Tag Archives: church

Does God Ever Change?

Some time ago I was asked, in a roundabout way, if God ever changes. I’ve been contemplating that question, off and on, for a few months now because I certainly don’t want to pass along any misinformation or offer my opinion as factual. I take the task of interpreting the Bible very seriously. The easy and predictable answer to the question at hand, of course, is no. We need look no further than to Hebrews 13:8 for the answer: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” However, I’m not one to simply skim the surface of a particular subject, but instead I typically dive down deeper to see if anything else may be there.

The question is “Does God ever change?” – not to be confused with “Does God ever change His mind?” – which I think is a much harder question to answer. I think the answer to the latter though would also be no. I believe God can do anything and everything regardless of the old trick question commonly proposed by atheists: “Can God make a mountain so big he can’t move it?” Think about it. I believe in the power of prayer, but I also believe God is all-knowing; therefore, when a person is miraculously healed then how can it be that God actually changed His mind when He already knew what the outcome of the situation was going to be?

I’ve consistently been in the Word, for several years now, but I do not pretend to know everything about God or His perfect plan. In fact, nobody does: not me, not TV evangelists, and not even the Pope. Those who think they’ve got the mystery of God all figured out are erroneously attempting to put our Creator and Savior in a box. God cannot be reduced to just a neatly wrapped package.

It is my understanding that God does not change. Many churches though have transformed over the years. My church upbringing included Sunday School, youth programs, and hanging out with one cool youth pastor. As an adolescent, church services normally meant spending most of my time fidgeting in the pew and the rest of it belting out beloved hymns from an actual hymnal. Oh how I miss those old-time hymns and the majestic sounds of the church organ resonating from the stage.

Nowadays, in a dramatically changing world, it appears the majority of churches have gone contemporary to attract a different breed of truth seekers, and that’s okay. People of today tend to need colorful lights, special effects, loud music, and an informal dress code in order to explore Christianity. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a church adjusting its ways for the sake of attracting the lost. What’s not okay is when a church changes its Biblical principles and policies to comply with what the world deems acceptable.

Although God does not change, America’s acceptance of sin has significantly shifted over time. I was taught both at church and at home, during my formative years, living together before marriage was a sin. And homosexuality was practically unheard of, at least to this guy, when I was an adolescent. I was introduced to the subject of homosexuality while watching the late 70s to early 80s sitcom, Three’s Company, although John Ritter’s extremely entertaining portrayal of Jack Tripper wasn’t all that authentic since the Jack character was only pretending to be gay so he could live in the same apartment with two women, Janet Wood and Chrissy Snow (ahhh…Chrissy Snow). The threesome’s living arrangement was strictly platonic, but their landlord would not believe such a scenario, and he was not about to allow unmarried people of the opposite sex live together under one roof because he knew it was morally wrong; hence, the reason for the trio’s charade.

Today, shacking up without a marriage license is no longer frowned upon in most circles. Unsurprisingly, due to the times we’re living in, numerous talk show hosts and countless so-called experts even encourage this sort of behavior. These Hollywood types suggest prematurely living together, a trial run if you will, as a way to see if marriage may be right for them…some time in the future. And homosexuality is now frequently celebrated in this country, and transgender people are regularly regarded as heroes and role models. Apparently, a majority of the United States no longer has a problem with abnormal sexuality, but I’m confident my God does not approve of any sin regardless of whether or not society decides to give its hearty endorsement. “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God” (1st Corinthians 3:19).

I wonder why it is that our minds usually go straight to sexual immorality when pondering sin? I suppose it’s because “Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1st Corinthians 6:18). Sin is really just being apart from God. We are all guilty of this at times, but it becomes a serious problem when one chooses to remain apart from Him for a prolonged period of time. God certainly continues to love the sexually immoral just as He continues loving those who are envious, liars, murderers, and thieves. However, He surely is sorely disappointed since that’s not His best for any of His children.

Many things change – in one’s life – in one’s country – throughout the world – throughout history – but I believe God does not. I’m pretty sure our Maker is exactly the same in the year 2017 as He was when Adam and Eve strolled through the Garden of Eden. God will always be who He is. God will always do what He does. If He ever did change, His truths and therefore His promises would be worthless. Thankfully, the Bible contains several passages of Scripture that assures us He does not change.

I’m Exhausted

I was sitting in church yesterday when I first learned of the tragedy that had occurred in Florida only a few hours earlier. My pastor began the service by partially apprising his congregation of the sobering facts of what had happened. He told us 50 people were dead and another 53 were injured due to a senseless, one-man attack in Orlando. Pastor Brad did not talk about motives, offer any theories or opinions, or even mention that the shooting took place at a gay nightclub. (Unfortunately, I think there are some “Christians” who aren’t too concerned with what transpired over the weekend since assumingly those who perished were homosexuals. Those are not the type of “Christians” I identify with.)

