Lead Me, Follow Me, or Get Out of My Way

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, December 11, 2019 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

“There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.” -Oswald Chambers

Please take time and read that quote again.

Truly pray, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, and consider what this quote from Oswald Chambers really means in the big picture.

Admittedly, it can be hard to do this because instead of surrendering to God, so many people want to go their own way and do their own thing. Yet, in His actions toward us, there God is, being patient, grace filled, and being self-controlled. Since God is love(1 John 4:8), we can logically conclude that allowing people to go their own way, to make their own mistakes, to allow them to live out their God-given free will, and even to sin (though God does not want us to sin) and receive their own just natural law consequences (instituted by this loving God who is our Creator) is loving. Why? Because this is God’s example to us. It seems many people struggle with this idea, though, and seemingly some people want to take the place of God in others’ lives and they do not even realize it.

Think about it and please consider this.

Where in your life are you wanting others, who are adults, to surrender unconditionally to what you desire? Not to God’s desire but to your own. Do you know someone who tries to control others through their “offended” feelings, to manipulate another person to believe and do what they want that person to do? Friends, we need to understand that we are not God and that, more times than not, one’s feelings of offense really are nothing more than selfishness.

That brings to my mind another quote from someone I consider to be a great leader: “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.” -General George S. Patton, Jr.

At first glance, this quote may seem rash or harsh, but it is really anything but harsh, in my opinion. It’s very honest and quite selfless if one is willing to consider the following.

This might be one of the toughest parts of the takeaway for me regarding this Patton quote: stay in your lane and know your role. If your leader (boss, employer, teacher, etc.) wants you to do something a certain way, do it without complaining. If you think you have a better way to do something and want to whine or complain or make excuses about their leadership, move on to other things and let that leader lead. As a follower (student, employee, etc.), you have a choice to make as well. You are not a slave in that relationship. You have a choice. Remember, if you choose to stay where you're at under someone's leadership, you are making that choice to follow, otherwise you're nothing more than a rebel and a problem. That stinks, I know.

But something else is on the horizon. If you are following Christ and doing your calling for Him, trust God! It’s not about you anyway.

One last thought: If a person chooses to not follow God, as long as their actions are not directly negatively impacting another person, I encourage you to let them go their way. Could another person be hurt indirectly? More than likely yes. But that is the result of living in a sinful world, is it not? Consider the rich young ruler: Jesus told him the truth and challenged him to go a certain way. The young man decided to do what he wanted to do and to go against God. Other than being selfish, why else would you or I or anyone try and force someone to follow God?

I will leave you with this question. If you really are about following Christ and His example, are you willing to follow His example with the rich young ruler, too? Are you willing to allow the natural law consequences that God has put into place to take effect?

More to consider:
1 John 5:1-5
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Mark 10:17-27

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Come Out of the Closet

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, December 10, 2019 1 comments

by Chad Koons

Someone has to say this: it’s time for you to come out.

You have been pushed around for too long; shame on them for making you hide in plain sight. The pressure is real, it’s been building, and I fear that it has changed us. It’s time to come out of the closet.

The Lie
The world has been lying to you. Hopefully, you haven’t believed it. Obscurely pointing to selective events within the life of Jesus, the world is trying to tell us that Jesus was universally accepting everyone and proclaiming a message of endless love without judgment. They are telling us that Jesus was also supportive of issues such as gay marriage, drug use, or other hot-button subjects of our day. And guess what? They are demanding that you believe this, too, and you are expected to adapt your beliefs accordingly. Their version of Jesus is a poorly constructed, easily unveiled lie. In under 2 hours you could read through the Gospels, and you would plainly read that Jesus had much to say on these issues, and that it’s quite clearly the opposite of what they are telling us.

