It was Sunday morning, and we were at church listening to a guest speaker. I appreciate that our pastor brings in speakers from other churches; one person can’t possibly cover every topic with excellence. However, in this case, the speaker was preaching popular psychology rather than Biblical truth. And I was getting agitated.
I tried to pinpoint exactly what the speaker was saying that was bothering me. I finally realized—instead of being centered on loving Jesus, the sermon was all about loving ourselves. And while I’m sure some people put themselves down, the solution isn’t to focus more on ourselves, but rather to get our eyes off ourselves and onto the God who loves us unconditionally.
I normally cringe when an election year approaches. I don’t enjoy politics. Self-promotion annoys me. I’m a “don’t rock the boat” kind of person, and elections are all about boat rocking. But of all the elections I’ve endured since I was old enough to vote (back when the redwoods were young), none have descended to the level of this one. What ever happened to thoughtful, respectful discourse?
It’s not the candidates—it’s their supporters.
Twenty-twenty hindsight is a wonderful thing. As I read once again through the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, God’s warning seems oh, so clear. Both of these prophets warned the people over and over to stop their idolatry, turn to God, embrace justice and righteousness, and live. And over and over the people ignored them.
It’s easy for me, sitting here in 2015, to think, what idiots. God told them what He was going to do! Why didn’t they obey Him? Wasn’t it obvious that an idol they themselves made of wood couldn’t solve their problems? And who would choose to sacrifice their child, when God never asked them to do so?
Last March I posted six “wise sayings” culled from my Facebook friends’ posts. (If you missed that post, you can find it here.) Today I’m going to add another six, and ask the same question—is this God’s wisdom or man’s? If you can’t read the text on the images, click on them to enlarge them.
“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” (1 Corinthians 4:3-4)
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)
“On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, italics mine)
Are you on Facebook? Like a lot of our friends and family, Pete and I have Facebook accounts. I try hard not to spend too much time watching all the “heartrending” videos, checking out everyone else’s grandkids (ours are cuter), and noting that my photographer acquaintances have recently taken incredible photos and I haven’t because I’m home reading about them on Facebook.
Along with all the political statements, sentimental photos, and check-ins, are a growing number of “wise sayings.” Whatever the topic, someone has created a small graphic with some sort of lovely border or faded photo in the background, highlighting the latest in popular philosophy. They’re shared, and shared, and shared, with comments ranging from “Yup” to “That is so true!” I’m sure you’ve seen them too.
Are Evangelicals more gullible than other people? A friend recently shared a blog article claiming that, among the blogger’s Facebook friends, it’s the Christians (and just this particular kind of Christian) who most frequently re-post “news” that turns out to be a hoax. Share this post and some company will donate to a kid’s heart transplant fund. Warn your friends that their hot dogs are about to explode. Don’t drink coffee/milk/water/juice/soda because it will ruin your health and cause you to be dead!
The blogger then went on to suggest four excellent reasons why Christians should not re-post this tripe, and an easy way to find out if something is true or not (just Google the first sentence). I recommend his article highly.
True or false: We can always know God’s will by reading the Bible.
True! you say. Of course that’s true. After all, doesn’t 2 Timothy 3:16 say that “[a]ll Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”? Even more significantly, didn’t Jesus quote scripture?
Yes, he did, and that’s what’s getting me all befuddled. But maybe I’m jumping ahead of myself.