September 27, 2019

"Life breaks all of us, but many are made
stronger in the broken places."
~Ernest Hemingway~
I doubt that Hemmingway spent much time reading the Bible, but he was a keen observer of the world around him. His observation about the ubiquitous nature of suffering is a thematic truth in both the Old and New Testaments of the word of God. The Book of James, perhaps the earliest written book in the New Testament, reminds us that we are to:
Count it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trails knowing that the testing of your faith can produce endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result that you might become perfect, complete, lacking in nothing.
Let me make a few observations of the text:
  • "Count it all joy" This is an imperative. Do it!
  • "When" - Not if!
  • "Various" - is the term from which we get the word polka dot or multi colors and shapes.
  • "Testing" - is a term that is essentially neutral and as such it can be translated as test, trial or temptation depending on the context it is used in.
  • "Knowing" - There is no premium on stupidity in the Christian life. We need to know some things: Who God is and How He Works.
  • " Endurance" - The ability to stay under pressure.
  • "Endurance can lead to making you perfect, complete, lacking nothing"
In all of this, faith is the central element. Faith is the foundational and fundamental issue when it comes to maturing in the midst of trials and tests, no matter what size, shape or color they may be.
Suffering touches all of us. No one is exempt. The question is, in the midst of suffering do we put God on trial or does God put our faith to the test?

Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
September 20, 2019

History is Fiction Agreed Upon
If ever there was a postmodern declaration Napoleon nailed it. This proclamation is made far and wide in today's detached and disconnected world. We are disengaged from the truth and so we rewrite it.
Milan Kundera reminds us; "You begin to liquidate a people by taking away its memory. You destroy its books, its culture, its history, And then others write other books for it, give another culture to it, invent another history for it. Then the people slowly begin to forget what it is and what it was."
Perhaps this explains in part of the destruction of statues, and the disrespect we see for our flag. Our national history is being revised, rewritten and ruined.
This is what is happening to the church. We are allowing movements and theorists to rewrite and reinterpret the Bible according to social justice theory, LGBTQ gender theory, and pro-choice theory, all to validate and vindicate actions that are not supported by the Bible.
We are told that the Constitution is a living breathing document that must change and be adjusted and added to. The Bible, we are told, is also in need of being re-envisioned, reinterpreted, re-weaved, and that we need a new and novel reorientation to understand it in our day. Unfortunately, all of this leads to relativism.
Let me suggest three steps of action.
  1. Start reading your Bible more regularly, more abundantly, and more expectantly.
  2. Get into a regular Bible study either through your church or through a local community.
  3. Ask your pastor to provide for you an Adult Bible study class where you can learn the principles of interpreting the Bible. (It is called Hermeneutics.)
Remember the words of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, "Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right."
If ever there was a day that discernment was needed - that day is today!
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,

September 13, 2019

You're a worse sinner than you ever dare imagine.
But you're also more loved than you ever dare hope.
There are some people who have a hard time believing one of the above statements. Some do not believe either is true. But the Bible declares that both are true. We are truly a glorious ruin. (see Romans 1 & 3)
As Martin Luther said, we are "simul justus et peccator." Simul, simultaneously or 'at the same time.' Justus, Latin for just or righteous, (et, and) peccator, sinner. We are at the same time a sinner who is Justified. We are a sinner who is a saint.
The Bible deals in truth and reality and that is why the test of truth is that which corresponds to reality (correspondence theory of truth). And the truth is (and it is not hard to validate) we are sinners - selfish rebels who need a savior. We are unjust. But in Jesus Christ we are declared righteous and justified, so we experience peace from God and we enjoy peace with God.

Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2
The reason you are loved more than you ever dare hoped is that God is love. (I John 4:7-8)  God's love is a love you can never earn, and it is a love you can never lose.
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
September 6, 2019

"The most important thing in acting is honesty.
If you can fake that, you've got it made."
                                                       ~ George Burns ~
James Comey is a name that will be remembered. That he is guilty of deceit, duplicitousness, deception and dishonesty seems beyond question. Is he guilty of a crime? Time will tell. What is amazing and alarming is how powerful he was and how he was a force to change the face of history. He exhibited extraordinary charm, expressed himself with exquisite eloquence, and had exceptional expertise at camouflaging and concealing the truth. In the end, he failed in his job, failed his country and failed himself.
"What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit himself?"
It is neither coincidental nor inconsequential that many of those in the secular and sacred roles of leadership are failing and falling morally since both are impacted by our corrupted culture. We are living in a cesspool society, a toxic civilization, and the air we breathe is impacting us.
My prayer for you and for me-
Lord - show me myself.
Lord - show me Thyself.                    
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,