Are We Ashamed of Christ?

I’m going to take a short break from our study on the negatives in the Bible.  We’ve covered about a dozen instances of the word, “nothing,” and when we come back to the study, we’ll be looking at the word, “never.”  In the meantime, I have a few other thoughts to share with you.

As Christians, we have the responsibilityto speak the truth in love..png

This morning, I listened to an interview with the rising Contemporary Christian singer, Lauren Daigle. Before I go any further, let me say I enjoy some Contemporary music, and until now, I appreciated many of the songs performed by Lauren. I wanted to make that clear, so no one misunderstood my intentions with this devotion. I am not condemning the music or the person, but I am very disappointed with Lauren’s response to a particular question.

The interviewer asked, “Do you think that homosexuality is a sin?” This was the perfect time to speak out for her faith and proclaim the Word of God, but instead, Daigle answered: “You know, I can’t honestly answer on that because there are too many people that I love who are homosexuals. I don’t know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it. I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God. So, when people ask questions like that, that’s what my go to is. Like, I just say, ‘Read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out, let me know because I’m learning too.'”

Seriously? I appreciate she recognizes that she’s not God and doesn’t have all the answers, and in a way, I respect how she pointed people to the Bible, but I have to say my respect and appreciation end there. If she can’t honestly answer whether homosexuality is a sin, she has not studied the Bible much. It’s so obvious! It’s right there in black and white. And with that single interview, my admiration for this talented singer is gone. How can I admire someone who won’t stand up for the very thing she sings about?

This topic has flooded social media, and the comments vary. Some, like me, are disappointed by how Daigle chose her fame over her faith. (She made her stand clear in the interview when discussing her recent appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. When the interviewer remarked on the possibility of saying “no” to the invitation because Ellen is an outspoken homosexual, Lauren Daigle replied, “And that would be a surefire way to end your career.” To me, she betrayed in that statement where her loyalties lie.) Anyway, others are defending her answer by justifying that if she stood up for what was right, she could ruin her career and then she wouldn’t have the opportunities she now has to reach people for Christ. Are you kidding me? How can she reach others for Christ if she’s not willing to stand for Him? And who in their right mind would honestly believe the Lord would condone such tactics?

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
— Mark 8:38

Friends, we, as Christians, need to find some balance. On the one hand, we shouldn’t shun the lost and refuse to interact with them. How will we reach them? Jesus regularly spent time with those who needed a Savior, and we should follow His lead. On the other hand, we shouldn’t water down our faith to make it more palatable for those around us. Jesus never did that. He spoke the truth, even when it hurt, and generally, those who were offended by it were the religious crowd (not saved, just religious). The Bible urges us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Don’t belittle or be cruel and unkind to those who are lost but don’t hide the truth either. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and it’s our responsibility to say so. Not because we are God but because we know what God has to say about sin. And if the Bible clearly says something is a sin, then we need to point that out.  

I can’t say how I would have answered the question had it been posed to me unexpectedly like that, but I hope I would say something like this: “You know, it really doesn’t matter what I think. All that matters is what God says, and He has made it clear in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin. And if God says it’s a sin, then it must be because God doesn’t lie or make mistakes. I know that statement may offend some, but as a Christian, it is my responsibility to represent my Lord and Savior to the best of my ability no matter what it cost me.”

Oh, dear friends, we live in a wicked world, and it’s easy to go with the flow, but as Christians, that’s not what we’re supposed to do. We’ve been given the duty to stand up for Christ and His Word, but too many of us are falling down on the job. Let’s beware. 

I know this comes across as harsh, and I don’t mean for it to. Again, I am not condemning anyone. That’s not my place. That being said, I can be disappointed, and I am. My prayers are with Lauren Daigle. If she is saved, I hope the Lord will convict her heart and help her to see clearly what she claimed not to know. If she is not saved, I pray she will be soon. We all make mistakes, but we must guard against allowing fear of loss or rejection to make us ashamed of the One we claim to love.  Let’s allow this interview to be a reminder to us.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
— Romans 12:2

God Hangs the Earth on Nothing

He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing..png

Let’s delve a little deeper into our study on the occurrences of the word “nothing” in the Bible. So far, we’ve seen that nothing is too hard for God, and God’s people lack nothing. Today, let’s discuss how God hung the world on nothing.

He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.
— Job 26:7

I’m baffled by evolutionists. I truly am. How can they look around at all God has created and say, “It just happened”? How can they deny there was a designer, a creator? What amazes me is how they have no trouble believing buildings must have an architect and computers must have a designer. In fact, even the world would view them as idiotic if they were to proclaim that man-made items simply formed themselves. Why is it they can give credit to man for his “creation” but not God?

I’ve probably told you this joke before, but I love it. Two scientists were talking with God one day and exclaimed how they understood DNA well enough that they, too, could create a man. They went on and on about how brilliant they were and how humanity no longer had need of God. After hearing their claims, God challenged them to prove they could create a man. One scientist bent down and scooped up a handful of dirt, but God immediately stopped him. “No, no,” God said, “Get your own dirt.”

