Just Shut Up

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 19, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

One of my favorite all-time talk radio segments was something that Mike & Mike in the Morning used to do once a week called “Just Shut Up." It would typically be at the end of the week so the show’s producers had enough time to gather interview or press conference clips from throughout the week to find some of the dumbest things that athletes and coaches had said. After playing those clips, the hosts would collectively say, “Just shut up!” Sometimes, the person making the dumb comment is the same person the show had been praising earlier for their performance. This goes to show that no matter how successful you are in life, no matter how much money you have, and no matter how good of a day you are having, every single person is susceptible to opening his or her mouth and ruining it!

James continues his writing about the problem human beings have with the tongue in James 3:7-8: “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." James had already written in verse 2 that “anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect," suggesting that language is the one thing keeping even the most righteous individual from being perfect. Just before that, he wrote in the same verse, “We all stumble in many ways." James, who was a leader in the early Church writing to many other believers, included himself in that statement because he understood that no one is exempt from the issues caused by an out-of-control tongue.

It’s surprising that something so small could cause such big problems. James compares the tongue to animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures because all of them can be wild and out-of-control if not properly handled. The difference, though, is that all of those creatures have been brought into submission to mankind, yet man has not been able to control his mouth. Many times, the mouth has control over the human being.

The question, then, is how do we battle this issue of an out-of-control mouth? The Greek language gives us a bit of a hint in these verses. Where it says that “no human being can tame the tongue," I found it fascinating that the Greek word there for “can” comes from the root dunamis. It’s where we get the English word “dynamite." This word is translated as “power” in Acts 1:8, where Jesus said his disciples would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. So, when James says that “no human being can tame the tongue” (3:8), he means that, in our own carnal ability, we don’t have the same dynamite power that the Holy Spirit has to tame the untamable.

The next question in my mind would be, why are our words untamable? James tells us that the tongue is “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (3:8). The Greek word for “restless," which is akatastaton, could also be translated as “unstable." I don’t think that anyone who has ever gotten into trouble because of something they said would argue that this is true. It’s almost like you are surprised at the magnitude of your own stupidity with words, asking yourself, “Why in the world did I just say that?” Since we’ve all been there, we ought to accept what James says about the tongue being completely unstable.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to blame some object that cannot think on its own for my struggles. That seems like a bit of a cop-out. However, I think James knows this. I don’t believe he is trying to blame the tongue or give it some sort of power that it doesn’t actually have. He’s teaching the new believers to take sin seriously. He wants them to realize that if we want to have better results with whatever comes out of our mouths, then we need to “walk by the Spirit," as Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16. Just a few verses later, Paul says we must “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). It’s not just walking with Him in a general sense; it’s letting Him lead us and guide us every step of the way!

We need to do this because the real problem isn’t the tongue but the HEART. Jesus says in Matthew 12:34 (ESV), “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." James draws attention to the tongue because the dumb, hurtful, or sinful things we say are the RESULT of the problem, but the ROOT of the problem goes far deeper than words. God created us with perfect hearts and minds that were reflected perfectly in what we say. But after the fall in the Garden of Eden, we had a serious problem, a disease with no cure. Genesis 6:5 tells us, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." Once Adam and Eve sinned and brought into their lives the knowledge of evil, fear, shame, guilt, blame, selfishness, and everything else that comes with sin, the corruption of the human body from the inside out was in full swing.

The only answer we have to this serious problem is Jesus. The inclinations of the flesh are still the same, but because Jesus defeated sin, we too can have victory over the human heart, the human tongue, and anything else that has been corrupted by evil. The best way to learn and walk in that victory is to “just shut up” sometimes. James already wrote earlier in his letter to the believers that they should be “quick to listen and slow to speak” (James 1:19). His older brother, Jesus, had sent the disciples out one time to share the good news in Israel. As he was commissioning them, he gave them many instructions, one of which had to do with making sure their words were used for His glory. In Matthew 10:18-20, Jesus says, “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." When you read through the Book of Acts, you see that these words of Jesus come true as the apostles and early Church leaders are often “filled with the Holy Spirit” as they speak.

If you’ve been finding yourself being made a fool of by the words that come out of your mouth, the only real advice I have for you is to be quiet and seek the Holy Spirit. I am as guilty of this as anyone. I find myself not only saying too much at times but also saying it too quickly. When I do that, I’m basically trying to lead the Holy Spirit, rather than letting Him lead me. We cannot move ahead of the Spirit, but we must let Him lead us step by step. May God bless our words!

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 Boasting of the Enemy: Goliath

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 17, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

There seems to be a lot of boasting by those who despise God, His Word, and His people today. When I was growing up, atheists were a small minority and while they believed there was no God, they didn’t seem to care about those who did. Today, however, it is very different. Today, the ‘atheist’ is not really a “I don’t believe God exists” person, but rather, “I am in defiance of God and anything he stands for.” They are really more “anti-theists” than atheists.

In that defiance, many of them dare God to prove them wrong and to do something about it. There is the classic tale of the professor who stands before his class and says, “If God does exist, let him strike me down with lightning in the next five minutes.” What a foolish thing to say. I heard of another story where a couple teenagers were out doing street-evangelism and told two guys, “You don’t know if a car is going to come and hit you.” (They were on the topic of not knowing when death would come.) The guys left and crossed the street only for a car to come within inches of hitting them. Both men turned back towards those teens and stared in awe. I don’t know what happened after that.

People boast all the time about what they can do and what they know, and they think they can defy God and expect Him not to do anything about it. There is one such case in Scripture which stands out to me regarding this: the famous encounter between David and Goliath. This is perhaps one of the most famous and well-known of the historical events of the Bible. The David vs Goliath showdown has become the cliché of upsets of the little guy beating the expert. While many look at David and his character growth in this showdown, while also examining how God used him to beat this giant, I want to look at the villain of this story. Who was Goliath and what was his boast?

Goliath was no mere mighty warrior. He was a giant. Depending on the size cubit you use, he could have been anywhere from 9½ to 12 feet tall. He wasn’t a mere skinny dude either. He was built big on top of that. Many speculate Goliath and his brothers (each big men in their own right) came from remnants of the Nephilim genes. He was of the sons of Anak, a family of giants. Goliath was trained for war from his youth according to King Saul. He reminds me of the Spartans who began training their soldiers to be soldiers by 8 years old. He was the best of the best. He had no rival and he knew it. His hometown was in Gath, which was actually only a few miles from Bethlehem. He practically lived on Israel’s doorsteps and thus knew quite well what they were capable of doing.

King Saul had stirred up trouble against the Philistines. He had won a battle against Nahash the Amorite which garnered the people’s trust and then thought he could take on the Philistines once he got established as king of Israel. He took a garrison but kicked up a hornet’s nest in the meantime. Saul’s army had no weapons and began to scatter until his son, Jonathan, made a sneak attack and after some infighting in the confusion, the Philistines fled. But Saul had other problems because he continually refused to do what God said in the manner in which God said it. So as a result, Samuel notified him that his throne would cease with him and be given to another (1 Samuel 15). This is what set up the scene for this epic showdown. The Philistines didn’t want a massive battle and decided to let the war be decided by each nation’s two best warriors in a one-on-one duel. Goliath was the one who initiated the challenge, and since Saul was head and shoulders above everyone else in Israel, it was actually his duty to be the one to face Goliath. Needless to say, 40 days passed and no one dared make a move. It is thought that each day, Goliath inched closer and closer to the camp, defying the armies of God and ultimately defying God himself.

