What Does the Bible Say About Gender?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 16, 2018 1 comments

by Katie Erickson

Gender is a hot topic in today’s culture. Our culture keeps trying to redefine gender roles, so what does the Bible have to say regarding gender?

Any Biblical discussion on gender has to start back at the beginning, at Creation. Genesis 1:26-27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” God created humankind in His image, and He created us with two genders: male and female. This creation was “very good.”

While the Bible does support science as we know it today, the purpose of the Bible is not to be a biology textbook so it does not provide anatomical details as to what defines a male or a female. But it is very clear that humankind was created with those two genders.

There are many passages in the Bible that give instructions based on gender roles, such as instructions to husbands and wives. One passage with such instructions is Ephesians 5:25-33. That passage discusses both the human relationship of husbands and wives and the spiritual relationship of Jesus Christ and the Church.

Some believe that the Bible considers men to be more important than women. It is true that the Bible was written to a patriarchal (male-dominated) society, but does that mean God favors males over females? I wrote a blog post on that a couple years ago, so for more on that aspect of gender, please go read my post on “Why Does God Hate Women?”.

But when it comes to having a saving faith in Jesus Christ, a person’s gender doesn’t matter. Galatians 3:26-29 says, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

As believers in Christ, we are all called to “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). That’s what the life of a follower of Christ should be all about.

Are you living your life as an example of the love of Christ to all people, regardless of their gender? If you are a follower of Jesus, what are you doing to support the Biblical worldview in gender discussions happening in our culture today?

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The Faith of Esther

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, April 15, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

In the movie Open Range, which came out about 15 years ago, Kevin Costner’s character gives us one of those “mic drop” quotes before he walks away from a bar conversation. In the discussion, a group of men are talking about the great injustice that is happening in their town. Costner’s character, Charley Waite, mentions that they could do something about it and a father stands up and says he doesn’t want his sons getting involved because they could be shot and killed. Charley then stands up and says, “You may not know this, but there are things that gnaw on a man worse than dying." He walks away leaving this group of men to think about whether the present issue is one that matters enough to them to be willing to die for it.

We all have things and people we think we’d be willing to die for, but we wouldn’t really know for sure until the moment presented itself. As you think about your life now, is there an injustice in the world for which you’d be willing to give it up? Is there a cause that matters enough to you? Does the will of God matter enough to you? We know that the will of God to make the necessary sacrifice on our behalf to cover our sins mattered enough to Jesus to go through with it even though he knew the suffering and was even tempted to give it up (Matthew 26:39). But there were many people even before Jesus who were willing to give up their lives for God’s will if necessary.

The book of Esther tells us the story of one such person. The title character rose to prominence from humble beginnings during a very difficult time for not only herself but also the entire nation of Israel. She would fit the description of faithful heroes in Hebrews 11:34 “whose weakness was turned to strength." Her “weakness” was not something she was born with. Rather, the difficult circumstances that God allowed in her life led her to a point that would break absolutely anyone. Esther 2:5-7 tells us about it. As you may recall from the posts about Daniel and his friends, all of the Israelites were either killed or captured when King Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army invaded and overtook Jerusalem. The events of Esther take place well after that, as King Xerxes of the Persians is now the authority, but the Jews are still in captivity. We learn that Esther was originally named Hadassah, but like Daniel and his friends she was given a pagan name in the pagan place. She has been raised by her cousin, Mordecai, who had been carried off in exile, because both of her parents have died. The verses don’t tell us for certain, but it’s very likely that her parents were among those murdered by the Babylonians. On top of all that, Esther is a stunningly beautiful young woman, which wouldn’t have necessarily been a blessing given that she is around evil, immoral men with no one really to protect her.

King Xerxes was a very foolish man who literally banished his previous queen from his presence just because she refused to parade herself immodestly in front of him and his drunk friends (Esther 1). Several years later, he and his attendants come up with this plan to find a new queen. Basically, they will round up the most beautiful virgins from all over the Persian empire and have them each come to the king and spend one night with him after they’ve had many months of beauty treatments. And just in case it isn’t already apparent to you, those poor girls didn’t spend that night watching movies and eating chocolate, and they didn’t have the option to say “no” to anything that happened. Their purpose was only to please the king as best they could. This is what we call “rape." They could dress it up and make it seem like a privilege for the girl and do whatever else they want to make it seem normal in their culture, but do not ignore the evil that existed and the fact that it was commonplace in this immoral kingdom.

I also want to point out that it’s not like the king suddenly decided to start forcing women to sleep with him. He already had a harem of women that he could call on whenever he wanted. Like everyone, however, the king started getting bored with his sin and had to take it to the next level. After everything else that has happened in Esther’s life, now she is taken from the one family member who she had left and forced to live in the king’s harem until it was her turn to go and try to please him. Yet, her life is an example to all of us that even the evil deeds of human beings can be used by God to bring about his will. He doesn’t cause it or approve of it, but he does show his dominion over sin by using it to accomplish his purposes.

As the story goes on, Esther is picked out of what scholars believe was about 400 women and is chosen to be the next queen. Esther 2:17 reminds us that it wasn’t even about love, but that the king was “attracted” to her more than any other women. Later in Esther 3, we read about the plot of a man named Haman, who had been elevated to the king’s second in command. He wants everyone to kneel down and pay him honor in accordance with the king’s order, but Mordecai boldly refuses since doing so would be a sin against God. He seems to be following in the footsteps of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Mordecai doesn’t lead a riot. In fact, he had exposed a plot to assassinate the king earlier. He is willing to submit even when he disagrees or doesn’t like the king’s decisions, but the stopping point is when obedience to the king requires disobedience to God. Haman decides he is not just going to kill Mordecai, but ALL of the Jews (Esther 3:6-15). The king gives the edict and the plans are set in place.

Up to this point, Esther has not revealed her true nationality to the king or to anyone else. She has been waiting for the right time and Mordecai sends word to her in Esther 4:8 that basically, it’s now or never. It was time for her to reveal her ethnicity and her people to the king and beg him for mercy. Initially, she responds out of fear and says that if she approaches the king without being summoned, he can have her killed. She also adds that it has been thirty days since she has even seen the king (4:11). As a side note, this shows us that even being queen wasn’t a great life. She had no closeness with her husband and had no right to see him unless HE wanted it. If he went thirty days without even caring to see her, I highly doubt fidelity was part of the equation. After her fearful response, Mordecai reminds her that she is not likely to escape the edict to kill all Jews just because she is a queen, pointing out that she has nothing really to lose by asking the king for mercy. He then shows great faith and tells her that God is going to deliver HIS people one way or another, so she can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. He declares that this critical time might be the whole reason God has allowed her to come to the position of queen! (4:12-14)

In the end, Esther showed her great faith. She may have needed a little motivation from someone who had more faith when she was struggling, but that’s true for all of us. When she agreed to go to the king and put her trust in the Lord, she told Mordecai, “If I perish, I perish” (4:16). Esther and Mordecai were both willing to give up their very lives for the cause of standing up for God’s people, and they trusted that whatever happened would be the Lord’s will. You can read the rest of the story to see how God thwarts the plans of the wicked and saves his people through the strength and faith of Esther, who literally put her life on the line. God’s name is never mentioned in the book of Esther, but he is working behind the scenes throughout it. The same is true in your life. You may feel like he has allowed so much tragedy, abuse, and brokenness in your life. You may feel like he has weakened you. But if you trust him and live in that faith, you’ll see and know that he is still at work to use everything that has been done to bring his plan to fruition. God is always in control!

