TURNING WATER INTO WINE

Jesus used the wedding ceremony in Cana to perform His first public miracle, even though, He said, His hour had not come to begin His ministry. Why did He then change the wash water into fine-tasking wine, and what lessons can we take from His act? Also, how has this miracle been twisted by some for their own sinful purpose?

  • JOHN 2:10b-11 (NKJV): “‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory.”
  • PROVERBS 23:35 (NLT): “And you will say,  ‘They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?’”

MISSING THE WHOLE POINT

IN A RECENT NEWSPAPER COLUMN, someone asked (for a friend, of course) on what page the Bible relates the story of how Jesus, the Son of God, turned everyday plain water into delicious wine. 

The question was to be taken humorously, as if today, “We need our wine to help us through the day; even the Lord blessed the water and made it wine, so it must be okay to imbibe!”

Of course, people turn to something to cope, and the times are difficult. 

Alcohol is as easy a comfort as any. It’s plentiful, legal, and socially acceptable. Why, overindulging on occasion is cause for celebration. Friends will say, “Throw off the shackles and live a little!”

Forget for the moment that in Israel in that day, wine contained a very low alcohol content and was not considered strong drink, unless one imbibed in large quantities. 

However, in the minds of some scoffers, the idea remains that God endorsed revelry and drunkenness, when He most certainly did not.

For many people today, alcohol is used to fill the emptiness in their lives, to help them forget their troubles, or give them a “lift” in spirit.

DRILLING DEEPER

FOR THE COMMITTED CHRISTIAN, the comical question should serve as a time for sober reflection (pun intended). 

Let’s drill deeper into the story, found in John 2:1-11. Jesus, His mother Mary, and His disciples were attending a wedding in Cana, when the wine ran out. Mary said to Jesus the equivalent of, “Do something.” Then to the servants, she said, “Do whatever He (Jesus) tells you to  do.”

He told the waiters to fill the purification jars with water and then serve a dipper to the master of the feast, who proclaimed the wine the best of the bunch.

Jesus appeared reluctant to step in but obeyed His mother and “did something.” 

Problem solved. The wedding master was spared the embarrassment of running out of wine, Jesus showed obedience to His mother, and, more importantly, Jesus gave us a lesson about His plan for our future.

GOD’S FUTURE KINGDOM

THE QUESTION THEN is WHY Jesus used this occasion to perform His first public miracle.

According to one reputable source, our Lord was illustrating the wonderful time of joy in His future Kingdom, when all sorrow and sadness will be banished. 

Some biblical support:

  • JOEL 3:18 (ESV): “And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD and water the Valley of Shittim.”
  • JEREMIAH 31:12 (NIV): “They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord— the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.
  • MATTHEW 26:29 (NASB2020): “But I say to you, ‘I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it with you, new, in My Father’s kingdom.’”

FILLING THE EMPTINESS

MANY OF US KNOW all too well the emptiness that fills our lives before we knew the Lord. In my testimony, I’m clear in admitting “that was me” for decades.

I lost two marriages, many relationships that I prized at the time and thought would lead to marriage, plus my drinking interfered with raising my two precious daughters in the loving manner — with wise insight and teaching — they deserved. I went through too many jobs, mostly by latching onto sinking ships just before disaster  struck. I had no self-esteem. I was lost. 

But, no problem! Relief was just a Martini away, and, boy, could I fix them fast! I chilled my glasses (plural) and the gin, and stored the vermouth and olives in the refrigerator. No need for measuring and stirring (James Bond, you had it wrong!). 

As time went on, and my drinking increased, I’d find myself sleeping on the living room floor where I had collapsed the night before. 

Then, I had to rouse myself, freshen up, and head off to a day’s work.

I do not say any of that with pride. When I gave my life to Jesus Christ in November 2010, His first act was to tell me what I knew all along He would: “You, son, must stop!”

It took three years of struggle to give up the Martinis, and I’ve been dry since January 2014. 

POSTSCRIPT 

THERE IS AN IMPORTANT lesson in Christ’s miracle that should not get lost. It is not about the sweetness of fermented grapes nor the intoxicating power of alchoholic beverages, nor a lecture on the addictive nature of strong drink.

The lesson is that deep within the human soul is an emptiness that God placed there so we would search for Him. (Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NKJV): “He has placed eternity in their hearts.”)

When we short-circuit that search and land on alcohol instead of Jesus, we short-change ourselves and wind up with a poor substitute. (That’s equally true when the substitute is something else, like workaholism, gambling, sports, adultery — anything that takes the place of our Lord.)

The real gift is Jesus, Himself. 

In Ezekiel, He promised to change hard hearts into soft loving hearts (Ezekiel 36:26). In John, He changed water into wine (John 2:10). In 2 Corinthians and Ephesians, He tells us to change our old selves into our new selves (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24).

While we are called to seek the Lord, in the end, our salvation rests in His hands. 

His message to us was at least twofold: (1) I am God, and I can change water into wine with just a word, just as a spoke the universe into being, and (2) The wine I  made was a symbolic representation of joy and fellowship, not an invitation to debauchery and drunkenness.

Don’t miss the point our Lord made because of the “cutesy” jocular question mentioned earlier. 

PSALMS 118:23 (ESV)“This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our sight.”

__________

PRAYER 

O LORD, OUR GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL HEAVENLY FATHER, we are so dependent on Your goodness for our lives, our safety, our health, our salvation! Without Your caring nature, we would be eternally lost. With Your caring nature, we who call on You are promised eternal life with You. O Lord, as the song says, “We scare can take it in.” Bless us, O Lord, can keep us safely by Your side. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, AMEN

IS IT FAITH … OR RELIGION?

Faith, the Bible tells us, is believing in things that are not seen, but when coupled with intelligence, is based on the strongest and most reliable inference as to what truth is. Jesus told us He came to “bear witness to the truth” and that He is the truth. Religion is a man-made construct of ritual and liturgy that too often substitutes for the personal relationship with our Lord that He desires. We are called to surrender to the truth by our faith. We don’t want the practice of religion to substitute for the real thing.

