Remembering My Creator – Volume 1, Number 5: October 2010

Remembering My Creator

Volume 1, Number 5

Theme: Dancing

In This Issue:

  • “Purer in Heart O God Help Me to Be” by Jordan Shouse
  • ““Walking in the Light” by David Bushnaq
  • Editorial: Applications of “Walking in the light to Our Theme” by Randy Sexton
  • “To Dance or Not To Dance” by David Bushnaq

Purer in Heart O God Help Me to Be

By Jordan Shouse

 

What comes to mind when you think of something pure? Use your imagination with me for a moment. Think of a beautiful brook. The water is so clear, you can see every rock, and pebble on the bottom. It makes you so thirsty just to watch it gently bubble, calmly stream. When you reach down to fill your cup, it’s ice cold! Oh, but when you drink, it is the best tasting water you have ever tasted (yes, water can taste!). It’s such an amazing sight. The sun cutting through the trees creating lines of brilliance as it highlights the bright colors of the changing leaves as they fall from the trees. The cool, crisp air, the smells from this bubbling brook, don’t you want to be there!

Now imagine this beautiful brook. Your cup is empty, and you are wanting more! Before you are able to dip your cup into this pure stream, a truck loses control and slides down the bank on the other side, spilling its contents into the stream. What was it containing? Sewage. Into this beautiful, crystal clear brook is now the foul, disgusting waste. The horrible smell just fills your nostrils. You would not even think twice about dipping that cup in again. This scene now, despite how perfect the weather may be, is ruined by the polluted water.

This poor attempt at an illustration is often times what we see in our own lives. Our God wants us to be pure in heart. Jesus instructed that those who are “pure in heart” will be the ones who see God (Matt. 5:8). It was David who wrote that one who has a “pure heart” will stand in the holy place of God (Ps. 24:4). A pure heart is a beautiful thing. A heart that belongs to the Lord and keeps from doing sinful things is one that pleases the Lord, one which will be rewarded.

You may wonder what this has to do with this month’s assignment on dancing. Just as the beautiful brook was polluted with waste, our pure hearts are easily contaminated by the ways of the world. One of the strong contaminants is lust. Lust is simply a “strong desire.” It is a craving. Something as a young person you must guard against is the craving, or the lust of the flesh. When you allow the urgings and desires for someone of the opposite gender to fill your hearts, to crave for them, lusting for them, your pure heart has been defiled by the waste of sin. Now it is fine to like someone. You go on dates with someone you like. Eventually you marry that person you’ve been dating for some time that you’ve learned to love. However, liking and lusting are two different things. Liking is admiring the positive traits about a person. Lusting is thinking about that person in inappropriate ways. It doesn’t matter if it is just in my thoughts, and that I don’t tell anyone about it. Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28. Keep your hearts pure! Lusting will lead to doing things I would never have done before, of thinking thoughts I never would have thought of, of saying things I never would have said, looking at people in ways I never would have looked at them, and then engaging in things I would NEVER have done. The Bible is very clear that we need to avoid sinful lust. Check out 2 Timothy 2:22, 1 John 2:16.

How does lust come about? I will tell you that it doesn’t just poof into our minds. It is provoked. Seeing things I shouldn’t have seen, hearing things I shouldn’t have heard, engaging in actions I shouldn’t have engaged in; these produce lust. And these dangers are prevalent with dancing. At the pep assembly, you’ll have to overt your eyes when the dance team or cheerleaders come and dance on the floor. Keep pure. The dances today are apt to provoke lust, so my advice is to avoid dancing with others. This is not a broad ban on all dancing. Hanging out with your friends and dancing to the YMCA is completely different from the animalistic or lustful forms of dancing and slow dancing done today.

My plea is to keep your hearts pure. This is truly not just for the youth, but a plea for all of God’s children. Help each other to keep pure. It doesn’t help to involve these kinds of dancing in social events like weddings or parties. Help us keep pure. Grab a hold of a good friend who holds to the same beliefs and convictions, and lean upon them when these temptations grow strong. Don’t bother flipping on those TV shows focused on couples dancing. It is a trap just waiting for you. Keep your hearts pure.

