Chasing the Wind

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, June 16, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

There once was a wise teacher in Israel, a man who became king and was wiser than anyone else in the world at the time (1 Kings 4:29-31). His name was Solomon and, despite his great wisdom, he stupidly pursued the fleeting pleasures of the world rather than the lasting joy of knowing God. He obtained for himself over a thousand wives and concubines, many of whom were from foreign nations about which God had commanded the Israelites not to intermarry with their people (1 Kings 11:1-3). As King Solomon grew older, he realized that he had wasted so much of his time, energy, and money on pleasures that would never last. How depressing that must have been for him! He declared in Proverbs 1:7 that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge," meaning everything he knew and everything he had was pointless if he didn’t remember that God still rules over him. He wrote the same thing differently in Ecclesiastes 1:14: “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind."

The vast majority of us truly have no clue what it would be like to have all the money and worldly pleasures of the world combined with the gift of wisdom and understanding. That is the life so many people today are longing for, yet just about anyone I can think of who has lived even a taste of it has found themselves to be utterly unfulfilled. If you had everything you could’ve ever wanted but still couldn’t buy happiness and joy, you’d probably be as frustrated as King Solomon was.

A couple years ago, Hugh Hefner passed away. He was the founder of a magazine I don’t even feel like naming right now as I assume most of you know who he is. He became an icon to so many and lived a life of fame, luxury, women, and money that many people dream of. Yet, I remember hearing after he passed that those closest to him realized how incredibly alone and dissatisfied he really was. I read an article that details the sad, lonely life he lived and the constant battle with the fear of death. This makes sense if you think about it. If the only thing you had ever done with your life was spend time and energy trying to please yourself and ignoring the fact that you have no idea when your time will be up or what happens after that, you’d be terrified of the end too. Fortunately, unlike Mr. Hefner, King Solomon came to his senses before it was too late and learned that “fearing God and keeping his commandments are the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

I wonder if James, the brother of Jesus, had Solomon in mind as he wrote his letter to the early church. He also had a perspective on what it means to chase after things that can never satisfy. While Solomon referred to it as a “chasing after the wind," James simply recognized it as futile and unsuccessful pursuing. In James 4:1-3, he sees that human beings have these sinful desires which cause us to battle with one another, to want what others have, to build up an attitude of anger and resentment towards them, and to try to find fulfillment apart from God. This bitter and unsatisfying pursuit of whatever it is our flesh desires leads to “fights and quarrels,” even with other believers. If we know that God is our eternal and ultimate fulfillment but we keep trying to find worldly, temporary pleasure anyway, we’ll have no time for that which benefits others. How would benefitting someone else serve the ultimate goal of getting what the SELF desires? And if we have no time or reason to care for what’s best for someone else, we begin to see everyone else as a rival, someone who either already has or is trying to get the same things we are.

James says that not only does this lifestyle result in fights and quarrels, but it also results in effectively murdering others. Using that word in this context was probably shocking to the readers of James’ letter, but it was deliberately intended to be so. James probably remembers his brother’s teaching on murder during Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus explains that the act of murder is merely the result of the true problem in the person’s heart. He said this because it was common for the Jewish teachers to preach against murder while ignoring their own hatred for others. Jesus taught the listening crowd that to “murder” someone with words or within one’s heart causes that one to be “in danger of the fire of hell." He would follow the same line of thinking and teaching in regards to adultery in Matthew 5:27-28, declaring that looking at another lustfully is no different than committing the act itself.

Later on, James explains that we “kill” others in order to get what we want, but we still can’t get it anyway. While certainly, people have been physically murdered over jealousy and covetousness (think of Uriah the Hittite once David had slept with his wife and needed to try to cover it up), the reality is that many even in the church today fall into the trap of running down the reputation of another in order to build themselves up. This happens when one person wants the job another has, when one person gets the praise another deserves, and even when one person is pursuing a love interest who is already involved with another.

Ultimately, the truth of this passage is that if we are desiring something that we don’t have, the One we should be seeking is God Himself. James says that the biggest reason we often don’t have what we desire is because we don’t ask God. We refuse to pray and instead just try to get what we want on our own. James knows that even many sinful desires are rooted in voids in our lives that God has allowed to be there. For example, the sinful and lustful desires for sex that drag so many people down are merely the twisting of God’s good plan for sex by the devil himself. If you are desiring sexual intimacy, knowing God created that desire within you, don’t allow the devil or the world to use it to trap you. Simply ask God to meet that need for you by bringing you a spouse, and then TRUST HIM to provide that person in the timing HE knows is best. Feel free to apply this same logic to anything else you desire.

Finally, James says that even when we do ask God for things, God knows our heart and knows that we have impure and selfish motives. Using the same example as the above paragraph, some people earnestly seek the Lord for a spouse, but their motivation is solely based on what that spouse can do FOR them. If that’s you, ask God to bring you a mate who you can serve and grow WITH. The same is true with a job, house, car, or money that you seek. If God were to give you those things, what would you do with them? How would you use them to glorify His name? Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Jesus echoed this in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Which kingdom are you seeking, His or yours? If we seek Him first and delight in Him first, you better believe He’ll give us what we desire in our hearts because He will have changed our hearts to be in line with His. God wants you to be satisfied and content in Him. If you reject this and keep trying to find it elsewhere, you’ll just continue chasing the wind, something you could never catch.

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Passing the Debt to Your Children

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 14, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

King Hezekiah was one of only four kings whom God gave full praise over the course of his reign. As one of only eight who followed the ways of the Lord, he was one of only four who was noted for taking down high places where idols were being worshiped. He even destroyed the bronze serpent Moses had made because the people had turned it into an idol.

