Social Distancing Gone Too Far

 

Some interesting articles to go along with this short film.

People choose electric shocks over 15 minutes of thinking: https://www.spring.org.uk/2014/07/people-choose-electric-shocks-over-sitting-quietly-for-15-minutes-and-thinking.php

US adults consume over 12 hours of media a day:
https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-time-spent-with-media-2019 https://www.statista.com/statistics/276683/media-use-in-the-us/

How Did I Get Here?

Why do we have to be diligent in reading the Bible? Because we easily become careless and complacent in our lives, which leads us into sins that so easily beset each of us. And before long we have wondered farther off the path than we ever intended and are left thinking to ourselves; how did I get here?


The battle

“You know more about your ledgers than your Bible; you know more about your magazines and novels than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from the beginning to the end, and what have you got? A mouthful of foam when you are done. But you cannot read the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that a man writes, a best seller of the day, is greedily devoured.” -Spurgeon


“There is not a place beneath which a believer walks that is free from snares… behind every bush there is the lion seeking to devour; under every piece of grass there lies the adder. They are everywhere.” -Spurgeon

 


The command to be diligent

You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. -Deuteronomy 6:17
You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. -Psalm 119:4


I have stored up your word in my heart, 
that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. -Proverbs 8:17


But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him -2 Peter 3:13-15


“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—
 how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’ -Deuteronomy 4:9-10


And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. -Deuteronomy 6:6-8

Have You Sacrificed Relationships Because of Selfish Ambition?

Have you sacrificed relationships because of selfish ambition? I have. It may look different for each of us; possibly athletic achievements, career advancements, the pursuit of wealth and possessions, social status, online fame, etc.… Anything that so consumes us we loose sight of what is really important and of those around us. We all have to ask ourselves if our personal goals and pursuits are really worth sacrificing relationships for?

We have an opportunity to have a good relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
We have an opportunity to have a good relationship with our families.
We have an opportunity to have a good relationship with friends and others around us.

How we relate to God and how we relate to people are of utmost importance.  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

If our goals hinder these relationships, maybe we should re-evaluate our goals.

Alcohol is Always a Good Time, Right?

We live in a culture that loves its wine and alcohol. Where I’m from people go to bars if they want to find a girlfriend or boyfriend. Others drink because of the stresses of life or it’s their idea of having a good time. But alcohol is a substance that can easily control a person. Whether through personal experience or through observation we have all seen this. I’ve seen women go home with guys they would have never gone home with if they were sober. I’ve had drunk people tell me things they would never tell someone in their right mind. I’ve seen drunk people act like complete fools and idiots, and I’ve seen drunk people become very angry, aggressive, and easily agitated. While drinking may not be condemned as a sin, getting drunk is. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). But the Bible says a lot more about it than just this. We would be wise to reflect on what God says about it and be willing to reevaluate our own lives.

Galatians 5:19-21
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 4:3-5
For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Proverbs 21:17
Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

Isaiah 5:11
Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!

Isaiah 5:22
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,

Proverbs 23:29-31
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.

Proverbs 31:4-7
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to take strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

Isaiah 28:7
These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment.

Hosea 4:10-11
They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the Lord
to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.

Micah 2:11
If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,” he would be the preacher for this people!

God, Show Me A Sign

How does the Holy Spirit work in the life of Christians? Is it through promptings that are based on a feeling we might get at any given moment? Is it through an unknown and ambiguous sign? I’m sure most of us have been in situations when you get a feeling or urge that you should do something and then a few moments later you start to think better of it and question whether this is really something you should do or not; before you know it you’re on a teeter totter going back and forth in your mind. Was this a prompting from the Holy Spirit?

The Bible says God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). So, what does the Bible say about how the Holy Spirit works and leads in a Christians life?