Keep your hearts pure for the sake of the Church. Wherever you attend, they need bright shining lights in the community. Your peers around you need to see you making a stand for what you believe in despite how strange it may seem. Keep your hearts pure for the sake of your future spouse. One day, Lord willing, you may find someone you truly love and want to spend the rest of your life with. Save your passion, your desires, your heart for that person. They are the treasure worth waiting and working for. Keep your hearts pure for the sake of the Lord. God knows our hearts, and what He wants is someone who is doing his or her best to do what is right. God doesn’t want a muck infested pit, but a beautiful brook, a heart that’s pure.

Walking in the Light

By David Bushnaq

Walking in the light. Something we feel safe doing, something we may take for granted. It gives safety, security, and comfort to us in our day to day lives, but what about those without it? The main text for my talk will be 1 John 1: 5-8.

1 John 1: 5. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. As such, those who follow him strive to be in the light as well. We must strive to emulate God’s character in everything we do.

Those in darkness do not fit into God’s character and as such can not be one of his. In fact, those of darkness are in direct contrast to God’s purity.

“Walking in darkness” is very difficult. Even if you are familiar with your surroundings, the darkness adds difficulty to what would normally be menial. There could be objects nearby to hamper you, and could easily cause you to stumble. The light allows us to see those dangers clearly and makes it easier for us to avoid them.

Something seemingly small and inconspicuous could cause us to stumble and fall. Sin could be that object, friends. Something so obvious in the light, could become a dangerous trap for us if we do not see it. That is sin. For those who live their lives based on the bible can measure it against the Word of God and see it for the sin it is, but for those who do not, would be unable to see it as a threat until it causes us harm.

The same is true for us as Christians. If we are blinded by the world around us, we may not see things as the sin that they are. Things that may appear to be innocent and harmless may very well cause us to stumble. These can be very dangerous as we do not realize the extent of the danger until it is too late.

Verse 6 says we can’t have fellowship with God and walk in darkness, so how do we walk in darkness?

If we are blinded by the world around us, we may not see sin for what it is. Walking in darkness means living with sin either by not repenting and turning away, or by just not comparing ourselves with the bible.

Things that may appear to be innocent and harmless may very well cause us to stumble. And we may not notice it until it is too late that is why we must read our bibles every day so we make our best effort to prevent this from happening.

Verse 7. Walking in the light is living by God’s word, a godly lifestyle and striving to lead others to him. Why is light so important?

The light brilliantly eradicates the darkness and as such allows us to see things for their true nature. God is the light we are to walk in, and the bible is the blueprint we are to use to access it. For those in the darkness, even a little bit of light could be all they need to go to their destinations safely. We could be that light, my friends!

Turning on a light switch makes everything look different when in the dark, and what may seem to be insurmountable may very well be menial when looked at from a different perspective. We could be that light switch for others. Even something that seems small to us like a good deed may reflect enough light through us to help others reach their destinations safely. Something as simple as a bible study with someone could be all they need to trigger further study from them and a change to a life of God’s.

Unlike God, we humans do sin from time to time [read verse 8] we are no better than anyone else, or difference is we asked God for repentance. How can we keep this from anyone else? By not telling them about God’s word, we could condemn them to continue living in darkness

How do we regain our light? Chapter 2 verses 1 and 2. John is writing so we DO NOT sin, but if we do, we have Jesus Christ as our propitiation for our sins, and the sins of the whole world. It is through his sacrifice, we have the ability to wash the darkness from our lives and return them to a shimmering beauty that emulates the Lord.

For those yet to gain this light, Romans 6: 3-4. Not Christ’s death, but resurrection. He was raised, we too can have eternal life. Die to our old sins and be reborn in a newness of life, walking in the light.

If you would like to begin this walk of light, or would like the prayers of the congregation to help you in your walk of light, please step forward as we stand and sing.

