Thursday, December 3, 2015

My Favorite Verse: Joshua 24:15

            Joshua 24:15:  “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 
            This has got to be one of my all-time favorite verses.  And one of the most timely verses for our country today.  Our country is getting more and more polarized when it comes to the Bible, God, morals, etc.  Our entertainment has gotten shockingly ungodly and immoral.  Our schools have become more than just educational centers; they have become battlegrounds for the minds and souls of children.  Laws are being created to weed God out of everything.  Atheism, New Age, “tolerance,” homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, and other such issues are causing sharp contrasts and divisions among people, even among various Christian denominations.  It seems as though today – more so than any other generation – we are being challenged to “choose whom we will serve.”
 
            A while back, we went to a bowling alley aimed at children.  There is an arcade and Lazer Tag on one side and the bowling alley on the other.  The whole time my four kids were bowling – ages 5 to 14 – a TV was playing music videos right next to the scoreboard.  And these videos were horrible.  I mean horrible.  There were numerous videos with highly sexual themes, tons of skimpy clothes, a fully naked woman wearing only paint, violence, people being shot, and a full-screen lingering view of two women passionately kissing.  It was eye-popping.  And within sight of all kids, with a TV every other lane.
            I couldn’t just leave the bowling alley without saying something.  So after our hour was up, I went up to someone behind the counter. 
            “I just have to tell you that the videos that you show here are horrible.  They are definitely not appropriate for children.  I would never recommend this place as a “family-friendly” bowling alley because of those videos alone.”
            The lady apologized and said that she’d let management know.  As we walked out, the screen suddenly switched to basketball.  I tell ya, if I had known that they would switch it right away, I would have complained an hour ago.  I really thought it would be an “I’ll let management know eventually” kind of thing.  And then management would snicker and say, “Whatever.  Grow up, lady!” 
            But the thing that got to me the most as I thought about it later was that no one had complained earlier in the day.  It wasn’t until after dinnertime that someone – me – bothered to stand up and say, “This is completely inappropriate and unacceptable.”  And on top of that, not one of the people working there had the brains to realize it themselves. 
            What has our society gotten to that no one bats an eye at the filth that is shown on TV?  And I’m not talking mildly bad stuff.  I’m talking naked people, simulated sex, witchcraft, violence, occultic stuff, terrible language, etc.  No one blushes anymore.  No one even notices.  And no one bothers to stand up and complain.  It’s crazy to me that America is becoming a disgusting pile of immoral filth and yet people with high morals are afraid to make a stink, to stand up for good, clean, and wholesome.
            Choose this day whom you will serve . . . and honor and glorify and stand up for!
            If we do not stand up for godly, good, clean, and wholesome then we are encouraging the slide toward apathy and ungodliness and moral decay.  We have to take stands, people!  And I’m not even just talking to Christians here, but to good, decent people everywhere who still care about what goes into their child’s minds and about the condition of the country that we will hand off to the next generation. 
            It shouldn’t be “Well, we see that kind of stuff everywhere anyway, so I guess we just have to live with it.”  It shouldn’t be “Oh well, what can we do about it anyway?” 
            It should be “This is not acceptable!  We will not tolerate it.”  Or pay for it.  Or smile at it.  Or encourage it by our reluctance to make a fuss. 
            It’s not that “This is just the way things are.”  It’s that “This is the way we have let things get.”  And unless people stop supporting this kind of stuff . . . unless we stop buying the music and the movies and watching the television programs . . . unless we stand up and say, “Turn it off!” . . . unless we say “Not in my kid’s school” and “Not in my home or my country” . . . things won’t change.  Don’t be so polite that you let evil and filth run rampant across America.  Don’t buy the trashy movies.  Don’t watch the trashy shows.  Don’t support the trashy and anti-godly music.  Don’t let your kids on the internet and cell-phones unsupervised.  Don’t hand this world over the Satan easily.  Don’t go down without a fight! 
            If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, choose this day whom you will serve, as for me and my household we will serve (and honor and glorify and stand up for) the Lord!

