Tuesday, December 6, 2011

~A Land of the Lost~ ~ A Gospel of Hope~

 The other day I received an email about a family that still needs help that moved away from our city. Last night I received another phone call from someone I did not know from out of state in need of help for relatives who live in my town. Between these two completely different needs & stories it made me think again how lost our culture is and has become from when I first came to Christ in the early 80's. 

            As I look around our culture I see trends that cause me to rethink how followers of Christ look and act in respect to our culture. When I first became a Christian in the early 80’s I was discipled and taught some basic principles I have lived by for the past 20 plus years.
1.     Abstain or avoid from all appearance of evil  I Thessalonians 5:22
2.     Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.    Ephesians 4:29
3.     Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19

1.    Abstain or avoid from all appearance of evil: These simple principals and rules of living holy are harder to perceive, define and apply when the culture is more backward away from godliness then forward toward a gospel conformity. For instance, when I first got saved I lived with a guy who was a few years older than me and we shared an apartment and a partying lifestyle. Since I got saved I have only lived with male roommates  and my family and now my wife. When I first got saved if a man lived with a woman who was not their spouse it was considered the appearance of a sinful relationship (unless the age difference by decades was obvious). If two men lived with each other rarely was it considered a homosexual relationship?  Now it is a different day! With decades of entertainment breaking down our moral compasses even in our public schools there are subculture gay groups. In some areas in society sodomy dips into Junior high school as well. With multiple sitcoms and movies supporting and making this sinful behavior common place those social rules from decades ago have changed. Depending on where you live you might have to adjust your perspective. Matter of fact with the way the government welfare system it is structured, marriage can often undo financial stability for many people today including our senior citizens.  In a post Christian culture the appearance of evil is a more difficult thing to define then it was even a decade ago. Many people live with whomever they know or can, just to survive verses out of sexual encounters. The family structure has crumbled and it is not the majority percentage of the culture any longer either. Half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage. Of these, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage.” (Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, and Zill, “Life Course”)  Among the millions of children who have seen their parents divorce, one of every 10 will also live through three or more parental marriage breakups. (The Abolition of Marriage, Gallagher)  Forty percent of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers. (Wade, Horn and Busy, “Fathers, Marriage and Welfare Reform” Hudson Institute Executive Briefing, 1997)  Of all children born to married parents this year, fifty percent will experience the divorce of their parents before they reach their 18th birthday. (Fagan, Fitzgerald, Rector, “The Effects of Divorce On America)
Can America be restored? Maybe, but as long as the vast majority of entertainment keeps producing and promoting immorality on the scale it has done for the last several decades it’s not likely in my opinion.But don't despair for there is hope.

2. When I first came to faith in Christ I had a foul mouth. Jesus Christ was a name I used to curse by. Without anyone telling me I knew I had to change my verbal behavior. Within weeks I dropped the 4 letter words and became highly conscious of the words I said in common speech as well as in anger or pain. Back then, those same words were never heard anywhere but on the streets and among my rough peers. Today is a different day. Some of the 3 and 4 letter foul and course expletive words are common place among people in authority as well as throughout the entertainment world. This rude vocaeven includes many children programming and cartoon shows. Normal communication speech has become just plan rude. 1 Timothy 3:1-5  But realize this,  in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

When I first became a Christian, if the word “ass” or “damn” were used on a show or program I was taught to change the channel or not watch it. ( that was before remote controls too) It is still a good rule of thumb to live by, but rarely does this happen anymore by just observing the favorite TV shows listed on many believers Facebook pages. The reason is often justified because it is only used a couple of times or we just do not define language usage as conservative as we once did as a culture.  Can our tongues learn again to speak with only a God honoring vocabulary in a culture where even those in authority use vulgarity as the common man lingo? Can our common acceptable language be restored to a place of dignity, honor and polite verbiage? I truly doubt it and especially so with text messaging becoming a new language of the day where even the letters “LMAO” are common place among an entire generation. People do not even need to say a foul words out loud to be heard, but just think it and abbreviate it and those on the other end get it, without a single vulgar word technically spelled out in full or spoken. But don't despair for there is hope.

3. When I first came to Christ I had 3 main bad habits that polluted by body. I smoked, I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana. As soon as I received Christ as Savior I knew that marijuana was wrong and had to go and I wanted it to go as well. I was ready to think straight and have a fresh start in life. Alcohol being legal was a different story. I thought as long as I do not get drunk I am within the biblical boundaries. Within a short time I realized that just because it was legal and acceptable in the culture did not mean it was with God and me. So that left my life within 3 months. Smoking was the last of my big three bad habits.  Since so many of the new friends I had in Christ did not smoke I became more aware of how stupid of an addiction and habit it was and by God’s grace gave it up so I could be a stronger testimony for God and live a healthier and longer biblical life.  Well those three things are still in our culture, but now they are replaced or minimized by even more life wrecking drugs. However, these new drugs are prescribed to people by those in authority that had been trusted for decades. The medical profession and professional is now writing solutions to problems that can often be made up to get the drug. Many get drugs only to sell them like a business. Is there hope to change this addictive culture? I seriously doubt it now as there is an entire multi-billion dollar industry locked into the medical field on these life destroying drugs. ADHD is another supposed problem that kids gets prescriptions for these days. A few decades ago a child would rarely be prescribed a drug. Now a generation of children have become adults who are used to taking drugs for problems since childhood.

Is the Land of the Lost without hope? NO…. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. Hebrews 13:8.  Jesus can and still does forgive sin, break the bondage's and sets the drug addict free. The difference between a few decades ago and now is the higher cost to becoming a follower then it was before. To truly follow Christ ones steps will stand out in the crowd more obvious than even a few decades ago.

Can two senior citizens marry and lose one income and still trust God? Absolutely! Will they count the cost and still do it?  I wonder.

Can someone go to the doctor and ask a zillion questions and decide against taking a prescription that tends to addict and request something different or find alternative answers to pain. Absolutely! Will They? I wonder.

Can someone speak and be entertained without compromising a godly vocabulary that is not as common place as it once was? Absolutely! Will they? I Wonder

Can someone find a place to live without living in sin and honor the God of the universe and avoid appearances of evil? Absolutely! Will they? Time will tell.

These are hard days in America. We are truly a lost culture and desperately need a Savior. We need Him as much culturally  as we do individually. American needs a Savior !  My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ Righteousness! Share him with your culture and see what the Lord will do.We might not be able to change the culture all at once, but we can one lost soul at a time.

1 comment:

Mrs. Mabel Maciques said...

I didn't even know of this page.But you are so right on this,it is hard for seniors to do the right thing by God when you know your income will be much less.But yet when you put your trust in God all works well.I married knowing i would loose my medicaid,my housekeeper and so many other things for which i would no longer qualify,But God has seen me through and i feel good knowing i did the right thing as a christian.