This week one of the textbooks being used by Guyer High School in Denton, Texas has come under fire. This supplemental textbook titled, United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination, has taken the liberty to summarize the amendments to the constitution of the United States.
Let me give you an example of the summary of the second amendment given in this textbook. The textbook reads, “The people have the right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.” This is far different from the actual ratified second amendment that reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” We can quickly see the author’s bias in the writing of this summary.
I don’t want to get into a discussion of the interpretation of the second amendment. I am simply using this example to talk with you about truth. Make sure you take some time and review the textbooks your children are using. If you don’t agree with the material, explain to your children why you disagree and then contact your school system or college and talk with them about the material.
We live in a world where most of us can clearly see when someone is approaching life from a differing worldview. However, when we send our children to a school or college we expect all institutions of learning to operate within the boundaries of truth. Often our children cannot readily discern truth from fiction. We are trusting our educational partners to dispense truth not summarize it, turn it into a falsehood, and repackage it again and sell it to our children as truth.
On their webpage the staff at Denton High School say this, “The GHS staff is committed to providing GHS students with the skills they need to lead successful – and productive – lives.” I’m not buying it. Without understanding the concept of truth that can never happen.
This week the Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples legally married in a state deserve the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. This ruling struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act known as DOMA. Several months ago Attorney General Eric Holder also said that the federal government would no longer defend DOMA.
As various worldviews push against the Biblically defined traditional marriage, we have opened a box of alternative life styles that are clearly not scriptural. I have often reminded folks to follow non-Christian worldviews to their obvious conclusions and this is a perfect example.
If we no longer rely on Biblical teachings to define marriage, then who decides the definition of marriage? The courts? The government? Popular opinion? I suppose anything goes and people can define marriage however they would choose. With no standard…no Truth…who is to say that bestiality or pedophilia should be outlawed? What about polygamy?
In fact, within twelve hours of the most recent Supreme Court ruling, Joe Darger, a Utah-based polygamist with three wives said this, We’re very happy with it (the decision of the Supreme Court). I think the court has taken a step in correcting some inequality, and that’s certainly something that’s going to trickle down and impact us.
Without following the absolute Truths provided in scripture, laws against these types of behaviors only remain as law until there is a strong enough cultural change to remove them. This is exactly what has happened with the homosexual agenda.
Currently thirty-seven states prohibit same-sex marriage. Since undoubtedly you will see this marriage definition argument move to the state level, I encourage you to call or write your senators and congressmen and tell them you support the Biblical definition of marriage between one man and one woman.
We are reminded in Hebrews that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Even if our culture changes, God’s Truth always remains as a foundation for Godly living.
CNN reported this week on a church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This church meeting seems like many other churches across the country. Music is played, someone gives announcements, an offering is collected, and a speaker talks about the importance of compassion and community.
There is one thing missing in this service each Sunday. What’s missing? God. This is the weekly meeting of the Humanist Community at Harvard University. This service is the idea of Harvard’s humanist chaplain. If you aren’t familiar with the humanist worldview, they believe that people can lead ethical lives and lives of personal fulfillment without God.
One humanist church singer, Shelley Segal, said this about their humanist church and worldview, I don’t believe in a great power to say thank you to. But that won’t take away from my gratitude.
So now I must ask who then should receive Segal’s gratitude? How can you say that you don’t believe in being thankful to God but you won’t let that take away from your gratitude? This is a non sequitur…in other words; this is an argument where the conclusion does not follow the basic premise of the argument. You see, it simply does not follow that there is no object for your gratitude. Gratitude by definition has an object.
The world is full of competing worldviews that frankly have no logical conclusions to their arguments. When you hear about various worldviews, follow them to their logical conclusions. Ask questions. You’ll be surprised at how many worldviews collapse under scrutiny.
We shouldn’t be surprised at all the false teachings and false worldviews we see today. 2 Peter 2:1 tells us this, But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves.
So question worldviews that oppose a Christian worldview. Compare these to scripture, look logically at what arguments are presented and don’t be afraid to always ask people how they know their worldview is true. You’ll be surprised at the many illogical responses you will receive.
Some of my thoughts today are from a book titled, Thinking For A Change written by John Maxwell. In that book Maxwell tells the story of two sisters. One sister just got word that she was accepted to the college of her choice. She was so excited to have earned the opportunity for a future career. The other sister leaned over to her mom and said this, I feel so sorry for my sister. She has to go to school four more years!
This story illustrates the underlying foundation of the book. Successful people think differently than unsuccessful people. In our story, one sister thought about the wonderful opportunity she had been given to attend college and start a career. The other sister thought about all the time, effort, and work it would take to get through four years of college…two totally different ways of thinking.
What do you think about every day? Do you even take time to deliberately think about the future or are you just trying to get through the day. Maxwell said this about the power of thinking.
