Tag Archives: apostle Paul

Provoked: A Call to Extraordinary Good Works

(Image via Twitter. An upside-down flag is a distress call. Orwell speaks for himself.)

I’m sending out a call. A call to extraordinary good works.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works… (Hebrews 10:24)

A provocateur of love and good works for the people of God is what I’m called to be.

Now, just what these good works will look like is getting harder and harder to say these days. Consider that people who live by their biblical morality are finding it more difficult to do so without intrusion. Good works might not look so good to people around us.

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

Because our first love is to the Lord Jesus Christ, we obey Him in all things. If we seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness, then all these other things will be added to us. We can’t attract sinners by making them feel good. Our kindness will prick their hearts, and our refusal to conform to the world will be an assault to them.

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. (‭Acts‬ ‭4‬:‭25-26‬)

Our good will be evil spoken of, our love will be rejected. The heathen will rage.

Let us be sure that we are citizens of the heavenly kingdom, that needs no patriots to stand up for it, that is ruled by a righteous King and is in danger of no tyrant. Then let us work with all the power Christ has given us from heaven through His Holy Spirit within us, to knock aside every obstacle that would prevent the lost from coming to Him. His kingdom come, His will be done.

Jesus has won the war, but we can’t lose the battle. Lest you think I’m too political or earthly-minded as you read my exhortations, read how Jesus was in constant defiance of the political structure; John’s gospel in particular details many times the Pharisees sought to take Him, taking up rocks to stone Him, but He escaped. And how the apostles regularly testified of Christ before councils, declaring the gospel and exerting their conscience in the face of opposition and tribulation. And remember that Paul’s end-run mission was to go before Caesar in order to talk about Jesus. Paul exerted his right as a Roman citizen in order to do so.

Under an oppressive regime, our apostolic forefathers had no Congress or Legislature to appeal to for just laws. They did not have the right to vote for strong moral leadership. I’d like to think that if they had such rights and opportunities, they would have taken them in order to spread the gospel and obey their conscience in the Lord.

Make no mistake- the source of our rights and righteousness is not government, it is God.

For nearly 200 years in the history of the United States, our laws established justice based on the moral law of the Bible. Not simply because the Bibles said so, but because living by the Word of God works! People who murder innocent people should be tried and found guilty, then punished. As a pro-life man, I simply want out laws to condemn murder and our courts to try murder and convict those who are guilty. I’m not looking to government to legitimize life in the womb, God has already done that. I just call on our government to establish and enforce laws to reflect the fact that life is precious, intrinsically valuable, and worthy of protection.

Marriage needs no government to legitimize it. The Bible defines marriage as God established it- between one man and one woman. Our laws have recognized this for the majority of our history, because it is good for society. I call on our government to continue to do what is best for our society and continue to recognize the true definition of marriage in spite of the loud calls of a vocal minority.

These are but two of the issues we as Christians need to be beside ourselves about, to the point of speaking and acting out in every way possible. Endure the verbal attacks and name-calling. We won’t endure anything worse than what the apostles endured, certainly nothing worse than what Christ endured. Take the softball approach to winning souls? We don’t have time for that. We can stand for truth AND draw lost and vulnerable people to Jesus. Don’t think that it is impossible. Our stance may not be popular, but we stand for an enduring covenant that will not pass away, one to which all are called to take part.

The time has come for us to stand up for matters of righteousness that are at stake in the world today. If we the Church will not, who will? The crucial balance between pleasing God, reaching mankind, and enduring hardship, at such a time as this, is what makes for extraordinary good works in public life.

Freedom of Speech, the Gospel, and Calling Out Evil

(image via http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Francis)

The Pope’s comments on the Charlie Hebdo massacre are disheartening because of the exception he apparently made for violence in the face of behavior that is considered insulting by others toward Islam.

The Pope said Thursday that while violence is wrong, it is also wrong for people to mock the faiths of others.
Speaking to reporters while traveling by plane to the Philippines, Francis said certain language is virtually certain to provoke an angry, violent reaction from someone.
“You cannot react violently,” the Pope said. He added, however, that if a good friend “says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. This is normal.”
Francis added that “you cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people’s faiths, you cannot make fun of faith.”
And the Pope does believe it is a “provocation” to “make other people’s religions a joke” because “things can happen” as a result.

