Monthly Archives: January 2016

Escape From Reason’s Foundation – Psalm 11

The Psalmist asks himself, “if the bow is bent and the arrows are flying SHOULD my WILL SPRING INTO ACTION AND act and say IN EFFECT…”I will save myself!” But the truth is he knows that only his God is a real refuge.” In so many words Psalm 11 opens with a cry for sound reasoning. That we should know who we are and how dependent we are on our God being our only real safety, that He alone is a “very present help in trouble” as he says later in Psalm 46.

But there is something more that troubles the song writer than the threat to the buildings of the city – “if the foundations be destroyed what shall the righteous do?” It would be a wild thing for an attacking army to go after foundations…but that is the crux of his deepest anxiety…if the foundations are destroyed what shall good men do then?

Psalm 11:3 haunts us today. Today the foundations are assaulted in ways never thought possible. The spread rate of the crumbling is astronomical and its scope is unimaginable. Morally we are assaulted by the world, the flesh, and the devil simultaneously as Eve was to be sure, but in more sophisticated ways and in more generally accessible and contemptible ways too. It is everywhere like a wild virus strain that has overrun the lab – and this moral cesspool of a culture is more glamorized and monetized and has infiltrative power never before conceived, aided and abetted by the amazing technology of our times.

The Foundation of Reason
No foundation has taken a bigger hit though than the foundation of real thinking – of reason itself. Our discernment powers – are almost completely corrupted. The unsound minds of our times have a direct effect on our speech. James says that the tongue is evil and we agree. He points out that it is poisonous and can set on fire the very fabric of our existence – the ever revolving “wheel of life.” See James 3:6. There was a time when this warning was heeded, and caution and slowness of speech and steadfast God-dependence set it’s thinking on His wisdom. God’s thoughts were elevated above our own messed up ways of navigating through the experiences of this life so we held our tongue, listening and reasoning before speaking but that’s not today. Today we toggle our thumbs, turn on a mic, or use speech recognition software, blurt out our feelings and hit send long before we have reasoned out fully or prayed for wisdom and discretion. Let alone true discernment.

It seems that masses make big decisions the same ignorant and worldly way. Now we seem hellbent on electing a man to be President who capitalizes on using his vile tongue to denigrate his opponents and every time he says something worse his poll numbers jump higher. He recently was quoted as saying that he could start shooting people in public and he wouldn’t lose a single vote. I don’t believe he is necessarily wrong in his assessment.

We are in trouble because we have lost the foundation of reason in many avenues of life and we resort to passions that seem to lead quickly to belligerence. What do the righteous do? Do we jump on a political bandwagon and rely on men, because we too are upset and deeply angry at a government administration that is corrupt and being used as a tool of the enemy to take our liberty away? Do we stop thinking and go “gut?”

Not if we’re growing in godliness…
No, we humble ourselves and pray and ask God for mercy – we plead for it. We proclaim our dependence on Him.
Our very next prayer should be to confess our country’s dire moral state – for when the moral foundation goes, other edifices will follow, including the “reason” pillar. It is already sagging and has been for some time. I am concerned as a Christian that it has affected me. The fall of our civilized land has some kind of strange, almost aesthetic appeal to the flesh – I must guard against that “feeling” of fascination for just how it falls. I must not be simply a spectator as the Romans who attended the games were mesmerized by the fall of the heathen gladiators. I must shout against it. I must preach against it. I must prophesy against it. I must proclaim the gospel in Jesus’ love in the very face of ignorant enmity. Proverbs 24:17 says in the NLT “Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble.” Jesus said that we are to love our enemies. When He was reviled He did not revile in return, but He did preach the truth without compromise and then offered Himself as the only way for angry, ignorant man to be set free from his self-imposed slavery.

How to deal with non-reasoning people? Pray for them. Preach to them until their last breath or yours. Do good to them, especially when they persecute you and stay above reproach. Love them like Jesus did when He forgave the ignorance of the Roman soldiers who crucified Him. If they reject you they reject Him. If you do good you are heaping coals of judgment on them. You are not ‘enabling’ anyone by obeying the golden rule. God will judge.

