baby-in-the-womb-1-resized

I don’t allow trollish comments on the blog.  But I do not have the option of approving comments on Facebook, so sometimes, they get through. I do not rebut to most of them on my Facebook page unless it is someone trying to misuse the Word of God. Which irritates me. So here is the comment:

Exodus 21:22 “If some men are fighting and hurt a pregnant woman so that she loses her child, but she is not injured in any other way, the one who hurt her is to be fined whatever amount the woman’s husband demands, subject to the approval of the judges. 23 But if the woman herself is injured, the punishment shall be life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot”…..It seems even God doesn’t respect an unborn child as a full life..

Sigh.  Ok.  You got me.  Let’s do this.

The Hebrew text for Exodus 21:22 is as follows:

כב וְכִי-יִנָּצוּ אֲנָשִׁים, וְנָגְפוּ אִשָּׁה הָרָה וְיָצְאוּ יְלָדֶיהָ, וְלֹא יִהְיֶה,
אָסוֹן–עָנוֹשׁ יֵעָנֵשׁ, כַּאֲשֶׁר יָשִׁית עָלָיו בַּעַל הָאִשָּׁה, וְנָתַן, בִּפְלִלִים.

Yeah.  I need Logos to read that as well. The 1611 version of the Bible or the King James Version renders it as:

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

The 1984 version of the NIV reads as:

If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life…etc.

The pro-aborts always use this verse in a vain attempt to try and support their cause. And many Christians do not know how to respond because the English translations do not necessarily do the verse justice. So, let’s go through it.

My question is why do the pro aborts presume the child is dead? The likely reason is because the English word “miscarriage” or the phrase “to lose” in most versions certainly implies death, however, nothing in the Hebrew wording suggests death at all. The word “Yasa” does not mean miscarriage; it literally means “to come forth.” The word itself never suggests death. In fact, “Yasa” generally implies the opposite: live birth. Also, Hebrew had a specific word for miscarriage: “Nephel.” Nephel was used in other verses, so, why not here? Well it is because Moses did not intend to write miscarriage. If he did, he would have used Nephel. What Moses is stating is that the child is born alive but prematurely, and does not die, and that the penalty of life for life, eye for eye, etc. applies to the child as well as the mother. If injury comes to the child or the mother there will not just be a fine but life for life, eye for eye, etc. This verse is in fact protecting the rights of the unborn child, and because the child is deprived of reaching full term, the father will demand payment in order to care for the child.

So a literal reading of the Hebrew would be as follows:

And when men fight and hit a pregnant woman and her children go forth, and there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the husband of the woman may put upon him; and he shall give by the judges. But if there is injury, you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

So if we take this and read it naturally, as Moses intended it in the original Hebrew, it would be that the child goes forth from the womb and there is no injury to either the child or to the mother. How can I say this? Because Moses would have inserted the Hebrew word “lah” to specify injury to only the mother, which then would be rendered “If her children go forth and there is no injury to her.”

But that is not how it reads, is it?

So do not fear, my fellow Christians. God does love the child in the womb. He does not just see the unborn child as a piece of pottery or a clump of cells.  In fact he values the unborn far beyond measure. He knits us together with care, so we can say with king David,

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

11695825_990037421027009_2632808917175890918_n

You may have seen the meme about the Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to a soul that isn’t. This is my Bible I got when I was 16 years old. I have not opened this one in probably 15 years, but it was on the shelf and I grabbed it to do devotions this morning.

Look at all the markings.

When I was young, I was passionate about the Bible and about God. Then the thought struck me that it does not matter how passionate or devoted I was in the past. I was baptized when I was 19 and shortly thereafter I began to slip into self reliance, stopped reading and praying, and slowly drifted away from God. Over a number of years I fell in to all sorts of sin, grew depressed and came to believe that God did not love me. God was faithful however, and pulled me out.

My point is this: we mustn’t rely on how good of a child we were, or how marked up our old bibles are. It doesn’t matter that you professed your faith once upon a time, it doesn’t matter that I did devotions everyday last week, how were they this week? For me: they were sporadic…and that’s not good. We need to daily fuel up with the word and prayer, seeking a personal relationship with the Lord…otherwise we end up relying on our own strength.

