Monday, May 20, 2013

Where do we go from Gosnell?

Last week, Philadelphia abortion provider, Kermit Gosnell, was found guilty on three counts of first-degree murder for cutting the spinal cords of three babies who were born alive. A lesser-known fact of the trial is that he was also convicted of 21 counts of abortion of the unborn who were 24 weeks or older, a violation of Pennsylvania law.

This case, after a period of obviously being underreported on by many major news outlets, has been on the public stage. I will not outline in detail the unspeakable conditions of Gosnell’s abortion facility or the graphic nature of what takes place during an abortion.  I do believe that responsible adults must be educated in regards to the nature of the abortion process, down to the graphic details (especially before they decide they want to defend the practice).  Be sure to be mentally prepared as possible for what you will learn ( and

It seems that the “pro-life” and the “pro-choice” (terms used accommodatingly) sides are both rejoicing in Gosnell’s conviction.  The “pro-life” side rejoices that this man is being brought to justice and the horrors of abortion are being put out in public view.  The hope is that more people will see that Gosnell is not an isolated incident, but rather an only slightly exaggerated model of what is taking place in abortion clinics all over the country, namely the violent murder of innocent human beings in the name of a “woman’s right to choose.”

The “pro-choice” side believes that Gosnell is being brought to justice.  Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement: “Justice was served to Kermit Gosnell today and he will pay the price for the atrocities he committed.”  Hogue continues, “We hope that the lessons of the trial do not fade with the verdict.  Anti-choice [i.e. “pro-life”, TJC], and their unrelenting efforts to deny women access to safe and legal abortion care, will only drive more women to back-alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell.”

Notice how the “pro-choice” advocate attempts to separate what Gosnell has done and what normally takes place with “safe and legal” abortion care.  This is common rhetoric of cowardice for those who will not own up to what takes place during a “safe and legal” abortion.  This is the same rhetoric set forth by Bill Clinton and repeated by our current President.  When asked about the Gosnell trial on April 17, President Obama said, “What I can say is this: … I think President Clinton said it pretty well when he said, ‘Abortion should be safe, legal and rare.” The sentiment might sound nice, but reality slices off two of those ideals.  Courtesy of Roe v. Wade, abortion is certainly legal.  But is it safe and rare? 

Is it rare? Consider this: two out of every five pregnancies in New York City end in abortion.  If you were conceived in the Bronx, you would almost be more likely to be aborted than born alive (Bureau of Vital Statistics).  The Guttmacher Institute reported that almost 20% of all pregnancies in the United States end in abortion.  Conclusion: Abortion is not rare.

Is it safe? It depends on how one would define safety.  Safety can be defined as “the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.” Does what takes place in any abortion facility fit that definition?  I’m not referring to the statistically insignificant situations where a mother’s life is in real and present danger because of the life in her womb (less than 1% of abortions according to 

Is the elective abortion procedure safe for the mother? Actually, even under “sterile” conditions, abortion is more dangerous to the mother than childbirth. One researcher states, “The evidence overwhelmingly proves that the morbidity and mortality rates of legal abortion are several times higher than that for carrying a pregnancy to term” (  That is not to mention other significant physical and mental health issues that come to mothers who have abortions.  Not only are these facts seemingly ignored by the “pro-choice” lobby, they are also not adequately communicated by so-called “health care providers” to mothers considering abortion.

How about the safety of the child?  Should not the mother’s womb be the safest place in the world for a baby?  Has it not been so designed?  Oh, but many would argue that the baby in the womb is not technically a human life and therefore does not have a right to be protected.  Really?  The logic for this does not exist.  From a scientific, moral and common sense point of view, human life begins at conception.  The only difference between a newly conceived human being and a full-grown adult human being is size, level of development, environment and degree of dependency.  We would never apply this same logic in determining a person’s “humanness” outside of the womb.  If so, small people would be less human than big people.  A twelve year old would be more human that a toddler.  Someone’s humanness would differ depending on his or her spatial location.  A person who is dependent on dialysis would have less human value than someone who was completely healthy.  Are “pro-choicers” willing to accept these conclusions?  If not, why is this logic applied to life in the womb?

When pressed on the real issues, “pro-choicers” are forced to retreat to pathetic and misleading rhetoric about “rights”, “choice”, “freedom”, and “safety.”

