Saturday, April 28, 2018

Justice for Alfie

 
 
 
So the British government killed Alfie Evans. Like Charlie Gard before him. It is legislative murder. Barbaric, inhumane, reprehensible. They climb unhesitatingly up the steps of Babel, and the hellfire of God's wrath is licking up the foundations beneath them. And while we are right to be enraged- this baby was my own daughter's age- I just- there aren't words- let us not forget that we here in the US just insist on having our babies killed *inside* the womb. We are not far behind. God will not be mocked.

If you want to argue for gun control, look to England. Now they're banning knives. And if you want to argue for national healthcare, look to England. They are starving babies to death while their parents watch, surrounding the hospital with police so they cannot take their baby to the helicopter waiting outside.

If you make the state your god, don't be surprised when he demands sacrifices.

"Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor who seek after my life; let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt. Let them be like chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the Lord pursue them.
For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, which they have dug without cause for my life. Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, and let his net that he has hidden catch himself; into that very destruction let him fall. Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue me from their destructions, my precious life from the lions. I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people."

#JusticeforAlfie #JusticeforCharlie

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Shadows of the Son


There are dangerous ministries and false teachers today who are proclaiming a return to "Hebraic Christianity" as the true way of obedience to God. This return includes wearing tassels on your clothes, celebrating the Jewish feasts, not eating "unclean" meats, keeping the 7th-day Sabbath, only referring to Jesus and God by Their Hebrew Names, requiring circumcision, and more, to the point where I have actually seen stated that nothing of the old covenant has been changed or removed.
This is a destructive and divisive heresy, and we must be prepared to respond to it Scripturally. One might think such a response would be easy, but a short perusal of their voluminous teachings will show them to be confusing, ambiguous, and convincing. 
I know and love people who follow these teachings; I do not know the heart of these teachers; all I know is that the doctrines are enticing and destructive, and we must beware. 
In Christ, the Old Covenant is obsolete and has disappeared (Heb. 8:13). This does not mean that the Old Testament is no longer authoritative, but it means that everything having to do with the temple (9:1-9), the ceremonial laws- specifically washings and diet- (9:10-12), the sacrificial system (10:8-10) which by implication includes the feasts and all Jerusalem- and temple-specific commands- all of these are "taken away". 
On the question of the Sabbath there is Christian liberty as demanded by Romans 14. 
A disturbing pattern with these movements involves a few elements: 
- divisiveness (Titus 1:11)
- focus on "disputes about the law" rather than the weightier matters of Christianity, distracting from the Messiah Himself (Titus 3:9)
- a cult-like perception of being the true Christianity, rather than a humble appreciation for denominational differences
- a pursuit of Jew-likeness, rather than Christ-likeness (not stated, but taught in effect)
- rejection of church history and the authority of church elders, and failure to be in fellowship with other believers (1 Pet. 5, Heb. 10:25)
- lengthy and long-winded twistings of Scripture to remove Its clear meaning and replace it with one which fits an old-covenant narrative
-an explicit or implicit rejection of Christian liberty in any of these areas (Rom. 14)
"But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?""

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Love the Babies


Birth control and family planning. It should be obvious to every Christian that abortion and any forms of birth control that kill a baby, even in the earliest stages of life, are contrary to God's command against murder. But is that the end of Biblical perspective on childbearing? 
Scripture universally presents (Godly/well-trained) children as two things (Ps. 127):
1. A blessing
2. Directly given by God
Since every baby is personally knit together by God- and not simply the result of a natural, random process- why would we take "family planning"- even non-abortifacient family planning- into our own hands?
This issue can be complicated, especially when health issues come into the picture. But we have to take God at His Word and walk on faith first- not start with our reasoning and then look at Scripture.

