The way Politics work and how it relates to Sin

In no way can these few words describe all the ways that politics work – not even all the ways the Bible talks about. But I want to share one small example that can be very a good, but bad, representation of the “solutions” of politics and the futility of depending upon such leadership and how it can be analogous to sin.

All across America there has been a big push by governmental leaders to go “green” in an effort to save the world, save the environment, and even save money. Saving money (or making it, depending upon where you sit), which is the root of “going green“, has actually been the aspect talked about the most, because if you want to get someone on board with a new idea let them know how they can profit from it right? So on and on the politicians and the commercials have gone…change your light bulbs, they save money…install new windows, they save money…buy energy efficient appliances, they save money. You get the idea – listen to what they say and you’ll save money by using less electricity.

So the people listened, and guess what!? We won’t save money after all! In the state of Tennessee, electricity consumption was down, wait for it – but it was down too much! Now to compensate for the loss in revenue the electric authority is going to have to raise rates! In all of the number crunching the government only counted up the savings that could be created by the people but they “forgot” to consider the loss that it would cost it electric companies. If usage continues to go down then costs will continue to go up. Income must match outgo. So unless the electric company cuts it budget as much as the consumer cuts its usage then there is no point, and who wants to wait around for a government entity to cut their budget…not me!

myopia

The politics of men and women rarely, rarely work because the ideas used to implement the policies are often one-sided, shortsighted and nearsighted all in one.

So how does of any this relate to this sin? Simple. Sin relies upon the wrong leadership. It promises a lighter burden and a happier life while creating a heavier load and increased vanity. Sin fails to consider the true cost due to the fact that it’s often one-sided, shortsighted and nearsighted all in one. It misses the big picture by focusing on the here and now and by rejecting the view that lets us see the here and after, and it’s not going to cut its budget!

Politics and sin – for the most part they’ll carry us to same place. Oh that wisdom would return to the land. (Ecclesiastes 4:13; 9:13-18; 10:16)

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” (2 Peter 1:5-9)

#politics, #sin, #spiritual-analogies, #wisdom

The Beauty of the Web

It was early in the morning, and the sun was just coming over the horizon; dawn was breaking with all her quiet grace. During the night, the temperature had dropped enough that the grass was covered with tiny beads of moisture. Peering out through the glass patio doors in the dining room, I saw in my back yard something that I would like to share with you.

In the sunlight, I could see that the entire yard (I mean all of it!) was covered with spider webs. Their white strands appeared to form a large, complete net over the whole back yard. Evidently, the webs had caught some of the moisture from the air, for they sparkled, first here, and then there, as the sun was reflected in these drops of moisture. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

As I stood at the patio doors, wondering at the simple beauty of the sight, it dawned on me (no pun intended) that, despite the beauty of the scene, the picture had a sinister element. I had been looking from the viewpoint of a human who could destroy any spider’s web with the most casual movement of limbs. But those webs had not been spun for me; they were created in anticipation of catching some of the numerous small insects that venture out at night and in the early morning hours. From a “bug’s eye view,” these webs, regardless how beautiful they might be to the human eye, represented a danger that could easily be fatal.

A spider is a predator, a very clever one too! He carefully prepares a trap and waits for his prey to become ensnared in the extremely strong, sticky strands of his web. His victims come to him; he does not have to pursue them. When they have fatigued themselves by their struggle to escape the web, which holds them, he quietly kills and devours them. As I thought further about this web, it occurred to me that Satan is quite similar to the spider!

(1) Like the spider, Satan is also a predator; he preys on human beings. The apostle Peter indicated that Satan is a predator when he likened him to a roaring lion, one of the most fear-inspiring predators on earth. The Devil is our adversary, and his object is to “devour us,” to destroy us in an eternal hell. It is for that very reason that Peter also counseled his readers to be vigilant, watchful for the danger that Satan presents (1 Peter 5:8).