Hezekiah had one major sin recorded during his reign. In Isaiah 39, we learn of how Hezekiah met with envoys from Babylon, and he showed the envoys everything in the treasury of Jerusalem and the Temple. Scripture makes clear that there was nothing of his wealth and power that he did not show Babylon. There is a legitimate question to ask: why did he do that? One can only speculate, but pride and showing off what he had would certainly be a good possible answer.

God was not happy about this, so He sent Isaiah the prophet to address the king. Hezekiah was truthful in his response and Isaiah laid down the hammer, likely in tears. He told Hezekiah that because he had done that, Babylon would one day come and take away everything in the treasuries of Jerusalem. However, because he was loyal to God in nearly every area, this judgment would take place for his children.

At this point, Hezekiah makes a tragic statement that caught my attention. He called the proclamation of judgment from God to be “good” because it would not happen in his lifetime and he would have peace and truth in his. I don’t know what he was thinking, but he just called a curse that was put upon his children to be “good.” King David would not have said that. David would have said the sin was his, so let the punishment be upon him. That’s how he handled the sin of his census. What should Hezekiah have done instead? I believe Hezekiah should have immediately began instructing his children in the fear of the Lord and to not follow in that mistake. We know he did not do that (or very well) because his son Manasseh who succeeded him at age 12 was the most wicked king of the line of Judah, and his sin would bring upon the kingdom the captivity into Babylon.

Yet today, how many of us do the same thing Hezekiah did? How many of us make decisions that will affect our children and we really don’t care because we won’t see the consequences ourselves? As a country, that has been our lifestyle. “Who cares about what our children will go for? Let’s live it up now. They can deal with it later.” I have heard from several places that the average family in America lives on approximately 120% of their living wages. That means families are spending $120 per $100 they make. Common sense tells us to live a good percentage below our wages so we can save up for when disaster strikes. Yet many people either live above their means or barely survive paycheck to paycheck.

The government is no better. Back in the 1930s, the government latched on the financial advice of John Maynard Keynes (see this video for a debate between Keynes’ views and others), whose primary philosophy with government is spend now to keep an economy going because in the end, “We’re all dead.” His entire approach mirrors the issue I am addressing in this post: live for the now, and if the curse comes upon our children because of it, who cares because it’s not going to affect us.

One can speculate that America faced this problem too when it was birthed. It was debated on what to do with slavery at the founding of the nation and in part with the 3/5 Compromise (treating slaves as property for financial aspects and as only 3/5 of a person for population/voting rights), the Founding Fathers chose to pass on this issue down to their children. Less than 100 years later, the Civil War took place in which slavery was a major issue. Instead of dealing with the issue then and there, the Founding Fathers passed on the issue to their children and it multiplied exponentially until it came to a violent end.

The same issue is upon us spiritually. Many stats are showing up to 90% of the church’s youth are fleeing by adulthood, and numerous reasons abound for this. One reason I will address that is not explicitly from the polls but is rather an underlying theme is the church has become self-centered and truly is not concerned about the youth. Yes, they spend thousands of dollars on youth ministry and games and VBS material, but what exactly are they being taught? It’s usually self-focused, don’t-worry-about-sharing-your faith, God-has-your-best-interests-in-mind, and anything else that ultimately treats God like a divine butler.

The generation of parents in churches today have fallen for the Prosperity Gospel and Emergent Church philosophies. As a result, while they seek their own lavish lifestyles, their kids are being set up for dealing with the aftermath. As a result, the kids are realizing they don’t want anything to do with cleaning up the mess their parents are leaving behind so they are flying the coop.

What legacy are we leaving our children? The Bible repeatedly talks about leaving an inheritance for our children. It’s not merely talking about money but a lifestyle and a reputation. While Hezekiah had a Godly reputation, he left his son Manasseh with a debt hanging over his head that was a result of Hezekiah’s pride. Perhaps that is part of what drove Manasseh to sin as he did. Manasseh never faced this debt in his lifetime either, even though he reigned for 55 years. That eventually came down to Hezekiah’s three great-great-grandchildren who each took a turn at the throne when the Babylonian captivity took place.

What are we leaving behind? Have our choices led to consequences our children will have to face? Let us not follow Hezekiah’s example and call it “good” when our children will have to face the consequences that should be given to us. Let us instead learn from our mistakes, repent from our sins, and teach our children to live a life so the curse which was meant for us will not be given to our children.

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 63

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 10, 2019 2 comments

by Katie Erickson

Many of the psalms we’ve been looking at this year are considered lament psalms, where the psalmist both expresses his complaints and his praise for God. In Psalm 63, however, we see only praise of God and reflection on our relationship with Him.

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (verse 1). If you’ve ever been really thirsty, you may be able to relate to the psalmist’s sentiment here. Fortunately today, we are generally able to get water where and when we need it, so we never get to the level of thirst where our whole being is just longing for water and we cannot find any. But that is exactly how we should long for God - with every piece of our being! The great thing about God is that He is always around and is always accessible to us, no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you” (verses 2-3). The psalmist longs for God, but also knows that he is able to find God. He has seen and experienced God’s power and glory in his life. When we have experienced God and know His power and glory, we should desire more of Him. We should seek God’s love even more strongly than we seek preservation of our own lives! We praise God because He is that desirable to us.

