My DOMA Reaction

Scott McCown:

With all that is going on in Alabama this week with the court ruling Alabama’s marriage act as unconstitutional and same-sex couples lining up to after winning the right to marry, I thought about this post originally from 2012 and reblogged in 2013. My thoughts have not changed.

Originally posted on The Morning Drive:

US Supreme Court http://www.flickr.com/photos/terra-trekking/6958036800/ US Supreme Court
http://www.flickr.com/photos/terra-trekking/6958036800/

This is a re-working of a post from May 2012. With today’s Supreme Court ruling that apparently refuses to rule on Proposition 8 and strikes down sections of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), I thought about this post. I stated the following on Facebook this morning: “As we reflect on the state of marriage and what our government now recognizes as marriage, remember that long ago our government forsook a godly definition when divorce and remarriage for reasons other than what Jesus states in Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:4-12, and Mark 10:3-12.” This goes with what I said a year ago. Keep reading;

One valid observation homosexuals and others make is that many “Christians” who speak loudest against homosexual marriage (and many politicians who are using this agenda  for political gain) are on their second, third, or even fourth marriage or they are guilty of violating the…

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Heat, Heart, Hardened

Doyle Martin in his younger years.

Doyle Martin in his younger years.

Yesterday morning the sermon was about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart.

The lesson noted that God did promise to harden the heart of Pharaoh so that Pharaoh, Egypt, the world, and Israel would know that God is God and that there is no other. A second part of God’s reasoning was to convince Pharaoh to release the Hebrews so God could through them carry out His mission to redeem mankind from sin (the scheme of redemption).

The message also noted that the through the first five plagues on Egypt and the seventh plague the text indicates that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.  It is plagues, six, eight, nine, ten, and Pharaoh’s decision to pursue Israel to the Red Sea that the text declares that God hardens Pharaoh’s heart. Apparently, God knew Pharaoh and knew his stubborn heart and allowed Pharaoh to become callous and then gave Pharaoh reason to grow even more callous.

The following question practically asked itself, “Does God harden hearts today?”

  • He hardened Israel so that the Gospel would spread to the Gentiles – Romans 10:16-21; 11:25, 30-31. When the leaders of Israel refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, God gave them reason to believe what they wanted to believe. This lead to Christ’s crucifixion. This would lead to God being able to open the door of redemption to the world through Jesus as Christ.
  • Some believe a delusion. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (emphasis – BSMc). When individuals do not want to follow God, He gives them what they want – opportunity to believe what is false.

After assembly on Sunday evening, Doyle Martin, a retired minister, shared this bit of wisdom with me. “The same heat that hardens clay, softens wax. The only difference is the material being heated.”

I immediately thought of the Parable of the Soils:

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mar 4:3-8;  cf. Matt 13:3-9, Luk 8:5-8).

There are many false messages in the world. Some of them sound good. Some sound loving. Some even sound as if they may be from God. But test every message with God’s revealed written word. Do no believe the lies.

– Scott

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What You Believe

We have all heard the statement, “You are what you eat.” In many ways I think that statement is true. No, eating bacon, does not make me a pig. The statement is a colloquial way to express a the simple truth that what we eat has a bearing on our physical and mental health.

“You are what you believe” is an even more accurate statement. Suppose you believed that it is alright to steal. Such a belief will allow you to consciously be a thief.

Applying this to our walk as Christians, remember that Christ said, “. . . for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Recall that the Hebrew penman wrote, “An without faith it is impossible to please him . . .” (Hebrews 11:6).

Faith is not simply knowledge or mere opinion. Nor is faith simply human judgment. Faith involves much more than mental assent. Many may express confidence that Jesus lived, give him lip-service, and have their names on a church roll and still have be faithless. James said, ” . . . Even the demons believe – and shutter” (James 2:19).

Faith is:
1. Confidence. It is trust. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
2. Credible. Faith finds basis in evidence. The evidence of creation (Rom 1:19-20) and the evidence of God’s Word (Rom 10:17).
3. Conductive. That is faith impacts our conduct our actions. Faith does not just sit in a corner and make grandiose statements. Faith moves, Faith acts. Faith works in love for God and man. (Gal 5:6; Jam 2:14ff).

We are what we believe. We act on our faith. To believe nothing is to be nothing. To be inactive for Christ is evidence of a lacking faith.

What I do reveals what I believe.

– Scott

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God’s Dwelling Place

This week in my chronological reading of the Bible, I am reading about the Children of Israel as they flee Egypt. As they learn more and more about God who delivered them, they learn His desires. One thing God wants is to be present in their lives. To help them know He is near, He guides them to build an elaborate tent for His dwelling. This tent, we know as the Tabernacle, had a specific design and contained specific items.

Looking at this tabernacle and the items in it, I notice similarities to God’s New Covenant people (Christians) and our relationship to Him.  The chart below shows some of the connections the Tabernacle has as a type or shadow of what was to come. The chart demonstrates the Christians age, the Church, as the antitype of the Tabernacle.

tabernacle

– Scott

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What’s Your Excuse?

I shared this list with the great folks at Central last night. These are excuses that parents supposedly wrote to their children’s question-mark (2)school.