Goliath knew that no one in Israel stood a chance against him. He was the best. And in the natural mind, knowing the world Goliath came from, there would be none who bet against him. He didn’t merely walk up to the brook for the duel; the text gives a notion that he rather strutted. There is an undertone of, “Look at me, the best warrior in the world. Who wants a piece of me? Give me the best you have!”

But then strolls in a young lad who hadn’t even finished puberty yet. David was thought to be somewhere between 15 and 17 years old and with only a staff and a sling, no armor, he approached for a duel. Goliath was livid. He expected the best Israel had and instead he gets a little kid who looked like he hadn’t seen a day of battle training. While David had five stones, he only needed one to strike down this giant. What’s more is David sprinted after this giant. He did not fear him nor was he concerned about missing his shot. With one swing, David silenced the boast of this giant, using humble weaponry (a sling) and humble clothing (no armor), but with absolute confidence in the God he served.

Goliath boasted in his skills, his size, his talents, and his weapons. He knew that Israel did not have anyone with the physical ability, the weaponry, or the talent to face him, but his boasting did not consider the God of Israel being the One True God who actually could do something on behalf of his people. He defied God and God sent His champion, a weak, humble, lowly shepherd boy, a nobody then, but the one God had in mind to be the heir to the new throne of Israel.

Many in this world boast as Goliath did. The giant boasted for 40 days and did not expect that God would ever show up after all that time. Likewise, the scoffers today defy God, daring Him to do something about it, and they don’t plan for anything to actually happen. We may be in the middle of the “40 days” of boasting, but let us not fear them, because the day of the hero is coming. But unlike the humble entrance that David had, or that Jesus had when He was born and lived on this earth, when Jesus returns, He won’t be a humble servant but a conquering king. The scoffers we face today think they are giants. They may come with science credentials, they may come with lawsuits, and they may even come with physical violence, but they are boasts. They have no real power to a Christian. The Holy Spirit lives within us, and if we listen to Him, He will lead us through the battles to victory. I’ll look at two more major boasts made by the enemies of God over the next two weeks.

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Intergalactic Mr. Rogers

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 14, 2019 2 comments

by Chad Koons

“God is love, man! Jesus loves you! That’s the gospel of Jesus Christ!” He sipped his coffee while grinning like the Cheshire cat. His long hair, unkempt appearance, and deeply engraved smile lines could only mean one thing. This guy was one happy hippy. “Really?” I wondered aloud, “Is that what people need to hear, simply that Jesus loves them?” His frap wasn’t the only sickly sweet thing in Starbucks that day. It was painfully apparent to me; this man was spreading what I’ve come to call the dreaded Mr. Rogers gospel.

Ah, Mr. Rogers: that sweater wearing, mild-mannered, comforting man. To him, every day was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Mr. Rogers was the ultimate “nice guy,” wasn't he? He was never angry, he was always soft spoken, and he was about as fierce as a kitten.

This is how I saw God for a long time. But I’m pretty sure I’m not alone; many people see God this way. “God loves me, He’s always there for me, He understands me.” Everything seems peaceful and okay, which, my friends, is a devastating misunderstanding of who God is. We have allowed the fullness of the Lord to become two-dimensional, and the Word right along with it. It too has been reduced to a positive, one-sided message of comfort akin to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Let me just say it:

God is not an Intergalactic Mr. Rogers and His Kingdom is not the Neighborhood.

This isn’t a show. We’re not all “okay.” This can no longer be the Land of Make Believe. We need to wake up and stop conveying the wrong message before it’s too late.

At the risk of being a voice crying out in the wilderness, I believe many of us have deceived ourselves and perhaps the world into a lethal, false sense of security. Are we overdue for a wake-up call, to reevaluate how we see the Lord and consequently how we present Him to the world?

Don’t get me wrong, God is very good, oh yes. But to believe that He is all warm fuzzies, peace, love, and rainbows is completely missing the mark. He is the lion AND the lamb. There is a gravely serious side to God, as well. Are we failing to project the full picture of who God is?

From what we read in Scripture:
God is fierce, an almighty warrior. (Exodus 15:3-8)
God is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, ruling in power over all. (Revelation 19:16)
God is Holy, expecting His people to be holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16)
God is perfect love, which demands perfect discipline upon His people. (Hebrews 12:5-8)
God is without sin, commanding mankind to repent and sin no more. (Acts 17:30-31)
God is the Judge of all the earth, and His judgment is coming to all. (Revelation 20:11-15)

Do we understand this? How aware are we of God’s less cuddly side? Even in the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis wrote of Aslan, the depiction of Jesus, “He’s not a tame lion." To be abundantly clear, God is not some cosmic nice guy who is universally tolerant and accepting of everything. The Lord is full faceted, holy, and perfect. He has definitive opinions, a firm will, rules, and commandments to be obeyed.

I am not encouraging us to become insensitive. Some will use the truth as a hammer; please don’t do that. We should love people, second greatest commandment understood, so we must be patient and loving as we make Jesus known. Work on that if you already know how to be gentle, humble, and sensitive before the Lord and before people, then this next part is for you. Let’s step out of our comfort zone.

Don’t be afraid to share confrontational truth. Remember that some of the most transformative moments in your life have come through confrontation.

Don’t be afraid to offend. Jesus offended people all the time (mostly the religious leaders, funny enough). The Great Physician knew that medicine can taste bad.

Don’t be afraid of rejection. Jesus let people walk away. He was not insecure; God was still at work in their lives and Jesus knew it.

Don’t be afraid of the ensuing mess. Sometimes “go and sin no more” requires that we walk with someone through their struggles. This may not be easy for you or for them.

God is love, yes, but He is fierce love. He loves us enough to not let us remain as we are, lost in sin and bound in cycles of separation from His will. Do not be afraid, Church. Someone needs to see and hear from the fullness of God dwelling inside of you. Will you love them enough to show them the truth?

Come as you are, yes. Come, realizing that we come and become transformed by the power of God. Come and become conformed into the full image of Christ. Come to the Lord who redeems who you are, who calls you to be like Him.

“Jesus loves you” is not a full picture of the gospel. The love of God, however, through a well-balanced people, will absolutely change this world. Let Mr. Rogers stay on TV and let the full breadth of the God of the Universe live through you.

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Psalm 50

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 13, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Often, we think of the psalms as being lamenting (sometimes even whining and complaining) or full of praise for God. But there is another type of psalm as well: one of prophecy of God's judgment, as is the case with Psalm 50.

The psalm starts out in verses 1-6 describing the righteous judgment of God. We know it is God Himself who is providing the prophecy in this psalm. Where we see in English, “The Mighty One, God, the Lord” at the beginning of verse 1, the Hebrew text is actually 3 names for God all in a row: El, Elohim, Adonai (YHWH). There is no question who is speaking here!

Verse 3 states, “Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.” Verse 6 ends this section with, “And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.” While God is a God of love, He also must deliver justice to His people when it’s needed. When God’s people disobey Him, no matter what the context is, consequences of some sort must follow. God shows us His love by always being just. God does not tolerate anything that goes against the rules He has set for His people.

The next section of this psalm, verses 7-15, provides a more specific warning to God’s people: “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God” (verse 7). Again, we see the name of God repeated here with extra emphasis in the Hebrew text, so Israel knows who is speaking to them.

