Friday, December 27, 2019

Diana West's Must Read On Christianity and Communism and the Historical Roots of Our Current Great Political Divide

Diana West, Commentary @ The Epoch Times

CHRISTIANITY TODAY, THE MAGAZINE FOUNDED BY BILLY GRAHAM IN 1956, has called, in this week before Christmas, for President Donald Trump’s removal from office.

Franklin Graham quickly released a statement on Twitter in reply: “I hadn’t shared who my father @BillyGraham voted for in 2016, but because of @CYMagazine’s article, I felt it necessary to share now. My father knew @realDonaldTrump, believed in him & voted for him. He believed Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.”
Amen.

It is a beautiful statement; however, I never for a moment doubted that Billy Graham voted for President Trump. Graham’s vote for Trump was a given for important reasons and deep beliefs, which, independent of any election, are explored in “The Red Thread: A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy.”

The relevant chapter, reprinted below minus endnotes, follows an extensive analysis of James Comey’s lifelong homage to Marxist theologian Reinhold Niebuhr as the significant influence on his thinking, starting in his college days, when Comey describes himself as having been a communist. Comey moved to “whatever I am now,” as he put it to New York Magazine in 2003, but his affinity for Niebuhr remains unchanged to this day.

Chapter 16. The Longest War

It was the 1980s, and Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority organization were the perfect foils for James Comey to use in his senior honors thesis to extol the socialist teachings of his hero, Niebuhr (1892-1971). In a previous generation, Comey might have juxtaposed the evangelizing Billy Graham (1918-2018) with Niebuhr’s Bible-as-myth approach to “social action.” Earlier still, Comey might have compared the anti-New Deal, anti-Communist Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) with the socialist and “anti-anti-Communist” Niebuhr.

It should become clear that we are looking at a theological and political divide in American Protestantism that is an old story. What is especially relevant to the “red thread” is that so, too, is Donald Trump’s place in it.

Norman Vincent Peale and Billy Graham both were Trump family favorites. Donald Trump has spoken fondly of taking in Graham sermons with his revered father, Fred, who, Donald remembers, attended “the crusades” at Yankee Stadium. On the 2016 campaign trail at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell in 1971, Donald Trump recalled watching Jerry Falwell’s TV show, The Old-Time Gospel Hour. When Billy Graham died in 2018, Donald Trump attended his funeral; five living former presidents did not.

According to the New York Times, it was Peale’s church, Marble Collegiate, that the Trump family “gravitated to” in the 1960s. Peale and Donald would develop a warm friendship. Peale officiated at Donald and Ivana’s wedding (1977) and also at the wedding of Donald’s sister Maryanne. In 1988, Donald hosted Peale’s 90th birthday party at the Waldorf-Astoria. As the Washington Post put it, “The Trump and Peale clans have [a] history.”

It’s easy to imagine heavy Niebuhrian eye-rolling over this “history,” and not a little choking on the Chardonnay and canapés. Back in the day, things could even get confrontational, as in 1955, when Niebuhr and several fellow “progressives”-of-the-cloth launched a vicious attack in a national magazine on Peale and Graham both. Their attack drew a public rebuke from President Eisenhower’s pastor, the Rev. Edward L.R. Elson, who accused these pastoral critics “of ‘sneering’ and shallow thinking,” according to a news report.

Their differences were not theological only. In August 1948, Niebuhr was counseling Christians that the churches could not take a “negative attitude” toward communism. “Churches everywhere,” Niebuhr stated, “had to recognize our involvement in injustices and insecurities Communism seeks or promises to cure.” In January 1951, Peale was carrying a very different message to the faithful: “The future belongs to Christ not Communism.” These were Cold War battle cries across the pro-Communist/anti-Communist divide.


Trump’s connection to Peale, then, not only informs the Comey-Niebuhr/Trump-Peale divide, but also throws into relief the larger national cleavage between Global Elites and the America First “Deplorables.” This is another old war in America—the “internationalists” vs. the nationstaters; the “progressives” vs. the patriots; the socialistic vs. the nationalistic. Now that Donald Trump is president, the first to reach this highest office from the ranks of “America First,” this clash may never have been so highly charged.

For much of the 20th century, Norman Vincent Peale was the nationally renowned pastor of Marble Collegiate in Manhattan. In addition to uplifting, spellbinding sermons, Peale was known for being outspoken in his opposition to all varieties of collectivism, from the socialism of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, which he sermonized against as a dire threat to liberty, to Soviet communism.

“No one has more contempt for communism than I do,” he wrote in his 1952 mega-seller, The Power of Positive Thinking. In the late 1930s, he fought against the explosion of executive powers that undergirded Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” serving as secretary of a non-partisan group called the National Committee to Uphold Constitutional Government. This committee came together under newspaper editor Frank E. Gannett to oppose Roosevelt’s infamous Supreme Court packing plan and other executive branch encroachments that were destroying the Constitution’s “checks and balances.” The same concerns drove opposition to FDR’s decision to run for an unprecedented third term in 1940, and the president’s landmark foreign aid proposal known as Lend Lease, which arrived as a bill in Congress at the beginning of 1941, eleven months before Pearl Harbor.

In most histories, Lend Lease is a barely noticed stepping-stone to America’s entry into World War II; at the time, however, the debate was loud and acrimonious. The vast war-making powers the bill gave the president galvanized its opponents in a quickly growing, grass-roots movement known as America First. Caricatured today, this anti-interventionist organization drew in a wide swath of Americans from both political parties, from all walks of life, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Gerald Ford to Kingman Brewster to Norman Thomas to Charles Lindbergh. Their main agenda was (1) steer clear of another European war and thereby save young American lives, (2) avoid building up one totalitarian monster (Stalin) to replace another (Hitler), and (3) ensure the government’s three branches survived the process “co-equal.” They failed on all counts.

