Ezra 4:1-4--When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple for Yahweh, the God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the leaders of the families and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we also worship your God and have been sacrificing to Him since the time King Esar-haddon of Assyria brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel’s families answered them, “You may have no part with us in building a house for our God, since we alone must build it for Yahweh, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us.” Then the people who were already in the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build.
Mark 8:31-33—Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed, and rise after three days. He was openly talking about this. So Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But turning around and looking at His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan, because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s!”
Peter watched Jesus perform unfathomable miracles. He listened to life-changing teaching. Inspired, he walked on water and touched the Son of God. So is it surprising that he scolded Jesus for predicting a morbid, unmessiahlikeending? He was simply registering logical sentiment—the very kind Satan loves to feed us.
If ever there was a need for prayer, it will be for a man named Obama. He inherits a nation at war with a stressed out economy. He will pilot a land divided in opinion in the midst of a world looking for a messiah. He will render senior leadership in a most complicated government with junior experience and little room for failure. He will face a press that is woeful in gathering all the facts and enemies that would love to see this nation destroyed. He will need wisdom from above in a culture that increasingly follows an ethical theory and practice “that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.”*
In an age of relativism the roar of the crowd is to tame God’s Word. Two traps await Christians in this hostile environment.
Author of Origins of Life, theoretical physicist Freeman J. Dyson says, “As we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.” Hmm. It’s not the universe that knew we were coming!
Winston Churchill once said, “A fanatic is a person who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” I’m not sure Sharif is a fanatic but he’s definitely passionate about his interests. On a United flight from Portland to Denver, I listened as he shared about his organization--Commonway. The logo on his business card proclaims “Creating a World Which Works for All.”
There is a tendency among those who call themselves Christians to belittle or make light of the convictions of people devoted to animate and inanimate objects. It is as if those who consecrate themselves to Mother Earth or who view themselves as gods are less genuine somehow in their convictions. It is in devaluing their convictions that we lose any right to be heard.
Have our brains turned to tofu? The fastest growing jungle in our world is not the triple-canopied tropical variety but rather the explosion of information that sprouts through every conceivable device. Consider the vast amount of data delivered via the internet, television, radio, and printed material and it is astounding that we are not mentally buried. How do we determine the difference between pyrite and gold?
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, an agnostic is “One who believes that there can be no proof of the existence of God but does not deny the possibility that God exists.” There are two kinds of agnostics—those who have no interest in God and see no compelling evidence to change their minds, and those who have not found Him and consequently have no reason to suggest He exists.
“Maximize the god within you!” Welcome to the arena of self-help teaching spun from the mouths of success gurus. The gist of their message runs something like:
Ø Do your best; overcome your fears for the key to success lies within you!
Ø Go after your dreams. Listen to your inner voice it will never fail you.
Ø Be sincere. Persevere and believe in yourself. You can be whatever you want to be!
There is a spur on the 11,239 ft. Mount Hood where a small rock shelter stands firm against the winds of time. Atop this small ridge is a spectacular view of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, hundreds of square miles of valleys, streams, lakes and hills carpeted with green forests. I love the high ground. There are few things in life more beautiful than standing in thin air to watch the sun rise in silent majesty over a glacier-covered volcano and all that surrounds it. It is not hard to understand why Oregon and Washington are called “God’s country”.
Philosophy, a word that comes from the Greek (philein, sophia), literally means “the love of wisdom”. Philosophy is cultivated by various means.
Psalm 33:12,22--Happy is the nation whose God is Yahweh—the people He has chosen to be His own possession! . . . May Your faithful love rest on us, Yahweh, for we put our hope in You.
Proverbs 14:34--Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
You’ve undoubtedly heard someone say, “Oh I believe Christianity is just another path towards heaven. I’m glad it works for you but I’ve got my own path.” Intellectually, it is quite rational to lump Christianity as another religion in a cosmos filled with man-made roads to meaning. After all, if someone has never come into a personal and meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ than why shouldn’t he or she see Christians any different than Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus etc.?