This section describes how God does not really need the sacrifices and offerings He has commanded of them. It’s not that God needs Israel to kill that animal in order to feed Him or something; what He truly wants is their obedience to Him, which they show by doing what He commands of them. What made their sacrifices and offerings significant was the attitude of their hearts: “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (verses 14-15).

This applies to us today as well. We are no longer commanded to sacrifice animals to God, since Jesus’ sacrifice took care of that once and for all, but God still desires that our hearts have the right attitude toward Him. We should be thankful for everything that He has given us, and we show that by doing our best to do what God wants us to do in our lives. When we humble ourselves and call upon Him rather than relying on our own strength, we have the right attitude and will receive God’s benefits in our lives. He will deliver us from the struggles we have in this life (in His way and in His timing) when we honor Him with our lives.

Next, the psalm moves on to warn those who are “wicked,” which means those who don’t follow God, in verses 16-21. We see that these people are the ones who may give lip service to God’s laws but don’t actually follow them (verses 16-17) and who sin without regard to what God desires (verses 18-20).

Verse 21 says, “When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you.” Some people may think that just because they don’t have immediate negative consequences to their sin or get directly called out by God for it right away, that He’s ok with their actions. This is clearly not the case here. God sometimes waits to see if people will repent before calling them out and laying down the law.

Verses 22-23 wrap up the psalm with going back to God’s judgment, which is always righteous: “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.” God is reminding His people that this is still just a warning for them, but they really need to change their ways or they will experience His judgment. He is still a God of grace! He reminds Israel (and us) again to live out a right attitude toward Him and we will be saved from His judgment.

Do the warnings of this psalm apply to your life? What is your attitude like? What in your life do you need to repent from, to change your ways and renew your attitude to one that honors God? God is a God of grace and second chances, but we need to recognize that He is also a God of justice who sometimes needs to punish His people to help us learn what is right.

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A Weapon of Mass Destruction

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 12, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

If you’ve ever watched a very large structure get demolished to make room for future plans, you know that it is a very strategic event. My favorite sports teams when I was a child played at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is a pretty small city, so everything is relatively close together. In 2001, when it was time to demolish Three Rivers Stadium to make way for parking for the new stadiums, they placed 4,800 pounds of dynamite in 2,500 different spots within the structure where they might have maximum impact. They couldn’t just drop a bunch of bombs from the sky and hope they land in advantageous areas that would do the trick. Going about things that way would put many other buildings and infrastructure, as well as many other human beings, in the vicinity of the stadium in danger. For the job to be done efficiently and safely, they needed the stadium to implode inward and had to place the dynamite in strategic locations that would make certain of it.

When you possess something that has the ability to do great damage to others if handled improperly, you must go to the greatest lengths necessary to guard against it. You must do whatever it takes to maintain control and safety for yourself and those around you. Carelessness leads to great destruction. On the other hand, the same item that can be used as a weapon of mass destruction can also be used for good purposes. The dynamite I referenced above carries catastrophic consequences if misused, but it was able to bring down a stadium that comprised over 60,000 seats in a matter of seconds when put to good, controlled use.

In James 3:3-6, the writer tells us about a weapon of mass destruction that we all possess - the tongue. James explains that the tongue is just like a bit that goes into the mouth of a horse or a rudder that steers an enormous ship in that it is small but has a mighty influence. A rider uses the bit and the reins to control an entire horse. The captain of a ship uses the ship’s wheel to control the rudder, which then controls the entire ship. In the same way, the tongue is such a small part of the body, yet it has the tendency to control the whole person. James says that it “makes great boasts” (v. 5). He then compares the tongue to a forest fire. Forest fires usually begin with just a small spark, and it doesn’t take long until it is raging out of control.

Think about all the harm that can be done with words. There are very few sins that don’t involve words to some degree. In fact, the wise teacher and king, Solomon, tells us that even the overuse of words is a problem: “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut” (Proverbs 10:19 [NLT]). When we were children, we were taught that “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you." We now know, of course, that it’s a completely untrue statement. Sometimes, our words hurts others. Other times, our words hurt ourselves. With our tongue, we swear, lie, flatter, embellish, exaggerate, gossip, and make promises that we cannot keep, just to name a few sins caused by the tongue. As I wrote about in last week’s post, even when we seem to be doing everything else right in our lives, the sins of the tongue can still bring us down. That is why James says that the one who can keep from sinning with words is “perfect, able to keep their whole body in check (James 3:2). It’s the part of our lives we most need to tame even when everything else has been conquered.

In contrast, the tongue can also be used for much good when properly controlled. Think about the previous examples James used. Horses can destroy things when out of control, but they can be used in battle, transportation, and even competition when used for good. Large ships can also be used in battle, transportation, and trade, but they can cause destruction and massive loss of life if not properly steered. Even fire, which generally destroys everything in its path, is also used to provide heat, light, and the preparing of meals. We’ve already pointed out many of the ways that the tongue can be used to harm others, but the person who has it under control knows how to use it for good and for God’s glory. With our words, we can cite Scripture, praise God, teach others, encourage those who are struggling and build them up (Ephesians 4:29), communicate love, show grace, and provide hope and life in the midst of a person’s feelings of darkness and death.

So, the big question is, how do we control the tongue? James 3 is primarily about taming the tongue and how darn-near impossible it truly is. Some people think the best answer is to talk less or not even talk at all. But think about it this way, do you solve the problem of an out-of-control ship by keeping it tied to the dock? Do you keep the crazy horse in the stable? Do you keep the matches in the box so a fire is never started? Choosing those options may prevent some problems, but it also prevents you from experiencing the good that can come from those things. To refuse to speak at all is to refuse to ever encourage someone or communicate with them in a helpful and productive way. That’s not the answer.

Like many other aspects of the Christian walk, the answer is giving up control. While the horse, the ship, and the matches can all be controlled by the same human beings who allowed them to be out of control briefly, the tongue cannot. The tongue is a part of the body that must be submitted to Christ like all other aspects of the believer’s life. Being a follower of Jesus means we experience a rebirth, a changing of the heart. And what we say out loud is always connected to what we feel/think within ourselves. Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34). Jesus also said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). One aspect of this might be that we desire to defend ourselves, to spread gossip, or to hurt someone with words the way we have been hurt, but that we refuse to engage in it because we are “denying ourselves” and trusting the Lord to work all of that out.

If you truly want to begin to tame your tongue, James basically tells us it’s impossible if we are depending on our own power. But since we know it’s a matter of the heart, we ought to pray like David did in Psalm 51:10 every morning: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." If our tongues speak whatever is in our hearts, and we ask God to purify our hearts by his Spirit, then we have a chance to use our words for much more edification and encouragement than destruction as long as we’re here on this earth. The bottom line is that we cannot tame the tongue on our own any better than we could tame sin at all. That’s why Jesus went to the cross for us and then rose from the grave, giving us power over the things that held power over us before. May you walk in the power that Christ has given you over the tongue this week as you trust in him!

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.


Buy the Truth

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 10, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

"Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding." ~Proverbs 23:23

As I’ve read through the Proverbs in my personal studies recently, I’ve noticed how well it treats truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding. There are two primary descriptions Proverbs uses for these four things: a person deserving to be cherished, and the most precious possession one could acquire. These four terms can nearly be used interchangeably, but allow me to distinguish them.

