From my Heart

photoToday, this morning, I am simply writing what I am thinking. I am not sure how this will come across.

Friends, I am hurting! Tears are literally welling up in my eyes as I am thinking. It pains me deeply to say what I am about to say. There is a certain reality that hits once I publish my thoughts. Once I speak or write I can never take back the words. The thoughts of my heart, my private reflections are about to go public. I cannot help it. Similar to Jeremiah, I have tried not to speak, but there is as if there is a fire in my bones and I have to give vent to the burning inside of me (Jeremiah 20:9).

I am fearful some will not understand. I am fearful that some will treat me differently.  I am afraid that some will think bad of me. So please read carefully.  Please understand me.  Know that I love you, each and every one of you. Please know I love God, Christ, and the Spirit. Understand that I believe the Bible to be the Word of God and that through His word He tells us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2Pe 1:3). I believe that God wants – no desires – all people to be with Him in Heaven (2Pe 3:9, 1Ti 2:4) and through Jesus the Christ (Messiah) God provides the only way back to Himself (John 14:6).

With that said, I am hurting.

  • I hurt for the world.  A world that seems to increasingly hate the Christ, and those that follow Him. A world I thought I would never see.  A world that at best pokes fun at Christianity and at worst puts followers of Christ in prison and to death, simply for confessing His name.
  • I cry over a world that dogmatically calls people of convictions different from their own, “bigots.”
  • I do not understand why the world is intolerant of Christians while accusing Christians of intolerance.
  • I hurt that our world is selfishly self-serving. Individuals and groups want more than acceptance, they want the removal of all consequences of their actions or beliefs and the elimination of all who disagree with them. This is IMPOSSIBLE.
  • I cry for the nation I live in – the United States of America.  I cry that we, as a nation, are embracing sin at an ever increasing rate.
  • I morn the violence against people of different races or gender.  I am ashamed that such prejudice even exists – especially among those who claim to follow the Christ.
  • I cry for the victims of abuse of all kinds.

There are more things I cry over. There is more that depresses me.  I am a relatively positive person, if you look up optimist you might even see my picture in the dictionary, but I do not feel optimistic about our world. We live in a world filled with what First Century Greeks would call:

  • pornos” – sexual immorality. This includes intimate hetero-sexual (male-female) relationships outside of marriage.
  • eidololatres” – idolaters. Those that worship any god but God.  Those that put any thing, person, activity, pleasure, recreation, etc. as priority over God.
  • moichos” – adulterers. Those that have sexual relations with someone other than their spouse. Those that have multiple divorces and remarriages that do not follow Jesus’ statement on marriage and divorce (Mat 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mar 10:2-12).
  • malachos” – effeminate or soft. This one is troublesome. I am not sure the entire meaning. My best understanding is that it describes men who try to look like women. In First Century Greek cultures, younger men would shave body hair, dress like women, offer themselves as temple prostitutes or as the “companion” of wealthy men. At the very least a modern equivalent would be what we know as cross-dressing or being transgender.
  • arsenokoites” – literally “man-chambering” or sexual relations between two men.  This is what we now call homosexuality. Such was a practice in the First Century especially among the cultural elite.
  • kleptes” – thieves. Those that steal from others.
  • pleonektes” – greedy. Those that covetously seek for their own gain not caring about others in the process. They are avaricious.
  • methusos” – drunkards. Those that use chemicals (specifically alcohol) to become high (intoxicated).
  • loidoros” – revilers. Those that look for and start fights (they are purposefully critical in an abusive or insulting way).
  • harpax” – extortionists or swindlers. They prey on others and cheat them out of their possessions.

That First Century list looks familiar.  I cringe to think the world is still the same 2000 years later. Surely we can evolve beyond such rapacity. But we have not, will not, and that hurts me deeply.

What is sadder still is that these same accusations are not only applicable to the world outside of Christ, but many who claim to follow Christ are just as guilty.  That is why after Paul composed this aforementioned list to Christians in 1Co 6:9-10, he continues, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Co 6:11).

Three thoughts and I leave this post in your hands. Three thoughts and I let you go about your day. Three thoughts as I read Paul’s admonition:

  1. Christians ought not to be harsh to those who practice sinful behaviors.  We ought to understand.  We were there, that was us.
  2. Those things (behaviors and attitudes) WERE who we were BEFORE we came to the Christ and gave our life to Him. Now we should put those things away and live for Him. He is now our life (Col 3:4) and we put away those things.
  3. Now our role is not to point people to sin. Those who sin are guilty and need GRACE and FORGIVENESS that is in Christ.  Let us point them to Christ and life in Him.  Let us not be a laser in the eyes or salt in an open wound but  on the contrary be a welcoming light and savoring salt (Mat 5:13-16).

– Scott

14 thoughts on “From my Heart

  1. Excellent post Scott. Paul too had a solicitude or mourning over the lost, those who were being deceived by Satan and their fleshly desires. We should have that too not just for the world around us but those within the church who have lost their love and zeal for God. I find it hard not to be pessimistic in today’s environment, but God is well aware of the struggles we face trying to live for him. He gives us all we need for life and godliness if we seek him first. Our job is to stand firm and faithful to the end and rest in his strength and provision. Hard times await us but it is no greater struggle than our savior Jesus had to face.

  2. Scott,

    Bless you!

    May more of us who are Christ-followers embrace this attitude, may we believe what we speak, may we live out God’s story with grace, gratitude and humility.

    Stand strong and cry more!

