Who are those “people of faith” the Union-Tribune gladly parades as qualified interpreters of God’s word? When God in Christ, in every possible way language can say it, say they alone have the authority to write a book of inflexible moral truth!
What kind of “faith” do “those” people have? Religious, maybe. Ecumenical for sure. Both views posit all opinions in life about everything as equal, none superior; and only complementary to others, not competitive. When God took specific steps to record his word JUST SO humanity would not resort to “do it yourself religion”. What kind of faith is it that exalts human opinion over God’s eternal word? Who lack faith enough to believe God has spoken but possess a superfluity of faith that THEY can determine what he should have said if he had?
They do not have Biblical faith. It believes whatever God says. They don’t have faith enough to believe that God’s word in Moses, the prophets, the apostles and Jesus Christ has the final word in doctrine, behavior and life. But they have superior faith in their opinions as to what is now acceptable sexual behavior—seeking to re-define God to suit culture!
What in their personal portfolio gives them the courage to defy God? Did they have a PRE-EXISTENCE AS GOD, WITH GOD, as Jesus did? Did they come from God, as Jesus did? Did they come from a virgin’s womb, as Jesus did? Have they lived perfectly, as Jesus did? Do they perform miracles, as Jesus did? Can they die to forgive sins, as Jesus did? Do they plan to rise from the dead by their own power, as Jesus did? Or ascend into Heaven, as Jesus did? Or sit at God’s right hand, as Jesus did, as High Priest forever? And do they now plan to tell Jesus they will be the judge of all mankind, as he already says GOD made him?
What credentials do these people of religious, ecumenical, indefinite faith have that makes them arrogant against God? And why would Bible-believing Christians change their allegiance from the Living God and Jesus Christ whom he sent to pledge it to sinners who want to make deities of themselves? Fini
I join the Mass Resistance movement to oppose the Drag Queen Story Hour. It wants to parade before school children. In reality, it only promotes the homosexual lifestyle. Advocates of Drag Queen, led by the Southern Poverty Law Center, label Mass Resistance a hate group. Only in our depraved culture could those who defend God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible’s teachings as revealed be called a hate group.
Instead...the Mass Resistance movement honors God the Father who, under Abraham, damned homosexuality, Genesis 19:1-29; damned it under Moses, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; damned it under the Judges, Judges 19:1-21, 25; damned it under the prophets, Isaiah 3:9, Jeremiah 20:16, 23:14, Zephaniah 2:8-9; damned it under God the Son Mark 7:20 (under the umbrella term sexual immorality); damned it under Holy Spirit-baptized Apostles: Paul: Romans 1:18-27, I Corinthians 6:9-10; Peter: II Peter 2:6; John: Revelation 21:8 (again under the umbrella term sexual immorality; and the Lord’s own brother Jude 7.
God the Trinity in one accord damned homosexuality as a perverted lifestyle. The august persons possessing their authority also warned the homosexual lobby not to make their lifestyle acceptable, normal and equal to heterosexuality.
What credentials of similar, equal or superior authority can advocates of homosexuality propose? The entire issue comes down to that: who has the authority to condemn or condone it? Mortals, who have no regard for God; who consider the Bible outdated and irrelevant; who diminish Jesus to irrelevance? Or God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit and those ancient holy men God used to write his word?
Choose your authority, America. The decision determines our future, for GOD WON’T BE MOCKED! Galatians 6:7 End Part I
The instant Esther died God saw as the instant she began to LIVE with him. For death completed her purpose on earth. God created her to find eternal life in Christ and in Jesus she found it II Corinthians 5:1-5.
That’s the challenge facing everyone: will death complete, or disrupt our purpose in life? Will it be the day we’ve been waiting for OR the day we’ve desperately tried to avoid?
An 18 year-old college student went swimming in the ocean off Luzon, Philippine Islands. A shark bite left him near death. His final words were, “This is the day I’ve been waiting for.” We can understand Winston Churchill saying that when rising to Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1939 when 65. His entire life had prepared him for that moment.
But no...that was simply Churchill’s career-day, not his life-purpose day. The 18 year old boy lying on the beach bleeding to death had reached his life-purpose day. He had lived for Jesus to his 18th year and would see GOD that very day and forever after.
However young or old we are at death, have we prepared for our Life-purpose day?
Point of interest, then...instead of mourning our loss of Esther, let’s instead rejoice in her gain. For what would we leave our family as our last bequest? Weep for me, for I’m gone? Or, don’t weep for me, let not even one tear fall. What you dream of I can see, and friends, it’s worth it all.
I trust...do not get buried in the losses family survivors have experienced. Focus instead on the gain each deceased member inherited: each one I know a baptized, forgiven, faithful disciple carried by angels into the presence of Jesus who enveloped them in his joyous embrace.
And if we think faith in Christ is too hard to express at this time—is it easier to drown in sorrow than hope in God? Shall we seek to assuage our grief with MORE grief or lessen it with much MORE hope?
