Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

Authority – Not of this Realm (part 4)

October 19, 2014

Do not fret because of evildoers; that’s the opening of Psalm 37. Most of us recognize the nature of fretting as being worried about something we have no direct control over.  A trip through the dictionary will reveal that there are physical meanings to the word that give more insight to the insidious nature of being vexed over the uncontrollable.  You will find a sense of cutting a groove through chaffing or wear, corrosion, or even agitation.  Hence, properly understood, don’t fret.  It will corrode your sense of well-being and wear you down.

As the Psalm spoke to me today about evildoers, I found my thoughts going to the masterminds in government and finance. These are men whose sphere of evil influence encompasses us all, in that they are convinced of their right to impose their twisted ideals on the rest of us.  That these men occupy my thoughts at all reveals that I have not yet successfully given these worries to the Almighty.  Look at the passage closely.  His faithfulness to uphold those who are His own is the very core of this passage.

It is the Heart of God to uphold those who love Him. If we draw close in a relationship with Him, the machinations of evildoers pales in the distance.  As I have asked Him about the evildoers, He has reminded me that they are empty and lost.  Having rejected help by His Heavenly power, they are rudderless derelicts driven by an evil wind.  I pray for them, that some glimmer of truth might dawn to turn them from their self-imposed path of destruction.  Especially since they intend to take us with them.  How much better that they should see the light and turn from evil than to continue the drive us toward shipwreck.

I had an epiphany regarding this situation during my morning prayer-time earlier this week. John 15:5 recounts Jesus’ statement that apart from Him, we can do nothing. He was talking to those who were already followers, so this should be understood to mean “Unless you abide in Me, you can do nothing effective for the purposes of God” (good).  I see that all the effort to drive God from the public arena, under the banner of “separation of church and state”, guarantees that government can do nothing good as long as that mistaken belief holds sway.  Don’t misunderstand what I am saying here.  I am a strong believer in the constitutional tenet that government must not do anything to establish a religion or interfere with the free practice thereof.  However, if the officers of government are godless men (whatever their assertions), then the course of the nation is determined by an evil wind.

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Authority – Not of this Realm (part 1)

July 20, 2014

Recently, as I meditated on a scripture passage commanding subjection to governing authority (Romans 13), I realized that I needed to do some diligent accounting work as to my attitude about the same. My own apologia on this subject is anything but settled. Anyone who has read this blog over any significant span will know that I maintain that much of the force currently being applied by those in government is in violation of law. Both the Constitution and natural law are regularly ignored for some political expediency or the advancement of a contrary agenda. The principles that our founders wrestled with and forged into the Bill of Rights (ratified near the end of 1791) are still supposedly treasured by the people, but found inconvenient by our leaders. Certainly, the spiritual laws and precepts that we Christians attempt to follow are being maligned while governing authority rides roughshod over our convictions, even as we decline in numbers and apparent influence.

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Iowa Privacy Fence – July 20, 2014

While my most charitable view is that many of the openly-stated aims of one political party tend toward evil, I am forced to admit the other party is actively complicit in that same evil. They posture conservatism while actually engaging in artifice and pretense. Their actual ends are indistinguishable from those of the party of the first part. Conservative Christian believers want to believe the subterfuge that claims to oppose the evil of the openly stated aims of the “progressives”. We have often resigned ourselves to following wrong shepherds, thinking them the lesser of two evils. These “leaders” seek only their own befit, at our expense. We the people are loathe to admit that the two parties are effectively one.

Looking around, the other sheep seem as bewildered and disillusioned as I. Some have succumbed to an attitude of fatalism. Now, fatalism is a doctrine which has adherents who are blessed with a self-fulfilling terminus. I was astonished this week to hear sometimes-comedian, sometimes-wise, and indisputably-intelligent Dennis Miller openly espousing fatalism on his radio program. The government holds all the power, he said. There is nothing you can do about it. You can’t fight city hall. If you do, they can make your life hell with IRS audits, inspections, and trumped-up legal charges ad-infinitum. Resistance is destined to go down in flames. His recommendation: don’t worry about it, hug your kids; eat a nice meal with your loving spouse. Enjoy your life. I think all of these things are fine and right, as long as society holds up, and you are able. But I don’t think they answer the question of what to do about government run amok.

