May 28, 2012

The Blood of Heroes Never Dies [All American Series, Part 1 of 10]


Proverbs 10:7
"The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot."

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Where exactly Memorial Day began - Waterloo NY or elsewhere - is unknown. Probably, it had many separate beginnings as there is an innate impulse to honor the dead when it comes to heroic deeds. In the end, it is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all. Greater love has no man than to lay down his life. The best way to commemorate the fallen dead who each displayed their love of country is to remember them and to treat the day as one of observance and not as a day off to play a round of golf.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. This American holiday is observed on the last Monday of May, and honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.


"If Not Me, Then Who?"

Tom Manion has a moving article in today's Wall Street Journal, ahead of Memorial Day, explaining how he came to fully understand the sacrifices of our troops and their families.
I served in the military for 30 years. But it was impossible to fully understand the sacrifices of our troops and their families until April 29, 2007, the day my son, First Lt. Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq. 
Travis was just 26 years old when an enemy sniper's bullet pierced his heart after he had just helped save two wounded comrades. Even though our family knew the risks of Travis fighting on the violent streets of Fallujah, being notified of his death on a warm Sunday afternoon in Doylestown, Pa., was the worst moment of our lives. 
While my son's life was relatively short, I spend every day marveling at his courage and wisdom. Before his second and final combat deployment, Travis said he wanted to go back to Iraq in order to spare a less-experienced Marine from going in his place. His words—"If not me, then who . . . "—continue to inspire me. 
My son is one of thousands to die in combat since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Because of their sacrifices, as well as the heroism of previous generations, Memorial Day 2012 should have tremendous importance to our entire nation, with an impact stretching far beyond one day on the calendar.

Consider the simple poem by Moina Michael -

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
that blood of heroes never dies.



Embrace the Remembrance & Observance of Things

Frederick Douglass, the great 19th-century abolitionist said that the need to erect monuments "is native to the human heart, and among the holiest of all. It is composed of two elements, pious gratitude on the one hand, and an earnest desire to perpetuate illustrious examples of 'whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report' [Phil. 4:8] and to make them the property of posterity."

The evil, both literally and figuratively, do not prosper. Indeed, consider the fates of their statues.  Lenin and Stalin and Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi each had their monuments toppled and dismembered. This illustration deals nicely with today's main Scriptural theme: "The name of the wicked shall rot."

 

It's About People Who Gave Their All

T.J. Woodard is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel. During Operation Iraqi Freedom he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Action Badge. Read what he has to say about Memorial Day.

To many Americans, Memorial Day remains a day of stories. Stories about heroes. Stories about valor. Stories about sacrifice. But to veterans like me, Memorial Day is about men and women, friends no longer with us, feelings of emptiness. Memorial Day is about people. It is about people who gave their all, people who gave of themselves and people who loved their country and their friends more than themselves. It is about those who died, those who suffered horrific wounds, and those who have serious wounds that we cannot see by looking at them. It is about people who will never be exactly like they were before they went to war. It is about heroes.

The debt you  & I owe to brave men who died fighting for our principles is huge. Their sacrifice in armed conflict allowed enterprise and self rule to flourish, lifting the lives of billions of people toward a hopeful future. We speak proudly of our fallen heroes, as well we should, honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom.




Please honor the fallen this Memorial Day Holiday by paying your respects to their surviving families. Remember these heroes. Cherish the freedoms that they bled & died for as enshrined by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Do not let any ideologue from any part of the political spectrum take it away from you, either in one fell swoop or in small compromises.

Above all, pray for our military families (including the CIA and other covert programs out there protecting our freedoms).

Freedom is precious. Exercise it wisely!


"God, lift the hearts of those, for whom this holiday is not just diversion, but painful memory and continued deprivation." -- Rev. D. Kozelka (ret.)

Sources: Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal, American Thinker, YouTube, History.com, U.S. Memorial Day.org

Dear Reader

Ecclesiastes 3:1
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"

I'd like to tell everyone out there in cyber-land that during these upcoming months, I'm going to be focusing almost exclusively on two series that focus on issues & matters that have been in my heart and mind for some time now. Thus, it's time for a change.

The summer months are especially busy for almost everyone, my family included. So, with the exception of updating you all about Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's situation in Iran and abortion-related news, I will be blogging less this summer due to the time constraints related to conducting the necessary research for the upcoming series that I'm excited about.

