Judges 16:28-31

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 24, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Then Samson prayed to the Lord, ‘Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.’ Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years.” (Judges 16:28-31)

In our passage from last week, Samson set the stage for what God is about to do. The Philistines were having a big party to worship their god Dagon with more than 3000 Philistines in attendance, and Samson was put on display as their great prize. Samson got in place by the main pillars of the building, and that’s where we pick up today’s passage.

As he had previously, Samson once again called on the Lord for strength. He wanted to be obedient to God’s plan, and at this point in his humiliation, he likely realized (finally) that following God’s plan was the only way to get out of this. Delilah had cut Samson’s hair so that he had lost his strength, but his hair had begun to grow back. Samson likely would not have regained his full strength on his own, without God’s power back on him.

So what does Samson do? He brings the roof down - literally! He pushes on the pillars with all of his strength (and help from God), and the whole place comes crashing down, killing all of the dignitaries inside and the 3000 Philistines up on the roof. While Samson had killed many Philistines a few times before, this was his largest slaughter yet. It also came at the greatest price - Samson too lost his life that day. Samson would gladly die with the Philistines according to God’s plan rather than continue to live a humiliated life among them.

Because of this final act of faith, Samson was considered by the writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews to be a “hero of the faith,” in Hebrews 11:32. He is only mentioned very briefly, but he is there. Throughout his life Samson failed to live up to the standards of the Nazirite vow that was placed on him, but God still used him. Samson was ruined by his own lusts, but God still used him. Samson was an example of great potential of working for God, but he did not have true obedience to God or good character, but God still used him.

Samson did get revenge on the Philistines, but only in God’s timing and using God’s methods. I’m sure he would have preferred to kill thousands more of them in some spectacular way where he could live to receive at least part of the glory, but that’s not what God had planned. Samson had revealed the secret of his strength to the wrong person (Delilah), so he had to pay the consequences. God used Samson to be victorious over the Philistines.

Do you feel unworthy of God using you and your life for His Kingdom? Just look at all the ways Samson messed up, and I bet you won’t feel quite so bad. God can and will use anyone for His purposes, and all we need to do is be obedient to Him. Although, like Samson, we will likely still mess up and need God’s forgiveness. But if we are willing to be used by God in the method and the timing that He sees fit, He will do miraculous things through us.

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Answering God’s Call

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, April 23, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

As I sit here contemplating obedience, I wonder, how readily obedient are we to the call of God on our lives? Do we respond with obedience or excuses?

In Exodus chapters 3-4, we find Moses in the very presence of the Lord. When the Lord calls him, he answers, “Here I am!” But then we see 5 times (5 times!) that Moses questioned and tried to avoid the call on his life.

He starts out by saying, “Who am I?”

“Well, suppose I go, who do I say sent me?”

“What if they don’t believe me?”

“I’m not a good speaker!”

Finally, Moses says, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it!”

We see in scripture that the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, BUT He didn’t give up on Moses. He didn’t say, “Forget it, Moses, I will find someone else!” No. What he said was, “What about your brother Aaron, he can speak well. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth, and I will help you both to speak and teach you what to do.” I love this because, God is telling him that He will help you to speak and teach you what to do.

As humans, when God calls us to something much bigger than ourselves, we immediately think of our inadequacies and short comings. But God says, “If you answer my call on your life, I will give you words to speak and teach you what to do.”

Are we obedient to God’s call? Or do we, like Moses, have a laundry list of excuses of why we can’t do what he is calling us to do?

The next time you feel the call to step out in faith, pray, spend time studying Scripture, and seek wise counsel from a pastor or someone who knows and understands the Word. If you still feel called, don’t give God your excuses, give Him your obedience!

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Out of The Gray, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 22, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

[This is a multi-part blog post series. Please be sure to read the previous weeks, starting here.]

  A flashlight is a very simple and very practical tool. You only have to show a child how to use one once, and they immediately understand the value. When it’s dark, a flashlight helps us see clearly and move more confidently through the dark around us.

In the same way, we need Truth be our flashlight. Let’s go back to the book of Jude, as he shares the key to getting out of the “gray” and to dealing with the “gray” in our midst.

Read verses 3-4. Jude says we must contend for the faith. The Greek word he uses there for “contend” is epagonizomai – which means ‘struggle for the faith.’

This doesn’t mean to beat people over the head with religion. It means to know God deeply, and know how to share the Truth with others so they believe God. To “contend” in this context isn’t about protecting the religion. It is about struggling and fighting the “gray” - the lies and the deceit - in order to keep Truth in front of people. And as we do, people will have faith in God.

If you know anything about athletes who are contenders, they have a singular focus. CONTENDERS have a SINGULAR focus.

Do we have a singular focus on God’s teaching, the Truth He has given us? Do we do the hard work of knowing His Word and then keep His teaching in front of people? Do we connect His teaching to real life examples, so that people see the Truth and have faith in God? If we are committed to that, then we will have no room for gray in ourselves. We will need to make clear the gray that is all around us in the culture, and in the church.

Consider your focus this week. Who or what is at the center of your attention? That influence either clarifies or clouds your ability to see - it is either a flashlight or a fog. Ask God to show you which, and then come back next week to continue our journey out of the gray.

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Cowardly Heroes

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 21, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I wrote about legendary heroes and some of the aspects of the journey they take. Then I challenged you to think about what would happen if the hero refuses the call to adventure and will either not take the journey or not complete the journey. This is when the hero becomes what I will call a cowardly hero. Such a person is only a hero because he/she is the protagonist of the story. In some literary circles, such a person could be called an “anti-hero.” In other literary circles, this is when the hero becomes the villain of the story and the genre switches from adventure to horror. Now, horror is not “scare and freak you out.” Horror is similar to the tragedies of Shakespeare, where the protagonist turns darker and darker and it becomes a matter of survival.

In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker was the hero because he took the Hero’s Journey and completed it. However in the prequels, we have another hero: Anakin Skywalker. He was supposed to be the legendary hero above all other heroes. Anakin had the opportunity to go where no other Jedi could have gone and he refused. He did not cross the barriers heroes must cross, listen to his wise mentor Obi-Wan, nor did let his old self die to take on the role he was supposed to. As a result, he became the villain, Darth Vader. Let’s look closer into Anakin’s story and see how that applies to us.

Unlike Luke, Anakin’s journey took place over the three prequel films. He was an outsider, born of a virgin, a child with unsurpassable skills, yet held as a slave. He had the dreams of being a legendary pilot and hero, not much different than Luke. His call to adventure came when Qui-Gon Jinn found him and he followed the Jedi Master. Anakin trained for the next ten years but there came a moment of crisis that would force Anakin to make a choice. He went to rescue his mother but just as he got to her, she died in his hands. Anakin had the choice to rise up and be the hero, however, the problem Anakin had is that he never let go of his past. He tried to push through, but his anger towards all whom had wronged him continued to build up.

The critical moment came when Anakin sought to protect Padme from death, and Yoda’s wisdom was for him to let go of her and not to try to retain her. While the Star Wars history is more Buddhist in nature, this advice is actually the same advice Christ gives when he says, “He who keeps his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” Anakin’s downfall came when he had to decide between letting Mace Windu arrest Palpatine and save him so he could acquire the ‘power’ to save Padme. Anakin chose to save her and began the journey down the Dark Side. As a result, Anakin not only became a villain, but he lost everything he held dear including everything he tried to keep. Anakin tried going on the journey but he refused to let the slave boy part of him die and become the hero he was supposed to become.

How does this apply to us? As I said last week, every one of us is called to go on the Hero’s Journey with Christ. But not many of us finish the journey. It’s not just the heroes who refuse the call to adventure who become villains, it’s the heroes who fail to complete the journey. Every hero at one point or more is offered a chance to leave the journey. Luke had that chance. Han Solo offered Luke to join him in smuggling instead of facing the Death Star. Luke could have abandoned the journey and if he had, he never would have become the hero he is known as. When we quit on the journey, we are as Jesus described rocky soil or thorny soil. We are also as John describes as those who never were with us to begin with.

