|Volume 17 Number 7 July 2015||
Donald R. Fox
According to a brief news clip in a newspaper, “Names in the News” 25 September 2008, we find out that the popular singer, Clay Aiken, is a self-proclaimed homosexual. In the short piece, Simon Cowell made this statement in part, “I don’t think anyone cares. Let’s face it. It’s 2008. You know. Who cares?” In deed, who cares! It behooves all of us that love and respect the Word of God to care.
Upon reading this information about Mr. Aiken, I quickly remembered an article I read the day before (24 September 2008) in a small local newspaper, Saltillo – Guntown Gazette. The article was entitled “What’s Wrong? Or How Long?” by Adam Miller, Evangelist for the Mayfield church of Christ in Saltillo, Mississippi. I would like to share part of Adam’s article:
When we look around our world today, we wonder “what’s wrong?” When we look at our country, “what’s wrong?” When we look at our community, it’s the same. The post-modern world tells us that there is no standard for right and wrong, and therefore nothing is wrong, any behavior is acceptable. At the rate we have been going, in a few years rape and murder will be labeled as acceptable behavior. You laugh, but if there is no standard for living, if all behavior is acceptable, then how can a society condemn any practice? We condone adultery today in the name of “happiness.” We allow pornography in the name of “free speech.” We celebrate homosexuality and murder (abortion) in the name of “choice.” How long will it be before rape falls into the category of “happiness” or “choice”? A few months ago, a judge in Vermont sentenced a convicted child rapist to only 60 days in prison! In 2003, another radical Ohio judge overturned a convicted child rapists’ sentence because a Bible verse was the basis for his harsh conviction (Matthew 18:5-6)! These men already feel that rape is no worse than stealing candy! We are in a moral crisis! …How long will we continue to allow God’s Word to be dissolved as the standard for right and wrong? … When we leave the standard, we are on a crash course with disaster (Psalm 33:12; Proverbs 14:34)! How long will it be? That’s up to you!”
Years ago when I counseled men that were in treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, I used an illustration to help them to see their disastrous course. I said, “Picture yourself in a speeding car, driving madly down a street. At the end of this street was a great brick wall. You can stop and change course or crash. The decision is up to you.” Friends, let’s stop and return to a stable and the proven way. Along with Joshua, may we all be able to say, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Gary C. Hampton
Thomas Edison’s laboratory burned in December, 1914. Looking at the ruins the next morning, he said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”
Jesus came to earth to make it possible for all of us to begin anew. Paul proclaimed, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). That new life begins with being baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:27).
Worldly people, like the frustrated child, say, “I can’t.” Those in Christ say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Paul explained how that was possible. Despite quite a list of accomplishments in the Jewish religion, he wrote, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ” (Philippians 3:4-7).
Reliance upon worldly possessions will not help one start anew. The rich young ruler had done the right things externally, but he allowed money to be the god of his heart. Jesus urged him to sell all that he had, give the money to the poor and follow Him. The young man went away in sorrow. Anyone who would spend eternity with God must be fully devoted to Him (Luke 18:18-27).
Those who have lost loved ones feel all alone. When they start anew, they trust in God’s promise, “‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5b-6). Those who make the Lord their Shepherd will never be alone, though surrounded by enemies (Psalm 23)!
Continuing to know the blessings of God’s forgiveness requires a continuing walk in the light, which includes confession and the Father’s promised forgiveness (1 John 1:7-9). A fresh start means one is forgiven, despite having felt unforgivable. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 7:24-8:1).