This post first appeared on the  One Christian Dad Facebook Page

Easy Prey

Posted: July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

sheep-in-the-fold

I once had a guy, who no longer goes to a church, tell me that he still believes in Jesus, but can’t be bothered to join a church because he is just tired of the hypocrisy he sees in the church.

He compared himself to Paul in prison… Now it’s just him and Jesus loving on each other. He is a lone wolf.

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Especially if you have been hurt in the church, I get how it can be difficult to want to go back. And it is true that Jesus will be with you, when you are alone in prison, or persecuted, or whatever the case may be…but that is not the way it ought to be.

The problem with this thinking is that Paul, while in Prison, longed to be with other believers. He thanked God for them and prayed for them. He did not desire to be separate from them. And second, there is only one kind of animal that God’s children are compared to. And it ain’t no lone wolf. It is not a cat. It is not a fox, or any other animal that goes it alone.

The only animal we are compared to is sheep. And sheep are kinda dimwitted and completely defenceless.

And a solitary sheep outside all alone is easy prey.

But sheep together in a flock, under the loving and protective hand of a shepherd and a few sheepdogs are much safer.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. ~Hebrews 10:24-25

This post first appeared on the  One Christian Dad Facebook Page

soapbox

There is such a range of emotion that I feel as I survey the landscape of the war ravaged land we inhabit. I am sure it is the same for most of you as well. As we look out our windows, into the killing fields surrounding us, we see not only death, but the organs of thousands of unborn children being harvested and sold to fund the liberal war machine as it steams ahead in the name of so called equality and tolerance, but it is only tolerant of it’s own, and steam rolls over everything else in its path.  Though abolition happened in 1865, we see greater numbers of our fellow human beings sold into slavery of the worst kind, as men, women and children are drugged and exploited to meet the ever increasing demands of our insatiable appetite for perversity in the form of pornography and prostitution. Morals decay, justice erodes, and the foundations of this world seemingly crumble before our eyes.

We want to scream,

we want to cry,

we want to laugh…

92821478..we are not even sure any more what emotion we are feeling. Some of us simply turn off our computers and smartphones and look the other way. Others look for ways to make our voices heard in the midst of this morally bankrupt generation in which we live; others ask how we can spark a revival like that in the times of Jonathan Edwards, or George Whitefield, or reformation like in the times of Martin Luther.

So we turn to social media and post articles, state our cases, stand on our little soapboxes, post videos, verses and quotes…

And the killing continues.

And the slavery continues.

The moral decline continues.

n-ANGRY-COMPUTER-large570And we lose heart, as the war seems hopeless, and we fear that our voices will not be heard above the noise. How can we make our voices heard? Do we yell louder? Do we hashtag everything in the hopes of hitting something that is trending? We do well to continue in the fight, but we also do well to remember that this battle will not be won in our own strength…or with our own voices.

It starts at home in our closets on our knees.

Before we do anything we must pray.

As we do it, we must pray.

Afterwards, we must pray.

And not a simple rote prayer like we so often say before dinner, but heartfelt longing in bitter anguish and tears, crying out for the saviour of our souls to come and pour His Spirit upon a lost generation. That the Lord of Hosts would so work in our own hearts a love for him and others, and a hatred for sin, and the desire to obey him in all things, and to find in him our everything…

It starts there.

Are you there?

Am I there?

Because if we are not there, then no amount of hash tags or memes or Facebook posts will make any difference. Our voices won’t be heard otherwise. We find our strength, our voice, in Him. Alone. We must start on our knees, we must obey him, we must delight in him…then…we must speak. Speak up!  Because you do have a voice, as tiny as it may seem, as faint as it may sound. And at that point it will not matter if your voice is heard, because He will hear and will perfect it.

Seek him. He is our strength, and he will strengthen your voice.

Let us pray.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

SDG

CaptureChelsea is a young teenager, barely seventeen. In the early autumn sunset, her silhouette is both strong and graceful.  The sun casts a long shadow at this time of day. On the lake shore, she stands alone, her long, blonde hair blows across her tear-stained face, and sticks to her cheeks and lips.  Another tear rolls down her cheek as the car door slams shut. The engine roars, dust flies, and she watches helplessly as her now ex boyfriend, Jason, drives away.

He doesn’t slow down.

He doesn’t look back.

He won’t be returning.

Her heart is shattered.

She looks down, tears falling like rain, drenching her shirt,  she clutches her tummy. Uncontrollable sobs  of anguish escape her quivering lips…

New life grows.

