Monday, June 29, 2015


I Was Just Thinking About - - - 

What is it to obfuscate? Is there any application in the immediate for the rapidity of civil and secular actions? Are we experiencing cultural cleansing or purging within the contemporary affairs of state? How does this impact the Church and its message, mission and adherence to secular laws that conflict with Biblical mandates? To obfuscate means: “to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy; to make obscure or unclear; to darken” ( Some synonyms given are: “to muddle, perplex, cloud.”

I heard a comment on some program that was on in the background in which a person made the statement: “I want to leave the darkness for the light but I can’t escape the darkness.” Even though that is a line from a fictional drama, there is a Biblical connotation to it. In The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:22-23 (NASB),  Jesus made this statement: “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” It is similar to what the Lord had the prophet declare in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” One commentator suggests that Jesus had in mind: “a person who enjoyed this heavenly treasure permitted his simplicity of intention to deviate from heavenly to earthly good; and his purity of affection to be contaminated by worldly ambition, secular profits, and animal gratifications; then, the light which was in him becomes darkness,  his spiritual discernment departs, and his union with God is destroyed and, like a man who has totally lost his sight, he walks without direction, certainty, or comfort. This state is most forcibly intimated in our Lord's exclamation, How great a darkness! Who can adequately describe the misery and wretchedness of that soul which has lost its union with the fountain of all good, and, in losing this, has lost the possibility of happiness till the simple eye be once more given, and the straight line once more drawn” (Clarke’s Commentary).

What will Cultural Obfuscation, if allowed to persist, lead to within the nation?  A friend who lives in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia forwarded the following: “Koalas Rescued From Animal Brothel.” The article states: “ Federal agents have arrested more than 40 people from a privately owned petting zoo yesterday, over allegations of bestiality and animal cruelty. According to authorities the private petting zoo was being monitored for last few weeks; suspected for running a underground animal brothel, where customers/clients pay for sexual services with animals. The 67-year old farm owner was arrested with two of his sons and some 40 guests who were present for an all-night party. The Federal police caught all the party goers in full action; the raid engaged more than 16 agents in what local officials believe to be the biggest crack down on an animal cruelty in Australia’s history. The poor animals were forced into sexual acts with clients, before being rescued. Local authorities fear a recrudescence in sexual deviant behavior with animals in the region since this is the third animal brothel to be closed down in recent months in the area.” The “fear of recrudescence” implies: “the breaking out afresh or into renewed activity; revival or reappearance in active existence.”

Paul shares with Timothy what can be expected in the last days, II Timothy 3:1-5, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” In like manner, Peter write to the believers in his day, II Peter 3:2-7, “You should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires…For they deliberately overlook this fact…that the earth was formed…by the word of God…by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” The judgment of God is nearing. Our nation must begin to take a serious God seriously. Consider these things with me.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


I Was Just Thinking About - - - 

Our culture appears to be torn between two great divides. There is an overwhelming influence of the secular progressives who are rented to government control and redistribution versus the conservative libertarians who want less government intrusion in the affairs of state and citizen’s lives. The moderates who occupy the middle begin to be seen as those who will either absent themselves from taking any stand that would prove to be controversial and are willing to be part of an increasing number who are willing to subscribe to being all things to all people.

The hyphenated worldview is not new. More than one hundred years ago, there was a pronounced marginalization as people were identified with a hyphenated group. Currently it is the hyphenated world of African-American; Hispanic-American; LBGT- American, etc. The Wikipedia has this interesting glimpse of attitudes and designations in the early 1900s: “In the United States the term hyphenated-American is an epithet commonly used from 1890 to 1920 to disparage Americans who were of foreign birth or origin, and who displayed an allegiance to a foreign country. It was most commonly used to disparage German-Americans or Irish-Americans (Catholics) who called for United States neutrality in World War I.  Former President Theodore Roosevelt was an outspoken anti-hyphenate and Woodrow Wilson followed suit. The term ‘Hyphenated-American’ was published by 1889, and was common as a derogatory term by 1904. During World War I the issue arose of the primary political loyalty of ethnic groups with close ties to Europe, especially German-Americans and also Irish-Americans. President Theodore Roosevelt in speaking to the largely Irish Catholic Knights of Columbus at Carnegie Hall on Columbus Day 1915, asserted that: There is no room in this country for hyphenated-Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated-Americans, I do not refer to naturalized-Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized-Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated-American is not an American at all…The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of it continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic…There is no such thing as a hyphenated-American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else. President Woodrow Wilson regarded ‘hyphenated Americans’ with suspicion, saying: Any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready.”

