By Don Coley|2022-03-08T16:03:09+00:00March 8, 2022|Categories: Faith|Comments Off on A King Like No Other
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” – The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Philippi
What King would leave his throne to elevate his subjects to positions of royalty? What person of influence would abandon the benefits of their position and assume instead the posture of the least? What force is powerful enough to create not just the stars we can see on a moonless night, but galaxies and solar systems far beyond our capacity to measure? Yet also offer sight to the blind, healing to the leper, and forgiveness to the prostitute?
What subject would not swear allegiance to such a King? Who among the least would not express gratitude for the mercies lavished on them by the influential? Just as David questioned how God could be mindful of him, how can we not be mindful of the God of the Universe? The King of Creation? The Sacrificial Lamb? The One who restored Man’s relationship with Man’s Creator?
How can we fail to recognize the Master Designer when we examine the intricacies of the eye? Or the over-looked but critical function of the thumb? Who are we, Lord, that you should be mindful of us? You are the One who grants insight into the mysteries of DNA and directs us in the morality of how we should live. You give us commandments to benefit not just us, but our neighbors as well. And you remind us that all are our neighbors.
You have shown us what is good, and what you require. That we should act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. With you. We know what is good, just, merciful, and humble because these are your attributes, and we have seen them expressed in the perfect example of your Son.
By Don Coley|2022-03-05T15:08:18+00:00March 5, 2022|Categories: Culture, Faith|Comments Off on Houston, We Have a Problem
On April 13, 1970 America’s Apollo 13 space capsule was about 200,000 miles from earth when mission commander James Lovell sent a message that caused the world to stop, look up, and pray. An oxygen tank explosion threatened the on-board life-support systems and the original mission was scrubbed and replaced with an unprecedented rescue operation. It was only by the prayers of millions and the extraordinary efforts of countless dedicated workers, that the three astronauts returned safely to earth after four cold, dark, long and anxious days in their crippled ship.
Apollo 13’s problem was that the support module lost its integrity. It was no longer whole but broken, and the damage done meant it could no longer accomplish what its designers intended. It would be nearly a year before the next Apollo mission would be launched and then only after a thorough review of what went wrong and all the needed corrections were made.
America today has an integrity problem. We are no longer whole but broken, and in our present condition we can no longer accomplish what our designers intended. Without integrity there will be no trust, and on many many levels America has lost the trust of its own citizens and citizens of countries that once looked to us for hope and courage.
How did this happen? We disconnected ourselves from the life-support systems that nurtured us at our founding and strengthened us as we matured. Self-evident truths are being discarded. The unalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator are being overwritten by edicts from a government not by the people and for the people, but over the people. Like the Apollo astronauts we find ourselves in a position of grave danger.
How did we get here? We have replaced God’s wisdom with Man’s whims. Objective truth is no longer recognized. Centuries of proven and time-tested lessons are trampled in a rush to re-invent America in a foreign image. Our lawmakers pass laws yet don’t follow what they themselves have enacted. Our “leaders” lie and deceive in order to win votes, with no intention of fulfilling the promises they’ve publicly made. Honesty has taken a holiday.
There is little desire for truth if it will cause one faction or the other to lose power. Professional “spin doctors” concoct elaborate stories to persuade but, when stripped of all the cleverness, only deceit remains. News and Fake News battle daily and it is nearly impossible to distinguish which is true, since the once-trusted voices that report the news have themselves compromised their integrity and lost the trust of the people they are supposed to serve.
We were once a nation of laws, and proudly so. But look around, can that be said today when the powerful and privileged are seemingly immune from legal sanctions? When undisputed perjury at the highest levels of authority is ignored, or worse, is encouraged if it advances the desired narrative or outcome?
Washington, we have a problem. With you. You cannot continue to take an oath to support and defend the Constitution and then ignore or trample it. You cannot expect our trust when you repeatedly act with deceit. America’s life-support systems are at risk, and a course correction is desperately needed.
So, what can we do? How can we find our way back from here? There’s a formula that was once prescribed for the benefit of another nation that had lost its way: if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sins, and heal their land. Those words, and that path, would be readily recognized by the founders of America; my prayer now is that America’s current rulers would seriously heed this counsel, and that you, and I, and every American, would do the same.
