Archive for category Objectivity

Wow! I Can See!

446963_origI began to have trouble with my vision in the 4th grade.  I would have to squint or hold up my hands and make a peep-hole through my fingers to see the chalkboard. Mrs. Hitt, my 4th grade teacher, asked me one day what I was doing.  She called my mother that day, and the next thing I knew I was getting fitted for glasses.  I remember distinctly riding home from the eye doctor amazed that I could see the leaves on the trees as we passed by. My ability to now see the chalkboard helped my math grade!  I could actually see the threads on the baseball, and this improved my hitting.  That spring after I got my first glasses, I hit several home runs including a grand slam.  Seeing is liberating!  Today, after 40 years of having to wear corrective lens, my vision is growing poorer.  I’ve worn contacts most of those forty years and have enjoyed the comfort and yes, the vanity as well.  I do believe I’m going to have to go back to glasses, but I will stubbornly fight it for as long as I can.  I believe people of the world fight seeing the gospel in the same way.  2Co. 4:4   In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

                Satan certainly does a masterful job at convincing the blind, that they’re not blind.  He appeals to their pride and vanity by making the gospel seem nerdish, archaic, odd and ugly to wear.  The Devil has created a realm among intellectuals where the gospel is seen as a panacea for the backward and uninformed, declaiming that those who would even consider its content are stupid or simple-minded.  Atheist author, Richard Dawkins, points out that according to a survey of the National Academy of Scientists only 7 percent of American scientists believe in a personal God. There is an incredible bias against theism within higher education. In 2009, Dr. Brent Slife published a study of this “Pervasive, implicit bias,” and demonstrated ways that the anti-God mentality is a systemic part of academia.  The result of this bias is that the most intelligent people (since they are likely to attend college and grad school) are exposed to tremendous negative pressure from both mentors and peers regarding their beliefs.

              The other side of the coin are those who dimly see but refuse correction so they may see well.  For most the truth is relative or not absolute.  Scripture is only as good as the one interpreting it and therefore becomes unimportant or subject to error. Perhaps they are more like Pilate, who for superstition reasons, viewed God and His truth with skepticism.   John 18:38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.  Maybe they believe their state of spiritual health is fine and they feel comfortable in their own religion, refusing to put on glasses and see the leaves on the tree. Luke 18:18-23.  Or maybe they’re just waiting for a better day, a more convenient opportunity.  Acts 24:25  And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

              The good thing for me was that I had a teacher who cared that I couldn’t see and a mother who made sure I got glasses.  Too bad we can’t make people sit down in a chair and put on the glasses of truth so they might see the gospel clearly.

Darryl Fuller

The Grand Delusion

ostrich2How long does it take for a lie to become truth? It seems that everywhere we turn these days, truth has become to many, a burdensome and loathsome obstacle, in the way of unpardonable behavior. The solution for the erring and ungodly is to diminish the effects of truth by diluting it to non-existence. Make a good thing bad enough, long enough and in the eyes of the wicked (those who hate truth), good becomes evil and evil becomes good. God through the prophet Isaiah pronounced a curse on this: Isa 5:20  Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! One of the words so frequently used today to convey this is the word “hate”. Now the true haters (those who are lovers of self, full of envy, strife, deceit, maliciousness, etc., read Rom.1:28-32), are quick to proclaim that anyone who opposes their behavior is a hater. They have slowly but tenaciously turned those who teach truth about their sinful behavior into the false perception of mean spirited and hateful individuals. With time they will use “hate crimes”, laws against hate, to incarcerate and persecute those who uphold truth.

Since the very beginning this has been the ploy of Satan, substitute truth with a lie. Jesus said he (Satan) is the father of lies, lying is his very nature (John 8:44). We should not therefore find it at all strange that evil people will lie to justify their means. It is by their very nature to lie and believe in lies. It’s always amazed me that some people believe or buy into the ideas of UFO’s, Bigfoot, 9/11 conspiracy theories, Elvis walks among us  to name a few. When a certain individual entertains such notions it often leads to benign curiosity. However, feed that curiosity enough and before long it grows into fixation. Once fixated or tickled by the lies, you will begin to believe that there may actually be something to it. The threshold has been crossed.  The desire to make that which is false true, has become reality.  Elvis is alive! (you’d be shocked of how many people really believe this.)

