Monday, December 31, 2012

Cliff Hanger: A House Divided

Do you remember the TV Soap Opera Dallas back in the 1980’s?  It was the story of an uber-rich, Texan family that, despite their wealth, was completely dysfunctional.  At the end of the season, the producers would end with a “cliff hanger” plot line.  The most famous one, of course, was “Who Killed J.R.?”  The segment that asked this question was entitled “A House Divided”. Probably the second most famous episode was when they resurrected the Bobby Ewing character by claiming all of the 1985-1986 season was simply an extended “dream sequence”. This one shocked, delighted and angered fans because, while they were happy to have a favorite character “return from the dead”, the implausibility of this plot line was just too much for some.

Today in America, it is also a "season finale".  We too, face a “cliff hanger” ending.  The title for this one could also appropriately be called “A House Divided” with the question being “Who Killed America”?  Like Dallas fans, maybe we are praying for a miracle ending where this will all turn out to be a bad nightmare from which we will soon wake up.  But, like that episode, it’s highly implausible.

This season wastes no time getting started.  We barely turn the calendar page before we hit the ramifications of the Debt Ceiling IMMEDIATELY on January 1st.  It is best explained by this article plucked directly from a major news organization just a few days ago on December 27th:

Geithner warns US would hit debt ceiling Dec. 31, taking steps to avoid limit

Geither sent a letter to Congress that said the department would begin taking “extraordinary measures” to allow the government to save $200 billion beginning Jan. 1. However, since the government borrows close to $100 billion a month, the moves made by the Treasury department would only buy the government a handful of weeks to get its fiscal house in order or default on its debt.

Read that again:  Just a handful of weeks before our government faces defaulting on its debt.  What do you think this will do to our bond ratings?  How about our global relationships?  When we start defaulting on our debt—no one should be upset, right?  What’s a few trillion dollars amongst friends?

Well…this can’t possibly happen, you may say.  Yep, you’re right temporarily.  We will probably switch over immediately to “Plan B”—crank up those printing presses.  Just print some more money.  Obama has already been doing that under the nice sounding name of “Quantitative Easing”.  TODAY in the news I saw a prediction that milk will climb to $8.00 per gallon soon.  This is what happens when you devalue money.  Everything will cost more exponentially.  But, of course, remember that Obama is for the “little guy”.    

The VERY NEXT DAY, January 2nd, 2013 we hit the “Fiscal Cliff”.  As of the writing of this blog, (New Year’s Eve 2012), it looks like we are headed over in some way.  Oh yes, I know…There may be some concessions and “patches” that extend unemployment benefits, for instance, but they are truly named appropriately.  They are the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid “patch” over major trauma.  Expect the patient to come down with complete systemic failure soon.

Now, what exactly is the “fiscal cliff” and what can we expect as we go careening off the edge?  A recent poll of Americans shows that most people can not accurately describe what this is and what the results will most likely be.  Here's some scenarios:

-88% of Americans will see their taxes go up an average of $3500 per year (so much for “taxing the rich”). This will easily set off another major Recession as we have a whiplash counter-reaction in decreased spending and a sharp decline in consumer confidence.  Expect the Recession to resume with a vengeance.    

-Unemployment benefits will immediately cease for more than 40% of the 5 million unemployed Americans who have exceeded the benefit level.  Unless, “patched over”, THEY WILL HAVE NO INCOME STARTING NOW.   The other 3 million unemployment recipients will not be far behind. Expect a huge rush to our social services/welfare programs.  Please remember we are already $16.4 TRILLION in debt.  The United States has the questionable position of having a HIGHER PER CAPITA debt than GREECE!  Each and every American citizen (adult AND child) carries a federal debt burden in excess of $51,000 EACH.  This is higher than the much scorned “spendaholics” in the European Union who are tottering on the edge of financial collapse.  In this statistic, we are the WINNERS, by far.    

-The Capital gains rate will increase from 15% to 20%.  So what…you say?  This will put a HUGE damper on stock market investments and real estate investments.  Expect to see damage in both markets very soon.  ALREADY the stock market is on its fifth straight day of downturn just in ANTICIPATION of this cliff.  How do you think it will react when we go OFF the cliff? 

-How about “High income” earners:  Those who make over $200,000 will see their tax brackets rise from a low of 33% to a potential high of 39.6%.  In addition, Obama”care” tacks on another new surtax of 3.8% on capital gains for “wealthy” Americans.  Expect high end real estate to take a nose-dive and further stock declines, further divestment of business investments, further loss of jobs, further unemployment.   