Pastor Brad just said that every life lost mattered to God, and every victim was somebody’s loved one. He then led us in a heartfelt prayer for the victims, their families, and the city of Orlando. Later on, when Pastor Brad was about midway through his sermon, I noticed my mind had wandered. I also felt exhausted. Don’t get me wrong – my pastor is not boring whatsoever (he’s a wonderful teacher) – but I had been brooding over what was surely to come in the aftermath of Sunday’s disastrous event.

After arriving home I turned on the television, and as predicted the news coverage of the morning’s tragedy was fraught with moronic opinions, laying blame, and partisan politicizing. The first thing I was subjected to were written statements, read by a news reporter, from presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and Senator Bernie Sanders. Hillary, of course, just had to mention her desire for stricter gun control as part of her statement. I don’t disagree with that, but we already know her stance on that issue. We also know the Republicans will counter with their typical response insisting that if everyone in the nightclub would’ve been armed then this latest tragic event most-likely would not have happened or at least it wouldn’t have been so severe. Constant political rhetoric, without adding anything new, is exhausting to me.

The news correspondent then read a tweet from presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, which said, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” For some reason the reporter took offense to the word, “congrats,” appearing in the tweet, but I’m not sure why. The Donald was obviously responding to someone else’s tweet to him, and he did say he didn’t want congrats. In addition, the biased news correspondent failed to mention Trump’s initial tweet which read, “Horrific incident in FL. Praying for all the victims & their families. When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?” Those against Donald Trump have been grasping at anything and everything, ever since he participated in the first Republican debate on FOX News, in attempting to bring down the billionaire businessman.

The same Trump haters who claim The Donald has offended all people of Mexican descent, and who emphatically and continuously make their unflattering thoughts of him publically known, just so happen to be the exact haters who can’t (or refuse to) understand why Trump might be a bit worried about an American-Mexican judging him in a court of law. Trump haters surely cannot have it both ways. I’m not convinced Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the justice presiding over the Trump University lawsuits, won’t be able to properly do his job without prejudice towards Donald Trump, but the possibility does exist. Judge Curiel would have to be a shallow individual to allow Trump’s stance on illegal immigration to interfere with his rulings.

I would like to believe that every justice throughout the history of our judicial system judged every case before them fairly and unbiased, but I’m afraid that’s nothing but a chimera. We need not look any further than to our Supreme Court Justices, and the empty seat left open with the passing of Antonin Scalia, to realize not all judges are completely impartial in regards to the law. Why else would the Democrats want to fill Scalia’s seat now, but the Republicans are perfectly content waiting (some might even say stalling) until after November’s presidential election? Could it be there’s a difference in the way a liberal judge may view a case as opposed to the way a conservative justice may handle the identical case? In a perfect world one’s political affiliation would have absolutely nothing to do with the way one presides over a legal matter.

Now back to Trump for a moment. Defending Donald Trump has become somewhat of a hobby of mine. Not because I’m in love with the guy but because so many people, especially in the media, simply don’t acknowledge the truth. They don’t care for his brashness, and are appalled by his narcissistic attitude, so they scrutinize every move he makes and embellish whatever he says. I’m not a fan of Trump’s personality either, yet with an open mind I’m able to comprehend the gist of what he’s actually saying. Defending Donald Trump can be exhausting at times, but I think someone needs to hold Trump’s critics accountable when they’re wrong.

Although I think political posturing is mainly nonsense, especially during times of tragedy, I did surprisingly appreciate what former presidential candidate, Marco Rubio, had to say at a press conference yesterday afternoon. The Florida Senator began by acknowledging that what took place on Sunday could’ve happened anywhere in the world, but it must’ve been his state’s turn. He then had a message for terrorists and a message of unity for our country. Senator Rubio eloquently said, “They won’t terrorize Floridians, that we stand for and with all Americans, irrespective of sexual orientation, irrespective of their party ideology, irrespective of where they live.” Sounds quite “presidential” to me, for what it’s worth.

I imagine the investigation of Sunday’s horrific event is far from over. Many things will need to be discussed, and I assume a few improvements to our national security may need to be authorized, to make our country safer. There certainly are some legitimate questions that’ll need to be answered sooner or later. For example, how can someone who’s been interrogated by the FBI on three separate occasions (twice in 2013 and once in 2014) have clearance to legally purchase an assault weapon? However, now is the time for mourning and personal reflection…not partisan politics and taking advantage of the grave situation. We are a great nation, but we need to be better.

Living in America can be incredibly tiresome if one watches TV or reads the newspaper. The daily doses of bickering, name-calling, half truths, biased reporting, and partisanship is almost too much for me to bear. It seems as though a great magnitude of people residing in the United States have a self-absorbed, warped sense of righteousness: an “I’m always right and you’re always wrong” mentality. The constant sparring of the media vs. Trump, the gun-rights supporters vs. the gun control advocates, the LGBT community vs. social conservatives, and the Democrats vs. the Republicans is more than enough to fill the ugliest of fight cards. Sadly, the majority of these people are not about to entertain the idea that there may be another side to the story. They also tend to think compromise is not for them. Shame! I’m gonna go take a nap. I’m exhausted.