It’s usually the Americans who claim that their nation was established upon the rock bed of Christianity, but could the same ever be said for Canada? For the majority of our younger teens, it is a common belief that our nation was always a secular domain, a home for a diversity of faiths, and the breeding ground for postmodernistic thought. It was made clear in their educational systems that all religions and worldviews find themselves equal in truthfulness, and that no individual had the right to claim one worldview as the only and absolute truth. However, when we look back at Canadian history, we see a much different story. Much like America, Canada was also established upon the rock bed of Christianity, and evidence still remains of its previous state as a “nation under God.” In 1921, the
Canadian coat of arms was officially approved with the national motto “A Mari Usque Ad Mare.” 1 The motto is Latin for “From sea to sea”, making direct reference to Psalm 72:8. The psalm states “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth,” particularly referring to God’s sovereignty over all things. In fact, the motto came into effect in 1906, before the rendering of the coat of arms. It was directly approved by the Order in Council on the 21st of April in 1921, along with the Royal Proclamation that same November.2 To further build the case for Canada’s cultural relevance to the Christian faith is the 1 2
(CCHeritage 2010) Ibid
updated coat of arms, which sports a ribbon with the following Latin phrase, “Desiderantes meliorem patriam”.3 When translated, this comes to mean “They desire a better country”, making another direct reference to Hebrews 11:16 which states “But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country...” There is no doubt that our founding fathers were so moved by their faith in God that their desire was to see a devout nation under God. To make it even more blatantly clear, July 1st was originally called “Dominion Day.” It was the day where every Canadian citizen and resident would acknowledge God’s sovereignty over the nation of Canada. It was not an act of forced will, but rather a willing spirit, desiring for a better country under God’s divine direction. More historical information is available on Christianity’s relevance to Canadian culture, but what astonishes the informed public is the development of an unrecognizable Canada from that of a nearcentury ago. The face of our nation has changed with the times, and as times have changed, so have the people. This could not have been more evident than in the decision to pass a private members bill on October 27th of 1982, changing July 1st from “Dominion Day” to “Canada Day.” Its approval without debate passed within five minutes, and also went on to receive royal assent.4 It was the government of Canada and its people saying “no more” to God and the Christian worldview, “no more” to Christian
values and principles. And as a result of the expulsion of “God” from government, no longer do the citizens desire a better country, but a more tailored-fit nation to satisfy their own selfish aspirations. Should we then be surprised with the latest developments? Abortions were initially illegal, but that quickly changed in 1969.5 Same sex marriages weren’t legally acceptable either, but that also changed in 2005.6 Brothels, a designated location for prostitution, were also illegal, but that changed quite recently in 2012.7 These social and legal developments are driven by the hearts of men, they reveal the nature of human behaviour, and they also demonstrate what a nation will turn to when “God” is pushed aside, out of the greater picture. Having witnessed the progression of society and its moral degradation, there has also been an alarming reaction from the Christian church. The collective majority have either sought to become relative with the current culture (nearly becoming one with pagan culture), or isolated themselves into communities where their convictions are kept quiet from the public view. When a nation has lost its way, it is the responsibility of the church to turn a nation back to God. There have been many Christian activists protesting controversial laws found in violation of biblical values and principles, 5
Ibid 4 Ibid
(Federation 2010) (Makarenko 2007) 7 (Humphreys 2012) 6
and while the efforts of these men and women are admirable, they are in vain if they fail to change the hearts of men. Laws can be changed throughout time, they may pass as legislation or be overturned as seen fit, but they are ultimately driven and defined by their own people. Hence we find ourselves in the postmodern perspective that morality is relative, and that no absolute moral standard exists. Yet when our founding fathers contributed to the national establishment of Canada, they knew and understood that there was an absolute moral law, and hence a moral law giver, and it was that moral law giver that was recognized and honored as sovereign over our nation. If we want to change a nation, it begins with prayer, evangelism and discipleship.
