Starbucks Cup cheered by LGBT advocates

Posted by    |    November 20th, 2017 at 6:00 am

Starbucks has unveiled its new holiday campaign. It features what appears to be an affectionate lesbian couple in its promotional video. Some believe that the design of the new cup includes a same-sex couple as well.

The British LGBT Awards tweeted, “We’re loving @Starbucks’ new festive ad with a lesbian couple.” Other LGBT advocates are cheering the Holiday Cup design that seems to incorporate the couple. Predictably, those who oppose such “inclusiveness” are being labeled as “closed-minded” and ridiculed.

As unbiblical morality becomes increasingly popular, it’s worth asking: Why should Christians stand up against cultural trends?

The popularity of popularity

I often write about our culture’s postmodern belief that truth is what we believe it to be. Here’s a corollary consequence: popularity has become our definition of success.

Possessions are measured by popularity. Why do we want to drive and wear what is fashionable? Why do we care what other people think of our cars and clothes so long as they do their job?

Social media is driven by popularity measured in “likes,” “click-throughs,” and “follows.” The larger your audience, the more valuable your message. Or so we think.

Morality is driven by popularity as well. Since 61 percent of Australians voting in a recent election supported same-sex marriage, lawmakers will now change the centuries-old definition of marriage to accommodate the popular vote. Whether gay marriage is actually harmful to gay people and society at large is not a factor in the conversation.

Euthanasia is becoming more available than ever before, not because health care professionals believe it to be best for patients (actually, a large majority do not), but because a successful public relations campaign is persuading a largely uninformed public.

An illuminating article in the Columbia Political Review notes that public opinion plays a very significant role in shifting the attitudes and positions of Supreme Court justices. The Court also considers public opinion as it seeks to protect its position of authority in American society.

To be sure, Christians should want the gospel to be accepted by as many people as possible. Jesus commissioned us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Paul’s “heart’s desire and prayer to God” for his fellow Jews was that they “may be saved” (Romans 10:1). He was willing to be “accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers” (Romans 9:3).

But seeking to win as many people as possible is not the same as seeking to please as many people as possible.

The peril of popularity

First Kings 22 finds wicked King Ahab choosing whether to go to war with Syria. His false prophets all assure him that victory will be his.

Then he sends for a prophet named “Micaiah the son of Imlah.” Micaiah is warned by the king’s messenger that he should agree with the favorable prophets. But Micaiah replies, “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak” (v. 14).

At the risk of his life, he declares God’s warning that battle with Syria will lead to catastrophic defeat (v. 17). The prophet is willing to face prison and death (v. 27) rather than compromise his unpopular message to the most powerful man in his nation.

Why should we follow Micaiah’s example? What is so perilous about measuring success by popularity?

One: It violates biblical truth.

God’s word is clear: “Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Jesus assured us: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. . . . If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:18, 20). Paul testified: “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

Two: It is fleeting.

Jesus warned us: “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). Wise king Solomon added: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

Never forget that the crowd who shouted “Hosanna!” on Sunday shouted “Crucify!” on Friday.

Three: It’s illogical.

It’s conventional wisdom today that “perception is reality.” Actually, it’s not.

Neither support for the Starbucks campaign nor the vote in Australia will change the harmful consequences of homosexual marriage. Embracing euthanasia will not lessen its danger to the elderly, the infirm, and society at large.

The man who denies the sunrise doesn’t affect the sun.

Conclusion

“Micaiah the son of Imlah” is far from a household name, but I hope his example will encourage you to speak the truth and do what is right today, regardless of popular opinion. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (Robert Frost).

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Al Franken accused of sexual assault

Posted by    |    November 17th, 2017 at 6:00 am

In a Facebook post last month, Sen. Al Franken stated: “The women who have shared their stories about Harvey Weinstein over the last few days are incredibly brave. It takes a lot of courage to come forward, and we owe them our thanks.

