Love Does Not Delight in Evil but Rejoices in Truth

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 30, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Love does not delight in Evil; but rejoices with the Truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6, NIV)
“…does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6, NKJV)

This one is much harder to truly grasp today than most would think. It is common sense, yet in our post-modern world what evil and truth are have almost completely been switched. Who in their right mind would rejoice in evil? That’s a very good question, but all it takes is to look at the news headlines to see that there is much rejoicing in evil today and much hatred of truth.

Twenty years ago, it was unfathomable that homosexuality would be embraced publicly, and to speak against it would be met with such opposition. Many are still alive today who remember when it was a crime to kill a baby in the womb, yet today more than ever before there is praise for doing it. I still remember the time that women who had an abortion were ashamed and broken because of it, and now we are seeing them boasting about how many they’ve had. And now it is considered ‘love’ to have sex with whom you want, when you want, how often you want, and don’t dare bring up the consequences for such action. In 1962, right when God was removed from the public square, there were only two known sexually-transmitted diseases. Today, there are over 60 and we have the government trying to enforce vaccines against some of them, even without parental permission for our young girls, instead of recognizing that if the girl stayed pure and the guy stayed pure through marriage there is a complete and total of ZERO percent chance of getting it. Today, there is much delight in evil.

But that’s the ever-increasing pagan world. What about us? Do we delight in evil? I would dare say many of us do far more so than we think. I know that because I see some of it in me. Where? How? The answer is easily found in our prayer life. I’ll never forget when David Wilkerson rebuked many who would rather see certain people dead than saved. While I deal with many frustrating God-haters (including some who claim to be Christians) and while I drive on our highways, many times I’d rather not deal with them than to seek and pray for their salvation. They only do what they do because they are lost and deceived.

Why do we seek the ill of those we don’t like? It is one thing to cry out for justice and ask for God to repay the evil they are doing. David frequently poured his heart out to God on those issues in the Psalms, yet David would not take any action upon himself to demand justice for himself. It is something else to want to go up to someone and slap them silly for doing something you didn’t like.

I want to make something very clear here. The kind of love we need for this task is something we cannot muster up on our own. It can only be given. It must be practiced, but it cannot nor will not be found within our own natural abilities. It’s much harder to conjure up when you know the truth and the other person does not want it. It must be given to us by God and it usually only begins to manifest in our lives when we embrace that love from God upon ourselves.

Love does not rejoice in anything evil nor does it seek the fall of those around us. It does, however, rejoice in truth. When judgment and truth prevail, that is a time to rejoice. When truth wins out, love celebrates. But even in the downfall of the wicked, love still seeks mercy. The person who best illustrates this aspect of love is Richard Wurmbrand, most famous for his book Tortured for Christ and the ministry The Voice of the Martyrs which he started.

Richard Wurmbrand spent 14 years in Communist Romanian prisons where he was repeatedly beaten and tortured. He could not wear shoes because his feet had been brutalized so much. Yet when the Communists were overthrown, Wurmbrand pleaded with the people to grant the Communist dictator mercy, despite being the one who completely destroyed the country. He rejoiced that evil had been defeated, but he did not delight in the revenge sought by the people.

Love seeks the repentant heart. Luke 15 contains three parables where Jesus describes how there will be greater rejoicing over one sinner who repents and is saved than there are those who never left or were lost. This does not diminish the reward of those who stay loyal and follow God without wavering, but we see a glimpse of God’s heart on how he longs for and seeks to save those who are lost. Quite often the greatest men God has used were once in the pit of sin, regardless of whether they were “in the gutter” or not. Love seeks after those who are lost and does not relent until they have been won.

Love does not play a role in supporting, assisting, or enjoying evil. It does not participate in coarse joking, telling them or laughing with them. It does not go “partying” with the world, take drugs, drink, nor talk or act like the world as it does its evil deeds. It does not plot ill-will towards any other, no matter how tempting it is.

Love instead draws the line between good and bad, true and falsehood, the clean and the unclean, and the holy and the unholy. It draws the line but always beckons those on the wrong side of it to come over. Love knows that judgment is going to come to that side and it constantly pleads for those in sin to repent and escape the judgment that is coming. It is not a threat in that if people do not turn from their sin God is going to wipe them out; it’s a promise. Every one of us is doomed apart from receiving the grace of God. Love is what God shows in offering us mercy because he has no obligation to give it to us.

Let us operate in true, Biblical love. So far we have seen the importance of love in all we do, that love is patient and kind; that it does not envy nor boast; that it is not rude nor self-seeking; that it is not easily angered, nor keeps records of wrong; and that it does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth. In December, I will cover the good actions that love does. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and then above all it never fails. Then I will wrap up 2018 with how love is to be the greatest of all the gifts of God including faith and hope. Stay tuned.

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Commandment #7: Don't Steal

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 26, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)

Ever seen two toddlers fight over one toy? We’re a selfish people by nature, so we’re taught from a very young age that stealing is wrong - we aren’t supposed to take what doesn't belong to us. We realize how it feels when someone takes what is ours, so we should learn that just like it hurts us when our belongings are taken against our will, it hurts others when we do that to them. Seems simple enough, right?

But even that motivation is somewhat self-motivated in nature. Being stolen from makes us feel bad, so likewise we shouldn’t do that to others. It’s clear that taking what isn’t ours without the owner’s permission is wrong, but what about our motivation?

Luther’s Small Catechism gives the meaning for this commandment as, “We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.” Just as with the other commandments, this meaning starts out with, “We should fear and love God so that…” Our motivation for every action should always be our love for God. Because we love God, we love the people and things He has created and desire to treat them well out of that love.

The other part of that meaning is that we should “help him to improve his possessions and income.” That takes it one step further, doesn’t it? Not only should we not harm our neighbor (which, by the way, is every other person) but we should help them improve what they have!

Let’s say I ask my next door neighbor if I can borrow her lawn mower, and it has a full tank of gas. If I never return it, that’s clearly stealing. If I return it but with no gas in it and it’s filthy, I may tell myself that I didn’t steal it since I did return it, but in reality I did steal some of its value by not replacing the gas I used plus not cleaning my mess. If I return it full of gas and I cleaned it up all nice and shiny, even getting rid of some debris from her previous uses of it, then I have improved it. That’s what this commandment urges us to do.

How are you doing with this commandment? You may have been thinking you’re off the hook on this one since you’ve never shoplifted, but my guess would be we’re all guilty of some kind of stealing.

Stealing comes in more forms than simply taking a possession and not returning it, or taking something from a store without paying for it. We can also steal time from others. If I spend 3 hours telling you a story that I could have told you in 10 minutes, I stole your time. If I play solitaire at work for 8 hours instead of doing the tasks I’m supposed to do, that’s stealing time and money from my boss and the business. If I hear a great idea that someone else came up with and claim it as my own, that’s stealing. If I don’t give to God the money that He’s calling me to give to Him through whatever church or ministry, that’s stealing.

If we were able to love God totally and fully with our whole hearts, we would love Him so much that we wouldn’t desire to take anything (whether time, money, possessions, or anything else) from another person. I encourage you this week to take a look at where you might be stealing from others and therefore from God, and figure out how the Holy Spirit can help you correct that in your life.

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Room for the King

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, November 25, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

I remember a time when I was much younger and I was at a gathering of believers where the speaker pointed out something that I hadn’t thought of up until that moment in my life. He talked about the holiday season and declared that it’s the best time of year for Christians to talk to others about Jesus. He further explained that Christians have a unique opportunity during these times because society is not as quick to reject any mention of God or notion of his faithfulness. The name of Christ is spoken of much more freely during the holiday season and we ought to take advantage of the increased awareness and acceptance of our faith.

