As I stand rinsing a cup with hot water this gentle, soul-quieting thought enters my mind: this is supposed to be done to the glory of God.
I pause for a moment as my heart and mind continue in the odd, quiet stillness they settled into after having unleashed my pent up anger, confusion, and sorrow that had collected in the corners of my mind over the last few weeks in front of my wife in the form of a weepy rant.
As I suspected my mind had done even before I walked over to take care of the dishes in the sink, I realize the Holy Spirit had placed his finger upon the answer to my problem and confusion: I was not truly worshiping.
I begin to process this and move to place the cup on the top rack of the dishwasher. This is to be for the glory of God runs through my mind again as the green ceramic clinks against the rack.
Somehow – beyond all my mental assent and lip service to the concept – I realize and ponder what it truly means to live in a state of worship.
I do a few more dishes before walking over to my precious wife, who holds our month-old as she stares out the dining room window. She turns to me as I place my forehead on her shoulder and touch her forearm with the tips of my fingers.
This is to be to the glory of God once again dominates my thoughts as I think about the God that created and maintains my ability to feel and observe the soft, smooth skin that He formed upon the frame of a woman He made in His own image for Himself…
This sort of scene has repeated itself far to often in my life. Our flesh, our remaining in this Fallen world, makes it so difficult to not occasionally lapse into a self-centered quandary of non-worshipfulness for days at a time (for some of us, unfortunately, even longer). Praise be to God for His refusal to leave His people to themselves. Thanks be to His Spirit for reminders and rebukes unto our sanctification. And glory and honor be to His Son for being a Perfect Savior…
My theological knowledge that was more orthodox than heretical began to develop in leaps and bounds around the age of 20 (I have no specific “conversion” memory, so I have no specific year to point at – let alone day) when I began to seriously study and read through whole books of the Bible in one sitting. That said, the idea that I am about to argue for was only a seed in my mind that wasn’t articulated until discussing origins theories with (at the time) my soon to be wife – so I will mostly be framing this concept within that realm.
This may come as a shock (or mild surprise) to some readers, but in my experience there are three groups of thought on origins theories within the Church (I.e. True believers disagree on which theory is the most Biblical). Those groups are “Young-Earth Creationists,” “Old-Earth Creationists,” and “Theistic Evolutionists” (I’ve heard Hugh Ross recently tossing around “young universe” etc. but as far as I know these terms are still widely used, so I’ll stick with them). Neither my wife or I find evolution to be a valid theory on any basis, so I will mostly be speaking in terms of the other two – also, both the former views tend to shy away from evolution as a validly scientific theory.
The names pretty much speak for themselves so I will not here go into more detail than this; Young-Earthers believe in a literal, 24-hour interpretation of Genesis 1 and a global flood, while Old-Earthers take a slightly less “literal” approach to Genesis 1 (thus allowing for about fourteen-billion years as opposed to ten-thousand for the age of the universe), and they believe in a “local” (but HUGE) flood…
That said, some groups in the Church are incredibly passionate about this topic and there has unfortunately developed a quite aggressive mindset among some in debating it. Though my wife and I have quite a few thoughts on what many Christians do wrong (and right) in this debate among brethren, one thing has always stood out to both of us as an essential that both sides SHOULD agree on; and that is this matter of “if/then” statements about God.
It has seemed to us that Young-Earth advocates seem to make this mistake more often than others in that many of them will make negative statements about God having been “wasteful” or “evil/sadistic” if He allowed or caused death and/or sickness to exist before the Fall of Man. However, I have also encountered Old-Earth advocates making negative statements about God being “deceptive” if the earth is young(thousands of years) because it looks old(millions of years)…
As the wise, unbiased, God-fearing reader will already know, even a hypothetical statement claiming that God is “bad” in any of those ways indicated above is an utter blasphemy that should never even cross a Christian’s mind, let alone his lips!
It shocks me how many professing to know and follow Christ do not seem to grasp this basic concept: God is the very DEFINITION of “Good.” (Revelation 4:8, Job 38-40, Isaiah 45:5-10, Psalm 24, Psalm 50, Colossians 1:16-17, etc.) As the Maker and Sustainer of all things He is the only being that can dictate “right and wrong,” define “good or bad.” And anything or anyone who rejects His Rules and/or Definitions is the very epitome of Evil.
The very expression “God is Holy, Holy, Holy,” is an acknowledgment of the fact that He is completely OTHER from His creation; He is SEPARATE in every meaning of the word as far as existence and/or being are concerned. Thus it is an absolute and obscene absurdity for any mere creature to pretend to be able to say something God does is “wrong” on any level!
So how should this effect our thoughts? Like so – if God deems it good/necessary to afflict the righteous or the wicked with a disease, then He is Good. If God decides to send a hurricane upon a continent, killing thousands of people and upsetting the lives of many more, He is Good. If God preserves the life of a child but gives it an intense disability, He is Good. So on and so forth, no need to explain His motives or reasons.
