My random, sometimes insightful thoughts on life, God, family, and everything else

Christian Life

An Open Letter To My Right-Leaning Friends!

Dear Friend,

I am, the same as you, disappointed at how this election turned out on a national level. I understand your frustration, and I understand your concerns. But, those concerns are only temporary. The Apostle Peter was beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and eventually crucified, yet when he thought about all those things in comparison to all that he had gained in Christ he called them “…light and momentary troubles.”

If tomorrow morning we wake up and a dictator has taken absolute control of America, would God still be God? Is somehow God’s power less effective today because of the result on Tuesday? Of course, his sovereignty and divinity are not decided by minuscule elections of mankind. And, I don’t mean to shock you here, but America isn’t promised anything in Scripture, don’t put your hopes in the USA, put them in Christ!

Finally, I want to challenge you on some things I’ve seen or heard. Where in Scripture does it say that a person’s political affiliation will determine their eternal destiny? Who gave you the authority to question a fellow believers love for Christ based upon who they voted for? Question them as to why, sure! Walk them through why you voted how you did, absolutely! But, to take it to such lengths as I’ve heard and seen on Facebook is shameful. You should look up those fellow Christians you attacked in such a manner and ask for their forgiveness, then you should go to God and ask him to forgive you for attacking one of his children. We are told by Paul to not look out only for our interests but also the interests of others and to consider others as better than ourselves. I fear that many on the right may have violated that very important principle from God.

NOW, let’s work towards seeing more people enter into the Kingdom…Shall We?!


An Open Letter To My Left-Leaning Friends!

Dear Friend,

I am thankful first of all that this election is over, and I hope that the man that you believe in will do all that you had hoped he would do. I do not mean this sarcastically in any way, shape or form, for I know YOUR heart. I know that you truly do want what is best for this country, you believe that your candidate will make things better for the people who call this great nation home, or you would have never voted for him. Even though our votes were not cast for the same candidate, our desire to see our country prosper is identical.

I want to express my deep love for you as a brother and/or sister in Christ. Our differences in this political realm are absolutely minimal in comparison to what we share in Christ. I also ask for you to notice that I have at no time from the pulpit or via social media or un-social media for that matter bashed your candidate. Certainly I disagree with him on a great number of issues that I feel are deeply rooted in Scriptural truth and principle, but he is not your candidate anymore, he is OUR President. I commit myself for praying for him and his family’s well-being, for God’s wisdom to rest upon his shoulders, and for God to correct him whenever he may stray from the path of God’s choosing for him.

Finally, my friends, I ask you to consider this as we move forward. I have heard several of you cast aside the question of abortion as if it wasn’t a significant issue. Even some of you have said that it will never change, so why make it an issue? Did you know that the same thing was said regarding slavery, women’s rights to vote, race equality, and many other issues? Did you also know that it was the church that caused all of these issues to become a reality? Don’t be so quick to abandon such a clear mandate from Scripture simply because to our feeble and finite human eye it looks to be impossible. I believe that Jesus Christ said it most clearly when he said, “With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” If you believe in the economic, foreign, and immigration policy of our President, that is most certainly your right. However, if you are a child of God, where God has clearly spoken, you no longer have ‘rights’. Our sovereign King has declared murder and the abuse of the innocent as evil in his sight, and we as citizens of his kingdom must fight against it with all of our might, whether we see it as a winning battle or not!

Stay tuned for: An Open Letter To My Right-Leaning Friends!


You Need To Vote For…

Ha, fooled ya! I really hope that after reading my blog, listening to my messages, and talking with me that you know by now I’m not going to tell you who you should vote for. I will however give you a Biblical filter through which you can look at the candidates, decipher which one most closely resembles it, spend time praying and listening, go cast your vote, then thank God that you live in a country where your vote still matters!

Some of these I’ve not touched on previously so I will spend more time and flesh them out, others those I’ve given significant time to or even several blog posts to and I’ll just state them outright and allow you to go back and look at what I’ve previously written.

