Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TRAMPLED TRUTH

From My Perspective - - - 

A television program, To Tell The Truth, aired from 1956-1968. The object of the program was to have a Panel determine who was telling the truth in one’s presentation. The promotional for the program stated: “Classic game show in which a person of some notoriety and two impostors try to match wits with a panel of four celebrities. The object of the game is to try to fool the celebrities into voting for the two impostors. Each wrong vote would be worth $250 ($100 in the daytime version).” The program was designed to allow for 30 minutes of fun and good humor. 

Today, we live in a culture where it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine and measure Truth. It seems obvious that there is a disconnect between political speech and and dictionary definition of terms and words used or spoken. In public discourse and in the public squares, it appears that truth is not longer viewed as an asset or priority. Words and statements are bandied about as though they have no consequence at all. However, for whatever reason, be it naiveté or gullibility, people become easily deceived and believe the rhetoric rather than discernible facts. Sadly, this is one of the reasons why there is rioting in several cities at the present time.

A Blog is incapable of dealing with this subject in a detailed manner. There are some Scriptural references that address the times in which we live. The first is Psalm 11:3, the Psalmist David wrote: “In the Lord I take refuge; How can you say to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain; For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, They make ready their arrow upon the string To shoot in darkness at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” David is doing two things in this Psalm. He notes his place of safety and refuge in the Lord. However, he also is aware of the perils of his day, when he wrote about the wicked bending the bow to shoot their arrows in the darkness at the upright in heart. He also note that the foundations have begun to erode and are ready to be destroyed. He then asks: “What can the righteous do?” The obvious answer is to maintain his focus in the Lord and to abide in His refuge and sure defense.

There is another situation in which a prophet of God observes and writes. One gets the sense of the times by reading Isaiah 59:13-15 (one should read the entire chapter), “Transgressing and denying the Lord, and turning away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the street, and uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking; and he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the Lord saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.” The MSG paraphrases verse 14-15, “Truth staggers down the street, Honesty is nowhere to be found, Good is missing in action. Anyone renouncing evil is beaten and robbed.” This could almost be a description in the daily news reports across America and elsewhere in the world.

Isaiah 59 also addresses the fact that the Incarnation will be necessitated in order for Truth, Justice, Civility and Righteousness can and will be restored. In the life of Jesus Christ, Truth was at the center of His message. Because it was, the negative reaction of various people-groups surfaced. They were content with their version of events and lifestyle. It is ironic that John 14:6 records the words of Jesus, “I am the way the Truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” This issue arises once again when Jesus is standing before Pilate. John 18:37-38 records this exchange: Jesus said, “Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice. Pilate said, What is truth?” Pilate asked the incorrect question. It should’ve been: Who is the truth? If he had done so, he might have discovered the truth that would provide him with everlasting life. Consider these things with me!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

ORTHODOXY AND ORTHOPRAXY

From My Perspective - - - 

In a day of cultural demise, where is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ? How is the Gospel being validated in our day? What religion does the secular society speak of more than any other? Why has the Church of Jesus Christ allowed itself to become marginalized by the culture? Has the message of the Church become compromised by societal niceties and desire for community acceptance? During the Advent Season, how resounding is the message of the Church? Is the trumpet giving a clear and precise sound? As a retired Pastor, one of the areas that I miss most is preaching during Advent through the Lenten Season. Some of that which is deemed necessary and acceptable for observance of Advent in the churches entails decorating the Church; appropriate Choir Cantatas; and Children’s Programs and Plays. Many Churches include the Lighting of the Advent Wreath where they have different families within the Church do a Biblically based reading about the coming of Jesus Christ. The question is: How much of this is Orthodoxy versus Orthopraxy? Does it matter in terms of True Worship? Wikipedia states the distinction between these two areas: “In the study of religion, Orthopraxy is correct conduct, both ethical and liturgical, as opposed to faith or grace. This contrasts with Orthodoxy, which emphasizes correct belief, and ritualism, the use of rituals. The word is a classical compound ὀρθοπραξία (orthopraxia) meaning correct practice.” In a more simple way, Orthodoxy is what one believes and states. Orthopraxy is what one knows and does.

