MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Tsunami photos

February 24th, 2005 Viewed 1059 times, 1 so far today

I guess the thing that has made the greatest impact on me today has to be the tsunami photos that were recently discovered. To catch you up, this couple was vacationing in the area over the Christmas holiday. They were calling home every day. In one picture, it shows them embracing.

Following the pictures chronologically, the next one shows some people running and playing on the beach with the tsunami wave in the background. The next picture shows no land, just water– that was the last picture.

The couple’s wrecked camera was found by a missionary with ABWE on the beach. The camera was unusable, but the memory card was not. When they plugged it into a PDA, they saw the pictures and tried to find the family.

They later reunited the only record of what happened to their parents with the children, which provided a sense of closure, as well as some interesting footage.

I find it amazing that someone would have taken that last picture, but the person who found the camera said that there was no where that they could have fled to, and by the time the water was at that point, they would have known that they were not going to make it.

Balaam, Talking Donkeys, and Lives Worth Saving

February 23rd, 2005 Viewed 874 times

Kind of a mixed bag today.

Last night’s reading covered the section in Numbers where the king of the Midianites tries to get Balaam to curse the children of Israel.  One wonders what relationship Balaam has with God in that God would bless/curse people through him, and speak to him the way he does.  On first glance, I would think that
Balaam was one of those Gentiles that knew God.  The commentary in my Bible implies that he is not, and so I would have to do some study to come to a decision on that one…

Regardless, it’s nice to see that Balaam cannot curse the Israelites.  In fact, he can only bless them.  However, and this is not obvious in this passage for it is told later on, Balaam does give some advice to the king.  He tells the king to have his people intermarry with the Israelites, for their downfall would be start following after another god, in which case the Lord would attack Israel.

I find this instructive to us in our lives.  Surely, having a good wife was not a bad thing, but when they married wives that were not Israelites, they were taken down a path to destruction.  What things do we have in our lives that may not be bad in and of themselves, but tend to lead us into wrong things?

I find I have to mention Terri Schaivo and her case down in Florida.  Can someone explain to me why her “husband” is seeking to have her tube pulled out?  I mean, there’s a lot of logical problems here:

  • He obviously isn’t concerned about the moral problem of divorce, since he’s living with another woman with whom he has children.
  • He wouldn’t need to be burdened with caring for his wife, since her parents have volunteered to do it.
  • Yet he’s spending a lot of money trying to terminate his wife’s life.

I can only see a few reasons:

  • Somehow he thinks that if he divorces his wife, he won’t get all the settlement money he won when she got into this condition and he pleaded for the money because that would be what it would take to keep her alive!
  • Someone behind the scenes is forcing the issue because they want approval for right to die legislation (something akin to Roe v. Wade, where they found someone so they could try to make a case).
  • This man is a egomaniac who can’t stand that he lost.

None of these seem to make a good case for why this woman’s life (or horrifying death) is hanging in the balance.  I pray that some sense is introduced in that court, and that logic and mercy prevail.

What to Say?

February 22nd, 2005 Viewed 2325 times, 1 so far today

Well, I’m sorry for my absence, but it seems that my family has gotten, and is still dealing with, all sorts of strains of viruses, and Virtuous Blonde and I have been trying to keep fevers down and fight the stuff ourselves. Needless to say, it’s been taking up most of our days…

How do people around you treat “the will of God.” To me, it seems like this phrase is getting abused and misused in Christianity today. I think Christians have started using this as a “catch-all”– a response to two basic problems:

  1. We use the “will of God” to mean something that is out of our control. An example of this is when someone dies, an “act of God” happens, or something that we didn’t pray for or didn’t expect happened.
  2. We use the “will of God” to add weight to an argument. This phrase is invoked as kind of an easy escape from an argument, or as kind of the “I got you, you’re not going to have a comeback to this one!” response.

I was recently perturbed at the latter use when someone said that it was the “will of God” that I attend a conference last weekend. I was not planning on it, due to the amount of time I’ve had to put into things other than being the husband/father I need to be. Furthermore, it was about this time that my children started having their colds, and I would not have imagined leaving my wife with all of that while I was off “growing”.

Was it the “will of God” that I go? I don’t believe so– otherwise I should be rebuked, and repent and maybe not be a church leader since I obviously didn’t follow God’s will. It was, I believe, God’s will that I was with my family, as evidenced by the hardship that they went through. Neither is it not God’s will not to go to a conference because you are sick. And, lastly, if we take the argument that it was to its extreme, I should never work, because I can probably find a conference somewhere, or a speaker somewhere, and I should attend.