There is enormous pressure to conform to their demands, however, and they will judge, slander, and persecute you if you do not do what they require. There is so much pressure in fact that we have created our own sect of Christianity just to accommodate them: the “Christian Left” is thriving now more than ever. Many Christians are facing persecution for the first time, which has made us uncomfortable and afraid. This fear has paralyzed the church and quite frankly has confused everyone. Who is the church anymore, and what should we believe?

The Coping Problem
How should a Christian cope with the pressure? While many of us have gone too far and become militant, many more of us have quietly gone the other way: straight into the closet. I hope that you catch my meaning here. To speak plainly, Christians are hiding who they really are while struggling to assimilate. We are hiding the hard truths of the Bible, seeking instead to portray a woefully altered, adapted lifestyle and message in hopes that they won’t exclude or offend anybody anymore. We have decided to agree with the ungodly culture surrounding us, sympathizing and figuring out ways to blend into it. We are listening to deceived teachers who claim to have progressive, “relevant” voices, boldly admonishing us to abandon old-fashioned Christianity with all of its dogmatic rules and antiquated 2,000-year-old notions.

Not wishing to offend anyone or to be judged as intolerant, much of the church has stopped proclaiming a message of repentance and has begun sharing this message of universal tolerance and acceptance, affirming sinful lifestyles without any of those judgmental bits. This “loving” message seems to be well accepted, so we continue to embrace it. If the Bible doesn’t agree with our new message, then we labor to reinterpret the Bible, twisting and manipulating it until it seems to affirm whatever sin we need it to. We are encouraging people to follow Jesus devoid of change, without the requirement to submit completely to His Lordship. Who needs rules, obedience, and struggle when all we need is universal love, right? If you stay in the closet, then this perverted message is what you are doomed to represent. Dear God, please wake up Your Church.

Coming Out
In this world full of confusion and fakes, people are starving for the real thing. Do you need some help coming out? The following will help you.

1. Realize that you’re not doing God any favors by adopting an acceptable message. God is making His appeal through you; don’t hide it. The Lord knows that His Word works. Simply present the Word of God and trust Him to work it out. He doesn’t need our help to make it acceptable.

2. Decide to be God’s first. You are not a puppet of this world. Loving God means doing as He has commanded 100%. You are His child, and He is to be obeyed before anything else.

3. Be proud of who you are as a Christian; it’s not a shameful thing. Own your faith and live it loudly and lovingly. People will respect you for standing up for your beliefs.

4. Come to terms with your own insecurities. You will be rejected, judged, and slandered. Expect it; Jesus was, too. Light will hurt the eyes of darkness. Please God and He will take care of you!

5. Understand that you’re not alone. Throughout history, the people of God have always stood out and have therefore endured persecution of various kinds. You are part of it.

6. Repent of your sin. Nothing can begin anew until the old has been broken off. If you are a closet Christian, repent before God and allow His newness to come!

7. Stay connected to other true believers. You will become like the crowd you hang out with, so find a group of Bible believing Christians and put down roots there.

Come out from among them and be separate, touch not the unclean thing, He will receive you!

What would happen if you came out of the closet? How would your world be different? Be bold. Be courageous. We are all waiting for you.

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Psalm 142

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 9, 2019 1 comments

by Katie Erickson

“I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble.
When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.
I cry to you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’
Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.” (Psalm 142)

Today’s psalm, Psalm 142, was written by King David “when he was in the cave” according to the introduction. This could refer to when he was pursued by Saul at Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1-4), or when he was at En Gedi (1 Samuel 24). Either way, it was not a happy time in David’s life, as evidenced by the lamenting nature of this psalm.

David’s lament begins in verses 1-2 with parallel statements showing David’s crying out to the Lord. The phrases of crying out to the Lord and lifting up one’s voice occur often in the lament psalms. These verses show us the tension between being in anguish and also depending on the Lord. We trust in God for His deliverance, but at the same time, we also experience the depressing emotions of being a human in this fallen world.

