“The Word of God … Cafeteria Style” December 9

 

The Word of God ... Cafeteria StyleHow do you view the Word of God? As the commands and revelation of the Creator of heaven and earth or is it merely “interesting” to you … one more opinion in a list of options for making decisions and solving life’s problems? Or is it the standard by which you weigh everything?

Before you answer … you might ask yourself if, when talking about some Biblical command or principle, you’ve ever said:

  • I tried that, it just didn’t work.
  • Well, I just believe …
  • I know what the Bible says, but …
  • This is almost 2017.
  • We live in a different world.

As my husband says, “Amen” or “Oh! Me!”

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 9 & 10
Psalm 139.13-16
Proverbs 29.21
3 John 1-14

 

The Word of God … Cafeteria Style

 

Hosea 9 & 10:

Rejecting the Revelation of God

 

Even though Scripture tells us that everyone has enough revelation of God through His creation to recognize there is a Creator and to cry out to know Him (Rom. 1.18-23), many people live in ignorance of the written Word of God.

Sadder still, is to be given the amount of special revelation Israel was given as a nation, and to ignore or reject it.

“I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing” (8.12).

God so desired to reach the heart of His people that He gave them prophets to proclaim the truth to them, but instead of heeding God’s warning, they ridiculed them, calling them fools … insane (9.7).

Little has changed, even though, we live in a day when the Word of God has free reign. He has revealed Himself to us through His Word and the prophets who wrote it. And He has blessed us with pastors and teachers and others who can help us understand His written Word.

 

Divine suggestions?

 

does being good matterThere is such an abundance of good spiritual resources available and, yet, so few take advantage of them. Most people are content to come to church on Sundays thinking they have their ticket punched for heaven and to live life their own way the rest of the time.

The Word of God is “interesting” to them and they like hearing a nice message, but they don’t acknowledge it as God’s written revelation and command to them. It’s optional, depending on whether or not they “agree with it”! They take the Word of God as a suggestion, not the Word of a Holy Sovereign God.  Continue reading

How I Made My Voting Decision

 

How I Made My Voting Decision - It's been a tough election year for most of us. Many feel it's nearly impossible to whole-heartedly support either candidate. Personally, I've run the gamut of thoughts during and after the primaries, including, "I may not vote at all." And as the process has gone on, I'm not any happier about the choices we have. The question I've pondered is, "What is the right thing to do?"

How I Made My Voting Decision

 

It’s been a tough election year for most of us. Many feel it’s nearly impossible to whole-heartedly support either candidate. Personally, I’ve run the gamut of thoughts during and after the primaries, including, “I may not vote at all.” And as the process has gone on, I’m not any happier about the choices we have.

The question I’ve pondered is, “What is the right thing to do?”

 

Lord of All

 

I don’t believe our lives as a believers should look like a pie chart with a “business slice,” a “civic slice,” a “family slice,” a “social slice,” and maybe a “religious slice” where we keep God. God is God of all of life and He rightfully expects to be ruler over the whole pie.

Our faith and the principles of God should inform how we do business, how we love and raise our families, how we conduct our social lives and every other area, including how we carry out our civic duties.

Jesus taught that we were to be good citizens:

… “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God” (Lk. 20.25).

Paul added to that idea in Romans 13:

¹ Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority (NLT).

And Proverbs 29.2 tells us:

When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice.
    But when the wicked are in power, they groan.

So, in a nation like ours where we choose our political leaders, we should do all that we can to see that godly people are in authority.

I’ve written often about “the goal of life” Paul talked about in 2 Corinthians 5.9:

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

So what would be pleasing to God?

 

The Sovereignty of God

 

While I believe as Christians we should do our part to elect godly leaders, God is not limited by anything we do. He’s not limited by who wins the election or the kind of political system under which we live.

He has cared for His people through the centuries under even the most oppressive governments. In the first century alone, believers “turned the world upside down” (Act 17.5-6) under one of the most wicked and oppressive governments in history.

We also must remember that government is not our savior. It’s not the answer to the moral and spiritual problems our nation faces. We are the light of the world (Matt. 5.16). It’s our job to make disciples and teach others about God and His Word (Matt. 28.19-20).

Our culture will never change unless hearts are first changed.

We must remember, too, that it’s God Himself who raises one up and removes another from positions of authority (Dan. 2.21). But when the nation of Israel demanded a king like the other nations, He gave them one (1 Sam. 8.5). So we shouldn’t take our responsibility lightly, beginning with prayer.

 

My Voting Decision

 

So how did I decide?