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Primed for Tyranny, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 14, 2018 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

I have continued to see posts and articles among "Christians" that mirror what I see in the U.S. culture right now. I see some people blasting evangelicals about hypocrisy and losing their way, alongside fearful articles about Trump laying up a power grab to become our first Tyrant by diminishing the powers of the UN. I see others writing a blank check for anything Republican, Trumpian, or aimed at preserving an America that once was. Every one of them feels they have the most valid argument and some solution for the ills of our culture. And all of them are participating in building a foundation for tyranny. 

How is it that tyranny takes root in a society? Is it because some leader is just so powerful that he/she simply overwhelms the will of the people? Rarely, and I would venture to say never, has it happened that way.

The infancy of tyranny is when people begin to isolate around emotionally charged arguments. It takes hold because of the polarization. As people become tribal and fragmented, the unity of agreement around what is good is destroyed. Facts and evidence take a back seat to feelings, experiences, and anecdotes. Our ability to sort out what is factually true for all people becomes skewed by what is experientially true for whatever tribal affiliation we are closest to. Our ability to know when specific actions are necessary to address an isolated wrong is clouded by our perspective within our tribe. The specific wrong gets overlaid on every circumstance. In short, the whole world becomes a nail, and we just need a hammer to drive it home.

The net effect of this tribalization is that the power of the people is diminished into tribes who are fighting with one another. This is the adolescence of tyranny. In this phase, the tribes feel more passionate rage around emotionally charged issues close to their tribal identity, and at the same time they recognize they don't have the power to convince everyone else or protect their position. In this phase, the tribes are consumed with progressive ideas that jettison the moral and societal framework of their society, or they are consumed with enshrining moral and societal principles to try and help their way of life survive. Both perspectives come from deeply FELT ideologies, and yet BOTH are out of touch with reality. The progressives tear down good fences because the peace and prosperity those fences brought have prevented them from experiencing the original horrors that lead to those fences being built. The preservationists know the fences are important, but they can no longer remember or effectively relate the reasons why the fences are needed in the current context - so their arguments sound like, "just because." (Meanwhile, if anyone happens to notice anything suspicious in regard to a tyrant, it only takes a mild "stirring of the pot" with the tribal conflicts to get them distracted again.)

The amnesia of time and the chaos of tribalism set the stage for a tyrant to rise. They present some great threat, vilifying some notion, person, or ideology. They offer a bright future, change for the better, and protection from the "villain" they present. Often times, the idea or person being vilified represents some of the remaining fence posts of moral standards that could unravel their plans. (This is why it's always important to examine the one(s) calling someone else 'Hitler.') 

By getting the people to hate and reject the "villain" themselves, the tyrant is able to have power handed to them instead of seizing it. They also get the added bonus of wielding guilt over those who tore down the fences and handed them power. They are given broad authority for decisions and legislation that ultimately influences who lives and who dies. That is the maturity of tyranny.

We are not there, but we are on our way. And we are helping the adolescence of tyranny every time we pick up our tribal issues and equate them to Jesus' mission.

Look at Luke 19:28-44. It’s lamb selection day for the Jewish Passover, and Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people cheer, shout "Hosanna!" and lay down their cloaks on the road to pave the way and express allegiance. But allegiance to what? Why are the Pharisees so nervous? And why did Jesus weep outside the city, as if the city was already lost?

Next week's post will answer those questions and help us avoid being pawns in political plots for power.

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Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 13, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

What is our reputation and to whom should we be concerned regarding our reputation? Last year, I was doing my daily Scripture and I came across a very interesting statement. 2 Kings 3 is the whole context but I want to emphasize on verses 12-14. Jehoram, son of Ahab, king of Israel, called upon Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom to go to war against Moab. Long story short, the three armies got stuck in the desert for a full week without water and decided to call upon a prophet and the only one of God in the area was Elisha. And this is where things get interesting.

Jehoshaphat knew that Elisha was a man of God and he spoke the truth, but when the three kings approached him, Elisha did not wish to speak to Jehoram. He told him to go speak to the gods of his parents, Ahab and Jezebel. Jehoram pleaded for a word and this is what Elisha said in 2 Kings 3:14: “Surely were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you, nor see you.”

This is what stood out to me. Jehoram had a reputation which a true prophet of God did not respect, and yet Jehoshaphat did. The one thing I never understood about Jehoshaphat was why he kept being the ally of Israel. That was the only blemish he had on record. His son married Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, which lead to two generations of wicked kings (Jehoram of Judah, Ahaziah, and Athaliah, Jehoram’s wife). However, Jehoshaphat was one of only four kings of all the kings listed to go through the land and destroy not just all the idols but all the high places where those idols were once worshipped. He had a reputation for serving and living after God’s commandments. When three armies came to destroy him, he did not turn to other allies. He turned to God who gave him a victory without having to raise a sword.

The leading prophet of God, Elisha, the man who followed in Elijah’s footsteps and performed twice as many recorded miracles as his predecessor, respected Jehoshaphat. Jehoram only got a hearing because Jehoshaphat was with him. Had the king of Judah not been with him, Jehoram and the king of Edom would have been lost to the desert. Elisha then provided a miracle for the kings by not only providing water, but the Moabites thought the water was blood.

There are several things that are worth learning from this statement from Elisha. What do the true men of God think about us? Would they see us as Jehoram, or would they see us as Jehoshaphat? Do we have a reputation of living after God’s ways or living after this world? Take note that Jehoram was not deemed as wicked as Ahab because he put away the Baal statue which was in the palace, however, he did not do away with the golden calves Jeroboam had made shortly after the full kingdom was split into Israel and Judah. So he was not as “evil” a king as his father, yet Elisha considered him not any different. Why? He did not turn back to God. He did not destroy the false idols. Jehoshaphat did. He got rid of any worship of that which was not to God.

Now when most people talk about reputations, the main direction of such talks is to not worry about your reputation and worry instead about what God thinks. We should not worry what the world thinks about us. I have dealt with an old earth creationist who claims to be a Christian and yet constantly chides young earth creationists for making him look bad. Specifically him. He is concerned with what his secular PhD peers think about him. They see “Christian” and they picture “young earth creation” and they are not wrong to do so. However, his primary argument is, “What do you think these secular scientists think about you? How will you get them to listen to you?”

My response is this: As a Christian, the experts of this world’s opinions of me are not my concern. Speaking the truth as God clearly stated from Genesis through Revelation is my concern. God repeatedly calls the wisdom of this world to be foolishness, so why should I seek their approval? This old earth creationist, a well-educated man by secular standards, has missed the whole point of what it means to live as a Christian in a fallen world, by being in the world but not of it. He wants a reputation with praise from the secularists. Bad news for him. If he wants the praise of the world he will get it, and that is all he will ever get. He won’t get the praise from God, nor from any man or woman who follows God.

