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Archive for the ‘My two cents and Christian Opinion’ Category

Controversy is Christian: Why Christians need to rethink the Duck Dynasty controversy.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on December 26, 2013 at 12:04 am
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I am not a watcher of Duck Dynasty.  Let me say that right now.  I don’t profess to understand the fascination, but I do recognize that in the media the show is a hit and a cultural phenomenon at the moment.

What I am is a reader of the Bible and observer of the times.  And it’s apparent to me that the patriarch of the show is a believer and has expressed his views in the public arena.  A conservative Christian view of sexuality which runs counter culture to today’s mindset, and views which for some might seem antiquated, and even “non Christian”.

The truth is that Mr. Robertson simply paraphrased no matter how offensive to some what is arguably the biblical concept that homosexuality is a sin.  He lists homosexuality in the same category as adultery, and quotes a new testament verse on the subject.

Mr. Robertson is right in that he is affirming a fundamental belief espoused by the Bible: homosexuality is a sin.

What happened next is where conservative Christians need to be careful in my opinion.  Mr. Robertson exercised his free speech rights as a citizen of this country.  Per the First Amendment of the Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

Mr. Robertson does not have a constitutional right to a job.  This amendment is directed toward the government and is designed to protect a people from its government.  It is not directed nor intended to protect us from the consequences of speaking our minds with our employer, sponsors or others who voluntarily choose to align themselves with us.

Let me reiterate this point. While an employee’s right to free speech is protected by the First Amendment, this protection does not shield a staff person from the consequences of what one says. The First Amendment protects speech from being censored by the government; it does not regulate what a private party (such as an employer) does.

To those who freely speak views contrary to the culture, the words, “count up the cost”. Come to mind.  Christians in this country can not legislate away from the very “persecution” Jesus warns us about. There is a price to pay for following Jesus. We who are Christian must always keep before us our heavenly citizenship, as we live in this world but are not of it.  I am reminded of the words of our Lord.

Jhn 15:19-22

19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

Does A&E’s reaction truly shock anyone who names the name of Christ?  If so why? I’m hesitant to even call what happened to Mr. Robertson persecution.  To do so I am fearful just waters down the historical meaning of this word, and trivializes the persecution truly undergoing in countries across the world for those who have taken up the cause of Christ.  A millionaire/businessman has lost his job for publicly speaking on his Christian belief about human sexuality.  I’m sorry it’s hard for me to feel for Mr. Robertson when I can see his endorsed and or sponsored products all over Walmart.  This is business.  One of the questions this whole issue raises is why is it more profitable to offend conservative Christian viewers to A&E, then those of a different persuasion?  Has the salt lost it’s savor?  Is it that they (A&E) can no longer discern a difference?

Have we as Christian become so deceived into thinking that this culture is our own?  It is not, and it never was.  America has not suddenly become less of a “Christian nation” because of the rise of gay marriage, the election of President Obama, or the success of the Democratic party, Obamacare, etc.  Nor is the browning of America some seeping illness that is polluting America into a swift moral decline.

I would humbly submit for the Christian, that to think otherwise is simply to have conformed to “this world”.

I recognize it’s disappointing for us Christians to feel attacked for speaking our beliefs.  To this I would say welcome to the rest of Christendom.  Most of the world is persecuted in some fashion for following the person of Jesus.  We in this country have had the pleasure of living under the comfortable illusion of a culture whose underpinnings have echoed much of what we believe, and now that those moral underpinnings are being questioned suddenly we mourn over the loss, as if we were ever really were a part of the culture in the first place.  We miss the bygone days of old.  Do not be deceived.  The world hates us.  It might smile at us, but the God of this world has no desire to do anything but make us ineffective in our purpose to bring forth fruit, and fruit that would remain.

A&E is a corporation that exists to make its owners a profit.  If we really want to make an impact, let our money/consumer behavior do our talking for us.  Otherwise let us not be swift to condemn A&E over what any of our employers can do to us or any employee; which is to voluntarily disassociate itself from a person who it doesn’t want to represent its interest.  May I suggest we do the same and simply disassociate from A&E.  But let us not be hypocrites.  Mr. Robertson’s free speech was not violated.  On the contrary the fact that he could say his remarks is indicative of the level of freedom that exists.  And his recent comments I’m sure has garnered him an even larger platform to speak. His government last I checked has not created laws that infringe on his rights.

Let us keep our eye on the prize and realize that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places.  Let us not loose sight that the real issue is what was recently articulated by Rick Warren, ““Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

Since Satan is the author of lies, we then must be quick to recognize and do battle in the realm of ideas that tolerance that can not give room for a belief that homosexuality is a sin.  Is NOT tolerance.  That is the lie.  The Christian community would be wise to utilize the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits as it commits its resources to impact our culture.  Or our efforts will be in vain.

Past Performance Does Not Guarantee Future Results: thoughts on faithfullness

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on October 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Rock of Gibraltar

The rock of Gibraltar stands as a beacon of both majesty and reliability. The idiom, “solid as a rock” has come to mean faithfulness, and is synonymous with the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s fitting that even modern day companies such as Prudential have used this symbol to convey reliability and strength.

Faithfulness is a highly praised quality that persons of all persuasions admire. The Bible is replete with thoughts on the subject. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Proverbs.

Pr 25:19

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

If you have ever had a toothache, or twisted an ankle then you are getting the imagery here that the writer Solomon wished to convey. This communicates to me that times of trouble really help reveal the quality of faithfulness in a person, and that unfaithfulness can carry pain and impediment to a persons hurt if we are not careful.