“And as we hear more and more about Mr. Weinstein, it’s important to remember that while his behavior was appalling, it’s far too common.”

Now Sen. Franken has been accused of similar behavior.

Leeann Tweeden is a broadcaster and model. She participated with Franken in a USO tour in 2006. Yesterday she claimed that Franken “forcibly kissed” her and groped her on the tour. She added, “There’s nothing funny about sexual assault.”

When her story broke, Franken apologized. The Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader then called for an ethics inquiry. Franken issued a larger apology and agreed to cooperate fully with any investigation.

An article I feel compelled to address

You have probably seen the Franken story by now. I am addressing it as a commentary on another news item you may not have seen.

Matt Bai is the national political columnist for Yahoo! News. He wrote previously for the New York Times Magazine and has authored well-reviewed books. I don’t always agree with him, of course, but I read all his articles and consider him one of the most perceptive writers on politics today.

However, his article posted yesterday troubles me greatly.

Bai begins by addressing the Roy Moore controversy. Moore became famous for defending the Ten Commandments and traditional marriage before sexual allegations made him front-page news. Bai’s point: “Whenever someone runs for office as the arbiter of private morality, it’s worth asking yourself what he or she might be running from.”

He believes that some “loudly moralizing politicians” have adopted that persona “mainly because they think it will get them where they want to go.” In other words, some “moralizers” are immoral in their motives more than in their private actions.

However, Bai is convinced that other so-called moralizers are clearly compensating for personal sins.

He claims that we should not be surprised by the allegations Moore is facing: “The truth is that moralizing and scandal are flip sides of the same filthy coin. Rigid intolerance is often the sign of one who can barely tolerate himself.”

For evidence, Bai claims that “too many men, agonized by their own struggle with pedophilia, flock to the priesthood because they think they can redeem themselves.” He describes “famous preachers” who “come to tears railing against greed and adultery, because on some level they know they’re preaching to the mirror.”

Lest he be accused of focusing only on conservatives, Bai notes that John Edwards “reinvented himself before the 2008 campaign as a moralizing liberal” while lying to avoid acknowledging an affair and a child.

According to Bai, each “moralizer” who is hiding secret sin is an example of this psychological maxim: “people always make you feel the way the world makes them feel about themselves.” He concludes, “It’s up to us to recognize this moral policing in our politics for what it often is: the accumulation of self-loathing, with nowhere else to go.”

The story behind the story

Is it true that some people speak against immorality to compensate for their own failings? Of course. When they do so, they invalidate their moral assertions and hurt those they claim to help.

Bai wants us to dismiss the “moralizing” of such people. That’s understandable in retrospect.

But how would we know a person’s motives or personal moral state prior to public exposure? If we must be so moral in our private lives that no public disclosure could invalidate our public moral stands, who of us could take such stands?

It seems to me that no one would qualify for “moral policing.” And this, I suspect, is Bai’s larger goal.

Bai’s reasoning is a persuasive example of moral relativism at work. Our culture has convinced itself that all truth claims are personal and subjective. Thus, “moral policing in our politics” has no place in a culture that rejects objective morality.

It seems that Bai would rather we keep to ourselves, tolerating what does not harm us personally and refusing to judge others. How should Christians respond?

Two observations

I’ll close with two observations addressed as much to myself as to any of you.

One: Christians must pray fervently for the strength to be examples of our message. Paul could invite his readers to “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Pray for the ability to say the same today.

Two: We must keep teaching Christian morality to our post-Christian culture. The more people reject objective morality, the more they demonstrate their need for it.

The darker the room, the more urgent the light (Philippians 2:14-16).

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Could this newly discovered planet support life?

Posted by    |    November 16th, 2017 at 6:00 am

Astronomers have announced the discovery of a nearby planet. Named Ross 128 b, the planet is only eleven light-years away from Earth. It is about the same size as our planet and could have a similar surface temperature.

Could it support life? Scientists believe that water could pool on its surface and radiation from its star would not threaten its environment.