Years later, I heard a song about our response to Jesus that I’ve really come to enjoy because it is so thought-provoking. Casting Crowns recorded it, and it’s called While You Were Sleeping. If you haven’t heard it before, go check out the lyrics and music at that link. The song targets three different geographical locations that either have ignored or are ignoring the King of kings even though they had every reason to get excited about his coming. While it’s easy for us to hear the song and point fingers at each of the places that are mentioned because of their collective disregard for the Savior, the point is for each of us to look at their examples and ask ourselves whether or not we have room in our lives and hearts for the King.

The first place mentioned in the song is Bethlehem. What can we learn about this town and its people? I learned in seminary that the town’s name literally means “house of bread," as it comes from two different Hebrew words. I then listened to a sermon by Ray Vander Laan who said that “our Savior was born in a bakery!” Jesus later on would say that he is the “bread of life” (John 6:35) and that the bread he gave at the Last Supper was “his body” (Luke 22:19). It’s only fitting that the bread of life would come from somewhere that is named “house of bread."

But there was even more reason for the people of Bethlehem to be ready for the Savior. Many of them would have been aware of the words of the prophets which are recorded in what we now know as the Old Testament. One such prophet was Micah, who said about Bethlehem, “Out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2). The people of Bethlehem who worshipped the God of their forefathers in Israel had to be expecting the Savior. Even the evil King Herod had the chief priests and teachers of the law inform him that the Savior and king of the Jews was to be born in Bethlehem by looking at the above Scripture (Matthew 2:6). Everyone in and around Bethlehem should’ve been anticipating the Savior, yet the night of his birth came and his desperate parents couldn’t even score a local guest room because none were available (Luke 2:7). No one stopped and said, “You know, I’d love to give up my room for the Savior of the whole world." Like Casting Crowns says, Bethlehem will go down in history as a “city with no room for its King."

Not too far from Bethlehem is the city of Jerusalem, which is the second place mentioned in the song. The name “Jerusalem” is from the Hebrew for “city of peace." They too had reason to believe that they would encounter the Messiah. Isaiah 9:6-7 tells us that the Messiah would be the “prince of peace” and also that he would reign on David’s throne. Jerusalem was first the center of Judaism with the temple and all the chief priests and teachers of the law, but with the ministry of Jesus it became the center for Christianity as well. Jesus preached that loving God was most important, but you can’t really know if you love God unless you are also loving those that he puts in your path (Matthew 22:37-39). He also preached to them that he was “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and that God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son and that the only way to everlasting life was to believe in him and be born again (John 3:3-17). At first, his teachings were interesting and even exciting for many in the crowds. But, as the chief priests opposed him more and more boldly, as Judas betrayed him, and as his other closest disciples deserted him, the crowds who cheered for Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday demanded his crucifixion just five days later. They should have accepted the peace that he brought between them and God, but they rejected him as Messiah because he didn’t come to defeat Rome. No, he came to defeat the much more significant enemy of sin. Jerusalem will go down in history as a city with no room for its King.

The final geographical location mentioned in the song is right where most of us are sitting as we read this - the United States of America. The difference between us and the other two cities is that we haven’t totally missed our chance yet. We weren’t there to ignore Christ’s birth or demand his death, though we likely would’ve been in the same boat as those other two cities had we been there. The writer of the song turns his attention to our country because he realizes that we are well on our way to “going down in history as a nation with no room for its King." We are being “sung to sleep by philosophies that save the trees and kill the children." For Bethlehem and Jerusalem, they had no room for Jesus the first time around. As the song says, the question for us is whether we will have room for him when he returns to take his “bride," the Church, away with him. Will we be ready? Will we reject false teachings and humbly stand firm in the faith we have been given?

Here’s the thing: you can’t answer that question for the United States of America. But you CAN and MUST answer it for yourself. As you begin the busy season of Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, family gatherings, and much more, will you have room for the King in your life? Don’t “fall asleep” and miss out on a relationship with the Savior of the world. Learn from the examples of so many who have missed him because they didn’t have room for him. Open up your heart and ask Jesus to make his presence known to you this Christmas season.

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Love is Not Easily Angered nor Keeps Records of Wrongs

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 23, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV)
“… is not provoked, thinks no evil.” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NKJV)

As I have mentioned over the past couple weeks, sometimes it is easier to show what something is not to describe it than it is to show what it is. Here I will look at two more things that love is not and what love does not do. Love is not easily angered and love does not keep records of wrongs. This post is about how love properly handles grievances.

Love is not easily angered

When something goes wrong, love is not easily irritated or upset, nor does it blow up on others. This ties in very closely to how love is patient or long-suffering. At the slightest infraction or grievance, love chooses not to get angry. It is not easily provoked and instead it takes time and appropriate measures to respond correctly.

Those who are easily angered respond off the cuff and typically do not think about it. Many times they have a correct refutation to the wrong, but they usually do it with a motive of revenge and pay-back or “I’ll show you.” Those easily angered usually have very quick tongues. They do not take the time to listen to what is being said but instead are already preparing their response.

Many who hold to false teachings, like deep time evolution over millions of years or hold to Prosperity Gospel teachers as some kind of idol, often mistake the addressing of false teachings as being angry and divisive. That said, sometimes those who make a stand for truth can also address the false teachings with an unrighteous anger response. We have a right to be angry when something is legitimately wrong. Righteous indignation is certainly a thing, but righteous anger responds one way and sinful anger without love responds another way.

I am not exactly innocent of this. I have been accused of being angry when all I am doing is addressing a false teaching, but there have been times where I have responded in anger and frustration with those who want nothing to do with truth. While I have been better at controlling my tongue, I often spend some time ‘fuming’ in which I am refuting what they are saying in my head. While it is good mental exercise to know how to refute arguments, we have to be careful in our motive in doing so.

When dealing with false teachings or anything else that harms someone, we have to carry a righteous anger against that which harms the person, but at the same time understand that those who support these false teachings are victims of them. They defend these false teachings as though their lives are at stake, in part because they have attached their identity to those teachings. When we speak the truth in love, we have to separate the person from the teaching and show them how Christ gives them a much clearer and better identity. We must train ourselves to not be angry at these people who are victims of deception but angry with powers of darkness perpetually deceiving the simple, even or especially if they are ‘educated.’

Love keeps no records of wrongs

Love does not hold grudges nor count how many times people have messed up. When one holds a grudge because of a grievance against them, it quickly becomes a root of bitterness which is well capable of eating and destroying anything good in our lives. Love does not hold grudges and thus does not allow bitterness to take root. This requires an active choice to love because grudges have a wonderful way of slipping in unnoticed and taking root.

That said, love is also not gullible. Do not confuse love with letting someone do whatever they want. While love keeps no records of wrongs, it is also not an enabler of letting wrongs take place by turning a blind eye. Many heathen seek to take advantage of people, especially Christians, because they are supposed to be nice, not seek revenge, and not retaliate. Yet if we truly love others, we could be set up and perhaps be taken advantage of, but we will not fall. Few illustrate this better for me than John Hyde does.

John Hyde constantly had people berate him because he truly did live a “holier than thou” life, despite never boasting about it nor giving the impression he thought that. He was so close to God it simply glowed off him. Instead of keeping tabs on those who tried to bring him down, he would simply say, “They were misunderstanding” and never thought twice about it. In another incident, he had a man go to live with him but he was an enemy plant. Hyde took him in and after three or four days he ran out and proclaimed Hyde was a god because he had no fault. I look at that and compare it to my life and I have a long way to go before anyone who observed me in my daily routine could say I had no fault. Hyde never took offense to the setup. He kept no record of it.