I’ve always based my voting decisions on moral, biblical issues, so with all due respect to her supporters, I knew I could never vote for Hillary Clinton because of her stand on abortion and gay marriage, among other things. Not because I hate women who have had an abortion or people living a gay lifestyle, but because God forbids those things (Ex. 20.13; Rom. 1.26-27).

Our nation rightfully deserves God’s harshest judgment for the blood of the million plus babies who are murdered each year in the name of women’s rights and now we are trying to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that was ordained by God Himself (Gen. 2.22-25).

But I don’t agree with many of Donald Trump’s choices and attitudes either. So the real question for me was, “Would I vote at all?”

Decision MagazineThen one day, as I went through the mail, a copy of Decision, a magazine put out by Billy Graham’s Ministry, found its way into my hands. On the cover was a picture of the two candidates and the headline, “Two Visions. Two Americas.” But it wasn’t the headline that caught my attention. As I thumbed through the pages, I came to an article comparing the two party platforms.

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time you’ve probably seen similar comparisons. I know I’ve seen many of them, but reading the stands from each platform made me realize what I needed to do.

The article stated, “Many decisions are made at the president’s desk, but the major political party to which he or she belongs wields significant power over which domestic and international policies are advanced and what becomes law.”

I’m not naive enough to think that because any political party says they stand for something, that our elected officials will necessarily do what’s right or that laws will automatically be changed. But given the choices, I realized my responsibility was to vote for the one whose platform most aligned with God’s principles and pray for those who are tasked with carrying out those goals. Whether or not they do is ultimately in God’s hands and the candidates are accountable to Him.

Here are some excerpts on various issues:

  • Sanctity of Life

Democratic: “Democrats seek to repeal the 1976 Hyde Amendment so that federal funds can be used to pay for abortions. The platform says, ‘We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers.’ Democrats support ratification of UN efforts that affirm ‘the reproductive rights of women’ globally.”

Republican: “The GOP asserts the sanctity of human life and affirms, ‘The unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.’ The party supports a Human Life Amendment making clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth, and it salutes states that require informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods and clinic regulation.”

  • Marriage

Democratic: “‘Democrats applaud last year’s Supreme Court ruling that ‘LGBT people–like other Americans–have the right to marry the person they love.'”

Republican: “The GOP platform condemns the Supreme Court’s rulings that removed the ability of Congress and the people to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The GOP urges the reversal of those decisions, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment.”

  • Religious Freedom

Democratic: “The Democratic platform says, ‘We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.’ The party opposes a religious test to bar immigrants or refugees from entering the country.”

Republican: “Republicans affirm that religious freedom in the Bill of Rights protects the right of the people to practice their faith in their everyday lives. The platform endorses the First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect faith-based institutions and individuals from government discrimination.”

  • Federal Judges

Democratic: “The platform says: ‘We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion.”

Republican: “The GOP platform states: ‘A critical threat to our country’s constitutional order is an activist judiciary that usurps powers properly reserved to the people through other branches of government.’ The GOP supports the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states.

  • Internet Safety and Decency

Democratic: “The platform supports ‘a free and open internet at home and abroad.’ The party would seek to strengthen cybersecurity while ‘protecting the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.”

Republican: “The platform states: ‘The internet must not become a safe haven for predators. Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions.'”

The article also covers each party’s position on:

  • National Defense
  • Terrorism
  • Human Rights (the Democratic stand has mostly to do with LGBT rights, even forcing policies on other nations)
  • Immigration
  • Addressing Poverty
  • Law and Order
  • Israel and Jerusalem

So while I don’t have a high view of the candidate, because of his party’s stand on biblical, moral issues, I’ll be voting for Donald Trump in November. And I’ll trust God to do in our nation what only He can do.

I also know I need to recommit myself to praying more faithfully for our nation, its people, all the candidates, and whoever will become our next president.

How about you?

Blessings,
Donna

How I Made My Voting Decision - It's been a tough election year for most of us. Many feel it's nearly impossible to whole-heartedly support either candidate. Personally, I've run the gamut of thoughts during and after the primaries, including, "I may not vote at all." And as the process has gone on, I'm not any happier about the choices we have. The question I've pondered is, "What is the right thing to do?"


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December 9 “The Word of God … cafeteria style”

Word of God

How to you view the Word of God? As the commands and revelation of the Creator of heaven and earth or as a divine cafeteria where you get to choose the entrees you find tasty?

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 9 & 10
Psalm 139.13-16
Proverbs 29.21
3 John 1-14

 

Hosea 9 & 10:

Rejecting the revelation of God

Even though Scripture tells us that everyone has enough revelation of God through His creation to recognize there is a Creator and to cry out to know Him (Rom. 1.18-23), many people live in ignorance of the Word of God.