  • MARK 11:22 (ESV): “And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.’”
  • ROMANS 4:16a (NKJV): “Therefore, it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed.”
  • TITUS 2:1 (NIV): “You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.”

THE FORM OF RELIGION

EVERY SUNDAY MORNING in churches across America, the same rituals play out. In some churches, the faithful are praising the God of creation, while in many others, half-hearted “attendees” are simply  going through the motions.

 We know this because the Bible is clear that “you will know them by their fruits’ (Matt. 7:16 NKJV), and the fruit from churches where the Bible is cast aside, or updated to be “relevant,” leads to false witness.

Most of the errant churches fall into one of three categories: mainline Protestant churches, liberal Catholic churches, or “seeker-friendly” churches. 

Each is marked with its own apostasy, and while true believers may be found in each one, the churches as a whole are failing to proclaim God’s truth as contained in His revelation.

SOUND DOCTRINE

TODAY’S RELIGION is that of “syncretism,” or a blend of all religions. This falsehood is built on the flimsy foundation that “all religions” teach pretty much the same thing, which is how to live “a good life. 

Living a “good life,” by this world’s standards, is considered “good enough” to warrant eternal life post-death in “a better place.” That “better place” is ill-defined as to substance and location.

However, for today’s populace, governed by reason, which is the conclusion of their individual thought process and a melding of the zeitgeist, or spirit of the times. 

“Everyone” does it or thinks it or says it, is a common refrain, as if truth were something discovered by counting noses — the more people do something or believe something, the greater likelihood it is of being true.

Of course, the Holy Bible teaches the exact opposite.

BIBLICAL TRUTH

THE BIBLE TEACHES God’s eternal and universal  truth, good for all people in all places for all time. It is not subject to “updating” or “tinkering” to make it relevant to one’s time and place.

When the faithful are called to worship God each Lord’s Day, the question remains: How many are worshipping their Creator and Savior, with whom they have a personal saving relationship, versus how many are going through the motions, content to follow familiar ritual, as though that alone were sufficient to give them brownie points with “the Man upstairs.”

At the end, our Lord tells us the tares (or weeds) will be separated from the wheat, but meanwhile, the two sit side-by-side, singing the same hymns, mouthing the same prayers, and hearing the same preaching.

When the final “Amen” is said and the church doors open, the faithful depart to re-enter the world, some to shine a light into the darkness while others go to blend in with it.

POSTSCRIPT

WHICH GROUP IS WHICH?

It’s a fair bet that those moved to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords are eager to share their faith, both by how they act and what they say, while those content to observe the liturgy of religion will leave all that “God talk” in church as they re-enter the “real world.”

God will not be mocked, nor will He be fooled as to which is which. He reads our hearts and knows where we side. 

The Lord is clear in telling us we are to be a part of the world, to witness to the world, to pour salt and light into the world, but we are not to love the world or become absorbed or conformed by it.

Instead, we are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. 

That renewal takes place via God’s grace through our faith, not the false piety of “religion,” which can mean almost anything but has this in common with all religions: It is man-made and reflects man’s hopes and desires, not God’s truth. 

God’s truth requires faith on our part because only with faith are we able to please Him.

_________

PRAYER

LORD, THANK YOU for Your love and  tender mercy, we thank You for sending Your Son to pay the price of our sin so that we wouldn’t have to and we could be freed from sin and enjoy eternal fellowship with You. Help us now, O Lord, to speak for You to others, to share our faith, as we enjoy Your promises. Let us not block a personal relationship with You by interposing mindless ritual and liturgy that often substitute for the real thing. In Jesus’ name we raise this prayer. AMEN

AND GOD CREATED EVE

Eve might well be God’s most glorious creation, an improvement over Adam, yet protected by Adam, the only one of God’s creatures to be fashioned out of living tissue (Adam was formed from dirt) and the only creature who was met by a similar being whose main function was to protect and provide for her. She was loved from the beginning, yet she disregarded God’s voice spoken through her husband for the devil’s voice spoken through a snake. The legacy of her curse, pain in childbearing and conflict with her husband, brings to this beautiful, vulnerable creature pain and suffering that only God can remove.

  • Genesis 2:18 (NKJV): “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’”
  • Genesis 2:22 (NKJV): “Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.”
  • Genesis 3:16 (ESV): “To the woman he said, ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.’”

GOD’S MOST GLORIOUS CREATION

WHEN GOD CREATED MANKIND, his first image was Adam. Adam was a man, a male, the first human being. Adam knew this: that the God who created him  was superior to him in every way. 

Then God brought the Parade of Critters before Adam to see what Adam would name them. God did so to make the point that they were inferior to Adam.

Then God told Adam He would make yet another creature. This one would be “comparable” to him, meaning “similar to,” or “equal to,” or “on the same level as,” but not “identical to.”

God placed Adam into a deep sleep and removed a rib bone and from that bone created Eve. She was the first woman, a female, the second human being.

Eve was created to be Adam’s companion, love interest, and helper. She was designed to complement Adam, not to duplicate him. 

Therefore, God gave her traits and characteristics that He denied Adam, while giving Adam traits and characteristics He denied Eve.

Now, here comes the interesting part: What does it mean that God created Eve second and Adam first, and what significance, if any, does that have for us today?

EVE IS PROTECTED

IF EVERY ONE OF GOD’S creations, except light, was superior to and dependent on a prior creation, then certainly Eve would be counted superior to, and dependent on, a prior creation.

That would be Adam.

All of God’s creations prior to Adam were fashioned from nothing. Adam was fashioned from dirt. Eve was  the lone creation fashioned from living tissue. 

She also was the only creation afforded a protector and provider. No other creation — from birds to wild animals to small animals to fish — was greeted by something similar to it that also was designed to care for it and keep it safe.

Only Eve was.

She was greeted by a husband who loved and adored her. 

She was never alone in creation the way Adam was. She began life with a home and a husband. Moreover, to make her life even sweeter, she was told she could bear children.

GOD’S HURTFUL CURSE

FAST-FORWARD TO SIN, and God is reprimanding Satan, Adam, and Eve for their conspiracy to deny  His truth regarding the “special tree” that God told them to avoid.

