Friday, February 26, 2016

Asking Questions and Struggling

I just put the following words on Facebook, then decided to throw them out here. They aren't the best edited, but rather a free flow of thoughts. Maybe someone can help me out here. They are:

Since when did it become OK for Christians to compromise who they are, and what it means to be God's children, today, in order to hopefully "avoid" some consequence in the future? Since when is it OK for Christians to say that the end justifies the means? Since when is it OK for Christians to yoke themselves with those who stand against the core heart and intent of God's Words, saying, "Well, God uses anybody"?

I am really struggling with this. I am not wanting to start any arguments, and if the comments get nasty I'll just erase them or this post, but I'd really like to hear some thoughts as it is hard for me to see the support that Christians are giving Donald Trump who, to my eyes (and I could be wrong), seems to be:
1. A lover of money
2. Proud
3. Unrepentant
4. Rude
5. Disrespectful
6. A lobbyist for his own self interest who will donate his resources and influence to anyone who benefits him, regardless of their stands on core issues like abortion, religious freedom, etc.
7. Arrogant
8. Without a core baseline of values that are Biblically linked about which he won't compromise or lend support to

I get the anger. I get the refreshing sense he brings in a world of political correctness and Washington garbage, but I can't bring myself to yoke myself with him when it seems to me he is the living opposition of so many things the Bible says to avoid and separate ourselves from. Maybe I'm totally wrong. Again, I'd love to hear respectful, thought out responses. If he is elected I believe God can use him, but I just am struggling to see how Christians can see him as a man representing the values, humility, servanthood, truth, and light that God calls His men to be---and then yoke themselves to him with their support. I would rather choose to stand for that which is uncompromisingly Christ, and trust God with my future, than to---as I perceive it---compromise myself today trying to secure my own future.

These are just my thoughts and things I'm trying to work through. I know I struggle with a lot of things and fall very short of Christ's standards, and I am not being judgmental in a haughty or superior sense. But God does call His children to be discerning, and when error is noted in our walk and heart, to be repentant and have a Godly grief over it. I just don't see that.

Friday, February 12, 2016

What Have We Become?

I can't tell you how sad, and how angry, I was to watch multiple candidates in the New Hampshire Republican debate endorse making women sign up for Selective Service. What have we become? What are we that we, as a nation (even many of the leaders who most tout their Christian stands), are considering drafting women into the brutality and horror of war?

It strikes me that much of the crumbling in our society we see is in part stemming from a collapse of Godly men in the homes. Men who protect their wives and children. Men who train their children up in the Scriptures and God's ways. Men who open doors for ladies. Men who provide. Men who teach their daughters what a Godly man looks like, what appropriate touch is, and give them a model of the man they should look for. Men who teach their sons to love and cherish and honor and protect women. And now, it seems, that men can't even defend and protect this nation.

And before someone calls me sexist, let me just say that to do so is to level the same claim at God. He ordained the structure of the home. He ordained the roles of the Home. He told men to love and cherish their brides and to lift them as ones without spot or blemish. He died for His bride.

At West Point and in the Army I had the privilege of serving alongside many amazing women who volunteered to be there. Volunteered. But the inevitable result that anyone looking could see coming is now here. The push to be equal, equal, equal has now "drafted" in those who were not pushing. Daughters who don't want to kill, be killed, be captured (and everything that goes with it), see the horror of death thrust in their face won't have a choice. What have we become? Can we no longer even protect our women from that?

Based on some responses I got when I posted about this on Facebook, there is almost a smug "hey, women, you wanted to be equal so now lie in the bed you made" attitude. My response is this—not all women wanted this, but all women will be subject to this. And before you think in some perverse way you are "getting back" at feminists through this let me say that that line of thinking is akin to firebombing a city to get back at a few criminals in it.

I believe that how we view this goes directly to how we view Scripture and God. Do we believe He has ordained roles and different strengths for the different sexes? This isn't to say a women shouldn't (or can't defend herself). This isn't to say anything against women. But to make law a variance to God's structure is to say something different. It is to fly in the face of God and the truths and order He has given us.

I guess, though, what do we expect?!? We undermine the Scriptures. We rewrite God and our theology to fit what we approve of. We remove the idea that we are handcrafted, each uniquely, in God's image and we teach instead that we are all evolved animals. In that light, what does it matter? But to have men who claim to believe in God and the authority of Scripture believe this is good is grievous to me, and it scares me.

I can't—and won't—describe to you some of the things I've seen on the volunteer fire department. Images flash through my mind I'll probably never be able to forget this side of the grave. And I can't tell you how grateful I am that my wife and daughters don't have those images in their minds. That I could stand in a place so others don't have to. The thought of my daughters being drafted into an environment where that could be their exposure sickens me, and angers me. But, in light of the rejection of God and the Scriptures we are avalanching into in this nation, I guess it shouldn't surprise me . . .

Friday, February 5, 2016


I love the word "lens" in a Christian context. It always reminds me that I need to see through the proper lens when I am processing things in life. I need to see things through God's lens and not mine or the worlds. His "lens" (His way of seeing things) is the only one that matters in the end, and the only one that is truly correct, and the only one through which I can see things in the true perspective and light.

For example, last night I was teaching the youth group about Paul and how his encounter with God instantly changed his life* (as a follow up to Isaiah's similar moment in Isaiah 6). As I taught we reached Jesus' words to Paul (then Saul):
And falling to the ground he [Saul] heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. (Acts 9:4–5)
As a side note to the main teaching I drew their attention to the fact that Jesus sees persecution against the church (believers, His body) as persecution against Himself. We don't stand alone. When we are persecuted it is to God as if He Himself is persecuted. I referred back to Jesus' words to the disciples before He sent out the 72, "The one who hears you hears Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me, and the one who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me" (Luke 10:16). We are the body of Christ, and Christ is in us and completely identified with us. Even in solitary confinement we do not suffer alone, and we are not alone.

This morning our family was watching a documentary on the Bible and it was talking about the early church and the horrible persecution it suffered for over 200 years. Torture, burned alive, lions, etc. A horrible litany of the tremendous evil of man unto man. The narrator gave religious, political, social and economic reasons for the Roman persecution of the church . . . but stopped at that. I had the girls pause the DVD and told them that no matter the "topic" or hot point the devil uses to stir up people against believers, at the core of it all it is that darkness hates light. The light has come into the world and men love darkness and hate the light. At its core all persecution and hatred of God's people is a spiritual war, driven by Satan and his hosts. I told them that this is why it is imperative to me to know a political candidate's deep and true religious beliefs and worldview lens. There is no way they can truly understand the nature of world events and issues if they do not have (and apply) God's spiritual lenses through which to see it.

I ended by sharing with them that while it is easy to direct our hate at Nero (who burned Christians alive as his torches, etc.), the Bible makes it clear to us:
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:11-13)
No matter the person leading the persecution. No matter the person being persecuted as a Christian. The reality of it all is that ultimately it is Satan warring against Jesus. It is darkness against Light. It is Satan and his hosts driving the persecution, and it is Jesus receiving the persecution as if unto Himself. This is the only lens through which we can truly understand it, through which we can truly direct our anger and defense against it . . . and the only lens through which we can find the only true comfort in it—what is done unto us for the sake of Christ is received by God in us as if done unto Himself.

We are not alone. We are the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Darkness hates light. But we are eternally alive in Christ, God's own children and special possession, forgiven, in truth, in light. And nothing can take that away!

* Luke records this encounter as a narrator in Acts 9, and then Paul tells about it in Acts 22.


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