Keeping no records of wrongs has a simple term that goes with it: forgiveness. I describe forgiveness as not holding the person responsible for their wrong. It does not mean the crime is forgotten nor does it mean trust is automatically restored. It means we will not hold that person responsible for making things right with us. I like to use the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant to illustrate this. When the master forgave the servant’s extensive, unpayable debt, the debt did not go away. He simply did not make the servant pay it back and instead he ate the debt himself.

God does not keep record of our sins, not because he lets us off the hook, but because Jesus Christ paid the debt on our behalf in full. The debt was settled, even though another paid for it. He has separated our sins as far as the east is from the west. The thing about latitude is that you can keep going east and you will never end up going west. If you go north or south, you get to a point where you start going south or north. But east never becomes west. When we are born again, God keeps no records of our sin because he does not see us in our wicked sinful state, but he instead sees us covered with the clothes of righteousness provided by Jesus Christ. As God has forgiven our sin and keeps no records of our sin, should we not do the same with those around us?

Next week I’ll address how love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth.

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The Promise of Individuality: Inalienable Rights

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 21, 2018 0 comments

by David Odegard

I am an individual. I believe in human rights being guaranteed at the individual level. My rights are not derived by my belonging to a group. I believe the State has to maintain what I call the libertarian minimum. That is, it must only guarantee the security of life, liberty, and property to its citizens and go no farther! The State is to guarantee that I do no harm to someone else or use force or violence against another person.

The State’s position is a purely defensive one. It is the amalgamation of every free person’s right to voluntarily unite for the common defense against the aggression of others. It is all the nerds on the playground standing together against a bully saying, “If you fight one of us, you fight all of us.” We have the right to use violence only in self-defense, and we have the right to empower the State to use that defensive power on our behalf in a civil way. But that is as far as the violence can go.

The State may not be used to wield power against others. Our nerds can persuade stronger students into standing with them in solidarity against the bully, but they may not hire the bully to wreak havoc on others. The State is to guarantee that we have rigorous freedom and leave us mostly to ourselves. (Read more about that here.)

There are basically three kinds of freedom: libertine, libertarian, and virtuous (or the pursuit of the good).

Libertine freedom denotes casting off moral restraint and doing whatever gives you pleasure.

Libertarian freedom implies the ability to make choices that can be harmful or destructive, as long as that harm or destruction does not spill over onto another person—that is those actions do not impede another’s life, liberty, or property.

Virtuous freedom is freedom from restraint (chemical, moral, etc.) to pursue the good life. It is the ancient idea of Eudemonia. You can read more about that here.

The State is unable to allow libertine freedom, because that would be unjust. The State cannot allow persons to harm one another. Libertine freedom allows a person to live without moral constraints including theft, murder, fraud, debauchery, etc. It is antinomianism run amuck.

On the other hand, the State is powerless to provide you with virtuous freedom. That is, it cannot compel you pursue the good life, because virtue must be voluntary for it to be virtuous. The State can only prevent others from using violence against you, thus providing everyone with the equal opportunity for the good life. But you must pursue it for yourself at your own expense and to the risk of your own person.

That leaves only libertarian freedom; that is why I call it the libertarian minimum. The State has a responsibility to guarantee this minimum, and any attempts to do otherwise become tyranny and injustice. No one can be allowed to take your life, liberty, or property without repercussions from the law. The libertarian minimum is the only just course for the State regardless of how much persons might wish it could produce a utopia. It can’t.

Asking the State to do otherwise would mean that the State must become a bully and shakedown others on your behalf. The State would have to choose those for whom it would provide benefits and those whom it would subjugate in order for those benefits to be provided. Any service that is mandated as your right must be taken from someone else, who is forced to comply with the State’s demand. The result is that the State treats everyone unfairly—some with benefits and others with burdens. Even though this is the exact opposite of actual justice, it is the current state of affairs in the United States.

If you are to have something you did not earn, someone has to earn it and have it taken away—if that isn’t injustice, what is? Of course, someone could voluntarily give something away from the goodness of her heart, and that would be virtuous. But can you see how forcing her to do this removes the virtue? It is no longer a gift; it is theft by a bully.

The concept of justice is nearly as old as human beings. Christianity places the source of justice in God Himself. He is maximally good and perfect. He is holy and just and He cannot leave sin unpunished (Nahum 1:3). While God does punish nations, and innocent members of the community have to suffer along with those who actually caused the problems, justice is primarily about individual response to God’s way of life. The ultimate day of justice, Judgment Day, is executed toward the individual. See Ezekiel 18, especially verse 20: “The soul that sins, it shall die.”

If this is how God carries out justice, it behooves us to follow suit. We do not condone punishing families for the crimes of one of its members; rather, holding individuals accountable for their own actions is considered just. As obvious as this sounds, the idea is quickly eroding on college campuses and elsewhere where your membership to certain groups is all the signal of character one needs to condemn or praise a person. It is on your group identity that you are judged, not individual character. (Look for my future post concerning intersectionality.)

I believe in the autonomy of the individual. I am not you, you are not me. There is in impassable barrier between my “self” and your “self.” We are distinct from one another. You cannot read my mind, though you may guess what I am thinking. I am innocent of your crimes and vice versa. But there are limits to individualism, which I will discuss in my next post.

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Commandment #6: Don’t Commit Adultery

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 19, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)

Just as with last week’s commandment on not murdering, this one may seem like an easy commandment to follow for some people. If you’re not married and haven’t been romantically involved with a married person, you may think you’re definitely in the clear on this one. Or if you are married and haven’t had an affair with someone else, you may think you’re doing just fine on this. But as we’ll see, the truth of this commandment goes deeper than that.

Jesus elaborates on the meaning of this commandment in Matthew 5:27-30: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

That seems a bit harsh, right? Even looking at a woman (or a man) lustfully means you’ve committed adultery. This commandment is not quite so easy to follow now, especially in our culture today where it seems that so many advertising campaigns are trying to get people to look at others in a lustful manner, just to sell their product.

While we know that breaking any of the commandments is sin and punishable by death (Romans 6:23), we see in the Old Testament that adultery specifically carried that consequence. Leviticus 20:10 says, “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.” Similarly, Deuteronomy 22:22 says, “If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.”

Why is adultery, or any sexual sin for that matter, to be dealt with so harshly? All other sins are committed outside a person’s body, while sexual sins are committed inside one’s own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us this: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” For more on this, check out this post or this post.

As with the other commandments I’ve written about so far, I’d like to look at what Luther’s Small Catechism says about this one’s meaning: “We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.” This is a good paraphrase of what we should do, instead of simply hearing what we’re not supposed to do. It all comes back to loving and honoring God and therefore loving and honoring one another - in this case our spouses. To learn more about this, check out what the Bible says about sexual relationships both before marriage and after marriage.

How are you doing at staying pure on this commandment? Are you making intentional steps to keep your eyes away from the things that may cause you to break it? I encourage you this week to look at your life and what you allow yourself to see, and examine where you may be breaking this commandment.

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.


Thank You for the Cross

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, November 18, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

As we move further into our season of holidays, we have more and more opportunities to reflect on our lives and what truly is most important to us. This week, that reflection will be most likely regarding the things for which we are thankful. God reminds us to BE thankful many different places in the Bible. But it truly is something we have to be. Thankfulness doesn’t just happen TO us. Even when things are not going well, we must be intentional about considering how blessed we are and all of the reasons we have to be grateful. If you ever read President Abraham Lincoln’s “Thanksgiving Proclamation” from 1863, just 3 months after the decisive Battle of Gettysburg, you see that being intentionally thankful in the midst of the darkest of circumstances is what our national Thanksgiving holiday is all about. In the midst of the devastation from the Civil War, Lincoln talks about all that God has done and provided for them and the need to set aside a day to remind ourselves of God’s benevolence.

