Vegas In The Middle East

Steve Arterburn

Take gambling-obsessed Las Vegas, drug-crazed Amsterdam, and the super-sexed red-light district of Bangkok. Now roll them together. That approximates the reputation of Sodom and Gomorrah.

 

God decided to take action against these cities. Abraham pleaded with God to halt His judgment so long as fifty righteous men could be found in them. At the end of Abraham’s pleas, the number was reduced to ten.

 

But Abraham was overly optimistic in hoping that ten righteous men could be found there. When God sent two angels to inspect Sodom, Abraham’s nephew Lot asked them to stay in his house for the night. What happened? In one of the Bible’s most grisly scenes, a rowdy gang of men gathered outside Lot’s house demanding that the guests be sent out so they could have their way with them. That’s where we get the term sodomy.

 

God’s patience was exhausted. He displayed His holiness and righteous judgment by destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. But in His mercy, God allowed Lot and his family to escape judgment by leaving this horrible place. Yet, they were reluctant to leave!–

 

Men, Lot had grown accustomed to his evil surroundings. He’d learned to feel at home there. Can you relate? You’re called to live in this world, and it’s an evil world. The solution isn’t to search for paradise on earth. Only the coming of God’s kingdom will bring this. But at the same time, beware: don’t let this world make it’s home in your heart.

Four Faces Of Folly

Steve Arterburn

 

As men, we’re called to speak into chaos. But our words must be both wise and well placed in order to offer any aspect of redemption. Consider Job’s friends. When tragedy struck, they were simply incredible. For seven days they were present with Job’comforting and grieving with him.

 

But when they began offering counsel, the situation soured. I think the foolishness of Job’s friends were expressed in four faces, and I think these four faces of folly still tempt us today. See if you can resonate with them.

 

Face Number One: Personal suffering always has a clear reason. Job’s friends were convinced that if somebody’s life is messed up, then there’s a clearly identifiable cause close at hand. After all, trouble doesn’t come out of nowhere.

 

Face Number Two: Good guys always prosper. Job’s friends were sure that, if you walked with God, you’d receive your just rewards in this life. 

 

Face Number Three: Bad guys always roast. Job’s friends believed evil always meets judgment in this life.

 

Face Number Four: If you’re suffering, it’s because you’ve sinned. Job’s friends had ideas about suffering that caused them to needlessly kick Job when he was down.

 

Men, do you have a friend who’s suffering? If so, take care that your words bring comfort to the situation. Don’t let the example of Job’s friends scare you into silence. Just keep in mind that your best guess as to the reason for your friend’s suffering may well be wide of the mark.

Exaltation Through Humility

Steve Arterburn

Men, Jesus Christ is first and foremost the object of our faith. He’s also our primary example of what the life of faith looks like.

 

For instance, consider Christ’s humility’particularly the way He relinquished His will to the Father. Philippians chapter two says our attitude should be the same as His. Though He was truly God, He didn’t demand or cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made Himself as nothing. In His incarnation and life on earth, He took the humble position of a suffering servant. He lived in perfect obedience, yet died a criminal’s death on a cross.

And because of this humility, the Father raised Christ from death to sit at His right hand’a position of absolute honor, glory, and power.

But whatever you do, don’t miss the progression: Jesus’ humiliation preceded and precipitated His exaltation. Humility was a key element in Jesus’ life as He accomplished the Father’s will for fallen humanity.

If we’re to surrender to God and His will for us, we need to be humble as well. Jesus didn’t pray solely for His own will. He humbly prayed for His Father’s will to be done. We, too, ought to pray, ‘Father, I want your will, not mine.’ Men, this is the mark of humility and the beginning of real spiritual renewal.