Posts by Jesse

My wife, MacKenzie, and I recently moved to Thailand as tentmakers. When we aren't studying and working, we partner with the local church to equip indigenous pastors and missionaries to reach their neighbors with the Gospel.
Are Truth and Morality Subjective?

Are Truth and Morality Subjective?

One of the things I encounter most often when talking with people is what many apologists would define as “subjective moral reasoning.” In simpler terms, it just means that they believe they determine what is morally right and wrong. From their perspective, they are perfectly capable of discerning truth and morality. However, if truth and morality are nothing more than a matter of opinion, then no person’s actions can be called good or evil. There is no standard of morality by which to judge anything.

The reason many people believe this is because it creates an environment in which no one questions them. If someone, such as myself, happens to question their worldview then he or she is seen as a hateful bigot. Again, not because they are in reality, but because that person claims that they are. Yet, from their worldview all beliefs are supposed to be equally valid, even the ones they disagree with. You can see the glaring hypocrisy here.

Without an objective source of truth and morality, anything goes. Without an objective standard of what is good, one could argue Hitler’s actions are just as “good” as Corrie Ten Boom’s. This is one reasons why I could never be an atheist because my conscious tells me that some things are objectively good and some things are objectively evil. The Bible says in Romans 2:15 that God has written His law (standard of goodness) on our hearts. We know that it is wrong to steal, lie, murder, and cheat. If we call these things good, it is because we are suppressing the truth, not accepting it.

This is why the Gospel is so offensive. It calls all people to repent of their sins. The truth is…we have all sinned against a perfect, holy God and according to God’s Word, are deserving of death. He is our creator and moral law giver. How can we, creatures made from the dust, think we know better than the One who made us? But, the good news is that Jesus died in our place. He took our sin and gave us His righteousness. And to those who call upon His name, He gives us His Spirit who leads us into all truth.

Friends, truth and morality start and end with God. We need Him. We need His Word. And that isn’t subjective.

abortion and the god Molech in the Old Testament

21st Century Molech

“You are not to make any of your children pass through the fire to Molech. Do not profane the name of your God; I am Yahweh.” Leviticus 18:21

There is an interesting command God gives to the Israelites in Leviticus chapter 18. It is sandwiched between other commands concerning prohibited sexual relations and forbidden pagan practices. God specifically calls out Molech, a god of the Canaanite people. According to ancient historians, worshipers of Molech would sacrifice their infants to Molech to ensure prosperity for their future. It is said that the Canaanite people would also get rid of their illegitimate children by way of child sacrifice. I even read somewhere that poor families would sell their infants to those who did not have babies of their own.

It is important to understand what was going on when people worshiped Molech. The Canaanites would heat up a statue of Molech until it was red hot. The statue usually featured a bull-like figure with outstretched arms that slopped down like a slide into a fire pit. The infants literally melted before the eyes of those in attendance. Keep in mind that the child’s parents were among those watching. Yet, they were told not to cry or shed a tear lest they forfeit the blessing that would come as a result of their sacrifice. In fact, the Canaanites would play loud flutes and drums to drown out the sound of the infant’s screams.

Wicked is not strong enough a word to describe what was going on here.

Going back to the command that God gave Israel, we see that He abhors such behavior and practices. Don’t forget that the command was given amidst other commands about  sinful sexual practices. This type of “worship” would be tempting to those who either didn’t want their child or felt this was the way they could take hold of their future.

Make no mistake, Molech is still being worshiped today. He has just taken on a more modern, 21st century look. The drums and flutes have been discarded, but there is still plenty of noise to drown out the cries of the infants. In both situations, the baby is offered up so that the parents might have a “better life.”

God was patient with the Canaanites for 400 years before He sent His righteous judgement. When will His patience run out with us? Oh Lord, have mercy!

What does the Bible say about mankind?

