Where have all the good guys gone?

The men who wore white hats and fought against sin hard and long

Soldiers who endured the battle with a song

Warriors of light who in their weakness Christ makes strong

Our world is in desperate need of men who wear white hats

Men who don’t trifle in trivial spats

But stand up for the truth in a world dimmed of the light

Men who put on Jesus and continue to fight the good fight

Men who say right is right and wrong is wrong whom you cannot shake

Men of Jesus, who like Hugh Latimer played the man and lit his candle for the truth even as he was being burnt at the stake

We need men who follow the Savior no matter the cost

Men to gain Christ are willing to suffer the world as a loss

Will you be a man and pick up the white hat and wear it again

The world needs you now more than ever His truth to defend.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

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Gone are the days when the good guys wore the white hats.  When evil was clear and the bad guys were just that, bad.  Today we live in a culture that is promoted by the media where there is no right and wrong.  Where everyone does what is right in his own eyes as we try to exist in shades of gray.  We live in days similar to the time during the Bible’s book of Judges, as it stated in Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” This was a time when the people threw off the authority of God as delivered through the king.  The people wanted a king, so God gave them a king. Then they threw of his authority as given by God and begin to try to live according to their own standards and not God’s standard as revealed to us in His Word.  It was a time of chaos, similar to the times we live in now.  We live in a time when everyone attempts to define their own reality.  We live in an era when bad can be good, if that’s how you see it.  Without God as our standard bearer, we come to a place where there are no standards.  This is often reflected in our media and entertainment.

Now we live in a world, because we have lost our way, that does not obey, or even respect Christian values and the God of the Bible from whom these values of right and wrong were established.  Isaiah 5:20 reminds us, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” In my opinion that is where we are at now in our culture.  We call cars demons and laugh at pornography.  We call an unborn baby a fetus and we call killing a baby in the womb pro-choice.  My question is who’s choice is it?  The baby didn’t get a choice.  Yet God has given us the foundation of truth to build our life, our families and our culture upon. When we have stayed true to His foundation, His Word, we have been blessed and when we have strayed we reap the consequences of those choices too.  The Ten Commandments are still not suggestions, but the foundation of God’s truth on how we should live.  Exodus 20:13 makes it clear, “Thou shalt not kill.” But yet the unborn are being decimated in their mother’s womb, the very place they should be the safest.

So what do we do?  There is a battle being fought every day between light and darkness, between good and evil.  We can either put our heads in the sand, as the saying goes, or we can take a stand.  The question I have for you is which hat are you going to wear?  Are you going to put on the white hat that represents absolute truth and the light of Jesus Christ, or the black hat that represents the darkness of the world and its king, Satan.  The culture wants to make a third hat, a gray hat.  A hat that says I can be whatever I want to be.  In reality they are just coloring the black hat another shade and trying to hide what color it really is, black. What they are really saying is as old as the devil himself.  They are saying, “I can be like the most high God.” I can set the standards of what is good and what is evil.  Satan too, the Bible tells us, appears as an angel of light, but don’t be deceived, because the destruction he leaves in the lives he infects is real.  Jesus reminds us of this in His Word when he said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Satan thought he could set the standard and be like God, but he was wrong and the consequences of his choice is real.  Isaiah 14:12-15 tells us of what happened to him, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground.  You who weakened the nations!  For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the pit.”   Satan’s future has been determined by God, but for his short time left, he continues to, “weaken the nations,” and he does this with his lie.  The lie that you can be like the Most High.  It didn’t work for Satan and it will not work for those who chose to rebel against God today. This is nothing new.  God told Adam and Eve of the fruit of the tree that they were not to eat of or they would die, Satan comes along and tells them in Genesis 3:5, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Satan sold them on the same lie of his own evil ambition, to “be like God.” To put themselves on the judgement seat of what is good and evil and in so doing ultimately attempt to remove God from His throne.

