Have you stopped to consider what we as humans allow into our bodies? Think about it, processed food, high in fat and sodium, candy, chips, all manner of junk food. If you ever wondered how much waste is in a particular food, simply head on over to Calorie King to find out. Not only will you find out what is in the food, you can also see how long it will take with a particular exercise to eliminate those calories. In order to burn off one sugared or glazed chocolate cake-type donut, one would need to choose from the following:
After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11 It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” 12 Then the disciples *came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
Jesus answers a previous accusation from the Pharisees, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” Unclean hands before eating was a act thought to defile a practicing Jew.
Jesus responds first by calling out the Pharisees on various other offenses. Then He turns to their question and explicitly states that it is not what you put into your mouth, that defiles a person but what comes out of the mouth. Jesus then goes on to provide a more detailed answer explaining why it is what comes out of us that defiles.
15 Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17 Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
In His explanation Jesus presupposes the natural corruption of the heart because of sin. We find much support for this in scripture.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
Our heart is desperately wicked and although “follow your heart” is the spirit of the age; Jesus reminds us that following our heart will only lead to evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication or sexual immorality, theft, lying, slandering and much more. Jesus Christ is the only one who can change our hearts.
God says in Ezekiel 11:19-20
19 “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”
When God changes our heart, we will still struggle with sin. One of my professors once said, “in the heart of a lost person, sin reigns, but in the heart of a saved person sin remains!” How true is that. What does this have to do with media intake? Well, quite frankly, everything! The external is an overflow of the heart. It is already desperately wicked and so it follows that whatever we continue to fill it with will overflow into our lives. We are driven by our heart and there is no way around that. When we consume media that displays and encourages sin, we exercise our heart in the wrong direction. For example, if your heart struggles with lust, it should follow that consuming media which glorifies sexual promiscuity is a willful plunge into temptation that is almost certain to manifest into sin.
This is not to say that one cannot engage in any type of media outside the rated G title; however, it is important to know how visual content affects us. While “each man should be convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5) may I submit to you that we should not be “conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of our mind” (Romans 12:2). Renewing our mind should include daily devotions, prayer, and study; while not excluding media it is important to keep clear of things that turn our heart and mind to temptation.
We see God specifically tell the nation of Israel to do the same. In various places in the Old Testament God continually warns Israel that they must not engage in the activities of the people around them; for they practice detestable things. These ranged from taking advantage of others to child sacrifice. Once Israel entertained the idea (temptation) it always manifested into sin.
I would say that families that include kids should be even more careful about what type of media they consume. Children constantly learn what to do, how to act, what to say and watch directly from their parents example. As parents, we should heed God’s command in Deuteronomy 11:18-20
18 “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 19 You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,
If we continually allow for dark things to come into our home, we should not be surprised when it affects our families. We must also consider the amount of time that children spend in the world; taught and guided by principles and morals that, in most cases go against the word of God. The home should be a place of peace, a sanctuary where they can feel safe.
Our home should be a place of light and not darkness. Hollywood spends millions of dollars peddling trash into the homes across the nation and world for one reason; they have understood all too well the old adage: “the eyes are the window to the soul.” While scripture itself does not directly make this claim it does say that the “eyes are the lamp to the body;” which could suggest the same. If our eyes are the lamp unto our body, this suggests that they feed our body light; however, if all they consume is darkness, well than the body is can no longer see. Let’s consider Psalm 1.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
This Psalm compares the righteous with the wicked; however, the first two verses are what we should consider. Here a man is considered blessed (or happy) who does not walk, nor stand, nor sit in the counsel of wicked people. Consider the downward depression. First the man is walking with the wicked, then he is idly standing with sinners, and finally sitting with scoffers. Bottom line if a person continues to do things that bear darkness rather than light they to shall eventually take a seat with scoffers, sinners, and wicked people. This is not to say we should avoid the lost, rather the contrary as we are called to evangelize the lost; however, what it does mean is one who continues in the darkness will eventually become an idle patron in the seat at the table of darkness.
If Jesus says our heart is full of evil and Jeremiah says it is desperately wicked, we begin with a heart of darkness. We should seek out the light and fill our heart and mind with such. When it comes to media consumption we use two different sites to check the movies/show/games we allow in our home. One is secular based and one is Christian based. If we find a movie that is questionable we will preview it first before allowing our children to watch it.