What will I do, then, with the injunction to be subject to the governing authorities, with the assurance that there is no authority except from God? I am unconvinced the fatalist is correct and unwilling to be found to be working at cross purposes to the Almighty. I am just as sure that incessant complaining about the status-quo is activity that is ineffectual, and probably harmful. Therefore, I am determined to explore authority from a Biblical perspective. I have looked into the scriptures on this subject enough already to know that this is a hard row to hoe. If you share these questions, I invite you to come along. I pledge to give this inquiry as much time as I am able. I also commit to give full consideration to questions, comments, and suggestions.

(I am writing from my own experience as a citizen of the USA. But, this country has no monopoly on governing authorities who seem to be failing to carry out the stated purpose of opposing evil. I think we are going to find in the scriptures a balm for wounds worldwide. I hope we recognize a plan of action along the way.)

 

 

Outside of Time

July 13, 2014

I heard a message last night at The Base , in which Greg Crawford talked about having an eternal vs. temporal perspective.  His “jumping off” point was in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

He made a point of differentiating between eternal and temporal things by the characteristic of their visibility. Not that I think for a moment that either Paul the Apostle or Greg is saying that all things invisible are eternal.  I have a friend named Becky who has a prophecy that, if I understand her, we will come to see clearly into the spiritual realm. I don’t think she means that will be physical sight, but there is precedent for the sort of sight about which Becky prophesied.  See 2 Kings 6:17. So, I would take this assertion in 2 Corinthians 4 about the eternal being unseen as meaning “as a general rule up until now”.)

During Greg’s teaching, I also didn’t really grapple adequately with a critical message contained in this verse; that temporal afflictions can be a tool in the hand of God, acting in the process of our transformation into the likeness of Christ.  Since the spirit is eternal, our transformation into becoming one with God’s spirit is a weighty, glorious, eternal result. Don’t think there is much chance of becoming transformed in this way? I’ll say more on that, shortly.

As I age, I see more clearly the value of the admonition not to lose heart about the decay of my body.  This decline is apparently practically inevitable, and happens to everyone who lives long enough to see it.  The recognition does not have to produce despair, as long as I keep an eternal perspective.  That which is visible on the outside (temporal), is no indicator of the renewal that is taking place on the inside (eternal).  In fact, recognizing the decay on the outside actually makes it seem easier to stop putting confidence in the aging flesh and focus more on the eternal nature of the spirit.  The question I should be asking is whether the renewal is, in fact, taking place on the inside.

It’s funny how God finds ways to reinforce His message from different sources. I recently read a devotional passage that talked about acceptance and self-examination as necessary to finding serenity about difficult situations. The devotion was drawing from the “Serenity Prayer” which I’ll quote here:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

The last part, the wisdom to know the difference, really only belongs to God.  I must draw near to You, Father, if I am ever to know Your wisdom in my spirit as to whether things that seem to beset me are actually tools in Your Sovereign hand that should be allowed to do their glorious eternal and weighty work or whether they are an attack of the enemy intended to hinder me from accomplishing that which You have called me to do.

At least, I have this promise in Romans 8:28 ff

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I know I promised to say more about the possibility of transformation. Here it is. Look back into the passage above. You will find there evidence that this transformation is actually a purpose of God, that those who love him should become like Jesus. Try not to get too wrapped around the axle at the mention of predestination. The writer is trying to get across something about the purposes of God, who knows the end from the beginning because He is totally unconstrained by the temporal (Hey! Isn’t that where we started?). Since we are completely constrained to the temporal in the physical realm, learning to see things from an eternal perspective in the spiritual realm takes some help from Him.

Awesome New Blog Roll Entry

June 4, 2012

Let me encourage you to take a trip down the right side of my page to the blog roll section  under “Love in Action” and visit my awesome friends.  Be amazed at the continual stream of miracles that Jesus is performing.  I warn you up front; you won’t find complacency on the other end of that link.

– writewild

Heroes All

November 10, 2011

Heroes All

By writewild

They came before us, heroes all,
that we might stand today
and freely answer whatever call
our Sovereign sends our way.

In muddy trenches, numbing cold,
on desert’s scorching sand;
in jungle stench of wet and mold,
they followed one command:

Defend to death the liberty
our Maker has bestowed;
defeat the wrong of tyranny,
protect the ones at home.

