Quit - The End of Hope

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 30, 2013 0 comments

This week’s word “quit” can be looked at two different ways. On the one hand, as Monday’s blog by Katie pointed out, there are activities or bad habits that we can all see in our lives that we need to try to quit. Depending on how long we’ve had the habits or the strength of the grip that they have on us, quitting may be extremely difficult and even impossible apart from God’s strength. Regarding these bad habits, quitting is considered something positive. But on the other hand, quitting can also have a negative connotation. When we invest time, effort, money, and relationships in something that all of a sudden becomes difficult, our natural tendency is to want to take the easy way out and throw in the towel.

Growing up in my family, the word “quit” was definitely seen as something negative. My brother and I constantly began new organized sports or other activities. When my parents had invested time and money and we all of a sudden wanted to give up because of something we didn’t like, my dad would talk to us about the importance of persevering and make us think about the consequences of quitting. In most cases, we would not be allowed to quit something we started. One of the pictures we had in our house growing up that sticks in my mind even today was of a frog and some kind of water bird that was much bigger. In the picture, the bird was eating the frog as prey and the frog was half-way into the mouth of the bird. However, even with his head and top part of his body already being swallowed by the bird, the frog’s arms were squarely around the neck of the bird attempting to strangle it. The caption for the picture was “Don’t Ever Give Up”, because the frog was demonstrating a refusal to quit even in bleak circumstances.

The idea of refusing to quit or give up the fight is consistent throughout Scripture, especially in the New Testament. In Revelation 2 and 3, the Apostle John writes letters to seven different churches, which actually means he was writing to groups of Christians in seven different cities. The letters were written at a time when all Christians, because they were ruled by the Roman Empire, were facing intense persecution. John himself was imprisoned in exile on the island of Patmos for sharing Jesus (Revelation 1:9). In each letter, John talks about the persecution the specific believers in that city are facing, their good deeds and evil deeds, and the need to keep the faith and stay the course until Christ returns. At the end of each letter, John promises a reward “to him who overcomes”. You can read it for yourself in those chapters, but I will tell you that each promised reward is a different picture of what the believer will receive in heaven with God. The promise is supposed to give the believer hope, which should motivate him not to quit.

So, what did the believers have to overcome? Well, I already told you they were facing intense persecution from their own government. But I submit to you that it was something more than that, something that even you and I have to overcome today. I’m talking about the temptation to buy into the lie that our faith is meaningless, to “quit” the faith and end all hope in God’s promises because of the present difficult circumstances. See, you and I might not be presently dealing with the physical persecution that so many believers in history have suffered. But we do have trouble in this world, guaranteed to us by Jesus himself (John 16:33). While the level of suffering may not appear to be as high as what the early Christians endured, the temptation to give up is just as available to us. I encourage you to read those words to the Christians in those seven cities, to put yourself and your specific trials in the story, and to believe the promises “to him who overcomes”.

The challenge for us is to not quit, and to instead learn to see our troubles as opportunities. The Apostle Paul talks about rejoicing in hope in his letter to the Romans, but adds something unexpected. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5). Friends, the key to the whole progression is perseverance, which is the opposite of quitting. We have no control over whether we will face sufferings. We will. It’s a promise! But so is hope, if we don’t give up. Only through some type of suffering can one persevere. You don’t “persevere” through easy times. Of the four things mentioned in those verses, perseverance is the only thing you can choose. I already said we can’t control suffering, and character and hope only happen as a natural result of choosing to persevere rather than quit. Let’s face it, we all want hope. When things seem to be going downhill fast in our personal lives and all around us, we desperately need something to hope in. These Scriptures make it clear that the road to hope begins with a choice in the midst of suffering. Though it may seem easiest and most comfortable, don’t quit. You will experience the peace, joy, and hope in the midst of trials that can only come through the Holy Spirit!


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 27, 2013 0 comments

When thinking about this week’s word, a video clip came to mind. You may have seen it, but go watch it here before you continue reading.

How many things do you have in your life that you wish you could just stop? Maybe it’s a bad habit, like chewing your fingernails, smoking, or eating too much junk food. Or maybe it’s overspending your income and going into debt. Or maybe it’s being prideful, selfish, or hurtful to others. Don’t you wish it was as easy as just being told to “stop it!”?