The new find joins a long list of planets discovered in recent years. Humans have always been fascinated with life on other worlds. Perhaps the quest for extraterrestrial life is appealing in part because life on this fallen planet can be so difficult.

It seems we have two options. We can focus on this fallen world as an end in itself, which is reason for great discouragement. Or we can focus on the world to come, using this life as merely a means to an end.

Recently I have been contemplating a third option, one which values both the present world and the world to come.

A different view of life

Consider this statement by C. S. Lewis in The Great Divorce: “Earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, a region of Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself.”

Is he right?

John 3:16 famously states that whoever believes in Jesus “should not perish but have eternal life.” Our Lord did not say that the believer “will have” eternal life but that he has such life now. Then, the moment his body dies, he is with his Lord in paradise (Luke 23:43).

By the same token, the lost are destined for separation from God (Matthew 7:23). At death, they move immediately from earth to hell (Luke 16:22-23). Both heaven and hell are permanent (Luke 16:26; Revelation 20:10, 15).

In other words, eternity has already begun for each of us.

Why eternity matters today

When we see people as living in eternity now, what changes?

One: We treat evangelism with greater urgency. Scripture teaches that “now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2) because now is the only day there is. If you knew someone with a terminal disease could die today, wouldn’t you get them all the help you could?

Every lost person you know has a disease that is not just terminal–it is eternal.

Two: Jesus becomes more real to us.

One of the practical heresies of modern Christianity is our willingness to serve Jesus without knowing him intimately. In our day of church programs and activities, our faith too easily devolves into religious actions bereft of Jesus’ real presence.

When last did you hear him speak to you? When last did you sense his living presence?

In yesterday’s First15, Craig Denison notes: “God is more concerned about the state of your heart than the work of your hands. . . . More than he wants you to do something, he wants you to be something. He longs for your life to be a reflection of his overwhelming love and goodness. He longs for your life to be a declaration of his grace and nearness.”

If we know that we are already living in eternity with Jesus, our desire for worship and communion with him grows. We find ourselves drawn to the One we will spend eternity praising (Revelation 7:9¬-10).

Three: We become more grateful for the universal church.

We will spend eternity with all God’s people from all of human history. Knowing that we already have eternal life encourages our gratitude for all they have done to lead us to our Lord.

Henri Nouwen: “Our society encourages individualism. We are constantly made to believe that everything we think, say, or do, is our personal accomplishment, deserving individual attention. But as people who belong to the communion of saints, we know that anything of spiritual value is not the result of individual accomplishment but the fruit of a communal life.”

“Whatever we know about God and God’s love . . . is the knowledge that has come to us through the ages from the people of Israel and the prophets, from Jesus and the saints, and from all who have played roles in the formation of our hearts.”

Four: What matters last, matters most.

When we are in heaven, the fears, worries, and distractions of this fallen world will be no more. But we can live above them now. Paul counseled us to “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

The hymn writer was right:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of his glory and grace.

Are your eyes upon Jesus today?

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CEO wants his company to make more mistakes

Posted by    |    November 15th, 2017 at 6:00 am

If you don’t think you have high blood pressure, this story may change your mind. Or cause your blood pressure to rise.

New guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology define high blood pressure as 130/80 or greater. Under this standard, the number of adults with hypertension will rise to 103 million from 72 million under the previous standard.

Stress causes blood pressure to rise. And fear of failure causes stress. Therefore, learning to manage our fear of failure is a healthy idea.

Failing to succeed

This topic is on my mind today after reading a surprising Harvard Business Review article. The writer quotes James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola Co., who says: “If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough.”

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, told a technology conference that his company has too many hit shows. “We have to take more risk . . . to try more crazy things . . . we should have a higher cancel rate overall.”

Jeff Bezos, arguably the most successful entrepreneur in the world, adds: “If you’re going to take bold bets, they’re going to be experiments. And if they’re experiments, you don’t know ahead of time if they’re going to work.”

