Why Should We Remember? Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 27, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

I had a friend when I was younger whose parents would always say, "Remember who you are and who you represent," whenever we would go out. Even as a teenager I was impacted by the integrity and honor of that comment. My parents never said that to me, but I certainly felt the weight of that expectation based on my parents' occupations.

It is challenging to be in the midst of teenage adventures, or even adult ones, and have the presence of mind to think about how others may be affected by your immediate choices or actions. And without constant reminders or intentional work to remember, it is easy to let our awareness of our impact drift. It is easy to forget. It is easy to turn aside to things that feel good to us in the short term but long term have destructive personal and public consequences.

If we have drifted from God, how do we get back on course? If we have forgotten what He taught us to believe, how do we remember? If we have misrepresented God, how do we REpresent the integrity of His example?

Read 2 Chronicles 34:1-21. In a season where the kings of Israel demonstrated the forgetfulness that afflicted the nation, King Josiah comes to power. Previous kings revealed that Israel had done exactly what God warned the nation not to do. God had said, "When you come into the land and gain [everything]... be careful you do not forget the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery" (Deuteronomy 6). King Josiah was different.

At the age of 8, Josiah became king and showed a passionate desire to clean out the worship of foreign gods and clean up the integrity of the nation. When he was sixteen, he was actively pursuing God and reforming the nation. It was in this passionate pursuit of honor and remembering that something extraordinary happened.

After demolishing all the temples and images of false gods, and tearing down all the alters to foreign gods, Josiah commissioned the repair of the Temple in Jerusalem. Inside the Temple, during the repairs, the workman discovered the Book of the Law - the Word of God - given to Moses. Look at what Josiah does when he hears the Word of God. Why does he do that?

Josiah realized that even with all the purifying he had done, Israel still was far from living according to God's ways. His action was an act of mourning and humility. He wanted his own life, and the nation of Israel to be back on track with God - nothing else mattered. It had to be terrifying to realize how much Israel had forgotten of God's ways.

Take a moment and notice what happened here. Josiah's bold and passionate action to pursue God and cleanse Israel sets the stage for God's Word to be discovered. The King prepared the way, and the Word of God was again known among the people. All because SOMEONE remembered God.

Someone taught Josiah the ways of the kings that honored God, before him. Josiah wasn't old enough to know King David, and yet verse 2 says that Josiah walked in the ways of David and did not turn to the left or the right - meaning he didn't get distracted and did what was right. If not for that someone remembering, Israel could have continued to spiral away from God, and could have ceased to exist. Because of that someone, Josiah sought to remember more, and eventually gets the nation back on track, at least for a while.

Have you begun to forget God? Do you even know God's promises and how to live according to His ways? Will you passionately set aside every distraction and entertainment in order to seek God? What untruths or false beliefs need purified from your heart, the way Josiah purified Israel?

Take a moment and ask God to show you what parts of your life need refocused or purified. Take action to clean house and get rid of the amnesia of comfort and distraction. Then, read the Bible and apply God's principles to your daily decisions. Actively remember God by actively applying His ways to your life, your family, your work, etc.

And read next week's blog post, to see how our own obedience and remembering can have a world changing impact.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Daily Dying

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 26, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week I wrote about dying to self being the secret to living the Christian life, however, how do we do this? Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live.” He also said, “I die daily.” Jesus said we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. Easy to say, but how do we do this? This post is likely to be the most practical post I have written for Worldview Warriors in 3 ½ years. I am going to share with you how God is having me put this concept into practice in my prayer time. It is not something you can do one time and be done with it; it must be done daily. The problem with self is that it tends to have its own resurrection powers because it keeps coming back, and it will until we shed our corrupted body for a glorified one. But why wait until then to start living that way? Why can’t we experience heaven on the way to heaven?