You should vote for whichever candidate..

  • Holds most closely to (publicly and privately) the morality taught in Scripture.
  • Gives our nation the best chance to be prosperous. I know that this may sound non-spiritual but listen to this: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” ~ Jeremiah 29:7
  • Teaches and exemplifies personal responsibility and accountability. No one else will have to give an account of your life, but you!
  • Has a biblical view of government. This was to be a blog post all by itself, but I just ran out of time. Essentially, here is what the Bible says governments role is:

To protect it’s citizens and wage war if necessary Romans 13:1-7; Proverbs 21:15
To establish just and fair laws Proverbs 8:15-16
To punish the guilty Romans 13:4
To reward the righteous 1 Peter 2:14
To allow us to live peaceable and quiet lives 2 Timothy 2:2
To administer unbiased justice Jeremiah 12:12; Leviticus 19:15
To uphold God-given rights of all mankind Genesis 1:26

  • Has by their actions, not just words, given of themselves and spoken for those who cannot speak for themselves. (Unborn, poverty stricken, destitute). “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” ~ Proverbs 31:8-9

Folks, your vote matters. Don’t waste it by voting for someone who does not line up with what the Bible teaches, don’t waste it by voting uninformed, and don’t waste it by not voting at all.


Part 3: What About Gay Marriage?

To get the ball rolling I’m not going to talk about whether or not Gay Marriage should be legal, illegal, banned, or supported.  This series of posts is written from a Biblical not political standpoint.  The one and only thing I’ll say in that regard is this; you cannot legislate morality, at the same time you should not legalize immorality…I’m sure that everyone will read into that whatever they like!

So, biblically is Gay Marriage something that a Christian can support?  Since homosexuality is clearly laid out as a sin (see last post) then a homosexual union of any kind is not something that a Christian can support and still be biblically authentic.  Now, before you print this off and start taking victory laps around your living room, consider this.  Sex and sexual promiscuity before marriage is also a sin and something that a biblically authentic/consistent Christian cannot support; as is an affair, as is pornagraphy (yes, “Magic Mike” and “Fifty Shades” would fit here), as is a marriage where the husband doesn’t love his wife and the wife doesn’t respect her husband.  God’s plan for marriage (as laid out in Creation through Adam and Eve) is one man, one woman, for life in a meaningful, fulfilled relationship.  God’s plan for sex, and when it is best and most thoroughly enjoyed is within the context of marriage where the husband and wife are completely vulnerable and open to one another and are more interested in fulfilling each other’s needs than their own.

How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. – Matthew 7:4-5 NLT

Jesus makes an unbelievably powerful statement here!  He is saying, if you look at other people with judgment you will always see their problems and end up ignoring your own, this is to your and their detriment.  Instead, look at yourself first, make sure that you are on the right track, and then come along side those who are hurting or blinded and assist them in seeing.  For far too long Christians have been focusing on the sins of the world around them and not focusing on their own sins.  Do you want to change the world, change our political landscape, change the cultural decay, increase the spiritual temperature, free people from bondage?  Then the church needs to do 2 things.

  1. Be consistent in our application of Biblical truth.  The world around us sees our inconsistencies, you see they have a hard time believing in biblical marriage when even in the church it doesn’t “seem to be working”!
  2. Be Christ-like in your relationships.  Do you remember what Jesus did with the woman who was caught in adultery (John 8:1-11)?  Did Jesus, who by the way was perfect, condemn and attack her?  Did he vilify her and belittle her?  Did he scream in her face and tell her she was going to Hell?  No, in fact, he defended her from those who would do that.  Then he gently instructed, after she accepted him, to go and sin no more.

Listen friends, Jesus says that he is the “Light of the world” and that when he is lifted up he will “draw all men to himself”.  Instead of proclaiming your political agenda, proclaim Christ.  Politics cannot and will not fix the cultural decay that we see in America, but Christ can.  No, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox news probably won’t cover it, but he is imminently more powerful and influential than any political party, piece of legislation, or candidate.

