Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thanksgiving


Readers, I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and that you are able to spend time with people that you love and for whom you are indeed thankful.  As we get time off work, and many will gather together to "give thanks" this month, let's be sure to show our gratitude and appreciation to those that indeed are due our thanks.  And let's make sure we consider what it is we truly should be thankful to others for and not just give shallow thanks for the fruits of our labor.

For example, I get a sick, almost sad feeling in my gut when I hear Christians thanking the Creator of the Universe, for material blessings they possess.  "Thank you God for this Grammy Award." "Praise Jesus for my new car." "First and Foremost I want to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for allowing me to succeed at football." This type of shallow showing of gratitude to the Creator God totally disregards those who actually made their possessions possible, while also neglecting those that do not have those blessings.  

Let me explain.  Why should a Christian be thankful to God for "shoes on my feet" and a "roof overhead" when millions of people are homeless, barefoot and starving all over this country and all over this world.  Pretty shallow isn't it? Pastors like to say if God doesn't punish America for its sins, he owes an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.  Exactly. It applies here too. If God is giving Americans shoes and shelter and financial and material wealth and blessing their health, he owes a huge apology to all those children in the cancer wards all over the world, and to all those starving children.  Shouldn't we be praying for those with Downs Syndrome and Autism and Alzheimer's and their caregivers?  Why "pray for them" when God knows about it already and has chosen not to help?  It makes no sense.  And those little children whose daddy or pastor will sexually abuse them tonight, should they be thankful for God's protection and provisions?  Do we ignore reality and then sincerely be thankful for our shoes and roof over our head?  This is really sick, shallow Christianity.

But that's not even the worst part about this "shallow" giving of thanks to God for shoes and shelter and health and food.  The real delusion is that God didn't give you any of those things anyway.  You worked and earned the money. You worked hard. For long hours. Day after day. Year after year. Laboring. To earn money to buy shoes for yourself.  To provide a roof over your head. To pay for your education. To provide these needs to loved ones that relied on you. So if you want to be thankful for your shoes, thank your boss for the job.  Did you thank your boss for hiring you? Or did you just praise Jesus for your paycheck?  Be grateful you made the decision to go to work instead of commit a crime. Take responsibility not just for your failings and screw-ups, but for your successes too.  If God can get the credit for everything we ever did right, then why doesn't he get any blame for anything that is wrong? It's our fault when we fail, it's his blessings when we succeed?  Tell that to the kids and their parents in the cancer wards; and to starving, abused and neglected children everywhere. God loves them alright, but helping that nice man score a touchdown, or getting the nice singer a Grammy is more important.  They even point up to the sky to let everyone know what God is doing for them.

And what about your career?  Why thank the Creator, when you likely got that job because of the education and degree you earned at college.  I'm thankful to the University of Florida for my degree that allowed me to earn money to buy shoes for me and my family and put a very nice roof over their heads. We never were short on food due to the salary I was able to earn after graduation.
Thank you to my professors. Go Gators!  But I don't thank God for my degree. I know how much it cost me financially (years and years of student loan debt to be repaid) and mentally (hours and hours for years and years of studying) and sacrificially (over 16 years in school to get a graduate degree). So when I graduated, I appreciated people congratulating me and not giving all thanks and credit to God. And how offensive to think God cares about me getting my diploma and intervenes to help to make it happen, while the child gets abducted and the Christian gets beheaded?

And thank you to my mom and dad. They cared for me the best they could under their circumstances. They provided food and shelter and shoes and love. I'm not going to insult my dad and God by thanking God for something my dad labored hard to provide me.  Who am I kidding? They both know who provided the shoes. I know the sacrifices my mom made for my benefit.

And thank you to the USA! They provide social security and disability payments to the sick and elderly. They provide food to the poor, a free education, police protection, parks, roads, hospitals, health care, national defense, and on and on.  And thank you to our veterans on this Veterans Day! They are the ones we should be thanking for our freedom. Not God.  You need only watch a video of Christians getting their heads chopped off to know what God is doing in that regard.  Nothing. Right? Or am I missing something?

Now, I am thankful to the Creator for his creation, the sunrise and sunset, the birds and animals and trees and ocean and mountains and the life he created here.  But I just can't thank him for my shoes and roof over my head when I know he didn't provide that to me anyway, and I know he isn't concerned with that when millions of his children are barefoot, homeless, being abused, starving, in poverty, work in sweatshops, are pawns in sex trafficking and are dying all over the globe.  It's shallow. It's insincere. And it's not real.  So I encourage you to give thanks to those that have invested their time, money, emotions and lives in you. Your mom and dad, friends, doctors, nurses, teachers, spouses, and children.  That will be a great encouragement to them on this Thanksgiving.  Don't patronize the Creator God by thanking him for your shoes while turning a blind and delusional eye to all those that don't have the health and wealth you created for yourself.  Yes, ours is a great country with much to be thankful for.  None of which was provided by the supernatural hand of God, but by the innovation, creativity, hard work, love and service of those that toiled and made it happen before us.  Be thankful you were born here and not in Ethiopia.

Happy Thanksgiving!