THE NAME OF JESUS

All of the Ten Commandments are important, but I take a special interest in the Third Commandment, which says, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord they God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

I am not guiltless. I’m ashamed to admit there was a time when I used God’s name flippantly and even in cursing. I could say it was in by BC days (before Christ), but that’s a flimsy excuse.

The thing is, we go to church and sing songs like “What a Beautiful Name it is, the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord,” and “What a Powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus Christ, the King.” But do we really honor the name of the King?

I was convicted a couple of years ago that too many DVDs on my shelf, though rated PG, contained scenes in which the actor blatantly used God’s name in a curse (GD) or blurted out Jesus’ name in much the same way. You’d be surprised at some of the titles, because they were decent movies, films like: You’ve Got Mail, What about Bob?, and Independence Day. I loved those movies and thoroughly enjoyed watching them. Until one of the actors decided to take my Lord’s name in vain.

I can’t tell you how many films I either gave away or tossed in the trash. Maybe I’m being a bit of a Pharisee. I hope not. I certainly don’t expect anyone else to live up to my personal convictions. But doesn’t it make you stop and think? Already Hollywood has tried to make a mockery of Christian faith. You won’t see very many films coming out of Hollywood that you can trust for decency and respect for God’s name.

I read somewhere that Beau Bridges had a clause put in his movie contracts that he should not be forced to use God’s name in vain in his roles. I have to say, I really respect that man for doing so. Of course, you won’t see him in very many Hollywood films. But if you check the list of faith-based films, you’ll find his name there often.

Thank God for actors like Beau Bridges, Kevin Sorbo, and Kirk Cameron, and so many others who have taken a stand and provide us with decent entertainment.

To God Be the Glory!

 

 

KEEP BELIEVING, GOD IS NOT DEAD

Though they spent 40 years in the wilderness, the Israelites’ shoes didn’t wear out.

Though famine had covered the land, the widow’s cruse of oil didn’t run out.

Though the Temple was under siege often over the centuries, the lamp didn’t go out.

No matter what is happening in your life, don’t let your passion die out. Even when you can’t see Him working, God is there. He has not forsaken or deserted you. Keep the blaze going and never give up.

Fear Not!

What did the Lord say to Moses at the banks of the Red Sea?

“Fear Not! Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you this day….The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

Sometimes, all we have to do is stand back and keep silent. We only need to wait and watch.

Though it goes against our human nature, we don’t always have to take action. When oppression comes, we don’t always have to speak up or defend ourselves or fight back.

The Lord is our helper. We need not fear what man will do to us. The Lord is our strength. The Lord is our guide, our teacher, our protector, our Savior, our King.

There may be times when we have to speak or act or defend ourselves. But, when our efforts appear to be ineffective, when we’ve reached our personal Red Sea and the army of evil is fast approaching, we should stand still, look to the Lord, bow down, and humbly declare our helplessness.

Then, simply watch Him work.

Partial Birth Abortion

The first mention of partial birth abortion is in Exodus 1:15-16 — And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.

How did the Hebrew midwives respond? Verse 17 — But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.

It is better to obey God than man. It is better to choose life, not abortion. It is better to save the children, not the so-called right of women over their own bodies. Women’s rights? They are destroying us.

Our realm vs God’s realm

We walk around on this earth, thinking we know what God’s realm is like. It’s nothing like what we see and hear. Nothing like what we can touch. Our limited knowledge is based on whatever our senses can absorb.

God’s realm has to be something far more awesome, far more colorful, far more worth pursuing.

We have little knowledge of who God is, what He can do, what He has done, and what He will do. His mind contains far more wisdom than we can ever hope to acquire on this earth. His world is far more vast than the universe we can see through the lens of the strongest telescope.

We smugly think we know everything needed to continue through this life. But we are fooling ourselves. Only God knows what lies around the bend. Only God can carry us through the good and the bad that we’ll encounter.