So maybe you are thinking…phew!  I’m one of those people who TAKES from the government…So you don’t care, right?  Here’s what government programs will have an automatic cut of substantial amounts on January 1st:

Military (We don’t need to bolster that now...The world is so peaceful.)
Schools (They are doing incredibly well anyway.)
Infrastructure (Does the word “crumbing” mean anything to you?)
Public Health (Plagues anyone?)
Homeland Security (The radical Islamists just love us now…No need to worry!)
Medicare (I KNEW those death panels would come in handy!)

They SAY Social Security won’t be cut.  But it’s already functionally bankrupt.  And we KNOW how correct they have been about everything else, right?  I think we should just TRUST them…don’t you? 

January 22nd 2013 is shaping up to be a monumentally bad day.  I personally believe it could possibly be the worst day ever symbolically in American history for several reasons.  For starters, it is the official first day of Obama’s second term as President.  It signifies the first day that Americans, fully knowing what his agenda is, selfishly re-elected him into office.
Here’s his very first priority:  On Jan 22nd (he can barely wait for the swearing in to be over)…he is shipping (20) F-16’s and (200) tanks to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood leader, President Morsi.  We will also be sending American military over there to TRAIN THEM on how to use this deadly equipment. 

On January 22nd, we also hit the “moral cliff”—the 40 year anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  We are approaching almost SIXTY MILLION abortions in the United States.  This is TEN TIMES the Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany. 
In the Supreme Court, 2013 is shaping up to be a nightmare for Conservative Values and Constitutional Rights.  There are several MONUMENTAL court decisions that are expected to be decided.  Just to list a few:

1)      Religious Freedom (HHS Mandate)
2)      Redefinition of Marriage (expected to hit courts by Summer of 2013)
3)      Possibly a challenge to our 2nd amendment is in the making (gun rights)

In 1938 Hitler was named “Time Person of the Year”.  It was also the year he earnestly began gun restrictions and gun confiscations.  The very next year, World War II began.

This year, in 2012, Obama was named “Time Person of the Year”.  It is also the year he vowed to assault our 2nd amendment gun rights.  Hmmmm….are we due for a repeat of history?

What will 2013 bring?  I’m not sure, but today on Dec 31st, 2012, we are certainly watching an epic, nail-biting “cliff-hanger”.   

Will we just continue to tune out or wake up in the middle of a nightmare?

It’s almost time…Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one…

Happy New Year?

Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.
~Matthew 12:25

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
~Revelation 8:1


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Choose Your Predestination Wisely

“Do you walk to school or carry a lunch?”  My husband loved to torture our kids with this question when they were younger.  It’s a nonsensical query, guaranteed to result in smoke coming out of your brain chip processor. 

In theological circles today, we have a similar mind-bender question.  How do we have Free Will while also accepting scripture that states God’s people have been “chosen,” “elected” and “set apart” from the beginning of all time? 

Predestination is a concept most often associated with Calvinists.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will already know that I no longer ascribe to any particular brand of Christianity.  However, I was raised Protestant. The very word Protestant means a “protester”.  How ironic that the base of our foundational Protestant Faith proudly proclaims by name to be in Rebellion against the original Church.  Rebellion is at the very core of sin as shown with Lucifer and the Fall of mankind through Adam.  

In my “God journey” I’ve come to realize the problems with the current state of our Christian Church schism which began at the birth of Protestantism. Protestantism got its start with the advent of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses to the Catholic Church door in 1517.  While I believe the Catholic Church was in serious need of reform in Luther’s time, the end result of his Rebellion splintered us into dozens and dozens of factions which continues to weaken Christianity overall to this very day. Protestants persist in this tradition of division as our multiple denominations still split hairs about doctrine, sacraments and methodologies.  While I am not taking any sides in these issues, I know one thing for sure…Jesus could not possibly be pleased with this disunity.

There is a similar analogy to be found in the Old Testament when Israel splintered into two Kingdoms.  The Northern Kingdom was known simply as Israel, while the Southern Kingdom was called Judah.  (See 1 Kings 16:21).  This division, like the Catholic/Protestant split, had the effect of weakening the Israelites overall against their enemies.

