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I was reading the most recent blog written by Dr. Albert Mohler, the current president of Southern Seminary, one of our six Southern Baptist Seminaries, and I found it to be quite thought-provoking. He was summarizing some comments written by Charles Taylor in his book The Secular Age and giving commentary on those comments.

In his summary, he noted that the gist of the book was the identification of three major intellectual ages in history and the impact those ages have had on the mindset of mankind regarding their belief in God while including the ways that believers can hold on to and spread their biblical convictions and biblical principles. He identified the ages of pre-enlightenment, the enlightenment, and the post- modern intellectual epochs. They are also named by some as the pre-modern, modern, and post-modern ages. Others have labelled the post-modern age as the post-Christian era.

In the pre-enlightenment era it was impossible for people not to believe in God, on the whole. There were largely no other worldviews that were available for consideration by society in the West. Everyone related their life, their world, to the Bible or the “enchantment”, supernatural world views. There were no atheists in that day. He notes that the descriptive word “atheist” didn’t even exist in the English language until Miles Coverdale invented the word while studying the Bible to describe someone who didn’t believe in God. Obviously, no problem, on the whole talking about your faith, the gospel or the principles derived from the Word and applied to your life.

The enlightenment became a time when people began to have options to consider. They could take a different world view in opposition to the Christian worldview. It now became possible not to believe. I mean now you could choose a naturalistic worldview as opposed to a supernatural or theistic worldview. Most didn’t, because the theistic worldview was still the most persuasive and the most engrained world view, it was held to by most during this time. It became more difficult to engage society with the truth of the gospel and the principles gleaned from the Word of God, but the hostility and derision was not anything like that which would come to fruition during the next epoch.

The post-modern age has become the age where secular thought seeks to reign supreme. It has become virtually impossible to believe. In a relative short period of time, three-hundred to four hundred years, the secularization of our society now overshadows our daily living. Now we live in a society that all but erases the legitimacy of the Christian worldview. How many University professors, outside of Christian educational institutions, do you believe hold to a Christian worldview? Obviously there are Christians in each age, including the age that we now live in, but the environment has become more hostile and dismissive of a Christian worldview.

This age, on the whole, wants to erase God from the landscape and replace Him with another religion that is false, that being human secularism. But of course, that will not happen. You cannot erase God or His disciples or the truth written in the Word of God.

Since the intellectual constructs of our society have becoming increasingly hostile toward the Christian worldview we must be prepared to engage human secularism and opposing world views in the marketplace of ideas with the truth and power of the gospel, in love.

How many of our children or our grandchildren find themselves thrown out, by us, into the “lion’s den” without a proper preparation for the hostility and derision they may find from a society that ridicules their most precious faith. How many will find a teacher in the public educational system that will believe it is his or her duty to challenge and destroy the faith of every believer that is uncovered. Most of us have had a teacher like my Mr. Boyce in high school, the science teacher, or the many others encountered at the University level...that believe it is their job to do so. How many of us are going to remain oblivious to, or surprised at, the continual effort to erase God from our society, when the effort is manifest every day, even on His birthday, Christmas.

It’s probably time to pull our heads out of the sand and make preparation and engage opposing world views with confidence and tenacity. The best thing that you can do for yourself and your family is to study the Word of God, learn it, and live it. When you know the truth you can identify that which is untrue and ungodly, and when you apply it to your life and live it by faith daily you give witness to the power and plan of God for living. With that testimony you will enjoy a credibility that will make it easier for people to entertain the truth of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit to convict and to convert.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

In the Old Testament we find Daniel, as a young teenager, uprooted from his homeland and family, indoctrinated educationally for three years by a society that wanted him to forget where He was from and who God was and who He was, but he didn’t. He knew His Bible. His parents had instructed him well, and he had the foundation that enabled him to live it in a hostile environment. He lived his life in such a way that it gave witness to the one true God of the universe...and then he left the results in the hands of God. You can find his story and example in the book of Daniel. It gives us a clue... on what to do.

We, like Daniel, find ourselves in an ever increasing hostile environment directed towards our faith. It shouldn’t be a surprise.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)

Indeed, not everyone is as open to entertaining the truth of the Scripture as in days gone by. Most are becoming very intolerant and would like for us to forget God and certainly not speak of Him or His truth in the public square.

But we also live in the public square and we will not be ashamed or unprepared. We will not be surprised by attacks or obstacles but will with love and passion live and share the gospel, the hope of all mankind. But this reality does call upon us, in our preparation, to know our audience, the age we live in, and to employ the most effective manner possible in sharing the gospel and the principles of Scripture in every venue possible. If I were preaching to a group of miners I would seek to speak to them in a manner that would be markedly different from the way I might speak to a group of surfers on the beach in Hawaii. (By the way, anybody who would like to send me to Hawaii for a couple of weeks to do so...please...give me a call!) But the one thing you could count on is this, the message of the gospel would be unchanged, for it is the “power of God for salvation to all who believe” (Romans 1:16) but the manner by which I delivered it might be a little different, without violating Scriptural principles. Our message will remain unchanged...the good news...the gospel...for it is the only hope for every person in the world.

