Tag Archive | same sex marriage

There Was A Time When…

red ryderEvery Christmas season, Americans have countless opportunities to view the holiday classic, A Christmas Story. Who can forget the adventures of Ralphie, his family and friends, and his trusty “official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle“. Many of Ralphie’s experiences ring true, for those of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s (and even the 70’s). The sights and sounds, the camaraderie of friends relegated to playing in the great outdoors… who would be best friends one day, fighting the next, and back to “buddydom” the very next day. Many of us can relate to having friends like Flick or Schwartz…

And many can relate to having a Scut Farkus in our lives as well.

In Ralphie’s life, Scut Farkus (and his “little toadie” Grover Dill) were the community bullies, bullying Ralphie and his friends until one day Ralphie had had enough, and in a moment of pure rage, turns the tables on the bullying Farkus. From that point on, Scut and Dill never pick on Ralphie or his friends again, proving the belief that, for most bullies, all they need to back down is for someone to stand up to them.

While I don’t condone senseless violence, watching that movie reminds me that there was a time when friends stood up for friends, when right and wrong were simple choices, and the world (much like the television of the 60’s) was black-and-white.

I remember that there was a time when…

  • A person’s first reaction to seeing another person in distress was the lend a helping hand. It is maddening these days to see videos posted online and on the news of an individual being taunted, bullied, picked on, or beaten down with no one coming to that person’s aid, but to look and see a dozen people standing by — all with cell phones — videotaping the altercation. Romans 14:7 reminds us that “none of us lives to himself“. In his classic, My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers wrote…

If you allow physical selfishness, mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness, everyone in contact with you will suffer.

And friend, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that our culture is suffering.

  • Freedom of speech, good or bad, was a basic right. Freedom of speech is a double-edged sword. The same right that allows a Christian to unashamedly share the love of Jesus also allows people to espouse some pretty offensive things — words of hate, negativity, profanity, etc. It is a simple right, guaranteed by our Constitution. Yet recently, the story came out that a university police department is encouraging students to turn people in for “hateful and/or hurtful speech”. One problem (of many) with such a rule is this: Who defines what constitutes “hateful or hurtful” speech? To a non-believer, the idea that they face an eternity in Hell, devoid of the presence of God might be considered “hurtful speech”. Sometimes the truth — regarding things of faith or not — hurts. The Bible says that, to someone who lives a life of spiritual disobedience, Jesus is considered “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (see 1 Peter 2:1-8). Does a person’s right — under any circumstances — to not having their feelings hurt trump another person’s right to free speech, guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution? Whether we like it or not, starting down that path is a slippery slope to totalitarianism.
  • Police officers were respected in our communities, and supported by our leaders. Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in violence against police as a result of misleading stories and irresponsible reporting in the media, and lack of support of leadership in government. When criminals are afforded the assumption of “innocent until proven guilty” but police are not, we are on a dangerous path to societal rebellion and anarchy. When police have to go into hiding simply because they either did their job or protected themselves (or both), we are in danger of becoming a completely lawless society. In Romans 13:2-3, Paul writes…

Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

  • IMG_1905Men were men, women were women, and society knew the difference. The LGBT agenda has
    permeated every facet of our society. From local gyms where “transgender” individuals are allowed in opposite-sex dressing rooms (and those who object have their memberships revoked), to school systems where “transgender” students are (considered) being allowed into opposite-sex locker rooms… the lines of decency and propriety are rapidly disappearing…When a young girl is subjected to awkwardness and embarrassment in a locker room because a boy is in there who claims to “identify” as a female;

    When a national magazine selects a man who dresses up like a woman to be their “Woman of the Year”;

    When a group of black-robed justices defy the God-ordained institution of marriage —

    Such things bring to mind the warning of the prophet Isaiah…

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! ~ Isaiah 5:20

  • The world knew we were Christians by our love. While it is vitally important to stand for what is right, we as Christians have become known more for what we are against than what we are for. Oftentimes, instead of focusing on the Great Commission, we brow-beat a secular world over things that amount to no more than a diversion they don’t understand. We are inconsistent in our priorities, which sends a confusing signal to a culture watching us through a “microscope lens”. Consistency in the message of Christ matters, otherwise we seem disingenuous at best. For instance, IF I am going to boycott a secular organization, it should probably be less over the color of their “holiday” cups and more over their support of abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.

