Why God Had To Put Forbidden Fruit In The Garden Of Eden

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I became extremely angry with God after Cindy passed away. I started questioning a lifetime of faith. I questioned if God couldn’t heal Cindy or had He simply chosen not to. In my mind, the first option meant that He was impotent; the second showed Him as cruel. Read More “Why God Had To Put Forbidden Fruit In The Garden Of Eden”

Must Faith Be Blind?

There seems to be a school of thought, in society today, that faith and reason are diametrically opposed. In other words: to embrace faith, one must check his brain (or at least logic) at the door. But is that really so?

Are the sciences incompatible with Christianity?

Can you really believe in a divine creator of the universe and in scientific theory?

These are all great questions and ones that I want to explore. For too long, Christianity has shied away from these types of tough questions. The common response was “you just have to have faith.” I agree that one needs faith, but that doesn’t mean that one has to have blind faith. It is entirely possible for faith and reason to exist in the same brain.

Over the next few weeks, I will be working on and presenting a series of articles that will tackle some very tough questions that non-Christians often ask and many sincere Christians ponder as well. Some of these questions are:

How do you know that God exists?

Doesn’t science disprove the Bible?

Aren’t there a lot of contradictions in the Bible? How can you trust it anyway?

If there is a loving God, why does he allow suffering in the world?

THE LORD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS…

In the past, the statement above has been used by well-meaning Christians who just didn’t have a better answer when faced with tough questions. It is definitely true that the Lord is mysterious, but we can know much about his plans and works and we don’t have to rely on that old cliche as much anymore.

MY CHALLENGE FOR YOU

Do you have specific questions or challenges you would like me to address in this series? If so, use the form below to send them to me. I will do my best to answer every question I can. Questions which are disrespectful or blasphemous will be discarded. Ask away, but keep it kind and keep it clean.

May God bless you richly.

[contact-form to=”revtrhicks@gmail.com” subject=”Christian Apologetics Question/Comment”][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”1″][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”1″][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” required=”1″][/contact-form]

Seconds Are Hard Too

When Cindy passed away, people kept telling me to be prepared because “firsts” are hard. By “firsts,” they were talking about the first time something happened without Cindy around: first birthdays, first Christmas, first visit to our favorite restaurant and other “firsts” that would be sure to evoke strong, emotional memories. They were right, firsts are hard, but I have to say one thing: “seconds” are hard too.  In fact, I think the second time around is even harder for some things.

Take Christmas for example, our first Christmas without Cindy came just a few months after her passing. Kevin and I were still pretty much in shock and trying to figure out how things were going to work. By the time our second Christmas came around, we had started to settle into a routine and Cindy’s absence was no longer as much of a shock. The stabbing pain of loss had morphed into the never-ending ache of loneliness. Christmas 2016 was considerably harder than the one in 2015.

The same is true for birthdays and other occasions. I believe we tend to prepare for the first one, expecting that things will get easier as time goes on. The second ones catch us off guard.

Today marks two years since Cindy passed away. We’ve made it through all of the “firsts” and all of the “seconds.” Starting tomorrow, we start working on the “thirds.” I sure hope that “thirds” start to get easier.

Sisters: Together Again

The photo at the top of the page is of my late wife Cindy (left) and her older sister Terri Gillett Greene (right). It was taken when the ladies were in their twenties, years before either would meet their respective husbands. As you know, this website took on it’s current mission not long after Cindy passed away on August 1, 2015.

On June 29, 2016, Terri passed away and joined her sister in eternity.

Though the two fought like cats and dogs at times, there was a strong bond between them. Now. they’re together again.

Services for Terri are going to be held in Boulder City, Nevada on Tuesday, July 25. Ironically, that day would have been Cindy’s 56th. birthday.

Getting To The Heart of the Faith

As you may know, I experienced an extreme crisis of faith after Cindy passed away. I didn’t stop believing, but I wasn’t always so sure what, exactly, I did believe. The only thing I knew for sure is I was angry. I was angry with myself. I was angry with the world. And, yes, I was angry with God… very angry, in fact.