Long before President Lincoln, the people who had to suffer the most excruciating of pains in the Bible demonstrated for us the need and the ability to be thankful and hopeful in the midst of those times. The prophet Jeremiah wrote a short book of the Bible called Lamentations. It can be found in the Old Testament. The Jews had suffered at the hands of the Babylonians who forced them into exile, and Jeremiah himself had suffered at the hands of ungodly leaders who would not listen to his words from the Lord. Jeremiah is lamenting everything that has happened, yet right in the middle of it he finds a reason to be thankful and hopeful. “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:19-23). In other words, Jeremiah finds comfort in knowing that no matter how bad things get, he is not going to be destroyed, and each morning that he wakes up and is able to breathe is a new mercy from God. This gives him hope that God is always in control no matter what.

Likewise, Job was a man in the Old Testament who had the worst of the worst happen to him. He had been a wealthy man who honored and followed God. But then, over a short span of time, he lost his entire family, his home, and his wealth, and he even began to experience painful sores all over his body. In the midst of his darkest times, he did not immediately sin or curse God. However, he did get to a point where he complained and questioned why God would allow all of this to happen to him. His complaint lasted for most of the Book of Job, yet right in the middle of it, he has a moment of clarity and hope. “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes - I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27). Job found the strength to go on despite all his pain because he knew he would one day see God.

In the New Testament, Jesus himself continued this practice of being thankful even in the midst of horrific circumstances. As he was gathering with his disciples the night before he was handed over to the authorities to begin his suffering for our sins, he ate what we now know as “the last supper” with them. Luke 22:17-19 tells us that Jesus “gave thanks” after taking both the cup and the bread and giving them to his disciples. He knew what was on the horizon for him personally, yet he gave thanks to the Father. He demonstrated for his closest followers what it means to thank the Father in ALL circumstances. Jesus certainly wasn’t thankful for all the physical pain, torture, and death he was about to experience, but he knew what the Father was up to and he trusted his ultimate plan. Therefore, he had legitimate reason to be thankful.

Do you have legitimate reason to be thankful? You cannot answer that question by only thinking about the way you feel right now. If you focus only on your difficult circumstances, you won’t find many reasons to be thankful. You have to take time to reflect on what God has done for you and where you’d be without his love, mercy, and grace. The Apostle Paul tells us why this is so important and why we must keep a joyful and thankful heart. He tells us to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). Those weren’t just mere words on a page for Paul. He was sitting in a Roman prison cell when he wrote this letter. Those prison cells were not like the ones we have today with cable TV, comfortable beds, and at least a little bit of room to move around. The prisoners of that era were usually shackled to a hard bench so that they could barely move at all, AFTER being beaten or flogged. You can read an example of this in Acts 16:22-24. I saw such a prison cell with my own eyes just a month ago when I was in Jerusalem - which was under Roman control at the time of Jesus - and I couldn’t believe how restrictive it was. Paul literally would not have been able to move his legs or find relief from any of his pain at the time he wrote the letter to the Philippians, yet he stressed the need to ALWAYS rejoice.

In the next few verses, he reminds the believers in Philippi, and us, that we must not be anxious about anything in our lives, but we must come to God in prayer and present our requests to him WITH THANKSGIVING (Philippians 4:6). The Greek word for “thanksgiving” in this verse is eucharistos, which is where we get our English word “Eucharist." The Eucharist is what we call the ceremony in which we commemorate the Last Supper, where Jesus himself gave thanks. In other words, what Paul is saying in this verse is not just that we have to count our blessings in our lives so that we can “find something to be thankful for," but that no matter how bad things are getting we can always be thankful for the cross. If literally everything else in life is going to hell in a handbasket, we would still have reason to be thankful, and that reason is what Jesus did for us on the cross.

As you gather this week with friends and family for food, football, and fun, I encourage you to take time to just thank God for what he has done for you to give you freedom. Thank Jesus for what he did on the cross to give you victory over sin. Even if this has been a devastating year for you and you can’t think of things in your immediate circumstances to be thankful for, everyone can be thankful for the cross. Jesus loved you so much that he left the comfort of heaven, came to our messed up earth, and died the most horrible death so that you wouldn’t have to see the true and full consequences of sin. I realized and accepted that he did the same for me when I was 12 years old in 1994, and my life has been different because of it. When I can’t find any other reason to rejoice, I just thank him for the cross. I pray you do so as well!

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Love Is Not Rude nor Self-Seeking

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 16, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“[Love] does not behave rudely, does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NKJV)

Two weeks ago I gave two descriptions of what love is, and last week I describes two things love does not do. Today, I continue my study of 1 Corinthians 13 by describing two things love is not. Love is not rude and love is not self-seeking. There are times when it is faster to show the opposite of what something is rather than showing the full list of what it is. That is part of why the Bible gives longer lists of what not to do than it does on what to do, because the do-not-do list is shorter. So what does love not do and what is the opposite of it?

Love Is Not Rude

Love is not rude. In all its attributes, love is not rude nor will it behave rudely. What is rudeness? Perhaps the easiest way to describe being rude is to act out of turn or to disrupt the order of things. Rude people constantly interrupt others when they are talking. They will bump others, often going out of their way to do so, many times for no particular reason. Rude people do not wait their turn, nor offer others the ‘right-of-way,’ whether it be on the road or in entering a doorway.

Rude people strive to knock down anyone they perceive to be in their way of their goals and ambitions. They will cut off speakers from their talks and not let someone else get a word in. If they don’t shout to cause disruptions, they may be on their phones playing games or texting someone else, or talking to a neighbor. Rude people only have their own interests and own desires in mind and are either oblivious or mad when anyone else is in their way. Put simply, rude people have no respect for the other person.

Love is not any of that. Love is always outwardly focused. While love is aware of the actual needs of self, it is ready and willing to lay aside those needs for another. Even if you have the right-of-way, love will often defer to the other if there is any remote hint of possible confusion. Love patiently waits its turn to speak and often keeps silent even if there is an opportunity to speak. When others are speaking, love gives them their full attention and listens, seeking to understand what they are trying to say. Even if said person is wrong in every regard to what they say, love will listen and care to hear it.

Love always takes the lowest seat in humility, whereas rude people always seek the best seat. Jesus told a parable about that. If we take the lowest seat willingly, the seat of a servant, then God will honor us by putting us into a position of prominence. Yet if we are rude, God will take the seat we sought greedily, offer it to someone else, and we will be left with the lowest place left.

Love Is Not Self-Seeking

Love does not seek after self and self’s interests. If you have not noticed a pattern yet, every description Paul gave of love up to this point is comparing and contrasting serving self vs serving others. With possible one or two exceptions, each description Paul gives love in this chapter makes this distinction between self and others.

Paris Reidhead’s most famous sermon is “Ten Shekels and a Shirt.” Towards the end of this sermon, he gives a tale of a pastor who approached him. This pastor had a growing church, a radio program, excellent Sunday school classes, and yet he admittedly lacked the power of the Holy Spirit. Reidhead knew full well what this pastor was going through because that spirit had shown itself through him too. Reidhead compared this to driving up with a Cadillac and saying “Fill her up with the best you have.” He wanted God’s power to push his own agenda even further. Reidhead suggested to drop everything and give God complete control to every single thing he was doing; only then would God actually do anything for him.