By Don Coley|2022-03-02T23:17:12+00:00March 2, 2022|Categories: Culture, Faith|Comments Off on Too Much Hooey, Not Enough Wisdom. Part 2
This is the second half of a two-part post. Taken together these posts were written to support the Reflections presented in an earlier blog titled A Critical Crossroads.
An ancient proverb says this: “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” If we’re going to survive as a people and as a nation, our decisions must be founded on wisdom. But are they? Does the trajectory of our nation suggest that we are headed in the right direction? Or does it seem like just a bunch of hooey?
James 3:13-18 has guidelines that are helpful in answering these questions.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
When you hear our leaders speak, ask yourself: are their actions consistent with their words and do they reflect an attitude of servant leaderships, or do they display a bitterness, arrogance and self-centered ambition. William Barclay gives four characteristics of these people:
They are fanatical and violently hold to views that are unbalanced and without principled conviction.
They are bitter and seek to annihilate opponents rather than persuade them.
They are supremely selfish and more eager to win than they are to see truth prevail.
They are arrogant and show pride only in their own knowledge rather than with humility that there might be some things they are still in need of learning.
These characteristics don’t reflect God; they are manifestations of those who have rejected God’s supremacy: the world, the flesh, and the devil. James continues with this caution: where these kinds of wisdom prevail, we will find disorder and every evil thing.
Look around, it’s not difficult to see that the order of the past is being overturned and replaced with disorder, while time-tested truths are replaced with every evil thing. Insanity is being emboldened and enthroned.
But there is another option open to us – we can choose a wisdom that is pure, considerate, full of peace and mercy, willing to yield its rights to another, undivided in mind and without hypocrisy.
Each of us must determine which characteristics we would like to have define our lives, and the life of our culture itself. In 1858 Abraham Lincoln assessed what his United States was becoming, and judged that a house so divided could not stand. Either it would become all the one thing, or all the other.
We stand in a similar place today; we cannot remain a nation so divided. We need to pause and assess our own lives, then determine if we like what we see, and whether what we see reflects the characteristics of God or of his adversaries. Mercy and a pursuit of truth? Or a deeper descent into disorder and every evil thing?
By Don Coley|2022-02-24T16:15:29+00:00February 24, 2022|Categories: Culture, Faith|Comments Off on Too Much Hooey, Not Enough Wisdom. Part 1
Today’s post continues the thoughts started in the earlier post – A Critical Crossroads.
In the musical presentation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Les Misérables, the character of police inspector Javert is confronted with a reality that is beyond his ability to comprehend…he is shown mercy. In response he blurts out these words: “The law is inside out, the world is upside down.”
I can’t think of a better description of our present day than Javert’s – the law is inside out and the world is upside down.
At this critical crossroads in our history our leaders seem to be incapable of knowing right from wrong. They solve the problem of crime by not enforcing or re-writing laws so that wrongs magically become rights. They abandon the science and constants of genetics and biology in favor of anything-goes proclamations about what constitutes male and female. In athletics, men identifying as women are rapidly erasing and rewriting the record books, while women’s rights groups sit silently by. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights is suddenly filled with irredeemable wrongs that must be canceled, while centuries of milestone events are erased from our history and from our collective consciousness.
Why is this happening? Because the leaders of the current revolutionary moment have only hooey to offer. Hooey means nonsense. These self-proclaimed authorities don’t know the first thing about wisdom because the starting point of wisdom is this: the fear of the Lord. Without an objective standard beyond ourselves our society is reduced to following the latest pronouncement of hooey.
Nearly 3,000 years ago the biblical King Solomon made this request: “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” Solomon became known for his wisdom, and it is a certainty that his wisdom was indistinguishable from his ability to know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. It was, and is, an absolutely essential quality in governing justly.
Without the ability to know right from wrong as objective truth, we live now in a time when truth is not consistently and universally recognized. Instead, it is refashioned to be whatever is desired, by anyone, at any time. Everything is fluid; nothing is unchanging. Or at least that is the hooey that today’s thought leaders would have us believe. Unfortunately for them, however, wisdom will never be extinguished because the consequences of hooey are increasingly recognized for what they are – unacceptable nonsense. Wisdom will never be extinguished because it has been established by an Authority immune to mankind’s quest to be its own god.
When we embrace hooey, it leads to fanatical consequences expressed in all kinds of hatred and divisions. When we act upon wisdom, however, it produces a different and far better set of consequences. The characteristics of both will be explored in part two of this post.
