Ecclesiastes 9:1-10

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 25, 2020 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

What is your destiny? When you’re asked that question, do you think of something that relates to your life here on earth, or your eternal destiny after this life? Perhaps you think of a certain job or career that you’re destined to have. Perhaps you feel depressed that you may be destined to end up alone. Or, perhaps you think of your destiny as living for eternity praising God.

In the section of Ecclesiastes that we’re looking at today (Ecclesiastes 9:1-10), the Teacher addresses the destiny of humankind. The Teacher first begins by examining the motives of the righteous people - they try to do what God wants them to do, even though they do not know whether the result will be good or bad (verse 1). If you claim to follow God, then you should be following what God commands of you, right? Often, we’re guilty of only doing what God commands when we think the outcome will be for our immediate benefit, but the wise should always follow what God says no matter what because they know that God knows more than even the wisest person ever will.

In verse 2, the Teacher reminds us that every person will share the same destiny of death. He’s written on this before. Whether you are righteous or unrighteous, whether you do certain religious practices or not, we’re all going to experience physical death at some point. He quotes Job 9:22 here: “It is all the same; that is why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’” Even Job, who God considered righteous, experienced death.

People often try to use their circumstances as evidence of God’s love. Do you feel like God loves you more when things go the way you want them to and life seems good? Do you feel like God loves you less when tragedies happen in your life? We as humans like to quantify things, and that’s a way we feel like we can quantify God’s love. But that is not how God’s love works. It’s not a reward system for doing good or something that is taken away as punishment for doing bad. God always loves us simply because He created us.

But it seems from this passage as though death is the final “reward” that everyone gets (verse 3), no matter how they live this life. You were a bad person? You’re going to die. You were a good person? You’re going to die. We all have the same destiny of dying a physical death. So when our hearts are naturally inclined toward evil, what’s the point of working harder to do good in this life?

This brings up the question to the Teacher of what is the real purpose of life? He reflects in verse 4 that anyone who is living should have hope. Even a person who seems to have an awful life is at least alive and can have hope for a better life, but when you’re dead, you lose that hope.

We see this contrast between living and dead played out in verses 5-6. Essentially, the living still have hope, even with the knowledge that they will die, while the dead do not know anything. We do not know what kind of consciousness we’ll have when we die, how the judgment will be played out, and what state we’ll be in for how long between this life and the end of this world. But we know that we can only have the rewards of this world while we’re still living in it. Anything that we have accumulated for ourselves becomes meaningless to us when we die, and even our reputation will fade away.

So, what should we do with that depressing thought? “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart” (verse 7). God has given us things to enjoy in this world, so we should enjoy them while we are here. We should make the most of this life while we have it. We should enjoy each day as if it’s a special occasion (verse 8). We should enjoy this life, even if its days seem meaningless in the grand scheme of God’s plan (verse 9). If God has given us the gift of family, we should enjoy those people while they are here with us.

The summary of this passage comes in verse 10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Whatever our purpose is in this life, we should do it to the best of our abilities while we’re able to, because that’s what God has created us to do. This is an echo of Jesus’ teaching in John 9:4: “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”

So, our destiny if really twofold: what we do on this earth, and where we end up after this life. Unlike the Teacher of Ecclesiastes, you and I are living in the world after Jesus Christ came in human form, lived His perfect life, then died and was raised so that we might be in good relationship with God once again. We have the certainty that this life is not all there is! We know that as believers in Jesus, this world is only the beginning. The things we do in this world are important to carry that message to others and to fulfill God’s mission in this world; that is our destiny here. But our ultimate destiny is to spend eternity in the heavenly paradise, praising God for the rest of our lives. Turn to Jesus in faith, and you can be certain that your destiny is not simply death but to live forever in perfection after this life is over.

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

The Spiral of Defeat

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 22, 2020 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Whenever someone takes a fall, especially in their spiritual lives, very rarely does it happen suddenly. There are times where Satan comes in and steals everything, like with Job, but most of the time, when a fall comes, it is produced by a series of choices that set it up. My pastor has described what he calls the “Spiral of Defeat” in multiple sermons, yet last year, he revealed the opposite side of it: the “Spiral of Victory.” He has yet to formally teach on these spirals in a sermon (I’ve asked, but it hasn’t made the queue as far as I know yet), but I jotted down the steps from his notes for reference. Over the next two posts, I want to explore these two spirals from my perspective. While the structure is from my pastor given toward the end of this sermon (you can skim through the sermon notes to find it to make it easier), the explanations are mine.