The problem Anakin had is that he refused to let go of his past life. He refused to go through the baptism. This is the same for any person who wants to follow Christ but refuses to let go of his selfish ways or refuses to let go of the worldly system he has grown dependent upon. Jesus said flat out he would spit such people out. You can’t have both self and Christ as the same time. Anakin held too strongly to his mother and wife. Jesus said if you put your hand to the plow and look back, then you are not fit for the kingdom. You can’t move forward in Christ and look back to your past life longingly. Are we willing to let go of those we love and leave them in the hands of God? About 8-9 years ago, I was with a mission group at a church in downtown Juarez, Mexico during the height of the drug cartel violence. The pastor there asked the director of our mission organization if he was killed if we would take care of his family. That’s no small request. He did not hold his family so tightly that he could let them go to do what God had told him to do.

A cowardly hero refuses to let go and seeks to control everything in his own power. He will not relinquish control to God Almighty. And here is something else: a cowardly hero will always compromise in some way, shape, or form. Anakin compromised with his romance with Padme. He was never supposed to fall in love. He sought every way he could to twist the laws to favor his situation to get what he desired. He took the command to be compassionate and interpreted it as “love,” so he said he was encouraged to love. He took what he knew to be true, twisted it to justify himself, and made it so he could take the very command against something to suggest it supported that violation.

The compromiser is one who tries to play hero without separating himself from the world or from his old self. I need to make one thing clear: a compromiser is never known for doing anything productive. The good side will reject him. The bad side will support him, but the whole time laughing at him from behind the scenes. Why? He’s advancing the bad side’s cause and doing nothing to advance the good side. The compromiser won’t even be known as a villain in the story, just as a failure for not standing on any ground, though they can become villain the more they turn toward the dark side. If you try to stand on both sides and bring them together in “peace,” you aren’t doing anyone any good. You can be a leader and be a compromiser, but you cannot compromiser and be a hero.

This is the same issue with the “open-minded.” An open-minded person is open to all kinds of different ideas, but they cannot be heroes because they cannot stand on something they believe, because they have to be open to contradictory ideas. A legendary hero picks his ground to stand on and refuses to move from that spot. A cowardly hero refuses to stand his ground.

Which are you? A legendary hero or a cowardly hero? You have been called to the journey. There are two outcomes: you become the hero of your life story, aided by Jesus Christ who is the ultimate hero, or you become the villain of your life story. You carry out the Hero’s Journey to its end and walk and carry out the true Christian life, or you bail out of the Journey and never reach the destination. Something you may want to read after this is The Pilgrim’s Progress. That story actually is quite similar to what this two posts have covered. Are you on the journey, or did you depart from it? I have good news. If you did depart, you can come back to it. Take the Hero’s Journey, but don’t let the world, the devil, or your own selfish flesh turn you into the villain.

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Christian Terrorists, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 20, 2017 0 comments

by Steve Risner

“Let's not bicker and argue over who killed who.” Christian terrorism or Christians attacking other people is a favorite topic of atheists and other unbelievers. Recently, a friend on Facebook shared an article about a Muslim who “schooled” a white supremacist about Christian terrorism. There was so much misinformation given (without a single source, mind you) that I felt it was a great topic for a blog post. So here we are.

This stemmed from this article, as I said, that was shared on Facebook. We all know that Facebook is a wealth of knowledge and most of the memes and articles we read there are documented, factual, and vetted for accuracy. My sarcasm level there was turned to 11, by the way. You can see a great number of atrocities and terrible “Christian” organizations that this person references as being equivalent to ISIS—a Muslim terrorist group.

First and foremost, there is something very important to note here that nearly completely eliminates the need for further discussion (although I will discuss it further since that’s why I’m writing here). This point is simple: Islam's founder promoted, participated in, and taught violence. The Quran records much of this, as do history books. Violence in the name of Allah is what the founder of the religion called for and did. The insanity of political correctness has revised much of this, but the truth is easy enough to find. Over the course of 1400 years or so, Islam amassed an empire far larger than the British Empire at its height. The hordes of Islam have been imperialistic since its founder conquered Mecca in 624 AD. He conquered lands in Arabia until his death in 632 AD. His successors continued to conquer and subjugate neighboring nations for the next millennium and more. This has been the norm since this religion's birth: bloody conquest. Conversely to this is the fact that Jesus Christ never promoted violence. Forced conversion is absurd and Christ never advocated it. Killing unbelievers is also not something Jesus taught or did. Christianity is a faith built on grace, love, and forgiveness. If a person kills in the name of Jesus, it's difficult to make the claim that this is in line with Christ's teachings. If our actions are consistent with the faith we profess or the teachings of the founder of our faith, we are acting in line with that faith. If our actions are inconsistent or actually the opposite of what the founder of our faith taught or our holy book teaches, then we are not acting in the name of that faith. Does this make sense? The bloody history of Islam speaks for itself.

In this article I've linked above, the first glaring inconsistency is that the person who asks for the list of “Christian groups like ISIS” is a white supremacist. There is no such thing as a Christian white supremacist. It's not possible to follow Christ and hate people, especially if that hatred is born out of something as irrelevant as a skin color. The Bible clearly teaches that racism is 1) a man made idea, and 2) absolutely foolish. So the fact that this conversation even occurred is puzzling to me. But let's move on to the content here of the claim of Christian terror groups.

Let me say here, as well, that my intent with this post is not to slam Islam. The point is to use this Muslim's claims about Christianity to demonstrate the point that misinformation about Christianity is rampant and the misunderstandings about Christianity are huge.

He begins with the slave trade between Africa and the Americas and Europe. The very curious thing here is that the slave trade was fueled by Africans, many of which were Muslims. The slaves that were bought and sold were most often from central and western Africa and were sold by other west Africans. They were sold to the Americas, Europe, and even Muslim nations. In fact, because the Muslims of north Africa were attacking American trade ships and enslaving their crews, the US Marines were born. So the first thing this person brings up is something his religion promoted. Let's be honest here: the Muslim faith promotes slavery if we can take the Quran and acts of its leaders as a representation of Islam. Slavery is not so consistent with Christianity—a religion of freedom and grace (although, again, due to misinformation or Bible passages taken out of context or twisted, the unbeliever likes to say the Bible is for slavery). But the telling thing in this man's claim is the fact that he says the purpose of the slave trade was to bring the “heathens to Christ.” This is obviously not true, especially in light of the fact that Muslims were heavily involved, but he's trying to manipulate the information he's shared to mean something no one believes it means to further his point. A sure sign of weakness in your argument is that you need to lie about it.

The next point he makes is Native American genocide. He again claims this was done in the name of Christ. I say this is nonsense. The early American government did send missionaries to the Native Americans and paid for churches to be built for them, but the Native Americans were not murdered for the glory of Jesus Christ. The tragedy of the Native Americans is a very dark chapter in the Unites States, but to suggest it was out of America's Christian heritage that these people had their lands, and far too often their lives, taken is absurd. Not to beat it to death, but killing the Native Americans in the name of Jesus (which didn't happen) would not be in line with Christ's teachings.

He then goes on to the killing of Aboriginal peoples in Australia, trying again to claim such tragic violence was the result of Christianity. Not so at all. Christ never promoted such acts and saying that this was an result of Christianity, simply because the nation responsible claimed to adhere to follow a Christian worldview, is nonsense. He also notes that “90% of their population” was killed by Europeans. I'm not exactly sure where he got this figure, but what I've found is that Australia had roughly 250,000 natives when Europeans made first contact. Disease killed many of the Aborigines. Europeans killed many, as well. But the figure I'm finding is there were at least 60,000 left after disease and war. That's closer to 75% and it includes those who fell to sickness. Again, embellishing the figures to make your point seem stronger is a sure sign your argument is hollow. An interesting side note here is that because of atheism and its love for Darwinism, Aborigines were caught and forced into zoos in the West because the evolutionists believed they represented a less developed form of human. I don't feel that the conquest of Australia or the Americas is the same sort of thing as the Islamic conquest of the entire world, which was their goal. The method and intent are very different.