But what is faithfulness? The first occurrence of the word in the Bible is found in 1 Sam 26:23 and literally means firmness. In other words something that you can stand, build, or otherwise rely on the character of. Solidity. Ultimately, it means to be trust worthy.

Trust however must be “found”. It requires examination. Daniel was examined and found faithful. Dan 6:4

Stewards of the mysteries of God must also be examined and found faithful. 1 Cor 4:1

Jesus teaches us to avoid building our lives on things that shift. Matt 7:24-26.

God constantly has appealed to humanity to place its trust in Him. Mrk 11:22. To examine him, and find him faithful. He proclaims that he changes not. Mal 3:6

But what if you’re not faithful? What if you have had troubles being faithful?  Sometimes in our zeal to serve, we like Peter know not our own heart and its capacity to turn. Peter thought he would never deny the Lord. But Jesus knew him well enough to let him know not only would he deny him, and would show his unfaithfulness three times in one evening.

It’s astounding when one thinks about this, could it be that Jesus didn’t follow his own advice in Proverbs, and relied on an unreliable Peter? But the actuality is that Jesus had indeed examined him, and knew that after his testing, he would come forth as pure gold.

Lu 22:31, 32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Jesus knew that after Peter’s trial by fire, and after the dross was removed he would come forth a vessel qualified to carry his message beyond his own race of people. Peter’s end in faithfulness was so astounding that according to church tradition he would not only stand up for the cause of Christ, but would be crucified upside down.

God makes the unfaithful, faithful. Such is the power and transformative love of Christ.

As you, evaluate the faithfulness of things and others around you. On what can we really guarantee our future success? Keep faithful men and women around you. Be not weary as others examine you, and as the Lord reveals to you the need for a deeper level of reliability as you walk with him. Don’t be offended if you are submitted for examination, it simply means that God or persons are simply looking for faithfulness in you.

More importantly keep Him around whose faithfulness knows no limits. I suppose I can’t say it any better than what it states in Hebrews.

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

Now that will guarantee future success!

To be poor in spirit.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on October 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

desperate days_t_nt

In a recent worship service the pastor talked about our need to be totally reliant on God.

Needless to say I have not always done a great job of that in my own walk.  But nevertheless, I find that the lesson is still refreshing to hear.  Recently I received an understanding of a scripture that for many years has eluded.  Perhaps I never studied it as fully as I should.  Maybe I simply was blind to its truth before now I don’t know.  All I know is that I get it now.  And it’s a doozy…at least to me.

Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I’ve often wondered what that means.  I’m living in the 21st century and in the day when I hear terms like “Google it”, “Twerking” and “hashtag” the phrase “poor in spirit”, just doesn’t come up in my everyday experience.

The word poor here comes from a Greek word ‘ptochos’ which comes from the derivative ptosso.  It means…

“(to crouch); akin to 4422 and the alternate of 4098); a beggar (as cringing), i.e. pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy, although also used in a qualified or relative sense; whereas 3993 properly means only straitened circumstances in private), literally (often as noun) or figuratively (distressed):–beggar(-ly), poor”

Now I’ve seen beggars.  Most of what I’ve seen has been homeless individuals as I speed near exit ramps holding signs that state “Hungry, will work for food.”  I’ve had beggars come and ask for a dollar.  I’ve seen them huddled in blankets cold with a tin cup, pressed against the back of buildings to keep warm.  It’s not exactly the most pleasant image that comes to mind.  Perhaps that’s why I have found myself running from such a condition.  I mean who wants to beg?  It’s probably one of the most adverse circumstances any of us would want to find ourselves in.  To be in such abject poverty, and a state of insufficiency that we must plead for the help of someone else.  But this Jesus person comes along and says yep.  Your blessed if that’s the state you are in, ‘in spirit.’

So naturally my logical thinking mind is “what’s this ‘in spirit’ thing?

After studying out that the word; ‘spirit’ comes from the Greek work pneuma, which roughly means breath.  I must admit that my understanding simply didn’t get any help there.  It wasn’t until later that it clicked for me that Jesus used what had to be an idiom.  A an expression that could not be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that had a separate meaning of its own.  Similar to such phrases like, “A Dime A Dozen”, or “A Piece of Cake”.

So what does “poor in spirit” mean.  It means to be totally dependent on the sufficiency of God.  To look to him for sustenance, fulfillment, sufficiency, and resources.

There are numerous scriptures that communicate this truth of the believers need to look to and rely on God.  Everything from Matt 4:4 “man shall no live by bread alone”, to when Paul communicates in 2 Cor 12:9.  “my grace is sufficient for you.”

Oh and these are just a few new testament scriptures.

This theme of dependence on God is one of the central messages of Jesus: that we are in need of God, a savior and that we are powerless (i.e. in abject poverty) without him.  What’s interesting is the contrast to the person who is “poor in spirit”.  I happened to find it, and the person, nay a whole group of persons are described by Jesus very clearly in Revelations 3:17

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”

This was the comment to the Laodician church.  Interesting huh?  Those that know this text know Jesus’s feelings about them.  Words like regurgitation come to mind just to jar your memory.

No wonder I have had a hard time finding the meaning of this phrase.  Between my own life and society around me.  I’m stuck in a morass of people who are comfortable in their own self sufficiency and who don’t realize their true condition.

It’s amazing to me when I can look at my life and see how easily one can move to dependence on something other than God.  Kind of just gets ya doesn’t it?  Laodiceans…sigh.

Are you poor in spirit?