Delay the Decay!

Salt serves as a preservative, so should we.

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When Jesus says that Christians are the salt of the earth, He’s talking to a group of people that did not have an appliance store on the corner with wall to wall refrigerators for sale. The only method of preserving meat and fish was to cover the food with salt to delay the decay. From the moment a fish was caught or a lamb slaughtered, it started to decompose, and while that decay couldn’t be stopped, it could be delayed. So, salt was used to slow that decay. This world has been in a state of decay since Adam and Eve yielded to temptation in the Garden of Eden, and while God is not charging us with stopping that decay, He is calling us to delay it.  This may surprise you, but for me, the shocking news is not that sin is so prevalent, our culture so wicked, media so perverse, politics so corrupt, and government so immoral. It does not shock me that sinners’ sin; in fact, I expect it (John 8:34). What is shocking and saddening to our Father is that very few Christians are slowing the process.

Haddon Robinson tells the story about the French culture of the early 1700s in the process of decay.  The King had a motto: “After me, the deluge.” He was right; it was a prophetic voice. That’s precisely what happened, and the French Revolution ripped France apart. Just 20 miles across the channel, the English culture had the same rot. Historians have described at length the moral corruption of English culture. And yet, England did not go through a revolution. Why? Why was it spared? Was it their large Navy or their suave diplomats? Their honest politicians or their tough police force? No. As the historian and American President Woodrow Wilson put it, the country was spared because, in 1703, John Wesley was born in England. Wesley, a follower of Jesus, theologian, and evangelist who lived out the Beatitudes, proclaimed the gospel, spread his salt, and delayed the decay. Wesley founded what we know as the Methodist church, which, to date, celebrates over 130 million adherents in over 130 countries.

Our culture is so wicked, media so perverse, politics so corrupt, and government so immoral it should not surprise nor shock you to know that America is at the lowest moral state in its history.  What is shocking and saddening to our Father is that very few Christians are slowing the process!  

May we all be challenged today, to step up like those that have gone on before us, and start spreading the salt, delaying the decay and being the preservative that God has called and empowered us to be.  Let me put it this way; I believe that until the rapture occurs, we are to be faithful at holding the doors of grace open by the words we give and the lives we live by being the salt

What has been going on the past hundred years?  Well, for the first hundred and fifty years in America, we enjoyed living in the shade of the spiritual tree that had been planted by our forefathers and sailing on the winds of spiritual giants we called leaders.  Then in the 1950’s we got complacent, lazy, and took for granted our freedoms.  We stopped fighting, slacked in our praying, and became lax in our church attendance.  

  • In 1961 in Maryland, the Supreme Court ruled their constitution that required all those in public office to believe in God’s existence was unconstitutional.  
  • In 1962 the Supreme Court prohibited prayer in public schools.
  • In 1963 the Bible was banned from public schools.
  • In 1973 abortion was made legal
  • In 1993 traditional, Biblical marriage was challenged in Hawaii.
  • Now we are seeing the legalization of marijuana and so many other laws that run counter our Lord and His Word.

The effects of these pivotal moments in our history have had adverse impacts that resonate to this day with: 

Young People

1. For 15 years before 1963, pregnancies in girls ages 15 through 19 years had been no more than 15 per thousand; after 1963, pregnancies increased by 187%. 

2. For younger girls, ages 10 to 14 years, pregnancies since 1963 are up 553%.

3. Before 1963, sexually transmitted diseases among students were 400 per 100,000. Since 1963, they are up 226%.

The Family

1. Before 1963, divorce rates had been declining for 15 years. After 1963 divorces increased 300% each year for the next 15 years.

2. Since 1963 unmarried people living together is up 353%

3. Since 1963, single parent families are up 140%.

4. Since 1963, single parent families with children are up 160%.


1. SAT scores rapidly declined after 1962, even though the same test has been used since 1941.

2. In 1974-75, the rate of decline of the SAT scores decreased, even though they continued to decline. That was when there was an explosion of private religious schools. There were only 1000 Christian schools in America in 1965. Between 1974 to 1984 they increased to 32,000. 