That's all I wanted to tackle for this week's post because these were related in that none of these things were done in the name of Christ—not by a long shot. To suggest they were is absolutely insincere. The politically correct crowd has decided that 15 centuries of blood shed on the part of Islam is nothing to write about, but manipulating history to seem like Islam was the passive victim is the way to go.

Christ taught something very different than Muhammad. John records for us a new command from Jesus that He gives us. He says, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” There’s nothing in there about killing infidels or suppressing unbelievers. No killing in the name of God. No calls for beheadings. Jesus and Muhammad teach polar opposite ideas. The difference is easy to see, and you can see it in how Islam spread over the world and compared to how Christianity spread. The former spread by the sword; the latter in love. These are consistent with the teachings of their founders.

Next week we'll look at a few things that are brought up here concerning past actions that were actually done in the name of Christ. This will be interesting and I think you'll gain a new or fresh perspective on the topic of the Salem witch trials, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Crusades. Thanks for reading.

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Biblical Charity: Church Based Accountability

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, April 19, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

The church gets its money through the love and good will of Christian people. Therefore, they must add accountability to its benevolence programs.

We know that state-run welfare is riddled with corruption, fraud, and a lumbering bureaucracy, but it has massive bales of cash that it has taken from the middle class. The local church by contrast is quick and nimble in its decisions to help, almost no corruption and fraud (there are notable exceptions), but not a whole lot of cash. Only the church is really in a position to offer insightful accountability.

The apostle John records an occasion when Jesus fed 5000 people with five barley loaves and two fish. It was a miracle of multiplication that showed that Jesus was not limited by material. Merrill Tenney says in his commentary, John: The Gospel of Belief, that this miracle showed Jesus to be the master of quantity. But in purely economic terminology, this miracle shows that Jesus is not bound by scarcity.

Scarcity is one of the fundamental problems with the material world, and it is a foundational concern for economics. Basically, scarcity is the observation that there is unlimited human wants, but only limited resources to satisfy them. Even though the world has abundant supplies of some things, they are still scarce in the sense that they are limited. As my farmer neighbor replied when I wanted to buy more of his land, “Land, they ain’t makin’ any more of it.” Which means, if you want it, you’re going to have to pay for it. Just to reiterate: human wants are unlimited, material resources are limited. This is absolutely true unless Jesus shows up and does a miracle.

Since Jesus showed himself to not be bound by the law of scarcity, the crowd was very excited. Jesus could give them bread and circus, the two main pillars of population control at that time. He could show up and do his multiplication miracle, wow the crowd and feed them all in one fell swoop. John 6:14 says, “After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did… they intended to come and make him king by force.” So Jesus leaves them and goes to be alone with the Father, hiding himself from people. The people go around the lake to where Jesus was expected to be next.

Jesus does make it there the next day after a very long night. John 6:25-26 says, “When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, ‘Rabbi, when did you get here?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.’” He tells them what should be their focus.

My point in sharing this story is that Jesus miraculously disregarded the economic law of scarcity to prove to these people who he really was—God the Son, the One who fulfills prophecy. But did they believe and repent? No, they just wanted free food from then on. Jesus did not give into them. Instead Jesus preached a very hard sermon about who is going to be saved. He said only those who eat his flesh and drink his blood will be saved. Verse 52 says, “Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’”

This sermon was so hard not only did many people desert Christ at that point, many of his closest followers grumbled. Thus Jesus winnowed out those who truly believed and those who did not.

Jesus held the beneficiaries of the food distribution accountable to Biblical truth. We as his followers must do the same. We should pass out food and clothing while never forgetting that our primary responsibility is to hand out the Truth of the Gospel.

It is our love and care for people that opens up a door to hear the message of the Gospel. The government has taken over charity to turn the heads of the needy to them. Many look to the government for solutions to every problem including poverty, while fewer people look to God. God has the real answers and they are not merely economic. People need food, clothing, and shelter in emergency situations, but most of all they need real truth from heaven. Let us not go beyond Jesus.

At my congregation, we are very willing to come along side someone who is needy. We partner in a food bank, we give away clothing and sometimes money to people we do not know. We also would go the distance if one of the members of the church ever lost a job or needed a longer-term solution, because we have a relationship with one another. However, after the immediate needs are met, we do a financial assessment and outline steps of action, and we also share the Gospel. If they take our steps of action, we walk through it with them. If they do not respond to the steps of action, we cannot justify using other hardworking people’s money to sustain someone who is unwilling to cooperate, and we refuse to give them any more help. That is the right and Christian thing to do.

Jesus could have fed the 5000 every day until the day they died, but he wouldn’t do it. On day 2, all they got was the Gospel and not a crumb more.

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Judges 16:23-27

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 17, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, 'Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.'
When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying,
'Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.'
While they were in high spirits, they shouted, 'Bring out Samson to entertain us.' So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.
When they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, 'Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.' Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform.” (Judges 16:23-27)

If you want to catch up on what’s going on here, check out last week’s post. The short version is that Samson has been captured by the Philistines, thanks to him telling Delilah the truth about cutting his hair so that he would lose his strength. The Philistines have gouged out his eyes, imprisoned him, and humiliated him.

The Philistines attributed their capture of Samson to their god, Dagon, which is curious since it was clearly Delilah who helped them. But who is this Dagon?

Dagon was a Philistine idol, and his name means “little fish” or “fish god.” He has the body of a fish and the head and hands of a man, sort of like a mer-man. This image is one depiction of Dagon. Dagon was introduced to the Philistines from the Assyrians and Babylonians. The most famous temples of him are at Gaza (as here in today’s passage) and at Ashdod (1 Samuel 5:1-7).

Dagon was also noted as being the god of grain. This is pretty significant if you’ve been following Samson’s story. Remember the retaliation and revenge that occurred between Samson and the Philistines in Judges 15:1-8? One of the ways Samson wreaked havoc on the Philistines was to burn their fields of grain. Samson had dishonored Dagon, the grain god, in this act. It’s likely that the Philistines would have believed that this angered Dagon, therefore Dagon would have been out to catch Samson as well, which is why they praised Dagon for this capture.

Even though 20 years or so had passed, the Philistines still remembered what Samson did to them. All the things they did to Samson were to further mock and humiliate him. Even this festival was humiliating to Samson, since he was put on display to the 3000+ Philistines in attendance, and because it looked like Samson’s God had abandoned him.

At this moment in the story, things are looking pretty bad for Samson. He’s completely humiliated and both he and his God are being mocked. It looks like there’s no way Samson can be victorious over the Philistines now… or is there? Samson asks a servant to help him so he’s near the main pillars of the building, setting the stage for what is to come. Stay tuned next week (or read ahead in the chapter) to find out!

So what does all this have to do with today? Are you in a situation where perhaps it feels like all is lost? Are things going from bad to worse, with seemingly no way out? It can be hard when we don’t see the end of the story just yet. Wherever you’re at in life, and whether you realize it or not, God knows how this chapter will end for you. It may be the outcome you want or it may not be, but that’s not what’s important; what’s important is that God gets the glory.

In Samson’s life, God was not yet getting the glory at this moment, and the thousands around him were praising Dagon. While those around you likely don’t have a physical idol image that they worship, people are often falling into sin by worshiping things other than God. What is God inviting you to do about that? Near the end of today’s passage, we see Samson setting the stage for what God is about to do. He wasn’t just going to sit idly by and watch all of this Dagon worship; he was ready to do something about it, even if it came at great price. Even when all seems lost, God will still come out victorious, both in Samson’s life and in yours.

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


It Is Finished

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, April 16, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

I wanted to share this lovely Easter display that my good friend Julie Taylor has on the mantle in her home. As I sat in our life group a few weeks ago, I was drawn to the beauty and meaning that is represented here. I began to think about the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus, but my thoughts kept coming back to “It is finished.”

As I reflected on the Easter message, I began to think about the fact that if I were to ask fellow believers if they believe that Jesus died that horrific death on the cross for our sin, they would say they do. I also believe that a majority of Christians would say that they believe that on the third day Jesus rose again.

In regards to the phrase “It is finished,” I would venture to guess that most would agree that when Jesus spoke these words “It is finished,” we believe that He had fulfilled prophecy.

