Monday, September 29, 2008

A Prayer of Penitence

I saw this on Tim Challies' email newsletter and it really had an impact on me. I thought I'd share it. It is from "The Valley of Vision":

O Lord of grace,
I have been hasty and short in private prayer,
O quicken my conscience to feel this folly,
to bewail this ingratitude;
My first sin of the day leads into others,
and it is just that thou shouldst withdraw
thy presence
from one who waited carelessly on thee.
Keep me at all times from robbing thee,
and from depriving my soul of thy due worship;
Let me never forget
that I have an eternal duty to love, honour
and obey thee,
that thou art infinitely worthy of such;
that if I fail to glorify thee
I am guilty of infinite evil that merits infinite punishment,
for sin is the violation of an infinite obligation.
O forgive me if I have dishonoured thee,
Melt my heart, heal my backslidings,
and open an intercourse of love.
When the fire of thy compassion warms my
inward man,
and the outpourings of thy Spirit fill my soul,
then I feelingly wonder at my own depravity,
and deeply abhor myself;
then thy grace is a powerful incentive
to repentance,
and an irresistible motive to inward holiness.
May I never forget that thou hast my heart
in thy hands.
Apply to it the merits of Christ's atoning blood
whenever I sin.
Let thy mercies draw me to thyself.
Wean me from all evil, mortify me to the world,
and make me ready for my departure hence
animated by the humiliations of penitential love.
My soul is often a chariot without wheels,
clogged and hindered in sin's miry clay;
Mount it on eagle's wings
and cause it to soar upward to thyself.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Lesson in Worldview (Brought to You by the Letter “I”)

This is a very interesting and very sad article from Tim Challies:

So Ray Boltz, a once-prominent figure in the world of Christian Contemporary Music, is gay. He came out to his family--he is the father of four grown children--in December of 2004 but only recently has the news trickled beyond that inner circle. Just a few days ago his story was featured in an article in the Washington Blade, "the Gay and Lesbian News Source of Record" in D.C. and it provides a rough time line of the recent years of his life. In 2004 he retired from singing and touring, in 2005 he separated from his wife and moved to Ft. Lauderdale to start a new life, and this year his divorce was finalized. He is now living what he describes as a "normal gay life."

The news was not of too much interest to me on a personal level--I don't know Boltz, do not own any of his albums and am not familiar with even his most popular songs (which seem to be "Thank You," "Watch the Lamb," "The Anchor Holds" and "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb."). I know a little bit about him because of my many years of listening to Christian music but to me he is little more than just another face in a crowd. So it's not like this news involves a man whose ministry I've known and loved. What fascinates me about this story is its worldview implications.

There are essentially two ways that humans can understand the world. The first way is the way we all understand the world until the Holy Spirit intervenes in our lives and gives us new eyes to see. This worldview is I-centered. I am the center of my own universe and the arbiter of all truth. I may not vocalize things in just this way and may not even think them quite like this, but it is ultimately what I believe. I believe that I am capable of looking at the world and understanding the way it works--who God is, who I am, the relationship between us, and so on.

The other way of seeing the world is God-centered. Here I acknowledge God as the center of all that exists and the arbiter of all truth. Everything that is true and everything that is knowable has its source in Him. Thus I can only interpret the world properly by rightly acknowledging God. This is, obviously, the biblical worldview. It is God who tells me who He is, God who tells me who I am and God who declares the terms of the relationship between us.

The first worldview allows me to acknowledge as truth only what I want to believe about myself; the second worldview requires me to acknowledge as truth what God says about me. The first worldview has to have as its premise that I am ultimately good while the second has as its premise that God is ultimately good. In the first view I sin against myself while in the second I sin against God. The contrasts could hardly be more pronounced.

Reading this story in the Blade provided an interesting perspective on worldview. Here is what Boltz said about the freedom he has found in declaring and accepting his homosexuality. "I didn't have to be who I was in the past. I didn't have to fit somebody else's viewpoint of what they thought I was. I could just be myself and I met a lot of wonderful people." He said also, "If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I'm going to live. It's not like God made me this way and he'll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be ... I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself."