“I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands” (verse 4). The psalmist is committing his entire life to praising God. How many of us can say that? Sometimes we have a hard time committing just one hour per week to praising God - which is around 0.6% of our time, just to put that in perspective. Can you imagine committing your whole life to praising God? Even while we’re doing the necessary tasks we have to do in life, we should do them with an attitude of praise to God.

“I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you” (verse 5). I love food; maybe you do too. You know that feeling of being contentedly full after a big meal? That’s the metaphor being used here to describe God, except in the case of God that feeling can last forever. Our bodies will get hungry again and we’ll need to have more meals, but with God we will be constantly satisfied. For that, we give Him our praise!

“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me” (verses 6-8). Here, the psalm returns to the idea of longing for God that we saw in the beginning. The psalmist finds protection and comfort in God’s presence, because he knows God will protect him, even through the darkest times of night.

“Those who want to kill me will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals” (verses 9-10). After the psalmist reflects on God’s protection and presence in his life, he knows that God will take care of his enemies for him. He knows that God will judge His enemies for him.

“But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God will glory in him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced” (verse 11). The realization that God will judge the psalmist’s enemies gives him even more reason to rejoice in God. All those who trust in God will get to share in His glory with Him, while all those who are liars and disobedient to God will not.

Have you spent time just praising God lately? How have you seen God working in your life? What is your response to that? Read over the entire psalm again and see if it stirs any reminders of what God has done for you and how He desires for you to praise Him today.

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Fruit-Tested and Heaven-Approved

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, June 9, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

If you’ve ever been in a situation when you weren’t sure that someone’s actions were going to match their words, you’ve probably heard the saying, “The proof is in the pudding." In other words, we know we have the right ingredients to get the job done, but we don’t know the result until we see the finished product and it has been adequately tested. Some of the prominent figures of the New Testament would agree with this saying, but they would use a much healthier alternative to pudding - fruit. John the Baptist saw a bunch of Pharisees and Sadducees who rejected the good news of Jesus coming to him to be baptized after they had watched the crowd do so. When he realized they were just trying to do what was popular, he confronted them and called them out, then challenged them, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). It wasn’t their one act of being baptized that would ultimately show whether they were serious about repenting, but the overall fruit that is produced in their lives.

In last week’s post on James 3:13-16, I wrote about what true godly wisdom is NOT. I discussed the need for humility and the fact that head knowledge without a fear of the Lord actually sets us further away from true wisdom. In James 3:17-18, the writer switches course from talking about worldly wisdom to pointing out what godly wisdom, which comes from heaven, is supposed to look like in our lives. In talking about the characteristics of this godly wisdom, James trots out a list that rivals that of the “fruit of the Spirit” described by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. James says, “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). Because this wisdom comes from heaven, its fruit is consistent with that of the Holy Spirit, with the holiness of God.

I want to dig into James’ description a little more so that those of us who wonder whether or not we are wise in the world’s eyes or wise in God’s eyes have a “mirror” of sorts that we can look at and get an honest reflection to help us answer that question. Godly wisdom is “first of all pure." This means more than just sexual purity; it is undefiled by even the popular or common sinful attitudes of the world. Peter thought he had godly wisdom when he stood up for Jesus and declared that he would never allow his friend, teacher, and Messiah to be handed over to the authorities to suffer and die. But Jesus boldly said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23). This may seem harsh coming from Jesus but he had to be crystal clear so that Peter and the other disciples understood the vast difference between worldly thinking and a life based on the concerns of God. Peter was a bold follower of Jesus who had just demonstrated that boldness by declaring that Jesus is the Messiah (Matthew 16:16), but the sinful and selfish attitudes of the world infiltrated his mind that quickly. True godly wisdom recognizes this worldly attitude, reject it, and works to eliminate it from the mind altogether.

James then builds on the initial statement that godly wisdom must be pure. He says it is “peace-loving” and “considerate." It takes on the character of God in this way. The Messiah was described as the “Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9:6, centuries before He came to the earth and demonstrated that peace even though he had every right and reason to punish us with all the might available to him as King of kings. Godly wisdom doesn’t love punishment and only uses it when absolutely necessary. Godly wisdom loves peace, gentleness, and kindness. It considers the benefit of others rather than its own rights. It may have a right to apply the letter of the law strictly, but it recognizes when it is wrong to do so and necessary to forgive and look beyond someone’s offense.

Next, James says that heavenly wisdom is “submissive." This simply means that it is willing to yield to others. It is not stubborn or stiff. A person who demonstrates the quality of submissiveness does not demand his own way. He is willing to listen to others, is open to what they need, and willingly defers his own rights for the sake of those around him. Heavenly wisdom is “full of mercy and good fruit." It recognizes that we must show mercy to others if we want God to show mercy to us. Too often, we seek mercy from God for ourselves but don’t show it to others. Godly wisdom recognizes the level of mercy we receive is DIRECTLY affected by the level of mercy we give to others (Matthew 7:1-2). It is “full of good fruit” in the sense that someone cannot just claim they have this wisdom from above with no evidence in their lives to back it up. A person who has heavenly wisdom naturally demonstrates it in action.

James wraps up his discussion by stating that heavenly wisdom is “impartial and sincere." It is not partial to others, meaning it does not assume problems or look for faults by which to judge them. It is sincere in that it does not pretend to be something it isn’t. The NKJV translates this word as “without hypocrisy." Those who have heavenly wisdom cannot be posers. False humility doesn’t work. They always act according to their own character and not to try to prove something that isn’t true in the first place. James then concludes what we know as chapter 3 by saying, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (v. 18). In other words, if we live peaceably according to the characteristics of this godly wisdom previously described, we’ll see the benefits in the lives and relationships of those around us. It is a direct contrast to the envy, selfish ambition, and disorder mentioned in James 3:16.

