While others may let you down…

I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies. – Psalm 18:1-3 (NKJV)
Over the course of my lifetime, I have placed my trust in many people, places and things — only to be repeatedly disappointed and sometimes betrayed by those I thought could never do such a thing. Naturally, when I look long and hard at my own character and recall some of my own actions, I must confess that I, too, have let people down during my earthly journey. Thank God that He is the One who never lets people down.

Don’t Forget

When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.“But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. – Deuteronomy 8:10-11 (NLT)

Time and again in a twelve step fellowship I belong to have I heard people just returning after drinking or using drugs say that they forgot to be grateful or do the things they knew they were supposed to be doing. Life got good, they took credit and neglected the very things which saved them on a daily basis. Such it is with my relationship with God: when things are going well, it’s easy to feel less dependent and, therefore, pay less attention to the One who loves me like no other could.

I must never forget where my salvation comes from and the only things that are truly eternal.

Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Defending the Faith

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV)

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. – Romans 1:26-28 (ESV)

This post is a little bit of a departure from the normal tone of my posts. Please allow me to rant on a subject of great importance to me [and likely to you as a Christian].

On the way to work recently, I was listening to a talk radio program that I usually catch some of during my drive that left me somewhat disappointed and annoyed. Usually, I agree with the host’s point of view, as I normally find it tempered with reason more so than many others. However, today I found myself a little angry at yet another attack on conservative, Bible-based Christianity. This time it seemed to come from an unusual place. I don’t know why I should be so surprised: it is a secular program filled with many worldly egos, concerns and opinions.

I get tired of listening to people attack Christians by calling us ‘haters,’ bigots,’ uneducated, ignorant or whatever the insult of the day is. All too often, it is they who launch the attack and make accusations against us, demonstrating their lack of tolerance for opinions not their own. I know this is to be expected, but nonetheless it is frustrating and aggravating to have to endure it on the radio before I even get to work — and very disappointing when it comes from somebody whose show I have enjoyed and opinions often agreed with.

The issue at hand deals with a basketball player who recently ‘came out’ to the world and admitted that he is a homosexual. Naturally, as is currently fashionable, people were quick to come out in support of his “courageous act.” From former presidents to the current administration, the NFL and the Red Sox, the support has been pouring forth. This is news? An accused baby killer on trial, chemical weapons allegedly used in Syria, a big unemployment problem coupled with over-taxation, the debate over gun control legislation… and we concern ourselves with a basketball player who feels the need to tell the world that he’s gay? I think we need to focus. What is so heroic [in this day and age] about that? He stands to profit much from his new-found attention, in terms of endorsements; not to mention that he will probably get picked up by a team much quicker now. Is it really so heroic or is it just self-serving? I wonder. I really don’t know. Here’s the important news concerning him: I’m sure Jesus loves him every bit as much as he loves me. How do I know that? Scripture. That same scripture that is accused of spouting “nonsense” and fueling hateful rhetoric.

I have always believed in a ‘live and let live’ policy when it comes to how others live their life, as long as they don’t harm my loved ones, myself or erode our rights. I guess that is my inner-libertarian talking. That said, don’t try to stifle my opinion by attempting to shame me into accepting a viewpoint contrary to what I believe is the Word of God. That doesn’t make me a hater, bigot, ignorant or any other derogatory term someone may wish to describe me with. It makes me someone who disagrees with a popular “cause” in the mainstream these days. Oh well.

As a Christian, I work on trying not to be judgmental of others and follow the “live and let live” philosophy I mentioned earlier. I do not try to exclude people who live ‘alternate lifestyles’ from the same rights I enjoy as a citizen. I do not claim to have knowledge of any one sin being worse than another and freely admit I depend on the grace of God for my salvation. I have suffered from the same sinful, depraved nature every one else has and don’t pretend to be superior in any way. But I do have a relationship with Jesus. Sadly, that seems to be the missing ingredient in all too many lives and a necessary remedy to the decay our country is faced with.

All that being said, I take offense when radio hosts refer to scripture as a basis for one’s opinion on the gay issue as ‘nonsense.’ [By the way, this person was quick to mention that he’s not in the gay lifestyle — something I have noticed often with ‘open-minded’ and ‘accepting’ people out to defend a person’s right to sleep with who they want. Why is it so important that they quickly distance themselves from that which they claim to support? Are they afraid someone will label them as a homosexual? Curious].

The Bible is the Bible. Parts of it as easier to accept than others. More than once, I have had to pray for understanding of particular passages or chapters, especially when reading parts of the Old Testament. God has been gracious enough to answer those prayers or give me a glimpse of the big picture from time to time.

I must point point out that there is another verse in 1 Corinthians 6 that follows those which I quoted at the beginning of this post that provides hope for all of us: And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. – 1 Corinthians 6:11 (ESV)

I don’t pretend to know who makes it to heaven and who winds up elsewhere. I am not God and would not dare pretend to know His judgment of anyone. I only know about me — and I only know that through His incredible grace and the sacrifice of Jesus. I know He loves me and I love Him. I know He loves you. If that’s “hate speech,” then I guess I’m guilty as charged. Funny, though — when I first heard it, it sounded more like “love speech.”