Cigareets & Whuskey . . . and other prohibitions
A 1947 hit song partially lists the prohibitions placed on children in God-fearing homes back then. There were slight variations from denomination to denomination, but essentially the litany of sins to be avoided at all costs—starting with the three above—went something like this:
*Dating an unbeliever
*For girls, make up and immodest clothing; when the restriction on girls’ slacks was slowly lifted, zippers were on the side. For boys, skateboards and the funky, low-slung shorts and exposed underwear that go with them, weren’t invented yet, so guys pretty much behaved with what they wore.
Of course, these No-Nos were in addition to obvious sins we all knew about from The Ten Commandments, Family Devotions and Sunday School.
Which is not to say we were angels—many of us were anything but. Yet we all knew what was considered right and what was considered wrong. And despite our deceptions and sneak-outs, we clearly understood the rules: if we got caught breaking them, the consequences were severe.
Smoking was a major sin for commited Christians in most churches and countries, even before nicotine and its 7000 related toxins reared their ugly heads as the causes of addiction and cancer.
Sin has always been with us, but until recent years it was mostly hidden and spread slowly. Wickedness simply did not proliferate at warp-speed like it does today, with every form of sensational iniquity staring us in the face wherever we turn. Copycat crimes, aped violence and imitated immorality of all kinds greet us everywhere. It’s a ‘monkey-see-monkey-do’ world. And monkey sees and monkey does a lot of evil stuff.
This is not a scientific, culturally complete, socially approved and politically correct study. It’s just my perspective as I’ve watched the world go by in an ever-accelerating progression of events that frame life as it is today. I have observed tectonic, tsunami-like shifts in the way that ‘we the church’ (not ‘they the pagans’), have changed our moral standards. Beginning further back with the so-called Enlightenment (which led to liberalism in the church), let me count just some of the waypoints that have marked the slippery slope . . .
(WARNING: This may tread on a few toes, including my own.)
(These are my observations, and by no means are they a ‘start-to-finish’ order of things. Variations on these themes began early in the history of man. It is interesting to note though, that the above list defines the modern-day sexual revolution.)
The Roman Catholic Church has stood pretty firm and resolute on these issues. Has the rest of the Christian world? I would have to say that we have caved, or are caving, on all issues. Bravo RCs!
What then can we do? Apart from personal review and making things right when there is conviction, read this parable:
(Jesus) told another story. “God’s kingdom is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. That night, while his hired men were asleep, his enemy sowed thistles all through the wheat and slipped away before dawn. When the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form, the thistles showed up, too.
“The farmhands came to the farmer and said, ‘Master, that was clean seed you planted, wasn’t it? Where did these thistles come from?’
“He answered, ‘Some enemy did this.’
“The farmhands asked, ‘Should we weed out the thistles?’
“He said, ‘No, if you weed the thistles, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.’” [Matt 13:24-28, The Message]
So, we’re to let the thistles grow with the wheat until harvest. Jesus went on, explaining in more detail, exactly what the thistles are:
“The farmer who sows the pure seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the pure seeds are subjects of the kingdom, the thistles are subjects of the Devil, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, the curtain of history. The harvest hands are angels.
“The picture of thistles pulled up and burned is a scene from the final act. The Son of Man will send his angels, weed out the thistles from his kingdom, pitch them in the trash, and be done with them. They are going to complain to high heaven, but nobody is going to listen. At the same time, ripe, holy lives will mature and adorn the kingdom of their Father.” [Matt 37-43]
So in the meantime, we are to live ripe, holy lives that will mature and adorn the kingdom of God. But this is not easy. Right now, the thistles are all around us, trying to choke us out by sucking the soil dry of the nutrients we need to feed on; and those thistles, so attractively adorned, can charm the goodness out of the wheat.
We must remain stalwart to the truth as we see churches, ministries and even friends, sucked dry by the moisture-draining, life-strangling thistles all around us.
This is where we need to cry out for God’s protection and the close fellowship and friendship of faithful others.
Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come. [Matt 24:13-14 The Message]
Till next time,
How may we remain free from self-deception? The answer sounds old-fashioned and dull but here it is: Mean what you say and never say what you do not mean, either to God or man. Think candid thoughts and act forthrightly always, whatever the consequence. To do this will bring the cross into your life and keep you dead to self and to public opinion. And it may get you into trouble sometimes, too. But a guileless mind is a great treasure; it is worth any price. A.W. Tozer
Being a . . . ‘Believer’ is an activity, not a category.
Prayer . . . simply a conversation inside a relationship. Wm. Paul Young, author of The Shack, in his new book, Cross Roads.
A Couple of Today's Challenges:
—how to communicate good news into a mix-and-match spirituality with no ethical demands;
—how to meet the spiritual hunger of seekers who believe the last place they will find spiritual reality is in the church?
Jeff Fountain, Weekly Word May 23
Errata: in May we spelled Matt Redman’s name wrong. Thanks Julie Yee
Here’s a book by YWAM Super-Mom, Gunila Baumann, who released all three of her children into missions permanently, never trying to ‘pull them back’ when the going got tough.
Mercy Ships has an URGENT need for plumbers, carpenters, electricians, HVAC technician, pipefitters, and welders to serve on board the M/V Africa Mercy this summer for as short as two weeks during their Shipyard Projects Phase in Tenerife, Spain from June 16-August 9, 2014. If needed, Mercy Ships is willing to cover travel costs and room and board expenses.
Please contact Mercy Ships - General and Technical Recruiter, Tracey Bartula, at (903) 939-7685 or click here to email, if you—or anyone you know of—may be interested.
Dear Ohana (that’s Hawaiian for ‘Family,’)
Have you ever pondered things in your heart and then read some article or heard someone speaking, and it confirms what you have been processing with the Holy Spirit.
I want to share a few ponderings I’ve been having recently, and maybe it will confirm some of what you’ve been thinking.
Jesus said, ”Follow Me.” [John 13:12-15] First He did things, and the disciples watched. Next He got them to help Him. Then He told them, now you do, and I’ll be here for you.
It’s the same with parents and their children (physical or spiritual). What you do, your children watch. Then you let the children help you. Finally you say, now you go and do this, and I’ll be here for you.
As grandparents, we are now watching our children walk with their children but we’re still here for them.
I’m reading this book my daughter Michelle gave me called, ‘anonymous,’ by Alicia Britt Chole, in which she tells us that 90% of Jesus’ life was hidden? We know He was born in a barn, He taught in the temple at the age of 12, but most of his 30 years were ‘hidden,’ as far as we know. He was getting prepared for the last three years.
Never regret the hidden years when you are being prepared by the Holy Spirit and through the Word. God sees our hearts—it’s not what we do, but who we are—sons and daughters of the living God. He is forming our character.
A lot of people are impressed with charismatic giftings, but Jesus is looking for people with Godly character, walking in the fear of the Lord with integrity, truth and obedience, all out of love for Him. Maybe these are years in which God has you hidden, to prepare you for something here on earth, or for eternity.
Never be impressed with giftings, just with Godly character. [Matt 7:21-23; Luke 10:17-23] and that your names are written in heaven. If your giftings are obvious, make sure God gets the glory. He loves you to use the gifts He has given you, but remember—they are His—He gave them to you.
I love this verse for you, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” [2 Cor 13:14]
Love and Blessings,
July 06-12: Sweden, YWAM Restenäs, with Mariette Louw
July 20-26: Romania, Prod near Sighisoara, with Donna Jordan
July 21-26: Norway, YWAM Skjærgårdsheimen, with Al & Carolyn Akimoff
Aug 03-09: France, YWAM Champagne, speaker Edwin Fillies
Aug 17-23: Switzerland, YWAM Châtel, speaker Dan Baumann
Aug 24-30: Italian Alps, Piemonte, near Turin, speakers Mike & Ros Oman, Ireland
When we long for a life without difficulties, remind us Lord, that oaks grow strong in contrary winds, and diamonds are made under pressure.
Till next time,
The Small Print
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