In closing, I want to tell you about a book I am reading right now called Love Without Limits by Nick Vujicic. I just read a chapter that deals with a struggle that is personal to my wife and I along with many other couples out there. Nick talks about the shift in perspective that was needed once he got married to his wife, Kanae, and especially after she gave birth to their first child. Nick was born without any limbs and travels the world speaking about his life and evangelizing about the goodness of God despite his physical limitations.

Shortly after his son was born, Nick left for a four-month tour. He writes about the excitement he had at the thought of coming home to snuggle with his wife and son and his expectation that they would just smother him with kisses and desire to snuggle with him and comfort him after all his hard work. Like any husband who’s been in those shoes finds out, Nick learned when he got home that his expectations were far away from reality. His wife had been living as basically a single parent that entire time. While she loved Nick and was excited to see him when he arrived, she was also in desperate need of a break and saw HIM as her relief. At first, this bothered Nick. But I was struck by his ability to self-reflect and change his attitude. He writes about how his wife and son are “excellent mirrors that reveal just how flawed and selfish a man (he) can be."

Nick realized that he had lived a long time as a single man devoting his life to ministry. It was rewarding, yet he felt very lonely at times. Now, God has given him the precious gift of a family and he failed to change his perspective from a life focused on SELF to a life focused on providing for his family both financially and with his presence. As Nick came to this difficult realization, he could either demand that HIS rights and HIS needs be respected and cared for, or he could change his focus and consider what he can do for the benefit of others. This, my friends, is the difference between Godly wisdom and the worldly wisdom that demands to be recognized. Nick apologized to his wife and told her he never wants to be away from his family for that long again. He had a renewed focus and sense of what it means to be a man of God. May you look in the “mirror” of your own life and honestly reflect on where you need to change, as Nick did. God will bless you as you seek His holy face and His wisdom.

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.


Trust God, Not You

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 7, 2019 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” ~Proverbs 3:5

This is one of the most famous verses out of the book of Proverbs, and I can truly say it is the least obeyed. It’s certainly one I don’t apply as often as I’d like to say. Do we truly trust in the Lord with all our hearts? Or do we lean on our own understanding, our own way of thinking? One of my pet peeves is when I hear people claim to be Christians, then spew out some completely heretical and anti-Biblical teachings. After I correct them with, “This is what the Bible actually says,” their response is, “That’s your interpretation.”

God never intended any of us to “interpret” the Bible in any fashion other than the clear language in which it was written. It’s an issue I’ve hit through numerous articles but specifically in my post A Matter of Interpretation. Katie Erickson has also written an article where she gives the basics of hermeneutics. But in all this, there is a key feature in all the arguments about Bible interpretation to watch out for. Who is the filter for determining what is said – God or you?

Many people will say, “How can you read anything without ‘interpreting’ it? After all, we all read our own understanding and experiences into everything we read.” That’s actually true. One of the things I’ve frequently taught is what our worldview is and what it does. It acts as the filter for how we receive and understand things. As Christians, it is imperative that the worldview we use is not ours but God’s in “interpreting” Scripture. These people who side with worldly ideas, even while claiming to be Christian, do not use the Bible as the filter and standard for interpretation, but their own ideas and their own thinking. And in the vast majority of cases, those ideas are in line with this world and with the “experts” of this world, and not with God’s direct, clear, and unambiguous message. There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. The only way to make sure we are getting it right is to NOT trust ourselves, but to trust God alone.

I see this particularly strong in the Old Earth Creation circles, but I also hear this in the Prosperity Gospel circles and heavily in the Emergent Church/Progressive Christian circles. The idea is the same: “I get the be the boss of what God says and whether I want to believe it or not. If I don’t like it, I can change what it means to make it more palatable.” How many times have you heard people saying, “We need to reach these lost people with a message they can understand and receive?” But they aren’t talking about presenting the same true Gospel in a language they can understand, but rather taking out the “offensive” parts. So instead of saying, “God created the heavens and the earth in six days,” to a scientific audience, they instead say, “The science shows billion of years (it doesn’t) therefore the Bible didn’t quite understand what we know today.” Instead of saying homosexuality is a sin, they say, “God loves them just as they are.” What they strive to do is to take out the sting of the Gospel. Why? Because they don’t trust God can do what he does best: convince the heart of the unbeliever, and instead trust upon their own understanding of how a message is to be received.

How should we trust in the Lord, then? How can we read the Bible without inserting our opinions into it? The easy answer is to get you out of the way and let God speak straight. One thing I don’t see nor hear from those who favor “other interpretations” is the seeking of God to clarify what He meant. I tell the skeptics that when I don’t understand something in the Bible, I ask the Author what He was saying. Words have meaning and while languages do change, the message has not. God said what He meant, and He meant what He said. We have to learn to trust God that He got it right the first time, didn’t stutter in saying it, and will deliver perfectly on what He said. When people disregard God and don’t trust what He said on things like Genesis, rest assured that with FEW exceptions, they also disregard and don’t trust Him on things like the Gospel or about His return. And many will do this the whole time claiming to be Christians and that they believe the Gospel. Do they? Making a proclamation of faith is one thing, but Jesus said that won’t cut it.

