WHO IS TEACHING OUR CHILDREN?

FOR SOME REASON, our country is embroiled in a debate over an issue that should be firmly settled: the role parents play in overseeing their children’s education. 

BEFORE THE MEETING STARTS

 Those on one side of the political spectrum — the conservative side — say parents should have a voice over the educational material. While they don’t insist on determining the curriculum or grade standards, they want oversight over core values, including what passes for acceptable information on sexual behavior and issues related to race and gender identity.

Those on the other side — I’m not even sure why there is an other side, but it’s the liberal side — supports the indoctrination of our youth to comply with liberal politics of the national teachers unions. 

WHAT’S YOUR GENDER?

ADD TO THE LEFT’S support of same-sex attraction as a normal “alternative” life style is its sadistic support of children changing their gender, from recognizing the alternate first names they choose corresponding with their new gender to honoring the gender-appropriate pronouns accompanying their new gender identity. 


MALE/IN-BETWEEN/FEMALE

THE BIBLE TELLS US to teach our children well, tell them  about God and, as mothers and fathers, discipline them in the Lord with love and patience. 

Yet, in today’s world, most of our children are taught (programmed?) by government-run public schools, many of which promote non-biblical values and demonize parents who raise objections. 

How can that be?


That’s before we get to racial relations, where the left divides the classroom into “oppressors” and “oppressed” based on their race; global climate change hysteria; and demonizing our country’s Founding Fathers for having owned slaves, a common practice at the time, before Christians were able to put a stop to it.

While slave ownership is not something to admire, it was common around the globe 200 years ago, and our Founders struggled with the idea.

GENERATIONAL MORAL CODE

JUDGING ONE GENERATION’s moral code by the morality of another generation hundreds of years later is a monumental misstep. Not only can the deceased not defend themselves but it leaves their  detractors open to the same scapegoating from generations yet to come.

Would leftists who sanctimoniously condemn slaveholders George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison — giants of an earlier era who brought forth the American Experiment — want the spotlight turned on them?

What moral failings of today could our progeny point to in disgust? Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Abortion Rights — killing innocent lives in the womb;
  • Exorbitant Debt — passing down entitlements costs to future generations;
  • Urban Decay — skyrocketing violent crime;
  • Educational Failure — declining test scores.

To that short list, we can add inflation, porous borders, mask mandates, and cancellation of dissent, plus many more. 

Would today’s leftist crusaders want to stand up to values scrutiny from moral scolds 200 years from now based on THAT record?


SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT

GOD’S WORD IS ALIVE
  • ISAIAH 54:13 (NKJV): All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. 
  • PROVERBS 1:8-9 (ESV): Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
  • MATTHEW 19:14 (NASB20): But Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

At least our Founding Fathers contributed something useful to hand their successors — a republic!

What contribution will our statue topplers, hero bashers, and sexual perverts leave for THEIR successors?

BIBLICAL VALUES ENDURE

THOSE OF US who take our Bibles seriously, especially those portions instructing us on how to raise our children (“It was that you should have children who are truly God’s people.” Malachi 2:15 (GNT)), know that God’s values, purposes, and agenda never vary. (“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)) 

FAMILY BIBLE STUDY

What we’re seeing in the government-run schools, however, is anything but the eternal and universal values of our Creator. 

Instead, they are the shadow values of the Great Imitator, the one  Jesus warned us about: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10a (NLT))

Jesus contrasts that dismal outlook with His own promise: “I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b (NET))

POSTSCRIPT

THE LORD CLEARLY WANTS us to tell our children about Him, His goodness, His grace, mercy, and love, and also His righteous judgments, reserved for those who reject Him. 

He says, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” — Psalms 78:4 (ESV)

We are not to leave that chore to the churches and professional Christians but are to handle it ourselves, leading by example and teaching them God’s Word.

Even more important, we need to pray for our children, starting even before they’re conceived in the womb and right through the day we take our last breath on earth. 

God says, “I want Godly children.”

LORD, MAY IT BE SO.

PRAYER

ABBA FATHER GOD, how often do we fail to teach our children of the Lord’s will, of His love and His wrath, of  His mercy and His judgment, of His call on our lives and our duty to obey. As our children grow to adulthood, we lose the role of protective parents with absolute authority to tell them Your truth, but we can continue fervently to pray for their conviction and to lead by example, to the best of our ability, with God’s help. O Lord, have mercy on our children’s souls, and the souls of their children, and so on down the line, that they will not suffer eternally for our failings. Bring them to repentance that our joy may be complete. In the majestic name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray. AMEN 

CHRISTIANITY CONFRONTS A DARK, EVIL WORLD

WHAT KIND OF UNSIDE DOWN, convoluted, world are we  presenting to the our youngest Americans, those pre-teens whose only knowledge of the world around them is one where everyone is masked, boys really are girls and vice versa, and at any moment their supposedly safe schools could be turned into a shooting gallery. 

THE GREAT BATTLEFIELD

This is a world where energy costs are soaring as political leftists declare war on fossil fuels, and government leaders, school officials, television personalities, and most adults in their lives encourage youngsters to “snitch” on their parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, and anyone else who they are told are bad people because they don’t get with “the program.”

While the above-named events are difficult even for adults to handle, at least those of us with some life experience are able to compare our current world with a not-too-distant past that was more benign and recognizable.

Our evil world is polluted with hatred, inflamed rhetoric, judgmental commentary, and pure evil intent. As Christians, we are called to a higher standard, but all too often, even those in the church that bears the name of Jesus fall into the world’s insidious trap. We need to pray and dedicate ourselves to setting a better example.

LoveAndGrace Christian Blog

The youngest among us are not so privileged. They have nothing safe, benign, and comfortable to compare this with, to see for themselves that what’s happening all around them isn’t right, isn’t normal, isn’t the way it should be.

MIXED-UP FOLKS

 IMAGINE BEING A five-year-old girl and being told you could be a boy if you want to be, or a boy who’s encouraged to think of himself as a potential girl. Maybe you’re a mistake! Maybe you shouldn’t have the body your mind is housed in, but, instead, the body of your opposite sex sibling! 