As followers of Christ, we need to try to imitate Christ in all we do, which means quitting sinning. Read what the apostle Paul has to say in Romans 6:1-2: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” This is Paul’s way of saying, “Stop it!” You have received the grace of God to free you from your sins, so quit sinning! You don’t need to sin more so that you receive more grace.

We know that God will never quit on us; He is always with us, always there to help us live a more Christ-like life. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Jesus echoes that in the end of Matthew 28:20 when He says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We need to cling to God through the power of the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to quit sinning, and we can do so because of the promise that God will never quit on us. God will never merely tell us to “Stop it!” but He will walk with us through the trials we go through, and through the sins that we commit, to help us through them. He will never quit on us!

Quiet - Usually Right, But Not Always

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 23, 2013 0 comments

If you are familiar with the Bible at all, or even if you happen to like music from the 1960s, you’ve probably heard before that there is a time or a season for everything. The oft-quoted passage of the Bible where this concept is declared is found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. The wise teacher, whom many believe was Solomon, wrote that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (v. 1). He went on to join together 14 different couples of opposite activities to demonstrate his point, including “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (v. 7). In addition to the Bible passage, there is also a hit song from 1965 by The Byrds called “Turn! Turn! Turn!” The lyrics to the song are almost completely taken from Ecclesiastes 3. So, the idea that different circumstances call for different (and sometimes opposite) actions is a part of both God’s Word and popular culture.

So the question for us this week, relevant to the Ecclesiastes passage and our word of the week, is how in the world do we determine when it is right to speak, and when it is right to be quiet? Well, I can assure you that Scripture has a lot to say about this question. Let me start with pointing out what it has to say about when we should be quiet, which by the way is just about all of the time! I told you that the writer of Ecclesiastes was a wise teacher who many believe was King Solomon. Well, there is another book in the Bible that we know for certain was at least partially-written by Solomon – the Book of Proverbs. In Proverbs 10:19, he writes that “when words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise”. In other words, it’s hard to talk a lot without sinning, so it’s better to keep your mouth shut as much as possible!

James, the brother of Jesus, also recognizes the danger in everyone talking too much. He writes to the early Christians, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). These followers of Christ were facing intense persecution and were struggling to persevere. Like with us anytime we face difficult trials, anger, complaining, and a failure to listen to God’s promises threatened the believers. James urged them to resist the temptation to verbally communicate their anger, and to instead choose to spend time listening. This intentional silence in the face of persecution would model that of their Savior, who was submissive to his oppressors out of obedience to the Father. “As a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7b). If Jesus, the only One who ever did have a true defense, did not defend himself with words, why do we feel like we should or even can?

Despite the overwhelming evidence showing us that we should mostly be quiet, there is at least one occasion when silence is not the right thing in God’s eyes. I’ve always been drawn to the life and words of Jeremiah, who was also known as the “Weeping Prophet” in the Old Testament. From before he was even formed in his mother’s womb, God had called him to be set apart as a “prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). God assures Jeremiah over and over again that He will protect him and that Jeremiah is the chosen instrument to warn the people of Judah of the coming judgment because of their sins. Imagine if you were in Jeremiah’s shoes. The amount of rejection you would face would make you consider ignoring God’s call on your life and choosing silence instead. But God warned Jeremiah what would happen if he let his fear keep him from speaking all that God would command him. “Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them” (Jeremiah 1:17b).

Jeremiah would grow to be a faithful prophet, but at great personal cost. He was beaten, imprisoned, and thrown into a cistern by his own people. In a moment of reflection on his situation, Jeremiah talks about how he feels the Lord has overpowered him and persuaded him to speak the things he has spoken, and how it has brought him nothing but ridicule, insult, and reproach (Jeremiah 20:7-8). Nevertheless, the rest of his reflection shows that he has understood why he cannot and should not keep quiet. “But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak anymore in his name, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot” (20:9).