The good news is that like the days during the time of the Judges in the Bible, when there was no earthly king and everyone did what was right in their own eyes, we still have a King and He is and will remain on His throne.  Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords! As Paul expressed to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:15, “He who is the blessed an only Potentate, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power.” That is my King! That is my Lord!  And He is Jesus Christ and He is still on the throne! The question is not what will you determine to be right and wrong in your own eyes, but whom will you serve?  The only choice we really have if we don’t deceive ourselves is not what is good or evil, but will we serve the good Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is blessed forevermore, or will we serve the evil one, Satan who has been cursed to the pit. Will you serve Jesus, or Satan? That is the real question. Will you serve Satan, the king of this world, the one who has convinced our culture of the “gray,” the option for men to attempt to make their own standards for right and wrong. A world where they reject the God of this universe and His standard for us, the Bible. I challenge you with the words of Joshua, “And if it seems evil to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Paul reminds us in Romans 13:12 that, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Are you ready to stand out and stand up?  Ready to wear the white hat again?  The time is far spent, it’s time to put on the armor of light.  Let us put on Jesus and shine bright in a culture of grays, which are really shades of black. A culture that reflects the darkness of the human heart and rejects the sovereignty of a Holy God who is the standard of truth for a world in darkness. Will you stand? Will you put on the truth, Jesus Christ and His armor of light?  Will you wear a white hat.  Now is the time to put it on.  Our culture needs you. Our world needs the good guys and gals, men and women who stand for the truth of Jesus Christ and are willing to represent Him in a world of darkness.

“A Wretch Like Me” ~ David D. Hanson

When shadows of sorrow like death remain

And fear loathes my soul like a wounded gazel that be slain

It’s then in my darkness, in the blackest of night

His Holy Word fills my heart and shineth bright

He lighteth my path so that I may see

The glory and grandeur of His love for me

He directeth my steps along life’s narrow way

It’s a path to His cross wear by His Grace I will stay

My sin how it does condemn me unclean

But then a drop of His blood washes me clean

O’ what knowledge to know that He has pardoned me

What joy to be forgiven cleansed and free

Sin’s tormenting chains that pulled at my heart

Have been broken asunder when his arms on the cross stretched out far apart

My soul, O’ my soul, what a magnificent thought

Has been purchased at Calvary; my pardon He bought

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

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What do you do with a little girl with a handful of acorns and a heart full of dreams?  As I was sitting on the green lawn under a late summer sky, my daughter was busy.  She was so proud to collect her handful of acorns.  She proudly presented them to me and placed them in my hand.  It was her treasure.  We’ve all probably had our acorn dreams at some point in our life.  Those little treasures that mean the world to us, but little to someone else.  Then we grow up and our hands become full with other dreams and the busyness of life. Those acorn dreams fall from our hands, to make room for new bigger dreams, greater treasures and the daily demands on us as adults.   When I reflect back on my little girl’s sparkle in her big blue eyes as they squinted in the bright summer sun as she surrendered her most prized possession to me, I’m reminded of the importance of not letting our treasures have us.  The greatest pleasure I had that day is not in receiving the acorns, but watching my daughter give her treasure away with a joyful heart.  She was so pleased to give her treasure, all she had to her daddy.  Likewise I can only imagine how much our Heavenly Father must be pleased when we give Him all we have from a heart of love and gratitude as we glorify Him.

