Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Guess We Are A Christian Nation

Sort of maybe might be. See what you think.
A Christian is called to be a good citizen,
America tries to be a good world citizen.
A Christian abhors evil,
America abhors evil.
A Christian seeks to help the helpless, the weak and poor.
America does the same.
When called upon, a Christian will fight to protect the defenseless.
America has done that since our inception.

We’ve heard America referred to as “The World’s Policeman”.
As such, as a ‘Superpower’-we’ve spent the last 60 or so years maintaining a Cold Peace.
(And as usually happens, as a Policeman we are hated. Not everyone loves Peace, Law and Order.)
Bear with me, please. I’m nearing the point of the post.
A Christian bears the name of Christ.
Christ is the English term for the Greek word Christós, which literally means "The Anointed One." The Hebrew word for Christ is Mašía, usually transliterated Messiah.
(I borrowed this part from the Wiki, which put it succinctly.)
On a menorah, the “Messiah candle” is the one which lights (anoints) the other candles, just as Christ, the Messiah, lights us Christians.
The Messiah candle is also called “The Servant candle” -in the Hebrew, “The Shamus”.
Shamus has entered our lexicon as a nickname for a public servant, a policeman.
We are the world’s Shamus.
It would be more precise to say that God has raised up the United States for His own good purposes, to act as the official/unofficial World’s Policeman. And we’ve walked our beat in some pretty tough neighborhoods.
Imagine how much hell the world would have gotten into in the past hundred years if we had been negligent, stayed in the office, refused to patrol.
There would have been no World War Two because Germany would have won the first one.
There would have been no Korean conflict, as there would have been no conflict left in Communist Korea.
You get the idea.
We are not the greatest nation in the world. But God has raised us up to fulfill His purposes.
Christians are not the greatest people in the world, although Christ is Holy and Great, and has raised us up for His good purposes. Be a servant, be a Shamus.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Spun, But It Ain't Gold

As I write this, President Bush and Condi Rice are spinning plates at Annapolis; I guess you young whippersnappers out there might never have seen the guy on the old “Ed Sullivan Show” who’s entire act was keeping a number of dinner plates spinning on 6 ft tall sticks. He would run from plate to plate, spinning, spinning, spinning, frenetic as a juggler juggling chainsaws…who has to sneeze.
I imagine President Bush is spinning, running from one side of a room to the other, like a pong ball rebuffed by paddles, between the Israeli delegation and the 39 other Muddled East delegates.
Sullivan? Pong ball? I do live in the past!
Actually, I live in the present, waiting for the future.

I appreciate that President Bush is trying to ‘bring Peace’ to Israel and all of those who want to wipe Israel off the map. I love Peace; we all want Peace. Second term Presidents usually attempt a Summit to “fix” the “problem” of the Middle East. Bush has the best of intentions.
The Road To Hell is paved with bad intentions, also. Meaning that those who oppose Israel are very pleased to send representatives to summits and talks, but they have no impetus to actually agree to Peace. There are no carrots or sticks, no guns to their heads (to use a very violent metaphor in Peacemaking) powerful enough to actually induce a change of their charred black hearts.
This is actually a Cold War. When it has turned to a Hot War, in 1948, 1967, 1973, etc. every single time
Israel has been the victor. No thanks to the United States in this; we were usually tsk-tsk-tsking from the sidelines. God Himself continues to maintain Israel. Or it would have been stillborn in 1948. Or conquered in 1967, or…
Here is my Middle East Peace Plan, which I freely extend to President Bush to adopt with no strings attached:

“Israel exists. All of you trying to wish it away, who are aligned together against our friend Israel, listen up! Give it up!
If you do not TODAY recognize the existence of Israel, you are OUR enemy, and we will topple your governments by force just as we did Hussein in Iraq. There would be no Middle East Crisis at all if you did not continue to make war on peaceful Israel! So cut it out! Now!”

Of course, I do not actually advocate making war on anyone. I’m simply suggesting that there is no Peace possible through Diplomacy when the one side will only be satisfied with the destruction of the other.
Think about it-does Israel demand the destruction of Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, etc? No.
They only want to be left alone.
My “Plan” would be doomed to fail just as President Bush’s Summit in Annapolis will fail. If we did indeed
make Israel’s enemies ‘An offer they can’t refuse’ (Godfather allusion-help! I AM stuck in the past!) all that would happen is at the soonest possible opportunity they would renege on the agreement and go back to their “Death to Israel” screed.
I’ve covered this ground before-I encourage you to read the second Psalm again, and think about the ‘kings of the earth’ who assemble against the Lord and His Anointed. And see Who laughs first. And last.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Between The Rock and a Heart Place

We’re walking. It’s a parade, an invisible parade, but we’re walking, led by our Lord.
We sing as we walk, Glorifying God.
But wait. Others are joining our parade, coming in from the left and right. They say that they are Christians,
Groovy cool! More the merrier. Keep walking, sisters and brothers! Hey! Where are you going?
They head off to the right, to the left, a few are rushing backwards! What is this?
I can hear them singing, but it’s not our song:
“We are Christians without Christ,
We don’t recognize sin
God loves us too much to
Send us to hell-follow us!”

