THE AGE OF RAGE

October 25, 2020

No one expected a quiet October, but this one is plowing new ground validating the doctrine of the total depravity of man. Amid the rage, astounding revelations of dishonesty and debauchery, and unprecedented assaults on freedom of speech this week, there was a brief shameful sideshow.  Conservative broadcasting icon, Rush Limbaugh, announced that his brief remission from Stage IV lung cancer was over and the disease was progressing again. He said “I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is of immense value…strength…confidence.  That is why I am able to remain fully committed to the idea that what is supposed to happen, will happen when it was meant to…I just wake up every day and thank God that I did.”  

That beautiful testimony prompted the vilest vituperative response from the Rush-hating denizens of the Twittersphere. They verbally attacked like starving jackals on a wounded wildebeest, competing to see who could deliver the most despicable insult to a dying man. The real pandemic in our land is degeneracy. Sometimes I feel as hopeless as the embattled platoon leader who called in an air strike on his own head. But hopelessness is a sin. Perhaps a sovereign God will spare America again for the sake of the remnant of His chosen. He’s had one in every age. Come what may I stake my eternity on the steadfast love of that Sovereign God. Meantime I wrestle with my own hatred of such degenerates. I find vengeful comfort in a line from one of Johnny Cash’s last recorded songs: “You can run on for a long time… [but] sooner or later God’ll cut you down.” Our Lord said, “Vengeance is mine…,”but I sure fight the urge to help Him out with a few savage sentences of my own. In fact I have rewritten this post a dozen times, deleting some really satisfying inflammatory adjectives and trying to dampen my vindictive tone. 

Our Savior modeled our required response. He was subjected to similar heartless ridicule while being tortured to death on a cross. Even in His death throes He had the power to instantaneously swap places with his tormentors, but instead he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Lord, grant me the grace to rid my heart of hatred. I mouth my Savior’s plea without meaning it. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). And for the sake of your remnant, please have mercy on America. Amen.

See you in church.

THE PERVERSION PLANK

October 19, 2020

This is old news by today’s standards but it won’t quit tormenting me. Joe Biden dramatically expanded the perversion plank in the Democratic Party policy platform at a town hall last week. He said that eight-year-olds with gender dysphoria (not a term he acknowledges), a tragic malady that is often as not at that age a passing fantasy, is entitled to decide he/she is transgender and receive irreversible body harming procedures before the age of reason. He said, “I will flat out just change the law…” As Al Mohler said, “…the first thing I want to note is that this is morally shocking in itself.” Was there a true Christian in America who heard that and did not cringe…or put a shoe through the TV in horrified reaction…or drop to his knees and pray, “O dear God, what is happening to my country?” Could there be any undecided Christian voters left in America after that? If there is, pay attention to the latest horrifying news about the Biden family trying to break through today’s unconstitutional news suppression. If it were happening to the opposite party it would be disqualifying… America is reaping the rewards of a Romans 1 (vs 18-32) culture.

“…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

AMY’S EBENEZER STONE

October 18, 2020

Thanks to amazing Grace, countless prayers, her flawless performance and the nearness of an election that kept her opposition from descending to the despicable depths of the last judicial hearing circus, Judge Amy Coney Barrett excelled in her four-day inquisition.  Her intelligence, civility, serenity and quiet display of faith in her God easily overpowered the bloviating politicians who talked at her and over her and tried to entrap her (They were way out of their league!). She is indeed a rare role model for a nation under God struggling to maintain liberty and justice for all. May the full senate now perform their duty like civilized representatives of a Christian nation, with the same faith, wisdom, humility and love of country as Judge Amy. Thank you, Lord, for answered prayers.

“…the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel… Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”(1 Samuel 7:10b, 12)

See you in church.

