? It is foolishness to them.

      As to the demons — here’s the difference. They believe because they see Him. They lived with Him until they were kicked out. They tremble — but while they believe in Him, they have no salvific faith in Him. We never lived with Him like the angels do. Knowing something is true and placing faith in Him are two separate issues.

      We’re on the same page — sort of. This is what I know. Scripture states that man CANNOT believe unless He draws them. Scripture doesn’t say that man chooses not to believe though it calls him a fool for saying there is no God. I think it is on this point that we may be seeing things a bit different.

      Before I came to faith, Christianity was ridiculous to me. It made no sense. My experience does not explain scripture but scripture explains my experience. Until God made that first move in drawing me to Him, I was like the rest of the unsaved, I could not see. He regenerated me so I could have the ability to see. A year later I came to faith. As your example with Paul, Paul could not see until God did something first. Once God makes that first move, a person will come to Christ. It is inevitable — for God’s work is always 100% effective. He just works with the baggage that the non saved bring to the table (so to speak).

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