Today, as we go about life, we notice that generally speaking, conscience and morality are non-words, no longer concepts and standards by which to live; if it feels good, well go right ahead and do it. Just as long as you don’t hurt anyone else.
Is it possible not to hurt others, even with hidden and selfish sin? It seems to me that this sort of secret behavior depletes a person, reducing their ability to interact emotionally (and spiritually) with others. I speak not from a position of perfection but from having lived a long life, much of it selfishly.
Is there any end to where all this free expression and open practice will take us? Of what we Christians call sin? People have done awful things to people for centuries, but nowadays it’s just reported as news. Immorality as defined in the Bible, is now fashionable and to be pushed to its limits. It has become so commonplace that there is little or no shame attached.
The other day, I saw a TV commercial (for a popular automobile), that depicted the intimate touching of a woman—by a man—in a public place. Assuming they were married, that sort of behavior would be appropriate in private. What will young kids be exposed to next? Help! Almost the next day a commercial came on—with our family all sitting around—it was for a product to enhance pleasure, reduce the passing on of deadly diseases . . . as an added bonus, the extermination of the much of the next generation.
Here's something that our brother Paul the Apostle had to say . . .
"It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on." [Gal 5:19-21 The Message]
Consider this: Supreme Courts in some Western countries, have or are considering the bypassing of God’s moral law—not to mention common sense—which clearly shows that only a man and a woman can enter into a marriage relationship!
STOP THE PRESS! It happened—only this past week—when the US Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage. In all 50 States. Southern Baptists and the Assemblies of God have put the Government on notice that they will not stand for it. Good for them!
How then shall we live and exist in a swirling world awash with all standards seemingly disappearing down the tubes into a whirlpool of muck? Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are in a war where there are no Geneva Convention-type rules to fight by. It’s a dirty war. We have the choice to ignore the raging battle all around us, or fight. (it’s a spiritual war, not a visible one). We are NOT to fight people. [Read Ephesians 6:12]
Dean Sherman teaches that spiritual war—for a true believer—is the ability to walk consistently through the adversities of life. We must not ignore these adversities that will touch every aspect of our lives. John Owen, the prolific Puritan author wrote, "Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you."
Read the lead-in to Paul’s hard word—Gal 5:13-18. Then read the antidote . . . which is LOVE, plus all those other good qualities . . .
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." [Gal 5:22-24 NIV]
Glenn Sheppard, former Southern Baptist pastor, now leader of International Prayer Ministries (and a former YWAMer), told us recently, “Today in America, there is more prayer being offered up than ever before in our history. But the missing ingredient is repentance.” There is little or no identification with the sin of all men and women.
Any small sin, of any believer, anywhere—spiritual leader or not—is any ‘better’ than the sin of the worst and most hideous act you can think of, or imagine.
P.S. Two things: I write the above as a redeemed sinner, striving with God’s help and grace, to sin less. Sinless perfection awaits me in heaven, unattainable here on earth. Secondly, Donna and I did not know the subject of our two columns this month—until they came together on the electronic page for editing.
Lastly . . . “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." [John 16:33]
Be an overcomer!
*Here’s a powerful personal testimony from a Christian friend who’s been ‘going through it’. Can you relate? “Grace lives with us off and on but has been narrowed down to a life on the fence.”
*Prayer is the Christian’s declaration of dependence.
*People who wonder whether the glass is half empty or half full miss the point.
The glass is refillable.
A Very Special Birthday Present
Here’s a Letter from Darlene Cunningham to all YWAMers and their friends—of all stripes:
“My husband Loren celebrates his 80th birthday today (June 30th), and he is asking for a present. If you know him, you can be sure the gift is not for him. Think BIG!
The gift is for the whole world . . . a vision that’s grown within him since he was a young boy.
Help give Loren the 80th birthday gift he desires most!
He wants his YWAM family to commit to help end Bible poverty worldwide.
We’re all on a journey (running the race), and my heart is that we will all finish well, thus pleasing God.
This last couple of months, God has been emphasizing to my mind and heart:
* We must not tolerate anything that God does not tolerate
In other words, have and keep, the fear of God in our lives; and give no shelter to the fear of man. "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe". [Proverbs 29:25] We must be teachable by those who reflect Jesus, but not intimidated by those who don’t. We’ll know them either by their good fruit (of the spirit), or by their rotten acts and words (of the flesh).
* We are to love the (wayward) person, but HATE their sin
When we walk and talk with Jesus, His thoughts become our thoughts, and He so much wants us to have the mind of Christ. [1Cor 2:12-16] It’s so easy to have negative thoughts and be judgmental; our minds need to be renewed. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Read Psalm 101 and use it as a prayer.
* Humanism is replacing true Christianity
Humanism says, “I am god, and I decide what is right.” Its values are based on tolerance of all, being lovers of pleasure, summed up by, “If it feels good, do it.” I can say and do what I want. Read 2 Tim 3:1-7; Timothy describes what is happening today! (The last days?)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." [Matt 16:24]
Daily we have to decide, are we going to live for ourselves or live for Him. It’s only by the Spirit, by knowing His word and by making right choices, that we can live for Him.
My friend, we must first know the truth and then speak that truth with love. Remember, Jesus is the Way and the Truth, and only speaks the truth. If there’s a question, He’s right and we’re wrong.
We must give up our rights to always being right and listen to Him through His Word and by His Spirit.
It’s not easy, but if we just speak what He tells us to speak and do what He tells us to do, we will reflect Him and His glory, and make people hungry for truth and His presence. He is The Way, The Truth and The Life. [John 14:2]
It’s all about Jesus, not us. Sometimes we sing that song, “It’s all about you, Jesus” as if it’s ‘all about me.’ NO, no, no. “It’s all about You, Jesus.”
Keep your eyes on Jesus and know the truth. He will set you free.
Love and Blessings,
July 5-11: Restenäs, Sweden with Edwin Fillies
July 12-18: Sighisoira, Romania with Edwin Fillies
July 20-25: Skjærgårdsheimen, Norway with Edwin Fillies
Aug 2-8: Champagne, France with Paul & Genevieve Marsh
Aug 16-22: Châtel, Switzerland (minimum age 18)
For details on all camps except Norway, go to http://www.intouchcamps.com
There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the sky . . . (soaring & seeing)
The way of a serpent on a rock . . . (undulating & progressing)
The way of a ship in the middle of the sea . . . (land-blind & navigating)
And the way of a man with a maid . . . (natural & pure)
To which I humbly suggest a fifth wonderful thing . . .
The way of freshly-steamed jasmine rice upon my olfactory system . . .
(aromatic & a bit heavenly)
What are some ‘natural’ things which are too wonderful for you?
Til next time,
The Small Print
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Copy Editor, Laurie Jordan-Worrall; Mascot, Ruth Worrall
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