But do we truly believe it is finished? Isn’t it just like our enemy to trick us into thinking we have to control everything instead of trust? That we would worry and fret instead of having peace and rest, doubt and fear instead of having joy and faith. But if we truly believe it is finished, the enemy has no power over us!

There is a line from the Big Daddy Weave song Redeemed that serves as a wonderful reminder for us. It says, “Stop fighting the fight, its already been won, I’ve been redeemed.”

Jesus wins! As believers, we win in the end!

The Greek translation for this phrase “It is finished” is the word “tetelestai.” It was generally written on business documents or receipts in New Testament times to show that a bill had been paid in full.

It is finished!

This Easter, join me as we reflect on what Jesus has done for us: His death and resurrection. We should not lose sight of the fact that because of His ultimate sacrifice, “It is finished” - the debt has been paid in full. The enemy has no power over us as long as we are in a right relationship with the Lord.

Take a few minutes to look at all the objects in the above picture and the meaning found there. What a powerful avenue to share the Easter message with our family, friends, and neighbors without saying a word.

Easter Blessings,

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Out of The Gray, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 15, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

For context on this next series of blog posts, read my previous posts "Are You a Gray Hat?" starting here.

There was something I learned in criminal justice courses in college, and I found it to be true in every sphere of life. Someone who uses the letter of the law to undermine the spirit of the law is still a lawbreaker. Why is that important to us today? Well this thought touches the focus of this series of blogs as we explore how to get out of the "gray" way of living.

Look at the book of Jude. It’s one chapter, 25 verses. And in it Jude not only confronts the "gray" we live in, but he shows us how to deal with it and escape it.

Read verses 1-2. Right there in his greeting he says he is a “bondservant” of Christ. This is someone who is a slave by choice. Slaves in Jesus’ day were not slaves in the same way as we have known them in American history. Yes, there were people who were forced to be slaves, but typically salves in Jesus’ day were people who owed a debt and were indentured. These people had to serve as a slave until they had paid the debt. Slaves were to be cared for by their masters then released as a freedman when the debt was settled.

A bondservant was different. They were someone who was free, but chooses to bind themselves as a servant to a master, for life. They and their family would serve that master as long as the bondservant (or the master) lived. They would usually pierce their ear with something to indicate their status as a bondservant, and they were well cared for by their masters.

If we call ourselves Christians and Christ followers, are we just are we following Him through religious habits, or are we dedicated to Him above all else? Have we satisfied the technicalities of “getting saved” in the Bible, or are we living out the Spirit of that? Are we like Jude, a bondservant? If not, there may be a whole lot of gray we need to deal with. 

Take time this week to consider who or what you really serve and how that displays what you believe. Come back next week and continue exploring how to get out of the "gray" in the next part of this series.

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Legendary Heroes

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 14, 2017 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Stories of great heroes are a staple in any generation and any culture. Some of you know that I do more than just write for Worldview Warriors; I am also a published author. In my learning curve about writing novels, I met a really good friend at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (I am serving as one of the faculty at this conference this year) who taught two workshops that changed how I look at writing fiction. Those two workshops were titled, “The Ministry of the Villain” and “The Hero’s Journey.” To have a “legendary” hero, you need to know how to use both.

“The Hero’s Journey” was taken from Joseph Campbell’s The Hero of A Thousand Faces, a study on every story that withstands the test of time. In Campbell’s study, he noted that all of these studies have four key characters and 17 common plot points. Campbell had an extremely loyal student working on some sci-fi story and kept going back to him to make sure he had this “Hero’s Journey” right. That student was George Lucas and the story was Star Wars. The four characters of this Journey are: Hero, Anima, Villain, and Wise Mentor. Three of those are quite self-explanatory, but the Anima often is not. The Anima is essentially the “damsel in distress,” the hero’s equal and opposite gender and is an ideal representation of the world that needs to be rescued.

“The Ministry of the Villain” workshop wrecked my world and how to use the villain of a story to address that wicked sin that you either cannot bring up in your circles or won’t dare bring to the light. Take that evil and personify it into a villain that will meet his justice or redemption. A key point made in this workshop is that it is the villain that makes the hero the hero. No story is of any interest if there is no villain to overcome, no challenge to beat.

With that said, there are certain things about the hero of the Hero’s Journey that makes him a hero and I will need two posts to address them. Today I will address what makes a legendary hero, the heroes that will be remembered for all time. Next week, I will address what happens when the hero of a story refuses to go on the journey. So what makes a legendary hero?

First off, in order to be a hero, the protagonist must be an outsider to the world he seeks to rescue. He cannot belong where he is. He does not fit in with everyone else. Let’s use Star Wars to illustrate. Luke Skywalker was left on the forgotten planet of Tatooine, the farthest planet from the bright center of the universe. He was raised as a farmer, but never fit it. He longed for the journey, the adventure.

Princess Leia, on the other hand, was deeply rooted in the world system. She was active in the Old Republic and one of the point people of the Rebellion. She was the best of the best that the world that needed to be rescued could offer. She had the best weapons, the best strategies, the connections, she was the image of what the Rebellion and what a free people was to be. Yet, Leia could not rescue the galaxy from the Empire. She was too entrenched in the world to be able to do it. It took Luke, an outsider who was not part of the system, to come rescue her and then destroy the Death Star.

The hero also requires assistance from a “Wise Mentor.” Luke received the message for help from Leia and when Obi-Wan offered for Luke to join him, Luke immediately refused it. He could not go save the world because he had “work to do.” What did it take to break Luke free from the farm? The destruction of the farm. Every hero tends to suffer some form of tragedy to get them started on their journey.

Another phase of the Hero’s Journey is a “baptism of fire.” This is the point in the story when the life of the old hero finally dies and he wakes up to claim his role. In Star Wars, this moment took place in the trash compactor. Luke was no longer a follower in the journey and began to take his role as a leader. When a hero goes on his journey, his old life must be put aside and his role as the hero must be fully embraced.

There is more the Hero’s Journey but I don’t just want to give a lesson on the journey. I also want to apply this to our lives. God wants us to take this journey. All three of the points I bring up directly applies to the Christian life, and if you study the Hero’s Journey as a whole, you will find even more similarities to how we should be living our lives. God does not want us to live lives where we are just part of the system who believes in him. He wants us to live heroic lives - bold, adventurous, and overcoming the villains we face. It’s a commonly cited verse but very rarely actually applied: Romans 8:37: We are MORE than conquerors. Eric Ludy, in his book Wrestling Prayer, challenges our generation to be as David and his Mighty Men, a generation of heroes and warriors for the Kingdom of God. But let’s briefly look at these particular steps in the Hero’s Journey and how it applies to us.

We have to be outsiders. We can’t be in and submitted to the world’s system. The Hero came to save a world from the hands of evil. If we are under the world’s system, how can we save it? Jesus was not of this world. That is why he could be that hero. He asks us to join him and be as David’s Mighty Men were to David. The Mighty Men were known because of David, and we should be known because of Christ, not because of us. But we cannot be in the system if we are to battle the villain holding it captive.

We need help getting started on the journey and very often, God has to grind us to powder to do so. It takes an emotional or physical tragedy that forces us out of our seat of comfort, or more accurately put, our seat of familiarity. We so often resist this because we don’t want to experience the pain of suffering. Yet it is often necessary because it gets rid of that self, that spiritual ‘flab’ that hinders us from getting up and getting something done. If we are not willing to be broken and go through tragedy, why should we expect God to use us to make us a legendary hero?

This journey God calls us on is meant to take us out of our comfort zone for good, not just to go on this journey and then return to our selfish, self-centered lifestyle. When Luke entered that trash compactor, the farm boy died and the Rebel leader and Jedi-to-be was born. When we go on this Hero’s journey with Christ, our old self is to die and the new self is born. We will never go back to that old life… and we will never want to.

Are you willing to go on this journey with Christ? Many do not want to because they know the cost and they don’t want to pay it. They value their lifestyle and their comforts too much. However, I have a stern warning. I alluded to one of the phases of the Hero’s Journey above called “The Refusal of the Call.” Every hero initially refuses the call to adventure, despite wanting to do something more than what they are currently doing. But what happens if the hero does not punch through that barrier and start the journey? What if the hero does not complete the journey? That hero becomes not a legendary hero, but a cowardly hero. And there are dire consequences when this happens. Stay tuned for next week’s post.