  • My son is under a doctor’s care and shouldn’t take PE today. Please execute him.
  • Amy did not do her homework last night because we went out to a party and did not get home until late. If she is tired, please let her sleep during recess time.
  • Diane was late on Wednesday. She fell asleep on the bus and was taken back to the bus yard.
  • Please excuse my son from being absent yesterday, because there is a river in our house.
  • Henry stayed home because he had a stomach ache from eating too much frosting.
  • Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick, so I had her shot.
  • Cody was absent yesterday because we were out bowling until 2 AM.
  • It was my fault Mike did not do his math homework last night. His pencil broke and we do not have a pencil sharpener at home.
  • Tommy wasn’t in school yesterday because he thought it was Saturday.
  • Jerry was at his grandmother’s yesterday, and she did not bring him to school because Jerry couldn’t remember where the school was.
  • Please excuse my son. He will be out next week slaughtering goats for his manhood ritual. Thank you!
  • Ronnie would not finish his work last night. He said his brain was too tired of spelling.
  • I kept Billie home because she had to go Christmas shopping because I don’t know what size she wears.
  • Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.
  • Sally won’t be in school a week from Friday. We have to attend her funeral.
  • Eric hurt his knee in a karate tournament over the weekend. He won his age group, but was in too much pain to do his math assignment.

We are studying through the Bible together as a spiritual family. Last week we read about Moses and his initial encounter with God. Moses offers excuses not to serve God:

  1. Who am I? – Exodus 3:11
  2. What shall I say? – Exodus 3:13
  3. What if they do not believe me? – Exodus 4:1
  4. I am not eloquent, I am a slow talker, and not great with words. – Exodus 4:10
  5. Finally, Moses gets to the real issue, “Please send someone else.” – Exodus 4:13

Before we judge Moses too harshly, don’t we make the same excuses?

We don’t think we are important enough for people to listen to us. Paul says, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6). 

We are unsure of what to say. Paul tells us what he said, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

We don’t think people will believe us. John would tell us it is not us they have to believe, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31).

We are afraid to speak to others.  We do not think we are talented enough. Paul claimed no talent, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).

God calls us to proclaim the message of Christ (1 Peter 2:9). What is our excuse for not going and sharing?

– Scott

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Losing Power

My '01 Frontier

It happened this morning. Yes, this morning as I was driving to the study.  I was on the highway not one-half mile from my house. I was approaching the only traffic light in my town.  I decided to turn to the right and check the post office, so I reached down to take the key off my key ring.

Carefully, while still looking at the road and checking to see that the light does not change, I put on my turn indicator and reach to my keys that are in the ignition. I used my thumb nail to separate the key ring and begin turning it to remove the key ring from the ignition key. I wanted to leave the truck running so the cab would warm up while I was in the Post Office. As I manipulated the key ring, all the warning lights on the dash board lit up and the engine became eerily quiet. I had turned off the engine! No power steering, no power assisted brakes, but at least Creedence Clearwater Revival was still playing over the speakers.

I had no power from the engine to transport me to my destination. I was still headed in the right direction, but without a driving force, I was losing momentum. I was slowing down. My forward progress would eventually stop. Not a moment to panic, I had to think. I shifted to neutral and restarted the engine, put the transmission back into drive, and turned toward the Post Office.

As I continued my commute, I thought more about my little incident. a couple of things came to mind. 1) don’t try to remove a key while you are driving. 2) This might make a good story for The Morning Drive to talk about dependence upon God.

Paul says:

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19)

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

The Hebrew writer says:

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

There is a direction my life should go. A direction that leads me to my home in heaven. But I do not have the power on my own to get there.  But when I put my life in God’s hand through obedience to the good news of salvation through Christ Jesus the Lord, God’s Grace empowers me to live a fruitful Spirit filled life (Gal 5:22-23).

– Scott

BTW, my PO Box was empty this morning. I did all that for nothing!

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Making Marriage Matter

This weekend Central is hosting an event we are calling Marriage Matters Weekend. We are looking forward to Dr. Danny Camp

Amy on our wedding day 8.12.89

Amy on our wedding day 8.12.89

being with us Friday night and Saturday morning. Our prayer is that our marriages will strengthen as a result of what we learn.

As I was thinking about this weekend, I looked through some older posts on Marriage and came across this one in the archives: One Day in a Happy Marriage.

Today you get a glimpse, just a few moments – 10 to be precise – of a happy marriage.  These are moments you can recreate in your marriage that, if you put into practice daily, will help your relationship grow exponentially.

  1. Start the day praying for your marriage.
  2. Say, “Good morning (insert affectionate term here), I love you.”
  3. Be affectionate: i.e. hold hands, hug, kiss (Kiss AFTER you brush away morning breath.  Nothing can kill a morning like morning breath).
  4. Embrace and kiss before you leave for work.
  5. If job(s) allow call each other a couple of times or text a few “I love you”s all along.
  6. Kiss and embrace when you get home. Growing up, we were not allowed to bombard Dad with all of our news, homework, etc. until after Mom welcomed him home with a kiss.  One we would “eww-gross” and try to break apart.
  7. Work on household chores together – including meal preparation.
  8. Sit on couch together while you read or watch TV.
  9. If children are small get them ready for bed – together.
  10. End the day with quiet time (quality time) together.

- Scott

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