The Advent observance utilizes some of the historic Christmas Carols. One of the favorites was written by Charles Wesley, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the newborn King.” Linked closely with that is Adeste Fideles, written in 1744 by an English layman named John Wade. The Christian Broadcasting Network Devotional contains these thoughts by Kenneth W. Osbeck. “The original Latin text consisted of four stanzas. The first calls us to visualize anew the infant Jesus in Bethlehem's stable. O come, all ye faithful, joyful, and triumphant; come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem; come and behold Him, born the King of angels. The second stanza is usually omitted in most hymnals, but it reminds us that the Christ child is very God Himself: God of God and Light of Light begotten, Lo, He abhors not the Virgin's womb; Very God, begotten, not created-O come, let us adore Him. The next stanza pictures for us the exalted song of the angelic choir heard by the lowly shepherds. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation; sing all ye bright hosts of heaven above; glory to God, all glory in the highest. Then the final verse offers praise and adoration to the Word, our Lord, who was with the Father from the beginning of time: Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to Thee be all glory given; Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. The Chorus for each stanza is: O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.”

How one practices the Worship of God is vital. At the very least, it would include the Words of the Lord recorded in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Jesus was abundantly clear regarding the necessity for True Worship when He said: “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). How much of what we do at and in the “Worship Service” is Orthodoxy? With the “Order of Worship” that is generally followed, does that represent Orthodoxy or Orthopraxy? 

There is an interesting discussion by Paul as he gives a sermon on Mars Hill and then debates some of the questions raised by those who heard the sermon. The words are recorded in Acts 17:29-31, “Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." How did the people respond to this portion of the sermon? Were they in agreement with it? Their response is recorded in Acts 17:32-34, “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said: We shall hear you again concerning this. So Paul went out of their midst. But some men joined him and believed.” Orthopraxy by religious people brought sneers! Orthodoxy by some resulted in Belief. At the Christmas Season, do you spend more time in purchasing gifts than you do in worship of God Who so loved the world that He gave us His Son, that whoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life? O Come, let us adore Him - Christ, the Lord!  Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE

From My Perspective - - - 

The Broadway Play, Man of La Mancha, opened in 1965. The play tells the story of the mad"knight, Don Quixote, as a play within a play, performed by Cervantes and his fellow prisoners as he awaits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition. The principal song emerging from the play is The Impossible Dream (Lyrics by Joe Darion). In this song, Quixote explains his quest and the reasons behind it. Some of the Lyric expresses the thoughts and desires of Quixote: “To dream the impossible dream; To fight the unbeatable foe; To bear with unbearable sorrow; To run where the brave dare not go; To right the un-rightable wrong…This is my quest…No matter how hopeless…To fight for the right without question or pause; To be willing to march into Hell for a heavenly cause…And the world will be better for this; That one man, scorned and covered with scars; Still strove with his last ounce of courage; To reach the unreachable star.”

Fast forward from the Spanish Inquisition to the political campaign of 2008 and the quest of the candidate Barack Obama: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Can it be said with this quest, that “the world will be better for this; That one man, scorned and covered with scars; Still strove with his last ounce of courage; To reach the unreachable…?” Who would have thought the unthinkable that the United States would become entrenched in an 18 Trillion Dollar Deficit; disrespect and apprehension internationally by friend and foe alike; renewed racial divide internally and openly being expressed; ignoring of the United States Constitution; the undermining of law enforcement; departure from moral values and foundational principles? Is the nation and world “better for this”? 

From a Biblical and eternal perspective, how does the Creator view the world? Does He see it as being “better for this” by the things the nation and world has embraced? How would He view the behaviors that are legally endorsed - behaviors such as abortion; same gender marriage; euthanasia; homosexuality; and the general quest of mankind? In a different historical time, where there were similar activities and behaviors, the Bible states what God saw and what God did. Genesis 6 gives us the summary of God’s thoughts versus man’s thoughts (Verses 5 and 6): “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart…” This resulted in God’s cleansing of the earth with a flood. Only Noah and his family, secured in the Ark, was spared. 

