Category Archives: Christian Life

Christian Life or Bible personal application related

Truth That Changed My Life

‘To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”’ John 8:31-32 (NIV)

I have been a Christian for what is now going on 38 years. I’ve been thinking about the changes in my life over these years. I’ve been asking myself how does my life bear out this passage from John 8? My life has not followed a typical course like grow up, go to college, get married, raise a family, succeed in a career, except perhaps for the college part. In fact, I had to drop out of college for a while and get a lot of psychological counseling. My life was a wreck and my future was very uncertain. Even college was not really a “normal” path, because I started college in engineering, switched to physics, did not go to my college graduation, and spent a lot of time unemployed after finishing my bachelor’s degree in 1982. I was out of college and then went back to college twice after graduating with my bachelor’s degree. So I was in and out of college for a long period of years. I went back to college in 1984 to study education with the goal of getting certified to teach in a public school. But becoming a public school teacher didn’t work out because I failed as a student teacher twice. That was a very hard time in my life. I then worked as a church janitor for a while until a surprising thing happened. I was given the chance to be a teacher in a Christian school in Wichita, KS. The principal of the school was an amazing man who gave me a chance and stuck with me. So I became a teacher in spite of major failures that made it look like I would never be a teacher. God has a surprising way of working things out in spite of us sometimes. The God of the Bible often has a very non-intuitive way of working in our lives. I was a teacher at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, KS for four years. Then I went back to college again, this time to get a Master’s degree in Physics. Those two years were a great experience and I finished my Master’s degree in 1994. I did some part-time teaching as an adjunct faculty for a few months. I intended to become a teacher after that but again it didn’t work out as I had envisioned. I tried to find a position teaching physics but ended up in Dallas teaching high school math. After a mission trip to Russia in the Summer of 1995 I moved to Dallas for a teaching job. The school in Dallas had some problems and I left late in 1995. After that I changed directions again and got into computer technical support. For a while I supported Compaq computers while Windows 95 was new. But I didn’t like the schedule so I found another technical support position in Fort Worth for a company called PPC. I worked for PPC for about 7 1/2 years. After that I was unemployed again for a while but eventually found a job in Dallas where I still work to this day.

It seems my life has been a long fight. It has been a fight to get my life straightened out. I’ve found that we really cannot straighten out our life on our own, we need God’s help. Without having become a Christian in 1979 I don’t think life would have worked out well for me. I was close to being suicidal for a while before I became a Christian. A pastor who knew me in those years once told me that I had been the most unhappy person he ever knew. God repaired my broken life, but it was not a quick or easy process.

There have been many changes in my life since I became a Christian. How many of these changes might have happened anyway, if I had not become a Christian? I suppose there is no way to be sure, but there are many things about me now that would not have been like the ‘old me’ from prior to 1979. I was a very troubled and insecure young man. I had a problem with anger, with relating to people, and with handling money. I had little concept of my own self-worth as a young man and I was afraid of responsibility. Now I am a software manager and I can safely say I have significant responsibility at my company. I’ve found the Lord has been with me and helped me through many challenges of various kinds in my life. Becoming a Christian led to me losing friends. But God provided me some wonderful friends in my life, friends better than most people ever know. I needed a stable foundation to build my life on as a young man. My faith in Christ gave me this. It might not appear that my life was more stable because of my faith. There were times I moved around a lot and I did not seem to have much stability. But the uncertainties of that motivated me to seek God’s answers. I found God’s answers are the right answers that we need, as given in the Bible. I had much emotional pain to work through in my early years as a Christian and it made me hungry for answers. My father (who was an atheist) also challenged my faith when I was a new Christian. But I found that there is evidence for the truth of the Bible that is apart from my feelings. It’s not that the Bible is true to me, it’s that it is objectively true. It is true to our life experience and true to the real world.

Here are some Scripture passages that have meant a lot to me. These are bits of truth that have pointed me in the right direction.

On Anger James 1:19-20
On fear of responsibility Exodus 3:1-4:17, and 2 Corinthians 3:4-6
On self-image Romans chapters 5 & 8, and Psalm 91:14-16
On Anxiety 1 Peter 5:7
On money Luke 16:9-11
On our need of a savior John 3:16-18, and John 10:10

We are all born lost and in need of a savior, and Jesus is that Savior. I would say there are four key things that you receive as a Christian that enable you to have an improved life. It is never a perfect life. But it is improved because it means you are not just being helped, you are being transformed by God into a different kind of human being.

  • We can experience what it is to be forgiven of our sins
  • We can know the truth that is true for all
  • We can experience being loved perfectly by God
  • We receive power to change

The best indication of change in your life is to observe how it lasts. What does it mean when it says the truth will set you free? I think it means that without a relationship with God in Christ, you are a prisoner and you don’t know it. You don’t know what you’re missing without God. It can appear as a nonchristian that the Christian life is too restrictive, but the kind of freedom you tend to be attracted to as a nonchristian is often not good for you anyway. In following Christ you find that the thing that may have seemed restrictive before is actually more free because it doesn’t enslave and spoil the good that God provides in life. So if we continue believing and obeying what Jesus taught, we find life more as it should be and this is a kind of freedom. We cannot do this on our own, but what is impossible for us in and of ourselves is possible with God.