ONCE UPON A TIME

What if you see nothing wrong with a man dressed up like a tawdry woman reading children’s stories to your classmates at the local library, or hearing your parents grumble and gripe over dinner because of the cost of gasoline, the shortage of baby formula, or the idiots — like their uncle and aunt — whose political views differ from theirs.

Recently, a Christian brother posted a FaceBook meme about voters in a state other than the one in which he lives who selected a political candidate in the primary election — not even the general election but the primary — by calling those voters “stupid.”

Seriously? They’re stupid because you don’t agree with them? And supposedly you’re a church leader, one who sings “Give Me Jesus” on Sunday but rails against his neighbors on Monday?

Is this not madness! 

What is a five-year-old to think?

 BIBLICAL PROPHESY

THE BIBLE WARNS US that in the “latter days,” all sorts of evil and mayhem will flourish. Among the sin examples in one passage, along with murder, lying, and various sexual sins, is dishonoring one’s parents (Rom. 1:29-31).

BAND OF INNOCENTS

That one seems so innocuous, like tossing litter into a condemnation of assault with a deadly weapon or sucker punching someone, yet it lies at the very base of our youngests’ world … the lack of respect for authority.

That lack of authority translates over to failing to adhere to teachers’ instructions, or that of police officers, or teachings at church, or advice from older — and wiser — siblings and family members.

Yet, when we look at the instruction they are given, too much of it — way too much of it — is disrespectful of life as God designed it, so the young are disrespecting the authority of those placed over them who, themselves, are disrespecting God’s order.

What a mess.

THE WAY OUT

YES, THERE IS A WAY OUT. It starts with the Bible. Yes, the Bible! It is God’s Word, and He tells us how He designed us and how He expects us to live — how to think, how to speak, and how to act.

AN OPEN BIBLE

SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT
  •   Romans 12:21 (NKJV): “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
  • Ephesians 4:29 (NIV): “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

We’re not doing it. Those of us who claim the Lord as our Savior may well do a better job than the rest of the world, but the Bible clearly states we are in the minority, and we’ve still got sinful hearts. 

If Christ’s followers can’t get it right, what hope is there for those who reject Him and His design for our lives?

Who will speak into the lives of our children, to teach them there is a way out of the dark jungle of our current world and into the shining light of God’s new creation?

There are those who labor in the muck, striving gallantly to instill good morals in the young, only to be vilified for their effort. 

In today’s upside down world, they are considered “bigots” and “haters” because they, alone, stand true to God’s eternal and universal Word, not equivocating between good and evil as the moment suits.

The answer, of course, is to rely on Jesus Christ, who, the Bible reminds us, remains sovereign and will enjoy having *the final say* on human history. 

PRAYER

OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, we are ashamed at the mess we’ve made of the perfect world You created and gave to us to run. First, we disobeyed you in the Garden; then, we killed Your prophets and apostles, and even Your Son, Jesus Christ, and still we continue to rebel. Forgive us, please, and help us walk the straight path You have designed for us. Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

MARRIAGE IN LIGHT OF ETERNITY

HERE’S A CHALLENGE I recently saw: Are you (am I) living our lives in light of eternity, or are we living soley for the present, without regard to the eternal consequences of our current choices?

GOD ESTABLISHED MARRIAGE

The challenge appeared in a book I recently reread on marriage, co-written by pastor and author Francis Chan and his wife, Lisa.

While I thought the book would focus on “marriage tips,” the  authors challenged us to focus on Jesus Christ, His perfection, and our failure to be like Him. 

“People accuse me of going overboard in preparing for my first ten million years in eternity. In my opinion, people go overboard in worrying about their last ten years on earth.”

FRANCIS CHAN

Why? Because, the Chans argue, the health of our marriage is based on the health of our relationship with Jesus Christ. If we are strong in our faith and in our walk with Christ, our marriage will flourish; if our faith is weak, then our walk with Christ will be spotty, and our marriage will suffer.

My takeaway from this scenario is that God created the institution of marriage to be our life’s barometer, much like our personal canary in the coal mine.

_____

SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT

  • MATTHEW 10:37 (NKJV): “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
  • PSALMS 111:10 (ESV): “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”
  • 1 CORINTHIANS 13:1 (NASB20): “If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

_____

Marriage is an “early warning system” that tells us daily whether we’re on track with the Lord or whether we’ve fallen off the path.

GOD PLACED ETERNITY IN OUR HEARTS

That point was made succinctly in Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Marriage, which suggests marriage was created not to make us happy but to make us holy.1

You can read my blog on that, titled “Unity and Peace at Home” here.

LIVING FOR ETERNITY

 FRANCIS CHAN FURTHER says the health of our marriage depends on our life purpose, on whether we are living for eternity or simply focused on our daily existence. 

It’s all too easy, he says, for us to fill our minds with our list of things-to-do-today so that we ignore the most important aspect of our lives — why God created us in the first place. He says it was not to scurry about like busybodies checking off our daily tasks but to glorify God.

Glorify God! How can we do that, he asks, if we’re overwhelmed by daily burdens?

Chan starts his book with a comment that I want to focus on for my life because it is so startling and so prescient that I wonder how I never thought of it before:

“People accuse me of going overboard in preparing for my first ten million years in eternity. In my opinion, people go overboard in worrying about their last ten years on earth.” —Francis Chan, Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, Claire Love Publishing, San Francisco, 2014, Kindle, p. 5 2

SETTING PRIORITIES

WHAT DOES YOUR daily activity list look like?

Here are two lists that Chan offers. 

The one on the left is what most of us professing Christians will write; the one on the right is what Chan says the Bible tells us our lists should look like:

Two Priority Lists

1. GOD1. GOD
2. FAMILY2.
3. FRIENDS3.
4. WORK4.
5. POSSESSIONS5. FAMILY, FRIENDS, WORK, POSESSIONS
WHICH LIST IS LIKE YOURS?

Chan says, “Too many are content with the list as it is arranged on the left. But that list doesn’t come from the Bible.” Ibid. P. 20

He says that while professing Christians often say, “God first, family second,” they rarely live out their lives that way. The test, he says, is to ask yourself, “If I lived for family first and God second, what, if anything, would be different?” Ibid. P. 74

The reality, he says, is that very little would change, which proves the point that while we recognize our God should come first in our lives, we rarely live that out.

