Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Marriage Conundrum

  1. The formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife. 
  2. A relationship between married people or the period for which it lasts. 

  1. A confusing and difficult problem or question. 
  2. A question asked for amusement, typically one with a pun in its answer; a riddle

This debate about marriage recently has caused quite a stir. The Supreme Court ruling to deem DOMA unconstitutional is quite a conundrum. If one were to define marriage in the dictionary, it would certainly imply a union between a man and a woman. But this definition has recently been challenged. I believe this challenge of the definition has caused much of the fuel for the fire.

Here are three questions to consider as this issue is debated:

Is it normal for people to react against the redefining of a widely held assumption? YES--it is! 

Is it normal for things to become more "progressive" as society norms change? YES--it is! 

Does truth change because society deems it so? Well...That would depend on one's worldview (that is our set of beliefs in which we view the world through). Think of it as our filter or lens which influences our actions.

So back to the debate. If differing worldviews oppose each other, how must we as individuals (with conflicting worldviews) proceed with gentleness and respect in society? This is a tough question because one axiom I have known to be true is that NO ONE is truly tolerant. If one holds a strong belief or conviction in something they are not going to just roll over and forsake their belief and embrace someone else's. Our beliefs and convictions are embedded in our worldview. I have a right to my belief and conviction, as do you. So, if someone says that gay-marriage is destructive to a society, will they be treated with gentleness and respect from the other side? Same is true if someone else says that it is their right to marry anyone they want and should have the same rights or benefits as other married couples. Will they be treated with gentleness and respect?

I definitely believe that the recent ruling goes against my worldview, however, I will say that a court ruling does not shatter my view of God, faith, or my love for people (regardless of race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation). The laws I want to follow are the Great Commandments--LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS. I want to submit to Jesus and allow Him to my source of truth. I have been challenged to be transformed. This is not an easy process as I have my biases and sin, but I must not cave in to a society that decides to redefine, revise, or suppress truth. I must live confidently in my convictions, but be humble enough to realize that God is not finished in the transformation process yet. I am still growing and learning.

Some of you may be wondering how that last paragraph fits with this topic. Well...many who disagree with my commentary may get angry and disagree with my worldview, but the more important question at hand is, "Will you still treat me with gentleness and respect even if I oppose your view?

 I hope I can do the same with others (show gentleness and respect) and follow Truth even when it is unpopular.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me."
If Jesus is the Truth (which I believe He is) then I will follow Him. Seeking, repenting, growing, and maturing!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

That Dreadful Day

by Shannon Huetter

How dark and bleak that dreadful day, 
When Death rejoices at His demise.
Comfort's been taken, no words could say
That our Savior is dead; hear the cries!

For all seems lost and gone away;
Our hope is shattered and hangs by a thread.
Who would thus dare to enter the fray? 
Not even the scattered sheep that He led.

But a light shone forth as the earth did quake,
For Death was not able His body to take.

The stone rolled away and burst forth Life
While the sting of despair was still yet rife.

For this is a story no mind could contrive...
Our Savior is risen, and He is Alive!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Jezebel Culture

Read 1 Kings 16:29-34

“He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him...”

I can remember as a child going to my dad’s house which was on a lake. I can remember my summers there vividly as my brother and I would swim on our raft that had a 20 foot high dive platform. As I climbed to the top I can recall how excited I was to perform my specialty pencil dive. This is when you point your feet and put arms at side and go in feet first and jump in abandoning any fear of what was below the surface of the water.

As I got ready to jump I did not pay attention to which side the high dive was on. The raft had not swung out to the drop off so when I jumped, I plummeted through the shallower water where my feet hit the dark cold muck at the bottom of the lake. The suction seemed endless, but it was the tall weeds that frightened me the most. The more I struggled to resurface for air the more my body became tangled in the weeds. As I struggled and struggled to resurface without being able to break free from the grip of the weeds, I realized that I was going to drown. I can remember just saying to myself, “Please help me,” and I stopped struggling and the weeds let go, and I broke the surface of the water gasping for air.

