ABC Religion

There is another religious sect now growing in the United States. The number of its adherents is growing. Its number of intense practitioners is multiplying. The number of its low key sympathizers is growing. I am calling it the ABC religion. ABC stands for Anything But Christianity. Prominent tenets of ABC doctrine include public support for abortion, normalization of deviant sexuality, public indoctrination of youth in evolutionary myth, freedom for violence in entertainment, acceptance of vulgar speech, intolerance for Christian sentiment and practice and evangelism, freedom for sexual immorality (except for when even ABC people are embarrassed), and popularity of pagan entertainment in various forms. Is Islamic persecution of Christians, in Africa and Asia, fair? Obviously not. Do the People’s Republic of China or North Korea treat Christians fairly? No way. Is persecution of Christians within Hindu-majority populations fair? Is the treatment of non-Russian Orthodox citizens within the Russian orbit fair? No. Be ready: the mistreatment of U.S. Christians is not and will not be fair. But twisting or abandoning Christian values in hope of moderating the unfairness is not a good strategy or a successful defense. “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them ….” Hebrews 13:3

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979,1980,1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Games How to Play

Games – How to Play

Make it fun for others.

Help others enjoy the game (win or lose).

Play fairly.

(Usually)Try to win, while giving others an opportunity to win.

“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.”   Romans 15:2

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”    Matthew 22: 39

“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”    Luke 6:31

“And be kind to one another ….”   Ephesians 4:32

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.  Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Is It Fair?

Is God fair when He allows people with little exposure to the gospel to suffer the eternal consequences of sin?  My dictionary lists numerous definitions of “fair.”  Perhaps the most relevant definition is ”just.”  The Bible proclaims that God is just. He is just whether we understand all His activity or not.

I am impressed with the following line of thought.  Suppose the requirement for acceptance by God were passing a trigonometry test.  So you set about to teach me trigonometry.  Shortly you say, “Two plus two equals four.”  I say, “I won’t accept that.”  Is it fair if you end my lessons in trigonometry? I believe it would be.

Similarly, since God, by His creation, has clearly shown that He exists, and that He is eternally powerful; if a person rejects that truth, God has no just obligation to reveal more truth.  If a person rejects, ignores, or suppresses basic revelation, that person is “without excuse.”  (Romans 1: 20)

I am assured that if a person responds appropriately to the truth available to him, God will provide (any necessary) more.

I was reminded of this concept by Psalm 119:155.  “Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Your statutes.”

One just obligation of every person is to seek truth and respond appropriately to any truth he has.

It is fair that all who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18) are condemned for doing so. “For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10)

“The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.” (Psalm 14:2)

“But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.”  (Psalm 34:10)

“Blessed are those …who seek Him with the whole heart!”  Psalm 119: 2

“Ask …seek and you will find….”  (Matthew 7:7)

“…he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Redeeming Time

Colossians 4:5  “Walk in wisdom toward those whose are outside, redeeming the time.”

I think of redeem as meaning to set someone (or something) free by paying a price.  Examples are buying a slave in order to free him or paying ransom to free a captive.  Following that definition, I suggest that we are to set our time free from waste and frivolity by paying a price.  The price we pay is avoiding the cheap amusements so readily at hand.  We buy up moments well spent by trading away over-priced pleasures.  (Keeping in mind the true value of periodic rest.)

The scarcity of time that makes it so precious is especially relevant to wise interaction with those outside the body of Christ.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.  Copyright 1979,1980,1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee.   Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

 

Husband Pastors

I Cor. 14:34-35  “Let your women keep silent in the churches …. but they are to be submissive….and if they want to learn something,  let them ask their own husbands at home ….”

If someone is earnest about living and thinking Biblically, he or she will listen to Bible teaching and have questions.   Some people rarely have questions because they have little interest in the topic.

To whom should a wife direct her questions?  Not to the class teacher, but to her husband.

Surely not every husband can answer as well as the class teacher.  So why the rule?  Perhaps it helps create and maintain spiritual unity in the home.  Perhaps because the wife’s questions motivate the husband to find answers.  Perhaps to foster Biblical dialogue in the home.  We can be sure a good reason or reasons exist.

Appetites and Worship

The most noticed appetite and the easiest to analyze is our desire for food.  It is good for an appetite to keep us faithful in eating.  If someone lacks that appetite for long, we conclude he is sick.  The appetite for food is not only good for us, it is good to us.  What could have been a tasteless, routine necessity was made into a frequent source of pleasure.  Equally obvious is that this appetite must be restrained.  Without restraint it causes damage along with benefit.  Such analysis fits other appetites.

The desire to be a material or financial provider is good.  In excess it turns into  greed.

Recognizing this pattern typical of appetites should cause us to ask:  at what point does this particular appetite become bad?  What are the negative forms for which I should be on guard?

What about the appetite to achieve in ministry? Initially good, this desire can become self-centered.  The desire of make a significant contribution can warp one’s decisions, cause self-exaltation, and be a detriment to harmony in the Christian body.

I am attracted to an old word:  temperance.   Where the old King James had “temperance,” the NKJV, the New International, and the English Standard Version have “self-control.”  Perhaps a combination of the two is helpful.   When I think of temperance I think of moderation and balance.  I think of a balance that fosters pursuit and then restraint.  Temperance is the opposite of lasciviousness (a lack of restraint on the appetites).

Is there any appetite that does not require restraint?   What about the seemingly in-born inclination to worship – that causes scattered peoples of the world, generation after generation to worship?  The problem here is not too much worship, but misdirected worship.  Given to the one true God, there can be no excess of worship.  When we catch ourselves over-indulging on food, in fun, in the pursuit of achievement and significance; let us return to worship.