(2) Satan lays his snares in much the same fashion as the spider. When the spider spins his web, he frequently places it in such a way as to intercept the natural path of his prey. Of course, his presence is a warning, so he hides himself, or lurks near the edge of the web where he is less evident. Satan has studied his prey and knows the weaknesses common to men. He knows how to lay his snares so that men will encounter them. And, like the spider, he doesn’t advertise his presence so that his victims often do not suspect his work is their demise. Only after they have been enslaved by the sin, which was so tempting, do they realize whose purpose the trap serves. Edward M. Bounds wrote, “The devil’s great device, his masterpiece of temptation is to destroy faith in his own existence.”

Paul described covetousness (greed) as a snare, indicating that it led to destruction (1 Timothy 6:8-10). Satan is a schemer; the traps he uses look so innocent and inviting that he fools many men into thinking they are harmless. The anticipation of pleasure invites men to drink alcohol, take drugs, steal, commit fornication and adultery, etc., – all snares used by Satan. Just like the spider, Satan cannot force his prey into the web of sin, but his victims commit themselves to its traps (James 1:13-15).

(3) Light benefits neither Satan or the spider. It was the rising sun that revealed the spider webs to me. The spider thrives on anonymity. He wishes his web to be invisible to his prey, and so darkness is his intimate friend. Satan also loves darkness. He wishes for men to be ignorant of his machinations so that he may take them captive at his will. If he appears as wholesome, it is a disguise (2 Corinthians 11:14,15). Fortunately, the light of God’s word exposes Satan’s wiles for what they are, and the careful bible student may discern and avoid being ensnared.

One significant difference between the two predators is that when a fly becomes entangled in the spider’s web, he usually does not escape. God offers a way of escape to the man who has been entangled in Satan’s web of sin. It is frequently difficult, once the strands of worldliness tighten around a man, but in Christ there is freedom! Beware of our spiritual predator! – Allen S. Dvorak

via the Good News Email sent by Dave Hart 

#light, #satan, #sin, #spider-webs, #spiders, #spiritual-analogies, #spiritual-freedom

The Frustration of Falling Short

I’ve been a fan of the TV show “Ninja Warrior” long before it ever came to shores of America for a couple of reasons.

1) It looks like fun!

2) It looks like a lot of fun!!

But at the same time I know the competition is serious business. Major, major training goes on. People’s lives are revolutionized, physically speaking, because of their desire to complete the physically and mentally grueling four-stage course. Thousands of people, including professional athletes, have attempted to conquer the feat lying before them to reach the top of “Mt. Midoriyama” but a very, very, very limited few have actually reached their goal.

If you watch the show very long you’ll know one thing to be true – to fall short of your goal is to fall frustratingly short in a way that words can hardly describe! You see, if don’t already know, you only get one shot per year. Your run has to be perfect for it’s all or none!

I hear a spiritual application in that!!!

To fall short, well the spiritual application there is about as clear as day to anyone familiar with the word “sin” itself. But in case you don’t know, the word “sin” literally means, “to miss the mark, or to fall short of the standard.” And when it comes to life a standard from God has been given and it requires perfection. His righteousness is the standard and our sin causes us to fall miserably short of the goal!

Yet when we, as Christians, fall short, slip, have a misstep or a momentary break in our concentration we have one who is there to pick us back. We have one who is willing and able to allow His righteousness to win the victory at Mt. Zion for us! We have a Savior who completed the courses of life and he completed them perfectly for us as Paul said in Romans 3:22-26: “…For there is no difference;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

But at the same time this Savior expects us to train, to fight, to run and to encourage others as they compete on their way through the stages of life and that’s why God’s word encourages us to stay in the game, to keep on keeping on even when failure comes our way. Jesus has the won the victory for us. He has the met the standard on our behalf. But He will not make us get up and He will not make us finish if we do not want to. And in that I say let’s keep going, competing and running toward the rest that will be found on top of Mt. Zion by faith our faith in Jesus lest we know what it feels like to fall frustratingly short of it all!