This story is a metaphor for being aware of the tangle of sin.  Sin is like weeds that lurk below the surface, but even though we know the weeds are there, we are not discerning, and before we know it, we are tangled. That is how it is with sin.

King Ahab was an evil king and his wife, Jezebel, has become a metaphor for sexual promiscuity and enticing people away from God. We live in a culture today that has been entangled in sin and enticed away from God. We live in a Jezebel culture. We have lost any discernment of truth and abandoned any fear of the consequences. How can a culture survive with this attitude toward sin and self-gratification?  The answer is we can’t.

That is why we must develop discernment and fight the battle being waged against families and set ourselves apart from our culture. But we must never withdraw from the culture. We are to be “in the world, but not of it.”

Take some time this week looking at your life. Ask yourself if you have been enticed by the Jezebel culture and been entangled by sin. If so, ask God to bring you back and then engage in the battle. Remember that when we turn from sin and turn toward God, he will use us mightily.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dead Man Walking

Have you ever seen anyone raised from the dead (except for in zombie movies)? I mean, imagine the scene at the tomb of Lazarus in John 11 when Jesus says, "Lazarus, come out!" And out walks a dead man who is no longer dead.

I am inspired by this story for a few reasons:

1) Jesus actually delays two more days after hearing the news of his sick friend Lazarus--which teaches us that God's timing is not always our timing.

2) After seeing Mary and Martha weeping for the loss of their brother we see that Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Why--because Jesus hates sin and the devastation it wreaks in the world.  "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God."

3) "Jesus wept." Jesus demonstrates his humanity.

4) Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Jesus demonstrates his divinity.

Things to ponder:

The same power that raised Lazarus from the dead is the same power that helps us live a life that amplifies Jesus and glorifies God. We are called to live radical lives for Jesus.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blessed are the Meek

I have been pondering some of Jesus' words in Matthew 5. In verse 5 he says:

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."
Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the Old Testament, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. --From

I find it interesting that it is the meek that inherit the earth, not the proud and overly egotistical that seem to be glorified in our day. God's economy is upside down from the world's values. We are called as followers of Jesus to live radically different lives.

Where have you seen meekness at work in your life or the life of others? 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Are We There Yet?

I can remember as a kid and vividly as a parent on long family vacations saying or hearing, "Are we there yet?" My response is most often, "Nope! Not yet?...Pretty soon!" I can almost hear my kids asking that question...or how about this one (whining) "When are we going to be there?" At this point my response turns much more sarcastic, "When we get there I suppose!"

I am sure we could all recall a similar scenario, but how often do we ask God that question either subliminally or intentionally in our hearts? When we are faced with a difficult situation and long for a better future, do we grow impatient with God and begin asking Him the question over and over again, "Are we there yet?" "When will this thing be over?"

Isn't it nice to know that God knows exactly when we will arrive at our destination. The length it takes is for our good and building of character. Listen to what the James 1:2-4 says:,

"Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds. For you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that we may become mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Next time we are faced with difficulty, we can trust God that He is helping us mature in our faith, and we can consider it joy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Things Grow in the Desert

The desert can be an arid and desolate place, but it is easy to miss the beauty. Many people miss all the growth that takes place in such an arid place. Could it be the intense conditions that make the growth more amazing?

Like a desert life can be just as intense. I am feeling like I am in the desert, not just physically, but spiritually. I am being tested by the climate of circumstances and unknowns. God is teaching me to rely on Him. He is teaching me to live in the present and enjoy His provision for today and not become disappointed by the unrealized future. This is hard for me because I am future focused. I tend to dream about a brighter future and in doing so I can miss the blessings right in front of me.

The desert has taught me to appreciate the growth in this time of unknowns and realize that growth takes time and requires patience.

"God help me to trust you, even when things are uncertain. I know you use tough times to shape us and bring about growth."