Peale, as secretary of the National Committee to Uphold Constitutional Government, strongly opposed Lend Lease on well-defined constitutional grounds. Lend Lease expanded presidential powers to a point where the chief executive could send military support of any kind to any country he deemed “vital to the defense of the United States.” There were no limits. No president had ever even sought such powers. But there was even more to Lend Lease than that—and here is where the red thread pokes up and down like a hem-stitch through the rest of the “American century.”

Lend Lease was not just anti-Constitutional; it was revolutionary. This will not surprise anyone who learns that the legislation’s godfathers were Armand Hammer, Harry Hopkins, and Harry Dexter White—all three men pro-Soviet to the core, all three men variously believed to be Soviet agents, although such shocking revelations came later. We may now regard Lend Lease as the founding document of the “new world order” that arose in the aftermath of World War II, its heaviest cornerstones laid by covert Soviet agents Alger Hiss at the United Nations and Harry Dexter White at the International Monetary Fund.

The sea change came in making “any country’s defense vital” to our own. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius wrote:
To favor limited aid to the allies as an expedient device for saving friendly nations from conquest was one thing. To declare that the defense of those nations was “vital” to our own national security was quite another. If we adopted the bill with those words, we would, in effect, declare the interdependence of the American people with the other freedom-loving nations of the world … [emphasis added].
We did indeed adopt the Lend-Lease bill with those words (notwithstanding that a major recipient of Lend Lease was the Soviet Union—definitely not a “freedom-loving nation”). This makes March 11, 1941, the day the Lend-Lease bill passed, America’s Interdependence Day.
Norman Vincent Peale correctly warned that Lend Lease would give the president “the power to commit the American people to any war anywhere, and without action by Congress.” Lend Lease itself may have expired but its powers have lived on in an unconstrained Executive. Such “interdependence” is the basis of the “liberal postwar order,” and the “neoconservative” mission we have known in our time as “nation-building.”

What was once controversial draws little comment today. When a President of the United States declares the destinies of foreign peoples to be “vital” to that of the United States, whether in Saudi Arabia (FDR), Iraq (Bush), or Afghanistan (Obama), he is merely carrying out the “internationalism,” or “globalism” that has been the primary purpose of U.S. foreign policy since FDR.


READ THE  REST OF THIS BRILLIANT PIECE @ The Epoch Times and see again how deep and prolonged our current divide really is and how perfectly Trump fits in.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas! The Good News In One Christmas Song With Kenny and Wynonna


 IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS. Let him who has ears, hear.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson Salutes the Jews of Britain and Beyond


WHAT A WONDERFUL SALUTE. Yes, yes, I know it's for Hannaukah. But really, it's so much more.

Stuart Scheidermann

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Advent 3: That We May Believe

DON SURBER UPDATE:  TRUTH ABOUT THE CHRISTIANITY TODAY ANTI TRUMP EDITORIAL

A WONDERFUL MESSAGE OF HOPE AMID ALL THE DISTRACTIONS AND FAKE CRAZINESS
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30–31)
I feel so strongly that among those of us who have grown up in church and who can recite the great doctrines of our faith in our sleep, and yet who can yawn through the Apostles’ Creed — that among us something must be done to help us once more feel the awe, the fear, the astonishment, the wonder of the Son of God, begotten by the Father from all eternity, reflecting all the glory of God, being the very image of his person, through whom all things were created, upholding the universe by the word of his power
.
You can read every fairy tale that was ever written, every mystery thriller, every ghost story, and you will never find anything so shocking, so strange, so weird and spellbinding as the story of the incarnation of the Son of God.

How dead we are! How callous and unfeeling to your glory and your story, O God! How often have I had to repent and say, “God, I am sorry that the stories men have made up stir my emotions, my awe and wonder and admiration and joy, more than your own true story.”

Perhaps the galactic movie thrillers of our day can do at least this good for us: they can humble us and bring us to repentance, by showing us that we really are capable of some of the wonder and awe and amazement that we so seldom feel when we contemplate the eternal God and the cosmic glory of Christ and a real living contact between them and us in Jesus of Nazareth.

When Jesus said, “For this purpose I have come into the world” (John 18:37), he said something as crazy and weird and strange and eerie as any statement in science fiction that you have ever read.

Oh, how I pray for a breaking forth of the Spirit of God upon me and upon you; for the Holy Spirit to break into my experience in a frightening way, to wake me up to the unimaginable reality of God.

One of these days lightning is going to fill the sky from the rising of the sun to its setting, and there is going to appear in the clouds the Son of Man with his mighty angels in flaming fire. And we will see him clearly. And whether from terror or sheer excitement, we will tremble and we will wonder how we ever lived so long with such a domesticated, harmless Christ.

These things are written — the whole Bible is written — that we might believe — that we might be stunned and awakened to the wonder — that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came into the world.




Thursday, December 19, 2019

Men Free Locked Bucks With Chainsaw

VIA VANDERLEUN, this video made my day. Actually, in the course of rutting season, this happens more than I realized. My loggers said last year said they found two bucks locked, dead locked, in a pond on their  farm.

   

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Advent's Greatest Meditation: The Magnificat of Mary

My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.


---Luke 1:46-55

The Magnificat is wonderful material for meditation on the Visitation,  when the angel Gabriel informs Mary that she is to be the Mother of God, and tells her of her relative Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist.