A PRAYER FOR AMY

October 12, 2020

Dear Father in Heaven, please dress Amy Coney Barrett in your full armor as she goes before the ravenous lions of the Senate today. Steel her to withstand the full force of man’s depravity that will be unleashed against her. Holy Spirit, keep her calm, focused and articulate. May her profound grasp of the Constitution and God’s law that undergirds it be on full display. O God, America needs her calm sanity in the midst of its hysterical insanity. I am unworthy of such favor, and I dwell in the midst of a people unworthy of such favor. But your almighty power can make it right in America, you can bring renewal to our land. May it begin today through Amy Barrett. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

ADDENDUM:

“I believe in the power of prayer, and it has been uplifting to hear that so many people are praying for me.”- Judge Amy Coney Barrett at her confirmation hearing today.

THE IMPORTANT ELECTION

October 11, 2020

In the midst of this election madness, remember our savior does not reside in the Oval Office. Our Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ, and he’s not up for re-election…ever. He conducted the most important election in eternity past, and the results of that one lasts not four years but forever. Whatever the results of November 3rd are, the outcome works for the good of the winners of that election.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).

See you in church.

MY REFUGE

October 4, 2020

The October surprise, and probably not the last one, came early this year—before the first day was over. The media, including social media, are gorging on hysteria—their favorite meal—over our president contracting the virus. But I would venture that, with all the hate and rage and divisiveness in America, his mortality rate is better in a Walter Reed Hospital bed than it is in the midst of the roaring multitudes that attend his rallies around the country. Those who self-righteously demanded and got so-called hate speech codes written into the laws of the land are now gleefully calling for the president’s demise. Is there not a code for such inhuman hate as that? Adam fell in the Garden, and mankind is still plumbing new depths of depravity. Lord, have mercy!

And speaking of divisiveness, in 70 A.D., when General Titus’s Roman legions besieged Jerusalem, the Jews were so torn by internal strife that they fought and killed one another when the Romans were not trying to scale the walls. The city fell spectacularly. When the Visigoths approached the gates of Rome in 410 A. D., the city was so weakened by internal division and debauchery it was a walkover for the barbarians. I wonder if Vlad P. and Xi J. are salivating as they watch what’s going in in America.

But this is the Lord’s Day and King David, who experienced more than his share of chaos, hatred and persecution, speaks for me: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” (Psalm 122:1) I am so grateful for such a refuge in the storm. The very gates of hell will not prevail against the Lord’s House, where I will worship the Lord who made heaven and earth and everything in it, who counts the hairs on my head, who numbered my days, who loves me with an infinite love, who knows my thoughts before I think them, who has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, and one day “I shall see him in the flesh.”  The greatest novel ever written didn’t have a happy ending like this reality.

Our God reigns.  See you in church.

MY CHOICE

October 1, 2020

I did not watch the debates because I am not a masochist, it was my bedtime and I’ve already decided who I’ll vote for, and here’s why: 

General Patton was considered an offensive jerk, but he won battles. General Grant was a lush despised by many but he won the Civil War. General MacArthur was an insufferable egomaniac but he won the war in the Pacific in WWII. Our president has an acid tongue, oversized ego and the restraint of a five-year-old, but he gets things done like no other president in my lifetime. He actually delivers on his campaign promises. His arrogant hyperbole notwithstanding, he actually has accomplished more in less than 47 months than his opponent in 47 years. He’s received three Nobel Peace Prize nominations for three extraordinary accomplishments. He renegotiated grossly unfair multi-billion dollar NATO treaty financial obligations, and NAFTA and China trade deals after previous presidents were snookered by our bluffing partners. He abolished dozens of federal regulations and reduced taxes that had hamstrung American businesses, leading to eye-popping gains in stock prices, retirement portfolios, and employment. Opposition party economists had disdainfully predicted the opposite. He has taken bold action against our enemies but has not started a war, a rare thing, and has wound down commitments and bloodshed to almost nothing in two intractable wars. He has done more for freedom of religion than any president in my lifetime. At a pudgy 74 he demonstrates the stamina of a triathlete. And the appointment of three conservative originalist judges to the Supreme Court may well be his crowning achievement. The list goes on but these are the most extraordinary.

It’s been my experience that the flak is heaviest right over the target, and it takes steely resolve to press on when it’s in your face. This president has hit the target repeatedly in the face of unprecedented flak. I’d be delighted with four more years of such achievement. Would that I could fly flak suppression for him.

