Friday, August 26, 2011

The Earth Shakes Because We Are Broken

While sitting in my office on Tuesday, I experienced my first earthquake. And I will admit, it was frightening. A part of the fright is the great peculiarity of the event. I've been around now for 40 years. Never has the earth shook under my feet. The earth is one of the few things we really count on to remain stable. So when it moves, that's weird.

Two thoughts regarding it:
1 - God shakes the earth to show us that we are sinners. At the fall of Adam and Eve, God cursed the ground. The earth is broken. And it groans until it is redeemed (Rom 8:19-22).

My wife and children were in a Target store when the shaking began. So when we went back to that same store on Wednesday, my 3 year old daughter commented on the experience. She wondered if we went inside, would the shaking start again. She thought perhaps the quake was caused by a giant. So I took just a few seconds to try to communicate to her what the shaking is actually about. Shifting tectonic plates? Well, yes. But there's much more. There's the God of all grace who governs said plates in a way that calls us to turn from our sinfulness, and trust Him, so that we may escape the ultimate consequences of the curse -- His forever wrath. It is as J.I. Packer wrote in his book "Knowing God" - God is good to those who trust Him, and He is terrible to those who do not.

2 - Earthquakes are often associated with unseen spiritual activity. Both Old and New Testaments give repeated witness to this (i.e. 2 Sam 22; 1 Ki 19; Ps 18, 77; Is 24, 29; Mt 24, 27-28; Ac 4, 16; Re 6, 8, 11, 16). Earthquakes sometimes signify God's anger, which makes sense in the light of the paragraph above. Sometimes they indicate angelic visitation. Sometimes they are connected with prayer and God's work in responding to His people. And they sometimes communicate other realities. What earthquakes are not, however, are random occurrences without meaning. They are signs, pointing us  not only to our own sinfulness, but to God's righteous rule and activity. I wonder what was going on Tuesday, in the unseen world?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

. . . As to One Untimely Born . . .

I am borrowing this phrase from the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 15:8) to describe my feelings about living in 2011. Due to the continuous dilapidation  of my cell phone, I went into the Verizon Wireless store to purchase a new one. I was clear with the Verizon rep that I wanted a basic phone, not a "smart" one. She seemed surprised, and ventured to tell me that her "whole life" was in her phone, and that she "needed" the internet able device. How sad. After a few minutes of trying to get answers to my questions, I informed this particular rep that she had in fact answered none of them. She replied that she had answered all of them. I told her "No, you have been talking a lot, but you've yet to answer any one of my questions". Then I asked for someone else to help me.

Would it not be a good thing for people to look up from their smart phones long enough to learn to communicate with another person face to face? After this experience I concluded that like Paul, but in an entirely different context, I too am one untimely born. I went home from the Verizon store and told my wife that I would prefer to live in the 19th century when everyone carried a gun and no one carried a phone.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Means and Ends

It occurs to me that almost nothing is an end in itself, perhaps only worship. Worship does not exist to get us to something else. Worship stands on its own, in that sense. Nothing else does; at least nothing else is coming to mind.

Understanding this reality will have profound effects on our perspective and values. It will protect us from making a lifestyle out of what is meant to be an exercise, or making a meal out of what is given as a snack; And vice versa.

"Teach us to number our days that we may present 
to You a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Baby Is Not A Virus

"For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb."
David in Psalm 139:13

I read in today's local newspaper that President Obama's health care overhaul includes "coverage of birth control as prevention, with no copays". The article goes on to say how birth control is "the most common drug prescribed to women". Then there's this quote from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius -- "Not doing it (covering the costs) would be like not covering flu shots". What an imbecilic notion. I mean, really?! The government's not covering the cost of preventing pregnancy is like the government's not covering the cost of preventing a disease? A virus? 
How backward are you Kathleen Sebelius? In what kind of darkness do you live when preventing the conception of a child is likened to preventing a disease? But is this not the mindset of the Obama administration? Is this not the conviction of the pro-choice crowd? For them, a baby is very much like a virus -- inconvenient, tiresome, disruptive, meaningless, valueless, and expensive -- something to be prevented so that you can get on with the important matters of life like career and leisure. And if you fail to prevent conception, there's always abortion, when this little person, made in the image of the triune God, is burned alive with chemicals or torn apart by a high powered vacuum -- all while still in the womb which, for a baby, should be the safest place on earth. 

"You desire and do not have, so you murder" (James 4:2). Abortion happens because men and women, corrupt and wicked, desire lesser things over their unborn children. We value money, leisure, career interests, reputations, freedom, independence, and our plans more than that precious person God has made from our seed and egg. This is an abomination. We should repent.

Come Lord Jesus.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Someone Understands Me

I know almost nothing about Jonathan Rauch, except that he understands me. Well, not entirely of course; but more than some people who actually think they know me quite well. Hear him at Caring For Your Introvert