Leonard Ravenhill was a true prophet of God of the 20th century. He often said, “I speak in many places once.” What did he mean by that? He meant he would be called in to preach for a church because of his reputation and because he would preach the truth, often a very convicting truth, many churches would not invite him back. Paul Washer’s most famous sermon was the “Shocking Youth Message.” He gave it to 5000 youths and the host venue never brought him back. Preaching the truth frequently leads to hatred from within the church and without. Isaiah 59:15 states that when truth is hated by the community that just turning from evil will make you prey to the wicked. However, there is something even more disturbing to consider.

There are churches where Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, Paul Washer, and other big name solid preachers will not go. They know the reputation of such churches as not being godly. That is a scary moment. When true men of God refuse to come because they will not put their name and their ministry with your group or organization, it’s often a sign of apostasy. I am not talking about those who cannot make it because of various factors. I am talking about an open invitation and the preacher, who has been with God and knows his voice, will not have anything to do with them. The apostate potential host will often accuse said preacher of being bigoted or close-minded or even scared of listening to opinions other than their own when nothing of the sort is going on. The preacher wisely recognizes what is actually happening and will not put his name in association with apostate groups. When a church or society repeatedly turns away from God, he often removes the voices who speak his truth from that church or society. Woe to any person or group when God removes his hand and his voice.

What is your reputation? Would the Godly be able to look at your life and say, “I want to spend time with you”? Or would the Godly look at you and say, “I must keep my distance from you”? Do you care what the heathen think about you? Would the public be able to look at your life and testify, “This person was a Christian and he showed it by doing this, this, and that”? If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence among your peers to convict you? In all this, I want to remind us all that the only opinion which really matters is God’s. Sound Godly men are not perfect, but it is often through them whom God will reveal his opinion. Everything must be tested against Scripture and when a solid man of God will not see a church or group, that is good reason to be wary of them. Be watchful.

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.


A Disquieting Dream

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, April 11, 2018 0 comments

by David Odegard

Editor's Note: We are sharing this dream once again with you and have added this new drawing from our friend Scott Harshbarger on this dream. Thank you, Scott! You can view more of Scott's artwork here, check out his website here, and follow him on Facebook here.
Upon seeing this artwork, David Odegard's response was, "That is uncanny. Wow. Amazing."

I don’t claim that this a prophetic dream or anything, but several months ago, I fell asleep reading as I often do. I dreamed of a large hill with no real vegetation on it. As I looked closer I realized that it was a giant mudslide that was being held back by an incredible retaining wall made of cedar planks and pylons.

The pylons looked like sequoias. The planks were thick and roughhewn. It looked as though they could hold the mudslide for a thousand generations. Below the pylon and plank wall a fat little village sat filled with old houses. People were nonchalantly going about their business as though there wasn’t a deadly mudslide looming. I understood in my dream that it had been many generations since the pylon wall was built and everyone took for granted that it would always provide its benefits. It had been so long that most people were completely uninvolved with the pylon wall; it was just something that was always there from the time they were born till the time they died.

All fine. The villagers don’t have to understand the physics of pylon and plank walls to be secure. But as I looked, a few miles of the pylon wall had been completely washed out and mud covered a section of the village. People were dead under that mud, but none of the others noticed or cared. I thought, “How could those pylons have been broken?”

I set about examining the other pylons and what I found was shocking. Many of the pylons were rotted hollow, or were rotting underground. Many of them only looked strong, but they were weak. Much of the structure was about to be washed away by the mudslide. Some of the planks, too, were already broken, but they hadn’t given way because of the support of the other planks. Too many were broken, though, and it couldn’t last very many more years. How long until another complete section gave way? Why didn’t anyone care?

Now, whether this dream was sent to me from God or just the product of my own subconscious doesn’t really obscure the point. The mudslide is the inevitable disaster of judgment. It is restrained by the remains of a Christian culture which the villagers do not remember or understand. Christians of the past built a culture based in their belief in the New Testament. The intercessory prayers of God’s people may delay judgment, but the judgment of God is as inevitable as gravity (Nahum 1:3; Matthew 5:13). The timing may be flexible, but it is assuredly coming. Be warned.

God would simply not be just if he allowed bad people to “get away with it.” God will always do the right thing. If someone steals the money from an old lady’s bank account then finally gets caught, we rejoice when he goes to prison because justice has been done. Well, God is absolute in his sense of justice. He makes all things right. This is something he has revealed about himself.

Getting back to the dream, the pylons are the pastors and elders of the church. It is their job to intercede for everyone and preach the gospel (Acts 6:4). Most of the weight and responsibility is upon the pylons in the same way that the bulk of weight of the ministry is carried by pastors and elders. The planks do the actual work though. The pylons alone could not restrain the mud; the planks do that. But the pylons hold the planks in place. Together, each doing its part, it functions beautifully.

The bishops (regional directors or district superintendents whatever you want to call them—the pastor to the pastors, whatever) are supposed to pray and support the pastors. These guys are like pylon inspectors. If the pylons begin to rot, it is the inspectors’ job to pull them and replace them so that tragedy doesn’t ensue. Herein lies the rub: many church denominations just aren’t fulfilling this duty.

I think of the liberal denominations that are almost completely secular – those who believe that politics is the important arena, or who are willing to ordain actively homosexual ministers, or who water down the word of God through higher criticism or other means of dilution. These denominations were certainly ignoring the spiritual state of their pastors long before the denomination slid so far away from biblical Christianity.

We cannot settle for superficiality. Probe beneath the surface and you may find that there is a hollow corruption in great looking ministries. If you want to restrain the “flood of dissipation” in modern society, which is definitely one of the roles of the church (again, Matthew 5:13), then you must be strong in a real way. The inside must match the outside. And for goodness sake, leaders, if you see some weakness, address it. Pretending that the issues are not serious will not help anyone, especially the non-Christian world.

Whole denominations have been falling into apostasy. Every time the enemy is able to bring one of them under his control, it puts that much more pressure on the rest of the retaining wall to remain strong. Faithful Christians are under more strain than ever before in the West due to the failings of the liberal denominations. The world mocks Christianity and the apostates cheer them on. As Thousand Foot Krutch said, “Gimme one if you can feel it, two if its real and gimme three signs that your awake.”

Wake up! The world is burning. Will you laugh and play the violin like Nero? Or will you preach and pray like a Christian? “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration… in hope that the creation itself would be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the plains of child-birth up to the present time” (Romans 8:18-22).

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.


What Does the Bible Say About Addictions?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 9, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Addictions are a prominent topic in today’s world. When you hear the word “addiction,” you probably immediately think of drug addiction, smoking, alcohol addiction, or things like that. But there are many other addictions that could grab ahold of our lives - we could be addicted to our phones, junk food, attention from other people, or all sorts of things. Addiction is part of our sinful human nature, and it is very much a fleshly desire.

The Bible does not address addiction specifically, but it does address temptation, and addiction is one form of temptation. We know that sin and evil come from the devil (1 John 2:16), but we have the power to resist temptation through the submission of our lives to God (James 4:7).

Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” If we’re truly and fully walking in the ways of God’s Spirit, we won’t have the desire to gratify what the flesh wants. But while we live in this world, our natural tendency is to fulfill our own desires. It takes a stronger faith and trust in God to turn away from that kind of temptation.

Ephesians 5:18 tells us, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” We can make choices in life whether to put ourselves into a potentially addictive situation or not. We can choose the addiction, or instead we can choose to be filled with God’s Spirit.

Romans 6:6-7 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” We are set free from our sin in Christ and we are no longer slaves to it. Through Christ, we have the power to break any addiction we have in our lives.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” We know we will be tempted, because that is part of living in this world. But with God, we will have a way to get out of that temptation if we make the right choice.

Psalm 50:15 encourages us to, “Call on me [God] in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” We know that God will ultimately deliver us when we call on Him and desire to live our lives to give Him honor and glory.

Are you sensing a theme yet? We will have sin and addictions in this world, but God is bigger and more powerful than them. We could very easily let this get us down, knowing that while we’re in this world we’ll have to constantly face temptations and potentially addictions. But instead, we should have a different attitude:

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

But, all this is generally easier said than done. As Jesus told His disciples while they were waiting for Him as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41). We need to be on guard for any kind of temptation, especially addictions: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Take a look at your life this week and see what addictions you may be struggling with. Pray to God and work on deepening your relationship with Him, so that you will have His power to fight those addictions.

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.


The Faith of Elijah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, April 8, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Ehrich Weisz was just a young boy when his family moved to America in 1878. He got his first job as a performer when he was just 9 years old and would go on to accomplish things that no one else in his field ever had. He started out as a trapeze artist, but at the age of 17 became a professional magician. He worked his way up through the ranks and eventually, needing something to make a name for himself, began experimenting with escape acts. For the purpose of becoming more widely-known, Ehrich changed his name to Harry Houdini. He started with escaping from handcuffs and shackles and even challenged local police to lock him in jail.

As others began to imitate him, he had to keep getting more and more daring to attract the crowds. His escape acts moved on to straitjackets, then being locked in an over-sized milk can filled with water, then inside nailed packing crates in water. If he failed, he died. Later, his most notable acts included escaping from the ground after being buried alive six feet deep. The first buried alive stunt almost cost him his life. Houdini was so committed to his show that even when he had a ruptured appendix and a high fever while in Detroit in 1926, he did not cancel an event or seek medical attention. Unfortunately, this led to his death just a short time later at the age of 52. After all his great escape acts, he had met his match. Even the great Harry Houdini could not escape death!

In Hebrews 11:34, we’re told that some of the faithful anonymous were able, by faith, to “escape the edge of the sword." These would include David, Samson, and others about whom I’ve already written in this series. One man who has not yet been covered in this series and who certainly fits the description in that verse is the prophet Elijah. He didn’t just escape the edge of the sword one time; he made a habit out of it.

1 Kings 16:29-34 tells us about the moral landscape, or lack thereof, in Israel when Elijah entered the scene, compelled by the Lord who had prepared him for such a time. King Ahab had taken over in Israel and “did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him” (v. 30). The passage goes on to tell us that he considered the sins of previous kings to be “trivial." He built altars and temples to pagan gods such as Baal and Asherah, and he married Jezebel, who was the daughter of a pagan king from another nation. Immoral leadership begets immorality and a total disregard for the things of the Lord. So, it’s no surprise that we read in verse 34 that Hiel of Bethel rebuilt the city of Jericho at the cost of his oldest and youngest sons, in accordance with Joshua’s oath after God had allowed the Israelites to siege Jericho in Joshua 6:26. It’s in the midst of this incredible decline of morality that God sends Elijah to Israel.

The first thing Elijah does is go directly to King Ahab and tell him that it won’t rain in Israel for the next few years except at his word (1 Kings 17:1). This would cause drought and famine like you’ve never seen before. Ahab and Jezebel wouldn’t be very happy about this and, because they had completely lost touch with the reality of God’s authority over them and the nation, would blame Elijah for the bad circumstances. In the rest of 1 Kings 17, as a matter of protection and faith-testing for Elijah, God commands him to leave where he is and go to a ravine in the woods, where he will drink from a brook and be literally fed by ravens who bring him his daily supply of food. Elijah, likely knowing that Ahab and Jezebel will find a way to kill him, puts his faith in the Lord and decides he has a better chance of surviving with God in the wilderness than with whatever comforts and protections he had trusted before. Eventually, God takes away the brook and the ravens and commands Elijah to go to a widow in Sidon, the same region where Jezebel had actually come from, to get his food and water. Elijah had already ignored his tradition which said that he couldn’t eat something that came in contact with an unclean animal such as a raven, and now he’d have to ignore the tradition that said he couldn’t go into the home of a Gentile woman. Elijah was faithful and God used him to heal the woman’s very ill son. In the process, Elijah got his daily needs met and saw that he could trust God.

This was especially important when God then told him in 1 Kings 18 to go and present himself to Ahab. How would you feel if God told you to go say “hi” to the person desperately trying to kill you? But Elijah didn’t hesitate and did what God said (v. 2). However, Elijah and Ahab did not come face-to-face until God used Obadiah to bring them together. Obadiah was a man who, despite being an administrator to Ahab, had courageously hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets while Jezebel was doing everything in her power to kill as many of them as possible (v. 4). When Elijah meets him and tells him to notify Ahab that he is there, Elijah even has time to reconsider, to doubt, or to have second thoughts. Yet, he remains faithful to God and to Obadiah, waits until Obadiah tells Ahab, and then presents himself to Ahab. The meeting leads to the great confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. Ahab gathers all of the 850 prophets to join Elijah. It’s one against 850, yet Elijah has God on his side. Elijah urges the people to stop wavering between two opinions and to follow ONE God. Since the people give no response at all, revealing that they are complacent in their sin like many today, Elijah encourages the face-off. After the prophets of Baal try to call down fire on their sacrifice and there was nothing but crickets, Elijah calls for God to accept his sacrifice and God does. Elijah then makes certain that the prophets of Baal are all slaughtered for their sin against God.

What Elijah does to the prophets of Baal enrages Jezebel all the more, and she swears by her gods that she will kill Elijah within the next 24 hours. Elijah knows that Jezebel and Ahab now have more reason to kill him than ever before, so he begins to fear and runs away (1 Kings 19:3). God continues to provide for his basic needs even after he runs, but then God shows up and literally asks him what he is doing (19:9). Elijah explains his reason to the Lord, mainly that all of the other prophets of the Lord has been killed and now they are trying to kill him too. God shows his power to Elijah through natural disasters and a gentle voice, then asks Elijah the same question again. Elijah answers him the same way and God tells him to go anoint the next kings (19:15-16). Finally, God promises that he has reserved seven thousand people for himself in Israel who have not turned to Baal. Elijah trusts him and his faith is back on track.

