An Unworthy Question

The question “does God exist?” is not worthy of God. We might say a bush exists. We might say a rock exists. Does the almighty, living, eternal Majesty merely occupy some obscure, distant place where our puny eyes don’t see Him? How foolish to play philosophical ping pong about Him, as though Job’s “Watcher of men” (Job 7:20) was not omnipresent and omniscient, kindly forbearing us in our frailty!

Even non-miraculous bushes burn with a perpetual declaration of the creative and sustaining wisdom of the God of Moses (cf. Exodus 3:2ff). Every rocky cliff declares His everlasting faithfulness, not just the one that gushed forth water when that prophet struck it with a rod, foreshadowing the water of life that would flow from Christ the Rock of ages (cf. Exodus 17:5,6; 1 Corinthians 10:4).

So why do some question God’s existence? Why are others, driven to at least acknowledge Him by the universal and pervasive witness of all creation, unable to connect with God? The problem is with human hearts and the sinful hatred of God that darkens them. “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1,2)

I would see, delight in, and treasure God so much were it not for the sin that clings so easily to me. What eternal thankfulness is due to Him Who has provided a way not only for forgiveness and reconciliation, but for us sinners to become His children! By nature, we are blind, spiritually dead, children of wrath, under His righteous judgment, oppressing the knowledge our Creator Whom we cannot ultimately escape in this earthly life nor in eternity.

But because of Jesus Who bore the penalty of His people’s guilt and gave them His perfect righteousness, we can now see the truth in newness of life as children of the heavenly Father knowing His unfailing love and joyfully growing in the knowledge of Him in Whose house we will dwell forever!

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Socialist Jeopardy

As usual, we begin with player introductions by the announcer:

“Today’s contestants are…Comrade Moe, a bureaucrat who knows nothing about medical practice but makes decisions about your health care! And Comrade Larry, an inventor hoping to find motivation to actually invent something! And our current champion, Comrade Curly, whose five day total winnings have been redistributed to the losing contestants of the last five games!”

And now…here is the hostess of Socialist Jeopardy…Alexandria Utopio-Marxist!” (There being no “commercials,” she immediately goes into her daily chat with the contes…er, participants.)

“Moe, what’s it like working at your clinic?”

“Well Alexandria, my first challenge every day is to get past the long line of patients waiting at the entrance. It can be difficult because the ones who have been waiting several days to fill out form HC 10001 often are curled up in fetal position, crying.” (Studio audience politely titters) “On a good day, I have so many papers to push around on my wobbly desk that I can dodge actually dealing with any people. Hey, I get my stipend no matter what.”

Moe grins. The gaps between his remaining teeth can be seen even though only about half of the light bulbs in the room are on. The audience which had been compelled to enter the studio is also cowed into suppressing its natural human reaction to thievery. Alexandria takes a few steps to her left.

“Larry, I see here that you abandoned your research project which held great promise for the use of recycled plastic, why?”

“Well Alexandria, I couldn’t get out of my mind what one of our previous Glorious Leaders said.”

“What’s that?”

“You didn’t build that!”

“Larry, you should be motivated to do it for the people!” (Audience claps vigorously as the announcer hoists the dog-eared APPLAUSE sign off stage.)

“Yes, of course, Comrade Utopio-Marxist!” (Thinking to himself, “They probably forced me to come here so they could denounce me as an enemy of the state. Moe and Curly might be informants!)

Alexandria addresses the third player.

“Curly, you seem gloomy for a reigning champion on Socialist Jeopardy! Why the grim look?”

“Well Alexandria, each day my take home…er, take commune percentage goes down because it is being shared equally with all the losing participants. Yes, I’ve won five games to date but will only take commune 20% of that, which will be taxed at 85% anyway since it exceeds the Income Equality Act maximum. If I win five more games, I will only take commune 10% of my total winnings, and I might have moved up into the next tax bracket.”

“So you should be happy, comrade! You are providing for the participants who were wrong on every response, or who never even bothered to ring in, knowing they would benefit from your laborious study of re-written history and other state approved subjects. Understand? Now get with our enlightened program! Go ahead and pick a category!”

“OK Alexandria. I’ll take ‘Evils of Free Market Capitalism‘ for $2.47″

Ding! Ding! Ding! “That’s a daily double, Curly, which means you can wager up to $6.99!”

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Heel Spur

The Achilles heel of the wicked is their PRIDE. This their arrogance will ever result in the ultimate, spectacular frustration of their schemes, though they might prevail for a season. This is primarily because in the stench of their conceit they dare to scoff at and marginalize almighty God, as if He were not perpetually and intimately involved in all human affairs.

That heavenly involvement in our earthly arena accords with infinite understanding and is directed by an eternal purpose. It soars far above the finite understanding of the godly and the godless alike. As high as the Heavens are above the Earth, so are God’s ways and thoughts higher than our ways and thoughts.