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So Easy a Caveman Could See It

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 13, 2017 0 comments

by Steve Risner

In last week's installment, we looked at the obvious nature of design when it comes to living things or life in general. You would think a person was crazy or on drugs if they told you your smart phone was the result of random, undirected processes that involved no planning or forethought. Your smart phone is actually quite dumb when compared to the workings going on in every cell of your body, let alone the immense coordination of all the systems that make up your totality. To suggest all that came about through mindless, uncoordinated processes is ridiculous. We exposed some of the statements evolutionists have made where they either accidentally call living things designed or where they marvel at how complicated the “programming” of a living thing is and still want to call it a wonderful accident of nature. Let's look at some more things that have been stated on this topic of design:

Voltaire was no friend to Christianity, himself being a deist. But he interestingly said, “We are intelligent beings: intelligent beings cannot have been formed by a crude, blind, insensible being: there is certainly some difference between the ideas of Newton and the dung of a mule. Newton's intelligence, therefore, came from another intelligence.” It's nice he mentioned Newton, even though he and Newton would have disagreed on quite a lot, especially in regards to Christianity. Newton is regarded by many to be the greatest mind science has ever known. He lived long before the IQ test was a thing, but many believe his intelligence was at least as great if not greater than Einstein's. Voltaire, who was not a Bible-believing Christian at all, saw the absurdity in believing that human beings were nothing but the result of “blind, insensible” natural processes. A Designer is required, simply put.

Many argue that Intelligent Design (ID) cannot be scientific because it stands on the Bible or some other sacred text as its foundation. It's true, for me anyway, that the Bible is the absolute authority on matters. When the matter is origins, it undoubtedly should be the final authority for a Christian. But the fact is that design in living things is so obvious, that it IS scientific simply because it's observation nearly goes without saying. This statement by Michael Behe, PhD puts it very well: “The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself—not from sacred books or sectarian beliefs. Inferring that biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent is a humdrum process that requires no new principles of logic or science. It comes simply from the hard work that biochemistry has done over the past forty years, combined with consideration of the way in which we reach conclusions of design every day.” A remarkable thing can be found reading the above Wikipedia link. The school Dr. Behe teaches at says this: “While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.”

This demonstrates the terror that ID strikes in evolutionists. They cannot tolerate a rival idea. As such, they will sling mud at any idea contrary to Darwinism and will even attempt to reduce it to being unscientific simply on the merit that it is at odds with evolutionism. This isn't science at all. This is consensus and is anti-science. I've written on this as well in the past, but it cannot be stressed too much or too frequently. The insecurity of evolutionists is striking and they don't even seem to care that their primary weapon against dissension is shunning or public ridicule. There are many examples of this, including the above mentioned statement by Lehigh University. Dr. Behe's statement is spot on. Design isn't something we arrive at simply because the Bible says so, although we certainly do come to that conclusion based on the Bible. Design in life is an obvious observation that nearly anyone of nearly any age can realize.

William Dembski states the simple nature of the issue: “The fundamental claim of intelligent design is straightforward and easily intelligible: namely, there are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained in terms of undirected natural forces and that exhibit features which in any other circumstance we would attribute to intelligence.” The idea that nature (never mind where nature came from) accidentally built a wide variety of extremely ingenious designs in the living world, including multiple super computers and sensors without any idea what it was doing goes beyond logic and reason. All scientific experiments on the origin of life have come up empty handed in providing a viable way for life to arise from non-life. Even if they did stumble onto a method by which they built a living thing in a test tube, they would be proving ID is required and in no way would be able to support that such a thing happened accidentally in eons passed. DNA is a wonder in and of itself and is so complex we cannot begin to rival its sophistication and scale.

Last week I mentioned the bacterial flagellum and how it, as “simple” is it may be, has some 40 different parts that would need to be accidentally made at the same time and in the proper sequence for the thing to work. This is also the case for the clotting cascade. Have you ever wondered about your blood's ability to clot? It's actually pretty fascinating and absolutely necessary for life. If we didn't have this ability, we'd all be dead. But if our blood clotted randomly all the time, we'd also all be dead. The balance is essential and how something with over 20 different sequential components to it randomly and accidentally just popped into existence is a thing of fairy tales. If it works “too well” we die from stroke or some other form of blockage. If it doesn't work well enough, the smallest cut can easily result in us bleeding out. It has to work correctly and had to since the dawn of the first organisms with a circulatory system.

This same idea is true for an endless number of different things in the living world. You may hear perfectly arranged stories as to what may have happened for these amazing anatomical and physiological things to exist, but no evidence exists for such stories. I guess there's no evidence beyond the fact that these things do exist—the bacterial flagellum exists, the clotting cascade happens, etc. The evolutionist, because he or she has already determined that evolution has happened, will say some such made up story as to the origins of a structure or function must be correct. In fact, quite often it will be presented to us as though they watched it happen and are are reporting on what they saw. Their arguments quite often boil down to, “I'm here. We're all here.” And they'll end it up with, “Therefore, evolution.” They'll arrange things in groups or lineages or trees or whatever and act as though they've presented discovered facts when, in truth, they've only discovered that they can arrange things in groups or lineages or trees and nothing more. They've agreed before looking at any evidence that evolutionism is a fact, which will result in them interpreting all the evidence to support their origins myth or claim any evidence they cannot incorporate into their myth as unscientific.

We've touched a little on irreducible complexity and specified complexity in these two posts without getting into a great deal of detail. These ideas are clear and easily seen in nature. Irreducible complexity is the idea that something, when it is broken down into its simplest form, is still marvelously complex and could not have arisen by random, undirected, uncoordinated processes—like the flagellum or clotting cascade. Specified complexity is a little tougher to tackle, but the idea is explained by Dembski this way: “Life is both complex and specified. The basic intuition here is straightforward. A single letter of the alphabet is specified without being complex (i.e., it conforms to an independently given pattern but is simple). A long sequence of random letters is complex without being specified (i.e., it requires a complicated instruction-set to characterize but conforms to no independently given pattern). A Shakespearean sonnet is both complex and specified.” While we can find lots of shouting down of such ideas, the merit of the arguments against such things is void of much intellect at all. Again, when something counters the evolutionism world, it is mocked and berated and called unscientific. Interestingly, Behe responds to such attacks with, “It might be tempting to imagine that irreducible complexity simply requires multiple simultaneous mutations - that evolution might be far chancier than we thought, but still possible. Such an appeal to brute luck can never be refuted... Luck is metaphysical speculation; scientific explanations invoke causes.” There is nothing scientific about Darwinism beyond the observation that there is biodiversity—a variety of living things on earth. Mutations happen. Organisms that survive pass on their genes more frequently. None of these ideas is unique to evolutionism. None of this leads to evolution from a single common ancestor unless you're already committed to such an idea before viewing the evidence.

Before the attack of “quote mining” is used here against these writings, let me be clear here on what a “quote mine” is and is not. A “quote mine” is taking something out of context for the purpose of making it appear the one making the statement meant something completely different than their intent. A “quote mine” is not taking a quote and exposing the person's inconsistency within their own philosophy. No ideas were presented here that were intended to mislead anyone into believing any of these evolutionists quoted were supporting ID. They seem to by their statements, but we know they do not. Thanks for reading and please leave a comment.

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You Feed Them

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, April 12, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

Till now I have been mostly focused on what Biblical charity is not. As I begin to demonstrate and affirm what Biblical charity is, it is important that you are divested of the notion that the government can mediate Christ’s will for the poor; they can’t. Government has to concentrate power in order to provide anything that the poor need, and since they manufacture nothing and grow nothing, they have to take it from someone else. But unscrupulous people buy that power after it is amassed for their own purposes. This is the heart of oppression.

Another notion that you are hopefully divested of is that people can be forced to be better. The nefarious “social gospel” thought that they could legislate virtue. But if the New Testament teaches us anything, it’s that legislation is weaker than our own sinfulness (see Romans 6-8); if we are to be good, we need something better than laws.

