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Culture’s Voice | Voices

Culture’s Voice | Voices

Monday  “But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served…Or will it be the gods of the Amorites…? As for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15

“I’m a well-rounded person,” Meg boasted. “On Saturday nights, who-ee! I’m the life of the party. But Sundays I get along great with church people. I love that one worship song. Gives me chills!” She shuddered to show how moved she was. “I mean I pray and everything, I just don’t want the God-stuff to take over my life. Yeah, I’m living with my boyfriend but I’m also going on a mission trip this summer. I don’t read the Bible, but I get inspirational tweets on my phone every morning, so I think it all balances out.” Was Meg well-rounded or was she what Joshua called someone who “refuses to serve the LORD?”

In Joshua’s day, the Israelites considered themselves God’s people while also partying with the pagans around them. In the 21st century, we do the same thing. Culture’s voice is in our ears day and night and we may not realize that we’re following it rather than God. Culture doesn’t mind “God-stuff” as long as it doesn’t conflict with mob-think. “Sure, do a little God on the weekends, but don’t let it control your life!” Churches are filled with Megs who believe they can have both worlds. But Joshua’s line in the sand still challenges us: Choose today whom you will serve. If it’s this world’s culture, then dive in. But if we want a genuine friendship with the Lord God Almighty, He must be our ONLY God. It’s culture or Jesus.  We cannot serve both.

Challenge Question: Would Joshua classify you as one of those who needs to choose this day whom you will serve?

Prayer: Lord, this is uncomfortable. I like thinking of myself as a Christian while still fitting in with ungodly people too. Am I one of those Joshua was talking to? I need to know. My eternity depends on it. I’m ready to get real. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

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Tuesday For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away to follow other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of his father David had been.  1 Kings 11:4   

Sol was warned. God had been clear that marrying foreign hotties would derail him up (Deut. 17:17). But Solomon didn’t listen. One more wife seemed like a good idea at the time. Adding another princess to his harem would create harmony between nations. Right, God? Sure, they’re pagans, but their idols are cute and harmless. Right, God? After all, Solomon was the Wizard of Wisdom and this seemed wise. Right, God? He was too tight with the Lord to let it affect him. Right, God?

Don’t we do that? God has spoken, but we have a better idea. So we try to reason with Him in prayer until we convince ourselves He agrees with us. “You don’t want me to be lonely, so moving in with my boyfriend must be okay with you. Right, God?” “I can have you AND my party friends, right God?“I know what your word says, but in MY situation…” we reason, not realizing we are being drawn into a net by our enemy. Culture offers tantalizing options that don’t line up with scripture, so like Solomon, we keep listening to those options until our hearts walk away from the One who died for us. Culture is not our friend when it challenges or tries to reinterpret God’s word. Wise people recognize when it is Satan speaking through culture’s voice.

Challenge Question:  How many of your opinions and lifestyle decisions are influenced by culture’s voice?

Prayer: Father, I’m far too immersed in the worldly ideas around me, and I don’t know your word well enough to recognize when Satan is speaking. I commit to grounding myself in your word so I’m not fooled by culture’s voice. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Wednesday  But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers.  1 Kings12:8

Rebby had it all going on. A prince, more money than he could spend, and a kingdom as soon as Dad died. And he had BIG plans to rule differently than Granddad had. He would take it to the limit. When older statesmen tried to intervene, Rebby waved them off in favor of his buddies. They were the new generation and they were gonna shake things up! They certainly did and all Israel turned against him. He found out too late that the buddies were wrong. Should’ve listened to the old timers.

The 2020s has seen a resurgence of Rebby-thinking. Everyone with a Tik-Tok account views himself as a guru of blinding brilliance. It was once understood that the younger learned from the older. However, the internet offers the illusion that if we have an opinion, we should wax eloquent on every ridiculous idea in our heads. The desire by the under-40’s to instruct has never so dominated culture. And the over-40’s are shamed into believing they should listen and agree. Culture’s voice is defined by whoever shouts the loudest. We can see who’s winning. And losing. But Rebbys won’t catch on until it’s too late.

Challenge Question: If you’re under 40, are you caught in Rebby-think? If you’re over 40, are you challenging it with wisdom?

Prayer: Father, how much Rebby-thinking controls me? Do I prefer the voice of culture to the voice of wisdom and experience? Whose counsel do I seek about life’s issues? Help me not be a fool about who I listen to. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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ThursdayThey are from the world, so they speak from the world, and the world listens to them.  1 John 4:5

Shep froze in her tracks, her eyes on her trainer. Every muscle quivered in anticipation of her trainer’s next command. “Go!” he shouted, followed by “Stop!” Shep leaped forward then skidded to an instant stop, tongue lolling. A trainer in the next course shouted a command. Shep’s eyes darted to him and then back to her owner, but she never budged. Chaos erupted in the arena as a frightened dog broke through its assigned course and raced toward the stands. Shep gave a soft whimper, but her trainer whispered, “It’s okay. Lay.” She instantly calmed and lay down in the dirt, eyes fastened on the one she loved.

The animal world helps us understand the spiritual one. Many voices clamored for Shep’s attention, but her ears were tuned to only one. Born-again children of God are to be like that, our ears tuned to only one Voice. Culture’s many voices clamor for our attention and confuse us. But when we learn that leaders we once respected cave to worldly pressure, we shouldn’t be surprised. They’ve tuned in to the wrong voice. “Homosexuality is fine!” culture cries. “Abortion is only a medical procedure.” “There are dozens of genders and we must validate them all.” It was bad enough when those voices shouted from Satan’s camp, but they’re now shouted from pulpits. They don’t speak for God. They speak from the world and the world listens.

Challenge Question: Which voice is your heart tuned to hear? Listening to both only brings confusion.

Prayer: Father, I’ve listened to culture’s voice and it’s affected my opinions and attitudes about issues that are clear in your word. I renounce all voices that contradict yours and will keep my eyes fastened on the one I love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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FridayMay I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  Galatians 6:14

What exactly happened at the cross? We wear golden crosses around our necks, perch white ones on church roofs, and sing about it, but do we actually understand what took place there? The cross was a Roman torture tool that the invading army had invented in order to punish enemies of Caesar in a way no one would forget. Jews had never seen a cross until Rome took over and made it a symbol of public rejection and despair. Crucifixion was so abhorrent that it was reserved for the worst of the worst. Yet, the entire New Testament refers to it constantly. Unless we understand why, we get lost.

God could have arranged for His Son to have a heart attack, or beheaded, or otherwise killed instantly. But He chose the cross—a gruesome, agonizing, slow death in public humiliation. Was that necessary? It was. The horror of the cross is an eternal reminder of the horror of our high treasons against our Creator. It’s how we should die. But when Jesus went to the cross, He became every vile, filthy thing we’ve thought or done. Wrapped in our wickedness, God the Father turned away. And when Jesus rose again, He told us, “I did that for you, now crucify your old life for me.” No one going to the cross would come back alive, and that’s what Paul means in this verse. Unless our fascination with the world and its charms has been crucified with Christ, it keeps showing up and trying to direct our choices. The only way to cancel culture’s voice is to crucify it.

Challenge Question:  Is the world crucified to you and you to the world? If not, its voice will become your master.

Prayer: Father, I know Jesus was crucified, but I never thought about how I need to be crucified as well. My love affair with myself and this world has to die or I cannot be your follower. Thank you for the cross. I’ll join you there. In Jesus’ name, amen.