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  • Writer's pictureBy Pastor Andy Plank


July 9, 2023

One of the most challenging times of the year that Department of Correction chaplains face is the time leading up to and through the Islamic holy time of Ramadan. The reason it is such a challenge is because by nature, the Islamic faith tends to be a very “by the book” religion. While I don’t agree with a lot of what Islam teaches and stands for, I have to say that I admire their desire to obey exactly what their scriptures teach. Radicalism aside, the average Muslim with whom I have had contact (both in the prison and in the free world) are genuinely concerned with being totally compliant to the tenets of their religion. Now, that is “them”. Let’s talk about “us” for a bit. As Christians are we really concerned with obeying what God has revealed in His word, or would we rather twist God’s word in order to fit our morality? While society is constantly fluid and changing as far as morality, politics and popular opinions are concerned, God’s word is unchanging. Because God is unchanging, His Word is also unchanging. There was a popular saying several years ago that said, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” That saying was and is, untrue. Y’all, if God said it, that settles it, whether I believe it or not. I am constantly amazed at the number of conversations in which I hear Christians say something along the line of, “Well, I believe” or “I think” or “I feel.” Rarely do I hear, “God’s word says.” I am aware that the meaning of scripture must be first interpreted through the eyes and ears of the original recipients. However, we need to understand when we read the Word of God, we are reading the mind of God as well as the will of God. While I understand that none of us is perfect and God’s grace is both needed and required, Almighty God and His Word are both above a cursory reading and a quick dismissal. They both deserve a higher position than “suggestion” status. God and His word both deserve our time, our attention, our effort, our meditation, and our prayers as we dedicate ourselves to being “Holy as God is Holy”. Brothers and sisters, Holiness is our calling. It is a calling for all of us, not just a calling for a few “Super saints”.

Be blessed and be a blessing . . . Bro. Andy

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