“The Battle for Truth & Religious Liberty” April 29

 

The Battle for Truth & Religious Liberty - Today the battle for truth and religious liberty is raging. Truth has become relative. God's Word carries no authority for the majority of the people in our nation and much of the Western World. So what can we do to prepare ourselves for the continuing battle?Today the battle for truth and religious liberty is raging. Truth has become relative. God’s Word carries no authority for the majority of the people in our nation and much of the Western World.

Christians are being denied jobs or realizing they can no longer work in their chosen fields without compromising their religious convictions. Those who speak up for what is morally right are called bigoted, intolerant or worse.

We need to be careful about putting our hope in any changes in government or leadership to protect us. While there might be a temporary slowing of the process, I believe in the long run these trends will continue, perhaps faster than we think possible. Just look at how things have changed in the last five years.

So what can we do to prepare ourselves for the continuing battle?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ruth 3 & 4
Psalm 52.6-9
Proverbs 15.6-7
Luke 20.1-26

 

The Battle for Truth & Religious Liberty

 

Luke 20.1-26:

By What Authority?

 

Verses 1-2, “Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”

Today the words may be different, but the heart attitude is the same.

“What right do you have to impose your religious beliefs on me? I can live anyway I please!”

“Who do you think you are? You have no right to refuse your services to me!”

 

The Battle for Truth & Religious Liberty

 

Today the battle for truth and religious liberty is raging. Truth has become relative. Much like what we just finished reading in the book of Judges, everyone believes they’re free to decide what’s right for them. God’s Word carries no authority for the majority of the people in our nation and much of the Western World.

Christians in the scientific community and in the world of academics have been discredited, marginalized, refused positions, and fired for expressing their beliefs.

Christians are now being attacked and made an example of in the market place. There have even been attempts to intimidate pastors who speak out about homosexuality and gay marriage. Sadly, I believe we can expect these trends to continue in the long run and pick up speed.

If you’ve listened to the news in recent months, you know even free speech itself is being attacked in the very institutions that have traditionally stood for the free exchange of ideas. Students on university campuses are rioting to prevent the expression of opinions and ideas with which they disagree. And those who oppose them are afraid to speak up for fear of becoming targets themselves.

 

What If It’s Us?

 

How should we respond if (or perhaps, more accurately, when) we find ourselves in the cross hairs of this intolerant culture? The book of 1 Peter has some things to say on that subject.  Continue reading

“What Would They Call You?” April 28

 

What Would They Call YOU? - “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1.20). Mara means “bitter.” Can you imagine meeting an old friend after a long absence and when she calls you by name, you say, “Don’t call me Donna or Diane or David … call me Bitter.” If someone else was to describe you using one word, what would they call you? Would it be kind, compassionate, joyful, thankful … or would it be ungrateful, fearful, critical, angry, sarcastic, or bitter?“Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1.20).

Mara means “bitter.” Can you imagine meeting an old friend after a long absence and when she calls you by name, you say, “Don’t call me Donna or Diane or David … call me Bitter.”

If someone else was to describe you using one word, what would they call you? Would it be kind, compassionate, joyful, thankful … or would it be ungrateful, fearful, critical, angry, sarcastic, or bitter?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ruth 1 & 2
Psalm 52.1-5
Proverbs 15.4-5
Luke 19.28-48

 

What Would They Call You?

 

Ruth 1 & 2:

Famine and Loss

 

We’re beginning the book of Ruth, a beautiful little story of God’s mercy and redemptive work in the midst of great sin and evil. This story takes place during the time of the Judges when, as you remember, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17.6, 21.25)

The story starts out talking about a famine in Bethlehem where Naomi and her husband Elimelech live. God often uses famine to discipline His people, but He also uses it to prune and grow and test them.

Because of the famine Elimelech takes his family, Naomi and his two sons, and moves to Moab where he dies. The boys marry and then die prematurely, too. Eventually, Naomi hears that there is bread—prosperity—once again back home so she decides to return.

 

Packing Up

 

Dr. Amy Baker, a teacher and counselor at Faith Baptist Church in LaFayette, Indiana, paints an interesting picture of this story. She pictures Naomi and her daughters-in-law packing and cleaning and getting the house ready to sell and finally loading the wagon and getting on the road headed for Jerusalem when Naomi says to the girls, in effect, “Why don’t you just go back home to your families? I’m not going to be any good to you.”

They obviously love Naomi. Both of them weep and tell her they want to go with her, but Orpah eventually heads back to her family. Ruth does not; instead, she insists on going with Naomi.