However, He HAS explained His reasons and motives to us in Scripture; He seeks to glorify Himself in Judging the wicked and unrepentant, and in showing Grace to a people for Himself. (Isaiah 45:5-10, Job 38-40, Psalm 50, Ezekiel 36:22-32, Exodus 4:11, Colossians 1:13-20, Romans, etc.)
Many will not like my implications that God is the source of calamity, disease, or any other thing that is not necessarily “good” for a person as people perceive it – but if they do not, that is merely because they have a sub-biblical view of God.
So, coming to a simple summary of my topic to close; God, as He IS and as He ACTS, is the VERY ESSENCE of what is Good, Right, and Perfect, and He dictates what is considered as such in His interactions with His creation, and in His creatures’ interactions with Him.
I haven’t been following it closely, but it has intrigued me whenever I have noticed articles in Christian News Northwest (the church I attend usually carries the latest edition of the paper) that pertain to a “After School Satan Club(s)” that the Satanic Temple is trying to start in schools to “offer an alternative to schools that have the “Good News Club.””One odd thing that stood out to me in the most recent article I read was “though a press release from the temple’s Portland chapter said that Tuesday night event would be open to the community and members of the press, KPTV Fox 12 reported they were not allowed inside.”
The statement I’ve read over and over again containing what the club would include is “a healthy snack, literature lessons, creative learning activities, science lessons, puzzle solving and an art project” – which makes a refusal to let the press in on an ‘introductory’ meeting of any kind look to me like a reason for concern on any parent’s part – merely for the inconsistency in “innocuousness” that presents.
At which point I get to the reason I started tapping out this post.
No, hearing about this silly “satanist club in schools” endeavor has not concerned me very much. And, frankly, I think those professing to be Christians that are so worried about “Satan infiltrating” schools are a little late anyway. Just like the stupid uproar over “bathroom laws” – these “activists” do not realize that the fact that things are where they are is that “Christianity” has already lost this Culture War.
Public/private schools have been rampant with immorality and anti-Christian values for more than a few decades now, the homosexual agenda has been obvious and strong in media and entertainment for as long, if not longer, and the “Christian community” is only just within this decade getting into an uproar over it because officials and leaders are finally putting into governmental and public practice what the society has already been doing and tolerating for decades – granted, not in as extreme a public display as we see now, but why fight now when God has been offended far longer than Christians have bothered to publicly be?
Not to mention, this same “Evangelical” community has voted a completely morally corrupt egotist who doesn’t care about the Supreme Court’s decision on redefining (and thus profaning) marriage, into the Presidency in some strange hope of him fixing half the stuff related to these things (or “stem the tide,” at least)…
True Religion in America is far closer to dead than many would like the world to believe – American Christianity is alive and well, but that isn’t the same thing.
Don’t get me wrong, the Church of Jesus Christ still has a presence here, but the sooner we realize all the political professing “Christian” activists are not necessarily on our side and start preaching the Gospel more consistently to our neighbors, acquaintances, and friends – the sooner we WILL begin to see change in how people view babies, their own sexuality, the poor, and a plethora of other things the “religious right” has tried to portray itself as being an advocate for fixing, but has never done a blessed thing to truly change the “status-quo.”
However, the fact that the True Church has ALWAYS been doing the will of God and preaching the Gospel faithfully even in the midst of all this pretty much indicates that Judgement has come, and we should not be surprised if no repentance on the part of the nation shows itself.
Be we headed for persecution or change, may the LORD bring Himself glory, praise, and honor…
Quotes taken from “1st Satanist club in nation debuts at Portland school” article in ChristianNews Northwest: December 2016, Volume 23 | Number 7.
So, with all the stupidity that has taken place in the last few days, thought I’d post some stuff I found interesting and thought-provoking this week.
James White’s thoughts- Post-Election Thoughts and an Ecclesiastical Text Video
An article from Phil Vischer- CHURCH, WE’VE GOT SOME EXPLAINING TO DO
And another thought-provoking article that Phil Vischer linked to written by a lady named Stephanie- To my friends who are relieved today
Hope these are helpful and/or thought provoking… (and thanks to those of you who actually read/listen to them all the way through 😉
I am, as I said in my last post, done talking about politics in America. However, I thought I’d share two things (one fairly brief, and the other almost an hour long) from two very thoughtful Christian leaders.
The first is an interview with Rev. Albert Mohler: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=exvuCgWiIGk
The other is a “Dividing Line” broadcast from James White: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_gkWDjDi9-M (NOTE: there was a technical glitch near the end, here is the link to the last 15 minutes or so: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GlMqKrcLdHY )
… I would have imbedded the videos directly into this post… but I can’t figure out how to do that with WordPress 😛
Anyway, I hope someone finds these interesting, if not helpful.