Truth is the simple facts. It is what it is and no matter what anyone says, it always is. It doesn’t change and it doesn’t care about opinions or education or emotions. Wisdom is application and knowing when and how to use the truth or how to address those who despise it. Instruction is the passing of knowledge and wisdom to the next generation. Understanding is knowing more than just the facts but what is all involved with them, what is required for them to be true, and the implications of them.

Proverbs 23:23 tells us to buy the truth. How can something so precious be bought? It is not talking about a mere monetary value, because truth’s value cannot be measured. Instead it is talking about setting everything you have aside and getting this precious jewel. Jesus taught a parable about this idea. A man working in someone else’s field finds an invaluable jewel in the field. He buries it, sells everything he has, and then buys that field, knowing it has the treasure that is more valuable than anything he owned prior combined.

Truth is to be bought, but it is not to be sold. Isn’t that a contradiction? Doesn’t buying something mean the other person is selling it? Again, that only applies if you are talking monetarily, which this verse is not. Peter faced the idea of selling Truth. In Acts 8, God was moving extensively throughout Jerusalem in establishing the church, and a man named Simon Bar-Jesus (not the same Jesus as our Messiah), wanted to buy the Holy Spirit. He didn’t really want the Holy Spirit but the power and reputation that was coming with it. He wanted in on the fun. Peter got into his face and cursed him, “Your money perish with you.” Simon immediately repented, but the point stands. He sought to buy the power, but not the Truth.

When we have the Truth, we don’t charge for giving it. We don’t ask for favors in return. It was offered freely to us and we should give it freely. While I could classify myself as a newbie on the speaking platform (I have several conferences under my belt, but I am not a regular speaker), I decided early on that I would never charge any church or group any honorarium for speaking at their event. I would need the group to only cover transportation costs if necessary, and if they wanted to give me a love offering, that is another issue. But I would never ask for money to speak, nor would I expect a love offering for my financial support in these endeavors. While I am to seek and buy whatever it takes to get truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding, I am never to sell it as though it was something I should ever part with for selfish gain.

What makes Truth so precious? As I mentioned above, it is often described as a person. Proverbs 1-9 describes wisdom as one which protects, preserves, guides, comforts, and stops evil and temptations. There is someone who fits that description: God. When we seek Truth and Wisdom, we are actually seeking God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” [emphasis mine]. He doesn’t merely have Truth. He is Truth. He is the standard.

It is worth noting here that this proverb does not talk about knowledge that should be pursued. It is not talking about “go get an education.” There are many “educated” people today who do not know a thing. We have many high school graduates who can’t even read because they were passed on through the grades and given “participation grades” instead of having to work. I have met some PhDs whom I wonder how they even passed the college entrance exams. Now, don’t read what I am not saying. I am not saying to never go to school. I am saying that school can only offer you knowledge which may be true or may be false. It does not offer truth nor wisdom nor true instruction, nor understanding. It offers what you need to do a job according to worldly standards and frequently it is only enough to do the job, not enough to think on your own, and especially not enough to question the system. Knowledge puffs up and makes one proud. Wisdom and truth, however, should make us humble, knowing that the only real knowledge is a gift from God, not a product of our own work. But like muscles, for us to be able to use wisdom and truth, they have to be used and practiced.

God offers His Truth freely to any and all who seek Him. If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask. But you need to ask the correct source. The only correct source is God. When we pursue Truth, we are pursing God. This is why partial science will lead us away from God into secular humanism and naturalism, but following true science will lead us to the One True God. The more one truly studies ALL of science holistically, without abandoning the basics, the more he will discover the One True God was there all along. The famous proverb of all the world’s scientists and experts climbing the mountain of knowledge is still true. When they reach the top, they will find a group of Biblical theologians who have been camped there for centuries. You will never find Truth without finding God with it; and if you despise God, you will never find Truth, because you will show to hate the Truth and lash out against anyone who speaks it.

The Truth of God is open and available to any who wants it. He does not offer it via a private revelation that only one person can access. He does not share all His “secrets” with every person, but with those He is most intimate with; however, every one of us has the opportunity to be that intimate with God. We are as close to God as we want to be. We have to make the effort to work with God and let Him do His recreative and sanctifying work in us. But everything God offers is available to those willing to put in the effort to go get it (again, it is a gift, not a wage-earning work). Buy the Truth. Pursue God with everything you have and you will get Him, and you will never be disappointed in Him.

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.


Psalm 46

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 6, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

If I had to choose a favorite psalm, it would definitely be Psalm 46. I grew up Lutheran, and this is the psalm that inspired Martin Luther to write the powerful hymn A Mighty Fortress. In addition, many years ago my late Uncle David taught an intergenerational Sunday School class one summer on the psalms. For the lesson on Psalm 46, he gave everyone a small rock with “Ps 46” written on it to remind us that God is our rock. I carried that rock in my pocket for a number of years. Also, when I was attending seminary, my project for the Psalms and Wisdom Literature class was to transcribe the professor’s Hebrew analysis of a psalm, so of course I chose Psalm 46, which you can read here.

The overall meaning of this psalm is that God is our help in times of trouble. He is our strong tower and our fortress. Catastrophes can (and will) happen, but God will never change!

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (verse 1)

The name of God used here is Elohim, which is the majestic name for God used in the Creation account in Genesis 1. This name shows God’s strength and power. The literal translation of this verse from the Hebrew would read, “God is for us a refuge and a strength. A help in narrow places, He is found exceedingly.” The word for “exceedingly,” translated as ever-present in the English, is the same word used to show that God’s creation is VERY good in Genesis 1:31.

“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (verses 2-3)

No matter what happens, we WILL NOT fear. It doesn’t say that we might not fear, but that we will not. The imagery of the earth giving way and the mountains falling is one that we should be fearful of, as nature is one thing that we as humans cannot control, even with all our modern technology today. Just ask any meteorologist, or a person who has gone through a natural disaster of any sort, how well they can control nature. We naturally fear what we can’t control.

But, God is unchanging and powerful, and He can be trusted, even with what we can’t control. He is our refuge and our strength. We are always secure when we’re in the Lord.

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” (verse 4)

I love the contrast between the chaos of waters roaring and mountains quaking in the previous verse with the calm river that provides water for the city of God in this verse. God’s presence is like that river; it makes us glad! This is representing God’s calming presence in our lives, and that should give us joy no matter what type of chaos is raging around us. Dwelling with God is what we long for as believers. That’s the hope we know we can count on when we make it to heaven - that we will be able to dwell with God and in His holy presence for the rest of eternity, in that holy city.

“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” (verse 5)

God is present with His people, and God will help us through our difficulties and our chaos when we have a relationship with Him. That doesn’t mean He’ll remove everything difficult from our lives, since we need those trials to grow and mature and learn to trust Him with our whole lives. That doesn’t mean that everything will work out the way we want it to and we’ll always be happy, but we can rest in the assurance that God will always help His people.

“Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.” (verse 6)

We see in this verse how God will come to judge the earth. Chaos will happen, but at God’s command every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. All of the evil will melt away in the presence of the holy and perfect God of the universe.

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (verse 7)

Earlier we had Elohim as the name of God, but here instead it’s YHWH. The psalmist makes it clear that it’s not just any god who is with us, but it is the God of Jacob and the Lord Almighty. It is in this verse that we see the reference to how God is our fortress.

“Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.” (verse 8)

Don’t let this verse confuse you. God hasn’t caused problems here on earth; humans have with our sin. God has brought desolation on earth because we humans have disobeyed Him. God created the world so He makes the rules, and that’s the consequence for disobedience. The psalmist encourages us to come and see; notice what God has done, and notice what God is going to do!