Friday, January 5, 2018

That Pesky Titus 2


“...that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.” - Titus 2:4+5

This exhortation to young women cannot be neglected; it is clear in the text, but it is not culturally acceptable today, and as such it is easy to let it go unmentioned. Sinful man is very concerned with self-definition, self-realization, and unbridled autonomy. But God is in the business of bridling His creation; He both creates and defines what He has created. Truly, He is the most qualified to do the defining, and it is in keeping His commandments that our joy is made full. The bridling of the horse unleashes its power. (John 15)

From my own limited experience and observation, it seems that about ten years ago this passage and its presentation of the homemaking woman was very much in vogue in conservative Christian circles; honestly, it was perhaps presented a little too unilaterally, without enough room for Christian liberty and variety in application. A home business was the only option for a single young woman who wanted to be financially productive. For a girl to consider a college education was heresy- maybe not punishable by the tribunal, but certainly deserving of concerned condescension. Christian womanhood was supposed to look the same way for everyone. But that never happens, and it isn’t supposed to. The tapestry of the Church is a varicolored tunic, not a straightjacket.

Now, however, we seem to have taken a ride on the pendulum; now, we not only embrace Christian liberty and variety, but we practically disembowel the Scriptural commands in the process. We have rejected straightjacket and varicolored tunic alike, and we are running through the streets baring our liberty for all to see. Now this passage really means nothing- yes, we accept it as Scripture, and we make a nod to some vague idea about the wife being the homemaker. But Titus 2 doesn’t really have much bearing on whether or not my wife should get a job, or whether or not our girls should learn old-fashioned homemaking tasks. Perhaps most damaging of all is the strong perception that keeping the home and raising the kids is a second-level calling, as if the passionate pursuit of this essential mission reduces a woman to being too easily satisfied. As if “stay at home mom” was equivalent to “the help.”

This passage does mean something, and we cannot shy away from it; we must let God speak. God has called women to a different role than men, and for a woman to set that calling aside is for her to take a step down, not a step up. God does call women to be home-centered (and He does call them to be subject to their husbands, since we’re already stepping on toes here). It is straightforward in the text. It isn’t for me or anyone else to define for everyone exactly what those two things mean in practice. But the point is that they mean something. The application of the principle will vary, but there must be an application.

We cannot be ashamed of the Word of God. His commands are good, and they bring life and joy.

If we do not embrace this facet of God’s design for His people, then we will give occasion for the Word of God to be dishonored.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tomorrow's Yesterday



The seeds have been sown in the field of memory, and they will grow up into eternal fruits. Before us stretches another empty field, soft and tilled and fertile, its sweet, earthy smell joining the January sunrise in a chorus that sings of promise and opportunity. What are the seeds that we will sow? What are the memories that we will make? We wave a bittersweet goodbye to another Christmas, but it won’t be long before we are putting the lights up again. What will those lights shine upon this next December?

Now is our chance. Step into the house of mourning with me, and take a long draw off the cup of mortality. Look in the rear view mirror and see the string of yesterdays that led to you, here, now- and then look down the road and realize that you are living in tomorrow’s yesterday. One down, 364 to go. How are we going to use them? Where are we going to spend them?

As we walk on legs of recollection through the field of 2017, what do we see? What little eternal sprouts promise the fruits of life and Godliness? Which patches of time are tainted by tares sown in anger or covetousness or laziness?

And what shall we do with the empty field before us now?

That is the exciting promise of the new year. Exciting for the possibilities. Exciting for the opportunities. But most of all exciting for the unshakeable assurance that, whatever may come, whatever wheat and whatever tares may be sown, the Lord of the harvest is working the whole field for His ends. He will be exalted. His children will be cared for. And that makes it a very happy new year.

Easy or hard, we cannot know. Happy or sad, we have no promise. But as children of the living, sovereign God, we can know without doubt that 2018 will be a good year.

It is for us to simply seek first His kingdom; to rekindle the love that has grown cold; to rejoin the battle against sin; to renew our happy gratitude for His abundant blessings; to rejoice in the promise of His victory and the richness of His love.

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice! For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. So draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. And make the most of your time. You only get one 2018. Every choice is a seed- every moment a memory. Let us strive for a harvest of glory that will please our King, and for a year of choices which we will remember without regret. And let us do so in the power of Christ, knowing that it is His power which makes us alive and able, and His righteousness which makes us acceptable to the Father.

