God is not a communist

Egypt: Philae

Egypt: Philae (Photo credit: Brooklyn Museum)

Many apologists for the progressive agenda, especially the Social Gospel, want to portray our God and Jesus Christ as being socialists. The examples the progressives give for this are about giving to charity, being generous, and sharing everything in common as the early Christians did in the Acts of the Apostles. This view of Christianity is flawed in that there are many more examples of God and Jesus pointing out to their followers that people should be self-reliant and entrepreneurial.

One story that jumps out of the Old Testament is in the book of Numbers. When the Hebrews were liberated from slavery in Egypt and were wandering in the desert, God provided bread from heaven to provide for their nourishment. After a while they began to complain because they were used to eating meat in Egypt and began to demand meat.

The Lord heard their wailing and told Moses to tell the people this:

“Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!’ Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month – until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it – because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’” – Numbers 11:18-20 (NIV)

One may wonder why God would want His people to loathe meat. He had been giving them enough with the Manna. He provided for all of His people exactly what they needed every day; and on the day before the Sabbath, He gave them twice as much. This was so they did not have to labor for food on the Sabbath.

This passage is anti-socialist because it demonstrates how people who rely solely on others for their needs to be met become dissatisfied with what they get. They will always want more and what they think is better. The people had even begun longing for their chains again so that they could eat meat. They had begun to throw the gift of freedom and Manna back into God’s face because they were not satisfied with simply having their needs met. Since they were so unappreciative, He gave them so much meat that He hoped they would choke.

Here in the United States it seems that we have come to this point. A large percentage of the population have been getting benefits from the government for so long that they are now expecting more and more. What began as programs to make sure people have enough to eat and basic healthcare, temporarily, has evolved into free cellular phones and free housing for generations of poor people. The Lord was providing Manna in the desert as a temporary measure for the Hebrew people to get them from Egypt to the Promised Land. He never intended for the Manna to be a permanent food source as government programs to assist the poor were never intended to be permanent. People must learn to be self-reliant because as in the Old Testament the Manna will stop coming from heaven eventually. In a paraphrase of former British Prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s comments on socialist programs – the government is not God and will eventually run out of other people’s money.

Small but mighty

English: Moses Sees the Promised Land from Afa...

English: Moses Sees the Promised Land from Afar, as in Numbers 27:12, by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a sermon a few months ago (I took notes) my pastor spoke on the power of God and the power of giving. He made three points: God is God and is present and faithful, the measure one gives will be the measure you get back, and the more we give – the more people can be brought to Christ. Many conservatives in our nation feel like they are standing in a crowded room shouting at the top of their lungs, and no one is listening. We can see the detrimental actions of our society and our government tearing down our moral culture and our religion.

In Deuteronomy, Chapter 7, God reminds us how small the Hebrew race was when they were brought into the Promised Land. God drove out seven nations that were more powerful than the Hebrews. God also reminds us that when we keep His commandments and love Him, then He will bless His people beyond measure. This scripture gives us hope as Christian conservatives. If we persevere as the Hebrews and continue to love God and follow His law, we will be blessed.

In Psalm 37 David writes about how those who follow the Lord must not be envious of evil men because they will wither and die away. He then says that if we trust and delight in the Lord, we will enjoy safe pasture and give you the desires of your heart. He also says that if we commit ourselves to the way of the Lord that our righteousness will shine like the dawn. We conservatives must trust in God and continue to follow in His way. When we do this, we shine through the darkness that is covering our land.

In the Gospel of Mark we have an example of extreme generosity. Jesus was preaching when it became late and the people were hungry. The only food the apostles had were five loaves and two fish. Jesus told them to feed the people. All of the people ate their fill and there were plenty of leftovers. The generosity of the apostles, in giving the little that they had, blessed numerous people. We can be generous with more than material things. Charity is important. However, many of us have knowledge and faith that can be shared with others.

Even though we feel like a minority and that the world is against us, we have the God of the universe on our side. The same God who drove out mighty nations before the Hebrews is our God. The same God who promised us through David that he will provide for all of our needs is our God. The same God who worked through the apostles’ generosity to feed thousands of followers is our God. The media would make us believe that we are insignificant and irrelevant. That is what the Hebrews thought of themselves before they became a mighty nation. The early Christians thought this as well. We may be small, but we are mighty. There is still hope. Amen.

Moral Relativism versus Truth

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peal...

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1805. New-York Historical Society. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have grown up with the axiom, “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” Meaning, there is a guiding morality that should govern society. During the last several decades there has been a growing movement in liberal thinking that morality is relative. If a behavior is accepted in one culture, then it should be tolerated by our culture. This is not only true among cultures, but liberals and progressives have expanded this thinking down to the family unit and the individual. The moral code of our society has been turned upside down from having absolute Truth to each individual finding truth within him or herself.

Most members of the scientific community believe that the universe has laws that it must follow. They also believe in Occam’s Razor, the simple solution is probably the right one. However, when it comes to morality, members of the progressive movement want to say that there is no overarching morality which should govern human behavior. This philosophy has been pervasive in the last three decades where the attitude has been “if it feels good, do it.” People have not been encouraged to judge behavior based on right and wrong but on whether it feels right or wrong.

Because of this flip-flop in moral thinking, many good people have found it necessary to justify their behavior and the behavior of others. Rather than using Truth and Right as their measuring stick, they grade behavior on whether it feels good or is acceptable to the person participating in immoral behavior. A situation may arise in their family that they know is wrong and sinful. However, today’s society requires them to justify the sinful behavior because society now requires us to “tolerate” it. If this behavior is not tolerated, then the participant in the sin may get his or her feelings hurt or be caused to feel bad about himself or herself.