CREATING IDOLS

IN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, God tells the Israelites, and through them He tells us, not to worship idols, meaning anything that we cherish or value more than we cherish and value the Lord.3

GOD’S GIFT

God, our Creator, has given us the gift of life and a promise, if we want it, of eternal life with Him, yet how many of us who call ourselves by His name live with eternity in mind? 

God has given us marriage, which may be our earthly barometer telling us when we’re following the Master’s lead or veering off onto our own path. 

God is calling us back to His path, and if we follow it, He has promised to give us everything we need. It’s an airtight promisefrom the One who never lies.

LoveAndGrace, an Evangelical Christian Blog

Yet what priorities do we show in our actual living? What comes before God? Is it work, or pleasure, or home, or family, or title, or cars, or musical instruments, or computers, or boats, or … any other of our possessions?

I hate to admit it, but I need to: I cannot imagine functioning anymore without my array of electronic gadgets, from computer to tablet to smart phone to smart watch to noise-canceling earbuds to “tags” that I can attach to valuables (like my keys) so I can find them with an audio beep activated by an app on my smart phone.

Where is God in all of this?

Have I left Him behind? Thrown Him into the ditch? Ignored Him? Pushed Him aside?

I hope not.

As I said earlier, “I hate to admit it,” but I need to acknowledge my sin and repent of it, learning that God has given me this lineup of electronic gadgets to assist me in my labor but not to take first place in my heart.

POSTSCRIPT

WE NEED TO KEEP in mind not only that God created us for His glory and purpose but that through the sacrificial love of His Son, He has reconciled us to  Himself that where He is, we might live also.

THE CROSS EQUALS GOD’S LOVE FOR US

We are not our own but are bought with a price and that price is the life blood of Jesus Christ.5

When we do that, the Chans say, when we really focus on God and His message of love and compassion to us, when we’re living for eternity with God, then we are living “on mission,” according to the will of God, our Creator. 6

When we lose sight of that call on our lives, we stumble in the dark, unsure of our way.

Lisa Chan said it this way: “Those who don’t believe [in Jesus Christ] are going to live self-absorbed, greedy, sensual, indulgent lives. But those who belong to Christ will be on a mission.” Ibid., P. 78

If we want better marriages, we should adhere to the Bible’s teaching, to seek first the things of God and then everything else — including our marriages — will be thrown into the bargain. 7

PRAYER

OUR FATHER GOD, we are so grateful for Your willingness to reconcile us in fellowship with You after we broke it through our disobedience. Now, we honor You through marriage, in which husband and wife share life’s burdens but, more than that, encourage one another to walk “on mission” for the Lord, witnessing to the secular world through word and deed the blessings of Jesus Christ. In His precious and glorious name we pray. AMEN 

  1. Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, Zondervan, Grand Rapids,Mich., 2000
  2. Francis Chan, Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, Claire Love Publishing, San Francisco, 2014, Kindle, p. 5
  3. Exo. 20:3-4; 1 John 5:21
  4. 2 Cor. 5:19; John 3:17; John 14:2-3
  5. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  6. John 10:28; 2 Cor. 4:18
  7. Matt. 6:33; also C.S. Lewis: “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”Mere Christianity. (1952)

PURSUING A DREAM

This is a recurring scene. I’m sitting in church with my wife,  and we’re praising the living God, thanking Him for redeeming our lives and saving our souls. 

At the end of the sermon, the pastor issues an altar call.

WORSHIPPING THE LORD

He invites anyone who has been moved to receive the Holy Spirit to come to the altar — or, if they prefer, remain in the seats — and pray some form of “The Sinner’s Prayer.” 

In the prayer, the penitent is led to declare his or her need for forgiveness and to thank God for sending His Son to pay the price of death that our sin requires. Then they are led to declare their repentance from sin and their desire to follow Jesus’ plan for their lives. 

With everyone joining in on “Amen,” the row of penitents is led to another room or the church lobby for a gift — usually a small  Bible and a devotional — and congratulated on having passed from judgment into life.

Jesus calls us to dream big, to take new paths, to make an impact on our world. The caveat is that He wants us to follow Him in that venture, not strike out on our own. Are you following a dream … or just drifting? I feel called to pursue a dream.

In far too many churches, for all we know, that’s it. Good bye. Good luck. See you around.

SEEKING TO SERVE

UNLESS WE’RE DEEPLY INVOLVED in the church’s complete ministry program, we would have no idea what resources are available for the newly initiated. Perhaps it’s extensive at some churches, but many churches seem to let the matter go at that point.

ENJOYING NATURE

I want to change that dynamic, to come alongside the “newbies” and help them navigate the often bumpy and challenging road ahead.

Eleven years ago, when I surrendered my life to the Lord, I was tasked by Jesus to break free from my addiction to alcohol. That began a three-year fight before I gave in to Him, and He has sustained me since.

I had expected that He would demand that transformation, but what I hadn’t expected, never anticipated, and recoiled in horror at was something more insidious — it’s called “spiritual warfare” — and new Christians are seldom prepared for it.

QUITTING EARLY

I WANTED TO QUIT.

I was in a home group (some churches call them “life groups” or “small groups), which is a group of believers who meet together regularly, often in someone’s home, other times at another venue, such as a church or restaurant meeting  room.


SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT

  • Matt. 4:19 (NKJV): “Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”
  • John 15:5 (NET): “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me — and I in him — bears much fruit, because apart from me, you can accomplish nothing.”

I announced to the group that I was “quitting” my new-found Christian life because I was being attacked by Satan, and I did not know how to react. It felt like my life was falling down an endless black chute. I was scared, but more than that I was angry.

I had signed up for “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” when, instead, I got caught in the middle of a gun fight between the archangel Michael and the King of Demons. 

No way! I wanted none of that. 

WALKING ALONGSIDE SOMEONE

Fortunately, our home group leader recognized the symptoms and explained spiritual warfare to me, even showing me the colorful graphic of a man clothed in Ephesians 6 armor, brandishing his sword (the Bible), and protecting himself with the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation, and the shoes of peaceful readiness.

Yes, I remembered the graphic, but I had no idea at the time how to apply it.

Now, I was in the middle of a demonic attack, and I was ready to bolt.

BURNING DESIRE

AS I SIT IN CHURCH week after week, I’m compelled now to do something about the burning inside me to help someone else through the coming battles.

