Why Should Today Be Different?

“Holy Ground seems quaint to us postmoderns. We think God no longer speaks to us in such ways; burning bushes are banned inside the city limits. In the Bible, we easily recognize holy ground: Shrubs burn without turning to ash; donkeys speak; big fish spit up prophets on the beach. But twenty-one centuries later, we are a pretty hard crowd to impress, even by celestial standards. Our closets overflow with shoes that protect us from gravel (and God). We can no longer tell when we stand on holy ground and when we don’t, much less discern what God would have us do—which is the point of the story of God’s encounter with Moses in the fields of Midian.

In retrospect, we know that when Moses takes his father-in-law’s sheep ‘beyond the wilderness,’ past Horeb, the mountain of God (Exodus 3:1), the experience serves as a dry run for the next flock Moses will shepherd down the same route. Maybe Moses should expect holy smoke on the mountain of God—and maybe we should expect holy fire in the sanctuary at church too—but we don’t, and neither apparently does Moses. The text nonchalantly describes Moses’ journey with Jethro’s sheep the way we describe a trip to the mall. This is familiar territory. Never mind the fact that Moses knows Horeb is ‘the mountain of God’ (just as we know the church as ‘God’s house’). The fact of the matter is that we have been here hundreds of times and so has Moses, and nothing very earth shattering has happened so far. Why should today be different? On the surface, holy ground looks like all other ground, until suddenly God speaks up.”
— Kenda Creasy Dean and Ron Foster in
The Godbearing Life: The Art of Soul Tending for Youth Ministry, pp. 73-74.

Endurance

“It’s fantastic!”

According to The London Times those were the words of a woman who recently passed the test to receive her driver’s license.

To understand just how “fantastic” passing the test really was, you have to understand this woman is 50 years old and has been trying to pass the test since she was 17. That’s right, do the math, for 33 years she has been taking the test and failing it. She spent a small fortune on driver’s ed instruction in trying to pass the test.

While it is tempting to make fun of this woman, I will have to pass. After all, in this age of instant gratification we rarely witness someone wanting something badly enough to keep pursuing the goal through failure after failure.

The culture screams, “Right Now!” But God calls His own to be a people of endurance. Nothing builds up a spirit of endurance within our hearts like reading the scripture accounts of God’s enduring faithfulness to His people of old and fixing our eyes on Jesus as He endures the cross.

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus. . . .” Romans 15:4-5

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3

Our God is dependably steady, and that’s what I want to be. I want to be more like Him, not giving up at the first sign of opposition or failure, but continuing to pursue the goal.

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:11

She’s right, you know, “It’s fantastic!”

An Adultery Celebrating Culture

“You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

A company has come out with a line of greeting cards called “The Secret Lover Collection.” These attractive cards are designed to meet the needs of the growing number of people who have “secret lovers.”

The touching message presented by one of the cards says: “Just when I thought I would never find my true love — you came along . . . And now I can’t imagine my life without you . . .even if I have to share you.”

The designer of this line of cards maintains she is not trying to promote a particular lifestyle, she is just a businesswoman “capitalizing on a market niche.”

I don’t know about you, but boy that sure does make me feel better! I’m so glad to know that in her mind she is not promoting or celebrating adultery, she is just making money off of it.

So how do we react to our culture’s increasing acceptance of adultery?

God made clear His will in the 10 Commandments. “You shall not commit adultery.” Jesus cut below the letter of the law to the heart of the matter when He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).

No matter what our culture may tolerate or promote, God’s word is clear. Adultery is sin. Christians are called to live as strangers and aliens in this world. That call itself implies that we should not be surprised when the world is sinful.

We cannot allow ourselves to become acculturated to the point that we no longer see adultery as sin. The more adultery is tolerated, promoted, and even celebrated in our culture, the more difficult it is to avoid acculturation and live as strangers.

Perhaps the greatest contribution we can make to battle the influence of the culture is to be faithful to our marriage vows: celebrating sex as a beautiful gift from God to a husband and wife, training our eyes and minds to be responsive only to the one we married, and building a marriage based on mutual submission, love, and respect.