If We Get the Love Part Wrong, What’s the Point?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 20, 2019 1 comments


by Jason DeZurik

I have had the privilege to have been mentored and discipled by some incredible men of God. The world would probably say these men aren’t great men, but these men who were willing to sink their lives into mine and others in hope to advance the kingdom of God here on earth. The kingdom of God is a mindset, it is a spiritual awakening, and it is a lifestyle (Matthew 6:10).

One of these men trained me to learn about Jesus Christ and others, how they lived their lives, and to put what I had learned from them into action. But before he would take any of his time to disciple me, I had to memorize 1 Corinthians 13. He told me, “If we get the love part wrong, what’s the point?” That made sense to me since we know that, according to the Bible, God is love. So, I went to work on memorizing 1 Corinthians 13.

This text is very challenging. We see in verse 1 that while someone is speaking in tongues they might actually be speaking in an angelic language. We see that love is patient and kind and that it does not envy (here’s a little more to consider). With that said, we also see in verse 6 that “love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” 1 John 5:3 tells us that Biblical love isn’t just about accepting, but it is really about living out Godly ways, which includes delighting in truth.

So, since God is love, using the reason God has given to us as human beings, we can logically conclude that the God of the Bible will delight in truth. He will not promote or delight in evil ways as an okay way to live and do as we please without getting the consequences of natural law that we so justly deserve. Living this out can be very difficult. It’s difficult because our natural person wants to go our own way and not God’s way. When one chooses to live under God’s Law, now it should be the desire of that person’s spiritual “man” to follow God’s Law even if their natural “man” doesn’t like it.

Friends, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you should be striving to live out love in your life. This means for sure being patient and kind, not delighting in evil, and rejoicing in the truth. These go together. Love is not just an ushy, gushy love. It takes work. If one tries to love without pleasing God, according to the Bible that’s not Biblical love. It’s something else.

Here some other texts and writings to consider:
1 John 4:7-21
Matthew 5:17-20
Truth Without Love

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

Psalm 130

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 18, 2019 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” (Psalm 130)

This psalm is part of the collection of the 15 songs of ascent (like this one and this one) that were prayed by the Israelites as they would ascent up to the temple in Jerusalem. While some of the songs of ascent focus on praise, others like this one are more of a lament. This psalm is also considered to be one of the seven penitential psalms (along with Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, and 143) because of its aspects of realizing the weight of our sin and confessing it.

This psalm begins in verses 1-2 with a lament, crying out to God. Being in “the depths” is a metaphor for adversity or trouble in a person’s life. It’s like that feeling of being in a pit that you can’t get out of because of the weight of the negative things going on in life. It may even feel like alienation from God because we’re so deep into a bad situation. But even in a place like that, or maybe especially in a place like that, we can and should cry out to God. The psalmist prays for God to hear his cry and to give him mercy, as it’s likely that whatever bad situation he is in is because of a sin he has committed.

In verses 3-4, the psalmist recognizes his sin and knows God will forgive him. In the courts of ancient Israel, if you were going on trial you would be asked if you consider yourself to be innocent or guilty of the crime. If you plead guilty, you would remain seated, whereas if you plead innocent, you would stand. The psalmist uses that imagery here, saying that there is no way he could stand in innocence if God remembered all his sins. But he is so thankful that God does not keep a record like that, and that there is forgiveness available to him. The psalmist knows that he needs to be forgiven of the wrongs he has committed in order to be able to serve God well.

The psalm moves on in verses 5-6 to a sense of waiting for the Lord. He knows he needs God in his life, and he must patiently wait on whatever God is going to do through him. While he waits, he puts his hope in a word from God. That likely refers to waiting on a promise of salvation or deliverance, as at the time this psalm was written they likely didn’t have the Word of God in the form of the Scriptures yet. The psalmist waits on this word like a watchman waits for morning to come. The watchmen guarded the city against attacks overnight so its residents could sleep peacefully. They know the morning will come and they wait expectantly for it.