This pastor was self-seeking. He did not love God as he should have. He did not love the Bride of Christ or his church as he should have because he was seeking his own agenda and his own reputation. Was he sincere? Very likely. Did he have good intentions? Sure. But was he doing what God wanted him to do? No, because he was doing his operations without God.

Sadly, much the same can be said about many of us. Do I write for Worldview Warriors because this is where God lead me, or because it gives me a platform for me? Do I seek to speak because I want to be seen, or because God is putting me in that position? There are times where I cannot necessarily answer appropriately. It is so easy for me to give a message and then seek out the praise of others for how I did or to get accolades for great points I made.

Biblical love does not serve for what you get out of it, but it serves even if you get nothing in return. Biblical love does not serve only when there is interest or reason for you to be there. It goes above and beyond that. I recall a time not long ago when the mayor of El Paso, Texas, came to serve the homeless during Thanksgiving. The media was all set up and he served exactly one dinner plate while the cameras were rolling and then left. The newspapers and news outlets then boasted about how the mayor took time to serve the homeless for Thanksgiving. He received every bit of praise he would get for such action that day, and will not get anything else for it. That was self-serving and not love by any means.

Love puts self to the side and lifts up others. Love never puts self in front of what God has laid before us. Love will set aside our schedules and not get angry or frustrated with interruptions. Love never pushes others out of the way nor makes a point to fulfill self’s interests. Love only has what God has in mind and that is to use all our resources to serve his Kingdom. Next week, we will see how love handles grievances in how it is not easily angered nor keeps records of wrongs.

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Language Families and Babel

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 15, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

The last two weeks we have looked at the origin of language (here and here). It seemed to me to be fairly conclusive—language did not come about through the means that evolutionists must believe it did. There is no evidence for their theories, and in fact the evidence stands, for the most part, in contrast to their preconceived ideas. This, I think, is strong evidence for the Divine origin of language in general.

Language is an amazing thing that truly is a major divider between God's image bearer—man—and the animals. Dr. Noam Chomsky, arguably one of the world's leading linguists and a staunch evolutionist, said about language: “Human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world… There is no reason to suppose that the ‘gaps’ are bridgeable. There is no more of a basis for assuming an evolutionary development of ‘higher’ from ‘lower’ stages in this case, than there is for assuming an evolutionary development from breathing to walking.” Language is such a part of being human that there has never been a people group found that did not have a very complex form of language. Another formidable linguist, Derek Bickerton, in his work Babel's Cornerstone, in regards to Terence Deacon's work on language says, “Time after time, in sorting through the countless proposals put forward by language evolutionists, Deacon makes the right choices. Could language have come directly out of some pre-human trait? No. Does it resemble forms of animal communication? No… no ape, despite intensive training, has yet acquired even the rudiments of syntax, and many language acquisitionists insist that syntax is there even at infants’ one-word stage… Deacon does not begin to grapple with the really difficult problems—how words emerged, how syntax emerged. But these problems lie at the heart of language evolution.” These men are strong supporters of evolution, but they are openly admitting that evolution has no real answers at all for the origin of languages.

But what about language families? That is, what about the fact that there are several (dozens really) different language types that seemingly have absolutely no relation to each other whatsoever? This, again, seems to confirm what the Bible says about the dispersion at the Tower of Babel. It equally makes it more difficult for evolutionists to explain. It's similar to convergent evolution—the outlandish idea that two or often several completely different and unrelated organisms developed nearly identical anatomy or physiology. This is what needs to happen for language as there is no evidence for a single language in all the world. There are multiple (how many we can't say... 20s to 70s or even 100) language families that have diversified into about 6000 languages across the globe. Let's look into that in more detail.

There are inherent problems with looking back in time at language. The fact that there are a number of different languages in and of itself creates a problem for Darwinists. There is literally no evidence that would suggest there was one proto-language or one original language. There are a large number of language types. How many language families there are/were is never going to be known. As languages devolve from their primary source, they can do so rapidly. In fact, some estimates suggest the rate of words being replaced over time is so fast, you couldn't recognize a language by a single word within 10,000 years of its genesis. This is according to Terry Crowley's book An Introduction to Historical Linguistics. So over time, it becomes increasingly more difficult to compare two languages to see if they're related or not.

This brings up a good question: why would man create/develop a form of communication that would actually prevent him from talking to other members of his own species? Many animals can be uprooted and taken to thousands of miles away to others of their species and still be able to interact. Often times man cannot do this because of language barriers. What would be the advantage to having a large number of languages? There is none, really. In fact, according to the Bible, it's the exact opposite. It's because of its hindrance that language barriers were created. This in and of itself helps to confirm the Biblical account and should help us to reject the evolutionist's claims.

We know from our previous posts that language, as I alluded to above, actually becomes simpler over time; it devolves. This is clearly seen in many examples like Latin and Greek/Sanskrit and is the opposite of evolution (simple to more complex). These languages are so complex and consistent it's inconceivable that random chance caused these highly sophisticated communication systems to come into being. How did they amass such a large number of adherents? The Indo-European group is another that, according to some experts, seems to have originated about 3000 years ago or more. That's nice for the Bible believer, since that neatly coincides with the Biblical timeline for the Tower of Babel (give or take a little time). The Indo-European language group is very large—covering nearly all of Europe and parts of Asia and the Middle East. English is from this group, as well as Hindi, Iranian, German, Russian, Spanish and a great deal of others. It's the largest group, with just short of half the world's population having an Indo-European language as their primary language. There are dozens of other language groups. Some of them are a single language while many are larger groups.

We know from the above that languages can actually replace themselves in a matter of 100 centuries or so. From this, we can determine that the secularist's timeline for the migration of Asians to North America (Native Americans) must have been much more recent than is believed. The time frame they give is some 11,000 to 25,000 years ago. This couldn't be. There are connections between languages spoken by Amerindians and by Eastern Siberian people. If they splintered off that long ago, there should be no detectable similarities, yet the connection is fairly strong.

How is this relating to the Tower of Babel? Let me tell you: Genesis 11 begins with “Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.” Everyone spoke the same language, which meant it was easy for everyone to work together to do whatever they saw fit. They hunkered down and stayed in one place, building a city with a great tower to “make a name for ourselves, otherwise, we'll be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” So, according to verses 6-7, God confused their languages. It's possible each family group received its own separate language family. Over time, these 70 or so language groups would differentiate into the thousands of languages we have today. Five thousand years is plenty of time for this to happen. After God confused their languages, the people scattered—some as far away as North and South America. I covered many of the different people groups earlier in this series. This separation would further distinguish one dialect from another. This can easily account for the miracle of language in general as well as explain the origins of the multiple families of languages we see today. The Word of God answers those questions that evolutionists and atheists have literally no answer to at all.

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The God Complex

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, November 13, 2018 0 comments

by Jason DeZurik

Adam and Eve suffered from it. Moses suffered from it too. King David for a time also suffered from it. The Sheriff of Nottingham suffered from it too. What is it? The God Complex.

The God Complex is wanting others to do things your way and trying to force them to go your way, even when they don’t want to go your way. Adam and Eve thought they were smarter than God and tried to force Him to do things their way because they believed they were right in their own eyes. Out of anger, Moses chose to disobey God and bring water from a rock without giving credit where credit was due. King David wanted something that wasn’t his, even to the point of murdering the husband of the woman that he wanted as his own, forcing his will not only on Uriah but also on Bathsheba because of his selfishness. In the story of Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham stole what was not his and forced others to give him their hard earned wages to do what he thought was in his best interest through unlawful taxes, while Robin Hood attempted to give some back to the people that which was rightfully theirs.