My pastor gives seven steps in the Spiral of Defeat and seven steps in the Spiral of Victory. In his most recent teaching on it (cited above), he made a point that in the Spiral of Defeat, the steps we take and the choices we make are led by the lusts and cravings of our sinful flesh. In the Spiral of Victory, the steps we take and the choices we make are led by the born-again spirit in communion with the Holy Spirit. In between these two is our soul, mind, will, and emotions that will be led by one of these two. Whichever one the soul chooses is the path taken.

The Spiral of Defeat has seven steps: external trigger, thought, temptation, sin, habit, stronghold, and demon. I’m going to go through each one and explain how they work. One thing my pastor teaches about this sequence is that we can stop the sequence at any step, but to undo it, we often have to go back through each step one at a time to get back out. But if we accept it, we follow the principle of sowing and reaping.

An external trigger is something that operates through our senses. I’m amazed at how I drive down the road, a billboard catches my eye, and whatever I was thinking about suddenly changes. That’s an external trigger. It could be a smell or a sound or a touch or a taste. People who have experienced trauma and abuse often have memories triggered by a touch on a shoulder, the sight of a room, or a certain smell. These are external triggers that come from the outside and they trigger a response. Jesus was in the wilderness fasting and an external trigger showed up: He was hungry. King Saul also had an external trigger: the praises of David. There is nothing we can do about external triggers happening, but we do have a choice in the response: we can dismiss it or we can accept it. If we reject the trigger, anything that follows the trigger will have no effect. But if we listen to the trigger, we sow it, and what comes out is a thought.

Thoughts are not sinful in and of themselves; there are good thoughts and bad thoughts. However, in the Spiral of Defeat, the thoughts being discussed are negative ones, ones that are not from God, ones that appeal to and cater to the flesh. We all have things that enter our mind because we didn’t catch the trigger. Some people driving down the highways will see the boards for sex clubs and stores (especially here in El Paso). Those who have not won their battles against pornography can quickly start thinking about that stuff. It takes an act of the will to continue dwelling on the thoughts or to cut off the thoughts. And those who have been addicted to pornography know how difficult it is to get those thoughts out. The reason why is because they’ve sown those thoughts and reaped the results. Jesus’s trigger of being hungry gave him a thought: “I want to eat.” Saul also had a thought: “Why is David more popular than me?” When a bad thought is sown and dwelt upon, we reap a temptation.

A temptation is a desire to act upon a thought. Now, we have not entered the realm of sin yet. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He had been through the first two stages. His stomach growled (external trigger). That produced a thought: I’m hungry and I want to eat. Then Satan produced the temptation: “Make bread from the stones, you have the power.” Jesus cut the spiral right there using the Word of God, replacing the thought with a better thought: “Man does not live on bread alone…” Saul had a temptation from his thoughts: “I better get rid of David before he steals my throne.” The temptation is the desire to fulfill what your flesh wants in the time that it wants. The thing desired is often not a bad thing in itself, but it’s sought after in the wrong time, in the wrong fashion, and for the wrong use. If we refuse the temptation, we overcome sin. But if we give in, we sow the temptation and we reap the sin.

The sin in this part of the cycle is not the tendency or inclination towards sin, but an individual act that is in direct defiance of God’s commands, doing what He said not to do, or not doing what He said to do. This is the actual act. David was tempted when he saw Bathsheba on the roof. He acted on that temptation and it was sin. Having a lustful thought pop into your head from an external trigger that you immediately dismiss is not sinful. When you dwell on or act upon that thought, then it becomes sin. When you go look up those pictures or videos, that’s when it becomes sin. If we do it one time, we still must repent. Saul’s temptation was to kill David. The sin was when he actually threw the spear. But if we keep doing it, we sow the sin and reap a habit.

Habits are very difficult to break. It is said that it takes at least 30 days of doing (or not doing) something to break a habit. For some it takes more. God can do supernatural deliverances and do it instantly, but sinful habits are very difficult to break. We’ve all seen it: drunkenness, gluttony, lying, sexual immorality, pornography, theft, swearing, etc. By strength of will, we can subdue them for a short time, but they keep coming back. Saul didn’t merely throw a spear at David once; he threw it twice. One of the reasons habits are hard to break is because they’ve been sown and practiced for so long that they become a stronghold.

A habit is something we just instinctively do without thinking about it. A stronghold, however, is no longer something you do, it is something that has you. It controls you. The sins I mentioned in the habits above become very hard to break because they’ve gone beyond just a habit and now have become a stronghold. One thing my pastor has mentioned in teaching this spiral is that the cycle up to a habit can be broken by you. But if you get to a stronghold, you can no longer break it yourself. You need help. Saul didn’t stop trying to kill David. He chased after him, often ignoring his duties as king in doing so. If this is not bad enough, what makes strongholds so dangerous is that they become houses for demons.

