What Time Is It?

The modern concept of time is truly unique to moderns.
One of the most powerful technologies ever invented was the clock. Prior to the clock, time measurement was not precise. Seconds, minutes and even hours were not something humans considered. Think about a world without clocks and watches for a moment.

What time is it? What if I told you, your watch, the timepiece on your phone nor the clock on your wall can tell you what time it is. Time is a realm we think we understand but don’t.

We’re told that in the grand sweeping scope of human history, we’re just a ‘blip on the radar’ – Here today and gone tomorrow! That is true to some extent. But, are we to live like a ‘blip’?

Are we simply left to resign ourselves to a YOLO (You Only Life Once) mentality in which we strive for every mountaintop experience or pleasure we can find? Or are we just left to thoughts of life as some cruel joke?

Do our individual, family, community, and national stories trickle like meaningless isolated streams through human history?

Are we to adopt the fatalistic determinism of Friedrich Nietzsche where human existence is a cold dark reality and life is absurd and hollow?

By no means!

Here’s the question behind the question.

Does your individual life have meaning?

Either life has meaning or it doesn’t. How you answer that question will determine how you live.

What we believe about the meaning of life will determine how to understand time.

A major over-arching theme in my work is to help individuals realize they are created for a time and place. Moreover, you (reader) were born into a certain family, in a specific location, culture and time in history.

The modern concept of time is truly unique to moderns.

One of the most powerful technologies every invented was the clock. Prior to the clock, time measurement was not precise. Seconds, minutes and even hours were not something humans considered. Think about a world without clocks and watches for a moment. Today, cultures remain that do not share the modern-western understanding of time. We tend to call those people “backwards” or “behind the times.” But are they really?

As moderns, we are time bound slaves to the clocks on our wrists, phones, walls, and calendars. I hear the refrain, “I don’t have time!” “I’m running out of time!” “I’m killing time.”

In our rush and hurry between meetings and events, we miss the everlasting moment that is rich with meaing. Frantic activity is followed by chronic inertia. It’s exhausting and sucks the joy and meaning out of life. We wake up and ask, “Where did the time go?”

Don’t confuse the moment with the story. Don’t miss giftedness of each moment.

“Time is at the heart of our existence.”
– Os Guiness

Time therefore has a purpose. You were placed in a specific time and location in history. Don’t miss the significance of that.

In the book, “Carpe Diem Redeemed – Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times“, Os Guinness makes two points to reflect upon.

You have a choice to know and develop a relationship with the “Author of Time” or not. If there is a God who created time, space and reality, don’t you think it’s important to know him?

If you determine that God is the “Author of Time” then, you need to learn what part He calls you to play in His “grand story.”

Os Guiness suggests, “We will never be able to see and understand time objectively” if we are so immersed in time that we miss the bigger story we’re a part of.

I leave you with the question and one of my favorite passages.

What time is it?

Reflect and meditate on this passage:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

Ecclesiates 3:1-11

“So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

Understanding Ukraine and Russia Conflict Through a Historical Lens

With the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, it is a good time for a history lesson. I commend to you a very insightful and well-guided discussion. You’ll glean valuable information and enjoy learning some of the history of the Ukraine – Russia situation in order to better understand it.

Recommended resource below – Podcast or video format “Ukraine and Russia: History and the the Theology of Nationalism”

Let me take a moment to set up what I’m commending to you, as your time is valuable. I will not pretend to fully understand the situation in Eastern Europe between Russia and Ukraine.

To my own detriment, I tend to see everything from my limited American historical lens. We Americans tend to believe that world history revolves around American history. American history is very important. However, American history is set within a much larger historical context of world history which is equally important.