But I digress… My point is, I think we as Christians are getting extremely lazy. We only use the phrase when it suits us, and usually as a catch all. God has a will or a method for all of our interaction– be it in our meetings, in our services, in our everyday lives– but you don’t catch us talking about the “will of God” then. We’re content to have our own will, unless we can’t convince another of it, or our will is thwarted.

My question to you is– is what you do your will or God’s? Are you in the process of making your will His? Do you consider His will in decisions– even the small ones– and what will you do differently if you don’t?

Levitical Law

February 14th, 2005 Viewed 1546 times, 1 so far today

I just finished Leviticus last night in my reading through the Bible.  It’s hard to imagine anyone ever committing some of those sins while you’re reading it.  It may be because we think of past times as more
moral.  Certainly, those that promote all sorts of immorality (from homosexuality to abortion) believe that these thoughts have come as a result of a more enlightened era.  Unfortunately for them, they are nothing new, but something very old.

So, that’s brings us to the question, why all of these laws?  I mean, there are laws in Leviticus about not wearing clothing of mixed threads, etc.  Certainly some of the laws were for sanitary purposes.  Those laws that talk about not using something that has had blood touch it, or other bodily discharge, unless it’s washed, have an understanding of germ theory way before their time.

In other cases, especially in the sexual realm, you see phrases like “causes confusion” or other statements, which clearly could be an understanding of genetics, but also an understanding of human nature.  Our “old man” lusts to do those things that are neither healthy or wise.

But I think that there is a further reason, and I think this is borne out in the concluding chapters of Leviticus.  It is that God wanted His people to be a testimony, and by taking out those things that would not make his people the best, He was preparing them for greatness.

We can sit around all day and discuss whether or not a homosexual couple or a single mom can parent.  The obvious answer is yes, it happens.  But is it the best?

We can discuss whether people should have the right to take illegal drugs, smoke, have tattoos and
piercings all over their bodies– but what is the best for them?

We can discuss abortion, euthanasia, and all of the facets of capital punishment, but what is the best for all people– not just the individuals.

We can even discuss prostitution, like we have at times in the past, but what is the best place for sex?

I think you are beginning to see my point.  It’s easy to say “I should be allowed” but it’s much harder to say “this is the best for me.”  I believe that if we examined our beliefs, our actions, and our relationships with this test, we’d find that a lot of those “convictions” amount to folly.

Are we looking for Christ’s Return?

February 9th, 2005 Viewed 1317 times

Continuing on the theme from yesterday, a few days ago Mona Charen wrote an article entitled Moyers and the Party of Gloom. This article starts out saying that the liberal Moyers is exaggerating, but then she makes this statement:  “Now Moyers has a degree from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, so he must know that the people who believe the rapture is imminent are very few.”  Really, Mona?

I believe that the Southern Baptist Convention believes that the rapture is imminent, as well as most  fundamental baptists and a lot of Pentecostals.  Like the figure she quotes, 59% believe that Revelation will literally happen.  Imminent meaning that there is nothing that needs to happen before Christ gathers us to
Himself and performs his judgements on the Earth.

Now, this does not mean that we shouldn’t be earthly minded, which is the point she tries to make with the site giving money to the Tsunami victims.  God commanded us to be ready for His return, but He also put us here to spread the Gospel, give a cold cup of water in His name, and to take care of the Earth.

I would like to focus in on both side, Charen and Moyers.  Both of them make a good observation about the
state of Christianity and their beliefs on what will happen and when it will happen.  Christians live like Christ is not going to return, as Charen points out.  We don’t live this minute like it would be our last, or that we would be before God soon.  And yet, there are radicals that throw off all to follow someone who believes that he knows when it will happen.

Christians have to find a balance, true, but that balance must have an upward and longing look to Christ’s return.   That’s the only way we’ll have impact!

Flickering Light

February 8th, 2005 Viewed 1005 times

Natural Light‘Frenzy’s post was a good one yesterday talking about how people that we agree with politically we may not always agree with in the case of religion. My comment to him was that we have to take the criticism, and if it’s applicable we have to adjust. If not, we can let it roll of our backs.

Ellen Ratner’s piece Waffling Towards Gomorrah claims that the President hasn’t totally been firm on his resolve for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. This is understandable. The support in the congress is limited, the states are doing a good job changing their constitutions to fix the problem, and the DOMA (Defence of Marriage Act) has been upheld– so far.

The problem is that while all these things are positives in defending our traditional marriage system, there are things like the case in Utah where the Supreme Court of that State are using the ruling in Lawrence v. Texas to say that there shouldn’t be a law banning bigamy/polygamy.

Far from this being a civil rights issue, this is a moral issue. No one is denied the ability to marry. A gay person is no denied the ability to marry a person of the opposite sex. (Even the governor of New Jersey McGreevy can attest to that!) Furthermore, the fallacious logic that I should be allowed to marry a same sex partner can be applied to anything. Personally, I’m waiting for the couple where the wife says that her husband is “married to his job” and then forces the man to get “divorced” from said job, and then seeks half the company’s profits during the time that he was “married to his job!”

