Encouragement From The Word

Blowin’ in the wind

The wind storm experienced in Toronto on Tuesday vividly illustrated the importance of having a solid foundation.  Late in the afternoon, around the time of the rush hour, a light standard tumbled from the McCowan Road bridge onto Highway 401.  When city workers came to inspect the damage, they discovered that not only had one fallen, but others were quite loose on their moorings, mostly due to corrosion.

When street lights are properly anchored, even the strongest winds can be withstood.  But, thanks mostly to the liberal use of road salt on Toronto streets, the foundations of these poles have been compromised.  Thankfully, there was only one destroyed, and no one injured as a result.

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus about discovering our spiritual gifts and developing into mature believers:  “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth” (Ephesians 4.14, NLT).  It’s so easy for us to be blowin’ in the wind.  But God’s will for us is that we stand firm in even the stiffest of breezes. 

As I observe society today, I see varying degrees of spiritual maturity.  I must admit, though, that I often see demonstrated an alarming lack of spiritual maturity among church-going people.  The reason for this, I believe, is an ignorance of the Scriptures.  If we read the Bible, we can learn God’s will; indeed, there is no other way to learn God’s will than to read the Bible.  That’s why it is of vital importance for church leaders to teach the Scriptures.  When the pulpit ignores the Word, so does the church.  And when the church ignores the Word, its foundations are compromised – whether it chooses to acknowledge this or not.

It might not be trendy to take the Scripture seriously.  It certainly isn’t politically correct to do so.  But if people who claim to follow Jesus don’t take it seriously – from Genesis to Revelation – we’ll find the church blowin’ in the wind – and I don’t mean the wind of the Spirit.

Jesus said, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock” (Matthew 7.24-25, NLT).

 How’s your faith in the midst of the storm?  You know what to do.

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Defending the faith

Christophobia?

“Christophobia” might be seen as a new word.  As a word freak, I knew what it meant, but I’m not sure I’d ever read it in a sentence – until today.

 

You can read at length about Christophobia here, and in just about every national newspaper you can find from time to time.  The concept behind the word is simple:  some people are irrationally afraid of Jesus.  

 

That doesn’t make any sense, does it?  Why would anyone be afraid of the One who came to save us from our sins?  Yet there are people who show their irrational fear of Jesus in the form of persecution of believers, all over the world.

 

It is said that the twentieth century was the century of the Christian martyr.  More people died because of their devotion to Jesus in the twentieth century than in any previous era.  But it’s not politically correct to say so.  In fact, it’s not politically correct to say much about Jesus, unless you’re bashing him or his followers.  And yet, here in Canada particularly, we say that we are a multicultural, pluralist society.  But that seems to come with an ‘ABC’ caveat:  we are multicultural and pluralistic, and we welcome any but Christian.

 

Our politicians seem to forget that many of Canada’s immigrants are followers of Christ.  Some others, in my personal experience, come to Canada to explore the claims of Christ.  Yet our leaders are afraid to express Christian values for fear of jamming them down someone’s throat.  Last time I checked, there was a difference between ‘expressing’ and ‘jamming down the throat’.

 

It is a sad state of affairs when Canada, whose roots are more decidedly Christian than even our neighbours to the south, turns its back on its foundational principles in favour of something more politically correct.  The truly sad thing is that we have the “right” to turn our backs on our foundational principles because those foundational principles are, in fact, biblically based.  We owe the vast majority of our positive social movements – health care, voting rights, etc. – to the type of democracy envisioned for people in Scripture.

 

How do we stamp out Christophobia?  God’s Word has something to say about that:  perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4.18, NIV).  The opposite of fear is love, just as the opposite of hate is love.  If followers of Jesus want to stamp out Christophobia, we need to demonstrate to the world that God is love through our own acts of love.  When people see something different in you that they want to have, they’ll stop throwing stones at you and start asking you faith questions.