CoffeeWith all of the mayhem that is going on in the world, we are seeing an unprecedented assault on Christians in our lifetime. Things may never return to “the good old days”, but there is definitely room and opportunity for improvement. Regardless of how we are accepted in today’s society, one thing is certain: We won’t change the minds of people in our culture until God changes their hearts, and what God will use to change their hearts is a Body of Christ that operates in righteousness, walks in unity, and talks in truth and love.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. ~ 1 Peter 3:15

Love is the language that all people understand, because love is the language of God. He IS love, and as creatures created in His image, love is our native language. For some, it may be deep and buried, but it is there…

And it is our responsibility and opportunity to try to find it.

You Can’t Have It Both Ways

The more I watch the news, read stories on the internet, or talk to people, the crazier I see our society becoming. Here are just a few questions that I have been pondering of late…

  • Emanuel AME2We see stories nearly every week of some atheist or anti-religion group up in arms because someone prayed at a school function, sporting event, or city council meeting. We have seen anti-God groups go after every Christian symbol, holiday, and even our own national history with a vengeance, trying to eradicate the Christian “religion” and our Judeo-Christian roots from every corner of public life.

So where is the outcry from these same individuals when it comes to the tax-payer funded indoctrination of our school children and college students to Islam? If “separation of church and state” is so important, why do we need governmental-appointed positions such as Sharia Czar and Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference? Where is the indignation from anti- religion groups when it comes to the misrepresentation and acceptance of Islam by those in the corridors of power in Washington D.C.?

You can’t have it both ways.

  • For decades, the argument (among others) from pro-abortion groups has been that it is fetal matter — a blob of tissue — not a baby. A baby does not become a real person until it is actually born. Until birth, a fetus does not have a “meaningful life”.

If this is the case, then why is one of the nation’s top abortion providers, Planned Parenthood, currently embroiled in controversy surrounding the harvesting and selling of fetal tissue from aborted babies? If it’s not a person, why harvest these meaningless “blobs of tissue”? At what point, and who, decides that a person’s life has no meaning? What about people who are tragically injured and in a persistent vegetative state… are they no longer worthy of life?

You can’t have it both ways.

  • IMG_1905With the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states, the LGBT community, which has spoken out for decades about discrimination and mistreatment, have finally been granted the “right” to marry the person of their choosing. After years of being denied the right to live their lives however they choose, believe what they want to believe, and love who they want to love, homosexuals and transgender individuals have been granted the ability to do so with the blessing of the United States Supreme Court.

So why is it ok now to vilify and persecute Christians who still oppose same-sex marriage? How is it that people who for years screamed “discrimination” are now discriminating against those who simply (and peacefully) disagree with their lifestyle based on personal religious values? How does a homosexual’s “right” to marriage trump a Christian’s First Amendment right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech?

You can’t have it both ways.

For a society that prides itself on intelligence and logic, we have crossed just about every line of logic and reason in our attempt to be “fair, tolerant, and inclusive.” Science, biology, natural law, and intelligence take a back seat to the ability to “identify” with a person or group. Laws are ignored by those entrusted with upholding the law because those individuals disagree with a certain statute or regulation. Those tasked with protecting and serving the public are forced to operate at a handicap because the very people they are trying to protect are advocating their destruction. We have been told that global warming (“climate change”) is the most pressing issue of our time. Yet recently, arctic ice increased by 1 million square miles in one year (2012 to 2013).