Why is it so hard to trust God? Man knows less than 1% of what there is to know and each time we discover something, the more we realize how little we do know. Yet God is omniscient. He knows everything there is to know. Why is it hard to trust the one who knows everything to have things under control? Why do we so easily trust ourselves, who truly know very little in comparison? There is an easy answer to this: sin, namely pride. When the Serpent tempted Eve, the temptation was to be as knowledgeable and to be like God. Since the Fall, man has always sought to be better than God. He always sought to be smarter, wiser, more moral, and better than God. That’s precisely what Satan tried to do in his initial rebellion against God.

Man does not trust God because in his sinful, prideful heart, he thinks he’s better than God. But is that true? Can man top God? The answer is an emphatic NO. Nothing man can do can best what God offers. When all men gather together to rage and battle against God, He laughs at them. God knows their thoughts and he knows how to answer each thought. The heart of man is wicked and deceitful. It lies to us. We will readily lie to ourselves to make us feel good, even to our own peril.

And why? Why do we do that? The answer is because we’ve been trained by both our own sin and by the education system to trust our minds and to trust yourself. We commonly hear phrases like, “Follow your heart,” or “What does your heart tell you?” Teachers and counselors always ask, “What do you want to do?” It’s always self-driven, self-understanding, and self-motivated. Our world today focuses as much attention on trusting yourself and trusting your own understanding that when we suddenly come to the Bible, we read it via the same training we received from the world. Let me break it to you simply, but firmly. You cannot be a Christian and live or think as the world does without the Holy Spirit convicting you about it and dealing with it.

We have to stop trusting we can figure it out. This is really hard for intellectual types like me, because those who are educated and know how to think tend to rely on our own understanding far more often than we would like to admit. When you read the Bible, let God speak. Put all your “other books” aside, including the commentaries if you must. They aren’t Scripture and they aren’t they don’t carry the same authority. Many of them are true and many of them are good reading, however, what you are reading is what someone who was not inspired by God thought about what they learned. It doesn’t carry the same authority. Don’t trust upon them over God (as many are wont to do).

Trust the Lord COMPLETELY. Forsake your own understanding because unless it is completely yielded to Christ, it is not to be trusted. When it is completely yielded to Christ, it will cease being your understanding but rather Christ sharing His understanding through you. Stop listening to the “wise of this world.” They really don’t know anything. Buy the Truth, seek wisdom, and get understanding, but know that it can only come from God and will return to God for His glory and His purposes. Anything else is null, void, in vain, and utterly worthless.

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.


10 Answers, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, June 6, 2019 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Last week, I began a wrap-up to a series of questions posed by a man whose beliefs on creation/evolution are anti-biblical. His questions were intended to show just how foolish “young earth creationism” is (when, in reality, the correct term would be Biblical creationist since we don't care about the age of the earth but about the Bible). This is the second part of that wrap-up. You can find the first part here.

So, the next tired argument from deep time proponents is that of the conspiracy theory. “Have all the scientists and world governments conspired to discredit the Bible and turn people toward atheism?” Of course not. They're just incorrect in their starting assumptions. This is not to say they're wrong about everything. But if your starting premise in incorrect, it's very unlikely the rest of your data and how you interpret it will follow a path to the truth. It's just the way it works. You'll view all the data in light of this false foundational idea and build from there. It's easy to fit the information we have into a false narrative. People do it all the time and there's no reason to believe science is any different because, frankly, we're not talking about a scientific topic. We're talking about history and you can make up any tale you want, throwing some scientific jargon in here and there—like Star Trek is in the future.

What I believe is true in this matter—that of the strawman idea that Biblical creationists believe there's some worldwide conspiracy—is a little different than most talk about. You see, most of those who are professional scientists—they work in scientific disciplines and do work regarding it (although we're not exclusively talking about them but laypersons as well) have been so deeply entrenched in this thought process that they cannot see another way. They are actually blinded to alternative explanations and cannot see the blind bias they have. Blind bias is far more dangerous than intentional bias because you don't even know it's happening or that you're blinded by your bias. They literally cannot see it. It's dangerous and unfortunate. All the while they tell you how bad they feel for you because you've been brainwashed when, in reality, that's very uncommon in the Biblical creationist scene. But it seems very hard to find a follower of the humanist origins myth who's not been indoctrinated into it, rendering them incapable of honestly viewing alternative explanations for the data.

We do know without any doubt that there were very influential men who pushed their ideas about geology simply to discredit the Bible. This is a fact; it's not just my opinion. So, if removing the Bible from geology was the intended purpose in generating deep time, doesn't it follow that if the Bible is actually history and the Flood was actually global, that anything that develops from a foundation without this at its core would be wrong? Is it a conspiracy? I believe some in the past (and many likely now) do hate God and want to do all they can to discredit His Word and belief in Him, so they will seek out ways to fit the data to this desired result. However, there are many who, because they've been taught this foundation of no God of the Bible and no global Flood, start with an error at the outset and, therefore, fit the data to an incorrect narrative. Is it malicious? I think we all understand very few if any actually believe it's evil concerning the majority. It's just an error in their starting point. For some it is intentional, and we could probably fault them for that, but for most it's not. It's just what they've been taught. Does this mean all the Biblical creationists who accept the Bible over man's word think they're smarter than all the deep time proponents—whether old earth creationists, atheists, or theistic evolutionists? Of course not. It means we have the foundational premise correct and allow the data to fall into place in line with that narrative, while others begin with what I believe is a false premise and allow the data to fall into the narrative of deep time and millions of years of death.

