News you can use: An eternal perspectevi
I begin each day with a brief devotional as part of my routine, not only to better understand the meaning of life and the One who made it, but also to spiritually arm myself for the challenges of the day ahead. A “quiet time” spent with the Lord and His Word each day is, I believe crucial to one’s walk with Christ. It puts first things first and provides a biblical foundation from which to stand, think-through and discern the news and events your eyes and ears will absorb throughout the day. I got into the devotional habit a quarter of a century ago when I gave my life to Christ. Whether cause or effect, I can tell you this; when I discontinued it for a time my life returned to being chaotic, confused, ungodly, vain, meaningless and self-destructive. It was only after returning to the Lord in 1995 that I reinstated those precious and powerful moments with Him and regained a biblical understanding of the world around me. Although I might miss it a time or two now and then and occasionally have it later in the day than I should, I make it a point to begin each morning with the Lord and an open bible. If you do the same, I think you’ll find the morning’s “noose” a little less frightening. Once assured of our ultimate destiny, the journey truly can be more enjoyable, meaningful and exciting.
One of those rare mornings I missed my devotional was September 11th. I had been up late the night before writing and researching and was a little slower getting to my feet than usual. I hadn’t even had the first cup of coffee when my wife called from the office instructing me to turn on the television and see the amazing things happening in New York City. The second plane had just hit the World Trade Center when the set came on and I just sat there dumbfounded listening to a hyperventilating news commentator trying to make sense of it all to his viewers without going to pieces. I’m sure I don’t have to explain to anyone what I felt that morning because we were all stunned by the same surreal pictures.
Long story short, the evening arrived rather quickly having spent my entire day in front of that television screen, which is unheard of around this house due to the global/socialist propaganda that regularly flows from it. Although one can readily obtain fast-breaking news and information from the Internet, only television allows us to watch civilized society collapse in real time. Image still reigns as the most compelling force in a carnal world and those who masterminded the tragic events in New York and Washington know it very well.
If images are all you have to evaluate the world then it’s reasonable to assume you are probably living in fear right now because of what you witnessed on the tube that terrible day. If your faith and trust is in the media’s lens and the words of men then I’m quite certain you’re convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Osama bin Laden is the world’s greatest enemy and that you’re probably next on his list of targets. How sad…
May I suggest we forget about “who the enemy is” for a moment and try to ascertain whom our friends might be before dealing any further with our enemies. Those who are in Christ have a very powerful Friend. Frankly, He is THE MOST powerful friend of all. The bible says: “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us”?
It really all boils down to who “US” is, doesn’t it? Now, you don’t REALLY think that the “US” in that scripture verse means the U.S., do you? Well, you might be surprised just how many patriots today are convinced that WE, “The United States of America”, are the GOOD GUYS in all this simply because we have a Statue of Liberty, a Washington Monument, a Lincoln Memorial, a Constitution, a Christian heritage, a conservative president, honorable forefathers, the best weapons, the greatest technology and stamp “In God We Trust” on all our currency. You see, they’ve unwittingly embraced the liberal philosophy of symbolism over substance. Fortunately, our Lord is not duped by the pompous prayers, pride and pageantry of men.
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?” (Isaiah 29:13-15)
I think all this feverish and fashionable flag-buying and church-going is an excellent illustration of the superficial loyalty we have for our country and the One who has already blessed it beyond our ability to appreciate and preserve it. We sentimentally sing “America The Beautiful” with tears in our eyes while remaining biblically ignorant of the God who MADE America beautiful as if men were somehow responsible for its greatness. Why does it take a tragedy like WTC to send us all rushing to Wal-Mart for flags on Wednesday and to church for a Savior on Sunday? Is it not the same jaded flippancy that wheels us through McDonald’s for a Happy Meal instead of sitting down at the kitchen table over a home-cooked meal to talk to our children and teach them to give thanks?
On the evening of September 11th, after staring for hours at what I believe was a televised warning from above, I remembered missing that morning’s devotional. As I turned the TV off and slowly made my way upstairs to find my bible, digesting the days events, I was reminded, like so many others, how brief and fragile this life really is. I must admit that in all the excitement I experienced a little fear and anxiety myself over what the future might hold in light of all that had transpired. With every little step I took toward that upper room, I realized were it not for the still small voice that called me away, I might have stayed downstairs in front of that TV all night treading the raging waters of shock, confusion, disbelief and despair instead of turning to that old and faithful Friend to comfort and council me as He had so many times before.
Psalms 94 was the chapter I failed to read that morning in my quiet time. Upon opening my bible to it near the end of that terrible day, my heart swelled within me as I savored these words:
“O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it. Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.”
So, where do you turn each morning for information and perspective? If it’s not the Word of God, then I hope and pray you will consider a lifetime subscription. Television might paint pictures you won’t forget but you’ll never know the Truth until you gain an eternal perspective. If you begin each day with the Word of God, I think you’ll be amazed how much REAL NEWS you’ll get over that first cup of coffee.