So, in testing Scripture with Scripture, it would appear that there is sufficient evidence to believe that there are indeed “a time to be silent and a time to speak”. If you’re still wondering how to tell the two times apart, it’s actually quite simple. If you are speaking words that you know have come from God, which can be done by anyone and not just those who have received a seminary education, DO NOT KEEP SILENT! Speak with boldness, humility, clarity, gentleness, respect, and love. Even asking questions that have to do with God is okay, because God invites us to get to know Him. Other than that, we should pretty much keep our mouths shut until God gives us something worth saying.

Who Do You Trust?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 22, 2013 1 comments

I hope I’m writing to an audience where every reader can say he or she has been deceived at least once or twice in the span of life. I hope you can say this, not because I embrace deception or that I am an outright cynic, but let’s be honest; if you have been exposed to the public domain in any way shape or form you have been deceived somewhere along the way. If you cannot concede such a point you are deceiving yourself and are in horrible denial.

Having made that statement, there may be somebody reading this blog that has been deceived by religion. Fair enough? Maybe someone told you that you had to do something in order to become right with God but ultimately fell victim to some sort of agenda. I think that many people fall into this category. But deception is no stranger to the world of science either.

This week I wanted to find out how many world changing scientific discoveries have been proven to be hoaxes within the past century. It greatly interested me that the two hoaxes that were noted the most were discoveries that would have provided strong evidence for the theory of evolution.

On a list of the top 10 scientific hoaxes in history, number one was none other than the infamous Piltdown Man. Piltdown Man was a supposed missing link. His discovery was formally announced in 1912 with the scientists Arthur Keith (anatomist), Charles Dawson (fossil hunter), and Arthur Smith Woodward (Keeper of the department of geology at the British Natural History Museum) taking credit. The hoax persisted until 1953 when Joseph Weiner and Kenneth Oakley exposed Piltdown Man to be a hoax. Apparently, one of its discoverers had stained the jaw of an ape, in order to make it look more ancient than it truly was and placed it with the skull of a human. What helped to create the illusion of a missing link was that parts of the jaw and face were missing as well as some of the lower teeth. Because the scientific community was so anxious to finally have a missing link on hand they ignored the apparent incompatibility of the jaw with the skull and Piltdown Man was formally accepted as authentic until it was re-examined in 1953. That is 41 years that this hoax persisted! http://www.creationism.org/books/TaylorInMindsMen/TaylorIMMh08.htm

The second greatest scientific hoax of all time represented the answer to the question of what happened to the dinosaurs. The discovery of archaeoraptor was supposed to represent a monumental discovery that would reveal the evolution of reptiles into birds. This could have exalted an evolutionary triumph in that certain creatures were able to overcome a world that was no longer suitable for them by evolving into another form that was better adapted to the demands of the evolved environment. Unfortunately for the evolutionary world, archaeoraptor was proven to be a combination of a known dinosaur species with a bird. After closer examination, the body of the creature was clearly that of a bird and the tail was clearly that of a dromaeosaur. One who is unfamiliar with the complexity of the theory of evolution might contend that the combination of the two does not disprove that the creature evolved. But even the most zealous evolutionists know that if something were to evolve, it would not occur in such a manner. Its discoverer forged the creature so that he might become famous for its discovery. One might think that the humiliation that accompanies such exposure would deter anyone from fabricating any other scientific discoveries. Think again… http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2000/03/02/archeoraptor-hoax


Recently, it has been discovered that decades worth of global warming research has been suppressed in order to promote the global warming agenda. Someone hacked into collaborating emails from the University of East Anglia, the college that initially broke the news on global warming, to reveal that those who first postulated the notion of global warming were really not that certain of its reality. In fact they even discouraged one another from reporting information in their studies because they feared that the raw facts would disprove the phenomenon of global warming. Check out these articles to learn more about this earth-shattering discovery:

http://www.examiner.com/article/global-warming-hoax-exposed-by-climategate http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/6679082/Climate-changes-this-is-the-worst-scientific-scandal-of-our-generation.html


So, who do you put your trust in?

Do you trust science, academia, politics, and religion? If so, you might want to consider some of the examples I have listed above. Scientists, teachers, politicians, and “religious leaders” will always have an agenda attached to their conclusions. Human agendas are intended to suppress honest investigation and create hierarchy. In the grand scheme of things, someone wins the whole pot of gold and someone else is short-changed.

