In Search of Reliable Truth

Preface This book represents the complete collection of letters I penned to a young couple in 2009; they in turn have generously given permission to share it with others. My reason for writing these letters is to give a solid understanding of those things in life that are reliably true— that is, things that are true to such an extent that one can fully depend on them for support and use them to build up a solid belief system which will stand firm through life’s storms. In the interest of protecting the privacy of the individuals involved, I have changed their names. Otherwise, these letters remain in their original form. James Brooks June 2009

Note: This publication may be copied at will.

Letter 1: An Introduction Dear Scott and Amy, You have probably heard such things as “Knowledge is power,” or “The truth will set you free.” If you will forgive the pun, there is some real truth to these sayings. In contrast, false knowledge (something you hold to be true but is actually false) can hurt you very badly if you put weight on it and trust it with your whole being. Most people don’t fear flying in a plane because they know that, in general, commercial flights are safe and reach their destinations safely. Passengers thus reason that the flight is safe and they trust their lives to the plane and the pilot. But what if their trust is not well-founded (perhaps the particular plane they are boarding has failed all safety codes and the pilot has never flown before)? It could mean disaster. We have to put our trust in something, or else we can’t function in this life. The key question is: What can be trusted? We need to be confident in our answers, or else face possible disaster. As I write this I am reminded of my hobby of learning which wild plants are edible and which are poisonous. Suppose I learn from Wikipedia that Poke berries are edible and I trust this information enough to eat a handful of them.

I would die. False knowledge can kill you. But why would anyone spread false knowledge when they know it is not true and that it could seriously hurt someone? The answer is simple. By planting false knowledge (propaganda) you can more easily control people by making them believe what you want them to believe. In fact, there are multitudes of folks these days who desire to control you so that they can benefit from it. Thus, false knowledge is very

common. Many people who believe false knowledge spread it to others without ever realizing it is false, and this leads to a general consensus that such false knowledge must be correct since so many believe it. The times in your life where knowing truth is especially important is after a huge loss – perhaps the loss of someone who is very close to you. It is at this point that you may begin to question things you have never had reason to question before: Does God really exist? If so, how could He allow this to happen? If you have thought through such agonizing questions beforehand – before your loss – the answers can be a great comfort to you and can allow you to grieve without the unnecessary baggage of questioning everything. After all, grieving takes up most of your mental energy and you really can’t think very objectively. My plan is to continue corresponding in this manner, to give you a series of letters which I hope will be useful to you as you seek out the truth of things for yourself. My goal is to present information in such a way that you can verify each step for yourself, to see if it is indeed reasonable. I want you to be convinced in your own mind of the truth so that you are willing to trust it with your whole being. You can’t just take the easy road of distrusting everything: such distrust of everything tends to make one bitter towards life. But total trust in something you deem to be trustworthy brings joy—it allows you to live life to the fullest. Love Always, Jim PS—This series of letters are being written specifically on your behalf, but I don’t mind you sharing them with others.

yes. OK. of course not. but act in a completely different manner. However. So. they are trusting their senses. But are they trustworthy in general? Absolutely they are. You trust the airplane with your life because in general airplanes don’t crash. Clearly. they stop.Letter 2: Trusting Our Senses Dear Scott and Amy. Love Always. I’ve seen them drive. There are actually people in this world who claim that they do not trust their senses. When they come to a red light. you trust your life to it. in science class. Let’s transfer this logic to our senses. You know for a fact that there have been airplane crashes. The truth is that we can’t survive long in this world without trusting our senses. right? Is that because airplanes can always be trusted? No. They say one thing. Can you trust your senses? Where have I heard that question before?? Oh yeah. Jim . Can our senses always be trusted? No. so when you board an airplane. After posing this question. you can trust your life to your senses. the teacher then introduces various optical illusions to show that in fact you can’t always rely on your senses. even in general.

they would not be able to stand themselves. If. I want to talk some about the people who create false knowledge with the intent to deceive. there are still very well-meaning people (people whom we call “sincere”) who pass along loads of false knowledge without ever knowing it. then you are dealing with a person who probably creates false knowledge on a regular basis with the intention to deceive. yes. So we now have a test. however. However. It is great for detecting those who manufacture false knowledge. The only way . these are the ones who do the most damage. You can verify this for yourself using this logic: if it were not true (if they were bothered by wrong). I have also argued that we should trust our senses. There is no easy test to detect them.Letter 3: Creators of Deception Dear Scott and Amy. is it always because he got his way? If so. there is a simple test you can use. When the person in question is overcome with happiness. we should embrace them as a source of true and reliable knowledge. The key to identifying these people—those who intentionally hurt others—is this: they have little to no visible conscience. They have worked hard to dull their feelings of right and wrong. this is not a person who deceives intentionally. We like them and therefore we tend to believe what they say. These people are lovable. They don’t seem to care that they hurt people. So far I have stated the importance of detecting false knowledge and embracing reliable knowledge. and therefore particularly influential. In fact. the person sometimes is overjoyed because something good happened to someone else. In this letter. For this reason. Are there any tell-tale signs of someone who maliciously creates false knowledge? Surprisingly.

Unfortunately. This series of letters is meant to guide you on this journey. there is no easier way. then comparing your knowledge of the truth with what they are telling you. Love Always. Jim .to avoid their influence is to take the long journey of reasoning for yourself what is true and reliable.

and I realize that not all of what we sense is pleasant. The best word to describe it: serenity. This experience can be found in many other situations where we are confronted with something in our natural environment much bigger and more powerful than ourselves: 1) Astronauts in space. We need both—the input from our senses. It is interesting to note that nothing that we sense is beautiful by itself. looking out over hundreds of acres of empty land. with no one else around. and it is incredibly calming. We must respond to what we sense.Letter 4: Behold the Beauty of Life! Dear Scott and Amy. I want to focus on beauty. and that response is an integral part of the experience of beauty. as they look at the earth. In a former letter I showed that our senses can be trusted. One such experience of beauty is the experience of being in the midst of a huge expanse. I met a fellow who spoke of flying his airplane solo over the ocean. I do not want to be lopsided. In this letter. a small ball in the expanse of the stars and galaxies. It is the feeling of being a part of something much larger than oneself. and that we can rely on them as we search for reliable truth. I will deal with the not-so-pleasant side of things in another letter. 2) Hearing the roar and spray of Niagara Falls. as well as our response to that input—to experience beauty. with no land in sight. the same beauty. He experienced the same sereneness. I experienced this growing up in New Mexico. Another very beautiful sensation is the melting away of . A few years ago. immersed in the orange brilliance of the setting sun. In this letter I want to talk about the beauty conveyed to us by our senses.