Sadder still, is to be given the amount of special revelation Israel was given as a nation, and to ignore or reject it.

“I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing” (8.12).

God so desired to reach the heart of His people that He gave them prophets to proclaim the truth to them, but instead of heeding God’s warning, they ridiculed them, calling them fools … insane (9.7).

Little has changed. We live in a day when the Word of God has free reign. He has revealed Himself to us through the His Word and the prophets who wrote it. And He has blessed us with pastors and teachers and others who can help us understand His written Word.

The Word of God … divine suggestions?

There is such an abundance of good spiritual resources available and, yet, so few take advantage of them. Most people are content to come to church on Sundays thinking they have their ticket punched for heaven and to live life their own way the rest of the time.

The Word of God is “interesting” to them and they like hearing a nice message, but they don’t acknowledge it as God’s written revelation and command to them. It’s optional, depending on whether or not they “agree with it”! They take the Word of God as a suggestion, not the Word of a Holy Sovereign God.

We don’t get to decide whether or not we “agree” with God. Do we really understand what it means in Romans 10 when it says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (v. 9)? It is the person who confesses that Jesus is “Lord” who is truly saved! Lord, means “Master”—the One who has the right to tell us how to live—what is right and what is wrong! His Word is to be the sole authority in our lives!

Mature woman making stop gesture signAnd yet, too often, I hear people say in regard to a passage of Scripture, “I just don’t agree with that.” Or in the context of counseling, “I tried that, but it didn’t work.”

God’s Word is true, if it’s not “working” for us, we better go back and look at our Continue reading

September 20 “Refusing to live God’s way”

hands-over-ears[1]

When Jesus spoke truth to the rich young ruler, he turned and walked away. And Jesus didn’t stop him! If we as individuals, or even as a nation, are determined to turn our backs on God and continue refusing to live God’s way, He will let us! But the results could be disastrous.

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 30-32
Psalm 108.7-13
Proverbs 25.23-24
2 Corinthians 11.16-33

 

Isaiah 30-32:

Refusing to live God’s way

Over and over throughout these passages God is warning His people to not rely on themselves or their own wisdom and not to turn to false prophets who merely tell them what they want to hear. He also warned them not to turn to outsiders, other nations, no matter how strong they look. The message is “I am sovereign—I am in control.”

He warns them that all the false prophets, all the strong nations, all the wisdom of man will ultimately be brought to naught. With all the problems in our country today many cling to the idea that some leader, some program, some philosophy, some scientific discovery will solve our problems nationally and individually. We are so much like the people in Isaiah’s time (30.9-13):

Children who will not hear the law of the LORD;
10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things;
Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.
11 Get out of the way,
Turn aside from the path,
Cause the Holy One of Israel
To cease from before us.”

12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel.

“ Because you despise this word,
And trust in oppression and perversity,
And rely on them,
13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you
Like a breach ready to fall,
A bulge in a high wall,
Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.

The list of things we no longer want to hear as a nation is endless:

attitude, disrespectThat rebellion and disrespect is wrong (1 Sam. 15.23). Consequently, we disrespect policeman and other authority figures … and our children disrespect their teachers and parents.

That marriage is to be between one man and one woman for a lifetime (Matt. 19.4-6). Consequently, the rate of divorce and of couples living together without marriage happens across all levels of society in huge numbers and without any shame. And now so-called gay marriage is becoming legal in one state after another.

That sex is holy and reserved for the marriage bed (Heb. 13.4; Rom. 1.24-32). Consequently, sex outside of marriage in all of its forms is rampant: adultery, fornication, rape, incest, molestation, homosexuality, pornography and more.

That life is precious and God is the giver and taker (Acts 17.24-25; Ps. 139.13-16). Consequently, abortion is now called a woman’s right, euthanasia has been openly debated and practiced, murder is rampant in many of our cities, and mass shootings because of anger, hate, or political ideology happen all too often.

WorkerThat work is God-ordained and the way God provides for His people on a day to day basis (2 Thess. 3.10; 1 Tim. 5.8). Consequently, we have husbands and fathers who find every excuse possible not to work and provide for their families, people who know how to “work the system” going for agency to agency, organization to organization, even church to church getting every handout they can, and others who live much of their lives dependent on the government. (Bear in mind, that other passages commanded God’s people to care for the genuinely needy and unable to work.)

But the answer is the same today as it was thousands of years ago. First, to return to God. Not to become independent, but God dependent:

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength …” (30.15).

And 2 Chronicles 7.13-14:

13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

And then choosing to live obediently before Him, know that He is God (Eccl. 12.13; Jn. 14.15; Ps. 100.1-5). Continue reading