I am no different than any other person. I have had areas where I have struggled with sins. I am not going to mention what they specifically are because the concept applies to any area. What people struggle with is going to vary from person to person but it has one thing in common: it’s all sin. Can a Christian struggle with sin? Yes and no. Yes, they can get trapped in a sin and still be saved, but there is the difference between a saved person and an unsaved person. A saved person may be stuck in a sin for a time, but they hate it, they don’t like it, they don’t love it, they don’t defend it. They want free and to be rid of it. The unsaved person has no regard that such things displease the Lord; they will justify their sin, call upon the grace of God as a means of getting away with it, and have no desire to get rid of it.

When a person struggles with sin, it is usually because they have not laid down that area before the Lord. If someone struggles with pornography or sexual issues, that person very likely has not surrendered their sexuality or their sexual life to the Lord for him to direct as he desires. If someone struggles with gambling, the root is either in finances or greed, and that person has not surrendered that aspect of their lives to the Lord. If someone struggles with anger, they have likely not surrendered their emotions or their demand for justice (which is a God-given part of us, just like our sexuality is) to the Lord for his timing and execution. If someone struggles with gossip or their tongue, they have not surrendered their tongue to the Lord. If someone struggles with prayer at night or even their ability to get a good night’s rest, it may be worth considering if that person needs to surrender his sleep to the Lord to direct (that is no knock on those with legitimate insomnia, but even then, insomnia might have a root cause in trying to control sleep).

There is a great unfortunate reality that many preachers are not teaching this in their pulpits. When we are born again, it is not merely a decision to say “I am a Christian.” It is a total surrender to Christ. He is the ruler of our lives. We are bought with a price and our lives our not our own to rule. I have said for years now that the purpose of Christianity is to become less of us and more of Christ. What enables God to allow us into heaven is to NOT see us, but to see Christ in us. So how is God training me in this? This is something you can take home with you and practice.

When God revealed that I had not purposefully and intentionally laid down specific areas of my life for him to control and direct, I began to do that in my prayer time. I would start with the area I was struggling the most, confess my pride and arrogance to think I could control this area, and lay it down before the Lord. That would be the focus of my prayers for a few days. Then I would continue praying about that area, and then add another area that needed to be surrendered to the control of the Lord; not replacing that in my prayers but adding to it. I got to a point where I had four areas of my life that I would regularly lay down before the Lord.

Here is the problem. When you start practicing this, you may have initial success, but that flesh is going to start fighting hard. It is going to wait for you to start letting your guard down a little bit and it is going to strike. And it is going to strike when you are tired. I was going strong for two weeks and then I starting catching a cold and BOOM! I got hit and while I have been pushing to get back up it has been very difficult to do so. I won’t forget a few years ago I was doing a daily reading through of the Bible and then I went to a conference and I lost momentum. It took a few months to get me back into it.

Where are you struggling? Do not be generic here; be specific. Are you struggling with pornography? Are you struggling with a wandering mind? Are you struggling with a loose tongue? Are you struggling with respecting authority? Are you struggling with self-control? Do you want to see improvement? Does a sport or activity or social media have control of your life? Take that area of your life and lay it down before the Lord. It may take phases. Rees Howells laid down his finances before the Lord and said, “All my money is for Kingdom purposes.” But then God took it a step further. He asked if he could control Howell’s finances. Howell’s test on this area was when God told him he could not even buy a thank-you card without asking for permission.

Pray about which area you need to surrender to the Lord. Pray about that issue every day. Lay it down before the Lord, every day, and do not pick it back up. Then start adding other areas you are struggling with to the Lord. Do not replace the first area but add the second. Then lay both down before the Lord daily. Do not let your guard down because when you do, that issue is going to come back again. It may not act immediately and if that is the case it is watching to see if you are getting lax or not. It is waiting to see if you are getting some flab back. I am too new at putting this into practice to proclaim total victory yet, however, I can see the route to getting to the level of my walk I want to reach now. I need to walk it in his strength and power, not my own, and I need to walk it.

