Vaccines and Troubles Alike…


ImageWhy does God permit trials, hardships and problems? And why are we to “count them all joy” (James 1:2-4) and in them “give thanks” (1 Thes. 5:18). How can I understand that God, who demand unity and for us to strive for it, allows conflict in my life and in the Church with the intent to use it for “our good” and “His glory” (Romans 8:28).

In an article at http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4180 entitled “Vaccine Ingredients”, Brian Dunning in defense of using vaccines despite their damaging makeup, says,

“When you’re exposed to a pathogen, it irritates your body. This irritation is what provokes your immune system to respond, and produce antibodies to fight the pathogen. Vaccines work the same way. They simulate the pathogen in order to produce to right irritation. To prepare your body with the right antibodies to fight some anticipated future pathogen, it’s a necessary and expected step for the vaccine to provoke your immune system with a carefully planned challenge. So when you hear antivaxxers charge that vaccines are harmful and irritating, that’s quite true, but it’s for an important reason and it’s very deliberately controlled. This attack on your body to provoke an immunological response is the way vaccines work. It’s the way your immune system rolls. You don’t strengthen your immune system by eating vitamins or drinking wheatgrass juice or doing yoga or having a coffee enema; you strengthen it by challenging it to respond.”

In the same way, trials, troubles and conflicts are vaccines to help create in us godly responses. Truly, “…the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” If nothing else, the conflict should cause us to look for the root attitude or false belief that allowed it to enter and remove it from our lives. 

The God of the Old Testament issue…


ImageThis response is from Bro. Freddy Davis (www.marketfaith.org) concerning the God of the Bible in a discussion on the SBC Forum on Linkedin:

 The root of the problem can be found in “…the worldview issues which seem to be at the root of …particular frustration. Based on (many) comments, I believe I see a pattern. The God of the Christian worldview is holy AND he is just AND he is love. All three of these characteristics must be reconciled for anyone to truly understand the God of the Bible. Some people only want a God of love, so anything which seems to stray from their own perception of what that means causes them to view the God described in the Bible as unloving. They are unwilling to allow that he is also holy and just. At this point, it seems to me that this is a place you are struggling.

 “The God described in the Bible is first and foremost holy. In fact, he is holy to the point of perfection and will not fellowship with unholiness. This does not mean he will not strive in our lives, but that he will not accept and condone unholiness. Unholiness is sin and those who choose to live in unholiness choose to live in death (eternal death). As much as it hurts God to see people choose that path, he restrains himself in order to allow human beings to have legitimate free will. If he did not judge sin, then he would either have to deny his own character or he would have to eliminate human free will.

 “At this point, God’s justice comes to the forefront. The God described in the Bible is perfectly just. He does not allow any injustice to win out. So, when individuals, by their own free will choose to live in unholiness, they have chosen to receive the justice of God. God did not choose it for them. So, when you read in the Old Testament about God pronouncing judgment on people, it is not an unjust determination he has made. God has not arbitrarily just gone (and) slaughtered people. They are receiving the ultimate fruit of their own choices. Can you imagine a world where justice is not finally accomplished? It is not a pretty thought.

 “Finally, God is perfect love. He does not want anyone to perish but for all to come to eternal life. He is patient with us even though we don’t deserve it. In fact, he devised a way to have justice satisfied in a way that allows us to receive mercy rather than justice. And to pull that off, he literally put himself in a position to receive the fruit of the penalty of sin on himself. As a result, it is not necessary for ANYONE to receive judgment. But to receive the mercy, people must be willing to receive Christ. Those who don’t make this choice are, by default, choosing to reject God’s love. God doesn’t make this choice for people. Again, to not provide perfect justice, he would either have to deny his own character or eliminate human free will.

 “It appears to me that (many) want a God who is different than the one described in the Bible. (They) want a God who does not expect holiness from those he would fellowship with… a God who will not be just with those who are determined to live in sin. If, indeed, that is the kind of God (that is wanted), they will definitely have to go somewhere else to find him. I, personally, don’t know where else (they) might go because I believe the God of the Bible is the only actually real God in existence. To get another one, (people) will have to make him up in (their) own minds.

 “I think it is a simple as that. If (we) want to allow for human beings to have actual free will, then (we) will have to come to grips that we must also be responsible for how we use it. Our choices occur within the context of the fact that reality actually exists the way it is described in the Bible. There are other ways people perceive reality (other worldview possibilities). I don’t believe any of the other possibilities reflect actual reality.”

The Weakness of the Teacher


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I sensed the call of God to just sit with Him a while and visit. How often have I sensed that? I know I need God’s fellowship every day.

So I paused in my day, got out His love letter to me, told Him of my admiration for Him and quieted myself to hear what He had to say with me.

Almost immediately, He spoke a deep truth to me from His love letter. I was so excited. Within minutes I was handling the truth, phrasing and rephrasing it, and imagining how I could share it with the people I love, either in a sermon or a lesson. Want to guess what my gifting is?

“Aahmmmm! I’m still here. Let’s just visit for a while.”

“Yes, Lord. Thank you for the truth. I hope I use it responsibly.”

Then He shared another beautiful truth with me. And within minutes, I was again preaching and teaching that truth in my mind.

This sad reality occurred every time God showed me a truth or application of His truth today. Each one was beautiful, and I received each one with joy and thanksgiving. The problem was, each time I received one, I virtually ran out of the room to find someone with whom to share it.

Teaching and preaching are my strengths. Unfortunately, when I depend upon my strengths, I tend to walk away from Him far too often. When I am in an area in which I am uncomfortable, I rest on His unceasing grace.

The last truths He shared with me were these, and I journaled them. “In the few areas of my calling I am strong, yet I find them to be my greatest weaknesses. But praise God, in the many areas I am weak, I find that He is strong.”

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

How to love someone who hates you…


ImageThis is one of the most difficult questions, not to answer, but to live. The answer is easy. The fulfillment is all but impossible.

The answer is, “Just like Jesus did.” Thus, as is most things asked from the believer, the fulfillment is beyond the accomplishment of our flesh, the limits of our emotions and the best of our reasoning.

We know it was God’s love that sent Jesus into a hostile world to purchase the salvation of those who hated Him (John 3:16).

The Apostle Paul picked up the theme of God’s love for us in the demonstration of Jesus’ love in Romans 5:6-8. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The sentiment in this was that Jesus showed His greatest gift of love to the most hateful men during His most painful moments.

Consider that Jesus had been whipped, his beard pulled from his face, beaten with a staff and ridiculed. About 700 years earlier, the prophet Isaiah foretold the demeanor of the Messiah when He was afflicted. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7.

Please keep in mind that the Jewish writer, Josephus, reports there were thousands of crucifixion between the years 6 BC to 4 AD. The goal of the Roman officials was for every person to see a crucifixion as a deterrent to rebellion. So those Roman soldier had seen many people go to death by the cross.

Mark 15 records the reaction of Jesus’ death in the eyes of a Roman centurion. “And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” Verse 39.

The truth is, in Jesus’ worst possible moment, He loved His enemies. That difference, as observed by a professional executioner, was a testimony to the love of God. It should motivate us to love our enemies in our worst possible moments. But that knowledge and observation does not empower us.

How to love those who hate us is accomplished as is everything that counts as righteousness in our lives. It must be through a complete dependency upon God to love them through us.

Jesus had already said, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” John 5:30.

Those people who hate us are gifts and provide us with the greatest opportunities to allow Christ to live through us the most. No wonder James instructed us to “Count it as joy…” James 1:2.