What? What was that?
We keep walking, still led by our Lord, still Glorifying God.

Here it is. God is not who we say He is, He simply IS. He tells us in His Word, the Bible, implicitly Who He IS. God made man, man did not make God.
There are many in the world who suggest that they are Christians, bound for Heaven, saved by Grace…but they haven’t yet met Christ. They haven’t repented, do not recognize that they are sinners. Their faith is based on man made churcified customs. All that those will get you is dead.
There is a great world of difference between knowing Christ and knowing about Christ.
So who is lying about knowing God? Who are these people who claim Christ but don’t know Him?

“22Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23

John sets the litmus test. If anyone denies that Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, then that person is a faux Christian, an anti-Christian.
A Christian without Christ is like a dolphin without fins. Not going anywhere.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hope IS...

“This I recall to mind, therefore I have Hope:”
There is Hope and then there is hope. Hope is like faith; only as worthy as the object hoped for, the Object which is believed in.
Here’s an example which I Hope makes sense:
My Hope is that God has accepted me, given me a new life in Christ.
My Faith is exactly the same.
If your Hope is that I am wrong about Jesus Christ,
If your faith, your entire life, is based on the belief that Christians are wrong
(The born again Christians who keep mentioning Sin and the need for Salvation,
NOT the ones with a beer tent at the church picnic.)
If your faith is based on the belief that Christians are wrong, then we are at a Hope impasse.
The Object of my Hope, my Faith, is Jesus Christ.

Here are a few unworthy hopes:
“I hope I have enough money to get drunk tonight.”
“I hope to marry a rich man (or woman) who will take me away from this misery.”
“I hope, truly Hope, that I am good enough to make it into Heaven when I die.”
You’re not. Neither am I. But my faith isn’t based on my goodness, but on Christ’s Goodness, His love
For even such a sinner as I am.
“It is of the Lord’s Mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning.”
I hope for Heaven, but God Blesses me daily until I get there. Heaven is where God is, so I've been experiencing little bits of Heaven for nearly 30 years.
This world is indeed in terrible shape-man in his sin pollutes his environment, as much as he pollutes his life. But the answer, the Hope for the repair and reclamation of the planet is in God’s cleaning it, not man.
In Psalm 51 David begs: “Create in me a clean heart, O God” -we ask for that also, but we can also petition: “Create for me a clean world, O God”.
That is my Hope, and I believe it will happen because God, in His Word, promises to accomplish that very thing.
What is impossible for man is possible for God.
“Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Saturday, November 10, 2007


As this is a day to remember our war Veterans, I’m remembering my cousin Bob.
Bob as a young man served in Viet Nam; newly married, he was one of the fortunate ones who made it home.
Some veterans returned to protests and verbal abuse. Shameful, but it happened. I remember my Grandmother admonishing us kids before Bob arrived not to ask him about the War, as it had been horrible.
We opened our home to Bob; he lived with us for some months as he had gotten a job working for the same company as my Dad. Eventually Bob and his wife bought a home, started their married life, and, as far as I know, are still married and doing well.
We don’t simply remember our Veterans on holidays, such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Our Veterans are our family; we respect and honor them for sacrificing their lives, for putting their goals and dreams on hold to answer the call of our Nation when needed. Someday, like Bob, they will return and become civilians again, returning to their goals and dreams, the workaday world…but always to be known by the proud title: Veteran.
You might wonder why I put a picture of an angel at the top of this post. Angels are God's messengers, the ones who are 'sent'. Each one of our servicemen is also sent, into battle, to different countries, far away from home. They are our messengers, sent to achieve our purposes. It is honorable to answer our Country's call. May God Bless You All.

