Christianity 201

May 20, 2022

Everything is Temporary … Except for One Thing

NIV.Acts.19.23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”

28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.

[…continue reading here…]

Today we have another first time writer to highlight here. Alistair Chalmers who writes at Chalmers Blog. Clicking the link in the header below will take to where this first appeared.

You can build but it will crumble

A couple weeks ago my wife and I were on holiday and we did a day trip to the ancient city of Ephesus. We walked the streets where Paul and Timothy would have preached. We stood in the amphitheater where Paul probably spoke at times. One thing that you can’t help but notice in these ancient cities is the amount of shrines and temples to pagan gods that they had. Some big and some small, but all for the same purpose, worshipping a pagan false idol.

If you remember from Acts 19, Demetrius a silversmith of the shrines for Artemis began an uproar that lead to a riot. The riot continued and people gathered in the court and for 2 hours they shouted “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

Ephesus was the place of one of the biggest temples to Artemis, it’s actually one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. So what does it look like now? A temple that once housed thousands of worshippers on a daily basis. A city in its shadow that believed it was safe because the goddess looked over them. What happened?

Well this once prominent temple is now a pile of rubble. Stones lay strewn in a field, it’s marked by a tiny road sign that you could clearly miss and there remains one pillar standing (it’s actually just been out together to help visitors imagine the height of the temple).

Such a prominent pagan temple, reduced to nothing sand forgotten by most of the world, why? Because you can build, even the most grandiose things, but all things temporary will crumble. What was once a temple is nothing more than a pile of stones. Temporary trimmings paying homage to a fake god that didn’t last very long.

As I stood underneath that pillar and imagined what it would have originally looked like I remembered two things;

1. That the things of this world are temporary and will pass away (1 Cor. 7:31, etc.)

2. That nothing will defeat the Church (Matt. 16:18, etc.)

There will always be things that are built oppose the gospel. There will always be people, institutions and religions who set themselves against God and His people. It was be frightening at times, it may feel like the local church is insignificant and weak, it may even seem that there is no chance that Christianity can survive at some points.

But the truth is that all attempts to rob people of the knowledge of Jesus, all brick and mortar will fall and all the voices that mock Christ and His people will one day be silenced.

Everything that is build against God has the same ending, it is futile and it will fail. Investing time and energy in something that you know will ultimately fail and be reduced to crumble is pointless.

Like the temple of Artemis, you can build your structure (physical or not) but it will fail. God is the only one who has always been and will always be. Remember that as your pick up a stone to build your next idol.


Scriptures in today’s devotional:

NLT.1 Cor.7.30 Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. 31 Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.

The Voice. Matt.16.18 This is why I have called you Peter (rock): for on this rock I will build My church. The church will reign triumphant even at the gates of hell.

 

July 26, 2011

Fears, Hopes, Insecurities: A Male Perspective

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I could have written this myself, though not as well.  Murray Wittke blogs at All The Days of My Life, where this post appeared originally as A Man’s Dreams and Fears.

I am a man.  And as a man I live with deep longings and unspoken fears buried within in my heart.

On the one hand I desperately long for significance.  I long to be a man of the highest quality of character, the kind of man that moves into and significantly and positively influences the people I love and the world I live in.  I long to be the kind of man that has what it takes to handle difficult tasks, to be the husband and father my wife and children need me to be, and to be the best friend anyone could have.  At the end of my days I want to be able to look back with satisfaction upon a legacy of love carrying on in the lives of others.  Secretly I also long to be recognized, appreciated, and respected for being that kind of a man, by my family, friends, and peers.  Down deep I want to be recognized and valued as someone unique and special, to not simply be a nameless, faceless, and insignificant drone among the billions and billions of identical ants in the anthill of life living and dieing without anyone ever noticing they exist.

But!  On the other hand, and at the same time, I am plagued with unspoken anxiety and insecurity.  I live with a constant and terrible fear that eventually I will be exposed to all the world as a man that is inadequate; weak and powerless, a man of little worth or significance.  I live with the fear that despite my best efforts I will be exposed as nothing more than a man of no substance, a man of no particular value or importance.  I fear ending up as a man who lived and died without leaving any trace of impact or influence, a man no one noticed.  I fear that when it’s all over my life will have had the weightiness or impact of the slight brush of a butterfly wing.  I deeply fear that all I really am is an insignificant drone among the billions and billions of other nameless and faceless people no one ever notices, cares for, or misses when they are gone.  I admit, as a man I contain a strange brew of both deep longings and terrible fears.

What calms my fears and gives me hope is the knowledge that I am God’s child, dearly loved, highly valued, and delighted in by my Heavenly Father.  For reasons I cannot fathom He loves me!  He knows everything about me and doesn’t reject me!  Despite my strike outs, stumbling, errors, and fumbles; despite my shoes being on the wrong feet and my shirt buttoned up wrong; despite my embarrassing displays of temper tantrums, pouting, sulking; and despite sometimes even running away, He still gathers me up into His arms, holds me tight and cherishes me.  Wrapped in the arms of His love all the longings of my heart are satisfied and all my fears are washed away.

I am a man, but I am also His child.

~Murray Wittke

Here’s another example of Murray’s writing; this one is called Soul Surgery.