The Holy Spirit is…
-Active in salvation.
(John 16:8-11; Titus 3:5)
-Active in assurance of salvation. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
-Active in Sanctification or the spiritual growth of a Christian. (2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 14:15-16)
-Active in guiding us in truth. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13)
-Active in the perseverance of faith. (2 Timothy 1:13-14, Romans 8:1-17; Ephesians 3:14-19)
-Active in helping us pray. (Romans 8:14-15; Romans 8:26-27)
-Active in giving us wisdom or the practical application of our faith. (Romans 12:9-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
-Active in promoting Christian unity. (Ephesians 4:1-4)
-Active in fighting sin and pursuing righteousness. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
-Active in reasonable and practical Christian living. (Proverbs; Isaiah 11; Philippians 4:4-9)
-Active in discernment. (1 John 4:1-6; Acts 6:10; Hebrews 5:14)
-Active in producing the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-26)

As we can see the work of the Holy Spirit is based in truth, the truth of God’s word; not in an ambiguous feeling or sense. The work of the Spirit helps us in practical daily Christian living. The Holy Spirits work is helping us actively live our faith out in a fallen, sinful, and hostile world towards God and His word. We need the Spirit to open our eyes to the truth of the gospel, to flee sin and pursue righteousness, to have the courage to share the gospel with those around us, to endure suffering and persecution, and to live with wisdom and discretion.

There is nothing ambiguous about that, rather it’s first and foremost about learning to become obedient and submissive to God and His word. And when you are living a life seeking obedience to Him, then He will guide you in His way and His time in those areas where there may be more freedom in choice; such as what job should I work, where should I live, who should I date or marry (within the Christian faith), etc…

We should not be living our Christian life based on senses, feelings, or perceived signs from God; but rather our lives should be guided by the Holy Spirit who practically helps us live out the truth found in God’s word.

A final warning about reckless living
Proverbs 14:6
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.

Jeremiah 23:32
Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord.

2 Timothy 3:1-5
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Gospel – Returning to the Truth

Time to get back to what the Bible says about the gospel:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them. Thus says the LORD, “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no God. I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.” This God—His way is perfect, the word of the LORD proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our Fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, Jesus Christ, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom He also created the world. For God says of the Son, “Your throne O God is forever and ever. You, LORD, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. And God spoke all these words saying, “You shall have no other god’s before me. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I, (Jesus), say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. You shall not steal. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or anything that is your neighbors.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. On account of these the wrath of God is coming: evil desire, covetousness (which is idolatry), anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, and lying. Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” And without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, He was buried, and He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

For it is by grace that you are saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Design

Psalm 119:73
Your hands have made and fashioned me;
Give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.

When God gives His commands to us through His word there is always a purpose. We have a tendency to think of God as someone who tells us what to do or not to do with a ‘because I said so’ attitude. Like we’re supposed to blindly follow with no reason given. However, this is an incorrect way of thinking and an incorrect view of God.

God is the Creator and therefore He knows exactly how His creation was made to function best. So, when we read the Bible and see that He tells us to pursue certain things and avoid other things; He is saying those things because not only is it right but as Creator He knows what is best. We get in trouble when we start to think our way is better that God’s way, this is sin.

Psalm 119:80
May my heart be blameless in your statutes, that I may not be put to shame!

Fear of the Lord

If you were to ask someone what comes to mind when you hear the word “fear,” most would use examples of having a fear of snakes, heights, or death and so on. The principle being conveyed is one of wanting to stay away from those types of fears. We are scared of those things and thus we want nothing to do with them. However, when the Bible talks of the “fear of the Lord,” a totally different principle or concept is being conveyed. The Bible is God’s Word and in Proverbs 1:7 it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” The Bible is God’s way of revealing Himself to us and also revealing how we can live in a way that is pleasing to Him. It would make no sense if this fear being referred to meant to be “scared of”, thus making us want to stay away from Him, especially when the Bible’s purpose is the exact opposite. Rather, when we take the whole of scripture we see that the fear being referred to is more along the lines of reverential awe. Or to simply be more concerned about what God thinks of your life than anyone else. Thus to fear God in this sense is simply to submit to God, knowing that God’s ways are always better.

To see how scripture clarifies this concept, consider the following verses; In Psalm 112:1 it says, “Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments.” Proverbs 19:23 says, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.”

Forgiveness

Do I Really Need To?
Forgiveness is not simply a one-time event. I was in a situation where I was hurt and at one point I did forgive them. However, reminders of what had happened kept coming up and because I did not choose to forgive each time I was reminded of the person/event bitterness started creeping in. Without even realizing it I had started to harbor resentment and it inevitably affected every area of my life. Some situations/people bring deep hurt in your life, but my challenge to you is to ask God if this is an area you need help in.

