Category Archives: Religion

Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis (1942)!

The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis (1942)!

“And how did you manage to bring so many souls to hell at that time? -Because of fear. -Ah, yes. Excellent strategy; old and always current. But what were they afraid of? Fear of being tortured? Fear of war? Fear of hunger? -No. -Fear of getting sick. -But then, no one else got sick at that time? -No. -Yes, they were sick. -I’m sorry. -Nobody else was dying? -Yes, they died. -But there was no cure for the disease? -There was. -Then I don’t understand. – Since no one else believed and taught about eternal life and eternal death, they thought they had only that life, and they clung to it with all their strength, even if it cost them their affection (they did not hug or greet each other, they had no human contact for days and days); their money (they lost their jobs, spent all their savings, and still thought themselves lucky to be prevented from earning their bread); their intelligence (one day the press said one thing and the next day it contradicted itself, and still they believed it all); their freedom (they did not leave their house, did not walk, did not visit their relatives. …it was a big concentration camp for voluntary prisoners! They accepted everything, everything, as long as they could overcome their miserable lives one more day. They no longer had the slightest idea that He, and only He, is the one who gives life and ends it. It was like that, as easy as it had ever been.”

Promises

Though I have walked with God for several decades, I must confess I still find much about Him incomprehensible and mysterious. But this much I know: He delights in surprising us. He dots our pilgrimage from earth to heaven with amazing serendipities.

Isaiah’s words make me smile every time I read them because I have seen their truth come to pass time and again. God still stands behind this promise:

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. (Isa. 43:19 NIV)

Your situation may be as hot and barren as a desert or as forlorn and meaningless as a wasteland. You may be tempted to think, “There’s no way!” when someone suggests things could change. All I ask is that you read that verse one more time and be on the lookout. God may very well be planning a serendipity in your life.

God has been doing “a new thing” in drab deserts and wintry wastelands for centuries.

Creation

It’s no surprise that the creation account has always been in the crosshairs of the enemy. Since the Garden of Eden, God’s Word has suffered and withstood many aggressive attacks, all driven by one scandalous purpose—to cast doubt upon God and the integrity of His Word.

Genesis in particular, has been a favorite target. Many are saying . . . Adam was not a real person, Eden was not a real place, and the talking serpent was not a real tempter. In fact, they start with the word, “day” in Genesis 1. According to the “framework hypothesis,” day doesn’t mean a real 24-hour period of time. John MacArthur goes on to explain . . .

One popular view of creation held by many old-earth advocates is known as the “framework hypothesis.” This is the belief that the “days” of creation are not even distinct eras, but overlapping stages of a long evolutionary process. According to this view, the six days described in Genesis 1 do not set forth a chronology of any kind, but rather a metaphorical “framework” by which the creative process is described for our finite human minds.

This view was apparently first set forth by liberal German theologians in the nineteenth century, and was later adopted and propagated by some leading evangelicals, most notably the late Dr. Meredith G. Kline, an Old Testament scholar who taught at Westminster theological seminary.

The framework hypothesis starts with the view that the “days” of creation in Genesis 1 are symbolic expressions that have nothing to do with time. Framework advocates note the obvious parallelism between days one and four (the creation of light and the placing of lights in the firmament), days two and five (the separation of air and water and the creation of fish and birds to inhabit air and water), and days three and six (the emergence of the dry land and the creation of land animals)—and they suggest that such parallelism is a clue that the structure of the chapter is merely poetic. Thus, according to this theory, the sequence of creation may essentially be disregarded, as if some literary form in the passage nullified its literal meaning.

Naturally, advocates of this view accept the modern scientific theory that the formation of the earth required several billion years. They claim the biblical account is nothing more than a metaphorical framework that should overlay our scientific understanding of creation. The language and details of Genesis 1 are unimportant, they say; the only truth this passage aims to teach us is that the hand of divine Providence guided the evolutionary process. The Genesis creation account is thus reduced to a literary device—an extended metaphor that is not to be accepted at face value.

But if the Lord wanted to teach us that creation took place in six literal days, how could He have stated it more plainly than Genesis does? The length of the days is defined by periods of day and night that are governed after day four by the sun and moon. The week itself defines the pattern of human labor and rest. The days are marked by the passage of morning and evening. How could these not signify the chronological progression of God’s creative work?

The problem with the framework hypothesis is that it employs a destructive method of interpretation. If the plain meaning of Genesis 1 may be written off and the language treated as nothing more than a literary device, why not do the same with Genesis 3? Indeed, most theological liberals do insist that the talking serpent in chapter 3 signals a fable or a metaphor, and therefore they reject that passage as a literal and historical record of how humanity fell into sin. Where does metaphor ultimately end and history begin? After the flood? After the tower of Babel? And why there? Why not regard all the biblical miracles as literary devices? Why could not the resurrection itself be dismissed as a mere allegory? In the words of E. J. Young, “If the ‘framework’ hypothesis were applied to the narratives of the virgin birth or the resurrection or Romans 5:12, it could as effectively serve to minimize the importance of the content of those passages as it now does the content of the first chapter of Genesis.”