Jerry Jones, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Cowboys, recently described his business philosophy: “There’s nobody that I’ve ever met that bats over .500 or 50-50 on making the right decisions. There’s nobody that can see around corners. Nobody can. But the guys that succeed are the ones that cut their bad decisions off quicker than others and let their good ones run longer than others.”

What do the following Forbes quotes have in common?

• Denis Waitley: “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat.”
• Henry Ford: “The only mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
• C. S. Lewis: “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”
• Robert T. Kiyosaki: “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”
• Zig Ziglar: “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.”

Robert F. Kennedy makes the point well: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Detours become destinations

1 Kings 18 describes one of the most dramatic victories in all of Scripture. Here the prophet Elijah defeated hundreds of prophets of Baal, winning a great battle for his Lord and his nation.

However, when news came that Jezebel sought to kill him, Elijah ran for his life. He fled to Beersheba, the farthest point in Israel from the wicked queen (1 Kings 19:3). There he was so despondent that he prayed for the Lord to take his life (v. 4).

When he was so far down he could look nowhere but up, he looked up.

The Holy Spirit spoke to Elijah, instructing him to anoint new kings over Syria and Israel. Elijah would also anoint Elisha to continue his prophetic ministry. God redeemed Elijah’s discouragement with a word that secured the future for his nation.

Here we discover an important fact: our detours can become our most important destinations.

We find the pattern repeated through Scripture: Jesus reclaims Peter after his lead apostle denies his Lord; God sends the disciples, who forsook his Son at the cross, into the world as his missionaries; Jesus redeems Paul’s persecution of his people by calling him to be his global apostle.

Use failure for eternity

Unfortunately, many Christians view failure differently than God does.

Most of us seek to avoid failure at all costs. If we do fail, we try to rectify the situation and move past it as soon as possible.

God has a different approach. His purpose in all he does is to make us more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). He used Peter’s failure to teach him the humility that would be essential to his ministry (John 21:15-19). He used Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” to teach him to say, “When I am weak, then I am strong” in Christ (2 Corinthians 12:10).

So, name your latest or greatest failure. Ask God to show you how he can use it to make you more like Jesus. Submit to his Spirit for the transformation you need.

And you’ll testify with Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

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11 SECRETS TO A LONG MARRIAGE

Posted by    |    November 14th, 2017 at 11:35 am

1. DON’T GET COMFORTABLE: Comfortable is for house shoes and old recliners, not marriage. In the best marriages, couples work just as hard to keep their spouse as they did to win their spouse.

2. TALK: Couples feel in love because they spend time talking; don’t stop communicating once you’re married. Continue to take time everyday to talk.

3. PUT YOUR SPOUSE BEFORE YOUR KIDS: Don’t fall into the rut of being so focused on raising kids that the focus on marriage is lost. Strengthen your marriage by dating regularly, taking occasional overnight trips, etc.

4. BE WILLING TO ADAPT: You will change, your spouse will change, and your family will change. Be willing and ready to adapt to changes such as having kids, or kids leaving home.

5. STRIVE TO MEET YOUR SPOUSE’S NEEDS: Those long marriages that we all desire to have are made up of couples who continually strive to meet one another’s needs … not just their own.

6. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY: Strive to always give your spouse your best when it comes to your emotional, physical, or spiritual health. Take care of yourself physically.

7. COMPLEMENT ONE ANOTHER REGULARLY: Newlyweds do a great job of overlooking the things they find annoying about their spouse, while at the same time, focusing on the things they love about their spouse. Overtime, if you’re not careful, these can get reversed. Be a constant encourager in your marriage, not a constant critic.

8. ENJOY ONE ANOTHER’S COMPANY: As you grow older, continue to find common interests. Find ways to enjoy spending time with one another.

9. DRESS UP, NOT JUST DOWN: Back to point number one – it’s easy to get too comfortable in marriage. If you find yourself always dressing down for your spouse, it’s time to dress up. Dress up and go on a date. Wear something your spouse will find attractive.

