The World Lies

Let’s talk about fairness.

The concept of fairness is one that permeates our society.  It’s considered a good thing to be thought of as fair – it is perceived to mean that one is tolerant, understanding, and even-handed, but it is a great lie.

Is the world fair?

Babies are born into wealth and poverty.  Some are born perfectly normal with fully functional minds and bodies and others are born with some sort of defect that will either hinder them their entire lives or leave them with an extremely abbreviated lifespan.

This is just one brief example of how the world is not fair.  To think it should be otherwise is our pride roaring within us. When we see unfairness, we want to hammer it out – correct it, fix it.

We are trying to claim the authority of God when we attempt to enforce fairness.  We are effectively saying to him that we know better.

We can no more force the world to be fair than we can tell gravity to not hold our feet to the ground.

The Truth – The only fairness we should expect is the fairness of God’s judgment for only He is perfect and righteous.  There can be no justice, equality, or perfect liberty without God.

When man enforces his will – the outcome will be imperfect and ultimately fail.  That is what has stricken our country and our world.  Mankind has thought that it has dominion over this world – we are at the top of the food chain, there are billions of us, and we have the tools and might to shake the world – or so we thought.  Despite all of our advances in technology, medicine, philosophy – all of our vaunted progress, the TRUTH is that we are nothing.

We generate power by splitting atoms, but millions sit in the dark.

We grow food from the ground, but cannot feed the world.

We speak lofty words of fairness, equality, tolerance, yet can only try to force such concepts into reality through naked force.

The world is not fair.  You have to accept this truth or you are deluding yourself in pride and envy.  You cannot look at someone who has something and wish the same for yourself just because you think or feel that you deserve it.  The simple fact is that we ultimately deserve only one thing – death.

The good news is that we have a righteous God who is love and compassion perfected.  He gave us the Truth.  He offers fairness, liberty, justice, mercy, and grace.  He will perfect the imperfect and only asks that we lay down our pride and envy and follow Him.

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

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.

Romans 3:19-26

 

 

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Instances

It has been seventy-one years since our country woke up on another December morning.  War raged in Europe and the Pacific, but America was at peace.  We thought we were safe with two massive oceans on our east and west coasts that would isolate us from the inferno of these two wars.  We thought we were strong enough to deter any attack.

The Attack 1941 On Pearl Harbor

The Japanese were the same way.  They believed that they were due their empire.  They were extremely proud and had met nothing, but success so far.  While the attack on Pearl Harbor was a terrific success for them, it ultimately led to their downfall as their own pride guided their actions.  In their own eyes, they were destined and undefeatable.

ph2

The funny thing is that everything we thought was an illusion.  History has a funny way of giving us such a crystal clear perspective that we can say now that we should have seen our perceptions as hollow and false, but humanity has a funny way of sugarcoating it’s own state and making it oftentimes better than it actually is.  Call it vanity, false confidence, or bravado.  Whatever you want to label it, the symptom is of a deeper disease, pride.  Pride can be as damaging to us as bombs, bullets, rockets, and torpedoes.  In my own life, I can point to tripping points and if I am honest with myself, where I went wrong each time was that I held on to my pride rather than thrown it down.

WAR & CONFLICT BOOK
ERA:  WORLD WAR II/WAR IN THE EAST/JAPAN ATTACKS

Pride earns you nothing.  It is self-bestowed and hollow always, because our worth is not based on who we are or what we do, but on Whom we place our trust and faith, on Whom created us, on Whom gave us the whole Earth as our dominion.

ph4

So today, on this anniversary, don’t look back and think of how our great nation rose from the ashes of that fateful December day and punished our enemies at the time.  Look back and see how pride has disastrous side-effects.  Pride will hide the truth from each and every one of us, because the truth is black and white and the truth is not comforting… unless the truth you seek is the one found in Christ alone.

Yes, December 7th is forever a day that will live in infamy, not for the bombs that fell, the bullets that were fired, the torpedoes that were dropped, and the soldiers, sailors and airmen who died, but for the body blow we took as a nation because of our pride.

Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
    The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
    but the proud he pays back in full.

Psalm 31:23

 

Twisting in the Wind

Have you ever found yourself riding high? Everything is going well, success, popularity, fame, fortune, etc are all just coming to you easily (ok, maybe not quite that high, but you’re well off in some aspect of your life).  Has God ever let the one thing that had you riding high to force you back to your knees?

I can’t help but to think of General David Petraeus and his extramarital affair with Ms. Broadwell, his biographer. I could focus on the political aspects of how the affair may have impacted his judgment, or national security, or even the aftermath of the Benghazi incident and Petraeus’ role in it.

Petraeus had built an extremely successful career in the U.S. Army – he was a four-star general, he had been successful as the commander of the armed forces in Afghanistan, at Central Command, and had been elevated to being the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  His name was even floated about in a number of circles as a possible running mate for Governor Romney against Petraeus’ boss, President Obama.  He was definitely riding high.  He probably felt like the world was his oyster and his pride in his own accomplishments was likely soaring in the clouds.  When he was approached to put together his biography, it probably occurred to him that such a maneuver could parlay quickly into an upcoming political career where he would be instantly thrust into the forefront of many Americans’ minds as a possible future Commander-in-Chief.

God, in His ultimate wisdom, knew that pride is the ultimate downfall of man because we ultimately have nothing to be truly proud of as everything we do is just barely better than the accomplishments of dust.  Petraeus’ affair was found out, investigated, exposed, and has resulted in his resigning as Director of the CIA.  For all intents and purposes, this could be the end of his renowned career.  I think he knows this.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I have a theory, and it is based on nothing more than conjecture at this point, but let me float it so we can see how accurate it is.  For a breakdown of why I think this, please read about the incidents in Benghazi (linked here).

David Petraeus is no longer bound to follow President Obama’s orders.  As CIA Director, the Administration was able to exercise some modicum of control on him, especially if knowledge of this affair was floated as a way to keep him quiet about what really happened.  I’ve heard on the radio that some conservative talk show hosts think Obama fired Petraeus effectively (asking for his resignation) after the election since it wouldn’t be politically damaging, but consider that other public officials have survived extramarital affairs without having to leave their posts.

One simple question – is Petraeus willingly falling on his sword career-wise in order to ensure that truth of what happened in Benghazi sees the light of day? This brings us back to that passage from Romans.  Could something so personally damaging be used ultimately for good?  Absolutely.

Edited to Add (May 13, 2013):

Rumor has it that General Petraeus will testify this week to the House Oversight Committee regarding the Benghazi scandal that exploded in the President’s face last week.  His testimony could be particularly damning.

The question that we will have answered potentially is whether the President and his cabinet were incompetent in their response and subsequent coverup of the events in Benghazi or if they were complicit in it by disallowing reinforcements or rescue missions.

Pick your poison – either one is a surefire path to impeachment proceedings.

Bubble

What kind of Christ follower are you?  Do you welcome with open arms at your church people that dress like they just rolled out of bed or spent all night out at the club?  Do you tolerate the smell of alcohol seeping from their pores?  Do you look down on the people that aren’t as good as you?  Do you have contempt in your heart for those that are not living the life that Christ would have them live?  Do you love them?

One of the big problems that the church faces is the image of being “above it all.”  Christ did not come for the righteous… they’re already taken care of because they’re doing it all right.  Christ came for the unsaved.  What have you done today for the unsaved?

Did you help them rake their leaves?

Did you babysit their kids?

Did you help them track down their lost cat?

Did you come check on them when they were sick?

Did you buy them a beer at the local watering hole?

Did you invite them over for dinner?

Did you exhibit Christ through your actions?

Did you exhibit pride by refusing to come down to their level?

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you.Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Matthew 20:1-16

It doesn’t matter in the end whether you were saved on your deathbed or as a child.  In Christ’s eyes, you are equally brothers and children of God.  So the next time you sit in church and see someone dressed shabby, wearing something too revealing, with dozens of piercings, or smelling of stale alcohol consider that maybe, just maybe, that is EXACTLY who needs to hear the Word of God the most.