Murder is defined as “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.” The overwhelming majority of abortions are premeditated by the parties involved. To “kill” is to “cause the death of.”  Abortions are performed to cause the death of an already living being.  If that being is a human being, abortion is murder.  If the being is not a human, by definition, abortion is not murder.  The crux of the abortion debate should be whether or not the life in the womb is a human being.  As I have already shown, it is absurd to argue that the life in the womb is not human.

Where do we go from Gosnell?  Will we turn a blind eye to the “silent holocaust” going on around us?  Will we leave it for someone else to handle?  Will we pretend that Gosnell is an isolated incident and we have nothing more to worry about? I certainly hope none of these are viable options for you.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Love That Hates (Romans 12:9)

Hannibal Barca was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, military general of all time.  You may know him as ‘Hannibal the Annihilator’ or ‘Hannibal the Conqueror’.  He was the general of the great and storied world empire of Carthage in Northern Africa.  Rome nearly fell two hundred years before the ministry of Christ because of Hannibal’s rabid military pursuits against it.  Against all odds, Hannibal nearly destroyed the great empire of Rome.  How was the mighty general Hannibal so driven to defeat the Roman Empire?  It was because as a sacrifice to pledge to the Carthaginian god, Hannibal’s father made Hannibal vow to hate Rome forever and never surrender to it.

To Christians who are born again into God’s family (Jn. 3:3; Gal. 3:26-27), the heavenly Father charges to hate evil and never surrender.  In describing characteristics of mind and action that are to characterize Christians, Paul declared, “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Rom. 12:9).  Children of God are to imitate the heavenly Father who is pure, holy and good by His very nature.  Because God’s nature is such, anything contrary to His nature is wholly against Him.  Therefore, Christians should be wholly against those things.  It is rather interesting in this chapter, immediately following a command to love is a command to hate.  It is a praiseworthy and necessary thing to hate evil and to hate sin if one so desires to please God.  The hate stems from a love for God. 

Love is not a blind sentiment.  On the contrary, it is discerning.  It commits itself to the good of the other regardless of the cost to self.  This love is so passionately devoted to its beloved object that it hates every evil that is incompatible with His highest welfare.  No doubt, whoever does not hate evil cannot love or retain virtue.  One has said, “Refusing to condemn evil in whatever form it takes or tolerating evil for whatever reason when there is within our power the ability to do something about it, is no longer love.”  For the person that would love God, there must be a healthy hatred of moral evil and sin wherever it is to be found. 

So it is true that to hate evil and hold fast to that which is good is something much more than a generic platitude.  It is a cultivation of a love for God that can only grow in the garden of obedience to His word. When it comes to loving God, we have to find out what He hates (i.e. evil, those things contrary to His nature) and what He loves (i.e. good, those things consistent with His nature). 

The problem is that the line between good and evil is blurred in the minds of many.  Many seem to fail step number one; i.e. identifying what is evil and what is good.  I fear that many today, because of ignorance, believe they are pleasing God (or at least the God is unconcerned) with their lifestyle, when in fact they are invoking His wrath.  Isaiah pronounced doom to those who “call evil good, and good evil” (Isa. 5:20).  Because of this danger, the Christian must learn to discern the Lord’s will.  To discern between good and evil requires disciplined training in God’s word: “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).  We are to “test all things” and “hold fast what is good” (1 Thes. 5:21).  Once we discern what is evil, we must cultivate a hatred for that evil.  Just like we can grow in our love for God, we can grow in our hatred for sin. 

We must all understand that hating evil and cleaving to good are both necessary sides to the “loving God” coin.  They are a package deal.  You cannot have one without the other.  One cannot adequately appreciate, associate and cling to that which is good without a bitter disdain for evil. One cannot have a proper loathing for evil without bonding to virtue.  Yet, it would appear that many today claim to “love God” but do not so much as blush at the gross immorality that it taking place all around them.  We only deceive ourselves if we claim to love God when we will not feel even the least bit of righteous indignation when His goodness is scandalized.

May we all so have the mind of Christ that we learn to develop a bitter hatred for sin and evil and the desire to be bonded to the good.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Can We Understand the Bible?

