For it is by grace you have been saved...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Laying Aside Every Weight

“...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us...”  (Hebrews 12:1)

Weight has been on my mind a lot lately.  With my 50th birthday looming in February of next year, I realized that it was time to do something about my seriously overweight problem.  With 40 weeks to go before that deadline, I decided on what I considered a moderate goal of one pound per week.  I didn't want to do a fad diet, but make healthy changes that would be easier to keep up with.  So the 40x50 program was born.

Amazingly, with smarter choices, smaller portions, and lots more exercise, I manged to reach my 40 pound goal in just over three months.  I decided to add another 10 (or would that be take off another 10?  Anyway...), and I've been able to reach that goal as well.  OK, so as of today it's only 49.9 pounds, but still...

In the process of doing this, I learned some things.  Like, this takes discipline!  And like, sometimes it's not just the things you eat, but the amount.  A lot of my problem wasn't just eating bad stuff, it was just plain too much stuff.  Hopefully these lessons will stick with me, and the weight won't!

It just so happens that I've been preaching through Hebrews over the last year or so.  And we've come to this well known verse at the beginning of chapter 12.  In my mind, the admonitions to “lay aside every weight and the sin which clings so closely” were basically the same thing.  Get rid of sin!  And while that's a good idea, and certainly at the center of the second part, I've come to realize that the first part is a bit different.

Sometimes, in our effort to “run the race” it's not just the “bad stuff” we need to get rid of.  The junk food, so to speak.  Sometimes, we also have to be careful about things that aren't necessarily bad, we just have too much of it.  Laying aside every weight has more to do with ridding ourselves of our attachment to things which slow us down in our pursuit of Christ, even if they aren't necessarily bad things.  Like my effort at portion control.  The food wasn't necessarily all that bad, I just ate too much of it.

As providence would have it, Tim Challies wrote a nice little article about that this week using the illustration of passengers on planes in emergency situations stopping to get their luggage on the way out.  Their luggage was “good stuff,” passports and wallets and important things.  But in the midst of the crisis, those things were “weighing them down” and causing not only a danger to themselves, but to others who were being blocked by their delay.  Good illustration of what Hebrews is talking about.

Losing weight, or laying aside the weight, took a lot of effort and discipline. It took some reexamining of priorities, changing some habits, and keeping an eye on the progress.  Laying aside the weight in our spiritual lives is no different.  It requires not only dumping the sin, the junk food; but being careful that we don't let even the good things become too much; letting other things in life get in the way of our pursuit of Christ and His will and His way for His glory.  Anything that takes up more of our time and attention, and keeps us from that pursuit of Christ, needs to be laid aside no matter how “good” it might seem.

And one more lesson I've learned.  This weight loss thing did require a lot of effort and focus.  I had to think about what I was doing, about what I was eating, etc.  If I can be that focused and “passionate” about my physical health, why am I not equally passionate about my spiritual health?  Why am I not constantly thinking about how everything I'm taking in will affect my growth?  Why am I not trying to focus intentionally, daily, eagerly on laying aside every weight and sin, the way I focus on my diet and exercise?

When I started my original 40x50 goal, my good friend and old college radio partner David King jokingly said if I made my goal, he'd have to write me a song.  So when I hit that first goal, I sent him a message to let him know I was expecting that song.  And he delivered!  He wrote and recorded this fun, funny, song about my weight loss with the repeated refrain “well done, Scott.”  It's just a play on my name: Scott Weldon – Well Done, Scott.  See what he did there?

But as I'm listening to that “ear worm” of a refrain, I suddenly realized that as much fun as I was having hearing my old friend sing “well done,” shouldn't I be so much more concerned about hearing my Lord say “Well done, my good and faithful servant”?  Shouldn't that be the goal?  Oh, I pray that my heart would be set on that day by day, more and more.  And that I'm willing to lay aside any and all weight in my life that would keep me from it. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

“Lesser of Two Evils” and Other Fallacies

Since I decided to try and get this thing going again, I might as well jump right in to this election thing.  Actually, at one time, many, many years ago, my opinion of presidential politics actually garnered some national attention. I was interviewed and quoted by both the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the New York Times! (as always, I'm living off the past!)

Anyway, for the last several election cycles I've been supporting the Constitution Party.  And, just like this year, I've been harassed for not supporting one of the two major party candidates.  The candidates have changed, but the arguments about why I should support them have not.  And so I'll give a relatively brief rundown of these arguments and show why they don't hold water.