Hope. Confidence. Assurance: the message God gave John on Patmos. The same message he gives us. Don’t see what IS now; see instead what is to BE!
When everything vanishes, and only Jesus remains, we’ll be eternally glad we had prepared to meet him. When everything vanishes, and only Jesus remains, we’ll never be glad again if we haven’t! Fini
Christians will experience the impact of afflictions, despair and grief common to mankind, but God will never desert us to their power. In the world we’ll have trouble, Jesus warned in John 16:33, a reality we can’t avoid. Trouble we can manage, or sometimes can’t. Trouble that’s minor, or catastrophic. Trouble we soon forget, or leaves us scarred for life. Inevitable, indiscriminate, never-at-an-opportune time tribulation—at which Jesus snaps his fingers in scorn since he faced and overcame it all!
Jesus...the ONE in our corner when circumstances have backed us there; who sees us through when others say we’re through; who stands BY us when we’re weak since he stood UP FOR us when we were sinners. Jesus...whose bodily resurrection transformed death from finality to introduction and declares death the opening, not the closing, act of life.
An Oceana man died in 2004. Conversant in multiple languages, he had eventful careers in teaching, business and real estate. Yet, when his son sat at the death bed weeping, the man could say only, “Don’t be sad, son. Eighty-three years are enough.” Then there was a Christian man who died at 95, but they hardly began for him, let alone proved enough. A man lived in the wilderness of Wheeler Mountain, Vermont. When he suffered a heart attack, paramedics came and wheeled him from house to ambulance. Before being hoisted inside he begged for one last, long look upward at what he was leaving.
Yes, the way of the world...looking back at what’s GOING. While the Christian looks forward to what’s COMING! Billy Graham pondered his coming death. And said, when you hear that Billy Graham has died, don’t you believe it. In the instant I take my last breath, I’ll be more alive than I’ve ever been. End Part IV
Never doubt: God’s word still predicts doom for all who oppose him. And never doubt: he guarantees victory for all who love Christ’s appearing. It sometimes seems that serving God costs more than we can pay. He seems to take little notice of his people, whatever their problems. He allows the unconverted lavish displays of success and wealth.
Indeed...sometimes...only FAITH in God’s goodness keeps his people stalwart in discipleship. But IT DOES! Speaking from personal experience: when in prayer I declare faith in God, regardless, whatever circumstances may be, my fears subside and my peace of mind grows.
Christians still trust God’s word when life seems harsh and unfair; when our life grows more complex and mysterious. For there we still read: God is our refuge and strength. And underneath are his everlasting arms. Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God.
God’s word continually reinforces our spiritual lives, even as we’re hard pressed on every side, for we aren’t crushed; we’re perplexed, but not in despair; we’re persecuted, but not abandoned; we’re struck down, but not destroyed II Corinthians 4:8-9.
God’s Presence unfailingly lowers our fears as it raises our expectations. And unfailingly charges us to take courage when opposed or hurt, to advance when attacked and to persevere when all seems lost, God doesn’t care and we don’t matter. End Part III
God sent his Revelation to the apostle to shine light where life went dark; to give freedom where life oppressed; to give hope where life ceased. He wrote to a besieged church with a celebratory message needed by them and appropriate to our celebration service for sister Esther Wallace.
God filled the Revelation scroll with strict injunctions against compromise, surrender, defeatism or self-pity. It also shattered gloom with unmistakable assurance: Christians wouldn’t be untouched or unhurt, but God would make them unafraid!
The scroll also issued blistering epitaphs of doom against the besieging power: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!...Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.” While denouncing the enemy, God promised unconditional guarantees of rebirth for all trusting his Son. “Rejoice saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you....” Thus, “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!” And “the Kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”
Thus...God’s defiant, mocking words taunting the power belaboring and massacring Christians while exercising no power at all over them. God’s defiant mocking words spoken three centuries before barbarians sacked Rome’s treasures and estates. Amen. End, Part II
(This blog, taken from a funeral message based on Revelation 7, 11, 12 and 19, was preached Saturday, 7 September, 2019 for Christian sister Esther Wallace.)
Trouble doesn’t have to be national or international to hurt, cause pain or inflict sorrow and distress. Most trouble begins individually before it affects families and societies.
The women of the Nolasco family have experienced a high mortality rate. Of six daughters born to Serafin and Ulpiana, three have died of cancer, two are present cancer survivors—one of them the victim of a devastating stroke. Only the youngest daughter remains free of cancer at this time. Their two brothers are both healthy seniors.
(Judy and I chuckled mournfully when a family member told her that a staff member at Glen Abbey Mortuary said she looked familiar. She should be, the family member replied, since she’s been at Glen Abbey too many times in the last several years.)
What will happen next, and to whom? We cannot say. We can say that the family’s experience with cancer and death somewhat parallels the trouble afflicting the church near the end of the first century. And we can offer to the family the same hope and assurance God gave John the Apostle in Revelation.