Any person can be influenced by a demon, Christian or not. I’m not talking about outright possession. Christians cannot be possessed by demons where they actually take control of the body. However, they can certainly be demonized, where they are so intrenched into an area of sin that a demon can whisper anything and the person will believe it. At this stage, the person is only going to be successful as long as the demon finds the person useful. At that point, the demon will go for the kill – suicide, drunk driving, gang wars, abortions, murder, etc. The person will hit rock bottom, rejected, dejected, or will be dead. The Spiral of Defeat is fulfilled. King Saul carried out this Spiral of Defeat to the point where on the eve of the battle that would take his life, he sought demonic assistance. But also take note that this particular Spiral of Defeat, came on the heels of other Spirals of Defeat before David entered the picture. Remember how Saul was haunted by an evil spirit because of his rejection of God, needing David to come and play the harp for him? Saul had already gone through the Spiral of Defeat before. These Spirals can stockpile and that should scare us.

I did not come close to giving this the detail it deserves. I still would like my pastor to preach a whole sermon on this Spiral at some point. The last time he spoke about this Spiral of Defeat, he realized he had always talking about this, but not what to do to stop it. It was then that God began to show him the reverse process: the Spiral of Victory. I’ll share that one 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

Is It Right to Have Rights?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 21, 2020 0 comments


by Steve Risner

Ministry Note: While some reading this will think this post is political in nature, please be aware that it is not meant to be political at all. The intent of this post is to help encourage and equip the reader on the founding principles of our nation, faith in Jesus Christ, and why this matters so much.

These are tough times for us all. As restrictions are being lifted by our executive officials, we are still under stress and pressures that, for most of us, are unwarranted. Within the United States, there are a variety of reactions from states like South Dakota all the way to states like Michigan. Freedom is a wonderful thing, and the liberties we have in the U.S. are paralleled by no other nation on the earth. We are unique and have been since our inception. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about that extensively. I encourage you to read his findings or to take courses on the founding of the U.S. and its constitution. You can find free courses for that at Hillsdale College. They’re very good and go into a great deal of depth in terms of the Federalist Papers and other writings by the Founders as well as personal correspondence and speeches so we can understand the true intent and meaning behind the official U.S. documents that founded us as a nation.

So what rights, in my humble opinion, are currently being threatened or violated? I’ll look at them in numerical order to begin with.

The First Amendment doesn’t give us the right to free speech/press, practice our faith, or assemble but explains what are rights are. They’re not from a piece of paper but expressed by this document. The rights outlined in the Bill of Rights are expressed in our society but not granted by government. They’re granted by God Almighty so the government cannot take them away. So we, according to the First Amendment, have the right to free speech/press. This is being squashed not so much by the government (at least not yet or directly) but by social media platforms, YouTube, Google, and the like. They are silencing those who, according to YouTube, do not agree with the “authoritative truth.” If that term doesn’t scare you, I’m not sure you’re awake. That is concerning for a variety of reasons, but let’s move on. We are being told that we cannot practice our faith as we see fit; this is clearly a direct violation of our rights. To be sure, many (most, really) religious organizations have complied with little to no complaining, but telling people they cannot meet for church, mass, or at the mosque is a direct violation of this basic human right. The right to assemble is, again, another clearly stricken right. First it was groups under 50. Then it was groups under 10. Then it was just “stay at home” so you can’t meet with anyone (unless you need liquor or even an abortion). The right to assemble is a basic God given right that we all have in this nation, and the government cannot take from us lawfully. Yet, here we are. We have the right to gather and, dare I say, at whatever proximity we choose.

Then we have the Fourth and Fifth Amendments which tell us we, as human beings, are protected from unlawful search and seizure and deserve due process of the law. Have you heard of anyone being stopped by police and being asked why they’re outside or on the road? Have you seen or heard of anyone being arrested for going to work, playing catch in the park, surfing, or kayaking? I know I have. This is a violation of our right to due process and unreasonable search and seizure.

The Ninth Amendment makes it clear that not all of our rights are outlined in the governing documents of the U.S. Just because it’s not in the Constitution doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a right. We have the right to work. We have the right to go outside. We have the right to travel. These are all basic human rights that, until recently, no one would even question are actually rights.

Next to the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment is probably the biggest violation here in my opinion. This amendment states: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” We have, according to this amendment, the right to life, liberty, and property. No person shall be told they cannot work if they are a U.S. citizen. We are a free people and we have equal protection under the law. How does that work if some are considered “essential” and others are not? “You can go to work, but you over here need to stay home.” This is not right. Every person is essential, and every person’s job is essential in some way or another. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be a job. Telling someone that they cannot go to work or that they have to stay in their home is a clear violation of this God given right.

