“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth. Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:1-2)
Previously in Habakkuk, we have seen Habakkuk crying out to God twice, and both of God’s responses. God’s last response to Habakkuk included five ways that God was going to judge the Babylonian people, who He would use to judge His people in Israel. Here, the book changes form significantly. The form now is that of Hebrew poetry, which is very similar to the structure of the book of Psalms. In particular, this is similar to psalms of lament, such as Psalm 18 or Psalm 77.
If you’ve done much reading in the Psalms, verse 1 may seem similar in structure to you. Psalms often start out with who wrote them, what context they were to be used in, what genre of music this is, or what sort of musical instruments were to be used with it. This is similar information to what we would see at the top of the sheet music for a song. Because of this, it is believed that the “shigionoth” referenced in this verse is a type of musical genre that’s devoted to crying out against injustice. The theme of Habakkuk 3 is the same as chapters 1-2, but Habakkuk’s lament here is recorded in a different style.
Verse 2 is a model for a way that we can use in prayer to God. Habakkuk first acknowledges who God is and the mighty things He has done for His people. Habakkuk knows that God is a merciful God because of what He has done in the past, and therefore Habakkuk believes that God will be merciful again. When God’s people have messed up in the past, God has shown them mercy. Habakkuk first praises God before he asks God to show mercy on the people.
Is that how you pray? Do you praise God first and foremost, before starting in on your list of needs and wants? It’s so easy to just come to God with all of our requests and forget to praise Him in our prayers. I fall into this too, as often the purpose of my prayer is simply to ask God for things, whether for myself or for other people. One way to help me remember to praise God is to use the acronym ACTS for my prayers. The “A” stands for adoration - we first praise God for what He has done and who He is. The “C” stands for confession - confessing where we fall short of God’s standards, and recognizing that God is God and we are not. The “T” stands for thanksgiving - thanking God for the multitude of amazing ways He has blessed us. Finally, the “S” stands for supplication - bringing our requests to God. This acronym helps me put my prayers in the proper perspective, with more emphasis on God and less emphasis on self.
In Habakkuk’s prayer, he recognizes that the people have sinned and do not deserve God’s mercy. But he is asking for God’s mercy anyway, in spite of knowing that God has said the people will be judged for their actions. We will reap what we sow, unless God decides to give us grace. It is only through grace - getting what we don’t deserve - that we may experience God’s mercy and not receive the full consequences for our disobedient actions. For us on this side of the cross, we know that we experience that grace through the work of Jesus Christ, in His sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection for us. While we are still under God’s natural law, so we will often reap what we sow, as followers of Jesus Christ we know that our eternal fate is due to Jesus’s sacrifice, which we experience by grace through faith in Him.
by Katie Erickson
by Jason DeZurik Recently I was told in a conversation with someone a bit younger than me basically that I didn’t understand today’s world. People have sex outside of marriage all the time, and to promote abstinence from sex before marriage and to only have sex with one person was thinking like someone from the 1920s. While I never disagreed that people have sex before marriage, I did encourage him to actually listen to what I was saying and to stop making things up in his head, which were more than likely based off of previous conversations he had been a part of. I shared with him that two consenting adults who decided to have sex together are making a choice and should be responsible for their actions and the consequences of their actions, whether married or not. He then said how old fashioned I was and kept attacking the position I was holding in our discussion. My position was a Biblical one based on a Biblical worldview, and he wasn’t really interested in having a conversation about it. What he was interested in, though, was imposing his “wisdom” upon me and my “old fashioned” thinking. What this young man has done, along with many others in our society, is to make sex a “little god” in their life. This is one that so many seem willing to bow down to, while at the same time trying to evade the consequences of their choices and actions. What do I mean? Well, please watch this video to understand a little more of what I am trying to convey: As you can see, this person, even though she thinks she is trying to “work hard,” has really created a much more difficult situation for herself. In the process, she has bought into victim mentality, even though she has consented to her situation. To say that sexual activity between two consenting adults is not a choice is nothing short of an attempt to take away an individual’s responsibility in regard to this act. All sexual activity between two consenting adults is always a choice. Should we as believers in Jesus Christ educate and warn others of the sinful consequences to their actions? I believe we should, but we need to follow the example of Christ and speak out the truth in love. If our loving warning or truth we speak falls on deaf ears or is flat out ignored, then I believe we need to allow those who want to sin to go down their path of destruction. When they do this, God’s natural law to teach them the error of their ways. If someone chooses wisely, then God’s natural law will reward them or give good benefits for their actions. In this way, people get to choose to follow God’s truth or not, which is a great teacher. When people say that someone is born a certain way regarding their sexual preference or they just cannot control themselves, they are ignoring the fact that all sexual activity between two consenting adults is still a choice. Therefore, this leads to the conclusion that when people make the claim that someone is born a heterosexual, homosexual, or whatever else comes around, this claim is basically moot because all sexual activity between two consenting adults is a choice. Therefore, any sexual activity outside of the bounds of the God-given institution of marriage, found in Genesis between one man and one woman, is a sin. Don’t allow sexual sin to become a little god in your life. And if this has gripped you…
#1 Seek out Christ even more. Spend time in His word and in prayer.
#2 Find an accountability group to keep you focused on Christ. There are many other things you can do as well, including contacting us at Worldview Warriors. I look forward to hearing from you with your experiences in the Lord and helping you to overcome this little god in your life.
In an effort to address some of the questions our website and radio show get at WorldviewWarriors.org, we are selecting some for our bloggers to respond to. You may see these pop up from time to time, so keep an eye out.
A question we get quite often is, “How far is too far to go sexually with a boyfriend or girlfriend?” really is a good question to ask. Just asking the question is the start of defining some healthy boundaries in the relationship, and examining what is God’s best for your relationship.
Let me address four things to consider:
1 – If in asking the question you are really asking “How far can we push a passionate moment before sinning?” then you need to step back and examine your heart. If God is most important in your life, then pushing boundaries and getting away with making out would not be something you play around with. A loyal heart doesn’t cheat, and it doesn’t worry about getting caught. A loyal heart doesn’t push the edge as far as they can go without getting in “trouble” or “caught.” A loyal heart chases purity and integrity, and it protects itself and its love interests from wandering near boundaries. Here is a simple practical example: for a young man, a French kiss feels like an upward invitation to a lower invasion. When a couple understands this, in the interest of purity, it may be a good idea not to participate in something that raises desire to follow through with intercourse. This is where both in a couple need to be wanting God’s best first, and be willing to talk to each other and parents about what “pushes their buttons” and would be wise to steer clear of. Without that level of friendship, maturity, and commitment of faith, romantic involvement of any kind should be avoided.
2 – Please read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. This one almost speaks for itself. As followers of Jesus Christ, and because of His grace and forgiveness, we have great freedom and should not fear if we make a mistake. We should, however, be aware of the consequences of our choices, especially when it comes to sex. To have sex with someone, whether oral sex, mutual masturbation, or full on intercourse, there is a bond that happens in our mind, spirit, and body. We are uniting with that person, sharing in something physically with that person that is designed by God to be exclusively with one person of the opposite sex. It is meant to be a bond expressed in the presence of and with the unifying power of God’s Holy Spirit. It is meant to be with someone of the opposite sex, and for life. If this relationship is not moving toward marriage, then you may want to consider what your real motivation is in dating this person. Sex IS the physical expression of a marriage commitment.
3 – I had a friend in high school whose father was a gynecologist. He was not a practicing Christian, and yet at lunch one day when the subject of sex came up, like it usually does in high school, he mentioned that he was not having sex with anyone who was not his wife. I was shocked to hear him say it, especially since he was part of the punk/metal/forerunner to goth/emo crowd. So, I asked him why he was waiting. He said his dad had taught him from medical case studies how the male and female sex organs are designed to shape together over repeated sexual encounters between a male and female. When people have multiple partners, it can cause problems with the sex organs because they are bending and reshaping with each new partner. He said he learned enough that just knowing the effects of changing partners once wasn’t worth the risk to him.
