What Do We Do Now?

hand_on_bible___constitutionWhat are we to do when our culture turns from God and snubs its nose at his word, the Bible? What are we to do when mind-altering substances are legalized? What are we to do when our Supreme Court redefines marriage in such a way as to encompass same-sex relationships? What are we to do when the Mayor of Houston, TX subpoenas sermons preached in Houston churches because they spoke against the practice of homosexuality? In summary, what are we to do when our culture calls good, evil and evil, good (Isaiah 5:20)?

The answer is: The same thing we were doing before our culture turned from God and snubbed its nose at the Bible. The same thing we did before mind-altering substances were legalized. The same thing we did before our Supreme Court redefined marriage to encompass same-sex relationships. The same thing we did before the Mayor of Houston subpoenaed sermons that were preached in Houston churches. And the same thing we did before our culture called good, evil and evil, good.

My point is, the mission of God’s kingdom doesn’t change depending on borders, governments, rulers, and laws. Whether under the oppression of Rome, who persecuted Christians in the Coliseum, or Hitler, who murdered “enemies of the state” in the gas chambers, or the United States, who has all but marginalized Christianity today, the mission of God’s Kingdom remains the same. Preach the word, in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2-4)!

Remember, Christianity isn’t American. While I’m thankful for the freedoms that have been extended to Christians living in America, I can’t really expect any secular government to adopt Christian values. Friends, be thankful for the respite we’ve had, but understand it may not last for succeeding generations. Christianity existed long before the birth of America, and if America were to ever fall, it will still exist then (Daniel 2:44). The success of Christianity doesn’t depend upon a friendly and supportive government.

Jesus once asked James and John if they were able to “drink the cup that he was about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that he was baptized with?” They replied, “Yes, we are able” (Matthew 20:22). What about us? While I don’t wish for it and I hope it isn’t necessary, maybe persecution is just what is needed to shake Christians out of their lethargy and purge out the leaven of insincerity.

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Five “Untruisms” Heard In The Church

Truism1By definition, a truism is a statement so obviously true, it doesn’t need proving.  In other words, truisms are generally accepted truths.  That is why I am a bit surprised at just how many untrue truisms there are out there.  Here are a few we should rethink.

  • “God Won’t Give Us More Than We Can Bear.”  You’ve probably heard this all your life, but have you ever asked yourself where such a concept is taught?  I would suppose that 1 Corinthians 10:13 is the text that is used to affirm this belief, but is this really what the text says?  In this context, Paul is talking about an escape route from the temptation to sin.  There is always a way to avoid sin.  This passage promises us that we will always have a choice to do right or wrong.  Never will we be placed in a situation where the only option is to sin.  That’s what this passage is talking about.  However contextually, it isn’t addressing the burdens we sometimes must bear in life.  In fact, 2 Corinthians 1:8 explicitly demonstrates that this “truism” is an “untruism” for it says, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  You see, it’s the times when we are burdened more than we can bear, that we are driven to God for help (1 Peter 5:7).
  • “Everything Happens For A Reason.”  This sentiment is designed to give hope to those who have experienced some painful or confusing events in life.  We may find difficult circumstances easier to cope with if we knew that those circumstances were all a part of God’s grand plan for our lives.  While I do not deny that God providentially works in our lives (Romans 8:28), I do deny that everything that happens to us is a part of a “plan.”  I’ve heard people say, “there’s no such thing as ‘luck’,” or “there’s no such thing as chance.”  However, Jesus never said that.  In fact, he said the opposite.  Do you remember what he said when he told the parable of the Good Samaritan?  He said, “Now by chance a certain priest came down the road…” (Luke 10:31).  Apparently, Jesus believed that some things were simply the result of chance.
  • If It Isn’t Broken, Don’t Fix It. If we were to follow this “truism” we’d still be using “candlestick telephones,” preaching chalk board sermons, and lighting our homes with oil lamps.  All of these things worked, but better things came along.  Just because something works doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying to “tweak” it to serve us even better.  We probably all know of some dying churches who are dying because their leadership has adopted this “untruism.”
  • Better Safe Than Sorry. If followed, this truism would rob us of all our heroes!  What if the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles would have followed such advice?  Seldom is greatness achieved without risk. Playing it safe didn’t pan out so well for the man who was given one talent and he buried it, now did it (Matthew 25:14-30)?
  • Every Little Bit Helps. While this sentiment may encourage participation in projects, it does very little to meet substantial needs.  Sometimes “a little bit” is not a help at all, but is woefully inadequate.  Sometimes, for the church to  move forward, it doesn’t need “a little bit” from its members, because “a little bit” won’t help at all.  What is sometimes needed are great, bold, and costly sacrifices!  We may be able to salve our consciences with this little “untruism,” but we will never rise up and do great things that require great faith and sacrifice in order to be accomplished.