Within his next question, Mr. Roberts accidentally refers to his ideas as “old earth geology.” That means there are alternative ways to interpret the data and he's admitted it. Of course, Christians don't oppose geology but the humanistic interpretation of the evidence. Why interpret the data in such a way that it discredits the Bible when you can easily interpret it in such a way that it agrees completely with the Biblical narrative of earth history? This is such a strange idea to me, but I guess the difference is that I've come to trust the Word of God and believe the very clear, very plain, very obvious teachings of the creation and Flood accounts are true.

Old earth creationism and theistic evolutionism have no Biblical basis, period. I've repeatedly asked for someone to show me where it comes from in the Bible and I'm refused an answer. I completely understand if an atheist or other unbeliever scoffs at the Bible and the historical narrative it gives detailing the origins of the universe and life on earth. I cannot understand why someone who claims a faith in the Bible will reject teachings from the Bible that have been the accepted teaching for thousands of years, because the text is easy enough for a child to read and comprehend. There are differences in how some of us read some passages of Scripture—how pastors are chosen, the roles of women in the Church, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, end times stuff, and much more—but rearranging the historical narrative of creation and the Flood and distorting it into something it doesn't actually even come close to resembling is an assault on the Lord, in my opinion.

I have repeatedly asked people who adhere to such blatantly anti-biblical teachings why they try to marry man's humanist origins myth with solid Christian teachings. I'm frequently told that “that's your interpretation” of the text. I find this such a bizarre idea. God told us what He did and fairly clearly when He did it. The Bible is exceptionally clear on it. He told us step by step with details on what happened when. The nature of the creation and the global extent of the Flood are foundational doctrines of Christianity. They contain within their stories the foundation of nearly every major Christian doctrine. Without them, most of our doctrines become opinions or interesting ideas, reducing the Bible to an inconsistent work of men rather than the perfect Word of God. So, if God, who invented communication, had this narrative written down for not only the Hebrews but also for us, what could possibly make someone think it's confusing or doesn't mean exactly what it says?

Man has been studying nature since his creation. It's in us to do so. But man's understanding of the cosmos, the earth, the forces of nature, and life itself is constantly changing—sometimes getting closer to the truth, sometimes getting further from the truth, and sometimes just stepping to one side or the other. But our understanding of the “Book of Nature” as so many call it is not complete and far from perfect. God's communication to us in His Word is perfect and, for the most part, very clear. Our choices, then, are to reject God's plain teachings that have been accepted for thousands of years, or reject man's currently popular explanation based on very incomplete understandings of nature. For me, the choice is so obvious I'm a little troubled the question even needs to be asked. And why would there be literally not even the slightest hint in Scripture that God created any way other than how He claimed to have created? Why would the Bible repeatedly state wherever it's mentioned that the Flood of Noah's day annihilated the entire planet and killed everyone except the 8 that were on the Ark? Why would we not find so much as a hint that it may have been a local flood or some such other thing? God is not a God of confusion.

I'm always baffled by deep time Christians (OEC or TE) that ask questions like this series by Michael Roberts. I've read several different series of questions by old earth creationists and theistic evolutionists that are supposed to be tough for Bible believers. In reality, they're a great tool for exposing how illogical their theology is (which is far more important than their scientific understanding) and fairly often how confused they are about what the Biblical position actually is. It's concerning that so many will reject something that, to me, seems pretty important while they have very little understanding of it.

The Apostle Paul warns us that a falling away will take place. He goes on to describe how this will happen or what will be involved. This makes me doubt that it's referring exclusively to those who claim Christ but reject His written Word. However, I feel it's reasonable to assume that, like there will be many anti-Christs, there may be many different ways for people to fall away. The slippery road to unbelief or universalism is clear when we're talking about rejection of creation and the global Flood. There are many I've interacted with who, over the years, have slowly become much more like the world and much less like a Christian brother or sister. From their statements on their philosophies or their beliefs, it's harder and harder to distinguish between them and the unbelievers I interact with. This, of course, isn't to say all old earth creationists or theistic evolutionists walk this path. Many do and it saddens me to witness it. There are many sincere believers who are wrong on creation and the Flood. It's not a matter of their salvation, but it can lead to problems as the foundation for their faith is shaky.

Friends, don't be fooled. There is no reason to change the intended meaning and well-accepted meaning of the creation account and global Flood narrative found in the Bible. It makes no sense to try to adopt the humanist origins myth into the Bible's accurate recording of how and when God created everything and how and when He annihilated the planet's surface with a global Flood. Let's be consistent.

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God Was My Cousin Jimmy

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, June 4, 2019 5 comments

by Chad Koons

It was the early 1980’s. Our living room had red carpet, a painted brick wall adorned with a nice picture of Jesus, and one of those giant, woodgrain console Zenith TV’s. In front of Jesus, sitting atop the TV, was something that absolutely blew my mind. It was a treasure that only my family seemed to possess. Nestled inside of a nondescript 5”x7” gold frame existed a truly rare photo of God the Father!

Although, I didn’t know who the guy was at first. The figure in the photo wore a nice suit and peered pleasantly into your soul. You couldn’t watch TV without seeing this dynamic duo: Jesus and the mystery man who sat atop the TV. They kept a silent yet commanding vigil across our living room.

I remember standing in front of the TV and pointing in the direction of the suited enigma’s picture. “Who is that guy?” I’d asked my Mom. “That’s God,” she replied, in a nonchalant tone. “That’s GOD?!” I replied in amazement, “God our FATHER?” I remember Mom looking at me like I was stupid or something. “Well yes, of course it’s God.”

I was probably 5 or 6 years old at the time, so my deductive reasoning was still being developed, but this absolutely did my head in. Something didn’t seem right about it; God didn’t look like He was from ancient times like His Son did. Maybe they had modern suits in heaven? And why did He look strangely familiar? It didn’t make any sense.

