As I was putting on a sweater, there was a rustling sound in the pocket. I reached in and retrieved a ticket stub from the recent December showing of the “Star Wars” movie “The Force Awakens”. A smile came across my face, and a flood of memories rushed in. It is hard to believe that I was a young woman in the ’70s when this “Star Wars” phenomenon hit the screen. The most amazing thought to me is how many generations have been impacted by this movie. It has crossed so many generations, and “the beat goes on”. I have watched many people in my life embrace it, and they are now passing it on to their children. It is interesting to observe the profound influence it has had on movie making and music.
When the new movie came out, everywhere I went adults were saying they could not wait for their children to see it. I confess I was excited to see it as well and attended the showing with my own sons who are now adults.
Let’s carry this thought over into the Scriptural realm, Psalm 145:4: “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” It is urgent that we are as diligent in our spiritual lives as we are in our casual living. 1Peter 2:9 tells us, “But we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His own, that you should show forth the praises of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
It is obvious that there is a lot of darkness around us. Look……pay attention to the world around you. The responsibility of the redeemed is to shine the light. As stewards of this light, we must impart it to the next generation so that they will be wiser than we are in Biblical matters. “So each of us should consider the components of a productive Christian life and prayerfully set goals. There is the dimension of personal relationships – with God, family, neighbors, friends”(Charles E. Hummel; Tyranny of the Urgent). What dimensions of my life am I using to impact the next generation for the Gospel: setting spiritual goals, deciding what is important,constantly evaluating my spiritual life? May I continue the effort. May this be the awakening force in my life.
The ticket in my pocket was a great find. I might just keep it on my desk as a constant reminder that I am called to proclaim the force of truth, the power of the Gospel, the cross; to awaken this generation and the next for His glory.
When Donald Trump said that the Pope accused him of not being a Christian, it raised an interesting phenomenon that has taken shape in our culture both secularly and theologically: its wrong to judge. But is that true? Are we never to pass any sort or form of judgement? Daniel and Charles discuss it…
The leadership landscape is strewn with self-professed public servants whose records prove they are neither servants nor leaders. Agendas that further power, personal security, and pensions leave little room for the rule of law and policy that is furthered with the next generation in mind. A larger and more powerful government has come to be viewed as a benevolent rich uncle who is there to give us what we cannot give ourselves, and more importantly, what God knows we do not need.
In such a climate, we are less and less apt to see leaders who call us, not to seek greater comforts, but to embrace greater challenges. The weakening of our resolve is matched only by the cloudiness of our vision and the softness of our character. It is for this reason that we search out leaders who pander to our emotions and appetites while assuring us our best days are ahead.
I pray regularly that God will give us leaders of commitment, character, conviction, and courage. But in a soft culture focused on self and feelings, such leaders are becoming more and more rare. So it is particularly noticeable when a giant passes from the scene. When giants pass, they leave a vacuum, and there are any number of would be replacements waiting in line to assume their role. The passing of Antonin Scalia is a case in point.
He was a man of commitment. He was committed to the rule of law embodied in the Constitution. He was a man of character. His strength was not in public opinion poles or the agreement of colleagues. Rather, it was in the resolve of a conscience riveted to truth and right. He was a man of conviction. He held, not merely opinions easily swayed by the arguments of the intelligencia, but rock solid beliefs that anchored his heart and mind. He was a man of courage. He possessed the fortitude to swim against the tide; to give voice to unpopular and even unwanted truths found repulsive and archaic to minds formed by relativism.
Such men are not easily, and sometimes never, replaced. Lesser men whose responsibility it is to find their replacement often do not possess anything like the depth of character of the man they seek to replace. We are left to watch them scurry about appearing to work for right, when they understand neither the significance of their actions nor the public’s great loss.
Is the absence of great leaders the cause or the affect of our obvious moral decline? The answer does not change the desperate situation in which we find ourselves. The passing of Antonin Scalia is not just a loss to his family but a telling event on the leadership landscape of a once great nation. His position will be filled, but his leadership may never be replaced. Let us pray that it will and ask our merciful God to give us, not what we deserve, but what we so desperately need.
In order to be assured of what it means to be found in Christ, we cannot afford to be weak in biblical discernment. How about you? Are you weak in biblical discernment? Join Charles and Daniel as they wrap up the series on biblical assurance…
One of the distinguishing marks of a believer is the Love one has for God and subsequently his brothers and sisters in Christ. The only real way to understand this is from the foundation of all love which is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Join Charles and Daniel as they discuss this practical truth.
Love is a many-faceted word in English. One can love his dog, love his car, love football, love nachos, and love his wife and say so using the same word and perhaps without changing emphasis or inflection. To someone new to the language, it could be a bit confusing.
But most of us recognize the difference between loving one’s spouse and the love one has for a favorite food. The context usually nails it for us. While the word is interchangeable, the sentiment is not. We love different things with varying passions, depending on the measure of their importance. A puppy may be cuddly and even lovable but not nearly as precious, I trust, as one’s sweetheart.
As Valentine Day approaches, it might benefit us to give serious thought to the art of love. Such a phrase may conjure up for some television shows about bachelors and bachelorettes where men and women with perfect bodies and perfect faces find perfect relationships that result in perfect pleasures. After all, isn’t the art of love about finding perfect pleasure? If we play our cards right, make the right moves, and employ the perfect word or phrase, we will make our catch. That is the way the game is played. This is the love that “makes the world go round.”
Before you decide that I am a love-starved Stoic, let me clarify myself. I am a fan of romance. There is nothing quite like the chemistry between a man and woman. What would life be without the God-given gift of romance? I still have fond and vivid memories of the spark that gradually but perceptibly grew into a flame thirty-six years ago: my only real love, as she still is. I am, I think, an unashamed romantic. I hope I remain so. I do not see Valentine Day as a waste of time nor an impossible imposition. Rather, I see it as a challenge, an opportunity to make every attempt to do justice to a day set aside solely for remembering and expressing love.
But neither am I so naive as to think that I have mastered the art of love because I have learned to remember special days. Gifts and romantic words are but hollow tokens if they are not the fruit of genuine selfless love. While none of us will achieve perfectly selfless love in this life, it is the pursuit of such love that is at the heart of the art of love. True love demands that we embrace our Lord’s exhortation to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. True love requires commitment that transcends circumstances and feelings. True love reminds us of our utter frailty and inability to love as we ought apart from God’s grace in Christ. True love calls us to reject the temptation to be satisfied with where and what we are and to keep growing.
I challenge you to give the best Valentine gift you can. When you do, resolve that it will not be a mere trinket that leads you to wipe your brow in relief that you didn’t blow it this year. Let it be for you a resolve to make the art of love a life-long pursuit of Christlike charity that causes its object see the reality of Christ and to grow in love for Him.
In the love of Christ,
When it comes to the assurance of salvation, there is really only one solution. Many man made schemes have been invented but when dealing with an issue that most Christians struggle with from one time or another, we must return to the truth of scripture. Charles and Daniel discuss what it is we must return to every time…