10. ALWAYS BE HONEST: Don’t let time change the openness and honesty in your marriage. Always be honest.

11. CONTINUE TO BE INTIMATE: The main thing that separates roommates from soulmates is intimacy. Always work to keep the fires burning.

Bill Gates, Liz Smith, and Australian cockatoos

Posted by    |    November 14th, 2017 at 6:00 am

Bill Gates has announced that he is investing $100 million in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The world’s wealthiest person is joining the fight in part because men in his family have suffered from the disease. He notes in his latest blog: “I know how awful it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity, and there is nothing you can do about it.”

Gates’s legacy in the world of computers is assured. But one day, if the Lord tarries, every technology he invented and every line of code he wrote will become obsolete. However, if he helps defeat one of our most feared diseases, his significance will far outlast his success.

By contrast, the gossip columnist Liz Smith has died at the age of ninety-four. Famous for covering the private lives of A-list celebrities, she once said of her work: “We mustn’t take ourselves too seriously in this world of gossip. When you look at it realistically, what I do is pretty insignificant. Still, I’m having a lot of fun.”

A third news item caught my eye this morning: the yellow-crested cockatoo is wreaking havoc with Australia’s broadband network. The country spent $36 billion on this infrastructure project, but as a spokesman explains, the birds have “developed a liking for our cables . . . these birds are unstoppable when in a swarm.”

What we do today may not last or matter tomorrow. How do we leave a legacy of significance?

Live for eternity today

Life is both short and unpredictable.

Two people were killed and two others were wounded at a shooting in Atlanta over the weekend. Multiple people were stabbed inside the Mall of America in Minneapolis, leaving families and children stunned as they waited in line to see Santa Claus. An earthquake on the Iran-Iraq border killed more than four hundred and fifty people.

Scripture teaches us to “make the most of every opportunity” because “the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16 NIRV). How? For help, I’d like to explore with you an insight I had never considered before.

David Brooks, writing for the New York Times, cites the sociological distinction between Anywheres and Somewheres. To summarize: Anywheres embrace the global economy and “are cheerleaders for restless change.” Somewheres are “rooted in their towns” and identify themselves by place: a Virginia farmer, a West Virginia coal miner, a Pennsylvania steelworker.

Anywheres value mobility; Somewheres value tradition. We are one or we are the other.

With all due respect to my favorite columnist, I would like to amend the model he cites by noting that God is both.

He is the God of place. He had a land for Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:1-3). He led his people to settle the Promised Land as theirs (cf. Numbers 34). He wanted his exiles in Babylon to “build houses and live in them” (Jeremiah 29:5). He instructed them to “seek the welfare” of the place where they lived (v. 7).

But our Father is also the God of mobility. He asked Abraham to leave where he was to go where he was called (Genesis 12:1). He called Moses to Pharaoh’s palace (Exodus 3:10) and Paul to Macedonia (Acts 16:6-10). Read the apostle’s journeys in Acts and you’ll get a sense of God’s present-tense, real-time leadership in the moment for the sake of the Kingdom.

Live in the now here

The key to fulfilling God’s anywhere and his somewhere is to be faithful in the now here. How?

One: Use temporal success for eternal significance.

Omri was one of the most significant kings of Israel, according to historical records. His descendants held the throne of the Northern Kingdom for more than a century; the Assyrians later referred to Israel as the “land of Omri.”

But the Bible tells us that “Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did more evil than all who were before him” (1 Kings 16:25). As a result, he received far less notice in Scripture than in secular history.

When you must choose between heaven and earth, choose heaven.

Two: Choose obedience at all costs.

Psalm 119:137 states, “Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules.” If a ruler is righteous, his rules must be so as well. Whatever your loving Father’s will is for you, know that it is for your best.

Three: Abide in Christ.

Jesus promises us, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). To “abide” in Jesus is to stay connected to him in prayer, Scripture, worship, and devotion. It is to walk through the day in his presence.