Luther eventually dissolved, at the end of his life, into writing rambling, vengeful Anti-Semitic rants in his book “On the Jews and Their Lies”.  Luther is also the spiritual Father of the heretical “Replacement Theology” mindset that claims Gentiles have replaced Jews as God’s chosen people. 

Does this not amaze you?  Think about it:  The man who is credited with being the spiritual Father for all Protestant denominations is also the SAME person who wrote a book that the Nazis often used to justify their evil Anti-Jewish philosophies!

Yet undeniably, Luther brought about major good developments.  He was instrumental in translating and disseminating scripture to the common man.  Because of Martin Luther, the average, every day person, would get their hands on scripture unlike any other time in history. 

Like ALL of us, Luther was a “mixed bag” of polar opposites—Evil and Good fighting for the upper hand.  This thought brings me to my knees more than any other.  That such opposing forces can reside in one individual is nothing short of truly chilling.  I sincerely pray:  “Lord, Help me not to screw up Your Message and, in doing so, become an unwitting tool for the Enemy.”  Nothing, absolutely nothing, strikes more terror in my heart than this:  The possibility, that by lack of maintaining an exceedingly close relationship to God, become a “useful idiot” for Evil.  Such is the seed in all of us…the seed for Great Good and the seed for Devastating Harm. 

Apparently following God can’t be reduced to X# of manmade points posted to a church door. This is the descent into Pride.  Interestingly, he changed his original birth name from Luder to Luther.  Like many name changes in the Bible, I believe this one had deep spiritual significance.  Luder means “alluring Sacrifice”, while Luther means “Wolf”.  Just a few small letter changes and we can go from a Holy life of pleasing sacrifice to a Wolf in Sheep’s clothing—a very unnerving idea.

Such is the capacity for Great Good along with Great Evil existing within one “simple” human being.  Maybe we are not so “simple” after all. This should cause everyone to stop, ponder and reflect.  Or as the Bible says in Hebrew “Selah”…pause…and think about that.  Hmmmmm….. 

Now...back to why I no longer call myself a “Protestant” or any brand thereof.  I humbly believe that much of Protestant America has lost the mystery, majesty and wonderment of God that still can be found in many (not all) Catholic Churches today and some sects of Judaism. We have swapped the awe for the ascetic.  It is austere self discipline that leads to apostasy as we become self-focused instead of God-focused. 

The Catholic Church has a whole office dedicated to interpreting scripture called The Magisterium.  I love that word.  Broken down in Latin it has roots of Magis (more), magical, majesty, mystery.  So, interestingly, the very name actually contradicts the function it serves!—it seeks to explain the inexplicable! 

Do you remember the Disney movie Mary Poppins?  She had some very inexplicable behavior.  When the butler demanded an explanation: “Miss Poppins—Please DO explain yourself!”  She replied: “Why, I never explain anything.”  Just how do you fully explain the mysteries of God?  Spoiler/Answer:  We cannot.  We CAN ponder, expostulate, theorize, reflect, meditate, but do not make this mistake:  We CANNOT EVER have God all figured out.  In fact, this is the VERY FIRST sin…desiring to eat from the Tree of Good and Evil/the Tree of Knowledge.  If we were ever able to figure out God…we would BE God.  This is impossible and the root cause of ALL sin…Pride.  Humbly accept that for much of your life, your spiritual requirement is like this line from the famous Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem Charge of the Light Brigade:

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die

However, there is still quite a bit in the Bible about volition, will and submission by man to God’s calling.  Even Mary had to say “Yes, Lord” before He could proceed. 

Now back to Predestination.  While studying this topic, I was led to research one of the most powerful forces of nature:  Ionic Bonding.  Ionic bonding is what occurs when the negative charge of electrons is attracted to and joined up with the positive charge of protons.  The increasingly powerful vortex of tornadoes can be explained by ionic bonding.  In explaining ionic bonding Wikipedia states:  “Each successive ionization energy is markedly greater than the last.”

Our relationship with God is like this.  We lay down, he picks up.  This process continues until we, in conjunction with God’s power, become a “tour de force” for great good.

I contend, therefore, that our only job each and every day is to lay our lives down.  Submit.  Period.  Lay it down…God will pick it up.  Lose your life…you will find it.  Sacrifice yourself and you will live. And, in doing so, we become a powerful force for good.  A force to be reckoned with. 

