Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Bible is Unharmed…and The Message Too!

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 1.07.22 PMJesus once said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). And, until recently, I thought that it was common sense what Jesus meant: His teaching would endure forever. But, because of a recent car accident in Tennessee, it may be a good time to review.

The headline read: “Bible undamaged after SUV bursts into flames on Tennessee highway.” Naturally, this raised questions. And many Christians cried, “miracle.” But did God save the Bible? Or is there some scientific reason why everything burned up except for the Bible?

So, the easy answer is “yes, it makes sense.” A Bible, with leather on either side doesn’t have surface area that burns easily; when it is closed, no air can enter; and gilded pages act as insulation. As such, burning a closed Bible is a little more difficult than you might imagine.

But going beyond the initial, rational answer, is there anything more going on here? I won’t limit God. I won’t say that He can’t save a Bible in order to start a discussion about His Word. But, when looking at the comments at the end of the article, it is clear that Christians focused too much on the status of the Book, rather than the words in it.

And the hostility with which non-believers reacted reminds us that we need to stick to the facts. Tell the words of Jesus and the Scripture inspired by The Holy Spirit only. No need to embellish; no need to presume. Speak the facts from His Word, not from your imagination.

Because, the promise we have from Jesus is that His Word will endure. God’s Word will not return void. It will accomplish what it is meant to do. And even if all the Bibles in the world were burned, His Word would still be just as valid, just as enduring.

So, is it a nice story that the Bible didn’t burn? Yes! But let’s not make more of it than we should. And, oh, by the way, the driver wasn’t injured…thank, God!

 

 

A Foundation Built On Jesus Won’t Crumble!

tin can earthquake

The news out of Taiwan is sad and painful. Tragic loss of life always is. The damage caused by the earthquake is significant. Several buildings collapsed, dozens of people are dead, and hundreds are missing.

But one of the 11 buildings that collapsed caught the attention of investigators immediately. Why? It practically disintegrated after the earthquake. Evidence shows that structural columns and walls were filled with plastic pieces, foam, oil cans, and other inappropriate building materials!

And now, the developer is under arrest.

Lin Minghui was arrested Monday night on “suspicion of criminal business misconduct resulting in fatalities.” And this isn’t the first time he has been questioned. During the Sichuan Province earthquake that killed 70,000 in China in 2008, Lin’s practices were questioned in school buildings that collapsed.

Whether or not Lin Minghui will be held accountable for illegal practices is unknown. But we will each be judged eternally by how we build spiritually. And how we build in this life matters to God!

In fact, in 1 Corinthians 3, Paul discusses the Christian life in terms of a building project. There is only one foundation, Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11); we should take great care in how we understand, teach, and live in Christ (3:12); when the quality of the work is revealed, the materials we used will become evident (3:13); and those who used faulty products will face condemnation (3:13-15).

Those who recognize Jesus as the true foundation will not use any other foundation. They will teach and preach Christ using the words of life found in scripture. Like the others, their building materials will be revealed in days of great trials. But unlike the others, they will receive a reward because their work remains.

Work that is built on anything other than Christ will crumble; it is just foam, tin cans, and plastic. What will the work of your life be built on, and how will it look when it is revealed by the refiner’s fire? Build a better life today on Christ, and your work will stand the test of time.

That Teddy Bear Stole Your Kid’s Identity! (…and when innocence suffers)

spying teddyTeddy…How Could You? You were a treasured member of the family! You eat, sleep, and play next to the kids all day long. But this time, you’ve gone too far, and you’ve got to go!

Actually, to be fair, Teddy is an inanimate object, incapable of doing harm to others. But, apparently, Teddy was hiding a little secret in all that techno-gizmo and gadgetry. Teddy’s interactive, web-accessible features were hack-able. And hackers did hack, as hackers will do.

The Teddy Bears in question are Fisher-Price’s Smart Toys, enabled with V-Tech chips. And due to a security breach, personal information loaded on the Teddy Bears, like, “names, birthdates, gender, language,” was accessed. Perhaps even more concerning, was the access to:

“alter the customer’s account; create, edit or delete children’s profiles; see if parents were using the toy’s accompanying mobile apps; and read other miscellaneous data, like what purchases the customer made, game scores and other items.”

Yikes! So basically, a toy…perhaps one of the oldest, and most innocuous household children’s toys, was used to infiltrate the home, invade privacy, and potentially wreak havoc on children and their families. Nice.

No one likes being hacked. And we don’t want our privacy invaded. But there is something especially sinister about violating the privacy of a child and using their beloved teddy bear to do it!

Why is it especially sinister? Because we inherently understand and value the innocence of children.

The Bible tells us that we are born pure and innocent:

  • God made man “upright” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) and in His image (Genesis 1:26, 1 Corinthians 11:7, James 3:9).
  • God fashions us in the womb (Job 31:15; Malachi 2:10).
  • God, who is sinless, gives us a perfect soul that will return to Him (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
  • Our goal is to become innocent and pure in faith, like little children (Matthew 18:3, 19:4).
  • We are born blameless until we sin & iniquity is found in us (Ezekiel 28:15).

So when we hear that a child’s toy has been used to steal information that might lead to identity theft, financial problems, and spiritual and emotional pain, we are righteously indignant. But let’s be sure to remember why we have such a visceral reaction. Godliness!

You see, even though sin is in the world, it really isn’t natural. It is an invention of mankind. As Deuteronomy 32:5-6 points out, sin corrupts and causes perverseness in those who choose it. It is utterly against our natural design (Romans 1:20,26,27, Jude 10). But time in this world dulls us to our true nature and many have chosen the perverseness of the world.

Jesus said, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2).

I suppose, as long as blatant sin against innocent children still horrifies us, there is hope that people will recognize the error of their ways and repent. But there will come a time when sins against little children will be met with total indifference…and perhaps we are almost there.

Jesus tells us that destruction will come as it did in the days of Noah, with people largely unaware of just how sinful their land had become (Luke 17:26). Don’t be caught unaware! Heed the alarm. Renew the fight. Defend the innocent. Live for Him…according to your true nature, in Him, today.