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Friday, August 1, 2014

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting- Asking a question we don’t want the answer to…

Posted by Gary on December 18, 2012

The news from the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting has horrified and saddened an entire nation and has left virtually everyone asking “why” or “how” such a terrible thing could happen.

It would be good for us to know that there is a moral obligation that comes when asking certain questions. I don’t mean a question like “What is the price of tea in China?” but when we individually or as a nation ask how someone can enter a school and kill 26 people including many young children we have obligated ourselves morally in the asking. To what are we morally bound? To honestly want the answer. To ask this question and really not want the truthful answer is not only cruel, but is an evil itself for the matter is too important and serious to inquire into and then refuse the truthful answer. Lives are in the balance as we seek the answer. How tragic, how evil it would be to have the real answer to this question available and to pretend to want it but to then refuse the answer when it comes.

If it isn’t clear where this is all heading, let me state it plainly… I am convinced that though America is repeatedly asking why Adam Lanza would murder as he did, I do not believe we want the answer. I’ll wait for the shock and horror to die down as I imagine some will think this a terrible assertion and untimely. But I sincerely, emphatically, believe that we do not really want to know why Adam Lanza killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School because the answer is spiritual in nature, involves God and ultimately, you and me.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

God, working and eating-our politician’s convenient use of God…

Posted by Gary on December 1, 2012

2 Thessalonians 3:7-11 “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.”

imageDuring the last election cycle as it has been many times before, God was claimed, summoned and represented by our political parties and politicians. It would appear as you listen to many politicians that God’s only concern is to feed the poor. That God cares for the poor is undeniable and we are grateful for a God who cares about those in need. But does nothing else matter to God? Is this all we can find to say about Him?

Delaware’s own Senator Chris Coon’s wrote an article about God and the political parties shortly after his party’s convention and the stir that was caused over the Democrats dropped reference to God in the party platform. (We would be unfair if we did not make note of the fact that Democrats graciously reinstated God in the party platform). In the article Coons says:

“What matters more than whether in the party’s platform the word “faith” was followed by the phrase “in God” was whether the values reflected in the platform showed an intention to honor God’s call to us for action that shows His preference for the poor, His demands that we care for each other as neighbors and work to heal the sick, feed the hungry and protect those in need.

The Democratic platform fully embraces those values, but they are hard to find in the Republican platform.

Psalm 72 teaches us that to defend the cause of the poor and to give deliverance to the needy is one of our highest callings — a call that is repeated throughout books of the Torah and the New Testament. To reject the great tradition of a circle of protection defies God’s will and undermines America’s values.”

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

I love it! The God of glory thunders

Posted by Gary on July 9, 2012

Psalm 29:3  “…The God of glory thunders…”

Job 40:9 “…do you have an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like His?”

You’ve got to see this footage from a recent Texas Rangers game. At the top of the fourth inning lightning strikes with a thunder that drives one player to all fours and umpires and players run off the field in fear.

Minnesota Twin Denard Span Tweeted after the game, “That’s the loudest noise I’ve ever heard. I thought Jesus was comin!”

Watching these  events I couldn’t help but think of Scripture’s description of unsaved man and his reaction to the appearance of Jesus:

Revelation 6:15-17 “Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Peter tells us that the seeming delay in Jesus’ return is linked to His patience and His desire for men to repent and be saved (2 Peter 3:9). Man’s response to Christ’s graciousness is an increasing irreverence toward the Son of God. We plunge ourselves deeper into the sin that offends the holy God. It would appear that we do not fear God at all.

This mere thunderclap from heaven dropped a man to his knees and sent many fleeing. Let me assure you, this demonstration of power is nearly nothing compared to what God is capable of. God merely lifts His finger and men tremble. What will we do on the day when He roars from heaven? Watch this three minute video and heed the command of the angel of Revelation:

Revelation 14:7  “Fear God, and give Him glory…”

Love Lincoln?

Posted by Gary on December 10, 2011

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.  They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy…

…I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. (Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation 1863)

image

As we celebrated Thanksgiving recently, I found myself thinking about President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation. This led me to ponder Lincoln in a broader sense and led to asking myself if we would like to have Lincoln as our President today.

“Are you kidding?” I can hear the gasps. “Would we like to have Lincoln as our President? He was one of the greatest Presidents we have ever had!” Yes, I know our estimation of Lincoln is quite high. We call him one of the greatest probably second only to George Washington.

Sentimentally we look back and would quickly say that we would love to have Lincoln as our President today. I doubt it. Would the America of today be glad for a President who spoke of God as often and pointedly as Lincoln did? We flipped out over George W. Bush! Bush? Lincoln was Bush times ten, Bush on steroids as it came to God.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

God’s kindness leads to repentance

Posted by Gary on January 26, 2011

Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”

Luke 5:4-10 “When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”

imageWhile it is true that God causes all those who come to know Him to fear Him, it is also true that it is equally the kindness of God that brings us to repentance.

As we see Peter coming to repentance and faith in the midst of this fishing trip, what is it that leads him to acknowledge his sinfulness? Not bolts of lighting, but two boats full of fish.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Thanking whom?

Posted by Gary on November 19, 2010

James 1:17 “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and many families and loved ones will gather by the kindness of God. It seems that more and more each year I hear calls for us to “be thankful” or to “be grateful for our blessings” and yet these admonitions to be grateful increasingly do not include God as the recipient of our thanks.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Selective hearing?

Posted by Gary on May 18, 2010

I read today that Ted Turner wonders if God is talking to us in light of the recent Gulf Coast oil spill:

“I’m not a real religious person, but I’m somewhat religious. And I’m just wondering if God is telling us he doesn’t want us to drill offshore,” he said. “And right before that we had that coal mine disaster in West Virginia where we lost 29 miners,” as well as repeated mining disasters – “seems like there’s one over there every week” – in China. “Maybe the Lord’s tired of having the mountains of West Virginia, the tops knocked off of them so they can get more coal.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

He causes it to happen

Posted by Gary on September 13, 2008

It is hurricane season and it appears to be an active one. These powerful storms cause wonder and sometimes destruction and death. It is always interesting to listen to the prognostication of the experts as hurricanes threaten to make contact with land.

Tracks and models hold before us the potential path of the storm sometimes ten or more models are established, “It could go this way or perhaps turn that way or all-together head back out to sea.” We do our best and we are thankful for those who watch over these things to help us. But who decides where these storms will go? More foundationally, why do they happen? The Bible speaks clearly to us about these matters. Are we willing to listen?

Job 37:5-13 “God thunders with His voice wondrously, Doing great things which we cannot comprehend. For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ And to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’ He seals the hand of every man, that all men may know His work. Then the beast goes into its lair and remains in its den. Out of the south comes the storm, and out of the north the cold. From the breath of God ice is made, and the expanse of the waters is frozen. Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning. It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, that it may do whatever He commands it on the face of the inhabited earth. Whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.”

I am afraid that the god of many is a white-haired old man who is very well-intentioned but unable to bring about what He wants. He intends so much good but the devil and man just seem to always defeat His purposes. He speaks but no one is listening, He threatens but never carries out. He is a god to be pitied, not worshipped. But this is not the God of the Bible who says this about Himself:

Isaiah 46:9-10 “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure…’”

Isaiah 43:13 “Even from eternity I am He, and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?”

God is great. He controls His world including you and me. Let us humble ourselves before Him in wonder and gratitude. Do you know the sovereign God?