- Unsuccessful people focus their thinking on survival
- Average people focus their thinking on maintenance
- Successful people focus their thinking on progress
If you aren’t doing it yet, may I encourage you to spend some time each day deliberately thinking? A good way to get started is to spend some time at the end of each day reflecting on your day. Examine what was successful in your day. What decisions did you make that led to successful outcomes? What decisions did you make that led to negative outcomes? How could you have made your daily decisions better? If you will take fifteen minutes at the end of each day and reflect on the decisions you made during that day, you will learn tremendous lessons that you can use tomorrow.
Some of you may remember an old movie called Groundhog Day. In that movie the main character continued to live the same day over and over again. I hope you aren’t trapped in a similar situation. If you feel like you are simply repeating your workdays, break free by thinking deliberately each day, learn from the lessons of the day that God is teaching you, and apply new ideas to your life.
Former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch once said this. 99.9 percent of all employees are in the pile because they don’t think. Don’t be one of many struggling in the employee pile. Spend some time thinking and live the exciting, creative life God has planned for you.
This weekend I got my car stuck in the mud. The more I tried to get the car out, the deeper it sank. I tried the usual approaches but my car simply sank deeper and deeper. I tried all sorts of things to get the car free. Of course the ideas were brilliant and creative but after trying each new idea the wheels on my car would only spin faster…still stuck in the mud and digging deeper. Finally, I realized I couldn’t fix this on my own. I tied a rope to my car and using a second car successfully pulled the car out of the mud.
As I was thinking about this I couldn’t help but think about our daily lives. Have you recently found yourself stuck in the mud? You didn’t expect it but suddenly something happened in your life that took away your control. One moment you were happily driving along in life and the next moment you weren’t going anywhere. The harder you tried to fix your problem the deeper you sank. You have tried all sorts of good ideas, each time just certain that each idea would fix your problem. However, with each different attempt to fix your life, your emotional wheels simply spun faster and you found yourself in the same position. In fact, all your attempts to fix your life problems only dug you deeper in the mud.
It’s time to admit we can’t do everything on our own and to start relying on God. Go ahead…tie your rope to Him and let him guide you through whatever situation you are facing.
I John 4:4 tells us, The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. We don’t need to live our lives struggling on our own. Allow God to guide you through life. God hasn’t promised a life without mud but He has promised that He will always be there with a rope to help pull you out of difficult situations and guide you throughout your toughest times.
We all have problems and throughout our lives we will experience more problems of varying degrees. It just makes me shake my head when I observe followers of Christ who either don’t believe they should experience problems or they complain loudly about the problems they are facing.
I remember the true story of a man who faced terrible adversity in his life. He lost his possessions. His farm workers were killed by criminals. His children were killed in a horrible accident. He lost his health. His friends asked him what sins he had committed in his life to cause all this anguish. He even lost the support of his wife who suggested that her husband just curse God and die. Do you know whom I’m talking about? Yes…it’s Job.
Even when confronted with all these problems here was Job’s reply as recorded in the Bible, Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad? So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.
Isn’t that a remarkable response? When is the last time we faced difficult issues and said to our family and friends, Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad? What Job was really saying is this; If we are followers of Christ let’s act like it. Let’s be an example of the character of Christ.
Let’s not complain like many in the world do. Let’s not feel sorry for ourselves. Let’s not quit and throw in the towel. Instead, let’s understand that problems will be a part of life but we serve a God greater than our problems. Let’s show others the joy that comes from following Christ. Let our behavior in the tough times cause others to ask why we are different. Let our examples be the motivation for others to develop a desire to also follow Christ.
With all that has been in the news recently about gun control, I began to think about a weapon we all possess that has done tremendous damage to others. This weapon has cut deeply into the spirits of others, has severed relationships, has left people devastated and in tears, has fired numerous shots, and can be re-loaded in an instant. What is the weapon? The weapon is your tongue.
The Book of James says many things about the tongue. In chapter three we read this, But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire…
Have you ever had your tongue set your life on fire? Have you ever said something and the moment you said it just wished you could take it back? Maybe it was something you said to your spouse this morning. As soon as you said it you could see the look of hurt in their eyes. Perhaps you said something cutting or hurtful to your child and saw a tear start to form. Maybe you made a careless remark to a co-worker years ago and now you are enemies seeking to cause trouble for each other. Once you say something you can never get it back. You may ask for forgiveness but the damage is already done.
As you go through this week remember that you possess a weapon that can truly set your life on fire as well as the lives of others. As you continue to seek and develop the character of Christ, don’t let your tongue get in the way of your example to others. When someone upsets you stop, take a breath, and think about your response before you engage your weapon. Refuse to simply fire randomly. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you perfect a Godly aim.
You can use your tongue to build up others, diffuse tense situations, develop wonderful relationships, and demonstrate the love and power found in Christ. So use your tongue to snuff the fires going on in the lives of others and refuse to allow your tongue to be the match that starts fires in those around you.