How does God view His world today? Matthew 24:37-39 indicates, “…For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” How is the overall behavior of the human race being seen and observed by a Holy God? Matthew 15:18-19 allows us this insight: “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man…” It seems as though we have rapidly become a world that allows itself to think the unthinkable as it ignores God and His righteousness. Consider once again the words of Genesis 6:5-6 (NLT), “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.” The horror of the consequence for a world that had squeezed God and His Word out of their culture: “…everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.” (MSG): “God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil - evil from morning to night. God was sorry that he had made the human race…it broke his heart.” A world that deliberately allows itself to think the unthinkable and do the undoable grieves the heart of God and will result in irreversible condemnation. Consider these things with me.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

XENOPHOBIA

From My Perspective - - - 

The world in which we live today is marked by sharp division among people! Historically, this has been a reality throughout world since time began. Conflict occurred within the first family when Cain became envious of his brother Abel - and killed him. As Biblical History unfolded, there was hostility between Israel and Egypt; Israel and Assyria; Israel and Babylon; the Jewish and Samaritan tensions; and the Christians with Rome. Why does this occur and how is it described. A Cultural Definition for Xenophobia is: “An unreasonable fear, distrust, or hatred of strangers, foreigners, or anything perceived as foreign or different.” 

As a youth being reared during World War II, there was a national disdain for Germany, Italy and Japan because of their reported atrocities and the manner in which our nation was being impacted. Few today can relate to food and gasoline rationing; waiting in lines to get sugar, coffee, meat, etc. Rubber and Leather was in short supply and shoe fashions were not a priority. The need for ration stamps and tokens that limited how much could be purchased within a set time. Automobiles were not manufactured during the years of the War. The factories had been converted over to making Tanks, Jeeps, Armaments and Munitions, Ships of every type and class, etc. All of this was based upon a sense of Patriotism, the War effort and ultimate Victory in Europe and the Far East. During those days, this country seemed to be more “religious” and prayer for the troops and nation were frequent. On the eve of D-Day, June 4, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the nation, and said: “…in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer: Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity…They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home. Some will never return…And for us at home - fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them, help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice…With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy…Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen!”

In the past 70 years, we have come a long way and changed drastically as a world and nation of people. In our land, it would be difficult for a President to lead the nation in Prayer. There would be protests from all kinds of people and groups. God is viewed with contempt and disdain. The term “God” is generalized, redefined  and marginalized. Prayers cannot be ended with “In Jesus’ Name” because some groups would be offended. As a people, we have been heading toward the slippery slope of destruction. Few seem to care and the philosophy of life is to live for today and not to be concerned with obligations of the future. Not only are we becoming fiscally bankrupt, we have been in a prolonged spiritual decline and almost bankrupt in terms of any submission to God and God Alone. Paul wrote in a very direct manner in I Corinthians 1:18-24,“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” Peter echoes these words when he wrote (I Peter 2:6-8), “For it stands in Scripture: "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame. So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.They stumble because they disobey the word…” This is our world that we are to engage with God’s Truth regardless of any personal cost or sacrifice. Are you doing what you can and should in this worthy cause? Don’t allow yourself to become xenophobic and marginalized. Consider these things with me!

Monday, December 1, 2014

ADVENT AND ATHEISM

From My Perspective - - - 

The Religion News Service (http://www.religionnews.com/2014/11/20/10-commandments-atheists-guide-nonbelievers-want-explore-values/) on November 20, 2014 authored an article regarding “The Ten Non-Commandments For Atheists.” Interestingly, one of the authors of the non-commandments is the Humanist Chaplain at Stanford University. It is an interesting article inasmuch as it takes one back to the scene in the Garden of Eden and the serpent’s efforts to influence Eve to relate to a false premise that there is no God. If the serpent can induce Eve to violate the only prohibition in the Garden - eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2 and 3) - then she can be the same as any devised God. The subtlety is that the serpent did not approach Eve on the basis that there was no God. His craftiness was in the suggestion that she could be the just like any pre-conceived or imagined God.

