Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday July 16, 2009

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"—and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:4-5.

I sleep soundly at night, but many people do not. When Ann asks me how I sleep so well, I answer that it’s due to contentment and a clear conscience. It’s true that I am content most of the time, but the latter part of my explanation is patently false! The closer our walk with the Lord the more troublesome our conscience becomes; the nearer to the light the more detail can be seen. So dealing with guilt is a major part of our lives, whether we feel guilty or even recognize our guilt. It can be ignored, suppressed or even forgotten, but still remains in our subconscious.

Guilt may express itself in a number of ways: a sense that something is not right; emptiness in the soul; irritability or an obsession with ethical causes: peace or the environment. It can be covered up by partying, drinking or drugs, work, or even endeavouring to live a “good” life. But it’s in the middle of the night when there are few distractions that fear of the future and death—prompted by guilt—may be the greatest. I remember hearing a girl once express: “we have overcome the taboos and mystery of sex, now we have to work on the next obstacle to life: death”!

Punishment may pay the debt that sin creates, but it does not erase the guilt; it only covers it. The only cure for guilt is forgiveness. But forgiveness is light years away if we do not recognize or we deny or rationalise it. The route to forgiveness is by acknowledging and confessing our guilt and repenting of our sin. We may rightly seek forgiveness from those we have wronged, but ultimate forgiveness is only available from the one who created us and who instilled our conscience and sense of justice. David, the psalmist, understood that, and for us there is the clear offer of forgiveness available at the cross.

Of course, there are a variety of other causes for sleeplessness, but if it is guilt, why would we ignore this gracious offer when the knowledge that our future can be settled is available to us? And there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to prepare us for the stresses of the day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday July 13, 2009

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Romans 1:16.
It has been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks, culminating in my attendance at the yearly Conference of the Congregational Christian Churches in Canada. The force of the above text was brought home by one of the speakers concentrating on the defence of the faith. One of the reasons for proclamation of the gospel is because it is the truth—not one of a smorgasbord ideas about spirituality—it is objectively true. That is to say it can be shown to be true by objective facts that can themselves be seen to be true.

This is in contrast to much of what passes for spirituality for many, that we all carry our own “truth” with us so what we believe is true for us! This is based on the idea that all truth is relative; there is no such thing as absolute truth. A moment’s thought will perceive how contradictory that statement is because the statement itself claims to be absolute. It could be rephrased: “It is absolutely true that there is no absolute truth”! Needless to say, much of what passes for spirituality today is totally subjective opinion with no authority behind it to establish truth.

Eventually, those beliefs founded on speculative ideas will fail the believer; it is the truth that will stand the test of time and provide clear guidance for life. You, like me, have probably been frustrated in buttoning a shirt or blouse to find a button left over because you started with the wrong button! Life can be much the same. If our lives are not based on a truthful understanding of God and his universe, all our thinking will be skewed. We don’t have to look far in current western society to see the deteriorating effects of the fading of Christian belief.

Perhaps the most recent example of this is the latest twist in thinking by the homosexual lobby. They claim that only 5–10% of us are “monosexual.” That is, very few humans are attracted to only one sex, but the remaining 90% can have sexual encounters with any form of sexual orientation. The sex we have is a choice from a smorgasbord of equally good options. Thus they assert that saying we are “born” one way or another is patently untrue of most of us and demeaning to those who practice homosexuality. Sexual experience is a choice.

Welcome to the world where the sex we have is now totally unrelated to the sex we are! Perhaps at this point you may want to even check the sex you are; the physical appearance could be misleading. If you have had children you will now be giving a sigh of relief that you probably guessed right—although remember that you can have sex without having children, but you can also have children without sex! Which button should I start from now?