As you all know, the general election is underway in earnest and the United States of America is at a critical juncture. In what will certainly be the most expensive, most divisive and most contentious election in a generation, the American people will be assaulted with lies, damned lies and prevaricated statistics so as to confuse them and mislead them.

In my humble opinion, the choices this Nation faces couldn't be more stark. It will be a contrast between over-regulation and freedom; a handout and a hand up; opportunism and opportunity; racial division and National unity; restriction and liberty; ruling bureaucrats and rule of law; immorality and morality; godlessness and Jesus Christ. The list could go on, but everyone out there gets the picture.

The path this Nation takes will have unintended consequences for a long, long time, both here Stateside and abroad. To be sure, other countries will feel the impact of this presidential election cycle. The implications couldn't have more gravitas; the stakes can't be any higher for America.

And, to the international readers (you know who you all are!), there are timely lessons for you and your nation as well.

Without further ado, I'd like to summarize the upcoming series -

1. The All-American Series will focus on the things that make America great, both historically and presently, as it revolves around a particular holiday or day of observation. The first post to roll out will be on Memorial Day and continue through the remainder of the year.

2. The Ideas Have Consequences Series will focus on the ideas shaping today's polical and cultural climate. It will vary from the language people use to the thoughts that drive people in their political, economic and spiritual transactions. This series will conclude on Election Day 2012.

Once again, thank you for your readership and kind words. I really do appreciate them. My hope is that these series will be a blessing for you and yours. May the Lord richly bless you in these times because it is times like these that we need a Saviour! In times like these we need the Bible. His name is Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word, the Son of the Living God!

Have a blessed summer as well as a blessed winter, for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere!


No Time Like the Present to Get Right With God!

May 27, 2012

All Right or All Wrong

Hebrews 9:22
"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."

D.L. Moody tells the story of a conversation he had with a minster about the topic of ---preaching. Here's how Preacher Moody tells it:

I remember when in the old country a young man came to me—a minister—and said he wanted to talk with me.

He said to me: "Mr. Moody, you are either all right and I am all wrong, or else I am right, and you are all wrong."

"Well, sir," said I, "You have the advantage of me. You have heard me preach, and know what doctrines I hold, whereas I have not heard you, and don't know what you preach."

"Well," said he, "the difference between your preaching and mine is that you make out that salvation is got by Christ's death, and I make out that it is attained by His life."

"Now, what do you do with the passages bearing upon the death?" and I quoted the passages, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission," and "He Himself bore our own sins by His own body on the tree," and asked him what he did with them, for instance.

"Never preach them at all."

I quoted a number of passages more, and he gave me the same answer. "Well, what do you preach?" I finally asked.

"Moral essays," he replied.

Said I, "Did you ever know anybody to be saved by that kind of thing, did you ever convert anybody by them?"

"I never aimed at that kind of conversion; I meant to get men to heaven by culture—by refinement."

"Well," said I, "if I didn't preach those texts, and only preached culture, the whole thing would be a sham."

"And it is a sham to me," was his reply.

I tell you the moment a man breaks away from this doctrine of blood, religion becomes a sham, because the whole teaching of this book is of one story, and this is, that Christ came into the world and died for our sins.

*

And that, my dear Reader, in a nutshell, is all you need to know. Christ prophesied (Old Testament), Christ crucified & risen (New Testament) and Christ glorified (Revelation). Read the entire Bible and you too will understand that it speaks of Jesus. Indeed, Christ Himself said as much in John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

On what do you stand today, your own works or the redemptive act at Calvary? If you stand on your own works, be mindful that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23) and you are hellbound.  I Choose Calvary!


The Elevator

II Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

An illiterate old man from from the farm country came to a busy shopping complex in a metropolis, accompanying a relative who was purchasing new dress for her wedding. He was accompanied by his wife, who was equally old and simple. There they saw an elevator for the first time in their life.

The old man watched the gadget with keen interest. He saw a group of aged people enter and close the door. After a few minutes, the door reopened and an equal number of very young people came out.

After several similar observations, the old man concluded that the elevator was a miraculous machine to transform older people to younger and smarter ones. He was excited. His priority was to restore the youthfulness of his aging wife. He was anxious to have her as the young and charming beauty that he had married 50 years ago.
 
He compelled & coaxed her to enter the elevator the next time it opened before them. The old lady entered it unwillingly along with many others and the door was shut. After a few anxious moments, he saw the doors open.