This hope then turns to confidence in God in verses 7-8. The psalmist is putting his hope and confidence individually in God, but he also called for the whole nation of Israel to do the same. The Lord is the only one who can provide unfailing love and redemption, and the psalmist is confident that He will. He is the one who will redeem all of Israel from their sins.

While the psalmist didn’t have the Bible as we have it today, and he was writing long before Jesus came to earth, we can see even more clearly that we should put our hope in God as well. We have the true Word of God - Jesus Christ - and we have the Bible to show us how God is revealing Himself to us. We don’t have to hope in an unknown God but one that we can have a relationship with.

We need to feel the weight of our sinfulness just as the psalmist did, but from the depths of our sin we too can call out to God to show us mercy. When we have faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, we know that God will forgive us when we truly repent of our sin. Because of that, we have the certain hope of life eternal with God. We know that He is the only way to get out of the pit of our sin and be truly redeemed.

Put your hope in God and His unfailing love today, and live out this week in the confidence of His redemption of your life.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

False Teachings: Characteristics, Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 15, 2019 1 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

As I continue my series on identifying false teachings, we must be alert to the mixing or blending of pagan ideas into Christianity and calling it “Christian.” A term that describes this is “Christian Syncretism.” This is when someone takes a teaching, practice, or idea from the world and gives it a “Christian flavor.” It is a grievous sin and blatant distrust of God whenever we do this.

James warned us that friendship with the world is enmity towards God. If we want to be friendly with the world’s way of thinking, the world’s methods, and the world’s ideologies, we will be in direct defiance of God’s way of thinking, God’s methods, and God’s ideology. We can’t have it both ways. A clue we can use to detect false teachings is if we see using the world as bait to draw people to Christianity. It’s the idea that if we look like the world, the world will like us and then embrace our message. It is very difficult for something more stupid to be said. Jesus gave a message that required renouncing of the world, denying self, and to follow Him no matter what. Most pastors and “Christians” today need to rip that completely out of their Bibles because they flat out have no hint of a desire to follow it.

Now, the common defense for these false teachings is that when Paul went to the Greeks he became a Greek, when he went to Thessalonica he became a Thessalonian, and to the Jew he became a Jew. Jesus went and ate out with the sinners and tax collectors. He hung out with prostitutes. They cite Paul’s preaching at Mars Hill by referencing their culture as evidence they should look like the world. Those are the Scriptures they use to justify looking worldly. But there’s a problem: none of these people ever did look like the world.

When Paul went to Mars Hill, he did not embrace the Athenian culture of polytheism of which the Stoics and Epicureans really did not believe. In fact, he used their own culture as a launch point to tell them, “You are all wrong and don’t know what you do. Here is the truth about this Unknown God you don’t know nor know how to worship.” He was directly counter-cultural and the responses he received of mockery and laughter showed very clearly that he was not seeking to appease anyone where they were at. Jesus did the same. He never once made any appeal to emotion or sought to make His message more appealing. He spoke the hard truth, and when people objected, He made it even harder to accept. Just read John 6.

People will say that our culture is too sensitive to hear a message like that. Give up self and repent from your sins? Let go of your education and your social prestige and start all over, relying on God? Be ready to be persecuted and suffer and be hated? Who can handle that kind of message? The answer is simple: NO ONE. No generation has ever been able to withstand the Gospel message. When the true Gospel is being preached there will be only two possible responses: resistance, if not hatred, or conversion. The true Gospel forces us to make a decision to go with God or not. No choice or waiting is simply saying, “No.” When we preach a true Gospel, those who love their sin will reject us, and those whom God calls will run to Him.

But there are a lot of counterfeits out there and they all have this characteristic: using the world as a draw card. It’s utter deception with bait-and-switch. Suck the person in with what his sinful flesh desires and then tell them that sinful flesh is a bad thing. How can anyone think that is reasonable? When you use sinful carnal desires to draw people in, the only way you will keep them is to keep feeding them sinful, carnal food. If the flesh is the draw, then no Gospel can be preached.