Why do I believe that Christianity is more reliable than any other religion or worldview? Tracey Lacey (from Answers in Genesis) put it brilliantly, “it is sometimes unhelpful to classify Christianity as a religion, since this often gives the impression that Christianity is about the rules and rites a person practices to please their deity of choice. Yet Christianity is different in that it is about what God has already done for us through the person and work of Jesus Christ.” If you can find a system of belief as freeing as this, I would like for you to show me.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Isaiah 29:14 says, “the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

And Jesus says, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).

Christians should not subject themselves to the frustrations of worldly knowledge. We ought to see things with a transformed mind, allow for the wisdom of the world to fade with time, and listen to the words of Jesus. There is someone you can trust and his only agendas are the glory of God and the salvation of mankind. Does this sound like someone you can put your trust in?


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 20, 2013 0 comments

We live in a society full of noise. Whether it’s the noise of the hubbub of the city, the music from your mp3 player, listening to the radio, or the constant conversation of coworkers, we are surrounded by noise almost constantly. We even face noise of the mind, such as constantly being distracted by Facebook, Twitter, email, or text messaging.

Jesus and His disciples faced their own kind of noise during Jesus’s earthly ministry. In Mark 4, Jesus was out and about teaching the crowds. He told a number of parables, and then when evening came Jesus wanted to retreat from the crowds a bit. Read the story of what happened next in Mark 4:35-41.

They withdrew from the noise of the crowds to seek some quiet, only to be taken up into the noise of a storm! But what happens next? Jesus quiets the storm by saying, “Quiet! Be still!” Not only does this show His authority over the wind and the waves, but it also gives us a model of what to do when we’re surrounded by the noise. We need to be quiet and still before God.

My favorite Psalm is Psalm 46. Ironically, given my busy lifestyle, my favorite verse of that psalm is Psalm 46:10. The first portion of that verse is often quoted: “Be still, and know that I am God.” That phrase is even inscribed on a ring that I wear all the time. When we hear this phrase, we often picture being quiet, getting away from the noise of life, and sitting and praying to God.

But in studying Psalm 46:10 in the original Hebrew text, there’s much deeper meaning there. My conversational translation from the Hebrew would go something like this: “Stop what you’re doing and get to know Me intimately.” We need to stop all the “noisy” things we do in our lives so that we can allow God to come into our lives and truly get to know Him. He wants to know each one of us intimately, but we have to make room to let Him in by spending time in quiet.

Jesus can quiet a storm, but God would love for each one of us to quiet our hearts so that we show our desire to get to know Him as intimately as He knows us. Take time often to quiet your heart, turn off all the noise that surrounds you in your life, and know that He is God.

Quench - What Do You Need More?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 16, 2013 0 comments

Sometimes in life, we face situations that seem to have no possible positive outcome for us. We call these situations “no-win”. Our choice in these situations is not between “good” and “bad”, but between “bad” and “worse”. These trials, like all that we face, are opportunities for us to grow in our faith. They are opportunities for us to “pass the test” that God has put before us. But even though we have the encouragement from Scripture to “consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2), it certainly doesn’t get any easier. If anything, it gets harder the more you feed on that passage because the enemy just tries harder as you continue to resist him. So, the question that we all must answer when we face the most difficult trials of our lives is whether we need the easy way out more, or need God more.

The word for this week is interesting because it can be used on either side of that choice. We have evidence of such in Scripture. The Greek word that is used throughout the New Testament for “quench” is the same word that can also be used for “extinguish, hinder, or thwart” (Mounce). Take the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 for example. Jesus tells the story of these ten virgins, which were essentially what we would consider bridesmaids today, to illustrate the need for us to be prepared when Christ returns. In the story, five of the virgins were foolish and five were wise. All ten fell asleep because they had been waiting for the bridegroom for so long (which shows us that we need to be prepared no matter how much longer it is until Christ comes back). When the groom finally did show, the virgins all woke up to go meet him because it was customary for them to escort him with torch lamps to the wedding banquet where his bride was waiting. However, since the foolish ones weren’t prepared, they said to the wise virgins, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps our going out” (v. 8). The foolish virgins were worried about their lamps being “quenched” and tried to take the easy way out by just asking those who were better-prepared to share with them. Had they continued to long for the bridegroom before that and trusted that whenever he arrived he would quench their longing, they would have made better preparations.