Get prepared, and prepare your family, and other disciples of Christ to no longer be surprised by the age we live in, and engage the culture with the gospel, with what we say and how we live, for the glory of God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 (ESV)

 

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with
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The Bible is full of real people learning lessons about life and how to live it well. One such story in Exodus 16 recounts the release of the Hebrew people from a life of slavery in Egypt. They had experienced God’s miraculous deliverance and were on their way to the Promise Land. However, millions of people traveling through the wilderness required a bit of food and when hunger was upon them, they began to complain. God in His wisdom and mercy came to their rescue with a His bread from heaven called manna. So what’s the big deal about manna and what can we learn from God’s instruction concerning it?

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Exodus 16: 4-5

And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. Exodus 16:19-21

So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted. Exodus 16:21

Fifteen years ago this week – well, February 3rd to be exact, something very significant happened in the Smith household. I think you might recall this as an occasion to remember as well, an occasion that has since changed the course of history or at least NFL history. Think back with me to Sunday, February 3, 2002 – anything significant going on? Aww yes, I knew you would remember! It was Super Bowl Sunday, with the highly favored St. Louis Rams taking on the New England Patriots. If you know me, you must be scratching your head thinking – how come Tracy has this date in her memory – she’s not a big sports enthusiast? Well, this date will forever be etched in my mind because it was the day our son was born! Yes, I did watch the game, in between contractions! After Chad and I walked around the neighborhood during half time and the game was finally over I said, “It’s time to go!!” Then at 10:48 pm, little red headed, blue-eyed Dylan Nathaniel was born at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

Now let’s back up a few months to September 2001. We can all remember this time frame, when our country was attacked on September 11th. I was about 5 months pregnant, at home with Jessica and Colin, when I heard the news of the attacks. The Marine base where we lived went on lock down; all was sober and unusually quiet. It was as if we’d lost our breath and were waiting to take the next one only if we could be certain our country was safe. Everything changed that day. Our country was sober as well; we saw one example of this in the area of sports. Traditionally, Super Bowl Sunday has been played the last Sunday in January. However, when the attacks happened on our native soil – the normal routines of life came to a halt even for the NFL and the Super Bowl was rescheduled a week later.

So, this is how Dylan became known as our Super Bowl baby . . . he was born on Super Bowl Sunday 2002, a rescheduled game due to the events on September 11th.

Soon after 9/11, President George Bush addressed Congress and I remember specifically him introducing a woman named Lisa Beamer during the service and having her stand. She was the wife of Todd Beamer, hero/victim of United Flight 93 that crashed into a Pennsylvania field. What was so significant about this introduction was that Lisa Beamer was pregnant – 5 months pregnant – just like me! It was as if we were kindred spirits. I felt her loss very personally and I just couldn’t imagine how she could stand in front of Congress and the world with such grace and composure knowing she would give birth to this child without her husband. I was undone.

The next Sunday, I met with a group of women with whom I helped facilitate a women’s Bible study. We were studying about Moses and the exodus of the children of Israel from the hands of Egypt. We were discussing the manna that God had provided every morning for his children to eat while traveling to the Promise Land when I began to break down over the horrific events of the past week. I began to say how I just couldn’t understand how Lisa Beamer could stand so strong after such tragedy had hit our nation and her world personally. After allowing my say, our pastor’s wife looked at me and said, “She stood strong because she’d gathered her manna.” Did you catch that? She stood STRONG because she’d gathered her MANNA!! I will never forget those words of wisdom my friend spoke into my life that morning. Every September 11th, every Super Bowl Sunday, I think of them! I must gather my manna! Every day, every morning – today’s manna won’t last for tomorrow’s unknowns. I must make gathering the bread a life a priority for today! Lessons learned, lessons rehearsed, lessons deepened by a life of the unexpected.

Many of you know real sorrow such as Lisa experienced; the loss of a father, a precious baby, a tiny 11-week old life. The diagnosis of a tumor, the loss of your vision or debilitating headaches. Liberty High School just lost one of their own to suicide and many of our young people knew him and considered him their friend. Loss, pain, sickness, persecution, politics - we live a life of the unexpected – but nothing is a surprise to God. He knows what our day will bring. And He knows we need our manna, our daily sitting in His presence reading His Word, communicating with Him through prayer, being still for a moment to listen. He knows how much to give, what measure we need to make it through and finish the race. Lessons from manna are true – they were true for the Hebrews, true for Lisa and they are true for you and me. Trust Him to know what you will need and be encouraged to never miss a morning of gathering your manna.

 

Posted by Tracy Smith with

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