This idea continues at the beginning of verse 3 where we see that David is exhausted from the anguish he is experiencing. He knows that even when his body is weak, God will carry him through and sustain him. But even with God watching over David, that doesn’t mean everything will be great in life. He knows that people will still try to trap him - most likely referring to King Saul who was pursuing him and trying to kill him.

Even though he knows that God is with him and taking care of him, in verse 4 we see that David feels totally alone in this situation. He believes that there is no person who is standing with him and concerned for him. There is no refuge he can go to and be safe. The image of someone being at his right hand actually refers to a legal situation. To the right of a person would be where their legal council stood; David feels that he has no one to defend him or to fight for him in this situation.

But to contrast that, David recognizes in verse 5 that the Lord is his only refuge. God is the only one who is truly protecting and taking care of him in this situation.

In verses 6-7, David again cries out to God in his lament. He pleads for God to rescue him from this situation. The “prison” he asks to be set free from might refer to the cave David is in, or the spiritual anguish he’s going through, or more of a metaphor for our imprisonment to sin. Either way, he is experiencing anguish and knows that God can release him from it if He so chooses.

We may be in the midst of this holiday season where it feels like everything should be all happiness and joy. But, anyone who’s honest with themselves probably still has “down” times even in this holiday season - or maybe especially in this season.

Have you ever had a time of lament like David did in this psalm? As believers today, we too experience the tension between knowing that God can save us from any situation, yet He doesn’t always do that. We still have the effects of sin in this world, so bad things will happen to us and those around us.

No matter what happens in our lives, we know that God is watching over our way too, especially those of us who follow Him. That doesn’t mean that everything will always be jolly in our lives; we will still experience sadness, desperation, remorse, etc. But that’s why our faith in God is so important! When it looks like everything around us is failing, we can always trust in God to bring us through. The end result of any situation may or may not look like what we want or expect, but we know that it will be God’s plan and for His glory.

As we celebrate in this season leading up to Christmas, Jesus came into this world as a baby and He experienced all sorts of bad things so that He could ultimately give us eternal life away from everything negative! One day there will be no more lamenting but only pure joy when our faith in Jesus gives us the true and ultimate forgiveness that we need to spend the rest of eternity in God’s presence.

Whether you’re having a holly jolly Christmas season or if you’re experiencing sadness due to circumstances, be confident today in the joy that can only come from God.

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False Teachers: Tactics, Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 6, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Earlier in this series on false teachers, I warned that a false teaching will always seek the glory of man over the glory of God. That is another tactic of a false teacher: seeking the praise of his/her audience. When the Institute for Creation Research came to El Paso just over a year ago, speaker Randy Guiluzza closed out the conference with this statement in a Q&A session that I’ll never forget. He said this: “If I were on a pastoral selection committee, I would not ask about his stance on the Virgin Birth. I would ask about how he handles the fear of man. If he gets the fear of man part right, he’ll get the Virgin Birth part right.” I was like, AMEN!

But that gives another clue to the tactics and tips that false teachers use to sneak in and give themselves away. I had a PhD geology scientist approach me on this issue. This one was so good at showing me these tactics in this series. He started out by berating me for actually believing the Bible over secular scientific models (which are hardly scientific). I didn’t believe him, and then he started telling me he was a Christian and we were brothers in Christ. I have seen this man in secular groups talking just like an atheist and mocking his “brothers” right along with the God-haters. Then he wonders why I don’t believe a word he says.

He asked me this: “Do you know what the secular scientists think about you?” I knew his claim to be a Christian at that time. My response was, “Yes, I know what they think. I don’t care either. Welcome to Christianity.” He never responded to that and has reverted back to the same tactics and same game plan as though I never said a word. That’s typical of false teachers. They have a bag of tools they use to promote their false teaching. When they are refuted, they don’t toss the tool away. They just put it back in their bag and sometimes pull it out again in the same conversation. That’s the key with lies: you can’t be very creative and the story keeps changing. When you speak the truth, you have one story to work with and that’s all you need.