After Mary gives her famous consent to becoming the Mother of God, -- “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38) -- she goes “with haste” (1:39) to help Elizabeth, who is delighted to see her. Mary then expresses her joy in the Magnificat.

Mary's joy can be our joy at Advent as we contemplate the birth of a promised and long-awaited Savior for mankind.


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Let Britain Be Britain---Boris Finally Did It!

Congratulations, Boris! Absolutely stunning victory!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Second Week Advent--How Does Humility Lead in Conflict, Why Godly Conviction Is Not Arrogance

THIS HALF HOUR TALK BY PASTOR JOHN PIPER is well worth listening to. Maybe several times. It's the reality of the Gospel for those who follow Jesus Christ and are not afraid of joining in the sufferings and challenges of the Savior. Humility serves OBJECTIVE, UNSHAKABLE reality. May we all submit to it humbly and proclaim it. Humility is truly a gift and receives everything as a gift as a fruit of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel.

Monday, December 2, 2019

First Sunday Advent---Mary's Magnificent God

LISTEN
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46–55)
Mary sees clearly a most remarkable thing about God: He is about to change the course of all human history; the most important three decades in all of time are about to begin.

And where is God? Occupying himself with two obscure, humble women — one old and barren (Elizabeth), one young and a virgin (Mary). And Mary is so moved by this vision of God, the lover of the lowly, that she breaks out in song — a song that has come to be known as “The Magnificat.”

Mary and Elizabeth are wonderful heroines in Luke’s account. He loves the faith of these women. The thing that impresses him most, it appears, and the thing he wants to impress on Theophilus, his noble reader of his Gospel, is the lowliness and cheerful humility of Elizabeth and Mary as they submit to their magnificent God.
Elizabeth says (Luke 1:43), “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” And Mary says (Luke 1:48), “He has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”

The only people whose soul can truly magnify the Lord are people like Elizabeth and Mary — people who acknowledge their lowly estate and are overwhelmed by the condescension of the magnificent God


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Pastor John Piper: The Root of Ingratitude, and conversely, Glorifying God By Giving Thanks

RELATED:  AMERICA'S GRATITUDE DEFICIT
THOUGHTS AND LESSONS ON THE FIRST THANKSGIVING: The Team At Speakeasy Ideas


THERE ARE MANY REASONS FOR INGRATITUDE.  However,  Pastor Piper nails the underlying culprit:  our illusions of self-sufficiency,  self-righteousness, which lead to hard and darkened hearts.  Listen and learn.

Although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)

THEN, a meditation on Glorifying God By Giving Thanks.
It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15)
Gratitude to God is a joyful emotion. We have a sense of joyful indebtedness for his grace. So in a sense in the very emotion of gratitude, we are still the beneficiaries. But by its very nature, gratitude glorifies the giver. When we feel thankful, we acknowledge our need and God’s beneficence, God’s fullness, the riches of his glory.

Just like I humble myself and exalt the server in the restaurant when I say, “Thank you,” so I humble myself and exalt God when I feel gratitude to him. The difference, of course, is that I really am infinitely in debt to God for his grace, and everything he does for me is free and undeserved.

But the point is that gratitude glorifies the giver. It glorifies God. And this is Paul’s final goal in all his labors. Yes, his labors are for the sake of the church — the good of the church. But the church is not the highest goal. Listen again: “It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” All for your sake — for the glory of God!

The wonderful thing about the gospel is that the response it requires from us for God’s glory is also the response that is most natural and joyful; namely, thankfulness for grace. God’s all-supplying glory in giving and our humble gladness in receiving are not in competition. Joyful thankfulness glorifies God.

A life that gives glory to God for his grace and a life of deepest gladness are the same life. And what makes them one is thankfulness.



Sunday, November 17, 2019

Such Good News Sunday, Real Change Is Possible With Him




 LISTEN

 Devotional by John Piper 
Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)
Christianity means change is possible. Deep, fundamental change. It is possible to become tenderhearted when once you were callous and insensitive. It is possible to stop being dominated by bitterness and anger. It is possible to become a loving person, no matter what your background has been.
 This is wonderfully freeing. It frees us from the terrible fatalism that says change is impossible for me. It frees me from mechanistic views that make my background my destiny.
And God’s commands always come with freeing, life-changing truth to believe. For example,
  • God adopted us as his children. We have a new Father and a new family. This breaks the fatalistic forces of our “family-of-origin.” “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9).
  • God loves us as his children. We are “loved children” (Ephesians 5:1). The command to imitate the love of God does not hang in the air, it comes with power: “Be imitators of God, as loved children.” “Love!” is the command and being loved by God is the power.
  • God has forgiven us in Christ. Be tenderhearted and forgiving just as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32). What God did in Christ is powerful. It makes change possible. The command to be tenderhearted has more to do with what God did for you than what your mother or your father did to you. This kind of command means you can change.
  • Christ loved you and gave himself up for you. “Walk in love, as Christ loved [you]” (Ephesians 5:2). The command comes with life-changing truth. “Christ loved you.” At the moment when there is a chance to love, and some voice says, “You are not a loving person,” you can say, “Christ’s love for me makes me a new kind of person. His command to love is just as surely possible for me as his promise of love is true for me.”
Don’t be a fatalist. Be a Christian. Change is possible. God is alive. Christ is risen. The promises are true.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day 2019, We Thank You!


.....AND OWE YOU HONOR, SUPPORT AND A HUGE DEBT OF GRATITUDE FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY!

