North Korea announced last night that it has detonated its first hydrogen bomb. Global stocks are down this morning as a result. Why is this such bad news?
A hydrogen bomb is far more powerful than the atomic bombs the North Koreans have tested previously. Assuming last night's claims prove true, their erratic and often irrational behavior makes their increasing nuclear capacity even more dangerous.
Meanwhile, accused murderer Steven Avery is making news this morning after more than 249,000 people signed a petition calling for his presidential pardon. Avery spent eighteen years in prison before he was exonerated by DNA evidence. Two years later he was on trial again, this time for the murder of a young photographer named Teresa Halbach. Netflix's ten-part series on Avery's story has made him a celebrity.
So has Avery's past behavior. He has been convicted of burglary, and he pled guilty to animal cruelty after he poured gasoline on a cat and threw it into a bonfire. He reportedly drew a picture of a torture chamber while in prison. It's understandably difficult for many viewers to separate his past actions from his present character.
On a positive note, The Atlantic is reporting on the fascinating power of altruism. Tenth-graders who volunteered at an after-school program for children lost weight and had improved cholesterol profiles. Older adults who began tutoring children demonstrated improvements in stamina, memory, and flexibility, as well as levels of depression. Volunteering has been associated with thirty-eight percent fewer nights spent in the hospital.
Our actions affect our reputation and our health. And they contribute directly to our witness for our Lord.
I've been reading through Genesis in the new year, and came today to Genesis 5:24: "Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him." "Walked" translates the Hebrew halak (literally "walked back and forth"), which describes communion or intimacy with the Lord.
According to the generations and lifetimes listed in Genesis, Enoch lived at least fifteen centuries before Moses, the traditional author of Genesis. How would Moses know that Enoch "walked with God"?
There were no religious traditions in Enoch's day such as we see later in Scripture. No temple or tabernacle, no feast days or sacrifices. There is no indication that Enoch described his personal communion with God in such a way that Moses could report. It seems that Enoch's private intimacy with God was demonstrated so publicly that others took note and told his story across multiplied generations.
Noah's story lends credence to this connection between public obedience and private faith. He was "a righteous man, blameless in his generation" (Genesis 6:9a), phrases that depict his outward actions and lifestyle. Next we read that "Noah walked with God" (v. 9b). The latter description is synonymous with the former.
If you want to impact your culture for Christ this year, pay attention to what others pay attention to. We cannot see your heart, but we can watch your hands. We cannot hear what you say to God in your personal prayers, but we hear what you say to us. Jesus wants you to "let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
When you walk publicly with God, your witness will influence others until Jesus returns. Robert Murray McCheyne: "The Christian is a person who makes it easy for others to believe in God."
Will you be an Enoch today?
Publication date: January 6, 2016
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
Do you want to live a life in whole-hearted pursuit of loving God and others?
Read today's First15 at www.first15.org.