Laying down self is going to be hard. God often trains with three areas: sleep, food, and finances. Are you willing to allow God to dictate how much sleep you need and when to tarry in the night watch with him? Are you willing to sacrifice nice meals and eat what and when he wants you to eat? Are you willing to put all your finances at his feet to use at his discretion? Take one at a time and allow God to take control. Then add in another area without letting the other one go. As you get better and better at this practice, you will soon be able to simply lay down self as a whole each day and let God dictate all areas as he sees fit. The Christian life can only be lived if Christ is the one living it in and through you. I’ll wrap up with this quote from Eric Ludy’s Gospel presentation:
"Because if you try to imitate in your own strength, you will be a miserable replica. But if you allow the impartation of Jesus Christ to overtake you, suddenly it all works, because it's him imitating himself and he's very good at being God."

Let us put an end to self. Let us put an end to trying to do everything our own way. God knows what he is doing and he only knows how to do it right and good the first time. He does not require trial and error. He simply asks us to participate in his plan and do it his way instead of ours.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Christian Terrorists, Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 25, 2017 0 comments

by Steve Risner

After a short hiatus from writing, I’m back with a look at more alleged “Christian” terror groups. We have previously discussed the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and Western treatment of natives. We looked at why much of these things have either been grossly exaggerated to make Christianity look bad or had nothing to do with Christianity at all. You can see those posts here and here. This week the focus will be on modern groups that claim a Christian foundation who have been accused of “Christian” terrorism. We are referencing claims made by Qasim Rashid in this article posted online in recent months.

So we get into the Lord's Resistance Army. The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is a farce and has little or nothing at all to do with Christianity. They are a cult and commonly referred to as a heterodoxy. Their goals are to create a multi party democracy, rule the land under the 10 commandments (gasp! Sort of like the US, I suppose), as well as a few other things. The actual number of those killed by the group is in the range of the tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands, again bringing this clearly deceptive person's claims into doubt. That is, of course, too many lives lost and tragic, but no one (except an attorney in DC) believes this is a Christian group. If you research the group, you'll find it difficult to get real numbers on them and the death toll they've brought to Africa. But this person has inflated the numbers because it fits his agenda so he could “school” a white supremacist. But when you look further at the statements he makes, he claims that the “up to 100,000” victims of the LRA in 15 years is “far more destructive than ISIS.” This is strange. In under 2 years, ISIS is given responsibility for nearly 20,000 deaths in Iraq alone. This is far more serious than the LRA in concentration. And ISIS is waging a war, essentially, on the whole non-Muslim world (and even some Muslims that aren't Muslim enough). There is, in my opinion, not much of a comparison here.

Mr. Rashid moves on to the Central African Republic (CAR). CAR has been under a great deal of stress for decades. There has been violence there for a long time. Muslim insurgents calling themselves the Seleka have been causing trouble in CAR for everyone and especially Christians in the area. They have caused a severe deterioration of security in CAR and increased a great deal of ethnic tensions. In 2013, Seleka took control of the capitol city of CAR. In response to the brutality of the Seleka forces, “anti-balaka” coalitions of Christian fighters formed to carry out violence in response to Seleka fighters, unfortunately adding a religious element to the violence that had previously been absent. In truth, I feel it needs to be made clear that defending yourself and your family or nation is not at odds with Christianity. However, carrying out violence, and especially some of the terrible things that have been reported coming from CAR, is not in line with the teachings of Christ. This is another case of Christians responding to years of Muslim aggression and hostility. But, in the heat of fighting back, it's likely that some of these Christians have strayed from the teachings of Christianity. But the bottom line here is “Christian” attacks are the response of those who have been brutally attacked for years. I, and probably you, have no idea what sort of turmoil that would create on the hearts of those involved. The Muslim groups responsible for the attacks on Christians (first) are also the groups that have decimated the nation's stability and security.