Many individuals are of the conviction that the Bible cannot be properly understood.  Perhaps they are discouraged by the wide range of contradictory doctrines that fly under the banner of so-called ‘Christianity.’ Perhaps their ‘religious leader’ has told them that understanding Scripture is a privilege reserved primarily for those who have been ‘ordained’ as ‘clergy.’  Or maybe it is the case that they believe that since the Bible is a book supposedly written by God that it is written in some sort of cryptic, mystical language. 

It is true that some portions of God’s word are more difficult to understand than others.   The apostle Peter said that Paul, in his letters spoke “of these things, in which are some things hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16). 

However, on the whole, and especially in regard to what someone needs to understand and know to be saved, we can understand the Bible.  The Bible says, “belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17 ASV).  Belief (i.e. faith) is essential to salvation: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).  Therefore, biblical belief presupposes a ‘hearing’ or understanding of God’s word.  Paul wrote under the assumption that his readers could understand exactly what he was trying to communicate: “When you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4).  “Mystery” in that verse does not mean something that is impossible to be understood with certainty.  Rather, it refers a thing that was previously unknown but now is known.  Paul prayed for the recipients of his letter, “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:17-18).  Furthermore, Paul exhorted, “do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).  Notice from these verses how Paul emphasized that we can understand what God’s will is.

From this small selection of passages, one who claims the Bible is God’s book would be hard-pressed to hold the position that the biblical writers viewed their message as something that cannot be understood.  On the contrary, the Bible teaches that one facet of saving faith is the understanding and assurance of the things recorded therein.  

The assertion that the Bible cannot be understood on the basis of its divine authorship fails to understand the character of Scripture.  In considering this idea of whether or not God can make Himself understood through His words, consider soberly this excerpt from an article entitled “Can We Understand the Bible Alike” by Wayne Jackson, writer at The Christian Courier: 

“We operate daily upon the presumption that we, frail mortals though we are, can make ourselves understood to our peers. A department store places an advertisement in the newspaper about an upcoming sale. Hundreds of people flock to the same establishment on the correct day at the right time expecting specific items at a certain price to be available for purchase. How is it that they understand the ad alike?  If we can sensibly operate our lives on a routine basis, recognizing that we are able to communicate with one another in an intelligible fashion, why can’t we acknowledge that God, who is infinitely wiser and abler than man, can clearly make his will known to humanity.  If one suggests that Jehovah could not clearly make himself known to man, he reflects upon the power of the Lord. If one argues that God purposely did not reveal himself to mankind in a lucid fashion, he reflects upon the benevolence of his maker. If one contends that man has no responsibility to understand and obey the precepts of the Scriptures, it is he who evidences great ignorance of his obligation to Heaven.

J.I Packer rightly stated, “The fundamental mode whereby our rational Creator guides his rational creatures is by rational understanding and application of his written Word.”

The Bible is written on a reading level within the reach of most.  Depending on which translation you use, the reading level ranges from grade three to grade twelve.  While I do not recommend every translation, I do suggest that most everybody is capable of reading and understanding what the Bible has to say.  Perhaps it is a lack of interest, initiative or diligence that is to blame for more people not knowing and understanding the Bible: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Folly of Hurry

Consider for a moment how much of your time is spent in a rush. We are constantly on the move and trying to pack as much into our days as humanly possible.  We stretch ourselves thin with the various activities in which we are engaged.  Our culture is infatuated with productivity and schedules.  Many have bought into the lie that we only have worth if we are constantly busy with something.  We almost wear how busy we are as a badge of honor.  We live in a consumer culture. We are seemingly obsessed with the latest gadgets that promise to simplify and enhance, but in reality enable us to pack more and more into our already busy lives. The question we all must ask ourselves is, “Does hurry help us?” 

We seem to be content floating down the rushing river of life without ever asking where the river is going and why we are on it.  Plato quotes Socrates as saying; “The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.”  Hurry hinders examination about our purpose, what life is about, and what is truly important.  How many times have you said to yourself, “I would do ________ (insert what you are passionate about or what is important to you) if I only had time.”  We supposedly live in a “progressive” and “enlightened” age.  Can the epidemic of ‘hurry’ that we witness really be considered progress? 