Satan and Adam were given their curses, and Eve was given hers. Although fewer words in Genesis were used to describe her curse than the other two, her curse might have hurt the most.

God told her that her punishment for defying Him was to suffer hardship in childbirth and estrangement from her husband. God placed Adam as a protective covering for her, but she would chaff under his headship.

The two greatest joys in any woman’s life — her husband and her children — would be associated with physical or emotional pain.

ENTER TODAY’S WOMAN

THAT BRINGS US to the modern era and today’s woman. She’s a self-confident college-educated take-no-prisoners hard-edged overachiever who doesn’t  want to waste her life — her life being a woman.

Her highest calling today is not marriage and family but earning her stripes on the partner track or landing a high-paying STEM job or shouldering arms and patrolling crime-infested neighborhoods during the day’s darkest hours.

Today, she is not a “woman” but a non-gendered “person.” She wants preferential hiring and promotion status at work while sanitizing the environment from male crudeness and sexual innuendo.

When she arrives home, she is thrust back to the traditional female role of homemaker — the pivotal centerpiece of the family — and, sadly, many find the  transition difficult and painful.

This is the most tragic part of the curse for Eve — her vulnerable heart, that sweet, lovely, nurturing, caring, beautiful heart — is broken, hurting, and suffering through life.

Meanwhile, the Adam in her life stands by her side, longing to help and protect her, without having any more clue on how to do that than the first Adam had.

Only Jesus, the perfect God-man, got it right

Yes, the curse against Adam and Eve lingers, but God promises us abundant life with Him to those who believe in Jesus, repent of their sin and seek forgiveness, and turn their lives over to His control.

PRAYER

OUR LORD AND CREATOR, thank You for creating us in Your image, as Your  most precious creatures in all of creation. We revel in being latter day Adams and Eves and feel Your glorious touch in making us husband and wife, to love and cherish one another. We pray grace on today’s Eves, that their vulnerable emotions, which make them so special, will be protected and cared for by today’s Adams, and that they will be the helpers, the companions, and the soulmates that God created them to be. In Jesus’ name we lift this prayer, giving thanks and praise to God Almighty. AMEN

GOD: CALLING ALL MEN

God’s plan for men is to protect their wives and children and provide for them. He is to lead them in spiritual matters. God commands it; the wives desire it; the children need it. God will hold the husband/father responsible for the family’s well-being. When men fail to exercise their proper role, their wives are forced to step in, striving to fill a role God did not design them to fill. The harm to the family can extend downward to future generations.

  • Ephesians 5:23-25 (NKJV): “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. … Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
  • 1 Peter 3:7 (ESV): “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

GOD’S HOLY DESIGN

GOD DESIGNED MEN to care for their wives. Men are to provide for them, love them, protect them, and help them raise their children.

 They are to see that their homes are well managed, that their children are taught about God and moral virtue, and that discipline should be loving and not harmful to the self-confidence of their children.

Men are to submit their wills and temperament to Jesus Christ, who in turn submits His will and temperament to the Father. 

Whenever anything goes wrong in the home, God will come looking for the husband-father. God will hold him responsible, regardless of what either his wife or his children do. 

If the man does not treat his wife in the honorable way God demands, his prayers will be hindered. 

Each one of those statements is drawn from Scripture. 

PROTECTIVE UMBRELLA

MARRIAGE IS LIKE A BUG.

That doesn’t sound very appealing, does it, but it actually  forms a beautiful picture of protective and nurturing harmony.

Picture the bug having a hard outer shell for protection while the life blood, its soft essential being, is on the inside.

So, too, with marriage. The husband-father is the hard outer shell, protecting his wife and children, while the wife-mother is the nurturing life force of the family. The family unit revolves around her. She makes the decisions and sets the family tone.

When the man fails to do his part, to live up to God’s calling on his life, the woman is forced to step into that role herself, a role she has not been designed to fill nor can she fill adequately.

Every woman who understands this principle will pray to God that her husband will guide her and lead her and be “the man” in her life and — this is very important — that he will take his cues from Jesus Christ in perfect submission.

FAMILY SCORECARD

 STUDIES SHOW A REMARKABLE outcome that reinforces God’s call on a man’s life.

It goes to which family member carries the most influence in impacting how the family develops. 

Surprisingly, it’s not the mother, although her role in the family is pivotal. She is the hub of the wheel.

Instead, it’s the father. 

When the children influence their families in spiritual matters, they record a dismal 3.5 percent success rate. That jumps to 17 percent success when the mother influences the family spiritually.

But God called the father to influence the family, and He designed the man to carry out that role. 

Studies show that when the husband-father influences the family in spiritual matters, the success rate far outpaces the 3.5 percent from the child-led and the 17 percent from the wife-mother led.

When the husband-father leads, the influence rate skyrockets to 93 percent!

LOVE AND RESPECT

 WHEN WE’RE WILLING to look, we can see the wisdom of God’s planning and design.

In Ephesians Chapter 5, the apostle Paul tells men they are to “love” their wives, to make them feel secure and wanted, desired, treasured.  

He also tells the women to “respect” their husbands, to submit to their authority as to the Lord, and to be a helpmate. 

Think of the woman as the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, as the counselor, as the rudder on the ship, guiding and directing while desiring to follow her husband’s lead.

Think of the man as Jesus Christ in the Trinity, as the leader and the one God holds responsible. God will come looking for the man, as He did Adam in the Garden, even though Eve and Adam both failed to obey Him. 

APPLICATIONS FOR TODAY

IT OFTEN IS EASY for marriages to develop along a “Y” shape. They begin with husband and wife working and living together as one unit until, slowly and surely, they veer off, the wife to care for the family and the husband to pursue his career. 

One day they recognize they’re strangers to one another, even though each meant well.  When this happens, generally it’s Eve who triggers the alarm, but it is Adam who has to pivot, recognize his wife’s heart-cry, and respond to her in love and resolve.

Adam must recalibrate his path along the trail laid down by Jesus and lead his marriage to repair the damage. 

When he obeys the Lord’s lead, the results are worth the effort. When he disobeys, the consequences wreak havoc.