Neither Jezebel nor Ahab ever did get another chance to kill Elijah as far as we know. Jezebel vowed to make it happen, but no matter where Elijah was, he was always safe in the arms of the Lord. Elijah didn’t need to defend himself against those who meant harm toward him. God was his defender and provided for his needs everywhere he went, even when he ran away before God wanted him to. Some of us may trust God when it comes to small things, but Elijah learned to trust God with his LIFE. As long as he was doing what God commanded, he had no reason to believe that God would let him die one second before God was done with him. Do you struggle with a fear of death? Are you a parent that is overprotective of your children because you’re afraid of what might happen to them, even when they go to school? Once you accept that God is way better at protecting you and your loved ones than you are, you’ll be ready to put your full faith in him. Elijah’s faith allowed him to escape the sword even when he had every reason to fear it and avoid it. God will lead you to the same freedom.

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.


Do Millennials Fear Death?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 7, 2018 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

I had a chat recently with a registered nurse from a prestigious hospital. We were talking about the shifts in our culture and how it is affecting the social dynamics of almost every situation. She shared with me that there are nurses in her group that are brilliant and gifted people, but when it comes to the basic tasks of their job they are paralyzed or terrified to engage. The simple tasks of caring for a patient, like bathing or giving meds, are irritations or interruptions for them. They want to be leaders, but cannot bring themselves to do the most basic chores of the job they were hired for. When it comes to caring for terminal patients, she said they are truly paralyzed emotionally and unable to deal with it. Some even become physically ill when they face a patient dying.

I asked her if they are primarily millennials, and she said yes. Not all of them are, but most of them are. I asked why she was surprised by that. She said, "It’s just odd. They went through school, they are really smart and know so much, but they just seem unable to handle the human factor." 

I asked her to consider the messages in our culture right now and what we all are being indoctrinated with. I connected the dots between the "have it your way right away" and "speak your power" messages with the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and his work "Beyond Good and Evil" (see my previous posts here and here). If we are constantly being told "you be you" and that our highest motivation is to use our "will to power" to influence our world, then is it any wonder that we see an entire generation being self-focused? The sad reality is that this "will to power" way of living comes directly from a nihilist philosophy that believes there is nothing after death, just an end of existence. This means there is no hope, no higher motivation, and no moral bearing than what our own desires, goals, and influence can accomplish. If we believe that this material life is all there is and death is the end of our adventure, is it any wonder that we fear death?

And let's be honest, this is not just a millennial problem; it is increasingly a Western cultural problem. The moral standards that transcend our existence have been rejected. We are encouraged to "change the world" in whatever way we see fit. Without those standards, all we have is "feel" and "felt" as our guides. The experiences of our flesh that we like to "feel" and the ones we "felt" that we don't like become the guides to moral certainty. And when feeling and experience is our guide, everything becomes more base, more crass. We develop a tunnel vision around our flesh.

Death and suffering become things we never want to feel, because they end or diminish our influence. The idea that what we are living for could suddenly blink into non-existence is terrifying and paralyzing because it contradicts the real reason we use our influence in the first place: to make a name for ourselves, be remembered, leave our mark, and transcend our time. But if there are things that matter, that transcend, then there has to be a reason why they transcend, which is beyond our influence.

In 1 Corinthians 15:19-25, Paul addresses this issue head on. He says, "If our hope in Jesus is only for this life, we are to be pitied above all others." Why? Because he is making the point that if there is no life after death and Jesus was not resurrected, then all we are left with is a handful of teachings that have no power to make any lasting difference. If all there is is this "will to power" and nothing transcends this life, then there is no point in believing Jesus (or anyone). If Jesus didn't have the power to overcome death, then His claims could not be trusted, and His teachings were the ramblings of a delusional person.

But since Jesus DID rise from the dead, and over 500 eyewitness accounts established the truth of it, then two things are irrefutably true: 1. There is life after death, which means there is purpose beyond this life (and the "will to power" isn't it). 2. Jesus is verified as God, and everything He taught is both the standard and the purpose for us to live by.

In the same passage of 1 Corinthians, Paul makes it clear that the "will to power" will be undone. Jesus is going to undo every dominion, every power, and then hand the Kingdom over to God the Father. That means every human effort, every influence we establish, will be undone. On top of that, only the accomplishments and standards that are aligned with God's way of living will remain.

So, it makes sense that anyone who is living to make a name for themselves, to influence their world, or be the best "them" possible (by their own standards), would struggle with caring for others or grieving with others. When we realize there is life after death and there is one who was resurrected - meaning brought back to life forever, not just temporarily - we gain hope that allows us to experience life WITH other people. We stop being the purpose of our own story, and we start seeing our purpose in and through the stories of others. We start to see a greater story, where death and suffering are experiences along the way to a more meaningful existence. And we realize that what we do FOR God and TO others has transcendent value, for them and for us. Through hope, we gain compassion. Through compassion, we gain empathy. In empathy, we are compelled to serve the needs of others, not to embellish or advance our story, to accomplish God's purpose in His-story.

Listen to the messages in our culture and recognize how many times you are encouraged to seek your own advantage and advance your own story. To live by those messages is to live by the "will to power" and to reject Jesus' resurrection as well as His teachings. To live by those messages is to sacrifice the real power for world change, for illusions we manage to conjure up in our own strength. How will you respond to the next opportunity you have to assert your influence? Will it be like the world expects you to, with self-advantage or self-protection first? Or will it be like Jesus, dying to self and being made alive to greater purpose for the sake of others? 

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.


The Serpent

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 6, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

In most any culture, the serpent is a symbol of lying, cunning, deceit, and wickedness. To those raised in a Christian background, the image of a serpent will immediately invoke images of Genesis 3 and the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. The idea of an actual talking snake seems ludicrous to many, but the ironic thing is that such a notion is precisely what a lying, deceiving, cunning creature would want believed about him: that he's just a myth or a fable. This post is about who the Great Enemy, the Serpent, or Satan is.

There are two major fallacies regarding Satan going on, which C.S. Lewis articulated well. One I just mentioned, to treat him as a mythical entity. The other is the reverse: instead of treating him like a myth, you treat him with so much attention that you see him behind every bush. Both sides are dangerous. Satan is not behind every evil thing that happens; he often lets man do his own thing. If anything at all, he usually just needs to plan a trigger to let sin take its course. At the same time, he is a very active being, looking for any way or means to deceive each society so they do not seek the Lord. It is never wise to neglect the devil, nor is it wise to take him lightly. While Satan is out to deceive mankind, he actually has numerous roles to play in this world.

The most notable role he is known for is the Accuser. Satan actually has a formal job for the King of Kings as an Accuser. That's what his name means. Many have described him as a prosecuting attorney. In Job, Satan accused Job for only following God when things went well, and he accused God of having to bribe his people for following him. Satan spends much time before the throne of Heaven accusing the saints to him for all the sins we have done. When he's not accusing us of our sins to God, he's accusing us to our face through thoughts, others, and our emotions. To God, he is very specific about his accusations, but to us, he rarely if ever is specific. He wants us to feel guilty, but never with knowledge of what to do about it.

Satan has more roles than just as an accuser. He is a deceiver. When he spoke to Eve, he offered something: "I know things that God is withholding from you." He didn't say that directly, but he said, "your eyes will be open and you will be like God." He gives special knowledge - false knowledge. His other popular name is the ex-angel of light, Lucifer (which is the Latin translation from the original Hebrew). Hebrew names are interesting because they are often given to reflect the situation they were born in or to be a picture of the kind of life they would have. Joshua is the "man of salvation," the same name as Jesus. Jacob means "deceiver, hell-grabber, and supplanter." That's exactly what kind of life he lived for at least 91 years before he wrestled with God.

