Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Supreme Court Ruling -- Remember, God is still on the Throne


Yesterday was a dark day in American history; the rule of law went out the window.  Yes, as a country, we will survive to face another day.  For most of us it is unsettling but we shall not worry—God’s still on the Throne.

Government was ordained by God; its purpose was to bring control and discipline upon the people.  Romans 13:1-5 says:  Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.  For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 

As professing Christians, we are to be witnesses to the Truth whether free or slave; we are to live out our faith no matter the cost or sacrifice.  We need not lose our head about the court ruling made this week or Obama care.  Who brought us safely this far?  God has alone, not some politician or Supreme Court Justice.  They may think they are the end of line, they hold the authority but they answer to God.  A day of accountability is coming for all of us.

No matter what the future holds, hold fast to the faith for “kings and kingdoms will all pass away but there is something about that name” and that name is Jesus.

Sleep well, Christian, this is another sign of Christ’s eminent return.  Sleep well, God’s plans are never thwarted; they are just being unfurled before us more plainly and clearly than ever before.  Let’s work with Christian zeal serving the Lord.  Occupy with vigor until He comes.  Be in the world not of it.  Work to hasten the day of His return.  Sleep well, Christian, the devil and his men can only harass our spirit.  They have no sting; all they can do is buzz like a fly. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Send in the Clowns

Clowns have a special place in the history of the circus. Their job was to lighten the mood. If an act did not go off well, the call went out to “send in the clowns” and the clowns flooded the ring. Clowns were also used to create a distraction especially if a tragedy or accident occurred. The clowns were sent in to distract and maintain the “happy” experience.

Stephen Sondheim wrote a song called “Send in the Clowns” which was popularized by Judy Collins and others. The song is from a musical in which an aging actress begins to see her talent steadily slipping away and wonders if she is at that point where they need to “send in the clowns” to distract the audience from her diminishing talent. A sad day for this actress when she realizes as far as her career goes, “it’s over”.

Churches have clown ministries. I guess they have their place; special occasions, working with children but I wonder if it is frivolous. What are they trying to distract us from, if anything, or is it just good fun?

As Christians, we are called to be joyous not morose. James 1:2 says: “Consider it pure joy”. Titus 2:7-8 says in part: “ your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech…” But I don’t see where we are called to be frivolous. I mean when the wheels fly off of our life and we need help, will we seek out the clown?

I believe we will seek out a friend who is rooted in God’s word, a friend who is tested, passionate about life and the faith, encouraging with wise words of comfort. I believe we are called to be serious about the faith, not frivolous. Christ was never pictured as a chuckling, jolly figure. Isaiah 53:3 described Him as “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”

In school, I was the class clown and I was good at it. As class clown I deeply wanted the approval of my peers. It masked or distracted from what was really going on in my life. Inside my heart was a God-shaped hole and no amount of acceptance from a fractured world could fill that hole. I needed Christ but I didn’t know it. I distracted myself from the sadness unfolding around me. It was a frivolous, self deception; I was the court jester.

How many people on the surface appear happy and well adjusted, keeping up a “glittering image” while being lonely and hurting deeply? Have we as a The Church “sent in the clowns” when we should be demonstrating the love of Christ?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Praying for Family in these days

Considering things I saw this week, things I thought I would never see--example, on one news site seven stories related to human cannibalism!  What's happened to us?  When a culture denies the existence of God, a culture pays a high price.  Doesify said, "When there is no God, all things are permissable."  The good news is this, there is a God no matter how much as a culture wishes He is no more.

In these days we must pray.  Let's start with our families.  (I encourage you to print out the following so you have it for your daily use.)

Praying for Family in these days

Who will I pray for?

1.       ____________________________________         6.   ____________________________________

2.       ____________________________________          7.   ____________________________________

3.       ____________________________________           8.  ____________________________________

4.       ____________________________________          9.   ____________________________________

5.        ____________________________________         10. ____________________________________

*Note:  Include yourself!

1.  Forgive them; forgive yourself

                1 John 1:8-9: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He (God/Jesus) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

            James 5:16:  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

            1 Peter 2:24-25:  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.  For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.  (Jesus is the Shepherd and Overseer)

            Ephesians 6:12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

2.  Pray for protection for them and yourself

            John 17:1-3:  After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

            John 17:15-17:  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

            John 17:20:  "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message” (This is us today)

3.  Love your family enough to share with them, in love, the message of Christ

            Romans 12:2:  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

            Romans 12:9-16:  Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

4.  Remember this

            Jeremiah 29:13:  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Suffering or Struggling? Which One?

As Christians, we can have days when we enjoy our own personal pity party; this happens but we shouldn't live there.  Many Christians and non-Christians alike say they are suffering when in reality, they are struggling. We all struggle but we are not always suffering. If we have no recognition of "struggling," we then deduce we must be suffering.

Suffering is defined as "the bearing of pain, inconvenience, loss, distress, injury incurred ("not imagined"--my comment), sorrow, grief, etc."

Struggle is defined "to strive or make efforts, use great effort, labor hard, to contend forcibly, "to struggle with adversity", or avert an evil..., contend, contention, and strife."

 Fredrich Nietzsche said, "To live is to suffer; to survive is to find meaning in the suffering."

 The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

 We are "struggling" most of the time, not suffering. Remember whom we struggle against--it is the evil one, not one another. Struggle on brother and sister; let’s be here for one another. When suffering comes, will we be ready to be there for one another in our time of need?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Why does the jaywalker cross the street?

I can hear it already…”to get to the other side.”  I know.  I know.

The jaywalker jaywalks because he wants to beat the system.  He feels he is more important than the law.  He is in charge; he is the boss; he writes the rules.  No, he doesn’t.

When the jaywalker crosses the road, he incurs a certain danger—the risk of being killed or severely injured.  The jaywalker jaywalks until he gets splattered or he gets caught by the law.  (Whether he likes it or not, there is a higher power.  He does not make the rules—God does.)  When he gets hit, the chicken in so many words, has come home to roost.  The jig is up.

We must cross at the Light, the controlled intersection, the crosswalk.  The purpose of the light and the crosswalk is to give us a safe, stress free environment to cross the street.  When we obey and cross the street at the crosswalk, we are protected and free from stress, danger and possible death.

Are you a jaywalker believing you are above God’s law and man’s law?  Are you so self-centered that you believe the world revolves around you?  It doesn’t.  It doesn’t!

Come to the Light—cross in peace.  Obey; it’s the only way.  It brings freedom.

Romans 8:1-2 says:  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”