End of All Monsters


If you ask adults today when America was last “great,” I think many would hearken back to the days of the Internet boom, the mid-1990s. Back then, people made money hand over fist, new, exciting companies popped up left and right, the stock market boomed, and America felt unbeatable. Heck, I got married, lived in the heart of Silicon Valley, and worked for Apple. This was the dream, right?

But didn’t we have a monster in the White House, Bill Clinton? Weren’t those dark days in American history?

I think it was impossible then to underestimate how much conservatives despised and excoriated Clinton. He was the anti-Contract-with-America scourge who threatened all that was good with our country. We had government shutdowns because of that crafty good ol’ boy. BIll sullied the reputation of the presidency with his “cigars and tarts” shenanigans. He was all that was wrong in the world. He was the reason America was in trouble.

But reread that opening paragraph. Funny how we recall those days.

Tired, old Bill ClintonThen check out the picture.

Time and memory are strange bedfellows that obscure, diminish, and erase. Their effect on people is to make us all nostalgic and reflective while our minds cloud and our bodies fail.

All monsters come to an end. Whether tempered by time and memory or summoned to the grave.

Bill Clinton is a tired, old man now. Some people look back at the 1990s and think those were the good, ol’ days. Weird how the stuff that bothered us then is now largely forgotten.

The 1960s had Kruschev. The 1940s, Hitler. The 1920s, Lenin and Stalin. The world has never NOT been filled with monsters, real or imagined. And they are always dying and passing away, along with our memories of them.

As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
—Psalm 103:15-19

At the beginning and end is God. He was there all along and all through the middle. Monsters come and go, and so do memories, but God remains. He persists. He persistently loves you and wants you to be with Him.

Whatever the monster of today is, or who, God is greater.

Those who are with and in God need never fear the monsters, because God’s throne and His Kingdom are over and above all.

The 10-Word Reason for America’s Troubles


Flag, America in distressI hear a lot of laments online about why America is in trouble as a nation. There’s a reason for that trouble, a remarkably simple one.  It’s found in this verse of the Bible:

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
—James 4:6b ESV

America, as a nation, is too proud. And while that would be enough, we Americans are not only proud, but we are proud of our sin. We parade sin everywhere. We call evil good and good evil. We establish new standards of depravity in our nation and sign wickedness into law. And we are proud of ourselves for doing so.

If Americans ever want to see our country become great again, we need to become humble. We need to move from taking pride in sin to being disgusted by it. We need to stop calling the worst atrocities good and start calling evil for what it truly is, evil.

If we don’t stop being proud—and especially of the depraved things we say, think, and do—then there will be no grace poured out by God upon America. Instead, we will find ourselves on the wrong side of an unwinnable war.

Because no one who opposes God wins. Ever.

One Outstanding Characteristic of Great Christians


It is with great humility that I share that God has richly blessed me through the lives of great Christian people I have known personally. It is with great sadness also that I confess that I have not known many such people, far fewer than I should, and not through any fault of my own.

That unique person who seems to walk with God in some deep relationship that appears unfathomable is a rarity. More than anything else, I wish I could be one of those people, though it seems like my own failings and the circumstances I encounter daily conspire against me. I still hope though.

In meditating on these great Christian people I have known, one characteristic shines brightly: Every last one of them always tried to see the best in people they encountered. It didn’t matter if those people they encountered were worthy of being thought of as best in anything, outstretched handthose great Christian people treated them as if they were.

If there is a sign of our times, it’s that we always tend to think the worst of others. We see them only as foes, as sinners, as people of low thinking, idiots, fools, perverts, jerks, libertines, and a host of other labels easily applied and—potentially—accurate.

But great Christians choose not to see people that way. They see them as they could be. They see them as they should be. They offer respect when none is deserved. And they respond to people in such a way that their caring and love helps raise others to the level of vision those great Christians possess. Great Christians elevate everyone around them and make them want to be better people.

I knew a great Christian once who was certainly not someone who at first glance would seem to be an exemplar of distinction. In a crowd, you would miss him. He didn’t talk fast or use big words. He never got beyond a high school education, and he lived in some podunk town off the beaten path. But I watched that man embrace a known drug dealer one day and the drug dealer called him “sir.” That great Christian knew who and what that man was and loved him anyway. I saw tears in that drug dealer’s eyes, and they were there because he saw past the insignificance of a great Christian’s exterior and saw Jesus Christ in all His glory in that great Christian’s interior. We all knew something happened to that drug dealer right then and there. He was convicted by Christ in another, all without a word needing to be spoken. Because of love. And because a simple man of God chose to reach out to the one person everyone else in the room avoided.

Great Christians don’t see the drug dealer. They see the person in pain who is lost and in need of Jesus. And those great Christians become Jesus to him or her.

We live in an age where the defense of our position, our rightness, our superiority over perceived foes and infidels, is the characteristic most admired in others. Yet the true nature of God is antithetical to this. Instead, He works through great Christians who are willing to see more in others than a practice or ideology opposed to their own.

Do you and I see the best in others? Does our presence raise up others? Are we winsome and attractive? Or do we scare off the spiritually needy with our need to be portrayed as paragons of truth and righteous ire?

When you and I were nothing, Jesus reached out to us and made us something. How can we offer anything less to those people who most need Him?