What is Truth and Right? Truth can be found in the moral structure of man from the Code of Hammurabi to the Ten Commandments to the Declaration of Independence. Judeo-Christian tradition holds that humanity should treat others the way they want to be treated and live a life that strives to be pure and holy. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the words that humans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, happiness was not defined as “if it feels good, do it.” Jefferson’s definition of happiness was the agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good; that state of a being in which his desires are gratified, by the enjoyment of pleasure without pain; felicity; but happiness usually expresses less than felicity, and felicity less than bliss. So what then is the enjoyment of good? Jefferson’s definition of good was valid; legally firm; not weak or defective; having strength adequate to its support; as a good title; a good deed; a good claim. Another definition for good in the eighteenth century was having moral qualities best adapted to its design and use, or the qualities which God’s law requires; virtuous; pious; religious; applied to persons, and opposed to bad, vicious, wicked, evil.

The enjoyment of good meant following a good life under the guidance of Judeo-Christian values which are found in the Bible and the Torah. The pursuit of happiness, therefore, is not pursuit of immoral behavior, but a life that God would have us live. Liberty and freedom are to be enjoyed within a moral framework.

Under moral relativism there is no sin. Since we all live by our own individual moral code, one’s moral individualism is no better than another’s, unless of course, you adhere to Judeo-Christian values, then you are intolerant and judgmental. Here are some examples of moral relativism from recent events in the United States: same-sex marriage, Casey Anthony, and Sharia Law. Progressives would ask, “Whom does this hurt? No one outside these situations is affected by what these people do.”

Same-sex marriage confuses children as to the proper relationships between the sexes. Natural law states that the proper sexual relationship is between a man and a woman. The jury in the Casey Anthony trial was convinced that this dysfunctional family unit caused Casey to lie about where her daughter was for six months while she lived it up at bars. Now no one will know what happened to Kaylee because Casey lied about where she was. Sharia law has been used to decide court cases rather than using statutes of state and federal government between two Muslims. This sets a disturbing precedent because it opens the door for Sharia to be used to adjudicate cases between Muslims and Christians. Sharia also considers female circumcision, honor killings of girls, and marrying young girls to old men against their will to be lawful. Immorality reaches beyond the sins of individuals because sin affects everyone.

If moral relativism continues to be tolerated, society will decay into anarchy. We have seen examples of this with the Occupy Wall Street protests. Protesters are breaking municipal laws. Law enforcement is not enforcing the laws. Progressive government leaders at all levels are siding with the protesters. One must ask, “Where will it end?” Their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble ended when the assembly stopped being peaceful. Vandalism, public sex, and public excretion are not peaceful.

I pray that our society has people in it who are willing to stand for what is True and Right. We as individuals need to make our hearts right with God. We must repent of our sins. We must also judge others based on their fruit. If they call themselves Christians, we are called to guide them back to the Way. We must also live as an example to others to show that the way of Truth and Life is the Right one. We must live this way even if we are persecuted. We must live this way even if the persecution comes from our own families and friends.

Changing the world with Jesus

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the recent mini-series The Bible that was broadcast on the History Channel, Jesus spoke with Peter. Peter asked him what they were going to do. Jesus replied that they would change the world. One may ask if Christ did change the world and if He is still changing the world today through His disciples.

As a disciple of Christ I sometimes wonder if I have changed the world with my witness of Jesus Christ in my life. I wonder, sometimes, if I am really experiencing God when I worship on Sunday. I wonder what God expects from me as His follower. I wonder if I am really close to God or am I going through the motions of what I think a Christian should be.

The world and society today is trying to eliminate God (the God worshiped by Christians and Jews) while atheism and Islam are becoming accepted modes of belief. It is a great temptation for Christians to compromise what they have been taught about God in the scriptures to be tolerant of the new morality. A new philosophy that is being touted is moral relativism which teaches that there is no absolute Truth and each individual’s truth is just as valid as anyone else’s.

People have forgotten that we are created in God’s image. We were created on purpose. Humanity is not an accident that “evolved” out of a pool of goo. We are transformed to be more like God as we mature in our faith. The more we know God, the more we know His grace and forgiveness, and the more we become like Him.
There is no way that we can see the world the way God sees it. Since He is God and the ruler of the universe, there is no way we can comprehend our world in the context in which He sees it. However, as we grow in His grace, we can change our perspective and see the world more in the context of God.

So, how do I fit into this picture? When I was a student in high school, I often walked to school through an empty lot full of trees. One morning was looking down at the ground and thought of the worms and insects that were scurrying busily under the dead leaves at my feet. I thought how large I must seem to those animals as they toiled on the earth. Then I looked up at the trees. They were very tall. I seemed insignificant next to them. Then I looked at the sky and saw how truly small I was in relation to the entire world and the universe.

This experience could have been very discouraging. I was beginning a long journey in my walk with Christ. My life has not been easy; but even though I may be insignificant and small in the eyes of the world, God loves me. I know this for a fact because I know that I would be dead today if it was not for the grace and forgiveness of God.

So, how have I changed the world? I do not know. I do know that I have a wonderful husband who I share in my walk with Jesus. We make each other stronger in our relationship with Him. I have two children who know Jesus and set an example of how respectful children should behave in society. Maybe I have changed the world in this small way.

Do I experience Christ in worship? Yes. When I go into worship with the right mindset looking for Christ, He meets me there through the Holy Spirit. What is expected of me? I believe Christ expects me to be as much like Him as I can possibly be. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. He expects me to strive for perfection. Am I close to God? I believe that I am. I try to read my scriptures every day. I look at the world and can see where God is working. I can see where He is being ignored and attacked. One thing that God taught us in the scriptures is that we as Christians are now the physical body of Christ. It is up to me to show the world who Christ is. We must not be discouraged by the world. We are here to change it along side Jesus Christ.