The Lesser of Two Evils
The biggest argument is that while neither of the two parties have given us a decent candidate, the one is better than the other, so we have to go with the lesser of two evils.  Personally, I think this is a lazy attitude.

Who says we only have two choices.  Yes, I know the third party candidates don't have much of a chance, but it has to start somewhere.  The GOP started as a third party.  Someone took the time and effort to support them, and now they are one of the “big two.”  It can, and I think should happen again.  Nowhere in our Constitution are we limited to two parties.  These two are broken, and need to go.

Furthermore, I think of Jesus when confronted by the two “parties” of his day, forced into a choice of supporting one of them.  Should He pay taxes, and support the pro-Roman party.  Or should He resist, breaking the law, but supporting the traditionalist Pharisee party.  Instead of giving in to a clear “lesser of two evils,” Jesus showed a third option.  Give to Caesar what is his and give to God what is His.  Yes that meant paying the tax, but not in support of the Romans; still showing allegiance to God. 

In my case, I'll give to Caesar what I owe him, which as a good citizen is my vote.  But I'll give to God what I owe Him, which is my allegiance and my conscience, which doesn't allow me to support either of the major party candidates.  And of course as Spurgeon famously said, “of two evils, choose neither.”

You're Wasting Your Vote
The other “big” argument is that if I vote third party, I'm wasting my vote.  Worse yet, my GOP friends tell me, by voting for a third party, I'm actually voting for the Democrats.  Other than the ridiculous logic of that (a vote is a vote, folks.  My vote for Castle doesn't add a vote for either Clinton or Trump, period); there is also the issue of the electoral college.

We act like we're a majority rules democracy, when in actuality we are a representative republic.  Part of that is this silly electoral college system where my state of Missouri gets only 10 votes, whereas California gets 55.  I understand the whole population thing, with more populace areas getting more electoral votes, but the system is outdated and currently stacked firmly against the middle part of the country.  But I digress.

The point is, in the last two presidential elections I voted third party.  The GOP candidate still won Missouri and its 10 votes.  But those pitiful votes, along with most of the middle of the nation, weren't enough to compensate for the massive numbers on the coasts.  So my vote did not cause Obama to win.  The electoral college system did.  And it wasn't a “wasted” vote, because more and more people are starting to stand up and take notice of the Constitution Party and others, which may still one day, make a real change.  (Hey, a guy can hope, right?)

The Supreme Court is the Biggest Issue
This is the biggie this time around.  We know, or think we know, that the next president will have the chance to appoint more than one Supreme Court justice.  And as we all know, they rule the country.

Several problems.  Number one, the fact that we give so much weight to these justices shows how bankrupt our government is.  These guys are not supposed to be making legislation, only enforcing it.  The Congress is supposed to be making the laws.  Why aren't we focused on the senatorial and representative races, then?  Because we know that our broken system has allowed a runaway judiciary to pull all the strings.  That needs to change, folks.

Number two, we are not God, and we don't know the future.  We don't know how many of these justices will be retiring/dying in the coming years.  We can make educated guesses, but we don't know. 

Number three, we also don't know with any certainty that Trump will nominate better justices than Clinton.  It seems that way now, but Trump has a long history of changing on the issues, so how do we know he won't do so again, especially if it's politically expedient for him?  I can't trust him, honestly, so I'm not going to let this issue sway me.

And number four, quite simply, this is not the biggest issue.  The biggest issue has always been and always will be the Gospel.  The Gospel has survived worse governments than either of these two will give us, and it will continue to survive.  This is where my commitment lies, and I will not compromise the Gospel for political pragmatism.

God May Be Raising Trump Up
This is really, really weak.  Not that God may not be doing that.  But the truth is, He may be raising up Hillary as well.  Look at Israel's history.  God gave them a few good kings, but He also raised up plenty of vicious, evil kings because of their rebellion as well.  So don't try to be a prophet and say Trump is God's man just because you don't like Hillary.  

It boils down, for me, to two things.
1) God is Sovereign.  He has already determined who our next president will be.  He will give us the leader we deserve, the one he has determined for His purposes to either bless or curse this nation.  That being the case...

2) My Allegiance is to Christ.  Since He will determine the outcome, my job is to be obedient and honor Him.  I can't do that by supporting Clinton.  She is a lying, cheating, supporter of baby killing; and those are some of her better qualities.  I also cannot honor God by supporting Trump.  He is arrogant, intolerant, unrepentant; and again, those are some of the lesser “evils.”  His recent comments are akin to the same attitudes and actions of Mr. Bill Clinton when he was in office, and I remember “evangelicals” calling for his removal from office and chanting things about “character counts.”  (Consider this SBC resolution).  Why does character not count now that it's “our” guy who is being called out.  We need to be consistent. I don't think I can “honor” Christ by actively supporting either of these.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Can This Blog Live Again?

