Trashing Sacred Gifts - 21st Century Style!

Trashing Sacred Gifts -- 21st Century Style!

It was many years ago, but I still remember their faces and their actions as they very quickly trashed the gifts given to them by their parents.

They were two brothers very close in age and each had been given an expensive bicycle by his parents.

What they did to those bicycles in a very short period of time is indescribable and closely qualifies as malicious mischief at best and criminal destruction at its worst! I've never seen anything new so rapidly transformed into candidates for the scrap yard as those bicycles.

To make matters worse, the parents were aware that all this was happening but didn't restrain nor discipline the boys in their destructive behavior patterns.

Have you ever considered how God's valuable gifts to us have been "trashed?" The tragedy is further heightened due to the fact that in our culture it is often done in "high profile" fashion as though we were in the center of a sports stadium (or maybe the ancient Roman Coliseum) with a few hundred thousand spectators giving a thumbs up gesture and shouting at the top of their lungs, "Way to go…give us more!"

Consider some sacred gifts the human family has been "trashing:"

Life

Scripture is explicit in stressing that all life derives its source in God. We are informed that God gives to all "…life, breath, and all things." Again it is stated that it is in God that we "...live and move and have our being" [1]. However, there is massive failure to grasp the significance of this and we can trash the precious gift of life so easily by destructive social habits (tobacco, alcohol, drugs), diet patterns, work-a-holic schedules, a concentrated focus on self by insisting on being king or queen in our own little world with all persons who are a part of it expected to be submissive to our self appointed "authority," and failure to develop a disciplined practice of devotion through which we live in obedient fellowship with our Creator through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Further, this tragedy is compounded due to either failure or refusal to assume stewardship responsibility in terms of what could be called our 3 "T's" -- time, talent (abilities), and treasure (material possessions). A majority never seem to get past the immature adolescent attitude of "It's my life and I'll do with it as I please -- I don't want anybody telling me what to do!" And by implication, this means not even God Himself so much as suggesting what we should or should not do in our behavior patterns each day! The trashing of the precious gift of life is practiced on a daily basis by multitudes of every age range and in every place throughout this chaotic world.

Children

Children are viewed in Scripture as being very special. Each child is known and fully identified even before being conceived in his/her mother's womb with God having a clearly defined purpose in mind for that child [2].

Trashing the gifts of children is accomplished in this nation, which professes to be a nation "under God," in at least three significant ways:

    Topping the list is the abomination of systematic destruction of the unborn in the womb which has been taking place on a daily basis since January of 1973. This has resulted in the horrendous and incomprehensible bloody toll of millions since January 1973 -- see the record keeper just below for the latest tally! Considerable space has been given to this subject throughout my web site, Circuit Rider's Range, because the widespread acceptance and practice of violently destroying unborn children does more to provoke and invite the undiluted wrath of Almighty God than possibly any other collective abominable behavior in a culture! And while the USA has a lot going for it in terms of expressed rebellion and wickedness, the wanton destruction of a substantial percentage of its future citizens tops the list when it comes to how low a society, which makes the absurd claim of being "civilized," can descend morally! Now then, take about 60 to 90 seconds and gaze at the our little number cruncher below which keeps a running tally on how the USA version of holocaust is proceeding -- see how often the numbers change? Each number represents an unborn child exterminated in its mother's womb!

Unborn Babies Brutally
Mutilated and Murdered

since Roe vs. Wade
January 1973



Watch this for 60 to 90 seconds
and see what happens!

    Large numbers of parents refuse to take responsibility in the proper care and rearing of their children. This is done by failure to set a personal example in terms of righteous conduct and truthful, honorable, and encouraging language. Statistics bear out the horrible truth that a majority of parents are not interested in church involvement much less relating to God. As a result children become victims of another kind that is nearly as tragic as destroying them while they are still in the womb! The ancient Israelites were explicitly informed of the responsibility in making certain that their children were fully exposed to the whole truth about the living God and how to properly relate to Him by means of an obedient lifestyle. Part of the training was to warn the children of the dangers and temptations they would be facing. Intermarriage with heathen was absolutely forbidden [3]. It goes without saying that parents themselves had to be thoroughly familiar with what God had to say about Himself, the human situation, and what He expected from humans. Parental failure in this critical area of child rearing is fast approaching a pandemic crisis, if not already there!