Perhaps we are not supposed to fully understand the mysteries of God—just accept them by Faith and, in the process, have our Faith grow.  God can’t be reduced to a formula or a process.  God is not constrained by a Time disadvantage of seeing only from the present (like us).  He sees all from beginning to end. 

Therefore, I believe, humbly by scripture and revelation, that Pre-Destination and Free Will are a symbiotic mystery of two interrelated concepts.  God chooses his Elect and man submits by his own Volition. 

So, let's go back to the opening conundrum: 
Do we Choose or are we Chosen?   The answer is…


O Lord, you persuaded me, and I allowed myself to be persuaded.
~Jeremiah 20: 7-9

It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.
~Alexander Hamilton


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Romancing the Stone

 “We will rebuild.”
~Tom Daschle
~John Edwards
~Chris Christie
~Barack Obama

Much of the Christian world is looking for the Temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem before the Second Coming of the Messiah.  Jewish Orthodoxy also seeks to rebuild the Temple and there are several organizations in Israel devoted solely to this purpose.   

However, this doesn’t really make sense to me on an intellectual exegetical study of scripture as well as a theological spiritual level.  Here’s what Jesus said:

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
~John 2:19

Obviously He was talking about His eventual death and resurrection from the grave three days later.  If Jesus was referring to the restoration of a bodily Temple—why are we so obsessed today with a Temple made of “wood and stone?” 

“Wood and stone” in the Bible has very negative connotations.  Most every time “wood and stone” are mentioned, they are in reference to idols.  Or, in more common everyday vernacular…it refers to those things that we worship and exalt besides God.  Also, would not another Temple, will all the attendant sacrifices required, be a blasphemy to us in light of the “ultimate Sacrifice” which as already been given through Jesus Christ on the cross?

Moreover, if we are awaiting a Temple rebuilding prior to Jesus’ return, it would mean that Jesus could not come at any time—yet he talked of a sense of expectancy when “Signs of the Times” would become evident:

When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
Luke 21:28

Today, we have lots of “wood and stone” idols.  Just listening to the clueless politicians tell us how “we will rebuild” after every disaster, confirms this wrong focus.  In fact, in The Harbinger, a best-selling apocalyptic book by Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, the author points out that stating these very words, “we will rebuild”, precedes serious judgment by God.  It is the equivalent of “raising a fist” in God’s face when He brings correction to sin.  So, based on man’s rebellious nature, it is not surprising that we continue to see some efforts or futile attempts to rebuild a Temple in Jerusalem.  Truly this is an attempt to create another Tower of Babel.

So, does the Bible say anything specifically about when there will be a Temple Restoration?  I predict that before the true Temple is rebuilt again in JerusalemHell will have to freeze over…literally.  The Bible states that before the beginning of the Milennium, Satan will be bound and Hell sealed over for 1000 years.

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.
~Revelation 20: 1-3

It is during this time that there will be complete and total restoration of Jerusalem and The Temple Restoration which will be ruled by Jesus Christ Himself.  

One last thing we, as Christians, should be very aware of is the predicted “Abomination of Desolation”.  A False Christ will arise who will occupy the current Temple and declare himself as God.  Literally, that will be a time to “run for the hills”.

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Matthew 24: 15-16
So clearly God is talking about a human temple.  Why would the Most High God revert back to inhabiting wood and stone after making a flesh and blood appearance?  As noted, the prophet Daniel says this is a move that we should expect of the ultimate “AntiChrist”. 

The Old Testament Ark of the Covenant was symbolic of our eventual relationship with the Lord where He not only would dwell AMONG us but WITHIN us.  I expectantly believe that we are on the crux of mass Messianic Revival, especially in Jerusalem (Israel).  I pray for this in the United States as well…a fourth “Great Awakening”.  When we have the Holy Spirit within, God’s laws are written on our hearts, not on tablets of stone:

written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
~2 Corinthians 3:3

Here in the United States, if we don’t put God back into His proper place…the center of our “Temples”…expect continued atrocities and disasters like Newtown Connecticut and Hurricane Sandy (and worse) to be the norm in 2013.  We’ve asked God to leave…now we are witnessing the horrific and terrifying results of a God-less society gone mad and under judgment. 

No amount of oblivious politicians declaring a remake of society or a “rebuilding” of our culture will fix this.  We will trip over ourselves in confusion and disarray.  Our society desperately needs “Temple Restoration”.  Let’s start by removing the stones in our hearts and minds, preparing the soil, and planting the Seed of Faith.

