Content & Images © 2008-2014 - Rachel Miller, Ink Road Originals LLC, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thankgiving!

More on truth next time...right now I'm too busy preparing for guests and a big meal.
"Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care." (Psalm 95:1-7)

Maybe you could think about this and similar passages as you prepare to feast and spend time with your families. Enjoy your holiday, and God bless!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is This the Death of Truth? Say it Ain't So!

I've heard, lately, that truth is dead in American culture. It's becoming very common to talk about "your truth" and "my truth." The name for this kind of talk is relativism. A relativist is an intellectual who, rather than reconcile two perspectives, has committed to uncertainty. That is, a relativist has embraced the notion that not settling the issue is a valid position to take. A moral relativist, to take that a step further, has decided not to "pick a side" in moral dilemmas. Moral relativists can come down on either side of an issue, depending on how the mood hits them at the time. They are proud of their undecided and undependable behavior, and treat it as an honorary badge of the educated elite.

In contrast, a moral dualist (like me) is someone who sees every moral issue as a black and white choice. I've been accused of being a universal dualist, that is, someone who sees everything in life as black and white, but that's not accurate. Some things are not black and white choices. For instance, my decision about what I should eat for dinner is not a moral or black and white choice; there is nothing sinful about choosing spaghetti instead of a smoked turkey sandwich.

It's when people try to lower moral and spiritual issues (such as murder) to the same importance and significance as turkey sandwiches that I break with them. Can the truth ever really be unimportant?

What's Important to You?

Using only human logic, not aided by Scripture, I'm going to try to show you that moral relativism doesn't check out with any method of analysis.

First, by claiming there is such a thing as "your truth" and "my truth" (multiple and contradictory "truths"), and by saying that moral choices are on equal footing with non-moral choices (like what to eat), relative moralists are not actually saying that truth is unimportant or that truth is dead. For them, truth still exists, but they either don't want to think about it, which indicates intellectual laziness, or, more likely, they don't like what the truth looks like.

Dismissing the claim that all truth is absolute leaves room for things they want to be true. Accepting absolute truth would imply that their brand of truth is false. They would look like fools for choosing lunacy and dismissing the only viable choice. Worse, if their "truths" were exposed as lies, they would be liars for trying to pass them off.

In short, relative moralists' dismissal only serves to emphasize that they know there is something to dismiss. They aren't denying the existence of absolute truth, but rather, they are refusing to acknowledge that it universally applies to them or that it has the power to deny them what they want.

Refusing to acknowledge absolute truth or submit to its guidelines has never made it go away. It only temporarily anesthetizes the moral relativist's conscience. It also works well in making moral dualists keep quiet.

Here comes the Bible Part

I found Jesus as a little child because I became convinced that there was more to life than the here and now. I had a series of nightmares about what the end of the world would be like, and what it would be like to lose everything I depended on for safety and stability. Yes, I was only 4, but the need for security is something a person is born with, and I've never seen anyone grow out of it. I couldn't base my life on believing in nothing, because I needed to be able to hold onto something. Jesus was my stability.

Jesus' absolute truth put limits on my life. It was then that I began to understand the rules that my parents imposed on me. Jesus' truth is hard to measure up to, but not hard to understand. That is the source of the educated elite's pride in moral relativism. Their system is difficult to unravel and impossible to pin down. It's designed to make you feel big and smart for "getting it" and "getting with the program." Jesus doesn't work that way. The fact is, truth is a very simple equation, but some people try to make it hard.

Here's some Bible to munch on until next time:
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44, 45 NIV, Jesus' words). Wow! Harsh words. Jesus is not even allowing for the existence of multiple truths. There is only one truth, "the truth," and you can either hold to it, or not hold to it.

"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6 NIV). Here, Jesus is not only claiming to know the truth, but also to be the truth. The only way to get into Heaven is to have a relationship with Him. In this case, indecision has eternal consequences.

Don't get caught believing the lie, folks. Satan=lies Jesus=truth!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Kingdom Perspective

I've been slow to post again, since the election. I don't want to make this a political blog, because that's not my mission here. I created this blog to talk about the issues that concern (and often deceive) Christians today.

However, where politics is concerned, I think I should speak, at least to remind people about what has really happened. I've seen a whole lot of fear and worrying coming from my Christian brothers and sisters since the election. Many good Christian people are not too happy that Barack Obama was elected as our next president, because he has announced that he plans to overturn a lot of advances that the Christian Right movement and conservative Christians have managed to achieve in our law system. For instance, president-elect Obama has announced that he is going to remove restrictions on abortion and stem cell research. Leaders of the Christian Right had celebrated these restrictions as small victories, and now it looks like their victories were short-lived. Dr. James Dobson even publicly admitted that he felt depression after this election, as if 35 years of his work and leadership in the Christian Right movement had all been for nothing. You can read about that radio broadcast in Dobson Admits to Struggling after Election by Jennifer Riley, Christian Post Reporter, Fri, Nov. 07 2008 11:29 AM EST. So, is it all over? How should conservative U.S. Christians receive the news of the 2008 election?

Have Christians in America "Lost"?

My answer: Absolutely not! We have to keep in mind that politics and governmental laws are not the same as God's government and laws. It's great when the two things coincide, and Christians in America have been abundantly blessed for many years. The laws have long supported our viewpoints, and we have been happy that we didn't have to do much fighting to establish those laws. Well, maybe that era in America has passed, but that doesn't mean we should give up or give in.

Remember that politics is a secular pursuit, limited to armies, official buildings, and stamped, signed, sealed, and embossed paperwork. Political systems have always been weak, because they are established and run by weak, fallible human beings. They are subject to coup d'etat and takeovers by foreign powers. If you put your faith in politics, you will meet with disappointment.
"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that man gets justice." (Proverbs 29: 25, 26)

I'm not attacking those who are upset about the election. I can't say that it hasn't bothered me, too. I also won't say that we wouldn't be panicking in the same way if McCain had been elected president. I'm just begging you to remember that a political defeat is not a defeat of good. Even if every kind of immoral behavior becomes legal and is officially endorsed by government (that doesn't seem likely in just one presidency, but we are heading that way), God has not endorsed it. Even if truth goes out of style in this world, God will not be shaken. Christians can stand firm in the truth, in morality, because we have God to back us--even if the government opposes us. This is not defeat, and it isn't the end of the world. At least, not yet. (If it is the end of the world, then Lord, come quickly!)

Something Else to Do, Besides Hoping and Praying

I've noticed that the beginning of this political change started in our schools and colleges. It's the culmination of decades of socially-transforming teaching, which we call political correctness. For instance, politically-correct teachers teach against saying that homosexuality is wrong and a sin, because such statements label and ostracize a group of people. Inclusiveness, the teaching that no one deserves to be singled out our rejected for anything they are, they've done, or any decision they've made is not a Christian attitude. God Himself even labels and rejects sin. However, He did provide a way for people to be included. If anyone, despite past labels, accepts God and rejects the sinful lifestyle that brought the label, Jesus Christ's sacrifice will purify and free this person from condemnation Romans 5: 16 Romans 8: 1.

So, two things Christians can do:

  1. Teach their Children strict godliness, which includes a thorough knowledge of the Bible and the rejection of anything that contradicts it.

  2. Speak out and reject worldliness in their own lives, to make themselves a holy and surrendered servant of God and an example for everyone around them.

This political election is the result of a social change, so the only thing that can oppose or change it is another radical social transformation. That starts with us, folks. It's going to take much more than a prayer in church or even at home. Society only changes for the good when hearts, minds, and lives are surrendered to God's will. Politics reflects a culture. It cannot impose morality on a population if morality isn't already there.
One parting shot:
This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD....But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. " (Jeremiah 17:5,7)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Real Hope for the Worrying World

There are just so many reasons to worry these days. Sometimes the news makes my stomach tie in knots. How about you? I hear about people dying in the war in the Congo or starving to death in places like Haiti. Closer to home, many U.S. residents have lost their jobs, their homes, and their retirements over the past few months. Some of these people did unwise or even greedy things with money, but many did not--even so, we all have to suffer for it. Lastly, the wholesale endorsement of immorality and rebellion against God in our culture and public educational system threatens all our futures. I could sit around worrying about all of these things, or I could turn it all over to God.

Now, this may not be the best definition of worry, but in my mind, worry is that anxious feeling I get when I'm afraid of something bad that could happen. Sometimes that anxiety is a fear of something that never actually happens. For instance, worrying the night before about failing a test or blowing a presentation, but discovering the next day that I knew the material well and could handle the pressure. Sometimes that fear actually does come true. For instance, a person could be worried about his/her family member suffering or dying after the doctor issues a terminal diagnosis. Sadly, miracles don't always happen, and often a terminal diagnosis really does mean that we are going to lose the person we love.

In either situation, worrying doesn't actually change the outcome. It can sometimes help us come up with ideas for preventing the outcome we fear, but more often, worrying is what we do when we've done all we can and the feared situation is still there. In these situations, when we are helpless to do anything about what we fear, God has offered us hope, not worry.

Philippians 4:6 states, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." What does that mean? God is telling us that if anything is scary enough that we are worrying about it, we should tell Him about it (prayer), ask Him to do something about it (petition), and praise Him because we know He has heard us(thanksgiving).

Anything, from thinning hair to someone's impending death, that causes us to worry, is worth telling God about. The Bible also says, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). God wants to hear from you. He's not too busy to listen to you, and He's not going to call any of your worries stupid or silly.However, you are silly if you don't take advantage of this great offer to live a worry-free life!

I Told God Everything, So Why Do I Still Have to Face All the Things I Was Worried About?

God didn't promise us that the big exam tomorrow, or the cancer, or the pregnancy, etc. would go away if we told Him it was worrying us. However, God did offer us a promise. Romans chapter 8, verse 28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." This means that if we are counted among those who love and obey God, He will always make even the grimmest of situations work out for good in our lives--even if what is "good" isn't exactly what we wanted Him to do for us. The statement has only one qualification--you have to have a real relationship with God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, before He can make "all things work out" for you.

Well, I Don't Know God; Does That Mean I'm Out of Luck?

Absolutely not! You'll need to get a relationship with God, but that is a pretty easy matter. All you have to do is ask Him--and of course, obey Him. If you don't love God or care about what He says, you are just using Him for what you can get from Him, and He's not going to cater to such abuses.

Love God because He has absolutely no obligation to love you or help you, yet He does it willingly. Love God because even though you have rejected Him and done things to displease Him up until now, He has still made Himself very accessible through the willing sacrifice of His son, Jesus. Love God because "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23 NIV), but Jesus has paid that price so that if you ask Him for it, you can have the gift not only of freedom from worry, but also of eternal life in Heaven.

Finally, obey God because He is sovereign over all Creation, and because you love Him and are grateful for everything I've already told you about Him!

Until next time, keep trusting God and learning all you can about Him. He truly is an awesome person and the best friend you could have when times are tough and you feel worried or stressed.