Here is the point though: false teachers need the approval of their audience. It does them no good if no one believes them. False teachers need followers. It helps them justify what they are teaching. A cult leader is a particular type of false teacher in which EVERYTHING must go through the leader as though he were God Himself or His representative. Every cult also has a tendency of having a sexually immoral practice. In a number of them, the cult leader will claim to have the right to annul marriages so he can have the brides. A false teacher, let alone a cult leader, cannot afford to have anyone challenge him/her because they lose their power over their followers. That is why it is a severe thing for someone to leave the Mormon church or the Roman Catholic church; it’s total rejection by the entire society that person knew. That’s not easy to walk away from.

False teachers go after the praise of man. They seek approval for what they believe. That is why I find so many atheists, Old Earthers, and Theistic Evolutionists coming to Young Earth groups and so few of us going to theirs. It’s as though they need to validate their own beliefs. Some have told me they come to “correct us.” If we were half as crazy and in denial of reality as they claim, they’d have no reason to come do that, because all we’d need to do is keep speaking and we’d be killing ourselves in doing so. Yet, they obviously think we are a legitimate threat if they have to come to us to “challenge us.”

Jesus faced the same thing, as did every true teacher. Those who hold to false teachings will come to challenge the true teachers on their turf. And because everything they do depends upon the reception of those they teach, they consider themselves colossal failures if someone under their tutelage gets away from them. This is no different than the Pharisees when Jesus and the Apostles came around. Wolves don’t like it when their dinner is stolen from them, yet we are sent as sheep to rescue other sheep from them.

True teachers are not concerned about who receives their message other than that they weep for the souls who reject it who will be going to hell. True teachers are not in it for a popularity contest. False teachers are. True teachers are only concerned about preaching the correct message and grieving over those who reject the message. False teachers need the praise of men and get angry when their message is rejected. True teachers get mad when the truth is distorted and false teachings are proclaimed as true teachings. This is not for their own sake, but because they love the True God so much as to not allow His name to be blasphemed.

Do we love God more than we love the approval of men, even if those men are our bosses, our politicians, or an officer with a gun to our head? I myself am far more inclined to believe those who give their lives for what they believe no matter the cost than people-pleasers. False teachers and politicians speak what they think their audience wants to hear, and then they turn around and do whatever they want to do when others aren’t watching. They truly care nothing for the well-being of their followers, only for what their followers can give them. That is one of the reasons John told an elderly woman to not house a false teacher, despite the charge for Christians to offer hospitality. If she housed him, she would give a message that she approved his message and would be held guilty of his sins as well. And when he left, she would be just another victim of his Ponzi scheme as he sought out another person to rip off.

Next week, I’ll wrap up this series with a summary of the tactics described here as well as what should we do when we encounter false teachings. It’s one thing to identify them, but what to do with those presenting these teachings is another issue.

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Psalm 139

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 2, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

I believe that our relationship with God is the biggest paradox of the Christian faith. God is the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the entire universe, and He is, of course, infinitely better than us in every aspect. Based on that, He should be unknowable to us - and to some extent He definitely is. But at the same time, this almighty God also desires to have a personal relationship with Him. He knows us more intimately than any other person ever possibly could, and that’s not because He “has to” as our creator but that He wants to as the loving God He is. It’s quite a paradox!

Psalm 139, which we’re taking a look at today, highlights that personal relationship between God and us, and the intimate knowledge that God has of us. The words that the psalmist writes are personal between him and God, but they apply to us as well. I’d encourage you to go read the entire psalm here before continuing on reading this post because it’s important to have the context of the whole psalm in mind.

The theme of verses 1-6 is that God knows His people. That’s not a knowing like I know someone’s name or maybe a few facts about them. This knowing is the most intimate kind of knowing that there is. God knows both our thoughts and our actions. He knows the words we’ll say even before we speak them! All of this knowledge is too “wonderful” for us; it would make our human brains explode. We can’t even begin to comprehend knowing any one person in that intimate manner, yet God knows us all.