Have you heard of some states actually stationing officers outside the home of someone who is suspected to have COVID-19? I have. Have you heard of states using ankle monitors to track people who have been ordered to stay at home to make sure they do? I have. Have you seen on television that people are being fined or jailed even because they went to work? I have. Have you heard of governors who say things like, “If you behave, we can lift these orders” or other such things? I have. Have you heard radio commercials where a governor is heard saying, “If you are not an essential worker, you cannot leave your home”? I have. Being on the road in some states is a violation of “a law” put in place by elected or non-elected officials if you’ve not been deemed “essential” by the governing authorities. This is an obviously wrong way to function; if this isn’t a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, I don’t know what is.

Is it selfish to believe we have these God-given rights and that we should be free to exercise them? Of course not. Some have suggested that their right to life superseded the rights I’ve outlined above. This is not true at all and I’ll explain why. This person’s right to life, while it is the foundational right of all the others, is not infringed upon in any way by allowing someone else (or everyone else, really) to exercise their rights. If you are one who feels your life would be threatened by leaving your home, going to work, or strolling through the park, please stay home. You are well within your rights to do so. But demanding we all stay home so you can stay alive isn’t American, it isn’t freedom, and it isn’t right.

To top this off, what evidence is there that everyone staying home will actually keep this person alive? There is none. How can we know this, anyway? There’s no way to determine that this person’s life was jeopardized by someone else’s decision to live their life. Sure, if someone with COVID-19 sneezed on them or licked their car door handle, that could potentially be something. But otherwise, there is no way to know for certain that anything someone did put them at risk—especially if that means someone just went outside their house, saw a movie, or ate at a restaurant. This person’s right to life, by the way many of our authorities are presenting it, would mean no one should be allowed to drive since they could be killed in an accident. It means no one should be able to own a gun, since they could be harmed or killed either accidentally or intentionally. It would mean that restaurants should all close because someone might choke on a piece of food. There’s no way to defend their position unless there is a way to conclusively say that if everyone (except this person) leaves their home this person would lose their life. Obviously, this is not realistic.

The desire for people to be free to exercise their God-given rights is not selfish. Most people are happy to help out and protect those who are at risk. But it makes no sense at all to keep everyone at home while the at risk are the only ones at risk. They can stay home while the rest of the world gets along just fine. In my opinion, the American way is to say that each person should be able to decide what they want to do and experience the consequences for those choices. Freedom is being able to make choices. If you are at risk, take all the measures you need to in order to stay safe. If others are not at risk, they should be free to do as they like while respecting your right to stay home, shelter in place, etc.

Some may suggest that in an emergency, the government has the ability to suspend our God-given rights. This is not true, and if you feel this way, please understand that this line of thinking is a doorway to tyranny. If our rights can be suspended because the government deems it necessary, we never had those rights in the first place. But since the rights are God-given, they cannot be taken from someone else. The U.S. government cannot take our rights due to an emergency. To be clearer, the government cannot create powers for itself it did not previously have but can only expound on powers it already has. And if the president or, in most cases currently, a governor is taking actions that go against the will of the legislature, those actions are likely prohibited. This is why we have three separate but equal branches of government. Many legislatures are trying to take action against the executive branch because of overreach.

As a believer, my response has been one of submission, but this doesn’t mean we must keep our opinions to ourselves. Paul tells us in Romans 13 to submit to the authorities. Here in the States, under God, the people are the final authority, but we have officials that we’ve elected to govern. I believe, to keep peace and to set forth an example, it is right to do as our governor has asked. However, may there be a point at which I can say it is just to civilly disobey? How do we respond when his or her orders are too harsh or do not seem to have an end in sight? Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us to live as free people but in doing so, we are not to hide our evil deeds. I can’t see how living your life is an evil deed and I don’t understand why someone would feel they have the right to insist you live your life a certain way for their sake. This is especially true if your living life doesn’t interfere with or endanger their life and life choices. The amazing thing is this nation was founded by predominantly Christian men using Christian principles to govern a predominantly Christian people. That’s what these founding documents are based on. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the heart and soul of this Republic. He is truly the answer to all of our problems, and I mean that 100%.

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

Are Your Actions Following the Example of Christ?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 19, 2020 0 comments


by Jason DeZurik

Author’s Note: For those of you reading this post today, thank you for reading. Please know that my intent with this post is not meant to criticize or condemn anyone. My intent of this post is for you the reader to really see what Jesus did and how He interacted with the sick and dying. If you are follower of Christ, I hope you will consider at least thinking about what is written and move toward the growth God is calling you to.