Editorial: Applications of Walking in the light to Our Theme

By Randy Sexton

I heard David Bushnaq deliver the “Walking in the Light” message above, at the Wednesday evening services of the Park Hill church of Christ in Fort Smith Arkansas, on October 27, 2010. I was impressed with David’s message and afterwards asked him for his permission to publish it on this website. There are several young men at Park Hill that the preacher, David Deuster, is working with to help them deliver talks and to develop their abilities to serve. Look for more articles from David on this site.

David’s message is applicable to a number of different issues, of course, but I would like for you to consider its application to our theme for this month. Dancing is an activity that many people are fond of for a number of different reasons. Some tout its health benefits, some like its social nature, and some are swept up by its lustful nature.

I think this observation by David is particularly applicable:

“If we are blinded by the world around us, we may not see things as the sin that they are. Things that may appear to be innocent and harmless may very well cause us to stumble. These can be very dangerous as we do not realize the extent of the danger until it is too late.”

 

That is right on the mark, David. We certainly can be blinded to the evil around us. The allure, as presented in movies and by advertisers, can get in your eyes and cause to “trip over” things like drinking, dancing, partying, and the like. It can be particularly troublesome for you young people. You are at a stage of your life where popularity is very important to you. The peer pressure is great to do things of questionable value and virtue. If you get in with the wrong crowd that pressure becomes even greater and the evil becomes even more evident.

Schools begin having dances to get kids acquainted and to encourage esprit de corps. Those who do not go along with the crowd stand out and at times are ridiculed. I pray that is not the case for you young reader, but if it is I would encourage you to take solace in the words of your peers words above. Place your confidence in God and take refuge in His Word. Read the words of Solomon in the various Proverbs that speak to you about the trials and temptations that you face. Passages like these will help you thrive in this most important time of your life. And you can be an influence on your friends when they see the passion that you have for living the godly life!

Proverbs 1:10-11, 15-16 – “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, ‘Come with us…’, My Son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.”

Proverbs 4:14-15 – “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.”

Proverbs 13:20 – “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”

Proverbs 28:7 – “Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.”

Thanks for reading with me young friend. Have a blessed day!

To Dance or Not To Dance

By David Bushnaq

Hello everyone. David Bushnaq here! Randy asked me to write an article on dancing from a young person’s perspective, so here goes:

Dancing itself is fairly common in this day and age, isn’t it? We see it everywhere. I’m told the most popular show on Television right now is “Dancing With The Stars”! But I’m sure we all know that it’s nothing new; it’s been around since the days of the bible. Of course we know why it’s done – to release stress, work out, or even to send messages to the person you’re dancing with, but what does our Bible have to say about it?

Is all dancing wrong? Granted, we’ve probably seen those dancing video games where both sides are several inches apart and never draw near. And what about the kind of dancing similar to River Dance, that is both a great workout and a great way to show off in front of your friends? While that kind of dance may be seemingly innocent, the videos provided while you’re playing, and the lyrics in the songs are very dangerous.

Surely dancing in itself isn’t wrong, right? I mean David, himself, in the Old Testament, danced as the Ark of the Covenant was returned to its rightful place, as found in 2 Samuel 6: 14-15. David, again uses dance to praise the Lord as found in Psalm 149.

So, my friends, does that mean the Bible condemns dancing? Well… Sort of. While the act of dancing in itself isn’t inherently evil, we have to watch for the content of the dance in order for us to know whether or not it’s something we should or should not do. Especially since we are young and have to deal with peer pressure every day of our lives.

I mean, just take a look at the kind of dances done today. Whether we think so or not, they are lewd, sultry, and sensual. Do you think the Lord is pleased with that kind of dance? It’d be a safe bet (“Betting” is another topic for another day.) to say “no.” But what’s so terrible about it? Well, those dances done in clubs or on most TV shows, where the partners get real close, isn’t the lust obvious? (Matthew 5:28) Participating in those kinds of dances and feeling lust towards your partner isn’t just sinful, it’s considered adultery! Be careful, my friends!

Also, it doesn’t take long for you to realize that what is simulated is not something someone [especially younger Christians like we are] should watch. What is seen should not only be kept in private, but only between 2 people. I’m sure you’ve seen the “if it feels good, do it” mentality that our generation lives by, so I fear this kind of thing isn’t going away.