It seems many of us suffer from the God Complex. But it’s so much easier to point fingers at others instead of looking at ourselves to take responsibility and realize that we need to deal with It too. Let me give you two examples of the God Complex going on today. Part of it is the struggle of wanting to do the right thing, but in the process forcing others to do what you know or believe that is good and right and true. We all seemingly “know” that we are to help the poor among us, and this is good. It’s when we force others though to help the poor where we get the God Complex because we have bought into a lie from the world.

Example #1: Should we help others, especially children, who are hurting? Well, of course we should, but once we decide to support the taking of someone else’s fruit from their labor in order for us to help others, we need to realize that we are no better than the Sheriff of Nottingham or King David when he imposed his will on Uriah and Bathsheba. Imposing our will on others is wrong and really is nothing short of trying to play God with that person. This is the God Complex.

Example #2: Here’s another way we see The God Complex going on in full display in our society and not taking responsibility for ones actions and forcing others to do actions a person desires. It‘s when we see or hear someone pointing fingers and tries to blame Hollywood or the music industry for their problems. Things like a person saying, “MTV needs to make better programming. Instead of making ‘16 and Pregnant’ they need to make something like ‘18 and Graduating’ or ‘I Graduated And Got A Job.’” How about instead of pointing fingers and playing the blame game, you stop watching programming that’s against God, and stop supporting programming that supports a sinful lifestyle? Sure, if people are talking about this abhorrent programming you can let people know you watch something else, but don’t guilt trip them into submitting to what you want them to watch. Tell people the truth, but let them make their own decisions.

Let the God-instituted natural law of consequences and benefits take its rightful place. If people desire to fill their minds with evil, they’ll soon figure out that this path leads to death and destruction. Lovingly allow people to choose their own way, have the opportunity to grow and mature, and to become complete in Christ if they so choose. If they don’t, well, that will be on their own head too. The struggle is when the person choosing death and destruction wants to drag you down that path too and force you to go their way. Then what? Well, that’s a whole other discussion.

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Commandment #5: Don’t Murder

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 12, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)

This commandment seems pretty straight-forward, right? Don’t kill anyone, and you’ve got this. But is that really all there is to it?

My guess is that the people of Israel thought this commandment was relatively simple to follow, which is why Jesus expounded upon it during His “Sermon on the Mount,” specifically in Matthew 5:21-26. That passage starts out with Jesus saying, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell” (verses 21-22).

The Hebrew word used here for “murder” is pronounced like ratsah, which sounds very similar to the word raca that Jesus used in that passage in Matthew. Raca is an Aramaic word of contempt or insult. Hebrew and Aramaic are closely-related languages, and these two words are strikingly similar. This Hebrew ratsah has the idea of killing with intention. It’s not an accident that just happened, but the person means to commit this act of murder. Being commanded not to murder is to not have the intention of murdering or harming someone, even with just an insulting word. Hatred of another person can easily lead to wanting to do something about that hatred, which this commandment specifically forbids.

Being told to “not murder” is equivalent to being told to “not be angry” either. While I would guess that the majority of people reading this blog post have not actually killed another human being, how many of us could say that we’ve never been angry with someone else? Now, this commandment is a lot easier to break.

The Bible is clear that we are not to be angry with others in many places besides this commandment. To learn more on what the Bible says about anger, check out this post.

This commandment is brought up multiple other times in Scripture. Jesus quotes it when speaking with the rich young ruler as recorded in Matthew 19:16-22, Mark 10:17-22, and Luke 18:18-25. The Apostle Paul quotes it when discussing how love fulfills the law in Romans 13:8-10. James also writes about this commandment in James 2:8-11 when he talks about what it takes to be a lawbreaker. In addition, John writes, “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him” (1 John 3:15), showing that any hatred is equal to murder.

Luther’s Small Catechism gives the meaning of this commandment as, “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.” That takes it one step further: don’t just not kill your neighbor and don’t physically hurt your neighbor, but do support your neighbor in their physical needs. There will always be people who can use our help with their physical needs; read more about what the Bible says about caring for the poor among us here and here.

Just as with the other commandments, we should desire to keep this one because of our love for God. Murdering another person shows that we don’t value their life; God values all lives because He created every person in His image. If we love God, we will value what He values: life. Being angry or hateful toward another person is another way of devaluing their life, which is why this commandment extends into that meaning as well. If we truly love God, we will show Him our love by loving others, both with our actions and our intentions.

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Salute to Service

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, November 11, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Today is the one day of the year in the United States that we set aside a full day to honor all military veterans past, present, and future. Regardless of what we all think about some of our nation’s decisions regarding military intervention, we must always be willing to support and appreciate those who make sacrifices in service to others. They sacrifice time with their families, the comforts of home, and years off their lives due to lasting physical and mental health complications that come from their time spent in combat. Jesus told his disciples, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). While we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on Memorial Day every year, Veterans Day is a time to reflect on the many freedoms we have and honor those who have given up something to preserve them.

There is a lot that we, the universal body of believers in Jesus Christ, can learn from what we see in the United States military. I’ll start with the obvious. The individuals who comprise our great military model the desire to serve others that Jesus talks about in Mark 10. He had been with his disciples when suddenly, James and John pull him aside and tell him they want him to allow them to sit beside him in glory. Jesus proceeds to explain to them that it’s one thing to talk the talk, but to have such a position in his kingdom will require them to go through the same things Jesus was going to go through. The rest of the disciples get annoyed with James and John, but Jesus, rather than condemn them for their selfish thinking, uses the opportunity as a teaching moment and reminds his disciples that even he, the Son of Man, the only One who would truly be deserving of others serving him, came instead to “serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). While we all understand that our government as a whole does not always intervene militarily with noble purposes, no one can deny that the individuals who sign up for the force do so with the opportunity to serve other human beings making up at least part of their motivation.

Another similarity between the body of Christ and the U.S. military is that both are called to be peacemakers as part of their mission. Now, before you tell me that’s not the case for those who fight with guns and worldly weapons, I’d like you to consider what it means to be a “peacemaker." Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are those who always LIVE in peace." We know that living in peace is not always possible with someone else because they might have their heart set on bitterness and anger toward us. That’s why Paul says in Romans 12:18 that we should live at peace with everyone “as much as it depends on you." He also understood that peace is not always possible. Sometimes, the peacemaker is one who mediates between two other fighting parties. Sometimes, the peacemaker is the offended party but chooses to forgive or overlook the offense. And still other times, the peacemaker is the one who eliminates any threat to peace. That’s where the U.S. military comes into play. They have the hardest job in the world and sometimes have to make the excruciating decision to take out those who stand in the way of peace. And while many Christians can’t see how this could be Christ-like, remember that David took out Goliath as he defied God and stood in the way of God’s plan for his people.

The late Fred Thompson once said, referring to our beloved United States, “This country has shed more blood for the freedom of other people than all the other nations in the history of the world combined." I remember writing a paper on Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a brigadier general for the Union during the Civil War who had left his prestigious position as a professor at a college in Maine to fight for what was right. He had talked often about his understanding that the horrible war and the scourge of slavery would not be put to an end until men like him were ready to make personal sacrifices. Chamberlain did not perish in the Battle of Gettysburg, but his wounds from the battle caused him to live in some level of suffering for the rest of his life. He accepted this because he just could not sit idly by while the injustice of slavery continued in his beloved country. That’s a peacemaker!