Wanting to be bold yet humble at the same time, I approached one of our  pastors recently to inquire about whether such a ministry exists at our church, and, if so, if I could join it. 

The scenario looks promising. Working with new Christians, as well as struggling Christians, seekers, and even skeptics, is my life’s passion.

Perhaps — just perhaps — this is the Dream my Lord and Savior has been calling me to follow … and now is the time He’s raising the curtain.

MAY IT BE SO!

PRAYER

ABBA FATHER, OUR LORD AND MASTER, let me kneel humbly before Your Throne of Grace, offering myself as an ambassador for Christ to minister to new Christians, to those struggling with their faith, and even to those who remain distant and skeptical. Lord, You know my strengths and weaknesses, and You can put both of them to work to complete Your plan. As Isaiah said years ago, “Here am I, Lord. Send me!” I raise this petition in the matchless, majestic name of Jesus the Messiah. AMEN.

MY CHRISTIAN WALK: A PERSONAL STORY – PART 2

Anyone who has placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ later in life — instead of in childhood or mid-teens — probably can relate to my story. I am blessed to be His, but I wish I had accepted Him decades earlier. This is Part Two of my story … You can find Part One here.

Before Accepting Christ …

YOUR HUMBLE AUTHOR WITH PUPPY

MY WIFE AND I had raised our children as Unitarian Universalists, but after our divorce, I came to see that the UU tradition offered nothing of substance to satisfy an emptiness in my soul that I have since learned was placed there by God to encourage us to seek Him.

I wanted more than man’s wisdom, no matter how prescient it was. I wanted to know Truth. I wanted to believe that Truth existed, and I wanted to find it, and I wanted to embrace it.

When I first had the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ, I flinched, knowing that I was leaving behind the UU  tradition my daughters were taught. I felt I was betraying them, that I was leaving them on a sinking ship while I found safety in one of the life boats.

Another Year of Prayer

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND

AFTER ANOTHER YEAR of prayer, Bible reading, Christian fellowship, and weekly worship, the Lord gave me this verse to make my decision clear:

“Anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”  – Matthew 10:37b NIV

“Anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”  

JESUS CHRIST (Matthew 10:37b NIV )

That tipped me over. The Lord knew I loved my daughters very much and did not want to abandon them, yet He told me (and everyone else, too!) that we are to love Him more than other family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or any possession or treasure on earth.

In that moment, I knew that even if my decision to embrace Jesus were to cost me the love of my beloved daughters, I would still jump right in. 

I loved Jesus more. I wanted Jesus full bore! 

JAMESTOWN, RHODE ISLAND

On Nov. 10, 2010, I accepted the Lord into my heart. This definitely was a Revelation 3:20 moment, where I opened the door and let my Savior in. As He promised He would,  He came in and sat at table with me and became my friend.

More than that, He restored my soul and gave me hope and a future.

Finally Accepting Christ!

THE LORD MOVED IN with the Holy Spirit and immediately set about transforming me. That involved convicting my sinful behavior, thoughts, and words, and changing my heart from stone to flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) 

Although immediately I was saved by Christ’s blood (justification), I had a lot of growing to do to become a Christian whose light shines in the darkness. 

HARDEEVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA

That’s the sanctification part, and mine was an intense tutorial as the Holy Spirit taught me from His Word and from believing friends that certain movies, books, songs, and other offerings of the world were now off-limits.

He led me to abandon harmful addictions, to become more patient and compassionate, and to seek ways to serve Him. I am still learning, and He is still teaching.

As I grew in Christ, the Holy Spirit kept me from wanting those things that  the world offers. 

He’s still working on me and will not complete the job until I reach glory with Him. (Phil. 1:6)

Postscript …

SO, NOW WHAT am I supposed to do?

Tell others.

It’s the Great Commission: 

NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA

It’s His final words to the apostles before His ascension: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”– Acts 1:8 (NIV)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”-Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB20)

To summarize, Jesus told us:

“Go … Baptize … Teach … Receive Power … 

Be My Witnesses … Tell Everyone.” 

What About You?

WHAT IS YOUR STORY? What should you do with the saving grace God has placed on your heart?

Most likely, it’s the same Great Commission, the same teaching, and the same witnessing to which he’s called me. 

If you’re struggling with your faith or unsure of God’s grace, or even questioning whether God’s grace can cover your sin, please take your questions to God in prayer and seek out a Godly mentor of the same sex you are. 

Find a Bible-based church (easy to spot: they often call themselves “Bible Church” or “Community Church”) and ask the pastor for guidance or check out the “What We Believe” or “About Us” section of the church’s website. 

Buy a Bible and begin reading it. Start with the Gospel of John. He’ll show you the love of Jesus Christ in a more  profound way than anyone else does. 

Read the Word, pray constantly, seek a Godly mentor, and begin regular fellowship with a strong Christ-based group. Avoid social clubs. You’ll want solid grounding in the Word.

Finally, when you hear His call on your life, answer with a firm and joyful “Yes, Lord!”

  • “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”Hebrews 3:15 (ESV)
  • “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”2 Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV)

When I heard His voice and finally listened and obeyed, He was faithful and just and came in as I opened the door — just as He told us He would in Revelation 3:20 — He became my Friend.

PRAISE GOD!

PRAYER

FATHER GOD, we praise You for Your love for us,  Your will to create us in Your image, and Your will to send Jesus to pay our sin debt so You could restore fellowship with us, despite our rebellion, our disobedience. Thank You, Lord most magnificent. We praise You in Jesus’ name. AMEN


NOTE: Photos are of geographic areas of importance to me.

THE CURSE OF PERFECTIONISM

Is “perfectionism” un-biblical? Jesus says in His Sermon on the Mount not to worry. “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life. … Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matt. 6:25-27 NIV) Perfectionists worry they won’t measure up to their own standards, let alone the imagined standards of others. Isn’t that un-biblical?

THOSE OF US who are “perfectionists” must unite and throw off our chains! The intense desire that drives us  to do everything just right often cripples us from doing anything. We’re so concerned we’ll look foolish or botch the job that our fear is enough to stop us before we even try. 

Is there a cure? As always, Scripture points us in the right direction. 

