Monthly Archives: September 2012

“Daddy, Is Death a Cuss Word?”

My daughter asked me that question when she was five years old. My grandmother had just died and she could see the pain and grief in our family. “No, honey,” I replied, “but it should be.”

I was reminded of her question because this past weekend I buried a ten year old boy. He is the same age as my youngest son. In fact, they played on the same basketball team at the YMCA two years ago. His name was Ryan. He was a great kid from a great family. He was full of life and energy. He was killed in a tragic accident on a playground. One minute he was playing, the next minute he was gone.

His life was short, too short. The words tragic, senseless, unbelievable just don’t communicate the depth of loss that our entire community felt when we heard what happened. This isn’t the way a young, good life is supposed to end. And the void he leaves is too big to fill, even with all our tears.

We are left asking hard questions? How could God let something like this happen? Was this God’s will? Why didn’t God do something about it? In our gut we know this isn’t right. Something tells us in our hearts that this is not the way life is suppose to be. We want answers.

I don’t pretend to have answers to all of these questions. I don’t know why we suffer tragedies like this. I don’t know why some people get cancer or die in a car accident. The world is broken. We experience pain, sorrow, despair, and tragedy. And death is no respecter of persons – even little boys. I can’t answer why God allows a freak accident to take Ryan’s life.

But I do know this: Ryan’s life, not his death, was and remains God’s will. I can’t answer why God didn’t do something that day on the playground to save Ryan’s life. But I can tell you that God did do something to save Ryan’s life before Ryan was even born.

God sees the brokenness of this world. He understands the pain, hurt, and sorrow we experience in our lives. He knows what it is like to lose a son. God experienced how tragic, senseless, and unbelievable death is and He did something about it. He sent Jesus to pay the penalty of sin so that we might live forever. And when Jesus died, God raised Him back to life. Jesus has overcome death and because He lives, we will live to.

You see, God took the long view. Can you see it from His perspective? Do you hear His words to us, “I am the resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26. That is and remains God’s will for Ryan, for you, for me, for everyone! Death does not have the final word on life. Jesus secures for us eternal life. This is the hope we have in the midst of our pain and sorrow.

But our hope is bigger yet. Revelation 21:1-7, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,for the old order of things has passed away.”

5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

It has been said, Christianity is optimism with scars. We know that this world is broken and we are broken right along with it. We bear those scars. But the scripture we read speaks of the optimism, the hope we have. It tells us what God’s will is and what He is doing about it. He is going to take this broken world and start over. A day is coming when God, Himself, will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Death will be no more, mourning and crying and pain are gone. He is going to make all things new.

Ryan’s mom told me of a dream she had the night he died where she saw Ryan and he told her, “I’m ok. They fixed me.” She asked, “How?” He didn’t give any answers. He just grinned.

I’ve got good news. God’s not going to stop with just Ryan. He is going to fix it all. He’s going to make all things new. And so with scars on our hearts, we can say with confidence, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting? But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Filed under Beliefs, Bible, Kids, Life

The DNC, Adam and Eve, and You and Me

It is no coincidence that the Democratic Party has, in the same week, taken God out of their party platform and said, “The government is the only thing we all belong to.” It is not a coincidence because this path is described in Romans 1:18-32.  I am amazed at how vivid the parallels are between the DNC, Adam and Eve, and you and me.

The party platform for 2012 was approved on Sept 4th and in it they had removed all references to God.  After the press began to ask questions, the DNC realized this was not selling well to the American people.  They moved to amend the platform to put God back in.  Watch this video of the vote.  See if you think it was a 2/3 majority.  Listen to the boos that the results received.

“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. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” – Romans 1:21-23.

When people refuse to worship God and remove Him from their lives, they live in a false reality.  God is the Creator of all things.  There is nothing in heaven above or on earth below that He does not claim for His glory.  Everything points to Him.  When we live as if that is not true, we live in a false reality.  That denial of truth (which is evident to everyone just from the marvels of creation so that no one is without excuse) causes bad thinking.  That thinking is futile because it goes against the way the universe is wired to run.  It just doesn’t work.  Persistence in this type of thinking leads to foolishness and dark hearts.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Humanity always needs something to worship.  We are worshippers by nature.  If we will not worship the immortal God, we will worship something else.  Throw out God and create your own. The ancients worshipped the sun, nature, and gods that looked like animals.  The Democrats have exchanged God for government.