In Romans 1, Paul had this to say about those who choose to ignore and/or disregard the truth…

   The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — Who is forever praised. Amen.
    Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. ~ Romans 1:18-32

Creation itself testifies of the glory of God, and His handiwork. A society may attempt to dissuade its members from belief in a Holy God. It may try to marginalize God, lumping Him in with fable, folklore, myth, and legend. Yet, the fingerprint of God on Creation is unmistakable and undeniable. In Psalm 19, David declared…

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

Werner Heisenberg, considered to be one of the fathers of Quantum Physics, had this to say about the relationship of science and religion…

“Where no guiding ideals are left to point the way, the scale of values disappears and with it the meaning of our deeds and sufferings, and at the end can lie only negation and despair. Religion is therefore the foundation of ethics, and ethics the presupposition of life.”

CoffeeCreation is not subject to the whims of world leaders, political correctness, or public outcry. Nature cares not a wit about feelings, fairness, or whether or not it offends anyone. The natural laws, written into the DNA of every cell in Creation, are as unchangeable as Jehovah God. Mankind may attempt to suppress all evidence of the goodness of God from society, but the stones, seas, and stars will not cease to cry out. And if nature declares the glory of God, and God is who He says He is, then His Word is true. And if His Word is true, then we cannot help but conclude that He means what He says, and that we must all come to Him in repentance and humility, to find grace and forgiveness. Truly coming to Him in repentance means to turn from our sin, and accept His finished work of salvation through His sacrifice. We cannot come to Him while holding on, in stubborn unrepentance, to the very things He died to redeem us from. You can’t have it both ways.

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
~ Werner Heisenberg

Staying Between The Lines

Highway1

For the better part of the last century, any person driving the roads of America (and most other countries) have experienced something every time they get behind the wheel. It is something that, although we often take it for granted, guides every mile we drive down the highways and byways…

The painted lines in the road.

Whether double yellow lines, dotted lines, white lines, or any other lines that the DOT has taken the time to paint, we look to those lines without even thinking, to guide us in our travels, and to keep us safe.

Seems kind of crazy, huh? I mean, think about it: We are expecting an assortment of painted strips and symbols on the roadways to guide and protect us from the hazards and pitfalls of driving. Without thinking much about it, we typically abide by what the paint instructs us to do, and travel about from place to place, heeding its direction. We speed down the roads in relative safety, assuming that everyone else on the road will do the same, and abide by the paint’s instruction.

We have faith that the little strip of paint on the road is going to keep the 20-ton semi hurtling toward us on its own side of the road.

While we may not understand why a road is designated “one way”, the paint on the road reflects that it is so, and we don’t question its validity… we just do what it says.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, while driving down the road on a foggy night — when I can’t see the road ahead of me, or even the shoulder beside me — all I have to guide me is the reflection of my headlights off of the reflective paint on the road.

And through all of it, we are making a lot of assumptions. We assume the driver heading toward is alert, and is abiding by the same rules of driving etiquette we are. We take it for granted that, as we travel down that one way street, every other driver on the road recognizes the clearly stated flow of traffic, and abides by it. We hope and pray that, when we are driving slow and nearly blind on a foggy night, that the guys who painted the lines knew what they were doing, and didn’t dead-end the lines off the side of a cliff.

If you think about it realistically, what is keeping that other driver on his side of the road?

Absolutely NOTHING.

The vast majority of accidents on our roadways, in one way or another, are caused because someone didn’t follow the paint… someone didn’t stay between the lines.

“So, Pastor… what does this have to do with ANYTHING????”

I’m glad you asked.

God has painted lines on the road of human history that are intended to be followed. He gave us a driver’s manual called  “The Bible” that He meant to guide us along the journey. When we get into trouble — as individuals or as a society — it is generally because we have not stayed between the lines. We may not like the lines. We may not like the way they look, what they represent, or how they make us feel at a given time. We may not understand the logic, reasoning, or thought processes that went behind the formation of the lines.

But the lines are there nonetheless, and our wants, wills, desires, dreams, or intentions have no bearing on their existence… or the consequences of violating their borders.

