Continuing to Stand
It is true that I watched the State of the Union address last evening. To say that I was impressed would not lead to the truth of what I truly felt. Nonetheless, the most troublesome thing that I heard was when our “Christian” President chose to uphold Islam and its tenants over the virtues of Christianity. Now, if one is Islamic it stands to reason that such individuals would further what he sees as just and honourable through Muslim eyes. However, when one is a Christian it should also stand to reason that such a person uphold the virtues of Christianity above all else.
The fact is that Christianity is not given to the weak and appeasing. It is not given to those that uphold its virtues so long as its standards do not offend. The fact is that the Gospel never seeks to appease. Instead, the Gospel has shown itself to be a stumbling stone and a rock of offence (Romans 9:33). This means that there are some who will not take too kindly to the standard of Scripture. Others will find reason to avoid it even if that avoidance means making cultic ventures greater than the Gospel. Well, Christians, it is time we continued to stand. It is time to take back the narrative from those who love not Jesus and stand on the very principles of the Gospel.
The hallmark principle of the Word of God is love. It was because of love that God sent His only begotten Son into the world in order to restore a broken relationship. It was because of love that Jesus humbled himself unto death; even the death of the cross in order to make things right between the Father and man. It is because of love that Christ remains on the right hand of the Father interceding for those that love Him. That love is furthered in Christendom to all that know not Christ might come to know Him. That love is extended to all – even followers of Islam. That love is perpetuated in the lives of the Christian whereby his life is one showing forth the love of God. Love is the hallmark of all that God is as God is love.
On the other hand Islam does not present in love. Now, some might say that all of Islam does not seek to be like what is counted as radical. Even so, contrary to the commandment of love found in the Holy Writ, Islam presents no such idea; not even amongst its own. Many Muslim men rape their women and other women. There are honour killings in the name of Allah for those who betray the teachings of Islamists. Many Muslim men take very young wives and often those wives are counted as property. Those counted as infidels are beheaded, burned and drowned. Yet, Islam is counted as the religion of peace even while the Prince of Peace is seen as a mere prophet to be subordinated to Muhammad.
This is not a time for Christian apathy. It is not a time to kowtow to the move of some political figures that seek to remove Christianity from the public arena. Instead, it is time to stand in the face of adversity. It is time to hold fast to the fundamental teaching of the Gospel. It is time not to give in to the feel good temporary gimmicks of the day. Instead there needs to be a continuation of the stand that was called for in Scripture. This stand is not a stand with calm waters in a peaceful pond. No, this is a stand when the wind and waters are contrary to what we know to be right. We started standing and that stand needs to be perpetual.
Ephesians chapter six uses the word “stand” three times. The idea of standing is central to the chapter and to Ephesians at large. However, the idea of standing is not specific to the church of Ephesus. Christians today are also faced with the wiles of the enemy. Christians today need to wear the entire armour of God. And, when one wears armour he, by necessity, must stand. Standing is not an act of apathy. It is an act of boldness and determination. Determination — what an idea from a determined God in order to restore broken relationships. Standing in love; what a way to present the truth of the Word of God without shame.
It’s official; the year 2015 has been written and is forever recorded in the annals of time. During 2015 there were many good things and many bad things that have taken place. Most seem to focus on the bad because it seems the bad things have had significant impacts on those concerned. The bad is rehearsed over and over in the minds of the hurting causing feelings of depression, weariness and hopelessness. This is going on even while there are a number of good things that have also taken place.
It is true that the hurts and disappointments of life have lingering effects. Consider, for instance, the loss of a job. The impacts of such a loss are reciprocal. Or, perhaps, jobs applied for were met with the resounding sound of “no” despite being well qualified. It could also be that present jobs just do not suffice. And, the matter of the work force is not the only matter of concern. What about those of us who have lost loved ones through death? What about that unwanted and undeserved divorce? The list of hurts and disappointments goes on and on causing melancholy to be the order of the day. But, don’t despair. Don’t give in and don’t you dare quit.
It is common for people to look to new years as the beginning of new things in their lives. Often new ventures are sought and new ideas are implemented. And, while there is nothing wrong with the new there is much to be said for the things already in existence. For instance, those that have take time to further their educations might find it difficult to lose earned degrees. Those having vocational skills might never forget how to do manual labour. And, these are good things. These things are good and have been placed in individuals not only for their own well-being but also for the good of those served. It is suspected there are good things in you as well. Don’t you give up on those things in you. Soon room will be made for the gifts God has been developing in you for years. No, don’t you give in and don’t you dare quit.
The fact that you have soaked your pillow with tears only means that you have been broken. Do you not realize that God uses the brokenness of one man to bring healing in another? This brokenness means that God has not ignored you; instead it means that God loves you and has enveloped you with His compassion. Now, that compassion that has been born in you can be used to bring another into the loving arms of Jesus. Your brokenness is really a source of strength to stand in the face of things that have sought to, well; break you. It did not work. You are still here. So, don’t you dare quit. No, don’t do it.