SUPPORTING BIBLICAL TEXT

SEEKING A *PERFECT* IMAGE
  • Proverbs 22:19 (NKJV): “So that your trust may be in the LORD; I have instructed you today, even you.”
  • 2 CORINTHIANS 12:9 (ESV): “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
  • 2 CORINTHIANS 10:17-18 (NASB20): “But ‘he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’ For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.”
  • GALATIANS 6:4-5 (NLT): “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”

PITY THE PERFECTIONISTS!

I AM A PERFECTIONIST. That doesn’t mean I perform at a higher level than others nor does it mean I am satisfied with my level of achievement.

Perfectionism is our fleshly desire to appear better than we really are, but God loves the humble over the proud and tells us that His grace, His forbearance, and His acceptance should be enough for us.

It simply means I strive to do the impossible: to excel at whatever task I’m engaged in with the almost inescapable outcome that I will not come close to accomplishing what I set out to do.

That frustrates me. 

One way to defeat that tendency is to avoid doing any task that I assume I can’t do well. Another way is to avoid doing those tasks I can do well but won’t do as well as I would like. 

Those two strategies can leave me with … doing nothing!

So, I continue to struggle to do the best I can.

BIBLICAL WISDOM

THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES gives us some divinely inspired pointers on how to combat this irritating and exhausting tendency. 

Here’s a prime example:

ECCLESIASTES 2:11 (GNT): “Then I thought about all that I had done and how hard I had worked doing it, and I realized that it didn’t mean a thing. It was like chasing the wind—of no use at all.”

POINTING TO GOD’S WORD

Solomon’s writings in Proverbs add more insight:

  • PROVERBS 3:5-6 (NIV): “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
  • PROVERBS 14:12 (ESV): “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

I especially like this admonition from the apostle Paul:

  • GALATIANS 6:4-5 (NKJV): “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.”

Jesus, in His earthly ministry, put it this way:

  • JOHN 15:5 (ESV): “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (emph. added)

MISPLACED PRIORITIES

OBVIOUSLY, IF I OBSESS about my own accomplishments, instead of finding myself in God’s will, I’m heading down the wrong path.

Just another item that’s easier for me to talk about than it is for me to do, especially since I also want to “bear fruit” for the Kingdom. 

Isn’t the saving grace just that … that we’re saved by God’s grace and not by our own works? (Eph. 2:8). If so, then I’m already in God’s will by humbly submitting my soul to His safekeeping.

My job then is to pray for guidance, see where God is working, and jump in. It doesn’t matter how well I do; I’m not the change agent. The Holy Spirit is. He has chosen to work through me. 

Imagine that!

SONS AND DAUGHTERS

SOMETIMES, LOOKING AT WHAT we do and how we do it, it’s just a matter of emphasis — whether we focus on what we’ve done or, instead, focus on what’s left over. 

PRAISING OUR GOD!

Speaker and author Phill Urena states it this way:

“Another perspective that often goes with this teaching is that we are still sinners saved by grace. I would say to that yes, I was a sinner saved by grace. I am now a saint of God who struggles with sin.” — Redefining Grace, Phill Urena, 2020, Kindle Edit., p. 88.

God tells us through the apostle Peter that we’re “special people” and “a royal priesthood” of sons and daughters. (1 Pet. 2:9 NKJV)

God has claimed us out of the darkness and set us down in His “marvelous light.” 

Considering our blessings, I (and all of us) should be more willing — much more willing — to rest our soul in His arms and not strive so much in our own power to accomplish what we readily admit is beyond our means to do. 

  • LET ME DO MY BEST.
  • LET ME DO WHAT I’VE BEEN CALLED TO DO.
  • LET ME PLACE MY TRUST IN HIM.

PRAISE BE TO GOD!

PRAYER

LORD GOD, We confess that too often we try to go  it alone, even in our attempts at Christian witness. You alone, O God, know what is in a person’s heart, and You alone can change that heart. Help us to be more humble and more obedient in service to You, Father God, so that we follow Your lead, not our own. In humility, we lift this prayer in Jesus’ name. AMEN 

MY CHRISTIAN WALK: A PERSONAL STORY – PART 1

Anyone who has placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ later in life — instead of in childhood or mid-teens — probably can relate to my story. I am blessed to be His, but I wish I had accepted Him decades earlier. This is Part One of my story …

Supporting Biblical Text …

  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” — Matthew 11:28-30 (NET)
  • “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” — 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)
  • “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:13 (NASB20)

COURTING A STUBBORN MAN

WHAT AN AMAZING JOURNEY! Jesus has taken a broken, dispirited, sinful man and turned him into a joyful being with eternity in his heart!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Yes, He had to overcome my disobedience and stubbornness, but He assures us that He is stronger than the world’s evil and that when we obey His will for our lives, we are building our houses on solid rock.

The evening I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior was on a Wednesday in November 2010. I had vacillated for at least a year, afraid my two daughters, who had been raised in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, would reject me over my newfound faith.

I likened my decision to leaving them on a sinking ship (the UU life) while I snuck away to safety on one of the lifeboats (a Christ follower).

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA

But the Lord, calling me to Him, gave me a verse to savor. It’s from Matthew 10:37b (NKJV): “And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

That moment was magical because I knew I wanted Jesus, even more than my two precious daughters; and, of course, I wanted them to follow me in worshipping the Lord.

“I WANT JESUS!” I cried out in my soul. “I want Him even if I lose my family and my friends and if total strangers hate me. I want Jesus.”

I knew He could save my life in this world. At that moment, I wasn’t even aware that He could — and would — save me for all of eternity.

Choosing Jesus … A Rough Road

HARDEEVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA

FOLLOWING JESUS PROVED to be even a rougher road to follow that I had thought it would be … and I certainly thought it would be rough.

Until then, I had no idea my heart was so dark.

For one thing, the Holy Spirit took over my conscience, repeatedly rebuking me for errant thoughts and salty language, even before trying to straighten out my actions.

Fellow Christians added their comments, all in love, but they sounded alike: “That’s not a nice thing for a Christian to say.”

Even one non-Christian friend told me I was too hard on myself, beating myself up for my non-Christlike feelings, thoughts, comments, and actions.

I was a mess — a mess for Jesus!