The Gospel of John, Chapter 1, contains these words about the reality of God. In Verses 1 through 4, there is this pronouncement: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” These words are establishing that Jesus Christ was “In the beginning” and “He was the Creator of all things.” In terms of The Incarnation, verse 14 declares: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In verse 9 through 13, we read: “There was the true Light (Jesus Christ) which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

In these words, we find the tension between the Advent reality and the Atheist rejection. Some of the “commandments” of the atheists include the following: #2: “We can perceive the world only through our human senses.” #5: “There is no God.” #7: “There is no universal moral truth. Our experiences and preferences shape our sense of how to behave.” #10: All our beliefs are subject to change in the face of new evidence, including these (10 Non-Commandments).” Dudley Rose, Associate Dean for ministry studies at Harvard Divinity School wrote: “Living rightly with one another is at the heart of these non-commandments…That is very similar to the way in which I view how those of us in religious communities think of our commandments and our lives with one another and everyone else in the world.” When one considers this approach by the Secularists, Humanists and Atheists, it becomes obvious why the culture of our day is in disarray and in a state of denial and demise. This tension begun in the Garden of Eden has prevailed throughout Biblical History and remains with us today. 

When Jesus addressed the skeptics and non-believers of His day, He stated: “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me…He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God"  (John 8:44-47). Jesus is making clear that a religion of man will never supplant the true religion of God. Additionally, there is the very blunt statement in Psalm 14:1,”The fool has said in his heart: There is no God.” The NLT states it: “Only fools say in their hearts: There is no God. They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; no one does good!” This is expanded upon in Romans 3:10-23. Advent is all about Jesus Who came to save His people from their sins. Do you know Him? Have you received Him? Consider these things with me!

Monday, November 24, 2014

HOW CAN I SAY THANKS?

From My Perspective - - - 

When I was a boy, the church we attended had Junior Church for those under age twelve. There were probably forty of us who would attend each week. One day, the lady who led the Junior Church brought in a large box of Chocolate Candy. It appeared to be the largest box any of us had seen. After we did the preliminaries, she invited us to line up in an orderly fashion to file past the box of candy she was holding and to take any one piece we wanted to try. After we returned to our chairs, she indicated that there was plenty more candy. If we wanted another piece, we were to line up once again and file by and choose another piece of candy. After we returned to our chairs, she remarked that she was happy to share her box of chocolates with us. However, there was one thing missing - no one had expressed “thank you” for this special treat she so kindly shared. Additionally, it was during wartime (World War II) and chocolate candies were not that abundant. That experience has remained with me for many years that no one said “thank you” for the gracious gift that was being shared with us.

In 1971, a musician who had become a follower of Jesus Christ, Andrae Crouch, penned the words to a song he had written called, “My Tribute.” The Lyrics contain these words: “How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me? Things so undeserved, yet You gave to prove Your love for me; the voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude. All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe it all to Thee.” The song also contains words about the act of God’s Grace in His Son, Jesus Christ: “With His blood He has saved me, with His power He has raised me; to God be the glory for the things He has done.” Then the song moves into the area of personal desire and commitment when he wrote: “Just let me live my life, let it pleasing, Lord to Thee, and if I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary…to God be the glory for the things He has done.” The focus is one of Giving Thanks for the work of God’s love, mercy and grace and God’s act of redemption in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:14-17 contains this instruction for one’s application: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” There is a resounding Hymn that invites and encourages us to: “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come!” There are several sections in the Book of Psalms that remind and assist us in what one with a thankful heart should do. Psalms 95 through 100, Psalms 114 through 118, and Psalms 145 through 150 - all urging us to sing and shout joyfully to the Lord with thanksgiving! The Book 0f Psalms closes with these words: (Psalm 150:6) “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”