What Do I Believe About: Mankind

I believe that God created humans in His own image. Mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. Mankind has no existence or life outside of the existence of the living God. God created both male and female to glorify Himself and gave them dominion over all creation. He created mankind with the intention of having an intimate relationship with us. God made the first man (Adam) from the dust of the earth and the first woman (Eve) from man’s rib. God told them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Before the Fall, man was perfect and blameless before God. When Adam sinned against God, shame and death entered the world (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:4-25; 3:1-7; John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6).

I believe that humans were created as moral beings with the freedom to choose good or evil. We know the difference between right and wrong. However, in mankind’s fallen state, even our best deeds are sinful at their core. There is no one, apart from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is sinless (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 2:14-15; 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

I believe that sin is man’s rebellion against Holy God—it separates us from having a relationship with the Father. Every person is deserving of eternal damnation for his or her sin, regardless of its type or severity. Sin’s effect on creation is all encompassing, from our very own minds to the movement of the cosmos. All of creation is groaning to be restored when Christ returns to make a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23; 8:18-22; James 2:10; 2 Peter 3:7-13).

I believe that humans were created as immortal beings; we will live beyond our physical death. Furthermore, every person will stand before Almighty God and give an account for everything they have thought, said, and done. The saints of God will dwell with God for all of eternity, while the unregenerate will perish in Hell for all of eternity. Everything we do in this life matters to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

I believe that God also created humans as whole beings—the division between body, soul, and spirit is indistinguishable. While there is certainly an existence apart from our physical bodies, this splitting or division is not what God intended for humanity. This is another tragic reality of mankind’s sin (Genesis 2:7; Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 10:28; Mark 12:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

I believe that every human is created equal, for God shows no partiality. Furthermore, men and women, though different anatomically and in their respective roles, are viewed as equals in the eyes of God. Within marriage, the husband’s role is to be the spiritual leader of his household and to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. The wife is to be submissive to the leadership of her husband, as the Church submits to Christ, our Head. Just as Eve was created to be Adam’s helper, so are wives to be their husband’s helper. Marriage is ultimately a picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:18-22; Romans 2:10-11; Ephesians 5:21-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

praying in the morning

Your Mornings Matter

Brothers and sisters, don’t sleep the day away. Listen, I know how nice it is to sleep in every now and then. Sometimes we need to catch up on our sleep and that’s okay. But just remember that there is a constant war going on beyond your comforter.

I’m talking about a spiritual war between good and evil; truth vs. lies; morality vs. immorality. All you have to do is turn on the news or scroll through your social media feed to see that the future of our world is becoming increasingly more chaotic and unsure. For many, these are beyond frightening times.

For Americans, we are seeing more and more division between coworkers. I’ve noticed more hostility between friends and neighbors. And the nuclear family is disappearing like Spiderman at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. It seems as though all of our relationships are strained.

But there is hope!

The Bible makes it clear that the prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much (James 5:16). Furthermore, things happen when we pray to our Father in heaven that wouldn’t happen unless we prayed. It may be difficult for you to imagine your atheist friend trusting in Jesus. It is difficult for me to wrap my mind around the abolition of abortion in the United States. And honestly, there are some days where fulfilling the Great Commission seems laughable. Why is this? Because in our own strength none of these things will come to pass. We aren’t strong enough. But God is! And that is why we pray. Prayer acknowledges who God is and who we are not.

It is easy to stay in bed and ignore the problems of the day. I have wasted so many opportunities in the past snoozing my alarm when I could have been praying to the only One fully capable of handing all of my problems. Mornings are important because they are usually quiet, and we are unencumbered with things we have to do for that day. Before you get on your phone, get on your knees. Before you call up a friend, call out to God. Christian, you are a soldier for Christ. You are on the front lines now. The only weapons you have are prayer and the Word of God. But they are all you need.

Brothers and sisters, your mornings matter. They matter because God hears the prayers of His children. Do not take prayer for granted or undervalue its worth. Pray all throughout the day, but especially at the start. Your prayer this morning could change the course of the day. It could even lead to a brighter tomorrow.