Mom, much to her credit, was patient with me. I would repeatedly point towards that photo and demand the guy’s identity. Every time she would answer, “I told you, it’s God.” I remained confused and amazed. I wanted to believe it, but it just didn’t add up. Mom wouldn’t lie to me, right? Not even our church had this thing. They had Jesus all over the place, so why couldn’t they have His Dad, too?! We did.

One day, maybe a year later, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Desperate for answers, I pointed in the direction of the seemingly holy photo and hotly demanded; “Mom, who is that guy, is that really God?” As usual, Mom said yes. That made me upset. I grabbed the photo off of the TV and held it up to her face; “Mom, this guy right here, is this really God the Father?”

She started laughing. “No, honey,” she said. “That is your cousin Jimmy’s graduation picture!” “But you told me it was GOD?!” I shouted back at her. It finally made sense when my Mom explained: “I thought you were pointing behind Jimmy, to the picture of Jesus on the wall!”

For maybe a year, I had the wrong picture of God in my mind.

Every time I had approached the Lord, I found myself under the wrong impression. When I would pray, I’d see my cousin Jimmy’s face. When I’d hear someone talk about the Lord, I’d envision my relative. When we would sing in church, I’d see Jimmy receiving our worship. Imagine how this affected my life!

I was frustrated and helpless. I urgently wanted to know the truth, but I needed someone’s help to get me there.

Look around you. The world surrounding us feels the same way. Our world is full of withering and dying people. Eager to know the truth, they remain burdened by the wrong image of God in their mind. They feel trapped and hopeless. They are ready for understanding, but they need help to get there. They will believe if someone will take the time to listen and explain. Jesus said that the fields are ripe for harvest, and I still believe that.

Yet, how many opportunities have I wasted? Have you ever been so busy that you ignore the call, assuming that someone else will do it for you?

We are the very ambassadors of Christ. God is making His appeal through us.

Someone once said that if we remain silent, then the Lord will raise up someone else to do the job. Dear God, I do not want to be overlooked. My heart aches to fulfill my ambassadorship, to honor His calling.

People are seeking, honestly and truly seeking, because the Father is drawing them to Jesus. This will fulfill the promise that only the seekers will be the ones who will find. But how do they find? They find through us, the ambassadors of Christ. Will you guide them? Will I?

Life is short. Mankind will not be granted unlimited opportunities to come to Jesus. If you won’t tell them, then who will? You will be the answer to someone’s prayer.

I leave you with this. Someone is crying out to God, frustrated with the false image and desperate to find the truth. Maybe God isn’t their cousin Jimmy, but they will have another image in their mind, an image that is powerless to save them, one that they know is not quite right. They are desperate for answers, hoping that God will split the heavens to reveal Himself. They are truly seeking, and the Father is drawing them.

In response, the Lord sends you. You show up in their world, containing the answers that they are so very desperate to receive.

If you choose to walk away from that person, you may walk away with the last ounce of hope that person ever had. Your neglect may serve to seal their fate. It cannot be said strongly enough; the responsibility is ours.

Someone else won’t do it for you. You will. That’s why the Lord put you there.

Take the time. Listen. Speak. I’m not asking you to change the world, I’m asking you to change your world – the people surrounding you. You carry the clear Answer that will set them free.

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Psalm 62

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 3, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Are you tired? I would guess that most of us would probably answer “yes” to that question, especially if you’re reading this on Monday morning, before you’ve had your coffee! Many of us are generally exhausted in life from trying to do too much. Even when our bodies get rest, our souls may not, if we’re not properly seeking that rest. If this is where you’re at, then Psalm 62 is definitely for you!

Verse 1 starts out by saying, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” Where do you look to go when your soul seeks rest? Do you seek rest in distraction from the things of daily life? Do you seek rest in what this world offers, or in God? We usually try and find rest in other things than God. We try to replace Him with other things that we can see, feel, and touch in this world. If you’re trying to get rest and it doesn't work, maybe you're seeking rest in the wrong places. We are made to spend time with God. It’s how He created us. It just won't work when we try to replace that with other things.

Verse 2 tells us why we can find that true rest in God: “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” We may feel like we have a fortress in our house, our life, or our family. We may think these things will never be shaken. We may think we have everything, but we have nothing in comparison to everything else. Only God is meant to be our fortress, and He is the only one who will truly never be shaken, never be broken, and never be removed from our lives.

But we still need other believers around us to remind us of that truth. They can help us when it feels like everything is shaking and nothing is solid. They can steady us and remind us that when God is our foundation, He is solid rock beneath our feet and will never be shaken.

We see in verses 3-4 that other people are often unreliable: “How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down — this leaning wall, this tottering fence? Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.” These verses show us the contrast between mankind and God. While God is where we find rest, our rock, and our salvation, people often intend to bring destruction and cursing to us.

Verses 5-7 repeat the declaration of trust that we saw at the beginning of the psalm: “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.” When we see things repeated in the Bible, it’s usually for emphasis. These truths of God’s character always bear repeating, because we so often forget them and are unable to live them out fully in our lives!

Because of who God is, how should we respond? Verse 8 tells us: “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Mankind is unreliable, but God is always trustworthy and unfailing.

Verses 9-10 continue to tell us why humans are not as reliable as God: “Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” Whether people were born into lower or higher social status, they’re still sinful and perishing in this world. We may end up with physical riches in this world or we may not, but that’s not what’s important in God’s eyes.