Nations are important to God

As a thinking Christian, I must understand that there are theological undercurrents that shape events, cultures and nations as well. The situation in Ukraine did not arrive out of thin air. It is hundreds of years in the making. That said, we have an opportunity. We can recover a theology of nations. “Nations” (Gk. ἔθνος, ους, τό – ethnos) is mentioned throughout the Bible. It’s where we get the English word ‘ethnicity.’ The notion of nations distinguishes people of a common culture, common customs, and typically a geographic location (Samaria, Canaan, Rome, etc). So, nations must be important to God.

Cultural Movements in history and ideas that shape them

Furthermore, the events and cultural movements we are witnessing today have historical pathologies. Events are caused by preceding events which are caused by preceding events, and so on.

People have ideas that create and shape cultures – ideas shape histories. Sometimes those ideas are good, like the invention of the telephone. Sometimes those ideas are bad, like Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’.

We live in an unprecedented historical cultural moment of a connected world. As I’ve said in a previous post, our devices bring the horrible situation in Ukraine into the palms of our hands in realtime. As usual, there is no shortage of ideas being put forth by politicians, pundits, technocrats, celebrities, and others as possible ‘solutions’ to the conflict. But, are those ‘good’ ideas? Do the people pushing those solutions thoroughly understand the problems?

Benefits of wisdom in this historical moment

My good friend wisdom tells me to pause and try to understand the bigger historical situation in order to better understand the current moment. This action offers several benefits. First, I actually turn off media and turn on learning. Second, I’m seeking to understand a situation by diving into the history leading up to it. Third, I remember that these geopolitical events are usually way more complex than I imagined. Forth, I remember that over-simplistic, one-size-fits-all solutions sound good but typically cause more harm than good. Finally, I have a greater appreciation for the current moment when I understand the history leading up to it.

Recommended resource well worth your time

With the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, it is a good time for a history lesson. I commend to you a very insightful and well-guided discussion. You’ll glean valuable information and enjoy learning some of the history of the Ukraine – Russia situation in order to better understand it.

Below is a link to a podcast (or video if you prefer) that provides some historical insights into what is going on. Dr Glenn Sunshine is a history professor emeritus at Central Connecticut State University, a Research Fellow of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, an associate at Reflections Ministries, founder of Every Square Inch Ministries, a theologian, and a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Previously, he taught at Calvin College and was a visiting professor at the Universität der Bundeswehr-Hamburg (now Helmut Schmidt University) in Germany. He is also an adjunct professor at Ostroh University in Ukraine with family roots in the region. I trust Dr. Sunshine’s historical analysis and theological perspective.

 

Theology Pugcast: “Ukraine and Russia: History and the Theology of Nationalism”

“With the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, Glenn thought it a good time for a history lesson on Ukraine and Russia. As you might expect, he started over 1000 years ago, but noted especially more recent history and why the Ukrainians want to get out from under Russian domination. Along the way, he noted some genuine problems with Ukraine and their treatment of Russian minorities, part and parcel of the messy way borders work in Central and Eastern Europe. The guys finish with a discussion of the theological significance of nations, noting that they seem to survive in a purified form into eternity.”

Word Wars – How Academic Activists Manipulate Language to Win Political Battles

Who wields cultural power? Whoever tells the stories that shape the cultural imagination. Whoever creates ideas and concepts that diffuse throughout a population over a period of time. This is accomplished through language.

Language and more precisely, words are extremely powerful. Words have the ability to shape identity, reality, and the future.

Why do academic activists manipulate and distort language?

Here’s the short answer. When attaining cultural (hegemonic) and political power are the goals, distorting and weaponizing language is in the realm of options. Progressive academics who have colonized our universities and schools know that words can confuse, silence and break the will of their political enemies. But the question is, ‘How did we get here?’

All social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering.

William Smith

A little set-up is necessary.
Let’s consider something familiar. The old saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” seems like a good sentiment when dealing with toddlers and school bullies. However, is it a wise sentiment?

Having ministered to several people who’ve experienced childhood abuse, I have learned that while the physical injuries eventually heal, the damage inflicted by words leave deeper wounds than most of us realize.

