All posts by webadministrator

God and the Arts

One thing I have asked from the LORD … to see the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

— Psalm 27:4

Christianity has been a great patron of the arts—from paintings to music to the great cathedrals.

Now there are those who have supposed that the second commandment against graven images forbids the use of visual arts altogether. However, God also gave all of the instructions for the building of the tabernacle, and in that tabernacle were all manner of visual arts. On the veil that separated the holy place from the Holy of Holies there were flowers and pomegranates and palm trees and many other things. Note what it says about the high priest’s clothing: “And you shall make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:2).

God is a God of beauty. He changed the chaos into the cosmos—a thing of beauty. The very word means order and beauty. Cosmetology is the practice of beautifying the face. God is the great artist who beautifies His creation, giving us the magnificent sunsets He paints for us every evening. He gives us the glory of the budding flowers and the beautiful trees and plants that we all enjoy. God is not opposed to art. He is the Great Artist. What God forbade was idolatry, the worship of an idol or even of the true God through an idol.

Question to ponder:
What place does art play in your life in general and in your spiritual life particularly?

Available for God

… according to your days, so shall be your strength.

— Deuteronomy 33:25

What is the greatest ability we can have when it comes to serving God? Is it the ability to preach great sermons and lead thousands to Christ? Is it the ability to cross the ocean and serve in some great missionary enterprise? Is it the ability to stay home and rear children in the Christian faith? All of these things are important and have their place.

I believe, however, that the greatest ability that the Christian needs is availability. Are you available to God? Are you available to Him today and each day to use you?

When we make ourselves available to God, He equips us for every good work He wants us to do. He gives us the strength to accomplish that which He has set before us.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). Someone recommended taking that verse and repeating and emphasizing separately each succeeding word. “I can do all things through Christ,” not merely the apostles, or the martyrs or super saints, but “I can do all things through Christ.”

That is a promise to you. Do you believe it? “I can do all things … I can do all things.” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Question to ponder:
If you knew you couldn’t fail—because God was in it—what great thing would you attempt for His glory and others’ good?

Defender of the Faith

… Always be ready to give an answer to every man who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, with gentleness and fear.

— 1 Peter 3:15

Some years ago, I heard Dr. Somebody-or-Other taking calls from Christians on a radio show. They were calling in and challenging him on various things, and he was chewing them up and spitting them out. Not one Christian could answer any question he asked them.

They would explain why they believe with statements like, “Well, because I’ve got it down in my heart.”

This atheist answered, “Well, I don’t have it down in my heart, and I don’t believe it either”—and he hung up.

The Scripture says that we should always be ready to give an answer as to why we believe anything we claim that we believe. The Bible is not based upon blind faith, but on God’s acting in history, past and present.

Just to give one example: when Jesus was born, carried out His ministry, was crucified and raised back to life, He fulfilled hundreds of prophecies that were written hundreds of years before He came. Only God knows the future. Only God could have written that story.

All around us, we have unbelievers today challenging us on what we believe. We hear challenges on television, radio, books, magazines, motion pictures, and the internet as to why we believe any of this “stuff” we say that we believe. Let us always be ready with reasons for our faith.

Question to ponder:
How can you prepare to give a good answer to people who challenge your faith?

The Strait and Narrow

Enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it, because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

— Matthew 7:13-14

We live in a time when the majority report is virtually always ungodly, unchristian, immoral, and defeatist. We hear it all the time. It blares at us from our radios, our television, our newspapers, and magazines. The majority report is ever before us, which is: Forget about what God has said. Forget about Him altogether.

This is the “popular” way. Sometimes we have agreed with the majority and said, “Yes, God’s way is too hard.” Nevertheless, His way is the “strait and narrow” road that leads unto life. It is the wide gate, the broad way that the Bible says leads to destruction.

Every one of us has to decide whether we are going to go with the popular view, the majority view, or we are going to follow the minority report, which is a report of faith.

Are you able to face the real difficult things of life, to stand for Christ when it is unpopular to do so? God has a special blessing for those who stand firm for Christ and the truth, even in the face of great unpopularity.

Question to ponder:
How can you stand for Christ, when it is unpopular to do so?

An Anthropic World

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

— Genesis 1:27

The 500th anniversary of Copernicus’ birth was celebrated in 1973. Copernicus showed that the earth was not at the center of the universe, a scientific finding used to displace the earth and man from their presumed place of central importance in the cosmos. In celebrating the Copernican revolution, his followers were celebrating the demise of man and, more importantly, the demise of God.

However, at the celebration Brandon Carter, a highly reputed astronomer from Oxford, discussed his discovery of certain strange and almost inexplicable things in the world of particle physics and astronomy. They all seemed to that suggest that this world, and the whole universe, have been made for the purpose of hosting intelligent life on this planet—namely man.

He noted, for example, that if the mass of the proton were just a tiny fraction larger or smaller, the entire solar system would collapse. Many similar physical constants, which appear optimized for human existence, point to the fact that this universe seems to have been designed for mankind.

