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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday Message- Glen Beck, Ray Combs, and me

A few days ago at work, a co-worker had his radio set on Glen Beck, and I wandered over to listen for a bit.  He was asking, "If you could capture the essence of God in one word, what would it be?"  His cohort answered, "Love", which was what Glen was looking for as he was trying to look at why Christians are not perceived as very Christian anymore, they don't show love.  Now, I am not here to dispute that.  But an informal survey of the concordance shows us that God is not described thus until 1 John 4:8- some 97% of the way through the Bible!  And, at the time, I said to myself, "Giving 'love' as the answer does no good when someone is asking things like, 'Why did God allow that terrible disaster?' or 'Why did he let my spouse get that fatal disease?' "  There is a better answer to Glen's question than love.

This morning, I heard Robert Jeffers tell a story about the late game show host Ray Combs that I cannot confirm in its entirety, but I find was told in the book The Anchor Course by Tom Goodman.  Apparently towards the end of his run as host of Family Feud, one night as he introed the contestants, he noticed one wearing a lapel button that had on it 2 question marks- an evangelical group's ice breaker.  He asked what it meant, and the contestant said that they represented the two most important questions anyone could ever ask.  Ray took the bait.  "The first one", he was told, "is, if you died today, would you have assurance of getting into heaven?"  Combs replied he wasn't going to answer that on national TV, but his curiosity got the best of him and he asked about the second question.  He was told, "The second question is, "Suppose you were to die today and you stood before the Lord and He asked, why should I let you into my heaven?" what would you say?"

Ray answered, "Because I'm host of Family Feud, and everybody loves me!"  The crowd laughed, and the show began.  But not long after, he was fired- a job he reportedly found demeaning in the first place- and shortly thereafter hung himself in a hospital closet.

So, is Love enough?

Certainly it is a big part of what God has done- John 3:16, y'all- but God has a lot of other essential qualities.  Several of them came up over and over again in my search through the concordance.  One was that He is a jealous God.  He was first; He is greatest; there are none before Him.  Even the devil apparently dares not dispute that, not yet anyway;  I have read in the Apocrypha where Satan once claimed that the main difference between himself and God is that God arose first from the primordial energy ooze and thus got to set the rules.  Another that gets mentioned a lot is His role as our refuge and our strength- seemingly always paired together, both a shelter when the storm is to much and the strength to brave it anyway.  Another area often mentioned is His just Judgment, that He is "no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34)" is "not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent (Numbers 23:1)", and "is angry at the wicked every day (Psalms 7:11)".

And also, His mercy comes up a lot, and His salvation.  But you know what I would have answered Glen?  I would have answered him the answer that would answer all the "but why did He..." questions, better than love, better than just, better than mercy.

 Lev 19:2  Say to all the people of Israel, You are to be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy. 

Holy tells us God is pure, unchanging in all things, and righteous in a blow.  This is what John means in 1 Jn 1:5-

1Jn 1:5  And this is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 

I rather like they way I was taught this verse back in the day- "In Him there is no shadow of turning."  He doesn't change.  He is HOLY.

I can see where, without God, I'd have been the same as Ray Combs- though I would have prolly been more of a "head in the oven" kinda guy.  But God loved me enough that, even at lowest ebb and my most ignoring of Him, He fit me with one thing that would keep me going when all else failed- a little voice that said, "But what if tomorrow is better?"  Doesn't sound much like love as WE understand it.  And it can't be explained by love as we conceive it.  But when we put God as sovereign, when we allow Him to be not just loving, but HOLY- it makes perfect sense.  Because HOLY is something beyond what we are, beyond what we are capable of on our own.  And until we set aside all the pride, all the science, all the human experience, and see God AS beyond us and holy, we have no clue.

I may have done this before... having studied runes in the past, I realize they were conceived with balances in between all the pairs of signs- except one set:

The first is Algiz:

It is the symbol of man trying to reach up to God- but never quite touching.

The other is Sowilo, God reaching to touch man:

"Hey, that's a lightning bolt."  Yep.  Get the picture?  God is above us, infinitely more powerful than us, can bring ultimate justice, or mercy.  And HE can touch US.

So yeah, Glen, love is the glue with which God holds us together.  We can do all things with love.  But we cannot touch God just with love.  We cannot enter heaven just with love.  If we could, we'd never need Christ.  But need Him we do, because we have to bring more than love to the table to get in the door.  We have to be HOLY, as God is holy.  And that's where Jesus comes in.


  1. Chris:
    That's a very good take on the "love" issue...the GLUE you mention.
    I've also found that love cannot be THE "alpha and omega" with one's relationship with the Almighty.
    Understanding ALL that God is, is something (someone) we can never hope to fully ascertain or achieve (we ARE only human)...BUT what we find in His word when it comes to "descriptives" certainly shows us MUCH more than JUST love.

    The OLD Testament is replete with a God who is often PO'ed at His OWN people, let alone His enemies.
    And yes, we are no longer under the dispensation of LAW, but rather of GRACE (New Testament), and with that grace does come love...(as a catalyst more than anything).

    Striving for a level of holiness to get closer to God simply has to figure in to this, or all the love in the world means little to nothing.
    (just my views, though)

    Very good commentary...lots to think upon.

    Stay safe up there, brother.

    1. As soon as Beck said it, I thought, "That's the pat, pc answer. What would God say?"

  2. You know.... I don't think it would be love for me. I think my one word would be...


    We teach Godliness. We show God through our actions. even when it's not the best choice of action, we can teach better choices.

    1. That's the essence of our relationship WITH God. Beck was trying to define God's character. There is only one real answer- and the others, including love, are facets of Holiness.

  3. Thank you for another thought provoking post that I liked

    1. You are very welcome. Hope you are feeling better this week!