So I’m sure many of you are aware that Charlie Sheen has a new show. Sheen portrays an anger management therapist on a channel number far above that of his previous show of sexual debauchery. Yes, I occasionally laughed at the three-or-1/3 rejects when the children weren’t in the room of course. More often I found myself absolutely appalled by most of the show. I also felt it ridiculous that this show was on television during the day and evening hours – times that children are awake.
Nonetheless, it’s Sheen’s new show that will help me get to the point. I’ve only watched a couple of episodes, but I can say it’s mildly morally better than the previous show and definitely better than the drug induced “winning” internet romps that followed it. I consider the new show to be along the same lines as Tim “The tool man” Allen’s newest network show, but I’m sure some will disagree. Sheen plays a divorced father whose sexual prowess and personal anger issues caused the demise of his marriage. He conducts group anger management sessions at a nearby jail/prison and also has another group he hosts in his home.
While I can’t foresee how the writers of the show will take the next turn, I’m pretty sure that it won’t involve the following scenario: Charlie, opposite Ed Asner and several others on the couch in his home are engaged in their regularly scheduled weekly group therapy session when a knock at the door is heard. Several police officers enter, taking the therapist (Sheen) into custody for violating city zoning ordinances for conducting business activity in his home which is not zoned for that purpose. The next sixty days of the show would be in closer contact with his anger-controlling prison group because that’s how long you have to stay in jail for violating a zoning ordinance along with paying a little less than $13,000 in fines — $12,180 to be exact.
Well that’s what happened in Arizona last week, except it wasn’t a therapist arrested or an anger management group disbursed from a home. That’s right folks. An individual was arrested from his Phoenix, AZ home for allegedly violating fire, zoning and safety codes by hosting a Bible study group in his home.
The story, as it was nationalized on FOXNews has received thousands of views, F-book “likes” and whatnot, as well as almost 1,000 comments. Most of the comments I read seemed to compare Nancy Pelosi to a monkey and stated that not even the ACLU would physically touch Pelosi. Not necessarily relevant to the story, but most likely true nonetheless. While it does show that a number of people were upset about this arrest, including the attorney who is taking up the case against the City of Phoenix, it seems there are significantly less people vocalizing concern about this than most of us might think.
As many of us mere humans can see, our world around us is going into the pit. News stories such as this one only confirm that feeling. The Bible says that in the last days this will get much worse while many shake their heads and wonder how it can get worse. According to the Bible – Revelation specifically – it will get much worse.
Once again pointing out that I’m not a certificate-holding theologian, and also pointing out that Revelation itself can be a lifelong study, I will refer to a couple of verses from the book.
“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” – Revelation 13:8 (New International Version).
There will undoubtedly be those who serve evil willingly while others will justify their actions by saying they serve no master other than themselves. These self-motivated humans will follow their own desires, just as most of us have been guilty at one point or another. However, those who choose this path satisfy evil without acknowledging it, because evil doesn’t care how individuals are deflected from God, just that they are sidetracked from Him.
While many Christians cringe at the sight and existence of certain sins, God is angered by all sin, as mentioned on the last journey. We try to justify certain sins and detest others as we place them on a list from greatest to least. God, however, only sees sin. Not a great sin, not a lesser sin, just sin.
Revelation calls for us to hold steady to our belief and waver little-to-none. As things will surely get worse across the planet before Jesus returns, the last part of verse 10 in chapter 13 gives instruction to believers living in those days (which could be today for all we know): “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.”
According to news sources researched, Pastor Salman had been cited for various zoning, fire and safety violations at his home/worship area since 2009. While many believe this is an infringement of his right to express his religion freely on his property, others argue that he has drawn people into his neighborhood and into his home for the purpose of conducting church, which said property hasn’t been zoned for. As usually happens in this situation, it will be left to a court to decide.
I’m near certain that it will be decided in favor of Phoenix and that the Pastor will be found to be conducting a Church where it isn’t properly zoned for one. I’m more certain that the fines could be dismissed to a hand-slap if he agrees to stop holding the Bible studies at his home. But I’m definitely certain that none of this will be settled in court before the pastor spends his 60-days in jail as the AZ law apparently has required.
I would remind everyone that serving the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t always come with a pretty picture. Following the crucifixion of Christ, many of His followers were killed, jailed and suffered other atrocities for His name. But I can tell you this: followers of Christ may see peril in their lifetime here on Earth, but the blessings you will receive for following Him are far greater, and far outweigh any and all suffering during our physical lives. Not only the gift of Heaven after this life, but also the many blessings that He will pour upon those who are faithful during this life can be gained or denied by the will of the individual.
“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” – 1 Peter 4:16, 17.
The outcome “for those who do not obey the gospel of God” is also clearly stated in the Bible. Hell is the reward for those who do not obey the gospel of God.
But whether the pastor was circumventing the Phoenix law or not, shouldn’t he and those in his group have the alleged-American given right to freely worship God as they see fit? Shouldn’t we all have the right to worship God in our homes and allow our friends and neighbors to worship with us?
Absolutely! In fact the Church started in similar fashion. As followers of The Way devoted themselves to meeting in the Temple Courts daily, they also gathered together in their homes, probably inviting non-believers as well, to eat, and share stories and to freely worship God and His only son Jesus Christ as they wanted.
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:44 – 47.
They worshipped in their homes daily and the Lord added to their number daily. Saul of Tarsus was coming to arrest and kill them for this worship when God blinded him on the way over there, but that’s a journey for another day.
For those still shaking their head and wondering “What’s next?” for us Earthmates sharing this planet, Revelation offers comfort also. It’s the calm after the war if you will.
“They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers” – Revelation 17:14.
And after reading that verse and pondering it, there’s only one word I can say…. Amen!