The necessity of personal evangelism has never been a more urgent matter than in our current times. It is after all the law of God that convicts the heart of man, reveals to man what sin is, and directs us to the one who can not only forgive us, but place us in right standing with God again. The truth can never be made clearer; it is winning the hearts of men that brings about effective and long-lasting change, not vain manmade efforts. The task at hand is not to make God or the Christian message relevant to our Canadian culture, but rather to make Canadian culture relevant to God and the Christian message. This is what E&AM strives for, and this should be the everyday task of the Canadian church.
Steven Richard Martins Email: email@example.com Twitter: @StevenRMartins Bibliography CCHeritage. Confederation, National Symbols and Emblems. December 4, 2010. http://www.ccheritage.ca/facts/#confederation (accessed December 08, 2012). Federation, National Abortion. Legal Abortion in Canada. 2010. http://www.prochoice.org/canada/legal.html (accessed December 01, 2011). Humphreys, Adrian. Prostitution Legalized. March 06, 2012. http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/26/ontario-court-of-appeal-greenlights-brothels-sweeps-aside-many-ofcanadas-anti-prostitution-laws/ (accessed December 05, 2012). Makarenko, Jay. Same Sex Marriage in Canada. January 1, 2007. http://www.mapleleafweb.com/features/same-sex-marriage-canada (accessed December 02, 2011).
Why Christianity? The question is not only an important one but an essential inquiry for any honest thinker. Actually, the question “Why (insert worldview)” is one that every person must answer. It is critical that we know why we put our faith in a particular philosophy, for it is from our worldview that we make important decisions regarding our lives. But then the famous question I am often asked is, why Christianity? Why is this world view true and the others false? Well there are many different lines of evidence one can explore, such as: (1) the evidence supporting biblical text, (2) the evidence for the resurrection, (3) philosophical arguments for the existence of God, (4) biblical prophecy and Jesus’ ministry. These can all be studied and can all provide satisfactory answers, but whenever we’re exploring multiple lines of evidence, we must apply them to the tests of truth. Philosophers have given us three tests by which we can validate or rebuke truth claims for our own investigation. The first is the test
of logical consistency.8 Does the claim hold any integrity OR is it methodically contradictory? The second is empirical adequacy,9 is there any evidence which supports the claim, or does it stand unverified? The last test is experiential relevance,10 is the claim relevant to life? These tests can be explored more thoroughly in personal study for those interested. It is these tests that must be applied to Christianity and to all other worldviews to determine their validity, and I can assure you that Christianity can and will pass these tests. Despite all the truth tests, there is one Christian claim that requires special attention. When one asks “Why Christianity?” the simplest answer I can give is that the Christian faith provides the most accurate reflection of reality. The bible does not tell us that the world is a wonderful perfect place, because it’s not. The bible does not tell us that the world is the definition of disaster, because it’s not. The bible does
(California State University 2012) (Hricko 2007) 10 (Zacharias 2008) 9
however tell us that the world has fallen quite short of perfection, which given our mental perceptions of perfection is... quite true. Jesus Christ digs even deeper into this notion. His answer is surprising, and quite controversial, but worthy of speculation. He does not tell us that the problem with humanity is that we lack discipline, education or resources. He does not tell us “If only you try harder and longer you will get it”, but rather He tells us that our problem is our heart, it’s wicked and we thus have a disposition to lean towards sin. For most of us that is quite relatable. No matter how hard we desire to do good, sooner or later we do something that we ought not to have done. Christ addresses that, that no matter how hard we try, we still fail to be righteous by our own merit, we continuously fall short. He doesn’t end it there though. Christ, through the moral law, shows us that our faces are dirty, but he also gives us a way to wash ourselves clean. He takes the penalty that we, as repeat offenders of the
moral law, deserve. He decides to take it upon Himself on the cross to wipe away our iniquities. You see, although we cannot find righteousness from within ourselves, we can obtain it from He who is righteous and who offers us the forgiveness of sins. So we are left with the question, “Why Christianity?” Christianity passes the tests of truth and it gives us the most accurate representation of reality. It also offers us forgiveness, redemption from our lawlessness, and the promise of eternity in the presence of God. Truth be told, when you’ve really blown it, only your repentance and faith in Christ can reconnect you to the One who created us all. God’s forgiveness is available to all those who seek it, will you seek Him today? As the apostle Paul stated, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8, NKJV).