Just as a 20-ton semi hurtling down the road, there is nothing there to stop us from crossing the lines God has drawn. Man has — from creation — been given a free will. Should we choose to go outside the lines of the laws of God, we do so at our own peril. Paul writes in Galatians 6…

 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

We can decide to travel against the flow of history, and ignore natural law. We can choose to ignore the “One-Way” signs, and presume that there are many ways to God… that as long as we are earnest in our belief, we will one day reach Heaven. But just like the person going the wrong way down that one-way street, it won’t take long before we are proven wrong. Jesus said…

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. ~John 14:6

It all comes down to faith. Following His lead, regardless of public opinion, political winds, or the fleshly yearnings of our own hearts. In Hebrews 11:6, Paul said…

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

And in those times when we can’t see clearly, and are fraught with fear, doubt, and insecurity, God has given us fellow believers (Godly friends, pastors, teachers, etc.) to reflect His love and wisdom, and help guide us along the path when the thick fog closes in around us.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. ~ Colossians 3:16

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

In a culture that is more and more running off the road and into the ditch of immorality and unGodliness, it is more important than ever for the Church of Jesus Christ to lift high His banner, proclaim His Word, and keep the lines clearly painted on the roadway.

 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:14-16

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When the Writing Is On The Wall

The Bible tells of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Now, for all of his faults, Nebuchadnezzar reached a point in his life that he acknowledged the greatness of the Lord God Almighty…

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of Heaven,
for all his works are truth,
and His ways are justice;
and He is able to bring low
those who walk in pride.
~ Daniel 4:37

However, his son Belshazzar never learned from His father’s experience.

The book of Daniel tells the story of how King Belshazzar threw a huge party for thousands of the lords of Babylon. While they were partying, Belshazzar commanded that the vessels of gold and silver, that had been taken from God’s temple in Jerusalem, be brought to the party, at which point, Belshazzar and his guests defiled these consecrated items, and drank wine from them in their drunken stupor. Not only that, but as they did, they “praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone”.

If you are familiar with Daniel, you know the story… Immediately, a hand appeared and wrote on the wall, Daniel was brought in to interpret the writing, and before the night was over, Belshazzar was dead, and his kingdom was divided between the Medes and the Persians. Just before his death, Daniel gave Belshazzar this dire rebuke…

 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. ~ Daniel 5:23 (NKJV)

Belshazzar took what was consecrated before the LORD, and defiled it, making a mockery of what was sacred.

Sound familiar?

IMG_1905On June 26, 2015, the Supreme court of the United States voted in a 5-4 ruling to legalize gay marriage. The Court majority, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, made useless their oaths of office, made worthless the document they swore to defend, and made a mockery of the Book upon which they placed their hands when they swore their oaths of office. Chief Justice Roberts closed his 29-page scathing dissent by saying…

If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

Within hours of the ruling, the White House was illuminated with rainbow colors, making a mockery of a national symbol that should be above partisan politics, making profane the oldest sacred covenant in human history, and effectively shaking its fist in the face of every American who believes in the sanctity of marriage, and in the very face of God Himself.

Coptic ChristiansBut while Americans have been transfixed, distracted, and divided over fringe issues, manufactured crises, and “straw-men” such as same-sex marriage, police brutality, the confederate flag, and “climate change”, the wholesale slaughter of Christians in the Middle East continues, unabated.

Why is it that, while all our last four Presidents, as well as dozens in the Senate and Congress of the United States claim to be believers in Christ, they have allowed this slaughter of Christians in Iraq, the Sudan, Egypt, the West Bank, Kenya, Nigeria, and Iran?

Where are the voices of liberal outrage bemoaning and crying out against the slaughter of more than 11,000 African-Americans at the hands of other African-Americans since the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin? Why is tragedy only newsworthy when a white person kills a black person?

