Saturday, September 24, 2011

To Serve and Protect

The police motto is "to serve and protect". How do they go about doing that? They go after the bad guys, and they make sure that we are safe. I appreciate their sacrifices on my behalf. It can't be easy to have a job like that where you put your life on the line every day, and so many people still look at you in fear and sometimes contempt. God must feel like the police sometimes.

Before God ever gave the Law to His people, he redeemed them from slavery in Egypt. He answered their cries and saved them from this most difficult life. Then, He gave them laws. Laws that would set them apart from the nations around them. Laws that would keep them from worshipping powerless idols, laws that would strengthen their nation, laws that would help them to live in safety, peace and unity with one another. God gave laws that would protect His people from their own sinful, selfish ways. By following God's laws, the Israelites would prosper. They would grow in number, strength and wealth. They would live the good life. Following the law perfectly would protect you from death and hell.

The Law was also given to serve us. We know we can not follow the law perfectly. If we are honest, most of us can admit to breaking the law before breakfast everyday. The law serves us by reminding us that we, in our weakness, can not keep it perfectly. We need someone to do it for us. We need a Savior. The Law points us to our inability to save ourselves. Christ HAD to come, HAD to live a perfect life, HAD to give us His righteousness, HAD to pay the price for sin, and HAD to rise again with power over death and hell. If he had not, we would all be lost. The Law reminds us daily of what it is that Christ accomplished on our behalf. It serves to ignite in us an appreciation for God's grace in our lives. It helps us to learn to be merciful ourselves.

We, as Christians, no longer need to fear God. Our debt has been paid. We have been given righteousness and are seen by God through the blood of Christ. We have been forgiven. We no longer hold God in contempt. We are not His enemy, but his sons and daughters. We appreciate the many gifts He has given us, including the Law that both serves and protects us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I've been doing a lot of thinking a I reflect on the ceremonies of last Sunday. Over and over we were called on to remember. While I don't advocate forgetting the tragedy and loss of the day, and I doubt that those who first hand experienced the horror will ever forget, I am unconvinced that remembering is enough. People don't seem to do a very good job when it comes to remembering.

God knows our memories are short. It is why in Deuteronomy 6 He commands us to impress His commandments upon our children, to talk of them when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, to tie them as symbols on our foreheads, and to write them on our doorframes and gates. It is why Joshua had the Israelites build a tower of stones out of the Jordan River so when the children asked " What do these stones mean?" Their parents would remember to tell them of the wonderous deeds God performed for them. It is why Christ instituted the Eucharist. When we celebrate it, we remember His life and death given for us.

Even when we are commanded to remember and we have symbols to remind us, we don't do such a great job. It didn't take long for the Israelite children to not know of God's deeds and turn to worship Baal. It doesn't take any of us long to forget. Remember the Alamo? Not too many do. Even those that recall the name or the slogan seldom remember the importance or the names of the men who gave their lives there. How about the "day that will live in infamy"? How often does Dec 7 come and go without the slightest acknowledgement of the horrors and bravery of the day? "Remember the Holocaust that it may never happen again". How many of our teens know the true atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps?

Yes, I agree we must remember 9/11, along with all of these other things, but it is not enough to say "remember". We must be intentional in our remembrance. We must pass these things on to our children and our grandchildren. It is important to talk about them and not just on the anniversary date. Future generations need to know, and it is our job to make sure they do.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I received the book Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy to review as part of the Booksneeze program. I was a bit daunted by the size of this book when it came in the mail. At 576 pages, it seems like some people will just not bother to pick it up. All I can say is that it is their loss.
I have heard about Bonhoeffer all of my adult life but have never bothered to take the time to study his life. This was a great resource to use for discovering just the type of man he was. We learn of his conflicts over all that was happening in Germany during his lifetime. This was a man who felt deeply. He loved his country, and he loved the church. His desire to serve both to the best of his ability resulted in his death. But his death has inspired others to seek the best for their country through the Word.
I hesitate to recommend this book wholeheartedly only because of the length. I can see nothing that the author, Eric Metaxas, should have cut, but it is a long read. If you want to know more about this amazing man, there is no better book to get.