Site one is Common Sense Media, and is the secular site. It has reviews of movies, books, games, and television shows. It is very comprehensive and explanatory in the reviews which are provided by both adults and children.
Site two is Plugged In is Christian based and provides reviews of movies, books, games, music and more.
It is vitally important to guard our eyes as they are the lamp unto our body. The darker it is, the more we stumble. God continually warned Israel about this and warns us all the same. Christ is the light of the world and men hate the light for they do evil deeds in the dark and the light exposes their wickedness. I must reiterate that what one consumes ultimately comes down to Romans 14 where “everyone must be convinced in his own mind” but may I submit to you, the eyes when filled with darkness see no light.
I recently read in the news that lead vocalist of the Christian rock band Hawk Nelson "no longer believes in God." About 1-2 months ago I read that very prominent influencers Rhett & Link no longer believed as well. They set out to deconstruct their faith through a podcast series that reaches millions of their followers and fans. Jon Steingard (Hawk Nelson) said that "he simply had doubts, but once they solidified into a genuine point of view, it began to feel dishonest not to talk about it." Having doubts about Christianity does not somehow nullify it or render it void and untrue. However, it can shake the Christian in his/her belief when so many high profile influencers "no longer believe" and claim that Christianity is untrue or cannot be true. So, what do we do? How can we work through these tough situations?
It seems like almost every other week we hear another viral news headliner about a prominent influencer forsaking their faith. I must be clear here that I am referring to their faith in God and that God is the God of the Bible. The way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) as Jesus put it. It must be said this way because there is no way to forsake ones faith entirely. Faith derives from the Latin term "confide," which means to have full assurance, confidence, and believe/trust in something. This is important to establish right away because no human being on this earth lives his/her life without operating on faith. When you go out to eat you have faith that the food is good and does not contain poison. Operating on that faith you partake, pay your bill, and then vacate the premises.
The point I am trying to make here before addressing the main question is that it is impossible to live life without faith. This goes for the Atheist, the Agnostic, the Muslim, Christian, or disciples of the flying spaghetti monster (yes this is a real thing). Therefore, faith is indeed an important system for any and all peoples regardless of what they believe. We could spend an exuberant amount of time addressing those other belief systems before addressing doubt but we don't have to! Do you wanna know why? Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
You see faith in God (Christianity) is not rooted in your emotions, your assurances or doubts, it is rooted in the God of the universe the God who created all things and said, "I am the LORD and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God" (Isaiah 45:5). We could stop here and say, well God said it that settles it but let's got a bit further and address doubt. The Bible testifies that it is indeed God's word and never says otherwise. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." The word inspired there means to literally "breathe out."
You know what Paul did not have when he was inspired to write that "all scripture is breathed out by God," the New Testament. He was referring to the Old Testament. I know, now you are thinking "ah-ha! Got ya!" Well not quite, look at what Peter says in 2 Peter 3:15-16 "15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction."
Did you read that!? Peter, who was inspired by God and also referring to the Old Testament as Scripture, equated Paul's writings to Scripture. Furthermore, Peter says that the untaught and unstable distort or twist the scripture for sordid gain but to their own destruction. Did you get that? The untaught and unstable are the ones who distort or twist scripture it's not the Christian that is untaught or unstable.
Look again at 2 Timothy. The word "word" is logos in the Greek and this is the same word used in John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." If we go back to Genesis we can see in the first chapter that God created everything by His word.
Let's quickly recap what we covered. The Bible itself testifies that it is the word of God as Paul said in 2 Timothy. God says He is the only God and there is no other in Isaiah (and many other places). God says His word will accomplish that which He sends it to do and it will not fail (Isaiah 55:10-11). John says that God was in the beginning and so was Jesus (as God) and He created by His word. But there is still the question of doubt.