The majority of preachers today appeal to the flesh and teach to pray to God to feed your flesh. I’m dead serious. The modern evangelism tactic has abandoned the use of the Law of God to convict the soul and instead appeals to Jesus as a replacement for the sources of joy previously offered by sex, drugs, alcohol, education, sports, etc. It’s flesh-motivated. Jesus is used as nothing more than comfort for this bumpy ride we call life. Then it gets worse. The Christian life is preached to be a lovely, fluffy, padded, wealthy, prosperous life here and now. That is not what Jesus promised: tribulation, suffering, hardships. It’s a counterfeit. It takes the promises God offered in the next life and tries to apply them in the here and now, with no regard to eternity other than “I get to go.” It’s so dangerous. And they preach this because they are afraid their congregation will leave them unless they preach something that will appease them. It’s total fear of man.

Even the seeking after God has been counterfeited. A couple years ago, I did a study on prayer. It’s something that is not easy to learn. But a while back I was relistening to some sermons on prayer and I realized something. This too is being counterfeited. True Biblical prayer takes what God initiates and without doubt and without ceasing we pray until we get the answer God has promised. But there is a counterfeit to this. One such counterfeit is the “Law of Attraction,” which is heavily promoted by numerous BIG names in Christian circles today. It is disguised as prayer, but it does nothing but seek what self wants, visualizes it, speaks out loud, and persists until “God” answers. The problem is, when our “prayers and desires” are aligned to the flesh and not God, there are many demons who are more than capable of answering them for you. The reason these false teachings work so well in giving the flesh what the flesh wants is because they are serving their god, the devil, quite well.

When Christians start suggesting they can do “Christian Yoga,” or bands say they can do “Christian Rock” while dressed just like the heathen, or Christian scientists suggest that we can use the secular models of Deep Time to “present a better picture of truth to the unbelievers,” they are anything but Christian. Many people have suggested these are compromises, but I have grown to disagree with that term. Those are not mixing or blending of Christian and pagan ideas. They are pure pagan ideas just decorated cosmetically in Christianese. Remove all Christian references to the idea or act and virtually nothing but the wrapping changes. The concept and idea all remain. We don’t need to get the world’s approval on our messages.

Now I am not suggesting we be so isolated that we make no connections at all. We still must speak the language of our audience, but our message must not change. I use the sport of fencing as a tool to help visualize concepts and tactics of spiritual warfare. I am not taking the message of spiritual warfare and catering it to fencing, but rather using a tool to illustrate the message without changing it. Creation organizations do love the science involved in studying origins, however, it is an attempt to preach the Gospel to an academic audience. It’s never an attempt to look like the world in order to “win them over.” So, using tools or visual aids can most certainly help. However, we must not settle for a counterfeit version of the message that sells us short and people to Hell.

So, let me summarize the characteristics of false teachings from this series:
1. They LOOK like the real thing, often differing in seemingly minor but significant areas.
2. They never point towards nor glorify God as the primary. They always point towards man’s education, man’s discoveries, the “revelation” given to man, etc. God may be given credit, but only as an afterthought, hardly a footnote.
3. They seek to fulfill man’s sinful, selfish desires, and never promote death to self or surrender of self to God. They always seek to give what self wants.
4. They will use the world as a draw card and will give an appearance of spirituality, but it will be without Christ as the center. If one were to strip away all Christian references to the idea or activity, very little would change.
5. They seek the approval and applause of their audience. They want to be received, not to be ministers of the truth, especially if they never get credit.

I’m not done with this series yet. For the next few weeks, I’ll look at some of the tactics that false teachers use to get their ideas into the church. We must be alert, because these false teachers will look and act like your friend until you question them.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

Psalm 128

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 11, 2019 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. May you live to see your children’s children—peace be on Israel.” (Psalm 128)

Psalm 128 is another of the psalms of ascent that I mentioned last week, which were often read in connection with ascending to the temple in Jerusalem. It is a psalm of blessing, specifically relating to the blessing of family.

