Saturday, December 26, 2009

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Consumerism is rampant in society. I'm not just referring to the marketplace. The same ideology that drives the year end blow out sales, post black Friday, has crept into almost every aspect of our lives. Believing that our spiritual experience is just another commodity to bought or sold has obscured the drawing nature of the Holy Spirit.

God implores us to taste and see that He is good. Yet what He offers cannot be contained in shiny packages with red ribbons. It seeps into us like a refreshing drink that when drunk restores our spiritual vitality and a connection with our creator.

Jesus explains to His follower that His sheep hear His voice. It follows in this analogy of sheep and shepherd that we must be led by Christ. Consumerism is about control: control over what we take in, where we go and what we do. Ultimately however our walk with God is about giving up control.

Jesus once said to aggressive argumentative Pharisees "give to caesar what is caesar's and to God what is God's. Perhaps with the waning year we can rethink our commitment to consumerism.

Beneath the twinkling stars Jesus spoke words to the pondering Nicodemus. He said "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 Let the Spirit lead you, not to a sale, but to life everlasting

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Believing the Lie

It's so easy to do. After all how many times did I do something my parents told me to do without consequences? A lot. Of course there were all those times that I did something my parents told me not to do and there were consequences. Like forgetting my coat one too many times only to come down with a cold or not going to sleep when I should've to find out that life was a little harder the next day.

It takes us so many years to realize that are parents knew what they were talking about if we ever come to that conclusion at all. Unfortunately for those that believe our parents knew a thing or too there is an even smaller contingent that take God's word at face value.

Perhaps we put aside the gentle warnings and admonitions of God because the spiritual subtlety is lost on us. When we don't acquire a terminal illness or lose everything to a fire we somehow believe all that we do is condoned.

You see we don't miss what we don't even know exists and the devil is bent on keeping it that way. He feeds us the lie that what we do doesn't affect our relationship with God and that spiritual death is just the lack of warm fuzzy feelings when our favorite Christmas hymn is played.

The real sign that we're in trouble of course is that we don't care that we're in trouble. The real sign that we are spiritually dead is that we don't thirst for spiritual things. If we do anything we need to burst our own bubbles soon enough to realize that our ship is sinking and if we don't reject the lie our life preserver will be out of site.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Phantom Life

I've never really thought of myself as an apparition. But sometimes and sadly more often than it should ever be the case this is all that I am.

David declares "Surely every man awalks about as a phantom." Psalm 39:6

How can he make such a bold pronouncement and does this really apply to me? The word that David uses here for phantom is the Hebrew word tselem. In this context it means phantom, but this is not the first place that this word is used.

In Genesis 1:26 we find the first occurrence of this word when God says "Let Us make man in our "image." We were made to look like God, think like God and act like Him. We were made in His image. Unfortunately for most of us this means that we only have His form.

This is sort of like meeting a young man or woman that is the spitting image of their father or mother. Yet as you talk with this person it becomes quite obvious that they are nothing like their parents. Their perspective is different, their values are different and they are taking a very different path.In this way there is a physical resemblance but the resemblance is only skin deep.

The bible says in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." God's character is goodness and righteousness. His defining act is the love revealed through His Son at the cross.

God's internal traits are inherently at odds with our nature. Thus David is correct in pronouncing the natural state of man: a phantom. Without surrendering to His saving grace we are naturally just distorted images of our father.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Needle to the Pole

Recent reading has inspired me to explore how we as Seventh-day Adventists should be approaching our most sacred work of soul winning and fishing for men and women. The concern for this subject is valid because of the overwhelming amount of competition we experience for the minds of men in this modern world.

Take a look around if you can wrestle yourself from your nearly implanted electronic crutch of choice and ask yourself if the distinct Adventist message crosses your periphery. The third angel's message otherwise known as the loud cry often seems to be shouting into the wind. True Christians or God-fearers have always been in the minority and yet their is cause for concern.

The last warning to the world seems to increasingly fall on deaf ears and this creates a plethora of remedies for our lack of effectiveness. How should we deal with the lack of receptivity to what we believe is humanity's last warning? For some the problem lies in the fact that we are more often than not "dry as the hills of Gilboa." For others the lack of receptivity creates a desire to insulate themselves even further from the mounting rejection.