Richard Foster, in his book “The Celebration of Disciple” said the following: “In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds.  If he can keep us engaged in ‘muchness’ and ‘manyness,’ he will rest satisfied.  Psychiatrist Carl Jung once remarked, ‘Hurry is not of the Devil; it is the Devil.’” Consider a study conducted at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1973.  The study aimed to discover whether there was a correlation between how much of a hurry someone is in and their willingness to help someone in immediate need.  Goldsmith reports, “A group of theology students were told to go across campus to deliver a sermon on the topic of the Good Samaritan. As part of the research, some of these students were told that they were late and needed to hurry up. Along their route across campus, the researchers had hired an actor to play the role of a victim who was coughing and suffering.  Ninety percent of the "late" students in Princeton Theology Seminary ignored the needs of the suffering person in their haste to get across campus. As the study reports, ‘Indeed, on several occasions, a seminary student going to give his talk on the parable of the Good Samaritan literally stepped over the victim as he hurried away!’”  If hurriedness causes us to think less, focus less on what is important, and make us less likely to help those in need, why are we so addicted to it?  How can we correct this problem?

One has said that if we truly want to focus on what is important in life, we must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives.  This does not mean that we withdraw to the hills to live life as a hermit.  John Wesley said, “Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry.”  We are to be engaged in meaningful activity. Such is wholesome, honorable and necessary to life.  God created us to be workers (Gen. 1:27-28; Dt. 5:13; Ecc. 2:24).  However, we should be deliberate about not letting work and activity consume our lives to the point where we are perpetually in a ‘hurry’ at the expense of spending time in things that are most important. The Preacher of Ecclesiastes writes that God “has made everything appropriate in its time” (Ecc. 3:11).  The point is there should be a balance in the way we spend our time and recognize the need for such.

Getting rid of hurry does not happen by accident. Thomas Kempis said, “All desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace.”  The tides of culture do not change instantly.  However, I would like to think there are enough thoughtful people who would consider the folly of the hurry epidemic and would want to rethink how we spend our time and mental energy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Cleaning Our Words

It is no secret that we have a problem with uncontrolled tongues in our day and time.  Perhaps this has always been a problem.

James said, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a 
matter a little fire kindleth!” (James 3:5 KJV).

Recognizing the tongue’s great potential for impact, James applied this principle to religion: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” (James 1:26 KJV).

One area of speech that has particularly derailed off the tracks is the use of the name of God.  It does not take a statistician to realize the frequency in which people today use the name of God irreverently.

In the Bible times, there was truly “something in a name.”  The ancients believed that that someone’s name was “to be intimately connected to that person’s being and essence” (Walton).  Furthermore, “the giving of one’s name was an act of favor, trust and, in human terms, vulnerability” (Ibid).  When Moses asked God what His name was, it was more than a mere exchange of information.  God was communicating something very intimate to Moses when He answered, “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex. 3:14). The name of God was revealed specially to Moses and the people of Israel.  His name was to be protected, reverenced and honored.

After God delivered the people out of the land of Egypt, upon Mount Sinai, these words were written upon tablets of stone: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” (Ex 20:7 NASB)

Notice what some Bible scholars have said in regards to this commandment:

“As a sign of their respect for God, the people were to exercise the greatest caution when talking about him or invoking his name. They were to say nothing which might detract from a true appreciation of his nature and character” (New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition).
“This precept not only forbids all false oaths, but all common swearing where the name of God is used, or where he is appealed to as a witness of the truth. It also necessarily forbids all light and irreverent mention of God, or any of his attributes…” (Clarke).

“The word prohibits all employment of the name of God for vain and unworthy objects, and includes not only false swearing, which is condemned in Lev. 19:12 as a profanation of the name of Jehovah, but trivial swearing in the ordinary intercourse of life, and every use of the name of God in the service of untruth and lying, for imprecation, witchcraft, or conjuring; whereas the true employment of the name of God is confined to “invocation, prayer, praise, and thanksgiving,” which proceeds from a pure, believing heart (Keil & Delitzsch).
Some other history scholars have noted that this commandment “primarily was intended to prevent the exploitation of the name of Yahweh for magical purposes or hexing” (Walton). It was also intended to “insure that the use of Yaheweh’s name in oaths, vows and treaties was taken seriously” (Ibid).

Through the years, the children of Israel had their high points and low points in following through with this command.  One of the high points is the apparent reverence that the Jewish scribes (those who were responsible for the meticulous copying of the Hebrew Scrolls) had for the name of God.  Whenever a scribe would get to the name of YWEH (God), they would get a new pen and new ink (think about all the times God’s name appears in the Old Testament).  This was an amazing attestation to the “reverence over convenience” attitude of the Jewish people.