Competition

Do you do everything for the glory of God or yourself?

Many of my friends have accused me of being extremely competitive.  I have never denied that when I compete in sports, I take it seriously.  I have fun and enjoy myself, but deep down my desire to win is hard to suppress.  I love competition and the emotions it brings out.

In a casual pickup basketball game I will take a hard charge or block a shot with as much force as I would if I were playing in the NBA Finals.  I will lay out to catch a pass playing football when the game is just between friends and there is no championship on the line.  I will run my fastest, block my hardest, and tackle without hesitation because I do not play for my own vanity or pride.  Pride does not drive someone to try just a little harder to win a meaningless game.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24

Have you ever thought of using your body as a simple, yet completely effective act of glorifying God and praising Him?  He designed you down to every last cell and by using His design to it’s fullest, you glorify Him.

So when you see someone throwing themselves around in a pickup basketball game, or stretching just a little bit more to catch a line drive in a neighborhood baseball game, they might be doing it to impress someone and to feed their sense of vanity, or they might be doing it as an act of worship.

I have the privilege of playing in a friendly football game with alumni from my college fraternity against the current members of the fraternity in a few days.  I will not hold back.  I will run my fastest, block my hardest, make the surest tackles, and stretch for every pass.  I do not play for my own glory or pride.  I play to glorify He who made me able to do it all.

Also consider that competition and sport is conditioning, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. When I train in the weight room, on the track, or in the pool, I am strengthening my body for the trials to come.  Not all trials are spiritual in nature, and we are admonished to be prepared to meet them head on.

What prize do you run for? What do you compete for?

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.

Philippians 1:27

“Our competitiveness is driven to really be all that we can be for the glory of God.”

Katelyn Beaty

The Source

The big news out of the Democratic National Convention is that the original release of the Democratic Party Platform omitted any mention of God whatsoever.  What is being lost in the discussion is

WHY this is important.  There are consequences, both here and now, and in the hereafter.

The concept of Man’s rights being unalienable is based solely upon the belief in their Divine origin. Lacking this belief, there is no moral basis for any claim that they are unalienable or for any claim to the great benefits flowing from this concept (Source).

The present day consequence of this purposeful omission is that the rights codified in the U.S. Constitution, common law, and our founding principles as outlined in the various writings of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the rest all point to God, not as a corollary or out of false piety, but as the sole source of our rights on this Earth.

By refusing to acknowledge this simple truth in their party platform, the DNC is asserting, by extension, that God is not the source of our rights.  Without this assertion, the DNC has opened the door to the argument that certain rights can be granted (and nullified) by government fiat.  What is considered unalienable (untouchable) by God-fearing citizens is now completely within the scope of government might based on the logical extension of this omission on the DNC’s part.  To conservatives and libertarians, this is merely an admission of the state of things in the Democratic party today.  If you look at what they say and the actions they take, you see in those that God is not present in their minds when rights are being dealt with.  You see it in how they treat the unborn, as mere medical conditions that can be eliminated at will. You see it in how they treat the right to vote, the right of self-governance, the most cherished of citizens’ rights, by stating:

I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make. 

N.C. Governor Bev Perdue (D)

While the immediate consequences to the sanctity of our rights is not in danger – they are God-given, not man-given.  No man can touch them. No man can debar me or you of them.  As I have stated before, the ground below where I stand is safe for liberty and freedom because I believe that God granted those rights at creation which were codified in the Constitution as a barrier to government interference and tyranny.  But, as Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes, this is all “meaningless” because it is temporary.

I fear for the souls of the Democratic party.  I am certain that there are true God-fearing people within that party.  I am also certain that there is a militant anti-God element within that same party that is working to destroy the concept of God on Earth.