Now I am sure that our bodies have a tremendous capacity to adjust, and there are many people who have had a spouse die, or had multiple partners and apparently have few or no issues. But as a young person I took that medical information to heart. It impacted me to realize that every part of my body would be affected by sex, and that my body would even try to form a perfect fit with the woman I was with. The preciousness of that actually deepened my commitment to stay a virgin until I was married. Consider the sacredness of your body shaping to a unique fit with someone else, that is meant to be for a lifetime.
4 – The mind is the last place I am going to address, but the first place where purity is tested. Jesus said, “if any man looks at a woman lustfully, then he has committed adultery” (Matthew 5:27-28). That means our first compromise of our values, the first compromise of our commitment to Jesus Christ, the first compromise of our purity with our boyfriend/girlfriend is in our thoughts. If we are lusting (imagining having sex with someone), we are actually practicing a compromise of our physical purity.
So, there are four things to consider in response to the question of how far is too far. My questions back to you are: Are you actively seeking to honor God with your life? What are you doing to decide your boundaries before you are in a passionate situation? How will your relationship show that God is first, in your life and in everything to two of you share?
by Nathan Buck
This is my final post in this series addressing Matthew Vines and his “10 Reasons why the Bible supports Homosexuality.” Here is a very brief reflection of what I have covered so far.
1) If we speak against homosexuals, that is bad fruit.
by Charlie Wolcott
2) No one in Christian tradition spoke against a “loving, committed” homosexual relationship.
3) Celibacy is a gift, not a mandate.
4) Judgment on Sodom was not due to homosexuality.
5) Levitical laws on homosexuality do not apply to Christians.
6) Paul condemns homosexual lust, not love.
7) The very word “homosexuality” did not exist until 1892.
8) Marriage is not just about procreation; therefore, homosexuals should have access to it.
9) Sexuality is a core part of any relationship, so don’t deny homosexuals this part of humanity.
And today is #10: Look at the Christians who embrace homosexuality. “From denominations like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA) to organizations like the Gay Christian Network and the Reformation Project, Christians across the country are already putting their commitment to LGBT equality in action. They’re showing their fellow believers what it looks like to be a faithful Christian who fully affirms LGBT Christians.” This is the classic: “Everybody else is doing it” argument, except the sample size is rather small. I’m pretty sure Matthew Vines has compiled a longer list of those who embrace homosexuals. But this argument, like everyone before them, has nothing to do with actual Biblical support of homosexual marriage. Instead he points to others who claim to be Christian but not discerning if they are voices who should be heard. Westboro Baptist Church also claims to be Christian yet they resemble absolutely nothing about Christianity. When the denominations who decided to embrace homosexuality did what they did, it was greatly frowned upon by the vast majority of the Bible-believing Body of Christ. Vines argues this is due to lack of tolerance for this “new identity,” however that is not the case at all. One of the jobs of the church is to hold back the tides of compromise and particularly that of evil. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the moral of society.” The church as a whole the last 50 years has not done its job. In over 1900 years, those who called themselves by the name of Christ would die before allowing one alteration, one change to the Scripture. And today, in just one generation or two in America, the very term “Christianity” has become a term for a fluffy, wamby-pansy social group. The church was to be the bulwark that kept evil in society at bay. The church has since opened that door and is sleeping at the guard position. The church has removed the guard of the door and allowed the famed “Trojan Horse” into the church. Today, the church as a whole has been consumed from the inside out with self and with the world, and it does not resemble the light-bearing Christ at all any more. I heard Paul Washer once say that most churches outside America would excommunicate the vast majority of “American Christians” because our doctrine and our morality that reflects it shows nothing of God these days. As individual Christians, we need to have our guard up against the thoughts of sin, the thoughts of self, and the thoughts of the world. But the enemy has tricked us to thinking these things are good and because we have left the door open to those things and closed it when God wants in, the enemy has claimed stakes in our lives. If we as individuals do not keep sin out of our lives with the authority of Jesus Christ, how can we do the same in our church or in our nation? The American church has abdicated our responsibility to set the temperature of our culture and we have also ceased to even measure the temperature. We’ve let the world’s systems take over, and now we have reaped what we have sown. We have allowed sin to be accepted in the church instead of dealing with it. We’ve turned the church from being a hospital for the sick into a frat house and the sick never get well. They feel better, but only for an hour or two and by the time they get home they have no idea what happened in church. How can such a church be used as an example of a sound source of authority? Matthew Vines cites churches that ceased preaching the truth and the Gospel of Christ a long time ago. They embrace homosexuals so they can look good in the secular eye, but there is only one eye that we need to worry for approval: God’s. The world can approve us and applaud us all day long and it will get us nothing. That approval is our reward and that is the best it will get The truth is the truth no matter who believes it. If every person who claimed to be a Christian said homosexuality was fine, every person would be wrong because God said so. His word trumps every scholar and opinion you can muster. This is not a matter of interpretation. This is opening the door to a great evil that you cannot shut out once it is in. Matthew Vines has no intentions, from my understanding, of opening “Pandora’s Box.” He would not approve of the majority of the homosexual parading of their “pride.” He would just suggest that homosexuality should be practiced as regular marriage is. However, once he opens that door, he will not be able to stop the monster that comes with it. The world will not follow Vines’ recommendations for a homosexual relationship as is clearly shown. Some stats suggests homosexuals will have 500-1000 partners or more in cases. If Vines gets what he is asking for, what message does that send to those who live by the world’s standards? It sends a message that you can do whatever you want and God won’t be mad at you. Play with fire, and you will get burned, especially God’s fire. The church is meant to be the light, the standard for what is true or not. When the church starts to embrace sin, it is a sign not merely that it is dying, but a sign it may already be dead. But as a Bible-believer, I cannot care what others say. I cannot care about if anyone else agrees with me or not. I must only care about what the Word of God says and to speak it, no matter what response I get. Sometimes I write to exhort and to build. Sometimes I write to warn about true and false teachings. Sometimes I write to express what God is working in me. But in all cases, I must write to speak the truth so that God be glorified. In all we do, let our light shine so that God may be honored in all areas of our lives. In our relationships, in our sexual activity, in our minds, in our jobs, in our day-to-day activities. In all areas, let God be glorified. I hope this series has helped you to see what is being put forth as “Christian” doctrine and how to discern what is true and what is false. When Jesus returns will he find faith? I pray he says, “Yes, I found faith in you” to me and to each of you reading my posts.
[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]
I love animals—well, many of them. There is the occasional pest or threat that I just wish would go away, but for the most part, I really enjoy animals. I’ve been a biology fan since I was a child. Animals in particular are fascinating and a great deal of fun. I’ve had all sorts of pets from fish to chinchillas, lizards to dogs, a variety of birds to rabbits, turtles to felines—and these are just the animals I’ve owned. I’d love to have a great many more, but time and money as well as space are limiting factors here. The sad news is I don’t believe I’ll ever see any of these animals once they’re gone. It makes me sad sometimes to think of the close pets I’ve had over the years that I’ll never have greet me again or that I’ll get to enjoy. But this is just the way it is. The Bible sets man apart from all other living things—including everything in the animal kingdom. What in the world am I talking about this for? This week, I’m looking at a question Tyler Francke, writer for God of Evolution, has posed that he claims is unanswerable if I am a Biblical creationist. The question: If human sin is the reason animals die, why can’t they be saved? You can find that here. Why don’t all dogs go to heaven? The answer is really a simple one: they are not created eternal beings. But that’s not enough for the theistic evolutionist. Let’s just be clear here before we move on: there is really nothing about the theistic evolutionist’s beliefs on origins—of the universe, earth, life and man specifically, sin or death—that is rooted in the Bible. It’s found elsewhere—primarily in the writings of those who hated God or at the very least didn’t want to believe in Him.