So beware, not every “truism” is as true as you might think.

(Can you think of other “untruisms” we sometimes hear?  If so, share them in the comments).

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The Most Misunderstood Page In The Bible

If you were to suggest the most misunderstood page in the Bible, what would you suggest?  Think about it.  Would you suggest the page that records:

  • Judges 11 and Jephthah’s sacrifice of his daughter?
  • 1 Samuel 16 and God sending an evil spirit upon King Saul?
  • Daniel 9 and the 70 weeks?
  • Revelation 20 and the 1000 year reign?

These pages and many others just like them may very well be among some of the most misunderstand pages in the Bible. But any of them, in fact all of them combined together come in a distant second to the page contained in the link below. Go ahead and click on it before you read any further, and see if you don’t agree with me.

The Most Misunderstood Page In The Bible

Well, what do you think?  In my judgment, I don’t know of any other page in the Bible that is more misunderstood, and consequently results in so many mistaken beliefs.  Misunderstanding this page is responsible for:

  • Some observing the Sabbath today.
  • Some believing that we can be saved without baptism (like the thief on the cross).
  • Some using instrumental music in Christian worship.
  • Some misunderstanding Jesus’ teaching on marriage, divorce, and remarriage.
  • Some believing that some meats are unclean and not to be eaten.
  • Some living under a heavy yoke of bondage.
  • Some becoming estranged from Jesus and falling from grace.

If we’re ever to come to a proper understanding of God’s will for our lives and faithfully fulfill our responsibilities as Christians, we must understand the implications of this important and most misunderstood page in the Bible.

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My Great-Grandmother’s Gift To Me

20140929_143635When I was just a little boy, my great-grandmother gave me a couple 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars. With my parents’ help, I’ve been able to keep them through the years without losing them. The coins my great-grandmother gave me weren’t in “mint” condition, but to me their value isn’t measured in silver, but in sentiment.

Now with that said, allow me to make a point from my great-grandmother’s silver dollars.  The picture you see above contains only one of the silver dollars my great-grandmother gave me. The other silver dollar is a counterfeit.  (Go ahead and double click on the picture to make it larger and compare the two coins).  Both coins have the appearance of age (one artificially induced).  Both look silver, but only one is actually silver, the other is a brass slug made to look silver.  Both coins weigh the same amount.  Both coins involve intricate artwork and design. But only one of the coins is the genuine item.  The other is a counterfeit, manufactured in China, and intended to deceive novice coin collectors.

Careful examination of the two coins can reveal which is real and which is counterfeit.  One is a bit thicker than the other.  When you drop them, one has a “ring” of genuine currency, while the other has a dull sound.  One contains a few flaws, especially on the flip side of the coin that exposes it as a counterfeit.  But my point is this…unless you’re really informed and vigilant, you could easily be deceived into accepting what is worthless when you thought you were in possession of something of value.

Do you see how the same thing can occur with respect to the church and Christianity?  Jesus promised to build his church (Matthew 16:18).  Since that time, the Devil’s most effective tactic to keep you out of the church is to flood the world with counterfeits.  No church presents itself as a counterfeit.  All of them have features that resemble the real thing.  But similarity is not sufficient.  We’re looking for the real thing.  Please friends, regardless of what church you’re a part of, investigate and compare what you’re investing yourself into with the trustworthy standard of God’s word.

(Want to guess which one is real and which one is counterfeit?  Leave your guess in the comments).

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A Useful Bible Study Tool

penHave you ever “ruined” a Bible by using a marker that bled through the other side of the page?  Have you ever torn a page while trying to highlight or underline a text with a pen?  Have you ever “smudged” a page because the ink wasn’t dry when you turned the page?  Are you like me in that you have searched for the perfect Bible highlighter?  If so, you may not need to search anymore!

Several years ago, my dad gave me a “Pentel Automatic Crayon Pencil” as a gift, and I’ve loved it ever since!  It’s been so useful to me, that I keep one on my desk in my office, and one on my bed side table at home. This pen is the perfect Bible highlighter!

Here are a few features:

  • It holds 8 different colors of markers.  With a simple twist, you can change from one color to another. This allows you, if you want, to color code some of your highlights as you wish.  This also keeps you from having to keep up with four or five different colored highlighters.
  • You can easily purchase refills without having to purchase a new pen.
  • The best feature, in my opinion, is that the “crayon” highlighters do not smudge, bleed through the page, or require a lot of force to highlight on the page.

If you like to mark in your Bible, this may be the perfect Bible highlighter for you.  Give it a try. I think you’ll like it.

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