Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Prayer for Year’s End

A Prayer for Year’s End - (Taken from The Valley of Vision)

O Love beyond Compare,
Thou art good when thou givest,
when thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.
Thy goodness has been with me another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.
Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past.
I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Different Approach to a Difficult Story (My take on the Phil Robertson GQ interview)

It's all over the news today, Phil Robertson speaks out against homosexuality and as a result has been suspended from the "Duck Dynasty" show that features him among other family members of the Robertson clan.

Those who disagree with Phil's words are applauding A&E over this decision.  They are calling for boycotts and more of the whole Duck Commander brand.  I would not be the least bit surprised if in the fallout from this we see companies such as
Wal-Mart and others that carry Duck Commander products begin to pull these items from their shelves.  Although I find that to be a ridiculous thing for them to do.

On the other side we have two groups in Phil's corner.  Those who may or may not agree with him but recognize his right to hold his own views and voice them when asked and those who both agree with his views and recognize his right to have them.

After reading the GQ Article for myself I am lead to the following conclusions:

It seems fairly clear from the article that the reporter had an anti-God agenda.  Were it me who was in Phil's spot being interviewed by GQ and things went this way, I would like to think I would handle my responses a little better but that's easy to say when it isn't me who was in that situation.

Controversial quote #1:
“It seems like, to me, a v---na—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s a--s. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” (source) (redacted letters mine)

I have said from my pulpit that homosexuality is clearly defined as a sin from Scripture.  It is clear that it is a sinful practice.  However, the above reasons given by Phil as to why it is illogical are not ones that I would every employ.  Whether he is right or not in his assessment of what is more desirable is irrelevant.

The issue of body parts is not the most compelling argument against homosexuality.  Phil's response forgets the Gospel.  Homosexuality is a sin because it is not how God created things to be.  He designed man for woman and woman for man and He did so for the purpose of illustrating the Gospel (see Gensis2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5).

I don't believe his remarks to be in keeping with wisdom and speaking the truth in love.   Is it true that the physical benefits of the male female relationship are more enjoyable than male male or female female?  Sure it is.  How do I know?  Because God created it that way and His ways are always best. (Genesis 1:27).  Secondly, He created us in that way for the purpose of filling the earth. (Genesis 1:28).

But as I said, his response or at least the part of it that was published, leaves out the Gospel.  The sin of homosexuality is NOT the only sin a homosexual person has in their life.  So in making an appeal to a homosexual about the truth about homosexuality I would include all sin.  (see Exodus 20:1-17).  If am homosexual were to become heterosexual without repenting of that sin and all other sins in their lives then they would still be just as much headed for God's judgment and wrath as they were when they were a practicing homosexual.

Now the last remark about sin being illogical, I agree with completely.  That's where he should have started!  Sin is illogical.  In fact the Bible says that it is when man begins to think himself wise that he becomes a fool.  (Romans 1:22-25).  Begin their and then unfold what Scripture says about homosexuality and all forms of unrighteousness and I do realize that Phil quoted Scripture to support his view.  He did it in context too.  I'm just contending that for at least what we are told in the article he missed the mark of the Gospel and maybe spoke some words that lacked the wisdom of having thought them through before saying them.

As I have already stated, I fully support Phil Robertson's right to say what he said and think it is an ugly thing to see the liberal intolerance in this country get its way so easily with a little tantrum.  While the liberals scream that they want diversity, they are really terrified of real diversity that allows differing views to exist in the same world.

Controversial quote #2:

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.” (source)

I do not agree with his view that "blacks" didn't want the civil rights that were held by "whites".  This quote seems to have been pulled from a broader context so more comment is not wise on my part but suffice to say while we do have entitlement and welfare abuse problems these days, it is not only the "blacks" or any one ethnicity that abuses those things.  We have a whole generation of young adults and children of all skin colors who feel themselves entitled to many things.  Thus the reason our country is in the trouble that it is in.

What would I like to see happen from this?

1.) Christians, voice your support for Phil, that's fine, but a whole load of Christians supporting Phil may get A&E to overturn their decision but it will NOT save one soul from their sin.  Let this incident be an every present reminder that a.) were it not for God's grace you and I would be just as lost as any lost person ever has been b.) we need to preach the Gospel!  We need to take to the streets and proclaim repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone!

2.) This was sort of said in number 1, but I do NOT want to see boycotts... For crying out loud... if you are going to boycott A&E for this, then go through your pantry and throw out all the foods from companies that support gay rights organizations, abortion clinics, or any other social ill you do not align with.  Unless you grew your vegetables from a seed yourself and you got that seed from the plants your family has grown for hundreds of years and never purchased that seed from a non-believing farmer, most of your food will be thrown out.  Turn off your electric service and stop using your cities water/sewage/trash services since most cities these days have taken some anti-Jesus stance of some sort... for our town it is "Happy Holidays" displayed almost everywhere this time of year instead of "Merry Christmas".  Oh and good luck with your clothing, you'd better learn to make your own because most clothing companies are very tied to the homosexual movement.  Your now a hungry, stinky, and naked.  Have fun with that.

3.) I would like to see the family vocally support Phil because right or wrong, wise or unwise they are family and family sticks together.  They talk about how the show is only good for them insomuch as it aligns with their faith and values. Now, the rubber meets the road, a stance from the family on this would do much more good to Phil's case than any amount of public support.

4.) I do not want to see Christians too bogged down in 1st Amendment arguments with unbelievers.  Have them to a limited degree brethren, but only inasmuch as it is a springboard for you to share the Gospel with someone!  If you only win the argument and convince them why Phil had the guaranteed right to say what he said, you have not done anything to lead that person to Christ!  Don't miss the forest for the trees.  Today alone, 150,000 people will step out of this world and into eternity.  Many of them doing so without having repented and trusted in Jesus Christ.  How much urgency do we sense for that need?  Many are posting "Standing w/Phil Robertson" photos/statuses and that's good.  We should speak up over 1st Amendment Rights violations.  But how many people have you shared the Gospel with today?   Do you care? Where is the passion for proclaiming the Gospel of repentance and faith?  Where is the passion for spreading the Name of Christ?  It seems it pales in comparison when we have the opportunity to jump on a hot and pressing social issue. 

Comments on this are welcome, keep them free from profanity or they will not be published. 

**If you are helped by this article or even just found it irritating, please feel free to re-post it to your facebook, twitter, google+ or other social media outlet. Thanks!