In his book, Studies in Genesis One, Young points out the fallacy of the “framework” hypothesis:

OIP (8)

The question must be raised, “If a nonchronological view of the days be admitted, what is the purpose of mentioning six days?” For, once we reject the chronological sequence which Genesis gives, we are brought to the point where we can really say very little about the content of Genesis one. It is impossible to hold that there are two trios of days, each paralleling the other. Day four . . . speaks of God’s placing the light-bearers in the firmament. The firmament, however, had been made on the second day. If the fourth and the first days are two aspects of the same thing, then the second day also (which speaks of the firmament) must precede days one and four. If this procedure be allowed, with its wholesale disregard of grammar, why may we not be consistent and equate all four of these days with the first verse of Genesis? There is no defense against such a procedure, once we abandon the clear language of the text. In all seriousness it must be asked, Can we believe that the first chapter of Genesis intends to teach that day two preceded days one and four? To ask that question is to answer it.

The simple, rather obvious, fact is that no one would ever think the time-frame for creation was anything other than a normal week of seven days from reading the Bible and allowing it to interpret itself. The Fourth Commandment makes no sense whatsoever apart from an understanding that the days of God’s creative work parallel a normal human work week.

The framework hypothesis is the direct result of making modern scientific theory a hermeneutical guideline by which to interpret Scripture. The basic presupposition behind the framework hypothesis is the notion that science speaks with more authority about origins and the age of the earth than Scripture does. Those who embrace such a view have in effect made science an authority over Scripture. They are permitting scientific hypotheses—mere human opinions that have no divine authority whatsoever—to be the hermeneutical rule by which Scripture is interpreted.

There is no warrant for that. Modern scientific opinion is not a valid hermeneutic for interpreting Genesis (or any other portion of Scripture, for that matter). Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 2:16)—inspired truth from God. “[Scripture] never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Jesus summed the point up perfectly when He said, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17, KJV). The Bible is supreme truth, and therefore it is the standard by which scientific theory should be evaluated, not vice versa.

As John MacArthur wrote, proponents of the “framework hypothesis” argue the language and details of Genesis 1 are unimportant; they are only meant to show that divine Providence guided the evolutionary process.

But, if that’s really what God intended for us to take away from the first few chapters of Genesis—Providence guided evolution—then why did God provide such exact details with precise language?

The Crisis In Our Lives

Hi Kim,

A crisis hits fast, it hits hard, and it takes no prisoners. It can alter the course of your life dramatically. Pain knocks on your front door, moves in without your permission, and refuses to leave. In fact, you wouldn’t even wish it on your worst enemy, yet it’s happening to people everyday.

I do not know of many Christians who have not at some time had a crisis point in their walk with God. How we respond to such a crisis in many ways determines our future maturity as a Christ follower. The reality is there are some who once knew Jesus and walked away from their relationship with Him. This can be directly related to not properly responding to a crisis of their faith in God. If all those who have walked away were to come back to the Lord there may not be an empty seat in our churches.

This issue of responding properly to a crisis of faith becomes a paramount one for the Church. There are many outside the Church today because of it and there are many within the Church who has stunted their personal growth with God over of it. They have lost the kind of joy and zeal they once had for serving God and cannot seem to pinpoint when that happened. For many it can be traced back to a crisis time in their walk with God. When they reached a place of desperation and felt God was not there or did not provide, so they hold that against Him – even unknowingly.

What constitutes a crisis of faith? It is when we come to a pivotal point in our Christian life where events cause us to believe that we cannot go on serving God. The surface causes for such a crisis are as varied as individual experience; it could be the loss of a loved one, a financial disaster, a relationship break-up, or a job loss. But the root issues comprise several main causes. This is important to identify for it helps us to realize that we are not different from other Christians. It also helps us to weed through the particulars of our situation and see the underlying issues that have brought us to such a crisis point.

The Church

Some people don’t know how to pay compliments to others. They’re always critical, always critiquing this or that. And when they do pay a compliment, it’s more of the backhanded variety. For instance, they’ll say, “Hey! You’re on time!” or “You look great for your age!” or “You’re so pretty. Why are you still single?

