Reflecting on the Day’s Events

Hello Friends,

How is your day going? You okay?

Nothing that happened today is surprising. It was predictable and predicted. When sinful humans rule over other sinful humans they can only come to sinful conclusions. They have no other option.

It was interesting reading the four dissenting opinions. It’s a rare thing when every dissenting judge writes an opinion. But they did. We have an attorney in our congregation and he sent out the PDF of the decision the moment it came down the pike.

Anyway, what might be missed in all the hoopla about homosexual marriage is that this was essentially a State’s Rights issue. And the four dissenting judges accused the majority of massive judicial over-reach. That’s what’s really at stake. And it’s why states like Texas are already fighting back. Remember, our nation is made up of “united states.” When the federal government or courts remove an individual state’s ability to operate in accordance with its own state constitution, that’s a very real issue.

In other words, this is one shot across the bow of a much larger issue. And that’s what the other four judges are so concerned about.

Meanwhile, I’m a Bible guy. So, I view these things through a spiritual lens.

We’ve been studying the books of Judges, 1&2 Samuel, and 1&2 Kings on Wednesday nights at GCA. Israel’s history is instructive. You may recall that they were initially a theocracy, ruled by the Law of Moses that codified them as a nation of chosen people. But that wasn’t good enough for them. They wanted a king so they could be like their surrounding neighbors. God gave them Saul, a ruinous king who took all the best of their horses, food, gold, and women … you know, the way politicians always do.

Then God gave them David, a man after His own heart. During the time of Solomon, David’s son, the kingdom was taken away from his posterity and Israel was divided.

The succession of kings in the North went from bad to worse. The kings in the South weren’t much better, although they had occasional rays of light. Whenever their enemies advanced on them or they suffered from famine or other disasters, Israel cried to God. And He would deliver them. Then they became comfortable, safe, well-fed … and they’d forget God and go chase after their foreign gods and their fleshly desires. The pattern is consistent.

That’s how humans are, by nature. When they’re in trouble or pain, they cry to God. When they’re fat and sassy, they feel self-assured and they do their own thing – which is usually sinful, given our sinful nature and proclivities.

At the moment, America is (mostly) safe and well-fed. We’re clothed, air-conditioned, and entertained into a stupor. We’re obsessed with celebrities and we think we can solve our problems by banning flags. And America has forgotten (and is erasing) her history.

Manifest destiny. The faith of the founding fathers. The importance of our Christian heritage. The necessity of theology in the well-rounded education. It’s all being erased.

I am reminded of what God told Abraham. When Abraham asked how he could know that the land he was promised would be his and belong to his (as yet unborn) offspring, God told Abe that his descendants would go into a land where they were not known and serve there for four hundred years.

But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” (Gen. 15:16)

Think about that phrase. The Amorites were living in the land that God promised to the descendants of Abraham. God gave them 400 years to fill up their iniquity – their rebellion against Him. Meanwhile, God was growing the nation of Israel as slaves in Egypt. When they came out, they were more than a million strong. And they conquered the land, just as God said.

I am afraid that America is currently filling up her iniquity. Because there is no immediate price to pay, they think that God doesn’t care, or that judgment doesn’t exist. They think that power in numbers and political correctness trumps things like morality. So, killing babies? No big deal. Homosexual marriage? No sweat. Gender confusion? Only natural.

But, let a plane hit buildings in New York and suddenly the entire Senate is singing “God Bless America” on the Capitol steps.

Then the attacks stop. Now, where were we? Ah, yes … what are those pesky Kardashians up to?

Consider the warning of the iniquitous Amorites. Try to find an Amorite, a Jebusite, or a Hivite today. Tough job. They were enemies of God’s people and they’re all gone.

But, try to find a Jew. Ta-daa! Easy. Why? Because God’s faithful when He calls.

As I keep saying, the only thing we’ve learned from history is that we’ve learned nothing from history.

So, lift up your heads, Christians. God did not topple off the throne today. He’s not in terror of nine humans in black robes. I keep warning that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. This is just another step along the way.

And remember that God is faithful to His people. There are folk dancing in the streets today and celebrating because they think they’ve won something. That’s fine. Dance on. Death is imminent. And equal. Everyone gets one.

