Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Power of Truth

I have never watched Duck Dynasty. I certainly don't have anything against it, in fact I applaud the Robertson family for their work in putting a wholesome show on the air. I just don't happen to really watch TV, hence, I don't pay too much attention to it. That being said...

"Evil peddles tolerance until it is dominant then seeks to silence good."

For background on where this post is coming from, I recommend reading Yes, You Will be Made to Care. It is an excellently written post, and I don't want to spend space rewriting it it my own words. Once you've read that, head on back. :-)

I am not going to rant about how ridiculous the suspension is, because I believe that ignores the real truth behind what is going on. I will not go off about 1st Amendment rights, because A&E is a private entity. There will also be no bemoaning of just how far down the tubes our culture has gone because, let's face it, if you are reading this blog you probably already have a pretty good idea about that.

Instead I want to write about the reality behind what we see happening. If you read my previous post Covert Attack, this post is the other side of that coin. In this case, instead of parading "Christians" acting in an unchristian way, the goal is to promote Real Christianity as unchristian and evil.

I see it working like this:
1. Read an interview where Phil Robertson states a belief that is considered "wrong."
2. Put him on "indefinite" suspension (which really means nothing, "indefinite" can mean a day or a decade).
3. Watch as reporting on the situation says he has been suspended for "Anti-Gay" comments.
4. Promote the idea that Real Christianity is not "Christianity", and is, in fact, bad.

Number 3 is where the attack lies. As CS Lewis said, words are important. Words have meaning. When every report of this situation states "Anti-Gay" comments, the goal is to normalize the thought that anything said that does not explicitly endorse the gay lifestyle is "anti-gay." You see it all the time in the (rapidly growing) list of reports on how people who do not wish to use their services to promote same-sex marriage. It is never enough to say "they stand by their beliefs," of that they "disagree with the event." The refrain is that they are "anti-gay," which is to say, they hate all gay people and never want to help or serve them in any way, shape or form.

See, the attack doesn't lie in the initial attack. The attack lies in the aftermath. It is an attack not on a person, but on a mindset. On a belief system.The attack is one of the mind. Really, A&E is only a tool of the attack (whether it recognizes it or not).

In Matt. 10:22 Jesus says,
"And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake, but he who perseveres and endures to the end will be saved." 

In John 15:18-20 He says,
"If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are no longer one with the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours."

Understand that the world hates Christianity. The world is a place of darkness, and darkness hates light. It will stop at nothing to bring Christianity in line with itself. If it cannot do that, it will stop at nothing to silence it and make it yield.

Do not expect to win this battle on earth.

I don't say this in a defeatist way or to make people feel helpless Remember, our victory comes when Christ returns. Our victory will be total, complete, and undeniable.

Our real victory comes in showing Christ's love to all, and showing it in truth. Our victory comes when we takes Jesus' message to everyone: gay, straight, criminal, rich, poor, hungry, needy, comfortable - everyone; and bring them to the glory of the Father.

I am not saying ignore the culture war or have nothing to do with it. I am saying focus on what our real focus should be - saving the souls of those who do not know God. I am saying fight for the real truth without falling for the distractions that keep us from spreading God's Word.

The power of Truth is Life.

The Power of Truth is Victory.

God is The Power of Truth.

And no enemy, whether it is in front of our faces, of coming from the side, will be able to stand against it in the end.

So stand up for righteousness and truth and Phil Robertson.

But make sure you are standing for God first.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Help My Unbelief!

"You no longer have coverage with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact us."

This was the message I saw when I was checking up on my health insurance payment today. This was not the message I was expecting to see. I pay my premiums, and had just gotten a letter stating how BCBSTX had worked it out to where we could keep our insurance through November of next year.

So naturally, when I saw this message, I very nearly had a panic attack.

After over an hour of being on hold on the phone, it was cleared up. In order for me to keep my coverage through next year, they had to cancel the old policy on December 1st and reinstate a new one on the same day. The reason I got that terrifying message at the top was simply due to the website not showing the new plans yet.

They just didn't tell me that's how it worked, so I spent about an hour and a half being sick to my stomach and fantasizing about how I was going to make this work.