Jiwan Dhaliwal Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bibliography California State University. Logical Consistency and Contradiction. 2012. http://www.csus.edu/indiv/m/mayesgr/phl4/Handouts/phl4contradiction.htm (accessed December 23, 2012). Hricko, Jonathon. Empirical Adequacy & Vagueness. February 2007. http://wien.jhu.edu/hricko/EmpiricalAdequacyAndVagueness.pdf (accessed December 23, 2012). Zacharias, Ravi. The End of Reason. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008.
Although you may have never found yourself in a philosophical or theological debate regarding the problem of evil, you more than likely have heard about it. Whether it be after a serious tragedy like the 9/11 hijackings, or for something little like the printer jamming, you may have heard someone blurt “How can there be a wonderful loving God when there is so much evil in the world?” That is the main question concerning the problem of evil and suffering. Many proclaim that God cannot co-exist in a world filled with evil, or at least not the God we know to be all powerful and loving, but perhaps some other god. This appears to be a good argument at face-value, but this view foolishly rushes an attack on God’s omni-benevolence and omnipotence, it fails to adhere to some sort of theodicy. For those unfamiliar to the term, a theodicy is a defense of God and His character while still accepting the presence of evil in the world. In short, valid theodicies do exist. You could stop reading here and have comfort in knowing that there is an explanation, but I will delve into these theodicies nonetheless for your benefit.
Let us say that after a long day’s work, a man stops by the local bar to unwind and unexpectedly sees his wife. Yet, there is another man with her and she kisses this stranger unaware of her husband’s presence. Caught red-handed, the wife confesses that she was cheating on her husband. A few days following, the media reports the death of the man with whom she was cheating. Two wrongs have been done in this story. First was the adulterous act of cheating, and secondly there was the vengeful murder against the other man. Both of these evils were committed using volitional (free) will. Whether free will is used here in a Calvinistic or Arminian11 sense, it is still irrefutable that human actions bear consequences, good or bad. We must keep in mind that humans were designed to have free will, but not to use it in such matters. If we are to follow the biblical account of creation, in the book Genesis we find the 11
Calvinism and Arminianism are differentiating viewpoints on the doctrines of election, predestination, foreknowledge, free will etc. If you are a believer, you fall on either side of the spectrum or in between. I suggest you take a moment to research these views at a basic level if you are unfamiliar with them.
world to be without sin and chaos before the fall. Yet, using volitional (free) will, both Adam and Eve fell due to their disobedience against their Creator. Through this we see that with free will we have the power to do good, but it naturally and necessarily follows that we can also do evil if we so choose. Some may question God, “If He knew this would be a result of the implementation of free will, why give it?” I, and many others, would agree that free will is too great a gift from God to forfeit in our creation, even if it allows room for evil. How would you feel as a puppet? Life would be pretty meaningless for you, would it not? As such, we have come to a successful theodicy. But this theodicy only allows for human evil. While some may accept that such evils are out of God’s hands, they still attack pain and suffering caused by natural disasters. Hurricanes have ravaged several countries and taking many lives. These disasters are not a result of human free will, however. So why does a loving God allow such occurrences? We have to go back to Genesis. It states that after the fall, the ground was cursed. I see this to be a result of sin in two ways. The easy answer would be to say that this is simply a punishment from our God for sinful activity. This is not to be taken as an evil act by God, but instead as an act of justice. God’s character is after all good. Justice is part of this goodness because evil cannot go unpunished. The other explanation is that the earth and human
beings are intertwined. This is a conclusion I came to hereafter, pondering Adam’s creation from the dust of the earth. This could mean that any human action of sin corrupts the earth just as it corrupts the human soul. In conclusion, the answer is that it is either a justifiable punishment of God, or some theological symbolism or connection. In either case, natural disasters are explainable, a theodicy is available. These truths should bring us to the realization that there is no problem with the co-existence of God and evil. There simply needs to be some theodicy available to bridge the gap. However, there are many more counter-arguments and theodicies to explore. C.S. Lewis had this to say in his book Mere Christianity: “God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having” (Lewis, 1952). Perhaps this article has sparked your interest to know more about the subject matter, I suggest looking into it, or contacting us for a more detailed discussion. George Neos Email: email@example.com
Works Cited Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York: Harper Collins, 1952.