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know."

Ezekiel 37:1-3 (ESV)

If ever there was a “valley of dry bones”, it would be this blog. Having be “closed temporarily” for the last 8 months, the dust is enough to choke a....well, to choke a person more than regular dust would. (That's a Tim Hawkins reference, for the uninitiated)
I'm not suggesting that this blog is equal to the exiled house of Israel, or that God will breath life into it as He sovereignly does into the dead hearts of lost sinners. But I do think it might take a miracle to get it going again.

Before the “break” I mentioned some of the things that led to it, and to this dry season. My degenerative eye condition has limited my reading, and quite frankly, less input means less output. Not that other people's words are the only thing that inspire, but reading good books (in addition to “The Good Book” of course) does oil the wheels of thought and creativity. That oil is still lacking.

Another issue, honestly, is a bit of a “dry season” in my own life. We've been serving the same church for over 13 years now. And while God is richly blessing, and we love and appreciate our church family so much, the truth is, I find myself getting into a bit of a rut. God has graciously been working on that element. And though I still have far to go, progress has been made.

The point is, I've come to think that maybe this is a case of “write until you've written something.” A. W. Tozer (and others) once said that when it comes to prayer, we have to pray until we've prayed. In other words, get down to business whether you feel like it or not, and eventually true prayer will be found. Another application of the principle has been made to love and marriage. To couples who struggle with “feeling” like they don't love, counselors have suggested “acting” like you love until the true love becomes real.

Anyway, I'm going to try to apply the principle by writing something on a regular basis in hopes that the “juices” will get flowing again. I'm not sure if anyone will rediscover this corner of the internet, and honestly I don't think I really care. This is for my own benefit; to get things going again; to exercise my mind; to force myself to think about things in order to write about them.

Obviously, there are no promises about the quality of the content to come. There never has been here, as any perusal of previous entries will confirm. But I do plan to begin posting again. But can this blog truly live again? “O Lord God, you know.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I Woke Up In Bizarro World- Again!

Last fall I penned a little piece bemoaning the upside down nature of our society: how we seem to celebrate evil and persecute good on so many levels.  I likened it to a song called Escher's World and to the DC comics concept of Bizarro World.  Well, it's just getting worse. 

The latest, although I think we all knew it was coming, is that a Texas grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing in the selling of baby body parts; but instead chose to file charges against the person who brought the heinous crimes to light.   If you are a right thinking individual, you may have to read that again:  Selling baby parts on the black market = ok.  Faking an ID in order to reveal such atrocity = felony charge.  It even made front page above the fold at the New York Times.  "Hurray for baby killers and for the punishment coming for those who oppose them."

Let me remind you again of the villainous motto of DC's Bizarro World.  "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!"  Hating beauty and loving ugliness.  Yep, that about sums up this grand jury's attitude.  We hate the beauty of small children and love the ugliness of seeing them chopped up into spare parts.  Meanwhile, if anyone calls attention to that ugliness, they are the real criminal. 

Now, let me say that as a general rule lying and deceiving are also bad things.  And yet, law enforcement does this all the time to get to criminals.  Undercover stings are built on this kind of misdirection, getting "in" to get confessions, etc.  In this case, since it's just well meaning citizens showing the world what reprehensible things are being done with tax payer dollars, I guess it's not so ok after all. 

Oh, wait, maybe that's the rub.  That tax payer dollar thing.  It's because this involves government stuff.  Because it involves a practice supported, no applauded, by our current administration.  Maybe that's why baby killing is good while a little misdirection to reveal it is bad.  Because this is part of the Bizzaro World government which currently holds power in this nation.   Well, go back to that previous post for the rest of that rant. 

For now, while my mind is boggled and my heart breaks over the idiocy of this nation (I mean come on: Trump or Hillary?? That's our best effort?? But that's another post),  I rest in the calm assurance that this world is not my home. And in the end, God will make all things right.  