there is a feeling of worth—that I can do anything I want to do as long as I put my mind to it. and they hound me day and night for it. it brings beauty into my own life as well. A person is wise who takes the time and effort to experience the beauties of life.something sharp and painful into something peaceful and smooth. If I can do something which will bring beauty (such as the things mentioned above) into someone’s life. airy type of music (consonance). there is the awesome feeling of making a difference in someone’s life. Love Always. a very powerful and beautiful sensation is that of being rescued from something bad. and gives way to peace. It is truly beautiful. We cannot listen to sharp. and will never abandon me regardless of the stupid things I might do. Dissonance followed by consonance in music does something wonderful to us. and the beauty that comes from it is indescribable. It gives us the feeling that although there is pain. painful (dissonant) music for long. it does not last long. Being forgiven for something I did wrong is another powerful example of this. It is especially found in music. This feeling of being cared for is one of the most powerful and beautiful things one can experience. If I know someone loves me unconditionally. To feel useful is a huge thing. This is a quality of artwork that appeals to our senses. Next. Life is truly beautiful. but then someone shows up and pays the bill for me—that is a very beautiful thing indeed. If I owe money to the bank. There is the very beautiful and deep serenity that comes from being cared for. Jim . unless it is followed by a resolution into an open. Finally.

I want to eventually look at the dark side of living. the only way that humanity (or any species) can survive is by reproducing itself. Here’s how it would work: an organism which is successful at surviving passes this success to his offspring. We have looked at the incredible beauties that abound in life. can adequately describe them. The idea for this was best presented by Charles Darwin in the mid 1800’s. it was just a hunch that Darwin had as he recorded his observations of the world around him. People tend to have babies which grow up to have babies of their own. In fact. to investigate what our senses tell us about the painful aspects of life. But before we do that. But a baby cannot have a baby right away—there needs to be some growing-up time first. This continual cycle of survival and reproduction has been touted by some as a means whereby generations get better with time. not even the most skilled poets. get thrown away. and thus evolve to higher and higher levels of sophistication. so offspring do not have to repeat the mistakes of the parents but can begin where their parents left off. Everything runs down eventually. otherwise. but they all eventually wear down. They are so beautiful that no one. We can see this phenomenon to a great extent in . It was not a scientific theory. Some things last much longer than others. per se.Letter 5: Decay Dear Scott and Amy. or die. I want you to think through your own experience and see if you agree with me on this: Everything dies. there will be no chance for reproduction. And survival is critical during this growing-up time.

and it was found that the genetic makeup of a single organism does not change—genes cannot record an organism’s experiences. more and more species go extinct. there are many people in the world who want to dull their consciences. Nevertheless. . In other words. there should be multiple thousands of simpler. Having said all that. some of the genetic information will be missing in the later generation. Natural selection just means that if you look at all the genetic information in a species. but if the environment changes back to the way it was previously (which it almost surely will). and they need for personal reasons to believe that there is no God. or the Wooly Mammoth. We no longer have dinosaurs. It is not because of pollution. I do not want you to discard Darwin’s ideas totally. then look at the genetic information in that same species many generations later. Darwin’s idea of “natural selection” has been shown to be very useful in understanding the world we live in. less sophisticated organisms found. It is the reason there are so many species going extinct. the nature of genetic material was made known. What were found were mostly the same life forms we see living today. Darwin felt that the ultimate test of his theory would be to put significant effort into digging up fossils of ancient organisms. and the beauty that once was is no more. Additionally. many digging expeditions have been performed. there is a loss of genes in the species gene pool over time. so that the organisms actually improve biologically over time. because they see it as the only theory that will allow them to believe they do not have to answer to a higher authority. Natural selection is a tragedy. or the Kiwi bird. and the fossils needed to support Darwin’s theory have not been found. the precursors of what we see living in the world today. Some time after Darwin’s treatise. suddenly some of the genes needed for survival are no longer there.human culture. The genes that survive tend to be ones that are best at surviving in the recent past. Over time. It is because this is what natural selection does. but Darwin thought that such information could be passed from one generation to the next through the genes. to be passed to its offspring. These people cling to Darwin’s theory. If his theory is right.

but the diversity of life is decreasing over time. Diversification through mutation is like diversifying a car by taking a sledge hammer to it. and I want to give you some information to help you sort it out in your own mind. Sickle Cell Anemia.So the picture is indeed grim. Not only are things wearing out and dying. but I feel it is necessary simply because there is a lot of false information surrounding his theories. Some new diversity is generated through mutations (such as Down’s Syndrome. as a graduate student and researcher. I listened to what “nice people” said to me regarding evolution and the origin of life. or Cystic Fibrosis in humans). rather than thinking it through for myself. but that’s no substitute for the diversity lost through natural selection. Love Always. was misled for many years on this very topic. This discussion of Darwin is much more than I want to say to you. I myself. Jim .

Letter 6: Suffering Dear Scott and Amy. and a general attitude of avoiding exposure to suffering people. Humans and animals suffer through sickness because they are wearing out (see my last letter). Physical injury produces suffering as well. they can be done intentionally by other people (usually to try to make us do something against our will). To embrace truth.” Americans. poisoned. at the end of an extensive tour of the United States. was asked what he felt the greatest defect was among American Christians. we must embrace not only the beautiful parts of life. as a rule. beaten. shocked. Helmut Thielicke. Additionally. We will be much better equipped to live life to the fullest if we face the truth. we can suffer through being deprived of something we need to survive: air. but the painful parts as well. food. or chilled. make it a point to think about suffering as little as possible. That’s why I want to devote a letter to suffering. From the day we are born we wear out slowly over time. . He replied. horror of horrors. a famous German theologian. This letter will explore what our senses can tell us about suffering. and eventually the degradation of our bodies produces sickness of various types. light. And they have tools to help them ignore it: entertainment. or space. stabbed. water. We can be burned by fire or harsh chemicals. The world is filled with suffering. and not just a little suffering. scraped. medications. “They have an inadequate view of suffering. These things can happen by accident or.