What it shows for us, is that the media wants us to think that these kinds of actions are ok to be done, not only ok, but glorified! They know we may not be at our peak in maturity yet, so getting people our age to not only accept those behaviors, but to continue them, allows them to get to people our age, and it increases their ratings…the only thing that matters to them.

“But wait a second!” You may ask, “What about those kinds of dances that only involve one person? Are those sinful?” Let’s look at one of the more commonly recognized examples of this and then look at a Bible example showing the danger of it.

Belly dancing is the first example that came to my mind. A young female dancer wearing clothes they should not and doing motions that try to get the watcher to focus on that part of their body with a lustful eye. The lust and lewdness are still there, friends! Now please consider the 6th chapter of Mark’s gospel.

John told Herod that keeping his brother’s wife was a sin, so Herod hated John for it, having told him he was a sinner, but he also feared John, knowing he was holy, so he didn’t kill John. BUT– He had a birthday and his daughter danced. The Bible mentions that she pleased Herod and his guests. So much so, that Herod offered her even half of his kingdom! She went to her mother and her mother told her to ask for the head of John, so she did so.

While the kind of dance mentioned here isn’t known, it was most assuredly a sensual dance and many of the guests at the party were drunk, so the implication of this is very clear. We aren’t to participate in those kinds of dances, either by performing them, viewing them, or even going to places where they are performed. “That’s harsh!” you may say, and while it may seem so, we are to flee youthful lusts as is found in 2 Timothy 2:22.

It’s tough, being a young Christian, growing up in a world filled with lust, immorality, and an “if it feels good, do it!” mentality. In fact, one of the biggest events in school is “The Prom”, a night celebrating the end of high school and the beginning of the journey into adulthood. A night I avoided. Why would the Prom be a temptation for us? The Prom by itself may not be sinful, but what the Prom has become, and what the kids do during it… is. We know that drinking, fornication, and sultry dancing is sinful, and going to the Prom puts us in a situation where we will be tempted with these kinds of behaviors.

I remember James 1 verses 12-15. It is we, ourselves who allow temptation in our lives, and when it is fully grown it leads to death…spiritual death. There may be some instances where temptation may occur without us knowing in advance that it awaits us, but please be careful to keep yourself from willingly entering into such situations as much as possible.

So what are we to do? We, as Christians, are not to conform to those kinds of behaviors [Romans 12:2], but are to show that we are transformed. We cannot partake in these kinds of activities, we cannot show that we support them financially or personally by being there, and we cannot support them by trying to get others to go, themselves. This may be one of the instances where you can lead others to Christ by your example. Some may ridicule you, but others will respect you for your decision and that could be just what you need to start a biblical discussion.

I conclude with Matthew 5: 14-16. We are to use our light [influence] on others to lead them to God. Part of our light is reputation. If people know we are Christians and yet see us participating in these vulgar acts, it not only says to them that “if he does it, it must be ok,” but it also hurts our reputation with them as well. Peer pressure may be tough to overcome, but we must do so in order to live our lives right with God.

Friends, I went through all of it myself. I’m 25 now, and I am familiar with the kinds of pressures and temptations you are going through. Pressure by kids my own age, being asked to go to places and do things I knew were wrong [even to the point of mockery {and lots of it}] but I realized that my reputation with God is far more important than my reputation with others. And that’s only half of the story! Yes, I was ridiculed, slandered, and had all sorts of ugly things said about me, but the others saw me for who I was, respected me for it, and those are the ones I stayed in close contact with. Those who come to me and tell me that I was pretty cool and that they remembered me [even these many years after graduation] and how they saw me as someone who was different. They may not have known so at the time, but they do now.

You may not be the “coolest” kid in school [as I can openly admit that I wasn’t.] but once people mature and realize that there is life outside of high school… well, maybe those they teased actually were pretty cool after all! Maybe as they see you in the day to day walk afterwards, they may bring up how you were different and they may wonder how it was you live[d] as you do[did], and there’s your open door to a Bible study with them.