IMG_1904Why did it take nearly a week for flags in the Capitol to be ordered to half-mast in honor of the five brave, unarmed servicemen in Chattanooga who lost their lives when an Islamic terrorist murdered them in cold blood, yet took only a few hours to illuminate the White House with rainbow colors in honor of the Supreme Court’s Godless and lawless decision to legalize gay marriage?

Why is it that the only world leader who seems to exhibit love of country, opposes the “New World Order”, recognizes the threat of ISIS against Middle Eastern Christians, and openly opposes homosexuality and gay marriage is Russian President Vladimir Putin? Putin, a Russian Orthodox Christian, sees the Beast of Revelation rising from Middle East and the West, and is the only world leader standing in defense of Middle Eastern Christianity.

Why do four Americans still sit in Iranian prisons while Iran is given the blessing of this administration to continue its nuclear program… a nation that is bent on the destruction of our greatest ally, Israel?

What have we become?

In Isaiah 5:20, the prophet Isaiah warned…

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to rise up.

It is time we demand from our leadership what they demand from us. It is time to hold elected officials to the standard by which the rest of us live. It is time for officials to stop merely swearing on the Bible to uphold the Constitution, and to actually start doing it.

It is time that we demand our leadership call terrorism by its proper name, be it Islamic terrorism or any other kind. It is impossible to effectively battle an enemy until you properly identify that enemy.

It is time we vote our convictions and, when it comes to the ballot box, heed the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and vote for people based “not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.”

It is time that we demand an end to the hypocrisy and abomination of abortion. In light of the recent Planned Parenthood scandal involving the sale of aborted baby organs and tissue, it is time for Congress to immediately and without delay de-fund Planned Parenthood. How can we look at ourselves as a civilized nation while allowing the same types of behavior and atrocities for which history has so strongly condemned the likes of Hitler and the Nazi regime?

It is time we stand against the “social justice” hucksters that have precious little to do with justice, and are simply looking for their next sound-bite opportunity and 15 seconds of fame. It is time for the Church to show the world Who real justice and mercy come from.

It is time for the Church to stand.

The Church must also recognize who the real enemy is. It is time that the Church remember the words of the Apostle Paul who said…

“Finally, my brethren, 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. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”  ~ ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

But… it is also time for the Church to fall.

It is time for the Church to fall on our knees, first of all in repentance and humility for our failure to be the salt and light in our culture that Jesus commanded us to be. We must repent of our apathy and complacency. We must admit our need for Him, and be willing to follow His leading, regardless of the cost. Our society has seen enough hypocrisy and fraud perpetrated in the name of God. It is time for the world to see a Church united in purpose. They may not always agree with us, but there should never be a question about where we stand on issues of faith, morality, and real social justice. There should never be a doubt that all we do is out of love for the Savior. We must seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. We must do this before we can expect any change in a world hostile to Him.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  ~ ‭‭II Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NKJV

 

The Truth Will Set You Free… part 2

Truth

Last week on the blog, I talked about truth, and some history regarding the propaganda machine of the German Third Reich, led by Adolph Hitler. We looked at how a small group of people were successful in deceiving an entire nation — and for a time, the world — with disastrous consequences. I made the comment that I believe that, just as the spirit of Jezebel is alive and well today, manifesting itself throughout our homes, churches, and society, the spirit of deception that fueled the Nazi regime is once again rearing its ugly head in our culture today.Look at some of the evidence…

  • The rise of anti-Semitism, not just in predominantly Muslim countries, but right here on Main Street America, on college campuses, and within the walls of our government.
  • All of the controversy surrounding the acceptance of same-sex marriage and the LGBT lifestyle. In recent polls, respondents believed that approximately 20% – 40% of the United States population identified as either gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The fact is, according to the government-sponsored 2014 National Health Interview Survey, people who identify as LGBT make up less than 4% of the U.S. population.
  • The marginalization of Christian belief. While over 70% of Americans claim to be Christian, the American media and entertainment outlets continue to portray Christians in a negative light. Adding fuel to the fire are those in government who insist on laws and legislation that trample upon the convictions and First Amendment rights of those who believe in Christ.
  • Selectivity of news. While the media attempts to make “hard news” out of any remotely-negative story concerning a conservative or Christian person, criminal activity and blatant wrongdoing by more liberal personalities is under-reported or absent from media coverage.
  • While the press clamors to every “gloom and doom” man-made climate change study and school of thought, and the president recently declared that “… the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact”, the UN’s IPCC lead author recently surmised that the majority of climate change is the result of natural variations (nature being nature).
  • Lack of outcry and action regarding atrocities against Christians. As ISIS burns its way across the Middle East, and threats increase in the United States, our government’s lackluster response is extremely troubling.