The Spiritual Fight Is Already Won On Earth As In Heaven, No Matter How It May Look From Here

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG'S RAMPANT SEXISM
AS WE COME TO THE DARK, SHORT DAYS OF WINTER, REMEMBER THE PROMISES OF GOD

 FROM RICHARD KEW'S DAILY DEVOTIONS Revelation 12:7-17

 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world-he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Thought for the Day What on earth does this mean - "war arose in heaven"? It suggests that the whole of our spiritual security in Christ is up for grabs. Let's remind ourselves that Revelation is an eternity's eye view of all that is going on, and that it speaks with an eternal perspective on time. Michael is the great archangel who first appears in Daniel 10 and now has summoned the heavenly host to fight against the dragon and his angels - the forces of evil. "If we are able to give this any meaning in our imaginations, it must be that the moral and political struggles of which we are aware, the battles between good and evil, between justice and injustice, which go on in this life, reflect a more primeval battle which has taken place in the spiritual sphere. Michael has won, and the dragon has lost. This loss means that he is thrown down to the earth, ejected from heaven altogether" (Bishop N. T. Wright). Michael and all angels might have been the players in this particular eternal scene, but it is the shedding of Christ's blood that has empowered the victory - as the voice from heaven says.

Thanksgiving for the Day We give thanks to God for angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven.

 Intercession for the Day Let us ask God to give us insight and wisdom as we find ourselves in the midst of this battle between Christ and the power of his Cross, and the forces of sin and evil that seek destruction of all that is good.

Collect for the Day
 
Lord God Almighty, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
as we gather in worship,
as we break bread and pour out wine
to feed on Christ by faith with thanksgiving,
give us an awareness that we are not a small group all alone
but are together with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven.
In Jesus's name, Amen

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Sunday---Hillsdale College Builds Christ Chapel For Higher Learning and Ultimate Truth




CHRIST CHAPEL IS NOW IN THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING AT HILLSDALE COLLEGE, AS IT SHOULD BE:

THE DEDICATION OF CHRIST CHAPEL @ The New Criterion

In his remarks at the dedication, President Arnn noted that the difficult question is not why Hillsdale chose to build Christ Chapel. Rather, it is why other colleges have declined to do likewise. It is not for lack of money or precedent. No, it is because most other colleges have “turned away from things that are beautiful, which also means a turning away from things that are true and things that are good.” When you walk into Christ Chapel, you catch your breath in response to the soaring grandeur of the space. Its stateliness lifts the spirit and puts you, Arnn noted, in mind of “ultimate things.” That is by design, and it is a testimony to Stroik’s skill that the hundreds of people who crowded into Christ Chapel to witness its dedication instantly understood, and experienced, what Arnn was talking about. But the key point is that the architect is not just a manipulator of psychological feelings. He is also a conduit of realities that transcend the quotidian borders of our workaday lives. You do not hear much about beauty or its inextricable relation to the true and the good on most college campuses these days. Even to utter the words without the armor of scare quotes would be to seem quaint or naïve at best, compromised by affiliation with a putatively oppressive heritage at worst. But Arnn is right: when we give up on ultimate realities, we lose the foundation for more proximate loyalties. Why should we strive for the good? What is the foundation of human dignity? What is the justification for freedom? When we let go of ultimate realities we rob ourselves of the most compelling answers to such questions.

Read more.

JUSTICE THOMAS AT ABOUT 42 MINUTES:

Friday, November 1, 2019

Good News of the Day


1.VIA DRUDGE---THE TRUMPS MAKE THEIR PRIMARY/LEGAL ADDRESS FLORIDA,  leaving the high-tax, high-crime city of New York for good..  My only question is what took them so long?

2.VIA DON SURBER, VIA BBC---A herd of 500 goats was hired to clear the flammable brush away from the Ronald  Reagan Library earlier this year and helped save the compound from being destroyed this week by seasonal wildfires.

If anything else newsworthy comes to mind that doesn't completely  appall me, I'll be back later to post it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Fall Comes Reluctantly To East Tennessee


TREES ALONG THE WAY ARE ONLY CONSIDERING co-operating with the season turning.  But it's still a beautiful time of year along the SoHo and in my most favorite small city in America,  Bristol Tennessee/Virginia where State Street divides the more polished Commonwealthers from the rougher Volunteers. It's a marvelous blend.


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sunday, Psalm 90 Of Moses, Psalm 91

CONGRATULATIONS, PRESIDENT TRUMP!!!

The Eternity of God, and Man’s Frailty   

 PRAYER OF MOSES, THE MAN OF GOD

90 Lord, You have been our [a]dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You [b]had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
You turn man to destruction,
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.
You carry them away like a flood;
They are like a sleep.
In the morning they are like grass which grows up:
In the morning it flourishes and grows up;
In the evening it is cut down and withers.
For we have been consumed by Your anger,
And by Your wrath we are terrified.
You have set our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.
For all our days have passed away in Your wrath;
We finish our years like a sigh.
10 The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knows the power of Your anger?
For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Return, O Lord!
How long?
And have compassion on Your servants.
14 Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
15 Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.
16 Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.

PSALM 90,  A Place For Pessimism

 

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

91 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the [c]fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and [d]buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall [e]bear you up,
Lest you [f]dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will [g]set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With [h]long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

PSALM 91,  A Psalm of Safety

Friday, October 25, 2019

Are Meghan and Harry Enabling Each Others' Immaturity?