God has spoken. The nation that forgets God is doomed. All who turn away from His laws are doomed – not just particular people but particular countries. Even our beloved America. WE are in trouble friends….but we must not let fear kill our reasoning either. We must discern the times.

The world will say that they have a way out…
Yet the scientist says hold on – one more breakthrough and we can solve it with new tech. We can cure the cancers, everyone of them. Utopia is around the corner. Never has there been a time when the labcoat and the pagan priest have so agreed. The non-thinking pagan of our day is the same as the New Age prophet that has been brewing for over 130 years. They say the same thing – those darn Christians are holding us back. Their dusty old book is phobic and dangerous and must be stamped out. They have not found a flaw in it. They don’t even bother to look that it for-tells them in detail.

Ignorance of Prophecy is Not Bliss
They don’t know about Daniel. They don’t know about Psalms 11 which is also prophetic in some respects. We already know about the man they will one day put in power. We don’t know his given name but we know he is called “the little horn” with a mouth that speaks great things. Daniel 7:8 tells us and it would tell them new-agers too if they could think long enough to read it. It is plain to us who have been born again not of the flesh, not of the will of man but born by the Spirit of God who have had a restored reasoning capability instilled in us. WE can read the prophecies and understand them. WE are not blinded by our own arrogance like the Pharisees who thought they had eyes did not see. They had brains but they were starting to lose their minds – I fear that today’s man has lost it almost completely and we know that in their stubbornness Satan has also veiled their eyes…The Man of Sin will attempt to tear down every foundational truth, even the very fabric of life – reason, goodness, purity, and truth itself. Foundational things will be what he goes after and he already is. The spirit of Anti-Christ is here.

So we Must Fight Now and Look Forward to Greater Glory
Daniel seven ends gloriously for the believer – it is a chapter of victory, of consummation of His kingdom after all. But there is a period when the old prophet is shaking in his boots. The Bible says he was terrified by the teeth of iron and claws of bronze. This man was a dragon. He devoured with that evil mouth and what was left he stamped with the awful feet. His goal, his aim was set on the saints. He prevails over them, for awhile, until God comes in their defense and the dragon is completely defeated. We use fight back with our mouth and with our hands. We must swing the hammer of God’s Word – the Sword of the Spirit. We must take cups of cold water to those who are in prison – we must clothe the naked with the robes of righteousness purchased for them by Jesus Christ’s own blood on the cross.

The human race has lost its senses and is about to begin worshiping this evil man of lawlessness…but God doesn’t care about that. He has had enough and because of His great love for us at just the right time He comes and rescues and it will happen in real time – this is not a theoretical war – it will happen in the physical realm. God comes through with fire, flaming fire – it has been His plan all along. So in the end He triumphs over the non-thinking rebellion. But just how is He rescuing now?

God’s not done yet…
Those who were men going along merrily to destruction, who at one time were the same way as everyone else were changed. Men who formerly threw away their ability to reason, who abandoned it like the birthright it is for a “mess of pottage” – these men had come to their senses, been woke up out of their sleep and realized their nasty state. All real Christians can say to one extent or another, “except for the grace of God there I would be too.”

All born again people must say, “such were some of me!”
I saw Jesus, and so I turned from the biting and lethal serpents and he cast out the serpent on the inside that was eating my brain. He delivered me. He cast out the demons that enslaved me and gave me soundness of mind.
Hallelujah for the Savior of our heart and our mind, so that we can love Him with our whole being, as commanded.

We must pray for God to embolden us to continue to take the gospel message to every creature. It is not enough for us to be growing in Christ and maturing in Him and think that somehow our job is done…with us! As Francis Schaeffer insists in his book “Escape from Reason, we must learn the language of our day in order to speak the gospel in a way that people will understand. We must know and respond in a way to pull people back towards reason. They must be reminded that in the real world non-reason never works. But there is also a more “excellent way” and that means real, Biblical love being proclaimed in the gospel. The love of a self-sacrificing Savior must be proclaimed into this generation and by the power of the Holy Spirit and His wisdom and in Christ we can do that effectively. We must not expect reasonableness in the philosophy of our current culture but we can share His love and let Him fill our mouths with His Words for the world we find ourselves in right now.

