11 February 2021
Greetings to each of you!
Well, we are truly in the midst of the winter season, gray skies, snow in the air, and a white blanket covers the ground. I truly love this time of year. I enjoy the hype of the next “upcoming” storm and the joy of being outside in the midst of its duration. I find humor in the predictions and concerns of the why’s and reasons that we are having such an active winter storm season and so many “storms.” But that is show business for you, isn’t it? I was recently going through some of my father’s slide collections from when I was a child. From the time that I was old enough to walk, he would take me to the “Winter Spectacular” at the East Broad Top Railroad in Orbisonia, PA. We lived in Philadelphia in those early years, yet we would make the trek in what always seemed to be treacherously cold and snowy weather- it never failed. And, I have pictures to prove that this wasn’t simply a “walking to school uphill through the snow” type memory!
We never thought much about the reasons or the why’s we had so much snow in February each year. We didn’t count on weather forecasts that seemed wrong far more than they were right. We weren’t glued to our smart devices looking to see what tomorrow would bring, and would things still be open. No, it was winter, it snowed, and life went on- in the snow. School buses had chains on the wheels and we would often be in school hoping for an early dismissal so we could load up in my dad’s Ford Econoline Cargo Van (with no seating in the rear), and drive an hour and a half to Blue Knob Ski Resort to take advantage of the fresh 6 or 7 inches of snow that had, or was still falling. And we did this at 16 years old. Life was different and we lived it in a different manner.
But as in all things, change happens. We live differently today, focused on what the weather forecasters tell us, mesmerized by the hype of their predictions- even knowing, with little doubt, that they are wrong more than they are right. Have we been programmed this way? Are we more fearful today? More comfortable? More hesitant? Less confident in our own abilities and discernment? Is the ease of relying on someone else’s “expertise” more compelling than using our own gifts of figuring things out, working through difficulties, and overcoming obstacles in our lives? When I consider the fact that we all count on a weather forecaster’s probability of accuracy when they may be right 50% of the time, I get concerned.
How about in our faith? I recently read a blog post from a person that I know quite well which was really a rant about the person of God, what God really thinks, and how God really sees people and sin. Her post went on about this and that, but painted a picture of a very different God than I see in the scriptures. Knowing this person grew up in the church, I watched the dialog of comments and found that these “truths” as she stated them were not based on any biblical principles, but were based on her personal opinion of what God should be, and how she believed that He would really deal with people and their sin. In the context of the “chat,” there were many who were praising her courage to post the truth and how they believed the same thing. Before the end of the dialog, the various churches that they grew up in and experienced were terrible places that were not teaching the truth- at least as they perceived it.
This concerns me in the world that we live in. Folks tend to believe whatever they see or hear, even when something inside tells them that it does not seem right- it doesn’t follow the natural or logical sequence of things that they have learned and known throughout their own life experiences. When it comes to our sense of Biblical truth, this has to be a concern for the church. The Word of God is the same throughout history, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV, also see John 1:1). The blog that I referenced was written by a very kind person, good intentions, and fun to be around. Her post was written probably as much for her own comfort as it was to influence those who read it. But many folks today are searching for what they want to hear or what makes them feel good. The search is never ending for many. Today it is a blog writer’s influence that represents the answer, tomorrow it is a “spiritual director,” and the next day it is a different voice on the television. In many cases this search leads to the type of issues that we have been studying about in Goliath Must Fall. It leads to anxiety, fear, rejection, comfort, anger, and then if the search itself does not become an addiction, some other solution will find its way into that category in the lives of the seeker.
The bottom line is that the Truth can only be found in one source, and that is the scriptures, the story of God through the Person of Jesus Christ. The Truth is not in the words themselves. There is no magic pill in the “words,” but it is in the story. Many read “scripture” to seek truth, which seldom provides a solution to an issue. Some recite certain wordings, phrases, and verses over and over seeking power in the words themselves. But the truth that is sought is not found in the “words,” but in the Person of Jesus Christ. I can read all that I want about my wife Holly, but is through our experiences together that we truly get to know one another. This is the same with Christ. Reading about Him is not knowing Him. Learning His story and spending time with Him in the Word (not the “words”) is how we build a relationship with Him.
It is easy for us to fall victim to the endless litany of words that spew from the mouths of the talking heads on television. Many (my personal opinion) of these views are presented to influence us to a particular perspective, not always the truth, as in my friend’s blog post. And many will believe, even though years of life experience will feed some level of concern about the integrity of the information. But, when it comes to our relationship with God, we cannot let ourselves fall prey to this same practice. We must seek the truth with all of our heart, mind and soul. We must seek the truth in our relationship with Jesus Christ. In closing, read 1 Timothy 4:1-5 and focus on what Paul’s concern is as he writes to Timothy. Think about whether Paul’s concern is relevant for today’s church, and in what ways. Consider where you are in your focus, where you seek Truth, and especially how you present it in your witness of who Jesus Christ is in your life!
Peace and Blessings!
– pastor dave.