What is going on here? We don’t know all the details, but we can glean a great many truths—some of them sad and some beautiful. Continue reading

April 29 “Authority: I know what the Bible says, but …”

We’re tempted to scoff at the Pharisees and their refusal to acknowledge Jesus’ authority. We would never do that … or would we?

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Today’s Readings:
Ruth 3 & 4
Psalm 52.6-9
Proverbs 15.6-7
Luke 20.1-26

Ruth 3 & 4:

A kinsman-redeemer

Chapter 3 opens with these verses:

1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? 2 Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”

5 And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”

Even though the custom seems very strange to us, Ruth was obeying her mother-in-law and doing the morally right thing to appeal to Boaz to marry her under the levirate law. Boaz commended her for her request. After their marriage, the first child born to Boaz and Ruth was Obed, the grandfather of King David and ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Boaz as Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer was a type of Jesus Christ Himself who would later redeem us because we had been sold into sin and had no means to redeem ourselves.

Psalm 52.6-9:

The end of the wicked

The psalmist compares the ultimate destruction of evil doers and God’s care for the righteous. He acknowledges that the wicked may boastfully appear to succeed for a time, but will ultimately be judged and become a laughing stock. Continue reading

April 28 “Just call me “Bitter” … or “Fearful” or “Critical” or “Angry”!”

If someone was to describe you using one word, what would it be? Would it be kind, compassionate, joyful, thankful … or would it be ungrateful, fearful, critical, angry, or bitter?

bitter

Bitterness can make us self-focused rather than focused on the spiritual good of others. A lack of thankfulness can blind us to God’s blessings. Anger and criticism can destroy a relationship, a life, and a testimony.

Today’s Readings:
Ruth 1 & 2
Psalm 52.1-5
Proverbs 15.4-5
Luke 19.28-48

Ruth 1 & 2:

Famine and loss

We’re beginning the book of Ruth, a beautiful little story of God’s mercy and His redemptive work even in the midst of great sin and evil. This story takes place during the time of the judges when, as you remember, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

The story starts out talking about a famine in Bethlehem where Naomi and her husband Elimelech live. God often uses famine to discipline His people, but He also uses it to prune and grow and test them.

Because of the famine Elimelech takes his family, Naomi and his two sons, and moves to Moab where he dies. The boys marry and then die prematurely, too. Naomi hears that there is bread—prosperity—once again back home so she decides to return.

Packing up

Dr. Amy Baker, a teacher and counselor at Faith Baptist Church in LaFayette, Indiana, paints an interesting picture of this story. She pictures Naomi and her daughters-in-law packing and cleaning and getting the house ready to sell and finally loading the wagon and getting on the road headed for Jerusalem when Naomi says to the girls, in effect, “Why don’t you just go back home to your families? I’m not going to be any good to you.”

They obviously love Naomi. Both of them weep and tell her they want to go with her, but Orpah eventually heads back to her family. Ruth does not, instead, she insists on going with Naomi.

What is going on here? We don’t know all the details, but we can glean a great many truths—some of them sad and some beautiful. Continue reading

April 2 “I know that’s what the Bible says, but …”

We’ve just returned from a funeral (my husband’s 94-year-old dad) and an unexpected road trip. I didn’t realize just how tired I was until I took a good look at this post. I mistakenly posted April 29th as April 2nd. So you all got a preview! April 2 will be out soon! 🙂

When the religious leaders challenged Jesus, “By what authority are You doing these things?” We’re tempted to scoff at their blatant disregard. We would never do that … or would we?

what the bible says

Today’s Readings:
Ruth 3 & 4
Psalm 52.6-9
Proverbs 15.6-7
Luke 20.1-26

Ruth 3 & 4:

A kinsman-redeemer

Chapter 3.1-5:

1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? 2 Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”

5 And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”

Even though the custom seems very strange to us, Ruth was obeying her mother-in-law and doing the morally right thing to appeal to Boaz to marry her under the levirate law. Boaz commended her for her request.

The first child born to Boaz and Ruth was Obed, the grandfather of King David and ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Boaz as Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer was a type of Jesus Christ Himself who would later redeem us when we had been sold into sin and had no means to redeem ourselves.

Psalm 52.6-9:

The end of the wicked

The psalmist compares the ultimate destruction of evil doers and God’s care for the righteous. He acknowledges that the wicked may boastfully appear to succeed for a time, but will ultimately be judged and become a laughing stock. Continue reading