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA

I was trying so hard to learn a new way of living. I saw myself as the last one to the banquet table, walking into the room with mud on my boots and a stained shirt, while everyone else was properly seated, with folded napkins, correct forks, and clean hands.

At one point, I announced to a church home group that I was quittng “the Christian thing” because I felt I was a fraud and didn’t really belong.

Why Did I Choose Him?

WHY DID I FINALLY TURN to Jesus Christ for the answers to my life’s questions? Two reasons: (1) I was desperate for answers, and (2) No one else had meaningful answers.

OKATIE, SOUTH CAROLINA

Yes, I had looked for other answers because I knew that Jesus is perfect and, as such, would demand more from me than I was willing to give. I wanted answers *on the cheap,* that were within my ability to understand and control.

Jesus, I knew, lives outside that orbit, and He would want to control me … for my own good, but nevertheless He would be in control.

I had begun a serious search once I came to realize I was plummeting and harming myself, but with one stipulation — that I would find an answer that did not include Jesus Christ!

That search took nearly a decade, until I finally came to accept that no answer outside of Jesus Christ would satisfy the hunger in my soul.

Even then, it took another four years to accept the Jewish Messiah, the Son of God, as my Lord and Savior.


PRAYER

HUMBLY IN PRAYER

FATHER GOD, I AM so grateful to You for your patience with me and Your perseverance, foreknowing that I eventually would raise my arms in praise and call on Your holy name for my salvation. Now, help me, strengthen, direct me to share the Good News of salvation with those You place in my life. In Jesus’ precious and magnificent name. AMEN


NOTE: Photos are from several locations important to me.

BAD THEOLOGY IS ALIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, PART 2 

ANYONE WHO HAS SPENT TIME RECENTLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO, PERHAPS INUNDATED BY, BAD THEOLOGY. THIS IS NOT JUST A SLIGHT TINKERING WITH CORRECT DOCTRINE BUT A WHOLESALE REWRITING OF THE BIBLE. SINCE THE MEMES ARE POSTED BY SELF-PROCLAIMED “CHRISTIANS,” THE MEMES CARRY THE IMPRIMATUR OF HOLINESS AND WISDOM. ONCE THEY ARE EXAMINED, HOWEVER, IT IS CLEAR THEY ARE WICKED IN TEACHING AND DEMONIC IN ORIGIN.

THIS IS THE SECOND IN AN OCCASIONAL SERIES. YOU CAN READ THE FIRST ITEM here.

  • Gal. 1:6 (NLT): “I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News.”
  • 2 Cor. 11:4 (NIV): “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”

MISUSING THE BIBLE

LET’S START WITH the assumption that the Bible is the Holy Word of God, that He inspired the writing and superintended its content. 

GOD’S WORD IS TRUTH

The Bible makes that claim for itself, so the next step is for the Bible — as written — to back up that claim.

It does so with fulfilled prophecies, verifiable geographic, historic, and archeological truths, and — most of all — testimonies of changed lives.

That assumption gives those of us who believe in the Bible’s authenticity a solid foundation on which to place our lives and our salvation. Without that assumption, those who doubt the Word of God are free to concoct their own version of reality, grounded on nothing more solid than whimsy.

In an earlier post, we explored two such false claims; in this post, we’ll look at a third one. In future posts, we’ll examine other false claims.

III. LOVING THE BIBLE MORE THAN JESUS

THIS MEME IS THE WORST ONE, BY FAR. It’s basic message is similar to the first one we examined, but its language and flair make it more dangerous because it is more deceptive. 

CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP SERVICE

The fact that it was posted on social media by a self-proclaimed  Christian makes the wickedness of the message even more toxic.

The meme begins with the shame-finger posturing so loved by the pseudo-Christian crowd: “Many Christians fail to grasp the basic point of the Bible: to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, many Christians love the Bible more than Jesus.”

Oy, vey!

To paraphrase the meme’s next section, this deception goes on to say that those worshipping in a “bible-believing church” (please note the lower case “b” in Bible) should jettison their faith-based approach and mimic the life and legacy of Jesus, to live as He lived. 

Basically, the Jesus-instead-of-the-Bible meme is the political Left’s attempt to dress-up its anti-biblical secular agenda with a sprinkling of “God Talk” to provide a “religious” alternative to Christian values and love of country.

That sounds good, but how He lived is described in the Bible, so reading the Bible and following the Bible’s teaching helps us see Jesus’ ministry and teaching for what He said and did! Without the Bible as a guide, we’re left to do what the pseudo-Christians do — make up His ministry to fit our worldview. 

The meme sanctimoniously concludes: “You should love Jesus even more than you love the Bible, and it’s more important to be Christlike than it is to be “biblical.””

TRANSLATION: The Bible is an obscure book composed of 66 books written by a bunch of Jewish men who are long since dead, no doubt cobbled together from compromised manuscripts of doubtful validity and that any “truth” that might be contained therein might not be adequate or relevant to our more enlightened times. Following the Bible’s prescription for life is tantamount to following 2,000 to 3,000 year-old medical practices!

EXAMINATION: There are two main points to this meme plus a sinister sub-point that really makes the meme “come alive” for those pontificating pseudo-Christians. Let’s take a look together.

BLESSING OF CORPORATE PRAYER

Point 1: There is a difference between the Bible and Jesus’ life. This is never directly explained other than to deny the Bible’s own teaching that it is the inspired word of God and that every word in it is true. Once you divorce the Bible from God’s inspiration, you’re left with a semi-valid book or maybe even a worthless tome. Better to fashion an image of Jesus than it is to look at Him through the lens of eye-witnesses. 

Point 2: People who read the Bible, quote the Bible, study the Bible, and live by the Bible do not necessarily follow Jesus, although those who do not read the Bible, study it, quote it, or try to live by its teachings actually (somehow) are more in-tune with the purpose of the Bible, which is to follow Jesus.  

CRUX OF THE MEME: This is the crux of the meme. The meme refers to those who read, study, and quote the Bible, who also voted for President Trump, oppose abortion (i.e., what the meme’s designers would call a woman’s right to choose), same-sex marriage (i.e., freedom to live one’s true nature), open borders (i.e., racist xenophobia opposing true asylum-seekers), and support the use of fossil fuels (i.e., destroying the earth’s environment). 