It’s God’s perfect design. He created us as man and woman to fulfill his plan for the human race. Women generally fulfill their nurturing role in caring for the children; it’s absolutely critical to society that men equally fulfill their role to lead — to protect, guide, and provide.


PRAYER

OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, blessed be Your name. We are so grateful, Lord, for Your perfect design for men and women to become husbands and wives and together, fathers and mothers. We are to fit together, O Lord,  like the common bug, with the woman’s soft life blood nurturing, and the man’s hardened shell protecting and providing. Together, Lord, two equal but differently designed humans fulfill Your plan for raising Godly children and subduing the earth. We pray, O Lord, that as men, we will lead our families by submitting our authority to that of Jesus Christ; we pray, as women, that we will respect our husbands as to the Lord. Lord, help the men live up to the task you’ve assigned them. To you, O Lord, belong all the honor, praise, and glory. In the name of Jesus we pray. AMEN

WHO DO WE TRUST, GOD OR MAN?

Those who believe in Jesus Christ are called to place their trust in the promises of God, not in the promises of man. Our government leaders pretend to listen to us but pursue their own goals. Only God our Creator loves us enough to be worthy of our praise.

  • Colossians 3:2 (NKJV): “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
  • Psalm 118:8 (NKJV): “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.”

POST-ELECTION FOLLIES

NOW THAT THE 2020 presidential election is over and the fractious aftermath has begun, those of us who confess our faith in Jesus Christ are called to lead our country as Christ wants us to.

Are we doing that?

From what I see, Satan has infiltrated the church and is sowing lies and discord. Take a look at the divisions within Christendom between those who support the  Trump-Pence Administration and those who support the Biden-Harris team.

Those of us who support the former President and Vice President are still being labeled “deplorable,” “racists,” “fascists,” and “haters,” even by those within the church who claim the mantel of Christ. 

Even the innocuous cry to ensure accountability in the election process sets the “religious left” off. Their calls for “unity” sound good but are really a cover for stifling dissent. Unity around one set of ideas is not unity, it’s conformity.

INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC

WE’VE SEEN THE INFLAMMATORY rhetoric of a false prophet, Beth Moore, who has shown more distain toward Christian conservatives than she has toward those openly living in sin and proclaiming their “pride” in so doing. 

Then people who claim the mantel of Christ use her false testimony against fellow Christians and promote their hostility toward us through the secular media.

Didn’t the apostle Paul show his disgust with Christians who dragged fellow Christians into pagan-run courts because they refused to settle differences in a peaceful and brotherly manner? (See 1 Corinthians 6).

How is it, then, that so many of our fellow Christians, who worship each week beside us, use the tools of anti-Christian pagans to denigrate fellow believers? 

Should we assume that those who make those charges are not true followers of Christ but merely the tares among the wheat?

DESCENT OF DARK AGES

AT THE OTHER END OF THE DIVIDE are confessing Christians who told us the world would end, or at least civilization would cease, if Trump-Pence lost the election. They said the Dark Ages would descend  upon us once again. 

They pointed to policy proscriptions the Democrats offer that include, but are not limited to: 

  • government-run health care, 
  • government-imposed redistribution of wealth,
  • increased welfare benefits, 
  • expanded abortion “rights”,
  • porous borders, 
  • same-sex marriage,
  • citizenship for illegal residents, 
  • voting rights for convicted felons, 
  • lowering the voting age to 16, 
  • ending America’s reliance on fossil-fuel energy, 
  • forcing employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing measures, 
  • placing stricter limitations on religious liberty, and
  • opposing Israel’s sovereignty.

They also noted Democrats said they might, among other measures:

  • eliminate the Senate filibuster,
  • add three or four Supreme Court justices (all leftist activists),
  • extend statehood to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to ensure four more Democrat senators, and
  • expand “ballot harvesting” to ensure a sufficient number of Democrat ballots are provided to overturn any election at the national or state level won by Republicans.

Regardless of which administration is in power, God remains sovereign, and He will chart our course. As Christians, we are to pray for wisdom and lead by example.

DEPEND ON GOD

This is a gift, and only those who have placed their trust in Him for salvation can appreciate it. Those who are not “in Christ” cannot appreciate the gift, don’t recognize it as a gift, and, sadly, may not even want it.

How else are we to get through the days, weeks, months, and years ahead when the multitude around us are heading in the wrong direction, rejecting the voice of God, and pursuing their own ends. 

We can rest assured that God’s promises are good because He is faithful. May our hearts join together in song:

STANDING ON THE PROMISES

Standing on the promises of Christ my King

Through eternal ages let his praises ring

Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing

Standing on the promises of God

Standing, standing

Standing on the promises of God my Savior

Standing, standing

I’m standing on the promises of God.

O LORD GOD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, our King, our Righteousness, our salvation, we rest secure in Your promises to love us, protect us, and care for us, especially when we encounter troubled times. We pray for strengthened hearts that will proclaim Your glorious name and willing hearts that will live out Your commands. May we be Your hands and feet, O LORD, going about Your will. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. AMEN

TIME TO CANCEL ‘CANCEL CULTURE’

Our country is under assault from within, as the left-wing mob mindset gains ascendancy, shutting down dissenting viewpoints, especially those of political conservatives and Bible-based Christians. The evil is twofold: shutting down opposing voices while advancing an anger-based, hate-filled agenda. God’s Words will never pass away, regardless of the mob’s intent.

  • MATTHEW 5:44 (NKJV): “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
  • MATTHEW 24:35 (ESV): “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

 FREE SPEECH NULLIFIED

 “CANCEL CULTURE,” WHICH USED TO BE seen by many as just another overreach by the political left that could be disregarded, has become a cancerous blot on our country and its continued life as a republic. 

To be blunt, “cancel culture” is a fascistic impulse leaching from the radical left into mainstream liberalism with the aim of silencing all opposition. 

Opposition means “divergent viewpoint.”

It means, “If you don’t agree with me, shut up! Go away.” 

More than that is the mind-reading that interprets someone’s motives. If you disagree with a leftist, which is possible, then your motives are seen as malevolent regardless of what you say or how gently you say it.