I concluded the Critical Crossroads post and podcast with this question: which consequences will we bequeath to the generations that follow? The answer will be found in our willingness to decisively reject the hooey, and demand that our leaders act in wisdom.
That’s all for now, but I’ll be back later with part 2 of this post to explore the characteristics of different kinds of wisdom that lead either to nonsense or wisdom, disorder or order.
By Don Coley|2022-02-21T01:14:20+00:00February 21, 2022|Categories: Faith|Comments Off on Looking Forward to Looking Back
I’m certain beyond doubt that some who read this post may be surrounded by circumstances you wish could be left behind. Relationships, Finances, Health. Whatever. Any or all of these, and more, have become almost more than you can bear. You’re looking forward to the time when you can look back.
I’ve been there, and my family. Nothing seemed to go right, disappointment led to disillusionment and that turned to despair. If that’s you today, don’t lose heart. God is faithful. He is worthy of your trust.
About 30 years ago, when the faint light of hope started to brighten our future, I wrote Looking Forward to Looking Back, and share it now in hopes that it will be an encouragement to you. Looking back I can see that He was always there, and that his plan always held a hope and a future.
Looking Forward to Looking Back
It’s time to write.
Write about hospitals and hopelessness.
Of pride, arrogance, and judgment.
About pain. And how it changes things forever.
About humiliation. And standing in its harsh glare.
Of prayers that fall unanswered.
And some never offered. Is Anyone listening? Is Anyone there?
The panic of helplessness.
The fear of being discovered.
Roller coaster emotions.
The absence of feeling.
A hardened spirit. Lord, soften him.
Losing a job.
And almost a marriage.
Of surgery failed. I had to try.
Of healing services that didn’t. And wondering, why?
Yes, it’s time to write.
Write about God’s faithfulness.
About His power not just to change, but make new.
Of His promise to complete what He starts.
Even when we don’t see His hand.
He is there.
And write about friends.
Who were there also.
Demonstrating that they know Him.
By their love.
Its telling is not easy.
Because it was not easy.
But it is told with great joy.
Because it brought great joy. Lord, bless its telling.
By Don Coley|2022-02-18T22:47:45+00:00February 18, 2022|Categories: Culture, Faith|Comments Off on A Critical Crossroads
We need to decide what kind of world we want to live in, and what kind of a world we want our children to inherit.
The choice has never been more clear. Do we want a world where we can never move beyond our mistakes, where once we’ve fallen we can never recover? A world that rummages through our past, no matter how long ago and what has happened since, in order to discover something now considered a “sin” so it can be used to discredit us forever? Is this the world we want for ourselves and our children?
Or would we rather live in a world that knows forgiveness, permits restoration and offers grace? Which world will we choose?
“He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” These were the words of Jesus to the Pharisees of his day. But our modern “Pharisees” only define sin in terms of what others do. They only recognize their own authority, and in doing so they become authorities unto themselves. The Constitution that has been America’s written governing authority for nearly all of our history, is now being swept aside and replaced because it constrains the desires of a privileged few who claim to be on the right side of history. Their claims, though, are false, and either expose ignorance of actual history or their fear that historical knowledge is a threat to their goal of erasing and re-writing it.
When anyone in a position of authority is not under authority themselves, there is no accountability. Until very recently America’s ultimate authority was our Judeo-Christian heritage as reflected in the Declaration and Constitution. If these defined and limited authorities are now to be abandoned they will be replaced by an unlimited power exercised by a small number of privileged authoritarians. Are we prepared to forsake our proven and time-tested authorities, for the certain uncertainties of authoritarianism?
Increasingly our founding documents are dismissed as ancient nuisances rather than timeless wisdom. Our freedom of speech, our freedom to worship and assemble, and our freedom to be governed by the rule of law that is applied equally to all – these freedoms are now in danger of extinction.
Values have consequences and we are now witnessing the consequences of values unchecked by any objective authority. We need to ask ourselves – how’s that working for us? America has never been perfect, and never will be, but America has reversed many wrongs since its founding and was on course for righting many more. It was once a place where atonement for sin made a difference, and allowance to forgive, redeem and restore was possible. In America it was never too late to be better.
So now we must choose: What will our future be? Tyranny or freedom? Cancelation or restoration? Division or unity? What future will we bequeath our children?
Values have consequences. Which consequences will we leave to the generations that follow?