 


Extreme “Christian” Views on Homosexuality: Part 1

Okay, I’m certain I’ll get a little hate mail on this one, but at least read through the whole thing before you jump to a conclusion one way or the other.

This is a topic that is highly volatile and charged with emotion.  There are some “Christians” (I put it in quotes because that is what they term themselves, but their actions reveal otherwise) who picket the funerals of openly homosexual men/women with signs such as “Burn In Hell Homo”…yeah I’m pretty sure that is not Christlike in any way shape or form, enough said!

On the other end there are some “Christians” (in quotes because they refuse to accept the Bible as authoritative) who make their decisions based upon emotions and what feels right or easy.  They don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings and in doing so reject God’s Word.  This group is a little trickier.  Often, their arguments sound compelling, are dripping with good intentions, and often relate to a person very close to them who struggles with homosexuality.  The most recent example is that of Brian McLaren.  At one time McLaren was a solid, evangelical pastor who believed in and preached the truth and reliability of the Bible.  Today, Mr. McLaren questions the veracity of almost all evangelical doctrine and theology (Heaven, Hell, Salvation, Christ alone for salvation, etc…).  He recently performed his son’s gay marriage and in the article (McLaren and same-sex marriage) regarding the event he made this very telling statement:

“I was a good kid, I believed what I’d been told. And as a pastor, I started having gay people come out to me and what became clearer and clearer to me is that their experience was not explained by the theology I inherited. And that it would be unjust to continue to uphold what I’d been taught. Maybe I could say it like this: My call to love God and love my neighbor was in conflict with what I’d been taught the Bible required me to say and do.” – Brian McLaren

McLaren says that when his or others experience or feelings didn’t line up with Scripture then it must be Scripture that changes, or at least the application of Scripture.  When in truth the point of Scripture is to show US where WE are wrong and guide us in the right path:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT

I’m going to wrap Part 1 up this way, If you begin to select the sins you see as “damndable” you will never select any sins that you struggle with, only those you see in others.  This violates the the very underpinnings of how Christ commands we are to deal with sin, “…first take the beam out of your own eye…”, “…let he who is without sin cast the first stone…”.  If, in constrast, you begin to select the sins you see as “acceptable” where and when do you draw the line?  You begin to develop theology and practice based upon what is palatable and easy instead of what is true.  This violates Jesus clear teaching on following him, “…take up your cross and follow me…”, “…deny yourself and follow me…”.  Jesus Christ has neither called us to be judgmental nor comfortable.

Part 2: A Biblical Response to Homosexuality (and every other sin)

Part 3: What about Gay Marriage?


The Demagoguing Democrat VS. The Rancorous Republican

No, I’m not talking about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama!  I’m talking about all those people on Facebook and Twitter who think it is there personal calling in life to force everyone to see things their way, and if they cannot accomplish this, then they attack, belittle, defame, and yes, even question their faith.

As I’ve said before, I know some very godly Republicans and Democrats, in fact, my grandfather is a life-long Democrat.  However, here is what I’ve seen that just breaks my heart.  If you’re a white Christian Democrat or an African-American Republican your sanity, salvation, or sometimes both are questioned.  Well I have a question, “Since when did your political alignment have ANYTHING to do with your salvation?”  Would someone please show me the chapter and verse that says, “…and Jesus endorsed only candidates from the _______ party, and all those that pull the _______ lever in November shall go to Hell.”

Listen, if you’re a genuine follower of Jesus Christ, the Bible gives clear instruction as to how you’re supposed to handle yourself in the arena of politics…don’t believe me, take a look:

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” ~ Titus 3:1-2

So, the next time you enter into a political conversation remember what the Bible says:

  • Don’t slander – no name calling or defamatory statement (ie…you jerk, idiot, you’re such a fool, etc…)
  • Be peaceable – don’t seek out arguments with people over political things, if you can’t have a civil conversation, don’t converse!
  • Be considerate – try to understand where they are coming from, ask why they believe the way they do, sometimes understanding them goes a long way!
  • Demonstrate humility – don’t for a second think you have all the right answers…NEWS FLASH…you don’t!