It’s regrettable that our nation today tends to hyphenate most of the time. Our leaders and pundits speak of all groups with a hyphenated identification. Sadly, the church follows along with this pattern and has brought about the hyphenated-church ranging from theological differences and organizational control. It would be almost impossible to persuade some religious groups of the intent of Galatians 3:26-29 (ESV), “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” The Baptists would latch onto the word “Baptized” as being water baptism rather than it being identified with Christ (dying to self and living unto God). The Presbyterians would latch onto “Abraham’s offspring (seed) and maintain that necessitates covenant theology, etc. Colossians 3:10-11 (NLT) reminds us all to: “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (who believe in Him alone for salvation).” Consider these things with me!

Friday, June 19, 2015


I Was Just Thinking About - - - 

One of the issues of our day is an orientation toward defining many situations as being “Racism.” That there is a racial divide in this country cannot be denied. To allow there is inequity in housing, employment, education and cultural values is also a reality. There are a few  people within our nation who never saw a normal incident they could not interpret as racist. Some may do it out of sincere desire to achieve some semblance of equal justice under the law, whereas others create a narrative that will inflame people to civil unrest and disrespect of the law.

Major religious denominations usually convene in June to discuss varying issues in their Conventions or General Assemblies. One Presbyterian denomination, near the conclusion of  their General Assembly, saw nearly one-half of the assembled men sign a protest in terms of racial reconciliation. Two ministers from Mississippi rose to offer a resolution in this regard. It was routinely sent to the Bills and Overtures Committee. The denomination’s official magazine, By Faith, reports the following: “The resolution was debated in committee for over nine hours. Those against adopting the resolution argued that the PCA didn’t exist during the Civil Rights era, that individual presbyters themselves did not do these things and therefore could not confess, that the resolution seemed to cave to political correctness and white guilt, and that if prominent PCA churchmen were racists perhaps they have repented of it thus we shouldn’t call them out. Others argued that this was new information and thus they needed more time to digest it. Arguments for adopting the resolution were that corporate confession is biblical, we as a denomination have already delayed this for far too long, and that there are members of our denomination, including pastors and elders, who greatly desire this confession. Others also argued that we must stop hiding the past and be honest about what we did.”

The racial discussion and distinctions are not new. Some were challenged by an Inter-Varsity Press publication in 1971, “Your God Is Too White.” It was followed by an auto-biography in 1976 by John Perkins from Mendenhall, MS, “Let Justice Roll Down.” From a secular point of view, Langston Hughes was a very direct and somewhat crass poet. One could not avoid being impacted by one of his books of verse/poetry in 1956, “The Panther and The Lash.” 

On a Facebook Link that is discussing racial reconciliation, I have submitted two entries: (1) We need to begin by embracing Daniel 9 as a model for any confession before God about anything; and (2) “There is a difference between voting for something and actually doing it. Some of us "dinosaurs" have quietly attempted to "do it"! A group of 4 white ministers and 1 black minister attempted integrated activities, national day of prayer, worship times together, etc. in a widely segregated town and county. At first, it was met with degrees of suspicion - Could/Would the Black community trust the intentions of the White Ministers? Gaining Trust does not come via statements about racial reconciliation. The visible Church - both white and black - have to patiently try to meet the most minimum measure of the high priestly prayer of Jesus Christ in John 17 and the idea of being one as the Godhead is one. Just think of the heart of Jesus Christ prior to His ascension and His last mandate given to His disciples in Acts 1:8. It meant involvement with people (Samaria) where there had been generations of distrust and despising…”