A business is a corporation, partnership, or proprietorship, and oftentimes reflects the values of the principal owners and managers. Considering this, given the vicious cycle of our current business world, how would a business fare if Christian values were embraced in every sphere? Is it possible that there may be fewer lawsuits for breached contracts where commitments weren’t honored? The Bible provides us with directions as to how we ought to conduct our business ventures, and if we were to follow these biblical principles, it’s very possible that many of our current business problems wouldn’t persist to exist today. Benefits of Christian Values in Business The two most common problems that most businesses are facing in the current economy are corruption and dishonesty. There are numerous cases of fraud and theft against clients, customers, and employees. Many businesses and politicians have lost their credibility and valued clients because of
fraudulent dealings, lies, deception and misleading products. However, the Bible teaches us the benefits of integrating Christian values in business. Some of those core values teach honesty, integrity, and hard work. In the book of Leviticus 19:35-36[a], it states “Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight, or volume. Your scales and weights must be accurate” (NLT). In the same book, Leviticus 25:14 states “When you make an agreement with your neighbor to buy or sell property, you must not take advantage of each other” (NLT). Author, salesman and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “Ability can take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” What you’re buying and selling is in fact the number of crops you’re going to harvest. The Bible teaches us that we should not cheat each other in order to succeed. Adopting Christian Business Values If corporate businesses embrace Christian values in their business dealings, their business becomes more valuable in worth. Proverbs 13:11 states “Wealth gained
by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase” (NKJV). Honesty is the key to good business practices, and as Scripture states “From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him” (Prov. 12:14, NIV). To adopt Christian values in the business world would mean that clients would have a deeper appreciation for the corporation and thus increase its credibility; this in turn brings forth more customers through word of mouth. Adopting Christian values opens a channel for respect, honor and dignity. The employee in this respect is more appreciated, and the employer isn’t expected to misuse or underpay him for his services. In the end, honesty and justice will prevail. Another benefit that arises is that a business’ scope of activities would become more transparent to the public world. The value of the client or customer is thus enhanced, prompting the business dealers to do their absolute best in satisfying their clients, which in turn helps to establish a deeper sense of credibility and reliability for the corporation. In the end, business turns out to be more profitable and fulfilling because all deals offered on the table are clear-cut straightforward. Christian values mean that
wise decisions are made in business deals, amongst business partners, in employer and employee relationships, along with the different types of services and products that are also offered by the company. In conclusion, as King Solomon wisely observed, “Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie” (Eccl. 11:3, NIV). Businesses have a responsibility to ensure that every product offered and every interaction with clients and consumers conforms to a high standard of excellence, established on sound biblical principles. When honesty, integrity, and hard work are implemented, a business can reflect God’s love and justice in the life of employees, clients, and customers. And although it may be true that we may never fully attain God’s level of perfection in our dealings, Solomon advised “Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might” (Eccl. 9:10). As a result, successful employees and businesses will develop a genuine passion for top-quality service. John Maxwell, a Christian author and American business leader, sums it up by saying “Policies are many, principles are few, policies will change, principles never do.” Joel Wilson Email: Jwilson.firstname.lastname@example.org
Bibliography CNN. And the 'Lie of the Year' Award Goes To . December 13, 2012. http://yourmoney.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/13/andthe-lie-of-the-year-award-goes-to/ (acc. December 24, 2012). Emerson, Melinda. 10 Bible Verses Every Small Business Owner Needs. January 08, 2010. http://succeedasyourownboss.com/01/2010/10-Bible-verses-every-small-business-owner-needs/ (acc. December 22, 2012). Martinez, Michael. California Pension fund sues Wal-Mart execs over alleged Mexico Bribery. May 04, 2012. http://cnn.com/2012/05/04/us/california-teacher-pension-fund-wal-mart/index.html (acc. December 22, 2012).