There is so much suffering in the world—seemingly without limit—especially now that communist and other regimes have made torture into a science. Fear is at the top of the list. The world is a very sick and painful place. Bitterness will eat a person alive from the inside out. Love Always. Roosevelt in his first inaugural address (in the midst of the Great Depression) said these words: “So. President Franklin D.As unbelievably painful as these physical sufferings are. first of all. They take notes and measure their victims’ responses. especially if they are experienced over prolonged periods. the refusal to forgive. we lose control of ourselves and allow our environment to control us. If we are afraid. and find new ways to make them suffer more.nameless. let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -. unreasoning. They have medical doctors standing by to make sure their victims do not die. Jim .” Another emotion that causes tremendous pain is bitterness towards someone. unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. because death would relieve them of their pain. there are even worse things which people suffer from. We need to understand that—and embrace it.

The feelings of loss will always remain.Letter 7: Loss Dear Scott and Amy. A lonely person tends to remain lonely. This letter is about loss. but if one’s need for companionship is satisfied. Don’t try to “handle him with care. Loneliness is a type of loss. 3) Be with him even more than usual so that he has the opportunity to share his feelings with you if he so desires. Loneliness often starts in childhood when the relationships the child craves are not there. The last letter spoke of suffering: bad things happening to your body and some inappropriate reactions to suffering (bitterness and fear) which lead to even greater suffering. and the waves do not roll in quite so often. If you have ever experienced a major loss. you never get over it. and the waves hit you without warning. What do you do for a friend who has experienced the death of a loved one or some other great loss? Here are three things you can do: 1) Treat your friend like you normally would. Once you lose something of extreme importance to you. The pain of loss is not a constant thing—it comes in waves.” 2) Don’t bring up the subject of his loss. . the lonely feelings subside somewhat with time. the unpleasant experience of losing something dear to you. but the fierceness of the waves subside somewhat with time. you will probably agree with me that it is not so much the thing itself that you miss so much as the piece of you that went with it. or are inadequate.

Why were onlookers in tears While all I did was stare? Soon people carried on With all their normal plans.The best way to understand loss. The otherworldliness at hand? I start to feel anger. unfortunately. It seemed to me unneeded All the fuss and care. Why do they look at me? Weren’t they sad right from the start? . I guess their tears that flowed Dried up before the stage was cleared Before the curtain closed. Did they forget about the drama. but the following poem paints a good picture of what it’s like. He’s taking it real hard. People start to say things. But after that it was surreal And I was feeling fine. SIERRA GRANDE The very first time I heard the news A chill went up my spine. is to experience it.

I look inside my heart To search again my soul. All gone before the smoke could clear God how much I miss it. I saw it was much smaller now But tied to all I am. But grief is not to be dismissed. Was pulling me inside. If I can just untie those cords. To drown in tears I’m making. Finally I stepped back some To view the hole again. To find a work-around somehow Restore again my soul. memories. The current was going in. I saw the beauty. Just one consuming hole. Re-wire around the hole. . I find no heart at all this time. God knows I need this time. Not something you can calm. The things I took for granted. I just want to be alone. I’m used to leaning hard on God With everything I am. not out. The first wave hit me from behind Torrential tears I cried. My reason I abandon.

But all my grief needs to heal Is absolutely nothing. But with God I have purpose. Jim . I lean on God for all I need He keeps my vision firm. my pain. To watch and not do something. But tears I cry afresh each day For those who do not know Him. my tears.The answer’s simple yet not so. I cannot escape my grief. --Anonymous Love Always. My loss. The flowers from the rain.

Let’s fasten our seatbelts. “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. open our Bibles. Covering this subject now seems out of sequence because we have not yet established that believing in God is reasonable (but stay tuned). and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Start by reading II Corinthians 11:23-33.” The godly should not be surprised when they experience hardship. the God people are blaming is the God of the Bible. In almost every case. This letter is on the topic of getting mad at God when things go wrong. even those who say they don’t believe in Him. you must believe in Him. or suffering and loss through persecution.Letter 8: Blaming God Dear Scott and Amy. God even says concerning Paul. To sum up.) Is it just Paul who must suffer for Jesus’ sake? Take a look at what Paul says in II Timothy 3:12 : “Yea. then you should expect to experience . This passage is a summary of the unbelievable sufferings experienced by Paul. whether it be suffering or loss in general. a man who followed after God! Soon after Paul became a Christian. And if you believe in Him. and see if this belief is biblical. nevertheless. not worse. he was almost captured by his enemies and narrowly escaped by being lowered in a basket from a window in the wall of the city.” (Acts 9:16. To be mad at Him. especially after experiencing major suffering or loss. blaming God is a very common reaction for people. In fact. The key is this: Being angry at God comes from the belief that having faith in God and doing what is right should make one’s life on earth better. I am sure at that point Paul began to realize how hazardous life can be as a Christian. being mad at the God of the Bible is not reasonable.

We should by all means get rid of the belief that being righteous makes our life on earth more comfortable. Almost everyone does it at one time or another. Jim . If anything.suffering based on what the Bible says. it will make it less so. and refrain from letting your anger turn into bitterness. But you must eventually realize that you are wrong in doing so. Love Always. go ahead: be mad at God—He’s big enough to take it. So.

The question on everyone’s mind: Was the death from natural causes or was there foul play? It is up to you to determine whether or not the person was harmed intentionally. A whole body of knowledge has developed along these lines. extend the same logic to the world around you. you have been highly trained to detect things which are caused versus things that just happen by accident.Letter 9: Intent or Accident? Dear Scott and Amy. . there is nothing in the environment that can explain it. You go to the beach and find ripples (long hills and valleys) in the sand. from your training you know that things which are caused have these qualities: 1) they are highly improbable (to have happened by chance). So we assume someone must have drawn it. It is highly improbable that this just happened by chance. they are readily explained by the action of the ocean waves as they repeatedly wash over the sand and then retreat. however. Suppose. What do you look for? Fortunately. Briefly. If I find burn marks around the corpse’s neck. Although ripples like that are highly improbable to have occurred by chance. and 2) they exhibit a pattern or purpose which can’t be explained by the surroundings. is that highly improbable to have occurred by chance? Could it be explained by something in the surrounding area? Now. Was it caused by some person who likes making ripples in the sand? No. Also. Pretend for a moment that you are a detective who has been called to the scene where someone has died. that you go to the beach and find a picture of Hillary Clinton’s face in the sand.