But sometimes, Hebrew names are the opposite of what their lives were to reveal. Absalom means "father of peace" and he was anything but peaceful. The same is true with Lucifer. The name is 'angel of light,' but it is not true light but false light. It is not light at all. Satan always promises knowledge that "God withholds from us" yet it is anything but. In Revelation 2, Jesus gave a message to Thyatira and praised the remnant who did not listen to the doctrine of Jezebel nor heeded the "depths of Satan."

Satan uses this false knowledge to deceive. He is a murderer from the beginning and is the father of lies. Every lie originates from him. A lie is not merely the complete opposite of truth; it is often a partial truth. The best deceptions are actually mostly true, with just a little lie mixed in there. The best lies speak the language of the truth. Deceivers will use the same terminology, use the same key phrases, make the same proclamations, and do everything they can to say they agree to the same tenants as the truth. Yet, there is something deadly wrong with it. Often it is a focus on man and what he gets out of it. There are others but that is for another time.

Satan is a master psychologist, an expert observer. He has watched mankind for 6000 years and pays very close attention to every action we take. He does not know our thoughts, but he very well knows how one thought leads to another and eventually to action. He knows how to get ideas planted into heads and getting people to believe them enough to take action. He knows how to push buttons and he knows how to get people to fight each other, all the while presenting a solution which he intended to get people to believe all along. He knows how to manipulate group discussions to turn against anyone who dares to stand and speak for truth. You will never be able to outsmart him. He knows you and he knows Scripture better than any of us could dream of knowing. However, all his knowledge and "wisdom" is nothing when put against the knowledge of God. We have access to the mind of Christ and as long as we tap into his mind, wielding the sword of the Spirit as Christ did when tempted in the wilderness, we can silence any lie he makes. We who stand upon the truth, agree with it, and let God do our fighting for us, can defeat any attack of Satan to brainwash us (and yes, I mean that).

Satan has one more role I'll address and this shows what kind of knowledge and power he actually has. He is God's messenger boy. Satan, in all his planning, plotting, and strategizing to trip us up and stop God's work, ends up being the catalyst and the bringing out of that work. Little illustrates this better than the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. In all Satan's planning to kill Jesus and getting Judas to betray him, all he ended up doing was fulfilling the Scripture of how Jesus was to die. Then to top it off, he sought to cut off any attempt for anyone to claim Jesus rose from the dead, so he set it all up so any fraudulent claim could be falsified. He ordered the tomb guarded and sealed and shot himself in the foot while doing so. All his plans to stop the Resurrection from being claimed did was validate the claim of the Resurrection for 2000 years and counting. He has tried to dismiss it with all these hoax claims, yet he himself prevented them from being plausible. If Satan truly understood what he was doing, he never would have crucified Jesus. He is plotting his final rebellion against God and all he will do in that process is fulfill Scripture and pave the way for Jesus' glorious return.

Satan is a very real enemy. He is a defeated foe who does not yet recognize nor acknowledge his defeat. But he is still defeated nonetheless. We need to remind him of that. We cannot go and fight him in our own strength and power, but if we turn to the shepherd, Jesus Christ, and hide in his shadow at his ankle, we cannot be touched. Do not fear him, yet do not take him lightly either. He will receive his just due when all comes to an end. Do not listen to his voice but heed only the True Voice, the voice of God.

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.


Tithing: A Matter of the Heart

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 5, 2018 1 comments

by Steve Risner

I'm switching gears this week and leaving the topic of creation and evolution for another time. We'll be talking about giving this week. That's right—the tithe. I've recently seen some discussion on the topic and feel like this is a good time to broach the subject. It seems there are a variety of views on the subject. I have fairly strong feelings on it, but I hope to be sensitive to the fact that others may disagree with me. Let's jump into it.

Tithing is generally considered to be handing over the first 10% of our gross income to the Lord for His work. We call that giving our “first fruits.” We don't wait until we pay all the bills or see what's left after we've spent what we want. We take to the Lord our first 10% and the rest is for us. But is this a Biblical concept? Let's take a look.

First, I guess my question to anyone who suggests tithing is not necessarily an obligation is, How does the Church pay its bills? Keeping the lights on costs money. Paying the staff takes money. Sending missionaries takes money. Distributing Bibles costs money. Clothing or feeding the poor takes money. Helping someone “down on their luck” costs money. Where does the Church get this money, if not from those who call it their church home? It seems rather silly to suggest that we are not responsible to contribute to the financial needs of the assembly of believers we regularly meet with. So whether you think you “have to” tithe or not, you should. Otherwise, you're a taker and not a giver. The Lord Himself stated that it's “more blessed to give than to receive.” Paul, who shared this saying of Jesus with us, was well known for raising donations for the needs of others. He collected quite a sum for the believers in Jerusalem. Collecting for the poor is an obvious reason to support the local church. However, I believe we should feel obligated to help and it starts with the tithe. It's a matter of the heart.

Here's another tidbit for you. I feel strongly we don't “give” our tithe to the Lord. We're only returning what is His to Him. Take a look at Malachi. He says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (Malachi 3:10). God doesn't look at the tithe as something we give; it's His and we're returning it to Him. He refers to it as “robbing” if we fail to tithe. How can we rob God if the tithe isn't His first? We “give” offerings. The tithe is NOT an offering. It's first and commanded. Offerings are not necessarily obligatory and are on top of the tithe. It's like this: if I gave a friend $50 to hang on to for me and he then returned it later, would I say, “Oh, wow! Thanks for the $50! I appreciate this gift!” or would I simply accept what was mine in the first place? You probably get the idea. The tithe is God's. Anything beyond that may be called a gift or offering. We cannot give an offering without first giving the tithe.

Giving of the “first fruits” was demonstrated for us as early as Abel (Adam and Eve's son) who gave his best as a sacrifice (Genesis 4:1-5). Tithing, giving the first 10%, was also demonstrated by the patriarch Abraham when he offered a tithe to Melchizedek. You can read about that here. Now, this did pre-date the :aw given to Moses. However, some will suggest this has nothing to do with the “tithe” found in the Law. That may be true, but the idea is the same. The tithe written about in the Law funded the Temple and made it possible for the Levites (the priests) to eat and survive. It was necessary. That's the same, in my mind, as funding the local church and paying the staff that oversee the operations of the church as well as to bless those in need and advance the Kingdom. It seems rather simple. It's a matter of the heart.

Others will suggest that we are no longer “bound” by such things because the Law is no longer for us. I say rubbish. There are certainly parts of the Law that we follow today—we don't murder, lie, commit adultery, etc. That's the moral law. Jesus spoke about the tithe and seemed to support it. He said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former” (Matthew 23:23). It sounds like Jesus supported the practice of tithing. And why wouldn't He? The Church needs financing. Of course, there are STILL those that will suggest the Old Testament practice of the tithe is not for us. I say to those people, “Perhaps you're right.” We know Jesus actually raised the stakes on everything; living right rather than just following the Law was the idea. If you hate someone, you're guilty of murder in your heart. If you lust after someone, you've committed adultery in your heart. And if we follow the example set forth in the early Church, we see they didn't just tithe. They gave all they had in many cases. They pooled their resources and gave as each needed. So go ahead and follow that New Testament example and give all you have. Jesus suggested this for some as well. It's a matter of the heart.