Verse 1 starts out with general words of wisdom: “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.” We see that the fear of God brings us blessings. That word “fear” has multiple meanings. It does mean that we should be afraid of God because He is the all-powerful creator and we are merely His creations. But it also means to have reverence or awe for God, again because He is God and we are not. We need to both be afraid of how He can punish us if we don’t walk in His ways, and we need to be in awe of His might and power. Because of this fear, we should walk in His ways.

If we do what verse 1 suggests and walk in obedience to God, then “blessings and prosperity will be yours” (verse 2). That doesn’t mean we’ll be immensely wealthy with the things of this world, but it refers to blessings and prosperity from God. That’s often not the same as being prosperous with material wealth and things. And, this doesn’t mean that blessings will simply be handed to you without you having to do anything. On the contrary, it says that “You will eat the fruit of your labor.” Your hard work will be rewarded, but we do still need to work to do what God is calling us to do.

Verses 3-4 provide many images of the blessing of a family. The man who works well at his labor will be blessed with wife and children, which was a sign of prosperity in Biblical times. To our ears, it may sound weird to compare kids to olive shoots, but that’s simply a cultural difference. Most olive trees do not bear fruit until around 5 years after they were planted and they may not bear fruit after 40 years, but they are still considered to be a symbol of longevity and productivity. They bear their fruit in due time, just as teaching children will bear fruit for generations to come.

In verses 5-6, we see that these blessings we receive from God are not just for a short time but for all the days of our lives on earth. In the days of this psalm being written, people often didn’t live as long as they do today, so being able to live long enough to see your grandchildren was a huge blessing.

The city of Jerusalem was (and is) of great concern to the nation of Israel. People of Israel would not only be concerned with the circumstances of their own lives and family but also with the status of Jerusalem, if the city was prospering and being properly defended from outside enemies. In Old Testament times, it was believed that God’s presence lived in the temple in Jerusalem, so this was a very precious site. Having God on your heart and mind also meant being concerned for Jerusalem, the place where God dwelled.

Jerusalem was also the center for their government and where the king of Israel would live. If a Godly king was ruling in Jerusalem, then they knew that the whole nation would be blessed by that king’s good actions. Even if a person was not in Jerusalem, having peace in Jerusalem would mean peace for the rest of the nation.

But what about for us, as many Christians today are Gentiles and not Jewish? Should we still care about Jerusalem and what’s happening there? I believe the answer is yes, as we should care for all of God’s people - both those who follow Him and those who do not. We should desire all people to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection as 1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Are you walking in obedience to God’s ways in your life? Where might you be struggling to obey what God has commanded you? What blessings do you see in your life that are a direct result of following what God desires for you? I encourage you to think about these questions as you go about your week.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

False Teachings: Characteristics, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 8, 2019 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I wrote about how a false teaching will point either towards the One True God or it will point towards and glorify man, even if it gives lip service to being about God. There are more key characteristics of false teachings we must be watchful for. This week I am going to emphasize on something Jude brings up. Jude addresses two key features in false teachers and false teachings: they promote some immoral deed as being okay and good, and they deny our Lord Jesus Christ.

A false teacher will teach a moral problem as being okay to embrace or to be a good thing. A few years ago, I did a series on Matthew Vines and his argument that you can be both a Christian and a homosexual at the same time. He gives ten arguments of why the Bible supports homosexuality, and I addressed each one in my series. The logic was horrible and in no way, even in all his mangled reasoning, did any of the arguments actually demonstrate what he set out to do. He is just one example, but I have found more often than not that when a moral barrier prevents someone from seeing the truth and to promote other teachings, sexual immorality is by far the #1 moral issue.

