March 27, 2020

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher,
"Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."
What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?
A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.

If ever there was a book of the Bible that is relevant today (and of course they all are) it is the book of Ecclesiastes. Vanity, vanity all is vanity. It feels that way sometimes. Perhaps it is simply the self-imposed "home sheltering" a.k.a. quarantine that is getting to me. But life looks different this side of an economic crisis, and a medical epidemic, and a global pandemic.
Vanity (used 5 times in verse 2) is the Hebrew word, havel. It is translated breath, vapor, vain, pointless, empty. Life is but a vapor or a breath. It often appears to be vain or empty of reason or purpose.  It can feel transitory and hence pointless. The reason it seems that way is that it is that way... At least that is one way of perceiving life.

Fortunately, there is another angle of vision that reduces the reality of temporary vanity and perceives ultimate victory.
It is true that man is like a breath (Psalm 62:10, 144:4; Job 7:16) and it is true that life under the sun can seem ultimately devoid of ultimate purpose. (Eccl. 2:11,17, 3:19, 12:8) But mark it well, the Lord our God is there and He is not silent. His purpose is to restore the creation, redeem man, reestablish order and return to rule and reign.

Do not miss the end of Ecclesiastes
          The conclusion, when all has been heard, is:  fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (12:14)

Martin Luther had two days marked on his calendar; Today and That Day. We live today under the corruption of the curse and in the shadow of sin. We live between the day of ruin and the day of restoration.  We sometimes wait anxiously, but ever faithfully, for That Day - The Coming of the Lord.
Today, we are living by the clock that ticks away moment by moment as we await a remedy for the virus and redemption in the financial market.  But we must also live by a compass that, regardless of how we feel, points us to what we know. And we know that God is too kind to be cruel and too wise to ever make a mistake.

If we can trust Him with the final hour then we can trust Him with the next minute.
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,

March 20, 2020

 The Discipline of Difficulties  

There is a difference between how we respond to an emergency situation and how we respond to living with its long term consequences. Immediate disasters and enduring difficulties both demand discipline.
Today there is a sense of dis-ease surrounding us as we are experiencing physical, emotional and financial tremors that create anxiety.  Just as angina is a constriction of blood flow to the heart, so anxiety can cause a constriction of confidence and courage in the soul and spirit.
Our apparent fragility and susceptibility to biological and financial forces reveals a side of reality in which we experience a sense of the melancholy of impermanence.
But that is not the only side of reality; for we who name the name of Christ are waiting for the permanence of our Messiah who shall return to rule and reign.

Until that great and awesome day, we must discipline our minds.  We need to know, as Paul reminds Christians of his day and is still true for us today, "this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" (2 Cor. 4:17) and again Paul states; "we consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)
Today is real. There is no escaping that truth. But there is coming a day even more real and true.  And as those who are immortal, we should focus on that which is eternal, and that is the Kingdom of God.
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,

March 13, 2020

                                         Let's Go back to Square One
Surely the one thing we can all agree on is that we are living in frightening times. The personification and manifestation of fear seems to be ubiquitous. Whether it is the exposure to the virus or the vexing vicissitudes of the stock market, it seems that we are cornered and concerned on all sides. The only relief we seem to find these days is comic relief in the world of politics. And that is turning out to be not so funny either.

Fear grows when we forget to answer the fundamental questions of life. We need to practice the "square one principle;"  he who goes back to the beginning will in the end find his way.

Who Are you?  Perhaps it is also significant to ask WHOSE ARE YOU? You are a son and daughter of the Lord God. You are a brother and sister of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What are you?  You are no longer who you were, but you are now who you are in Christ Jesus, a new creation and a member of the body of Christ - the church, both local and global.

Where are you?  You are in the world and the whole world lies in the lap of the evil one. But you are not alone - you have the "Helper" and you have an anointing. And never forget that you are also seated with Christ in the heavenlies.

When are you?  You are living between your day of redemption past and the day of the rapture/resurrection future and you are not alone. The Spirit of the Holy One indwells you and will lead, guide and protect you. And although you live in the world, you are sealed for the future day of redemption waiting for the Blessed Hope.

Why are you?  You have a purpose that is beyond the day-to-day fluctuations and agitations. There is to be no deviation from the magnificent obsession. We must endeavor to remember, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

What do you think Jesus says is the main thing?

Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,

March 6, 2020

 Antifa to Antichrist

Communication of a political philosophy can occur through a political platform or a utopian novel. Both express ideas that have consequences. Today we are observing a philosophy that is being articulated through a radical political platform whose ideas do and will have consequences. The moral issues of the day are a clear expression of the fact that "belief determines behavior."  World views create cultures and cultures produce actions. The desire and demand for abortion, physician assisted suicide, homosexuality, LGBTQ, trans-sexual and, trans-human rights provide ample evidence.

But there is also a larger platform endorsed and seeking expression in our culture. It is a desire for a world culture. It is a desire for globalism at the expense of nationalism or even states' rights. Trans-continentalism in a day of electronic interconnectedness makes this not only possible but desirable to the elites, the modern aristocracy that govern and control this country and world. (I would encourage you to read Revolt of the Elites written in 1994 by Christopher Lasch, who with prescient insight saw our day from afar.)

You may ask, what does all this have to do with the Bible?  Everything.  
From the globalism expressed in the Old Testament Tower of Babel, through the New Testament in the book of Revelation, and the united one-world government under the control of the Antichrist, history does end in something, and it includes everything. Today it is Antifa. Tomorrow it is the Antichrist.

The word of God reminds us, the whole world lies in the lap of the evil one  (I John 5:19) and that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces.
(Ephesians 6:12)

Scripture also reminds us; in the world you will have tribulation.... but do not let your heart be troubled. For "I have overcome the world."
              "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."  (I John 4:4)
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,