Ronald Numbers put it this way: “For creationists, history is based on the Bible and the belief that God created the world 6,000–10,000 ago.... We humans were perfect because we were created in the image of God. And then there was the Fall. Death appears and the whole account [in the Bible] becomes one of deterioration and degeneration. So we then have Jesus in the New Testament, who promises redemption. Evolution completely flips that. With evolution, you don’t start out with anything perfect, you start with primitive little wiggly things, which evolve into apes and, finally, humans. There’s no perfect state from which to fall. This makes the whole plan of salvation silly because there never was a Fall. What you have then is a theory of progress from single-celled animals to humans and a very, very different take on history, and not just human history.” This is the stark difference between Biblical truth and the “theory” of Darwinism and why the two are mutually exclusive.
In Genesis 1:26, we find it written, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” We are, according to this passage, made different from everything else in creation. We have dominion over the earth and that's not just because we're intelligent. We also have the image of God—an eternal spirit as well as some of His characteristics. We have language, creativity, love, holiness, immortality, and freedom, as well as the ability to make judgments on right and wrong. No animal can do these things. We share some physiology and anatomy with animals as we were both formed from the ground. Animals and men alike will return there. But our spirits will rise while the animal will not. Ecclesiastes 3 alludes to this when Solomon questions how we know a man’s spirit ascends while an animal’s descends. I guess something we need to first understand, with this idea of being made in His image, is that we have the capacity to sin. Animals do not. We have the capacity to have a relationship with God. Animals do not. We have a choice to make. Animals do not.
So why all the talk about death? Tyler wants to allege that there is no Scriptural basis for believing animal death began with the Fall. Personally, I don't think it makes a difference in reality because the Fall seems to have happened in a very short time period after creation. But God seems to pronounce death on the serpent (and all livestock at this point). Genesis 3:14 and Genesis 3:21 is the first record of an animal dying. Why did it die? Because of sin. It seems rather connected here that animal death, the death of man, and the sin of man go together. Sin is obviously the cause of death in the world according to Scripture. No, the Bible doesn’t specifically say, “Animals didn’t die until after the Fall,” but we can use our brains to come to that very logical conclusion from a variety of perspectives. The Trinity isn't mentioned in Scripture, either, but we can make a fairly solid case for it from the Bible. Genesis 3:14 contains the first indication that anything would die, and it was because of sin. The Lord sacrificed an animal to cover this sin just a few verses later. It was not enough to take away sin, but merely offered a temporary covering. This shows how much more valuable mankind is than animals, as is indicated by Jesus Himself. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. This makes it sound like death is the direct result of sin. Animals are not immortal—they do not contain the breath of life that God breathed into us. We were both formed from the ground, but we are made in His image while they are not. Once they are gone, I’m sad to say they are gone for good. This is why Jesus had to die, and this is why animals were sacrificed to cover sin. These passages make it clear that animal death has a relationship with human sin as well as the fact that it came after sin. Does it make sense that man would live forever (if, in fact, theistic evolutionists believe this) on earth prior to the Fall but animals would die left and right around them? You can read a little on this here with Charlie Wolcott's first blog post for Worldview Warriors.
Tyler makes the claim that “this creates some pretty problematic theology,” which makes me chuckle a little. His theology is so riddled with holes and so founded on unbiblical ideas, I can’t believe he’s talking about theological problems. Over and over we see he denounces Biblically-based theology while rarely showing us any of what the correct theology is according to him. Many will suggest that “death” is only a spiritual thing here. Dennis Alexander, a theistic evolutionist, tells us of the incompatible nature of evolution and original sin when he states: “On the day that Adam and Eve sin … [they are] alienated from friendship with God, causing spiritual death. Nowhere does the Bible teach that physical death originates with the sin of Adam, nor that sin is inherited from Adam.” Simon Turpin responds to this by saying: “... in order for Alexander to argue this way he has overlooked the plain meaning of Genesis 3:17–19, which is also part of the fulfillment of the threat of Genesis 2:17 and which began to take effect immediately after Adam’s disobedience. Also, the apostolic interpretation of this event is that both physical and spiritual death was brought about through this act of disobedience. Alexander and others who accept evolution have to view Genesis 2:17 as referring to spiritual death because if it does refer to physical death it contradicts the theory of evolution.” It is clear from these passages as well as taking into account other sources in Scripture that both physical and spiritual death were the intended consequence here. Again, the entire sacrificial system was based on death being the result of sin. The word usage in Genesis 2:17 indicates a sentence of death would be pronounced on Adam if he disobeyed. God was not saying Adam and Eve would die immediately but that death would certainly follow disobedience. Otherwise, if physical death was not a result of the Curse, God was pronouncing a judgment on Adam that seems like it was already going to happen. He says in Genesis 3:19, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This is part of the result of sin if we read it in context. Why would God pronounce this punishment on Adam if, in fact, it was already going to happen whether he disobeyed or not? Was He just wasting His breath?
Tyler connects this to animals dying and tells us, because creationists believe animals die as a result of Adam's sin, then they also can be saved by Jesus' sacrifice. A great example of his misunderstanding of the Biblical position is found in his reference to 1 Corinthians 15:21-22. Now, I don't know about Tyler, but if I'm going to make an argument against something, I try to understand what that something actually is. We've seen many many times that he really doesn't ever get the Biblical creationist position properly explained. I see Biblical creationists using this passage of Scripture to indicate man's death is connected to sin. I rarely find it being used to reference animals. Romans 8:19-22 would be a much better passage to connect animal death to the Fall. It clearly indicates everything is longing for a return to the garden—that creation was subjected to “corruption” as a result of sin. Verse 20 specifically indicates that creation was unwillingly brought into this mess. Sin has consequences, and they often times are not just brought on us but on those around us as well. It's one reason so many of the moral laws given to us by God directly affect other people.
Now, I have not begun to fully respond to this “question no young-earth creationist can answer,” but I'm slowly running out of space. I have more to say on the subject of death in general, human death, the curse of death, and victory in Jesus Christ. Next week we will complete this answer to this question Tyler has apparently never asked a Biblical creationist. If he had, or had he done a little research, he'd find that this is another question that has been thoroughly answered for a very long time by a large number of people.
by Steve Risner
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” ~Matthew 5:28
Dating is a serious issue inside of the church. Some say, “date.” Other say, “don’t date.” It’s an important question that needs answered, but it is only important for the sake of young people maintaining their purity throughout their youth. Whether a couple is officially dating or not, the question among young couples (and I suppose unmarried older couples, as well) is, “How much touching between the two is too far?”
I am about to lay down some very strict guidelines regarding Christians dating and touching. Before doing so, I want you to be aware that I do not claim that I achieved this level of purity while courting my wife, but this is the ideal among Christians and should be strived for among each couple. These standards have historic and Biblical significance and thus should be taken seriously. Having said that, it is possible to achieve this level of purity leading up to marriage. Successfully abiding by these standards will result in greater satisfaction once a couple is married, as their relationship will have always focused on pleasing God before pleasing themselves.
To answer “How far is too far?”: fantasy is too far. This is a difficult truth to deal with, but it is the truth. I can only speak from my experience as a man, but I do not know a male alive who has courted a young lady that did not fantasize. It almost seems as though it is impossible. Maybe it is. This is not to put burdens on people that are too heavy to bear, but to sober us before we judge young people too harshly for doing seemingly stupid things. Why do I start off with fantasy?
