Is “culture war” still a thing? The phrase is already so-2016, but the concept continues. As Christians, we always feel a bit at war with the world, because our whole frame of reference is so different. In God’s kingdom, the weak are strong, the last are first, material things don’t matter, invisible things are supreme. We fight not with weapons or even with words, but on our knees, in humility, with the gentle strength only God can give. We fight not for our own victory but only for the glory of our king. It’s not about politics. It’s about eternity.
Upside down fish? And they’re not dead? Reminds us of Donald Kraybill’s book, The Upside Down Kingdom, a kingdom where everything is opposite to what you’d expect. Watch these catfish do everything upside down, and consider becoming a bit more counter-cultural yourself. Like Jesus.
“Speak the truth in love.” It’s got to be among the top five biblical phrases Christians like to use. Yes, it is biblical. It’s in Ephesians 4, in a passage about spiritual gifts and how each Christian has a role to play in bringing the body of Christ to maturity. So, how are you employing the gift(s) God has given you, to speak the truth in love to fellow Christians? What is your ultimate goal whenever you set out to “speak the truth in love” to someone? Consider this seriously. Be honest with yourself. Talk it over with God. Never forget, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” (Prov. 18:21a)
God’s presence, his truth, his ways, are often described in the Bible as “light.” Some Christians have the privilege of soaking in so much light, they’ve begun to take it for granted. The late musician Keith Green, in his song “Asleep in the Light,” nearly cried as he sang, “The world is sleeping in the dark, that the church just can’t fight, ’cause it’s asleep in the light!” Just as you see ever-present man-made light in this video, consider all the spiritual light surrounding you. What are you doing with it? How are you harnessing it?
After God created everything else, he created people—one man and one woman, both “in his image.” Neither man nor woman is more an “image-bearer of God” than the other. Both genders play valuable roles in society, in the lives of families, children, friends and co-workers. When we choose to honor God and his word with our lives and behavior, that choice shows in how we honor and treat one another as men and women, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. Choose Christ-honoring, respectful and loving treatment of those of the opposite sex in your life today.
As you collect W2s, 1040s, 1099s and the like, you honor the 16th amendment, ratified on this date in 1913, establishing the right of Congress to impose a federal income tax. For 105 years, the U.S. government has laid claim to a portion of our individual earnings, to use for our collective good as a nation.
In an even more sweeping declaration, God declares all money, all possessions, indeed all the world, is his. He grants us stewardship of funds, land, parts of his creation, only asking us to remember it’s all his, use it wisely and return a portion to him. Calculating and paying taxes may seem tedious. But let your giving back to God remain giddily cheerful and overly generous, knowing he uses it all for our collective good as his people.
Summer English camp in the Czech Republic this year was the largest to date for Entrust’s Jerry and Marilyn Farnik, with about 180 of all ages in attendance. During English lessons, campers read and discussed Bible passages. One man had previously thought of the Bible as a fairy tale, but now said he realized it is a book of facts and history. Several people planned to continue reading the Bible after camp, and some indicated interest in attending a Bible study at the Farniks’ church in Prague. Pray for Jerry and Marilyn and for more Czechs to see the truth of the Bible.