If you find any person attempting to justify sinful behavior, that is a warning to not listen to them. And I say that knowing I am held liable to this truth myself. I can get heated in “discussions,” and I have to keep reminding myself to keep my cool and be the better man. My complete disdain for false teachings being promoted can, however, blind me from addressing the issue in love and a desire to see that person saved from said false teaching. It shows I am not fully redeemed yet. I can totally relate to Voddie Baucham when he gets into apologetic debates and “Bad Voddie” shows up to clean things up. “Bad Voddie” doesn’t do things the way Christians should do it, but he wants to smack people upside the head and enjoy humiliating them when they saying things out of total ignorance while trying to sound smart. There is “Bad Charlie” inside me that does the same thing. I need the spirit of John Hyde in whom when anyone attempted to find fault with him, he simply said, “They just misunderstand me.” When an enemy plant stayed with him for about four days to find fault, he ran out thinking Hyde was a god because he could find no fault. A true teacher will acknowledge their own faults. A false teacher will attempt to justify them. Keep in mind, though that this statement is about an overall style of life, rather than an analysis of single events.

Today, we live in a society where a mega-pastor caught in a homosexual relationship becomes the shame of the nation. The ministry he led was nearly completely destroyed, and it was a big one. Yet when a Christian author or musician publicly declares that they are leaving their families for another relationship or having serious doubts and leaving the faith, that is praised by the world. What is happening? In some cases, it’s a moral failure and instead of calling sin to be sin, there is justification for it and then more sin (abandoning wife and kids) to go live in that justified lifestyle. In other cases, it’s because a false teaching on a seemingly secondary issue began to grow and it soon affected their view of Christ.

The second issue Jude brings us is the denial of Christ. Let me be clear: there are many facets to this. It comes in the form of denial of the deity of Christ, denial of the authority of Christ, denial of the person of Christ, and more subtly, denial of the work of the cross. Among these is the replacement of the True Christ with a self-suiting image of our own liking. All of these fall under the category of denial of Christ. This is a reason I despise Old Earth Creation teachings. Because while seemingly a secondary issue, it is a direct assault on the work of the cross by denying the effects of original sin. Death is a direct result of sin, and every old earth model has death, and lots of it preceding man. This is not a secondary issue. It’s primary, because it is directly connected to Christ and the work of the cross.

Old Earth Creation is a counterfeit version of Christianity. It looks a lot like it. It seems it only differs at origins, but when you really look at it, it differs in many more areas. Those who truly follow it (not merely deceived by it and believe it without really knowing what it is or does) do not worship the same God we do. They worship a deistic god that is distant, unknowable, but there to create and come to our rescue at our desires. There is little to no submission to God in their teachings or lifestyle. They may claim to be Christian, but does Christ show through them? Do they point towards Him in their frail, broken bodies and minds? For the many I have come across, I haven’t seen it. It looks like the real thing, but it isn’t, because the teaching does not reveal the True Christ nor appreciates the work of the cross. Old Earth Creation differs from Christianity foundationally, because in OEC, man is the ultimate authority, and in Christianity, God’s Word is. OEC teachings will change as the scientific opinions change, but Biblical Christianity will never change.

One of the biggest names among the Christian Old Earth groups gave a “one-minute summary of the Gospel” and while it sounded pretty good, I saw two glaring things: the description of sin and the improper response. Sin was described as “imperfections” and “mistakes.” That’s not sin. Jesus didn’t die for those. Jesus died for our defiance against Him, for treachery, for rebellion. Then the response was simply to “ask for forgiveness and believe.” That’s not the proper response to the Gospel. The proper response is to repent and believe. Anyone can ask for forgiveness and anyone can make intellectual agreement. But to turn away from sin, from old thinking, and to turn towards God, completely trusting Him is something else. This person in this interview has been teaching a false origins model, but I do not believe he is born-again in part because he got taught a false gospel message that is far more prevalent and dangerous than the old earth issues.