My intention is not to diminish the horrible pain and lasting trauma caused by physical abuse. On the same token, I’m not attempting to claim that every single offensive word, disagreement or challenge to one’s political identity should carry a trigger warning. Furthermore, I’m not advocating for any censoring or silencing of free speech. I’m attempting to demonstrate that words carry more force than we recognize. Force for good or for ill.

I have met adults who, as children experienced terrible physical abuse from a parent. At the same time, the abusive parent was calling them, “worthless” and “stupid”. Uttering vitriolic statements to their child like, “I wished you were never born!” or “I wish you were dead!” Let’s STOP right here and read that again. Imagine your father, mother, or the person you trusted most saying those words to you.

Statistically, based on the numbers of readers and subscribers to this blog, some of you have experienced abuse. I am so very sorry for how you, as an image-bearer of God with intrinsic value and eternal worth, were treated. I pray you experience the grace of God to bring healing and restoration in your life – as several of you have shared with me. My intent is not to bring up past trauma but to bring insight to my readers on the power of language.

Let’s continue. The physical wounds leave lasting scars on the body and emotions. However, the verbal wounds cut deep into a child’s mind and heart. Those harmful words from an abuser potentially shape the psyche, thought-life and eventually the identity of the victim. That will extend into one’s relationships with others. If left unaddressed, the dysfunction begets dysfunction. There is a phrase that I hear from time to time, “Hurt people, hurt people.” In other words, people who have been abused often times (not always) end up abusing others. That doesn’t excuse an individual’s responsibility for wrong-doing.

While words can inflict great, sometimes irreparable harm, words can also build-up, encourage, bring order and restore.

I share this in order to demonstrate the power of words and language before addressing how language shapes the social imagination and culture.

Theologians, philosophers, poets, and academics have understood the power of language for thousands of years. Language forms the fabric of human history, relationships and cultures. Language shapes the contours of our thoughts and comprehension of reality. It’s also internal dialog and external expression of what we believe and thus, our behaviors.

As a part of my studies in anthropology, courses in linguistics were required. Through the study of linguistics, I discovered the profundity of human language. I admit, I did not fully appreciate what I was learning at the time. I do now.

Leading up to now

What I’ve discovered in the last several years is the extent to which words and language have been warped, distorted, disjointed or re-defined. We are creating new words, like “Google”, which can be a noun or verb (I “Googled” my name yesterday). 30 years ago, no one would understand what you meant if you said, “I Googled my name to see what came up.”

In 1950, the majority of people would have understood truth as being objective. What’s true about reality for me is also true for you. Truth doesn’t change, truth just is. Back then, the social order and society ordered itself around objective truth. However, with the rise of post-modernism, standpoint epistemology and obsession with individual self-expression, “truth” has been re-defined to mean what an individual wants it to mean. Truth is based on their subjective experience and how they view reality. Some academics go as far to argue that “truth” is a social construct. Today, it’s progressed to point of absurdity.

How did we get to a place as a culture where words don’t mean what they use to?

Why are we seeing a growing trend of weaponized language?

This is where we must pause and exercise discernment. I think Carl Trueman said it best, “Understanding the times in which we live is a precondition to responding appropriately to the times.” It’s vital that we have a basic understanding that there are cultural pathologies and undercurrents that led to this moment.

“Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.”

– Voltaire

For the sake of clarity and time, I will not go into great depth here. Suffice to say, philosophers and academics realized obscuring language and distorting meaning was a powerful tool to change society. We can trace this back to influential people like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Marx and so on.

The Rise of Progressivism

At the turn of the 20th century, we begin to see the ideas of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Antonio Gramsci worm their way out of the academy into cultural institutions like the arts, elite circles, and eventually diffuse through politics in America. By the late 1950s and early 1960s, Marxian academics came to the full realization that language is a tool to attain political and cultural power and dominance. We saw the emergence of the “New Left” that would evolve into what we now call “Progressivism.”