Now, one can argue very well that maybe government should get out of the marriage license business all together, since it is a act of “holy matrimony.” I could also argue that government is too entangled in it, and it promotes the general welfare, so there’s a reason to recognize legitimate marriages.

I could go on, and may at some other time, but my objections to Homosexual marriage have been well documented on this blog. Point being, marriage is a God-ordained institution designed for one man and one woman to be terminated at death. Homosexuality is an abomination unto the Lord.

Ratner ends her column, however, on a point that we do need to take to heart. Why is it that so many churches have problems with their members separating or divorcing? That’s something that hurts the church’s testimony and witness. Until she gets this right, the church will constantly be attacked as hypocritical, and though the Word of Lord is holy and can stand on its own, its followers are the only light that some see.

Committing a Sin in Ignorance

February 7th, 2005 Viewed 1262 times, 1 so far today

In reading through the beginning of Leviticus, you find an interesting set of sacrifices.  They’re interesting for a number of different reasons:

For starters, can you imagine bringing a sacrifice in where you had to kill the animal you brought because you sinned?  The ceremonies surrounding the beginning of the sacrifices had blood all through it.  It was placed on the priests, it was placed on the alter, and it was poured out at the base of the alter.  This wasn’t just any ‘ole lamb from the flock either, it was the best.

Then there’s all the different rules about how to offer, what to offer, what sex of what to offer, who participated in the offering, and what you were offering for: peace, sin, wave, heave, etc…  If Moses had Microsoft Word, there would no doubt have been a handy table to index all these things, instead we have it in prose.

What struck me most in reading through was the fact that there were sacrifices there for sins that a person committed in ignorance.  Whether it was because no person could remember to keep all the law, or that we all sin no matter if we know it or not, there was a sacrifice for it.

That begs the question, how are we doing at confessing the sins we don’t even know we do to God?  How are we at responding to sin that is exposed by the Holy Spirit.  God does not have an ex post facto  provision on sin.  Whether you committed it and knew it was wrong or not, it’s the same thing.

If you need, take time today to thank God for His forgiveness, and thank Him that He forgives even the sin you are not aware that you’ve committed!

The God of Detail

February 4th, 2005 Viewed 1265 times

One of the things that has struck me in my recent reading through the Bible is the detail to which God wanted things done.  To see this, just look at the later passages of Exodus.  Not only is there one record of
how they built the tabernacle and made the garments for the priests, there are two!  They talk about what should be done, and then talk about doing it.  By seeing the repetition, you can tell how important getting this place of worship right was.

It was just the opposite in the case of the Corinthians.  If you’ve read the two epistles to the Corinthians you see that Paul was writing answers to various questions that they had, and he is also taking up some issues on his own.  One of those issues was what they were doing in “the service of God.”  Paul takes on the idea that “anything goes” and starts to lay down ground rules.  The most important statement in this conversation is “let everything be done decently and in order.”

How is your life?

  • Do you try to capture every thought and focus it on glorifying God?
  • Do you keep your body/flesh under, so that you can serve Him better?
  • Do you make sure to spend time communing with Him?
  • Do you cast every care/burden on Him, thinking only of pleasing Him?

How is your church?

  • Is worship disorganized or appear to be more focused on the flesh?
  • Is the mission and message of the church aligned with God’s Word?

Perhaps you do not know God personally.  You don’t know what it’s like to be more concerned about pleasing Him, and instead you’re trying juggle everything that is swirling around you.  Establishing that personal relationship with Him is the best thing you can ever do.

When Days Blur Together

February 2nd, 2005 Viewed 1550 times

I don’t know about you, but the days seem to blur together as of late.  I think this appears to happen the most when there are things that take up a lot of time at night.

We, the deacons of my church, have been in weekly meetings trying to accomplish a couple of things:

  • Keep the church running
  • Adjust our church Constitution
  • Start finding a new pastor.
  • Come up with some statement about what our church has been through in the past year or so.

Inevitably, we’ve been stuck on the last one since there are still remnants of both sides of the issue with thoughts that only they are correct.

This has the effect of trying one’s faith and endurance.  You find thoughts running through your mind about rules in the Bible– regarding what qualifications there are to be Deacon, how you go about church discipline, and do you let love cover a lot of what is going on in the name of unity.

There are many tough questions, and for anyone that’s been there you understand.  For anyone that will be, you have my prayers!

So, if I seem late, or don’t post, it’s because most of what’s going on is trying to accomplish one of the three, keep a right life before God, and help others see the right path.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.