“Why? Why is this world so messed up that I agree with Piers Morgan?”, commented one of my friends on Facebook. I can understand the angst. My belief is that, however much I disagree with Mr. Morgan’s political views, there appears to be a shred of decency in him. And the world is in desperate need of decency.

It is decency that allows someone to disagree with both parties on an issue, and yet, after one of those sides decides to commit murder, the decent person says, “The murderers are evil and wrong,” without the need to qualify anything else.

I have no need to partake of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo. They do me no good at all whatsoever. Whatever message being portrayed is lost on me because I can’t stomach the graphics used to portray the message. I’m sure I would judge many of the views the magazine expresses to be wrong, but how can I say they are wrong to express them? As a lifelong American who values the right to express myself anytime, anywhere, in any way I please, I cannot say those cartoonists were wrong.

We, as free people, understand that there is a such thing as an “off switch” when offensive content comes on our televisions. We “vote with our feet” when we enter a performance that turns out to be offensive in some way. We know we can cover our kids’ eyes and ears and go somewhere else. We don’t buy magazines that portray nudity and pornography, if that’s not what we want to look at. A great portion of the rest of the world, and way too much of America, takes no responsibility for doing what it takes to protect themselves, and instead want to cry afoul at offensiveness. Abolish offensiveness. Shout it down, destroy it (and too often the person who perpetrates it), make it “hate speech”.

I have left the realm of nudity and profanity as I write about offensiveness at this point. Incidentally, the majority of people trying to end offensiveness have no problem with those two things, and would call me a prude for saying that there is something wrong with them. That is exactly why, as much as I hate and avoid many forms of expression that are popular today in the world, I will defend the right of those who spread such filth to do so.

The fact of the matter is, I am the offensive one in the eyes of so many people today. I pray, I believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word and live by it, I’m a minister of the Gospel, I believe in marriage between one man and one woman, I am raising a traditional family (which has been declared dead, by the way), I’m pro-life, pro-protecting-my-family-with-a-gun if it comes down to it, pro-freedom and personal responsibility in this world. I live like I have a responsibility to Christ and my neighbor, because I absolutely do.

And because so much about me is so offensive to the world today, it is in my best interest to stand up for free speech, free expression, free assembly, and freedom of religion. Because if today I am able to condemn someone’s right to speak, then tomorrow I most certainly will be the one facing condemnation.

The Pope did not defend free speech in his remarks. Is the Pope’s reaction coincidental, considering that Charlie Hebdo has also mocked priests due to sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church? Or is the Pope so secure in his ability to continue speaking freely that he isn’t concerned about ramifications of limiting free speech and expression? I’m certain the Pope fears no censorship, but what about you and me?

We have had sermons subpoenaed in Texas. Conservative groups targeted by the IRS. Children and teens required to declare their religion to the government in order to be permitted to homeschool. And on and on.

Freedom of speech allows the Gospel to move. Paul utilized every right of Roman citizenship to move the Gospel across the world. Should we be concerned with being able to do this as well?

Saints in oppressed areas of the world look to the free world, particularly America, and pray that we can keep a firm foothold on the freedoms that make us utterly distinct from the rest of the world. They see our freedom as a blessing from Almighty God, to be cherished and defended.

In a country where all have the freedom to say anything they want, even if it is offensive, there is nothing that can stop the move of the Holy Ghost except our unwillingness to preach the Gospel. The Gospel has no comparison; darkness cannot handle the Light. The Light can stand for Himself and nothing can touch Him.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (‭1 John‬ ‭1‬:‭5‬ KJV)

So mock me and mock my Gospel. I’m not going to shoot you up. I won’t even try to shut you up. But I’ll use the same freedom you have to convince you that there is a better way.

I believe it is time we attack evil and leave free expression alone. It’s time we call out evil doers and have compassion on those who are victimized, not equivocate and resort to terrorshaming people who “had it coming”. Government has excused the latter and neglected the former. Only morally decent people who are not afraid can call out evil and shine light into darkness. And though we may lose our rights as free people one day, we still have the chance today to exercise free speech, defending that right for ourselves and others.

