Dominion Lost

Genesis 1:28

[28] And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Originally, man was meant to have dominion over the earth.  We are uncomfortable with words like subdue and dominion because it sounds like humans are meant to be oppressive dictators over the rest of creation.

However, Adam was not to be a dictator, but a steward.  He had no authority that had not been given to him.  He could not do whatever he pleased with God’s creation.  With God’s intention in mind, we realize that in the beginning Adam was not called to be a gardener but a protector.  His original call was to defend the creation, his wife, and the honor of God by defeating the serpent.  Instead, he did nothing as the serpent deceived his wife.  Adam did not destroy the serpent but agreed with him and joined forces with him against God, opening the door to sin and death.

After the fall, mankind would still like to believe that we are in charge.  My children are convinced that they are in charge of our house.  No one had to teach them this and it is with great difficulty that we teach them that they are not.  We are born this way.

And that is especially sad because we are not in charge.  We are not in charge of when we are born or when we will die.  We are not in charge of what will happen to us or how exactly our children will turn out.  In fact, we are not even in charge of ourselves.

Romans 7:18b-19

…For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. [19] For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

Man was to have dominion over all creatures and even the earth itself.  Now, we have dominion over nothing.  We are not masters but slaves to our passions and circumstances.  This is bad news, but when we can admit that this is true, the Gospel becomes very good news.

John 8:36

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

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A Lack of Information

Neil Postman

Did Iraq invade Kuwait because of a lack of information?  If a hideous war should ensue between Iraq and the U.S., will it happen because of a lack of information?  If children die of starvation in Ethiopia, does it occur because of a lack of information?  Does racism in South Africa exist because of a lack of information?  If criminals roam the streets of New York City, do they do so because of a lack of information?

Or, let us come down to a more personal level: If you and your spouse are unhappy together, and end your marriage in divorce, will it happen because of a lack of information?  If your children misbehave and bring shame to your family, does it happen because of a lack of information?  If someone in your family has a mental breakdown, will it happen because of a lack of information?  I believe you will have to concede that what ails us, what causes us the most misery and pain – at both cultural and personal levels – has nothing to do with the sort of information made accessible by computers.

God is Awake

Sarah Albrecht

When we respond to our fears by trying to take on the attributes of God – like, for example, omniscience and omnipresence – we will be plagued by restlessness. We think we are taking control by thinking about all the possible precautions against robbers (and there is no harm in being responsible in locking our house – so long as our trust and hope is in the Lord and not in a deadbolt) breaking in or by staying awake and looking in every place. Yet, in reality, instead of controlling the situation, we become controlled and enslaved by fear.

Omnipresence and omniscience aren’t the only attributes of God that we are tempted to take on.

We try to control situations by demanding perfect justice when we are wronged. We refuse to believe that the Holy Spirit can and is working in the hearts of men. We sacrifice relationships because people do not meet our expectations.

We try to be self-sufficient – planning for ever possible circumstance or by refusing help when we really need it. We judge people who can’t get it together. We miss out on being blessed by God through others.

We try to be perfect and good and never sin on our own accord. Instead, we become self-righteous. We are controlled by what others think of us and keeping up the image of perfection rather than trusting in Christ for our salvation. We know deep down that we are fakes. We worry that God knows this and is out to get us.

When we try to be God, we will always fail. We will quickly grow weary, and our souls will not be at peace. We feel the burden of the ultimate sin of pride when we think that we can do God’s job better than He can.

The Bible says, in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Pure and Undefiled Religion

How Do We Work for Justice and Not Undermine Evangelism?
Russell Moore

Is Ahab’s acquisition of Naboth’s land (1 Kings 21:1-19) a matter of personal sin or social injustice? Well, it was both. Was the sin of Sodom a conglomeration of personal sins or societal unrighteousness? It was both (Gen. 18:26; Ezek. 16:49).

The prophets never divided up issues of righteousness as neatly as we do in the “personal” and the “social.” Isaiah speaks of God’s judgment both on personal pride and idolatry (Isa. 2:11) and the “grinding” of the faces of the poor (Isa. 3:14-15). Onward to Joel and Micah and Malachi right through John the Baptist the witness is the same.

The new covenant church continues this witness. Even after the public ministry of Jesus, his apostolic church continues a message of both personal justification and interpersonal justice. James directs the churches of the dispersion both in terms of their personal speech (Jas. 3:1-12) and the unjust treatment of wage-earners (Jas. 5:1-6).

James defines “pure and undefiled religion” as that which cares for the widows and orphans (Jas. 1:27). Of course he does. His brother already has (Matt. 25:40).