“As a traditional, Christian conservative, Donald Trump’s “hot-mic moment” from 2005 — in which he was caught in some serious “locker-room banter” making lewd comments about some females at the time, while also dropping a few not-so-nice words — should probably come as a shock to me.
But it doesn’t — and frankly, I don’t care.”
~ Addison Riddleberger (on “The Truth Division” LINK: http://thetruthdivision.com/2016/10/dont-give-rip-trumps-hot-mic-moment-heres/ )
Articles like the one I’ve quoted above are one of the reasons I have become so frustrated by “traditional, Christian conservatives” in the U.S. The utter moral/ethical apathy represented in this statement – and the rest of the short article – is the truly shocking part about much of so called “American Christianity.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I was not at all surprised to find this out about Mr. Trump – I could have told you pretty much a few days after looking into Trump’s background that this was how sick and twisted his worldview was. But, unlike most of the America that – by some hideous anti-miracle – will be voting for this Cretan(see Titus 1:12), I DO care.
You see, when I read Scripture, it implies that an evil man like Trump – who has basically NO firm record of anything but one of debauchery… and possibly, depending on sources, a ruthless business sense that can make a lot of money – when he desires a new place of power, will be willing to connive, slander, and weasel his way into that position: no matter what he has to promise or pretend he supports; so long as he has a decent guarantee that it will get him what he wants.
(Side NOTE: for all of you “one issue” voters (I.e. Pro-lifers), that means he will do absolutely nothing to further the war against child murder in general, or Planned Parenthood in particular. He has pretty much said as much.)
Anyway, the writer of the piece quoted goes on to talk about “two stupidly simple reasons” that they feel justify their apathy, and the first primarily consists of excusing Mr. Trump because he worked a long time in the “entertainment industry” and it “is a filthy, secular cesspool” and as such any person from that industry who would “condemn” Mr. Trump for his loathsome speech should be “burned at the stake of hypocrisy.”
Now, I do not necessarily disagree with these observations. However, they are no excuse to ignore the apparently fundamentally evil and twisted nature of Mr. Trump’s attitude and worldview. And the fact that his “apologies” were never on an acceptable level, and almost always were excuses – because he tried to point the “hideous actions” finger back around on the Clintons – indicates he’s not actually repentant, he’s just trying to recover from the damage this information has rightfully done to his campaign.
The second “reason” is so silly it would be laughable if it were not being given as an argument from someone who claims to be a follower of Christ / worshipper of God: and that is that the words spoken by Trump (then, now, or later) don’t “effect” the writer personally, or anyone else in America.
Following which, Riddleberger writes: “And for the record, I care about policy, and policy only.” And goes on to decry Clinton’s ‘policies’ and extol Trump’s.
My response to which is this: does this person not understand that character dictates policy? Not only that, it dictates and guides how that ‘policy’ is carried out or reached!
Also, since when is it even acceptable that a Christian’s ONLY concern in having a part in choosing a leader been political policy???
Another disturbing piece of what this article presents is that economics more specifically seems to be this person’s primary and driving concern – as is Mr. Trump’s. And from listening to Mr. Trump, it’s obvious that even in the area of international affairs, his only concern is rejuvenating America’s economy. And I’ll leave it to the reader to think on that particular part of the issue…
So, my point? Yes God has allowed Christians in America a rare chance to regularly effect and interact with the government they live in – but I am so tired of the apparent blindness and egotism of those who have bought into this two party system.
Nowhere does God, in Scripture, command me to place my endorsement upon and help give power to an evil entity that will spit upon His name and trod upon the weak and oppressed – but it does say quite a bit about fleeing and hating evil while doing and loving good… Psalm 97:10, Amos 5:15, Proverbs 8:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:22, Philippians 4:8, etc…
So please, dear reader, if you are a professing Christian, put aside your natural desire for security (financially or otherwise) and truly consider the problems in our country: the epidemic ‘legal’ murder of children, the growing power of the “uber-rights for the religion of erotica” LGBTQ Movement, the lack of Gospel preaching in “churches” all across this nation, Biblical illiteracy, hatred of and apathy toward one’s neighbor, the lack of care for the homeless and destitute, rampant immorality, etc, etc… and worst of all lack of love for God… in light of these things, and so many others, do you really think voting for someone with only fractionally less deplorable character than “the opposition” will really help anything? There are other options.
But, regardless of what your conscience will permit as a better choice, we must all remember that ultimately God is in control and as He judges this nation, if He does it by our hands or against them, so be it…
RANDOM END NOTE: I am reminded here of a couple quotes from John Calvin, “When God wants to judge a nation, he gives them wicked rulers.” And C H Spurgeon, “Worldly policy is a poor, shortsighted thing, and when men choose it as their road, it leads them over dark mountains.”
But, as always, there may as yet be hope on that end:
“Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD. In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.” His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” ~ Psalm 10 (ESV)