Aaron Summers

Hubris of the High Office

In Politics on September 6, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Fake Dictionary, Dictionary definition of the word hubris.

I first noticed hubris in the high office years ago.  I was 10.  My dad was with PATCO and was fired when the group went on strike for better benefits.  What is wrong with hubris?  Isn’t there a certain degree of it required to serve in such a prominent leadership role?  A certain amount of confidence must be evident to lead a rebellion, demand independence in the Western Hemisphere, make purchases such as the Louisiana Purchase, engage in world wars, conflicted conflicts, and reign down fire on the Taliban.  But there are those who go too far.  Those who engaged in affairs, subjugated laws, infected the Oval Office with immorality and created a debt load only God could actually pay off.

My friends there is a hubris that is accepted and there is the hubris of the high office that will kill my grandchildren…maybe even my children.

The post-war (WWII) abundance was fun but the returning GI’s had no jobs and the women were enjoying their freedom to work.  Soon we found ourselves in a “conflict” that we were not ready to win.  Dropping money casually in the billions.  On June 25, 1940, congress approved a new debt ceiling of $49 Billion.  When LBJ came to office in 1963 our debt was $308 Billion.  As of September 2016 we are bumping up to $20 TRILLION!  That is 118% a year if my math is correct.

A few reasons why this has occurred include:

I am no political pundit, but even I can see that there has to be an end at some point or the end will be of America.  Hezekiah was having a difficult time in the high office of Israel and Isaiah came to speak to him.  There was a word from God he needed to hear.  Hezekiah had been entertaining the diplomats from Babylon.  He had showed off everything in the capital, including the temple and the treasury!    Isaiah explains the ridiculous decision that revealing everything was.  He went on to say that Hezekiah’s children would wind up eunuchs (castrated males) in service to a foreign king.  Note the king’s response:

Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the lord is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”

What?  Yes, you read that correctly.  As long as Hezekiah wasn’t going to suffer this awful problem it was just fine with him.

Isn’t that how it seems things have been for a while now?  We will keep inflating – expanding – while the prospect and hope for our children deflates and shrinks.  What can we do?

  1. Register to vote.
  2. Research
  3. Vote
    1. for a better future.
    2. for a fiscally conservative candidate all the way to your local mayor and city council.
  4. Hold those in office accountable.
  5. Repeat as often as you can

The hubris of the high office, if left unchecked, can wreck us all.  We, the constituents have the power of the vote.  Make use of it wisely.

Are You Handcuffing God?

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2016 at 2:19 pm

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“Of course not!”

That is probably your first response.  It would be mine, too.  First, why in the world would I want to do that.  Second, how in the world would that be possible.  Yet, I believe we all too often do this very thing and never realize it.

How does one handcuff a deity?  Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?  So now we consider that if God is all-powerful how could he ever be handcuffed?  Unless, it was in the design of things from the start.  God’s design has been that if we trust his process and obey his procedures then His presence would be provided.

Adam and Eve had the perfect setup.  They had the perfect environment, perfect marriage, and perfect relationship with God.  He established a process and procedural code.  If they would trust, when not understanding, obey, even when it seemed odd, then the perfect setup would have continued.  They didn’t.  Eden didn’t.  Welcome to the land of the sinful nature!

As Israel came on to the scene hundreds of years later, God established a process (sacrificial system) and procedures (law).  If they would have simply trusted and obeyed things would never have gotten out of control.  When you read Judges you understand.

We find ourselves in Isaiah 7 and the prophet is speaking to Ahaz.  He is pleading with him to trust and obey what God has already established.

Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.

Essentially, Isaiah is telling the king that unless he will trust and obey, God will allow a pagan nation to be his tool of discipline.  It will not matter the allies, horses, or army.

Handcuffing God is not about God becoming weak or impotent.  Handcuffing God refers to our lack of faith in the process and plan, and ultimately the heart, of God.  Without a certain level of trust, we set into motion things that God CHOOSES to not stop, as if he were handcuffed from doing so.

So the next time you consider your difficulty, or find yourself in a jam, or are just anxious about your future, ask yourself, “Am I handcuffing God by my lack of trust and obedience?”

What Is Your Heart For Worship?

