Christian Living

Is There Not a Cause?

This is the question that the King James translators in their interpretation of the Hebrew text placed in the mouth of David in 1 Samuel 17:29. David is basically a kid, “a youth” (1 Sam. 17:33).

But when David saw Goliath, the Philistine giant who had sent full-grown Israelite men scurrying, the lad simply asked, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (v. 26).
When big brother, Eliab, heard David’s sayings, he was furious, riddling David with two gunshot questions. And in verse 29, David came back with two questions of his own. What have I done now, Eliab, to justify your anger? Was it not but a word (dabar)?

And yet it is a word, fitly spoken, that can slay spiritual giants and liberate whole armies of God’s men.

On that particular day, young David could have decided to just stand there and fight his older brother, the one accusing David of heart pride yet actually the one clearly in the wrong.

But David knew his older brother was not his enemy. Not at all. The real enemy stood out there in the battlefield, bellowing blasphemy and causing God’s army to cower.

The KJV translators were right in their overall interpretation. Young David did have a cause. A mighty, holy cause. It wasn’t to be spent in wasting time, wrestling his older brother. No. He, turned from Eliab and just started sharing the same “word” to others about the real enemy to be fought and the God to be glorified.

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Meeting Day

by Mari Venezia

I only desired to have a daughter all my life. As a girl, I pretended to be a mother to a baby girl. Frank and I were married in 1974 with the intentions of having a quiver full of children. Since both of us were raised in Italian Catholic homes, we felt it would be an absolute to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen. 1:22). Little did we know that we would be one of many couples who hear those sad words that we had a one-in-a-million chance to conceive and might never have a family. Little did those experts know that the God who was about to save us both from our sin and religion was able to give us a miracle son.

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No Hang-Ups Allowed

If you have any question about the utility of decorative wall hooks, just ask my son. His recent discovery that a small, three-pronged coatrack is sufficient to hold an entire wardrobe has brought slight vexation to his mother’s soul. Fortunately, my irritation has been tempered by the knowledge that male pragmatism in these domestic matters is genetically encoded. I was first introduced to this fact when it dawned on me that my brothers’ yearnings for hunting trophies were motivated by something The Stratton Familygreater than sustenance and bragging rights. Who needs a closet when you have a ten-point set of antlers on the wall? Years later as a newlywed, my instruction was advanced when my husband attempted to convince me that a four-poster bed was designed to double as a suit valet.

Even if we disagree on the proper use of coatracks, bedposts, and antlers, there is a category of “hang-ups” that should bring consensus; one that involves the unbiblical draping of excuses for sin on hooks installed on the walls of the heart. Graceless hooks that lodge rudeness and unkindness with no demands of love, selfish hooks that harbor pride and judgment with no expectations of humility, and carnal hooks that house impurity and fleshliness with no expectations of holiness. Although these hooks look extremely unattractive, they are unfortunately, never inconvenient.

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What Does Worldly Look Like? Part 2

What Is Written

The meaning of “worldly” is a matter of some controversy. This is true even among people strongly committed to Christian living as defined in Scripture. Most agree that “worldly” means being like the world and that being like the world isn’t good. But from there, confusion multiplies.

The reasons for this confusion are several. The most important for our purposes is that the meaning of “worldly” depends on the meaning “the world,” and many are confused regarding what “the world” means. What exactly is it that disciples of Christ should not be “like”? How much does it have to do with garments, music, hairstyles, or theaters?

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What Does Worldly Look Like?

(See Part 2, Part 3)

In fundamentalist parlance, the word worldly nearly always refers to matters of fashion and entertainment. It involves how a person dresses; what sort of places he goes; and the things he reads, views, or listens to. Consequently, many feel that if they just stay away from certain things, they are safe from worldliness.

In some cases, the attitude goes a step further. “As long as I have the proper appearance, never go to the proscribed places, or take in the proscribed materials, I am not only free of worldliness but also basically a good Christian.” Externals-focused preaching and institutional rules [1] reinforce the attitude, and plain human laziness gives it a cozy home. For many fundamentalists, avoiding the “worldly fashions and entertainments” list is easy. They grew up with the list, have never lived any other way, and never spend time with anyone who lives differently.

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