There is no dialogue here. There is no room for equivocation. If you disagree with the leftist position on anything, you are immediately judged not only to be wrong but to be divisive and to harbor malignant motives.

You need to be “cancelled” or “deplatformed.” 

There is no room in that mindset for honest dialogue. They may threaten you physically for even voicing an opinion and then, if you respond with more respect than their comment warrants, they’ll claim you “bashed” them. 

Snowflakes? 

BIG TECH INFLUENCE

NOWHERE IS CANCEL CULTURE more prevalent than in the social media world controlled by Big Tech.   

Yes, the Big Tech operatives arrogate to themselves the right to censor divergent thoughts, but now even fellow users — called “Friends” — want to exercise that right.

They will block you or silence you or unfriend you — all legitimate responses, even if immature — but their bullying tactics are leading many conservatives to censure themselves.

They’re dropping from FaceBook and Twitter like passengers from a drowning ship. 

Who needs to cancel their voices if they willingly do so themselves?

How sad that the growing cancer of leftism wants to circle the wagons to protect themselves from divergent voices, to hunker down with like-minded weaklings, and to threaten dire consequences for anyone they don’t like. 

(The penalties are more severe for a minority, who has wandered off the plantation by not understanding their “class interest.”)

SERIOUS BUSINESS

WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND something fundamental here. This is serious business. Please, everyone,  take notice.

Slightly more than 150 years ago, our country at the time fought a War Between the States (Civil War) over many issues: slavery, economic power, states’ rights, and probably various turf conflicts that only historians are aware of now.

The dividing lines in most states were decided geographically. Perhaps in Maryland, a border state, was the divide more local.

Today, while there are geographic divisions in our country, the dividing lines are ideological. People see the world differently. 

If you took 12 issues of current importance and listed opinions into two columns, A and B, you very likely would find that anyone who placed himself in Column A on one item would be in Column A for the  other 11, as well. The same with Column B. 

That means whatever animosity was kindled with the first dispute was rekindled with the second one and ignited by the third item. That gets topped by the fourth item, and so on.

IS THIS HEALTHY?

WHO SEES THIS AS HEALTHY?

Some would say, “Don’t bother to tell me your divergent viewpoint. You won’t change my mind.”

Okay, why not?

Will you change my mind?

You could, but not if we don’t talk.

What if none of us, not any one of us — you or me or the other guy or gal — has a corner on absolute truth? 

What if we all could learn something from listening to someone else?

“Nope,” cancel culture says, “don’t talk to me. I’ll shut you down.”

Shameful.

PRAYER

ALMIGHTY AND GRACIOUS FATHER, we come into Your courts with thanksgiving and your gates with praise. Lord, we can do nothing without Your influence in our lives. You promised that all who believe in You will have life abundantly, will know the truth, and that truth will set us free. O Lord, we claim that truth and believe it with our whole hearts. Now, Lord, inspire our hearts to proclaim the goodness of Your love and the truth of Your design for us. Strengthen us, O Lord, through the trials and persecutions of the angry mob. Weaken their voice, O Lord, and strengthen ours. In Jesus’ name we lift this prayer. AMEN

POST-INAUGURATION DAY–A PERSPECTIVE

For those of us who believe the Trump-Pence Administration based its policies on conservative political principles and Christian moral principles, the advent of the Biden-Harris years feels like a dead weight. The Bible tells us our hope is in the Lord, not in man, and Jesus Christ will prevail. Our earthly lives will worsen as the time grows short for His return. The Lord tells us that those who persevere will be blessed with life.

  • PSALM 118:8 (ESV): “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”
  • JEREMIAH 17:7 (NKJV): “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.”

THE DARK FIRST DAY 

TODAY IS DAY ONE of the new Biden-Harris Administration, and already we are seeing evidence of the deepening divide within our country. More ominously, we are seeing a deeper divide within the body of Christ.

 The four-year reign of Trump-Pence has ended, and each man — and scores of top-level government officials — will begin the next phase of their lives, but we should take a moment to reflect on a few of their key accomplishments:

  • Full support for the lives of pre-born children
  • Support for male-female marriage as designed by God
  • Lowest ever unemployment rate among minority racial groups
  • Development of energy independence and exporter of energy
  • Transfer of US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, its capital city
  • Signing of peace treaties between Israel and Arab countries
  • Support for alternative schools and school choice to give parents the opportunity to send their children to schools that will educate
  • Forcing NATO countries to pay their share of mutual defense costs
  • Securing our southern border to halt the trade of illegal drugs and inpouring of illegal residents
  • Rebuilding our depleted military
  • Pulling back troops from long-term foreign engagements
  • Fully transparent administration with unrivaled press opportunities 
  • Oversaw development of potential life-saving vaccines in “warp speed” to combat the ravages of Covid.

Perhaps the sweetest of all was a return to wishing our friends and acquaintances “Merry Christmas” instead of the vapid “Happy Holidays.”

According to the Biden-Harris game plan, all of those measures are now under assault.

Apart from the disgraceful platform this duo brings to power is the legitimacy they will bring to ending any form of, or attempt to, dialogue in a civil manner among competing interests in any public forum. 

ALREADY THERE ARE CRIES TO:

  • Silence the voices of those who supported the Trump-Pence Administration in any way, 
  • Boycott private companies that hire anyone who worked in the administration or who voiced support for the administration in social media, 
  • Censure elected representatives in Congress those who raised legitimate concerns over the mishandling of mail-in ballots during the election,
  • Imprison those who are “science deniers,” i.e., anyone who disbelieves the political left’s views on energy consumption, energy production, climate change, efficacy of lock-downs and mask mandates,
  • Label as “racists” anyone (white people only) who do not bend to the accepted meme that American institutions are fundamentally and systematically biased against minority races,
  • Name white men (both a racist and a sexist claim) as the “problem” with American society, even though it was through white men that the “idea of America” was formed, established, and defended over the years.

A FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE

A FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE between the way the political left and the political right view their policy differences, and each other as fellow  Americans, is also coming into sharp focus. 

