Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Prayer For the Dead

What's this? No such thing, I hear you say. Surely Jesus teaches us in Luke 16:19-31 that there is no redemption after death.

Which is true. But hear me out.

The psalmist in the 88th Psalm feels so estranged from God that he likens himself to one already dead. The Psalm ends with no ray of hope as most of the lament psalms do.

The final line? "...darkness is my closest friend." And that brings me to the point of tears. But not for the psalmist.

We were born dead. In at least three places (Ephesians 2:1; 2:5; Colossians 2:13), Paul teaches us this. He also speaks of quickening to those of us who have received Christ.

So I weep for those of my loved ones who are still at enmity with God; who want no part of his worship, or fellowship with his saints, or any comfort from his holy word.

Yes they still walk around above ground, breathing God's good air and enjoying the blessings of life on this earth. But their hearts are dead (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26).

May God have mercy on them and quicken their hearts of stone.

I pray for the dead.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Master of Puppets

Master of puppets,
I'm pulling your strings
Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams.

Sounds like addiction, hmm? Name your poison.

As I peruse the lyrics,

maybe I can see something else there. The thing behind the addiction. The appetite behind all the destruction.


And its author.

The thief. He comes to kill, steal and destroy.

The father of lies. Look at the lyrics again:

Master, master, where's the dreams that I've been after?
Master, master, promised only lies.

Sound familiar?

The fruit was good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirable to make one wise. Remember?

John Owen said "Be sure to be killing sin or it will be killing you."

It will make you a slave and take your life.

Listen to the master of puppets gloat:

Come crawling faster, obey your master.

It doesn't have to be this way.

O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemy triumph over me (Psalm 25:2

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Q. "What is truth? (John 18:38a)"
There has been a lot of discussion about this around here lately. Can we claim to know the truth? Can we overthink the truth? Can we oversimplify the truth?

Pilate's question to Jesus may have been merely a cynical dismissal of Christ's claims about himself. Or it may have been the honest query of a heart on the horns of a moral dilemma.

Nowadays, the question might be asked as a prelude to a reminder that it is the height of arrogance to claim to know the truth.

A. "I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6a);"
This is Jesus speaking of himself.

"I tell you the truth."
Jesus utters this phrase 78 times in the New Testament (NIV; "verily,verily" in the KJV; "truly, truly" in the ESV). In John's gospel, he frequently uses this phrase when making statements about himself.

If we believe Paul's assertion that all scripture is God's inspired word (2 Timothy 3:16), then we hold the answer to Pilate's question in our hands.

I've gotta say it seems simple to me. Maybe that's because I spent years and years pursuing alternative truths. That's the philosophical equivalent of running down a series of blind alleys. In the dark.

Are you a Christian? What are you going to believe? The biblical signposts seem clear:

"To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. (Isaiah 8:20)"