SURELY IT'S A RHETORICAL QUESTION. Another such question might be,  has this  'royal' couple just committed social suicide with his family in England who have treated them like, well, a king and queen?    Have they assured they will have an adversarial relationship with the fawning tabloid press from now on?
Whatever Meghan and Harry may have wished to achieve with their African trip interview, might they have found a more appropriate way to whine about how shabby their royal existence is in England and in the celebrity jet set of Meghan's other life than doing it with the backdrop of extreme poverty and child starvation in Africa?

Actually, it's doubtful that either Meghan or Harry could have done it differently.  Both are rudderless loose cannons and massively entitled (ungrateful), unrealistic,  immature kids.  Meghan's marriage to Harry was always about her and getting whatever she wants.  I suppose Harry marrying her was and is about reliving his mother's life and death and fighting straw men with fake heroism. There were many reasons for Diana's early death and as tragic as it was, she played a big role in it. It was not just the press.

 The Meghan/ Harry marriage was never about joining the royal family firm and taking on noble causes that focus on people and groups less fortunate than themselves. It's clearly about them, their hurts,  their hopes, their desires to bend and control reality to their unrealistic demands. It's about undermining everything royal protocol.  I can only imagine what the Queen must be thinking.  Thank goodness for William and Kate.  They are all right to be worried about Meghan and Harry.

If Meghan and Harry detest the dreaded tabloid press so much, then why not just quietly withdraw from so much contact with it rather than tossing it fresh meat every day?.  Why doesn't Meghan quietly mend her fences with her father and put that saga behind them? Why doesn't Harry get back to working on things that really interest him rather than letting Meghan lead him around by the nose so he can dutifully virtual signal?

Stop the blame.  Stop the ingratitude.  Lay low for a while and let the dust settle.

What's to become of Harry and Meghan in the years ahead?  I give their shifting sand marriage only a few years unless they set out to grow themselves up and start taking responsibility for their own problems both individually and as a couple. Otherwise, I don't see a happy outcome for either of them or their little baby boy.  Hope I'm wrong here, but there it is.

 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Sunday On Monday: The Holy Spirit In the Scriptures at The Bible Project

CREATING LIFE FROM DEATH AND NEW CREATION FROM DESTRUCTION AND SIN.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday, Reclaiming Biblical Manhood, Learning from the Giants


FAR, FAR TOO MANY MEN TODAY are confused people-pleasers, woman-pleasers, boss-pleasers who go along to get along with various cultural and political mobs.  They are good followers yet lack the self-exploration and courage to master and lead themselves,  take principled stands and let the chips fall where they may. By living this way, they lose touch with themselves and  most importantly with God. They also fail to become real leaders and role models. What the world desperately needs now---what women desperately need now--- are more real, principled men and role models. The Bible shows us many examples, and shows us all The Way.


By Greg Morse, Staff writer, DesiringGod.org


WHAT IS A MAN?

Many continue to ask, and many offer new answers. Confusion blows across our land, exposing the feeble bridge between technological advancement and self-understanding. Mysteries of far-off galaxies unravel before high-powered telescopes while the face gazing back from the mirror lingers more distant than ever. With a world lying in his palm, modern man remains, to himself, a stranger.

Some imagine that two men can marry. Some see no problem with males acting like women or telling us that they are, in fact, women. Too few mourn the sink into egalitarianism distorting womanhood and attempting to dress man’s abdication in virtue’s garb. Some say that God is dead; others, man. Low standards in the family, and low visions even in some churches, let honor, righteousness, and holy dominion seep from our ideal like heat through old window panes.

We have ground to reclaim. The church, the world’s lighthouse, must not dim as the spirits of confusion wash over her shores. God calls his people to speak clearly, repeatedly, and without apology, for, as the men go, so goes the world.

Dwell with Giants

The confusion indicates that we have forgotten our roots. Too many men live isolated — not only from each other but from our ancestors. We need not reinvent what a man is, but only rediscover him. How? By forsaking the uncertain sounds of society and hearkening to the war drum of Scripture. God calls us to fellowship with giants — or those who slayed them — great men who have run the race before us and offer their strengths, weaknesses, and sins to instruct us on how to walk before God this side of heaven.
“God calls us to fellowship with giants, men who have run the race before us.”
Only recently have I realized how we (myself included) have been sawing at the branch we sit on. In an effort to avoid clichés and moralizing, we abandon men of old. Disavowing “Dare to Be a Daniel” sermons have effectively stolen Daniel from us. This is a mistake, not only because God preserved their lives with great detail in the Old Testament — which “was written for our instruction” (Romans 15:4) — but because the New Testament calls us to imitate those such as Abraham, Abel, Isaac, Moses, Noah, Enoch, Elijah, Job, Gideon, David, Samuel, Isaiah, and more.

In the absence of such men of old filling our minds and fueling our faith, we find different men to esteem — athletes, celebrities, intellectuals, musicians. Mel Gibson with a sword. Russell Crowe in a coliseum. But shrubs cannot replace the family tree. As Abraham’s offspring, we need to know our roots and wake the ancient giants that we might see clearer, and farther, standing upon their shoulders.
Most recently, Joseph has captured my gaze as one I want to emulate. His story has as many layers as his coat had colors, but let me highlight three ingredients, among others, that make up a godly man. Like Joseph, the men of God we need in every generation will learn to rule themselves, lead others, and bow before a mighty God.

