Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Word of Explanation

We live in a fallen world.

We need to understand this in order to account for the wicked, foolish, destructive (to self and others), and sometimes just downright annoying behavior of people.

And we need to understand this in order to understand the spiritual war that is going in in your heart and mind, Christian person, and also in my own.

You will have noticed that whenever your desires are thwarted, your perceived needs are not met, or you (and your "feelings") are not accorded the proper amount of respect, you (we) tend to get out of sorts and perhaps even behave peevishly.

And I'll admit it (and you may join me or not), the desire arises to act out, like Tommy Udo in the photo above.

Tommy was a sneering, snarling, giggling little homicidal wretch who would stop at nothing to get his way. This included pushing little old ladies in wheelchairs screaming down long flights of stairs.

I myself have never done this, nor have any of you whom I know. But I believe that the impulse to behave selfishly and to the hurt of others dwells deep inside each of our hearts.

Will you deny that you have dwelt on the desire to say something truly hateful or hurtful to some offending party, whether you acted on that urge or not?

I can make no such claim.

And so the conclusion of the matter is this:

Without God's restraining grace and mercy, who knows what deeds the human heart is capable of conceiving and executing?

Like the guy in the picture.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Last Full Measure of Devotion

Tell your Mama!!- Chris Rock's dad

Some might say that a good mom has the most thankless task there is, doing a thousand-and-one things a day for her kids, her husband, her home.

And so we try to remember, and still must be reminded (as Chris Rock's dad reminded his kids), to show appreciation to that woman who devoted herself to our well-being.

But there is another, isn't there, who deserves our thanks and gratitude for sacrifices made.

When Abraham Lincoln composed the Gettysburg Address, he had in mind a tribute to those who fought, but especially to those who laid down their lives on that field.

Husbands, in like manner, are called on to lay down their lives for their wives, just as Christ laid down his for his Church.

Now who can possibly perfectly imitate Christ? Yet the command is there and on this Dad's day, I am reminded of those men I have known who lived their lives according to this principle.

One of my elders at GPC is fond of saying, "There's nothing in the world like being married."

"This woman you gave me," is the first recorded complaint of a married man about the temptation through which his mate had put him.

Still we are called on to lead in love and devotion and in the authority which God has given us.

So no excuses, guys. Sometimes we have to stand for what is right, even when we are not sure what that is.

Thank God then for the women who speak loving words of encouragement and advice into the hearts of their men, never seeking to control them (for that is the curse and the temptation) but desiring always that their husbands live godly lives. For the good of the family and the glory of God.

Which brings me back to Dad.

Late in his life, after I was a grown boy, I came to understand how much he loved us kids and our mother.

I somehow attained enough good sense to be able to perceive that love, which was expressed throughout our lives, not so much in words, but in the way he led his family and set the example before us.

More than my own adventures in marriage, the hours spent with him in conversations of remembrance of bitter times showed me how hard it is to remain married (even to the best of women) and to be a good father.

And what devotion is required.

Our fathers set the bar so high.

Only by the grace of God can we hope to emulate them.