Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Met My Sister At Starbuck's, and Got Answered Prayer

The funniest thing happened today...

I was at Starbuck's finishing up some morning prayer, and was recently on the subject of Joe and
Lu who are going to M and M Club tonight at Central Bible Church. With my head buried in my hands outside the restaurant, a lady named Sherri, who I had seen oftentimes there at Starbuck's noticed me there, and came over to give me a cup of ice water. She asked me if something was wrong, because I was outside with my head in my hands. I, in total unsophistication, said "I am REALLY into Jesus right now!" I was surprised to hear it when she said she was too! I guess I took a big risk saying that. Someone might have thought I was nuts. But then Sherri said she wanted to pray with me about my kids, too. She went on to say she was saved since age 5, and that she attended Grace Pointe Church in Plainfield. So now I found a sister at the Starbuck's--and all of that as an answer to prayer. I had just gotten done praying that I would be able to show someone at that place what I was so excited about. Also, this is an answer to some prayer we prayed at the STARS retreat for people to come into our lives who would be of assistance with Dave.

By the way, Dave is not doing well right now. He is very agitated and unhappy, and holds up the family with his messes. But God did hear us at the retreat.

So sometimes we see that not all the good fruit from retreats and times of prayer happen all at once, but other times they do! This gives encouragement to keep going and praying, and asking for prayer. Can you do that for my Dave? He will one day see the fruit of it, and be happy.

OK, The Good News Explained

I thought, after the last post I should actually explain how this horrible fate can be avoided--to the glory of the living God.

The best launch point I can think of is this. Something is wrong in the world. We are disappointed, upset, unfulfilled, people get diseases, have fights, broken relationships, broken promises, nations at war, deadly storms, unrest in every corner of the world humans trod--and then you die. God lays down the gauntlet and says it is because of sin. Do you have any other explanation for why everything man hates surrounds us all the time, and tends to pull us to the inexorable grave?

But look at human experience another way. Did you ever witness a sunrise against a purple-streaked blue sky, with a bird chirping for joy in the background. Did you ever see the majesty of a crisp Fall day with the breezes making the multi-colored leaves dance and fall from their position on the tree to the cooled and moistened ground. Have you ever eaten something like ice cream, and felt a sense of pleasure inside. What about family and friends? What about all those birthdays you got at least a card, if not food and presents? Did you get any education? Do you use it today? Did you ever see a baby--maybe your own. Why do they play, eat, and grow? Why do they learn to laugh? Do you think all this is an accident? You have to literally fight off joy with a stick if you choose to believe so.

Choose to believe not only that there is a God, but that He is good. Your believing does not make it so, but it merely allows you to see it. There is more than enough evidence.

So how do you reconcile the two realities--bad and good in the same universe? You can't in one sense, but in another if you believe that God by definition can do anything, then he must have a plan. Look at it this way. "The creation was made subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of one who subjected it. In hope that this flesh itself may be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Romans 8).

God has a plan to right all the wrongs in the universe, most importantly, sin--even yours. That's why I did the last post. Everything else he does in all creation is gravy. Bless God, he is going to "deck the halls" in anticipation of all who come to heaven. (Read Revelation 21-22).

So do you see what God is up to? You admit that you cannot help yourself. If He is the great Architect of the New Heavens and New Earth, he is also the only one who can fit you for it.
So you believe His promise. "All the Father gives me will come to me, and him who comes to me I will in no case cast out (John 6:37)." Don't get discouraged by the statement about "being given to the Son by the Father." This will make sense in due time. If you are perplexed, go to Matthew 11:29. "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." And throw yourself on him as your only hope of forgiveness for the sin that caused all this mess.

You may find yourself seeing the Cross event with new appreciation at this point. Good. That is exactly where God wants you. Jesus was crucified for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. (check out Isaiah 53:4-6), and did really come out of the tomb. I assure you, it will all make sense by a miracle, and by nothing less. At this point, you are ready to jump!

You must stay close to him and the Bible at every point, every day--and what a joy it is to those who are inclined thus. Not to secure your salvation, but to remain aware of it, and thereby demonstrate it, however mysteriously. That is what the New Testament letters of Paul and others are about. There is a whole bunch to learn--and to unlearn at this point. But if God has begun a good work in you, he will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

I hope and trust this is helpful. And if you have any questions drop me a line, or go to other websites like, for example.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dangerous Days Indeed--But Not Yet THE Dangerous Day

With the occurrence of 9/11, the American outlook on life changed. Now we faced the prospect of a terrorist attack at any time. Almost eight years have been logged since then, and we have not to this date experienced anything like it.

September 11, 2001, however, has faded into the distant memory of many. We are still telling ourselves that life will continue to exist as it has, and we can settle in and take our ease.