Mr. Rashid furthers his point that white supremacists are Christians (which is nonsense) and tries to explain why racist groups are more dangerous than Islamic groups. There are some things to note here. 1) White supremacists cannot be Christians as their ideology is opposed to the teachings of Christ. Saying you're a Christian doesn't mean anything if you actively pursue actions and beliefs that are anti-Christian. This cannot be said for Islamic terrorist groups who are doing as their founder did 1500 years ago and as Islam has done since then. 2) ISIS isn't just a national security threat from within. ISIS is killing tens of thousands of people all over the world with the hope of creating a military Islamic state and, eventually, dominating the world. 3) The 382 police groups cited are looking at everyday stuff happening in cities and towns across the country. Most have no thought to Islamic terror, I would guess. I would believe that New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington DC are fairly concerned with Islamic terrorist groups more so than white supremacists. This really isn't something I feel I need to push because, frankly, my first point above means any further discussion is not necessary. They're not Christians.

He goes on to say that President Bush attacked Iraq because he was a Christian and God essentially told him to attack Muslims. This is a gross misrepresentation of the story. Bush felt led to go liberate the Iraqi people (mostly Muslims) from the dictatorial reign of an insane person who had not only committed mass murders and genocide but also had long targeted American allies in military operations. Again, Bush's goal was to free Muslims from tyranny. Some estimates, Rashid says, claim 1 million people died in Iraq because of the war. Other estimates that seem more credible put the death toll at half of that. I feel that any civilian casualties is too many, but bad things happen in wars. It's tragic and my heart breaks for the lives lost. However, many lives were lost in WWII and the result is we don't live under a German totalitarian government. Many died in the American Revolution, but because of this war, the greatest nation the earth has ever known was established as a sovereign nation. I don't want to get into whether the US should have gotten involved or if there were weapons of mass destruction (there were tons of them, btw). My intent here is to explain why the Iraq war was not a terrorist attack but a liberation of millions from an insane tyrant. And I don't believe it was due to Christianity at all. However, if it was, this would make me proud to be a Christian. Coming to a the rescue of a people in need and helping the helpless is what Christ was about.

Then this article takes a strange turn. He lists a few organizations or movements that have nothing, literally, to do with Christ. “The KKK still exists.” Yes. And it's a disgraceful group of misguided, bitter people. It has nothing to do with Christianity. Its members cannot be Christians, period. The KKK was started by Democrats who were angry about the Civil War. Their stated intent was to terrorize blacks, Jews, Republicans, and anyone who sided with the North. The KKK has actually been revitalized a few times, so it's really not accurate to say it “still” exists. Its existence has come and basically gone a couple of times. “Nazis still exist.” “Aryan nations still exist.” What does this man not understand? Nazis were not Christians. They were, if anything, atheists and Darwinists to the core. Atheists will try to separate themselves from Nazism, but that's a lie and nothing more. Hitler was not a Christian. He was an atheist or possibly a pagan, and he tried to take over the world through murder, genocide, and lies. Not a Christian. Racist groups, fascist groups, whatever hate group you want to tell me about cannot be a Christian group because they do not follow the basic tenets of Christianity. This is just the way it is. Christ taught love. His Gospel is a message of peace.

A Christian terror group is an oxymoron. There cannot be such a thing. A hate group whose primary foundation is love would be internally contradictory, would it not? However, Islam has aggressively sought to dominate the globe since Muhammad’s attacks on the Arabian Peninsula. History doesn't lie. God does not tell us to hate unbelievers. In fact, He loves them as much as anyone who has surrendered to Him. This person, Mr. Rashid, seems a bit misguided and has distorted the facts, either knowingly or unknowingly. Perhaps his misunderstanding of Christianity is in his “schooling.” I encourage him to keep digging and searching for the truth and to really find out what Christianity is about. Perhaps you can too.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Let My People Go!

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 24, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

You cannot give away what doesn’t belong to you. This seems to be a self-evident truth, doesn’t it? In order to transfer the legitimate ownership of something, you must first be the legitimate owner. If you do not believe that, I would like to sell you my neighbor’s house. The principle of self-ownership is a foundational philosophical truth. No one has a higher claim on your life than you do. Nor can you claim to own anyone else. Please watch this video based on Ken Schoolland's book The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible, which you can watch here.