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Hebrews 4:1-2 – NKJV)

#american-ninja-warrior, #faith, #jesus, #righteousness, #sin, #spiritual-analogies, #tv

Are We Weighted Down?

The army of Alexander the Great was advancing on Persia. At one critical point, it appeared that his troops might be defeated. The soldiers had taken so much plunder from their previous campaigns that they had become weighted down and were losing their effective-ness in combat. Alexander immediately commanded that all the spoils be thrown into a heap and burned.

The Hebrews writer admonished, “Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience [endurance; steadfastness; perseverance] the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). The race before us is the Christian life. How often do we, like the “foolish Galatians,” allow things of this world to hinder us from our enduring faithfulness to God? If we are not careful we will allow such things as work, recreation, education, retirement plans, hobbies, and even our families weight us down and impede our growth and pursuit of the prize of the high calling of God (Philippians 3:4).

As Alexander commanded his armies, we must not simply store in another place those things that hinder us from our fighting the good fight, but we must cast them aside and completely remove them from our lives— regardless how precious they may seem! Consider the results for the armies of Greece: “Alexander’s men complained bitterly but soon came to see the wisdom of the order. Someone wrote, ‘It was as if wings had been given to them—they walked lightly again.’ Victory was assured.” Remember, “No man can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).

#bible-applications, #faithfulness, #history, #spiritual-analogies, #spiritual-distractions, #spiritual-race, #spiritual-renewal

Guest Article: Anti-Virus Software for the Brain by Joshua Gulley

1 Peter 1:15-16 is what I thought of when I read this great article by Josh:

The longer I am a Christian, the more keenly aware I am of my need for God’s grace. We are supposed to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5), and I believe this to be my greatest failure as a follower of Jesus. We are supposed to have a filter—a kind of screening process our minds use to dismiss material that is not going to be healthy for us to think about. Philippians 4:8 describes the standard: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Using this set of requirements, we should probably dismiss MOST of the things we encounter on a daily basis as food for thought. I struggle to do this. There are images or ideas that enter my mind at times, and I know immediately that they are unhealthy for my spirit, yet I allow myself to follow them out. And, just like a mature tree is harder to remove from the ground than a sprout (and leaves an uglier spot in the ground once removed)—or just like the cooking dish is harder to clean after it has dried for hours—a thought process is harder to avoid once you have allowed it to take root in your mind. Once those neurons carve out a new path, they like to return and travel it again.

God, help us to apply the filtration process in Philippians 4:8 to keep our brains free of the kind of trash that tends to lead us away from Christ. – Joshua Gulley

Josh is a member of the Smithville church of Christ and he teaches music at the High School level. 

#christian-living, #christianity, #guest-article, #heart-issues, #holiness, #illustrations, #spiritual-analogies, #thoughts

Only the Outside???

This morning I’m going to wash my daughter’s sippi-cups (or however you spell those things). But it may be that I’m going to be as good a dishwasher as I am a speller!

dirty dishes

(Photo credit: .imelda)

Why’s that? Because I’m only going to wash the outside her cups. After all, it’s the outside that has all of the pictures that she likes to look at. And no one else can see the inside so they’ll think I did a good job. And it’s only the outside that I have to touch so why would I bother with the inside??? Maybe because the inside is what she’s actually going to be drinking from!!!

What if we treated our lives the way I talked about treating my daughter’s dirty dishes? What if we only spent time cleaning up ourselves on the outside spiritually speaking? What if we made sure that we appeared to be spotless to the eyes of others but the inside of our heart acted, reacted and thought in a completely opposite way? If we did that then we’d hear:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:25-26)

If it makes no sense to only wash the outside of dirty dishes then why would it make any sense to only have a desire to appear righteous? After all, isn’t it the inside that holds what’s important?

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:19-22)

#cleansing, #god, #heart, #hypocrisy, #outward-righteousness, #pharisee, #spiritual-analogies