For me, I believe that giving the tithe is an example and demonstration of putting our faith and trust in God. I give Him a measly 10% but He then blesses the 90% He's allowed me to keep. From that 90%, my wife and I choose to give offerings, supporting specific needs, helping friends and family who are in need, and providing for various ministries. That's “giving” an offering and can only happen AFTER we've brought our tithe. It's been a cliché, sure, but I'd rather have the 90% blessed by God than the 100% cursed by Him. Don't believe in curses? Read Deuteronomy 28. The blessings for being faithful and trusting in the Lord are amazing and I want them. The curses for not following His commands are not something I want to mess with and certainly don't want to bring down on my family because I lacked the faith to trust the Lord with my finances.

That is the rub for me. The excuses for NOT tithing are generally lame in my humble opinion. I believe the real reasons for not bringing the tithe in are a lack of trust in God and His provision or simply greed or selfishness. That's really it in a nutshell. We could expound on those reasons, but behind all the excuses is generally either the idea that we don't trust Him to provide so we keep all we make for ourselves, or we're simply unable to let go of something like money that we worked for. It's a matter of the heart.

I suggest bringing 10% of what you make to God first. You feel great about it. You're following Biblical principles and demonstrating faith in the Lord. You're helping the Church and supporting ministries, maybe even around the globe. You're advancing the Gospel with your resources. This is true for every dollar you make—whether you worked for it or not (like birthday money or even finding a dollar on the ground). No matter how small, test the Lord in this and watch Him bless you for your faithfulness and your trust in Him. God's economy works very different than the world's economy. You have to give to get. I'm not suggesting some sort of skewed prosperity Gospel here. I'm simply telling you God is in the blessing business and He loves to bless His children—or so He says in His Word. But if we're not faithful, we prevent those blessings from coming to us. If we choose to use the finances He blesses us with to further His Kingdom, He'll be able to share more with us. That's explained in the parable of the talents.

Wouldn't you rather have the 90% of your income knowing you gave to those in need and to further ministries both local and worldwide rather than having 100% of your income (because, let's face it, 10% isn't much) and hoard it for yourself? I love giving and appreciate the opportunity to do so every time the Lord presents me with one. It truly is better to give than to receive. It really is a matter of the heart.

There are certainly those who have given the Church and, specifically, tithing a bad name. They take and they manipulate people so they can support their extravagant lifestyles. Of course this doesn't mean the idea isn't Biblical or necessary. It just means, like everything, man and Satan both can pervert anything God has deemed good. I believe the tithe is a demonstration of good stewardship. If God can trust us to return to Him a very small portion of what He blessed us with, He can trust us with more. If we show Him we are more concerned with keeping His money, it makes it difficult for Him to bless us. The amount of the tithe is of little importance. It's a heart issue as Paul even stated when he said, “I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others” (2 Corinthians 8:8). I suggest reading all of those chapters on the subject. He further states that giving little will result in getting little blessing and vice versa. God's economy works that way, and Jesus explained it that way Himself.

I would love to further talk with you about this if you have any questions concerning the tithe and giving offerings. It's an awesome privilege to be able to give and bless and I would love to help you open up that blessing in your own life. You're never too young to start and it's never too late to start. Shoot me any questions you may have on the topic as I have hardly taken a glimpse at it in this brief writing.

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.


What is the Primary Purpose of the Second Amendment?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, April 3, 2018 0 comments

by Bill Fortenberry

In the current debate over the Second Amendment, neither side has correctly understood the original purpose of the Second Amendment. The conservatives have incorrectly claimed that this guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms was established to give the people a means of resisting tyranny from our own government. Progressives have generally taken the opposite view, that the purpose was to establish state level militias which could be used to suppress rebellions and uprisings of the people. Both of these views are partially correct, but neither the conservatives nor the progressives are focusing on the primary purpose of the Second Amendment.

When James Madison introduced the Second Amendment in Congress, he did so at the request of the state level committees which had originally ratified the Constitution. As part of their ratification of the Constitution, the states of Virginia, New York, Rhode Island, and North Carolina all included a request for an amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms. Virginia, for example, requested an amendment declaring: "That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated Militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State."

The language proposed by the other three states was nearly identical, and this request gives us our first clue as to the reason that the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution. There is no mention in these requests of either tyranny or rebellion. Both of those threats were occasionally referenced in other discussions of the right to keep and bear arms, but neither one was even mentioned in the actual request for an amendment protecting that right. Tyranny and rebellion are both internal dangers, but the states that requested the Second Amendment were focused on the far greater danger of foreign invasion. They wanted the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms so that the entire populace could be called upon to defend the new nation in a time of war.

This purpose for the Second Amendment can also be seen in all the state level guarantees of the right to keep and bear arms. There were four states that included this right as part of their own Constitutions prior to the drafting of the Second Amendment. Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania had already established a constitutional right to keep and bear arms even before the Revolutionary War had ended. None of them mentioned tyranny or rebellion, but all four of them echoed the declaration from North Carolina that "the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State."

The defense of the state was the stated goal in every single instance of a state level guarantee for the right to keep and bear arms, and it was the common thread of every single request from the ratifying committees that this right be added to the federal Constitution. The defense of the nation was the primary purpose of the Second Amendment, and the benefits of allowing the people to keep and bear their own arms became evident less than 25 years after the amendment was ratified.

When the British invaded America during the War of 1812, the American government called upon privately owned warships to fight in defense of the nation. The people responded, and hundreds of citizen warships joined the fight against the British. This civilian navy captured more than 1200 enemy ships and is often recognized as the most effective use of a privateer force in history. America was victorious in the War of 1812 because she allowed her citizens to keep and bear military grade weaponry. When America's vastly outgunned navy of 15 ships needed help defending the nation, there was a large pool of experienced citizens ready and willing to join the fight. These privateers were a perfect picture of the purpose of the Second Amendment.

The next time that you engage in a debate over the Second Amendment, point out the use of the phrase "defence of the state" and draw your opponent's attention to the example of the War of 1812. I can guarantee that the ensuing conversation will be much more productive than the typical squabbles about tyranny and rebellion.

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What Does the Bible Say About Satan?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 2, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

While God created the world to be good and perfect, we know that evil exists in this world. The main adversary against God is Satan, also known as the devil, Lucifer, and some other names. Since good versus evil is one of the main themes of the Bible, Satan is talked about a fair amount.

To start, back in October 2014, Bill Seng wrote a blog post series for Worldview Warriors on Satan and evil, so I’d encourage you to read those posts here, here, here, and here.