In the denomination of which I am a member, I hope I live long enough to see the visible church move from its fantasy, theoretical approach to one that is factual and reality as ministry purpose will involve reaching out to the black and hispanic communities and genuinely convey that they are a welcomed part of the local body of Christ. A gnawing question for the denomination of which I am a part: Why are there so few black people and families in our churches across the United States?  How many Black Elders were present and voting on a Racial Reconciliation Resolution? Protests and signing statements is a good emotional act - BUT - if it is not followed by purposeful action in the churches and denomination, it is similar to I Corinthians 13:1-3, “Sounding brass or a clanging cymbal (just noise).” Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


I Was Just Thinking About - - - 

If you wanted to change the mindsets of a Judeo-Christian nation and culture, what steps would you take to accomplish your goal? Would you be straightforward and transparent, or would pervasive machinations be utilized. For the sake of clarity, pervasive means: “spread throughout” and machinations means: “a secret plan for accomplishing evil or unlawful ends.” The synonyms attached to machinations include: “conspiracy, design, intrigue, scheme.” 

I am indebted to a friend, Sue Thielke and her co-author Roger Ball, for the excellent work they have done in their book, “Serfing America: The Progressive Destruction of the American Dream!” It is available at: Sue has carefully mapped out the progressive strategy in Chapter 2, The Progressive Game, in which she quotes from the Saul Alinksy playbooks, “Rules for Radicals; A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals and Reveille for Radicals.” The following represents some of the progressive mindset and pervasive machination regarding how one can change a nation from its foundational principles into a progressive culture. From Rules for Radicals:
  • “The organizer’s job is to inseminate an invitation for himself, to agitate, introduce ideas, get people pregnant with hope and a desire for change and to identify you as the person most qualified for this purpose.”   Pg.  103 
  • “The middle classes are numb, bewildered, scared into silence. They don’t know what, if anything they can do. This is the job for today’s radical - to fan the embers of hopelessness onto a flame to fight.”  Pg. 194 
  • “…our concern is with the tactic of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power from the Haves.”  Pg.  126  
  • “Ethical standards must be elastic (lying when necessary) to stretch with the times.” Pg. 30-31.
  • “To me ethics is doing what is right for the most.”  Pg.  33
  • “...rule of ethics of means and ends is that you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.”   Pg.  36

Sue continues by listing additional cultural machinations from Alinksy’s book, Reveille for Radicals:
  • It is a tactic “…to burn one’s bridges because you’re never going back anyway…”  Pg.  viii.
  • “…morality is largely a rationalization of the point you happen to occupy in the power pattern at a given time.”  Pg.  x.
  • “America’s radicals are to be found wherever and whenever America moves close to the fulfillment of its democratic dream. Whenever America’s hearts are breaking, there American radicals were and are. America was built by its radicals. The hope and future of America lies with its radicals.”  Pg. 15
  • “Throughout Western civilization, radicals tied their destiny to the organized labor movement…The labor movement has been as much of an ideological foundation to all left-wing thinkers as the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule are to devout religionists.”  Pg. 24 
  • “…today much of organized religion is materialistically solvent but spiritually bankrupt.” Pg. 200

From a Biblical Christian perspective, we should identify with the prayer of the Psalmist, Psalm 43:1, “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!” One should be able to discern and identify the deceitful and unjust man. Two passages that give the Biblical Christian a heads-up are: Jeremiah 17:9-10 (ESV), “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick (wicked machinations); who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” And, II Corinthians 11:12-15, “And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” I Peter 5:8 reminds one to “be sober, be vigilant for your adversary, the devil, goes about seeking whom he may devour - resist him steadfastly.” We need to be aware of the strategy of the day and be found faithful as we stand upon and defend the firm foundation of our faith. Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


I Was Just Thing About - - - 

When Peter was writing to the persecuted Christians and Church during Nero’s reign, it must have given him some pause and caused him to gulp when he wrote: “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (I Peter 2:17). The emperor was overseeing the destruction of the church, culture, moral values and any person who objected to his behavior or actions. It was a dreadful time when the foundations of faith and hope were being tested. Nero was a harsh and cruel dictator who generated fear among the faithful.

