Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Peace, Sweet Peace.

Peace, sweet peace, flood o'er my soul,
My being, breathing,thinking, out of control.

Peace, sweet peace, come fill my mind,
I look, I search, I cry, still not to find.

Peace, sweet peace, capture my spirit,
Distractions, Illusions, fleeting and empty, never fill it.

Peace, sweet peace, Yes, Yes, in Him I find,
Arms open wide, His love is forever kind.

Peace, sweet peace, abiding in love I stay,
Holding, clutching, yearning is how I pray.

Peace, sweet peace, twill be eternal bliss,
In Jesus, my Lord, my God, never to miss.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Paradox of the Cross

These days, leading to Good Friday and Easter, the old hymn, "The Old Rugged Cross", is a favorite among congregations. And, I often wonder if we really think about the words of the hymns we sing. I believe that the cross is a paradox. I mean, there is a truth that is either veiled, or easily passed over. We lift our voices and sing, "I will cherish the old rugged cross", "I will cling to the old rugged cross." Do we really mean, cling to the old rugged cross? What about, cherish, do we really, cherish?

There are few objects that I cherish. My girls gave me a carved stone elephant from Zimbabwe, as a birthday present. I cherish that because of my girls. It is something I hold close and it is very personal. A family heirloom, a fine piece of jewelry,these are items people might cherish. To cherish is to hold close, to gaze upon, understand its value and worth, not necessarily monetary worth. To cherish the cross is to get close and personal. Experiencing the value of the cross means you have come close. Close enough to become appalled at the site, the site of blood, discarded clothing and lives.

I used to find it repulsive thinking about clinging to the cross. What person today would want to place their hands, or worse, their arms and chest, against a post used to execute human beings. The upright of the executioners tool was used over and over until it rotted. The blood of countless bodies would have run down the post and become one with the fibers of the wood. To even think of clinging to such a horrific object should be repulsive. Now, add that our faith, our belief in Christ, centers on the cross. Some would think we are rather barbaric.

If you will come close to the cross with me, if you will be open and vulnerable, you will be able to sing the hymn with honesty and an experiential truth. In order to do that we must accept the horror and humiliation of the execution. Denial will cut short the transformation. Jesus Christ, the Begotten of the Father, the Second Person in the Trinity, the Word and character of God in the flesh, was executed at a time and place recorded in history. His death was real and it was his sacrifice for the sin of mankind. Again, look past the scene and believe that his death was for you.

As you are close to the cross, you must listen to the words of Jesus. He speaks words of forgiveness for his executioners. He speaks words of comfort to his mother and a dear friend. A man, hanging by his side hears words of comfort and life as his earthly life slips away. Listen, as he speaks with parched dry lips for a drink. In his final minutes he cries to his father during his darkest hour, life spent, body broken, blood out poured, he utters his final words and dies.

Standing close, the scene of the execution and the words spoken begin to transform sensitive and contrite hearts. The truth of his sacrifice becomes your truth, the truth of redemption's cost becomes your truth. Your spirit begins to understand that what took place was  for you. Soon, the scene of death and horror seems to fade and peace moves in your heart. With the peace comes new vision, a new eyesight that now looks at the cross and rejoices in the beauty.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sexual Anarchy part 2

The sexual revolution of the late sixties and into the seventies has had a profound effect upon marriage and the belief in its sanctity. The Pew Research Group has documented the shift in marriage statistics. Prior to the sexual revolution that began in the sixties marriage was still the recognized and accepted form of heterosexual long term relationships. With each passing generation the percentages of cohabitation relationships has increased and the number of marriage relationships has decreased.

The cohabitation rates among the religious population shows only a minor level of disapproval. Black protestants show the biggest disapproval rates and Catholics show the greatest approval rates. The belief in the sanctity or holiness of marriage is in direct proportion to the cohabitation percentages. The less people view marriage as a holy or sanctified relationship the less weight it carries in the decision making process. Simply put: If I don't believe God is involved, why should I care.

I believe there is a direct correlation between views of sanctity of marriage and the  sanctity of the unborn. When the population looses touch with God many things happen. I will elaborate on a few. First, without a conscious understanding of God he has no influence on our decision making process. A sense of shame and embarrassment has been removed from our social consciousness. Nothing is wrong unless I think it to be.

Next, the power of the abortion movement is beyond my imagination. Billions of dollars are in the coffers of those who smile at us and display their ashen marked forehead while their donors suck a living child out of a woman's womb. Never in the history of any civilized land has such barbarism taken place. Fifty years ago the church was complacent and asleep in regards to abortion. If the Body of Christ had raised their voice to protect the body of the unborn we might be living in a different era.

The next is the celebration of evil. Many of the marches and parades that the gay and lesbian population promote are dark and evil. When children are made subject to them it is evidence of utter depravity and no moral conscience. The book of Romans has very dire descriptions of our modern era. Words such as depravity, reprobate, darkened, and others are used to describe our land. The lewd and depraved have no pangs of guilt because their mind is dark.

The years from the seventies into the eighties brought another sweeping and inimitable force.The trans movement came at us like a tsunami. In my opinion transgender and transvestite forces work as one. And, that is because they are wanting to be, or pretending to be, something they are not. Genetics, biology, and common sense dictates that if you are born a biological male or a biological female that decision was made at conception.

From the Trans movement the next wave to attack our values and way of life was just a natural progression. The next opinion piece will lead us into the gender identity morass.

Your opinions and comments are always welcome.