Yesterday

Heartbroken. Grieved. Hopeful. Concerned. Saddened. Not surprised. Confident. Driven to prayer.

These and other emotions filled my mind and heart yesterday in reference to the events in Washington, D.C. And, there will be more to come, I’m sure. Nevertheless, along with many, many others who will offer their thoughts via social media, blogs, podcasts, etc., I share these with all sincerity of heart and for God’s glory.

  1. I was born on January 22, 1959 in Marietta, Ohio, at which time I became a citizen of the United States of America. My parents raised me to love and honor our nation, and I do so to this day. While as a five-year-old living in Marietta, I knelt down beside our living room couch at our home located on 318 Sixth Street and received Christ as my personal Lord and Savior (John 1:14; 3:16; Romans 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:1-10). At that moment, I became a citizen of two worlds, the USA and Heaven! The first one is temporal and the other eternal. The first one is made by man and sought to be governed by man and therefore has many flaws. The eternal one is the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). I say all of that to say this, although I am grieved by the display of sinful men’s hearts yesterday, I am not shaken because my citizenship in Heaven is eternal, righteous and secure in Christ and governs my citizenship here. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself (Philippians 3:20-21). I’m not home yet!
  2. Life has been this way since the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3-4; Romans 1:16-32). There is ONLY ONE remedy and that’s the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. As has been well said for a while now, “The Gospel changes everything.” Life transforming change cannot occur through governmental laws, reform, or programs. They have a degree of moral effect for a period of time but until man’s heart is transformed, laws will change and be added and more programs will be created to address man’s temporal needs. (Here’s a good read on government) That being said, the need of the hour is not reformation but transformation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 precisely spells it out, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. A good example of transformational change is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10, For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. Lives changed by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) for eternity is the change that is needed.
  3. What I am about to say here is with the deepest of sadness. I am not without fault here but let me bear my soul. While I have called our church family to prayer this week and have noticed that others churches have done the same, I am a bit chagrined and distressed by this call to prayer which is accompanied by a “Really????” in my own heart. As a man and a pastor looking back over almost 62 years, I wish I had given my life much more to a life of prayer (John 15:4-5). Furthermore, one of the greatest disappointments of my life as a pastor is having to beg believers to pray, to attend prayer meetings. We are where we are today because, as a point of reference, the mid-week prayer meetings are the least attended gatherings of the week in a church’s ministry or have been completely done away with. Call for a prayer meeting and a few might show up, and lovingly may I say that when the meeting convenes, seldom is there heart-crying out prayers of repentance, reconciliation and renewal! This link will help us if we will follow Christ and the early church in prayer (Hebrews 5:7; Matthew 14:23; Acts 4:23-31). Prayer is the declaration of our dependence upon God as we understand our desperate condition without Him and without His omnipotent, omniscient work. We as a church are where we are because we have traded the prayer meeting for other religious activities that we must keep propped up by our our wisdom and strength and that meet our felt needs. Suffice it to say, we must begin today to live out 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalms 4, 40, 42, 86, 102, 142; Jeremiah 33:3; James 5:16-18.

May God help us! May God have mercy upon us!

Listening for the shout, the voice and the trump today (1Thessalonians 4:13-18)!

Sincerely, today, from a pastor’s heart.

Let’s Celebrate Sin!

celebration

Two promising, young lives are traveling together down an interstate and are hit head-on by a drunk driver almost snuffing out both of their lives.  Due to this man’s inebriated state, he could not command a car, comprehend reality, or respond quickly to his error.  He was controlled by his alcohol which depending on what brand he drank was at some point celebrated via commercials, billboards, friends, and sadly even city/county commissioners who most likely voted for establishments like this to operate in their town.  The commissioners probably even congratulated this new store owner and wished him good success.

Friends, there is nothing to celebrate concerning alcohol!  There is no virtue in alcohol. Drunkenness is sin (Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:18a).  How sad that anyone thinks they have to have some form of alcohol to have a good time, to have a celebration!

Not only do I have a disdain for any form of alcohol because of the warnings of Scripture, but also because those two young folks are my daughter and son-in-law.  They were hit head on by a drunk driver going the wrong way on Interstate 26 near Asheville, NC.  By his choice, he chose to idolize moonshine which took total control of him. This was his third offense, and he only received 45 days in jail!

I live in a town that glories in its craft beers, alcohol-laden festivals, and even has a city commission that gets more excited over a new beer establishment than they do standing to pledge to the American flag.

You want to celebrate sin?

A young couple chooses to have sex outside of marriage, and the young girl ends up pregnant.  How shameful, how sad . . . at least it used to be. Because they could not wait and because they believed the lies of the devil and their flesh, they’re now bringing into this world a child in a way that God never intended.

There are many passages of Scripture declaring sex before marriage to be sin (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). Yes, God demands complete abstinence before marriage. Sex between a husband and his wife is the only form of sexual relations of which God approves (Hebrews 13:4).

Yet, how grieved to see announcements posted on social media as if it is a blessing from God!  I understand that 1 John 1:9 and Romans 5:20 are still in the Bible, but when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin and sin when it is finished brings forth death (James 1:16) . . . and we celebrate it!  Why when such sin is announced, born again believers who know the Word express notes of joy as if it is wonderful!  Please, do not misunderstand, I believe we should love this couple and their child back to the Lord, but my point is, how can sin be celebrated in any way shape or form?

You want to celebrate sin?

Ask Adam and Eve what they think about sin?  Ask Cain what he thinks about sin?  Ask Samson his perspective on sin? Ask King David what he thinks about sin?  And the list could go on.  Especially ask the Lord Jesus Christ Who bore the sins of the whole world, past, present and future in utmost agony, sorrow, and pain (Matthew 27:45-46; 2 Corinthians 5:21) while hanging on the cross.

You want to celebrate sin?

There are a host of other scenarios I could mention, but in closing, consider the following passages:

Sin is a reproach to anybody (Proverbs 14:26b).

By transgression an evil man is snared, but the righteous sings and rejoices (Proverbs 29:6).