I do this to warn young ladies against doing things that might provoke their boyfriend to become switched on. Pardon me for the lingo, but I’m doing my best to keep this PG. It is important for young ladies to understand the vulnerabilities of young men in the realm of sexuality. I can think of three areas where both people in the relationship need to be particularly careful not to arouse lustful thoughts.
The first area is appearance. I would comment on how guys should dress, because I think boys have as much of a responsibility to dress modestly as girls, but I honestly do not know what or if girls become particularly tempted by the appearance of their male friends. What I can say is that mainstream dress for girls is horrendously thought provoking. I don’t say this to condemn how young ladies dress, but to warn them against luring the wrong types of guys. There is a trend in our culture of young ladies ending up with bad boys and having train wreck break-ups. Discerning males (if ever a thing existed) will attempt to avoid provocatively dressed women to honor God. Bad boys see the scantily dressed girls and say, “Game on!” The Apostle Paul wrote, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
The second area is touch. Girls, when you touch a guy in any sort of way, you unintentionally tap into his carnal instincts. The thought patterns of a guy once touched are, “She likes me.” If you hold hands with him, his thoughts are, “She is willing to be close to me.” Kiss him, and that’s pretty much all she wrote. There is no more rational thought at that point and you are running the risk of going all the way. Guys, physical touch is not necessarily wrong, but avoid it as long as you can. Ladies, avoid your urge to cozy up to your guy; you are lighting a match near gasoline. The Bible says to “Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Timothy 5:1a-2). Brothers and sisters do not engage in intimate physical conduct like lovers do.
The third area is private time. Avoid situations where the two of you are alone, by yourselves, with no one else around. Men’s natural instincts in situations like this are to go all the way. A guy thinks to himself, “No one will ever know. It’s just her and me. It will just be once. We’ll just see how she responds.” Girls that genuinely feel loved by their significant other will probably reciprocate more times than not if her guy friend advances. Private time should be spent in public and should be non-existent in private quarters until the two are married together. Proverbs 7 describes a scenario of a young man, walking down the street all alone, who is confronted by a prostitute. Neither have the resolve to run from temptation. But Joseph, in the book of Genesis (chapter 39), wisely runs away from a woman who is tempting him while they are by themselves. Granted, he was falsely accused and arrested, but that’s beside the point.
Fantasy is too far, and we must avoid creating circumstances that facilitate impure thoughts. If you set up proper boundaries in these three areas, you should be able to avoid most vulnerable situations. If you are able to keep your mind clean and focused on God, you will be able to appreciate the other person beyond your sexual desires. You will appreciate him or her for who God created them to be. We all fall short of these standards in one way or another, but the more pure you are leading up to marriage, the more satisfaction you will experience once you are married.
by Bill Seng
This week we’re taking a break from going through the book of Habakkuk to look at question that the ministry of Worldview Warriors has been asked regarding sex: “When I’m with my boyfriend/girlfriend, how far is too far?”
This is one of those areas that is difficult to give a specific answer on directly from the Bible, because this is not a situation that the Bible speaks plainly on. But, this is where we need to know the whole of Scripture and lean on the character of God for an answer.
Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” If you want to remain pure, whether morally or sexually or any other way, you must live according to God’s Word. That is pretty clear.
But how do we address this issue of how far is too far to go physically? There’s no verse that says, “Thou shalt not kiss before marriage” or “Thou shalt not touch that part of another person’s body.” But, we do see verses that are clear on sexual sin in general. For example, please read this blog post on what fornication is and how it is a sin. We are called to honor God with our bodies, and that means keeping them pure for Him.
Last week, when addressing the fourth “woe” statement in Habakkuk, I wrote about motivation. The question behind the question about how far is too far is motivation. Why are you even asking the question? Are you trying to see how far you can go and push the boundaries? If so, then your motivation is not righteous in God’s eyes.
If you’re asking the question of how far is too far, my guess would be that you have looked at your boyfriend/girlfriend in a lustful way. You wouldn’t be wanting to go farther physically if you didn’t have physical desire for that person, right? Jesus is pretty clear in His teaching on that: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). You have already sinned by looking lustfully at that person.
So if you’ve already sinned by being lustful, why not just go all the way while you’re already sinning, right? Wrong! As Paul writes in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” If you recognize your sin as sin, stop it! That may be difficult - check out Paul’s struggle in Romans 7:15-18 - but do your best to keep your motivation and your actions pure, because that’s what we’re called to by God.
Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are tempted to go farther than you ought to. Do some reading in God’s Word and decide where the boundary is before you’re in a tempting situation. Talk it over with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and make sure that you both agree to follow God’s Word in every aspect of your relationship. If that’s not something both of you are willing to do, then pray and seek God’s guidance on whether you should be with that person or not.
If you’re in a situation where you’d like some guidance from fellow Christ followers, feel free to contact us here at Worldview Warriors and we’ll do our best to help guide you along the path that God has for you.
by Katie Erickson
There was an old television commercial that told us, “You deserve a break today.” We have coffee breaks, lunch breaks, and afternoon breaks. During these breaks we fill ourselves with different kinds of food, coffee, and sodas.
How many of us make a priority of taking a break with God? Do we truly take the time each day to spend a much needed, crucial interlude with our Creator? If we could take just one of these breaks for food and drinks, that we think we couldn’t do without, and fill up on the word of God instead, I am convinced that our lives would be more focused and peaceful.
I would suggest that you consider the following. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Evaluate your daily schedule so that you might define the best possible time to take your daily break with the Lord.
Depending on the type of person you are, you might schedule your devotion time after everyone else is in bed, or on your lunch hour. Do whenever is best for you, but may I suggest that you try and be consistent with your time of day, so that it is easier to remain committed. Choose a quiet, peaceful, comfortable environment where you can bask in the presence of the Lord.
God desires a personal relationship with us. Meeting Him on a daily basis helps us fulfill our part of that bond, in which we grow in Him.
The most important break of the day is the one we spend with our Heavenly Father. Filling ourselves with His word, His love, and His guidance can help us become more like Jesus in our everyday lives.
The Bible tells us in John 15:5, “I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him he can bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.” If we meet God daily in prayer and Bible study, the Bible instructs us that we can do many things, but apart from Him we can do nothing. May I encourage you to take a break today with the Creator of the universe, so that you can fill yourselves with Heavenly blessings only God can provide for you.
by Ami Samuels
I have shared in prior blog posts about addiction and pornography, and how to face down those addictions. I shared those from first hand experience. If you want to get to the root of it, start with understanding this: the process of making people into objects in order to satisfy our curiosities or desires usually grows from having felt like we were someone else’s ‘object’ of ridicule or pleasure.
For some the trauma is obvious. For others, it could have been simple everyday ridicule that just penetrated our hearts and we let it rewrite our image or worth. Where I was ridiculed, rejected, and objectified by others, I also learned by example. That is the pattern for many who have been trapped by the addiction.
Read Habakkuk 2:15-20. If you have read the last couple weeks’ posts, you know we are in the middle of God’s woes (or warnings) to Habakkuk/Israel. These warnings are about drunkenness, voyeuristic (almost date rape) pornographic self-satisfaction, violence toward animals, violence toward people, and idolatry.
If you pause and think about what each of these involve, there are many common elements: control, power, self gratification, and celebrating or worshipping our own creations or accomplishments. The other thing they all share in common is that they destroy society. They turn people, animals, and gods into objects to be controlled and used for another person’s gain. This is somewhat of an extension of the previous woes, but far more personally destructive and deadly.
We don’t have to look very deeply into our culture to see the destructive nature of these same behaviors today. Idolatry may not look the same in regard to statues, but the are still many idols that people worship (money, sports, achievement, status) and would even kill over. So, we should be able to understand the warnings God is giving here.
However, this warning is more than just a “don’t do that” kind of warning. God finishes this segment by saying, “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” That word “silent” can be translated from the original Hebrew as “be still” or “stop it!”
