“I see the turning of a leaf dancing in the autumn sun, And brilliant shades of crimson glowing when the day is done.” – Hazelmarie Mattie Elliot
As I drive down highways or walk down my driveway, I am beginning to see the evidences of autumn. We have shortened the name of this special season to fall. This is a season with much to see. It seems to come in gradually but then leave so quickly. There is so much to see and ponder of what God has provided for us in this season.
We rush around in our busy lives and sometimes do not take the time to see and understand this glorious God, our Creator, and all He has given us to behold. “Oh LORD, how manifest are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your riches.” (Psalm 104:24) It seems to me that when we walk down the paths of our lives, we are looking and seeing things before us. But do we (I include myself) really “see” Who God is? Do we know this Creator Who has created all of this autumn for us to glorify Him? We must realize there are different ways to see; and not just with our eyes.
In John 20:1-10, we are given a scene just after Jesus has been crucified and laid in the tomb. Mary Magdalene comes early and sees that the stone covering the tomb is rolled away. She runs to Peter and the other disciple (whom we believe to be John). She is all excited wondering where her Savior’s body has been taken. Peter and John run together to the tomb. John outruns Peter, and, when he arrives, he stoops down looking into the tomb. He saw the linen clothes lying there (no Jesus). John simply “saw” with his eyes: he noticed. He did not go in. Peter was following him and entered the tomb. When he entered, he “saw” the linen clothes lying there and no Jesus. The word used in the original means he looked and starred. Our English word “theater” is derived from this word. Then in verse 8: “Then went in the other disciple (John) who came first to the tomb, and he saw and believed.” The second time John saw, the lights came on, and he believed that Christ had risen from the tomb. This man they had followed had died on the cross for their sins. Oh to go from noticing, starring, observing to understanding is the glorious power of Jesus Christ.
You know what I see? I see a world around us starring and noticing but not understanding the God of the universe. It’s not Mother Nature. It’s not a Big Bang theory. It is Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” If we understand the Gospel and Who God is, we have the glorious privilege of understanding Who this Creator is. Every leaf changing color, every cool breeze, every beautiful changing autumn sun is, by the grace of God, a time to see with understanding and glorify the Lord in it. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.”
“Oh say – can you see”?
In modern culture, truth is not just being denied or refuted, it is being deconstructed. But how did we get here? Deconstruction does not happen over night. Join Charles and Daniel as they talk about the process…
Leaders and nations who have found certain people or people groups troublesome or a detriment to their personal or national agenda have been willing to do what is necessary to remove or neutralize them. Adolf Hitler saw the Jews as a problem and set out to completely remove them from German society.
On a less tragic level, people have done their best to eradicate pests such as rodents or insects: understandably so, since failure to do so may cause significant harm to property and even health.
Recent years have seen war on a “new” and more resilient “pest.” It is new to modernity and now post-modernity, but it is not new to history. This pest is not human, although it is carried by humans. Nor is it animal. This pest is ideological, and ideological pests are the most difficult to eradicate.
The present warfare is a war on truth. Truth, moral and ideological, is an inconvenient reality. Those who seek to live contrary to it cannot long ignore it. It will not go away voluntarily. So those who hate it seek to kill it. That explains Post-modernities efforts to do away with it.
The war on truth is not a new one, but it has had little obvious success in the United States until the Modern Era. French Rationalism and other forms of liberal European thought have gradually made their way across the Atlantic until they have been able to take hold and influence, not only the intellectual community, but the man and woman on the street as well. The advent of the Postmodern Era has placed us on the precipice of a time when an entire society rejects the once quaint notion of objective truth. We are witnessing political leaders ignore the laws that are detrimental to their particular agenda and deeming as true only those that are convenient. Arguments over original intent, orthodoxy, and other expressions of truth-based beliefs are becoming moot. Because if truth is dead, truth claims are irrelevant and heresy does not exist. Then truth is what one makes it to be.
This is the environment that is rapidly becoming the norm, and in such an environment, those who hold to truth are the enemy. Their voice must be minimized, rejected, and ultimately silenced. Tolerance is the new queen of virtues: tolerance that is for everyone except those who believe in final truth.
What does the future hold for a society intolerant of truth?
- Disorder: order is built on truth. Moral order, social order, religious order, and political order all exist when there is a foundation of truth. Without this foundation morality collapses, social relationships disintegrate, religion becomes meaningless, and politicians cease to be servant leaders and morph into manipulative slave masters.
- Disharmony: when morality collapses and social relationships dissolve, trust becomes an anachronism. It is no more than a wistful feeling, a sentimental remnant of an earlier age. And without trust, social harmony is impossible.
- Destruction: the deconstruction of truth and the dissolution of trust will ultimately lead to tyranny. Leaders will assume or presume upon the trust they cannot earn and will force their unwanted leadership upon unwilling subjects. With the foundation destroyed, the remnants of a once orderly society turn to rubble.
So what are our takeaways?
- Truth lives. While people will work to deconstruct truth, they cannot change its reality. The Rock of truth will have many ships crash upon it.