Certainly there are lackluster expositors of truth. Certainly there are loveless Adventists that do not lift up the matchless charms or our Savior. But is this the only reason for lack of reception. What can we glean from scripture. Jesus states in Matthew 24 that "most people's love will grow cold." He also says to His Father ""I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." John 17:14

So is all this simply pessimism? Is the point of this diatribe to direct people to burrow completely out of sight and wile away the moments waiting for their salvation to draw near? Certainly not, we have treasures in these earthen vessels and we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. But in our conviction to preach it from the mountain tops we must realize that less and less will respond from the valleys.

Our duty is not to change what we have been given in sheer desperation. We are not to recreate the everlasting gospel. We are to hold fast, stand fast to what we know is true. A beloved writer said it this way:

The greatest want of the world is the want of men,--men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.-Ellen White from the book Education, p. 57.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Deep?

"How deep is the hold of sin on the human heart?" DA p753 It is no accident that we have hope. Our destinies are not left to chance or happenstance. Yet we are so unintentional in our reception of Jesus.

In the battle of the human mind against sin it often takes every resource that we have. Deliberate focus on heavenly truths and eternal principles are our only foothold as we cling to God. I've heard it said that we must "let go and let God," but I know that the chasm of sin is deep.

We must not let go but hold on with every ounce of strength. Even as a climber must grip the crevaces with acute attention so we must grasp the evidences of God's leading in our lives. Is our battle greater than Christ's struggle on the cross? Of course not, but we must all bear our cross.

God did not say that because Jesus death was difficult our life with Him would be easy. He said that through Christ's suffering there is now a way out. The darkness that surrounds us thick, but if we will look up we can see the light pierce through clouds of despair.

If we have an understanding of the hold that sin has on us we might be motivated to look higher in our search for help. God is more powerful than our sins, but we must fight the good fight.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Legal Part

Religous terms can be complicated. They can also exclude those who misunderstand their true meaning from benefiting from God's blessings. Justification is one such term. I often heard the statement of explanation that the term justified simply means "just-if-I'd" never sinned. While there is truth in this statement I believe that it oversimplifies the term and perhaps misleads.

Justification refers to our legal debt before God. For this reason justification is often lengthened to "legal justification." I think this is fitting because it implies the purpose of justification. When we come before God it should be apparent that we owe Him an innumerable debt. David explains the debt that we really owe to God when he says in Psalm 51:4 "Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done evil in Your sight -- That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge." NKJV You see we owe God something and we will all appear before Him at one time or another to be judged. Fortunately our Judge also stands in our place as our substitution.

Jesus' righteous life, offered on Calvary for the world, functions as payment for the debt that we owe God. By accepting Jesus as our substitution our debt is payed and in a legal sense we are exonerated for our past crimes. Unfortunately while Jesus payed for our debt once and for all we must continue to reapply for this transaction to take place in our life. One writer stated that we will have to fall on the rock many times and be broken as we allow His goodness to be substituted for our evil.

Most of these ideas are often taken for granted, but what is most alarming is that the term justification is given additional meaning. Justification does not change the heart and while it makes our past right before God by settling our accounts we are no different in our hearts than we were before the transaction took place. Justification is the beginning of our life with Christ. Because the just live by faith and I know that the heart is desperately wicked it is through continual surrender that we are changed.

We should take courage in the fact that our pasts have been exonerated, but we also must move onward so that we are more than just legal cases and we can happily say we are friends with our creator.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Built on the Word

With each passing day it seems that there is less and less veracity to the truths we hear passed on to us through our favorite news sources. The term "just the facts" has been watered down to "your facts." Its sad really. What can we trust? Whom can we trust?

Its not like there isn't enough information out there. I heard recently that the average person in the year 1800 was only exposed to about as much information as there is in a Sunday newspaper in there entire life! Its an amazing thought. We live in an age where a first grader has probably been exposed to more information than many adults in previous ages (This doesn't mean the first grader is retaining all that information or even understands it). Yet it is unbelievable that we have access to so much.