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”While there is no spiritual gift of criticism, there is the spiritual gift of exhortation, or encouraging others. The Bible says, “If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging” (Romans 12:8 NLT).
The word exhort relating to the spiritual gift of exhortation means to motivate, to stimulate, to excite, and when necessary, too correct. It’s urging someone on.Someone with the gift of teaching will tell you how to do something, but someone with the gift of exhortation motivates you to want to do it.Some people are great with the details of Greek and Hebrew, historical background, and so forth. It’s fantastic. Then others give messages that make you want to go and change the world.

The church needs both gifts today. I think Jesus gives us the model of how to properly exhort in His message to the seven churches of Revelation, and specifically to the church of Ephesus. Loosely paraphrased, here’s what Jesus said to the Ephesian church in Revelation 2: I know you guys work hard, and I know you’re discerning. I know all that you do for me, and I appreciate that. But I have this issue with you. You have left your first love. So, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works quickly.img_0159

Jesus started with compliments and affirmation, followed by a word of criticism, and then the solution.The church needs teachers, but we also need people with the gift of exhortation.

If you agree please let me know. I find I need to follow in this area a whole lot better than I do.img_0165

A PARENT’S POSITIVE INFLUENCE

Just thinking, if people would follow these ideas just maybe there kids would not be destroying our country. Just saying

Relationships—Kids are more likely to avoid the wrong crowd when they see Mom and Dad carefully choosing their own friends and then treating those people with grace and love.

Money—Before our children can use money well, they need to know that everything they earn is actually a gift from God. Wise parents both teach and model that money’s true value lies in its being a means of meeting needs and blessing others.

Vocation—Boys and girls should grow up knowing God has a plan and will for their life. And if parents always strive for excellence because they’re serving God, kids will grow up knowing everything is to be done for the Lord, regardless of who the human boss is.

Despite what the world thinks, true success is not about having the most money, the best job, or the best-looking spouse. Success means keeping a God-centered attitude and letting that spill over into all areas of life.

In Whose Hand Is The Soul

Dee Keith

Job 12:10

 

Job was battling for his life. He was battling the doubts and denunciations of his friends. He was battling the disease of his flesh. Death was imminent in his opinion. Job was engaged in a war that would never end in a truce, or know of a triumph in his days. His battle with these men called friends was over his personal honor and righteousness and that he was on the receiving end of his own just deserts for personal sin in his life. His battle was a spiritual warfare fomented by ignorance of the knowledge of God.

 

Historical Christianity is under a spiritual attack by the same hostile environments from which Job’s friends came with the same antagonistic spirit that assaults the core beliefs and teachings of Scripture. It is two fronted assault: the issue of life; that is, does life begin at conception? And, secondly, is the termination of life. 

 

Job was instructing Zophar in his rebuttal that life is divinely planned. Job was reminding this friend to look at nature, the birds, the animals, the fish of the sea, and understand that inexplicable calamities occur in the creature world. And, when they do, what do we say? It was an act of nature. It is God who gives life, however, and the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind is in His hands. It is only God that can take away the soul and breath from the living. Life is the gift of God that He alone disposes. “In Him was life,” John said, “and the life was the light of men” (Jn. 1:4). Jesus said of Himself, “I am the resurrection, and the life,” (Jn. 11:25), and “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). The Apostle Paul proclaimed a similar truth in his sermon on Mars Hill, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

A husband and wife come to together with the hope and dream of beginning a family. Then to their dismay, the wife cannot conceive for some reason, or the husband has a medical issue. We have a niece that desires so much to mother a baby and cannot. She has spent thousands of dollars for medical help to conceive but to no avail. On the opposite side are those women who have no medical issues and conceives but does not want the children they bear. Some go to the extreme of aborting a life that has been divinely planned of God. This brings in to consideration many other issues that can’t be dealt with now, but my point is that of Job, it is God that divinely plans life.

 

Why was Job battling for his life? Why was Job under such severe attack by those men that had known him and his beliefs on life for so long? If Job teaches us anything it is that the value of life is decidedly prized. Job’s wife was so grieved over his condition that she preferred to see him dead rather than suffer. “Curse God and die,” she begged her husband. His three friends were convinced that there was no hope for Job. They had witnessed death many times, and Job’s condition suggested that death was imminent. Job thought the same. There was, however, a spirit of fight left in this man of God. He treasured life. It was a gift of God, and he wasn’t ready just yet to give up the ghost. He would fight the disease. He would trust in the Lord. He would battle misunderstanding. Job prized life.

 

Job reminded these men that life is divinely preserved: “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” This was an acknowledgement and an expression of faith that his life (and all life) is the divine protection of God. Job queried his friends earlier, “Is there not an appointed time to man upon the earth” (7:1)? He would later proclaim the same truth, “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of mine appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (14:14).