And then, the judgment. And that’s when this stuff will really matter.

Look, it’s simple. Either the Bible is true or it’s not. If it is (and I am convinced that it is because of the plethora of evidence), then we need to walk, talk, and live as though it’s true. And have confidence. This world is not our home.

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

And nothing the world can or will do can change that.

So, let the world celebrate the sinful fashion in which men rule men. It may not matter to them at this exact moment.

But, it will matter one day ….

and forever.

 

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“Comfort in Christ”

It has been my long-held contention that God gives His people gifts and talents so that they can better worship and glorify Him.  Our gifts are not for the purpose of self-glorification.  With that in mind, I am a fan of the poetry of Rebecca Gholson. And now she has released a compilation of her work in book form.

Comfort in Christ coverIt’s titled “Comfort in Christ,” and that’s a fitting title.  It’s a book of uplifting and comforting words that are both Christocentric and theologically sound.  Plus, she has a gift of writing in Old English prose without it sounding phony or puffed up.

Some of her works were inspired by sermons, but the pieces that impress me most are the ones drawn directly from Scripture.

“Comfort in Christ” is available via Amazon books and, as of this writing, the Kindle version is free.  So, move quickly!

 

 

 

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America Adrift

I posted a short comment and a link on the GCA Facebook page and then mentioned those comments in our most recent Wednesday night message.  I forget that not everyone who listens to the Salvation by Grace messages is in our Facebook group.  I was asked if I would post that information on my blog so that non-FB listeners could see to what I was referring.  And I’m happy to oblige.

It went like this —
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While I would normally refrain from posting a “news article” in the GCA group, this one is the exception. It’s from Breitbart.com and it states some basic truths that I’ve been saying for a long time. To wit: the church in America has abandoned the distinctives that make it truly Christian.

After citing some facts and figures, Thomas D. Williams PhD. writes:

Though it is impossible to establish a strict causal relationship between the two phenomena of moral liberalism and declining religiosity, the correlation between them is still striking.

What may not seem immediately apparent is why as Americans become increasingly progressive, they are abandoning liberal religious denominations in favor of conservative ones.

One theory, advanced by Arthur E. Farnsley II, a professor of religious studies at Indiana University, is that the more churches resemble society at large in terms of their moral teachings and understanding of the meaning of human existence, the less relevant they are. Why continue to attend church services to hear the same message you get from reigning culture? Religion only makes a difference when it offers an alternative account of reality, distinguishable from secular culture.

It is, in fact, the countercultural religious groups that are holding on to their membership.

Farnsley suggests, therefore, that the more liberal religious groups will continue to lose members and influence “because they are already on the modernist side, meaning many of their core values are expressed in other institutions, including government.”

Much of the decline in membership for mainstream Christianity seems to be the result of a loss of recognizable Christian identity in those churches.
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Bingo. You got it. The church that has lost its savor is good for nothing.

Later, Williams writes:

A final trend among mainstream Christian churches has been a progressive lowering of the moral bar, seemingly out of fear of appearing “judgmental” or “hypocritical.” Confusing judgmentalism with the ability to tell right from wrong, many Christians have moved in the direction of withdrawing disapproval from all but the most egregious sins. The lower the bar, the fewer fail to get over it: “I’m okay. You’re okay.” Similarly, some have confused hypocrisy with a simple failure to live up to one’s moral ideals, and have embraced the facile solution of chucking their ideals. Hypocrisy, in fact, becomes impossible when one no longer endorses any moral standards.

That is genuinely insightful. I have long argued that there is a difference between being “judgmental” and practicing proper discernment (what Jesus calls, “proper judgment”). I like William’s differentiation. People confuse judgmentalism with the ability to tell right from wrong. We, as Christians, are expected to know the difference. Too much of modern Christianity has fallen for the world’s very specious argument that practicing biblical discernment is tantamount to being judgmental.

If you’re interested in reading the whole article, here’s the link:

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/06/01/why-is-america-moving-left/

And if you’re interested in hearing the Wednesday night message from 2Kings that includes a reference to these comments, it’s here:

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