Progressivism is one of those words that is new to the modern lexicon. It represents a philosophy and totalizing vision of life, history, and reality. In the 1940s and 1950s, most Americans repudiated Marxist ideas like socialism and Communism. So, Marxist academics in places like the Frankfurt School, began to create linguistic cloaks to conceal and camouflage their ideology in oder to make them more palatable and acceptable to the masses. Terms and concepts like “Critical Theory”, and “Social Theory”. Progressivism eventually emerged. Given, I know I am over-simplifying. But, the point is, redefined language could be used as a cloak for ideas. In the mind of the progressive academic activist, words should be both emotionally and politically charged in order to be used as weapons of revolution.

Recently, new phrases and categories employ familiar words but their meaning is obscure or totally new. You’ve probably heard words and combinations like, “white fragility“, “white privilege“, “antiracism“, “birthing person” or “transgender“.

Remember, words carry ideas that shape how people think about reality. Where did these words and ideas come from? Well, they originated in the academy (universities).

Familiar words have been re-defined. Words like, “justice”, “racism”, “tolerance”, “equity” and “truth” don’t mean what they meant just a few years ago. Fifty years ago, people would be perplexed if you told them you were transgender. No one would would understand what you meant if you told them you were fighting for “climate justice” or “equity”.

Why do academic activists manipulate and distort language?

Here’s the short answer. When attaining cultural (hegemonic) and political power are the goals, distorting and weaponizing language is in the realm of options. Progressive academics who have colonized our universities and schools know that words can confuse, silence and break the will of their political enemies.

Don’t be fooled or lulled asleep by nice-sounding words (justice, antiracist, equity). Those words don’t mean what you think they mean. No, words are their preferred weapons of war. Don’t believe me. Try to debate a progressive activist on the merit of their ideas, or logical consistency, rational coherence, or basic reason, it will not be long before they call you a name (racist, sexist, bigot, intolerant, deployable, misogynist, etc).

A word of caution, not every liberal-leaning self-described ‘progressive’ thinks this way. I have many liberal friends with whom I disagree and debate. They don’t buy into the total war of leftist progressivism bent on destroying political enemies to obtain power. So, don’t go out there attacking everyone who uses suspect words and language. Marx, Alinsky and Marcuse would love it if you responded that way (if they were alive). Instead, pause and think.

How does one respond?

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 15:1

Ask questions like, “What do you mean by that?” Help each other define terms. “What do you mean by justice?” And when you use a word or phrase in a disagreement or debate, pause and define it for the person.

For example, “When I say, “tolerance”, I mean it in the traditional sense which means I will endure or allow for disagreement. In other words, we can disagree without being disagreeable. Is that fair for you?”

Who wields cultural power?
Whoever tells the stories that shape the cultural imagination. Whoever creates ideas and concepts that diffuse throughout a population over a period of time. This is accomplished through language.

From a biblical perspective, we understand that the Word (logos) that grounds and shapes total reality in truth is found in God. In the beginning God created… He said, “let their be…” It was by His word that all creation, reality, language and culture came to be. So, God gets to define reality, not academic activists. Someone once said (using a baseball analogy), “Reality get to bat last.”  In other words, reality and truth have the last say… It doesn’t matter what you believe. If what we believe is not grounded in reality, sooner or later the world will crash in around us.

Furthermore, Christians ought to reside in the spheres of academics and art where the stories are told and concepts are argued. We bear the truth about total reality through God’s Word and His created order.

In conclusion, we must recover language and words that have been highjacked and distorted. We must ground them in their biblical meaning. Why? Because language shapes reality and how we understand the world we live in. If we do not take back language and plant it in the bedrock of truth, reality and the world around us will grow more confusing and chaotic.

All truth is God’s truth. Remember that.

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Fear, outrage, helplessness and eventually apathy colonize our imaginations and take up residence in our hearts. These experiences and emotions are not unique to modern humans. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not allow that to distract you, cause you to fear, or shape your reality. Focus on what you know to be true and what is right in front of you.

