Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Contrast Conventions

The Democrat and Republican conventions have entirely different tone and style this year. I was impressed with the opening night of the Repuplican convention. They celebrated, there was a strong call to character, to serve others, and to fight evil. They actually had a silent moment of prayer (and didn't flinch from calling it prayer), and sang Amazing Grace.

What tone and style do others see in us? How about our children? Do they see our confidence in a sovereign God? Do they see fear of men or circumstances?
Every Creature Will Sing

It's interesting to note that everything and everyone will acknowledge the Lord:
  • Every knee will bow (Isaiah 45:23)
  • Every tongue will confess (Romans 14:11)
  • Every creature in heaven and on earth, in the sea, and under the earth, will sing (Rev 5:13)

There are about 100 times in the Bible where the Lord says "they will know that I am the Lord."

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1:20)

But not everyone is saved and brought into heaven. A friend of mine puts it this way: "You can acknowledge Christ as Lord now, and experience joy in fellowship, or you will do it later. You won't like later. Everyone will see, but not everyone will like what they see."

Sunday, August 29, 2004

We're in World War IV

Put this one on your reading list. Norman Podhoretz' commentary on our current war (which he terms WW IV, since the war against the Soviet Union and proxies was WW III) provides a good historical overview. I had never really thought about the fact that the opening of WW IV was before the fall of the Soviet Union.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Kill the root

For years I've periodically trimmed back some woody weeds in our backyard. I'd just weedwack 'em down to the dirt, and they'd always grow back. The stems never got very big, and just a few leaves would show.

This weekend I ripped out a large area under the pine trees in our backyard. My intent is to get grass growing under the trees again. So I needed to root out all these woody plants completely, so I can prepare the soil for planting the grass.

I was stunned to find out that many of those "little" weeds had deep and thick roots. In a couple instances, I found 2" thick roots supporting a spindly stem and 2 leaves!

It occurs to me that many of us might find a parallel with certain sins in our life. We wack 'em down, and they never look like much. To all outward appearance, we've got it under the control. But we haven't killed the root. The root just gets bigger and bigger, continuing to support the sin. We need to kill the root, men! And how do we do that? Well, we don't. Jesus runs that project!

Friday, August 27, 2004

When your spirit grows faint

Our general characteristic is that we succumb to temptation more often when we're discouraged, weak, and not thinking about the great provisions from God through Christ. Psalm 143 contains good instruction for us:

1 O LORD , hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. 2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you. 3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead. 4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. 5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. 6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah 7 Answer me quickly, O LORD ; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. 8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. 9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD , for I hide myself in you. 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. 11 For your name's sake, O LORD , preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. 12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

In 1 Peter 5:8 we read that our "enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. " Like David, we're hunted. And our spirits can become weakened because of this. (This does not surprise or disappoint God, He knows our frame!)

So what should we do? Focus on God, not ourselves. Look at verses 5 and 6 -- I remember what you have done, I meditate on the works of your hands. Verse 8 -- I plead for direction and lift up my soul to God for refreshment. Verse 11 -- I appeal to God for His name's sake.

Don't give up, don't give in, shift your focus to God. He is the refuge.

Change to a national sales tax?

I was pretty skeptical when the first news came out about changing from our current income tax to a national sales tax. So I did some digging on HR25, the Fair Tax Act. Very interesting ideas here -- repeal the 16th amendment, abolish the IRS, rebate the equivalent of sales tax on essentials for living directly back to families. Neal Boortz has a readable column on the Fair Tax Act today, but you should also look at Americans for Fair Taxation.

Sidebar: Why am I writing about this in a blog devoted to encouraging Christian men? Because taxation impacts justice in our society. Tax plans do not reduce accurately to sound bites, so it will take some study to understand the strengths and weaknesses of any given plan.
Register to vote

Christian men must be good citizens (see Romans 13). If you have registered, I urge you to do so. Check out the FOTF site for help with this process.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Does Secularism produce moral behavior?

Check out Dennis Prager's column.

The Importance of the Mind

Recommended John Piper sermon : The Renewed Mind and How to Have It
"There are many who think that the only problem with the human mind is that
it doesn’t have access to all the knowledge it needs. So education becomes the
great instrument of redemption—personal and social. If people just got more
education they would not use their minds to invent elaborate scams, and
sophisticated terrorist plots, and complex schemes for embezzling, and
fast-talking, mentally nimble radio rudeness. If people just got more
The Bible has a far more profound analysis of the problem. In
Ephesians 4:23 Paul uses a striking phrase to parallel Romans 12:2. He says, “Be
renewed in the spirit of your minds.” Now what in the world is that? “The spirit
of your mind.” It means at least this: the human mind is not a sophisticated
computer managing data, which it then faithfully presents to the heart for
appropriate emotional responses. The mind has a “spirit.” In other words, our
mind has what we call a “mindset.” It doesn’t just have a view, it has a
viewpoint. It doesn’t just have the power to perceive and detect; it also has a
posture, a demeanor, a bearing, an attitude, a bent. “Be renewed in the spirit
of your mind.”
The problem with our minds is not merely that we are finite,
and don’t have all the information. The problem is that our minds are fallen.
They have a spirit, a bent, a mindset that is hostile to the absolute supremacy
of God. Our minds are bent on not seeing God as infinitely more worthy of praise
than we are, or the things we make or achieve."

Sunday, August 22, 2004

And We Love It This Way

"A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophecy lies and priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way." -- Jeremiah 5:30-31

God is speaking about his people, not a pagan nation. I think this is true for us today, as well. We do love sin -- false teaching that tickles our ears, rather than sound instruction and obedience to plain commands and principles in Scripture. And we have honored many "spiritual" leaders who operate from their own authority.

We need transformed hearts not to love this sin. Lord, save us and our children!
The Spirit Without Limit

In John 3:31-36 we read

31"The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without limit. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

Am I struggling? Joyful? Weak? Flushed with health? Confused? Confidently in-the-flow?

In all these situations, God provides His Spirit -- in us, in his people! -- without limit. We neither possess the Spirit nor control Him. But He is present without limit as we abide with Christ. Be encouraged!
The Cult of Kerry

I appreciate Doug Giles' insights and his writing style gets your attention. In this recent column he points out that many Democrats behave as cult members. Kerry has never done wrong, and can do no wrong. Judge him by his words, not his actions.

Let us be men who honor Christ above all -- and keep a sober appraisal for all men, including presidents, business leaders, pastors, athletes, and entertainers.
Back to Blogging

Our family just returned from a great vacation -- driving and RVing in North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Mountains restore the soul! And I'm back to blogging.