During World War II, Juan Garcia was what we call a double secrete agent. He hated facism and communism and longed to be an agent for the British but they rejected his offer. He then solicited the Germans and was accepted. He went to work immediately providing the Nazis with just enough truth (harmless to the allies) to garner their trust. While living in  Lisbon he portrayed himself as a member of the Spanish National Socialist Party and very carefully played the Germans with deception while helping the British with inside information. He became so good that he was the only person during WWII to receive medals from both  sides. Eventually the British incorporated him into the MI5 and utilized his trust among the Nazis to help in the invasion of Normandy in June of 1944. The Germans so trusted their agent that his reports of a great invasion coming to Calais, France (the actual invasion took place on the beaches of Normandy) was heeded.

When people set out to believe in lies, God will make sure you get what you wanted. 2Th 2:11-12  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  The Germans had believed in lies to such degrees that they took pleasure in them, and this was their undoing.

As God’s children we are expected to stand up and defend His holy truths. We must work to feed ourselves with these truths and spit out the lies. How long does it take for a lie to become truth? As quickly as it takes for you to entertain its notion.

Darryl Fuller

The Ugly Truth

All of God’s word is truth of course, but the beginning of the New Testament is brazenly so. Matthew’s account begins with the lineage of the Savior. This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Mt.1:1 What follows is a list of Jesus’ ancestry, a list of liars, murderers, adulterers, thieves, prostitutes, etc. Judah the father of Perez and Zerah (by Tamar) v.3 – INCEST , Salmon the father of Boaz (by Rahab) v.4, – PROSTITUTE, David was the father of Solomon (by the wife of Uriah 3 ) v.6. – MURDERER, ADULTERER,  all that in just the first 6 verses.

Now, if I’m going to tell you the history of a famous person, I’d probably not start out this way. Matter of fact, I wouldn’t  include really bad ancestry at all. Even in ancient accounts of history detailing the accounts of heroic countrymen, written by the likes of Herodotus, Livy, Tacitus and Josephus, don’t tell us the full truth of who they are and where they come from. On the contrary, men tend to elaborate or glorify the  subject of their discourse, and even take great leaps in making their subjects’ ancestry one of mythical gods.    I look back into the history of my father’s and mother’s families and I find no mention or any evidence that point to such above mentioned, bad characters. Maybe my father’s ancestry back to the Castellaws of Edinburgh, Scotland, were all great, noble, honorable, clean-as-the-driven-snow people, but I doubt it. The truth is very hard to swallow sometimes, and thus we don’t like to talk about it. Our past is a reminder of who we are. On my mother’s side of the family our ancestry comes from Hungary and the Slavic nations. History tells us that the word slave is derived from the word Slavic due to the fact that the Slavic people were enslaved at one time- not a bright moment in the family tree!

What is God doing, giving us such a tepid list of Jesus’ family tree? Why start out this way, and be so blunt about it in the first six verses? He even makes it abundantly clear, “by Tamar, by Rahab, by the wife of Uriah.”  Couldn’t you have spared us this information until the end? Like maybe, “Go into the world and preach the gospel, and oh, by the way, Jesus’ family tree is full of bad people” df.  But, you see, God doesn’t work the way we think.  God deals in the realm of TRUTH. We like to think we’re truthful, but a lot of times, we’re covering up something, something we don’t want anyone to know about. That something is sin, and we’re all guilty of it, all of us.  If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin,we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous,  forgiving  us our sins and cleansing  us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10.  We don’t confess our wrongs like we should, nor do we care to discuss them publicly like God does.

In the Gospel of John, truth is an often repeated topic  “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:32. John emphasizes that these things were written that you might believe. How much better is that?! God wants me to believe in Him, and because He desires that so much, He tells me the truth, no matter how hard it is to take. There have been many over the ages that have walked away from the Bible because it tells the truth. They walk away and scoff at it, because they don’t deal in truth. God is truth, and He has made it possible for us to be truthful as well.  Notice the end of the first section of Matthew 1 says, Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. v.16.  At the end of this ancestry is the Savior of it all. What an unbelievable way to begin the Good News. We’re all bad, but we can all be saved. God’s truth may be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s a pill that will save us of our illness, if we’re willing to take it with a full glass of water.