We think we’re so smart, but even the greatest inventors of all time had to begin with something. None of them created out of nothing. But God did. In the beginning, there was God. . . and that’s it! Everything else was created. From the light to the water to the plants to the animals to man himself. God made it all.

That is amazing enough, but when I read today’s verse, I’m utterly astounded. God hung the earth on nothing. You’ve seen the pictures from space, right? The earth is not attached to any rope or string. It isn’t suspended by bungee cords or perched on a shelf. It, along with all the other planets and stars out there, is merely hovering in space. In perfect synchronization. Never shifting too close together or too far apart. Spinning beautifully, held up by some invisible force.

It boggles the mind that such a thing is possible, but I’m even more amazed by the lengths to which some people will go to deny creation. Somebody had to plan all of this. There is no way all of this could have happened by accident. In my opinion, it takes far more faith to believe in evolution than it does creation.

As for me, I choose to believe God created the world and everything in it. He didn’t have to, but He did. Furthermore, He holds it all in His hands. This is a comfort because it reminds me how great and mighty a God I serve. If He can make something from nothing (and He did), what could He make of my life if I surrender it to Him?

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
— John 1:3

Another Overlooked Miracle

What we see as a miracle is like nothing more than taking a breath to God. That’s just how awesome He is!.png

I love it when God shows me something in His Word that I never noticed before. As I was preparing for my weekly Sunday School lesson, I was struck by a question I never even knew to ask. It’s been right there in front of me for so long, but I never saw it. Are you intrigued? Me too!

And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.
— Joshua 2:1

We’re all familiar with the story of Rahab and the two spies, right? Joshua sent the two spies in to check out the land of Jericho, and Rahab the harlot hid them and protected them from the enemy. In return, when the Israelites destroyed Jericho, Rahab and her family were saved. It’s an awesome story, but come to find out, it’s even more miraculous than I realized.

In chapter three of Joshua, we see how the children of Israel cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land. The waters of the Jordan stop flowing the moment the priests bearing the ark of the covenant step into the water, and all of Israel crosses on dry ground. The account is miraculous in and of itself, but if you notice, verse 15 tells us that the Jordan overflows its banks at the time of harvest, which is when the Israelites were crossing. Here’s a video of the modern-day Jordan overflowing its banks:

After seeing that, I’m blown away by the fact the priests had the courage and fortitude to step into that water. That’s guts! But when they did, the water stopped and dried up immediately so the people walked across on dry ground, just like the generation before them had done with the Red Sea.

But here’s my question: how did the two spies get across the Jordan River in chapter two of Joshua? The Israelite army was camped on the opposite side of the river from Jericho. The spies had to cross over somewhere and somehow. But the Bible doesn’t tell us. It doesn’t even mention it like it’s no big deal, but from where I’m sitting, it’s a huge deal! It’s a miracle! Did the water stop flowing for them as well? Were they able to cross on dry land? Did they have to swim? My mind is bursting with questions, not the least of which is this: Why doesn’t the Bible tell us about it?

If I were God and the author of the Bible, I think I would expound on every miracle. I would spare no words in describing my power and abilities. I would make sure everyone knew exactly what I could do and there was nothing beyond my ability to perform. But God doesn’t do that. In His mind and from His point of view, this miraculous river crossing was nothing more exciting than a typical Monday. Why? Because it was no big deal for Him. It didn’t cost Him time or energy. He willed it, and it happened. Was it impressive? To us, absolutely. To Him, not so much.  

But notice what was important to Him. Though chapter two overlooks the great miracle of the two spies crossing the Jordan River and somehow working their way into Jericho unnoticed, it tells us a lot about the woman named Rahab. We discover she is a harlot and a liar, but more importantly, she has faith and a hope. Hope of a better life. Hope of a brighter tomorrow. Hope of being a different person. Hope in Someone who could make all of that happen. Rahab had heard the tales of the Lord of Israel, and she was intrigued. So much so she risked her life and committed treason to save God’s chosen people.  

Though they didn’t know it at the time, those two spies weren’t at Jericho to gather military intelligence. They were there for Rahab and her family. The God who was so mighty as to not be affected by a miraculous feat was also compassionate enough to care about the souls of men. And He had a plan for Rahab—a plan to meet those hopes and expectations she had, for she would be in the family line of Jesus, the Son of God. Not a bad fate for a lying harlot, huh?

Perhaps I understand now why the Bible doesn’t specify how the spies crossed the Jordan. Maybe God didn’t want us to be so sidetracked by the “showy” miracle that we overlooked the miracle taking place within the home and heart of Rahab. Or perhaps it was simply a reminder of how almighty the Lord truly is. What we see as a miracle is like nothing more than taking a breath to God. That’s just how awesome He is!