Friday, January 15, 2010

Disgust and Outrage

On Thursday, January 14th, the Bangor Daily News reported the conviction of a Maine man on manslaughter charges. He was convicted of shooting his partner during a homosexual orgy while they were playing Russian Roulette to increase their excitement. All three of the men involved in this incident had AIDS. My disgust and outrage is not at them, even though I find their behaviour to be disgusting. My disgust and outrage is with the Bangor Daily News who suppressed this story for months.

The Bangor Daily News seems to take great delight in splashing every horrid crime across its front page; and it supports every liberal agenda there is, not just in the editorials but the news articles with their biased slant. Yet this story, with all its bizarre and shocking details, went missing from the paper for months. Why?

Why did they suppress this story? It would have hurt one of their pet causes - homosexual rights - and especially the same-sex marriage debate going on in Maine. It seems, according to the Bangor Daily News, that the man found guilty of shooting his partner had testified before the state legislature at their hearings on the same-sex marriage bill the legislature was forcing upon the state. And this testimony was given just four days after the crime had been committed. That's right, after the crime had been committed. Apparently the Bangor Daily News didn't think that was relevant information in the debate, at least not relevant enough to tell us until now, long after the bill was passed and the the people's referendum overturned the bill.

All through the trial, according to the reports in the Bangor Daily News, the sexual practices of these men should not be considered. The issue was entirely a gun issue. Hogwash. They are right in the sense that no matter what their other activity, the use of a gun to play Russian Roulette was negligent. But, it is precisely their sexual practices that is the issue with homosexual rights.

Society has deemed that behaviour to be wrong. God has condemned it. Should we legalize it? Should we make discussion of this aberrant behavior off limits when we debate their "rights?" If the Bangor Daily News kept all the sensational crimes off its front page, I would applaud them. But for selectively suppressing this story for months because it would hurt their pet cause, I condemn them.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Going in Strength

The next verse I want to cover in Psalm 84 is verse 7, which says, "They go from strength to strength; every one of them appears before God in Zion." The question is, whose strength? The answer is found back in verse 5 where we are told that it is the strength of the Lord. Last time in this Psalm we were on a pilgrimage walking through a valley of weeping and desolation, only to find that God met us there and turned that valley into an oasis. Now we find that we can walk that valley in strength - but it is in the strength of the Lord. We don't have to do it on our own. And while our strength fails, His only increases.

Do you ever wonder if you are going to make it through the valley? I mean, living the Christian life is so tough. There are disappointments and difficulties aplenty. There is pain, sorrow, and hardship. Do you ever wonder if you can hang on and make it to heaven? This verse says there is no doubt about it. You will! You will, if your strength is in the Lord.

See how verse 7 ends? "Every one of them appears before God in Zion." This isn't talking about the Zion in Israel, but the heavenly Zion - the abode of God. This is the assurance, not that every human makes it heaven, but that every born again believer appears in heaven. This isn't talking some universalism drivel; that God will save everyone no matter how reprobate and blasphemous or whether they believe or not. This is perseverance of the Saints by the power of God. It is only believers that walk in the strength of the Lord.

"Well, I don't know, pastor," you might say. "I'm just not that strong." That's just the point. None of us are. We could never make it to heaven in our own strength. But we couldn't save ourselves either. We needed a savior. In the same way, we need the savior to keep us saved. Jesus can and Jesus will. We can trust that.

Do you remember what Jesus said in John 10:27-30?
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one."
What does Jesus give us? Eternal life; not some temporary respite to see if we can hold on. And whose strength is it anyway that keeps us? It is the combined strength of both Jesus and God the Father. And just how strong do you think God's hand is?

They both have their hands on you, clutching you tightly. Now how could you ever get out of there? How can anything pluck you out from between their hands? Nothing can! So what are you worried about? It is the strength of the Lord that saved us, and it is the strength of the Lord that keep us. It is God's strength that gets us through the valleys of weeping and desolation, and God's strength that keeps on getting us through all the way to that heavenly Zion.