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must
be credible; credible, we must be truthful. ~ Edward R. Murrow

PropagandaSo what happened in America? When did the evening news become the propaganda machine for every left-wing organization and ideology? When did news organizations stop reporting news and begin creating it? What happened to news men and women who could put their personal feelings on the shelf for more than 30 minutes — who reported the facts instead of the slant that made the story more scintillating or politically correct? Sometimes, the truth hurts. Growing is painful (hence the term “growing pains”). Yet, we have become a people that cannot bear the slightest pain, cannot abide a differing point-of-view, and will not tolerate an open debate of ideas. We have moved from a society of laws to a society of suggestions. We have replaced absolutes with abstracts and weakly-framed arguments. We have embraced a twisted dialogue in which words like “excellence” and “exceptionalism” are not to be aspired to, but are to be avoided at all costs.

We have become the caterers to the lowest common denominator.

However, much to the chagrin of liberals and leftists… there are absolutes. There are laws that will not change. We all learned about The Law of Gravity in school. Just because you don’t believe in that law does not mean you won’t be very dead if you leap from the top of Empire State Building. If a motorcycle plays “chicken” with a freight train, there are physical laws that won’t stop the motorcycle from being obliterated.

There is truth in this world.

There is THE Truth.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me. ~ Jesus

So here is the problem: If we are going to have laws, who or what sets the standard? Who gets the deciding vote on what is right or wrong? What makes lying unacceptable? What makes stealing a sin? What makes murder a crime?

If there is no God, exactly WHO makes the rules?

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness…”
~ Isaiah 5:20

The fact is that our basis for law is based upon the Bible — the unchanging, Holy, and infallible Word of God. If we, as a society, have derived our system of law from the teaching contained in the Bible — the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Christ, etc. — then who are we to pick Bibleand choose what is a sin, and what is not? When any society loses the authority of a Supreme Being, that society loses the right to have morals. Regardless of why God calls one thing or another a sin, He does so for a reason. When we begin the process of re-labeling acts based on our finite definition of fairness and decency, we begin to remove the safeguards from society on a spiritual level. God gave everyone a free will, and since the beginning of time, individuals have made the choice to make bad decisions, for which there are consequences. However, I believe that when a nation makes unGodliness public policy, that leadership is putting that nation as a whole in the crosshairs of God’s judgment.

The collusion between government entities, the mouthpiece media, and a radicalized education system has become the “unholy trinity” of our culture. Many of the radicals and rebels of the ’60’s and ’70’s have moved on… they are now professors and teachers of “higher learning” at American colleges and universities. The late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin understood that education, in the wrong hands, becomes a weapon when he said…

Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who
holds it in his hands, and at whom it is aimed. ~ Joseph Stalin

KS77810When truth becomes subjective, the rule of law becomes irrelevant. The rule of law depends upon a standard of truth. Without that standard, anything goes. The Bible calls things “sin” for a reason. It may not make sense to us, and we may not like it, but certain behaviors, attitudes, and actions are wrong, according to the Word of God. Without truth as a standard, if you are going to say that murder by abortion is ok, then it is only logical to assume that bombing an abortion clinic is acceptable. Without the truth standard, it is impossible to call homosexuality and same sex marriage acceptable, and call discrimination unacceptable. Yet, the insanity of the same-sex marriage argument is the fact that we are seeing instances of Christians being discriminated against for upholding their First Amendment-protected religious beliefs under the accusation that they are discriminating against same-sex couples. Furthermore, many of the same people who are busy defending same-sex marriage are also pushing the acceptance and integration of Islam into our society. Folks… Islam and homosexuality are mutually exclusive. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of North America stated:

