Wednesday, December 9, 2015

God Isn't Fixing This

The New York Daily News headline from Dec. 3, 2015 read, "God Isn't Fixing This." The subtext read,"As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind  meaningless platitudes."

Whoa, not so quick, please. Is the problem God? Gun control? Prayer? Pray-ers? Innocence? Does it strike you as rather odd that NOTHING in those headlines said ANYTHING about two hate-filled, murderous, anti-Christian, anti-American, sub-human, demonic-led, evil, radical Muslims?

The headline does serve a purpose, it puts a light on our problem as a race of humans in this world: we can't identify a real problem anymore, or we won't.

As another attack unfolded the politicians, the media, the anti-gun, pro-gun, military, psychological, sociological, and religionist weighed in on the issue. But I never heard one word about the real problem. The problem was linked to not enough gun laws, too few guns for protection, too many refugees, not proper vetting of refugees, misunderstanding most refugees, bad, fundamentalist religion, religion in general, mental health issues, and of course, ISIS. All of which need to be discussed and grappled with in their proper time, place, and forums but all of which can provide no lasting solution until  they assess the real problem. Till then we humans are like the doctor who said to his patient with melanoma, "hey, I can prescribe a good band-aid to cover that thing."

But there is one problem I rarely see in print or hear mentioned on the air. It is a universal problem, spanning the globe and affecting every person in every corner of the earth: Sin, and the evil it turns loose in the world and in our hearts. We continually seek a political, economic, policy-driven, people-hating, solutions to a spiritual problem.

Is it really that simple? If you have never dealt with sin, fought its temptation, tried to keep it from manipulating you, tried to use manipulation yourself, or paid much attention to the devastation and death it leaves in its wake, then "simple'' is a word you may use. I do not. It wrecks homes, families, businesses, relationships, and nations. It seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. It separates every human being from the Source of love, joy, truth, meaning, and fellowship with the One, Living, true God. Ignore it, dismiss it, belittle it, and you bless it. It is in those arrogant realms it thrives and the headlines from 9/11 or 12/2 will continue to plague this nation and this world until it is faced.

Facing sin is hard. It is difficult. It requires humility. It requires confession. The Bible's word is repentance. Repentance helps lead the individual to a place where he\she is ready for whatever horror may come in a sin filled world. No one blames the victims for the sins of terrorists but we all need to be ready in a sin filled world. None of us are promised tomorrow whether the end comes by natural processes, accident or Jihadist.  Repentance leads a nation, a people, a world to seek the foundational Truth that life can be built upon. Repentance leads to forgiveness; forgiveness leads to freedom from guilt and the burden of sin; this freedom leads to the power to choose justice, love, compassion, service, sacrifice, other-centeredness, generosity, and hope. These qualities elevate human worth and dignity,they feed the hungry, bring fairness to our institutions (think governments, financial, educational), bring healing to the races, and unite people across the world in the desire to please, honor, and praise God. From the garden of Eden, evil was loosed on our world. It is a spiritual problem demanding a spiritual response. It must be fought on our knees.

Our world needs to come to Jesus.

 He can and desires to heal. He has taken care of the sin problem. But we are like the little boy whose toy robot broke. He cried. He screamed. He threw a fit. He yelled at his dad, who was sitting in a chair reading the paper and taking it all in. Finally, as the little boy calmed down he heard his dad say, "Son, I can fix your toy. But first you have to bring me the broken pieces and ask."

God isn't fixing this, because He already has. Look at the cross, sin is defeated, forgiveness is offered, justice is declared, hope is restored, heaven is open.

Bring Him the broken pieces.

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.    Romans 10:13

If my people, who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  II Chronicles 7:14

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"  Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  Acts 2:36-38


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Still, We Hope

We can't help it: We hope.
When it seems there is no earthly reason, still, we hope.

When blood covers our streets and suspicion clouds our minds; still, we hope.
When knee-jerk reactions express the frustrations of life that is fearsome, uncertain, deadly; still, we hope.

When politicians hide behind political correctness and harden hearts to people in favor of party rhetoric; still, we hope.
When preachers march to seminars on leadership, preaching, and membership increases but never march for justice- social, racial, or financial;  when they call not for religious liberty and never call for repentance from the sin that kills both spiritually and socially; still, we hope.

When tyrannical despots rise; when hunger grows; when love grows cold; when anger scolds; still, we hope.

When small, fearful people begin to blame with blankets: Hebrews in ancient Egypt; Samaritans in Jesus' day; Jews in the1930's; communists in the 1950's; Blacks in the 1960's; Mexicans crossing the borders in the 2000's; Syrians in the current year; still, we hope.

When weapons are forged for death from land, sea, air, and space, still, we hope.
When viruses resist; when cancer persists; when bodies and minds wither through the decades, still, we hope.


Our Christian hope is simply not in the world and its institutions, its politicians, its devices of progress or destruction; its many voices of violence, fear, hatred and death.

Our Christian hope is based on the certainty of God's promises and His character. It is evidenced by the fruits of joy, sacrificial love, boldness, and endurance. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. Thats where our hope is in this country and in this life.  (Chuck Colson)

Why so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.   Psalm 42:11

The church of hope will raise its voice against tyranny, fear, hatred, and death. We will shine the light of the presence of God's joy in the darkness of this world. We will love those the world scorns; we will feed those the world neglects; we will see those the world has grown blind to; we will treat each person as though they were made in God's image, died for by God's son, and valued as God's treasure, because they are.  

We are the church and our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.

Still, we hope! With Christ Jesus as our Lord, we just can't help it.