Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, September 22, 2009 0 comments
Once there was a woman whose homemade pies were continually stolen from her window sill while they were cooling. She obviously became frustrated with putting such time and energy into making them only to have them stolen. Finally, she devised a plan to teach the pie thieves a lesson.
She decided to make a pan of brownies. She took extra care to make sure that these brownies would be the best, using high quality ingredients to ensure that they were tasty and succulent. Once they were baked, she put them on the window sill to cool. Then she hid to see who came to take the brownies. To her shock, she saw an upstanding community leader and church member in her congregation swipe the pan of brownies!
The next Sunday morning at church, the woman wanted to mention the brownies in conversation with this leader. While she was talking to some friends, the culprit approached the group and joined in the conversation. She knew this was her chance. So she said, “You know how I’ve been having problems with someone stealing my desserts while they are cooling on the window sill over the last few weeks?” The group nodded, and one younger lady asked, “You aren’t still dealing with that are you?”
The woman replied, “Well, I think I finally took care of the problem.” With the thieving church member listening, she told the following story:
“I really didn’t know what to do, so I thought I would make that person a nice pan of brownies. I used the best ingredients money could buy, took extra care to make sure they were mixed just right, and then I added the final secret ingredient . . . dog poop.” All of the faces reflected shock, except for the culprit’s: he looked mortified. She continued, “I placed the batter into the pan and then went outside to find two pieces of dog poop from the neighbor’s cuddly cocker spaniel and added them to the pan. I cooked it and then placed the pan on the window sill. Then, like clockwork, the brownies disappeared.” The group laughed hysterically, but the community leader quickly excused himself and went to the restroom.
She never again had another baked good stolen.
How many of us are like the person who stole the brownies? How about this for an answer: All of us are guilty of this.
You might be saying, “Now Jason, not me! I don’t steal, and I wouldn’t eat a pan of brownies with poop in them.” You may not be a thief, but I bet you have had some “brownies with poop” in them before. You might even have had them last night before you read this blog. Let me explain this rather strange metaphor.
When surfing the internet, which is often an appealing “brownie,” have you ever visited a site or partook of something you knew was “dog poop” — something impure or inappropriate? When watching a great movie, which was an awesome brownie, did you shut it off or fast forward when it had sex, violence, or crude jokes in it? Or did you eat that dog poop too? How about appealing brownie music? Do you consume the dog poop with that brownie? Or did you discard music that is lyrically immoral and only partake of pure, delicious, untainted brownies? There are many kinds of quality brownies available.
Or maybe you go to church and worship God on Sunday morning, only to turn during the week to the dog poop of consulting your horoscope and listening to mediums and spiritists, such as Sylvia Brown or (dare I say?) Oprah and the like. Have you partaken of the incredible brownie of sex only to experience dog poop because you are not married to that person? Have you become so gluttonous with food that you are gaining weight on a monthly basis?
Scripture is clear that everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Take Adam and Eve as an example. God loved them so much that He allowed them to go their own way and disobey Him. However, in His love, he had warned them that if they went their own way, they would die. We still have consequences today for our choices. You can do as you please but there is dog poop in some of the brownies. We are taught how to live a godly life, but God allows us to choose our own way. If we choose to stray from Him, His heart breaks.
I know because I am a father too. When my children obey me, their lives, for the most part, are productive and good. When they decide to go their own way and make a decision against what I have told them to do, they experience unpleasant consequences for their actions. Many times I don’t need to discipline them because they already realized the trouble and hurt that they caused themselves or others.
James 1:21–24 says, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." Are you like the community leader in this story? In what areas of your life do you partake of moral “filth”?
For further study, please read James 1:19–27 and II Kings 21:1-19.
Questions to ponder:
1) How can today’s church often be like the Israelities during King Manasseh’s reign?
2) How are you being like the Israelities in this scripture?
3) Of what moral filth do you need to rid yourself?
4) How do you plan to get rid of this moral filth?
5) How will you let the Holy Spirit help you stop returning to this lifestyle?
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Does that sound like the headlines we read today? It amazes me that the more this world changes, the more it remains the same.
Jesus, as well as many other prophets, warned us about circumstances that are happening today. In II Peter 3, Peter warns of the last days and writes about the world being destroyed by fire. He also states that scoffers will come and deliberately forget that the world was once destroyed by a worldwide flood. Hmmm… Doesn’t that sound a little like the events happening today?
Regardless of what happens in this world, our hope needs to be in Jesus Christ — not in people. Unfortunately, we so often put our hope in people and in a politically correct mindset. What comes to my mind is the most recent vote in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) allowing practicing homosexuals to be ordained as pastors. This principle can be supported nowhere in Scripture. Even the ELCA knows something is amiss, as is evidenced by their very own actions. Why can I make such a bold statement? Because people that are living together outside of marriage and practicing sexual relations cannot be ordained in the ELCA. They know that such a sexual relationship is a sin.
I believe that we have allowed sin to creep into the church, and now we don’t know what we believe. Read I Timothy 3 to find out what kind of people should be in leadership in the church. We have bent this Scripture to the breaking point, and until we are willing to rectify this problem, we will be nothing but hypocrites in the world’s eyes. We have put Pharisees into church leadership. We well know what Jesus said to and about them. We have also allowed false prophets into the church to speak for God. Check out II Kings 21 to see the effect that false prophets have upon the church. I believe this damage is occurring in today’s church.
You have to live as though you believe what the Bible says — even when acting upon Scripture is the difficult thing to do. Until people see that a relationship with Jesus actually works in the real world, they won’t want to come to Him. Case in point: I once had a friend who talked a good talk but didn’t walk the talk. He claimed to be a Christian but was actually lying to me and others. He even lied to people who didn’t believe in Jesus Christ. (Some witness that was.) As his Christian brother, I confronted him on this matter. I even told him, “Just tell me the truth, and I will forgive you no matter what happened in the past.” He told me the truth, and I forgave him. However, he continued lying to me and others. This person, as well as a person who sins and has no repentance (turning from one’s wicked ways), should not be in leadership in the church. Other people saw my friend’s hypocrisy in action, and I had to attempt to mend the bridge in those relationships.
I do not write this to condemn but to challenge each and every Christian: live out your faith in Christ! I Corinthians 15 is a great passage to read about actually living our faith in view of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
Christians, aren’t you tired of eating table scraps? Our faith is found in Jesus Christ and no other. Let’s start living what we believe so the world can see the truth. This will not be easy, but if you are in the center of God’s will, you will have peace of mind. If you want safety, then please STOP following Jesus or claiming to be His follower. You are giving Him and His followers a bad name. Being in the center of God’s will is not safe, but it is an adventure!
More reading: Genesis 6:5 – 9 (How was Noah known among the people of his time? How can you begin to live that way?), Matthew 24, The Book of Haggai, The Book of Habakkuk, almost any minor prophet.