That phrase “let all the earth be silent” is also repeated elsewhere in the Bible. In Zephaniah 1:7, it’s used as a command to stop and pay attention because the day of the Lord is near, a day of sacrifice for the faithful and judgement for the wicked. In Zachariah 2:13, it’s a command to be still because God has been stirred up to judge. So, if we apply that in the same way here, we hear God saying, “Stop it! I am about to judge you for your selfish and evil behaviors.”
There is hope in that statement. Hope that God would in fact step in and stop the downward spiral of drunkenness, pornography, violence, and idolatry of any kind. There is also hope because He gives the warning in a way that seems to suggest we also have a choice to stop it.
As long as we see other people as a means to our success or satisfaction, we perpetuate injustice, we deny God, and we put ourselves in place of Him. That level of power, control, and manipulation only leads to our downfall, individually and as a society. The objectifying of people is like a virus, and it easily spreads through those who are made objects, and through children who learn to follow their parent’s or friends’ examples. (As an aside: moms and dads, your kids do watch how you look at people, and they will learn your lust or bigotry, even before they understand what it is.)
To pull this together in one phrase: when man wants to be God, destruction follows; when man is obedient to God, blessing follows. So, the challenge is, “Stop it!” The hope is, “Stop it!” The promise is that God will heal where we have been broken, and where we have been trapped in addiction. He will also support us in undoing the damage, or judge us for perpetuating it. The choice is ours.
Will you love your idols or accomplishments instead of God, or love God for the life He’s given you? Will you love yourself by using your neighbor, or love your neighbor instead of yourself?
How you answer those questions will determine whether you are listening to the warnings and the hope God shared with Habakkuk, in his pursuit of justice.
by Nathan Buck
[This post is part of a series. The previous post is here.]
We’re on round 9 in this series dealing with Matthew Vines and his 10 Reasons in support of homosexuality with one more to go. Here is his 9th argument:
“From the beginning of Genesis, human beings are described as having a need for relationship, just as God himself is relational. Sexuality is a core part of what it means to be a relational person, and to condemn LGBT people’s sexuality outright damages their ability to be in relationship with all people—and with God.”
As I have been saying in this entire series: watch out for smooth words and appealing to emotion. Matthew Vines speaks the truth in his first sentence here. Yes, from Genesis forward, humans have always had a need for relationships. We should have all heard the phrase “no man is an island” in some way, shape, or form. Mankind needs to be in relationship with each other. No one questions that.
However, Vines oversteps his boundaries and his definitions with his second sentence here: that sexuality is a core part of what it means to be a relational person. That is not true at all. Being relational does not require sex at all. Sex belongs only in the marriage bed which I addressed in more detail last week. But this brings up a key question: What does it mean to be relational if sex is not a core part of it?
There are many different types of relationships; marriage is just one of them. We have relationships with our family, our blood. We have relationships with friends, in fact two types of friends - acquaintances and true friends. Acquaintances are those we love to hang out with but we don’t have that deep bond where we can trust them with even our darkest secrets. A true friend is someone as Proverbs says can stick closer than a brother. We have relationships with those we work with. We have relationships with those we live around. There are many, many types of relationships. And only ONE of these gets the privilege of sexual intimacy.
If sexuality is a core part of relationships, does Vines want to have sex with every person he is friends with, or with any of his family members? I better quit there, but I am dead serious when I ask this. If sexuality is a core part of relationships, how does Vines integrate this with his claim that he can have a “loving, committed” relationship with just one partner? I am pretty sure he is talking about just “marriage” between two men, but such a defense does not fit with this claim here. My point here is that if you have far more relationships that have nothing to do with sex than you do with those whom you would, then sexuality is not a core part of relationships. Keep in mind that in the previous argument about marriage, Vines claims that procreation is not a key part of marriage. Now he is saying sexual activity is a key part of ANY relationship. I hope you can see the problem here.
But there is another charge Vines is making. He claims that to deny homosexuals their sexual intimacy is to deny their ability to have relationships with others AND WITH GOD! I made that all caps on purpose. To deny homosexuals their “rights” to have sex hurts their relationship with God. I have to ask two questions: What relationship with God was there to begin with? And which “God” is he referencing?
Matthew Vines MUST defend his claim that homosexuality is not a sin, and on his website and in his main talk he never did. He just claimed it and tried to explain away the Scriptural references against it. Many Scriptures deal with sexual deviancy of all types, not just homosexuality. When one chooses to pursue a lifestyle that goes against what God clearly ordained, can said person have a relationship with God? Any relationship with God we have must come from Christ, and if not, that relationship is one of enmity and rebellion against him. Vines claims to be a Christian, but with what he teaches, I cannot simply give him the benefit of the doubt. There is a huge difference between struggling with a sinful issue and promoting it. Romans 1 does not speak kindly of those who do evil and approve of it.
Matthew Vines, in his talk, said part of Christianity requires “dying to self.” However, Vines is asking us to die to “our traditions and our sensibilities” and yet Vines refuses to do it himself. Part of Christianity is surrendering control over your sexual life to Christ and have him rule over it, something Vines would not dare consider without having to give up his dream. And I have to wonder what relationship Vines has with God. It’s clearly not one I see out of every other person I would be willing to stand in court and testify they are a born again believer.
It also makes me wonder which “God” Vines worships. MANY, many people today do not worship the God of the Bible who sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. They worship an image of God in their own making. They choose the parts of God they like and create an image of him that only has those parts, completely ignoring the other parts. They want a safe, loving, merciful “god” who just lets them live how they want to live, and to let them into paradise when it is over. However, this is not the God who Christians worship. The God of the Bible is good, but he is not safe. When we take sin lightly, we take God lightly and that never ends well.
So is sexuality a core part of relationships? I will stand and emphatically say “NO!” It is only a part of a particular type of relationship (heterosexual marriage) and any deviancy to that definition that God made is sin, rebellion against his ways, and abuse of that which God gave us. Any sexual activity, even in thought, outside of marriage, is adultery. It is a crime every one of us is guilty of in some way, shape, or form. And it is crime that makes all of us in need of a Savior. But Jesus did not die merely to save us from the consequences of that sin. He died to save us from that sin… period.
Matthew Vines, Jesus died to save you from homosexuality, not to give you the freedom to do it. Drug addict, Jesus died to save you from the grip of drugs, not merely from the consequences of doing them. Porn addict, Jesus died to free your mind from those images. Bitter person, Jesus died to free you from that anger. Gossiper, Jesus died to free you from your loose tongue. Lover of money, Jesus died to free you from greed. The list goes on. Jesus did not die to save us from hell alone. He died so we can be freed from sin, from the very problem and presence of sin. If we continued to seek and pursue that sin, however, I must ask, “Are we saved?”
Next week, I wrap up this series by dealing with Vines claims of if “Other Christians support homosexuality, you should too.”
by Charlie Wolcott
[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]
I am excited to finally begin answering these “10 theological questions no young-earth creationist can answer!” I am, however, very disappointed in the idea of this writing by Tyler Francke. Let me explain: he claims in the title that these questions are impossible to answer for a young-earth (Biblical) creationist. This would mean he's asked them all and I'm fairly certain he has not. In fact, I socialize with a few thousand Biblical creationists online all the time and have not found anyone who was asked any of these questions. It could also mean he believes he understands Biblical creation, which is a laughable idea based on his writings. That seems rather interesting, then. Also, in correspondence with Tyler, he confessed to me that he knew the questions he was posing were not impossible to answer but he sensationalized the title so his post would be read. Now, don't get me wrong—I'm all for making a catchy or interesting title. I do, however, feel led to be honest in the title of my blog posts. And the post itself confirms that he intends to (apparently dishonestly) lead his readers to believe no Biblical creationist can answer these deep theological questions (I say that tongue in cheek). Finally, if you search Google for “What was the tree of life?” (the first question he asks) you will come up with hundreds if not thousands of Biblical creationist responses. Truth be told, I didn't read them all but I browsed several and they all seemed to have good content. Here, when I thought I would be revealing ground-breaking theological responses to these impossible to answer questions, I find they've been answered by many for a very long time. Oh, well. Fame and fortune is lost. That's why you need to be honest in your titles. You get people's hopes up and my hopes have been crushed.