    But the young are greatly influenced, as though the Pied Piper of ancient lore has been resurrected, and led down the path to destruction due to another powerful menace in our culture. The entertainment industry (movies, TV, music, gaming, etc.) has had a major impact when it comes to the trashing of the sacred gift of children. What can one expect but disaster when the young are constantly bombarded with graphic slow motion violence, sexual immorality and perversion, gutter language with emphasis on the "F" word, and themes that stress a violent solution as the way to resolve any differences and conflicts you have with others! And in our ignorance we seem so perplexed and dismayed when our young choose to shoot, stab, strike, and beat on each other upon the slightest provocation.

    At the present rate with a flat out rejection of God's revelation, no self discipline, no defined sense of moral responsibility, and a determination to beat all competitors, parties in the entertainment industry will continue to trash the young at an unprecedented pace. Further, what does it matter that the putrid material they feed the young results in an incalculable toll of human wreckage -- there are always replacements being born all the time -- uh, that is except for those thousands who are destroyed and aborted each week!

Human Sexuality

The sacred gift of human sexuality has been trashed by the human race in countless ways down through the millennia of its history. Unregenerate human nature coupled with uncontrolled hormones and a perverted imagination have resulted in misery and pain that defies description. From the beginning God plainly set the boundaries for sexual expression and experience. The key is seen in the statement that a man would leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. The two so joined are described as becoming "one flesh" [4]. A full examination of God's revelation shows this to be the only sexual relationship which has the sanction and blessing of Almighty God.

Scripture identifies unacceptable behavior clearly as well. These are fornication (sexual intimacy between 2 unmarried persons), adultery (sexual intimacy in which at least 1 person involved is married to another person), homosexuality (sexual intimacy between persons of the same gender), and bestiality (sexual intimacy with animals).

Ways and methods of trashing God's gift of sexuality has expanded with the passing of time. We now witness sexual abuse of children, violent rape directed toward both females and males, prostitution by members of both sexes, exploitation by the entertainment industry as well as a flaunting of sexually immoral lifestyles by many members of the same, and the lucrative business of pornography.

Consequently we are saddled with the growing problem of STD's (sexually transmitted diseases) and deadly diseases such as AID's, which is primarily, but not always, the result of homosexual activity! In some areas of this sin saturated planet the fallout from abusing and violating God's standard for sexual experience and expression has reached what could be described as "pandemic" proportions!

Did God know what He was doing when He set the simple boundary for sexual expression and experience? And do humans know what they are doing when they spit in God's face and declare their sexual "freedom?" Well, take a good look at the pay off according to the law of "sowing and reaping [5]!

A Very Special Day

The pattern was set at the beginning by our Creator through example and later by command. There is something mystical about the number 7. It entails among other things a kind of cycle when once it has run its course, starts all over again for the next cycle to take place.

God created all things in six days and then rested on the seventh day. No effort will be spent here discussing literal 24 hour days, or eras of time, or whatever possible amount of time was involved as the mighty universe was brought into existence. It's very easy to get hung up on that and totally miss the significance of the simple one day in seven cycle!

It was a bit later that God revealed that we humans are to labor at our various endeavors for six days but the seventh day is to be a "sabbath." We are further informed that God blessed the seventh day and made it holy [6]. More revelation gave details as to how the day was to be observed. Basically the people were to focus their attention upon God.

Finally God chose to make a personal visit to this planet, sacrificed Himself for the sins of every single human being on the cross, and was resurrected from the dead three days after that brutal event. Christians began to observe the day of Jesus' resurrection as a day of worship and thanksgiving. However, the cycle was still the same -- work and engage in various activities for six days and then devote the seventh day to worship, appreciation, and rest.

