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SHEPHERD'S LETTER

Pleasing Culture or Pleasing Christ!

February 27, 2020

Most of us have learned not to answer phone calls from that guy named UNKNOWN CALLER, or from his buddy with the 22-digit phone number. Those guys represent only a very small number, three billion calls per month from phone scam artists. But, what about fake urgent emails requesting something unusual? Let’s not forget the bogus baits to pornography. What should we do when worldly views lure us into adopting ideas that are against what scripture teaches? Believe it or not, the dangers on TV or the internet are not so different than the daily temptations common to all that are in direct opposition to God’s plan for us.

Recently, I had a lively conversation with a young lady, “Gen Xer”, who expressed that in her mind, “separation of church and state” implies that if it’s not explicitly written word for word in the Bible then certain beliefs such as abortion or racism are societal norms that evolve. Hence, they cannot be considered at any time as sin. Wait, what?

King David expresses his resentment towards the traps and temptation that are contrary to his own safety in Psalm 11:2-3:
“. . . 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Yes, and Amen! That’s my question too! What should the righteous do?

I smiled when I saw that the Hebrew word used for “the bow” is the same word used for rainbow. The adversary is skillful in aiming the bow and arrow while showcasing it as a rainbow. How intriguing that my tendency to sin, my urge to lash out in anger, my extreme partiality to be repulsed by those who hold a non-biblical world view, or to continue further dialogues with them, my urge to rationalize wrongful thinking, my inclination to put on spiritual blindfolds, my predisposition to dismiss the scripture, hymn or worship song that pops in my mind at that critical moment or my inability to feel or hear what grieves the Holy Spirit, all can be directly related to whether or not I perceive the adversary’s looming bow and arrows or a beautiful rainbow showcased before me.

Both quenching and grieving the Spirit are similar in their effects. Both are extreme obstructions to a godly lifestyle. Either are the effects or results of what occurs when I cling to my own worldly desires and sin against God who loves us and who died to save us from sin and death.

Dear Abba – Father,
Help us today to cherish and behold the manner of love You have lavished on us in Christ. Help us to live out and follow Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. May we honor the Holy Spirit in our lives by following His lead today, during this period of LENT and every day. Amen!

Jonathan Balzora

Jonathan Balzora
Elder