Rushing to the door and madly searching among those who came out of the elevator, he found an attractive young lady, with some resemblance to the figure of his wife in her early years.

Overjoyed, he embraced who he thought was his blushing bride and tried to drag her away from the others, crying out, "What a wonder, what a beauty!"

The lady was shocked and pushed him away with all her might. She walked away quickly into the crowd.

Lying on the floor with scratched limbs and a broken heart, the old man cried and pleaded, "Wait for me, honey! Don't leave me, dear! I'll take back the old you!"

*

God made us in His image (Gen. 1:27; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). But, in our selfishness, webroke fellowship with Him when we sinned against Him (Rom. 3:10, 23). Only God can restore us and make us into a new creation (Gal. 6:15).

The blood of Jesus is no fountain of youth that will make you younger or put a skip in your step. No, it's not about our external appearance. What God is desiring is to truly transform us and change us within, transform us from a sinner to a saved person. Because of the blood of Jesus, our sins are forgiven (Heb. 9:22) and we receive God's divine nature through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5; II Cor. 1:22-23; Eph. 1:13-14, 4:30).

That is what happens at salvation.

There is no magic potion or elixir or holy grail or special waters. If you're seeking true renewal - spiritual rightness - then Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life (Jn. 14:6).

What you decide to do with Jesus Christ today will impact your eternal life. And much like an elevator, there's only one of 2 directions you can go: heavenward or hell bound.

Which way are you headed?


What a joyful thought that my Lord I’ll see,
Just over in the glory land;
And with kindred saved, there forever be,
Just over in the glory land.

Just over in the glory land,
I’ll join the happy angel band,
Just over in the glory land;
Just over in the glory land,
There with the mighty host I’ll stand,
Just over in the glory land.

With the blood-washed throng I will shout and sing,
Just over in the glory land;
Glad hosannas to Christ, the Lord and King,
Just over in the glory land.

Just over in the glory land,
I’ll join the happy angel band,
Just over in the glory land;
Just over in the glory land,
There with the mighty host I’ll stand,
Just over in the glory land.

 
Story compliments of Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Kerala, India

May 26, 2012

Why All the Fuss, Sisyphus? [Sisyphus Meets Jesus Christ]

Isaiah 40:28-29
"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."

Researchers at the University of Virginia have found that most people perceive a hill to be steeper than it really is, especially if they are tired or carrying a heavy load. When asked to estimate the slope of a hill, test participants consistently misjudged it, thinking a 10-degree slant was about 30 degrees, and rating a 5-degree slope as nearly 20 degrees. Hardly any of them believed they could be that far off.

When we are burdened and exhausted, even a minor problem can seem too big for us to handle. As we encounter a trial in life, we are tempted to sit down at the base of that difficult hill and stay there, convinced that the grade is too steep for us.

And yet, Christ is there for the believer (Matt. 11:28-30).

That is why we need the encouragement of God’s Word. It draws our attention to our loving God, who knows our need. Zephaniah wrote, "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."  (Zeph. 3:18).

Trusting in God's Word is key as you'll read in Psalm 119:40-41, "Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word."

And talk about being upheld by God's word! Look here -

"Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually."  Ps. 119:116-117

Because we so easily misjudge life’s difficulties, we need courage to keep going when we are tempted to quit. Take a step of faith today and put your entire trust on the Lord. Don't lean on your own understanding (Prv. 3:5-6). It's going to get you nowhere except back at the bottom of the hill.

Consider the testimony of someone who knows: Sisyphus. In Greek mythology, he was the founding  king of Corinth (how ironic) who punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever. In common parlance, the word sisyphean means "endless and unavailing, as labor or a task." And, in modern terms, the myth of Sisyphus is understood as a representation of a life made meaningless because it consists of bare repetition.

If you are burdened because of life's trials or work or family or physical illness or depression or whatever else that may be draining you, take heart. Jesus Christ never intended for you to carry that load alone. When Paul sought the Lord's removal of his "thorn", Jesus responded that His grace was sufficient (II Cor. 12:7-10).
Remind yourself through God's word (and trust wholly in Him) that God will work things (Rom. 8:28).

Confer with these other verses for encouragement and strength - II Corinthians 4:16; Psalm 29:11;  Isaiah 41:10; Jermiah 31:25

As we live for Christ and follow Him,
The way may seem quite steep;
But if we trust His grace and strength,
Our steps He will guide and keep.