Another place in the New Testament where the word is used in a negative sense is when Paul warns the Christians at Thessalonica not to “put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thess. 5:19). This happens more than we realize in the Church as believers criticize other believers for their methods of worship, past sins, or physical appearances. People allow their personal vendettas against others to interfere with the ministry that God is doing through His servants. When we take any of these attitudes, we risk “quenching” what the Holy Spirit is doing in the hearts of others.

On the other hand, trusting in God completely in the midst of our trials allows us to “quench” those things which threaten to stop us from living the life He has called us to live. In Hebrews 11:34, the writer mentions some of the heroes of the faith from the Old Testament who, through faith, were able to “quench the fury of the flames”. Though the writer of Hebrews does not mention these particular heroes by name, they could be none other than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were the friends of Daniel that were unwilling to bow down and worship the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had built (Daniel 3). They knew the penalty was being thrown into the blazing furnace, yet they knew they needed God’s presence and approval way more than they needed to live even another second on this earth. So, in the greatest trial of their lives, they refused to quench the fire of the Holy Spirit and in turn were able to quench the very flames that had them surrounded in a furnace that was so hot it killed the guards who led them to it. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:16 that taking up the shield of faith gives us the power to “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”. Again, putting our faith ultimately in God and living as if we need Him more than we need to be free of trials and comfortable allows us to “quench” the enemy’s attacks.

Because we all have desperate longings that guide our hearts, we will always be quenching something. To have a longing is to have something that God created in us. He didn’t create us without needs, He just created us to live and know that He alone can meet every one of them. You may feel like you need a spouse or companion in life. You may feel like you need children, more money, or a new job. You may feel wrongly accused, misunderstood, or treated unfairly, and feel like you need justice. Ultimately, we as humans can find ways to quench most of those needs. But none of them will completely satisfy. At best, they’ll just reveal more needs that we didn’t know we had. The key is to recognize that we truly need God more than we need anything else, which then causes us to live with a yearning only He can quench.


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 13, 2013 0 comments

Gatorade used to have an advertising campaign saying it was the “thirst quencher.” Personally, when I’m thirsty my preference is ice cold water or Pepsi. I’ve never been much of a Gatorade drinker, because I don’t care for the taste. Just because some sports star on TV tells me it’ll quench my thirst doesn’t mean it actually will. If I don’t even want to drink it, it definitely won’t quench my thirst.

I get physically thirsty pretty often, which is good so I drink more water and stay hydrated. But what about spiritual thirst? Are you ever thirsty for God’s presence, like you would be for water or a Gatorade?

The writer of Psalm 42 shares with us that he had a thirst for God. Psalm 42:1-2 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

When you’re terribly thirsty and craving a drink of water, all that can truly quench that thirst is water. When you’re terribly in need of God’s presence, all that can truly quench that need is being in God’s presence. Have you ever felt that need so strong, that your entire desire is to quench it?

We humans thirst for many things in this life. Do you thirst for love? For acceptance? For that one special person who completes your entire world? All of these things may temporarily quench your thirst for them, but just like with taking a drink of water, at some point you will be thirsty again and need more. The only Person who can ever completely quench all of the thirsts in your life is God. He is the only One who will always come through on everything He promises - to love you, to accept you, and to entirely complete your world and quench every desire of your soul.

God may not give us the physical things that quench the desires of our human nature, but He guarantees us that He will quench our spiritual thirst if we just turn to Him and drink in His presence.

Quarrel - Contradicting the Cross

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 9, 2013 0 comments

Isn’t it frustrating when someone labels himself one thing and at times even pretends to be what he has labeled himself, only to think, act, and speak the complete opposite at other times? We call these people hypocrites, fakes, or two-faced. There was an old joke going around on Facebook and e-mail a few years ago that included a sobering story for many Christians. A man was driving his car in heavy traffic and somebody suddenly cut him off. The man proceeded to honk his horn incessantly at the other driver while yelling and gesturing profanities. Less than a mile down the road, a police officer pulled the man over. The man was confused and said to the officer, “I know I was going the speed limit, so why did you pull me over?” The officer explained, “I was just a few cars behind you when that other person cut you off and I just assumed your car must be stolen since it has an ‘I Love Jesus’ bumper sticker on it”.