Then you will bear eternal fruit for God’s glory and our good. As Anne Graham Lotz notes, “the branch bears the fruit, it doesn’t produce the fruit.”

Are you bearing eternal fruit today?

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Why did Hollywood ignore sexual abuse?

Posted by    |    November 13th, 2017 at 5:54 am

The Harvey Weinstein scandal has ignited a bonfire of allegations in recent weeks. The problem is so acute that the Los Angeles County District Attorney is forming a task force to evaluate sexual assault cases in Hollywood.

Over the weekend, more names were added to the list.

Benny Medina is a music executive who has managed Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith, and Mariah Carey, among others. Now he’s been accused of attempted rape. His attorneys have categorically denied the allegation.

Actress Rebel Wilson has also claimed that a male costar sexually harassed her while his friends tried to tape the encounter on their phones. She also described an incident with a “top director” who invited her to his hotel room, but she was able to escape.

We now know that many of the accused had a prior reputation for sexual immorality. Why did their colleagues and industries tolerate their behavior?

“Art for art’s sake”

Writing for the New York Times, Amanda Hess offers an insightful answer: the “myth of artistic genius” has excused the abuse of women and other personal immorality. Hess cites a 2009 New York Times round table on the relation of artists and their work.

One artist wrote, “Being an artist has absolutely nothing–nothing–to do with one’s personal behavior.” Another responder: “Let the art stand for itself, and these men stand in judgment, and never the twain shall meet.”

Yale University professor Jonathan Gilmore quoted author William Faulkner’s claim that “a real writer wouldn’t hesitate to rob his mother if it would further his art.” Gilmore noted the conventional belief that “the artistic genius acted through transgressing, not obeying conventional principles of art. It was a short step from seeing such artists as free of artistic rules to seeing them as liberated from the rules of conduct in general.”

This claim that art has its own intrinsic value is known as “art for art’s sake.” The phrase emerged in early nineteenth-century France and came to mean that art has its own value and should be judged apart from themes such as morality or religion. Nor should the artist’s own character and life influence our interpretation of his or her work.

Hess believes that this separation of creation and creator has fueled a culture that refused to hold artists accountable for their behavior.

Character and the Lewinsky scandal

The belief that we can divorce art from artist runs deeper in our culture than artistic achievement. Consider a case in point.

President Bill Clinton’s approval rating went up when the Monica Lewinsky scandal became public. According to Gallup, his popularity jumped 5.6 points compared to the preceding quarter.

It’s not that the scandal didn’t affect public perception of Clinton as a person: the number who considered him “honest and trustworthy” dropped to 24 percent by January 1999. And a majority of Americans agreed with the charges that formed the basis for his impeachment: 74 percent felt that he lied under oath, and 53 percent believed that he tried to obstruct justice.

But at the same time, 71 percent said his presidency had been a success. The primary reason: personal financial well-being measures were as high as they have been in Gallup’s history of measuring them. Clearly, many Americans chose to separate Bill Clinton the person from Bill Clinton the president. What he did for them was more important than who he was.

Who we are is what we are

How does the Bible view the separation of public actions and private integrity? King Solomon noted: “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways” (Proverbs 28:6; cf. Prov. 11:3; 19:1).

And yet Solomon’s personal immorality led to the division of his kingdom and ruined his public legacy (1 Kings 11:8-11). How can we avoid the same fate?

Let’s remember four facts:

One: Private sins will become public knowledge. Scripture warns, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

Two: As “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), our character reflects on the God we represent.

Three: Even when we confess our sins, we forfeit the results of obedience. C. S. Lewis: “Whatever you do, God will make good of it. But not the good he had prepared for you if you had obeyed him.”

Four: Our personal integrity defines our true nature. Dwight Moody: “Character is what you are in the dark.”

This observation by C. S. Lewis challenges me whenever I consider it: “Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is? . . . If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. . . . The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”

Are there rats in your cellar today?

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