“Islam, Christianity & Cultural Invasion” February 20

 

Islam, Christianity & Cultural Invasion - Even as we watch acts of terrorism on the evening news in Europe, the Middle East, and here at home, we often feel somewhat insulated. Most of us, probably, can't imagine beheadings or people being burned alive here. But what if we were faced with the choice to stand up or betray Christ in the face of intense persecution?  And is there another kind of invasion going on? One that appears benign, but may be just as insidious?In recent years, the news has brought us reports of Christians around the world who are being beheaded and burned alive. Others have been imprisoned merely for preaching the Gospel or not being a Muslim.

In times past, Christians have been burned at the stake, sawed in two, and crucified. They have been shot, fed to lions, and forced to choose between their faith and their freedom. Many were gassed along with the Jews for harboring their Jewish neighbors.

The Bible teaches that in the last days, evil, including every kind of persecution will continue to grow.

Even as we watch acts of terrorism on the evening news in Europe, the Middle East, and here at home, we often feel somewhat insulated. Most of us, probably, can’t imagine beheadings or people being burned alive here. But what if we were faced with the choice to stand up or betray Christ in the face of intense persecution?

And is there another kind of invasion going on? One that appears benign, but may be just as insidious?

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 11 & 12
Psalm 25.8-15
Proverbs 10.1-3
Mark 2.1-28

 

Islam, Christianity & Cultural Invasion

 

Leviticus 11 & 12

Little Things & Big Things

 

Chapter 11 contains all the dietary restrictions God set for Israel. They were being taught to obey God in the daily details of life. That’s a tremendous truth for us, as well.

In Luke 16.10 Jesus was talking about how we use our resources, but the principle is the same. He said:

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.”

If we’re not faithful in the little details of life, we won’t be faithful in the big things.

The dietary laws, also, served to set them apart from the world around them. What sets you and me apart from those around us? What should set us apart?

Is it that we attend church on Sundays? I know many unbelievers who attend church every Sunday. They check off that religious box on their to-do list and think they are good to go for the rest of the week.

Is it that we don’t party or run around? I know people in cults who don’t drink or live immoral lives.

Is it because we call ourselves Christians? Or own a Bible? Or have joined a church? Or prayed a prayer once?

What really sets us apart?

Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13.34-35).

And in Matthew 7.16 He said, “You will know them by their fruits.”

They should know us by our fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) and by our love for one another.

Paul said Christians are to:

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2.14-15).

I have to admit there are times when I don’t look any different from the world around me. What about you?

These restrictions, also, helped keep them culturally unique, separate from the pagan nations around them.

 

Cultural Invasion

 

muslim womanThat thought grabbed my attention because of something I read about Muslims in Dr. David Jeremiah’s book What in the World is Going On?. Dr. Jeremiah quotes an Iraqi Christian by the name of Georges Sada. Mr. Sada says, talking about the words Fatah and Jihad, “… these doctrines express the belief that Allah has commanded them to conquer the nations of the world both by cultural invasion and by the sword.”

Did you get that phrase “cultural invasion”? He goes on, “In some cases this means moving thousands of Muslim families into a foreign land—by building mosques and changing the culture from the inside out, and by refusing to assimilate or adopt the beliefs or values of that nation—to conquer the land for Islam. This is an invidious doctrine, but it’s … being carried out in some places today by followers of this type of Islam.”  Continue reading

February 22 “Are you a fanatic?”

Has your family ever thought you were crazy? Have they ever accused you of being a fanatic? You’re in good company!

fanatic

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 14
Psalm 26.1-5
Proverbs 10.6-7
Mark 3.20-35

Leviticus 14:

Types & shadows

Well, more about leprosy! What on earth does this all mean to you and me today?

When we read the Old Testament we need to remember that the events, God’s dealings with His people, and the ceremonial laws were often types and shadows of things to come. Many of which were fulfilled in Christ’s life here on earth, as well as, His death, burial, and resurrection.

Verses 4-9 talk about the ceremonial cleansing of a leper after he had been healed:

4 then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. 5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. 6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. 7 And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field. 8 He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days. 9 But on the seventh day he shall shave all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows—all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean.

Matthew Henry in his Commentary on the Whole Bible said the mixture of blood and water had its fulfillment in Christ’s death when blood and water came out of his pierced side. The slain bird represented Christ dying for our sins, and the living bird His resurrection. Dipping the living bird in blood of the slain bird illustrates the fact that without His death He could not have risen for our justification for sins.

The living bird was let loose just as the leper was no longer restricted from contact with people. He was free to go where he pleased. We have not only been forgiven of our sins, but are freed from the power of sin in our lives. We’re free to live a life that’s pleasing to God. Continue reading

February 20 “Could you be convicted?”

If Christianity were criminalized, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Could you be convicted?

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 11 & 12
Psalm 25.8-15
Proverbs 10.1-3
Mark 2.1-28

Leviticus 11 & 12:

The daily details of life

Chapter 11 contains all the dietary restrictions God set for Israel. They were being taught to obey God in the daily details of life. That’s a tremendous truth for us, as well.

In Luke 16.10 Jesus is talking about how we use our resources, but the principle is the same. He said, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” If we’re not faithful in the little details of life, we won’t be faithful in the big things.

Would there be enough evidence?

Another thing these dietary laws served to do was to help them, and us, understand that as believers in the One True God, we are to be different, set apart from the world around us. Those around us should see a difference in us. Someone posed the question, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Continue reading