But let's seriously move on to this first question “What was the point of the tree of life?” (See my previous blog post here where I touched on this question.) This actually is a very interesting question. I was excited to read up on this. The tree of life is not only found in Genesis 2:9, but is also found in Revelation 22. To me, when we have this tree in the perfect garden God created for man to abide in and in the new earth that we will live in forever—at the restoration of all things—it provides a very serious issue for the Biblical skeptic (who still is a Christian, I guess). This is because if God is restoring all things to that perfect state but that perfect state is infested with disease and suffering and, finally, death, it doesn't really sound like “eternity” to me. It doesn't really sound like heaven at all. The truth is, the Bible tells us there will be no more death in heaven (because He will restore our dwelling place to be like the original).
Tyler starts with, “The tree of life... is one of the most baffling of the many problems spawned by the literal interpretation of the creation accounts. Literalists often pretend like the purpose of the tree is vague and unclear, but the truth is — unlike many things in Genesis 1-3 — the power possessed by the tree of life isn’t vague at all.” And he goes on to say, “Have a little nibble on the fruit of the tree of life and you live forever.” First, let me say that the “literalist” interpretation has been the leading and easiest one to support and has lasted for thousands of years. He's only inclined to feel this is a hard question because he wants humanism and Christianity to be married. This, of course, is impossible. Blending the Truth of God with the “truth” of humanism leaves us with something that's not true—much like blending fresh water with salt water. You no longer have fresh water but you still have plenty of salt water. Secondly, let me say that even if this was a hard question to answer in a Biblical fashion, it wouldn't really even mean anything. I mean, there are some difficult things we can find in the Bible. It doesn't make it any less true. But he says the purpose of the tree is very clear and that it is to make you live forever. Is that really true? Let's take a look...
Let's first make sure we understand it's impossible that anything, including the tree of life, could undo or overpower the judgment of God. He pronounced death on mankind because of their rebellion. Eating from a tree of immortality that would cause this judgment not to happen would mean the tree had greater power than God. That's a poor position to have, in my opinion.
However, if we look at the Hebrew text in this passage, we'll see something that may lend to our greater understanding of this text. You see, Genesis was not originally penned in English. In fact, Hebrew (the language it was written in) is very different than English, so sometimes translation is difficult. In this case, the word translated as “forever” in Genesis 3:22 can just as easily be translated “a long time” and it is translated that way in other verses of the Bible (see Isaiah 42:14). This may solve the problem right away, but we can go much further. If you feel that “forever” is a better way to translate this Hebrew word, that's fine as well. You see, God's mercy was such that, if this tree could actually give man life forever, he would live that life in a state of separation from God and would never have hope of rejoining Him. God's mercy, then, was to withhold this fruit so Adam would one day be able to walk with his Father again. I'm okay with either interpretation. This just highlights for me how willing Tyler is to disregard information. It would literally have taken him 3 minutes to discover this and this is just one issue with his question that “no young-earth creationist can answer.”
He states, “This presents a huge problem for the young-earth view, because they believe physical death was not part of God's original creation.” This isn't a huge problem at all. In fact, it's not a problem of any size at all and it's striking how much he doesn't really know about this stuff. Death was clearly the result of the Fall. This is why animal sacrifice was started. This was also why Jesus Christ had to die physically. If Christ did not need to die physically to pay for our sins, why on earth would He leave heaven's glory and allow human beings to torture and brutalize Him before murdering Him in one of the worst forms of capital punishment ever devised? Doesn't really make sense, does it?
“If the young-earth theology is correct, then this tree’s miraculous power served absolutely no useful function until after the fall of man.” This is obviously not true since Genesis 2:9 tells us “it was good for food” and not bad to look at as well like the other trees in the Garden. Did it have some sort of special ability to nourish the body? Maybe. Was it “miraculous?” Unlikely. But it was not the giver of life Tyler is making it out to be.
But it was also a symbolic tree. It was surely a real tree, but far more than this it demonstrated that God is the giver of life. This tree was placed in the center of the Garden much like God is to be the center of our lives. It was a physical tree, yet it stood for the blessing of the eternal life with God that He would give to the first couple and their descendants, if they chose to walk in obedience rather than rebellion. We find in the Word of God many “types” (representations) of Christ throughout its pages. The Ark, Abraham and Isaac in Moriah, etc. There are many examples and I believe the tree of life was another. It represents something on a spiritual level but is, itself, physical. Scholar Matthew Henry wrote in the very early 1700's: “There was the tree of life in the midst of the garden. Of this man might eat and live. Christ is now to us the Tree of life, Revelation 2:7; 22:2; and the Bread of life, John 6:48,51.” To reduce the entire thing to a mythical account to teach us some sort of truth makes God to be just a good story teller and His story of Redemption would be based on a fable. Since every reference to creation is in an historical context, I'll just lean on that and accept that the account is factual, accurate, and what God wanted us to know about how He created the universe.
Tyler ends this section of his blog post with another question: Where is the tree now? He answers it for us. If the Garden of Eden endured until the Flood, it was most assuredly taken away in the deluge. There's no way around that. I suppose it's possible the Garden is at the bottom of some ocean or in some cavern somewhere, but I highly doubt it. He seems to think that this tree was immortal which just makes me smile. This guy's theology is just atrocious as well as his logic. It's the sort of theology I'd expect from children. I don't intend that to be a mean comment at all, it's just that his Biblical understanding and his theology seems so naive and so “surfacey” that I can't understand why he wants to write about this stuff.
For an interesting read on the implications of eating from the tree, read Ravi Zacharius here on how far reaching and condemnable the act of disobedience was. Tyler wants to act like God was a big meanie for cursing all of mankind and all living things immediately after the Fall. Again, his theology is very shallow and he seems to think sin is really no big deal.
I personally wouldn't dwell on it too much, but the tree of life was a fruit tree that provided food for man. It was also symbolic of the God-centered life that we should be living—realizing that God is the giver of life. Next week, we get into why animals cannot be saved. Sounds like another fun one. Continue to pray for Tyler and for any theistic evolutionists you may know. They need the truth like anyone else.
by Steve Risner
“Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.” ~Habakkuk 2:18
Habakkuk writes about idols that are created by human hands that are granted power only in the minds of men. They have no real power and they have no real identity. They cannot speak. They cannot walk. Half of it is used to worship, and the other half is burned in the fire to keep its maker warm. It is in this idol that its maker finds comfort, because he believes that it is his created god that provides him with food, shelter, and protection. Because of the revolution in the midpoint in history (namely, the resurrection of Jesus) carved idols have not enjoyed as much popularity as what they used to have. Nonetheless, the civilized world continues to create idols in their minds that they can worship, adore, and put in them its full trust.
This idol is the “god” of secular humanism. It is a naturalistic religion that worships nature and the evolution of all things. After Christ established his movement that directed worship toward the one true God, superstition fell and along with it fell the notion that engraved images, which we call idols, were real gods. It was a wakeup call to the pagan world that their idols had possessed no strength and that if there really was a living God, he was invisible. So, to counter the movement of the one true God, secularism created an invisible, undetectable god of their own, complete with all of the doctrines that make a good religion.
Sometimes Christians will think of secular humanism in terms of religion, but not too often are its orthodox doctrines discussed. The next few paragraphs will outline the core doctrines of secular humanism and prove that it is a religious ideology. The four doctrines I will be discussing are their explanations for the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the end of the world, and eternal life.