I own myself. Before you say that God owns me, let me provide background to my statement. Although God created every human being, He does not force them to obedience. God has a legitimate claim upon the entire human race because He created them, but God has allowed freedom to choose. God does not usually exercise His sovereignty over people in a way that prevents all evil. He does not choose the evil; He warns against it even. But he does not place a shock-collar on everyone and zap them every time that they displease Him in word, deed, or motive. Life has natural consequences, but God seems to be mostly willing to wait until after we die to judge us for our actions. He has given us freedom, even when that means that other people get hurt. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

We can use this freedom to obey him, seek him, or deny him. We can use it to harm others—as everyone has done at some point. Or we can voluntarily surrender ownership of our lives to God. I surrender my life to God, but I cannot give my life to God if I do not own my life in the first place. If the government owns me, as they certainly act like they do, then God would have to convince the government to surrender me.

Pharaoh made this mistake. Moses was sent with God’s message: “Let my people go.” Pharaoh felt that he owned the Hebrews and claimed them as property. But he had no rights of ownership of anyone. He did not heed the will of God, and in response God destroyed him, his army, and the long-term viability of Egypt as a world power for several generations. God was acting in a unique way as it regarded Israel. He did not deliver every slave in the world, or even all the slaves in Egypt. He only freed the Hebrews.

The Hebrews were supposed to be a model of humans voluntarily being ruled by God; they were to be the ‘city on a hill,’ the joy of the whole earth. But in the end, they preferred bondage. They asked to be placed back under bondage to a human king. God warned them that a human king would abuse life, liberty, and property (see 1 Samuel 8:11-18), but they insisted.

God’s perfect plan was that He would directly rule a nation that voluntarily gave itself to God. They would be His people and He would be their God, and in so doing, cause all the nations of the earth to be jealous for the good life in God’s kingdom. Israel was pregnant with that very purpose. But, Isaiah would later admit that the nation of Israel had failed to show the world the ways of God. “We were with child, we writhed in labor, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not come to life” (Isaiah 26:18).

But even so, Isaiah foresees a time when this will no longer be true. In the very next verse (Isaiah 26:19), Isaiah sees that everything will change with the advent of the Messiah. “But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise—let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy—your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.” At that time the barrenness will end and there will be real life.

The purpose of God will be complete: He will have a people of His very own, who voluntarily surrender the ownership of themselves to God. This is the goal of the new covenant according to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:33 and 32:38) and Ezekiel (37:27). This idea is the main concept throughout the New Testament, but it is a powerful description of life in the eschaton (the end of the world): Revelation 21:3. This is the end goal of all redemptive history. Where Israel failed, the Messiah will not.

Odd as this seems that governments exercise ownership over people, they have historically acted in this way. National conversions to the leader’s religion were considered normal and valid. Princes acted as though their conversions included all the people in their lands. This concept undergirded many of the religious conflicts in Europe’s history.

But no other person or group of persons, no matter the claim they think they have, can own another person. No one owns you but you. The church does not own you, the government doesn’t own you, and God doesn’t force his ownership on you either, though he would have the right to do so but doesn’t. As Garrett DeWeese once wrote, “If God himself tolerates unbelievers and seeks to persuade them by means of the attractiveness of the loving sacrificial work of Jesus and the loving Christian community (see John 17:20-23 and 2 Corinthians 5:14-20), then it follows that Christians should not embark on a mission to force belief contrary to conscience.”

