Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Book of Isaiah

This month, I was invited to teach a Wednesday night class on the Book of Isaiah at Fellowship in the Pass in Beaumont.

To be sure, it was a whirlwind tour (I had to cover the final 20 chapters in just ten minutes). But I trust it was helpful to the people and gave the necessary keys to unlock this wonderful book.

Isaiah is quoted more often in the New Testament than any other Old Testament prophet. He wrote to a nation in crisis who needed a fresh vision of God's holiness. How relevant for us today!

If you'd like to learn more about Book of Isaiah, I've uploaded my lectures to our podcast. The full handout is available here.

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Photo credit: Harper's Bible Dictionary

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The DOMA Dilemma

On Wednesday, June 26, the Supreme Court made two rulings on marriage that will profoundly impact our culture. First, they dismissed Proposition 8 for lack of legal standing and sent it back to the State of California for further review. Second, they reversed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and now offer full federal benefits to same sex couples.

Writing the Majority Opinion for United States v. Windsor, Justice Kennedy said DOMA “demeans” same sex couples and “humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same sex couples.” He implies that any opposition to same-sex marriage is rooted in animus or hatred.

This poses a real problem for Christians. We are not out to "hate" or "humiliate" anyone. Yet the Bible stipulates that marriage is created by God as a permanent union between one man and one woman:
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

(See also Gen. 1:27; Ps. 128:3-4; Mt. 19:4-9; Heb. 13:4)

Furthermore, the Bible says that even the slightest drift away from God's law is "sin":
James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
Thus, any departure from God's holy standard of monogamous, heterosexual marriage is sin. This includes fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bisexuality, incest, polygamy, polyamory, bestiality, etc.

So here's the dilemma. In striking down DOMA, the Supreme Court has declared same sex marriage to be a moral virtue and a constitutional right. Yet our conscience and convictions, informed by Scripture, dictate that same sex marriage is a moral evil and dishonoring to God. How should we respond?

When forced to choose between the two, we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). Written by God, the Bible holds the trump card, and is the final arbiter of good and evil, right and wrong. When civil authorities declare something wrong to be right, we respectfully disagree and reserve our highest allegiance for God. Unlike human governments, His laws are always good, and His laws will never change.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether
Psalm 19:9

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

"Let not your hearts be troubled. 
Believe in God. Believe also in me.”
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples just hours before His death. And in dark times, we need to hear them again.

Like those first disciples, perhaps you feel panicked or discouraged today. Let Jesus calm your turbulent heart with this promise: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also” (John 14:3).

If your health fails, don’t let your heart be troubled!

If your job is at risk, don’t let your heart be troubled!

If you feel alone, don’t let your heart be troubled!

Even if our nation redefines marriage, don’t let your heart be troubled!

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

He is still seated upon His throne and offers peace to all who trust in Him. God holds us like a loving father and says, “Don’t worry. I’m right here. Everything’s going to be OK."

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photo credit:

New Blog

Today I'm closing up shop and launching a new blog called Pinch of Clay. You can visit it by clicking here . Please stop by and...