The first time we see Satan in the Bible is in Genesis 3 in the Garden of Eden, when he comes to tempt Adam and Eve. He shows up in the form of a serpent and lies to the first humans that they could be like God by eating the fruit God told them not to eat. This leads many scholars to believe that Satan was already fallen and banished from heaven even before the creation of the world, though we don’t have Biblical evidence to prove that.

We see Satan again in the beginning of the story of Job. Satan believes that he can get Job to curse God by afflicting him with all sorts of maladies, and God says that Job will remain faithful. (Spoiler alert: God won that bet.) The Hebrew word for Satan in this passage means “the adversary,” the one who is against God.

In the New Testament, we see Satan described as “the prince of this world” (John 14:30), “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).

In both Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13, we see accounts of Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. Satan tries to get Jesus to sin multiple times, so that Jesus would mess up and not be the perfect sacrifice for our sins according to God’s plan. (Spoiler alert: Jesus won that battle.)

Satan was the root cause of Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus before His crucifixion, as we read in Luke 22:1-6. But what Satan determined to use for evil, God used for good, to complete His plan for our salvation. Jesus had to die in order to be raised again for us to have eternal life, and Judas and Satan played roles in that.

Jesus came for the purpose of destroying Satan’s works. 1 John 3:8 says, “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” John 10:10 says, “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

But Satan wasn’t just present in Biblical times; he is still active in our world today, trying to lure believers away from God. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” Everyone who believes in Jesus is being tempted by Satan, even today, but we have the power of Christ to be able to resist his temptations.

Ultimately, what will happen to Satan? He will be destroyed and thrown into the burning lake of sulfur. You can read about Satan’s ultimate demise in Revelation 20:1-10. But until the end of the world, Satan will still be a part of it, tempting us each and every day. Until then, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

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The Faith of Daniel's Friends

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, April 1, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

With today being Easter Sunday, it got me wondering about which day is the most important one in the Christian faith. My immediate thought was, “Obviously, it’s today." But then I started thinking about it and an argument could be made for any of a number of days. Some of you may feel Christmas is the most important since Jesus could not have been our perfect sacrifice if he hadn’t been born of a woman and lived as a human being. Others may feel Good Friday is the most important since our penalty was paid that day. I suppose Pentecost could be the answer because even Jesus himself told the believers to basically do nothing but wait in the city until they received the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49). Maybe this is a ridiculous question and the most important day hasn’t even come yet because it’s the day Christ returns. Truthfully, they are all important days and it’s a matter of personal preference or experience which one you place at the top of the list.

For me, I will still go with Easter Sunday as the most important. I think of today as the ultimate realization that nothing in this world truly has power over us. On Good Friday, Jesus paid the wages of sin that we deserved (Romans 6:23), but he demonstrated power over it by rising from the grave on the third day. It wasn’t just power over sin; he also demonstrated power over death, pain, and suffering. Our Savior and Lord endured one of the most cruel, ruthless, inhumane punishments until he decided it was time to give up his very breath, then showed us on the third day that even the most cruel, ruthless, inhumane circumstances don’t have any power over him whatsoever. As we become his disciples and receive his Holy Spirit, we also can live knowing we have ultimate power over even the worst types of suffering.

I remember when I was a child there were a few occasions when my mom would ask us what we thought would be the worst ways to die. It was more of a curiosity thing than a need to pursue morbid discussions. What I remember is that myself and my family members generally agreed that being burned alive and drowning were right at the top of the list. I don’t know if they are worse than the crucifixion, but I do know that God addresses both of them when he promises to save the Israelites: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2). While not every Israelite would experience this verse literally, there was a group of people for whom it seemed like the words were a direct and specific promise.

In Hebrews 11:34, we see that some of the faithful heroes who are not mentioned there by name “quenched the fury of the flames” by faith. There isn’t a lot of mystery regarding which heroes from the Old Testament would fit this description. They were the friends of Daniel and their names were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Unless you know your Bible trivia, your first thought is, “Who?” These were Israelites who, like Daniel, probably watched all of their family members get killed and most of their property and towns destroyed during the Babylonian invasion. As they were taken captive and forced to go back to Babylon along with Daniel and others to be in the king’s service, they were renamed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 1:6-7). There’s a good chance you’ve heard those names, but maybe you never even realized that the names by which you identify them are actually the names given to them by a pagan official!

I’d love to be able to tell you that having their names changed from something godly to something pagan was the worst thing that happened to them, but that just wouldn’t even be close to the truth. Many of us learned the story of “Rack, Shack, and Benny” in the fiery furnace when we were children, but knowing only that story without the background could cause us to miss the essence of their faith. You see, they were in the “fire” long before they stepped into the furnace. Their faith wasn’t about making the courageous and right decision in their one big moment. As it was for Daniel, the faith of these three young men was about making God-honoring choices each and every day. In addition to having name changes forced on them, they dealt with the loss of loved ones, forced captivity, forced service to the king which very well may have required them to be made eunuchs, and having to learn a new pagan culture just to name a few things. When Babylon conquered Jerusalem, these guys instantly faced more pain and suffering than most of us do in a lifetime.

The biggest thing we see about their faith throughout all of this is something we DON’T see. They did not complain or try to fight any of it even one bit! They had to go through three years of pagan training before they could even serve their pagan king, yet it’s as if they accepted it all as part of God’s plan. I’m sure they had their moments of grief since they were human beings, but we see in them a faith that not only intellectually believes God is ALWAYS in control but lives as such with confidence. It’s because they knew God was in control no matter what their circumstances showed that they were unwavering in their story of heroic faith. After King Nebuchadnezzar built a 90-foot golden statue to represent HIS kingdom and demanded that all bow down to worship the statue (Daniel 3:1-6), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego kept in mind GOD’S kingdom and knew he was in control over Nebuchadnezzar. They trusted that God would do whatever was necessary to bring himself glory in this situation and they were not concerned with their own lives.

They refused to worship the idol because it was against the commands of their God, plain and simple. They didn’t try to lead a revolt. They weren’t even disrespectful to the king who had taken so much from them. They simply chose to obey God rather than man. As a matter of fact, they didn’t even feel a need to defend themselves. Daniel 3:16-18 shows that they had total peace knowing that either God would rescue them so the flames didn’t harm them, or he wouldn’t and their temporary pain would end with death anyway. They trusted that God alone knew what was best. They could stand firm in obeying him and let him worry about the results. Nebuchadnezzar threw them into the furnace, but true to the prophecy from Isaiah, they didn’t get burned. Three young men were bound and thrown into a blazing furnace, but seconds later, four men were seen walking in the furnace “unbound and unharmed” (Daniel 3:21-25). The fourth is believed to be either an angel or Christ himself. When Nebuchadnezzar had the men leave the furnace, there was evidence of God’s total protection and control. Daniel 3:27 tells us, “They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them." Complete faith in God allowed them to “quench the fury of the flames." God was in control all along and all they had to do was actually walk in that knowledge.

I encourage you to reflect on this truth this Easter Sunday. Just as God was in complete control when Daniel and his friends were taken captive, he was in control in the fiery furnace. Just as God was still in control on Calvary, he was in control when Jesus rose from the grave. Just as God has been in control in these absolutely horrible circumstances, he’s still in control in your life. Walk in it and let him worry about the results!

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.