In light of the preceding paragraphs, what should the Christian’s attitude be toward irreverent, flippant or vain use of the name of God?  Certainly we are not under the Ten Commandments today as they were given to the children of Israel.  But those who are in Christ are children of God (Gal. 3:26-27) and the eternal principles set forth by God in the Old Testament are just as relevant today as they were then.  Furthermore, the Christian charge is to “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption”  and to “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Eph 4:29–30; Col 4:6 KJV)

Following these commandments seem to be easier on Sundays, but how about in our everyday lives? The American culture in which we live (and certainly probably many other cultures in the world) does not respect the name of God.  It has gotten to the point where you can hardly turn on a television, listen to a song, have a private conversation, go into a public place or read a newspaper without encountering disrespect for the name of God.  The saddest part about this is that it has crept into the church.

One has noted, “even Muslims respect the holy name of Jesus more than ‘Christians’ do, in practice: they commonly add; ‘blessed be he’ every time they pronounce it” (Kreeft).  I am certainly not advocating the notion that Muslims honor Christ more than true Christians do.  Obviously their religion denies Jesus Christ as Lord.  Nor am I advocating that mere words equal religious truth or fireproof ways of showing someone’s devotion.  Rather, I am illustrating that even those that deny of the deity, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ show more verbal reverence for Jesus’ name than many so-called ‘Christians’ do.

The same author has rightly indicted our culture when he said, “our society is dying because it has turned the most precious name in the world, the name of its Savior, into a casual curse word” (Ibid). 

Instead of tolerating, accepting and practicing this corruption, the Christian should be offended, disgusted, and heartbroken when the Lord’s name is abused.  We often get offended when someone speaks disrespectfully of our physical families; how much more offended should we be when someone speaks disrespectfully of the One who created us?  The One who died for us?  The One who gave us the Scriptures?

CERTAINLY the Christian should NEVER take the use of the name of God lightly, and yet we do sometimes.  Sometimes we don’t even know it.  We sometimes use “euphemisms” that are “mild or indirect words or expressions substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt.”  Euphemisms appear harmless, but they are not.  See this article on the dangers of euphemisms:

While they appear benign, euphemisms still represent the thing to which they refer.  When I say someone “passed away”, the hearer understand that the person “died.”  You cannot separate the euphemism from the thing meant.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor 5:10 KJV) 

We will be judged on our actions and our words.  We ought to choose both carefully.

I would like to enumerate a list of euphemisms for the name of God that are commonly used in our culture.  We ought to eradicate (our own use of these) and educate (so that others can know what these stand for).

