Category Archives: Devotional

Banning Bowed Heads Is Not The Answer

“It is illegal for public school athletic coaches to lead their teams in prayer. Coach Small’s conduct is unconstitutional because he endorses and promotes his religion when acting in his official capacity as a school district employee.”

Those were the words written in a complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) attorney, Christopher Line. They were a direct attack on East Coweta County, GA High School football coach John Small. The complaint resulted in the School District banning all coaches and employees from: “joining hands, bowing their heads, taking a knee or committing another act that otherwise manifests approval with the students’ religious experience.”

His crime? He bowed his head while the kids led a prayer. That’s all.

There are many terrible and confusing things going on in our country today. It is sad that many people don’t feel safe at concerts, churches, and in their homes. There are real problems with terrorism, mass-shootings, and violence.

What is the solution? How will we leave this world better for our children? Stop showing respect during prayers? Really?

Yes, I know the words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Is Coach Small Congress? Is he establishing a specific religion? Is he forcing others to bow their heads because he has?

Is there any serious individual who thinks that a respectfully bowed head is sending kids a bad message? As one mother responded, “What kind of leader would you rather have than somebody [who] would pray for their children, for your children, [and] for all of our children?” It just makes sense.

What if he had taken a knee in protest to their prayer? Ah, the irony!

Eventually, “every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance” (Isaiah 45:23). Bowing our heads when someone prays is not only a sign of respect, but it just makes sense. More bowed heads would produce more “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no Law” (Galatians 5:23).

“It’s For the Children” May Be Harming The Children!

India recently celebrated Diwali, a holiday which marks “the homecoming of the Hindu god, Lord Ram, from exile.” In the past, it was celebrated by illuminating clay lamps. These days, it is a massive fireworks show, approximately 50,000 tons. Now that’s a show!

But there’s a problem. Delhi’s air quality is poor. A study found that “half of the city’s 4.4 million schoolchildren have diminished lung capacity.” And fireworks exacerbate the problem. In fact, last year’s show caused so much smoke that a “toxic haze blanketed the city” for a week. Many citizens suffered health issues.

So India’s Supreme Court stepped in. They banned the sale of fireworks in Delhi. Of course, the ban went over with a hiss, crack, and boom among local merchants. Nevertheless, people find a way, and enough fireworks went off that it took over 3 days to return to pre-Diwali air conditions!

When asked about the decision to ban the sale of fireworks, one merchant said, “what do we tell the kids on Diwali: ‘Go pray, eat your food and go to bed? How will they enjoy that?” Another said, “If there are no crackers, then Diwali doesn’t mean anything – only lights and sweets. It’s too boring!”

Doesn’t mean anything? Even though fireworks are a modern addition, many said they might as well not celebrate Diwali without them. It would be too boring.

Hmmm…sound familiar?

I love a good fireworks show. But we can learn a lesson from the Hindu dilemma. More harm than good is often done when invoking the plea, “it is for the children!” The fireworks in Delhi add to pollution that is literally killing the children.

Has the church fallen victim to the same irony? In a rush to entertain, do we create apathy toward true, yet simple, worship? If we remove modern entertainment, is it “too boring” to worship God? Is, “for the children,” harming the children in the church?

I do enjoy a good fireworks show. But there’s a time for entertainment, and there’s a time for the pure milk of the word. May we use wisdom to discern the two.

#forthechildren

Still Refuse To Believe? Consider The Evidence.

“And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44).

I think I’ve heard every excuse for why this couldn’t be blood in Jesus’ sweat. Some claim that the word, “like” gives an out to the skeptic. Others deny that “blood sweat” exists. Many simply shrug and say they can’t explain it.

But “hematohidrosis” is real. It is a rare condition. And a 21-year-old patient, who was recently treated for “blood sweat,” definitively answers the critics.

The young woman in question has dealt with “blood sweat” for at least three years. She was a patient of Dr. Roberto Maglie at the University of Florence. Hematologists at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto further studied her case, and they recently published their findings in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Sometimes “blood sweat” occurs in her sleep, other times under stress. It can appear on her hands and her face. The condition causes her stress and depression. She even ostracized herself from society due to the condition.

Having ruled out cuts, colored sweat secretion, such as chromhidrosis and pseudochromhidrosis, and other possibilities, doctors treated her for hematohidrosis. The medical team also reviewed 42 medical articles since 1880 about the condition. Yet some doctors still refuse to accept its existence.

Why is it so difficult to believe? Medical historian Jacalyn Duffin from Queen’s University in Ontario wrote, “the long-standing association of hematohidrosis with religious mystery may make its existence harder to accept.” In other words, because “blood sweat” is Biblical, it gets dismissed.

In and of itself, this kind of skepticism is nothing new. If the Bible said it, then secular-minded individuals want to disregard it. But at what point does overwhelming evidence not cause one to review the facts?

Of course, hematohidrosis is just a small example of a larger issue. Many will deny anything associated with religion. But consider this: every time the truth comes out, the Bible’s message is always confirmed.

Jesus was under such great stress that, Luke, a physician, wrote of a condition that appears to have been “blood sweat.” Jesus wept on behalf of humanity. Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and arose resurrected on the 3rd day. You might not want to believe any of that either, but you should carefully examine the evidence.

There will come a day when, at His coming, the truth is completely revealed to all…how does that impact your next decision?

It Is Time For A Moment of…God

Silence. That’s what we are arguing about now? Ironic, isn’t it? Of all the things facing our country right now, silence is in the crosshairs. Some are taking moments of silence; others are boycotting it in the name of action.

Of course, it is political. Some claim to honor the dead, while others claim to fight for the living. But, as with most politics, there is a higher truth that is being ignored. Silence is meant for the glory of God; and action is meant for the glory of God. Or that is the way it should be.

All reasonable people hope the violence will end. All faithful people pray for God to intervene. And in the face of such terrible loss of life, responsible people are trying to find answers, whether in reverent silence or by vocal means.

Scripturally speaking, of course, both positions have some truth. There are times to be silent and there are times for action. There are times to honor those who have passed and there is a time to act.

Silence can be good. Silence was Jesus’ response in the face of accusations and persecution (Mark 14:61). Silence is often the wisest choice one can make (Proverbs 17:28). And most importantly, silence is the correct position in which to hear God (Habakkuk 2:20; Zephaniah 1:7; Zechariah 2:13).

But Silence can be the wrong answer at times. The Lord commanded Paul, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;” (Acts 18:9). When commanded not to speak about Jesus, the disciples responded, “we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). We must speak the truth.

Remember God’s rebuke of Joshua? There was sin in the camp, so Joshua fell on his face in prayer. God responded, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?” (Joshua 7:10). It was not a time for silence. When there is sin among us, action is required!

A “moment of silence” is just a moment. And sometimes we need that moment. But let’s remember that turning to God is the only answer. I ran across the following quote this week. It resonated with me, and I hope you will hear it as well…

“Silence never sacrificed an only Son, but God did. Silence never parted the Red Sea or created a world full of human souls, but God did. Silence never wrote a book and preserved it for all time and generations, never brought anyone back to life, or forgave sin, but God did. Silence never healed a blind man, deaf man or lame man. Why turn to silence in a time of great need such as this? HOW ABOUT A MOMENT OF GOD?!” -David Thompson

So whether you choose a moment of silence or a moment to speak out, let it be a moment of God. Allow Him to guide you – in your prayers, in your reflection and meditation, and in your actions and words. Perhaps a moment of God would help us all to focus on higher truths. #momentofGod