Tag Archive | social justice

The Cost of Service

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BedfordNestled in the heart of Virginia, there is a small town named Bedford. Unassuming in its quaintness, with a population of less than 7,000, Bedford is quintessential “small town America”. But if you dig a little deeper, Bedford has a unique and hallowed distinction in the life of America.

img_2738.jpgThis small town lost more men, per capita, in the Normandy landings on D-Day than any other municipality in America. In 1944, this small town had a population of around 3,200. On June 6, 1944, Bedford lost twenty of her sons in the event known as Operation Overlord, the allied incursion that was the beginning of the end of the Nazi stranglehold on Europe.

Earlier this week marked the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. With a force of over 150,000, the victory that day was significant. But at what cost?

IMG_2803With over 10,000 casualties including over 4,400 soldiers killed, the Allies paid a steep price for the victory at Normandy. In the wake of victory, within days, communities all over America were mourning the loss of their sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers who died on those beaches; men who put their lives on the line for the sake of freedom, not just for our nation, but for freedom loving people throughout the world.

Every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17), but comes at a cost to someone. Freedom and liberty come at the cost of diligence and, when necessary, brave men and women fighting and giving their lives for the sake of freedom. Wealth and prosperity come at the cost of years of hard work and keeping one’s nose to the grindstone. Staying healthy comes at the cost of diligently eating right, exercising, and taking care of your body. For the Christian, salvation is free, but came at the cost of the precious blood and life of Jesus. Service and sacrifice are the price of the things that are most important to us, and anything worth having is going to cost something to someone.

IMG_2823So with the examples set before us, for what are we willing to sacrifice? What principles and beliefs are we willing to get up off the couch for, leave our comfort zone, and dedicate our lives to the service of? At what point do we decide that we are not here for ourselves and our needs, but are to serve others and their needs? For the patriot; duty, service, and honor are the prices of strength and freedom. For the believer in Christ, Paul put it this way…

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. ~ Colossians 3:1-4

IMG_2838Regardless of the circumstance — whether standing for the truth of God’s Word, for the rights of the poor and disadvantaged, against the forces of dishonesty and corruption in our world (like fake news, lawless counter-culture activism, and Godless ideologues that parade themselves as social justice warriors) — the time has come for decent people of good will to get off the fence, off the sidelines, and get involved in making a difference through serving others, and letting their voices be heard.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for
good men to do nothing.”

This famous quote by Irish statesman Edmund Burke is a great reminder for a society seemingly at the tipping point of anarchy. But Burke said something else just as pertinent to where we are today…

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing
because he could do only a little.”

Truth.

We all have different gifts, abilities, and resources. But it takes all of us working together with whatever gifts we are given to make a difference, in this world and in the next.

Think about it.

Pastor Ron

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

 

Sleepy In Seattle

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On April 13, baggage handler Willa Junior dozed off in the cargo hold of a Boeing 737 while working his job at a Seattle airport. Junior was awakened abruptly when a piece of baggage hit him in the head, and he was faced with darkness, engine noise, and the feeling that the plane was ascending.

He tried to call his company, but they thought it was a prank call.

He tried to call 911, but his call was cut off.

He then began banging on the ceiling of the cargo hold, which was heard by the plane’s passengers directly above him.

The plane was forced to return to the Seattle airport to release its sleep-deprived captive from the cargo hold — alive, and probably quite embarrassed.

On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling approximately 11 million gallons of crude oil into the sea. At the time, this was the worst oil spill in United States history (eclipsed in 2010 by the Deepwater Horizon spill). Allegedly, the Valdez spill was caused by the ship’s third-mate falling asleep at the helm, causing the tanker to leave the shipping lanes, and run aground on Bligh Reef.

In the Bible, we find the story of Jonah. In his attempt to run from God, he boarded a ship. While asleep in the hold, God sent a mighty storm to stop the fleeing prophet. Being awakened, and realizing the storm was on his account, Jonah instructed the crew to throw him into the sea (see the book of Jonah).

We find the disciples asleep in Jesus’ hour of need, at the very time He needed them to watch and pray (see Matthew 26:36-46).

SleeperSleep deprivation can have horrific results. These stories are just a miniscule sampling of the thousands of instances of someone falling “asleep at the wheel”, and being met with tragedy. Countless car accidents, plane crashes, and other disasters have been caused because someone dozed off at their post, with tragic results.

In our nation and our world, the Church is suffering from spiritual sleep deprivation…

We have forsaken the diligent study of God’s Word for entertainment and lullaby religion.

We have allowed our prayer-times to devolve into blessings at dinner time, and fox-hole, final exam, and health-crisis pleadings.

We have fallen asleep in the Watchtower of Righteous-Indignation, and allowed the voices of immorality, narcissism, self-indulgence, and anti-Christianity to storm the walls and drown out the sound of the Good News of Jesus.

We who are alive in Christ must engage this culture if we are going to change it. The liberal agenda in our nation is making no bones about changing the fabric this country was built on, making room for no dissenting opinions, and taking no prisoners. As those who have come out of darkness and into the light of God’s love, it is up to us to make our voices heard, in the churchhouse, the schoolhouse, and the statehouse. We must put feet to faith, reach the ears of our detractors with truth, and reach their hearts with love-based action. As the late Keith Green pointed out, “God bless you, be at peace…’ just doesn’t cut it with a world that is starving for truth, looking for love, and dying from self-inflicted misery.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.” 

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. ~ Ephesians 5:8-16

So how do we do this? How do we stand against the waves opposition and persecution we are seeing today?

  • Come together. There is an old adage that there is strength in numbers. It’s time for the church to pull together, cross denominational and cultural barriers within the Body, and stand on the truth of God’s Word. It’s time we stop “forsaking the assembling of ourselves”, and stand side-by-side against the tide of public perception and political correctness.
  • Speak the truth in love. Anyone can be a shrill voice of dissention. It takes well-grounded, Spirit-filled minds and hearts to thoughtfully, intelligently, and truthfully vocalize Biblical opposition to the deception overtaking our nation and give an answer for the hope we have.
  • Live it. Talk is cheap, and costs nothing. It is in living out our convictions, particularly when it is uncomfortable or costs us something, that our critics take notice, our adversaries are silenced, and we make a difference in the world. It’s not enough to simply talk about Jesus’ love if we are not going to put feet to faith, and make our presence known in a very real, very tangible way in our neighborhoods, communities, counties, and world.

So get involved! Find a way to make a difference. Open your eyes to those around you, and touch the life of someone who has no way to repay you. Let that be a start… the seed to greater things for the Kingdom of God.

Every great oak began as an acorn.

Every great idea began in the mind of someone brave enough to dream, and bold enough to think they could succeed…

And with the God of the universe in your corner, you can too!