The world we live in today is filled with unbelievable horrors. Whether it’s teenagers being shot in the mall, estranged individuals committing suicide, cancer eating away at the lives of loved ones, or mass genocides rippling across the world, we live in a world where the problems of pain and suffering are real. It is here where the great evangelist Charles Templeton, close friend of Billy Graham, left the faith in search of answers. The question is daunting, it echoes in the heart of man, “How can God exist in a world filled with so much pain and suffering?” It is an age-old question, most notably asked by the Greek philosopher Epicurus in a much more aggressive tone: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able, and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” 12
These are the charges brought forth by men throughout history, perplexed by the issues of our world. But is there truly an answer, an explanation in the face of anguish? Although the problems of evil and suffering are intertwined, they each deserve their own separate approach. It is worthy however to consider that given the nature of the topic, it is nearly impossible to address every concerning point in one article. The issue is much larger than that. We can however, reach a conclusion that the presence of evil and suffering leaves us a very urgent message: “Things are not what they ought to be.” A Pain-less World Can you image a pain-free world? A question I would often ask myself was, “If we weren’t capable of feeling pain, would living in this world be easier?” The mass majority of people simply want to wish away the pain, the trials, the sufferings, but would the world truly be a better place? It would serve us well to examine a case in which this is a reality, and it begins with a young woman named Ashlyn Blocker.
Ashlyn was born with a rare disease called congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, CIPA in short. This condition renders Ashlyn with the incapability of feeling pain or discomfort, something that perhaps some people would envy. Imagine working with papers at your workplace and getting a paper cut, you wouldn’t feel a thing, or hitting your shin at the corner of your bed frame, no soreness at all. It sounds great, no pain, no worries, but the reality is quite sobering. For the parents of Ashlyn, they are constantly terrified. Skimming throughout the news report, what shocked me the most were the words of Ashlyn’s mother: “Some people would say that’s a good thing (not feeling pain). But no, it’s not... Pain’s there for a reason. It lets your body know something’s wrong and it needs to be fixed. I’d give anything for her to feel pain.” 13 The truth is that Ashlyn could burn her hand on a stove and not realize it, bite her tongue until it bleeds, or have an internal organ rupture and she wouldn’t have a clue in the world. It’s reported that the only time Ashlyn knows when to stop, or when to recognize something is wrong, is when blood becomes visible to her.14 It makes you think, that just as pain can be considered as a sign that something is wrong with the human body, so is pain and suffering a sign that there is something terribly wrong with our world. The violence, the abuse, the injustice, the pain, all these things show us the state of our 13 14
(Associated Press, 2004) Ibid
world, it is quite simply like pain to the human body, a message for mankind. The Human Condition This triggers the question, how did we get here? The Bible is clear that in the beginning of time, when God created man and woman, He created them in the Imago Dei (Image of God). What does it mean to have been created in the image of the sovereign God? It isn’t making a reference to a physical appearance, but rather to qualities and attributes. For example, we are beings capable of seeing, hearing, understanding, even speaking, all things God is capable of doing. But taking into consideration that many animals are also capable of such things, surely that is not at the core of what God meant. In accordance with Scripture, it can be best understood as all that is good (Gal. 5:22-23). We were created to be kind, gentle, loving, long-suffering, compassionate, sensitive, humble, pure and righteous. The difference between us and God? Our capabilities and capacities are finite compared to God’s infinite capabilities. We can then understand that if God is the highest good, then all good within us finds its root in Him, but why then is mankind so evil? The Fall of Humanity When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, they did more than disobey God’s direct command, they rebelled against Him. Scripture records it clearly as the first sin of the world, a direct violation of God’s command, the first law. Sin is then defined as the violation of the law; it is utter lawlessness
and rebellion. And when sin entered our world, it corrupted mankind and distorted the image we were meant to reflect. Now, instead of seeing the image of God, we see fallen humanity, bellowing in its depravity. This rebellion against God, this lawlessness from the perfect standard established by God, has resulted in the world we live in now. All the death and destruction in our world is the consequence of sin, we have become the authors of our own demise. It can be quite easily said that religion is not the cause of wars or deaths, it is fallen humanity.