I say that the story is sobering for many Christians because we all shudder to think of the many circumstances when our attitudes, actions, and words have not agreed with what we profess about Jesus Christ. We label ourselves “disciples of Christ”, yet Jesus says clearly in Luke 9:23 that to be his disciple a man “must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”. Does that sound like something you do sometimes? How about “daily”? I know that I don’t deny myself often enough to make it habitual. When I wake up in the morning, I’m usually not thinking about God right away and I’m only sometimes thinking about others. But I can tell you right now that it isn’t hard to start thinking about what I want or need right away when I wake up. That’s why I am so thankful for God’s grace and that He allows me to pursue the path of discipleship despite my shortcomings. I want to caution all who agree with me, however, that His grace does not give us the right to live in such a way that misrepresents Jesus Christ.

Quarreling is probably one of the most obvious ways in which we contradict what we “say” we believe by our actions. James, the brother of Jesus, addresses this very serious issue in his letter to the early Christians. It’s interesting that one of the biggest issues plaguing the Church today is the same as what threatened their existence when they first started. In James 4:1-12, the author explains that the “fights and quarrels” that are going on among the believers at that time are caused by their own selfishness and failure to remain focused on Christ. He challenges them to remain humble, to stop slandering their brothers and sisters in Christ, to resist the devil completely, and to stop being “double-minded”.

When I did some digging into that passage, I discovered that the Greek word used there for “quarrel” is the root “mache”, which has the same Latin roots as our English and Spanish word “macho”. While it’s not necessary for you to know the languages, I hope you see the same connection that I do. When you or I are quarreling with another brother or sister in Christ, we are essentially puffing ourselves up and ignoring the truth of the cross. Jesus had all the reason in the world to be selfish because he was perfect when no one else on earth was. Yet, he submitted to the cross and humbly accepted all that the Father was willing to put him through. Jesus was definitely a “macho man” who could’ve won any physical fight or intellectual argument, but he refused to quarrel with believers or non-believers. He “denied himself” and “took up his cross” daily, not just when it was popular or convenient. To be striving toward Christ-likeness, we too must be willing to avoid quarrels, even when we know we are right and can “win”.

In full disclosure, I must admit to all of you readers out there that this is definitely still an issue for me. I always justify my quarrels by saying that it doesn’t bother me to argue like it does some people. But that’s a problem! It SHOULD bother me more than it does, especially given what Scripture says about both the damage that is done to the Church by quarreling and how Jesus, the one who was ALWAYS right, avoided it in order to serve his Father’s greater purposes. In James 4:4, the brother of Jesus refers to those who are quarreling and thinking selfishly as “adulterous people”. The Message translation of the same verse says, “You are cheating on God”. I don’t know about you, but I would love to stop cheating on God. It starts with accepting that quarreling is just that – cheating on God – instead of the minor issue we often make it out to be. Right now, many of us are contradicting the cross in which we believe because we are trying to be “macho” and exalt ourselves through “fights and quarrels”. But James’ challenge to the early Christians is the same for us, and is the only way we’ll be exalted. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).

Man? Ape? Or Yes?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 8, 2013 0 comments

So God created man in his own image,
In the image of God he created him;
Male and female he created them.
-Genesis 1:27

A new species of human…er, ape…er, something has been discovered. It is being described as having both apelike and humanoid features. It is called A. (Australopithecine) Sediba.

There are two particular features of the specimens that make them somewhat peculiar. The upper half of the creatures look incredibly well adapted for climbing and have features that are perceivably more apelike. Despite the “primitive” appearance of their arms, the hands look a little more sophisticated. The lower half displays a more advanced type of ankle structure that appears more human. Because of this seemingly bizarre combination evolutionists have concluded that these creatures are part human and part ape. They think that it might be a transitional form of some sort, but is it possible that they are entirely mistaken?

They have never stopped to consider the possibility that they could be entirely human or entirely ape. According to scientists, this specimen is too old and too apelike to be human. Given their abnormal combination of traits why would it be wrong to call these specimens “missing links” or transitional forms?