What is my point?

The same power possessed by Wesley, and many others, used to delay the decay is the same power that we say we are possessed with. I think a hundred years is long enough for the devil to roam around our country like he owns the joint. It is time for us to get so excited about our salvation and serious about the mission that we demonstrate to this unbelieving and sinful world that we have the power within us to change this world around us by spreading our salt and delaying the decay until Jesus comes for us!  I still believe America is a country worth fighting for, how about you?

Scripture: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?  It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” -Matthew 5:13-14, ESV

Question: Are you willing to elevate your service to God today? Perhaps tonight, write down specific ways in which you can be an agent of change for Jesus.

Prayer: Father, I don’t want to sit on the sidelines while this country continues to decay spiritually; I want to slow that process. The longer we have until your return, the more souls we can claim for you; that is your will that none should perish. Please reveal to me specific ways to make a difference and change someone’s eternal direction. Please give me the strength to remain pure, the focus to stay on mission, the courage to speak up in love, and the faith to believe you’re not done with our country. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

Oh Deer!

When the sword of vengeance is unsheathed, blade and handle become infected, ultimately destroying those at both ends.

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Recently a reporter interviewed a lady hiker who happened upon an unusual sight in the woods; two deer, antlers locked, one with a broken neck, both dead. After the forestry department investigated, first believing poachers to be responsible, it was determined these two deer got into a fight. Both decided to kill the other; one was finally successful in breaking the other deer’s neck. Yet, because their antlers were locked, after a long and drawn-out skirmish, the “victorious” deer was unable to free himself, thus forced to succumb to the same fate as his opponent. Even though both deer fought their best, there was no winner.

At the age of 28, I accepted my first pastorate, a small church in North Carolina. Very early on, I was faced with two congregational members that had been bickering for years, with outbursts that increased in both frequency and severity. Because of my inexperience, attempts to reconcile these two proved to be in vain. After one particularly vocal conflict during the Sunday School hour between these two women, the deacon’s chairman had enough and gathered them together in one of the small classrooms. After telling them that their bickering was hurting them both and affecting the congregation, he told them they would not be allowed out of that room until they could apologize to each other, confess their sins to God, and move forward in grace. He then stepped into the hall, closed and locked the door, and watching through the window; he waited for them to reconcile. After the Sunday School hour was over, I made my way to the sanctuary and found this man outside the door. Once he brought me up to speed, I asked him to let them out, especially since one of them was our pianist, the other our choir director, and the church service was about to start! The chairman held his ground, and I nervously made my way to the sanctuary. Just a few minutes after I welcomed everyone to the service, the side door to the sanctuary opened up, and in came that chairman followed by the two ladies, each taking their positions, and the service began. It turns out, the unorthodox approach by the chairman of the deacons was just the wake-up call these two ladies needed as they both repented to God and reconciled with each other. The remainder of my tenure there was marked with love and unity. 

I am now in my 50’s, and while I celebrate victories like that, I must say they are rare; generally, feuds between people are taken to the grave. Two people, antlers locked, doing everything they can to have the last word and make the winning point. Even if one can pull off a victory by silencing their opponent, success remains elusive, with guilt, shame, and bitterness being the only trophies on display. The Bible is very clear on this topic; when Christians argue amongst each other, the watching world; desperately searching for hope, walks away unchanged with Christians now being the excuse they use not to attend church at best or reject Christ at worst (Proverbs 18:13, Titus 2:7-8, Hebrews 12:14).

Scripture: “Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” -II Timothy 2:14, ESV

Question: Is there someone in your life standing as a reminder of an open argument? Would you be willing to be the biblical model in that relationship to make things right?

Prayer: Father, I struggle with being “right” in a situation yet remaining silent. Please help me to sacrifice my “right to be right” on your altar of love for the sake of unity that the message of hope would go forth unrestricted. Remind me that you see and hear everything and have promised to be my defense. And, remind me that vengeance is yours and yours alone. For those in my life where there remains strife, please open their hearts to you, that when I take that first step of reconciliation, they will greet me with the open arms of your love. Thank you for having patience with me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.