It has been the firm belief that the days of man are appointed, or that we have a determined number of days. Our birth and death is in the hands of an all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving God. The birth of a baby in according to the will of God, and the taking of the breath of life from the living is also according to the same Divine Will. There are unexplained mysteries about early death, premature death, unexplained death, that is true. But the Biblical truth is that the Lord gives and takes life. This we are reminded of in Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” Before that unwanted death, however, is life; the gift of life, that only the great God of heaven and earth gives and preserves for us. May we decidedly prize, cherish, and treasure the life the Lord has given to us.

The Bible

The Bible’s first book never explains God; it simply assumes His existence: “In the beginning, God…” (1:1). Chapters 1 and 2 describe how God created the universe and everything in it simply by speaking: “God said…and it was so” (1:6–7, 9, 11, 14–15). Humans, however, received special handling, as “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (2:7), and woman was crafted from a rib of man.

Those first two people, Adam and Eve, live in perfection but ruined paradise by disobeying God at the urging of a “subtil” (crafty, 3:1) serpent. Sin throws humans into a moral freefall as the world’s first child—Cain—murders his brother Abel. People become so bad that God decides to flood the entire planet, saving only the righteous Noah, his family, and an ark (boat) full of animals. After the earth repopulates, God chooses a man named Abram as patriarch of a specially blessed people, later called “Israel” after an alternative name of Abram’s grandson Jacob.

Genesis ends with Jacob’s son Joseph, by a miraculous chain of events, ruling in Egypt—setting up the events of the following book of Exodus. QUOTABLE God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (1:3) The LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? (4:9) Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (6:8) He [Abram] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (15:6) UNIQUE AND UNUSUAL Genesis quickly introduces the concept of one God in multiple persons, a concept later called the Trinity: “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (1:26, emphasis added).

Also early on, God gives a hint of Jesus’ future suffering and victory when He curses the serpent for deceiving Eve: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (3:15). SO WHAT? Genesis answers the great question “Where did I come from?” Knowing the answer can give us meaning in a world that’s otherwise hard to figure out.

You and Sin

If you can’t be happy in your sin, that’s a good sign. True believers are never happy when they’re out of fellowship with God.

And if you’re out of fellowship with God, if you’ve sinned against the Lord, then you’ll be an unhappy person.

When the Devil looks for a Christian to take down, he looks for the one who’s following at a distance. He looks for the person who says, “Do we have to go to church again? Didn’t we do that last week? Read the Bible? Really? Again?”

Children of God hunger for these things. Compromisers on the other hand, only do them out of duty. And if no one is encouraging them to do these things, then they don’t do them.

If you’re following the Lord at a distance, you will end up in the miserable no-man’s-land of compromise. And in that dismal place you will have too much of the Lord to be happy in the world, and too much of the world to be happy in the Lord.

Don’t be that person.

Praying

Not praying when we need to can actually be a sin. It’s the sin of omission. A sin of omission is not doing what you should do, while a sin of commission is doing what you should not do. The Bible says, Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

And neglecting to pray is a direct result of the sin of self-confidence. And instead of praying, we usually worry (as though that will help).

So, we don’t say, “I can handle this, God,” or “I’ll fix that, Lord.” Instead, we need to pray about it. We need to say, “Lord, I need your help right now. I’m at the point where I’m tired of trusting in myself, and I’m calling out to you, Lord.

A destructive sin

Selfishness is a consuming and destructive sin. The first and inevitable casualty is the person who manifests it, even if no one else is harmed. Because this sin, like every other, begins in a sinful heart, anyone can commit it—regardless of whether there is an opportunity for it to be outwardly expressed. Even when not outwardly manifested, selfishness breeds anger, resentment, and jealousy. . . .

It is an immeasurable tragedy that modern culture (including much of the church) has, largely through the influence of secular psychology, rejected the divinely commanded principles of humility and selflessness. When the supreme virtue is self-love and the supreme purpose in life is self-fulfillment, mutual respect is replaced by disrespect, mutual service by apathy and indifference, and mutual love by enmity and hatred. [1]

Christians must not succumb to such a selfish lifestyle, and the other sinful attitudes it breeds. That’s why the apostle Paul points our focus away from ourselves.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

Satisfaction

The things that bring us joy and satisfaction in our everyday lives are gifts from the Lord, given to enjoy, of course, but also to serve as important reminders of the satisfaction He promises.

In His love and mercy, God promises much: to faithfully stay with us , give us wisdom, fulfill every need we have, meet us where we are, and reveal what we’re to say in hard situations to name a few. We can look to these promises as we wait for His return, knowing that each earthly joy is but a glimpse of what is to come.

Think of something you genuinely enjoy or find satisfying. Is it easy to see this as a reminder of the joy God offers?

When Christ’s promises are realized, our souls will be satisfied. How does reflecting on His promises help you in your pursuit of righteousness and, ultimately, eternal satisfaction?