The list is certainly not comprehensive, but should serve at least as a staring point of inquiry if you’re not sure if a word or phrase you are using is a euphemism for the name of God.  All definitions come from the Oxford American Dictionary unless otherwise specified.
  • “OMG” – this one is obvious and probably the most blatant.
  • golly |ˈgälē|(also by golly )exclam. informal, datedused to express surprise or delight: “Golly! Is that the time?”ORIGIN late 18th cent.: euphemism for God
  • gee 1 |jē|(also gee-whiz |ˈjē ˈ(h)wiz|)exclam. informala mild expression, typically of surprise, enthusiasm, or sympathy: Gee, Linda looks great at fifty!ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: perhaps an abbreviation of Jesus
  • jeez |jēz|(also geez )exclam. informala mild expression used to show surprise or annoyance.ORIGIN 1920s: abbreviation of Jesus.
  • gosh |gäSH|exclam. informalused to express surprise or give emphasis: gosh, we envy you.• used as a euphemism for “God”: a gosh-awful team.ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: euphemism for God
Furthermore, here is another list I found online.  Take a look at these, you might be shocked.
The following list was compiled using Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Roget’s International Thesaurus, Rodale’s Synonym Finder, and other references.
  • Euphemisms for God:
    • ga
    • gad
    • gadfrey
    • gawd
    • godfrey
    • gol
    • golly
    • good God
    • good gracious
    • good grief
    • good Lord
    • goodness
    • goodness gracious
    • goodness me
    • good night
    • gosh
    • gracious
    • great Scott
    • od
    • odd
    Euphemisms for oh God:
    • egad
    • egads
    • yegads
    Euphemisms for oh my God:
    • oh my
    • oh my gawd
    • oh my goodness
    • omigosh
    Euphemisms for by God:
    • begorra (Irish)
    • b’gosh
    • by gar
    • by George
    • by Jove
    • pardie (French)
    Euphemisms for Jesus:
    • cheece
    • cheese
    • cheez
    • cheeze
    • gee
    • gees
    • gee whiz
    • geez
    • geeze
    • jee
    • jeepers
    • jee whiz
    • jeez
    • jeminy
    • jiminy
    • sheece
    • sheesh
    Euphemisms for Christ:
    • cracky
    • cricky
    • crikey
    • criminy
    • cripes
    Euphemisms for Jesus Christ:
    • jeepers creepers
    • jeez Louise
    • Jiminy Cricket
    Euphemisms for by Jesus:
    • bejabers
    • bejeezus
    • bejesus
    • by jingo
    Euphemisms for for Christ’s sake:
    • for chrissakes
    • for crying out loud
    • for Pete’s sake
    Euphemisms for Lord:
    • lawdy
    • lordy
    Euphemisms for God’s hooks (crucifixion nails):
    • gadzooks
    • odd’s bodikins
    • ods bodkins
    • zooks
    Euphemism for God’s body:
    • ods body
    Euphemism for God’s flesh:
    • odds fish
    Euphemisms for God’s wounds:
    • gadzounds
    • ods zounds
    • zounds
    Euphemism for God’s blood:
    • ods blood
    Euphemisms for God rot:
    • drat
    • drats
    Euphemisms for God blind me:
    • blimey
    • gorblimey
    Euphemisms for hell:
    • heck
    • Sam Hill
    Euphemisms for “G.D.”:
    • dad blame
    • dadgum
    • dagnab
    • doggone
    • god-awful (short for “G.D.” awful)
    • Godfrey Daniels
    • god rot
    • goldang
    • goldarn
    • goldurn
    • goshdang
    • goshdarn
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt 22:37–40 KJV)

When we dedicate our hearts and lives to God first, the decision whether or not to use a term, that may even remotely resemble taking God’s name in vain, will be easy.

This article is written in the spirit of love.  First, out of love for God.  Second, out of love for my fellow man.  I will be the first to admit I am guilty of using some of these terms.  I am ashamed and I don’t want to let them pass my lips any longer.

Let us all endeavor to honor and protect the name of our eternal Father in Heaven, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Works Cited:
Clarke, Adam, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Accordance electronic ed. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2004.

Keil, C. F. and Delitzsch F., Commentary on the Old Testament. Accordance electronic ed. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996.

Kreeft, Peter, Prayer for Beginners.  San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000.

New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition. Edited by Carson, D. A, R. T France, J. A. Motyer, and Gordon J. Wenham. Accordance electronic ed. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1994.

Walton, John H., Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament. Accordance electronic ed. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Friday, April 5, 2013

3 Guarantees of Time

One has said, “every time a child is born, a grave is opened.”  While this sounds rather morbid, it is an insightful idea on the transitory nature of our existence on Earth.  It is interesting that virtually the whole of humanity feels as if time passes by very quickly and that life is fleeting.  Over time, we change as individuals.  Childhood turns into adulthood.  New skin turns into wrinkles.  Sharp wit turns into a forgetful mind.  Eagle vision turns into myopia. The joy of “just married” turns into the harsh reality of widowhood. Through the years, the world also changes.  Phrases like, “It seems like yesterday when gas was under fifty cents a gallon” and “I remember when children were taught discipline” are common sentiments expressed among the older generation that indicate how much the times have changed.

From the Christian worldview, there are some things that do not change.  Here are some guarantees from Scripture in regards to time:

The first guarantee is that time is short.  Notice that I said “time” and not “life”.  From the biblical perspective, life is not limited and bound up in the earthly existence.  Life will continue beyond the earthly gravesite. Physical death can be defined in the following way: “the body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26). So then physical death is the temporary separation of the body from the spirit.  Therefore, one’s earthly existence (defined in ‘time’) commences in physical birth and ceases at physical death. James describes the elusive and transitory nature of earthly life poignantly: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:13–14).  There are many uncertainties in life, but one thing that we can be sure of is that time on Earth is short.