In 2017, political columnist Charles Krauthammer opined the divide this way: “Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.”

The proposition easily can be put to the test. Simply talk to one another. 

The liberal will quickly move to an emotional argument around feeling, while the conservative will gravitate to a rational argument. That does not automatically make one side “right” and the other “wrong,” only that their methodology differs.

The liberal will make sweeping denunciations without support and offer policy proscriptions rift with error. Here’s an example: Biden-Harris want to stop development of the XL Pipeline from Canada, despite the fact that construction brings with it harmonious relations with our largest trading partner, thousands of high-paid union jobs, and a ready energy supply. By halting construction on unfounded environmental concerns, the liberals jeopardize all three points.

Rational? Not really. Placing displaced workers on food stamps and Medicaid may increase their dependence on federal government, but it does nothing to strengthen our country.

Try to make that point and see how quickly the liberal will engage in name-calling and attempts to make you “go away” and “shut up.”

Once a conservative voices a perspective different from the liberal’s, the liberal will begin the personal assault: “You’re racist, you’re fascist, you’re a science denier, you’re homophobic, you’re (whatever can be inserted here).”

That’s it. That’s their argument. They’ll boycott your business, slam you, embarrass you, assault you in restaurants, shout at you, and demand you give obeisance to whatever their particular grievance is at the moment. If you won’t salute “Black Lives Matter,” they see that as license to spit in your food and upend your table.

They can spend an entire year excusing left-wing violence in major US cities, treating the mayhem as “mostly peaceful” and necessary, yet go unhinged when a few people of mixed intent storm the Capitol while the President is speaking to his supporters at another location.

Again, try to point out the hypocrisy of their position, and they’ll threaten your children. 

You think that’s an exaggeration? Try having a discussion with a liberal and see how quickly they pivot from their argument to a personal attack. It’s what they do.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

WHAT ARE WE to make of all this? What are we to do in light of the changing of the guard at the White House?

Whatever solution one posits emanates from one’s core values. Those who believe that “might makes right” may try violence, force, or verbal assault. That would be a very harmful response, and we should all condemn those instincts.

Those whose values are secular conservative will engage the argument around economic and political issues, writing letters to their congressmen/women, engaging in debate forums, encouraging people to register to vote and turn-out when the day arrives, and patiently enduring until the next election. 

We can commend those instincts, but for those of us who are social conservatives, we find that approach shallow and missing an important  component.

Social conservatives — often dubbed the “religious right” — draw their values from the inerrant and infallible Word of God, the Holy Bible, comprised of 66 books, authored over a 1,600-year period in three languages (Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic) by 44 authors inspired by the Holy Spirit into creating a unified whole in which the Creator of the universe reveals Himself to mankind.

For us, it’s the foundational values of society that are most compelling. Yes, we can weigh in on energy policies and corporate tax rates and educational goals, but it’s the family unit — mother, father, children — that is the centerpiece of a sound society, and we believe those values are now under attack, fueled by liberal ideology and backed by government power.

God has designed us as either male or female and created marriage as an institution to bring us together into a whole. Look at it this way: God fashioned Adam in His image and gave Adam human characteristics patterned after God’s — we have thought, emotions, wills — although not to God’s extent.

When God created Eve, He took some of the characteristics He had given Adam and gave them to Eve, leaving Adam with a portion of the whole while giving Eve a portion of the whole. 

For Adam and Eve to be unified, as God is, they would need to come together as husband and wife in marriage.

That is foundational. There is no political or economic issue that rivals in importance the structure of the family.

When the very foundation of a structure is threatened, so, too, is the integrity of the structure.

That is where we are now. 

POSTSCRIPT

 O LORD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, we give thanks for Your great mercy, Your patience, Your kindness. We also know You are just and call us to separate from the world’s values, which are self-centered, vicious, and destructive. We ask that You mold us into the men and women you intended in creation, and that we call on Your name so we can be healed. O Lord, we repent of our evil. Forgive us, Lord, and take us under Your wing. In Jesus’ holy and matchless name we pray. AMEN

WHY DO WE DISOBEY GOD?

Most people we know probably consider themselves to be “good” people and, because they’re good, assume they’ll go to Heaven some day. The Bible, however, says most people are not good people and that Heaven is reserved for those who realize their sin and repent of it. What’s more, those “good” people probably are not aware of their flagrant and repeated violation of God’s laws, among them, the Ten Commandments.

  • Genesis 2:16-17 (CSB): “And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.‘”
  • Psalm 79:9 (NASB): “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; And deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name’s sake.”
  • Exodus 20:2-3 (NKJV): “I am the LORD your God … You shall have no other gods before Me.”

GOD’S TEN COMMANDMENTS

Here’s a test you can try with a friend who’s a casual Christian. One of those CEO Christians who makes it to church at Christmas, Easter, and occasional other moments. It’s just a series of five questions. Try it and see what happens!

First, ask if they’ve heard of The Ten Commandments.

They’ll likely say, “Yes, of course.”

Then ask if they can name them.

They’ll probably get four or five right, maybe six, but unless they’ve prepped for the quiz, they’ll probably end right there.

Third, ask if they’ve ever broken one of them. They’ll probably say, “Sure, hasn’t everyone?” as a deflection, then you can ask, “Which one?”

Most likely, your friend will admit to having told a lie occasionally. You know, one of the “little” commandments, nothing big like murder or adultery.

Here’s the fifth question. Ask what punishment they received for breaking the commandment. 

They might stare at you like you’ve lost your mind, so maybe ask, “Did you expect any punishment?” Or even ask, “Did you think you deserved any punishment?”

CRIME WITHOUT PUNISHMENT

THE POINT OF THE EXERCISE is to show that while God has given His people, created in His image, clear commandments to follow, we tend to break them repeatedly, often with no thought of any consequences.

Look at Adam and Eve. God told Adam, directly and clearly, not to eat the fruit from one particular tree in the Garden, and Adam relayed that message to Eve. They were told if they disobeyed, they would die.

That’s a severe punishment in anyone’s book, and yet they still disobeyed God and ate from the tree. Yes, Eve was deceived, and Adam disobeyed, but they both knew God’s commandment and the certainty of God’s response.