The Meaning in the Mess

I know you’re tired. I am too.

It seems like it never ends. There is always too much to do, and not enough time to do it all. The daily care of, well, everything, pulls, and drags, and threatens to take you down.

And then when you look at all that is going on around you in the world- immoral things, evil things, threatening things, things that were once far away but now seem ever so much closer to home- you know you should care and be involved, but how can you?

You know there are people in need, but how can you help? How can you start to right the wrongs that are in the world? What can you do, with so little time, energy, and resources?

I feel this way. A lot of the time, I feel this way. But I’m in good company- I’m with you and with the Apostle Paul when it comes to feeling this way:

In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭11‬:‭27-29‬)

In the middle of weariness and pain, hunger and thirst, in addition to all the “daily cares,” it is easy to adopt the attitude of “I can’t, I don’t have time, it’s not my problem.”

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And, focusing on the battle all the time, with all of the obstacles and struggles, will wear you out. Compassion fatigue sets in. Vicarious trauma sets in. We are overwhelmed with the death and destruction that goes on around us, in the world and in our own cities, and our brain has to dissociate from it all for our own good.

The problem is, in a world that needs your connectedness, you can’t afford to be shut down and out of the fight.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12‬:‭9‬)

There is no joy in this world, but there is glory in the fight. Why? Because when we are in the fight, we receive God’s grace to make it through. In this cycle of pain upon pain, hurt upon hurt, grace is supernaturally injected into our lives, and we find meaning in the mess.

My family and I have been working on a pro-life initiative called Yes On 1 for over a year. We had a meeting tonight and came to a conclusion along with some of our other stalwart volunteers- we feel like we are in a state of limbo. We have 33 days left until Election Day, when we will know if all of our prayer and labor has paid off. All of our hours and sacrifice, conviction and passion- will it make a difference? And besides all of this, the daily cares- bills and work and dangers and trials.

I don’t want to be numb! I don’t want to say its somebody else’s problem! For my sake and your sake and my children’s’ sake, I can’t give up. Neither can you.

My children are watching. And I know it is all worth while on nights like tonight. We ended our meeting in prayer. My boys had been playing in another room. My wife called for them to come in with us during the prayer. They entered, and folded their hands in prayer, with their heads down, as the adults took turns leading in prayer. I asked my oldest son if he wanted to lead prayer. He said no. But after I led for a few moments, he said, “Dad, I’m ready to lead prayer now.” And he said,

Dear Jesus, thank you for this beautiful day you have given us, and for allowing us to come here to be together to talk about Yes On 1, so we can protect women and babies, and so we can fight the abortion army, and Lord, help people to vote yes on Amendment 1, in Jesus name, Amen.

And it’s all worth it. For him to get it, and to have joy in the work we are doing, that he sees his mother and father doing, and that he can pray about with such sincerity- it is all worthwhile. And there I find it- the meaning in the mess, the reason to fight on, the strength to continue to stand.

If I can help you step into the fight with conviction and confidence, I want to know! It’s a combination of planning and deciding and acting. Email me at glengaugh@gmail.com and I’ll connect with you. For the sake of the call- Glen

But This I Confess…

But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Out of the same fountainhead of spiritual truth, the Apostle and the Jewish leaders pulled very different meanings. The law and the prophets declared to each the coming of the Messiah, spoken of as far back in history as Moses. But the problem was, this Messiah did not look as the people thought he should look; he did not affirm the old ways; he did not abolish the external enemies of the nation. He was humble in appearance; He brought a new and radical covenant; He established a Kingdom of the heart in each man that received Him.

And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

With the same expected end, Saul humbled himself after his fall and became Paul; while the elders stiffens themselves evermore in the aftermath of Calvary. Paul endured suffering and counted it all joy; the Jewish council heard words of life and recoiled at conviction’s sting.

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Paul’s confession and hope led him in a life of clear conscience before all. The appointed leaders of men, with the same confession and hope, acted out in defiance to the Word of Life, marring their conscience and demanding further violence to stop the spread of truth.

(Acts 24:14-16 KJV, notes in italics are mine)

Parallel paths so not lead all to the same destination. So it was with Paul and his accusers, and so it is now. We must accept that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!