“There are many reasons why it is forbidden in Islam. Homosexuality is dangerous for the health of the individuals and for the society. It is a main cause of one of the most harmful and fatal diseases. It is disgraceful for both men and women. It degrades a person. Islam teaches that men should be men and women should be women. Homosexuality deprives a man of his manhood and a woman of her womanhood. It is the most un-natural way of life. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of family life.”

In Islam, the penalty for homosexuality is death.

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ~ Jesus

The only real freedom is found in the truth, and the only real truth is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not set the standard… He IS the standard. He is the embodiment of truth (John 14:6), and any ideology or school of thought that deviates from that truth is merely uneducated guesswork and wishful thinking. When we view science, religion, and philosophy from a standpoint of truth — of objectivity versus hostility — we find that the Bible and these disciplines support each other. If we are willing, in faith, to let go of our finite understanding in favor of His infinite plan and design, only then can we find what has alluded civilization for centuries…

Peace.

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.

Putting Things Into Perspective: #Baltimore

Flag half-mastOver the last couple of years, we have seen a rise in acts of rioting and rebellion in the name of “social justice”.

We hear the cries of “police brutality”.

We are barraged with uneven media coverage and biased commentary.

We see the acts of “civil disobedience” perpetrated in “honor” of people like Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner.

We witness brave first-responders being maligned, attacked, and assaulted for simply doing their jobs.

You get the picture. You’ve seen the stories. But before I go on, let’s put this into perspective…

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 318,857,056 people living in the United States as of 2014.
  • According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there are approximately 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States.
  • According to FBI statistics for 2013, law enforcement made an estimated 11,302,102 arrests (including 480,360 for violent crimes and 1,559,284 for property crimes). The highest number of arrests were for drug abuse violations (estimated at 1,501,043), larceny-theft (estimated at 1,231,580), and driving under the influence (estimated at 1,166,824).
  • Some other 2013 statistics from the FBI include:
    • An estimated 14,196 murders.
    • Approximately 724,149 aggravated assaults.
    • An estimated 79,770 reported rapes.
    • Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $4.5 billion in property losses.
    • About 699,594 motor vehicles were reported stolen.

I cited these statistics, in part, to call for a little perspective. With over 300 million people in our nation, and almost 1 million law enforcement personnel, while any loss of life is tragic, a response of chaos on the scale we have seen is far out of proportion. Now, before anyone says that these statistics do not justify bad behavior on the part of law enforcement, let me just say that you are exactly right. When those in authority abuse their power, they should be held to account, and dealt with appropriately in a just and fair way. Those individuals deserve the same due-process that every American citizen accused of a crime is afforded by law. But to assume all policemen are bad because of a handful of questionable incidents is unfair to the nearly 1 million officers serving today.

Think about this…

There are approximately 1,696 players in the NFL, with an average salary of $1.9 million (2010-2011). During the off-season of 2013 (February to June), 27 players were arrested for a variety of crimes including child abuse, assault, drug possession, DUI, and murder.

So with a rate of less than 2% of players being arrested for questionable behavior, should we demand a ban on pro football in America? Should there be rioting in the streets because one of America’s favorite pasttimes and institutions has been tainted by “the criminal element”?

In the three high-profile police cases I mentioned, let’s assume (for the sake of argument) there were 20 police officers involved. That is 20 out of 900,000… or .002%.

If 2% of all law enforcement in our nation were “bad”, that would be around 18,000 “crooked” officers.

When it comes to police violence, the rule seems to be “guilty until proven innocent”, with a free-pass given to anyone who wants to riot in the meantime. Honestly, I fail to see what destroying cars, assaulting individuals, looting and burning businesses, and laying waste to American communities has to do with social justice.

