Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Naked Truth

You've heard the expression "the naked truth."  Now hear the story.

Two men, Truth and Falsehood, went swimming.  Falsehood stole Truth's clothes, and Truth, rather than lower himself to wear Falsehood's clothes, chose to go without.  Falsehood, in the guise of Truth, goes about deceiving mankind to this day.*

Abortion, to name one big, giant example, goes about dressed as health care, freedom, choice, and right.  It comes to "help" in family planning and in reducing the number of unwanted children and poverty.  It appears almost saintly.

Paul, in dealing with the problem of false apostles, says that we should not be surprised, "for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14).

"Truth" is a key Biblical word and especially in the Gospel of John.  Jesus says on the eve of His crucifixion, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).  And then we learn that He hung on the cross without His garments and clothing (John 19:23-24).  The naked Truth.

Ask yourself whether your church and pastor teach the naked truth about sin and the punishment we deserve, as well as about Christ who came and took our sin and suffered the punishment in our place.

And become a voice of the naked truth, adorned only with love.

*story told by Richard Wurmbrand

Friday, April 26, 2013

18-Minute National Sermon

Yesterday eighteen members of Congress spoke out on the Kermit Gosnell story.  I encourage you to watch their roughly 1-minute speeches.  It will not be comfortable.  Rather, it is necessary.  It will be encouraging, however, to hear the voice of truth.

Special note: Young persons should not view without the guidance of their parents.

After watching, be certain to pray.

Peace of Christ,
Pastor Matt

Monday, April 22, 2013

Does the Good Shepherd Have a Sheepdog?

I think He does!  The great Psalm 23 begins, "The Lord is my shepherd," and, "He leadeth me."  He is out in front leading the sheep.  One can hear the voice of Jesus, "Follow Me."

But then the last verse of the psalm points to something bringing up the rear: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

Now imagine my surprise when I learned that the Hebrew word for "follow" can mean "to pursue, to dog (!), or to attend closely."  It's a perfect and even literal job description of a sheepdog!

There could be two sheepdogs, the one named Goodness and the other Mercy.  But I prefer to see only one, and his name is Goody (for goodness and mercy).  And I say that because God's goodness is really His mercy - not two different things.

He is the rear guard of the flock.  Who knows the trouble or thickets I would get into were it not for Goody's tending, guarding, and driving me to follow my Shepherd?  I would constantly fall back on my own righteousness instead of Christ's.  Or on my sins instead of His death.  Or on my death instead of His resurrection.  My fear instead of His peace.

We have a Good Shepherd who leads, and is, the way to heaven.  And He has the best sheepdog ever, Goody, who sees to it that we follow as we should - in faith.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You Leave Us Not Alone

In the wake of Monday in Boston, I turn to this hymn written by a woman named Joy.

When aimless violence takes those we love,
When random death strikes childhood's promise down,
When wrenching loss becomes our daily bread,
We know, O God, You leave us not alone.

Our faith may flicker low, and hope grow dim,
Yet You, O God, are with us in our pain;
You grieve with us and for us day by day,
And with us, sharing sorrow, will remain.

Because Your Son knew agony and loss,
Felt desolation, grief and scorn and shame,
We know You will be with us, come what may,
Your loving presence near, always the same.

Through long grief-darkened days help us, dear Lord,
To trust Your grace for courage to endure,
To rest our souls in Your supporting love,
And find our hope within Your mercy sure.

Joy F. Patterson