There are two interesting statements as it pertains to who and when thanksgiving can be offered. The first is Psalm 6:4-6, “…O Lord, rescue my soul; save me because of Your lovingkindness. For there is no mention of You in death; in Sheol who will give You thanks?” Second, a similar perspective and statement is made in Isaiah 38:18-19. After King Hezekiah has been healed, his prayer contains these words: “For Sheol cannot thank You, death cannot praise You; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness. It is the living who give thanks to You, as I do today…” Take special note of these words, “It is the living who give thanks to You, as I do today…” 

As you gather around your Thanksgiving Table, will the living gathered be giving thanks to a great God Who showers you and your family with countless blessings. How often do you thank Him for all that he has done and is doing in your behalf? A way to begin to give thanks is to sing the Doxology, “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow…” This would be consistent with Psalm 150:6. Another possibility would be to sing the Hymn (at the very least, the chorus): “Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided - Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!” Count your blessings and name them one by one - it will surprise when you consider all that God has done in your behalf. May God grant each of you a joyous Thanksgiving! May you be richly blest in and by Him! Consider these things with me!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

PRETENTIOUSNESS

From My Perspective - - - 

Pretentiousness is a descriptive term (adjective) that has the following usages: “one who is full of pretense; one who makes an exaggerated outward show; one who is ostentatious (One who tries to attract attention; an effort to impress others); an assumption of exaggerated or undeserved self-importance.” The synonyms include the description of one who is: “pompous, bombastic or showy.” Generally, it represents one who goes through life pretending to be what he is not (and likely will never be). In secular terms, he is a phony and one who attempts to fake it. In religious terms, it is one who presents himself to be what he is not and is classified as one who is a hypocrite. 

Details about the Affordable Care Act and what it was designed to accomplish is becoming more apparent with each passing day. The Wall Street Journal for November 14, 2014 contained these comments regarding the candor of Jonathan Gruber: “As a rule, Americans don’t like to be called stupid, as Jonathan Gruber is discovering. Whatever his academic contempt for voters, the Obama-Care architect and Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his candor about the corruption of the federal budget process. In his now-infamous talk at the University of Pennsylvania last year, Professor Gruber argued that the Affordable Care Act would not have passed had Democrats been honest about the income-redistribution policies embedded in its insurance regulations. But the more instructive moment is his admission that this bill was written in a tortured way to make sure Congressional Budget Office did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.” At the very least, this is a display of blatant pretentiousness and an abandonment of integrity in a most raw form. It is a classic display of doing what ever one has to do to accomplish a goal and objective regardless of truth and honest representation. In other words, it allows for the end desired being attained by any means necessary. Government is able to function in this manner when people have allowed themselves to  become gullible, indifferent, ignorant and dependent on largesse (distribution of free stuff) from the government that is following a course of being disingenuous (lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity).

Why does an elected government decide to go down the path of deceit and recklessness? It is due to the personal character of the elected and appointed individuals who have jettisoned their scruples and their regard for for the citizenry. Those who lie are clearly identified by Jesus in John 8:43-44 (NASB), “"Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” This may sound harsh but it is factual. Our leaders lie because they are given to the practice of deception by the father of all lies. the devil. 

Why have people become lazy and government-dependent? The Bible addresses the subject of man and his work ethic. In II Thessalonians 3:7-12 is a basic principle for personal application. The Message paraphrase words it bluntly: “Don't you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? If you don't work, you don't eat. And now we're getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately - no excuses, no arguments - and earn their own keep…don’t slack off in doing your duty. If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don't let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he'll think twice.” Rather than becoming the objects of shame, we have allowed a large portion of the culture to become dependent. The culture represents them to be people who deserve pity, compassion and recipients of that for which others have diligently worked to attain. Proverbs 28:19 (NIV) should be remembered and implemented: “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.” Consider these things with me!