Health care for a 5 year old and an 18 month old isn't cheap, ya know.

But, like I said, it all worked out and nothing is changing for us right now. It will in the future, but I won't be blindsided by it like I was by this.

My freakout did show me one thing though. It showed me one thing I did not like at all.

It showed me that my faith, in that moment at least, was very weak.

As if the God who has carried us through 6 months of unemployment (twice!), brought our first son out of a dangerous birth with flying colors, done countless other things for us when everything was falling apart, and who has created the world and everything in it, couldn't handle the health needs of my family.


There is an interesting story in Mark chapter 9. A man's son has been possessed by a demon since childhood. It has thrown him into fire and water and has made him mute. It throws him into seizures where he foams at the mouth and becomes rigid.

The Jesus comes, the man brings his son, and says "if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."

"If you can do anything".

I wonder how many times I have prayed with that attitude. Probably too much.

Jesus even makes a note of it. He replies, "'If you can'? Anything is possible for him who believes."

Here is where the boy's father realizes his own weakness. He knows he at least wants to believe. He knows he needs to believe. He knows enough to have faith in this man called the Messiah who has done so many great things that no one else could do.

And so this man, whose son is in need and who doesn't know what else to do, says what I think is one of the most honest statements in the Bible. 

"I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

I think that this is how most people really are, even if they don't admit it. They believe, and they want more, but there is something holding them back from really, truly, fully putting their faith in Jesus. Sadly, I think a lot of people are so caught up in making sure they look the part of Christian that they fail to cry out "help my unbelief" for fear that they will not look as good or as strong or as faithful as they should in the eyes of other people.

What if, just what if, we opened our minds and our hearts to God and were truly honest about where we stand? What if we saw ourselves and each other not through the lens of thinking we all have to look perfect, but in the true lens of where we really are. What if we stopped playing games and were open to each other and God so that we could help each other and God could help us?

What if we started saying "I do believe! Help me to overcome my unbelief!"

I think I am going to start making that a regular part of my prayer life.

If you need to, will you?

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Cross: It's More Than You Think

Psalm 22 is a prophecy about the death of Jesus. It begins with "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" It talks about being mocked, being pierced, and the clothes of Jesus being divided among those who crucified Him. It is filled with unspeakable pain and suffering and the brutal thoughts which go through a man's mind when he is in torment.

It also talks about the love and glory of God.

The cross is about more than the pain and suffering of Jesus. Does it include that? Absolutely. But it should not end with that. When instituting the Lord's Supper in Luke 22:19 Jesus said "This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." But notice what He did not say. He did not say "do this and only remember my suffering and death."

He said "do this in remembrance of Me."

Jesus did this before the crucifixion, before He was tortured and mocked and put on a cross. If the cross is the only way we think about Christ, We are missing so much of His life and ministry and what He did for us.

You see, in God's hands, the cross is so much more than an instrument for torture.

"but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God."
-I Cor. 1:23-24

How could it be anything less?

Consider this: it was by the death of Jesus that God was able to destroy the power of sin once and for all. It is because of the cross that God is able to say we are clean and washed and pure before Him. It is due to the blood spilled that we are able to have every sin washed away and be made holy before the Lord God Almighty.

How could the crucifixion be anything less than the glory and power of God on Earth?

As I said earlier, Psalm 22 prophesies the death of Jesus. It talks about all the horribleness that went with it. And then it says this:

"My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him. 

The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.
Let your heart live forever!

All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You. 
For the kingdom is the Lord’s,
And He rules over the nations.

All the prosperous of the earth
Shall eat and worship;
All those who go down to the dust
Shall bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep himself alive.

A posterity shall serve Him.
It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, 
They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born,That He has done this."

These are the last verses of Psalm 22. It is a praise to God. It is a praise to Him for His goodness, His mercy, His love, His power, His righteousness.

It is just after putting into words the unspeakable torment of being separated from God on the cross.

The next time you take communion, the next time you worship, the next time you remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross, don't forget to remember the glory of it as well.

Remember the power of God and the blessings He brought the entire planet through doing so.

Remember that it is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

And that He calls you to be a part of this great story as well.