Yes, I understand there are some conflicts that our country should’ve probably never entered. But our military still has the strictest rules of engagement and the harshest penalties for those who kill innocent civilians due to either anger or accident. We take far greater care than any other military in the world when it comes to opposing civilians, because we know that war is the last resort when peace could not be obtained through agreement. We’re not interested in eliminating those who live in a country opposing us just because they live there. We just want to get the bad guys, specifically those who stand against peace or those who oppress others. Isaiah 58:6 tells us that, to truly fast and humble ourselves before God, we must be “loosening the chains of injustice and setting the oppressed free."

And finally, the body of Christ can learn from the unity of the United States military. This day and age, our nation is so divided because everyone looks out for themselves and everyone is concerned about their “individuality." Sadly, this has infiltrated the Church. In the body of Christ, as in the military, there’s no such thing as an “individual." While we may have been created uniquely by a wonderful Creator, we cannot live the Christian walk alone. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12 that we are all members of one body. We have different backgrounds, views, opinions, like and dislikes, brokenness, skills, and struggles, but we are UNITED in Jesus Christ as his body. Likewise, those in the United States military come from all different backgrounds. However, any individuality is cut away - literally - the moment they arrive at basic training. You get a haircut and a uniform. And the barber doesn’t ask you what look you want because he/she already knows what look you’re getting!

I had an opportunity recently to spend about 4 days with a group of young men in the United States Marine Corp who are currently serving our nation on deployment. I got to spend that time with them while they are away from their families and in a foreign country halfway around the world. As we talked about their families, I could sense the pain of being away and the increasing excitement at the thought of returning home. What struck me even more though was the diversity of our military. We know there are men and women from all over, but in the group I was with, they were all from different states. They were different ages and different stages of life. One guy’s father even lives in Mexico and denounces his son’s choice to join the U.S. military, yet the young man felt a call to serve others and joined anyway.

In the Church, we’ve got to stop focusing on our differences and instead focus on the Jesus who died for all of us. We were first united in the fact that we are all sinners, but we have since been united as those who have been born again by the blood of Jesus and his Holy Spirit. We have a common goal to be Jesus’ ambassadors to a lost world, and that goal cannot be accomplished when we are constantly bickering. In the United States military, if someone goes rogue, it can have devastating consequences for everyone. We have to accept that the same is true for the body of Christ. As we salute those who serve or have served our country today and the unity with which they pursue the goals of peacemaking and fighting for the oppressed, let us learn from their example.

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Love Does Not Envy nor Boast

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 9, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Love does not envy. It does not boast, it is not proud.” (1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV)
“Love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;” (1 Corinthians 13:4, NKJV)

Paul takes four angles in describing love: love is, love does, love is not, and love does not. Last week, I described how love is patient and love is kind. Then here Paul describes some of what love does not do. It is important to note that love is not merely an emotion or a state of being but primarily an action of choice. Paul spends more time describing what love does than he does describing what love is. The first two things Paul describes love doing are negative: love does not envy nor boast.

Love does not envy

Envy is one of the fabled Seven Deadly Sins. It is the desire and greed of that which someone else has, jealous that they have what you seek. Envy has a closely related sister: covetousness. The Tenth Commandment states “Thou shalt not covet…” and then gives a list of types of possessions, resources, and relationships. Envy is a breeding ground of many different dangerous behaviors: jealousy, paranoia, bitterness, greed, wrath, distrust, discontent, and many others. Little illustrates the contrast between envy and love better than the relationship between King Saul and David.

David had been anointed king of Israel, likely even before he began to serve Saul and before he slew Goliath. He was just a lad at the time. Yet, after the slaying of Goliath, David’s fame, praise, and honor began to surpass Saul and envy began to take root. To make a long story short, Saul became paranoid of losing his throne, which he knew would happen because Samuel had told him that, and he sought to kill David.

David, on the other hand, had legal right to the throne as per Samuel’s anointing. He could have easily desired Saul’s crown and had not merely one but two opportunities to kill Saul and claim the throne for himself. However, David loved Saul and recognized he was God’s anointed king. He would not make a move to take the throne, which was rightfully his, in his own strength or his own timing. Saul’s envy for David’s praise set him on a course into insanity. Yet David would not envy nor covet that which was rightfully his; and he waited patiently for God to take action in due time.

Envy is not limited to the heathen; it is rampant in the church today. All it takes to rear its ugly head is to see someone actually seek to walk the walk among a group who prefer mediocrity. When I wrote about Perfect Doctrine, I covered this issue with those who seek to bring those above them down to their level. Envy shows itself in mediocre Christians telling mature Christians to stop praying. It shows when those who only want to have to follow minimal doctrine try to silence those who call for repentance and speak truth.

Love does not envy. It does not get jealous of others in their possessions, their relationships, their prestige, or anything they have. It is important to note that not everything someone has is good for them. Riches can often be a curse. Reputations and the praise of man is all you are going to get if that is what you seek and it will be short-lived. This world will only shout your name as long as you give them what they want. As soon as someone else enters the picture, you are forgotten. Do not envy. Instead, lift up, build up, and edify others. If someone leaps ahead of you, encourage them to keep going and use that as motivation to step up your game too.

Love does not boast

Love is not interested in self-proclamation. It does not seek to bring attention to self. Love does not require you to build a platform and promote yourself. Love does not need publicity. Love does not go around telling people what you did. Love does not seek man’s approval. Love does not proclaim self’s value or self’s deeds.

Jesus gave a parable of a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee boasted about all he did and how moral he was and even had the audacity to say how he was so much better than the nearby tax collector, who hung in the back and humbly confessed his sin before God. Every bit of good the Pharisee had done was wiped out because all of it was stained with pride, making it worthless.

Paul declared he could boast in one thing and one thing only: Jesus and what he did on that cross. Now, boasting is different than defending one’s case to preach. Paul had to show the Corinthian church why he was qualified as an apostle because false teachers were questioning his credentials. However, in that defense, he never pointed attention to himself and instead boasted about how God had put him in that place.

Here’s a way to illustrate that point a little more. A good friend of mine, Dr. Charles Jackson (most famous for his role in Genesis: Paradise Lost, and his upcoming project “Quantum”), has four science degrees (a bachelors, 2 masters, and a PhD). As he grew as a speaker for Creation, he realized he needed to also go for Mensa Society, the top 2% in IQ in the world. This was to boost his credentials. He told me he tried to take the test a second time to see if his first passing was truly legit and he just barely did. He said that was God’s way of keeping him humble. At that time, I too was asked about applying for Mensa because several think I am smart enough for that. I realized the only real reason I would have for doing that was not for credentials but rather to have a piece of paper to brag about. I have not taken the test, nor will I unless God makes it clear to do so, because all it would do is feed my ego. I likely would not use it to validate my authority in speaking as I should. I’m honestly not convinced I could pass that test anyway.

Whenever we minister to someone, a good rule of thumb is to get someone to think more about Jesus than about us. If they are thinking about us, then we need some work to do on our presentation. But where we have to watch out the most is after the ministry event. How many times do we hear preachers boasting about how many conversions or proclamations of faith in their services or crusades or events? They may give lip service to God by saying, “Look at how many people God brought to the Lord this weekend.” However, what is the motive? What is the fruit of that statement? What it is used for? Is it truly giving praise and glory to God, or is it rather to boast about what that preacher did?

If we truly love someone, if we truly love God, we will not speak or act to draw attention to ourselves. We will not need to tell others what we have done or the good deeds we are doing. Love is not about you. That said, love also does not boast about others, giving them undue attention. It does build up and it does edify others, but it has no need to brag about others in pride. Often such boasting is a subtle way to boast about self because then the other person would “owe you a favor.” Instead, boast about Christ and Christ alone because he alone is worthy of the praise and the glory.