For the sake of clarity, my job here is not to determine what these creatures are, I don’t know and do not have enough information to take any guesses. Instead of taking stabs in the dark without sufficient information, let’s use logic in connection with information we do know to give us a better understanding of the possibilities and to help us understand evolutionary philosophy. Ready?

Exhibit A: Albertosaurus.

Do you know what albertosaurus is? Let me help: you know what a tyrannosaurus rex is correct? They are actually the exact same thing, except the albertosaurus is smaller and its proportions are slightly different from that of T-Rex. In other words the difference between a T-Rex and an albertosaurus is about the same as what the difference is between a tall person and a short person. But evolutionary scientists have chosen to classify them as two different species of dinosaurs. Weird, huh?


Exhibit B: Common physical deformities.

Even healthy human skeletons have minor differences in size, proportions, and even shape in some cases but there are instances where the anatomy of the human skeleton is drastically different from the average person. Such differences are typically the result of disease or deficiency. People who are affected by Down’s syndrome, arthritis, and rickets often have anatomical features that are significantly different from the common person. The first Neanderthal ever discovered, for instance, was hunched over. As a result the person who made the discovery concluded that all Neanderthals were essentially hunchbacks. After many years the skeleton was reexamined and it was discovered that this hunched over Neanderthal had actually suffered from a nasty case of arthritis in his back.


(Marvin L. Lubenow, Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1992), 26.)

Exhibit C: Extreme abnormalities.

There are certain abnormalities that make the ones listed above look normal. Take for instance the Ostrich People of Africa. They have only two toes on each foot that are shaped and proportioned in such a way that it appears as though they have ostrich feet! These people have isolated themselves and have been inbreeding for so long that their ostrich feet have become a normal trait among them. Now, imagine if a scientist dug up the bones or fossils of an ostrich person without any prior knowledge of their existence. What sort of conclusions do you think he or she would have drawn?


We have outlined three possibilities in exhibits a-c. Is it possible that the differences in these specimens and either apes or humans are so minute that there truly is no difference? Could the specimens have suffered from some sort of minor genetic defect that slightly altered certain characteristics? Could they have suffered from a serious genetic defect that makes them almost unrecognizable? Is it possible that they are missing links? Is it possible that the whole thing is just a hoax? Unfortunately the team of scientists already made up their minds what these creatures are. even The sad thing is that they probably never considered the possibilities outside of their evolutionary biases. Let us not make the same mistake. (If you want any pictures of the specimens being discussed, check out Wikipedia; they provide a very easy to understand diagram to help you understand what has been discovered and what has not. Just type in A. Sediba.) (I based this post on http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/04/11/with-mix-human-and-apelike-traits-ancient-creature-is-puzzle-for-evolutionary/)


Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 6, 2013 0 comments

Have you ever disagreed with someone and ended up fighting over your disagreement? I would guess that every single person reading this blog could say yes to that question. It’s our selfish human nature to believe that we are right and to want to get our own way in everything.

A quarrel is a verbal disagreement between people. They may be angry, and the quarrel may cause a temporary or permanent break in their relationship. Quarrels can happen over basically anything, from mundane things like what to eat for dinner to serious things such as issues that break up a marriage.

What does the Bible say about quarreling? Proverbs 20:3 says, “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverbs 17:14 says, “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” Those verses remind us that we should not even begin a quarrel or an argument with someone.

But what about if a quarrel is unavoidable? We receive further guidance from Titus 3:9-11: “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.” This passage assures us that we need to stay away from people who are only seeking to argue with us. We don’t need to use a quarrel to condemn them; they will condemn themselves with their selfish motives.

2 Timothy 2:14-16 says, “Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”

These are just a few of the passages in the Bible dealing with quarreling, but they all have the same theme - stay away from quarrels! We as God’s people were created to be perfect and always in unity and agreement, but because sin entered the world that is not possible in this present world. We as Christ followers need to try our best to avoid quarrels so that our differing ideas do not lead us to sin. But for those times we do end up quarreling with our friends or loved ones, we can be thankful that God is always quick to forgive us out of His amazing grace.

