Category Archives: Culture

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

Judgment Day

In light of the Supreme Court ruling this morning basically legalizing homosexual marriage,  you may be wondering if the title of this blog is appropriate. Many are celebrating the decision and many are not. I choose to celebrate people none the less. They are made in God’s image and they are a treasure, though marred by the fall of man recorded in the Bible. All of us are flawed, myself at the top of the” broken and earthen jar” list. People sometimes drive me crazy and disappoint me, but I sometimes let myself and others down too, so I choose to love individuals unconditionally and will fight to preach the truth that all men are created equal because God says that they are. In the eyes of the law they are equal – but of course we are not all the same and not all “things” are the same or equal either.

But why choose a provocative title? Am I trying to satisfy the wrath of those who believe in the Bible, like I do? No, though I understand it. I chose it because my job every day is to look into the Scriptures and draw out treasures both old and new and then share those treasures. The Bible has witnessed many a day like today. Many so called saviors have arisen who claimed that they loved their country, and that their dictatorial stance was only temporary and would lead to more freedom eventually.

Whenever they drastically changed a law they would claim that they were actually purifying the nation. When all of the less desirables were dealt with, the country they were dismantling would be whole again. History has a way of making deja vu seem boring – after all some memories would be better off being kept in the past where they belong. Today we are told that we are evolving for the common good. We are told it is a good thing to sue someone who won’t bake you a cake when you demand it just because you are willing to pay for it. We are told that some need to sacrifice their freedoms for the “greater” good.

The Same Old Sin-Thing is Boring
Today is a repeat. It is not boring unless you consider the fact that we have seen a series of laws be thrown out even though they were passed legally by a majority vote. And, we have seen more strident judges making up new laws, although their job is to rule on the constitutionality of laws and not to make incursions into the legislative branches business. But that being said, the legislatures would probably go the same way anyway, eventually, “for the good of the country,  you know!”

But all this is blather. Meaningless chit chat. It doesn’t amount to a hill of beans really, now that it is. We have crossed a big line today. What I also mean is that talk is cheap when it comes from those who will soon turn to dust, but who will face judgment before they do enter their final state.  The will meet Him – the Judge – God.

Warnings Are Mercy in Disguise
We have been as a nation meeting Him all along.  He is no absentee landlord. He has sent messengers from headquarters to warn us and counsel us. “Come, let us reason together, says the Lord.” That guy ,Isaiah, came a long time ago and told us what God wanted. I am pretty sure his own people’s nasty king Manasseh took him out. He probably told people it was for the good of the nation, that Isaiah was just too exclusive and harsh and narrow minded. Jesus told about the prophets of Israel as though they really were coming from headquarters and that they were beaten and such as reps of the real and merciful Landlord. Then the Chief runs out of messengers and sends His own Son to warn people, and the people think that if they kill the Son they can keep the remote branch office for themselves. So they actually kill him. Mercy in disguise was not recognized properly. It was not appreciated properly.  But it was also ironic that supposedly “religious” people were the ones who loaded the gun, and cocked it, and handed it to the Romans to pull the trigger that killed Jesus. They were religious in name only. Real religious people are by nature merciful and compassionate. See the book of James for that score.

Jesus was talking about Himself in the story about the killing of the son and his messengers. (Mark 12) It was a prophecy. Jesus, mercifully told the people of His day to turn around and be reconciled to God – He warned that if they didn’t change their mind they would perish – judgment would happen. Turn or burn. They thought if we kill Him, that judgement will be done away with and we will be free from this ‘too tight for us to wear’ morality straight jacket kingdom. It didn’t work. He rose from the dead. They all died in their sins and sealed their fate. They enjoyed their so called freedom of sin for a season but now they are wishing for drops of water to cool their tongues from the flames of judgment.

Jesus ascended gloriously to the right hand of His Father and left a small group to keep up the work, and they were given a portion of His own Spirit for power and understanding – so they could continue to fight the fight for real freedom, for real peace, for real equality, but also for eternity. To keep on warning is the job of every Christian. Our very witness is proof that the true owner of this planet is coming again to reclaim it for Himself and to deal with those who would defile it.

A Terribly Tragic Day
This day is tragic because it is a huge step towards attempting to legalize the continued degradation of the human condition. It is a day of death, not of life. It is temporal, but it is still tragic. Most of all it is that way because it means judgment has fallen even more poignantly than ever before this day. We have come to a point that is outlined definitely in the very scary, but very good chapter of the letter to the Romans that one of God’s messengers wrote 2000 years ago. He wrote it to a church in the capital.  Rome was massively moving towards a free for all society. They were falling headfirst into a moral morass. Paul wanted to warn the whole world that true righteousness was not found in wrecking the law that resides on the pages of Holy Writ by passing laws written on cheap paper.  He appealed to whatever was left in the human conscience and wrote a treaty on law, culture, the human condition, and most importantly on the answer, the true answer, for real freedom and hope. In order to get there he had to warn first about the problem. So…

HE TOLD THEM IT WAS JUDGMENT DAY
I will quote him here: “for this reason God gave them up” it says in Romans 1:26. First, let me say this – it actually reads “the God gave them up.” There is only one lawgiver and His name is Jehovah. That was the name God was known by only  to men who were in relationship to Him. He has other names, one is Judge. He is Judge because He always does the right thing. He is Judge because He is the Creator. He made us and owns us and has always done right by us. He also will eventually give us what we want. If we want to be “free” of Him, He somehow allows that. By definition that is not what we would think a “righteous” judge would do. WE would think He would stop it immediately. But a judge is not a cop. A judge is to rule on law. Eventually all will be brought to justice when the Son’s angels will police everyone up – and deliver all to be judged- by what we have done in the body for good or for evil.