We can escape and help others, in Jesus, to escape from the ‘escape’ from reason.
He still delivers, Still opens the eyes of the blind and still sets the captive free!
It is still the favorable year of the Lord!
We must proclaim it! See Luke 4:18-21
Salvation is God’s business and it became a reality in Jesus and soon we shall see Him. We must make both of these realities our ‘business.’

Doesn’t this make you want to sing….Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus our blessed redeemer.

Psalms 11 ends pointing the struggling believer to God, seen in the soul assuring  verse “the Lord’s throne is in heaven.”
In case doubt and unbelief has crept into his thinking the singer is instructed, “the Lord is in His holy temple.” The doctor is in. He is in residence. In case you are wondering verse seven says “the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” That’s the blessed hope! The only other alternative is judgment…AND THATS COMING TOO FOR THE UNREASONED MAN.

No demented rate of decay can change that.
I will look up, for my redemption draws near!
Now I reason in part but then I will reason fully just as He has reasoned me!

Let’s roll!

Amen

Dynamic Bible Memory…Unleashing God’s Word Together!

We all want to memorize the Word of God. (if we are believers in Christ Jesus of course…) but how do we keep disciplined in this area. How do we “want to” more? I think feeding on His Word is the best way to build motivation for this. When I really get serious time with the Lord Jesus and pour myself into studying and thinking about and chewing over His Word I am more motivated to memorize it. The more I push back from study, the quicker the thermometer sags down into a heap at the bottom of lists of stuff to get done throughout the week. 

I also need others to quote it. This is where a dynamic takes place. When someone grabs a verse out of thin air and repeats it in context to a conversation, I am also engaged and motivated to have His Word on the tip of my tongue. Maybe that is a bit selfish, like “I want to be that spiritual too!” I don’t know, but God knows my heart. Maybe it could be another application of “spur one another on to love and good works!” (See I just pulled that one out of thin air…now…where is that found again? Oh yah – Hebrews 10:24). Maybe my seeing their love of God’s Word further motivates me? Proverbs says that a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver – beautiful, like a treasured work of art. Seeing God’s Word in action reminds me that it is truly living and active and powerful.

We all are affected by the way each of us lives out our lives when we are part of the body of Christ. That is a fact – for good or for bad, for richer or poorer. That’s why I love our church so much. We are so far from perfect – but many just flat out love Jesus enough to take Him very seriously and to spend the time to know Him and to obey Him and I am so encouraged by the fruit and the wisdom God is bringing to pass in their lives that I could just leap for joy sometimes. I am affected by them…in a good way – I am richer for knowing them and hanging around them and ministering alongside them, and for how they draw me into a deeper understanding of just how great and lovely our God is. Like a multi-faceted diamond the Body of Christ is meant to be like that – reflecting the beauty and splendor that is our God.

I have listed some personal benefits below. But think about this – my memorizing of God’s Word and using the Sword in everyday life will create sparks that may light the fire in someone else’s devotional life – to be drawn closer to Christ and fall more in love with His Word! That’s dynamic – powerful I mean! Oh to know Him and the power of His resurrection cried the apostle!  I can know Him more powerfully as I soak in His Word, commit it to memory and then share it others in His kingdom.

Here are some of those other motivations that come to my mind in thinking about memorizing God’s Word – what others can you think of that will motivate us to know Him better in this way…

  1. Of course an obvious benefit of hiding God’s Word in our hearts is that it helps keep us from sinning – Psalm 119:11 
  2. The “blessed” promises of God’s Word are ours as allow His Word in – and they are all over the Bible – Psalm 1 and Psalm 119:1-3 to name a few
  3. Jesus’ prayer for us being one becomes a reality when we are a group letting His Word tear down arguments and any lofty thing that elevates itself against the knowledge of Him. John 17:17-21
  4. The very Words of God are being spread! Jesus did as much preaching and teaching as He did doing miracles because saying the Words of God was important. Paul preached the gospel because it is the Word of God. We are a letter of God’s written on our hearts! How important is it then to preach and teach to yourself the very Words of God…so that what comes out of our mouths will be what is on the inside, i.e. The Word!

This Week’s Challenge – Let’s do this!

As we consider how to spur one another on…let’s memorize together a verse that should be in our arsenal John 1:12&13

But to all who did receive him, who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:12-13