Forgiveness and repentance are both things that should be practiced daily, yet I must admit that there have been many days in my life when I have practiced neither. Forgiveness and repentance are both gifts granted by God. Seek Christ for the strength to do both.

A Little Clarification
To add as a note of clarification; to forgive someone does not mean you have to trust him or her again. It would be absolute foolishness to trust some people again after knowing there past actions towards you. Yet it is necessary to forgive and many times this is something that is just between you and God.

God’s Word
Colossians 3:12-13
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.

Mark 11:25
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Ephesians 4:31-32
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Hebrews 12:14
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Reason for Pause

We found some sad and concerning statistics during research, which caused us to take some time to pause and reflect.

Those postponing marriage for the first time are at record highs; the highest rates since before the 1900’s. (1)
-Percent of men never married is almost 35% and women is almost 30%
-These rates are like those during times of war or natural disaster.

56% of those 18-34 years old that have never married desire to be. (2)
-26% Say the reason they are not married is because they have not found the right person.

50% of church going men have a pornography problem. (3)
-64% of U.S. men view pornography at least monthly. The number of Christian men viewing pornography is essentially equal to the national average broken down by age:
-79% men between the ages of 18 and 30 view pornography monthly.
-67% of men between the ages of 31 and 49 view pornography monthly.

80% of young evangelical Christian singles are sexually active. (4)
-30% of young single evangelical women get pregnant.
-40% of pregnancies end in abortion.
-37% of these women having abortions identify as Protestant.

STD’s are at epidemic rates in the US. (5)
-With 110 million infected out of 323 million population.
-50% of the new infections are in people ages 15-24.
-HPV accounts for over half of all STD’s.
-It can be spread not only through sex but by kissing.
-It causes cancer of the cervix, genitals, throat, neck and head.

Is the Church prepared or addressing these issues? (6)
-One study found 22% of 18-29 yr. old’s believe the church ignores real-world problems.
-33% feel they can not ask questions about these real problems.
-Young people want to be challenged and to talk about tough questions.

 

Sources
(1)
U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Censuses, 1890 to 1940, and Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, 1947 to 2015.
U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Censuses, 1950 to 1990, and Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, 1993 to 2015.
Mohler, Albert. “Reflecting on ‘The Mystery of Marriage’.” Boundless. http://www.boundless.org/relationships/2010/reflecting-on-the-mystery-of-marriage (retrieved March 21, 2016).
(2)
Newport, Frank and Joy Willke. “Most in U.S. Want Marriage, but Its Importance has Dropped.” Gallup. http://www.gallup.com/poll/163802/marriage-importance-dropped.aspx (retrieved March 28, 2016).
(3)
2014 ProvenMen.org Pornography Addiction Survey (conducted by Barna Group). The survey results are located at http://www.provenmen.org/2014pornsurvey/pornography-use-and-addiction
Genung, Mike. “How Many Porn Addicts are in Your Church?.” Crosswalk.com. http://www.crosswalk.com/church/pastors-or-leadership/how-many-porn-addicts-are-in-your-church-1336107.html (retrieved April 6, 2016).
(4)
”American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health.” Guttmacher Institute. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-ATSRH.html (retrieved March 28, 2016).
Charles, Tyler. “The Secret Sexual Revolution.” Relevant Magazine. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationship/features/28337-the-secret-sexual-revolution (retrieved April 6, 2016).
(5)
Gholipour, Bahar. “Hidden STD Epidemic: 110 Million Infections in the US.” LiveScience. http://www.livescience.com/48100-sexually-transmitted-infections-50-states-map.html (retrieved March 28, 2016).
Grounsell, Lauren. “Kissing overtakes smoking as leading risk for head and neck cancers: Top doctor warns of ‘tsunami’ of oral human papilloma virus cases.” Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3176772/Oral-HPV-cases-rise-causing-tsunami-head-neck-cancers.html?printingPage=true (retrieved April 13, 2016).
Erickson Gabbey, Amber and Jacquelyn Cafasso. “Human Papillomavirus Infection” Health line. http://www.healthline.com/health/human-papillomavirus-infection?print=true (retrieved April 13, 2016).
(6)
Kinnaman, David. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith. Baker Books, 2011.