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June 10, 2013

Gracious Goodness Where Have You Gone?

“This is life eternal: that all might know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have glorified you on earth by completing the work that you entrusted to me. Now, Father, reveal my glory as I stand in your presence, the glory I have known with you since before the world began.” –Jesus

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, [nor the NSA boast of their data,] but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the LORD.” –Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah

Mankind’s love affair with all things technological is being exposed for what it really is: a deep seated belief in our ability to control our own destiny….apart from God. Far from a public outcry at Big Government snooping on our private affairs, a collective yawn sweeps across the land of the (rapidly deteriorating) “free” and home of the shamefully-indifferent-fading-memory-of-bravery.

It is a truth that what we worship in the object of our devotion is what we worship in ourselves. What we worship in ourselves is not, typically, the Divine attributes of kindness, justice, and righteousness, but rather power and status. How else to account for our fascination with the pomp and circumstance of Hollywood or Washington DC, the Super Bowl or Olympic champions, Wall Street or Bourbon Street, Silicon Valley or The Pentagon.

As the government collects more data on US citizens, presumably to keep us safe, we can only conjecture on what they could do with it. The details of the IRS’ decision to target certain political groups sends a chilling message of what people in power are capable of in the name of safety and “fairness”.

In his book Buried Treasures, Rabbi Daniel Lapin makes a powerful point that goodness cannot be separated from God:

“…the English word ‘good’ derives directly from the source of all good, which is God. … There is a compelling linguistic argument that originally humans understood that God and Kindness were not two separate ideas. There is also a logical argument to be made that all attempts to define goodness or kindness without a framework of reference [in God] are doomed. They were not even two separate words.

"For as long as they were understood as a sort of merged reality, each dependent on the other for meaning, mankind was better off. However, once a culture commences to define kindness with a political frame of reference instead of a religious one, it runs the danger of stepping on to the slippery slope that ultimately converts kindness to cruelty and tyranny.”

The eroding of public expressions of faith in God, symbolized by eliminating prayer in schools and banning the posting of the ten commandments, then replacing them with a secular faith in government is the architecture of a political framework devoid of In God We Trust. Although many decried the erosion, most of us sat limply by helplessly watching our children’s minds and hearts poisoned by cultural influences we would never want nor welcome into our own homes.

It reminds me of the scene from Saving Private Ryan where Corporal Upham is sitting paralyzed with fear on the steps outside the room where Private Mellish is meeting a hellish death at the hand of a Nazi soldier. As the Nazi plunges the dagger into Mellish’s chest he tells him to “Shush” reminding us that evil prefers we quietly accept our fate: the death of our culture, our freedom, our faith in the True God.

“It doesn’t take a majority to prevail, but an irate, tireless minority keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the hearts of men.” Those words by Samuel Adams are as true today as ever they were. Are we the brave? Are we the free? It may cost us our lives, fortunes and sacred honor to find out. The only question left is, even though we sat by cowardly accepting decisions made at every level of government – school boards, townships, county and state – we know the structure is not broken. But to make it work we must show up and stand up!

We know that the Perfect revelation of God cannot be separated from Jesus. Let us press on to completing the work He has entrusted to us: knowing Him! Let a fearless faith and commitment be strengthened in our knowing Eternal Life! Let us be the people who know Eternal Life because we are the ones who learned it by living it: standing against evil in our generation.

“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.” –Psalmist & King David

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