When I heard the voice vote replayed on the radio to put “God” back in the DNC platform (more on this in a minute), I can’t believe that the chairman deemed it passed.  The “NOs” seemed to far out-measure the “YEAs.”  And when it was deemed accepted by the delegates, there was a tremendous number of boos and catcalls.  This measure was not passed by the majority of delegates, but by the panicked politicians that realized that the Democratic delegates declared war on every Christian, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Sikh, basically every single God-fearing man, woman, and child by failing to acknowledge their Creator in the party platform which is supposed to outline their specific policy goals for the upcoming few years.

Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)

The Democrats are playing with God’s wrath here.  By not giving glory to God, they disown Him.  Draw your own conclusion here, but mine is not pretty.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)

The Lord reigns,
    let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
    let the earth shake.
Great is the Lord in Zion;
    he is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name—
    he is holy.(Psalm 99:1-3)

Despite the Hail Mary attempt to hide the omission of God from the modern-day Democratic Party by an orchestrated voice vote, the mask has been lifted for all to see that God has no place in the Democratic Party.   Moreover, by attempting this Hail Mary, which I am certain will pacify what some believe was an oversight or a mistake is nothing more than a political tacking to hide the significant hole in their proverbial armor.  It is a mockery of the democratic process. It is a mockery of the founding principles of this country. It is a mockery of the American people.  And most importantly, it is a mockery of God Himself.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)

Glory

Praise be to God.  All glory and honor to Him.

This morning I read a story on Townhall.com that dealt with the issue of humility with Olympic athletes.  While I greatly enjoyed watching the athletic competition, and the success of all of the athletes who medaled.  I believe, as the author did, that humility was short-changed.  There is celebrating an achievement and enjoying the moment, and there is self-glorification.

Celebrating another gold medal or showboating?

My wife often comments on this during NFL games where a player will get up after a single play and showboat as if they have won the game single-handedly.  I have seen this across our culture as well with many trumpeting their own successes and accomplishments more so now than ever before.

Who do we think we are?  Do we think we are anything special, deserving glory and honor before other men?

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

You will never glory in God till first of all God has killed your glorying in yourself. – Charles H. Spurgeon

Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
    but humility comes before honor.Proverbs 18:12

Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory. – Bruce Lee

Now, there were a fair share of athletes who praised God for their victories, and for that I rejoice as they used their accomplishment to focus the light of Christ on the world if only for a passing moment on the world’s largest stage.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.Galatians 6:14

Is the failure on the athletes themselves?  Surely they share some responsibility in reveling in their own insignificant accomplishments.  Is the failure on the exultation of the crowd?  The praise of the mob?  Are we not as much to blame for the athlete’s failure to show proper humility in acknowledging and praising God in victory or defeat?

Many people have praised or admonished Tim Tebow for his outspokenness about his faith.  However you fall on Tim, I believe most people would encourage their children to look at how he plays football and the humility he shows at all times.  This man glorifies God with every snap, pass, run, touchdown, interception, and sack.  His heart is with God at all times, and so everything he does on the field is for God whether good or bad.

Praying mid-game

I look at it as a relationship that I have with him that I want to give him the honor and glory anytime I have the opportunity. And then right after I give him the honor and glory, I always try to give my teammates the honor and glory. And that’s how it works because Christ comes first in my life, and then my family, and then my teammates. – Tim Tebow.

Humility is not an easy thing to master.  It is a challenge to be humble in the face of what seems like an exceptional accomplishment, whether that is a gold medal at the Olympics, a promotion at work, the achievement of one of your lifetime goals, or in the face of honor brought by others.  For that reason, this has been a difficult entry for me to write, for I am badly in need of grace and mercy.

I am a prideful person, and it holds me back daily, but despite that if you were to ask me who gave me the legs to run, the arms to throw and catch, the eyesight to see the target, and the mental and physical fortitude to compete, I would not hesitate to give all of the glory to God.  I might enjoy the contest and the victory, but not as much as the opportunity to use my accomplishment as a brilliant beacon for Christ, if only for a fleeting moment.

Direct the glory to Him, not me.

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