But it would be ridiculous to assume otherwise. Is this purpose related to purpose we find in our surroundings? Yes. long enough to grow up and mature. your worn-out cells must be replaced. So where did the complexity found in the genetic code come from? It is way too complex to have occurred by chance. and there is nothing in the environment that could explain it. it is too purposeful. and foreign organisms must be destroyed. and thus our parents’ genes. Internally. Love Always. The reasonable conclusion is that our genes (and therefore we) were designed. the only reasonable thing to do is to believe in a creator.What about your body? You are able to survive day after day. your heart must keep beating. Is this by chance? To survive. Jim . and the genes of their parents. Given the evidence we have. Am I saying I know this without a doubt? No. and so on. you must be able to find food and water. and get sleep. Our ability to do these things is determined by our genes. in a way. Where did all this come from? Could it have happened by chance? No.

what is our creator like? Our creator is not a thing. My soul feels at rest. And by person. but it should tell us something. “There is a huge amount of evil in the world He created. I love listening to soothing music. Can I infer from this that Beethoven and Handel must have felt these feelings. too? I stare at a painting in an art gallery and feel angry and chaotic inside. Suppose I have never seen a guitar before. Our creator has the ability to experience incredible joy. One cannot create something unless it is in some way a part of him. I am strolling through a dump and find a broken one with no strings. becoming more worn out and disorganized. Did the artist feel these things? I read a love poem. Based on these qualities. He communicates to others like Himself. You may ask. we need to go back to my letter to you on the topic of decay. In my last letter I concluded that we are created. Does this mean the author knew love in this way? Of course.Letter 10: Art Reflects the Artist Dear Scott and Amy. Our senses tell us that the world is running down. What are we like? As we’ve seen. We have personality. and am deeply moved. or whether it was in one piece originally. Does that mean He is evil?” To answer that (very good) question. He loves. but a person. We can think logically about the world around us. but also the deepest pain. and can think logically like we can. the answer to these questions is yes. It is quite possible that evil itself could be a part of this disorganization. We can love each other. I can tell that it must have been created. I don’t mean a human. Let’s look at an illustration of this. rather than part of the original creation. such as that of Beethoven or Handel. We can experience loss that brings us to our knees. but I can’t really tell whether it was created broken like that. and yet also experience unbearable pain and suffering. we can experience joy unspeakable. . A single painting does not tell us everything there is to know about the artist. He is moral. We have definite ideas about what is right and wrong—we are moral beings. and communicate complex ideas.

but communicates with others like Himself. Jim . Upon seeing the broken guitar. Here then. However. because they are not effects of chaos and decay. is what we know about our Creator. and communication had to have been part of the original creation (either that. He is not alone. and trust them to hold us. In the same way.Now. I immediately know that this was not the state in which it was created—simply because I am acquainted with guitars in their unbroken state. They are pegs which we will use to climb to even higher heights in our understanding of the world we live in. The chaos of evil we now experience may not have been a part of the original creation. Our Creator is a person with personality. suppose instead that I have seen plenty of guitars before. These are things that we can logically accept as reliable truth. or something even more complex and wonderful than what we see today). since we do not at this point have any idea of what state our Creator created us in. complex and wonderful qualities such as personality. And He loves. He thinks and feels like we do. He knows right from wrong. Love Always. We can put our weight on these beliefs. love. we need to be careful about attributing states of chaos (like evil) to Him.

If we don’t know what it is. and that our Creator has personality and communicates. The amazing conclusion: Our Creator is trying to contact us! He wants to give us needed information about our purpose in life. or is He going to begin the conversation? I don’t have a clue how to communicate with Him. It appears then that our Creator wants to communicate with us. How does that work? Should I start talking first. something that we’re supposed to be doing. I don’t have a clue. unless my Creator reveals my purpose to me. What do you think? Is it obvious to you what your purpose is? As for me. If that were true. This letter explores the possibility that our Creator may want to communicate with us.Letter 11: Communication With Our Creator Dear Scott and Amy. He could have made that purpose so obvious to us that we don’t have to ask the question. “What is our purpose?” The Creator must have had a purpose in mind. and discusses what form that communication might take. then how can we follow it? We have to communicate with our Creator in some way to get this information. there would not be any need for Him to communicate with us about what our purpose is. We have established so far that we were created. Since we are created. Apparently we are not designed to know up front what our purpose is. . we can ask. so the only way it will work is if He goes first.

Love Always. our Creator will not have succeeded in conveying His message to us. But who? And when? Someone somewhere has likely heard this message from the Creator. Jim . He must have been successful to some extent and contacted someone somewhere with the needed message.Since He is trying to contact us. to see if we can identify the real one from the many imitations that abound. My next letter to you will explore the texts available to us that are considered sacred by various religions. and it is extremely likely that the message was written down in a sacred text for others to read. And it is also likely that this text is available for many to read for themselves. otherwise.

As explained in my last letter. Using the first criterion (it must be fairly common). 2) The text as a whole must not be mystical and difficult to interpret. one text . Here are my criteria: 1) The text must be fairly common and available for people to read. otherwise the Creator has largely failed to communicate to mankind as a whole. but not to communicate. It could be that such a dependent text is from our Creator.Letter 12: Sacred Texts Dear Scott and Amy. we need some criteria to use as a test. 4) Any text that is built on top of (or depends in some way) on another text will be put aside for now in favor of the text it depends on. but for now I want to zero in on the most critical text (one independent of other texts). should be. 3) The text must convey our purpose. not just give a list of rules to live by. non-logical writing is meant to convince. our goals in life. our Creator has most likely communicated to us what our purpose is by speaking to a person in the past who has written it down in a sacred text. It must show the big picture of what our purpose. Such mystical. My goal in this letter is to wade through the many texts that claim to be sacred and find the one that really is from our Creator. To weed out the false texts.

