Tuesday, November 3, 2015

God & Drinking Christians

Does God’s Word teach that it is okay to drink?  Churches and fellow Christians have divided over this question.  Saying it is a hot topic is putting it mildly.  I would not be surprised if well over 50% of Christians believed it would be okay to have an occasional drink.   
Where do many believers get the idea that God has no problem with drinking?  1 - Jesus’ example.  “If Jesus drank then it is okay for me too.”  2 - The use of the word “wine” in the Bible.  It is shown in a positive light in various passages.  3 - The absence of a statement condemning drinking (aside from drunkenness). 

I oppose the teaching that God permits us to drink.  Here are my reasons.  1 – The use of the word “wine” in the Bible.  It does not always refer to alcohol.  The meaning can refer to both, fermented or unfermented.  This is according to the secular and biblical usages of the word in Greek and Hebrew, Latin and old English definitions.  Biblical context often determines if wine is defined as simple grape juice or alcohol.  2 – Ancient biblical culture’s making of wine.  It was a common practice to mix water into the wine to dilute its alcohol potency.  At the least people drank grape juice, and at the most, a non-alcoholic beverage.  3 – Common sense.  When we say the only rule is not getting drunk, it leads to some odd conclusions.  This means bottoms up for all alcoholic beverages beyond wine such as beer, vodka and whiskey.  This means no limits on how often, just how much.  This means, as long as we do not cross that line, God has no problem with the long-term health effects of alcohol.   

In the midst of my opposition let me also state that I do not believe God views drinking as a sin.  The Bible clearly lays out drunkenness as a sin, not the same with drinking.  There is no “Thou shalt not drink.”  Like many subjects in the arena of Christian living it often comes down to biblical wisdom and our personal motives.   

Let me ask you an honest question?  When you pick up that glass of wine, beer or shot of whiskey what is your motive?  Are you drinking because of the flavor, you are plain thirsty or you want the effect of alcohol?  Experts say that after 1 to 3 drinks (or shots) the alcohol begins to have some effect with feelings of relaxation. Sometimes that is our intent, just to relax.  That is a dangerous place to be with alcohol at our side.  Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). That thief can be alcohol and it starts with one casual drink.  Turn to Jesus and instead of seeking relaxation, seek His abundant life.  May Jesus be your hope for today.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

There Are No Atheists

What is an atheist?  This may sound like a simple question, but there are different answers within the expanding atheistic community.

Atheism is growing in the United States and for decades has had a firm hold on entire nations through communistic based governments like China and North Korea.   

As best I can tell only once in the Scriptures does God address atheism directly saying, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).  Otherwise, the Scriptures do not devote much time to it, because God does not see atheism as His biggest concern.  The Ten Commandments show the focus of His concern when He says, 
“You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

God assume two things.  We will either worship Him or something else.  Nowhere does He assume we will worship at the altar of nothing.  Since an atheist would admittedly not worship any god then let us ask “What is a god?”    

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a god as “A person or thing of supreme value.”  I argue this is what atheists are unto themselves.  Since they have nothing to exalt outside of themselves they become their own god thinking more highly of themselves then they should.  They worship the god of themselves and are their own living and breathing idol they bow down to. 

Atheists build a box around themselves keeping God out with only themselves inside.  Their means of living is purely self-sufficient, cutting off all the blessings and beauty of the one true God only doing, controlling and becoming what they can manage.  It is like they say, “All I want.  All I need is right here in this box.” 

God the Creator who made us (including all the atheists) put a natural desire within us to seek and know Him.  When atheists put a box around themselves, it instinctively sets off a divine internal restlessness. 

I challenge every atheist to open the box, step out and seek his or her Creator.  You were made to know Him.  There is no reason to fear.  God loves you and seeks your best for His glory.  May Jesus be your hope for today. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Religious Hypocrites

A Florida teenager once made national news after he was arrested for an impersonation stunt.  Matthew, an 18 year old, wormed his way into being a Physician’s Assistant at a local hospital.  He had an I.D. badge, the right clothes and was even trusted by a doctor to do CPR on a patient.      
Matthew was a fake, pretender or an actor.  In a word he was a hypocrite.  Often people say the reason they do not attend church is because some religious hypocrite ruined it for them.  I have been in church since I was a little boy and have seen my share of these fake Christians.  

What is so frustrating is these Bible-toting pretenders appear to say and do all the right things and get away with it.  They go to church, speak good Christianeze and give the impression of being a good person, while many believe them.  However, in places or circumstances where the mask comes off, another side is exposed.  Their immorality, selfishness or anger surfaces.  People who witness this see first-hand the two-faced act being played out. 

Jesus once said these religious hypocrites will stand before Him on their day of reckoning and plead for mercy saying, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” (Matthew 7:22).  Yet they will be utterly shocked to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Mathew 7:23).  We can fool others or even ourselves, but nobody can fool Jesus.   

“Unless one is born again”, Jesus clearly stated, “he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  Being good some of the time is not good enough.  We must be born again through the work of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Then we must walk in loving and humble submission to Him, for Jesus tells us that “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).      

Stop being a pretender and start being real.  Surrender your whole life to Christ.  Call upon Him in a spirit of brokenness and be changed in a moment.  May Jesus be your hope for today.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Sexually Tolerant Culture

Depending on your view point America is either evolving into a greater and more tolerant society or nose diving into moral oblivion.  Gradually, behaviors once thought socially taboo is now societal norms.  Fornication is two unmarried people who are sexually active.  Once there were laws on the books that were enforced to deter such a lifestyle.  The same goes for co-habitation, homosexuality and adultery.  One by one these laws have been reversed or no longer enforced.  As a result, pornography, incest, sexual trafficking, prostitution, rape have become dangerous and perverted spin offs of our sexually tolerant culture.  Truly we are living in the most sexualized period of American and world history.    
This new reality does not negate the eternal truth of choices and consequences.  Yes, millions celebrate as our nation, along with many others, progress morally.  However, my heart fears the coming day when the price must be paid for the moral path we have taken and then, cheers of joy will become tears of sorrow.         

I make a call for people to turn to Jesus and away from the rising tide of these new moral norms.  The legality, societal acceptance, and persuasive argument for them can easily sway you and me to go-along and join the swelling crowd. 

Jesus once spoke of the wide and narrow roads, both with very different journeys and destinations.  He said, “The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14).  The wide road is filled with crowds pleasuring themselves without restraint.  The narrow road has few people because it is hard to turn away from the strong worldly appeals and walk in holiness before God.  Even so, for those who persevere, the reward is eternal life. 

What path do you choose?  If you want real, lasting life then pack up and send off your old ways.  However, realize it cannot be done on mere resolve with temptation all around.  You need to start with a new heart and mind.  Only Jesus, through His death and resurrection can give you the change and power to become a new man or woman.  Call on Him in faith right now and may He be your hope for today.