In America and worldwide, we truly need a major “Temple” overhaul…

a complete heart and soul restoration.

He [Jesus] is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone”.
Acts 4:11

The Bible is the cornerstone of Liberty.
~Thomas Jefferson


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Can We Handle The Truth?

Remember the 1992 movie A Few Good Men starring Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson?  In the climax of the film’s courtroom drama, Tom Cruise shouts at Jack Nicholson on the witness stand:  “I want the Truth!”  Jack Nicholson loudly yells back “You can’t handle the Truth!”  There are days when, like Jack Nicholson, someone needs to confront us with this realization.  Here’s some Truth Americans just can’t seem to handle:

1)      Abortion is Murder.  This Truth gradually appears to be dawning on some of us slowly as our darkened brains attempt to keep up with the increasingly clear science.  The statistics now show that a little more than half of the American populace is Pro-life.  Even just making that statement seems absurd.  I guess the other roughly half of Americans are “Pro-Death”.  Now with public funded abortion and employers forced to provide abortifacients, won’t we all be equally culpable in the 60 million American-Child Holocaust?  Each and every one of us will factually become a murder accomplice.  It seems that Obama’s HHS mandate purposefully wants to force every American citizen to have hands drenched in innocent blood.  In the generation that has grown up since the Roe v. Wade decision 40 years ago, is it any wonder that we have birthed a culture of school shooters and violent criminals?  Truly our youth have learned our cultural lesson well to place little or no value on the Sanctity of Life.  Truth #1:  Unless we overturn this barbaric law, our society will continue to slide down the “slippery slope” of truth relativism which results in a permanent searing of our national conscience.

2)      Marriage is a God-ordained Holy Sacrament between a Man and Woman.  The State has no intrinsic right to “ordain” a marriage.  You know, in a strange way…I sort of agree with the statement from the LGBT community that they are “born this way”.  In essence, like the absurd Lady Gaga lyrics, we are, indeed, ALL “born this way”.  As sinful, fallen human beings, we are natural born killers, adulterers, thieves, liars, fornicators, and blasphemers.  However, with the help and grace of God, we must not give into our natural evil instincts. Once we not only start embracing these evil impulses, but ELEVATING them to the status of a Holy Sacrament—we commit the ultimate apostasy which is turning ourselves into God.  “Ordaining” Gay marriage is no different, theologically speaking, than if we legally approved child sacrifice as a Holy Sacrament.  On second thought…perhaps we already do this as our children are slaughtered daily on the ungodly altar of Human Secularism.  Truth #2:  If we continue to redefine long standing social and moral norms we will ultimately cause the demise of our nation through cultural implosion. 
3)      The Majority of Christian America is Apostate.  In an earlier blog, I defined exactly what apostate means.  By any measure of the word, most people who call themselves Christian today in America are apostate.  That is to say, they CLAIM to believe or acknowledge that their Faith requires a certain code of conduct or behavior from them--Yet they willingly and knowingly choose NOT to follow it.  Here’s some eye-popping statistics from the 2012 election:

Catholics:  Despite having every level of their clergy loudly condemn the horrific evil and sin of abortion, 50% of American Catholic voters pulled the lever for Obama.  An almost equal amount of Catholics didn’t bother to vote at all!  Now we’ve all heard the name CINO before (Catholics in Name Only).  May I humbly propose a new one? Catholics in Need Of Repentance.

Protestants:  44% of “Mainline” Protestants and 94% of Black Protestants voted Democratic.  This is despite the fact that 70% of Blacks came out in strong Biblical opposition to gay marriage AND despite a disproportionate amount of black babies being slaughtered in the womb.  Religious “convictions” cannot be very strong if they are readily ditched for want of a free ObamaPhone.  Is this all it takes to approve of scriptural abominations and genocide?  This must be a new sect of Protestants not previously identified before.  For lack of a better term, let’s call it the “Phone”y Protestant denomination, shall we?

Mormons:  With 94% of Black Protestants remaining loyal to Obama, despite their self-proclaimed religious beliefs, you would think the Mormon vote was a “shoe-in” for Mitt Romney.  Think again!  TWENTY-ONE PERCENT of MORMONS voted for the Democratic Party planks!  The Ordinance of Sealing (Marriage) is probably one of THE fundamental doctrines underlying the Mormon Church—but apparently not in the voting booth.  These Mormons must be a segment known as the “SHAM’s”:  Shameless Hypocrites As Mormons.   