It seems we humans stumble very quickly over the benefits that are derived from faithfully observing the one day in seven as a day of worship. We are enriched spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. It is a time of public witness, spiritual growth, and enhanced fellowship with others who have come to know, love, and appreciate God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

BUT, guess what? This special day has been severely trashed with little opposition on the part of those who should value it most highly.

There was a time when there were certain laws in place which attempted to preserve the sanctity of the sabbath. Business and entertainment enterprises were not permitted to be open on Sundays. These laws were sometimes referred to as "blue laws." Persons driven by greed, that extremely unhealthy characteristic which so easily dominates an unregenerate mind, began to plot strategies and express pressure to eliminate the "blue laws." Eventually over time the day set aside for worship was literally opened up to every conceivable kind of activity. The church found itself lost in the dust with minority support from the general population at large!

Isn't it interesting how increasing numbers of people discover that they have premature health problems, sleep disorders, dietary crises, nervous conditions, and an obvious lack of peace and fulfillment? In most cases to suggest giving a significant amount of time, devotion, and worship to God evokes a "I don't have time for 'religious stuff!'" response.To devote one day out of seven wholly to worship and relating to God is considered fanaticism, mental instability, or worse!

Or just as bad -- we may attempt to give God some token recognition on Sunday morning -- you know, a little "time out" for Jesus, but then it's off to fun and games for the rest of the day and far into the night. This works as well as teaming up an ox and a jackass -- you can try to put them together, but there is a price to be paid which one is totally unprepared to deal with! Trashing God's day, which was originally set aside for worship, is a very popular pastime these days and if possible gaining momentum! Let's see now -- oh yes, I may have to miss church this Sunday because Yo-Yo's is having a special discount sale at 10 AM this Sunday, and I need to take advantage of it

God's Son, Jesus Christ

If ever a gift was and continues to be trashed to the greatest degree possible, it is the gift of God's Son, Jesus. John's gospel has a unique emphasis -- the mighty God Who created all things for His pleasure and holy purpose chose to become human and live among people just like us! The most quoted Bible verse, John 3:16, pointedly reminds everyone of the special nature of God's gift to us unworthy humans:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Sadly in the first chapter John notes that God was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world did not know Him [7].

However, there has been some degree of response down through the centuries and it is noted in John 1:12,13:

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

The trashing takes place in a variety of ways:

    Unbelievers: The use of the name of Jesus Christ in vain is extremely common, so that for a lot of children and youth, the only exposure they have is when they hear that name used in anger, frustration or in a smart alex fashion. Isn't it interesting that the name of Mohammed or the name of Buddha or highly regarded and respected names in other religious expressions do not receive equal treatment and time in the same way that the name of Jesus Christ does! And those in the entertainment industry while not hesitating to slam and blaspheme what is sacred in Christianity, including the name of Jesus Christ, would never treat those special names associated with other religious expressions in similar ways! Is that not a bit strange, or is it?

    Unbelievers also trash the gift of God's Son through a warped and distorted view of how one gains acceptance in God's sight. Relying solely on personal whims and opinion, the common denominator among unbelievers is the erroneous idea that if we just do enough "good deeds" and these out number any bad things we have done, then God will open those pearly gates and admit us into His heaven! There are variations of this with religions outside Christianity adding their peculiar teachings on how we gain a blissful afterlife by doing more good than bad stuff! All of this amounts to a slap in God's face and the rejection of His offer of total forgiveness through the substitutionary death of His Son on our behalf when He was crucified.