He Rules Himself

The godly man achieves mastery over his most unruly subject: himself. Paul saw it too: “urge the younger men to be self-controlled” (Titus 2:6). While Joseph displays rule over anger, greed, and vengeance, he displays mastery over self where many today do not: his lust
.
Rising from the slavery sparked by his brothers’ betrayal, Joseph now rules at Potiphar’s right hand. Joseph, we learn, was “well-built and handsome” (Genesis 39:6 HCSB). His physical prowess did not go unnoticed, especially by the most powerful (and presumably beautiful) woman in the household, Potiphar’s wife. She looked longingly at him (Genesis 39:7). Blushing glances soon became fixed gazes; thoughts grew to fantasies. One day she purred seductively to the young Hebrew, “Sleep with me” (Genesis 39:7 HCSB).
He faced temptation many of us don’t experience. He did not go after her; she came after him. He did not flex; she enticed. She beckoned through a door on which he never knocked. Her whispered kisses threatened to caress his lust and his pride — a potent combination. In response to her invitation, God summarizes his response in three glorious words: “But he refused” (Genesis 39:8).
And he did not merely triumph once.
“The godly man achieves mastery over his most unruly subject: himself.”
We read, “Although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her” (Genesis 39:10 HCSB). Resisting such temptation once is admirable. To hear the Siren sing and plainly reject her promises of pleasure is commendable. But to withstand day after day, season after season, whisper after whisper, smile after smile, seduction after seduction is behemoth. Every day, with each passing hour, he faced a decision. And every day he halted her advances.
Man of God, have you resisted Potiphar’s wife? Are you, like Joseph, continuing to resist?
How many of us can learn from Joseph, not just in that he refused, but why he refused?
Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? (Genesis 39:8–9)
He knew others trusted him, relied upon him, conferred good to him — and none more than God. How could he repay Potiphar with such cruelty — and his God with such treason? How can we repay our wives with pornography, our brothers with adultery, our God with homosexuality? We who have troubles with gusts and breezes have much to learn from him who withstood a whirlwind.

He Leads Others

Eventually, the ruler of self became the ruler of Egypt. He who proved faithful with ten talents was entrusted with one hundred more
.
Yet his promotion would take a horrible detour. Alone in the palace with Potiphar’s wife, the lusty mare burned with desire and harassed the young man, groping at his outer garment which he had to abandon to escape (Genesis 39:11–12). Evil she, in a similar ilk as Shakespeare’s Iago, took the forgotten garment and accused the innocent of treachery (Genesis 39:13–18). Incensed, Potiphar threw Joseph in jail (Genesis 39:19–20). Joseph sat in another pit unjustly.
“As the men go, so goes the world.”
But the theme continued: God showed him steadfast love, and he again ruled as the second in charge of the prison (Genesis 39:21–22). As with Potiphar, the warden had no anxiety concerning all that Joseph presided over, because God was with him (Genesis 39:23). Even from a cell, Joseph exercised dominion, blessing all in his trust.

After two additional years in prison, the cupbearer finally kept his word and told Pharaoh of Joseph. Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream and proposes a fifteen-year plan for Egypt’s flourishing amidst famine, to which the pagan ruler proclaimed, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” (Genesis 41:38). Pharaoh then set Joseph over Egypt, to answer only to Pharaoh himself. By the time he turned thirty, the beautiful coat he received in Jacob’s house changed to the garment he left behind in Potiphar’s, which now was replaced with fine linens in Pharaoh’s.

Manhood that leads from the front has fallen on hard times. Our modern beatitude reads, “It is far more blessed for men to be led than to lead.” But Joseph stands in contrast. He exercised benevolent dominion in all the spheres God placed him. From Potiphar’s house, to the prison, to the right hand of Pharaoh, to his own household in Egypt, Joseph stewarded what God put in his charge. He administered. He made decisions. All were blessed under his care — including his long-lost brothers when they eventually came calling.

Like Joseph, God calls men to manage their affairs with equity and acumen. We need men like Joseph, filled with the Spirit and recipients of God’s steadfast love, to regulate their spheres for the benefit of others. Both elements are crucial: the willingness to rule, aimed at others’ good. We do not volunteer to be heads of our households and have our spheres of influence; we are heads that either bless or tear down, uplift or destroy, ignore or empower.

Few of us will rule an Egypt like Joseph did. Yet how many are prepared — being manifestly a man of God — to govern a household, a church, a community, a nation?

He Bows Before a Mighty God

Joseph served a powerful Master. So do men who have truly “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).
“The men of God we need in every generation will learn to rule themselves, lead others, and bow before a mighty God.”

Joseph explains his journey to his brothers this way: “God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5). Twice he says this (see also Genesis 45:7), and then a third time, “It was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8)
.
Beaten and betrayed by his brothers: God was sending me. Resisted Potiphar’s wife and subsequently jailed: God was sending me. Received an unfulfilled promise, leaving him in prison for two more years: God was sending me. Standing before the men who sold him as a slave and stole from him years with his father and younger brother: God sent me here, not you.
This God exalted him as a “father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:8). This God saved the nation by his hand. This God foretold all that was to come and moved an entire empire to make it happen. This God controls all things.

And this God fulfills his promises. In his last act of faith, Joseph instructs his bones to be buried in the land God has promised his people — centuries before they possess it (Hebrews 11:22). We have much to learn from this man who foreshadowed the greater Joseph to come. Here is one of the giants who can help a confused generation regain what it means to be a man.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday---Ask Pastor John Piper: Is Everyone Punished the Same In Hell?

AUDIO ACCESS

Transcript

Today’s question comes from Callum in Southampton, England. “Hello, Pastor John. After listening to episode 996, ‘Will Some People in Heaven Have More Joy Than Others?’ I remembered a number of passages in the New Testament where Jesus seems to suggest that there will be people for whom the day of judgment will be worse — even than for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah or Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 10:12–15; 11:21–24). And in 2 Peter 2:19–22, it describes people who ‘have known the way of righteousness’ and then turned back. To them Peter explains that it would be ‘better for them never to have known the way.’

