Saturday, November 15, 2008

Matthew 5:10

"Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight." - Psalm 119:143

This verse was the highlighted passage of the day as I went to in order to prepare for this post. Coincidence? Not with God.

The "Philadelphia 5" in October 2004...a Canadian pastor arrested for preaching against the sin of homosexuality...2 Catholics arrested outside their church in MN for passing out pro-life literature in May...the slogan "radical right" coming into existence in the 1980s...the media-led propaganda campaign that the separation of church and state means ZERO religious influence in the public square...and now the intense hatred and violence following the approval of Prop 8 in California as well as similar passages in numerous other states. Keep in mind, Prop 8 simply reaffirmed what the people of California had voted for in the past but what was undone by 4 activist judges in that state in May. This is not a radical redefinition. This is the people of California just trying to get their state Constitution back.

Can you feel it? I know I can. Any Christian with any awareness of Scripture and the world we live in has seen the signs coming for quite some time. Yet, I have been a bit shocked at the acceleration in the past week. The level of vitriol and absolute hate coming from those who live in direct opposition to God's Word has been eye opening. I think it was the creation of that was the real awakening. It's a list of monetary supporters for Prop 8 with the intention that those on the list would not have their businesses patronized. It has already led to a job loss for one and likely intimidation and fear for many others.

"But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away." - Matthew 13:21

I think we are all familiar with the saying, "Adversity builds character", or some derivation thereof. Recently, I have been hearing what I believe to be a better version - "Adversity reveals character". Now, the first one is true as long as the level of adversity does not extinguish hope for without hope character doesn't matter very much. However, the second version seems much more meaningful to me, particularly as our faith will be severely tested in the months and years ahead. We may be running short on time to build character. The time for our character, our faith, our trust in God and our willingness to follow Him to be made real and evident to the world is here. This is not a drill. There is precious little time left to hide in our church pews, to barricade ourselves inside our comfy confines, to walk the line between being in this world and of this world.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." - Joshua 24:15

All Christians must strengthen their faith and cling to the Truth now more than ever. Be prepared to defend your beliefs in a Biblical way - with truth, boldness, love and grace. God loves homosexuals and non-Christians. Jesus died for them. God wants to see none of them perish eternally. Do not return hate with hate. This is where being a light amongst the darkness becomes so real and so important. Let people know that your disagreement is not personal although the majority will surely take it that way. Let them know you love them and are a sinner just like they are. In that way you may be able to reshape the conversation and put it back where it belongs - on Christ's unconditional and eternal love for us all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thought This Was Good

From Bill Keller...

"As irony would have it, many of the protests by pro-homosexual groups after
their defeat last week have been held outside of Warren's Saddleback
Church. I pray that this is a lesson to Warren and others that as long as
you compromise your beliefs, those who live in rebellion to God and His Word
are your friends. Once you take a stand for the Truth, they immediately
become your enemy. This is why these ecumenical associations are from the
pits of hell itself. It is always the Christians who are supposed to lay
down our beliefs, never non-Christians who are expected to lay down theirs!"

That last sentence was really good. I have never seen it put that way before but it is 100% true.

Happy Birthday to Me

Where is my AARP pamphlet?