Matthew 5:14-16

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." ~Matthew 5:14-16

Friday, January 14, 2011

Clear Evidence

I have long since completed my last challenging project back in November: Nanowrimo. I'd been studying and researching with much vigor over the subject of comas and providing for a loved one's disabled spouse. The journey to discovering out these facts have been tedious and time consuming, but well worth the effort. My nanowrimo book, "Shattered but not Destroyed: Finding Strength through Faith," centers around a young couple, the wife who goes into a coma because of a car accident, and the husband who doesn't share the faith of his wife, who must now put together the pieces of their shattered life. I've read 7 books on the amazing and special lives of disabled people. It really has opened my eyes to their unique situations and trials, and how it impacts the lives of those around them.

One of the resources I used from my local library is called, "Fighting for Dear Life," by David Gibbs.
I completed reading it and had to stop and re-read Chapter 25: Brave New World? It holds a lot of conviction about the Christian's duty to study and to know his/her Bible well, to be students of the Word. It caused me to ponder what would happen if this situation happened to me? Would I be ready to answer with a clear yes? Our reading of the Bible is evidence of our love for the Lord and a hunger for His Word. How is our testimony doing in that regard?

Ponder the chapter below and place yourself in the shoes of the witness being questioned. I hope you take the following to heart and do something about it too in your own lives. I desire that the following convicts you to examine your own Walk and encourages you to grow stronger in the Lord.
God bless. :)

Excerpt from Fighting for Dear Life, by David Gibbs. Chapter 25: Brave New World?

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government." - Thomas Jefferson.

"Imagine it's the year 2040.
A seismic shift in the American cultural landscape has occurred. As a nation, we've slipped into an era where moral relativism has completely replaced the Ten Commandments as the foundation for law. God is out, and arbitrary legislative and judicial rulings are in. American church attendance has dropped to European levels; less than 10 percent participate in weekly services. And on the political front, so called liberal blue states outnumber conservative red states two to one.

After several decades of relentless legal challenges by the ACLU, the last vestiges of our Judeo-Christian heritage have been stripped from public view. Churches and war memorials may no longer exhibit crosses visible from the road. Our historical monuments in Washington, D.C., have been sandblasted to remove their centuries-old references to God and Scripture. Likewise, the money in circulation no longer says, "In God We Trust." And Christmas has been replaced by the Winter Holiday.

In the public schools, the Christian faith of our Founding Fathers, initially noted at Plymouth Rock and in the later historic documents drafted by our founders' able hands, has been replaced by a generic nod toward a universal spirit. Even the textbooks used by private Jewish and Christian schools have been neutered from their faith-based orientation in order to meet a strict, court-mandated educational standard. Religion classes must include the exploration of all faiths- especially Islam.

For its part, the federal government has caved under intense presure to provide socialized medicine for every citizen - as well as for milions of illegal aliens. As a result, the national budget is strapped. Record deficit spending is necessary to pay for universal health care, which, in turns, threatens to stall the economy.
The solution?
A congressional subcommittee has been called to explore measures to curb spending on health-related issues. A parade of expert testimony is assembled. Ultimately, these doctors, social workers, caregivers, and economists recommend three cost-cutting, albeit controversial, measures. First, they propose emptying all the nursing homes; the elderly will be asked to fulfill their duty to the next generation by expediting their deaths. Their adult stem cells will be harvested for research.

Second, the subcommittee recommends suspending hospital treatment when the "quality of life" of a patient fails to meet a minimum standard set by a medical ethics committee. These hard luck cases will receive morphine while being deprived of food and water until nature takes its course.

Finally, the subcommittee proposes that newborns be terminated if they are diagnosed with chronic illness, show the evidence of birth defects, or if their parents are without sufficient financial means to provide for their care.

Not everybody is pleased with this proposal.
A lawsuit challenging these new laws based on the constitutional right to life is filed by the pastor of your church with the help of a dedicated Christian legal team. In spite of the anti-christian bias...

"I believe that you have to confess that you are a sinner and you must put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ." That's odd, you think. You're in open court explaining the plan of salvation when you thought you were here to explain why you believe all life is sacred. But instead of moving on to that topic, the lawyer continues to probe.
"So what happens if you don't get saved?"
You shift in your seat, unsure how much to say. "In simple terms, when we die there's a hell to avoid and a heaven to be gained based upon the choice we all make on this side of eternity."
"Are there several choices to get to heaven, as you put it?"
"No. Just one."
"Really. What's that?"
"Well, you have to believe in Jesus and what He did on the cross. When He died, He took the punishment my sins deserve."

The lawyer turns toward the defense table where your pastor is sitting and then asks you, "Did your preacher just cook all of this up? Was this some sort of a marketing campaign or perhaps a guilt trip the church leadership designed to get people to show up on Sundays?"
"No. What our pastor preaches - and what I believe - is all based on the Bible, God's Word."