The enlightenment of our world has been the hope and goal of many including the founders of our country:

"The most effectual means of preventing [the perversion of power into tyranny are] to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibits, that possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes." --Thomas Jefferson: Diffusion of Knowledge Bill, 1779. FE 2:221, Papers 2:526

From one standpoint the world is awash in information that could of course lead people to greater heights of development. But despite the profusion of knowledge we are told that in the "last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power." 2 Timothy 3:1-5

It seems the dissemination of information alone is not enough to stem the tide of human regression. But we know also that not all is lost. The Psalmist put it beautifully as he illustrated the anchor that we must grasp: "Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper." Psalm 1:1-3

If we build our house on the rock, on the word of God, we can weather the storm. The torrents of information may batter against us but we through the knowledge and practice of the word may be able to withstand all that this world can throw our way.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Newness of Life

I'm still a young man and yet I can see the ravages of time creeping forward. Like a tiger stalking its prey occasionally I get glimpses of the beast peaking at me from behind the bushes of life. It's not easy growing older. For many of us it's downright painful. As a result of this we've conjured up all sorts of "remedies" for what ails us and we clamor to prevent the smallest signs of aging. With as much time as we spend staving off the the signs of experience perhaps we are neglecting something even more important.

God calls us to live in newness of life. If we have accepted Christ's death as our own we are also to accept His life as our own. The rejuvenation that comes from being restored to the image of God is truly life changing. The old thoughts and patterns once surrendered to the Lord begin to lose their grip on our lives. The mortar that once held up the walls of resistance begin to crumble and break as new walls are built on immortal foundations.

Outward aging is a travesty and as I have always told myself I will not go gently into that good night: now or ever. But this is not our first priority. Through the death and resurrection of Christ we can be restored inwardly as we wait to be restored outwardly. As we gaze into the mirror that reflects our dissatisfaction we should not forget to behold our Savior so that He can remake our hearts into that of a child: and a beautiful one at that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tunnel Vision

For some reason or another when I used to play basketball quite a bit I was often confronted with a problem: tunnel vision. Now I didn't have an actual medical condition that only exhibited itself when I played my favorite sport, but I did have a problem. As the action progressed and my heart pumped in excitement I noticed that I often had difficulty perceiving anything outside of my immediate gaze. This caused problems as you can imagine. Occasionally open teammates were unnoticed and even more often I was unaware of the opposing players' advancement. This meant my dribbling skills did very little for me when someone came out of nowhere to pop the ball out of my hands.

I used to be frustrated very much by this condition of tunnel vision. Granted it didn't happen all the time and often I was able to keep a watchful eye on my would be assailants. However it certainly happened more than I desired so I began to give it some thought. You see it often happened when I was overly excited and the outcome of my actions were more influential on the result of the game. It often happened when I was not alerting myself to my surroundings and it often happened when I wasn't looking at the big picture.The end result of my dilemma was that when it happened it severely inhibited the success of my team. In fact the old adage of keeping your eye on the ball could easily have been my undoing as I should have been surveying the entire court.

Do we survey the entire court when we play the game of life? Scripture teaches us that a man plans his way but the Lord directs His steps. As we glance around and take in the incoming information of life do we absorb more than just what is immediately in front of us or do we approach life with perspective? It is especially important that we approach life with a bird's eye view or with all the facts. Otherwise we may be taken off guard when the devil approaches us from our blind side. And we all have them don't we?

All scripture is inspired by God. That means that the verse before the one you're reading is also inspired, just as the one after it. The path of heaven may be narrow, but those that find it will not have narrow minds but thoughts that are broad and deep like the God that inspires them.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fighting Blind

Most Christians realize that they are engaged in a battle. Too often however they are fighting the wrong people and the wrong things. Striking out in frustration we beat against the wind and we bemoan our circumstances. If only life weren't so hard we'd be able to accomplish all that the Lord wants us too. If only we knew what was going on behind the curtain we'd be able to fight the good fight.

The problem with this thinking of course is that it implies God should reveal to us the inner workings of the spiritual warfare all around us. We believe that if we could only see why bad things happen we would be able to step forward. What we forget is that if God did this He would remove the very reason why we have a fighting chance at all: faith.