become of age, knowing both good and evil. We are however aware that this doesn’t stop evil and suffering from claiming hold of a child. The truth of the matter is, they may suffer, not because of their own doing, but because of the sin of others. In many cases, we can be blamed as individuals for the wrong that we do and what we suffer, but in other cases, we cannot be blamed as sole individuals, but rather as a collective community. This reveals the sad state of our world, the human condition, and the moral depravity of humanity. It leaves us in a very sobering position; in a world filled with injustice, evil, pain and suffering, we find ourselves in desperate need of a Savior.
The Question of Innocence The Solution to the Human Condition But the question must be asked, what about the innocent, the unsuspecting, the good people who suffer in our world? We can almost all agree that a good person doesn’t deserve to suffer injustice, it’s common sense. Also, scripture affirms this as true, it cannot be denied, but then the question changes to “Is there anyone truly good?” According to the perfect standard, the Ten Commandments established by God, no man on earth is good, all have broken the law of God. It is therefore just, having become sinners, violators of the law, that we receive the consequence of death and eternal damnation. But what about the children? Many of them don’t know what is right or wrong. To be clear, in God’s eyes they are innocent. They are innocent due to their lack of knowledge, but this changes once they
Take all thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, and you will find that they all allude to and point towards a coming Savior that would wash away the sins of the world, a Messiah who would redeem mankind, and reconcile us with God. All the messianic prophecies pertaining to the first coming of Christ were fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, approximately two-thousand years ago. This Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Son of God, still is the solution to the human condition. He performed miracles, fulfilled prophecy, prophesied future events with absolute accuracy, and not only raised people from the dead but was also raised Himself from the dead as confirmation of who He claimed to be. Jesus explains to us in John chapter three that His purpose was to save the world. The
entire message of the Bible is summarized in John 3:16, which states “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believeth in Him shall not perish but shall have eternal life.” The only way mankind could be redeemed from lawlessness was for God to send His only Son, to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind which was death. As a result, Christ, living a sinless life, having committed no wrong, died on the Cross for you and me, to pay a price that no other man could ever pay. As the apostle Peter put it: “He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right” (1 Peter 2:2224, NLT). The Touch of God What did Jesus Christ do when He encountered sickness, pain and suffering? Scripture reveals to us that He healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, healed the crippled, the diseased, fed the hungry, and even raised people from the dead. The difference between us and Him is this, in the face of anguish, evil, pain, suffering and death, we fall, but He rises. Sin has no claim on Him, evil can’t imprison Him, death can’t hold Him, sickness retreats rather than advances, it cannot bear the reality of God. This is why His death on the cross had an effect that was unlike any other individual, it
led to our redemption, and His resurrection was evidence of that truth. How fortunate, how beautiful, how wonderful it must have been to be one of those who beheld the touch of God. But most importantly, that reality of redemption and freedom from what vexes humanity is available to us today. Agony on the Cross When Jesus Christ was crucified on Mount Golgotha, He was crucified beside two thieves. Both initially mocked Him, they were angry with their fates, and even angry at God. Yet in the final moments of their lives, there arose a fundamental difference between the two. One thief continued to mock Christ up until his death, the other however, recognized in his greatest moment of pain and suffering, on the brink of death, that He needed a Savior. That thief who repented asked Christ to “remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). It is often in the times of great trials that we either spit upon the face of God in anger and rebellion, or fall at His feet in surrender, acknowledging our need for a Savior. In the face of anguish, he found Christ, and as Scripture details for us, his repentance and desire to be with the Lord resulted in his salvation. Who could forget the words of Christ spoken to the repentant thief? “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Although we are not promised a life without problems, we are promised victory through life’s trials, comfort in moments of hardship, and an eternal destiny
in the presence of God, where there will be no more suffering.