She wipes her tears on her sleeve and gets in her car. Her mind races.  “I can’t believe I am pregnant. I can’t believe he left me.  He said he loved me. What will dad say?  Mom is going to kill me. What will Pastor Dave say?  What will my friends say?  I am only in grade 12, I am supposed to go to college…I am just a baby myself! How can a baby have a baby? What is going on?! What have I done!?” 

Slowly, she approaches her home and drives right past, and she keeps on driving, aimlessly, searching frantically in her mind for an answer, trying to make sense of her young chaotic life, for comfort, for something, for anything.

She gets home too late, or too early in the morning.  Mom is still awake, pacing by the window; dad is sound asleep.  “Why haven’t you answered your phone!?” Her mom scolds her…

Her phone.

It must still be at the lake. “Jason broke up with me. Mom, please…” Mom leads her up stairs, wipes her tears, kisses her head, and tucks her in bed… but sleep does not come…not on this night…

The next morning she speaks to her school counsellor and she weighs her options.

“The baby will go to heaven right?”

“God please forgive me…”

Confused and alone, afraid of the gossipers and the haughty eyes of her family and church, she books the appointment that will cover the shame of her sexual sin. Maybe this way no one will ever know.

She sheds yet another of a seemingly endless supply of tears.

Walking the lake shore, she finds her phone sitting on a stone, untouched, right where she left it. Missed texts from mom, dad, her best friend Grace, and pastor Dave, all concerned about her not coming home… but nothing from Jason… her heart sinks into hollowness and despair. Is there any other option?  She doesn’t know.  She can’t keep the baby can she?  She is too young. The baby won’t have a father. She can’t stand the anguish of the secret sin in her heart so with barely any battery power left, and less resolve in her heart, she calls her best friend Grace, “Please come to the lake. I need you…”

Her phone dies.

An hour passes.

An old green Jetta pulls up, a door slams, and another young teenager runs to the lake shore and hugs her best friend. Sobbing, she confides , “I am pregnant. It’s Jason’s .  But he doesn’t care. He left. I am going to have an abortion…it is the only way…”

They talk for hours…hardly aware of the passage of time, as only BFF’s can.

Weeping, Grace hugs her distraught friend, and together they sit on the lake shore, head on shoulder on head, holding hands in silence, and staring out over the serenely still lake. The sun sets beyond the horizon in a brilliant display of orange and pink. A solitary loon upon the water flaps its wings and breaks the silence with an eerily beautiful and haunting call.

Grace whispers, “His creation is so beautiful.”  

Yeah. It really is…

Grace look s at her friend,  and says, “Chels, it will  be difficult, but there is another way. Your baby does not have to die to cover up the fact you slept with Jason… Jesus already died for that!”

But what about the people?  The pain, the gossip, the judgment? How can I raise a baby alone? Life will be so different…it already is.

“Yes people will talk. They’ll probably call you names behind your back, but Jesus loves you and so do your parents, and so does Pastor Dave…and so do I.  We’ll always be there to help you. And you will love this baby.  You already do.”

Chelsea just heaves silent, gasping, sobs…

“Please don’t hide your shame. Through the shedding of innocent blood, God in His grace has provided a way for your shame to be covered… but not the shedding of your baby’s innocent blood. Through the shedding of Jesus’ innocent blood.  You know He laid down His own life for you. Jesus shed his blood for you, so that you don’t have to shed your child’s blood….”

With her tears forming tiny liquid bridges from eyelids to nose to lips, Chelsea manages a weak smile as she remembers the promises of God.  She hugs her friend and they say a short prayer together, consisting mainly of tears. Everything will be ok. The two young ladies sit on the lake shore, in silence, watching the moon rise above the horizon…

“I feel better, but my mom is still going to kill me…”

10440816_979358942094857_6127043282066722083_nI like to respond to readers questions, however sometimes I forget to respond to the less “urgent” questions, as life is busy.  Here are some of the questions I neglected to answer so far this summer:

“I can’t find what you wrote.  Sometimes my wife tells me about something you wrote, then when I look for it I can’t find it. Do you have more than one blog? “

Thanks for the question.

The answer is yes, I have more than one blog.  This is my main blog.  I also have a blog about being healthy physically called  The Healthy Christian. I rarely use it, mostly to just check in once in a while with how my health is going, or to post new recipes and exercises I like.

