Which Way?

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My Cub Scout pack recently planned a hiking trip.  One of the things we went over with the scouts was a list of things they should bring.  Among the suggested items was a compass.  According to Google, a compass is “an instrument containing a magnetized pointer that shows the direction of magnetic north and bearings from it.”  It is the ability to get our bearings which keeps us on track and heading in the right direction.  It is hard to reach your destination if you can’t get your bearings.

In life, we have 2 options when it comes to getting our bearings as they relate to morals.  We can get our bearings of right and wrong from what men say or what God says.  Today, we are getting more pressure than any time in my lifetime to adjust our sense of right and wrong based on the ideas of the crowd.  Editorialists, bloggers, celebrities, and politicians have called upon churches to redefine our standard of what we call sin.  The problem with that idea is that it would require us to edit God’s word and go against what He has declared.   Solomon wrote, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12 NKJV  To adjust our moral compass due to the pressure of men would be the same as “fixing” a compass so that it no longer points north.  You may like the new direction you are traveling, but the destination will not be close to where you wanted to be.

The true north of morality is an absolute fact given to us by God.  When God has decreed something in His word, we are not free to change it based on society’s whims.  God’s standards of right and wrong are unwavering.

Our job is to adjust to the compass, not try to make it adjust to us.  We must live out what He has declared and lovingly call others to come along with us.  We all have adjustments to make.  Every day we are confronted with pressure from the world and our sin natures to go along with them.  When God has spoken on the subject the issue should be settled.  If the Word says no, then our answer must be no.  If one path is in keeping with the principles of the Bible and other compromises them, we just stay on the path of God’s word.

My prayer for us all is that we will courageously stick with the compass of God’s word for our lives and not accept a false way.

The Drill

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Since leaving the classroom, I have gotten to be involved in some of the behind the scenes workings of schools. One of these areas in which I have gained a new perspective is the drills we must do. You know the kind. Fire drills, tornado drills, intruder lockdowns, zombie apocalypse practice, etc. are all scheduled and planned on our calendar. We then get to surprise the rest of the staff and students and time their reactions. Recently, I was able to help with a tornado drill and it had some interesting results. We had some students outside, one of whom was my daughter, who evidently did not hear the warning or ignored it. I have taken great pleasure in reminding her that she and her class are dead since they never came in and took shelter. I would randomly go by and say, “I see dead people”. All joking aside, why do we waste time on these drills? Because if there is a real emergency , we want to get everyone to safety as quickly as possible. Our times have improved and the little wrinkles we throw at them are easily overcome. Our time practicing now will pay off if we ever have to use these plans in a real emergency.

Our walk for Christ requires training as well. Paul wrote a letter instructing Timothy about this very thing. “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.” (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭15‬ AMP). I used the Amplified version to help clarify Paul’s point. The young preacher, Timothy was to diligently study and accurately teach the Bible. Just a few paragraphs later, Paul warns, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (‭II Timothy‬ ‭4‬:‭1-4‬ NKJV). Preachers, and all Christians, are to proclaim the word!

Like eager students learning how to duck and cover, we must study, live out, and proclaim God’s word. Sadly, many today are turning from God’s word and looking to society to find their beliefs. Instead of knowing what God says and seeking to live it, many are saying churches need to get with the times. In fact, one such pastor was recently asked about one of the hot topics where Scripture and society clash. His reply was, “”I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense,….” Here is a so called pastor flippantly dismissing God’s word as irrelevant. If the Bible can’t be trusted when it lays out a moral compass for us, how can it be trusted on matters of eternity? It appears we are in those days when many will not endure sound doctrine. We must be even more diligent to know the truth.

Let us not be deceived. Study the word. Proclaim the truth in love.

The 8 Letter Word

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Warning! I am about to use an eight letter word which may offend some. In fact, you may insist I wash out my mouth with soap.  This word used to be important to many and widely used, but our feelings about it have changed. Once, it was cherished and used proudly, but now it is used with apologies if at all. What is this dreadful word you ask? The offensive word is, “doctrine”. Come back and finish reading after you recover from passing out….I will wait for you.

Why is this word considered so bad? Just the other day I heard a Christian from another church bragging, “We don’t have doctrine!” It floored me. What they were saying is that they do not believe and teach anything! In their defense, he did hold up a Bible and said, “This is all we need.” I think the problem is a misunderstanding of what doctrine is. I even agree that man made statements of belief with no basis in Scripture is wrong. But the word, doctrine, is a Biblical word, Paul tells Timothy “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV). In other words. The Bible is good for doctrine. The word doctrine means teachings, and in newer verses it is translated as such.  God’s word is the basis of all we believe and do.  Doctrine is what the word teaches us.

There is no reason to be scared of doctrine! God wants us to teach us how to think and act so that we will “equipped for every good work”.   We need doctrine as well as reproof, correction, and instruction to reach maturity in the faith.