As a student of the Bible for the past forty plus years, I knew scripture and dogma. With a family history in the Southern Baptist and United Methodist denominations, a brief time spent with Seventh-Day Adventists, along with my lifelong position in the Pentecostal movement, I was pretty well versed in what different belief systems taught. Knowing dogma wasn’t the problem. Determining truth was what was keeping me up at night.

CRISIS OF HEART

When I met Deborah, I wasn’t concerned that she was a member of the Roman Catholic church and I a devout Protestant. It didn’t seem to matter to me because, as I thought at the time, “we’re all serving the same God, right?” I never tried to convert Deborah to Protestantism, even though she did try (possibly unconsciously) to convert me to Roman Catholicism. It wasn’t until she broke off our engagement and told me that my religious beliefs, mentioned in casual conversation, were making it difficult for her to openly practice her beliefs. I had no idea I was doing that.

Could our worldviews and expressions of faith really be that different? I had to find out.

I’ve always been a student of Christianity, and religion in general. I’ve read books on Christian apologetics as well as atheist criticisms of the faith. I’ve read books extolling the virtues of abandoning Protestantism for Roman Catholicism and vice versa. I’ve studied religious texts on non-Christian religions and pseudo-Christian groups as well. Now, here I was questioning where the truth really was. I had no interest in determining who was right, after all, this was much bigger than that. I did, however, have a very keen interest in determining what was right.

GOING BACK TO BASICS

To start my journey of faith, I revisited old studies and confirmed my faith in the living God and in Jesus Christ. Then, came the tough part. How does one go about getting to the truth within? After all, man has been trying to settle that for centuries since the truly catholic Christian church morphed into the Roman Catholic church and, later, into numerous denominations. The hundreds of denominations prove that it’s not an easy question to answer.

For me, I knew my first step was to start at the very beginning. I stripped away all of the dogma and, to the best of my abilities, the religious prejudices I held on to. I started with a clean slate, enumerating only these few facts as my bedrock:

  1. God created everything, including man.
  2. Man rebelled against Almighty God and sin entered the world.
  3. God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ to pay the sin debt that man could never pay, so that man could be reconciled to the Creator. This was the greatest act of love the world has ever known, or will ever know.

From there, I decided to use the Bible as my guide and examine every teaching one-by-one.

If a teaching was in the Bible and confirmed in the New Testament, it was to be followed.

If a teaching wasn’t in the Bible but didn’t contradict Biblical teachings or distract from them,  it may be allowable. (1 Corinthians 10:23).

If a teaching contradicts what is in the Bible, it was to be avoided at all costs.

Neither traditions of man, nor man-made doctrine can replace the Gospel of Christ.

I suspect that this study will take me the rest of my life, and probably well into eternity, but that’s OK. It’s a worthwhile subject and one which I greatly enjoy.

Once you strip away your own religious prejudices and start to study the Word with fresh eyes, it’s wonderful and thrilling to see all of the truths you can discover that your mind may have skipped over before. It is also saddening to think that the world of Christianity is so split by the details that we forget that the basic commandments of God can be summed up in the two major ones that Jesus left us:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Finding Meaning In It All

(Note: This is a very personal, soul-searching piece that may make some uncomfortable. It deals with my search for reasons why my wife had to pass away and my subsequent findings. It’s a longer article than most I write and may make some people uncomfortable. I hope it will bless you just the same.)

Read More “Finding Meaning In It All”

My Most Lonesome Hour

Once again, it’s been a long while since I’ve taken the time to sit down and write in this forum. Life sure has a “gift” for getting in the way. Since I last visited with you, lots of things have happened. For one, I’ve started attending college again. Yep, I’m in the process of pursuing two bachelor’s degrees simultaneously. What the heck am I thinking?!

The biggest change is that Deb and I are no longer engaged. A few weeks ago, Deb broke it off. I can’t say that I entirely understand why, but I’m glad we’re still friends. If you’re expecting some juicy scandal, or for me to go on a tirade, you’ll be disappointed. Deb is still one of my all-time favorite people, and I still love her with all of my heart. You see, our circumstances may have changed, but my feelings haven’t. I will never utter a negative word about her and, in my heart, she’ll always be a beautiful lady.