Revelation 14:19 describes the enemies of God being gathered and swept into the ‘winepress of the wrath of God.’ This doesn’t seem to leave much room for a ‘hierarchy,’ so to speak. I loved the explanation in episode 996 about the differing capacities for joy in heaven, about how the most joyful in the kingdom will in fact be the humblest. Amazing. But does something like this happen in reverse in God’s judgment? Are some people in hell able to perceive greater despair than others?”

“Able to perceive greater despair.” That may be true. I didn’t expect him to end with that phrase, but it’s a fascinating and helpful question to ask. What we’re actually not told in the New Testament is in what way the suffering will be greater for some than others. But we are certainly told that there will be degrees of suffering in hell.
“Every day is a precious opportunity to lay up treasures in heaven, not store up wrath in hell."
It will be unspeakably terrible for everyone who goes there — just unspeakably terrible, without any experience of good, no sight of beauty, no pleasant sounds, no bodily pleasures, no gratified appetites, no satisfied desires, no hopes fulfilled. That’s everybody. Saying that there are degrees of suffering doesn’t paint a light picture for anyone. Those who joke that they’d rather be in hell drinking with their buddies than in heaven with stuffy saints are ignorant of reality in a terrifying way. It’s not funny. They will not be having a good time.

Despair in Degrees

But although hell will be without all good for all unbelievers, it will be worse for some. Let me just read a few texts. This is Luke 12:47–48: “That servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating.” That’s just a picture at the end of a parable, but everybody I’ve ever read says it points to greater or lesser torment in hell.

Here’s Matthew 10:15: “Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.” So, more or less bearable points to degrees or differences of suffering.

Here’s Matthew 11:21–22: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.” More or less bearable signifies greater or lesser suffering.

Then, one more: Romans 2:4–5. This one’s so striking because of the word thēsaurizō, which means to store up. It’s usually used for storing up, like when Jesus says, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). That’s the word, only here it’s used for wrath. Here’s what it says: “Do you presume on the riches of his [God’s] kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing [or treasuring] up wrath” — meaning, making investments in it, putting more and more away.

We’re supposed to store up treasures in heaven by doing good deeds day after day, but these people are doing the opposite: they’re storing up, treasuring up, more and more wrath — not treasures of blessing but wrath for themselves on the day “when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5).

Five Reasons for Stages of Suffering

In those four texts that I just read — and there are several more — I see two explicit reasons given for why some will suffer more than others. Then I see three implicit reasons that flow from those two explicit ones. Let me just name these five. These are reasons why it would be so that some are suffering more than others.

1. The more light you have, the more knowledge you have, the more truth you have, the worse your sin and punishment at rejecting it. That’s right there in the texts.

2. The more kindness God shows you, not just in giving you light in truth but in, for example, giving you many undeserved pleasures in this life, the more grievous will be your unbelief and sin, and the worse will be your punishment in hell

3. If rejection of more and more light and kindness makes suffering worse in hell, then I infer that the more days you do this, the worse it will be. In other words, time comes into the picture. Day after day after day, you keep on rejecting light after light after light, kindness after kindness after kindness. The longer this goes on, the worse things are going to be.

4. There are kinds of sins that are more heinous, more destructive, more blasphemous than others, so that not only the amount of sinning over time makes things worse, but also the degree of ugliness and horror, heinousness, and blasphemy also increases the suffering.

5. In all of this, there’s a greater or lesser degree of high-handedness, arrogance — greater arrogance, greater conscious defiance and insolence, and therefore a consequent greater degree of punishment.

How We Respond to the Horror of Hell

Here’s my concluding question: What should we do with this information? Why are we told this? Is it to make us feel like the risk is not as great or make us feel better about lost people going there? What’s the point of this? What should we do? All five of these reasons send us trembling with joy to the cross of Jesus and to the grace of God, which holds onto us in the forgiveness that the cross gives. Here’s the way I think we should hear each of those five. 

1. They make us seriously vigilant not to misuse greater light and truth. To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48). We should strive that the truth that comes to us would not come without humbling us, building our faith, increasing our love. In other words, don’t squander precious light that God gives you in his word and in his world.

2. We should be seriously vigilant not to misuse all the pleasures of this life by treating them as God or a distraction from God, instead of signs that he’s kind and is better than all of them together.

3. We should be seriously vigilant over every passing hour and day so that they don’t accumulate sins but accumulate the fruit of righteousness. Every day is a precious opportunity to invest, lay up treasures in heaven, not store up wrath in hell.

4. We should be seriously vigilant over our pride, lest we fall into patterns of arrogance and defiance and say, “It doesn’t matter. God can take his word and stuff it.”

Here’s a closing quote from Jonathan Edwards. If you want to walk with somebody who has thought deeply about hell, Edwards has a couple of sermons on this issue of degrees of suffering, one of them based on Matthew 5:22. Let me give you one closing quote. This is just an example of how seriously he took these things. He said in this sermon on Matthew 5:22, “The damned in hell would be ready to give the world if they could have the number of their sins to have been one less in this life.”









Saturday, September 21, 2019

Black Conservative Candace Owen Unapologetically Unloads In Congressional Hearing On White Supremacy

THEN THERE'S THIS IMPEACHMENT HEARING WITH COREY LEWANDOWSKI...TOTALLY NUTS

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Late

COLLECT FOR THE DAY

Forth in your name, O Lord, I go, my daily labor to pursue, you only, Lord, resolved to know in all I think or speak or do.

