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Month: March 2010

Guest Post by Rebekah Tidball: A Conversation Between Christian & Tolerance

An Allegory.
Conversation Between Tolerance and Christian
Christian: Tolerance, I have some questions for you.
Tolerance: Dear Christian, I have been expecting you.
Christian: You have?
Tolerance: Of course. I knew you would come around sometime.
Christian: Well Tolerance, can you tell me why so many think us Christians are intolerant?
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Guest Post by Rebekah Tidball: A Conversation Between Christian & Tolerance

An Allegory.

Conversation Between Tolerance and Christian
Christian: Tolerance, I have some questions for you.
Tolerance: Dear Christian, I have been expecting you.
Christian: You have?
Tolerance: Of course. I knew you would come around sometime.
Christian: Well Tolerance, can you tell me why so many think us Christians are intolerant?
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

God Humbles Death

I must say that I am sick of death. During the past two weeks, a prominent Northern Irish Bible teacher whom I know of succumbed to cancer. Another brother I know personally departed this life suddenly last week, shocking his friends by his sudden exit from this world. This past Sunday a sister in the Lord lost her father to a recently diagnosed illness. Meanwhile, a dear brother in our home church is gravely ill with multiple maladies that could take his life at any moment. Serious diseases plague more than one personal friend, as well as a close family member. All of this leads me to strongly reiterate: I am sick of death. Thankfully in light of the work of Christ, death is a temporary phenomenon.
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Faith & Love That Cling

“Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.” Ruth 1:14
The verse above presents a beautiful picture of devoted faith and love. After the tragedy of losing her husband and two sons Naomi desperately abandoned Moab for her homeland in Bethlehem, where there were stories of renewed prosperity. Years before, hardship drove her family from the land of Israel, the place of God’s provision and blessing – beloved Eretz Israel, as a Hebrew would habitually call it, thereby indicating that no other land was like the one given to them by the Lord. In spite of his pious-sounding name, when famine stalked the land Elimelechi decamped for Gentile territory in search of a fruitful way of life. Of course the adverse agricultural situation reflected the spiritual departure within the nation itself. These were the days of the Judges, when “…there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 21:25.) God had forewarned the Israelites of the dire discipline that would befall them if they departed from serving Him and turned to idols. Conversely, He promised to bless their land and give them the early and latter rains which were essential for fecundity (Deut. 11:13-17.) If they did turn from the Lord, the remedy would be found in heartfelt repentance, rather than in fleeing to greener pastures in neighboring nations. (Abraham’s woeful experience during a famine in Genesis 12:10-20 demonstrated the folly of going elsewhere during hard times.) Sadly, Elimelech led his family to nearby Moab to their cost.
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

Faith & Love That Cling

“Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.” Ruth 1:14
The verse above presents a beautiful picture of devoted faith and love. After the tragedy of losing her husband and two sons Naomi desperately abandoned Moab for her homeland in Bethlehem, where there were stories of renewed prosperity. Years before, hardship drove her family from the land of Israel, the place of God’s provision and blessing – beloved Eretz Israel, as a Hebrew would habitually call it, thereby indicating that no other land was like the one given to them by the Lord. In spite of his pious-sounding name, when famine stalked the land Elimelechi decamped for Gentile territory in search of a fruitful way of life. Of course the adverse agricultural situation reflected the spiritual departure within the nation itself. These were the days of the Judges, when “…there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 21:25.) God had forewarned the Israelites of the dire discipline that would befall them if they departed from serving Him and turned to idols. Conversely, He promised to bless their land and give them the early and latter rains which were essential for fecundity (Deut. 11:13-17.) If they did turn from the Lord, the remedy would be found in heartfelt repentance, rather than in fleeing to greener pastures in neighboring nations. (Abraham’s woeful experience during a famine in Genesis 12:10-20 demonstrated the folly of going elsewhere during hard times.) Sadly, Elimelech led his family to nearby Moab to their cost.
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The Death of the Cross

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:9i
To modern people the cross is at best a ubiquitous Christian symbol or at worst a mere piece of jewelry. In the ancient world things were far different. In Bible times the cross was a form of execution, “…reserved for the most notable and notorious ne’er-do-wells of antiquity.”ii It was not something one spoke about in polite company; nor was it a desirable end to one’s life. Every facet of crucifixion was meant to demean and demoralize the condemned one. Though it meant a lonely, tortuous death, the Lord Jesus willingly went to Golgotha and laid down His life in obedience to His Father. To fathom the profound shame associated with this act, modern sentimentality about the cross must be stripped away. To appreciate what Christ did for His people one must perceive the humiliation connected with this form of execution.
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The Mind Of The Spirit

This article first appeared in the Sept.-Oct. 2009 issue of Uplook.

The human heart craves sympathetic understanding – someone who can perceive its deepest sorrows and urgent needs. Characterized as this life is by rigorous trials and pervasive pain, “a shoulder to cry on” is required gear for journeying in this fallen world. Christians are not exempt from this natural desire for comfort and encouragement. So it is with great joy that one reads of the magnificent work of “the mind of the Spirit” in Romans 8:27, for it tells of the Spirit’s ministry on behalf of suffering saints. All three persons of the trinity are mentioned in this beautiful passage. How blessed it is to know that the triune God is vitally interested in the saints’ well-being! What is more, He will faithfully and adeptly conform them to the glorious image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).
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Worldly Charity

In yesterday’s New York Times, columnist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote an Op-ed piece on the recent humanitarian efforts of various “faith-based” mission organizations. In the article, he focuses on World Vision, which he describes as “a Seattle-based Christian organization (with strong evangelical roots) whose budget has roughly tripled over the last decade.” He approvingly references the efforts of organizations such as this in assisting in disaster situations, combating diseases like malaria and AIDS, fighting poverty, etc. Although he is not mentioned in this article, Rick Warren is also urging the churches in his sphere of influence to devote themselves to solving these gargantuan problems.
Throughout the piece, Kristof repeatedly cites a book by Richard Stearns, World Vision’s head in the United States. One of his allusions to this work is especially conspicuous: “In one striking passage, Mr. Stearns quotes the prophet Ezekiel as saying that the great sin of the people of Sodom wasn’t so much that they were promiscuous or gay as that they were ‘arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.’ (Ezekiel 16:49.)” According to this revisionist understanding of Scripture the great sin of Sodom was apathy towards the underprivileged rather than gross moral sin. Kristof also comments on their lack of proselytizing in these words: “Some Americans assume that religious groups offer aid to entice converts. That’s incorrect. Today, groups like World Vision ban the use of aid to lure anyone into a religious conversation.” These ideas are sadly becoming more common in the professing evangelical church, revealing the worldliness that is rampant in modern Christendom.
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