Protestantism (including Baptists. the Havamal of Asatru. etc. is composed of 39 books having various authors. Rastafari Movement. the Hermetica and Emerald Tablet of Hermeticism. The following texts (which have not already been eliminated) can be eliminated based on the fact that they are lists of rules. So. So. Yazidi. the Tripitaka of Mahayana Buddhism. the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. the Akilam of Ayyavazhi. in turn. Marcionism. and the Kangyar and Tengyur of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon. Many other religions in addition to (or imitations of or extensions of) Christianity and Islam are based on the Torah: Judaism. Exodus.). the Guru Granth Sahib of Sikhism. Anabaptists. or what our purpose in life is: the Kitab-i-Aqdas of Bahai. Unification Church. The Old Testament. Let’s explore the second criterion. Swedenborgianism. the Four Books and Five Classics of Confucianism. which also ultimately rests on the Torah. Catholicism. Interestingly. Methodists. the many texts of Jainism. the Gathas of Zoroastrianism. based on prevalence. Numbers. Leviticus. Episcopalians. On to the third criterion. but do not tell us why we’re here. Cerdonianism. and all of them rest on the first five books (the Torah) of the Old Testament: Genesis. The New Testament is based on the Old Testament. Latter Day Saints. The largest religion in the world is Christianity. Samaritanism. the Holy Books of Thelema (of Thelema). based on sheer prevalence. Manichaeism. The following are texts that can be eliminated based purely on the fact that they are cryptic and confusing (obviously not meant to clearly communicate our purpose in life): the Principia Discordia of Discordianism. the Epistles of Wisdom of . These 5 books have the same author and can be considered a single text. the Torah would win hands down. the Genesis According to Spiritism (of Spiritism). Jehovah’s Witnesses. the second largest religion in the world is Islam. Church of Christ. Gnosticism. we would choose the Torah. the Tao Te Ching of Taoism. Satanism. Meher Baba.jumps out immediately. and Deuteronomy. Presbyterians. the Orphic Poems of Orphism. Mandaeism. and others. which uses both the Jewish Scripture (Old Testament) and the New Testament as texts.

This exercise shows us that we can look to the Torah with confidence as the core of communication to us from our Creator. New Age books. they have no independent sacred texts of their own. What does that leave us with? Not much. and the Sanskrit of Hinduism. Pearl of Great Price. Love Always.Druze. in other words. and books which are extensions of Christianity such as the Book of Mormon. including those using the Torah. believe it or not. Jim . and things like the Qur’an of Islam. except perhaps the New Age books. The only texts left are the Torah. All of these depend on the Torah. The New Age books may or may not depend on the Torah—they piggyback off other religions. and Doctrine and Covenants of the Latter Day Saints.

and that we can read that message in the Torah. “Hear. What does the Torah tell us about our purpose in life? The Torah was written in Hebrew. in fact. which in Hebrew is plural (Genesis 1:1). after our likeness. and with all thy might. The message is easy to understand. we read in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. The angels can’t help with that. It means that . We have been created by a group of Creators. To understand this better. in Genesis 1:26 we read. “And God said. and there we find that our Creator is referred to as God. but one. do you cling to your spouse and your bodies stick together permanently. and with all thy soul. We have discovered to our delight that our Creator has a message for us.” This is interesting. If we look further ahead in the Torah. ‘Let us make man in our image.” What does this mean? When you get married. and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.’” What does “us” and “our” mean? Could God be talking about angels who are helping Him create? That might make sense if God needed them to bring him materials or tools to use. becoming a person with 4 arms and 4 legs? Of course not. It says. look at Genesis 2:24.Letter 13: Message of the Torah Dear Scott and Amy. It tells us that God is not many. Then. O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart. the first five books of the Bible. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother. it reads like a novel. But Genesis makes clear that God created the world out of nothing. The only conclusion that makes sense is that God is more than one person.

and chronicles the history of the Jewish people. The first five of the Commandments speak of loving God with all our strength. that they are of one mind and soul. It is the extension of the Torah. We are to admire and respect the homeless man or prisoner as much as a movie star or the President of our country. commit adultery.the husband and wife love each other so much. We are not to pre-judge them as not worth our love based on some ideal we have. and to treat it as a reliable document. referred to as the Ten Commandments (found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5). It is worth our while to examine the rest of the Old Testament. giving history and the words of their prophets. We are to treat them as if they were us. steal. God wants us to love other people simply because He created them. The last part of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (above) tells us our purpose: to love God totally with no reservations—to love Him more than anything else. That is in fact what God does. God gave us 10 rules to live by. Commandment #5 is interesting because it is the commandment to honor your parents. What does that have to do with loving God? It is very important to God that we honor and obey those He has placed over us (as long as they are not going against God’s will). They function as a single unit. and take care of each others’ needs so much. To help us understand our purpose. and they are things we can see. By honoring and obeying them. God is invisible. Sounds simple. We will be looking at a few of these prophecies in my next letter. or covet). One way to increase our confidence in the reliability of the Old Testament is to check its prophecies and see if they really predicted future events. The last five of the Commandments talk about loving other people (don’t kill. witness falsely against someone. doesn’t it? It’s not. The rest of the Old Testament basically repeats the message of the Torah. Love Always. Though He consists of multiple persons. Jim . There are so many things in life that compete for our affections. He is One. supplementing the Torah. we are honoring and obeying God. yet He is to be first in our lives.

there will be seven "sevens. to bring in everlasting righteousness. because he had been meditating on the 70 years of Jerusalem's desolation. both as confirmation of the truth of the Old Testament as well as the key for understanding more of what God. our Creator. Gabriel does not explicitly say that he is speaking of years. Furthermore. and was agonizing over it in prayer when the angel Gabriel came to Daniel and told him the following: Seventy "sevens" are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression. to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. to atone for wickedness. comes. (Daniel 9:24-26. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One [Messiah].. was already thinking in terms of years. In this letter I wish to look at a few of these prophecies (which have come true in glorious detail)..Letter 14: Prophecies Dear Scott and Amy.. wants to say to us. Daniel knew this prophecy (Daniel 9:2). We have seen so far that the Torah is where we must turn for reasonable truth revealed directly from our Creator. we have noted that the Jewish Scriptures (the Old Testament) is a continuation of the message of the Torah. to put an end to sin.. God had already told the prophet Jeremiah that the city of Jerusalem would be torn down and would lie in ruins for 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10). Gabriel told Daniel that it would be seven "sevens" plus sixty-two "sevens" (years) after the decree to rebuild before .After the sixty-two "sevens.." and sixty-two "sevens". The first prophecy is found in Daniel 9:24-26. but it is implied by the context of what Daniel is thinking about. with an account of the history of the Jews as well as prophecies of things to come. the ruler.) Daniel." the Anointed One will be cut off.

because the calendar we use today is different than the one Daniel used. Gabriel is talking about a span of (7x7) + (62x7) = 483 years. Artaxerxes. we get 33 AD. Prophesied in Psalms 22:7. people shake their heads at Him. ordered Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 2) in 444 BC. insulted. So to convert to our calendar. Psalms 22 and Isaiah 52:13-53:12 predict many things about Jesus that happened exactly as prophesied. will die around 33 AD. the ruler of Persia. and this gives 477 years. If we add our 477 years to 444 BC. though. We must be careful. Who was Jesus? He was a man who claimed to be the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament (see John 4:25-26). This prophecy given by the angel Gabriel gives us reason to take Jesus seriously as being the Anointed One predicted in the Scriptures. our calendar has 5 additional days per year. so we must subtract 6 years from the 483 years given by Gabriel. What really happened in 33 AD? This was the year. It is totally amazing that many of the details of His death are prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures. according to history. So Gabriel is saying that the Anointed One. In particular. Account of it happening: .the Messiah would come and be cut off (die). the great ruler (the Messiah). which is 6+ years. we must subtract 5 days for every year. subtracting 5x483 days = 2415 days. Here are some of them: 1) Mocked. that Jesus died on the cross. Specifically. If we do the arithmetic. There are several historical accounts of what happened to Jesus when He died.