Evangelicals:  Now surely…Bible thumpin’ Protestants would be a united voting block for scriptural values, right?  WRONG.  20% of self described Evangelicals voted FOR a party that BOOED God during its convention.  Maybe we should send our next donation check to a new mission field that desperately needs to be “evangelized”—the United States! 

Truth #3:  Christian Apostasy is a huge problem in America.  National Repentance and another “Great Awakening” is the only hope.

4)      The Majority of American Jews don’t truly support Israel.  If you are an American Jew, you may be feeling pretty smug right about now:  “Boy, those American Christians really are a mess!”  However, this segment of our citizenry does not get a free pass today either.  In Israel, Obama garners only 20-25% approval ratings.  However, here in the U.S, he received a whopping 60-70% support from American Jewish voters.  Simply stated, the majority of Jews in America are rather indifferent to the problems plaguing their native homeland despite their indignant rhetoric.  When the “rubber meets the road”, like the 2012 elections—American Jews voted to preserve their own comfy political ideologies, while their Israeli counterparts dodge rockets and terrorist attacks.  Isn’t this exactly the same sort of apathy prevalent by the German citizenry in WWII that caused deep public shame after the War ended?   Just this week Obama approved the shipment of twenty F-16 American fighter jets to Egypt’s “evolving Dictator” Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Will American Jews sleep well tonight knowing that their tax dollars may be used to bomb their brethren and possibly cause the next Holocaust?  If this Truth causes serious indignation—please go back and re-read the title of this blog.

Truth #4:  Statistics show that Israel’s most ardent supporters in America are seriously practicing, church attending Evangelicals or Messianic Jews.     

5)  Finally…the Ultimate Truth.  Contrary to the pathetically ignorant, ill-informed and scientifically unproven American Atheists logic, God is our Creator and “intelligently designed” the entire Universe.  Since this is a blog about Truth, no matter how unpopular…let’s mention the most “unpopular” person to ever have lived on the planet:  Jesus Christ.  For those of us who believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior, King of Kings, and The Messiah, we are no longer interested in having our Faith pushed to the sidelines.  I realize that this Truth is not considered “politically correct” or not “inclusive” and not “tolerant” enough according to the current high standard of American morals.  I am sure this belief ticks many Americans off.  However, they certainly don’t seem to care if they tick off Jesus-loving Christians by their offensive campaigns, lawsuits, billboards, movies and best-selling novels.  I’m equally sure the majority of people offended right now at the certainty of Truth in this statement have: a) Never taken five minutes to study this out for themselves. b) Never completely read the Bible. c) Never investigated the Old Testament prophecies.  d) Never studied the abundant and independent historical data on Jesus.  e) Never earnestly or prayerfully asked God to reveal Himself to them.  Don’t you think something as important as your eternal outcome should at least be fully investigated? 

Truth #5:  There is no proven scientific rationale for not believing in God.  All societies that have removed God from their central core are either very oppressive to human rights or have eventually collapsed. Societies with the most freedoms, liberties and highest standards of living are most often those with deep Biblical underpinnings.

So, will our country continue its downward spiral of tragic mass murder shootings, class tensions, selfish entitlements, wholesale baby murder, social redefinitions, God-less schools and looming economic disasters?  The moral and fiscal cliffs begin in January…Do we blindly keep moving “Forward” or do we finally get a handle on Truth?  

Truth is like fire.  It can purify and refine or it can utterly obliterate and destroy. 

Can you handle it?

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
~John 8:32

~Patrick Henry


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Losing Our Religion

That's me in the corner, That's me in the spotlight Losing my religion.
~R.E.M. Lyrics, 1991

Probably one of the top 5 sermons I ever heard in my life was one in which the Pastor made this statement:  “Religion is Man’s attempt to reconcile himself to God, Jesus is God’s answer to reconcile Man to Him.”  As you can imagine, I’m not a big fan of “religion”.  Usually when describing someone who has gone off the deep end, we sarcastically say “He got religion”.