Those who claim to follow Jesus rather than the Bible proclaim their virtue to cover the “marginalized,” much as they imagine the Lord did, without regard to His motive, which was not to affirm anyone in their sin or despair but to forgive them and provide them an abundant life with peace and joy.

Basically, the Jesus-instead-of-the-Bible meme is the political Left’s attempt to dress-up an anti-biblical secular agenda with a sprinkling of “God Talk” to provide a religious alternative to Christian values and love of country.

The Bible warns us about such imitations, declaring in 2 Corinthians 11:14 (NKJV): For Satan himself transfers himself into an angel of light.”

The Message Bible describes Satan’s deception this way: (2 Corinthians 11:14 MSG): 

“They’re a sorry bunch—pseudo-apostles, lying preachers,  crooked workersposing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. And no wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. But they’re not getting by with anything. They’ll pay for it in the end.”

The so-called religious Left even conjures up a code-name for their enemies within the church: “Christian nationalists” and treat this condition they have named as a disease worse than their own agenda, which is secular-based, government-run, socialism. 

Just compare the platform of the religious Left with that of their close cousins, the secular Left. Except for the “God-talk,” there’s little difference.

POSTSCRIPT

THE BIBLE TELLS US that in the “latter days,” many members of Christian churches will veer from the Truth of God’s Word, substituting for it their own theology. (1 Tim. 4:1-10) This is what we are seeing on social media, where so-called Christians plaster false narratives.

A USEFUL COMPARISON CHART

Those narratives seem to focus on one or another of two central themes — one, that following Jesus is somehow different from, and preferred to, following the Bible; and two, that those church members who hold onto the Bible as their main source of truth are  “missing” the true purpose of church. 

Both narratives, usually blended together, falsely advance the narrative that the Bible is not God’s Holy Word; that it is not to be obeyed literally; that it is, at best, a moral guide that should be interpreted holistically; and that those church members who actually do read the Bible, quote it, and try to live by it, are missing the point of church.

When self-proclaimed Christians discard the Bible’s instruction and replace it with their own theology, and then urge non-believers to join them in casting aspersions against those who do follow the Bible’s teaching, we have reached the Bible’s prophesy in 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV):

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”

PRAYER

O FATHER GOD, our hearts are burdened for our fellow church members who have veered off track,  who are following demonic spirits and leading non-believers into the lost spaces with them. Lord, we can see this on social media, where pastors and worship leaders lend their authority to embracing the apostasy that the Bible is not Holy Spirit-driven but just a faulty collection of ancient Jewish writing that needs serious updating to be considered valuable and relevant. Lord, lead us who claim the mantel of Christ to remain faithful. Keep us from going astray, and help us to reach our fallen brethren and bring them back to Your Word. In Jesus’ magnificent and holy name we pray. AMEN

PRAYING FOR OUR LEADERS

Praying for our political leaders, as God commands His people to do, can be difficult, especially when we did not vote for them nor do we agree with their agenda or even like them personally. However, we are not called to pray for their secular agenda to be successful; instead, we are to pray for their hearts, for their spiritual lives, and for their souls that they will turn their hearts and lives over to Jesus and follow His will. 

PRAYING FOR OUR LEADERS
  • ROMANS 13:1 (NIV): “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” 
  • TITUS 3:1-2 (NCV): “Remind the believers to yield to the authority of rulers and government leaders, to obey them, to be ready to do good, to speak no evil about anyone, to live in peace, and to be gentle and polite to all people.”
  • PSALMS 62:11 (NASB20): “God has spoken once; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.”

 Political Leaders Need Our Prayers

PRAYING FOR OUR political leaders, especially those I dislike, disrespect, and wish would go away, is extremely difficult for me.

OUR CALL TO BE HUMBLE

I don’t say that in a public forum with a great deal of pride, only as a confession that I have been, and continue to be, guilty of failing to abide by God’s clear directive that I offer prayer for all those in political power. 

I prefer praying for those political leaders I admire and those I voted for, while ignoring those whose lives are, in my view, not worth my attention.

I also am aware that some readers of this blog might experience the same dilemma, even while their prayers are raised for the very leaders I disdain.

God sees this differently. I know that. I only need to refer back to our text source Bible verses at the top of this meditation to be reminded.

So, why do I continue to resist?

Pause. 

Well, this was unexpected. Although I wrote that question, I can’t provide an adequate answer. So, I’m stumped.

Getting Over Ourselves

THE KEY FOR ME is to “get over” myself, my judgmentalism, my willingness to write politicians off if they’re from the “wrong” party. Yes, they might be promoting issues, like abortion and same-sex marriage, that I believe clearly are contrary to the Bible’s teaching.

JOINING IN PRAYER

But my hesitation to pray for God’s will to be done in their lives also is contrary to the Bible’s teaching. Much less pleasant is to recognize that my disobedience is no better than someone else’s disobedience.

When I confront this difficulty, I start to think I’m turning a corner and I really could begin to pray for the President and Vice President, the House Speaker, the Senate Majority Leader, and various other individuals. 

Then one of them appears on TV and says something that I consider incredibly stupid, and I backslide. Can’t pray for that person. He/she is just a horrible person and praying for him/her is a waste of my time. My teeth grind just thinking about it!

What Should We Do?

THE ANSWER, OF COURSE, is found in the Bible. 

In Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, he questioned whether he would rather be alive on earth so he could continue to preach the Gospel or perish so he could be with the risen Lord. 

He concluded that, just as Christ “died for all,” those of us who are living “should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Cor. 5:15 NKJV)

He said, “Our only goal is to please God whether we live here (on earth) or there (in Heaven).” (2 Cor. 5:9 NCV)

Seeking God’s will and following it is the correct course, and even feeling called to write this meditation about my failure is acknowledging God’s call on my life to obey Him.

I need to — I will — change course and lift prayer each day for our political leaders, even those I despise, not that their unbiblical agenda will be fulfilled but that they will be changed into followers of the risen Christ.

We read this is 1 Peter 2:17 (ESV):

“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

AMEN AND AMEN.