Paradise - Getting Back to Eden

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 2, 2013 0 comments

As I write this post, I have literally just gotten back home from a long weekend trip from Ohio to the far western part of Missouri and even into Kansas. I got to spend a good bit of time in 2 major cities - Kansas City and St. Louis - that I had never been to before in my life. I enjoyed a baseball game at a beautiful stadium that I had only seen before on TV, saw a well-known federal prison at Fort Leavenworth, dipped my toes in the Mississippi River, visited the Gateway Arch, and ate amazing food in both cities. Despite all of these awesome experiences, I doubt that any of them really would’ve mattered to me had I been by myself. What made the trip so much fun and so rewarding is that it happened with three people that are very close to me. There was one day that we basically spent inside relaxing and watching movies, and we had just as much fun doing that! In contrast, the most physically beautiful “paradise” I have ever been to is Buena Vista, Colorado. I spent two full weeks there during an autumn season and the landscape was amazing, but I had no one with me to share the experience. I brought back many pictures and showed them to many people, but it’s not like I can sit and reminisce about the experiences with someone else.

Who you share an experience or a physical location with makes all the difference in whether you view it as “paradise” or “just some amazing place you visited once”. In the New Testament, the Greek word for “paradise” is a word that was used in that context to describe “a pleasure-park, forest where wild beasts were kept for hunting, or garden of trees of various kinds” (Mounce). In other words, life is pretty good and easy. There may be work to be done, but it’s enjoyable and fulfilling work. There are no problems, no tears, no unmet needs or desires, and no evil. The word is not only used in the New Testament, but is also the word, when translated from Hebrew to Greek, that is used for the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2. Isn’t that interesting? Man’s history in the Bible begins with God placing him in “paradise”, and also ends in the “paradise” that Katie described from Revelation 21-22 in Monday’s post. While the first “paradise” was reserved for the man and woman who knew God by their very nature, the last “paradise” is reserved for those who willingly choose to know God through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. So, it seems to me that the common denominator about these two physical places must not be WHAT is there, but WHO is present.

Scripture tells us about some of the physical details about these two locations, but not many. However, there is no denying that Scripture makes it abundantly clear who is present in each place. We know from Genesis 2 and 3 that the Lord God was present with Adam in the Garden of Eden because he spoke to him freely and openly (2:16-17), brought animals to him to be named (2:19), formed another human being out of his rib (2:21-22), and walked in the garden in a way that was heard by Adam and his wife (3:8). We are led to believe that Adam enjoyed a fearless and shameless relationship with God up to the point that he sinned, which caused him to feel like he needed to hide from God out of fear and shame (3:10). One of the huge consequences of Adam’s sin was that God banished him from the Garden of Eden (aka “paradise”) and even set up angels to guard its entrance in case the man tried to come back (3:23-24).

In the same way, Scripture tells us that God is present in the last “paradise”. We are told that “now the dwelling of God is WITH men, and he will live with them” (Revelation 21:3 [emphasis mine]). Later, we are told that this new location “does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:23). In addition to these passages, Luke 23:43, which Katie also referenced in Monday’s post, makes it clear that Jesus is telling the criminal that he is not sending him to paradise alone, but that Jesus will be there too! I find it fascinating that Jesus tells the man nothing else about paradise. I mean, seriously, what else did he need to know? Jesus didn’t need to tell him what to pack, what to eat, or what to wear on this trip. The only thing that mattered to the criminal was that he would be with Jesus!

I hope you all understand that God’s work of redemption that is told throughout the entire Bible is just that – a plan to redeem us by bringing us back to the “paradise” where it all started for us. His plan is to bring us back to a place where we can enjoy an open relationship with Him walking right beside us because we have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior AND ALSO made him your Lord, your journey of getting back to paradise has already begun and there are days when you feel like you are already there with him. But there are also still those days where your sin causes you to hide and be afraid. While Christ completed the work of redemption on the cross with the resounding words “it is finished”, we know that we will not realize its completion until we can once again live and walk with God 100% of the time. And that’s precisely what will make it our “paradise”. People have opinions and have even written books about what heaven and hell will look like, and Scripture gives us a little bit of an idea. But what really makes all the difference is that God himself is there in paradise, and that outside of paradise he is not there. In this lifetime and by how we live, we choose between inviting God to dwell in and with us and kicking him out of our lives. Whatever we choose in this lifetime is what he will grant us for all eternity.