    A puzzling question which those of the world don't want to answer is this -- if forgiveness, salvation, acceptance in God's sight, and eventual residence in His eternal heaven were possible by works, bartering, or purchase on our part as taught by a host of religious "isms" in this world, then why did God send His own Son into this moral pig pen of a world and allow Him to go through the torture and brutality of Roman execution on a cross? Little wonder Paul was inspired to write:

    "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.' Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:18-21)

    "Believers" professing Christianity: Within the ranks of Christianity over the years the gift of God's Son has been trashed by statements that are diametrically opposed to the clear revelation of God's Word. Sometimes this is done in the name of supposed "scholarship" in the vain effort to lend authority to the statements that in one form or another are blatant denials of the truth of who Jesus Christ is, why He came to earth, and where He is now! It is not that uncommon to hear doubts raised concerning His miraculous birth, His miraculous works, His substitutionary atonement for the sins of the human race, His resurrection from the dead following crucifixion, and His promised return to earth the second time in power and glory as King of kings and Lord of lords. Those of a heretical spirit simply dismiss the significance of Jesus' deity, His sacrifice for human sin, and the miracles of His life, including resurrection, by saying it really doesn't matter -- it is the example and teachings of Jesus that should be our "inspiration!" So, in light of that, one can be a "Christian" no matter what one believes or chooses not to believe about Jesus!

    Within the ranks of those professing an experience of Christianity the gift of God's Son is likewise trashed by those who refuse to abandon sin and yet attempt to claim the name of "Christian." The standard of holiness as set forth in Scripture for all followers of Jesus Christ is casually avoided or deliberately rejected! This inconsistency has been a stumbling block to more than a few who are not Christian, but who have a basic belief that Christianity has a high standard of morality, ethics, and spirituality for those identify with Jesus Christ. The seriousness of such an offense is discussed in the book of Hebrews [8].

For those who diligently search the Scriptures it should come as no surprise that the gift of God's Son is trashed so extensively in today's world. The name of Jesus Christ is the most controversial name that is named because of Who and What He is. He also warned His followers that there would be times in which they would be hated and persecuted because of their identity with Him [9].

The trashing of the gift of God's Son will increase at an accelerated pace as we move toward the climax of human history, and those who are loyal to Him will be on the receiving end of abuse, insult, and hostility as they demonstrate the truth of His statements that they are "light" and "salt" in this present evil world [10].

The Holy Scriptures

God has revealed Himself in different ways starting with His creation (which is sometimes referred to as "natural" revelation) and then in very special, supernatural ways. Over the centuries God used a number of persons to record information which eventually came to comprise a volume of written works we recognize as the Bible. In this volume is a statement that spells out the source of and reasons for the Scriptures having been brought into existence. In 2 Timothy 3:16,17 (NKJV) it is stated:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

For over a century in the history of this nation the ranks of Christianity have been infiltrated with persons who deny a number of basic truths revealed in Scripture. It wouldn't be so bad if these persons wore a sign that said, "I profess to be a Christian, but I really don't believe certain statements made in the Bible -- if you want to believe them, fine, but I don't believe it makes any difference what you believe when it comes to Christianity!"

Even when it comes to Jesus Christ Himself, there is a quagmire of confusion -- some who say Jesus sets a noble example we should follow, and His teachings are important, etc. But when it comes to His true identity, the miracle of His birth, His substitutionary atonement for the sins of each human being, and His glorious resurrection following crucifixion, there seems to be a line drawn -- these things are not really important! And of course those exclusive statements and demands upon us humans spelled out by Jesus are sort of swept under the rug, as is His troubling statement that He didn't come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword! [11].

In addition to denials that relate one way or another to the Person and work of Jesus, there are those denials of great miracles performed by God as recorded in the Scriptures. Can God open a vast body of water, dry up the ground, and permit a big crowd of people to pass over, and then allow the waters to return and drown the military apparatus which is pursuing these people for unholy purposes? Uh, that's the account of the exodus of the Israelites and their experience in crossing the Red Sea. And of course there was the way God provided for these people on that long journey from Egypt to Canaan -- water, manna, etc.

But within the church today are people, including pastors, who have a problem with acceptance of God's acts in which miracles of various kinds were done. The more serious problem is this -- just how big is the God you claim to believe in? And is this God able to give us a recorded volume of information that tells us a lot about Him and His plans for His creation, His feelings toward us feeble human beings, what He desires for us, and the possibilities as to what our eternal destiny involves? And all the while, He is under absolutely no obligation to explain the whys and wherefores of even one single miracle that He has performed, including bringing the Scriptures into existence!