God always gives enough strength for the next step. Wait for the Lord and see that He is faithful to His Word. Isaiah 40:31 reassures us, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

I'm Tired of Going Uphill. Save Me Jesus!


Got any rivers, you think are uncrossable?
Got any mountains you can't tunnel through?
God specializes in things thought impossible
He does the things others cannot do.

May 25, 2012

If It Hadn't Been For Love

Psalm 23:1
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

Death by a thousand little cuts. That's what the liberals, progressives, communists, socialists, pagans, atheists, agnostics and children of Belial are doing to our great Nation. It's no longer "One Nation Under God", but "Many gods Under One Nation". The little cuts are not mortal wounds, but they are serious in that the intended purpose of these injuries is to bring down a mighty Christian power, one cut at a time.

Name one major contribution of communism, progressivism, etc. (aside from moral decay & genocide) and you'll see that these "philosophies" are nothing but cancerous, leprous, & repugnant, void of humanity and decency.

The primary tactic used by these groups is compromise—to force us to slowly compromise away our values, our heritage, our life, and our God until they cease to exist. They are patient, make every cut they can get away with, and absolutely demonize those who refuse to compromise, accusing them of intolerance and extremism. Like I said, death by a thousand little cuts.

So, I got to thinking about what life would be like without Christ. Since the Shepherd's Psalm (#23) tells us believers how we won't lack with Him as our Shepherd, I thought I'd invert the logic and show what we would have in place without Him as our Shepherd.

1. DANGEROUS TOIL
"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:" (v. 2a)

Rather than repose or resting safely in green pastures, we'd be in harm's way as we toiled in thorns and thistles. Look at Genesis 3:16-19 -

"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

2. STRIFE
"...[H]e leadeth me beside the still waters." (v. 2b)

Instead of being led to the still waters of peace, we would be mired in the stagnant & stormy waters of life. Think of how refreshing brackish waters are to quenching your thirst. Habakkuk 1:3 states, "Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention."

3. EXHAUSTION & BROKENNESS
"He restoreth my soul:" (v. 3a)

A tormented soul is what compels a person to therapy, drug use, promiscuity, risky behavior and suicide. Only God can restore the broken soul. There is no other Healer, but Jesus Christ. Thus, a soul without the Great Physician can only grope towards self-destruction. Even God wearies of man's rejection: "Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting."  (Jer. 15:6)

4. CONDEMNATION
"...[H]e leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (v. 3b)

Here's another reason why people self-mutilate, self-injure and self-destruct: people need forgiveness. Condemnation is what leads souls to the grave. I Corinthians 6:9 describes clearly the fate of those who reject Jesus - "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

5. FEAR
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:" (v. 4a)

What a picture! Walking through Death Valley alone. In times like these, you feel forsaken and forgotten. It's a terrible time to be alone and lonely. Yes, the heathen will be laughed at by God. Listen up, you scoffers! "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."  Ps. 2:4-5

6. VULNERABILITY & DISCONSOLATION
"...[F]or thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."  (v. 4b)

In the darkest of dark hours and deepest valleys, there is no one to provide solace & comfort. You feel open to attack from every side and you sense nothing but hopelessness. Isaiah 48:22 states, "There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked."

7. FAMINE & POVERTY
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:" (v. 5a)

In the midst of turmoil & crises, you are assailed and have no resources to address these mounting problems. You go through life discouraged and angry.

Going against God means you face serious consequences, according to Job 27:13-23,

13This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty.
14 If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.

15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep.

16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay;

17 He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.

18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.

19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not.

20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night.

21 The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.

22 For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.

23 Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.

8. SCARCITY
"...[T]hou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over." (v. 5b)

You lead life running on empty and are joyless, bitter and sarcastic. If you can't be happy then you make  everyone around you unhappy as well. Proverbs 24:34 indicates, "So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."

9. PUNISHMENT & ABOMINATION
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:" (v. 6a)

The wrath of God abides on us because of our wicked waywardness. Every step of the way there's nothing but the foreboding sense that God's justice is just around the corner. In Job 18:12, it says, "His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side."