The task your wisdom has assigned here let me cheerfully fulfill; in all my work your presence find, and prove your good and perfect will.

You may I set at my right hand, whose eyes my inmost secrets view, and labor on at your command and offer all my work to you.

Help me to bear your easy yoke, in ev'ry moment watch and pray, and still to things eternal look and hasten to that glorious day.

Then with delight may I employ all that your bounteous grace has given, and run my earthly course with joy, and closely walk with you in heaven.

 (A Hymn-Prayer by Charles Wesley, the great hymn writer of Methodism and younger brother of John Wesley)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sunday, When NFL Success Doesn't Make You Happy

NOW THAT THE LONG FOOTBALL SEASON IS UPON US,  it's fascinating to read how one NFL player came to terms with a gnawing sense of emptiness and despondency in his successful life and career:

BY AUSTIN CARR @ The Gospel Coalition

Early one morning after a win last season, I sat in my chair during my quiet time with God feeling empty and despondent.

It was odd to be feeling this way because the team was rolling, I was getting good on-the-field experience, and the likelihood of a playoff run was climbing. After some prayer, it became clear that I was unhappy with my individual performance.

My role in the previous game had been mostly the blocking that goes unnoticed and scores you few high-fives from teammates on the sidelines. If only I had scored last night—or at least made a big catch—then I’d be happy, I thought to myself.

In my heart, I had dethroned God and put career success in his place. Achievement on the football field had become my functional idol. I couldn’t point to the moment or day that this became true, but my frustrated mood was clear evidence that God needed to do some heavy lifting in my heart to reorient its affections to orbit around Christ again.

Flame of Worship

The pull of idolatry on our hearts is stronger than we’d like to think. The world stokes the flame of worship for all gods except the one true God.

In my younger days, a teammate shared that the name brand Adidas stood for All Day I Dream About Sports. That turned out to be false—Adidas is named for founder Adi Dassler—but I’m convinced the Adidas acronym actually diagnoses the natural bent of every passionate athlete who loves the game he or she plays. This is a tragedy!

In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller defines idolatry: “What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”

The marketing campaigns in the sports-entertainment industry call me to give more of my heart’s affection and mind’s imagination to sports, sports, and more sports. Whether it’s the 24/7 Watch ESPN app or the Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket package, I notice a war for my attention and affections. This world disciples—even indoctrinates me—to give my best attention to, place my highest hope in, and lavish my greatest affection on my sport.

Ethic and Excellence

That said, any serious athlete knows that excellence doesn’t come without relentless attention and dedication. Just one look at Kobe Bryant’s journey to historic greatness reveals that a dizzying work ethic likely has as much to do with high achievement as talent.

But often, if we’re honest, an exemplary work ethic can come at the expense of excellent love for Christ. In the pursuit of greatness, our hearts can salivate over the prospect of glory-collecting rather than glory-reflecting. And the alluring possibility of greatness, popularity, riches, or comfort make for fast-and-ready idols waiting to bait our hearts away from the Lord.
Achievement on the football field had become my functional idol.
Let’s be clear: I’m not saying that we ought not go to great lengths to become excellent at our craft. I’m saying that the journey to excellence is rigged with self-constructed booby traps that—when missed, tolerated, or ignored—lead to self-destruction.
This self-destruction upends families, strains friendships, and encourages sinful compromise. These sad outcomes aren’t glamorized on social media, so they rarely serve as effective warnings. Instead, self-destruction begins with but a subtle yet deceptive reorientation of the heart away from God’s glory and goodness.

Main Thing

So, Christian, we must strive to keep the main thing the main thing: Love God above all else. Jesus is clear when he defines the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

It’s tempting to say this command is easier said than done, but when one pauses to consider the beauty of God’s love shown for us in Christ, it’s easier done than said! How could we not give all our love to a God who rightfully could have condemned us, but instead died in our place to give us eternal life with him? To exchange living in his truth for fame or follows reveals how deep our sin runs and how prone we are to wander.
To exchange living in his truth for fame or follows reveals how deep our sin runs and how prone we are to wander.
So what do you do if you find yourself like I did that fall morning, frustrated and wandering? The answer is simple: turn to the beauties of Christ to be drawn back to him. Or as Thomas Chalmers argued almost 200 years ago, the antidote to spiritual sin is spiritual passion.

In his famous sermon “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection,” Chalmers contended that the only way to break the hold of a beautiful object on the soul is to show it an object more beautiful—and the most beautiful thing is the good news of salvation in Christ.
So when you find success in your sport—or even the idea of success in your sport—shining as the object most worthy of your love and affection, reintroduce your heart to the gospel truth of Christ in fresh ways such as fasting from social media, praying through a psalm, and cultivating spiritual disciplines. In time, you will watch your idols shrink away.

Center of the Solar System

Consider comparing your life to our solar system. The order and harmony of everything in it depends on the reliability of the object at its center. In the same way that all the planets would go completely haywire were the sun to be replaced by a star half its size, our lives go haywire when Christ isn’t at the center. The “planets” that fill our lives—finances, relationships, energy, interests—all are in their proper place when orbiting Christ. What or whom is at the center of your life’s solar system?

I’ve found that when my biggest dreams, sincerest intentions, and highest affections are orbiting around Jesus, I’m most filled with joy and most effective as a tool for his kingdom. Oh, how worthy the cost of giving up my idols if my heart is to be absorbed with the goodness of God, singing with the psalmist, “Taste and see that the LORD is good!” (Ps. 34:8)

Then it doesn’t matter whether I’m being thrown touchdown passes on the field or not; my satisfaction in him is guaranteed.