Sin on Steroids

As it was in the days of Noah…

In the last few days, we all stand in shock as the news fills our minds and our television screens:

Six killed and thirteen wounded as a Hollywood director’s son goes on a killing spree because he felt that girls were not attracted to him. A seventeen-year-old girl was beaten nearly to death, allegedly by her boyfriend, for tangled fishing lines. Former New England Patriots football star kills two people because he was bumped by someone in a bar causing him to spill his drink. The daughter of two Hollywood stars walks topless through Manhattan to protest Instagram’s nudity policy.

What is going on? Are people going crazy? What we are seeing is the steady, moral decline of a nation that comes in response to the belief that morals are not absolute, life is cheap, and there are no consequences for sin. Some of the insanity could be attributed to mental instability, and no one would doubt that. Regardless of your conclusions, there is no doubt that our nation is slipping down a slide of immorality and degradation, and our slip does not seem to be slowing.

I return to the prophetic phrase from Matthew 24: “As it was in the days of Noah.” I wrote recently about that phrase commenting that it certainly pointed to the surprise return of Christ, but it must also reflect upon the rampant sin that described the culture before the flood. There is no doubt that our culture is consumed in self-interests, immoral lusts, and murderous reactions to uncontrolled anger. While the Bible describes numerous things that will be happening when Jesus returns, sin on steroids is one of them. One cannot help but look around at what is going on around us and realize that the moral fabric of our society is becoming unraveled. Jesus is coming again. Get ready. Trust Him as your Savior. Seek Him as your Guide. Surrender to Him as your Lord. Jesus is coming again.

Parenting Blog

My family and I are beginning to work on writing a new book together entitled 31 Days to Parenting Success. In order to promote interest, I will be writing an additional blog on parenting at http://www.31daysworks.blogspot.com. I will work to post on this blog as regularly as possible and make you aware of updates on the other blog as well. I encourage you to join both blogs so update notices will come in your e-mail. I am going to do my best to post a blog on each site about three times a week.

Memorial Day is a time to remember the incredible sacrifices made by men and women so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. Even the freedom to write this blog, to publish books, and to enjoy worship yesterday has come at an incredible price. Thank you God for the sacrifices of men and women through the years so our country can remain free. I encourage you to spend some time with your family today talking about the price of freedom.

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As It Was in the Days of Noah

I just heard about Jeff Kinley’s timely book, As It Was in the Days of Noah. In light of the recent big screen debut of the movie Noah (made $44 million during its opening weekend), Kinley’s book calls attention to the real significance of this Old Testament story. Regarding the movie, don’t go to the theatre expecting to see a movie version of the Bible story. Hollywood took great liberties to write a script that did agree with the Bible. While the story of God destroying the earth, except for Noah’s family who was delivered in the ark, is a significant and true story from the Bible, it is Jesus’ reference to the ancient story of God’s judgment that should tweak our attention. Matthew 24:37-39 states, “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” There are some important parallels between Noah’s story and our story.

One parallel is that our world is full of iniquity and flagrant disregard for the things of God. It was this disregard that brought about the world-wide flood that killed every living thing that was not safely sheltered inside the ark. Our world is currently displaying this same contempt for the things of God. One cannot help but feel that we are quickly moving to a place in our world where God can no longer tolerate the wickedness that abounds. Some Bible translations, like the English Standard Version, stress the condition of the days of Noah in verse thirty-seven of this text: “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” While there are more families serving the Lord than just one, we cannot help but consider the darkness of our day and wonder how much longer our Lord will wait until He returns.

Many translations seem to focus the attention of Christ’s words on the surprise of Christ’s return, as compared to the surprise of the global flood. No one believed Noah and scoffed at his warnings. People were shocked when it began to rain (It had never rained before), and I am sure many of them raced toward the ark in hopes of being delivered. It is also possible that even though they were warned by Noah, they were so deceived that they did not realize their death was imminent until it was impossible to seek the refuge of the ark. The Bible says that Jesus is coming again, and His return will catch the world by surprise. Jesus is coming again. Will you be ready? You might want to check and Kinley’s book and decide for yourself if we live in a world that is similar to the days of Noah.

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Soccer Lessons

I recently received an e-mail from a friend, and I asked for permission to share it on my blog. I think you will be encouraged and challenged by it.

Our kids play soccer each spring. The boys have played for several years, but this is only our daughter’s second season playing soccer. While the boys are competitive and really enjoy the game, we have had quite a different experience with our daughter. Her original motivation for playing soccer was the Gatorade that the boys would get after each game. We have spent the last few months watching her suffer through game after game. She frequently does not pay attention to what is going on in the game and often does not even know where the ball is in play at any given time. She is not at all assertive or aggressive on the field. I also believe she does not have a good understanding of the game and is uncertain when she should defend and stay in her area, and when she should be on offense and pursue the ball.

Her coach often puts her in the back at defense because she will not run after the ball. He has also frequently put her in the goal, counting on the other players to keep the ball away from that end of the field. Occasionally, she will attempt to kick the ball if it comes directly towards her. In the goal, if she is paying attention, she may try and block an incoming ball. Most of these efforts are half-hearted and unsuccessful.

We have spent many games yelling “watch the ball”, “go get it”, “get ready to stop the ball”, and “keep your eyes on the ball”. The coach will also often call out directions, but more often than not –since she is not paying attention to the game anyways –she does not realize that the directions are directed towards her. Frequently she looks annoyed that the game is taking so long and she wants it to be over. Needless to say, we love her and she has so many wonderful character qualities, but when it comes to soccer, she is apathetic and does not completely understand the game.

Saturday morning was no different than any of her previous games. I called out encouragement when she attempted to move towards the ball and reminders to “watch the ball” when I knew she was not paying attention. When she was in the goal, I felt terrible each time she let a goal get past her after the other kids worked so hard to stop it.

As we started the 4th quarter, I began to pray that God would show me what I needed to learn in this situation, or what the purpose for this season had been. As I sat watching that quarter, God began to speak in that still small voice. He opened my eyes so that I could see “the battle”.

As the other kids on the team played as hard as they could and fought and strived to score and to keep the other team from scoring, our daughter was distracted. She was in “the battle”, but not aware of it. The words “engage in the battle” kept echoing in my mind. God was showing me that this is what we as Christians often do. We have been placed on the field for spiritual battle for different seasons in our lives. God is wanting us to engage in the battle, but many times we don’t even know there is a battle going on. He often shouts outs out directions and encouragement, but since we are not aware of the battle, we don’t realize that those words are directed at us. I know He loves us, but how sad it must make Him when He sees our team suffering because we won’t engage or we are unaware that we are supposed to be fighting. Does He wonder at our motivation for being there in the first place? Is the motivation victory and glory for God, or some other insignificant thing (like Gatorade)? Does He sigh when He sees us getting frustrated that the battle is taking too long and we have other things we would rather be doing? When the battle actually comes to us, because we did not realize it was going on and have not been preparing for it, we are ineffectual- just as she was ineffectual at stopping a goal or meeting an opposing player on the field when the ball came directly to her.

That morning, I started to wonder what battle fields had God placed me on? What battles have I been blind to? What fellow believers were suffering because I had not been engaging in the battle? Several things came to mind, but I think God is still in the process of revealing those battles to me. Your sermon this morning was a very clear reminder to me that God is at work (as He always is). Your words echoed so many of the phrases and words that God had whispered to me the day before at soccer. I will continue to be praying that God will reveal those battles that need engaging in my life and in the life of our church.