One of the great things about a treasure is giving it away.  On that late summer day, my little girl generously shared her treasure with me.  As she opened her hand and placed her most precious possession into mine. She released her abundance as she willing shared it with me.  Theologian Matthew Henry once said, “Whatever we have of this world in our hands, our care must be to keep it out of our hearts, lest it come between us and Christ.” The only treasure that should have our hearts is the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel.  Every other earthly treasure pales in comparison to the gift of Grace given to us by the Savior when His Holy Spirit imparts new life to our dead souls, making us alive in Christ Jesus and giving us the faith to believe. We should hold every other earthly treasure with an open hand and be willing to give it all away.  I think of the rich young ruler.  He came to Jesus and left with his hands full, but his heart empty.  He wasn’t willing to give away all he had and follow Jesus.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 19:22 that, “he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” What a sad state to be in.  Full of yourself and empty of Jesus. He traded the worthlessness of this world in place of the Kingdom of God.  People throughout history have filled themselves, like this young ruler, full of their possessions, but they remain empty without Jesus.  He is the only one who can satisfy the emptiness of a lonely and longing soul for their Savior.  We must be willing to open our hand and give Jesus our heart.

God wants men and women who will walk with Him with an open hand.  Men and women who are willing to freely give away all they have, their “handful acorns,” and give their heart to Christ.  Let Jesus take your heart, and He will give you a new heart.  Give him your stony heart and let Jesus give you a heart of flesh.  A heart that beats for the Savior.  And then you can live with a renewed spirit and an open hand.  The greatest treasure a Christ follower can give away is not in their hands, but in their heart.  It is the good news of Jesus Christ the power of His cross and truth of His resurrection.  Will you release your, “handful of acorns,” those little treasures that grab your heart and ask Christ to give you a new heart today? Will you replace those acorns you give away with a real treasure, a treasure where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in to steal, as the Scriptures tell us.  If you will, you will have a joy even greater than my daughter’s as she shared in her innocence her treasure with me.  My hope and my prayer is that one day my daughter will trade those acorns for the real treasure.  An empty hand and a heart full of Jesus Christ, receiving Him as her Lord and Savior.  Will you do the same?  You won’t regret it. Drop your acorns and give the Savior your heart today. As the Bible tells us,”Today is the day of salvation.” Give Jesus your heart today.

“A Wretch Like Me” ~ David D. Hanson

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Pastor and author Albert Mohler once said, “You can divide all leaders into those who merely hold an office or position and those who hold great convictions.”  As a leader convictions are something  you hold, but they also hold you.  Your convictions to lead must be founded at the core of who you are because they permeate all that you will do in your life as an individual and also as a leader.  If people don’t believe in you and your convictions, why should they  believe in where you want to lead them.  The most impactful leaders are those who hold the greatest convictions.  They know who they are and what they believe and they know where they are going and they compel you to come along with them on the journey.  Leaders move people, but it convictions that move the leader.  When everything else is falling apart all around them the leader with deep convictions can continue to hold their ground and eventually begin to press forward.  For lasting leadership that can be sustained through the years, we must lead from our convictions.  Our convictions to lead bind our purpose to our values and keep us going straight to our objective despite all the distractions and discouragements along the way.  To know why you lead and where you are going, I encourage you, as a leader, to know your convictions.  What matters to you the most as a leader? And how does your convictions compel others to follow.  If you must lead, lead with convictional leadership.

“A Wretch Like Me” ~ David D. Hanson

 

Life is not in what you can gain but what you can give away. What are you giving away that will live beyond you? More importantly who are you giving away?  Are you willing to give Jesus to a world filled with rich paupers who are in desperate need of salvation and don’t even know it?  Rich in the things of this world, but poor in a hope for Heaven. What are you leaving behind you? Charles Spurgeon once said, “A good Character is the best tombstone.  Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered.  Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”  As believers the only thing that is truly ours forever is Jesus. Jesus is the greatest treasure that heaven has, or will ever give us. Who will you share your treasure with? Who will you enjoy the treasure of your Faith in Jesus Christ with forever. Your wife? Perhaps your child? Your parents, or perhaps a friend?  If you keep anything it will be Jesus who has freely given himself to you, his child and it is really he who keeps you. In Romans 8:37-39 the Apostle Paul tells us, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, no principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”  What assurance.  theologian R.C. Sproul encouraged us to remember that, “We must never lose sight of the fact that we are bound to Jesus by mighty mystical cords that cannot be broken.”  Heaven is ours, because we are His.  He will not lose one of his children.