A point of history. The Revelation of John the Apostle, came from God about AD 95, a year before bloody Emperor Domitian died, and several since he had smashed a mailed fist into Christian assemblies empire-wide. He encouraged his cities to stage spectacles of persecution of Christians: crucified in arenas; tarred and lighted into torches in the Colosseum; sewn in animal skins and flung before ravenous beasts as spectators applauded and shrieked in delight.
Everywhere in the Empire: Christians victimized, brutalized, helpless, anathematized with Rome triumphant. End Part I
Of several more, let’s learn two valuable lessons from David’s return from exile.
One, each person is responsible for his behavior. Absalom’s own nature accounted for his wickedness. David’s lenience had served his son’s worse instincts, but it didn’t make him evil Absalom’s handsome face and body ballooned his vanity, but didn’t cause his vanity. Praise bloated his ego, but didn’t create his ego.
No, the little man he was spiritually turned every whisper of admiration into a shout of adoration. He turned a violin solo played in his honor into a violin orchestra worshipping him. He simply swelled when praised, not grew.
Because he had nurtured a life full of sail, with too little ballast, always in danger of turning turtle. Like Richard the Lion, his life seemed a magnificent parade, but left only an empty plain when he passed.
Absalom learned to love himself by practicing self-importance. He learned the science of pleasure without accepting the art of accountability. He never understood that privilege without responsibility invariably invited disaster.
Now, we understand that God’s love loves even the unworthy person. And while we criticize David’s blind affection for Absalom, what parent wouldn’t appreciate it? Parents don’t stop loving their children when they don’t live right.
Christians can certainly understand. We disappoint God; sin against God; momentarily lose faith in God; and sometimes disgrace the very Faith of the One who loved us and gave himself for us. Would we want him to stop loving us, no matter how bad we are?
Two, and let us learn from David’s mistake. Never take on yourself someone else’s guilt. Remember the earlier point in this blog that Absalom alone decided the kind of person he would be. And he alone bore the penalty for his decisions. But until Joab’s rebuke awakened the king’s conscience, he blamed himself for Absalom’s decisions.
Scripture everywhere makes guilt personal, not corporate. Ezekiel 18:3ff, 33:12-16, II Corinthians 5:10 are a few of such passages.
In other words, no shared blame exists in guilt. God expects each person to rise above his environment and his temptations to make righteous decisions. Or, failing to, seek forgiveness of his sins. We can’t have someone else bear our guilt, confess our guilt or be forgiven our guilt. The opposite is also true. No virtue one possesses can be shared by another. God’s Grace suffices to save all repentant sinners one by one. No grace exists to save them in tandem! No one will be saved by another person’s merit when each is saved by Grace alone! Fini
B. David at His Best
He had been every inch and ounce the king once he discarded his rose-colored glasses when seeing Absalom.
He inspired followers to act on his behalf in critical situations. He kept the loyalty of his army. He recruited supplies for the civilians with him and resources for his military. He put his army under officers capable of leading them.
And, once knowing he was safe, and confident of his Power as God’s Regent, he reviewed his victorious troops. Then, returning to his throne, on his way to Jerusalem he reconciled bitterly divided loyalties within the tribes; settled a land dispute; forgave his personal enemies, represented by wicked Shimei; acted with haste in hunting down Sheba’s abortive insurrection; rewarded those who had remained faithful during his troubles.
And, not forgetting the overlooked victims of the royal power struggle, he expressed mercy, not revenge, to the ten concubines Absalom had violated. He dedicated a house for their occupancy, a guard for their security and life-long provisions for their daily sustenance.
How do you think a victorious Absalom would have responded? Indeed, at his best, Absalom was worse than David at his worst! End Part III – Lessons to be learned in Part IV
When Joab heard David’s response, he first turned every kind of purple. Then, in giant strides angrily left the people, stomped up the stairs three at a time (author’s freedom) and, uninvited, charged into the king’s presence.
As the teary-eyed monarch glanced his direction, Joab unloaded a scathing tongue-lashing. David had humiliated his own men—the very ones who had saved his life and throne. He hated his friends and loved his enemies. He would have been happy if everyone else had died if only Absalom would have survived.
The outburst from the grimy, just back-from-the-front warrior shocked the king out of his self-pity. Which, by the way, he needed. Only Joab could have had made such an impression.
Particularly since he reinforced it with an ominous warning: if David didn’t go downstairs right then and greet his men, Joab would take them away by nightfall...and even David couldn’t calculate the baleful results.
No one had ever talked so roughly to the king; and no one needed it more than he right then! It suddenly jarred him from personal problems to national responsibilities. He rose, washed his face and, chastened, walked downstairs, through his troops to the gateway: smiling, shaking hands, expressing appreciation. And when news circulated that a waiting line had formed before the king, jubilation returned to all! End Part II