 

 

Wooden carving of Jesus on the cross

Is Jesus Beautiful to You?

“We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God ( Hebrews 12:2 GWT).”

I am constantly overwhelmed by the beauty of the Lord, especially during times of personal trials. During those difficult times, I begin to focus and meditate on Jesus’ death on the cross. You might say, “how can a naked, bleeding, dying man on a cross be seen as beautiful?” And I’d tell you, “the cross of Jesus is beautiful because I know that it should have been the cross of Jesse (me).”

As horrific and awful as Jesus’ crucifixion was, it is exceedingly more beautiful once you understand what He was accomplishing for us. Jesus was paying our debt, suffering our punishment, and satisfying the wrath of God for our sins. It often renders me speechless because it is so beautiful and undeserved. Nothing will ever surpass this in beauty.

Is Jesus beautiful to you? Do you find His shed blood repulsive or life giving? Do you run from His wounds or are they your hiding place? Jesus endured the cross for you, friend. Fix your eyes upon Him and behold His beauty today. Turn from your sins and turn to Jesus in faith.

Nothing is Wasted on Jesus

The Road the Cross: Nothing is Wasted on Jesus (A Poem)

Nothing is wasted on Jesus

Not a second, not a word, not a dime

If given in faith, He will bless them

And multiply them all in His time

Nothing is wasted on You, Jesus

So I will pour out every drop in my jar

Although the oil is costly

It is worthless compared to what You are

Nothing is wasted on You, Lord

Not even a kiss of utter betrayal

You embraced it with humble submission

Knowing that good would prevail

No, nothing is wasted on Jesus

Not a second, not a word, not a dime

For Jesus is greater than all

Of heaven and earth’s riches combined


Based on Matthew 26:6-16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road to the Cross: Jesus' Authority Questioned

The Road to the Cross: Jesus’ Authority Questioned

“What gives you the right?” Have you ever heard this in an argument before? It’s a question of authority. It means the other party wants to see your credentials. They want to know by what authority are you able to speak and behave in such and such a manner.

Jesus was asked this question by the “chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders (Mark 11:27).” They had just witnessed Jesus “clean house” in the Temple and they were enraged. They wanted to find a way to kill Jesus. Not only did this man from Galilee claim to be the Son of God, now He was threatening business!

The easiest way to prove someone is a fake is to ask for their credentials. If you go to the doctor you will probably see his diplomas hanging up somewhere in his office. If you don’t see the diplomas…well, you may want to consider changing doctors. I don’t know about you, but I like to know that my doctor has earned the right to put “Dr.” before his name.

But, Jesus did not hand over any identification or diplomas to these people when they questioned Him. Instead, he gave them a question of His own. He asked, “John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me (Mark 11:30)!” We know from the following verses that this question created a huge dilemma for the leaders and scholars. If they were to say that John did by the authority of heaven, everyone will ask why they didn’t believe him. If they say it was by some human authority, the people will become very angry. That’s because many people believed John to be a true prophet of God. To save face, they answer Jesus with a “we don’t know.”

Friend, Jesus doesn’t need a business card to prove to you He is God. First, the works of Jesus testify to who He is. Second, the Father spoke from heaven about His Son, Jesus. Third, John the Baptist made clear that Jesus was far more than simply his cousin ( see John 5). People can try to dance around the truth like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. People can even play it safe by saying “we don’t know,” but it won’t change reality. Jesus’ opponents didn’t want the truth; they wanted an excuse to keep things the way that they were.

Maybe you are reading this and you are not a Christian. Please, whatever you do, don’t straddle the fence. Either Jesus is God or He is a liar. Either His authority is from heaven or it is man-made. However, if you are honestly seeking the truth you only arrive at one answer:

Jesus is Lord of all! 

And if you’re still looking for credentials…look no further than the empty tomb. We will talk more about that very soon.