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you dare not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24:6-7)

Every human being attempts to make sense of the world, human history, events and trajectory.

We moderns possess the blessing and curse of realtime global communication through powerful technologies. The chaos, injustice and suffering of the entire globe can be seen and heard through tiny screens in the palms of our hands. The impact of the images, scenes and helpless cries are felt in our hearts. For many, we can’t unsee horrible images seared into our minds.

Fear, outrage, helplessness and eventually apathy colonize our imaginations and take up residence in our hearts.

These experiences and emotions are not unique to modern humans. Human history is marked by tribulations and conflicts. However, what makes the current moment singularly unparalleled in history is the velocity and quantity of information that we can access at our fingertips.

Think about it. Today is February 24, 2022.

On this date in 1836, a cry for help was sent forth by the commander of a tiny garrison of less than 200 men defending a small Spanish mission against 5,000 enemy troops. The enemy general called for the surrender of the men occupying the mission or they would be “put to the sword.” The reply from Colonel William Travis to General Antonio de Santa Ana’s demand was cannon fire.

In one of the most famous letters ever penned in human history, Col. Travis wrote:

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World-

Fellow Citizens & compatriots-

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man – The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls – I shall never surrender or retreat…(He goes on to write) If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country –

Victory or Death.

(signed)

William Barret Travis

186 years ago is a blink of an eye in human history. Communications required days, weeks and even months to reach their destinations. In 1836, most of the world was unaware of the now famous “Battle at the Alamo” in a place called “Texas.” Most of the world didn’t even know Texas existed, nor would they care if they did know.

Life expectancy in the 1800s was between 40-45 years. Let that sink in for a moment. Daily existence was extremely difficult – death was a daily occurrence. Today, life expectancy is around 73 years globally.

What does this have to do with “wars and rumors of wars”?

Whether we are aware of it or not, our powerful technologies deliver massive amounts of information from around the world to our handheld devices. My iPhone is millions of times more powerful than the computers used by NASA to guide Apollo 11 to the moon and back.

Our modern devices shape our reality and worldview. When an earthquake occurs on a tiny island in the South Pacific Ocean, I know within seconds. When one nation’s leader is threatening another, I know almost immediately. When a school shooting occurs in a city hundreds of miles away, I can see realtime coverage on my device! All of the pain, suffering, chaos, tragedy, evil and terror in the whole world is delivered immediately into my hands. Most of the time, these emotional scenes bypass logic and reason impacting our imaginations and emotions. The result is a constant state of malaise, helplessness, and fear.

How does one make sense of it all?

The Bible offers us the answers and a framework to help us.

First, we must understand that “In the beginning God created” all things (Genesis 1-2). God stated that His creation was “good.” Furthermore, when God created humans in “His own image,” He said humans were “very good.”

Second, we learn that humans chose to rebel against God in Genesis 3 and turn inwards in an attempt to become “like God.” This “fall” of humanity into sin brought all of creation into conflict with the Creator. Shame, guilt and hate soon entered God’s good creation. One chapter later, we see the first murder in human history (Genesis 4 – Cain and Able). Since then, the entire world has spiraled into chaos, injustice and suffering.

Third, we see God initiate a plan to set things right when He sends His only son, Jesus Christ to redeem the world through his death on a Roman cross and bodily resurrection from the dead. The name “Jesus” is “Yeshua” or “Joshua” in Hebrew. The name means “the Lord saves.” “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name as some people would think. “Christ” is a title. It means “Messiah” (Mashiach) or “anointed one of God.” But, what is Jesus Christ saving us from? He saves us from the eternal separation created from the fall (Genesis 3).

The Bible says that Jesus came to “seek and save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10). In God’s providence and wisdom, He had a plan to redeem that which humanity lost and that which humans do not possess the ability to reclaim for themselves. This is where the man or woman can have real hope for today by trusting that Jesus accomplished His mission. While we’ll still continue to experience the effects of sin and evil in this life, we know they are defeated. Wars and rumors of wars is the current state of things – but not the eternal state of things.