10. ETERNAL DAMNATION
"...[A]nd I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." (v.6b)

Friend, you are destined, because of your choice to reject Christ, to spend eternity in the lake of fire. There is no entrance for a sin-stained soul to enter into the holy and glorious presence of God. You'll be left out in the dark where there will be gnashing of teeth (Mt. 13:41-42).

*
Thus, as the image in the left hand corner indicates, if you're not a sheep then that makes you a goat, my friend. In very telling detail, the Lord states the fate of the goat in Matt. 25:31-34, 41, 46 -

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
.
.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
.
.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Reader, the lake of fire is prepared for Satan and his demons. Not you or me. But, you must accept that you're a sinner in need of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as your Saviour (Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to heaven. Good works will not do it (Eph. 2:8-9). Only the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

You see, if it hadn't been for love, we'd be hell bound, too (Rom. 5:8). If it hadn't been for God's great love and mercy, we'd be in the mire of life without any hope of escape. Thank God that He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for you and me (Jn. 3:16). What a mighty love!

Settle this matter today! Settle it with Jesus. And you shall surely see that He is the Good Shepherd!

Jesus, Please Be My Shepherd!


O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

May 24, 2012

Monkey Business

Genesis  1:1
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the monkey was reading two books - the Holy Bible and Darwin's "The Origin of Species".

In surprise he asked the ape, "Why are you reading both those books?"

"Well," said the monkey, "I just wanted to know if I was my brother's keeper or my keeper's brother."

*

A major deception around today is that man evolved from primates. I know, it's old news for some of you. Here's the rub in the Christian world: There's a segment of Christians who believe that even should some Supreme Intelligence (ie, God) be responsible for life, this Being is unknowable, remote and distant. Many suscribe to this notion, that God is unknowable. It's one thing for unbelievers to make such a statement; yet, for a Christian to sound off like this is incredulous!

Why?

Because God IS knowable.

Look at Romans 1:19-22,

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,"

The lie about God being unknowable deprives individuals from establishing a personal relationship with the God of Love, who in reality is intensely concerned with all our personal struggles and problems; concerned to such a degree that He even sent His Son to die on the Cross for our sins (Jn. 3:16).

Scripture teaches that the God of Creation is close at hand and that “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” (Acts 17:28a). It states that God can easily be contacted; all that is necessary is an open heart that answers the question: Who do you say I am? If you answer & acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God who died for your sins and believe in your heart that He was raised from the dead, you shall be saved (Rom. 10:9-10).

The Bible teaches in Romans 1:18-19 that it is not the lack of evidence for the existence of God, but the suppression of evidence and truth. God showed them the truth and men have chosen to look the other way. In fact, they look at monkeys for the answers to the origin of species.

Men hate God and don’t want Him to exist. They reject Him by denying Him in order to live in the pleasure of sin. Aldous Huxley, an atheist, acknowledged this when he wrote his book Ends and Means: “We objected to morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.”

Indeed. But it is not freedom, but bondage to the flesh. And, if you're mired in it, Friend, you've got serious problems that only Jesus Christ can resolve (Jn. 8:32).

As for you doubting or struggling believers, pay close attention and comfort yourself in this truth found in John 20:29, "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

How about it? Stop believing in scientific fantasies and post-modern fables. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by Him (John 14:6).


All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.


Let every tribe and every tongue before Him prostrate fall
And shout in universal song the crownèd Lord of all.
And shout in universal song the crownèd Lord of all.


Hymn is "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" by Ed­ward Per­ro­net, 1779.





May 23, 2012

A Cosmic Accident Waiting to Happen

Acts 17:24-25
"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;"


Today our young people in public school and in colleges are taught that they are but the product of blind chance & luck without God having planned them.

Psalm 139:14-15 indicates, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth."

They are taught that they are but an accident of nature, the result of undirected natural forces coming together, that they are alive for but a while and then, upon death, will break down into basic elements and will no longer be.

According to the ungodly, there is no God. But, we know what they are; they are fools (Ps. 14:1). In this mental schema, nobody cares for them or loves them; there is no future existence and no meaning or purpose to life. Life is bleak, short and chaotic.

With this outlook on life is it any wonder that today there is an epidemic of depression and emotional issues among young people? Or again, is it any wonder that crime and anti-social behavior is so prevalent? After all, if I am here but for a few years, why shouldn’t I get what I want, when I want it? The attitude - which is found also in antiquites (I Cor. 15:32-33) - is of the world and not of God. What they have been told to believe, directly affects how they think and behave and, of course, because they assume it to be true they don’t check out what science really reveals.