When I say that you cannot be forced to participate in redistribution schemes, that does not mean that I believe we have no moral obligations to Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, your moral obligations supersede being legally right (Romans 8:12).

When Ezekiel described the new covenant that God was going to make, he says “I will” 10 times; moral goodness is a creation of God in the hearts of those who put their trust in him. It is because God acts that goodness results. People cannot save themselves, nor can we save each other, whether through laws or some other way. We must be changed by God! One of the ten “I will” statements is, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). If you take a stone from the bottom of the sea, and though it has been there for 10 centuries, when you break it open it is dry inside. Stone is not penetrated by water. In the same way, the human heart can be submerged in a Christian culture and yet remain obstinate toward God. A stone heart does not respond to God and cannot respond to God (Romans 8:5-8). Jesus accused the Pharisees of plastering over a heart that did not love God.

Furthermore, in the next “I will” statement, God says, “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:27). God promised that he would do ten things to change our nature under the new covenant (Christianity), and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was one of those things. This is what makes it possible to live for God! This is what we call being born again. Why would you want to revert back to oppression and violence to achieve Christ’s will? Christian, follow Christ; he did none of those things.

So if we cannot force others to pay for our programs, if we cannot collude with governments, what do we have left? Everything. We have been entrusted with the ongoing mission of Christ. We carry on everything that He did. The local church is the hope of the world!

In Matthew 14, we read how differently Jesus did things. Great crowds were following Jesus at the time, and he taught them till it was too late for them to go buy food and get back safely. The disciples said to him, “Send the crowds away because it’s already late so they can go to the village and buy themselves some food.”

But Jesus told them, “You give them something to eat.”

The disciples were floored of course. How was this even possible? Should we appeal to Herod for some bread? Never. Shall we demand that the villagers give up a little bit from each of their own homes so we can give some of it to the crowd? No! Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.”

Understandably, they say, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” They rightly knew that the task was greater than their ability. But what was Jesus’s solution?

“Bring the loaves and fishes here to me,” he said. He then gives them specific instructions, which the disciples follow, resulting in the miraculous multiplication of the food. The result is that God is glorified and there is abundance. Jesus calls us to work in a different way. We cannot please God or advance the kingdom of God through worldly methods. Hebrews 11:6 says that “without faith it is impossible to please him.”

In order to do our Christian duty to the world, we must rely on Christ’s power and methods. They are supernatural in nature. “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14). If we try to bring about God’s kingdom using worldly methods, we will fail every time.

“You feed them.” Christians, our Lord has called us to take care of the poor, to preach the gospel to them, to pray for them. “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3).

Let us start food pantries, financial counseling, clothes closets, hospitals, orphanages. Let’s do all of these things in the name of Jesus! George Muller started all those orphanages first of all to preach to the materialistic British people of his day the message that God is a better provider than money. Secondly, he was deeply concerned about the plight of orphans. American Christians started most of the hospitals with no government help. And then later denominations lost those hospitals to an avalanche of regulation and paper-pushing to satisfy the bureaucracy in Washington. We were all better off without the secular “help.”

In spite of the fact that the secularists and statists take so much of our money away from us, we still have a moral obligation to our Lord to carry out his objectives on the earth. If we modern Christians have five loaves and two fishes and the tax man takes two loaves and one fish, our situation of being hopelessly dependent on God has not changed. Three loaves and one fish can feed a multitude as well as five loaves and two fish when Jesus Christ is doing the math for you. Let’s remember that.

Next week, I will write more about Biblical charity. Blessings.

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Judges 16:15-22

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 10, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Then she said to him, 'How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.' With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything. 'No razor has ever been used on my head,' he said, 'because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.' When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, 'Come back once more; he has told me everything.' So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, 'Samson, the Philistines are upon you!' He awoke from his sleep and thought, 'I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.' But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.” (Judges 16:15-22) Check out last week’s post for the situation that’s going on here. Samson has fallen in love with Delilah, and she has been promised a fortune from the Philistine leaders if she can find out the secret to Samson’s strength. He’s already lied to her about it 3 times, and now she’s getting rather frustrated with him.

But Delilah still wants the fortune that was promised to her for revealing the secret, so she keeps it up and keeps nagging Samson about it. This is definitely not a healthy relationship between Samson and Delilah. It obviously is not based on mutual trust and respect, since she’s been bribed to betray him and he keeps lying to her. On top of that, she’s nagging him about finding out his secret rather than respecting his privacy on that matter.

Remember what happened back at Samson’s wedding to the woman from Timnah? Because of his wife’s nagging, he gave in and told the answer to his riddle, causing him to lose a bet. In this situation, the same thing happens. Rather than break off his relationship with Delilah, Samson gives in to her nagging and reveals the secret to his strength.

From previous chapters, we know that Samson had been careless about 2 of the 3 parts of his Nazirite vow (drinking wine and being around the dead), but it appears that he had been faithful on not cutting his hair. This may have been the most important part of the vow, since the angel who announced Samson’s upcoming birth to his parents spoke of it specifically.

So Delilah realizes that Samson is finally telling the truth, so she gets the Philistine leaders back and cuts Samson’s hair in his sleep. At first Samson thinks all is well when he wakes up, but then he discovers that his strength really has left him, and so has the Lord.

Samson was quickly captured by the Philistines, his eyes were gouged out, and he was imprisoned. Loss of eyesight was considered a terrible curse for Israelites, so this is a very big deal. They gave him the task of grinding grain while imprisoned; grinding grain was usually women’s work, so this added to Samson’s humiliation. As time went on his hair began to grow back, and the Philistines likely allowed that so they could use his strength for their benefit when it returned.

Samson reaped what he sowed. He was apparently so full of himself and so confident in his abilities that he didn’t think he’d lose his strength when his hair was cut, or else his fleshly desires for Delilah got the best of him. Either way, he turned against God so God turned against him.

Where are you giving in to temptation in your own life? Is there something that you’re trying to resist, and you’d be a lot better off if you just walked away from it? Samson would have been better off if he had just walked away from Delilah’s temptations, but instead he gave in and reaped what he sowed. What are you sowing in your life that you’ll end up reaping the consequences for? Ask God for the strength to turn away and get on His right path for your life.

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Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, April 9, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

Do you have certain behaviors or things that you do when you are stressed? When I am anxious, I catch myself biting the inside of my lower lip or holding my breath.

When my mom was in the hospital dying of cancer, my family and I watched helplessly as our loved one slipped away from us, little by little each day. As horrible as that day was, we knew that the next day would be worse, and it was. During that difficult time, I remember catching myself biting my lower lip and holding my breath, reminding myself to breathe. Just breathe and survive the moment.

I can relate to the words of the Jonny Diaz song “Breathe”:

“When the stress is on the rise
In my heart I feel you say
Just Breathe
Just Breathe
Come ad rest at my feet
And Be
Just Be
Chaos calls
But all you really need
Is to take it in fill your lungs
It’s the peace of God
That overcomes
Just breathe
Just Breathe”

Philippians 4:6-7 instructs us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Maybe today you aren’t dealing with a life or death situation, but rather you are worried about something, wracking your brain for an answer, trying desperately to find a solution.

God wants you to breathe, just breathe, resting in the knowledge that He has you and your situation, whatever it is, in the palm of His hand.

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


Are You a Gray Hat? Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 8, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

[This blog post is part of a series. Read the previous post here.]

The last two weeks I have been writing a series, using the hacker imagery of “gray hats.” Be sure to go back and read the previous blog posts by clicking here and here.

So, what if we think we are doing good, because the culture says something is good? What if we are just joining in the Facebook and Twitter frenzy on an issue and trying to help convince other people of what we think is good? What if we think the Bible is “old fashioned” on some principle, and we just want to find a way for people to be happy with their life?

Read Psalm 1 (again). The end of the psalm says that the wicked will not stand on the day of judgement before God, and they will not be able to stand in the crowd of those who have followed God with their life. Why? What are they missing? If they thought they were doing good, why would God not pardon that?