Account of it happening: Matthew 28.Matthew 27:39. Prophesied in Isaiah 53:9. Crucifixion involves nailing the hands and feet to the cross. Prophesied in Psalms 22:14. Account of it happening: Mark 14:61. The only doubt one could have is to wonder whether the prophecies were written after Jesus was crucified (by altering what was actually written in Psalms 22 and Isaiah 52-53). 5) Dice are thrown to see who gets His clothing. Prophesied in Isaiah 52:14.19. a complete 24-foot-long scroll of Isaiah was found. 3) His bones are pulled out of joint. 10) He comes back to life. 7) He is punished because of our trangressions/sins. Prophesied in Isaiah 53:7. discovered by an Arab shepherd in 1947. . Prophesied in Psalms 22:16. as one who is rich. Account of it happening: Matthew 27:57-60. This is a major belief among Christians. 9) He is placed in an elaborate grave. Account of it happening: Matthew 27:35. Prophesied in Isaiah 53:11.” Prophesied in Psalms 22:8. 8) He keeps silent. Prophesied in Psalms 22:18. Prophesied in Isaiah 53:4-6. 2) Onlookers say. 6) He is beaten so badly that he no longer looks human. This confirms that there is no way that the prophesies could have been written after the crucifixion of Jesus. However. 4) His hands and feet are pierced. In these manuscripts we find multiple copies of Psalms and Isaiah as we know them today. Account of it happening: Historical accounts of Roman floggings. Let God rescue him. “He trusts in God. as well as Mark 15:15.12. In fact. Account of it happening: Matthew 27:43. were manuscripts that we can confirm existed before Jesus lived. based on Jesus’ death on the cross. the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is a known consequence of being hung on a cross.

which directly deals with Jesus’ life and teachings. and then rose from the dead. Jim . He suffered and died for our transgressions.Our conclusion is this: Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Jewish Scriptures. In addition. Love Always. My next letter will explore the reliability of the New Testament.

My last letter established that Jesus is truly from God. that He suffered and died for our sins. According to these two accounts. Matthew and John. In these passages we find that Jesus says that the Old . This letter will explore the New Testament. Jesus obviously had a huge impact on their lives. in fact. Two of the apostles—Matthew and John—wrote accounts of Jesus’ life which we have today. and that He rose from the dead. reliable knowledge. They showed by their sacrifice that they really believed what they were saying.Letter 15: New Testament Dear Scott and Amy. what did Jesus say? In Matthew 5:17-18 Jesus says that the Law (meaning the Torah) and the Prophets (meaning the prophecies of the Old Testament) hold true. which deals specifically with Jesus’ life and teachings. and that He will in no way override them. I want to explore whether the New Testament can be trusted as a source of true. appropriately. that these apostles suffered greatly. We also know that after Jesus died and rose to life. Specifically. and they were willing to give all they had to tell others about Him. These accounts are part of the New Testament and are named. historical accounts tell us that 10 of the 12 disciples were tortured and killed because they believed in Jesus’ message and would not stop telling people about it. We know from history that Jesus had disciples (called apostles) who followed Him during His lifetime. we can trust that the apostles speak the truth when they write about what Jesus said and did. In John 10:35 Jesus says that the Scripture cannot be broken. Thus.

wrote two letters (I Peter. This is a confirmation to us that our trust in the Old Testament is justified. Mark was Peter’s assistant and his book (called Mark) is the record of what Peter remembers about Jesus’ life. an apostle of Jesus. What Peter is saying here is that we should trust Paul’s writings in the same way we trust the Old Testament. Peter says in II Peter 3:15-16 that the writings of Paul are Scripture. II Peter) which are found in the New Testament. James and Jude apparently grew up with Jesus: they were Jesus’ brothers. and passionate in his dedication to Jesus. Jude. Peter. Jim . Thus. This means that the writings of the apostles are on par with the Old Testament and with the teachings of Jesus and the writings of Paul. Peter also says in II Peter 3:2. known as a scholar of the Jewish Scriptures. Luke. They did not believe in what Jesus was saying until Jesus appeared to them after He died and rose again (yeah. and the author of Hebrews (probably Apollos). John. Because Peter is an apostle and ultimately gave His life (he was crucified) for Jesus’ sake. and Paul found in the New Testament are reliable truth. Luke was a doctor and historian (thus very good with details) and worked closely with Paul. we can say with confidence that the New Testament is a reliable source of knowledge. James. “I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.Testament is reliable truth and should be taken seriously.” Here Peter is saying that God speaks to us through Jesus’ apostles. The remaining books of the New Testament were authored by 5 people: Mark. I guess that would make me a believer too). Apollos was a trusted colleague of Paul. we can trust what he writes. what does that mean? It means that the writings of Matthew. Love Always. Peter. If we consider that the writings of Paul (who is considered an apostle even though he was not one of the original twelve) and the other apostles are reliable. All five of these people are known to have been ardent followers of Jesus.

the first five of them speak of loving God. and giving their land to the Israelites. In the process. after God had created the earth and all that is in it. to make it easier for them to love God and . God wrote down the Ten Commandments for the Israelites to live by. God had to refashion the world to match Adam and Eve. and spent time communicating with God. Adam and Eve. I want to explore the Law of God. It entered because Adam and Eve decided to go against God’s plan. to love Him more than anything else. and now we live in an imperfect. These people became known as the Israelites. Then one day they decided they wanted to be like God. In my former letter on what the Torah tells us. God chose to save a man named Abraham. We have taken pains to reason out why the Bible is a reliable source of knowledge. the Israelites quickly grew into a large and prosperous nation. Thus. and God saved him and his family from the flood. I said that God has revealed what our purpose in life is: It is to love God with all that we are. They loved God with all of their hearts. and God continued destroying many nations. As a result. nor anything else that is bad. God continued along the same lines. and the last five deal with loving other people. with all of his descendents. all of creation was totally good—no pain. Noah was a man who loved God with all of his heart. they decided they were no longer happy with their God-given purpose. destroying most people and saving a few.Letter 16: The Law of God Dear Scott and Amy. In this letter I want to begin exploring what the Bible tells us. In particular. evil-filled world. In Genesis. God had created the first humans. They wanted something more. And God did just that. envy. we learn that in the very beginning. leaving only Noah and his family alive. It was at this very point in history that suffering entered the world. suffering. murder. that the world became so filled with evil that God decided to wipe it out. I also said that this purpose is expressed in more detail in the Ten Commandments. in a worldwide flood. and they too were perfect. in fact. Genesis tells us. and for good reason.

