Opportunists, Delusions & Truth

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  (2 Co.  10:5)

Any enterprise, in order to be viable, must take its point of departure from objective truth that it may provide a rational basis to understand reality. Our reference point is God since He knows what is best by virtue of His existence and authority, being the Creator and Redeemer. Uncompromising truth can be found in Him alone. Yet, delusional reasoning is becoming more common place in societies mostly because allegiance to God has changed and therefore, so has the standard for evaluating life. Unlike generations ago where Christian influence was broader and Truth respected and relied upon, now with less light being received and showing the way our once trusted leaders are fast becoming proselytes of propaganda, manipulating info to  their advantage, to the point that the statement in Scripture “for truth in the streets is fallen” (Is.  59:14) now best describes the current dilemma we face today. Political correctness is a massive movement by vote-hungry politicians and pundits to fabricate a false front for their allies to take cover, and in exchange win their votes; this together with public media’s attempts to soft peddle “hot topics”, so not to appear unpopular with their viewers are deadening our sensibilities to truth, where now we expect them to lie.   Recently, a politician spoke at length about needing love and courage toward others of diversity but was non-committal to comment on Islamic ideologies over shariah law and the Qur`an when asked about it in a public forum.  Of course it is not uncommon for leaders to sidestep probing questions about Islam since few leaders understand it and even fewer wish to say anything against them, pointing out that division is what they wish to avoid and we should all work toward unity, even though jihad and the caliphate are core Islamic doctrines being carried out in many parts of the world and breathing death to any who oppose them to systematically engulf the freedoms and quality of life we have experienced and replace it with submission to Allah. On the other hand, God is not interested in forced conversions, in popularity ratings or gaining in the polls. He deals in truth and justice, and none can frustrate His Will. He has and continues to achieve His purpose through Israel and the Church to bring redemption to His Elect. Truth may have fallen silent in the streets as was the case in the Kingdom of Judah where justice was absent and no one person could be found to intervene, but God took it upon Himself to change Israel’s condition with the promise of His Suffering Servant Jesus Christ in Chapter sixty of Isaiah (59:16). Christians must weather a similar environment to Isaiah’s day.

Much is made about Islam with little real content or criticism to its inherent dangers. Some advocacy groups have sought to levy hate crimes on whistle blowers who have sounded concerns over Islam’s practises and beliefs who in turn are labeled paranoid and fear mongers. Any who have done some personal research into this religion may recognize the inherent dangers within their religious system. In the process you may be labelled as Islamophobic: a scaled attempt to divert attention away from the nature of their religious goals and practises (do you really see any vociferous opposition to Islam in our society today?) where they can censor opinions and free speech in a bid to restrict critical thinking. Though opposition may be demonized for speaking up, comfort is taken in knowing God extricates His people and executes final justice. What is important to understand is that in these times, God is not deterred from achieving his redemptive purposes for all mankind through Israel and the Church.

Unlike man, the LORD does not deal in vagaries. He is very precise about man’s spiritual need. He says that men do not wish to come to the truth, that darkness hates the light and will not come near it (John  3:19, 20). You may have thought that once you were given the freedom to know God and the way you are to live in this broken world that you would grasp the opportunity quickly and run with it. This has never been the case. People, if left to themselves, would choose to remain lost rather than to look to God for saving grace. This does not sound too promising especially when you consider that God does not need us in the least. He continues to govern His universe and all that is in it, since He has complete authority over it and over each of our lives. No need for Him to be elected into office, He rules in heaven and earth and will continue undeterred in His Reign forever! God is completely independent of all means for His existence and does not require anything. It is us who have need of Him! Solomon who was the wisest earthly ruler of all time, nearing the end of his reign came to this conclusion that all of life is futile (38 times the term futile is used over life’s issues in Ecclesiastes). All attempts to be satisfied in life apart from God fails and remains meaningless.  Solomon’s perspective was impacted by what life would be like without God.   In retrospect the troubled periods in our history leading into the 21st century has never been the real issue either. It is about man’s relationship to God.

Troubled times are something we always had and can expect will continue until Christ returns.  Listen to Jesus’ words “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”(John  14:1)  This should be what concerns us. God is in control of our surroundings regardless of the difficulties. The Dutch statesman Abraham Kuyper, declared: ‘There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, “Mine!” Be concerned for your own soul. One day Christ will return where He will claim His people and sit in final judgment. You can confess your sins to Christ and He will set you free from your guilt and punishment and eternal life can be yours.