I think our goal in life should be to die without owning a thing. Give it away and give it in Jesus name. We don’t own anything in this world and we can’t take things with us. But pass on the things with the message of the Gospel. Give away your possessions and as you travel closer to your heavenly home may your load get lighter of worldly possessions as you pass on your faith. Don’t focus on the things you give as if that’s your real treasure, but let them be life lessons to to teach and share Jesus with others. And when they look at what you gave them, may one day they pass it on as well along with the truth of the Gospel. May the one thing that you pass onto them that they freely give away and still keep, Be Jesus. Charles Spurgeon, who was known as, “the prince of preachers,” made what we would be the equivalent in our time in the sum of millions of dollars during his lifetime, but he died with little possessions. He put all the money he earned back into his schools and orphanages.  He plowed it back into the work of the Gospel. The greatest treasure that the world can’t take away and we can keep is Jesus. The Bible reminds us that,  ” For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”  Jesus is our greatest treasure. May our heart be with our Savior who is in heaven, where moth and rust destroy not and where thieves don’t break into steal. Pass on Jesus. He is your greatest treasure you could ever give away and still keep. The rich man who clings to his wealth and earthly treasures is poorer than the beggar on the street that has Jesus. Jesus told us in Mark 8:36-37, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Jesus is the treasure of Heaven that no one can buy and yet no man can take away. He is a gift from God to us. John 3:16-17 reminds us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” The greatest gift God gave us is his only son Jesus Christ, the hope of Heaven. My greatest treasure is not in what I hold in my hand, but in the one who holds my heart. Jesus is my greatest treasure. May he be yours also and may we share our treasure with those we love.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson

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C.S. Lewis once aptly said, “As Christians when living in this world, we are living behind enemy lines.” We live in a world that is hostile to our Biblical world view.  The Churches in our culture have been failing.  Churches big and small are not passing on the faith.  Many Churches have turned to the culture for the answers on how to engage the world, rather than turn to the Word of God.  Today we have entertainment as a regular part of our worship services.

You can go to a church and watch a Christian wrap about a football game, and some of these same churches will not even sing a Christian song, or open a Bible for weeks as to not offend the non-Christian public they wish to attract.  The truth is if you’re going to preach the truth, you’re going to offend the world.  In 1st Corinthians 1:21-24 says, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  For the Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” In the book of Romans 1:17 Paul tells us, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'” Notice Paul said, “I am not ashamed” We must likewise be bold in our confession of faith. Preach the Word.  Live the Word.  And you will be shamed by the world.  They will hate you for it!

Jesus said in John 15:20, “Remember the word I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”  They persecuted Jesus, so what make us think we are above persecution for our faith in this world?  What makes us think the world will want to hear the truth?  They persecuted Paul for speaking the truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Paul was imprisoned, chased out of town, smuggled out of the city, laughed at, regarded as a fool and stoned.  And after all that what did he do?  He was empowered by the Gospel and he went to the center of political power and pagan religion for the ancient world.  He went to Rome.  He was not ashamed.  He lived in the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit.  He was embolden by the power of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Today many churches want to be relevant in a world that has labeled them the problem.  Many pastors look more like CEO’s of big corporations,  and less like Shepherds over their flocks.  As they look to inspire their congregations with motivational talks that include testimonial videos, drama and music to capture the emotions of their audience.  But all that will not change a heart.  It is the Gospel that brings the dead back to life!  Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Without the power of the Word, I believe churches will continue to decline in our time.  And here we stand.  Like Esther, “As such a time as this.” What will we do to defend the faith?