It’s time for someone to ask and answer the question found in the title of this post.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, please consider this: if social distancing really is something that is Biblical and loving, as many are claiming today, why did Jesus Christ live out a completely different example? I have seen and been in conversations with Christians that claim it is unloving or driving people away from the Lord with one’s witness to not wear a mask in public in order for people to feel safe, and that we should follow 1 Corinthians 10:29-33 in this situation. Hence, we should wear a mask because they equate that to a person possibly being offended and even falling away from God like the situation in Corinth of someone eating meat sacrificed to an idol. I do want to point out that Paul is very clear in his teaching that we should think of others and be mindful of their thought process in order to win people to Christ. It seems many are confused these days and forget that there are non-Christians or weak Christians on both sides of this whole real-life scenario in regard to social distancing and wearing masks in public.

I will say that worshiping an idol is clearly a sin and breaks one of God’s Ten Commandments. So, at least in my mind it makes sense to not eat the meat sacrificed to an idol because there is a lot of “gray area” in this situation. Regarding masks, it is not clearly a sin to wear one or not wear one. So, I see these as very, very differently in nature.

So, let’s take a look again at the One we, as followers of Christ, say that we follow.

Think about it. Jesus approached the sick and dying. He even raised a man from the dead after he was already in his tomb for four days. (See John 11:1-44 for the whole story.) The people there knew this was an issue and even Martha, the sister of the dead man, said in John 11:39, “Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Here is a wonderful video clip to consider of Jesus dealing with a leper who was considered very contagious. I encourage you to not just watch the person playing Jesus in this clip but watch those around Him and their reaction as well.

I encourage you to go watch that clip again to see how many similarities are going on there and with things that are going on in our world today with this whole virus situation. I find it quite profound. Hopefully you will as well. I also encourage you to see what Jesus does with the leper. Not only is He not “social distancing” but He goes and touches the leper, which in that day and age was a serious no-no.

I encourage you to even do some study on our brothers and sisters in Christ that were in the early Church. Though they may have been concerned for their lives, they went and helped the sick and the dying, quite literally with no regard for their own wellbeing. We need to love others. Touch is something people need and looking people in the eye is very important too.

Friends, we were created for interaction and relationship. If you don’t think this is what we as Christians are called to do, go get to know Jesus again. Take time to read the book of John and the book of Luke. Read how Jesus responds to the sick and the lame, then go and do likewise. And if you think Jesus was all worried about being politically correct and not hurting people’s feelings, I really encourage you to read John 5:1-15. The question He asks the man isn’t worried about the man’s feelings or how he would take Jesus’ words. It is a very serious pointed question to a man who sat there for 38 years. Think about that for a moment: 38 years! In all that time, surely this man could have planned out how to get to the pool right on time and at the right moment, right? I personally think Jesus knew this and sincerely asked the man, “Do you want to get well?” It’s almost as if Jesus was implying, “You’ve been here 38 years. Are you telling me in all that time you couldn’t have planned out how to get to the pool at the right time and at the right moment to be healed? Come on man. Now, I forgive you, pick up your mat and go live your life that I have given to you. Stop being a victim.”

Friends, I am not judging anyone at all. I am only attempting to help people become free in Christ. The Kingdom of God is not a place; it is a mindset, it is a spiritual awakening, it really is a lifestyle.

As it says in 1 Corinthians 13, let’s grow up and become mature and put childish ways behind us. Let’s show the world what the Kingdom of God really looks like. 1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

To my Christian friends and followers of Jesus Christ, now is the time for us to lead and show the world what the Kingdom of God really looks like. Please put your fear aside for the sake of winning people to Christ and His Kingdom.

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

Ecclesiastes 8:11-17

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 18, 2020 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

Do you believe that humans are inherently good, or inherently evil? While I’d like to believe we’re all inherently good, I know that humans are full of sin ever since the Fall. As Psalm 14:1-3 tells us (also quoted by Paul in Romans 3:10-12), there is no one good in this world. It is only through God working through our lives that we’re able to do good.

The Teacher of Ecclesiastes looks at this idea too in today’s passage of Ecclesiastes 8:11-17. In verse 11, we see the idea of being willing to commit crimes if we can get away with it, which clearly shows the sinful and rebellious nature of humankind. If we’re not punished for our crimes, why not just go ahead and commit them? Verse 12 continues that idea, with those who are of God knowing that the evil people in this world will often escape punishment - at least temporarily. We see in verses 12-13 how at that time, they compared long life to being blessed by God.