We now know in part and occasionally the curtain is drawn back part of the way for a select few among us. However God does not practice this type of revelation for our own good. The devil was privy to the glories of heaven and yet He remained stalwart in His accusations against God.

Perhaps the next time when we yearn for a clearer picture of the spiritual battles being fought all around us we will thank God for His mercy. He allows us to know only what we can handle. By shielding us from the front lines of spiritual war God is sparing us from squandering any evidence.

With all of the corporate scandals erupting in the financial world I am sure that many a disgraced employee wished he could have remained unaware of the poor decisions. With greater knowledge comes greater responsibility. In the same way that God does not tempt us beyond what we are able He does not burden us with knowledge we are not prepared to handle. Sometimes it's just better to fight blindly.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Son of a Preacher Man

"The only boy who could ever reach me was the son of a preacher man." These words were first sung by Dusty Springfield and recorded in 1968 on her album "Dusty in Memphis." The song invokes a romantic relationship,but the words are representative of many people's understanding of religious hierarchy. That is to say that many people look exclusively to preachers, priests, and clergy for their spiritual growth. But is this really what God intends?

The history of spiritual leadership throughout the bible evidences the great blessings that can come through spiritual leadership. However spiritual leadership can and should come in different forms and capacities. This is perhaps exampled by the advice given to Moses by his father-in-law Jethro. After witnessing how Moses micromanaged all of Israel's problems Jethro counseled Moses to create a hierarchy among the people to distribute the leadership. The hierarchy reflected their circle of influence.

Moses along with the newly appointed leaders did not limit their work to "secular" administration. They invoked the Spirit of God as they worked with the people. Each one us is a spiritual leader in our circle. Title and position are not prescribed by our place in the church hierarchy. As sons and daughters of God each one us can testify to God's goodness and witness to our fellow man. Ministry can flow through our fingers as we reach out and touch others.

God is not a respecter of preacher men. He desires that each one of us works to build up the body of Christ, for we were all saved by the life-giving blood of Jesus.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Repairer of the Breach

Just today I was explaining to some students the apparent contradictions that exist on the earth. At times we see the beauty of the earth and the blessings of healthy relationships. However we also see natural disasters that wreak havoc and relationships that do more damage than the most deadly storms. There is certainly a mixed revelation.

How are we to understand these events? Unaided observation leads us to confusing answers. However with the aid of divine revelation we can see what is happening and that restoration is possible. Peering into scripture and the annals of history we can see God's intervention: Jesus Christ.

Yes there continues to be a struggle with all of the fall out conflict brings. But Jesus began the process of piecing back together the parts that can still be saved. Like a giant needle and thread He pierces both God and man to sew us back into conformity with His will.

He is the Repairer of the Breach. This is such an illustrative title. Like a diligent worker repairing a broken dike with His mighty hands He works tirelessly to stem the tide of human loss. Not willing that any should perish He stands waste deep in the river of humanity grasping at the stones of truth and placing them lovingly in the gaping whole made by sin.

If He can restore the world I know He can sew up my small broken heart.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nuts and Bolts

Have you ever tried to figure out how something works? Perhaps as a child you pulled apart a watch to see what made it tick. Maybe you dismantled a radio to see how sound could travel out of such a small space. Discovering the mechanism behind an invention provides fascination for many people.

Many people throughout the years have also tried to find out how living things work. Unfortunately living things cannot be put back together after they've been taken apart. There's really no way around this. In fact if we truly take apart something that is living the organism will have to sacrifice its life in order to satisfy our curiosity.

Strangely enough God has taken apart something that is very real and living in order for us to be able to understand how it works. He has dismantled His everlasting covenant so that we might understand the parts of a loving relationship. Carefully exposing each part He has pulled back the covering to label each piece for our benefit.

God's disclosure has the same drawbacks of any other project that requires disassembling the components. There is always the danger that not all the pieces will be put back together. There is also the danger that if each piece is put back it won't be put back in the right place or in the right way.

What makes dismantling of God's covenant all the more risky is that it is not just a mechanical device designed to teach us about God. It is a living thing that imparts life to anyone who chooses to live by its principles. Every other living thing that is taken apart dies as a result. Yet God still chooses to reveal the gears of His covenant.