God alone is capable of having this knowledge not only about a few people, but about every person who has ever lived, who is currently living, or will ever live! Just that fact alone should blow your mind, not to mention actually knowing every word or action of every person ever. Wow.

That shows us the paradox of our relationship with God. He is so amazing that He can have all that knowledge, and yet He still knows each one of us on such a personal, individual level that it truly is amazing.

We see in verses 7-12 that we can never escape God’s presence. Whether we go high to the heavens or low to the depths of the oceans, God is there. It’s not that the psalmist is trying to escape from God for some reason, but he is showing us the amazing presence of this all-knowing God. This just further shows us that God is so far beyond our grasp in His amazing presence and knowledge. God is absolutely sovereign and in control over all of creation; even darkness cannot overpower Him because He is light.

Now that we have established how well God knows each of us and His presence throughout the entire world, we now ask, for what purpose? What does all this mean and why does it matter?

Verse 13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” We can be confident in God’s ability to know us because of how He created us. He didn’t just throw each one of us together without any thought, or create us like a copy-and-paste job, but He created our inmost being and knit us together in our mother’s wombs. That is a very intentional creating, showing how much God knows, loves, and cares for each and every person - even before we’re born.

What should we do because of that? We should praise God! Verse 14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We need no other reason than to praise God but that we are created by Him. We know that God only does wonderful things, and because one of His actions was to create each of us, we know that we are wonderfully made. We should praise Him because of that. We can be aware of God’s presence with us and the amazing knowledge that He has about us, and the fact that He still loves us; for that God is worthy of all praise.

Verses 15-16 go into more detail about how God made each one of us. Even when we were not yet born and God was creating each of us, He already had a purpose for our lives. He had already ordained all of our days - as many or as few as we get to live on this earth - before we even lived our very first day.

In verses 17-18, the psalmist is again amazed at God’s thoughts and how He is so knowable but yet completely unknowable. God’s thoughts are way too magnificent and wonderful for mankind to comprehend. They would outnumber the grains of sand if we were to try and count them - which, of course, is impossible.

In verses 19-22, the psalm’s tone changes from one of thanksgiving, praise, and amazement to one of anguish. The Lord has been good to the psalmist, but people in the world have not treated him in the same way. He knows that God is good, and he prays that God would remove all of the evil from this world that is messing up God’s perfect creation. The psalmist goes into detail about how he hates those who hate God; he cannot even be in relationship with them if they are against His God, the God who created him and knows every intimate detail about him.

It is only because of his love for God that the psalmist hates those who are evil. He knows that the goodness of God cannot be present around any evil at all. Coming off of accusations of those who hate God, the psalmist asks God in verses 23-24 to help discern his motivations. The psalmist wants to honor God by following His will no matter what, even if that makes him change how he feels about those who do evil in this world. He knows that there is an “offensive way” and a “way everlasting,” and he desires for God to lead him in the right way.

How does it make you feel that God knows every intimate detail about you? He loves you so much that He wants to know you that well. The amazing, all-powerful God who created everything wants to know every little detail about us!

Do you believe that God created you, and every human, so intentionally that He knit you together in your mother’s womb? What is your reaction to this? Do you praise God for it and live your life in a way that honors His creation? God has a purpose for you; are you living it out, or at least working on discerning what that purpose is?

Are you following the way of the world, or are you seeking God to lead you in the way everlasting? God knows us, God loves us, and God will lead us as much as we will follow Him and be obedient to Him. I pray that you will realize even a fraction of how much God loves you and that you would truly desire to live that out every single day that God has ordained for you.

If you want to dig deeper into Psalm 139, I encourage you to check out the devotional book Known: A Journey Through Psalm 139 written by my good friend Katie Wolfe. As a fun bonus, it's a coloring book too!

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.