On the part of the godly (who know Ephesians 6:11 and following) there is confident trust in a loving heavenly Father when circumstances appear grim and the wicked have the upper hand. On the part of the wicked, there is the foolish assumption that they will never be brought down, let alone be called to account by their righteous and holy Judge, as they revel in their unrighteous deceit and work to realize their unholy agendas.

“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.” (Psalm 2:4) They will fall into the pits they dug and be caught in their own snares. Their bullets will ricochet into their own hearts and their bombs explode in their own faces.

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Damn, as in “Frankly My Dear, I don’t Give A.”

Audiences gasped in astonished disbelief when that once taboo word was uttered for the first time in American cinema. (Gone With the Wind, directed by Victor Fleming, which debuted in the 1,939th year of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, was the daring flick.)

The word damn refers to divine judgment. Damnation is the dreadful, eternal punishment which our Creator, to Whom we all must give account, will mete out to the wicked on His coming Judgment Day. In a more God fearing era, gasping at any inappropriate use of this solemn word was a good thing and quite understandable.

Per a surreptitiously recorded telephone conversation, President Trump recently gave an example of the advance of the spirit of irreverence when he prefixed the name of God (previously understood but not vocalized) to his damn.

Our chief executive is not alone. Previous presidents and other public figures have polluted and do pollute their speech with plenty of GDs. Millions of others from all walks of life hurl the imprecation. Children of tender years are repeating what they hear. Gray headed ones who should have sober thoughts of eternity continue to harden their once tender consciences, casually dishing out damns to their neighbors. THE glib and flippant invocation of THE power and certainty of almighty wrath is about as common as THE use of THE English language’s definite article.

So is the ubiquitous OMG. In another recent recording, a man is heard crying out “O my God, O my God” in Italian upon witnessing the deadly collapse of a bridge in Genoa. That was quite an appropriate calling upon the Lord of mercy, to be sure. How does that short, sincere cry to God for help compare with OMG as we hear it in American vernacular?

“OMG, I see a small gray cloud, there might be rain shower coming.” Or “OMG, I dropped a nickel!” Or “OMG I can’t think of anything else to say in response to this moment’s trivial occurrence or non-occurrence.” Or, in rare moment of candor, “I just say OMG on general principle after every couple of phrases I utter.” Why is this?

And today’s all purpose expletive is the name of the aforementioned Lord of all. That would be Jesus the loving Savior Who offers eternal escape from damnation to whosoever will, a gift He died gruesomely to provide. And what’s with the placing of the letter H in between Jesus and Christ as if it were a middle initial? Why does His name come forth vociferously when someone wants to express not only rage, but something as relatively minor as slight frustration? “J___ C____ , my favorite TV show about zombies got preempted!”

So eighty years after the silver screen depiction of Rhett Butler’s and Scarlet O’Hara’s shenanigans, all sorts of potty mouthing, obscenities, mighty oaths, and blasphemies don’t raise the public eyebrow or create the slightest stir among Hollywood’s consenting entertained. And today you can with impunity curse God or use His name as a curse. You can drop “F bombs” to your heart’s content. You can coarsely jest with just as many raunchy references to sexual activity, private body parts, and bodily functions as you want.

There is however, one word which has taken on the mantle of Unutterable. Guard your lips with utmost diligence lest this one escapes them! Speak this word and you’ll soon get much more than a shocked audience in response. Say these two syllables and you might lose your job, be attacked in the public square, or at the very least be excoriated by every pundit and commentator on every cable channel.

You guessed it. It is the dreaded N WORD! Welcome to a world where mocking God and abusing His name is not censured, but using an ethnic epithet might as well be a capital offense. Oh, and don’t ask for more abuse and judgment from the occupants of the moral high ground by appealing to the fact that many dime a dozen entertainment acts throw around the N word willy nilly. It is perfectly acceptable for them to go way over the line you dare not even approach.

Finally, consider this sobering Biblical affirmation: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

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What’s That on Your Wrist?

WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? It is a slogan that has been engraved on bracelets and (with sincerity to be sure) glibly spoken by many who admire the Man from Galilee. Let’s think a little deeper about it. Let’s ask…

WDJD – what DID Jesus do? As the divine Son, eternally pre-existent with the Father and the Holy Spirit, He came down from heaven (became incarnate) to give His life a ransom for many. None of us have existed from all eternity, and our lives are not worth a plugged nickel towards the redemption of even one of our fellow human beings. But the life of the Son of God was of infinite value, and He accomplished redemption for an innumerable multitude. What else did Jesus do?

He worked miracles and cast out demons at will. He unilaterally chose twelve spokesmen to be foundational pillars of His Church against which He promised the gates of Hades would never prevail…two thousand years so far, and the Church universal is still going strong all over the Earth! What else?

Jesus rose from the dead, thus publicly and powerfully declaring the justification of His people. He had previously claimed that at the last day He personally would raise every other human being who has ever lived or who ever will live (John 5:28,29). One of the twelve expressed his supposition that if everything Jesus did were to be written down, the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Let’s add WIJD – What IS Jesus Doing, i.e. right now. Knowing that He died as His people’s substitute and was raised for their justification, another apostle wrote, “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also makes intercession for us.” (Romans 8:34)

To share in this activity of our great high Priest is also is beyond our capacity.