Religion, in and of itself, can sometimes be the source of some of our world’s worst problems.  The Salem witch-hunters had “religion”.  The 9/11 terrorists had “religion”.  The Pharisees and Sadducees in Jesus’ time had “religion”.  Perhaps the harshest words Jesus ever spoke on Earth were directed at “religious” people:

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”
~Matthew 23:33

To understand the full fury of Jesus’ wrath against the religious leaders of that day—take the time to read the entire Chapter of Matthew 23.  He lets loose with a scathing diatribe against their audacious hypocrisies ending with seven “Woe unto you” statements.  Make no mistake…when Jesus Christ says “Woe unto you” not once, not twice but SEVEN times…you better sit up and take notice.  It will not go well for you. 
Here’s the only kind of “religion” that God finds fully acceptable:   

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
~James 1:27

All other religious justification is simply for YOUR sake, not for HIS sake.  Some of it, He actually finds repugnant, bordering on blasphemy.  It is your pitiful attempt to sanctify or atone for yourself.  Truthfully, it is an affront to God to suggest that you can add anything to His Ultimate Sacrifice on the Cross.  We must remember, we are beggars—we bring NOTHING to the table---NOTHING.

Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you.
~Romans 12:3 (The Message Bible)

Perhaps this scripture in Isaiah says it best.  The Israelites were touting their piousness in front of God—proudly talking about all the “religious stuff” that they were doing.  God was not pleased:

What I’m interested in seeing you do is:  sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.
~Isaiah 58:7 (The Message Bible) 

So, in some small way, there is a seed of legitimacy in America’s obsessive desire to rid our public square of any traces of religion.  The Human secularists believe that if we could just have a society completely devoid of any references to God, the Bible and “religion” we would enter into this Nirvana state of ultimate bliss outlined by John Lennon’s song “Imagine”. 

However, as any good police detective will tell you—If you want to get away with murder, mix as much Truth as possible in with your story to cover over the “Big Lie”.  Here’s the “Big Lie”:  God = man-made religion.   

Unless we really grasp the vast difference between the two, we will never truly understand our American Heritage.  We will continue to have mindless conversations about whether the Founding Fathers were Deists or Christians or Secular Humanists.  We will continue to accuse the early settlers of killing off the American Indians and of being genocidal racists.  We will continue to equate the ugliness of fallible mankind with the Perfection and Beauty of God.    

Removing God from the fabric of our American society is like removing the Chemistry Table of Elements from all matter.  It’s just not possible.  When you do this—everything has no framework, no substance and will disintegrate into nothingness.  What will be left is a Big Black Hole.  It’s a horrific fantasy that, unlike John Lennon, I do not wish to “Imagine”.       

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
~Romans 11:36

I beg you be persuaded that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.
 ~George Washington



Sunday, December 9, 2012

War Cry: Forward or Onward?

“Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war…”
~19th century hymn

Remember that old Sunday School hymn growing up as a child?  It always sounded so quaint.  After all, what was there to fight about?  No one was oppressing Christians during the 1960’s and 1970’s in our idyllic little suburb just outside of New York City.  As kids we simply accepted these lyrics as some corny metaphor for “soldiering” on in good works.  For the most part, we were harmoniously living together with other religions and races in the freest country in recorded history.  No one wanted to go to “war” with our fellow citizens.   

Have you ever watched a movie plot that starts out all sweet and dreamy, but slowly… very slowly, as the drama progresses the creepy tension rises?  Remember Glenn Close and Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction?  She seemed normal enough in the beginning, but gradually the depth of this woman’s madness increased in dramatic intensity throughout the film.  The viewer actually begins to feel sorry for Michael Douglas--the unfaithful adulterer.  Just a little “fling with sin” and, before you know it, you have the family pet rabbit boiling on your stove. 

I think this is a good analogy for the social climate we face today as devout believers in America.  For “bone-deep” Christians and seriously practicing Jews, the election outcome was “the Great Disappointment”--a somber referendum on the future of our country.  As we are shoved “Forward”, we are slowly beginning to realize the true impact of this hideous phrase.  Will we be shepherded like stupid sheep into a God-less society where we are forced to compromise our deepest held beliefs?   

In America, and around the free world, persecution of Judeo-Christian values is slowly, yet steadily picking up steam.  I’m not talking about in oppressive Islamic or Communist countries.  Sadly this persecution is taking place in former freedom-loving countries such as the United States, Canada, Belgium, England, and France, just to name a few.  
Here’s just a small sampling of the literally hundreds of recent examples:

United States:  In California parents are legally prohibited from offering their children Christian based treatment for sexual identity crises if this treatment includes assisting them in overcoming their same sex proclivities.