- God rules. “From Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things…” He installs and deposes all rulers. His purposes are accomplished. He cannot fail.
- History is linear. Some propose that history is mere repetition, a vicious cycle that grinds ruthlessly on. But history had a beginning and will have an end. Its end is sure and will come at the time appointed.
Until then, it is the blessed privilege of those who know the Sovereign to make Him known and watch Him invade the chaos of sin one soul at a time.
In the love of Christ,
In my early childhood, I could never compose poetry for classroom assignments. I really struggled in this area. I have a confession to make. My Mom wrote my poetry for me. This was so wrong. Kids, don’t follow this example.
But I love to read poetry. Years ago a dear friend in my church youth group gave me a big beautiful book of poems. I so cherished this book of poetry. The fact that someone can write from one’s heart and soul and transfer those thoughts to paper is amazing to me.
A few Sunday’s ago, my Pastor made this statement. “Our lives as Christians should be like a poem.” This statement has some powerful implications. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship.” (Greek poiema)
The English word poem is derived from this word. And Paul attaches God’s workmanship in our lives to His work of grace in verses 8 & 9. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”
I married a very gifted man who has written many poems to me over the years. My sons have written poems to me expressing how they feel about their mother. And I have come to realize that although I cannot write poetry, by God’s grace, I can strive to live in order to be a poem for others to read. I can be the Mother my sons write about and the godly wife my husband conveys so well in his poems: to be faithful to put the Word of God into my life and live it out for His glory. It is a beautiful thought that I belong to Christ, and He has created me to be a poem for His glory. And in reality, my soul is all I have of any worth.
I am resolved I will not be
The dupe of things I touch and see;
These figured totals lie to me-
My soul is all I have.
Illusive cheats are goods and gold;
These chattels that I have and hold
Are preys of moth, and rust, and mold;
My soul is all I have.
A builder, I, but not with stone;
The self I am, nor flesh nor bone:
My house will ‘dure when stars are gone;
My soul is all I have.
For me to traffic with my soul
Would make me brother to the mole;
The whole world’s wealth were but a dole;
My soul is all I have.
I must take care I do not lean
T’ward what is sordid, false, or mean;
I must not touch the thing unclean;
My soul is all I have.
Oh, Keeper of the souls of men,
Keep mine for me from hurt or stain,
For, should it slip my hand – what then?
My soul is all I have!
Past generations have witnessed those who love Christ and His Gospel standing against many and varied obstacles to them and their Lord. Church history provides a litany of courageous and faithful believers in the faith “once for all delivered to the saints” similar to that provided by the author of Hebrews in that books eleventh chapter. They were imprisoned, beheaded, hanged, and burned for the sake of Christ and the Gospel.
Recent Western Christianity knows relatively little of such things. The church of Jesus Christ has existed in an environment of safety and acceptance. Even those who disagree have accepted the church’s existence as necessary, although up until now they have had little choice.
That has all changed, and the harsh reality of resistance and persecution in the United States is upon us. While all the forms it will take are yet to come to light, it seems certain that following Christ will have troublesome and even dangerous consequences. And we know that if we are to be true to our Lord and His Word, we must prepare ourselves to stand. The question is, “Are you prepared to stand? Have you thought much about what it means to stand? Have you; are you making preparation?”
We must first stand in the love of Christ. Their is no place in the Kingdom for hateful, vindictive Christianity. “The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who has been given unto us. The love of Christ constrains us…” We must love our enemies bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us. This is how we show that we are children of the living God. As our brother John MacArthur has said; “If God had not loved His enemies, we would not be saved.”
In the second place, we must stand on the truth of Christ. Our love for Christ, His church, and our enemies flows out of our knowledge of God in His Word. Those who resist us and our testimony for Christ must see the love of Christ in us and here the Word of Christ from us. We can never deny Christ no matter what the cost. And what hope is there that our enemies will bow the knee to our Lord if we do not faithfully make Him known in every situation? We live our lives in the Word and fill our lives with the Word now so that when the time comes to stand, the Word flows from us like a spring.
In the third place, we must stand for the glory of Christ. Our purpose as the people of God is that in everything Christ will have the preeminence. And if this is to be so, we must realize that He will be glorified in the midst of seemingly contradictory circumstances. The wicked may seem to triumph, but their purposes cannot stand. We stand not on things as they seem but on the purposes of God, and our God has ordained that His purposes will be accomplished. As we stand in the love of Christ and on the Truth of Christ, our Lord will be glorified in us. We lay our comfort, our convenience, and our ambition at the feet of Jesus and live, stand, and die for His glory: and not with our own meager resources. “Therefore, take up all of God’s armor in order that you may be empowered to withstand in the day of evil, and having done all (having made all preparation) stand.” [Ephesians 6:13]
This is our calling. This is our joy. This is our hope.
In the love of Christ,
Its “Politics…as usual” you might say. But what does scripture have to say about it? Politics is not immune to a biblical perspective. There is guidance for us even with all the nuances and opinions of the American political culture. Join Charles and Daniel as they discuss it…