Also. will He let them go without punishment when they die? Of course not. torture. and that criminals will have a spot there. and these actions bring suffering and loss. in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus said that the sixth commandment “Do not murder” actually means “Do not wish bad things on someone. then you are obeying God’s Law. you are guilty before God. they started to get comfortable and forget to put God first and to love Him with all of their heart. . If not. The Bible tells us that God has reserved a terrible place called hell for punishing the devil and his demons. and destroy lives and families each year and never get caught. “It is the thought life that pollutes. God punished them severely (usually by killing many of them). Jesus’ teachings made it much more difficult to keep the Law of God.” Inappropriate actions. Remember. If in your thoughts you are thinking of anything other than putting God first in everything. The thought life. that he even monitors our thought life? The answer is simple: All the suffering and loss that we experience in our lives are a direct result of inappropriate thoughts that went through people’s heads at various points in history. Why is God so particular. are simply manifestations of our thought life. When this happened. it is the same as murder in God’s book. God wiped out every single person in the world except Noah and Noah’s what was right. but as soon as God showered them with good things. murder.” If you harm someone in your mind. in its perversion.” What Jesus was saying is this: It is your thoughts that are the problem. If your thoughts are pure and you love God with all your heart in your thought life. Think of it this way: There are thousands of criminals who rape. For instance. which usually brought them back into obedience again. Mark 7:20 says. The Israelites did pretty well with keeping the Ten Commandments when things were going badly for them. If God is fair (which the Bible tells us He is). too. as described in the Ten Commandments. you are subject to God’s wrath. God will punish them for what they have done. the seventh commandment “Do not commit adultery” actually means “Do not lust after someone. eventually leads to perverted actions.

the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group —and there will be wrong doctrine. complaints and criticisms. We can’t just say. hatred and fighting. constant effort to get the best for yourself. spiritism (that is. that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the kingdom of God. Let me tell you again as I have before. drunkenness. idolatry. Have you been guilty of any of this? If so. encouraging the activity of demons). and will punish you for what you have done. jealousy and anger.” God holds you responsible for everything you say and think. Don’t you think Adam and Eve would have given anything to erase the sin that caused the world to become corrupted? God respects us enough to take our thoughts and actions totally seriously. envy. and all that sort of thing. . consider Galatians 5:19-21: But when you follow your own wrong inclinations your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts. There is in fact nothing you can do to make up for it. murder. God is angry with you. I didn’t really mean it. wild parties. “Oh. eagerness for lustful pleasure. I was just joking.Given that criminals will be punished in hell.

Jim . Love Always.That is the beautiful thing about how God created us. But as a result. because He will judge us fairly according to everything we have thought about. we are bound for hell. He has a huge opinion of us—what we say and do. His opinion of us is much higher than our opinion of ourselves.

and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King. because of the punishment we face. God was angry at a couple who were respected in . If you are not petrified when you think of this. He is all good. Fairness seems like a good thing until we realize that every time we have not put God first. My last letter to you was not easy to write. Isaiah is terrified. Because He is good He must punish us for the evil we have done. it has damaging consequences for ourselves and others. The fear of God permeates the Bible. God is in no way bad.Letter 17: Fearing God Dear Scott and Amy. Let’s look at another example.” (Isaiah 6:5.) Why is Isaiah upset? It is because he realizes he will be accountable for every stray word and every unholy thought that comes from his lips and mind. It is the most terrible news anyone can be told. In this letter I want to explore the natural consequence of this understanding. In fact. consider Isaiah when He encountered God personally: “Then said I. you have not thought deeply enough about your situation. in both the Old and New Testaments. Woe is me! for I am undone. this time in the New Testament. the LORD of hosts. As an example. and that is to fear God. and God in His fairness must hold us accountable for that. that God will one day hold us accountable for everything we have done. because I am a man of unclean lips. He is to be feared. and that is where the fear comes in.

and upon as many as heard these things. He will have mercy on us and will forget our sins. cry. and weep. and make the decision to put God first. Stay tuned! Love Always. Change your laughter into crying. prostrate ourselves before God because of our sin. how could they themselves possibly escape the wrath of God? Now consider James 4:9-10: “Be sorrowful. “And great fear came upon all the church. What was the result? Acts 5:11 says. God was so angry that he killed them both instantly. Humble yourselves before the Lord. It says throughout the Bible that if we will cry out to Him and humble ourselves. and He will lift you up.” Why were they afraid? Clearly it was because they reasoned that if this couple were punished so severely. Jim . is that God holds us accountable for everything we have done. this is the beginning of a beautiful thing.” Here we see that when we are afraid of God (afraid of our sin against Him). This seems totally contradictory. which seems like a contradiction at this point. The great truth. your joy into gloom. And this is something that is almost impossible to understand: God is rich in mercy.the early church. but the resolution of this contradiction is the most incredible good news you will ever hear. yet at the same time He forgets our sin completely (therefore not holding us accountable for it) when we fear Him and as a result we humble ourselves before Him. What? How can that be? How can God be fair and yet choose to overlook sin? This is a great mystery. For what? For lying about how much money they gave.