Canada:  In Alberta Canada a Pastor was persecuted for seven years on a “hate speech” charge because he dared to call the Homosexual agenda “wicked” from the pulpit.  He ultimately prevailed but only after a long, protracted and expensive witch hunt.  The hate-speech law is STILL on the books and can easily happen again to the next Pastor or outspoken citizen.  This is a chilling reminder of the “thought police” concept alive in well in our Northern “democratic” neighbor.

Belgium:  Euthanasia was signed into law in 2002.  Since that time 2-3% of ALL DEATHS in the country are now assisted suicide.  DO YOU GRASP THE TOTALITY OF THIS HORROR?  But here’s an even more gruesome fact:  Doctors and medical staff are now admitting that they are HARVESTING ORGANS from these depressed or ill patients “opting out” of life.  Investigations into this chilling “brave, new world” confirm that the medical staff is “operating beyond the legal margins of their profession”.  This is grisly, ghastly, ghoulish and frightening.  Have we lost our ability to be shocked?

England:  In 2012 British courts have upheld and asserted that Christians have no right to wear a cross or crucifix to work—which is now legally BANNED at the option of the employer. 

France:  This country is currently experiencing perhaps the worst example of “Shariah-creep” as they continue to integrate Islamic law into their legal and financial systems.  There are ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOODS in France where the police admit they have lost control of their ability to enforce French laws.  These communities are de-facto mini-Islamic pockets that are ruled under oppressive Shariah laws and customs.  The result has been an explosion of rapes and abuses of women including “honor” killings which go unsolved or under-reported.   

Before being martyred, the Christians in first century Rome were given one last opportunity to appease the state.  If they were willing to make a public sacrifice at the altar of the gods, they could get their sentence overturned.  However, they chose to face the lions instead and got ripped apart in a bloody sport as their fellow citizens cheered and clapped.  Their unflinching resolve was true evidence of unswerving faith in Jesus Christ as their Messiah.     

Just this week the multi-chain retail craft store, Hobby Lobby, lost its case in Court.  They refuse to offer abortifacients to their employees (which is required beginning on January 1st, 2013 under the ObamaCare HHS mandate) based on their deeply held religious convictions. Unless they win their next appeal, on January 1st they will “face the lions”.  Comply or Die.

Hobby Lobby owners literally MUST make that choice in a few weeks or face steep, economically fatal decisions.  Despite my deep trust and faith in God, it is very disconcerting to see the people on the front lines start taking bullets although I am not in the first battalion. Sort of like the canary in the coal mine—will Hobby Lobby make it out “alive”?  When will I or my loved ones be required to step on this minefield?

So the American social schizophrenia slowly increases in intensity.  We worship at the altar of “tolerance” as the intolerance of Christianity and Judeo-Christian values heats up with each passing day.  Like the choice given to the Roman martyrs, Christians will soon be asked whether they are willing to compromise their faith in order to appease the state.  Will they give in to the temptation to make a “public sacrifice” on the altar of the human secularist gods?  The State whispers:  “Just give the abortifacients to your employees—You’re not making them abort their children—that’s their “choice”.  I’m sure the German public in WWII had similar evil whisperers in their heads:  “Go ahead and accept that job with the Nazi government—You’re not directly responsible for putting the Jews in the oven—they did it”.  Ah Yes…the ubiquitous “they”.  “They” are always responsible for everything.  Never US.  Never YOU.  Somehow, 6 million Jews were annihilated in WWII and NO ONE admitted to having anything to do with it.  Go figure.    
At what point, like Michael Douglas, do we recognize that we are in deep, deep trouble? 

Let’s hope it’s before we find that our American foray into “unfaithfulness” has unleashed an unmitigated disaster of social lunacy that boils over on our very own kitchen stove.    

Make no mistake—whether you want to acknowledge it or not…

We are at War.

Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.
~Revelation 12:17

When Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met in 1941 on the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, Prime Minister Churchill chose the hymns. He chose "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and afterwards made a radio broadcast explaining his choice:
We sang "Onward, Christian Soldiers" indeed, and I felt that this was no vain presumption, but that we had the right to feel that we serving a cause for the sake of which a trumpet has sounded from on high. ... it swept across me that here was the only hope, but also the sure hope, of saving the world from measureless degradation.
—Winston Churchill