Friday, April 26, 2013

Don't Believe a Word

Don't believe me if I tell you
Not a word of this is true
Don't believe me if I tell you
Especially if I tell you I'm in love with you
-Phil Lynott

I was warned not to do this.

Still, fools rush in where wise men fear to tread, so here goes.

To any young ladies who might find yourselves reading this:

Some of you have noticed, I see, that guys will say anything. Others of you, I fear, will discover this truth soon enough. So let this guy (who used to be one of those guys) say this to you.

Please don't define yourself by whatever relationship you happen to be in (or not be in).

Don't settle. Just because he likes you is no reason to go gaga over him. I'm not saying you should be cynical. Or maybe I am.

Are you putting pressure on yourself to "have a boyfriend?" Cut it out immediately.

Respect yourself. You don't have to put up with any crap from a guy. But don't be the kind of person who dishes it out either.

Priorities. "Few things are needed--or indeed, only one (Luke 10:42a)." What one thing is Jesus talking about here? Is it that you need a man in your life? 

There is a beautiful song, "Somewhere in the World."

What love we truly experience in this life is grounded in God's love. It comes down, I think, to this: do you believe the lies of the world (including the ones you tell yourself) or the eternal truth of an Almighty God? hold onto Jesus, baby, wherever you are. -Wayne Watson

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sometimes I Feel Like Marley's Ghost

We sat around the table Saturday morning. Each of us in turn shared those things for which he coveted prayer. Each time, one of the men gathered there would lift up a prayer addressing those needs.

It is awesome and inspiring, but at the same time humbling, to hear your name mentioned in prayer and your needs brought before the LORD by a beloved Christian brother or sister.

One gentleman spoke of his seeming inability to offer guidance to or witness to his adult children. Not that he didn't try, but his words seemed to fall on deaf ears.

This is a common experience and it requires much wisdom to know when our words of wisdom, though perhaps needed, are not desired. And when to speak anyway.

My own father was a wise man, a student of human nature. Yet there came a time when, to my own shame as I look back, I indicated my disinclination to hear his counsel.

He desisted but continued to love me and desire (and certainly pray for) my good.

It is common to men, I think, this temptation to "be the daddy." To be the boss, on the simplest level. To be the source of wisdom. Whose advice should be received gratefully and followed faithfully.

Perhaps doctors aren't the only people subject to a "god complex."

Father, forgive me.

Still we feel as though we have lost the power to intervene for the good in the lives of those we love.

It may be that we have abdicated this role at some earlier time. Perhaps we overstayed our welcome, seeking to impose our will when a gentle guiding hand was what was needed.

This may be.

But God has declared that nothing is impossible with Him.  And so I pray.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Where Are You?

...Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more. -Jeremiah 31:15b

Another report from the Gosnell trial. More horrific testimony. The truth underlying the abortion industry-murder for hire-is laid open for all the world to see.

The world is not looking. Three rows of media seats stand empty. This story may be our last best chance to expose the abortion mills for what they truly are. But no one is looking.

Do you think, as you read of one man's hateful career, that he was the only one? Do you think other clinics spread across this land are safe, clean and happy places? For all but the unborn, that is.

WPSD in Paducah ran a short piece on the trial this weekend. The only one I could find in their archives. KFVS in Cape Girardeau ran a piece back in March. How about the news outlets where you live?

Call me a religious nut, a fanatic, a whatever-you-will. How can I read of tiny severed hands and feet collected like trophies and not cry out in anguish at what we have become?

As the western allies liberated the camps at the end of WWII, they forced the locals to come and look at what they had allowed, without protest, for years.

Would that God would give us the power to force the world to look.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Is God That Holy?

God is for you and wants you to be happy.- attributed to Joel Osteen

Are you scared of hell?

"No need for that," you might answer, "I am clothed in the righteousness of Jesus."

Amen. The Lord bless you.

I'll repeat the question: are you scared of hell?

It seems to me, the more I study the Bible, that I haven't a truly biblical concept of the holiness of God. Oh, I have read that God is Holy, Holy, Holy and that no one can approach Him without clean hands and a pure heart.

And I pray, asking forgiveness for all the ways in which I sin. I am convicted, at my casual attitude toward personal sin.

But God's perfect holiness has been especially on my mind here lately. It has been the topic of serious, searching discussion in our Sunday night studies. As Bro. Billy preaches through Romans on Sunday mornings, we hear it each week from the pulpit. And again on Wednesday nights as he and Deon preach through Isaiah.

I think you have to have a firm grip on the notion of God's holiness for the concept of hell to make any sense. Or strike fear into the regenerate heart. Not fear for ourselves, you understand, but a true sense of horror at the danger faced by our unbelieving friends and family.

Christians in times past had it. Read any of the Puritans. Read one of Spurgeon's sermons. Read Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

Pull out your red letter edition of the Bible and note that of the 14 or so mentions of hell in the NT, 11 (or 12, depending on the translation you use) of those come from the lips of our Saviour.

Hell is real because God is holy. He is angry because the beings He created have rebelled against Him saying, "Not your will, O Lord, but mine be done."

That anyone at all of the rebellious, foolish human race is saved is on account of God's mercy and His love.

It says that "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10)."

So I seek the wisdom to be afraid. I fear for the lost. May that fear for their immortal souls grow stronger and my prayers for them ever more fervent and constant.

Friday, April 5, 2013

I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy

"Is your Dad always that jolly?" An acquaintance asked my youngest daughter this question. Hmmm. I never thought of myself as jolly. I don't even own a red suit.

I think my favorite part of the "Beverly Hillbillies" involved Granny singing the above mentioned song. Then Mrs. Drysdale would come along and steal that joy.

The thing is; we confuse happiness with joy. Happy is an emotion. Joy is a state of mind that can only be made permanent by the Holy Spirit. It's not something you can will your mind to, not for any length of time. It's a fruit. Can a tree will itself to be fruitful?

In the Bible, happy is usually a translation of the Hebrew word for blessed. Blessed is a good word. It puts us in mind of the Source of true happiness. It reminds us that we have nothing which we did not receive.

So the Lord has blessed me and made me joyful. Now if He would only see fit to bless me with patience, kindness and goodness in  equal proportion.