I’m between two finals right now. The first went well and I’m hopeful about the second. But I wanted to write briefly about two strange forms of salvation – by education and by awareness.
There are a lot of programs out now to assist the “lower class” by educating them. There is also a trend toward everyone needing to go to college. But is the problem a lack of education?
Another trend is “awareness”. Every disease, it seems, has a walk or 5k run or special day to “raise awareness”. But is the problem a lack of awareness?
We don’t admit it as much as we should but our hearts are the problem. We are fallen people in Adam. And because of that our hearts are corrupt. We’re evil and the admission can hardly make it past our lips.
So, of course, salvation from our evil hearts is not by educating them (educated evil people?) or by awareness (evil people that are more aware of the effects of evil?) but by Jesus Christ, who saves us from our own evil and sinful lives.
Most of the people who know me have come across the fact that I’m rarely ever sick. I had perfect attendance through all of school until college. I was only sick during vacations or holidays. Out of 5 years of work, I took 1.5 sick days.
So yesterday, when I was suddenly extremely fatigued, light-headed, and my joints ached, I was not sure what happened. As I walked back to my car after work I found it much easier to pray, depend on God and trust in Him because of the fatigue and extra weight I seemed to be carrying. I prayed that I would be in that condition more frequently, sick even, because of the renewed sense of dependence on my heavenly Father and His gift given through Jesus Christ.
The sickness didn’t last. It’s just about gone now. But I think it was a great lesson that my life should be lived like that, almost as if I was always sick, sick with (and of) sin – constantly keeping in mind that God “Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25).
A few weeks ago I was given a security/access code at work, a privilege. The most frequently used advantage of this was the ability to use the restroom without going to another building. The initial wonder of such a privilege quickly faded. I now leave and return almost without noticing the wonder of being employed here for less than a year and having access to almost all of the information technology.
I think it’s good that it quickly faded though. It is a bit of a lesson for us that our earthly wonder fades but our wonder in the glory of God never should.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23
What great and unfading wonder it is that the love of the LORD never ceases for His people, nor do His mercies to them – they are new, every morning. We should have a great wonder and awe in the presence of our God. Through Jesus Christ we see the great love with which He loved us, the extent of His mercy and how faithful and just He is to forgive us anew each day (1 John 1:9)!
Some friends, my wife and I visited the Creation Museum this past Saturday. It was a great experience. I enjoyed how much effort and planning and detail they put into the exhibits. For instance, Cain was modeled as a boy with a flute nearby – a hint at Cain’s great-great-great-great-great grandson Jubal who was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe (Genesis 4:21).
Two things that impressed me the most were floating forests and Adam’s age. One explanation for the formation of coal involves forests that floated before the global flood (see also other articles like this). Also, Adam lived for so long that he actually knew Methuselah for 243 years of his life. Imagine the great treasure of revelation this provided. The first man created could have recounted so much information about God. Then Methuselah lived 600 years while Noah was alive, leaving only one person between Adam’s knowledge of God and Noah’s. This is a great testimony to the godly line of descendants God sustained to make sure His word and revelation was secure.
15He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
16he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. (Isaiah 33:15-16)
Hopefully the title and Scripture passage provided a good introduction. I want to draw out only the application toward television. These two verses give a great application and promise to Christians – avoid television and dwell in security. The vast majority of television is created by the world for the world: meaning, it celebrates sin – murder, lying, homosexual relationships, disobeying parents, insubordination, and on and on.
We are not discerning enough with what goes into our heads. The Bible tells us that a righteous person “stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil” (v.15). It is your (and my) motivation to hear and see evil that invalidates God’s promise to us to dwell in security (v. 16). Do you desire to hear about bloodshed and see evil? Yet what are most TV shows about? A comedy about disobeying parents and authority altogether? A drama about a murder and trying to bring the killer to justice? A comedy/drama about illicit sex? And many more.
Someone might object by saying that the Bible itself contains these things. Consider the difference in origin. The Bible is from God. Where is our entertainment from? The intent of the Bible is for us to grow in the love and knowledge of God through Jesus Christ. What do the authors of the shows you watch intend? The Bible is a history. Does your entertainment give history?
Now, of course, these questions are just to get you thinking about how you decide upon what to watch, what to listen to and what to participate in1. I don’t mean it to be exhaustive, just to get you to beg the Holy Spirit to reveal how you might best glorify God in time you might normally title “free” so that you might “dwell on the heights”.
see my comment on video games here
There is an old Sesame Street cartoon where Grover illustrates Near and Far. Today I started to wonder about why God sees fit to at some times place us near to Him and at sometimes to place us far from Him (though none of this is meant to be an excuse for trying to be far from God, only to appreciate the goodness of His moving us through our lives).
First, we know it must glorify Him. But how does it do that? Although there are doubtlessly many reasons, I begin with four. 1) The return is always sweeter when there was distance prior to that. There is incredible grace in being given a closer relationship with God. If we moved only from far to near, how would we know the brillence of our progression? 2) The journey informs us of our dependence on God. Many people try to claim partial sovereignty in their lives – God does somethings but the person has to do other things apart from God. The experience of nearness and farness in our relationship with God shows us that we are completely dependent on Him, especially for salvation. 3) It is helpful in many things to stand back and admire the big picture which makes sense of all its pieces. When God puts us far from Him for a time, we have opportunity to admire Him and the value of being near to Him. That leads to our fourth thought. 4) Times of being far away give us insight into how it will be to dwell in final nearness to Jesus in heaven. Though we may be far away, we know the joy and peace of still being in Christ and praising Him because He has saved us from an end worse than farness – hell. And that instead we are drawn so close to Him, through Jesus Christ, as to be in His very family!
Are we morally accountable for what we dream about? I’m pondering whether we are.
I don’t think there is specific mention of this in the Bible but I thought it would be good to ponder. I’ve had dreams where I’ve done some extremely gruesome things. I’ve also had dreams, one last night, where I shared the gospel with someone (the fact that I continued once they appeared to be an extension cord is unimportant).
I doubt a murder in a dream would be accounted as a real murder. But a murder you commit in a dream (dreaming that you yourself do it) is a thought of anger, which according to Matthew 5 makes you guilty of disobedience to the sixth commandment.
I bring this up because I have had an overwhelming feeling in dreams of being able to decide between doing something and not doing it. I’ve made decisions not to sin in dreams. If these were actual decisions then either I’ve found a place to enjoy sin or I’ve found another place to be cautious against sinning. My pondering: to the degree that I’m willing to sin in a dream is the degree to which I’m guilty of sinning in a dream; and the degree to which I willingly share the gospel in a dream is the degree to which I worship God by doing so.
Thoughts? Ideas? Other passages?