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BELIEVING IN ANYTHING
G.K. Chesterton once said, "It is often supposed that when people stop believing in God, they believe in nothing.
Alas, it is worse than that. When they stop believing in God, they believe in anything."
Without God the only standard of TRUST - of right and wrong - is what appeals to you. And that's a shifting standard. It all depends on what I want, what I like, what I accept, what pleases me.
But scripture says: "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" My standards are all warped. My morality is riddled with impurity. And if I base what I TRUST on that warpedness/ impurity, then I'm going to embrace whatever gods allow me to do what I want to do.
It's insanity. When I stop trusting in the God of Scripture... I'll believe in anything, and eventually that will lead me to destruction.
But now, by contrast, if I trust in the God of Scripture I'm no longer led by MY righteousness and holiness. Instead I'm trusting a God who is so holy and so righteous that my tendency will be to build my life around Him (rather than Him around me).
I'll use His standards of right and wrong -- not mine.
I'll build on His morality in my life -- not mine.
I'll build on His expectations for me... not mine.
AND I know if I trust in Him in these matters... I will be blessed.
I read of a minister who was visiting one of his members. The lady of the house was trying to impress him about how devout she was by pointing out the large Bible on the bookshelf and talking in a very reverential way of it as "the Word of God". Her young son interrupted the conversation, "Well, if that’s God’s book we better send it back to him because we never read it!"
Despite the "Do Not Touch" signs, a museum was having no success in keeping patrons from touching--and soiling--priceless furniture and art. But the problem evaporated overnight when a clever museum employee replaced the signs with ones that read: "Caution: Wash Hands After Touching!"
Today in the Word, March, 1990.
Dr. S.M. Lockridge was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, San Diego CA from 1953 - 1993. He entered heaven in 2000. He is well-known for a passage out of his sermon titled “He’s My King”:
“He’s enduringly strong, He’s entirely sincere, He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful. He’s God’s Son. He’s a sinner’s savior. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s supreme. He’s preeminent. He’s the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest idea in philosophy. He’s the fundamental truth in theology. He’s the miracle of the age. He’s the only one able to supply all of our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick, He cleans the lepers. He forgives sinners, He discharges debtors, He delivers captives, He defends the feeble, He blesses the young, He serves the unfortunate, He regards the aged, He rewards the diligent, He beautifies the meek. Do you know Him?
Well, my king is the king of knowledge, He’s the well-spring of wisdom, He’s the doorway of deliverance, He’s the pathway of peace, He’s the roadway of righteousness, He’s the highway of holiness He’s the gateway of glory, He’s the master of the mighty, He’s the captain of the conquerors, He’s the head of the heroes, He’s the leader of the legislators, He’s the overseer of the overcomers, He’s the governor of governors, He’s the prince of princes, He’s the king of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Well. I wish I could describe Him to you. But He’s indescribable. Yes. He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible, He’s irresistible. I’m trying to tell you, the Heavens cannot contain Him, let alone a man explain Him. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him. Well. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate coul...
For me, my belief in God was reaffirmed recently by something I would not have expected. While I was in England I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral. Worshiping in that great cathedral your eyes are drawn to the great dome. It is actually three domes, one on top of the other, with the highest and smallest dome having windows, making you think they are the very windows of heaven. I stood there in that great place, surrounded by exquisite art and architecture, and said to my friend: “This building makes me believe in God.” I think he was somewhat taken back by my statement that a physical, man-made building could make me believe in God. But I said, “What else could inspire such a sense of transcendence and create a feeling of otherworldliness — a world of unspeakable beauty and holy purpose?” These glorious monuments to God are all over England and Europe — countries which were strongly influenced by the Christian faith. “Name me one monument to the devil which has been built in his honor,” I said to my friend. “I can’t think of one.”
But then I began to think. Actually, I have seen a monument to the devil. It exists in a country I visited a few years before, whose national religion is Voodoo, or devil worship — the country of Haiti. We drove by it on our way to the mission station in Cape Haitian. It is the center for Voodoo worship — a large mud hole where chickens are strangled and their blood poured into the pool. Rumors are that there are even secret rites where human sacrifices are offered to the devil, and their blood becomes a part of the mud as well. There are unspeakable acts of evil performed there. Worshipers come to cover themselves with the mud of that cursed place. So there I stood thinking about one country whose religion worships Jesus Christ, and another country whose religion is devil worship. The monument to Jesus Christ was an exquisite cathedral, and the monument to the devil was a mud hole. One was transcendent in its themes and beauty, and the other was vile and ugly. One inspired noble thoughts and holy lives, the other aroused perverse thoughts and evil acts. One was elevating and the other degrading. One made you look up and the other made you look down.
"Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervours, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills."
John Brown, Nineteenth-century Scottish theologian, quoted in J. Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 51.
There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Romans 3:10-18 (NIV)
“Don’t you fear God?” is a great question. It’s a question that I don’t think we hear much anymore. And if we’re not careful, the next generation will miss entirely this all important characteristic of God.
That’s why I’m glad Disney and Walden Media is releasing C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, Witch and The Wardrobe” this December. If you don’t know anything about this, let me encourage you to pick up the book and make plans to see this movie. In this story, Lewis chose a Lion to represent Jesus. At times the children in the story felt comfortable to run their fingers through his mane, take rides on his back and enjoy being in his presence. But his roar was ferocious enough to introduce an element of fear. It prompted 1 of the children to ask, “Is Aslan safe?” The thoughtful answer was, “No, He’s not safe, but He is good.”
God is a God of love and justice; grace and wrath, and sometimes I think we need to hear Him roar to remind us of His holiness.
Eugene Peterson in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction writes, “It is not difficult in our world to get a person interested in the message of the Gospel; it is terrifically difficult to sustain the interest. Millions of people in our culture make decisions for Christ, but there is a dreadful attrition rate. Many claim to have been born again, but the evidence for mature Christian discipleship is slim. In our kind of culture anything, even news about God, can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap. There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusia...
Charlie Brown and Lucy and Linus are lying on the ground, looking up into the sky. Lucy says, "If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations. What do you think you see, Linus?" Linus responds, "Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean. And that cloud looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen. I can see the Apostle Paul standing here to one side."
Lucy congratulates him, "Uh huh, that’s very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?" Charlie Brown replies, "Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind."
What do you see when you look into the skies? The psalmist looked into the heavens and he saw ... God. He said, "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands" (19:1).
A father’s two daughters were begging him for permission to see the latest movie, which happened to be rated "R," with their friends. When he denied their request, their pleading only intensified. "It’s only rated R because it has just a little bad language and just a few scenes that are bad," they reasoned.
Later that night, the father baked some brownies for his daughters. They dug in and commented on how much they enjoyed them. "You like them, huh?" he responded. "Oh yes. They’re great," answered his daughters. "That’s interesting because I used a new recipe," he said, matter of factly.
"Oh yeah? What is it?" they asked.
"Well, I’ve always heard that, if you add a little dash of dog droppings to the brownies that it gives them a distinct taste that people love," he answered, straight-faced.
The daughters immediately stopped chewing and their faces transformed from enthusiastic smiles to panicked looks of confusion. "You’re kidding!" cried one as she spat her brownie out on her plate. "What in the world are you thinking?" complained the other.
The father explained that he would never serve such a dish because even just a small amount of some things is completely unacceptable. He went on to explain that God views sin in much the same way. It doesn’t matter how little it is, it still is so distasteful that God cannot look upon it.
The girls agreed with their father that rated "R" movies were not for them.