July 19, 2015

We Seem To Have It Backwards – Philip Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

In mechanics, carpentry, and other kinds of work, sometimes you can install a part or piece 180 degrees out- and thus exactly backwards, and it will still fit, but obviously won’t work.  This ISN’T a problem particular to physical construction or repair.  Sometimes, we can get things exactly backwards in spiritual matters also.  For instance…

Christianity is supposed to lead society by following and reflecting God to it, instead of merely following and reflecting society to God.  Note the words of Jesus on this point from Matthew 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  But instead of following and reflecting God to society, we seem to have begun merely following and reflecting society to God.  How did this happen?

A couple of things seem to have precipitated this reversal:

1) We decided we knew more than God. As jarring as this sounds, it shouldn’t be surprising.  Immature adults usually decide early on that they know more than their parents.  Reliance on new “science” and more “modern” concepts lead them to arrogance and rebellion regarding the “antiquated” ways of the past, despite their tried and true pedigree.  It is usually only later, after some trial and error, that they come back around to the voice of wisdom and experience.  Jeremiah warned of this problem in spiritual terms regarding man’s wisdom vs. God’s, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself; nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps,” Jeremiah 10:23.  Paul also wrote to the Corinthians on the matter, “Let no man deceive himself.  If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God.  For it is written, ‘He is the One who catches the wise in the their craftiness;’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.’ So then let no one boast in men…” 1Corinthians 3:18-21.  Thus, we don’t know more than God ON ANYTHING.

2) Therefore, we decided we could pick and choose which parts of the Bible we agreed with, and were willing to use and practice.  Thus, we became the arbiters of which parts of God’s word were outdated, and could be safely ignored.  We decided that the biblical account of creation couldn’t possibly be right and opted for the unproven theories of “science” instead.  We decided that the portions dealing with roles of husbands and wives within marriage were antiquated, and summarily changed them.  We decided that we knew more about disciplining and raising children than God did, so we pushed aside His wisdom in favor of more modern techniques and methods.  We decided that marriage itself- with its biblical provisions and restrictions, was an old-fashioned concept, and pushed ahead with free love and free condoms.  Basically, we decided that any portion of God’s word that didn’t agree with our thoughts must be obsolete, and endeavored to make them so in our lives.

3) The result of #1 and #2 is that we made the truth and wisdom of God’s word relative to our own thoughts and approval.  In so doing, we gutted the Bible and made it impotent to effect any real social or spiritual changes in our lives that we do not preapprove.  God’s word is meant to transform us from conformity to this world, not the other way around!  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove (demonstrate) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect,” Romans 12:1-2.

It may be too late for the world, or even for this country, to understand and accept these things, but it’s not too late for you!  Let God’s word transform you by understanding it to be the very wisdom of God, given in grace and love, as an owner’s manual for life and a guide to eternity!

July 5, 2015

Keeping It In Perspective – Josh Smelser

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

When we are constantly surrounded by a world which will only continue to let us down and disappoints us, it is important to remember that nothing that we as Christians are witnessing or dealing with is anything that hasn’t been experienced before.

Sometimes it is easy to look at the depravity of the nations of the world (and the growing depravity of our own) and wonder how everything could have gone so wrong.  Why do humans spend so much time creating division and spreading hatred? Why are wholesome values and Christian ideology attacked and  disregarded as bigoted and uneducated? I think our answer lies within the book of Genesis.

In Genesis 6:5  we see an observation that God made about humanity

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (NASB)

What we find here is that mankind at its very core, has the potential to thrive on evil. And without God, that evil becomes rampant and unchecked.  Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn articulates this concept when he says,

“The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man”.

This idea mimics what we read in Luke 6:45:

“A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” (NABRE)

This is not news to us, we have seen this plainly throughout the Bible, a man’s heart is what rules the rest of his actions. We know that the Heart is where sin is conceived (Matt 15:19). We know that where we lay our treasure our heart will follow. (Matt 6:21) We also understand that this is why God desires our hearts, because if our hearts are focused on God, then our actions will reflect the goodness of our Creator.

So what does that mean for us? It means that the only way we can combat the evil that is very much eating this world alive is for us to win hearts for God.  There will always be evil in this world and we can never hope to completely eradicate it because if there wasn’t any evil we would be in heaven, not on earth. We can understand that evil is going to be something we are going to face every day for the rest of our lives. If we can accept the fact that there isn’t some political or military action which will heal the world we live in, then we can begin to focus on the task that is set before us, namely to win as many people to Christ, to help God change and heal as many hearts as possible.  We cannot fight evil with evil, but perhaps we can stem the tide of evil by showing others the Goodness of our Lord and Savior.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil 4:4-8)

Brothers and sisters the days may be evil, but our God and Savior is in control of the entirety of the universe. Let us keep our faith in perspective as we go about our calling.