Because of Adam’s sin, we all are born with sinful natures, yet while we are given a clear picture of God’s response to sin — banishment from the Garden, decay and death of our bodies, hardship in providing food and giving birth, and marital discord — we still disobey God and consider it “unfair” when we’re punished for it.

Yet God, in His mercy, also offers us forgiveness when we repent of, or turn from, our sin.

THE PSALMIST’S LAMENT

THE PSALMIST sings our lament when he cries out to God to save us from the penalty of our sin and forgive us “for Your name’s sake.” (Psalm 143:11)

It pains me to admit that I am part of that same disobedient process. When I disobey God, I tend to rationalize my actions to show I was “right” in what I did. 

You could be just as skilled as I am in providing rationale for your own disobedience. We’re good at it, and we don’t believe we should be punished.

Just as I repeatedly violate God’s law, I am convicted of my sin, and I repent and ask for God’s forgiveness. Then, I’m reminded that I should be as gracious toward others and just as forgiving when they violate “my” laws.

God has told us He will forgive us, He will not forsake us, and He will do all that He has promised us for His glory and His holy name.

We serve a glorious and merciful God. Let us give praises to the One who saves, to the One who removes us from the penalty of our disobedience.

PRAYER

O LOVING AND MERCIFUL FATHER, we are deeply grieved by our sinful hearts and our love of evil. We suffer from the penalty of our disobedience and praise You for Your willingness to forgive us when we repent. Lord, hear our cries for help. Strengthen our hearts to be obedient to Your will. We ask this in the name of Your obedient Son, Jesus the Christ, the Holy One of God. AMEN

GOD WANTS OUR PRAISE

At the close of 2020 and the dawn of 2021, what is the condition of our hearts? Are we giving glorious praise to the Lord our Creator, knowing He is in charge and we’re in His hands … or are we, like the pagan world, grumbling and complaining about the world’s ills? God calls us to praise Him. Our choice is to obey or disobey. Let’s choose to obey.

  • Isaiah 12:5 (NCV): “Sing praise to the LORD, because he has done great things. Let all the world know what he has done.”
  • Psalm 69:30 (NKJV): “I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”
  • Colossians 3:16 (ESV): “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

____________

GUARDING OUR HEARTS

AS YEAR 2020 DRAWS TO A CLOSE, many people around the globe are hoping for a better tomorrow. No doubt, many believe God “owes” it to them after the crummy 2020 they’ve experienced. 

Are you one of them?

If so, on what do you base that hope? Is it your sense of balance, of fairness, that if the universe dumps on you one year, it should lift you up the next?

The truth is, God doesn’t “owe” us anything except what we deserve and that, according to His Word, is eternal punishment. Mercifully, God doesn’t give us what we deserve.

So, focus on this, if you would: God gracefully has given us so much to be thankful for, including forgiveness of sins and a promise of life in abundance.

Instead of grumbling about our fate, we should be on our knees giving God the praise, honor, and glory due Him.

We ought to praise our Lord!

SINGING BY A BONFIRE

IMAGINE THIS: IT’S A COLD NIGHT. Someone starts a bonfire in a nearby field. You run over and join the group. As you stand before the fire, your chest warms slightly, then more so, until eventually your chest is  burning up!

“YOU LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE.”

REVELATION 2:4 (WEB)

You turn around, and your back, which had been cold, is now being warmed by the fire while your chest cools down. 

Walk away from the fire, and both your chest and your back cool down.

It’s the same when you walk away from the Lord, your passion cools down.

As the Bible says, “You left your first love.” — Revelation 2:4 (WEB) 

Isn’t that where most so-called Christians are, just lukewarm, casual, cultural Christians without a personal relationship with the Lord they claim to love and worship?

Let’s not be one of them.

STAYING IN PRAYER

THE REMEDY IS TO STAY IN PRAYER. Pray that the LORD will rekindle the fire in your heart, that He’ll move you closer to Him. Say, “LORD, fan the flames for me. I want to be hot with Your love all over.”

Make walking with the LORD your Number One priority for the day. Loving your wife or husband comes next. That leaves the rest of the numbers, from three on, to your children, your home, your job, your health, your ministry, your yard, your hobbies, and anything else you can list.

Once the priorities are set, you’ve built your house on solid ground.

He created us to worship Him.


HYMN OF PRAISE

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created.”

— Revelation 4:11 (ESV)


The Lord commands us to bow down in worship. To honor Him. To adore Him. There’s no room in that command for grumbling. — Philippians 2:14 (NIV) 

The price was God Himself, in human form, dying on a Cross for our sins, for our debt, to reconcile the world to Himself. — 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NKJV)

ANCIENT HYMNS TO GOD

HOW DO WE LIFT OUR VOICES in song, as our Lord commands, instead of complaining about our lot as 2020 draws to a close?

Fortunately, the Bible tells us. (Are you surprised?) 

The psalms are rich with hymns to God, to His glory, His faithfulness, and His compassion.

Instead of marking the year’s change with a drunken chorus of “Auld Lang Syne,” let’s pray with grateful hearts to God who loves us.

Let’s use His own words:


MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE TO THE LORD, ALL THE EARTH!

SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS! COME INTO HIS PRESENCE WITH SINGING!

KNOW THAT THE LORD, HE IS GOD! IT IS HE WHO MADE US, AND WE ARE HIS; WE ARE HIS PEOPLE, AND THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE.

ENTER HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING, AND HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE! GIVE THANKS TO HIM; BLESS HIS NAME.

FOR THE LORD IS GOOD; HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER, AND HIS FAITHFULNESS TO ALL GENERATIONS.”

— Psalm 100 (ESV)

PRAYER

O GOD, OUR GOD, how majestic is Your name in all the  Earth.

O GOD, OUR HELP in Ages Past.

AMAZING GRACE, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

OUR LORD, through Your mercy, I am forgiven; through Your Love, I am redeemed; through Your grace, I am saved.

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, is our Lord God forever; He who was, who is, and who is to come, life without beginning and without end, from everlasting to everlasting. 

O GOD, YOU are the Alpha and the Omega.