Will you heed the voice of the Savior today? Steven Martins Email: email@example.com
Bibliography Associated Press. (2004, 11 1). Rare Disease makes Girl unable to feel Pain. Retrieved December 30, 2012, from NBC News: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6379795/ns/health-childrens_health/t/rare-disease-makesgirl-unable-feel-pain/#.UODETW_AeM4 Halsted, M. (2012). God and Evil: A Philosophical Contradiction? Retrieved December 30, 2012, from The Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: http://carm.org/god-and-evil-a-philosophical-contradiction
“What you listen to affects who you are, how you think, and what you do.” – Cindy C. Some may agree with this quote, others may not, it’s a common saying often not realized. The question however that usually springs up is “how does what we listen to affect our well-being?” To better illustrate my points, I have labelled Christian music as “nurturing music” and secular music as “starvation music.” Let’s examine this together. Christian (nurturing) music was created with a purpose. That purpose is to exalt God in his wholeness, and as we worship Him, His Holy Spirit brings to our hearts love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23, NLT). The lyrics we find in worship songs are actually found to ignite restoration and revival within our hearts; it’s designed to bring life to our mind and soul. In times of trouble, it brings us to rest and hope in Him who is greater than all things, increasing our faith and expectation of greater and better things to come. Songs that nurture are the ones that fill you completely from the inside out, so much so that it
overflows, bringing light to where there was darkness within. It’s a delight, when you listen to worship based on sound biblical doctrine, it ministers to your soul and reveals the purpose of your life. It is this nurturing music that can help bring healing to the sick, both in body and mind. We are reminded of the amazing feats of men and women of God in the Bible, where ordinary people believed, fought, and conquered their giants. This nurturing music clarifies who you are, it either unveils whether you’ve been saved and adopted into God’s family, or whether you’ve lost the mark and are still in need of salvation. Worship also points towards God’s perfect plan for mankind, which is good, pleasing and perfect (Rom. 12:2), it births within the joy and hope we have in our Savior’s coming. All these things and more we find to nurture the spirit, body and mind; it is the position where mankind, created as worshippers, humble themselves and exalt the Lord Most High. Why? Because He is
worthy. This is why the seraphim sang “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Is. 6:3, NIV). Secular (starvation) music has the opposite effect on your being, it leaves you dry and thirsty, ultimately unsatisfied. Throughout the music industry, many musicians create their music based on pain, hatred, violence, sexual immorality and impurity. When you tune in to this music, you’ll find yourself reliving the past, the heartbreaks, the pain, the betrayal, the hate and anger. And although the beats and rhythms of these songs are very creative, the message it carries is one which encourages the living in the here-and-now, a complete disregard of our eternal futures. They also warp the minds of listeners, blurring the line between right and wrong, twisting the truths of our world, and consequentially influencing the thoughts and behaviors of its listeners. Personally, I would recommend that you test this out yourself, pay more attention to the songs you’re listening to regularly, and then examine as to how your behavior has been influenced by what you hear. It’s also important to consider that although it may seem that some of the world’s songs may nurture you momentarily, the time will come where you’ll feel empty again. Why? Because Christian music brings you back to God, it’s the restoration of our God-given
role as worshippers, while secular music keeps you walking in circles with no sure direction. When it comes to choosing the right music, I have always said that the most important components are the lyrics, its message, and the kind of impact that it would have on my being. If what I listen to affects who I am, how I think, and what I do, then I mustn’t invest time in listening to empty songs, they’ll lead me to a much deeper spiritual bankruptcy. My desire is to listen to songs that nurture the soul, not the flesh, music that will transform who I am, and for the better. Your response may be that “I have the right to do anything,” so why restrict secular music? It can’t be all that bad. The apostle Paul tells us otherwise, “I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’— but not everything is constructive” (1 Cor. 10:23, NIV). Although I am allowed to listen to anything, not everything is for my benefit. My counsel then, in accordance with Scripture, is to listen to only what is beneficial and constructive for your lives. And, at all times, remembering that what you hear is what you are; similar to the saying “you are what you eat.” Music does, bottomline, affect your thoughts and your behavior; how do you want to live today? Or better yet, WHO do you want to live your life as? Cindy Calderon Email: firstname.lastname@example.org