In verse 14, the Teacher says, “There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.” The opening and closing of this verse with the idea of meaninglessness places extra emphasis on it, and shows just how disturbed the Teacher is by this concept. It seems in life that bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. In spite of knowing that God is just, injustice clearly exists in this world.

It’s hard for our minds to reconcile this concept, of the just God allowing so much injustice in this world. Why are there so many people starving in this world? Why are so many struggling to survive? Why is there so much abuse that happens? Why are there natural disasters and diseases that kill so many? It all seems so unfair in light of a loving God. But the fact of the matter is that God is perfect, and this world (and all of us who live in it) are not. We are sinful human beings, and when the first humans sinned, all of creation was also thrown into sin. Our bad choices often cause evil in this world. When there seems to be no direct choice linked to something evil happening, it’s because all of creation is fallen. But, God is still just! Even if we don’t see His justice playing out in this world, we will see it on Judgment Day.

Fortunately for us, God’s justice also includes His grace. We often think in the context of someone who has wronged us deserving punishment and hoping that they get their just desserts. But have you thought about what it would be like if someone is thinking that about you? There could be someone who is hoping to see you get punished for a sin that you have committed. We like to think of God’s grace for ourselves, but we need to remember that God’s grace is available to all - even to someone who has sinned against you or who you wish would get punished for something they’ve done. Read the story of Jonah (especially the end) to see how God’s grace can play out, and how we often react to His grace being shown to others.

What should we do when we’re struggling to understand the injustice that exists in this world? Enjoy life! “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun” (verse 15). We should experience pleasure in the good things of life, like eating and drinking, but we should also experience pleasure in the work that we have been given to do, simply because that is what God has ordained for us. God has not created us to be depressed, bogged down by the heavy burdens of this life, but He has created us to experience joy in Him and in the good things He has created for us to enjoy.

Verses 16-17 go on to explain how we cannot understand the ways of God: “When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the labor that is done on earth —people getting no sleep day or night— then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.” The Teacher is actively applying his mind to understand how things work in this world, even to the point of losing sleep over it. But, he comes to the conclusion that the human mind cannot understand the things of God. If anyone who claims to know the mind of God, we know they are not being truthful as no human can know God fully. If we could, then He wouldn’t be God anymore; we would be.

We will never be able to understand the things of God, except maybe when we get to heaven with Him. But even then, God will still be greater than us, and He will still deserve all of our worship and praise for all eternity. We humans may be inherently even because of the sinful world we live in, but everything about God is good and just. That is one thing that we truly need to understand and take to heart. No matter what happens with people in this world, no matter what we can fully understand or not, God is good!

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

Is Jesus the Only Way?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 15, 2020 4 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

The answer to this question is perhaps one of the most important questions we can ask ever in our lives. “Is Jesus the only way?” The Apostles got in trouble as they began to bring the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire in Asia Minor and into Europe. Why? It wasn’t because they proclaimed Jesus as God. It was primarily because they proclaimed Him as the ONLY God. If they proclaimed Jesus as just “a” god, the crowds would not have been enticed to riot in Ephesus. In Acts 19, so many people were turning to Christ, but in that process, they destroyed all the idols and ceased buying from the idol makers, fortune tellers, etc. Why? Because they realized all those idols were false and had no power or value. The Gospel was literally running the occult businesses out of business by removing their customers and the demand for their goods and services. Take note: when you preach the true Gospel and people repent, those who make money doing evil deeds will come after you and draw in as many as they can with them to take you out. Imagine the bars and sex clubs and drug/sex trafficking coming to a stop because the demand for those ‘services’ ceased. That’s what happens when the Gospel is preached and received on a wide scale.

Jesus declared Himself to be the only way. He was the only option to save mankind. His statements on the matter include: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” When Jesus addresses the Jewish crowds, He made several statements: “I am the Bread of Life.” “Unless you eat of My flesh and drink of My blood, you can have no part of Me.” What is He saying? He is saying the only way we can have hope and sustenance is to make Jesus our actual diet. Jesus’ very life has to be taken in and become the very source of life for us. And He made this statement to the people who had the strictest food diets in the world. The entire purpose was that the people of God were to only get their source of life from God. And believe me when I say that this is the most difficult thing for any person to do. This is why the True Gospel is so offensive to most people, especially those who are nominal Christians, wearing the label but were never born again.

The knee-jerk reaction to this kind of claim is: “Who are you to say that?” “How cruel!” “What about those who don’t believe Jesus?” “Why should I serve a God like that?” “How can you be so dogmatic?” “How can you be so sure that your interpretation is right?” What is interesting is that I get these kinds of reactions from other Christians, not just the unbelievers. What are they really saying with these questions and statements? “Why can’t I believe what I want to believe and still get in?” “Why can’t I get to heaven and still enjoy the things I enjoy doing?” That’s really what they are asking.