“He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.” (verse 9)

We saw in the previous verse that God allowed desolation as a result of mankind’s actions, but God fixes all of that with His redemptive power! There will be perfect, eternal peace one day. God will get rid of all war and violence that we have brought on ourselves.

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” (verse 10)

The “Be still and know that I am God” part of this verse is often quoted. But the context may surprise you, now that you’ve seen the rest of the psalm before it. In context, it means to stop destroying the earth and God’s holy city. Recognize Him as God of all the universe! We need to stop any chaos that we’re causing in our own lives and have intimate relationship with our creator God. We need to understand that God is truly Lord of all and put our hope, faith, and trust in Him - not anyone or anything else. He is the one who deserves to be and will be exalted everywhere.

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (verse 11)

The repetition of this verse is both like a chorus in our modern songs, and to emphasize the point of the psalm: that God is always with us, and He is our fortress.

As we read this psalm today as believers in Jesus Christ, we can certainly say that in Jesus Christ we have a stronghold – a place where we can go for refuge and strength. Jesus is certainly a very present help to us in times of trouble and distress. God is consistent, regardless of what happens on earth or in our lives. He is our mighty fortress, forever. We are privileged to be able to have that relationship with Him and be able to get to know the almighty God of the universe, through the work of Jesus Christ.

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 As I Say, Not As I Do

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 5, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

You may have heard of the old saying, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach." It’s probably accurate in some situations in the world, but the saying simply is not compatible with being a Christian, especially a Christian leader or teacher. Nobody is perfect, but there is a certain type of moral character that must be present in the life of someone who wants to teach others about Christ and His way of life. When it comes to following Jesus, those who cannot do simply cannot teach!

I remember having an amazing professor when I was in seminary by the name of Dr. George Fry. He taught church history and other subjects, and he was by far my favorite professor and teacher during my three years of working toward a Master of Divinity degree. One day, he made a rather abrupt decision to leave his position as professor at the end of that trimester. I was close enough with Dr. Fry to ask him what was behind his decision to leave. I’ll never forget the heartbreak and frustration with which he told me that he had caught one of his students plagiarizing someone else’s work, presented the evidence right in front of the student, and then the student maintained that it was not plagiarism. Dr. Fry was dumbfounded that someone would try to cheat their way through seminary, and that others in that same class simply were not willing to do the necessary work to learn and get through the course. He shared with me that it was a pattern he was seeing and that he couldn’t give his heart and effort to students who were willing to find any shortcuts they could to get the degree.

Dr. Fry had spent many years not only teaching but also pastoring churches. He knew how incredibly difficult the work is and believed that anyone who was willing to cheat their way through seminary had no business teaching, preaching, or leading in the Church in any way. He would often say, somewhat jokingly but somewhat truthfully, that the work of a pastor is so difficult that people should be doing anything they can to get out of it! In his eyes, someone who would take shortcuts wouldn’t cut it in the real world where ministry is hard. Charles Spurgeon famously said in his lecture “The Call to Ministry," “Do not enter the ministry if you can help it." He would go on to suggest that if a person can be content doing literally anything else, he is not called to the ministry.

Being a Christian teacher is not as easy as it may seem from time to time. This is the basic sentiment of James in James 3:1-2. Apparently, some of the earliest believers to whom James wrote viewed teaching in the Church as a very prestigious position. It is only one department of church work, but it was the department that became the most popular. It seems that people were aspiring to be teachers without factoring in the counting of the cost that would be required of them. So, James is clear that those who want to be teachers should approach it with at least some level of trepidation. He writes, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (v. 1). In other words, for myself, any other pastor, and even those who write and speak and lead for Worldview Warriors, we had better take the responsibility very seriously.

We are accountable to God first and foremost, and He happens to see every single thing we do behind the scenes. We can put on a show and fool a lot of people, but there is no fooling God. People can assume that we are living according to Christ’s commands because we are so brilliant in conveying them to others, but God knows the truth and will judge us accordingly. Being a teacher of the Word is an honor and a calling, but it’s also a commitment to walk the walk rather than just “talk the walk." That’s not a typo either. Teachers do more than talk the talk; they actually talk the walk. True followers of Jesus walk the walk.

James then gives the best example to show how easily we fail to walk the walk, and strikingly, he includes HIMSELF. He says, “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check” (v. 2). Even though James includes himself among those who stumble (which is everyone), he doesn’t excuse the stumbling. He instead uses this reality to explain why being a teacher is so difficult. Not only are we judged more strictly, but we have far more opportunities to sin with words than those who are not called to be teachers. Think about the ways we can sin with words as teachers. We can use words to boast and be prideful. We can selectively report what God’s Word says and only give people a portion of the truth because we’re either scared to offend or scared that someone will take advantage of the grace we offer. Teachers, like all human beings, can also sin against others with words. We might slander, gossip, lie, harm, name-call, or insincerely flatter others for a purpose. It happens so easily that we must be careful and be cognizant of how easily we fall into sin as teachers.

Sinning with the tongue is so easily done that James goes so far as to say that conquering this sin means one is perfect. In other words, James feels that even those who are able to resist every other temptation and avoid sinning in any other way are still susceptible to sinning with words. Personally, I know the damage I have done with words and the damage I can still do with words. The sins of the tongue are possibly the most unrecognizable to us; we often do it without even realizing we are sinning. This is all the more reason to avoid becoming a teacher of God’s Word unless you are absolutely certain it is your calling and absolutely certain that you will strive for the rest of your life to do all that you can to make sure you are not a hypocrite when your words are measured against your actions.

With all of this being said, being a teacher of God’s Word is still an amazingly blessed calling. It may be difficult to always live out what we teach, but at the same time, we have even more motivation to live a Christ-like life than others. If I wasn’t a teacher, I probably wouldn’t care as much about my actions or be as bothered by my mistakes as I am now. Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). I know that I am blessed and have been given much. In fact, I was told by Worldview Warriors that this is my 300th blog post for this ministry! It’s crazy to think that God has allowed me to do that much even though He alone knows every sin I’ve carried and every misstep I’ve made over those years. His grace is surely enough, yet it motivates me to constantly strive to do better. If you want to be someone who teaches and shares God’s Word with the world, then hopefully it will motivate you as well.

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The Names of God: Jehovah Gmulah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 3, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jehovah Gmulah: The God of Recompense

I recently saw a meme on FB that if God exists, and He knows and sees everything, then He knows about every child molestation and rape that has ever happened. The meme is a strike against God that He is powerless to do anything and thus unworthy to be worshipped. It is an extremely foolish statement to make, because there is a side of God that wicked man despises. God is a God of recompense, a God of vengeance, and a God of justice.

Those who cite these memes and think they have won an argument against God are also those who will whine and complain about how and when God DOES carry out judgment. When nations made it their religious practices to burn living babies alive to death to appease the god Molech, He sent Israel to wipe them out. These scoffers then whine against God committing genocide. It’s not as well known, but one of the reasons for that conquest was not because Israel was so special, but because those nations were actually committing the sexual sins listed in Leviticus 18 (see verses 24-30 in particular).

God will execute judgment against the wicked. All those innocent child molestation victims are crying out to God for justice and they will receive it. Why doesn’t God carry it out immediately? The answer is simple: He longs for those criminals to repent. He does not want anyone to perish, but rather seeks they all repent and be saved. If God were to carry out judgment immediately, there would be no opportunity for Him to showcase His mercy.

“But, but, that’s letting criminals off the hook!” Yes, that is an argument I’ve heard, even recently. I had a scoffer tell me that the cross is nothing more than a “get you off the hook” excuse to do whatever you want. That is not true at all. I told that person that he really doesn’t understand the cross at all, let alone what is coming on Judgment Day. But there is another aspect I bring up. If God were to immediately punish every child molester, every thief, and every murderer, then He would also have to immediately punish every idolater, every mocker, every doubter, and anything and everything that scoffer did himself. If God were to prevent every crime the scoffer sees as evil, God would also have to prevent that scoffer from even being able to scoff, let alone question God. They are all the same ultimately: sin. That’s the big picture. In the same way speeding and murder are still violations of the civil law, every sin is violation of God’s laws. Not every sin yields the same punishment, but every sin does prevent man from entering paradise with God.

God is going to avenge His people. He will avenge the weak, the innocent, the downtrodden, and the poor. He cherishes those people, so when the nations or even us as individuals look down upon them, God is going to make a case for them. He still allows us to make our choices and lets our choices ripple down to affect others. The scoffers who whine about “rich churches” in America while the starving in Africa are perishing don’t realize many things. They put the blame on God for that, when they should be putting it on corrupt governments preventing that aid from getting there. What is more is that they don’t see WHO is actually giving them the most aid: the Christians.

God is going to avenge those who have been stolen from. He is going to give justice to those governments who refuse to take care of their own people. He is going to take revenge against those who have harmed His precious ones. Jesus did not mince words when He warned about causing a little one to sin. He said it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and cast into the depts of the sea than to cause one of His own to sin. That’s why I take what I teach and write so seriously. I refuse to allow false teachings to enter in, and often I am not always the “nicest person” to be around when I see it. Why am I so strong against them? Because I am a watchman (as every Christian is), and anything that gets past me is my responsibility. If I allow false teachings into my circles, it basically means I have endorsed them. I gave their approval to come in (or simply was asleep on the watch, which in most militaries is a treasonous action deserving the penalty of death). Either way, if I let them in, even if they come with a fellow believer, I am held responsible for letting them in. That said, I also must let in anything that is truly from God. It is a HARD job to do, which is why it is critical I check with the Holy Spirit on what is approved and what is not. I don’t want to know what is worse than that millstone, yet so many take that position so frivolously.

Because God is the God of Recompense, we do not have to stand up for our own rights and our own privileges. We don’t have to make a stand for ourselves when we are mocked and ridiculed. It’s tough. The Apostles were frequently insulted and jeered by the ruling authorities, let alone the mobs, yet they rarely made any stance for themselves. Paul did a couple times, but there were others where he took a beating when it was illegal for it to happen (due to him being a Roman citizen) and did not complain. This is a tough one for me because of what I just described above. I can’t stand false teachings being presented, so it often becomes a battle of “who is right” instead of “what is truth.” But if I am working under the Holy Spirit and am partaking in a move of God, I don’t need to defend God. He does a fine enough job without me. All those mockers and scoffers will get what they desired: that justice be done. But they will also get it upon themselves unless they repent.

When God summoned Jehu to wipe out the line of Ahab, two of Jezebel’s servants went to meet him, and Jehu ordered them to stand with him or perish in the cleansing. This is a small picture of what God calls for us: to stand with Him when He comes to wipe out evil or perish with it. It is a frightful thing to fall into the hands of a Holy God. He is Jehovah Gmulah, the God of Recompense. He will see justice done for all the evil done against us, but also for all the evil we have done too. Let that make us turn to the cross and plead for His mercy because we need it more than all those we think need to repent.

This post concludes my series on the Names of God. There are others I could have addressed, but I sense this is where this series needs to end at this point. I pray this series has helped you get to know who God is better and to pursue Him with all you have.

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Psalm 42

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, April 29, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

We know that the psalms are the songs of the Old Testament, but many of them (or at least verses from them) have been turned into songs we sing today as well. From what I recall, my first experience with Psalm 42 was actually singing a song based on verse 1 in church when I was in grade school, called As the Deer. While the beginning of this psalm starts out with longing for God, it’s a rather back-and-forth psalm, switching often between lament and hope.

The psalm starts with a lament in verses 1-4. The psalmist longs to experience God’s presence, using the metaphor of a deer longing for water. He has an appetite for being in God’s presence. It looks as though the psalmist is getting more and more depressed, while those around him question where God is and much time has passed since the last time he was able to be in God’s presence in the temple.

Verse 5 is an interesting one, because the verse starts as a lament but then turns to hope: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” The psalmist realizes that his soul is saddened, but then he reminds himself that he has no reason to feel that way - his hope is in God who saves him! The same is true for us. It can be so easy to get caught up in the things of this world that are so negative - diseases, death, the worldly self-focused culture, poverty, the negativity of the media, etc. But our hope can always (and should always) be placed not in those things but in the God of the universe, for He is always our Savior and our God!

In spite of that hope, the psalmist returns to lament in verses 6-7. The psalm started with the imagery of being desiring God like water to drink, and now it moves to imagery of waterfalls, waves, and breakers. Instead of calm and serene waters, the psalmist now feels the torment of rough waters in his life.

But again, there is hope! Verse 8 says, “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.” The psalmist remembers that God is always with him, always loves him, and is the God who in fact gives him life. God’s continual presence and love is a comfort to the soul, both for the psalmist and for us today.

In verses 9-10, the psalmist remembers that God is his rock, but he still cries out to Him in lament. Because of the circumstances going on in his life (which we as the readers don’t know the details of), the psalmist still feels as though God has deserted him. He is feeling oppressed by his enemies, he’s experiencing pain, and he’s being mocked. Even though God is still with him, it can be easy to forget that in times of great distress.

But in verse 11, the psalmist repeats the realization and hope that he experienced in verse 5. He truly can praise God in all situations and circumstances, because God truly is his savior!

That’s technically the end of Psalm 42, but many scholars believe that Psalm 43 is actually a continuation of Psalm 42. It’s 5 more verses and it continues the same pattern of a few verses of lament followed by a verse of hope. Psalm 43:5 is actually the same wording as Psalm 42:5 and 11, which makes a strong case for these psalms actually being one.

Whether these two psalms should be together or separate, the meaning is clear: we all go through times where life is hard and we question God. God may feel very far away and it may feel like he’s forgotten us, but we can be assured that God is always present with us and always loves us, no matter what. We too can say with the psalmist that even when our soul is downcast and disturbed, “I will yet praise him, my Savior and my 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.


Faith Revealed

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, April 28, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

I was listening to sports talk radio the other day and a man named Marcus Thompson was being interviewed. He writes for a website called The Athletic. Mr. Thompson was talking about his coverage of Golden State Warriors’ star Kevin Durant and his research into Durant’s background. Mr. Thompson said in the interview that it is remarkable that Durant turned out the way he did and has excelled the way he has because his upbringing did not set him on the road to success. Durant, like many others with rags-to-riches success stories, grew up in a broken family. His father left the family when he was infant, which led to his parents’ divorce and the need for his grandmother to help raise him. Basketball was his ticket to success and he worked hard at developing his craft to match his God-given height and ability. Similar stories would describe the lives of other all-time great athletes like LeBron James and Ray Lewis, proving that regardless of whether you come from a firm foundation or utter brokenness, your actions will go a long way in determining who you become.