When the person of Jesus is questioned, that He is just a “good teacher,” then a false teaching is coming with it. When the deity of Christ is questioned, then a false teaching is attached. When Jesus is replaced with a counterfeit “another Jesus,” then let the teacher promoting said fraud be accursed. When the work of the cross is denied, stay away. I am not done yet, but I am out of space for this post. I’ll continue more next week.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

A Homosexual Transgender Woman Came to Our Church

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, November 5, 2019 5 comments


by Chad Koons

Les (name changed for the purposes of this blog post) had walked into our church as a homosexual transgender woman. The impact upon us was undeniable, as well as life changing for all.

The Introduction
It was Les’s first visit at our church. He was decked out in a dress, high heels, and tons of makeup. I was glad to see most that people within our church warmly greeted Les without thinking twice about it, as most Christians tend to freeze up or emit disgust upon seeing a sight such as Les was that day. Extending my hand in greeting, I said “Hello, welcome to church!” It was only then that I had realized that this was a transgender woman. Les, recognizing that I had realized, stared into my eyes with a defiant yet quizzical look, as if challenging me to continue the greeting yet unsure of how I would proceed. “My name is Chad,” I’d stated cheerfully, “I am one of the pastors here. What is your name?”

“I’m Les,” he replied, slowly beginning to shake my hand.

“Thanks for coming today, Les, it’s really great to meet you!” I said with joyful earnest.

A startled expression came upon him. “Really?!” Les replied, eyes widening like saucers and a hesitant smile beginning to form upon his face. “Do you really mean that it’s ‘great’ to meet me?” Clearly Les had expected to be scorned at best or exiled at worst, especially from a leader within the church.

“Of course I mean it, why wouldn’t I?” I had exclaimed. Both of us chuckled and began to learn a little about one another. Les stayed for the Sunday morning service and for many services after that. We would always make it a point to speak, more often than not resulting in deep conversations sprinkled with laughter.

A couple of months had passed with Les regularly attending service at our church, building relationships with many within the church as time went by. He became engaged in everything and had requested prayer several times. One Sunday in particular, I remember seeing Les go forward to be born again! I sought him out afterwards and spoke with him about it. How elated he was! It was like a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders.

Metamorphosis
A few Sundays after that, I became concerned because I didn’t see Les in service. I walked to where he usually sat but I could not find him. “Hello, Pastor Chad,” came a voice from beside me. I turned to find a slender young man wearing a polo shirt and jeans. “Who’s this?” I’d thought. I didn’t know him but apparently, he knew me. “Don’t you know who I am?” the young man asked with a smile. That SMILE… it was Les! I hadn’t recognized him without the dress and makeup! “LES!” I shouted, giving him a bear hug while both of us held back tears. No longer was Les dressed as a woman; he was now standing before me as a well-groomed young man. This change was not of our enforcement. This happened from his heart. “God is changing my life,” Les confessed with a beaming smile. “I’m so grateful for y’all here, you’ve all shown me so much love.”

Les’s life really did change. He told me that he felt “free.” His clothing had changed, his voice changed, and his attitude changed, but that wasn’t all. We watched the Lord do what only HE could do: bringing emotional healing, breaking addiction, and even a divine healing as Les was miraculously healed of AIDS! It was a total transformation, inside and out.

So, what am I saying here?
Is this a testimony about God changing a life, or a success story for how Christians should treat LGBT people? Both, and so much more. This wasn’t the first nor the last time that an LGBT person came into our local church. We have had many. For the record, not all of them were equally welcomed. Not all of them stuck around. Not all of them had an amazing God encounter that changed their lives. Why? Maybe some of them sat beside the church gossip who gossiped about them until they left. Maybe some of them were berated by the churchgoer who found them disgusting, although they themselves were secretly engaging in sexual sin. Or maybe some of them were blatantly rejected by church people who hated homosexuality yet were somehow ok with their own unlawful divorces. If you can’t say “Amen,” you can at least say “Ouch.” Truth.