Growing up in the South during the ’50’s and ’60’s, I am familiar with the lasting impression and power of peaceful protests. Back then, it was about taking a stand for something other than a sound-bite or false narrative. People peacefully and courageously stood their ground, and didn’t resort to looting and vandalism while hiding behind masks and bandanas. Protesting was about seeing real change come to an unjust social landscape that included legalized racism and segregation. It was about brave men and women standing up in the face of violence with non-violence.

But how can we accomplish this today? How can we stop the kind of violence and chaos we have witnessed in places like Baltimore and Ferguson?

  • Parents can start being parents again. By now, most of us have seen the video of Toya Graham, the mother who pulled her son out of a crowd of rioters in Baltimore. While some may criticize her methods, no one can fault her motivation. She did not want her child to end up as another statistic — she wants better for her only son than the life of a street thug and criminal. It’s time for more parents to stop trying to be buddies with their kids and start being the loving voice of wisdom, experience, and (if necessary) correction that their children need. The Bible says…

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

  Parents, your children have plenty of friends, but only two parents. As I heard someone say, regarding the riots… “Send the police home, and just put a bunch of angry moms out there on the streets. They’ll get things straightened up!”

  • We must have a culture of accountability. While the focus in these incidents is centered on the police — and in some cases justifiably so — we must also demand accountability from media outlets and elected officials. Sensationalizing the news, making offhand comments based on conjecture and hearsay, and pronouncing judgement before all of the facts are in is irresponsible at best, and in most cases, serves to throw gasoline on the fires of racism, hatred, and distrust of police and other authority figures. In the Michael Brown case, many people from elected officials to celebrities to sports teams advanced the “hands up – don’t shoot” narrative, which turned out to be a complete fabrication. In their attempt to be first on the scene, first to report, and first with a “soundbite for the ages”, the apparent attitude of media personalities and publicity hounds flies in the face of the Apostle James who said…

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. ~ James 1:19-20

  Advancing a false narrative in an age of technology such as we have is beyond irresponsible and dangerous. Those who do such things should be held to account for their actions and words.

  • Get back to the Bible. We MUST return to the principles that our country was founded on — the principles and truths of the Word of God. The prevailing thought in many circles today (political circles, for one) is that people can believe what they want to believe, and there are no absolutes. There is little in society today that is as wrong, as dangerous, or as insane as that belief. We cannot pick and choose our morality, or cherry-pick what principles in the Bible are “relevant”, and what ideas are outdated. If the Bible is irrelevant and there are no absolutes, what makes it wrong for a person to walk into a school and start shooting children? If the measure of right and wrong is a person’s personal belief system, then what made it wrong for Hitler to kills 6 million Jews because his “belief” was that the world would be better off without them?

  In our nation today, we have laws on the book that state that, if a person kills a pregnant woman, and her unborn baby dies as well, that person can be charged with two murders. Yet, an unborn baby can be killed by the cruel act of abortion, and that is deemed by society as “acceptable’. What kind of “crazy” logic is that?

And more recently, we are seeing the hypocrisy of those trying to advance the LGBT agenda who are attacking Christians for standing up for their Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs that same-sex marriage is wrong, and exhibiting rabid intolerance for Christians in the name of “tolerance”.

My friend… God sent Jesus into this world to die for our sins, but we must come to Him on HIS terms; by admitting our need for Him, confessing our sins for what they are, and coming to Him in repentance of our sins, and acceptance of His free gift of salvation. Until we are willing to turn to Him, as individuals and as a nation, we will continue down the slippery slope of narcissistic self-destruction.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

All Lives MatterIt’s time for sanity to take its rightful place in the public discourse, for good and honest people to speak the truth in love, stand their ground, and make a difference in all of our communities… red, yellow, black, or white. It’s time to do the right thing, one neighborhood at a time, and show the love of Jesus every step along the way.

It’s time to get God’s perspective, and follow His leading.