In short, in most cases WCDWJD obtains – we CAN’T do what Jesus did! He did and is doing many things we are unable to do or ever expect to be able to do. Therefore, if we want a helpful motto for our walk as His disciples (bracelet optional), why not switch to…

WDJC –what did Jesus COMMAND? He summarized what He commands under two great commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and your neighbor as yourself. To inform our consciences about how those two great, eternal, and universal commandments are to be kept in our particular changeable and personal circumstances, we search the Old and New Testaments.

We rightly divide the whole counsel of God in Scripture. We become illumined as the Holy Spirit works understanding in us and in the rest of the Christian community (congregation) to which we are vitally united and committed.

We gain wisdom for matters like discerning between the humble poor who really need charity and the detestable scammers. We learn how to test the spirits, we come to the understanding of the Psalmist who rejoiced in his love for the breadth and perfection of God’s ever abiding statutes, judgments, and testimonies. By His word, we grow to be like Jesus Who said His very food and drink was to do what His Father had commanded Him.

And once we have ascertained from the holy Bible how to apply WDJC in this context or that relationship…in this trial or that challenge, let us go on engrave on our hearts this determination to be remembered in every context, relationship, trial, or challenge:

IWOJ – I will OBEY Jesus. As one hymnist put it, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

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Open Sesame

PROHIBITION: It was was a period in America in the early 20th century of the grace of the our Lord Jesus Christ when producing, marketing, and transporting alcoholic beverages was illegal. A clandestine cultural phenomenon called the “speakeasy” emerged. A speakeasy was a place into which, upon providing a password, you could enter to have a brew or a cocktail and keep company with other social drinkers without fear of being arrested.

PREDICTION: The neo-speakeasy is coming! It will be a place where you can converse without being politically correct. There, you won’t have to worry about being jailed because you failed to use the latest faux pronoun for some imaginary new “gender.”

Relaxing in these islands of liberty you will not be paralyzed by fear that you (ignorant, insensitive bigot that you are) inadvertently might commit the most recently minted micro-aggression, or unwittingly engage in cultural appropriation by wearing another ethnic group’s traditional style of shirt. In the neo-speakeasy, you will not be shamed by the mob because you are capable of forming your own opinions. You will be able exercise your freedom of association and fraternize with others who do the same.

The frequenter of these congenial joints will deliberately leave his cell phone, tablet, or laptop home. Video conferencing, snapchatting, and texting will have gone by the wayside and the proprietor will NOT provide WiFi. Maybe he will have one landline available for emergencies.

So…what’s the physical mouth to physical ear (i.e. vocal) password, friend?

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Can we Keep It?

Unknown woman to Benjamin Franklin (A.D. 1706–90), at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

Franklin: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

(Attribution, the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention.)

No nation or nation state in history has enjoyed a more enduring document for the authority of its government than America. We’ve kept that republic for about 240 years. But frankly, apart from a mighty, reviving work of the Spirit of God in this nation we will likely fail to keep it.

Do I rightly surmise that some theophobic bigots started trembling with an indignation resembling religious zeal, upon reading that last statement appealing to Heaven and the One Who reigns there?

Fear not, you foolish ones who deliberately reject humanity’s only Hope. Christians are not into any sort of forced conversion agenda. We only urge you peacefully according to the Gospel of grace and peace to repent and believe on Jesus the Savior, King of kings and Lord of lords. As the non-establishment clause of its First Amendment makes clear, the Constitution did not establish a theocracy.

Yet as the non-hindrance clause of that same First Amendment makes clear, our noble Constitution was created for a God honoring people. The Constitution was begotten in a society which adhered (imperfectly, according to the corruption that permeates this fallen world) to the ethics of the Bible. Even if it is only a formality now, government officers’ right hands still are placed on that Bible when they swear to uphold the Constitution.

So even if the republic which Dr. Franklin and his colleagues gave us does fail, the pervasive and universal sovereignty of that same King of kings and Lord of lords generates unfailing hope in those who love and trust Him. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end! His servants will continue to come under the sword, but they will engage their enemies only with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God preached and taught.

And it might well be that as the peaceful kingdom of the risen and reigning Son of God advances inexorably toward His decreed consummation, a “resurrection flavored” future might obtain for the constitutional civil governments of future generations. Just like Magna Carta of A.D. 1215 wielded great influence for centuries, the U.S. Constitution will do so – perhaps for more centuries.

Perhaps like the fabled phoenix, a new America will rise from the ashes of the old. Better yet, perhaps many nations, as they are discipled according Christ’s great commission, will adopt the precepts of old America’s constitution and even improve it.

As King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon said, “How great are His signs, and how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:3).

Bottom line, you can’t beat the Galilean! Can’t touch this!

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