I also have a blog on tumblr which I mainly use to just repost what I write here.  I started it because I was told that all the cool kids use tumblr…guess I am not cool as it is my sadly neglected blog. :)

But I assume that your wife is likely talking about the One Christian Dad Facebook page where I post shorter thoughts, bible verses, quotes and personal anecdotes. I typically pre-write my thoughts and schedule them to appear later on in the day or week on the Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/OneChristianDad.

How can someone who has never done family devotions, start doing family devotions?

Pray for courage.

Gather your family together and say, “We are going to start doing family devotions.”

Open the Bible.

Read it.

Tell the kids to stop bickering.

Continue reading.

Ask questions.

Tell the kids to pay attention.

Answer questions.

Sing.

Pray.

Repeat daily.

How often do you have family devotions and what do you do?

My philosophy is that we should nourish our souls as often as we nourish our bodies. We have family devotions every time we eat together as a family, at least once per day during the week, and often 2 or 3 times per day on the weekend. We read a passage of scripture and mom or I ask each child questions based on the reading, geared to their age.  Sometimes we will sing, then we go around the table and talk about what we are thankful for and what we need to pray for. Then we close in prayer.

How old are you?

37

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

Yes.  It is in Chilliwack.  See…

Sesame Street

Do you know the difference between infralapsarianism and supralapsariansim?

Yes.

In your “Reformed” tab you mention monergism and synergism. Could you please explain that in easy to understand terms.  

Monergism is the view that God alone effects our salvation. Synergism is the view that God works together with us in effecting salvation.

What is your favourite Bible verse?

Impossible to narrow down to one, here are a few passages that I treasure:

Isaiah 53; Psalm 1; Psalm 16; Psalm 23; Psalm 56; Romans 5:6-11; Romans 8:38-39; 1 Peter 5:6-10; Ephesians 4:32

Do you think Churches should have weekly prayer meetings?

Yes. Prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness that God requires of us, not only individually, but corporately as well.

Are you Dutch?

No.

fundraisingFundraising.

We all do it, right?

For missions trips. For our kids to go to camp.  For the renovations for the church or school.

Fundraising is a good thing.

It brings communities together, as they work side by side on projects. It prompts us to consider what  good causes we can give our (His) money too.

Some people are against fundraising, because they say that people should just give if they are able.  But how would anyone know if there is a need if nobody asks? There is even biblical precedent for it when James writes, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” Asking is a beautiful thing. It keeps us humble before God and our neighbour.  “Please help me,” is the attitude the Lord delights to see in his children.

Whether it is humbling yourself before the throne of grace and asking for your daily bread, or swallowing your pride and going to the deacons to help with your finances, or going to a brother to get help overcoming alcohol or pornography, or going to your church community to help raise funds for some worthy cause; the Lord delights in humble requests.

Then there are the times that fundraising becomes manipulation, whether it is intentional or not. Those times where the line is crossed from asking, to manipulating by using “should” statements, or guilt/fear tactics in order to get you to give.

We can do it on a personal level: “I lost my job, you are my brothers, if each of you gives me X amount I  can make my mortgage, if not i will be homeless or have to live in your home…” or “You have a successful company, I am your brother and you should help out your brothers, you should give me a job…”

We can do it on a community level: “We need X amount of dollars for our church project, there are 100 people in our church, you should each give us Y amount, and then we’ll make it…”

Perhaps we should define Manipulation.  The Oxford dictionary defines it as controlling someone or something to your own advantage, often unfairly or dishonestly.

Let’s be honest and call a duck a duck…Manipulation is abuse.

If manipulation occurs in a marriage it is spousal abuse.

If manipulation occurs in the church it is spiritual abuse.

If manipulation occurs in a fundraiser…well I don’t know what that is called.

Perhaps you have been blessed by coming into some extra money, and some relatives found out, and start manipulating you to give to their little Johnny to go on a missions trip. “Everyone else is giving, imagine if Johnny missed out on the trip by just X amount?” It might be a worthy cause, but please do not give under coercion, or out of guilt, or because other people are doing it. Rather, as the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says in 2 Corinthians, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

So prayerfully consider the needs of your family, your church, the poor, the orphan and the widow, the local Christian school, and other good causes, then if you are able give everything you have, or half, or two copper pieces…give it. But do not give because you feel manipulated, or guilty because others are doing it. Give to the glory of God.