 

The Right Info

So, I got up this morning and thought I would track my son and daughter-in-law’s flight to Colorado. I punched in the departure airport and the destination airport, located a flight that was leaving this morning, selected the flight and tah-dah!MySkyStatus I’m tracking their flight.  In real time data I’m able to see their altitude, air speed, flight path and to the mile, where they are along the flight path.  I immediately texted Ben and looked to impress him with my savvy techno knowhow.  “I see Ben that you are cruising along at 28,000 feet, with airspeed of 414mph and I show that you are flying directly over   Gadsden, Alabama right now.” A few minutes go by and no reply, “I see that you are now at 30,000 feet and are now passing over Huntsville.” Then I get a text from Ben, “That’s not us.” I asked, “Where are you?” He responds, “At the airport.” All that techno, GPS, WiFi, 4G, iPhone, Star Trek, “beam me up Scottie”, know-how is no good unless you’ve got the right flight. Imagine that! In the age of information, it turns out the right information is essential.

This is our world today, an entire globe of people with tons of information at the tip of our fingers, but we’ve built our faith and decisions on bad information. Please don’t interpret my intentions here as an attempt to beat up on the youth, but those born after 1993 don’t know anything yet. Work awhile, have children, pay bills, change a diaper, sit up all night with a crying baby, wonder how you’re going to pay the mortgage, a broken car, and a torn up washing machine in the same week. Then, maybe, you’ve got enough information to make life-changing decisions. Until then, Wikipedia and Google search may give you all kinds of knowledge, but it will never be able to provide you with wisdom.

In the same way, the information age has somehow rendered the wisdom of God’s word as trivial and archaic.  We have so much information in regard to history and other cultures that “experts” young and old alike, think they have all the answers now.  “Attend the church of your choice” they say, and that sounds like a good thing, but it’s the wrong  information. 1Ti 3:15  if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.  And Eph 4:4-5  There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–  one Lord, one faith, one baptism. 

Joel Osteen claims that there are many paths to God and Christ is just one of them.  Sounds good and happy and inclusive, but it’s bad information. God says in Php 2:9-11  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,   so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,    and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Some experts say, “It doesn’t matter about your religion as long as you are moral and do good deeds.”  Once again, a great and encouraging sentiment, but it’s bad information.  The creator of the world says  Mat 7:21-23  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.   On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Ben and Jennifer are over Kansas City as I end this note.  They are cruising at an altitude of 38,800 feet with airspeed of 438 mph. They’ll be in Denver in another 59 minutes. I’m assured of this now. I’ve got the right path, the right flight, all because I finally got the right information.

Don’t be misinformed!

Darryl Fuller

The Wrong Side of the Road

As Beth and I approached our 25th wedding anniversary, we talked of several places we might like to go and see. But the conversation always got redirected toward England. After a year of saving and planning, we both knew that England was within our budget and was the place that most intrigued our curiosity.  What made it even more attractive was the idea that it would be a lot like the U.S., and we could therefore speak and understand  their language. We had both studied and read of England from Chaucer,    Shakespeare, and Milton to modern writings from Jane Austen, T.S. Eliot, Dickens and  Doyle. We were clearly inspired by Follet’s “Pillars of the Earth”, and I used this as my compass to navigate through England via old and uniquely constructed cathedrals.   Now, taking road trips is my Oreo cookies, I know where I want to start and where I plan to finish, but it’s everything in-between that is good and savory. So planning was critical, and plan I did. Each night when Beth would retire I got on Google Earth and with Street View I drove several routes through England until I decided on the best one.  I felt that I had become so familiar with the roads through this media that I might even be bored with it when we got to England. In all, both Beth and I had built up in our mind with maps and books, what we would experience in England, and what we did experience was a little surprising to us. We have to be careful about expecting to see things the way we want to see them from the way that they really appear. This of course was the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ blunder in that Christ was not like what they had envisioned in their minds what He should be. Therefore they sought to destroy Him because He didn’t fit into their preconceived notions of the Messiah.