It has been said that the world is getting to be a smaller place to live, because of the ease and range of communication, but as well the way we think is getting smaller and smaller, due in part to the globalization of political correctness that seeks to extinguish opposing opinions and critical thought. Praise be to God that He is all about truth and His Bible can stand the test of scrutiny and provides plain and convincing answers to life issues for the thoughtful and serious inquirer. God’s Truth may not always be what we wish to hear, but it is absolutely needed in a world clouded in concealment and deceit. God invites us to come and learn more about Him and His salvation.

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Is  55:1,2)

To Live is Christ

A man travels to a nearby beach where he walks out into deep water until it reaches his chin. He pauses then steps out and suddenly begins to kick his feet, and fling his arms upward, to keep from sinking any further. He tries craning his head above the surface but a film of water no thicker than half an inch remains over his horror-struck face. He springs his toes upwards and succeeds to raise his mouth above the water line and draw enough oxygen into his lungs to where he could pitch forward to safer ground. Later when asked about his ordeal he said that his mind was concentrated on one thing only and that was to breathe, besides that he was impervious to all else.

If this were to happen to any of us we would easily feel the same way. By parallel, is it possible to say that what is crucial to our physical survival also may be true in the spiritual realm? Paul speaks of this very thing “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”  (Phi  1:21)  To some, Paul appears extreme in his holy ambition to mimic His Master “That I count all things a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” (Phi  3:8a)  Paul was not interested in surrounding himself with comforts, setting his life on cruise control and steering clear from difficulties that can be expected from obeying the gospel.    He would not let prosperity or popular acceptance stand in his way to do justice to Christ calling on his life. He says he wished to share in His suffering “becoming like Him in His death” (3:10c)  Living for Christ was of paramount importance for Paul, even as breathing is to life, so too was his desire to remain obedient to his Savior. He wanted nothing more than to become like Christ in every way possible, even if it meant to give up his life for Him, which was the case ultimately.

What stands between you and Christ?  What drives you each time you wake up in the morning? What is the goal for your life? Is it Christ, or do you let self-gratification, ego, lust, fear, rejection by others, image, or envy motivate you to do the things you do. What is your purpose in life? Pleasing self or serving Christ?

From our early beginnings, we have been designed to worship God. Man is to live his life in such a way that he is to give God the glory in everything.  Anything that impedes our progress toward this divine purpose may burden us like a ball and chain, making it more difficult for us to reach our objective.   Are you wanting to love God with all of your strength, will and mind or not at all? He gave His life to save those who put their trust in Him. He never held anything back, but offered His life willingly on our behalf. If you are a Christian what is holding you back from giving your all in your service to Christ? Jesus was preoccupied with God’s Will: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (John  4:34)  David desired nothing less than to follow God.  “I desire to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart” (Psalm  40:8). The way you spend your time and resources will show what governs your life. Barna polled Church members and reported that twenty percent of them are involved in ministry serving the other 80 percent who are consumers of their efforts, mainly filling the pews. Only one in six church goers are involved in a group of some sort that will prepare themselves for Christian living. (Issue of Knowing and Doing, Spring 2011). The inertia behind this common attitude is that many have relegated faith to a private realm that involves mainly family and Church. Once Monday arrives, the typical response in the workplace finds the Believer conforming to the non-Believer’s culture almost unconsciously, neglecting his personal faith when in public. All the metaphors about being aliens, exiles, and a Kingdom of Priests appear meaningless as the Christian fails to exercise his beliefs and practises and appears to be no different from those in the world.

If you conduct a study of the Christian culture today, you might be surprised to find out that a widening gap exists between those that are Biblically informed people and those who revere the Bible yet do not read it routinely. We live in a climate of intimidation where many do not share their faith. Very few actually seek to build relationships with the lost for the purpose of evangelism. Prayer is often done in private with little regard to joining their efforts to others. The gospel seems to be less of a concern for many Christians today, whereas personal conformity to the world is becoming less of an issue with us than it was a generation ago, sadly to say.

If we are to make a difference, then we will have to take the gospel seriously and see it as the dominating factor in our lives and make it a matter of urgency. We must live, breathe, and suffer for it. As it is our lifeblood we need to study it, obey it, and share it with others.   Fellowship with Christ should become as essential to us as taking our next breath, something we absolutely cannot do without.  The attitude that is found in John “I must decrease that He might increase” must be ours.  Start today to be a 24/7 Christian and lay aside anything that will prevent you from fully realizing what it means to live for Christ.