If you are going to have a fundraiser, please be careful. Be careful to avoid manipulative tactics.  Avoid tugging on the heartstrings of the poor and using guilt or fear to obtain a donation from those who are not really in a position to give.  Rather, ask humbly.  For God smiles upon humble requests.

And if you are approached to give – have grace.  Many times those who fund-raise are not intentionally manipulating you.  Perhaps you are feeling manipulated because of something that has occurred in your past. Perhaps your perception of the request is skewed. So ask – humbly! For God smiles upon humble requests. It goes both ways, see? Ask for clarification. And have grace for them. If the cause is something worth giving to, prayerfully consider giving to it.

SDG

Whose Side Is God On?

Posted: July 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

tumblr_nqk8ym0MKh1tgrxf5o1_400

In the year 1095 Pope Urban II proclaimed the first crusade to reclaim the “holy land.” For nearly 200 years until 1291, massive blood shed occurred in the “holy land” as the Catholic Church waged war upon the Muslims. 

Both sides claimed to have God on their side.

From 1861 to 1865 over 600,000 union and confederate soldiers died in the American Civil War. 

Both sides claimed to have God on their side.

2015 the Islamic State persecutes the Christian Church in South West Asia. 

Both sides claim to have God on their side.download

Even though they approve of, and celebrate, the murder of unborn children under the guise of “choice” and they celebrate  sexual immorality, through the normalizing of pornography and so called “same sex marriage,” America claims God is on their side. Their money says, “In God we trust.”

Funny. The Third Reich (Hitler’s crew) also believed that God was on their side. They even wore belt buckles that read “Gott Mit Uns”…or God with us…

God with us

Whose side is God on?

Claiming that God is on your side happens everywhere. And it is not always on such a grand scale as the Crusades, nor is it always between enemies like ISIS and the Coptic Church. Nor is it so blatantly obviously false as with Hitler’s regime or the current state of America. It also happens on a much smaller scale. Within congregations, under the same roof, between people in the pews…between brothers and sisters in Christ. 

I was recently emailed by someone who wished to remain anonymous, My friend and I are having a dispute.  He thinks (this way)  and I think (this other way)…[then a bunch of stuff about stuff]..He says that he is right, but I am sure that I am right. Who side is God on? {then a bunch of other stuff}…”

We have all seen it haven’t we? Some offence happens. Some sin, something, maybe a deal gone bad.  Maybe a disagreement, or something bigger. Who knows. One side flings some mud at the other, and the other side flings it back. Both claim to be right.  Both will not back down, refusing to remove the log from their own eye, while throwing mud in their brother’s eyes.

Both sides claim to have God on their side.

And it drags on for another day.

Both sides continue to demonize each other.

Both sides paint the other as evil caricatures, incapable of good, incapable of God’s love, pointing at, and talking about, the other’s specks, while failing to see their own logs, flinging more mud and dragging His name through it each time they scoop up another handful.

“Did you hear what he did?” 

“Can you believe her!?”

“She is such a…”

Then the Bible comes out… and they start to use it to bash each other, rather than admonish, rebuke, encourage, and build them up in love.

“Legalist.”

“Pharisee.”

“Lawless.”

“Corrupt.”

“Unregenerate.”

“Self Righteous.”

“Wolf in sheep’s clothing…”

“He has the Devil in him…”

Most of us are probably guilty of this to some degree. Let’s be honest. And if not, then almost certainly, we have witnessed it in some form. And the only solution to the problem, if you talk to either of the combatants, is that the “other side” ought to just give in and give up. Both sides wrap themselves up in the “arrogance of righteousness.” Self-righteous pride takes hold. Both sides are right in their own eyes.  Both sides claim to have “scripture to back them up.” 

Both sides claim to have God on their side.

We ought to be careful, when claiming that God is on our side.  What is the reason we think he is on our side?  Because we think we are right? Because we have such a great knowledge of the Bible?  Because of pride?  Is it because we think we are holier than the other person?  Smarter?  More educated? 

Why is God on one side and not the other side?

God is not on your side or my side because of anything we did, or didn’t do, no matter how “right” we think we are. And if we are dragging people through the mud, or flinging it at others in an effort to make ourselves look better, then we ought to look and see where we are really standing. 

Are standing we on God’s side?  Because God is on His own side. He is on Jesus’ side. None of us is worthy to have God on our side.

Some may point to Romans 8:31 or the many Psalms that show that God is for us.  And it is true.  God really is for us. But how is God for us?  To quote RC Sproul commenting on Romans 8:31,

“We can be confident that the Lord will do only what furthers our ultimate good. To do this, after all, is a logical consequence of the great sacrifice He made when He gave up His Son for us on the cross.  If He could do that, then surely He would never do anything that would make that sacrifice worthless. He would never deny us any of the blessings that are promised to us on account of Christ’s atoning work.”

And what is our ultimate good?  Our ultimate good is God Himself.  He will bring us more of Himself as He makes us more like Jesus. Yes. God is for us. He promises to bring the work he started in us to completion. But he is not for our petty battles. He gave us the ministry of reconciliation, not the ministry of mud slinging. We are to love each other, as he loved us.  Forgiving each other, as he forgives us. God is for us, only as we are in Christ.  He sees Jesus standing in our place.  If you are member of the Church, if you are saved by Jesus Christ, then yes, God is on your side, or more precisely, God has brought you over to his side…  so let us be careful.  Perhaps, a better question to ask than, “Is God on our side?,” would be, “Are we in him?” “Are we in a Covenant relationship with Jesus Christ?” And if we are, then we get to be like Jesus and look graciously upon each other in love. 

Let’s do that!

Let’s take the logs out of our own eyes so we can see clearly to remove the specks in our brothers eyes.  Let’s put the mud away. Let’s wash our hands. Let’s encourage and admonish each other in love.

Let’s love each other…because…after all… God is on our side.

Are we on His?

God’s Bottle

Posted: June 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

6ce44375384d76c8ca1a6ff75f1ce533

Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
    all day long an attacker oppresses me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
    for many attack me proudly.
When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can flesh do to me?

All day long they injure my cause;
    all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk;
    they watch my steps,
    as they have waited for my life.
For their crime will they escape?
    In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

You have kept count of my wanderings;
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
    in the day when I call.
    This I know, that[d] God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can man do to me?

I must perform my vows to you, O God;
    I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
    yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life. ~ Psalm 56

Psalm 56 is one of my favourite passages of scripture. It shows the tenderness of God. David is hiding from those who wish to harm him. From those who slander him and seek his life. So he cries out God, “Be gracious to me!”    David is fearful. He had no idea where to run to or who can help humanly speaking, so he runs to God. “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.”

David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, recorded this for not only his own benefit, but ours also.

This psalm always gets to me, especially verse 8.

You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?

“You have taken account of my wanderings;”

Each step he took as he fled and hid from his pursuers, every place he sat, every bush he hid behind, was not merely seen by God, they were worth counting. God took account of his child’s wanderings.

Wanderings!

Think about that!

What do we take account of? Money? RRSP’s? insurance? Benefits? God takes account of our wanderings…when we are confused, unsure, lost, scared, pursued by enemies….Every trial we face…he takes them all into account.

“Put my tears in Your bottle.”

This has always gotten to me.  When I really think about this I am utterly bowed down in awe. This is one of my favourite verses which reveals the tenderness of God. David so trusts God, in the midst of his fear, that he knows that God will collect his tears and store them in His bottle. David says, “Your Bottle,” not just any bottle. Not a broken bottle, not our bottle, not some lowly bottle…but God’s bottle.

His own bottle.

Like a winemaker would do with the finest fruit of his labour from the vineyard. David, inspired of the Spirit, is saying that your tears, those which you shed for affliction and for your sin are precious to the Lord, and he will collect them like a bottle of the finest vintage.  The tears of his children are like wine.  Your tears are like the finest wine!

“Are they not in Your book?”

This is not a question. David is not concerned that God might not take note of his pain. Rather, he is saying to God, “I know they are in Your book, I know You have taken account of these things that troubling me.” God will look upon our afflictions, our trials, our sufferings in mercy. He will remember our pain. The Lord is tender and gracious. It is amazing that he would care for us, that he would lower himself to know us, to suffer for us, you see Jesus died for us.  He bore our sins, he knows pain that he ought not to have known, cried tears he need not have cried, except for that he loved us…and he collects our tears in His bottle.

Let us praise him! Let us say with the psalmist,

“I must perform my vows to you, O God;
    I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
    yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.”

God Has Given Us Over.

Posted: June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags:

20150626_white_house_rainbow_3_ap_1160_956x519

Three years ago, when President Obama stated that he approved of same sex marriage, I got on my soapbox and wrote an article entitled “God is giving us over.”  In light of the recent rainbow on everything from the White House to my WordPress dashboard, I revisited that post.  I have tweaked it and edited it and retitled it, “God has given us over,” in light of the fact I cannot go on the computer without seeing this topic everywhere.

Capture

As you likely know, history was made on Friday as the US supreme court ruled in favour of legalizing same sex marriages nation wide.  This should not come as a surprise, to anyone, and it is old news to those of us in Canada. in fact, it has been this way for a while here.

And it’s ok America, you won’t blow up…Canada is still here…for now…

There are Christians who claim that God is going to judge our society for this and for the selfish, hedonistic lifestyles we as western culture and society live.  True, he will judge us, but there will be no war to wipe us out, there will be no comet hurtling to earth, there will be no plague, no tsunami, no earthquake or nuclear events to punish us for the sins of society.  Yes, these things may still happen, and they are a result of the fall, but they are not the punishment for our temporal sins and shortcomings.

What we are witnessing in our world and in our society, with the US Supreme courts decision, with abortion being seen as a “medical procedure,” with euthanasia being legalized around the world, the ease of access to pornography, with the tolerant views of the world, with our societal love of violence, rape, and sex, with the “everything is permissible” attitude of the world…all of this is God’s “judgement” on our societal sins.

God has given us over to what we value – and what we value as a culture and as a society is simply this – ourselves.

We, as a society, value our own individualism, our own feelings, our own comfort, and our own pleasure, our own selfish desires above God.  In the name of equality we indulge our sins.  We indulge in sexual liberty.  We indulge in addiction.  We have told God to leave us alone. The “punishment” for this is that God is giving us over and letting us live in our “values” as a society.  God is giving us over to ourselves as it says in Romans over and over:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

When we live in sin, when we adopt a sinful worldview, when we turn our back on God, when we say to God, “We do not want your law.  We do not want you. Leave us alone.” He will say, “As you wish.” He will give us over to these things.

As Christians we do not approve of sexual impurity, abortion, porn, addictions, abuse, and so on. In some instances we should push back against it, for example, in the case of abortion which we view as murder, but there will be no divine judgement on these people in this temporal life.  Sure, there will be consequences for sin, but God is not going to smite the lot of us.  No.  Each of us will be held accountable when we stand before the Lord on the day of judgement.  This goes for you and me, the heterosexual and the homosexual, the mother of 6 children and the mother of the aborted child.  The issue in the end will be simply this…are your sins covered through faith alone in Christ alone?  Where are your values?  In Christ or in yourself?

So how should we proceed as Christian’s on this issue of same sex marriage that is not only tolerated and accepted, but celebrated in our society? As Christians we have to realize that this is not an isolated issue. Neither is abortion or the host of other societal issues we Christians see as wrong. Each is simply a symptom of a much larger problem.  The real problem is that our society has abandoned God as it says in Romans 1:28

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

Attacking the symptoms will do nothing; we need to address the cause. Personal attacks on a homosexual person will do nothing to show them the love of Christ. Debating whether their lifestyle is right will get you nowhere. Posting rainbows on Facebook and saying that it is God’s sign won’t accomplish anything, unless you like debates that go nowhere.

So, how are we to proceed? Well, it is simple.

We are to present the Gospel in love.

Out of compassion.

We are to live as salt and light.

We are to treat all people as they are – that is, as image bearers of the almighty God.  We are all sinners.  So love the homosexual; love the girl who had an abortion, love everyone and show them the love of Christ – Why?  Because God has commanded us to Love.  What is the greatest commandment?  Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind, and the second is like it… LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF. Be compassionate. It is not our place to judge those outside of the Church, but it is our place to present to them the cure. What is the cure for the current state of the world?

The cure is simply, yet profoundly, the gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected. Remember that it is much easier to judge someone from behind your computer, than it is to show them the love of Christ in person.

So, present the cure, the gospel of Jesus Christ, in love and to God’s Glory.

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood —to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished –  he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.