For those who might seek to pit James against Paul, the New Testament allows no such skirmish, either on personal redemption or on ministry to the vulnerable. When they received Paul, the apostles, Paul says, were concerned, of course, that he proclaims the correct gospel but also that he remember the poor. This was, Paul testifies, “the very thing I was eager to do” (Gal. 2:10).

Link: Complete Blog Post

Revelations of Aussie Sex Tourists in Thailand

Jas Rawlison

As we come to the end of our chat, I ask the rescue worker what he would say to these men if he could say anything; if he didn’t have to hide who he was.

“If I could say everything and anything, I guess it would be: ‘are you happy with who you’ve become, are you happy with this life?’

“You can use all your skills and abilities to help people, not to take from them,” he says.  “It’s not too late to turn things around and become the man you’re proud of.”

Link: Complete Article

Test the Spirits

[1] Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

– 1 John 4:1

False prophets very rarely say, “Hey everyone, I have a message from the devil!” No, they say they have a revelation from the Spirit.

John is warning us that while a spiritual experience is important, it alone is not enough to guarantee that it is from God. Spirits must be tested. If a random guy told a girl, “God said you’re supposed to marry me,” the girl would not immediately believe him. She would be discerning.

Who we marry is important, but who we worship is more important. When people say things about God, we should be discerning. We should test the spirits.

This includes testing ourselves. Our hearts, our emotions, our logic can so easily go astray. Haven’t we done enough foolish things to know that we can’t be trusted implicitly? We are biased and selfish and the first “spirit” that must be tested is within us.

Son of David, King of Glory

[1] The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…

[6] and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah

– Matthew 1:1, 6

King David was the greatest King in Israel’s history. He was a warrior who destroyed their enemies and brought peace and prosperity to the nation. Matthew shows David honor in calling Jesus the son of David. Yet at the same time, Matthew draws attention to David’s failures.

In verse 6, Matthew points out that Solomon is the son of David and the wife of Uriah. This is an odd introduction, something along the lines of “this is Tom who beats his wife” or “this is Rachel who cheats on her taxes.” Matthew could have named Solomon’s mother as Bathsheba but he makes certain that we understand that David unlawfully took another man’s wife. Even the greatest king of Israel was a sinner and a failure.

In verses 7-11, Matthew lists the kings of Israel after David, from Solomon to Jechoniah and the kings get worse and worse. There are a couple good kings like Hezekiah and Josiah but many more terrible kings. Ahaz burned his son as an offering to false gods. Manasseh filled the temple with altars to Baal and other demons. Things have gotten so bad by the time of Jechoniah that God sends the nation into exile. As a whole, the kings are one sorry disappointment after another.

We too spend most of our lives serving disappointing kings. Perhaps our “king” is pleasure, money, or prestige. These kings promise us the world but turn out to be ugly disappointments. These kings cannot save us or give us life.

In contrast to the ugliness of earthly kings, Matthew presents to us King Jesus. He is the eternal Son of God who washes the dirty feet of wicked people. He is the voice who spoke the world into being yet He knows our names. Jesus is the God who comes to save us, whose justice, holiness, mercy and steadfast love is more radiant than a million suns. He is the king we have been waiting for.

For God So Loved the World

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

God loves the world. Let us consider the world God has chosen to love. When we think of the world, we might imagine children holding hands and singing kumbaya. It’s kind of like “It’s a Small World” (or if you don’t like “It’s a Small World,” it’s similar to “It’s a Small World” but less annoying).

But according to the book of John, the world is not a place of peace, harmony, and good-will.

  • John 1:10 – “the world did not know him”
  • John 3:19 – “people loved darkness rather than the light because their works were evil”
  • John 7:7 – Jesus says, “[the world] hates me”
  • John 17:25 – “the world does not know [God]”

God does not love a cute and cuddly world. He chooses to love a world that does not know Him, that loves darkness, and in fact hates Him. While this is not flattering, it is very encouraging. Jesus does not love us at our best. Inexplicably, He sees us at our worst and He loves us still.

“I Can’t Help It!”

Am I Introverted, or Just Rude?
K.J. Dell’antonia

Years ago, I was habitually late. “I can’t help it!” I declared to an expert in time management (I’d turned my effort to reform into a magazine article, as writers do, which gave me the excuse to seek professional help).

always-late-funny-quotes“Have you ever missed a plane?” she asked. I had not. “Then you can help it. You just care more about yourself than about the needs of others.”

I may be naturally reserved, and more comfortable alone than I will ever be in a crowd, but I am not at the mercy of my nature. There are many excuses for failing to conduct ourselves with courtesy, for avoiding gatherings and conversations we don’t think we will enjoy, or for just putting on our pajamas and staying home. Too many of them boil down to just that one thing: We care more about ourselves than about the needs of others.

That’s not about introversion. It’s just an ordinary version of selfishness.

Link: Complete Article