Jesus defended the truth.  He showed us how to live.  He was bold.  Remember when He chased the money changers out of the temple?  He was not the timid Jesus that so many paintings portray.   Do you remember what He said to them?  Matthew 21:13 tells us what Jesus said, “And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye are making it a den of thieves.” And then He turned their tables upside down as He protected His house!  We need to take the House of God back as a house of prayer, but we have gotten comfortable.  We have become cozy with the culture.  Today you can’t tell the difference between the culture and many churches and Christians.  Unfortunately, I believe many churches are failing.  Failing to make disciples.  The big and the small churches a like. We’ve forgotten what a Titus 2 church looks like, where the older women are teaching the young women and the older men our mentoring the young men.  Charles Spurgeon once said, “A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, you will have clowns entertaining the goats.” Why have we fallen so far as a culture and in the churches? I believe we have we neglected the Word of God.  We have failed to make disciples not only in our churches, but in our families.  We have failed to disciple our children. Failed to pass down our faith in the homes.  We have left it up to the children’s church, the Sunday school and the youth group to educated our children and grandchildren in the faith.  If they are brought to church at all.  Sometimes making church attendance optional.

These dedicated people in the church die their best, but it’s not enough. We go to church maybe one day per week and our children and grandchildren are overwhelmed by the culture in school, TV and entertainment the other six days per week as they are influenced by the world.  Many fathers have failed to shepherd their own families.  So what’s the solution?  Pastor Voddie Baucham Jr. says, “I am convinced that holding men accountable for the evangelism and discipleship of their families does more to motivate and engage them than any weekly Bible study ever could.  Telling a man to show up to a weekly meeting is not a challenge worth attaining…But unleash him to eveangelize and disciple his family, and he will have found his mountain.”  Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:4 that it is the father’s responsibility, not the pastor’s, to bring up his child, “In the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” I find it interesting that this same chapter of Ephesians 6 concludes with the Spiritual armor.  I believe it is a given that all true believers will be engaged in spiritual battle.  Paul says, “Finally my brethern be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” We must put on the whole armor.  The armor is not optional.  It’s the armor that the father is equipping his children with when it says in Ephesians to, “bring them up in the nuture and admonition of the Lord.” Why?  So they can stand!  Ephesians 6:13 tells us, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

This is nothing new.  Paul reminds father’s of their responsibility to their children’s discipleship as Moses reminded the Children of Israel in the book of Deuteronomy.  It’s the family where disciples are made.  The church is to be an extension of support for the family.  The family is under attack right now in our culture.  Why?  I believe because it’s God’s blue print and His original design to grow His church. God uses the family to pass down the faith.  Deuteronomy 6:7 reminds us of the importance of living the Word of God in our homes when it tells us,  “Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” A.W. Tozer said, “What’s closest to your heart is what you talk about, and if God is close to your heart, you’ll talk about him.” We must step up and take responsibility for our families.  Fathers and grandfathers must take a stand!  And where there is a widow, or a single mom, the church should step in to help her.

Pastor Voddie Baucham Jr. once said, “We are not called to convert our kids, but we are called to disciple them.” Conversion is the work of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Discipleship is the parent and more specifically the father’s responsibility.  In Mathew 28:19 Jesus tells us, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”  The people we should be teaching most, I believe, sit right across from us at the morning breakfast table.  We see them at birthday parties and family events.  John Bunyan said, “If you want to be a godly head of a family, you must ensure that there is Christian harmony among those under you, appropriate for a house where the leader fears God.” We need more fathers in the home who fear God.  Fathers who follow the command of Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”  When you love God with your all, there’s not room for anything else to come in and take His place.  He is your all in all.  The challenge for us today in a hostile culture and in a world that wants our children and grandchildren is, are we going to love God with are all and pass that love through discipleship down the next generation?  Will we be like Paul, who was not ashamed of the power of the Gospel?  Will we share it and live it with our families on a daily basis and not just on Sundays? Are we going to pass on our faith, “from faith to faith” as the scriptures tell us?  The time is here.  The time is now.  May we begin making disciples and may it begin in our homes.

“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson