Home

When So Many People Die So Quickly

Leave a comment

In light of the recent disaster in the Philippines, we weep with those who weep. For those families directly impacted by the typhoon, one can only imagine how gut wrenching this must be for them. Such things are the makers of widows and orphans, so how do we respond Biblically?

FoxNews reports, “Haiyan struck the island nation Friday, impacted more than 4.2 million people across 36 provinces in the Philippines, according to the Philippine government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. The death toll has reached 1,000 but the number is projected to climb to 10,000.”

The cry of our Reformational Fore-Fathers was Soli Deo Gloria, To God be the Glory Alone. It can be hard to see the glory of God during times like these, yet the Providential Glory of God exceeds our understanding. This fallen world is rife with death at every turn, yet we remember that God ordains all things for His glory. In knowing this, we rest in His Sovereign Will, no matter how painful it may be today.

As for those who find themselves in the most dire need, the Church is called to take care of the widow, orphan, and others in great suffering. When you live thousands if miles away, sometimes a donation to a reputable Christian organization may seem all that one can do, but such donations are indeed needed.

Those who are capable and free of major responsibilities can use this time to travel abroad and assist in relief efforts, just as so many made the sacrifice to help with the tsunami fallout in Indonesia. A great door to the gospel is often opened as the reality of death is at the forefront of people’s minds. Let us pray for those who are helping now and those arriving to help. May the God of all Grace empower them to preach the gospel and thus see the unbelieving come to the knowledge of Christ and His Blessed Redemption.

Finally, let such calamities be a dire warning for all who do not believe upon Christ for salvation. Let us heed these eternal words.

1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?
3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?
5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Luke 13:1-5 (ESV)

Ranching Devastation: Responding to Loss

Leave a comment

A massive early winter storm has crippled the cattle ranches in South Dakota, with losses of 100,000 cattle. With each mature cow going for around $1500, one can only imagine the long term impact this will have. It is a stark reminder that we live in a fallen world where catastrophe can come in the blink of an eye. The ultimate question is how will we Biblically respond to such crises in our own lives when they come?

SDcattle.jpg

Job immediately comes to mind when great calamity is pressed upon us. We refer back to Job time and again because his loss was immense.

13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house,
14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them,
15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house,
19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” (Job 1:13-17 ESV)

We weep with Job, yet we are also encouraged by his incredible faithfulness.

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.
21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (Job 1:20-22 ESV)

Even so, Job still had room to grow, for the pressures of his trial forced out the question we all have retreated to at some time or another. Why? God did not answer the way Job wanted. Rather, He exerts His authority over all of creation, and Job is further humbled. He then repents in dust and ashes.

1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:
2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;
6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6 ESV)

This account is not yet over, for the Sovereign God restores Job.

10 And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
11 Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.
12 And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.
13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.
14 And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch.
15 And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.
16 And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations.
17 And Job died, an old man, and full of days. (Job 42:10-17 ESV)

Some will argue that things don’t always turn out so well for the elect of God. After all, Abel was murdered in the beginning and the great Bible translator William Tyndale was strangled and burned. This is where I delight to expose the critic and blasphemer, for our Lord was crucified but rose in great glory. Likewise, all of His beloved sheep who have died are present with him now and will soon enjoy a glorified body that surpasses all of our expectations.

Therefore, when we are trying to encourage those who are going through a great loss, let us weep with them as they seek to recover from such a crisis. Might we be used of God to help those poor souls heal by increasing our service to them while leaving out all of the cheap platitudes. This will require humbling ourselves and giving up our daily comforts for a season, but many deep long-term relationships are forged in the furnace of tribulation.

May our Great Comforter, The Holy Spirit, pour forth His encouragement and conviction upon us in such times. To look elsewhere for solace is idolatry and only leads to guilt and despair.

Crisis Politics Is Manufactured Anxiety: A Biblical Response

Leave a comment

Image

As we reach another alleged crises that isn’t Armageddon, it’s time to think through a Biblical response. What I’m speaking of at the moment is not in reference to specific policy decisions, which do need to be addressed in the long term; rather, something much more important is at stake ….

Our Response To Manufactured Anxiety

The point of a manufactured crises is to create manufactured anxiety. By keeping people in a perpetual state of frenzy, political leadership gains a mental and psychological hand over constituents. How?

If I can keep you anxious about matters that aren’t that important, then I can distract you from what you should really be concerned about. In our case, as Christians, our highest concern must always be loving God and living our neighbor. In this, we are engaging in true worship to His glory as we rest in His sovereignty and speak the truth in love to our neighbor.

When the leaders of our culture succeed in distracting us, they are empowered to rip society apart and remold it into their own image. The issues that we hold dear are marginalized, and agendas that we should despise our heavily pressed behind the scenes. All of this is done under the cloak of ‘equality and fairness’.  After all, Christians do believe in elements of both.

We believe in equality in that all men are made in the image if God and that Christ died for His sheep from all tribes, nations, and tongues. Likewise, we are commanded to treat all men the same in that we are not to show favoritism based on any economic status, which is what the epistle of James strongly condemns. We are to take care of the widow and orphan, and employers must not take advantage of those who labor for them, something else James addresses. These specific verses are often directly quoted or alluded to by politicians. After all, if you are going to manipulate a confessing Christian people, then it is very useful to take advantage of principles they already advocate.

However, such workers of iniquity are working to hijack these verses by demonically twisting them to introduce a specific foreign god, and his name is ‘state‘.  All are to bow down and worship Caesar as the giver of life and taker of life. The state is lord over your life, and only it is capable of taking care of all your needs. The One True God is to be ridiculed and hated, but the state, which is really a curtain for the small elite, is to be lifted up as King of kings and Lord of lords.

What blasphemy!

On the contrary, let us not worship Caesar but God Almighty, He Who created all things and Who commands our absolute obedient worship. He never fails because He is love, and He is the answer to all of our ills. Uncle Sam only exists to protect the dignity of man via the punishment of evil doers. Once this has ceased, then government has become a wicked idol that rules with tyranny according to its precepts and statutes. It has set itself up as holy, yet we must not believe the many lies that flow from the ruling class, lies that come from the father of lies, the devil himself. Such deceptions are created to infuse us with anxiety in an attempt to steal our joy and, if possible, leads us into apostasy.

So let’s deal with all of this and stand firm against the evil one. Here are some suggestions when dealing with manufactured anxiety.

1. If possible, reduce your exposure to the means of anxiety. This usually occurs through the mass leftist media. If you watch and listen to it all the time, then it will affect you and lead you into a manufactured anxiety.

2. Don’t let these situations absorb all of your conversations. We need to discuss issues that face our culture at large, but we must do so while extolling God and His plan. Obsession about what is fake to begin with is fruitless.

3. Don’t turn society off and withdraw to apathy and cynicism; this is victory to the haters of God. On the contrary, let your light shine before men so that when they see your disposition and hear your praises to God, they will inquire about your lack of anxiety, which provides a wide open door to the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Our God reigns, and we shall glory in Him as we take solace in His grace and mercy. We will not succumb to any inclination of anxiety, whether manufactured by the state or otherwise. To do so is sinful, and sin is rebellion against the LORD God.  Therefore, tremble before Him and not the state. It only has the power to kill the body, but He has the power to destroy both body and soul in Hell.

Posted by Jeramy Anderson

Just A Click Away: Immorality In The Digital Era

Leave a comment

Pornography has grown into an avalanche, but it is usually viewed in secret because of its vile nature. In the past, it might be seen in the confines of a dimly lit basement, yet it has become concealed in a different way today.  How so?

Through The Phones In Our Pockets

Sexual immorality is nothing new, and the Scripture is filled with examples and admonitions condemning this great ungodliness. So where does this selfish passion come from in the first place? Sin. At the heart of immorality is sinful lust, which often starts with images, whether conjured up in the mind or otherwise. It has taken many forms and been conveyed through different means in ages past, but access to it has increased exponentially in our digital era.

Statistically, pornography plagues the Church (even a high percentage of the clergy), and the silence is deafening. It’s deafening because so many confessing Christians take part in it and are slow to give it up: both men and women. What shall we do?

It’s time to attack this plague head on by first confessing that it is evil and then implement some practical boundaries to help us deal with this great offense to the LORD God. We have two historical examples to look at: David & Joseph. When confronted with immense temptation, both reacted very differently. David rebelled against the Living God and indulged in his immorality, but Joseph did what we need to do: flee.

If you have very little self control, then just revert back to the old flip phone that is only good for answering calls. Your life may be inconvenienced, but holiness is more important. If you are able to exercise some self-control but need some practical boundaries, I have found these quite helpful. Maybe you know of some others.

1. Download one of the numerous software programs that tracks where you visit. The program then sends this information to a friend that will hold you accountable, though without the specifics to keep this person from temptation.
2. Stay away from or at least limit exposure to news/sports sites that display provocative imagery. Instead, read news from sites that do not post articles with questionable content.
3. Only bookmark and/or place on your home-screen sites that will not lure you into illicit material.

We do live in the world, but we must not be of the world. For this reason, we must always be vigilant, lest we enslave ourselves to the vanity of a sinful life. May he give us the grace to resist the Devil and flee from immorality, whether that be in the store or on our phones.

Posted by Jeramy Anderson