The first of the doctrines is that of the Big Bang which describes the origin of all things. Without going into detail, it explains how everything that is material came from virtually nothing. This makes no sense in a materialistic sense (meaning the belief that everything that exists consists of matter, therefore there are no spiritual realms or beings) because matter must come from matter. That is why the most brilliant advocates of the Big Bang say that nothing is really something. What evidence do they have for this? Really nothing. There are a lot of really well thought out theories about this, but none of them are backed by any solid evidence. So, we are forced to say that the Big Bang is religious in nature.
The second doctrine is the creation of life through evolutionary processes. A lot of people think that this is a verifiable fact, but such a notion is far from the truth. In order to establish the evolution of life from non-life, such an occurrence must be observed either in a laboratory or in nature. Neither of these have been observed. Some might say that natural selection proves evolution, but even if it did (which it does not) it would only prove that living things can evolve into other things. This falls way short of proving that life evolved from non-life.
The third doctrine is regarding the end of the world. Secular humanism also has an end of the universe doctrine, but right now we are going to focus on their doctrine of the end of life on earth. This theory mostly revolves around the idea that pollution caused by mankind is rapidly destroying the environment, causing catastrophic climate change, which will eventually wipe out all life. There is no doubt that pollution can be detrimental to life, but more and more safeguards are being discovered in nature that deal with pollutants. It’s only when mankind pollutes an environment so mercilessly that nature has no time to recover that problems occur. But thus far, all of the data that has been gathered to prove that the earth will soon be uninhabitable has been proven false and, in some cases, totally manufactured through dishonesty. Catastrophic climate change can only exist in a world that is not brilliantly designed to cope with the needs of living beings. Because none of the doomsday predictions of secular humanism have come true (and there have been many), it must be acknowledged that this belief is also religious.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, secular humanism would now like to present to you its latest doctrine: eternal life. Evolution teaches that life is constantly achieving higher forms, thus it is believed that death can be done away with all together in a material sense. And how will we overcome the material curse of death in this world? One word: Google. No, seriously. Google says it’s going to give us eternal life. So, if you have faith in Google, you will live forever. For Google so loved the world that it gave its one and only search engine that whosoever would inquire of it shall not perish, but have everlasting life… or something like that.
If you don’t see the silly idol we’ve created yet, I don’t know when you will. I say on the behalf of religion, we sue (not really). Secular humanism has repackaged all of the makings of good religion for their own purposes. Their god is helpless and powerless. It is unproved and unprovable, making one’s belief in it as pointless as believing in a god that you have carved out of wood. There is only one God. He is full of power, love, and personality. If you seek him with your whole heart, you will find him, because he wants you to insomuch that he is actively seeking you. As the Apostle John once wrote, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).
by Bill Seng
“Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies! You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed! The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory. The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed human blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.
by Katie Erickson
Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:15-20) For the past two weeks, we’ve been taking a look at the first three of the five “woe”s in Habakkuk. These are judgments that God is pronouncing on the Babylonian people, who He is going to send to punish the people of Israel. These “woe”s are a lesson to the Babylonians, to Israel, and to us today. The fourth woe is in verses 15-17. The crime listed here is drunkenness, and more specifically the evil intention of wanting to humiliate others through drunkenness. Their evil motivation will cause them to have the same fate - they, too, will get humiliated. Again it is brought up that they have caused violence and shed blood, so the same will happen to them when they get judged by God. The key thing for us to take away from this woe is the idea of motivation. God knows our hearts, and He knows if our intentions are pure or not for any given action. Doing a nice outward action isn’t enough; our intentions need to be good as well. For example, let’s say I make my husband’s favorite dinner for him. That seems like a nice gesture, right? If I make that dinner because I want to show love for my husband and allow him to experience a nice meal, that is a good intention. But if I’m making the meal because I want to manipulate him to do something for me that he may not want to do, or if I’m grumbling about how he isn’t cooking dinner that night and I have to instead, then I would still be outwardly doing the nice action but my motivation is all wrong. We need to keep our intentions pure, and ask God for forgiveness when they are not. The fifth and final woe for the Babylonians is in verses 18-20. The crime here is creating and worshiping idols. While people who don’t know the one true God may see worth in these idols, in reality they are completely worthless and only cause people to be drawn away from God. The contrast here is that God is a living God, and He is in His temple. He’s not just some lifeless statue, but He rules over all of the earth. Idolatry is one of those things we as humans so easily fall into, because it’s typically not as obvious as bowing down to a statue. Anything we put as higher priority in our life over God is idolatry. Jason DeZurik has been writing a series on this for this blog; I encourage you to check it out, starting with his first post here. So, from today’s passage you have two things to consider: what is your motivation for doing what you do, and what are you worshiping? Are your intentions pure, and are you putting the one true God first in your life above all else? We all fall short in these areas, but if you remember these warnings to the Babylonians, you can at least recognize when your motivation isn’t where it should be or where you’re putting something else in front of God, and try to do better in the future.
by Jason DeZurik As I continue in my “little gods” series, I’d like you to consider the following. With all of the political banter and debate going on as well as our nation seemingly being torn more and more apart, I would like you to ask yourself the following question: Who do you put your faith, hope, and trust in? In the book of 1 Samuel, we see Samuel not only seeking the Lord’s council in giving the people of Israel a king or not but also warning the people with God’s warning about what will happen if they do have a king rule over them. You can read of the whole story in 1 Samuel 8. What led to this though? Well, we read in verse 3 of chapter 8 that Samuel’s sons, which he was about to make judges over the people, did not walk in the ways of God. They were not only dishonest men but “took bribes and perverted justice.” I’m guessing this made the people quite nervous and unsure of the future. So, instead of choosing liberty and God’s sovereignty, the people of Israel chose a different path of security and what they thought was safety, along with the shortcomings of a human being as their leader. In a day and time in our nation where the cult of personality is “king,” believers in Jesus Christ need to really seek and search out who we are putting our faith, hope, and trust in. Who do you trust? Do you trust people who will absolutely let you down? Or do you trust in Almighty God and His ways that have not only stood the test of time but have stood before there was time? Just like in Samuel’s day, I believe we are at a crossroads, not only in the United States of America but it is a crossroads that will affect much of the world we live in. Do I believe We The People in the USA need to lead? Absolutely, but we need to lead in the right way and be led by the right leader. We have a choice. We can choose the little god of safety and security, which will inevitably lead to bondage and slavery, or we can choose the God-given freedom and liberty that He so longs for, for each person that He has made. The choice is up to you, but it will affect others. Liberty, which will inevitably lead us down a path of risk and adventure. Is it perfect? No, but you will be free. or Safety and security, which inevitably will lead us down a path of bondage and slavery. This looks so inviting at first, but the price to liberty is quite high. Before you move on to something else, I’d like to challenge you with this thought: If you are only thinking about the political situation in the USA after reading this post, then you have partially missed the point. Partially. I encourage you to think about your own life, your life as an individual. Where have you as an individual given up liberty for the sake of feeling safe and secure? Perhaps, for you, this has been a great decision. Perhaps though you are thinking of something else that you could have made a different decision on and chose liberty over safety, and now you are realizing liberty would have been a better choice. Is this something you could work on to change? Is it possible that in this area of your life you could finally attain some liberty? Well, I encourage you to think about that and pray about it. Take time to read Galatians 1 for more to ponder on this.
I remember a few years ago some friends telling the story of their toddler, who loved to play in the bathroom toilet. He was fascinated by having a place to splash in the water, and of course watching the water swirl down the hole, again, and again, and again.