In order to teach us about love God tried to make it simple. In doing so He exposed the way that a covenant relationship works. Unfortunately many people do not understand how the pieces fit together and they often don't even try to put them back in the first place.

A living covenant needs all of its parts to breathe life into us. We need to understand the nuts and the bolts, not so that we can simply be experts at labeling the parts, but so that we can be complete, lacking in nothing.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Complacency

I want to be ambitious. Ambition is a gift from God. It drives people to varying degrees of success. It enabled weary, tired and barefoot soldiers to overcome dismal odds to establish a nation with unparalleled freedoms and opportunity. Ambition has been the engine of prosperity in this country for hundreds of years.

Ambition is a very important component of success, but many people limit it's use in their life. They use it to further their careers. Some people use it to corral more possessions: i.e., houses, cars, and even relationships. Often people utilize ambition to simply further their influence or agenda.

None of the aforementioned uses of ambition are inherently wrong. We should be ambitious and earnest in our careers. How else will we succeed unless we try to be our best? In addition enlarging our world can be beneficial if we are good stewards of our resources. Furthermore advancing a worthy idea or cause is always precipitated and carried out with ambition.

However ambition should also be used in the spiritual realm. This does not mean so much that we are to place our spiritual understanding and practices above others. It simply means that we need to be ambitious to know Christ. We should desire to learn more about the way that He thinks and acts. We should be ambitious to have a more complete walk with the Lord everyday.

Unfortunately too many people are complacent about their spiritual lives. Often they don't even realize this, but when it comes down to it they are satisfied with their understanding of Christ. They believe their perspective on biblical truth is satisfactory and suits their situation. They view the success of their spiritual lives as directly proportional to their spiritual superiority to those that surround them.

God does not want us to ever stop desiring a closer walk with Him. If there is any one place in our lives where we should not be complacent, it is our relationship with the Lord. We should be always be ambitious to know God more. We should never believe that any level of spiritual achievement is the pinnacle.

Part of the problem with our lack of ambition concerning spiritual matters comes from the fact that we view spirituality as an intellectual exercise. This is fallacious. We are walking with a risen savior who requires that we grow closer each and every day. Jesus wants us to know him and strive to understand ever more of an infinite God. This is life eternal that they know thee the only true God.

Nature, the word of God and the spirit of prophecy all manifest God's character. Each one of these is a book that cannot be exhausted. Yet how often do we put one of these books back on the shelf and boast that we possess them in our library while the dust on their pages testifies to their lack of use.

The day that we stop drinking from the fountain of life is the day that we stop knowing God.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rich, Increased in Goods and...Content

The light of truth needs to shine brighter with each passing day. The concept of progressive revelation is very important. This is because we are in darkness and do not fully comprehend the light. Cut off from the God's presence by our collective and individual sin humanity needed God to slowly pull back the shades of night.

Following the barrier that was imposed by man's first sin, God has been attempting to restore His image through a greater revelation of himself. First speaking through nature, then through His law, then through the prophets, He finally provided the ultimate revelation through His Son. This revelation was encapsulated through the written word and has been handed down to us through the ages.

Now Christians believe that the cannon is closed and in their ardent desire to preserve God's word they have limited the Holy Spirit. Galatians 3 tells us that the law was to be a tutor that leads us to Christ. The words of scripture testify of Christ, but they are not Christ. Jesus is a living person that breaths and speaks today.

We are too comfortable with the fact that we have hindsight and are not looking for insight. Does God only desire us to live by the letters written down by the ancients. Jesus commenting on what was correct behavior on the Sabbath day, explained that if we help an ox out of a ditch we should be even inclined to help a man on the Sabbath day.

God is speaking today. He wants us to respond to Him personally. The bible will never be contradicted by a Spirit led life, but with the Spirit comes further light. We cannot be content with the past. We need to live in the present. We need to listen to God's words for us today in such a time as this.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Raison D'Etre

Each time has it's purpose and our time is no exception. "Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment is come...Worship Him who made heavens and the earth, the sea and the springs of waters...Babylon is fallen, is fallen...Come out of her My people." Rev. 14:6,8; 18:4

We believe that the remnant message calls people to acknowledge that Jesus began His heavenly ministry when He ascended to heaven, but He moved to the most holy place in 1844. This is our understanding of the statement the "hour of His judgment is come."