We're not the first to struggle with this: the evil winning, the good losing.  Psalm 73 is a wonderful reminder of that struggle, seeing the wicked prosper and wondering why.  Then verses 16-17 - "But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end." (Psalm 73:16-17, ESV)

So, persevere, brethren (and sisteren? to be politically correct?).  None of this changes the end our Sovereign God is working towards.  None of it is new, even.  Indeed, this world is not our home, and our Righteous Judge will someday return and put things right.  In those days, I pity our Bizarro cousins.  As the next couple verses of Psalm 73 say, "Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!" (Psalm 73:18-19, ESV)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rest in Peace? A reflection on the passing of David Bowie

The music world mourned as the announcement came out that David Bowie succumbed to cancer at the age of 69.  Regardless of whether you liked him or not, one can hardly argue the influence he had over pop music for the last 40+ years.  In fact, one of my favorite artists, Steve Taylor, tweeted this: 
It's the I.O.U. part that shows Bowie's influence, but it's the R.I.P. part I want to talk about.  We all know the standard response of "Rest in Peace" when someone dies.  It actually comes from the Latin phrase "requiescat in pace", which of course means the same thing.  It's found on tombstones, etc.  It expresses a desire that the recently departed would actually find peace in the life to come. 

But is it legitimate for Christian people to offer the epitaph to those who by their lives demonstrate no relationship with Christ at all?  I mean, according to Scripture, there is no rest apart from Christ.  God has made it quite clear that all are by nature objects of His wrath, that our inborn sin will literally keep us from entering His rest, and will earn for us nothing but judgment in the world to come...unless we come to Christ. 

God has promised His wrath on sinful men, but in His mercy and grace He has also sent His Son to experience that wrath in our place, to suffer judgment in our place, to give us instead forgiveness, and salvation, and yes, peace in His rest.  But that only comes through Christ.  It only comes through faith.  It only comes through a new birth by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, for the glory of God alone. 

So then, if we see someone leave this world and enter into eternity, someone who has lived a life which gives no evidence of any faith in Christ; a life that has actually been anti-Christ in so many ways; a life bereft of any fruit that would lead us to believe a new birth has happened; is it legitimate to offer the epitaph "R.I.P."?  Knowing that apart from Christ, there is no rest or peace, can we just smile and say "R.I.P" to those whose future contains nothing of the sort?

I guess we could say we're offering it in hope.  We are hoping and praying that somehow maybe this person did find that faith in Christ.  We are hoping and praying that they truly will rest in peace.  Or I guess that we could just say "it's just a saying" and let it go.  R.I.P. is just the standard response to death, and it has no meaning at all. Maybe.

I'm probably making way too big a deal about this, but the idea of hoping for someone to truly rest in peace is a serious one.  It should make us consider the eternal. Facing mortality should cause us to consider immortality.  The end of this flesh should cause us to consider what comes after.  Because there is an "after."  And that "after" will include either resting in peace, or suffering in wrath.  Only Christ can make the difference. So please, if you've considered these things before, you need to now.  When it comes time to offer epitaphs, it's too late.  Seek Christ today. 

It's not my place, ultimately, to judge David Bowie's eternal state, or anyone else's.  In fact, the following video brings up some very interesting questions regarding some possible late life changes in Mr. Bowie's life.  Regardless, you and I should be concerned with our own destiny.  If you have questions, follow the link at the end of the video, or feel free to contact me through the comments.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sovereignty and Suffering

God wanted my roof to leak.  

Sounds a bit strange to put it that way, but let's look at the situation.  

Scripture clearly says God is sovereign over life and death.  Scripture clearly says God is sovereign over the rains, snow, etc.  So...

We had scheduled a guy over a month ago to come clean the chimney, do some touch up repairs, etc. However, my uncle passed away, and the service was the same day this guy was scheduled to come. Since we had to make an out of town trip for the service, we had to cancel the chimney guy.  His next available time to come won't be until January 4.  So, no cleaning and fixing. 

Now, we just had record rains and flooding here in the Ozarks, and as a result, our roof started pouring in water, I'm pretty sure around the chimney, and then running through the ceilings, etc.  Which most likely would not have happened if the guy had come a couple weeks ago and resealed the thing and so on.  

God knew exactly when my uncle would die, prompting our out of town trip and chimney guy cancelling.  God also knew those flooding rains were on the way.  So, conclusion: God wanted my roof to leak. 

Now, I have to be so very careful here for a number of reasons.  First, our leaky roof is so minor compared to the hundreds of people who lost homes in storms and floods, about a dozen who lost their lives in this last round of flooding, and hundreds more who suffered so much worse.  To call this leaky roof "suffering" might be considered a stretch for some. 