To close the psalm in verses 11-12, the psalmist is reminded of God’s promises and character: “One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: ‘Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love’; and, ‘You reward everyone according to what they have done.’” We see the two truths here that God is both powerful and loving. Very rarely in this world are things both powerful and loving, but we see both of those all the time in God. We know that God will richly reward those who trust in Him.

What are you filling your life with? Are you truly resting in God, or are you filling your life with things that don't matter? We can easily fill life with things that don’t matter, and then we don't have room for the things that do matter. God is our rock and our salvation; allow your soul to find its rest in Him!

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The High Life

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, June 2, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

You’ve likely heard the saying, “Knowledge is power." In a world that does not honor God or follow the teachings of His Word, that power is basically limited to money, popularity, and opportunities to display them. You might get a lot of praise for what you know and you might even be able to teach others so that they will know what you know. But ultimately, the value it adds to your life is minimal. However, knowledge the way God sees it and created it within us benefits us in a way that betters our lives now and also prepares us for eternity. Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." In other words, it is irrelevant how much head knowledge you possess because you really don’t know anything until you understand that every day you’re given and every breath you take depend on God allowing them to happen. Once you have this established in your heart, then all other knowledge is submitted to that reality and enhances your understanding of God and His ways.

If you follow the television game show Jeopardy!, you’re probably aware that it is currently being dominated by James Holzhauer, who is on the second-longest winning streak of all-time on the show but is already very close to surpassing the mark for the most money won on it. As of the writing of this post, he has won 27 consecutive games and amassed over two million dollars in winnings. He is receiving a lot of praise and making the news cycles on media outlets that normally wouldn’t cover game show contestants. I don’t know whether or not Mr. Holzhauer fears the Lord, but I do know that all of this is a giant waste if he does not. As he has been asked about what he will do with the money, he has shared that he and his wife plan to pick twelve cities in the world and go to a different one each month and live there for an entire month. It is his money and he is free to do what he wants with it. In fact, I’d love such an opportunity. But without a fear of the Lord, how much would that really profit someone? I’ve been to Israel and all over the United States, including Hawaii, yet those trips wouldn’t have mattered much without my realization that the Creator of the universe is unveiling just a portion of it to me.

In James 3:13-16, the writer is still addressing the issue of many in his intended audience apparently wanting to be teachers. We know this because James is talking about those who are “wise and understanding.” The Greek word used there is sophos, which was the technical term the Jews generally used to describe someone who was a teacher or rabbi. What James is asking his audience is, “Who here thinks they have wisdom and understanding that would be on par with that of a scholar?” It’s for those people that James has another very important question: “Does your conduct show it?” Obviously, I’m paraphrasing James’ actual words in this section. Nevertheless, it is clear that he wants prospective teachers to understand what “the high life” they’re after REALLY looks like.

We may all be attracted to the life of a respected teacher and the accolades it seems to bring, but James wants to be clear to the early believers that wisdom only matters if it is shown “by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (v. 13). If someone claims to be wise and understanding, it is reasonable to expect to see a living wisdom, in much the same way James discussed faith earlier in his letter. Just as faith without deeds is dead, wisdom without deeds is actually foolishness. It makes one arrogantly think he is better off than he really is. The Apostle Paul even says in 1 Corinthians 8:1 that “we all possess knowledge, but knowledge puffs up while love builds up." The NLT version says that knowledge “makes us feel important," and the CEV translation says that it “makes us proud of ourselves." And in every translation, it is the love in action that results from true, godly wisdom that helps others and grows the church.

True, godly wisdom must include some level of humility. When we think we are smarter and wiser than everyone else, that is when we begin to trust our own minds over God Himself. When we realize that God’s ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), we are ready to submit to Him regardless of how much we “know” and we desire to do what pleases Him, namely loving and serving others. In the classic ‘80s hit, “Back in the High Life Again” by Steve Winwood, the subject of the song talks of realizing his past mistakes, being humbled by that realization, and looking forward to his comeback. When knowledge has puffed us up and made us lose sight of reality, we need the Lord to humble us. It is not fun, but it is the only way to understand what true wisdom is.

In verses 14-16, James turns his attention toward the results of someone whose wisdom is pointless to the kingdom of God. When someone has wisdom that is “earthly, unspiritual, demonic," it results in “bitter envy and selfish ambition." James is saying that if you want to know whether your wisdom or someone else’s wisdom is from God or worldly, all you have to do is pay attention to their conduct. If you see the bitter envy and selfish ambition that James speaks of, it’s indicative of someone who does not fear the Lord, and therefore, is an utter fool rather than a wise teacher. James says in verse 16 that wherever you have these things, “you find disorder and every evil practice." Wisdom that comes from humility leads us away from evil, brings clarity and order to the Christian walk, and puts the needs of others above one’s own desires.

We all must take an inventory of our conduct and then be honest with ourselves about whether we are wise or foolish. The foolishness of the world which James almost sarcastically refers to as “wisdom” is described by those three adjectives in verse 15 - earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. This is not what we want. It is earthly in the sense that it only has this world in its view and not the eternal kingdom of God. It is unspiritual in the sense that it is carnal, only desiring what is pleasing to the flesh. It is demonic in the sense that it is inspired by Satan’s demons, and the influence of demonic forces within a person’s soul is what keeps him chasing after it. If you have found yourself chasing after the things of this world and all that knowledge and power can bring you before you die, I encourage you to drop these senseless pursuits, humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and wait for Him to lift you up (James 4:10). Only then will you truly experience “the high life” that comes through godly wisdom.

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