The Encourager

The Encourager

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A Moral Dilemma - Jeff Curtis

Saturday, February 10, 2024

A Moral Dilemma

By Jeff Curtis

 

Challenges to God’s moral teachings often create a dilemma for the church. Christians have to find ways to keep moral standards intact while helping offenders heal and be reunited to the community. Many moral issues create the dilemma of how to sort out all the wrongs in a way that accomplishes the best. Moral violations inflame others due to their lack of respect, brutality, and consequences. Attempting to address moral infractions while filled with anger, pain, and grief can often result in the creation of more moral dilemmas.

 

The rape of the Levite’s concubine in Judges 20, and Israel’s response to the immoral actions of Gibeah show the difficulty of moving beyond such problems. When people are faced with a moral failure and have no interest in making the Lord their King, their response to the sin can be worse than the original offense.

 

This story reveals what happened when there was no king in Israel. When sin occurs, the first question we need to answer is “Who is our King?” Such negotiations can avoid responses that deepen the pain and violence rather than soothe them. The second question we should think about is “Are we just doing what is right in our own eyes, or are we trying to please the Lord?”

 

In the midst of anger, hate, pride, pain, grief and fear, offended people often resort to selfish responses and shortsighted solutions. These are based on the own misguided attempts to right the wrong. Looking to God can allow emotions and the impulsive urge to respond to subside. Once calmed, those involved can ask themselves, “What would God have us to do in the face of such horror?”

 

This reflection also alerts Christians to the need to make sure that the moral wrongs are resolved. Prior to reaching a final and godly solution, Christians must sometimes take steps to stop the cascade of immorality before it hurts more people and causes more damage.

 

“Just As I Am”

by Frank Himmel

The song Just as I Am is one of our most commonly used invitation songs. The idea in the song is that we cannot make ourselves right with God on our own; apart from Jesus’ blood we have no hope. That is precisely the New Testament picture (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5; etc.).

I fear, however, that some folks have an erroneous idea about Jesus saving us “just as we are.” They seem to think that He saves us without any change in our conduct. That is opposite to the New Testament picture.

Jesus’ charge to the apostles was “that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations” (Lk. 24:47). Forgiveness is extended to those willing to abandon sinful conduct, not to those who insist on continuing in it.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you…” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). He did not say such are some of you, but such were. They changed their conduct in connection with being washed, sanctified, and justified (v. 11).

“Just as I am,” if referring to our own helplessness, is a comforting sentiment. But to suggest it means salvation without repentance is to hold out false hope.

 

 

Weekly Bible Meditation:

 

Proverbs 16:31

The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.

Content - by Ethan Tidwell

Saturday, February 03, 2024

Content

By Ethan Tidwell

 

There are times when we may be in need or have plenty of resources, in our physical state. Whatever it is we must be content.

A good example of those not willing to follow are the Israelites. They complained several times. They weren’t content. In Exodus 14 they complained to Moses, wanting rather to be in Egypt (vv.11-12). This also shows the faith they didn’t have.

In later chapters they would continue on with their murmuring and complaining about food and drink. They also wanted and worshipped false gods. They were never satisfied, not even showing gratitude to God who delivered them out of captivity. We see they were not content in these passages.

Paul says, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil.4:11). What can we learn from Paul is that he says and has this attitude of being content while in prison. He kept his focus on doing God’s will (in whatever state he was in).

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have” (Heb.13:5a). There is nothing wrong with wanting more materialistic possessions or wanting a better job, career, etc., but if it comes to the point of taking God away from the top of our priorities and being covetous, then it is sinful. If we are in need, there’s no need to worry. “For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb.13:5b). The Lord provides for our needs, and we as Christians don’t have to worry. Peter said, “Cast all you care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1Peter 5:7).

Jesus in Matthew 6 speaks about worrying, that we shouldn’t worry. If the Father takes care of the birds of the air, He certainly takes care of His children, as we see this in (Matt.6:25-27).

We should be content in our physical state and need not worry for the things we need, for we are taken care of. However, when it comes to our spirituality, we should never be content, where are okay in our spiritual state; not ever desiring to grow more. Being stagnant.

This is not having zeal for the Lord if we are spiritually stagnant. There must be a time when we grow out of taking only the milk of the word. We must eventually take on solid food. Hebrews 5 talks about those that only take the milk are unskilled in the Word, solid food is taken by those who are wise also to discern both good and evil (Heb.5:12-14). To gain more knowledge and grow in the truth, we need to “Study to show thyself approved” (2Tim.2:15). I believe we can liken this to what Paul said in 1Cor. 13:11; “When I became a man, I put away childish things.” The childish things being only the milk of the Word and becoming a man taking on the solid food of the Word.

We must be content in our physical state, but spiritually we must yearn for more. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt.5:6).

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