To study God’s word requires us to have open and objective thinking. Many people turn from the gospel and truth because it’s not what “mom and dad” believe.  They have been preconditioned to see scripture from a perspective that may be wrong, but it’s too hard to reject their parents so they end up rejecting truth. It’s hard to tell our neighbors and friends that instrumental music is not pleasing to God in worship.  Their upbringing and associations get too much in the way for them to accept the truth.  However, their preconceived ideas or thoughts are no excuse for practicing error and we must be bold and courageous in showing them their error, if we love their souls. Heb. 12:25, Acts 7:35

The first thing I did when we got the rental car in England was drive around in the parking lot for a minute or two, so I could get used to driving on the wrong side of a car. Beth was equally a little anxious, since she would be a passenger on the right (left side) side of the car with someone driving the car on the wrong side, going down the wrong side of the road who had never driven on the wrong side of the car going down the wrong side of the road. We were both a bit nervous! One mile into the journey we encountered our first major intersection; a “round-about”. Traffic was heavy, I was focused and Beth watched with great anticipation. I had driven around plenty of round-abouts in England, on Google Earth, but not one of them had traffic lights. Everything I read and had studied made no mention of traffic lights in round-abouts. The whole idea of a “round-about” is so you could do away with traffic lights.  It is supposed to be a junction in which you enter the circle, go around till you come to the road you want to take and then exit the circle, a continuous flow of traffic. The first round-about I came too, had two traffic lights. I ran them both! Twice! Beth says to me, “You just ran a red light!” I thought, “A red light? There are no red lights in a round-about!” when all of a sudden she shrills, “You just ran another red light!” That messed me up and I missed my exit, so we had to travel all the way back to the car rental parking lot at the airport just so we could turn around and try it again ( another surprise is it’s not easy to just turn around in England). I approached the round-about this time in the outside lane, but in my maneuvering I missed the first light again (Beth let me know and the woman I almost hit really let me know, not nicely I might add.) Determined not to miss the exit out of the round-about, I ran the last light again, but we made the exit and were on our way to Stonehenge (Ironically, another ancient round-about). My first preconceived ideas about round-abouts in England almost got us wrecked!

For the rest of the trip, I did not make that mistake again. To the contrary, I approached every round-about with an air of caution.  I wished I could say that I always learn from my experiences, but that’s not the case. Sometimes it takes a great deal to get through our thick heads. We should really be thankful for God’s enduring patience, His steadfast love toward our steadfast bull-headedness.

As in the case of the Pharisees and Sadducees, they had studied the scriptures and thought they understood every jot and tittle of it. After all, these men of the Law of Moses could not have gotten to their status of life without being able to recite those five books.  Being an expert of things because you’ve read it inside and out doesn’t guarantee comprehension or appreciation of the truth written within. There are a lot of atheists and agonistics who have studied the scriptures exhaustively, only to come up short of grasping the truth(2 Tim.3:5-7).  Memorizing  the scriptures is a worthy and noble endeavor. Living those verses daily is what God is after. Isa 29:13-14 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,  therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

The other surprise to me in driving through England was actually disappointing. In America, especially out west, one can drive and see things on either side of the road. In England, centuries of dividing the land between each successive land owner has turned the entire landscape into tall hedges and rock walls. Most of our journey, especially in Southern England, we saw nothing along the road but hedgerows. Somehow I missed this when I studied the streets on Google Earth. After we returned home, I looked up several places such as Coventry and sure enough, I couldn’t identify things along the road because of the hedgerows. Now you’ll read about these things in stories from Dickens or Austen, they’re told by Shakespeare and Elliot.  Most musicians from England like the Beatles or Led Zeppelin even sing about them, but there’s no way to even begin to understand them until you find yourself desperately looking for what it is that they’re hiding. So driving through England, although quite an experience, is not all that it’s cracked up to be. The thing that is the most comparable to it here in the Colonies (this is how the English refer to us), is a drive down the Interstate (screaming down the motorway in England). You will get to your destination in time, but you’ll miss all the wonderful things in-between. Thus my Oreo cookie of driving in England was somewhat void of the cream in the middle.

There were many other things that came as a surprise to us, pleasant surprises, but none the less corrections to our preconceived notions of how England should look and feel.  When we set forth to study God’s word, we should keep in mind some rather simple but helpful guidelines.

1. Study not to gain knowledge but to gain His wisdom.  Knowing Him will guide you better than the letter of the map. Prov.1

2. The signs are already there! Don’t look for new ones. No more are going to be put up, so make another pass through His word and look very carefully. Matt.12:39

3. Ask yourself, is this what I want to believe the scripture says, or is this what the scripture says? Phil.1:10, 2 Tim. 2:15

4. When truth is evident and it is contrary to your preconceived beliefs –get rid of your preconceived beliefs.Rom.2:8, 2 Cor.13:8, 2 Tim.4:4

5. When your wife says you’re driving on the wrong side of the road (even in England), listen to her.

 

Darryl Fuller