If anyone decides to rewrite God’s teachings to fit their perspective of the culture, then it is no longer God’s teaching - it is theirs. And they do not have the ability to see all outcomes, to know what is truly good and what may only seem good at the time. Truth and facts don’t always feel good, but they are right. And in their correctness and accuracy, they are good guides for decision making, even if we don’t like the facts or don’t feel good about what the truth reveals. So if we abandon God’s truth for something that ‘feels’ good to us, we are on dangerous ground.

For example, we may think that human rights and social justice are good things. There may even be aspects of what we fight for in them that are good according to God’s teaching. But there is also a problem. Often, the idea of “human rights” is extended beyond mutual respect for persons in society, and it is pointed toward God as if He OWES us something. We presume we have a right to question Him and a right to demand healing or provision or some other answer from Him. The truth of the matter is, He owes us NOTHING. Our very existence is a gift. (For further learning on this idea read the book of Job in the Bible, and see what Job learns at the end.)

If we are studying God’s Word, if we are content that He owes us nothing and trust that He knows best, then we will be delighted by Him, delighted by His promises, and delighted by His presence even in the most difficult times. We will be delighted for the grace that placed us in His care, and delighted to consider whatever situations we experience. We will be delighted to share what we can with others as an expression of our delight that God has provided for us. We will be delighted that no matter how desperate or fierce the challenges we face, His presence satisfies and comforts us more than any “human rights” laws or cultural recognition could.

If we find ourselves discontent and frustrated with God, or if we find ourselves redefining the words of the Bible or the moral principles of God to try and bring comfort or validation or “modernize” the faith, we will find ourselves more and more reactive, and closer and closer to the mocker’s seat. If we are marching for causes and demanding rights we have never been promised in the Bible, we risk traveling down the path of the wicked, thinking we are bringing social justice. If we trample authority and disrespect the position of others because we disagree with their position, we are standing in a sinful place of our own pride and judgement.

Whenever we pursue human rights, in human effort and with human standards, we worship the idol of rights and just start picking fights. Look at any Facebook or Twitter feed or public forum. We do not discuss and learn and grow from opposing ideas; we are off the rails because we are on the wicked trail, and we are all watching and learning and being entertained by the dark art of mockery.

Let me bring this home a bit more. The Bible says we are to heal the sick, to cast out demons, to provide for the poor and the needy, and to care for the widow and the orphan. The Bible says my God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). It doesn’t say that President Trump supplies my needs, or President Obama supplies my needs, or the government, or my employer, or my welfare office, or my meals on wheels, or my affordable healthcare, or my rich neighbor up the street, or my lottery ticket. It says my GOD shall supply them, and the promise in Psalm 1 is that if we are delighted in Him and His Word, then we shall be planted by His life-giving streams, thriving in Him, and producing enough to share with those that God has prepared for me to share with.

Is it wrong to pool our resources, make our efforts systematic, or create organizations to better distribute support to others? Of course not. But when those institutions become an excuse for us to “mail in” our care for others or to coerce by law the contributions from others, or if the organizations just become a cardboard cutout of charity that helps us feel good, we have departed from God’s social justice into institutional legalism, theft, and apathy.

The power of the early church wasn’t because they wore down Caesar and debated the philosophers into submission and somehow gained access to power and passed laws ensuring justice and provision for everyone. The early church thrived in a culture where they had NO access, and where many temples to Roman gods had charitable programs that may have even rivaled what we have done in America.

The early church thrived because they devoted themselves to God and He showed them the way forward, staying rooted in timeless principles that He established the universe with. Those temples and those governments lie in ruin, but God’s Church continues and His Kingdom will last forever. Are we delighted in Him and His teaching for how we should live, or are we seeking other ways? Are we relying on Him and caring for others from His provision and love, or are we just creating charitable ‘vending machines’ with no lasting eternal impact?

If we are honest with ourselves, we are more likely to be wearing a ‘gray hat’ because that is the only hat our culture considers ‘safe.’ And if we can see that clearly, then we might just begin to see how much of what we consider ‘good’ in our culture is really just ‘gray.’

I invite you to read Psalm 1 again and again, asking yourself the questions we have asked in these last three blog posts. Be honest, and have the courage to admit when you have replaced God’s way with something you thought might be better. Ask God to lead you to see clearly which hat you may be wearing. Be brave enough to go against the culture to pursue God’s ways, and see how He will bless the work and the lives He leads you to.

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


Moses’ Five Complaints

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 7, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

We’ve all made excuses when we’re been told to do something we don’t want to do, especially when the command comes from God. How often do we try to wiggle out of obedience? I am not talking about the struggle between wanting to obey God and not knowing how or just trying to get up and do it; I am talking about knowing what God is calling you to do, not wanting to do it, and trying to get out of it. Interestingly enough, one of the most important people in the Bible did this: Moses. Take your time to read Exodus 3-4 when Moses receives his calling at the burning bush. In this encounter with God, Moses tries five times to get out of the job. What are they, and are they familiar to us today?

The first complaint is: “Who am I?” Who am I to go to Egypt to deliver the people? Who I am I to go preach the Gospel to this person or that group? Who am I to lead a church? Who am I to start and lead a Bible study group? Who I am I speak truth? Who am I to even write this post?

Let me be straight up. None of us are worthy to do the jobs God wants us to do. None of us have the talent in and within ourselves to do the job. And most of us recognize that. God often intends to put us in impossible situations so we have to depend upon him. But that is also part of the blessing. We actually are not doing the work of the impossible; God is. He seeks to have us participate in the journey with him. He’s doing more than the lion’s share of the work. And often, like with Jehoshaphat, we just need to go and watch him work. If God is going to go with us, why do we worry about who we are? If we could do the job without God, he would not send us anyway.

The second complaint is “Who are you? What is your name?” There are countless people that claim they are sent by God to give a message, yet the message demonstrates to have nothing to do with him. When we Christians talk about “God created the heavens and the earth,” a common atheist objection is “Which God? Thor? Shiva?” They usually know we are talking about the only one true God, but they say that to try to throw us off our game. God’s response is: “I AM WHO I AM.”

Do we know who God is? Can we describe him? Or do we just have an image of God that fits what we like God to be - an image that sounds a lot like us? I wrote a series about the attributes of God last year. Do we know them? A sad reality is that very few preachers will touch on the character or nature of God other than a few passing references. When was the last time we heard a sermon or had a conference about the attributes of God? How can we proclaim a message about God unless we are studying and learning about who God is? How often do we spend time with him? Do we have any desire to see him in heaven? Do not let ignorance of God be the reason you are left behind. God may not have let Moses off the hook, but he is not above passing us by, for good.

The third complaint: “What is no one believes me?” This is often a big one. We like the applause and we like the attention. But what if no one believes us? Do we keep going or do we quit? Let me describe two preachers that had no believing audiences: Noah and Jeremiah. Noah preached for 120 years prior to the Flood, building the Ark as something more than a symbol of upcoming judgment. Only his wife, three sons, and their wives listened. Jeremiah was the only prophet to proclaim 70 years of captivity and he was imprisoned for it. Even when King Zedekiah came to privately hear the message, he never really believed it because he would not obey it.

What if no one believes us? What does anyone’s opinion have to do with truth? How does anyone’s reception of the message have to do with truth? Truth does not care about what others think nor does it care about who receives it or not. Both Noah and Jeremiah were correct. It is our job to present his message even if we are the only one preaching it and the only one believing it.

The fourth complaint: “I can’t talk.” Did you know Moses had a stutter? Moses was not a Charlton Heston with that booming voice, “Let my people go!” He stuttered and stammered through his speech. He was the equivalent of King George from The King’s Speech. Why was Moses concerned about his speech? He was afraid his stutter would make people not believe him. I understand what Moses was going through. Through most of my life, I had a heavy stutter and where did God put me? Into public speaking arenas. Classrooms, conferences, church events, with many more to come. I am significantly better at it now than I was even a few years ago, but it’s not completely gone. It was frustrating to not get a word out, but I never let it embarrass me. This is the same line of reasoning as “Who am I?” We know our weaknesses. But let me hit one more thing here: Paul never developed his message with eloquence of speech. He could speak fluently but that wasn’t his method. He came with a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. When God sends us, he will give us the words to say and when to say it, if we listen to him.