I wish I had the time to delineate how science reveals, and not rejects, God's hand in nature and creation. I wish you had the time, Reader, to read about it, too. But, we're always on the go and short on time. Alas, comfort yourselves in knowing & believing that we are not on this earth by luck. This is no cosmic casino we're living in. We are here by design, God's design.

The bleak message of atheism allows a society to slide into further corrupted thinking; it is a gateway to socialism, communism, Nazi-ism, genocide, euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage, and on and on and on. All sorts of deviant lifestyles are promoted under the banner of godlessness.

Listen up, many atheists express a strong hatred of God. If you're an atheist reading this post, can I ask you something? How can you strongly hate Someone you don’t believe in? How can you stamp your feet and shout down those who believe in the true & living God? Mr. Atheist, you might ask, "Since when do I stamp my feet and shout?" Well, sir, in a manner of speaking, this happens every time when nativity scenes are displayed during Christmas or when a cross is erected as a monument or when a person opens up a meeting, sporting event or other gathering in the name of Jesus. Oh, my Mr. Atheist! By then, you are hissing at the Christians with threats of lawsuits and removal of sign or semblance of our faith unless we sit down and shut up!

The reality is that many atheists have their own personal agenda and bias for not believing in God and it has nothing to do with scientific research at all. They are angry at God or at their parents or both for some let down. However, God doesn't want the atheists to perish (John 3:16; II Pet. 3:9). Whether or not atheists believe it, God loves them, too!

Don't be fooled by scientific claims that the world came to be through a long series of accidents, coincidences and sheer luck. Christian, it takes more faith to believe in man's belief system than to trust in God Almighty's promises. This is what Isaiah 1:18 invites you to consider -

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

As the influence of Christians wanes - not because the Gospel is impotent - it wanes because the world has blinded those who refuse to believe in God (II Cor. 4:3-6). Think about this way: God doesn't believe in atheists, either. One day, there'll be a pay day for the unbelieving (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:11-15).

Don't be one of them. Don't take a chance with eternity, and settle your account now and see that God good and merciful! I Want Mercy, Jesus! 


Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty,
At Calvary.

By God's Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I'd spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty,
At Calvary.

May 22, 2012

Aim High, Shoot Low

James 4:3
"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."


I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.1
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I, among all men, am most richly blessed!
Indeed and amen.

Don't fail to take care of today what you should've taken care of yesterday: The Plan of Salvation!


1Romans 8:26 states, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

Also,

Matthew 18:1-4 - "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

May 21, 2012

A Christian Walk Unfeigned

Romans 12:1-2
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

To kick off this post, I'd like to quote a famous prolific writer, preacher & pastor in 19th Century England by the name of John Charles Ryle [1816-1900] -

“Begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing is to do it, and the way to read the Bible is actually to read it. It is not meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it; that will not advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears, the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.”
~ J.C. Ryle

The verses noted from Romans 12 contain a body-mind connection. Consider the commitment and steps necessary in developing a godly lifestyle. Paul was urgently warning believers not to be conformed to the world. If we're leaning toward compromise in our Christian walk, then the greatest danger today is an ungodly testimony. But, it doesn't stop there. Like tracking dog dung we've stepped on and soiling our house; likewise a worldly Christian drags in his worldly ways into the church and contaminates everyone he comes in contact.

Here's how it works: Through ungodly relationships and the impact of media, we're being influenced by people who are not following God's ways. Our society tells us to put self first, take what we want, protect our rights, and promote our own interests above others' interests.

In contrast, Jesus said that our heavenly Father will provide what we truly need (Phil. 4:19), we are to deny self and follow Him (Luke 9:23), and the humble - not the proud - shall receive honor (James 4:10). Conformity to the world's ideals will lead us away from God.

At the same time, Paul urges us to:

1. Present our bodies as a living sacrifice, which is a reasonable thing to do considering what the Lord did for you and me at Calvary. We are also to make our sacrifice holy & acceptable unto the Lord. How is that done? Romans 6:12-13 states, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

Confer with I Cor. 6:19-20. Of interest is the word present, which denotes the action of bringing and presenting an animal or other sacrifice before an altar (which is an Old Testament picture). It implies that the action was a free and voluntary offering. The act of freely devoting ourselves to God is one of the most loving acts that we will ever perform. And, it happens on a daily basis.