            You may think I’m being a little “out there” and overdramatic.  But when the hearts and minds and innocence of my kids are at stake, then you can bet I’ll go as “out there” as I have to go to make whatever small change I can.  Because for some reason the rest of the country has lost all sense of decency.  Just look at what the girls wear nowadays and the crazy amount of pornography and outside-of-marriage sex!  Look at how many messages about “Do what feels good” and “It’s all about you” bombard our kids from every angle.  There is no sense of shame or self-respect or morality anymore.  No acknowledgement that there is a “right” and there is a “wrong.” 
            Parents and godly people, it’s up to us to stand firm in the rushing, raging river of moral decay before it sweeps our families downstream with it!
            Speaking of music videos, are you aware of how many singers are subtly and blatantly honoring Satan in their videos?  How many celebrities are wearing occultic clothing and jewelry that clearly honors Satan? 
            I wasn’t.  Not until I decided to Google “celebrities in the occult.”  And it blew my mind.  And now, I am ashamed that I was so ignorant.  But I am doing what I can to be alert now because my eyes have been opened to the very “un-benign” messages that are being taught and celebrated.  If we are not aware of the ways that Satan is enticing the next generation – the ways that he is making evil appear fun and hip - then we will not be able to educate our children or take a stand or prevent the spread of evil. 
            There is one website in particular that I would encourage you to visit if you want to see what I am talking about.  It’s beginningandend.com.  It explores a lot of what is going on nowadays from a Christian perspective.  What are these popular singers singing about?  What messages are their videos promoting?  Who is blatantly honoring the devil, making Satan seem fashionable and exciting and intriguing to all the young people who admire them?  Is this all just good, clean fun?  Really?  Are these the kind of role models that we really want for our kids?  Is this what passes for entertainment nowadays?  Is it just “artsy”?  Will that excuse fly with God when we stand before Him?
            “Gee, God, I knew that the musician performed a Wiccan ceremony in a video and that she sang about the joys of promiscuous sex while wearing virtually nothing, but it was just silly entertainment.  Watching it wouldn’t affect me.”
            Don’t kid yourself.  It will affect you.  It will affect the next generation.  It will affect our churches.  And it will affect our country’s view of God.  Whatever doesn’t honor Him dishonors Him.  And He doesn’t take it lightly when He is dishonored or mocked or rebelled against.  There are high prices to be paid for an apathy toward and a rejection of God, for dishonoring His name.              I am afraid for our country, for the judgment that we will bring down on ourselves.  Satan is sneaking up on us in so many ways.  And we are falling asleep, all cozied up in our lounge chairs with our hands in a bag of chips, zoning out on mindless entertainment.
            You think I’m being dramatic?  You think Satan is not doing everything he can to lead the country astray?  There was news story a short while ago about a group of Satanists who are pushing to get a “Satanist Children’s Book” into schools in a certain state because they don’t like that Bibles are made available to the kids.  Schools are fast becoming the foremost battleground for our children’s hearts and minds.  And it’s going much further than just academics. 
            Where are the morals nowadays?  Where is the sense of appropriate shame or decency?  Where are the people who still believe in “right” and “wrong”?  We are much more concerned with getting as many toys as we can, with how far we can push the moral envelope, and with how many of our passions we can satisfy than we are with the promoting godly values and protecting the hearts and minds of our kids.

            It’s not hard to tell nowadays who most people have chosen to serve.  Who they have chosen to follow and honor and promote.  Satan is doing all he can to destroy us from the inside out.  Are we Christians doing all we can to engage in the spiritual battle?  To serve the Lord?  To stand up to evil and prevent it from overtaking our country?

            Ezekiel 22: 30-31:  “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.  So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
            2 Chronicles 16:9:  “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
            2 Timothy 4: 3-4:  “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”  

          Joshua 24:15:  “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 

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