Thursday, October 27, 2016

Loving Our Nation

In just two weeks we face the biggest and most important election in my lifetime. The issues facing us as a people are enormous. This election has come down to two very flawed candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. One of them will, however, be president in two weeks. As in every General Election it gets tiring listening to all the junk we all have to put up with. Sorting out the lies from the truth is imperative, especially when the Media is doing a big part of the lying.

The most important difference between the two candidates can be seen in who they say they would appoint to the Supreme Court and to cabinet positions. For example, on the court Hillary says all her picks have to support Roe v. Wade. She emphatically declared on national television that an unborn child, even hours before birth, does not have constitutional rights. Interpreted that means that she does not believe that baby is human. That is the same decision that Chief Justice Taney handed down in 1857 that stated that slaves did not have constitutional rights. We fought a war and lost 600,000 soldiers to settle that issue. Trump has named men and women who believe babies are human beings and that partial-birth-abortion is wrong. They also believe the constitution should be interpreted in the context of what the founders wanted it to say and not what liberal justices want it to say.

A second major difference in the two candidates is their view of the country. Clinton believes we should continue our move toward socialism that Obama has so capably implemented. We now have nearly 100 million people not working and living off what the working people make. She will raise payroll taxes and reduce the amount of money people take home each week. She will do this because she believes the government knows better how to spend our money than we do. Trump on the other hand will cut taxes allowing each of us to take home more of our hard earned money. Under Kennedy and Reagan tax cuts brought a revival of growth to the economy.

Clinton’s view of the world would bring the U.S. under more domination of the United Nations, while Trump would strengthen our independence. Clinton would deplete even further the military, while Trump would strengthen it. Clinton would gain more control over our daily lives through the agencies of the federal government by growing the government, while Trump would reduce the size of government.

This election is too important to sit out. As Christians we have to vote for the candidate that is closer to our biblical world view. Please pray that millions of Evangelical Christians will go to the polls on November 8th.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What Jesus Longs For

Jesus revealed his heart to his disciples on several occasions, but none were more personal than when he spoke these words, "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!” (Luke 12:49-50).

When Jesus said, “I Wish It Were Already Kindled!” he was referring to the day when he would judge the earth and set it right. John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus would one day do this. As Jesus looked around and saw the pain, suffering, evil and injustice caused from man’s sin, he longed for the day when it would all be made different. When you feel your heart will break because of the heartache and hurt this world is plagued with, remember Jesus longs to change it. However, Jesus said before that day can come I have a baptism to go through with. He was referring to his death on the cross. The most needed change was death of the perfect man who died for all the sinners (you and me included).

Jesus said that he felt distress because of what lay ahead for him. He was not referring to the agony of the cross as much as he was referring to the idea of carrying the weight of the sin of the whole world. The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned these beautiful words to describe what Jesus did for us on the cross, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

In the past two years we have seen an increase in anarchy and violence in our country, and in St. Louis, Missouri we are seeing more than our share. There are groups popping up everywhere demanding an end to racism and bigotry. However, their actions and words are full of the same ugly attitudes they pretend to condemn.

Ours is an imperfect world, populated by imperfect people, and we will never see perfection on this earth. We will never achieve a perfect world here on this earth by ourselves. To achieve perfection without the help of the one who is truly perfect is impossible. You know how Jesus began his work of making us perfect. He came to this earth and died on a horrible cross at the hands of the hate filled Jewish leaders and the cruel Roman soldiers. He died the death of a common criminal. He had no sin, but he died for our sin. Until that day of final judgement arrives when Jesus puts everything right, we will hope in our God. We will allow him to change our hearts and help us to love each other in ways we could never do on our own.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Making Meaning Out of Chaos

Life has a way of throwing undesirable events into our lives.  If a person suffers an emotionally traumatic event, they will suffer intrusive and painful thoughts about the event until they are able to accommodate for what happened.  In other words, they are able to make some kind of meaning out of the meaningless occurrence.  Unfortunately, some people are never able to make meaning out of some of the tragedies of their lives.  Even though years have passed, they still experience distress from their painful memories.  Often those traumatic events play in the brain like a looped video.  For others, these intrusive memories work with a domino effect and trigger other feelings of loss or shame.  For some, these memories may be so overwhelming that they cause self-destructive acts.  We need help to be able to accommodate these bad memories. I have good news and that is that God who made the brain and knows how it works and how it gets messed up can help us make meaning out of chaos.

Here is a word picture to help imagine the transformation that God can bring to our lives. I live only a few miles from the grand Mississippi River.  In the mid 1800’s steamboats traveled all the way from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Kansas City, Missouri and beyond to South Dakota by means of the connecting rivers.  On September 5, 1856 the Arabian steamboat, that had traveled the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers for several years, hit a submerged tree stump and sunk near Kansas City.  The Missouri was notorious for these kinds of dangers.  All the passengers survived, but the boat was a total loss.  That is until 131 years later when Bob Hawley and his sons found the steamboat ½ mile from the river.  It was buried under 45 feet of topsoil.  Through elaborate efforts it was raised with most of its cargo still intact.  Today it is a fascinating museum to see what was rescued and lost for so long.  This is a picture of what it means to accommodate and make meaning out of the tragedies of our lives.  They may be buried under years of hurt and resentment, but with the right help they can be resurrected and accommodated to have meaning.  No longer do they just represent tragedy and loss.  Instead you are able to see something of value.  Now you are not afraid to talk about what happened because it makes sense. Out of the tragic events of the past God gives you treasures to share with others. Through the miracle of grace and forgiveness, God truly makes meaning out of our chaos.