Judgment Equals “Gave Them Up”
When it says in Romans that the Judge, God, “gave them up,” what Paul is saying is that the guilty guy is not being sent to a reformatory, but is being consigned and locked into the exact state that they were attempting to force everyone else to become – rebels against a holy Judge. God’s judgment was “so be it then!” First to unbridled passions in Romans 1:26. People kept and keep going on in sin.  Sin is never satisfied; when it is out of the barn it is mowing down everything in sight. Being “given up to” passions without controls means God consigned someone He loves, that He has an interest in, to get what they want.  The Judge, God then gives them over to a “debased mind” in verse 28. This is so critical. When the mind is given over to be in a debased state, it cannot guard the heart and the rest of the person is absolutely compromised. In verse 22 we find out that a futile thinker leads certainly to having a darkened heart. Without a heart there is no mercy, no compassion – brutality will follow. There is no doubt where the culture is headed – certain ruinous barbarism.  Rome was the same way – moral debasement then great cruelty.

The 1900’s Were No Accident
I skipped over one – one state that we passed many moons ago in our nation. It is the state of impurity in Romans 1:24. We lost our purity it seems in the last century. It came like a flood in the music of the 1950’s and went crazy in the 1960’s. It started much earlier in the church – somewhere in the 1940’s when the church went for impure doctrine – abandoning the pure gospel for another that was no gospel. By the time the 50’s hit there was no guard for the heart of the country. The American church was already sick in the head – impure doctrine leads to a state of impurity and degradation. Satan’s scheme worked maybe because he knows God’s words better than we do – he used it against us. He went after the church and then the culture was easy pickings.

Legalized abortion followed in the 70’s and now we are in 2015 and we have legalized homosexual marriage by court mandated/sanctioned lawmaking. It had to happen. I want to throw up. I am ashamed to be an American now. It is my shame too – I am a sinner, a lawbreaker, a moral failure, a sinner of the first degree. I have known Jesus since I was eight years old and still I have been guilty of breaking His laws. I, in some ways, am worse than those who know not the law and break it in some level of ignorance. But I am also redeemed from the curse of my law breaking. I have found freedom – and I don’t mean perfection yet. But I will one day be perfected in My King who already is  perfect.

Chapter two of Romans consigns the so-called moral man to being branded a sinner/lawbreaker, as well as the sexually immoral and more outward sinner of chapter one. The warning of Romans two is that there will be tribulations and distress for every man being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek, for God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:9-11)

The Really Big Question
So where do we go from here? It is time to preach the gospel like there is no tomorrow because there may not be too many of them left. Romans 3 preaches that “all are under sin – none is righteous, no, not one.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one….the way of peace they have not known, there is no fear of God before their eyes.”

The really big question is what to do now, sinner! If the whole world, including me, is accountable, what do we do? How do we get back? The answer is tragic today – as a nation we do not. We have crossed a line. Our hope is for one person at a time, here and there to repent. Peter preached that sermon on Pentecost – some fifty days after Jesus was killed – repent! Change your mind is the meaning of that word in the Greek where it was penned first. Only when the gospel is preached is their enough light available to enlighten a mind that is dark and a heart that is black with the night of death. We need to be made right – righteous as the Bible says it.

Answer
Paul said it under inspiration of God Himself this way in Romans 3:21-26

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Be Emboldened Dear Christian
This is not a day to give up on people, but to give up on politics. I don’t mean that we should stop talking about changing the laws, or throwing out the bums from congress, or arresting the criminals (even if they work of the government) – for a fitting and reasoned cultural response as American citizens read Randy Thomasson’s article here.

What I am saying is that a “cultural” response is not the real focus of evangelical Christians and can not be – the Ameri-Titanicus is going down – we must rescue “possible” survivors. We must preach the gospel to people who can be saved but maybe eternally lost. The culture is lost but we may, and we will, be able to pick up willing people out of the ocean and put them on the Ark with us by proclaiming the gospel that is powerful to save!

We must also renounce sin – anything that is distracting us and snaring us must go. We must have a humble and broken spirit about the great loss that today’s decision portends. We must weep and pray and fast and weep some more. Then we must get up and let God’s Word be a fire in us – we must steel our souls by the Word and be washed by the water of the Word, and get ready to fight for souls. WE must pray for courage! We are going to need it.

We must come together in our local churches and band together with those who are like minded. We are going to need to be one as Jesus commanded us to be – in love. We are going to need to abide in His love by keeping His commandment to love one another in reality by His grace.

It is time to move on with the work that we have been fitted to do by the generous gift of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit into our hearts that happened when we were saved. It is time to get back to Bible reading, and Biblical meditation, and Biblical living and Biblical preaching. It is time to be the church of Acts.

It is time to act.

God be with us.