Some of us, however, know better. In the past few years alone, I believe we have seen the single greatest leap into iniquity ever. We now have a President who condones infanticide if the mother wants it that way. We are having to fight drug wars, pirates, terrorists--only we are now appeasing people like this. Homosexual marriage is becoming legal in more and more states. Crime is becoming more random, more senseless, and more violent. The concept of a father in the home is now laughable. Illicit sex is everywhere. I could go further down the laundry list, but grab a newspaper and enjoy.

Billy Graham once remarked "If God does not destroy America, he might have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah."

I know what some are thinking. You are just a fundamentalist ranting on and on and trying to force your view of morality on everyone. Ok, go ahead. Reject it. You can deny this only so long.

Isaiah 57:11 "Is it not because I have long been silent, that you do not fear Me."

One day the heavens will open up. The One we pierced will descend in the clouds. You won't be able to deny that. Imagine standing in a line, a judgment line, you cannot escape. Something is terribly wrong. You are probably surrounded by angels with swords. You cannot resist their power, let alone the power of the One they serve.

Closer and closer you draw. Now you are standing before him. His face is enough to vaporize you with anger. He opens the books and asks you to give account. You have nothing to say but "guilty." And there is no counsel for the defense. You know what the sentence is. This is THE Dangerous Day.

Man oh man, don't miss this. Grab the Gospel of John. Read it through and ask God to show you if these things are so.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Take On Race Relations-- "What God unites, man cannot divide, what man tries to unite will invariably divide."

Controversial, right? I guess it is as old as the Fall itself.

Right at the very outset of salvation history, mankind was divided. Cain hated Abel because Abel was righteous, and we know what happened.

Man tried at the Tower of Babel to unite--but it was an insult to God, the only true ground of union. So they were scattered.

Beginning with Abraham, God set in motion a plan to bless all the nations of the earth. Radical thought, especially as God was about to declare that Israel was his plan to do so.

As time progressed, the Israelites became proud, and did not take God seriously. So they went into exile. They hated the Gentiles captors, and the Gentiles hated them.

Even Pilate made sure that Jesus had a sign over his head at the cross "The King of the Jews," in mockery of the people he felt were inferior.

After the resurrection, Paul and other apostles began to write about the new unity they have in Christ, where there is "No Greek or Jew, Circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all." (Galatians 3:28) This is the greatest news for race relations, yet today it is yawned at, passed over, and drowned in what I believe to be an unbelieving fog of nonsensical, unbiblical race talk.

We expect the common unbeliever to judge people on the basis of race. The church should not, yet it does. There are Christian colleges which, in the name of creating racial harmony, show videos of secularized race forum discussions. These include swearing, and bitter, angry people venting their spleen about their group's discrimination. And the not-so-subtle message rammed down the throats of students and staff is "accept this view, or face wrath." No, your oneness with someone in Papua New Guinea or Iceland who is saved is REAL the moment you believe!! Or else what do the passages in Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians mean? God specifically removes the barriers, racial, national or otherwise. Otherwise, Luke wasted a lot of ink in the book of Acts showing how Peter had to be compelled by God to accept a dinner invitation from a Gentile.

Therefore I believe that anyone who has an unchecked view of man as divided by race, and seeks to aggravate that or "get even for their people" is exercising unbelief, and should examine themselves as to whether or not they are Christians.

Philosophically, lurking behind any race-sorting attitude is a collectivist perspective that Karl Marx has been able to pass off for 150 years now, and counting. When you get saved, you are light in the Lord. We don't need Karl Marx, or Friedrich Nietzsche or anyone else to inform us how to relate to one another. The cultural changes in the 1960s saw philosophical borrowing from Marx--the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor--and they are at irreconcilible odds.

By the way, Civil Rights legislation and awareness in the 1960s was a good thing, and I see it as a necessary coming-of-age in our nation's history, consistent with the historical stream of "liberty and justice for all."

But most of us late Boomers and Generation X never knew any other world than one with race, class, gender, etc. divisions. And we had it rammed down our throats that man is the primary agent to fix this.

But the Bible says the problems are spiritual, and the only real groups are the saved and the unsaved. Does that sound like mid-twentieth century Fundamentalism? Tough. Sit and let that sink in for a second.

What all this means practically is that we can only relate to one another as individuals, for the space and time God appoints for us to intersect. If I condemn or judge you on a geographic or cultural, or racial basis, or whatever, I am sinning against YOU. And likewise, you are sinning against me if you do the same. God will settle all national scores, believe me. Only let us be just to one another now, while it is still called Today.

All you regenerates out there have no excuse. To anyone who does not accept the religion of God through Christ alone, please read some of my other posts where the Gospel is explained.