TO YOU, O LORD, belong all the praise, honor, and glory.

HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!

AMEN!

PROCLAIMING GOD’S TRUTH … WITH LOVE (Part 2 of 2)

As more and more church leaders — pastors, theologians, teachers, and elders — are led astray from the Bible’s inerrant truth, faithful Christians must be made aware and corrected. However, we must do so with love and gentleness. If we are haughty or judgmental, our own sin will interfere with the message.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV): “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of G od may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Peter 1:20-21 (ESV): “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 11:4 (ESV): “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”

_______________

(You can read Part 1 here)

SATAN INFILTRATES THE PULPIT

SATAN HAS INFILTRATED the pulpit of many so-called Christian churches, leading whole denominations to veer  away from preaching the Truth.

The shift from the church’s firm teaching of God’s Word as His truth, in keeping with the Bible’s claims for itself, takes place gradually.

Step-by-step, over time, the pulpit shifts from proclaiming God’s Word as “inerrant and infallible” to introducing “new” revelations into the sacred text, revelations deduced from recent revelation based on the reader’s “reasoning powers.”

A CASE STUDY

LET’S LOOK AT A recent example of a well-respected cleric in his denomination, who, driven to find Scriptural approval to support his beloved daughter’s homosexuality that included her same-sex marriage of 30 years, encouraged himself to believe in, and then teach others, false doctrine. 

Again, he is doing so motivated by his love for his daughter, which is commendable, even though God’s Word tells us — and him — that anyone who loves son or daughter more than Jesus is not worthy of Jesus (Matt. 10:37 NIV).

A link to the article is here.

The man — described as a retired bishop in his denomination, which is a position of influence over the teaching of church pastors who in turn teach doctrine to their flock — has magnified his error by encouraging others under his authority to believe a falsehood.

 IN EDEN’S GARDEN

THIS FALSEHOOD IS NO DIFFERENT from the original lie described in Genesis 3 in the Garden of Eden.  There, the devil, disguised as a serpent, told Eve to disregard God’s law that anyone eating from the tree in the center of the garden would die. 

Eve was deceived and so ate from the tree. She gave some of the fruit to Adam, who disobeyed God by eating the fruit.

In so doing, Adam and Eve brought judgment on themselves and, by extension, to the rest of mankind. 

We continue to suffer from their sin because our own natures, according to God’s Word, are sinful from birth onward:

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (ESV): “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

WHAT LIES AHEAD?

FIRST, THOSE OF US who are pledged to follow sound doctrine must, with love and compassion, admonish those who are straying.

We need to tell them through the Holy Spirit, that they need to come back to the Word of God.

John MacArhur, in his book, Final Word: Why We Need the Bible, said this: “However, true biblical Christianity requires a denial of every worldly value and behavior, and Christians must be willing to make a commitment to the Word of God, with a full understanding of the implications of doing so.” (Kindle, p. 25)

We are told that Scripture is “God-breathed” and inspired by the Holy Spirit and, as such, is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training others that each one of us will be equipped for every good deed.

That means we are to call our fallen brethren to repentance, not because we are holy and blameless, for we are not, but out of love and compassion for their souls and because their false testimony will lead others astray.

Second, we are to examine our own souls with the light of the Holy Spirit, to see where our own sin lies that we might root it out, all of this under the power and authority of God’s Spirit, not our own power.

Jesus instructed us to shine our light into the darkened world that others would see our good works and do what? Give the glory to the Father. Not to us, not to brag about ourselves, not to tout ourselves as holier than others, but to point to the Father, who alone is Good.

AVOID HARMING OTHERS

WE CAN DO SUCH HARM if we take our firm beliefs in God’s Holy Word and use it as a weapon to further our own agendas. We must guard against that. 

Just as we see those following apostasy down the road to ruin, so  we also are privy to following our own arrogance down a similar path.

Let’s be clear: Those who are teaching a false doctrine will not suddenly realize their faultiness and thank us for helping them out. Instead, they will point back to our own haughtiness, our self-righteousness, our judgmentalism as if our failings disqualify the truth of what we say.

Our sin will not disqualify the message, but it very well could disqualify us as proper messengers.

This burden should weigh heavily on our hearts. We should be burdened with the task of correcting those wallowing in doctrinal error, but in humility and weakness, we must ask Almighty God to direct our path so that we do not camouflage the message of Truth with our own sin in presenting the message.

POSTSCRIPT

SO, TO SUM, THERE IS a balance that must be struck between Truth and Love. Jesus did it perfectly. None of us can or will do it perfectly. Nevertheless, we must preach the Truth (“the message”) and present it with Love (“the method”). 

Failing to preach the Truth is not Love and cannot be confused with Love. We cannot allow those following a false teaching to believe God affirms their disobedient and deviant behavior. Neither can we interject our own sin by shining a light with a haughty, self-righteous attitude.

Yes, Jesus did it perfectly; let us imitate Him as best we can.

May God bless those who are following a false doctrine, even sincerely believing it to be true, but in so doing may He send messengers who with love and compassion can steer them back to the teaching of His Holy infallible and inerrant Word. 

__________________

PRAYER

HOLY AND MIGHTY GOD, please forgive us who claim to belong to the body of Christ for our sin. While some in our midst teach, or practice, false doctrine, others of us fail to call them to account. 

MANY, EVEN IN the church, sin by following, promoting, or teaching false doctrine, especially in the area of sexual sin; while others of us sin in our pride, arrogance, and judgmental attitude when pointing it out, as though we, ourselves, are without sin. 

LORD, BECAUSE OF our sin, our message of repentance  often goes unheard. This allows those who practice sexual sin, whether same-sex or opposite-sex behavior, to continue in their deviant and disobedient actions because our testimony is tainted. Lord, only You can save Your children. Only You can calm the storm and right the ship. 

WE PRAY, LORD, that You will charge us who follow correct teaching to do so with humility and compassion and for those who promote and participate in a false doctrine to find a loving home within the body of Christ for them to return and to do so soon. 

LORD, WE LIFT this pray in the loving, holy, and just name of Jesus Christ. AMEN