Yesterday I blogged about not conforming to the patterns of this world, but being alert and sober, taking our thoughts captive and guarding against the ways of the world (Romans 12:2, 1Peter 1:13, 2 Cor. 10:5-5). I really got to thinking about the "patterns of this world" (Rom. 12:2). What are they? The Holy Spirit seemed to put a spot light on that piece of the verse and has followed through with bringing to light some of the evil in the world. Here are just a few...
First up.... homosexual pastors. I was reading in the newspaper* about a church in Houston that hired a gay pastor. He and his husband are leading a congregation that backs homosexuality - a pattern of this world. I have to mention that homosexuality is addressed in the Old and New Testament. God judges the behavior each time. In the OT, God burns down the city of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18-19) because their "sin is so grievous" (18:20). The people of Sodom were fornicators and homosexuals. In the NT, Romans 1 addresses homosexuality head on.
"21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error." (NIV)
It's obvious where God stands on the issue of homosexuality. It is a sin. And here we have a man leading people and "exchanging the truth about God for a lie".
*Houston Chronicle, Belief section, 9/7/12
Next... abortion. I got an email* today about a doctor in Pennsylvania who was running an abortion clinic. His clinic was raided by police because "he was providing prescription medication for anyone willing to pay." Here is what was found when the police got inside. (Warning: this is not easy to read)
*women were drugged, bleeding and sitting in filthy recliners
*45 aborted babies were found in jars, bags and containers in the basement of the facility
*prior to trial it was found that the doctor "would perform abortions no matter how far along the pregnancy was, many of the babies were delivered alive." Gosnell (the doctor) "would stab scissors into the back of the breathing child's neck, severing the spine and killing the baby. Several babies were killed in this horrific manner." I gasped when I read this. It breaks my heart beyond description; for the mislead mothers thinking that killing their babies is the best option and for the innocent babies who were slaughtered. *email was from Martin Fox of the National Prolife Alliance
Idolatry...1 Corinthians 10:14 "Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry." (NIV) In the Belief section of the Houston Chronicle (9/7/12), there is a picture of a buddist idol on the cover. The headline of the article reads "Buddhist temple thrives as place of joy". In homeschool (history) I've been teaching about primitive cultures. One of the things we've learned about is idolatry. My kids gawked over the idea that people worshipped statues. Then I brought it to present day, teaching them that it's everywhere, still. And low and behold, point proven in the Chronicle. The article shows these really 2 'happy' people sitting next to all these idol statues. Listen to what the article said: (this is quoting Buddhist Richard Alpert) "we are all mired in repetitive behavior that obstructs our spiritual nature...becoming aware of those patterns...begins the process of becoming free of them and allows love, peace, joy and kindness to emerge." Holy cow (hehe). I laughed when he used the word 'pattern'. What irony that Buddhism is attempting to go away from the patterns of this world, AND THEY ARE ONE! Here is a religion attempting to do what God and the Bible have already done. But it is a dead-end religion, worshipping dead people.
Proverbs 14:2 says "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (NIV) All these things may seem right to some people, but they outright contradict the Word of God and they lead to death.
I know this is a pretty intense post. But it's real and it's all around us. Next time you go get your nails done or eat in a chinese food restaurant, observe the incense burning in front of the idol statue. Pray for those store owners. Your cries for their salvation may be the only prayers they get.
Here's my last point. We who are saved have to remember that it is only by the saving grace of Jesus that we have eyes to see the patterns of this world and the ability to steer clear of them, because we're all sinners. (If you're not sure of your salvation in Jesus click on the 'How to be saved' tab at the top of my blog for more information). My heart breaks for these above mentioned people. They are dead people (just like I once was) and they need the life giving blood of Jesus. They need our prayers too.