Now I am going to open up a can of worms that I am certain will get some very difficult reactions. But I ask those who will give that reaction to hear out the argument BEFORE you react. Respond to that. The questions that are being asked about Jesus being the only way are the same questions being asked about whether God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days with only about 6000 years passing since He finished. Before you tune me out, hear why I say this and for the clarification about what I mean by this.

The Young Earth Creationists believe that their “interpretation,” if you can call it that, is the only possible correct model of origins because that is what the Bible describes. That is the claim YEC’s make. The Bible does not describe anything resembling any of the models that call for “millions of years” to be involved. The typical response I get when I proclaim such origins model is along these lines: “What makes sure you are right?” “Do you have to believe that to be saved?” “That’s just your interpretation.” It’s the same argument on origins as it is with Jesus.

Now, I am not putting one’s position on origins on the same level of “requirements” for salvation as belief in the resurrection of Jesus. But if you are going to claim belief in the resurrection, you need more than just the fact that Jesus rose. You need all that comes with it. When Jesus said, “Follow Me,” He also said, “Count the cost.” If you want to claim the name of Jesus, you need to take what comes with it. It includes forsaking of self, denying self of your rights and your dreams and your wishes, and laying them at the feet of Jesus, for Him to direct and guide and dictate. What comes with the cross and the resurrection? The need for the cross and the resurrection which is laid out in Genesis 1-3. You cannot separate the solution from the problem, or the treasure from the map, and yet most people want the treasure with no cost to themselves, no the key to the chest or no map to follow.

I am not declaring here that the Young Earth position cannot be questioned, but I am saying that if the argument against the Young Earth position is “Is that really the only possible option?” then would not the same person ask the same question about Jesus himself? Behind the argument is: “I still want to believe what I want to believe.” If this is the argument, and the person making it claims to be a Christian, that person is inconsistent. You either believe Jesus is the only way or you don’t. You either believe the ENTIRE Scripture is inspired and God-breathed and sufficient, or you don’t. You don’t get to pick and choose which parts you need to believe or you don’t. If someone does not believe that salvation does not depend upon origins, they need to ask a different question than this. Because it reeks of, “I want to do this my way.”

If salvation itself cannot be done any other way besides what God said, why should origins be any different? Why should any area of life be any different? Jesus didn’t die for you so you can get to heaven and live your life however you want and think however you want to think. He died and His resurrection is in part to save you FROM yourself. There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death. The only way that leads to life is through Christ, and that way starts out in Genesis. It will end through the events described in Revelation. Jesus is the only way. The origins that the Bible describes is the only correct origins model. The requirements of the Gospel – repentance and faith – are the only response acceptable to God. And the world is going to end as God described in the Bible. It’s the ONLY way. Call it dogmatic if you want; truth is dogmatic and exclusive. I only seek to speak it, and while it sounds harsh and while it sounds exclusive, it is liberating. I’ve noticed that people who used to believe in God and left it tend to describe their account in terms of education and enlightenment. I can see a fog coming over their heads, blinding them to the truth. But those who escaped from that don’t come to God in terms of education or enlightenment, but in terms of deliverance. Know the truth and the truth will set you free. It is the only way to be free. Let us surrender ALL of ourselves so that Christ might reign actively today, instead of living in rebellion against His rule. His rule is sovereign over everything, and anything not submitting to it will be judged as sin. Anything submitting to His rule will be judged as righteous. Which one are you? The one who does things God’s way, or does things your own way?

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

I’ll Live My Life No Other Way, Till the Day I Die… I’ll Be a Radical!

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 13, 2020 0 comments


by Jason DeZurik

As I sit down to write this post, I can’t help but think how radically changed my life has become through the years for Christ. As a child, I wanted to live for me and me alone. I was a very selfish person and didn’t realize how much that was not only hurting me as a person but hurting others around me. At the same time, many people approved of my actions because they would benefit from what I was doing as well. Some were selfish too, and others were just wanting to live life trying to help others.

As I lived my life, from childhood into manhood, I became even more selfish. I completely believed in the evolutionary fairy tale taught to me as a child, and I started taking that mindset on and eventually living out the secular worldview in my life. I mean, if we are all just descended from animals we might as well act like it, right? My mindset was very much, “Let’s do what feels good and fornicate as much as we can because all that exists is here and now.” Yeah, that was pretty much my mindset. The selfish mindset of the so-called pro-choice movement made sense to me, because I should get mine while I am here and if someone dies before they get here, what’s the big deal? These children aren’t here yet so let’s save the planet for those that are here and for future generations because they need a place to live too. (See, how loving I was? – This is my attempt at sarcasm – I was thinking of future generations as long as they didn’t impact me and my life or make me adjust my plans.) What a crock of fecal matter!