The lawyer is enamored with the fact that you actually believe God wrote a book. He says, "Now, let me get this straight. You really believe that God wrote a book?"
You look at the judge for a moment. "Do you actually want me to go into all of that? I thought-"
The judge cuts you off. "Please, answer the question."
"Well, not to get too technical," you say, "but I believe God breathed His Spirit on the holy men of old - you might say He inspired them with His thoughts. They took it all down, and others have carefully preserved what they wrote over thousands of years." Suddenly, you're glad you stayed awake during the foundations of the Christian faith sermon series.

The lawyer says, "Is God going to write another book anytime soon?"
"No, the Bible even addresses that. It says that no one should add or take away from what's there. And it says that 'not one jot or title' - not one of the smallest marks in the original Hebrew text- is going to pass away. This book is going to stand for eternity. It's the Word of God." At this point, you feel your testimony is going great.
The lawyer takes a step closer and, placing a hand on his hip, says, "Have you ever read the entire Bible through even one time in your life?"
A hush falls over the courtroom. All eyes are fixed on you. "Well, I do read the Bible, if that's what you mean." You offer a weak smile.
"That's not what I asked," the lawyer says. "I asked if you ever read the entire thing through, just one time?"
You shift in your seat, wishing your pastor didn't have to hear your answer. "Well, most Christians who go to church have never read the entire Bible through."
"I'm not interested in what most people do," he says, clearly intent on securing a direct response. "Have you read it one time cover to cover?"
"Um, I don't know if I've read the whole thing, it's a pretty big book."
"I assume you own a copy. Is that correct?"
"I do."
"Several copies?"
"Yes. Three or four."
"How long have you owned these copies?"
You blink. "About ten years."
"So we could say you've owned at least one copy for the last three thousand, six hundred fifty days?"
"Sounds right." Now your heart is racing. You have no idea where this line of questioning is going or what the relevance of it is to the sanctity of life testimony you thought you were going to provide.
"How many pages are in your Bible?"
"Um, I don't know...maybe twelve hundred?"
"Alright. You've said that you haven't read God's Word through one time. You've said it's a large book. And you've owned a copy for ten years. Is that a fair summary so far?"
"Let's say you were to read just one-third of one page per day," he says, consulting his yellow legal tablet. "Mathematically speaking, at that rate you could finish reading the whole Bible in ten years, correct?"
"Yes...that sounds right."
"How long does it take you to read a page?"
At this point you have an idea of where he's going and decide to get creative. You say, "Look, I went to a very bad school. They were messing around with that whole phonics fad and I never did get to be a strong reader."
The attorney pauses for emphasis. "I think it's safe to estimate that the average person might take one minute a day to read a third of a page. Agreed?"
You nod and then whisper, "Yes."
The judge, looking down at you over the top of his glasses, says, "Please repeat that louder for the benefit of the jury."
"Yes. I could read a third of a page per day. Sure."
"According to these calculations," the lawyer says, driving home his point by ticking them off with his fingers, "You could have read the only book that God ever wrote, the source of your faith, the source of what your church believes, had you spent just sixty seconds a day over a ten-year period. Is that true or false?"
"Well, according to your math, yes. It's true."
"And I believe you already testified that you didn't."
"No sir, I didn't."
"Why didn't you?"
"Well, I...I was busy. I had a lot of things going on. I feel bad about it now. I should have had more time."
"Do you own a television?"
"Do you own more than one?"
"I do. Three to be exact."
"Do you pay money to run a cable or a satellite dish or antenna to it?"
"Doesn't everybody? We have cable."
"Do you get a lot of channels?"
"Sure, but we're not big TV viewers."
"Do you ever watch television sixty seconds in a day? What about five minutes? An hour? Two hours?"

Before you know it, you'd be grilled about how much time you spend listening to the radio, reading a newspaper, reading a magazine, or surfing the Internet. And in the end, the other side will demonstrate that you and I have all of the time we want to do what matters most to us. The judge and jury will come to see that believers ignore their God and His Word all the time. They'll conclude that we believers are not guided by the strength of our convictions after all.
You know what?
Sloppy Christian living is killing our testimony.
The vast majority of Bible-believing people neglect to faithfully study God's Word, seek His face through prayer, and make choices about life and living that reflect His priorities. This is how Paul describes the spiritual bankruptcy of his day: "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him" (Titus 1:16a). Sounds like us, doesn't it? Is it any wonder that we're not experiencing the revival that our nation needs?
America is at a crossroads. There are forces working from within, pushing a culture without God, a culture of death over life, folly over wisdom, and secularism over faith."

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