The fifth complaint: “Send someone else.” This is simply a straight-up cop-out. Moses flat out was saying, “I don’t want this job, please give it to someone else.” God designs us for specific jobs, to be able to handle certain tasks. He does not call the equipped; he equips the called. Let us not be those who would rather let someone else get the privilege of going on the journey with Christ while we hang back in our comforts, and miss God.

God did not let Moses off the hook. He needed Moses for this job and despite his reluctance, Moses so took on the job that he repeatedly pleaded with God to not wipe out Israel nor to go on without them. But God can certainly leave us behind. Rees Howells was nearly left behind. God gave him a deadline, at 6:00pm one night, to join him or not. He fought the decision until just before the deadline. Another preacher came to a church service and wept for four straight weeks. When the pastor of that church went to find out what was up, the preacher held blueprints for a church that matched perfectly the building he was in, and he didn’t build it. He saw another pastor sharing the vision given to him.

What is God calling you to do? Do not give excuses or complaints to get out of it. I pray I never have to experience someone else walking in the very ministry I was supposed to do. The Parable of the Talents is in the Bible for a reason. The wicked servant’s talent was taken from him and given to the one who was most productive with his talents. Do not let God pass you by because you simply did not want to step out in faith.

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


Designed With a Purpose

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 6, 2017 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Design is something anyone can see has taken place, especially if the object of our attention is exceptionally complex. The more sophisticated and complex a thing is, the more easily we can determine if it was designed. Something that was designed would necessarily have someone or something that designed it—a Designer. Whether it's a spoon, a satellite, a robot, or a frog, there are hallmarks of design that are frequently not difficult to notice. I've written in the past on the Hallmarks of Design. I feel the idea is worth revisiting.

Design is something that often a child can identify. In the above linked blog post, I mention an arrow head—a rock that has been roughly shaped for a purpose—is something so lacking in complexity and sophistication but is still so clearly designed. Only a person devoted mindlessly to their philosophy, in my humble opinion, could look at something like a cell and the amazing world within, an eye, an ear, a nose, a strand of DNA, the human brain, or the hand and suggest it wasn't designed. To be fair, the “mindless person” in question could just be fooling himself. But this is even worse, is it not? If a person is so intent on believing something that they know is false or if they cannot acknowledge any information that suggests their belief may be false, that person is not honest and is lying to himself as well as anyone he would discuss such things with. The atheist must hold on to ideas that are absolutely contrary to his belief system in order to uphold his belief system. The atheist believes in miracles, actually, but he would never admit that. I need to move on before I get carried away concerning atheists and their absolute need for miracles. Perhaps that's another blog post subject.

Rather than say a lot of stuff others have said on the subject of the obviousness of design in nature—i.e. the essential nature of a Designer for life to exist—I'll just quote a few people.

We'll start with something Richard Dawkins said because it perfectly shows the need for the atheist to defy his own logic and mistrust his own ability to think rationally so he can hold on to his irrational belief that there is no Designer. Mr. Dawkins says, “Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose.” He will go on to say that to believe in such an idea, that life was designed and did not evolve from non-living chemistry that eventually morphed into every type of living thing we see today, means you're stupid, insane or evil. The contradictions are amazing.

Another unreasonable statement is by Daniel Dennett. He says, “Wherever there is a design that is highly successful in a broad range of similar environments, it is apt to emerge again and again, independently - the phenomenon known in biology as convergent evolution. I call these designs 'good tricks.'” He believes that design is the result of an accident and even uses the word “design” to describe things he doesn't believe are designed. He would suggest the 40 different parts necessary for a bacterium to operate a flagellum (a tail that gives it the ability to propel itself) was accidental and occurred over time. But this is literally impossible and defies common sense. If any of these parts are not working, the thing doesn't work. It would be necessary for all of these parts to accidentally be brought together at the same time and in the right configuration for this little “motor” to work. If they evolved independently, there would be no need for them to remain in the genetic code for that bacterium and would likely disappear, especially when we consider 40 different parts! For me, this is totally nonsensical and, again, demonstrates the lengths atheists will go to hold on to their origins myth. They will pull some smoke and mirror nonsense about how the parts may have come about individually, but this is wishful thinking. There's no sense in beating their failed attempts at explaining it to death. My hope is we can all understand that this one thing (which is not very complex in the grand scheme of things) cannot have come about through some blind, mindless, uncoordinated process.

Then we have interesting comments concerning the computer-like workings of the brain and of DNA. Ray Kurzweil said, “Biology is a software process. Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells, each governed by this process. You and I are walking around with outdated software running in our bodies, which evolved in a very different era.” What's hilarious is that he states the software is outdated! Far superior to any man made software, but it's outdated? Really? Nearly 10 years ago, the prediction was that by 2030, we may be able to make a computer that rivals the brain! I believe this prediction is incorrect now as they are suggesting the technology has advanced even faster than they predicted. But think of it! We're only now beginning to be able to approach the abilities of the human brain. Now, let's take a look at this marvelous thing. The brain is allegedly an accidentally manufactured super computer that man is now, possibly in the next 10 years, going to be able to duplicate in its computing power. Does the naivety of that seem as obvious to you as it does to me? Essentially, the idea is “Mother Nature” created a super computer without wanting to and having no idea how to. Saying “Mother Nature” did it is akin to saying the thing invented itself. The fact that many of the men and women who believe this stuff are exceptional thinkers blows my mind even more.

The huge elephant in the room that I've tried to dance around in all of the blog posts I've written on this subject is simply this: how can anyone suspend their intellect long enough to suppose that something so naive and so obviously counter intuitive happened, and it happened accidentally by random, natural processes? Super computers that run on an extremely low amount of wattage (far less than a laptop) don't spring into existence by themselves, and they don't form from the dirt. They require planning and great amounts of knowledge to produce.

This is further evidenced by a a statement made by Bill Gates: “DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.” DNA is a super computer that's found in every cell of the body and has within it the instructions to build the super computer we call the brain. Bill Gates is saying the software is far beyond anything we've ever produced. Ray Kurzweil is suggesting the software is outdated. Interesting, isn't it? We get these sorts of contradictory statements from people musing over things they know very little about. I say this not to insinuate that they are not intelligent or don't have the information. I say this because none of us has any idea how this stuff works. It's that complex. In man's arrogance, he will believe he's got it figured out, but it seems rather obvious that this is nonsense.

To add to the absurdity, Richard Dawkins went on to say, “I'm fascinated by the idea that genetics is digital. A gene is a long sequence of coded letters, like computer information. Modern biology is becoming very much a branch of information technology.” The idea that DNA—your genes—is coded has long been assumed by nearly everyone involved. But a code, by definition, must be generated and deciphered by an intelligence. A code doesn't just randomly pop into existence, only to be decoded by something else that randomly popped into existence. And in this particular instance, we're talking about a coded message containing instructions on how to build and maintain the most complex machines in the known universe. Now, to me, it seems rather comical to think this coded information that turns two gametes (sperm and egg cells) into Einstein or Newton and also can turn carrots or animal flesh or whatever else we eat into usable proteins and energy came about accidentally by random, natural processes. What do you think? Does that seem like a strange fiction or fairy tale?

Consider it like this: someone tries to tell you your car or your computer or smart phone was not built by someone. They want you to believe it was the product of natural processes that had no mind or idea what they were doing—it wasn't planned. Over the years, through a series of quadrillions of fortunate accidents, nature was lucky enough to build something like your car. But to be fair, in comparison to all the sophistication and complexity of the human body—from DNA and organelles to cells to all the sensory and internal organs and, finally, the brain—your car is like a polished rock. Not really that impressive. In fact, the most complicated and intricate work man has done is nothing when held up to the standard set forth by life. Living things are truly miraculous and accomplish amazing things. Praise God for His immense diversity in His creation and the amazing workmanship that He displays.

In my next blog post, we'll take a look at a few more interesting comments by evolutionists and intellgient design advocates. Many of them fantastically expose the obtuse nature of the evolutionist's origins myth. It's remarkable. I think it is, anyway. I hope you can see just how silly the “theory” is.

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