Tag Archive | Salvation Army

The Message of the Kettle

One cannot travel through the malls and shopping centers of America during this time of year without coming into contact with it…

Red kettle3The red kettle of the Salvation Army.

For over a century, the organization founded by British evangelist William Booth has been “doing the most good” — feeding, clothing, helping the down and out, comforting the hurting, and caring for those lost in the unrelenting busyness and chaos of society.

 

William BoothWilliam Booth famously said…

I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; forgiveness without repentance; salvation without regeneration; politics without God; and Heaven without Hell.

Mr. Booth’s prophetic words are — sadly — where we are today.

  • We want “feel good religion” without the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
  • We want to call ourselves a Christian nation, all the while trying to remove Christ from every facet of the public square.
  • We want to be forgiven without sacrificing the very things that we need to be forgiven for.
  • We want to separate our politics from our belief system. We have become more and more willing to sacrifice our convictions of holiness on the altar of political correctness. We are more concerned with being culturally “right” than being righteous.
  • We want all of the “warm fuzzies” that thoughts of Heaven invoke without the unpleasantness and horror of Hell.

Salvation ArmyWhen we water down the message of the Gospel for a relevant message of “I’m ok… you’re ok”, we cheapen the sacrifice of a Savior Who gave His all so that we could spend eternity with Him. When we dilute the message of grace and mercy found only in Christ, we prove that we have lost our understanding of the true meaning of this season of Christmas. As the prophet Isaiah prophesied hundreds of years before His birth…

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This Christmas season let us remember that, in order to ever have Peace on Earth, we must give the Prince of Peace His rightful place on the throne of our hearts and lives; not as an ornament that we take down and wear at our convenience, but as the foundation of who we are, permeating every facet of our being.

Dear Mr. President…

LL ArmAt a recent Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit, President Obama criticized the Christian church at-large for focusing on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, saying the church needed to focus more on poverty and the poor. Saying “I think it would be powerful for our faith-based organizations to speak out on [poverty] in a more forceful fashion”, he went on to state that the liberal ideology of wealth-redistribution was essential in following Christ. (view source)

Recently, 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton stated that religious groups needed to change their religious beliefs regarding “reproductive rights” (ie: abortion). This came on the heels of comments she made comparing the Biblical belief that “homosexuality is a sin” to honor killings, widow burning (the Hindu practice of Sati), and female genital mutilation. (view source) This should come as no surprise, however, considering what Mrs. Clinton had to say about Margaret Sanger, founder of the American Birth Control League (which later changed its name to Planned Parenthood):

Now, I have to tell you that it was a great privilege when I was told that I would receive this award (Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award). I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision … And when I think about what she did all those years ago in Brooklyn, taking on archetypes, taking on attitudes and accusations flowing from all directions, I am really in awe of her.

Mrs. Clinton’s admiration for Ms. Sanger is reason to give any decent person pause, considering Ms. Sanger’s own words…

The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.

A woman’s duty: To look the whole world in the face with a go-to-hell look in the eyes… to speak and act in defiance of convention.

With that said…

Dear Mr. President,

CoffeeAs a 67-year-old pastor who has been standing by the Word of God for the majority of my life, I am growing increasingly weary of being told what to believe by politicians. I’m tired of left-wing pundits who know enough about the Bible to be dangerous and, whenever homosexuality is mentioned, spew out-of-context Scripture in an attempt to justify their leftist agenda.

Mr. President… I don’t base my belief system on political winds or public opinion. My belief system is based on the Bible – the Word of God. As a person of faith, I look to a source Who is higher than I am, Whose ways and thoughts are higher than mine. I look to the Author and Finisher of my faith for guidance, wisdom, and courage to stand on the convictions that have been instilled in me as a result of my faith. 2 Timothy 3:1-9 tells us…

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

Today, we are seeing this Scripture play out in real-time in front of our very eyes. Wrong has become right, and right has become “bigotry, discrimination, intolerance, and hate-mongering”. And when our courts not only violate Biblical standards, but the very Constitution upon which our nation was founded, by persecuting and prosecuting people based on their deeply-held convictions and “religious beliefs”, we are in a dark and dire time indeed.

Mr. President… as for your idea that faith based groups should ” speak out on [poverty] in a more forceful fashion”, maybe we would have more time to talk about poverty if we weren’t already out in the world trying to make a difference in the lives of the poor. I see churches and faith-based ministries, throughout my area and across our great nation, trying to make a difference in the lives of the poor and destitute in their communities and around the world — organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, Compassion International, the Salvation Army, and so many others who devote energy and resources to the poor and needy around the globe. I could name many churches in my area alone that minister to the poor. My church ministers to the poor and needy locally, as well as in places like Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and others. If you wish for a discussion, many of these groups might wish to discuss government rules and regulations that hinder them from operating and ministering more effectively.

I am all for reaching out to the poor, but so much of what we see in America with regard to welfare is subsidizing people who are simply lazy. If a person has a legitimate disability or handicap, that is one thing. However, handing out money to able-bodied individuals who are simply unwilling to work flies in the face of Biblical teaching, logic, and fiscal responsibility. In 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul says…

But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

For “people of faith”, the Bible is not the “Book of the Month” — it is the Book of the Ages. The Bible is the standard by which we attempt to live — admittedly, often falling short. However, those of us who truly call ourselves “believers in Christ” aspire to live as He lived, to be true to His calling and teachings, and to hold Him up as the example by which we live. I, for one, have no interest in dragging God down to my level, and projecting upon Him my human flaws, failures, and misgivings. I have no interesting in creating a god in my own image, of my own creation. I aspire to be like Jesus… not the other way around. Every time in the Bible that the children of Israel sided with the “people of the land” and began to worship other gods, and brought deity down to their level, it didn’t end so well for them. God is loving and merciful. God is also holy and just. God is never-ending and never-changing.  The same Ten Commandments that commands us not to steal commands us not to kill (that goes for abortion as well). The same Book that calls adultery wrong calls homosexuality a sin…

Not my rules.

We are ALL sinners… the murderer, the liar, the homosexual, the adulterer, the rebellious, and so forth. However, we can all come to Jesus, but we must come to Him admitting our sins — in repentance — and with a decision to forsake our sins and turn to Him.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. ~ 1 John 1:9-10

Jesus didn’t hang on a cross so we’d be happy. He died a horrific and cruel death so we could be forgiven and have eternal life with Him.

CrossI stand with Christian brothers and sisters throughout our land and say, regardless of what presidents, politicians, pundits, and Supreme Court justices decide, I will always fall on the side of the Bible, of following in Jesus’ steps, and will never stop in my attempt to lead others to a saving knowledge of Him, according to His Word, and on His terms. To do or believe anything less is to denigrate the Bible down to the level of just another fanciful tale, and to cheapen the sacrifice of Jesus to the worthless gesture of a crazy man.