He states with startling clarity that he rejects God's assessment of who he is. No longer did He need to fit his worldview into anyone else's--he was free to accept his own self-assessment. God's assessment is that Boltz, like me, is a sinful man and one who is tempted and tormented by sin. He is a man who is corrupted by sin and so deeply corrupted that without God's intervention he will more and more resemble the sin that inhabits him. And one sin that Boltz long wrestled with is the sin of homosexuality. This may well be a kind of besetting sin--a sin that has plagued him since his youth and one that has never lessened its pull on him. Each of us has sins we are more prone to than others and I know there are many Christians who fight lifelong struggles with sexual orientation. But I also know that God can give grace to overcome even that sin. A God-centered worldview would tell Boltz that, though he may be somehow inclined to homosexuality, this tendency is a result of sin and it is a tendency that God utterly rejects. A God-centered worldview would tell him that God assesses his sin and calls him to repentance. God does not condone his homosexuality any more than God condones any other sin.

Sadly, Boltz has an I-centered worldview. He declares without apology that he is gay and, digging a knife into God's back, says that it is God who has made him this way. He rejects God's assessment and instead assesses himself by his own standards and declares that he is good. He piles sin upon sin, accepting his homosexuality as good, rejecting God's declaration that it is sin, divorcing his wife, living that homosexual lifestyle.

The lesson to me in all of this is the importance--the life and death importance--of seeing the world not through my eyes but through God's. God has given us the Bible which allows us, like a pair of glasses that somehow illumines blind eyes, to see the world as He sees it. Through the Bible I find that I am not good but am instead utterly depraved. Incredibly and humiliatingly, I find that I have no ability to properly see and understand reality without Him. I find my desperate dependence upon Him to comprehend what may seem so plain and so obvious. I find that I need Him to interpret reality for me because, without Him, I'll get it wrong every time. I need God to teach me to see myself.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our Culture's Cult-Like Obsession With Going Green

Everywhere you turn you may notice being bombarded with the message to "save the earth". Very few dare to question the validity of this message. It is just assumed to be correct. It is the accepted and correct "group-think" issue of the day. If you dare question its validity, you immediately become accused of not caring for the earth and viewed as one who just doesn't "get it". You may even be viewed as "the problem". After all, "everyone knows that we are on the brink of destruction" and unless we do something IMMEDIATELY we will not have a planet to leave our children and children's children.

So, conveniently we have politicians who gladly step in and dictate to the rest of the American people just exactly how to live each area of life in order to "save the planet". Such politicians (Al Gore) may even end up winning a Nobel Peace Prize in spite of the fact that hundreds of scientists have publicly declared the information in his book and DVD to be erroneous and inaccurate especially when it comes to man-made global warming.

So, before you just jump on the global "politically correct" United Nations bandwagon (which you dare not question) please consider other resources which challenge these silly assumptions.

Here are a few excerpts from a post on dealing with this relevant issue:

"In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill..."
--The First Global Revolution, Club of Rome, an elite think-tank (David Rockefeller, Gorbachev, etc.) working with the UN.

"...we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public's imagination.... So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts.... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

--Stanford Professor Stephen Schneider

“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony... climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
--Christine Stewart, then Canadian Minister of the Environment

... the liberal media turns a deaf ear to the rational voices. Mention global warming and the name most likely to come to mind is Al Gore. His 1992 book, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit helps explain why his disciples defend his deceptive message with religious zeal. It IS religious! M. Scott Peck, the supposedly "Christian" author of The Road Less Traveled, called it a "holy book" that we "must have for our collective salvation."

Please read THIS POST highlighting the lies and falsehoods of the "green frenzy" Environmentalist wackos cult-like obsession with "saving the planet" at ANY cost.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Obama Believes Many Paths Lead to God

This article is from the Lighthousetrailsresearch site. Why am I not surprised that this is the candidate Brian McLaren endorses?

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Recently, when Obama was interviewed by Rick Warren, Obama told Warren that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior. Yet this "banner" Obama raises is one that has an interspiritual foundation, representing a new kind of "Christianity," one that looks more like Brian McLaren's spirituality than traditional, biblical Christianity.

What emerges from this book is a glimpse of a man who has New Age philosophy, believing that other religions are legitimate paths to God, and all humanity is connected together (spiritually speaking - i.e., God is in all):

"Obama does clearly believe that the form of Christianity that he committed to at Trinity Church in 1985 is not the only path to God. "I am rooted in the Christian tradition," he has said. Nevertheless he asserts, "I believe there are many paths to the same place and that is a belief there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people." He first saw his broad embrace of faith modeled by his mother. "In our household," he has explained, "The Bible, [t]he Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf . . . on Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to a church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites." (p.55 of Mansfield's book, quoting from Audacity of Hope, Obama, p. 203).