Years ago I had a college professor who had some great insight into this problem people have with the Scriptures (this includes theologians, seminary professors, pastors, as well as laity in church pews), and he expressed it in very simple terms -- "Too many people say, 'What do I have to say about this Book (Bible)?" and too few people are saying, 'What does this Book have to say about me?'"

Remember, you cannot beat the combination of a hungry heart, an inquiring mind, an open Bible, the promised ministry of the Holy Spirit to teach us, and a generous amount of time surrendered for the purpose growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

A final word -- when you run across a pastor or another layperson who cannot accept many of the recorded miraculous acts of God as He interacted with human beings, don't waste time in debate over that -- it's like trying to make a blind man see the beauty of flowers, the green grass, the white clouds in a blue sky, etc. The blind cannot see! Their god is a very limited god, and who wants to serve a god like that, except those who continue to stumble on in their blindness and uncertainty!

The Church Which Is Commissioned to Represent Jesus Christ on Earth

Jesus said He would start a church, which He refers to as His church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it [12]. But He also allowed for the fact of interior damage being done due to certain individuals penetrating the fellowship of the church, all the while claiming to be Christian! In these times we have witnessed the following "trashing" activities within the church:

  • those who deny the full authority of Scriptures in all matters of faith and practice
  • those who redefine human sexuality and experience in defiance of God's revelation pertaining to the same -- in connection with this abomination there also has been a redefining of marriage and family, in a clear contradiction as to God's definition of marriage and family
  • those who "trash" the Great Commission given by Jesus and teach that other religious expressions also have validity when it comes to worship of human defined deities and ideas of eternal destiny -- it is not all that uncommon to accept the heresy of "many paths to the top of the mountain" accompanied by a denial that Jesus Christ is exclusively the way of salvation, peace with God, and a future place in His eternal Kingdom
  • those who are hung up on a male picture of God as heavenly Father and masculine attributes that go along with that -- so we see the attempt to remake God into a feminine image, including prayers and songs that are addressed to a female deity -- there is a bit of problem for these deity gender changers -- why is it Jesus always referred to God as His heavenly Father -- and of course you have to deal with the fact of God choosing to become human and in that choice He became a man, not a woman!

Fortunately, we have been tipped off in advance to expect this "trashing" of the church. So, while this is distressing, it should not be surprising. It is also a time of great challenge to stand for the truth against the invasion of the apostates! Note some warnings that are given in the New Testament [13].

In light of all this Christians who have come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord need to be aware that insisting that He is all that He claimed to be and that He is exclusively the way of salvation and hope may stir controversy within the church of which they are a part! Jesus stressed that there will be times in which His followers in their total identification with Who and What He is will be persecuted -- it's not a remote possibility, but more an iron clad guarantee! Note His opening statements in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 and His statements in John 15 and 16!

References:

    1. Acts 17:25,28
    2. Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13-16; Ephesians 1:3-6; 2 Timothy 1:8-11. Note also the circumstances of the births of such persons as Isaac and John the Baptist. And of course, the predicted birth of Jesus -- if Mary had lived in our time, she would have had encouraging "counsel" on the basis of "official" abortion positions of some denominations to destroy that "fetus" growing within her in order to avoid undue stress, hardship, and the embarassment of being an unwed mother!
    3. Deuteronomy 6 - 8
    4. Genesis 1:23,24; Matthew 19:3-6; Ephesians 5:31
    5. Galatians 6:7,8
    6. Genesis 2:2,3; Exodus 20:9-11; 35:2; Deuteronomy 5:13-15
    7. John 1:10
    8. Hebrews 10:26-31
    9. Matthew 5:10-12; John 15:18-21; John 16:1-3; 1 John 3:13
    10. Matthew 5:13-16
    11. Matthew 10:34-40
    12. Matthew 16:13-18
    13. Matthew 24:4-11,23-27; Colossians 2:6-10; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 4:3,4; 2 Peter 1:19-2:22; Jude 1:3,4; 2 John 1:7-11


by Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in full connection
W. PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church


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