Second, I know we have to be careful in discussing God's active will alongside the nature of the sinful world we live in which results in death and storms and so on.  There are other reasons to tread lightly here as well, but still the truth remains: God is sovereign, none of this surprised Him, He was certainly in charge of timing, etc.   So what do I take from this?

Well, I struggle a bit with anxiety.  I know it's sin.  I know, for me, it's often a lack of faith.  And I know that this whole episode caused me some anxiousness and sleeplessness, since I was already worried about other flooding issues (our creek, our septic system, run-off, all meeting in our basement, etc.).  So I know that God is dealing with me about this.  It made for some quality prayer time (if repeating "Jesus help me!" over and over can be considered quality prayers).   This alone may have been the purpose.

I also know that I may never know the exact purpose.  May have to do with someone God will bring into our lives as a result.  May have to do with simply encouraging my wife and kids to pray for their pathetic husband/father.  May have to do with any number of things.  May have, as my wife suggested, to do with a simple reminder to be thankful in all circumstances.  We may never know. 

But in the end, it's a simple reminder that God is sovereign.  And I need to trust in that sovereignty, knowing that His will is always best, His purposes always right and good, and I need to constantly turn to Him in faith, trusting in His grace.  One of my wife's favorite songs says something about God sometimes calming the storm, while other times calming His child.  This may just be a reminder that in either case, He is as work, and I need to look for His hand. 

God is good, all the time, even when He wants my roof to leak.  Trust Him.  Lean on Him.  Look for His hand at work.  And ultimately, know that whatever we might be facing, great or small, "we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, ESV)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Need to Read

In one of the most quoted quotes about quotes and quoting, Charles Spurgeon once said, and I quote:  “Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.”

A later part of that same quote, less often quoted says this:  “We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure time, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, 'Bring the books' — join in the cry.”

Spurgeon was certainly one who practiced what he was preaching.  Here is a great little article with a few more quotes about reading from the Prince of Preachers.  It's not that long and worth time to check out, so click on over.

The reason I've been thinking about this is simply due to the fact that I've obviously not been posting here as often as I used to.  In fact, most of my posts have had something to say about how I haven't been posting.  Sense a trend?

And while there many reasons as to the lack of output here, I think the one major reason has to do with a lack of input.  Quite honestly, I'm just not reading as much as I used to.  I've had poor eyesight since I was just a little tot.  I started wearing contacts in high school out of self defense: I kept getting injured by the NASA-space-shuttle-thickness lenses in my glasses (this was of course in the days before these nice compressed lenses, but anyway).  My prescription is like -.750 in one eye and -.1050 in the other.  So reading has always been a bit of a chore, too much has always been a headache inducing strain.

A couple years back I was diagnosed with a degenerative condition in the already worse of the two eyes and some other issues with the other eye and....well, reading has become more and more difficult.  By the time I do the basic reading and studying for two sermons and a couple Bible studies each week, I'm pretty worn out.  Extra reading, for-fun reading has become less and less.  Large print texts and those I can get on my Kindle (so I can enlarge the font) are helpful, but still.

Anyway, this isn't just to whine about my eye problems.  They are minor compared to a lot of other folks, and nothing compared to the things some endure.  But the point is that this has curbed my reading.  And I think, as a direct result, my writing has been curbed as well.  Less intake means less output.

Reading is indeed so very important.  It stimulates the brain, gets those thought processes flowing; not only giving you information, but helping you to think in general.  There is indeed a reason the apostle Paul was asking for his books.  And while I would certainly promote reading “good” books, books on theology and history and the like, reading just for fun is important as well.  (Here is a good article from one of my daughters' favorite writers about the importance of reading fiction, libraries, etc.

So, I'm going to make a concerted effort to crack a few more books and stop whining about how “hard” it is.  I know I need to stimulate those brain cells with more than just coffee (though coffee is....well, if you've read here before, you know how I feel about coffee!).  Hopefully, that will increase the almost-useful output in this space, but more importantly, will give me a few more weapons to use in my Master's service.  I strongly encourage you to do the same.  

If you're looking for some help in knowing what to read, this is a great time of year because so many folks are doing their "best of the year" book lists and so on.  Here are just a couple of examples: 
So get out there and pick up a book.  You need to read!

ADDENDUM:  As usually happens, I find something else as soon as I post something.  Here is Tim Challies' reading challenge for the new year.  With several options, this is a great plan.   

