Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween and horror movies

(an excerpt from A.W.O.L. Christians)

Chapter 5: LOVE = NO FEAR

"There is no fear in love;
but perfect love casteth out fear:
because fear hath torment.
He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
I John 4:18 (KJV)

As I begin my work on this chapter, it is one week before Halloween. While watching television last evening I heard a commercial for a marathon of scary movies. The advertisement was attracting viewers to these shows by portraying the week-long movie presentation with phrases like, “The only emotion you’ll feel is fear”, and “Eight movies that will scare you to death!”

Now, we could begin a long discussion on the celebration of Halloween in general and whether as good Christians we should allow our children to dress up and go trick-or-treating. If you have strong beliefs about the need not to recognize this “holiday”, I think you are justified. However I do feel there is a bigger issue in today’s culture regarding how much our society promotes anything involving the emotion of fear.

Just one look to see what Christ told John in Revelation 21 can be eye-opening:

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and
murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters,
and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
(Revelation 21:8, KJV, emphasis added)

Do you see how those who are “fearful” are lumped in with these other “abominable” characters? That tells me that this notion of living in fear, or dealing with fear as a recreational activity is far more serious than most of us understand. To purposely sit at home or in a theater and allow fear to infiltrate your mind and spirit through what you see is as bad as letting pornographic material take hold of your will and emotions. Both are deeply affecting the souls of people all over the world today, believers and nonbelievers alike.

Monday, October 24, 2011

God loves without partiality

**(From A.W.O.L. Christians, written before the death of Osama bin Laden)**

"... God is many things, but His character is most clearly defined by the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23) in the statement he reiterated twice in the fourth chapter of I John, “God is love.”

You see God cannot hate one of his creations, “For everything God created is good” (I Timothy 4:4, NIV). So since each one of us was created by the Almighty God of heaven, He loves us. And not only that, He loves each of us equally.

Wow, that’s hard to fathom isn’t it? God loves me the same as He loves Mother Teresa, or Osama bin Ladin? When you think about the latter you are probably a bit upset. He loves a murdering terrorist as much as me? But it is sobering to take the other extreme. You mean He loves little old “ordinary” me as much as someone so loving and self-sacrificing as Mother Teresa?

Do you want a real eye opener? Check Jesus own words in John 17 as he prays for all believers, “…that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:23, emphasis added). God loves us as He loved Jesus! You may be thinking that Jesus meant that only for his disciples, but check it out! His prayer in that portion of John 17 is for all believers!

You may need to catch your breath after that revelation. The point is very clear in scripture that God loves every human being on this planet. As Peter stated in Acts 10:34, “Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons” (TAB). This means that God does not love preachers more than bankers, or prophets more than teachers, or evangelists more than car salesmen, or even believers more than non-believers. He loves equally.

It is up to us to experience that love that God has for us. Scripture tells us to, “Draw near to God and [then] He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). We must be in covenant with God to experience the benefits and the mercy and grace that are the consequences of His love. As Dr. Charles Stanley puts it, “It is God’s nature to love both saint and sinner…The unbeliever has simply positioned himself in such a way that he cannot experience that love – a situation that can be remedied by trusting Jesus as Savior.” Osama bin Laden could experience the same love of God that is available to you and I if only he would repent of his past and embrace Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. Most of us don’t expect that to happen, but this is the story of how we all received our salvation, and it is how thousands of upon thousands become children of God each and every year."