In Gospel Living on August 23, 2016 at 1:27 pm

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At the very heart of worship is the sense “to bring glory”.  While broad, this encompasses the crux of the issue.  When we worship, we bring glory.  What each must be mindful of is what the object of that worship is going to be.  Today is no different from what it has been for centuries.  There are many objects of human worship, of which only ONE is worthy.

But, in reality, many of those we go to church with have multiple objects of worship and we desperately try to manage this in our lives.  In an effort to not offend and coexist, as the sticker says, we don’t fully commit and offend the ONE who is worthy.

We do this.

So did Israel.

The intention of the Psalms, though, is to provide songs of worship that bring glory to God’s Word, God’s work, and God’s promise in Jesus.  While most are not using a hymn book any longer, I grew up with one in my hands.  While Mom would be printing the bulletin on the mimeograph machine ( I have provided a link for those who are too young to know), I would sit and read through it; I would sing through it.  The ancient follower of God would sing through these songs.

What we call the Psalms, they call the “song book”, or psalter.  While written as poetry, most of them would set to music and sung as a part of worship.  As you read through them, you discover the love of God’s Word, God’s work, and God’s promise.  The focus of worship was God and His character and activity rather than OUR activity to and about God.

Did you catch the difference?

Here is a BRIEF list of the types of Psalms and what they reveal about God.

  1. Hymns – songs of praise and thanksgiving to God for who He is and what He has done (Psalm 8, 136, 150)
  2. Penitential – Confess sorrow for sin, appeal to God for grace and forgiveness (Psalm 38, 51)
  3. Wisdom – General observations on life, especially God and our relationship to Him (Psalm 1, 14, 73)
  4. Royal – Focus on the king as son of David and as God’s special instrument to rule people (Psalm 2, 45, 110)
  5. Messianic – Describe some aspect of the Messiah’s person or ministry (Psalm 16, 22, 45, 110)
  6. Imprecatory – Call for God’s judgment against enemies ( Psalm 35, 69, 137)
  7. Lament – statement of lament, trust in God, and praise to God (Psalm 3, 4, and 6)

(Based in part on the Gospel Project Summer 2016 Session 13 lesson)

The first value of reading the Psalms on a regular basis is that we learn to delight in God’s Word.  Do you delight in them?  I know we read scripture.  I know you probably have a plan chosen to read scripture.  But is it your delight?  Is it that cheat day on your diet delight?  Is it like that favorite, drink or snuggly pillow or date night with your love delight?  This is our issue.  God’s word is great to study and to live by, but is it our delight?

A second value of reading the Psalms is that it reminds us of God’s character with a call to celebrate.  I worship God because He alone is worthy, but also because I see who God is and what God has done and I am drawn to bring glory to His name; I worship.  When we focus on our feelings and activities with lose sight of God because we are focusing on ourselves.  Reading these brings to light the nature of God’s goodness and His love for us and how that is displayed for the world to see and know.  When I begin to fathom the grandeur of God compared to me I ask like the Psalmist, “What is man that you would think about me?”  When I begin to relay the works of HIS hands and the blessings provided to me by God, I am brought low.  I worship.  Do you?

A third value of reading the Psalms is that we are taught how to respond to God.  In this list above, we notice praise, thanksgiving, confession, and lament.  These are our responses, in worship, to the knowledge of God’s goodness and holiness juxtaposed to our sin and filth.  Reading, even singing, these words brings discipline to our lives.  Worship is not just hype and lights and excitement.  Worship, as seen in these songs of old, involves meeting a holy God and rendering glory to HIM.  Recognizing our sin and blurting our confession, weeping over it.

A final value of reading through the Psalms is that we are presented with the promise of God in Christ. God’s promise is the redemption of humanity to Himself.  Ultimately, God was doing this through Jesus.  The promise of the Messiah is seen on several occasions in the Psalms and calls us to faith and trust in a promise not yet seen.

As noted in a video linked above, Billy Graham is said to have read 5 Psalms and 1 chapter in Proverbs each day.  12 times a year he read through those books.  Is it any wonder God used him mightily for the Kingdom?  Make the psalms a regular part of devotional life because you want your heart and character to be aligned with the Psalmist.  Let your passion overflow to the group over which you have influence.

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