Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reaping the Whirlwind

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Galatians 6:7

For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
Hosea 8:7

Statistics show that a great number of Christian young people are viewing homosexuality and homosexual marriage as okay.

I think there are several reasons why this is happening: Most churches have failed to address the subject and my generation has embraced both divorce and birth control as okay. In the vacuum and in sin, a perfect storm has been created. There are other reasons but I'm going to roll with these three today.

As with many other "controversial" issues, homosexuality had not been properly addressed as sin by most churches yet the culture is ramming it down our throats. Scripture is very clear that sodomy is sinful but the typical young person will not hear that in church.

The Bible is also very clear on divorce but churches are not. If you look up the word divorce in the New Testament, in five minutes you will know more than the average churchgoer. Divorce and especially remarriage are only allowed in very specific situations.

The church has now become very accepting of divorce and remarriage for almost any reason. In this reality, the foundation of marriage has been severely eroded.

On the subject of birth control, very few Christians are aware that artificial birth control was universally condemned as immoral by every church prior to the 1930's. Now you would be hard pressed to find many Protestants who know that let alone live by it. Again, the foundation of marriage has been eroded.

The way we were created shows God's intention for marriage. The marital sex act was designed to be both unitive and procreative. Many Christians now believe it is okay to remove the procreative. They think they know better than God.

Can you see how these erosions have given room for homosexuality and homosexual marriage? The church in accepting a liberal view of divorce and remarriage has disrespected the meaning of marriage. In accepting artificial birth control, we have weakened marriage by disrespecting one of the purposes of marriage.

If the potential for reproduction is not essential to marriage then why shouldn't two same-sex persons be allowed to marry?

So I have given my thoughts but I haven't backed them up. That gives plenty of room for the reader to reject my conclusions and I understand that. If you disagree with me then you should look into these things for yourself; that is what integrity would require. At a later time I may expand on each but not today.

In creating these erosions to the foundation of marriage, we have sown the wind. The younger generation and society are now reaping the whirlwind.

If you have stayed with me to this point I thank you. I hope my thoughts will help many to think on these things and to look into them further.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Beat Up By Church?

I know there are bad churches and pastors out there. They may even be the majority and I'm speaking of the evangelical ones.

There are also many stories of people who were "beat up by the church". Some of them are valid. Here is one thing that bothers me though: many people who claim a bad experience with church were or are living an immoral life. They wanted a pat on the back but got something else.

I know there is a right and wrong way to deal with sin in other people. It should be done in love but it should be done. It is not loving to ignore it.

1 Peter 4:8 says this: Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. I think this really comes into play in places like marriage where we have the daily crap of another person to deal with. There is a lot of small stuff that needs to be forgotten. The same holds true in many other relationships.

But there is sin that does need to be confronted both in personal relationships and in the church. Immorality would be at the top of the list. Paul confronted the Corinthian church for their failure to deal with sin. See 1 Corinthians 5 for the story. He rebukes them for their tolerance and delivers the offender to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. He goes on to tell us that we should not associate with a so-called brother, that we should judge sin in the church and that we should remove the wicked from the church. The thing talked about is an unrepentant person; one who is practicing sin. The good part of the story is they followed his advice and the person later repented and was restored.

If sin in the church is not dealt with it is like yeast. It grows and infects the whole church. This is easy to see. If a church is soft on divorce they will see a landslide of divorce. If they ignore sex outside of marriage they will soon have many people filling the pews that are living together and feeling fine about it. If speaking against abortion is avoided, abortion will become more common in the church.

When I was a brand new Christian in 1973, I had a good experience with what some would call harshness. I had a dramatic conversion with all of the wonderful good feelings that come with it. A few weeks later I went up for prayer after a Bible study and told one of the leaders that I felt God was no longer with me. His response was swift. He told me I was a liar. He then went on to explain that it was not about feelings. Talk about an embarrassing kick in the butt yet it was what I needed. I count that experience as a turning point. I learned early that truth trumps feeling. I love Scott Hinkle for loving me enough to tell me the truth.

Some people are too harsh and some are too wimpy. In confronting our own sin we should find our bad tendency and deal with it. Then we should go out in love and kick some butt for Jesus. It's time to stop tolerating blatant immorality and those who promote it in the church.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Are We Prostitutes?

At a dinner party Winston Churchill says to his dinner companion, "Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?"

The woman responds, "My goodness, Mr. Churchill. I suppose I would."

Churchill replies, "Would you sleep with me for five pounds?"

She answers, "Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?"

Churchill answers, "Madam, we've already established that. Now we are haggling about the price."

So many times it all comes down to money. Of the many places where this plays out, politics and religion are two that come to mind.

I think about professed Christians who voted for Obama. Even though they were aware of his pro-abortion history, there was something in it for them. Obama promised to make their life nicer in exchange for their vote. They ignored all of the bad he represented, ignored the slaughtered children, pulled the lever, and violated their conscience.

In religion I think of pastors who avoid speaking on "controversial" moral issues because they don't want to offend certain pew sitters. If those people leave, their money goes with them.

In the end it's all haggling about price.

So what is our price? Are we willing to compromise for money or peace or acceptance or some other benefit?

Fear of losing something drives us. Let me offer an antidote. Matthew 23:9 says this: Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

Looking at the word father in its original language we get an understanding of what Jesus meant to convey. Pater or father is the one who is the provider, sustainer and upholder. We see that Jesus was saying we should only look to our heavenly Father in that way.

This can give us courage to do what is right. If we live to please our Father we will see his provision and care.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gratitude Can Change Your Life

Have you felt thankful recently? Have you said ‘thank you’ lately? When was the last time you wrote the words ‘thank you’ to someone?

I think gratitude is one of our most neglected virtues. Maybe all of the advertising we see that tries to convince us there are a multitude of things we are missing makes us focus on what we don't have rather that seeing what we do have.

Here is a question: Does gratitude start in the heart or do we create it by expressing thankfulness? In either case I know it is strengthened when we focus on it.

How about in marriage? So much damage comes from focusing on a spouse's imperfections rather than seeing their good qualities. A good tip: Praise is a better motivator towards good behavior than nagging. (Note to self!)

I have found that formalizing my gratitude does something that fleeting thoughts can't. It cements the thought in my mind and makes it stronger than the grumbling voice that is always droning on.

Try to make the words ‘thank you’ a regular part of your vocabulary. When someone hands you your coffee or food or some other purchase, express thankfulness. That is a small but easy starting place. Look for other opportunities. Say it with a smile and let it settle in your heart where it will bring change.

How about writing it down? It may be for you in the form of a journal or for someone else in the form of a note. I think one of the most powerful things we can give or receive is a hand written personal note. Try that right now.  It doesn't have to be a fancy note card. Any piece of paper will do. Just express thanks to someone in a way that shows you really mean it. It will change you and bless them.

And most of all, give thanks to God. everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18