What are your goals? What are your prayers? What is the Father calling you to do?

How will you lead your family? How will you strengthen your marriage? How will you win the hearts of your children? How will you invest in your siblings, or your local church, or the community around you?

What is going to fill your days, your home, your year? Faces or screens? Complaining or thanksgiving? Irritation or joy?

What is going to fill the hearts and affections of your family? Jesus? Relationships? Fantasy? Hollywood?

What will be the things that you make time for? Family worship? Monday night football? Personal prayer? Exercise? Pinterest? The new Star Wars movie? Family dinners?

These are the seeds that sow the fields; these are the memories that weave the tapestry of our lives. Every day is a stitch, a stroke, a note in the song of life, and once sung it cannot be changed.

Let us choose wisely.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Two Ways To Be A Bad Patriarch


Husbands and fathers, we have been given a great authority and responsibility by God as the heads of our homes. There are two easy ways to misuse this authority and place ourselves in the pathway of God's judgment. 
1. To fail to exercise our authority- like David, who "had never crossed [Absalom] at any time by asking, "Why have you done so?"" The passive father who does not actively lead his family has been given authority by God, but has left it sitting on a shelf collecting dust, and he will answer for the resulting disrepair all the more because he neglected to use the very tool God gave to prevent it. 
2. To over-exercise our authority, or to act as if it has no limitations- like King Uzziah, who presumed to offer incense on God's altar and thus overstepped his God-given authority. The father who exercises authority without love, or who acts as if his wife or children are to obey him without limitation, without recourse, and most of all without their own personal sense of duty and relationship to Christ, may expect a similar rebuke: "Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful and will have no honor from the Lord God.”

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Highway of Heroism




This article is by turns fascinating and heartbreaking. It is amazing how humanism takes us by the hand and walks us away from God's reality- and indeed from all true meaning and joy.

It's no longer about truth or reality. It's about the experience. It doesn't matter if you are actually a man- if you *feel* like a woman, then you must be. It doesn't matter if you are *actually* the little girl's daddy, so long as you make her *feel* like she has an involved father. It doesn't matter if you are in a committed relationship for life; it just matters that, for right now, she makes you feel good.

Thus we run from the real world that God made, a world of meaning, a world of true family, a world of covenant, a world of unconditional love.

All we want is the experience.

The highway of heroism has a high toll, paid in blood, sweat, and tears. But the game console version only costs a couple of hundred bucks and your manhood.

The road of reality is hot in the summer and covered with snow in the winter. Let me watch the movie about someone who traveled that road instead.

I'll get the experience without the sacrifice. The joy without the pain.

But that's a lie.

Because the experiences of God's World are not only about what we enjoy in them but about what they do to us. And if you remove sacrifice from the equation, you have an anvil with no hammer. The sword will not be sharpened without friction.

Remove the trial, remove the reward. Remove the race, remove the finish line. Remove the battle, remove the thrill of victory.

Rent a perfect boyfriend who plays his script to perfection and you will experience happiness. You will experience wonderful dates and comfortable movie nights.

But you will never taste looking into the eyes of a soul so close to yours that it is almost indistinguishable. You will never have your soul broken by the careless words of your best friend, and re-forged in the tears of her repentance. You will never discover just how deep your selfishness runs like rot into the foundations of your soul, or just how much you need Jesus to rebuild that foundation, or just how much joy awaits when He does and you feel the layers of flesh falling away. You will never know sweet tears or broken laughter. You will never be the last, longest-married couple on the dance floor at the wedding. You will never hold the same hand that you've been holding for sixty years, or wake up an old man to the same kisses you first tasted on your wedding day. You will never bear the burdens of crushing pain beside another weeping heart. You will never see overflowing joy spilling from your heart and splashing shimmering sparkles into the most beautiful eyes in the world. And you will never, one day, wake up alone, and feel like half of your heart is buried under six feet of earth and half of your soul is waiting for you at the feet of Jesus.

So yes. We can trade this life in for a facade. Yes, there will be less pain. The dead don't feel pain.

But neither can they laugh.