A second guarantee of Scripture is that death and judgment are sure.  Mankind is divided over many things, but if the Bible is true, we are all in the same boat when it comes to death and judgment.  Scripture teaches it “is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27). There will be a great reckoning and settling of accounts: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10).  You won’t hear that message preached much today!  However, this message will ring true whether or not it’s in vogue.   The basis of judgment is the word of Christ: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Through inspiration, Daniel envisioned two potential destinies of mankind at this judgment: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2).  If we believe in the veracity of the word of God, we must believe not only that death is guaranteed, but also the judgment.

Lastly, and as a logical conclusion to the aforementioned guarantees, life is infused with meaning and eternal significance because life does not end at the tomb. Because life is a “vapor,” we ought to live with a sense of urgency and intentionality.  Every moment matters!  We are not guaranteed the next breath (Pro. 27:1) and therefore should live each moment as if it were our last. The New Testament emphasizes “seizing each day” by living purposefully and carefully: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15–16).  We are to use every opportunity to do good: “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal 6:10).  The chances are someone that we love will not be here next year.  Will we show them we love them or waste time in quarrel and strife?  Will we influence them for good or will we make their lives miserable? When we leave Earth, how will we be remembered?  More importantly, what will God think of us at the judgment?

While each child born does indeed “open a grave,” it also opens the potential for an eternity of joy with God.  May we all live today with a sense of urgency, intentionality and purpose.

Friday, March 29, 2013

God's Plan for the Family

The basis for the Christian worldview is God’s inspired Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  God’s word is comprised of the Old and New Testaments.  Generally, the Old Testament records the origin of the world and all life as well as the development of the seed promise made by God to Abraham and his descendants.   The New Testament records the fulfillment of the seed promise; namely the incarnation, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and commission of Jesus Christ.  The New Testament also records how Christianity spread and how Christians are to live their lives.  

It is interesting that in the pages of the New Testament, there is a dialog recorded between Jesus and some Palestinian Jewish leaders on the topic of marriage and divorce.  Jesus was asked by these leaders, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” (Mt. 19:3)  A Jew may have expected Jesus to pontificate from the Law of Moses or side with one of the popular Jewish schools of thought on this controversial question.  Jesus does neither but goes all the way back to the beginning of creation to give his answer: ““Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”” (Mt. 19:4–6) 

Jesus indicated that God’s plan for the family, i.e. the nuclear family unit, is rooted in the creation order and apparently had not changed in over approximately four thousand years from the creation to the days of Jesus.  We have no reason to believe that it has changed in the two thousand years since Jesus uttered these words.  Therefore, the Christian worldview teaches that God has a plan for the human family that He expects mankind to follow.

What does this plan look like?  Ideally, the structure of the family includes a husband and a wife.  The husband is to serve his family as the spiritual leader, provider and self-sacrificial protector of his household.  The wife is to respect her husband as such and is primarily responsible for child and domestic care.  Sexual activity is reserved exclusively for married couples. Please read Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7; 1 Corinthians 7:2-4; Colossians 3:18-19; and Titus 2:4-5 to discover what the New Testament teaches on the roles of husbands and wives. The duration of the marriage is to be for a lifetime (“what God has joined together, let no man separate”).  A married coupled may be graced with children and the children would become part of their household.  The Bible has a great deal to say about the responsibilities of children in the home.  Their most important domestic duty is to respect and honor their parents (Eph. 6:1).  All in the family are to love God with all of their being and love each other as themselves (Mt. 22:37-40).  Love, understanding and mutual respect are to be hallmarks of a God-pleasing home. 

I suggest to you that many of our personal and societal problems can be directly tied back to a deviation from God’s pattern for the home.  The divorce rates in our land are alarming.  We must not pretend that the plasticity of the duration of marriage in our country does not have a devastating social effect on its people.  I could easily quote statistics and studies linking a host of problems to breakdowns in the home. One particular area of concern is the lack of male leadership in the home.  In 2010, there were 1,633,471 births given to unmarried women ( This accounts for 40.8% of all births in that year.  Almost half of all births in 2010 were to unmarried women.  Consider the following statistics regarding fatherless homes: (1) 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes, 5x the average; (2) 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes, 32x the average; (3) 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes, 20x the average; (4) 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes, 14x the average; (5) 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes, 9x the average (

Do individuals pay a price for straying from God’s pattern for the home?  Does society pay a price for the same?  The cost is higher than we will admit.  The solution is simple, but not easy, for it requires humility, submission and change.  We need to seek God’s plan for the home.