It has been difficult and it has been hard. Suicide, however, is not the answer. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God did not make a mistake even though your parents may have. Your life is more than worth living. Don’t let the discouragements and hurts of this world cause you to miss out on what God has for you. No, it will not be easy in 2016 – it will be worth the struggle. You are beautiful and are a child of God. Don’t cheat yourself of the victories God has stored for you just because of past hard times. No, don’t you dare quit on yourself and don’t you dare quit on God.
Some of the people in the Church at Philippi began to get discouraged. Paul realized this and sought to remind the people that God was not finished with them. His words in Philippians 1:6 make God’s intentions very clear. The words, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” give credence that while God may do a new thing He will not forsake that things already in you. This is to say, the old brokenness can be renewed to minister to someone unable to see their way. Learning had in years past can be used to build confidence in someone today. Yes, God has begun a good work in you therefore you must not quit. God is faithful concerning His promises. Therefore, if the promise has not yet been manifested there is great need to push forward and work toward the promise of a faithful and just God.
No, don’t you dare quit this year. Don’t put your head in the sand hoping that it will all go away. No, don’t do it. Keep on moving. Keep on pushing. Keep on trusting in the God of your salvation. God is not finished with what He started in you. You will succeed. You will accomplish that mission. You will be what God has called you to be. Remember that faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things of not seen. Just don’t give up and you had better not give in. God is far from finished with you so don’t you dare quit!
Now, it is true that most of my writings are not designed to be academic in nature. However, that does not mean that I have veered from what has caused me to grow and understand more concerning the things of God. In my recent book Academia: Through the Eyes of a Preacher I examine a number of academic disciplines associated with Christianity. Those disciplines range from history to evangelism; from discipleship to missions and everything in between.
With that, please peer into the book and see what you can glean. The below is an additional portion of the essay “The Nicene Creed: The Trouble that Caused It.” Please remember this work is copyright protected and and all rights remain reserved. Now, let’s peer into academia again.
Despite the company Athanasius found himself in there was also grave opposition to his stand against heretical teachings. Saint Hilary of Poitiers was born in 315 with an uncertain Christian heritage. Even though Hilary was appointed Bishop of Poitiers and eventually made a saint questions concerning his Christianity are brought to question in that he was seen as a pagan. No matter the issue of Hilary’s Christianity his writings clearly show that he did not recognize Jesus as being coeternal with the Father rather clearly states that Jesus is a creation of God. In this vein Hilary states “He is not eternal or co-eternal, nor was He uncreated at the same time with the Father…”
The calling of the synod included more than discussions on the substance of Jesus. Little is said in respect to the Holy Spirit even in the Nicene Creed but there was argument against His divinity which was part of the controversy at large. The problem was even though the Holy Spirit was associated with the Godhead there was considerable uncertainty as to His nature. The matter of His nature brought to the center of the argument supposed that He was a mere person and the Arians saw Him as being subordinate to the Son who was counted as being subordinate to the Father. The confusion was so great that Basil expressed “Of the wise men among ourselves, some have conceived of him [the Holy Spirit] as an activity, some as a creature, some as God…” With this lack of understanding as to who the Holy Spirit was it obviously brings into question not only His substance but also His divinity and authority.
This instability in respect to the Holy Spirit becomes more compelling when His divinity is purposely stripped away. Some Homoiousians (those subscribing like or same substance to Jesus) refused to afford the Holy Spirit His rightful place in the Godhead. This denial of the divinity of the Holy Spirit was part of the heretical teachings of Arianism. The Deity of the Holy Spirit was also denied by Macedonius who declared that the Holy Spirit was nothing more than a “minister and a servant”.
Now, to put this segment into context you will have to read the entire essay. No to worry, there are other studies that will catch the attention of all scholars. For instance, “The World of Islam,” “Diverse Gifts,” and “Looking at the Evidence” are three of the essays included in this work. You will also find an exhaustive bibliography to aid in research. So, go ahead, get you a copy and put on your seat belts. There will be surprising academic twist and turns as you learn academia through the eyes of a preacher.
 The Catholic University of Puerto Rico, The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1954)V
 Ibid., 102
 Richard E. Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight Over Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999), 205
 Ibid., pg 206
 Everett Ferguson, Church History: From Christ to Pre-Reformation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 207
 Ioannis Karmiris, “The Second Ecumenical Council” in The Ecumenical Review 33 (July 1981):244-248
 Earle, E. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954), 129
It is official, the day set aside to give thanksgiving is over. Turkey has been eaten and potatoes mashed. Pies and cakes have been devoured causing many to sit back in easy chairs unable to move in that gluttony has taken over thanksgiving allowing only for deep breathing and occasional sighs of relief as the mounds of food finally settle within the bodies of many.
Now, there is no suggestion here that there should be no enjoyment of things God has provided for us. But the real attitude of Thanksgiving has little to do with the plenteous foods now being stored in refrigerators and freezers. In fact I would venture to say that attitudes of thanksgiving actually fall short of the meals that we eat.
Let me explain. When I woke this morning it was more than evident that I did not wake under my own power. In fact I…
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