Dave


Is God a Capitalist or a Socialist?

Allow me to first say, I am not going to tag God with any man-made labels. God supersedes them in every fashion of the word and is not limited by our limitations or understanding. So to attempt to label God in this way is like trying to describe an elephant using only cat-like adjectives…anybody want a frisky elephant?

First let’s look at legitimate, non-biased definitions of each of these labels:

Capitalism: a social system based on the principle of individual rights. In such a system, individuals and firms have the right to own and use wealth to earn income and to sell and purchase labor for wages with little or no government control. The function of regulating the economy is then achieved mainly through the operation of market forces where prices and profit dictate where and how resources are used and allocated.

Socialism: a theory or system of social organization that advocates the diminishment of individual rights, for the rights of the whole or community, and vests the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of business, enterprise, land, etc., to the community, primarily through governmental agencies.

As you can see the primary difference between these two socio-economic systems is how they view the individual. If you believe that an individual has the right to do, believe, and live as they want with little or no government involvement then you lean towards Capitalism. If you believe the rights of an individual should be secondary to the good of the community, then you lean towards Socialism. In Capitalism, if you make poor choices you suffer the consequences, and in reverse, if you make good choices you reap the rewards. In Socialism, if you make poor choices the consequences are spread throughout the community, and in reverse, if you make good choices those rewards are spread throughout the community.

So then, the question we must ask is, “Does God’s Word teach individual accountability, both positive and negative, for your actions, or does God’s Word teach shared or community accountability?” Let’s dive in and find out…

“I the Lord search the heartand examine the mind,to reward each person according to their conduct,according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10 NIV)

Great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. (Jeremiah 32:19 NIV)

And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!” (2 Samuel 3:39 NIV)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV)

It’s fairly obvious through just the small snippet of verses I’ve shared, that God is a pretty big proponent of individual accountability, whether it be reward or punishment. Especially within the last verse it is obvious to see that God himself will be the ultimate judge, and we will be judged solely based upon our individual works or deeds, not upon the works or deeds of the community as a whole. To do so would be unjust.

However, there is one HUGE exception to this in God’s plan. According to God, in his eyes, all of our good deeds, excellent effort, and achievement are worthless when compared to the mountain of sin within us…

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6 NIV)

As individuals, we are incapable of balancing the scales of God’s justice. So, God instituted a plan in which all of our sin, both individually and corporately as a human race, would be placed upon one man, and he would bear the brunt of our suffering, he would accept our pain, and he would pay our judgment. Jesus Christ took our place, through his death our guilt has been expunged, and through his resurrection our new life is made possible!

However, this “free gift” has a requirement, you must believe and humble yourself before God. You cannot receive this gift and then continue to live as if you are living only for you. Your life is no longer your own, you now live for Christ.

There are two things I believe we can take away from this:

First, individual accountability, both good and bad, is absolutely Godly and a worthy model to follow within our families, our communities, our nation, and our world. When it is removed our society begins it’s downward spiral into the deepest recesses of our sinfulness. When both reward and punishment are no longer realities, then there is no incentive to do good and no deterrent to avoid evil.

Second, in some cases when an individual has gotten himself to a point where there is no hope of recovery it may be necessary for others to step in and provide assistance. But, as with God, this assistance cannot be without requirement, and must always be followed with a change in life that will lead that person away from the destructive pattern of their past.

I hope that this has helped you think through things as the election of our officials draws near. As you listen to our two candidates, instead of just hearing the “buzz-words” listen to what they are saying. Do they believe in individual accountability? Do they believe a persons choices should have consequence, whether good or bad? Do they believe that the community is responsible or the individual?

Have a great one everybody!
Dave