Ice-crusted muskets at Valley Forge,
torpedo’s high-pitched whine;
whatever weapon, whichever war,
their valor is what shined!

They quelled their fears by force of will
to hold a ragged line;
against the foe who seeks to kill
what’s good, and right, and fine.

Heroes are standing, still today,
to keep our children safe and free;
to vanquish terror’s craven sway,
in hell-holes where it meets.

The heritage of sacrifice
that is a warrior’s lot;
exemplified by God on high,
this shows the warrior’s heart!

– Writewild

Thank you, warriors!  God bless and keep you wherever you are serving now.  Thank you veterans for your sacrifices, we owe you a great debt as well.
(I am taking the liberty of reposting this original work in honor of our service members, past and present.)

We’re all in this Together!

November 4, 2011

I was dumbfounded as I watched an interchange between a pair of conservative activists today. One of these persons is known to me as one who frequently stands on the “I stand with Israel” soapbox. The other activist (whom I don’t know) was pointedly declining a “connection” with the first because of his views about Israel. Rather than try to capture the essence of the interchange, just let me repost it as a quote:

‘Sorry bro, can’t connect with folks who “Stand with Israel”. If you stood with Jews instead of Zionists I’d had no quams, but the state of Israel has helped us into EVERY illegal war we’ve had since WWII. Deprogram what public schools taught ya and re-learn in the light of truth… MY country is America and my Constitution says NOTHING about Israel.’

Now, if you were to consistently read what I write, you will see that I come from a faith-based perspective. My position on Israel is founded on this proclamation of God to Abraham:

I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:3)
and many other passages that expand on this certainty. Not to mention the fact that our Saviour Jesus came through the line of David, as this passage in Genesis foretells. I have to assume that God knew what He was doing, making this promise to Abraham.
Even if the modern nation of Israel is mostly secular, I have a hard time believing that God is done keeping his promises related to the descendants of Abraham.
Perhaps I would blow this off as one individual who is “wound a little too tight” if it weren’t for the barrage of anti-semitic comments coming out of the “occupy wall street” movement. ( A movement, by the way, which really seems to need someone to vilify.)
I also understand that without the Biblical imperative to see the children of Abraham from the perspective of the Creator, those who don’t share my spiritual foundation have little motivation to “stand with Israel”.
Still, for the life of me, I can’t come up with a single instance in which Israel as a nation “helped” us into various conflicts. At a minimum, this seems a pretty negative view of history. My own observation is that since World War II, most conflicts that Israel has faced, she has faced alone and against formidable odds. Oh, maybe we have had some input into telling them how to manage their business, but other than that, what? We have profited from selling them a few jet fighters.
I know two things about this argument. First, if we conservatives don’t look for common ground and ask the question ‘What can we do to serve one another and advance our common goals?’ Then we will certainly lose, for “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Second, God’s Word always accomplishes that which He sent it to do; I would therefore rather be on the blessing side of His promise to Abraham.

Keep Praying for Youcef Nadarkhani

October 11, 2011

According to the Fox News article referenced below, a new trial has been ordered for Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkani.  Youcef has been facing the death penalty for his Christian faith.  Of course, it is unclear what this move will mean in the long run, but it is a change from the status quo.  So please, keep those prayers coming!

– writewild
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/10/11/retrial-ordered-for-iranian-pastor-facing-death-sentence-for-christian-beliefs/#ixzz1aX9WHXVn

Self-Evident Truth

October 3, 2011

I ask you to join me in praying for Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian pastor, who has been arrested and condemned for apostacy, a capital offense under Islam in Iran.

There is a tendency for those of us living in comfort and relative safety to shy away from much contemplation of such situations. This is unpleasant business.  But Youcef has been steadfast in his spiritual convictions in the face of death, just as Jesus was. Not a single point of decision, either.  Months of facing the looming threat of execution has not swayed his faithfulness.  I stand in awe of the character of this man, and of the Lord he serves.  I know that he and I have been adopted into the same family of grace.  We are bothers.  Seems the least I can do is to raise my heart in prayer, to seek God’s will in the matter; for He is good and He is faithful.

So please, pray with me.  Remember too Jesus’ words, “By their fruit you will recognize them.”

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/10/03/iranian-pastor-has-greater-chance-facing-death-with-new-allegations/

– writewild