In last week’s post, I shared my thoughts regarding James reminding his audience about their church father, Abraham, and his faith that was shown through action. To further illustrate his point, James follows his writing on Abraham by discussing the living faith of someone who couldn’t be more different than Abraham in every area other than faith. In James 2:25, he brings up Rahab, an Old Testament woman known best by a single title - “the prostitute." I find it interesting that James is a Christian, writing to mostly Christians, and referencing someone who came to faith just like they did. Yet, he still refers to her according to the worst part of her past. Why? I’m guessing it’s because James’ audience was primarily Jewish and judgmental and, though they knew the history of Rahab coming to faith, likely still remembered her sinful past in a way they had disregarded their own. Don’t we all do that at times? We hold onto the sins of others but conveniently forget about our own. More importantly, by reminding his readers of her past, James is showing that living faith has nothing to do with how you were raised or your past actions. It doesn’t even matter how long you’ve had faith. Once again, we’re reminded that living faith is always accompanied by ACTION. James 2:26 tells us that good deeds are to faith what the spirit is to the body. The spirit is what gives the body life, and deeds are what give life to faith.

Rahab’s story isn’t perfect. You can find it primarily in Joshua 2. She didn’t start out with any spiritual basis in her life. As I wrote in my book Heroes of the Faith, we must see the truth from Rahab’s life that faith is not something that only happens for the “religious” or “self-righteous." It doesn’t happen by going to church, and it’s not about our parents. No matter where we come from or what we’ve done, faith is an individual choice and is shown through action. Rahab did a lot of things wrong and lived in a pagan city enslaved by the filth of the world, but she chose to have faith when she came to realize she needed God the most. Rahab lived in Jericho, which was a fortified city just across the Jordan River from where the Israelites were camped out. It was the first city they would come to when they would enter the land of Canaan, which was the Promised Land that God was giving to them based on his promise to Abraham many years earlier.

Joshua was the leader of the Israelites and though he trusted that God would give them the land, it was still wise to scope it out because there was no guarantee that the current occupants of the land, who did not follow or worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, would just give it up without a fight. So, Joshua sends a couple spies over to check out the city of Jericho and see what will be necessary to take the land and the city. The spies wisely chose to enter the home of Rahab because no one would’ve suspected anything. As a prostitute, there were men leaving and entering her home all the time. While the spies’ plan made sense from a human perspective, their cover was blown when somehow, the king of Jericho received word that the spies had come to stay with Rahab. The king then sends men to Rahab and orders her to bring the spies out. Make no mistake about it - they would be brought outside to experience a public death intended to scare the bejesus out of anyone else who dare come to spy out their city or even think about trying to capture it.

At this point, the spies knew they were toast. Their fate was in the hands of a pagan woman who had absolutely no reason to help them. That was their assumption, at least. What they didn’t know was how God had already been working in her heart. In Joshua 2:4-7, we see that Rahab does the unthinkable and hides the Israelite spies, knowing full well they are from a nation that wants to conquer her city and her people and that she could be killed herself for aiding them. We also see that she lies to the men looking for the Israelite spies and sends them away. Later, she explains to the spies why she made her decision and how they can get back to the Israelite camp without being killed or captured. If this were all we knew, we could assume Rahab had some other motivation that had nothing to do with faith. If a person does good deeds without faith, that person is just as spiritually dead as someone who has faith but no deeds. In order for faith to be alive, it has to be BOTH an internal belief AND accompanied by action.

Joshua 2:9-11 shows us the reason why Rahab was suddenly motivated to help God’s people. She explains to the spies that she knows the Lord is giving them the land and that her own people are greatly afraid because of it and because of what they’ve heard about how the Lord has fought for them and provided for them in the past. Rahab now knows what it means to rightfully fear God. She even adds, “The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (v. 11). Rahab decided that it was better to be on THAT God’s side when the judgment comes than the side of her countrymen. First, we saw the action of hiding the spies; then, we saw the faith behind it. And all this from a woman who had no Godly foundation and didn’t even consider God someone with whom she could have a relationship at that point (she said “the Lord YOUR God” [caps mine]).

James is telling all of us that Rahab’s faith was just as much a saving faith as Abraham’s faith was. She didn’t have a clue what it meant to walk with God and his people yet, but her belief that the God of Israel was in total control caused her to determine it was best to help HIS people, and that belief led her to action at a moment when she was the only person who stood between the men of Jericho and the Israelite spies. Notice that James is not commending her for her lie, just as Hebrews 11 does not. He’s not saying Rahab’s faith was perfect. We all know that Abraham’s faith was far from perfect. But you don’t have to have perfect faith in order to have faith that is ALIVE. God used Rahab’s imperfect but willing faith to not only continue His plan and promise for the people of Israel to gain their own land, but also to bring salvation to Rahab and her family. Rahab would come and live among the Israelites after the fall of Jericho, would marry a Hebrew man, and would end up in the genealogy of our Messiah as the great-great-grandmother of King David (Matthew 1:5-6).

If you’ve grown up in a difficult situation, had poor examples of faith all around you, and had very little teaching regarding Biblical traditions, don’t think for a minute that you can’t have LIVING faith in God just as much as I or any other Christian you know does. Of course, it starts with some sort of internal recognition of who God is. That’s important. Once you have that realization, it may motivate you to some change in your life, possibly even something that seems drastic. But maybe that is what God wants for you. If it is, don’t waste another day ignoring what God is doing in your heart. Let go of the past and trust Him to lead you from here on out.

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The Names of God: Jehovah Sabaoth

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 26, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jehovah Sabaoth: The Lord of Hosts

Last week I wrote about how God is the God of peace, and as a peacemaker He comes to rule and bring His government. How does He do that? As I mentioned last week, when Rome came to take over a nation or tribe, they sent an ambassador to negotiate peace before the army would arrive. If the people agreed to the terms (which were Roman terms, rarely if ever negotiated), the army would rule over them, but the people would be allowed to retain their general identity. But if they refused, then the army would still come and wipe them out.

God is the Lord of Hosts, the commander of the army of heaven. He’s got an army to which there is no comparison. In The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Aragon raced to recruit the “men under the mountain,” an army of undead because the forces of Sauron coming against the city of Minas Tirith was too big. This army alone was so powerful because no weapon other than Aragon’s sword could touch them. And this army effectively won the battle single-handedly.

We see a few glimpses of this the heavenly host throughout the Bible. The first is found in Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden. The entrance to the garden was protected by an angel with a flaming sword. Another incident is found right before Joshua advanced upon Jericho. This was no ordinary angel, but rather Jesus, fully dressed in His armor, as Commander of the Hosts of Heaven.

The first time we see an army of angelic hosts is in 2 Kings 6. Elisha had been warning the king of Israel where the Syrian army was moving and their intentions so the king of Syria sent his army to take out one man. Elisha’s servant panicked but Elisha didn’t. The prophet instead asked that God open the eyes of his servant and thus show him the countryside was surrounded with flaming chariots. We see this army show up from time to time throughout the Bible.

There is one major difference between God’s army and this undead army: the undead army was cursed because of bad choices; God’s army has always been completely faithful to the end. This army does not fight with conventional tactics or weapons, though the Bible often gives imagery related to physical war. In one instance, the Angel of the Lord wiped out 185,000 men of the Assyrian army in a single night, thus preserving Hezekiah. When Jehoshaphat faced three armies, God told him he would win the battle without having to raise a sword. When the king arrived at the place of battle, he sent his worship leaders as his front line, believing what God had said. There he found all three armies having wiped each other out. Even when King Saul and Jonathan faced the Philistines, Jonathan attacked with his armor-bearer alone and God’s army came in, causing confusion among the enemy. While Jonathan only killed about twenty men, even more died by the Philistines killing each other. When God’s army fights, His people always win.

