Our Constantly Changing World

Our Constantly Changing World

Take a quick look at your world and it immediately becomes obvious that all that is around us is in a constant state of change. While the nature of man has not changed, the world in which we live is so different from the world of our grandparents. Imagine what former generations would think if they were transported into our world. It is so different from what they knew.world change

There is an interesting Greek word used to describe this change. In a historical setting, it was used to describe Jesus as He passed by Matthew, the tax collector, and called him to become a follower of Jesus. Matthew was sitting at his place, but immediately he left all to follow Jesus (Matt. 9:9). Jesus passed by and the situation was never the same.

It is used to describe Jesus’ encounter with Bartimaeus, the blind man. As the Lord was passing out of Jericho, He opened his eyes (Matt. 9:27). Jesus continued His journey and the blind man was no longer sitting and begging. He followed Jesus. The world of all those who lived in Jericho was never the same because Jesus walked through their world.

One lexicographer illustrated the meaning of this word as seeing what happened in a panoramic picture as a movie camera scans what is before. As the action occurs, the picture continually changes. This continuous change is emphasized when we note that this Greek word is in the present tense, indicating ongoing change.

With this in mind, consider the spiritual application made of this word. In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul described the face of Moses as it glowed after he had been in the presence of God. The veil Moses wore kept them from immediately seeing the change, but soon it was gone. Paul says that they could not see “what was passing away” (2 Cor. 3:13). That glory shown in his face was passing away. As Paul wrote these words, the glory associated with that law was about to end. Just 15 years after the apostle wrote these words, Judaism came to a crashing halt when the Romans destroyed the temple.

The same is true of our world. John described all that was in the world—the lust of the flesh and eyes and the pride of life—and says it all “is passing away” (1 John 2:15-17). This truth shows us the folly of investing our lives in the physical world. It is passing away.

Our world is constantly changing. Yesterday’s world with all its problems does not exist. Can you think of anything which has not changed? I know of only one thing which never changes. “The word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Pet. 1:25). “Every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psa. 119:160). The world is changing, but He never does!

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David Dealt with Calamities

David Dealt with Calamities

The headings of the psalms are not inspired words from God but reflect the ancient concepts of what was occurring in the life of the psalmist when he penned that psalm. The heading of Psalm 57 describes the events happening in the life of David when he wrote the psalm—“When David fled from Saul into the cave.” Regardless of when it was written, it shows us how David dealt with the most dire situations in his life.

David Psalm 57

How did David deal with Calamities?

David first looked at the most high God. In the midst of trials, God was one who “performs all things.” David’s God (and ours!) was not one who sat idly by when He saw His children suffering (verse 2). He is One who sends forth blessing of salvation from heaven and reproaches the enemies of those who threatened His children, attempting to swallow them up. He was the God who sends forth mercy and truth (v. 3).

David then looked around him and thought about his enemies. If the heading is accurate, King Saul had just returned from fighting with the Philistines and, upon learning where David had fled, took 3,000 soldiers to kill him (1 Sam. 24). David and his men had taken refuge in the recesses of a large cave when Saul approached the cave and went inside. David’s greatest enemy was before him with thousands of soldiers just outside the cave. Look at how David described them. They were the fiercest warriors among the sons of men. Their violent spirit was like coals of fire, their teeth were like spears and arrows and their tongues were like a sharp sword (v. 4). They had figuratively dug a pit into which David might fall and prepared a net to ensnare him (v. 6).

David then showed his reactions to God’s providence in the midst of ungodly men. “My heart is steadfast.” His heart was anchored and firmly fixed on God and His nature. None of the adversity moved him. Instead of trembling with fear, David’s heart was singing the praises of God. As each day dawned, the man after God’s own heart loudly proclaimed His glory (vs. 7-9).

The psalm closes with words contrasting God and those fierce beasts of David’s enemies. God was glorious, and His mercy and truth reached from David (in the recesses of that cave) unto the highest heavens. Read the events of what happened at the cave to see how God responded to all of this and delivered David.

Look again at the first verse. “In the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamites have passed by.”  Our lives are so often stressful and surrounded by adversity. When you find yourself in these circumstances never give up. We serve an eternal merciful God and all “these calamites” will pass by. Remember He is with you in your darkest “cave.”

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Known by Name

Known by Name

Carl Linnaeus may or may not be a name you recognize. He was the inventor of the modern system of classification for plants and animals. Maybe you have heard of Kingdom, Phyla, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. This nomenclature has been used since the mid-1700s as a scientific means of identifying various forms of life. It reminds me of Genesis 2:19-20 where God tells Adam to name all the animals. God created humanity to name things, and our desire to do such has not been impeded by the years since Adam’s first efforts.

carl name

You may not know me, but God does.

Naming things, however, does not mean that we give them purpose. Some have confused our ability to give things a name with giving things a purpose. God has given purpose to all things that exist, our naming them simply reflects the purpose that is already found within them. Science may be able to name and classify many things according to purpose, but ultimately science cannot name every particular living thing. God, however, is not bound by such limits.

God knows the number of the hairs on our heads and every sparrow that falls, and He knows us too by name! Isaiah 40:26 says, “Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing.” This intimacy is comforting to the saint and troubling to the sinner. The saint will appreciate the fact that God knows him personally and is helping him to grow and develop. The sinner will be troubled that God knows all his sin and will hold him accountable. God knows you by name; will you get to know Him?

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1 Corinthians 7 Means What?

1 Corinthians 7 doesn’t mean what you think it does

There seems to be a rash of young men, (especially preachers), who have gotten addicted to pornography, which ultimately leads them down a path to adultery.

