Archive | May, 2017

Lord God,

26 May

Heavenly Sun Beams

Look on all that we do today,

that it may be for your glory

and the sanctification of the world.

 

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An Open Letter to D.C.

19 May

Dear Officials in Congress and the White House

You folks have a tough job—serving a nation that is deteriorating in patriotism and substance.

Patriotism?

Yes, I ‘m afraid so. You see, I was a child during World War II. At that time, I lived in Southeast Texas with my parents. My only brother was in the Marines. He served as gunner on a fighter plane. He was wounded in battle.

Our family and all others were focused on winning the war. We gathered scrap metal and brought it to our school grounds. This metal was then picked up, melted down and used in making equipment for the war effort.

We faced rationing of food and gasoline.

In a word, we were all at war.

I’d never seen anything like it until that fateful day when terrorists took down the Twin Towers. For a while, our citizens had a sense of unity and outrage. It seemed as though patriotism was born anew.

But then, back to the usual pace of life—personal comfort and pleasure seemingly the goal of individuals, with only a hint of what it means to belong to the “greatest” nation on earth.

I intentionally emphasized the word “greatest.”

We are no longer the “greatest” in terms of national pride and purpose.

First, we are torn apart by racial tensions. And with the advent of terrorism, we are not comfortable with newcomers to our shores.

Second, we have only a trace of patriotism left in our nation. I don’t count as patriotism the hateful slander aimed at persons with different political views. It is simply inexcusable verbal violence.

Third, you folks “inside the beltway” are little or no help at all. Your bickering and arrogance, in Congress and in the White House, are both shameful and harmful.

Personally, I’m sick of it all.

You un-inspire me. You alienate me. Why?

Because, you are not leading us as “one nation under God.” You are creating resentment between yourselves and the citizens. And the citizens, if they respond as I do, are fed up with what comes off as quests for power for power’s sake.

And now we come to substance.

Where is God in this “one nation under God?”

Your rhetoric—and the slightest “nod to God” in all of society—falls way short of a belief and dependence on the One who made this nation great, who inspired the colonists to lay their lives on the line for freedom. Your mouthing of patriotic slogans falls way short of the sacrifice of those who daily risk their lives for all of us—our troops on land and sea and in the air—as well as our peace officers and firefighters who serve unselfishly.

One last word to all of you in Congress and the White House:

 Get real — you know what you have to do. And, trust in God — check with him first.  We are, after all, “One nation under God.”

 God bless you and all of us!

 

 

Confusion of Conscience

15 May

 

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 I imagine this old woman, kneeling before the statue of the Sacred Heart, over and over again striking her breast. I can almost hear her tortured prayer, “Forgive me, O God, all my sins throughout all my life. I am such a terrible sinner.”

Is she an especially holy person, one who truly sees the horror and the wages of sin—or is she merely a tortured soul whose painful conscience is the fruit of confusion or, maybe, pride?

Confusion? Pride?

Confusion: Perhaps this poor woman has never understood that a sin once forgiven is just that—forgiven. It exists only in the memory of the sinner, and Satan can torture even the forgiven person if she or he will not “let go” of the sin.

Pride: Oh how subtle is the sin of pride. Perhaps our dear sister is trapped in the sin of believing her guilt is beyond God’s power or desire to forgive. How treacherous is the devil, and how subtle his evil, to haunt and depress God’s children!

There is another way in which Satan can confuse one’s conscience—the sin of presumption. A person can become so confident of God’s mercy that he or she just goes along sinning and sinning, always relying on God’s merciful love, and never owning the duty to live responsibly and to grow in holiness—to say nothing about loving and being grateful to God.

So, what about that imaginary old woman I was thinking about?

I would do better to think about myself, about my own relationship with God.

Do I have a confused conscience?

Do I fret over sins already forgiven?

Am I taking God’s love for granted?

Do I really want to love and please God?

God deserves my love and to be pleased by me.

 

 

 

To Write or Not

10 May

There is perhaps nothing more humbling for a writer than to read C. S. Lewis. A dear friend gave me a copy of Lewis’ “The Great Divorce.” I couldn’t put it down.

He has such a command of the language equaled only by an enviable imagination.

I told my friend, “I may never write again.”

But, how can I not write?

The passion is irresistible. The topics are numerous. They rather easily come to mind.

So, for me, it is not really a question of whether to write. Rather, in the interest of the common good, there are the questions of what to write and when to write.

Perhaps you have a passion for baking or golf or mathematics or history or politics.

We’ve only to be sure that the passions that fill our minds and hearts are sparked by and dedicated to that one Passion suffered so many years ago—the Passion of the Christ and his Cross.

 

 

 

The Curse of Time

8 May

 

Imagine, if you can, a day without a clock or a watch—a day without appointments and a crammed schedule—getting the kids off to school, meeting that deadline at work or racing from one aisle to another in the supermarket.

Imagine a day without delays—and you realize that delays are possible only in time.

When I imagine such things, I realize that eternity—at the very least—is a blessing because there is no time, or clock. There is no rush and there is no schedule.

Eternity, of course, is so much more.

It is not a negative “without such and such,” but a positive “fullness of life” with, before and in God.

Sometimes I want to go back in time to the Garden of Eden to give Adam and Eve a good scolding. But then I realize I would do no better than they did because I do no better now. Even with all the hindsight, knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ, with all the history of God working in our lives, I still disobey him.

And, as with Adam and Eve, I live in time. My heart may be yearning for eternity, for that glorious, never-changing life in the presence of God—but I am trapped here in time.

Is time a curse—a curse that ties me to a whirlwind of opposing desires and drives and schedules and duties?

Perhaps.

But, I do know that if the Lord told me that I would die in the next minute, or next week or next year, I would be begging him for more time—more time to get it right, to learn and practice perfect obedience and to worship him as he deserves to be worshipped.

So, it is true that time sometimes seems like a curse, a prison that smothers us with duties, schedules and other frictions of living.

But, time is also a great gift—time to repent, to make things right with God and our loved ones, to make the world a better place because we have each become a better person, a more loving and generous child of God.