2. Pursue godly transformation of our minds using God's word as compass and ballast. It means to set our thoughts on things above (Col. 3:2) and to focus on what is true, right, pure, and admirable (Phil. 4:8). Adopting a Christian worldview will lead to Christlike actions. It requires making adjustments in how we view life until our thoughts line up with Scripture. We must also protect our minds with Biblical truth and surround ourselves with mature believers who can warn us when we start to stray.

Make no mistake, Friend, you cannot even begin on this Christian walk without first settling your old account of sin (Rom. 6:23; Jn. 3:1-7; Rom. 10-9-10).

Please understand that believers are exhorted to offer a sacrifice that will be acceptable to God; that is, such a one as He had just specified, one that was living and holy. No sacrifice should be made which is not acceptable to God. Don't even try.

The offerings of the pagan; the pilgrimages of the Muslims; the self-inflicted penalties of the Roman Catholics, are all uncommanded by God and Scripture. They are not and cannot be acceptable to Him. Those services that will be acceptable to God are those only which He appoints. People are not to invent services; or to make crosses; or to seek persecutions and trials; or to provoke opposition; or to withdraw themselves from society and live in isolated, austere surroundings. They are to do just what God requires of them, and according to Scripture. Nothing else will be acceptable to God. And this fact, that what we do is acceptable to God, is the highest recompense we can have. It matters little what people think of us, if God approves what we do. To please Him should be our highest aim; the fact that we do please Him is our highest reward.

Ask yourself these questions, Friend:

Am I focusing on what is important to the Lord?
Am I making a conscious effort to adhere to Biblical truth?
Am I demonstrating a pattern of godly transformation?
Am I presenting my body a living sacrifice according to God's word?

If you answered No to any of these questions then why not get right with God on this account, submit to His will (James 4:7-10) and see the outflow of His power through your obedience (Jn. 15:1-10). Let God's Holy Spirit empower you to make the changes necessary to be more like Christ.

But first, you must be born again! Are you willing to take that first step? It's the only way, Reader (Jn. 14:6)! The Plan of Salvation


May 20, 2012

On Dangerous Grounds - The Ongoing Saga In Sudan


There’s a call comes ringing over the restless wave,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
There are souls to rescue there are souls to save,
Send the light! Send the light!

Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
Let it shine forevermore!

Let us not grow weary in the work of love,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
Let us gather jewels for a crown above,
Send the light! Send the light!

Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
Let it shine forevermore!

May 19, 2012

Hopes and Fears of Afghan Christians


 

II Timothy 3:12
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

 
For Afghanistan's tiny Christian community, a community certainly in the hundreds and probably the thousands, the Abdul Rahman case has brought both fear and hope. Mr. Rahman is starting a new life in Italy after his trial in Afghanistan for converting from Islam collapsed. He faced the death penalty if he had been found guilty.

He said, "In Afghanistan we Christians have nothing to do with politics. We love and respect everyone. We love and respect even our enemies, however they punish us."

The Christian community lives with the threat of official harassment and attack by extremists. There have been gun and grenade attacks against churches in neighbouring Pakistan.

But despite the reported hardline rhetoric of Afghan clerics during the Rahman case, the Christian claims that many Muslim friends regard his conversion as a private matter.

"Most of my friends know that I am a Christian," he said. "I have many friends who are mullahs and maulvis. Some of them say they like me more these days. Before I was a liar, I was cheating people and many other things. I don't do that now."

The reasons for conversion in such a potentially hostile environment are of course varied and personal:                    

The harsh doctrine of the Taleban were factors in the conversion of some Afghans.

There is much disillusionment. People used to look to communism, now they look increasingly to Christianity.

The compassionate actions of Christian-based aid agencies during the civil war and Taliban era in Afghanistan had impressed many Afghans.

A Christian Afghan convert stated, "I am very happy with my life and I see other Christians here very happy too,"

He added, "In the future, what God wants will happen. But Christians are always with God and if we are killed we go to God."

Friend, are you promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are you living it? Every corner of the world, every nook and cranny is a missions field. The grocery store. The mall. The neighbors. The bus stop. Every place is the right place to take the Light of the world - Jesus Christ - to the world.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."  (Matt. 5:16)

Whom do you choose: God or Mammon?

I Want To Serve God!

Story excerpted from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/4865818.stm