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bring On The Kingdom

Ok, so there will be a serious point here, but first I'm going to rant a bit about the band Kutless whose song is the basis for the serious point.  If you want to skip the rant, scroll down to "End Of Rant."

So, those who are still here.  I've always loved Kutless.  One of my all time favorite songs (music, lyrics and even video) is "Shut Me Out".  I love that era of the band.  More recently they have released a few "worship" projects, which are good, but lacking the band's old driving edge.  So when we were told there was a new project, returning to the band's old sound, I was stoked.  

Sadly, only a very few songs meet the expectation.  Don't get me wrong.  The rest of the album is really good.  It's just that I was expecting a little more....umph.  The opening track, "Tear it Up", delivers in spades.  But from there on, well, not as much. 

However, as I said, this is still a good record.  And while this post isn't just intended as an album review, I had to say all that to work my way up to the song "Bring it On".  While not a classic rocker in the old Kutless style, this is one of my favorite songs on the project.  I love this message, which leads me to the point.....

End of Rant

The new Kutless song, "Bring it On", shares an amazing and encouraging lesson.  And it couldn't be more timely.  With all the recent "gunk" happening in the world, we need more than ever to have the encouragement that comes from knowing that our Lord is returning, and bringing with Him His glorious Kingdom.  Bring it On! 

The song goes like this: 
All the pain in the headlines
All the heartache of our crimes
The innocent, the helpless, here and gone
So we call out to Your name, save us, from our shame.
We’re crying out to heaven, how long…

There’s a new world on the way
When this one is gone, gone, gone
We’re ready Jesus, bring it on, bring it on
We’ve had enough of darkness
We’re waiting for the dawn
There’s a kingdom coming
Bring it on, bring it on, bring it on

We are holding, to the promise
Even now you are with us
Our every hope is in what You will do
Every wrong will be made right
Every tear will run dry
We’re praying that day is coming soon

We’re waiting… We’re waiting for You Jesus
We’re waiting, for You

Wow. What a hopeful message.  We are indeed tired of the darkness, longing for the light, looking for our Savior's return....Bring it on!

Again, what a timely message.  There is, indeed, so much pain and suffering; so much evil on the loose; so much...darkness.  We need the hope of Christ and His coming Kingdom.  I know that there are those who criticize Christians for thinking about that coming Kingdom.  They say that our heads are "in the clouds" and that thinking of the Kingdom/heaven is just an escape from the reality of this world.  I love C. S. Lewis' classic response to that in his book The Problem of Pain.

   We are very shy nowadays of even mentioning heaven. We are afraid of the jeer about ‘pie in the sky’, and of being told that we are trying to ‘escape’ from the duty of making a happy world here and now into dreams of a happy world elsewhere. But either there is ‘pie in the sky’ or there is not. If there is not, then Christianity is false, for this doctrine is woven into its whole fabric. If there is, then this truth, like any other, must be faced, whether it is useful at political meetings or no. 
   Again, we are afraid that heaven is a bribe, and that if we make it our goal we shall no longer be disinterested. It is not so. Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to. There are rewards that do not sully motives. A man’s love for a woman is not mercenary because he wants to marry her, nor his love for poetry mercenary because he wants to read it, nor his love of exercise less disinterested because he wants to run and leap and walk. Love, by definition, seeks to enjoy its object.

Amen.  Bring it on!  In fact, our Lord Himself chose to give us encouragement to face the struggles of this life with the promise that "Behold, I am coming soon."  This is what every true believer longs for. This is what we are working towards.  It's not "escaping" this world, it's putting this world in its proper perspective.  This world is fleeting.  This world is temporary.  This world is coming to an end, and each and every one of us is looking at eternity square in the face.  

Either we will look to that eternity with great hope and expectation, because of the shed blood of Christ which provides atonement for the sin that would separate us from God; or we look to it with dread, or not at all.  Regardless, our belief in it or not, hope in it or not, eagerness for it or not, doesn't change the reality of the Kingdom's coming.  So either we will run to the cross of Christ and seek His salvation and live every day in this world for the Kingdom and in light of the Kingdom; or we will ignore it all, and when it comes, find ourselves in a worse situation than any darkness in this world could ever prepare us for.  

In the  meantime, even while in this world, Christians still live for the Kingdom.  We live with Kingdom goals in mind. We live with Kingdom principles and values.  And yes, we look forward with great hope and longing for the coming of that Kingdom in all it's fullness.  Bring it on!

Now, for your viewing pleasure, you'll find the video for this song below.  

And as an added bonus, I added the video for Shut Me Out.  Just because.