We appeal to the conscience of individuals with the truth claims of God in Scripture, but we cannot legislate Christianity. No one is ever truly converted by the sword. Rather, God expects individuals to voluntarily submit to His rule and reign and associate themselves with one another in the church in order to carry out God’s will and demonstrate His power and glory on the earth so that all may see and know that He is God. Your dedication of yourself to God and to His kingdom is only valid if the principle of self-ownership is true, and Pharaoh doesn’t have the power to stop you.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The Importance of Remembering the Past

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 22, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

This time of year is often a time of transition, with graduations and weddings going on. When we transition in life, we often remember the past and look ahead to the future. When I graduated college with my undergrad degree (almost 14 years ago now!), I had very fond memories of those 4 years - how much I had grown and matured during that time, the friends I had made, etc. I wanted to remember the past, but I was also looking forward to the future. For me at that time, the future meant getting married in less than a week, moving to a new home in a new city, and starting grad school the next fall.

Remembering the past is important, for a couple of reasons. First, if you remember the past, you’re less likely to repeat the mistakes you already made. My day job is as an electrical engineer, and there are mistakes I have made at my job that have cost extra money or caused people to do more work. As a part of a consulting company that works for others, if I forget those mistakes and repeat them again, our clients will be a lot less willing to hire us again. I need to remember what I have messed up in the past so that I learn from it and don’t mess up again in the future.

This is so true with the people of Israel in the book of Judges that I’ve been writing about for most of the last year. Israel followed God, then something happened and they turned away from Him, God punished them, they cried out to God, He forgave the, and then they started following God again - until they forgot what happened and strayed away from God again. The majority of the book of Judges follows this pattern in Israel’s life. They kept forgetting the past and making the same mistakes all over again.

Second, remembering the past is important for us to remember what God has done for us. Psalm 143:5 says, “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” If I’m facing a difficult situation, I can look to what God has already done in my life to give me the confidence that He will come through for me again. If God has continually proven to me that He is faithful and trustworthy (which He is), then I can have confidence that He will continue to be so. Past events in my life that have shown me God’s provision will help me to trust that He will provide for me again, even if it looks a little different this time.

Third, remembering the past honors the achievements of those who have gone before us, as long as we don’t worship them. We can learn dedication to a cause from those who have fought for our country so we could be free today, especially on this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. We can honor those who have gone before us by learning from their mistakes as well, so we don’t walk down the same wrong paths they did.

We remember Jesus and His sacrifice for us every time we participate in Holy Communion. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Paul writes, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” We remember and honor Christ and how He suffered and died and was raised for us through this important remembrance of the past. This gives us the gift of salvation and eternal life, which can also remember and honor by sharing it with others.

Learn the past and remember it, so you don’t make the same mistakes again, remember what God has done for you, and honor those who have gone before us. While the future may be exciting to think about and plan for, the past will help that future be a better one.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


The Blame Game

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 21, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

Genesis 3:1 says, “The serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord had made. He said to Eve, ‘Did the Lord really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?’”

Eve basically says, “We can eat from any tree but, if we eat from the tree in the middle of the garden we will die.”

The serpent then says, “You will not surely die!”

It goes on to say that Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and that she gave some to Adam, WHO WAS WITH HER. I need to stop here for a second. I know that Eve needs to take responsibility for her actions in listening to the lies of the serpent, but hold on here. ADAM WAS WITH HER.

He knew as well as she did that they were not allowed to eat from that tree. As a matter of fact, God had told Adam himself! I guess I always thought that Adam was off working in the garden or tending animals and Eve brought him a snack. But he was with her. He knew what he was doing when he ate the fruit and where it came from as well as the consequences.

When God asked Adam if he had eaten from the tree that He had commanded him not to eat from, Adam said, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.”

Then the Lord said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

And Eve said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

This is where the blame game originated! Adam begins with “Well, Lord, the woman YOU gave me, she gave me the fruit and I ate it.” And Eve, she says, “Well, the serpent, he deceived me.” Isn’t it our human nature to blame others when we are confronted with our own mistakes or sin? We try and deflect the attention away from us onto someone else.

Let’s examine our lives, take responsibility for our own actions and stop playing the blame game!

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Out of the Gray, Part 6

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 20, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

[This is a multi-part blog post series. Please be sure to read the previous weeks, starting here.]