Of course, this post isn’t really about either of those two events, although they both play into it, and I’ll likely post about both of them soon… and quite often, I’m sure.

No, this post is to talk about my recent health scare and my visit to the hospital.

Late last week, I started having excruciating pain in my chest and abdomen, accompanied by fever, nausea, weakness and a host of other symptoms. My first thought was, “Oh great! It’s another stomach bug.” That would have made my fourth “stomach bug” this year. I really didn’t think it could be that, but I was hopeful that it would pass on its own in a day or two. It didn’t.

Friday night found me doubled over beside my bed praying and sobbing because of the severe abdominal pain. By “sobbing,” I mean crying like a baby and hoping that I could keep from screaming. I did keep from screaming, but just barely.

Saturday and Sunday came and went and I didn’t even leave the house. On Monday, I decided to work from home, hoping I would feel better. Tuesday saw me too sick to work at all. That’s when I decided to go to the hospital and have it checked out. If I had been smart, I would have done that much earlier (duh!), but, as I often say, sometimes life gets in the way. This is especially true when one is trying to work a full-time job and pursue multiple college goals. OK, those may be convenient excuses to cover up the fact that I really don’t like hospitals.

At any rate, I decided to go get checked out.

Kevin was busy with something and he has never liked being in hospitals and that is especially true since his mom passed away. So, I decided to drive myself. Bad idea. I nearly took out the neighbor’s garbage can and almost wrecked my car on the five mile trip to the ER. My guardian angel was working overtime.

Fortunately, the little hospital here in San Tan Valley is always super efficient and they had me in the back getting checked out before my shadow was entirely inside the building.

Once they did the EKG, standard procedure if you say anything about having any sort of chest pain, they had me in an ER “room” and were starting the process of finding out what was wrong. A little while later, Kevin walked in. I knew he didn’t want to be there, but I appreciated his willingness to be there to support dear ol’ dad.

After a few hours of watching me get wheeled around from one test to another and poked and prodded, Kevin was getting increasingly uncomfortable so I suggested that he go home, which, sensing that nothing life-threatening was going on, he did. I get it. He is not at all comfortable in that environment.

It was then that it really hit me. I really am alone, in many ways, for the first time in my life.

Over the years, Cindy and I had accompanied each other to the hospital many, many times. Whenever one of us would go, the other was right there, fluffing pillows, fetching water, changing the TV, or doing whatever we could to bring comfort to whichever of us was the patient of the day. Most of the time that amounted to just sitting there and holding hands.

As I sat there in that little cubicle all alone, I realized that I no longer have anyone to hold my hand. Cindy is gone and Deborah decided that’s a part she cannot play, at least not with me. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not badmouthing Deborah nor am I, in any way, angry with Cindy. I’m also not throwing a “pity party.” It was just a startling realization that my new normal means that there very well may not be anyone to hold my hand when I go through life’s dark hours. In the back of my mind, I always kind of knew that, but on that day, it smacked me right square in the face.

Yes, some tears did fall at that realization. This is my new reality and, if I can be totally honest with you, I don’t like it one little bit, but it’s here and I can’t change it. Once I gained my composure, I folded my hands in prayer and talked to the one person whom I know will never leave me.

I’ll get through this; the current health issue, the loneliness, all of it; but I will never forget that brief time yesterday, in the ER, when I would have given the entire world just to have someone there to hold my hand.

 

Happy Anniversary, Cindy!

For days now, I have been planning on writing a blog post featuring the photos that Deborah and I took on our recent trip to Jerome, but, alas, school and life got in the way. I could write it today, but it doesn’t seem appropriate because today would have been my thirtieth wedding anniversary with my beloved Cindy Lee. Read More “Happy Anniversary, Cindy!”

A Weekend of Loss

I’ve been sick for the past four days with a nasty inner ear infection which affected my ability to stand, and even to sit for extended periods of time. It kept me home from work on Thursday and Friday. Let me tell you that I was one sick puppy dog and, to be candid; I’m not sure that I’m quite over it yet. Little did I know that the illness would not be the worst the weekend had to offer. Read More “A Weekend of Loss”