Wars and rumors of wars is the current state of things – but not the eternal state of things.

Forth, we learn that there will come a time when God will restore ALL things. He will set everything back in order throughout creation. The chaos, injustice, evil, pain, suffering and death will be swallowed up in a victorious unfolding of God’s restoration (Revelation 21). This is where we have real hope for the future.

So what does all this mean for me today?

When you scroll through the news feeds on your smartphone today, you will see the truth of a world gone wrong. You know deep in your heart that this is not the way it is supposed to be. This is the objective truth of Genesis 3 to Revelation 20 shining through our dim reality. Even if you don’t believe what I’ve just laid out above, take a moment and reflect… Is what the Bible says about reality in this world true?

Finally, when you scroll through your news feed and you feel your heart breaking, or anger, or hopelessness or fear, set your device down and close your eyes.

Consider the following thoughts:

What is the crisis or opportunity I can take responsibility for or take initiative to help RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME? Set aside the world’s massive problems and look around your immediate relationships. Our immediate lives abound with crisis and opportunities right in front of us. My advice is to begin right there. The world changes one life at a time.

Is there something good in your life or someone else’s that you can celebrate?

Is there something missing from someone’s life or perhaps in your community that you can contribute something good toward?

Is there something bad in your life or in the community that you can stop?

Is there something broken in your life or someone else’s life that you can help restore?

When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not allow that to distract you, cause you to fear, or shape your reality. Focus on what you know to be true and what is right in front of you.

Jesus gives us hope:

“Fear not, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“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)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Read the full passages

Signs of the End of the Age (Matthew 24:3-14)

3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

God will make all things new (Revelation 21:3-5)

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

For Such A Time As This

“Trying Times call for tough leaders. In God’s providence, you and I were put in this moment in time and this place to live for him.”

Don’t miss the moment. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.

You are called to a Savior, a Kingdom, and a moment. What are you going to do in this moment?

For such a moment, you must lead. And lead you must. Nowhere in the Bible is cowardice or apathy rewarded. In fact, cowardice is punished (Numbers 14). Moral courage is always rewarded and blessed. Standing up for righteousness is an act of obedience.

We must recover and embrace God’s definition of ‘leadership.’

“Biblically, leadership is not someone at the top or someone out front. (A leader) is a person who takes the initiative and takes responsibility for either the opportunity or the crisis right in front of them…. That is what we must recover.”
– Os Guiness

Trying times call for tough leaders. In God’s providence, you and I were put in this moment in time and this place to live for Him. For God’s sake lead! Whether it is your family, your community, your workplace, or your church, you are called to take initiative and responsibility for the opportunity or crisis you are facing right now. If God placed the crisis or opportunity in front of you, don’t be fearful – Be faithful!

“It is going to take an enormous amount of biblical commitment, theological clarity, and individual and congregational courage to stand against the tide of the moral and ideological revolution of the culture.”
– Albert Mohler

Do not miss the moment. It has arrived.

The question is, “What are you going to do in the moment?

Reflect and meditate on the following scriptures that will challenge, equip and encourage you to lead!

“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation….” Acts 13:36

“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…” Acts 17:26

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son…” Galatians 4:4a

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“Those who know God’s plans are responsible to live courageously for Him.” – Dr. Bill Egner

Calling the Church to Courage

Christian courage emanates from the heart of Christ who faced the cross for our sakes and His Glory. As long as we have breath in our lungs, we must continue to call the church to courage.

Fear of anything but God is sinful unbelief. “Fear naturally produces cowardice in people… wherever it (fear) prevails, it extinguishes Christian courage and strength.” – John Flavel

As I wrote in December of last year in a post entitled “Deposing the Tyranny of Fear“, fear is a tyrant – a slave-driver’s whip that drives men into traps and bondage. A spirit of fear has enveloped the world (including the church). The church has been slow to awaken to this reality. We are witnessing a growing number pastors and church leaders stand up. But, we must continue to exhort and call the church to courage.