Yet some were equally welcomed. Some of them did stick around. Some of them did have an amazing God encounter that changed their lives. Why? Because we saw into the person instead of stopping on the outside. We realized that we are no better than anyone else. We realize that every single individual has limitless value, being worthy of the love and redemption of God Almighty. We understand that we are to be ambassadors to this world, the LGBT community included, allowing God to make His appeal through us. We refuse to go to the extremes of either rejecting them or supporting their sin. We understand that Jesus didn’t hole up in a building somewhere surrounded by His own people, but that He lovingly went into the world and called every sinner to repentance, regardless of which sin it is. We remember that as Christians, we are to come alongside people exactly where they are AND to lead them to Christ. We finally understand that we are all human beings together, regardless of what we may be or do at any given time, therefore we love God and love people without prejudice. No one will find repentance if we keep them from Jesus.

The Father is drawing people, but will they find Jesus within the hearts of the church? God help me to be faithful, never rejecting nor shortchanging those whom the Lord is calling to repentance, no matter what package they come in.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE

Psalm 121

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 4, 2019 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121)

After writing on the very length Psalm 119 over the last two weeks, a short psalm is a nice change! Psalm 121 is only 8 verses, compared to the 22 sets of 8 verses we saw in Psalm 119.

Psalm 121 has the title of “a song of ascents,” and it is one of the 15 psalms with this title (Psalms 120-134). The Mishnah, essentially an early Jewish commentary, suggests that these psalms correspond with the 15 steps of the temple, that they would be said or sung one for each step as the worshiper ascended the steps to go up to the temple. They may not have originally been composed for this purpose, but they were used this way at the second temple in Jerusalem.

The content of this psalm also feels like an ascension. It starts with identifying God as creator, then as our guardian, then a blessing for all time. It is an encouraging psalm and can “ascend” the reader’s mood into one of feeling blessed and encouraged in our walk with God, even if we’re not literally ascending the steps of the temple while reading or reciting it.

This psalm starts in verse 1 with the psalmist lifting his eyes to the hills. Anyone who has visited a mountainous region, especially if they live in a flat area, is generally impressed by the beauty of mountains or even hills. I live in northwest Ohio where everything is super flat, so on the occasions that I’ve been able to travel to Colorado, I just love looking at the mountains! The terrain is so different and so much more beautiful, though I suppose flat farming fields have their own beauty as well.

The psalmist questions where his help comes from. We, too, can ask that same question in our own lives. When we’re discouraged, where do we turn? Do we turn to God, or do we turn to the ways of this world? God does give us people and things in this world that will help us through difficult times, but the most important place to turn is to Him - the one who created this world and all of us.

The psalmist’s answer to this question is found in verse 2. His help comes from God the creator. The one who made this world is the one who is sovereign over it and is fully capable of helping with any difficulty we encounter. God as the creator has unlimited power!

What exactly does God do for us? That answer can be found in the rest of the psalm (verses 3-8). God keeps us from slipping. God does not take naps where He’s not paying attention, but He constantly watches over us. We see this phrase of God watching over is 5 times in these verses - clearly, this is an important idea that the psalmist is emphasizing. The pagans would consider their gods to be sleeping at times, so this is in direct contrast to their ideas. The one true God never sleeps!

God shades us from the extreme heat of the sun, meaning that He will protect us from dangers. While that doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us, it does mean that He is always with us to help us through anything we experience. There be many things in life that God has protected us from that we don’t even know about. He is a good God who loves His people, though we are still sinful and often cause negative things to happen in our own lives. But God is always there with us, watching over us, no matter what.

The climax of this psalm occurs in verses 7-8: “The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” The psalmist has built up to this point, and this is his emphatic conclusion. The Lord will continue to watch over us in the future, even until eternity!

The God that the psalmist was writing to so many centuries ago is the same God that we worship today. He does not change. He continues to watch over His people in all things. He is still the God who created all things, and He still has power over all of His creation.

What are you going through today that feels like it may be bigger than God? Whatever it is, God is walking through it with you and He has power over the situation. Put your trust fully in Him and lift up your eyes to the hills - God is where your help comes from.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

READ MORE