Next week, I’ll look at how love is not rude nor self-seeking.

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Language: Evidence for a Creator, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 8, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Last week we began looking at language—what is it, how does it happen, and where did it come from? We looked at why man is unique among all living things in his ability to communicate complexly, essentially taking thoughts from his mind and imparting them into the mind of another human. We also briefly looked at the areas of the brain that are essential for language—for both sending and receiving. We hardly mentioned all the muscular actions that are necessary but, trust me, it's a lot! So how do Bible deniers explain the miracle of language?

Scientists who reject the Biblical narrative of history believe that man, once he somehow developed the right areas of the brain, went from making simple, animalistic grunts and groans to making more complex sounds to eventually making words and forming sentences and, finally, to writing things like the Bible, the Iliad, and Hamlet among other things. There are a variety of different versions of this story, but they are all fairly similar. We started making animal sounds like grunts and groans and then, over long periods of time, those sounds became very complex. Essentially, language went from less to more complex over time. Is this what we see happening today?

Ever read Shakespeare? Ever look at the “Amplified” version of the Bible? The truth is, over time language actually becomes simpler. And it's also true that there is no such thing as a “simple” or “primitive” language. Even the most “primitive” languages are highly complex—some more so than more modern languages. In fact, many “primitive” languages are absolutely amazing in their complexity. Do a little research on Native American languages or African languages. They blow English away in terms of complexity. Human children have a remarkable ability to learn language. It's just what they do naturally. No chimp or dog or bird or any animal, really, can do this. Children learn the language of their parents. The areas of the brain responsible for language are 6 times the size of those in chimps (allegedly our nearest relative). Chimps can't talk. They can learn a couple of hand gestures and nothing more but only if taught by a human being who has the gift of language. In most cases, these communications are related to basic survival skills and are extremely basic. A chimp hasn't been taught to express himself, telling us how he feels or how his day went.

There are 3 basic truths about the evolution of language: 1) colloquialisms come and go rather quickly, only sometimes remaining; 2) new words are introduced as they're needed; and 3) when cultures and languages interact over a period of time, they will alter one another.

It's hard to say exactly when a new language is born because it happens so slowly. Recall that French, Spanish and Italian used to be called Latin. They were separated and changed over time. But Latin is vastly more complex than Spanish or Italian or any other language it birthed. The differences are astounding in conjugation, noun usage, gender assignments, etc. Greek is the same way. Greek has 6 words to describe the English “love.” We say love. They would say eros, philia, agape, ludus, pragma, or philautia depending on the situation. The same is true for today's “primitive” languages found in remote tribes. Their language is very complex as are ancient forms of writing. It's fairly universal as we look at just about any language that they do, in fact, get simpler over time. This stands in the face of evolutionist thinking which defies the scientific data. Suzette Haden Elgin says about language, “No known language in the whole of human history can be considered ‘primitive’ in any sense of the word” in her book What is Linguistics? She continues, “… the most ancient languages for which we have written texts—Sanskrit for example—are often far more intricate and complicated in their grammatical forms than many other contemporary languages.”

Human language is far more complex than any communication between animals. Dogs bark. This essentially doesn't mean anything to the dog beyond announcing its presence. Birds chirp or sing. Again, they're not communicating ideas or sharing experiences. They're simply making noise that alerts others to their presence or the presence of danger. That's the end of the complexity, for the most part. Some “higher” mammals may appear to have more complex language skills, but when compared to that of humans, it's like comparing the mass of a flea to the that of a blue whale—it's a completely different scale. Helmut Gipper, a linguist from Germany said,

“All assumptions that human speech developed gradually from animal grunts (the so-called woof-woof theories) or that gestures changed incrementally into audible language, cannot be sustained. Such erroneous hypotheses compare the specifics of human speech with the communication systems of animals. It can be stated emphatically that the essence of human speech is not communication. Communication exists everywhere in the animal kingdom. But human language is in the first place a knowledge medium; this encompasses an intellectual/spiritual access to the observable world. The essence of speech lies in the possibility of assigning specific meanings to articulated sounds, thereby making them mentally accessible.”

That is so profound, I hope you will read it again to get all he is saying. Human language is far more than just noises. It's a way to pass on abstract ideas, share emotions, describe specific experiences, and pass on knowledge. This exists nowhere in the animal kingdom.

Evidence suggests that human language—spoken, written, or whatever form it may take—is far too complex to have evolved from animal sounds. Evidence seems to indicate that language was installed into mankind at the beginning and slowly became less complex over time, although it is exceedingly more complex than any communication between any other species. The fact that language exists at all indicates the necessity for a Creator. The Bible tells us that God spoke to Adam, and Adam understood Him. Adam used his language skills to name all the animals in the Garden of Eden. Language, like man, was created on Day 6.

Next time, we'll look at the languages of the world—there are many. There are some 6000 spoken languages today! There are even organizations whose purpose is to come up with new words, primarily to keep up with technology. That's strange, really, but also amazing! How does this fit with the Biblical narrative of the Tower of Babel? Quite well, but we'll save that for later. Thanks again for reading.

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Commandment #4: Parents

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 5, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

The 4th commandment in my series on the Ten Commandments is to honor your father and your mother. The meaning of this commandment according to Luther’s Small Catechism is, “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have fantastic parents! They raised my brother and me in a Christian home, taught us how to live our lives in a right and moral manner, provided well for us, and have always showed us love to the best of their abilities. A couple months ago, my parents came to my aid when I was injured in a motorcycle accident, making the nearly 2-hour drive to and from my house many times just to be with me and help out with whatever I needed. So this commandment may come easier for someone like me than for someone who had parents who didn’t seem to care much about their children. But, God doesn’t tell us to honor our parents only if they honor us as their children; there’s no stipulation on this.

As with all the commandments, why should we do this? Honoring our earthly parents shows that we honor God with our lives. We love God, so we should love our parents too, because He created them and gave us to them as their child. Our parents (even mine) aren’t perfect, but that’s no reason for us to break this commandment; we should honor them no matter what, as difficult as that may be at times.

Every time I ponder this commandment, I recall the Hebrew for it. The word that we translate as “honor” can also be translated as “to make fat” (because fat was a sign of wealth in that culture). It always makes me laugh when I think of this commandment as “Make your father and mother fat”! Clearly that’s not the intended meaning here, but it still makes me giggle because language can be funny.

You’ll notice that Luther’s meaning for this commandment also includes “other authorities.” This commandment doesn’t just apply to our biological parents but also to others in authority over us - grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, bosses, government officials, etc. For more on what the Bible says about authorities in our lives, check out this post.

This commandment is known as the only commandment with a promise. This one gives us the result of what will happen when we obey it: “so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” This was especially applicable to the people of Israel since they were journeying toward the Promised Land when they received these commandments from God. That was their goal in life, and they as a people would achieve it if they as individuals respected all of the authorities in their lives.

While you and I are likely not on a many-year journey to a promised land, we can still claim the promise this commandment gives us. When we honor our parents and other authorities in our lives, our lives will be better. Of course there is no guarantee that we will live to be over 100 years old if we honor our parents, but the idea behind it is that our lives will be fulfilling when we honor those around us, and in turn honor God with our lives. When we serve, love, and obey our parents, we serve, love, and obey God.

Do you truly honor your parents and others in authority in your life? What could you change this week to show more honor to those around you and in turn honor God by keeping this commandment?

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