I have not only Christ to thank for getting me out of my mindset of death and destruction but two amazing parents that loved me more than I even realized. I love my mother and father so much for not only loving me but not wavering in what they taught me as a child. They were both uncompromising, and I can assure you their steadiness impacted me as a man more than one could ever know. Thank you, Mom and Dad.

It wasn’t until the Creator of the Universe got a hold of my life and I actually started listening to absolute truth, found in His Word, that I started to change. You see, one morning in January 1995, God made Himself very real to me, and since that day I have been radically changed to serve Him in all I do. “I’ll live my life no other way, till the day I die.”

That day was the day I chose to get closer to God Almighty. It was the day I realized this all wasn’t just about me and what I wanted. However, I knew I needed to grow, learn, and become mature in Christ. I struggled with what that looked like. Once I started following Christ, my life didn’t become perfect. I wish I could tell you it did, but it didn’t. One thing that seriously helped me to mature in Christ was being discipled by a pastor, that I am so thankful for, who discipled me once a week for over a year at a greasy spoon in Minnesota at 5:00a.m. We met on Wednesday mornings and his dedication, faith, and belief not only in Christ but in me as a man helped me to grow more than I realized back then. Thank you, Pastor Chris, for taking a chance on a young, wet behind the ears “rebel” and sowing “seeds” into my life, not knowing what would happen. I truly love you as one of my friends and mentors.

I still have to choose every single day to follow Christ with my mouth and my actions. It is a very tough choice to make. My carnal man rears his ugly head daily and I need to basically say “not today” and lean on and learn from the Holy Spirit every single day, listening to the Holy Spirit’s council.

Friends, it is a choice to follow God or to not follow God Almighty. The Kingdom of God is not a place. It is as spiritual awakening. It is a mindset. It is a lifestyle, and we can live it in the here and now on planet earth. If you don’t think we can do this, I encourage you to consider the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus Christ told his followers to pray in this way:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9-10)

Did you see it?

Jesus Himself told His followers to pray that the Kingdom of God would be here on earth as it is in Heaven. Isn’t that just super encouraging? I encourage each one of us who follow Christ to not just pray for this to happen, but let’s actually live it out here on earth.

Yes, we can choose to live out God’s Kingdom mindset here on earth. Choose for yourselves this day to actually live out Christ’s ways here on earth to be a good witness, helping people to see what God’s Kingdom really looks like. Please don’t forget, though, that Jesus warned us that we would be hated for following Him and doing His ways on earth. Matthew 5:11 says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Remember you are blessed when this happens. Make certain though you are following Christ

Here’s a song I greatly hope you will consider, to encourage you in your walk with God. Even if you don’t like this sort of music, please listen to the message of this song. Are you willing to be “Radical” for Christ? I can assure you, I have made my choice. I am as ready as I can be. Are you?

“Radical” by Disciple

Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical

It's easy to find one that will compromise
But it's not easy to find one that's willing to stand
The road to hell is wide
But to heaven it's a one way, one truth, one life
That's why we're not ashamed of the name of Jesus
And we don't care if the whole world sees us
From our chains he has set us free
And I could never repay what he has given to me

I've been radically loved
I've been radically changed
By his grace I have been radically saved
And I'll live my life no other way
Till the day I die!

With my heart with my soul
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical
With my blood with my bones
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical

It's easy to find someone that's willing to die
But it's not easy find someone that's willing to live
I want to walk in his footsteps even if the world hates me
Be ready to love and not afraid to forgive
Never ashamed of the name of Jesus
And we want the whole world to see us
See He's alive burning in our hearts
Offering mercy with outstretched arms

I've been radically loved
I've been radically changed
By his grace I have been radically saved
And I'll live my life no other way
Till the day I die!

With my heart with my soul
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical
With my blood with my bones
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical
To my friends, to my foes
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical
With my heart, with my soul
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical

Not just my mouth but let my hands speak the glory of God
Not just my mouth but let my hands speak the glory of God
Not just my mouth but let my hands speak the glory of God
Not just my mouth but let my hands speak the glory of God

Till the day I die!
With my heart with my soul
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical
With my blood, with my bones
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical
To my friends, to my foes
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical
With my heart, with my soul
Till the day I die I'll be a Radical

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