Doubt is never a bad thing. It forces us to ask questions and seek answers. This is good. But the reason we have all have doubts is because of Genesis 3:1 "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"
You see what Satan (aka the father of lies) was doing was creating doubt in the mind of Eve. When we doubt we do not trust something fully. We are unable to accept it. But this does not make it is any less true. It simply means that your doubts have not been properly addressed with questions and answers. If we do not seek out answers to the most pressing questions in opposition to Christianity we will sway one way or the other every time someone claims they no longer believe. Therefore, this post is the first in a series of learning how to answer the four biggest questions of life; how the Christian worldview can do so coherently, logically, and scientifically. Hopefully, this will help address some of those doubts.
I must finish this post with some strong words that may come off as a bit harsh; but, I am okay with that because they are not mine but the inspired words of God. 1 John 2 talks about the spirit of the anti-Christ. In sum, this is a spirit within anyone that is in direct opposition to the truth claims of Christ. Basically, if you reject Christ as who He (and scripture) said He is, you have the spirit of the anti-Christ within you. See, I told you they would be harsh. But the point I am making here is that Jon Steingard, Rhett & Link and anyone else who "decides" they no longer believe are walking with the spirit of the anti-Christ within them. Don't believe it, read 1 John 2:18-24 which says,
"18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father."
May God bless you and keep you! Until next time, J - esus, O - thers, Y - ourself!
I want to speak briefly on family worship and how to make this lost treasure, once again a staple in as many Christian homes as possible. But there are lots of questions surrounding family worship and so many resources it can be difficult to know where to start. Hopefully, this short article will alleviate some of the anxiety that comes with family worship. If you are a parent in this crazy mixed up world then you would have noticed almost immediately two things.
Before we get started let's look to scripture for our basis of authority on this matter. In Genesis we have Abel, (the second son of the first couple to live on Earth) bring his offering to the Lord. Look at the text.
3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
Abel knew what was required of the Lord. God required the best and the first. Abel would have learned that from his parents.
In obedience to the Lord, Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac his son. On the way to the place God would show him, Isaac asked his father, "My father! Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Isaac knew what God required and noticed that something was missing, the lamb. Isaac knew this because Abraham his father taught him. It was a regular event in Abraham's household. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says,
4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."
Paul reminds us in the new testament book of Ephesians "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the disciple and instruction of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)
God is very clear in scripture that the parents are to be the primary disciple makers of their children. But this can be tough if we do not know where to start or how to implement this practice in our homes. We will address a three step approach to implementing family worship in the home.
Be a Disciple Yourself
I cannot stress how important number one is. You and I cannot impart that which we do not have. A disciple is an active follower of a person / teaching. Therefore, Christians are disciples of Jesus. That is we follow Him and learn through regular interaction with His word, prayer, and obedience. We do this in an attempt to implement what we learn in our own life. This is why you must be a disciple in order to train your children. If you do not have a regularly scheduled time that you spend with the Lord than maintaining family worship once implemented will be difficult. We must spend time with God through interactive prayer, Bible reading, worship, and obedience. If you unfamiliar with how to get this started click the title link How To Grow Closer To God in 30 Minutes of Less.
Do What Works For Your Family
I cannot stress this enough. There is not perfect way to conduct family worship in the home. Aside from opening the Bible or a devotional book, interacting, and engaging your children, there is no specific format. This is one of the most freeing things about family worship. You have the freedom to make it your own. Tailor it to your family's needs and dynamics. For example, we have 4 children ages 16, 13, 11, and 5. The 11 and 5 year old color while we read the Bible or devotion and then engage when we discuss the questions or scripture for that evening. Some children need to keep busy during these times and that is okay. We have found that they tend to pay attention with more aptitude.
Rinse, Recycle, Repeat
Once you have found what works for your family and get into a steady routine, you will notice that your child(ren) may become restless or disengaged. This could be a tell tale sign encouraging change. I would suggest that you rinse off what does not work and recycle what does. Then repeat, repeat, repeat. If you need to go from Bible study to short video based devotionals, do it! If you need to add in a small simple craft or activity to keep little hands busy, do it! The main thing is to continue family worship at whatever cost because in the end, this is of eternal value.
Can I say that you will have struggles, you will experience difficulty and you will get frustrated? But take heart, this is only because it is something new. Think about exercise. No one goes from couch potato channel surfer to a max dead lift of 300, or six-pack abs without hard diligent and consistent effort. Family worship is no different. If you are willing to put in the work, sacrifice the worthless things that consume our time you will find that the practice of family worship pays huge dividends.