Beyond the mom feeling an added passion to ensure a constantly sanitized state for the toilet, and dad thinking about the water bill, both parents felt this was not a good habit to continue. They tried baby gates, buying fun toys to lure him away, and any other reasonable bribe they could think of. Eventually, one night they decided they would just remove him from the toilet each time he went in there. The next scene was one of dad holding a screaming toddler, who was desperately clinging to the edge of the toilet bowl and seat, while mom was trying to pry his little fingers loose. It was agonizing. He screamed and fought relentlessly to hold on to the toilet.
The good news is, they finally did train him away from the toilet and he suffered no weird diseases from his toilet time. But the mom and dad both reflect back on that, and how it was a profound lesson for them. They said, “It’s just amazing to think, how many times am I holding on to the toilet, while God is trying to pick me up and show me something good?”
In Habakkuk 2:9-14, God is giving “woes” (or warnings) from the example of judgement against the Chaldeans/Babylonians. (For context be sure to read the last few weeks’ posts.)
Look carefully at the two woes in this passage. One is about securing your own home/safe place, at the expense of other people’s safety. The other woe is about using the work of people to secure your own wealth. These both break the commandments of ‘having no other gods’ and ‘do not covet.’ In both of these, ‘self’ is being worshiped, and one person is gaining at the expense of another person’s well being.
How often do we see this happening today? Where do we see people being accused of doing this, when they really haven’t? Where are people doing this, while presenting themselves as the victim? (I’ll give you a hint, it’s all through the socialist agenda.)
What’s most interesting to me is in the midst of these two warnings, where God warns us not to secure our livelihood at the expense of others’ well being, He inserts a reminder of His promise. God’s promise is that, “The earth WILL be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.” Why is this important?
It is a reminder of His justice. Like the little boy who clung to the toilet, there will be a day where all of the stuff we have hung onto for ourselves is shown for what it truly is. There will be a day when our actions and the ways that we acquired our own security and safety will be stood up next to God’s glory and shown for how un-godlike it was. In the midst of these two warnings, God inserts a loving and firm reminder, “Please, let go of the toilet! I have so much more for you (and your neighbors) than this.”
God made us all to work, and for all of us to benefit from and be provided for by Him through our work. Taking the benefit of another person’s work to store up for ourselves, and securing our safety at the expense of someone else, is robbery from that person, and from God.
I challenge you to let go of socialist ideas that tempt you to feel entitled to whatever someone else has. But more importantly, I challenge you to believe God’s promise, that “the WHOLE earth WILL be filled with the knowledge of HIS glory.” Because if that is true, then I can trust Him to provide what I need, and also more than enough to share so that others will trust HIS promise too. I challenge you to move from clinging and screaming, to trusting and sharing.
What philosophies, business practices, retirement strategies, political affiliations, or social agendas have you believed that have caused you to store up for yourself at the expense of others’ well being? Or at the expense of trusting God? Are you even aware of how establishing your well being has affected others? Is what you are hanging on to really worth what you think it is?
What is one way this month that you can participate in God’s promise, by helping others know Him and benefit from His provision in their lives?
by Nathan Buck
[This post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]
I am now back to wrap up my series on Matthew Vines and his 10 Reasons Why the Bible Supports Homosexuality. I have three more posts to do including this one. Here is argument #8.
“Marriage often involves procreation, but according to the New Testament, it’s based on something deeper: a lifelong commitment to a partner. Marriage is even compared to the relationship between Christ and the church, and while the language used is opposite-sex, the core principles apply just as well to same-sex couples.”
This is an interesting argument and honestly, most people would not know what to say about this. I have seen a number of people stumble and stammer trying to find a response. The whole concept is so foreign that trying to process it really causes thinking malfunctions.
However, as I’ve been praying about how to address this, one thing came into mind. In order to call something “good,” it must be in full agreement with God’s standards. That means 100% agreement, a standard none of us can match. Because God is so holy and so perfect, it took a perfect, innocent ‘lamb’ to die in our place to take away what we truly deserve for our rebellion against God. But this also got me thinking about definitions.
When we define something, it has certain characteristics it must match or it is not that object. Geometry is a great example. Take the shapes of a square, rectangle, rhombus, and parallelogram for example. A square is a four-sided figure with all four sides being of equal length and with 90 degree angles in the corners. A rectangle is a four-sided figure with all corners at 90 degrees, however two sides are a different length than the others. A rhombus is like a square, however the corners are not necessarily 90 degrees, but all four sides are the same length. A parallelogram as a four-sided figure with two parallel sides regardless of length or angles of corners.
A square fits the definition of a rectangle AND a parallelogram. It however does NOT fit the definition of a rhombus. A rectangle fits the definition of a parallelogram, but being a rectangle does not make it a square. A diamond can fit the definition of a square, but it can also fit the definition of a rhombus. A rhombus has some of the characteristics of a square, but not all, and yet is also a parallelogram.
Now what does geometry have to do with marriage? Matthew Vines is suggesting we can define marriage generically in a similar way I described a parallelogram. The Bible describes marriage in the context of a square but his picture of a homosexual marriage is like a rhombus. Both squares and rhombuses have a lot of in common: four equal length sides, two sides parallel, and two other sides parallel. The only difference is that a square must have 90 degree angle corners and a rhombus does not. So likewise, a heterosexual marriage and a homosexual marriage are almost identical (according to Vines) except that heterosexual is male-female and homosexual is same sex. That’s the argument being made.
But do not get lost in the argument. There is a deeper issue at hand here. Vines is suggesting he can define a marriage other than what God gave. He thinks he can suggest marriage involved a “deeper” issue than what the Bible actually describes. This thinking puts Vines in a position where he is above Scripture. Who really gets to define marriage? Vines? The courts? A preacher? Or God? If God defines marriage, Vines’ definition goes and any definition that does not 100% comply to that definition is not that thing. What is this definition? Without going in to excessive detail, the key thing to point out is part of the definition is “male and female.” That means any definition of marriage MUST include “male and female.”
If God defines marriage like a square, then anything that does not completely fit the definition of a square is not marriage. A rhombus looks a lot like a square but because it does not have 90 degree angles, it cannot be a square. I mentioned before that Vines’ arguments tend to show hints of jealousy and coveting. He desires in a homosexual relationship that which God ordained for heterosexual relationships. Anything that violates that ordination is a corruption of what God intended. A homosexual relationship is a relationship, but because it does not fit the definition God gave, it cannot be a marriage.
If you look throughout the history of the Bible, one of the things Satan has sought to destroy over and over again is the institution of marriage. It started in Genesis 3. Satan maneuvered to get between Eve and her husband. Adam’s sin was far more treacherous than Eve’s because he simply let Eve go her way to death and then followed. Marital issues have occurred ever since. The family institution has been attacked every step of the way.
Today, divorce rates are right on par with marriage rates. Some say the church is the same as the world, however that stat is relatively misleading as these count total marriages and divorces, not WHO is doing the marrying and divorcing. One person marrying and divorcing four times counts as four marriages and divorces. That being said, divorce in the church is still incredibly high.
Divorce is not the only issue. Single parents are an issue, because the lack of a father is rampant, especially in the poorer communities. In wealthier communities, the father may be there but he is often not around because he’s working 80 hours a week. And now we have a Supreme Court that states homosexuals can get married. But can they actually define that? The answer is no. God defines marriage and anything differing is not marriage. “Commitment” and “loving” does not make a marriage. It is God that makes a marriage.
Notice how I have not addressed the issue of “committed and loving” in this post until now. That is because that really is not at the core of the argument. Committed and loving does not make it right. Samson was committed and loving with Delilah and where did that get him? David was committed and loving with Bathsheba and where did that get him? Into a lot of trouble. God can still restore us despite our sin, but we need to be seekers after God, his heart, and his character. You cannot do that if you are trying to redefine terms God clearly laid out.
Next week is argument #9, dealing with how humans are relational so homosexuality should be just fine.
by Charlie Wolcott