Monthly Archives: October 2014

Enforced Volunteers

ebola debateAccording to their statement, Maine officials are “confident” that:

“the selfless health workers, who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country, will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect the residents of their own country.”

And while the State of Maine appears hopeful, clearly officials are unconvinced. So they will be enacting Plan B – “Enforced Voluntary” quarantines.

“Enforced voluntary,” now there is an oxymoron. There is, of course, no such thing as a “forced volunteer.” But, time after time, we hope people will put others first, and then we make laws when they won’t. It has been this way from the beginning. God allowed Adam & Eve the opportunity to choose right, but enacted consequences when they chose the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.

Examine the evidence. NY’s first Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, lied to authorities about travelling around the city. He told officials he had self-quarantined when, in fact, he rode the subways, dined out, and went bowling. All of which came to light only when authorities examined his Metro card.

Consider Kaci Hickox, the nurse who has said that she has no intention of “sticking to the guidelines.” Or consider Amber Vinison, the nurse who had a 99.5-degree fever, yet flew on a commercial flight with 132 other people.

Why would these heroes, who serve the needs of others every day, be so defiant about a quarantine that would ensure the protection of millions? Because they have the freedom to choose, saying, “yes” when they want to serve and saying, “no” when they don’t. That ability is, in fact, God given to every person.

But since we know we can’t legislate morality, we attempt to legislate behavior. Jesus demonstrated a better way, but few will follow. What if, like Christ, we were to choose to do God’s will, put others ahead of ourselves, and demonstrate God’s love in a fallen world? What would that take?

It takes a complete reversal of thinking and a total change of mind, seeing the world through the eyes of God, to really change behavior. Or, as Paul said:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-3).

Give it some thought. When asked to be inconvenienced for others, how do you react? Perhaps, we could all stand a little transformation in Christlikeness.

8 Seconds of Silence

swift, 1989Canadians really love Taylor Swift. REALLY. Taylor’s fans, or “Swifties,” as they are called, proved their devotion to Taylor this week by sending the 3rd track on her new album, “1989,” to #1. “Why is that news?” I’m glad you asked. Turns out, the 3rd track  was an accidental release of 8 seconds of white noise!

That’s right! You know you have arrived when you can release 8 seconds of white noise accidentally and your fans make it the #1 hit song in the country! Seriously, Canada. I wonder what kind of royalties Taylor got as people tried to figure out what she was “really trying to say!”

According to Merriam-Webster, “White Noise” is defined as:

a constant noise (such as that the noise from a television or radio that is turned on but is not receiving a clear signal) that is a mixture of many different sound waves; also, meaningless or distracting commotion, hubbub, or chatter.

Now, don’t take this to mean that all Taylor’s hits are meaningless…well, you can decide that for yourself. But she does have several hits on the top ten, especially in Canada. It is interesting, though, that more fans chose to listen to 8 seconds of white noise than hear one of her actual recordings with a real message. And the harsh question is, “how different is that from the religious world?”

There is a lot of “white noise” out there today in the religious world. There are so many noises, sounds, and frequencies, that it can be hard to hear the one true signal of God. I believe that many people today would rather look for meaning in 8 seconds of nonsense than listen to the truth of the message of God.

What is the church doing today to distinguish the gospel message from the white noise?

Taylor’s 8 seconds was a mistake, and it was easily fixed. They simply removed the track from possible downloads. But no one is removing false “noise” from the religious airwaves. Be careful what you download…the real message of Jesus is far better than the white noise! Why not give a listen today? Try http://www.churchofchristatclover.org/sermons/ for messages from His truth.

Have you Been Exposed? It Spreads More Easily Than You Thought!

Ebola

The Ebola virus has everyone scared these days. Just what is it? Is there a cure? How do we stop it? As Dallas, TX becomes a city on edge, people everywhere want to know: How does it really spread?

Up until now, health officials have said that Ebola spreads through physical contact or bodily fluids only. But many health workers and scientists are now saying that those statements might have been premature. Ebola might travel through the air too!

For example, recently, Tribune News Service quoted Dr. C.J. Peters (who “led the CDC’s most far-reaching study of Ebola’s transmission in humans”) as saying that there is a possibility that Ebola spreads through air. “We just don’t have the data to exclude it,” said Peters. Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC in Atlanta, agrees that the spread through coughing or sneezing can’t be ruled out.

The bottom line is: the disease might spread more easily than we knew. This happens all the time though. Scientists think they know how a disease spreads and then find out it is worse than they thought. Perhaps it happens in the church too. Are you aware that you might have been exposed to a far deadlier disease?

The Bible warned us a long time ago about a far more deadly disease that spreads easily through entire cultures. It began all the way back in Genesis. God told Adam & Eve, “You shall surely die,” but Satan said, “You shall surely not die” (Genesis 2:17; 3:4). The disease is sin, and it is the cause of our physical and spiritual deaths (Romans 6:23).

For far too long, people have felt immune because God has not caused physical, immediate death like an Ebola virus does. But as Peter reminded us, God is not slow in bringing punishment, but is patient, wanting us to repent of our sins (2 Peter 3:9).

Sin is a deadly disease. And it spreads more easily that you thought. Have you been exposed to the virus? Are you infected? Did you think you were immune? There is only one cure for sin: the forgiving blood of Jesus. Come to know Him today. Jesus gives us victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57)!

Feeding the Enemy

Iraq-e1412157860901-665x385

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink” (Proverbs 25:21, NASB).

It seems the Iraqi army took Proverbs 25:21 literally a couple of weeks ago…accidently that is!

According to recent reports, “Iraqi military pilots mistakenly gave food, water and ammunition to enemy ISIS militants instead of their own soldiers.” Apparently, Iraqi pilots mistakenly dropped supplies over an area controlled by ISIS and not to their soldiers who are currently fighting ISIS.

When asked about this mistake, a member of the Iraqi parliament said:

“Those soldiers were in deadly need of these supplies, but because of the wrong plans of the commanders in the Iraqi army and lack of experience of the pilots, we in a [sic] way or another helped ISIS fighters to kill our soldiers.”

In explaining the event, a brigadier-general in Iraq’s Defense Ministry said, “Yes, that’s what had [sic] happened,” some air force pilots “do not have enough experience… they are all young and new.”

When the Apostle Paul quoted Proverbs 25:21 in Romans 12:20, this isn’t exactly what he had in mind. Feeding one’s “enemy” is a noble idea, when done on purpose. It is a sign that you are not going to take vengeance. Rather, you trust that the Lord will work out everything properly in His time. It is an act of grace and mercy.

But accidentally feeding your enemy, because of carelessness and a lack of planning, is a serious danger. Children of God must take great care to ensure that they are dropping resources in the right places. This is especially true in training the “young and new.”

Satan is prowling about, like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Give it some thought…where have you been dropping resources? Have you been feeding the Lord’s army or sending supplies across enemy lines?

Every time you feed Satan, he grows stronger and is able to devour more souls of soldiers in the faith. Beware; his next meal might be one you dropped his way!