Friday, November 09, 2007

God Opposes the Proud

God opposes the proud, but gives Grace to the humble. If you are a child of God, and you do not humble yourself, God will do it for you.
And I do not mean “humble yourself before God”-we all are humbled before God. I mean humble yourself before man, also.
Pride goes before a fall-does it ever! And please-realize as I write this that I struggle with Pride as much as anyone. So I need the medicine God prescribes for all swelled heads and super-sized egos. And I get a dose more often than you might think.
I got an e-mail today from Creation Science Evangelism, the Kent Hovind ministry. Hovind’s son Eric wrote the e-mail, from which I learned that Kent and his wife have been found guilty of a multitude of tax evasion/related charges, and that he is sentenced to remain in prison until 2015. Her status is unclear.
I believe Kent Hovind is a good man, an intelligent man, my brother in Christ…and guilty on all counts.
I checked his Wikipedia page, cruised by a few gloating websites where his imprisonment was cherished and cheered, and went back to Eric’s e-mail. Uh-oh.
The Wiki has the basic story, and I encourage everyone to check it out. Just Google Kent Hovind and you’ll see the link.
A few years ago I ordered his seminar DVD set, and, while I don’t agree with all of his assertions, I think he is right about some of them. But this post isn’t about Creationism-it’s about humility.
Here’s my Hovind theory. Knowledge can puff up a person, make them feel superior to others, and I think Hovind had quite an inflated view of himself. And a low opinion of others. That was my opinion formed while watching the DVD set, and later seeing him on television. Even Bible knowledge, perhaps especially Bible knowledge can puff a person up.
Yes, we are adopted into God’s family, which makes us very special to Him. But Christ humbled himself as a man, a servant, and calls us to humble ourselves also as we walk through this world. If we look down on our fellow man, they cannot see God, because when they look up, we are in the way.
I am not better than anyone because I am a Christian. But Christ is better than everyone.
Over a year ago Creation Science Evangelism opened a blog, and I wrote to them, not knowing about the tax issues. I wrote that I hoped that Kent Hovind belonged to a strong church, with a board of elders to advise and govern his ministry. Too many Evangelists run into trouble when they have no-one to tell them “No.” Ask either Jimmy, Bakker of Swaggart. I never received an answer, and my post never showed up on their blog, which soon disappeared.
Remember my earlier “Uh-oh”? Eric’s e-mail continues to defend Hovind instead of showing humility.
God is in charge of every facet of our lives. Nothing happens to us which He does not allow or ordain. May God continue to humble me, as often as necessary, to keep me from Pride and the inevitable fall. While I am here, I will obey the authorities God has set, pay my taxes, be a good citizen, try to live at Peace with God and man. Wish me well.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Reality Check, Woodchuck 1, Do You Copy?

Random Thoughts Wednesday

Daylight Savings and Loan time has come back, so Tuesday’s post will appear last Monday. That sentence makes as much sense as anything coming out of Washington these days.

I am working a lot, happy a lot, busy, but with just a few minutes would like to point a few pointers:
iTunes and my iPod make my iWork iPalatable. Music is only one small part of the equation. I listen to quite a few pod casts, from “Renewing Your Mind with R.C. Sproul” to Rush L. to the Woodsongs radio show I mentioned a bit ago to whatever strikes up a conversation with my fancy tomorrow.
I’m listening to old time radio shows-a science fiction anthology: “X minus 1” is pretty good, and just today I downloaded the Jack Benny program. Nearly all the pod casts are free, and it’s all good.

Last night was an election night; I did my civic duty and voted against raising taxes to benefit our school system. As usual, the emotional plea is: “It’s for the CHILDREN!” Hold on, sister.
I’m all for education, and kids learning. But I’m also fiscally conservative. With declining enrollment, fewer kids entering the school system, we don’t need more school bureaucracy , we need less. If we have fewer students, as is the case here, we need fewer teachers and staff, not more. That’s just sensible.
The world of “EDU” needs to meet up with reality. Not just in my little town-schools are ‘flunking’
at a greater rate than the kids are. Which brings to a close this part of the sermon.

Steven Wright: “It bothers me that just one company makes the game “Monopoly”.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Beloved, not Unloved

“1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”
1 John 4:1-3

Recently I was listening to a radio show where one of the hosts, who had grown up in a Christian home, said that, rather than accepting Christianity, she thought it was enough to be ‘Spiritual”.
“Spiritual” doesn’t cut it. Spiritual without Jesus Christ is Death. Even if you fervently believe in your Spirituality, whatever form it takes. It is profane and unworthy of God.
Of course, this is stating the Gospel in negative terms; and we live in the positive:
Salvation comes through Christ alone, and we have been given His Spirit. When God’s children are told by John to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” it is with the idea of keeping separate from the world and it’s spirits.
That radio show host said with a laugh, “My family thinks I’m going to Hell!” That’s not funny, friends.
Friends don’t tell friends that its okay to worship at strange altars. If you have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ, indwelt of His Spirit, you are His. You are a Christian. If not…not. Perhaps today is the day you get honest with God.