There was a framed cartoon that hung on the wall of our fighter squadron lounge during the Vietnam War showing a weary, unshaven GI extolling the virtues of fighter pilots—how they were always there when he needed them, always on target, always got the job done, and saved his bacon countless times. He concluded with, “But I’d never let one of those horny b______s date my daughter.” A similar dichotomy exists with my president. I’m voting for a promise-keeping president, not a pastor, and praying that a merciful God will restore the soul of this rebellious ruckus republic.

“A RUCKUS REPUBLIC”

September 30, 2020

Hold on to your hat! October is known for stock market crashes and quadrennial “October surprises” in the political realm, both with profound consequences for our nation.  Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch says the USA has “… always been a ruckus republic.” We come to October this year with more ruckus, rancor, rioting, disunity and urban destruction than I’ve seen in my lifetime. Now added to that chaos is a proposed sea change of a seat change in the third branch of our national government—the Supreme Court. To replace a deceased liberal, religiously non-observant Jewish lady, who considered the constitution a “living document” (read “malleable at the majority will of nine professional lawyers”), the President has nominated a God-fearing Catholic mother of seven who is a conservative constitutional originalist. Such a move would solidify an originalist majority for the SCOTUS for years to come. The WSJ calls it “…perhaps a hinge moment for the judiciary…reviving core constitutional principles in American law and life.” That would be such a wonderful blessing after this dark age of a judicial branch usurping the legislative branch’s duties and creating civil rights out of egregious wrongs that God abhors. If past is prologue, the democratic opposition at the confirmation hearing will plumb new depths of incivility and character assassination, an appalling spectacle for an electorate heading to the polls in a nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln addressed the ruckus, rancor, rioting, and disunity of his age with a quote by Jesus Christ: “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Mark 3:25). It did not, and in the run-up to the ensuing Civil War, he said,

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.”

Will our 21st century divisions lead to civil war or will a merciful God grant these tenuously United States of Gomorrah yet another chance? I believe it is up to the remnant that is the family of God to save this nation, and His promise and instructions in 2 Chronicles 7:14 are crystal clear. May the same Holy Spirit of the Triune God who drove Abe to his knees do likewise with us.

“…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

GRACE IN THE GROWING SEASON

September 27, 2020

We took a delightful excursion across heartland America this week after months of mostly mandated hibernation.  We met some dear friends from Columbus for a picnic at a park about an hour-and-a-half drive east of our home in north suburban Cincinnati. The weather could not have been more perfect—bright sun and clear blue skies. We stayed off the freeway and stuck to two-lane roads across rolling hills, lots of trees with the first flecks of fall colors, and farmland filled with corn and soybeans nearly ready for harvest. All of God’s rural tranquility and beauty and abundance was a powerful anti-depressant for this old country boy after the daily news of recent months. “For the earth is [still] the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (1 Corinthians 10:26). That fullness was on display in the thousands of acres of withered cornstalks heavily laden with grain, marking the end of the growing season for corn, promising a bountiful yield in return for the farmer’s investment. It reminded me that the end of my growing season draws nigh as well, as is plain by the withered stalk I see in the mirror when I step out of the shower, but my yield is a pittance for God’s immeasurable investment in me. The weeds and bugs of sin have stunted my return. If heaven had to be earned I would be in big trouble. But, thanks be to God, it does not.  

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

That is the best anti-depressant of all, and no one can take away my joy (John 16:22). 

See you in church.

A PRE-DAWN VISION

September 21, 2020

Politics is a blood sport and never has it been more publicly so than this election season. A judge has now been judged by the highest court and we are about to witness a replacement skirmish scaling new heights in carnage—more blood than a Roman Coliseum activity director could ever dream of. The arena sand is soaked with the blood of millions of dismembered little people. Ravenous lions stalk about looking for more when out of the tunnel strides a God-fearing All-American mother, adorned like Lady Liberty and holding high in her right hand the scroll of the US Constitution. On behalf of my country, reeling under the bloodlust of haters, and millions of voiceless preborn souls, my fervent prayer to an angry God is that by His grace Mom, like Daniel, will overcome the lions.

“…with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:16).


%d bloggers like this: