Month: December 2019

Blood

  Perhaps you recall riding by an automobile accident, or watching the evening news when someone had been killed.  Generally, where there is bloodshed, the body of the slain will be covered to prevent us from seeing the blood.  Why?  Because even the mention of the word “blood” conjures up all sorts of emotion.

  For many, even the thought of blood can cause a sick feeling in the pit of the stomach. Others search the internet to gawk at bloody scenes as if they were some form of entertainment.  Children, and adults who refuse to grow up, are incrementally desensitized by the vile produce of Hollywood or by violent video games which allow them to be the cause of carnage that reaps no consequence, other than to make them the high scorer of a foolish game.

  In real life, for those whose minds are not deranged, blood is precious.  Perhaps you have given blood to the blood bank where your own blood was pumped from your veins by your own heart into a sterile bag, by measure.  Maybe you were the recipient of someone else’s blood after an accident or at the time of surgery.  There is something altogether different about the way we think when blood is properly contained and utilized to preserve life. 

  Satan, the enemy of our souls, is certainly interested in how we think about blood.  He is delighted when we are sickened by the thought of it.  He is thrilled when we measure entertainment by the pints of blood that are splattered on our screens.

 The Bible tells us, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood… (Lev. 17:11).”   Blood is indeed precious and its loss is critical.  How precious?  How critical?  God would have you know that it was the precious blood of His own Son that purchased forgiveness for all that will come to Him by faith.  The story of Jesus’ passion is not to be covered for the squeamish, nor gawked at by the perverted thrill seeker.  Take a serious look; Jesus gave His life’s blood for you.

In The Year Of Our Lord

  Did you ever concentrate on the hands of a watch, trying to detect their movement?  If you make note of the time and then stare at your watch for half an hour, you’ll never see the hands move, and yet at the end of the session, time will have elapsed and the face of the watch will have changed.  It’s quite frustrating isn’t it?  So it is with our nation’s drift away from the God of the Bible.  Though you might compare today to your vivid recollection of yesteryear and see a marked difference, you probably can’t detect any major slippage since last week.

  I saw an article recently pertaining to our classification of dates with respect to the life of Christ.  We grew up with BC (Before Christ) which represents the years before the birth of Christ, and AD, an acronym for Anno Domini, Latin for In the year of our Lord, referring to the years since Christ’s birth.  Seems a fitting system for a nation founded upon Christian principles and that unashamedly boasts mottos like: “In God we trust” and “One nation under God.”

  The article pointed out that not every US citizen is a Christian, and perhaps our terminology will be offensive to those who do not believe as we do.  They suggest adopting more generic terms for referencing dates, such as Before Common Era or BCE instead of Before Christ or BC.  Its counterpart, Common Era or CE, they say, should be used to refer to the years after Christ’s birth.  I took the author to mean that we should be careful not to offend anyone, …unless of course they happen to be Christians.

  You might be asking “What difference does it make?”  Well, perhaps not much, it’s just one almost undetectable tick of the clock.  But if the Lord tarries, in the coming year, like the hands on your watch, the face of our beloved country will have changed in undetectable increments evenly spaced from one day, In the year of our Lord, to the next.

Assassination Attempt

  Contrary to the folklore version of the Christmas story there were no Wisemen from the Orient at the manger scene on the night that Jesus was born in Bethlehem; their visit was likely a year or more after Christ’s birth.  Actually, Jesus was a young child and was visited by the Magi in a house rather than a cattle stall (Matthew 2:11).  The star they had seen in their own land before the arduous journey, did not lead these Wisemen from their homeland to Israel, but reappeared after they had come to Jerusalem, and led them to Jesus in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:9).

  King Herod who reigned in Jerusalem at the time, was troubled when he heard from the Wisemen that another king had been born.  To secure his dynasty he determined to kill the child king.  After a failed attempt to deceive the Wisemen into finding the king and returning to Jerusalem to report His whereabouts, Herod determined to kill all of the children of Bethlehem who were under two years of age.  Matthew 2:16-18 records the slaughter of the innocent children.  Before the soldiers arrived to carry out their evil deed, Joseph was warned by God in a dream, to flee to Egypt with his family until God would send notice that Herod was dead (Matthew 2;13).  Satan’s plot to destroy the Christ Child before His mission could be fulfilled, was thwarted.  But there would be other attempts on the life of the One who came to bring hope and joy to a world groping in spiritual darkness unawares.

  This mission of God’s Anointed Son, Jesus Christ, was to live in a sin cursed world without sin.  His perfection qualified Him to be a satisfactory substitute to pay the price of my forgiveness and yours.  Jesus came to die because death is the penalty for sin.  He was crucified outside of Jerusalem thirty-three and a half years after His birth.  They buried Him in a borrowed tomb and in three days, as predicted, He rose from the dead and was seen of hundreds of witnesses before He ascended back to Heaven to make His promises good to those who will trust Him.   And yet, in sorrow He must still say, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (Jn 5:40)”

HELP!

  Imagine standing on the deck of a cruise ship and hearing someone shout, “Man Overboard!”  Imagine that as you circle the bow of the ship, hoping to get a glimpse of the action, you discover that you are the first, maybe the only one responding to the frantic call for help.  You scan the waters,… there he is, bobbing among the waves.  Immediately, you reach for the closest life preserver and run to the rail shouting, “Here, catch this!” Now imagine this; the soggy sailor shouts back, “No, not the life preserver, could you toss me that deck chair?”

  All right stop imagining, and tell me the question that is flashing in your mind.  You are probably thinking, “Why does this man, who is in such desperate need of rescue, ask for a deck chair?”  Maybe he bumped his head falling off the ship; maybe his brain is a bit waterlogged.  Whatever the reason, it’s obvious that his perceived need is not what he really needs.

  We live in a day in which needs abound.  There are victims of every sort with both real and perceived needs.  Offering help these days requires discernment on the part of those of us who would participate in the rescue and relief effort.  The man in the water might truly enjoy relaxing in a deck chair, but his most immediate need is to get his feet solidly on the deck.

  Helping others is certainly honorable, and many in our day go above and beyond the call of duty to reach out to those who have both real and perceived needs.  But I wonder; while we aid in the realms of the physical, should not we who are called “children of light” also introduce the needy to the only One who can sustain them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for time and eternity?

  Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, the Life” (John 14:6), “in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  The Bible tells us that “by Him all things consist.” (Col. 1:17)  So, our greatest need is a relationship with Almighty God, the One who can meet the most grievous needs of man.

In Dependence

  Though what I am about to say will necessarily sound political, let me assure you that it is not my purpose to make a political statement.  In a free country, multiple philosophical differences about the role of government will in time manifest themselves.  There will always be individuals who are wealthy, independent, intellectual, and in their own estimation, destined to rule.  This ruling class stands to gain if there are many dependent, poor and ignorant paupers for them to exercise authority over.  These underlings are willfully dependent upon the proverbial “they” who are assumed, by some unwritten law, to be obligated to meet their every need.

  The ruling class has a propensity to rise to the top of the societal strata, while the poor, dependent, and ignorant settle to the bottom.  Political analysts have recently referred to the dependents as “useful idiots.”  Though brash, the characterization seems fitting to the mind of the honest observer.

  Let me get to the point.  If we love the freedom that our forefathers so sacrificially afforded us, two adjustments must be made:  First, those who would rise to the top of the societal ladder, and lord it over others, must realize that they too are dependents by nature.  The Word of God tells us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)”

  Secondly, those who have surrendered to a life of dependence, must shift their dependence from the elite, to the One who is sovereign over the affairs of all men.  Paul wrote to his son in the faith, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (1 Timothy 2:1–2)”

  I pray that we make the adjustments to our perspectives while there is time.  Our greatest virtue, from the beginning, was that we were “one nation under God.”