Furthermore we understand that we are to worship Him as creator by observing His memorial of creation: the Sabbath day. Those that are not worshiping Him in this manner are described as Babylon and God wants His people who are a part of Babylon to come out of this false system of worship.

With the change of political power in the United States as a new presidency is inaugurated we must preach the living word of God that Jesus' ministry was inaugurated following His ascension and that the judgment of the saints prophesied by Daniel is now underway.

We know this message, but many don't. We're afraid of its' power, but we need to embrace its purpose. This is our purpose. Yes Christ was crucified, but He will not remain hidden. There is more to the story. He brings His reward with Him and all should know of that His reaping sickle will separate the wheat from the tares.

Fear God and give Him the glory.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Yoke is Easy

When Jesus stated that His yoke was and is easy what did He mean? Rob Bell the author of "Velvet Elvis" has something to say about this subject: "A rabbi's set of rules and lists, which was really the rabbi's interpretation of how to live the Torah, was called the rabbi's yoke." Jesus then is inviting His followers to take up His set of rules on how to live.

Jesus was much more than a rabbi, yet He was called one by His followers. The English equivalent of rabbi is teacher in the New Testament. We find the disciples and others, including Nicodemus, giving this title to Jesus. While Jesus was more than a human rabbi He related to the people on their own terms: in ways they could understand.

The people had been taught to observe a myriad of customs and rules in order to have the right "halak" or walk with God, but the other rabbis of Israel had made these rules difficult and they were often disconnected from the principles they were supposed to exemplify. Jesus' yoke is easy. Not because we don't have to do anything. The divine principles of God's law require action on the part of any person, but the action is not aimless. In fact the actions that are anticipated by God's law provide purposeful function. Resting on the Sabbath, was to be a blessing giving a person an opportunity to reflect on God's creative and restorative power. God's instructions regarding health were given to enoble the mind through the rejuvenation of the body.

Jesus wants us to take His yoke upon us. It does require that we walk with Him, but in the setting of this weary world it will be a welcomed pursuit to all those that abide in Him.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Don't Drink to Deeply

Have you ever longed for a cool refreshing beverage on a hot day? Perhaps you have whetted you whistle under less extenuating circumstances. So many of us indulge our appetites and desires on a rather continual basis without thought to the message this sends heavenly hosts. Without inquiring if something is essential we incorporate wish fulfillment as a regular part of our daily regimen.

Are we too live like paupers avoiding the pleasures God has given? We reason God gave us food and wants us to happy right? This rhetorical question is misleading because happiness has not been defined. If we define happiness on our own terms than we can freely justify the pleasures we seek. Furthermore we often elevate our own happiness at the expense of others. This is perhaps the crux of the problem.

In determining what the rights would be of the future citizens of this United States of America the framers of the constitution had to determine when and how the rights of others could be fulfilled. They knew that in order to preserve equality rights must exist without infringing on anyone else's rights. They realized that a person can only have so much freedom without taking away from another person's freedom. The keys to understanding how to solve the equation of freedoms/rights of the individual versus the freedoms/rights of the group involves our free will and the limitation of resources. Thus a person's rights extend in so far as their choices do not inhibit the choices of others or the resources available to others.

In a world with fallen human nature free will can enable amazing accomplishments or destructive decisions. In a fallen world our resources are limited due to their selfish distribution. As man digresses, correct use of free will and the allocation of resources becomes more and more uncommon. Therefore we have to consider that what would in an ideal world be fine for a person to consume or enjoy becomes self-centered in a world where so many others are limited.

We are in a war and as such we need to remember to be frugal to conserve for the conflict. I think this was the concept employed by the early church in the book of Acts. The author states that all things were held in common and sold as they were needed by members of the community. Does this imply that all goods were equally distributed. I think that would be false. Certainly those that produced more goods had responsibility over more. Fellow believers simply recognized the need to support each other.

In conclusion God has made the world that we might marvel at His handiwork. He wants us to enjoy His creation. But in the age of conflict we need to remember not to drink to deeply lest we forget to hand a cup of water to the thirsty souls among us.