Wayne Spencer

Who Defines Marriage?

In the political arena there has been much discussion of Gay marriage lately, as President Obama has changed his position in support of Gay marriage.  I do not want this blog to be political, but the issue of Gay marriage comes up from time to time.  It is an issue that exposes what peoples real values are.  It also tends to make Christians make up their mind about what’s important for our society.  I believe that the Bible is the revealed word of God to all mankind.  The morality from the Bible about sex being within marriage between a man and a woman is a moral absolute that applies to all people.  It is not something that becomes out of date because it is not man who defines marriage.  God’s word has the authority to define absolutes for all people to live by.  There may be various legal definitions of marriage.  They can be either right or wrong because God sets the moral standard and laws should be based on the moral standard.  The laws should be based on the Biblical moral standard because that is healthier for society and for individuals by God’s design.  You could also look at it in a pragmatic way related to child rearing and argue that it is a good means of raising children, totally apart from what people believe about the Bible.  Most religions in the world have a similar concept of marriage to what the Bible teaches, with some exceptions.  So you could argue that traditional marriage is a cross-cultural global societal norm and be correct for most people in the world.  Thus, traditional marriage should not be abandoned or devalued.  In an evolutionary atheistic world view, marriage would be something that was merely invented for practical convenience sake in raising children.  If marriage is something man invented, then why wouldn’t it be something man could reinvent to be something different?  This is a logical question.  There has been resistance to God’s definition of marriage and the morality that goes with it all through history.

Human beings have always tried to come up with some kind of substitute for God’s standard of marriage.  People tend to attempt to lower the moral standard to make it seem easier for them to live by.  But the substitutes for marriage all have problems.  God’s design is best.  Multiple wives was perhaps the first variation (polygamy).  This was allowed by God in ancient times but was not really recommended.  Genesis shows some of the complications and conflict that can arise from the practice.  A more modern substitute for marriage is living together, where two people do not have to make a life-long commitment to each other.  Gay marriage is another kind of substitute for God’s standard.  American society used to frown on people living together but not any more.  Divorce has become so common that some have proposed that marriage be changed into a contract that is only in effect for a limited number of years.  One man wrote a book arguing that in about 50 years robotics technology would advance enough that people would be marrying robots.  There are still religious groups that practice polygamy, mostly Muslims in certain Arab nations.  The practice is illegal in the United States, even though there are occassionally Mormon or religious cult groups that engage in the practice.  I fear that in coming years we will see a variety of efforts to redefine marriage.  Gay marriage may only be the first of these movements.  Christians have to stand up for the truth of traditional marriage and for what is healthy for society in times like these.  Man’s efforts to invent substitutes for marriage have a way of exposing over time the wisdom of God’s design, though most people do not recognize this.  Unfortunately some people’s lives end up going through much pain before they turn around and find the right way.  I wonder what the prevailing opinion in society will be toward Gay marriage, say 40 years from today?  What will children who grew up in Gay households think of it when they are adults?  Society values tend to swing back and forth over generations sometimes.  Perhaps values can swing back to the right, in time.

There are many who think of the opposition to Gay marriage as discrimination and they present the issue as a civil rights issue.  But this is a fallacy because a moral argument against homosexuality is not related to discrimination.  God determines right and wrong, not human beings.  If the laws approve of something which God does not approve of, the legal status (and social acceptance) does not take away from adverse consequences of the immoral lifestyle.  God is completely nondiscriminatory in applying the standards of morality.  This is true whether people “believe” it or not.  All people have reason to acknowledge right and wrong about sex and marriage from their own experience.  If I make a moral argument against homosexuality, that is not about discrimination.  It is saying that a kind of argument exists that the homosexuals deny.  They do not accept a moral argument because they don’t accept biblical morality.  They do not accept a moral absolute that applies to all people the same way.  So they don’t agree with me, but that does not give them a basis for saying that I am encouraging discrimination.  Discrimination is something different than a moral argument against homosexuality.  When I was 20 or 30 years younger, the gays had a legitimate issue over discrimination in the work place.  But that was different than the present situation in our society and it is not the same as what they are trying to accomplish about marriage.  Gays want states, and the nation, to redefine marriage just for them.  I say this is wrong because gays do not have the right to redefine marriage.  In fact, it seems to me it is odd for gays to want something similar to traditional marriage but allowing for their lifestyle.  With so many giving up on marriage anyway, why are they trying to have something similar to the traditional institution?  In a way they are trying to be traditional, but in a manner that is not allowed by biblical morality.  I believe God’s design for marriage is healthier for society and for individuals.