Sirens from the Spirit of the Age have bewitched and lured the captains of the Church into their snares with their beautiful songs. The mighty ships of Christ’s Church have sailed dangerously close to the rocky shores where the Siren’s call. The irresistible melody makes the Christian forget his first love (Christ) and fall in love with the Spirit of the Age (the world). Only when his ship sweeps close to the rocks and his eyes see the terror, will he awaken to his folly. But, fear grips him. Is it too late?

By no means! As long as breath reaches our lungs, we call the church to courage. And this is not just calling to the captains, our dear pastors at the helm. We call each other to greater courage. In order to break through the fog and run-through the spirit of fear with the sword of the spirit, it will require ‘all hands on deck.’ The Church is one body with many parts. Therefore, it will take the full force of the saints in one accord to crush the spirit of fear with robust biblical faith!

If our souls are committed to the care of God, then Christians laugh at threats, cruelties and the spirit of fear and only grows more resolute by them (to paraphrase a witness of the torture of Marcus, bishop of Arethusa).

The Puritan, John Flavel reminds us that over the centuries, “Christians have put their enemies to shame by smiling at their cruelties and threatenings… (this courage is not particular to an age long past) but the same spirit of courage is found among Christians in all ages.” That means, today! S.M. Huchens diagnoses our malady of timidity;

“But the world has turned and a new age is upon us. Anyone who is paying attention to its movements knows that Christians are going to have to decide to think and act like Christians or not—to cause offense by it or not—and to pay what it costs.

 

It is time for those who are called to be pastors in the Church of the next age (for God will not stop calling them) to gird up their loins and put an end to the cowardly dalliances of so many of their predecessors in my generation and the one preceding it, owning the Christian faith to be what it is and no longer advancing the bastard offspring of the Spirit of this Age and those who are afraid to trust God by doing battle with it. The seminaries are by and large emasculating theaters full of large smiles and hollow chests, and there is a terrible dearth of orthodox, learned, and courageous shepherds—men who carry and know how to wield their staffs—but there seems to be no lack of hirelings who run when the wolves appear, making wolf-noises as they leave their flocks in the twilight.

 

Nor do I see how the fight can be fought apart from a new asceticism among all believers, which needs to be intelligently planned—something like what Rod Dreher calls for in The Benedict Option. Not many of the churches of any denomination, as currently constituted, full of the spreading rot, unwilling or unable to fight it, can be expected to cooperate, nor can they be expected as a matter of course to give livings to ministers of a boldly scriptural faith in the face of its enemies. But there are still brethren in the weak and fallen churches—even those that have a name for “orthodoxy,” and ways must be found to not abandon them, but feed and strengthen them for the Last Days.”
S. M. Hutchens

Remember, sinful fear is rooted in unbelief. The remedy is faith and fear of the Lord. “To the extent that our souls are empty of faith, they are filled with fear… The weaker the faith, the greater the fear; unbelief generates fear and fear strengthens unbelief.” – John Flavel

Fear is not the fruit of the spirit.

Christian courage emanates from the heart of Christ who faced the cross for our sake and His Glory.

We dare not fear the death he died for us. Otherwise, the cross is emptied of its power. We dare not commit the sin of fear that drove Adam and Eve into the shrubs of shame. Either we accept Christ’s words as true, “Fear not, for I am with you (until the end of the age)” or we trade the truth for a lie and worship the creature over the Creator. Remember, we worship what we fear. We should fear God only and take courage. Faithful courage in the face of fear glorifies God and courage is contagious!

God Commands and Commends Courage

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

1 Corinthians 16:13
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

Proverbs 28:1
The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18

How can you call your fellow Christians to courage today?