One day, we will step from this earthly realm and enter God’s realm, and what a surprise that will be. In an instant, in the blink of an eye, we will realize what we had on earth was a drop in the bucket compared to what God has prepared for those who love Him. Death won’t be the end. It will be an awakening.

I AM A RACIST

It took me a while to recognize and admit this about myself, but I am a racist.

When I was a teenager, I attended the harness races in Batavia, New York, just outside of Buffalo. The pounding of horse hooves, the jockeys, the carts, the fans yelling, the betting, the winning, the losing — it all added to the excitement. The experience turned me into a racist.

I also attended the stock car races in my hometown of East Rochester, New York. I loved the roar of the engines, the rise of the  dust, the grit in the air, the shouting, the screaming, the squeal of brakes. Even as a teenager, I was definitely a racist.

When I moved to Indianapolis, I lived in an apartment a couple of blocks from the Indy 500 track. I’ll never forget the hype in the month of May and the steady hum of race cars as drivers participated in the qualifying races. And then the big 500-mile race when the stands and the infield filled with fans and medics and track workers. There’s nothing greater than to sit in a huge roaring crowd of fellow racists right across from the finish line and cheer wildly as the lead driver zips past.

A true racist wouldn’t forget to mention drag racing champion Don Garlits who continues to thrill fans and whose automobile display draws racists to Ocala from all over the world. I’ve toured his museum and marveled at his fantastic collection of movie vehicles, motorcycles, and his many famed dragsters. My racism is at its height during those tours.

And, don’t forget the Triple Crown and the many Ocala Thoroughbreds that ran in those highly competitive races.  As a dedicated racist, I’m proud to be living in Horse Country, where I can take a drive past the horse farms and see the colts in the spring and the one- and two-year-olds in training. It’s a sight all true racists should see at least once in their lives. “Secretariat” is one of my favorite films. What racist would deny that?

Not only do I like to watch and support the various types of racing, but I’m an avid racist myself, and I say that with a certain amount of modesty mixed with pride. I’ve entered several 5-K races and a couple of four-milers, and I’ve won multiple medals — in my age group, of course.

Yes, I’m a racist. You can condemn me for that if you want to. But I’ve always been a racist and I expect I’ll always be one.

 

THE GREAT SHIFT

It’s been said that there is a Scriptural standard, and, while God has not moved from that standard (He is the same yesterday, today, and forever), it’s obvious that man has shifted from it. Even Christians have developed a laxness about God’s standard , and, in their quest to understand and accept current trends and the people who follow them, they have gradually drifted from that focal point.

Sin is still sin. No matter what the world says about certain issues, the Bible is clear. Yet, there are those who make their explanations and excuses and literally laugh in the face of God.

Of course, we all are sinners, and no sin is greater than another in God’s eyes. Every sin separates us from the Creator of the Universe, the Perfect One, the Merciful One, the One who paid for all of our transgressions with His own life.

But, there are some who refuse to call what they do sin. There are those who say things like, “Well, God wants me to be happy.” And so, they continue in adultery. They pursue lovers of the same sex. They kill their unborn babies, and now, even the born ones, and they say, “It’s my right.”

When Christians refuse to speak up and defend the principles of an Almighty God, when they accept the way the world is spinning away from godly truths, when they assume people probably have eternal salvation, despite the way they have chosen to live, that is dangerous.

In fact, it’s more dangerous to assume someone is saved than to assume they are not. If we assume they are not, we will (or should) do all in our power to lead them to the Only One who can save them. That is love.

Love is not wanting anyone to perish. Love is refusing to remain comfortable in our own salvation while others are missing the greatest promise of all time. Love is reaching out to the lost. Isn’t that why Jesus gave up His throne to come to earth? He said, I came to serve and to save the lost.

Those who believe in Him should not stand by idly as the world moves farther and farther away from God’s standards. If people who defend that trend can speak up, so can we. We can speak up against it.

Though the world hurls its slurs at us and accuses us of bigotry and intolerance, we must remain faithful to the standard God set forth from the beginning of time, and we must not be afraid to make known our position.