Carter’s “anthropic principle” says that this universe has a “purpose.” This is a dirty word to evolutionists, who have substituted “chance” for “design” and “purpose.”

But suddenly, at the 500th anniversary of the Copernican revolution, when the final spike was being driven into the significance of man, the anthropic principle was born. Despite man’s attempts to deny God, He has left His fingerprints all over the universe.

Question to ponder:
Why did God create the world?

Anger Management

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

— Proverbs 16:32

When it comes to anger, someone has said that people tend to be of two different types. There are those who blow up and there are those who clam up. Some people do both. Paul deals with that in Ephesians 4:26. He says, “Be angry but do not sin.”

There is such a thing as righteous anger but the sin related to anger is when this bursts forth in all sorts of vicious speech. When we rail against another person, give place to malice, explode, and tell other people off. We have then given way to sin; we have given place to the devil.

So Paul tells us in verse 26 that we are not to let our anger explode. Furthermore, he says, “No not let the sun go down on your anger.” That is, do not close up like a clam and keep that hot boiling anger within you. There are some people who can keep it in for years, blocking any sort of communication.

But by His grace, many people are able to control their anger, to “be angry and sin not.”

Question to ponder:
How has the Holy Spirit worked in your life to control your temper?

An Absolute God

Who is He—this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.

— Psalm 24:10

What exactly are absolutes? If you were to check the word “absolute” in Webster’s Dictionary, you would discover that “absolute” comes from the two Latin words ab (“from”) and solvere (“to set free”) from which we also get the word dissolve. So absolute means “to be set free.”

But set free from what? It means to be set free from imperfection. To be pure. It means to free from any admixture. It is perfect. It means to be free from any limit, restriction, or qualification as in an absolute monarch. And it means to be positive, certain, authoritative.

That is what absolutes are, whether we are talking about persons or truth. To be absolute is to be free from any kind of error, admixture, imperfection, or limit.

If there are no absolutes, there is no God, because God is the ultimate absolute. His omnipotence is without limit, restraint, or qualification. His omniscience is unlimited. His omnipresence is without restraint or restriction. God is the altogether absolute One. He is the absolute Monarch, the absolute God.

Question to ponder:
What are the consequences of a world without absolutes?

Propitiation

… In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

— 1 John 4:10

God’s forgiveness is astounding. I hope that you realize that all of your sins are wiped away by a God who cannot forget anything because He is omniscient and knows all things. One of the great mysteries of the Scriptures, a paradox indeed, is that He has said, He will cast all our sins “into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19) and He will remember them no more (see Jeremiah 31:34).

In Christ we have the assurance that all of our sin has been wiped away and we are reconciled unto God, invited back into His favor, into the fellowship of His communion, adopted into His family, given His name, invited to His table, made His heir everlastingly. Our inheritance in Christ cannot possibly be measured. That is what Christ has done for us on the cross.

What I have just described is called “propitiation.” This means that the wrath of God toward us is set aside and falls not on us, but on our substitute, Christ. Secondly, it means our sin is wiped away forever, as when one would wash a blackboard. Thirdly, we who had our backs to God are reconciled and drawn into the fellowship of His love. This is God’s forgiveness; this is God’s love.

Question to ponder:
What does it mean that God is “appeased”?

Rejoice in All Circumstances

… Rejoice always.

— 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Trouble comes to us all, saved or unsaved. But people react differently.

We know that the same sun that bakes bricks melts butter. Adversity causes some people to become embittered and hardened, to become hateful toward God and man. Others it sweetens and softens and enriches.

The world finds it very, very strange that even in the midst of the most painful circumstances, there can be rejoicing. In fact, Paul tells us that we can be sorrowful and rejoice at the same time: “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10).

Regardless of the pain of the circumstances, there can be deep-seated joy. In the midst of an illness, at the very nadir of my experience, a time when I was in such pain that I absolutely did not know what to do and tears were coursing down my cheeks, I could honestly say to my wife, “I yet believe that God is good and will lift me up out of this.”

What kind of problems have you had this past week? Did you face them like Paul, or like the world faces them? How do we deal with our problems? Faith comes from our realization that God is with us, whatever the problems we may face. When we face them, do we become better or do we become bitter?

Question to ponder:
Are you going through a difficult time? Can you find something to thank God for in the midst of your adversity?

A Father Who Loves the Mother

… rejoice with the wife of your youth.

— Proverbs 5:18

The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. If you are going to be a godly dad, you need to forsake all others with heart and mind and soul and love your wife. We are to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for us.

It is in loving each other that parents create a stable and good home. Besides loving his wife in order to be a good father, a man must commit to be there for his children.

It is really very easy to become a father, but it is very difficult to be a godly father in the home. You must, first of all, be a godly man. Second, you must—very obviously, but today, importantly—be in the home, because if there is one place where tens of millions of American fathers are not present today, it is in the home. Eighty percent of all of the families in the inner city are fatherless. Eighty percent!

Without fathers in the home, children will lack the emotional center a father provides, crime will go up as will all the troubles that lack of guidance and fathering bring upon a family.

Question to ponder:
What happens to a society where men are not present in the home?