and when we do. Yet. “You are free. That is the way we were created to be. She approaches the judge and the judge pauses as she whispers something in his ear. those who truly try to honor God in everything they do in spite of themselves. We fall woefully short of that. and you must pay the price. both for ourselves and others. a thought . in every thought we think and every word we speak. As the judge is about to pronounce your sentence. you see out of the corner of your eye the wife of the man you murdered. but the fact is .Letter 18: Price to be Paid Dear Scott and Amy. it leads naturally to much suffering and pain. Your penalty has been paid. and to love Him more than anything else. As we’ve seen.” You are so full of joy that you literally bolt out of the court and call all of your friends to tell them the good news. You plead for mercy. He has no choice but to punish our sin. we were created to love God with all that we murdered someone. God has incredible mercy towards those who fear Him and who turn from their sins. How does that work? Suppose you are guilty of murder. Furthermore. The judge looks at you and says. since God is fair. Late that night. and are standing before a human judge.

so that her husband’s murderer wouldn’t have to. this was accomplished through the butchering of animals. You must thank this woman. It is a free gift. when you throw yourself at God’s mercy. the wife of the man murdered. All through Israel’s history.” Your knees give way. He chose to suffer in your place. “Why? How? What can I ever do to repay her?” When you humble yourself. If you choose to humble yourself. A neighbor sees you and shouts. but it is far from cheap: Jesus went through horrific pain. by the shedding of blood. This is clear in the Torah. and it must be paid by killing the innocent. you are free. She was taken to prison early this morning. and truly desire to put God first. the price of your sin. Early the next morning you knock on her door. starting with Adam’s sons. shame. How is He able to do this? It is because someone has taken your penalty for you. The price must be paid. see John 1:1-5) to earth. Love Always. God is like the wife of the murdered man. and Jesus bore the pain and agony.occurs to you. I don’t understand why. but she chose to go to prison for the rest of her life. But all this blood and gore was nothing compared to what God did when He sent His Son Jesus (Jesus is also our Creator and is God. He forgets your sin and pronounces you free. You ruffle through some papers and find her address. Can you imagine sending your own son to die for murderers? For those who cause unbelievable pain to others? That’s exactly what God did. Your penalty has been paid. “You won’t find her there. Jim . and agony on your behalf.

I have said that we were created for the purpose of putting God first in everything. be raised from the dead. regardless of how severe those consequences may be (starvation. These three things are impossible to do on our own. Why did He do that? The ultimate answer is that the Father wishes to glorify the Son. We. This then is our ultimate purpose in life. As we suffer. No. the One who was willing to give His life for those He loves. and the sacrifice God made on their behalf. and if we do these things we will be filled with so . the Church. How much does Jesus love us? Enough to give up His life.Letter 19: The Church Dear Scott and Amy. He is still in the battle. If you are willing to follow Jesus. That is true. to be part of His Body. the ones who humble ourselves before God. or death). and sacrifice for other followers of Jesus. love enemies and pray for them. we are to pray for those who cause the suffering: pray that God would get through to them so that they can believe in Jesus too. and the way we do that is by doing what Jesus did: tell others regardless of the consequences. torture. are part of what the Bible calls Jesus’ Body. fearing God. Jesus gives us supernatural power to accomplish His purposes. He will give you the strength you need to do these things. We are to tell people this regardless of the consequences to ourselves. didn’t only come to die for our sins. and then celebrate. Our mission as His Body is to do what Jesus did while on earth: 1) Tell people (who are not a part of the Church) about God’s Law. But Jesus. He does this through the Holy Spirit (who is also God). 3) Love each other (others in the Church) in the same way Jesus loves us. jail time. 2) Joyfully suffer the consequences of telling others about God. but operating through us who have benefitted from His sacrifice. In my last letter I explained that God (the Father) sent God (the Son) to die for our sins. the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. even for those who have not yet desired to serve God. just as Jesus did while on earth. the Son. But when we die to ourselves (humble ourselves before God).

The purpose of this suffering is to glorify Jesus. Love Always. “I am going into the city to be crucified again. and nothing else will satisfy. Not knowing what to say. reversed his direction. who after being threatened with persecution in Rome decided to flee the city. As he was traveling away from the city he saw Jesus walking toward him. Peter asked Him where He was going. There is an account of the Apostle Peter.much joy we will hardly be able to stand it. and— it is also for your own good. Jesus continues to suffer through His Body. it was what you were created to do. Jim .” Peter immediately understood. Jesus said. to bring many to humble themselves before God and accept His free gift. and went back into the city. After all. Peter was crucified that day. the Church.

letting it well up inside you until you burst forth in songs of praise to Him (see Psalms 28:6-7). as bound with them. If you want to be an artist. then do that. If you put all your energies into something that isn’t real. you’re going to get burned. I started this series of letters by telling you why I bother to do this – to serve as a guide for you as you determine for yourself what is reliable truth.Letter 20: Final Comments Dear Scott and Amy. God can speak to you through memorized passages in ways not possible by just reading or studying them. particularly those who are suffering the most. Read the Bible diligently. is that you will be burned if you do not choose to follow Jesus. too. the Holy Spirit will show you truths from the Bible—not all at once. And God will use you in whatever position you find yourself to influence others to be followers of Him. using the guidelines I mentioned in my last letter. If you truly want to follow God regardless of the consequences. Because you are His follower. and because of that fear you throw yourself at His mercy at the foot of His cross. The final conclusion of these letters. both to make the world a better place. And if you do talk. Don’t change your position in life. Read the Bible for yourself. talk as who you are —a sinner terrified by God. Let that hope of heaven spur you on. But whatever you do. Try to talk less and listen more. Spend as much time as you can listening to God. From this position let His grace and mercy wash over you. of course. Finally. and see if I am telling you the truth. surround yourself with other believers in Jesus. but also as a witness to the world of who you are—a follower of Jesus. It is important to do these things. you have a great reward in heaven. do it for the glory of God. Hebrews 13:3 says. then be an artist. I showed you that the Bible can be trusted. but little by little—as you need them. If you want to make money. “Remember them that are in bonds. Concentrate on His mercy to you. . suffering simply because they refuse to be quiet about Jesus. It is also worth mentioning that as a believer in Jesus you will find many opportunities to undo the damage of sin. Memorize as much of it as you can.

China Aid. Jim .com). Learning about these believers. My favorite magazine of this type is from the Voice of the Martyrs (www. as being yourselves also in the body.persecution.” To interact with these fellow sufferers of Jesus you will most likely want to order a free magazine which will allow you to learn about these persecuted believers and to minister to them. but there are other similar and very good agencies such as Open Doors. praying for them. Love Always. and Gospel for Asia.and them which suffer adversity. and doing what you can to minister to them—all these things will strengthen your faith and your resolve to follow Jesus whatever the cost. My God’s grace be with you abundantly.

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