We are to trust in government.  Almighty Government is the solution to every problem.  All Caring Government will provide people food, jobs, security, cell phones, education, child care, health care, retirement, mortgages  – everything.  And when we let it do all of that then the government does own us.  We will belong to it whether we want to or not.  It will tell us what to eat, where to live, what activities are appropriate, etc.

Listen to this video shown at the DNC on Sept 4th

“The Government is the only thing we all belong to.”  That is the thinking.  We are its dependents.  We owe our lives to it.  This explains the thinking of the president when he said to Americans, “That business of yours – you didn’t build that”.  The DNC has exchanged God for government.  Government is their god.  It is the creator, giver, and sustainer of life in their thinking.  Romans 1:25, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served created things, rather than the Creator – who is forever praised.  Amen.”

But the consequences of this thinking don’t stop there.  Romans 1:24-32 says God gives people over to this thinking.  In other words, He lets the consequences run their course.  Perhaps you can see how God has given them over to their sinful desires.  The DNC platform is for taxpayer funded abortion (murder), free birth control, and even gay marriage.  Do you see the parallels in the passage?  I can’t help but think of slogans like “Pay Their Fair Share” and “The 1%” when I read the warning signs of greed, envy, and malice.  Watch the video of the vote again.  Did you notice the open deceit and deception of the outcome?  They had no problem disenfranchising their own delegates of their votes! 

But I’m not accusing the DNC of anything that the rest of us are not guilty of.  What I see in this party is a clear demonstration of the fallen nature of humanity.  The story is as old as Adam and Eve.  Actually, it is their story.  Adam and Eve decided to do things their way and not God’s way.  They wanted to be like God instead of acknowledging Him and being obedient to Him.  So they replaced God with, well, themselves.  Their will was done, not God’s.

And it is our story.  We do the same thing.  Everyone one of us has a sinful, rebellious nature.  We are born with it.  Theologians call it original sin.  We choose to do things our own way and not God’s way.  Another word for it is pride. 

We think we could really be free and live life to the fullest if we didn’t have these moral restraints placed on us by God.  So we throw them off.  We work to remove any sign of God by compartmentalizing our private lives and claiming there should be separation of church and state in our public lives.  The less God there is the more freedom we have… so the theory goes.

But it doesn’t work.  It didn’t work for Adam and Eve. They were separated from God, banished from the garden, brought a curse on the land, and set us all on a course to meet death one day. 

It doesn’t work in our own lives.  Broken relationships, debt, addiction, and despair are some of the consequences of our “freedom”.  We can’t run from it.  It weighs on our souls in our quiet moments.  It steals our hope and joy.  It leaves us empty.

And it doesn’t work in politics either.  The world hasn’t gotten any better with government solutions.  We have $16 trillion in debt with massive welfare entitlements and more people on food stamps than ever before. 

When we do not acknowledge God in our own lives and live however we want, destruction is the outcome.  For a myriad of reasons we don’t want to admit it so we look for something else to blame.  For Adam, it was Eve.  For Eve, it was the snake.  For the Democrats, it is Republicans.  For you and me, well…..the lies and excuses have to end.  Can we acknowledge our pride and sin before it is too late? 

We can plainly see that life is broken and doesn’t work so we look for salvation.  We have reached the realization that salvation does not lie within so we look to something bigger than ourselves.  For many Americans salvation is sought in a government program.  Politicians become messiahs.  This religion has played itself out before and has never delivered on its promises.  Ask the Cubans, the Russians, the North Koreans, or any other people who have worshipped government as their god.  This false god of government doesn’t save.  It enslaves.  That’s what false gods do.

The solution is simple.  It is not forcing God into a party platform.  It is not paying lip service to the Creator.  The solution is repenting of our sin and allowing Jesus to be Lord of our lives as individuals.  We must begin to acknowledge how the universe it wired to work.  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10.   For life to work, we must turn to the Creator of life and acknowledge Him and His ways.

That’s true for the DNC, Adam and Eve, and you and me.

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Filed under Beliefs, Bible, Freedom, Government