PRAYER

FATHER GOD, FORGIVE ME for continued failure to obey Your command to pray for our rulers andthose You have placed in authority over us. It is not my job to discern if You willed their placement to do Your will or because You withheld your restraining hand and have given us the evil we deserve. It is my job, in humility and obedience, to lift them up to You in prayer, that You would work on their hearts and change them into Christ’s followers. In Jesus’ magnificent and glorious name we pray. AMEN

BAD THEOLOGY IS ALIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, PART 1 

Anyone who has spent time recently on social media has been exposed to, perhaps inundated by, bad theology. This not just a slight tinkering with correct doctrine but a wholesale rewriting of the Bible. Since the memes are posted by self-proclaimed “Christians,” they carry the imprimatur of holiness and wisdom. Once they are examined, however, it is clear they are wicked in teaching and demonic in origin. This is the first in an occasional series in which we’ll examine some of them.

  • 1 TIMOTHY 4:1 (NKJV): “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”
  • JAMES 5:29 (NASB20): “Let him know that the one who has turned a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

MISUSING THE BIBLE

God’s Holy Word Is The Truth

LET’S START WITH the assumption that the Bible is the Holy Word of God, that He inspired the writing and superintended its content. The Bible makes that claim for itself, so the next step is for the Bible — as written — to back up that claim.

It does so with fulfilled prophecies, verifiable geographic, historic, and archeological truths, and — most of all — testimonies of changed lives.

That assumption gives those of us who believe in the Bible’s authenticity a solid foundation on which to place our lives and our salvation. Without that assumption, those who doubt the Word of God are free to concoct their own version of reality, grounded on nothing more solid than whimsy.

We’ll examine two falsehoods on social media in this post, then pick up a third in a future post.

I. THE BIBLE OPPRESSES PEOPLE

ONE RECENT MEME proclaims “History is filled with people who used the Bible to oppress other people. Being “biblical” is not the same as being Christ-like.” (Quote from Carlos A. Rodriguez, (thehappygivers.com).

TRANSLATION: Don’t trust the Bible as God’s Truth because it has been used by some (unnamed) people to “oppress” (no definition) other people. 

The Master Calls All Mankind

EXAMINATION: Just because some people claim the Bible as their guide does not mean they actually are. Jesus told us in Matthew 7:16 that we would know His followers by their “fruit,” meaning by how they act and how they live. If individuals, groups, races, or nations claim the Bible but do not act accordingly, Jesus said they are not true believers. So, where does the fault lie? In the Bible or in the hearts and minds of false witnesses? 

Additionally, the Bible was written by Jesus. The Bible says all Scripture is inspired by God, which means the Son of God was the Author. So, by definition, being “Christ-like” is exactly the same as being “biblical.” There is no daylight between the two terms. 

Finally, history also is filled with people who have used secular ideology to oppress other people, yet that doesn’t stop the anti-Bible crowd from touting their manmade (and, therefore, false) ideology. 

CONCLUSION: The Bible remains the authoritative Word of God, so you can trust its message. Just as standing in a garage doesn’t make you a car, so “attending” church and claiming Christ’s mantel doesn’t make you a disciple. The fault lies with the person, not with the Bible.

II. JESUS DESPISES LEGALISTS

ANOTHER COMMON FALSEHOOD making the rounds on social media  describes Jesus’ ministry but misapplies it to today’s church.

Jesus Cleans Out The Temple

Here is the meme: “Jesus is far more critical of legalists, elitists, and anyone believing they are morally superior to another than he is of humble humans owning their various states of desperation. The Gospel is Good News bc (because) it achieves what legalism cannot.”

TRANSLATION: This meme is extremely dangerous because it takes one truth, that Jesus was critical of the moralists of His day, and distorts it to claim He would be critical of what the meme writer and poster would call the “moralists” of today. 

EXAMINATION: The irony in this meme is so rich as to be stupefying. It literally says, “We are morally superior to those in our midst who we think think they are morally superior to those they think are immoral.” 

This smacks of the Pharisee’s hypocritical prayer when he thanked God he was not like the humble tax collector (Luke 18:9ff). 

Who are the “moralists” then and now, and what differentiates them? 

In Jesus’ day, they were the religious teachers. Jesus criticized them because they imposed manmade regulations on top of God’s commands and so distorted God’s will. Today’s “moralists,” by contrast, are teaching God’s commands, and it’s the naysayers who are imposing man’s interpretation and so distort the truth. 

In other words, the situation is completely flipped.

SEARCHING GOD’S WORD

CONCLUSION: Satan is alive and well in the church. The Bible is clear that  many who claim to be His followers do not know the Lord as their personal Savior and, more alarmingly, He says He doesn’t know them. Despite the Bible’s warning about adding or subtracting from its message, these are the very people who twist the Bible’s message to fit their own outlook, instead of twisting their outlook to fit the Bible.

POSTSCRIPT

THE BIBLE TELLS US that in the “latter days,” many members of Christian churches will veer from the Truth of God’s Word, substituting for it their own theology. (1 Tim. 4:1-10) This is what we are seeing on social media, where so-called Christians plaster false narratives.

Those narratives focus on two central themes:

‘MODERN’ JESUS || ‘BIBLICAL’ JESUS
  • one, that following Jesus is somehow different from, and preferable to, following the Bible; and 
  • two, that those church members who hold onto the Bible as their main source of truth are “missing” the true purpose of church.

Both narratives, when blended together, falsely advance the narrative that the Bible is not God’s Holy Word; that it is not to be obeyed literally; that it is, at best, a moral guide that should be interpreted holistically; and that those church members who actually do read the Bible, quote it, and try to live by it, are missing the point of church.

When self-proclaimed Christians discard the Bible’s instruction and replace it with their own theology, and then urge non-believers to join them in casting aspersions against those who do follow the Bible’s teaching, we have reached the Bible’s prophesy in Paul’s first letter to Timothy: 

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”1

PRAYER

O FATHER GOD, our hearts are burdened for our fellow church members who have veered off track, who are following demonic spirits and leading non-believers into the lost spaces with them. Lord, we can see this on social media, where pastors and worship leaders lend their authority to embracing the apostasy that the Bible is not Holy Spirit-driven but just a faulty collection of ancient Jewish writing that needs serious updating to be considered valuable and relevant. Lord, lead us who claim the mantel of Christ to remain faithful. Keep us from going astray, and help us to reach our fallen brethren and bring them back to Your Word. In Jesus’ magnificent and holy name we pray. AMEN

________

11 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV) 

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