Throughout the centuries, nations and people have experienced peaks and valleys as despots came to power and civilization began to be threatened with extinction. The twenty-first century is no different. Many are anticipating the demise and death of civilization. Some wring their hands in despair and hopelessness. The United States seems to have wavered in its privilege and shrunk back from its responsibilities in the world. We have become like a tiger whose teeth have been extracted and whose claws have been removed. One pundit (George Will) suggests that we have a leader who feels obliged to speak in metaphorical language about everything. The world watched when a Red Line was stated for Syria. However, Syria dared the inevitable and crossed the Red Line with their chemical attacks against their own citizenry. We did nothing! The world watched when a declaration was made that ISIS would be destroyed. ISIS dared that to happen and beheaded an American and slaughtered hundreds of people in an atrocious manner. We did nothing! In cyber warfare, our leader announces to the world that we have vulnerabilities. We do nothing! When ISIS is mentioned in international conferences, our leader announces that we have no strategy. We do nothing! The world is defining the United States as an impotent ally with an incompetent leader. 

The visible church loves to sing: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, A bulwark never failing…” What does the visible church do in this world of flux and moral erosion? Do we represent Our God as a Mighty Fortress today? Perhaps the visible church, much like the government of the nation, is viewed as being impotent when it comes to making a difference in the world and incompetent when it comes to follow-through on the message of the Gospel and all Scripture. Could it be that our Pride and our Prejudices have clouded our minds and limited our resolve? The Invisible Church is the Church triumphant. The visible church is to represent that fact in the world. We cannot accomplish that mission by being complacent, indifferent, detached from reality or too accommodating to the prevailing culture. The visible church may have reached a place where it thinks more highly of itself than it ought to think. The visible church must remember that for both the individual and church entity, “The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Proverbs 16:17-19, ESV).

Is there a glimmer of hope for the country, church and culture in the twenty-first century? For the Biblical Christian and the committed visible church, the answer is affirmative. It will mean the implementation of texts such as Ephesians 5:15-17, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” It will be possible, only and as the determination is reached to give attention and heed Ephesians 5:18-21, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” What will your resolve and commitment be and how will it be manifested? Our task is not to merely talk but to act. Where do you fit into God’s scheme of things and requirements for His people?  Consider these things with me.

Monday, June 1, 2015


I Was Just Thinking About - - - 

Scripture records these words about the deceptiveness and oppressiveness of darkness: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” I John 1:5-7 (ESV).

It is not unusual for some people to have an innate dread or fear of darkness. There is the uncertainty of the unknown. Every sound or shadow increases the level of a person’s anxiety. The apprehension is based upon the thought that something or someone is lurking in the darkness and will possibly cause personal harm. While attending college, I worked part time on weekends as a  night watchman in a women’s dormitory. The responsibility entailed making rounds each hour at twelve designated check points. At a designated hour, lights were to be out in all of the rooms throughout the building. One night, an older staff member returned to the building at a later hour. I was struck by her obvious fear of walking down the dimly lighted hallway to her room. She requested that I escort her to her room, turn the lights on, check under the bed and in the closet before she was willing to enter her room. As I left her room, I was requested to wait by her door until she had secured the locks. While this is an unusual case, there are people who have an abject fear of the darkness. 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes reference to the distinction between light and darkness. The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:22-23 (ESV) are: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” One commentator, an English art critic of the Victorian era, mused about darkness when he wrote: “Seeing falsely is worse than blindness. A man who is too dim-sighted to discern the road from the ditch, may feel which is which; but if the ditch appears manifestly to him to be the road, and the road to be the ditch, what shall become of him? False seeing is unseeing, on the negative side of blindness" (John Ruskin, Modern Painters, 1843). A comment attributed to Helen Keller states: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” 

Judges 16 records the misspent life-choices of Samson. He had been a man of considerable strength and great accomplishments. The narrative has considerable impact when consideration is given to how Samson used his sight. At first, it was used to seek and destroy the enemies of God. In his pursuit for carrying out the Lord’s assignment, he allowed himself the momentary pleasure of gazing upon and desiring an attractive woman. She would become his nemesis as she sought for his deepest secrets and the source of his strength. There are very sad words about the lustful desires of Samson in Judges 16:18-19, “When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying: Come up again, for he has told me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him.”The sad commentary about Samson is given in Judges 16:20-21, “He did not know that the Lord had left him. And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles." He would spend the remaining days of his life in the oppressive darkness of his blindness. He would never again carelessly gaze upon an attractive woman or anything else in God’s creation. As Jesus said: “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Consider these things with me!