Having personally talked/counseled with several of these young men, it is my prayer that we can break this chain of addiction and focus on rebuilding Christian homes. Congregations need to be addressing this massive elephant in the room!

sex bible

A proper relationship lives with proper hearts.

Success in these marriages often comes down to pride. If the man is willing to humble himself and is truly repentant, then often the marriage can be saved. However, if pride rears its head—as it often does—then things get really ugly. And I mean really ugly.

For many of these men, they choose to place the blame for cheating at the feet at their spouse. Basically, they wield 1 Corinthians 7 like a club, saying their wife is not fulfilling her duties as a spouse (Never mind the fact that many of these individuals were hooked on pornography long before they said “I do”). The number of individuals caught up in this sin has grown to the point that I fully believe there will be a movement/group formed by these individuals, who,—using crazy mental gymnastics—will claim to be the innocent party in the future. Playing the role of victim, these individuals claim their spouse did not perform their marital duties, and thus, drove them into the bed of someone else.

If we lived in normal times, where men used reason and logic, I would not worry about Christians buying into such rubbish. But sadly, we do not live in normal times. We live in an era where emotions and feelings drive everything—while reason and logic are thrown out the window. Here’s the irony of this entire situation: Research reveals that in the sexually immoral city of Corinth there was a group of men practicing ascetic religion in which they believed abstinence made you more spiritual. Paul was actually rebuking the men for not having sexual relations with their wives!

And yet, today this passage has been twisted to mean something totally different. The passage was actually about forced celibacy, not sex-on-demand. 1 Corinthians 7 is often used by Christian husbands to bludgeon their wives for not being sexually receptive as often as they prefer/demand. Somehow Ephesians 5:25-33—loving your wife like Christ loved the church—gets forgotten as porn addicted men make outrageous demands from their wives—and then play the victim if their wife does not live up to be the porn star the husband is used to seeing on a screen.

Here’s a couple of points we need to consider:

Point #1: Marital intimacy is about more than just the sexual act. It’s about more than coercion or manipulation just to receive self-gratifying pleasure.

Point #2: A sex-starved marriage does not make pornography right. Period.

Point #3: A sex-starved marriage may be the result of YOU not cherishing your spouse outside the bedroom.

Point #4: A sex-starved marriage does not give one party the right to dishonor the marriage bed through adultery. You are still charged to keep the marriage bed pure (Hebrews 13:4).

Point #5: A sex-starved marriage is not grounds for divorce and remarriage.

Point #6: 1 Corinthians 7 is not all the Bible has to say about sex and marriage. Spend some time looking at what Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 13, and Song of Solomon say.

Point #7: Every person is responsible for their own sin. It is not your spouse’s fault if you choose to sin simply because your husband/wife does not fulfill you in the way you think they should.

Point #8: One way to fix the perceived “problem” is to stop focusing on yourself so much and consider the wants, needs, desires, of your spouse.

Point #9: Sex in a marriage should not ever be used as leverage or withheld as punishment.

Point #10: Your spouse is also not responsible for how you deal with temptation.

Are there cases where a spouse is not living up to his/her duties as a spouse? I’m 100% sure this occurs. These situations need to be discussed calmly and rationally, and counseling may even need to take place to address the root causes of this issue. But there is also the problem of men who are watching paid actors in a porn video and then expecting their wife—who has been home all day with two or three small children—to perform like the actress on the screen.

Friends, this is not why Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 7.God is the creator of sex. In the context of the marriage-bed it is a beautiful thing. Sadly, in our hyper-sexualized world, we have perverted that which was meant to be good and beautiful. Our culture has replaced intimacy with pornography. But true love—the love that Jesus shows for His beautiful bride—is a beautiful self-sacrificial image of Christ and His bride.

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Hearing or Listening?

Hearing or Listening?

The Bible places great emphasis on the importance of hearing, using the word “hear” over 500 times. Many times it is found in historical references, but when Jesus came He placed special emphasis on the way we hear. Since faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17), it is important that we make sure we listen when God’s word is speaking to us, building our faith and directing our lives.

hearing ear

Are you hearing His Word?

It is true that there are at least two levels of hearing. The first level is when we are aware that someone is talking and while we may hear the words we really are not listening. What parents have not said to an older child, “I just told you what I wanted you to do—did you not HEAR what I said?”  Obviously, the child heard, while at the same time they were not hearing what was being said. I wonder if God ever feels this way about us?

The importance of hearing on this second level is illustrated in the life of Mary as she raised Jesus. When the angel told her of the virgin birth, she was “…troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was” (Luke 1:29). There was no way she could understand the virgin birth, but having heard his words, she simply said, “Let it be to me according to your word.”

Her perplexity is seen again after the shepherds told her what had happened to them. “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). She was listening on that second level. When she heard young Jesus talk about being about His Father’s business, she “did not understand the statement when He spoke to them…but His mother kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:50-51). Our relationship with God depends on us, even though we might not fully understand, listening so intently that His words are kept in our hearts.

Jesus spoke so often about using our ears to hear (Matt. 13:9; Mark 4:23) and the importance of taking heed to what we hear (Mark 4:24). He added more when He spoke of the importance of taking heed how we hear (Luke 8:18).  However, there is one phrase which deserved special emphasis. “Let these words sink down into your ears” (Luke 9:44). When God speaks, His words must never just enter into our ears on that first level. We must let His words sink down deep into our ears.

We must do more than read the words of the Bible. We must do more than hear words in Bible classes. We must do more than just sit and listen to a sermon. Great spiritual growth will never happen until we let the messages from heaven sink down deep into our ears, and like Mary, keep all these things and ponder them in our hearts.

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