I enjoy theater, especially being in theater. I enjoy playing different characters and using different accents. When I was a teenager working in a snack bar, I even used a rather convincing British accent to convince a regular customer that I was my own twin brother. It was in good fun, and after two weeks I dropped the accent mid-sentence and let him know I was pranking him. We had a good laugh, once it finally sank in that I really was the same person the whole time - and once he got over the desire to punch my lights out for embarrassing him.

I could pull off pretending in my own context, and where the people around me were not as grounded in British culture as I was. But it was a different story when I went to London. My accent was received well initially, but then true Brits started seeing the gaps in my act. They could hear certain phrases, pronouciations, and references to culture that either seemed outdated or just totally NOT British. Playing a role on stage, or short term in a small context, is one thing, but in real life pretenders can be more easily spotted.

For the final week in this blog post series, read Jude 1:24-25. Why do you think the wicked cannot stand in front of God on the day of judgement? Is it possible to BE good, and not know God or live His way?

Jude makes it pretty clear throughout the message he wrote that there is only one way that is good, and only one key to escaping the "gray" of our culture and the world. We must be CONTENDING, not PRETENDING. We cannot bluff our way past God. And we cannot contend for something we don't actually believe and live.

When we bond ourselves to Jesus, when God is our first priority and His teaching is embedded and growing in our hearts, when we stand for what is good and right and true by God’s standards - contending for the faith - then we are able to discern what is good and evil by the power of God’s presence and Spirit leading us. If we just try to be good and ignore Jesus or pick and choose what we like about the Bible, then we will not able to discern what is good, and God will see our charade as clearly as the Brits saw through mine.

Jude offers us great encouragement for putting aside the act and fully giving ourselves to God's ways. If we trust God and rely on Him, it is He who can keep us from stumbling, and it is He who can rescue us - as well as others through us. It is He who will fill us with joy as He prepares and brings us to spend eternity with Him.

We cannot pretend to be a Christ followers by keeping rules, protecting rituals, dogmatically browbeating people, or blending up all the ideologies of the world and making them sound Christian. None of that is following God, and none of it is contending for the faith. It is just being what jude describes in verse 12: "clouds without rain, autumn trees without fruit, uprooted, and twice dead." No fruit and no root means twice dead. You have no present life, and no future life to come from you.

So, will you come out of the gray?

What do you need to do to get God’s teaching in you so you understand the Bible more and can apply His ways to everyday living? What wise counsel to you need to regain your discernment?

Where have you been hesitating to speak the truth in love? Or where have you been speaking the truth without love, and failing to contend for faith?

I encourage you to get with a small group or have some one-off time with someone who is a few steps ahead of you on the journey with Jesus. And I encourage you, challenge yourself to read and understand the Bible. There are all kinds of reading plans in apps and in the back of Bibles. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into the gray by not knowing what God has taught is the way. And don't allow yourself to be caught pretending when you stand before God. Your life, and the lives around you, are too important to let fade to "gray."

Pray this with me: Lord Jesus, free us from the gray thinking and living in our culture. Raise up those who will stand firmly rooted in your Truth and are confidently living in your power and strength daily. Raise me up to be someone who contends for the faith, revealing your Truth in everyday circumstances. Position me and empower me to rescue those you send me to rescue. Help me to trust you to be the leader of my life, my destiny, and my reward. And help me to lead others out of the "gray" by the life and journey you have prepared ahead of me. In Jesus' name - Amen!

If you want use this series with a small group, here are some follow-up questions to help you.

  • Do I align my life to God’s will, or am I adding God into my will?
  • Do I contend for the faith? If yes, when was the last time I told someone about Jesus?
  • If asked, would non-believing friends say I love them, or that I judge them? Would they say I agree with them or invite them to see things differently?
  • Are we able to discern when community is drifting from God? What should we do, according to Jude, to be equipped to handle ourselves and others to stop the drift? What are the practical habits/actions we need to do to be able to handle divisive people or situations?

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