What about our battles today? Does God fight for us today? He most certainly does. It doesn’t always come in the form of overtaking a physical enemy. There are spiritual forces we face, and the Old Testament’s physical enemies gave us a physical picture of how we should engage them. When God told Joshua to march around Jericho, He was demonstrating to Joshua that this conquest would be done by His hands, not by military talent. Likewise, that physical battle gives us a picture of how some spiritual battles need to be fought. Numerous prayer groups would march around a property they knew God was leading them to get. Sometimes they would march around a city or around a neighborhood, but the idea was to surround the territory to be claimed with a proclamation that it belongs to God.

One of the key things I am still struggling to truly grasp is that God is the one who fights God’s battles. We get to participate in them, but more often than not we are mere spectators in the battle. We are in the thick of it and we battle in prayer, but ultimately it is God fighting that battle. When God is the one fighting, He is the one who will win. He has an undefeated record and there are no ties in this war. Any time we experience a loss, it is not because God did not come through, but because we did not believe or because there was sin in the camp.

Right after Joshua’s most famous victory over Jericho, he got routed by the tiniest force in Canaan at Ai. Look back to my post on the “Effects of Sin” earlier this year. Achan thought taking a few things would not affect anyone except him. Turns out it cost Israel the battle. It wasn’t because God failed them, but because Achan’s sin prevented God from being able to bless them. Achan’s choice, which he thought would only affect him, held back the armies of God because God cannot bless sin. He told Joshua what the deal was and to go address it. In Joshua’s eyes, let alone God’s, Achan’s sin was considered treachery. It cost Israel a battle and much more.

Am I saying God’s armies can be restrained with sin, as though we have power over God? Not at all. God is still going to see what He wants done through to the end. The one who loses out is us, not God. God promised to bring Israel into the Promised Land and after hearing the spies’ report, they chose not to believe God. So, God chose to wipe out every adult in the camp except for the two spies who believed Him from the beginning. God’s plans were not waylaid. It was only delayed in seeing its fruition. It still got done. The next generation entered and then proceeded to take over the land.

God is Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts. He is the Commander of the armies of heaven, and He never loses a battle. It always amazes me how many people try to fight against Him when it is truly a futile effort. God doesn’t lose His battles. He doesn’t settle for draws either. He only knows how to win and He wins every time. And He asks of each and every one us this: “Which side are you on? Mine, or against Me?” Choose you this day whom will you serve. I have chosen to serve the Lord, albeit far from perfectly. What about you?

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What the Krebs

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 25, 2019 2 comments

by Steve Risner

Editor’s note: Due to the previous popularity of this post, we’re re-posting it today for your enjoyment.

This week I wanted to touch on a process that is basic to every form of life we are aware of on earth—the Krebs' Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle. At first, I wanted to outline it in detail and talk about its complexities and the silliness of the thought that it arose by chance. However, I quickly realized that such a blog would not be read by anyone because it would be similar to reading a higher-level science text - a.k.a. boring. So I've decided to just write a bit on energy and how life—all life—depends on it.

The Krebs' Cycle, named after Hans Krebs, an American biochemist, who discovered it in 1937, is what turns glucose (the most common form of sugar in our bodies) into useful energy. There are 8 basic steps to this process, and it's quite amazing to think of the detail in creating something so basic to our existence—energy.

Why do we need energy? Of course, without energy we could do no work—chemical, electrical, or mechanical work all requires the expenditure of energy. We house energy in a chemical called ATP—adenosine triphosphate. ATP is made in the Krebs' Cycle. There are other processes involved before and after the Krebs' Cycle that use ATP, so the argument quickly becomes a chicken/egg discussion if you believe in evolution from a single common ancestor. It's just nonsensical. So let's look at different ways we make energy.

We eat food. It's yummy. It tastes good and we enjoy it. I suppose that's motivation our Creator gave us to sustain us. We need food not for a good time at dinner but to generate energy and acquire nutrients to perform the complex processes we are always involved in that keep us alive. Food is digested in a series of stages from chewing and saliva through the stomach and all the way to the end of the GI tract and back out to the outside world. Along this pathway, nutrients are snatched from our food. Glucose, a sugar, is a basic nutrient that eventually starts our story, so let's talk about it for a moment.

Sugar is what we break up into little energy packets. We do this all day, every day, as long as we are living. Every cell of the body requires energy to do whatever it is that it does. Glucose is broken down into smaller molecules, which eventually become acetyl CoA. This compound is what undergoes changes in the Krebs' Cycle to release energy molecules. This pathway is called glycolysis, which simply means “breaking sugar.” But we are so marvelously built that we can actually make glucose out of other things—namely fat and protein! That's amazing. In fact, you don't need to eat ANY glucose in order to live because your body can make it out of other things. I often tell my chiropractic practice members struggling with their diet that there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. If you don't eat them, you make them. How cool is that?

So proteins are broken down into amino acids, which can be converted into acetyl CoA, which enters the Krebs' cycle and BAM! Energy is produced. Triglycerides (fat) can be broken down into fatty acids and glycerol. Glycerol is converted into... you guessed it.. glucose, which is turned into acetyl CoA and BOOM! Energy is produced. Our Maker knew what He was doing.

Think of this: each cell in your body, on average, will consume (after generating) about 10 million molecules of ATP every second! What?! I could show you all the math that comes up with this completely theoretical number, but let's just assume it's pretty close. That's jaw dropping, isn't it, when we consider there are approximately 100 trillion cells in our bodies (depending on who you talk to). Looking for calculations on the Internet (which I admit is sketchy), it looks like the average human uses about 100-150 Watts of power in a day, or the energy an average light bulb would consume. Is that startling to anyone else? Most of the appliances in your home consume far more energy than you do. Again, our Creator is astounding!

Then there are organisms that simply sit in the sun and generate energy! How nice would it be if you could just sit outside for a few minutes and generate the energy you needed to get through the day? Plants (and several other organisms) have the ability to turn light energy into usable energy to sustain themselves—a process called photosynthesis. It just so happens that they use our waste products to make energy and survive, and we use their waste products to make energy and survive. What an awesome cycle!

I pray in reading this you're not overwhelmed with jargon or technical stuff. I did my best to reduce the boring stuff most of us would gloss over. In essence, the bottom line is the Krebs' Cycle is astoundingly complex and important. ATP, the primary (although not the only) product of the Krebs' Cycle is what every known living thing uses for energy. We make ATP from glucose—a sugar. We can eat sugar or make it from proteins or fat. There are hundreds of enzymes that move different products down multiple paths to go from hamburger and milkshake to usable energy. You are, literally, what you eat.

Brian Thomas of creation.com says this concerning ATPase (an enzyme used to break ATP and extract its energy): “Since evolution by natural selection requires reproduction, and since reproduction requires life, which requires ATPase, the enzyme is therefore a prerequisite for evolution. But with evolution out of order until ATPase ‘appears’, evolution is not even in the running as a model to explain the origin of the molecular motor.”

Let's reflect on the fact that God is the Creator and Sustainer of life.
Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
1 Corinthians 8:6, “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”

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.