Hurricane Harvey

“Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
    I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
    your foundations with lapis lazuli.

-Isaiah 54:11 (NIV)

My prayers are with the people of Texas and any area that feels the terrible effects of the approaching storm.

19 Things You Don’t Want To Be…

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people. – 2 Timothy 3:2-5 (CSB)

My father spent a considerable amount of time bemoaning the state of affairs in this world during his latter years, cautioning against falling prey to the temptations and attitudes of the present age. A man of faith, he spent much more time than that in deep study of God’s Word. As a younger man, I would scoff at such warnings and chalk it up to his age. Now, not so much. As someone who tries to keep up with current affairs, especially in the United States, I cannot help but raise an eyebrow at some of the crazy, often pc-centric things I read about and watch on television. Sin is so often celebrated instead of being called out for what it is. Christians who are bold enough to take a stand for their faith are lumped into categories with either imbecilic morons or haters, depending on the issue and the accuser.

If you are conservative, then you are often labeled as someone who doesn’t care about others and wishes to oppress those who are less fortunate, keeping them in a lower social stratum as long as possible — denying them any possibility of advancement. Of course, I am sure there are those greedy, godless types whose love of money and power drives them to stop at nothing to achieve their foolish goals. But, for the most part, I think that most of those who embrace conservatism are as passionate as those who embrace opposite ideas and only want to see society benefit from their human points of view.

For myself, I have decided to embrace the party of Jesus Christ and focus on issues of eternal significance!

2 Timothy 3:2-5 lists 19 things we as believers don’t want to be. They are things that are so clearly on the rise in modern society. I am sure they have always been a part of the sinful fallen condition of the human race, but they seem more prevalent now — often seemingly revered in our culture. A simple half hour of the evening news will undoubtedly touch on just about every single aspect of behavior listed in those verses.

My thanks to my pastor, who pointed these 19 things out recently when teaching on 2 Timothy. I pray that the Holy Spirit will keep pointing these things out as warning signs to all of us as believers in our daily walk with Him.

Blessed are the Peacemakers

On my church’s Facebook page there is a rant about a fairly well-known pastor of a church in Texas who has advised our president that God is OK with him bombing North Korea. Many are appalled by that statement. I know I am certainly very disappointed. Let me give it to you verbatim: “God has given Trump the authority to take out Kim Jong-Un.” If this is “fake news,” it’s the best I have seen. It is being reported on several mainstream news sites.

There are those who might read this post and agree with the statement this man gave. It is easy to produce biblical stories and encounters where it was necessary to use violent means to overthrow an ungodly king and his people. The Old Testament is filled with such stories that may be easily pulled out of context and twisted to support a “shoot first, ask questions later” sort of policy. People have been really good at twisting scripture to support their particular points of view for a long time. I get more than a little concerned when they promote violence as something they feel is necessary — at the direction of God. Such are the seeds of things like the crusades of long ago where people were tortured into either converting to Christianity or suffer the pain of death. We can look back now through the lens of history and see how wrong it was to try to force people to the foot of the cross, but back then I am sure it seemed like the right thing to do. I’m also sure somebody said that God had given their leaders the authority to do so.

So, how do we know exactly what the right thing to do is? Do we depend on somebody who claims to hear directly from God? Do we accept the word of somebody who may have written a few books and has preached for many years? Or, is it more prudent to do what the Bereans of the book of Acts did so long ago (Acts 17)? After hearing a teaching, they searched the scriptures to see if what they heard was true. Don’t we owe it to ourselves and, more importantly, to the One we serve to do the same?

I wonder what would happen if we all as the body of Christ were to pray for the salvation of Kim Jong-Un and the people of North Korea in general? Don’t you think we might see a mighty act of God take place on the Korean peninsula? Isn’t it worth a shot before we think of launching military might at the expense of so many innocent lives? I certainly do. I know somebody else (another famous preacher of long ago)  who would prefer to attempt a peaceful solution before resorting to war as well. Here is an excerpt from one of His sermons: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God -Matthew 5:9 (NIV).