  3. Scott, I spoke last night at Plainview and my topic was “If the abundant life, then why is there so much religious hatred today?” I took my text from John 15 and 16. Jesus tells his disciples that the world hates them because:
    1. There is hatred because of the difference in the nature/habit of a person of the world and the Christian (15:19). Different values, goals, aspirations, etc. Christians live for Christ while the world lives for themselves.
    2. There is hatred because of our close association with the most hated, Christ. (15:20-21). Hatred is aimed squarely at the suffering of Christ because they refuse to have a Lord or Savior and feel no need for one. (See 1 Peter 4:12-13) The world cannot see themselves as sinful, therefore the death of Christ is mocked in their hearts. One cannot come to Christ sensing no need, no unworthiness, no sin. One cannot come with his head held high as a equal with God in salvation. Nor can one be his disciple and still have tolerance toward that which God has condemned.
    3. There is hatred because the message of Jesus convicts the world of sin (15:22-24). There was sin in the world before Christ and the Law of Moses showed them sin to be exceedingly sinful (Romans 7:13). But when Christ came into the world, there was light like never before. He was the perfect revelation of the Father. Even today, he is still the same light to all the world. They must either embrace Christ or hate him. There is no middle ground. And because you hold to Christ and his word, you will be hated as well. Perhaps the greatest gains of what has happened recently is the formation of a ‘New’ fundamental religion called Tolerance. It tends to elevate the idea tht tolerance should be above the doctrine of Christ. We have heard this before amoung the churches of Christ – Unity in diversity. Well here it is full blown. Jesus never prayed for unity based on diversity of ideas and belief systems. In the moment a sinner has understood Christ and his rule of life, either the grace of God takes hold and the sinner cries for mercy, for cleansing, for life, for a new heart made in the nature and image of God; or else he hates the light and the fact that it exposed the dirt of his life, and sinks back down into his self-depravity. This is the principal ground of the world’s hatred.
    Three things will happen when you are a Christian:
    1. Terrible persecution will come your way (16:2)
    2. Some of the worst persecution will be done in the name of God (16:2-3)
    3. But these things are not to frighten us, but enable us to stand (16:1)
    In the final analysis, Jesus told them as he tells us today:
    “In the world you will have trouble, be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” God’s promise will never fail and Christ will never leave us or forsake his own.

  4. One more thing: I was talking to another preacher friend this morning on the Supreme Court ruling and its effects. He pointed me to Ezekiel chapter 16 and specifically verse 49. God was calling judgment upon Irael for their transgression and compared them to Sodom, “Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, PRIDE, FULNESS OF BREAD, AND ABUNDANCE OF IDLENESS was in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” The sexual issue is the symptom of the sins already being practiced. Once the sin of homosexuality is pronounced as “natural affection”, it then becomes the controlling mechanism for a worldly agenda. That is why, I believe Sodom had to be completely destroyed.

    At the risk of sounding like a consiracy freak:
    Notice the ‘Economy’ of the Homosexual agenda. They cannot reproduce so they must recruit. There is no need to hold any thing as an inheritance because they cannot honestly pass anything on. They are self-absorbed so what ever they recieve, the spend on themselves and their agenda. While they might ‘help’ others, it is under the guise of a recruitment tool. The can never be honest in their help of the poor and needy because of their unnatural mindset of reality.

    Notice the ‘Ethics’ of the Homosexual agenda. It is not built on God’s ethics but a false replica of it. There is an attempt to mislead others in believing it is a good ethic, but it is based on what is relative for them and not what is good for all. It misleads people into thinking it is an ethic of love and openness when in reality it is one of self and empty of service to others. This is not the ethics of God. God’s ethics are found in His nature and character. Anything built on man’s desires and unatural affection will never be proper or lasting.

    Notice the ‘Education’ of the Homosexual agenda. This is the recruiting ground and how they ‘reproduce’ those of their kind. The phsychology or discipline of life is far from God’s discipline. They live for the moment and utilize the education system to promote it from the beginning through graduation. At that time they have the mind set on self gratification which then plays into their agenda. The education system begins the child in exercises that promotes self decission making. Role playing is a key element during the educational process and is now continued through adulthood by on-line games. Have you ever wondered why there are so many of the millenial age group addicted to on-line games? Role play and simulations are forms of experiential learning (Russell & Shepherd, 2010). Learners take on different roles, assuming a profile of a character or personality, and interact and participate in diverse and complex learning settings.

    The goal has been to blur the lines of reality and fantacy. What seems harmless builds an experiential life style that now translates out into the real world. The ultimate goal has been to ‘get rid of the God syndrome’ through the use of such experiential exercises, this according to one of the founders of the role play agenda. Getting God out allows the mind to live for the here and now, not concerned about tomorrow of a day of judgment. Have you wondered why the kid shows on television do not have parents or, if they do, they are characterized by low intelligence? It has been an effor to give rise to the ‘self’ experiential events that continue the brain washing. This is one factor as to why we see greater violence in schools, riots, and family violence. Children who have been taught that they have the ‘right’ above their parents and have practiced no discipline or respect for others, grow up with a sense of self-gratification being the top priority of their existance. So when there is something that causes them emotional pain, they think nothing of destroying a person or property. Our society is now in full blown rebellion against God as it promotes riots as a proper response to what they feel is an unjust event. Get ready for more violence and attacks on Christian values because there is no brakes on the train headed toward complete hedonism.

    But Christians know the truth: Revelation 19:6 “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!”

  5. Scott I too mourn for our world today especially our grandchildren and their children, if Christ doesn’t come first. Lately ppl need something and are searching for something to believe in. We as Christians have to be more tolerant to all ppl. No we don’t have to like what they do or how they like. Hate the sin NOT the sinner. Christ died for all of us, black ,white, homosexual ,heterosexual, black or white. We all sin and fall short. Thank you for your post Scott

  6. Pingback: Wednesday Link List | Thinking Out Loud

  7. Pingback: Top Posts by Views | The Morning Drive

  8. Pingback: Ten Year Review | The Morning Drive

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.